How We Finish Is How We Begin…

As we come up to the end of 2019 and are on the brink of 2020 many of us are reflecting upon this past year and decade. Our joys and sorrows, our victories and defeats, our gains and losses, our inspirations and perhaps where we let others down or were let down. It’s natural to do this inside ourselves. But do we realize that the energy we bring to relationships and situations is what we are responsible for and have control over in our lives?

It is said that every ending is a new beginning. And all of life is relational even with ourselves. How we complete is how we begin. So we would do ourselves a favor if we prepared for the way we’d like to finish the year and decade in order to usher in how we begin the next one. When we spend our energy and focus wanting things to end we forget to focus on how our energy and time bring the rewards for where we are headed.

Let’s say we want a new place to live because we dislike where we are due to not enough space, location, etc.. How are you going to prepare and finish well so that you make space for that new place? Will you declutter and clean up? Will you make where you currently live as ideal as you can in the meantime? And, when you are living in that new place will you steward it with care and love so that you live in appreciation of it? Perhaps you want to meet someone yet have no room in your life for what a new relationship entails. How are you making yourself that person who is ready to have someone share their life with them? Start preparing for a relationship by becoming the person you’d like to attract. Are you changing your habits, taking loving care of yourself, making room for that person to be a part of your life? When you’re part of a pair, stubborn and set ways will make it harder so what needs to change to make room for someone? Making the most of where it is we are now is how we change the energy of what is next to begin. Otherwise, we just drag that baggage with us into the next phase.

Order and structure are a necessary part of the plan if we’re to realize our hopes and dreams. Often when we do our part to step out in faith and prepare, the outcomes are more beautiful than we could ever imagine on our own. But we have to prepare to finish well so that we can handle what is around the bend. We’re often in such a hurry to end something and being rid of it that we end it carelessly and neglect the preparation for the new beginning. Whatever it is for you, finish this year and decade well. Don’t stop doing all you can to bring all of your best self to the table right where you are because you just want it to be done. Leave your living space better than you found it, be the ideal mate for someone before you meet that other person, do everything to leave your job in the best shape possible for the next employee. You get the idea.

Finishing well sets you up for a beginning that is most certainly coming. If you end something badly then you go stumbling and grumbling into what’s next. Walk into the new season with courage and confidence knowing that you honored what was finished. When you walk into the new knowing that you’ve done everything in your power to finish well the future is just that much brighter.

So finish well so you can begin well. The things we prepare and get ready for are the things that show up in our lives. That’s when grace happens.

Happy New Year,



Rest is a Weapon


This is my dog, Piper. She is one of the best teachers I have on living a joyous life. She always stays in the moment, is super forgiving, and can be irrationally exuberant! It matters not if something frustrates her during the day because she lets bygones be bygones (except for squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits). And, while she can annoy us at times with her barking when she sees a critter she isn’t fond of she still comes right back to joy. Heck, if the truth be told even her barking incessantly at vermin gives her joy! That is what she was designed to do on this earth.

One of the reasons, I believe, that she can do this so easily is because she is well rested. As you can see from the photo she will take any opportunity to chill. Whether it’s a sun spot on the floor, a place on the chaise, or curled up in someone’s lap she is happy to stop and rest. As a matter of fact, I believe this is one of the secrets to a well-lived life.

When we are rested we feel refreshed. We have more clarity to make decisions and more energy to live a joyous life. Rest helps us to prioritize and not get caught up in minutia and drama. It’s a potent elixir of purpose as well. Rest connects us to our spirit and allows us to hear the call of our soul. It’s then that we can move through life and the challenges it can bring with poise, grace, and beauty. It’s our sword in the stone; a magical weapon.

Through the magic of rest we keep moving forward. It’s lovely properties bestow us with strength, kindness, and an open heart. Rest cleanses our mind and restores our spirit. It sounds counter-intuitive yet it makes us much more productive. It keeps us anchored in the moment and always brings us back to joy.

