Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I've been using a capsule wardrobe for the past two years now and what I appreciate the most with having a capsule wardrobe is that it helps me stay away from unnecessary spending. This spring I needed to buy some new clothes and came to the conclusion that I needed three new tops. After I had written down a list of all the pieces that I will include in my capsule wardrobe for spring-summer I realized that I didn't need to buy more than one new top. We often tend to overestimate how many new things we need and forget what we already have.
Having a capsule wardrobe also makes getting dressed in the morning a lot easier and faster. I have so few pieces in my closet that I have a good sense of what goes with what. This year I have 33 pieces of clothing in my closet (not counting my workout clothes, underwear or bags). I include 26 pieces in my six month capsule wardrobe, which leaves 7 pieces out that are "resting" and waiting for the next season.
Coco gives an example of what a capsule wardrobe can look like in this video. Every person's capsule wardrobe will look very different since we all have our personal style and prefer different colors, patterns and styles etc.
This time of year it's so much easier to find the motivation to work out if you ask me. During winter I have to settle for working out indoors but this time of year I do 90% of my workouts outdoors.
I love going biking in the spring, fall and summer. Southern Ontario has great biking trails that makes this sport very enjoyable.
My absolute favorite workout is when I can get as much out of the workout mentally and spiritually as I do physically. Biking gets me in shape physically but it's also great for my mind and soul. The beautiful views of Lake Ontario help me feel calm and relaxed.
My husband and I went on a road trip last week and our favorite place to get healthy fast food during a vacation is definitely Panera Bread. I lost count of how many visits we took to Panera Bread during our trip. I love the healthy salads and sandwiches at Panera Bread.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Today, more than ever, being content in life can be really difficult. Social media has given us many great benefits but one of the negative side effects of social media is that we compare ourselves with others more than ever before. It's hard to feel content when you are constantly comparing your real life with pictures of people's highly edited lives online. What can we do to kill the comparison in our lives and recover contentment so that we will feel more satisfied with our lives? Craig Groeschel offers us three great tips:
1.) We can kill the temptation to be envious of others by taking a break from social media or by avoiding certain accounts that we know tend to trigger our envy.
2.) We can choose to celebrate the blessings in other people's lives. We can choose to celebrate with those who celebrate, rather than to envy what they have. We control our own emotions, our emotions don't control us (unless we let them).
3.) We can cultivate gratitude. The more we learn to thank God for what he has already given us in life the more our envy and discontentment in life will fade away. The definition of envy that Craig mentions is powerful: "Envy is resenting God's goodness in other people's lives, and ignoring his goodness in your own."
Through the fire and the flood
You have never let me goAnd my soul will sing
You have done great things
I am weak, You are strong
You will always be my hope
And my soul will sing
You have done great things
Day 1: Comfy clothes are a must on a road trip! I'm all set for a drive South of the border.
We made it to the hotel in Pittsburgh! I'm ready to see what Pittsburgh has to offer on a Saturday night.
Day 2: Time to fill up on some coffee and read the news before we head out on the road again.
The drive from Pittsburgh to Washington was rainy but still beautiful, I love the beautiful mountain views!
Day 3: We were able to do some sight-seeing in Washington DC, you can't leave town without seeing the White House.
... and some more sight-seeing.
Day 4: Our first day in sunny Virginia Beach,VA. It felt great to be back at the beach after many months of snow and colder weather!
Quality time with my hubby, we both love the ocean and taking beach vacations.
Day 7: Time to start driving back up North. Iced lattes and good music in the car kept us entertained during our drive back home to Canada. I feel very blessed and thankful for this eight-day-long vacation that offered a lot of time for rest. Many great memories were created during this trip! :)
Sunday, May 29, 2016
In Unashamed, Christine Caine reveals the hidden effects of shame many women face and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life. She helps women find freedom from believing they’re flawed and unworthy and prepares them to step into the future confident, dearly loved, and empowered to be shame-lifters for others.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Our God is a lion
The Lion of Judah
He's roaring with power
And fighting our battles
Every knee will bow before Him
Open up the gates
Make way before the King of Kings
The God who comes to save
Is here to set the captives free
For who can stop the Lord Almighty
Monday, May 16, 2016
"The blessing often comes after the test."
