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there are limits…


If you’re a risk -taker, a work-horse, a dream-chaser or a go-getter, you know that it can be tough to find your limits.  You always feel like you can do more and it’ll all work out.  Some can, but I think most people who fit into that category think they can and then they get burned out.  There have been times in the four years I’ve been doing business when I’ve been burnt out, but it’s always just been for a week or two and then I’m ready to roll again.  I’m not feeling burnt out now, but I don’t want to get to that point.


I L-O-V-E what I’m doing.  I love this blog.  I love my business.  I love the opportunities I’ve gotten from it.  But there are limits and I haven’t been very good at setting them.  A few months ago, my gallbladder crapped out on me.  It would probably be more accurate to say that I worked it to death and, at the age of 33, I had to have it removed.  It’s a pretty common surgery nowadays, so I sort of shrugged it off as normal.  Recently, though, it’s hit me that it’s NOT normal to have to have an organ removed.  I should take it seriously.  Now I am.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve weened myself off of Diet Dr. Pepper (an addiction I’ve had since I was 16) and have slowly moved towards a vegetarian, plant-based, mostly whole foods diet.  I’m not dieting to lose weight.  I’m not a vegetarian for political or social reasons.  I’m changing my diet and perception of food in order to be healthy.  (I have lost 2.5 lbs, but nobody’s counting.)  So, I set up a pretty tight boundary with my food and now my meals look a lot like this…



(The funny thing is that I really enjoy fruits and vegetables, but in the past, I would only eat them when I was “on a diet”.  I’d cram my mouth full of junk the days leading up to the diet.   I can be so weird.)

 I’m also setting limits on sleep.  For the first time since I was about 14 years old, I have a bed time.  The Olympics sort of messed me up on that, because I got sucked in and stayed up until midnight, but now I’m back to getting to bed at a reasonable time, so I get plenty of rest and can be energized for the next yard sale, shopping trip, dresser to paint, or blog post to write.  I think I’m also going to *try* to wake up earlier.  Normally my kids drag me out of bed around 8:00 or 8:30, because they’re hungry.  I’m going to work on waking up earlier and maybe get in some exercise before my kids get up (I’m considering taking a master swim class twice a week at 6 am.  Eep!)  I am giving myself permission to take a few mornings off a week from painting and blogging to go on a walk with my husband or a bike ride on the battlefield with my dad.

In addition to the things mentioned above, I’m going to set limits with my work.  I’m currently saying no to all new giveaways and featured posts.  I’m saying no (or not yet) to new milk paint retailers.  I’m saying no to anything that’s going to pull me away from the things I want to focus on.

The main reasons I’m sharing this are 1.) it’s something big going on in my life and I know I can get a lot of encouragement from all of my limit-setting readers and 2.) I get a lot of e-mail asking me how I do everything.  Well, I’ve been getting it all done, but I’ve been pushing my limits (maybe even disregarding them.)  That just can’t go on forever and it’s time for me to stop pretending like I can do anything and everything I want to do.  I need to be selective and be okay with disappointing people I need to say no to.  (Sheesh, that’s hard!)

This doesn’t really mean anything for my readers.  I’m still going to have all of the posts and projects and all of that stuff.  This is mainly stuff that happens behind the scenes.  You can just know (and I know I have a lot of honorary moms out there who fret about me) that I’m setting limits to take better care of myself and my family.

 On the business side of things, I have a lot of exciting stuff coming up.   A new tile floor, a glossy red front door, a fresh look for my blog, the milk paint website will go live, my home will be featured in three magazines this fall, the paint line should ship out next week, my book will be out Nov 6, and I’ll finally be opening an online shop to sell my t-shirts…



…and some of my vintage finds and handmade pieces, and I just learned I have a small camera crew coming to my house in a couple of weeks.  It’s a really sweet time and I’m glad I’m starting to get some balance in my life, so I can really enjoy it all.

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  1. Hi Marian,
    I am glad you have set some boundaries. You have to look after yourself first. I have learned that if you don’t look after yourself no one else will. The salad looks delicious. I hope the store in Calgary Lauren Lane Decor is still going to be bringing in your Milk Paint. I can’t wait to try it.

