No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ  sometimes I just want to click my heels and be instantly transported away from wherever I am to my little safe haven–my home.

I may not be dealing with the Wicked Witch of the West or the Flying Monkeys (although sometimes I am!) but thinking of being home will often lower my anxiety immediately because I know once I am there I am safe from the world.

We all have a basic need to feel safe–from danger, from criticisms and even from the judgements that others pass on us–although the older I get the less I care about those judgements.

These safe havens are what we make of them.  It is the one place in the world where the stresses of life can be lessened and the burdens put to rest–at least for a little while.

I have always taken pride in my home and love to decorate it with things that reflect my personality and that represent my family.  I am not the best housekeeper but I do try to keep things as neat and clean as I can.

The key to this is organization.

In our busy runaround lives though especially during on the workweek, shoes get left next to a favorite chair, the newspapers and magazines along with the mail begin to pile up, plants go unwatered and more often than now there are a few dishes in the sink.

Nonetheless, I always find the time to put things to rights.  I have also been on a decluttering journey this year and that has helped a great deal.

Having a place for everything and putting every in its place.  My decluttering has taken me much longer than I expected it to take but I have accepted that it is a process.  And once the decluttering is done–the upkeep is a much simpler chore.

One way I keep my home inviting and that helps me feel welcomed to it each day is by doing my 15 minute cleaning.  I basically tackle a task for 15 minutes and then stop. This can be done in the morning or in the evenings or in between TV shows.

If  you don’t have 15 minutes, you can still organize the things in your house in 5 minutes.  Take 5 minutes to go through the mail for example and put everything that has to be shredded on the shredder.  Address the items that need to be addressed or put them in your planner for the next day.

Do a walk through your house and pick up newspapers that are read, empty water bottles and any other things that belong in the recycle bin.  It quickly declutters and cleans up your area–making your home more pleasant to be in.

There really is no place like home–the one place in the whole world where you are always welcome and where your space is defined by you. Keep your home a haven that is clean and safe and that hugs you when you walk through the door.

How do you keep your home a haven?  

Lifestyle Blogging

Lifestyle Blogging

Without knowing it I have created a “lifestyle blog”–that means in part that I write about my personal interests and everyday life in my blog articles.  

What I found interesting, as I have been writing a while now and developing my blog’s “voice” are the actual things that have come out as my personal interest and the topics in my everyday life that are important.

This has been a great tool in my self discovery.  

For example,  My blog articles are all about family, home, God and country, food and nutrition, history and education and travel.  That pretty much sums up my life! Those are the things I love and thrive on and pretty much in that order.

I found this self reflection fascinating.  Especially when I started thinking about other blogs that I enjoy to read. Their authors–many of whom are also lifestyle bloggers–are very good writers about  what they do–Of course, because it is what they LOVE.

Wow! Huge light bulb moment!

Here are some thoughts for you, if you would like to start your own lifestyle blog, or if you are trying to discover more of yourself.

Write every day.

I know it seems obvious–but you really have to set aside some time each day to write.  Even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes. Journaling about thoughts that come to mind and events that occur in our lives will eventually show a pattern and that pattern will help you discover yourself.

Observe.

Although also obvious–observations about our lives and things going on around us is getting harder and harder to do.  There is so much white noise in the world now. To really observe, you need to turn everything off. Not just the TV or the radio–but also all our technology.  Tablets and phones, even if we are not observing them will ping at us–and disrupt our thoughts about what we are observing.

Let go.

I think this should have been my motto this year.  I have had to teach myself to let go of many things.  In decluttering my house (still a work in progress!) I have had to let go of many physical things that were weighing me down. In focusing more on me and my family, I have had to let go of commitments that were not serving me.  In trying to hone in on my own happiness I have had to let go of situations and people that were toxic to me. And when you are trying to discover yourself–whether you want to be a lifestyle blogger or not–you need to let go of old perceptions, opinions and mental constructs we have had from the past and be opeing to seeing things in a new light.

All of these things may–like they have for me–just help in directing our attention to the you you knew was always there–to the likes and desires, hopes and dreams you have had possibly buried for some time.  Or they may open up to you new possibilities that you never imagined you would want for yourself.

Once you decide to go for the search the road will open up before you and your true lifestyle will appear.  This gives you the opportunity to embrace your lifestyle and continue living the life you want or the opportunity to change it all to the lifestyle you truly crave.

Becoming a lifestyle blogger, I have to say, took a lot of courage for me–but it is one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.

Are you living the lifestyle you truly want to live?  What is holding you back?

The Search For Happy

The Search For Happy

Througout this journey I have been searching for the meaning of Happy.  Not what happy is but what exactly I want to have in my life that makes me happy.

I have to say that all this introspection has been kind of a roller coaster ride.

As I mentioned in a post early on–Freaky Friday–being happy and finding the happy life for yourself is not an easy proposition.  First of all, because no one is an island and our decisions effect others.

