Posted in Life

Minimalism

Like many teachers on summer break, I find myself searching for new shows to watch on Netflix. I love my share of documentaries. I am familiar with the term minimalist, but thought it was literally giving all your stuff away and living in a barren house. Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distract us from it. OK, sounds like a good idea in theory, but I have a 8 year old who collects anything that she can find, that isn’t possible. With the kid asleep, I decided to check out Minimalism and see what it was truly all about.

To my surprise, it was very deep and something that struck a nerve with me. While I do not keep up with the latest fashions or have the newest most updated cell phone, I do have a house overrun with clutter and stuff. We do spend a lot of money a year on material goods that don’t get used as often. Was I always looking for the next best thing? Was I always trying to keep up with the Jones’. After going through my house, sadly it seemed more like a yes than a no. Seemed like every surface we own is covered with nick knacks, whatever our daughter drops, and trash. I feel like I am constantly cleaning without a break. We get rid of stuff and then more stuff shows up. The clutter overwhelms me and makes my anxiety increase with each passing minute. Now we all pitch in as a family and clean but there is always more to do. Every closet is stuffed full and our garage that no one can even walk through without bumping into things. We are not hoarders, but damn we have a lot of things and do not use half of it.

My husband and I are working diligently towards out goal of early retirement. We want to buy land and build a tiny cabin living as much off the grid as possible. Now while that may not seem fun for most, we enjoy the solitude and work it takes to keep up a working homestead. With less material goods, we have more time for gardening, writing, spending time together. Well maybe we could start now on lessening our carbon footprint instead of waiting 10 years. I admit I spend too much money on clothes and going out to eat and buying our daughter things, so maybe now its time I put a cap on that and work quicker towards our goal.

I feel asleep that night after the documentary with a lot on my mind, but wasn’t sure where I could start or even if this would work out for us. The next morning I got up with a plan and mission. I told the hubby, look we have too much stuff and its overwhelming and what do you think about minimalism at least our version of it. To my surprise, he jumped in feet first and agreed this would be good for our family. We spent the next 3 hours going through our bedroom, bathroom, and closets. Took out 3 bags of trash, furniture, 2 bags of clothes plus two large boxes of donate.

Was it easy no, there were many things that I was holding on to, but I kept asking myself these two things. Is this important and does it add value to my life? If I couldn’t answer both with a yes, then away it went. After it was all done, I felt a giant lift off my shoulders. My side table was visible, my bathroom was clean and simple, and my closet was completely accessible without tripping over something in the floor.

My next step is setting a budget up so we can pay off our debt and save for buying that land we always dream of hopefully next year. The hard part isn’t starting, but continuing to maintain our lifestyle knowing the rewards that it will bring. Of course today is Prime Day on Amazon, but I am not shopping. We don’t need anything! While people are happily spending money on things, I will be working on another room to get rid of things that we don’t need or use. My goal is to have the house done by the time I go back to school in 3 weeks. I think it is doable.

Our version of minimalism isn’t like anybody else and that is ok. There is no one right way to practice minimalism, you can make it your own and that is what I like about it. Less consumerism, less waste, less carbon footprint, less junk, less cleaning, less worry, but we gain more family time, more experiences, more freedom, more opportunities for growth, more laughs, more love.

If you are interested in more information check out:

https://www.theminimalists.com/

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ – This is a good one if you have kiddos

https://bemorewithless.com/ – She has project 333 – this one is good too.

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Posted in Life

Mid-Summer

The summer is flying by too quickly for me. On one hand I have loved getting to spend a lot of time with Lily. We have gone to the library, played games and gone to the pool escaping the Texas heat. Even took a mini vacation to San Antonio for a few days which was awesome. On the other hand, I am ready to get back to teaching. Remind me of that when I have just finished spring break and my kids are crazy! I have many cool ideas this year that I can’t wait to implement. Changing my room up just a little for some fun and adventure.

I also have been back to my writing. Now I refuse to set any schedule for myself and when I feel the desire, I go to paper. I had to redo my unnamed series to send back to my publisher for consideration. At first, I wasn’t going to do it, but then I decided to give it another look over. To my amazement, the story is writing itself all over again, bigger and better than I could have hoped for. There is no pressure, no competition, it is just me and pencil developing a story that would be great for all ages since Jean Stone is very adult oriented. I already have some beta readers ready to read.

Today I uploaded pictures from the book party to my social media. It was nice to look back and relive that night all over again. Friends and family were there to support me and watch as I got some surprising news that I will reveal late this year, early next year.

A year ago I started this crazy unconventional journey. I have discovered a lot about myself along the way. I have grown, changed for the better, and learned a lot about the writing world which can be brutal and unforgiving. But here is the thing, I am me. I write because I enjoy the outlet to escape to an unknown world for a while. I write to show my daughter that anything is possible regardless of age or gender. I write because I enjoy it.

