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sushi

Why I Ate Sushi (and I hate fish)

It lay there, beautiful displayed. The setting was perfection. I had been having a wonderful, just-the-two-of-us-vacation. It was our 15th Anniversary. We were alone, at the back of the restaurant, in a traditional Japanese private room. I like sushi…vegetarian sushi…I don’t like fish. Hate it. I’ve tried and tried again, but I still hate it. I knew what was in it – BBQ eel. Yep…I said eel. And raw salmon and banana of all things…

sushi

Why did I do it?

I am 43 years old. I have been married for 15 years. Not all good years. In fact, some were really shitty, my heart broken beyond repair. I have been “Mom of the Year” and yet close to strangling my own off-spring. I have changed careers (not jobs – careers) 4 times and gone back to school twice. Some days were easy and on some I thought of pulling the plug – literally, on those darkest days. I have been afraid. Heart pounding, gut wrenching afraid. And I have stood still, paralyzed and unable to move.

I have lived to tell the tale. I have grown stronger with each jagged heartbreak. I have chosen to love anyway because it’s what I do best. I have yelled and screamed and crumpled in a heap in despair. My tears have filled an ocean and my knees are bruised from falling down so often. Each time, I get back up and clear the rubble once again.

There’s been help. Shoulders to lean on, tearful wits-end conversations with people who still love me for some crazy reason. Banks renegotiate loans, parents give support and windfalls come in the nick of time. Someone comes to the rescue before I commit a crime on my own kids. Yes, there has been help and I am so grateful.

Through it all though, one thing was constant. One thing.

There were many, many times I could have let the darkness take me. Times when I could have just said, fuck it. I came so close. But one person would not let me. She was there, she knew that just one more step would move me forward. She pushed me and I took the step, sometimes unwillingly, but I did.

And that is why I ate the damn sushi. I was in the moment. In the perfect spot on a perfect day with the man I love with every part of my soul who actually loves me back.

Really, what other choice was there? Sitting there, wondering what it would be like? How gross it could be? Wishing we had chosen a different restaurant? Resenting him for all the mistakes he’s made? Beating myself up for all the times I’ve been less than awesome? Thinking of the what-if-I’d-done-that-instead-of-this scenarios? Oh, there were a lot of choices I could have made. But…I chose the fish…the raw freaking fish

I smiled, I chop-stick-handled, I dipped and I stuffed it in my mouth. But…I savored the moment. I chewed and tasted the flavors and the textures. I gave it the “old college try”…

…And I absolutely loved it. LOVED it! I couldn’t believe it. I had more, I ate it without the sauce, I ate it with the banana. Another plate came and it was better than the last. Delicious. I was ecstatic! And I am alive and I am blessed and I am grateful. I wanted to shout from the roof tops, “Sushi rules!” We laughed, we enjoyed, we loved every precious, perfect moment.

…but there will also be many, more days of glorious Sushi and I will savor each and every bite.

….

I would love to hear your sushi story. We are the same, you and I. Let’s chat! Email Shawna: shawna@simplelifecelebrations.com

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applesauce

Practice Makes Perfect

applesauceI love spending time learning to cook traditional foods with my Mom. This weekend, we spent a warm Sunday afternoon making applesauce with apples from her two apple trees. It was just Mom & I because my kids & hubby had other things to do and Dad was doing stuff outside. We experimented with the applesauce last year and loved it so much, we decided to do it again.

One of the reasons I love spending time with her is the stories we share. We talk a lot about different things from when I was growing up. We talk about the way things are today. We talk about healthy and frugal living. Mom comes from a long line of women who could make something from nothing and know what hard work means. She also comes from a long line of women who are always sacrificing themselves for the sake of others. It’s hard for my mom to relax; to do something that is just for pleasure. There’s always more work to be done.

My Mom’s house is beautiful. It’s perfectly clean and organized. Always has been. I can’t remember it ever being messy. If you needed something, there was always an exact place to find it. She still finds teaching moments for me to learn how to clean properly. I caught her doing it several times as we did the applesauce (it’s a messy job!) It made me smile every time – I’m 43 years old and my mom is still teaching me how to clean a stove!

