Social Media Habits

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Lately I’ve been trying to focus on and create abundance in my life. You can read my recent post about it here. And even though I’ve been thinking about abundance, trying to practice gratitude, reminding myself of what’s important in life, and praying about it…I have still been struggling to really internalize and cultivate it in my life. My heart knows I should feel fulfilled and happy (really, I have SO much), and yet my head has been telling me otherwise. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, and have even started to judge anyone who has things that I would like to have…things I think I need. Insert eye roll.

I’ve been trying to examine this. What’s the root cause of this issue? I mean, yeah…it sucks to not have money to take vacations. It sucks to feel like we don’t have money in the budget to fix our broken sink. It sucks to feel like new clothes and a good haircut are luxuries I can’t afford. But…those are all kind of first world problems. Not kind of, they definitely are. We have running water, food on the table, and ENOUGH of everything we need…clothes, toys, electronics. So why have I been feeling like I’m entitled to more? And I think that’s where social media comes in.

Instagram is my drug of choice. Some prefer Facebook or Snapchat…but they’re all the same. So many of us spend a lot of our free time scrolling and consuming the content of other people’s lives, and I think it has consequences far beyond what most of us realize. I’m trying to be really honest here – so let me confess that even though I’m writing this and having these realizations it’s all still a work in progress for me. I unfollowed something like 100 people today, but just before I hopped on to write this I was scrolling the contents of the remaining 70 something people I follow. I’m not perfect. And I’m not advocating for a total ban either. But there are a few things I think we should all consider…

  1. Who do you follow?

I’ve come to realize that I should not be following ANYONE who makes me feel envious or insecure. I mean, duh…but these feelings can creep in slowly and unexpectedly.

The more obvious culprits are accounts/people like celebrities who are living a lifestyle that most of us can not live up to. Or maybe it’s the friend who seems to be perpetually on vacation. Or the people who only post the most flattering pictures of themselves in the most hipster clothes. Or the people who are always out at a restaurant or show, having drinks, and appear to have no responsibility at all. I know for sure these people don’t have young kids, but DO THEY EVEN HAVE JOBS?!

So yeah, it’s not surprising that these things make me feel a little bad…a little lonely…a little sorry for myself…as I’m sitting in the same clothes from yesterday, unshowered, cleaning up the 789th mess that my 1 year old has made that day.

The sneakier accounts are probably more specific to you and your personal struggles. I encourage you to go through the list of people you’re following and really think about how you feel after consuming their content. For example…I’ve always enjoyed interior design. It’s something I’ve loved to read about and follow along with for years. But I’ve recently realized that I need to cut that out for now. It’s not that I don’t still enjoy it, I do…but at this stage in my life (having a small child and living in a one-income household) watching someone do a $50,000 bathroom renovation on Instagram stories day after day is probably not a great idea.

It’s important to note that I don’t think these people are intentionally trying to make me feel bad. They are just living their lives and doing their thing. But if what they’re posting is causing issues for me then it’s pretty simple: unfollow.

2. Why are you posting?

This is the flip side to the first point. Maybe it’s your account that’s making people feel bad, and maybe you secretly (or not so secretly) KNOW that. I suspect many of us are not doing this intentionally but when we really start to think about why we’re posting something…it’s usually related to pride. Here’s an excerpt from the book Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller. She’s talking about physical appearance, but I think it relates to this issue so well:

“Likewise, the way to love women (people) in a culture of impossible standards is to reject those impossible standards by humbling ourselves. We have to choose compassion over comparison, and compassion over competition. Does that mean we should auction off our wardrobes and wear burlap sacks? Definitely not….but it does mean our goal is not to be the cutest girl in the room. It means the purpose of our appearance is not to hide our imperfections. It means being honest about our vanity so that we can scale it back a step or two. It means that when we go to a social event or coffee or dinner (or post online), the last thing our friends need is for us to be competing with them or raising the bar for them to jump even higher.” (words in parenthesis are mine).

