F Simple and Serene Living: March 2015 09 10
Monday, March 30, 2015

BEAUTY RESIDES IN BEING YOURSELF

In this society that emphasizes youth and physical beauty we often forget where real beauty resides.

beauty resides in being yourself quote Coco Chanel

You are a perfectly made, beautiful human being. Just be you.


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P.S. You can find more Monday inspiration here
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

DECLUTTERING 101

If you are looking for me today, I am lost in my closet. I forgot to bring my phone in with me so it may be awhile before someone finds me or before I am able to make my way to the surface.

After yesterdays post I decided to get busy on the decluttering. I started last night and then got back to it first thing this morning. This, embarrassingly, is how much I have already relegated to the trash. How in the world have I accumulated so much in such a short time. SIGH!!! 



I think I may need some inspiration, as my energy is starting to wane along with my enthusiasm. Becoming Minimalist has 10 creative ways to declutter your home here. I liked the fill one trash bag idea, although my trash bag may be larger than the average bag. 


via Becomingminimalist
Popsugar has 12 golden rules of decluttering here. She says if we had been following these rules there would be no need to declutter. OUCH!!! That kind of hurt, because I have actually not been following the rules, and I am just such a rule follower. NOT!!!


via Popsugar
As I stare at the big stack of spring and summer clothes piled on my bed I am telling myself it is all a process. The problem is if I don't get processing here pretty quickly, I will be sleeping in my chair tonight.

I am staying off the computer for the rest of the day, but I promise to visit everyone tomorrow.

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P.S. How lucky are you that you got to see my trash.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

SMALL SPACE LIVING: WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO?

I don't know about you, but this year already seems to be whizzing by at breakneck speed. It means that before I know it, I will be moving to Georgia into a very small, 550 square ft, apartment. Although I am very excited about it, I also have moments of panic. 

vintage sheet music and books decor

I will be moving and consolidating personal possessions from two locations. There are the things that I have accumulated over the last six years and all of the things that I have had in storage in North Carolina during that time. It is hard for me to believe that it has been that long, but as I said, time has apparently whizzed by. 

bedside table cottage decor

I am actually not sure what all I have in NC, as many things were stolen from me and other things were heavily damaged. I do know that I will be gifting some of the family antiques to my daughters. Time to pass them on. I am not a believer that they should have to wait for my demise. I will also be donating and selling some other things, and then there is the problem that I will need things like a couch and chair for the living room. I do know that those were things that were taken from me. 


In the meantime, I am working out what is necessary to downsize to such a small space. I found an article at Apartment Therapy on the 10 commandments of small space living. You can read the entire article here. Some of the suggestions are things that I can work on now before the move and others will have to wait. 

Decluttering is a big one. I am trying to go through things that I have here. Donate, throw away, and sell are my three big plans. I will also have to do more of this after I move. 

vintage dresser bedside table

Making furniture do double duty is something I already do. For example, I use a dresser as one of my bedside tables. It works perfectly. This is one that my mom was given back in the 1940s. It is a little worse for the wear now, so I have plans to paint it.

vintage suitases

My collection of vintage suitcases, boxes, and baskets also do double duty as storage pieces.

Some of their other suggestions are: getting out more in the community, (I will be living close to downtown Decatur, so can't wait to walk places), keep up on the cleaning, (no problem as there will just be me), and have a sense of humor about the size, (I am going to love it).

So, what's a girl to do? I'm making a list and checking it twice a million times.

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P.S. There are more small space living ideas on my Pinterest board here and on my small space series here.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

AUTHOR YOUR OWN LIFE

I am the author of my life. You are the author of your life. We are all the authors of our own lives. We have so much power over the way our lives unfold.


As a child I was taught to be obedient, to look up to authority figures, and to believe that they knew what was best for me. When I became a grownup, I somehow stayed on that path. When I veered off of it, I received nothing but negative feedback from people. So I would try to get back on the path they demanded of me. I found I was never happy, because I was allowing them to be the authors of my life. It caused me to become resentful and angry.


