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wasting time

What is a Clean House?

I could be cleaning

My house isn’t clean by some standards. In fact, it’s pretty dirty by some standards.

  1. My windows are especially dirty because heights freak me out. But mostly because cleaning windows, especially really dirty ones, takes a really long time…longer than I feel like doing right now.
  2. My carpets are rarely vacuumed, let alone washed. Right now, I can see the faint 1 1/2 meter long line where B recently spilled his entire glass of RED wine in the living room. We ‘cleaned’ it with club soda right away, but it’s still kinda there. It blends in with all the other splots of wine and food because yep, I let everyone eat in the living room…often…so you can picture what my carpet looks like. And we have a dog…
  3. My kitchen table is constantly covered in things like Magic the Gathering cards, spilled salt, someone’s empty water bottle, nectarines in a paper bag, a cool sculpture my son made that reminds me of one of those little dippy bird thingys that people keep on their desks and coupons that I keep forgetting to take with me to the store.
  4. Books are piled in various places throughout the house, in different phases of being read. Some from the library, some purchased by B, some by me, some by her. There’s also singing bowls and tarot cards and candles and incense lying around without a ‘home’ because they are constantly moved from one place to another.

dippy bird

I know how to clean a house. In fact, I’m actually really good at it. My mother taught me well. I even recently cleaned her house – thoroughly – for her while she was away. I can do it. I used to do it all the time.

I have videos of the kids on a Saturday morning that has occasional glimpses of a woman in frumpy, over-sized clothes, without a shower, frantically cleaning everything in one day. She often ended up yelling at someone that day or she was full of resentment and the feeling of being alone in the struggle of perfection. And she never seemed to be able to get it perfect.

Worst of all, in those videos are moments she missed:

  1. The little boy playing a board game with his “evil” twin because no one had time to play. That grown man is too busy for a board game, even when she asks him to play and tries to bribe him to come over for his favorite food.
  2. The baby girl dancing in the living room to music only she can hear. She doesn’t even like her mama to see her practice at dance class, let alone find her dancing at home.
  3. The quiet little boy creating worlds only he knows the story of. She wishes she could write those stories down, but they’re gone now.
  4. The chance to curl up with him and the 3 of them in bed, reading it “just one more time” because they used to love the sound of her voice and their favorite book

Yes, there are moments that she didn’t miss, but not as many as she’d like.

She doesn’t live here anymore. She has been replaced by a “sometimes-cleaning” lady. This lady is happier. She doesn’t miss as many moments that are so quickly disappearing. There is less stuff, more time but she the sometimes-cleaning lady doesn’t use that time for cleaning very much. I use the time for non-cleaning things.

  1. I don’t need to look out the dirty windows because I’m “out there” a lot more than I used to be. My skin is no longer pale and hidden from the sun. I am in my garden, snacking on a lettuce leaf or a strawberry. Or on a walk with whoever will go with me, enjoying being outside. My feet are dirty from walking barefoot in the grass, reconnecting with Earth. tomatoes
  2. The dirty carpets show that we live here. The time spent not washing them is time reading a book or watching a movie. Popcorn and wine and spots of food ignored. It’s time spent showing our kids that you’re never too old to learn or try something new. You can see the carpet now that we have fewer things covering them up, stains and all.
  3. My kitchen table is quick to clear when I need to. For now, I will enjoy the bird and find the coupons when I need them. I’ll grab a juicy nectarine just because it’s summer. The sea salt makes my real food taste even better and the Magic the Gathering cards will be needed again when we all go play again this Friday. And I’ll need my water bottle for yoga later.
  4. The books are being read; the cards are too. The incense and candles fill our home with peace and tranquility as we are learning to be more connected with ourselves instead of all those things that we used to try to fill our home with. We are together more in these quieter moments without a vacuum cleaner filling the house with noise.