Just a few years ago, I would have resented the teaching. I would have felt like a failure, thinking she assumed that I don’t know what I’m doing. I would have felt small and childish. I would have drummed up that old attitude of thinking I’m never good enough for her. I would have been hurt and upset that she thought so little of me. I would have put all kinds of thoughts in my head about what she was thinking as she showed me these things.

I’m older and wiser now. I’ve come to terms with that kind of thinking. My Mom does not tell me these things because she thinks I’m not good enough. It’s not about me at all. In fact, I know my Mom thinks I’m pretty damn awesome. She may not say so, but the fact that she wants to do these things with me is the best indicator I know that she cares. She does these things because it’s what makes her feel good. She feels important and respected when she is able to teach me something new or show me something she is good at. And she is great at taking care of her family and her house. No one can clean like she can.

She was teasing me about how I talk about organization here on Simple Life Celebrations and she knows just how disorganized I can be. Oh yeah, she’s seen some pretty messy days at my house. She’s seen me forget things, burn muffins, indulge my kids, change careers, cry about my relationships, and have a lot of dirt on my window sills. She doesn’t understand any of these things. It’s not her way at all (and certainly not the way she taught me).

Oh yeah, she’s called me out on these things. She’s my Mom, it’s her job. Yep, I’m 43 years old and my Mom is still telling me I need to wash my walls. If she didn’t, I’d wonder what was wrong.

My Mom has also seen me get, not one, but two diplomas from SAIT (with honors) while being a single mom. She’s seen me raise thousands of dollars for causes I believe in. She’s seen me fall in love with someone who is my best friend. She’s seen my kid still hug me even when he’s 22 years old. She’s seen the wonderful people my children are becoming. She’s seen me write the stories of our lives. She’s seen me try and try again.

Mom is perfect. She is able to do things I never will. I’ll never have a house that clean or everything perfectly placed. She will always be teaching me how to make a bed or organize a pantry, hopefully when I’m 86 years old. To me, she’ll always be perfect. Teaching equals helping others. She comes from a long line of women who teach the next generation. Who accept that times change and that’s OK. There are new ways of doing things and they are open to learn too. My Gramma learned how to use a computer and how to make the BEST pizza you’ve ever had. These were not skills she grew up with. My Mom can install a printer for my Aunt and can drive a tractor as good as my Dad. Again, she didn’t grow up with this. She learned. They practiced until they got it right. Practice Makes Perfect.

To my Mom, I am perfect. I may forget to call or forget about so-and-so’s wedding shower. I may have a dusty bookshelf. I may have laundry piled in the kids’ rooms. I may not know where my stapler is. I may have given away my mother-in-law’s china. But to her, I am trying, I am learning and I am teaching others as I go. That is all she’s ever asked for. That is her most important lesson: Practice Makes Perfect. Sharing what I’ve learned here with you makes her proud to say, “That’s my daughter. She learned that from me.”

What lessons are you learning? What ways can you teach others? Share in the comments or over on our Facebook page: Simple Life Gals

Firsts

It was a day of firsts yesterday for the Cevraini’s.

  • First day of high school for my girl
  • First day of flying solo at the middle school for my boy
  • First time the 3 of them went to the grocery store to pickup our groceries
  • First email for our biz sent with our new tool

A day of firsts to be proud of, that’s for sure. But I have to admit that I have also had so many worries along with these firsts:

