12 Quotes and Some Reflection for Living Well All Year Round.

Welcome to The New Year!

Image used with permission: http://www.aliciaandneilphotography.com/

2014 is almost over and I can hardly believe that the calendar will read 2015. That sounds like I am living in the future.

Time passes, and current events that were a big part of our life, like the turn of the millenium, suddenly become part of a distant history. Technology moves us along even faster.

The internet has changed the world so quickly; I remember when they brought email into our workplace in the second year of my career (16 years ago). Now, I am sure that most North American children can’t even conceive of a world without their IPods and X-Boxes.  

This all makes me sound very old, but I am not. I am 42. Hey, I still see that as relatively young.

The world today moves so fast, and sometimes it seems to be in such a mess. Yet, it can also be so beautiful, and acts of hope and kindness are everywhere. Life is hard, and demanding, and sad. Life is joyful, wondrous and beautiful. Success, failure. All of it. That struggle is life itself.

A Time for Renewal

So we celebrate New Year as way of wiping the slate clean. It’s a way of saying “let’s all agree to pause now”, to process what has happened in the last year, so we can start again with renewed enthusiasm, courage and optimism.  A new beginning, when all our experiences are hopefully elevated into lessons that arm us with wisdom and strength for the upcoming year.

Time Flies

New Year reminds us that time is passing. Time is finite, and we better get to the business of living well. Let go of worries, of petty gripes, of fears. Enjoy the moment. Celebrate the joys in life, the successes – no matter how small – take them in. Be kind to ourselves and be kind to others, not just humans, but other species, too. Forgive ourselves and forgive others. Think less; don’t overanalyze.  Think more; act mindfully.

We are all just doing our best. Remember that when you want to lose patience with the cashier or the person driving slowly in the fast lane.  You don’t know what they might be going through.

If we keep trying and don’t give up, our efforts will amount to something – to positive change for us and for the planet.

Finding Wisdom

Here are 12 of my favourite quotes from a book called “Wisdom”, by Andrew Zuckerman. The quotes are about life, in general. “Wisdom” is a big, beautiful book filled with interesting ideas and advice, shared by accomplished and famous senior citizens. It’s a book that reminds us that age brings a deeper understanding of life.

Maybe listening to the wisdom of those who have lived a long time is one way to hear, in the words of Bernice Johnson Reagon, “…the part of the universe that continues after we are gone.”

12 Quotes for the New Year: Words of Wisdom.

“Don’t take yourself so seriously” ~Bernice Johnson Reagon

“Life is not perfect; it never will be. You just have to make the very best of it and you have to open your heart to what the world can show you. Sometimes it’s terrifying and sometimes it’s incredibly beautiful. And I’ll take both, thanks.” ~Graham Nash

“Following the seasons is very important, to follow the seasons as they come and to enjoy the food as it is. Small portions, simply prepared” … “Cook with love. Sit down around the table and share food with your children and your family.” ~Jacques Pepin

“I’m curious about life, period.” ~Graham Nash

“…Where people of goodwill get together and transcend their differences for the common good, peaceful and just solutions can be found even for those problems which seem most intractable.” ~Nelson Mandela

“The heart is what matters most. The act of compassion, of being able to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes…” ~ Kris Kristofferson

“People have always said of my whole life… “You are too kind, Bryce.” Well … (being) pleasant and nice- you’re going to be conned, absolutely, for sure – but in the long run, over seventy-five years, it’s a better journey and in the end you win more. In hard fact you actually win more: you win more friends, you win more opportunities, you win more life, you win more joy, you win more character.” ~Bryce Courtenay

“Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there.” ~Willie Nelson

“We are in a culture that asks for that quick assessment. I have students sometimes that say, “I like hearing Harriet Tubman better than Sojourner Truth.” And I say, “They’re both dead, and you can have them both. Why are you going to pick one?” ~Bernice Johnson Reagon

“Exercise is very important to my mental well-being.” ~Madeleine Albright

“…just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” ~Chuck Close

“I don’t want you to compromise, but be careful. It’s your life you are living and nobody else’s. Find out who you are and find out what you really believe in.”… I got this incredible advice, to watch out very carefully and find out where I felt myself attracted and where I felt myself uncomfortable. I think this is what we can call on to approach wisdom: that your experiences of bad things, of good things, of your own mistakes, of your shame… if you have built up knowledge about yourself, you get to have not only dreams, but visions.”       ~Kurt Masur on the advice given to him by his father.

