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Just Tomato Soup

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“What’s for supper”

A text message from my daughter interrupts my work just I’m about to finish up for the day. Annoyed, I ignore it, though I am dying to reply “idk, what are YOU making?” but I let the moment pass since it doesn’t serve either of us. I do ponder yet again why I don’t have the kids make more meals…and why I have kids in the first place.

I’m tired today. Some days, I just want to go home and curl up with a good book and fall asleep at 8. Some days I crave it so badly it brings a tear to my eye when I realize I just can’t today. I let that moment pass too.

I walk home and trip over everyone’s shoes at the front door. Then I grab my other mitts and shovel for the next half hour, listening to my music. I feel the cold air on my exposed face. It feels good to feel my heart pounding and I hear nothing else but my music and the scrape of the shovel. I could get them off their butts to help me. Yes, they should have had it done before I got home. I let them have their space and I greedily take mine. Outside, no one in my head or my ear. Just me and the winter. And the day melts away.

Back inside, I am asked again “What’s for supper?”

“Tomato soup and grilled cheese” I reply.

Yep, just tomato soup. No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal. No old family recipe that I’ve been making for ages. Nothing that will find it’s way to a Pinterest board. Just tomato soup.

No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal, just tomato soup.

 

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I pull out the relatively expensive box of amazing organic tomato soup that I didn’t make myself but discovered that everyone loves. I start to warm it on the stove. I cut up the delicious Gouda cheese, and a little bit of the jalapeno Havarti. I slather butter on one side of some yummy, soft rye bread I bought yesterday. I grab a few slices of the ham I bought for lunches. I assemble and cook them into toasted, melty goodness and pour the soup into bowls. Cucumber slices circle the plates and I deliver them to children who stop what they are doing to exclaim “Thanks Momma!”

I love it when they are like little kids again. Gleeful, calling me “Momma”, full of excitement and gratefulness for one of their favorite comfort foods. It fills my heart more than the winter air did. We sit together and visit about any little thing that comes to their heads. I crumble exactly 5 perfect plain crackers into my soup. I’ve always done it that way. Exactly 5, gathered together and lovingly crushed and sprinkled into my tomato soup. And I am 13 again too. With my own Momma and brother and sisters, talking about nothing and everything all at once.

I love it when they are like little kids again.

Melty cheese is stuck to her chin and we laugh. I quickly make another for him. Suddenly I realize that he is taller than me and finally I understand why he’s always scrounging for something else to eat! My heart aches a little as I think about how quickly their older brother grew and now makes his own tomato soup in a different house, thankfully, not too far away. But away, just the same. My tomato soup silly evenings are disappearing fast.

I am savoring every moment with them, every simple slurp of their teen lives and the melty bites in between where they allow me to be their “Momma” even for a minute. Hugging me with my head on their shoulders now that they are so much bigger than me. I relish every complaint about the beautiful meals I make them that they like less because someday, I will be eating without them.

I am savoring every moment with them

It doesn’t matter what we eat. It matters HOW we eat. Take in every morsel with exuberance and with attention to who you are with. Put down your damn phone and be with the food. Be with them. Be with yourself for a few minutes. Indulge yourself with the expensive favorite dessert, the steak dinner that he made for you, the bowl of cereal you manage to squeeze into your morning, the apple at your desk.

Feel every single piece of life that it has to offer. No criticism, no guilt, no remorse that it could have been healthier, cheaper, easier, more gourmet. Just eat.

Tomato soup simple. Just tomato soup. Just for today.

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Community

It seems that in our culture, we’ve kind of lost the Community.

It’s often seems difficult for women to gather. There’s always someone who needs us to do something. There’s always a mess to cleanup or one more thing to get to. We rush around and rarely seem to stop. When we do gather, the depth seems to be missing because there are so many walls and guard rails put up that get in the way of real connection.

Throughout history women have gathered – it’s an important part of who we are. It is integral part of being women. Through that gathering, we affect change, we are the holders of wisdom. Thankfully, there seems to be a hunger for more gathering. Women have begun to seek connection with other ‘kindred spirits’ in more meaningful ways. Yet, so many are still  feeling in isolation, like they are missing something. A phantom limb. This need to gather is repressed because there is just so much to do. My need to gather does not disappear, it is “cut-off” for a time. But this is not permanent. We can reconnect!

