I have to admit, I haven’t been doing too well lately. This is what I tell myself even when the reality is much worse. But it’s much easier than facing all those fardling difficult to tolerate feelings that keep trying to ruin my life by being there.

And on top of that, when I start to get into a worse depressive slump I tend to self-isolate, which then only makes me feel more alone and stuck. I can feel a little bit like this:

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Life wins? (Pic by my son, 5)

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The Perma-Grin

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

I love to smile. I certainly prefer to feel happy over being unhappy! But I don’t always smile just because I’m thrilled. When I get nervous, I smile. When I try to talk about certain subjects that make me uncomfortable, I laugh at what I’m saying- perhaps to ease my own discomfort somehow? I see that it isn’t an ideal behavior but I can’t seem to stop.

Fun at the beach today with my son!

Me in a situation where enthusiasm makes sense…

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Update

Posted: January 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

Recently, I have been having a bit harder time feeling like I’m keeping my head above water. Clearly, I haven’t been able to stick to my original posting frequency goals and I’m thinking of paring down to be more realistic. Right now I’m aiming for at least once a week but more if I can.

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I feel a little bit like this.

I am really proud of myself for a few reasons though!

One: I set a date to meet with the high schoolers (Monday!!) so wish me luck! I am feeling increasing stress about how the time might go but I’m making efforts to be prepared. I will try to post an update about it once it’s over.

Two: I have been continuing my efforts to get rid of stuff we don’t need or use and been making some more progress. I sure am enjoying our clearer areas. Up next are the linen closet and some of those pesky piled up corners. Intimidating!!

Three: Hubs and I have had some really difficult discussions lately about finances (aren’t those talks the worst?) but I’m pleased because we seem to have gotten farther with less friction than we often feel and have some good plans to implement for the future. Also in this vein are my changing our cell phone plan saving us almost $50 a month, and us deciding to cancel our Y membership because we almost never went. It’s sad because I had this ideal in mind that we would go work out together or go swimming as a family more often but in reality the cost isn’t worth it if you don’t go! =(

I have been increasingly interested in figuring out some wise ways to invest and hopefully secure a more financially stable future for our family. Just wish it wasn’t quite so difficult! I just need to try to keep at it.

How about you? What helps you most when approaching difficult tasks?

Mentoring

Posted: January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

Ever since high school I have wanted to help other young women navigate life better. I just can’t quite figure out how to actually do it. Because of meeting these kids at snow camp it looks like I may have a new opportunity to try.

Thanks to my mom, for taking this great pic. (Yes, this is me from a few years back.)

Must embrace the excitement!

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I have been wanting to do some serious decluttering for some time now but I never make very good headway- that is, if I manage to get started at all! Where do I even start? Sound familiar?

Here’s the first tip: Do all of one kind of thing all at once. Be as specific as you need to be. Start with your clothes. Or your sock drawer! Or books, or dishes (as I did today.)  Don’t start off trying to tackle the pile of sentimental items or corner pile of random stuff that has no home. That comes easier if you save it for later. Though I’m pretty sure it’s never easy!

My new favorite happiness guru is Gretchen Rubin and she if full of helpful wisdom related to all things happiness and organization. She says something like this:

To a large extent- for most people- “outer order contributes to inner calm and self-command.’ -Gretchen Rubin

I love this idea of inner calm getting this sort of boost, just by doing something simple like making your bed. It’s so true for me. (Read more about that in my previous ramblings about de-cluttering.)

Yesterday I listened to her podcast about NOT getting organized but paring down your stuff. With this final push, in addition to recent conversations with my mom about KonMari’s delcuttering method and book, I finally decided to get rid of stuff- especially the stuff I don’t even particularly like!

I blitzed the kitchen cupboards today and I feel so much better. We decided to use our wedding china and nicer glasses (and some of my mother in law’s, since she gave some of hers) and this helped in two ways:

  • I look forward to getting way more use and enjoyment out of our china, rather than it being more a source of frustration, sitting taking up space and being so difficult to get to- even for those special occasions, AND
  • Making our good dishes for available for regular use helped us feel more able to finally get rid of our heavy stoneware. I never loved it anyway. I love our china! Now every time we eat, I get to see those beautiful dishes and it makes an impact.
This was packed to the gills before I started... Good job me!

