I think my tolerance is wavering. I feel little trapped… My desire to leave toxicity is overwhelming, my capability to continue to breathe in this smog, when I feel suffocated and buried behind my true self and who I want to be, who I need to be, for me to feel valid here, understood and heard. The tips of my toes are callused from walking on them for all these minuscule thieves of time I once possessed . The tongue which rest in my mouth has such carvings of my teeth in them that even if I were to speak it may just come out in mumbled screams of frustration. Boredom rest in my bones like a familiar friend, where any excitement or enhancement to my day feels foreign, like a disease my body tries to ward off. Bitter recipes make themselves the only option available for my nourishment. What does it feel like to savor in sweetness during the day? I have a hint but it only comes around and the ending and then it stirs all over again. I don’t belong here.

Confessions from my desk.

Stick with it.

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Doing something is better than nothing. Let me repeat that. Doing something is better than nothing! Thank you Amy E. Smith, aka The Joy Junkie for this statement. I think I repeated it to myself 8 times last night!  I listen to her and hubby Mr. Smith’s podcast, and I am practicing my participation towards my kick ass life. Last night, while committing to 20 minutes on a treadmill, I was listening to their most recent podcast on “All or Nothing thinking Ep.189. The pod episode was about how we sometimes get the mentality of a “all or nothing” attitude. Instead, she encourages her listeners to practice grace to ourselves and allow some of the “perfectionism” or need for control not be the focus..and how thinking like that can hinder our personal happiness or leave us not enjoying the moment or being present with ourselves and others. Preach. Amy. Yes!

Yesterday, I got down and dirty and she calls it, when we have those “ah-ha” moments. I decided to take to my inner kiddo and make myself a Sticker Chart! A freaking sticker chart, yep.. you read that right! Stars, and hearts and quirky stickers. Go.. Go to the sticker isle at your dollar store and just get whatever calls to you.I started a point based reward system for myself, for some of that good old happy juice that I love. This is how it works-

If I make my bed and get up at 6 (no snooze button) I get 1 point. If I get in bed, (settled) at 9:30 pm on week nights, I get 1 point. If I exercise for 20 minutes, I get 2 points. If I do not smoke a cigarette, I get 1 point. If I read, or study for my classes for 40 mins, I get 1 point. Food Journal for the whole day, I get 1 point. If I go on a hike I get 6 points!

The points can then be redeemed for this awesome shit! 4 points, I get a glass of wine. 20 points I could go to the movie theater. For 20 points I can buy an album on Itunes. 3 points I can get a episode I want to watch on Netflix. 12 points I can go to my favorite pizza place! When I redeem the point I swap it out by marking it with a fun sticker to cover the point, showing me that I spent it!  This is flexible charting, and if I want to add a new reward or a new habit I can. That’s the fun of it! I just want to have some happy habits.  Doing something for myself, is better than doing nothing for myself. It is both visually and mentally fun for me to reward myself and hopefully this outlet for being kind to myself strengthens that self love muscle!

Who knows if this will work for me, however it’s making me focus on the things that I love and bring me joy. Plus any time I get to add neon card stock, magic markers and some stickers to please my visual side I will give it a go! Just not going to focus on hoarding my points. I like my wine and my Netflix too much! I just want to keep the “doing something” attitude alive!!!! Go. Make Awesome shit happen! Stick with SOMETHING!

Happy Wednesday!

Draining.

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Hello!

Budgets and balances ever have you feeling frustrated? Those times when you pull up your checking balance, savings balance, debts and upcoming bills. The word frustrated by definition means to feel angry, discouraged or upset because of not being able to do something: to prevent (efforts, plans etc.) from succeeding: to keep (someone) from doing something.

Being a new (old) homeowner, meaning we are new to this older home, and we anticipated that a lot of things regarding the home and it’s structure and facade would eventually need financial and laborious attention. Not only cosmetic attention, but in it’s actual operation. We knew these situations would arise, however it seems like they literally hit all at once. like now. Ever since moving in the home this past October. As excited as we were, to take care of most of the interior cosmetic work. Those seemed less of a financial burden and we could see the reward, new dry wall, beautiful painted walls, textiles and personal design, those costs didn’t seem so daunting and halting.

