now i get it {winter 2019}

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and the What We Learned Community to share lessons learned this winter.

Now I get it. It’s OK to slow down. It’s OK to pause. It’s OK to do what feels like nothing.

I intensely dislike winter-hate seems too strong a word to use in this setting but dislike isn’t strong enough.  I specifically dislike winters in Alabama.  The temperature is cold. The sky is gray, most of the time. And it is very very wet.  This month, we have had the most rainfall in four or five years. Without the magic of snow, I might add.  Winters in Alabama are depressing. And for me, the gray days often prompt the gray thoughts.

In November, I decided to try something different this winter. Instead of thinking that I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, I decided that the winter is the time of year where my body, mind, and spirit need a break.  Essentially, I decided to become a bear.

Going into the winter with this mindset made me very nervous.  Deciding to focus on rest seemed so counterintuitive. I believed that I would feel lazy and unproductive as I sat around, essentially, doing nothing.

However, the opposite has proven to be true.  This winter, as I rested, I also have posted to the blog nine times, including a guest post from my sister. We featured Becky Glaze in the first Enjoy Life Interview of the year. We started the first EnjoyLife Project: Create Home thru KonMari. And I have completed the first category: Clothes. Blog post coming in March.  I have started hosting What I’m Into on the first of every month and a good number of you are linking your posts to the site.  I am so honored to have you. Our next post is tomorrow, March 1.

I hosted my first New Year’s visioning party in January. I have read 4 books this year of the 39 that I want to read in 2019. I have attended two Writing Retreats and have written 4000 words to a novel that I want to write. I also volunteered with The CornerStone Initiative for the annual C4 Conference.

On February 12th, Danielle LaPorte wrote a poem: Building Strength. In it she discusses the concept of building strength through rest and feeling deeply. Take a look at it here.

It has proven true for me this winter.

What about you? Do you find that rest makes you more productive?

P.S. One good thing about being in Alabama during the winter months is that we often have at least one burst of Springlike temps and sunshine.  We had one this month, before all the rain, and are going through another right now. Folks are wearing sandals, I kid you not.

enjoy life…

P.P.S. I also played a lot of Sims 4, but if we are being honest, that was something that I intended to do going into this experiment.

enjoy life project: intro: create home thru konmari

For the past three years, I have set intentions (I dislike using the word goals).  This year, so far, I have three of them and one of them is to “create home”, terminology “borrowed” from Joanna Gaines.

In her new book, Homebody, Joanna describes her home as the eye of the storm.  “There’s a certain calm I experience there no matter what is swirling around outside. Home is where I feel safe.” Right now, home is where I tend to feel the most guilt.  All the undone tasks that call to me, along with everything that has to be done at home on a given day.  I want to change that. I want to love the home I am in. And I want everyone who lives and visits there to feel loved and safe. This is what I mean when I say “create home”.

First thing that I need to do is clear the clutter and I have always wanted to try the KonMari method since reading her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up twice, as well as her second book, Spark Joy, over three years ago.  This year Netflix released a new series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo where Marie tries to help people declutter their homes-and their lives.  I devoured the series within two days and was inspired to completely “tidy” my home this year.

I am pleased to annouce the first ever EnjoyLife Project here on the blog: Create Home thru KonMari. And I invite you to come on this journey with me.

Step 1: Commit to the Process

Marie identifies the first step you must take is to commit to the process. Marie warns that the process will be hard.  And it is.  This is not the first time I have begun this process.  Last time I began in January 2016. You can read about it here. It didn’t work. I didn’t follow through.  Marie says that  “tidying up means confronting yourself” and, boy, was she right.  And that was what held me back in 2016.

It’s worth saying again. Marie insists that this will be hard. And for a long time, I avoided anything that seemed too difficult.  Especially when it came to my feelings.  I stuffed them down, buried them deep and piled ice cream on top of them. This seemed easier than dealing with my actual emotions: my sense of failure, guilt, fear, etc. Tackling those things would hurt too much. My default instinct is to try to fix the thing, to move forward, to keep pushing, to try the newest method, to read the newest book, to implement the next plan.  And, for a long time I worshipped at the false god of efficiency and organization.  Oh, and perfection, or at least, the appearance of perfection because underneath everything was a mess.

Kind of like my home.  Most people visiting my house would insist that it was one of the neatest homes they have ever been in.  And that may be the truth of their experience.  But I know where the clutter is buried and what lurks in the closet.

Step 2: Identify Your Ideal Lifestyle

Step two is to identify your ideal lifestyle.  Thanks to leaving a full-time position at the end of 2017 and following the advice of Shauna Niequist in her excellent book, Present Over Perfect, to listen to my spirit, the voice of God, I have been able to discover some of what I am meant to do in this world.  I love this quote, “Be still and know.”  Before the knowing, before the stillness, there is the being.  In 2018, I began to learn to “be” and in the process rediscovered what my ideal lifestyle looks like. And perfection is NOT part of that equations anymore.  Honestly, my ideal lifestyle does not look that different from what it was before I took that detour of a full-time position in late 2016.  As I said then and reiterated at the start of this post, I don’t’ want to spend time dealing with stuff at home. I want my home to be a source of tranquility and a source of nourishment for my family, where everything  and everyone has a place and everything is in its place.  My knowing where that place is would be awesome.

Step 3: Finish Discarding First

This is going to be the difficult part for me.  I want to finish. To see the awesome “after” pictures but that’s not how Marie works.  Things will get a lot worse before they get better.  That’s one of the things that scared me the last time.

The Other Steps

Step 4: Tidy by Category, not location. Marie’s first category is clothes.  I will be tackling that this month and will share my progress next month.

Step 5: Follow the Right Order.

Step 6: Ask yourself, if it sparks joy.  Remember that you are not choosing what to discard but what to keep.

If any of you want to participate with me in this process, I would be thrilled. We could encourage and share our joys and challenges together. Let me know if you’re interested in the comments below and tag me on Instagram using the hashtag: enjoylifeproject

I’ll be back next month with an update on my progress.

enjoy life…

Take a look at the next posts in the series:

Spark Joy

Clothes Part I

Clothes Part II


Happy New Year!

As we think about our fresh start, the beginning of the New Year, and the intentions and goals that we are setting for ourselves, remember…

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.”- Lori Deschene

Let’s begin, go through, and end everything with love.

Happy New Year!

enjoy life…