A Resolution to Keep!

It’s that time again! As we welcome the new year, most of us are probably thinking about how to make this coming year better than the last. There are so many goals waiting to be achieved! Maybe you’d like to buy a house. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you plan to go back to school. Maybe you’re finally going to write “that book”. Whatever your goals are for 2017, I’d like to suggest one more:

SIMPLIFY.

When I use this word, I use it broadly. Only you know what that means for your life, so do with it what you will – but do something.

– Some of you should clean out your closet, your garage, your pantry, your file cabinet.

– Some of you should focus less on making money and more on making memories with your friends and family.

– Some of you should scale back on all the junk (Junk food, junk TV, anything that brings temporary satisfaction and long-term damage.)

– Some of you need to clear out the toxic relationships in your life, and surround yourself with more positivity, even if that means fewer people.

– Some of you need to make a change that will make your life richer (not in a monetary way.) 

There are so many ways to simplify.  When it comes to my own personal life, here’s what I plan to do in 2017:

  • I plan to simplify our belongings (again.) Since Fox received a good number of new toys and books for Christmas, I plan to go through his older toys and books to see which ones are ripe for donation. I’ve already set up a Toy/Book Swap Party with my local mom group. These things are a huge hit! I probably won’t take much (if anything) from the swap unless I really feel like we could benefit from it, but it’ll be nice to see some of our gently used items go home with friends. 🙂 Anything that’s leftover from the event will be donated to charity.  

MORE ABOUT TOYS: I’m a firm believer in keeping the toys and books situation in our house MANAGEABLE. I’ve found this to mean that Fox doesn’t have as much as most kids. (That’s okay with us.) Miraculously, I’ve also discovered that I can successfully babysit my friends’ kids without them feeling bored. In fact, all the kids I’ve watched love coming over to play at our tiny little apartment. Happiness isn’t about how much you have. Even children know that.  

  • I plan to simplify my expectations. What I mean by this is I plan to let stress have LESS power over my mind. So often I find myself in cahoots about something that is, at the end of the day, pretty trivial, and I allow my stress levels to increase, which results in me having to spend precious minutes of my day dealing with unnecessary disappointment and anger. This is a very wordy way of saying I need to take a chill pill, and realize that the world will not crumble if things don’t go my way… If the dishes go undone… If the laundry piles up (yes, even though I’ve done a few purges, we can somehow still create piles of laundry. That’s a blog for another day.) I’m the kind of person who is always working on something, and as much as I thrive on keeping busy and productive, I realize that I could stand to put less pressure on myself.  

I want 2017 to be a year of Inner Tranquility. I want to be okay with the fact that things always seem to be unfinished. After all, we are all works in progress. Here are my commitments for 2017, feel free to claim them as yours too!

    1. I will embrace the loose ends of life this year.
    2. I will laugh at times that would normally make me grit my teeth.
    3. I will exhale negativity and inhale the goodness that surrounds me.  
    4. I will show more grace and mercy to myself and others.
    5. I will remember that we only have so much time.

    I wish you all a fantastic 2017. May it be a year that fills your life with simple joys, your heart with gratitude, and your eyes with happy tears.  

    XOXO,

    Val

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    Minimizing Negativity

    YOWZA!  It’s been a while since I last posted!  I’ve been missing my little blog so much, but I’ve been swamped with work and motherhood and other life things that have taken priority for the past few months.  Now it’s time to get back on track.   The easiest way to do that is to just jump right in… so here we go!

    When it comes to a living a simpler, more fulfilling life, I believe that we not only need to deal with the tangible objects that take up space (which is what I usually blog about) but it is equally crucial to purge mental and emotional clutter which can weigh us down and get in the way of some great life experiences.

    One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is negativity, its impact on our lives, and the importance of getting rid of it.

    I want to address THREE primary areas in which we need to fight and banish negativity.  A decluttering of sorts, and I welcome you to join me… if you’re brave enough to take on the challenge!

