01 December 2010

Create Your Own Special Traditions

Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Kwanza or Christmas, you probably find yourself stretched to the max trying to do it all. This month while I am trying to find a balance as opposed to "doing it all", I have made a decision to make the "all" just what I want it to be, and nothing more. Creating traditions and memories is of utmost importance this year. My oldest went off to college this fall and knowing that he is returning to what is familiar means that I wish to recreate our tried and trues for him. I remember when I returned home after those first few months of adventure, homesickness and responsibility nothing felt better than the comfort of routine, celebration and traditions that I remembered from year to year. Being on this end of those tasks is quite a different story. Getting it all done as perfectly as possible is nearly an impossibility but we all strive for it anyway, don't we? I have been weeding through my holiday "to-do's" and am deciding what will stay and what will maybe have to be postponed for another year. If you are feeling doubly stressed it might just be a good idea to rethink things for yourself and your family and see if you can create a holiday with traditions filled with meaning and less flourish. I have listed a few simples ideas in my column, Organize This. Click on the link below to read this months' edition in the Daily Local News. Consider what is a worthy tradition to continue or what might be a new addition this year. Do you gather the family and make cookies together? Do you enjoy carolling in the neighborhood? Do you wrap your gifts on Christmas eve or maybe open just one special one? How about those traditions that are centuries old and religiously focused? Do your children understand and appreciate their meaning and intent so that they some day will carry on the same traditions with their families? Make a list and add to it each year and see what becomes the favorites. Share your stories and your memories as you recreate! Thanks for reading! Miriam Daily Local News link to Organize This: http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2010/11/28/life/srv0000010088307.txt

12 November 2010

Rebooting self....

I am certain that it appears that I have vanished but truly, I'm still kicking! My life has a way of whisking me away and I finally feel I've come back down to earth and can refocus with a fresh start. Professionalism should overrule but since my purpose is to organize and such, it was important for me, personally, to listen to my own preaching and know when to say no, when to take a step back and breathe. Having done that with verve this summer and fall, I think I am ready to repurpose my intentions back to business at hand. One of the goals I have set for myself is to re-enter my kitchen with my family. We spend a huge amount of our day together there, around the island, but mostly what gets accomplished of late is alot of paper shuffling. Gone are the days when something yummy is baking in the oven and a hot pot of home made soup or tomato sauce is bubbling on the stove. Love, attention and time are just three of the ingredients needed to create a warm inviting meal. The love is always there but not the love of being rushed. Cooking is truly one of my passions and how out of kilter do I feel to not have the time and patience necessary to put a from scratch, healthy, hearty meal on the table each evening for my family. This month's Chester County Daily Local News Organize This column focused on just that; stocking the pantry with all the appropriate staples necessary and being well prepared by maybe filling the freezer in advance with warm, hearty meals. A little planning ahead can go a long way. I love when my boys come in from school hungry and ask what's to eat and watching their eyes light up if I have warm cookies, a bowl of cinnamon apples or another home made goodie. There is truly something to be said about a full tummy that makes a mom smile. My thought for future editions of EDC Inspirations to tie my eletter in to the topic of my Organize This column which appears the fourth Sunday of the month in the Women's News section of the Chester County Daily Local. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Daily Local on Sunday, November 28th and look for my eletter the first week of December. You can also read Organize This on the web at www.dailylocalnews.com in the Life section. I thank you for your continued friendship, support and enthusiasm for what I wish to share with you all! Thanks for reading! Miriam

06 April 2010

Can Two Negatives Equal a Positive?

