Responsible Happiness & Satisfied Fun? (The One For Us Lazy People)

(On FB today from me) YES!  Lara!  Happiest when on top of things.  It feels good to skip the dishes at night, but feels terrible to wake up to a dirty kitchen,  I try to remind myself I won't EVER ENJOY doing the dishes...might as well do them NOW.  Happier in the morning..and satisfied when it is finished.  BLOG POST?

Are we happiest when we take responsibility for our lives, or when we shirk our duties and goof off instead?  I for one am DELIGHTED to not wash dinner dishes, even though Fly Lady says I always should.*  I like not being responsible and sitting on my couch until I get up the next morning.  

I wake and stretch and thank God for the day and waltz smack into a nasty dirty kitchen.  Crumbs, dirty French press.  Sink full of gooey grossness.  My mood stalls and fizzles as I begin to mutter and clean up.  Then I make breakfast, and there are MORE dishes.  GAH!  I guess I'll look at Facebook and avoid it all.  Till Lunch.  Gah!!!!

When I avoid taking responsibility for my home, things, jobs, it may feel good for a moment. But I still have to do it and it affects my mood the entrĂ©e time I am avoiding it.  I try to remind myself that not washing the dishes or folding the clothes or taking care of work will weigh on my even while I am trying to relax and have fun.  I am actually happier and more satisfied when I take care of the responsibility FIRST, then relax. Most of the time.

We have been watching this Andy Stanley "Taking Responsibility for Your Life" series online and that is part of where these ideas festered.  One hard point was that when i chose NOT to take responsibility, SOMEBODY has to do it for me.  We have even started using this with the kids to interesting effect.  I love how God gives me messages in all sorts of areas to make my life better.  Even if it means I had to wash the dishes before sitting down here with you fine people this morning.  Now I have to go keep the kids alive some more.  Enjoy taking care of your responsibilities today.  And have some SATISFIED FUN!

*And I don't expect my husband John to wash dishes every time I do not feel like it either.  I know I do not control him and he is not here to do my bidding.  I'm delighted if he just does them, and most of them time I do not feel crabby when he doesn't.  He is my partner, not my housekeeper.**  

**Oh yeah, he also works all day at an office while I am home. Yes my job is challenging, but dishes really are part of it.

4 Sanity Saving Tips on How to Decorate With a Man

I like to dig junk out of the trash and make it wonderful again. (Let's call that antiquing, shall we?)   I like pinning ideas for decorating our home onto Pinterest.  I like to paint stuff happy colors. I like adding a sense of humor to a room and I get super excited about everything!   Then there is my husband.  He and I are...a bit different.  We compliment each other but our differences have caused light conflict in the decorating of the home territory. How can I decorate with a man?

Recently as we began a long term plan to save up for new furniture, we found some important discoveries that may help you in your home to decorate with a man    It started with me sharing some of my ideas I've culled from savvier friends of mine;  Susan, Katherine and Erica.  They have interesting and lovely homes they have spent a lot of time shopping for and getting artistic in decorating.  I know when I love something in a junk shop, but have little idea about wall color.  I just painted my kitchen from a dull pale green to a vibrant Tiffany's blue, but now the rest of our 1920 bungalow's resigned colors do not play well together.  

I can see we'll need to paint the rest of the house  but feel overwhelmed about it.  And we would need to know about what furniture we like, what colors for the rooms and so forth.  We'll do one room at a time, but need to see the end results in advance. So I start asking John what he thinks.  I start telling him some thoughts I have developed and then he says," Well it sounds like you have decided everything."