We all have people in our lives who think they know what is best for us. They want to tell us what we are doing wrong in our lives and how we can fix "our mistakes". These people may be well intentioned, but they are not the experts on our lives. We are the expert on our lives, and if we have given that power away, we need to take it back. This does not mean that we can't learn from others, because we must always be open to learning, just as we are open to teaching. 


Stepping away from the path that others have carved out for you can be scary, but in order to find true happiness we have to follow our own path. It is never too late to change your direction, to take that fork in the road that will lead to the destination you want. 

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

For me, spring does not begin as a day on the calendar, but is the day that I see a host of daffodils. They always remind me of one of my favorite poems and bring a new sense of lightness. 

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
by
William Wordsworth


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

Yes, spring has actually arrived in central Kentucky. Has it arrived in all its golden glory where you are?

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

COOKING FOR ONE

I have done a lot of cooking over my lifetime. When your children are growing up there is an expectation of always having home cooked meals. At least there was in my household, and I loved making sure that my children were well fed. 

I don't know about you, but as I have aged and only have myself to cook for my interest and energy for cooking has waned. However, I do want to eat as healthy as I can on my budget, which means no fast foods for me. 

I have noticed that by the time nighttime rolls around I just can't seem to muster up the energy to go in the kitchen and turn on that stove. So I have gotten in the habit of cooking my main meal in the middle of the day. I keep it simple. I use organic ingredients as much as possible and eat gluten free. I also set a place for myself at the dining room table and take the time to relax while I am eating.

good thing I don't make my living as a food stylist
Today's lunch consisted of organic gluten free chicken strips, a large organic potato, which I mashed and divided in half so there would be leftovers tomorrow, and organic baby lima beans. I buy a large bag of frozen lima beans at Fresh Market. I scoop out a third of a cup each time I cook them and the bag lasts a really long time. Very economical for one person. I don't eat desserts, so I don't have to worry about those. 


I always make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables. I start each day off with green juice. 

I change up my juice recipe according to what I have on hand, but my basics are dandelion greens, organic apple, organic lemon, turmeric root, ginger root, and organic celery. It's a great way to start the day off feeling healthy. 

I always seem to have a slump in the middle of the afternoon, so I eat a banana with a tablespoon of organic peanut butter. YUM!!!

My nighttime meal is always a light one. I don't like to eat much at that time of day and I am usually not hungry then. As I said, I like to keep it all simple. There are a lot of cooking for two ideas on the internet and those meals can be divided into two meals for leftovers.

Don't stop cooking for yourself just because you are living alone. You deserve nice healthy meals. It's a big part of living a simple serene lifestyle.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

GARDENERS BELIEVE IN TOMORROW

Studies have shown that gardening is linked to a longer and higher quality of life in people over the age of 60.


When I saw this today, I wondered why this was true, and then it hit me that gardeners are planning for a future. They are planning that in a month or two they will be harvesting food for their tables, that soon they will be enjoying a garden of beautiful flowers, or that in a few years they will be able to sit in the shade of a newly planted tree. 


Beyond the sheer joy of digging in the dirt and enjoying the sights, smells, and feel of nature, gardeners are believing in a future, a future that they plan to be a part of. Older gardeners feel younger and less tired than their contemporaries who don't garden. That right there is enough to make me want to get out and dig in the dirt. 


My extended family owns the oldest florist and greenhouses here. As a child, my grandfather taught me all about digging in the dirt, about planting flowers, and about watching them flourish. He was planting flowers right up until his early 90's. I wonder if he knew that his occupation and the love he had for gardening were contributing to his longevity. I'll never know the answer to that, but I do know that he was a very happy man. 

Spring is here. Get out and dig in the dirt. The earth and your body will thank you.


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Saturday, March 21, 2015

SMALL SPACE LIVING: A HAPPY HOME

What makes a home a happy place to live? Is it the size of the house? Is it perfect decor? Is it the best cooked meals?

source
We spend so much of our lives trying to fit into the mold of having the perfect home, but do all of those perfect photos we find on the internet and in magazines represent a happy home?


