Five Minute Friday: Laundry

{linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday…She gives us all a writing prompt and we write, uninterrupted, with very little editing for 5 minutes. Imperfect but real…This is my first post. Here it is. Yikes!}

I fight with the daily-ness of life. I wrestle tubs of laundry to the dirty laundromat where I curse a fallen towel and the fact that a quarter only buys me 5 minutes of dryer time. And I wonder where, amidst this mess, I could find the bravery to say a quivering “yes” to the bigger things of life. 
I look across the folding table at the laundromat and I see an abandoned single tiny white baby sock, impossibly small to my eyes unaccustomed to baby things, and I think of the family who left it behind. The story is untold. And the untold story behind someone elseโ€™s laundry makes me realize that my own dirty laundry isn’t such an imposition. Maybe it speaks of bigger things.
This blessing of a curse of having to get OUT of my own house and INTO life with other people to do something as simple as wash my laundry sometimes it feels like too much of a metaphor, you know? I like to sit quietly in my quiet house and feel “lonely.” Sometimes being out in a crowd, with a bunch of people screaming and screeching and practically blasting life from a bullhorn makes me feel at once lonelier and startled and scared, like a fawn seeing things out in the world for what they are: that not all humans are friendly, and cars, with their interesting lights and fascinating sounds are actually quite dangerous to a little fawn, and are best avoided. 
God calls me to things outside of myself, outside of my home where I find company in haphazard laundry flung over the sofa, because when this place is fully clean it seems sterile and empty and lifeless. Much like how I feel when Iโ€™ve reached the edge of being able to decipher the difference in my life between what is clean and what is dirty and what needs to be washed and what just needs to be hung up again and brushed off. It is difficult, this deciphering, sometimes. It makes words difficult. It makes it nearly impossible for me to find a way to utter “yes.” 
I have to step outside for a moment, and run off the front porch into the clear, lukewarm October evening and spin around and look at the stars and it takes being reminded by stars and abandoned baby socks in laundromats to make me contemplate that maybe I have no air left in my lungs to say yes too loudly, and certainly not enough to shout it over my life. 
Maybe, I think, under the stars, just maybe I have enough to say it with my heart to the God of the heavens who can hear our heart-language, unspoken but felt, as the moon rises early. 
//
xo
Natalie

Revitalize Part 5

This week I have been sharing a few of the specific things that have helped me get out of a slump!

Today?

Friday:

SLAY YOUR DRAGONS FIRST THING


photo from entrepreneur

When you’re in a slump, even the smallest tasks can feel like the landscape in the Dr. Seuss illustration above…heading nowhere, a difficult slog over mountains and valleys…tough. That’s why making a conscious effort to “slay your dragons first thing” is so important. When you accomplish one monster task first thing in the morning, you set yourself up for success. You give yourself a little confidence boost. And since it’s first thing in the morning, there’s not time for worry or anxiety to build and paralyze. Yesterday I had to get my car inspected and I was dreading it. So I went first thing in the morning, and you know what? I had a great time, laughed with the mechanic, and felt empowered for the rest of the day, rather than brooding over an item on my to-do list. It’s like a productivity domino effect ๐Ÿ™‚ I love this image above…I think from here on out I’m going to call it a “Ta-Da!” list ๐Ÿ™‚
You can do it, friends!
xo
Natalie

Revitalize Part 4

Time for another one of my tried, true, and tested remedies for “un-slumping” yourself! This one is all about trying new things and challenging your brain and body.
Thursday:
SLACKLINE

Ya’ll I am ADDICTED to slacklining! Slackline is like a tightrope but it’s a flat line and it’s slack, so it’s bouncy and a bit more difficult. This was totally new to me this year, and I am amazed at how exciting it is to find a new hobby. Slackline is so good for my body and my brain. Plus it’s FUN! The new challenge of applying focus, balance, and commitment (three core principles of slacklining) are really clearing my mind and opening my creative spaces again. Slackline isn’t for everyone, but it’s the principle that matters: try something NEW and SCARY, and see where it gets you. Chances are, it will get you a lot further than you think!

xo

Natalie

Revitalize Part 3

This week I am sharing some tips that worked for me on the difficult (but necessary and entirely worthwhile) business of un-slumping oneself! 
Wednesday:
RUNNING

