Hello 2017! Let’s Try A Little Harder To Be A Little Better!

Hello 2017!

It was such a fun holiday season…but as a new year gets underway, I’ll admit I’m dragging a bit.  One lazy morning before we had to head back to work, I asked my hubby what he was looking forward to most in the upcoming year…as pragmatic as always, he simply said, Just another great 365 days, if I’m lucky!”  Then he turned and looked at me with that knowing look that says, “I know you hate New Year’s resolutions, so let’s see you answer this one!”  Now, I’m not usually quick with a witty come back, but this time I think I genuinely surprised him with my answer…..“I’m just going to try a little harder to be a little better!” Just try a little harder to be a little better!

Let’s Try A Little Harder To Be A Little Better!

While making New Year’s resolutions seems to take on the notion that big changes need to be made in your life…trying a little harder to be a little better seems very doable!  Here’s a few things I’m going to try a little harder at being a little better at:

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more healthy!  A healthy focus shouldn’t solely be on weight loss.  I once heard the statement that we should exercise like a diabetic heart patient with a stroke so that you never actually become one!  While this may sound a bit extreme, taking good care of our physical health should always be a priority.  Starting the year off with an exam from our physician will help determine our present state of well-being and where we can improve.  Doing this doesn’t guarantee a long life, but working a little harder to be better at exercising daily and eating more healthy will certainly make for a more active, enjoyable one.  My son, who is a dentist, would also add to floss and brush your teeth regularly too.  Dental problems are awful.

Exercising cartoon.

“Someone’s health can often be judged by what they take two at a time…..stairs or pills!”  Joan Walsh      

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more content!  Life can’t always be a party. Darn!  We need to learn to appreciate the small things and be present in the moment; find contentment in our daily routines.  As Dave Dero wrote in his article,  Advice From Some Old People“We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever, and the greatest pleasures can often be found in the most mundane of activities.  Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone–or better yet, go visit them and have a conversation about nothing in particular.  Those are the moments to hold onto!”   

"Live in the Moment!" quote.

My dad always used to tell me,  “Mary, just enjoy life, don’t waste away your days looking for better ones ahead!”     

I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at being more loving!  We’ve all heard a lot of good advice on this topic.  There’s just no better feeling in the world than knowing that you truly mean something to someone else.  Let’s be unafraid to express and show our love for others!  Let’s plan things to celebrate love!  Let’s make the most of the time we have with loved ones!Funny love quote.

I came across a fun idea for some neat date nights here.

Date Night Jar

Creating a Date Night Jar helps keep the romance alive–especially when you haven’t made other plans!

♦ I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better at giving my best effort!  There will always be demands on our time.  Our dream jobs aren’t always a dream every day, family and friends require a certain amount of commitment to help keep the relationships strong–in short, life can get overwhelming.  Let’s all remember to take a deep breath when needed, and simply vow to not make excuses and do the best we can in every situation.  Ultimately, I think when we put our best foot forward, so to speak, we are rewarded by others acting in kind…it’s a chain reaction of good!  No matter what though, it’s just a great feeling when we know we are giving our best under the the various circumstances we encounter!

Determination quote.

♦ What I really want to try a little harder to be a little better at this year is enjoying more adventures, connecting with more people who have good energy and learning a few new things that help me grow.  We all have that list of things we want to try someday…..new experiences we’d like to have, perhaps a talent we’d like to develop more–whatever it is, let’s pick one or two, make a plan and go for it!  I don’t want to wake up one day and be sad that I didn’t try some of the things I’ve dreamed about doing.  My husband and I are taking on something we’ve dreamed about for a few years now–I can’t wait to share more about it in the near future!

Curly Girl card.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope yours is off to a great start! 

Inspire us!  Share some of your goals and plans for the coming year.

–Mary  

New Horizons!

New Horizons!

Summer is always a crazy, busy, wonderful time of year spent with family and friends, and for the most part a break from our normal routines.  Now there’s a crisp chill in the air and fall is right around the corner.  I love how each season provides a new horizon and fresh perspective with so many neat things to anticipate and look forward to…

New Horizons!

(A beautiful fall horizon in Midway, Utah)

What I Look Forward To In The Fall!

  • Getting Cozy!  While saying this might indicate pulling out fun flannels shirts and warm afghans, (there will surely be plenty of those too) fall just seems to be the perfect time for more intimate gatherings with family and friends, where you share stories of your rambunctious summer adventures over home-cooked meals and spicy, warm drinks!

Grandma Wilding's warm spice punch.

  Grandma Norma’s Warm Citrus Punch  

1-46 oz. can pineapple juice

1-6 oz. can orange juice

3 cinnamon small sticks or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. whole cloves or 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

5 quarts water   5 cups sugar

Simmer for 1 hour, serve hot!  

♥ So Good! ♥

Ohhio knit blankets.

Speaking of cozy and warm afghans…..wouldn’t it be fun to wrap up in this chunky knit blanket from Ohhio’s Etsy Shop while sipping a warm drink! 

  • A Little Slower Pace!  Each season seems to come with its own set of schedules and “to do” lists, but with summer vacations wrapped up and gardens nearly harvested, it seems we’re more inclined to go for an early evening walk, or grab those books we never got around to reading on the beach.

Good reads!

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman are books I would highly recommend, if you haven’t already read them!

  • A Bedazzled Mother Nature!  No doubt, Mother Nature is gorgeous in all her varied states during each of the four seasons, but she definitely seems to give us a little extra “wow factor” come fall time!  

Fall leaves.

(Fall trees in Park City, Utah)

If your like me and want to bring a little fall foliage indoors, these DIY aged terra cotta pots are the perfect way to display your plants.  They are so simple to make.

aged terre cotta pots.

 You’ll just need to mix one cup of garden lime with one cup of water, stir together well, then using a foam brush, paint the pots with the lime paste mixture.  Let the pots dry good, then sand off some of the lime grit with sand paper around the top edges and bases of the pots and anywhere else you want to give them that aged, weathered look.  There’s really no wrong way to do this, just do whatever looks good to you.  When the pots are done, you can either spray them with a clear matte finish sealer or just them leave as is and let mother nature continue to play her magic on each of your unique, homemade pots! 

Aged terra cotta pots.

Filled with colorful chrysanthemums, I think these pots would be fun on your porch or make a great gift for those with fall birthdays!  

  • A Renewed Zeal To Always Keep Learning!  Fall marks the official “back to school” time of year.  My father, who was a beloved teacher and a dedicated learner, who audited classes at our local university well into his 80’s, instilled in me the desire to always want to be a good student….long after formal education had ended.  My dad often said, “The most valuable lessons learned—are often those taught in the ‘school of life’!”

John Dewey quote on education.

My husband and I have grown children and have become proud grandparents over the last few years; we’re both still working and are enjoying good health, so people often tell us that we’re in the “fall season” of our lives—if that’s the case, it’s all the more reason to really embrace this amazing time of year and the new horizons this stage of life brings!

I’d love to know some of the things you look forward to most as the fall season approaches?

–Mary

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