A happy home has nothing to do with size, having perfect decor, or being the greatest cook. It is a place where we can close the door and know that we can be ourselves without judgement, a place that is functional for our specific needs without having to be perfect, a place full of laughter.


I like a tidy house, but my house is never perfectly clean, because I am busy living life. My younger sister likes a very clean house without many things to clutter it up. My older sister lives in total chaos. The mess she lives in drives me crazy, but she says it makes her happy. We are each different, but we are each happy when we are in our own homes. 

A happy home is not about style or size, it is about the people who live there.

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P.S. You can find more of my small space living series here and on my small space board on Pinterest here.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

PLANT YOUR DREAMS

Spring has arrived. 


Whatever your dreams may be, this is the perfect time to start planting them. You will be happy for the harvest.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

ARE YOU READY TO BLOOM

Tomorrow is the official first day of spring. It is the time of year when the earth starts to wake up after a long sleep and we begin to think about the blooms of spring and summer. What an exciting season. 


As much as I am anticipating the blooming flowers, the blooming I am thinking about today is the blooming that we do in our lives. There are many people in this youth oriented society that may say you are too old to bloom. That the season of life for blooming has passed you by. But unlike the daffodils that may have only one chance a year to grow and bloom, we can bloom at anytime. 

daffodils
source
I wake up each day thinking how wonderful it is that we have the opportunity for a fresh start in each moment. I think about all of the people who have bloomed late in life. I remember as a child there was a man with a white beard that my family knew. I used to see him driving around town in his white station wagon. That man was Harland Sanders, who at the age of 65 founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. 


There are many examples of so called "late bloomers" in life. U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad was 64 when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. Julia Child starred in her first TV show when she was in her fifties. Grandma Moses started painting when she was 75 and became one of the most famous American painters. 

At the age of 58, Louise Hay founded Hay House Publishing, a New Thought and Self-help publisher. I have read many of the books and listened to many of the tapes from Hay House. As a counselor I have always believed in the power of our minds to change our thoughts and our bodies. I am now happy to be an affiliate with Hay House. You can find more about Hay House here.

It is never too late to bloom. As humans we have the ability to change our lives at any time. If you were to ask me if I feel any different at the age of 64 than I did at the age of 25, my answer would be yes. Today I feel much more that I am on the verge of blooming, of becoming the person I have always known I could be. Life is full of so many possibilities. 

field blooming flowers
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Are you ready to bloom? If so, don't let anyone stop you. There is plenty of room in any field for new blossoms. 


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Disclosure: As a Hay House affiliate I am compensated for any referral purchases made through my website. However, all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

FRITTERING

Yesterday was one of those lost days. Not really lost in a bad way, more like a day of frittering (is that a real word) away the time. 

I started off with an appointment in the morning that took several hours. By the time I got back home it was time for lunch. After lunch was when the frittering started. If you were to ask me what I did for the entire afternoon I would honestly have to tell you I have no idea. 

purple crocus

I know that I didn't write my blog post. I didn't take my walk. I didn't do any work whatsoever. I apparently just frittered. 

garden bunny

Last night I talked to my younger daughter on the phone. Well you might think that talking to one's daughter isn't an event, but neither one of my two daughters likes to talk on the phone. In fact, while I LOVE to talk on the phone, my daughters HATE it. You couldn't get me off the phone when I was a teenager. They were never on it. So talking to them on the phone usually happens about once a month. When we do talk it is a marathon lasting about two hours. (well not with my older daughter. she has three kids) What did we talk about? Not sure. I think we just frittered.

yellow crocus

Looking back on my day of frittering, I realize that frittering is not a bad thing at all. I slept like a baby last night. There is no stress from frittering. There are no real expectations. In fact, I think frittering is pretty darn serene. I may have to fritter a lot more often.

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