ALL THE BEST IN 2015!!!

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 Comfort ~ Inspiration ~ Ideas

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Learning to Blog: Reflections on My First Month

Learning to Blog

On Christmas Eve, it will be exactly one month since I published my first post on homehurrah.com.  It’s been an exciting month for me.  I have learned a lot about blogging, and the process of preparing my posts has been interesting.

Starting a blog has taken some time and effort, and I still have much to learn! The good news is that there are many sources of support. If you happen to be interested in starting your own blog, one of the reference books that I found most helpful was: “WordPress, Absolute Beginner’s Guide”, by Triss Hussey. When getting started, it also helps to refer to informative blogs and websites on the internet. I looked up a whole bunch. http://startbloggingonline.com/ was just one of the many good resources out there.

As I reflect on this experience so far, I want to say thank you to those of you who are reading the blog, and to those of you who have left comments – you made my day!

Looking Forward

As I head into my second month of blogging, I continue to look forward to posting regularly on a variety of topics related to home.  Over the next few months, I will also be including interviews with people who are finding ways to incorporate their passions into their home life: a visual artist, two photographers, and a published author.

I invite you to let me know if there is a topic you would like me to write about, or the name of a song or artist that connects you with “home”. I will do my best to include your suggestions in future posts!

Above image courtesy of desktopocean.com.

Little Drummer Boy – Walk Off The Earth (Feat. Doggies)

To sign off today, here is a very nice version of the Little Drummer Boy, with a fun video that makes me smile! Enjoy!

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

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Home, Life, and Living.

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Ideas on How to Simplify Christmas

So Many Reasons to Love  December

I love December! The charmed month that brings the longest night of the year, and the promise of longer days ahead. It brings twinkling lights and sparkling snow, walks in the fresh northern air, the smell of pine, the brilliant blue winter skies. It means time spent with friends and family, the wonderful aromas of delicious food and tasty wine.   When I assess what it is that I find so magical about December, I realize it has very little to do with shopping, or receiving material gifts. The things that make this month magical for me have everything to do with spending time with loved ones, and savouring life.

How to Enjoy the Holidays… Your Way.

With all of the pressure to buy, spend, out-do and out-decorate, though, we sometimes wind up feeling more stress than joy.  It is important to remember that we have the choice to make changes, and create a simpler season for ourselves.  The key is to make decisions that are right for you and your family, based on what you want your Christmas to be, not the expectations dictated by a commercially driven holiday.  

Simple Ideas for a Simpler Christmas

Our family tries to keep things pretty simple at Christmas, but we enjoy celebrating together and doing some sort of gift exchange. Everyone always buys presents for the children, though we try not to over do it.  However, we tend to be quite minimalist with the adult gift exchange.  Some years, we pick names and only buy for that one person.  This means that we can put more thought into the gift.  Also, my husband and I don’t always buy each other presents, or we keep the gifts small, fun, or really wanted (Example: I love books, but rarely spurge on them for myself – I just use the library.  So, at Christmas, my husband will often buy me a book he knows I love).   When deciding on gifts, remember that unique and creative gifts are often way better than the latest and greatest piece of plastic.    Another way we simplify is that we reuse gift bags and decorations… I am still using the artificial tree and the ornaments from my childhood!  My son loves it, and putting up that old tree has become  quite a family tradition.

How Would You Like to Spend This Christmas?

Early in December is a good time to reflect on how we’d like to see the season unfold. Ask yourself: How would you like to spend your time this December? What makes this month special for you?   Make a list, and prioratize – identify which activities are most important to you.  Then, remember the list when planning your engagements and gift exchanges for the season.  You can’t say yes to everything, so use the list to help guide your choices.  If necessary, consider making a few changes to how you’ll approach the holidays this year.  As my mom always says, “There are a lot of stops between everything and nothing.”  Small changes can make a difference.

Enjoy Christmas and December, too.

Celebrating a simpler Christmas keeps December from becoming a frantic month, and it gives you the opportunity to really enjoy the activities of the season.    It has been a win-win for us:  less packaging, less shopping, less pressure, less waste, more time to do the things that matter, more time to spend with the people who we love, more money in the bank or contributed to a charity, more contemplation and more health.

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Home, Life, and Living.

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So here’s to December.  In an imperfect world, and with all it’s challenges, may it still sparkle with some sincere joy.  Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com.  I can’t wait to share my next post with you!