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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

    Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of.

Inspiring-Women-Whitney-EnglishImage by Shannon Ho Photohgraphy

 

I ‘met’ Whitney by clicking through Instagram profiles earlier this year and was completely inspired by her words and her profile. Then I saw she was the creator behind the Day Designer®, and if you’ve been a reader for awhile you know how much I love designing your life around your ideal day. It was like a match made in heaven! She is a necessary addition to the Inspiring Women Series. I’m so excited to introduce Whitney to you today; and then go check out her 2015 DayDesigner too!

Name: Whitney English
Occupation: Creative Entrepreneur
Website/Blog: http://daydesigner.com

Please tell us a little about you:

The basics: I’m married to a great guy, and live in Oklahoma City with our little clan of three kiddos: two boys and a girl. Saved by grace and grateful for mercy.

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

  1. My Day Designer®
  2. Diet Mt. Dew
  3. and at least a couple of pages in a (hopefully good) book.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

Currently, authors. I have a wild-fangled notion to write a book so studying how writers write, and tell story, has been a recent fascination. Right now, my two favorite people to read and follow are Donald Miller and Jeff Goins.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?

I remember sitting in bed on a Saturday morning, with the finalized first Day Designer® in front of me, and realizing that the time had come to announce the project to the world. I was hesitant to tell people. Literally, I had never poured my soul into a project like that, and there was a lot of hope that it could make a pretty dark spot in life better. As the story goes, some things got worse, and some things did get better as Day Designer® did eventually take off. I think the thing that kept me motivated in the darkest moments was the realization that you can’t do nothing. It’s physically impossible. So I might as well chose to do things that matter. Eventually, and no matter what, that pays off.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

I think the secret to balance is knowing which balls to let drop. I learned in those dark days that I couldn’t let my self-maintenance ball drop, so now I work out religiously at least three days a week. The next ball that can’t drop is the family and relationships ball, so I’ve been very intentional about family time and kids activities. When a ball starts to fall because it just isn’t the priority at the moment, I’ve learned to look at it two ways: I can find someone to delegate the task to, or I can let it fall. I like what Albert Einstein said once: life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you have to keep moving.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

My Day Designer®, again. Can you see the theme here? For work, definitely my MacBook. After that, a coffee maker.

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

Oh, no, there was definitely a day–actually, several–when I woke up and said, I can’t do this any more. I can’t let life control me like this. When this happens, I usually go into cleaning frenzy, email-answering frenzy, or whole-food-eating frenzy. I think we all occasionally let our “intentionality” slide, and I use an aligned goal-setting method to help keep me in check.

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Well, it’s not perfect. Living intentionally is not the be-all/end-all, as my mother would say. In fact, sometimes it’s harder. The discipline has to be turned on. The choice to put one foot in front of the other, put the candy bar down, or put the iPhone away is sometimes all-too conscious. I wish living intentionally came naturally to me, but I’m grateful for some big-dream ideas that drive me, and for a God that blessed me with a brain to keep me going when the going gets tough.

Have your family/friends been supportive?

I think living intentionally is a personal choice. I don’t think any family or friends has ever come to me and said, “Oh, good to see that you are living intentionally now”. My parents were always supportive with a, “Good choice, honey”, and occasionally my husband will remark about how clean the house looks, if I’ve taken extra care in a certain spot, or made a really nice dinner. But for the most part, intentional living is the tiny decisions that no one ever sees that result in long-term benefits if you keep doing them long enough.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I meet monthly with a group of women in Oklahoma called Posse. It’s a commitment, but for many of us as busy entrepreneurs it’s the only face-to-face time we get with life-minded women, so we don’t miss it. My husband and I try to make it to church three out of four weeks, as a way to re-balance, re-align, and gain perspective.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

In the simplest form, intentional living is all about your choices. What do you spend your time and your money on? That’s what your putting first in your life. If you don’t LOVE the thing you are spending your time and your money on, then it’s simple: you’re out of alignment. If you don’t LOVE your job and it’s eating 60 hours of your week, start making tiny decisions that take you in another direction. Intentional living doesn’t have to be cold-turkey, but it does have to be deliberate.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

The Bible. I’m no preacher or theologian, but there’s no other answer for me. Jesus was a pretty cool dude, and I’m aware that He said that following Him wouldn’t always be easy, but love isn’t always easy. Sometimes, I think that’s the only way the path is straight and narrow–it’s just because love can be pretty darn hard at times. (Reference intentional choices, right?)

