During is What Counts

Post by Carina Spring.

This amazing photograph is by:

http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

Creativity starts by taking a leap,and authentically expressing who you are.

Do you lose yourself in your creative work?  I was visiting some of my favourite blogs, and they got me thinking about the quote below.  I copied it into my diary about a year ago, and thought it might be a good one to share.  

Most creative types have that inner critic that sometimes tells us we aren’t good enough, and – even worse- sometimes keeps us from doing the work that would most fully satisfy us.

Creativity starts with taking a leap, and authentically expressing who you are. Lose yourself in work that you love- juggling, writing, dancing, math- whatever.

This quote reminds me not to worry too much about whether I am  “good” or “bad”.   Rather, focus on the doing because during is what counts” and doing is how we improve. 

Here is the quote:

“Tell them to do and make

as many things as possible

and to NOT over analyze

everything

and NOT care whether it’s

good or bad

and to not try and understand who they are

and what they are doing

because that always

matters at the end

but during is what counts

and doing

is what probably matters.”

By Greg Kletsel

~~~

 It was written whimsically on one of his illustrations, which I found here:

http://www.doodlersanonymous.com/about/

To read more on today’s subject, check out Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits:

http://zenhabits.net/lost/

Where Do Snowmen Go At Night?

Post written by Carina Spring. 

Have you ever built a snowmen?  We haven’t built too many, but my son and I made one in our backyard this winter.  As you can see, our snowman wound up with an unintentional foreign flair.

Since then, we’ve had a few warm spells and then some light snow falls. Let’s just say that it’s best you only see the “before” picture – he is no longer in his prime.

Our neighbourhood seems to be full of snowmen this season.  Some are quite impressive – really big and colourful! Even after the weather challenges these Frosties have faced, a few of them are still smiling!

When my son was little, I used to read him a book called “Where Do Snowmen Go at Night?”  It was written in rhyme, a child’s humorous speculations about why snowmen look so melted and tired by the next morning. It was cute, and  quite hilarious.  I recommend it if you have kids!  Heck, it’s fun for adults, too! 😉

Do you have any favourite children’s books?  (From your childhood, or  your kids)

Awesome and Simple Friday Get-Togethers.

Post written by Carina Spring 

What do you like to do on Friday nights? For us, Fridays have always been a special treat, and usually involve home-made pizza and watching a movie. I love that kind of Friday. 

Lately, though, we’ve changed things up a bit. We have added regular Friday get-togethers into the mix. Until recently, when we hosted dinners, we would always do it on Saturdays. Somehow that’s changing.  

Having friends over on a Friday makes me feel like I am starting a long weekend. When the evening is done, I marvel that it is even a workday! We’ve spent hours chatting and relaxing in the company of good friends, and we still have the whole weekend ahead! 

Everyone is different, but here are a few things that have tipped the scales for us in favour of Friday get-togethers:

1) We keep it simple. Most times, we order in so dishes and cooking are minimal.

2) There is an understanding that it will be a pretty casual evening.  It’s Friday, we’ve worked all week, so the house won’t be perfect. It’s about genuinely enjoying and connecting with each other, not impressing each other.

3) We’re all pretty tired, so things wrap up early. Everyone wants to be rested for the next day in order to really enjoy Saturday.

4) Often, we hang out and even dine in the family room at the back. With soft couches and big windows, it’s an invitation to get comfy and let the week go.

We still love Saturday dinners every now and then, but they are a different experience. Finding a way to visit on Fridays has meant that we can see everyone more often, and we still have time to pursue our interests and get some rest on the weekend.

No matter what I am doing, Friday holds a special place on the weekday calendar.

Image by Supertrooper, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Post written by Carina Spring.

Canadian winters. What an experience. Do you like winter?  How do you survive it?

I was listening to CBC recently and a guest speaker was talking about the possibility of making downtown ice trails so that people could skate to work.  He made an interesting point: Winter cities live in freezing conditions for many months of the year. Why focus on the 10 days that are really, really unbearable?  Instead, focus on getting outside and embracing the season.  I couldn’t agree more!

There was a time in history when people enjoyed winter. Regular winter festivals were the norm, people bundled up and walked outside, played outside, and just all around made the best of the season.

I know winter can be hard, and driving in it is the worst part for me. But enjoying the season is a mind-set. If one dresses for the cold, and I mean REALLY dress for it, it is fun to be outside. The quality of light, the crisp, cold air, the brilliance of the snow. It’s invigorating and magical!

Okay, when it gets ridiculously cold (for me, that is when the temp goes below -32 C with a windchill) it can be too much. But normally, it isn’t that bad. When it is, I try to get cozy and kind of hibernate. Wait till the cold snap breaks.

Anyhow, here’s to winter and making the best of it. The way I see it, if I’m going to live somewhere this cold, I might as well really experience it. There are many people in the world who will never know the joy of walking in the picturesque beauty after a fresh snow-fall. Lucky us!

btw I snapped the picture with my cell phone camera on my way home from work. I was not dressed for it so I could barely hold on to the camera. My point? I will make the best of winter, but will LOVE summer when it comes! 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, just in case it’s too cold for you to go outside, here are a few versions of that song to keep you smiling!  Take your pick.

