T is for How We Spend Our Time

Hello Friends,

I read a couple of interesting posts lately about time and the value of time and the waste of time. As I approach a milestone birthday this year I find myself questioning more and more what I am doing with my “remaining” time.

Do you ever ask yourself this question? I am betting that you, just like me, have questioned how you use your time. I know I want to use my time more efficiently. I want to do more with less. I want to make the most out of each moment I have.

But having said that, I don’t know that I need more hours in my days. Yes, we all want more time in a larger sense, but really we have little control over the number of days we have with which to squander or hoard our moments. We do have control over what we do with the hours we are given and I think this is where I find I must know what I really want.

What is of value to me?

What do I love?

Who do I love?

Where do I want to be?

Is this spot where my feet a firmly planted, where I really want to be?

Am I filling my days with minutia or am I filling my days with value?

Am I filling my days with purpose?

Am I filling them with fluff?

In knowing what and who and where I can then move to the how. For it is in the how that we find our place.

Time is not about using time to get someplace, to get to some end. As if it is truly all about the destination and not about the journey. We all know fundamentally that this is not the case. We know that it is really about loving and enjoying as many seconds out of every minute of our existence that we can.

I came across this amazing link the other day. If you are  remotely curious about others and how they live their lives this will be right up your alley.

Big-Thinkers-Time-Management-08-685x462From Mozart to Dickens

I am starting to build a better mousetrap with my time, by noticing more poignantly what is important to me and what I need to focus on. So, I look to those I love to make sure I am spending my time with them. I look to what I find myself drawn to doing, like writing for this blog, and I am making sure I have built in enough time to do this.

So, how do you fill your days? What is important to you?

Love,

S

 

The Wonders of this Week 14/52

Hello Friends,

I am borrowing a format from an artist to use here.  Blue Bird Baby is a fantastic blog. Simple. Lovely. Soulful. Inspiring. She uses a weekly format to document. I like this method of tracking the days and the process. I have modified her approach a bit.  Every week you document and you note by the week.  She documents her darling daughter’s life in a really lovely way.  Go check it out.

This week I am:

Writing

Thank you notes. Have you ever received a thank you note that made you frown? I doubt it. Yeah, thank you notes are cool, mannerly, and, most important of all, full of love and gratitude. Send one today to someone you love.

Watching

This.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/91678581″>Stop Telling Women To Smile</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/petersoncinema”>Dean Peterson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Reading

It is our Sunday ritual. Marc walks down the driveway and picks up the large plastic bag that holds our reading for the day. The Sunday New York Times. He makes a pot of strong, dark coffee and brings us two steaming cups heavy with fresh cream. I meanwhile fluff the pillows and open the curtains. We both get back into bed, readers perched at the end of our noses and we work our way through the paper. We share stories and fight over the editorials. He always reads the Sports section first and me? I go right for the Book Review and then the Travel section. We are all creatures of habit and this habit is one of the golden parts of our life together.

Listening

The Civil Wars. You know how you forget about music sometimes? You get in  your rut and then somewhere it comes up. I think it was Farmgirl Paints who mentioned The Civil Wars on her Instagram account and I just about died. I had forgotten how much I love them. So here I sit at the computer listening to all my favorite songs by them.

Thinking

About joy and loss and compassion and patience.

Wanting

To find a bit of land that I can call my own in this area. I grew up here and I want to go home again. As in, I want to buy a bit of land, plant some trees, clear for a garden, and build a little cottage. A place to rest and write.

NSJ Sign

Needing

I need to go back to work. I need to find a teaching position again. I miss it too much to stay away. I have not taught in two years and it is time to go back.

Coveting

This.

via tiny houses

via tiny houses

Wearing

I have been making my own body products for a bit now and I am in love with them! I have always had really dry skin and the concoctions I am making now are really helping. Who knew I could create my own body products?!? I especially love my sugar body scrub. Totally glorious stuff…

Eating

Lots of homemade salad dressings with all our fresh from the garden salad greens. Yum!

via Mother Earth Living

via Mother Earth Living

Drinking

This loveliness. A dear friend brought over a bottle for us to share on a sunny afternoon and it was lovely. Our favorite wine guy at Trader Joes suggested it. It. Is. Good.

via ABC Wines

via ABC Wines

I hope your week is good. I wish for you a week of gratitude, compassion, and love.