We are practicing simple, we envelop a love of less is more, and saving money for our future, and not living in serious debt is a common goal for us at sunset circle. However, life has different plans, the old home needed more than what we thought, and much like a patient with only a few weeks to live and keep it’s pace, it was going down, and taking all it’s parts down with it. First, the entire gas heat furnace and pipes needed replaced, $$, The hot water heater stopped working $, then the drain systems old pipes went down, and all had to be cut out, dug out, and replaced, (no one wants their commode water coming through their basement walls. ew.) $$$ Then, the septic tank and lines decided to literally go to shit in the last week. Bringing up sewage and slush with it. That’s when we find that not only does the entire line and tank need replaced, but with the age of the property and home, a new septic may be out of the question, so around 8 thousand needs to go to hooking into the town’s sewer.

I don’t mean this post to sound like we are in over our heads. Like I noted before, we anticipated these issues prior to purchase, and we always justified those problems arising by realizing how much we liked home, it’s location, it’s feel, it’s potential, and the bargain we bought it for, would counter act the financial hardships it may bring. We were just starting to see our account balances and budgets get back to where we liked to keep them, when this new septic issue presented itself this week. I don’t feel anything else but the true definition of frustrated. Go back, read it again in that first paragraph. Do you ever feel just upset because you feel like your pursuit to get ahead is very similar to trudging through muck, wearing heavy weighted shit sloshing boots?

Everyone has financial goals, they have visions of what they want to be saving for, for us it’s starting our family, travel, and continue making our home together. So when you have to see those dollars go literally down the drain, frustration appears in it’s place. It’s there, hidden in every purchase you make. It lingers on your grocery list, your receipts, your desires and goals. It shows up in personal guilt for other purchases along the way. Your tight purse strings that appear after it rears it’s ugly face. Frustration mocks you when you want to pursue other goals, it points fingers and reminds you that you can not proceed as quickly or as  comfortable as you thought you would.

I have the best partner, I see her support, and instead of it causing us to bicker or quarrel, we embrace and lean in a little harder on each other, having those conversations of making the best decision, and weighing our options. Debt and finances causes a lot of couples to argue and fuss, but If you realize that this is something that is neither to blame, and you see it as a opportunity to work hard together, to come up with solutions, and hear the other person out and know that they are just as frustrated when they too see a road block in your endeavors. I realize everyday that i’m not alone in it, and we will always figure it out. We adjust, we adapt to the frustration and meet it head on, that may mean pushing some things back on the list, but not let them out of our sights. There is always going to be things that arise that we do not plan on, or we didn’t see it coming in that form or timing. If you are going through the season of savings vs. expenses, then maybe you can relate. Every scale has an opportunity to balance  when you move and adjust. life really is a constant balance.

 

This girl is on fire.

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Liar, Liar pants on fire. Do you ever lie to yourself? Out of expectation? Out of approval? Out of justification? I officially can not continue this pattern. Nor can I lie to others. I like honesty. I appreciate it, but there is one area in my life that I have been a liar about. Or at least I feel I am being less than honest about. I am enrolled to start back to college this week. I am not very excited. I am not really that happy about this decision, and deep down in my gut I am concerned that I am making the wrong decision for myself. I am a repeat offender of this sort of thing. I can talk myself out of just about anything. Well I should give that credit to my inner shit talker, as I have mentioned her before.

Everyone keeps asking me “are you so excited to go back?” “I bet you are so excited to finish.” “I am proud of you for going back.” etc. These comments, feel more like the weight of a elephant. I am so happy to have the faith and support of others, and I don’t want to take it for granted . But Holy shit, this just feels scary, confusing and a little nerve racking. I of course go through the mental list of how all of the things can go wrong, or not add value to my life,if I am not in the right frame of mind and season in my life to receive this benefits. Now, with this being said, I know the cliche of all the self doubt involves. I know that “how do you know you won’t like it?” “How do I know that this is the wrong decision?” Truth is, I don’t know.  I am open to be wrong about these assumptions. I am okay with feeling these current feelings, only to embrace that they could be right or they could be wrong. Either way it won’t change me as a Human. Unless I let it.