I took a lil' spring break from writing myself last week and a very cathartic road trip, back home to NC which included many visits with family and friends of days gone by. It was wonderful, brief as it was, but now I'm back home, nose to the grindstone, feeling a little more solidly grounded in who I am today because of my visit. A couple little catch phrases that have been echoing with me lately are "Ya never know until you try." And "If you need something done, ask a busy mom." Those are two of my favorite quotes as a Mom and I seem to have taken them to heart recently. If anybody knows me you know that the month of September is excruciatingly hectic for me but I can manage to get through it. The second most frantic time is springtime and I seem to have outdone myself this year! I really thought I had learned the word "no" a good handful of years ago after baby number three came along but I guess I'm feeling overly confident as I've learned to master the pace of a frantic schedule and kind of enjoy the invigorating feeling. The problem with the "no" word is it kind of loses it's power after hearing it too many times, I've noticed. How does it work for you? Not that I don't want to participate or be of some use, I do. I always like to help out when needed but I seem to keep forgetting to glance at my crystal ball when I open my mouth and say yes. And really, there is nothing that I've got myself booked solid with that I am dreading, quite the contrary, it's a calendar jam packed full of wonderful events. I just need another month added in there between May and June. Let's call it Blameuary. I have no one to blame but myself. And somehow, while I've sat and puzzled over how I'm going to get it all accomplished, and actually be able to live in the moment and enjoy these wonderful occasions, I've added even more to my plate! By now you've all been eblasted at least once as I overflow with excitement over my latest venture with Stella and Dot. I'm an accessory freak in every way and when I saw this line of incredible jewelry featured in InStyle magazine I sought out a local stylist and signed up. Well...actually, I did think about it for a couple of weeks because I truly just don't think I can cram anything else into the next 14 weeks of my life...but...well, maybe I can. I'm a busy and at time frantically busy Mom with an urge to fulfill a yearning...which right now is for jewels! I'm guessing many of you are just like me. So the point of this little message is do what makes you happy, what inspires you and what makes you feel good about yourself and helping others. Pacing yourself, keeping an organized calendar and all that is more important than ever but making sure you are fulfilling that "something" unexplained for you is the key to the juggling act, I think. Check back with me in say, August to see how I'm holding up. In the meantime, take a glance at www.stelladot.com/miriamsjewelrybox and tell me what you think. Such fun! Thanks for reading! Miriam

23 March 2010

Welcoming Springtime Your Own Way~

Sometimes it's just OK to pass the buck for another day. Or two...or three! Wow, have we been blessed the past few days with incredible summer-like weather here or what? Laundry? What's that? Do ya need fresh towels? Who cares! It'll wait. I want to enjoy this incredible outdoors while I can! Daylight savings time is here and the days are longer and the warmth and sun are so welcomed after the miserable record breaking snowfall of the winter of '09-'10. Granted, it was enchanting as it accumulated but we did truly get our share and that of a few other neighboring states. Like 75" of the white stuff? So when the sun shone down with temps of 74 degrees I abandoned all responsibilities beckoning me, well...maybe not all..and reveled in it to the utmost. I hope you did too! No, I didn't slave in the garden and mulch laboriously. There's plenty of time for that. I did walk, bike, blade, board, shop, catch, hit, throw, cradle..and well, you get the picture. Lots of activity! It was invigorating, joyful and extremely relaxing. I knew it was a temporary situation and that we'd be back to the wet and dreary March weather so I had no stresses or anxiety about shirking my responsibilities for a while. I hope you were able to do the same just a little bit. Give yourself permission once in a while to totally live in the moment. "IN" being your key word. Relish it and look for it often. Thanks for reading! Miriam

16 March 2010

St. Patty's Inspiration

Luck O' The Irish to ya! I don't know, will that help, encourage, entice or inspire? Whatever it takes, I say! Spring is my busiest season, both business wise and in my home life. Sometimes I wonder to myself how I will accomplish it all. How will I get everyone from the proper point A to point B and do it with a smile on. It's a challenge at times. I'll take any type of help I can get, including luck! Getting and staying organized and on point is key. No slacking off allowed! School projects usually get assigned this time of year and with the weather improving we don't usually like to be couped up inside doing things we should do. We'd rather be out doing things we want to do! Sometimes our intentions can get away from us while we stop to enjoy the outdoors and the good weather. Of course, enjoy as much as you can but don't let it lead you down the path to laziness either. Good organizing in your calendar is first order or business. Deadlines, appointments, practice and game schedules all need to be noted and shared. Each morning a checklist should be broached just to make sure everyone has what they need. Backup plans are a good idea to have just in case someone might forget something. Extra equipment, water bottles, cleats, report covers, snacks and the like, should be on hand at home and if necessary in the car. Alternate pickup plans should be implemented as well. IF this happens then do this. If not there's always plan A. Cellphones should be charged frequently. Be responsible and courteous and keep in touch with rides and note changes in plans. Communicating is key. Don't leave anything to chance at the last moment when you are rushed and stressed out. Dinners plans should be thought about a bit more in advance now and even sometimes prepared ahead. This I find to be my most difficult hurdle. Where do the days and hours go? Help Dream Dinners! In the meantime, watch out for those sneaky Leprechauns, they're everywhere and they'll throw a foible into your plans every time! Happy St. Patty's....Happy Spring! Thanks for reading! Miriam

Springtime is in Bloom! Grow With It!

