Thursday, January 20, 2011

Renewing My Living Space: An Update

Last week for Wishcasting Wednesday, I talked about my desire to renew my living space. With a week now past, I thought about what, if anything, I had done to bring a little renewal to my home.  Thankfully, I was able to think of a few:

  • Went through all my old CD's and uploaded things I wanted to my computer.  Now that box can go to the attic.

  • Moved a few boxes and a double bicycle from one place in the garage to another in order to make space for my car.  For the past week, my car has been safe from the outdoor winter elements.  Yay!

  • Called the phone company who failed to come out as scheduled two weeks ago and got them to come out and fix our phone line which was not working at all.  

  • Built the baby's dresser and stocked it with clothes and changing supplies.  

  • My husband fixed the latch on our front door that was preventing us from opening the door from the outside.  (Yes, being able to get into the house is important to me.)

  • My husband replaced the air filter on our heater.  I watched so I would know how to do it in the future and I also ordered new filters online which arrived yesterday.  Next time it needs to be changed, we'll be able to grab one and switch it out quickly.

Some of the things I'd like to tackle next are...

  • Replacing burned out lightbulbs which is currently an issue in our kitchen, hall, master bathroom, and my stepson's bedroom.

  • Preparing some meals to store in our new freezer.  I suspect having meals available to grab and throw in the oven will be immensely helpful after the baby gets here.

  • Getting the aforementioned box of CDs into the attic.  

  • Taking a box of books to the local used bookstore for someone else to enjoy.

It's all a process.  So far I'm off to a good start I think.  Hopefully I can keep the motivation to keep going.

And speaking of the home, today I posted at Working Mother about my least favorite chores.  Please check it out and let me know what your least favorite chores are.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wishcasting: Hunger

Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe and support others' wishes. Today Jamie asks, "What hunger do you wish to feed?"

As usual, she asks a great question, one that stumped me for a bit. I went through my day with this question in the back of my mind and came to an answer: connection.

I have been craving connection lately. Connection to my family, friends, other women, myself, spirituality, and my home to name a few. I think I tend to remove myself at times from my surroundings- not necessarily physically, but mentally. It's also not always intentional. Often it is due to setting myself on autopilot.

But lately, I want more. I don't want to be on autopilot. I don't want to seclude myself from others or even hibernate for the winter. Well, sometimes I do. I want those times to be intentional, though. I definitely need my alone time, but even then I want to be connected to myself or a higher being or... something. I wish to feel connected.

In the past few weeks I have had a few opportunities to get together with friends and acquaintances. It's been energizing. Then, last night I received a phone call from a very dear woman whom I rarely get to speak with, but who amazes me with her ever present strength, kindness, and happiness. We spoke for nearly an hour, after which I felt fulfilled in a way that I probably can't express here. She makes me want to be a better person. Part of what makes her amazing is the connection she reaches out to make with others, to make them feel like they matter. I'm so grateful to have met her.

So that's my wish. I'm hungry for connection. It's time to fulfill that hunger.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dreamboard: Blue, blue, and more blue

When inspired to do so, I create a dreamboard collage collecting images that embody how I am feeling now or how I wish to be feeling. A few days ago I created this one:

The largest image, which serves as sort of a background, came from last year's calendar by Leah Piken Kolidas. The print called "Moon Dreams" spoke to me with its soothing blues and peaceful attitude. To that I added a few magazine clippings that appealed to me at first glance: a patch of paper lanterns in blue, green and white; a teddy bear sitting in a wooden chair against a blue wall; and the phrase "Find harmony - within."

In assembling these pieces, the first thing that struck me was the obvious influx of blue. Holy smokes! Does this have anything to do with the baby boy who will be joining us anytime now, or is it something else that makes this color so appealing all of a sudden? I did a quick search for color meanings and came across this interpretation at Color Wheel Pro:
Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

I can see the words "trust," "faith" and "confidence" reflected in Leah's painting. The woman is outside at night looking relaxed and at peace with her surroundings. She is simply basking in the moon's calm energy.

The teddy bear seems to be an obvious nod to baby and my current desire to nest. I'm not sure what to make of the paper lanterns.

I'll be keeping my dreamboard on my desk as I usually do to see what else it conjures.

What is resonating within you these days?

Monday, January 17, 2011

If I Had a Hammer... Oh Wait, I Do

A few months ago my friend introduced me to the blog Young House Love written by a do-it-yourself couple about their home improvement endeavors. I've been hooked ever since, never missing an opportunity to read about their latest project, big or small.

They have so many good ideas for reclaiming space and opening rooms up. What's better, they're not afraid to grab their tools and tear things down, build things up, or redo things themselves.

On Friday after a morning visit to my doctor, I realized that realistically this baby could come at any time. He's due at the end of the month, but they always say it could be two weeks before or after the due date. I'm in that window now.

