Contentment

Hope this post finds you enjoying your summer. It’s been so nice to relax and take in some of the fun of this time of year. The main word I chose for 2017 was contentment

Now, that’s an interesting word. Some people might think it means being complacent or settling. I don’t think of it that way at all. I think contentment is akin to satisfaction. Most people I know would like to feel satisfied in their lives.

So far so good, not being online much has been great. I have had to spend the mornings at my desk working on a class I am creating for the college I teach for. It’s actually fun though, and I like the feeling of having a purpose and accomplishing something.

I wouldn’t say my book has stalled out, but I would say it’s not a high priority. When I do work on it, I enjoy it. However, most days I just would rather be outside than inside writing.

Family time is fantastic. The days are longer and this summer we have less activity than past summers. I have enjoyed this very much. Having time for friends is important too.

So, I am just checking in. Hoping that those that read my posts regularly (as always, thanks for that!) are taking the time to enjoy themselves this summer.

Here are a few pictures you might enjoy……

Sweet, Sweet Summertime

I love summer. I always have. The days are long; the nights are short. I spend tons of time outside and I don’t sleep as much and don’t mind at all. There is something so wonderful about summer mornings that I have a hard time putting it into words. Even with going to bed later, it’s still not hard to get up and enjoy the start of the day. I especially enjoy exercising early. There is something inspiring about an early morning bike ride, walk, or run.

I love the sunshine, the look of a freshly mowed lawn. I love the delicious fruit and vegetables that are readily available. I love swimming, hiking, biking, laying out in the sun. I love road trips, drive-in movies, and reading good books. I love the smell of sun tan oil, cut watermelon, and the freshness of early morning air.

I love lemonade or ice tea in a sweaty glass. I love seeing fireflies at night. It never fails to thrill me the first time I see one. It’s then that I know it’s summer. I love my toes in the sand and my face turned to the sun. I love stargazing, picking flowers, and running barefoot in the grass.

I hope that each and every one of you will carve out a little time just for yourself to enjoy summer in a way that pleases you.

Not sure how much I will be blogging this summer. I don’t plan to be online much. Please know that I hope you are well and happy.

Have a sweet summer!!

 

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, most of us start thinking about what we should get for our moms and what we might want for ourselves. Several years back I started a Mother’s Day tradition with my children. I told them all I wanted for Mother’s Day was for them to write me a hand written note or letter. I keep them in an album.

It is so much fun to look back and see what they wrote and how their handwriting and ideas have changed over the years. Their notes and letters mean the world to me. There is something about seeing ideas and thoughts put down on paper that makes it seem real and lasting. Don’t get me wrong, I love gifts, but their words are priceless to me, and the gift lasts. Every year I read over what they wrote from the years past. I am very grateful.

In a world that sometimes seems to be moving faster and faster, knowing that someone you love took the time to slow down, think of you, and honestly tell you how much you mean to them – that’s a pretty wonderful gift.

Try It, You Might Like It!

I love having teenage daughters for a lot of reasons. For one, they are great help with technology. Last week I noticed that some people on Snapchat had animated characters as their profile pictures. I thought that was cool. I asked one of my daughters about it, and she told me there was an app and she would help me.

We had so much fun! We laughed a lot. She took me to the app store on my phone. (You just type in Bitmoji.) Of course the first thing I asked was, “Does it cost?” It does not. So, I proceeded.:)

By the way (BTW), you can get this app at the App Store or Google play.

It’s very easy. You just go through each step. You choose the shape of your face, skin color, eyes, nose, lips, hair style, etc. You even get to pick out an outfit!

I ended up having both teenage daughters help. I couldn’t help but laugh at some of their comments and questions:

We need to add the crow’s feet.

Do you have lines on your forehead?

I know you have the line between your eyebrows.

There isn’t a skin color that’s tan. It looks white or brown.

This isn’t the right color of green for your eyes. They don’t have a “:dirty” green.

Medium build? Broad or regular shoulders?

That’s not the right nose. Choose the one I chose.

Wavy or straight hair? Medium? There’s not medium hair pulled back….

We did our best creating my personal emoji. Now, I have to face the temptation of using it too much.

There are all kinds of expressions, stickers, sayings, etc. It’s a lot of fun!

I hope you try it!

Below are a few more examples.