I do not have a perfectly clean house. I’ll have plenty of time for that some other time.

office hours

Right now, this moment, I will let the dust sit on the shelf and the crumbs on the floor while I write a little. I will leave the dishes in the sink while I visit a friend I have missed. I will wash the floor another day because tomorrow, I’m going for a pedicure with my mom, sister and my daughter. This is what I choose to clean up – my life; my time with the people I care about and my love of myself. This is what a “clean house” is. The temple of me.

wasting time

To you: I challenge you to allow yourself to ‘waste time’. As the Dixie Chicks say in this song, “Tomorrow, there’ll be so much to do. So tonight, I’ll drift in a dream with you”. Forever is never enough time with them. Clean the right house.

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Life is Short

Life is Short

I was so inspired by May’s notes in my Desire Map Journal from Danielle Laporte. I had to make a recording so that I can listen to it whenever I need to. Life is short. Let’s do it today!

My Reminders to Me:

  • notice how long her legs are compared to mine as my teen snuggles beside me on the couch
  • enjoy his silliness and funny sounds he makes when he’s being a goof – not many get to see that side of him
  • be grateful for his pocket dial because it’s another chance to say “I love you” today
  • put on perfume in secret spots for him to find later
  • grab a latte on the way to work just because I love them so much
  • have zucchini spaghetti again tonight because it’s sooooo good!
  • do yoga with my sweetheart, candles and incense quieting our minds from the day
  • leave my phone in the kitchen while I snuggle on my bed to read tonight
  • sleep without a worry or care, grateful for another day

 

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accomplished

UN-Motivated

You know what I’ve noticed this school break? I haven’t got very many of my “projects” done that I planned. At first, I was annoyed with myself, thinking that it’s because I’ve been feeling UN-motivated…and that I’ve been “lazy”.

However, what I’ve realized today is that I’ve really enjoyed this time WITHOUT getting those things done. Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids and with friends. I’ve been doing little things around the house that I thought were project ‘avoidance’ tasks but now I’ve realized were little things that were bugging me (eg. the recycling yesterday). I’ve slept more too.

Most of all, I’ve been spending time just in my head. Not really thinking about anything, just in the quiet space, turned off and tuned in. Not really consciously meditating, but turned off from all the projects and books and ideas and to-do’s and songs that are normally flying around in my head. They just haven’t been there. It was worrying me. What if I was missing out? What if those things don’t get done? It’s hard to just let them sit there without the accompanying guilt filling me up. I am letting it go, how could I face myself knowing that I wasn’t getting stuff done?

Maybe it’s my hubby’s zen vibes he’s sending me from Costa Rica. We’ve been emailing back and forth and I can already feel how changed he is. Maybe it’s the spring trying to peek out from the long cold winter. Maybe it’s just me, feeling a little burned out; but it doesn’t feel like my usual burn out I’ve felt before.

Maybe this UN-motivation isn’t anything sinister. Maybe it’s just me making space for the changes that are coming. Changes that I don’t even know about. Maybe it’s just time to embrace whatever happens WHENEVER it happens. Life is just too bloody short to fret about what I’m supposed to do next; even if those are things I love to do. Maybe it’s a little reminder to just be here in this moment whether the moment is filled with something or not. It’s just a moment. And it’s mine to do with whatever I will or even won’t do. I choose right now, today, this way. And that’s totally OK, no matter what it looks like.

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chick pea

Chick Peas and Vegetables with Coconut Peanut Sauce

This is a really quick, yummy recipe that is very easy to make. My hubby & I really liked it, but to be honest my kids didn’t. My teenagers don’t like too each much of anything I make unless it’s pizza. It’s been a difficult year dealing with their sudden teenager independence. They can eat a sandwich at this point or scrounge for whatever. I’m not making two meals, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If they refuse to eat it, that’s their problem.

On to the recipe!

