10 Things to Smile About

me and bruce-small frame

Don’t ya just love my big smile!? (He’s kinda cute too!) 🙂

10 Things to Smile About:

  1. Working with my best friend, my husband at a place like Health Street where I get to help people every day!
  2. Working with my best friend, my BFF at a awesome, fun biz like Simple Life Celebrations
  3. Having my kids on a little vacation away from me – makes them smile too! And we love each other that much more when they come home
  4. Feeling the grass between my toes
  5. Eating a handful of raspberries
  6. Listening to good music, running or riding, in the country on a warm, sunny day
  7. Hearing any kid laughing. Doesn’t matter if I know them or not, it makes my heart sing
  8. Finding a comment or a share or a note from a SLC fan saying that we helped in even just one way. That totally makes my day!
  9. Getting goofy texts from the gaggle of girlfriends that usually escalates into a vast array of emoticons and smiley faces!
  10. Curling up with a great book, a cup of coffee and a quiet morning with my loved ones near. Really, that is the best, don’t you think? 🙂

Now it’s YOUR TURN! Today, I think this is a fun idea for all of us to try and it’ll help you practice gratitude.

Thanks Mama Kat from http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/ for this great idea!

Write down at least ONE thing to smile about 🙂 in the comments below! Come on, you want to make my day don’t you? (see #8 above!)

Comparison and Vulnerability

After my run yesterday, during my cool down walk, I decided to record my thoughts. It’s out of breath, raw and vulnerable.

The Thinker

Thank you all for being here, being part of this community. Who do you compare yourself to? Why? Do you struggle to remember how far you’ve come? I’d love to “hear” your answers in the comments below or on our FB page: www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations

Transcript:

“My biggest issue right now is comparing myself to others. Why can’t I be as fast as my husband or my girlfriends. Go as far as they are. I mean, it’s silly. We all have our own goals, our own demons to run from but I keep comparing myself to them and I forget how awesome things are. I mean, I never thought I’d ever be a runner in the first place for crying out loud and here I am running 12 kilometers today in the hot sun. I may be out of breath but I frickin’ did it.

It’s pretty amazing really, if you look back at those things. My husband thinks I’m the love of his life. My kids think I’m mom of the year, most days. Some days they hate me, but so does everybody’s kids. My mom is still, mom and dad are still my biggest fans. They don’t understand a lot of the things I do, but, whatever I do, they support it.

So, I need to let go of this comparison thing. You know, judging myself. It’s bad enough I judge others, but I judge myself the most harshly. I need to back off on that. You know, how can I be successful if I keep forgetting how far I’ve come. I need to be grateful for all that I’ve done, where I’ve been, who I’m friends with, who I love. That’s the most important thing.

Anyway, those are my random after-run thoughts. Bye”

Please feel free to send this along to anyone you think needs to hear it. We are not alone with our “comparing” thoughts. We all do it. It’s nice to know that we can be grateful for all that we have.

We love our fans! Join us on our Facebook page for ideas for simplifying and enjoying life.

Do It Anyway

I heard him rummaging about in the kitchen (though he was trying to be quiet). He was making a quinoa meal for our lunch today. He was going for another run this morning.

Oh, those sheets were comfy. They were still warm where he’d been. I rolled over onto my belly. My body trying to convince me to just stay there.

I padded out to the kitchen and was wrapped in his warm arms.

“Good morning. How did you sleep”

“Good” – came my answer, muffled in his chest.

I slipped back to the bedroom. Collapsed on the bed and checked my phone for a couple minutes as my body woke up.

One more hug and then I pulled on my gear and kicked my butt into my workout.

He came down before he left for his run and asked me how it was going. I gasped out, “I suck!” and he just said, “Keep going”, and I did. Those last shoulder presses – I pushed through them. Reverse crunch? …grunt…O-N-E more!

Oh, I deserved that slow, methodical stretch at the end. Mmmmmmm, feels so good to stretch warm muscles.