Secondly because many times when we set out to find our happiness, to live our happiness and to express that happiness–many people will call us selfish.

There it is.  And while I thought everyone in my life was on board with my happiness like I am on board with theirs, I found I was wrong–oh so wrong!

Wow–eye opening!  And a little heart breaking.

Luckily, I have given myself the time to journal about it and to think about it and have spoken to my husband about what makes me happy and what doesn’t make me happy in my life.  Even luckier–he supports me in all my feelings, asks good questions to help me think some more and I know he always has my back.

One thing I always knew about myself is that I am happy when others are happy and when good things happen to them.  Whether they be family, life-long friends or acquaintances.

For example–recently an ex-coworker of mine posted on Facebook a beautiful picture of herself at her wedding with her new husband. She looked radiant and both looked happy!  I sent her a very heartfelt Congratulations! and she later responded with an equally happy Thank You!

She is not a good friend, but from the few interactions I had with her at a previous employer I knew her to be honest, hard working, cheerful, dedicated and kind. Why wouldn’t I be happy for a person being happy and in love?

Conversely–two lifelong friends really surprised me this year. One accused me of not keeping in touch often enough and that I “have changed”.  She was hurt I had not kept her up to date on my life–even though in my opinion, nothing noteworthy had really happened that I needed to check in with her about.

I spoke to her and caught her up and she was fine.  I also reminded her that the cell phones, text messages and emails of today work both ways.  She did not get it, but was happy to hear all the mundane details of my life, my craft projects and my blog–which she said she “really needs to make time to read someday.”  She cracks me up!

And so, that was a little over a month ago and you’ve guessed it she has not contacted me with an update on HER life.  Hmmmm.  Does that take away from my happy? No!  She’s probably busy!  I know that we will connect again somewhere down the line–it is the way of a steady friendship.

Another lifelong friend, however, is not a happy person and seems to be very bothered by people who are happy.  Not good–for her–because that is not going to take away from my happy either!  I can’t let it.  While none of us is an island, I fully believe it is not selfish to choose the people that will be in our lives.

Now that I am in the Empty Nest, Over 50 club I don’t have time to indulge folks that just want to bring others down, are envious, or that can just not be happy for other people.  I may still have to associate with them, I may still have conversations with people like this but I don’t let it bother me and I don’t give what they say, believe or do much importance.

In my search for happy I have found that I already am happy. I have had a wonderful life so far–even my bad times in life have not been as bad as others have had it.  I can always find the silver lining, I can always fight the good fight, stand for what I believe in and enjoy the happiness of others.

I encourage you to do the same.  Find your happy.  Journal about what you think might make you happy, eliminate (as much as you can) the things that don’t make you happy and keep fighting the good fight.

Reach for your dreams or redefine them so that you can reach them step by step–this is your life, and we are only given one.  The search for happy is important–indulge yourself!

If you’d like to see some of the other things that make me happy check out my Pinterest Page–Empty Nest Saavy!  Have a great week and have fun!

Autumn Changes

Autumn Changes

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn–my favorite season.   You will forgive me if I become a little wistful.

When I was a girl I lived in a climate in which you could really see and feel autumn all around you.

There would be a nip in the air–no longer the warmth of summer, the winds would pick up and the trees.  The beautiful trees would begin to turn.   The bright and deep green leaves would turn to yellow and orange and red.

In Texas–the autumns are a little different.   But you can definitely feel when there is a change in the air.

The heat that seems to come from the earth itself subsides, not entirely, but in short waves.  The rains come and the dusk and dawn stretch out and seem to get longer.

In autumn we think of the harvest–reaping what we sowed throughout the previous months, until all is gathered and collected.

Autumn is the quiet time in the seasons. It is when mother nature slows down and folds in on itself and prepares for the long rest of winter–so that in the spring  she is rejuvenated and ready for the force of summer.

Our autumn in life comes on very much like mother nature’s.  Cooler breezes,  some rains, the changing of colors.  And the rest and quiet to continue on.

I am just entering my autumn–not fully developed and changing slightly, but looking forward to the changes, the expectations and the whole new world that is opening before me.

Like my favorite season–I am enjoying each year more than my last and am continuing to look forward to all the transformations.

Embrace the cooler weather–the relaxing days–and enjoy the autumn like never before.

Adulting

Adulting

Adulting is a relatively new word that I found in the “Urban Dictionary.”  The definitions are hilarious:

(v) to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc).  Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.

or

(v) to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups. 

The Oxford Living Dictionaries has:

(mass noun) The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

First, I am not sure what a “mass noun” is.  Is this the new English parts of speech–like the “new” math of years ago?

Second, are you kidding me?  When I stopped laughing I found that people are really using this word to mean that if they take care of their responsibilities they are actually doing their “adulting”.

When I decided I was going to follow my dream of writing, I did not decide I would do this instead of “adulting”.  I just thought I would continue being an adult and write and create this blog as a hobby–additional “adulting” I guess.