Chick Peas & Veggies with Coconut Peanut Sauce

This makes a lot. I don’t know if it would freeze well, Likely, but I haven’t tried it. I just had this for lunch for a few days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 whole bell pepper (I used two kinds, so 1/2 of each – it’s prettier!)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (I like lots)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (I used a mild one and it wasn’t enough zing – use a spicier one if you like spice)
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (not the sugary Krap – I mean Kraft – kind)
  • 1 can (398mL or so) coconut milk (found in the International section of the grocery store in case you’re wondering 😛 )
  • 2 cans (398mL or so) chick peas (make sure you drain and RINSE these or you’ll be farting up a gas cloud)
  • 1 can (398mL or so) diced tomatoes (I save $ and buy the big can & use 1/2 for this and 1/2 for a chili later in the week)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach (I used super greens – use whatever you have in the fridge. You have greens in the fridge, right?)
  • salt & pepper
  • peanuts to sprinkle on top

How To:

  1. Get your rice cooking while you make this – I don’t want you to forget in case you’re one of those people who don’t read through a recipe BEFORE you start cooking. (Shut up! It was just that one time 😛 )
  2. Cook the onion & bell peppers in the coconut oil in a large sauce pan (like the one in my pic above) for 8-10 minutes (until soft)
  3. Add the garlic & curry powder, stirring to mix
  4. Add the peanut butter
  5. Gradually stir in the coconut milk until everything is smooth
  6. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach & mix for about 5 minutes
  7. Add salt & pepper to taste & simmer everything for about 7 minutes – long enough for you to tidy up the prep mess!
  8. Serve over rice with peanuts sprinkled on top.

Less than 1/2 hour and your done. Very easy cleanup – the hardest part is chopping up the onion, cry baby! This isn’t a really strong flavor (that’s why I’d use more curry). However, your kids might like it better with less spice (mine wouldn’t eat it anyways because god forbid it has color in it; but yours are likely better behaved). It’s really quite a simple meal and very filling. There’s lots of protein to keep anyone going for a while.

This literally takes about 20 minutes to make and less than 10 to cleanup. Your claim that it takes too long to make something healthier for dinner is moot when making something this simple. Yes, it could be even healthier if you avoid the canned options here and go for adding your own cooked chick peas & tomatoes and coconut cream from raw powder instead. I’m going for a compromise (and I use organic whenever I can afford/fit it in).

As I mentioned, there is a lot of food here, so not only do you have a supper ready; put the leftovers together in a container and you’re done for lunch the next day. Don’t be a goof and push it to the back of the fridge. Put it right in front of your coffee cream so that you have to move it in the morning to get to it and then you’ll remember what’s for lunch.

How about you? Do your teenagers eat what you make or do they bitch and moan like mine do? Tell us your story in the comments!

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pocket icon

Get Pocket!

I love to read blog posts. It’s a big chunk of my day. They inspire me, teach me and/or make me laugh. Sometimes I share them with you. Most of them come to me in my email which is cool. However, I also don’t like to have a crazy full inbox – I’m a professional organizer! LOL! I’ve been a mostly-zero inbox person for a very long time. Discovering this tool has made this even easier!

pocket website

The tool is called Pocket (it used to be called Read it Later or something like that). Basically, it allows me to skim through my email for the posts that I simply MUST read. I click to open the post. If I have time to read it then, I will. Most of the time, I don’t have time to read then(FOCUS!), but I want to be sure to really read it later. I go to the post and then click the little “Pocket” icon to stash the post for reading when I have time.

pocket icon

 

The reason this works is that it allows me to stay out of my email until the few times a day when I go through and do my focused email maintenance time (batching, peeps, STOP going into your email every 10 minutes! and definitely don’t have it running while you’re trying to WORK! Focus people!)

 

During this focused time, I’m creating a focused READING time because all of the MUST reads are together (and are visually appealing!) I don’t have these cluttering up my inbox. Then when I’m waiting for kids or just sitting down to read for a few minutes, I flip over to my Pocket app and do some quiet reading! Again, focused on only reading, not being disturbed by emails coming in because I’m not in my email!

Let’s face it: we really can’t do multiple things at once. It’s EXTREMELY inefficient to be constantly jumping around between things. I know. I’ve tried it. It simply doesn’t work. You have to STOP pretending it does.

