The Blink of an Eye

My beautiful sisters

 

A friend of mine lost her sister yesterday, in the blink of an eye. It made me realize yet again how precious a moment is. I talked to my mom & dad and my sisters & brother. I’m so very grateful to hear their voices and just know they are with me. I cannot imagine being without them. It makes me grateful too for friends who have become like sisters to me. I realize how much I am blessed by people in my life. It sure makes all the petty little “issues” disappear.

I find I’m noticing moments much more these days. But still…I am rushing from one thing to another. And so…I breathe…

Just for a moment:

  • I kiss his soft cheek good night and see how much my baby has grown, thankful he still lets me kiss him good night
  • I stand beside this beautiful soon-to-be woman who has it so much more together than I ever did when I was her age
  • I worry and wait for my oldest son to find his way in the world, though knowing in my heart that all will be well because he is a good man
  • I think of friends I have known and send them light and love whereever they may be
  • I feel my strong husband’s arms around me as I drift off to sleep, safe and warm in his love
  • I awake to a cold winter day, yet I am warm while so many others are not
  • I remember waking in the wee hours like this on Christmas morning and sharing secrets with my sisters & brother so long ago
  • I am excited to spend two weeks soon with my mother and sisters while another is not even able to call her sister on the phone

In the blink of an eye:

  • They are embarrassed by your kisses
  • They are walking down an aisle
  • The friends have moved on
  • They are married with Christmas mornings of their own
  • She is here and the next she is gone

Create the moments. Cherish them. Capture them. Nurture them. Hold them. Love them.

* This is a tribute to a young woman, gone too soon. Be at peace Leslie. You will be missed.

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Hotel Sex

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Yep, I said it…the “S” word…oh my….it’s a controversial topic it seems. Personally, I think, if people talked about “IT” more, there would be less cheating, less “hang-ups” and waaaay more healthy relationships! If we made “IT” a priority and not an obligation in our marriages, it would change our family life. I know this because I’ve done it and “IT”…often….

So many of us only have “good” sex when we go away to a hotel. Which is only a few times a year! (eek! maybe even only ONCE a year…I don’t even want to think about that!) We barely touch each other at home; we’re just too “busy”. Intimacy? That was for when we didn’t have kids! How many of you each “do your own thing” in your marriage? Or, worse, don’t do anything at all? Your lives revolve around the kids and work and the house and that’s about it. YOU are not a priority and frankly, neither is your marriage. I know this. Been there, done that. Still there sometimes. I’ve heard (and SAID) all the excuses why this happens:

  • “The kids are so much work”
  • “I’m too tired at the end of the day”
  • “I just want to veg and watch tv”
  • “I don’t feel like it”
  • “I am not sexy enough” or “good enough”
  • “When I lose weight, we’ll do it more”

Friends…they are EXCUSES. I just couldn’t take it anymore – the excuses caused US and ME nothing but heart-ache. Yes, it still happens sometimes, but not as often because I really did not want to wake up and say, “Who the heck am I? Who is this person in my bed?” (If he’s still IN the bed!)

So, we started talking. Yes, talking. Actual quality time talking about what we dream about, what we need, what we love, what we don’t love. Not about kids and bills and work and CRAP! About US! About ME! About HIM! We spent REAL time together with the 7 Days of Sex Challenge that was more than the sex. It was about real intimacy. It was a challenge to spend focused, open time together! This challenge opened the doors to our beginning to understand what WE are as a couple. We’ve come a long way baby! ;P

Oh yes, I hear the excuses again: “We don’t have time!”  “The kids are always around” “He doesn’t understand me” “I’m exhausted”. Yeah, well, keep making excuses and you’ll wake up one day when the kids don’t need you anymore and you’ll wonder what the heck happened….

