This week has been just… so, SO good. I’ve intentionally kept it free of to-do’s, & since we’re all recovering from colds, I allowed plenty of room for rest. There is something comforting about an unhurried life. I don’t like feeling like I’m in a rat race, which I usually do if I put too many things on my calendar. Some days I accomplish a lot, & other days it’s Netflix & headphones during nap-time. And ya’ know what? That’s okay.
I’ve been thinking a lot about intentionally slowing down. Even going to the gym is currently up on the table. I know I need to keep up with my well-being, but trying to tear up to the gym 3 days a week is stressful. I’m not really sure what I’m planning on doing, but it’s going to involve more mindful, restful exercise. While thinking about slowing down, finding more balance & peace, the word “comforting” just kept coming back to my mind. So, I looked it up:
The path to an unhurried life is interesting. It feels…well, selfish, at first. There’s a lot of opportunities you have to turn down to clear the schedule. What I’m finding is once I get my calendar empty enough to think, I actually have more time for people. I am not hurried when I see friends, so I can have more meaningful conversations. When I can stop & rest, I can infuse more encouragement into others.
The thought of slowing slowing down IS comforting. Strength-giving. It’s exciting when I realize that I can pour more of what I love into others. Full of hope. What do you think?
After writing about needing space to plan on Monday, I planned… & then experienced a major shift in all my plans. Yesterday while trying to work on new items for the upcoming photoshoot I managed to dump a bottle of paint on the living room rug… 3 times. 😑 Plans for the location were changed, & I’m still trying to nail down a spot for the photos. Let’s just say it’s been… interesting… to say the least! Top it off with a 5 day migraine & a toddler with an attitude, & this quote says it all:
Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just different. Mid afternoon yesterday, I lamented to Hubs that it felt like everything was falling apart. He’s so good at helping me get grounded again when I’m feeling pressured because my plans collapsed. A girlfriend came over with Starbucks, & we commiserated over our day together. Breathe. Let go.
I did manage to get the paint cleaned out of the rug. Over half of my screens are finished. (Yay!) I’m still working on some other details, & I know it’ll happen. Life is good, even if it doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes I need to be reminded to let go, & breathe. Let life happen… ’cause it’s usually even better than what I had planned. So today, I’m raise my Chai to-go Starbucks cup to you and say: “Here’s to letting go!”
Do you need to let go of some well-laid plans & just breathe? Share one thing you’d like to try to help you adjust to change in the comments below!
Hello, friends! I’ve got a BIG project ahead… &, as usual, I’m cutting the deadline close. I’ll be telling y’all about it soon, & I’m SO very excited! When there’s a big goal ahead like this week, I always need to give myself space to plan it out. Unfortunately, I’m a last-minute kinda girl… so I’m usually running late & running around like a crazy person the day of. However, I also work really well if I give myself a deadline. 😀 I definitely have a deadline this week, so I’m going to take some time today to plan! Here’s what I do to give myself space to put together a good plan:
1) Space to Think.
The most important thing I need is to think… to be able to feel like I can relax enough to get my thoughts & plans sorted out on paper. Over the weekend, I got my housework caught up, & did some cleaning. Today I need to run the vacuum & wash the dishes, but other than that, the house is pretty much spot-on. Read more about having space to think here.
2) Write a List.
The next thing I need is a to-do list. I write everything down that I need to accomplish… & I do mean E. VER. Y. THING. Breaking tasks down into individual steps on my to-do list gives me a really good idea of the time each thing will take. If I need to do laundry, I’ll write a list something like this:
Laundry – wash – fold – put away – wash – fold – put away
This way I can mark off each individual task, but they’re still grouped together on the same line so I can see the task as a whole.
3) Separate To-Do’s
Once I have a full to-do list, I separate it into days. Some things have to be finished before other things can be started. Less important things have to take a backseat so that the most important can take priority. Some tasks can’t even be started until other tasks are finished, so each day has specific tasks so that the entire project can get done by the deadline.
4) Organize It All
Next, it’s time to organize. I have a weekly tear-off sheet I found at Target that has a list under each day… I write everything down there, breaking it up by day. The Reminders App that comes on my iPhone is also a life-saver. I didn’t start using it until recently, but I enjoy that I can set my phone to beep to remind me of certain tasks, or when they should be done. I loveAwesome Note, which is one of the only apps I’ve ever bought. Your to-do lists are organized by file, you can give notes due dates, & synchs everything with your iPhone calendar so you don’t have to put it in a million places at once. (The reminders app also synchs with your calendar, & with Awesome Note!)
