27 January 2016

My Peg-Leg: A New iWalk 2.0 Cast Arrives Here Soon

Last Friday night I bought this. It's an iWalk 2.0 hands-free crutch. I can't wait to get it. Living with crutches is not fun. Being NWB (oh the acronymns I am learning - this stands for "non-weight bearing"). I am hoping this is life changing but I'll have to let you know. 

image via Amazon

I am finding that multiple transportation modes are helpful. Here's another acronym for you: DME. This one is full of frustration because it's totally wrapped up in insurance and medical red tape. It's taken almost 3 weeks for me to get everything in order to finally get my knee scooter.

This one above looks a little crazy, right? But the reviews and testimonials say that this could be a great option for walking around the house, doing productive things like cleaning, carrying things, and being able to stand up and do things. If doctors can operate using this it should help me be able to do dishes, make meals, do laundry and other exciting things. I can't wait to see how it works.

I hear you have to be willing to have a lot of people either freak out at it or ask you lots of questions so either way it seems like a big attention grabber. That should be interesting, since I already feel like everyone is looking at me with pity when I approach a door, hop a curb or am struggling a bit getting out of my car.

Hopefully by the time you read this I also have my knee scooter which will help transport me around. None of these implements will make having a broken foot okay, but it will certainly make it easier to get around and lessen the wear and tear on different body parts that are taking up the slack for the broken foot. Ideally I think having these three different options will make life a little less exhausting and frustrating.

I still keep forgetting at times that I'm wearing a cast. Got good news from the doctor this past week that my NWB time may be cut shorter by six weeks. That is extremely exciting. Being NWB for only six weeks instead of 12 weeks is MASSIVE! Won't know for another month, but I'm hopeful. I'll fill you in on what it's like to wear a peg-leg cast soon. Hope all is going well for you. I sure like being here and interacting more with you. I've missed it.

Update: Today I went up and down stairs at home and walked all around the office on my iWalk2.0. Still stumble a little occasionally but loving this piece of equipment. My arms and shoulders are rested and I feel much happier being able to stand up straight, look people in the eye, use my hands to carry things and not have to depend on other people to bring me food and drinks and all the little things I need during the day.

The only thing that is a even the slightest challenge is that if you want to sit down you have to take it all off and then put it back on again. But I am getting pretty quick at that so it's not so much of a problem. I find that I would much rather put it on and take it off for short walks than drag myself across the room on my crutches. Crutches hurt, iWalk doesn't. I have had to adjust it a few times and am still experimenting to find the most comfortable settings but with each tweak it gets a better.

I have so much more freedom and I can say that I have felt much more upbeat and happier the past two days totally because of this device. That alone is worth far more than I paid for this hands-free crutch! Getting through the "no weight bearing" phase of this broken foot business is going to be much more bearable now. Totally recommend it. Check out the reviews on Amazon.

25 January 2016

Making Peace With Ended or Broken Friendships

I've had this post on my list of posts to write for a while and have thought a lot about this topic, and at times struggled with it. For a multitude of reasons friendships come to an end, people leave our lives or we leave theirs. I thought I'd just share some lessons and experiences I've had and my thoughts as I have mulled things over, wondered what happened, wondered what needed to happen and attempted to move forward.


Sometimes what were shiny star relationships in our lives extinguish quickly and sometimes they die a slow death over time. We've all been on both sides of the fence regarding ended friendships. When friends leave our lives we are usually left with unanswered questions. I have found that when friendships change or end it's always helpful to consider these things.

Instead of placing blame or feeling badly, it's helpful to try to remember that circumstances and needs change our lives and others. Sometimes things happen that we'll never know about that push our friends in directions we may never know about.

It can be hard to read the signs and understand what is happening. This can be frustrating and discouraging. I try to act in grace, giving them my best hopes and releasing them to do what they need to do for them. I try to take into account the lessons and blessing that have come to my life from the friendship. This helps me realize there are times and seasons for relationships and be grateful rather than upset.

