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simple things

One Day, One Step, One Moment at a Time

It has been a bit of a whirl wind of a week. In fact since school has been back in things have gotten a bit crazier. Do you feel it too?

We all know that getting back into a routine can be difficult. Just remember that it can be tough on us as well as the kiddos. By day 3 of school last week Facebook seemed to be a buzz with parents discussing how tired their children were; we felt that here as well. It seems one minute we are basking in the sunshine of summer, kids are playing outside, and meals are whatever, whenever. The next moment kids and us are having to get up early and we are back to work/routines as per regular hours. Add to that a bombardment of school papers coming home, fundraisers (already!), volunteer work, as well as extracurricular activities (for us and the children) starting up.

I used to get very overwhelmed by it all. Yes I do enjoy a bit of structure but boy how I miss my bare feet on the grass. I enjoy being able to jump in the car with the kids to go exploring, sleeping in that little bit longer – well you get the point. But alas seasons change, times change, schedules change and we are back at it.

change

I just want to let you know dear souls that you do not have to do it all. Do only what speaks to your heart. I know, I know easier said than done. Simplifying our lives means that we need to take a step back and re-evaluate. I encourage each of you to think about what brings you joy and fulfills what you need at this time. For me it is to feel connected and nourish those relationships close to me. If you are involved with several committees and having trouble having any energy left to bring back to your home (the place that should be the most comfortable, stable, loving place) then step away from the ones that you can no longer give your time to. If you are running out the door every evening, all evening and every person is out of sorts despite your best efforts of taxiing them there and funding their activity then realize that maybe someone or some activity needs to give.

small step

It is perfectly fine to not do it all. You do not have to feel guilty (I know – easier said than done). But really you don’t. Unless an activity brings you happiness; why are you doing it? I recently read this (Adapted from Michael Hyatt – Intrinsic Motivation). “Author and researcher Marcus Buckingham was surprised with research he did at Gallup that showed that women’s happiness had plummeted over the last forty years—the exact opposite of men” (See Find Your Strongest Life).He devoted himself to figuring out what made the happiest women happy. He found that the happiest women tended to focus on the few areas where they excelled. If a woman loved marathons, she didn’t waste her time on home decorating. If she enjoyed studying rocket-science, she didn’t focus on entertaining friends. You get the idea.”

Yesterday I had this great plan to work my day, go to book club, have the kiddos try out a class with a friend, work out put kiddos to bed. There was also the school BBQ and Meet the Teacher Night which I had already decided would not work for us (not a big deal) as I have already met the teacher as my other two kids also had her for a teacher and I am more than familiar with the school. Fairly standard day right? Yeah…so work went late, which meant I missed book club, a buddy stopped over which meant  we missed workout. Kids to bed on time? Well…not quite. But I didn’t stress about it because by taking each moment and realizing that I can only do what I can do I was able to roll with it and do the things that I could do to the best of my abilities.

Quite simply even if you were 100% organized, life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you. Just roll with it sistah! Do the best that you can. With the time that you have. Every day.

I just wanted to send you a virtual hug; or if you aren’t so much a hugger let’s pound it. If you are feeling overwhelmed right now with decisions, papers, work, classes, tired kids, you are not alone. Hang in there. Words of advice from the SLC Gals Simplify Life’s Celebrations, Celebrate the Simple Life. In other words don’t make your life so complicated that you cannot enjoy life’s every day pleasures – the simple things. 🙂

simple things

 

Enjoy your day and all of the simple things that go with it!

k

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Cleaning the Bathroom Sucks…and Other To Do List Problems

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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pocket icon

Get Pocket!

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

pocket website

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happiness Is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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valentines card

A Love Note to Myself

This was a love note that I created for myself on Valentine’s Day. “I love you Shawna. You are everything to me. I will cherish the beautiful soul you are.” was the inscription

It’s Sunday, a great day to make a habit of self-care. Self-care is NOT selfish! You are a better Mom, Lover, Sister, Friend when your cup is full. Do whatever it takes to fill it up!

For me, tonight, I have plans to connect with fellow Goddesses for the latest Goddess Gathering (connecting is one of my Core Desired Feelings for 2014). I will also be curling up and starting a new book (I have several to choose from!)

Leave a comment and let us know!

