Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here - Spring Cleaning Time!!

Spring is here and we know what that means...Spring cleaning! I’m as opposed to the whole cleaning scene as the next busy gal, but there are some things that just need to be done. The clothes can only pile so high before you actually have to wash them (:

Over the years my clutter bug ways became a challenge, so I was on a mission to develop some sort of system or checklist to keep me focused in a natural, no stress way.  For many years I lived the way so many others do today...whatever's flying around in front of me gets the most attention.  That's okay for a little while, but it's no way to create a planned and prepared life. 

I had no idea how to clean.  Don't get me wrong...I had the cleaning skills down pat, but there was no rhyme or reason for the process which meant there was ALWAYS tons to do.  Then I'd get overwhelmed and only clean when someone was coming over (I see you smiling over there.  You know exactly what I'm talking about, eh?).  I'm a list maker.  If I write it down it gets done, so checklists seemed to be the answer!

I decided to get back to basics and clean the way my Grandmother and Mother did...little by little with a few steps each day.  I started by making lists of daily chores, then weekly with bi-weekly and monthly tasks quickly following.  I found a flow to my style.  Soon things came together and made sense. 

The lists were kept in a prominate spot so, as each job was completed, a lovely little check would appear - done! For some reason there was something so gratifying about a fully checked list. With each completed task, it beckoned other tasks to follow (:

Now cleaning isn't such a chore and actually brings peace and contentment.  Simplicity really is the key (:  Try making a list of your own.   Print those puppies out and keep them in a spot where you can't miss them.  Make sure to separate the duties - Daily, Weekly and Monthly.  I started with daily tasks only and then when those became a habit I added another list. 

I love the idea of placing them inside frames and using a whiteboard marker to check off the tasks as they're done.  The frames above were only $1 each (don't you love The Dollar Store) and look more like organized mini whiteboards than simple lists.  Match them to your design style and make them fun!!

If you aren't sure where to start in creating your own lists, we're offering our Cleaning Simplicity Printables which include Indoor and Outdoor Spring Cleaning Checklists just in time for the season!  When you purchase our downloads, print as many as you like.  Pop them into frames to use them over and over again, add them to your homekeeping notebook or simply hang them on the fridge.  By following the lists and doing a little at a time, you'll never be overwhelmed by cleaning again!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Art of Action - A Step Forward

I mentioned yesterday that I'm participating in The Art of Action workshop developed by Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl and the opportunity to join with other creatives as we move from aspiration to actualization to accomplishment is unbelievable!!   "If you struggle to put what you learn into practice, if you have the best of intentions and none of the follow through, this program will help you change that. It’s all about execution: the mind set, the step by step, and the outcome."

I have tons of ideas, so many plans and notebooks full of designs, but I was stuck in survival mode.  We all have those times when we get to a certain spot and just can't push forward, but if we aren't careful we can set up shop and live there without even realizing it.  That's what happened to me.

Okay...so maybe you're having the same experience.  You're stuck and now you want to move out of that stuck place, but have no idea how or where to move next!  That's exactly what The Art of Action is designed to do.  This 6 week program will offer guidance in creating a prioritized, step-by-step plan to reach your goals and move you from Stuck to Action!

I can't believe how the last couple of days have changed my focus!!  I've already set up a Goal Framework, completed three action tasks from yesterday and today and now have a clearer focus on where I want to go. 

So if you're feeling stuck, stop by and check out The Art of Action.  We've just started and I believe you can still sign up!  I'd love to see you there (:

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Time of Silence and A New Day Dawning

Silence has been a blessing over these last few months. It's been an opportunity to commune with my God, my spirit and my voice. It's interesting.  When we strip away the expectations of others, we are left with the true essence of who we were created to be. How many of us try to be what others need so much that we lose that sacred connection with our own heart? Sometimes when we're in the throws of helping others with their pain, we neglect to acknowledge the pain we may be in ourselves.

Most of my last 14 years have been surrounded by caring for someone who was ill. Within the span of 3 years my father, both grandmothers and the family cat passed away. During this same time my mother was so ill that we almost lost her as well. Because I was in survival mode, I didn't take the time to deal with the crushing weight of loss.  Day by day this loss, unbeknownst to me, was settling in my soul. Taking time to process the experience is the last thing on your mind when you're just trying to make it through each day.  Those emotions, whether you realize it or not, have to go somewhere.

It's not that I didn't process and accept the passing of those I loved, but my heart had not been able to release the sheer exhaustion of those years. Death had taken up residence in the walls of my home, but I had no idea it was there. I began to feel very resentful towards those who found it easy to be conveniently unavailable. With no other help or assistance, loneliness became an ever present force that could not be shaken.

I had no idea how strong this force had become. Dreams, ideas and passions were there, but I couldn't seem to progress beyond the middle stage. Sometimes a venture would actually begin to flourish and for some reason I would let go. Family and friends would ask how business was going and my comment was usually, "It's coming...new projects are in the works!"

Sigh...and how true that was. There was ALWAYS a new idea, a new design, but following through to the very end had me baffled! I couldn't seem to put all of the heart and passion into action. My blog started off on a great note, but soon the momentum faded and with it my "voice."  It's a pretty miserable place to be. You have all of this head knowledge, but it's not connecting with your heart because your heart is blocked by pain.

Then a few weeks ago I was confronted with the sadness in my soul. I wanted to know why I was having such a challenge moving forward. And so I prayed...and prayed....and prayed. Much of my time was spent in silence just listening and waiting. Then one day it was as if God released a dam that had blocked all of those tears from these last many years!!! I cried like I had never cried before...you know, one of those ugly cries that you just can't stop. A very attractive moment (:

Within the span of a few minutes all of the pent up emotions from my father's death, my grandmothers' deaths, the fear of my mother's passing, the pain of isolation that caregiving can bring, the loneliness that creeps in when no one really understands what you're going through...everything was felt all at once! All at once!! And then it was gone!! My time of silence was over. The burdensome weight was lifted and it was replaced with peace. I felt like me again.

At this same time relationships were beginning to fall away and break apart...relationships that I didn't want to let go. People I loved and in whom I invested time suddenly became vengeful and downright mean. I didn't recognize them anymore...or was it that I was looking through the glasses of need and expectation for this long?

I was so busy helping and being all available in these relationships that I couldn't see I had neglected to set up boundaries. Where there are no boundaries, there is little respect...and so I let go, shaking the dust from my feet. Peace immediately followed yet again.

New relationships started coming out of the woodwork! A cousin I now consider a sister became a new best friend, online relationships began to flourish, mentors and those offering guidance seemed to appear on a daily basis! I was open to myself and therefore others were open to me (: I joined a writers group which led to participating in our local Luncheon Literary Society and met the most creative, supportive and positive people! These ladies are so fun and you can't help but be encouraged around them (:

Most recently I've had the honor of being able to participate in The Art of Action workshop developed by Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl. It's "designed to be a professional kick in the pants, a constant reminder that what you have is enough and an affirmation of your ability to do what needs to be done." I'll talk more about this amazing opportunity tomorrow!!

So, in a nut shell...I'm free and ready to face new challenges ahead. It's all about being patient with yourself, waiting expectantly and having a willing heart. So if you find yourself in that stuck place and your dreams aren't quite happening, don't give up, look within, embrace your heart and reach out to others. You don't have to feel alone in this process. It can be messy, heart wrenching and you may go into that "ugly cry mode" once in a while, but it's well worth the runny mascara (:

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" ~ Habakkuk 2:3

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