I remember a lesson I learned from a broken relationships a few years ago that helped me not to fill in the blanks with negative things. After finding a great massage therapist who I met with for a few months, I experience a large increase in expenses that required that massages could not fit into my budget anymore. I did not say anything to my massage therapist and I was very busy with work so time passed more quickly than I realized. A few months later a friend and fellow client of this massage therapist told me a story that stunned me. Apparently the therapist had had a falling out with another friend of ours. So when she did not hear from me, she assumed that I had been drawn into the drama and refused to use her services anymore because of this row she'd had with another friend.

I actually had heard nothing of this falling out, but was really surprised at the connections the therapist had made, which made total sense from the bits and pieces of information she had to go on to explain why I was no longer seeking her services. This taught me a great lesson about not drawing conclusions from bit and pieces of information because chances are I will be wrong. I definitely don't wan to act from misconceptions or make incorrect assumptions about other people and what is going on around me.

I read a business book once that said that when there is a lack of information, people generally fill that void with negative and fearful beliefs. I have thought about that a lot and really tried not to do that in my life. But it is a challenge, especially when we feel hurt or rejected.

Sometimes our friendships drift apart very slowly over time due to life changes, like a move, marriage, having children, or even a personal or family crisis. Sometimes relationships end very abruptly. Those are hard. I can't recommend the best way to change or end a friendship or how to handle an ended friendship we weren't expecting. There isn't an easy way.

But making peace within oneself about it is always required one way or the the other. Sending best wishes and finding gratitude in the time that was had together and the blessings that came can bring some peace and prepare one to welcome new friendships into one's life, to enjoy a new season of friendships. Sending love and fond wishes to you as you traverse this ever interesting and adventurous trek known as friendships. The best blessings often come with some challenges. But we always take some great life lessons with us to guide us in the future.

*PS: This is a beautiful window I found at Sundance resort in Utah over Christmas. I have always wanted some of these stars and this totally inspired me. They are made by a relative of a friend of mine. You can find them here on Etsy.

22 January 2016

Broken Foot Life Lessons



So many lessons learned this past two weeks with this broken foot. Ugh. What a pain, literally painful and also a big pain in the neck. I've keep having dreams where I see my feet from the ankles down and I am dancing and twirling barefoot on very short, soft grass. Then I wake up. Bummer.

So far I've been back to work, been shopping for cast appropriate clothing which pretty much means I'll be wearing black stretchy pants for the next three months. They get filthy every time they touch anything from upholstery lint to the bottoms of my crutches every time I drag them in and out of the car across my body. Crawling up and down staircases also doesn't help either, luckily I generally only do this on one knee.

I've been trying to heed the lessons of Pinterest articles all about how to cope with a cast on your leg and if there are two lessons that I keep banging my head against it's "slow down or you'll get hurt" and "accept all the help that is offered." I have to go slow. I can feel how easy it would be to crash and break something else if I don't. Patience for such things is kind of annoying. Ha.

Over the past few years I have acknowledged privately and publicly that I am bad at receiving help and that I don't like that about myself. So I've been working on changing that. But it's a daily challenge to just say "Yes, thank you." instead of "Oh, no, I'm fine. I've got it." Everyone at my office has been SO kind to me and are constantly offering assistance. Even though I have accepted help I still catch myself refusing it, even for the simplest things like help filling up my water bottle.

One deeper thought about this, I think there definitely is a struggle in a situation like this to push oneself to be as independent as possible. It's like a bit of a rebellion against the break and everything rotten that is associated with it. So maybe it's okay that I just push myself and want to do things myself. I guess showing appreciation whether or not I accept the help is the most important thing in that situation. Isn't is amazing how everything that happens to us in life is filled with little lessons we need to learn about ourselves and how we live and operate in our relationships and daily life.

So far I have been wearing black leggings, capris, or long knit pants. The leggings and capris are definitely most comfortable. I have really been dressing down for work but need to step that up this coming week as I'll be in a lot more meetings and going to a few outside events. Dressing up with crutches just feels annoying to me but I think I'm also getting sick of wearing athletic wear every day. We'll see how this goes.

The thing I find most challenging is that I really need to find some long shirts to wear because after a few yards of walking with the crutches my shirts are often up around midchest. There is something about crutches that makes your top bunch up under your arms. Embarrassing. Which is leading me to also wear long, drapey sweaters and puffy vests as additional coverage and for warmth.

