31 January 2017

Some This And That

The winter seems to be chugging right along and it's hard to believe it will be the first of February tomorrow. January is past us and the month of love, hearts, sugar cookies and president's day weekend is here. I've always liked February. I feel like it's quite a kind month after the ravages of wintery January. It's been very cold here in NM the past couple of weeks although I am so grateful that no matter the temperatures we generally get some nice sunshine every day here.

It's been a weird week of highs and big lows, hopefulness and some despair too. The Man has had a couple of really big disappointments over the past two weeks including losing four years of computer data to the Osiris virus. It's been a hard time for him and of course that bleeds over into affecting the family.

We have made some huge progress on some home organization projects, huge, but for some reason we're having a hard time celebrating that success. I think that might be because it feels like there is still so much to do and the weight of those projects has pressed on us for quite a while. I feel like we need a vacation. I had hoped to steal The Man away for a little refreshing adventure today but his schedule was booked solid. Maybe later in the week we can make that happen. Soon, soon.

We actually made some plans for a quick business/family getaway in a few weeks, so hopefully we can make that happen and have a little down time. It felt good to get online and make some travel plans. I have found that I really need to at least take a little weekend getaway every three months or so. It gives me something to look forward to and is a refreshment for the soul.

I was thinking yesterday as I was looking through my Facebook feed how odd it is that on the same day some people can be getting the best news of their lives while others are going through some of the hardest days of their lives. It's amazing how life works that way, isn't it? I feel like we've been in a blah phase for a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to bouncing out of it in a big way.

One of the things I think will help that seems so funny is that we desperately need some sort of paper filing system in this house. We have not established that yet. Where are we going to keep our important papers, in what room, in what piece of furniture? I have a makeshift system in my office but it is not working anymore and I need to get more serious. My desk is being overtaken by bill statements, insurance paperwork, and other things we need to keep track of for the family. I am really considering putting a filing cabinet in a closet somewhere because I really want my office to be a space of joy and creativity, not bank statements, bills and insurance records. Ick! I'm planning to take a trip to the office supply store today to get some inspiration and perhaps find some items that will help us continue to get better organized.

I think we need a little command center too. Our back entryway needs attention and I think that is where a command center would work best. The entry from the garage includes a coat closet that needs to be better organized and thinned out -- we have way too many coats and I'm not sure how that happened considering we've been living in California most of our adult lives. We also need a place for dropping keys, purses and wallets. So far it's been the kitchen counter and I don't like that and would like to change that. It feels like the organizing and reorganizing of a house never, ever ends.

On a cheerier note, I read The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines last week. For some reason I thought this was a longer, thicker book that it is. It was a simple and enjoyable read. I found comfort and inspiration in the continuing theme that God is always standing besides us and helping things work out even when we have no idea of his miraculous plans. Feeling excitement to follow my dreams was also a good feeling I took away from the read. Sometimes it's so easy to discourage ourselves when we really have all that we need to make things happen in exciting ways.

Joanna's wisdom about creating a home that was comfortable for every family member and allowed her family to have fun and experience a happy life was also a great idea and reminder. It's easy to get so caught up in fussing about how the house looks instead of how the house feels and how the family feels in the house. I loved what she had to say about that and that idea is definitely ruminating in my head as we continue to fix up our own little fixer upper.

On that note, I'm going to get to my yoga practice and workout in today, head to the office supply store and take care of some work. Tomorrow is going to be a day of doctor's appointments so there won't be time to do anything more than that. Those can be exhausting.

I hope you are doing well in the ups and downs of life. We certainly all have them, don't we. But I'm thankful every day for my Best Day Of The Year So Far campaign because it's keeping me in gratitude every day.

30 January 2017

Parenting Lessons: They're Ready When They're Ready

I have been experiencing a great reminder in the parenting department lately. Not all kids develop at the same time and in the same way. Duh, right? But I'm definitely getting a refresher course. Life experiences, personalities, energy levels, motivation, skills -- they all come into play in how a child grows and learns. This has been a learning experience for the two of us as parents because we are both very motivated and pushed ourselves to excel pretty much from birth.

Our kiddo, while also a #1 child, is also an only child, and is very different. She just is not as energetically motivated as we are, so things that would motivate or deter us as children do not work at all with her. Tell her she will lose out on dessert or other rewards doesn't motivate her. She doesn't push for what she wants and then sometimes is disappointed when things don't go as she has hoped, even though she hasn't let us know what she's interested in or wants. She had not picked up on things as fast we we did as kids. She went through some pretty traumatic things in her first five years, so we certainly can't compare our experiences.

Having said that, it's been great to see her evolution recently and to be reminded that kids learn and grow at their own pace. She may not have the same desire to jump into things with the passion and motivation her dad and I did when we were young, but when she decides to do something and is ready she goes from zero to sixty in a day. This is opposed to her dad and I trying things at a younger age and having a longer, slower learning curve.

We tried to start her in skiing four years ago for one day and it went okay. But when we finally got her back on skis two weeks ago she went from zero to riding the chairlift by herself and making down the mountain in just a few minutes, even if she fell a time or two - and was absolutely fearless. She'd jump right up.

In our concern about her commitment, we had talked to her several times before that day telling her that this was a big financial commitment and something that we both really loved to do. We really hoped to see a real commitment in her and that she would make the financial investment worth it by giving it her best. I wondered if she'd make it through the first morning lesson, especially because it was a nasty cold day. She did! Then was gunning to get back out to the afternoon lesson. She was the first one they announced was ready to ride the chair lift at the end of the afternoon lesson. She was gunning to get off the tow rope and onto the lift with dad and up on the big mountain.

She zipped up and down with Dad for four runs and then announced that Dad had told her she could ride the lift to halfway by herself and she wanted him to go back to the big boy runs. I was not thrilled about this, but I could see the enthusiasm in her eyes, and her dad was okay with it, so I bit my lip and said, "Go for it!" Then my stomach knotted up as I watched her hop on the lift and head up the mountain all alone. I wondered if we'd told her enough times not to lean over in the chair. Was she holding on?!!! I share this panic as a former ski lift operator for two seasons and yes I did see someone fall out of the chair once. I watched our kiddo and held my breath all the way in a bit of terror.

And soon she was off the lift and zipping down the mountain in her cute little beginning c-curves. She's been begging to go back again and I think this coming Saturday we'll get her back on the mountain again and this time I'll go along too.

The day before this she went to a friend's birthday at an ice rink. Last year she'd gone on a field trip to a roller rink and fallen and hit her head and just didn't get the whole skating thing. So she and we were a little hesitant about how ice skating was going to go. But once she got there with all her friends, they helped her, which I loved, and she learned to ice skate and had a great time. that was another victory for her and I was so happy to hear how it had gone afterwards.

I've been trying to get her interested in cooking and taking more responsibility in meal prep for years. She's done pretty well, but never taken an interest in baking or cooking which I was doing very early on. Recently I've been giving her specific cooking tasks that she can own for the family. For instance, she's our official rice maker. She can throw rice and water into the rice cooker and turn it on. Easy peasy. She knows how to make a few other simple things too.

Last Saturday afternoon I came back from the gym to learn that she's made a big meal for her dad, reheating some roasted vegetables and a big plate of eggs and was already cleaning the kitchen. I've been underestimating her! I was impressed. And now I see all those years of little lessons coming into play in a big way.

I think that is another lesson, sometimes we just underestimate what our kids can do. She's suddenly ready for more independence and is making leaps and bounds right now. She is clearly in a positive growth spurt with her skills and abilities. That's exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing the leaps she'll take in the coming months! Fun stuff. She'll be turning 11 in just a few weeks and suddenly I'm realizing 11 is a pivotal age. Ten still feels young, but 11 is just 12 short months away from turning 12-years-old, which opens up an entirely new world for her. So I'm feeling inclined to be very thoughtful about this year of 11-years-old and preparing her for middle school and many other new experiences coming very quickly her way.

