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Five Minute Friday – Willing

Well, it is another Five Minute Friday on a Saturday. I had the best of intentions of writing a post yesterday and I have two others that I started earlier this week and never posted. Sigh…I really do write blog posts regularly. I have 120+ drafts that I have started and never published on this blog. But, I’m going to get this one written and published right now.

This blog is one of those things where I am willing to do something, but do not actually follow through with doing it. This is a contradiction of sorts. Willing has at its foundation “will” which is a commitment of sorts. So, why don’t I follow through on things like writing, finishing and publishing blog posts? Why don’t I follow through on things like exercising and eating well? Why don’t I follow through on making my life better? Often times, I think willing comes into conflict with fear and causes hesitation. Or maybe it is less fear and more perfection. What if it isn’t good enough? What if I do all the things and I still don’t achieve what I want to achieve? What if I do achieve what I want to achieve and it isn’t that great? At this point, I don’t even really know what holds me back. I just know that I hold back. I guess I need to focus more on the process and less on the product. Baby steps. Small actions. Willing to act, without knowing exactly what the result will be.

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That’s it for today. It isn’t very long, but it is done and I’m going to hit publish on it. We’ll see how much I’m willing to DO this week.

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday on a Saturday – Take

take

I wrote this yesterday and then promptly forgot to publish. So, here you go…a day late!

Joining Five Minute Friday again this week. The prompt for this week is “take”. Here we go…

Take. It isn’t something we hear a lot about in our society. Not nearly as much as we hear “give”. I was taught about giving at a young age. It was valued and important. On the other hand, taking was something that was often seen as shameful. You don’t take things you don’t need. You don’t take without asking. You don’t take without being grateful and humbled. Taking always came with so many strings attached. And rules were not always totally clear. If someone offered, was it okay to take (the answer is sometimes…because you have to beware of taking things that may put you in a position of owing someone later, you have be aware of whether taking it will mean someone else who needs it more may not get it, etc., etc.).

But, what happens when we grow up and need help? If we are always focused on taking being dangerous or shameful, how do we better receive? Because in order to take something, we have to receive it. It is actually the complicated part. I’m not sure how to overcome the strange connections with taking in order to be a better receiver, an open receiver. The fact that I think there is a “better” way to receive, in itself, is a reflection of the struggle with the idea of taking.

So, I think we need to focus on how taking is receiving. Receiving doesn’t have as many of those unwritten rules and value judgments tied to it.

And, that’s it….the five minutes is up. 🙂

Get Sh*t Done

Get Sh*t Done: July Goals

I am linking to Steph The Bookworm’s Get Sh*t Done post for July and trying to motivate myself in some small way. So, I’m going to set some goals for the month of July.

  • Get outside! For part of the month, this will be very simple. I’ll be “camping” for a week. I put that in quotation marks because this year, instead of staying in a tent like we have the last three years, we are staying in a cabin next to the campground. It is furnished, has a full-size refrigerator, wi-fi and all the amenities, so it doesn’t really seem like camping. But, I’m hoping that it allows us to enjoy things more than we did last year. The tent was fine when it was just my DD and myself, but last year it was all three of us and it stormed one night and we had not put the rain cover on the tent (because when does it rain in July where we were? Hardly ever!) and it was rough. We still had a good time, but It was miserably hot and while everyone else we were camping with had an air conditioned trailer to go to, we did not. So, there was no escaping it. So, this year, we have a cabin with AC that is in the campground the group is staying in and we’re staying in what is supposed to be a cooler area (although with the way things are going, it will be in the high 90s there as well). Anyways, other than that week, my goal is to be outside at least 30 minutes everyday with my DD. Today I went to our local park twice. Once with just my DD to collect some driftwood to make a craft. Then back this afternoon with a friend of my DD’s for them to swim in the river. It was great. Tomorrow, we’re taking a friend to the local public pool to swim. The next day it is a water park in a neighboring community. After that, I don’t have plans, but will be making them.
  • Redecorate the house. I have been wanting to do this forever. I don’t know how much I will be able to do, but I have finally settled on a style of decor I want. Rustic Farmhouse. It seems to fit with all of our animals, our deer head mounts in the living room, etc. So, now I just need to focus on a few key pieces. A new dining room table and chairs is definitely on the short list. I also would not mind getting a new couch. My daughter’s room needs a makeover as well. It would be nice to get some paint on the walls after 10 years of living here. So, I’ll be asking our landlord. I would love some new floors too, but that may be too much to ask. We shall see.
  • Eat at home. I realize I won’t be able to do this every meal the whole month. But, I feel like we have been preconditioned to eat out almost once a day, every day. It is truly ridiculous. I’m a horrible meal planner because I will plan something and then find it too difficult or not appealing when it comes time to cook it. Mostly it is habit. Well, that and doing dishes so the counters and sinks aren’t overflowing with dishes.
  • Declutter the house. Seriously declutter. I got rid of seven coffee cups today, a monopoly game (one of the three or four that we own, all with different themes) and two stadium chairs we used once three years ago and never again. Tomorrow, I plan to continue on the route of getting rid of things.