Although its quite cold here right now, I feel like I am always either sweaty or cold. If I'm up on my feet I am totally burning hot, then if I sit down to rest for a while I get very cold. So layering is a must and I haven't had a real coat on in days. If I'm only running in and out from car to home or work, that is fine, but if I get stuck outside for few minutes that can be a problem.

I bought a bunch of clothes last week that I thought would work with the new fashion. I got home and realized all the sizes run very small, so I had to take almost all of it back this weekend for exchange. Super annoying but it also gave me some time to know better what would work and what wouldn't. I have to say I didn't find a lot that made me happy. Since it's still quite wintery here I can definitely take advantage of all the after holidays winter clothing sales and still get a few months of wear out of them. Good deal for me. But that means more shopping, even online I find it a little tiring. Clothes that work with a boot or cast aren't easy to figure out.

After some research I am looking at getting an iWalk2.0 crutch. It's hands free and attaches to your thigh with your injured leg tucked behind you, fully supported. It sounds a million times better than crutches and the testimonials are powerful. Hoping tomorrow I can stop by and check it out at a local medical supply company. I'll definitely share a review.

15 January 2016

Travel: Packing Cubes or Plastic Bags

I won't be going anywhere travel related for a while except for the long journey to and from my car on crutches every day. But I can dream about travel and I can plan and save up for future travel. I think after I get out of this cast or maybe before I need a small trip of some kind. I just don't think it will probably be on an airplane. Hmmm...


I have been a big fan of packing cubes and the art of very functional travel packing since the early 90s. In 2000, a year when I traveled out of the country 3 times and around much of the US as well, I completely converted to Eagle Creek packing cubes and toiletries bags. The ones I bought then are still in great shape. I have gone through two toiletries kits since them, but only after my first one got so permanently stained that I wanted a new one. Zippers have stayed in great shape and fabric on both the packing cubes and the toiletries kits is super tough.

I love being able to organize my clothes so quickly. I usually put tops in one cube and bottoms in another. Sometimes I put all my special event clothing together in one cube to keep it clean and organized for the days I need it. Packing cubes are so versatile you can really do whatever works for you. I have smaller cubes for socks or underwear or scarves too.

I shared all about my favorite toiletries case and how I like to stock it here. I always love hearing how people like to pack because I always learn something new. I read this article last week that was originally published just about a year ago on petergreenberg.com comparing plastic bags vs. packing cubes for travel.

Turns out both are useful for certain things and I will also say I learned a few things as well. My next travel goal is to do a better job organizing and packing my electronics for my carry on. Love the idea shared in this article. I currently have a small bag I used but I like what they suggested a lot better.

How do you like to travel? What handy tips have you learned that you can share? Please leave your good ideas in the comments section! Hope you are planning some fun travel for 2016. I'd love to hear about your plans as well. I love thinking about and planning travel at the beginning of the year.

13 January 2016

Heights House 6: Merging Two Different Decor Styles

One of the great challenges of marriage is figuring out how to take two people from completely different backgrounds and get them working together. It's always nice when you hit your stride and always frustrating when you feel like you are on opposites ends of the earth as far as tastes, opinions and style.


Differences of style, taste and opinions are never more evident than when you move into a new home. After lots of conversation I thought we were on the same page as far as design for the new home went. But when the actual decorating process began, things took a bit of a swing in the opposite direction. Unlike in the world where I grew up where women decorate the home, my husband is very creative and has opinions about decorating.

We are also merging two homes and two very divergent styles so learning to merge our styles has been a necessity and a big challenge. I would like to thank every person who has ever posted photos or articles about merging very different styles on the internet for saving my sanity and maybe our marriage - haha. Trust me when I said I've gone to those articles more than once when feeling frustrated.

If I could describe his style it would be something like European castle meeting Indiana Jones. I definitely lean towards light, modern, simple with a neutral base palette with punches of lots of color. There have been a few days, I will confess, where I have gotten sad and frustrated with trying to work together while each of us has our own visions of what our house will look like. I may have even overreacted in horror at some of his suggestions. There isn't much worse than seeing something you absolutely don't like appear in your home to wreck your beautiful little vision in your head. Ha.