  • She is so excited for high school, but I worry about the pressures she will have there. I still have a lot of reservations surrounding that high school and it’s location, it’s methods and whether it’s the right “fit” for someone as special as my daughter. I picked her up from an after school volleyball meeting and she was standing alone. I worry about her “fitting in”; yet at the same time, I don’t want her to be part of the “in” crowd. I know what it was like being on the outside looking in when I was in high school. Yet I am so glad that I wasn’t. Besides, she’s much stronger than me at that age.
  • She has another group meeting that she wants to attend this morning. And volleyball after school tonight, and work on Thursday and a hike on Saturday…it goes on…already. She wants to be involved in so many things – this is why high school is so exciting for her. She is not yet 14, and I worry about her becoming overwhelmed with doing too many things. I fear for how much she is like me in that. How it’s so hard to say no when you want to experience everything. I’ve done that so many times. I fear for her. What if she has to learn the hard way that she can’t do it all? What if she can? What will that mean?
  • My youngest is a quiet one and content to just be. I worry about him not getting involved enough! And then he spoke up yesterday and told me he wants to go into the boxing club. What did I do? My initial reaction was that it would interfere with Cadets – which he’s half-heartedly into. I know what Cadets did for my oldest son, I want the same for my youngest. But I worry that I’m not letting him be HIM. He is not his brother. I worry that I shelter him too much because he is they youngest and we all protect him. We forget that he doesn’t need protecting. He may be quiet, but he is determined and quite capable of anything – mostly because he watches and learns and doesn’t make the same mistakes that everyone else does. He pays attention to the details. Yet, I still worry and I still cast him in the same mold as his brother.
  • It was a big deal sending them for groceries. I had to release control that I cannot do it all. I had to release responsibility onto them to make good choices and follow the list that we came up with. I had to allow them to make mistakes. That’s really hard for the Martyr Mom who I can often be. If I don’t do it, then it won’t be done right. I had to trust my 23 year old with my credit card. That was really weird. I worried about that, though he’s never shown ANY sort of issue with handling money from me before. He’s never given me cause to worry or distrust. It was still very strange and made me a little anxious. But I had work to get done and I needed their help. Then I beat myself up that I should have enabled them to be more helpful in that past. Why had I waited so long to trust them to help me?
  • He’s moving out today, and that has made me worry all the more. It has been great to have him here – most days, but I’m torn between wanting him here and wanting him to move out. He doesn’t cause trouble here, but at the same time, I know that I have been an over-protective mom and he needs to fly the coop. I have not taught him much of anything for how to look after himself. Last night was the first time he’d gone grocery shopping by himself! Not good. I should have let him do that a long time ago. How will he manage on his own? Will he know what to do? I feel so often like I’ve failed him. Especially on days like this when I realize what I haven’t taught him yet. I feel like I’ve left him unprepared for the ways of the world. What if the world is tough on him? What if he fails? What if he doesn’t?
  • I’ve invested a lot of money in the new tool we’re using for our business. I want so much to take it to the next level. I want to help thousands of people. I made the decision without really talking to Krystal or to my husband (both of whom the money affects directly) and I have a tremendous amount of guilt feelings surrounding that. I am trying so hard to make it work so that they won’t be disappointed in me. Mostly to justify what I’ve done. Like it’s some horrible thing to be ashamed of. Yet those feelings keep popping up for me. Both of them say it’s OK, but I am my own worst critic. I am so scared sometimes of what success will mean for me. What if I am suddenly helping thousands of people? What if I can’t handle it all? What if I don’t – what if I’ve got nothing to offer? What if I’m just full of crap and I help no one? It goes around and around sometimes.

I have had a lot of questions these past few weeks. I get like that sometimes. I am so grateful that I have my husband, my BFF and my family for support. Good God! I could never do this alone! My poor hubby has held me as I’ve cried soooo many times. He’s reassured and contradicted my negativity as I try to sabotage myself. K has spent hours texting or talking to me to bring me back down from my anxious flights of insanity.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we constantly critique and belittle the beautiful people we are? Everyone else has the same firsts. The same worries. The same fears.

I guess if we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be human. To be human is to strive for – not perfection – but for contentment. For happiness. To truly matter to someone else. We fear that we won’t matter or that we’ll make too many mistakes so that they will turn their backs on us and we won’t be important in their lives. I, for one, have given them plenty of reasons to leave me. Yet, here they still remain. Not in spite of my mistakes, but because of them. It makes them feel like it is ok to make them and that it is so important to be afraid because it is in overcoming those fears that makes us grow. I am an example to them, in all my imperfections, that it is possible to rise above, fall down, and then rise again. Each time a little higher.

double rainbow

And so, I will continue to strive for Firsts. I will continue to fail. I will continue to worry about those failures. But I will also find that sometimes I won’t fail. I will celebrate both.

 

 

You are the woman we love…regardless of the firsts or the lasts. Just for the way you show up today.

School Daze

Snuggle Bugs

It’s early. I’m sipping my luscious latte (I love that word…luscious…I’ve used it several times this weekend…oh dear, distracted again! LOL! Like I said, it’s early. 5:30 and I’ve been up for an hour.)

