get GRATEFUL!

ImageYesterday was a great reminder of the little things that pass us by and we forget to get grateful for them. I was a parent on one of my daughter’s field trips to a local storytelling festival. Imagine hundreds of children crammed on five buses on a very hot, sunshine day. We arrived at the festival and were escorted to a large tent. We sat and  listened to story after story, while every two minutes I would have one of my ten kids whisper to me “I am thirsty.”  I was in a sea of kids in every direction, no sign of water & no way to keep order, so all I could do is smile & whisper back, “I know, me too.” 

It was over an hour, but relief finally came when we were able to leave the tent. We seemingly ran from shade tree to shade tree on our way back to the buses when one kid noticed a drinking fountain. There was instantly a line of fifty plus kids. One by one they drank from the needed fountain. There seemed to be a small trickle of water, so the whining began, “There’s not enough water, its just a trickle.”  I stepped to the fountain and looked at the children, “a little trickle is better than nothing.” I smiled at the line of kids, “Some water is better than nothing, right.” They were all in agreement.

It was one of those teaching moments where we were all reminded of the importance of little things.  So, I sat down and thought of other funny moments where my gratitude was abundant at such little, funny things.

Finding a bathroom after a long day hiking.   Finding a bathroom when you need one (period). Smile. Smile. Finding a pen at the bottom of my purse when I had an inspired thought to write down.   Having one egg left when my daughter only wanted an egg on toast for breakfast.   Enjoying the last bit of milk with cereal.   Grabbing a bottle of purel after high-fiving 30 grade schoolers.   Having the ability to enjoy On-Demand when we missed an episode of America’s Got Talent.   Having the right amount of shampoo left in the bottle for one more wash.   Rolling into the gas station on empty.   Getting a warning ticket from a police officer.   One more pair of underwear when everything else is dirty & needs to be washed.  Finding money in a coat pocket in the middle of summer.   Making it in time for the previews of a movie.  Enjoying the last cookie in the package. Finding a piece of gum in your purse when you really need one. Reading the last page of a 500 page book.  Getting free podcasts.  Getting a lightning deal on Amazon & not being put on the waiting list.   Winning a Budweiser Snowboard when you don’t drink or snow board.  Smile. Smile. Having just enough chocolate chips for a batch of cookies…  So many little things to think about. Hope it puts a smile on your face.

So here is something for you to do…Do this…think of moments where you were relieved, satisfied with so little, happy to have a little bit of something to get you grateful.

ImageOne last funny thing…last night we were walking to a concert venue when we noticed this car in the middle of the center lane of the parking lot. We thought “that is a crazy place to park because no one can get through.”  We parked our car and then walked by the parked car sitting inches away from a very expensive convertible corvette.  My husband’s mouth dropped and he said, “Woah, I bet that car rolled down and luckily stopped before hitting this Corvette.” We both stood their in amazement at the possibility. My husband looked in the car window and sure enough the car was in neutral and had rolled, barely missing a very expensive wreck.  I only hope the owners of the rolled car see what almost happened and are very grateful for the amazing miracle of them not tragically hitting the expensive car.  A great moment to get GRATEFUL!! 

-Have an amazing day!!  Heather

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CREATE

Image“We are the makers of music and the dreamers of dreams.”  -Willy Wonka

I was laughing at my whirl of ideas that I have collected on my phone, so I began this week to tackle my whims of creativity & take it a day at a time.

I like the idea of creating something or finding a piece of creativity in the every day, so I am taking on the challenge. I am striving to create, work on an idea, take a picture, try something new, learn more about a creative venture, finish books, write a musical….the ideas are endless, but NOTHING will be done if I don’t take it a little step at a time.

I just watched a great ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love. She talks in this conference about how she gets through the conversations that everyone asks—how are you going to top this book? She has a great twist on your elusive creative genius. This talk may not be for everyone, but I definitely could relate in understanding the ideas and gifts that seem to come to you in your dreams or the early hours of the morning & always wondering what to do with them or how to bring them to fruition. 

Here is the link to the conference: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

SHOULD YOU BE AFRAID TO DO THE WORK THAT YOU WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO? Great question taken from this Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert

This statement reiterates in my mind that ideas come to us for a reason. Do we do every little spark that swirls in our imagination? Do we follow even one? Do we write and when the fog comes or the ideas dwindle, do we stop writing? Do we get inspired by a song & envision an amazing musical but not attempt to write it because you don’t have the first clue of how to create a production? Do you not begin a blog because you are afraid you wont know what to write? Do you put your camera down because everyone else is taking pictures? Do you not begin when a spark of genius lands within your heart?