I will leave it at that. That seems like a lot when I look at it. I plan to track my trips outside, my changes in the house, my meals at home and what I get rid of decluttering. I will do that for the month and report back at the end of the month with how I did. Thanks for the inspiration Steph!

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday #16 – When Nothing Much Has Changed

Well, as I jump back into blogging, one of the things I wanted to do was clean up the blog a bit (decrease the number of categories and tags that are present and make them more meaningful, add some links in posts to make connections that are here that may not be apparent for those visiting and maybe even clean out some of the old posts that aren’t really helpful). This is requiring that I go back through the last six years of blogging. Some years, there isn’t all that much to go through. Other years, I was pretty active. But, one thing that I notice is that where ever it is that I jump into a post, it often seems that not all that much has changed in my life. This is disappointing, to say the least. Take for example, the second post on this blog, from July of 2013, the first of these Simplicity Sunday posts, “The Great Purge,” where I have a photo of our entryway closet, which looks much different today, but much the same. What do I mean by that? Well, I don’t have much in that closet anymore. I have a hanging organizer for art supplies for my DD and an umbrella hanging in there. But, my husband has taken it over for storage and it is very full of stuff still. Simplicity Sunday #2, “Purge, Purge, Purge,” has me focusing on getting rid of things and I will say that I have gotten rid of quite a few things in the past six years. But, as I wrote in the most recent Simplicity Sunday, from almost exactly three years ago, “No such thing as ‘simple’,”

So, decluttering my house (I feel like I have rid myself of VOLUMES of stuff in the past six months, but we still have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of stuff left.  What is with that?!?), decluttering my schedule and establishing routines so I don’t have to constantly think about what I should be doing next is vital. 

It is now three years later and I am still struggling to declutter my house (same task, different stuff). I still feel like I have rid myself of VOLUMES of stuff and still have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of stuff left. And I still feel like I need to declutter my schedule (again, different things are on my schedule, but still too many of them) and establish routines.

So, here we go again. Maybe this time it will “take”. I hold out hope. I know that I have been better this past year than in the past ten, probably. But, some of that is because I have not had to deal with any major medical issues in the past three years (that last Simplicity Sunday was written write after we came home from the hospital with my DD’s newly placed pacemaker. I can only imagine the tailspin another medical emergency would send me into at this point. I have no plans in place for such an emergency, which if you ask any transplant kiddo’s mom (including me), one should ALWAYS have those plans in place so you don’t have to make a million phone calls begging people to come and feed your animals and figure out how to get them a key to check the mail or coverage at work is easy because you have a plan for each class that someone can easily pick up and run with. Yeah. None of that. I also got an email from PG&E that we may be without power for up to 48 hours because we are located near a wildfire area. This means we should have a 48 hour emergency plan. I could always go to my sister’s 90 minutes away and be okay. But, it would be better to have an emergency kit and a place for my pets to go and have it figured out. I have never been one to plan for the worst, but sometimes it isn’t the worst, it’s just the bad that really gets to you.

So, on this Simplicity Sunday, I am realizing that I can’t just type words, I have to do things. I’m going to start out slow and easy. I have an inordinate amount of coffee cups and I am the only one who drinks coffee in our household. I don’t even like that many of them, really. Some have a memory attached. Some were gifts. Some I just hold on to for some unknown reason. So, I’m going to narrow down my coffee cups. I’m going to keep three at-home cups and three travel cups (well, four if you count my Yeti, but I don’t think of that as only a coffee cup). This will give me less decisions to make in the morning (choosing a coffee cup should be simple) and will give me more space in my coffee cup drawer. And space is a key factor in simplicity, as I discussed in Simplicity Sunday #6, “Making Space,” and Simplicity Sunday #11, “On Space,”. Those two posts were written nearly three years apart and now another three years later and I’m still saying the same things. Those things hold true. I may not have achieved my goals, but it doesn’t make the messages any less true. So, I’m off to create some space in my coffee cup drawer and tomorrow, I will seek out somewhere else to make some space. Each day, more space.

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My Obsession: Ladies Solving Murders

I have talked about my obsession with Murder She Wrote on this blog before, when I visited her house and in my discussion of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I am still obsessed with Murder She Wrote (which, by the way, has the first five seasons on Amazon Prime now), but I have also realized that I really just like TV shows and movies with women solving murders. Right now, I’m watching one of my favorites, “Rosemary and Thyme” which is a great British show that doesn’t have enough episodes in my opinion. I love all the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries movies, including Murder She Baked, Aurora Teagarden, Mystery 101, Hailey Dean Mysteries, Morning Show Mysteries, Emma Fielding Mysteries and Chronicle Mysteries. What do they all have in common? Women solving murders! Mostly average women, with regular jobs, solving murders! There aren’t many channels that put women in the leads as often as Hallmark does and on Movies and Mysteries, they not only get to fall in love (as they do on the regular Hallmark Movie channel), but they also get to figure things out that no one else can. They are smart, charming and brave. I love that. PBS and the BBC also have quite a few shows with women solving murders. The aforementioned Rosemary and Thyme, Miss Marple, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (of which there is a new, updated version I have yet to see), and so many more.

