The Simple Power of Words

You are given 1000 words to use today. What will you do with them? What will you say?

I recently watched “A Thousand Words,” a movie about a man (Eddie Murphy) who talks too much. Seriously, give that guy a cup of coffee and his mouth doesn’t stop moving. Ever know anyone like that?

I appreciate those with a quick brain, and being able to keep the words moving as fast as the thoughts. Yet…. I wonder….

How many times have we spoken needless words? How many times have we babbled on without saying anything? Worse yet, how many times have we spoken without thinking?

Oh, if I could only take back those many words I said that were wrong, hurtful, thoughtless.

Gossip.

Idle chatter.

Hate.

Slander.

Anger.

Hurt.

Pain.

“A Thousand Words” is about forgiveness, and having peace with your past. It’s a movie about the power of words.

What if we used words to help, not harm? What if our words showed simple affirmations? What if we loved instead of hated? What if we thought before letting words slide off our tongue?

Like the ‘stuff’ in our lives, maybe our words should be less, and mean more. Maybe, sometimes, we need to minimalize what we say.

1000 words. What will you do with yours today?

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Material Girls (And Boys)

Why is clothing so cheap? Not in the money sense (thought that’s true as well), but in quality. It seems I barely purchase a new pair of jeans, and they rip, tear, stretch, or shrink, and before you know it, I’m at the mall, searching for a new pair. But before I even find my next pair of favorite jeans, my shoes fall apart, my sweater gets tiny balls all over it, my underwear loses its elasticity, and my shirt splits at the seams. It seems I am always shopping for something new. And I am tired of it.

Lately, I’ve been on a search for quality clothing. It’s hard to find. Most of what is out there is cheap and disposable, tossed in a landfill sometimes after just a few washings.

It isn’t only the landfill part that bothers me, it’s how much time I spend shopping, and how much money I throw away. A complete opposite of the simple hippie life I desire.

So, I’m on a quest for great quality clothing. And what better place to start than the internet? As I perused a few sites (I never did find any clothing), I came upon a cool blog. The name is The Graceful Geek, written by Grace Bush. Grace hits upon the very subject I am struggling with.

Grace calls our society’s shopping habit fast-fashion, a disposable type of clothing that brings us quickly from one fad to another. See how Grace is dealing with the problem.

http://www.thegracefulgeek.com/im-avoiding-fast-fashion/

I hope you join Grace and I in our desire to have less, and better, clothing. And if you know where I can purchase quality clothing, please drop me a line.

Have a beautiful day!

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Simple Hygge

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), a Danish word meaning comfort and coziness, warmth and connection. (Though it is said there really is no good English translation.)

Hygge was one of the most popular words of 2016. But I’d like to think it wasn’t the word, but the interpretation, that people fell in love with.

Pictures across the internet portray hygge scenes: friends gathered by a fire; a woman quietly sipping tea; someone reading a book with nothing but nature to distract. Hygge is, in my words, tranquility. Peace. Serenity. I love hygge, and I’m trying to practice it daily.

My morning begins with a session of hygge-ness.(Is that even a word?) Sipping tea. Reading a book. Glancing out the window, seeing nothing but the trees in the distance, and the elderly man who walks his dog in the early morning hours.

Hygge is found in the middle of my day, though sometimes it slips between the pages of my calendar. But usually, I can pull it out, find time to just breathe and whisper a few words of prayer, or maybe jot notes in my journal. Hygge keeps my day relaxing, even in a sometimes hectic world.

My day ends with hygge, quiet reading in bed, sipping more tea as my husband and I cuddle on the sofa. I take a few breaths as I lull into slumber.

But my favorite hygge practice is on the weekend, when all cares are cast aside, all chores forgotten. The dark morning calls my name. As I slip out of the bedroom, careful not to wake my husband, the cool crisp air touches my skin. I hear nothing. It is silence. The world is still asleep.

I pull out my mug, listen to the teapot whistle my name, and crack open a book. Nothing but me, darkness, and hygge.

It is then I know, I have hit upon something great.

The concept of hygge is changing my life. It is changing me.

Hygge may not have a perfect English definition, but the concept is about as perfect as it can get.

What can you do to have a little hygge in your day?

Need a little inspiration? Check out these pictures of hygge.

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A Simple Lesson from “Frasier”

It’s amazing how true to life a sitcom can sometimes feel. I was thinking this the other night as I was watching “Frasier,” the show about a loveable, quirky, albeit haughty, psychiatrist who lives in a Seattle loft with his father, Martin.

In the episode “They’re Playing Our Song” (season 7, episode 13), Frasier is asked to compose a theme song for his radio show. Instead of a short simple ditty, Frasier brings in the big guns, everything from a choir to a full orchestra, along with some unusual instruments.

When the song doesn’t quite fall into place, we find Frasier later sitting in his loft with Martin, wondering what to do.

Scene:

Martin: “And the tune should be something simple . . .”

Frasier: “Truth is, Dad, I’m not sure I can do simple.”

Martin: “I don’t know if you can or if you just don’t want to. But you know, some of the best things in the world are simple. Just like that art gallery you brought me to, you were ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over a painting of a big red dot.”

Such a simple scene, and so much power inside those words.