Done for today! So much better. Look, there are even empty spaces!! =)

Throughout the day, I think hubs took more than 5 boxes out to donate. I have to give him props too, because he was very encouraging and he lugged all the full donate boxes out of the house before I could change my mind. 😉

Here are some more tips that may help you if you’re like me:

  1. Just get started with something small and plan to plug away for as much time as you have. I am like a locomotive with a super heavy load.. SOOOOO slow to get started but once I’m moving I just want to go and go and go. It’s actually very hard for me to stop too. Which is kind of a good thing when there is a distinct enough endpoint or at least acceptable exit criteria- like: everything is put away well enough for now and I need to rest and eat so I’ll be done for today.
  2. Let go of the stuff you don’t love. We can think of bunches of reasons to keep stuff, but stuff won’t make you happy. Especially if it’s always messy or making your life harder to keep it. (Like how we couldn’t put clean dishes away very easily because there was no room and you constantly had to take things out and reorganize to make everything fit!)
  3. When trying remove something that is a bit more difficult to release, think of a plan for the item that helps you let go. I planned to give my unopened coffee packages to my sister who will drink them up. (I can’t have much because I realized it just too stimulating for the baby who’s still breastfeeding.) Old baby clothes are offered to a couple friends with little ones and the rest is going to be donated to Salvation Army to donate-an organization that I know will make good use of the money raised from the sale of my old stuff- and it all will get a new life in another home.
  4. Only declutter your own stuff. As tempting as it is, it’s not ok to just go through and get rid of everyone else’s stuff and never deal with your own. It’s easier because the emotional attachments that come up when we look at our stuff is the thing that makes it hard to let go- at least for me. When I tried to pare down our book mountain, I kept wanting to just get rid of my husband’s books. He wasn’t thrilled.

I feel so accomplished after our great cabinet purge. Every time I see the empty spaces and the ‘new’ dishes, I absolutely feel calmer and HAPPIER. And for me, that is the best result I could hope for.

Does outer order help you find inner calm? What is your decluttering strategy? Do you have any methods or mind tricks that help you pare down your stuff?

On Feeling Stuck

Posted: January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

On feeling stuck:

Quite a while ago now, I wrote this article about being stuck- or what to do if you’re feeling stuck. So I thought I’d read it now because I’m feeling horribly stuck when it comes to writing!! Then I shall evaluate my prior advice and possibly even give new improved advice! 

Well, that’s what I planned to do but then our interwebs were not working as they should and now I cannot do any of the computery things I was planning on doing tonight. And let’s face it, all I wanted to do was internet dependent vegging with a little bit of ‘work’ (this blog post) thrown in to make me feel less guilty about staying up for no reason.

I would also have liked to look for some helpful articles about writing by my brother’s friend and cool gal Lauren over at lilzotz.com because I know she has all kinds of helpful stuff for writers but alas, I could not.

To calm my frustrations, a gratitude exercise.

I am thankful for the following:

The generosity and kindness of my mother in law and her magic chair,

My helpful and hardworking hubby,

Those two super cute kids, whom I love, and

Finally getting some traction with my fashion update goals (#stitchfix, #ihavenoideahowtousehashtags)!

So more to come another day. I’ve used up all my free time trying to get the internet and my new phone to work and neither is working yet. I need to hop in bed so I can actually maybe get more than 45 minutes of sleep before the baby wakes up and needs me… Good thing she’s so cute!

G’nite! Or g’day as the case may be now!

Just Post Something!

Posted: January 20, 2016 in Uncategorized
That totally makes this short post legit, right? ;)

I’m working on brevity!

