10 ways to live simply

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last week, on the tenth, i thought of ten ways i had embraced intentional simplicity for ten years … i had to think about it a bit, because when you do something for quite some time you may not realize it is actually intentional any more. however, this life is often enticing us – presenting itself – commanding us so that we pay attention to it and it can easily become over full. so i have had to be quite purposeful in continuing practices i started all those years ago.

:: simple exercise each morning when possible – i woke up one morning, years ago, and my back was out of place, it was painful and my normal stretching did not make it feel better. it progressively got worse and worse, until i was to the point where i could not lay down to sleep for three months. i did, at last, (after months of seeking) find someone to realign everything. however, i was weak and did not want an aggressive exercise to help strengthen my back, keep me limber and build my strength again. i found a qigong routine that really helped me stretch, balance and get strong again. i have been doing ‘a.m. chi for beginners’ when possible each morning for years now. it is a gentle and quiet start to the day.

:: no watching the news; morning, noon or night – i have actually had this practice for far more then 10 years. i prefer to access news that interests me by other means, typically what makes ‘news’ is sad, shocking or disheartening.

:: no television – i have never been much into television, but as years have passed there just seemed to be less and less of value to watch. so once digital replaced analog it was difficult to get any signal, and i thought it was a good breaking point. initially it was going to be a trial period of a year, but we don’t seem to really miss it … we watch vhs or dvds that we have collected over the years. it has freed up hours of time.

:: reduced magazine subscriptions – as an interior designer i used to get 15+ magazines monthly, i would look at them all, read a lot of them and keep many. it all took a great deal of time even though i did like looking at them. i let them all lapse and purposefully kept getting only 2. i enjoy them and pour over them again and again as they are more special.

:: reduced junk mail – there does not seem to be as much junk mail as there once was, but years ago i stopped all catalogs, mailers and offers by calling and asking to be taken off lists. i still have to do this from time to time, but we have very little irrelevant mail in our box.

:: quiet time each night – i have done this for far more then 10 years as well. when my daughter was young i would instill quiet time an hour or so before her bedtime, only quiet play or reading. the years have gone by and each night i still light candles, typically have a hot drink in the cooler months and have quiet time before heading off to bed; time to reflect on the day and relax.

:: have a pet – even though pets can be (and are) more work, they add so much to our lives. having a cat has been so enriching, they are so fun to watch and play with, and ours is constantly by our side if she is not napping. they just have a natural way of calming when we interact with them.

:: have a family day – typically these would be sundays. the intention would be to spend the day together with no lists of ‘must do'; usually starting the day with going to church and then perhaps visiting family or friends, watching a movie, playing board games, reading, light shopping, taking a walk, going for ice cream or whatever. now that my girl is off to college they are not so much a family day, but we still try to do similar things.

:: take time to listen – as my daughter grew up i would really try to make time to listen whenever she wanted to share something. when she was littler i would spend such a long time talking with her about her day after tucking her in to bed. we would talk about all the things that had happened in the day, ups and downs. i loved that time because we were at the end of a busy day and we just focused on the conversation because all else was quiet. as time passed we did not have this ritual as much, but it was still important to have conversation, so i wanted to take time whenever i could.

:: drive slower and allow more time to travel – i have found that if i can leave ten minutes sooner for a destination (of any length) then i think i need to, everything goes more smoothly. i have gotten much, much better at doing this and find it makes for such a better outcome if i drive slower and enjoy the scenery, no matter where i am off to.

there are many other ways to introduce simple living … these are ten that are important to me. what about you?

wishing you a lovely rest of the weekend :)

happy new year…

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a new year is upon us once again … new, fresh, open to possibility … new year, new you; they say … not sure who ‘they’ is, but the new year does seem to present a quantifiable ‘start over’ point. so i am curious, what plans do you have for the new year … not resolutions really, more like aspirations … or vision …  what is your intention for the upcoming fresh, new months ahead of us? i have been thinking a lot about this … life certainly seems to have its own plans many times that so often seem utterly out of our control … so i am feeling somewhat more comfortable with the idea of this … i am often a planner, but sometimes i am just a floater and dreamer and do not like to be hemmed in with a plan or defined by a plan. i know plans and purpose propel us pointedly … but sometimes it’s the pauses of life that present magnificence.

so i envision more pauses … more stillness … more intentional quietude

allowing me to listen better, understand more deeply and connect more wholly …

relationships are at the core of what matters most …

i want to move toward being even more healthy, focused and engaged with those in and out of my circle …

wishing you peace and stillness for the new year x

christmas cheer

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christmas is nearly here and i thought i would share a few photos i took last year at the beautiful home of one of my dear clients. she loves the welcoming  and unpretentious scandinavian style and has  beautiful pieces she has collected over time. i have worked with her on and off over the years,  helping her mix modern danish teak with traditional pieces while also incorporating rustic antiques. it makes for a unique and cozy blend. each year she brings out her special decorations including handmade swedish christmas crackers, a straw goat, the christmas story pyramid and a variety of nordic textiles. she also has the sweetest little annex behind the house … enjoy x

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’tis the season

tis the season

so it has been hazy, foggy and grey for days and today the sun has peeked out so i took some photos. lots going on … picked up my girl on monday, yesterday we found a little tree … well not so little, but not a lot left to choose from around town so we were a bit concerned at what it looked like once we got it home … just finished putting the finishing touches on it and we both said it turned out to be quite a pretty ‘charlie brown tree’. christmas eve is but a week away…

most of my design work has come to a stopping point until the new year. i added a portfolio page here and still need to make space and time to photograph my work in january and set up the new website. i have been journalling every day to see where my thoughts take me with regard to my new direction and how that all melds with my love for interior design.

