Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tiny House

I grew up in a small adobe house. And lived in smaller houses most of my life. I would go visit people who had large houses and thought how fun it would be to live in one. Little did I know at the time, the effort it takes to live in a large house - the cleaning, the upkeep, the expenses!

So now Hubby and I are looking into Tiny Houses and Small Houses in which to live. Tiny or Small Houses are a logical offshoot of those who wish to Live Deliberately. Because if a person is living a deliberate life, then they won't have much clutter and can live in a small place. Even people who are rich and famous are moving into smaller houses. Here is an article about a Hollywood Film Director who has chosen to move out of his 17,000 sq ft mansion and into a mobile home.  Click Here!

Technically Tiny Houses are built on a trailer and can be moved from location to location while a Small House is just that - a Small House built on a foundation and is more permanent. And then in the Small House category a person can look at subcategories like Earth Bag Houses, made from dirt filled sandbags or Cob Houses, made from adobe like mix of straw and mud or Straw Bale Houses, made from stacked bales of straw then covered with concrete or stucco. Small Houses can also be made from old shipping containers, a Yurt, or a Gypsy or Sheep Herder's Trailer or a Geodesic Dome. And there's always the more traditional wood frame house. And these dwellings can be and are finished on the inside just like a 'normal' home.

Tiny Houses have become a cultural movement which embodies those who choose to live with Nature or even more simply. Here is a blog about Tiny Houses, Tiny House Blog; a website dedicated to pictures of Tiny Houses, Tiny House Swoon  or a website dedicated to Small Houses, Small House Swoon; and a website about living the Tiny House Life, The Tiny Life . And this is just the tip of the iceberg, there is a multitude of info on the web about Tiny and Small Houses and Living a more Simple, Sustainable Life.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Final Thoughts

Living Deliberately is just that - living Life in a manner to fully enjoy and appreciate each moment of each day. In order to live this lifestyle, a person needs to make a deliberate choice to change their habits and thought patterns. Do I do this ? I try very hard to enjoy what each day has to offer - both good and bad. Though sometimes I do struggle and have moments of transgression. This is normal and only natural. I just pick myself up when this happens and continue on down the path. 
I am going to leave you with a few quotes to ponder.

"That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." - Steve Jobs

“The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” - Ernest Hemingway

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
~ Steve Jobs

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Consumerism & Life

This is part 2 of the Living Deliberately post about Wants vs. Needs.

Today's society is consumer driven. 
To quote  Debra She Who Seeks -
 "... consumer society depends for its very existence on people who cannot distinguish wants from needs. It is the social function of advertising to create those people. " 
This came from a college text book of hers. Thank you Debra for sharing that with us!

We are all consumers. What's important is to what extreme we carry it. Buying things makes us feel good. The act of purchasing items we want releases endorphins in our body. These endorphins make us happy. We quickly learn to equate buying with happiness. We are doing exactly what mega-businesses and advertising agencies want us to do. 

But is there a substitute for shopping? Is there any other way to release those wonderful endorphins? YES! Exercise, Laughter, Smiling, Eating dark chocolate, Socializing, including music in your Life, Utilizing all your senses. These are just a few of the ways to feel good and be happy. 

Our society has become reclusive. And we live our lives like hermits. (Facebook friends DO NOT count!) We rush off to work with barely a word to anyone, we spend our day in an office cubical staring at a computer screen, we then rush home only to rush off to an event for one of the kids or for ourselves. We seldom, if ever!, speak to our neighbors, exercise is something which is thought about on the weekends, and laughter is often forced. It's no wonder our society is so far removed from reality. Life is better when it is experienced in a slow and deliberate manner. And when it is shared with others in real time. We are then able to utilize ALL of our senses and soak up the beauty, the joy, the magic which Life has to offer. Once we slow down and begin using ALL of our senses to appreciate the world around us,  then good things begin to flow into our lives. 

Maslow's  Hierarchy

To further manifest your desired way of life try the following, which are based on Maslow's Hierarchy:
1. Stop caring what others 'might' think about you. When you are concerned about other people's opinion of yourself, then you are not being true to yourself.  When you begin living your life true to yourself, then the 'real' you shines through. This 'real' you will be a magnet for not only people but success.
2. Let go of the desire to have power over others. If you desire to have power at work, or at home or even at play (sports, theater, etc), you will be doomed to failure. People will work for you out of fear rather than out of respect. Smart people surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are - and in that scenario, everyone is a winner.

3. Listen. Stop trying to be the center of attention and listen to what people are telling you. Listen to what isn't being said as well as the spoken words. It's amazing what a person can hear when they only stop and listen.

4.  Detach yourself from the outcome of worrisome scenarios. The more you worry and stress about something, the harder it is to do your best. Have faith in your abilities, do your best and soon you will be rewarded with a positive outcome.

These are only a few ways to bring about positive changes to one's life and to begin to appreciate each and every moment.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Kitty-lympics

Olympic Flame with Pikes Peak in background

Mommy & Daddy have been watching these 'games' on the black box. Mommy said they are called 'Lympics. And she said they only happen every few years. Me thinks Peoples should play these games more often. Maybe then Peoples would be nicer to each other - they'd be too tired to fuss and fight. That's what Mommy says abut Us Kitties when she kicks us outside to 'get some fresh air and burn off some energy'!

