one word

Redefining “homemaker”

For those who have been reading the blog for the past couple of weeks, you have read that I have chosen my “one word” for 2017 as “home”.  I talk about why and what it means in this post.  So, this campaign from Pine-Sol and Take Part grabbed my attention.  As a word person, I love the idea of redefining “homemaker” (which is what I truly wanted my one word to be, but felt like it held too much baggage for me to embrace it for a whole year) and modernize it into #makersofhome.  It really captures the sentiment I want without having to bring all the baggage along with it.   I understand that homemaker is not a bad word in and of itself, but I still like the idea of redefining it from someone who cooks and cleans the house to someone who makes it a “home”.

add-heading

The campaign itself is broad and the sentiment is lovely: “From a blended family with adoptive children to a single mom to a family with a special needs child, these stories show us that even as families have changed, love has not.”   We’ve always shared love outside of the traditional family unit, but I like that we are not just recognizing it, but celebrating it with this campaign.

I do cook and clean.  But, I often do it with resentment and frustration rather than as a way to “love”.  I want to change that perspective.  I want my homemaking to become more focused on being a maker of a home.  I want my home to be welcoming and comfortable and cozy and a place where I can celebrate our family and our place in the world.  And our house may change (we will most likely be moving in the next couple of years), but our “home” will remain the same.  Right now, we don’t have a ton of space to host others or much money to invest in decorating and this is a rental, so we don’t have control or permanency to invest in renovation, etc.  But, that isn’t what it’s all about.  It’s about making this a home, in the cultural sense of the word discussed in this Smithsonian article rather than the dictionary definition, which isn’t nearly so meaningful.

A few things I have in the works to reach this goal:

  1. I asked my husband for picture frames for Christmas so I can do a gallery wall with our family photos.  I have one in our stairwell, but it isn’t all that great and certainly is not updated at all.  I think the last picture we have there is from two years ago and most are much older.
  2. I am starting to be more purposeful in my furniture choices.  We basically live in a house of hand-me-downs.  Some that I love and some not so much.  First order of business is to replace our dining room table.  I got my parents’ table when my mom passed away and although it is a beautiful antique that my dad refinished before he passed away, it is also completely out of place in our home.  It is large, formal and the chairs keep breaking (with a seven-year-old and a larger husband, they just aren’t holding up).  So, I’m going to keep my eye out for a good buy on a dining room table that is more our style.  I’m also on the hunt for a coffee table.  I like the open space in our living room without one, but we have problems finding a place to sit drinks and books and work and snacks.  Anyways, I will look for something free or cheap (I got a great office chair free today off Craig’s List that I will use with my desk that I recently moved from my DD’s room to my room to give me a place to work other than the dining room table and the couch) and be patient.
  3. I had a chance to listen to a podcast today while running some errands and the one that popped up was the most recent Abundant Mama podcast with Katrina Kenison.  I had never heard of Katrina Kenison before this, but she truly captured my imagination.  Her story of waking each morning before dawn purely for the purpose of watching the sun rise and how she found out her mom did the same thing because “she didn’t know how many more days she had on this earth and didn’t want to miss one sunrise” just brought me to tears.  The episode focused on her ability to find extraordinary in the ordinary and that, my friends, is what I truly want to make our home.  A place where the ordinary is recognized as extraordinary.  After all, with a daughter who had a heart transplant when she was 5 months old and has been through so much since then, every day really is extraordinary.  We just don’t take the time or effort to recognize that much.  I want to recognize it, not only in words, but also in actions and in our environment at home.

So, as I close this post, I am sitting in a living room with laundry baskets on our love seat and chair full of clean laundry that needs to be folded.  Piles of student papers on the floor and one of the seats of the couch next to me (grades are due in four short days, so these will soon be gone).  A dining room table piled high with a project of my husband’s and mail and papers from the past few weeks that have piled up there as we move them over when we want to eat or play games at the table.  A bar that has Christmas decorations and boxes from Christmas presents and more items from my husband’s project (which he has promised to have cleaned up by tomorrow).  The vacuum is sitting in the hallway where I used it earlier today.  A blanket is on the floor, along with some shoes.  It is by no means picture perfect, but it is a reflection of us.  It is a home that we use (for projects and reading and folding laundry) and one that we snuggle up in (with blankets to keep us warm).  The Christmas tree is blinking with memories on almost every branch.  And my bulldog is snoring next to me.  Would I rather our house be neat and tidy?  Certainly.  But, if it meant that we weren’t using it for things we cared about and loved and needed, than it wouldn’t be worth it.  So, for now, I will take it.  Tomorrow, it may get tidier, but somewhere along the way, it will get messy again.  Perhaps even messier.  But, if it gets more comfortable and it is well-loved along the way, than the mess doesn’t matter.  We are making a home in the Smithsonian sense, not the Better Homes and Gardens sense.

