Resolutions for 2015

Resolutions for 2015

I usually do my “New Year’s” Resolutions on my birthday but for the sake of blogdom, I am doing them early.  Here they are….

2015 Resolutions

  • Health & Fitness
    • Loose 10 lbs by my birthday (April)
      • Cut carbs and sugar
        • try one new low-carb recipe each week
      • drink more water
        • replace one cup of coffee each day with 8 oz of water
        • after one week replace another one
      • Measure and weigh food
      • keep a food log
    • Be able to do 10 full pushups and 10 burpies by my birthday
      • go to gym 3x a week
      • find a yoga class that fits my schedule
  • Business
    • Talk to a lawyer by March about legal requirements
    • Have a “shop” or consignment arrangement by June for furniture
    • Participate in one craft fair or bazaar this year for home decor items
  • Personal
    • gratitude journal – not just OLTP list – 3x a week
    • continue meditation practice – work up to 10 minutes by June
      • spend at least two hours each weekend decluttering
    • finances
      • 52 week savings plan

As you can see, my main focus for the first part of the year will be Health and Fitness, an area which has suffered over the last 6 months.  I am also considering starting a business – I refinish furniture, make home-decor items and do interior redesign.  I will begin small and re-evaluate as I go.  Simplifying my life is another item on the list as is continuing my happiness practices.  Pretty ambitious.

One of the reasons that I think this is doable is because my guy will be back in school in January.  This means most of my weeknight evenings will be free and he’ll be doing homework on weekends.  I can choose to spend my time in front of the TV or doing something that will help me achieve my goals.  I am going to choose my goals!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?


Finding meaning in life

Finding meaning in life

Earlier this month I posted on a different perspective on “the purpose of life” which helped me greatly.  Today, I want to tackle another question which I get bogged down by over-thinking the answer.

What is the meaning of my life? 

If I look at meaning as a synonym for purpose, I can suffer the same stress and feelings of failure as finding “my purpose”.  I now have a different perspective on having a life of “meaning”.  I do believe we all require meaning in our lives to be happy. According to Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor and author of One Man’s Search for Meaning, we can find meaning through work, relationships, helping others, learning, creative endeavors and spirituality.

Let’s break some of these down and see how they don’t have to be grand – little things give life meaning. Think outside the box with me.

Spirituality can be a walk in the woods, listening to music, gardening.  It doesn’t have to be a structured practice if I am not there yet.

Work doesn’t have to be paid work. Volunteering is work and helping others.  So is helping a child with his homework. I count mowing the lawn as work and if I do it while my guy trims, I am helping and building on my relationship – a hat trick (pardon the hockey reference.) Laundry is work. Cleaning is work.

Learning is another area that we seem to diminish.  Learning does not have to be formal classroom learning.  Reading a book about a person or topic is learning. When I made my first pie with a crust from scratch, I was learning.  I took a class on using chalk paint and that was learning (and a creative endeavor).  My guy and I built a shed and I learned about cement slabs and block work and roofing.  Growing a new vegetable or flower in our garden required learning. Even taking a dog training class with Fido is learning.

I always thought of myself as a logical person – very left-brain oriented. I cannot sing – you don’t want to hear me sing. I will never paint a great masterpiece, design a fashion line, write a hit song or publish the a New York Times best selling book. But there are other ways that I am creative. I consider cooking creative. Decorating my house is creative. Writing a blog is creative. Building is creative. Putting together a great outfit is creative. Doing my hair a different way is creative. Planning a party is creative. Putting together a workout is creative. Planning my garden is creative.

I can take in the neighbors trash can from the street and help someone. Holding the door for someone and help another. At the grocery store a few weeks ago, a man asked me about chopped salad. I helped him by sharing how I served it. I hope in some small way this blog helps someone.

What I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t have to be grand or formal to be “meaningful”.  I’m going to look differently at work, creativity, spirituality, and helping others and find meaning in all I do.


Lessons from a high school English essay

Lessons from a high school English essay

Hey readers – if you want a big fat dose of low self-esteem, envy and depression and want to do a number on your ability to trust and connect with other people, just go ahead and keep comparing yourself to other people.   And ladies if you want a real bad case of the “I’m uglies” just keep judging your own face and body to the photoshopped and airbrushed pictures of all those celebrities we so admire.

All I have to do is walk outside my front door to see someone who has “better” landscaping than I do and “nicer” cars in their driveway.  When I drive to work each day I pass lots of houses “grander” than mine.  And trust me at the gym, there are lots of younger girls who are “prettier” and “fitter” than I am.  And guess what, I don’t care anymore – well except for the fitter girls at the gym.  Just kidding!

Comparing seems to be part of our DNA.   What purpose it serves still baffles me – but I know that there are companies out there that just love that we do it.  They make millions on our desire to “keep up with the Joneses”.  We will max out are credit cards, become “house poor” or “car poor” and stand for hours (or days) outside a store to get the latest and greatest phone.

I remember in high school having to write essays on some of the most boring novels I ever read (and I was and still am an avid reader).  One type of essay question required me to compare and contrast two characters.  To get an “A”  you had to document similarities (compare) and explain differences (contrast).

I looked up compare at and here is the definition: ” to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences”.  Merriam Webster adds “or in order to decide which one is better”.  Why don’t we forget that part and just look at similarities – see what we have in common with someone else so that we can connect rather than compete – and our differences – to see what we might be able to learn from the other person.  Do we really need to make a judgement about better or worse?  

I am always willing to learn or be inspired by someone else.  One of these days I’m going to ask that neighbor how she grows such pretty flowers.  I watch those fitter folk at the gym to get new ideas for exercises.  I share recipes with others who like to cook and explore new ingredients and cuisines. I can acknowledge someone’s special talent or ability without making a negative judgment about myself.


Building Contentment – one little thing at a time

Building Contentment – one little thing at a time

“And God saw that it was good” Genesis 1:10

Most of us are familiar with the Judeo-Christian creation story. Did you realize that this sentence is repeated six times in the first chapter of Genesis? I think there is a great deal to be learned from these seven little words.

After each act of creation, God stopped and looked and “saw that it was good”.  How about you? Are you so busy rushing from task to task that you never even bother to see what you have accomplished and declare it “good”?  Do you take the time to give yourself credit for a job well done?

Silly as it sounds, I have always gotten a measure of satisfaction of seeing neatly folded piles of clean laundry, a freshly mowed lawn, or a clean sink (we use a lot of dishes!). Every time I walk in my kitchen, I smile because I’m still proud of the DIY remodel we did 2 years ago. After a workout, I take a moment to reflect on how amazing my muscles feel and how hard I worked. Before I take the first bite of my meal, I drink in the joy of preparing a tasty dish for the people I love. As I hang up the phone, I take pleasure in helping a client and making their day a little easier. In these little moments of stepping back and taking satisfaction in even the smallest thing – declaring it “good”  – that I build contentment into my days.

So before you rush on to the next item on your to-to list, take a moment, see what you have done and declare “it is good”.

it was good