STOP IT! Please! Take IT away from the HOTEL! Make IT a priority! IT is more than sex. IT is:

  • Kissing him passionately in the hallway while the kids are watching TV and continuing on to the laundry – that’s going to make him think!
  • Talking about your dreams and listening to his while you’re driving and the kids are plugged into their DS games or a movie
  • Sneaking up behind him and throwing your arms around him while he’s making coffee
  • Sending him a sexy text message in the middle of the day (or email or even a note in his lunch or in the truck)
  • NOT doing HOUSEWORK when the kids are away at sleepovers! What are you thinking!!?? This confuses me when you post that on FB?? Get off FB and away from the vacuum and get BUSY!! Take every opportunity that comes your way. You don’t know when it will come around again! Walk out to the garage in nothing but a housecoat – you’ll get his attention!

  • Taking a holiday day or sick day and STAY in BED with each other! You are allowed you know!
  • Snuggling up on the couch and watching TV if you must – rub or scratch his back while he sits beside you
  • Exercise together and play footsies while you’re supposed to be trying to do sit-ups! LOL!
  • Make it a priority to have a conversation for even just 15 minutes every day. You can find 15 minutes. Even if it has to be on the phone. And it can’t be about the kids, bills or the van broke down or anything like that. REAL conversation
  • Find a way to have a date night (click for ideas) – even if it’s just a candlelight dinner in the kitchen after the kids are in bed. Try something!
  • Do SOMETHING together. Anything. Even just once a week or even once a month. Be a TEAM
  • Lock the door and be very quiet if you have to! 😉 5 minutes if you have to! Get IT where you can, whenever you can!!

And the other thing – YOU have to start. Don’t wait for him. Take the lead. Tell him what you want. Tell him what you need. Don’t whine about it, just have a conversation. If he doesn’t hear you the first time, try again. Try something other than talking if that’s not working. Surprise him! Start something, even if it’s just a back rub on the couch. Pay attention to him. Pretty soon, he’ll pay attention to you too.

We’re still learning. It is not easy and it does require work. And yes, you will have bad times and heartaches – you are both human beings and nothing is ever perfect.

Most of all, it requires you making “US” THE priority; over the kids and over work and over everything else. The US is that important. If IT meant enough for you to say I DO, then it means enough to work at IT….Way, waaaaaay beyond the Hotel Room…

Need some ideas for reconnecting with your spouse? Check out our Simply Sexy Date Night Package – it’s FULL of ideas are resources!

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[By the way…I highly recommend everyone to watch the movie “Fireproof” as a couple – it will change your relationship]

Gramma’s Wisdom

I originally wrote the post below on my personal blog on October 22, 2009. It’s interesting going back and reading my writing from that time in my life. I had just begun my journey to finding Happiness. Writing was a part of it. A better appreciation for all that I had was a huge part of it. It still is.

Today, I still forget to appreciate the little things. My daughter now towers over me and my youngest son is almost there. My oldest son has set off into the world and I miss him. Some days, I think about all those days/times I wasted yelling or worrying or just wishing that they would grow up. Days that I wish I could have gone to my Gramma’s for coffee instead of driving by. Suppers we could have chatted around the table instead of rushing off to the next thing. I think about those days and my heart fills with remorse and even guilt…then I realize how much of the NOW I’m wasting RIGHT NOW by living in the past that I cannot change.

Gramma would not want me to mourn the days that I did not spend with her. She would want me to remember that afternoon that she made pizza just for the two of us because she rarely got to because it was either just her or 12 people or more. She’d want me to remember the stories she’d told me over the times we did have coffee. The times she came to my kids’ birthdays and events and was a part of their every day lives.

Gramma would remind me that no matter how big they are, they are still my babies. That I still can take the time and hug them and listen to what they have to say, even when I’m “busy”. She always had time for whoever came to her door. She never apologized for what the house looked like or that she hadn’t been to the grocery store. The house always looked wonderful and she always managed to make something delicious. She never counted calories or worried about weight gain. She just enjoyed the company and whatever food went along with it.

She would remind me to be grateful to wake up in the morning and have another chance. That each day is a chance to change. That we all make mistakes and the only thing we need to do is learn from them and start again today.

