F Simple and Serene Living: May 2014 09 10
Saturday, May 31, 2014

happiness is

This morning was just plain aggravating. I'm sure you know how it is. I woke up early and hit the floor running with the intention of hitting some yard sales. 

Got to my bank. The ATM was broken. GRRRRR!!!!

Okay, no cash, so I'll go pick up some breakfast for sister and me. 

They of course messed up the order so I had to get out of the car, wait in line inside and have it replaced. GRRRRR!!!!

When I got back into the car I started to laugh at myself and how silly I was being. I mean after all these were really only minor annoyances, and there probably was a reason they happened. 

I needed a quick attitude adjustment.


I knew I could make myself miserable or I could choose to spend my day being happy.

On the way home I spotted a small neighborhood farmer's market. I had five dollars on me. Just enough to buy something special.

Because some days happiness is as simple as a bowl of fresh picked strawberries. 


I hope that whatever happens in your day today, you are able to choose happiness.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

women speak




Earlier this month I wrote about the changes that are happening in my blog. I talked about the new look of my blog along with my new focus. If you missed it you can read about it here.

One of the things I want for this blog is for it to be a place where we all feel free to come and express our feelings. I want to take my training and the knowledge I received as a counselor and use it to listen. I of course will not be doing any counseling here, but I will be talking "with" you and I will be giving ideas on how to live a simpler and more serene life.



With that in mind I have decided to start a weekly forum, where we as women, can come together and talk about subjects that are relevant to our lives. Some of you have shared topics that you are interested in and I have ideas of my own. 

Some of the ideas are:

  • needs, prospects, and outlooks for women of all ages
  • the sandwich generation. Taking care of elderly parents.
  • relationships with our children at all stages of their lives.
  • staying active in the second half of our lives.
  • grandparenting. What are our roles?
  • starting new careers at any age.
  • finding and maintaining serenity.

I know we can all come up with much more to discuss. We are women and that is what we do. I want your input. Please let me know what you would like to discuss. You can leave it in the comments or email me. I have a new contact form on my sidebar. 




Now to the nuts and bolts. I am calling this weekly forum "Women Speak". It will take place every Tuesday and will be open to everyone. I want your input. I love your input. I hope you will invite your friends to join in. I want you to sit back, put your feet up, grab a cup of tea or coffee and join the discussion. We will officially start next week.

So, I will see you back here tomorrow and Monday (I have decided to take Sundays off. A girl's gotta rest) and then we will meet for the first "Women Speak" on Tuesday.

Have a simple and serene day.



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Thursday, May 29, 2014

transformations.....listen to yourself

Yesterday we lost one of the wisest women of our times. I felt profoundly sad as I read of her passing, because I felt she still had so much to teach us. But God had other plans and called her home to be with Him. 

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In my pursuit of a simple and serene life, I have often listened to the wise words of Maya Angelou. 

The other day I talked about saying the words I Love You, because allowing love into your life is the most important thing you can do. It is the essence of life and of God.


So today I will share these words while I sit in quietude and listen for the voice of God.


"We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free." -maya angelou


Rest in peace Maya Angelou, knowing that you left this world a better place for so many of us.

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Thanks to my daughter Katy for reminding me of this poem.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

reading....such a simple pleasure

Yesterday as I strolled out of the library, my book bag tossed lightly over my shoulder, my hair blowing in the breeze..................SCREEEEECH!!!

Okay, let's start over. Yesterday as I struggled out of the library, barely able to lift my overflowing bag, my hair plastered in a sweat I wondered if there was an actual limit on the number of books they allowed you to check out at one time. I am always waiting for an alarm to go off and a voice to come over the intercom saying "step away from the checkout computer". 


As I've said before, I love to read and I love the library. I always imagine that in a past life I was part of the aristocracy and had my own library with an unlimited amount of books. In reality I was probably the illiterate maid who was forced to dust those endless volumes. That might explain my insatiable need to read in this lifetime. 


The thing about reading is that it is such a simple pleasure. When I am feeling overwhelmed I pick up a book and immerse myself in its story. If I need a recipe there are always lots of cookbooks for me to peruse. Need to look up the meaning of a word or help in finding a word? I check my handy dictionary. Yes, I could Google it and I often do, but there is something much more satisfying about holding a book in my hands.



I love the smell and feel of books. When I go to auctions I always love to look through the boxes of old books. I have found so many treasures that way.

We each have things that calm us, that help us find a more simple and serene life. I love to take a walk, sit by the water, breathe in the sounds and smells of a beautiful day, and I love to read.



 These are some of my simple pleasures. What are yours?


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

three simple words

Such simple words. They should be so easy to say and they mean more than any other words in the English language. So why can it be so difficult to say them sometimes and why do we often hold back. 


Is it because we are afraid? Afraid that they will be used against us? Afraid that they aren't reciprocated?

Is it because we are in a hurry or waiting for another time or day? What if another day doesn't come? What if it is our only chance? How will we feel if we missed our chance?


I know that I have been guilty of holding back. Maybe because of hurt feelings, or insecurity, or just the hurry of life. Sometimes when I have missed my chance I have been known to whisper those words into the empty air, and that whispering has left me with a profound sense of sadness because the person who should have heard those words is gone. 


So now I say those three words more often. Each time I speak with my daughters or my grandchildren I am sure to say them before we hang up the phone and those words are always said back to me. I say them to my other family members and to my friends and each time I say them I am left with a wonderful sense of happiness. 

So now, from the bottom of my heart I say those three words to each of you.

I LOVE YOU

Don't let your day go by without telling someone you love them. You never know how much those words may mean to someone and you never know if you will have another chance to say them. 

 
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

simple living...picnic time

Monday is Memorial Day which means the official start of the summer season. I have one word.

PICNIC

When I think back to some of my favorite times, I think of picnics. They just speak of simple summer fun to me. 

Some of the best picnics I remember were right in our own backyard on an old picnic table. As I am bottle obsessed, I love the idea of using old bottles with pretty summer flowers as the centerpiece. 

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When I was first married and living in a big old farmhouse in the country, I used a picnic table for my kitchen table. It worked great and I loved the memories it evoked.

Don't have a picnic table? Pull a table that you already have on the porch or in your house out onto the lawn for a summer picnic.

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Of course I would probably be too lazy to bring out a table, but a picnic on an old blanket out on the lawn works just as well for me.

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My daughter and her family are on their way to to the Outer Banks in North Carolina today. I hope they get to have at least one picnic on the beach. Although with three kids, their picnic might not be this fancy.

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Yes, the summer season is here and I can't think of anything simpler or more serene than a picnic. So here's wishing you lots of fun outdoor meals from sunrise to sunset.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

sometimes my attitude stinks

There, I have just come right out and said it, and I'll say it again, 

sometimes my attitude stinks 

When I wake up each morning I try to start my day by feeling gratitude. I say thank you for something and how grateful I am to be alive for another day. But then, some days my attitude takes a huge detour. 


Why is that? I just feel a huge pout coming on. It's the why me syndrome. Why didn't I make any sales the day before? Why am I stuck living in one room? Why can't I live nearer my daughters and grandchildren? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Well, I think you get the point. We are all human and we all have our bad days, but I really want to do better and have fewer of those days. 

I need to work on it. I need an attitude adjustment, because I believe that when you change your attitude you change your life. Because I know that into each life a little rain will fall.


So here's my plan. 

1) It's my life and I get to choose how it goes. I may not be able to control the external things that are happening around me, but I can choose how I react to them.

2) No one knows more about me than I do. So no matter what anyone else thinks I should do I know what is best for me. After all I am an expert on myself.

3) I will remain calm in the face of adversity. This is a hard one for me at times, because I just want to shout at life and say "how dare you treat me like that". That's when I will go back to #1.

4) I will choose love. Not only love for others, but love for myself. I will choose to love my present moment, knowing that I have everything I need in this moment. I will focus on what I have instead of what I lack, because then I will always have enough.

5) I will remember that I am on a wonderful journey. It's the journey called life.




 
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

transformations....change is inevitable



Have you ever said to yourself, "Everything was so perfect. Why did it have to change?"

I certainly have, but change is an inevitable part of life. When we look around at nature we can see the changes on a daily basis. I often wish summer could go on forever, because I know that even if I like fall, I am not a winter person. My arthritis doesn't like it and I get seasonal affective disorder. But I can no more stop the changing of the seasons than I can the changes in my life. 


So I know that I can sit around and complain about the changes or I can embrace them, and if I embrace them I am opening the door to many new possibilities. We each will have many changes in our lives. Some of these changes will be unique just to us, while others will be changes that so many others have also gone through. 


When we embrace change, we learn from it and with that learning comes a sense of knowing, possibly wisdom. 

So take time to look back at some of the changes you have had in your own lives. Whether big or small, did you learn something from them?


 
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

a simple find

For me, part of living a simple life is simplifying my living space, and as you know if you've read my blog for awhile my living space is pretty small. Also as I am living on a very limited budget, I have to really think hard about any purchases I make. 

I have known for a while that I wanted and needed a new table beside my bed. The one I was using, although it looked pretty with its vintage coverings, just wasn't very functional and it took up too much space. I needed a smaller table with a drawer and I knew just what I wanted it to look like. 

Well, Friday night I went to an auction and there it was. (Ignore the yardstick on the floor. I'm not really very good about staging my photos.)



It was dirty, the top was cracked , and the paint was really worn and chipped. It was just about perfect.



So I outbid that other very nervy bidder (how dare she bid against me) and carted it home. After cleaning it up I set it beside my bed and I think it might have smiled at me. I mean I did rescue it from an almost certain death.

Now all that was left was to add a knob. I decided on a faux glass one.



Then I made it my own.

An old Watt Moon and Stars bowl on the bottom shelf will catch small odds and ends.



On the top I added an antique ironstone pitcher, a vintage crochet runner,



and my mid century lamp.



Now it really is perfect.



A simple find for a simple life.

Linking today with:
Tweak it Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesdays
What's It Wednesday


 
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

new look...new focus

You may have noticed the new look of my blog. Kind of hard to miss.

Well, the first thing I want to do is give a huge shout out to Brenda at Cozy Little House, who spent over three hours on Sunday afternoon helping me with everything. Between my slow computer and my inability to do squat, it was needless to say challenging. I think the pupsters were definitely ready for her to get off the phone. Thank you, Brenda. I really appreciate your help and your friendship.


I love the new look. It is simple, clean, and professional Just what I wanted. 

When I started this blog, it was to promote my Etsy shop, but I knew that wasn't enough. So I kind of floundered around for a long time with different ideas, until I came to the realization of what I really wanted to do with my writing.


Let me go back in time a little. When I was in my forties and a single mom I decided to go back to college, finish the work on my BA and get an MS in counseling psychology. I even went on and did a year and a half beyond my masters. I found that I loved working on women's issues, but I needed to find a job and so went to work as a college counselor, where I wasn't happy. The recession came along. I found myself unable to get another job and ended up selling antiques and vintage, which I love.


However, I have been wanting to do more. I have a keen interest in simple and serene living and helping women find ways to live a life they love. So that is the new focus of my blog. I have been doing some of this for awhile, but now it is going to be what I concentrate on. 

I want to look at this from many different ways. How your home, the food you eat, your exercise, your health, your relationships, and more affect your mental well being. I want this to be a place where we all feel safe to discuss our feelings and the things that are going on in our lives. I want it to be just as my new subtitle says...simple and serene living.


Please let me know if there are topics you would like to talk about. I always love your input, and I definitely want this to be interactive. This is a new beginning and I for one love new beginnings. 


 
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Monday, May 19, 2014

ummmm.....mom?


A few days ago when I went to visit my mom I noticed a smiling woman sitting in the dining room.

Ummm...Mom?

Isn't that Doris? You know the one you told me wasn't going to make it through the night? The one we shed tears over? The one I wrote about here in my blog? You know the one about the message on a gravy boat?

"Yes, that's her, and what's this about a gravy boat?"

Ummmm...never mind.

I know Hartland Hills Retirement Apartments are nice mom, but they are a long way from heaven. 

"I know. She just wasn't ready to go. She didn't feel like it was her time. She still had things she wanted to do."

Apparently the reports of her impending death were greatly exaggerated.


I for one was glad to see that Doris is back. She speaks to me of our resilience, that we can't always control our destiny, but there is a strong mind body connection. I notice it so often in the faces of the elderly when I visit my mom. There are those you can tell have given up. They isolate themselves. Their eyes are cast down. They slip quietly away in the night.  Then there are those, like my mom and Doris who are still active participants in this life. They have a strong will to live. You can see it on their faces.

I wanted to go over today and take a photo of the four women at my mom's table, but my mom is out and about playing bridge today and tomorrow. At almost 90 years young she still drives herself, but keeps it in town. The last time I rode with her out on the interstate she scared me so bad I saw 100 new gray hairs just pop right out on my head.  


The mind body connection is one of the things I am really interested in, and I will be talking about it more in future posts. I believe it is an important part of a simple and serene life. 



 
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

and they smile

Don't you just love this.

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When you see the face of an aging person you see the history in that face. The lines and wrinkles tell their story. You know there has been sorrow in those long years, and still there are smiles. 

Can there be anything more beautiful than that?

Keep sharing those beautiful smiles.



 
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