Monday, April 16, 2018

Pink Cup. Planners. 5:2 Weekly Review

Light Me Up: This week's inspiration is an adorable cup I snagged after we hiked Rocky Mountain National Park. The Aspen and Evergreen Gallery had a display of Danyelle Butler's pottery. I LOVED these pieces. I limited my choice to this one, although it was a tough decision. I really adored the yellow bird bowl, however, I'm being very selective with what I am bringing in. The yellow bowl wasn't congruent with the target of keeping my space clear and tidy. (I can somehow always justify space for a cute cup though :)

Let it Go: Pre-printed Planners {No picture, they've already been released!}

Grow: Using Emily McGee's Master Time Management Mini-Course and my own creation of 5:2 Weekly Review.

I am really testing illusions lately. I have this wonderful vision of time and space that is open and free without the demands of a schedule, routine and responsibility. Yeah, this is not my current reality, but one of my greatest dreams is to have my work caught up and have the luxury of nothing to do, with abundant possibilities present.

The theme of March was travel/adventure. I really enjoyed it and it's made me appreciate the foundation that was created in January and February. April's theme could be "Spring Coil." Things are wound tight and there's a lot to do! It feels like there is way more to do than the time available to work in. I've been struggling a bit with how to get everything done, but I've proven to myself that it always does get done. What I am letting of is my perception of not having enough time and instead capitalizing on the time I do have and using it more productively.

I've always used some sort of  calendar or planner to keep myself on track. I was perpetually buying new calendars and planners and then endued up not using them. This was a waste of money and materials. I hesitated to make up my own system, because I was stuck in the belief that someone "out there" had already created the perfect system and all I had to do was find it.....

Here was the old scene:
*overwhelm and stress creeping into my zen-like state
*go online and look for a planner so I could write everything down
*spend way too much time searching for "just the right one"
*use for a couple of weeks
*go back to a notebook when things got busy
*kick myself for buying another planner
*still somehow get stuff done

After repeated times of using someone else's planner method and it never working out, I finally stopped. I asked what I really needed, what would the ideal planner, calendar, journal FOR ME, look like? I knew I needed something free-flowing, creative, and flexible. I bought a blank notebook and started playing with layouts. (The funny thing is, they change each week. I never seem to do the same one twice!)

What I've created is part journal, part schedule, part to-do, sometimes a brain dump, and memory book, and dream catcher. The result is an organic, messy, coffee stained system that works really well for me. It's mid-sized, not too big, not too small. I do have a pocket size notebook that I haven't let go of yet. I love the size, but I find that I need something with a bit more space for weekly and monthly lay-outs. Letting Go of continually buying calendars and trusting myself to create something more fitting seems really simple, but for whatever reason, I made it difficult. As a result, I am seeing an increase in my productivity. 

What I do now:
*employ bullet journaling
*print of free, blank calendars, add to journal
*create a monthly target page
*identify three month energetic priorities
*list out all events and to-do's (in a notebook)
*prioritize targets for the day
*nightly assessment, write targets for the next day
*keep upcoming tasks/to-dos on a sticky note. I only write these down when they become priorities, sometimes they don't!
*track progress
*Step away from planning, build in decompression days
*5:2 weekly review
*Attack Targets Monday-Thursday

This week's Creative Growth Step is a refinement of my to-do list. I've also added two growth steps.

#1 I applied Emily McGee's, My Adaptable Career lessons to refine my bullet journaling practice for to-do's. She offers a Master Time Management mini-course for FREE! One of the most fantastic lessons was on prioritizing to-do's. I was already listing out my to-do's, but Emily shared the idea of prioritizing. I've adapted the lesson to fit my needs right now. And since I have a lot going on, I list my 1 TARGET for the day and 3-5 additional tasks. I have a daily priority list for HOME and CAREER.

I wanted to start tracking (and CELEBRATING) my progress.  (Previous posts highlighted that I tend to skip over accomplishments that put me in a perpetual state of always trying to do more. To alleviate that, I started a tracking system. Here's what it looks like:

Notice the blanks at the top of the page. Yep. That was the week when I was hit with a nasty sinus infection. I didn't walk so the top half of the square was not filled. I also didn't get in the full 64 oz of water that is my target so I didn't fill the bottom half in. Goals. I also want to be completely transparent in my progress (or lack thereof).

#2 Growth Step: The 5:2 Weekly Review is where I list Five Wins for the week. These are targets I've hit, good things that have happened, memories, new insights, and/or fun surprises that I want to highlight. I also list list two areas where I can redirect my focus and bring up to par. These may be continual daily, weekly or monthly targets or actions that I really dropped the ball with, that need more attention. It could me more than one, but I keep this area pretty concise.

