The Downsizing

We had made it to U-Haul just in time. We rented the unit, and quickly moved our life into it. Quietly I told my husband that we would be back soon to purge. we have been upended, but it has been a great opportunity to downsize. It is the first big step in our new lifestyle. Downsizing is an exciting step in our lives.

Downsizing is something you don’t here much about. Our society focuses on accumulation of a life. There isn’t much time spent on examining what we really need. For me, downsizing is about creating a simpler life.Getting rid of things makes me feel refreshed, and it helps me feel more grounded. There are two big components to this, purging and buying less.

The first is PURGING.When we moved, we got rid of so much stuff. I have a motto,of ” When in doubt, throw it out.” We really wanted to slim down to only things that we needed. We are sick of the work that extra stuff brings. It becomes cumbersome and unneeded. So we only kept what we really needed. One example of this is our kitchen. We have slimmed down to bare necessities. This includes;

  • Two plates
  • Two bowls
  • Two cups
  • Two sets of utensils
  • two glasses
  • Two mugs.

A big part of this was organization. If we kept it, it was moving with us, or going to storage. If there was no need for it, it went to charity, or was thrown away.In every room we did this, to ensure we only brought necessities. Downsizing means letting go.

The second part of this is BUYING LESS. We want to stop accumulating things. We both have a habit of buying too much stuff. There also tends to be a lot of impulse buying. My belief is that this is because of the way we are conditioned. I go into stores, and always end up with stuff even if I don’t need it. It is going to take a fair amount of effort to overcome, but we mean to try.

One part of this is looking at purchases critically. I only want to buy necessary things. I also want to buy quality things that will last. My goal is to make fewer, more meaningful purchases. This will help us begin and maintain our new lifestyle.

For us this is just the start of a new journey. I am excited to keep you updated on how things are going. I hope that this will help us be happy and grow. Hopefully downsizing will allow us to get back to our roots and stay happy. No matter what happens, I am excited about downsizing.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

I am a big reader, and my goal for 2019 is 30 books. So far I have read two books. The last book I read was Ruta Sepetys Between Shades of Gray. It is a historical fiction based in Europe during World War Two. Here are my thoughts on the book.

This book focuses on the Soviet deportation of Lithuanians during World War Two. The main character is a teenage girl named Lina, whose family is sent away. The story follows her from the cattle car she is forced to travel in, to her forced labor in Siberia.

The book touches upon a very important part of history. Often people see World War Two in black and white terms. Stalin was an ally, but he was far from moral. He was a cruel, ruthless leader. Dissenters were quickly dealt with. People were shot or deported to hard labor camps in the east. This book brings home how cruel Stalin was.

This book was pretty good. The narrative style was strong, and it immediately pulled me in. Lina and her mother were such strong characters they jumped off the page. This book displayed the strength of the Lithuania people. They endured so much, and they still found a way to celebrate their culture.

There were minor issues I had. The timing seemed off and uneven in places. I was unhappy with the ending. The book was detailed in spots, but did not explain how Lina left Soviet Russia. This book was tragic, I was not expecting a happy ending. Yet after seeing the pain that Lina and her family endured, I guess I expected an explanation of what happened.

Overall, I liked this book, but the plot could be stronger. It is a great read for anyone interested in history. It touches on a unknown part of history, and that is important. I applaud Ruta Sepetys for dedication to bringing obscure tragedies to life. I highly suggest this book to anyone who love history.

Till next time

-Colleen

 

 

2018 Goals: Update

Its New Years Eve, and Its hard to believe that another year has flown by. Last January I wrote a small post outlining my goals for 2018. I wanted to circle back on those goals I set. I believe in transparency, so here is an update on my 2018 goals.

Write One Page everyday

I did really well with this. Except for the week of the wedding, I did this for the whole year. This helped improve my writing skills. I plan on bringing this goal into 2019.

Practice Mindfulness

This one went surprisingly well. For the wedding, I wanted to avoid being a Bridezilla. Through it the wedding, I was able to stay calm and keep things in perspective. It showed me that I do have the ability to stay calm under pressure. I have been able to take a deep breath and deal with things as they come along.

Do better managing money

Yeah… lets not even talk about this one.

Plan and execute a garden

I did my best with this one. We had a year with crazy fluctuating temperatures and rain. I planted about 200 annuals, none of which did well. But my tulips came up, so it wasn’t all bad.

Healthy lifestyle

This was a challenge, but Progress was made. I changed jobs in July, and left my desk job for a teachers role. I have been more active.

Commit to updating the blog

I struggled with this. I spent a bunch of time planning my wedding. The wedding was perfect, but my blog suffered due to it. The funny thing is when I didn’t write, my mood suffered. Writing helps improve my mood, and it needs to be prioritized. In 2019 I am planning on spending more time committed to it.