We often think that this ache for real connection can only be filled by a relationship with a man. That is part of it, but even being in a relationship with a great man, we still feel like something is missing. Maybe this phantom limb needs to be acknowledged and addressed? Maybe we need to fill that gap? So many women haven’t had meaningful relationships with other women. It feels too scary, too vulnerable. Yet when we really connect, it’s in these vulnerabilities that our strength is finally found.

What is lost if we don’t re-establish the Community?

Everything! Everything that we are as women! We need each other’s advice, support, love, nurturing. We are human; we cannot live in isolation. We need each other’s voices in the dark. My mother’s generation sacrificed everything for their children, including friendships with other women, because they thought they had to sacrifice to be a good mother. They didn’t have quilting bees or ladies auxiliaries – they were the rebels of the sixties that became mothers in the 70’s and lost a part of themselves, and many, I think, resented that. My mom and others like her are just realizing again how beneficial those relationships are as they lean on each other because their busy children (my generation) aren’t devoting our lives back to them. But…I am learning to INCLUDE my mother in my Community, understanding how important different generations are in this Community – how I need her wisdom and different opinions. I talk more to my mother now than I ever did, in-depth conversations that I was afraid to have with her before.

What is gained when we establish Community?

I am blessed to know many good, strong, supportive Communities now that I have made it a priority. My first “Core Desired Feeling” is Connected. It has made my heart soar again with the knowledge that I’m not alone in my questions, my passion, my life! It has brought depth to my relationship with my family, freedom to speak the truth and the ability to encourage them to do the same. Learning to have meaningful, open conversation has enabled me to have the same with my husband – talking through things instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. It has brought me peace and meaning to my life. There was such an ache before…such a need to be accepted, to be loved. I did not know what it was because I didn’t have those kind of relationships growing up – I was always too afraid to be myself, be my own truth. I just did/said what I thought everyone expected of me. But the ache and longing were there, always persisting, always waiting for me to hear it.

What am I afraid of?

I lived in constant fear of the “competition” of other women. When I was young, I felt I was in competition to be a better friend than the next person. Afraid that if I wasn’t the perfect friend, I would lose that person to someone else. In the end, it pushed them away anyway because I was holding on so tightly for fear of that competition! I didn’t want the group of friends because it was so hard to please them all.

And then, when I got married, I was so jealous of every look, every glance, every woman around. Who was I to have such a wonderful, handsome husband? I was so plain and imperfect. They were all so beautiful and exciting. I would constantly believe that they were trying to steal him from me and that he deserved “better” than me. I didn’t trust them, I didn’t have faith that I was good enough for him.

I was hiding, I was pretending – I still do sometimes, but my Community is helping me so much! I was hiding the real me – the imperfections, the fears, the feelings of being less than everyone else. I was hiding from my truth. I was just being what everyone wanted me to be. And whenever I failed at being that perfect picture, when I disappointed them; I would sink and wallow in self-pity. I would give up and hang my head in shame, waves of guilt crashing over me. I would use anger and frustration to hurt everyone around me, when really I was frustrated with myself and trying to blame everyone else for my failures of perfection.

What would it be like to remove the fear?

Tears fill my eyes as I think of this. It has been such a long journey to slowly remove that veil. It has been so powerful, so mind-blowing, knowing that I really am worth being seen! Living my truth! My heart overflows and the words just pour out of me in the conversations in real life and onto the screen in front of me. And that I’m not alone in this?… oh, the tears flow. My Community is here, right here. Accepting, loving, nodding, understanding, smiling, surrounding me. There is such depth and peace in my real life conversations. I see the beauty, I hear the Universe calling me, I feel my sisters around me.

What does it feel like to trust?

There is such a relief in trusting other women. In knowing that they are not perfect either and that they feel the same. And this incredible movement that seems to be all around us in the past few years. So many examples of women supporting each other. Schools making spaces/communities where girls can be their true-selves. Celebrities shunning those media images of perfection. My heart cries out happiness that we can be together in our truth. It surprises me all the time when I write in my blog or talk to incredible women that they are seeing this as well. That these stories resonate with them, that we are all aching for that veil to be lifted.

As soon as I heard the words,”the Goddess is awakening“, I was filled with such hope! I thought to myself, “This is it! There really is a change happening in the world! We are making a difference! We are creating a world of peace and love and understanding!” It isn’t just a dream! It is becoming a reality! She is awakening and she is here!!! in me!! Very cool, very exciting, very liberating!!!!