I hope that your home is one of love and beauty and kindness in 2017.  Please let me know in the comments what you think is the #makersofhome.

 

Grounded - My One Word, homemaking

What would you ask of the wizard?

This weekend is my daughter’s stage debut in her school play, Wizard of Oz.  She has worked hard and although she doesn’t have any speaking parts (she is part of the Lullabye League, but they just pretend to sleep and snore), she sings a couple of songs and had two parts (Lullabye League and Flying Monkey) which required her to learn quite a bit of choreography and timing.  It has been fun to see her build confidence and was great to see her have a really good time last night.  Here are some photos:

It is a very cute production and her Principal has worked incredibly hard on it for the past few months.  It was a standing room only crowd last night and we have two more shows, one tonight and one tomorrow afternoon.  I don’t know if she will continue to love drama and performing, but it is a lot of fun while she does!

The production made me wonder what would I ask the Great and Powerful Oz for, given the chance?  What do I feel like I am most lacking in my life?  And am I really lacking that thing or, like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, have I had it all along and just didn’t know it?  It is a more difficult question than one might think.  We often answer questions like this very flippantly and without much thought.  “I would ask to be rich.”  or “I would ask to be younger.”  or some such thing.  But, thinking about the characters in the play, they ask for a heart to love others with, a brain to be able to understand and reason through things and courage to protect others and be a force of good.  But, Dorothy is who I most identify with.  I think I would wish for my home to feel more like a “home” in the emotional sense of the word.  A home that is happy and comfortable and warm and welcoming and full of joy.  A home where love prevails and everyone who enters can feel that presence.  Don’t get me wrong, our home isn’t lacking in love and we do have a good time at times, but the decor and the feel of our home is very much thrown together.  We don’t have many family photos on the walls.  Our furniture is mostly hand-me-down and not coordinated.  Our surfaces are often piled high with stuff.  It doesn’t always smell great because of the animals.  Our carpets are stained.  The paint has dulled over the years.  There are things that need to be repaired.  It just kind of reeks of temporariness even though we’ve been here for over seven years.

So, for 2017, I am going to choose the word “home” for my word of the year.  And I am really going to focus on “homemaking”.  Making a home that does all the things I listed above.  Making a home that I would happily click my heels together three times and go to any time I am stressed and tired and needing comfort.  Right now, I often want to click my heels to get away from my home!  I want that to change!

So, what about you?  What would you ask from the Great and Powerful Oz?

007-the-wizard-of-oz-1939-the-great-and-powerful-oz

Five Minute Friday, Myself - My One Word

Five Minute Friday – Time

I am posting this a little early because I will be traveling tomorrow and I don’t want to miss the Five Minute Friday this week.  This week’s prompt is time…join the party if it inspires you!

time-management

Time is my ever-present adversary it seems.  This week has been relatively quiet for me.  I’m off from teaching.  I didn’t have any workshops to attend.  I was home, by myself, most mornings.  But, I still feel like I didn’t have enough “time” to get things done.  I think that I’m constantly blaming time, when really is the “things” that are the problem!  It isn’t that I don’t have enough time.  It is that I have too many “things”.

So, that is why part of my mission this year of “Myself” is to simplify.  I want to give “myself” more time and those things less time.  I want to give my family more time and those things less time.  And I want to be better at focusing on one “thing” at a time.

Time is such a strange thing.  Our perception of it is drastically different depending on what we are doing.  I often tell my students that impromptu speaking is the perfect microcosm of how time shifts depending on perception.  When preparing for an impromptu speech for three minutes, the time seems to fly by.  We are wanting more time.  But, when we stand up to speak, those three minutes stretch out before us like a road to the moon.  They go by so slowly.  We can’t seem to fill those minutes despite our best intentions.  There is three minutes of preparation and three minutes to speak, but those two three minutes are dramatically different.

My hope is to create a world where time is a gift that I am able to truly relish.

Five Minute Friday, Myself - My One Word

Five Minute Friday – First

I’m joining Five Minute Friday as it returns for the 2016 year.  And accordingly this week’s prompt is “First”.

