life

learn from the sunflower

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This beautiful sunflower shows all the hope and promise of life.  I am here, I am happy, I am spectacular.  Bring it on. I am ready.

What a glorious sight.  Nature at its finest, from a simple little seed this masterpiece sprouted .

That was yesterday. Yesterday is gone.

Today life has already sent a blow to the sunflower.  I am guessing a squirrel had a hand in this.  It wasn’t anything personal, it just happened.

As time goes on, more and more will happen to this sunflower,  most of which will be none of its own doing.  That  is just the way it goes.

So the sunflower’s couple days brought me to my message or point.  Enjoy life even though it’s ever changing, even if at times it seems unfair.

How many time have you heard the phrase,” enjoy the moment” ?  Sounds so cliche but it’s not.  Have you managed to put this phrase to practice?

It’s not easy, but it is doable.  I try everyday.  Everyday every moment is a challenge, or should I say an “opportunity” to remember to live, to enjoy, to breath, to love and to be grateful and kind.  You can just pick one of those thoughts and you’re well on your way.

It takes a conscientious effort and a consistent effort to live in the moment.  Practice make perfect.  Take right now for instance, be happy you are reading.  Just enjoy the photos if nothing more.  Acknowledge your moment and smile.  Then repeat every moment the rest of your life.

One person I know uses the phrase “don’t time travel”  meaning don’t worry, fret or ponder the future or the past, only right now truly exists….live now – find joy now, be kind now, be grateful now, choose a positive thought over a negative thought.

I may be writing this for myself as a concrete lesson I can visualize…..but it doesn’t matter.

I hope you enjoy many moments.

Cheers.

Update:

mindtrash fall-out

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I know I have been missing from this blog, I have been working super hard on our renovation Project 1923.  I have been without a kitchen and a real bed for quite some time now, and I think it has help to change my perspective.  Simpler is better and easier for me.  Oh, and we no longer watch TV……that’s huge.

If you want to get the trash out of your head, turning the TV off is essential.  Try it for a week…. I dare you.  For serious down time, too tired to move or think down time, I have Netflix. Not the greatest selection, but the documentaries seem to suit me well at the moment.

Bit by bit, I am applying what I preach to my own life.  I have tamed the old wild-ass-consumer I used to be.  Curbed the hoarder I became as a result my shopping and now I think more clearly.   Literally I pause before each buying decision.  This solidifies my desire to use less, have less, and want less.  Not buying is incredibly empowering.  It truly is.

Just recently I’ve caught myself walking away from negative conversations.  That’s right,  just walking away…..I don’t care if someone thinks I am a weirdo.  Who cares what anyone thinks anyway?  ( you never know what is in their mind, so quit thinking about it.  It’s trash thinking, a waste of your own time and mind power.)  Be yourself, be kind, and do your best.  It is that simple.

As far as politics go, I have to turn it WAY off.  I am very opiniated about my political beliefs, however, I am never going to change a right-winged mentality.  I have learned that lesson and want no part of it.  It’s all trash- doesn’t accomplish a thing.  I am liberal at heart, and I have no problems with that. ( good thing I have a handful of political friends on line – or on-demand if you will – it’s nice to touch base without all the drama. )

Life is still hectic.

Our move has proven to be a great decision. We love our new town and our neighborhood.  It’s diverse, interesting and people are super friendly.  The house was a bargain, and the work we are doing to it is rewarding.  I have learned many skills and am stretching my imagination.  The satisfaction from a completed project is HUGE.

We are appreciating the good and actually ” living with less” is much more awesome than I ever thought possible.

I heard a friend say one day, ” My goal is to live well below my means.”  That stuck with me and I have chosen it as one of my many goals.  It’s fun.

Mini Update: I have weeded out my pottery, and actually am parting with some of my children’s art work.  The storage unit is less crowded, we hope to move to a smaller unit by September first. Currently my focus is on our renovation, 29 days of giving, real work and family.  Soon I will be paining ( art) again, it’s nice to even feel like painting again.