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

Writing a book. Jeff Goins said that if you want to be a writer, call yourself a writer. It’s a title I’m still trying to embrace. And I realize that writing a book is super-challenging. Sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task. Also, I’m working on some pretty cool stuff for Day Designer®. Stay tuned!

Be Sure to connect further with Whitney:

To be the first to know when the next Inspiring Women Series publishes, subscribe to the newsletter.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

 

Inspiring-Women-Natalia-Chouklina

T  oday’s Inspiring Women Series is a woman that has been featured on my blog before, as she is someone who has helped me with both my photography business as well as my life coaching business. She was my first and last portrait client and the life coach who helped me move through the fear and the resistance I had to launching Lesleystefanski.com. 

Natalia is a beautiful woman and a very intuitive coach and I’m so excited to share her words and story with you. 
Please come and have a read and share this with family and friends if you think someone would feel inspired by it as well!
I would also love to hear how you’re finding the series. Are there any questions that you’d love to ask future recipients?

Name: Natalia Chouklina
Occupation: Life Clarity Coach
Website: achievetheimpossible.ca

Please tell us a little about you:

I’m Natalia – a life coach, e-program leader and a lover of life!

My dream is to live in a world where we feel safe to express what we really want and need, everyone is loved and cared for, and kindness is a default response in every situation!

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

  1. Upon rising – hot water with lemon
  2. Uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep – ahem, can you tell I’m not a mom?
  3. My trusty Day Designer by Whitney English

Who are you inspired by, and why?

The answer to this question changes based on what’s going on in my life. It used be that my answer to this question, I would list famous luminaries and thinkers; however, these days my inspirations are much closer to my heart.

I’m inspired by my parents because they didn’t give on each other and their marriage after 30 + years together, and believe me, they came pretty close a few times. As I am about to tie the knot myself, I think of them often. Their life lessons I’m taking along with me and I’m deeply inspired by their commitment and love to each other. They are my perfect example of intentional living!

My fiancé Matin inspires me everyday. A few months after we started our relationship, I decided to plunge into the world of entrepreneurship and unknown, thus impacting his and my life dramatically. Although this wasn’t what he signed up for, Matin’s support has been unconditional and unwavering, he’s been my rock! I haven’t always been so kind, patient and understanding with others during their process as he is with me. He’s teaching me that we are capable of extraordinary love.

These days I’m also deeply inspired by the work of Sussannah Conway, Hannah Marcotti and Elizabeth Lesser. These women embraced their own inner wild and creative woman, and travel the path less traveled with courage, honesty and vulnerability. It’s inspiring what they’re creating.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?

Fear has been walking along side me from the day I could feel and think. In the past, I pretended it wasn’t there; I waited for it go away to take the next step, and I thought that feeling afraid meant that I wasn’t ready or had stepped on the wrong path or should quit. I was wrong.

Now, I accept that fear is a part of life, and I know I will feel afraid when I attempt a new project, a difficult conversation or face my own vulnerability. I feel afraid when I don’t know the answer to the question – What’s next? And how can I find out? By diving in and finding out for myself. It sounds nice and neat on paper but it’s hardly a pretty process for me.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

Well, my secret is that I don’t try to balance and do it all. I live my life based on how I feel in the moment and my intentions. These days it’s all about living a good life and simplifying.