I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t felt very motivated these past couple months. I’ve been kind of disheartened and afraid to push myself. What if I am successful? What will that mean? Where do I see myself in the next few years. Can I do all that I want to do? Do I have it in me? Am I ready for the work that will require?

sink

It’s waaaaay easier to just stay still, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to just stay in that warm bed, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to leave the dishes in the sink and watch TV, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to just eat the same food that I know isn’t good for me, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to just do it myself, rather than let the kids do it, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to do the same things every day, with the same people, isn’t it?

It’s waaaaay easier to stay in that job where I’m miserable, isn’t it?

It may be easier, but is it better? That’s the question I’m asking of me today. How about you?

What I Didn’t Do (and What I Did)

I was beating myself up like I do sometimes.

Ever do this: think about all the stuff you didn’t get done? All the things you “messed up”?

This week, I didn’t:
  • Get more toilet paper! I mean, who runs out of toilet paper?!?!
  • Run – AT – ALL…even though every time I saw a runner, I longed to join her.
  • Do laundry. Not a single load. And who preaches about doing a load every other day??
  • Get my photo book done yet. Yep, I wanted it done yesterday!
  • Catch up on paperwork from post holiday that was two weeks ago now!
  • Stop myself from laying the guilt trip on my daughter when she was having a fit about a lost hat (that was me feeling guilty because I may or may not have indeed been the reason it was lost..
  • Go to bed early and get up at 5 like I like to do
  • Not cry at work just because I’m not superwoman and making everything perfect everywhere.
How about we try this: what DID I do so far this week:
  • Have all the supper meals planned so far so that we haven’t had to scramble for food on our busy nights
  • Help my daughter get rest and good food while she has the busiest, most stressful week of her year
  • Have a visit and lunch with my hubby and parents, talking about our garden plans getting advice from the expert
  • Restrain myself from screaming at stressed out daughter and instead pulled her in for a hug and a “i understand kiddo, and you got this” talk that helped her pick herself up and push on
  • Acknowledge and thank my little man for doing what I ask
  • Drive all over for dance without speeding like a maniac
  • Watch a movie that I’ve been wanting to watch with my sweetheart
  • Just have coffee with my friend instead of always talking shop
  • Listen to the robins for a little while and remember how much I’ve always loved  doing that.
  • Helped a few folks along their healthy living journey
  • Said good morning to strangers in the street
  • Write an imperfect blog post on my phone just so that I could write
We all stumble. Some days, are worse than others. If we sit and focus on all that we don’t do and mistakes we’ve made, it WILL be that way every day. EVERY DAY.
However, I’ve come to believe that EVERYONE has one good thing they have done and have happen to them.  Find that one thing and be grateful. It will mean all the difference in your life. Just one thing, everyday. Watch it grow.

Introducing Kristin!

Krystal and I will be “off the grid” for a little while with our families! We’re pretty excited! A joint vacation will be so much fun!

We have asked our adventurous friend, Kristin, to post for us while we are away. We adore her and we’re sure you will too! Be sure to leave a comment and say Hi!

kristin

 

Kristin Allan is a Pennsylvania native who migrated north to Alberta 9 years ago. She strives to live simply by minimizing the stuff and stress, while maximizing the love in her life.
For several years she operated a women’s consignment clothing store which she founded in central Alberta.  “Buy it used” is her motto.

She and her man half recently sold most of their belongings and purchased a 30 year old motorhome to live in for the warm season, until the bitter northern Alberta winter chases them into a warmer space.

Kristin loves to share her knowledge of minimalism, growing food, healthy communication and veggie cooking with curious folks.

And the Light Streamed Through

2012-10-07 12.29.23There it is. The insurmountable. Everything was going along just fine down this new path until IT came along! What the hell? Now what am I supposed to do?

The massive fallen tree lay there before me, blocking the road ahead. Wow. It stretched as far as I could see to the left and right. And it’s massive trunk was almost as thick as I am tall. Wow. What the hell…?

I have come so far, only to be stopped in my tracks by some freakin’ tree. This is impossible. There is no way I can move forward. Tears well in my eyes as I consider all that I’ve gone through and all I won’t see now that this is in front of me. My heart breaks and I feel so great a despair that I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy again.