So it's been a work in progress and will continue to be. This is the dark side of all those beautiful homes you see posted all over the internet that you never hear about...the compromise or one side overpowering the other side. I have learned a lot in this process and in the end I have realized that some things I really disliked when we moved in like our blue fireplace wall and the large plants The Man insisted on putting on each side of the TV really aren't that bad after all and in fact I can live with them - at least for a while. The chairs I was adamant about reupholstering actually work well just as they are in the living room AND they are super comfortable for watching movies.

The Man thought the paint for The Bug's bedroom was a complete disaster for a time and then he completely changed his opinion. So we keep experimenting and working at it.Things worked out great when we worked together to decorate our living room before Thanksgiving. We chose from our belongings a gorgeous rug, glass coffee table, side chairs and our new vintage black leather couch that worked together fantastically. Later we bought two large plants in very bold pots that we were thrilled fit in just right when we got them home.

We pulled the dining room together with our new vintage Danish dining set, an old glass European curio cabinet, and a beautiful rug. A couple of weeks ago, late at night -- which seems to be when we have our best decorating sessions, we started playing around with this weird area around the kitchen side of our two-sided fireplace. We had planned to build some sort of bench seating in the area but when we couldn't decide what exactly it was we wanted, we chose to wait once we got all the brick flooring in to replace the giant indoor planters that used to be there.

We had put the sofa there because there just wasn't anywhere else to put it yet and it was good temporary seating. But we moved it to a new spot and then grabbed a rug, my thrift store lamp with the gorgeous new orange shade, two storage cubes, a bunch of pillows, two tables we had just scored on at Home Goods and a plant and suddenly we had this pretty little cozy nook. We loved it! The photo above is a quick iphone shot I took at sometime after midnight the night we pulled it all together.

A few days later when we had a fire in the fireplace I checked to make sure the sofa was safe and we had no problems whatsoever with it sitting there - the leather wasn't even warm. I don't think anyone will sit in that space while there is a fire burning thus it should be fine. So we'll live with this for a while and see if we like it. In the meantime we have two bedrooms and an office to still pull together.

Luckily I do have one room to totally take command of the design in. It may sound uncool that it's the laundry room but it is turning out to be my little sanctuary. There is a built-in desk in the corner with two big windows that overlook the entire backyard. There are also lots of cupboards and a good amount of counter space for creative projects. The room is right off the kitchen so it's right in the heart of the home and it has a door so it can provide some good privacy too.

This is where we installed the beautiful flooring after we removed the brick to use in the kitchen and dining room. We also hung the capiz chandelier over the desk and you can see it down the hall from many places in the house. You can see the floor and the chandelier on my Instagram feed at "kalanicutblog." From outside the room the view in looks very inviting. I'm working on some other little decorating projects to spruce up the room. Will share it when it's pulled together.

Our victories in the decorating arena are great victories. It's so fun to see our home furnishings work together or find some fun treasure I had no idea he owned that we can use. Even though our home style is NOTHING like what I imagined and hoped it would be, it's actually even cooler because it's so personal and historical for both of us. feel like when we start having people over they will find our home very unusual, interesting and welcoming.

And much like our belongings, we are working together well too. With each new victory comes more confidence in our ability to make this house as beautiful as we both want it to be and an increase of trust in each other and the process or merging our belongings. I am so excited to see what the house will look like in a few months and years as we get to know the house better and learn more about what works best in this home and for our wants and needs.

11 January 2016

Broken Bone: Putting My Best Food Forward

Wednesday night I left my office, ready to head for home and took a little crazy spill in the parking garage. I got up and was a little shaken up. My hands, wrists, knees and especially my left foot hurt. I took a minute and just stood up against a pillar in the garage to get my bearings. I was a little shaken up but my car was close so I slowly walked over and got in even slower.

Luckily it was my left foot that seemed to have taken the brunt of it, so I could still drive. But by the time I got on the freeway a few minutes later I was quite certain that I needed to get medical attention. While my body hurt pretty much everywhere, my left foot was SCREAMING. I had no idea where to go and don't have a primary doctor here in town yet. So I called a friend and asked if she knew where an urgent care was in our neighborhood.