The question I ask my clients and myself often is – If you can’t have it all, do it all and be everything to everyone (let’s be honest, that would be impossible), what would you rather have? What would you rather do? Who would you rather BE? And, what do you need to say no to, what choices do you have to make to create space for that?

This question isn’t an invitation to live smaller and to settle. This question is about getting clear on what you value the most in life and making it your priority. What I see a lot around me is that we are everywhere and nowhere at the same time, so we don’t feel grounded and connected to anything. We skim the surface of many topics but don’t go deep enough to be truly touched and moved by them – and deep inside we yearn for depth, meaning and purpose.

I say no to a lot of things to make space for things I actually want in my life. Examples of what I said no to, to date – not owning a house and carrying a mortgage, not shopping expensive brands, not partying till dawn. There’s no way I can do all that and have the amount of freedom, space and flexibility I’ve come to enjoy and value so much. But you might be dreaming of the house and an expensive bag, it’s ok. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, it just makes it yours and might call for you to make different choices.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

My intention is to live a full, rich and deep life, and this doesn’t include being busy. I’m done with ‘busy’ as a sign of my self-worth, success and drive. I don’t know a single person who feels empowered and purposeful while running around like a chicken with her head cut off. When I find myself doing that (nobody is perfect), it’s a sign that I lost sight of my intentions and I need to re-center, again.

But, I still need to get stuff done. After all, I run my own business. Here are my must have tools for that:

  1. My MacBook Pro – I run my entire business on this machine!
  2. My agenda – Always paper. Current fave is the Day Designer by Whitney English. I’d be lost without it and miss all my appointments
  3. Skype and iPhone – for client, business and personal calls.
  4. Silence – Lots of it! Can be used for writing, reading, and simply being.

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

I made a decision to live intentionally when I realized that the way I lived my life to date simply wasn’t working for me anymore.

I’ve always been an avid goal-setter, and I was so good at achieving these goals. Yet, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel the way I thought I would feel even when I overachieved my goal times a hundred. I would tell myself that in order to feel financially secure and free, I needed to make 6 figures. When that happened, I still felt scared, unstable and far from free.

I felt like I was a dog constantly chasing my tail – I was tired, disillusioned and bitter. And I was only 26 years old!

Danielle LaPorte said it best – ‘You’re not chasing a goal, you’re chasing a feeling you think achieving this goal will give you’. Feelings = intentions. When I discovered that for myself and chose to focus on the intentions, my world started to make sense.

Don’t get me wrong, I still set goals and I’m still one of the most driven people I know. But it went a long way for me to reflect upon what my goals were in service to and what I was ultimately getting at, and to eventually realize that there’s more than one path that could lead me there, that it was never about ‘either my way or the highway’.

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

I discovered creative solutions to problems that plagued me for years, like how to have a loving and healthy relationship with my parents.

I am living the life I dreamed about while doing cold calls in my cubicle three years ago.

I am about to marry the man who loves me exactly the way I always wanted to be loved.

I am doing the work that feels fulfilling and completely aligns with my passions and interests.

I am supported and surrounded by the most gorgeous group of women who blow my socks off on daily basis.

Most importantly, my life is not so complicated and dramatic anymore. I‘m no longer always chasing something, hustling to get somewhere or trying to prove anything. Instead, I’m enjoying living my life and all the gifts it has to offer today.

It’s a different way to live life but I found it to be a lot more interesting, gratifying and yes, successful. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what life can do for you when you let it. When you let go of your agenda and must haves for just a minute, life might present you with something you didn’t even know you wanted or offer up a solution to a problem that will exceed your wildest dreams.

How have family/friends been supportive?

Not all friends and not all family were supportive.

The process of living intentionally and discovering your power makes you vulnerable, and it’s super important to surround yourself with people who get it. I was lucky to have a few of such people in my life, and boy, did they ever cheer for me! In the moments of weakness, they literally carried me through! I’m so grateful.

