Posted in General, lists

Time flies when you are having fun; right?!

Good morning fellow readers and bloggers.  It is a rainy, chilly day here in the Northwest.  Still dark as I headed out this morning.  Here in Oregon we change our clocks back and forth in the Spring and Fall so we have more dark hours each day during this season.

I hope your morning is starting out well.  I am sitting at my desk thinking about how fast time goes.  Perhaps this is because I have just had another birthday, the kids keep having them too or could be the end of another decade is near.  Remember how as a kid, getting through the school days, weeks and year seemed to take Forever!  Time moved at such a slower pace it seemed. Now in the adult years time seems to be speeding up and it feels like there are not enough hours to accomplish everything each day or even each week.  We hit another new year and we make the same resolutions as the year before because we didn’t come close to where we wanted to be.

In thinking about time moving quickly, I keep coming back to how I choose to live my life.  Am I having the most fun I can?  Am I enjoying more of this life than not?  Do I find myself living in peace, harmony and joy?  Am I accomplishing the goals or moving in the direction of my dreams?

I read every morning.  I love to read.  To write.  To expand my mind with new ideas I may not have heard before or to get lost in a creative story.  During the quiet morning reading, I often choose books or articles that will stretch my mind.  That will help me focus and motivate me to live my best life.  I enjoy reading stories about over-comers, the underdog who has risked everything or helped others and created the life of their dreams.  These are inspiring to me.

As I was reading this morning, this idea about time moving fast and where am I at; hit me anew.  I love my life in so many ways.  In the past 2 years life has changed immensely with adding a partner and two kids to my life.  A new dog! Sending my oldest to college.  And I would not change any of it.   There are things though I personally want to work on.  I want to be more fit.  To write more.  To build a business and create time freedom.  I have been so busy loving and building one area of my life that I have become complacent in other areas.

When we are busy enjoying one area of life, we can often drop the ball in other parts of life that still need our attention.  This has definitely been my experience.  So how do we stay focused on building our best self, in the midst of time flying right by?  How do we stay focused on fun and joy and creating the life of our dreams while juggling all the commitments that come with adulthood?

This is just a small list of a few items we can do to keep on track and continue to create the life you love no matter what age or stage of life you are at.

  1. Decide!  Make a decision about what you want your life to look like.  Be ok that this will change.  What you want in your 20’s may not be the same as what you want in your 40’s or beyond.  But indecision is the killer of dreams, so choose to be a decision maker for your own self!  Maybe create a plan for the month or a year or 5 years.  Just choosing a direction can be difficult so try to find an area that you can more easily make decisions in and decide.
  2. Write!  Set time, even just 10 minutes to write goals and dreams.  To write lists.  I have committed to the practice of writing three things I am thankful for each day.  Along with writing my intentions for myself.  Once I write it down, I have a reference I can look back to track progress as well as clarity.  And writing items that I am grateful for keeps me grounded and in a state of awareness beyond just myself.
  3. Read! I believe reading others thoughts, stories, ideas all help us.  Read anything.  I read a stat somewhere once that something like 80% of the world never reads again after going through school!  It may have been 65%!  But still, either number is staggering to me.  I can not imagine not reading.  There is so much to learn and this is one of the best ways to do so. I suggest finding books that help you with the path you are on.  If you are trying to get healthy, read cookbooks and stories of weight loss or physical breakthroughs.  If you are building a business, read books from other entrepreneurs for ideas and inspiration.  Struggling with any mental health issues, self esteem issues, family issues, you can find stories you will relate to as well as assistance in how to get through those.  Or read for the pure enjoyment of the story.  I try to split it up, about 60% is for my betterment, stories of triumph, biographies, business books, etc.  The other 40% is what I call mind candy; these are just for fun.  Could be historical fiction, romance, mystery, fantasy.  Anything that gets me engaged and lost in the story.  Reading is a sure fire way to enjoy time while it flies by.