I think it’s important to consider this. We can all still enjoy and savor and remember the good moments from our lives without sharing it with everyone who wasn’t there. Some good things are meant to be shared…but maybe some aren’t.

3. Everyone struggles

The most important thing to remember (and we’ve all heard it a million times) is that everyone struggles. Social media is just the highlights. We all know this, but do we REALLY know it? If I’m not consciously thinking about this it becomes very easy to forget. We’re all just humans doing our best, feeling a lot of painful things, and trying to enjoy the time we have. If stepping back and scrolling or interacting online less helps you to remember that..then don’t ignore that. It’s something I’m realizing and actively working on. It does feel like an addiction that needs to be broken (and of course there is a ton of research on social media as addiction). When you know better, do better. So let’s do better.

daisy

Whew. Ok. This was long but I wanted to organize these thoughts and get them out there. I thought maybe other people could benefit, or could use the reminder…so thanks for sticking with me!

Happy to hear your thoughts in the comments, and would love to know if there are other areas in life where you struggle when trying to practice gratitude or lead an abundant life.

-Marci

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Positive Portfolio Series

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I’ve recently started to feel like the fog of new motherhood has been lifting. Or maybe I’ve just made up my mind to beat it back, clear the air, rise above it…whatever you do to a fog? One small part of this means that I’m trying to intentionally start my days on a positive note…and focus on the good things in my life all throughout the day. This is hard. Really hard. And it takes practice. I am not naturally good at this, and so I thought starting a new blog series might be a good way to work on this skill and create a little focus.

After having Charlie I decided to quit my job and stay home to be with him. Money is very tight, but we’re making it work, and I’m so thankful to be able to be with him all day. However, going from working full time to being home full time with a baby was quite the change. I felt lonely and isolated. I ended up making a new mom friend (heyyy, Tricia!) who has a little girl who is close in age to Charlie. We met through an app called Peanut, hah, which is basically Tinder for moms. If you’re a mom and feel like you need a friend I recommend trying it out! Anyway – Tricia studied Positive Psychology in grad school and I was recently introduced to the idea of a “Positive Portfolio” through her blog. She describes a Positive Portfolio as this:

There is an intervention in positive psychology called a “positive portfolio” In this intervention; you gather items that support an element of well-being you wish to enhance. It can be any element of well-being – meaning, joy, awe, gratitude, relationships, achievement, etc… Once you have gathered these items, you then spend some time reflecting on your positive portfolio bolstering the element of well-being selected.

One way she creates positive portfolios is through music playlists – combining many different songs that all support one element (joy, hope, etc). I love the idea of taking time to create multi-faceted positive portfolios in my life. For example, joy for me is currently encompassed by taking care of Charlie…but also by writing, drawing, playing music, having good conversations with friends, dreaming up new business ideas, prayer, etc. I’m a whole person, and being a mom is only one part of who I am.

The first few years of a child’s life are intense for the caretaker. Babies grow and learn so quickly, but they’re entirely dependent on you for everything. It’s very easy to let everything fall to the background and have your role as “mom” make up 99% of your day. And again, I don’t resent this. In my last post I mentioned that it’s really fine that I’m exhausted right now, and it’s fine that most of my day is dedicated to Charlie. This is the season I’m in and there are so many wonderful things about it, and truly so much joy. But there’s also nap times, and friends and family who are willing to help, and I’m ready to start bringing some pieces of who I am back to the forefront. And I’m ready to spend time creating, writing, and dreaming again.

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Working on positive portfolios seems like a good way to start. I love that I can dedicate an entire “portfolio” to the concept of awe if I want to, and what it means to me. I love that I can spend time trying to cultivate more awe in my life and hopefully pass my wonder, excitement, and curiosity on to my child. It will force me to stop and pay attention – and therefore be in the moment. I definitely need to practice that more, and to practice putting my phone down. I’m hoping that having a project to focus on will help in that regard.