  2. Marian,
    Glad you are listening to your innerself and taking care of yourself.My family started eating vegetarian in January after my BIL had a heart attack.It was a wake up call.We eat lots of veggies,pasta,fruits,rice,beans and nuts.We enjoy our food so much more.Yes once in a while we eat meat.Sometimes it is hard to avoid when you are at a party or something.But boy do I feel lousy the next day.Now I know why I always felt horrible.I thought it was normal to feel that way! We do still have our chocolate everyday :-) can’t give that up.And still have some sweets here and there.But I have lost 15lbs.More than I wanted to lose.My husband weighs much less too.He also lost more than he thought he would.Ane he exercises too!The best we have felt in years.I am turning 46 GULP this year(in seven days to be exact!) so I need to take better care of myself.Exercise is something I am trying to get back into.Like you I need to set boundaries.It is hard to get sucked up into so many things you forget what is important.Thank you for the reminder!

  3. Good for you! I didn’t do anything about my lifestyle until I turned 38 and every thing changed. Ladies will tell you it happens at 40 but for me it was early. Sleep and weight changes were so drastic, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Making lifestyle changes is the best idea and your body will thank you for it.

  4. Your salad looks so yummy! Ima going to go right now to have one of my own! :) Can’t wait for all your goodies coming soon! I hope for a “Miss Mustard Seed Christmas” this year!

  5. Margaret says:

    Hi Marian,
    Yep, health issues will make you stop and change, that’s for sure! Gallbladder issues are tough-just getting enough vit C and calcium goes a long way to keep your system running well. Good on you, getting fit for life!

  6. Marian,
    Thank you so much for posting about what is happening inside your head. I am just starting my career in bloging DIY and I have spent the summer organizing my life and clarifying my priorities and goals for my career so I know where to place my boundaries. It has been so helpful to me to read about your journey, so I can make good choices on my own. Thank you for your openness. It is very empowering to the rest of us.

  7. Marian, you are an inspiration in so many ways. I’m cheering for you over here!

  8. Marian Smith says:

    How can we buy a t shirt? They look fab from what I can see..

  9. Congrats on all the wonderful things you have going on! (I’m looking forward to your book release in Nov!)

  10. krista walker says:

    Good for you! I’ve recently set some new limits for myself as well. Glad I’m not alone. I kind of felt guilty that I couldn’t continue at the frantic pace I’ve been going the last few years. Anyways…that salad looks AMAZING!! How do you get your lettuce chopped up just so? I LOVE a chopped salad but can’t get it chopped like that:) If you have some good salad recipes I would love to hear about them on the blog:)



  11. Isabel says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I am 35 weeks pregnant and my gall bladder has been acting up and I am doing everything I can to hang on to it :). It does force me slow down and I think the smell of paint disagrees with it because any time I start a project it bugs me again!

    Take care of yourself and enjoy your babies!

  12. Please know that I do not disdain any of your achievements, but life goes fast and you will want to treasure MOMENTS with your husband and kids and dad! That’s the stuff that matters! PUHLEEZ go walking with your husband and biking with your dad! My husband rarely walks with me and my dad is in heaven and never did ride bikes with me. Also, please enjoy breakfast with your family. Take it from this empty-nester, they will be grown up before you know it.
    May I recommend reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp to help slow you down? blessings, k

  13. I love the timing of the internet: I’ve always struggled with putting myself first or even on the list…I’ve been trying to do better lately, but it is hard to do alone. I just started reading your blog after someone linked to it on facebook, and this is the post I see. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me that we are all in this together.

  14. So good for you that you made all these positive changes in your life. When there are so many good things happening at once, it can take a toll on your health. I have to remind myself often that just because I “can” do something, more work usually, doesn’t mean I “should”. And often I don’t figure this out until it is too late and I am so exhausted, I can’t even sleep. I think this a common theme among creative people with a lot of energy to spare, but it is so inspiring to see a leader in this industry say there are limits. Wishing you so much good luck with all your future and current endeavors. You have only just begun I predict to see what amazing places your business will really go. -K

  15. Elizabeth Clark says:


  16. Dear Marian at every stage in our life we have to look at our life, and decide what works and what doesn’t. At 52 I need to surround myself with “Cheerleaders” instead of naysayers. For me it’s weeding out the negative. I love the saying “Life is too short to drink bad wine” . Your blog has been an inspiration to me, and I thank you, and appreciate your talent! Do what you need to do!

  17. Loved hearing about all you are and are NOT doing these days. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I need to work even harder at my diet and saying no…. My business has been consuming me and I need to take better care of me before I crash…. Maybe now that school’s started I’ll fit in more “me time.” That will undoubtedly include more frequent visits here for more inspiration! You are always welcome for a farm visit too! 😉

  18. This doesn’t really have to do with the topic at hand, but I must ask if you know where I might download a suitable captcha plugin that I could use on my blog?? I’m implementing the same blog platform as you and
    I’m having difficulty getting one?


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