I encourage you to try these.  To make even just one small decision toward your dream life.  Each time I write a blog post, I am doing one thing that keeps me moving toward living my best life.  I have wanted to be “published” for so many years and this avenue allows me to feel like I am.  Whether or not you see the results, each step you take will bring you closer to the life you desire.  Each time you Decide to take action, you are one step closer to your dreams and accomplishing those goals.  Each time you Write them down, you have the opportunity to re-read them, carry them with you and track progress.  Each time you Read something outside of your own thoughts and ideas you have the opportunity to learn; which always makes us better.

I hope you are living your best life.  If not in all ways, then do something about it.  Start where you are and get moving.  This life is going to keep on moving forward; how do you choose to enjoy the journey? Are you having fun? If not, you have the power to choose differently.

Posted in lists, Sunday quotes

Sunday Reflections (22): 5 tips to shake off a “no reason” for a bad mood.

Do you ever wake up and feel overwhelmed by all the things left to do before going back to work for the week?  Or just feeling a bit cranky but you don’t know why?  That is how I am feeling today.  Most of the time I wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day.  I am more inclined to be an optimist and focus on the good, or at least try, but today I am a finding that to be more of a challenge.

Somedays are just like that right?! There may be now reason for the off mood.  There may be nothing wrong in your home or relationships or job.  But for whatever reason you have a more negative attitude.  Do you work on changing those feelings when you have them or do you wallow in them?

Truth be told, sometimes I wallow.  Not for long, but sometimes I just mire in the bad mood.  This happens more when I am not sure why I am even feeling off.  But I do not like to stay cranky.  I have a partner, children and a life I love that I do not like to waste much of my time feeling negative.  When days like today creep in, I have a few tricks I use to work myself out of a mood.  Perhaps some of these will help you as well.

5 tips to shake off a “no reason” for a bad mood: 

  1. Write a list.  Write down all the tasks you feel like you have to get done today or this week.  I find that writing down the tasks that I feel are overwhelming me helps me get clear and focused.  Often times the list is much smaller than I think it is.  Like today; I am feeling that my house needs to be cleaned and picked up more.  But when I made my list; I really only have a couple things to complete.  My house is not near as messy as I was thinking in my head.
  2. Breathe.  Meditate.  I learned the a few years ago the value of meditation.  It is not an easy task for me at all!  It seems as if my thoughts are never quiet and I have a tough time calming my mind.  When I practice this it is best for me to just stand tall in my living room, taking a few deep breaths with my eyes closed.  I start with the yoga tree pose most often.  Then I may move into child’s pose and cat and cow poses.  I usually try to end with the warrior pose, making me end on a strong note.  Practicing some yoga and meditation in the morning has helped me stay centered and calm throughout the day.
  3. Take a walk.  This tip is one that I see so very often, but it is one of the best ones.  There is something refreshing about getting outside and breathing in the fresh air.  Getting our bodies moving is also a way to release feel good hormones.  Any exercise will help but I think there is something special in taking a walk.  It is usually not too difficult nor strenuous and can just be a quiet moment in the chaos of our days.
  4. Listen to music.  As I was starting my chores (from that list I made) I put on music.  Find musicians that speak to your for different reasons.  Today I needed calm, relaxing music.  Even though I was working and that would usually be a time for upbeat, fast, maybe loud styles, today I needed something different.  Music can be a great distraction and sometimes you just need to sing it out.
  5. Watch a funny video.  I am not a watcher of youtube much.  I do not have funny memes on my phone.  But I have teenagers.  They are always a great resource for funny videos and finding things that will make me laugh.  Often times these are so random, it’s impossible not to laugh.  Sometimes to redirect your thoughts, you need something random to distract you.  I find that laughter has always worked for me when I can’t seem to shake a bad mood.

No matter what mood you might be in, these tricks can help keep you calm and centered.  These are not just for a bad mood.  Often times these work best when practiced often.  I hope if you are starting your day slightly off, you try a few of these and see if they work for you.

Think I will head out for a walk now.

And just needed another pretty picture to remind myself of the beauty in this world.

 

Posted in General, lists

Belonging

We all desire to belong; to be a part of a group, team. It’s why we seek out a mate, friends, lovers.  Why we try to get along with our co-workers and teammates.  We need other people to help us navigate and tolerate the world we live in. We long to be understood and recognized.

