Something NEW

jessicaI LOVE reading about inspiring people and for some reason the winter months my brain needs the boost. The beginning of a new year brought me to the book, “Imperfect Courage” by Noonday Collection Founder, Jessica Honegger.

It was a fun read that shared her life experiences, the faith needed to leap and the courage she learned along the way in creating the largest fair-trade jewelry company in the world. And that in only five years, Noonday Collections would be named by Inc. Magazine as the forty-fifth fastest growing business in the U.S.

I wanted to do a post on some of my personal highlights (literally) from her journey. enjoy.

“Its tempting to bubble wrap our lives. Layer upon layer of protection means we stay unbroken, right through to the end. We wrap ourselves in fear. We wrap ourselves in isolation. We wrap ourselves in nightly glasses of wine in our beloved Instagram feed. We avoid real issues involving real people who live int he real world because, What if I get hurt? And yet what does this approach yield for us? A life of boredom, a lack of impact, spiritual death.

“Amidst safety the world has never before known,” Andy wrote, “the greatest spiritual struggle many of us face is to be willing to take off our bubble wrap.”

“We know that outside our front door, something much more fulfilling lies in wait. But instead of pursuing the desires of our heart, we spend our energy in defense mode, trying to avoid disappointment, betrayal, and pain. Something in us clings to these places of safety and makes it difficult to stand—even as something deeper within us longs to stand up, to eventually rise.”

I LOVE that metaphor—bubble wrap lives. You  can visualize how many of us live. I live in Utah and we have an even bigger sense of living in a bubble. I think many of us have a deeper desire to do more, be more, live more, but safety is so warm and inviting. I enjoy visualizing what it would be like to take each day and pop a piece of the bubble wrap and begin to step beyond. To take one little step each day to fulfilling a meaningful life.

“regardless of these internalized messages about staying safe and playing it small, there comes a time when each of us is called to use our one and only life to risk big and act boldly on behalf of something or someone we prize. To refuse to act just isn’t an option; we simply must move. Maybe inviting that quiet colleague to lunch will help her feel known. Maybe our simple presence will comfort a friend who is lying in a hospital bed. Maybe a quick but heartfelt “You got this” on Facebook will reassure a friend. Maybe showing up for the foster care info session will change our lives forever. Maybe our timely arrival will confirm for that lonely one that were there for them. Whatever the situation, we know that its our time to rise.”

I like how the simple, little things make a difference. It is a good reminder to just be present for who may need you TODAY, in this moment. I think it is easy to think we need to do great, big service to rise and do big work, but even the little notes, the genuine call, being with a need places you where you are needed most.

Jessica was sitting with one of her Ugandan artisan partners and asking her about dreams for the future, and she answered, “I simply want to live and not die. Most Ugandans die before the age of fifty-five. Jessica, I want to live.”

Wow, that statement really stuck with me. We live in a country where people live to be almost 100. This book had many moments that made me grateful for having hospitals, a 911 service for an emergency, clean water, safe environments, respect of women, that I have a voice and so many small things we take for granted. It was humbling to think how much we take for granted.

“There is a saying in Uganda: “You look so smart today.” It’s an expression used when speaking of appearance, but it speaks so much more to the whole person as well.”

I love the thought of making a statement that encompasses the whole person, not just the exterior.

“You know what Oprah said she learned from the thirty thousand interviews she did?” They all wanted validation…Every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”

Think about how you feel in conversations with other people. How do you feel? I do believe this is a sincere need we all share. Remember this need in all you do.

“If there is one formula that I can share with you, it is this: vulnerability, when met with empathy, leads to wholeness. It works this way every time.”

This is a genuine path to connection with others. When we are vulnerable, we almost open up and we are able to sit with the empathy we need to connect on deeper levels, which leads to whole relationships—with ourself and others.

“If you’re longing to leave a life of safety for a life of risk, meaning, and impact, then please read this carefully: you cannot get there on your own. You–even you–were made for community. To flourish, we must work with, not against, togetherness, and to prize togetherness, we must come out of isolation and be seen.”