How could it have come to this? Where did I go wrong? I thought this was the right way? Everything pointed to this path, but now I’m stuck. Yeah, they all told me so. I should have listened. What an idiot. Who the hell did I think I was trying to push through on a new trail? I should have stayed safe and sound where I was. At least I wouldn’t feel like crap. There’s just no way to keep going.

And so the tears come. What a cry-baby. I should have listened. Why me? Why can’t I get a break? I’m a good person. How come I can’t get where I want to go? My sobs break the silence around me in the dense forest. My grief overtakes me and I sit and cry for awhile. I deserve it anyways. Such an idiot…On and on, my tears fall until I cannot cry anymore.

I stand up. I turn and look back the way I had come. Holy…moses…look at those freaking craters. I don’t remember that bomb going off. Oh wait a minute…yes I do. I survived? Well, duh, I’m here to tell the tale aren’t I? And those barb wire fences? I climbed through those? So that’s where these scars came from. Huh. Didn’t seem all that bad at the time.

Look at all those things I’ve done! I remember that! I never thought I’d ever make it through that challenge – it was tough but here I am. I see all the people who touched my life, good and bad. I remember the lessons I learned from each one. Some of those lessons were really nasty! But man, were they good to learn. I see how many times my path was blocked, but I also see where I went around or where I climbed over or where I pushed through anyway. Huh. Didn’t think I had it in me…

I turn back to the tree in front of me. The sun has climbed higher now and sheds its light near me, on my right side. Leaning against the tree, previously hidden in shadow, I see an axe. Hmmmm…I consider this for a moment as I wipe my snotty nose.

No, that would be crazy. I’d never be able to use an axe to chop through this thing! Who am I kidding!? What is with me and these crazy ideas? I think of the blisters I would get on my hands. Yeah, but they would heal and eventually my hands would get used to it. What about my shoulders & my back? They’d never be able to take that much work. Yeah, remember when you said the same thing about your legs never being able to carry you this far? Well, they did.

Yeah, but still – I continue to argue with myself – it would be sooooo much work and would take forever! Oh my God! Whine much? Seriously! I am beginning to get annoyed with my whiner baby self. I remind myself about how many times, in fact, I had indeed chopped a lot of wood. Lots of different kinds of wood, and maybe not as big and overwhelming, but still. When you look at this big tree – it really is the same thing, just bigger. Nothing I hadn’t ever done before…

I take a tentative swing. Thud. That went in well. I try another swing, angled towards the first so that a chunk flies out. Ah ha! I try another…and another…chips begin to fly!

I grow tired…and I rest. My hands bleed…and they heal. My back burns…but it soon grows stronger. My heart waits…and then it soars as the light from the other side of the tree streams through…

 

 

How can we help you as you search for the LIGHT? Whatever your LIGHT looks like, know that it is worth it. Don’t wait for it to find you; do the work and SEE IT!

I Was Here

I wrote this post originally on my personal blog, October 18, 2010. I want to write more…I need to write more…My story is aching to be released. I want to be that little girl again. Today’s theme on our Facebook page is “Tell Your Story”. Here’s one of mine:

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She sits in her room – sunbeams streaming through her window. A simple pencil and eraser in her hands. So focused on her work. Lines and shading-creating the picture in front of her. In her mind, she pictures herself sitting at an easel there in a school in the mountains. Surrounded by nature in her favorite place in the whole world. Mountains and forests that call her to create.

The typewriter clicks and clacks as words fly onto pages. A story to tell. Her hand scribbles in a journal, thoughts, feelings that she cannot say out loud, but she can write. All those phrases that are constantly forming in her head stream onto pages. Stories of a girl and her friends. Poems about life. Dreams of a young woman ready to take on the world. She imagines someone reading her words half a world away.

Another day, she dances – arms outstretched, headphones on her ears. Singing the words to a song that touches her heart. Words that someone wrote just for her. Feeling her body rock and sway to the rhythm she feels with every part of her body. Not caring who sees, just feeling with all her soul. She dreams of fans touched by her voice.

Where is she now?

Where is that girl from long ago?

She had so many plans to make her mark on the world. So many dreams that there was no room in her heart for fear, no room for rejection, no room for perfection, no room for people that said “you can’t do that”.

Where is she? Can you see her?