I say "No, but I have been thinking about it.  How much time have you spent thinking about decorating?"  Blank Stare.  "Have you talked with your friends, looked at Pinterest, ogled paint swatch catalogs?" Blank Stare.  He starts to get annoyed by me and I make it worse by asking could we cuddle up together and look at Pinterest together.  Every Man's Dream.  This little endeavor brings us to my first Tip On Decorating With Your Man:

  1. Look for ideas that you both like or dislike on Pinterest.  Set a time limit or any other bribe you need. Explain to your husband that you want to understand what he likes too since you both live in the house. By looking at decor ideas and talking about them, we realized my Husband doesn't like happy colorful busy.  He enjoys more classic and calm environments.  Good to know since I would paint everything that wasn't moving a different color.  We agreed I could "have fun" with the bathrooms and kitchens but we would keep the  other living areas more neutral.
  2. Watch Your Language!  We learned this about ourselves early in our marriage.  John will say "Let's go look at couches."  I hear "Let's go look for couches."  Can you see the difference?  One word is recognizance for a future purchase, the other better go shopping in a pickup truck cuz you is buying a couch today!  Clarify language with your spouse and have a laugh at the same time.
  3. Agree in Advance.  Plan your decorating goals long range.  Maybe even in writing.  Decide together on a budget, timeline, colors, cost and priority.  This helps keep awesome communication going with no surprises.  We are currently shopping for a sexy water softener since we do not have one, and we have tabled our furniture shopping until June to keep ME from driving around in a pickup truck.
  4. Preselect choices for your husband.  Most men (NOT ALL) will not enjoy all the choices and wandering through paint chips you may.  If the roles are reversed GREAT, switch these concepts to suit your household.  Narrow down themes, colors, styles you like and suggest your Husband choose from those.  If he doesn't like any of it then you may need to try another time or start over with him this time.  Decorating with a man is different, but you are a team and it will work!

I would love to hear from you all what works for you and your husband when you are decorating your home.  Guys and home decor do go further than a man cave.  Please share any tips you may have to help us all decorate with a man...John and I will thank you for it!

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Don't Give Up Yet! Here's How to Keep New Year's Resolutions

It is January 13th, do you know where your New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes are?  I visited our local YMCA for the first time in a LONG time this morning and with the snowpocalypse here in Indiana it was EMPTY.  My friend Lori remarked that everyone's New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes were in the toilet.  YUP.  Are Yours?

I'd like this to be my car this year! (When it is warmer, of course.)
As for me, I hashed out my New Year's Resolution plan for 2014 with my pal Whitney and am doing well so far.  She knows me well and I knew if I babbled long enough about all the delicious ways I could improve myself in this sparkling new year, she could distill that babble into something useful.  

I read an awesome article last week on scratching New Year's Resolutions for a THEMED New Year.  But what theme?

I'd like to READ MORE this year
My faith is strong so I didn't feel I needed to actively work on that.  I want to continue to simplify the stuff in our house.  I want to loose my desire for acquiring new things like lipsticks and Target T-shirts.  I want to read more books.  Get to the gym and walk or bike rather than driving our car places. Could I swear off shopping for one month?  For six months?  Or vow to read 50 books in 2014, tracking them all on Good Reads?  
After unloading all of these ideas and talking with my friend, my theme for 2014 emerged:  "Consume Less, Move More".

I will check in with myself weekly over the year to decide how successful I had been on those two themes. In order to keep them at the from of my mind, I'll do a weekly calendar reminder on my  app.

That is where I started with these quick tips to help all of us keep our New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes:

1) Put a reminder into your planner or online calendar to help you refocus on your goal.

2) If you are crafty, or know someone who is, create a visual for your New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes and keep it where you will see it regularly.

3) Set New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes that ACTUALLy matter to YOUR SOUL and your legacy.  At the end of the day none cares as much about the size of your muffin top as you do.  While weight loss is a worthy goal, it is shallow and hard to follow through on.  Focus on your JOY your passion and making a difference in your world and you may find yourself deeply satisfied and thinner too.

4) Find a friend or partner who will understand , encourage, pray for and kick you in gear on your New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or themes.  Do the same for them.  It's called friendship and doesn't exist only on Facebook, Darling.

5) Don't give up!  Keep failing, sure, and then START OVER.  You got this!

Check back next year to see how this year's theme is going...or tweet/email to ask me yourself in a few weeks.   