When I got off the phone with her I called my husband and asked him to meet me at the urgent care just behind our regular grocery store. He was close by and he pulled in just as I turned off my ignition in the parking lot. He got a wheelchair from inside and I tried to stand up on my leg and it was a 100% no go. So in the wheelchair I went and stayed for the next two hours until I came out of urgent care with pictures of my Jackson Fracture of my fifth metatarsal. In layman's terms, a complete break of the farthest left long bone in my foot. I also was the proud owner of a temporary fiberglass half-cast, a lot of ace bandage and crutches.

By that time I was also exhausted so getting in my husband's care we drove home leaving my car in the parking lot of urgent care. We got me into bed and thanks to a painkiller shot urgent care gave me, I felt pretty good until morning although I couldn't really sleep and was a little traumatized about what more we would find out in the morning. The doctor at urgent care wasn't sure I just had the one break but that there might be another area with problems. That was a little unnerving.

So while not sleeping and probably totally hyped up on stress adrenaline, I started googling "How to survive a broken foot" and quickly realized there was tons of good information on Pinterest, a bit of a surprise. In minutes I had started a new board Life With A Broken Foot and was pinning great ideas for basic cast life survival, workouts you can do in a leg cast and more. It was good I read a couple of articles from women who shared their wisdom because they gave me a very realistic picture of what I was about to go through and they also gave me some great hope and inspiration. In addition I got some great tips on how to shower, how to get up and down stairs and what foods are good to eat while trying to heal broken bones. Another important realization came when I read about how I would need a leg cast wardrobe. I realized none of my pants would work with a cast and it's way too cold for skirts. I would need clothes I could pull over the top generally.

The next morning I had to call for an appointment with the osteopathic quick clinic in town who take urgent cases. At 8:15 AM I got a 9:45 appointment and quickly learned that getting out the door will now take about three times longer than normal and I will generally be totally sweaty and exhausted by the time I change my clothes, brush my teeth and hair, get shoes on and crawl down two flights of stairs to the garage.

The quick clinic confirmed the one complete break with no other issues, thankfully. They offered me two options: surgery or no surgery with the possibility of surgery later if it doesn't heal quickly enough or properly. I went with the no surgery option which my team of professionals completely supported. So we will revisit this in two weeks.

I was lucky enough to get a boot instead of a cast, at least at this point, so I can take it off to shower and adjust it and take care of my skin on my leg so it doesn't get all itchy and gross inside. The other great blessing in all this was that it was my left leg, so I can still drive. That would've been a nightmare since the bad news of the whole situation was that my foot needs to be "no weight bearing" for three full months. That's a LONG time! A crazy long time. When I figured out that it would be April and how far that is away is I think that was the real low point for me.

We spent the rest of the day working on getting things started for me to get a knee scooter (insurance, insurance insurance), going to the DMV for a handicap placard (I would already be dead in the water if I hadn't gotten that!) and pharmacy prescription.

It's amazing how many cast "life hacks" you learn in a very short period of time. I have figured out how to get dressed, sponge bath, get around the house, how to be able to cook in the kitchen, the importance of having a chair to sit in close all the time and how badly all your bones hurt on crutches and when you using one leg to bear all your weight. I should be getting the little knee scooter early this week. Yay. I think having options is good.

Friday I had to go into the office for part of the day to do monthly reports and take care final delivery on several projects. It was actually great because coworkers grabbed my desk chair and brought it out front and then I just sat and pushed myself around the office with my good foot all afternoon. I only had to stand up for a few short minutes to hit the ladies room. I realized how totally awesome "handicap accessible" is for people like me. Being able to move through wide doorways and halls and have handicap accessible bathroom stalls and kitchen sinks was such a huge help. I joked I might just live in the office for the next three months and sleep on my couch. But it's great to know things at work won't be difficult physically. I can always order lunch in if I don't want to leave the office.

Saturday I called my hair salon and asked for a wash and a blowout. Sleep is tough to come by in a cast. So far I've had two stints where I've slept at least 5 hours straight but I have also had nights where I was up and in intense pain or just waking up every 45 minutes. So there's no guarantee of good rest. As tired as I get just cleaning up and and changing my clothes there was no way I wanted to attempt to wash my almost waist length hair. And the idea of leaning back in a shampoo bowl at the salon sounded so much easier. It was great and the most relaxed I had been all week. I may do this every week until I get my cast off. We'll see how it goes.

