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Two years from now.

The other day I was (wait for it) distracted on the internet. I was sitting at my desk, gazing at the paper mill from our window and my mind went down a rabbit hole, which I followed all the way to YouTube.

I saw a video that reminded me of a text I got two Decembers ago.

Two Decembers ago, Kristen texted me to tell me that Layla was diagnosed with alopecia and her hair was falling out. My precious little Layla, sweetest Layla in the whole world (I’ll fight you on it) and truly one of the best little humans I’ve ever known.

Otherwise healthy, but losing her hair. I remember laying in bed, sobbing. I remember thinking it would change her life, and what if it dimmed her spirit? I sobbed, and then a month later Ernie posted it on social media. That text suddenly became very real. It wasn’t a “maybe” or a “possibly,” but it was an actual thing. I remember standing in the church building we worked at, crying while Justen hugged me. and then I picked my phone up and told Kristen “I’m booking a flight out there, just tell me when.” Β I asked her to send me videos and pictures of Layla so that I wouldn’t burden her with any looks of shock or surprise or anything.

and a few weeks later, I arrived. To my delight, she was the same spunky Layla (with some extra emotional moments about random things). She asked me to put her hair in a ponytail for gymnastics, which I gently did with her wispy hair. Right before I went to the airport, Ernie asked me to help him film a video for his Patreon. He’d chosen Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen” which has the line “honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out well I’d love you anyway.”

As he was listening to the song, the girls were dancing around and he had his camera out. He got footage of Layla hearing those words for the first time (it’s in this video and it’s the point I feel myself turn into a giant tear drop of love because she is so excited). He also included little clips of the girls, and me with the girls, and I have watched this video so often.

Here’s the thing. It’s been two years since I got that text from Kristen about Layla’s alopecia. and those moments of worrying about it affecting her spirit, the nights of crying because I wished I could protect her from anything hard… they are memories.

Those hard moments are gone, those worries and fears and tears… in the past.

and now the unknown is normal. To Layla, her twin, her parents, her family, her classmates, to me.

I think of the things right now that are unknown. That worry me, keep me up, bring me tears. Mountains that seem unclimbable, decisions that seem unmakeable.. and I wonder what those will be like two years from now.

The brilliant thing about mountains is that they just get bigger and bigger the closer you get to them, but they’re smaller and smaller the more you move past them. and taking a tip from Layla, just shave the remnants of old life off and step into new chapters of your life with boldness and a resilient spirit.

ps if you made it this far without watching the video, that’s wrong of you. Watch the video. It’s my favorite.

 

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8 ways to calm an anxious mind

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8 ways to calm an anxious mind

An anxious mind can be hard to deal with. Your mind spins a mile a minute and you can feel paralyzed by possibilities and options and worries. I’ve been working on identifying moments where my mind feels like a runaway train and working to learn how to pump the brakes of my brain. I’ve been working on taking back control and I’ve found 8 ways to calm an anxious mind that have been helping me a lot, so I thought I’d share.

These ideas aren’t about crippling, debilitating anxiety disorders. If what you’re experiencing is beyond the realm of having some anxious thoughts, and is recurring and scary, please see your doctor. I live with obsessive-compulsive disorder and as a result have understood the true weight of a brain out of control, and I don’t ever want you to think that these suggestions replace a professional diagnosis and treatment.

Here are 8 ways to calm an anxious mind.

1. Cut the caffeine
The moment I start to identify that I’m starting to lose it (for me, an inability to sit still or think of something else and feeling like I can’t figure out what to do next), I will immediately cut off any and all caffeine. Coffee is my most favorite drink in the world, but coffee + anxiety is a terrible combination, so it’s good to stop right away. Drink some water (you can always heat it up and add lemon).

2. Make a (realistic) list of things you need/want to do
I find that when anxiety hits me, I cannot begin to figure out what I need/want to do so I will just sit staring blankly for hours if left to my own devices. Instead, I make a list of what I’d like to accomplish to feel like I’ve done something. Sometimes I’ll write “get dressed,” because little victories are still victories. You can also reverse this and make a list of what you’ve ALREADY done, so that you’ll be able to see quickly that you were able to (get out of bed, wipe down a counter, put something away, read, etc).