This doesn’t mean that I now have another app full of junk that I’ll just get overwhelmed with. I’m keeping it to around 5-10 things each day that I read (or use the link in a post or something; whatever I was going to do with the post) and then purge from Pocket (yep, DELETE). I’m RUTHLESS and fricking honest with what I’m actually going to read. If it doesn’t light me up at first glance (like, OMG I HAVE to read this!) then it doesn’t get “pocketed”.  If I’m glancing through email and kinda go, “well, this would be cool, don’t know when I’ll get to it” then it gets deleted. I just don’t have time for wishy washy shit. It has to light me up or make me go, “Wow”!
 
I’ve got about 10 “other” things sitting in there that are project based that I’ll be moving elsewhere in the next week or two. There will always be some that need a bit more “work” to deal with before they are purged too. This number will not get higher than 10, because again, I need to keep a realistic expectation on what I’m actually going to do.
 
pocket snapshot
 

Keeping up on the reading in this is easy to do because there’s an app on my phone (and I’m putting it on my Kobo – just haven’t done it yet) and it will even work offline. It’s visually easy to read (no distractions from other website stuff that you normally see when you’re in the post reading on the site) and feeling like I’m reading a magazine.

Get Pocket and move one step closer to getting more reading done (that you want to do!) and less distracted! Get Pocket

I’m a techie and have worked in IT (and been a full time working mom) for over 20 years, so I’ve got lots of tricks on how to make your email work for you. This tool is just one of them! (I’ll share more tools with you in the coming weeks. I’m creating an in depth course that will include deeper insight and how to use these kinds of things. Sign up to be the first to know about it: Goals Goddess Registration)

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clock

9 Hours

What would you do with 9 hours in a week? Don’t think you have 9 hours? Let’s take a little look at some time wasting facts, Jack…

clock

1. Facebook…

We all do it. You know for a fact that you could be doing something else besides checking Facebook 10 times in the last hour.

“It’s only for a minute!” You say?

  • 1 X 10 = 10 min. per hour
  • 10 min/hour X 8 hr = 80 min in 1 work day…
  • 80 min X 5 days is 400 min (6 hours) in 1 work week!! Yep, SIX

For the sake of argument, let’s cut that in half…So…that’s 3 extra hours so far in a week. (and you know it’s actually more than that…)

2. TV Time…

And what about TV time? How much time do you REALLY spend in front of the TV? Let’s figure it out a little here:

The average person spends about 2.8 hours per day watching TV. What about you? Let’s again say that you only watch 1 hour in 3 days of stuff you really don’t “need” to watch. That’s giving you 3 more hours (of the about 20 hours per week you actually watch.)

3. Looking for Things…

How many times do you have to search for something in a day?

  • A form you need to fill out – 5 minutes?
  • Your keys – 2 minutes?
  • Her other shoe that isn’t where it’s supposed to be – 6 minutes?
  • The lunch kit from yesterday that needs filling for today – 3 minutes?
  • What you’re going to wear – 5 minutes? (at least)
  • More toothpaste – 15 minutes? (more if the store is farther away)

5 + 2 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 15 = 36 minutes per day looking for something. 252 minutes per week is 4.2 hours. Far fetched? Time yourself the next time you have to search for your keys…Again, let’s cut that in half for argument sake: 2 more hours you could use in a week! Get organized!

4. Email You Don’t Really Read…

How long does it take you to read your email? To delete them? Time yourself. Let’s say you spend about 5 minutes every hour during the work day dealing with email that are junk or unimportant:

  • 5 minutes per hour X 8 hr day = 40 min in 1 work day…
  • 40 min X 5 days is 200 min (3 hours) in 1 work week. 

That’s 3 more hours in your week that you could use if you setup some systems to deal with your email. You know that you likely spend much more time than that.

