Done: Five Minute Friday

I’m back at it!

Every Friday I like to join a band of inspired writers over at Five Minute Friday.com. There is a weekly link-up posted here with a prompt for a blog post. The goal is to write on the topic for an uninterrupted five minutes. This week the topic is done. Check out my break-up letter with Worry, a long-time companion and a disloyal friend of mine.

More-FMF-Square-Images

Dear Worry,

I am so done with you. You’ve hung around too long battling my mind and injuring my soul. After the past six months I’ve realized that by letting you into my life I have only made things worse. When I thought you were the only thing I could control I clung to you like a cat on a limb. But you’ve let me down hard. The wounds barred into my skin threatening to scar.

You see, with every chance you had you inflicted fear. At times I was paralyzed and choosing a direction was impossible. In the thick of the battle, though, I heard the still, small voice of a God who never left me.

When darkness closed it’s grasp around my mind the light was never forsaken. When your weight sat upon my chest I was being held. When trouble came knocking and pain was agonizing there was a Healer in my midst.

Now I know that when I’m afraid you aren’t my only option.

There’s a God who is watching over me providing the way out. I don’t need to suffer any more. He is ready to offer me the peace I desperately need. His respite is mine for the taking.

So, Worry, this is my good-bye. We’ve grown rather close these past few months, but our relationship is an unhealthy one. It’s not me, it’s you. I’m calling it quits. This journey has been a lot of things, but most importantly it’s done!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Advertisements

Flight to the UK

One of the perks of marrying into a British family–annual trips to England.

Each summer since 2008 I have made the journey to England to visit with my husband’s family. This year the trip will last an entire month. We have a lot planned and I’m really excited to share with you some of our adventures during this stay.

Aleah made her first voyage on an airplane and she did so well. The flight attendants and other passengers were amazed at her contentedness throughout the journey. Our seats were in the very last row so as people queued up to use the toilets Aleah made sure everyone received a smile.

Arianna is now a perfect age for traveling. Five might be my favorite age yet! She was able to help with the baby and be independent when necessary. In years past she whined and cried the majority of the flight, but this time around she slept, watched movies, and ate as she should have.

Leading up to our flight I was a nervous wreck. Back in March, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung) and that was a very scary time. Long flights are a risk factor for blood clots for everyone, but even more so for someone who has experienced them before. The night before we left I hardly slept. I worried about how my body would respond and I prayed constantly for peace and protection. My doctor advised me to take an aspirin, wear compression socks, and to get up and stretch hourly throughout the flight. Heeding his advice I did all of those things and I even prepared exercises that I could do in aisle ways and restrooms. That being said, I didn’t sleep at all during the flight. I focused on keeping my blood flowing and I got my family involved and active periodically as well.

And the result–I feel great!

Having stayed active throughout the flight helped me to beat the usual jet lag that accompanies such a long journey. Also, my anxiety seems to have diminished. For months I have dreaded making that flight because I knew the risks, but now that it’s done I feel relieved.

For the next month I’ll be blogging from England where life is beautiful and simple. If there is something in particular you are curious about and would like me to share please let me know. My husband and I tried to calculate on the plane ride how much of my life I have actually spent in the UK and it’s crazy, but I’m just shy of one year lived in England. (11 months)

I love that coming over here I don’t feel like a tourist. We stay with his parents and so I’ve experienced true English culture. So please, let me know what you want to see or read about as it pertains to life in England.

I’m looking forward to sharing!

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

2018 Bullet Journal

IMG_2522.jpg

In January of 2017 I started keeping a bullet journal. A bullet journal is a self-created planner and organizer. I love bullet journals because they are created and customized by their creator. When you buy a planner from a store there are always features that don’t fit every planning style.

Not only does bullet journaling help to keep me organized, but it also helps me to expel some creative energy.  I’ve enjoyed building up my art supplies this year and dabbling in the use of washi tapes, watercolors, Tombow brushpens, stickers, and all sorts of paper crafting goods.

I used to give updates on my early progress with bullet journaling. If you are interested check out these posts:

One Month of Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journal Updates

March Updates

Bullet Journal February Updates

I want to give you a peek at what I’ve been working on so far this year in my newest bullet journal. As you can see above, I decorated the outside of my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with Cricut vinyl cut using my new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine. I used to own a Cricut about ten years ago, but they have come a long way and the extent of its uses is now unfathomable. Since I received it in June I have made tshirts, cards, wall art, and magnets with my new machine.