I watch for areas that I feel I fall short in and write about them. From this writing I can see where to direct my focus. I don't over-focus, but if there's something that is causing me to feel agitation, I will journal and "brain dump" it in a notebook.  From there I will identify what it is that I can change/shift/revisit and work on a game plan. I typically identify one or two areas that I want to work on. I will write a short summary in my planner and a more in-depth one in my PON (plain old notebook!)

Thursday night has become my planning night. There's no science or why, it just seems like a natural and supportive night for assessment: By this night my targets are:
  • papers taken care of: bills paid, receipts filed, correspondence answered
  • counters cleaned off
  • fridge cleaned out
  • floors vacuumed
  • laundry washed, folded and put away
  • dishes washed and placed back in cupboard
  • clothes packed and ready for departure
 I take the next two nights off. These are for travel, stepping away from the routine/chaos/schedule (when and if possible). The focus is to rest, relax, decompress, and/or adventure.

Keeping an on-going journal has certainly supported the hypothesis that I am busy (not just in my head, there's proof!) and it serves as a reminder of how much I do squeeze into a day. If there's something I really want to change, I have to look at how I am spending my days, assess my choices, clarify what to Let Go of (habit/belief) and then take creative steps to Grow something else in that space. {What time sucks, limiting habits or unsupportive beliefs am I ready to let go of now?} {What am I ready to create and experience now?}

Space is space. We can't make more of it. We can't make more time. We have what we have. However, we also have the ability to uncreate, release and Let Go of what is in that space. We can clear and cultivate inner/outer spaces, which allow our "seeds" (targets, dreams) to GROW and purposely live a life that LIGHTS US UP!

How do you track your time? What are your favorite ways to keep yourself on track and get things done? I'd love to hear about what is working for you.
 If you'd like to share what Lights You Up, what you are Letting Go or what your steps to Growth look like right now, join me on instagram @robynreece15 and use the #LLGApril18.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Flower candles. Garage Clearing. Water+Walking

I am going to confess something. Spring is not my favorite season. Winter is my least favorite.  I like fall. I love summer. That said, I have deep gratitude when the season of spring rolls around. I appreciate the warmer temperatures, more hours of light in the day, shoots of gorgeous green grass, thunderstorms, light breezes and being able to sit on my porch again and enjoy a hot mug of coffee. Things look dead, drab and blah right now. It's not my style at all.

There is a tangible difference in my energy and mood when I am warmer and I have more access to nature. I tend to hole up and hibernate in the colder times. In the Nine Star Ki system I study, this season is known as Three tree. It is the time of upward rising, rapid growth and expansion. It is the time/space/place in our world where we collectively feel the invitation to expand, blossom, stretch and grow. Pioneering efforts, trying new things and taking on areas of new study are all fostered in this season. The visual is that of leaves bursting out on branches. Ideas pop out, new life is tangible.

I have so many ideas popping, and yet I often don't implement them. I seem to have a continual flow of creative energies and ideas. I have the choice to keep them to myself or act on them and see where they go? It is never know to me how these small ideas might take root, blossom and grow, but it is my hope that words and ideas I share can contribute those who find their way to this blog.

My theme this year is Growth. While I may not consciously work with this every day, I do keep this word posted and present and I check in with it often. In conjunction with the theme of Growth I am dedicating the blog to sharing in the following three areas:

Lighten Up
Let It Go

Lighten Up the foundation of my success.  This includes the inspiration, the WHY, the possibility and light coming in. I'm feeling this now, especially after cold winter months. Things that "light me up" give me the motivation to try to new things, to explore, discover and create. The light is what helps us see beyond the current shadows. Even before the release happens and growth can take place, we have to a starting point, the SOURCE. I'll be sharing visual inspirations, via Instagram, that help to me to Lighten Up. 

Let It Go is the action that has to happen behind the scenes. Once inspiration, is received there's usually some letting go that naturally needs to happen to create space for more of what I DO want to experience. This is where I assess what's working and what is not working. It's the aspect of looking at data, gathering evidence, cultivating the ground and weeding what is taking up time and space in my life. It used to be the part that I most avoided. Now I see it as completely necessary and freeing. I let go of different things each day, everything from an old belief or habit that I've discovered running on auto-pilot, to a coffee mug that no longer lights me up. Continual release, on emotional, mental, and physical levels, are necessary for a healthy and productive lives. Think about the buildup and filth that would occur if we never took the trash out of our houses? Scary, right?! I believe the same holds true with emotional and mental trash. We have to be diligent about continually cleaning out our spaces. If we want to Grow we have to have the space/time to do so. We can't get more time/space, but we can clear those environments out and make room for what is supportive.

