enjoy life guest post: emily anderson’s “the table”

I love hosting other creators on my blog and today, I am pleased to have my little sister, Emily, visiting with a guest post today.  My sister was there when no one else was, literally.  She is my biggest supporter and cheerleader and believes in me when I don’t believe in myself.  I introduced her to Emily P Freeman’s podcast: The Next Right Thing. You should check it out if you are not familiar with it.  Emily (my sister) is a Masters prepared social worker at heart and is fascinated with the power of narrative in our human experience.  She values simple, peaceful but eclectic living. She is an excellent jigsaw puzzle worker; she’s kick my rear since she was two. She lives in Washington state with my brother-in-law, my 11-year-old nephew, and their two terriers. Her post today is a timely thought (which she is also known for) during this holiday season. Take a look!

black kettle beside condiment shakers and green fruits and plants on tray on brown wooden tableFor the past several years I have obsessed about buying a dining room table.  My husband cannot quite understand it and I often wonder what my deal is.  My sister is the “foodie” of the family and although I enjoy cooking for appreciative eaters, I am fully aware that they are just as comfortable eating at my current four-chair table or pulling up a tray to the couch.

Why does buying this dining room table – the long farmhouse-style table made of solid wood that will endure the test of time – seem as Emily P. Freeman would say, like “the next right thing”?

Then it hit me after listening to one of Emily’s podcast.  That long farmhouse table symbolizes more than just eating.  Growing up, my family would often spend hours at the table.  Long after we had consumed our meal, we would sit and talk.  Whether analyzing the movie we watched the night before or getting to know someone new my father invited home for dinner after church.  Whether it was uncontrollable laughter that took you from your chair to the floor, or deep conversations that made you see the world from a different perspective, it was the conversation that took place at “the table” that meant so much to me.

So “the table” that I am obsessed with symbolizes connection.  The uninterrupted connection, before cellphones were small enough to bring to the table, that nourished my soul.  So, although still a symbolic heirloom I hope to purchase soon, it is connecting with people as I did at the dining table of my childhood that is my next right step.  Not in a fragmented way but in a way where everyone has a “seat”.  Connecting, sharing stories, learning, laughing, listening, and then leaving feeling restored.  At this proverbial table, we’ll find clarity and restoration.  At this table, we will find direction and inspiration.

Care to join me?  Let’s start truly connecting with people.  Let’s share, learn, laugh, and listen to one another.  Not with emojis and Facebook feeds, but with uninterrupted intention, just like I use to do, at the dining room table of my youth.

enjoy life…

Photo by Mark McCammon on Pexels.com

enjoy life guest post: taralyn caudle’s “looking for a good read?”

close up of eyeglasses on table

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

LOOKING FOR A GOOD READ?  LISTEN TO A PODCAST.

Let me tell you what I say to someone at least once a week, “You should really check out this podcast {insert name here}…”  Full disclosure: I listen to a LOT of podcasts. I listen to them in the shower, when I work out, when I’m cleaning my house, and while I’m waiting in the car rider line at my kid’s school.  On long drives, on short drives, in doctors’ offices, and sometimes even before bed.

In fact, I was recently listening to one of my nighttime favorites, “Nothing Much Happens:  Bedtime Stories for Grownups” by Kathryn Nicolai, in which Kathryn reads her own original short stories designed to gently lull you to sleep.  The episode, titled “In the Library”, is actually what sparked my inspiration for this post. In it, Kathryn describes an autumn morning’s journey to the library, vivid with sensory descriptions that left me both curious and relaxed.

But just before I started to drift away, I was struck by these lines:  “I’ve always thought that each season had its own best kind of leisurely pursuit.  Winter was for movies. Spring was for poetry. Summer was for music. And autumn… autumn was for books.”

“Ah, how right you are,” I thought. Now is definitely a good time to freshen up my reading list, and my go-to for inspiration (any time of year, really) is often podcasts.

I enjoy reading, but I must admit that I don’t read nearly as many actual books as I used to, mostly because I never feel like I have (ahem, make) enough time.  And to be completely honest, I’ve found my ability to sit still and really give a good book all of my attention stunted by my incessant and often misplaced need to get other stuff done.

So in recent years, podcasts, for me, have come to occupy that tension between time and desire… a desire for a good story.

Be it true crime, comedy, politics & culture, self-development, entrepreneurship, or writing (all of which you’ll find in my digital library), storytelling is my jam.  And the format of the podcast- guest interview, debate, game, or actual storytelling- rarely seems to matter.

Some podcasts lead me to a topic for further investigation, like that of procedural justice, which was prompted by an podcast interview I listened to with Judge Victoria Pratt who assigns introspective essays to criminal defendants of minor offenses, as an alternative to serving jail time.