I hope to start this coming week on my first “portfolio” – I’m not sure what I’ll focus on first yet, if you have suggestions let me know. And if you decide to create your own I’d love to hear about it. ❤

Yours,

Marci

 

Hello Again

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote in this space. I’ve wanted to write…and I’ve had ideas of what I want to say…but then any time I’ve tried to put my thoughts into words I seem to stall and give up. I think it has a lot to do with how much has happened in the last year, it’s hard to articulate and there’s no way I could catch you up in one post.

Last July I had my first baby. He’s healthy and happy and 8 months old now. He’s crawling and standing and talking and dancing. He is the greatest joy, and I’m so thankful for him every day. He makes me laugh a lot and brings a lot of happiness to our lives. But I’d be lying (or only telling part of the story) if I pretended that it has been easy. I think motherhood is one of those things you can’t understand until you have lived it…it’s just a whole new level of tired, worn out, depleted, full, joyful, overwhelmed, happy, tired..oh, I already mentioned tired. It’s the highest highs and the lowest lows within a single day. Or hour. It’s been a very interesting 8 months.

Another reason I haven’t been writing is obviously because I don’t have as much time as I used to. And the other half of that is being so. tired. Waking up a few times a night, and not sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time (if I’m lucky), really does a number on your brain. I mix up words. I repeat myself. I forget things. I just am not functioning on the same mental plane I used to…and that’s ok. Really. It’s part of this phase, this season.

I feel like it’s pretty easy to find moms who talk about how hard it is. What a challenge it is every day. The ins and outs of the frustrations and sacrifices. It’s easy to find because all those things are true and not hard to talk about. And I’m thankful that people talk about them, because it makes me feel less alone in my struggles. But I’ve also decided that I don’t really want to contribute to that narrative…at least not regularly. I’ll state the facts, and it’s good to see things with a little humor, but it’s also really good to focus on the positive and try to feel grateful for every moment with the new little human I grew. Because there really are so many beautiful, fun, and good things about having kids. Obviously, or people wouldn’t have more than one, right?

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in to say hello and I’m alive. I’d like to post here more regularly…flex some mental muscles that I haven’t used in awhile. And share what’s on my mind during this time of my life. I’ve always used this space as a diary of sorts – and it’s fun to look back at old posts and see where I was, and how far I’ve come. I think doing that throughout this season of life will feel really special in 5 or 10 years.

So I hope this finds you all well. And I hope to be back sooner rather than later. Happy Sunday, friends.

Yours,

Marci

Checking In


Hey guys. How’s your week going? Mine has been pretty uneventful and relaxing so far. Juuuustt the way I like it. I’ve been able to do some work on the nursery, cook a healthy dinner, and get lots of reading in. The digital detox is going well. I definitely haven’t been super strict, but I’ve mostly stayed off my phone and haven’t been on Instagram at all (except for like 30 seconds on Monday?). And you know…it’s been kind of awesome. I feel like that brain space has been so needed. I also feel like when I’m not checking it at all, I really couldn’t care less about what people are doing (sorry, friends). I mean, I care. But I’m not comparing, or wondering anything, or feeling like I’m not doing enough…and that has been pretty great. I’m more focused on my life, the present, and what the people in front of me need. I’m hoping to continue beyond this week.

Last weekend I was able to get the nursery wall painted. It turned out better than I thought it would and only took a couple of hours. I’m so happy with it. I also got some shelves up on the wall and got a new rug for the room. Yesterday, we put together a crib. It’s all starting to feel a little more real; which is both exciting and terrifying. Here’s the nursery wall ❤

I hope the rest of the week treats you all well. Brent and I are taking a half day on Friday and heading out to a 10 acre ranch in a small town south of Austin. We’re going to stay in a trailer/camper and then hike around on Saturday. I’m looking forward to getting away, even just for the night. 🙂

p.s. Top image is a drawing I did a while back, it’s currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

Planning a Digital Detox (And a Personal Announcement!)