So, with just those four time wasters: Facebook (3 Hours) + TV TIme (3 Hours) + Looking for Things (2 Hours) + Junk Email (3 Hours) = 11 Hours total in a week! I only mentioned finding 9 hours, so let’s even take 2 hours off of my already generous actual hours you spend wasting time to make it 9!

What if you spent 9 hours of your wasted time in a week doing some of those tasks on your list? What do you think you could get done in a week? In a month? A year? It really adds up, right!? At 9 hours a week, you could do a lot of those things that you always wanted to do!!

I’m not saying that these things aren’t fun. But how much do you really want to do something else? What are you really missing out on? How much better would your life be if you stopped doing some of these things even for just ½ the time you normally spend on them? Where would you be then?

It’s time for you to stop settling for less than what you deserve. You are better than that and you know it! Stop wasting YOUR time.

I’m creating a course for setting goals and making shizzle happen. It’s about frickin’ TIME that you live the life you deserve. Be the first to join the course by registering here: Goals Goddess eCourse and let’s conquer those time wasters together.

Goals Goddess eCourse – starting in April – Register NOW to be the first to know.

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peaceful

Meditate – Eyes Open

I’ve been exploring a different way to meditate and I am in love!

Sometimes, I find it hard to sit with my eyes closed and observe my thoughts. I’m often tempted to open them to make sure no one is there. I guess I’m still working on that trust thing.

However, with this new meditation program I’m doing, it “fits” better with me. So far, it’s less about the “ooommm’s” and more about intention in the moment. It’s more about FOCUS – with my eyes open. Focus isn’t easy, but so far, doing it this way works way better. This example in the picture is focusing on the word on the page. Listening and being absorbed in each line as I create it. Being aware of the word coming to life as my pen moves across the page. Focusing on something like that, I am less distracted. I am actually focused!

I wanted to share this really wonderful idea with you today. If you struggle with taking the time for you; with taking the time with “meditation” (or have any ‘fears’ around doing something like that); I highly recommend Annika’s program. It’s something different and a comfort for me in the wee hours of the morning to help me focus my day. Plus, she has a beautiful voice to soothe your soul 🙂 Visit Eyes Open from Annika Martins to sign up!

Do you have any recommendations for meditation? What kinds of “tools” do you use? I’m always open to trying new things! Let us know in the comments!

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minnie mug

Happiness Is…

Recently, it was International Happiness Day. A day to celebrate what makes us happy. The point of the day, in my opinion, is to notice the little things and…most of all…

So many of us rush around getting things done, being stressed out, keeping up with everyone else. We have more things, but we are less happy. We are sick and tired, yet most of us have everything we’ve ever dreamed of. And then some.

I was looking at old home movies on the weekend and I noticed something. I wasn’t very happy. I noticed how happy my kids were with simple things like playing gymnastics on the couch cushions or sliding around the kitchen floor in their socks or just playing playdough. I noticed that I was always cleaning or constantly moving from one thing to the next and our house was full of STUFF. I was very overweight and dressed (if I was dressed at all) in clothes that did not flatter me. At one point, I heard my hubby sweetly ask me what he could do to help and I told him he didn’t have to – that I would do it all.

It was an eye-opening glimpse into how far I’ve come. This was perfect timing for me because I still have days – like Friday last week – where I think that I’m not good enough. Days where I struggle accepting who I am. My sweetheart and I talked late into the night trying to help me accept my truth. And then, I woke up to the thought, “Oh! I need to backup those home movies before that computer crashes”. I hadn’t thought about them in months – maybe even a year. Yet, suddenly, I thought of them early on Saturday morning. Still shaky in my belief about my own worth. And then I saw her on the video. The old me. The one who struggled to find happiness in those simple moments caught on video because I was too busy running around, “catching up” on all my to-do’s. Too busy to eat properly. Too busy to shower. Too busy to wear clothes that I love. Too busy to take care of me.

I’m still not sure of what the exact moment was when I decided that this had to stop. Maybe it was that I was tired of it all. It certainly wasn’t overnight. It has been one step after another. Each day something new. Each day a chance to try again. And now I hardly recognize her.

