Time To Pray

Time To Pray

Do you ever find yourself wondering what is wrong with our world, with people, with traffic or with the simplest things that sometimes don’t seem very simple?

These are all good times to pray.

Prayers have helped me through some of the worst moments in my life. And prayers have given me a place to send my gratitude for the great moments in my life. Prayers have been there for all the moments in between.

When the world seems to be upside down, I pray, not for myself but for those in the turmoil.

When people seem to have lost their minds and are making bad decisions that affect others, I pray.

When people deliberately hurt others, through words or deeds, I pray.

It helps me to pray–for myself and for others. I ask for patience, I ask for wisdom and I ask for protection and I give thanks.

Too much these days it is not popular to admit that we believe in God and that we pray. People get offended if we say we will pray for them or that we will keep them in our prayers–but I pray for them anyway.

You see, I have been praying all my life. Some of my earliest memories are in church praying–and I always felt safe, at peace, and renewed.

But in an effort to be all inclusive and non divisive and politically correct, we have been getting away and turning our backs on God.

We have removed God from schools and from public buildings and universities. I hear they are even trying to remove God from our money–by erasing the words.

It’s a sad state of affairs–but a good time to pray.

A lady, who is an atheist, asked me recently, if I wouldn’t feel foolish when I die and realize there is no God.

My reply to her was this: “I won’t feel foolish–I won’t feel anything, I’ll be dead. But are you willing to live and take the chance that you might be wrong?”

She was not happy with my answer so of course, it was a good time to pray about it and I did.

Think about your life and see if things are not better for you and those around you–when you take time to pray.

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

It seems to be a popular idea these days for people to find a balance in their lives. Many people feel unbalanced–I guess.

But I don’t think many people seeking balance understand what exactly they are balancing. Honestly, neither did I–so I looked it up!

From my readings there are basically 5 categories we can divide our lives into:

1. Love and Relationships

2. Health

3. Work and Career

4. Financial

5. Spiritual

These 5 areas are each interdependent on the others so if one is out of whack, then very likely another area is probably out of whack as well….and so the search for balance is ongoing, and more of a juggling act.

If I look at our lives, mine and my husband’s, honestly, I’d have to say we are pretty balanced.

Here is how I break it down and some suggestions for finding your own balance.

Love and relationships. We have a great relationship with each other and with those around us. How? We are honest, respectful and loyal to those we allow in our lives.

Yes, I said “allow”. You see, you don’t have to allow people in your life that don’t treat you well–that is–with honesty, respect or loyalty. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time but you do have to respect them as individuals.

Health. Our health, both physical and mental, is, in my opinion, very good. We strive consistently to be better. We eat right, we exercise, we get enough sleep.

We don’t abuse alcohol, drugs, sugar or anything else that would harm us.

We feel good and we look good–at least we think so!

Take care of yourself–no one can do that for you!

Work and career. We work. We work a lot. And we enjoy it. Of course there are days that are difficult just like in every job, every industry and every career.

That does not mean we would ever stop working because it makes us feel good! We are contributing to the fabric of our family, our community and our nation.

Work. Work hard and work with enthusiasm–it always pays off.

Financial. This category is easy. We spend less than we earn, we save for things that are important to us. Period.

Spiritual. We believe that there is a higher power than us. We call him God. It is our belief. We feel that everything happens for a reason and are grateful for our relationships, our health, our work and the safety of those around us.

Find your spiritual side, meditate, give thanks. The positive energy will come back to you.

The balance is found between these quite easily if you think about it.

We work in organizations in which we respect people and the work we are doing.

We work to provide a better life for each other and the family.

We spend within our means.

We stay healthy so we can continue working and enjoying the benefits of our work–getting paid.

We are grateful to the higher power that gives us these opportunities.

If you are looking for balance I encourage you to look at each of these areas in your life and how they fit together for you.

The balance is attainable if you really want it. As long as you are true to yourself and take responsibility for your choices you can find the answer. The search is over–your balance is found.

The Complications of Life

The Complications of Life

We humans like to make things so complicated–our lives are complex convoluted messes–of our own making.

And if someone tries to simplify and enjoy their life, with less stress and less anxiety, those around us tend to freak out.

It is, at this stage of my life, amusing to watch as people tie themselves into knots trying to change everyone around them. When instead they should just take a step back, take a deep breath and be grateful for a quiet simple life.