i have very purposely stayed out of the hustle and bustle of the season, making time to meet up with friends, sharing lunch or a cup of tea and a chat. a group of us went caroling last sunday afternoon; it was a bit damp, but so fun to sing together and brighten someone’s day. hopefully you can take some time for quiet reflection over the next couple weeks; in between the twinkling lights, christmas parcels, festive parties and family gatherings…

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thanksgiving

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so many things to give thanks for … having my daughter home and her lighting up the room with her wit and love of life … being able to host the meal yesterday with turkey, stuffing and all the traditional extras, gathering around the table sharing laughter and tears … being blessed with a warm dry house protecting us from the bitter mid-western winter … dear friends to meet with as the weeks ebb and flow, learning and growing together …

i often start the day with giving thanks for where i am right now; at this moment, in this place, no matter how i am feeling. being present and acknowledging that i do not need to know the whole picture to be at peace with what is going on in my life on this very day. it is not always easy to remember to do this, but my desire is to be more aware of intentionally doing it.

i also want to give thanks for this pull in my heart to move outside of my comfort zone; to explore other avenues and learn things i know i am not so good at, but still have interest in. i would also love to get back to doing more craft or art type projects, things that i can put together or make with my hands, small and personal bits and pieces … and what better time to stay in, cozy and warm, then winter.

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it is chilly again today. blustery and snowing. i am tucked up warm looking forward to the coming days. this last week was full. we gave our sofa (that was gifted to us two years ago) to somewhere that needed it more then we did. so i have been doing a bit of rearranging in preparation for the holidays.

we also completed a dozen shoeboxes for operation christmas child that we had started putting together before my daughter went off to school. we have done these on and off for the past eleven years. today is the end of collection week. so much fun to think of the children being given the boxes each year and their shining faces when they open them up.

i am excited to have my girl home for a few days, relaxing and catching up. wishing you a lovely thanksgiving day; may it be joyous, calm, renewing and happy! x

another small step

 

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i have so many thoughts and possibilities swirling in my mind. not unlike the freshly fallen snow we have had…we went from autumn to alaska overnight.

i feel i am at a crossroads; thinking about why i started blogging four and a half years ago and why i want to start again. it seems i am feeling like starting again with quite a few things. not all of them monumental; actually none of them really monumental, but they are important to me.

since my daughter went off to college this autumn, things just seem different. i feel like i want to reinvent myself. after being a mom for 19 years and focusing much of my attention on helping/guiding/teaching my daughter to bloom into the beautiful, bubbly, friendly girl she has become; i have more time to refocus on all the bits and pieces of what i am drawn to.

so i have been taking classes, learning photography (manual settings, photoshop, styling), trying to grasp social media, updating the look of this blog, completely redoing my website (which requires i use said camera abilities for client work), reevaluating my wardrobe and planning house projects.

all things i really enjoy doing, but there are only so many hours in a day. so i am always brought back to the idea of simplifying. i want to share how this all comes together with you. i am not sure i will really reinvent myself, but i want to hone and distill what is swirling about at the moment.

anyone else feel a similar pull…like you want to in some way  start over?

today is a new day

this little space has not seen me for over a year …

i have wanted to visit time and again, but other matters were more pressing…

sometimes often, you just must put one foot in front of the other and move forward…

today was the day that kept pressing me to post…

just put something on the page…

just make a step…

i have been thinking of this little space a lot…

i have been part of an amazing photo workshop by christina greve

i love taking pictures…capturing moments…

it slows me down…makes me focus…

i love how i feel composing an image…

i am also taking a class on blogging

holly, fiona and nichole have been so generous with their knowledge…

i am feeling the pull to post again…

i am a dreamer and a ponderer…

i ponder how this will all turn out…

i dream how this will all turn out…

i ponder if anyone will ever visit…

stay true and be yourself…

i read this time and again…

i want to be an encourager…

i want to create a restful space of solace…

i want to connect and make a difference…

one small step at a time…

x

inspiration rx …

I very recently came across Miss Tristan’s beautiful blog ‘Besotted‘. A calming, curated collection of loveliness. I then happened upon the Inspiration Rx series started by Michelle to coincide with the beginning of a new learning season. I couldn’t help myself but do all the prompts in one sitting during some quiet time I had a couple days ago.

prompt one. emerging

comfort … warmth … security

this is the safe place i know

nurtured … protected … embodied

this is the safe place i grow

changing … expanding … unfurling

where i was can not contain me

stepping out … being bold … trusting

emerging stronger than i was before

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prompt two. muse

color …

you are warm on my face as i sit here

with eyes closed you are dark grapefruit pink

the more i relax, as my head tips back

your color becomes lighter

as a plump pink rose in the summer garden

as my eyelids gently open

my lashes filter the blinding bright white i see

above me is the most perfect blue

cool, clear, crisp, calm

in gradiating tones as it moves away

from the brightest of glowing white

my gaze lowers to the grounding grass

tones of green

refreshing, resplendent, redolent and rolling

in natures perfect harmony

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prompt three. tranquility

draw a deep breath

expel all your worries

calm your heart

make weightless your woes

quiet your thoughts

dwell on thanks giving

be at peace with

who you are right now

9.13.13

 

I am looking forward to continuing these prompts, I am enjoying them very much. I seem to be in the learning mode, as I also enrolled to be part of  a photography workshop given by Christina Greve which began today. I am looking forward to learning much. Wishing you a lovely week.