list day

Businesses I would own …

  • paper crafts
  • rubber stamps and related crafting essentials
  • books
  • music
  • cupcakes
  • skirt, just skirts
  • bracelets, just bracelets
  • rescued puppies to be adopted
  • yarn
  • calendars, planners, notebooks
  • candles (smell good stuff)

the best kept journal secret

nightstandFor years and years and years, I wanted to keep a journal.  But I didn’t / couldn’t / wouldn’t.  I would buy the most lovely blank book, convinced that this was The Book that was going to make me a consistent journal writer.  None of them worked, no matter how beautiful they were.   Then I listened to an audio recording of one of my favorite motivational speakers, Jim Rohn, and he was talking about how important it is to keep a journal.  It all made perfect sense as I listened to Jim talk about all the good reasons for writing in a journal.  And one of the things he said turned out to be The One Thing that finally motivated me to be a more consistent writer in my journal.

Over a year later, I still write in  my journal – sometimes multiple times a day.  Sometimes I just jot down a simple sentence, and sometimes I write for pages.  But it’s now such a strong habit that if I do go a day or two without writing, I feel a tremendous tug to write in my journal – even if it’s just my to do list for that day.

And here is Jim Rohn’s tip for consistent writing:  Carry your journal with you everywhere.  Everywhere.  All the time.  No exceptions.  Buy a journal you love and carry it everywhere all the time.  I really love the easy things in life.

books and libraries

Books have been on my mind the past few weeks. I have a small bookcase loaded with books.  Too many books.  Which ones do I keep?  Which ones do I donate?

And then a few weeks back I looked at what I was spending on Kindle books, and I was surprised to add it up and see that I was spending a minimum of $50 on books each month.   (I do read a lot of books.)   It was so easy – press “buy” and the book magically appeared on my Kindle.  There was no visual of seeing the money actually leave my checking account.  It’s as if the transaction truly happened up in a cloud when it was all actually happening in my checking account.

So I did a little research and found out that because I live in a suburb of Dallas, I can borrow books for FREE from the Dallas Public Library. And not just books, but also eBooks and audiobooks.  How did I forget about my love of the library?  Library Day in elementary school was my favorite day, right next to Scholastic Book Club order day.  Right now I have three eBooks loaded on my tablet, six more on hold.  And I have several books with waiting lists requested at the library, and I get a nice email when each one becomes available.  FREE.

I was telling my dad about my new re-discovery, and he told me when he was 12 years old and living in Oak Cliff, he would ride the bus to the downtown Dallas library and spend all day there. Yeah, I got that gene.  And I’m so glad.

Here’s another post about books and libraries I found this week that I really enjoyed.  And yes, I put her book on my library request list too.

favorite post of the week

ware-tada-shiru-taru

From one of my favorite bloggers, Leo Babauta.  For me, contentment comes from  a true feeling of “All you need, you already have.”  This is easy to believe when life is sailing along smoothly, but it gets harder to remember and trust in this when life gets difficult.  I am always looking for ways to keep this feeling in my heart and mind all the time.  Thanks, Leo!

a kinda-sorta minimalist

 

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photo by me

I’m a “kinda sorta” minimalist.  In the past five years, I’ve pared down along the way as I’ve moved from a 3300 square foot house, to a 1400 square foot house and my current 750 square foot apartment.  By the way, let me just say that I love apartment living.  The stresses of repair and maintenance expenses, lawn maintenance, and housecleaning did not work for me.  I enjoyed home ownership for a very short time.

But  I’m ready to take my minimalism groove up a couple of notches.  I’ve started with my closet because this space felt the most cluttered.  It’s not a huge closet; it’s not tiny either.  It could be a perfect sized closet, but there is way too much stuff hiding in there that is totally unnecessary.  I was reading Courtney Carver’s blog about how limiting your wardrobe options reduces stress (taking away the hassle of “what do I wear today”) and saves money.  If I only have five or six outfits for work and I love all of them, then there doesn’t need to be any of that standing around in my closet looking for what goes with what.  I’m not quite ready for that stage of having a very limited number of outfits, but I’m making definite progess towards it.