This is part of my plan– to live happily and as uncomplicated as possible.

Some people may not understand this-in fact I encounter many who don’t–but it is really quite simple.

I am happy and I want to be around others who are happy.

I love unconditionally and like spending time with people who love me unconditionally.

Its very simple-if you are grumpy or mean I probably won’t be spending time with you.

I like to eat healthy and exercise, I am conscious about my health both physical and mental. I enjoy living in a clean house with clean habits.

If you want to live differently and that makes you happy I will not be judging you or trying to change you.

It does not matter to me how much money a person makes or how they spend it. I know how much I make and what I spend it on.

It is none of my business how you handle your finances or the financial problems you may have. Do what makes you happy and I will do the same.

I am keeping things simple.

And it is really easy to do. Just stop and evaluate what you really want, the things that need to happen in order to get it and then take the steps to get you there. Period. No excuses.

Don’t worry about what other people do or say…just walk away from all the complications and be happy.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

I went into a craft mega store yesterday that I love because it is jam packed with crafts, ideas, decorations, themes, colors and smells.  I can spend hours in there.  In fact, I have.

I was especially excited on this visit when I started seeing 80% off signs on summer stuff.  So I was really in my shopping groove when I turned the corner and I saw it….

The reason for the big sale was the cleaning out of several aisles of goods in order to put out all the Christmas decorations, trees, wreaths, nativities and all the other Christmas decorations that make the season so great!

As you can tell, I love Christmas!

And I appreciate that the ideas are out in July.  Some people may be dismayed to see Christmas out before Halloween and Thanksgiving–but I think it’s brilliant.

The free enterprise system is telling us how wonderful our economy is this year! The optimism is amazing.  The idea that we are all doing so well that we can plan ahead to these upcoming holidays is heartening.

And I am all in!

When I got home–I sat down to make my Christmas list.  Not the gifts I want to receive–that list is a hard one–but the people I want to find the perfect gifts for.

I love looking for things for others that they may love and are not expecting.  Each year that is getting harder and harder to do. There is so much available so quickly to everyone that finding the perfect gift for the people that mean the most to us is quite the challenge.

That is probably why so many people dread the holidays!  They procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get inspired on what to get their friends and family and then run around crazy looking for the perfect gift.

Of course, as hokey as it sounds–there is also nothing like a home made gift.  At the very least it is original, customized to the person receiving the gift and can not be found on Amazon.

So my excitement aside–and the great craft mega store addiction–let’s remember how magical Christmas can be–even when the feelings come in July!

It’s a wonderful life!

How do you feel about Christmas?  Drop me a comment! And have fun!

 

Throwing in the Towel

Throwing in the Towel

While on this journey of mine to live a better and smarter life–I have found myself thinking and re-thinking some of my proclivities.

One of my things is towels. I know, I know, sounds absolutely kinky.  If not kinky, at least kooky.

I don’t know when it started, and while not a secret–when I started thinking about it there are very few people–who know of this weird obsessive compulsive little habit of mine.

My mother of course knows–she knows everything!  (I don’t know how she does that by the way–as a mother myself, I am still trying to acquire all her mother super powers!)

My daughters know…because well–while they are on their own now–they did live with me for a long, long time.

And of course, my husband knows–he thinks I’m crazy about my towel thing–but he has been very accepting of my need for clean towels.

You see–I use clean towels everytime I take a shower. And everytime I wash my face and hands. So the towels get used, once, and they go in the hamper.  Now if for some reason I have to use a towel twice, I don’t freak out or break out in a sweat–I just use them the 2nd time and then it goes in the hamper.

Needless to say I have two linen closets in the house and they are full of towels–I stopped counting them when I got to 50. There are plenty more…

(I was beginning to think that maybe I should stop using so many towels.)

Now, you must understand, I do a lot of thinking while I am cooking–so I was thinking about all this–in the kitchen, cooking, kitchen towel on my shoulder, one by the sink, another by the cutting board.

Usually I cook and wash and dry my hands and cook and wash and dry my hands in a little ritual…when I clean up the kitchen at the end of this little dance the kitchen towels go into the laundry room.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that I have a kitchen towel addiction too!

So I resolved to really reevaluate this obsession…and then…out of nowhere, I started laughing out loud–in the kitchen, practically hysterically.  (My husband on the couch watching TV just ignored me–he is a prince about my obsessions!)