This is one big struggle for me on a personal level. All around me are people in the same religious organization who do not seem to need me and I have struggled to need them. People in my neighborhood feel it is there duty to invite my family to specific meetings or activities, so they drop in for an invite. I will have deep conversations with them and then wont see them again for six months or a year. I see them walk by my house every day, but the depth of connection is never seemingly genuine, so it is hard to want or need to reach out. It is a struggle, but I do my best to invest in those who I feel do genuinely need me. I am a constant work in progress. Aren’t we all! smile. smile.

“Keep going scared.”

I like this motto she shares throughout the book. To me it says, no matter what, keep going even if you are scared, fearful. Walk through the scary thoughts or insecurities. To do something worthwhile, there will be obstacles that will terrify us. Keep going scared.

“When we own our worth and share our truth, not only are we more apt to taking ever-increasing risks but also we let others take big risks on us.”

When we begin to see our own value, others will see it within us. It is like the light you share–if you don’t feel the light within, then how can you light up another? When we feel of our inner worth and are able to find a deeper truth, there is a light, a purpose, a drive, a divine direction that guides us and others will see the excitement, the enthusiasm (God within) that shines from us.

“I want us to be people who cultivate compassion and create spaces of belonging for those around us.”

Who doesn’t want connection?? One of my greatest connections has come from finding a stray cat, which led me meeting a young 18-year-old girl who had just got out of foster care earlier this year. We have had an immediate connection & we have been a great gift to one another’s life. We cultivate love and compassion for one another. We can genuinely be gifts to one another when we open up the spaces—even with strangers.

“The Sisterhood Effect happens when women refuse to let perceived threats strangle our relationships, when we let empathy triumph over judgement and let collaboration win over comparison.”

Comparison is definitely a tool that can strangle relationships. If we are not aware of our own tendencies, then how do we avoid this trap? We are surrounded by social media that creates envy and judgement. Be careful. Things are NOT always as they seem.

“What it comes down to is this: there are two ways to approach people in this one precious life, and only one of them is worth doing. You can either judge, condemn, disregard, and indict people, deciding that they are shallow, an inconvenience, a mess; OR you can learn about, affirm, celebrate, and love them, offering them compassion at every turn. You can choose to assume positive intent–to assume that someone is doing the best she can, instead of jumping to the conclusion that she is acting out of malice or laziness or a sense of superiority.”

JUST LOVE.   period.

“If we are going to live for something bigger than ourselves in this world, it’s essential that we widen our circles to include not just ourselves, not just our neighbors, but people around the world.”

Circles are round and are a good metaphor of coming full circle, wholeness, fulfilled, becoming our best, doing our best. Circle of friendship. A globe. It is a beautiful symbol that is a great reminder of something bigger.

 

This book was a great read. It is full of wonderful perspectives, great stories, real life and ways to become better individuals that can inspire a better world.

Have a beautiful day! Find hope and rise to your best.  -Peace to you.

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Happy Spring!

This post is dedicated to everything SPRING!! Wahoo. It is finally beginning to defrost, bloom, and become a world full of color again.

photo_background-fence_lgPLANT FLOWERS. My daughter just did a school project to help our local bee populations. She did an educational outreach program to 5 schools within our community. She handed out seed packets for the children to plant at their homes and school. Flowers are so good for everything. Get out and plant some flowers that attract bees. Bees help pollinate 1/3 of the food we eat. Don’t be afraid of them. Help them.

 

aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9HLzUvNTIwMjc3L29yaWdpbmFsL2Jlc3RfY2FtZXJhc19jb3Zlcl9pbWFnZS5qcGc=TAKE PICTURES OF THE BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS. You can’t help but be in awe of the beautiful blooms of spring.

 

photoGO ON A BIKE RIDE. I Love the wind blowing my hair and the feeling of the wind as you bike through beautiful scenery. Find a new place near you that will be perfect for that easy ride or a scenic, mountain experience. Find a place you want to ride and make it happen.