I’m in love with the idea of having only the things I truly LOVE in my life which, to me, is a major tenet of  minimalism.  Why do I keep a dress I’m only “eh” about.  As long as “the thing” that I’m ambivalent about is hanging out in my living space, I will feel the pressure of using/wearing it more often.  Ahem … sewing machine.

My goal is to have my closet cleaned out by the end of this month.  Thunderstorms rolled in last night and are expected all weekend long, so it seems I have no excuse not to do at least a little this weekend.  I actually got a really good start a couple of weeks ago; here’s a list of what I purged and donated to Operation Kindness:

2 pairs of sneakers
3 pairs of black dress slacks
1 pair of jeans
3 pairs of black boots
1 pair of brown boots
4 towels
11 t-shirts
12 blouses
9 bras
2 cardigans
2 skirts
1 nightgown
2 dresses

Not closet-related but got scooped up in the frenzy:
Microwave rice cooker
Set of journaling cards
Nightlight
2 Water bottles
Small organizing bin
Handheld GPS
Digital voice recorder*
2 calculators*
GPS for car
MP3 player
3 blankets
1 yoga bag

*School supplies that I no longer need because I graduated!

As I’m boxing and bagging all these items up, the one thing that keeps running through my head is:  Look at all this STUFF I buy and spend money on, and look where it all ends – in the back of the closet never to be seen or used again. I really need to be more aware of impulsive spending.  I don’t need any more electronic gadgets.  I don’t need any more clothes.  What I need is more space.  What I want is to help more – children in Syria, homeless dogs, military veterans … This is where it starts.

little surprises

Almost every single day I am blessed by a minute or two of simple joy, a quick couple of minutes of a gorgeous sunset, or a strikingly beautiful flower blooming along a walk, or some other moment outside the realm of the “ordinary day.”  Those times come along totally unexpected which make them even more special.  Yeserday while walking in the park I saw a squirrel drinking from and playing in a shallow puddle of water.  I could tell he was really enjoying himself because he waited until I was right up beside him before he scrambled off.  Today, I decided to take a very short walk for some fresh air during my lunch break.  It’s pretty unusual for me to do so this time of year because it’s 100+ degrees right now with a heat advisory in effect.  God bless Texas.  But I was so glad I thought of the little walk outside because there was a big, furry dog playing outside and I got to get in some doggie lovin’.  Totally made my day … but don’t tell Rosie.

doing some good

Last night I donated blood.  In the past few weeks, I have been struggling to make some kind of sense of all the violence that has occurred the past few weeks in Florida, Minnesota, Louisiana and my home, Dallas, Texas.  What kind of world was I living in?  Was there a way for me to help stop the violence, racism and hate?  How could I make any difference at all?  I read a few articles that discussed the different ways one can make a difference when everything can seem so hopeless.  Donating blood was mentioned at least a couple of times, and the suggestion really stuck out for me.  I just happened to have noticed a week earlier that a Carter BloodCare donation site was right around the corner from where I live.  I got online to the Carter BloodCare website, and within five minutes I had a very convenient appointment to donate blood.  Up until the time of my appointment, I kept thinking that there would be something to prevent me from donating – prescriptions, travel history, I eat with my fingers.  Seriously, my mind was conjuring up all kinds of random, nonsensical reasons I would be denied.  But I arrived for my appointment and about 40 minutes later, I left with one pint less.  (I’m guessing.  I really don’t know how much they took.  I don’t look at the needle, and I certainly don’t look at the bag of blood.  Ewww.)  The staff at Carter BloodCare was really nice and my being comfortable and safe was obviously their first concern.  It took an hour out of my day, but I finally felt that I had done something – even though it was teeny tiny – to negate all the violence and hate out there.  If nothing else, I put a little love, a little light, out into this crazy world of mine.  And maybe if I can figure out small ways to keep putting that love and light out there … maybe in some way it will make a difference.

Here’s a really good article about why regular blood donors are important.  CarterBloodCare operates in Texas, but I’m sure it’s not too hard to find a donation site in your area.  The American Red Cross is also a good source.