And, last but not least, I compared my actual photo to my Bigmoji.

 

For You!

Happy day to you. As I write this, the sun is shining and my spirits are lifted. I think spring brings such a sense of renewal. I love the hopefulness.

I am sharing some sites that I have been enjoying. I hope you find some of them useful (and fun!).

*I am enjoying the website Not Entirely Perfect. The creator’s name is Stephanie. She is a young attorney in Chicago. She is fun and bright and writes entertaining and helpful posts. Here is how she introduces herself:

“Welcome to Not Entirely Perfect: thoughts on life from a hyper-organized and frugal minimalist who loves animals, holidays, peach champagne, and Taco Bell.”

Her posts are helpful and organized well. I especially liked her latest ones on building a capsule wardrobe and spring cleaning.

*This time of year can be a little challenging with the time change. I have been doing my best to establish and maintain a good sleeping schedule. I tried this short, relaxing yoga practice the other night and I had the most restful and peaceful sleep. It’s called Yoga for Bedtime.

*I also read a great article that helped me figure out how to best structure my day based on my sleeping patterns – Do You Sleep More Like a Bear, Dolphin, Wolf or Lion?

*There are times where I just crave chocolate no bake cookies. A few weeks back I got out my recipe and found that they require two cups of sugar. What?!? I didn’t realize that. That’s just too much sugar. So, I found a recipe that calls for honey instead of sugar. Yippee! The Best Healthy No-Bake Cookies.

*I have had several friends and acquaintances ask me about blogging. I always refer them to Amy Lynn Andrews. She has a website that offers advice on how to start blogging. She keeps it really simple and shares great advice and instruction.  Here is her article How to Start a Blog.

Hope you have enjoyed some of these sites. If the weather is nice where you are, get outside and breathe some fresh air and send up a little prayer of thanks to the heavens above.

Three Reasons to go on an Adventure Today

A few months ago a close friend of mine sent me a link to an article. The title was The Unrivaled Canyon Hike in Kansas Everyone Should Take At Least Once.

I think I surprised her when I replied, “Let’s do it! Pick a date.” She replied, “That’s the challenge, isn’t it? She had included another friend in the message as well. We went back and forth and settled on a date.

Often ideas sound better in theory than they do in reality. However, this was one of those things that I felt like was a great idea. I wanted it to happen. Like so many things in life, we have to choose to make the time for what is important to us.

When the time came closer I found myself looking forward to it, but wondering whether I should take the time to go off on a short adventure.

I am happy to tell you that I’m so glad I did.

Here are 3 reasons you should go on an adventure:

  • It gets you out of routine.. I told my children that I couldn’t take anyone to school and I wouldn’t be here when they got home. I skipped yoga.  I put my writing work, teaching work, and family work on hold and told myself I would deal with whatever I needed to later.
  • You unplug. On my way to meet my friends to hike, I didn’t listen to the radio at all. I didn’t listen to any podcasts and I didn’t make any phone calls. While hiking I didn’t check emails or messages. I only used my phone to map out our hike and take a few pictures.
  • Your mind and eyes are open to something new. I saw beautiful scenery I had never seen before and I felt how good it feels to push myself physically.

*Top photo credit to Pixabay

For You

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!!!

 Love in the Morning

by Annie Finch

Morning’s a new bird
stirring against me
out of a quiet nest,
coming to flight—

quick-changing,
slow-nodding,
breath-filling body,

life-holding,
waiting,
clean as clear water,

warmth-given,
fire-driven
kindling companion,

mystery and mountain,
dark-rooted,
earth-anchored.

*Source: Poets.org

Hope, Peace, and Contentment

*Image from www.lovethispic.com

It’s the last day of 2016. Wow. I’m not even sure how this happened. It does seem that time flies by quickly these days. Funny, because when I was younger, time often seemed to not pass by quickly enough.

To go from restlessness to contentment is a great feat. I am thankful. I know it took years to get to this point.

For years I have made new year’s resolutions. I often call them wishes, dreams, or goals. I find it effective. I write down my goals for the new year and most, if not all, come true. It pushes me, especially when I have forgotten what I wrote down and check a few weeks before the end of the year and I have to scramble to accomplish the goal (last year a 600 page book I forgot I had wanted to finish and this year the KonMari method – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.)

