life

Refrigerator Reminders

It’s my first post of 2018! Woohoo! How’s your 2018 going? Mine has gotten off to a rocky start. Things always seem to fall apart for us after the holiday rush of Christmas and New Year’s is over. So I decided to revive and revamp some old reminders on my refrigerator. I had put them up sometime last year and then taken them down months later as they seemed like they were no longer needed. Ha! I was incorrect. For me, personally, these reminders are helpful with my daughter who is in the throws of the terrible (or terrific as my mother-in-law likes to say) twos. The first two are to help keep me grounded:

Crayon on Paper. © 2018. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

So often problems with my daughter arise when I haven’t been taking my time to meditate and breathe or because I’m trying to move at my adult pace. Granted, sometimes moving at an adult pace is necessary, but often times it is not and it’s important for me to remember to s l o w   d o w n. For me, I find that something magical happens when I slow down and move at my daughter’s pace. I’m able to see the world from her eyes and be fully present and connected. And really, what’s the rush?

The second two reminders are mostly in regards to my daughter but are also applicable to me:

Crayon on Paper. © 2018. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

I have a strong aversion to mess but life and toddlerhood and art and a myriad of other things can be quite messy! So this is a reminder to myself to allow messes to happen. Throw a tarp down and let the kiddo paint a cardboard box and get covered in paint from head to toe. Let her dig in the mud and pour water in her sandbox. Let her play and be messy. And also, don’t be afraid to get messy yourself – with the kiddo, in your art, in your writing, in your music, in the kitchen, anywhere!

The other reminder is a crucial one. Get outside. Last year, when I had this reminder on fridge and I was having a bad day, it helped me to remember to take the kiddo outside. To a park or just in the backyard. On days when I have very little to give her, going outside always seems to help both of us. I get to recharge (being outside does that to me) and she gets to play happily as she tends to entertain herself very easily outside.

I’m happy and grateful to have these reminders back up on my refrigerator and I can see that they are already helping. What reminders do you have (or want to have) on your fridge? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

THE LOVE SERIES #5: Partner Love

The husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary so this 5th installment of the Love Series post is dedicated to partner love.

At our wedding reception. Photo Credit: Austin Miller Photography.

At our wedding reception. Photo Credit: Austin Miller Photography.

My wonderful husband and I had a date very early on where we visited the beautiful Mecom Fountain. It was lovely and romantic and less than a year later it was also the place he proposed.

Another year later, on the morning after our wedding, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel’s restaurant and could see the cascading fountain from our table as we sipped coffee and orange juice.

To say that this fountain has played a part in our romance would be an understatement. So when the time came for me to procure a ‘wood’ gift for our 5th Anniversary I decided to paint our beloved fountain on a wooden canvas with the words “I will always say Yes” painted at the bottom. Here was the result:

I mixed glow in the dark paint with the white. Because I'm a grown up.

I mixed glow in the dark paint with the white. Because I’m a grown up. Acrylic on Wood. 

© 2016. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved

The husband had no idea what I was getting him so what do you think he got me? A wooden jack knife easel that he burned our anniversary date and other sweet nothings into. We gave each other complementary anniversary gifts without even realizing it. And in case you’re wondering, yes, yes, we are this lovingly disgusting all the time. 😉

And for those of you looking for a partner to love (not that you need one to be happy or whole or anything in between) here’s some advice I got on my 21st birthday. Take what you like and leave the rest:

“It takes 3 things for a relationship to work:
1. The spicy taco might look nice but it’ll give you heartburn. Go for the baked potato.
2. The man has to love the woman more than the woman loves the man.
3. You have to be friends. Somedays you won’t like each other, but you’ll still have to get along.”

Not sure how #2 fits for same sex couples or if I agree with it at all but I especially like and agree with #3.

I Did Indoor Skydiving!

I interrupt your normal broadcasting for an important message: I did indoor skydiving! And it was freaking awesome!

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. *annoying TV noise*

Open Letter to An American Teenager

One of my teenage relatives was recently having a rough time of things.

This is what I would say to her (and my high school self).

Dear Teen,

I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear and already know: life isn’t fair. And sometimes, I think, a teen’s life can have extra bits of unfair-ness. First, there is school. Don’t even get me started on school. You can read about why school sucks here, here, and here. Then there is the fact that you’re almost sort-of an adult but not really. You are given tastes of freedom and independence but none of the trust or respect to go with it. “Be an adult. Stop acting childish” but also “Listen to me. Do what I say. You live under my roof, you have no rights.” This is in addition to the pressure and expectations of everyone around you: friends, teachers, parents, relatives, your church, your culture, the media, etc. And as the cherry on top are all of the ‘normal’ things in life that suck: trauma, abuse*, hardship, death, etc. What I’m trying to say here is that, generally, a teen’s life can really suck. And when your life has a tendency to suck, you tend to have a few bad days (or weeks or months or…).