With the Philadelphia Flower Show just a memory the thoughts and scents of spring are lingering and I am very ready to enjoy them in full bloom in my own yard once again. The snow is finally melting and emerging are patches of grass that soon will green up. At this juncture I am starting to feel the urges to mulch, weed, trim and plant. I do enjoy the outdoor chores of yardwork and gardening. That is, when I am waiting for buds of new growth I patrol the premises often hoping and waiting. Come late July or early August when all is overgrown, dried out and gangly, it's another story, but this time of year is heavenly. This is a good time to take inventory of what you've planted and where they were placed. Imagine your visual of your yard and how it will look in full bloom. Will you do many container gardens this year? An herb garden? Will you be adding any trees, shrubs or decorative grasses here and there? Daylight savings begins in a little over a week and there will be more daylight hours after work to spend a little extra time tidying the outside in preparation. Take a stroll around your yard, once the mush and squish dries out, and visualize the colors and shapes of your garden and make notes of what you might like to add in this year. The anticipation and the planning are good organizing tools to use to help you meet your end goal; a lovely yard in full bloom! Thanks for reading! Miriam

03 March 2010

Mindful Awareness for Everyday

Make priorities when times are tough. Balance is key in everything. My business has, like many, taken an anticipated hit with the financial climate as we know it. Life has it's own twists and turns as well. During this time of flux and uncertainty I have learned it is more important than ever to make priorities for myself and stick to them. Many times I have found myself floundering because I'm in a territory I've never been before. I am nurturing a business that is dependent on people having busy lives and a need and right now the economic downturn is effecting my bottom line. Just when I thought I had it all figured out! Our family is preparing to send our first son off to college. Many people do this every year, but somehow, this task is daunting and mysterious for us. Couple this with this years' share of broken bones and the ensuing physical therapy, Lymes disease, emergency surgeries, aging issues, etc. I really forget to sometimes focus and keep the proverbial nose to the grindstone. What is my personal grindstone anyway? I'm a mom and that's first. When something needs tending to, it will be my own personal needs, aspirations and obligations that fall by the wayside, (but only for the moment). That's ok. I'm here for them 24/7. However, to be my best self I also have to remember to take time to nurture me. What do you do that nurtures your energies, your creativity and your focus? I generally have a litany of weapons in my arsenal for self-nurturing and if time allows, I do manage to fit in a few. Of late, "snowicanes" have gotten in my way on more than one occasion. I can't let that stop me because life whirls at it's frantic pace amongst the blustery winds, regardless. Having mindfulness in what we do, for ourselves and for others is so important. Stop what you are doing at your usual frantic pace and observe. What are you doing and why you are doing it? Even the simplest and sometimes mundane tasks can reflect a deeper meaning and purpose. Focusing on this and cherishing the moment can become it's own restful respite from the chaos. Might not be quite the same as a massage and spritzer but can certainly be a reminder of the meaningful aspects of everyday life that we can take for granted when we get on the Jetson treadmill. Take a deep, purposeful breath and set a focus for yourself and your day. Despite the outside influences there is even reason in the obstacles. I'm working on mindfully focusing on and noticing my life and all it's interruptions, pacing myself and waiting out the storms. The warm sun will shine again! Thanks for reading! Miriam