Some people didn’t get it and my own process presented a threat to their belief systems, turning a comfortable and numb status quo upside down. These people left my life and I left theirs. It was sad and painful at the time, and I’m so grateful for the times I shared with them and lessons we learned together.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

When I need help, support and encouragement, I ask for it. I figure out what I need in this moment, and make a clear ask of people who I know get me and what I’m about.

When I feel caught up in my feelings, which happens often because I’m very sensitive, I give myself the gift of time. When I receive an email that triggers me, I make myself step away from a computer and tell myself to sleep on it (and ask for support). Works every time.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

Get very clear on what you value, how do you want to feel and what are you intending to happen in your life.

Don’t skip this step – many do. Take your time with it. It’s like digging a house foundation – the deeper the hole, the higher you can build. Otherwise, you will end up with a wobbly house….

You can easily do this on your own. Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map is good for this. You can also work with a life coach if you want a personal touch and support. That’s what we do!

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

  1.  Nature – everyday I make a point to go for a walk in Stanley Park. I leave my phone and other gadgets at home. To me, nature is one big metaphor for living an intentional and purposeful life. Every leaf, every little bug has a purpose and agenda, and yet they work together so well.
  2.  Books – I read books that align with my intentions. Right now it’s simplicity and surrender so I seek out books about these topics to remind myself that others have traveled this path before, to get ideas and to stay focused.
  3. Lately, Pintrest – every year I create a vision pin board for the year ahead. I review it often. Also, I have a separate board for every desired feeling I want to cultivate.
  4.  Knitting – this is a new one for me. I don’t know what it gives me just yet but I so inspired by this activity. I love the whole process – finding the project, choosing my yarn, feeling the yarn at the store and taking in the colors, casting on the first stitch…. It’s so satisfying and it makes me squeal with joy!

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself.

My ongoing dream is to continue building a profitable coaching business my way and according to my definition of success. It’s a work in progress but I see movement in that direction.

In the year to come, I dream of becoming a wife and a mother. I know I will have to say bye-bye to uninterrupted sleep but it will be well worth it!

Lastly, I can feel my heart is yearning to say something. I don’t know what it is yet and how it will be delivered. Maybe it will be a book, maybe a program or perhaps something entirely different. I can hear the sound of the train coming but I can’t see this train just yet. I’m willing to be patient and wait, I know that the train will come in time.:)

 

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Inspiring Women Series Jennifer Wilson VONBON

I am so excited to introduce Jennifer Wilson of VONBON to you. I fell in love with her products while pregnant last year and have since become inspired by her business mindset as well as her desire to parent intentionally. Here she shares how in 6 months she went from being overworked to living intentionally.

Name: Jennifer Wilson
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Website: www.vonbon.ca
Blog: http://blog.vonbon.ca

Please tell us a little about you:

I am a 32 year old, mom to be, come November. I live in downtown Vancouver with my husband of three years. I was a dental assistant for 7 years, went back to school to become a dental hygienist and then gave it all up last December to follow my dream of running my own business. I now own and operate VONBON, an organic cotton baby and children’s apparel and accessory line. I have a hand in every part of my business, from designing prints and patterns, to branding, social media management, and packing/ shipping orders. No job is too big or small.

I love being outdoors, and am an avid sun seeker! Travelling is a passion of mine and I hope to scratch many more places off my list. I am a girly girl at heart and love dressing up and putting on a pair of heels! I am a new entrepreneur and still trying to figure out how to balance my personal and business lives. It’s a daily struggle, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

1. If I can push myself to do it, an outdoor workout first thing in the morning is the best! I take to the seawall with my resistance bands and soak up the scenery while I sweat it out.

2. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but since the summer hit I am addicted to iced vanilla lattes. Decaf for me with a babe on the way!

3. And Instagram, of course!

Who are you inspired by, and why?