Growth is the invisible results of choices being put into action. Here we actively work with habit shifts, new ideas, seeing and using challenges to our advantages. There are cycles, seasons and rhythms of Growth. Sometimes it is very tangible to see. At other times the energy is inward and can go unnoticed for longer stretches. There are times of activity and movement and times of dormancy and stillness. Through it all, growth is continual. It is part of the time/space plane that we live on and even when we try to deny and resist it. The speed might vary, but GROWTH is a continual process.

This week:

Lighten Up: Once I weed something, it is usually gone for good. There are rare times when an item doesn't quite leave the space. It may be put in a box with the intention of donating, but for whatever reason it didn't make it to that destination. That is what happened with these cute candles. They were in a donate box and it only got as far as the garage. During the cleaning I discovered and brought these back in, with the intent to light them. I've had them for about 10 years and never once lit em up. I'm really craving floral themes and spring colors/symbols right now so I added them to my kitchen. I will often do my journal pages by candle light. 

 Let Go: 
The worst part about coming home is the unpacking. UGH. We we filled to the brim here. The jeep doesn't have a lot of room so anything beyond a couple of backpacks makes it look scrunched. This time though it was at capacity. Bringing items in and putting them away is daunting to me. What was right about this was leaving in plenty of time that we could actually do something constructive once we got home.

While it was very tempting to take a nap, thanks to the incessant barking of the dogs next door and Parker playing his guitar, silence + peace + rest was not possible. I asked what would be the best use of my time and found myself drawn to the garage. I wasn't planning on cleaning it out, but since I couldn't sleep, I announced that April was garage cleaning month and that we should all gather outside and commence to this great post holiday, family bonding activity. I'm sure you can imagine the sheer delight of my offspring! We cleaned up leaves, rearranged the rocks and brought the porch and flower beds back to life.  I was  amazed at the ease of the project once we got started. We pitched a lot of items. What is left needs to be disposed of or donated (old bikes, random golf clubs). The good deal is that when an opportunity arises for proper disposal, the items are ready to go. I shared with Parker that the benefit of an organized garage is that he has more room for the "Green Monster." He was certainly thrilled (ok, he wasn't excited in the least, but he did help, without complaining because the efforts are going to a very expensive trip to Greece/Rome in 2019.) I've had this item on my to-do list for MONTHS and I was tickled pink to get it done in about three hours! 

As a result of Operation Garage Reclamation I ended up with a nasty allergic reaction and head/sinus cold. I have been healthy all winter, even through the Influenza epidemic. I clean out the garage (thanks dust + mold) and BAM! I feel like total crap. Even with a plugged head, sore throat, water eyes, cough and general misery... I'm REALLY grateful for the opportunity, effort and energy to get the old junk cleared out!

 Grow: I've been sitting with April targets this month. I'm still working with them but this week's growth steps include water + walking. I have been much more conscious of my water intake, and for the most part, I don't do too bad. I could do better though and that is why I am bringing my these targets into focus. I could actually drink coffee nonstop, all day. I love it. I adore the taste and the smell and of course the caffeine boost is more than welcome. I quit drinking soda on the daily several years ago. I did discover La Croix this summer and I find that to fill my carbonation addiction. Water is where it's at though! I rotate between two 32oz water bottles. My target is to have one gone by noon and the other by 6. 

With the {hopefully} warmer temps coming soon {anytime now, c'mon, hurry up!} I am looking forward to walking outside. It's still dark and too chilly for me to walk in the mornings. My current growth step is to set clothes out the night before, get up, and hit the treadmill. My target is to hit this Monday through Friday with Saturday and Sunday being an added bonus. 

Another confession: it has been an effort to just move and take care of daily chores this week. Loading and unloading laundry and dishes feels like I'm running some sort of marathon. I am freaking wiped out. I have still been getting up early but with my lungs feeling tight and stressed, I haven't pushed the walking. I'm hoping with rest + water + Cold Snap, I can kick out whatever this brutal virus or allergy thing is. 

My growth step, when my body is ready to take it, is to prep my mornings before I go to sleep. Since waking up is a task for me, I've tried to make it easier by having my walking gear set out and ready. 

What Lights you up? What are you ready to Let Go of? What are you ready to Grow?