If you need ideas, I created a simple little download for the Divine Goddess Circle (www.divinegoddesscircle.com) if you’re a member, grab it out of the Free Downloads section. if you’re not a member yet (why not!?) you can still grab a copy here: Self-Care Ideas

 

 

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let her sleep

6 Ways to Simplify to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

By taking 10-15 minutes a night to complete just a few tasks you can clear the clutter thus clearing your mind for a restful sleep. Ahhhhhh bliss, right? Here’s a simple little routine that will help you sleep like a baby. (I may be biased but I think that this baby is adorable!)

Baby Sleeping

 

1) Make sure that your sink is sparkly. Shawna learned this tip from Fly Lady years ago and has stuck with it. By shining your sink you not only have a sense of accomplishment by having to have all of your dishes clean but you also get to wake up to a sparkly sink in the morning. What a nice feeling! Starting with a clean pallete so to speak and not having to wake up to do this task will bring you joy. As Fly Lady says: ” When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you, and a smile will come across your lovely face.”

Tip- Getting your dishes done right after a meal is a time saver. Little bits of food won’t be stuck on and you won’t have to soak and scrape later. 

2) Do a quick tidy. Take a couple of minutes every night to quickly return items to their proper rooms. Just a simple pick up can eliminate the clutter that can soon get out of hand.

Tip- Have your family pick up their belongings before bed as part of their routine. It is a great habit for kids to form. Then pat yourself on the back for being a great parent. 

3) Pick out the next day’s clothes. By taking a minute to choose your clothes the next day you will eliminate that task from the early morning chaos. You won’t have to go searching. Also, if any of you have a teen that MUST have that certain thing to wear you can search it out and not have an early morning battle!

Tip – Make sure that clothing is returned to it’s proper closet when you are finished. It is so easy to do the dump n’ run but makes it difficult when it comes time to find those shoes, coats etc. Take 2 minutes as soon as the kiddos get home from school or activities to sort and hang outerwear. (They can help too. Get them in the habit!)

4) Make a list before you settle down for the night. Lists are a great way to organize tasks and thoughts so that you don’t have to worry about remembering everything. Make a short list of what you want to accomplish. Prioritize those things. Put your list away and forget about it til morning!

Tip – I <Krystal> like paper lists. There is nothing quite like crossing off those accomplishments and watching the list get smaller and smaller. Shawna enjoys the techie apps for her I-phone and computer. Some of her faves are Remember the Milk, Evernote, and Trello

5) Take out the trash! It is the same idea as clearing your sink. Get rid of all of the trash and start clean and fresh for the next day. Besides when you think about it, it is kind of gross having smelly trash fermenting in there all night. (Ok maybe that’s a little exaggeration…) 😉

Tip – Find ways to decrease your trash and help out the environment. Make a goal as simple as gradually getting rid of plastic containers/baggies for food and replacing them with stainless steel and or glass. 

6) Relax. Yes you need to have some down time before you jump into bed. Take time for you because you deserve it. Have a bath, read, meditate, do yoga or whatever it is that relaxes you. Clearing your mind can help you fall asleep to get the rest that you NEED.

Tip – I have never slept so good as I do when I do a meditation before bed. Here is a free healing meditation from the lovely Leonie Dawson! 8 Minute Healing Meditation.

let her sleep

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!
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3 Ways to Stay Sane this School Year

 

Clutter Chaos

gerberia daisies

The dog wants out in the middle of the night. As you fumble towards the front door, you trip over the pile of clothes in the bedroom, bump over the box in the hall, stub your toe on the stack of books at the top of the stairs and have to push the coats & shoes out of the way as you struggle to get the door open…

You decide that you want to make a special cake for your 8 year old for his birthday. After pulling 8 pans out of the cupboard, including a bundt cake pan (what the heck is that thing for, anyway?), you finally find the one you’re looking for. You rummage through the pantry trying to find the brown sugar. When you finally find it, you realize that it is hard as a rock. You run to the store and end up buying a cake from the shelf instead; for twice the price of the sugar…