Honestly, I am inspired daily by so many around me. I have created an amazing network of hard working, determined, intelligent young women who inspire me on a daily basis. Whether it’s a personal attitude or a brand strategy, I’m inspired to be the best I can be in my personal and business life. My sisters are also huge inspirations to me and I am so lucky to be able to have them as part of my team at VONBON.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?

It wasn’t until I started my own business did I realize that most people’s lives are run by fear. Every decision they make is based on a fear, whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the work required. Some are even fearful of success! Over time I learned to remove fear from my mind and keep a positive attitude. I use positive affirmations and thoughts to visualize what I want in my life and for my business. Of course, that doesn’t mean that just because I think it, it will happen. I have had plenty of road bumps along the way and definitely felt like “maybe I should just quit”.

For example, when our demand grew too large for me to continue hand making my products. I had no choice but to hire a local production company to continue growing. I was so fearful that my standard of quality wouldn’t be met, or that there would be great errors made that would cost me time and money. I had to let go of the fear of loosing total control and take a chance that it would all work out. There were definitely some learning curves, but it was the best decision I made.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

Such a great question! I think these days social media gives us all the perception that people’s lives are “perfect” and they are able to balance it all and look fabulous while doing it. Let’s be real…some days are better than others and it’s a constant push/ pull to navigate the game of “balance’” in our lives.

Over the past 6 months I came to realize that my passion, VONBON, was taking over my life and my relationships. It was so easy for me to work 24/7 because I love what I do and want to be the best at it. All of the really important things started to slip away while I burned the midnight oil. My health was starting to decline, my marriage was suffering, and the relationships with my family and friends were taking a toll. I had a massive “awakening” once I became pregnant and realized that you can have balance in your life, it just doesn’t look the same from day to day.

I sat down and made a list of all of the changes I wanted to make. Now, I stay on top of my game by putting myself first instead of my business. I make the time to eat right, be active and spend quality time with the ones I love. Because I work from home, it’s easy to always be working. I no longer work around the clock, I let emails wait until tomorrow if need be. I make sure to eat dinner and spend the evenings with my husband. We started writing to each other each night to keep our communication open, and to be conscious of what’s working, what’s not and what we are grateful for. It’s something we look forward to every night. Weekends are for friends, family and having fun!

If you can truly accept that some things just have to wait and won’t get done today, tomorrow or even next week, then you can be much happier. You really just have to take things one day at a time and congratulate yourself for even the smallest daily accomplishments.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

I couldn’t live with out my Sugar Paper Planner. It has a monthly calendar that I write all my projects, plans and events in. It sits open on my desk and is a great snapshot of what I have going on for the week and the entire month. I also schedule a bi-weekly meeting with my business manager to keep VONBON on track by creating new lists of goals and deadlines we need to meet each week/ month. If you fail to plan, plan to fail!

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life? How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Living intentionally does take action and dedication and it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It also looks different for each individual.As I mentioned before, I had an awakening about 6 months ago as I realized that my marriage and level of happiness was suffering because I was so focused on my business and unconsciously shutting out everything else that had value in my life. It is a daily exercise for me to live intentionally and in the moment. We natural gravitate towards what was comfortable and easy and sometimes living intentionally is not. The changes I have seen in myself, my partner and our level of happiness since I started consciously living has been life changing for me.

I feel like I have much more balance in my life and I have never been happier. I feel more in tune with myself and can make clear decisions.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I am so blessed to have a very strong group of long time girlfriends who I can share anything with. They know the good, the bad and the ugly and have helped me to get through some of the hardest times in my life. They are a constant source of support and encouragement. Often they are just a sounding board and help me to clarify my feelings and thoughts.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

I think the entire concept of living intentionally can be very overwhelming and people think that they need to overhaul their life to do it. You don’t have to start with drastic life changes, even the smallest daily intention can get you going and make you realize your potential to grow and build an intentional life.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

It is very easy to get caught up in gathering inspiration from others on social media, who appear to have perfectly styled homes and fashionable families. For me, I gather inspiration from anything and anywhere. It’s all about how something makes me feel. I really like daily reminders, so I gather and collect phrases that remind me to live intentionally and what is important to me. We all need a reminder. Pinterest is great for this and it’s an easy way to organize it all.

