Meaningful Mommy

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New Years Resolution 2015 : Make Lots of MISTAKES!!

So a New Year has commenced and with the drop of the ball many of us are wondering what the year should bring…Should we lose 10 pounds? Exercise more? Always eat only organic? Never yell at our kids? …

This year my resolution is to make MISTAKES. I am going to make MISTAKES in 2015! Lots and lots of mistakes. I am giving myself PERMISSION to try and fail, over and over again. I will laugh at myself, readjust what needs to be adjusted and try again. Mistakes mean growth, bravery and gains. Mistakes mean I am LEARNING!

Let’s leave the New Year ultimatums behind. I’m losing the words NEVER, ALWAYS, HAVE TO, CAN’T and ONLY.

This year I will not view myself so SERIOUSLY and leave the idea behind of trying to become the person I THINK I should be. I am going to EMBRACE the person I am now and the journey I am on. We are all on a journey and the idea of the perfect “self” is never going to happen because of growth. We are constantly becoming someone new with every experience.

In 2015 I will not pigeon-hole myself into one way to be. I will allow myself to be FLUID.

This my friends is why 2015 will be a year of learning. This ability to learn causes us to constantly be evolving,  one thing learned opens a new door to another path sending us crisscrossing all over 2015! It will be amazing!

So here’s to a new year full of acceptance of where we are today. Here’s to eyes open, looking to learn just to make mistakes, and hearts free to change the path on a whim. We don’t need to be so rigid, so serious or so focused on a single idea. Allow life to happen and smile. This is the only one we’ve got!

Let’s commit to making mistakes and accepting our journey for what it is, an amazing opportunity to become the person we even have no idea we can be!

Happy 2015 from Seattle ❤

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Easy Ways to Spread Cheer This Season!

 

I love the holiday season no matter what religion is being celebrated. Many religions around the world share this season of hope and good will although they are different. The blog and movement Becoming Minamalist, has a wonderful list of 12 ways anyone can spread some holiday cheer this season.

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/spread-cheer/

A holiday tradition for me is leaving a extra generous tip for a waiter/waitress this time of year. I worked as a server when I was in college and know how hard it can be for persons in that industry to often make ends meet. I wrote about this in a post A $50 Unforgotten Kindness.

My daughters and I donate toys to Toys For Tots every year and to our neighborhood school holiday shop. This shop allows all students to “buy” (donated) gifts for up to 4 gifts. This is the only shopping many will of the students be able to do during the holidays.

So here’s to a season of spreading joy and kindness! It really can be easy to do, plus you may feel so good after you will decide to continue these smile spreading acts throughout the year ❤

What are your favorite ways to spread cheer?? Please share!

Happy Holiday! ~Megan

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Kid stuff overload…..times two

Our playroom is getting out of control. Like toys are multiplying on their own similar to rabbits, or hamsters or any rapidly breeding animal with a very short gestation.  I typically pride myself on organizing and separating toys, dolls, books, games, puzzles, etc. into their nice bins and baskets. I like order and for everything to have a place. It helps me feel calm…But now that Christmas is in 7 weeks…I know , crazy right?!,  it has come to my attention that we need to plow through this stuff asap!  Then I came across this article! There is no reason for kids to own or need so much stuff…it is actually better for them to have less! I love this idea!! I love anything that will benefit my girls while at the same time creating less work for me. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it!!

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/why-fewer-toys-will-actually-benefit-your-kids/

Joshua Becker writes a blog called becoming minimalist and I am hooked! This article titled Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids makes so much sense to me and how I want my families priorities to be aligned. Looking for the value behind the item and its purpose or benefit fits right in to my wish to live a meaningful life.  I also want my girls to rely on their creativity and look around them to find joy, not in an abundance of belongings. I would love to hear if anyone applies minimalist strategies to their kids belongings or their own and how it has changed their outlook on “stuff”.

