Swiffer Dust Mop and Paper Plates

Why do we always feel like we have to maintain a state of “perfect” in our lives? Kind of like the image that goes along with this post. We think we should have everything in perfect balance, our bodies should look perfect and there should be a perfect sunset at the end of each day! The idea of that made me giggle, because my life is far from that. There are certain standards we feel we need to live up to, or we are failures. Well, it’s time to take back the control, live our best even if it is not perfect, laugh at ourselves sometimes  and not take ourselves too serious.prefection
I started this past week in a foul mood. Sunday night I found myself mulling over all that I did not get done over the weekend, one of which was catching up on the pile of dishes on my counter. As I sat, slumped over in defeat on my coach, it dawned on me that I needed to remind myself of all of the things that I did accomplish over the weekend. As I did, my mood started to shift and I realized that I had much to be proud of. Suddenly, the pile of dishes on my counter did not seem as much of a big deal. In fact, I ignored them, knowing I would get to them when I had time. Monday morning when I got up, I pulled out a paper plate from the pantry and said to myself, “it is what it is, I’m not going to worry about it!”

I was sharing my experience with a dear friend later that week and as she giggled, she mentioned that a lot of people have a hard time resigning themselves to eating off paper plates and giving in to the dirty dishes. You might not be able to handle eating off of paper plates, but what I want us all to see is that we all need to allow some things to slide every once in a while to keep our sanity.

Walking away from the pile of dishes allowed me to:

  • Focus on the positives, not the negatives. I focused on what I did  get done, and was very proud of myself for what I had accomplished. All of the things I had gotten done fell in line with my “most important” things in life. I celebrated a “win” and did not feel like a failure.
  • Take back control. I was allowing the pile of dishes to control my mood and therefore, my behavior. I took back control and told my dishes I would get to them on my terms, and I did. Tuesday night after dinner I had some extra time to tackle the pile, but I did it on my terms.
  • Remember what is most important. Yes, keeping my home a clean and wonderful place to be is important to me, but there are many things that are more important to me. I prioritized rest over my dishes. I could have stayed up later, but I chose rest. I prioritized relationships over my dishes. I chose to spend time with John and Pebbles over doing the dishes. We are living a successful life if we give our best to those people and things that are most important.
  • Not take myself too seriously. Along with the dishes, I had a number of “mishaps” that reminded me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I had a spelling faux pas at work that made me giggle. The same day I struggled to use a Swiffer dust mop to clean the floors at work, only to find out that the reason it was not working well was because I had not put a dust pad on it. I could only imagine what was going through the head of my co-worker. At the end of the day I could hardly wait to video message a friend of mine who I knew would have a good laugh with me.

Paper plates or Swiffer dust mops, life is too short to allow these things to control our time and our mood. As we go through our days, let’s give ourselves some grace. Let’s say yes to what is most important, take control over what is less important and not be afraid to laugh at ourselves when we are less than perfect.
Here’s to laughing a lot, living our best and having great people to share it with!

You Did Great Today!

I spend a lot of time writing about the things we can do to live our best life. Today, I want to remind you, and myself, that we do so much on a daily basis that is great! But sometimes these things are so routine that we forget how important and impactful they are.

wash dishes
I have started to write in a journal every morning. In this particular journal, I write down what I am thankful for. This practice has allowed me to start my day with the attitude of gratitude. In the evening, as I lay in bed and try to settle my mind for a good night’s rest, I think about all that I did during the day, all that I had accomplished. I try to work through my day mentally from start to finish and list out all of the activities including eating breakfast, reading, going to work, eating dinner, washing the dishes, relaxing with my husband, doing my back exercises, getting ready for the next day, and oh yah, I fed my dog a few times in there. My list is generally not all that exciting, but what I have realized is that it is all important stuff, it is all good stuff.

I’m sure your day is filled with similar things. Here are some reminders of why these “normal things” are so important and how they make a difference in our world.

  • It is important for homes to be a sanctuary, a place where we, and those we love, enjoy spending time. Tasks such as doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming the floors can all feel meaningless, but they are all a part of making our homes a wonderful place to be. All that we do around our homes contribute to the lives of those who inhabit it. We want to feel “at home” and all the work we do around the house makes that a reality.
  • We all need energy. The food that we provide for ourselves and those we love contributes to their health and the energy they have to live a great life. This is an area I struggle with because I do not like to cook, but it is vitally important. When I have a day that I feel particularly sluggish, I can usually look at the food I ate, or lack thereof, and understand why I feel the way I do. Feeding ourselves and others can feel tedious at times, but know that all that you do contributes to the health and energy for others to live their best.
  • We need each other. The time we spend driving around from stop to stop is important. The time we spend at our child’s soccer practice is important. The time we spend talking to a dear friend fills our lives with great things. John, Pebbles and I spend at least an hour each night just hanging out watching TV. It is what we do, and it can seem pretty uneventful, but it is important. All of the big and little moments in our lives with those people who are important to us contributes to our best life.
  • You know my blogs are not complete until I remind you how important rest is. The time you and your loved ones take to rest, gives us all a fresh start to a new day. When we get a good nap or good night’s rest we, and our loved ones, have a better capability to handle what comes our way. Our rest gives us more motivation. Rest is a very normal part of our life, but so very important.

If you have taken care of something in your home today, fed yourself or those you care about, spent time with others and went to bed and got some rest, you have accomplished a great deal today. We all need these simple things to live our best life, and you have made them happen! You are needed, valued, significant, appreciated and admired!
Here’s to washing one more dish and knowing it does makes a difference!

