F Simple and Serene Living: April 2015 09 10
Thursday, April 30, 2015

MOVING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Do you ever feel yourself holding back from something you believe in or something you want to do because you fear that you will be judged? I think many of us have found ourselves doing this. I know I have, because it can be scary to move out of your comfort zone


Staying in your comfort zone can be like wrapping yourself up in an old familiar blanket and snuggling down on your living room couch, but just like a caterpillar who undergoes metamorphosis, we too may never turn into a beautiful butterfly without leaving that cozy little nest we have created. 

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There are many reasons that we may put our full potential on the shelf or tuck it out of sight into a drawer. You may be doing something the same way that you always have and are afraid to change it. Maybe someone has told you that your dreams are unrealistic. Possibly there is some negative self talk going on: I can't do it, I don't have the time, I'm too overwhelmed, I'm too old.

Breaking out of your comfort zone can definitely feel overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. Take small steps. Do something different each day. Go to a different grocery store, drive a different route to the mall, eat at a new restaurant. 

Have you been wanting to write a book but are afraid of rejection (that would be me)? I think the majority of writers will tell you they have been rejected, but if a book seems too much why not start with a short story or an ebook. Have you wanted to start practicing yoga, learn how to knit, take up swimming, or go back to college? Are you afraid to go to a class because the others may be better at it or more knowledgeable than you? They were beginners once too, and that is why they are called classes. They are there to help you. 

What I have learned as I have grown older is that life is a lot shorter than we think it is. I know that I don't want to leave this world with a bunch of regrets. So today I will take a small step out of my comfort zone. I will start writing down ideas for an ebook. 

What would you like to do that is out of your comfort zone and what is holding you back?


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P.S. You can find more of the Women Speak series here.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I AM NOT FAMOUS, I AM JUST ME


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Do you ever look around and think how did that person become so famous? Do they have a famous parent who has helped to boost them? Do they know the right people? Do they have tons of money to help them advertise themselves? Do they work harder than everyone else? Are they just lucky? 


WAIT!!! 

Being famous is not always what it is cracked up to be. Maybe it is not the luckiest thing in the world. Maybe, it is okay to just look at the world and say. I am just me and know that being just me is okay. In fact, being just me is more than okay, it is perfect. 

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Is it okay to not be the biggest blogger in the world? Of course it is. If you are writing about and sharing the things that are important to you, that is all that matters. We live in such a competitive world and sometimes we get caught up in that competitiveness, and it may make us forget who we are and why we are blogging. 

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I became a counselor because I love helping people and my blog is an extension of that. If I touch even one person's life I feel blessed. If you write your blog to talk about your family, show your crafting skills, or share your decorating and it is what makes you happy then you are a successful blogger. It doesn't matter if one person or one million people read your blog. What matters is that you are successful just by being you and by taking that giant leap of putting yourself out there. 

I can say with all honesty that I love having you as friends and I love reading your blogs. 

So look at yourself in the mirror today and say "I am an absolute rock star. I may not be famous, I am just me, but what could be more perfect than that".

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P.S. Do you know about our Facebook group for bloggers over the age of forty? It is a place for bloggers just like you. We don't care how many readers you have or what your blogging platforms are, we just want to get to know each other better and share blogging tips. You can join the group here.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

NO HOLDS BARRED: THREE STEPS TO LIVING WITH INTENTION

It's Monday morning. It's five a.m. I'm lying here unable to sleep. Did I already say that it is Monday? Monday is Inspiration on a Monday day. It is the day that I inspire my readers. As I lie here I am feeling like a fraud, because I know that I am not living with intention. I am holding myself back. I am allowing others to determine my path. I am allowing my fears to guide me.

WHEW!!! What a relief to get that out in the open. I know that many more of you are living with that same guilt, the knowing that you are not living the life that you want, the realization that you are holding yourself back from living the life that you want. I want you to know that you are not alone. Most of us struggle with this and we are all here to support each other. 



So how do we stop holding ourselves back? How do we start to live with intention? 

1) The first thing we need to do is ask ourselves what we really want. That seems simple enough, but I think that many people are pretty vague about it. They will answer with I want love, financial security, peace in my life; but these answers aren't specific. (Don't feel bad, I have been pretty vague too) What we need to do is sit down and write out specifically what we want. Make a list. I am doing that today and I am going to carry that list with me in my wallet so I can pull it out in moments of silence.

2) Once we have made our list we need to release our intentions to God or the universe. For me this is the hardest part. I want to micromanage every aspect of my intentions. I want to control when things are going to happen, but we have to allow things to happen when they are meant to. We have to know that there is a purpose for each of us and that when we have set our intentions, what we want will happen at the perfect time.