Now it's crunch time. As much as I've tried to organize baby supplies along the hallway in order to transform the baby's room at the very second it is ready, those baby shower bags filled with clothes and supplies won't be practical to work out of should the baby arrive before the supplies have made it to their proper home.

I had to focus on what I could solve, which meant determining what the biggest issue is. We had already assembled the bassinet in our room, so the baby has a place to sleep. That means my pressing issue was where to change the baby and where to store his clothes that I could get to easily.

My husband and I bought a dresser at IKEA two months ago for just that purpose. Unfortunately it was still in its original boxes in our dining room. So on Friday after my husband left for work I decided I would tackle the dresser assembly.

If Sherry can wield tools, so can I. (That would be Sherry at Young House Love, not a misspelling of my own name.) In fact, I've always had my own tools. After taking wood shop in middle school (where I think I was the only girl who actually had fun in that class), I asked my dad for a tool kit. That Christmas he gave me a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a level, a tape measure and some pliers wrapped in a Hickory Farms sausage box. I loved that dang kit.

But I digress. The dresser boxes were too heavy for me to carry up the stairs by myself, so I resorted to making many (many, many) trips up and down the stairs carrying a few pieces at a time.

Once everything was upstairs I sorted the pieces into groups of like items- legs, drawer faces, bottoms, rails, screws by size, dowels, etc. - then I opened the picture only instruction manual and got to work. (If you aren't familiar with IKEA, they are a Swedish company. Their manuals are all pictures to avoid translating instructions into multiple languages.)

Over the next few hours I built that dresser. All by myself, thank you very much. (See the below photo.) I set it up in our bedroom until it can be moved to its rightful place in the baby's room. But for now, it is stocked and ready to go, filled with diapers, jammies, onesies, blankets, and tiny little socks.

How about that for some DIY girl power? Oh and in case you're wondering, yes, my husband was seriously impressed that I'd tackled that project by myself. He kept repeating, "You built a dresser?!"

Yes, I did. I wonder what other trouble I can get myself into. What good is a power tool if you don't use it?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happiness Desktop

Last Friday my mind was buzzing with words like harmony, peace, grace, and resolution which I wrote about here. Combined with my word of the year (happiness) and another word that is always present with me (light), I was feeling really good about possibilities and life in general.

I'm probably not explaining it well, but these words were comforting to me and I wanted to keep them in the forefront of my mind. I decided a great way to do that would be to create an image to use for my computer background that captured all of these inspiring words. I am by no means a graphic designer, but armed with a free graphics program I chose a color I liked, some fun fonts, and created the image at the beginning of this post.

Now every time I sit at my computer, I have a cheerful reminder about the feelings I want to cultivate for myself and my family. It's all part of renewing my space in order to renew my energy. (Read yesterday's wishcasting post for more on that.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wishcasting: Renew

Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe and support others' wishes. Today Jamie asks, "What do you wish to renew?"

I wish to renew my living space. My home has become cluttered and unfriendly in certain (ok, many) places. I find that my favorite spaces are those that have the least amount of stuff- few knick knacks, only things that we really use or love, cleared surfaces, open space.

I wish to renew the spaces that feel overloaded, busy, or draining. I wish to repair, replace, or discard anything that isn’t working properly. I wish to clear out the items that aren't contributing to our happiness or well-being. I wish to freshen up paint and carpets.

I wish to bring a renewed energy to my home because I believe the way we surround ourselves truly affects our energy.

What do you wish to renew?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Setting Intention and Wishcasting

I tried something new this morning. I spent a few minutes stretching and taking a few deep breaths, then I sat quietly to think about what I wanted for today. I set intentions.

Peace, harmony, and happiness were the first words to enter my mind. I dove a little deeper and thought about how I could apply these to the things on my agenda.

I thought about which things I absolutely want to get done, like returning my library books and doing a load of laundry. Regardless of what else happens, those two things will reduce some of the clutter around me and increase a peaceful feeling in my home.

When I go to help an acquaintance with a web page later this morning, I want to be fully present and truly connect with her. Strengthening relationships will bring more harmony and increase my own happiness.

Along the same lines, when my husband's day started with a "something's broken" phone call at 7 a.m. (a peril of owning your own business), he was obviously feeling a lot of stress. Not fun, especially first thing in the morning. I am a sponge and tend to soak up whatever energy is around me, good or bad, so this rough start had the potential to spiral out of control.

But as I sat there setting my intentions for the day I decided to imagine a bubble around me that gently deflects negativity away from me. A calmer frame of mind on my part seemed like it would help my husband the most. At the very least, adding more stress from me certainly wouldn't help him in any way.

After setting these intentions I headed off to the shower where an answer suddenly presented itself to me for Jamie's Wishcasting Wednesday question. I had thought about it for the last few days and kept coming up with "no, that's not quite it" feelings.