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

Life is full of firsts, but the one thing we often don’t put first is ourselves.  At least most of us do not.  I am guilty of not putting myself first and it has caused me to become somewhat bitter.  So, this year, I’ve adopted my One Word as “myself”.

I realize that a lot of the reason I don’t prioritize myself is because I never had a real model for that.  My mom never put herself first.  She was a wonderful mom, but I never really knew her as “herself”.  I never really knew what she loved and didn’t love or what she was really passionate about.  She was always there for us as children, or my dad or even others – she was a woman full of compassion and caring and giving, but I felt like she got lost in all that giving and didn’t get nearly enough of what she needed in life because of it.  I want to model my mom in a lot of ways.  I want to be compassionate.  I want to be caring.  I want to be giving.  But, I don’t want to lose myself in the mix, as I feel like was starting to happen over the last six years.  So, I’m trying to readjust.

But, it is difficult.  This putting ourselves first thing is a threat in many ways.  What if we come off as narcissistic or selfish or ungiving?  I don’t see that as being a REAL threat, but sometimes those constructed threats are just as bad or worse.  But, I’m taking the plunge.  I’m focusing on me and what I want and need.  I’m trying to figure out who I really want to be and what I’m really passionate about and then figuring out how to make more of that in my life.  But, it isn’t easy.  And sometimes it feels a little exhausting.  Maybe even a little silly.

Putting ourselves first is important to our health, our well-being and our general happiness.  So, it is worth the trouble and effort and (unwarranted) guilt.  But, I have to keep repeating that as I take this challenge this year.

January Focus, Monthly Focus 2016

Welcome 2016 – January Focus = Simplify

I’m back from my trip and it was a great time.  I will probably have some pics this week on Wordless Wednesday.  I’m now settling in to a house where it looks like Toys R Us and Bags n Boxes have exploded multiple times and filling in my calendar for January in my new Erin Condren planner (which I love so far) and noting that it is already filling up quite a bit.  So many things for my DD’s school, workshops for work and family stuff with the Spring semester starting for me the last week of the month! The new year comes fast and furious it seems!

I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of some of other bloggers and podcasters and rather than having New Year’s Resolutions, which I always seem to fail at, I’m going to have My One Word (which is “myself” if you haven’t been following along or have forgotten) and a monthly “focus” where I work on a habit or behavior I would like to establish and/or change.  So, I’ve decided that January is going to be all about simplifying for me.  With my house piled high with STUFF and my calendar filling up with STUFF and my feelings of overwhelm in the past, I think this is a great place to start.  I have a few specific areas of my life I would like to simplify:

  1. Things I own/have in my home.
  2. Things for my classes – grading, assignments, travel planning for the team, etc.
  3. Things I have to do – I want to simplify caring for my home, making meals, getting exercise, my schedule, etc.
  4. Money management

SIMPLIFY JANUARY 2016

I realize those are pretty broad, but I think that spending a week or so on each one this month will really help a lot.  I have some choices in how to simplify things – the first, and probably the most difficult for me, is to GET RID OF IT!  Whether it is getting rid of things in my home or getting rid of certain assignments in classes or delegating things to others for the team or my home or figuring out a system that simplifies HOW things are done for work or at home, I definitely have some choices.

So, I’ll be talking some on the blog about what I’m doing to simplify and hopefully sharing some of the resources I find with all of you.

Me Messages, Myself - My One Word, New Year's Countdown

Getting a Me Message…

So, I’ve been on this “myself” kick with it being My One Word for 2016 and all.  And I feel like I’m really trying to listen to what I’m telling myself and see the messages that are being given to me by me and the Universe and God and whoever else is on my side.  This morning, I feel like a message is being dropped on me like a ton of bricks and it only reinforces what I’ve been trying to formulate in my mind the past couple of weeks.

GETTING A MESSAGE FROM

So, what is this message?  Well, a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about how to tell my DH and DD what I wanted for Christmas/the New Year was to “turn over a new leaf” as a family so-to-speak, I came up with this way of framing the message.  I told my DD, “I want to be a family that takes care of our things.”  And it seemed to click with her.  So, I told my DH the same thing and it seemed to click with him (he even made the bed and cleaned out his car yesterday!).  It was so simple, but so much more positive than saying what I wasn’t liking about our lives.  So, I’ve been trying to come up with three “core” things – the first is being a family that cares for our things.  I’ve been trying to figure out the second and third.  I know I want one of them to have something to do for “doing for others,” but I have not figured out the phrasing yet.