So we’ve read our Bibles and eaten a healthy breakfast. Time to hit the pavement!
Running/walking (and hot pink shoes!) are part of a great revitalization routine. I went for wog (what I call a walk-jog) BEFORE work today. Seriously, who am I and what are these amazing things called endorphins? They clear the head, clear the stress, clear the adrenaline and anxiety.
Truth be told, I really used to hate running with a passion. I’m still such a beginner, and starting from zero, but my body has started craving runs. I don’t plan to run hard or fast anytime soon (or ever really), but I’ve found it a great outlet of late. I highly recommend an exercise routine that works for you as part of your revitalization.

xo
Natalie

Revitalize Part 2

{This week I’m giving you my tried & true, tested, specific ideas for getting out of a slump!}
Tuesday:
Overnight Oats//Solid Breakfast

{overnight oats with banana, sunflower nut butter, and chocolate-covered cacoa nibs for the win!}

A solid breakfast in the morning consistently really helps me when I’m feeling out of sorts. It takes a teeny tiny bit of effort, but the results are so worth it. I actually enjoy the routine of making my overnight oats at night and relishing the fact that I will have a refreshing, healthy breakfast to grab while I read my #HelloMornings. I wake up, start my tea water, and check in with HelloMornings. Then I top my oats, make my tea, and settle in to read scripture for awhile. Such a good way to bring light back to your heart. To get in the habit of making my oats, I made a fridge chart and made them every weekday for a week. Then I did it the next week. Now it’s second nature!
Overnight Oats

In a bowl combine: 
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if need be)
1/2 cup yogurt (I like banana or raspberry)
1/2 cup milk (I’ve been doing coconut milk or almond milk)
Glug of maple syrup
1 tsp. flax seeds
Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. It’s that easy, and it uses one measuring cup and one spoon. In the morning, top it up! I usually do banana, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and sunflower nut butter, but I switch it up sometimes. Try adding jam or dried fruit, fresh berries, or anything else you can come up with! I fiddle the first week with several overnight oats recipes with different ratios, and this was my personal favorite. But feel free to add more or less liquid as you please.
Enjoy!

xo

Natalie

Revitalize Part 1

{good ol’ dr. seuss}
Hey guys? I think this is a really important series I’ve got planned for this week. For you and for me. Lately I’ve been giving some extra attention to my health and well-being to revitalize my spirit. It has been a hard year or two for me, but this year (and summer especially) I got my feet back under me and I’ve started feeling my heart come back to life. It’s scary, difficult, exciting, and wonderful at the same time, and utterly necessary. As Dr. Seuss says, “Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” But I’ve got some tips to share what is working for me!
Monday:
SCRIPTURE//HelloMornings


Starting my day with scripture immediately has changed my morning and my days for the better significantly. Reading God’s word FIRST thing in the morning gives me a sense of purpose and direction for the day, something we are often searching for when we’re ‘slumped.’ My pastor mentioned this idea first, and then I met HelloMornings online. HelloMornings are online accountability groups for morning scripture reading (and exercising and day-planning sometimes, too!). The groups check in daily online and read scripture together, share thoughts, and pray. Even though we are spread across many states, we invest in one another’s lives and encourage and uplift each other. It is a great community and it has profoundly impacted me this summer. I am so stoked that the fall session starts TODAY! I’m afraid all of the fall groups are full, but keep an eye on their blog, hashtag (#hellomornings) and my Twitter (I love our conversations on Twitter, ya’ll!) to follow along. You’re sure to glean some wisdom. And join us in the winter session! You can also try YouVersion. It works for a ton of people but I never really got the hang of it, maybe because I don’t have a tablet or smartphone. I find that starting with something online makes me all the more excited to dig into my actual Bible and physical devotional. In any case, I highly suggest a routine that starts with God’s word first and foremost. It might mean getting up a bit earlier, carving out a bit of quiet time before the morning rush, but I promise you, it’s worth it. When He is speaking into our lives, we’re bound to feel our hearts coming back to life. 
xo
Natalie

Hello Mornings

This post was supposed to be part of a series I meant to start on the blog this week—bah humbug, then I got sick. So we’re starting that NEXT week!

BUT I had to post this one today because Today is the LAST day to sign up for HelloMornings!

HelloMornings are online (twitter, facebook, or instagram linked) maximizing-mornings, scripture-reading, exercising, planning, and living Godly lives accountability groups. And these ladies? So legit. Each group has one or two “Accountability Captains” and we check in in the mornings, read our scripture for the day, and discuss and pray together. I started with the summer session and it has been life-changing. Truly I can’t think of a much better way to start my day!

There are a few spots left in several groups, so I highly encourage you to sign up and join us! Click here to find a group! And if you need help, feel free to email me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not leading a group right now, just a participant, but I’m happy to help and point you in the right direction.