I told someone recently that parenting is hard not only because we're raising kids but we're also raising ourselves as first time parents to each and every child. No experience is ever the same with different kids. It's a constant learning curve and the idea that we'll ever be perfect at it is silly. But it's a fun adventure to keep trying and to learn along with them. We love our Kiddo and even though it's hard to see her growing up so fast, I try to keep reminding myself that there are a lot of joyful adventures yet to come. I'm excited to see how she'll choose to tackle them and I'm hopeful that we as parents can help her in the best way possible.

27 January 2017

7 Things I'm Doing For A Healthier Social Media Diet

There is no doubt that the world's head is spinning thanks to all the loud conversations happening in the news and on social media networks right now. I have never seen more media hysteria than in the past couple of weeks. Coming from a journalism/news background I can't tell you how thrilled media organizations are that everyone seems so obsessed with news and social media right now. Hysteria and panic always mean they are raking in the bucks and that they are managing our time and thoughts rather than us taking control of our own lives.

Due to my own concerns and inspiration from several friends I am really taking a hard look at how I spend my time on my phone, computer and on social media networks. I have also been thinking a lot about how many small projects I need to get accomplished on our home and how many of those I could complete in those 20 minute increments I often spend scrolling on my phone for nothing earth-shatteringly important.

So this week I started pushing myself to set the phone done and complete projects. Thus far I have completed five or six of those little projects that have been on my list for days, weeks, months and feel good about the accomplishments and in a weird way I feel better about myself. I think that is both because I am spending my time more wisely and I feel good when I accomplish something important to me.

So here are a few things I'm doing to be a healthier consumer of social media and manage my phone/computer time:

1) I turned off notifications on my phone. I started with Facebook, which I think is currently the most stressful social media network due to all the fake news and rants. Now I don't feel obligated to continually check my social media feeds all day. Conversations of little importance can wait. It's so nice not to have those notifications beckoning to me all day long. I don't miss them a bit.

2) When I do need to get on the phone or computer I try to stick to the task I came for, rather than falling down the rabbit hole of wasted time following unintended activities. I can't tell you how often I get on my phone, realize I have just wasted 10 minutes and have no idea anymore what I got on my phone for in the first place. Ugh.

3) I started deleting accounts I was following that aren't important to me. This included some accounts that have become constant rants of hysteria, topics I'm no longer interested in or that were never that important to me in the first place. This feels very good and again I'm not missing anything. Limiting the noise makes enjoying the inspiring, good stuff all the better!

4) I avoid reading posts that are just going to upset me. I think sometimes we just love to get in there and read things that will get our blood boiling for no real reason at all other than to get fired up. I'm leaving those links alone because they stick with you, agitate you and are usually just written to grow and spread anger.

5) I am choosing to do other more valuable things with my time. As I mentioned, I have made a list of little projects I can do around the house. When I am tempted to turn to my phone, I check my list to see what I could accomplish in the same amount of time. I have almost finished my tea towel framing project, I also got a few holiday things better organized, continue to improve our family room, did some major clean up and organization of our home reno tool work bench/storage cupboards and move some things from a jammed up closet to our attic. Each of these activities took from five to thirty minutes and they felt like huge progress. The more I accomplish, the easier and easier it is to leave the phone alone.

6) I recognize that smart phones and the internet are addictive. I have always been really against being so stupidly attached to a smart phone. I used to laugh watching coworkers walk into walls or crash into other people while their eyes were glued to their screens. But even with that intellectual commitment to "not be those people", I still find myself too attached and it's totally wrong to be limiting kids "screen time" while setting a bad example ourselves. Our kids and other people are watching us...even our dog is annoyed when I'm on my phone screen.

7) I am reading a book! I have three magazines that have come in over the past couple of weeks that I haven't even cracked yet. I also have two new books waiting for me. Right now I am enjoying reading The Magnolia Story by Joanna and Chip Gaines. It feels like I might be the last person on earth to read it, but it's an entertaining, easy read and honestly it feels good to hold a book in my hands and be reading something larger than a 6" screen! More printed material please!

Spending less time online, whether via smart phone or laptop is a good thing I think and it definitely feels good the more I work at it. I'd love to hear what measures yo may have taken recently to help control the influence of your phone on your life -- or what have you been doing all along that has kept you from wasting a lot of time online.

26 January 2017

Inspiration Bracelet

The same day I went to the craft store to buy supplies for my Word of the Year sign, I was interested in buying a jewelry charm that I could wear that would help me remember my word for the year. I hoped I could maybe find a charm that said "fearless" or at the very least I could find a charm that somehow reminded me of being fearless that I could make a bracelet out of. As I hunted I came across these inspiration bracelets that come with charms you can attach to a premade band.

I saw these snap charm bracelets and even though their not what I was looking for or would usually go for, I decided to see if there were in fact three snap charms that represented my goals and my word for the year. I was so happy to find "simplicity", "fearless" and "choose happiness" because if there are three things I am really focused on in my life right now those would be it. If I could somehow add "shine" in there it would be perfect.

I used a 40% off coupon for the band and picked my three snap charms and I had a really cool new inspiration bracelet! I think the entire thing cost about $13. There's no way I could've made a bracelet for that price with a leather band, buckle, three charms, etc. My one wish was that I could've picked up this band in a brown leather instead of black but after doing some checking it didn't seem like a brown band was available. Darn...

A fun new addition to my wardrobe, great inspiration and a fun conversation starter too. I picked this up at Hobby Lobby but I know they have similar versions at other craft stores as well. I think this would make a fantastic birthday or friend gift too. Unbeatable price and something you could really personalize just for them - and who doesn't love getting gift that someone was created especially with them in mind! I only wish I'd seen these before Christmas. I could've made this part of gifts for quite a few people I know. But now I know I have a great gift idea in my pocket for any occasion this year!

25 January 2017

It's The Best Day Of The Year So Far!

When I read this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on January 1, posted on Instagram by LatterDayHome it really inspired me and turned into a project I hadn't anticipated. I decided that at the end of each day I would write a Facebook post on my personal page sharing how that day was the best day in the year so far.

image by kalanicut

While it was still the holidays it was pretty easy to have something fun and/or adventurous to share each day. Days were relaxing, the world was quiet and we were at ease. After a few days I started getting comments from friends about how much they loved the posts and how it was inspiring them to think about each day as the best day. I was surprised because I could kind of imagine some of my snarkier FB friends were quickly getting annoyed with my daily Pollyanna posts!

When I started this FB habit I really didn't know if I would do it for a couple of weeks, or the month of January. I certainly couldn't imagine keeping up with it for the entire year. Not sure it's something I can just stop now though.

It's been a real lesson in seeing the positive. Some days that is so easy to do. And then there are "the other days" when things go crummy, when one doesn't feel well, the family is all grumpy or some little but painful tragedy strikes (like losing all your Word files on your computer, which happened to The Man last week.) Those days are not so easy to be cheerful and grateful for and it is indeed a challenge to see how a day like THAT could possibly be the best day in the year so far.
I certainly don't want anyone to think we don't suffer some days or that we don't have hard days, because we definitely do and I would even say part of every day is hard in some way.  Hardship does not escape any of us. I also don't want to imply that I don't see and deeply feel those challenges or that I don't feel sad or angry or many other negative emotions. But I do work really hard to limit the amount of time I spend wallowing in those emotions. I try to climb out as quickly as possible so that I can move on to something more productive and less depressing.

There have been a couple of days where I have been tempted to skip it altogether because it felt totally dishonest to say it was even a great day, let alone the best day in the year so far. But then I took a few minutes to review my day and I remembered the amazing, good things that had happened. Things like finding a pair of jeans that fit and that I actually liked! Miraculous! Having a friend give us a big cheery cheesecake pie. Delicious! Taking a nap. Fantastic and rare! Every time I was tempted to skip, I realized that there were in fact things that made that day a best day that I was overlooking or that had been overshadowed in my emotions or lack of emotion by other things.