This is for those times. The bad days. First, I’m going to give you some advice my mom gave me (yes, parents do actually know something from time to time): you can’t change anyone but yourself. Another gem from the old lady: what other people think about you is none of your business. And lastly: don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides (this includes the crap people post on Facebook). These three statements have profoundly changed the way I look at myself and the world. 

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© 2016 Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved. 

Secondly, when I’m having a bad day, I know it’s time to get back to the basics:

  • FOOD :  Am I eating often enough? Am I eating good, healthy foods? How can I prevent hangry moments?
  • WATER : Am I drinking enough water? How can I always have water accessible to me?
  • SLEEP : Am I getting enough sleep? Is it good quality sleep? How can I improve the quality of my sleep?
  • MOVEMENT : Am I moving my body almost everyday? Is it enjoyable? If not, how would I enjoy moving and strengthening my body?
  • OUTDOORS : Am I getting enough time in the sun (and therefore, Vitamin D)? Am I getting enough time in nature? How can I get outside more?
  • MEDITATION : Am I spending enough time alone? Do I make time to deal with my big emotions? Do I make time to get in touch with myself and figure out who I am and what I want? Do I listen to my inner wise voice?
  • SELF-EXPRESSION : Am I making time to express myself in a way that feels true to my soul? Even if I’m not going to share it with another living person, it still needs to be expressed.

What I’ve just listed is essentially radical self care. And contrary to popular belief,  caring for yourself is not selfish. It’s like they say on an airplane: you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else put on theirs. And let me tell you – self care isn’t easy. Change takes time and you will fall off the wagon. Be kind and gentle with yourself and just get back on. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or get creative.

And if all else fails, get some perspective: read a book, make a list of what you’re grateful for, help someone else, give back, focus on what you do have. The world is so much bigger and more beautiful than high school and you are stronger, wiser, braver, and more resilient and powerful than you know. Hang in there – I promise you it will get better.

Oh, and one final thing:

YOU ARE VALUED.

YOU ARE NEEDED.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE LOVED.

All my love,

Angelle

*If you are currently in an abusive situation, I urge you to seek help. Please call one of the hotlines on this page. You will get through this. You will survive.

5 Reasons I Love My Shaved Head

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After many years of wanting to, I finally shaved my head and I’m loving it. Here’s why:

  1. It was on my list. Ever since my high school English teacher showed us a picture of her shaved head, I’ve always wanted to do it. Why hadn’t I done it yet? Fear. It feels SO GOOD to throw fear aside and do something I’ve always wanted to do. It is incredibly empowering and joyful. I still giggle with glee when I see myself in the mirror. Which leads me to…
  2. I feel so sexy! Confidence and sexiness go hand-in-hand and doing something even though it scared me was a huge confidence booster. Bonus: my husband finds my new hairdo super sexy too!
  3. It’s so easy. I have a 2 month old daughter so I’m all about quick and easy right now. No hair getting in the way while breastfeeding or carrying her around. It’s the ultimate mom haircut but with a little bit of badass thrown in. Also, with this hair, I’ve gotten my shower time to well under 10 minutes. Good for my baby and the environment!
  4. Earrings. I finally get to show off my beautiful earrings that were always hidden behind dark hair before. It’s a whole new jewelry world!
  5. It feels awesome. I love rubbing my hand along my head and feeling how soft my hair is. I love feeling the water from the shower hit my scalp and the wind blow through my hair (which is amazing in this Texas heat!). It’s a completely new way of feeling and I love it.

Overall. I give shaving my head 5 beautiful,  bald stars. I highly recommend.

Love, Fun, Joy: That’s The Point

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© 2015 Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved. 

Original Drawing inspired by the words of Neale Donald Walsch:

“Have fun. Spread joy. Share love. This is the Three-Way Path.” –Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God for Teens

“Fun, joy, and love is who you are. It is the natural you. Just give in to that[…] Share love with everyone, in the form that your soul tells you is most appropriate to the moment and to the kind of relationship you have with each person – and with yourself.” –Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God for Teens

Daily Reminders

I came across an article the other day about the book, Top Five Regrets of the DyingAnd then I read a blog post about a woman’s conversation with her fearless friend that was also inspiring.

From the articles, I absorbed a few gems of wisdom and felt I needed to write them down in action-type bullet points above my desk as a daily reminder. Hopefully, they help to remind you of what is most important as well.

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Have fun; don’t work so hard.
  3. Express yourself (feelings, opinions, etc)
  4. Maintain golden friendships.
  5. Let yourself be happy.
  6. Be fearless.
  7. Life is so very beautiful; see it and appreciate it.
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