Thank you Gramma, for your wisdom. I heard you speak to me while I ran today. You’re always there in the quiet when I just take the time to listen. Thank you.

My post from 2009:

I just drove by the car wash today and saw something that made me think.

There was a little boy, about 4 years old, trying to wash his Gramma’s car. He could barely hang on to the pressure washer wand as he sprayed. His Gramma stood behind him and gently guided him along the side of her car.

What made me think was this: How many times have our littlest ones asked or offered to help us do something? How many times have they excitedly asked: “Can I help you make supper Mommy?” or “Dad, can I help you fix the car?”

How many times have we said, “no, honey, you’re too small” or “no, sweetie, I’m in a hurry, I have to get this done!” or even, sadly, “no, get out the way!”

Often, in our rush to get that task done, we do not see those sad, disappointed eyes. We do not see what “you’re too small” does to their self-confidence. They are so eager to be a part of the things we do, and so many times, we just don’t let them!

The Gramma’s Wisdom: Well, that Gramma I saw, I’m sure was perfectly capable of washing the car herself or she wouldn’t have gone to a wand wash. I’m sure she could have got the car washed faster (and saved money!) if she’d done it herself. I’m sure that a 4 year old isn’t likely going to do a “perfect” job on that car and the Gramma would do it better.

But, that Gramma knows all too well how quickly those little hands become big hands. She knows that only a few minutes of patience spent with that little 4 year old boy will mean so very much to his self confidence. That she will be closer to him because “Gramma lets me do stuff”. She will see the smile on his face rather than a tear because she showed him that he wasn’t ”too little”.

Her generation knows that children need to contribute to the family and do chores just as much as the adults in the family do. Children need to know how to do chores, clean the house, cook, do dishes, etc. etc. before they leave home! She knows that he will learn that having a car requires work and maintenance, even if his dad buys it for him. She warns us as we complain about the “lazy” teenager when it was us that didn’t let that child help us when he wanted to! Of course they don’t want to help us now!

They grow up so fast. Soon, that little boy won’t even want to be seen with his Gramma, let alone wash her car for her. That Gramma knows that she has got to take advantage of the time that she gets with her little man before it’s too late.

I’m going to go home tonight and when my little people ask to help, I will let them. It might take longer or might make a mess, but what is more important?

Thanks Gramma for your wisdom.

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Yes, YOU are!

But I Don’t Want to Exercise

“But I don’t want to exercise”….

This is something I hear regularly in the store and out and about. “I don’t want to exercise” is one of the first things people say when they want to “lose weight”. My heart breaks when I hear that. It means that once again, the message has been lost/confused/twisted about this whole “weight issue”. It is almost always a woman and I can pretty much always feel the sadness and self-loathing emanate from her body. I can feel it because that was me just a few short years ago.

One of my goals in this business is to help women realize how beautiful, how powerful, how FREAKING AMAZING they truly are. I don’t want any woman to feel like exercise is a torture that one must do to “keep the weight off” or to please some man with how her body looks. I want to help them understand that moving our bodies is something completely natural and freeing and FEELS GOOD!!!

I wish I could make the whole thought of “lose weight” disappear. Make the diet industry completely vanish overnight! Have the thousands of dollars spent on things like appetite suppression and HCG and special diet “foods” go towards ridding people of their debts or towards charities they care about or being able to do what you love. Oh, the glorious day that would be!! It may not be possible to do it overnight, but I believe it’s possible to make it happen one person at a time. And that’s what I intend to do.

Right here, right now I’m want to tell you to STOP thinking of exercise as something you have to endure to lose weight. That is not a good enough reason. STOP thinking that you have to lose weight. YOU DON’T!! STOP thinking about WEIGHT period!! If you keep focusing on the negative, that’s what you’ll always get. Continuously. I guarantee it. I have been there. Many, many times – just like you. You’ll continue on the roller coaster ride of the up and down NUMBER on a freaking scale. Lose the scale. Right now! Stash it somewhere where you can’t find it.