The next big thing I needed to do was go shopping for some cast-fashionista clothes. This would have to happen at stores that had motorized shopping carts, which immediately gave me two options I could think of. So my sweet husband, who has been taking such good care of me, and our kiddo helped me to the store where I bought several versions of black knit pants, leggings and some comfy sweats for around the house.

I also got a couple of baggy shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts...I've already learned that crutches totally mess your tops up and they get all twisted and ride up. So something long keep me modest was a nice addition too. I just feel cold a lot and it's nice to be able to bundle. I didn't have quite enough warm clothes and had intended to buy a few things during the after holiday sales which didn't happen. So adding a few warmer tops was important to do. Of course the one time I don't feel cold is when I get ready to leave the house which is when I am totally soaked in sweat from the effort of getting ready and crawling down all the stairs to the car.

video

The biggest challenge of the shopping experience was driving the motorized shopping cart. I learned quickly that it's all about driving aggressively if you want to make any progress and not crash into stuff. That seems a little counter-intuitive but the slower you go the harder it is to turn. And reverse is completely humiliating as it beeps loudly throughout the area! Handicap accessible took on a whole new meaning as I tried to get things off racks on high and low shelves. Challenging! I never did make it down the lotion aisle because there was a big pillar that seemed to make it impossible to drive the scooter down it. Frustrating.

Everything I've experienced this past four days has made me much more aware of people on crutches and the challenges of people with physical disabilities for sure. It's interesting how challenges can either make us bitter, numb or more compassionate towards others.

I have several friends here who have offered assistance and I am trying to say yes instead of "Oh, I'm okay." This quick change of events has definitely amped up my need to focus on simplicity. There will be nothing but through the summer as I heal. It does put a bit of a crimp in my workouts although I've decided I will just have to work on upper body and again there are all those workout ideas on Pinterest. I also won't be skiing this year - an epic ski season in the making - darn it! I am going to try to let people help me because that is how you make great friends. Some ladies are going to come over this weekend to help take down our Christmas decorations which is both sweet and awesome.

When I get feeling better I'll try to pull together some useful posts of cast fashion or a resource of good survival tips. If you're interested, you can check out my Life With A Broken Foot (or cast) board on Pinterest.

08 January 2016

Upcycle Those Lampshades

As we continue to slowing unpack furnishings and figure out how we merge two very differently styled homes into our new home, I've created a little store on our family room bookshelves full of art, lamps, drawer pulls, rugs and other decorating items. So when I need something for a certain spot I can just do a little shopping trip into that space for something that might just fit the bill.


image via Target

In this 2010 bedroom photo below you can see the two lamps on each side of the bed. I have grown to highly dislike the lampshades on these two lamps -- so boring! --and had been on the hunt for better shades for several months without seeing anything that seemed just right.

Then last week I saw this shade above on the Target website. My first instinct was to really like these shades and want them. My second was even more powerful. Why had I not considered upcycling my existing shades! Big DUH moment. My current shades are very similar to these and I do love fuchsia velvet ribbon. How had I totally overlooked the very least expensive option which was add some great touch to the lampshades I already had? (Ashamed long time DIYer moment!) 


So I won't be shopping for new lampshades anymore. Now I am going to be on the prowl for some nice piece of contrasting ribbon I can use the make those lamps pop, I am leaning towards the fuchsia velvet ribbon, I have to say, because it is stunning and fun. Lime or apple green might be fun too. Purple would even be nice. I have some thinking and experimenting to do. Fun, exciting and inexpensive...three of my favorite adjectives.

It's amazing how often making what you have better is better than getting something new. Another simplicity life lesson. When I come up with something fun I'll be sure to share it.

06 January 2016

My Theme For The Year

In November I realized that I had not even started thinking about 2016 and what my goals, theme or focus would be for the year. I often start thinking about this in late September or early October. As with many things in my home life this year, it had been pushed aside for other agenda items.