As I sip, I’ve checked the schedule and plans for the week. Thought about priorities and things that need to get done. I smile at the remembrance of a very “luscious” weekend of connection and being with people I love. August draws to a close, with warmer weather and for me, a little bit of sadness and a little bit of pride.

Each year, they change so much. We measured yesterday and both of the “little guys” have grown over 1 1/2 inches since their winter birthdays! She is much taller than me, and he isn’t far away. And my oldest tells me he’s starting to look for a place of his own and he’s got a few job ideas and plans in mind. She’s excited about high school and the youngest is ready too. I didn’t have to stress at all about getting them ready; we’ve done all that. They mostly did it themselves.

They are happy and content for the most part. In fact, yesterday, she posted a pic on FB and said, “Click like if you’re having an awesome day like me”. She has been watching apparently. Learning to appreciate the good days and accepting and moving through the not so good ones. My boys don’t stress about anything much really. They are happy if the women in their lives are happy. LOL! I’ve trained them well 😉 Seriously though, they are just so good at going with the flow. I am grateful for healthy, happy children. I’d like to believe that I’ve had some part in that.

I do reminisce this time of year. I no longer regret the years passing by though. I am more “in the moment” most days, so I remember more and feel like I’ve really lived. I feel like I’ve been a part of my kids’ lives and for that I am grateful. I have no regrets about school days passing. The rush of the school year can make that difficult, I know because I’ve been a mom for almost 23 years.

Each year, I let them bloom a little more; relaxing my grip on their childhood. Some days, this is easy and some days I want to hold so tightly to a moment that takes my breath away. I pause, I take a mental picture, I say thanks, and I let the moment be. Sometimes I write down those moments, sometimes I don’t. But I remember and I smile each time I tell the story.

School begins again and another year is passing quickly. No regrets, my friends. This is a new year, a new chance to make changes. Breathe, love and LIVE these moments. Don’t be in a SCHOOL DAZE and miss out on the what is right in front of you.

I swear that this year will be different….
And every year, it’s the same thing:
    • Over-scheduled extracurricular activities
    • Homework incomplete
    • Too many late nights
    • School paper overwhelm
    • and I can’t wait for summer…and it’s only October!
Yep, we feel the same way you do! This year WILL be different!
Fill in your details below and get your FREE copy!

3 Ways to Stay Sane this School Year

 

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!)

Whimsy

Today, I am feeling whimsical. Remembering special moments and how much fun I’ve had in my life. Remembering to have fun every day.

I had a plan for today’s posts. I was feeling so organized. Then, I couldn’t find the stuff I needed. I was ticked off. I was disappointed. I was bummed. So I did yoga, had some tea and went to bed. Sometimes, you just gotta throw the plan out the window. Which is easy to do when it’s written on a paper napkin.

paper napkin

 

Just for today:

  • Read Calvin & Hobbes and remember your imaginary friend (I know you had one)
  • Revisit the inscriptions on your favorite books – my Nancy Drew hard covers given to me by my great grandmother at this time of year “for passing”; the year marked in the front
  • Smile and remember your favorite movie. Swiss Family Robinson. We sure loved to pretend we were them out in the treehouse
  • Drink a Margarita on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s 5:00 somewhere.
  • Sleep naked ’cause pj’s aren’t as much fun 🙂
  • Star Wars. That just never gets old. I still have my storm trooper figure I got for Christmas in 1977
  • Dance around like a wild woman while you’re doing dishes. Belt out a few lyrics. Makes dishes less boring and the kids embarrassed. Who doesn’t love embarrassing their children?
  • Get up in the morning and walk barefoot on the grass. Dig your toes in the dirt. Smile at the neighbors. Suddenly remember you slept naked…
  • Chew bubble gum. Remember that time it got stuck in your hair?
  • Sweet Tarts. Enough said.
  • Eat a DQ dipped cone – the biggest you can get and as fast as you can before it melts. Don’t share with anyone.
  • Wear a revealing outfit, kiss him like a hussy and “sassy-walk” away. See if he follows.
  • Sip coffee on the deck, even if it’s raining again. That’s why they made umbrellas.
  • Blast your favorite songs on the stereo. Leave the TV off and just rock out.

I’d love to see your whimsical list!

 

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Hotel Sex

glasses-341552_1280

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]

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’

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)