She is there in the mother that curls up with the girl that is so quickly growing into a young woman. Letting her know that no matter what “they” say – she can do anything because she is strong – her strength is found there in that determined jaw.

She is there..in that blog post where she opens her heart to the world. Where she dreams to give even just one person hope for a better day. Her faith is there on a screen for all the world to see.

She is there…in that mom of the young man that is still willing to go for a walk with her and thanks her for something as simple as a Frosty because he has a kind heart – her heart – that he will carry with him.

She is there…in quilted lines of imperfect piecing and uneven stitches. Bright fabrics and colors selected with an eye for something different. Her message of giving remains in every piece she creates.

She is there…in the quiet eyes of the little boy that works so intently on everything he does, absorbed in his creations and love of nature just as she is – she is there in his patience and love so big.

She is there…in a smile that she gives to someone that looks so sad, not knowing that her smile gives that person the encouragement to fight the fight for one more day.

She is there…in the causes she fights for. Her motivation lifts the spirits of those thinking that one person cannot make a difference. The Walks, The Runs, The Rides, battles she fights for those who cannot; because “it’s the least she can do”. She is there in the belief that it will be beaten.

She is there…at that kitchen sink, singing along with the words of new songs and old ones. Dancing in the living room with kids or slow dancing in the kitchen with her lover. The music still takes her there.

She is there…in the tear she shares with the friend that is hurting. The shoulder she offers to help carry the load of the friend struggling with the pain. Her friendship spreads from one woman to another.

She is there…in the passion she has for the man in her life. Her love for him shines out to others, giving them permission to truly love and forgive and love again.

She is there…she waits for you to find her again.

She is here.

I Was Here.

A Simple Love Story

Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Those blue eyes looked up at her while she paused, dish towel in her hands.

“What was it like to get married to Daddy? Was he silly like the boys at school?” she asked again. When did her eight year old turn sixteen and wonder about love?

“We were different then, sweetheart,” she skirted the question.

“But look at your face? You look so happy Mommy!” she held the new-found photo up to her weary eyes.

Yes, she was happy then. And she was different. She quickly corrected herself – it’s not that I’m unhappy now! I love my children. I love my husband. It’s just so…different, yes…Why was she suddenly so very tired? That little face still waited for an answer; so curious. Where did she find that old picture anyway!?

The kitchen suddenly became smaller as she was drawn back to the day he proposed to her in that restaurant. What was it called again? She gently set down the dish towel, pulling her little one onto her lap, holding the picture between them as they sat down and she began to tell the tale…”Your daddy took me to my favorite restaurant back then – it was Italian, but I don’t think it’s there anymore…” and time whisked them away…

Their two heads huddled over that picture together at the kitchen table. She hoped her daughter hadn’t noticed her voice crack as she spoke of walking down the aisle toward the man of her dreams. She could still see him there. Her face flushed as she remembered their honeymoon. Her teary eyes danced with laughter as she remembered that they never used that scuba gear they bought, not even once. Her daughter just listened; fascinated with the story of their love.

So involved with the photo and the story, she hadn’t noticed him come in until she felt his hand on her shoulder.

“Daddy! Mommy is telling me about when you asked her to marry you!” She hastily tried to hide her face before he saw the tear on her cheek.

“She is, is she?” he half-whispered as he gently brushed the tear away with his thumb. “You know, she’s even more beautiful today”.

“Oh, don’t be silly! I badly need a haircut and I’m wearing your old t-shirt!” she moved to continue with dinner; embarrassed.

“In fact, she’s so beautiful…” he held her so she couldn’t escape, “I think we should go out on a date this Friday! What do you think, kiddo? Should I take your mom out and leave you guys with Gramma?” He scooped up his little girl.

“Honey, we can’t possibly ask Mom to do that! Besides, we’re on a budget!”

“Oh Mommy! You should go with Daddy! Isn’t he handsome!? We’ll be good, I promise!” her daughter pleaded with her.

“I’ll call your mom and ask her to keep the kids overnight. She’s always offering. It’s time we took her up on it. We can just rent a movie and have a quiet dinner here – that fits the budget, right? When was the last time you and I just hung out together?”