Please, please look in the mirror and see your beauty. You REALLY are beautiful. Look in those eyes. Think about all they’ve seen. Those lips – the songs they have sung and the other lips they’ve kissed. Your breasts – how they nurtured your children. Your belly that carried them and helped them grow. Even if you don’t have children – worship your body; for it has been with you from the beginning. It has been strong enough to bring you through that time, back then – you know, THAT time. Speak gentle words to that woman in the mirror. She has been through some really tough stuff and here she still is. She deserves your love. She deserves your attention. In fact – that woman in the mirror craves attention. Give it to her. You are the only one who truly can.

Find the movement your body loves. The movement that makes your body feel good.

It should not be something you hate. If you hate the gym, don’t go! Dance in your living room instead.

What did you play when you were a kid? Get out there and do it again!

Start simple. Start small.

Do it not for the “exercise”, do it for the love of that gorgeous body.

Experiment. Try something new.

Find a cause. Find a friend. Find your playlist that makes you feel alive and excited to move.

Get out there. Just move. Have fun! That’s all you need to do.

Let your body tell you what it wants to do.

And then keep doing it.

Stop thinking that this is something you do UNTIL you “lose the weight”. This is not something you do temporarily. This is a different way of LIVING. This is life: moving and being IN IT instead of letting it pass you by as you sit there in front of the TV. I guarantee you that as you move the way YOU want to move your body will thank you. It will help you. It will crave nourishing foods and turn away from the rest. It will feel better. It will stop aching and hurting. It will rejoice! It will change.

And so will you.

Yes, YOU are!

Guilt Burger

Today has been a busy day – getting ready for the week ahead and I still have lots I want to do. I really enjoyed my weekend, spending time out at my parents farm. I re-learned some of those lessons your mother teaches you but as a teenager, you ignore…only to find out later what great advice it was.

I have a lot going on in my life right now. Most of which, I’ve brought on myself and I am excited about. However, there are those moments of overwhelm when I can’t seem to catch my breath. Where I feel lost and alone and those voices begin again…

There was a time in my life – well, truthfully, it was all the time; where I would seek solace in food. I was the girl who ate the entire box of school fundraising chocolate almonds secretly in her closet, never having to actually sell a single one. I was the young single mom who made cookies for her son only to eat half of them myself when he wasn’t looking. Had a bad day at work? I’d stop and get chips and dip and gorge myself on them in front of the TV.

Thankfully, I’ve also always been fairly active, so I never became VERY obese – but I did become unhealthy and overweight and exhausted all the time. Most of all, the solace I sought never did come. I would eat and eat and all I would feel was more guilty, more ashamed, more ugly and most of all – still sad, overwhelmed and alone.

Enter stage right…the person I am today…now I am slowly learning to seek comfort elsewhere. In my family and friends. In running. In writing. In doing what I love. But there are days; there are moments like today…

I feel inadequate. I feel like I am a bad mother. I feel like I’ve let my best friend down. I feel like there is so much to do that I’ll never get it all done. I don’t even want to look at the list because the panic rises in my throat every time I do. Waves of negative feelings crash down all around me. No one helps me get the truck unpacked. We’re out of milk again. The kids will complain that all there is for lunches are vegetables. He sits and sits and plays his stupid game. If I had that kind of time, I certainly wouldn’t be wasting it like he does.

I leave the pot of beets simmering on the stove and the squash in the oven. They’re all sitting around, so the house won’t burn down while I’m gone; if they’d even freaking notice. The vegetables need 1/2 hour anyway. And so I drag my butt to the grocery store. As I drive, grumbling, I remember that my credit card doesn’t work since I’ve completely forgotten my PIN for some very strange reason (it’s the card I use ALL the time). Shit! I guess I’m only getting the milk because that’s all the cash I have.

Traffic is slow because it’s holiday Monday and everyone is driving their freaking trailer’s through town. Why the hell does the store have to be a left turn off the damn highway? I see a sign ahead of me, past my turn….A&W…2 Mama burgers with cheese for 5$. I can get two AND get milk. I have a twenty…and so I drive to the next left turn. No wait there…interesting….I grab my burgers and turn right to the CO-OP.

