The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

If you are at all like me, your morning alarm clock also cues the little megaphone in your head that welcomes you to a new day of the circus called life!  

Balancing Life!  

“Step with care and great tact…and be sure to remember that life’s a great balancing act!  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  Dr. Suess 

My husband and I returned home recently from an idyllic trip to Italy, but settling back into a normal routine again is always tough.  It got me thinking–how can we make our daily lives be more like the less stressful ones we often enjoy when we’re on vacation?  While this may not always be possible…at the very least, there are a few things we can consider that will help us better juggle our everyday obligations with more ease!

5 Ways To Create Better Balance In Everyday Living!

 1.  Find Your Morning Zen!

Finding balance in life.

Set yourself up for a good start to your day by getting up just a little earlier than everyone else does to go over your schedule, read or exercise, etc.  It’s always so impressive to me how a calm spirit and an “I got this!” attitude can have such a positive effect on those around us, making mornings go smoother for everyone!

2. Balancing Life Is Not A Competition!

Finding balance in life!

There are a myriad of things that require our time and attention each day: family commitments, work obligations, home upkeep, community responsibilities…and hopefully we can fit in some leisure activity on occasion too!  I feel like one of the main reasons establishing balance in our lives seems a bit elusive is the stigmas society can label us with if we don’t “fit the mold” so to speak, of what is expected of us in the various roles we are required to execute on a daily basis.  Too often— these so-called “social norms” find us getting caught up in the anxiety of trying to meet the expectations of those around us as we strive to keep pace with everyone else.  While a competitive spirit is great to the degree that it inspires us to work hard and accomplish goals, I believe that each of our diverse circumstances in life requires an individualized and thoughtful approach to how we go about obtaining a good balance.  Being true to ourselves and those we directly influence while we juggle our schedules, rather than falling victim to undue peer pressure on how we should divide our efforts can’t help but have a positive impact on our overall well-being.

3.  Balance Takes Teamwork!

Finding balance in Life!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it’s often easier to find better balance in life when we have the support of other people.  In an article by clinical therapist F. Diane Barth in Psychology Today, she states that what is really most important for creating a good balance in our lives is not how much responsibility one person carries at any given time–but rather, how well we interact with each other, drawing from and giving energy to one another!  I realize that the ebb and flow of my life is certainly more balanced with the influence of caring people!

 4.  Creating Balance means “No!” is a compete sentence!Finding balance in life.

A key component to having better balance in life is understanding our priorities and what’s most important.    But as we all know, on any given day, in any given moment our priorities can change–so we may have to re-examine our priorities regularly.  No one necessarily wants to say no, but as success coach, Brain Tracy, states in an insightful article on, “How to Find Life Balance and Be Happy” you are going to have to do it once in awhile…and understand that no explanation is needed.  Mr. Tracy elaborates by saying that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can’t possibly do everything that we want to do as well as everything everyone else wants us to do.  So a big part of leading a more balance life is to cut down on unnecessary tasks and protect your priorities.  I find simply being more aware of some of the little things I do that waste precious time is a huge factor in better balancing my life.  My mom used such finesse when telling others that she couldn’t possibly fit one other thing into her day by saying, “I can’t do that now, but thanks so much for thinking of me!”  Wise lady!

5.  Finding Balance Is A Lifetime Project! 

Finding more balance in life.

As you’ve probably already come to realize, living a more balanced life is not a finite goal, but rather an ongoing process that should help us learn to be more flexible as we better navigate the demands on our time.  Hopefully, we are then able to tackle all the things that a day may encompass with more contentment, optimism and happiness; after all—when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what we really want the most of in our lives!  My father was fond of saying that life should be a steady uphill progression!

I love this thought on having balance in our lives:

“Balance is the process of holding something steady during change!”

What are some tricks you find helpful that help you achieve a better balance in your life? 

Live better quote.

I hope the beginning of your summer gets off to a fabulous start!

–Mary

In-Between Winter And Spring Things!

In-Between Winter And Spring Things!

It’s that ominous time of year in Utah where any real threat of more heavy winter storms isn’t too likely, and yet there’s still a definite cold chill to the air outside, the skies are mostly overcast and gray and everything seems a bit drab from the melting snow and resulting mud and debris exposed underneath…it’s just all rather blah!

Come this time of year, I guess it’s always good to remember that…

In Between Winter And Spring Things!

“No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn!”  Hal Borland

With this thought in mind, I say we should all heed this wise advice…  Spring Quote by Lilly PulitzerBeating The Winter Blah Funk!

Coats vs. Jackets!  I never understood the differentiation when I was growing up and my mom would say, “It’s too cold for a jacket go get your coat!”  To my young mind they were one in the same…both very restrictive to being able to really play outside!  Now I understand…come this time of year, at least for the most part, heavy quilted, “puffer” coats can be set aside and gladly replaced with lighter weight jackets!  Yay!

Marmot Precip jacket.I love the Marmot Precip jacket I purchased for our trip to Germany last fall, and have found it’s the perfect in-between winter and spring jacket, it also comes in a great assortment of bright, spring colors!  (MooseJaw or BackcountryMountain websites often sell them at a discount too!)  

If you want to nix a jacket altogether, I think all the fun sweater coats that are available now are a fun option too.

Mango sweater jacket.

My daughter living in New York introduced me to the unique clothes at Mango stores.  They have some fun sweaters for sale online now.