I also keep “The Happiness Project” on my office shelf and will go through and reread it time and time again. It offers such great reminders and no matter how many times I read it, it re-inspires me to live a happier life every time. The smallest things can have the biggest impact!

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

With our baby on the way in just three short months ( AHHHHHHHH!!) I have many things I want to make happen! I am looking to move my studio out of my home and create a new office space where we can expand over time. I have an organic cotton bedding line I am currently working on that I want to launch for the holiday season and I have goals of expanding our team at VONBON while I am on maternity leave.

What is really exciting for me is the possibility of how the brand will evolve once I have my own child. I have always been my own muse, the gift giver, so it will be very interesting to see how the brand / product lines expand with a new mom holding the reins!

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your heart and words with us, I’m so inspired by what you have shared!

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

I stood in front of my mirror with my fitness clothes fitting snuggly to my body and I felt the tears threatening to spill over. At 7 months postpartum I saw breasts that were smaller and not as firm as they were a year ago, a belly that was soft and seemed bigger than my breasts, arms that swayed when I waved good-bye, and a waist that wasn’t as trim as I remembered it once was. I saw a body that was unfamiliar as the laugh lines hugging my eyes.

I wanted to fight and teardown the body staring back at me. I felt hatred towards the body that housed and grew a precious baby for so many months, that made me soft and squishy all over.

I quickly spiralled into negative thoughts about how fluffy and fat I was. How I had ‘let myself go’ and I would never obtain my pre-baby body so what was the point in working on it.

The image staring back at me wasn’t even my true body, it was smoothed over by my fitness clothes so my lumps weren’t even showing through to the fullness that they actually are.

7 months postpartum

I broke down and finally cried.

I had a beautiful baby to live for every single day, but pregnancy and post pregnancy body were nothing like I imagined it would be. Where was my Kate Middleton body and the beautiful Isla Fisher hair?!

The truth of the matter is that I’ve allowed myself to be completely swept up in my new role as a mother that fitness and scheduling time for me has become a task at the bottom of my to-do list. I constantly compare my fitness skills to where they were prior to becoming pregnant and hate that I can’t squat like I used to or lift the same amount of weights. Don’t even ask me about running, my hips are still fighting it, I walk a molasses pace.

At 7 months postpartum I’m still learning to accept my new body, to find clothes that fit the fluffier me, while also working on eating better and taking more care of myself instead of always giving. My hormones are still balancing themselves, and I know this because crying over my body has never been something I’ve done in the past, it took a lot to make me cry. Now I cry. A lot.

At 7 months postpartum I’ve fallen even more in love with Mister that I’ve never known to be possible, but I’ve also lost my temper more than I have in the past due to not sleeping as deeply as I once did. I am constantly saying “I love you, and I’m so sorry”.

At 7 months postpartum I have a daughter who has taken up my whole world that I finally understand what it means to loose yourself in your child. I have an identity outside of her, but I feel more confident when she is with me. She gives me more reasons to smile and be proud of who I am.

At 7 months postpartum I feel the love that is being etched on my heart become deeper every day, how I struggle to want space but never want to leave their sides. How I long to stop time but also enjoy the moment, while also dreaming of her future.

At 7 months postpartum I realize that everything is just as it should be, and it’s imperfectly beautiful. Fluffy body and all.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_WomenSeriesImage Credit: Mikaela Ruth

I am so excited to begin the Inspiring Women Series with my dear friend and wedding photographer, Jamie Delaine! From the moment I started reading her blog, what feels like a decade ago, I fell in love with her warmth and her heart. When I first envisioned the Inspiring Women Series she was one of the first people I asked because I couldn’t image it without her. She has been such an inspiration to me from the very beginning. I hope you are inspired by what she shares with you, it is such an honour to have her here.