Holly Furtick from Elevation Church teaches a great sermon about how we can love difficult people. Many times we get focused on changing people who are hard to love, but it's not our job to change them, they need to change themselves. Our job is to focus on our own weaknesses and change ourselves. Every time we experience growth it will change our interactions with the people in our lives that are difficult to love.
Personal growth is seriously uncomfortable and not always fun to go through, but so important and needed. God is making diamonds out of each one of us. Whenever I find myself in the midst of a struggle in life I like to have a few favorite songs that I can listen to when I need some encouragement to keep fighting. "Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson is one of my favorite "fight songs".
"He's making diamonds, diamonds
Making diamonds out of dust
He is refining in his timing
He's making diamonds out of us."
I wanted to share this video from the youtube channel "Sprinkle of glitter" on my blog because it's so positive and helpful. If you want tips that can help you be more body confident be sure to check out this video! I love when social media stars make positive and uplifting videos on Youtube that talk about topics that many struggle with in our modern society. Why not make life more about helping each other rather than only about helping ourselves? :)
It's quite obvious that us humans carry a huge responsibility on our shoulders, to rule the world together. Humans are the most powerful of all species on the planet so we can't escape the need to really think about how we choose to live. The message in the Bible is that God created people to subdue the Earth and rule over it according to God's perfect standard, but us humans decided to rather do our own thing.
I talked about this topic with a friend once and she said: "Sometimes I wish God hadn't given us humans free will. Think about how much easier life would be, there would be no war, no murder and no hate if we could only do good and didn't have the choice to do evil." I agreed with my friend, at first thought it sounds like a nice life, but on second thought I don't think I would like having lightning strike me every time I do something sinful.
Imagine waking up to your house being full of frogs or insects the morning after a really sinful day when you refused to do life God's way (like Pharaoh in the Bible). I think I pick free will after all. On the other hand, free will comes with huge responsibility and the human experience is "no walk in the park". I'm thankful that God sent us the Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide, because I sure would not want to take on this adventure called life on Earth all alone.
This year artists in pop culture want purpose in life more than ever before. During the fall Justin Bieber released his album "Purpose" with many great songs that have depth to them. My favorite song on his album is "Life is worth living" which has such a positive message. When I was in high school 15 years ago the song "Join me in death" by the rock band HIM was number one on the charts. I'm happy to notice that we seem to be entering a new era today with positive and uplifting lyrics in pop culture rather than songs about death. I have a good friend who is a social worker who tells me that mental health issues and the number of teens who are having suicidal thoughts is only rising today, so although "art is only art" I feel encouraged by the fact that popular artists are wanting to spread positive messages in 2016.
A few days ago it was Beyonce's turn to release a new album which is called "Lemonade". The album is very transparent and uplifting if you ask me. Beyonce could have chosen to write her new album about anything, but she chose to write about how she overcame a very painful experience in her life, that takes real strength and courage. I love what Beyonce says in the May 2016 issue of ELLE UK:"I hope I can create art that helps people heal."
There are many things in our modern culture that can weigh people down; mental health issues, stress, low self-esteem and then there is the beauty ideals. Cameron Diaz is one actress that has decided to take on these negative ideals and inspire everyone to love themselves rather than to try to follow the impossible beauty ideals. I love what Cameron Diaz says in the May 2016 issue of Women's Health UK: "We live in a self-obsessed, narcissistic society that's focused on the superficial, instead of what's on the inside- and that is our soul and our spirit and what we accomplish. If all we concentrate on is what we see in the mirror, that is very dangerous. We're going to be very lost."
Whether we we are celebrities or regular people doesn't matter so much, we all carry the responsibility to set an example in life for the next generation. We don't get to choose if we will impact young people or not, we all influence them in one way or another, but we get to choose how we want to impact them. A big part of how how we learn to live life we learn from the culture that surrounds us, so each one of us should decide what we want to teach those who are younger than us.
One of the things that I'm the most thankful for in my life is the free university education that I got in Finland. My free education is a gift I received because the generations before me decided to create that law and opportunity for the next generations. In the end our personal accomplishments doesn't matter so much, what matters much more is what we leave behind for the next generations. What do you want to leave behind?