And then I came across this!! Living Well Spending Less Why I took my kids’ toys away {& why they won’t get them back} The article discusses how the authors two children always seemed to expect a material gift from everywhere they went. They had a hard time picking up their playroom and their mother became tired of picking things up and took it all away. Fearing “permanent damage “to her kids she was surprised to find her children seemed to thrive in their toyless environment. They stopped asking for things and began entertaining themselves playing using their imaginations. Some toys were brought out occasionally but the kids were happy without. Hmmm….could I go this far?

I really enjoy the idea of less. I don’t know exactly how I feel about nothing…or the occasional toy. I do know the playroom needs to be cleaned out. We have toys that the girls have outgrown which I should donate. That will be the first level of minimizing the toys. Second I will ask the girls what they feel we should donate. And lastly I thing we will sort out what can rotate into the room and put most items away to be swapped out throughout the year.

What are some of your tips to toy management? What are your thoughts on less being more? Or the idea that none may be better?

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Show me the LOVE…

What creates happiness? Fulfillment? Meaning? What is at the core of creating a meaningful life? I think it is simply love. LOVE is at the core of anything meaningful. If you love what you are doing, it will feel meaningful. You will feel content, fulfilled and happy.

If you love to travel, then spend your money on that! Save your money for an adventure! Plan your trip, take time to make it what you dream. The saving will be worth it and the trip will fill your spirit.

If you love music then go see as many concerts as you can! Your walls could be bare with nothing to adorn them but your ticket stubs and just looking at those will make you feel fulfilled. You will have many amazingly unique stories to share when people come over. The music will feed your soul.

If you love home decorating then make that your passion. Research colors, fabrics, furniture styles. Make your home a reflection of yourself. Be bold, be subtle, just be you.

If you love helping others then make service your passion. Volunteer with kids at a boys and girls club, be a big brother or big sister. Work with programs that help the homeless. Donate food, clothes, your time. Research charities whose cause you love and support those in any way you can.

If new experiences are what you love, buy up every Groupon or Living Social deal you can and get out there and try new things. I’ve gone kayaking, paddle boarding, blown glass, thrown pottery, painted a couple of acrylic paintings and done a ropes course 50 feet off the ground. Why? Because I had never done any of those things and they sounded fun. I was happy to spend money on those activities, happier than if I’d bought a new rug for my living room. And as a bonus, I have great memories to share.

Your house no matter how big or small will be a home if it is filled with love. You will feel content there. If you have a few things that make you happy, that add beauty and have a purpose, things you really love that speak to you, then they add meaning and you will feel fulfilled.

If you love gardens, forgo the fancy landscaped lawn and put in flower beds, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and berries. I guarantee you will use the space more and your life will feel more meaningful if you are looking at something you love.

If you love sports or one specific sport play it! Watch it! Buy tickets to events. Meet with friends to share the love of the game. Be that fan. The fanatic who lives and breathes the game. If you love it, it is worth it.

If you love learning or information, audit a class at a local university. Frequent your public library. Visit museums and art galleries in your area. Choose a hobby and find a class or a club designed for sharing the passion of that craft.

If you love the outdoors make nature your escape. The woods, the water, the mountains, the beach. Enjoy, experience and live in all it has to offer you.

Spend time with people you love, like-minded people who share your passions of life. If you love who you are with, the relationship will feel meaningful. You will feel happiness. If you surround yourself with people who are content and happy you will feel this too. Most importantly if you love yourself, you will feel meaningful. Our self-worth can only be as great as we believe it to be.

Then there’s that work thing. Our jobs. For some having a job that they love is meaningful. It makes them feel fulfilled. But if you just see your job as a means to be able to do other things you love, then use it as that. If you are lucky enough to have a job you love that also allows for you to do other things you love then that’s awesome!

Meaningfulness is all about love. So love what you do, love who you are with and most of all love yourself! With this mindset you are well on your way to creating a meaningful life custom-made just for you! The awesome thing about love is there is no monetary value that anyone can place on its power or importance. It is infinite. Love can conquer anything.