Now, I don’t mind so much being in front of the camera. Now, I’m mostly smiling. Now, I slow down and notice the little things. Now, I choose Happiness:

  • I love that our espresso machine has a mug warmer on top
  • I have a really cool space where I can sit and create, play or do whatever makes me happy
  • Yoga with my sweetheart to close the day
  • Snuggled on the coach, squeezing in beside lanky teenagers watching a movie
  • Quick visits with my grown up baby boy wherever I can catch him
  • Resting my head on my daughter’s shoulder as she towers over me for a quick “Mama” hug
  • That goofy little guy who’s almost as tall as me and has his Dad’s sense of humor that always makes me laugh
  • A cup of tea and amazing conversations with kindred spirits who I call friends
  • Catching a glimpse of geese and hearing their call on yet another winter day that gives me hope for spring

It’s the little things that truly make me happy. What makes you happy? Share in the comments.

Do you need help and inspiration to notice those little things? The Divine Goddess Circle can help. It’s a community for working women who are seeking support and actions to become the Goddess they are! Join us: www.divinegoddesscircle.com

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self-care thursday

Self-care Sunday

Thursday evenings are often quiet evenings for me. My family is usually busy with other things and it’s nearing the end of the week, so things are settling down in general. The picture above was from my last Thursday evening.

I’m a big proponent of practicing self-care. I used to think that doing things for myself was “being lazy” or “selfish”. However, I noticed that the more I did NOT do for me, the more I was filled with resentment and anger and frustration. I thought I was being a good mother but would find myself yelling at my kids ALL the time – in a very unhealthy way. I would be secretly angry with my husband, especially when he was doing things he enjoyed doing for himself. This would build up inside until it would come exploding out one day out of the blue and the poor guy wouldn’t know what had hit him! I didn’t feel like I had time for making time for me. Who would take over when I had some quiet time? Wasn’t time for me selfish? I still ask myself those questions sometimes.

I’ve discovered that when I’ve just been going and going and going; rarely taking the time to re-charge, I am exhausted and feel like I can’t get anything accomplished. Headaches haunt me and I just don’t feel like myself. It’s then that I remember how much practicing self-care helps me. Better still, I now practice it more often so that I don’t get to that stage. I’m sure to schedule in time for me so that I’m able to be a better Mom, a better wife and a better person.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Sometimes, it’s curling up under my warm, soft blanket from my best friend that’s all mine and reading a book. It could be playing a game on the computer, quilting, writing or just sleeping a little bit longer than everyone else. My family supports me in this because they know how much it helps me. It’s a habit I want to make sure that they learn (especially my daughter) by seeing me do it.

I created a little download for you if you’re searching for ideas for practicing self-care. Click here to grab your copy (and share it with your friends!)

What are some of your ideas for self-care? What are some of the benefits you see when you do something for you? Leave us a note in the comments!

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goals goddess

Setting Goals Goddess

I’m working on my first “real” webinar called: “Go Goals Goddess” I’m really excited about it because I have learned a lot over the years in my different careers and as I’ve been raising my kids. I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me and what does. Of course, being techie, I’ve found and tried lots of different tools. But, as you can see in the picture above, I also love a pen and paper.

My current system is a combination of a few things; web based and on paper. I find this works really well for me. In the past year or so since I’ve been doing it this way, I’ve tweaked and refined it and come up with a way that I’m able to keep track of things and forget less and get more done. Saying that, I also DON’T get things done! So, the other thing I’ve been learning is how to let those things go. It used to really bother me, but I’ve been much better about that.

The Go Goals Goddess webinar will give you helpful tips and tricks on setting attainable goals. I’ll show you lots of different tools and give you ideas on what works best. It will help you set goals, get some done and be ok with the rest! It’s this Thursday, March 20 at 7:30.

Register for the webinar here: Go Goals Goddess Webinar (it’s free to join!)

How do you feel about goal setting? Share your comments below!

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