Her mind swam with all the reasons she shouldn’t. The kids were still so small. Friday was only two days away! Wasn’t it being selfish to not have an “important” reason to leave the kids with her mother? She usually had movie night with the kids on Friday, wouldn’t they be disappointed? Saturdays were hockey games and house-cleaning, they couldn’t stay up late…

Oh, but her heart remembered the feeling of being just the two of them. How his arms felt around her. How the world just disappeared. God, when was the last time she felt that way? Her mind saw him there in the story, standing there, waiting for her. He was looking at her that way now. Her heart skipped a beat. Could it be that he still felt that way about her? They hadn’t talked, really talked for so long. She had no idea what he thought about these days. They used to talk about everything.

“Yes, I still need you” his eyes told her. Had he read her mind? She used to think he could.

Minutes passed. Why was this such a difficult decision? Again, her mind drifted back to the story she’d just told. It seemed like such a far away place and time. Yes, she was different now. But she was still a woman. A mother, yes; but a woman who needed to be with her best friend. To laugh and talk about things besides parent teacher meetings and hockey schedules. She still felt a little bit of that passion she used to feel whenever she looked at him. The flame hadn’t gone out yet.

“I’ve missed you too” she said aloud. “Yes! Let’s do it!”

Her daughter squealed in delight and ran off to tell her brothers; yelling, “Mommy and Daddy are going on a date!”

She didn’t hear their replies as he pulled her towards him; dishtowel, old t-shirt and all.

Does this story resonate with you? How do you “rekindle the flame” and date your husband? (or do you? Why not?). We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

We’ve been there…In our busy lives it’s so very hard to find the time for each other. However, we’ve also learned just how important it is to make that special time to reconnect with your spouse. Right now. Don’t wait until “it’s convenient”. Take action!

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Don’t wait another day to make a change in your relationship – It’s never too late to rekindle and reconnect.

Our Simply Sexy Date Night Package will show you how!

Make every day Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Peace and Calming

peace

Krystal’s FB challenge posts this week have been about forgiveness and believing in yourself. I love that theme!

What I noticed this week is that I’ve been running and working myself a little ragged. I was exhausted and sleepy at the store yesterday, and that is just not like me these days. I was falling asleep last night while waiting for my daughter to finish dance class. The difference now is that I am quicker to recognize the signs, I am quicker to pay attention to what my body and spirit are telling me.

The result: I fell instantly asleep last night, safe and warm in my lover’s arms. I got up this morning at my usual early time. I did not rush. I did my run slowly and steadily. I have a ton of work to do, but instead of having my coffee at the computer, I sat (yes, SAT) in the kitchen and visited with my kids and sweetie. I sipped and I enjoyed my smoothie, made by him. After everyone left, I languished in the shower: having a hot shower is one of my favorite things. I took the time for the first time this week to shave my legs and take care of my skin. I put on my prettiest t-shirt and my necklace and my “Peace and Calming” essential oil. I did not “save it for a special occasion”. Today, I AM A SPECIAL OCCASION! 🙂

And now: I’m able to quickly write a blog post that I’m passionate about! I’ll be able to work my butt off at the store, excited and ready to help some amazing people make positive changes. I’ll be focused and fun when we talk about our Disney World trip tonight. Why? Because I spent just a little time on ME. Taking care of ME.

You are so very worth it. You cannot possibly be all that you can be without taking care of the beautiful, incredible, BRILLIANT person that you are. Please, please….spend some time with YOU today! I love you! You need to LOVE you too! 🙂

 

The Die in Diet

I originally wrote this post January 3, 2010 on my personal blog. I wanted to share it with you here because I still strive for the same things. I still eat food and refuse to “diet”. It has been a long, hard road but my relationship with food has changed. On January 2, 2010 – I weighed 175 lbs (down from 190 lbs the January 2009); I now weigh 155 lbs. I don’t really focus on these numbers, I just wanted to make the point that it is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not a diet that got me here.

I hope this helps you to get rid of the “DIET” and join me and Krystal in CHANGE instead! We love you!

My first breakfast today (yep, I’m a Hobbit – I have more than one breakfast!)

first breakfast

From Cafe Cevraini, January 3, 2010

How many of you have New Year’s Resolutions to go on a diet?