Whatever you want to change, you can – even if it takes forever – you have the power.  Until next time. Cheers!

Better today

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Today I learned from the other day and simply removed myself from a conversation of which I didn’t want to participate in, and I am proud of myself.

It was so easy to just change the subject, get ignored, and slowly move away.  The conversation wasn’t a feel good conversation, and even though I have my own opinions on just about everything I just wanted a more positive day for myself.  So I got it.

smiley-happy-face-yellow

There you have it, an example of taking control of my environment.   I am still learning, so I know there is hope for you too.

Happy Father’s Day all you dads, keep being awesome!

Oh it’s Sunday so I shouldn’t be posting – got to go!  Cheers!

I have never

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It’s difficult to believe this but I have never sat in a coffee shop alone with my laptop. I have never gone to a library to read. I’ve only once gone to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I’m no spring chicken. I have done many many other things that maybe someone else hasn’t done. But seriously the simple things are foreign to me.  I never felt I had the luxury of time to do these things, or I would tell myself ,  “I can do that at home.”  Doing simple things at home is never the same as doing them else where, and they rarely happen.

I remember on one vacation I was happy to cook everyone breakfast, no matter what time they woke up.  Looking out the kitchen window there nothing but beach between me and Pacific Ocean.  I determined I could cook there non-stop. At home I might say to the late risers, “I’ve been up for five hours I just had lunch.”

Here is the key, when you get home, there’s always something tugging at you. If not physically then mentally. At least in my case there is. Considering what lives at home off and on; two dogs, two cats, three children, a husband and my mother, tugging at me comes as no surprise.  That’s another reason I am heading to minimalism less stuff to even consider or clutter your thoughts.  You don’t have to bother yourself with items that have to be stored, or saved for another time, or cleaned and repaired.  No.  No Mas. The time is now.

Time to change it up a bit.

I figure I can spare one hour a day, with a minimum of travel time on either side.  So lets make it two hours.  Two hours instantly scares me into thinking I cant do this.  But I know I can if I really want it.  If I want it more than doing laundry today, or lingering on the internet,  I can spare some time to hang with nature.  That’s what I like to do.  You might like something totally different.  Maybe you won’t get to it exactly at the time you wanted, but if you want it, you can get there.

Time to let yourself know, you make the your decisions.  Face it, when we make excuses many times we still don’t even do “the excuse” of why we couldn’t do what we wanted.  Time sucks are everywhere.  You need to identified and destroy those time-leaks.

For a while I was taking the dogs to the park , throwing down a blanket and sketching with my colors pencils and reading.  With this small outing, took my hectic-life and I made it stop.  I was there.  Nothing else was allowed to tugged at me.  It was pretty awesome.

Start simply: here’s an idea you can do at home tonight.

How about a  luxury bath?  Even if you don’t usually take baths, try this on for size; 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.

I am doing this tonight.  I think I will light a few candles as well.  Love to hear how you like it , if you do it.

Cheers!

Tip: Start small, little changes every day is the best way to change your life, but don’t allow yourself to miss even one day no matter what.

Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

One day – one thing: Take ten minutes, close your eyes and visualize your life as you want to live it.

What do we really know???

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Recently, more than once, I have known things before I actually saw them in real life.

Pretty weird.  But it got me to thinking, just how did that happen.  Seriously who told my brain that I would find exactly what I thought I would find, before I found it.   How did I know?

The more abstract thing is this was a physical item, a book.  Not  feeling or an event, but an actual book.  Published in 2002, today I knew would be in the local Goodwill.  I wasn’t planning to go to Goodwill, but I felt something say “go there.”  I fought that inner voice.  That is until I remembered my post from the other day saying trust your instincts.

So I blew off my trip to the office supply store as previously planned and made my way to Goodwill.

I saw a top I donated last fall, just out now because it’s a springtime top.  I still didn’t like it.  Why on earth did I ever buy that thing?  Anyway, I looked around and practiced just being  there and concentrating on all the weird stuff I was seeing.  I listened to the music playing and minded my own space.

