Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts

Friday, July 13, 2018

To My Special Needs Son...


I'm not sure why - but you were made a little different from the rest of us.

You try so hard to do normal things and although you often fail, I know you tried your best. 

You see the world a little different from most. Things are black and white to you.

I love that you're all boy through and through. Tractors, ATVs, BB guns, cars, bikes and knives are your favorite. You never run out of things to say about them.

I love that you care so deeply for others. That you worry when you think someone is hurting or in trouble.

I love your sense of humor. 

You make us laugh. 

You have had gone through a lot in your 11 years of life so far.

I love that you don't care about today's fads.

I love that you're honest and obedient, and that you follow the rules.

I love to watch you outside, in your element.

You have a thought process about everything.

I love to listen to you sing. You can carry a tune pretty well.

I love that you keep all kinds of little tiny pieces a paper, and little bits of things, and that you know where everything is.

I love that you love playing with sticks, string, and duck tape. 

I love that you love babies and little kids. 

I love your imagination. You have come up with some pretty cool stuff.

 Someday you are going to do great things - I just know it. 

You, my son, have a purpose and although we may never know all the why's, I know that God had a reason for you to be in our family and on this Earth. 

You are important. 

You are my son, and I love you, just the way you are.

Note* Our son has pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) which is one of the four autism spectrum disorders, along with auditory processing disorder, speech and language disorders, and multiple learning disorders.... yes he is different, challenging, and some days I cry because I don't understand him, or he doesn't understand me, he asks the same things over and over - all day long, some days are really difficult, but I love my boy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Letter To My Husband


To my husband... I love you. 

You make me smile. 

You are my lover. 

My best friend. 

Keeper of my heart. 

Father to my children.

You know all my secrets. 

You see the worst of me. 

You are the man I've always wanted, and all I never knew I needed. 

You are in my daydreams.

You make me happy.

Being your wife is the best decision I have ever made.

 You are who I choose to spend the rest of my life with. 

The one I want to walk beside me. 

The one holding my hand. 

The one I see in my memories. 

 You are my partner. 

You are my protector. 

Being in your arms is my most favorite place to be.

I always feel safe in your arms. 

 You are my reason for living. 

You make me want to be a better person. 

You put up with my crazy.

You always have my back.

 You are my favorite. 


I love that you still open the door for me.

You are handsome.

 You are sexy.

 I love the way you make love to me.

You always find time to complete my honey to do list. 

I thank God everyday for you.

 You and me - we were made for each other. 

You are my calm in this crazy world we live in.

You are grounded.

 I long for your touch when you're not with me. 

You make me proud. 

You are mine - make no mistake about it.

We have a beautiful life together you and me. 

I want to grow old with you. 

To travel the world with you. 

To go on an adventure with you.

 I want to call you Grandpa someday. 

 You are my love.

My Man.

 My everything.

 I will always love you. 

- your wife,
Rhoda

Monday, July 2, 2018

Birth Father vs. Adoptive Father

My daughter has two fathers... One gave her life. One has been in her life. Both are a part of her.

Her birth father had a hard life... but I do believe that he truly did/does love her. He was around for her first 3 years, loved being silly, and playing with her...

Her daddy came into her life when she was three years old, and has been a constant... always there for her. He adopted her when she was five and is her dad in every way. He taught her to ride a bike, to drive a car, and to stand up for herself. He was there for all the big things, and all the little things in life... teaching, loving, disciplining, celebrating, caring, and doing all the things a dad does... He is DAD in every sense of the word.

Faith with her dad.....

We never hid the adoption from our daughter. She grew up knowing the truth. We talked about her birth family, but they were distant throughout her growing up years. She recently started talking to her birth side of the family.

with her birth father....

It's hard for my hubby to stand by after all these years and watch her enjoy her birth family. He wants to protect her. To keep her safe. I think he feels he is losing his daughter.

As the woman between the two men, my heart aches. I feel that I took a child away from one man and now feel I'm taking her away from the other man. I love them both. I feel anything I say or do, will hurt one of them, and although my alliance lies with my hubby, I care deeply for both. Being in the middle is not always a good place to be.

