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Last year wasFrozen rough, probably one of the harder years in my life so far. I managed to get through it, some days I’m not sure how but it’s over now and hopefully this year will be better.

I don’t generally do New Year Resolutions because I feel that they set me up for failure and I’m already good enough at screwing things up on my own. But I also believe in the power of intention and putting those intentions out into the universe to take root. Right now, the current year is a blank slate, what it will become is in large part up to me. So I can choose to allow last year’s patterns to continue or I can choose to make something new and different.

This  year my intentions are to focus on making my physical space somewhere I want to be, to feed my spirit by allowing time for things that bring me joy, and to let my creative juices flow. To do this I will:

  1. Paint at least 2 rooms in my house this year.
  2. Start gathering photos/frames for the family photo wall
  3. Set aside project time every week for the creation of things that bring me joy, not just things that are needed (but if making necessary things also brings me joy–that’s a bonus)
  4. Set aside time at least once a month for activities that have no purpose other than enjoyment.
  5. Clear my physical space of those things I no longer need or want to make room for those things that will come into my life this year.

Sometimes little bits of luxury are just that: little. The things that you take for granted until they’re taken from you. Things like your health, the ability to see the sun shining, hot water for a shower. A nice bowl of soup on a cold day. The smile of a child.

This week had the markings of becoming a terrible, no-good, very bad week if I would have let it. Nothing was going right. I was off track and off schedule both of which made me off-kilter. I felt out of control. Yet I managed to pull myself back in.

It was the little things that did it: the perfect cup of coffee, the sunlight shining on the snow, those tiny baby giggles. They didn’t cost me a thing. I have coffee, the snow is just outside the window, and the children are an incredible blessing on their own.

So much of life is about choices. We cannot always choose what happens to us. But we can choose how we deal with it. I can be bitter and angry over things I can’t control or I can be mindful of the blessings I have and all the little (and not-so-little now) luxuries that surround me.

Yeah…it’s been a while. Again. In my world, “real life” tends to be a huge time suck. Between FT work, FT school, homeschooling the kiddos, family issues, health issues, and general all around “other stuff to do” blogging tends to take a back seat (or in my case, gets shoved in a box in the trunk and buried under the jumper cables and spare tire).

Changing seasons are traditionally difficult for me to deal with. Lately I’ve been snappish, crabby, and heading into my seasonal depression. Something had to change. I left work today in a bit of a funk. This is not unusual-I work in a very emotionally and spiritually draining field and leave work in a funk many days. I was just unwilling to inflict myself on the family in all my cranky glory.

So I did what any girl would do–went out for some pampering. Luckily, my budget had some extra space this month so I could have someone else pamper me for a minute without too much worry. So, I had my “once a quarter when I remember and think to get to the shop” wax. Unfortunately, facial hair is a part of my life, seems to run in the family. There are very few things that make you feel less feminine than a unibrow and ‘stashe. They had to go. Ten minutes and several red, shiny patches later and I’m heading to destination number two.

Now would be a good time to tell you that the word “salon” is not in my vocabulary. Having been broke for so long, I can barely justify a $15 wax job once a quarter. Still, I was in a funk and needed something so off I went to the discount hair cut place. (I’ve been told just venturing through the door makes me uncommonly brave–since my standard response to bad hair is “I can just shave it off”, I’m not sure how true that is). They were having a massive sale on their already cheap services so for very little cash I got a shampoo, light conditioning treatment, and hair cut. Once we were all satisfied with the results, I was off on the next (and final) leg of my journey–home for coloring.

I have never in my life had my hair professionally colored. Generally, Da Man, my little sister, or whatever random person I can grab off the street would dye my hair for me. It was a long process because for the past many years my hair has been down nearly to my waist. It just so happened that there was a box of color and highlight color in my bathroom just begging to be used. Lucky for me Da Man was willing to be impressed into service spot check the color application for me. Even better, he caved to peer pressure helped me place the highlights.

My head feels lighter, my eyes are visible, and I’ve got a shiny new shade going on. Magically my funk disappeared. Apparently, I need to get back to my little bits of luxury on a regular basis. Everyone is grateful for the change in mood, including myself.

Every once in a while a girl just needs a date–with herself! In the day to day rush of work, family, friends, and whatever obligations we balance, many women forget to nurture a very important person–themselves. It’s so easy to get caught up in guilt or the to-do lists that are always miles long. One thing I’ve learned from several women who are wiser than I–it’s very important to make time for you.

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate event–it can be. About once or twice a year I allow myself a nice, unhurried dinner somewhere of my choosing–including a lovely dessert followed by or preceeded by a leisurely walk, movie, whatever I want that day. Most of the time, my self-dates have three essential elements–my Ipod, something to read, and a cuppa something. I’ve had them at home, on my lunch break from work, and out and about. Even just 20 minutes is enough to refresh me.

Personally, I schedule me time at least weekly. Sometimes I’ll take a book and grab some coffee before class. Other times I’ll lock myself in the bathroom with a steaming bath and some music with my book. Sometimes, I’ll take a solo stroll around the mall–maybe grab a pretzel, usually just browsing in the bookstore. Think about what you like to do, what makes you feel grounded and refreshed. Then schedule that activity–this week. Make the time to honor and nurture yourself so you can better handle the rest of your life.

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