Being present, accountable and having conversations around hitting targets are important keys to experiencing success. I'd love to see what you are up to and I really would enjoy contributing to your LLG Hop on over to Instagram and share what Lights You Up, what you are Letting Go of  or what your steps to Growth look like right now! Feel free to tag me @robynreece15 and use the #LLGApril18.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Little Showers. Grief. Highlights

This has been tough week. Carl's birthday would have been Tuesday, March 27. He is greatly missed by so many. Grief is a complicated process and there's seemingly no end to it. I seem to swim on emotional tides, some very rough and treacherous, some manageable. The longing and loss never subside, it's constant. There are ways to cope with the pain. Each person is wired to handle it in her/his own way. I spent the day mostly in bouts of tears and sadness. I did my best to stick to a normal routine and to find the light that was poking through. I've found movement to be especially helpful. Though I received several invitations to forgo my walk, I persisted through the distractions. The long walked helped. I spent time with Parker shooting his black powder rifle and chatting with loves ones. I resist feeling so low and yet, I've learned not to fight it. Like the weather there are breaks in my low feelings. They roll in, stay for awhile and eventually they dissipate. I don't stay down as long as I used to. Walking and writing are two of my best therapies. 

I've slightly shifted the theme of my blog in conjunction with the fresh energies of Spring. I'll share more about that next week. I'll be following the theme of Lighten Up, which are the inspirations that come to me, Let It Go, which continues the theme of weeding/release and Grow, my word of the year and positive action steps I take to reach my targets.

This week's features:

Lighten Up: Typically I'm not for dreary days. I am always surprised to find out how much I miss sunshine and warmth. Winter is my least favorite season. I hate being cold and even more I despise the lack of color. Dead, dry, dense landscapes do not fulfill my soul. Spring isn't my favorite season either, but I've come to appreciate the lifting of the heavy blanket that is Winter. Green shoots of grass begin to poke up, more daylight hours are present and the sense of possibilities start to bloom. The hope of new experiences and trees with leaves get me through the drudgery of the frigid season. Tuesday was lovely, warm and sunny. Wednesday was the polar opposite. It rained a bit and the pre-April shower brought a smile to my face. I've forgotten how refreshing rain is. It smelled wonderful and was truly a source of light for me today.

Let It Go: Grief, in any form, is tough. It's a constant pain that never goes away. Sometimes it is heavy and more pronounces, at other times it is running on auto-pilot in the background. It's never gone though. One of the aspects that I am letting go of is how I should grieve or the right way to grieve. There are positive choices for dealing with pain and negative choices that are more self-destructive. I've experienced both. I've been working with with habit change techniques {I'll be sharing about that in a future post}. Instead of falling into old patterns and wallowing there, I made the conscious effort to shift. I incorporated walking, journaling and doing something new, shooting a black powder pistol. {Not to brag about what kind of "shot" I am, but ask Parker who nailed the water bottle!} I won't say it was easy, but it did get me through the day and night, into bed and some semblance of sleep. When I recognized the tendency to compare my pain levels to others and think, "I should......" I let that go. I stopped, made the shift and went in a different direction. Dealing with grief is entirely an individual choice. 

Grow: Perhaps it was because I couldn't sleep or maybe it was because I hit the end of my sleep cycle, but I got up at 4:30 and never went back to bed. I did my morning pages and then walked on the treadmill. My mind was in constant active mode the rest of the day. (There could be something to that wake-up time?!)  I've came up with some pretty cool ideas like this week's Growth step. I learned how to customize the "highlights" on Instagram stories. I connected it to the themes I am writing about here and tying it all together. It took several attempts and some creative thinking to get those little circles how I wanted them to look.  I am excited and pleased with how it turned out. Sometimes Growth does produce the desired effects, sometimes it is only in the attempt that authentic learning takes place. 

Here's to you finding what Lights you UP, what you can Let Go of and that your Growth is empowering and enjoyable.

Friday, March 23, 2018


It's probably a good thing that I stayed close to home last month because this month has been the opposite of planned, predictable and routine. This is great because for me, routine is creative death. I will say that in times/phases like the one I am in, I can be challenged with feeling productive because the way I measure my efficiency is often by how much I can get accomplished in a day. I've actually had to scale that down.... way, way down.

As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned to go with the flow, drop a lot of expectations for how I want things to be and see the truth of how things are. We are on the move right now, and this is by choice. So that means, I am not home on a regular basis to keep the house clean, neat and tidy, do laundry on a regular basis or even journal as much as I would like to. In my mind, of course, I feel like I can juggle EVERYTHING. I can and I do! It just doesn't always look pretty (or how I expect it to look).

Items have creeped back onto the counter. The counters are a bit covered in coffee stains and crumbs. The laundry room is full. That said, my bed has been made every day, clothes are at least in the area they should be, the bills are paid and the fridge is somewhat organized. Clothes and shoes are not scattered and dropped throughout the house, the treadmill is junk/clutter free and the couch and recliners are not covered in books and bags. The other night when we bought groceries  I did a quick clean-out and then put food away. I'd been needing to get to that and so while I was unpacking groceries I incorporated the clean-out right then. Adaptability is a very helpful trait.

