A Year In Review: 2016

A Year In Review: 2016 ~ Bubblegum Sass ~ New Year, New Dreams

 

As the hour approaches and this year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect a bit on 2016. {To see my previous year reviews, click here}

Age: 35

Books I kept beside the bed:

  • Jan Karon’s Mitford series {still reading it}
  • GriefShare workbook
  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Most enjoyed restaurants/food:

  • Last Best Brewery & Distillery
  • Charcut
  • The Chocolate Lab

Songs I’ve had on repeat:

  • Thy Will by Layla Mackey
  • Fight Song by Rachel Platten
  • Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin

Biggest Challenges:

  • Admitting the full extent of my depression & grief and seeking help. It’s all an upward climb to get out of the depth of the darkness, but one of the hardest parts is that first move to get help. After years of knowing my depression was getting worse, I finally realized I couldn’t go on without doing something about it. I went to my doctor and asked to start anti-depressants. I started checking in with her once a month to ensure the meds were on track & helping.
  • Hiring a nanny for the summer. It might *seem* small & silly, but admitting that I needed help with childcare was a big deal for me. I’m a stay-at-home mom. So getting a nanny seemed indulgent, but I knew, I needed the help to keep my sanity & make my self-care a priority in those early months of tackling my depression.
  • Committing to, showing up for, and participating in a 13 week grief support program at a local church. If you’ve ever walked through or are currently facing grief, I highly recommend the GriefShare program. It’s fully Christian based, but connecting with others who are going through loss is huge to healing.

 

Weekly Color Inspiration ~ By Bubblegum Sass ~ Birthday Unicorn ~ Nursery Room & Girl's Room Decor Inspo

 

Smartest decision I made: Walking through the doors of the local gym, committing to a weightlifting program, and connecting with a wonderful group of moms all doing the same thing. It’s been an incredible two months so far! I don’t feel weak anymore. I don’t feel sick. I don’t feel so broken. I like feeling my muscles work, I like the sweat & the challenge. I like the little village I’ve finally found myself in & the support & inspiration we freely give to each other. And I keep saying, as long as I walk through the doors of the gym, I’ve completed my goal. Doesn’t matter how the rest of the workout goes.

Glad I finally: Set some clear boundaries on my craft business that I’m comfortable with. Although it meant a loss in sales and having to say “no”, it was wonderful to be closed for the month of December. No markets, no online sales, no custom orders. Every year, I take steps to turn my focus to the true spirit of Christmas & going forward it will always mean being closed in December, so I can do just that.

Most thankful: For my Sammy, hubby & family. For friends, new and old. For customers & their custom orders. For getting a spot on a local adoption list. For God continuing to surprise us at every turn.

 

Much love to you & yours this New Year’s Eve! May 2017 bring the best surprises & the best changes to your life!

 

A Year in Review: 2016 ~ Bubblegum Sass ~ New Year, New Dreams

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Honesty. Authenticity. Voice.

Honesty. Authenticity. Voice ~ A blog about struggling with mental illness ~ Bubblegum Sass

Honesty. Authenticity. Voice. Three things I’ve been trying to get more “real” about over the past few years.

More real honesty. In my feelings to myself & others.

More real authenticity. In how I share our lives, the whole rounded story, good & bad & faith led.

More real voice. In who I am & want to be. Connecting with that voice & trying to live it out.

So let me be more real with you. This week marks the 5th anniversary of my oldest brother’s death. This week I started a grief support program because I’ve finally realized I am grieving many losses (brother, mother, unborn babies & loss of my uterus). And I can’t keep going until I learn to walk with all of this a bit better. And that means talking about it.

I’m taking my mental health much more serious these days. I switch got flipped a few weeks ago while taking my antidepressants & I’ve realized how much darkness I was living in for years.

So. Today, I’m not okay. But I will be.

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Seeking Self-Care When It Really Matters

Seeking Self-Care When It Really Matters ~ Blog post by Bubblegum Sass

So, I just went through the most difficult time of my life. Really, I’m still journeying through it. The loss of my mom is a fresh, raw hurt that no one can actually heal. And yet, I’m still expected to get out of bed every day, make meals, take care of our son, do laundry and perform the whole “mom/wife/daughter/sister” bit. Oh yeah, and there’s that running-a-part-time-craft-business and assisting-my-husband-with-his-business role too.

What happens when I can’t?

Because to be honest with all of you, I can NOT do it ALL.

(more…)

Goodbye For Now

Janice Springer

January 5, 1947 – April 24, 2015

My sweet mom has gone into the arms of Jesus.

Mom as a happy, first time, grandparent, holding new born Sam (January 2012)
Mom as a happy, first time, grandparent, holding new born Sam (January 2012)
My mom and I out on one of our many family hikes (1987)
My mom and I out on one of our many family hikes (1987)

When Life Keeps Giving You Lemons

You either get sick of drinking lemonade or

choose to stop seeing things as lemons to begin with.

Small Upcycled Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass
On the outside, I live a fairly average life. Married. One child. A cat. A house. Stay-at-home-mom. Introvert. Passion for all things crafty & creative. Learning to be a green-thumb. Dive one layer deeper and you discover that I have a very close relationship with my family, keep a small, but tight group of friends, and struggle with all the insecurities & worries that come with being a parent.