3) The third thing we must do is remind ourselves not to allow others to control what we want or allow negative thoughts to take over. Instead, in moments of doubt (and believe me these things will rear their ugly heads) we need to center ourselves in the moment, knowing that when we have made our intentions known the things we really want will come to us. 

When I feel doubt creeping back into my mind I know that I need to sit in silence. For me that means either meditating or praying. Sometimes those times of silence are twenty minutes, but sometimes they are just one minute. Many people believe that you need an extended amount of time to center your thoughts in silence, but often a moment is all you need. The important thing is to give yourself that time to tune out the chaos around you, to quiet your mind, and to bring yourself back into intention. I have been known to do it when standing in the grocery holding onto the cart. 

For me, the term "no holds barred" means being completely unrestrained and it describes my take on living with intention. 

Are you ready to release whatever restraints are keeping you from living your life of intention? I hope so because you deserve the life you want.

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P.S. Find more Inspiration on a Monday here.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

HELP SAVE THE EARTH: USE LESS CHEMICALS

These days I think we would have to have our heads buried in the sand to know that we need to do more to help save our earth. I was one of those people, back in the 1970s, who was expressing concern about what we were doing to destroy this wonderful planet we live on. Back then people tended to ignore us. Today, people are much more aware.

There are many things we as individuals can do and one of those things is to use less chemicals. 


Every chemical whether indoors or outdoors has the potential to leach into our earth.

There are many alternatives to toxic cleaning chemicals. Many can be found in your local grocery labelled as organic, or you can very simple and cheaply make your own.

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Apartment Therapy has recipes to combine these simple ingredients to clean almost anything in your home. I love the idea of saving the earth while saving money and not exposing myself to harmful toxins. Seems pretty win, win to me.

Gardening season is here and as I watch my neighbors and the lawn service where I live busily spraying to get rid of every known pest and weed, I inwardly and often outwardly (don't tell the neighbors that was me yelling at them) cringe. I mean seriously, I would much rather go out and pick dandelions in my own yard for my green juice than pay a fortune for them at Whole Foods. 


I've found some great organic gardening tips at Mother Earth News.

For me, a simple and serene life encompasses many things, and living in a healthy environment is definitely at the top of my list. I not only want to live healthier now, but I want to leave a better earth for those who come after me. With a little effort and thought we can all do our part.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

SMALL SPACE PATIO GARDENING

Many people who live in small spaces also have small outdoor spaces. It may be a patio, porch, or if they are lucky a small yard. 

Even though these spaces are small, there is no reason for them to not be beautiful. One person who does an excellent job with this is Brenda at Cozy Little House. She definitely doesn't let her small patio space stop her from enjoying her passion for gardening. 

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It is filled with flowers, herbs, and critters.

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This wonderful space is a narrow city townhouse garden. The owners have imbued it with a variety of potted and in ground plantings, along with pea gravel and pavers. 

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If there is enough light on your patio, it can also be a great place to grow vegetables.

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When you have a small indoor space extending that space to the outdoors can make it seem much larger.

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I would be happy with any of these spaces. Love this time of year.

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P.S. You can find more of my small space living series here.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

FINDING PERFECTION IN THE SIMPLE MOMENTS

Thank you so much for all of your prayers for my sister's husband, Don. Yesterday was a very long day at the hospital, but he came through the surgery and is doing okay today. Continued prayers would be wonderful.

While sitting through the long hours yesterday I had a lot of time to reflect on what is really important in this life that I am leading. My adult life has not been easy. A mentally ill husband who left me to raise two daughters alone, a daughter with a lifelong serious illness, losing a father to MS, loss of home and income, and my own health concerns. These are the events in life that wear us down and often bring us to our knees, that leave us wondering where the perfection lies. What has to happen to make us want to get up each day with a sense of optimism. 


I thought about this blog, which so often serves as a respite from the everyday trials of life. I thought about the overall picture of my life and then I thought about the little moments. Those simple moments that bring a smile to my face, that help to wipe out all of those moments of worry and stress. For each of us those simple moments are different and yet they may be very similar. 


Here are just a few of mine:

1)  Smiling at a stranger and having them smile back. 
2)  Holding the hand of one of my grandchildren.
3)  Hearing an I love you.
4)  Seeing the sun breaking out after days of rainy weather.
5)  Waking up in a warm snuggly bed. 
6)  Listening to the sweet sounds of birds outside my window.
7)  Hugs from my daughters.
8)  Finding a good book to read.
9)  A cup of tea.
10)The first bite of a delicious meal.

And yesterday it was the look on my BIL's face when he realized that he had made it through another difficult surgery.


These are all simple moments, but they are the moments of perfection. They are the moments that give meaning to our lives and make us want to get up and face a new day even in the most trying of times. 

Where do you find perfection in the simple moments? 