In my mind all I want is for us all to get along, for my daughter to have her dad, but also for her birth father (my ex husband) to also be a part of our life.... why can't we just be a big happy family. How does one make thier hubby and ex hubby become good friends? Or at least get together a few times a year for a family meal?

It's not all bad, my daughter has a happy home with a dad and momma that loves her, but I wish I could take all the emotional hurt, the questions, and the wondering away. 

But, still, if i had to do it all over again, I would - having her is worth it all. I have a beautiful, caring, daughter, and a wonderful loving hubby, and really -when it comes down to it.... even with all the bad times in my first marriage, I still have a good friend in my ex husband.... 

So, while I carry an ache in my heart - that no one can understand....

I'm still incredibly thankful -thankful that I have had the chance to love two men and that both men love my daughter in their own way.... and that when her birth father couldn't be there for her and provide... that my hubby stepped in, adopted her, and loves, and provides for her, and is there for her every single day.

Sometimes I think absent birth dads are given a bad rep, but at the same time I think good men (like my hubby) who step up and take on the responsibility of dad are given much too little credit.

I think we need to let them know that they are both important, and even though we don't always understand why, God has a plan for both of them and a reason for my daughter to have these two men in her life.

One is her birth father. One is her dad. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

What Your Home Says About You

It's interesting to me how you can tell a lot about an individual by their home. 

Is it welcoming, cluttered, dirty, orderly, mismatched, displaced, unwelcoming, or chaos?

What does your home say about you? 

Does it smell clean or is there unpleasant odors? 

Is it clean and welcoming to all, or is it dirty, cluttered, and make people feel suffocated?

Is it Immaculate with no place to relax or put up your feet?

I am not a perfectionist by far but I do try to have a clean home not only for my guests, but for myself; with the beds made, dishes washed, counters and tables cleared, laundry put away, and things put where they belong. 

Every item needs its own home. And it needs to be put away and its place. For example I often let my kids bring toys out to play in the living room but each evening the toys are put back into their proper place and my house is picked up and clean, ready for the next day.

 Same for school - after we are finished for the day everything pertaining to school gets put back into the closet designated for school items. Read how we homeschool here.

I believe having a well-kept clean uncluttered and inviting home is important. I believe a lot can be said about you by the way that you live. 

As a Christian, keeping a clean home is being a good steward of what God has blessed me with. I also think that to have a disorderly, cluttered home is wasting the resources God has given us. 

I understand that sometimes our circumstances in life make having a clean home more difficult, but I challenge you; start with something small and you will gradually get there.

 I promise having a well-kept home will give you peace and make your guests feel welcome. If you need help ask for it. If you are close to me I will help you. If not, contact me and I'll help the best I can.

The one thing that makes it nearly impossible to have a clean home is that you have too much stuff you do not need. 

With too much stuff, you will always be organizing things. If you get rid of the stuff, you'll find that organizing will be a thing of the past. Let it all go. The extras, the might needs, the things that you think you'll fix, the old clothing you don't wear, the dishes you never use, and anything else that you do not need or love - let it go and start living an uncluttered life you can be proud of.

 You can have a welcoming home.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Come walk through my garden with me....


 The last few years we have been downsizing... making our property more manageable, having less upkeep, getting rid of clutter and things we don't need, changing our property and our life to fit our new desires and lifestyle that we want to live... to have more time to travel, and enjoy life without a never ending to-do-list... we still have a long way to go, but even though our wants have changed over the years, I still love our property and the peace and solitude it gives me... we call it our 'little bit of heaven on earth! ... and I'm blessed to call it home!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Letter To My Daughters...


You are worth more.

 Don't worry about your looks, you are more beautiful than you will ever know.

 You are smart. 

You are worthy of love.

Smell the roses.

 Look for the good in people, but don't trust anyone. 

People will throw stones. Don't be bitter. Those aren't your people.

Remember to smile.

 Laugh often. 

Do what you love. 

 Never forget where you came from.

