I stumbled upon a blog recently that’s easily becoming one of my favorite reads.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a counter-cultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of over-consumption that surrounds us.
Man, I love that. I think I just adopted a new life manta.
So many wonderful words in there. Intentional. Promotion. Value. Removal. Conscious. Decision. Lifestyle. Culture.
The key word that sticks out to me is lifestyle. When you make an adjustment to a new kind of lifestyle (working out, eating healthy, diets, etc) it takes time. It takes baby steps. There will be set backs and failures and victories and accomplishments. There’s a push and pull type of force that happens when you are teaching yourself to live differently than what you are used to. It’s a slow process. I really love the idea of becoming minimalist, but I definately don’t see myself selling all of my possessions and living in a hipster van in the woods.
I desperately want to remove clutter in my life in 2016. I want to clean up the way my thoughts spin through my head, the things that I buy and the things that I keep, and most importantly, the way I spend my time. Living in a tiny little house with my fiance has forced us to de-clutter our lives a little bit, simply because there is literally no more room (anywhere), but I want to continue to de-clutter my life in other ways as well.
- I want to spend more time with people. And stop being a hermit.
- I want to eat real foods. Less processed food. Except chocolate. Must. Have. Chocolate.
- I want to give away what I don’t use. I like to think that there’s someone out there that would use and truly appreciate the things that just sit in my closet.
- I want to put my phone down more. It’s time to delete a lot of very unnecessary, time-sucking apps.
- I want to spend each moment intentionally. Less internet browsing, tv-watching, list-making. More being present.
There are days when I struggle with being happy. I think a lot of us have those days. There may or may not be a reason. We may or may not have a right to be sad. We may just feel this overwhelming weight sitting upon us that we can’t, no matter what, seem to lift. I’ve been there. I think some of you probably have too.
As I’ve battled these days over the past few years, I’ve found that choosing happiness and choosing joy is a decision, a mental choice. My heart and soul may be dragging me downward, but it is my responsibility to have my brain push me upwards, towards hope. Choosing joy is not a feeling or something that just happens. Choosing joy is a decision, an everyday decision.
The message that hit home for me was from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. “Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.” Ultimately, to me, depression was selfishness. It was a lack of gratitude toward what God had given me. It was a lack of gratitude that I owed myself. It was a lack of gratitude for those around me. Depression was (and is) selfish. This may or may not true to you, or someone you know, but to me, this was my truth. I’ve always been hard on myself, a perfectionist, but I realized that perfection was not what was important, and that I owed myself the opportunity to be happy, to be the best me I could be, to be the kind of friend to myself that I would want from someone else.
If you know me, you know I don’t spew rainbows or get totally stoked over something or show a wide range of emotion too often, but if you do know me, you know how much of that is channeled inside me. I think many of us channel things inside, and if we shared our real thoughts, fears, joys, dreams more often, we might create some deeper friendships, or give someone else a reason to be real and open with us too. Less fake, more real.
I highly recommend the One Thousand Gifts book that I mentioned above if you’d like to gain some outside perspective on joy, gratitude, or living life fully. I was only a few pages in when Ann’s message hit me, and I’m sure there is a nugget or two in there for you as well that you may find useful.
In the meantime, chin up and carry on.
One year ago today, Marc and I got engaged.
I still can’t believe how ordinary that day seemed until I saw my favorite person ever kneel down on one knee with a big smile on his face. We had been looking at a new place for Marc to rent, we ate at Ruby Tuesdays, I got poisoned (glutened), the weather was freakishly nice for a March day in South Dakota, and we drove around the hills planning on going for a hike. So ordinary (minus the glutening, but at that point in my life, that was normal).
Having a commitment like an engagement with someone is so beautiful. To me, it means they will never give up on you, and they are in this thing called life for the long haul. Through good and bad. Always forgiving. Always hoping for the best in each other. I just love the meaning behind the ring he gave me. He chose me. And I chose him.
