LIFE UPDATE

Hi there! It feels good to write here. The last month and a half have been a HUGE transition, and I've been quiet here because I needed the space to adjust. But now I'm feeling ready and eager to jump back on the blog and share bits of life.



The biggest transition that's happened since my last post was that we moved!! Over a month ago, we moved to Madison, Wisconsin for Blake to attend UW-Madison Law School! I am seriously loving Madison! As I've gotten older, I've found myself longing for a slower pace of life, more space and more calm. I grew up in a huge city (Moscow, Russia), and always imagined I'd live in a big city, but as I've grown more in tune with myself and my needs, I've realized that busy cities make me anxious. I need space to think, breathe, and rest. And I've grown to love nature (especially camping), so being in close proximity to it is a must for me now. All that to say, even though Madison is a major city in Wisconsin and has about the same population as St. Paul, MN, it feels entirely different. Not far from downtown, the city is cozy with lots of trees and neighborhoods. Also, Madison has everything I'd want in a city - Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, coffee shops, natural food co-ops, and cultural opportunities - but feels smaller. In short, I'm loving Madison! I could see us here for a while.


Other transitions to note...Blake started law school! He is loving it and has been a true champ! He started of doing a hybrid of online and in-person classes, but recently they moved all classes online for a few weeks. He's been adjusting and going with the flow, and I'm so proud of him!


Okay, so here's a little snapshot into what life has been like lately.


MOVING IN

I'm sure a major reason I'm loving Madison is our new apartment. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close to it! The best feature is all the windows! After living in 3 apartments with very little natural light, I am in heaven! It's truly amazing the difference natural light makes! I am very thankful and feel blessed to be able to have this apartment, especially now that we're spending so much time at home these days.


Settling in has been challenging. After years of using hand-me-down furniture, Blake and I really wanted to have a more cohesive home, which meant selling most of the little furniture we had and investing in some new pieces. Well, we soon found out that a lot of furniture was out of stock (possibly due to Covid??), so it's taken a while to get the furniture we wanted. But patience has paid off, and we have most of the major pieces we need right now! There are still boxes everywhere and we are far from settled, which is stressful for me, but I'm trying to just breathe and remember that it takes time to settle in. We will get there.



EXPLORING MADISON

Blake and I started a new tradition when we moved here of surprising each other with a date once a week. We are each given a budget and we alternate picking the date each week. It's been such a great way to explore Madison and have fun together. I picked the first date and surprised Blake with a drive-in movie! I got eaten alive by mosquitos, but we had a blast! Other dates we've done include mini golfing and batting cages and tandem kayaking.


Of course we had to explore the coffee scene here in Madison since I love coffee shops! It's been a bit harder to do due to Covid, but I think we've landed on our favorite spot - Crescendo. They roast their own beans, their coffee is good, and we've gotten to know one of the owners, which is one of my favorite parts of coffee shops.


One of my absolute favorite aspects of our new apartment is that every Saturday morning there's a farmers market in the parking lot right across the street! I adore farmers markets - buying seasonal produce straight from the growers, connecting with the makers and growers, and supporting local. Every Saturday morning Blake and I get up, throw on some clothes, and head on down to the market to grab produce for the week. Then we come back and have coffee and breakfast. Ideal Saturday morning in my book.



HEALTH

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I'm still struggling with SIBO. This topic deserves a whole blog post of it's own, but here's a snapshot. Before we moved to Madison, I sent in a stool sample test for evaluation (my doctor uses Genova Diagnostics). I have done two rounds of herbal antimicrobial treatments, and they didn't help, so my doctor wants to see if something deeper is going on. I will find out the results of my test when I see my doctor this week. I'm anxious and eager to see what the test results show, and I'm just hoping they show something definitive that we can treat.


I've been struggling with gut issues for over a year now, and it's been so hard. I'm bloated every day from when I wake up, and some days I have so little energy. Compared to a year ago, I am able to function so much better so I know I've made progress, but I am far from feeling healed. In all this, I've learned to let go of a lot, to put my health first, and to surrender my desires and needs to God. I often get frustrated that I don't have the energy to do things I want to do or I can't eat certain foods. And in those moments I have to remind myself that this is just a season, that there is hope and healing. I share more about this here.


As I mentioned, my health has really forced me to let go and slow down. I've taken some huge steps back in work and have been mostly been doing virtual assistant work, which I do enjoy. I'm also thankful that my Beautycounter business is established enough that it is partially residual income! Other changes I've made are all related to reducing stress. I've cut back on intense workouts in favor of yoga and walks in nature. I've also been taking lots of baths and using aromatherapy! I'm seriously in love with diffusing essential oils and I picked up some fresh eucalyptus at the farmers market this week and have it hanging in the shower. I don't know the ins and outs of aromatherapy, but pleasant (non-toxic) smells have been making me so happy.


Okay, that felt like a solid update on the state of things and this feels like a good place to wrap it up. I would love to hear how you guys are doing/feeling right now. Sending big hugs!


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