Getting Back on Track & Putting Old Glory Back Together

It’s been quiet here on the blog for several weeks because life decided to jump the rails and train wreck my schedule.  A HUGE project at work went sideways the first week of May, requiring me to help out in another department plus do my regular tasks to coordinate several events, including our largest customer event of the year. The Hubs and I have been working on several projects around the house and then we were out of town to visit family over the Memorial Day weekend, which required a bit of prep and catch up afterwards.

In the mix of all that I had a full line-up of photography clients and then attended a photography workshop the first week of June, which gave me a whole new set of goals to work on as well. We also lost a close family friend and a family member to cancer over the Memorial Day weekend, which shifted our perspective to enjoying the days we are given rather than the to-do list.

July is set to be full of opportunities for just that, with my sister and brother-in-law visiting for the 4th, us visiting with the Hub’s cousins in Kenai mid-month, the Palmer Garden Art Faire and a vintage market on the calendar. We are also planning a trip to Iceland and possibly Scotland to tie in with our trip to D.C. for my nephew’s wedding this fall!

1As we celebrate Independence Day, I thought it was a perfect time to share this quick little project I did with a rustic flag decor piece.  I’ve had this metal flag wind chime for years and the original metal fasteners had worn out causing the stripes to fall off the main support rod.

3Since the pieces themselves were still in good shape, I knew I could put it back together fairly easily.  I originally planned to use twine for a rustic look, but the holes were too small, so I pulled out some thin gauge metal cording from my crafting cart and replaced all of the joints.  It only took a few minutes to re-do all the connecting points and the hardest part was not poking myself with the end of the wire.

2And here she is, all updated and ready for several more years on display.  I don’t currently  have a spot for her so she may end up in the sale pile, but I’m sure someone else would appreciate her rusty glory as much as I do.

I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday.  We spent the day watching our fellow Alaskans launch cars of a cliff in Glacier View with my sister and brother-in-law in tow on the first day of their Alaskan vacation.  It was a great way to celebrate our independence and create unique memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

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2017: Simplify

I’m not big on resolutions, but I always get an urge to plan out projects at the beginning of a new year.  Like many others, most of my planning for the year starts with clearing out the clutter and starting with a clean slate so I’ve been gathering all the things in the house that are no longer needed or wanted.  I’ll post a good bunch of them on the buy/sell pages but some things will be donated to the big charity auction I put on at work in March.

While this purge isn’t as massive as the Great Decrapification of 2015, the pile is already pretty large and I still plan to purge through some of my crafting inventory and the coat closet.  Even more surprising was that this pile comes after we’ve already purged quite a bit from the house throughout 2016 as evidenced by the pictures I started gathering for taxes (our tax professional recommended we start doing this to justify any donation deductions we were claiming in the event of an audit)!

As the clutter was cleared, I started to think that I should find a way to continue this motivation.  Not a resolution, just something to keep me focused.  I like the idea of choosing a word to represent your goals for the year and after a bit of thought I’ve decided mine is SIMPLIFY.  It’s a good reminder when I get wrapped up in a project to take a step back and think about what the basics are and eliminate the rest.  And I can apply it to just about everything:

  • Decorating: Less stuff means less to clean and maintain, plus less time to constantly change things up. I gave up my ‘holiday’ tree some time ago, but was still decorating the main area of the house for each little holiday.   Now I plan to decorate by season, rather than individual holidays so our home still feels inviting and cozy but I spend less time and energy creating looks that are only up for a few weeks.
  • Gardening: While it’s always fun to try new things in the garden and see how they grow, perennials are hardy and will come back year after year on their own leaving me more time to focus on harvest crops that will feed our family and important maintenance type projects.
  • Eating: Speaking of food – simplifying what we eat can go two ways, either less complex preparation such as one-pot and crockpot recipes or moving away from processed foods to heathier options.
  • Activities: While you can do everything, you can’t do it all at once. I’m letting go of several activities that aren’t bringing me the joy I envisioned they would so that I can explore other things I’ve been wanting to try and then select those that I most prefer.  Remember not every minute of every day needs to be planned out.  Sometimes the best creativity comes when your mind has time to relax.
  • My business: I’ve always based my photography business on a desire to create quality images for other DIY-minded folks who want portraits to document their lives but not the stress of choosing which images tell that story based on a budget. I’ve honed my style to be very simple and comfortable, which means I don’t need all of the cute props  I see stylized photographers using no matter how adorable they are.  And I don’t have to rush to offer a mini session “special” for every holiday because I have a low year-round rate.