And then I found the t-shirts–now the madness is real:

  • Coffee–because Adulting is Hard
  • I’m Not Adulting Today
  • Watch Out World–I’m Adulting Today

and my favorite:

  • I  Have Been Drunk for 5 Days Straight because Adulting.

If you feel the need, the desire or the insanity to take up this new verb let me give you some advice:

  1. Understand that if you are over 18 you are an adult–that is a noun, not a verb–you don’t have to do, you just have to be.
  2. Drink as much coffee as you need but take care of your responsibilities.
  3. If you are 18 or over being an adult is not a choice–you cannot chose to ‘not adulting” today–see #1
  4. If when acting like the adult you are dangerous to the outside world then you are doing it wrong.
  5. If you have been drunk for 5 days in a row, adulting is the least of your worries–you are an alcoholic–get help!
  6. You cannot go back in time–you can either go forward or die–I suggest moving forward.

Writing has certainly added a beautiful dimension to my life of rediscovering words and encountering the new words that have entered our language. As with everything else–all is in good fun, until someone gets hurt. While this word is cute and funny I hope young people don’t really believe this is a thing.  I  hope we are all following our dreams as adults instead of the dream being to ‘be adulting’!

 

Revisiting the Journey

Revisiting the Journey

9 months ago…I started this blog–as a hobby.  There were several reasons for this: 1) I love to write and would someday like to be a writer. 2) I was a new empty nester and felt that this was a good time to start something new. 3) I was searching for answers.

Let me take these reasons one at a time.  I love to write and have been writing all my life–since I was a little girl. I wrote short stories and poems.  In College, I became an English major hoping to learn how to be the next great American author, only to be told by a professor I admired that my writing was too “predictable and my characters were transparent.”  Funny the things we remember.

She was wrong, of course, but to a young naive college student it was very disappointing to hear. Luckily I also fell in love with History and graduated with a double major!

My grandmother knew of this love of writing and told me to write, –write a book, write anything–even if no one reads it–write.  And I have, throughout my life–although nothing was ever completed, submitted or published.

As a new empty nester–I felt a little lost at suddenly having to step back and let my kids live their own lives after I had been pouring my life into them for the last 20 years.  I love being a mother–it is one of my great successes in life–and my girls, my greatest accomplishments.

Without them, I’ve had to redefine how I spend my time.  And so I have been searching for answers–about myself.  I mean, my greatest accomplishments have moved out and are successfully living their lives–just as I always hoped they would.  While parenting never really ends–it does change.

So I decided to write and be published–even if by myself. I am loving it, the creation of it, the research, the process.

Some of my blog posts are really good (if I do say so myself!) and some are not–just kind of  “meh”, but I am writing and discovering many things about myself.

I think back to the beginning of this journey and the steps I promised to take.  I have given myself permission to grieve the end of my daily mothering days and I have celebrated all the things I have done right and the independence of my two girls.

The last step I promised myself–creating a plan for the rest of my life–has not exactly materialized yet.  I have taken a few unexpected side roads in the last 9 months–all necessary and all good–in helping me discover which road I would like to continue towards.

Like my writing–half the fun is seeing where it will take you.

I hope you are enjoying my posts as much as I am enjoying writing them–and that you are discovering the journey you want for your life as well!

So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love books. No, that’s an understatement. Books for me have been a lifelong addiction.

I read everything–histories, romance, detective, classics, biographies–and I cannot catch up on all the things I want to read.

I have lists of books I’ve read, and books I want to read.  It’s quite the dirty little secret.

While I have never (ever!) stood in line late at night or in the early wee hours for concert tickets to any band or singer, I confess that I have stood in line–at midnight–at the local Barnes & Noble to purchase the next installment in the Harry Potter series.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to read all that I want to read and I get very invested in certain authors or series of books.

As the technology evolved and ebooks made their debut I was vehemently against them. I thought reading would not be as enjoyable as holding a book and turning the pages myself.

Then I received my first  Kindle as a gift. I learned how to connect it to Amazon books and my local library.  I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and the obsession continued.

Having a whole library in my pocket gives me access to my books whenever I have downtime–in line at the grocery store, waiting for my oil change, or on my coffee break.

But here is an idea to get more reading time in, if you have the reading addiction like I do:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Download the Overdrive App on your mobile phone.  This will give you access to audiobooks for free.
  3. Electronically check out the books you would like to listen to–and you can listen to books during times that you must spend your time attending to something else.

I listen to my books in the car as I drive to work and back, to run errands, or on weekend trips to other cities.

I listen to my books while I cook and meal prep and do my laundry and while I am on exercise machines or walking in my neighborhood.

This is not the same as reading the written word and turning pages, swiping left or scrolling up, but it is fascinating to listen to books read to you as your brain conjures the pictures in your mind–and it allows you to get a few more books in….

So many books, so little time!