I had no idea that Lady Gaga had done a version of this song!

Have you heard this version?  It’s a classic.

Or this one?

Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com, I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

 

How to Make Better Decisions and enjoy life more: Love vs Fear.

Post written by Carina Spring.

This stunning photo by:  http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

“Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much…all there will ever be is what’s happening here, in the decisions we make in this moment, which are based on either love or fear… Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart. ”

~Jim Carrey

Love vs. Fear

Today is Valentines. Whether you are single or partnered, a person who ignores this Hallmark holiday, or one who decorates for it, this is the day to talk about the idea of love.

All pink hearts aside, whenever we are faced with fear and uncertainty in life, there is an antidote: we can base our thinking, our decisions and actions on love. I am not talking about co-dependence, or turbulent infatuation.  I am talking about real love: the life-enriching condition that is healthy, and inspires and comforts us. In fact, approaching life from a place of love will help you find more overall joy and fulfillment.

What do I mean?  Here is a  personal example.

Years ago, I made a decision to intentionally approach my career obligations from a place of love, and a genuine caring for others. Inevitably, this soon extended to include compassion for myself (Acknowledging that I am not perfect, I can’t do it all, I am doing my best even if it doesn’t always match some “ideal”, and I also have to take care of myself).  Suddenly, my career life transformed. I have become one of those people who truly enjoys her time at work.   That doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect, or that I don’t have ever have ups and downs. The thing is that facing all aspects of my job with love- the exciting and interesting stuff, as well as the tedious or difficult stuff- brings meaning and motivation to my task. I forget my fears, my shyness, and my insecurities and focus on the the job with passion and dedication.

How to Apply the Antidote

In your life, when you are feeling tense, facing  a difficult decision, or feeling afraid, take a soft breath and take a few moments to reflect.

1) First, think about self-love. Not selfishness, but selflove. Act with compassion and kindness.  This doesn’t mean you don’t push yourself to be better.  You want the best for yourself; you want to grow and learn. But to make real progress, you need to accept who you are and how you feel. Even if it isn’t what you’d like it to be, you have to work with what you’ve got. You have to love and understand who you are in order to make the right choices for yourself.

2) Act with regard for your own health, safety and respect. Kindness for others should never mean accepting abuse.

3)  Next, consider how your actions will contribute to the well-being of others.  It helps me to remember that most people are just doing their best. Forget fear, forget boredom, and focus instead on caring. That intention is what counts, and will bring more meaning to everything you do.

4) It’s more fun to approach a task with the feeling that it can help others!  It helps you love the task itself.

5) Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an insignificant kindness. Maybe you are a clerk or waiter who makes someone’s day by providing great service, a doctor who listens to and cares about her patients, or a CEO who treats his employees with generosity.  Maybe you return a lost purse at Safeway.

6) As a final thought, let’s remember that love – the unconditional, real bond that happens when a healthy connection flourishes – can be found and expressed in many ways: in the trust between old friends; in the familial love between a parent and child, siblings and relatives; in the companionship of a loyal pet; and, of course, in romantic love.

How great that this Valentines Day falls on the Saturday of a long weekend! No matter what you are up to, enjoy!

Happy Valentines Day!

Today’s quote was from a graduation speech given by Jim Carrey. Who knew he was so profound!

Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.” Do you recognize those lyrics?  His voice is a honey sweet treat:

Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com!

 

 

February’s Fabulous Free Book Feast!

Post written by Carina Spring.

I Love to Read month and Valentines Day have combined serendipitously this year to bring plenty of joy and ideas around here.

In a recent post, I resolved to read more BOOKS at bedtime. Just as I was wondering which books to stack by my bedside, the library at my work announced a free book give away.  I wasn’t overly optimistic as I approached the 5 carts and a table of dusty old books, but was I ever glad that I gave them a chance!  In fact, I have not been able to walk past that library since without taking another free book!

First of all, the highlights!!

Creative Gifts for Valentines Day!

In those piles of books, I found the best Valentines Day present for my husband.  (Never mind that I already gave it to him last Friday, February 6th!)

He loves to cook, and has been patiently collecting a series of cookbooks (“Foods of the World”, from the 1960’s).  I found a whole bunch of cookbooks from that series – many of the titles he didn’t even know existed!  I put two of them in a gift bag and he was thrilled to get them.  He said this present was right up there with the ukelele I bought him several years ago for his birthday.  On Feb 14th, I will surprise him with a few more books from the series!

For my son, I found a big book about tropical fish with a cover picture of a Beta that looks just like his fish. He loved the gift, and was enthusiastically reading it at bedtime.

And for me?  A happy pile of books is now sitting by my bedside, and I’ve been enjoying them all week!

