Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Best

When I was growing up, people wore their Sunday best to church.
My grandmother always complained about people not looking presentable at church, that they weren't putting in the time to look good before God. Fast forward 35 some odd years...

There is a lot if evidence that the concept if your Sunday best has changed. 

I'm not talking fashion police, but the whole idea of looking your best before God.
For me, it's a sign of respect going to the Lord's house.
I'm blessed that I have a section in my closet of Sunday dresses.
The Little Man has dress clothes in his closet,
but for kiddos with autism, they just aren't comfortable.
Church is hard enough, wearing stuff that bothers you makes it worse. He wears shirts and pants, which are clean, neat and most of all-comfortable.
By having certain clothes set aside for Sundays, it puts extra emphasis on making the Sabbath special.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Hoarding Song

For a while, I was hooked on the show, Hoarders. It tried to put a human face on hoarding. For many of these folks, there was serious mental illness that kept them stuck in these lifestyle patterns of accumulating junk. Most kept literal garbage. Many were unable to bathe due to the conditions of their bathrooms. Others had inaccessible kitchens.

I often wondered what was the moment that they began hoarding. What triggered such an extreme reaction to stuff? How could their self identity be tied up in things? After I did some major thinking about it, I realized that most Americans are hoarders on one level or another. We might be as extreme as those on TV, but we hoard things. We live in a very consumer driven society. Many of us wind up in debt because we are trying to impress others with the stuff we have-whether or not we like those people is completely irrelevant. Its coveting, like the commandments ask us to not do.

 I “collect” (read: hoard) a lot of things. I love clothes. I love shoes. I love music. I love craft supplies. I have lots of all of the above. I don’t need them all, so above my need is my “hoard”.

One of the yogic yamas is not hoarding. In today’s society, its counter cultural to live simply. The older I get, the more I realize that’s the lifestyle I yearn for. Its exhausting keeping up with the Johnsons (I live in the Midwest. There are more Johnsons than Jones here). I’d rather just be. I am still attached to a lot of my stuff, and my identity is tied up in a lot of it. I can relate to those on the TV show somewhat, that they need their stuff to prove who they are. Fly Lady is a great place to start for decluttering. She has some great tips, tricks and ideas to make it happen.

One of her concepts is, if you had 10 minutes to evacuate your house, what would you bring? That’s your treasure. Everything else is gravy.

Monday, January 19, 2015


One of the worst parts of yoga and meditation practice is the dredging up of suppressed emotions. The deeper I get into my practice, the more these emotions bubble to the surface. Its hard, because I suppressed them for a reason you know.

One of the emotions that has come bubbling up is this profound sadness. I am finding myself out of a clear blue sky, sobbing for no reason. Well, actually, there are reasons. There is a lot of mourning I never did when it was the season to mourn. As a result, I locked up that sadness and it stayed with me for a very long time. I am sad that things didn’t always go according to plan. I am sad that I never allowed myself the proper time to mourn my losses, no matter how insignificant they may have seemed to someone else. They mattered to me.

The other emotion that I can’t seem to get a handle on is anger. I have realized that I am a very angry person, even though I never intended to be. It rears its head when I least expect it, against those I least expect to. I was talking with a friend  who is one of the most Zen people I know, about this the other day and she told me, you have every right to be angry. Its ok to be.

What a lot of wisdom in that sentence. I do have every right to be angry. I am entitled to my anger, but I have to own it. I think it’s the fact that while I am angry, I am also incredibly frustrated.

Most of my frustration comes from the fact that in my head, I lead the perfect life. I eat healthy, I exercise daily, my house is spotless, my child is perfect and I look great. In reality if I get one out of the list, I’m doing great. I invest too much time in coveting others. Sometimes it can be inspiring

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Shabbat Shalom

Leviticus 23:3 

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.

Today we live in a 24/7/365 world. We have 24 hour restaurants, stores and lives. Thanks to social media, there is the added pressures of FOMO (fear do missing out). I had been ignoring God's call for me (and my family) to keep the Sabbath holy. I was ignoring my emotional and physical call for rest. 

When I had the opportunity to have rest, during my husband & son's vacation, I embraced it. 

It was much needed, and if felt restored. I began to think about how keeping the Sabbath and my journey toward simplicity and a slow life were intertwined. I decided that we would start keeping a Sabbath in our home. It's hard, because the Big Man usually works Sundays, but that doesn't mean the little man & I couldn't do it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Turn back time

As I continue on the path towards simplicity, one of the things I can pay more attention to is my health. 
I've had fits and starts over the last few years, but nothing really has stuck. 
I won't lie, I love working out. It's just my schedule has been jam packed for the last several years and I don't get to the gym as much I could or should.