Meaningfulness = Love
Happiness = Love
Fulfillment = Love

 

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Question that purchase!!

A few days ago I wrote a post about impulse buying and 6 tips that can be used to try to change that habit & mindset. Impulse buying, excessive spending and just too much stuff plagues many households. For some it is just a minor problem causing small amounts of discomfort, but for others it amounts to intense credit card debt, family strife, excessive stress and even illness related to the above.

Here are my 6 tips to Curbing Impulse Buying (in a condensed version) To read my entire post click here! 🙂

1. Take a picture instead. Snap instead of spend!
2. Keep a list. Write down what you need and what you find. Do some research.
3. One in two out. Buy one item then donate or give away two.
4. Think big! Quality over quantity.
5. Just wait. Pause, hold the item. Visualize its function and purpose.
6. Stop and think! Why are you shopping? What need might it be filling?

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist just wrote a post containing specific questions to ask yourself before buying anything. He lists 3 questions per potential purchase of Food, Clothing, Technology, Housing, Transportation, Insurance, Entertainment, Furniture/Décor, and even Pets.
Read his full post here!

Basically by asking these questions we stop and really evaluate our purchase more in-depth, past the ‘I want it’ stage. We may want something, but whether we can afford it, or need it, or can continue to pay for something long-term, or if the item will have extended cost tied to it, or take away time from another area of our lives are all real questions to ask ourselves.

We live in a society and age where patience is not a practiced virtue. We want what we want and we want it NOW! This is troublesome. There is nothing wrong with not having the newest whatever. Nothing wrong with saving and waiting. Driving a car you can’t afford will not make your life easier. Eating out many times a week or month will not help you save. Using entertainment or shopping to escape will not solve any underlying problems. Having any debt adds stress and money trouble is one of the main causes of family discord. Sure, it may feel like a quick fix at the time, but what are the long-term consequences?

I have found for me it boils down to LOVE. When I do what I love, or buy what I really love (after research, waiting, really thinking, and saving specifically) I feel content. There is no added stress. It is important I am intentional and meaningful in my purchases no matter what category they are.

 

 

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Living Simply: Steps to curb impulse buying

Impulse buying. Most have done it at one time or another. We see something we think we really need it, but do we?

I’m sure it’s super cute or maybe better than the one we have at home, but the thought that we need a new or better model is probably thanks to consumerism ads about products. Not really based on need.

When I began my journey to buying less, there were some tricks I used to start the process. I really thought I loved to shop. I often wandered around a store to have alone time when it was my husbands turn to put the girls to bed. I acquired a lot of knick knacky things that were cute, but that only created more work for me in terms of where to store it, or dusting, or getting home and not really knowing what to do with the new item, causing some stress. Here I was heading out to ease my stress and I was actually creating more.

Here are some of my tips to curb impulse buying:

1. Take a picture: I sometimes snap a pic with my phone of what I think I ‘need’ and caption its price underneath. By leaving the item at the shop but documenting the price I have been able to see how much money I have saved. Once home I look at the pic of the item in my house and more often than not it wasn’t as perfect as I thought.

2. Keep a list: Make a list of items you want for your home or self. Then when you see something that is on your list, write down what it is and the price (or take a pic, see #1) Then at home you can look up the brand, check out reviews and see if it is really what you want. If it is, you can buy it knowing it is exactly what you want and that you’ve found the best value.

3. Follow the one in two out rule. If you do buy something (because there will be that time you can’t resist) mentally think of two things that you could donate or give to someone else. This will eliminate the cluttering that will happen over time when we do purchase ‘stuff’ but don’t take anything away.