I hope this helps you get your next big task accomplished… no matter if it’s a big project for work or deciding to go minimalist! I’m off to write my to-do list for this week. Do you have any other tips to add? Share in the comments!
I want my soul to dance. For life to be so full of joy & contentment & beauty that I can’t’ keep it in. This kind of joy is always within my read, but how I view the world around me can completely change my perspective. If I let the normal stresses of the day get under my skin, then my day doesn’t feel like it’s full of joy; instead it’s full of frustration.
If, however, I can get in touch with my intuition & see what’s really bothering me, I can make simple adjustments & change the day. I can learn to stop reacting to the kids being cranky or my own failures & be proactive. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle & putting on some soft music. Other times I need to stop what I really want to do & get some of the toys picked up so I’m not feeling like the house is a mess.
Joy lies in my own hands… all I have to do is grab hold of it.
I was too busy. Running here & there, taking care of obligations & errands & adding extra things in… just in case I wasn’t busy enough. I needed space to live. I talking about having enough room outside of the to-do’s & pressure of every day to enjoy the moment. I need time to enjoy the simple pleasures that get shoved out too quickly when my schedule fills up. I don’t feel like I’m living life to the fullest unless I make time for some of the finer things in life.
To me, the “finer things” in life include taking time to relax at the local coffee shop. To chat with friends or simply people watch. Now that the kids are getting bigger, they can play at the “kids table” by themselves much better, & it’s so nice to FINALLY be able to just sit there, drinking my Chai & talking to adults. 🙂 If I’m too busy, I don’t have the time I need to spend in deeper conversations with friends & family. I love talking about big ideas & questions, & I need time in order to connect with the people I care about. So, here’s what I did to give myself the space I needed to feel like I was truly living:
#1: First off, I slowed down in my obligations. I had to begin somewhere, so I starting to purposefully slow myself down. I only put a few things in each week, so if I wanted to add more, I could… but there wasn’t the pressure of having 10 obligations in one week. This has really made the biggest difference.
#2: The next thing I did was to let myself relax. If I have a lot of things to do, I tend to feel rushed & stressed. I started picking the top 3 things on my to-do list & trying to accomplish those things each day. Anything else I get done is a bonus! The amazing thing is that I’m accomplishing so much more, now that I’ve taken the pressure off of myself!
#3: Finally, I began adding simple joys to my week. Making a point to go to my favorite coffee shop, going to the gym later in the day so my mornings could be unhurried. Burning a yummy smelling candle. Setting an atmosphere of calm will automatically begin to create calm, I’ve found!
So, what about you? What kind of life do you want to live… & what changes do you need to make to get there?
It’s been 5 years. 5 whole years cine I walked down the aisle, & said “I Do” to my best friend. We had a whirlwind romance, & honestly, we barely knew each other when we tied the knot. But we knew it was right. We felt the peace of God surrounding us as we made some life-altering vows. We’ve learned a lot about each other since then. Grown by leaps & bounds; both individually & as a couple.
It’s amazing; somehow the time has flown by; but it also feels like we’ve been together forever. It’s been SO good. There have been hard times. We’ve weathered the ups & downs of a DIY renovation. (Our tiny home is getting closer & closer to being done!) We’ve learned each other’s likes & dislikes, the things that annoy each other, & how to make each other laugh on no-good-very-bad-days. Hubs was there every step of my labor & delivery of our sweet babies, & I couldn’t ask for a better partner. Adding two littles in 14 months definitely created a whole new dynamic to our family!
We snuck away last weekend (by ourselves!) to a wonderful bed & breakfast in the mountains. We enjoyed the quiet of the mountains, visited a museum, & enjoyed browsing a few snug little mountain towns. Antique & coffee shops were in great supply, which made both Hubs & I quite happy. (Thank you, Hubs, for supporting my current chai obsession.)
In many ways, we are so alike that we blend together almost seamlessly. In other ways, we are polar opposites, & that allows us to push each other out of our comfort zones. 5 years… Wow. 5 years of give & take, of learning how to compromise, & how to stand united. This guy has given me the courage to pursue my dreams, the freedom to be more independent, & more love than I thought was possible.
Happy (belated) Anniversary, love. Here’s to 70 more!
After coming back from a weekend away, I’ll admit; it’s been hard to get back into the swing of daily life. I’ve had a list of things I need to do around the house, for Corner Chair, & I still needed to take care of the daily stuff of life. After slugging around the house for a day & a half, I needed to do something. I have recently realized that there are a few triggers for helping me get out of a slump, so I started with something I knew I desperately needed.