I want to shout out to everyone: “Come! Join Us! Be free! Be released!” I am aching to have every women feel this way! I know too many that do not, and I long for them to find this peace, this love of self!

Can I be my truth in the Community?

Most days, the veil is off. I am no longer hiding. However, there are still those days where I doubt, where fear takes over and I crawl back underneath. I find them happening less and less. When they do, I have learned where I can go to find the Goddess again – to my Community. Writing lifts me out of the veil again. Reading the words of others, having those conversations, all raise the veil again and I am free.

I have resisted telling my truth to those who I perceive as unable to understand. I am afraid that they will see me as weak, overly sensitive, strange, or “weird” is a word I like to use when I think of what they will think of me. I have resisted my truth with them. And then, I’ve wondered why? Why should I? What does that say about the relationship? Maybe they are longing to hear the truth too? Who am I to judge that they will not understand? The more I speak my truth, the more others like me gather in the Community. I am not alone. It’s as if we just needed a little sign saying that it was OK. A little spark to light the fire. And so it burns.

Where can I find more Community?

I totally agree that the Internet was born for this! It has been partly because of writing my blog and here on SLC and starting to tell my story “to the world” that has enabled me to continue. It has been the connections and conversation that have come from twitter and Facebook and other blogs that have been the example to me that it is alright to be me, that there are others like me, longing for the truth! Many say that the Internet keeps us apart, but I disagree.

My Community is so much larger than it was. I don’t think I would be as far as I am without the Internet. I think it would have come, albeit slowly, because of books and real life conversations, but I don’t think it would have been as far-reaching and powerful without it.

We talk about how we can make the world better for our children; it is time for action. I am trying so hard to set the example for my children and their children. I talk about my truth with my children, which in turn gives them permission to do the same. I encourage them to be themselves in their relationships and not to hide. To be who they really are. To be part of a Community that supports and nurtures each other.

Encouraging this Community of women is extremely important to me! This is want I want to do. This is what I want my kids to see me do. It is what I want to shout out about everywhere. I want every woman to live her life based on how she wants to feel and who she is.

How do we make time to be with our Community?

It is not easy to make time to be with our Community. I began to make it a priority a few years ago, it started with escaping for a weekend retreat with friends in October every year. It became addicting! But I can’t do this every weekend (though wouldn’t that be nice!) Other ways I’ve done this:

  • Divine Goddess Book Club – often, we don’t even talk about the book, we talk about ideas that have come up from it or things that are simply on our minds. It’s about being who we are and exploring new ideas and new ways for being in the moment. Always positive, always rewarding.
  • Solving every problem I’ve ever had (well, it felt like it anyway) by walking for hours with my best friend, training for an event but actually just learning to be a better listener and a better friend/wife/mom/employee. If those roads could talk…
  • Cycling with another close friend, riding for hours, talking about everything. I have had the most amazing talks about life, spirituality, love! And what better setting than cycling along quiet back country roads?
  • Working out almost everyday with a group of girls – this time together, supporting and nurturing ourselves was beneficial to all of us in a lot more ways than physically. It was the main reason why I created the Secret Goddess Society and the The Divine Goddess Circle – another way to gather and support each other. So needed.

I stand on rooftops and shout out these words: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”. Can you hear her too?

This is a post inspired by my Core Desired Feeling: Connected. This is how I want to feel, every day. I base my daily/weekly/monthly goals on how I want to feel. I have used the Desire Map process for over a year to help me. And now I am an official Desire Map Facilitator! I will be holding workshops early in 2015. Sign up below to get on the list and be the first to know about the Desire Map Experience.

You are worthy of your desires

I am one of the first

#DesireMap Licensees!

This means I’m

officially authorized

to host workshops based on

The Desire Map book,

by @Danielle LaPorte.

Plans for my first workshop

are already underway.

Sign up below to get more

information as it comes out:

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Why I Love Book Club

old-books-436498_640This week, Divine Goddess Book Club was just me and J. And I didn’t care. I loved it. And we didn’t even talk about the book. Mostly she told a story and I just listened.

I’m getting better at just listening.

Not the kind of listening where you’re hearing what they’re saying but you’re already thinking about what you’re going to say.

Not the kind of listening where you are smiling and nodding but are secretly checking your phone or checking things off on your mental to do list.

Not the kind of listening where you’re constantly interjecting with a contradiction or an example “one-upmanship”.