Be good to yourself, find a moment to rest every day, and give yourself a day of rest each week. Take a page from Piper’s book. Hang out, find a sunspot, and relax. There is no hurry; time is on your side. Rest is a weapon that magically transforms us into the person our dog thinks we are.


Return To Sender

Have you ever purchased something online only to find it not suitable to you when it arrives? I’ve done it multiple times and am usually pretty good about sending it back right away. Sometimes, however, I keep it thinking that I’ll like it more as time goes on, or if I fixed my hair differently then I might like the way it looks on me when really I need to return to sender.

I’ve done this with thoughts or decisions in the past. Going with what everyone else wants even though it’s not my style. Instead of following the knowing of my heart I listen to the chatter in my brain.

Often when we find something isn’t a good fit for us from the beginning it rarely turns into one later. Yet how many times do we find ourselves keeping clothing, household goods, work situations, and even people in our lives even though they aren’t serving our highest good.

When we are honest about whether something works or not it we don’t have to be mean spirited when looking for a better option. Sometimes a simple exchange whether it’s a material good or a conversation will result in a positive outcome. Yet when it’s the wrong fit all around it makes us uncomfortable and that adversely affects our inner and outer worlds.

Look around with honesty and see what no longer fits, and don’t be afraid to return to sender.


It’s Time to Encourage Yourself

How do you talk to yourself? It’s easy to be kind to ourselves when things are going well yet we often berate ourselves even when things are positive. We tell ourselves things like, “That was a fluke!” or “Huh! That probably won’t ever happen again.” Hmmm. Really?

What if you just stood in the joy of everything that was going right in your life? What if standing in that joy opened up your heart and life for other good things to happen? What if you could reach for the next best thought?

I’ve been very mindful of this lately. Encouraging ourselves is important because sometimes that is the only encouragement we are going to get. People are so caught up in their own lives that they may not think of doing this for others. What I have found is that when I encourage myself the better it gets, the better it gets.

The bonus of doing this is that it then becomes easier to encourage others. When you do that with your spouse, children, friends, co-workers, and even strangers the ripple effect may not be known to you. However, I’m certain that they will carry that goodness with them and out into the world.

Do you remember the Chaka Khan song “Tell Me Something Good”? I encourage you to tell yourself something good at least once a day. Be kind to you.


An Amazing Breakdown

Since it’s Friday I was going to write about decorating, food, or fun yet something occurred this morning that I wanted to share. Within 10 minutes of my teens leaving for school I got a phone call from my youngest because they had car issues. Luckily my husband hadn’t left yet so we were able to go and rescue them. I stayed with the car that needed towed while my husband took the kids to school.

While talking to the operator for the tow service she asked me if the car was making any clicking noises when it I was trying to start it. So, I put the phone on speaker and tried it so she could hear. Amazingly it started! Not being certain it would get me to the garage without cutting out again I voiced my concern. The operator asked how far I had to travel to the garage and since it was a short distance she said that she would stay on the line with me so I wouldn’t have to call back in case something happened. Astonishing!

So, I was driving and there were a few moments when it seemed like it might cut out on me yet I made it to the garage. They were able to pinpoint the issue and I am waiting for a call back to see if they can fix it today or if it will have to stay the weekend. They said that if they got the part in time they might be able to make it happen today. Super!

There was a time in my life when my day starting like this would have ruined the rest of it. But, reflecting on how amazing it was that my teens could call me that quickly for help, and I could call from my cell phone and then have the operator on speaker until I got to my destination just astounds me! It has made me look at other things today through the eyes of amazement like using my computer and the internet to type this blog for people to see in an instant if they wish.

These moments of awe and wonder are around us all the time. We get to choose how everything affects us. What amazing things are all around you? I hope you’ll look for them this weekend.


Life Isn’t Waiting – You Are

I often see the phrase, “Your life is waiting.” Yet, there is always something that sort of bugs me about that. After all, why would my life be waiting for me? Don’t I create my life?!