When I realized this, I sat back for a few minutes and thought about what I would like my theme to be. A word came very clearly into my mind and I had a strong impression that this WAS my word for 2016.

The next day was Sunday and I got up and went to church. The very first talk given by one of the leaders of my faith was called "The Christlike Virtue of Simplicity." I had never thought about simplicity as a godly virtue but I sure loved hearing that because it gave my new theme for 2016 more depth and perspective. I ate up every word of that talk and I knew that having that word come into my mind the day before was preparing me to hear that talk the next day.

Last year I had made a rather simple but highly time consuming sign to hang which would keep my word front and center in my daily efforts. My theme was SHINE. I took a 10x20 canvas and wood letters and my first step was to paint the canvas white. Several coats of white. At the same time I started painting the large wood letters. First I painted them gold, multiple coats were required to get the right patina. Then I painted gold glitter over the top. This took even more coats to get the glitter even and looking respectable.

All in the all the project took me over a week as I painted on coats and waited overnight for them to dry. Then I glued the letters to the board, which took quite a bit of measuring and expended a good bit of frustration.

As I thought about what kind of sign I could make this year, it became laughable when I thought about the energy and time I expended on that one little sign last year. That would be preposterous to say the least when I was committing to SIMPLICITY! So this became my first big task of my simplicity journey. I had to find a simple way to make this simple sign. No extravagant cost or time could be dispensed on this project.

And so I wandered around the craft store, looking at options for my simple sign. It was not easy and was rather frustrating until I decided to check out the chipboard self-adhesive letters. I found these lovely mirrored lower-case letters and they seemed perfect. I then picked out two small 4x10 white canvases - using coupons to get a significant discount on all parts -- financial simplicity (ha!).

A few days later I took 30 minutes and plucked out the letters I needed to make two signs and realizing the letters weren't going to stay on the canvas with the self-adhesive alone I added a little extra glue on the back. I eyeballed everything and very quickly was done with my lovely but simple reminders of my year of simplicity. Much better than the long, drawn frustration that was last year's sign. Lesson learned!

One sign is in my office hanging over last year's "SHINE" sign. The other is this one sitting here on my desk in my new workspace in the laundry room right off the kitchen. I can see it from the hallway between the family room and kitchen. Keeping my desk clean and tidy is an important visual reminder of my goal.

So that's my theme for 2016, simplicity. I think it is most meaning right now in reminding me not to give away too much of myself, to not care too much what others think of me, or get too caught up in being misunderstood, misjudged or misrepresented. I know who I am, I know my efforts and my best efforts for my life are to care for me and my family and do good where I can.

But I don't have to and in fact can't do everything and I shouldn't. I am focusing on extreme basics this year with a very short list of things I am willing to give my time, attention and energy to. Sure there are so many fun and often creative things to do, but focusing on them too much or spending too much time and energy on them wears us out. There are times and seasons for pursuits and they don't all need to be attempted or mastered at one time. Some things can drop off the list, some can wait for another time.

Thankfully this year the new house is giving me plenty of work to do beyond my day job. This in itself has limited what else I take on and given me plenty of tired nights and weekends. So my mastery really has had to be focused on getting enough rest and not overdoing it. I have gotten much better at that and seem to have a much better gage on saying "Whoa, lady!" -- and being totally okay with that. What I could've blown through in past years I cannot do while working 40+ hours a week, caring for a family and traveling frequently. Just. not. possible.

So this year I will enjoy the small quiet moments more and make better use of them. I will simplify my wants and needs and all the activities I so often want to jam into a 24-hour window. I want to make great use of the minutes I do have each day. That means less wasting time, less idle time, better use of small increments of time. If I have 10 minutes or 10 hours of free time I want to be doing something really meaningful to me - with lasting benefit.

Saturday night, after a very restful, peaceful, enjoyable day with my little family I was in bed staring at our beautiful tongue & groove 20-foot ceiling. I realized we had had a really fantastic day. It was calm and happy. We ate great homemade meals, we played a game all together, we each had quiet time, we exercised and got fresh air and spent time in the sun. We did some work, we watched a silly movie, we enjoyed a fire in the fireplace, we spent a few minutes talking about deeply meaningful things. I want more days like that and as they say about all good things we want in life, those things take focus and consistent effort. I know it will take both of those things to improve the simplicity of my life. And so the grand adventure of 2016 begins.

