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Hi.

Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat, a newlywed, and someone trying to figure out how to take care of myself. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

Dear February 2018

Dear February 2018

SPIRITUAL

Unfortunately, I didn't follow through on planning our weekends--our Sunday--around church. I'm not sure if it's my current attitude toward work, or what, but Sundays have turned into me clinging to the concept of home. I don't want to get out of my PJs and I want to do nothing as long as possible. And I'm not particularly proud of that. But this month, we're starting to help lead a new group through our church and it's really important to me to do my best and give all I can to that group. I've mentioned before that I've been more shy and more reserved in social situations, but luckily our group is centred around board games, which I love, so it should be easier for me to socialise with our group.

FINANCIAL

I've now completed an account switch and moved from my first bank to Luke's bank, as well as opened a joint account with Luke. I feel so grown up! And speaking of being grown up, we've been having more conversations about next-steps for us, that starts with paying for our wedding and honeymoon this year, but continues into bigger, future plans like buying a house and starting a family. Luke is great with money and financial planning, but it would be nice to maybe make a tentative life plan for the next 5 years so that we're both on the same page about those expectations (like when we want to buy a house, when we want to have kids, etc.) and aren't surprised by what those things will cost or unsure of where that money will come from. Meaning, we can start saving now and living like we're going to buy a house in X amount of time. Truly, that's probably not in the realm of possibilities with Luke, especially considering he's been saving for a house long before I moved to England, but that we still should make realistic goals that we can actually meet.

RELATIONAL

We've done it! We're over 50% planned according to The Knot! That feels like a major relief after spending much of the summer and autumn stressing about how nothing was getting done and also doing nothing. I've updated our checklist with completed tasks and refined things to take off tasks we're not going to complete. Now that things feel like they're happening, I feel like I'm always thinking about the wedding, which probably translates to always--or almost always--talking about the wedding. So this month, I want to commit to setting aside non-wedding time with Luke. That means not turning wedding appointments into little dates or turning a quiet evening at home into mindless wedding crafting.

SOCIAL

Last month, my goal was to schedule an evening with some ladies I've met since moving to come over to our house for a ladies' night. Unfortunately I didn't get anything scheduled yet, but I definitely still want to do that, so that's my goal for this month as well.

MENTAL

Honestly, we've been crushing our "bedtime routine". We've been very consistent on weeknights, which was obviously the main problem. We're more aware of the time and try to get upstairs between 9:00 and 9:30. It sounds early, but we're also trying to not only wake up, but also get up at 6:30, and we've accounted for an hour getting ready for bed and reading. We've both been great about reading, which bodes well for the books we got for and during Christmas! It finally feels like a sustainable habit since I've only resorted to Netflix on my phone maybe twice this whole month when I really couldn't settle my mind or fall asleep. So now that we've settled into a decent time to go to sleep, we need to work on actually getting up at 6:30. I found a morning yoga flow that would be a great way to start the day if we can ever figure out how to stop hitting snooze until the very last moment. It will probably make us more consistently on time to work, too.

PHYSICAL

I'm glad I set an attainable goal for fitness because it feels good to have accomplished it. It was really small and probably seemed easy to some people, but I knew I would fail if my goal was to work out 5 or even 3 times a week. And I was right, unfortunately. But it's been helpful that Luke has been more motivated and consistent to work out and now that we have the same schedule, I don't mind working out in the evenings. When I wasn't working, I just couldn't sit around all day waiting for him to get home. By the time he got home, I just wanted to hang out with him and not work out. So this month, I'm upping the ante and my goal is to work out eight times or twice a week. As the wedding draws closer, hopefully my dedication to fitness increases as well and now I know that it feels good to accomplish something and it's not the worst thing in the world to get in a quick work out between getting home from work and making dinner. Turns out it also helps prevent us from having dessert or popcorn later since we're not eating as early.

PERSONAL

We've done pretty well at our new meal planning plan. We've stuck to our two week rotation and we've both noticed differences. We even tried cauliflower rice instead of rice to help cut back on the amount of grains and carbs we have each week. We're definitely getting better at portion control and pizza and pasta feels more like a treat than a part of our everyday. This month, I'm going a different direction and want to learn more about our new camera. I have at least one exciting opportunity to take our new camera out for a spin, but I'd really like to actually learn how to use it well. I've had a YouTube tutorial bookmarked on my laptop for weeks that I haven't gotten around to watching, but the time is now!

PROFESSIONAL

Last month I complained about my job here. A few changes, like checking my attitude at the door, have helped make things better. So this month, I just want to focus on what's good about where I'm at. If I'm always looking ahead to the "next chapter" then I'll never be satisfied with where I am currently. So once a day while I'm at work, I want to remind myself of one good thing about my job.

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Sharing Finances & A Budget

Sharing Finances & A Budget

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