4. Think big! Sometimes we buy something of a lesser quality because we don’t want to spend the money. But when we buy the lesser item, we still aren’t satisfied. Saving the money specifically for what you want (and not using money already in your savings) is extremely rewarding. When you’ve saved enough and when you make your purchase you own it and are not in debt. (My husband helped me realize this. We have ‘saved’ for many different reasons from re-doing our kitchen, to buying a camping tent trailer, to a buying a much needed new couch). I was an instant gratification type of girl before, but have since found content in the solace of knowing something is paid for, without taking savings money from our account, and really mine 🙂

5. Just wait. Slow down a little, don’t grab and throw something into the cart without giving it some thought. Hold the item, turn it around a few times. Visualize where you would put it. Think about what you would use it for. Would it replace something or is it something you don’t already have? What will the purpose of the item be? To bring a smile, to do a specific function, to help make something better? Sometimes when we stop and give some proper thought to what we are buying that initial ‘need’ dissipates a bit and we can see why we think we need it and make the decision that we really don’t.

6. Stop and think!  Why we are shopping? Are we stressed? Feeling unfulfilled by some part of our lives? Comparing ourselves to someone else? I have found that now when it’s my husband turn to put the girls to bed I am more content to go to bed at 8 and read for a few hours. Or sit down and write. Or call a girlfriend and go out for coffee and chat instead of shop. What I wanted was quiet time or me time. The ‘stuff’ wasn’t really necessary after all 🙂

When I cut out my impulse buying I saved a ton of money I can now use for things I really love, like travel and experiences. I don’t have what I called ‘buyer’s guilt’ when I would all of a sudden have spent a bunch of money on things I didn’t need. I have a clearer big picture of how I want my decor to look and can specifically find items that fit instead of many different things that represent many different’ shopping moods’.  I am content with what I do buy and very happy that it is not very often 🙂

*submitted to LivingWellSpendingLess Thrifty Thursday Linkup*

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Gratefulness instead of Entitlement please!!

I have a question. Why do some people have an inflated sense of entitlement?

en·ti·tle·ment noun \-ˈtī-təl-mənt\

: the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something

: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

That thought that they just deserve things because they want them or because they think it would benefit them…?? With disregard to anyone else! Where does this come from?

What happened to being grateful with what you have. Being happy with the kindness of a stranger, a friend or a neighbor and not expecting it. Not just basic human courtesy, but when someone does something really great for you, lends a hand, gives you a special gift, I’m talking about that ‘extra‘ kindness…Why do some people just expect it? Or if you do something really kind once why do they expect it always?

I am struggling with this entitlement issue. Maybe it’s my issue. I don’t expect much, so when someone is really kind or goes out of their way to help me, I am so ‘extra’ grateful. It’s amazing! I love it. But I don’t expect it. I definitely don’t expect it to happen often. I do not take people for granted. I say Thank you, a lot!!

I have a great life. I am content and happy and constantly working to keep a life balance that creates those feelings. It is upsetting when situations cause a shift in my path. I know it’s how I learn and grow…but here’s the thing. Do I tell someone they have entitlement issues and live with the possible feelings of guilt for my comments after or just leave it be and find a way to shift my life back onto my track. Deep down I know the answer to this question, but I really have a problem with rude behavior going uncommented on…I guess my sense of entitlement issue is me feeling like I need to call people out. Turning the other cheek is not my forte 😉

So this entitlement thing…Where does it come from?? How do I deal with it in a positive manner….Any ideas?

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Contentment & Happiness

 

Contentment is being happy with where you are in that moment. Believing that right where you are  is exactly where you should be at that time 🙂 We can plan and dream about the future, make goals and have hope for change, but don’t lose sight of what you have right in front of you, for that moment is the stepping stone for anything else!

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Finding yourself …

 I love this quote. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is my greatest goal in life. To feel that I am true to myself and living a life I am proud of. My life.

Sometimes it is hard to separate our personal goals from the goals expected of us by others. Don’t let others fears or expectations drive your decisions. We get only one life. We make mistakes and learn and try again. Life isn’t about being perfect. It’s not about the money, it’s not about recognition, it’s not about competing. It’s about that feeling in your heart when you know you are doing what is right for you.

