Chase the Sunshine…

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This quote SPEAKS to me…I almost feel like it was written FOR me. 

As a mom I enjoy having a routine and getting things done on my ‘to-do’ list and I enjoy when my home is running smoothly.  I believe that life seems a little less chaotic when we all have some routine. 

BUT…..the urge to go crazy, go do fun things, take off is always gnawing at me.  I want to pull the kids out of school, I want to drive without a destination in mind, I want to follow the sunset and so I say this….

Listen to your heart and know that routine is a necessary part of life….but if every now and again, you have the chance to chase the sunshine, DO IT!! 

Enjoy the chase,

Holly 

The Greatest Happiness

The greatest happiness comes from what??

For many is comes from family, work, spirituality, service, hobbies, adventure, and the list goes on…..

How do you find what brings true joy and happiness….what is the path? 

There is no right or wrong answer and everyone’s path is different.  

The first step is to stop and think…..am I fulfilled? Am I happy?  Do I want to seek more?  If the answer is no, then you may have found what is truly making you happy, so stick with it!

If the answer is no or you are unclear…I would encourage you to seek work you feel is fulfilling, or examine your spirituality, find a service organization that you enjoy, take up  a new hobby, or plan and adventure! 

For me, I am constantly asking myself,

  • “what brings me great joy?”
  • “will doing this…(whatever it is) make me happy?”
  • “am I capable of a greater contribution?” 
  • “is there a greater purpose for me?”

These questions always leave my striving for greater contributions in work, family,  service, and in my spirituality.  They also make me pause and truly think about what brings me joy and happiness. 

This is the greatest gift, because in that pause, you realize that super simple things can bring great joy.  Many times we get caught up in wanting that promotion we have been working towards, or needing a larger home, our kids getting better grades, an expensive vacation, better car….etc.  Again…there is no wrong answer, so nothing is wrong with wanting these things, you just have to decide if these things will bring you happiness. 

If we pause and truly examine our daily life, there are hundreds of little things to be thankful for that bring joy, I call these things ‘everyday magic’….even it is just a simple, small glimmer, these things added together can create great happiness.  Nothing profound….Some of my everyday magic;  A warm cup of coffee, sitting by the fire, a hug from my kids, sitting at the dinner table together, music playing, clean laundry, my home, my bed, a warm bath, going hiking, praying, the mountains, fresh snow, talking to God, watching my kids do activities, camping, our puppy, the smell of pine trees, cuddles, mountain breezes, service projects, warm sunshine, iced tea, gardening, home projects, I could go on an on….

Unfortunately it is all too easy to focus on the hassles and irritation in life and see things as a burden….for example laundry, who enjoys laundry?  Probably very few people, but I LOVE clean clothes, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel as I am getting it done, and I feel tremendous pride in taking care of my family, doing the laundry is all part of that…..so it is all about perspective.  You can focus on the work, burden, and frustrations or you can focus on the everyday magic. 

All of these small, somewhat insignificant things added together can create an amazingly happy life….but we have to pause long enough to discover them. #everydaymagic 

Enjoy the pause,

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Our DNA…

As I was listening to the radio the other day, I heard sound bite…I have no idea what the topic was or when the program was going to air, all I heard was a man say,

“What we believe becomes our DNA.” 

This statement hit me at my core, I thoughts about how profound and yet simple it really is…..

What we think and believe does become who we are….and for many reading this you may think, “of course is does” and I agree our religious beliefs, our morals, our values, what we hold sacred all become part of the DNA……but I want to simplify it further.

What we believe about ourselves, what we believe about others, what we think when we see someone who is different from us, how we react to difficult situations, how we choose to treat others, this all becomes part of our DNA too….it is who we are.

If you have religious values and a good moral compass but then sit in judgment of others without knowing their story, or make judgement about others because they don’t share your religious choices, or they indulge in something you don’t like or aren’t kind and considerate towards others…..your values and morals are in direct conflict with your current thinking.  When this happens, what really is your DNA?  All the good stuff, your religious beliefs, your morals, your values or is the judgement, unwillingness to be accepting, the irritation, the lack of consideration??

I believe it is critical that we strive to ensure that our moral compass and values match our; daily interactions with others, conversations, kind thoughts about ourselves, and ALL of the thoughts that run through our heads that never make it out of our mouths…..

It isn’t just the big stuff that makes up who we are, it is how we view the world everyday, the conversations we have in our own head about how we view ourselves, it is the small simple kind words and gestures we use when interacting with family, friend and strangers….this is all part of our DNA.  

Holly

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Your Own Path….

When I have quiet time in the car, sometime I listen to music, sometimes talk radio and sometimes Joel Osteen, his messages offer me a ‘pick me up’ that, at times, I need.  It is a quick spiritual reboot, if you will.  🙂

The other day he shared a message that I really liked, I have tried to find the message since on his blog because I only caught the end….so far, no luck.  www.joelosteen.com

His message was about keeping up with others and he described that as we try and keep up with others we for-go our own skills, talents, and natural abilities and we don’t have the tools needed to move down someone else’s path, this leaves us feeling uncomfortable, struggling for success, or unhappy.  He said it far better…but you get the idea.  The message was pretty powerful….