3. Diffuse some essential oils
I first tried essential oils to help with my emotional wellness, and in the past few months dōTerra has released an essential oil that has given me a lot of support with my anxiety. The Magnolia touch roller is my current go to – I apply it on my neck, wrists and behind my ears when I’m feeling anxious. Some other good ones are lavender, basil, bergamot and frankincense. Smells send molecules to the limbic system, which is emotional control center. Smells are powerful. I choose mine plant based.

4. Listen to familiar comforting noises
John Mayer, Ernie Halter + a playlist I made called “Peace” are all incredibly comforting sounds to me. This + the aforementioned things all combined is a powerful PAUSE to my system. I breathe deeper, feel a little more grounded and I honestly think that music can change the atmosphere. It’s one of the easiest, quickest ways to calm an anxious mind. You can find the Spotify playlist here or play it from this page πŸ™‚ You are very welcome.

5.Β Journal

An open journal with comforting sounds and smells with a warm decaf tea can help you flush out what you’re feeling. Journals don’t tell you to get over it, give you advice, or glance at text messages. Much like we throw away expired and smelly foods, sometimes just the act of getting something out can be enough. While writing what’s bothering us, what we want to happen, and why we’re stuck, we can sometimes even identify more of our own personal ways to calm an anxious mind.

6. Pray
This one is here for me more than anyone else. The past year has been hard for me, spiritually. Justen’s asked me point blank if my current state of insecurity, unease, anxiety, etc. has anything to do with the same reasons I’ve not been going to church. and since then, I’ve not been able to shake the reality that they’re connected. So now I’m trying to retrain my faith muscle and pray and remember the ways God has spoken to me about the #1 of all ways to calm an anxious mind (spoiler: really digging in and trusting Him).

7. Go for a walk
Fresh air + sights and sounds + exercise can all help, even if the walk is down the street and back. Sometimes you just need to get out of the space that’s closing in on you for a minute. Exercise gives you endorphins, which trigger a positive response in your body that last for a few hours. Find some encouraging, uplifting podcasts and walk around while you listen. When looking for ways to calm an anxious mind, this is a lot of bang for your buck. πŸ™‚

8. Take a nap
Put that stuff to bed, literally! Set an alarm, but allow yourself to sleep some things off. Often the things that make it hard to fall asleep because I worry about them look so much different in the morning. Sleep can be miraculous, even for 45 minutes.

 

Every day I’m trying to be a little bit better than I was the day before. Learning how to identify and figure out ways to calm an anxious mind (mine!) is great preventative maintenance before a massive breakdown occurs. Also, share your successes! Drop some things that work for you in the comments. Tell your best friend, parent, spouse or pet when you’ve quieted your mind. It’s a big deal. <3

 

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1st Anniversary Trip to Seaside, Oregon

On October 22nd, I asked Justen, “does it feel like we’ve been married for a year?” and he replied “sometimes it feels longer,” and I reminded him that answers like that are fine and dandy… until we get him set up with life insurance and then he’ll need to watch himself.

I joke.

Side note: it actually terrifies me to talk to him about getting life insurance because if something happened to him shortly after he got life insurance, I WOULD BE THE PRIME SUSPECT. Like come on, I’ve seen Forensic Files. I know what’s up.

Anyway. We snuck off to the Oregon Coast for a weekend away to celebrate. Justen booked us a room at THE CUTEST little hotel room at a place called The Tides. It’s a bunch of individually owned rooms in a bigger property. Ours was the coziest little room ever, AND he told them it was our anniversary so they left us the cutest little gift bag.

The Tides in Seaside, OR // stephanieorefhice.net

The Tides in Seaside, OR // stephanieorefhice.net

Our room was about a mile from the main Seaside area but it was RIGHT ON THE OCEAN! We walked out of our room and down a little pathway and we were at the ocean! We arrived Friday night and left Sunday and Saturday morning it was so beautiful before turning SO STORMY (it was perfect). We walked along the beach for awhile.

Seaside, OR // stephanieorefhice.net

Justen taking some senior portraits for this seagull, lol

took a really cool shot of these people and their dogs, haha! Framed so nicely in the background.