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I’m getting better at the kind of listening where I don’t notice my phone going off.

The kind of listening where I am hearing the story; seeing how the story-telling is making the other person feel. I notice the things she doesn’t say. I see the gears turning as she considers the next thing she is going to say.

The kind of listening where it’s no longer about me. Where it’s about the connection, this moment, right here where someone is sharing a part of their world.

The kind of listening where I no longer judge what she says. Where I just see her for who she is at this moment in time. And we each are better for it.

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That’s the kind of listening I want more of. Not me speaking. I do enough of that here in my writing and with people all around me. I want more of that real connection. I want that person in front of me, no matter how scared or hurt she is to be able to turn to me and be able to open up. To be able to share even just a little bit of her story and be assured that she will not be judged. So that she can begin to heal. That she is safe here.

This is my Core Desired Feeling: Connection. And this is why I love Divine Goddess Book Club, in whatever way it manifests itself: 1 or 10 people or even some day 100 or 1000’s.

It’s so much more than talking about a book. In fact, many times we find ourselves not even really talking about it; it’s just a conversation starter. It has become a curling up around a fire, quiet corner of light in an ocean of darkness where I can just listen. That is why I love it.

DGC Book Club Meets:
at Pandora’s Boox and Tea in Olds
Thursday Nights 5:00 – 6:00
It’s never too late to join in the conversation and Goddess Gathering
(you don’t even have to read the books. Our conversations are open to anyone and are always meaningful.)
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Flip Those Disorganized Moments

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Disorganized Moment

I didn’t get my legs shaved in the shower this morning

Flip to an Organized Moment:

I’m wearing pants today anyway and this will give me an excuse for a relaxing bath later!

Disorganized:

I forgot to get envelopes for the mail I need to mail today.

Organized:

They have some at the post office and I only want two anyway instead of a whole box.

Disorganized:

I missed getting Lucas new shoes for school

Organized:

He doesn’t really care and we’ll shop local which is better anyway.

Disorganized:

I didn’t get any social media posts done up last night.

Organized:

I did get a lot of other work done that I wanted to do and then took a much needed break which made me much more ready and able to face a new week (and I got a shower idea anyway because my mind was clear!)

Disorganized:

I didn’t leave enough time to go and buy a coffee.

Organized:

I have coffee at home and a very handsome hubby who made one for me anyway! Plus I saved money!

These are just a few examples of those frustrating moments where you can choose to have a little freak out and over-reaction (which, yes, I have done) or you can choose to flip it around and see the “silver lining” as the saying goes. We are all disorganized and imperfect. It’s about time we chill out, don’t you think? I choose freedom and peace instead.

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What are some of your disorganized moments that you turned around and changed your attitude about? Fess up in the comments!

Want to turn over one of those frustrating “to-do list” things to someone else, like meal planning? We’ve got it covered for you in Badass in the Kitchen Meal Planning. We do it for you. Read more here: Badass in the Kitchen

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How Do You Decide Which Activities to Put Your Kids In?

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Gretchen Rubin explores many things in her home life in the book, “Happier at Home“. In the January section, she has goals surrounding Time. One of these is to Guard My Children’s Free Time. She discusses the very common dilemma we parents face when deciding what activities our children should be involved in.

 

This is the time or year for registering our kids in a myriad of opportunities. We want to give them access to all kinds of things to “make them a better adult”. We worry about what other kids are involved in and if our child will be left behind if they are not. We want them to get out and get involved in something so that they meet new people. We want to make sure that they are physically active and learning new things. We worry that if they aren’t in this activity or that sport that they will feel left out.

This is something that we have struggled with many times in our house. I worried about my daughter being involved in dance so much that she was missing out on other opportunities, yet if she didn’t do all the dances her friends were in, she would feel left out. I have forced my boys to do activities that they really didn’t like because everyone should know how to skate or to swim. I felt like I was a neglectful parent if my children were not involved in some sort of music or art class – after all, they would be left behind academically if they were not fluent in some sort of artistic endeavor. And oh my, what if they don’t have any friends!? Or what if their friends were able to go to this camp, but not my child and then what would they talk about? It would be horrible to be the one who was left behind!

And so we ran. We ran this way and that. I barely saw my husband except in passing or to make a demand that he pick so-and-so up so that I could get another one to that activity. I spent countless hours being the perfect volunteer parent. The one who always helped out. The one who always watched every activity. The one who organized this and picked up that for the team.

