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Posts Tagged ‘Balance In Life’

My husband and I laugh together, sometimes work together, and of course we like separate things as well.  One difference is our tastes in food.

Recently I realized that I was not feeling up to par.  I decided to take things by the reigns.  The first step was a better diet. 

How did a nearly 52-year-old woman get into the habit of eating potato chips with a sandwich for lunch? It isn’t exactly the perfect picture of  a food full of health!

My husband does not like many vegetables.  If it isn’t corn, green beans, or a ripe red tomato, it really isn’t pleasant in front of his eyes.  He doesn’t like to see spinach, and he really sickens to the smell of vegetables cooking.

A week ago I went to the grocery and stocked up on frozen and canned vegetables.  You should have seen that cart! I started taking vitamins and I began eating vegetables while my husband is at work.  The first day I ate an entire can of turnip greens, like a ravished animal.  They were so good!

Next week I am going to cook brussel sprouts, and then aerate the house as best as possible.  Funny.  Wish me luck!

The 4th of July weekend opened my eyes to several things, one was making sure I worked fun back into my life, another was the eating habits.   It really was a refreshing weekend.  I hope it was the same for you.  Very much a blessing!

I am heading outside to enjoy the sunshine as soon as I post this…enjoying the balance in life!

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I visited a friend in the hospital today.  It was a good visit.  We had not seen each other in a long while.  The visit ended with the lingering reminder of how much I do love my friend, and how very quickly life passes.

My friend is going to be okay.  She will get well.  But what if it had gone in the opposite direction?

I have a lot of catching up to do.  And I am glad to be reminded.  Busyness tends to drag us away from what really matters, if we let it. 

Have a beautiful day!

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White board...in the barn too!

A question that I am frequently asked is, how do you juggle everything that you do (business, personal and farm)?

I don’t. Yet, I do. Working from home, with two businesses operating from the same office, and with a farm to boot, means some tasks simply wait or are delegated.

Here are my basic rules of thumb:

Schedule, plan, and think ahead.

Allow yourself time to find a pattern that allows a frequent task to flow efficiently. In most cases, when beginning something new, hours of practice and patience are required until the procedure becomes smooth as glass.

Determine when your productive hours are. For example: soap making works best for me before noon. I make sure I have time between feeding and milking goats, before lunch, for soap making. I am less tired and feel more creative during those hours.

Focus on your business during the hours you schedule for business. During that time do not fret about dirty dishes or a pile of laundry. Remember that your thoughts and attitude determine your future. I frequently give myself a “you are grateful” speech, put my best foot forward, and continue to put 110% into whatever really is most important.

A home based business requires adjustments from friends and loved ones as well. I learned to call my business hours “work time.” When I go to work I announce, “I am going to work.”  And I announce my work schedule to others if needed.  A growing business comes with growing pains. Until you can afford help, you wear all of the hats, you steer the engine, and you pull up the caboose. If you take your business seriously, others will too.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of failure. Personally, I have reached a point in my life where it is obvious that deep cleaning the house is extremely difficult, if not impossible. So, ask yourself, can I afford help? Perhaps you cannot delegate accounting work at this point, or soap making, but can you hire a person twice a month to help you with domestic work? Or, perhaps there is someone you can barter with (help in exchange for help)?

To wrap this up, owning and operating your own business comes with independence that truly can be embraced, yet, it comes with a lot of sacrifice. The key is exactly that, how driven are you to sacrifice?

Finally, never forget, you need down time. Seek and find balance between your personal and business life. You cannot be there for yourself and others without your own happy and healthy mind.

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1254559889XYHfKU stockvault.net

Have you ever lost your go-juice?

The scenario:  you are going full speed ahead, grinding through the long to-do list for the day.  All at once you slide into the break down lane.  You find yourself saying, “I cannot do any more.  I am here for repairs!” The go-juice has leaked from your engine.

Last week I wrote two posts, When 24 Hours Is Not Enough (here) and Bringing The Balance Back Into A Busy Life (here).  Unanimously, the comments circled around keeping lists, learning to say no, getting off of the merry-go-round, doing what is most important, and letting the rest go. 

I said I would share my organization “system.”  Warning, it is VERY dry reading!

I keep a Franklin Covey planner.  Daily activities are broken down into 3 sections – a short daily task list, an appointment schedule, and a new list of notes throughout the day.

The planner also contains what I refer to as the “long list.”  It contains tasks that I may not be able to complete that day.  The tasks are color coded:  pink-must do as soon as possible, yellow-very important but not top priority, blue-important but can be done at a later date.  I also keep a shopping list (for the business), an inventory list (for the business), and a wish-list.  What is a wish-list? Websites that I want to visit, books I want to read, places I want to visit, things I want to look at, things that are not important at all…except to my own well-being.

When the “short” daily to-do list is too long, when I feel overwhelmed, I select 3 items that has to be done that day, only 3.  I mark them with a hi-liter to ensure I stay focused.  When the 3 tasks are done I feel tremendous! It works. I accomplish what I set out to do!