For all my lofty goals, I’m clearly having a hard time keeping up with my plan of posting more frequently. With the trip and everything else we have had going on lately, I haven’t been doing as well as I’d like…Blah blah blah…complain, complain. Read the rest of this entry »

College Do-Over

Posted: January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

For the last few days we’ve been up in the mountains enjoying the crisp air and real-live snow. Both my 5 yo son and babykins (15 mo.) loved it. Our whole little family went up with my husband’s school group which was putting on a winter camp type thing. I have lots more I want to say about things more directly related to the trip but for now, I’m reminded about my college do-over. Read the rest of this entry »

Fencing

Posted: January 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

Lately I feel like I’ve been dying of sleep exhaustion a little bit.

So last night I skipped posting here and… went fencing with my brother! I probably should have gone to be early but I’m trying to find a balance between but trying to live life and do all the other things that are important to me as well.

It’s surprisingly tricky! But today I took a nap while the kids were down for theirs and tonight I’m going to bed like, right now.

=D

How do you make sure you get enough sleep? If you don’t get enough sleep, how do you manage?

On Being More Open-Hearted

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

Lately, I have been thinking about being open-hearted. I think some problems I have been having may be related to a certain lack of open-heartedness in myself. I’d like to remedy this, but how?

First, to define open-hearted. My initial thought was that it means something fluffy or touchy-feely like being willing to ‘let the love in’ or something in that general vicinity. I was surprised by the synonyms that stood out to me when I looked it up just for clarity.

Here’s my new definition:
Willingness to be frank and forthcoming in an unguarded and unreserved way.

This is what I need to work on.

In many social situations, I almost always end up being more reserved or guarded than I’d like to be because so many random things spike this eternal fear I have that everyone will suddenly decide they hate me. I’d like to be frank but then I worry: Will that be rude? Will they be offended somehow? Are they already mad at me? It can be utterly paralyzing. And the thoughts I am trying to share can be as innocuous as liking their outfit, or something I can’t imagine going over badly, like expressing admiration. For some reason, I anticipate some kind of awful reaction no matter what I would say or how I’d phrase it. So I clam up.

Is everyone locked out or are you locked in?

Is everyone locked out? Or are you locked in?

So at what point to my fears become a self fulfilling prophesy? I end up being closed-off without even realizing it and I imagine that could be off-putting to say the least.

I want people to like me! Who doesn’t?

If you’re trying to be more open-hearted too, here are some steps we can try!

  1. Be aware of when you may be closing off.
    Awareness of the problem is always a helpful first step in moving toward a new behavior. What is the trigger? Keep in mind it may not be safe to be open-hearted with everyone. However, it’s important to let yourself at least try- if the person seems safe enough.
  2. Embrace being uncomfortable/act in spite of the fear.
    Trying to do something a different way can be quite intimidating. Since I am dealing with the fact that so many social situations already feel very fraught with danger (even though logically I know they aren’t likely to truly be!) I often find my feelings to be overwhelming or paralyzing. I think a helpful goal is to allow the feelings but don’t let them stop you from being more of who you want to be.
  3. Be direct and assertive.
    I have run into some interpersonal problems because apparently I have a hard time being direct. I felt like I was but I wasn’t because I was worried about hurting feelings or held back by vague worries about potential problems. Stating what you want or need in a clear and concise fashion isn’t rude. It’s necessary.
    Being direct can feel intimidating but it’s your right and responsibility. -BUT- you can still be nice! Be thoughtful about your wording. And be willing to hear their response. Make and effort to work things out if problems arise.
  4. Be friendly!
    I heard an interesting theory recently: we tend to gravitate toward people who seem to like us. So being friendly is much less likely to make people hate you than being very closed-off. (I hope!)
  5. Be yourself.
    I never want to be ‘fake’ and yet it seems like to a certain extent, I end up being false when I’m not able to be more open about my thoughts or feelings. This is especially important to me with people I care about, but it totally applies to people who I hope will become friends too! How can we know who will like us if we aren’t being genuine? The age old adage applies:

    “This above all, to thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare

What helps you be open-hearted?