It seems we often make things harder than need be. I know I do. Like this last Christmas. I over-planned our holiday meal, cooking two main courses, tons of side dishes, and serving two desserts alongside cartons of ice cream and many toppings.

Ironically, the ice cream was the biggest hit. Looking back, that meal could have been a lot simpler than it was. All anybody really wanted was just to be together.

I think life is often like that. We over-plan our schedules, throw ourselves from one activity to the next. We put our children in three different sports, sign them up for everything under the sun. But all we ever want, all our children ever want, is just to do something simple.

It’s often the simple things we love the best. The simple activity. The simple dessert.

Next year, I will know better. I will make less food, and make it easier. And maybe I will forego the three desserts and just serve ice cream.

What can you do to simplify your life?

(Oh, and in case you are wondering, Frasier did finally come up with a short, simple ditty for his show.)

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Simple Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I swear my brain never stops. It is always thinking, making lists of groceries and projects, birthdays and holidays I need to remember. There are appointments to make, vacations to plan, people to call. If that weren’t enough, this wacky head of mine is always dreaming, constantly creating.Yup, my brain is an endless stream of activity. But believe it or not, I’m better than I once was.

A few years ago, this crazy brain of mine kept me from sleeping. While everyone in our house slept soundly, I would lay in bed thinking of all the things I needed to do. A little voice inside me would whisper, “Get up. You have chores to do, a million things to take care of.” When I finally did drift off, it was a restless slumber filled with bizarre dreams that would soon wake me up.

Immediately, my head was barraged with lists and umpteen projects I was certain were more important than sleep. I’d jump out of bed, make lists, do laundry, and clean. By the time everyone in my family was awake, I’d already had a full morning.

On the outside, I was the perfect organized mom and wife, everything neat and tidy, the house completely arranged. But inside, I was one stressed-out tired mess. I was never relaxed. I was always thinking of what needed to be done, the next thing to cross off my ever-growing list.

I didn’t know it then, but my lack of sleep was catching up with me. I lived in a foggy kind of dream, not really living life. And my health, well, it became a series of illness requiring many visits to doctors for viruses and infections I could no longer fight off.

I needed a serious wake-up call. Many years later, I got one.

It happened the day I was in an auto accident and sustained a brain injury. It sounds terrible, because it was. And yet, in some weird way, I think it saved my life.

After the accident, both my body and brain were broken. I would find that the only true way to heal would be with a ton of sleep. I think it’s safe to say I slept more than I was awake. It took me a few years to heal, and during those years, I made a discovery.

I liked sleep. I’d never known what good sleep felt like, or what it meant to wake up refreshed. Even as a teenager, I’d never been a good sleeper, and now, here I was, sleeping eight hours at night, waking up with energy and a fresh mind.

Unfortunately, I’m a slow learner. Soon, my old personality crept in, and along with it, that little voice that said, “Don’t sleep. You have too many things to do.”

In some ways, I’d missed that voice. It represented the old me, the one before the accident. And yet, I knew I could no longer stay awake at night like I once had. My brain would never be able to function.

It was time to still that voice. I came up with a plan, one that has me sleeping through almost every single night. This plan has changed my life. It’s now a rarity for me to wake up during the wee hours of the morning. And unless I’m having a severe allergy attack, I hardly ever suffer from foggy-brain.

What is this plan that helps me sleep sound every night? I’m so glad you asked.

My Simple Plan to a Better Night’s Sleep:

Yoga – I learned yoga after my brain injury. The stretching helped my body, but it was the breathing that saved me. My blood pressure went down, and my muscles relaxed. Even my spirit was lighter. I do deep breathing as I go to sleep.

Exercise – Working out is important to me. Something, every single day. Walk, turn the radio on and dance, garden, play with children, lift weights, do push-ups. Something to get the heart pumping. Try it. Your body will thank you.

Eat healthy – We all know that healthy eating is important for many reasons, but one is helping you sleep better. Avoiding excess sugar, especially before bed, can aid in a good night’s sleep.

Drink Water – Drink plenty of water. Water keeps muscles lubricated, which helps to eliminate those pesky nighttime leg cramps.

Magnesium – According to Dr. Mercola (mercola.com), eighty percent of Americans do not get enough magnesium. Magnesium can be found in spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, and a host of other foods (do a search for “foods with magnesium”). If I do have that rare bad night of sleep, I know I need a magnesium boost. The next night, I add Calm (a powdered form of magnesium) to a glass of water. Voila. I am out cold the rest of the night, and wide-awake the next morning. Another great way to get magnesium is by taking a hot bath in Epsom salts, something I try to do once a week in the winter. The bath alone is relaxing, but the Epsom salts soak into the muscles and skin, relaxing every inch of the body.

Be Quiet – One hour before bed stay calm and quiet. Watch something silly, read something light, drink tea.

Have a Routine – I used to think routines were just for kids, but it seems as if everyone’s body likes routine. Keep it the same every night, as much as possible. That includes bedtime.

Give thanks – I give thanks for something before I fall asleep. It sounds kind of silly, I know, but there’s something about this simple little routine that makes my night go better. I don’t go to sleep stressed, or angry, or upset. I go to bed happy, because I have found something to give thanks for. I love falling asleep happy.

Most of all, still that nagging little voice -Nothing is important enough to keep you from sleep.

There you have it, simple ways to get a good night’s sleep.

Good night everyone.

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