Being an immigrant, there are days when the longing to that which was once my home is so strong that the emotional pain is almost physical. I had a spout of that this past week. It was paralyzing this time. All I could do was the stuff I can almost do in my sleep. Get up, go to work, eat, sleep, repeat!
It took me back to 2011, when our little family went there to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my parents. My husband took some incredible pictures one day on a walk to the beach. It was a mild winter, just wet, windy and gray.
I love how he captured the shift in the weather that day, almost exactly what I experienced with my mood this week.
The view from the cliffs over the beach is amazing no matter if it’s a sunny or gray day. I have sat there on the bench so many times, when I just needed to gather my thoughts. The water and the wind always forgiving and calming.
Last summer when my daughter and I went back for a wedding, we spent some time walking along the beach, gathering shells, playing in the water, eating ice cream. Even though the summer of 2017 was one of the worst on record in many years in Denmark, she still got a feel for what I love so much about this place.
The beaches of my childhood. It’s the one thing I really long for.
At the beginning of October, I started this blog challenge with Ultimate Blog Challenge. Each day we receive a topics as a writing prompt that we can choose to write about, or we can select our own topic. Todays topic is to write about adversity, either personal or in business. So, here we go.
I have already mentioned in a previous post that I run a small business next to my fulltime job and although it may not seem like a very visible adversity, it’s there and I face this demon every day. While I love my business, I still live with this fear in my head every day. That bugging feeling of “what if…”. What if I am not good enough? What will they think of me doing this? How am I going to find new customers? And the list goes on.
To quiet my mind and start my day of the best way I know how, I start with the miracle morning that I wrote about here: https://creatingacozyhome.com/miracle-morning/
In addition, I try to really plan my days and weeks to make sure that I am on top of things. But the fears are still there. The only thing that takes the fear away is action. Action that isn’t always there!!
Why? Why can’t I just shake it? I know it is all in my head, yet it seems so real. And yet somehow, I persist…
Today I finally got a bit of Fall décor out and I thought it would be fun to share a little bit with you. We still have so much to do at the house, but we are taking it just one little thing at the time.
We have a fireplace in this new home and I am pretty exited about that. I was working on the mantel today and here is what I came up with.
For my fall mantel, the items I used were all items I already had. The jar in the middle was a gift from my father in law and his wife a few years back for Christmas. I filled it with pinecones and tied a fall ribbon around it. The two basket cones on the sides are decorations that I made a few years ago. I spray painted them black and filled them with fall foliage. The pumpkin garland I also a decoration I made a few years ago. It fits perfectly right there on the mantel.
The wreath on the back door I also made a few years ago. It’s not necessarily a fall decoration but it goes well with the rest of the color scheme that we have going on in here. I still need to figure out what to do with the door. I have not decided if we want some sort of curtain yet. To be determined 🙂
The last thing we put up today was this wreath in the kitchen. My daughter made this wreath last year. She was 12 then. I think she did a great job. She did not really want it in her room this year, because it doesn’t fit her color scheme, but I love the vibrant burnt fall colors.
Do you decorate for fall? Or what is your favorite holiday or season to decorate for?
The real heroine in my life was my paternal grandmother. To me she was what a grandmother should be. Loving, caring, full of life. She would give her shirt of her back to help you. She was my one and only. After I immigrated to the US, I continued the very special relationship I had with her in the many letters that we wrote to each other. We’d snail-mail them. She knew nothing about computers, didn’t own one.
My grandfather died 21 years ago of heart failure. He battled the illness on and off for 10 years and gradually got worse at the end. He adored her, he doted on her and did everything for her. He was the breadwinner for sure.
Both of them born in the 1920th, they grew up through the depression and my grandfather served in World War II. I loved when she would tell stories of a time long gone, when she was a little girl, when she was a young woman starting to work and when she met grandpa and had babies. I knew all the places she was talking about and could imagine from photographs how it used to look.
My grandmother was a character. She loved music, she was a wonderful singer and was always humming a tune. She loved to bake, she loved her roses, especially yellow. they were her favorite. One of her favorite saying was “Give me a flower, while I am living”, and that is truly how she lived.