I sit in the parking lot, feeling like a criminal, and eat my burgers. One after the other… It will make me feel better, right? I will forget about all that I have to do. I will stop resenting my husband’s leisure time. I will forget about my feelings of inadequacy. Right? …Right?….RIGHT????

As I sit, I search the parking lot for vehicles I recognize – making sure no one sees the girl who preaches healthy eating chowing down on a cheeseburger…GUILT…I smugly eat a burger that I don’t have to share and I remember the lattes and breakfast he made for me this morning….GUILT…I feel each piece sliding down my throat and remember how good I feel when I run. I’ll have to wait a while before I will feel like running as this sits in my belly…GUILT…the bunch of bananas and a few apples for my kids’ lunch cost as much as these burgers and now the money is spent…GUILT…

By the time I swallowed the last bite of those burgers, I did not feel any better. I felt soooo much worse. My heart was heavy and my shoulders drooped with my shame. I’m sure the cashier wondered about my lack of my usual friendliness. I berated myself. I kicked myself. I hated myself. I climbed back in my vehicle to head for home, beating myself up all the way.

A young man sat on a motorcycle beside me, waiting to turn left while I waited to turn right. He was very young – about the same age as my oldest who I’ve been failing as a mother for this week. His motorcycle was a shiny Harley Davidson – a small, simple one that I guessed he’d saved and bought for himself. His skateboard was strapped to the back and he wore a camo shirt and he had eyeglasses. I thought about his youth and his excitement to be there on his bike. I’m sure his mother worried about him being on that motorcycle. But he didn’t care. I could see the smile on his face. He didn’t care about the traffic. He didn’t care about how much he had to do tomorrow. It seemed to me that he didn’t have a care in the world.

Instead of resenting this boy as I turned away from him, I found myself there with him. I found myself remembering all that I’m thankful for. Remembering all that I’ve been given. All that I’m capable of. I remembered that it’s all in my control – that I control my reactions and my attitude. No one else. Just me. The more I sit and bitch and moan, the worse things always become. The more burgers I eat, the worse I feel. I know what brings me joy. I know what gives me hope. I know that each of my failures have always, ALWAYS taught me something important. No cheeseburger ever taught me a damn thing.

I composed this post in my head as I washed the dishes and felt grateful for them. Yes, I am grateful for dishes. I had to share this story with you. We all have guilt burgers. Each one of us has something that we do to ourselves to help us deal with the pain and the hurt. Each of us is capable of so much more. We just need to figure out what it is that we can find our comfort in. It’s not easy. But then, what in your life has been easy? Hasn’t the hard stuff always made it worth it in the end?

Thankful just to be breathin’

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Floating down the river July 2012

Getting Outside

I love being outside. I especially love to be barefoot in the grass. I think that’s why I love summer so much. I can feel the grass and the earth beneath my toes.

Being in nature heals. It allows me to breathe. It allows me to be bigger than me. I am a part of something.

I spent a good part of this past weekend outside. I harvested nanking cherries that I picked while barefoot. I gathered raspberries in short sleeves and allowed the trees and bushes to embrace me. I floated down the river where I grew up and let it wash away all my cares. I reveled in the quiet as the sky and trees drifted past me. I feel uplifted and grounded at the same time.

Outside is where the action is. It’s where peace can be found. Outside you can breathe. It’s where you can feel part of something bigger than all the crap we all worry about all the time. Outside is where real life happens. The rest? Well, it can all wait. Just get outside.