Helllloo. How are you guys? I’ve been doing pretty good. Last week I announced on my personal Instagram that my husband and I are expecting a baby (!!!). It’s my first, and his second – but his son will be turning 20 shortly after the baby is born so it’s kind of like he’s doing it all for the first time again. We’re all excited. And scared…and excited. 🙂

As expected, I’ve been navigating a lot of things these last few months. My mind has been consumed with personal things like finances, lifestyle changes, obsessing about the future, etc…and then add in the noise of social media, the news (ugh), podcasts, and endless blogs and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and mentally exhausted.

So I’ve decided to do a digital detox. I’m writing about it here to give myself some accountability, because if I don’t then I’ll most likely bail after a day – or an hour. It might seem odd to blog about a digital detox because obviously I’m on a computer and using the internet as I type this….but it makes sense to me because blogging means I’m writing and focusing my mind in order to create content rather than consume. I’m so sick of consuming – I mean I love it, and it sometimes offers great inspiration, but then I never do anything with that inspiration because I’m so busy consuming 24/7. Anyone else feel this way?


I’m planning on starting Monday and ending Sunday the 26th (end of day). Brent and I have a trip planned for the 24th and 25th so that should make it a little easier since I’ll be occupied – but it will be nice to make it a point to put my phone away and focus on my time with him.

Things I’ll be avoiding:
Instagram
Podcasts
Blogs
News
TV

Things I’ll be allowing:
Email
Blogging
Exercise related videos
Kindle
Music/Spotify

So that’s it. I’m thinking I’ll be flexible on the podcast thing – I just don’t want to listen to 5 a day like I have in the past (seriously, it’s crazy). I’m looking forward to getting some brain space back, reading/writing/creating a little more, and spending time with my husband. Let me know if you want to join in, or have any experience with doing your own digital detox. I’m assuming the first couple days will be hard, because I’ll be reaching for my phone out of habit, but hopefully as the week goes on it will get easier and I’ll be able to see the benefits. Wish me luck!

Things I’m Liking Lately


If the title of the post didn’t give it away, here are some things I’m liking lately.

My sister’s new blog, The Rootchord. My sister has always loved music (like more than the average person) and now she’s sharing her old favorites and new finds in one spot. It’s been fun to follow along, and I feel like I’ve been looking for this kind of blog for awhile. New music suggestions without the pretentious writing.

Revisiting some favorite albums…such as this, this, and this. I can’t believe some of these came out 7 years ago already!

Currently reading this and this – really enjoying both so far. I’m hoping to keep track of monthly reads again like I did in 2015 (you can see everything I read in 2015 here).

Feeling inspired by all kinds of artists. Like this one, and this one, and this one too (love this designer’s unique jewelry).

So there it is. Some things I’ve been liking lately…I’m also liking that it’s almost Friday. I’ll have a new TGIF post up for y’all tomorrow. Do you have any fun plans this weekend? I’ll be praying tomorrow…inauguration day. Eek. I wont lie, this post brought a little tear to my eye.

Yours,
-Marci

P.S. If you have any music/art/book suggestions feel free to send them my way!

rambles, rambles and rambles

i just watched a webinar put on by gabrielle bernstein (she’s a teacher, life coach, writer, speaker…all that hippie stuff) and i loved it. the webinar was focused on how to do what you love doing and finally take action. one of the things she suggested doing in order to get started was to share your story.

i’ve never really thought much about this…or i should say, i’ve never really thought that i have much of a story to tell. so i’m going to figure this out as i go, because everyone has a story right? they just have to figure out how to tell it.

i’m 27 years old. i’ve been married for 3.5 years to a really sweet man. all of my immediate family lives half way across the country, which is hard. i love to paint and draw. i’m obsessed with reading. i have a small little rescue dog named elsi…she’s a chiweenie (yes it’s a real thing). and i struggle with a lot of anxiety. ok. now you say, “hi marci” like we’re in a twelve step meeting, because that’s what it just sounded like in my head. haha.

ok so this isn’t really my story, i guess. but in the loosely interpreted words of robert plant, i’m just going to ramble on here.

