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.

 

A Sweet Message

Christmas is almost here. I hope this post finds you in a good place. I hope you have felt some of the love that is experienced at Christmas. I hope you feel some gratitude for all the good that has come into your life this past year. I also hope you feel a sense of peace, hope, and inspiration for the new year. 2017! Doesn’t even seem possible.

I received this message from a friend today and I wanted to share it with you.

Please have a great and merry Christmas!! May your new year have sweet adventures… Most of all may peace and kindness be your closest friends as you teach and inspire….

How wonderful is this message? I just had to share.

Have a wonderful Christmas and be sure to take in all those little moments that really matter.

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.

A Book for Aspiring Writers (and also experienced writers!)

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel.

This is a great book for anyone who is wanting to, or perhaps already, writing a book. Just to give you an example of what this book is about and the tone, here is what you will find when you open the cover: Story Genius: How to use brain science to go beyond outlining and write a riveting novel. (*Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere).

This author is funny. I enjoyed her writing style. I found the book very useful. Writing a book can be challenging; and, writing a good book can be daunting. Cron makes a good case for why writers should follow her advice.

The book is broken up into three parts. 1.) What a story is, and what it isn’t, 2.) Creating the inside story, and 3.) Creating an external gauntlet to spur your protagonist’s internal struggle.

This book is basically a how-to text for writers. It’s well done and I recommend it.

You can find this book at Penguin Random House or Amazon.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for writing this review.