How many of you are starving right now because you didn’t eat breakfast?

How many of you feel guilty about all the stuff you ate over the holiday?

How many of you love good food, and resent yourself for deciding that “I’m not eating that from now on”?

MANY of us are there.

I have been there.

I am not claiming to be an expert or a dietician or someone who has any training in nutrition at all. I am only telling you of my experiences and what has worked and is working for ME in the hopes to give you some ideas of how to get off the “diet train”.

In my opinion, dieting IS equivalent to dying. What do I mean by that?

Denying yourself food that you enjoy, even love, is not living your life; in essence, dying. Because if you are not living, what are you doing then?

Skipping meals is just plain not healthy (especially breakfast, girls – you know who you are!), starving yourself is definitely not healthy. And then of course, it follows with binge eating. The yo-yo effect of eating this way does a lot of damage to your body. Not taking care of your body is equivalent to letting your body die.

Another “foot in the grave”: Beating yourself up about what you ate yesterday or even two weeks ago! Forgive yourself! Let it go! Being so hard on yourself isn’t good for your body, your spirit or your mind!

Don’t get me wrong – I have done ALL of these things. I still do these things! I am not perfect and don’t expect myself to be. What I am trying to do is just let it go. When I make a mistake; trip and fall down – I just get up, dust myself off and try again.

I no longer believe in diets of any kind. I have tried so many I can’t even count! Ones like SlimFast, Atkins, South Beach, severely reduced calorie intake, grapefruit etc. etc. Some have worked – I’ve lost weight while being faithful to them. But they are so restrictive and I was filled with such RESENTMENT towards them, they were impossible to keep on top of!

We are imperfect beings. On top of that, when we hate something, like dieting, it is extremely difficult to overcome our desire to get the hell away from that which we hate: the diet! We feel like we are dying!

Thus, the diet doesn’t last, we “fall off the wagon”, and gain the weight back, and then some, because our bodies are so upset and we binge on the foods we love that we’ve been denying ourselves!

What has worked for me over the past year is this: I eat. Period.

There have been days where I’ve forgotten to eat breakfast (what is it with women and breakfast!??) There have been days where I’ve gorged on greasy burgers. I definitely eat food that I love like pasta and cheesecake and stuff like that. I had a couple months (November and December 2009) where I wasn’t eating breakfast or lunch and I’d binge on whatever I could find at night. I was not taking care of myself and I knew it. I was letting stress control me, and not taking care of me just made it worse!

But…I don’t do that every day. And I don’t beat myself up when I eat these things or forget that meal. I wake up and decide, today, I am going to eat better.

My “eating better” is this:

  1. I eat often – at least 5 times per day.
  2. I eat foods that are going to actually do something for my body; from all the “food groups”.
  3. I try not to eat “crap”. But when I do, I try to only have a few bites. And don’t get mad at myself for doing it!
  4. And I don’t eat too much. I just eat enough for that moment. That may be something I love, but I try not to “pig out” on it.
  5. When I’m hungry, I try to think about why I’m hungry. Am I just bored? Am I eating to deal with stress? Am I actually thirsty? When was the last time I ate something? What did I eat last? Then, after I’ve thought about it, then I’ll decide.
  6. I don’t deny myself food that I love. At all. Life is too short to be denying myself anything. If I love it, do it! For crying out loud! What is the big deal? I am not harming anyone or anything by enjoying food that I love. It may be 3000 calories, but so what? I am not doing that every day, just once in a while. What is the harm? If I did that everyday, yes, that would be harmful. But, everything in moderation, right? Most of the time, especially when I’ve been eating really well and feeling really great, I find that I only need a few bites of the food I love to be satisfied. I don’t feel like binging, because I haven’t made it “taboo”.

Food is meant to nourish us and is a gift to enjoy. It should not be an enemy. We don’t need the “Die in Diet”. We need to live, laugh, love and to me, dieting gets in the way of that.

My Happiness Project focus for January is Fitness – thus, I’ve been focusing on getting back to my regular workouts and eating better. So far, so good! ;)Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!

Now, go eat something good for you! ;)

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