Do You Say What You Mean?

I’m 28!

In short it was an incredible birthday, it’s fair to say I have an incredibly thoughtful and romantic husband. #blessed

Additionally, I had an amazing 1 year wedding anniversary, we reigned it in at home. Our anniversary landed on a Sunday and we avoid going out to restaurants and spending money for religious reasons, so we enjoyed it together in our apartment. Overall, it was a great day and I consider it to have been absolutely perfect.

Also on another note relating to my anniversary – my husband is by far more than I could have ever asked for. He indulged me and agreed to write a letter the day before our wedding. This letter for all intent and purposes was to be opened and read on our first wedding anniversary. So folks, that is exactly what we did, we exchanged letters and it was beautiful. We decided to carry on the tradition and both wrote letters to open on our second anniversary… corny BUT oh how I love our corniness.

Back to my birthday. The past few years I’ve generally liked to have a goal specifically focused around my birthday. My birthday goal for this year is to be more intentional. Yadda yadda yadda.

I keep saying it, but I am really trying to implement intetional-ism in my life (we are allowed to make up words, right?). I want to live more fully, be more in tune with myself with respects to my entire being; my mind soul and body. I want to delve deeper. Be more present in my life and in my relationships.

I have always tried to be intentional, particularly with my speech – what I write and say is the real deal my friends. I don’t say things just to elicit a reaction, whether that is positive or negative. Words are powerful tools and should not be tossed around without consideration of their impact.

I try to avoid putting myself in a position where I have to retract something I said out of anger. People generally do not forget hurtful words spoken in haste or the heat of the moment. This being the case, I have committed myself from a young age to speak only what I mean and not spit fiery hurtful words when I am on the verge of turning into the Hulk. Has this been challenging? Definitely. Am I perfect at living this principal? Not at all, but I know I’ve saved a lot of hurt by putting a sock in my mouth so to speak when needed.

This type of intentional lifestyle with my words is what I want to apply as passionately towards all manners of my life. This is my goal and what I am striving for in my 28th year of life.

I feel it in my bones – some big things are coming my way, and I am very excited to think of the possibilities ahead of me. I want to be prepared for what my life has in store and the best way I feel like I can be prepared is by really knowing myself; being vividly aware of how I function – for better or for worse.

I know everyone is not religious and not everyone believes in God and I don’t think I’ve ever posted with respects to my religious beliefs – BUT for the record I do believe in God and my mind has been shook recently with how aware He is of me and my loved ones. When I take the time to look for the ways that God has touched my life and blessed me, it is unbelievable. This blog is documenting my journey and this simple paragraph is part of that journey. I don’t think I need to delve deeper or expand on this topic but I am grateful for my blessings.

Take the time to look at the good in your life with a grateful heart my friends. The results of this activity will never disappoint you. You don’t need to be religious to practice gratitude – but I assure you the more gratitude in your heart, the happier you’ll be and you will be more adept to see even more good in your life.

This simple practice of seeking out the good has really transformed my life. When you challenge the way you think, when you challenge yourself to be positive, when you look for opportunities to add to your character – this is the way to overcome life’s hardships. Do the hardships go away? Not a chance, BUT they do become more bearable AND you become more confident in your abilities to face them. You become more confident in your capacity to rise above the turmoil.

Positivity does not solve life’s problems, lets be clear on that. But as a wise man once said it is important to find “joy in the journey”, find joy as you face your obstacles (which is something I struggled with for years).

Something small can bring insurmountable joy – you just need to look for the good and believe me you will find it. At times in my mental health journey, it was the smallest glimmer of good that kept me holding on to life. Not the grand spectaculars of life. Small and simple things are the foundational building blocks to finding more good in your life. When you appreciate the small things I guarantee you’ll feel more satisfied with what you have.

It’s so easy to find the bad with ourselves or our lives. Afterall, that is what society has conditioned us to do. Never be satisfied with who we are or what we have, always trying to sell a product or procedure to “fix” us. The toxicity of social media in this day and age is overwhelming. So much fakery it at times seems unbearable. Younger and younger generations even older generations are becoming obsessed with altering themselves or buying things of no value all in a plea to keep up and make themselves feel valued by society and all the while feeling worse about themselves. Anxiety and depression are running rampant and I believe a lot of it has to do with the constant comparisons of what we don’t have to what we think other people have. Filters on photos and lives – please, please, please caution how much attention you give to other people’s lives and start paying attention to how much you give to your own.

Flaws with our lives are inevitable. Tip** When you focuse on all the opportunities you do have – all the good that you do havenot the good that you don’t have, your perspective will shift and your priorities will follow. Thereafter my friends, I hope you will be able to join me on this journey of gratitude and intentional living.