 Life's a dance - just go with the rhythm. 

 You are not perfect, be okay with that.

 I am proud of you.

Keep God first.

 Surround yourself with people that love you. 

 Be happy.

 Write your own story. 

Step out of the box. 

 Find your own kind of joy.

 You are important. 

Pray. 

 Take a walk - it can cure anything.

 Take care of your body.

Get a good night's sleep. 

 Find your own kind of healthy.

Drink water.

Find your own style -fads are not important. 

Be courageous.

 Go on an adventure. 

Walk barefoot, it keeps you grounded.

 Take a deep breath.

 Take time to just be.

 Love yourself the way you are. 

Travel. 

Try something new.

 Relax.

 Take a bath.

 Wear perfume. 

Dress up. 

Run in the rain. 

Keep things simple.

 Let go of things. 

You are talented. 

Don't worry about the future.

 Sing. 

See the beauty in nature.

 Take advice from your elders - they are more wise than you think.

 Drive with your windows down, and let the wind blow through your hair. 

Speak with confidence.

 Read a book.

 Listen to music. 

Eat dessert.

 Be classy.

Be modest. 

Always let the man open your doors.

 Go to church. 

 Reflect on God's goodness. 

Be grateful. 

Live with less.

 Say no.

 Sometimes all you need is a good cry. 

Earn respect.

Watch a sunset. 

 Stand up for what you believe in. 

Live, don't just exist. 

Create.

 Hold your memories close. 

Know who you are. 

Feel the warmth of the sun on your face. 

Play in the snow. 

Walk on the beach and feel the sand between your toes. 

Make your own way.

Find a man who will respect you - If you find someone who respects and loves you as much as your dad does me, fall in love with him; hold on to him and love him with your whole heart -he's worth it.

 Be kind to your brother; he needs you more than you know. 

Keep old traditions.

Make new traditions. 

A good attitude goes a long way. 

Be responsible.

 Stay humble.

 Try again. 

You are enough.

Always remember...... your mama loves you.

If all else fails, call your mama.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why We Don't Answer The Phone


I have always hated talking on the phone. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the person at the other end, I just find it a horrible tool for communicating with. 

I have many auto immune diseases and a rare cancer which are all caused by stress. A few years back, my doctor advised me to delete my personal fb friends and to not answer the phone to help reduce stress. I tried his advise and it helps, so here's the thing... I don't answer the phone anymore for anyone unless it's my hubby or my kids.

If you are calling for my business, leave a detailed voicemail and I will call you back at my convenience. If someone is dying or its an emergency, call my hubby's number. If you want me, send a text or email. If you do leave a voicemail, but don't say what you need, I will not return the call. It's just not that important.

Communication is a wonderful thing when done right. But I think the whole phone calling fiasco is not a good way to communicate.

So, here's some reasons why some of us (and why I personally) choose not to answer the phone.

Phone Calls Are Presumptuous 
When someone calls you, they're assuming two things:

1. They're needs are more important than your needs

2. You have the time and don't mind being interrupted

On many occasions one or both of these might be true. But more often than not, the caller comes off as being selfish - even a little insulting - to the person being called. If it's so important, just shoot me a text. Text messages are virtually guaranteed to be read within a few minutes, and they create a lot more flexibility for everyone.

Phone Calls Are Time Consuming
Do you know how much time people spend on howdy-do's everyday? The average person spends over 8 minutes a day just talking about the weather. Add in what the kids have been up to, what you're going to be doing this weekend, or whatever else, and you've just spent ten minutes talking about nothing.

We don't want to answer your phone calls, because there's no telling if doing so will take ten seconds, twenty minutes, or longer.

Phone Calls Are Inefficient
When you use social media, texting, and emails, you tell people what you think/need/want, or you give an update. That's it. If there's any follow up that needs to happen, it will be handled accordingly.

All of these messages take less than a minute to compose and send off. Phone calls, on the other hand, will nearly always take at least several minutes. Why spend several minutes on something when you can do it in a few seconds?