It's been fun to push myself to feel gratitude for each day and in a way this is another type of gratitude journaling that I have done in the past in a bound journal or on a sheet of paper numbered for each day of the month. Sometimes I feel a little "exposed" sharing our daily events with a few hundred people but it's an opportunity to SHINE some positivity out into the world and that is one of my top five goals in life so I think it's worth it, despite the vulnerability. 

The positive comments from friends have definitely been the guiding light. One friend even started posting her own "best day in the year so far" posts each day which I love reading. Yesterday I posted the above photo and a challenge to all my friends on FB to start posting their own "best day in the year so far" gratitude posts and then to challenge all their friends to do the same. I challenge you to do the same whether it's on Instagram or Facebook or any social media channel. What a happy chorus of gratitude and seeing the good that would be across the internet! I'd love to hear from you if you take the challenge!

*Update: A friend commented on my "best day so far" post last night on Facebook that she hoped I would print a book with each day's entry along with a photo at the end of the year. I thought that was a fantastic idea. I told her I wasn't sure I'd make it the entire year and she wisely suggested that even a month would make a great picture book. I will try to do that. I was so glad she shared this suggestion!

24 January 2017

Yoga Practice: Gentle Start To The Morning

Every day that I do yoga I am continually surprised at how good I feel afterwards and how much more fluid my body feels. I love walking around my house after I've finished because I feel so light on my feet and can just feel all the muscles working together to propel me forward step by step through my day with joy. One of my goals here this year is to share with you meditations and yoga sequences that I find and enjoy.

One of the challenges I am still feeling after the broken foot is balance. After walking weirdly on crutches, a scooter, a one-leg crutch and then hobbling around on two feet in a lot of pain, my leg muscles have learned some bad habits or coping mechanisms that I now need to program them out of. I have worked on this a lot, especially in the pool during the summer, but it's still a challenge.

It's hard for me to sit in a chair for a long time with my knees together. My legs want to twist and splay in weird ways and my gait when I walk is still a little weird. So I have to concentrate on making those good and proper balance habits permanent. Yoga has really helped because it gets all those bones and muscles both relaxed and in the proper alignment. It's amazing how good I feel and how good (normal!) my balance feels when I complete my yoga work. There is no question that I want to continue this good progress!

One of the things that makes working out the body a little tedious is trying not to get stuck in ruts and have a varied routine. So I'm switching it up frequently, even every week or every gym workout just to keep myself from getting burned out or bored. At the gym I'm trying to vary my cardio between elliptical, recumbent bike, regular old bike and the treadmill. It does help me mentally not to feel like I have to do the same thing over and over.

Yesterday I tried out this Gentle Morning Sequence video by Yoga with Adriene. I was in the mood for something calming and this definitely was. I liked Adriene quite a bit too. She is calm and peaceful and truly was gentle in her approach and demeanor. I thought her attire was really cute too, not important really but she looked cute and comfortable without needing to bare her six pack to the world which you get with some others. The thing I liked most about her and her philosophy was that she repeatedly gave students the freedom to feel their own bodies and their own needs and interpret as they feel is best. That feels so much better to me than a teacher or guide who is just pressing you into things you don't feel you can do or that are above your abilities at the moment. I did feels some places where I needed to stop and focus on certain things that were happening in my body, energy pockets that needed attention, etc. I liked that she reminded me repeatedly that I had permission and that I know what is good for my body. I think that was very helpful to the success of my practice as I followed along.

This would be a great practice for someone just starting out in yoga for the first time, someone who is returning to practice after a lull or for anyone who feels like they need a gentle start to their day. It's 15 minutes so it doesn't take a lot of time but the "feel good" afterwards lasts much longer than that. I'll definitely be doing this one again and I can see it being one I might do to get started and then being able to follow up pretty much immediately with something a little more demanding.

I love being able to roll out my mat on the nice thick rug in our family room and have this private time in the mornings to get myself centered for the day. I am suddenly having a new relationship with that room now that we have it partially organized and set up so that we can use it. It is becoming the quiet room for peace and relaxation that we have been needing with such an open concept home. Love that.

Here's another meditation to share as well, by Deepak Chopra. It's long but you can choose to do one or two or more as you feel you have time and energy for. I've really been enjoying the Chopra meditations, the music is great and his voice is calming.

I'll share with you one other little lightbulb moment I've had the past couple of weeks. I had a good laugh about this with another woman this past week. Years ago I did a full hour of a fairly challenging yoga routine regularly. So when I started again I had this idea that if I didn't do a full hour of yoga, nothing else was really enough, or it didn't count because it was too little or something. It's that whole mentality of I should go to the gym for two hours every day or I'm a failure and then we just give up because if we do anything less we feel we can't give ourselves credit for it.

Doing 15-20 minutes of exercise every time we have a chance is very beneficial and it's silly to get stuck in a mindset where we set a standard that is too hard for us to keep up with and then consider failure anything less than that one mark. Every attempt is good and we should give ourselves credit for it. Baby steps to exercise are way better than no exercise at all.

I have not been doing the full hour yoga, I've been doing 15-20 minutes and can I just tell you it's been fantastic. There are days when I can't get to the gym for 90 minutes and I just try to do 40. And that's a workout. That counts. I sweat, get healthier and more fit. There is no magic bullet amount of time or way to do things that is the "right" way every day. But the continual effort is what pays off and we can just keep pushing ourselves where we can and expanding as we feel our abilities increase and our interest rise. That happens pretty naturally if it is our intent, so we don't have to make things so hard on ourselves.

Hope you are finding new ways to center and balance in this new year. If you are having positive experiences with meditation, yoga and affirmations I'd love to feature you here on the blog! Email me at kalanicut@hotmail.com or leave a comment below! Happy centering!

23 January 2017

My Word For The Year 2017

I usually have my desk sign for my word of the year created a few weeks before the new year or at the very least in the first week of the year. This year for some reason after Christmas I had a hard time getting around to some of the smaller errands, one of which would be going to the craft store to get supplies for my sign.

Last week I had two appointments early in the mornings so I decided that on my way home from both appointments I would run a few errands that I'd been wanting to take care of. They were both fun, one was going to the craft store for supplies for my sign and the other was doing some January sales clothing shopping.

My first attempt at my sign was going to be to use a blank white canvas with some colorful, bold sticker letters. They were pretty, with lots of different patterns to choose from, so my sign would be very high energy and bold.

Unfortunately when I got home I realized that some of the letters in the pack were especially wide, much wider than others, particularly the R and S. So when I tried to layout my sign, the canvas was not wide enough to fit all the letters. Ugh.

Disappointed, I decided to take another route. I had purchased some 6" round plain wood pieces, a chalk marker  and chalkboard paint to make new Valentine's Day themed signs for my door baskets. So I decided to also paint my canvas and try a simple but bold chalkboard treatment for my sign instead.

It took about 3 coats of paint to completely cover the canvas and while I was at it I painted all my wood rounds too. I let them dry for a couple of days before I could get back to them. Making this sign was the first time I've ever used a chalk marker. It has the same potential messiness of the metallic markers I like to use...sometimes it can bleed a little too much, etc. But the great thing about the chalk marker is that it's not permanent like the metallic markers. It's easy to clean up and fix mistakes. I made a couple and I just used a damp cotton swab to clean up the errors and straighten up lines.

So my word for the year is fearless. I think it applies to my life in a variety of ways, but one of the things I've regretted in the past is not asking enough questions, not asking for what I want and not asking for help. I think all those things happened because I was afraid to ask. So I want to be bold this year in telling people what my goals are, asking for their help, not being afraid to trust my instincts and to be bold in my attempts at everything I do. I don't want to be afraid to just for what I want, need or think might be exciting. Because it really is true that you can and should ask for help in getting what you think you want. Even if it doesn't work out exactly like you expected you are always ahead of where you started.