I have held back from the life I want to live for years because of waiting. Looking around me I see others going for their dreams, having experiences, and creating the kind of life they want. I would wonder why they were moving forward when I wasn’t. I could get into all the reasons why we wait yet I suspect you already know them and have a few of your own. Yet asking the “why” question doesn’t serve us. Instead ask, “What would it take?”

So often we get stuck in our circumstances and then think that is our life. We don’t live in our circumstances; we live in our spirit. Living in our circumstances keeps us mired in the muck of them. Yet living in our spirit allows us to rise up from the inside and overcome what is happening on the outside. We all have circumstances in our lives so what would it take to move beyond them?

While it’s true that sometimes we have other pressing matters to attend to, the truth is we make time for what we want. Even if we give 30 minutes a day to something it’s better than not beginning. The time is going to pass anyway so why not start where you are, with what you have, to work toward the life you want?

What can you do today to start creating the life you want? Can you clean up your house or at least one corner to have a more organized, peaceful space? Can you take 20 minutes a day to read about things your interested in learning or that would help you become better at your craft? Can you move for 10 minutes every day to start on the path of fitness? Can you give up one soda or alcoholic drink a day to make way for better health? Can you replace excuses with action?

Nothing is going to change until you change. Do one small thing today and everyday to build the life you want. Go ahead! No whines; no waiting!


The Little Extras

It’s very cold in the Upper Midwest today! Single digit highs and subzero wind chills make it a great day to stay inside where it’s warm.

Inside where it’s warm for me isn’t just about my dwelling, even though that is a big part of it. It’s also where my spirit resides. Just as a cup of something hot warms our physical bodies so does our self-talk warm our spirit or chill it depending on what we say.

Speaking words of doubt, fear, dread, overwhelm, meanness, and sarcasm to ourselves isn’t warming to our spirit. Think about someone or someplace that feels warm and welcoming to you. Why is that? Do you honor your spirit by treating it in a warm and welcoming way? How can you start to be gentle, kind, and loving with yourself and others? The words you speak become the house your spirit lives in which filters out to relationships and the physical space you live in as well. Even the slightest change will ripple out in your life.

When low energy self-talk rears it’s ugly head I just return to sender, cancel the subscription, or hit the delete button. It’s a default way to live and doesn’t provide the little extras I prefer.

I give myself little moments throughout my day to look at my beautiful family, appreciate my home, enjoy fresh food, nuzzle with my dog and feel the amazement of life! We have one spirit to be good to and that will help those around us to be good to themselves and others. It’s the simply added touches that make the difference between mediocrity and loveliness.

I think I’ll start by adding whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and mini chocolate chips to my hot cocoa today. It’s those little extras that add zest to life! What little extras can you give your spirit and others today?


The Spirit of Home

Welcome to my blog that has been in the making for three years! Really longer if you take into account how much I have reflected on this topic.

Three years ago I took the first steps to it’s beginning by securing the domain name, The Spirit of Home. Just a few days after doing so we had life happen, and some things in my family needed tending so the blog ideas were tucked away for another day. Life is not waiting, however, so I am starting the blog and moving forward. It’s so often that we keep putting things off that our spirit has been calling us to do yet that doesn’t honor our spirit or life. Hence, the name of my blog.

The Spirit of Home means so many things to me. It is the essence of our physical spaces and also our essence. We carry our spirit with us everywhere, and it is reflected in our homes and also in everything we do in life. It is infused into our work, our relationships, and even in how we go about our daily routine. Yet, we often push it aside and live out of a default mode instead of the graceful ease that honors who we want to be.

It is my sincere intention to bring thoughtfulness, beauty, and grace to you through my musings and ideas here. Some will be about decor and landscapes. Some will be about health, beauty, and fashion. And some will simply be about life.

Please join me in my ongoing discovery of what truly makes the spirit of home and how we can cultivate it to create the peace we all crave in a sometimes crazy world.