Your husband calls you from work and offers to take you out for dinner. You are elated and excited. After spending 10 minutes looking for your babysitter’s number on that piece of paper, you jump in the shower and knock over 3 shampoo bottles that have a tiny bit of shampoo left in them. Then you try to grab a fresh towel and pull down 5 others in the process. You untangle the cords from 4 different curling irons. You rummage through the closet past outfits you wore 10 years ago to find your favorite pair of jeans. You realize the top you wanted to wear is wrinkly in the dryer. 15 minutes later, you realize that the iron you plugged in isn’t heating up because it’s the one that your hubby was going to fix and you remember you bought a new one two months ago and find it still in the bag from the store sitting beside the freezer. After dumping 3 make-up bags out onto the counter in the bathroom, you’ve got your mascara on and quietly pray that it’s only a year old instead of the two you think it is. Your husband gets home and you realize that you forgot to tell him to pick up the babysitter. You get annoyed that he didn’t think of that and you start the evening off glaring at each other…

Everyone in the family is exhausted. You check the calendar and realize that there are 3 times in the week that you have to be in the opposite sides of town at the same time. You can’t remember the last time all of you sat down and had a meal together. You don’t remember the last time you just played a game with the kids or had a pajama day and just stayed home. If you’re not going to a practice or a recital; you’re heading to the mall “for something to do”. You realize that there are several items of clothing in all the closets (some still in bags) that have never been worn and are now too small. You have multiple projects on the go, and haven’t touched any of them in months. You are exhausted, and just don’t know what to do.

We have been there too, we know what it’s like. We’ve been doing a lot of minimalizing over the past couple years, we’re here to help you. Minimalizing isn’t about throwing out everything in the house. It isn’t about living like a hermit. It’s focusing on what is really important and getting rid of all the excess. It’s not about keeping up with what everyone else has or does; it’s about doing what is best for you and your family.

The Simple Life Gals encourage you to go through different areas in your homes and lives and really prioritize what is important to you. We welcome your questions and we’ll support you in whichever way we can. If you would like to book a session, with us, check out our sessions here: Organizing Services.

Calendar Craziness

It’s New Year’s Eve!!

What a perfect time to get going on celebrating all that was 2012 (We LOVED 2012 and are so thankful for YOU!) and move forward to 2013.

That’s what I love about New Year’s – it’s a “stepping forward” and “new beginnings”! However, both Krystal and I believe that resolutions do not stick unless you really mean them. We don’t even like to call them “resolutions”! Personally, I like to sit down a few days prior and just after to physically write down my goals and plans for the coming year. I loved, LOVED using my Create Your Goddess Year Workbook and I’m soooooo stoked as I have begun to use my new Create Your Incredible Year Workbook & Calendar (click to get your own!)

calendars

Krystal gave me a gorgeous calendar of the two of us that I will be using for SLC planning. We’ll also be using our new Create Your Incredible Year – Business Edition from Leonie Dawson to set up our intentions and track our progress! The Cevraini’s also have a STARS calendar on the wall where all the family stuff gets written down and can be visible from the supper table when those discussions come up. I usually have my daughter and husband help with filling in school holidays, school field trips, hubby’s work schedule and more. You don’t have to do all the work! It’s good for everyone to get involved in the calendar process – this is a MUST KNOW life skill! (Note to self: Get my sons more involved in this process!)

As most of you know, we’re pretty techie too. We love to sit down with pen and paper and create with these gorgeous paper calendars & workbooks, but we also MUST have all of this marked down in our iPhones for on the go. We use Google Calendar for this each and every day. This way, we’ve got our SLC calendars side by side with our family calendars and personal calendars. I created a little video  showing you how to do this for your family too!

(turn up your volume, I’m a little quiet in this one!)

We can help you get your calendars organized with a one on one mini-session – 77$ for 1 hour in the evening/weekend to get you started. We can even do this virtually! Contact us if you’d like to know more!

Did you know:

  • We post daily challenges on Facebook to help you get organized one step at a time?
  • You can also follow us on Twitter for these and other tips & tricks!
  • We live in Olds, Alberta Canada, but can help you virtually, anywhere in the world! We are tech-savvy organizers!

Seven Steps to a Simpler Less Stressful Holiday!