This year, I'm working on several new ventures and I need to be bold. I have this little sign by my desk to remind me of what I need to do. It now joins Shine and Simplicity, my previous words of the year, in reminding me to live courageously, stay focused, keep it simple and let my light shine. Fun stuff! I'll be interested to see how the word fearless plays out in my life in 2017! Whatever happens, the goal is that all my decisions will be run through the FEARLESS filter before I choose a direction to go.

More on words of the year.
Word of the Year 2015: Shine
Word of the Year 2016: Simplicity
This Is My Time 2014

Do you have a word of the year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. You always inspire me.

20 January 2017

Yay! I Survived The First 20 Days of January!

Well I can't tell you how happy I am to see that we are 20 days into January 2017. Here's why. For some reason during most of the previous five years I have had major tumult happening in the beginning of January EVERY year and all of it unexpected. So I am absolutely celebrating that we are at the 20th of January and my life has been calm, cool, peaceful and uneventful.
To give you an example of what has been happening in past years, here are just a few of the January surprises I/we have experienced. All of these events happened in the first three weeks of January.

In 2011, I had my potentially fatal mastoiditis infection and hospitalization. That lead to six months of hearing loss in my left ear and some other challenges that were very challenging to deal with. Learning to live without the gift of hearing is chock full of some difficult lessons. It is scary to have someone or a car come up behind you when you can't hear anything coming!

In 2013, we got married while The Man was home for two weeks R and R, got custody of his daughter and she came to live with me while he went back to the war. That was a tough day when we sent him back for six five more months and I became a full-time stepmom by myself.

In 2015, with two weeks notice, we uprooted our family and I moved to New Mexico for an exciting new job while The Man and Kiddo moved to San Diego and we lived apart and I commuted on weekends to California for 8 months. Every weekend in January I flew home to pack up our house. That part was awful.

In 2016, I broke my foot in five places and ended up in a cast until May. Still recovering from this doozy. After lots of therapy and such, my latest blessing is yoga, which has really been helping me recover my balance and stability on my feet. I think it's also got to be helping some with swelling in my foot and ankle too, getting the blood and energy flowing throughout the body.

Given all that there's no doubt that this year I was feeling a little nervous about facing the beginning of January again. But I am a little more confident that the first month of this year may be without incident and we are all healthy and well. Looking back I am also recognizing again the blessings that came from all those experiences, even though they were beyond challenging. Even though some of the events were great, great things -- there were also some very difficult pills to swallow with each big change and quite a bit of acute stress at the time.

So here's to 2017, may she be a great one. Monday I'll share with you my word for the year. It actually ties in quite nicely with the theme of this post. If you have a theme word for 2017 I'd love to hear it if you want to share it in the comments.

19 January 2017

What Happens When Someone Steals Your Identity On Twitter

I thought I would share with you what has been happening since I found a copycat kalanicut account on Twitter. I happened to do a search for kalanicut from one of my other twitter accounts and two users came up. That was a surprise. Here's a look at my actual account on the left and the bogus account on the right.

I was pretty miffed to say the least, to find my headshot, business name, bio and blog address cloned onto this other account. In case this is already happening or might happen to you in the future I thought I'd share what has been going on since I first found out.

First I did a quick google search to find out the best way to handle complaints to Twitter. Then I followed the instructions to file a complaint with Twitter. They got back to me within 24 hours and while I was hoping they would just look at their records, see that I'd had my account since 2009 and push forward to shut down the other account, that isn't what happened.

As is so frequently the case now, proving who I am became an assignment and work I had to do. Doesn't it seem like it should be the other party who gets the questioning and has to go to work to defend themselves, rather than the victim?!

I will say, as if you can't tell, I was annoyed at first but once I got started it only took me about 30 minutes to write a statement, take photos and send copies of my photo ID and business card to Twitter. I included photos of both Twitter accounts, details on how long I'd belonged to Twitter, and a link to my website where they could find further proof of who I am and my brand, which I own the rights to.

It was pretty easy to upload these documents to Twitter's secure server, although it was a little annoying that you had to do them one at a time. That seems a little old-fashioned and slow in a world where we've been able to grab and upload multiple files for at least a couple of decades.

So now I'm waiting to hear back from Twitter on what will happen next. I'm really hoping this won't be a long drawn out process. I feel it should be fairly easy for them to prove who I am and prove that the other account is bogus. Fingers crossed.

*Update 1/19, 5:18 p.m. Well I just went to check my account since I received an email from Twitter that said the copycat account had been suspended. So I went to go into my account and it said it was suspended....and guess which account is still active? That's right! The copycat account. Two more emails to Twitter support...tick...tock..

*Update 1/22: It looks like things are finally straightened out and I have access to my Twitter account again. The annoying thing is now I am getting "thanks for following me" messages from every person I've followed that sends those out. So a ton of people think I've just followed them, when I've been following them for years. That will end at some point thank goodness. But I'm glad that (hopefully) things have evened out and are back as they should be.

18 January 2017

Update and Revisit: That Extra Effort To Be Well Put Together

I'm sure some of you have heard and others haven't heard about Dressing Your Truth. I won't go into it much, because I have some mixed emotions about it all, but I will say that a former co-worker introduced me to it and I studied up and found some things that were really helpful and inspiring.

After some debating I figured out that I think I am a Type 1 with a Type 2 secondary. That will only make sense to you if you've studied DYT. Anyway, that has got me thinking about adding a lot more color to my wardrobe which I realized over the past year has become almost completely black or some other dark color with the occasional punches of a pretty scarf, blouse, etc. A wake up call, not just from DYT but what I know about myself already that I need to start dressing more like myself.

So I've been working on adding more color in every way possible and thinking in more colorful terms about my wardrobe and how I express my style. Really good inspiration. If you want to learn more about Dressing Your Truth you can check out their website. There is a link to four short videos you can watch to get a better idea of what type you are and wardrobe inspiration. Also if you do a search on Pinterest for Dressing Your Truth there is a lot of stuff there as well.

So that all reminded me about this post I wrote a few years ago about a good friend I saw who just looked so well put together and professional and comfortable. I started thinking about her secret was and how it made her look so polished.Here's a link to that post and inspiration from my friend. I try to remember this often when I start getting into a fashion slump. Just last night I was looking at some fun new clog sandals for Spring. I really like to wear my pops of color on my feet, so that is one way I can accessorize in a simple way that pops.

17 January 2017

Re-establishing A Morning Routine

I am working on establishing a new morning routine in 2017. This includes getting more sleep. Which is always a challenge for me...as has been mentioned here a multitude of times. Another part of my mornings now is my yoga practice. I have to tell you that after I finished yoga and meditations/positive affirmations this morning I felt so amazing I couldn't believe it. My body felt good, my spirit felt light and I was ready to take on the day.

This was our sunrise this morning. I pays to once in a while be the one who drags the trash can up to the street. Sunrises and sunsets in New Mexico are just one of the very best things about living here! This view is an amazing way to wake up and get going in the mornings.

Yesterday evening I fixed up our former storage room, that is actually our family room. I started it a while ago and then yesterday got the push to move it forward again. It's a really weird space so it has been frustrating to try to decorate. I'll share a bit more about that soon. Our house is all tile and brick floors except for two small bedrooms on one side of the house, so one thing we miss is a nice soft, carpeted floor to stand and walk on.

With a big, cushy vintage rug, we bought at the estate sale from the house we originally hoped to buy, now covering most of our family room we now have another soft spot for our tootsies and we couldn't be happier. Unfortunately the dog also quite likes this rug which leads to the necessity for constant vacuuming, even though his kennel and a big dog rug/bed is just a couple of feet away from our nice rug.