 

Are the kids (and you!) running out of things to do outside? Can’t think of anything? Krystal and I wrote our ideas down in this comprehensive Simplify: Summer ebook. Find out more here: Simplify Summer

Reflection

It has been an interesting year for the Simple Life Gals to say the least! Over the past year we have really changed our focus from wanting to do everything to REALLY simplifying our business (imagine that we are taking our own advice!) Simple Life Celebrations started out over two years ago as one of those “shower” ideas. I think us moms have these shower ideas because it’s one of the only peaceful and quiet times that we have in our day. So… Shawna had this idea that we should start a business and immediately we  started spewing all of these ideas of what our business could entail. We could do party planning, concierge, organizing and more! After having a taste of all of these things and putting in many, many hours of work we decided that not all of these things were our passion. Once we got talking, we realized that helping people organize and live simpler lives was what we really wanted to pursue. A huge weight was lifted off of our shoulders to have this clarity of our business.

The barn loft before & after

So for the past year we have been organizing offices, basements, storage areas, and even a barn! It has been fantastic and inspiring to see our clients carry on organizing other areas of their homes/lives even after we were gone.  (Not only do we enjoy seeing people make the most of their spaces but we like to coach them on how to keep it organized without being overwhelmed.)

It was last November when we went on a weekend retreat. We basically drove 10 hours one way to the middle of nowhere to plan our year and set some goals. On the long drive there we decided that we were going to host a week long Summit called the Celebrate Life Summit. It consisted of 9 local events as well as 15 interviews with many of our favourite online bloggers. It was an amazing experience! We really wanted people to know what resources were available locally as well as globally for simpler, healthier living. Our themes included fitness, nutrition, simple living, love

Our November retreat at Hills Health Ranch in B.C.

and relationships, finding your inner goddess, work/finance, and celebrating our world. All of these topics are special to us; we continually strive to better ourselves. It was a great learning experience for us as well as many of the participants.

February was our big Summit!

 

 

 

This year we have also collaborated with Tony DiLorenzo and Dustin Riechmann to create our Simply Sexy Date Night Package which is full of resources to get and keep that fire burning! Seriously, it is packed full of new and exciting date night ideas, great relationship eBooks, and our sexy date night challenge. We know it is not easy to balance a busy schedule and we do not want to let the important things like relationships go to the wayside.

This year we also challenged ourselves with the Simple Spring Challenge. It was a challenge to us and to our readers. Basically, we wanted to rid our lives of physical, mental, procrastination, technological clutter, unhealthy habits, negative feelings and anything else that was holding us back and preventing us from having healthier, happier lives. We kept track of everything that we were able to ‘let go’ of. It was a nice cleanse for the body and soul! A healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand.

A couple of other public events that we attended was the After Dark Ladies Night @ReFind where we demonstrated how you can repurpose everyday household items to make lovely storage for your jewelry . We had a blast with the ladies! We shared tons of ideas on how to effectively store your accessories without having to spend a ton of mullah.

Refind After Dark Ladies Night jewelry organizing

We have also attended a couple of speaking events and talked with groups of lovely ladies that were wanting to learn more about how to let go of  items. We also shared the reasons of why we hang on to things.

Our latest adventure (or should I say the techie, Shawna’s) was to build us a whole entirely new website. Wowsers, what a learning curve to start all over with a different site. We are so over the moon excited to share it with the world as we really feel like this is a much better reflection of us and our business! (We hope you like it too and would love to have some feedback). It is simple, informative and has our latest products all RIGHT HERE.

And… in our spare time <wink wink> we have just finished our 58 page eBook called Simplify Summer. It is absolutely packed with ideas on how to make the most of your summer. It includes a meal plan (not using the oven at all), staycation ideas for you and the family, checklists for getting away, fun sheets and much more! There should not be anyone ‘bored’ in your house this summer!

We look forward to more SLC ideas for the second half of our year including partnering with Health Street for an evening to give you ideas on how to organize your pantry/kitchen and how to store your healthy foods. We also plan on bringing you more tips and tricks to aid you in living a simpler, more meaningful life. We believe that it is time for people all around the world to ditch the clutter and the guilt and start simplifying their lives!

What will the rest of 2012 bring us? 🙂

“Simplifying is about gaining control of your life and your possessions, creating more time to do the things you want to and to spend time with the people you love.”

~ Wendy Priesnitz (Natural Life Magazine)

 

 

 

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