Much like the upcoming president. I don’t like him. I don’t like that he is coming into this sacred power, I am nervous about it. I am not happy about it, and I am not even remotely excited about it, like I see and hear some people are. I am honestly scared. However, I have told people that I am open to being wrong about how I feel. That I could be happy, that he could be a good president, etc, but I won’t know until I have experienced it. In my gut I don’t want this president, but my vote was just not enough to prevent it. So for the next 4 years I will be set on hopefully being wrong about this man, and if by circumstance my expectations change,  I will be receptive to this. Just being honest. If you can tell me how excited you are for our country, in the very same conversation, I can tell you how I am not, but I will stay hopeful.

Candor is what I value. So I feel like I owe it to myself to embrace these feelings about school in the same way. As a adult, who does not have to worry about truancy, or popularity contest, or if I will fit in. I know this is something I can do in my own time. If it works great, but if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I am only as obligated to attend as I set my schedule to be. I can not worry about letting people down, If i decide once again that college just isn’t for me. However, I do feel like I need to re-visit the notion that this time around maybe it is the place for me. I am giving myself the permission and the grace, to be afraid, but also the permission to embrace this, and explore it a little more. As for right now, I can name 10 things that are more a priority then school, and just in the same notion I want it. I want the damn degree. I just don’t ever want to put my truth on the line for it. I am unapologetic about how I feel. I have to be.

I can’t keep up with the pressure on myself to feel like I “have” or “should” feel a certain way about this endeavor. From a young age we are taught not to be quitters, this mentality has really been a struggle for me. I have sometimes felt like I have stayed and settled for things that were no longer serving me, just for the pure fact that I didn’t want to have the title of a quitter, or disappoint myself or others. I only get one opportunity to live this life. April. So who the fuck are you living it for, if you are constantly concerned with how everyone else is going to perceive your every fucking move?! This is how I work through things, I get it out, I have to get it out of my head. If I am going to be cramming  Speech class 1010 in there, then I sure as hell do not these thoughts interfering with the learning I am paying for. I want to be open to the possibility of my own success, and go at with my heart and my mind and the admitting that it’s vulnerable. My vulnerability is not to be viewed as a weakness, but a moment of me being honest and free of judgments on myself and from others.  This is one of those post that in 6 weeks from now I could re-read and completely feel different about, but as long as I know that I put it out there in the world that this woman is a little unsure and that’s OK.

Dear, school can we just have coffee first? Like get to know each other, but like not move too fast?

Hell No h2o!

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Hello! It’s Thirsty Thursday

I don’t know how this story got to where it was, but let’s just say I believe it needs told. I have to get it out. I have been the appointed committee chairman for my place of employments wellness committee for 2 years now. I have sat through meeting after meeting, dedicated several hours of my time to research ways to improve employee health and activities to get them involved. Some have worked, then fizzled out. Some did not work well at all. Some we noticed was for the most part, the same 20 people out of nearly 400 participating. I am not much on giving up, or throwing in the towel, but for the past several months, I have felt like this wasn’t really my heart anymore. I felt as though I kept presenting options and coming up with plans only to see them fall apart or be picked apart by my peers.

You see, negativity is a living breathing nasty thing that is breeding all over these department halls. It shows up a lot when it comes to health and wellness among the stubborn employees I share my 7.5 hours a day with. Every time I bring back the news of what the wellness committee is excited to try to implement there is always MORE than one (several) who oppose the idea. No matter how damn perky and excited I am. I take it personally, these are not only my ideas, but also ideas shared with the great group that also attends the committee. Trust me when I say, we have literally tried countless activities, friendly and fair, keeping even the 82-year-old in the office eligibly included.

Yesterday, I went to my meeting, sort of dreading it, but filled with hope and a whole slew of papers and ideas to present to the group. Basically a sermon on the excuses we hear and make, and how to build up around them, and make people, including ourselves accountable. I walked in the cold meeting room, sat down in the big blue leather chair at the head of the table, and had a feeling in my gut that I shouldn’t open this can of worms just yet. That this direction was not something I thought that the majority would be ready for, and it may all seem a little “woo woo” and above anything the employees would want to hear. Then the idea came, it’s one I think has been in my head for a while, but it was time to come out. A water cooler. simple. brilliant. I thought.