But today I finally had a soft spot to lay down my yoga mat for my morning practice. It was heavenly after lying on a yoga mat on brick and tile floors trying to find a comfortable spot. The family room is now my space and I love it! Had the most fantastic morning doing 20 minutes of yoga and then 10 minutes of meditations. I just made up my own positive affirmations this morning and it was great. I have been reading again about the power of visualization and I really want to make that a more powerful element in my life!

Part of my morning rituals are also some scripture reading, prayer and journal time. Right now I am keeping two journals simultaneously. One is a health and fitness journal where I am tracking my food intake, exercise, and progress in my journey to better self care and overcoming some current health challenges. Then I have my regular journal where I keep all sorts of thoughts, plans and a record of daily events, progress, etc. I have noticed that being consistent with my journaling the past month has really helped me stay more even-keeled and less uptight and worried about life. Being able to unravel and deconstruct moods and thoughts helps a lot.

Another thing I have been working on is praying in the mornings, throughout the day and in the evenings about specific goals. I feel like it has really helped me to seek calm and peace in God, which helps me to stay more grounded and centered and thus more focused on the important things. I'll share more about that soon too.

It does take a couple of hours to get this all done in the mornings but it's so worth it and when I take that time for me first thing in the morning I feel much more empowered and cared for during the day. It reminds me of some great advice a friend one gave me about giving to myself first in the day so I can better give to others the rest of the day.

Taking time for important things that feed the soul first thing in the morning has always been an valuable and joyful part of healthy living for me. I believe it helps me to be a better person throughout the day. It lowers my stress levels - which improves my health too. I'm feeling so good with a better morning routine in the new year! The best part is all of this healthy living and good feeling is that it is absolutely free, doesn't cost a dime and is so much better than seeking temporary comfort in food, shopping, TV or other less filling attempts to fill one's emotional bank account.

13 January 2017

Pin Test #24: Crack Broccoli

It's time for more Pin Tests! I take a pin from Pinterest and try it out and give my thumbs up, thumbs down or even thumbs sideways with some additional explanation about what I've tried differently that originally suggested. This week's Pin Test (I won't keep you in suspense!) is a total thumbs up. It's deliciously perfect for the cold days of winter and full of "good for you" things like garlic, lemon and healthy dark, leafy greens! Meet "Crack Broccoli" from the blog A Beautiful Plate.

image via A Beautiful Plate

I have been making this about once a week since around Thanksgiving time and it's a hit and every bit of it gets gobbled up. It seriously takes Broccoli to a whole new level. It is so tasty. Can I first sell you something amazing about Broccoli. The big thick stems are not to be cut up and thrown out! Peel the thick hide off them and the insides are amazing, delicious and tender. No matter how I'm fixing broccoli I cook the stems and love them! In this recipe I would just cut off the bottom half inch or less of the stalks and then you don't need to peel them, just slice them up. 

Quick explanation, you slice the heads of Broccoli up like steaks from top to bottom. You can see that in the photo. Then you mix Olive Oil, Pepper Flakes, Garlic and Salt together in a bowl then toss in all the broccoli until it's well covered. (Please note that in this recipe, the salt is listed in the ingredients list but not mentioned in the process of mixing the ingredients. I either add it in with the oil mixture or just sprinkle Kosher Salt on the Broccoli once it's on the pan. I think either works.)

Then you lay it all out on the pan, roast it for 10-12 minutes, then flip all the stakes over and add your Almonds and roast for another 8-10 minutes. Then sprinkle with cheese and a bit of lemon juice.

A few alterations I've made:
1) 475 degrees is a little too hot with our oven and I was continually burning the broccoli. So I am using 470 now and it seems to be working well. No more burning. This is something to gauge with your own oven as they all work a little differently.

2) I use whatever cheese I have on hand and it all tastes good. My favorite is Parmesan, but I've used Cheddar, Monterrey, Monterrey Jack, Mozzarella...whatever I have available. If you want the cheese a little toasty you can add it the last couple of minutes of your roasting time on the second side.

3) The amount of Lemon Juice in the recipe was a little too lemony for my family. I sometimes just skip it or I just add a few drops here and there. Less is more if it gets too intense.

As I said, we are gobbling up this recipe like crazy. I even included it in our Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners. We usually depend on a lot of salads to get our greens but now that it is colder it's nice to have something warm and crunchy to help us get all our veggies in our diet every day. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

12 January 2017

Mom Pains: Sending Kids Out Into The World

Our Kiddo is halfway through the fifth grade now. Hard to believe. Seems like just yesterday I was walking her to her first day of school at her new school in January 2012. I cried that day with joy. And still all these years later I am amazed that every morning when I send her out the door I still feel a little pang of maternal protectiveness and sadness that I have to send her out into the big world alone, even though I know she's excited and wants to go.

It seems that in parenthood, we're always looking to get out of the current phase, newborn sleeplessness, diapers, potty training, nigh terrors, peeing the bed, toddler tantrums and right on up to disrespectful tweens and limits-pushing teenagers. There is so much talk about "Ugh, these kids, this day!"

But one thing no one ever really prepares you for or perhaps we can't be prepared for is how fast it all goes. It seems that every empty nester gets it. Truly the days ARE long but the years ARE short. With ever passing year they become more independent and more excited about things happening away from you and away from home.

Oh, to have more of this perspective when they are tiny and be able to drink it in more - those days when they think the entire universe revolves around you, your arms, your smile, your hugs and kisses. Just like an infant, every week or so, our kiddo looks different: older, taller and right now, more gangly. She's exhausted from growing and learning and seeing so much every day. I still even now, need to be reminded to enjoy these days. When I can't understand why her room is a mess, even when she cleans it every day. When we are talked back to. When a few minutes of screen time results in grumpy, zombie behavior.

I know that 18 is not far away. I remember when she was three years old and very much wanted to do something that you have to be 12 years old to do. I remember how we talked about it being nine more years until she would be old enough. In a few weeks she will be 11 and after that it will be just 12 short months until she turns 12. Where did that time go?!

Because she is the only kid we'll ever raise in our household- and certainly not by choice - I think the pain of her growing up may be a little more acute. We got one chance and soon enough it will be over. No chance to experiment on another kid or fix mistakes we have learned. No other toddlers to hug and kiss and be agitated with when they draw crayons on the furniture or red permanent marker on the white kitchen floor.

Every morning as I hear the sliding door close behind her and the "love you"s and "have a great day"s have been hollered across the house, I feel a little sad for us, but try to always remember to be happy and excited for her. She wants to go out into the world...and she must. But I wonder now if it always pains a mother's heart a little to send her little ones out of the nest, knowing they'll come back now and then but that the time will get shorter and shorter each time.

What amazing lessons parenthood teachers us and how much bravery it requires! I made a comment on a social post about motherhood the other day saying not only is raising a child difficult but it becomes even more challenging because we're also raising ourselves as parents. That is not easy. But what a fantastic experience God has given us, in whatever capacity it may come, as a parent, extended family member or family friend to be a part of a child's life, to see life through their eyes and have the chance to inspire, guide and love them -- and BE loved by them. I'm glad it stings a little every day because it reminds me to be grateful and present in that moment.

11 January 2017

Favorite Gifts From The Holidays

Now that the holidays are packed away and we're full steam ahead into the new year,  I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some of my best gifts from the holidays. I got a few things that are really just so ideal for me.

I think it's incredibly hard for little kids to figure out a really valuable and useful gift for parents. So I try to think of things that are in a kid budget and that can be personalized by a kiddo for parents. This year I asked for a binder that I could keep all my latest recipes in. I have a set of beautiful green and white binders where I organized all my printed and clipped recipes I've collected over the years. Unfortunately they are all still packed in boxes because we are still waiting a year later for our contractor to fix our brick floors which continue to sink. They've been "fixed" once but it didn't really work and we've been waiting for them to come back. Sigh. So I haven't really unpacked or set up one side of our kitchen yet where a bookcase will be and where I can store all my binders.