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P.S. You can find more of the Women Speak series here.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A PRAYER REQUEST



I will be out most of the day today. My sister's husband, Don is having a second leg amputated today. We are hoping this will help to alleviate some of the constant pain he is in, but his health is fragile. 

I know that you all are some of the best prayer warriors out there. 

Thanks so much.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SEO THIS, SEO THAT, BLAH BLAH BLAH

It has gotten so that I really hate to look at my emails first thing in the morning, because there is at least one doomsday email concerning SEO or the lack of it. I have to admit that my head starts spinning around when I read those emails, and now even Etsy has jumped on the SEO bandwagon. Better get your SEO right or no one will find your shop. 

I can hear that old train whistle blowing. It could be a long ride to nowhere. 

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I remember when I opened my very first Etsy shop back in the Stone Age.  Etsy was a newbie and so was I. I was so happy to take my terrible photos and list my sweet little handmade items. A few people found me and made some purchases and then I decided to open another shop to sell vintage and antiques. My photos were a little better (not much) and I was off and running jogging. 

Life was good. I was a budding entrepreneur. Then everyone and their aunt found Etsy and a million other vintage shops opened. Okay, I could deal with that. After all, I found social media. Twitter was my best friend. I got over 5000 followers, promoted all my listings, and for a while business stayed pretty good. But, Etsy kept growing. So much so that they have now gone public. They let a few people buy stock and they are talking SEO.

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The spinning head got worse. I was beginning to think I might need some medical attention. However, I am not sure there are any medical interventions for SEO. I am just going to have to knuckle down and get the hang of it. 

This morning I found this article on 30 free tools to fix your blog's (and hopefully Etsy shop's) SEO. Yes, my head is still spinning, but I am going to jump on that train and go through each tip to see what I can make of it. If that doesn't work than I am going to set up an intervention group for all of us who just can't get SEO right. 

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SEO is not adding to my pursuit of a simple and serene life, but understanding it may just be a necessary monster if I want to eat and have a roof over my head. 

Is SEO affecting your blogging life or are you part of the I just don't give a darn group?

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Monday, April 20, 2015

SHARE YOUR LIGHT

We are often fearful that if we share our light, it will somehow diminish us, but the opposite is true.


When we share our light with others the light spreads out and soon it lights up much more of the world. 

So don't hide your wonderful light and don't be afraid to share it. You will find that not only are you enriched, but those that you have shared it with are enriched also. 

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P.S. There is more Inspiration on a Monday here.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

THE AIR IS REDOLENT

I love the word redolent. It evokes memories of sweet smells from the past. Today as I walked (and it ended up being a long one) the spring air was redolent with the most wonderful scents. 

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The blossoms on the trees. Freshly cut grass. Dinner wafting through an open window. 

Sometimes I just stop and breathe it all in. I want God and the universe to know how grateful I am for all of the beauty that is erupting around me.

I search for tadpoles in the stream and admire the rich verdant landscape that the recent rains have provided.

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I feel like a naughty child as I stoop down to pick a dandelion, hoping that no one is watching me, and then blow it into the wind.

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There is something so therapeutic about taking a walk on a beautiful day, and the best part about it is it is free. I don't need a gym membership to get my exercise and I don't need to go to a movie theater to get my entertainment. All I have to do is step outside my door and head down the sidewalk. 

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The spring air is definitely redolent and I am surrounded by simplicity and serenity.

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Have a wonderful day.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRANDMOTHERS

There was a time when it was the norm for extended families to live together. When grandparents were an integral part of a family's day to day living. When an older generation was deemed to be a source for teaching life experience to younger members of a family.

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Although those days have primarily ended, does that mean that grandparents and especially grandmothers no longer are needed in the raising of children?

I recently came across this article from The Grandparent Effect. It spoke to my question. 

"Some scientists think women evolved to live way past their childbearing years so that in middle age, unencumbered by babies of their own, they can make sure their daughters’ kids thrive.
These scientists posit that back in the days before farming, young mothers were better able to keep their kids alive when their own mothers were around to help forage—an advantage that has been dubbed the “grandmother effect.”
Okay, so that is the theory for why we lived longer than our chimpanzee friends, but what is our purpose in the family now? Are we meant to take cruises where we play shuffleboard or hang out in bingo parlors?

I agree with the author's thought that the importance of grandparents has ebbed and flowed over time. Maybe grandparents were less important in the mid twentieth century when most mothers stayed at home, but the importance of grandmothers may be on the upswing once again. 

I do know that I would like to spend more time with my own grandchildren. That I would like to pass on things that I learned from my grandmothers. 


Just look at all of the fun we are missing out on by not being together. 

My hypothesis is that grandmothers are pretty darned important.

What are your thoughts?


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You can find more Women Speak here.

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