the thing on my mind the most lately is anxiety, because i’ve been having a lot of it. sometimes the anxiety isn’t so bad and i almost forget all about it – this can happen for months at a time. but sometimes, it’s completely crippling. the most frustrating part about this is that i dont really know what’s causing it. it seems like there are times when i handle normal stress, or even extreme stress, really well. and then there are times when it seems like nothing major is going on and i completely break down. it’s frustrating to say the least, and embarrassing.

i think some of the anxiety stems from not feeling like i’m living up to my potential. i’ve been stuck at a really boring office job for the last 5 years, which isn’t exactly the dream. and it’s really hard to have a good attitude when you’re surrounded by fluorescent lighting, stale air, and corporate policies. but it seems like a lot of people can relate to this…a lot of people feel trapped in their 9-5..i mean, dolly wrote an entire song about it.

Dolly Parton

so, i’m trying to figure out where this leaves me. how can i move forward, away from my office job, and serve other people who are on a similar path? i want to give inspiration to people who may feel the same way that i have for so long. i want to make people’s days a little brighter. either with my words, or my art, or both. i want to stop focusing on the negatives of my current situation, i want to stop saying “i’ll be happy when”, i want to stop dreading my day as soon as i wake up.

i want to focus on the positives. i want to be a light to people around me, including the people at my boring office. i want to stop waiting for the future for things to be perfect, and realize that i can be happy now and simultaneously work towards my dreams. and mostly, i want to really believe that i’m capable of these things. that i’m capable of succeeding. capable of changing my life, and capable of reaching people with my art or my words.

one thing i really loved about the webinar i mentioned at the beginning of this post was that she kept mentioning…who are you serving? how can you serve others? what are you doing to be a light to other people? and up until this moment it’s not something i’ve really seriously considered, especially in regards to starting a business. but it makes so much sense. 
so, i think i want to reach people who are like me. people who’ve grown up to realize that adulthood is a lot different, and sometimes less exciting, than we might have thought it was going to be. we don’t all grow up to be oprah or beyonce, but that’s ok. more than ok, right. we can have happy, joyful, fulfilling lives by pursuing the things we love and being a light to the people around us.

i’m going to continue to meditate and pray about who i should be serving, and how best to do that. and i’m going to try to make that more of a driving force in all of my business day dreams. and maybe it will look a lot different than what i’m expecting, it probably will actually. and maybe i won’t be super successful, or reach a lot of people, but i believe that i can. and i think going into something with the mindset of serving…means it doesn’t really matter if you’re successful or not, you’re on the right track regardless.

so y’all…if you read this entire post…thanks. i’m impressed. i’m really just trying to figure things out, and for some reason i’m doing it in a public way. seems like a greeaaat ideaaaaa. but it feels good to write it down, get it out, and let it go. and hey, at least you got a dolly picture out of it.

yours,

marci

 

 

 

100% happy

  
i was laying in bed the other night running the usual mind race that so many of us run as soon as the lights go off. it’s the only running i do. anyway, my mind was bouncing around and i was having a hard time taming it enough to drift off to sleep. it settled on my uncle randy. randy passed away at the end of october…and every time i think of him/his death a really heavy sadness descends.

i understand that people die. i understand that people die unexpectedly. i understand that really really good people die, while others who maybe aren’t so good live on. it’s weird, and i’ve accepted that. i’ve seen more than my fair share of really bright amazing people go too soon, and whenever i think about it…i feel so sad. there’s two people in particular: my uncle randy and a woman i consider my second mother, sue. i loved them. they were so giving and full of light. and they’re gone. i’m not mad at God. i’m not mad at the world. just sad. i miss them.

anyway, this isn’t my point of writing. although it feels good to write about. my point is that as soon as this sadness descends on me the first thing i want to do is distract myself. i usually reach for my phone…i play a game, or check instagram, or watch something. i do anything i can think of to not feel the sadness. the other night while i was having that urge to reach for my phone i stopped myself. and i leaned in instead.

