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Finding Everyday Joy

Finding joy in the simple things is my quest.  I seek simplicity, peace and serenity.  I strive to make my days and my surroundings as quiet and peaceful as I possibly can.  I have made a purposeful decision to avoid stress and chaos in my life and I structure my days for calm and quiet.

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I realize this may not be completely possible.  I know that life can be stressful and there are certain times when stress and chaos are hard to avoid.  However, I am making a purposeful choice to turn away from stress and chaos and fill my days with calm and quiet.

This has been a long term goal of mine, however, as with many goals, often we fall short of what we have planned.  Life gets busy, overwhelming, with stressful jobs, raising families, and seemingly endless to do lists of things we believe must be accomplished each day.  It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday stresses of life.  Sometimes so caught up that we become weary, physically exhausted and emotionally drained.  

Finding everyday joy involves finding simple pleasures in ordinary moments.  Finding joy each day involves taking a moment to enjoy small, simple pleasures.

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I know that I cannot completely avoid stress and busyness in my life.  I know would be unrealistic.  But there are things that I can do to bring a stressful day back to calm.

Here are some tips that I follow when I feel my peace and calm is turning into hectic and crazy. 

Start each day with quiet.  I know this can be difficult, but I try to carve a few minutes of quiet into the  beginning of my day for meditation, reflection, prayer.  It truly gets my day started on the right foot.

Flowers, candles, music.  I love for my home to be filled with fresh flowers, the smell of scented candles, and spa music or jazz playing softly in the background.  These things can instantly take the hectic out of my day and bring me back to calm and joy.

Spending time in nature.  A part of everyday for me includes a walk outdoors and some time in the garden soaking up some Vitamin D and enjoying the nature that’s around me.  The simple quiet of a gentle breeze and chirping birds can relieve stress from my day.

Being Creative.  Writing, drawing, painting, photography, arranging flowers…..anything that allows me to simply escape and forge my own way brings me relaxation, calm and rejuvenates my spirit.

Keeping things simple.  I try not to let to much clutter into my life.  This includes physical and mental clutter.  Stuff that takes up space in my home and stuff that takes up space in my brain.  If I don’t need it it in my life, I let it go.

Find the simple moments in your day and you will find joy.   xxoo Gerri

 

 

 


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Celebrate Life!

In our family we do celebrations.  We celebrate all occasions, the big and the small.

We celebrate weddings and graduations.  We welcome a new life with great joy and yes, celebration.  We all come together, crowding into the hospital room,  to share the new parents joy and to welcome the precious new life our family has been blessed with. 

We celebrate birthdays, no matter how young or how old. 

We gather in our home.  Sometimes it’s just family. Sometimes we include close friends.  We share a meal together, setting the table with great care, including flowers, candles, whatever it takes to make the event feel special.  The menu is planned with great care to include the personal favorites of whoever is attending. Of course, there is a special desert and presents. 

The goal of the celebration is for those involved to know how much they are loved and treasured as a part of our family. Life wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t come together and honor them on their special day. 

Not only do we celebrate birthdays.  We celebrate preschool programs, dance recitals, sporting events.

We plan ways to make our time together fun, special, memorable. On hot days we have watermelon,  blow bubbles, fill up a kids pool to splash in.  

On cold days we light a fire, make hot chocolate, bring out the pillows and blankets so we can all snuggle together.

Our celebrations do not have to be elaborate and expensive.  They can be small, simple, filled with things that are easily attainable.  We use our ingenuity as a resource to create an atmosphere of festivity, saving our pennies when needed. 

Sometimes we celebrate for no reason at all, just to enjoy our time together.

The importance of our celebrations is to spend time together in a way that is filled with love and laughter, sharing and caring. 

It’s important that we spend as much time celebrating life as possible. Celebrations enrich our lives, give us purpose, and strengthen relationships.  Celebrations take an ordinary day and fill it with joy and love.

 

 


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Early Morning Quiet

Summer has definitely arrived with temperatures soaring into the mid 90’s!  I am a lover of warm weather, but it is truly difficult to enjoy the outdoors when the afternoon sun just beats down on your head and bakes you.

Fortunately for me, one of of my favorite times of day has always been early morning.  (Well, to be completely honest, this probably wasn’t true when I was in my teens and only saw early morning on an as needed basis!)

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However, now that I am older, I feel my best in the morning, refreshed and ready to conquer the new day. Recently, I’ve taken to grabbing my coffee and sitting outside first thing to enjoy my garden and commune a bit with nature.  The sun is not high in the sky and the temperature is pleasant.  I listen to the birds chirping and enjoy the slight breeze rustling the the tall pines.  It is quiet and peaceful.  It gives me a chance to put my mind in order and reflect on my goals for the day.