 

I threatened and physically dragged my children. I ignored pleas and tantrums because “you have to go”. Guilt trips and negative talk were the order of the day, especially during competition season. After all, this was what all the work was for, right!? How could you let your team down if you don’t go?

 

We were eating on the run, in cars and corners of a gymnasium or arena. Saturday mornings were rushing to this thing and money we didn’t have was spent on hotels and stuff we barely used before the season was over and the kid had outgrown it.

 

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It put a strain on everyone. I was yelling all of the time, finding myself saying horrible, mean things to my children, to get them to go, to get them to do better, to push them harder. It stressed us financially and our marriage suffered because we barely saw each other. So much resentment because I felt he didn’t help enough and he felt I helped too much. It strained our health from eating too much fast food and not eating together. The stress of the constant running around took a toll on my body. I began to forget things, or do something poorly just to get it over with and not doing it perfectly strained my nerves even more. I begged my friends each spring to remind me to not get so involved in stuff the next fall; but each fall I would repeat the pattern again. Each fall, the crazy life would start all over again.

 

And then there came a time when it was too much. My daughter hated the dancing that she once loved. She barely got enough sleep and spent almost as many hours at dance or travelling to it as she spent at school. She cried at night because her legs ached so much. I had to drag my boys along or to their stuff or ended up missing them completely because we were so busy. I’d forced them to do things from my own guilt because, well, they should have to do things like their sister did. It was only fair that they had opportunities too!

 

I broke down one morning, about 4:30 in the morning. I’d realized in the middle of the night that I had forgotten to do something very important for my son’s Cadets. I had forgotten a few important things recently and felt like a complete failure. I sat in the dark and cried and cried over my keyboard. I wrote a letter to a friend and fellow Cadet mom who had had to pick up the pieces where I’d made a mess. I couldn’t go on like this anymore.

 

That next fall, we didn’t do dance. Instead, we let our daughter try other things; things that didn’t take as much time and that she was curious about like fencing. I stopped forcing my oldest son to take swimming lessons or learn to skate. He hated swimming and was never going to pass that first level. I stepped down from many of my volunteer responsibilities and let someone else step up. I stopped forcing my youngest into groups like cubs where being around all those other kids completely overwhelmed him. I started to say no to activities and yes to guarding my children’s time (and my sanity).

 

Now, she’s dancing again, but in a less competitive way more fun studio. She is able to try out high school sports she is interested in and work part time to support her own makeup artist interests. My oldest is away from home now and plays ball again, a game he’d begged me to let him stop playing as a kid. Now he plays again on his own terms, because he wants to have fun. My youngest isn’t involved in very many things except more solo things he’s actually interested in, like guitar lessons. He feels listened to and I understand that he thrives when he’s allowed to do what he loves instead of what I think he “should” be doing.

 

Yes, I am criticized sometimes and I’m my worst critic. Sometimes I worry that I shouldn’t let her do all the different things she does because she does way more than the boys and “it’s not a fair distribution of resources”. Many things, she pays for herself (like one of her dance classes this year). I think this does more to teach her responsibility than denying her. I am criticized that my youngest spends so much time online and doesn’t get out as much as other kids. It is what he loves to do and he does it with friends and his sister and his cousins. He plays guitar in his own time and reads books too. He enjoys the quiet and solitude of being with himself. It is who he is and I will no longer force him to be someone he’s not. I will encourage him to stretch out (and he has, joining a tech camp over the summer for example). He is willing to try things when we allow him to try them on his terms in line with his personality and recognizing his strengths.

 

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We are learning together how to better manage our time so that each of us is able to pursue things that light us up instead of stress us out. My girl is so like me in wanting to try everything, but she is learning how to manage her own time as I have her consider that if she says yes to something, she will have to say no to something else. She realizes that she cannot do it all at a way younger age than I was. And that’s a very good thing!

 

We are busy, but we also have time when we are able to eat dinner together and do other things… or even do nothing! We can sit and watch movies all Saturday or go on a date or just read a book. There is life outside of our activities and we are allowing each other to have that life. The activities are that much better because we have the time to actually enjoy them.

 

I know what it feels like at this time of year. How you desperately want to give your kids everything. How you are afraid of missing out. I am not condemning anyone who chooses to keep a very full schedule with your kids. That is your choice.