That little spark was entrusted to you, a gift that has followed your souls desires & is trying to help you break free from the limitations you are putting on yourself. It is only yours for a time, so nurture it, learn from it, grow it & give it wings to help you fulfill the endless possibilities. 

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”  -Pablo Picasso

Create. Find something to bring out your creative genius.  Sketch a flower, write a poem, listen to a new piece of music, look at magazines for interesting patterns and fonts, take a picture on your phone, notice the details of a feather & create an image, create sounds from drumming, whistle, dance…listen to what calls your heart to play.

Happy creating   -Heather

Look Outside…of YOURSELF

Homeless-2-Ian_Spence_largeLook outside…of yourself!

We get so use to seeing what we don’t have, wanting things that other people have, sometimes pulling a tantrum because we don’t get the $45 moccasins we have to have!! After watching my daughter struggle not getting her way I jumped at the opportunity to get her out of herself and help another. We were circling a round-about & saw a man standing on the street corner playing his guitar.

I had seen him there the day before, but looked away & tried not to see him– often we look away trying to avoid the moment of judgement, the heartache, the wonder if he is honest, what he’ll do with the money, etc. We hate that part of ourselves, so it is easier to pretend it is not there.

I looked at the man playing his guitar, he was wearing a yellow t-shirt & a ratty, old straw hat. He was playing with his heart and soul. I looked at my husband & said, “let’s go by him some lunch.” My husband replied irritated, “okay, if you guys want to.”  I was a little taken back that my husband seemed put out by the request, but I knew getting out of yourself and doing something nice for someone—helps everyone!!! We grabbed him a combo at Arby’s & I knew this would be an excellent opportunity for my daughter to forget about not getting what she wanted and thinking of someone else. I looked at my little girl & handed her the bag. She lit up & jumped out of the car. She ran over to the man. His face lit up & he smiled a big, child-like smile. He was so gracious & made her feel appreciated. I jumped out of the car & ran over to catch a glimpse of this old soul, this man who played with heart. I wanted to hear his voice, to see his smile, to understand his story for even a moment. He explained how he was trying to make ends meet before the snow hits & then he has a few jobs lined up. He told us how he just loves to play & it brings him such joy. You could feel and see his passion. He looked at us & with enthusiasm said, “Would you like to hear one of my songs?”  I smiled “we would love it.” My daughter and I just watched as his hands began to finger the strings & his quiet voice shared a story of heartbreak, hookers and love lost. My husband was now getting out of our car to hear the song. When he was done he explained how all his songs are his personal stories. He said he writes about many of the young girls he meets who have been beaten, abused and broken.  I replied, “I bet you get to see your fair share out here on the street.” He humbly agreed.  He then began to strum his guitar quietly while he told us that we could see his story on Vimeo. He thanked us again & began to play. He smiled his big smile & wished us well. He began to strum and sway to the story he was about to tell.

We climbed back in our car and everything seemed better, there was a perspective of gratitude, a humility of following your heart to help someone & knowing that guidance was on purpose. I looked at my little girl,  “See, everyone has a story.”  She smiled.
We waved and honked at our new friend, “The General.”

On our way home I did find his story on vimeo & I shared it with my parents. Later that day they also saw the General & stopped to give a little bit of themselves. Spreading the love truly does have a ripple affect.

I want to share his story with you, so whenever you see someone in need you will think…EVERYONE has a story to tell. Hopefully we will listen & come out a little better for it. Love to you.

Here is the story of The General   

You must always be intoxicated!

ImageYou must always be intoxicated!

Honestly growing up in Utah I would have heard this statement & immediately thought about beer parties, lots of drinking …BUT, I was just reading through some beloved quotes and came across this thought…

“You must always be intoxicated. That sums it all up: it’s the only question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time which breaks your back and bends you down to earth, you must be unremittingly intoxicated.  But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please. But never be sober. And if it should chance that sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you wake up and you intoxication has already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything that flees, everything that groans, everything that rolls, everything that sings, everything that speaks, ask them what time it is and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will reply: It’s time to be intoxicated!!   If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of Time, never be sober: never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry, or virtue, as you please.”  -Charles-Pierre Baudelaire

 

What fills you with intoxication? What fills you with a sense of being lit up? What stirs your soul and makes you full of wonder? There are so many things in this life that make you stop and think. There are so many things that we are given to make our day a little better, a little brighter. Are you filled with moments of pure happiness, a true sense of deep intoxication for the life you are living?  What makes your heart sing?? What are you doing & what are you not doing to give you that thrill of existence.