IMG_2487.JPG

Collections

Bullet journal Collections are pages that are ongoing throughout the time you use a particular notebook. There are so many ideas on Pinterest of things to track in your journal. I’ve chosen to track things like book lists, home improvement ideas, sports statistics for my daughter, blog schedules, Netflix shows I’m watching, a future log, and movies I’ve watched this year.

Creatives

Creative pages are ones in which I play around with creative techniques. This year I’ve been focusing on hand-lettering and calligraphy. I’ve started quite the collection of Tombow brushpens, Mildliner pens and washi tapes. I use these pages to work on skills and play around with ideas.

Monthlies

Something I started this year is using a monthly theme. Every month I start with a title page that introduces the theme and then I include those ideas in my habit trackers and anxiety trackers for each month.

Weeklies

Every week I use a similar layout to the one below. The weekly pages are where I break down my daily tasks and oftentimes I journal on these pages as well.

IMG_2485 (2).jpg

How I Use It

Every night before bed I open up my bullet journal and update the weekly page with tasks and journaling. Then, I record in my habit tracker what I was able to accomplish that day. Finally, I evaluate my anxiety level for the day and track that appropriately. Doing this at night leads me to self-reflection on a daily basis. This practice has helped keep me focused and organized.

Any other bullet journalers out there? I’d love to see your pages!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Catching You Up to Speed: Part 2

I took a year hiatus from blogging for many reasons. The major reason behind my break was because I was pregnant and exhausted. And as any parent knows, the months that lead up to and follow the birth of new little one are tiring. I didn’t have the energy or drive to write on most days and much of what I did write during that time was private prayers and thoughts for my daughters.

Earlier this week I shared some photos with you from my pregnancy (Catching You Up to Speed: Part 1). You saw my oldest daughter, Arianna, preparing to be a big sister and I finished that post with the first picture of our baby girl, Aleah Isobel. So here is a look at the second part of my hiatus-the time since she was born four months ago. I hope you can handle all this cuteness 🙂

IMG_1640IMG_1642IMG_2900 (1)IMG_1644IMG_1657IMG_1661

IMG_1659IMG_1675IMG_1692IMG_1688IMG_1704IMG_1707

IMG_1713IMG_1723IMG_2525IMG_1745IMG_1772IMG_1805

IMG_1815fullsizeoutput_9ffafullsizeoutput_a044fullsizeoutput_a028fullsizeoutput_a02ffullsizeoutput_9f4eIMG_1828IMG_0059IMG_1871IMG_1892IMG_1902IMG_1953IMG_1987IMG_1982IMG_2079IMG_2143IMG_2110IMG_2117IMG_2194IMG_2120IMG_2202IMG_2218IMG_0901IMG_2258IMG_2281IMG_2316IMG_2346IMG_2358IMG_2382IMG_2388IMG_2394IMG_2424IMG_2438IMG_2447IMG_2453IMG_2474IMG_2480IMG_3448IMG_2491

And now you are pretty much caught up to speed. It’s been a great year in many ways, but it has also been extremely hard in others. But one thing I know: I am one blessed Mama.

I’m returning to this blog because when I started it back in 2015 it helped me through a really hard time in my life. I’ve always been a writer, but the action of publishing my thoughts and creating a network of other bloggers really helped me to push past some of the anxiety I was facing at the time.

At some point I plan to share with you my testimony, but for now suffice it to say that I’ve been battling with anxiety yet again. I had a very traumatic event occur shortly after Aleah’s birth and although I’ve been very happy I’ve also struggled a lot with anxious thought patterns and PTSD. Writing has always been a calming outlet for me as is prayer. So it is for that reason that I’m returning to this blog. It’s a therapy that blessed me before and if it can be used to bless another person too I will be even more grateful. I’m excited to jump back in to the encouraging community that this blog once created and I look forward to sharing with you all once again.

So, here’s to moving forward.

Here’s to blessing and encouragement.

Thanks for checking in.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Happy Fourth of July

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17b

I am so blessed to be an American.

Living under the freedom of the Red, White, and Blue is one of the greatest places in this world to dwell. As I reflect on my freedom today I am thankful for any and everybody responsible for securing that freedom for me and my family. If you are reading this and you are one of those people who risked everything so that our country could continue to thrive on personal freedoms please know that I am grateful for the sacrifices you made. I know that serving our nation is a privilege, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. I applaud you and I pray blessing over you.