• Happy Shoes and iTunes!  Perhaps one of the best things about this time of year is that it is finally getting warm up enough to be outdoors on a more regular basis.  So grab that spring jacket, your gym shoes, (you might even want to invest in some new colorful ones) and some upbeat music and get outside.  There seems to be nothing better than going for a brisk walk or run this time of year when the weather is nicer–rather than spending another monotonous hour on a treadmill!

Acics running shoes.

Plus sign.

Old-Dominion record "Meat and Candy"!

Acics footwear is perfect if you like your athletic shoes to have some toe room; and the new “Meat and Candy” record by Old Dominion, is my in-between winter and spring music pick, it’s such a fun, eclectic mix of songs that will have you singing along as you head outside!  

• Delightful Dishes!  I think a fun way to brighten up your in-between winter and spring season is to add a few colorful dishes to your usual place settings.  If you shop around, (another good thing to do this time of year) many kitchen and boutique shops have some fun odds and ends dishes on great clearance sales.Anthropologie bowls.

Anthropology’s clearance section always has a good mix of fun bowls on sale.  I picked up a few to use for new cereal bowls, but I have also seen them used to hold jewelry and plants!  However you to use them, they are sure to give you a much needed color boost right about now!

 Fresh Scents!  I love the saying, “Spring: the music of open windows.”  While it might still be a bit too chilly outside to open up your windows for very long, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a jump start on some fresh scents of the season…along with a little spring cleaning too!

Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner.

Besides being a great cleaning product, Mrs. Meyer’s lemon cleaner gives your home a subtle, fresh scent that will sing spring to you!  

And while we’re on the subject of lemons…

Luna lemon protein bar.

Luna lemon vanilla protein bars are a perfect treat to help you feel more energized now–it’s like a little spring party in your mouth!

I suppose the best thing to remember during this in-between winter and spring time of year is that if we didn’t have winter, spring might not be so anticipated!

Tulips in winter.

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow!” Proverb

What kinds of things help you beat the in-between winter and spring blah funk?

–Mary

Life Together In A Real Marriage!

Life Together In A Real Marriage!

Love story quote.

As my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary today, I am reminded of a statement in a talk given by Ann Romney at the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida in August 2012, when her husband, Mitt Romney, accepted the bid to run for president.  Ann Romney eloquently addressed the criticism that the opposing pundits had made that she and her husband had a “storybook” marriage and were out of touch with the everyday struggles that most Americans faced.

“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a storybook marriage.  Well, in the story books I read, there were never long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once.  And those story books never seemed to have chapters in them called MS or breast cancer!  A storybook marriage…?  No, not at all.  What Mitt and I have is a real marriage!”  

“In This Together” by Ann Romney

Enjoying The Journey Of A Real Marriage!

Several years ago I framed a quote I love that expresses perfectly the journey of life together in a real marriage!

Gordon B. hinckley quote.

(Click HERE for free download of this quote.)

I love the rhythm of a marriage that has survived some tough times and has built a formidable stability founded in mutual respect, commitment and perseverance….. but that doesn’t mean we should ever stop trying to do those things that help make our marriages stronger!

Getting married is a lot like getting into a tub of hot water, when you get used to it, it ain’t so hot!”  Minnie Pearl 

I had to chuckle when I came across an old 1959 Reader’s Digest article my mother had saved on making marriages happier and more exciting!

What A Husband Can Do:

  1. Bring her flowers while she can still smell them.
  2. Even if you’ve been married a long time, compliment her cooking.
  3. Ask your wife’s advice on business problems and sometimes take it.
  4. Learn some new jokes for the sake of your wife, who has heard the old ones too often.
  5. Acknowledge her hard work as much as you do your own.
  6. Surprise your wife with kind gestures for no reason.

What A Wife Can Do:

  1. Don’t tell him your problems until you’ve fed him.
  2. Don’t shush your husband if he sings at parties or acts the clown.
  3. Don’t ever borrow his razor.
  4. Show some measure of excitement when your husband gets home.
  5. Remember the things you said and did to land him and try them again.
  6. Don’t give him surprise parties.

What You Both Can Do:

  1. Occasionally, treat each other as if you’re meeting for the first time.
  2. Stop keeping up with the Joneses.
  3. Avoid getting mad at the same time.
  4. Don’t sacrifice all your fun today for what you think may be security tomorrow.
  5. Switch off the TV and talk.
  6. Build each other up in public.  Don’t try to compete.

Seems like pretty sage advice that can apply to our marriages today, even if it is a little tongue in cheek!

Thoughts About Real Marriages!

I asked some of my friends and family members to share their thoughts on what seemed to make their real marriages work…

♥ He goes in for a hug when I’m doing the ugly cry, instead of running away.

♥ He doesn’t ask why things seem so hectic when he gets home, he rolls up his sleeves and asks how he can help!

♥ She always compliments me on something she thinks I’ve done great that day!

♥ We make goals, then research articles and find pictures on how we can work together to accomplish them.  

♥ I try to do things she hates doing the most, and she does some of the things I dislike doing.

♥ He makes a special effort to dress nice when we go out for a date night.

♥ I understand that most days it’s not about me and try to truly love selflessly!

…one of my very favorite thoughts on a real marriage came from a good doctor friend of mine…

♥ She shows love in kind, subtle ways when I’m distracted and least deserve it.

I may be a bit of a romantic, but I’m so glad that one of the important things my real marriage has taught me is that…

Love quote.

I would love for you to share some of the things that make your real marriage special!

–Mary