I thought that the “book” was there.  Mind you this was only a fleeting thought in my head.  I ignored it, didn’t even look for the book.  The thought raced across my mind once again. I ignored it again.  Finally I told myself to go look for the book……it wasn’t on the side where I thought it would be.  That was the end of that.

I turned the corner and there was a 2002 edition of the Guinness World Record book.  I could hardly believe it.  It was there.

You see, when my oldest son was young I started giving him Guinness World Record books every Christmas.  I  was encouraging him to read.  Anyway, when he was in grade school he took his brand spankin’ new 2002 Guinness World Record book  to school and some kid wrecked it.  Just like that.

I’d like to find a replacement for him and that’s why I have it on my mind.  But who knew my mind could tell me when it would be at Goodwill.

So weird.   But I am here to tell you I am open to this power if there is such a thing.

Cheers.

Tip: Try to stop thinking, sing instead.  I do this in my car, it feels good.

Inspiration:”In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.” -Shunryu Suzuli

One-day one thing: Let go of one regret forever.

Lies

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Geez. I don’t lie. I try not to lie. I can’t remember anything , so I am no good at lying and I don’t feel good if I lie. So I really don’t lie.

I can keep a secret. I am the best secret keeper I know. I never betray a trust. But I want you to know, I don’t hold on to secrets. Meaning, I hold them and throw them away, maybe file them away is a better term. Secrets belong to those who share their life with me. Those secrets belong to the person who told the secret. If someone trusts me, I feel it is my most important responsibility to protect that trust.

I have always believed this. It’s nothing that I can change or that I want to change. It part of me like my face. It is just there.

So when I get lied to or when someone betrays my trust, I am deeply offended. I lose total respect for the person that lied to me. That’s it. I cut them out, or at least I cut them off. I mentally attempt to erase them. Not so easy when the person is a relative.

The inspiration quote I posted yesterday is very interesting to me.

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich

Take some time to think about this. It may prove helpful. If you are having an important conversation, and someone isn’t actively participating, it may be a clue to their deceit. Keep alert, pay attention to body language and tone. Changing the subject is another red flag.

I have learned that if someone lies once they will lie again. I have learned that liars think it is okay to lie. They easily understand when someone lies, and they go about their day as if nothing happened. Liars hang with other liars. “Birds of a feather” still holds true.

Obviously, I have a low tolerance for liars but I know so many of them. This often puts me in a position of being the oddball. The one who “expects too much out of other people.” I get criticized for expecting people to not lie in general. Who knew standing up for the truth would be met with criticism.

I believe everyone has the right and the responsibility to protect themselves. So don’t put up with any liars they will only hurt you over and over again.

Liars never rarely change. But the truth eventually comes to light. And for that we should be grateful.

Tip: If you call a liar out they will become angry, it’s better to recognize them for what they are and ignore them.

Inspiration: “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”- Abraham Lincoln

One-day one-thing: Acknowledge who has your back, nurture that relationship.

Out of the Darkness

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The other day I looked at the clock and it said 5:30, but it was still light out. So of course I thought that my clock battery died. I didn’t realize that we have turned the corner, and the days were getting longer. Next it will be spring. This morning I even heard birds singing, yes not just making noise, they were singing.

I believe my horrible experiences over the winter sucked my personal time clock right out of me. It’s all one big blur. January? Did we have a January this year? February is okay. Valentine’s is the only holiday in my book that makes any sense. Wait, New Years make sense too.

Which brings me to March, March 15th to be exact. “Beware the Ides of March.” How fitting as I will be getting the keys to our new home on that day. It all happened so fast that I wasn’t sure if I even had time to think about it. But we are moving into the city. Not city living like New York City, nope, no high rises, but within the city boundary lines.

