What April Taught Me

Another month is over! Wow that went by fast – even though some days it felt like time had slowed down. There are a bunch of highlights – we got a play set for my step son, his swimming classes also started (which he was asking for since Feb) plus i got a Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s really amazing what this machine can do – being a paper and stationery lover – I have to say that this was an unexpected, exorbitant and satisfying purchase.

This is no spring - play set covered in snow - second winter for Edmonton!
This is no spring – play set covered in snow – second winter for Edmonton!
Mothers day card using cricut
My first Cricut project: A mothers day card. I didn’t have the scoring tool so messed up a bit while turning. Gluing could use some refinement 🙂 but overall really impressive cutting.

Five Things April Taught Me:

  1. Make time for activities that truly refresh your soul || This month I played a bit more with stamping, watercolor and paper craft. It truly is freeing to express ourselves with blobs of paint. This also imprinted on me that how “set” I had become in my routine and life that coloring outside the lines was preposterous to me. Blank pages are not always inviting but a little scribble here, a little stamping there and feels like acceptance of all that goes around.
  2. Not to worry about things that are out of my circle of influence || I have tendency to get stressed over stuff that’s out of my reach of action.Things that i cannot do anything about. This would remain a work in progress!
  3. Giving is always better than receiving || Always. Always. Doesn’t matter if we have too little or too much. Making a different in someone’s life can be a smile, encouraging words or just a cup of coffee.
  4. Enjoy the slow-days as much as fast-calendar-full days || We all have different days depending on the activities but I tend to freak-out quickly when I have stuff to do back to back. Reality is that even if things-on-the-todo-list don’t get done, it’s fine. The sun would still shine (or snow would still come lol)
  5. Workout is not just for the gym || There are other ways to moving the body. Husband had to stop going to the gym because of pressed-disc; since we both go to the gym together this affected my motivation/desire to workout. I just wanted to take time off too. What I noticed last month was that everything helps: gardening, cleaning, dancing, jumping jacks every couple of hours! Just move more than you usually move.

Overall, it was creative month. How did your month go? Tell me all about it!

Make Time For What Matters To You

My sister told me about her neighbor whom she “waved” and said “hi” once in a while. It had been going on for quite long and recently they talked to each other and exchanged numbers. Her neighbour kept saying “call me anytime” or “if you want to go for movie or coffee”. One evening, my sister texted her new acquaintance and asked her if she would like to go for a walk. The response that came back left her puzzled – “I am busy not today”. Then this happened again.

Where Actions do not line up with words.

What is it that stops up from reaching out to people and being vulnerable – being uncomfortable.

We GROW and STRETCH when we step out from our comfort zone.

People make time for who they want to make time for. People text and reply to who they want to talk to.

It’s not about having the time but making the time.

 

Joy of Giving

Giving flower“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” – Mother Teresa

Giving means you are blessed with “something”.

Giving means that you choose to bless someone else with what you have been blessed with.

Giving is opening up your heart without expecting anything in return.

Giving is from the goodness of your heart.

Giving leads to humility and brings peace.

Giving is not a favor.

Giving is sharing what we are blessed with – our ability to love, forgive and share what we have.

Giving is an expression of worship.

Giving is a joy.

Taking and Giving Second Chances

Now before we all start walking in different directions, just hear me out. Sorry, read me out. There was a time in my life when if you offended me I’d be dead to you – I mean “delete your phone number”, “delete any photo of us together” and act as if you never existed kind of stuff. It went on for quite long. I knew it was not a healthy way to deal with issues but it was easy to put issues under the rug. I was advised that I had to separate myself from people that are leeches. But they were not leeches, they were people that I had good times with, laughed, and even cried with. How come little lapse in judgment and usage of a few harsh words brings down years of friendship? I know not.

This one time, I had this girlfriend who got drunk and wrote a slew of profanity and other mean stuff to me while we were chatting online. This was a friend who was a bestie. I am not good at confrontations – I defended myself and then just melted into the puddle of another broken relationship. A few months later, I bumped into this now-not-my-friend and she apologized and said she missed me. If it was the old me I’d be like yeah sure, and then never follow-up. But I had resolved that I would give myself and other people benefit of the doubt. We tried to connect but like a broken mirror, our friendship could not be put together. I am still proud of myself that I gave my heart a chance to mend something – I can always look back and say that I tried.