Which brings me to my half full/half empty conversation. We work out of an old tobacco warehouse converted office complex of a building, we do not offer CLEAN drinking water. I am a water drinker and have been toting bottle after bottle in here to work for over two years. I received a life factory bottle as a gift for christmas, and I don’t like anything that just sits around my house not being enjoyed or used. I decided to present the solution of a water cooler provided to employees be placed in our building, through a local vending water company here in our town. I know that nothing comes for free, but we chatted with our leaders and the vote was for them to come up with funding for their employees as sort of a token of appreciation, when they have such a financial cushion themselves to spend it on this amenity.

While some leaders were willing to give give give, their were others who acted like we just asked them to donate a kidney. You see, the committee I am on has no funds. Therefore we can never make any tangible incentives available. We decided, excited as we were as a group that this was a GREAT idea, and a wonderful way to encourage the employees to drink more water as gifted by their leaders. I have seen evidence at a time when these same leaders have had fundraisers and donations for their own progress in the work place, but a few simply said no. They didn’t want to participate nor did they see the need. I lost my shit. Honest moment. I lost my shit when I heard their response. Really a NO for clean water? You don’t think the employees even deserve the choice? I remember a lot, and this is something I won’t easily forget. As the chairman I have never asked anyone to contribute anything more than their time. It just isn’t the response I was assuming I would hear.

I am not quite ready to throw in the towel as chairman, I feel as though now, I have been put in this position not only to advocate for health, but also on bealf of several other’s and their health. The water cooler was installed 3 hours after the meeting was ajourned and it’s already half “full/empty” People are using it. I don’t want to see this new clean water taken away, and I hope to inspire the ones who can fund to help.

This essay may sound like a rant, it probably really does, I have went from yesterday a feeling of success and optimisim , that in one conversation turned my glass from full to empty. 20 minutes later a employee messaged me thanking for getting the cooler that she had already visited it twice, and my cup started filling back up. The universe has a way of picking you back up if you let it. My mind is starting to adjust back to the positvie impact a simple idea can have if we let it manifest and thrive. Someone will always be there to knock your glass over, but someone else is usually right behind them offering you a generous re-fill. Cheers.

Regina George.

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Hello! Happy 2017. Let’s make it a awesome year.

I want to start off my saying Mean Girls is one of my favorite movies. It came out in millennial perfection timing. It was the anthem for how high school was perceived by so many- instant cult classic! In Mean Girls you have Cady Heron also know as Lindsay Lohan playing the lead lady. Cady, who grew up with super chill parents in Africa as a child, learned to love herself for exactly who she was. She did not compare herself to others, she was kind, really smart, unique, confident and really happy. Until she went to High School. Until she met Regina George. Regina George brought out the absolute worst in Cady and her posse of followers. She made fun of people, was attention hungry, and consumed with social pleasures and body image. Regina got her’s by belittling all those around her. Regina noticed Cady was pretty and could be well liked, she saw her as the way others would see her a great gal. Regina saw Cady as a threat so she took her under her perfectly polished neon bra wearing wing as the new girl in school and played her like a pawn in her evil games.

Regina George, for me is similar to my inner mean girl. She’s a real bitch. She is sneaky and sometimes you don’t even realize she’s ripping you apart, she can play it really slow and subtle. Everything can be going great and next thing I know she’s up for a little sabotage and ambush on my truth and emotions. She makes me feel things I don’t enjoy feeling. She makes me say things I regret saying, things that don’t line up with who I am or what I value. I live life for the most part as a Cady character. I love to laugh, be genuine, friendly, and caring. I am happy and usually pretty positive. But just like the movie, my inner mean girl shows up. Sometimes she criticizes my appearance in a mirror, picking apart my weight, the clothes I am wearing, the way they fit, my skin problems, or hair styles. Sometimes she convinces me that I need to spend my hard earned money on things that I don’t even want or need. Sometimes she shows up when a challenge arises. Convincing me that I don’t need to accomplish my goals. Sometimes she shows up and encourages me to be doing things I don’t want to be doing, and tries to slow my progress. She tries to win a popularity contest and focuses her attention on how others perceive me, taking away my genuine personality. Or alter my lifestyle to compete with others. Some days she can run my inner dialogue incessantly talking, usually leaving mentally and physically down and exhausted.  I would chalk it up to my hormones or just a bad day, or place blame on my job & others instead of my inner mean girl.