28 February 2010

Conflict Resolution

Can I hear a big shout out for Springtime? I hate to keep ruminating over the weather but I'm really using my newfound meditation skills to envision blue skies, green grass and warm breezes. How 'bout you? In the meantime, until it's official arrival how about we work on some other projects needing attention? One such project calling my name is how the heck am I going to juggle the spring sports schedule successfully without making myself and others around me into whirling dervishes. Well, ok, so that probably isn't going to be possible, but I am going to try to at least get everyone where they need to be with the proper equipment and without getting a speeding ticket...maybe. Scheduling with three active boys is difficult; frantic at worst, chaotic at best. But that's the way it is. I do invest in an amazing calendar to keep our days decluttered to the minute. www.timemine.com creates the most well organized calendar I've found. It is presented in many sizes and styles to suit the various needs of different family structures. Check Borders, only place I can find it without online ordering. I go for the big kahuna and it works for me. Doesn't fit in my pocket or my handbag, for that matter, but it does keep us incredibly on track. Using multiple highlighters helps too. Each child is assigned a designation, whether it be an initial, a color, etc. As soon as I get my hands on the schedules I carefully enter practices and games; doublecheck then highlight accordingly. I prefer using initials myself so if I have to erase, I'm not leaving confusion in my wake with color designations applicable to none. I definitely use a specific warning color when there are conflicts that present issues; and there always are, especially when the weather dictates a rescheduling. This is when it can get really tricky and I usually have to engage a backup plan like a carpool. Of course, once the sports are entered into the calendar then we have all the other obligations that take place. CCD, music lessons, band practices, concerts, orthodontic appointments., etc. It's a finely tuned orchestration that is never set in stone but with good communication (thank goodness for my iphone!) and an up to date calendar (don't forget to immediately make changes as soon as you get the information!) then I think we can get through the next four months. Everyone in the household knows the routine and it works like a well oiled machine come late April, and thank goodness for that! At least I hope it will this year! Too many stumbling blocks to count but I will persevere. Talk to me in June and see how we did. Good luck to you too! Let the frenzy begin! Thanks for reading! Miriam

19 February 2010

"Snowed" Again!

I'm sitting in my warm cozy home for the second weekend in a row having two additional feet of snow dumped upon us. This week the warm fuzzy feeling I had last week about being couped up and productive has been replaced with an uncertainty and a slight fear of what's to come. MORE, they say! Honestly, these events of nature give me pause and remind me that life isn't always controllable. Are we ready in case of an emergency at all times? Y2K kind of paralyzed us a bit. I tracked down the suggested emergency kit list, filled a huge Rubbermaid with all the recommended items the five of us could need for a 72 hr. period; fearing the time it would take our country to reclaim some balance when the entire computerized world we live in crashed at midnight, 1/1/00. Nothing happened... nothing momentous, anyway. But here we sit, again paralyzed as the East Coast has been dumped upon by mega amounts of snow, sleet, rain and the 50-60 mile an hour winds summoned to totally destroy any progress we made shoveling. Thinking of homes without power, major highways shut down, plow trains called in, emergency rooms and outpatient services at hospitals vacated, how do we prepare for a disaster should we be called to? I don't know if I have enough milk to get us through until Tuesday, when it is suggested that life will return to normal. For goodness sakes, how long will it take for all of this snow to melt? And God forbid a calamity occurs that no one is the least bit prepared for. I know, fatalistic. I'm a first born, a planner and a tad bit of a worrier. But really, are you ready for an occurrence that will take total control away from you? And how will you handle it? Visit www.ready.gov/america/getakit for a list of what you'd need in your home preparedness kit. You at least can now be a prepared scout! Trees are dropping on power lines and if someone were to need emergency care, could they get it? Just saying. Think about your plan, your family's plan and how you'd prepare and communicate your plan with your children. Back in the 40's there were air raids, in the 60's fallout shelters, in the 90's terror attacks. Are we preparing for the coming of the second ice age for goodness sakes? Global warming? I think not. But what? Just remember to be prepared. And P.S., it's snowing again Tuesday! Thanks for reading! Miriam

13 February 2010

Inspiration of Blizzard Proportions!