I will be completely honest, I have never lived in a city. Oh, I once lived in Dallas proper, but that doesn’t count. That place was a organized community maybe 19 apartment complexes in a circle with a clubhouse and large pool in the middle. I remember one event we watch Rodger Staubach jump off the high dive, he was old even back then…maybe he dove. We just drank.

So into the city we go. I have always lived in a bubble. I took an on-line quiz the other night, that among other things determines the thickness of that bubble, and mine is quite thick. I am a liberal thinker who has lived a sheltered life. Then for fun, halfway kidding half way not, I sent this clip of Clint Eastwood to my husband:

I can’t imagine living where my every move isn’t analyzed and critiqued by people who have nothing better to do – Or where people care more about the car I drive and the brand of my shoes, than who I am. In the “city” no one will care if I put a tree in the yard, or if I paint my house purple, or if I put flowers next to the sidewalk.

Where I used to live I knew the Mayor and I’m related to someone on city council. (not that that helped me in any shape or form) In the city, I know no one. My neighborhood will be mixed, very mixed and I am okay with that. And when I say mixed I mean; owners,renters, races, religion, and I really have no idea what else.

I don’t know what gets stolen, at our old house my car was broken into twice while parked in our driveway, and a few garden rocks were stolen….really…who steals a small boulders? (suburban thugs?)

We are very excited. This is the perfect new chapter considering all our existing commitments that keep us in this area. My daughter did a comparison of our new house and the one in the movie Gran Torino. Several similarities, just take a look.

(I know they aren

My question; how do you live in a place that is so big there’s nothing connecting you to the area? No schools, our children are grown, no church, we don’t go to church. Well we are about to find out.

This opportunity also brings me full circle back to “unpacking the rat” because I now have the luxury of sorting as I move. I am not taking one item of clutter with me. How cool is that? I better do a good job, because I am planning on never never doing this de-cluttering thing again.

Living better with less, now and forever.

Lucky house #7. Cheers!

Tip: Be ready.

Inspiration:” For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One-day one-thing: Appreciate the songs sung by the birds, their songs are gifts.

Not everything can be fixed

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Realizing this is difficult.  I would say, I must have thought I was super woman or something in the past because it never crossed my mind that some things are un-fixable.

At one point in my life,  I was looking at that broken egg on the ground.  I said, “That’s my last food, you broke my last food.”

That was so many years ago, it wasn’t my last food ever, but it was never fixed.  Because food in general was replaced, the brokenness of my last egg meant very little to me.  However, I never forgot the feeling of having nothing, and no way to fix it..

When you realize that somethings cant be fixed, it’s intensely realistic.  But being a mother as I have for 22 plus years now, you spend you entire life fixing things and making bad things better.  Then comes the day you can’t. You can’t fix it. You can’t make it better.

On that day little pieces of you die.

What Gives Me Hope

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As hopeless as the world appears to be, as down I am about the holidays and my own personal problems.  I do get nuggets of hope.

I cherish these nuggets, because in my world, they are few and far between.  I tend to question everything with this one word: Why?

Why if we have the resources, why can’t we solve problems?  Why if we have the intelligence, why can’t we solve problems?  Why isn’t taking care of people in need a top priority in our world?

We are a powerful country, a wealthy country, home to super wealthy corporations, but we seem to have become a country of people who don’t really care. It appears we have learned to blame the victims, and look the other way, as if they are not our reflection.

Society reflects itself, we are exactly what we see.

Why or what has led us to believe that it’s A-O.K. to let the homeless suffer in our streets? What twisted message have we been hearing that has warped our humanity into a callous self-righteous existence? What religion supports this?  What government supports this? Why do we support this?

There but for the grace of God go I. - literally.

Mind you, I don’t believe that we as individuals think that this is right.  But when faced with the decision as to what should be done about it we get over whelmed, we don’t know how to help, and we end up doing nothing.  And by doing nothing, we are essentially turning our backs on people in need.