And I made my decision–I am throwing in the towel on throwing in the towels. Why should I stop my little crazy habit of clean towels?  I am not hurting anyone and no one (who’s in the know) cares if I do 2 loads of towels in the laundry each week…so why not?

Here is my point–you knew one was coming–everyone has a thing–harmless, no one really cares about your thing things. Why should we deny ourselves our little joys. Isn’t that what life is about anyway?

Enjoy your weekend–and clean towels!  Drop a comment below or send me an email if you’d like at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

Writing a bucket list gives a sense of reality to the long term goals we have for ourselves. A bucket list is, thought, much larger than just a list of goals to reach. A bucket list should include not just goals you want to achieve, but dreams that you want to see become reality and experiences you would like to have before you can’t have them anymore.

A bucket list can help you gain focus on those things that are really important to you–outside of our day to day run around tasks.  We cannot get away from our daily responsibilities but we can certainly measure whether our daily activities are leading us to reach our ultimate desires.

I thought of this as I started contemplating what I would put on my bucket list.  As I have mentioned before I am not a very adventurous person so on my list I would not put such experiences that include extreme sports.  For me–my most prized desires–include time and space.

And as I was thinking of the items to put on my list, I was thinking about how to decide on which things to include and these are the steps that I took to help me make those choices.

  1. Think about things, experiences and dreams that you have had since childhood.  It is in childhood that our true dreams and desires begin, before the responsibilities of adulthood take precedence in our lives.
  2. Follow your heart when it comes to things you truly want for you, not for what others expect of you, or would want for you. What matters is what you want.
  3. List things that are within your grasp as well as loftier goals that may be seemingly harder to achieve.  Do not underestimate how many things you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it.
  4. Include everything that would make you happy regardless of how much money it may cost, time it may take to achieve, or resources you may need to acquire to reach them.
  5. Write these objective, dreams and experiences down on paper. Keep a copy of it where you can review it often.  Add to it if you like!  But keep your dreams and goals foremost on your mind to help you achieve them.

Once you make your bucket list–then the fun begins! Choose one of the goals on the list and start the plan on how you will reach that goal.  Make plans, find a way and seek out the goal.

One of the fun things of having a bucket list is crossing them off as you accomplish them.  And the joy you will receive from reaching them!

What kinds of things would you include on your bucket list?  Drop a comment below…and let me know!

Happy Monday!  Have fun!

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I am guilty of over-planning.  I over plan almost everything…from projects I am working on to our weekly meals. Some may think it is because I like to have the control–but in reality it is because I like to figure out the puzzle of unexpected events or situations arising.

And as I like to be prepared for the unexpected I make tons of lists. Lists of books I’ve read, book to read, grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, instructions for projects and lists and lists of ideas.  I like to plan ahead and to be ready for the what ifs.

Some of my friends who know of my list making think I am amazing (I tend to agree with that)…but there are a few who think I am too organized and doubt that I can accomplish as much as I do.

I think it may be their envy speaking or their wish to be more organized themselves or to simply have a desire to want to accomplish more in their own lives.

I have to say that I do get a great deal of things done in my home, at work, and in my hobbies because I am organized and do make lists to keep on top of things.  After all these years I think my success in this is because I can work on different things each day and move my goals forward–whatever they may be.

This is how I do it:  I break my projects into small workable tasks and I keep moving through the tasks day after day–time permitting–until they are finished.  As other tasks come up I can weave them into my days without disrupting my responsibilities or my objectives.

I’ve been doing this for a very long time–I hate to think how long, as I remember being this way in high school and college–with my school tasks. (And that was well over 30 years ago!)

When I look back over this time, I am grateful and proud of all I have accomplished so far and am very excited of all the years ahead of me to plan, and to create, and to accomplish so much more.

So many people give up so early in life and stop trying to accomplish–whatever it is they dream of accomplishing. They live their lives going through the motions and staying in the same place–never advancing or learning or wanting to change and advance.

But for us over planners–we sometime do try to do too much each day–the long lists in my planner are certainly proof of that. And if we don’t check off all our “to-dos” we feel we are not enough.   I am here to tell you that we are enough. Sometimes tasks, however small, can lead you to something bigger.

People often over estimate what can be completed or accomplished in a small amount of time and under estimate what can be accomplished over the long term.

Keep moving forward.  You are enough!