Many people feel trapped or restricted when foul weather dictates their comings and goings. I, on the other hand feel liberated. Firstly, I can't believe how much snow is still coming down on top of what is already here. I guess that's why they call it a blizzard! Therefore, I'm taking full advantage. Luckily, I don't really have anything of major importance that can't be rescheduled. I feel liberated because it is forcing me to stay at my home and besides the cardio chore of shoveling, which will come later, I am invigorated by the length of my to-do list that keeps growing as the snow keeps piling. There are so many tasks that go undone at the house when we have full lives, either working full time outside the home or managing the schedules of our children. Basically, all this is put on hold for me and pretty much everywhere I look I can find a pretty good project to occupy my time. In Organize This, my Daily Local News column, I talked about organizing photos and how daunting that can be. Today with digital photography we many times take the photos but it doesn't go much farther than that; they are stuck on an SD card for perpetuity. I make sure I promptly load them to my computer, print out a hard copy and also create a CD version for storage. I think soon I will create an offsite account like Picasa for one more secure method of safe keeping, but not today. My list is calling. Use weekends such as we just had to really dedicate yourself to a few at-home tasks that you have been putting off. And I mean pick a doosie. The laundry can be done between runs to the gym and the store. Focus on something that has been nagging you for a while and get to it. Sometimes it can become a game or family affair if you get everyone else involved. Each family member can do something towards an end in one manner or another. This will surely speed the process and enable you to tackle a couple of these long lost chores while you wait to be shoveled out. Don't forget while you have your nose to the grindstone to glance out the window every so often to admire the beauty of nature. Don't let the negative thoughts of getting it moved out of the way or how you'll get to work tomorrow ruin the miracle of nature. There is nothing more spectacular than landscape covered with a fresh white snowfall. Just to give you some ideas of what I'm planning on accomplishing; I am going to cozy up to a fire and get caught up on my reading requirements for a class I'm taking. I'm going to read from start to finish for once, not chunks between pick ups and drop offs at guitar lessons. Laundry is on my to-do list because there is always laundry. I have a plethora of thank you notes to write, then there's my filing on my desk that is piled almost as high as the snow! If I get through this I have to practice my drums. Yes, I did say drums. Again, never too late to emulate Phil Collins. I feel this task will have a two-fold effect. The boys and the hubby will tire quickly of hearing me banging on the crash cymbals and possibly head outside and get the shoveling started. This could leave me some time to bake a few goodies for their hot cocoa break. Baking is something I never seem to have time for anymore. I'm feeling pretty good about my short list so far. Enjoy your progress this week! Thanks for reading! Miriam

03 February 2010

Massaaahhhhhge Inspiration!

Can't de-stress if you're not stressed yet. So, here's a thought. If you add more stress to your life prior to a non-stressful event, will you appreciate it more? This is an experiment I was willed to participate in, apparently, although, not intentionally. Heading to NYC for a long weekend of fun and celebration with a bunch of friends, I decided that a visit to the spa would be just the ticket needed as an pre-weekend activity. Called, scheduled, simple. Well, little did I know I'd have to earn that massage. Being the fully engaged and tuned in person that I am aspiring to these days, I actually paid attention to the 6am traffic report and heard mention of an eighteen wheeler that toppled between here and my destination a short ten miles away. Perfect! NOT! I'll pick up my friend, Virginia who is joining me, head in the general direction then detour to the back roads and avoid the mess. Immediately upon entering the highway, traffic was already at a standstill. No problem, we'll just patiently inch our way up the highway...hey, are we moving or is that just the scenery?...I'll get off the next exit and cut through. What is this I see, a road block? The lovely, winding country roads are totally and completely jammed with clever people who have the same thought process as I do. But still, no worries, My Enclave has OnStar and I'm sure my little friend- in-a-box will save us since the "back" back roads; I can't negotiate on my own. Unfortunately, OnStar is two steps behind me instead of two steps ahead so that didn't work at all. Frustration mounts as our head start has been zapped to already tardy. Now, aren't we heading to a spa to relax and rejuvenate ourselves? Perfect, I'll get all notched up and unnerved and my massage therapist will earn her wages today. OnStar tried to reroute us but to no avail. Then I remembered...I have a friend who lives here in the hinterland and she'll bail me out, I know she will! Thank goodness Sue was home with a stomach bug (sorry Sue, but thanks!) Thirty minutes late to our destination and seeing stars from my bubbling blood pressure we were obviously turned away with a smile, but as luck would have it they were obligingly offering to flip-flop our day so we could lunch first, spa later. All was right again with our world and really, no worse for wear. Luckily the cafe was able to accommodate us early and lunch was ordered. The potato leek soup arrived steaming hot and piquant, anticipated greatly on this chilly January late morning. My friend, Virginia, reaches for her seasonings, a tad of pepper...a dash of salt....but wait...who forgot to tighten the salt shaker cap? Salt soup NOT on the menu! Can we please have a Depends to contain our "laughter"!!! If I don't get to that spa and force myself to relax I'm going to have a conniption! Luckily for us we picked a winner! What an amazing respite. Soothing sounds, luxurious linens and aromas to relax and revitalize, refresh and renew. I don't think I've enjoyed one spa service quite so much as today! Well earned. My advice; stress is never a good thing to have in your life but being able to laugh at it is. And sloughing it off (pun intended!) with a luxurious spa service doesn't hurt either! Thanks for reading! Miriam

