Slowing Down – Posts from the Past

I am suffering from a headache today, the kind that makes it hard to see straight. I think it’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down.

Slowing down isn’t always easy. I try, but often fail. The problem is I like to do a lot, and often find my fingers in too many projects at once. But this headache, it’s forcing me to have a slower day.

So, instead of my usual post, I am linking to a few older posts that are a reminder on how important it is to find slow in a busy life.

Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast

It Began with a Cup of Tea

Addicted to Busy

Lessons from a Two-Year-Old

A New and Simpler Life

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My Favorite Sites

Reading is the entry to my day. Which is why I love morning.

After breakfast, I grab my tea, curl up in my chair, and sit down to read my favorite blogs.

My choice of favorite blogs has changed over the years. It once was everything about the planet, then switched to all things writing. I have followed political blogs, religious blogs, blogs with fictional stories, and blogs about food. I’ve gone through a lot of seasons in my life.

Right now, the blogs I love the most are all over the place. Self-improvement, life’s wisdom, health, and living a simpler, more luxurious life. I even follow blogs about fashion.

 

Without further ado, here are my favorite blogs:

The Well Nested Life – Karen is funny and smart. And did I mention how funny she is? She writes about one of my favorite topics – life. She has lived it, and is not afraid to say so. Join her as she shares anecdotes and wisdom.

Tiny buddha – Lots of insight and wisdom on this not-so-tiny blog.

Zen habits – Leo Babauta is one of my favorite authors. You will see why. He’s a normal guy writing about normal things. It’s like sitting down with a friend.

The Blissful Mind – At the top it says, “Your guide to finding calm in the everyday.” Just looking at the front page puts me in a tranquil state. Full of life tips.

Cait Flanders. I wish Cait was my next-door neighbor. She’s honest, and sounds like the nicest person ever. Her writing inspires me to be better.

Wisebread – Every bit of financial advise you can possibly imagine is somewhere on this site.

Mindbodygreen – Looking for a healthy new recipe? A better way to work out? A little information on the planet? This site has it all.

The Simple Luxurious Life – Every girl (and guy, for that matter) likes a bit of luxury now and then. I adore this site. I love the photos, the simplicity of it, the way it makes me want to live with less, but better.

There you have it, a few of my favorite sites. I bet you have your favorites as well. I’d love to hear what they are. Please leave a comment below!

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The Messy Side of Life: Letting Go of Friends

I once had a friend I will call Lou, a straight-forward, serious, kind of gal. I was the goof-around, never-take-anything-seriously, woman. We formed a bond over our differences.

Over lunches and extra activities, we grew to know one another. Only sometimes, you don’t know who people are until you see who they are.

As I watched her interact with others, I saw a different friend, one who was curt, blunt, with a somewhat short fuse. I tried to talk to her about how she treated others, but she wouldn’t listen.

Still, I remained her friend. After all, she’d never been that way with me.

At home, something began to happen. I noticed a change in me, a little frustration, a tiny seed of anger beneath my skin. I wondered if it had something to do with Lou.

One week, I endured a series of unfortunate events, after which I called my friend.

“I’m so frustrated,” I said.

This is what she told me, “It is your fault. You have sin, or your car wouldn’t have died, and your furnace would be working.”

I became angry, and slammed down the phone.

She was my friend, or so I thought. Yet her words were unforgiving, unrealistic, harsh, and cold.

I knew what I needed to do.

I ended the friendship. It was over. Complete.

Sometimes a friend becomes the anchor that ties you to shore. Sometimes, you just need to cut loose.

Letting go was the best thing I ever did. Lou had been holding me back, stopping me from being all I could be. She had filled my life with unkind, negative words. When I let go of her, I became a better me.

Years later, I had a similar situation. This time, it was with a Facebook friend.

She wrote a post. I didn’t agree. I made a comment, and tried to be kind. She said nothing, but her friends did.

They harassed and cursed. They were rude. Apparently, even adults can bully one another.

My friend didn’t stand up for me, or even respond. Which didn’t make her much of a friend.

Once again, I had to let go.

Friends can be hard to let go of. People are like old worn shoes we grow accustomed to. But like the old worn shoe that is bad for our knees and feet, people can be bad, too.

Sometimes we need to shake the dirt off, sweep the dust beneath our feet, and, cleanse our lives from what doesn’t make it better.

Some friends aren’t meant to be friends, and then there are those that always remain.