I tend to overthink things. Especially when things don’t go according to how I think they should. Instead of being present and flowing, I over react, freak out, and my inner mean girl says things like “I should give up on that” or” you can never change”, or they are a terrible person, or I am awful person. Sometimes word vomit happens, another Mean Girls moment, when things we don’t want to be saying or hurtful things just come out.  I don’t know if this post is relate able, but I am making it my goal DAILY.. to silence this inner mean girl. No I am not able to run her over by a giant yellow school bus, but I can acknowledge it. Call attention to it. Bring it out. Accept it for the ass it  is, but distance myself from letting her rule my life, my mind or my values. Inner mean girls build momentum when you feed into them. They prey on your flaws and areas you are working on and convince you that you are not up for it. Don’t bother bettering yourself. Inner mean girls are our worst critics and they need to be put in check! Imagine if we begin to thrive on our inner “Cady”, complimenting our effort and speaking kindly to ourselves. Start advocating for the women we want to be. I know this is something I want to be working on. It’s not necessarily a resolution, but definitely a huge area of focus to be better in tune with myself, and just be kind, and give myself the grace to achieve and grow. I know being a better human is sort of a joke people say on New Years  but, Hello! It holds so much truth. So I am telling my inner mean girl that “she can’t sit with me” anymore.

On Wednesdays we wear pink. Or whatever the hell we want!

-APril

Moves like Elaine.

 

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Hello! Had a wonderful holiday! Still on a Christmas high, and hoping that this feeling in the air lingers around for a while.

Yesterday I was reading an article in Weight Watchers magazine, that really resonated  with me. I was also given this magazine subscription as a gift for Christmas, and I couldn’t be more than happy about it! whoop whoop! To me, the gift of reading material about a specific area of interest in my life was perfection! The article was all about “Healing Arts”-dance, painting, drawing, acting, writing, etc. As I read the article about dance/movement, it triggered an adrenaline heart pumping realization. I am most engaged and in tune when I am listening to music, moving around to it, and letting my mind and body get lost in it. I grew up wanting to participate in dance classes, theater, and the arts. I joined a dance team in high school, along with on stage acting and singing. I liked the freedom it provided. Now, as I am older I still find joy in how I move and relate to music, I like to refer to it as a moving meditation. It would clear my head and give me a huge boost in self-confidence and energy. Even as a young girl I recognized the power that music, dance, and movement provided. Music is this huge useful, creative tool just waiting for someone like me to embrace it!

I am very intentional when it comes to my music, I have always relied heavily on the influence of music I choose to surround myself with. I have a variety of genres and taste. If you have ever been in the car with me you probably have noticed my silly dance moves and my singing. I make up dance moves and songs. I feel so free with it, and want to engage actively when a good song comes on or my body urges to move. I have been a little out of tune lately with my workout motivation. I read the article, and started recalling all the times when I haven’t resisted exercise and my top answers and that ever chased “mojo” was dance and moving my body to music or anything that tapped deeper into my creative side. In 2015 I participated for a few months in a hip hop dance/aerobics class. I loved it. Great music,  great energy, and the high I would feel afterward kept me coming back for more. Then I went a little further back to when I was running/walking almost everyday on my lunch break at work, while creating a playlist just for that walk or run and noticing how a certain track could push me further and get me into a great mental space. This past summer, I dabbled in water aerobics on my own,  and I blared my beats outdoors in the hot summer sun. I have wireless speakers and a sound dock i frequently put to use. A stereo might just be on my top 5 must have  list. Since the Summer ended, I have let this slip through the cracks. I needed the break though, my energy was focused on other priorities that brought me joy, like getting settled into our home and putting energy and work into that. We usually always had music going while hanging dry wall and completing our projects even chores have a background soundtrack. The fall and winter have come now, my body and energy has somewhat slowed down and I found myself stuck in a workout and health conundrum , trying to convince myself to get back into some kind of routine. Thank goodness the world has a way of bringing your attention and focus back before it slips too far away.

Everyone usually puts their health back into a priority at the turn of a new year, making resolutions and promises to do better. I started yesterday. I could not wait any longer. I was given tools over Christmas to help me get back into my love of movement and music and hadn’t even known that was what I really needed. My partner gave me wireless bluetooth headphones! Yippeee! Last night, as I put them on, and turned on some of my lady jams, I set  to “jamout” my new term for my workout to 3 or 4 songs. I finished with six songs and felt amazing afterward!