I'm ahem middle aged now, and I'm in crisis mode. I'm starting to deal with the effects of not living my best life when I was younger. I can't turn back time. 
I can, however, go forward. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Speak life

As I journey towards a slower life, I realized I needed to develop a framework to help me make a determination of whether or not something supports my goals of living more simply.

To do that, I needed to develop a personal mission statement.

I set an intention for 2015:

Living a simplified life, focused on gratitude, faith and family.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this tied into my personal philosophies.

You and I both know that some really good things still won’t fit in with your family mission. When we determine to live a life with intention there are some bad or destructive things that naturally have to go. What we sometimes don’t realize at first is that some really good and fun things might have to go too. Because even good and wonderful things might not fit into our purpose or mission as a family. They might cause tension or competition or merely create less room to breathe. Make sure what you add fits with your mission and purpose.

2. Is this something we want to do?

If you’re anything like me you’re quick to say yes and then wrestle with resentment about it later. This can be something trivial like agreeing to organize a school bake sale, or major like an ongoing troublesome relationship. Think first: is this something I want to do? Be brave enough to choose temporary discomfort over lasting resentment and bitterness.

3. Will it add to or detract from the goals of our family?

Some things that you consider for your schedule might fit in with your purpose, but everything has the potential to either add or detract. Some commitments get more demanding down the road and you can see that from the start. Make sure when you commit to something you’re not signing up for a slippery slope that will put you and your family in a difficult situation down the road. It’s far easier to stay off the hamster wheel, than to try to jump off later.

4. Is anyone left out if we make this decision?

If your family is like mine, you’ve got a couple of different personalities on board. If a decision will completely exclude or conflict with one of the children’s personalities or character it might not be a good fit. It’s never fair to sacrifice one child for the sake of another. Of course we need to recognize each child has different gifts and strengths and honor and encourage them. But consider what commitments you make and how they affect each person in the family unit.

Take Back Your Schedule 14

5. Is there still room for fun?

I’m a big believer that you can’t really plan fun. I mean, we all try. We organize and orchestrate trips and game nights and all number of things. But in my experience the most fun moments occurred spontaneously. They happened because there was room. When our schedules are so jammed packed that there isn’t any breathing space, we choke the life out of spontaneity and creativity. Make sure whatever your schedule is, you make room for fun.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Here Comes the Sun

When I first started doing yoga, I really despised the sun salutations. I saw no benefit in it-which is exactly why I needed them so much. Fast forward 26 years, and I can’t start my day without them. I do them as soon as I get out of bed, and it’s how I set the tone for the entire day. I’m not going to lie, there are days I skip, and those are days that everything is off kilter and out of sorts. For me, sun salutations serve two purposes. One, they are really great stretches that make my body feel great. Two, there is something about the ritual of doing them every morning. I love the grounding aspect of it, and the fact that it connects me to yogis past, present and future. As time has gone on, I have also added meditation and chant to them, to add a spiritual element for myself.


Sun salutations are great place to start if you are new to yoga. It consists of a series of poses or asanas that are relatively basic.


You start in:

Mountain pose.

 Chant Praise to Him who loves us all OR Our father, who art in Heaven


Back bend

Chant: Praise to Him who is cause for change OR hallowed be Your name


Forward fold

Chant: praise to Him who encourages me to move OR Thy kingdom come



Chant: praise to Him who creates light OR Thy will be done


Downward Dog

Chant: Praise to Him who creates the sky Or On earth, as it is in heaven



Chant: Praise to Him who nourishes all Or Give us this day our daily bread



Chant: Praise to Him who made everything Or forgive us our trespasses


Downward Dog

Chant: Praise to Him  Or as we forgive those who trespass against us


Lunge (opposite leg)

Chant: Praise to Him, lord of lords Or lead us not into temptation


Forward fold

Chant: praise to Him who is the king of kings Or Deliver us from evil


Back bend

Chant: praise to Him, Messiah Or for thy kingdom, power and glory


Mountain pose

Chant: praise to the Lord, who has made heaven and earth Or now and forever, Amen


It’s a great way to start the morning, clear my head and be connected to the universe (sorry to sound a little new age, but its how I feel). Try it for 21 days and see if it not only changes your body, but also your mind and soul.