As I got older, she would coach me on more grown-up topics. We would have long talks in her kitchen or at lunches. She was my go-to, my rock.
I have spent most of my adult life in the US and I have missed being able to go to her house for afternoon coffee. She would always make the best coffee.
My daughter and I went to Denmark last year to visit my family and attend my brother’s wedding. My grandma had battled pancreatic cancer for a few years and I knew when I saw her that it would be the last time. She was frail and she knew her time had come. During our last vist to her apartment, my folks were there too and we all sat down and talked a bit.
In a quiet moment, she took my hand and squeezed it. I knew all the words she was saying without her even talking. Just a little while later I hugged and kissed her goodbye.
My grandmother lost her battle to cancer earlier this year at the age of 88. She was and always will be my true hero.
Do you remember those? The scrunchies? I am not sure exactly how you spell it. They are those little hair pieces that girls wear like ponytail holders or around their wrists as bracelets. I remember them from when I was in grade school in the 80s. I wore them and I also made a few myself.
I was a little surprised when my 13 year old came home one day and told me that she was going to make these little hair pieces and sell them for a buck a piece. I didn’t really think she was serious. Scrunchies have definitely made a comeback.
A few days later we were at the store doing our bi-weekly grocery shopping and she asked if she could go to the fabric isle. I said sure and about 15 minutes later she came back with all the tools she needed to create these little things.
For the first week her and I helped each other hand stitch 17 of these little things for her friends. Now I am no seamstress, but I can do a little hand stitching and was able to show her how to do that.
A good friend of mine heard of her new venture and told me she could borrow her sewing machine, so the other day she learned to operate the basics on the sewing machine. Her weekend project will be a line featuring the pink bows in honor of breast cancer awareness month and the plan is to donate her profits.
I am surprised and tickled that she is enjoying this so much, but also happy that she has found something that brings her joy.
You know that feeling when we really work on something, for a very long time and it just does not really seem to get any better? It’s good, but we can’t seem to overcome that last hurdle?
I watched my daughter in her tumbling class today finally master her back handspring after 3 long, grueling years in a variety of tumbling classes. Practicing, persisting, more practicing. She just kind of had it, but not really. She couldn’t quite get past that last little (or big) fear in her head. And then finally today she got it without a spot.
I love watching her journey, because I know that on some days she is just ready to give it up. The frustration is painted all over her face and there is nothing anyone can say to make it right. You are just there as the supporter if she needs it.
I know the walk, because I have walked it myself so often and still do with so many things in my life. We are so close to our goal, but yet it feels so far and so frustrating. Giving up seems to sometimes be the only option, yet we don’t because the next try may be our breakthrough.
This year marks 20 years since I graduated college.
I had not even thought about that. It really has been a while. My degree is in Elementary Education and I was convinced when I started college that I was on the right path. I had wanted to become a teacher ever since I was in the 8th grade and I was looking forward to it.
As I made my way through college and student teaching, something inside of me kept telling me that I might not quite be on the right path. However, I had so much invested and I finished my degree.
As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, I am originally from Denmark and immigrated to the US as a young adult, but my childhood, grade school, high school and college years were all spent in Denmark. Through a number of circumstances, I landed a job as a Danish Teacher at a small college in Nebraska, and my first two years as a working adult, I spent teaching Danish part-time and going to school part time in the Midwest.
I absolutely fell in love with higher education in the US. I loved the college experience both as a working professional and as a student.
Fast forward 20 years. I still work in Higher Education today putting in my 40 hours a week, I also run a small direct sales business at the side, I have a family, a house, bills, now a blog and, and, and….
Although my years in higher education have been really rewarding, the challenge I am facing in my day job has clearly become a lack of passion. The challenge with my side business is not having the time needed to devote to it and the same goes for the rest. The family, the house, the blog and I could go on. The things that mean the most to me often take a back-seat to the day job, or rather the fact that I try so hard to find passion and meaning in what I do.
How did I get here? How does anyone get to this place where what they loved for so long becomes the least favorite thing of the day and just something that has become a “have to” rather than a “want to” and a “look forward to”?