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Craig Groeschel talks about the importance of us speaking life-giving words to ourselves and to others. Words are powerful, we need to choose our words carefully. Our words can either encourage and lift people up or pull people down. Many of us have incredibly negative self-talk. We say things to ourselves like: "I'm not good enough." "I'm never going to get out of this debt." "I'm so stupid." "My marriage is always going to be this bad." etc. These statements are not the truth, they are only words we speak to ourselves, but don't underestimate their power. We have to choose what kind of words we will speak to ourselves. As Christians we know that what others say about us isn't the truth, what God says about us is the truth. Here's a few things God says about me through the Bible:
I was created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10) My own translation: My life is not meaningless, my life has a God-given purpose. I have all the skills I need to do all the things I was created to do.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) My own translation: My nose is not too big, I'm not too skinny or too curvy, I'm not too tall or too short. I look exactly the way God wanted me to look and I have all the skills that God wanted me to have, I am beautiful and wonderful.
I am loved by God. (John 3:16) My own translation: I'm not unlovable or insignificant, the God of the universe loves me deeply, my life is important and matters greatly to God. What I choose to do with my life does matter.
The more I read the Bible and learn about how God views me the clearer it becomes that my own negative self-talk is far from the truth. The negative words we speak about ourselves will only have an impact if we believe that they are true. They are not true. There is not one person on the face of this Earth who was not fearfully and wonderfully made and who is not loved by God, not even one. We are all his children. We don't all love him, but He loves us.
Monday, May 9, 2016
On Sunday I started my day with my favorite combination Church&Brunch, first some food for the soul and then some food for the stomach. :) Pastor John preached a very helpful message in the series called "Take Heart".
I also took a visit to the book store during the weekend to check out some magazines and new books I want to buy. Cameron Diaz was on the cover of many magazines and I love how she wants to encourage women to embrace the age they are at, rather than to strive to be "forever young". Go Cameron!
It was rainy in Toronto this weekend so my husband and I decided to go watch a movie together on Saturday. The movie theater was packed so I guess a lot of people thought the same way. On Sunday we spent a lot of time with our family members which is always fun. It was a good weekend and now I'm rested and ready for a new week again.
Over the years I've tried so many diets, and after years of avoiding certain types of food I've finally gone back to eating in a "normal" way. My only rule nowadays is: "Eat more of what's healthy, and eat less of what's not good for your body." I used to have a hard time staying at the same weight but nowadays I get on the scale very seldom, my weight seems to stay the same by itself. I've noticed that in the end it's less about food for me and more about other stuff. For example, I've always gained weight during really stressful and lonely seasons of my life or when I've been homesick. I've learned that if I take care of my mental health my physical health will follow. It also works the other way around sometimes, if I don't prioritize exercising and get lazy and eat unhealthy food my mental health will also suffer.
Today my goal is to work out 3-4 times per week and to eat healthy most of the time. I usually try to stay away from treats during the weekdays so that I can treat myself to dessert and a vanilla latte during the weekend. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated 1st of May with donuts and Swedish cider on the weekend. If I want to treat myself on a Wednesday night I might buy a new interior design magazine and make my favorite green smoothie.
I remember when I called Your name
There I knew I'd never be the same
Love came rushing to this heart of mine
Like You waited for this all my life
I remember when I learned to pray
Close to You I find my hiding place
And Your Spirit looks within my soul
And Your presence keeps me wanting more
Carl Lentz from Hillsong Church in New York teaches a sermon about God's grace and how the forgiveness, mercy, blessing, favor and love God has for each one of us can often seem too good to be true the first time we hear about it. My favorite part of this sermon is when Carl talks about how we get our calling in life from grace. God will never call us to do something with our lives that we are totally capable of doing on our own. God always asks us to do something that seems impossible for us to do, and on that journey God gets an opportunity to show us his favor, grace and love. When we find ourselves doing something that is a way bigger challenge than what we could ever accomplish on our own it is God who fills the gap between our capability and the great goal.
When we get our calling from God it will vary a lot from person to person but it will never be something that is within our own capability. God always calls us to step out in faith and believe that He will make a way even where there is no way, because when God puts a calling in our hearts he will always see it through to completion. Out of our own strength we can only do small things but our great God can do great things through us if we have the courage and obedience to step out in faith and trust Him.