My excuses are just excuses. I don’t need to give them any more power than just calling them out for exactly what they are. I go back to that over explaining and apologizing when it’s not necessary. It’s easier for me to just say, (I have been missing this______). Time to get back to doing what works. It’s a good mental check up and refresher to realize that I can find what works and has worked for me, and tangibly go back after it, to get what I need restored.

I leave on this note. Reconnect with what works, more than likely it is what has worked and inspired you for as long as you can remember. Don’t put limits on yourself when finding avenues. Incorporate what you enjoy or even try them out in a new way. I will say Hiking is also what my heart loves and I can not wait to get back in my mountains soon!

-I think I dance better than Elaine from Seinfeld, however it’s her spirit that makes me love her character. She’s not afraid to make a fool of herself, and truly embody that dance like no one is watching mantra.

-April

Hallmark Cheese plate.

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Hello! Happy hump day. Getting close to Christmas we are, and hopefully getting just the things out of the holidays  we most desire. My usual wants and desires, are of course spending some time with the people closest to me. A little special baking, (I said little). Shopping and wrapping within my means. Listening to a few Christmas tunes and watching a corny holiday movie or movies.. Speaking of the corny movies, we have been sucked into a few Hallmark movies this season, mainly for the humorous  commentary my partner and I have during these fictitious presentations of “how Christmas should look”. My partner and I have made our own little funny game of does she look like porn star, or hallmark actress. Come on, in my personal opinion the acting is mediocre at best and the story line is usually so predictable. Perfect timing, perfect sob story, the fact that love and happiness and all things christmasy will prevail!  The amount of Velveeta cheese they force on us is almost too much. Needless to say, my Christmas does not look like a Hallmark movie, and further more I don’t really want it to. However, I still think my way is just as magical!

Which brings me to today’s topic of  social media, television and movies and other influences on how we think and  feel our holidays should look. First thing I want to get out there is, I do not live in a little bubble, but for a few personal reasons, I gave up Facebook 5 years ago, Instagram almost 2 years ago, twitter about a year and half and just recently scaled down on my tumblr. I still have my Pinterest page, but have since made most of my boards secret, not that i’m super private.. obviously not if I am going to keep a blog. Without going into a huge explanation of my choice to detach from the social media scene, let me just say I needed to do it for me to live my best life. I get what the hype is and I understand that it brings a lot of people (millions of people) joy, but for me it did not serve value anymore. I do not miss it. Hope your children, and chores and life and events are going just as great, just the same.

I remember their was this need to see how everyone else was spending their time and their holidays, and it seemed like everyone was keeping score. If they bake 5 different things, I need to bake six. If they attend the light shows, and go ice skating, I need to go too, and also have that picture of drinking hot chocolate. There are so many avenues of constant keeping up with the Jones’s that I can see why people stress so much over the holidays. Every commercial plays up the big dinners, the expensive gifts, the lavish and lush parties, the emotional reunites, and a case of the “feels” they try to force on my heart strings.

So I ask myself, more like remind myself, this is how I do holidays, this is how we do Christmas, we don’t need to advertise our lives on all these outlets for people to judge us on. Vise versa, I do not want to bring unnecessary judgement on you on how you spend yours. If we truly are friends, I know I will already know how you are spending your time, because more than likely we will be together, or we are chatting on the phone when we make time to catch up. What works for them is hopefully heart felt. What works for us is  true to what we value. There is no point in adding things to the holidays just for the sake of doing them. Willing to try new things is awesome, if you have good intentions and are genuinely excited about them. Just the same as letting go of old traditions that no longer bring you happiness is okay. You do you. The general rule of thumb I try to stick to is don’t overwhelm myself or others this time of year so I can fully be present in the things I want to be doing, and the people I want to be spending this time with.

I give myself permission to leave that elf on the shelf, at the department store. I give myself permission to watch cheesy Hallmark movies and make fun of them. I give myself permission to say no to those events I don’t really want to attend, and I don’t have to make excuses or explain to anyone why I can’t attend. It’s not a scrooge thing to do, to just say Thanks for the invite, but I will not be able to make it, but I hope your (fill in the blank ___) goes really great! I give myself permission to bake the cookie I want to bake, because food is expensive, and do I really need 12 recipes to stress about? NO! I give myself permission to forget to take photos of my family opening their Christmas gifts and playing games..because my phone is.. where is my phone, I don’t know because I am being present.  I give myself permission to decorate with things that I truly want to see around me. I give myself permission to just slow down. Here is my honest moment, I give myself the permission to respectively disregard other people’s expectations including some of my own, and just find flow with what holidays look like for us.