Phone Calls Are Annoying
How many times have you seen someone calling you and gone "Ugh" or "Who is this?" If we're being honest, phone calls are annoying! Most often, the initial reaction to a call will almost always be negative.

Phone Calls Are Stressful
One call isn't a big deal, but the shear number of phone calls that a lot of people get every day is enough to drown someone! Phone calls can be a large stressor day-to-day (-especially to someone with health issues like myself.) Every time that phone rings - at work or at home. You have no control over your day, or your life for that matter. People would rather text or email because they can do it entirely on their own time, and remove that mountain of stress in the process.

Phone Calls Are Unnecessary
You call someone to communicate quickly, right? There are literally hundreds of other ways and apps through which you can communicate quickly - and do it faster. How many ways do we need to do the same thing?

Other than being able to say more than is needed, there aren't many advantages to phone calls.

Phone Calls Aren't Private
How many times have you been on a call and had to either whisper, move to a different room, or ask the person to hang up and text you because you didn't want anyone listening to your conversation?

Nobody enjoys that kind of anxiety, of feeling like someone who shouldn't be involved is listening to every word you say. (I remember as a kid, my mom would always take the phone to her room and shut the door so we couldn', hear. I hated it and try to not do that with my kids.)

Or how many times are you in line at the grocery store and the lady in front of you talking about her job or how she getting her nails done, or what she's cooking for supper.... sorry, but I really don't care and I definitely don't want to hear all the personal details of your life. That's just rude.

Phone Calls Aren't Personal
If you want to reach your friends, you text. To schedule a meeting with an acquaintance, you email. If you're a salesman trying to hit his numbers, you call. 
Simple as that.

Phone Calls Are Controlling Our Freedom
When someone calls you, it disrupts whatever you're working on. Phone calls take control away from you and give it to the person calling. If you accept the call, you are accepting the caller's control over you and your schedule. 

So when we don't answer your call, it's not because we are trying to be rude. It's because we want to keep things under their control, and make the most out of our day.


Long story short.... Phone Calls Are Disruptive
At no point in your day is taking a phone call not disruptive to whatever else you're working on. Phone calls are rude, intrusive, awkward, unnatural, interruptive, distracting, disruptive, and completely throw off your groove. 

Text beats that. I rarely answer my phone, often forget to check voicemail, and can take a shockingly long time to return phone calls.

The telephone has a very rude tendency to interrupt people. When I was growing up, the rule was, Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m. Now the rule is, Don’t call anyone. Ever.

Don't call me. I won't call you.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Keepsakes...

I realized something last night.

I was doing my usual over thinking, when I couldn't sleep and the thought of "If I died what are the things (keepsakes) that I would want my kids to keep - Something special to remind them of me."

Here is my list:

 My wedding ring set

My gold diamond heart necklace (the first gift my hubby gave me when we were dating)

My antique picture and frame (a replica of my G'ma Stumps)

My keepsake photo albums (full of memories that tell our life story)

My Bible

My Poetry Books and writings

What I realized was that out of all my belongings - there is actually very little that I would consider my most favorite keepsakes. Grant it, I would hope that my daughters might want some jewelry, a few dishes, my G'pa Fricks rocking chair, my G'ma's hurricane lamp, my vanity, some of my antiques, dishes, decor, etc. to also remember me by.

Let me insert here, that I love my home and it's contents. I try to decorate with only things I love, so I am certain that whatever my kids choose to keep, it will be something I loved, and it will remind them of me.

One benefit of getting rid of clutter is that you realize, that you love everything thats left in your home. There is nothing left that you do not love or is useful.

All in all, I hope that when that time comes, my kids will pick out a few keepsakes that have a special memory to them. I don't want them to feel obligated to keep items and things that they don't want, and or that will add clutter to their lives.

Besides, a keepsake is for the memories - I hope they will always love and remember me and maybe smile when they look at a keepsake.

What about You? What is a keepsake you want to pass down to your kids? Leave a note in the comments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The One Thing Standing IN Your Way For A Clutter-Free Home

I think the main reason most people get hung up when it comes to decluttering their homes is because of storage. Many people try to keep too much of the same kinds of things, so they will buy extra hutches, drawers, totes, baskets, etc., to hold all their stuff - they have no limit to the amount of stuff they choose to keep....