 

20140515-293054-kebabsEAT FOOD OFF OF A STICK. I laughed out loud as I looked in my rear view mirror and spotted a guy behind me stopped at a light and enjoying a giant skewer of meat on a stick. As he pulled up next to us, I told my daughter to look over at him. She began to laugh as she watched him lick and then shove an entire cupcake into his mouth. This guy was living the good life!! Here are 70 delicious foods on a stick!! http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g2791/foods-on-sticks/

 

BBQSPRING IS A GREAT TIME TO BBQ! Here are a few links to some of the best bbq recipes out there…FOODNETWORK recipes http://www.foodnetwork.com/grilling/grilling-central-barbecue/best-backyard-barbecue-recipes.    ALLRECIPES http://allrecipes.com/recipes/88/bbq-grilling/ and COOKING LIGHT RECIPES http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/five-star-grill-recipes

 

picnicfor2GO MEATLESS for a bit. My husband is a meat man and I am a vegetarian, so our meals are always a mash up. My husband has been getting sick when he eats too much meat, so I have challenged him to give up the meat for a bit. I think it is a good thing for the body and gives your system a bit of a break. Spring is a great time to eat great salads, bbq veggies, and give your body a break.

 

picnic1EAT OUTSIDE. I love pulling out the patio chair cushions, putting up an umbrella and preparing for the sun!! Wahoo. It gets everything feeling right to pull up a chair and eat outside. Outdoor spaces open up and invite you to talk longer, breathe in fresh air, and enjoy the natural landscape. I also LOVE a good picnic. Who doesn’t enjoy throwing out a blanket, lounging under a tree and enjoying a yummy sandwich, good music or a good book, birds chirping, sun shining. Always a good time!

 

11127_Spring_Cleaning_800SPRING CLEAN. Spring cleaning is a perfect time to evaluate what you truly need in your life. Going through closets and clothes allows you to swap out cool cottons for heavy winter clothing. It also allows you to get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in the last year & donate them to someone who could use them. Clear out clutter to allow better things into your life.  Here are some quick Spring Cleaning Shortcuts from REAL SIMPLE https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/spring-cleaning-shortcuts/spring-cleaning-shortcuts-intro

 

1114-588x352LOUNGE. Take some time each day to just lounge. Have a special spot outside, in a hammock or lounge chair and read, take in some sun, watch your children play, breathe in fresh air, or just watch the clouds.

 

originalEXPLORE. Take some time to get out and explore places you have never been. Maybe there is a garden you have never been to, a hike you have always wanted to do, a scenic road you have wanted to take…begin to try finding somewhere to explore.

 

Enjoy SPRING!! HAPPY SPRING!!

Holiday Ads to Inspire

 

A Personal Favorite

Another darling one from John Lewis

Another cute one from John Lewis…”Gifts that everyone will love”

 

GAP has a great holiday motto.  “Share your Gifts”

 

Love this Macey’s ad: What would you do with wishes to make others dreams come true?

Macey’s also put together a magical dance performance on Dancing with the Stars. It is a fun performance to watch. enjoy.

 

The point to these holiday ads…enjoy the holiday season and find ways to “share your gifts” or make other’s feel happy and loved this holiday season. It is the season of giving of yourself, believing in the magic and finding the true reasons for the season. Be a gift to others this holiday season.

Peace and Love -H

For the LOVE of horses

Yesterday my cute family took me to see the beautiful cirque inspired horse show, Cavalia for Mothers Day. It was incredible to watch the grace and beauty of the horses, the imagery, the intense riding, and the amazing training that has been put in to create such a show.

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The above image was one of many images from the Cavalia show that showed the love and training these people have for these horses. This woman was guiding these horses and they followed her every move and listened to every command. It was amazing and I had such an immense appreciation for this particular moment because I know how hard it can be to control your energy and get what you want from the horses. I sat there in awe at her clear desires and how the horses just followed. It was incredible.