I don’t have much extra money, at the moment, but I am going to NYC tomorrow, and I will be taking twenty five dollar bills and handing them out  to homeless people.  I think I will make PB&J sandwiches to go along with the money.  A simple brown paper bag with a sandwich and a five.  I want to help, I want them to know that they are not forgotten.

So where’s the hope?

Where are the nuggets I spoke about?

The “hope-nuggets”  are people I meet who do good things.  They are individuals who are standing up and showing they care.  Many I know  in person, and others I know through on-line relationships.  Those are the hope-nuggets, real live people.  Individual people who are making a difference how ever they can.

Thank you for existing. Thank you for sharing, and never give up on making someone’s life better.  You restore my hope in humanity and you inspire me to be a better human being.  I am so grateful for all of you.

Peace.

Inspiration:  “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. ” ~Gandhi

I get ticked.

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You know what is really difficult to do- besides change something?

It’s really hard to be up when you are down.  And I am not down as much as I am just exhausted from life.  I am tired of everything.  Almost everything, okay-okay nearly everything.

I don't even know what the universe looks like

Right now for instance the spell checker is underlining words that aren’t spelled incorrectly.  Why? ?  The other day I upgraded my OS on my iPhone and it removed my entire library of songs, except the few I purchased and those are greyed out and wont play.  These are little inconsequential things that do not matter one tiny bit, but they piss me off.  Why do they piss me off?

I’ll answer that:  Because the bigger issues in my life aren’t getting resolved.  So I find anything to rage against.  This isn’t how I like to be, but then again, if I pretend everything wonderful then I am being a  “phony.”

I don’t like pretending. I am what I am.  And right now I am ticked at the universe.

On a different day, on most days,(especially days I don’t have to deal with my family of origin) I am filled with hope, creativity and optimism, and it’s 100% genuine. “….So I got that going for me.”

I try to write from a place of  honesty, which caused this rant of a post to travel from my mind to the keyboard. I didn’t expect it to become a post I would publish.

I will take a break, because I need a break.  It’s as simple as that.  Driving to NYC will be a good break.

My favorite when I'm not down

I lose my appetite when I feel like this, but so many people out there do the opposite.  They’re happy to grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s watch a movie and chill for a awhile.  Not me.  I hate food.  Food is a pain in the @ss.  The grocery stores are awful. I dislike the carts and the people that leave them sideways in the aisle just so they can do whatever.

Besides that, the fact is that most food in America is jacked up on chemicals, hormones, pesticides and our eggs are hatch from hens that can’t even walk, who wants to eat that sh*t?  I am terrified to watch Food Inc, because I know I won’t eat for days after watching it.  I read Skinny Bitch through the chapter about meat and never picked up the book again. I didn’t eat meat much after that.

Suggestion:  if you eat meat at all, you owe it to yourself to read that chapter.

I am not a vegetarian yet, but the day is coming and coming soon.  I eat fish and eggs.  I eat those two animal products.  Sometimes milk, a third animal product – which is totally gross.   I’ll suppose I will become a demi-vegetarians.  They don’t eat red meat or poultry, but they do eat fish, eggs, vegetarian cheese, and milk-based products.  I may cut out the cows-milk.  I’ll have to buy my eggs from a person who lives south of here.  I remember driving past a house with a sign that says “fresh eggs.”

So what will I do to get out of this funk, starting now ?

1. Drink a glass of red wine.

2. Make a list of what I will do for the entire day Friday. Organized hour by hour, and in a logistical manner so that I will not back track –  (another one of my many quirks)

3. I will go to my office and light a red velvet cake candle and play really soothing music and work in peace.

4. I’ll come home and eat left over asparagus & pasta, then take a bubble bath.

5. Maybe catch up on Dexter episodes and sleep like a baby.

Getting out of a funk for me means- You have to take the time to take care of yourself.  Anyway you chose.

Thanks for reading, Happy Friday.

Cheers.

Tip: Listen to your feelings, they are there for a reason.

Inspiration:“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr Seuss

One-day one-thing: Be good to yourself, and if that means chocolate or ice cream go for it. :)