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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A Life of Seasons

I forgot to post earlier this week. Didn’t write a single line, or come up with one little idea. I blame it on summer.

I am a Summer Girl

Summer throws me off-course. It always has. When my boys were little, summer was one long, un-calendared event. No tick-tock of a clock to wake us, no reminder from the sun when it was time to wind down. Our schedule was our own. We blew with the wind.

I loved those days. Going to the park, playing at the beach, camping and roasting marshmallows. Soaking up every piece of sun while we could.

Now, I have no little ones at home, no school year to tell me that schedules will be tossed aside, and lazy, hazy days will fill the next three months. Yet, my husband and I still manage to live by the school calendar.

Summer is my simple hippie dream. Barefoot in the park, running through waves at the beach. And, if there weren’t so many bugs in my backyard, sitting outside eating every meal.

I am a summer girl. I wish I could live a life of summers.

Autumn is Welcomed with Open Arms

But soon, summer will come to an end. Fall will greet us with oranges and brilliant reds, yellows that glisten beneath soft dew. Muggy days will be replaced by cool, brisk winds. I welcome autumn with open arms.

Autumn contains a serenity that cannot be explained. Crackling leaves. Hikes beneath colored canopies. Toasted marshmallows over an open pit. Pumpkins and hay bales. The most beautiful of all seasons, I think.

Like the leaves that turn, I turn, too. I am a person of expectancy, waiting not-so-patiently for colors to explode, trees to drop leaves, and dark nights to appear.

My life turns upside down in autumn. Baking and cooking, chilling cool bones next to an oven door, preparing my home for the holidays, anticipating the next season. Because honestly, I can’t wait for winter.

Winter. The Epitome of Minimalism

Winter is clean. White. The epitome of minimalism. It is children curled in a parent’s lap, bedtime stories by the fire. Cold, dark nights. Games around a table. Blankets and hot cocoa. Nestling time. Peace.

In winter, I reminisce, remembering family here and gone. Thinking to childhood, nostalgic moments of youth. Winter is the love of my life. Until spring, that is.

Spring. A Time of Change

Spring is everything I’ve ever wanted. A time to start again. Blooming flowers. Blossoming trees. Animals being birthed. Changes in the earth, changes in me.

In spring, I cleanse, let go. Release the old, bring in the new.

Spring reminds me that nothing is forever. That change is inevitable. Life is a constant rotation of birth and death, revision and renewal.

I wonder if seasons are here to remind us that we, like they, are forever altering. Telling us that change is part of life. Seasons come and go, and so do we. Perhaps we were always meant to live a life of seasons.

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A Broken Cabinet and Hurricane Harvey

My husband and I dropped a piece of furniture down our stairs. The cabinet door ripped like a loose limb, tearing gouges into the flesh of our walls.

Within three minutes, my husband and I had killed our cabinet, damaged our home, and hurt our backs and knees. All because of one of my remodeling whims.

I partially blame my husband, who gives in to said whims, and goes along with my fanciful notions of being a superhero. Yes, I think I am Superwoman (a fairy tale I often aspire to), able to lift any piece of furniture placed in front of me. But the other day I had a revelation – perhaps I am not her, at least based on the broken cabinet in the hallway, and the torn walls by the stairs.

We pulled the cabinet back to the top floor and surveyed the damage. Walls needed puttying, texturizing, and paint. Furniture needed to be replaced. I went to bed, sick.

The next morning, I turned on the computer, determined to find a new cabinet to replace the old. Before I had a chance to look, the news of Hurricane Harvey popped in front of me.

Harvey had made a mess, damaging homes and ruining lives. Video after video spun before me, men sobbing, children teary-eyed and fearful, women clinging to babies while wading through waist-deep water.

People, lost, broken, homeless. Nothing but the clothes on their backs. I began to cry.

Here I sat, in my comfortable, air-conditioned house, sipping tea and eating breakfast, while others were hungry and homeless. As I lamented over a broken cabinet, others watched their worlds wash away.

The cabinet lay in the hall, broken and torn, a piece, I realized, that was rarely used. A piece we didn’t really need.

I wondered about the cost of a new cabinet, and measured it against helping someone else. What could that money do?

It wouldn’t be a lot, certainly not enough to save the world, or even a large city. But maybe it could help a life or two. A blanket, a few meals, perhaps a little medical care.

I turned off the computer and walked away. The cabinet no longer mattered. There were lives out there, more tattered and torn than any piece of furniture I’d ever seen.

If you are able, I encourage you to give.

These are two of my favorite organizations:

Samaritan’s Purse

American Red Cross

But there are many, many more. This article in New York Times contains a list of other charitable organizations.

Before giving, always check the legitimacy of any charity.

Have a beautiful day.

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Lessons Learned at Sea

I just returned home from my very first cruise. Other than a few bumps, sways, and waves, I loved it.

Food was prepared, just for me. (Any chef that can cook around my umpteen allergies is a miracle worker.)

There was always entertainment, somewhere on the ship.

But the best part? Staring at the deep blue ocean. A blue that glistens like glitter sprinkled from heaven.

My husband and I sat in a corner of the pool deck, unaware of anything but creation, listening to glaciers crinkle and crack, watching orcas show-off sleek, black bodies, seeing clouds paste themselves between mountain and sea.

Magical. Memorable. Absolutely amazing.

But for others, the world wasn’t so grand. Somewhere on our ship, in an unknown little cabin, a life was lost. When I found out, I was very, very sad.

I didn’t know the person who died, not sure if I’d ever seen or spoken to the family. I didn’t see them get off the ship, ready to return home with their loved one’s body. But the heartache of it all still sits with me.

It makes me realize how short life is, and how important it is to enjoy each moment.

As I prepared for this vacation, I expected to learn a few lessons. Often, I do.

Vacations teach me to be quiet, enjoy my world, live with few belongings. Vacations teach me to be content with less, and relish every moment. But this vacation, it taught me something new.

It began with packing, and repacking, and packing for a third time. Stressing over what to bring, how many pairs of jeans and dressy pants, what shoes and sweaters I would need. In the evening, should I be casual or dress-up?

Stressed, frustrated, confused. Making trips to malls, purchasing clothes, buying larger luggage. Placing too many things in my suitcase. Worried about how I would look.

How shallow I can be.

With all the packing, and wondering what to wear, I had forgotten what this vacation was about. My husband and I were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. I had turned it into a show about me.

Then something happened.

Death has a way of teaching those of us who are left behind. Reminding us what is important. What life is about. Not possessions. Not suitcases, or how many shoes needed for one week.

A life, gone.

A widow. Lost. Forlorn. No hand to hold, no fingers to intertwine, no arms to wrap around when frigid winds blow.

Someone, somewhere, all alone.

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