Off to the gym I went. It felt good to run, & I was in need of some exercise, since I haven’t been in about a month due to random circumstances & the kids being sick. Once I got my heart pumping & my heart rate up, my energy levels shot through the roof! It felt so good to pound the rubber on the treadmill & listen to Rend Collective.
Once I got home, I wrote everything I needed to do on a list, & narrowed it down to the things that were bothering me the most. The laundry pile that was sitting on the living room chair from before our trip was my #1, so I folded laundry. I washed a second load, so the hamper didn’t get too full. Gave the kids a bath, & fed them lunch.
Next up, I did something I wanted to do… write this blog post! I worked on a few other projects for Corner Chair, too… starched some knitting for Hubs & my booth in a local shop, listening to an inspiring podcast or two, & before I knew it, my body had begun moving naturally & I was back in the groove of normal life again.
Basically, my equation for getting out a slump is to do three things I should do, then one thing for myself. Like this:
Exercise + 1 Chore
+ 1 Thing for Myself
= Happy, Industrious Me 🙂
What’s your recipe for breaking through a slump? I’d love to hear in the comments!
We just met for the first time earlier this month. 26 was good, but it was time to move on. 27, you remind me that 30 is getting closer. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked that idea… at all. A lot of my friends seem to be dreading 30; bemoaning the fact that their 20’s will be gone forever. Then I talked to one of my besties, & she began to change my perspective. She has loved her 30’s. She said it seemed like the drama of the 20’s & all the big life questions that come with them was over, & was replaced by new-found freedom & independence.
The more I hear my peers wish they weren’t nearing 30, the more I realize: I don’t want to feel that way about any age. 27, I want to love wearing you this year. I remember my Nana Anne… a spunky little lady with a zest for living, even at 78. She never seemed to regret a new year, no matter her age. She loved life, & wore her grey hair & wrinkles proudly. Nana never let age get in her way. She woke early, cooked huge family dinners, & traversed the state for yard sales & auctions.
I don’t want to live life wishing that it was something different. I want to create a full, vibrant, simple life. Full of love, & life, & creativity. I want to live life with no regrets this year, & every year after it. I know I’m going to rock grey someday… I might even add some aqua highlights. Mostly, I hope each new year is full of joy & curiosity. 30: I’ll see ya’ in a few. Until then…
Bring it on, 27. What do you hope
this next year will hold for you?
Change. External, & internal. Sometimes we change without realizing it, & other times we know changes need to happen for us to keep moving forward. To keep growing, change has to happen. External changes are easier to see, & often easier to handle. Internal… not so much. They’re the heart-issues; the times when you strike out on your own after school & realize life is never going to be the same. Changes happen. We need to change in order to become who we want to be.
I’ve made some pretty big changes lately in the way I take care of the household, & how I schedule my days. (Mostly; before there was no schedule. 😛 ) It’s made a huge impact on the peacefulness of our home & our family’s contentment, joy, & happiness. Embracing a more simple, minimalistic lifestyle has dramatically changed this small family. It’s no big thing when we have unexpected guests now, because the house just STAYS tidy.
Other changes come more suddenly, & are unexpected. We just got a new dining room table, a lovely round antique table with 4 chairs. After we put it in, I realized that Miss T can sit in a booster seat. We can sit at the table together! I’ve so enjoyed watching the kids grow & become more independent… & this is the first time that growth & change with the kids has felt bittersweet.
The next change I’m hoping to make is in my own eating habits. I’m not very good at sticking with eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, or staying away from snacking & junk food. I’m hoping to eliminate most snacking (my downfall!), increasing my veggie intake, & cutting back on how much bread I eat.
So… who do you want to be? What’s one change you can make (or accept more gracefully) to get closer to being you?
In June, I wrote a post called “giving back” & kicked off Corner Chair’s first fundraiser. It won’t be the last, I can tell you. It was such a joy to ship out artwork to customers, knowing that the money raised would be able to help dear friends.
I wanted to update y’all on the fundraiser, & a few Sundays ago, our schedules finally aligned so we could take the money to Joanne & her family. Terry & Joanne invited us to their house, where we ate pizza & ice cream sundaes. We celebrated. Life. Family. Friendship. Laughed until our sides hurt as Z-man showed us a 2 year-old can operate a smart phone better than the grown-ups! I got to sit & relax while their daughters chased after the kids. We told funny stories & watched some HGTV.
It’s amazing when you start a project, hoping that you can be a blessing to someone & end up realizing that you’re the lucky one. When you get to spend time with people who make it their life’s mission to love on everybody they can, no matter what they’re going through. It humbles me. Makes me re-think my own priorities, & want to give more. To do more. Experiences like this make me want to teach our kids that they are a part of something big. That they can change the world, if they can only learn how to love.