So, anyways, this morning I came across this article from James Clear and I felt like it was a message that I was definitely on the right track and I need to apply this same positive message to MYSELF.  Who do I want to be as a person?  “If you want to change your life, change your identity,” he says.  And I realized that last night I commented on a blog post that I could relate to her “trying to figure out who she was,” and that I’ve been struggling with my identity for quite a while now.  I don’t know if it is so much changing my identity as FINDING it, but it is key to achieving anything.  “The limitations in your life are framed by the box of your mind.  If you want a new life, then start building a new identity,” the article goes on.  Yes.  I have limited MYSELF in the box of my mind.  I have limited myself by NOT having an identity.  So, that was the FIRST message…

Then, immediately after that, I bump into this article on Mydomaine.com which at first seemed unrelated, but then the opening paragraph says, “…as anyone who has set out to achieve something knows, believing is more than half the battle. Believing can translate to achievement, and that’s some magic right there.”  Yeah, believing you ARE who you WANT TO BE is the biggy.  After knowing your identity, you have to believe you are just that!  And then you can live it.

So, what does all this mean?  What do I want MY identity to be?  How do I start living that identity out as MYSELF?  Those, my friends, are the questions I hope to answer, and answer confidently in 2016!  I’m pretty excited as I feel like this is such a simple, but also complex thing to realize.

Myself - My One Word, Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – New year, New Focus

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Christmas is less than a week away!  This is going to be a very low-key Christmas.  My hubby works on Christmas Eve and then we’ll drive down to my in-laws on Christmas Day and it will be just us and them for the evening.  My DD is pretty excited about the gifts, but not much else.  I’ve really tried to get her more into the giving spirit, but not much seems to be working in that area.  I have Christmas cards to write and send out this week (some will arrive late, but oh well), but all my shopping is pretty much done.  A few more gifts to be bought at my hubby’s work this week and some stocking stuffers and I will be finished.  We decided on no adult gifts in my husband’s family this year and instead we are doing a weekend in Monterey, which will be much better than any gift anyways.  But, on to my six words…

 

New year, new focus on me.

I have already started with MYSELF focus for My One Word.  I went out and bought some cleaning supplies I have needed for a while and finally got rid of all the nasty cobwebs in my vaulted stairway.  Why, oh why, didn’t I do this long ago?  It was a $4.99 tool (50% off, but even at full price would have been worth it) and it has already made my house look 100X better.  And it makes me feel better.  I also went to Goodwill to look for a few books that my DD wanted and I bought myself five nice sweaters because I only had a few sweaters I liked and I was getting tired of wearing the same thing over and over again when it was cold.  They are nice sweaters that will be great for work.  I got the five sweaters, three books for my DD and a Littlest Pet Shop toy for $38, which is probably half the price that I would have spent on one of the sweaters (because one was actually new with tags from Macy’s).  We then went to Barnes and Noble and bought my niece three things.  Now, I just need to wrap them and my DD’s gifts and get them under the tree so it looks a little more like Christmas.  I also need to get a couple of more things for my sister and my brother-in-law, but I will probably do that at my DH’s work later this week.

I am already getting my calendar together for the new year.  I ordered a new planner to use and I’ve got my wall calendar started.  I’ve decided to take one day a week for ME – no scheduling anything that I don’t love and enjoy.  So, no work meetings, no dentist appointments – just things I really enjoy doing.  I’m going to try to take that day off of grading/prep as well and I may even try to go without my phone for the most part (only answer emergency calls or something and not check email, etc.).

So, even now, this all seems a little petty and selfish to me.  But, I am tired.  And I don’t feel like my family works as a team.  My daughter tried to “make a deal with me” today about not shopping for her when we went out.  As if she were in a position to make a deal with me about not buying her something while we were out.  And obviously, I did end up buying her something at the thrift store.  But, she definitely made some indications that she thought I was going to buy her something at Barnes and Noble and I did not.  We shopped for her cousin and that was it. But, I’m still feeling a bit like a pushover in this instance.  I love my DD and she is a very loving person, but she is definitely leaning towards some entitlement issues and I want her to be a Giver not a Gimme.   But, my modeling that for her (being a giver to her constantly) is definitely not helping the situation.  I need to be a Gimme sometimes in life I guess.  Even though that seems counterintuitive to who I want to be as a person.

I would love to hear some feedback on teaching my DD how to be more of a giver.  I would love to hear some feedback on how to work on making my family work as a team rather than being codependent.