The message really spoke to me, over the next several days I thought about it over and over again….Thinking about the truth behind his statement. 

For me….sometimes I get caught up in what other moms are doing and I think…I should be doing that too and when I go off course from what I know and do…I start to struggle. I am not trying to be boastful but for the most part, I think I am a pretty good mom and wife…..I have good relationships with my kids, we chat about hard stuff, they come to me with some pretty difficult topics and my hubs and I are a great team.  But….all too often I see something or hear something that someone else is doing and think, “I should do that instead of what I am doing” and it never brings me peace and enjoyment, the reason, I am trying too hard and I don’t have the tools to be successful on their path

 At times we get caught up in our friends and colleagues bigger house, boat, vacations, toys, etc. and it may lead us down a path of trying to keep up or wanting more….the truth is that seeking out things or changing our behaviors for the wrong reasons doesn’t lead us down OUR path, the path where we find joy, we have great comfort, and where our natural abilities shine. 

So stay the course my friend, you are doing the right things, you have the tools needed for your own path, there is nothing wrong with striving for more, the larger home, the amazing vacation, the toys….just make sure you are doing it because it enriches the path you are already on….. 

Holly 

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Changing My Focus…

How do you alter your focus? Really change the direction you are headed and move in another direction? 

I keep asking myself that question…It isn’t that the direction I am moving is wrong or it isn’t a happy path, I just feel like I could do better, be better if I made some changes.

I started by making a list of my of my ‘wants’, I am sure many of these aren’t far off what any mom and/or wife wants.  They seem simple but when you work outside the home and have busy kids, theses things sometimes seem monumental.  Many of my girlfriends are stay at home moms and many are working moms and most of the time, our wants are the same….

My Wants

  • Enjoy my home
  • Joy in my daily routine
  • Finding happiness in everyday
  • Reduce the frenzy of the day
  • Taking care of my home
    • Cleaning
    • Laundry
    • Errands
  • Meal Planning and Prep
  • Offering undivided attention to my hubs and kidlets 
  • One on one time with each of my kids everyday
  • Reduce my work schedule or eliminate work all together 

Next came my list of ‘struggles’ where did I need to put in some work.  

My Areas of Struggle

  • Really…All of the Above

Now what?? I have my lists….I asked myself, what do I do now?  

First of all, I believe that creating the list and identifying what you want and what you struggle with is powerful.  It helps stop your brain from spinning and focus, think, and decide what IS really important to you.  It is similar to writing goals down on paper, it makes things more real, more tangible, more significant somehow. 

It would be easy for me to think quitting my job is the answer to all of my problems….but I am not sure that will solve my entire dilemma.  Yes, it will free up some of my time for the task-y stuff but it doesn’t solve the three ‘wants’ below, these are deeper more significant in my mind. 

  • Joy in my daily routine
  • Finding happiness in everyday
  • Reduce the frenzy of the day

The bullet-ed items above require more intentional effort, they require me to pause and evaluate what I am doing or what I can do differently. 

Joy in my daily routine is about finding happiness and enjoy in the mundane, in the trudge of chores, and running kids.  So for me this is about the sweet conversations that happen in the car on the way to practice, this is the chat about soccer and school, I have with my 14 year old as we fold towels, this is when my 17 year old sits and visits with me about high school, friends, and boys as we make dinner, this is when my 5 year old helps me load the washer, so he can push all the buttons.  These are things I am choosing to focus on rather than the task-y stuff, that really isn’t much fun.   

Finding happiness in everyday is about laying my head down every night and feeling a sense of accomplishment and feeling good about my interactions with my hubs, kids, and everyone I came across in my day.   It is about feeling good about my day, and some days it is HARD almost impossible to find the happiness because it has either been a crummy day or exhaustion overtakes me.  

Lastly, reducing the frenzy of the day, it is less about reducing the running from here to there, being busy and eliminating activities to create less frenzy, for me this is about reducing that frenzied feeling from my kids.  Making them feel like, even as busy as we are, that I am not stressed, uptight, anxious, or irritated and …..that I’ve got this.   Creating for them a sense of calm that they can come to rely on from me as their Momma.  Knowing that in moments of great stress and chaos that I can be their anchor and their calm.  

I don’t want to pretend that everyday is great and I am perfect….that isn’t me or my life.

But I am conscientious of how I am and how it impacts my little people and some days I blow it and other days I am a rock star….but as long as I am working in what I feel is the right direction…I see this as success. 

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Life after….Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Is there life after you step out of your comfort zone??

I am proof that life continues.  I recently made a huge life change,  after 18 years at the same organization, I took a LEAP of faith, left and started NEW.  I was terrified….

What terrified me? 

Quitting terrified me, I had spent 18 years creating a community, friendships, routine, knowledge base, generating ideas, implementing policy, process, and projects. I knew the organization, I knew what to do, I knew people, I knew my place…..I was about to leave that ALL behind. 