A significant part of what allows me to be mobile and spontaneous is because I focused on streamlining my environment and remained consistent. Though my space isn't in perfect order, it is in the best shape it has ever been in during previous times of being on the go. Having a dedicated place for items to go in, spot cleaning when necessary (rather than put it off) keeping counters cleared off and not using the dishwasher, dryer, kitchen table as storage areas and prioritizing my to-do's has helped keep our space clear and functional. I don't feel scattered and overwhelmed, and even though I've been gone a lot, I'm not coming home to a disaster and having to start all over again. That was one of my main goals in the last clutter purge.

This week's weeding: yellow shirt.

I wear skirts year round. In the fall and winter (all the way to June in some years) I don leggings. In warmer temps I wear skirts and t-shirts. By the time Spring rolls around I am craving color and bright yellow is just the ticket. I've had this shirt for a few years and while it is wearing fairly well, it has shrunk (or perhaps I've gotten bigger?!) Typically I avoid 100% cotton because it tends to get smaller and even when I am air drying, some of the shirts end up in Pryce's room. I scored a new yellow shirt for $5 bucks at Target. So out with the old one (although it's still in great shape) and in with the new.

Creative Growth Step: Capsule Wardrobe.

Oh my goodness! This is an exciting and challenging step. I don't even know if I can do it but I am writing about it here to document the experience. I've always wanted to build a capsule wardrobe. I've spent some time looking at the style and colors of what I wear most {black/white, red, navy, sometimes yellow with some denim). Black, red, white are my go to colors which is funny because those were my high school's colors and I swore by the time I was a senior I would never wear those color combinations again. They have slowly but surely crept back into my wardrobe and well, I've long ago stopped saying NEVER because that's usually a direct invitation for that very thing to occur.

So..... with the theme of comfort and compatibility, I'll be building a capsule wardrobe and seeing what works and what doesn't. I may not follow a specified amount of items but I will definitely be downsizing again. The rest of this month is going to be busy so I'm setting the target for my clothing project in April.

Friday, March 16, 2018

10 Travel Tips

I wanted to share some insights I had from my recent travels. In my quest to live intentionally and with fewer items, I am continually testing new ideas. My most recent was that of traveling sans purse. I've mentioned many times how much I adore bags, totes and purses. I admit it is an addiction! I don't know that I will leave home without some sort of bag in the future. I'm still chewing a little on #2.

#1 Foldable Backpack
One of the best items I've added to my travel repertoire is a foldable backpack. I wanted one that would fit into a larger backpack but wouldn't take up space. I went with this Gonex 30L Lightweight backpack. I did a lot of research to determine what would be the best fit. We used it every day of our trip and were very happy with it. It held water bottles, sunglasses, scarf, cap, gloves, phone charger, travel logs and wallets.

#2 Downsize the Purse

I decided to forgo my usual Keen bag. This works great for for Urban hiking, I fold it up and put it inside my backpack I left it home this time and just used this small wallet. I'm still on the fence here. I love the convenience but I did miss having a designed bag to put my things in when we went out to dinner. I am so used to carrying a purse that honestly, I felt a little bare without it.

It took a bit to get used to using this wristlet. I stopped carrying change. Since I am frugal and it feels wrong to ditch it, I keep a ziplock bag in the car and use it when I am running through a drive through. Every so often I will empty the collected bag into a big jar and when that gets full I will cash it in. Change is heavy so not packing it around is very freeing. This little guy is surprisingly roomy, I can fit my cell phone in here too. I used this when we went out to dinner. During the day and hiking these are the items I had with me.

*Travel Journal/pen
*National Parks Passport
*Lip balm SPF 50
*Water bottle (when flying I take an empty water bottle and fill it up after going through TSA).
*Scarf. This is probably one of the most versatile items. It can be used as an eye shield, leg warmer, pillow, light blanket/shawl and a seat cover. I use one on chilly mornings and then put it in the pack when it warms up. (Depending on the weather I also take a beanie and gloves.)

#3 Buy it when you get there 
This applies to both flight travel and car travel. I usually don't bring much and if it is something I truly need like toothpaste or shampoo, it's not hard to find/purchase that. When traveling by car, we will often go to a grocery store and buy what we are going to need for the duration of the trip. Water, wraps and Red Vines are the top three on the list. This is where having a water bottle comes in handy. I pack mine around with me and add the greens and electrolytes as needed.

#4 Layer Up
I hate being cold so I tend to bring several layers. I pretty much wore my tank top and base layer the entire time we were gone. I added a long sleeved 1/2 zip top and then my jacket. I also pack a scarf and a beanie. Covering my head helps. I've been known to sleep in caps and socks if I'm staying in a cold room.