Now head on over to my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jeanstoneseries to check out the photos.

Posted in Life

Guess whose back?

Guess my indefinite hiatus ended up being a short mini vacation. Nah in all fairness, I truly believed that I needed this break to be able to reevaluate myself and my life. I needed this time to put my priorities in order and get my life out of the chaos and into some sense of functionality.

As I noted before, Master’s school didn’t work out for me. No matter how much I tried, nothing seem to fit. Everything just seemed off. I was trying to be excited, but you know that voice in the back of my mind was screaming at me…”HEY WAKE UP” So I walked away actually relieved in the end. To my surprise, our school gave out raises that were more than if I would have gotten earning my degree. Life has a tendency to throw things like that out at you and then you look back and see how the planets were aligning for this to happen, you just needed to drift, wait, and obey.

When school ended, I figured I would just lounge at the pool, read books, and take naps. Let me tell you I have been doing just that for the last few weeks. It has been GLORIOUS! After my last 5K, I herniated a disk in my neck to which lead me to yoga. Now let me tell you, this has been my god send in my life. Daily I go to the mat, meditate, and find myself. It is my time to work on me. Here I have learned to love what I see, spread positive energy, and find a balance in my life. When I started Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube, I had no idea just how much this would change my life, but it has and for the better. I look forward to finding my daily inner goddess and continuing to work on all parts of me, body, mind, and soul.

So since I walked away for a while, I didn’t think much about writing, but it kept popping up around me. People saying how much they loved the book, when does the next one come out, are you writing again, etc. Even the last day of school my principal asked if I was writing this summer. I kinda pushed it away because I was not ready to deal with that just yet. Honestly, I had lost the ability, the creativity was gone.

Last week, my mom randomly asked me for copies of Jean Stone. I keep a few stashed away. And she sent a message…I do hope you continue writing.

At first I pushed the thought aside, but then I started wondering could I write again? My books stashed in my bottom dresser drawer began to be noticeable again. Then all the negative feelings came back in my head. And for the first time, I told those thoughts to go to hell. I am creative, I am a writer, I am an author. They only person I have to please is myself.

So I brought them back out and the words began to flow freely. Where this will lead me I do not know, but I look forward to the adventure and joy of continuing to write and publish my series.

Posted in Life

It is ok not to be ok.

Some days I have to remind myself that it is ok not to be ok. You see living with Adult ADD is a daily struggle. Many days my medicine and my routine keep me balanced, but since the start of the summer when I am suppose to be relaxing, I find my mind bothered by the stillness. See change doesn’t mesh well with me, I thrive off routine.

That is the way my brain is programmed, idle hands are the devils workshop. I am reminded to just be, but Lord knows I struggle with that everyday. I do my best to read, crochet, even do word puzzles, but sometimes that is not enough for my mind and it forces me to keep up and do something constructive.

So far, I have cleaned the house from top to bottom, laundry, and even purged the house of a bunch of junk that we don’t need anymore from our numerous moves, but yet still the brain goes ok what is next….

Lately, I have thought about going back to writing. Maybe just to play around and see if I still have the drive, the desire. I started 2 stories before I walked away. One was Jean Stone Book 3 (Lots of truth in this one) and another was a romantic love story based loosely off my husband and I’s relationship.

Here lately I have had some people talk about Jean Stone and “how they love the story”. “I just finished the book, is there another one.”

As I reminder Book 2 should be out this fall sometime. Fingers Crossed

For now, I gonna sit and stare at these two notebooks before me. Should I open them and continue what I started or no. Hmmm, guess you will need to wait and see……

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Posted in Life

Summertime

And with the ding of the last bell and a hug from my principal, Friday was the end of the school year. This morning I woke up freaked out that I had overslept! HA HA!

I woke up this morning to the words Just Be. Life has been so busy, but I have been troubled. Something wasn’t right, but yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. End of the year exams, STAAR, illness, injury..which was the issue or was it all the above. Two weeks ago, I started a Dedicate yoga challenge with Adriene. Look it up, you will not be disappointed. Something to do for me, to calm my mind as the demons of ADD had been showing their ugly head even with my medicine. Vertigo was a problem I was battling as well due to an inner ear infection, but I wanted to work out in the comfort of my own home in case I fell. Not sure what the disruption was, but I knew I needed to calm my mind and listen. And of course he shows up when I least expect him….

Then God spoke, JUST BE!

What? But I start school next week and I have all this stuff to do. JUST BE!

Ok Lord, I hear ya loud and clear. With that, I have cleared my plate again from all outside distractions, put school on hold, and followed his words.

Am I disappointed? Sure a little, but there is something out there better for me to be apart of. So, I have no idea where it is going to lead me, but for now I mediate, wait, and listen for him.