For 2017,  I will continue in my quest of living in the moment and being thankful (Being Happy Now:). I also will continue simplifying. I LOVE the image at the top of this post. I honestly think those ideas would be perfect new year’s goals.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing as you read this, please know I wish hope, peace, and contentment to be a part of your new year.

To the new year, 2017, I welcome you with open arms and a warm heart.

 

7 Ways to Simplify Christmas & the Holiday Season

 

simplify-christmas

It’s almost mid December, and the holiday season is upon us. I am always trying to find ways to make my life simpler and better. Here are seven tips I wanted to share with you.

1. Fake tree – for years we have been taking our kids to the tree farm to get a real tree. I wouldn’t even considering getting an artificial tree. No way, not for me. Well, for the first time in my life I started thinking about how much simpler having a fake tree would be. 1. No watering, 2. No needles all over the place, 3. No sad, lonely tree by the trash container after the holidays are over. (Not to mention the kids are all teenagers now and have busy schedules that make a trip to the tree farm hard to do.)

Last month we attending a fundraiser for a preschool that helps kids with special needs. They just happened to have several decorated trees as one of their many auction items. I fell in love one and we decided to buy it.

I will always cherish our family trips to the tree farm. But, there is one thing I know about life: things change, and that’s okay.

2. Communicate with family and friends honestly – I have a tendency to believe that almost everything works out for the best when we communicate. It’s just never a good idea for us to assume things.

 For years we have been travelling across the state to spend time with family during the holidays. The last several years we have met at my brother’s cabin. I enjoy going there very much. He and his wife offered to host our get together again this year. As much as I wanted to go, I wondered if it would be best for my family to stay home. We have three teenagers still at home and they have very busy schedules. I asked them and they thought it would be nice to not travel. I called my brother and he said they completely understood. I could tell by talking to him that I wasn’t disappointing him. (This is one of those times where a “real” conversation and not texting was so nice.)

3. Save a drawer or space for Christmas info. – I have a drawer where I keep all of our Christmas paperwork. I have a list of who our family gave presents and cards to from the prior year. It’s so nice to just pull out the list and modify. Keeping it simple makes everything so much easier.

4. Simplify your gift giving – I ask people what they want. It makes life easier. I also encourage my kids to shop on Amazon and put items they want in the shopping cart or on the “save for later” list. I make sure to tell them that just because they picked it out doesn’t mean they will be getting it. I usually tell them there’s a chance they will get a couple of the things they want.

I am also a fan of gift cards, especially for nieces and nephews that don’t live close by.

5. Start early, enjoy it, don’t procrastinate – procrastination is a funny thing. We all do it. Most of the time we do it because there is some fear or reluctance to just start. A lot of times, we feel we just don’t have the time needed to accomplish something. I like to start early, have fun with picking out things, and remind myself that procrastinating stresses me out. I don’t like doing things under pressure.

I am also a fan of buying several of the same items to have on hand to give. Good ideas are: boxes of chocolates, candles, and filled coffee mugs.

Also, this year I have been doing better at wrapping presents the same day I get them. It makes me happy!

6. Ask for help – divvy up the responsibilities. Let go of pride, ego, and perfectionism. (It’s not all it’s cracked up to be anyway.) This year I asked my husband if he wanted to be in charge of the stockings. At first he said he would love to help and we could compare items and ideas. It must have been the look I gave him because he paused for a bit and then said he could do it by himself. That works for me!

7. Only put out decorations that you love – every year we give away and throw away a few more Christmas items. I love it. There is no reason for clutter and having things out just because they are in your possession. We all know the more we put out the more we have to put up.

I do love the way homes look at Christmas. I like the saying that a house should rise up to greet you. What could be more lovely than walking into your home filled with those decorating items that you truly love and cherish? It’s nice. And, it can be as simple or lavish as you choose.

My hope for you is that you find moments of peace, pure joy, and love this holiday season.

*Another picture from years gone by. My daughter is now taller than I am.

Being Happy Now

bhnflower

I have a new website! It’s in addition to this one. I have been working on a book project for almost a year now titled Being Happy Now. I have a publisher! I still have a lot of work to do and the book will most likely be published in 2017.

I decided to make a new website to support this project as well as the new journals I am creating.

Please take a look, and may you enjoy it as much as I did creating it!

New website!