Here is to a week of being 28 and feeling like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

– Steph

Let’s Celebrate

It’s about time I did a Happily Now post. There has certainly been no shortage of reasons to be happy. In particular I want to talk about Friday, October 4th. This day in general will forever be one of my absolute favourite days as it is my husbands birthday!

This birthday was particularly special as it was the first birthday we got to spend together for him. The previous year distance separated us. However, this year not only were we close in proximity which was amazing BUT it was a milestone year for him.

Clearly, I couldn’t let this day pass by without doing my part to make it as memorable as possible, and to be honest planning his birthday was BEYOND fun! I started a month and a half before the big day and it was well worth it!

You gotta love Pinterest, this is the site where I found the idea that sparked and ignited my own interpretation of a gift… or rather gifts.

Allow me to share the end result with you in case you are looking for birthday gift ideas for someone special in your life. May I say, for the record that giving brings unimaginable joy and I am not referring to expensive gifts, rather, thoughtful gifts. The type of joy I felt on his birthday was priceless. Throughout his entire day I felt full to the brim with love and joy as I watched his sincere excitement throughout the day.

So the gifts…. I am not sure if you’ve ever come across the idea of 12 gifts for 12 hours. Each hour for 12 hours from when they wake up to the evening when they are ready to go to bed essentially. What makes it more special is that you open the gift on the minute that they are turning in age. For example my husband turned 35, so we opened his gifts at 9:35 am, 10:35 am 11:35 am and so forth for a solid 12 hrs. This is the idea the pinterest gave me and I ran with it and added my own touch.

My own touch:

For each gift I wrote a clue as to what might be wrapped. Something unique and fun. For example, one of his gifts was a car flag to hang from the rear view mirror, this particular flag is special because it is the flag of his home country Zimbabwe. Generally a Nicaraguan flag has hung in our car, because that country represents a part of my heritage and the car we drive was mine prior to marriage. Thus the flag remained the same when the car became ours jointly. So my clue was as follows “Time to change things up…. REPRESENT!”, not a clue that one can guess the answer to right away BUT as soon as he opened the gift it made sense and we had a good laugh over it.

Another gift was a touque for his favourite soccer/football club; Liverpool. The clue attached to this gift was, “I never met such a committed man”. My husband will literally wake up at 4 am to watch a game. Commitment my friends – that is some serious commitment.

Essentially, the clues went a long with each gift. The gifts varied in prices from a package of $2.50 shotbloks, to a deck of cards with 52 reasons why I love him, a photo album filled with pictures from our past year together, a bag of his favourite chips (that I introduced him to when we started dating) up to a nice pair of Nike trainers. The fiscal value of the gift does not matter, what matters is the thought behind the gift and ideally being as creative as possible.

He opened his birthday card at 9:35ish with his first gift to kick off the day. I made us a glorious batch of pancakes to enjoy. Let’s just say we are definently pancake people. Waffles are lovely, BUT pancakes are life.

We both took the day off, which helped with the fact that I had wanted to record him opening his gifts. He had no idea there would be a gift for each hour, so the fact he had the day off was perfect.

I gratefully recorded each hour when he opened his gifts and at the end of the day made a movie compilation. I love making movie compilations so that we have it to look back on and share with family who couldn’t be with us. I’ve always wanted a reason to use my video camera and I can definitely say that since my husband entered my life it has been used LOTS. Side note: That was another gift for him – a movie compilation from the beginning of our relationship.

For his cake I baked him a cheesecake. A Reese’s Pieces peanutbutter and chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust. It was my first time baking a cheesecake BUT I think it was a major success. My husband loves cheesecake, peanutbutter and reese’s pieces chocolate. Thus the cake was inspired and brought to life for those reasons.

It was a memorable day in my books, and I’m pretty confident my husband felt loved at the end of it all which is all that matters. 1 gift or 12 gifts I know he would have been happy, I just l wanted to make it EXTRA special, which is fitting because I’m sure if you follow my blog you can tell I’m a little EXTRA as is.

Definitely a win in my books; I would highly reccomend this gift idea for your loved ones birthday if you are looking to shake things up. And if you can, I would favour doing the clues as well, a little extra work BUT it is so fun to listen to the guesses and see the reactions as the open the gifts.

Not my usual day to post, but I wanted to share this part of my life because my husband and marriage bring me happiness. There was a time where I thought being in a healthy, happy relationship wasnt attainable. It was a fairy tale – fictional. But my friends, my relationship is real and it is the happiest story I’ve ever encountered. I’ll probably right another post about my first year of marriage because the big 1 year anniversary is on the 13th of this month! Crazy!

I think I’ll try to still keep to a Friday post this week if I can manage, Friday will be the day of my 28th birthday – so we shall see if I can find the time.

If not, it has been a blast being 27!

– Steph