To get a little personal, it’s really pushed me to be more selfless. To be more patient. Two things that are a bit tricky for me at times. Marc has qualities that I wish I had more of, so I remind myself that he gives me the best of himself, all the time, and I owe it to him (and myself) to do the same. I will love you all the days of my life.
In one year, we have done SO MUCH. I mean, life jumped into full gear. Here are some major highlights from the year:
- I sold my house.
- I moved to the Black Hills.
- I started working remotely for DocuTAP in Sioux Falls.
- My sister got married.
- Marc’s sister got engaged and married.
- We traveled to Arizona (twice), San Diego and I went to Las Vegas.
- I started learning how to dirt-bike.
At this point, we are five months away from walking down the aisle. Excitement is an understatement.
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If you’re decorating easter eggs this weekend, here are some decorating ideas to keep things fabulous, cool, or classy.
If you ever have the change to work from home, or be your own manager, here are my tips for staying productive on your own account.
- Shower every morning. Even if you put sweatpants back on, make sure you shower. It wakes you up, gets you going, and is just downright healthy.
- Stick to a schedule. Don’t mingle your work hours with your getting ready hours or your eating lunch hours. Set schedules and stick to them. Eat breakfast before work. Take a lunch break, even if it’s short. Cut yourself off at the end of the work day.
- Get out of the house. Work at a coffee shop for a day. Go for a long walk at mid-morning. Run errands over your break. Meet your friend for lunch. These are the things that keep you from going insane at home all day.
- Over-communicate with coworkers. If you have an instant messaging system, keep your online status up-to-date even if you just go make lunch quick. This let’s them know exactly when you are available and when you’re not. It doesn’t look too good if they instant message you when it says you’re online and you don’t answer for half an hour.
- Work hard and be grateful. If you are lucky enough to work from home, don’t take advantage of it. Work your ass off and be grateful for every opportunity and task that comes your way.
Because I felt like browsing Pinterest recently, I put together some of my favorite finds for making little Valentine’s Day gifts for someone special in your life.
- Put it in a jar. Jack and Coke. Coffee beans. Pancake Mix. Way cute ideas.
- An easy DIY card. For all your handy peeps out there, this DIY looks easy enough for even me to create. PS if you love crafts, this site is uber cute.
- Put it in his wallet. Whether you surprise him with a new wallet or just create little cards to slip in there, design them with little love notes, or make them into coupons such as “good for one free lunch date.” Be creative. And personal. Love this idea!
- String Art Heart. String Art is all the rage. Sort of like how melted crayons were all the rage a few years ago.
- Do something awesome with your photos. You could make it a tradition to do create a photo keepsake every year.
Four bridesmaids and the bride
Palm trees and sun
Glamour and glitz
Flashing neon lights
Fruity, frozen daiquiris
Stripper high heels
DJs by the pool
Once in a lifetime memories
That’s what a Vegas Bachelorette weekend is made of.
Hey love birds!
I’ve always wanted to be more involved with the fun of Valentine’s Day, but honestly, the holiday sneaks up on my every year, I panic about what to get my guy for a gift and then swoosh, the day is gone. I feel like I am going to be a mom-failure because I forget to celebrate so many little things. Uhh, working on that.
So, this year, I’m involving anyone who wants to listen to take part in my Valentine’s Day Challenge. I wanted it to be easy to I actually follow through with it this year, ha!
Here’s how it goes:
- Send three valentine’s to three of your favorite people.
- Send valentine’s to your family members.
- Make a $25 donation to Love146.
- Send a thank you to a soldier and/or their families.
- Eat chocolate.
The rule: Buy the cards, make the cards, do whatever, but make sure you don’t use Hallmark’s words in your card – write your own!
In an effort to be more present, give more, be grateful, and appreciate the little things, the Valentine’s Day Challenge is my way of doing that. Join me?
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