It’s all about the heart.

We make mistakes; then hide them or deny them. We might get angry and say something hurtful but one thing we should always do is learn from our mistakes. By pushing matters under the rug, we are denying our heart the opportunity to heal and move on. We cannot control what others do or say to us but our response to them and ourselves must come from a place of Grace. Forgiving is one of the hardest things (well other than parenting). When I struggle with forgiveness, I surrender it to Jesus because some things are beyond my capacity (how do I forgive someone who molested me when I was little?) but I can move on in life without carrying any guilt or poison in my heart for someone who has hurt me. See, it’s all about my heart and yours. Give someone another chance if they ask your forgiveness. Give yourself another chance at love, friendship or anything you failed at first try – some things are worth doing twice.

 How do you resolve hurts? Do you give others a second chance? Do you give yourself a second chance?

Finding my Voice

It’s not usually until I am in bed that I realize that I hadn’t written in my journal. Writing clarifies my thought process but by the end of the day I’m exhausted and this much beloved activity sits on the back bench. This year, I want to write more, love more, care for others more, give more, forgive quickly, love myself more, and most of all read God’s word everyday.

With full time work, raising a toddler and being a homemaker it is not surprising that I feel lost sometimes. But when I write my thoughts down either in the morning or before bed, somehow it makes my day go smoothly. I would like to gently encourage you find your voice – an expression of creativity be it drawing, doodling, writing, anything creative. Find an outlet and immerse yourself in it. We consume information all day and juggle work, todo lists and what not but we should also take the time to find that inner voice that has been there since we were little – the one that always wanted to create and thrive.

Forget resolutions, follow your heart

Resolutions are not my thing. Never Been. Every time I’d set a resolution, it would fall flat on its face by the time 10th of January has rolled in. It has been about 5 years since I stopped making resolutions and have never regretted the decision. Why do we have to wait a whole year to decide that it’s the new beginning? Changing of the calendar year is encouraging but let’s not get carried away here, 1st of the month occurs 12 times in a year. Last year was insightful, to say the least because I noticed a trend of keywords recurring in my life – Eat healthily, Exercise, Meditate, Work Less, Blah, Blah, AddAnotherWeAlreadyKnow. Here is my list of keywords/disciplines from last year and will continue for 2018.

  1. Stay True to Yourself – Whatever we want to accomplish in life, a goal or a target has to come from the depths of our heart’s desire. And sometimes in the hum-drum of life, we tend to stop listening to our heart. What’s my purpose? What’s my life in the big scheme of life? What’s important to me? Do my daily/weekly actions lead me closer to my goal? Do I even have a goal? Sometimes it’s not easy to pause and reflect but if there is anything that I’ve learned this year, it is t to stay true to yourself. Listen to our beating hearts and question everything that moves around. Time spent on gadgets, type of books to read to the company we keep. Sum total of our environment + input in the form of tv/Netflix/books + actions and behavior towards friends, family or a stranger.
  2. Pray – One of the most humbling experience is bowing, accepting fragility of life, lifting myself and loved ones in prayer. Once upon a time, my lips were sealed tight – I didn’t know how to pray or what to say. But slowly I learned to open my heart, mouth and let words glorify our creator. You don’t have to pray if you don’t believe, it’s one discipline that I want to inculcate in my life.
  3. H2O – Our bodies are ~65% water. Not only drinking 8 glasses of water helps increase metabolism, if you drink more water, you have to move more – to pee –  so the way I see it, it’s killing two birds with one stone.
  4. Move – If you drink more water, you’ll have to empty your bladder frequently which means you’ll have to get up from your desk and go to the washroom which means you move! Add a walk, climbing stairs and alternative 30-minute gym session 3 days a week and you’re treating your body with love. It’s a lifestyle – I haven’t mastered it but I think I am onto something when Fitbit reminds me that I have walked 6kms. It makes me happy that I have achieved today’s goal, which in turn helps me focus on other areas of life.
  5. Create – Holding a pen gives me a lot of joy. Drawing lines, writing some words here and there, doodling some art. It’s an activity that let the brain to wander and create some form on a paper. Whatever it is. Create something. Cherish and then stick it in a binder for a reflection for later on. You’ll be surprised to notice the patterns later on. If writing lets you loose then do that. If swearing on paper helps relieve some tension then do so.
  6. Let Go – Holding on to stuff doesn’t work well for the mind. Try to find the reason what’s stopping from throwing, donating or selling the stuff you don’t use anymore. Create empty space, create room for creativity.
  7. Watch Your Thoughts – Thoughts lead to action and if we don’t watch our thoughts then it could get downhill pretty fast. You could say that thoughts are not really a movie to play when you wish and I’d say that it is. It’s surprising how many thoughts we can have in a minute. We need to wipe away the ones that don’t serve us: thoughts about being insufficient, inadequate, being fat, ugly or stupid. Doesn’t help. Ignore them because we can’t really stop having those thoughts; these are thoughts they will re-surface from the depth and width of our past experiences. The point is to train ourselves to spot them and then ignore them. They are there in a void. Focus on good, positive and encouraging thoughts because that’s what we thrive on.
  8. Be generous – Don’t be a hoarder of love, good wishes, and praise. Be generous with your smiles, hugs, love, anything that you have been blessed with. Here is a secret – whatever you share – multiplies!
  9. Love –  1 Corinthians sums it up nicely.