#5 Functional Shoes
Traveling with comfortable shoes is a must. I wore hiking boots and decided to pack them instead of wearing them. I also brought black Tieks. I like these because they are light and foldable. They're great for an evening out, but I cannot wear them in all day situations. I got by this time, but post-hike I was really craving my Birks. I deemed them too heavy to bring along, but they were certainly missed.

The black Tieks are folded and so is the red backpack.
I use packing cubes for other items. 

#6 De-jewel

I used to wear and pack along a lot of different jewelry. Different earrings, necklace and rings for each outfit. Now I pick my favorite silver pair and I wear them every day. I have some really nice pieces and I do try to rotate when I am home, but in all honesty, I could really downsize here. Like majorly downsize. I don't want to throw jewelry  away, that seems terrible, but I would be most happy to re-home the majority of my collection.

These are the ones that made the flight this time!

#7 Convertible Clothes
I have learned to pack very minimally. For example, sometimes if I am traveling in the evening and won't be in the clothes long, I will wear the same clothes back on a Sunday (new undies of course...because I'm sure you wanted to know that).
My favorite pieces are ones that reverse or convert. The bottoms of my hiking pants zip off to become shorts. I also have this skirt from Title Nine It can be stripes or solid and the color goes with everything! My newest favorite is this Travel Dress from REI. It's light and packable. Right now it's a bit too chilly so I wear a base layer and leggings with it. The pockets are great and it's very comfortable.

#8 No Fixing Flats
Tires are the exception here! I am speaking of hair. When I am traveling I always bring a cap. If it is not on my head, it's clipped to a bag. This works great for horrible hotel hair/crappy water and sun protection. I don't really "fix" my hair on a daily basis. I wash it, put some mousse in it and go. Most of the time it is still wet when I leave the house. When I am traveling, the same applies. I stick to a very minimal facial routine too; sunscreen, mineral powder and mascara. Boom! My hair is often flat and meh when I travel. I don't know if I am sensitive to the water (or whatever is in the water)? I doesn't seem to work to well. I don't spend much time trying to rectify it, I just go with it. 

My go-to look, whenever I can get away with it!

Current favorite cap, liked it so much that it became my latest tattoo!

#9 The Right Kind of Memory
It's customary to want to take parts and pieces of the locations we travel to back home with us. One of our favorites is to buy books and then mark them with the National Park stamp. We've found some great books on our travels and they are fabulous reminders of where we've been. It's really wonderful to open up a book and read it when we are homebound and unable to get away. I've long been a fan of "taking a trip around the world" with a book. However, books pile up as do t-shirts, trinkets and other mementos. Since I've spent a considerable amount of time de-cluttering, I am keenly away that what I pack home will have to have a place. The solution: a travel journal + National Park Passport book.

One of these alone would suffice. In fact, I could use just the travel journal and place the stamp in there, but I do enjoy both and they don't take up much room. I like having words to describe and document the trip, especially years later when I struggle to remember the details. It's cool to look back on that. The Parks Passport is a fun thing that I started back in 2016.

Buying an America the Beautiful Pass is a great idea if you/your family are into visiting National Parks. We sure are. Joe had the idea to get the pass after we were at Red Rocks. By the time we ended our trip, the entrance fees we would have payed were $10 away from covering the pass. Yay! Here's the link for the National Park Pass.

#10 Re-entry:
In my experience longer travels should include a re-entry plan that allows you to ease back into your daily routine. Coming back in the afternoon, on a day when there isn't much going on allows us to unpack, put clothes in the wash, and re-organize. Trips don't always work that way. I didn't have the opportunity this time and I also didn't tear into the normal routine of unpacking and putting things away this time. Instead I went for a walk and enjoyed the warm weather. Things are a bit messy and out of order but I know I will get them back into alignment. It's really nice to come home to a clean, neat, tidy house (with the exception of Marley getting into the trash and having some fun with egg shells...)

Traveling is definitely my passion. If I could do it full time, I totally would. I've known since I was riding around the ranch on my my little red dirt bike with my backpack that seeing the country was what I most wanted to do. I've accumulated a lot of "stuff" and I have thoroughly enjoyed the collection process. Traveling has certainly taught me to discern what I most need, what I enjoy and what I am willing to pack around with me. When the time is right to downsize even further, I will be ready to do that!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Vintage Style

 I am reminded from time to time how much I love vintage items. Oh how I adore old papers, typewriters, desks, lamps, books and wooden drawers. I have no idea why, but I do know those kind of things light me up. I wish there was a way to transport these items right to my home and use them every day. I can see myself sipping coffee and pounding out my ideas on this vintage type writer! I have no desire to go back in time, thank you very much. I appreciate the technology we have today, the ease and convenience of modern creations, but there is something deeply inviting when I step into these spaces.