Live life by my own rules

I am slowly learning to do this. I have spent most of my life living by other peoples rules. It has led to me feeling unmoored and miserable. In 2018, I began to live a life true to my values.

I started to do this by putting my needs first. I made choices with my own happiness in mind, even if others didn’t agree. I am happier and plan on continuing this into the new year.

More exploring

Adventures were limited this year due to the wedding. We were able to get some small trips in. In August we spent some a day on Block Island, which was fun. We also spent on Honeymoon on Deer Island in Maine. The trips were brief, but I made vivid memories on both. I wish that we had done more, but I’m thankful for the adventures that we had.

This year was a mixed bag. I had some incredible moments, and some painful failures. I am thankful that I set these goals. They give me a change to strive for more, and better my existence. At the end of the

they give me an opportunity to reflect on the year. I am thankful for the lessons I learned, and the people I spent it with. I look forward excited for what the new year will bring.

What were your 2018 goals? Did you achieve them? I hope that you are able to find some successes, even if the year was challenging. I also hope that you have a safe and happy 2019.

Till next time.

Colleen

Lazy Sunday

Today was a beautiful day, because I was alive.

with my husband out of town, it was a quiet weekend.  I missed him, but enjoyed the two days of quiet.  As an introvert, the quiet allows me to recharge, and I am thankful for it.  I got the chores all done.  I made a hearty soup, did laundry, and read some. I also had some time to think things over.

I was out walking yesterday, when a heavy thought passed through my mind.  We spend so much time in the future and the past, we forget the present. We wish things could have gone better. We  look to the future with promise. Yet we forget the only moment that assured is the one we are living in.  We live such busy lives that we forget to pause and be thankful. We let our lives pass us by. We live in a society, where we value being busy, not reflective. I think that is incredibly sad.

We forget that every moment is another chance to change things. Our notions of life tend to hold us back. The only real barriers that we have are the ones we construct.  We spend so much time trying to get out of own way. I believe this is because we don’t take time to  take stock of things. How are we supposed to reflect or breath when we are dashing about. How are we supposed to create meaningful relationships?  I am victim to this too. I find my life being dictated by the past and future. That is going to change. I have strove to live in the moment. I want to continue to practice that, and I want to take it further.

When I am eighty years old I don’t want to regret that I let life pass me by.

Life Passing By

Simple post tonight. It is early October. A gentle rain falls outside as I sit inside warm sipping my coffee.  Darkness falls early this time of year, as we move steadily towards winter.

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This year, life got away from me.  It has been full of so many new and exciting things. A new job, and a new puppy, a new stage of my relationship with marriage.  The year has been full of excitement, and so much emotion.  Yet I suddenly looked up and October was here. Three season have passed without notice.  It can be funny how life passes by like that.

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As the season is winding down, so is our schedule. For the first time in month we have time to take a breath.  Yet life goes on, and even now, life continues on. New challenges  present themselves.  Yet I am not falling to pieces. I have found a calmness that will help me through. Thing will be ok.

Maybe that is the gift of hardship. It makes you steady on uneven ground.

 

 

 

 

20 things about me.

I wanted to tell you all a bit about me, but without the heavy biography page. I came up with the idea for a list. Let me know what you think, and if you are brave, tell me a bit about yourself in the comments!

  1. Someday I want to be my own boss.
  2. I was terrible at math in school. As soon as I started to used it in a practical way I got much better at it.
  3. I have driven across the United States twice, but I have never been on an airplane. 
  4. Since childhood I have been passionate about history, especially revolutionary history, and World War Two.
  5. My biggest aspiration in life is to become a writer.
  6. My family is from Ireland, and someday I want to go there.
  7. When I was young I couldn’t wait to move to the city. I spent 3 years in a small city before realizing that I hated it and moved home.
  8. I am a introvert, and often my silence gets mistaken for contempt or annoyance. Truth is I’m scared I will stumble over my words.
  9. I’m as loyal as they come, but if someone’s betrays me out relationship will never be the same. I have a hard time trusting again.
  10. I wear my heart on my sleeve, this enables me to be very empathetic, but it also means I get hurt easily.
  11. I love haying, gardening and getting my hands dirty.
  12. I am my biggest critic.
  13. I have taught myself to knit, crochet and to weave.  I love the historic nature of the crafts sand they calm me. I want to learn how to make yarn next.
  14. I hate office jobs, and get bored easily. I struggle with the politics in corporate life.
  15. I lost my Mother at 24 years old, and it changed my outlook on life.
  16. I hate when things change at a moments notice.
  17. I have a passion for photography, and I would love to travel and take pictures.
  18. I’m a straight shooter, and I struggle with situations fraught with drama.
  19. Nature is an integral part of my life, and i need it for my mental help.
  20. My mother was an alcoholic, and even though my upbringing was rough at times, I wouldn’t change it. It made the strong,caring person I am, and I am proud of it.