A Simple Quote

The following is a simple quote that has inspired me, motivated me, and changed me. It’s the quote I think about every time I am about to make a purchase. It was the quote I used on my own personal journey towards minimalism.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

Reflect on these words. Use them in your own home. Are the items you have in your house useful? Do they bring you joy? Do you find them beautiful?

Make your house a home you truly want to live in.

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A Bucket of Dreams

In my bucket, I have dreams, of faraway lands, and drifting to sea. I dream of cabins high upon a hill, of abandoned castles by a moat, of all the places I long to be.

I dream of dresses to create, by sketches scribbled long ago. I dream of painted murals and houses I will build.

I dream. And I dream.

My list grows. My bucket overflows. Childhood dreams mix with adult fantasies. I am a dreamer, a wonderer, an envisioner of life. I’ve wished for many things, and longed for wind beneath my wings.

I wonder happens when we don’t dream? I wonder if I hadn’t considered and hoped, where would my world be?

Would I be happy? Would I be here? Would I ever see my dreams?

Piece by tiny piece, my list falls away. Yet my dreams are never finished, my wishes never complete, for I will always be a dreamer and a gazer of the stars. Dreams will always be a part of me, the girl I am, and the one I used to be.

Always keep on dreaming, never let go, for dreamers are the ones that know, that dreams are always with us, always guiding, always showing that we are always living, and our bucket list always growing.

Dream.

What are your dreams?

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Stress is a Pain in the Neck (And Sometimes in the Back)

To say I don’t handle stress well is putting it mildly. I used to thrive on stress, juggling children, activities, career, all the while balancing a calendar and house atop my head. I looked for stress the way Winnie the Pooh searches for honey. The more I had, the happier I was.

But brain injuries have a way of changing a person. I can no longer handle stress. I push it away, eliminating situations I know I can’t handle. Unfortunately, sometimes the old me tries to sneak back into my life, tries to fool me into thinking I can do anything. Kind of like it did the last few weeks.

Plans and Changes
It began with summer and fall plans my husband and I were making. Things weren’t falling into place as easily as we had imagined. We had to make changes to our calendar, and leave a few things in the air. Not a big deal, if that had been all there was.

My body is tired. My mind is worn. I do not hear.

My family, both close and extended, are experiencing many changes in their lives. They are all adults, and the changes are good, but I couldn’t help but be a little worried, because, after all, they are my family.

My back twinges, my neck begins to ache. I will not listen.

My husband has seen a lot of changes in his company lately, and his job has become a bit precarious. When your spouse is stressed, so are you.

My body cries, my muscles tighten. “Sit, relax,” it says to me. I refuse.

My husband and I have designated Memorial Day weekend as “Catch-Up Weekend,” a time to complete forgotten and abandoned chores. This year, we should have gone away, if only for day. Instead, we opted to paint the office. The only place we would go would be Home Depot.

We stripped the walls of pictures, emptied closets, removed furniture. We washed walls, taped bright blue strips around the trim, and painted. Halfway through, I felt it.

Stop! Tense muscles. Pain. I close my ears.

I barely made it through the first coat. But by then, my body had rebelled. It screamed things I had never heard, shooting pains from my lower and middle back into my stomach, making it difficult to eat or breathe. My only relief was bending over or lying down.

Stop and Listen
If only I had listened the first time. If only I had paid attention when my body told me to rest.

Back pain is, well, such a pain. Back pain costs employers 7.4 billion dollars a year in missed days of work (based on ages 40-65, per www.painmed.org), it will affect about 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives (per ninds.nih.gov) and is the number one reason Americans visit a doctor (per Johns Hopkins University study – www.disabled-world.com)

Back pain can truly ruin your day, or even your life. I knew I couldn’t live with this kind of pain for long, and I knew the exact reasons for why I felt this way.

The first thing I did was lay on a heating pad, rest, and enjoy a movie, letting my mind wander away from that sometimes stressful thing called life.
Then I did something else. I thought about what I was dwelling on –family, house, unsolved vacations. I thought how I had turned a simple life into something difficult. And then I knew what I needed to do. I needed to let it go.

Let it go
*Don’t try to do so much. Some things, like painting, can wait. Some things just aren’t that important.

*Don’t try to live other’s lives. If they are happy and okay, let it go.

*Accept situations. Do what you can to change it, but if you can’t change it, learn to live with it.

*Most importantly, don’t gather stress like it’s an honor to carry around.

Remedies
We all incur stress at some point in our lives. It’s the way life is. And sometimes, when we have stress, our body rebels. If this happens to you, here are a few simple remedies I found to be helpful:

1. Heating pad. (Follow directions, don’t leave on too long, or turn on too high of a heat.)

2. Mild yoga (This is not the time for head stands or balancing on one hand.)

3. Hot shower. Or better yet, a hot bath with Epsom salts.

4. Topricin. Use like Icy Hot. (I love Topricin. It doesn’t smell like Grandma’s muscle cream, isn’t greasy, and it works.)

5. Massage. (Light massage.) With oil.

6. Rest.

7. Relax. Breathe.

8. Remember, life is simple. We just make it difficult.

9. Mostly, learn to let it go.

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