So how do we function when we’ve not found our tribe yet? What ways can we cope while searching? How do we function in tough environments when we might feel isolated or out of our comfort zone?

This has been on my mind the last few days for a few reasons. One as I think about my daughter off in college, trying to find those she connects with. How should she go about it when many seem very different than her?  Two as I think about a friend who suffers from depression so deep that she barely desires to get out of bed; I am not even sure she is.   Three as I think about my current relationship and how great it is to feel that sense of belonging and acceptance and what did I do to get there.

Here are some of my opinions on how to get to the place of feeling that you belong; no matter what situation you might be in.

  • First this starts with a belief in your self.  You must believe that you are worthy of belonging.  Accept who you are.  Your faults and strengths.  That you are human and you will fail at times; you will hurt others at times, you are not perfect!  BUT you ARE Worthy of Belonging.  I believe every thing begins with your sense of worth!  It’s tough to belong to others if you don’t accept yourself.
  • Be honest about what you need from your tribe; your person. Your friends, coworkers, partner, family members cannot, will never be able to, read your thoughts. You must own being truthful about what you want and need from them. And be honest about what you’re willing to give to them. All relationships are a give and take, you must be able to be honest.
  • Communicate these honest truths! If you never share what your needs are, no one will know. You have to share your boundaries as well. Each of us are 100% responsible for our own emotions. Our own actions.
  • Take risks. Venture out of your comfort zone. Try new places for lunch. For happy hour. Join a new meet up or group event. Explore new stores, hiking trails, whatever interests you. Opening yourself to new adventures is a great way to meet new people who may just be part of your tribe.
  • Be willing to be open. Having an open mind and heart creates an open posture that can help others to feel safe to connect with you. The more approachable you are, the more you might find connections.

There is no right or wrong way to go about finding those who could be part of your tribe. Belonging is a personal journey and one you get to drive. The more you work on seeking those you truly can be vulnerable with the better sense of belonging you’ll feel.

Don’t give up, your team, partner, tribe awaits.

Posted in lists

Monday Musings—5 ways to start your day

This past weekend I was reading through old posts, thinking about what I have written, where I am now and how I want this blog to grow and evolve.  In looking back through some of my old posts, I found the one about how to get out of the morning funk and thought it was a pretty good list. I like lists.  I like seeing progress.  And I think I often do these items, with some modifications, and each day I am able to stay centered and fairly up beat and in a good mood (most of the time).

I have updated this and hope this list will inspire you to start your day in a positive mindset.  To build your best life, you must clean house in your mind.  You must clean out the cobwebs, get rid of the junk and generally keep it neat and tidy in there.  These are some tips on how to do that.

5 things you can do to start your day from a great place! 

  1. Start with some stretches!  Perhaps a bit of yoga.  By this, I truly mean about 5 min of stretching.  Cat, Camel, Child’s Pose.  I try some deep breathing as I sat in these poses. Trying not to think about anything for just a few minutes. Clear out my head.
  2. Journal.  Write down what you are thinking, what your dreams were about perhaps. Again taking just a few minutes and write random thoughts.  Sometimes your best ideas come right after sleep.  I try to keep my journals next to my bed for those thoughts that hit before I fall asleep but also for the start of my day.  Free flow or be deliberate, but just write.
  3. Drink a large glass of water! Before coffee! Not sure I need more info on that.  Just do it. It’s good for your body.
  4. Read. Again, just 5-10 minutes. Sometimes all I have time for in the morning is to read for this brief time.  But it helps me to start actively using my mind.  I like the “one day at time” style for this time of day.  Something inspiring, heartfelt, quick.
  5.  Make your “to do” list for the day.  Knowing what tasks you need to tackle for the day, keeping it to just a few items, will keep you focused. Being able to cross them off will help you feel accomplished.  

As you can see, I like to make lists.  I like to use a pen and paper for some of these things.  Some may prefer digital.  I like being able to cross items off my lists and see some completion.  Not all are required to start my day off on the right foot, but each day that I do these 5 things, I am better prepared and calmly equipped to tackle a new day.  

Do you have things you do to start your day in the best way possible?  Please share. 

Oh–one last tip; don’t hit the snooze!  Wake up!  Put your feet on the floor!  Embrace that you are alive another day!   Happy Monday! 