So thank you. Thank you all for the orders & donations. Thank you for teaching me what really matters in life. I am grateful & so blessed. Joanne & her family covet your prayers, as they’ve reached the end of her chemotherapy & are on to the next stage of treatment. If you would like to stay in touch with Joanne & follow her journey, follow her story on Facebook!
I needed space. It felt like there was a lot in my brain… too many ideas, projects, blog posts, to-do’s & big-picture thoughts on life in general. There was too much external chaos for me to be able to focus on all the stuff in my brain, & I was feeling pulled in different directions. With all the noise around me, I began searching for space. I’ve discovered it’s not about finding a quiet space, it’s about MAKING a space. I knew I needed to create an atmosphere of calm & peace in the house so that I could get some space to think.
Have you ever been there, or is it just me? I’m a “big-picture” thinker, so I always have huge dreams, plans, thoughts about life-goals, & hundreds upon hundreds of projects, ideas, & to-do’s. When there’s too much going on around me, I can’t focus on anything, & I end up feeling really hyper-active with nowhere to put my pent-up energy. Here’s my list of 5 steps that I’ve taken to help me clear the external clutter so I have the space to unload my brain’s content.
1) CLEAR the clutter.
I figured out a while ago that one of my biggest sources of external “chaos” is from STUFF. I’m talking about all the things we seem to collect. The artwork & half-finished products that never get put away, the piles of bills that don’t get filed, & the toy mountain. Just as I was realizing that clutter is one of my biggest personal stressors, I came across this article. I’m still in the process of de-cluttering, but the house is oh-so-much-better. When I walk in the door it feels like I can mentally breathe.
2) CLEAN the house.
I don’t like cleaning when there’s stuff everywhere. After a few de-cluttering sessions, it suddenly became MUCH easier to keep the house tidy! The kids toys get put away more often (since there’s a lot less of them), & my dishes haven’t been in a huge pile in the sink. At least one load of laundry gets done each day, & if I miss a day, it’s easy to catch up. It’s amazing how the journey to minimalism has made our house so much more peaceful!
3) SET the mood.
One of the best ways for me to find space to think is to set the mood! Don’t try to make space when the kids are awake. My time for quiet & idea-gathering varies each day because… kids. Some days they nap, other days they don’t. When the house is quiet during naps (or after bed-time), I like to light a candle, put on some quiet cafe-style music, & get an iced coffee (or chai latte!).
4) FREE write.
Now that there’s some external space, I usually like to empty my brain of EVERYTHING. Free writing is the best way for me to get all the ideas, to-do’s, dreams, hopes, goals, & anything else I’ve had on my brains. The first time you try free-writing is might be awkward, but you’ll be addicted soon. Don’t think; just WRITE.
5) SORT your thoughts.
After I do a free-writing session, I feel SO much better! It feels like my brain is empty & I can finally focus on one thing at a time, as it’s needed. I usually read over my writing & start sorting through it. The to-do’s go in my to-do app, blog post ideas get scribbled down into my blogging notebook. Having it all written down helps me find interesting big-picture topics that make for great conversation with Hubs over dinner or on Sunday afternoon drives. (Often, I’ll use a Mind Map to help sort my ideas & thoughts after a free-write!)
How do you make space when you need to think & get your thoughts & ideas on paper?
There’s a song out right now that I love, & part of the chorus is “Life is short I wanna live it well; one life, one story to tell…” Every time I hear it I’m reminded of why I chose this life. Why I wake up & write blog posts, soothe baby woes, & wash loads of laundry & do the dishes. It reminds me what a life well-lived looks like (to me). To me, a life well-lived is full of:
Loving on those around me… taking the time to stop & snuggle when my tiny people seem to be extra cranky. Resting & chatting with dear friends. Showing love in all it’s forms to those around me.
Close, & extended. Having the grands & great-grands over to lay with the kids. Taking the kids to an ice cream parlor just because. Making the time to document life, so we don’t forget these days that seem to fly by so fast.
I have so many dear friends, & many more I’d love to get to know better! I really want to focus on hospitality & investing in the community around us. From one-on-one time with dear friends to large gatherings with new friends, I hope to help our family strengthen ties with those around us.
Living a creative life is essential to me. I know I always need to make time & space for creativity, for myself & others. I love having a mix of personal projects, products, for new collections, & things that are just to give away.
The kind of life I want to live doesn’t require lots of stuff or money. Rather; contentment. Being happy with the sweet, simple things of life, & learning to find joy & peace in everyday moments.