So I have printed out a few old recipes and then I've been collecting a few new recipes and just putting them in a stack in a kitchen drawer. Not super tidy, effective or pretty...plus the recipes were getting food stains on them. Ick. Kiddo, with a little help from The Man, decorated a nice binder with plastic sleeves that I could put those recipes in. I loved it and it's going to be a favorite keepsake for our family, I am sure. It is so nice to have all my most used recipes all neatly organized in the binder!

image via Kohls

Another gift I received that I am really excited about it a great new blow dryer. My old blow dryer died a month or so before Christmas, well it didn't die, but the heat element went out. So that didn't really work so well for me, but it's being used elsewhere for other things that don't require a lot of heat but do need forced air. One of my gifts from The Man was a new Conair Infinity blow dryer and it is the best blow dryer I have ever owned. My hair gets dry so fast and my hair looks super smooth. Amazing.

And there is one gift that hasn't arrived yet that I am very excited about now that it has turned true winter here in New Mexico. My parents got us an oversized king down comforter that should be arriving sometime in the next 48 hours. My parents gave us the money and I did the research to figure out what to buy and then ordered it. It has been so cold here the past week that I cannot wait to add a big fluffy comforter to our bed. We have a queen size one that we threw on the bed a few weeks ago, but it's just a place holder and not very pretty.

image via Amazon

Now with the down comforter I can finally finish up the bed decor for our room. I purchased a dark blue embroidered Nate Berkus comforter cover early in 2016 and it has just been waiting for a down comforter to fill it. Along with that I purchased an olive herringbone quilt to fold and put along the foot of the bed. I wanted to go for a more masculine bed and paired with white sheets I think I definitely hit masculine.

I picked up some pretty light gray velvet 12x18 pillows at IKEA last summer while in Utah to give our bed some feminine touch. I also want to add just a touch of fuschia with some embroidered or patterned pillows of some sort at some point. I did find some I loved at a ridiculous price last winter and I blew it and didn't pull the trigger when I first saw them and when I went back they were all gone. Lesson learned. When  get the bed all pulled together I'll post a photo with some details.

Oh I should also share with you what I got from Santa Claus. He was very good to me and got me quite a few things that were exactly what I wanted. How did he know???? The best thing I got were four books that I've been enjoying since Christmas and am looking forward to looking at again -- all home design and decor books that I've wanted for a while. I got both books from the Young House Love team of John and Sherry Petersik: Young House Love and Lovable, Livable Home, Gabrielle Blair's book Design Mom: How To Live With Kids and Emily Henderson's book Styled.

It was fun to have beautiful and inspiring books to thumb through the week after Christmas! I have read all four of them now, but am looking forward to thumbing back through them and just taking in all the images again for more inspiration. I grabbed a composition notebook and took notes for our house, room by room from the ideas I got from each author.

So there is my "gifts I received" holiday wrap up. I am so grateful for people who love me, know me and were so generous in their giving to me. I love my family. I like that all these things are things I needed and will use - a lot. Can't wait for that first nights sleep under our down comforter and every time I make a meal or blow dry my hair my gratitude warms my heart!

10 January 2017

Yoga and Meditation Re-awakening

One of the things I have had as a high priority that I have not followed up on in the past few months was to re-begin a yoga practice. I always feel amazing when I have a regular yoga practice going and it's amazing how much energy and love of life it gives you. My body has been telling me over and over that I needed to start doing morning yoga and despite that strong call I had not done it. Until yesterday.

Life Changer! Wow! Despite the fact that Sunday night was a bit of a disaster, I stuck with my goal. I went to bed far later than I intended to. I just didn't realize how late it was and was on a bit of a roll about getting some things done. I think an afternoon nap exacerbated that situation. But an hour after I went to sleep Kiddo was up and in our bedroom. I got her back to sleep about 30 minutes later. A while later The Man was having a bad dream and in his sleep asking me really nonsensical questions in bed about stuff that was totally not important at 4 a.m. Needless to say 6:30 came way too early for this family. But we all got up and got the day going and as soon as Kiddo was on the school bus The Man and I were taking a nap.

After a brief nap, I got dressed in appropriate yoga attire and found a beginner's yoga routine on YouTube that looked promising. At first I was rather horrified at the fact that I could no longer properly do any of the exercises but had to do a modified version of everything. I have known since I broke my foot that my balance and flexibility have gotten pretty bad and I knew yoga would help with that. But I had no idea how bad things were until I jumped back in the yoga saddle. I think this is a pretty normal feeling any time anyone begins a yoga practice but it's always a little disheartening.

But never fear. I progressed through the workout and worked on my breathing and extending myself a little more with each pose. One thing that has always amazed me about yoga is how far you really can extend stretches beyond what you initially think you can do with a little concentration, relaxation and continued reaching. It's incredible.

Despite my awe at how poor my flexibility has become, I ended the workout on a total high, feeling a huge wave of greater circulation, flow and ease throughout my body. I could feel the energy just pulsing and my skeleton and muscles all felt in better alignment. Boy did that feel great and continue to feel great throughout the day. Now it's clear my body knew what it was telling me (as if I didn't know that all along) and I wish I'd acted sooner.

Doing just twenty minutes of yoga was good for me to. In the past I've done a full hour workout and for some reason I felt like I had to do the full hour or I wasn't trying enough or going to have a complete experience. Guess what, that was really dumb. It goes along with the thinking we sometimes have when we overwhelm ourselves thinking we need to go to the gym 5-6 times a week and that amount of stress and pressure makes us give us on going 2-3 times a week because we're not doing it the way we think we have to do it. Doing twenty minutes of yoga was just fine and I felt amazing, my body felt good and it was the right amount for a re-beginning effort. I need to work on doing each pose better and more fully, rather than working on a ton of poses none of which I can do well. Silly thinking.

After my yoga workout, I did two 10-minute meditations. One was for beginning the day with good energy and the other was by Deepak Chopra where I heard some things that really inspired me. He was talking about judging others and said that when we make others bad or wrong we stop our own flow of Spirit and curtail our own creativity.  So interesting. I think about this a lot as I see so many people in our country from all sides so desperate to make other people wrong and bad and trumpet that they are right. Not a good practice for peace, self-improvement or gaining wisdom. I'm working on this in my own life but it certainly seems like something our country at large needs right now.

After my yoga and meditation practices yesterday I came bounding up the stairs to take on the day, full of energy and enthusiasm. That feeling alone was worth the time, let alone what the efforts did for my body and well-being overall.

If you're interested, here are the three guided videos I tried yesterday. I've saved them all to do again but will keep exploring new ones too. I'll share them here with you if you are interested. Let me know!

Beginning Yoga by  Boho Beautiful
Guided Morning Meditation by Mantra Malta
The Secret of Attraction by Deepak Chopra

09 January 2017

Update and Revisit: Creating Your Dream Life

The new year is always a time that gets me excited for what can be and this year I am revisiting one of the great activities I've done over the past 8 years that has really helped me focus on what I want to do in my life.

I take a sheet of paper and usually draw an circle in the middle of it and write MY LIFE inside it. Then I start out drawing a line from the circle and at the end of the line I write one thing I feel I must have in my life or that I really want. For instance, it might be a garden, more peace, exercise, a different car, etc. And I keep going until I run out of ideas. I've learned a few things over the years about this activity and now I usually make it a two step process. One day I write down everything I can possibly think of that I would like for my life. Then a few days later I review it and cut out anything that really isn't a must for my happiness or that isn't something I feel I can accomplish realistically right now. I try to hone it down to things I really do want most and that are true necessities or very strong desires.