This scene in particular touched me, it reminded me of a day where I spent time working with five different horses, trying to learn and understand their energy. My experience taught me how in tune you need to be with your own energy, so you can then project it on to the horses and have them follow you. It was a hard lesson for me to learn. To read my full blog post on my experience https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2014/04/10/a-few-horses-a-lot-of-life-lessons/

 

 

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After the show we were able to go back stage and see the horses. Time and time again I saw the horse groomers brushing, petting, stroking the horses noses with such love and care. I talked to a couple of them, but one in particular was having a sweet moment with one of her horses. I said sarcastically, “You don’t have any favorites do you?” She smiled a big smile, “I love all my horses, but there are definitely some that you have something special with.” She put her face next to the horses and you could see the affection they have for one another. It was genuine LOVE. So sweet.

It was an amazing show & if you get the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend. It is beauty, magic, lovely music, incredible horse work…priceless. Here is a TINY taste.

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Cavalia

Here are some other great videos and images on the LOVE of horses. Enjoy. Everyone can be inspired by the power and beauty of these majestic animals. They speak freedom, the wild, carefree spirit, running because that is their calling.

 

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One last personal horse story: 

I was instantly drawn to the giant black horse that resided next door. At first it was his size that brought me in. But then as I watched him, he had a wildness that I could relate to, or on some other level needed and understood. I would watch him run wildly as though something inside him needed to be free. He would run faster and faster until there was no more room to run.

He wasn’t like a typical horse that stood motionless or meandered slowly, he was a vibrant spirit, unchangable in heart and soul. I connected with him instantly.

As a child I loved the movie, “The Black Stallion” and there was something about this horse, this black beauty, the running, the need for freedom, the need for friendship that drew me to this beautiful creature. I knew nothing about horses and had been on a horse maybe twice in my life. I felt like a little kid eager to get close and giddy at the thought of it.

I began to notice that no one spent time with him and that he was never fed, so my plan was to entice him with a large red apple. He was definitely untame and had not been around people for awhile. It took some time for him to trust me. I threw apples over the fence to get him to come closer, and slowly he began to see that I meant no harm. I went through dozens of apples before the glorious moment when he allowed me to touch his nose. It was a thrilling moment of friendship and trust. I was immediately hooked–visions of me riding bareback like the boy in The Black Stallion raced through my mind. I wanted the freedom that this beautiful horse could give me.

Then in an instant he bolted off and our moment together was over. My reality set in. He was a wild one and not even my wild one. But I could have one thing; the beautiful moments to watch him run, seemingly free, like a horse with a herd to run with. It was as if his heart could soar, though he was like a caged bird.

Over the next year my affair continued and he began to trust me more and more. I noticed through the winter months that no one was feeding him and my heart yearned to take better care of him. I talked my husband into asking our neighbor if we could buy him. The cost was $250. That may not seem like much for a horse, but for a young couple paying $400 in rent, to buy an unrideable, wild horse it was expensive and definitely not realistic. But that is how you know someone loves you…they buy you a wild, unrideable horse because you see something in that horse, something that changes you, something you need.

We came to find out his name was Sundance. Even his name was beautiful and freeing.

Every moment I spent with him became a dance of trust and he was not willing to give up the lead. Things were definitely on his terms. His trust was not given freely and there was something admirable in that. He had a wild fire within him, an almost telling nature of the need to be free. He was the epitome of every horse you see in the movies that yearns for freedom, the wild, depicted as ‘untamable’ and should be ‘put down.’

That fire was one of the things I loved about Sundance. It was something I believed we had in common. I could relate to this need of being unchanged and untamable, and that is why I was drawn to him.

My whole life my dad told me I was stubborn like a thoroughbred and that stuck with me. I always thought, “what is wrong with that??” and when I came to know this magnificent creature I began to sense what my father meant. Sundance definitely was stubborn and unchangeable, but his wild stubborn sense is one of the things that made him beautiful.

I began to embrace my own strengths as I watched and learned what I began to admire in this horse. I began to see myself clearly through seeing such strength and beauty. This horse was my symbol of myself, the yearning to be free, to find my voice, the need to truly trust someone, the awareness of the limits that held me from my true self, and the untamable nature that is me.