United States Olympic Center 

Mommy said that We live in a special city 'cause it is the home of Our country's 'Lympic team. She said that she's even seen some of the Peoples who are playing in the games around town. When Mommy told Me that, she also mumbled something about wishing the guys who dance on the ice were wearing their skin-tight pants. Wonder what that was all about....

Anyhoos....Me was thinking. Maybe Us Kitties should have some sort of 'Lympic games. We could have events like Freestyle Sleeping, Relay Couch Naps, Mouse Toss, Furball Hurl, or even something a bit more traditional like Paw Wrestling.

Purz and Catnip Dreams.......Gomez

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Frozen Soap Bubbles

The Art of Frozen Soap Bubbles

The still photos are from Angela Kelly. Click Here to see more Bubble Photos!
The video is of another person I found on YouTube. I suggest you full screen the video to get the full effect!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Wants vs. Needs

Part of the Deliberate Living lifestyle is to live simply. Without a lot of excess. For many this would be hard. If those people cleared out their homes, what is being perceived as a 'need' for material items, would cause them to fill those houses up again. When in actuality their perceived need is only a want.

We are bombarded daily by advertising. And in those ads are the messages that if we own this (insert product), then that (insert positive activity/feeling) will occur. These messages are driven by industries who want to fatten their wallets. And they couldn't be more wrong! Yet, people continue to buy into these messages, these advertisements. Why? Well...that's a topic for another post. Today we're talking about want vs. need.

Needs are things which are crucial to a person's existence - food, water, air, shelter, rest, love. If these needs are being met, then a person is okay. Anything above and beyond those needs are simply wants. It is very important to learn to differentiate between the two. If needs go unmet, then a person can face disastrous consequences. But if a person's wants are not met then that person is still okay and can function. On occasion a person can want something so very badly, that the want can become to feel like a need. But, despite that yearning feeling, the want is still just that - a want.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's okay to want something, just don't get carried away. Learn how advertising and media can affect your desires. Then take action to prevent from "falling under the spell of the media". Find other things, other activities that make you happy. 
Next week I will continue this discussion. I will write about endorphins, society and Maslow's Hierarchy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weird Wednesday ~ Morphing Metal

Martensite crystals seen on a microscopic level.
A new type of metal alloy called Martensite has been discovered by scientists. This metal has two different arrangements of atoms and is able to switch seamlessly between them. Martensite is a crystal which can change shape tens of thousands of times when heated and cooled without degrading. 
Current Martensites are made of nickel and titanium and are in current use for eyeglass frames and various surgical procedures. The new Martensites are made up of a mix of zinc, gold and copper and will not degrade like their counterpart. 
Scientists are hoping to apply this technology to ceramics so that they might shape switched.

Read complete story here!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cat Tales ~ College Fund

Tip jar at Local burger joint

Hhhhmm....Me wonders if that is for ME!

Purz and Catnip Dreams.......Gomez

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Clutter

One of the things that people who Live a Deliberate Life have in common is the lack of clutter. Clutter is a detriment. It prevents the flow of energy - energy will stagnate in a cluttered home and consequently a person's life will then begin to stagnate. Good, positive events will become fewer and farther between. But once a person begins the process of letting go, that person will notice higher energy levels, more clarity in thinking, and even a greater sense of well-being. And it opens the doorway (and space) to positive energy.

All of the 'stuff' we had packed away in boxes, oh so many years ago, soon became a distant memory. Amazing how things that a person thinks they 'can't live without' can disappear and not be missed! But I knew I would have to tackle the mountain of boxes sooner or later. Preferably sooner as the box mountain seemed to be growing (I know, it was only my imagination, but still...)

I wanted a small house to live in, less acreage to clean and maintain, which meant that a HUGE portion of our 'stuff' had to go! I was so tired of all of our 'stuff' dictating where we could live, how we spent our money and taking up so much of our free time! I began to go through the boxes of our stuff and our kids were the lucky recipients of many family heirlooms and the rest of the items went to a booth at a local curio market to sell. Amazing how unburdening ourselves of this 'baggage' gave us a chance to finally breathe! And have fun!

We are still currently decluttering. Progress has been slow because of time constraints but the mountain is now smaller. Because decluttering is a very emotional, yet therapeutic process, I would just as soon go slow. Giving ourselves time to go through 'stuff' means that we are able to really assess what is important to us. And to say goodbye to an old way of living. I won't lie, it hasn't been easy. I have kept many items that will eventually end up in the 'go pile' or in a box for one of the kids. Aren't they so lucky? 

I did learn some helpful tips during this process of decluttering. 

1. Allow yourself plenty of time to purge! Don't set goals which are unachievable, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. In the beginning I set a goal of filling the outside recycle bin once a week with boxes, packing, etc. This was a very attainable goal while I had nothing else going on, but once I became busy with other projects this goal became a source of stress. So now I simply hope to go through a box a week. If I am able to go through more, then Huzzah! and if not, no big deal. The boxes will still be there waiting for me when I get a free moment.