 

Posted in General, lists

8 (and 1/2) ways to bring beauty into your home on a budget

Tonight I thought I would revisit an older post and add a few updates.

For a very long time, money was extremely tight in my single mama household.  The idea of spending $4.99 for a bouquet of 5 tulips I could not spare.  And I love tulips!  I love flowers!  This is one of the only things I ever request for my birthday or as a special gift.  But this was a luxury that I could not afford very often.

I have found throughout the lean years that we could still create beauty even on a shoestring budget.  That it does not take much to brighten our homes and we gain an opportunity to be creative.

Here are a few things you can do to create beauty in your home and life, on less or for even no money at all.

  1. Find a single flower that you like.  If you can, buy just one.  Place the single flower in a small vase, set it by your bedside so you see it when you go to bed and when you wake up.  This will be something that makes you smile, which is an extra bonus for your family.
  2. Plant your favorite flower in a pot or in your yard if you can.  When this blooms, pick a flower each week and do the same as before, either place near the bed or in the bathroom, where you get to see as you start and end each day.
  3. Look through old cards and if they have a photograph or picture that you like, frame them.  Often times we keep cards from birthdays or anniversaries, but we put them in a box and do not really think about them again.  Bring them out.  See if any have sentiments that would bring you joy to read on a regular basis.  Or perhaps the card itself was beautiful, frame it. Set it on your desk or counter where you can look at every day.  Let it fill you with joy.   3b.  If you have many of these cards, you could create a collage of them or frame a set of them, as a collection, up on a wall.  
  4. Go for a walk in a park that you love, take your cell phone and take pictures of the scenery.  Take a few of them and have them printed out. You can now print from your cell at numerous places.  Put these on the fridge.  Frame them.  Stick them on the bathroom mirror.  Seeing your own photography of items you love, adds to the joy.
  5. If you can draw or paint, go to Pinterest or online and find a picture or image and recreate it.  You can find paints, small canvases or a drawing pad for under $5 at many different craft places.  Being creative is a great way to bring your own brand of beauty into your home.
  6. When looking online, if you cannot draw or paint (as I can’t) print out the images you like.  There are lots of options to finding free pictures, as long as you are not looking to sell other peoples art, you should be able to print these out.  If you can not afford to frame them, make a wall collage of 6 or 9 small pictures. Make them bright and colorful or black and white.  Just something cohesive that pleases your eye.   I have an old collection of postcards that are all in pink, framing 3 of them creates a nice wall hanging for one of my bathrooms.  Simple, pleasing and easy to do.
  7. Ask a friend that is creative to re-make the item you find pretty.   If you can not re-create it and you have friends that can ask them.  To keep it less expensive or free, offer an exchange for what you are good at.  I can not draw to save my life, but I can sew.  If I wanted a beautiful picture recreated, I could ask my sis-in-law who paints beautifully and in exchange, I could make her a quilt.  Utilize your friend’s strengths, offer your own as well.  Folks like to be helpful and useful; this could be a great opportunity for someone to showcase their own talents.  Which creates a whole other level of self-care and helps others.
  8. Or even (possibly) better, have your children create your art.  Let them draw, paint, or color you a picture.  It could be anything they wish or you could give them direction.  I am thinking perhaps I should ask my bigger kids to do this.  They could draw me some flowers, I could frame them, then I would have them always.  Or you could make this a tradition and keep a scrapbook of their drawings, that you leave out, like a coffee table book, but with your families’ art.  What a great conversation piece and a way to bring a mama some special joy.

Creating beauty in our homes does not have to be hard, expensive or take a lot of time. We are often short on time and energy, so thinking about making our spaces more beautiful instead of just functional can be something we rarely get around to.  But when you put just a tiny bit of time into creating spaces that you truly love, you are able to relax more.  Able to rest more and recharge.  Looking at things you enjoy can’t help but bring positive thoughts more to the forefront of your mind.  This is just one way you can take care of yourself.  Create spaces you love.  Bring beauty in however you can.

Let me know if you have any ideas to add to the list.  Tell me how you create beauty on a budget in your own home.  I love hearing new ideas.