There are many more topics I could apply as well, but overall each will hopefully reduce the extra stress modern life seems to induce.   And I’m realistic to realize that I won’t always be able to take the “simple” road because I live and work with others who influence my daily life.  But when those challenges come up I can remind myself that the simplest answer is usually the best and be sure to recommend that course of action.

This year is going to be a busy one –I’ve got a big project at work that will run through late spring, we plan to build the master deck this summer, I’ll be setting up the new greenhouse the Hubs built last year (I’ll share more on that soon) to get the growing season started, we are taking a trip to Iceland in the fall thanks to winning a contest and on the way home from that trip we’ll be attending my nephew’s wedding near D.C. which I’ll be photographing.   So simplifying other things will help keep things in balance.  Wish me luck and stay tuned to see how this little plan of mine turns out! 🙂

Life Lately & Feeling Grateful

return

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve all been well during my recent unplanned hiatus from the blog.  Life got a little crazy and I felt like not only was my candle burning at both ends but somehow the wick in the middle had been exposed and lit as well.  We were dealing with medical issues for both the Hubs and the fur babies, as well as a death in the family, compounded with a rush of photography clients, several big changes at my day job, preparing the house and yard for an Alaskan winter, a trip out of state, creating inventory for the big upcoming holiday bazaar and everyday life.  It was too much all at once, so blogging had to take a backseat for a bit.

Although there was plenty to write about over the last few months, there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done and I didn’t want to rush to provide you with posts that weren’t well thought out.  But I can say that I’ve truly missed writing and sharing our adventures with you all.  So I’m back and will try to stick to the regular schedule now that my big commitments are about to wrap up for the year.  In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing a recap of our trip to Denali, several changes we’ve made around the house and our experience at the Junk Bonanza show in Portland.

During my time away from the blog, I also witnessed several moments that made me appreciate the blessings I have.  As we prepare to gather with thanksgiving this week I thought I’d share them with you as a reminder to be grateful for the positive things we often take for granted in the daily rush of life.

  • The first was when I spotted a homeless man shuffling alongside the road during my morning commute and watched as he stopped to inspect a splatter of spilled food on the sidewalk before bending over to scoop up a handful of what was there and shove it in his mouth.  It made me thankful to have a warm home and plentiful healthy food to nourish my body.  And when I saw another homeless man changing clothes on a bus stop bench the following week I was reminded to be thankful for the security I enjoy knowing I have a safe place to rest and meet my daily needs.
  • A few days later there was an active shooter situation near an elementary school just a few blocks from my office.  As I drove past the SWAT officers in full tactical gear with their weapons at the ready I was thankful for those who serve and protect when danger hits close to home.
  • That afternoon I passed a car accident where both vehicles were heavily damaged.  Beyond the wreckage I saw a couple embracing as they cried, obviously in shock over what had just happened but happy that they were both OK.  It made me thankful for the time I get to spend with loved ones because you never know when life can change suddenly.
  • Later that week I went to the large medical center for a routine appointment during my lunch hour.  I was flustered and in a hurry, but the sight of a young girl in wheelchair with a bandanna poorly hiding the fact that she had no hair and a nasogastric intubation coming out of her nose who was smiling from ear to ear made me pause.  This child, who was obviously battling a serious medical condition, was joyful while I was mumbling under my breath about some minor stress at the office.  It made me think twice and reminded me to be thankful for the relative good health both I and my family enjoy.

So take a moment to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for.  Life is never perfect, but when you choose to focus on the good things it sure is a lot better for everyone.