  
i’ve read a lot about meditation, and leaning in to your feelings. learning to be uncomfortable. learning to accept discomfort. and that’s what i did. i allowed myself to be sad. and then i started thinking about how sick it is that our culture is CONSTANTLY  pushing happiness. if you’re not 100% happy then something is wrong with you. you probably need to travel the world, or take some more me time, or find a new career. and hey, any of those things could be true…but is it really such an atrocity to feel sad sometimes? i dont think so. i think it’s worse to mask that feeling with instagram and pretty pictures and likes on facebook. i think it’s worse to tell yourself you shouldn’t have those feelings..it’s worse to feel kind of uncomfortable..like “hey, this doesn’t feel good” and then run the other direction and deny yourself the truth of that pain.

it’s really sad that i lost my uncle. it’s really sad that a ton of kids aren’t going to learn to love nature and do it while laughing hysterically because he’s not around to teach them anymore. it’s really sad that i lost sue…i wish i could write her letters and tell her about my life, and my husband, and what an inspiration she is to me especially as i get older.

so let’s allow ourselves to process these things, and just admit that sometimes things are really freaking sad. i don’t want to believe that the way to have a good life is to have a 100% happy life. i genuinely believe that allowing ourselves to feel sad may not make us happier overall but it will make us more fulfilled, loving, authentic individuals. so i’m going to try not to run to my phone the next time i feel uncomfortable. join me?

xo

marci

p.s. depression is a real thing! i’m not talking about depression. and i’m also not suggesting that we wallow in our sadness, simply that we allow ourselves to feel it.

 

how to find motivation and stop procrastinating

i often see lists online of how to do this and how to do that…how to be more creative, how to eat healthier, how to have a good marriage, 30 things to do before you’re 30..

i have to admit, i’m kind of a sucker for these lists/articles and i love reading them…BUT how helpful are they really? there have been so many times when i’m reading an article on..let’s say…how to stop procrastinating. and i’m thinking…isn’t reading an article about how to stop procrastinating just another form of procrastination? yes. yes it is.

so my advice to everyone is to stop reading about how to be better or do better and just go do it. i know it doesn’t seem like it should be that easy, but i’m starting to think that maybe it is. so anyway, here are my tips on finding motivation and ending procrastination once and for all.

  1. stop reading this
  2. turn off your computer/phone
  3. go outside and/or do that thing you’ve been meaning to do

happy weekend 🙂

lately

last week i found out that my uncle randy passed away unexpectedly. i was completely heartbroken and shocked – he was the picture of health and so full of life. i can’t remember the last time, if ever, i’ve felt grief quite like this. most big losses i’ve felt at least came with some warning…but this was so sudden that i’m still struggling to comprehend the reality of a world without randy in it.

the first few days i felt physically sick. in his book, a grief observed, c.s. lewis talks about how he didn’t realize grief felt so much like fear until he experienced it when his wife died. anxiety, butterflies in your stomach, adrenaline…it’s weird how physical emotions can be.

anyway, i wanted to mention something about it here because it seems odd not to. it seems odd to move on to the next book report or music post and not at least mention how my world has shifted. we all have to go, but it seemed too soon for randy. he had a lot left to give and i just have to trust that there was a reason for it. i’m really thankful for the time he had here and all the hilarious stories he’s left us with. i was lucky to know him, and extra lucky to call him my uncle. 

^^ whenever i feel down or need a pick-me-up, heading to the natural gardener always helps. they sell lots of plants, flowers, and trees, but also have some animals and let people wander their grounds for free. here are some pictures i took today…the monarch is for randy. when we were kids he would bring us a little plant with a monarch caterpillar on it every year. we would watch it eat the leaves and get ready to transform…it was always a bit like christmas morning when it finally made its cocoon. a monarch chrysalis is beautiful, by the way, google it if you haven’t seen one. when the butterfly emerged we’d let it go free…it was such an awesome way to learn about nature and science. ^^


^^ she was pooped after a long day of exploring. ^^



^^ this gal’s name is biscuit and i don’t think she liked our dog, haha. ^^


^^ so thankful for brent. not sure what i’d do without this man in my life. ^^

xox,

marci