The most important thing to do is not procrastinate.  I cannot put off the “worst of tasks.”  When something important is put on the back burner it comes back and bites me in the rear.  Putting off a task of low importance, I often find to be helpful.  I end up glad that I didn’t do it to begin with.  It is like an idea that you tuck away.  You do not forget it, but something better eventually comes along!

Last week, I was in the middle of a busy task filled day when I ground to a halt in the emergency lane.  The go-juice was gone.  The brain went to mush. 

The break-down repair ticket contained orders such as dropping what was not necessary, taking a long walk, calling someone I love, and deliberately scheduling time for enjoyment. 

The biggest thing I did was to become very aware of what I was doing that was not necessary.  I scheduled email time, scheduled blog time, scheduled soap shop time, and deliberately stepped away from everything that was not going to make or break my day.  When busy, a person has to be deliberate…it makes for a much healthier being!

I plan/hope to stay out of the emergency lane for a while!

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bigphoto.com

As you sift through the daily list of things to do, do you find yourself wanting to set the work aside? Do you vision yourself pushing away from the computer? Could you possibly be so bold to consider turning off the cell phone?

We are definitely a world full of list makers.  Lists that guide us through each and every day.

As elaborate and carefully put together our lists are, some of us are better than others at working a balance into our lives.

Is balance in life important? 

Busyness in life does not segregate itself into a few of life’s roles.  Power to the homemaker that has learned to say “no.”  By example, perhaps she can help the business owner that feels he nearly needs to work around the clock.  And what about the woman that reports to the corporate job each day? She drags herself to the laptop, even working from home on the days she is too sick to travel to the office. 

We can block off the calendar to show others that we are not available during a certain period of time, to ensure we get work done in our office, can we do the same for our personal lives? 

Some say their minds are healthier, they accomplish more when they simply say, “Enough is enough.”  Does shutting the work day down lead to procrastination? Or does it lead to a fresh start, accomplishments that abound once we return to work?

I know, some of these questions are “no-brainers.”  But we do not always listen to our brains, we ignore our wills, even though they are screaming out to us, “Stop this ride!”

At what point do you “stop the ride?”

Do you take charge and pull the brake?

Do you come to a screeching halt, just when you cannot possibly take it any longer? Or do you plan for a smooth stop?

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Indecision

Do you ever feel as if there is not enough time in a day to get everything done that you want to do?

I’ll reword the question just slightly. 

Are there times when you feel that you cannot accomplish what you need to do?

I am there at times.  As hard as I try, I am there more frequently than I would like (or like to admit).

What about you? What do you do when the list is longer than a day, or perhaps longer than several days?

Do you make a list and prioritize?

Do you pray?

Do you walk away, take a break?

Do you say humorous things like, “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!”

What do I do? I make a list.  If I end up making a list that is fairly daunting in size, I hi-lite 3 items on that list.  If I accomplish those 3 crucial items that day, I accomplished what I set out to do.  It was obatainable, and it felt good. 

But it isn’t always that perfect or simple, is it?

What do you think? Before I say more…I am curious about your initial thoughts.  Who knows, you may change the discussion path completely!

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Do you remember what happens when I feel compelled, overwhelmed with thoughts that I feel I need to share?
The thoughts go to the blog.
If there is one piece of advice that I cannot give enough of, it is: Take care of yourself. If you do not do it, do not expect anyone else to do it for you.
Does that sound rather harsh?
No.
I am not just referring to physically taking care of yourself, even though mental can greatly affect your physical health, and in turn your physical well-being can put a huge stress on your mental health. What I was specifically referring to was, nurture yourself.
Allow yourself to blossom.
This particular idea (not a new one) has been on my mind a lot recently. And today when I saw the beautiful rose blossom opening with it’s own brilliancy I saw the connection before my eyes.
Before the rose bud opened it looked normal. As it began to open I saw a bit of what appeared to be rust around the edges. Just like a person that is rusty at remembering to take care of themselves. The person that forgets, or does not realize, that the world is at their fingertips. And then the blossom opened with wonderful colors, and the more it opened, the more anticipation came with it for the future.
If you have a passion, act on it. If you have a talent, allow it to grow. If you love something, make sure it is in your life. Sometimes the smallest of things are the biggest of things in our own hearts.
I am going to go through a list of people that I have noticed blossoming (leaving names out, sorry peeps):
A lovely lady lost her home, but now has a nice apartment and a new car. She is secure in her job, yet she is not happy. Someone listened to her one day, she talked about “everything that she had lost.” So the listener bought her a hummingbird feeder for her patio. Within a few hours she saw her first hummingbird. She cried. She realized that she had not lost everything, she just needed to remember what she loves, and she needed to remember that what she loves does not go away, it stays in her heart (the tiniest of things). And today she continues to grow, realizing the small things in life. And she is pursuing so much. She is no longer shut in to the pain, the world has many possibilities.
A wonderful friend is going through a tough time. She is taking better care of herself because it makes her feel good. She has had her hair re-done, her apartment painted (in the colors that makes her feel happy), and she is pursuing her dreams as a soap artist. Yes, a talented artisan! Through all of her troubles, she can still make her own heart sing.
A great friend has lost a lot of weight. She did not feel all that well before she lost the weight. She could have laid on the couch, moped, cried, allowed depression to take over, but no, she began daily and deliberate exercise. Today she revels in her new size, her new (younger) looks, but best of all, she feels fantastic, and she is vibrant and glowing. Not gloating. She took care of herself. Nobody else could have done it for her. She should be proud!
A dear friend has decided to build on her special talents. She decided to take her beautiful wares and sell them, offer them to others, open a shop where she takes the products that she has lovingly crafted to the public, and somewhere in her heart she has the urge to share that sense of joy with everyone that crosses her path. It took courage, but she has done it…for herself!
Do not forget what you love, despite the busyness and disappointments in life, do not forget who you are. You are special, and you have your own needs. Fulfill those needs.
Blossom!