I ask myself those questions so often. Weekly and often daily.
My first step in trying to change my attitude and my day has been introducing “The Miracle Morning” into my day. You can read more about this in my post https://creatingacozyhome.com/miracle-morning/
Join me again as I explore this journey further. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you may have handled similar situations. How have you taken action, what tools have you used and where are you now?
Earlier this year or last year a business mentor of mine recommended the book “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod to me. I really trust my friend and the advice that she gives, so I bought the book and started to read.
I had really been wanting to make some changes in my life for a while, and still do, so I was up for the challenge and started reading. The overall message in the book is that by starting your morning off right, you create a better attitude and therefore a better day and ultimately a better life. Hal calls this the Miracle Morning.
Here is what the miracle morning consists of. You get up 60 minutes earlier every morning to allow yourself the time needed to complete the following tasks:
Silence for 5 minutes
Affirmations for 5 minutes
Visualization for 5 minutes
Exercise for 20 minutes
Reading for 20 minutes
Scribbling (writing) for 5 minutes
He calls these life savers. See the acronym? He goes into detail about each one of these in the book and there are a few other things that he also does.
I love the idea and even though I consider myself a morning person, I don’t particularly enjoy getting up in the morning. But I really needed to start my day calm and centered. So I came up with my version of the miracle morning.
My morning includes four of the things above: Exercise, Prayer and Scripture, Reading and journaling and I usually fit the whole thing into 45 minutes – an hour. It really made a difference for about the past two month. I was very consistent….until this past week. Then I stumbled. First I took out the exercise and just did the scripture and the reading and then I just did not do it on some days.
And now…now I am struggling to get back into the swing of it. I miss it a lot. I miss my rhythm, I miss the exercise and the quiet time with God.
I will get it back, I have been here before. It’s doing the uncomfortable even if we don’t feel like it and even if it is uncomfortable.
Today I want to share a small project I have been working on for the past few weeks.
Our living room is kind of an open concept, but there is really not a whole lot of light. There is only one window in the living room area and the door to the back yard is right next to that. The only other window is in the dining room adjacent to the living room, which gives a little bit of light too.
The window goes pretty far down so the space is really a bit awkward. I have been wondering what in the world we should put there and I finally decided on this little side table and a chair that I already had.
My daughter initially used this old table as a bed side table in her bedroom in its original brown, sad and drap state. I already had some white chalk paint which I bought but never used, so I decided to paint it white. I distressed it just a little bit and the antiqued it with a coat of brown antique wax. I am still not quite sure about the result, but my family really likes it. I am not sure of the brownish tint. But for now I am going to live with it.
I wish I had taken a before picture as well, but I guess the excitement of getting started got the better of me. The plan is to redo a chair that we have in the same way to go with the table by the window to create a little extra seating as well.
The best part about this project is that I had all of the items that I used. I did not have to go out and spend money, but was able to re-create something we already had. How fun.
In the later years, Fall has become one of my favorite seasons of the year. Not only because of the colors and the pumpkin spice latte’s and Thanksgiving and all that. It’s also because of those things, but that’s not all.
See, I am a northern girl. I am a Dane transplanted to dry, sunny and hot Oklahoma. When we first moved here 12 years ago, I had a hard time getting used to the blazing hot summers. It was almost unbearable to me. I was used to four seasons with a long Spring and a long Fall and cooler summers and wet cold winters.
Oklahoma is a whole different story. The summer here lasts about as long as the winter does in Denmark, so when it finally cools off here, I am ready for it.
To me Fall is all about “hygge”, that cozy feeling we talked about in yesterdays post. It’s about walks on weekends to enjoy the crisp air and the beautiful fall colors, it’s the first hot cup of coffee on a cold fall morning, it’s tasting the latest new coffee special from Starbucks, it’s celebrating Thanksgiving with the family, it’s all the fun fall décor.
One of the things we have done the last couple of years with our family is a pumpkin carving day. I love it. I will admit that Halloween is my least favorite holiday, but I love the carving party with my family.
So as we move into October, I am so exited to get to do all of these things.