We can’t take nice pictures, like ever.

It was so beautiful, but you can see the storm coming in! Which was also so beautiful. After the beach we wandered around downtown Seaside which is full of so many cute little souvenir shops and made our way into this store which made me (stupidly) wonder why I was suddenly overcome with the desire to decorate for Christmas. IDK, you take a guess…

We went to Mo’s for some clam chowder, grabbed coffee and a Redbox and then stayed inside playing Sequence and watching our movie + Law & Order: SVU. It was great and felt so special – it sometimes feels like we rarely ACTUALLY make time for each other, to just enjoy each other’s company. I feel like I’m constantly worrying about wanting the apartment to be a little more clean, or stressing out about Poshmark, or WHATEVER. But for the weekend, we had no agenda and no real worries.

After clearing out of our cozy little slice of heaven, we took a detour to Tillamook on the way home. In case you don’t know, that Tillamook cheese and ice cream y’all have comes from Oregon and they have a big ol Tillamook creamery. We went and grabbed some ice cream before heading back home. The drive was super rainy and sometimes scary but I actually love that weather for trips!

Justen made a little video of our trip and I uploaded it to my *new* YouTube channel (y’all should SUBSCRIBE! pls?) so you can see it with your own eyes.

All jokes aside, it’s so hard to believe we’ve been married for a year already. It’s been my favorite year of my life, I think <3

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10 things that make me happy

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One of my May Goals was to take photos of 10 different things that make me happy as part of my 101 in 1001 list. I’m rounding up those 10 photos right here. Hopefully they’ll make you happy too πŸ˜€

We were walking around our neighborhood the other day and I saw this plant that IMMEDIATELY reminded me of a unicorn. It is the perfect start to my pictures of happy things because I cannot get over how happy this plant makes me.

Any day where Space Mountain fast passes are involved πŸ™‚

 

Finally taking my rose gold ears to Disneyland… and capturing this great picture of a stranger and his girl.

 

This is Justen sharing my Poshmark closet for me. Almost completely out of nowhere, Justen got really into working on my Poshmark closet in his free time.

 

My new River Maiden shirt! I have 0 shirts from local coffee shops, and I was so excited to buy this. River Maiden had a pretty rough year this past year, and I’m proud to be a customer of theirs <3

 

I spent MONTHS trying to find these Sam & Libby sandals on the internet. I finally found them on Poshmark and bought them and I am SO GLAD I did. The big huge bows just make my freaking day. Also my distressed embellished jeans were like $11 at JC Penney, which ALSO makes me happy.

 

Piles and piles of Poshmark packages really make me happy. I look at this and I get dollar signs in my eyes because this is my JOB, y’all. How unreal. It makes me so happy.

 

My new pajamas! Halfway through the month I developed a pretty severe, distressing eye twitch. It was on and off all day for over two weeks. at one point we called the advice nurse who gave us a bunch of suggestions, one of which was to allow myself to oversleep. While we were out, I bought a new pair of pajamas and an eye mask and really started to take the whole oversleeping thing seriously. HOW CUTE is the print on these pjs, y’all?

Freaking PEONIES! I picked these up at Trader Joe’s, but I’m just all the heart eyes over peonies and I’m on a mission to figure out how I can keep them alive forever and make a bed out of them. I guess that’s a bit extreme but hey that’s me.

Starbucks Happy Hour with my Justen. We’re not frapuccino people, but when they’re half off then sure. We walked the 1/2 a mile down to Safeway to get these and enjoy the warm afternoon.

My camera roll was full of more moments and photos of things that make me happy and THAT made me even happier. πŸ˜€

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March 2018

This year I’m documenting what happens one little month at a time. It’s on my 101 list and it’s fun to keep track of what we’re doing. I’m sure that in years to come we’ll look back on the little details and be happy that we can remember them 🙂 Cheers to that.