Our nation’s freedom is one of the many reasons that we celebrate Independence Day. We also celebrate the fact that when people gather together for a cause that they can accomplish the impossible. That victory was secured by the power of Christ that surrounded those who originally fought for our nation. And in their victory our country was established on the principles of Christianity.

Today, let us not only remember what it took for America to come to be, but let us also remember how God has been faithful to the country. In a time where it is so easy to see the ways in which our country has strayed from it’s Christian roots let us also see the ways that God is still present. I choose to see His hand on our country’s safety and His blessing over the people instead of the division that is highlighted by the media. I choose to be joyful and patriotic instead of negative. I choose to stand up for those who cannot stand themselves and to love those with whom I disagree.

It is with gratitude this week that I was blessed to be able to celebrate with my small town. On Sunday, my church family joined others in the community and held a worship service in the park. On Monday, my oldest daughter participated in a Little Miss Fourth of July pageant, and on Tuesday we celebrated with family while watching a firework display in Columbus. We are a blessed people.

Happy Fourth of July!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Turtles All the Way Down: Book Review

Title: Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Copyright Date: 2017

IMG_2464

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.” (Green 283)

Aza Holmes had enough trouble trying to get through high school and battling her own anxious thoughts without the drama of a missing billionaire to complicate things. Just before he was arrested, Russell Pickett went missing. He left behind a fortune, an exotic pet, and two sons (and he ranked their importance in that order.)

With a hundred thousand dollars on the line, Aza’s best friend, Daisy, is convinced that the two can solve the mystery. Daisy enlists the help of Aza because she used to be friends with the billionaire’s son, Davis, back when they spent their summers together at “Sad Camp.”

After reconnecting with Davis Pickett, Aza learns that wealth isn’t everything. Davis grew up fed by a silver spoon yet he experienced grief and loneliness akin to her own. As the two grow closer Davis begins to break down the wall of anxiety that Aza has built around herself. Together with her closest friends, Aza focused on Russell Pickett’s disappearance while also working through her internal demons.

Lately, some of my favorite books have been based on mental illness. When We Collided by Emery Lord and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley were phenomenal books that dove into issues of anxiety, depression, and grief in an honest way. I felt like John Green also did a good job covering topics that teens wrestle with in an authentic light. In the Acknowledgements at the end of the book he provided resources for those struggling with mental health and admitted to his own struggles that were reflected in Aza’s character.

Mental illness has been a trending topic both in writing and the media. With recent suicides in Hollywood a lot of energy has been focused on getting people the help that they need. As someone with diagnosed anxiety, I found myself relating to Aza on some level while also being inspired to push past my fears in order to avoid situations she faced.

I’m a fan of John Green. I liked The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns. In my Honors History classes, I occasionally show clips from his Crash Course Youtube channel where John Green and his brother explain eras of history in their own quirky way. When I first started teaching, his books were all the rage, but with his movie deals and Youtube Channel it’s been a while since he released a book. Last year when this book came out I added it to the top of my To-Read list on Goodreads. Thankfully, I finally had the opportunity to read this one. It was a quick read, and totally worth every minute. At times, the main character really annoyed me, but it helped me to see what anxiety can be like for the people surrounded by it. Mental illness affects far more than just your mind. Relationships feel the tremors and fallout associated with the internal battles we all face.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

My First Tattoo

My God has been my anchor during a tough and tiring time in my life. It’s been a period of health issues and anxiety. I’ve been tossed in the waves of uncertainty and I’ve nearly sank a time or two. But each time I reached out to my God he gently guided me to shore. Whether that was through a word of peace, a friendly encounter, or the strong and safe arms of my husband. I felt God numerous times holding me these past few months. Beckoning me to rest and just breathe. And so I decided after some contemplation that I wanted to have a permanent reminder of the love, hope, and safety I find when I seek God in all things. With that in mind I set out to find a tattoo that would commemorate this time period.

Ask me a couple years ago if I would ever get a tattoo and I would have quickly brushed it off with an, “I doubt it.” But in my mind I was never closed off to the idea. I just knew that if I was ever going to make a permanent decision it would have to be based on a piece that was significant enough to warrant residency on my skin.

