Saturday, December 3, 2016

Constant Celebration

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could walk around in a constant state of thankfulness and celebration? To notice and appreciate the many, many joys in our lives, both big and small?

I'm trying to make an effort to live more this way.

(Some times, it is not easy.)

But I've found that the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I've also found that the more I celebrate, the more things I have to celebrate. I've also noticed that I'm a much happier person when I do this.


Here are some of my {many} celebrations this week:

* My son called me from college just to talk

     * Friends who trust me with their words

* The whisper that tells me my time in my comfort zone has come to an end

     * Unexpected opportunity

* Sweet raspberries

     * Writing by the light of the Christmas tree

* Hearing the furnace kick on in the morning, knowing I will wake to warmth

     * A book recommendation from a friend

* A fire in the fireplace

     * Birds that gather on the bird feeder outside the window

* Warm cinnamon bread baking in the oven, making the house smell heavenly

     * A smile from a student

Being in a constant state of celebration and thankfulness is also about being mindful. In this crazy month of December, when we zip from one event to another, I hope you will take a minute to stop and celebrate all of your blessings.

It will literally change your life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Patient Princess {SOL 11.22.16}

Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was blessed with incredible patience and a sparky sense of humor. She lived in a castle in the country with her handsome prince, young daughter, and two naughty (yet adorable) dogs.

The princess prided herself on her ability to remain calm in the face of chaos, for she knew that in order to keep peace throughout the land (and her castle), someone had to take some deep breaths and remember the wise words once shared by the princess's mother, "This too shall pass."

One Sunday morning, the princess was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and decided to make soup for the castle lunch. She reached into the cabinet drawer where she kept the canned vegetables, broth, and other necessities for making soup, discovering that all of the cans were stuck to the cabinet bottom. Apparently, one of the castle inhabitants put away the new bottle of corn syrup without tightening the cap, allowing it to spill out all over the drawer, hardening, and attaching everything rather securely to the drawer bottom.

No bother, the patient princess thought. This too shall pass. She set about to removing the cans from their sticky trap with the aid of the royal hairdryer and a metal spatula.

When that job was finished, the princess walked into her bedroom and was frightened by the ghastly sight before her, for the royal mutts had made quite a mess on the carpet after frolicking in the castle yard. No bother, the patient princess moaned, glaring at the two naughty (yet adorable) dogs.  She took a few deep breaths.  This too shall pass.

The patient princess got out the castle carpet cleaner and began to soak the carpet with cleaning solution. After spraying down a rather large container of cleaning solution, the princess began the task of going over the carpet again to remove it.  It didn't take long for the princess to realize that something was wrong, for the cleaner would not suck.

The princess tried and tried to make the cleaner work, taking it apart and putting it back together several times. The princess, who was beginning to lose her patience with the carpet cleaner, got a little huffy when reassembling the cleaner for the final time and struggled a bit with reattaching the hose, finally snapping it back into the holder rather abruptly (and not at all patiently). The hose responded by squirting the princess in the eye with some remaining solution. The princess wiped her eye, glared again at the dogs, then went in search of some box fans to dry the carpet.

Later that evening, the princess's daughter suggested that since the patient princess had such a rough day, perhaps a bubble bath was in order. The princess agreed.

She walked into the castle bathroom, carefully passing by the box fans still trying to dry the carpet, and began running her bath. As the water filled the tub, the patient princess put away a few items of laundry. When the bath was ready, she stepped into the tub, and squealed. EEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!

The princess, who did not take baths very often, had filled the tub with cold water, not hot. She should have been more patient before leaving the castle bathroom after turning on the water apparently. This is a bother, the princess thought, reaching for a towel and then her pajamas.

"I'm going to bed," the princess announced to her handsome prince and darling daughter, who were sitting in the living room enjoying the Green Bay Packer football game. "I've had enough of today."

"Don't worry, mama, this too shall pass," the darling daughter said to the princess as she bent to kiss her good night. "Tomorrow will be a better day."

The princess went off to bed, avoiding any more catastrophes that might have been lurking around the castle corners.

When the princess awoke the next day, her patience and sense of humor had returned. She laughed to herself about the adversities of the previous day -- right as she walked into the box fan that was still drying the carpet.

Oh, bother, the princess thought.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

25 Hour Day {SOL 11.08.16}

I am always wishing I had more time in my day. (Aren't we all?) On early Sunday morning, that wish was granted as the clocks were rolled back one hour, leaving 25 hours to the day.

My mind excitedly considered the options of what to do with all this extra time. I could:

   Sleep late (Wait -- that would feel like wasting time. Strike it from the list.)
   Start a creative project
   Go for a walk
   Bake something special
   Rake leaves
   Take a nap (I don't consider napping and sleeping late to be in the same category, do you?)