 

I am just advising that you consider the cost of these things before you say yes. Consider what you are saying no to when you say yes to one more thing. Remember what it felt like last fall and is that how you want to feel this year? Talk together as a family and really listen to what your kids have to say. Listen to what your heart tells you. How do you want to feel? How does your daughter want to feel? Your son? Your spouse? Then decide together what you will do to feel that way.

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Another Ordinary Day

walk-2021_1920I see you, on the ordinary street. You are wearing ordinary clothes and your hair is ordinary. Your face is ordinary. You walk in an ordinary way going to your ordinary job. If I knew your name, it would be ordinary too.
But you are far from ordinary. And I see that too.
You are more than the alarm clock beside your bed. Grateful to find yourself in a new day, you rise with a smile. You think about the quiet space that awaits you in your little corner of the room. The soft light welcomes you to your comfy chair. Silence surrounds you. With a loving heart, you pause, reflecting on the people you love and the life you are leading. Gentle music lifts your spirits and you listen to your angels as they whisper to you in your space.
In the shower, you let the hot water stream down your shoulders, caressing and warming your skin. You hear applause in the noise of the jet stream and you imagine yourself five years from now in another place, doing other things. Again, you pause in gratitude for where you came from, and where you are but you know that this is not where the story ends. You smile as you hear the applause again.
You let your hands rub the oils on your skin, taking pleasure in the simple joy of allowing yourself this little indulgence made just for you. The clothes you select make you feel good and comfortable, it does not matter to you what name is emblazoned on the tag. It all makes no difference as long as it makes you feel like you are you.
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You are more than the ordinary breakfast you have this morning. You choose that orange carefully. You smell the tangy citrus as you peel it. You notice the tiny spray of orange drops as you pull the peel from the flesh. You taste the bold sweetness as it drips down your chin.
The street is far from ordinary to you. You notice the songs of the birds on your walk. You wonder how soon they will heading south. You catch a glimpse of the growing garden in your neighbor’s yard and you remind yourself how good fresh picked peas taste at this time of year. You notice that there are a few leaves that have changed color and you remember how fleeting summer days are. Your mind recalls all of the adventures you have had so far and you smile at the ones to come today.
Your job is not who you are, but you bring yourself to your job. Each day, you do whatever you can to help someone, even if it’s just one person. Your smile brightens the world of someone who is struggling today in their cubicle. You don’t know this, but you smile anyway. There are days when you struggle too, but you have also witnessed the days when things go right. You choose to accept those tough days as lessons and move on to the next.
You leave your job, there at the office. You know that carrying that burden further into your day serves no one, least of all you. You have done your best with the resources you had control over. You breath and you move on.
You hear their voices long before you see them. Again, you marvel at how much they have grown. She towers over you and on this day, she ventures to hug her ordinary momma. Tomorrow may be different, so you gratefully return the embrace. He barely acknowledges you right now, and that’s ok, you know he hears your love in your questions about the day. It is all he needs for now. Later, he will sit beside you on the couch, feeling safe in the knowledge that he doesn’t have to say a word and you are there for him.
Together, you enjoy an ordinary meal that nourishes more than your body. It nourishes your soul as you share the food with those you love. You reflect on how much you have changed what you choose to eat over the years. You don’t criticize, you just understand that you are learning and growing and becoming more.
Dishes done, the house settling, your ordinary day draws to a close. You welcome the peace and tranquility of your room. You share this room with your true love and you adore this part of the day. The warm, soft blankets, the amber light, the protective arms and kisses that make you feel like so much more than ordinary. Quiet surrounds you as you curl up next to him with your latest book. Both of you make sure that at least a foot or a hand is touching the other as you fall asleep.
And there you breathe; your ordinary breath, at the end of a far from ordinary day.
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This post inspired by the Writing Prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It and My 500 Words writing challenge from Jeff Goins.
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self-care thursday

Bringing Happiness Closer

self-care thursdayI read this very timely post from Joshua today: 7 Questions to Bring Happiness Closer. It’s what we were discussing at Divine Goddess Book Club last night as well (we are talking about the book, Happier at Home right now). It seems that so many of us keep striving to find happiness outside of ourselves. Gretchen Rubin discusses “Interior Design” in her book which focuses on what can I do INTERNALLY to create my own happiness.

I was compelled to answer Joshua’s 7 questions from his post for myself and thought I’d share my answers here with you.