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As I cut the loaves of soap that I made yesterday into bars this morning my thoughts were on writing, sharing my thoughts with friends.

I am in the middle of making bottles, heating milk, but feeling compelled to “chat” first.

This is a busy time in many of our lives, and the “experts” say we will get even busier unless we deliberately make time for ourselves.

Some of us are older, some younger. But I personally remember a house with one phone. A phone that hung on the kitchen wall. And it had a dial, not buttons to push! That phone did not fit in a pocket, nor did anyone expect that phone to be answered every hour of the day, each day of the week. Nor did that phone have voice mail.

I personally love the connections that we have during this period of time, but sometimes we need to be disconnected. I really am not into catchy phrases, I pretty much march to my own drumbeat. One phrase that I truly did not understand was “me time.” What???? It sounded very self-centered to me. Well…now that I understand the phrase more I will attest full-hearted that we all need me time! Me time is time without the pulling of committments, down time without the phone, without the computer, time to just do the things that makes our heart smile.

Yesterday, for me, it was making soap and mowing the grass. I felt like a teenager! Those are wonderful days!

Do not get me wrong, I love my friends, I love the connections, and there are too many people to count that I have to hear from every day (in one shape of connection or another). I do not feel complete without the connection of those people, BUT, and that is a huge but, we all need time without a tug or a pull. That is me time, and we do all need it for our own mental health. And remember yourself as newer technology continues to slide your way. You can say no. You can shut it off from time to time. I believe effectiveness stems from a balance in life. Try to be all, do all, and you lose yourself as the human being with a lot of worth you are!

The soaps that I cut this morning (above) are: spa salt bar (citrus blend), summer melon (muskmelon green and white), and a stress relief type of scent (citrus, light patchouli and others) with a slight violet marble. More on the scents once cured!

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I have had a few busy days. Not nearly enough time to write, but always enough time to say thank you.
Being a business person is not always about making money, in my opinion, it is about people. I want to make the best soap that I can possibly make, and I want you to enjoy the product. But, somewhere inside of me, I also want to make a difference in your day with a touch of encouragement, or a nice scent, or just by saying hello.

I thank you for being here. People in life is what it is all about!

I received a knock to the shop door a bit ago as I was taking photos, a local woman that was dropping off religious phamplets…the photo blurred as the door knock came. But, it was a nice visit after all, because I asked her in. And she walked away with a smile and a small bar of lavender goat milk soap! See what I mean…it is all about people. Thank you!!!

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Just as the tide rolls in and out, so does the need for change.

Regarding everything that I do on a routine basis, a few of my friends have asked, “What is your secret, how do you do it all?,” “How do you take a vacation, or do you?,” and have said, “You are a worker!”

I do not try to do it all, I try to not do it all. As soon as the kidding season has just about ended on our farm, or even when something has changed that requires new steps in life, for example, I always begin to clear my mind and figure out what to do next.

I recently had a wonderful email conversation with a trusted friend regarding a change in my life that was not easy. The change involved something that I had held onto for a number of years, and it had become clear to me to let it go, however something held me back each time I tossed that thought around. It consumed time and energy that I could no longer afford. Once I made that change I felt complete relief, peace, even a sense of liberation. In the email response from my friend, she quoted my own words back to me, I have lost my go-juice for it all. I need something new in my life, and I need to let some things go. Sometimes we have to put the emotional side of things behind us. And sometimes what drags us down is right in front of our noses. When we wake up, we have to move on!

Bingo!

To keep a balance in my life, I determine what is most important, what must be accomplished from day to day, and I weed out the rest. I hope to never let emotions hold me back so badly in the future. Emotions are not always reality. Yes, they hold a certain degree of wisdom, but facts are facts. And I have said it once, and will say it again, we have to lead ourselves down our own paths in life. Do what is right for ourselves financially, physically, socially, spiritually, and mentally. You will find peace. I did.

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