There was another quote that made me stop, it made my heart ache for the many moments I take for granted…A full moon, noticing the way water flows, enjoying the mystery of the ocean, hugging my daughter more, being healthy & strong, being able to see, reminiscing, laughing, loving…there are so many things we pass by, so many things that will help increase the deep intoxication for life that we miss. The following quote made me strive to notice things a little more.

“…because we don’t know [when we will die], we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”  -Paul Bowles

 

So, today, I make a wish that we will all strive for intoxication!! Something that makes you smile, something that will make your eyes well up in gratitude, something that will move you to see things a little differently. Notice the big and little things held within your life, the moments of grace, the moments of joy, the moments that lead to the well of intoxication, with a knowing that this well will not always be there, so it must be cherished, enjoyed slowly and savored with every moment.

Cheers to life!!  Best wishes to you.  -Heather

Change. Grow. Fly.

ImageI watched many mothers this morning taking picture after picture of every moment of the first day of school this morning. I watched a mother well up in tears, while another was getting every possible shot of her children by the school bell, by the principal, in line waiting with the other 20 students, all worried about their first day.  It was mostly lots of faces of nervous children, while their mothers were trying to snap and hold on to any piece of their little child that they could.

It was definitely a lot of emotions that swirled around. My husband and I were interviewing all the kids in our daughters class, trying to erase the worries, trying to help unify them in any thought that they were all in the same boat…nervous!!! We enjoyed every moment, knowing that within our little girls heart–she was terrified. She began her morning in tears, butterflies whirled in her stomach & she was quiet, oh so quiet. She was filled with tiny worries, where do I go, how do I find my way??  All I could do is reassure her that we would walk her through it. We would be there every step of the way.

It is funny how life goes…it is a constant learning game–we are always trying to figure out where we fit, we are always trying to find out where we belong, we are always trying to find the road we belong on.  Life is a constant whirl of unknown—from when we are young & experiencing our first day in elementary school to trying to identify a passion, seeking the right job, moving to a new city, meeting new people…it is always changing, but with change comes strength, comes a different feeling from the old, the comfortable.

I love the thought, “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.”    While we were walking our daughter Kate to school this morning, she began to hold her tummy in nervousness. I explained her tummy pains were like little nervous butterflies fluttering about & all she needs to do is let them fly & the worries will go away.

Change is inevitable, so we must take the day, embrace the differences & see everything in a different perspective.

Don’t be afraid to FLY.Image

Outer order brings inner calm

ImageI was just listening to a podcast with Gretchin Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.” It is a great read if you haven’t read it. She was talking about getting rid of the clutter & the negative energy it brings to your home. She made this statement “Outer order brings inner calm.”  I LOVE that!! It makes so much sense & it was perfectly timed because I am getting rid of junk for a garage sale this weekend & trying to restore a little more order. Yeah!!!

Here is a link to Gretchin Rubins archived tips on organizationhttp://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/tag/organization/

So, I thought today I would add some good ideas to help get rid of clutter and bring a little more peace and calm to your home & mine!!

Here is a great article that I have held on to for some time, so I thought I would share its ideas with you… 

9 Seemingly Logical Excuses for Clinging to Clutter  by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Guilt is the stickiest reason why we keep things we don’t want. It’s the heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, sentimental items, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, unwanted gifts, and grandfather clocks that no longer work. These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place where we never have to decide what we do want in our environment.

Beyond guilt, the reasons we hang on to stuff are less sticky. But no less convincing. Below are nine seemingly logical reasons we cling to clutter.

clutter excuse #1 – “i spent so much on it!”

This is a different kind of guilt. It’s self-flagellation guilt. You unconsciously punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around. You convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the hell out of you.

You won’t. And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

clutter excuse #2 – “i might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Perhaps tossed in the back of a desk drawer. Or stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of. Why?

Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day, in spite of all the cellular wireless cordless progress out there, you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came with a phone you bought in 1989 that doesn’t even exist anymore. That cord is going to make it to the grave with you.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: Rusty screws, the extra wine opener, the extra fax machine, light-switch plates from your last house, the three extra flashlights, any and all of those multi-cabled red and yellow stereo cords, extra book cases, IKEA clocks you no longer use, all the glass flower vases that came with flower deliveries, bowls and plates people left behind at dinner parties never to be claimed again, and any machinery or equipment that doesn’t work.

clutter excuse #3 – “i might do this someday.”