1. What can I be thankful for?

Oh my, I am so thankful for so many things. Practicing Gratitude regularly has completely changed how I perceive my day. Right now, for example, I am grateful for this summer of being home. I’ve been spending really amazing time with my kids, my extended family and with my friends. I’ve been spending time with myself as well and this has changed me. I am happier because I am grateful for what I have right now instead of all the things I wish I had.

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2. Who do I know that loves me?

The list is long, but this is something that I have struggled with (still do). This one has affected my happiness the most – still does some days. Too often, I base my happiness on the HOW others love me. I have been striving for acknowledgement and recognition of their love. I have held lofty expectations of the HOW they should love me – they should love me the way I love them! And then when they don’t, I’ve been disappointed and unhappy. I am learning though that they love me in their own way – and they love me very much and for who I am! I am learning to just be happy in the recognition that I am indeed loved so very much.

3. What progress have I made?

Wow, if you could have seen me even just 5 years ago…some of you have, I know. When I look back and see pictures of the woman I used to be, I recall the huge sadness and hurt that followed me. It was a choice I made each day. Now, I choose differently and most days, I have the guts to see just how truly blessed and happy I am. You’ve come a long way, baby! 🙂

4. What contribution do I bring? 

Though sometimes I struggle with my need for acknowledgement, most days, I know that I am helping people with my words that I write and ideas that I share. I help people by being the listener who I love to be. My children and husband are happier and content because I am contributing to it and inspiring them to be happy in themselves. I believe that I am someone who is making the world a better place as I let my light shine (and it gives others permission to do so as well).

5. What pursuits bring me the most joy?

Finally, I am no longer afraid and rarely feel guilty for pursuing my own desires. I allow myself the comfort and support that I know I need. I follow my heart daily by focusing on creating a life that brings me joy. I do not expect the world to make me happy – that’s my job. I pursue that pretty much every day!

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6. Who can I help? 

I long…no, I crave…helping thousands of women. Especially working women. I have known so many in the past who long for a peaceful life and a life free of guilt. Women who put everyone else’s needs in front of their own and struggle to find even the smallest sliver of light in themselves. So many who long to be free of the unrealistic expectations of today’s society. Who just want to be great at everything that they do but feel like they fail at everything instead. I know these women well. I have been her. She is so much more that what she sees of herself right now. That’s who I want to help. I pray that I will reach her in some small way with my words of encouragement.

7. What choices do I have? 

My biggest one is that I get to choose how I want to live my day. I choose to be happy. Right now. in this very moment.

What are your answers to these questions? We’d love to hear them here in the comments (or shoot us an email if you’re shy 🙂  )

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Cleaning the Bathroom Sucks…and Other To Do List Problems

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There are just some tasks that really suck, don’t you think? Like cleaning the bathroom. It just gets dirty the instant you walk out the door. A-L-L…T-H-E…T-I-M-E!! You just look at the bathroom the wrong way and it’s dirty again! Having kids getting older was supposed to make it easier! The mess is just bigger, that’s all.

As you sit down with your gargantuan Saturday “to-do list” and a cup of coffee, decide which tasks will best serve your highest purpose. What will make you FEEL good (or at least better).

 

Is there stuff on there that you can just say, you know, I really don’t care that the book shelf gets dusted today, it doesn’t actually bother me that they’re a little dusty. I’d rather read one of them for a little while out on my sunny deck! Would that be more in line with how YOU want to feel today?

Are you cleaning things because “you’re supposed to” according to some “rules” someone created? Are you cleaning things just for the sake of cleaning them? Do you actually read or even want the books on the shelves? If not, wouldn’t your time be better spent gathering them up, donating or selling them and leaving that space for something else that you love (and doesn’t need dusted as much)? Gasp! What if you even were able to get rid of the whole shelf entirely? Then you wouldn’t have to dust it ever again! Hmmmm…..Less stuff to dust; less dusting! How would that make you feel?

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What about that bathroom?…it has to be cleaned for sanitary reasons. I get that. But, if cleaning the bathroom causes you stress, can it be delegated? Perhaps we need to let someone help us…perhaps we can let go of the need to be the only one who does everything around the house (I’ve never said that…yeah right, Miss Martyr…being a martyr feels so great….NOT!)