As the day went on and I pondered what I would do with my extra hour (not wanting to waste it, of course), I found myself constantly rolling the time forward an hour every time I looked at the clock. I kept telling myself, "At this time yesterday, I was (eating lunch, making dinner, feeding the dogs, etc.)." It's an annoying habit that seems to stick with me for a few days after every time change.

When I went to bed, my husband said, "But it's only 8:15. Aren't you going to sleep a bit early?"

"Yes, but it feels like 9:15, which is past my bedtime," I replied, yawning. (I must have tired myself out doing all that elapsed time calculation all day long.)

What did I end up doing with my extra hour?  I spent it on Monday morning, rising super early at 4:00 am (real time) and heading down to the basement to work out. (It seemed like 5:00 am after all -- a perfectly normal time to exercise, right?)

I hope you found something exciting to do with your extra hour this weekend. We will need the memories of this longer day in the spring when we have to give it back.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Simple Celebrations

I sit here this morning, thinking of the events from this past week that were noteworthy enough to write about in this celebration post.  There is nothing BIG that comes to mind, so instead I will write small and simple today:

This week, I celebrate:
   * Cinnamon
   * New pens
   * Figuring out my lesson plans
   * An offer of strawberries
   * Water
   * After work walks
   * Kids helping others
   * Student discussions
   * Falling leaves
   * Apple scented candles
   * Friendship

The lesson? Big or small, all celebrations count.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Unsubscribe Me {SOL 11.01.16}

There are only so many minutes in a day, yet there's so much I want to do.

I get frustrated with myself when I pull back the covers at the end of the day and think about all the things I didn't get done. Or when it's Sunday night and I think of all the big plans I had for the weekend that are still sitting on my to do list.

I need to simplify.

Focus on what's important.

Control my time instead of letting it control me.

I began this morning, like I do every morning, scrolling through my emails. Before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed. That's 30 minutes of reading shopping offers, Facebook updates, and messages from companies that I once did online business with. (It's also important to note that none of the messages I received this morning were from an actual person, asking me actual questions, or sharing actual news.)

I liken my morning routine to going through the paper mail. As I search through the envelopes, I pull out the junk mail, tear it up, and recycle it. I never even read it, even though many days, that's all that's in my mailbox.

So why don't I do this with my Inbox as well? Why am I wasting precious time reading electronic junk mail?

Good question.

I went back into my email and scrolled to the bottom of most every one, searching for the 'Unsubscribe' button and clicking it.

As I did, I felt this amazing sense of freedom. I felt my time coming back to me. I was taking control.

Are there things in your life that you need to 'Unsubscribe' from? I encourage you to click that button too.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Dinner Surprise

I drove home from school on Thursday, pondering what to make for dinner. My husband had been out of town all week, so it was just Kara and me. She had worked two nights after school this week already, which meant that I was alone and dinner could have been just about anything I could find in the fridge...or not. 

I was feeling like I needed to make some actual food for dinner, but it took me the whole 30 minute car ride home to think about what that would be and I still came up with nothing. 

Normally, my something-fast, nothing-fancy, go-to dinners would be a frozen pizza or grilled cheese, but I am trying to stay away from carbs so those wouldn't work. Maybe I could give her money to go grab something for herself from McDonalds and I'll just eat a cheese stick and hard boiled egg (again), I thought.

When I walked in the door, Kara was in the kitchen cutting up broccoli. This was an odd sight -- Kara doesn't usually cook. 

(And where did she get that broccoli?) 

Turns out she had planned dinner for the two of us. She even went to the store -- twice -- to get what she needed. That night, we feasted on grilled chicken, grilled pineapple steaks, and steamed broccoli, all prepared by Kara. "It's even low carb, mom," she smiled at me. She was proud of herself for planning and preparing a meal for us. 

So was I.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Celebrating a Visit {Celebrate This Week 10.15.16}

All week, I have been looking forward to Friday...and not for the usual reasons.

Yesterday, our son came home from college for his first visit. While it has only been two months since he's gone, it seems like two years.

Normally, college freshman don't make it home until Thanksgiving. However, Ry is in the UMN Marching Band and -- believe it or not -- they scheduled a concert for the weekend of Thanksgiving. (Seriously???) So he will come home on Thursday for Thanksgiving and then have to fly right back on Friday.

Since his Thanksgiving visit will be so short (and crazy busy, I'm sure) and since flights between Milwaukee and Minneapolis were about $120 round trip, we thought it would be okay for him to come home for the weekend.

And it is so good to have him here! Aside from spending time with him, he is making sure to eat up all the frozen pizzas, french fries, and pizza bagels that have been sitting in the freezer since he left. Ahhh....I'll get some space in my freezer back!

See....everybody wins!