Month: January 2015

21-day Kindness Challenge, day eight: make something with your hands

21-day kindness challenge

I don’t really have time today for any crafting, but I can bake–I think some blueberry-banana muffins would be just perfect for this cold, slushy day.

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “That’s the thing with handmade items. They still have the person’s mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone.”  — Aimee Bender

21-day Kindness Challenge, day seven: eat your meals mindfully

21-day kindness challenge

I’m guilty of treating meals as an imposition on my busy schedule–I eat on the go, while working at the computer, while reading or watching TV. I don’t really focus on my food and as a result I don’t pay a lot of attention to what I’m putting in my mouth. Not only does this mean I overeat or eat things that aren’t good for me because they’re convenient, I don’t enjoy my meals as much as I should.

For the New Year I’ve really been focusing on slowing down, setting a place at the table, and sitting down to enjoy my meal before moving back into the flow of daily activities. I find that not only do I enjoy my food more, I enjoy that small “break”–even if it’s only fifteen minutes–in which I don’t have to be checking e-mail, driving to work, or completing some other activity.

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “We eat every day, and if we do it with a focus and care it can be a wonderful thing. It changes the quality of your life.”  — Alice Waters

The good, the middling and the just plain bad of the 2015 Golden Globes

I started flipping through images for a “best-of” Golden Globes fashion post and realized…I liked almost NOTHING that hit the red carpet Sunday night. NOTHING! Emma Stone killed it, as usual, and there were a few other honorable mentions, but for the most part I just disliked everything I saw. Maybe it was me…maybe it was the designers…who knows!

Anyway, in the end, I had a handful of best-dressed ladies to point out, a bunch of “almost” looks, and a few “heck, no”s. This is going to get long, so I’ll cut if off and let you click to continue reading!

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21-day Kindness Challenge, day six: Reflect on three things that give meaning to your life

21-day kindness challenge

My relationships with my friends and family definitely bring meaning to my life–interacting with the people I care about, and who care about me, brings me happiness even if the rest of my day is going downhill in a hurry.

I would also say that reading brings meaning and happiness to my life. Shocker, I know! But stories–the reading thereof, or the telling and sharing of them–is so important to me. I think this also has to do with expanding my mind–in reading, you learn so much. I can’t be happy with a stagnant mind.

I would say that getting back to nature is important in giving my life meaning and joy. I think you can learn a lot about the world, and about yourself, by just sitting quietly observing nature and meditating. That’s something I want to do more this year once the weather is warm enough to crawl out of my blanket and get outdoors. I feel incredibly at peace when I’m in the outdoors–there’s no human noise to distract you, for one thing, so it’s very calming, and there’s something very healing about getting back to the woods or the countryside. I think this is one of the reasons I would struggle to live in a big city–they’re exciting, for sure, but they’re also terribly artificial and busy. Sometimes it’s good to not be busy!

I’m going to cheat and throw in a fourth one: helping other people, even in small ways. It can be a smile to someone who looks like they’re having a rough day, or helping someone with a project–big or small, it doesn’t matter. I think reaching out brings happiness not only to the person you’ve helped, but to you as well.

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”  — Harold Kushner

21-day Kindness Challenge, day five: Do something you’ve been putting off

21-day kindness challenge

For day five’s prompt, I finally took down our Christmas decorations. Yes, they were still up! We meant to take them down after New Year’s and then we just kept finding one excuse after another to put it off. But now that everything is down I feel like I have so much more space back…plus it was good to clean the house top to bottom! All that dust and those loose pine needles…yuck!

Now that the tree is gone, I put the stationary bike in the living room so I can read or watch TV while I ride. I want to get my legs back in biking shape before the warm weather hits, so I can ride up to the library for new books a couple of times a week!

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” — Pablo Picasso

21-Day Kindness Challenge, days three and four: Silence/clearing the inbox

21-day kindness challenge

I was too tired and stressed yesterday after a long night at work to post about the Kindness prompt for the day, so I’m lumping two days into one here.

Yesterday the prompt was to spend ten minutes in silence, reflecting or meditating or just getting away from the noise of life. I scrolled through my Pinterest “Wisdom to live by” quotes board for a much-needed boost.

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind!” — Chuang Tzu

For today, the prompt was to clear out the ol’ inbox. I have to admit I’m pretty bad about letting mail and e-mail pile up, so I got a few notes ready for the mail. I still have a few more to send out, but it was a start.

Quote for the day (from the daily prompt e-mail): “In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.” — Plato

Thought Questions, #211-217

Forest path

(photo by Ales Krivec via Unsplash)

#211: What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Kissing a guy who I was pretty sure viewed me as just a pal. I guess it worked out…we’ll celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary this spring!

#212: What makes you uncomfortable? Crowds of people/meeting new people.

#213: If you had to move 3000 miles away, what one thing would you miss the most? My family! But if we’re talking material/non-human things, I would say my American library, since I imagine in another country I might not have ready access to free English-language books! And then what would I do?!

#214: What worries you about the future? This sounds so dumb and morose, but I worry that I’ll be one of those old ladies who loses her husband really young and then lives on alone for decades. I can’t stand the thought of being without him. He always tells me to stop worrying about the what-ifs and enjoy the now, and I guess he’s right, but it always lingers in the back of my mind. (I know, I’m weird and depressing!)

#215: What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months? My ‘need’ will be getting my exercise/diet routine firmly in place. My ‘want’ will be better organizing my blog, including regular posting on social media, more link-ups, etc. I really want to buckle down with blogging and put some serious time into it again after drifting away for the last few months!

#216: What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them? Um, so many different ones! I think I’m one of those people who learns by doing, and that includes mistakes. I’m trying to get better at it, though.

#217: Do you like the city or town you live in?  Why or why not? I guess it’s okay, but there isn’t a lot in the way of arts/culture/entertainment and there aren’t a lot of vegan-friendly restaurants.