 Let me explain. 

 If you have an office, you have paper clutter. Most people have at least one filing cabinet and a desk, but still have too much paper. So, they will buy another filing cabinet and in a few years, still have too much paper clutter....

The same thing with our closets and dressers. We all usually have one of each. We fill them full and overflowing. Then we have clothes in baskets, sitting on chairs, lying on the floor, and our drawers and shelves are running over.... most of us go buy storage containers... we fill them with seasonal clothes, or too big, or too small clothes, or clothes that we used to love, but are out of style, etc. And in the end, we still have too many clothes.


The same can be said about dishes.... We have kitchen cupboards full of dishes. we buy a china hutch to keep our nice dishes in. We keep plastic cups from ball games, dishes that Great Aunt Bertha gave to you, dishes that were gifts, old dishes, ugly dishes, and dishes that are too good to use because we don't want them to get broken. Some people start putting dishes in other closets and cupboards, and some people go out and buy another china hutch to store their dishes in.

The same could be said about every other area of stuff in our homes and lives....

~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a solution....

We all know that every item needs to have a home. But do you know that each home is a boundary itself?

Lets take the paper clutter in the office. The home for the paper and office supplies is the desk and the one filing cabinet. No more. So when you go through your papers, you keep the most important papers and put them in their home. When the desk and filing cabinet is full - the rest gets tossed. It's that simple. The home for that item is full. There is no more room. The desk and filing cabinet is the boundary. 

With the clothes in the closet, the dresser and closet is the clothes home and the boundary. Start by saving your most favorite clothes and when the dresser and closet is full. You have reached the limit. Donate the rest. Don't second guess yourself, you already have your most favorite clothes in their home. Be ruthless. You're clothes have a home and the home is full. 

Before we started decluttering our life, I had a large closet and a large dresser full of clothes, I had three storage containers under the bed, and two extra large totes full of clothes in my closet. I also had the entire shelf in my closet full of clothes. I always had clothes on the floor of my closet and laying on my bedroom chair.... I simply had TOO MANY CLOTHES!

 I now share a dresser with my husband, which I have one drawer of clothes. I do not have any clothes in totes, none. I do not have clothes on my closet shelf. And I no longer have clothes laying on the closet floor, or hung over the bedroom chair. My clothes have a home and stay within the boundaries of that home and that is freeing to me. My closet and bedroom stay clean, I wear and love all the clothes I have, and there is no more clothes clutter.

Now, to the dishes.... do you have Twenty Seven Special Dishes?  Take all your dishes out of the cupboards and china hutch and any where else that you keep them. Get rid of all the plastic, mismatched dishes. Decide that your cupboards (and maybe a china hutch) will be your boundary. Start by keeping the dishes that you use and love. I personally have to have my dishes stack nicely too - odds and ends get donated. Get rid of the ugly everyday dishes and keep the dishes that make you happy. Get rid of all the fancy china that you never use. Let go of Great Aunt Bertha's dishes that you are holding onto out of guilt. Donate it all. When the cupboards are full - the boundaries have been met... everything else goes.

Pick one drawer, one box, one dresser, one desk, etc. - make it fit. Start by keeping what you love the most... when the drawer is full, the rest gets donated. It really is that simple!
You don’t have to do it perfectly for it to be better.

Friday, May 11, 2018

My Gallery Wall

Our house has an open concept layout and while I love it.... I miss having more wall space. 

About 7 years ago, I came across the idea of having a gallery wall - and wanted to try it.... 

I like the idea of showcasing things that are important to our family and things that tell a stoy about our life.

So, after some trial and error, below is a picture of my first gallery wall - 


My first gallery wall had a little bit of everything in it..... the only thing I bought was the fake scull with horns. (I actually thought it would be bigger, but I guess it works fine for a piece of decor.)

The oxen yoke was my Grandpas.

 My Hubby made the 'Kindred' sign in his woodshop.

