100 Things I Love

I Love a Good List

January 10, 2011

It’s the second week of 2011—isn’t it about time for a good list? And I mean, a good one, full of simple pleasures and joys.

A few years ago, I compiled a list of “100 Things I Love” as an exercise in something self-help-y I was reading at the time. If I recall correctly, I was to pull it out when feeling a little blue, just to remind myself of how many things there are to love in my life.

When you have to make a list of 100 things, some interesting items appear. Alongside the expected—family, friends, chocolate, libraries, horses and books—appeared the more unusual:

Mahjong Titans (a game I play on my computer)
Yellowstone (we visited a couple of years ago and I'm dying to go back)

Yellowstone--did I mention we were there in June?
Shoes (you don’t have to take your clothes off to try on shoes)
The smell of leather (mmmmm).

Here are a few more, in no particular order:

Crossword puzzles
Robert Bateman’s art
Anne of Green Gables
Old houses
Flea markets
Walking in the woods
Being alone
Homemade bread
Flannel sheets
Fires (in the fireplace, not the forest!)

What would you put on your list of 100 things? Share a few with me—I’m always looking for more things to love!


Future Imperfect

January 07, 2011

Reading this post reminded me of a concept I’ve heard about that comes from Japanese culture: Wabi-Sabi. To sum it up in a rather general way, wabi-sabi is the art of finding and honoring beauty in the imperfect.

Now this is a concept I can get behind! I love the look of old and imperfect things. I buy distressed furniture, partly because we tend to distress things ourselves even if they don’t come that way, but also because it appeals to me. I find old pieces with a few battle scars much more appealing than something brand new and sleekly perfect. However, wabi-sabi is more than a design aesthetic. It’s a whole outlook on life, an outlook that “[acknowledges] three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Richard R. Powell, Wabi Sabi Simple).

Wabi-sabi doesn’t just put up with imperfection—it embraces it. That’s a good thing for all of us. I’m guessing you’re not perfect—I know I’m not. When I find myself bogged down in the same old issues, now I see I need to go beyond accepting that I’m imperfect all the way to loving my imperfections. This really goes against the grain for those of us in a culture that believes all personal faults should be eradicated immediately, if not sooner.

Perfect doesn’t exist. Imperfect—with all its glorious faults and detours and mistakes-that-turn-into-blessings—does. So today, let go of one thing you’re still a perfectionist about. Examine and embrace the flaws you see. Let the beauty of wabi-sabi wash over your life.

To learn more about wabi-sabi, go here.


Clean Sweep

January 03, 2011

I love watching cleaning/organizing shows on TV. There’s something cathartic about purging a home of what’s not needed anymore, cleaning it thoroughly, and putting back only what is useful and beautiful. I really wish someone would come to my house and do it for me, but since I don’t expect that to happen, I’ve gotten started on my own clean sweep.

I actually started a few weeks ago on our home office, which my husband and I share, because it had become what we only half-jokingly called “the pit of despair.” One wall is a built-in bookshelf with a flat surface halfway down, and more shelves and a cupboard where we keep our shredder below that. The flat surface had become stacked with piles of books, files, papers and miscellaneous stuff that I hate to admit belonged to me. So one weekend, I tackled the area. After going through everything, discarding and filing and moving things to different spots, I dusted and neatened up the whole space. Now, when I sit in my rocking chair first thing in the morning, to read, think or do morning pages, I love looking at the light shining onto many of our travel souvenirs and the spines of so many treasured books. I’m still in the process of purging my files and cleaning off my desk (the holidays forced me to take a break) but I’m almost done.

Part of the finished project

My office hasn’t been the only focus. I’ve also scrubbed out my tack trunk at the barn (it had at least an inch of dirt in the bottom of it) and all my grooming tools, and several other cleaning and organizing projects wait in the wings.

While I do all this cleaning and purging, I also have time to pull out my attitudes and beliefs, give them a shake and try them on for size. Do they still fit? Are they true and useful to me, or are they holding me back from my goals and dreams? It’s time to let go a few of them, too, I realize—especially the ones that begin with “I should” or “I can’t.”

Once I clean out the old, my next step will be to see if there are any little touches, such as fresh flowers or a pretty basket to hold art supplies, that will inexpensively warm and brighten my spaces. I also swap outdated or wrong beliefs and attitudes for new, more positive ones: “I will finish writing my book this year,” for example.

A brand new year seems like a good time to do a little purging, whether it’s of papers and clothes or of attitudes and ideas. I feel a sense of relief and lightness as I clear away the clutter of things I no longer need or want, and let go of outdated ideas and negative thoughts.

How about you? Are you cleaning out any old ideas and attitudes in this new year? What are you replacing them with?

Word of the year

December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010

As I write this, the family is asleep, except for my son who is playing paintball. Scout is sitting on my lap while I enjoy the last cup of morning coffee and piece of orange scone of 2010. I reflect on the year that’s just passed—can it be that it has passed already?

Today we have no plans to do much of anything, except play games this evening after dinner, so I’m enjoying this still moment to reflect and appreciate the old while looking forward to the new.

My word of the year for 2010 was “open,” and though I don’t feel like I fully embraced and incorporated it, as I look back I see areas where the door has been left ajar instead of being firmly closed and bolted. For example, I entered a contest to blog at the World Equestrian Games, which required me to step outside my comfort zone with a video entry. I took a couple of online art classes, and my first writing business trip. I also began natural horsemanship training with Tank, which most assuredly requires openness to new ideas. I plan to choose a new word for 2011 (so far “possibility” is a top contender) and to increase its effectiveness, I plan to check in with myself every month to see how I’m doing. (If you want to know more about choosing a word of the year, see Christine Kane’s blog and download the free word of the year worksheet.)

How was your 2010? What was most memorable about it? What would you like to be different in 2011? The same?

Happy New Year, dear friends! Hope 2011 is the best ever.


Holiday Hats

December 24, 2010

Wishing you a very joyful holiday!

At least this is a little better than that ridiculous birthday hat.

No, not the antlers again!

P.S. We will be having family visitors for the holidays, so I’ll be taking a break from the blog next week. Hope your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are the best ever!