I know. I know. You’re certain that someday you’ll take those broken pieces of china and pottery you’ve collected, and you’ll create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. And you’ll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister’s 30th birthday party three years ago. And don’t forget the quilting project! You’re bound to get to those fabric scraps lying everywhere!

Now – I don’t mean to deny you the right to plan and dream and create. However, if these items are constantly in your environment – and if you notice them often – then I urge you to consider experiencing the vast amount of relief and liberation that appears when you let them go. No one ever expected you to finish these things. Except, perhaps, you.

Call your sister and tell her the collage isn’t gonna happen. Go out and purchase a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, get rid of all the clutter of “someday projects.”

Make space for what you want to do. Don’t fill your space with what you should do.

clutter excuse #4 – “it looks good if people see that i have this.”

One woman at a recent retreat admitted to keeping things around because she wanted to appear intelligent when she had parties. Books, CD’s, and media are typically the things that add to our perceived intelligence.

I had a hard time letting books go because I didn’t want guests to think I didn’t read. Then I realized that I only invite people into my home who love me and who I love. Anyone I love knows that I — A] can read, B] have diverse tastes in music, and C] am not stupid. I keep only the books that are relevant to my teaching or writing or songwriting. Everything else gets given away.

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

clutter excuse #5 – “i don’t know where it goes.”

When items don’t have a home, it’s harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter – like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer – but they’re not clutter. They’re just homeless.

When things have a defined place to go, then it’s easier to see what is clutter. Look at your house in terms of zones. What’s a logical and easy place to keep cards made by your kids? Where’s the best place to store stationery or projects to be done? (Even some of the projects in #3 can be managed if they are in a well-defined space or box.) One extra phone cord might belong in a box labeled “Extension Cords and Extra Cables.” Once you start defining spaces for items, then it’s easier to see when something doesn’t fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

clutter excuse #6 – “things have energy?”

This is more about unawareness than about making excuses. Some of us never knew that things have energy and meaning. Even if it’s just the meaning you assign to something – old divorce papers, sweaters you feel guilty about not wearing, or projects you’ll never have time to complete – every item in your home has energy. It’s either fueling you, or draining you. Some things might be neutral, of course. But if there’s anything that triggers you or that you just don’t like, then that is your barometer. Let it go. And trust that the right thing will come in to fill that void. Or not. Maybe you need the space right now!

clutter excuse #7 – “but i never wore it!”

See Clutter Excuse #1. Holding onto something to punish yourself for never wearing it because A] you didn’t like it after all, or B] you never lost that extra weight, only serves to drain you. You are allowed to forgive yourself and move on.

clutter excuse #8 – “there’s too much stuff!”

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. If you are a pack rat, or if this blog makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life that you don’t like, then go slow. Read this post about baby steps. Take action slowly. Divide your house into segments, and assign small chunks of time each day. You don’t have to do this all at once.

clutter excuse #9 – “i don’t know what i love or want!”

When you begin to realize what you don’t want, then you may realize that you don’t know what you do want. That’s okay. You simply had never allowed yourself to consider this option.

At my last retreat, I designed a new writing exercise to help each woman get clear about what she wanted in different areas of her life. Some of the women – even the ones who had come to my retreats several times – looked at me with stunned expressions on their faces. For a moment I thought I had designed a really bad exercise. But then I realized that these women had never allowed themselves to ask what they wanted. They never knew this was an option.

 

If you don’t know what you do want or love, try creating a vision board. That’s a great place to start. Lots of time, when you allow yourself to clear out what you don’t want, you will slowly learn what you do want just by getting comfortable with the space that’s there. If you typically rush to fill space with anything, then it may be wise to live for a time empty. This is a process, not a destination.

** I do have detailed directions for creating a vision board. here is the link  https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2013/01/02/tap-into-the-vision-for-your-life/

Here are some additional links on getting organized:

Here is a good site that has some great tips for a variety of areas—including free garage sale signs!!  http://organizedhome.com/

Here is a link to a day by day–step by step process to be organized in 30 days.  http://www.homemadesimple.com/en-US/HomeOrganization/Pages/get-organized-in-30-days.aspx

Love Real Simple, so here are some good tips from them…http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/get-organized-everyday-items-10000001106576/index.html

 
Well, that is all for today!! Happy organizing…it will bring you happiness when you feel the beautiful order you have created within your life. Just remember to take it one little step at a time.