This helps me to focus a bit more, not overwhelm myself and to be a little more serious about what's truly vital to my life, my happiness and my needs. Then I recreate a new MY LIFE chart. I hang this up in my office and then when I am considering opportunities and how I spend my time I am able to reference this chart to see if said opportunities fit any of the categories. If they don't it's probably something I don't need to do or is not going to take me where I want to go in my life. A simple example, say for instance I wrote down that snow skiing was a must have in my life. It would make no sense to move to a tropical island.

So far this year I have created my The Sky's The Limit version of MY LIFE and now I'm in process to hone it down, eliminate excess and complete the project. It was helpful for me to review how I've done this in the past, so I wanted to share those posts with you. Here's the post from the first time I did this project.

My First Dream Life Chart
Dream Life Chart Update: This was written shortly after I experienced a life-threatening infection and lost my hearing for a few months. Challenging time!

Below I am also adding a post I wrote several years ago that was originally published in 2011 on the blog: reFind Joy. The website, that was more lifestyle at the time, is now a business site, so my post is no longer available there. I wanted to have a copy of it available and added it here.

Actualizing My Dream Life and Finding My Joy
By Kalani Cropper

I am so happy to be here talking about joy today. I love joy. In 2009 I was working long hours in a stressful industry and had given up many things I love to focus on my career.  I was tired and too busy. I sat down one day, with a pretty piece of yellow cardstock and wrote My Dream Life in the center of it. I drew an oval around that then drew one line out from it and wrote down one thing I wanted for my dream life.

In a few minutes I had drawn 33 lines out from that oval. Things that ranged from the vehicle I wanted to drive, the family I wanted to have, the way I wanted to look and the work and play I wanted to do – all the things I felt I needed to have an abundance of real joy in my life. This life existed for me in another space and time and how desperately I wanted to arrive there.

I carried that yellow cardstock with me every day. I would look at it longing, from time to time, looking forward to the day. Then one day a couple months later, I decided to look at it with fresh eyes and note everything that had begun to happen. I was able to check off nine things that had either come into my life, changed in my life or were in the process of changing. I wanted a garden. Without thinking about it I planted a few vegetable and herb plants on my patio and was harvesting beautiful tomatoes and fresh thyme and basil. I wanted a life where I could ride my bike most places. I started riding my bike more places. I had begun to more conscientiously live my dream life.

I looked a few weeks later and realized that even more things had begun to change in my life. This time I marked 21 items. A few weeks later 29. At that moment I was amazed that the life of my dreams didn’t require a move to a new state, a large yard, charming little free-standing house, a quiet small town, a different body or new closet full of clothes. It did not require an all-out evacuation of my current life. It only required a more conscious living in the space where I was. It came to me that I already had all the elements of my dream life right there with a little more awareness, a few small changes and more enjoyable actions.

With this new appreciation I continued to make more changes in my life. Some were easy, some were harder. Some looked like they would be painful and weren’t.  Life continued to change and I continued to enjoy more and more the life of my dreams.

On a Sunday afternoon in January of this year, I found myself being ordered by an urgent care physician to get to a hospital immediately for a CAT scan. I had expected to get a prescription for antibiotics and head back home to the couch. Twelve hours later when I left the ER to be admitted to the hospital I expected to be hospitalized overnight. The next morning when I asked the specialist who checked me out if I was going home that day he said oh no, you’re not going anywhere.  Two months later, I’m feeling much better but still have lingering effects and more treatment to come. After being unable to do anything but lie down or sit and rest for four weeks, my priorities had begun to change yet again. Sitting still is not something I am good at.

But I knew this experience had happened for a reason. As I considered all I could’ve lost, all my recuperation required and the lingering health issues that might never fully repair, my perspective on all I needed in my life had quietly but intently changed. Weeks later, I decided to create a new dream life chart for 2011 and as a new start.

I started out the same…the oval…the lines shooting out from it. But this time I only came up with nine things -- nine things that really and truly mattered to my life and made me happy.  I would be okay without my dream wardrobe, I would be okay without my dream work, I would be okay without my dream house, vehicle or travel. What now mattered most to me was my life, my health, my loved ones, peace, calm, laughter and basic living needs. I felt a huge burden lifted from me. I felt lighter, more agile, more settled down and more certain of what mattered to me. At that time it was impossible for me to get caught up in wants that were unnecessary. I also felt less tolerant of spending one minute doing anything I despise or to be disingenuous in anyway.

At the same time I felt more motivated than ever to have the life I dream of and make good use of my time, energy and resources. No more playing small, more Just Do It.  It was a sweet time, that moment between painful illness and entering fully and completely back into regular, busy, stressful life – where I could watch my life for a moment with a clear, peaceful head.

I will never be able to think of that time without being reminded to keep life sweet and simple – and to remember that all the elements of my dream life, my joy, are here right now, today all around me.

Here's another update from 2013 that talks a little more about my process and the things I've learned along with a link to an inspiring article from Drew Barrymore.

2013 My Dream Life

If you feel inspired to try to create  map of your dream life I'd love to hear about your process and inspiration. Leave a comment below if you like!

06 January 2017

Organizing And Reorganizing For The New Year

It seems many of us enter the new year with a burst of energy for reorganization. This is usually the time of year when I get pretty serious about making a sweep through the entire house to organize better spaces and reorganize areas that have grown out of control over the year. The week before Christmas, when we were down with a mild and queasy flu, I grabbed a composition notebook and started making a list of organization projects, room by room.

In the few days before Christmas, in between nursing hits of ginger ale for the stomach, watching movies and taking feverish naps, I managed to knock off a list of small projects. I reorganized my sock drawer and got rid of a lot of no longer attractive socks. I reorganized where I keep my workout clothes and pajamas, taking advantage of the huge drawers under the half-staircase that leads down to our bedroom. They are right next to my side of the bed and don't make a lot of sense overall. But for bulky things like workout clothes and pajamas I now realize they are perfect. Under the top landing of the staircase there are four square-front drawers stacked two on two. So I took the top two for clothes and in the bottom two I put books I like to have by my bed on one side and bedside toiletries (hand lotion, saline nasal spray, eye drops, a few favorite essential oils and stress-relief scents, microwave heating pads, etc.) in the other. Great use of the space and now there is far less clutter around my bed. Hooray! It'e easier to keep all the surfaces around the bed clutter free, which makes for a much more restful space.

In the bedroom I still need to reorganize my jewelry drawers. They used to be so fabulously organized and now some of my jewelry is getting older and worn, there are a few pieces that need repair and I really need to just update a lot of my costume jewelry pieces. So that will be a project for another day. I also need to tidy up the lingerie drawers and my swimwear drawer. Trying to do just one drawer a day seems much more manageable than trying to tackle the entire room.

Simultaneously, which wouldn't be recommended by any professional organizer, I've been working on my office. Today I got the itch to organize all the small supplies I have in my work space. On one side of my desk is basic office supplies that they entire family uses. On the other is my business supply cabinet with small bits and pieces I'm using to make things. As I'm going through cupboards and drawers I am questioning why I chose to store some things in the office. What was I thinking when we moved in?! I guess it felt like I had all the room in the world at the time, but now I'm taking books and other things out of this space and putting them in our family room. I also need to reorganize the printer area. We seem to have two dead printers suddenly -- a vintage laser printer and "not old enough to be dead yet", "multi-purpose-do-it-all-but-not really" inkjet printer -- and now have a new one that's working like a charm. I need to disconnect the oldies and give them a proper resting place.

In my beautiful former workspace in Los Angeles, it was all open shelving and I'd designed a place for everything before I purchased the Elfa unit that I came to really love and enjoy. Just talking about it or looking at old photos makes me a little sad. Here I have four big boxy drawers, four lower cabinet shelves and two sets of upper cabinet shelves...all with doors. Initially I thought the doors were fantastic because they would hide everything. And hide every they do. Getting stuff in and out is a major pain and the short height of the shelves makes storing anything vertical like binders or magazine racks impossible. Frustrating. So I'm working at trying to find better solutions for usage of the space. Maybe I'll buy some bright baskets for the lower shelves so that I can see what's inside those deep, dark caverns.