I catch myself sometimes in a stressful holiday moment, and have to do the scan of self evaluation of why I am getting all worked up or my tinsel in a tangle. Sometimes I have to talk myself off of a ledge, and trudge through the snow that I have overwhelmingly created for myself. I sometimes catch myself questioning other people’s behavior, and worry about their happiness over my own. I sometimes start apologizing for things I find joy in, just because I want to keep peace, or explain my choices when I shouldn’t have to.

*Justification and approval are things people naturally long for. Especially when it comes to holidays and personal choices.*Just remember, you don’t need anyone’s approval when you approve of yourself. Daily reminder to self here! With a big Cheesy Hallmark Smile on my face, I know we are going to be just fine!

-April

“Home Ready”

christmas-cleaningEver since I was a little girl, I have watched my mother and father (mostly mom) get the “house ready”. What this meant was a lot of chores, a lot of laundry, vacuuming, dust polish, rug shaking and tidying up. Most days my mother could be found doing normal routine household chores. My parents take that responsibility and put their heart into it. They taught my sister and I well to take pride in a tidy home.. I can remember though before a party, company, overnight guest or around a holiday, the phrase “I need to get the house ready” was used. This usually sparked some sort of stress on my mother, anxiety even. To me I viewed it as in order for us to present our home we have to make it in such a way for the guest, much of the time paying attention to details, even the most o.c.d. guest would probably overlook. My parents house is always “ready” so when I see her or my father going the extra mile to make things guest ready, I viewed it as a little pointless. Until I became a Adult. Until I became a Homeowner. I want to know how to balance this built in mentality and re-wire to my more living intentionally lifestyle.

My partner and I are hosting her father for the upcoming weekend to celebrate Christmas with him, his wife, and my partners sister, husband, brother and nephew and niece. We recently bought our little nest and have been spending the past few months on several renovation projects, making it our home. Fun. Messy and Expensive! Even with our “diy” spirit, owning a small older home comes with surprise costs, new furnace, plumbing etc.

In anticipation for their arrival in a few days I said to her maybe Friday evening we can “get the house ready”. As I said this phrase, she said to me “babe, did you hear yourself”? I laughed a little, hesitantly at first. I tried to backtrack. What did I just say? I had just spoke about our home like it was a living breathing thing. I spoke like it was someone who could not hang out with others until it was ready to play, after it finished it’s chores. My partner sweetly assured me that our house is always ready. Ready for us or guest because of our lifestyle, aesthetic, and feel of our home. It’s not something we should have to hide or cover up. Everything is pretty intentional, and tidy for the normal two of us. We have a home that feels safe, it’s cozy, calm, fun, warm and inviting for us. I want our home to reflect us, our personalities and allow others to see hints of what we like, our interest, and a personal reflection of our values and reflects what we bring to life. I realize that our home is perfectly imperfect, and I love it at all it’s stages, because life is happening inside it’s gracious greige colored walls. It’s ours, we are proud of it,  we hope to present our home as we present ourselves, genuine, flawed and perfectly imperfect.

The “getting ready” can still happen, I do want guest to feel like they are comfortable, but finding the simplicity and relaxed version of that is going to have to be my new normal hard wiring. I want to actually enjoy time with them. I am a hostess and server by nature and upbringing and I have my mother to thank for that. I will always appreciate the pride they took in inviting people into their personal space. I look forward to people meeting our house, and spending time with us and how we do home at Sunset Circle. I hope they can look past the flaws, the dated bathroom, the scratched hardwoods, the dust bunny in that one corner, the molding that’s incomplete and the fact that we only have 3 kitchen chairs… and see that we are getting to know ourselves as we get to know home.

Happy Home for the holidays.

Words of Advice, be gentle with yourself when you know company is coming, a lot of the things we think they will notice or judge us on, they will not. Embrace your home for exactly who it is. If you’re living a more minimal, intentional life, cleaning up shouldn’t take very long in the first place. The whole point of having a more paired down life is that you don’t spend all that time cleaning it.