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Creating Laughable Moments

I grew up in a family of jokesters. Aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents, who joked and played tricks on one another. Sometimes on other people, too. Like the time my uncle Darrel and I were at the mall.

My uncle had been the victim of a factory accident, which tragically cut off two of his fingers. One day while at the mall we stopped inside the pet store. My uncle saw a little boy peering into a cage and walked over to him.

“Don’t get too close,” my uncle said, “Look what that lizard did to me.” He produced two stubby fingers, which sent a wild-eyed child running to his mom. We had a good laugh.

The prankster gene ran through the whole family, down to my little brother, who once taped the handle of a kitchen sprayer, aiming it in just the right spot, so when my mom turned the faucet on, she was soaked.

As my brother got older, even after I was married, we played jokes together. One time we buried a box with a random selection of things – paper, rock, deck of cards – and placed them in a hole in the garden where my husband was going to dig. He was very confused when he found it.

I taught my children to be pranksters. They learned quickly, once placing red Kool-Aid in the faucet, telling their dad it was rust. It’s a good thing my husband caught on to my humor, since I played more than one joke on him.

My dad wasn’t a prankster so much as a joke teller, though I often didn’t understand his jokes, perhaps because he was laughing so hard I couldn’t figure out what he was saying. His belly shook, and he sounded like one of those toy novelty boxes with that goofy, contagious laughter.

As for my mom, she was the story-teller, rambling on about her life in Sweden (which never happened, but many people believed it did), even reciting an authentic Swedish prayer.

It is from my mom that I learned the art of story-telling. It is from my whole family I learned to joke and laugh at life.

My husband and I have created our own funny moments, like the time we played restaurant when our kids were little, applying accents to our Midwestern voices, handing our children menus and serving them food. Even now, with children gone, we laugh and get silly, doing things others would probably never understand.

None of the jokes matter, none of the incidents anything special. Yet they live, forming a bond that can’t be broken, one we can never forget.

It is in those moments when we least expect it that memories live. The goofy, unexpected, laughable moments. The ties that bring us together.

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How My Appliances Taught Me to Appreciate the Simple Life

Ah, the days of yore, yesteryear, and days gone by. How grand those days must have been. I reminisce about days I have never seen, wishing I’d been part of them, looking back as if those days were the answers to my busyness and stress.

But I wonder, would the people back then agree? If I brought them into today’s world, and they saw my appliances and the spa down the street, would they think my life was harder than theirs? I’m guessing not.

They had stresses, diseases, too, and often no doctor nearby. They fought for food, land, and survival. They hunted, and drove horses, sometimes for days, just to find provisions.

We have been given a good life, and a great era. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am.

The other day, I took out my blender and food processor and placed them on the counter, and for a second, I felt a twinge of guilt. As I prepared to make my own milk, I thought about people long ago, how they milked cows in the wee hours of the morning, and how long of a process it must have been. I placed cashews in the blender, added water, and in two minutes I had a quart of milk.

Dates and nuts were dropped in the food processor, with a touch of cinnamon and a little coconut. In no time, a ball formed, which I removed and pressed into bars. I wondered about people before, if they searched for nuts, and what they did when they found them.

I turned on my dishwasher with the push of a button, dropped clothes in the washer, and warmed my tea in the microwave. I didn’t have to hand wash each item, or wait for a kettle to warm over a fire.

My life is simple, just the way I like it, filled with modern conveniences, giving me time to do what I want. But simplicity has a different meaning for everyone.

For some, simplicity is living on a farm, growing food and keeping animals; some make clothing with loving hands; some bake bread; some fish in the sea. For some, the simple life is not worrying about any of those things. I am one of those people.

Farm living, it’s not for me. It’s the place I love to visit, the place I dream to be. But put me on a farm, and I won’t know what to do. I am not creative with a sewing machine, and never place a needle in my hand. I can’t bake bread to save my life. And if you ask me to bait a hook, I will probably run away.

I admire those who till land and farm the earth, who mix bread by hand, and are patient enough to wait for it to rise. But my life, it’s better with appliances. Appliances bring me joy. My blender makes me happy. It takes away my stress.

If you are searching for the simple life, look no further than your own home. Simplicity isn’t about removing appliances for minimalism sake. It isn’t letting go of bread machines to mix it all by hand, though if that’s what you want, that is fine, too.

Simplicity is what you makes you happy, the joy that sits inside you when you know what you are doing, is exactly what you want to do.

Simplicity is whatever makes life easy for you.

What is your idea of the simple life?

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