We visited the Kregel Windmill Co. over the weekend. This is literally stepping back into time. While small, the building is as exactly as it was in 1939. The history of windmill production is very interesting but the most fascinating artifacts were in this office. Oh my goodness! It's the neatest room I've ever seen! I actually had a hard time walking away!

In my quest to downsize, I know that I wouldn't likely choose to purchase any of these items if that were an option. I don't scour antique markets like I used to. I do very little shopping these days. I did purchase a new blue skirt and a chartreuse sweater over the weekend. The sweater was a splurge at $11.00, the skirt was drastically more. It is buttery soft though. As soon as I saw it and felt it, I knew it was destined to be mine! I only wear what I absolutely love these days. I know I have room for it and I know that I can combine it with what I already have to create new outfits. That's the beauty of downsizing. If and when I do buy, there's a reason and a purpose. I've become aware of the difference between frivolous searching (when I am waiting or bored) and actually selecting something that contributes to my style.

What I'm weeding this week:
Since I brought in two new items, that means two old items are going out. Here is what I deselected:

I snagged this skirt on sale awhile back.  I picked it because of the colors. I haven't worn it and now I actually think its a bit too "busy" for my taste.

I got this item eight years ago. I've not worn it at all in the last few years.  At one point I was into gray. I had gray boots and gray oxfords. I let them both go and for whatever reason kept this. It's ready to find a new owner.

One of the aspects that I am learning is that downsizing isn't a one time action, it is a continual exercise that requires diligence and checking in. I would love for it it be a one and done, but that is not how it works.

Creative Growth Step:
Growth happens even when we are not consciously focused on it. While I'm sure there are projects and even new dreams that are forming, I'm feeling the invitation to take some time to contemplate, re-evaluate and flow into what I want to create in the next few months. This is an in-between space and sometimes it feels strange because I am target oriented and I feel better when I have a project to work on. It's not that I am sitting around with nothing to do (that never happens!) but I am in a place where I'm coasting a bit. March is a month where the newness of the year is starting to take root, but the "stalks" are just starting to make their ascension toward the sun; there is much growth ahead. Right now growth is more subjective and not nearly as visible.

I was looking over my bullet journal for February and I am pretty amazed at what I did accomplish. I never feel like I get that much done! My creative growth steps this week are to recognize my accomplishments in action, immerse myself within the completion phase and be OKAY with not knowing what's next!  I posted awhile ago that it's good to build in rest days. What I am also ready to do is identify when I am in the final stages of projects and allow myself the space to regroup, rather than feel like I have something to do and I'm not doing it. I'm choosing to be a better closer "coffee is for closers only."  {Insert laughing emoji}

There is a tendency to be looking ahead and while I do enjoy the present, I find that for me, the excitement lies in the future and what I am in the process of creating. When there's nothing on the board I feel like I walk around with a blank stare on my face and hands up in the air like an basketball player who got a bad call.... what?????? (I watched a Celtics game the other night, so this was an easy reference.) Things will shift, as they always do. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this "time out."

Friday, March 2, 2018


One of these words feels lighter than the other? Can you tell? When you are looking at a decision do you feel like you HAVE to go with a certain option? What if you still had the same option, only you CHOOSE it. There's empowerment in the second choice and within that space, you actually change the consciousness of your reality.

Some of us are stuck in a job that we may not love. We say we have to have the job to do x, y, z. We may actually need the job to pay bills, afford health care, make car payments, take care of our families or any other reasons. We use these needs to justify why we are at this job, in this relationship, living in this location, are this in this shape. We enclose ourselves in a reality of few possibilities, tightening the noose around our necks, slugging through the days, dreaming of something different. And nothing changes. We get stuck. There's not a lot of potential for something better to come in when we reside in the "HAVE TO" world.

In the CHOOSE TO world, we take accountability for our choices, actions and reactions. We create space when we acknowledge that we've made the choice to be where we are, however that is showing up. It's really hard to change something if we don't look at the choices that led us here in the first place. While the place we currently are may not be our ideal, if we can change the viewpoint from "this is where I have to be" to "this is where I choose to be...for now", we open the door for shifts and changes to come more easily. Choices expand and possibilities become more visible to us.

Restating and especially re-thinking how we look at our current situations can mean the difference between chained to our circumstances or being free to make choices.