Love,
S

N is for New Experiences

Hello Friends,

Have you tried something new lately? Have you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried a new food? A new vacation spot? A new date? Hell, a new kind of face lotion? I struggle with trying new things and as I get older I am finding it a bit harder. Not in the way one might think though.

I think I have gotten more open to new ideas, but I am exposed to fewer opportunities to jump in. Does that make sense? As one gets older it seems one’s sphere can also narrow. Not a good thing.

So, I have decided to update my life list with this:

EXPAND MY WORLD.

How do you expand your world? How do you find new opportunities to do new things?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, really.

Love,
S

Effort is its Own Reward

Hello Friends,

Here is something to ponder:

Jonathan Litchfield

via Mystic Mamma

“Effort is its own reward.

We are here to do.

And through doing to learn;

and through learning to know;

and through knowing to experience wonder;

and through wonder to attain wisdom;

and through wisdom to find simplicity;

and through simplicity to give attention;

and through attention

to see what needs to be done…”

~Ben Hei Hei Pirke Avot 5:27

I got this from a website called, Mystic Mamma. Please visit if you are so inclined.

Effort is for its own reward, don’t you think? I know that I struggle all the time to make the effort. We all want the pay off. We all want the results, but that isn’t how it works. It isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey. It is about all the stops along the way of our life. It is all about the road and yes, where it takes us. But it is also totally about how we get there.

I have travailed so much glorious territory to get here.

Here.

Now.

It may not always look like effort in hindsight. But honestly, I think it is. I think we all move ourselves in directions we need to go. And sometimes that direction is unclear, in the moment. But then, later, looking back it is crystal clear. Ah yes. That is why I am here.

Here is where I need to be.

Love,

S

 

D is for Decay

Hello Friends,

I started this blog as a place to write. A place to start back down the road of creating story again. I wanted to have a place where I could relearn and redevelop my writing habits. I have stories I need to write and I have stories I don’t even know yet that I need to write and a blog seemed like a good place to start.

As I thought about what I wanted this place to look like, feel like, and be like I struggled a bit. Did I want to focus on cooking? I mean I love to cook. Everyone loves what I come up with.

Did I want to focus on fashion? Probably not. I have never felt confident in that area. I have struggled mightily there.

How about gardening? I have a huge garden and I am always experiencing triumphs and tribulations with the natural world that exists outside my study window.

No. None of those felt right. There are so many blogs out there where people are doing such an amazing job! The talent. The creativity. The dedication and the depth of story and view are clearly beyond my talent and scope.

So, I thought more about the core of me. The core of my writing. The place where I am, me. That place is dominated by a sense of impermanence and imperfection. There is a tension in that place.   Maybe it is in the acceptance that one finds grace. I struggle with accepting imperfection and impermanence. I want perfection. I want immortality. But it is in the flaws, the ripped seams, the faded blossoms that we find grace. It is in the mortality that we find value and meaning.  All things are fleeting and there is imperfection in everything we do. We are human and their are frayed edges to each of us. This is the meaning of wabisabi.

I have a garden that is almost a year round garden now with food growing through every season. I love living in an area where I can do that and I am taking full advantage.

So I started a compost this year. I have a large bin near my garden and not too far from my back door. Inside while I work out all the kinks of composting, I am using a huge clear glass apothecary jar to hold the bits and bats that come with eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. It is probably a three gallon jar with a clear glass lid that makes that satisfying cookie jar lid clanging noise when you close it. It sits next to my kitchen sink in front of a large bay window. I keep this jar very clean. You can see right through it and out the window to the garden.

As I drop my onion ends and orange peels and red pepper ends in to the jar it creates these layers. Right now there is a layer of lettuces left over from a salad. There are sections of coffee grounds from our morning coffees. There are egg shells from my son’s breakfast. There are all these layers and they represent our days. Our days pass and the layers grow. After about three days the jar is close to full and I can see that things towards the bottom are settling down into their respective places. Things are beginning to marry with each other.

I like the look of this. I like that the passage of time is so clearly laid bare right there in my kitchen. I see it every day. Every time I get a glass of water. Every time I wash a dish or pour myself another cup of coffee, I can see the physical manifestation of the passage of time.

No one else in the house has really embraced the “compost bucket” in quite the sweeping way that I have and that is okay. I know this is a part of me that plays out continually. Noting the passing of time. The shift in the light out the window that signals the days are getting longer. The buds on my lemon trees that promise more tea this fall. And that is okay. I can watch for these things for us. I can note the small changes and bring them here for us to talk about. I will be here whenever you want to join the conversation.

Love,
S