I haven’t perfected any of these habits – as I say often – I’m a work-in-progress. I stumble, I fall and then dust off and carry on

Do Everything In Love

When I stumbled upon this verse in the Bible, I was 16 and too naive to ponder on what it actually meant. That was the age of rebelling, boyfriends, daring friends and not listening to any advice showered by any grown-up who had it “all” figured out. Today, I am married to an amazing man of God, have a stepson and getting closer to 35! To me, this verse reminds me to focus on God’s Love such that I can be a reason for a blessing to those around me. When I am cleaning the dishes, I focus on the blessing of an abundance of food that God provided and left everyone contended and purring in the living room. I don’t allow “the chore” to get me to complain about pleasures of simple things. (Ok washing dishes is not that pleasant but I have to mention that I get mild satisfaction from cleaning glassware).

What I want to draw home is the fact that some tough situations are meant to test our patience reservoir – but we can conquer anything with the love of Christ. But sometimes, it’s not about conquering but surrendering, surprisingly the same love also applies to situations where we are tired, and exhausted and still have like a thousand of things to do.

As this year ends, I want to encourage you to focus on loving yourself, giving the same grace to yourself that you often give to others around you, and try to do everything with love and kindness.

4 life lessons

nathan-dumlao-287719

Hey! I turned 34 today 🙂 If you sent a silent happy birthday my way, thank you!  Since this is also my first post here on swytch, I’ll take my sweet time to introduce myself. I’m Mrs. swytch, software analyst by profession, stepmom and adoring Godmother to baby Z. I love coffee, fountain pens, and indoor plants. You’ll hear read more of my life here but all you need to know today is that I’m on a quest to simplify my life – from tangible stuff to consumption of Netflix – and I’ll share my journey, lessons, and lifestyle here once a week. So without further adieu, here are 5 lessons I learned in 2017:

  1. Pause: Take time to enjoy what’s happening right now, at this very moment in your life.
  2. Practice Gratitude: Before calling it a day, take stock of all things or any one thing/ relationship that made your day worthwhile especially the things we take for granted.
  3. Forgive yourself & others quickly: This beautiful life is not worth wallowing in pity parties – you are one of a kind with your own strengths, shortcomings, and quirks, try new things, stumble, fail, learn from it and move on but most all stay humble.
  4. Create: Creating brings joy. It could be anything – painting, smiles, clay art, or words. Find what you are good at doing then do more of it. Let your soul wander.

That’s all on my end. If you read this far, then follow me, I pinky promise to follow you on your blogging journey and cheer you from the cold and beautiful Edmonton, Canada 🙂