I love what this man says in his testimony: "It doesn't matter where you've been, it doesn't matter what you've done." and "I'm living proof that the worst of the worst can become the best of the best." This is a man who was left to take care of himself from when he was 10 years old. He experienced abandonment, street life, crime, drugs, addiction and prison but when he got to experience God's love and presence in his life he was able to find hope, healing and a restored life. God has the power to change anyone, no matter how broken we are. God can restore anyone who is willing to call on His name and surrender to him.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
I absolutely love this very positive and smart video about body-shaming by Jenny Mustard. Jenny has decided to make her own "body image pledge", where she promises to never again make negative comments about somebody else's body, to stop supporting media that engages in body-shaming and to shift her own focus from wanting to be pretty&skinny to wanting to be healthy&kind.
I'm happy to witness the wave of positive change that is happening within the millennial generation right now when it comes to body image. This positive movement gives me hope that our daughters and grand-daughters won't have to grow up in a culture that puts a lot of pressure on young girls to look a certain way.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
This is a picture of me in the process of getting ready before Church on Sunday morning. Sometimes I hate that it takes 10 times longer for me to get ready than it takes for my hubby to get ready in the morning. It annoys me that us women are taught from an early age that we need all these beauty products that men apparently don't need to look good. Okay, I admit, I do need a hairbrush as you can see from the picture. My husband clearly does not need a hairbrush.
On the other hand there are so many beauty products that women are taught that we must use to look presentable. I guess in the end it all comes down to keeping the beauty industry fed, we need to keep shopping. It annoys me that natural beauty is accepted when it comes to men, but women are constantly encouraged to change the way they look to be considered beautiful.
My beauty routine got much more simplified after I went on my minimalism journey so nowadays I probably shop about 50% less beauty products than I used to buy four years ago. I save time in the morning by wearing a minimal amount of make up during the week, usually only lip-gloss, concealer and blush. On weekends I like to dress up a bit more and use eye shadow, mascara and an eyebrow pen. I have never gotten used to using a blow dryer, I always let my hair dry naturally after I wash it.
Monday, May 2, 2016
In a culture that emphasizes achievement and success, seeking the approval of others can be an endless and exhausting pursuit. Erin Fonner reflects on how true contentment and fulfillment come from being connected to the source of life.
Jessica was over-weight as a teenager and struggled with depression, insecurity and low self-esteem. Jessica ended up basing her self-worth on what her friends thought about her. When she lost contact with a couple of her best friends a few years later her self-esteem got really bad. When Jessica started college she started looking for validation and acceptance in guys instead, but this strategy did not work out very well either and her depression continued to get worse.
Two years ago everything changed when Jessica went for coffee with a friend who asked her what she thought about God. Once Jessica switched her focus from being on herself to being about getting to know Jesus her depression started getting better and better. Today all of Jessica's depression and anxiety is gone. Life is neither perfect nor easy but Jessica has found a new way to live that makes her happy.
Pastor Holly Wagner from Oasis Church in Los Angeles gives a sermon about hearing God's voice. It's easy to get so busy in life that we never stop and take a moment to just be still. If we want to hear God's voice we have to practice being still. We might need to do some preparation beforehand so that there will be a higher likelihood that we will hear from God. A morning person can set aside a time to hear from God in the morning while an evening person will be better off taking time for stillness at the end of the day. Find what works for you personally.
When we are still and worship God, maybe through singing and listening to some worship music or by praying to God, we have put ourselves in a position where if God speaks to us we will hear him. God will often speak to us when we read his word in the Bible. Sometimes you can have an experience when a sentence in the Bible just "pops" out of the page and speaks straight to the situation you currently struggle with. Other times you might be listening to a song, singing and worshiping God when you suddenly know the answer to a question that you have been thinking about for a while. God doesn't want us to wander through life being confused and hopeless. God has an answer to all of our questions but sometimes we won't hear His voice simply because we don't prioritize stillness, time of prayer or spending time reading his word.
Troubles chasing me again,
Breaking down my best defence,
I'm looking, God, I'm looking for you
Weary just won't lest me rest
And fear is filling up my head.
I'm longing, God I'm longing for you
But I will find you in the place I'm in,
Find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness,
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees.