F Simple and Serene Living: June 2015 09 10
Monday, June 29, 2015


I have decided that I definitely need some lazy summer days. All of the stress I have had lately has caused my autoimmune problems to kick up and I have been getting very little done because of it. Just stretched too thin I guess. 

I set myself down this past weekend and decided to make some changes for the summer. I will be slowing down, which is a hard thing for me to do. My sister says I am like a jumping jack that can't sit still for one minute. I see something that needs to be done, or I think of something I want to do and I jump right up and do it. The problem right now is that my body is not cooperating with my mind. My doctor was giving me some stern looks the last time I went in.

So, I have had to see where I can cut back on things for awhile. My booth at the antique mall is stuffed to the gills. That will be the first place I will cut back. I need to sell what I have in there because I am planning to move to Atlanta in a few months and won't be taking those things with me. That means no more time spent going to yard sales and endless auctions for awhile. Also I will only have to go by the booth once a week to fluff and to adjust prices.

The second business I have is my Etsy shop. As that will be an ongoing business when I move I need to keep it going and I really need to get more things sold from there. I don't want to move everything I have in the shop with me and also I need the income Fortunately I still have more inventory to add, so I will be pushing the shop more on social media this summer.

Finally there is this blog. For the summer months I will be cutting my schedule back to two postings a week on Mondays and Fridays. I have just not had the energy to do the things that I want with it and post five to seven times a week. I want to spend more time visiting your blogs and leaving comments. I want to cultivate new readers and hopefully more friendships. I want to work on my social media. I have ideas for the blog that I want to have time to sit down and think about. I am hoping to do some of these things, sitting on my patio with my feet up, while sipping on a nice cold organic lemonade. 

I am also planning on a trip to Atlanta to visit my daughters and grandchildren. I've been saving my pennies for car repairs on my faithful old car so that I can make the trip soon. 

I am looking forward to getting back some simplicity and serenity in my life. What better time than summer to do just that. I hope you will stick with me while I go through some changes. The friendships I have with you mean so much to me.  

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Saturday, June 27, 2015


Does this make you smile? It does me. 

It was just what I needed today. So often when things go wrong we just want to give up, but if we stand back and look at it as a plot twist then we can choose a new path or find a way to overcome.

So if you happen to hear a rumbling in the wind today that sounds like thunder, it just may be the sound of my voice yelling "PLOT TWIST".
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Friday, June 26, 2015


When you are living in a small space it is important to utilise every possible space, and the walls are often overlooked real estate. 

I hate clutter in the bathroom, but I also like to easily get to the things I use on a daily basis. Often in small bathrooms there are no drawers, which I hate, but this seems like a great solution to use the wall in your bathroom to be functional and pretty.

Here is a kitchen that has made great use of their wall space. The hanging pots and the many sized shelves give it a cozy feel, while taking care of a lot of storage.

Of course pegboard is always a great idea for a kitchen wall in a small space. Hanging all of your kitchen utensils and pots is visually appealing as well as a great space saving idea.

Most small spaces do not have a lot of room for a home office, but this is a great idea for organizing above your desk.

We all have photo and other wall hangings that we want to display and a wall gallery is a wonderful design element. It can also be a way to help disguise that TV we all have.

What are some of the ways that you utilize your walls to create more space?

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P.S. Find more small space living ideas here and on my small space living board on Pinterest here.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I love the hot days of summer. Sunlight streaming through the windows. The sounds of Cicadas at night. Flowers blooming everywhere. The abundance of fresh produce.

purple summer flowers gardening

As much as I love the hot days outside, I don't want to heat up my home inside anymore than necessary. So I try to simplify my meals and keep the oven off as much as possible. Translate this into I will use any excuse to not spend a lot of time cooking.

Light healthy meals work for me. Today my lunch was avocados stuffed with tuna salad, a stalk of celery, and fresh raspberries. I can bite into a raspberry and immediately be transported back to childhood and my backyard, where raspberry bushes grew wildly. I always use organic fruits and vegetables and/or locally grown as much as possible. I can't stand the thought of all the nasty chemicals they are spraying on conventionally grown produce these days. 

avocados celery tuna salad fresh raspberries

I love smoothies year round, but they are especially wonderful in the summer months. I freeze bananas, and other fruit, add some slivered almonds, some fresh local milk and I have a delicious treat for lunch or an afternoon pick me up while I sit on the patio.

banana strawberry almond smoothie

One of my favorite parts of summer is heading to one of our local farmers markets. I love taking one of my gathering baskets and filling it with local produce. Don't forget your sunhat,sunglasses, and sunscreen. Since I had skin cancer last year, I am especially careful. The top of the head is a very common place for skin cancers to appear. This is a vintage hand painted hat that was my mom's. 

vintage hand painted straw hat

There is always so much to choose from, so I have to really restrain myself as I am cooking for one now, and I have to watch my budget. I definitely don't want any of it to be wasted. I really get excited when the fresh peaches appear. I may or may not be addicted to these.

farmers market South Carolina peaches

Okay, I admit that I may already be thinking about what I will be having for dinner tonight. Did I mention that I love summer?

Do you change your eating habits during the summer? 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We have all heard the saying "when life gives you lemons make lemonade". Definitely good advice, but sometimes life seems to toss an awful lot of lemons at you. 

lemon slices

First of all I want to thank you for your sweet comments you left on my post yesterday "when inspiration flees". They mean so much to me, and of course how could I not feel anything but inspired by them. Blogging friends are the best friends in the world.

My late father used to say, "life gets tedious". He was so right. Life can get very tedious, and when we seem to be dodging lemons it can get very tedious indeed.

I have had a lot going on recently, both large and small. I won't go into the large things (that would cause tedium). Here are a couple of the small things. A couple of days ago I spent an hour photographing and listing this wonderful mid-century hand thrown laundry sprinkler pottery piece in my Etsy shop

Isn't it wonderful. Or I should say wasn't it wonderful. As soon as I had it listed I gently set it on a shelf and heard a loud crunch. When I picked it up the bottom was off and lying in two pieces on the shelf. Listing removed. SIGH!!!

Then I decided I would start making some rag wreaths and try putting one in my booth to see if it would sell. 

Yesterday I took it to the booth and proudly hung it at the front. I stepped away for a minute and when I came back a lady had it in her cart. Well, Hooray!! She asked me if I made it, and she said she loved it and was going to hang it on her guestroom door. Last night when I checked to see my sales they amounted to $7.54. I called to see what happened to the wreath. The wreath has disappeared. Seriously?? Did she somehow stuff it under her shirt and walk out with it. Those wreaths take a while for me to make. SIGH!!! 

Life is getting tedious. 

I think I may need a larger fruit bin for those lemons, but then what should we do when life gives us lemons. Well my first reaction last night was anger and frustration. How dare these things happen to me. Then I sat down and burst into laughter. After all in the scheme of things these events while frustrating are not life altering. Yes, I very much need the income from them, but I will keep working, and I will thank that woman, in my mind, for loving my wreath so much that she felt forced to steal it so that it would make her happy.

What should we do when life gives us lemons? Toss them back. Change the way we think about them. Turn them into something sweet. Life will always toss lemons at us, and it is up to us what we do with them. I am choosing not to dwell on their sour taste. Instead, I see lots of lemonade in my future.

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Monday, June 22, 2015


I lie there hovering just below consciousness. It's 5:15 am and I can hear the sounds of morning. They seem somewhere just beyond my reach, as if I can't quite grasp them. Should I let them go and drift back to sleep or should I grab onto them and move into the day? My mind says one thing and my body says another. 

This is how I have felt about my inspiration lately. It is if it is there, but I just can't grasp it. So I have pulled back and let my blog lie fallow for a few days. I wonder if my voice is heard or if I even need for it to be heard. How do I reach back into myself and find the inspiration that drives me to write, to share, to inspire.

I know that my blog is in a difficult niche. It is not a niche that quickly brings thousands of readers or a steady income, but I also know that I have to support myself, and I so very often feel a sense of frustration with the whole process. How do I get that inspiration back and where do I find the energy to do all of the things I know I need to do?

I feel so gratified when I know that I have reached even one person. If one reader tells me they have been touched by my words then I am happy, but (and yes there is a but) I also know that I live in a world where I have to pay my bills, eat, and house myself. I know that I am frustrated by my limitations. 

How do I overcome not understanding so much of what I read on how to be successful at this blogging business. There are so many terms that only the young seem to understand. Their blogging language seems so very foreign to me. They seem to live in a world full of youthful energy that has left me running and stumbling in last place. 

I am working on getting back my inspiration, on once again finding my motivation. I will be making lists and meditating. I will be reading back over my inspiration posts. I will decide what is important and what is not. I will remind myself to not compete with others. I will find my own unique way to bring back my voice.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015


Yesterday I wrote about the comfort of memories. If you missed it you can read it here. Memories can be like an old favorite robe, that when we wrap ourselves up in it we feel it's comfort. 

When my mom moved recently she found a box of photographs that she had forgotten about. We looked through some of the photos in the box and laughed and talked about the memories. I pulled out a few of them and snapped photos of them with my iphone. They are photos that bring back good memories of my teenage years. 

Today I thought we could all share some of our best teenage memories for Women Speak. Maybe your memories will spark a giggle like mine did. 

Ahhh, the summer I was sixteen. I loved my polkadot bikini. My mom pointed out how cute she was at age 42. She was right. The four of us were on a three week trip across the country, and I can remember this day like it was yesterday.

I think this was taken that same summer. I was a happy camper because I was home for the summer from boarding school and I had on my school sweatshirt. We were in Quebec for our annual week of fishing. I remember spending a lot of time flirting with my cute French Canadian guide. The girl on the left was my friend Anne. I liked to get her in trouble when she visited.

My favorite madras jacket and matching scarf. (I have a pair of Keds just like that now. Some things never change) I thought I was the coolest thing ever. I'm sure I was just trying to get the attention of that cute guide while he was cooking my lunch over an open fire. I wish I had some of that fresh caught trout now. 

I'm not in this photo, but I remember taking it when I was around 14. This was my backyard in Canada right after my dad had a tennis court put in, and these are my grandparents who were visiting from Kentucky. They were so cute and round. I adored them.

Memories are a wonderful thing. We can pull them out sometimes just to brighten our day and to remind ourselves that life is good. What are some of your teenage memories? I hope you will share them.

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P.S. There is more of the Women Speak series here.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?
Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember...
The way we were...
The way we were...

                                    Barbra Streisand

path woods morning walk

Memories!!! They can be so comforting. Like wrapping yourself in an old worn robe on a cool rainy day. 

Memories of jumping rope in a schoolyard filled with other laughing children or of skipping stones on the lake with a favorite childhood friend. Of roller skating down a bumpy neighborhood sidewalk or of bike riding around a small town that was safe and secure. Of after dark games of hide and seek or of curling up in a chair on a bitterly cold winter day with a cup of cocoa and a new Nancy Drew mystery.

garden flowers pink cutting English

Sometimes memories seem to come out of nowhere. This morning when I took my first bite of cereal I was suddenly transported back to the breakfast nook in my grandparents home. There I was sitting in my favorite pink shorty pajamas on a hot summer morning. I could feel the peace that surrounded me. The sounds of the early morning birds and the talk of the workers as they arrived to work in the family florist next door. Without warning, tears welled up in my eyes. Tears of sadness for what was gone, but also tears of joy for what had been.

yellow orange wine garden flowers summer

Do our memories bring us more comfort as we grow older, or have they always been there, hovering under the surface to rise up when we're most in need of wrapping ourselves in their comfort? I often wonder why they pop up when they do, but I do know that a touch, a scent, a taste, or a sound can all trigger memories. It is if they are hiding just beneath our senses waiting to be ignited.

summer garden flower pink yellow

I know that all memories are not good. Some memories are painful, but when we focus on the good memories, they can bring us comfort when we may need them most. As I sit here sipping my tea, the memories of jumping rope and skipping stones are bringing a smile to my face on this rainy summer morning. 

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Monday, June 15, 2015


I started out this morning as I do every morning. I brushed my teeth, tamed my unruly hair, put on comfortable clothes, laced up my shoes, and headed out for my morning walk. However, there was something different this morning. After about ten minutes I realized that I was consumed with worries. My ears and eyes were closed to what was going on around me. I had forgotten to live in the moment. 

purple summer flowers

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.” 
― Thích Nhất HạnhPeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

So I stopped and took a moment to just breathe, to look around at the beautiful summer flowers, and to listen to the cries of the birds. I immediately felt a sense of serenity fill my body and calm my worried mind. 

I remember, as a child, my grandmother would tell me that worry would not add a day to my life. How wise she was. We cannot know what the future will bring to us, and we cannot bring back moments from the past. We only have this moment, and in this moment we have to learn to live fully, to fnd a sense of acceptance and serenity. 

Notice your moments today. Every step you take can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. 

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P.S. Find more Inspiration On A Monday here.

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