With everything I’ve gone through, I felt drawn to the reminder of the anchor as it represents what God has been for me during this time. So it is with all of this in mind that I chose to get my first tattoo. And when choosing where to put it…I didn’t want to hide it. God’s peace is nothing to be ashamed of and he’s provided me a pretty awesome testimony that wants sharing. So on my prominent forearm is where I’ve chosen to make this reminder a home. It’s a reminder if I ever try to reach for something else that God really is the only one to quiet the rough waters. It is a reminder at all times that no greater peace is found than the one provided by my God. Some days my fear was so crippling that it is because of Him alone that I was able to continue to breathe. God has been my strength and will continue to be. And that is the story behind my first tattoo.

It’s been a year since I last wrote on my blog. A lot has happened between my last submission and now, and one day I hope to share much of that journey with you. I’m still working through a lot, but a few things I know–I am blessed beyond measure, I am surrounded by people who love me, I have a beautiful family that I couldn’t possibly love any more than I do, and my God has never forsaken me during any step of this crazy life.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Blessing

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Blessing:

FMF-Square-Images-2-1

As I sit in England typing away from the second floor of an old English home, I’m reminded of all the things in my life for which I am thankful. When I think about my friends, family, and health I am overcome with the blessings each bestows on my life.

I am thankful for the people I love and their influences in my life.

I am thankful for the family that God has formed for me to belong to.

I am thankful for the blessings of good health and a sound mind.

I am thankful for those large gifts, but even more so I find myself thankful for the small things. The wind in the trees and the sun warming my skin are proof of God’s provision in my life. Technology and its ability to expand communication and creativity is a blessing. A cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger, and a good book–all of these things make me thankful for the life I lead and point me toward recognizing the blessings that surround me everywhere I look.

The Ameri Brit Mom

A Piece of the World: A Book Review

Title: A Piece of the World

Author: Christina Baker Kline

Publisher: William Morrow

Copyright Date: 2017

IMG_0552.JPG

My first ever published book review was on The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Since then, I’ve awaited a new novel by this spectacular author who is known for weaving narrative into non-fiction stories. In A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline writes a fictional account of the woman pictured in Andy Wyeth’s famous painting, Christina’s World. Although the story itself is a novel, much research went into finding the facts and spirit behind that original painting.

Christina Olson lived on her family homestead in New England along with her brother Alvaro. Too weak to live on her own due to a physical ailment, Christina tried not to depend too heavily on any person. On one side, her family came from the Hawthorn line, notorious for her ancestor’s role in the convicting of witches in Salem. On the other side, she traced back to a poor Swedish family. The family farm had been an heirloom for many generations, and when her other brothers leave to create their own lives they leave their invalid sister and her closest brother to continue the work of the self-sufficient home.

A life of washing, making, and sustaining is all Christina knew until one man shows up and offers her promises. His grand words and attention conjure up fantasies of a normal life outside of the white washed walls of the family home. But, Christina’s own stubbornness becomes her worst enemy.

After neglecting the help and well wishes of others, Christina Olson reserved herself to life as a spinster on the farm where cats, dishes, and sewing are all she needed. She let opportunities slip through her fingers and turned down any offers to help her physical condition. Years go by where she and Alvaro slave away each day to maintain the home until a young visitor and her artist boyfriend show up on the doorstep. The artist wanted to paint her home.

The artist became a summer fixture in the Olson home spending hours in an upper room capturing life on the farm. And it is in the final revealing of years of work that Christina finally sees and accepts that this home is her entire world.

It was there that she learned to walk, love, and survive. What else could she possibly need?

This story was very well written and even though it’s about a woman who rarely leaves her home it is filled with twists and drama that hook the reader. Having recently visited New England I also enjoyed getting caught up in the vivid scenes and settings painted by the words of the author.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Bullet Journal Updates (June 2017)

I realize it’s been a while since I last updated on my personal bullet journal. Even though it hasn’t appeared on my blog, I’ve been using the thing like crazy! My beautiful Moleskine resides in its own special place in my purse and I carry it with my daily. I thought I’d share some photos of ways I’ve used my bullet journal most recently.

  1. Monthly spread and review: 

    2. Vacation Daily Tracker:

    IMG_0446

3. Recipes:

IMG_0482.JPG

IMG_0546.JPG

4. Online Course Creation:

IMG_0545 (1).JPG

5. Summer Goals and Routines:

IMG_0483.JPG

My favorite pens to use in my bullet journal are the Paper Mate Flair pens. I love the vibrant colors and the ease at which I can write with these pens.

IMG_0335.JPG

What are your favorite bullet journal tools or utensils?

The Ameri Brit Mom