Remember commercials are just advertising to make money for someone else. The stuff is not what will make you better. Better is about doing what makes you feel alive. For everyone that feeling comes from a different source. Find what makes you feel alive and grab hold. Hang tight and take that ride!

No one is the same for a reason. Love the differences, learn from others and teach someone. This is your chance, your life, your moment to make your life meaningful ❤ Be you and support others in their quest to be themselves. We are all in this together!

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The gift of gab…

Texting, Facebook messaging, commenting on blog posts and replying to blog comments. These are how I communicate with people I don’t see, either ones I know well, friends and family and some I don’t know very well or I’ve never met in person.

It’s hard to know how my responses are being taken by people I’ve never met on the other end of a blog comment. They don’t know me, my sense of humor or how literally I take things. They don’t know about my inability to read between the lines or understand a backhanded joke. I am terrible at ‘getting’ the humor hidden in sarcasm and I usually take people’s written words at face value. I think that’s why I am not annoyed to see a lot of smiley, and winky faces. These really help me!

I communicate with people I do know well this way too, texting and Facebook messaging, and sometimes the almost outdated email. I am often confused and I am confusing. Short messages are not my thing. I need details and there are always questions. But how much should I type? How many questions should I ask? It’s very complicated. I am awkward.

I was made to talk. I talk a lot. If something can be said in 5 words I will use 50. If it would take 50 I will use 5,000…I will tell you something adding detail after detail until I am sure you understand what I’m getting at. Paining a very vivid picture…If I feel I am being misunderstood I will explain…and explain…and explain. 🙂 It’s a gift and a curse. Sometimes a good story is called for. Other times it’s just obnoxious. I usually don’t know which time is which.

I often should stop but can’t. Words keep pouring out of my mouth when my foot that’s in there should be blocking them. I have pretty big feet but most times not big enough. I get flustered and I talk, embarrassed, yep still talking, I’m angry I talk even more hoping the words will dissipate the feeling and the situation. Often doing the opposite fueling the fire.

I try to fix people’s problems by talking them out, brainstorming ideas. Most times I should just be listening. But silence scares me. I draw on people’s feelings and if I am talking I don’t have to sit and feel those feelings with them. I probably should. It would be good for me and better for them. I work though my problems by talking them through. If they stay in my head they just spin around and around. I need those words to draw the trouble out so I can look at it at face value. Most things seem more reasonable when they are out in the open.

Some people like the chattering. Others not so much. Funny thing is I get that. I love the quiet. When I am alone. When I’m with others I want to know what they have to say. Not silence. I want to engage in actual conversation. The friendly banter back and forth, a relationship forming with every word.

So back to the typing communication forms whether texts, email, Facebook messages, blog comments, replies…The snippets aren’t enough for me. I want to ask questions. Reply and then wait, and reply again. I want to ‘splain (as my friend calls my excessive explanations) and I want to know more. I want the rest of the story.

But here’s the thing. Since having my daughters I can’t make a phone call. The minute they hear me talking to someone other than them they lose it! Like screaming, hanging on my leg lose it. I call the doctor to make a well-child visit, my kids are screaming so loudly the receptionist asks if I need to go help them. When I say they are fine, I’m asked if I’m sure. The minute I hang up the screaming stops. Why?!!

I get why moms text each other…we can’t call. There is no way we would be able to have any sort of a conversation. My problem is I want to text like I talk. Using lots of words. Lots and lots of words. I want to write multiple paragraphs. I want complete answers to my questions. I want details. I want to talk to someone.

So I’m trying to be better. I’m trying to cut my messages short. Learning how to be to the point. Only asking what needs to be asked with out any extra. It always sounds so cold, void of feeling when I read my shortened replies. It shouldn’t right? That’s just me and my perception? I try to not read into the short replies as annoyance. Maybe it is. Could be if I’ve written a short novel by text. But what can I say, I also really like to read….the more words the better! 😉

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