04 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy new year! Can you believe the holidays are already over? It all went by too fast but I find most days are feeling that way more and more as the years pass. A week or so before Christmas The Man said he felt like we should visit my family for Christmas. What a surprise that was. A trip over the holidays was not on my radar or on my energy wavelength. But since he's already reserved seats by the time he told me, I decided he might be inspired in some way I was not in touch with and so we made plans to visit my family.


We left within hours of me getting off work - happily our flight was delayed so we had a little extra time to get to the airport. It wasn't so happy on the other end when we finally arrived at our hotel at 3:30 am. But we had a fantastic although very chilly time. It hovered in the teen temperatures the entire time we were there.

It was so lovely to spend time with my immediate and extended family. I must confess I barely recognize my hometown anymore because it has grown and changed so much. I really have to concentrate to find my way around, hit the right freeway exits and remember where things are. One of our best days was going on a drive up Provo Canyon to Sundance, Midway and Heber. It was so beautiful and good for the soul!



We returned from our trip in time for me to hit the office for 4 days and then we slid into the lovely three-day New Year's Weekend with joy. We did a big grocery shop on Thursday after I got off work and by the time we got it all home and put away it was getting too late to make the big meal we'd planned. So we made lots of finger foods and snacks and settled into game night by the fireplace and then a movie and finally the big countdown to the new year. Once kiddo went to sleep, for some reason The Man and I got motivated to work on the house --such an odd time to do that! But we ended up unpacking several boxes and putting quite a few things away.

It was a nice time for me. I found a few of my very personal small treasures, little pieces of art, antique boxes, family photos, etc. Things I had forgotten I have while they've been in storage the past year. What a nice way to start a new year by finding some sweet memories and little things that make me so happy and bring more of myself into the new home.

Friday was "PJs all day" day. I have three days I have nominated at days you don't have to get dressed or leave the house -- the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. That's not to say I might not have another day or two throughout the year or that I do stay in my PJs all day on those days because sometimes it just starts feeling yucky not to get dressed and tidied up. But if we want to, we can be lazy and in our PJs without guilt. Because of our very late night, I slept very late. We had a big brunch, our favorite breakfast foods and the first time we have made our special pancakes in a year. It felt good to get back to an old routine that we so enjoy.

Saturday we were quite industrious and got in a workout, time outside on a gorgeous sunny day, ate some great homemade food, played games again, watched Spaceballs (so silly) and just enjoyed being all together as a family and relaxing. This was probably my favorite day of the entire holiday because it was so stress free and filled with things I really value as important and meaningful to my life.

Sunday I made a fantastic "copy cat" beef barbacoa recipe in the slow cooker. Now that our church is 1-4pm (ugh) I'm trying to make the most of it by making meal prep very quick and easy. I think we might actually really like this schedule because we don't have to wake up early, I have time to accomplish a couple of things in the morning and prep for after-church food. After we got home we quickly pulled together all the needed ingredients for barbacoa burritos and beans and rice and sat down to a nice dinner.

After dinner we had some nice family time, doing 25 Days of Christ, which we have not yet finished because of travel. Then we all went our ways to have a couple of hours of quiet time before bed. I am liking this routine we created today and am thinking it may be quite perfect for us as we look to a new week and need time to ourselves. It's nice to have a little more so we can each have a room of our own for solitude and quite for a while.

One of my goals for this year is more blogging. I have missed it. I have missed interacting with you. I have missed the creative outlet and writing time. This blog is the perfect way for me to express my most authentic self and so it's important to me. There isn't anywhere else in my life that I have freedom to create, write about and share whatever I want, whenever I want. I like that and feel it's important. Plus I have had so many fantastic experiences and met so many great friends through blogging over the past six years - I want more of that.

So watch for more blog posts this coming year. I have several in the works now and am really excited to share more of our new house adventures and our new city, and continue on the road to peaceful, happy, stylish living. Wishing you the very happiest of new years and hope we'll connect here often. Watch for a new post on Wednesday. I'll share my theme for 2016 - it's a good one and I am excited for the challenge.

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