Ten Thoughts for Ugly People NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles

I'm on the radio again!!!  Listen to a version of this on NPR station 88.1FM

Yep, you are ugly.  You woke up this morning and took one look at yourself and know that you are ugly.  I thought (since you said it first) I would share a few muddled thoughts I was having on this very topic as I rolled out of bed this morning.  

As I get older, I take more time with my appearance most days.   I wear makeup most days.  I find fault with my myself most days.  

You too?  Oh great, we will get along just fine.  You have cellulite on the FRONT of your thighs?  Awesome, me too.  Your hair is fabulous when you don't need to go anywhere or see anyone, but goes haywire when you want to feel pretty?  Yup, me too.  You yell at your kids when they are just being kids but happen to get on your very last nerve with their high pitched 'puppy' barking?  Yep.

Ugly comes in a lot of different ways.  We usually focus on the face and body, but ugly sneaks out of our personalities too.  That might be the hardest to admit.  

Everyone is Ugly, Some Just Hide it Better!  Good looking parents, expensive clothes or beauty products, dimmer lights...whatever the lovely folks have that you don't simply hides what we all have: ugly.  Some people hide their inner ugly by leaving a situation before it shows.  Or counting to ten verrrrry slowly.  I am teaching my little girls to take deep 'yoga breaths' and count to ten when they are upset.  I want them to be able to learn things I didn't about leaving their ugly hidden when possible. 

It isn't always possible to hide your ugly.  I HAD to spend some time with one of my favorite folks this week.  I missed her so.  And thus we squeezed in a quick play/lunch date right after I worked out.  Folks, I was UGLY.  I smelled bad and wore my lycra shorts over there.  Those suckers don't go ANYWHERE but the gym and thru the 'hood on runs.  But I needed my friend, so I showed her my ugly.  She was pretty enough to say she couldn't even smell me.

Be sure to find or make friends who will see that you are ugly but won't admit it.  Or if they do, they help freshen you a bit!  And it is ok for your ugly to show.  Your friendships will deepen when you are authentic about how you feel...inside and outside.  When you are real about your own struggles, you give people around you the freedom to share their struggles too.  Somebody may need that permission more than you know.
Dale Chihuly Exhibit Indianpolis Children's Museum

I have some things I do, for when I am UGLY.  I'd like to hear what you do too!

1) Ask God to remind me of my beauty, and then get outside in nature!

2) Do something with my body; exercise, cuddle my girls and read, drink a smoothie or juice veggies, shower and primp a bit.

3) Put on bright red lipstick.  Even with a bathrobe.

4) Call or write to a friend telling them about their beauty and how they bless my life.

5) Read great books like  Captivating by John & Stasi Eldridge, Made to Crave by Lysa Terkhurst or something else that gives me a point to start over with how I see myself.

6) Paint some TRUTH CARDS from Brave Girls Club to encourage another woman.

7) Eat something.  Sorry, shouldn't be here, right, but it is true.  Cheese popcorn, Unreal Candy, OH!  How you make me feel lovely.

8)  Get thankful.  This trick has been an oldie but a goodie.  I write down or speak out loud every little silly thing I am grateful for, from hot coffee to a cushy seat to sit on while I'm sulking. IT WORKS EVERY TIME.
Sign in a store i heart!

9)  Pray for others who do not have the luxury of worrying about cellulite or wrinkles.  I give thanks I have a blessed life full of family, good health, intelligence, beauty and freedom.  Any second everything could change and I could see how pitiful my small vain woes truly are.

10) SMILE!  Your brain and body do not know the difference between real happiness and a forced smile.  Start smiling at others, but especially yourself in the mirror, and you will see your beauty.

from Brave Girls Club
I just have to say, once again, how humbled and grateful I am to National Public Radio Station (NPR), Lee Burdorf and April Lidinsky  for inviting me into Michiana Chronicles and letting me do radio bits with you awesome Michiana Chronicles guys!  You give me the tiniest bit of 'cool' and I thrive because of it.  THANK YOU.  THANK YOU!

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