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I draw my peace and serenity from these early morning quiet times. I gather my thoughts and my energy.  This time alone in the peaceful, quiet early morning inspires me.  It’s in this quiet time that I gather my creativity and think about the possibility of future projects.  Without this time, I feel lost, without focus, unable to attain my creative goals, or to even be sure of what they are.

I have found that if I go too long without this quiet time,  I become depressed, anxious and unsure about my future.  It’s in these quiet moments that I gather my serenity and hold on to my faith.

How about you?

Where do you find your serenity?

What to helps inspire your creativity?

xxoo Gerri


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A Surprising Walk

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So often it’s the little things that take place in our day to day existence that make life meaningful.  It’s in the sound of the wind rustling through the tall pines.  It’s in the beauty of the light and shadows as they play across the water.  It’s coming across a special surprise on an ordinary day.

It is no secret that I am a lover of gardens and nature.  I am so fortunate to live in a lovely area filled with gorgeous, tall oak and pine trees.  A favorite activity of mine ( if you can call it an activity ) is to sit on our back porch and listen to the wind as it whistles through the tall pines.

I also enjoy walking on the trails we have and visiting the pond. It fills me with peace and serenity to escape from my home for a bit each day and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

This morning on my walk I had a lovely surprise!  As I was heading along the path, I came across this sweet friend just coming out of the forest!  You can imagine my delight when I saw him there.  I am tracking my steps so I now walk with my phone in hand ready to capture any special moments.  He was probably scared to death of me, but he did stay still long enough for me to get a couple of photos before he scurried back into the woods.  It made me feel so fortunate to have just a moment to observe him just a few feet away!

I hope you all take the opportunity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful day!  Take in the small details of nature that surrounds you and look for the joy and peace it has to offer.

xxoo Gerri


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Remember Gratitude this Christmas

Well, we are closing in on the month of November and fast approaching the Christmas season.  I hope that you have found something inspiring in my series on Gratitude that has assisted you in relieving stress and combating anxiety in your own life.

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Speaking of stress,  remember to include gratitude as you enter the busiest season of the year.  It’s easy to allow yourself to get caught up in the shopping and gift giving, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.  I can feel the stress creeping up on me even as I write this!

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So, with that in mind, I am offering you a few tips to help reduce your stress and enjoy the Christmas season more than ever!

  1.  Let Go of Perfection.                                                                                                                            Make this holiday season about what is right for you and your family.  Stress can be created by the desire to create the “Perfect Christmas.”  However,  Christmas is not about perfection.  In fact, far from it.  There is no need to spend hours baking cookies for a cookie exchange if you detest baking!  Make Christmas about what  is important to you and your loved ones.  That may mean having an simple evening of popping popcorn, getting out the pillows and blankets, lighting a fire and watching old holiday movies with someone special to you.  ( Do you feel your stress level starting to come down already!)  However, if you love to bake, by all means go for it!  The point is to choose the right activity for you.
  2. Set Priorities.                                                                                                                                 Choose the special Christmas activities that are most important to you.  Traditions are great, but not every activity has to become a tradition.  Just because you made a gingerbread house with the kids last year, doesn’t mean it has to be done every year. It might be more fun and exciting to experience a new activity rather than repeating the same one over and over.  Maybe this year take the kids ice skating or have a caroling party. ( Do people still do that! ) The important thing is to what you will enjoy the most.
  3. Remember to Include Nature.                                                                                                   Step outside and breathe the fresh air.  Take a walk.  Take the dog for a walk.   Exercise.  Even a short amount of time spent in nature can help reduce stress and fight anxiety.  If it’s cold where you live, even a brief walk can be invigorating and boost your mood.
  4. Take a Break!                                                                                                                                     What do you like to do that relaxes you the most?  Listening to music.  Soaking in a hot tub. Getting a massage or a mani/pedi.  Having dinner with close friends or staying home and ordering take out.  Don’t forget to schedule time for whatever it is that relaxes you and that you enjoy most.
  5. Remember Gratitude!                                                                                                                       Yes, this is a busy and hectic time of year.  There is so much to be done!  But if you will pause for just a moment to be grateful for your blessings.  Maybe the greatest gift you could give this season is to remember to save thank you, to squeeze someones hand or to give them a hug.

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“It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  This holiday season share your gratitude with those you love, and maybe even the stranger who is serving you coffee.  Gratitude – pass it on!  xx00 Gerri