Coffee Shops Visited: 8

  • Crema
  • Slow Hand Coffee
  • Case Study Coffee
  • Stumptown
  • Jim & Patty’s
  • Hidden River
  • Saint Simon
  • Thatcher’s Coffee

 

NOTABLE EVENTS

1 – Went to Arnold’s, Crema and RCA Studio-B.
2 – Went to Peg Leg Porker, Slow Hand Coffee Roasters. Cinco with Ernie
3 – Bowling with the Halter’s
4 – Oscar’s Party at the Halter’s
5 – Surprised the twins at their school before flying home (and discovering our flight was cancelled!)

9 – I bought Bachelor Nation πŸ˜€
10 – Went to Case Study Coffee + a cute little bakery next to it. Attempted to make a paleo apple crisp and it was AWFUL. 11 – Went to the Portland Saturday Market & Stumptown Coffee
14 – Volunteered at The Salvation Army
16 – Went to Camp Kuratli to help judge the Bible Bowl Competition
17 – Bible Bowl competition. Went to Jim & Patty’s.
19 – Got coffee with my friend Brandi at Hidden River.
21 – Volunteered at The Salvation Army
23 – Walked around the mall with my friend Anna. Had Happy Hour at Feast316 and met up with some friends at the Portland Night Market

Feast 316 Camas Washington // stephanieorefice.net

Portland Night Market // stephanieorefice.net Portland Night Market // stephanieorefice.net

27 – Went to Saint Simon Coffee Roasters + walked to the grocery store to get dinner.
28 – Went on a hike around Lacamas Lake. Justen told me it was a walk but it was straight up a hike.

Lacamas Lake // stephanieorefice.net

30 – Spent the day at camp with the Nottles.

31 – Went to Thatcher’s, spent the evening with Alan + Maria

Books Read: 2

#Girlboss and Bachelor Nation (you can read my reviews here)

Bachelor Nation // stephanieorefice.net

Blog Posts Written: 4

Things Accomplished from my 101 in 1001 List:

  • 6 blog posts (#38)
  • 5 coffee shops (#47)
  • Tried a new recipe (#50)
  • 2 books (#57)
  • Bought myself flowers (#68)

Catch up on our year:

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Monday Minutes.

Crap you guys, I’m doing this. I am posting you some inspirational crap on Monday Morning. Who am I? Look, Monday’s are SO HARD. Especially Mondays that are REALLY MONDAY. Like the ULTRA MONDAY Mondays.

Here’s a little motivation for all y’all.

Mondays are FRESH. They’re often struggly, but they are FRESH. You have 1. a whole new day AND 2. a whole new week. Every day is a new day, but you’ve had some time to recharge and now you’ve got the ability to take on this whole unlived week with big, wide, empty arms. Things happened last week. Things happened this weekend. Things happened last night. But you’ve got a whole new set of weekdays to live through, and that stuff is a whole evening or weekend behind you.

NOT ONLY that, but every hour is a reset. The clock comes right back to 0 and you can choose at any point of your day to restart your day. If you’re in desperate need of some change, then sit and wait for the next MINUTE to start. There you have it. A new, fresh, untouched minute. Things might be bad, they might be hard, they might be struggly but once you survive the minute past that thing… you’ll survive another minute… and another… and then it’s been a half hour… then an hour.. then a work day, then a day… then two days.. then a week. and a month. and you. will. run. into. better. things.

If you look down the lane of the race you’re running and you are fearful, insecure, timid, worried, unprepared… then DO SOMETHING. Every precious moment is an opportunity to pick something up or set something down. Stay still until the next new minute and think about what you’re picking up or letting go, and then MAKE. THE. CHANGE. Make that change EVERY MINUTE for a DAY, for a WEEK, for a MONTH…. until the choice requires less of your energy and becomes NORMAL. That’s change. Change smarts on the smallest level, at the millisecond we get sick and tired of _______. Start or stop, but make that decision.

and even if you live today 45 seconds at a time, holding your breath for the next minute and the next hour and the end of the day… you’ll survive. You’ll sleep today off and tomorrow you can choose to hold your breath for 40 seconds at a time and one day you won’t notice the minutes passing by.

Embrace the seconds and minutes beyond what you’ve just passed through. Change the parts that you don’t like. and give yourself a lot of grace if you’ve had a really struggly Monday.

Guess what. You can re-read this post tomorrow, because it’ll be relevant tomorrow, too. I’ll be here if you need me <3

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