Others introduce me to new short fiction writers (my fave reading right now), like the podcast by Mr. Reading Rainbow himself, LeVar Burton, aptly called, “LeVar Burton Reads”.

And of course, there are a TON of podcasts singularly devoted to books.  From “The Book Review” by The New York Times which covers the top books of the week to “iFanboy” for all my avid comic book lovers to another one of my personal favorites, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read with Zibby Owen”.  (I’ll let you guess why that caught my eye.)

There is indeed something about the crisp autumn air that makes me want to curl up with a good book, but even when I don’t have time, there is always a place I can go for a good story.

Taralyn Caudle is my friend and one of the reasons I’m writing and sharing my work to you guys.  If you don’t like what I’m doing, blame her.  She lives in Huntsville, AL with her smart and equally creative daughter, Gabby. In addition to podcasts, which I can personally testify to the the truth of her statement because she has introduced me to a couple, she loves good food, good music, and a good deal on a pair of shoes. Practically possessed by politics, purple, and Prince, she loves alliteration (obviously) and has a philosophy that a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of laughter never hurt anybody. We laugh all of the time! She’s a technical writer and so if you need a few good words, check her out on her at taralyncaudle.com. And, if I may throw another great story podcast in the mix, check out Mike Rowe’s “The Way I Heard It”. Thanks, Taralyn!

til tomorrow, enjoy life

Catch up on the rest of this series.

enjoy life guest post: paula sexton

5-ways-to-make-life-enjoyable

I am thrilled to feature my second guest post on the blog today (Read the first here). May I present to you, Paula from The Geeky Shopaholic! I met Paula through Leigh Kramer‘s What I’m Into Link-Up. I liked her blog and listed her as one of my best blogs of 2015 and I am beyond thrilled that she consented to guest post today.

geeky_shopaholicPaula is a fellow geek and lifestyle blogger who loves to read, shop, travel, and obsess about SuperWhoLock (the television shows: Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Sherlock). She is Mom to a Chihuahua named Buffy. And would most likely be sorted into Hufflepuff (a Harry Potter reference). You can find her on her blog, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Take it away, Paula!

I am honored to be guest posting at Shannan Enjoys Life today! She asked me to give a few tips on how I enjoy my life. So, here are five ways that I’ve made my life more enjoyable.

Strive for a work/life balance

I am going into my third year as the third shift manager for my store. Most people only last a year. Why have I stayed? Third shift allows me to have a good work/life balance. I work four nights on, and then I have four nights off. It’s long hours, but it’s worth it to have four days to live my life. Because I’m not someone who lives to work. I work so that I can live.

I know that it’s not easy to find a work/life balance. There are times in life when the balance will shift one way or the other. But I believe that striving for that balance is one of the first steps in enjoying your own life.

Know what is important to you

For me, the most important thing in my life are the people in my life. My boyfriend and I both work in retail, so we have crazy schedules, but we always find a way to make time for each other. I live in a different city than my family, but I go home to visit as often as possible. My friends are all married and most have children, but we still get together several times a year. We go to lunch, or on a shopping trip, or spend a day at the water park. Making time for those you love is one of the best ways to enjoy your life.

I also make time for the things that I love. Like writing for my blog, and reading. When I make these two activities a priority, I feel more like myself, and that makes me a happier person. What is something that you love to do? Drawing? Writing? Hiking? Whatever it is, be sure that you make time for it.

Make your home a refuge

buffy_geeky_shopaholicI’ve always believed that a person’s home should be their refuge from the world. It should be calm and peaceful. For me that means, having as little clutter as possible. I feel more focused, and I’m better able to enjoy my home when it is neat and in order.

Something else that helps make my home a refuge is having a dog. Not everyone likes pets, but I believe that they truly make a house a home. At least, that is what Buffy did for me.

Volunteer

A few years ago I was asked to be Captain of my store’s Relay for Life Team. Immediately I said yes, because Cancer has touched my family and I wanted to help in the fight against it.

Volunteering was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was fun! It was a great way to connect with the people I work with outside of work. I learned their stories and why the Relay was so important to them.

Find a cause that you believe in and volunteer to help. I guarantee that it will make your life brighter!

Say yes more than no

I always said no to things. I was too shy. But around my mid-twenties I started to say yes. It started with a trip to Greece. Everyone told me I would back out, but all their doubts did was make me more determined to go. And I did! It was amazing! It changed my perspective about myself. I am now an adventurer!

You don’t have to say yes to everything. I have no desire to bungee jump or sky dive. (If you do – go for it!) But when opportunities come your way to do something that you’ve always dreamed of, say yes!

This is what I do to enjoy my life. Tell me about yourself, what do you do to enjoy life?