    • NEGATIVITY IN YOUR OWN MIND.  When you allow your mind to be run by pessimism and putdowns, you’re setting yourself up for a miserable, unfulfilled life.  I’m serious.  Think about the most complain-y people you know.  Do you think their minds are more full of positive or negative thoughts? And do they seem happy??   Think of your mind as a car, or a house.  Get rid of the junk and fill it with the things that truly matter.  I don’t know about you, but I only have a certain amount of mental energy each day and I don’t want to waste it on negativity.  There are no benefits of having negative thoughts about yourself or others.  It’ll slow you down, prevent you from focusing on your true values, and it could even prevent you from achieving goals you have set for yourself.  Kick the pessisism to the side and fight to be a more positive person every minute of every day.  When you start to feel negativity creep into your mind, BREATHE, and let the thought quickly pass. Overcome the moment by telling yourself something GOOD.  There is always something good to tell yourself!
    • NEGATIVITY IN RELATIONSHIPS.  Something I have learned over the years is how crucial it is to say goodbye to toxic relationships and friendships. Refining our lives ought to be a top priority.  We need to chip away at the negativity so that the beauty and brilliance we are meant to experience can be seen, felt, and shared.   As I said above, we only have so much mental energy to give to people.  Choose wisely who you are spending it on.  I understand for some situations this is way easier said than done, but I still encourage you to try.  Focus on making your inner circle of relationships one that energizes you, one that makes you believe in yourself more and more each day, one that brings you joy rather than stress.  Decluttering in this area may not be easy, but it is absolutely doable, and you will thank yourself when you do it!  Maybe you need to stop making excuses for someone.  Maybe you need to stop doubting yourself.  You do not need to make room for someone who constantly causes you pain or makes you feel small, and you don’t need to feel guilty for saying goodbye to a relationship that continues to bring you down.  Realize that you deserve to be happy.
    • NEGATIVITY IN SITUATIONS.  So many people feel stuck.  They feel that they’ve been dealt certain cards in life and have no option but to accept them.  Nose to the grind, don’t complain, be strong, “it could be worse”, yadda yadda.  I’m not sure why so many of us take on an attitude of martyrdom.  Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of community in it (the whole “misery loves company” thing.)  Maybe it’s because we don’t believe enough in ourselves.  We feel helpless, and fearful about the idea of change.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely advocate for looking at the bright side, counting your blessings, and pushing through adversity… but I’m not talking about tough times.  I’m talking about our lives, and the ways we choose to live them.  Each day that passes is a day we can’t get back.  Every moment spent on negativity is a moment that could have filled you with joy.  Ask yourself what would make you happier, what would bring you more peace, and think about the steps you need to take in order to get there.  Talk to someone you trust about it. (Definitely talk about it, it becomes more real when you do, and the more real your goal is, the more likely you will try to achieve it.)

    I hope this post speaks to someone, even if it’s just one person.  I felt like I was supposed to write it. 🙂

    REMEMBER… When we focus on minimizing the negativity in our lives, we clear the way for goodness to come pouring in.  I dare you to try it!

     

     

     

     

    Swapping: The New Shopping

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    Last week, I coordinated a clothing swap party for some of the local moms in town. It was a great way for us to clean out our closets and score some new (to us) attire without opening our wallets! If you’re curious, keep reading.  Since I have to make my son his dinner pretty soon, I’ll keep this short and sweet. 🙂

    Some people are weird about second hand stuff, and I get it. There’s a bit of a mental hurdle to get over when it comes to buying used items.  As long as things are in good condition, I’m all about it.  Not only is buying second hand a money saver, it’s also the most eco-friendly way to shop.  Buying used goods cuts down on manufacturing demands, give items a longer life, and keeps things out of the landfill.  Anyway, let’s cut to the chase!

    Here’s what my event details said:

    Clean your closet and trade your stuff at a party where everyone leaves happy and no one spends a dime!

    WHAT TO BRING:

    • Women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories in good condition (no stains or tears.)
    • Please leave socks, undergarments and swimsuits at home.
    • Accessories include belts, purses, jewelry, scarves, hair clips, etc.

    WHAT TO EXPECT:

    10:00 AM – Bring your items to be swapped. Sip, nibble, window shop and mingle!
    10:30 AM – Everyone draws a number to determine the order and we enjoy 1 round of ladies selecting 3 favorite items in the order drawn.

    ~~~The remaining time is a FREE FOR ALL. Walk around and take what you like (be nice, please, no hair pulling!)

    (There will be a room/bathroom provided for anyone interested in privacy while trying on clothes.)

    * All leftover items will donated to the Paying It Forward Store in Portland.
    Kids are welcome.
    * Complimentary breakfast treats will be provided!

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    There were about 10 of us at the party, with a few kiddos running around.  Some of us didn’t know each other before that day, so we made some new friends too!   We all walked away with some great items, and together we filled 6 large garbage bags of women’s clothes to donate to a local charity that helps the homeless.  It was a morning well spent, and we’re already planning the next one: a kids clothes and toys swap!

    Alright, someone’s getting hungry, time to swap my blogger hat for the chef one… I’ll sign off with this illustration by Sarah Lasarovic.  So good.

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