Choices Do Exist

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With all the insanity and worry that’s been happening lately (school shootings, lost immigrant children, trade wars, White House issues, etc.), life seems to be way too overwhelming, and it’s too easy to become depressed over things that we really don’t have any control over.  As a matter of fact, there are a lot of things that we have no control over – our children/spouse’s actions, work issues, unexpected bills, etc.  So, how can we react when we’re depressed and overwhelmed?

It may sound too simple, but the only thing to do is to concentrate on what you can change.  I literally sign at least 50 petitions per week, and the number seems to keep on growing.  There is only so much that I can do, and petitions and letters to my congress people are just about the best thing I can accomplish.  I have no power (other than my vote/voice), so I try to use it every chance I get.  However, there is so much going on, and I can do so little.  This is just something that I have to realize that my power to make these kinds of changes is minimal, however, I keep doing what I can.

So, depression is a problem for me, and probably for a lot of people.  How do I handle it?  I try to spend time practicing gratitude (and, as I say myself, it is a practice).  And, finally, the last and best thing, is to follow the simple quote: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”  These are the words that I try to live by.  I’m not saying that I succeed all the time, but when I go out into the world I try to be as nice and friendly as I can.  One thing I don’t want to do is to make someone else’s life miserable.  So, I’m always trying to be as upbeat and friendly as I can manage.  Sometimes it’s easier than other times, but I’m always trying.  What are some things that you do?  Please share in the comments below.

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What Does “Home” Mean to You?

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What does home mean to you?  Is the place that you live your home, or is your “real” home somewhere else?  For many people that may be the place where they grew up.  Other people find everything that the word home stands for in a place in nature – the woods, or the ocean.  For myself I feel that I’ve got two different homes.  The first is in nature – the ocean does it for me.  I could stay there forever, and at the risk of sounding insane, I hate to leave the ocean once I’ve actually gotten myself there.  I’ve always wanted to live as close as I can get to the ocean, but so far, I’ve got to make do with living about one and a half hours away.

My second “home” is my family (specifically, my daughter).  Whenever I’m with her I really do feel like I am home.  I’m sure that it’s the feeling of absolute love and trust that makes me feel this way.

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To talk about my “actual” home, it isn’t really set-up in a way that I would prefer, but it is still home, since this is where I’ve raised my children.  We had “beach” parties in the family room in the middle of winter.  I sat on the floor in the hallway outside my children’s rooms and read them The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and a host of other books for years.  We home schooled in the dining room, ate dinner together as a family every night in the kitchen, and watched movies in the living room.  It may not be fancy, but it’s still home.

Share your thoughts about “home” in the comments below.

Taking Care of Yourself

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The hardest thing to do is to invest in taking care of yourself.  And, by investing I don’t mean just money, but time and effort.  As a mother, ever since I gave birth, the majority of my life has been spent in taking care of my children.  I remember having to have the babies in the bathroom with me when taking a shower, since my children seemed to need only small catnaps both day and night.  Therefore, I was usually passed out on what available surface there was during these teeny tiny little “naps” (notice the quotes).  So, as they grew, and got to be teenagers who loved to sleep, I began to sleep a little later.  But, I’ve since found out that anything over 5 or 6 hours makes me feel like throwing up, so I’ve gotten used to just getting up when I first wake up (instead of trying to go back to sleep) in order to work out.

That’s the first thing I do on a daily basis for myself.  Other than that, it’s mostly an effort.  I’ve just recently started getting my hair cut at a salon after going for 5 or 6 years without a haircut.  Who needs a haircut when you always wear your hair in a bun?  Every time my appointment comes around, I have to force myself to go.  The excuses are varied – it’s raining, there is snow, I don’t really have the money…  Seriously, it’s not expensive to get your hair cut every two months.  I’ve recently bought myself some face masks but using them again is an issue.  I seem to be looking for the “right” time to do so.

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Eating properly is another issue.  I buy lots of fruit every week but seem to think that if I eat an orange, there won’t be enough for someone (the mythical someone) else to enjoy.  Of course, there is plenty of fruit at the end of the week, but I still think that I can’t eat much of it.