Every person alive has challenges, but they are not limited by those challenges. In fact challenges can become vital stepping stones, pointing the way to effective life changes. My son is an excellent example of this. We didn't allow his health challenges to become an excuse or a disability. He was born with spherocytosis. When he was a sophomore, he was diagnosed with neurofibromytosis type II. He's had a plethora of challenges and surgeries. He is deaf in one ear and his vision is not the best. You wouldn't know what he's been through by looking at him.  Today he's a thriving, young man, in his first year of college with a job! {Way to go, Pake!} Your challenge may be something entirely different and yet it is doesn't have to be a limitation to the life you choose to live. You just have to make the choice of how you want to show up in your world.

How do we initiate change?

Are we willing to take an honest inventory of where we are right now?

What is working your life?

What isn't?

Acknowledge that all the choices you've made have gotten you where you are today.

Look at the list of what isn't working, what you don't like?
Brainstorm some possible action steps that you can take, today to make some shift. Keep in mind that these don't have to be huge steps, simple ones are best as they bring immediate results and will build your change muscles, plus it's fun and empowering to observe how it feels in your body/being to experience change in action.

Identify your energetic priorities:
What lights you up and makes you happy? What additional choices are there that will contribute to the life you want to live? (And if you don't know, ask for those choices to show up and KEEP asking!)

Be vigilant with your choices and action steps: 
Set boundaries for what you will and will not allow. Focus is required because it will keep you moving toward your target. Use sticky notes and/or phone reminders and place these in locations that you will see. Change these out from time to time as they need to be refreshed, our minds get too used to seeing these.

Be curious: We don't have to know how things will turn out, in fact it is better not to have any conclusions of the outcome. Reality often doesn't reflect how we think things should go. Leave some room for creative ideas, choices and the magic of the unknown. What if what you are asking for arrives in a different shape and is even BETTER than what you had in mind?!

YOU are the conscious, creative facilitator of your life! You assumed this position when you are born and you've inherited a majorly successfully company. YOU are the CEO here, so the choices and decisions you make will determine your life (which is your business!) How cool is that?! You didn't even have to interview for the position! Here are the keys, take them and start unlocking some doors.

What I'm weeding this week:
Digital items. UGH. A few months ago my emails totaled over 3000. I was not so good about reading them, and even worse at deleting them. I kept emails, like I kept a lot of my clutter,  for those "just in case" reasons. It took some time, but I utilized the folder options and created what I needed for future reference. I went through every single email, which was daunting, and necessary.

Earlier this week I created something I've never experienced empty email inbox. This has NEVER happened before! Like my home, I am amazed at how quickly the space can fill in if I am not paying attention and setting the target of keep it cleared.  I have spent the last month unsubscribing to a lot of emails. What I am wondering is if I should select a day to go through them all and wipe it clean? Or if I should visit this daily, like I do with my home? I didn't enjoy the task and that is why I let emails pile up. Since erasing the 3000+ emails my target as been to keep my inbox downsized. I always admired people who can do this and do it consistently, funny I never saw myself as "one of those people" I still don't because it's early on but in time, perhaps that habit will become more solid? This does requires me to be vigilant, making a decision after I've read the email (delete or move to a folder.)  and be consistent. Rather than seeing this as a burden I am choosing to see this as a personal challenge, it is more enjoyable that way. I'm also seeing that my ability to make a decision in the moment is much stronger than it used to be and that feels good too.

In the event that I might become overly confident, I am reminded that I still have loads of things on my computer, documents and photos that need cleaned up at some point. {It really doesn't end, does it?! At least I'm not tripping over digital clutter.}

Creative Growth Step: 
Making the bed. I haven't always been consistent in this area, but I am learning the benefits. It doesn't take much time or effort, I simply pull up the covers, flatten out the creases and call it good. That said, leaving my bedroom in clean, clear order sets my tone for the day.

I've also cleared off the additional surfaces of a excessive items. Pryce insisted that I keep the Lego Dragon she made. I have a love note and a few other sentimental items.

I've cleared off the bureau and intentionally placed meaningful/useful items. Previously this was covered with books, pictures, journals, jewelry and other items that I didn't put away.

It feels good to walk in here. This room is not fancy, updated or new, but it is clean and clutter free. I used to have to navigate piles of clothes, shoes and bags, book. Tidying up happens in minutes, because clothes are in the closet, not strewn about or thrown on the floor in here. The best benefit is that I can be packed and ready for adventuring in about 10 minutes (or less!)

I am blessed with a large, walk in closet so I do not have drawers. I see the clothes I do have and this reminds me to either wear them or let them go.

Off season items (shirts, skirts, shorts and sandals) were put in a tote. When the weather is warmer, I'll do another sort and let go of anything that I haven't used. "I am CHOOSING to keep only the clothing/items that I really love, versus I HAVE to sort through this sh*t again!!!! See, I bet you can already tell the difference, can't you?

What are choosing today?!

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