awareness, nature

Chasing Sunshine

Some days you just need to take a break and enjoy the sunshine or should I say chase the sunshine. It could be taking a walk. Maybe taking a hike is more your speed. For me today it was just sitting in the sunshine. Not doing anything per se.

It was a cool crisp day but the warmth of the sun took the chill out of the air. The breeze was calming. The leaves just ruffled as they blew side to side. Today is supposed to be the last day of sunshine as the gray skies are moving in. A winter cold front full of snow, ice, sleet or whatever shows up per the weatherman. Today is an odd day to sit outside yet it seemed perfect at the time.

Many I know are struggling for various reasons in life. Some have depression. Some are anxious with the pandemic still lurking around. Others have health issues in their family spiking beyond the pandemic. Many are stressed for one reason or another. Maybe this post will make its way to somebody who just needs a dose of sunshine. A ray of light on a dreary day.

If you are reading this today and needed to hear this message, step outside. Feel the sun on your face. Smile. Reflect. Enjoy what is great in your life right now. Put the worries aside. Focus only on the peace around you. Listen to the sounds. Think about how you could pass some virtual or homemade sunshine to another. Maybe a sweet email or text. Maybe a hand written card to friend. Maybe a cup of coffee for the car behind you at the drive thru.

While outside enjoying the sun, you may hear the panting of a playful dog. You might hear a bird chirping. You may hear the revving of car as it passes by. Whatever sounds are near, let them creep into your soul. These sounds can be beautiful if you listen with intent. Active listening is a skill that needs to be mastered by everyone. Sometimes stepping away from your crazy day or life even for a few minutes will allow time to regroup, breathe more deeply and set your mind at ease.

Chase that sunshine. Today and everyday. When you learn how to capture it, pass it on. One can even find sunshine on a cloudy day. You just might need to look a little harder or listen a little fiercer to feel its warmth.

dare to be different

Junk or Treasures

In the last 30 days I have had a slight obsession with Facebook marketplace.

I haven’t really been big on posting items online for sale however I heard it was a good outlet to find what you need at a discounted rate. I gave it a whirl or two.

When it came time for me looking for specific pieces for my upcoming project I decided to see if it had any items I truly needed to keep my budget low. From casual browser to waking to see what had dropped in the night before. Off I went. By phone or by computer. Click click click. Wait. Deal or no deal. Sometimes getting a good item requires you to be the first hit. I got lucky sometimes but not other times.

Here are a few of my finds:

The barn door. A little bit of an odd size but it’s perfect for the spot I need to add some flair to. This is a PVC-type version and again it totally suited my immediate need. What this person bought in error was just what I needed. A win for both parties.

The odd red barrels. The soon-to-be base of a massive outdoor table. Inspiration was a cool table at an outdoor seating area of a restaurant I visited. More photos to come of the completed project. This was just somebody’s trash from a recent project that they made a few bucks on. A little elbow grease on my end and they look as good as new.

The church pew. Yes you read that right. I bought a church pew! A few pillows for flair and I will have a great pew for many to congregate at in my special entertainment space. I couldn’t be more excited about this piece. Who would have thought you could buy a church pew? Heaven knows I didn’t until I stumbled across it. Restoring these old pews is definitely a trend. Should I paint it or keep it natural? Let me know what you think.

The brand-new pillow -op mattress. This was a steal and I may have bought more than one. Overstock sales are in abundance online. If you happen to fall upon a good one, you can save big.

Stools for a steal. These brand-new-out-of-the-box stools retail for around $50. I was able to pick up 10 at $20 each. Great addition to go with the table I mentioned above and I saved a bundle.

Look for the finished project of my outdoor space in the coming weeks. Be sure to see if Facebook marketplace has any items you are looking for before you pay full retail. You can get new, gently used and hard-to-find antique items online. One of the benefits of online selling and buying is access to the inventory at your finger tips.

If you are willing to do the work, the bargains are out there. Picking, sourcing and putting together some handmade crafts has been a fun learning experience.

Signing off, a thrifty girl.

perspective

Speed Reading

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The book was “Go Dog, Go.” It’s the stuff of family lore.  I pulled it off the shelf at age 2, plopped down on our orange linoleum kitchen floor and read it out loud cover to cover.

My parents loved to tell this story of what a precocious reader I was. (My brothers would spitefully say I just memorized it because they read it to me every day.)   Still, I was in the Redbird group in Ms. Levell’s first grade class, which everyone knew was the highest group.  I’m not sure I always loved to read, but I had a knack for it from a young age.

As if that wasn’t enough, when I was in late elementary school, my Dad thought I should learn to speed read.  I’m not really sure how I learned it, but at some point I started using techniques that caused me to try to read as fast as I could.  It’s about inhaling chunks of text instead of individual words.  Larger and larger units. Zooming through page after page.

You may not be surprised that this change of speed made my understanding of what I was reading plummet.  I would fly through pages and have no idea what I had just read.  Through high school, college, and my PhD, I spent untold hours reading and rereading to slow myself down.

Even all these years later, I think I’ve still got the mentality of “faster is better” inside my reading mind.  Once I made reading a priority during quarantine, I’ve been off to the races consuming books.

As I’ve said before, the books I am reading are about mindset change.  I’ve plowed quite a few of them in a row now, more like they are mindless romance novels than anything worth ruminating over.  There’s been a nagging voice in the back of my head that says “slow down and think about it…”  Or in a couple of them, the author asks questions at the end of each chapter.  Still, I’ve breezed through them, thinking I would come back to them at some point.  That hasn’t happened.

Right now I’m reading Chasing Cupcakes, recommended by many in the Stronger U Community.  I actually didn’t love the book at first. The author came at me from the very beginning, warning that I couldn’t just traipse through the chapters without doing any work.

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Today in my reading she talked about four stages of problem solving.  The first step is sensing, where you’ve identified an issue and are looking for information to remedy it. I’ve been in this stage for months now.  Reading mindset book after mindset book is interesting…I learn something different from each one.  But I haven’t really done anything concrete with it. Yes, I’ve changed my internal soundtrack, but I need to push forward in new directions. All this endless seeking makes little difference if it doesn’t change into doing.  At some point I have to move into solving, then I can circle back if things aren’t working out.

Time to stop piling on the information and pretending that is progress.  On to doing something.  I’m daring myself to get clear on what I’m chasing and move forward.

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