There’s No Time For Messing Around

There is simply not enough time in a day or week to do all that we would like to do. Weekends fly by and the evenings after our work day is done feels almost non-existent. How do we get it all done, and more importantly, how do we find peace and joy in this crazy busy life?

whats most important

I start my day at 5:00 am. Sixteen hours later, I can barely keep my eyes open and I conk out by 9:00 pm for the night. I try to fit in a good 8 hours of sleep and get up the next morning to start all over again. I have about three hours each evening during my work week to fit in as much as I can, but I simply cannot fit everything in. For those of you that have children, I do not know how you do it! We all need a few more hours added to each of our days, don’t we?

The question is, would we ever have enough time to fit everything in, or would we simply fill that extra time up too, needing even more? I think the answer is more about choosing to do the best and right things, and choosing not to participate in everything that presents itself to us and our loved ones. Saying “no” to many activities and events and “yes” to the ones that are most important to us. But how do we choose? How do we know what is best and right for us, and what is most important?

One exercise that I have personally utilized and seen other benefit from, is to imagine yourself at the end of your life, at your funeral. You get a chance to walk around unnoticed.

  • First of all, think about who you would like to see at your funeral and write down those people’s names on a sheet of paper. These are the people who are most important to you.
  • Now, go around and listen to the conversations people are having about you. What will people talk about? Will they say you were an amazing parent and spent quality time with those you loved? Will they say you were a kind and giving person who was always trying to build other people up? Or will they say, she really loved to work…we really did not get to see her much. Or will they say that he was just so busy, too bad that kept him away from spending time with those who love him. Answer the question, what do you want to be remembered for?

By going through this exercise, you have identified a few things; who is most important to you and what activities and qualities are most important to you. We can also identify what we do not want to be remembered for.

For me, I want my husband, John, to be at my funeral. I want my family to attend. I want my friends to be at my funeral. I would even love a few mystery people to show up and say that I impacted their life in some special way. I want John to talk about the fact that he was loved and prioritized in my life. I want my family and friends to talk about positive fun times we had together. I want people to remember me as kind, loving and generous. Within the past few years I had an acquaintance, who is now a friend, say that they could tell I had a true north star. Well that north star is my relationship with God. These are the kind of things I want talked about at my funeral. These are the things that define what is important to me.

Once we start to identify what is most important, how then do we apply this to life and the twenty-four hours we have in each day? Before you say yes or no to people and activities that are vying for your time, ask yourself:

  • Does this fall in line with what is most important to me?
  • Will this activity add to or take away from who and what is most important to me?
  • There are always trade-offs. Am I willing to trade my time to engage in this activity? What will I have to give up in order to fit this into my schedule?
  • Remember also, you do not need to give people an answer right then and there, even if they want you to. You are in control. Let them know you have to think about the commitment they are asking for and you will get back with them. You are in control!

We do not need more hours in our day. We need to cut out the less important things and focus in on the most important things. We need to commit to the most important people and activities with all of our heart and energy. And at the end of the day, we need to go to bed knowing we filled our day with the best and right things.
Here’s to saying YES to what is most important and living our twenty-four hours exactly the way we want to!

I Love TO Learn…But Not The Hard Way!

One way to live our best is to be lifelong learners, which will look different for each of us. Some individuals love to read, some love to listen to talk radio, some love to watch and observe people. There are so many ways to grow and learn in our lives, but there is one way that we all try to avoid; learning the hard way.


This past week I started my new job. The first few weeks of any new job is riddled with awkwardness, confusion, and yes, a lot of mistakes. Thursday was a particularly mistake filled day for me. Not only did I miss a few important things, I down right forgot a very important task that I am responsible for on a daily basis. I was sitting at dinner that night listening to John as he shared his day with me and suddenly it hit me out of the blue, I had completely forgotten to do this important task. I knew that it was going to cause inconvenience with my co-workers in the morning, but there was nothing I could do about it until I got to work the next day. I tried not to beat myself up about it, after all I am always writing about how mistakes are not failures if we learn something from them. It was much harder putting the concept into practice, but I kept reminding myself that this was a learning process and it was ok. I probably told myself that one hundred times that night.

I, like you, would much prefer a different means of learning. We really dislike the pain and discomfort of learning the hard way.

I recently read a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. He cited an article from The Washington Post called “Americans Use Far More Opioids Than Anyone Else in the World.” I know, what does that have to do with learning the hard way? He shared the very interesting insight that I think is very important for all of us to learn from.

One significant reason, the author Keith Humphreys, identifies for America’s addiction to pain-relieving medication is

“relative to Europeans, Americans have more faith that life is perfectible (e.g., all pain can be avoided).”

He goes on to say that we think we can avoid pain in our jobs which

“may send us jumping from one career to another constantly looking for that one job with no bad days.”

We want to avoid pain in relationships

“causing us to give up too quickly on other people.”

We want to avoid pain in our homes. We don’t want the pain involved in sore muscles after exercising. We want to avoid the discomfort of having to stop eating certain food to get our blood sugar under control. Like me, we want to avoid the pain of making any mistakes even though it is going to make me more knowledgeable and stronger in the long run.

I still do not like pain and I do not like to make mistakes, but through this process I am trying to retrain my mind to remember that some pain and discomfort is a part of life and is a part of living our best.

I encourage you today to identify the areas that you want to learn, grow and move forward. Then ask yourself “am I holding myself back in this area because I am trying to avoid pain or discomfort?” Remember the Hokey Pokey, it is fine to have one foot in our comfort zone, but let’s not neglect that foot outside of our comfort zone. Both play an important part in the process of moving forward!
Here’s to learning, growing, and moving forward even when it is uncomfortable.