Starting fresh terrified me, having people not know me, establishing new relationships, learning new processes, adopting new knowledge, creating a niche for myself within my new place….it all terrified me.  

Rocking my world terrified me, changing my schedule, altering my commute, what impact would this create for my kids, my hubs, would I be able to learn new things, would I be happy, would I regret making this decision, would I make new friends, would I be valuable to new organization, would I have knowledge to share????

Well….I am alive and well. 

There IS life after you jump out of your comfort zone. 

Quitting wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  It was surprisingly easy, my organization didn’t beg me to stay or make it hard to exit.  I simply submitted my resignation, had a few comfortable conversations, and worked my remaining time and then walked out.  

Starting fresh isn’t easy…but it also isn’t terribly hard either.  I have met new people, created new friendships and am still in the process of having folks get to know me.  I am learning new skills, expanding my learning to include platforms and processes, and I am creating a space for myself.  

Rocking my world hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated, my schedule is good, commute is fine, my kiddos and hubs had basically no adjustment.  I am happy, my decision to leave my past organization was the right decision…but it is still painful, I miss people, I miss knowing what to do and how to do it, I miss the work….but I am moving forward.  

My take away….

Getting out of my comfort zone has pushed me in the direction of growth, it has made me do hard things.  It forced me to take control of my destiny and life.  I want my kids to know, understand and SEE that getting out of our comfort zone may be scary,  painful, hard, worrisome, and uncomfortable, BUT when these feelings exist, we can get through it and there can be GREAT growth, sense of accomplishment, and a knowing that YOU CAN DO hard things!!  

As parents we are continual examples for our babies, kiddos, children, so we must always keep in mind that little eyes are watching everything we do, how well we manage,  and our emotional stability.  I believe our kids will only handle and manage situations and obstacles as well as we, their parents/guardians do,  so it is imperative that we manage things well. 

Holly 

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Recipe – “Go To” – Chicken Pot Pie Bites

This is one of my family’s favorites…

Chicken Pot Pie Bites

  • 1 Can of biscuits – I use Pillsbury Grands Junior
    • Regular biscuits are too large and don’t bake as well. 
  • 1 Can Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Cup frozen peas and carrots (Optional)
  • Spices – Garlic, Season Salt, Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, Pepper, etc (Optional)

Flatten biscuits and place into muffin tins, they won’t be perfect…it’s just fine.  No need to spray tins, biscuits have enough butter, oil, etc.

Mix together, ingredients above and scoop into biscuits. Top with cheese.

Bake at temperature according to biscuit can and bake until biscuit appears done. 

Other guts to try; Sloppy Joe Mix, Taco Meat, Spaghetti Sauce, Pulled Pork 

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When to Push…

How do we know when to push our kids to move from good to great or nice effort to extraordinary effort?  It is hard to know…as parents we want our kids to put in extraordinary effort, work hard, and accomplish amazing things.  

But what happens when our kids put in minimal effort and still achieve??? It may not be achieving AMAZING things but they are getting the job done.  When we push our kids to do more, work harder, perform at a higher level what does that do for them?  What does that do for our relationship with them? Does that teach them to dig deeper? 

I am not sure and I am not sure I have the answers….

Here is what I do know….

Kids (or at least some of MY kids) need to be pushed in the direction of greatness.  I have one child who is a self-motivator and she strives for greatness, she works hard, she performs at a high level.  I have another daughter who needs consistent motivation, she is a really good student, but doesn’t have to work hard to perform at a high level, could she do more?  YES!  So she needs that push, that motivation, that attention.  I feel that as parents when we push toward greatness, when we encourage greater effort, when we aim for that higher level….We are establishing our expectations. 

I am a firm believer that our kids are a reflection of OUR expectations, so we must aim high. 

Holly

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My Journey…

Through a casual conversation with my dearest friend Rochelle, the journey of my blog came alive to me….I thank her for helping me see my journey more clearly. xoxo Ro

I don’t proclaim to be an expert on life, positive living, parenting, wife-ing, spirituality, or anything else…. I simply want to have an impact on how people view the world and their life.  We are bombarded everyday with things that are hard, frustrating, annoying, busy, frenzied and how we manage it is a choice and it is easy to get stuck in the frustrating/negative spin of life.  Living in the negative or focusing on the frustration is an easy place to land.  Don’t get me wrong….I get bogged down, I get irritated, I get frustrated, I get mad….but I don’t want to stay in that space or live there. 

I want to offer a different perspective and path, a different way to view your daily actions and interactions.  I want to be intentional about how I act, react, and present myself.  I also want to seek joys in everyday and I want to focus on all the good, sweet, nice, kind moments rather than get bogged down in the irritation that happens to all of us daily. 

I also want to be an intentional parent, meaning be present with my kids, do things with purpose, do things with kindness, give them tools and skills to manage their life in a purposeful way, help them navigate their struggles with grace and dignity.  

Focusing on goodness, twisting chaotic moments into sweet memories, searching for joys in each day isn’t always easy…it is the trail less traveled, but I am determined to take and make the trail. 

I am excited for the journey and look forward to where it takes me.

Holly 

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