2. Put on some energizing music. I love music. And I work best while listening to music.  The type of music has everything to do with motivation. If the music is mellow and sappy, then you might just find yourself taking more walks down memory lane than you care to make. Music with an upbeat is so much better!

3. Don't be afraid to keep an item or two (or three). Don't feel like you have to get rid of everything all at once! This will be a source of stress. Keep what truly speaks to your heart! You may find as time goes by, that even these items will lose their appeal. If in doubt about something, place it in a closet or storage box and then come back to it in a few months. You may be surprised by how you feel the second time around.

4. Decluttering is hard work! Not only physically but also emotionally. Be sure to eat properly and get lots of rest. And if you find yourself stressing about the whole process, take a step back and work on the project another day. You'll make no progress or feel bad about the progress you have made if the stress level is high.

5. Decide what items will best serve you in the next stage of your life. The multitude of antique books we had collected gave us very little enjoyment. So off they went to be sold. Maybe that old fruit compote dish is a gorgeous antique but does it really serve a useful purpose stashed in the back of the kitchen cupboard?

6. Re-organizing in not the same as decluttering! Decluttering means to physically remove the items from the house. Re-organizing is simply just re-arranging. Decide on a charity or organization to give your unwanted items to. If the charity truly speaks to you, then decluttering will be easier to do.

7. We all like nice things, but is that dollar store statue really that nice? Do not blame yourself for being materialistic. Our society brainwashes people from the time they are old enough to see to think that material objects will bring them happiness. As I stated yesterday, love, laughter and family is what nourishes the soul not that shiny, sparkly, do-dad! Stop buying numerous trinkets and save your pennies for that one item which is truly nice.

I have found that since I have begun the purging process, I want less and less stuff. Oh, I still hear the books calling me, but I am learning to like the Kindle.  And digitizing our music library got rid of BOXES of music and movies. Don't be afraid to explore other avenues for enjoying your vices! (Still not sure what to do about my plant hoarding....)
I wish y'all the best in your decluttering projects! If you have any good hints or tips, please feel free to share!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Realization

We didn't wake up one day and say, Let's Live Deliberately. For us the transition came slowly. Which is really a good way to transform one's lifestyle. A slow transformation gives a person time to develop new habits and a new way of thinking.

When Hubby & I had lived in Colorado back at the end of the last century (that sure makes us sound old!), we lived in a small house in the mountains, didn't have a lot of extra fluff & enjoyed the small pleasures that Life presented to us. We then moved to the South and slowly we were sucked into the mindset that bigger (and more) was better. We moved into a bigger house which we then filled with lots of stuff. Life was good but we had no one to share all of the goodness with, there was an empty space that we couldn't quite seem to fill. Our family was a long, long way away. And our time, energy and money was being sunk into the house and the stuff that was in the house so vacations were very few and far between. 

Life then gave us the opportunity to change that. We moved back close to family and into a house smaller than we had had for many years. Kids and Grandkids and the pleasures of life became the focus of our time and energy. Our house was soon filled with Love and Laughter instead of  'stuff'.  And believe me, Love and Laughter do a lot more to nourish a soul than material objects.

When Life presented us with an extreme challenge, we learned what truly mattered. And made adjustments accordingly. But not everyone needs to experience such life changing events as we did in order to change their way of thinking. And living a deliberate life does take a certain frame of mind - a "want" to have a life full of experiences and to make the world a better place.

Tomorrow I'll share my experiences with de-cluttering.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Living Deliberately

Living Deliberately.
What does it mean?

Thoreau coined the phrase in his book, Walden or Life in the Woods. He wanted to live each moment of his Life to the fullest by studying and understanding what it meant to be alive and be a part of the great plan of Life. The core meaning hasn't really changed much over the years.

How many of you out there are truly able to enjoy your lives? Are you able to make conscious choices about the Life you are leading? Do you work to meet all your obligations - car payment, mortgage, credit card bills? Or are you able to work to benefit yourself and your loved ones and achieve the dreams and goals you would like to? Do you volunteer because you want to make a difference or because it is what everyone else is doing? Do you have the free time you'd like or is every spare moment monopolized by others' requests?

Living a Deliberate Life takes thought and planning and an active choice. The best way to start is to take pen to paper and write down what your goals are and how you see yourself achieving them. Then take action. If you can dream it, you can do it!
When it comes time to leave this Earthly plane of existence, will you be able to say you have no regrets about how you lived your life?
In the coming weeks, I will share with you how Hubby & I are Living Deliberately.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Art of Orange and Blue

 Today, in America, is Super Bowl Sunday. The game of all football games (no, not rugby but America's version of football). This year's match-up is between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. 
Being a Colorado girl, I have to cheer for the home team, Denver Broncos. And in honor of the soon to be NFL Champions, I am showcasing the Bronco colors of orange and blue (I know, I have yet to see an orange and blue horse too!)
Go Broncos!

image source

image source
image source
image source
Denver City and County Building
Mile High Stadium
(Sports Authority Field)