Taking care of yourself is an important part of your health and your well-being.  What do you do on a daily/weekly basis to take care of yourself?  Do you find it difficult to make time for you?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Life Changes

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There are as many ways to change your life as there are people. While one way will work for one person, it won’t work for another. Each of us is in charge of how our life goes, even when it doesn’t feel like that. Our reactions to what happens to us is often the only way we can change things. Each time something perceived as “bad” happens, we can control how we react. Just for an example, my sixty-year-old husband was laid off a few weeks ago. He could have decided that was it, and he wasn’t going to work anymore. That, of course would have been devastating, and we would have sunk into a mire of our own making. We owe a mortgage payment, a tractor payment, not to mention the usual utilities, etc. that go along with living. Instead he looked at where he was, and realized that being completely depressed wasn’t going to help. We needed to replace his phone, and laptop, since they were both company-owned. Which we did, immediately. Not so easy is replacing the company-owned truck, since our truck is a diesel-guzzling beast. However, we will be hopefully getting a certified pre-owned smaller truck with better gas-mileage soon. But, the best part of this was that because of the many contacts he has made over the years, he was hired with a new company within five days (including a weekend).

We were lucky. I know that we were lucky. Events turned out just right for us, and I know that they don’t turn out just right for everyone. My daughter graduated Magda Cum Laude from college in September and she is still looking for work. Luckily, she has her job creating content for a web-site that she’s had for a few years, but she would really like to find a full-time job. She looks, but the market is tough.

The big difference with this set-back was that we had an action plan, and I believe that action helped keep up my husband’s spirits. I didn’t let him sit around and be depressed. I helped him act in order to go forward. Sure, looking for a phone and laptop doesn’t sound like much, but it did keep him occupied. Having to find places to store all his tools, etc. that were in his truck also kept him busy. He went from working to sorting and storing, to planning and researching new phones and laptops. Action is necessary for change.

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The end note is this: no matter how much you want to change, you have to put that want into action. Action is what changes you. Nothing else. So, decide how you want to change, and ACT!

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Take Time to Rest

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I know that many people (including me), see the weekend as a time to catch up on chores and errands.  A time to run around and be busy “getting things done”.  However, it is also a time to rest, relax and renew.  Spend time on just being.  Relax, read a book, do some Yoga, meditate.  Your life doesn’t need to be full of “things to do”.  Just be present in the moment.  Take some time out.  Shut off your phones, unplug the internet.  Just breathe.

 

Your Ship

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I love this quote because it reminds me (and I do need reminding) that what is going on outside of me does not have to be reflected inside of me.  There is chaos in the world, and there is a lot of anger and hurt and division right now.  However, I can do what I can in order to change that by writing about it and by sending letters and signing petitions.  But, if I want to live a life that is not full of stress and worry, I really need to put up boundaries and leave it all outside my mind.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that, and I longer I try to put the focus on what I can do, and what I can’t do the more peaceful I feel.  No amount of brooding I do is going to change others.  Focus on what you can do, change what you can, and make yourself the best you can be.  Yes, be active with what you can do for the outside world, but don’t make yourself crazy by letting that be your only focus.  You can’t change the world, but you can influence and change your life.  Work on that, and hopefully your change will ripple outward and touch the rest of your world.

2017 Year in Review

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This is always one of the most difficult posts for me to write.  I always feel that I’ve not accomplished as much as I wanted to over the past year.  I had separated my goals into sections, the first was focused on organization and meal planning.  I actually succeeded in this area.  I’ve been (for the most part), filing my mail immediately by paying bills as they come in, and then filing everything into the appropriate file folders.  And, I’ve been mostly planning my meals for the coming week on Sundays, and also filling out my shopping list at the same time.

Another area that I had goals for was stress management.  That’s still a work in progress, but I have been listening to wonderful stress-reduction music while I write and read my e-mail.  So, that’s been helpful.  However, I do need to increase my time spent just breathing (which is my version of Yoga breaths).

As far as writing in concerned, I haven’t really gotten anywhere.  I did finish my children’s book, but I’m still working on the illustrations.  So, there was a positive, but also a negative.  I did not work on my novel at all this year.  I never even re-read it.

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As far as exercise and health, I tweaked my eating, went no-oil, and lost 23 pounds.  I’ve kept those pounds off, even though I have been having the occasional cookie and piece of cake over the holidays.  As far as exercise is concerned, I have been walking mile a day, however I’ve not been getting up and working out in the morning.  So, again, both a positive and a negative.

As far as my business is concerned, I’ve started to work on my website, but still don’t have my certificates.  I know, I know….

I have done other good things, though.  My closets are all cleaned out as are my drawers and cabinets.  I have bought and hung up curtains in both the living room and dining room.  I’ve taken many boxes and bags of excess “stuff” to the donation center and the swap-shop. So, that’s another positive.

Overall, this year I’ve had about as many positives as negatives.  Not a total loss, but also not a fabulous year as far as goals.  How has your year been?  Let me know in the comments below.

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