“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”

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Posted in Life

Just Be

For weeks I have lived in the peace in the moment of my decision, but I find myself wondering why all this to get here. I mean do not get me wrong, the man upstairs knows what he is doing, but did I really need to go through all this to finally find myself and my purpose.

I am not a in the moment tattoo getter person, but when I signed the contract for my 1st book I wanted to document the momentous occasion by having my logo tattooed on me so that I would always remember. Fast forward to now and I was disappointed in myself. Everyday I was seeing this tattoo stare back at me as a reminder of my failure, or what I was perceiving.

I told my husband just the other day of all my tattoos, I regret this one and want to get it covered up ASAP. He said “There is nothing to be ashamed of, it is to celebrate your accomplishment.” Right, to me sadly, my book has been nothing, but a failure. Many people have told me that they loved it, but it was crushed in the writing world as being subpar, career ending, a travesty. Don’t get me wrong, I have thick skin, but geez. Maybe a little constructive criticism would be nice.

For weeks I having been doing my devotions daily, trying to listen to God for my purpose and where I am suppose to be. Am I listening? Did I miss the call? Am I on hold? Can you hear me? The last time he spoke, I heard loud and clear like a principal using a microphone for a crowd. Finally, I stopped stressing and let God know I am here waiting and ready to listen.

To my surprise, this morning while I was in the shower it hit me. It was THERE all along my purpose, I was just looking at it the wrong way. Looking down at my wrist what I first saw was Jean Stone, but when I really looked to see, it was me. The magnify glass shows an apple, my calling as a teacher. Finally, I truly see and feel my calling as a teacher, not that I didn’t before, but deciding to surrender to what God has in store for me is wonderful and nerve wracking all at the same time.

At the end of this month, I start my Master’s. Although this is gonna be the hardest thing I have ever done, it will be rewarding in the end to better myself for my students. For now, I go back to packing as I prepare to head to Vegas this weekend to celebrate my 36th Birthday and my 15th Wedding Anniversary. Hey who says I can’t take a break?

Posted in Life

Honesty

When I gave my worries to the Lord, I had to be ready for what I would hear even knowing that it could be something completely out of left field. HE knows my purpose, not me. When I started this journey of writing a year ago, it was a way to escape the world during my darkest hours. I was lost, unsure, and in trouble. I felt God had forsaken me, left me behind when I needed him the most. My cookie cutter life was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. I was losing my mind, my husband, and my daughter.

At my darkest hour, writing brought me through where I was. You see I never told one family member or friend what I was going through in my life. So my writing allowed me to get all my thoughts on paper of a life I always dreamed of, but as I wrote, my life came out in its pages, more than I ever thought possible. It was my hopes and dreams, but also my sorrows and my deepest fears. Jean’s life was following apart and so was my own.

By October I made one of the most difficult decisions and that was to get help. Through time, some medication, and lots of prayer, I am slowly becoming myself again. I still struggle with day to day life as an adult with ADD and anxiety, but for the most part I handle it the best I can. Then I noticed how much the media marketing was affecting my mood. Anyone who is a new and upcoming writer knows the only way to get your book out there is to BE OUT THERE on social media. As a person who grew up with Myspace, I found it intimidating and very unpleasant. The more I was posting, the more I was losing myself piece by piece.

Then I realized as I got better, writing wasn’t bringing me the joy and relief it once had in my life. Not more than six months ago, I was so happy to have signed a book deal. I was going to be an author, but as the day approached, I found myself with more anxiety than happiness. Book release day came along with the party, but I found myself still not all there.

Then the problems began with formatting, editing, the reviews, the judgment, the negativity and I found myself in back to back panic attacks. Is this what I was going to have to do just to publish a book? You see I am a teacher and love my career, but I was going to have to choose, just like Jean was going to, either be a teacher or a writer, because I CAN NOT do both. My family was suffering and so was I.

This past weekend, I went to mother daughter camp with my sweet one to reconnect after such a broken year. What I found was peace and hearing God’s word on my heart. My family needs me, my little girl needs her momma to be present and spend those moments with her and not worrying what some stranger thinks or feels about my book. Instead of presenting myself to the world, I need to spent that time raising my daughter and taking care of my husband along with myself.

In the next week, I am going to deactivate all my author social media accounts, but Jean Stone’s will remain handled by my publisher. Book 1 will be back up in a few weeks depending on how long it takes to get through the mess. Book 2 will still be out in August, but as of this moment, my writing is on hiatus indefinitely. While some may see this as giving up, I see this as a story with a happy ending. You see, I got my family back which is worth more than any silver or gold in this world. As well as I recommited myself to the Lord and when he decides I need to write again, he will let me know. My little girl is only 8 once and I want to spend the rest of the year with her. My website will remain up, I still enjoy blogging and who knows what the future holds.

Thank you again for those who supported and followed along in my journey. I met some amazing people who I hope to keep up with in the near future.

Go with GOD and be blessed.

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