Shortly after we purchased Sundance our neighbor decided to put six mares in the pasture next to Sundance. Sundance became restless and agitated and I couldn’t figure out why. I watched him as he ran the fence back and forth where the mares were. I began to see his desire to be with them and his need to be with the herd he so desperately longed for. The mares were not my neighbors, so Sundance had to be isolated from them. I could see his desperation, but there was nothing I could do.

A few days later I came home to see Sundance wildly running with the mares in their field—I panicked not knowing how he had been able to get to them. I ran over to the fence and noticed some large scratches on his side and reality struck…he had jumped the six foot fence that was topped with barbed wire, with no thought of fear or harm.

My admiration soared to a whole new level. He was a horse of unstoppable determination and will. WOW! I knew nothing would stop him and this confirmed my feelings…

There is within each and every one of us an unchangeable desire, a desire that is placed within us to do unstoppable things with our lives. We must listen to the words that play from our heart because there is a natural truth yearning to be set free. We must find our inner calling and become unchangeable in our direction. We must seek our path and allow our thoroughbread to truly run free.

Do not let society tame you with its ideas of what should and shouldn’t be. Listen to your heart, for it knows your right life. Seek to find the wonder, seek to find your spontaneity, your inner yearnings. Let go of what is holding you back, whether it is the fear or doubt, do not let the illusions of this world hold you from your true spirit.

Let it run free.

So, what was so wrong with being like a stubborn thoroughbred???

Thank you Sundance. Thank you Dad.

 

 

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. 
 
 

Slow down…it’s SUMMER!

ImageDriving down the street the other day my husband and I came bumper to bumper with a “slow poke” driver. There are slow drivers, but then there was this old, beater truck with a baby tree in the back. I smiled, “they are probably going slow so their new tree doesn’t fall over.” We then got to a point where we could pass her & it was a big reminder to SLOW DOWN…life is short & summer is even shorter. I still wish I would have been able to capture the image on my camera. It was a women, wearing a woven cowgirl type style hat, eating a popsicle, just enjoying the ride. It was a darling moment—her casually enjoying her childhood ice pop, tenderly driving her baby tree home to its new destination. A priceless lesson of how summer should be, so I thought today I would put together some additional ideas on how to slow down this summer and enjoy the ride!!

ImageMake your own home mades: Whether your family loves freshly squeezed lemonade, fruit punch ice pops, hot chocolate chip cookies, home made buttermilk pancakes, or fresh wheat break for their pb&j’s, take a moment, slow down and make something home made for your family.

ImageSit under a tree: Trees have this amazing energy & will freely give…Trees are among the world’s greatest givers. Their slow and gentle life cycles provide the world with clean air, their roots fi lter water, and their majestically spreading branches provide shade. Full of vibrant, natural energy, trees can also give us the gifts of peace and nurturance. Hug- ging or sitting with your spine against the trunk of any tree can ground your body and inspire a profound closeness with nature, as the energy of the tree connects to you. Making physi- cal contact with a tree can help you relax, alleviate stress, sleep more deeply, and hold on to more positive energy. Trees can absorb great amounts of energy and have the ability to soak up harmful energy from deep within you. If you are feeling anxious, sad, drained, or tense, then try hugging a tree. Go to the woods, a garden, or a park, and fi nd a tree that you would like to hug. Stand next to the tree and close your eyes. Relax your senses while breathing in the scent of leaves and bark. Listen to the creaking of the branches…If you would feel more comfortable, you can sit with your back pressed to the tree for the same effect…Remember to thank the tree because, by hugging your tree, you are drinking from the well of natural copious energy cultivated by the tree’s many years on this earth. –dailyom.com

Image“To swing or not to swing.SWING!” 

Swing high: As a kid swinging had this magical sense of flying, feeling as if you could touch the clouds, having now worries and then jumping as far and high as possible. I think a good swing can take you back to the feelings of possibility and take worries away, so slow down and have a good swing!