I'm hoping that by having my areas of the house more organized it will help inspire others to be a bit more organized with their things. I was imagining that it would take a couple of weeks to get things spic and span in my spaces, working in between many other commitments, but it might be the entire month of January and that's okay. I'll just keep working at it. It seems like every time I start a project, not long after I see The Man working on organizing some area of the house or garage.

The other big key to organization success is finishing small projects. If they don't get finished, they often stay unfinished for a while and multiple half-done projects just make everything feel chaotic. So if I start something, I want to finish it all at one time, in a couple of hours, more or less. This is the biggest reason why I am keeping daily projects so bite-size.

I have lots more to do in the office. Home offices seem to be where everyone dumps things and ours is no different. Since it's a shared space with the laundry I've had to really crack down on dirty laundry making its way into the dirty clothes baskets rather than thrown on the floor. Life with family is a constant battle for cleanliness and order, is it not.

We've been working really hard with The Bug to help her create good habits for staying organized and keeping her room a place where people, especially she, wants to be. Her room is small so we try not to keep too much stuff in there. There are other areas of the house where she can store toys and games, winter clothes, etc. So the goal is to keep her room simple and mostly for sleeping and getting dressed and ready for bed. Instilling this goal in the heart and mind of a pre-teen is a good parenting challenge...daily....I'll leave it at that. Ha.

While I'm writing this, solutions are coming to me for some other organization challenges we have in this house. I need to race in and write those down in my 2017 organization notebook before I forget. I think after a year here in this house we've really come to a place where we have found the quirky things about it that don't work so well. But solving those in a way that works for our family is our next big challenge and I know it's totally doable with a little elbow grease and strategic thinking. We have plenty of space, we just need to use it better and find ways around some of the bizarre quirks.

Do you get the organizing bug at the beginning of the new year? If so, what projects are you taking one and how is it going? Thanks for coming by!

03 January 2017

Tired Holiday Family aka Simpler is Better

I started the holiday season out in early November with so much excitement and energy. By mid-December, while I was still excited for Christmas there was a part of me that was just ready to get to the New Year already. I think part of that was that I had not been feeling for a while and with a little anxiety was hoping that some upcoming doctor visits would help shed some light and give me a plan that would get me back to my usual self. I'm in progress on those things and the clarity I have gained has definitely helped.

I think our family overall was a little tired and ready for a break. Despite our best intents to keep Kiddo's life "unbusy" it still feels really busy with just a couple of extra curricular activities, not to mention trying to teach her a good work ethic, have her participate in chores around the house, find time for friends and rest and all those important things.

This is something I want to try to remember for future holiday seasons, you will get tired. You might get sick. When I plan in those eventualities it sure does make things easier. I mentioned in yesterday's post that thanks to getting sick and being forced to rest the week before Christmas I saw a dramatic difference in our family.

Everyone was calmer, kinder, spoke more gently, had more patience and was just mellowed out. That made me realize that we had been operating with a lot of stress, were tired and cranky. And it helped me realize that life doesn't have to be that way. Overall we need more rest, more quiet time, more relaxing activities, simple, healthy meals and much more sleep.

These are things I am really going to monitor more often. When I was growing up, a couple of times a year my sisters, my mom and I, would do a shopping day together. Invariable about 3 p.m. people would start falling apart, getting cranky and very low energy. I realized one day that if we got a little treat and took some downtime for 30 minutes we were all fine shortly thereafter and able to continue on with our day and get home without any stress.

I try to remember this small but helpful lesson on family outings now and especially in the afternoons after school or when we are working on challenging projects. Rest and refreshment go a long way to minimize anxiety and exhaustion. I want to make sure we're using our downtime on activities that actually rest and revive the soul, rather than just allow us to numb out. I have found that screen time does not quiet or relax or refresh the soul. It's just more noise most of the time. Stillness is stillness. Going outside, sitting in a soft seat surrounded by quiet or peaceful music, having in-person conversations,  accomplishing a small task, these kinds of activities restore the soul.

I'm glad we had that week of sickness to help me see how I could help my family and our home life with more stillness and rest. I'll definitely carry that lesson forward with me and when things get tired and tense I'll remember there are solutions and that life doesn't have to feel so chaotic.

How were your holidays and did you learn anything about your family that you'll carry forward with you into the new year? I bet you did.

02 January 2017

Saying Goodbye To The Holidays

It's a new year and time to reboot here at kalanicut. December was a bit of a whirlwind, as it is for all of us. I'm glad I made an early start of shopping and decorating for the holidays as the twelfth month became a challenging one.

Looking back it's easy to see how things get so busy when there are so many things happening at school with the kiddo, lots of church activities, making and baking to do, cards to get in the mail and so many small details that seem to eat up time. Tack onto that some health issues and you're done. I had several doctors appointments this month, including an MRI on my formerly broken foot. I'm committing to better self care, which takes time and sometimes dealing with some issues you've been ignoring. That's where I'm at right now. We also had a very mild case of stomach flu the week leading into Christmas and in a way it was a blessing.

It stopped us all in our tracks and forced us into downtime mode. I think that blessed our holiday because instead of the usual frenzy of activity the days leading into Christmas we stayed home, watched movies and took care of ourselves and each other. While fevers, aches and more weren't enjoyable that's really about as bad as it got. We were lucky!!!! But feeling crummy kept us in slow motion which was good. I just panicked every time friends came to our door with holidays goodies, fearing they would get our germs and their entire families would get sick for the holidays. So we were very careful about keeping our distance and our germs to ourselves, quarantining ourselves and cleaning all possibly infected surfaces.

I was also glad we hadn't planned any holiday travel because we didn't need to get other people sick and we didn't need to catch that nasty cold/flu that has been going around all over the place on top of what we already had. Whew.

So we slid right into Christmas, made it to church for services that day and enjoyed sticking at home for the better part of two weeks, mostly in pajamas. Having to get dressed to meet the world is going to be a bit of an adjustment after the cozy, comfy, homebound holiday we've had. I realized after the first week that we were all much calmer, more positive, quiet and peaceful than it has been around here in recent weeks. More sleep, less stress, more quietude...these things really do affect mental health and how a family gets along with each other!

We watched almost all the Good Witch movies (still have the last two to go at some point in the future), the Transformers series, some Captain America and a few other things. We also got the When Calls The Heart movie collection which we haven't started yet. We have had a few game nights, lots of reading time and taken several good walks around our mountain neighborhood.

We also spent some time on some home clean up/organizing projects too. We're making some progress. One of our worst projects was spending 4 hours cleaning my car. Getting the dog hair out of the upholstery was a nightmare, but boy does my car shine now.

School doesn't ramp back up until Wednesday so I don't think life will get moving too seriously until then, which I don't mind. We have desperately needed a good long rest. I think we are all ready to get back into more of a real life routine now. Appointments, work projects and many other things will quickly start gobbling up time soon. It's been great to rest and at the same time start collecting inspiration for 2017. I'll have lots to write about that coming up in the next few weeks. Plus I will reveal my word for 2017. I haven't even made my sign yet. Got to get on that. I'm dreaming about vision boards and so many other things. I'll share some motivational projects from the past in the coming days too. Lots of fun conversations to have with you!

Wishing you the very best in this year. I believe, despite fears, worries, and challenges we may be carrying into the future, we can find joy in every day. There are moments of magic every day. There are minutes to be grabbed in every day for pure enjoyment, peace and happiness. And I believe whole heartedly that God is blessing us in every way he can, every day. Happy New Year friends!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...