The cast Iron wheel came from my Dad.

1092 is our house number.

 The licence plate is an old Indiana 1988 truck plate that was here when we bought the place.

There is a picture of Hubby and the kids in the Badlands, SD and a picture of me with the kids on Mothers Day a few years back.

The saw was a .50 cent thrift sale buy.

 The small picture is a drawing of my Grandpas old red bank barn where I played many times as a kid.

The wooden frame has my all time favorite picture of the kids, back in 2010 when our youngest was born.

On the light stand, is my husband's Grandpa Blankenship's cigar box.

The sunset picture was painted by my oldest daughter - she is a great artist!



I loved my gallery wall, but after a few years I was ready for something new....

My second gallery wall is a statement to minimalism.... it seems to be lacking color, but at the same time I like the simplicity of it.


The oxen yoke is from my Grandpa.

A chain saw chain reminding me of my dad's small engine repair shop and playing with them when I was a kid.

My all time favorite picture of the kids.

Our house number.

A wall plant holder with a plant that I absolutely love.
Plant holder purchased from succulentsforhati

I love my new gallery wall.... and when the time comes, that I'm wanting something new, I'll change it out again to make it into something I love.
What about you? Do you have a gallery wall? If so, link a picture and tell us about it in the comments.

Monday, April 30, 2018

35 Things I've Learned In 35 Years

Today, I turn 35 years old. I'm not one to make a big deal about my birthday, but, the older I get, the more I reflect on my life. So, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned...



1. Say you’re sorry. Being too proud to apologize is never worth it. Open your heart. Life is amazing if you don’t shut it out. Be willing to take the wounds that come with an open heart, but know when to walk away. Know who your people are and you will experience the best of life.

2. Possessions are worse than worthless — they’re harmful. They add no value to your life, and cost you everything. Not just the money required to buy them, but the time and money spent shopping for them, maintaining them, worrying about them, insuring them, fixing them, etc. Mindless shopping is unhealthy, and useless. Live a clutter free life.

3. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. Life is better enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Savor life. Not just the usual pleasures, but everything and everyone. The stranger you meet on the bus. The sunshine that hits your face as you walk. The quiet of the morning. Time with a loved one. Time alone. Your breath as you meditate.

4. All you need to be happy is within you. Many people seek happiness in food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, partying, sex … because they’re seeking external happiness. They don’t realize the tools for happiness aren’t outside them. They’re right inside you: mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, thoughtfulness, the ability to create and do something meaningful, even in a small way. You need no one else to make you happy or validate you. You don’t need a boss to tell you that you’re great at what you do. You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to tell you that you’re lovable. You don’t need your friends’ approval. Know who you are.

5. The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation. Make a habit asking yourself ‘why’ you do things and make sure you’re happy with the answers. If not, rethink your choices.

6. Never stop learning. If you just learn something a little a day, it will add up over time immensely. Teachers are everywhere, if you’re willing to learn. You’re never too old to learn something new or to dream a bit bigger.


7. Live well below your means. Don’t go into debt. That includes credit card debt, student debt, home debt, personal loans, auto loans. We think they’re necessary but they’re not, at all. They cause more headaches than they’re worth, they can ruin lives, and they cost us way more than we get. Debt is serious business. Spend 30% less than you earn. Don’t spend it if you don’t have it. Learn to go without, and be happy with less.

8. You are good enough — learn that and you won’t be afraid of new things, won’t be afraid to fail, won’t need the approval of others. You’ll be pre-approved — by yourself. I'm not cool, and I’m cool with that. I wasted a lot of energy when I was younger worrying about being cool. Just be yourself.

9. The only kind of marketing you need is an amazing product. If it’s good, people will spread the word for you. All other kind of marketing is disingenuous. Thank you Shaklee!

10. Start now. Whatever it is, you will always wish you started earlier. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

11. Quality over quantity. Apply this to your closet, your friends and your groceries. On beauty and style: work with what you have. It’s far easier to work with what nature gave you than to try and change what you don’t like about yourself.

