Don’t Settle

Years ago my husband and I moved to a remote, small town in Kansas and started the arduous process of renovating a 100-year-old house. My father was a big help in this process. In fact, I’m not sure we would have accomplished what we did had he not been there to help us.

We finally got to the point where I needed to pick out cabinets for the kitchen. We had redesigned things and the kitchen was large and had the flow that we wanted. We had visited with several businesses trying to find the right cabinets. We wanted to use our local hardware/lumber store to order and purchase them. The problem was they didn’t have the design or color that I wanted.

Renovating a large, old house and having small children was stressful. Making decisions was stressful. I remember my dad saying, “I don’t understand, why aren’t you having fun?” I couldn’t see the fun in anything back then. It just all seemed like a lot of work. Also, the fact that we basically lived in the middle of nowhere made shopping and decision making even harder.

So, back to the cabinets. I decided I would settle. That I could make the cabinets that the local hardware/lumber store work in our kitchen. My dad looked at me with that halfway smile where one side comes up into an expression of questioning, and said, “Don’t settle, hold out for what you really want.”

Well, I took his advice. I went to the owner of the local store and explained what I truly wanted. This time he started the search and found exactly what I wanted. He got them ordered and my dad and husband put them up.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years people walked into our kitchen and said it was beautiful and how they loved the cabinets. The color, the style, everything about them was lovely.

So, sometimes I have to remind myself that we don’t always have to settle. Sometimes it’s worth it to hold out for what you really want.

Have a wonderful day and I hope you get something you truly wish for!

Three Secrets to Happiness

I am inviting you to a challenge. Just try it for one day. If it works for you, try it any time that you want to improve your day.

Here is the challenge:

1. Become aware. Look for ANY moment that brings you joy. It can be the slightest thing: the light rain coming down, the laugh of someone you love (the laugh of someone you don’t know, but it makes you laugh – because people laughing is really funny: Contagious laughter compilation), a big smile from a stranger, the smell of baked bread, a song that makes you want to dance, photos (This Is What Happiness Looks Like In One Photo) – you get the picture.

2. Just live in that moment. Appreciate it for as long as the moment lasts.

3. Be thankful that you get to experience this. Have you noticed that often happiness is linked to gratitude or thankfulness? According to an article in HealthLine titled Benefits of Gratitude, ” What if there were a solution to stress that involves nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is. That solution is called gratitude.”

Even though we often forget it, time is a gift. Today is a gift. How we spend our time is often up to us, but a lot of the time we aren’t aware that we might have a say in how our day turns out.

Take this challenge. If you have any moment that makes you happy, please share it on social media #BeingHappyNowChallenge. You might just make someone else happy.

 

Love Being Love

I was out early this morning, and as I often do, I observe my surroundings as I pass by things. I saw what looked like an abandoned house. It was a small house with red siding. There were overgrown bushes along the front of the house and weeds coming up by the two front steps that led to an old, dirty door, with cracked paint and a broken window pane.

What caught my eye, though, were the beautiful pink flowers tucked neatly inside an edged flower bed to the right of the door. They were perfect. So pretty and bountiful.

I thought how the flowers didn’t know where they were blooming. They were just there to do their job.

This made me think of love being love. Just like most dogs. They are love because they express love. I think that’s why so many people love their dogs. Many people will tell you they like their dogs better than people. Think about it. Who give you such unconditional love? No matter what our flaws may be, they still love us. They love us a lot.

I wonder if we could be more like the flowers and the loving pets. Can we just be love?

36 Seconds

Recently I had the privilege of spending the day with my daughter. She was in a basketball tournament and we had time to kill between games. She is an easy person to be around. I enjoy her company very much. She is one of those people who assesses situations quickly. She’s not a big talker, has an easy laugh, and is easy going unless she is tired or hungry.

We ate a nice meal out, shopped, went to the library, and then headed back for the last game. On the way home she said, “Thirty six seconds, that’s how long there was silence before you talked again.” It makes me laugh just writing this. I can’t help it. I was born to talk. Which is ironic because often I happily spend hours by myself where I don’t talk to a soul. I enjoy time alone.

I am aware that I don’t need to share every thought that is going on in my head. I just like to talk. I also like to listen. This is probably why my degrees are in Communication.

Whether you are a talker, listener, or somewhere in between, I thought you might find this story funny. It seems like time after time I come to the conclusion that we are all just wired the way we are wired. And, you know, that’s kind of cool.

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.

Simplifying

Recently my husband and I spent the weekend in St. Louis. This picture was taken in the English Woodland Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It was so beautiful and peaceful there. I was filled with a sense of hope and happiness and peacefulness.  I love the way I feel when I am surrounded by nature. I have always enjoyed being outdoors.

It often seems I am happiest when I am appreciating life’s simple joys.

Here is a quotation that I have had for a long time and it amazes me that the problems we deal with in our present day are the same as those who have lived before us.

“We are so overwhelmed with things these days that out lives are all, more or less, cluttered. I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that felling of hurry and almost of helplessness. Here is a good New Year’s resolution for us all to make: To simplify our lives as much as possible.”

~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Have a beautiful week!!

 

A Thoughtful Graduation Gift

 

Just in time! I think this is a thoughtful gift to give to high school graduates. There are so many benefits to writing in a journal. From stretching your IQ to sparking your creativity. See this article from the Huffington Post: 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal.

Starting college starts a new chapter in a young person’s life. There will be all kinds of new experiences. This journal can capture thoughts, goals, dreams, achievements, hopes, etc.

What a wonderful gift that is fun to receive now and even better in the future when one can look back and read all that he or she experienced that first year of college.

You can find this journal on Amazon.

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.