02 February 2010

Unexpected Inspiration

"Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man"! How many times did I hear this recited from the lips of my mother? I would be a wealthy woman if I were paid for listening time and again. I find myself instantly repeating this for my boys many times, but I give a condensed version as I don't want them to think I don't have patience myself! Which I do actually have...until I don't anymore. I guess, I probably am a wealthy woman from learning to incorporate this little verse into my daily life. Some times I'm richer for it than others, of course. Things happen that are beyond our control time and time again. We must be as prepared as we can for life's twists and turns. A few ways that we might be successful at this is to incorporate some type of life skill where we can step away from the situation and regroup. For some people it's a long walk or a run. For others it's an intense kickbox workout. For still others it's yoga or meditation. Even journaling can help provide clarity and an outlet for feelings that aren't easily processed at the moment when the stress seems insurmountable. Having other areas of your life decluttered and organized can give you the time you need to learn to practice patience and control. When life is chaotic and disorganized so are our responses to outside pressures that arise. I find when I am on time, have less demands on myself and have "all my ducks in a row" so to speak, I am more able to deal with a suddenly stressful situation more clearly and effectively. Think about when you were last flustered and ferklempt. Were you being pulled in too many directions, dealing with many issues at once and at your wits end with your patience? Didn't you step back later on and think, I could have certainly handled that much better, I know that was a reaction response that exhibited itself under stress. Get proper rest so you aren't dealing with stressors with sleep deprivation. Eat as healthfully as you can. Stay on top of your mail, your chores, your children's to-do list and settle up with things at days' end. Don't transfer more to the next days' to-do list than is reasonable. The patience will present itself when you need it if you enter into a problem feeling free and able to handle anything. Asking too much of yourself is asking for trouble. Thanks for reading! Miriam

12 January 2010

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for '10.

Happy New Year to all! I took an extra week to regroup, hoping you don't mind. I figured I'd best practice what I preach, right? Remember way back early summer when I talked about assigning a weekly to-do task to my calendar each Monday, giving myself seven days to accomplish? Well, look below! The pantry was one of them! While it took me more like seven months instead of seven days, boy, do I feel great! And this is an important lesson to remind yourself, especially now, at this time, a new birth of another year when we are feeling so ready to tackle the world and all that awaits these next 365. Sometimes things happen in their own time, and that's ok too, just so it happens; and it did! I'm soooo happy with my clean pantry. So, thank you for allowing me a few extra days to get back to you, we all need extensions when we set deadlines that sometimes just aren't realistic. Well, seven months is not a realistic window for cleaning out a pantry so instead I like to think of it as a long term project! When you are setting good intentions this week for what you'd like to accomplish don't be too hard on yourself but definitely hold yourself accountable. This was actually our topic of discussion at this months Beyond The Bus Stop meeting; www.beyondthebusstop.com; setting goals and how we intend to follow through with them. How we allow ourselves to stumble, if we beat ourselves up when we fail and how we get back on the wagon and move forward with greater dedication to our goal. We must set our SMART* goals to stay focused on even the smallest tasks. We also must give ourselves permission to fail. Failure is not a sign of weakness but of strength. It shows that we are putting ourselves out there in the unknown and striving for something never before attained. Failure means we are attempting something new and that that route may not be the direction we should be focusing and that we need to try again with intention and energy. Find yourself a goal, it's not too late to set a New Years Resolution if you'd like to label your goal. Give yourself a start date and a completion date. But if you don't make it, don't fret. Implement an extension and rededicate yourself to your goal and go get it! Write and tell me what you've decided to accomplish in 2010 and how you intend to get there. Sharing knowledge is inspirational, even if it's a simple design for a re-organized pantry! * The SMART goal stands for S: specific, M: measurable, A: attainable, R: relevant and T: time-oriented. Thanks for reading! Miriam