Why The Best Gifts are Free! (Sometimes)

Surprising family or friends with a free book (or some other unique find) is a great way to connect with them. Why?

1) It shows that you thought about that person as you were carrying about your day, wherever you might have been.

2)  It shows that you care enough to notice and remember what interests him or her.

3)  As a parent, I am subtly sharing my values with my son: frugality, a love for knowledge and reading, and environmentalism (reuse).  As a wife, I am supporting my husband in doing the cooking he loves.  😉

4)  It’s fun AND it’s free!  If they don’t like it, just donate it right away!

Hoarding Disclaimer!

The one thing that made me nervous, as I carried armfuls of books into my car, was my aversion to needless clutter.  (Though I love the nice kind of “clutter” that is visually appealing and shares a story and history.)  As I have mentioned in other posts, I am careful about what I bring into my house.  I don’t care about the price.  Free clutter is almost as annoying as the expensive kind.  Here, I will quickly share how I keep these books from becoming an organizational “problem”.

1) First of all, I rarely buy books.  I use the library instead, so that I can return them.  If I LOVE a book, or if it is a very useful reference, then I buy.

2)  I pass books along once I have read them.  From this pile of free books, I will only keep the ones that are special.  The rest, I will donate or give to a friend.

3) I keep sturdy bookcases in the areas of the house where we like to read.  For example, I love to read in bed, so I have a small stack of books that I keep on my night table or in a little stack on the floor beside me.  Inside the closet near my bed, I have a short bookshelf where I keep a bedside collection of books or magazines that I plan to read at some point.  Every now and then, I reconsider what I am keeping and donate what is no longer of interest.

4) I keep books in my studio, too.  I like a bit of meaningful clutter in that space.  It feeds my creativity.

What are you reading these days?  (You may find this hard to believe, based on my posts, but I do enjoy new books, too!)  I’d love to hear some suggesions!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Take care, and I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

Photo by Apolonia, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Owning What is There.

As we head toward Valentines this month, let’s remember to be good to ourselves. I found these words of wisdom months ago in a magazine interview. The amazing Salma Hayek echoes my own grandmother’s sage advice:

You’ve got to take who you are and love who you are and do the best you can with what you’ve got. That goes for the figure, and it goes for everything else. You’ve got to have a sense of humour about who you are and give yourself a break. You’ve got to have this kind of relationship with yourself. And it’s not easy, you know?  But you need to have this sort of relationship with yourself – otherwise life is hell. Sometimes evolving doesn’t mean transforming; sometimes it just means owning what is there.” 

We become the best version of ourselves when we accept ourselves for who we really are, and treat that person with compassion. 

Take care!

 

The image is by Mister GC, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

Series: Can A Song Connect You to Home? Today: Chuck Mangione

The picture above was used with permission: http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

Do You Have A Special Song?

“What song makes you think of home? It doesn’t have to literally be about home. Just a song that somehow embodies the concept for you, or makes you feel at home in some way”.

Just for fun, since we are in February, the month of Valentine’s Day, I decided to ask one of my best friends the question above.

We’ve been friends since university.  She is smart, hilarious, and looks remarkably like Audrey Hepburn.  Lucky her!

This was her decisive answer:

“Feels So Good, by Chuck Mangione”.

This instrumental piece reminds my friend of her childhood on the Canadian west coast in Vancouver. It conjures that feeling she loves of experiencing nature in a lively urban setting, and images of the beach, the ocean and the mountains.

“To me, home is more than just being in a house. I feel at home when I am outdoors, in nature.”

What do you think?  Is there a song that connects you to home?  Feel free to leave a comment.

Enjoy!

BTW…

My friend didn’t yet know about my blog when I asked her the above question, so I had to smile when I thought about my own answer from December 1st:

http://www.homehurrah.com/?p=93 )

No wonder we’ve been friends for so long.

DIY Lamp: So Easy and Unique!

We were having a really hard time taking down our Christmas lights this year.  The Christmas tree was no problem. We keep it in the family room at the back and we took it down early in January.

But our living room-dining room was a different story. This year I had tried something new. I lit these rooms up whimsically with Christmas lights throughout. At the window, I carefully designed a Christmas tree out of lights. It looked so nice that various guests were surprised when they came in to see that it was not a real tree – just a beautiful, 2-d light structure.

The problem was, none of us wanted to take the lights down. They created such a magical, cozy effect. Then, I saw this idea for a DIY lamp.  I took down all of the lights, and filled a tall glass vase with a string of lights. So easy! Our multicoloured lamp looks cozy and joyful in our living room. (See picture)

The great thing about this lamp is that you can choose one colour of light to create the feeling you want, and coordinate with your decor.  I simply used the lights I had, but there are many ways to apply this idea to your space and needs. (Consider the possibilities:  Red lights for a special Valentine dinner, white lights for an elegant year-round look…)

My son was initially pretty bummed out when I took down our Christmas lights, but after a couple of hours he said the lamp was growing on him. “Actually, it’s pretty charming. Like a star jar.”