I’m not sure why the murder mystery genre is my favorite (I also like men solving murders, just not quite as much as the ladies). I think I like that the loose ends get tied up. I like that there is critical thinking and reasoning going on. I like that the leads have to be smart, read people well and are always on to something that no one else can really see. I also think I like the slight predictability of them. My life is unpredictable enough, I don’t need unpredictable TV shows in my life. I also like the personalities portrayed. And I like the normalcy of it all. They are going about their jobs, like baker or librarian or gardeners or writer, etc. and they are still able to get the information needed to solve the crime. They are able to manage it all, but often with some help from those around them. And most of them are characters who I would love to have as friends.

So, there you have it. My obsession with murder mysteries, especially those with ladies leading the charge.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – World

I am back and joining Five Minute Friday for the first time in a long time. I am rejoining the blogging world after some time away and thought FMF is a great way to begin. I was always more consistent with this weekly writing than any other. This week’s prompt is world. Here we go:

The world is such a vast place. I often lose sight of just how large it is because I am here, in my own little corner of the world and it seems to be all there is most of the time. But, then I might see something online or on TV or even looking at the ocean and it reminds me of just how small this little corner is and how much more there is out there. And a few things strike me about that.

First, I have seen so little of this world. I consider myself to be relatively educated, but it is mostly via books and viewing documentaries and movies and such. I have only been abroad twice. Once on a cruise to Mexico and once to Glasgow. In neither place did I do a lot of exploring (I went to Edinburgh while staying in Glasgow and saw quite a few things in those two cities, but again, small corner. I have been too many states, but mostly for Speech and Debate tournaments where I see an airport, a hotel and a college campus.

Second, I wonder whether we think too small or too large about all of this. One could look at the small corner we are in and think that we don’t really impact much. But, I think that I look at the small corner and think if we just could get out and see and do more and experience more than our view of this small corner would be better. It would be more in context and less distorted by our relatively limited sight.

So, I am feeling the need to get out and explore the world. To become better educated about other places and people. To be better aware of how my experience fits into the world context. And, I feel like I both need to wonder about and wander about the world and make sure my daughter does the same.

That’s time…thanks for the read!

Uncategorized

Back and Ready to Blog

Well, I’ve certainly said that before on this blog. Here and here and here just to link to a few. So, I am surely saying that with a bit of doubt in the back of my mind. But, I think I have figured out a few things and reading What to Expect from KEF this morning clarified a few of them for me as well. I hope to follow along with her own return to her blog with my return to my blog. I’m going to go through and choose the things I really loved to do on this blog and leave the rest behind. I’m not going to be focused on “monetizing” the blog as everyone seems so focused on telling me to do on the web. If I don’t make any money on it, it still gives me a space to write and hopefully commune with others who have similar interests, challenges and lives. I’m not going to be focused so much on finding all the right things to write about, but instead am just going to be focused on writing. Hopefully, I can find some things worth saying without having to worry about what those things are. I love going back and reading the past posts (and will be cleaning up my categories and tags to make it easier for others to do that as well) and I know that every once in a while, writing here has given me something that I needed.

So, just to give everyone an update on my life. It is summer. I am teaching a summer session that has one more week. I still struggle with lesson planning, grading (I’m behind in this right now) and managing all the classes I teach. But, I love it. Teaching is definitely my jam and always will be. So, I’m working this summer on simplifying my classes and assignments and making it all easier to manage, while also meaningful to both my students and me. My theme for next year is “Teach less. Better.” I am really trying to apply to that to all of my life. “Live with less. Better.” I am still a Girl Scout leader and excited to go into my second year of Juniors with my troop. Unfortunately, I think that I may lose my co-leader from the last two years who was awesome. She is moving. But, I trust that someone else will come along if she decides not to commute in from 20-25 minutes away twice a month for meetings. We shall see. My 10 year old is still going strong. We will celebrate the 10th anniversary of her receiving her heart transplant in exactly two weeks. I’m trying to figure out the best way to mark that monumental date. We shall see. But, shortly after we are going to see Hamilton (her favorite musical) in San Francisco and that will be a great gift to both of us! I will be teaching at both my four-year University and 2-year Community College and coaching the Speech and Debate team at the University. My daughter is also going into her second year of 4-H. Last year, we barely dipped our toes in with that, but this year, I hope she gets more active and involved in those activities.

So, bottom line is, I’m living a busy life. Too busy at times. And although I would like to simplify large portions of it, I don’t want to give up the fun things we do and all of the benefits of my two jobs. So, I have to work on simplifying what I can, managing what I can’t/don’t want to get rid of and finally being a more present person to my daughter, my husband and myself.

Hope you’ll join me for what I hope will be the second half (100 won’t be a bad age to live to) of this crazy life of mine.