This week Jamie asked, "What do you wish to say yes to?" I know now. Resolution. Not in the New Year's resolution kind of way. In the resolving problems kind of way.

I'm ready to say yes to resolving the things big and small that cause me stress. I'm ready to resolve past problems, broken objects, and the cramped feeling in my house. Yes. It's time for resolution.

As I write this I already have the laundry going, a gentle snow is falling outside my window, and I am burning a candle that my friend sent me for Christmas. As if the universe has already answered my intentions, when I took the candle ("grace" by Philosophy) out of it's box, I found this message on the side:

how you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain. and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. in the end, it all comes down to one word. grace. it's how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.

Peace. Harmony. Happiness. Resolution. Grace. Those are big messages. Today should be an interesting day.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't Drop the Baby

That's my biggest fear right now. In these last few weeks of pregnancy I'm plagued by serious un-coordination. I drop everything. Then I think about how badly I need it back again because it's hard to get down to the floor and back again. And sometimes even if I make the effort to pick it up, I drop whatever it was again as soon as I'm upright.

And I'm supposed to carry a baby in a few weeks. Thanks a lot universe.

Anyhow, I wrote about this and other baby preparations over at today. Check it out. If you've been there, let me know how you got through the last month of pregnancy to post-delivery transition. Any stories about how your coordination came back instantly would be extremely reassuring!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Making Time to Move

Why do I always think I don't have time to exercise. Maybe it's because "exercise" calls to mind 60 minute workouts or trekking to a gym for classes.

The other night I was feeling achy and thought I should really do my pregnancy yoga DVD, but it was 11:30 p.m. and following an hour long program at that time of night was simply not going to happen.

Then I realized I could soothe my aches with something far shorter. I rolled out my yoga mat on the living room floor and grabbed my iPod to drown out the movie my husband was watching. Then for two songs I moved and stretched, taking some positions I remembered from my yoga DVD and mixing in a few stretches of my own.

For just two songs I lost myself in breathing and paying attention to my body's movements. In less than 10 minutes I released some tension and greatly improved my frame of mind.

I'm writing this now partially to encourage you to rethink what you can do for your soul in just a few minutes, but also to remind myself of that feeling so I might be inclined to do a short stretching session again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Word of the Year for 2011: Happiness

As I wrote about yesterday, a few years ago I began choosing a word for the year rather than deal with resolutions that would fall flat quickly.

Choosing a word for the coming year proved a bit more difficult for me than in the past. I have a baby due near the end of January which makes it hard for me to envision exactly what my year will look like.

Obviously there will be a new little loved one in my happy little family and I know it will impact our daily lives dramatically, but it's hard to fathom what that means until it actually happens. So when it came time to start looking ahead for what I want in 2011, I was having trouble pinning it down.

While on the phone with a very dear friend last week, I mentioned my word of the year conundrum and said I may just carry "shine" with me from this year right on through to next year, but that I didn't feel it was quite right.

Let me say here that there is absolutely nothing that can take the place of a friend who thoroughly understands you and can help light the way when you're lost. And my friend did just that.

As I talked to her about my need to prepare myself for new motherhood, being able to care for my family and also make sure I don't lose myself along the way, she suggested "nurture."

I thought about it. I rolled it around on my tongue a little. I let my imagination conjure images and definitions. It had possibilities. My only concern was for some reason even though I thought of it as supporting, encouraging, and caring, I kept feeling this underlying tone of responsibility.

I knew it was on the right path, so I took that word and let it lead me where I needed to go. The part that felt lacking to me was the joy part. Aha! "Happiness." That's what I need more of.

In the past few months I've allowed myself to fall into routines, doing the things that need to be done. In doing so I realized that I let myself get irritated in some situations where I should be having fun and living in the moment. You know... "I don't have time for fun right now. I'm busy!"

Yikes. What a horrible mindset.

So I'm going with it. More happiness. Because, yes, this year I want to nurture my little baby boy when he gets here. And yes, I want to continue to nurture my husband and my stepson. Equally important, I want to nurture myself, my desires, my creativity, my quiet time. But mostly, what I want is to enjoy the process of doing those things.

I want to remember to be happy in the moment, not just fall into a care-taking, to do list following pattern. I want to take care of my family and myself, but I want to be sure to smile while doing it. I want to continue writing because that's where I get my focus and my drive. I want to laugh and cuddle and be present in the moment. I want to incorporate happiness into even the most mundane tasks. (Is it possible to find happiness while washing dishes? I intend to find it.)

Besides, it's important for our kids to see us happy and enjoying ourselves. It's good for them to see us having fun, smiling, and laughing.

That's what I want for myself, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, and my home in 2011. More happiness.

What will you choose for your word of the year?