I see many people fluttering about at Christmas time. People that are looking for the perfect presents. People wondering if they have bought enough for everyone on their very long list. There are those that feel that if they don’t have dozens of ornate cookies for Christmas then they have failed in some way. Let’s not forget about all of those holiday parties that we are supposed to attend. Before we know it all of our days are booked up and we haven’t done anything that WE really wanted to do. <Insert sigh>

Maybe I think a little less conventional, but isn’t Christmas supposed to be about the meaning and not the stuff? Don’t you want to spend time with the people that you care about most? Those that make you happy? Is anyone going to care, let alone remember that you spent a little less money this year? The most precious gifts that I have received have been kind words, hugs, time made for me, and beautiful hand made gifts that I will hold on to my whole life. These gifts bring me joy every time I think about them. All of these things have a memory and a story behind them. They are special.

How can we get away from the nagging thoughts that if we don’t have a Martha Stewart perfect (ugh I hate that word) holiday then we are a failure? I want to let you know that you can. Rebel with me friends! Here is how we can have a holiday cleanse. Lets’s ditch the guilt once again and get on with living. Let’s start REALLY living our lives the way that we want to with those that we care about.

Simple Step 1:

Be grateful for all that you have. If I were to choose three things right this minute they would be; 1) health 2) the people in my life 3) the opportunity to live somewhere where I can freely voice my opinion. Once we reflect on all that we have we will desire less. Our cupeth really is quite full. There is always something to be grateful for, even in our darkest moments.

Simple Step 2:

When it comes to gift giving let’s simplify our list. Very few of our childhood memories revolve around gifts that we have received. I have always remembered kind words, handmade items prepared lovingly for me, and of course the gift of time. In today’s society time is the most precious gift that we can give each other. Spending time together gives us invaluable memories that we can hold forever.

Some of my most favorite gifts:

~a surprise weekend away that my hubby planned from start to finish. He gave me the gift of quality, romantic time just the two of us!

~my blankets that my mom made (I appreciate the time, effort, and love that went into each stitch.)

~my quilt made from Shawna. (Again there was a ton of time that went into it and it’s beautiful.) I display it in my living room so that I can see and use it every day!

~last year Shawna gave me a tin of inspirational quotes (so creative!) and made us a certificate for a lovely meal at her home. Little does she know that one of these days I will take her up on that!

~I also love the Christmas messages and letters. They are rare but I have a couple of friends that send a neat snapshot of their year!

~Friends/family have taken our kidlings so that hubby and I could have a date or a night away. This is such a precious gift. The gift to reconnect to your spouse is priceless because when our marriage is running tickety boo then everything else seems to fall in place.

Joshua Becker reminds us about what those precious gifts are. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on physical items here are 35 gift ideas that won’t easily be forgotten.

*And seeing as I am on the topic I also think that it is a good idea to explore gently used options. Shopping locally will also help keep those unique stores alive. Both will leave less of a mark on our earth.

Simple Step 3:

Just say no! You do NOT have to attend every party, every Santa Claus appearance, every cookie exchange. Do the things that bring you joy. Isn’t that what the season is supposed to be about anyways?

Simple Step 4:

Plan. Plan. Plan. A clear, concise plan will keep you on track for getting what you really want out of the holiday season. Make a list of everything that you want and make it happen. If you have a family how about discussing it over a nice meal? Take everyone’s suggestions into account and then decide from there what you can do. I guarantee everyone will be happy to have some input.

Simple Step 5:

Lists. I just LOVE lists. 😉 I even got an excellent app for my phone this year to keep track of the gifts that I wanted to get for everyone. It is called Better Christmas List. It was $1.99 and my favorite features are  it creates separate groups for family, friends, work etc. and it sets and tracks budgets for groups or people! Cool beans! By making a list it will help you stay on track for what you want to get people and save the bank by letting you know where you are at with your budget.

Simple Step 6:

Budget. This is important. Christmas spending can easily get out of hand. Shop within your means. If you are on a tight budget then give a homemade certificate. How about invite your friends over for a nice meal, offer babysitting so they can go on a date, girls day out? The possibilities are endless and what a great way to make memories together!

Simple Step 7:

Declutter. When we get rid of the extra ‘things’ we save time from not having to move them, clean them or think about them. Get rid of the broken items, the duplicates, things that no longer have a use and that you don’t love. Clear away space wasting items to get ready for the festivities!

May you all have a joyous, safe and healthy Christmas. Cheers. Xxxxx

 

 

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