Sincerely, Shantelle

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Lead image for 'I Found What I Needed When I Wasn't Even Looking'

Witty one-liner goes here

The title is 100% true, by the way. I did. And it was uplifting, enlightening, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. On January 1, I was working on my list of things I want to improve upon this year. I don't consider them "resolutions," per se, but a new year seems like the perfect time to consider the slate clean, and I like to use it as an opportunity to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask myself "what can I do better?"

Prior to asking myself this, I had been thinking of the typical things. More family time, workout, eat better, be more patient, get more organized, find time for the things I want to do more (writing, sewing, creating, self care). I started looking for blogs to look at for inspiration and happened upon a post that listed inspirational mom blogs. I skimmed the titles of them, opening each one in another tab to view later. That's when two words hit me. Purposeful. Intentional. My brain began blasting!

Words are just words, right? But words can carry such a power...tons of weight, if you will. For whatever reason, at that very moment, purposeful and intentional began to transform everything that I had been thinking of. Why hadn't I thought of these words before?? When you examine all these "resolutions" or promises we make to ourselves every 12/31 or 1/1, why is it that February, maybe March (if I'm being generous), we are no longer "doing" them? Why have the new habits we vowed to keep fallen by the wayside in favor of those bad ones we so longed to part with? It's because we aren't intentional. We aren't purposeful in our efforts.

This year, when I looked in the mirror, I wasn't prepared for the answers to "what can I do better?" There was so much that surfaced from that one question, and for once, the reflected image in the mirror was crystal clear. There were no smudges, no distortions, no grubby little toddler prints... nothing to distract me from the truth: I can do EVERYTHING better—I can do them intentionally and with purpose. I always find myself desiring change, but then I slip into periods of stasis and complacency. In mothering, sometimes I feel so caught up in moments that I don't realize I'm missing others. My efforts in being present need to be more intentional. Instead of falling victim to the mindlessly-scrolling-through-Facebook trap or cleaning something, I need to choose to step away and play with the Play-Do or help make candles. Instead of being okay cooped up inside, I need to choose to get out and interact with the world. Instead of drinking Coke or juice every time I go to the fridge, I need to choose to refill my water bottle. Instead of hopping in the shower and rolling into bed thirty minutes after the kids have, I need to choose to stay up a little longer to spend alone time with my husband. Instead of Facebooking (that dang time-suck), I need to choose to spend those 30+ minutes writing or creating something that brings me joy.

I need to live and do everything with purpose and intent.

I need to make better choices.

Right after I had this brain blast, my husband came downstairs to talk to me about the new blog design he started working on for me (perfect timing, right??). I was so excited with everything my brain was trying to process that I could barely focus on it. I legitimately spent about an hour talking to him about this epiphany that I'd had...discovering this idea of intentional parenting and how it would help me in all the things I wanted to work on & even how I'd work on them. The level of clarity with which I saw all of this is unmatched! I had links to look at, lists to write, goals to start mapping out. Although I know I'll have my work cut out for me, having a spouse who supports me 100% is going to help me get there, and not just in survival mode, but in LIVING! For the time being, I didn't get around to reading much of those blogs I mentioned earlier, except a little of the first one. I actually already attended the "3 Weeks to Minimalist Motherhood" that Allie Casazza hosted and got to learn a bit about minimalism, and a large part of it starts with decluttering our home (decluttered home=decluttered mind...I hope). I favorited the rest and promise to be intentional in going back to browse them in hopes that they have tons to offer while I'm trying to get the hang of getting my life in order and reclaiming the woman/wife/mama I long to be.

I don't know if it's the fact that I turn 30 in a few weeks, or the fact that our children are aging at the speed of light (almost 9 and 2, yeeeesh!)...but I do know this is what I need right now. This is what we need right now. So, I'm doing it. I'll goof. I'll change things. I'll probably want to renege on some. But, ultimately, I'm choosing to make better choices to make myself and my family happier and healthier.

New year, new me?


Just a better me.