Image“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”  -John Ruskin

Plant a flower and watch it grow: There is wonder and ah in watching a seedling grow, seeing the sprouts, watching it reach toward the light and changing each day. Watering its little pot and observing how the water seeps into the rich soil to drain in small puddles. There is a natural flow, a magic that can be pushed, forced or changed. Nature holds so many lessons and watching a flower grow in love, nurturing its small, delicate petals, talking gently to it…everything about it slows the world around you. It makes you stop and take notice of the little details, the progress it has made, the timing of everything.

Image“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”  -Nadine Stair

Walk barefoot: There was a wise man who one said if you always walk the earth in leather shoes—it will feel like the earth is hard leather.

Image“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” -Frank Kafka

Have some quiet time: Whether you create a specific time to take a nap, gather your children around for quiet reading time or just do nothing…quiet is good. We often have too many stimuli around us all the time (the television noise, gaming, the inbox, the phone, loud music, neighbor drama, cars whizzing down the street…) slow down and let your mind rest.

Disconnect: Have a No electronics day or each day limit it to one hour & that is it. Try leaving your phone home when you go on a walk. Limit checking your emails to 2x a day. If your constantly carrying your phone, you will have interruptions, so be mindful. Have limited television watching, by having the kids earn one television show or movie for a special occasion.

Image“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”  -Anon

Play a simple game: Slow down with a fun card game or pull out a set of jacks, maybe a fun outdoor game of croquet. Simple games allow the mind to wander while also engaging in something that avoids boredom and can spur on a little fun. Simple is better.

Image“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, was really going in.”  -John Muir

Do something outside that is relaxing: like bubble blowing, cloud watching, star gazing, go on a nature walk, chalk drawing, have a picnic, lay in the long grass, listen to the wind, watch the trees sway. Nature has a connecting quality that seems to heal our soul. Over and over I read about nature, the lessons we can learn, the natural cures she holds, the health benefits, the peace. Nature has a magical charm that we often overlook to help us slow down, to change our perspective, to see our own personal needs. We just need to see it.

Image“Water, air and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy.”  -Napoleon Bonaparte

Fresh air: Open your windows as much as possible. We use to not have as much asthma or breathing problems in our children. We use to leave our windows open to blow in fresh air and send the stagnate, dead air away. We don’t usually do that any more. We turn on our a/c and let everything circle and circle. Open your windows, dry your clothes outside for a change, let the wind take away any worries, to clear out your lungs, to send in the natural fragrance of a lilac bush.

ImageTry slowing down the things that are routine: Can you consciously begin to eat slower during meals? What about driving, can you slow down or not get frustrated at other drivers?

Stop multi-tasking for one day: Begin one day at a time. Can you take one day and focus on one thing at a time? Can you be present in each moment & not thinking of the next and the next list of things that need to be done. Try it and see how you feel. Then try it another day and another, soon you will be slowing down your mind and enjoying the summer and not list tasking through it. ENJOY IT!

ImageJust Breathe.

Well, those are some ideas to get you started on slowing down & taking the time to enjoy your SUMMER.  Have a Happy day!! -Heather

Music has power

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Music always has a power for me. When I am feeling down I yearn to find music that speaks to my feelings. Music seems to be a playlist of our life. You can listen to a song and it takes you back to specific moments and memories. Music inspires, moves us, pushes us, and will always remind us of the greatness we hold within. It holds the theme songs for our life.  I saw the following ad and wanted to post it because it sang to my soul, so then I gathered a few more to instill the magic that music holds. Hope you enjoy.

I saw this ad for the iPhone and fell in love with the whole concept, the song, the visual, the simplicity.  fyi: the song was written by Rob Simonsen specifically for apple, but he does have some additional music that is calming and beautiful.

Another moving commercial that illustrates the power of music…enjoy. Sweet, heart breaking, but powerful.

Here is one more Coke ad that has a great vision, good music and great heart. It will make you smile & maybe do a little something extra today!!

And one last song I wanted to share. I just came across it & appreciated the musicality of it…

This song has a beautiful balance of instrumental edge with feeling.

 

Music speaks to the SOUL.

-Heather