Look No Further

Despite a college degree in International Business and German, I have never desired to travel outside of the US. A couple of years ago I did get a passport so we could take a weekend cruise to the Bahamas for our 25th anniversary, but I don’t really count that as being outside of the US, nor the one night spent camping in Canada.
People are always amazed that I have no desire for international travel. When I studied German in high school, we not only learned the language, but the culture as well. At that time, the Berlin wall was still up, and the fashions of German teenagers were of no interest to me.

My brother has lived overseas for almost 20 years now, South Korea, Japan, and now Germany, as a teacher for the US military; yet I haven’t barely even thought of traveling to see him. While I am starting to have a few thoughts of visiting him next summer, it is mainly because I have a friend who is moving to Italy this week to teach for the military, and I have another friend who has…

Taking The Long Cut

We were on a 28 mile bike ride last month and about a quarter of a way into it, we took the wrong turn which still got us back on the trail, but was a short cut. I was bummed - a short cut! No! I don’t like short cuts when I am biking, I want the long cuts. I want time to enjoy.

When do we ever say that about life? Usually, we want short cuts. Shortcuts mean the easy way, less work. Search for “hacks” on Pinterest - cleaning hacks, food hacks, home hacks, diy hacks, organizing hacks. Almost anything you can think of hacks. They are all there touting how you can get something done in less time, easier, faster.

The word “hacks” means to cut something, in this case you are cutting time. The slang dictionary states it is “a quick solution that solves a problem, but does not solve it particularly well, or in a particularly good way.” It is almost like cheating. Instead of doing it the correct way, the long way, you are creating a quick, shortened method.

Believe it or not, all of this bree…

My Contentment Pyramid

Are you content with your life? How do you define contentment? For some people, contentment is that moment when the stars align and everything is perfect. For others, it is reaching their dream, and others may only feel content when they are on vacation. Then again others may never feel content. They keep searching for the latest and greatest. The next thing that is going to make them feel finished, complete, content.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, I think many, many people fall in the last category a lot of the time. They don’t feel content and keep searching for what will make them feel contentment. It may be things they need to buy, places they need to go, a job they need to change, or just that one thing to get/get rid of.

Our society isn’t very good at the simple contentment of having enough and doing enough. This is a lesson I am learning on my simple life journey. I have gotten really good at feeling like I have enough things. But when it comes to my time, I struggle with th…

Celebrating Contentment

This week I’m not much for words, but I have been feeling some contentment with my life and I want to celebrate that. Overall, my life looks very much the same as it did last spring. The same people are in my family, I have the same job, we do the same things, and I have the same chores/errands to do.

However, when I compare this week to last spring, I see I am a bit more content. Do I still get stressed about my job? Or sure, that won’t end until I get a different job. Do I still sigh when it takes me longer to cook dinner or clean up? Yep.

What is different is that I am finding moments of contentment. Moments that make me happy. These moments provide contentment in different ways.

Sometimes the exact moment has me feeling content. Last weekend we had absolutely beautiful weather and spent Saturday afternoon lazily kayaking down a river near our home for two and a half hours. It was so peaceful and we only passed three other kayaks. The moments on the river were incredibly content.


Bending the Brain

I am a teacher. I know how to help a child learn, how to move from “no idea” to “I got it”. Today I teach adults work skills, and breaking down the process of work is an important part of that. Process improvement is something I have developed skills in, and I can quickly look at something and figure out all the parts needed to make the process work. 
However, when it comes to my own life, I rarely use these teaching tools. Instead, I tend to want to just move ahead and make changes without analyzing the process. Probably because I am not looking at things as an outsider would. Probably because I don’t think of changes as a process. Whatever the reason, I just don’t. As I am looking to make a multifaceted change in our household, it came to me the other day that maybe I should. This eagle didn’t learn to fly on day one, or day three. Instead, there were small steps and help from mom.

A concept I learned when earning my teaching license is scaffolding. It is a technique to help a stude…

The Reality of Life

As I think ahead to some changes I would like to make in my life, I acknowledge the fact that I need to make space for these changes to happen. Asking yourself to add more and more to your life without taking something away is a recipe for burnout. I know that is the cause of some of the issues I have at work. Everyday more new things are added and nothing is taken away. Trying to keep up with the contacts, the projects, the routine and the new taxes your brain. This is true for your home life as well. 
My husband and I are not big social people. We see a friend or two each month. We rarely seek out engagements, and therefore don’t really have to say “no” too often to other people, though we do when the invitation just doesn’t seem to fit right. However, there is another type of “no” we need to do better at, and that is saying “no” to ourselves, our ideas, our “want to do’s”.

For the month of July, I said “no” to myself during my “No New Ideas” month. It was amazing. The ability to ju…

How Did it Go?

Wonderful! Amazing! The best thing I have done for myself this summer!
What, you are asking? My "No New Ideas Month." In June, I realized I was creating too much brain drain and stress by constantly finding, researching, trying, deciding, looking up new ideas, and then repeating the process again and again. Telling myself I couldn't act on any new ideas for an entire month was an experiment that went beyond my expectations.

In fact, I was nervous about a week's vacation with this limitation, let alone a whole month. My normal week off would have been filled with time spent on new ideas. Instead, my vacation flew by without me even noticing the lack of new ideas. In fact, I didn’t even miss it the whole month.

The secret to succeeding at it? Realizing I have enough of my own ideas and interests! I really didn't need any more. Enough - a powerful word. It is actually the key to a lot of things.

It is amazing how many little things we accumulate in our lives. They are…