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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.”  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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December 2018 Goals

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December 2018 Goals // stephaniemartian.com

Happy December! I’ve been working and scheming on some stuff behind the scenes to help my blog step out of the “Goals and empties” trap that it’s fallen into. Those are the easiest things to post, but it means my blog has no real content, lol.

I’m not even going to START on my November goals, because we had the topsy turvy-est month ever. We now live in a new apartment and spent a lot of time dealing with that! So here’s Decembers goals as we continue to get settled.

  1. Bake cookies & watch a Christmas movie
    (being honest… I’ve got almond butter chocolate chip cookies in the oven and The Grinch playing right now because I made this list last week!)
  2. Read a book
  3. Blog 10xs
    I actually started another blog (for essential oils, don’t get too excited haha!) and it’s been so much easier to dream up and draft content for that, so this 10 times includes that (which can be found here in case you’re interested!)
  4. Send 10 Christmas cards
  5. Post apartment tour YouTube
  6. List 200 items
    A HUGE goal, but I’m already over 1/4 of the way there so I’m on track!
  7. Organize closet
    I’ll post more about this later, but our new closet is a big adjustment and I’m in need of a day figuring out how to get it organized to function well.
  8. Paint my nails
    It’s the little things.
  9. Pay off the Disney Card
    Last month I’d wanted to pay off ALL credit cards, but I had LITERALLY the worst sales month almost all year long, so that definitely didn’t happen. Taking it a small little step at a time.
  10. Change dōTerra & IQ name
    My dōTerra checks (they’re like $50/month, so don’t even start thinking I’m trying to build some big oil business, it just pays for 1/2 of my monthly dōTerra budget – we use more than just the oils) can only be deposited at our credit union account because they both still have my maiden name! I’m working on getting them both changed, though.

and I’m working on trying to be more present, more aware of what I’m accomplishing on the daily.

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Empties vol. 18

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Well there is nothing like downsizing to get you to throw away garbage you’ve been keeping for months so you could one day blog about it! If you’re new around here, my Empties series is where I just post pictures of the empty products I’ve used and give a quick review of what I thought of them (if I can remember, because the last time I did this was in freaking March).

Just a tiny lil’ empties this time around! I think a few months ago I threw out a bunch of empties on accident and then I set aside a basket for empty products… which strangely hasn’t happened in awhile! I threw away a bunch of old/replaced products the other day when we moved into our new apartment, so one of these posts might be awhile away again.

Pink Warm & Cozy shimmer body butter
Warm & Cozy is my favorite scent. Here’s the thing. I know these things are bad for us, but seriously they just smell so good. I love essential oils but essential oils don’t smell like Warm & Cozy amiright?! My plan of action is to use up the stuff I have but not replace it, so soon these empties will look way different!

St. Ives Energizing Coconut and Coffee Scrub
In July when I was in Nashville, I forgot basically all of my toiletries at home so we made a trip to Target. Coffee + coconut, two of my great loves. I really liked this scrub! It was scrubby and smelled great, but alas… that dirty little fragrance ingredient, so this is the end of the road for us.

Beauty Protect & Detangle Spray
I love this smell. I love this product. I have a bigger one I received from Birchbox as a sample. I’ll be going through that and then… freaking fragrance. Fragrance is in EVERYTHING and fragrance (as an ingredient) is SO BAD! Aye aye aye.

Coola Dawn Patrol Primer
Confession: I never tried this, I just decided I didn’t need it.

Benefit Roller Lash
I LOVED this mascara! It was a dream to apply and in staying power, but when I thought I was buying the full size version of it, I was wrong. I’d replaced it with a different Benefit mascara. Goodbye old friend, you were so good to me.

If you want your world rocked, go ahead and look up “fragrance” and “toxic” and then welcome to the club. :]

Check the rest of my empties posts here.

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That time we moved like 30 feet away.

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My head is spinning right now. Not literally but it’s getting there.

Last Monday we got a notice to vacate our apartment. A week later, we turned in our keys.

Here’s what happened. Last year, there was a leak in our apartment. Last month, they replaced the roof above our unit and around our skylight… aaaand then it leaked some more. It wasn’t just normal leaking this time, though. This time the plaster on the ceiling started peeling and falling.

The property maintenance manager asked us if we’d like to permanently move into the studio across the hall, to which we said no thanks. After a looooooong Thanksgiving holiday wondering if we would have to leave our first little home, on Monday we got the official notice to vacate.

I called up the maintenance manager and asked if we could be first to know when 202 was repaired and she said absolutely, though they had no idea of a timeline. I thanked her for the offer to move into the studio and said we’d be willing to consider it if we could be put on a month-to-month lease instead of a year, because obviously it would just be temporary while we waited for our unit to be fixed. She said absolutely. On Wednesday morning we checked out the studio, and on Wednesday afternoon we signed our amended lease and got the keys to our new, smaller living space.

They asked us to be out of 202 and turn in the keys by end of day Monday, which meant we had 5 days to downsize, pack, move, and process that we would be moving. We immediately moved our bed, desk, coffee pot and Christmas tree over to our new unit. Followed by all the things and all the stuff and bada bing here I am, sitting at our desk in our new apartment on the first day we don’t have keys to the only place we’ve lived as the Martians.

It’s been really challenging. Justen is fairly minimal in his belongings and I’ve been trying to constantly donate bags and boxes of things I just don’t need, but unexpectedly needing to downsize AND move AND process was really hard for me. I’ve never considered myself materialistic but I was actually shocked to see how I responded to the thought of not having something I didn’t even remember I owned until I found it in a cabinet.

One thing I really regret is the way I was never happy enough with 202 to share it. I was constantly telling Justen “once I get this little area figured out, I’ll take pictures and post them on my blog,” or “it’s too messy to take pictures,” or something similar. I kept waiting and waiting to share our basically perfect apartment and I missed the chance. So once we’ve finished hanging one box of pictures, I’m sharing photos of life in our little studio apartment overlooking downtown Camas.

And here’s the thing: sometimes the waiting is really the hardest. Once you have the information you need, you can do something, but waiting to find out can be the worst.

Our new digs, while we were still moving things over:

 

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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 🙂 You are very welcome.

5. 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. 🙂

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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