Maybe it can be less perfectly cleaned by someone else, and you can feel better about asking for help and allowing that you don’t have to do everything. (What!!??! I don’t have to do everything myself? Oh, but the taps won’t be perfectly sparkling! Have you ever taken the time to show someone else how to do it? Ummmm no, I haven’t, because that’s too hard…uh huh…so….it’s easier to freak out about having to clean the bathroom myself all the time? Hmmmmm….maybe not…)

If it can’t be delegated for whatever reason, then what about a different approach in how we FEEL about cleaning it. Can we change our attitude?

Yep, my attitude is in MY control. I can spend the morning being pissed off that I have to clean the bathroom again or I can approach it differently. I love how the mirror looks when there are no tooth brush crime-scenes splatted all over it. I can stop and admire that hot momma in the clean mirror when it’s done.

 

I can pull out the “good towels” and enjoy a clean, luxurious bath in the clean bathtub later when it’s all done. Clean the tub for ME! I love the smell of a clean bathroom. It just makes me feel good. How about I focus on that instead?

Or what if I got rid of all these almost empty bottles sitting on the counter/ledge so that it’s way easier to quickly clean these areas. I can control what’s in my bathroom. If there are a ton of knick knacks that always get dirty, why am I keeping them there? Do I even like them? If not, let’s simplify this whole bathroom cleaning job! That makes me feel waaaayyy better about cleaning the bathroom.

These are the ramblings of a to-do-list-aholic. Over the years, I’ve re-evaluated the whole idea of them and how I approach my list. I do still get a little Martyr-Crazy and scream and yell, but not as often. This is a process, not perfection. Join me today as you look at that list. Try just re-thinking ONE thing on the list:

  1. Re-evaluate – does it really need to get done NOW?
  2. Delegate – do you HAVE to be the one to do this?
  3. Re-frame – can you change how you approach this task?

Please let me know how this goes for you. Your To-Do list doesn’t have to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It can make you feel good. Feeling good is what life is all about in my opinion. #DesireMap

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Ditch the Clutter 10 Day Challenge

books to let goKrystal and I have some more stuff to let go of (there’s always something, isn’t there?), so we thought we’d make up a 10 day Ditch the Clutter Challenge for all of us to kick start the process.

For each of the 10 days we have a list of ideas for what to let go of. Day 1 will have one thing, Day 2 – two things, Day 3 – three things and all the way up to 10 things on the 10th day. To make this more fun and supportive, we’ll be posting what we’re letting go of on our Facebook Page (and Twitter for those of you who follow us there).

You can post your photos there too and/or comment and let everyone know what you’re able to let go of. Often we just need that little push of accountability to get something done. Let’s do this together!  Follow the posts on our Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations Share this with your friends so that they can join in the Ditch the Clutter Challenge too.

Ditch the Clutter Challenge

                                          Choice One                           OR                     Choice Two

DayOne Piece of furniture that you’re not using Board Game or other Game
DayTwo  2 items from coffee table or side table  2 cleaning supplies/tools you’re not using
Day Three  3 travel items (incl. bags, backpacks)  3 pillows or cushions that you don’t need
Day Four  4 items from under the sink  4 items from the TV stand
DayFive  5 old or outdated things from the fridge  5 knick knacks or decorative items
DaySix  6 pairs of shoes/boots/footwear  6 items from the bedside table
Day Seven  7 things from your workout stuff  7 things from the junk drawer
Day Eight  8 kitchen items that aren’t being used  8 school supplies/papers that aren’t needed
Day Nine  9 shower/bath items that are just taking up space  9 things from the creative corner/crafting supplies
DayTen  10 pieces of clothing (kids, adult, seasonal)  10 bookshelf items (books, magazines, clipped articles etc)

 

These are ideas to get you started. If you have other areas/things you’d like to let go of…GO FOR IT! Also, you can let go of more things each day too! Share your photos/lists on the Facebook page (or comment on this post and tell us what you’re able to get done!)
Don’t forget to get these things out of your home as soon as possible. Garbage to garbage, recycling to recycling, donations donated. Do not let them taking up any more of the precious space in your heart and home! For our local peeps, Krystal gathered together a list of where you can take your stuff. Download it here: Local Places to Donate

I also created a Decluttering Divas Play Sheet (kinda like a “game card”) that you can use to track your progress each day. Download it here: Decluttering Divas Play Sheet

UPDATE: PHOTOS FROM THE CHALLENGE SO FAR

If you have questions or ideas about the Ditch the Clutter Challenge, please email us or post it on Facebook. We are here to help!

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