Name: Jamie Delaine,
Occupation: Photographer & Writer
Website: www.jamiedelaine.com  Blog: www.jamiedelaineblog.com

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

Three of my favourite things to get me through the day are my Bible – inspires everything I do and centres me. Reminds me I’m not the most important element of my day and it’s not all about me. When I take the time, I also love going for long walks alone, it’s refreshing and often provides new ideas. Oh, and probably green tea. Because it keeps me going.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

I’m inspired by creative, outside-the-box thinkers. I love seeing people of any age living life to the full. I love learning from those who have dedicated to their lives to serving others, with their gifts, talents and money. TED talks inspire me. Photographers inspire me. Entrepreneurs inspire me. Missionaries inspire me.

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To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply, quit?

There are so many of those “feel the fear and move through it anyway” moments in life and business. In my writing, I often feel that fear. Can you write authentically if you don’t? I’m learning, no, unfortunately – to write well, you need to write truth. To write truth – you need to be sharing a vulnerable part of yourself. The times where I have dug deep, I have shared something real and honest, the response has always been a beautiful thing.

I feel like quitting a lot, to be honest. Not so much in my photography world, but in my writing world, yes. It’s easier to not share. To not take the time to write, laboriously deciding which words to put down on a page to describe your feelings inside. But I keep going.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

There are some serious pros and some cons to working from home. I’m a “do everything I see right now” kind of woman. If I see laundry, dirty dishes, dust on the coffee table, I will do it then. Or use my will-power to “ignore” it because I’m working. I have to focus on work during the day – even if it’s an hour of dedicated work, then clean for 10 minutes. And repeat. The mind break helps me.

What gets left behind is unfortunately the things that shouldn’t. I work on my business rather than writing. I clean the house rather than writing. I work on my business instead of going to the gym. The older I get, the more I realized there will always be something on your to-do list. So call it quits, transfer the list to tomorrow and do what you need to do.

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What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

My to-do list is a must-have. I love having the Teux-Deux app handy on my iPhone to jot notes as I think of them. I also use my Google Calendar religiously, marking most hours of my day with tasks. Finally, a moleskin notebook, to write down scribbles of thoughts.

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

Living intentionally was something in my bones from a young age. I’ve always been Type-A and never been into wasting time. My summers as a teenager were spent writing letters to friends at camp, making scrapbooks, playing with my camera, going for jogs, cleaning the house. I’ve always loved to see things accomplished.

However, there’s a difference between an intentional day and an intentional hour, I’m finding. I can have productive days – but there are moments I wish I spent differently. Less time on social media is a big one. Or in a business world where social media is vital, targeted time on social media. Have a goal, achieve it. Log out.

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How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

I’d say it’s a continuing journey. It’s neat to have goals and work towards achieving them.

How have family/friends been supportive?

My husband is very like-minded. It’s been an easy thing for us to dream together.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

Absolutely. My husband and then also my friend Kristen. (http://www.imkristen.com)

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What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

Write out your goals! Where do you want to go? How will you get there?

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

Honestly, to my faith. I’m not living an intentional life for myself and my own dreams. I want everything in my life to reflect God. I want to use my time and energy to love people and to make a difference.

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I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

Oooh boy. That’s a good question. And as a newlywed, one my husband and I are trying to figure out together as we do life as “one person” now. I recently updated my website and checked that huge goal off the list – but I’d say continuing to develop my blog into a really fun place to visit + stay an hour. As well as write my heart out.

Images from Jamie Delaine.

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

  • August 13, 2014 - 8:09 AM

    jamie delaine - thank you lesley! appreciate this so much.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 4:03 PM

    Jennifer Wilson - I really enjoyed reading the first of many in the inspiring women’s series. What a wonderful way to celebrate and learn from one another.ReplyCancel