Keep going deeper… you learn that both my hubby & I balance our own small businesses, along with that close knit relationship with our family. We’re working on making our big, long-term dream of living on a farm a reality. We have a passion for happy, healthy, locally produced food and a desire to share that with everyone we meet.

Dig deeper… I’ve struggled with the health complications of massive uterine fibroid growths since 2009. Had one, highly invasive, major surgery to remove them. Except they grew back and are now bigger than before.

Keep going deeper… I started my crafty business in 2011 after being laid off from my job in Calgary’s creative tech sector. That same year I finally found myself pregnant for the first time, but sadly miscarried. A couple months later my mom was diagnosed with cancer. A week later I was pregnant again. Five months after that, my oldest brother died.

Even deeper… I witnessed & experienced the heartache of watching my oldest brother struggle with the ugly disease of alcoholism for over a decade. More heartbreaking as each year passed. I’ve gone through the uncertainty of being able to have children (going through it again as we try for baby number 2). I’ve watched my parents suffer the terrible loss of a son (it’s burned into my eyes & heart). I’ve also been watching my mom courageously battle cancer for almost four years now. The joyous birth of our own son in 2012 was seen as a huge beacon of light in my family, after much darkness.

Deeper still… my mom isn’t winning her battle with cancer. This past year her physical & mental health has declined greatly. No more chemo treatments now. Doctors just want to make her as comfortable as possible, for however long she has left. And so, after well over a decade of “lemons” being dealt our way, we go into 2015 with this very real possibility, that it will be the last year I spend with my sweet mom.

Small Upcycled Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass ~ Vintage Buttons Shabby Chic Home

Maybe not quite such an average life after all.

A lot of people will read everything above (and even below) and question our sanity. Some might be able to relate to a few of the life challenges we’ve walked through. And I’m hoping, that others will see it the way I struggle to see it every day; a blessed life.

Dig deep to my core… you will find my belief in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. THIS is what keeps telling me to stop seeing things as “lemons”. I truly live a very blessed life. If there is one thing that I can walk into the future with, it is an appreciation for God’s timing, right down to every heartbreaking moment. I will trust in Him. Oh, how I WILL trust in him.

But you caught that part about it being

a struggle every day, right?

Every. Day.

I am by no means running through each day with the wind blowing in my hair, a smile plastered to my face, while I belt out praises and love with grace. I’m just a woman balancing her roles of mama, wife, daughter, sister, and now auntie; wanting to hold my family so close, but knowing I will have to let go one day. I love as best I can. I’m learning to forgive and ask forgiveness. But the greatest challenge of all, is learning to be thankful even in the darkest hours.

It’s how I’m starting to see things, not as lemons, but as part of His blessings. I can’t worry about what tomorrow or next month will bring, but only hope that I come right back to reading this post if I begin to see those “lemons” rolling my way. It’s mostly a reminder for me. I would love if it were a reminder for you too.

Small Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass ~ Shabby Chic Country Kitchen Decor

Best Intentions

Green and Yellow Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass

It’s funny how quickly the best intentions can go awry. I dedicated a full day and several more hours (that’s a lot of time to a mama) to business brainstorming and planning for the New Year, including a production schedule, goals for social media, and areas to re-vamp & improve. I was feeling excited and energized for 2015, with big goals & even lofty dreams.

And then it hit me this past weekend. I was doing it again; falling into the same trap I have stumbled into each year. Not the trap of “too many expectations” or even “too few”.

I was planning MY year, as though it were my OWN. Here was page upon page of brainstorming & notes, even some of the tactics I would employ to make these goals a reality. It NEVER crossed my mind that the first step should be to turn to the Lord, the source of life & light. He didn’t even have a foot note in all these grand plans. I was completely missing the point. Again.

Here it is January 6th and I haven’t picked up my Bible since Christmas or come up with a reading plan or been praying regularly & intentionally. And yet, “I have made plans for 2015.” How absurd & impossible that seems now.

Blue & Yellow Love Catcher by Bubblegum Sass

Realistically, I’m not throwing all *my plans* out the window, but I’m asking for a re-do to the beginning of the year. Shifting priorities, and mindsets so that the first thing I do is put HIM first.

What would you have me (& us) do, Lord?
My life is not my own.
Mostly, I long to be useful to you.
Show me how to do that each & every day.
Thank you for being patient with me, yet again,
and for your gentle reminders.
Help me to pull back, slow down,
and walk alongside you, instead of racing ahead.
You first. All else will follow.

I wish you all much clarity and patience along your own paths this year.

Commit your way to the Lord ~ Pslam 37:5 ~ Bubblegum Sass Blog

Whispers

Clematis buds

“Our God is in control.

This is not where we planned to be,
when we started this journey,
but this is where we are
and our God is in control.”
– Steven Curtis Chapman

He was always in control.
It’s so hard to see,
so hard to understand.

Every fear keeps creeping,
I try to go on alone
and forget that it’s only through you, Lord.

God only knows,
God only knows.
Whisper to me at this moment
and let me trust you.