12. If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. They don’t know where they’re going either. If you compromise on your core values you’ll never feel true to yourself.


13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK. We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important … that we forget the simple fact that we cannot experience everything. The secret is: life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.

14. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make them. They are some of the best teachers. Instead, learn to be OK with mistakes, and learn to learn from them, and learn to shrug them off so they don’t affect your profound confidence in who you are.

15. Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear. Define your own version of success.

16. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forget to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs. People try to do too much because they don’t know that rest is where their body gets stronger, after the stress.

17. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free. 




18. Fitness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process, a learning process, something that happens in little bits over a long period. It’s a great journey. Fitness looks different for different people. Find your own kind of fitness.

19. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey. We’re so worried about goals, about our future, that we miss all the great things along the way. If you’re fixated on the goal, on the end, you won’t enjoy it when you get there. You’ll be worried about the next goal, the next destination. Goals aren’t as important as we think. Try working without them for a week. Turns out, you can do amazing things without goals. You’re less stressed without goals, and you’re freer to choose paths you couldn’t have foreseen without them.

20. A good walk cures most problems. Want to lose weight and get fit? Walk. Want to enjoy life but spend less? Walk. Want to cure stress and clear your head? Walk. Want to meditate and live in the moment? Walk. Having trouble with a life or work problem? Walk, and your head gets clear.

21. Let go of expectations. When you have expectations of something — a person, an experience, a vacation, a job, a book — you put it in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. Instead, try to experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be happy that it is.

22. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act.

23. Change is the one constant in life. You will suffer by trying to hold onto things. Learn to let go, and learn to have a flexible mind. Don’t get stuck in what you’re comfortable with, don’t shut out what’s new and uncomfortable. The hardest part of changing your life is finding the courage to make the decision.

24. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.

25. Create. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating. In my life, creating is one of the few things that has given me meaning. When it’s time to work, clear away all else and create. You don’t have to be an ‘artist’ to create art. You don’t have to be a ‘runner’ to run. You don’t have to be a ‘writer’ to write. Forget labels and do what you love. 


26. Get some perspective. Usually when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. In the larger picture, this one problem means almost nothing. This fight we’re having with someone else — it’s over something that matters little. Let it go, and move on.

27. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play. Have fun being active. Sure, there’s lots of fun to be had online, and in eating sweets and fried food, and in watching TV and movies and playing video games. But going outside and playing with friends, tossing a ball around, swimming, climbing something, challenging each other … that’s even more fun. And it leads to a healthy life, healthy heart, more focused and energetic mind.

28. Use the magic of compound interest. Invest early, and it will grow as if by alchemy. Live on little, don’t get into debt, save all you can, and invest it in mutual funds. Watch your money grow.

29. All we are taught in schools, and all we see in the media (news, films, books, magazines, Internet) has a worldview that we’re meant to conform to. Figure out what that worldview is, and question it. More often than nought, you'll find the worldview is wrong.

30. Learn compassion. Learn the art of empathy. Too often we judge people on too little information. We must try to understand what they do instead, put ourselves in their shoes, start with the assumption that what others do has a good reason if we understand what they’re going through. Life becomes much better if you learn this art. You can disagree with someone’s opinions, but still love and respect them as a person. Agree to disagree.

31. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines. Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love. Do it lovingly. 


32. No one knows what they’re doing as parents. We’re all faking it, and hoping we’re getting it right. Some people obsess about the details, and miss out on the fun. I just try not to mess them up too much, to show them they’re loved, to enjoy the moments I can with them, to show them life is fun, and stay out of the way of them becoming the amazing people they’re going to become. That they already are.

33. Love comes in many flavors. I love my husband and children, completely and more than I can ever fully understand. I love them each in a different way, and know that each is perfect in his or her own way. Don't be afraid to love in your own way.

34. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash. You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every damn moment.

35. Never be ashamed of who you are and how you choose to live your life. Don't apologize for how you live. Learn to say no. Follow your fear and leave your comfort zone.


*this blog post was adapted and edited from Zen Habits to reflect my own thoughts and ideas.

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