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Simplify, a Resolution Worth Revisiting

13 Jan

Often times we find ourselves surrounded by stuff, stuff that really doesn’t matter to us, but has built up overtime. Would we know if it was gone one day and we never saw it again? Don’t we go buy the “next best thing” and just stack it on top of the pile we already have? Why do we find it necessary to accumulate all of this stuff, when all we really need to live is simple…clothes, a shelter, food and love.

As we begin the New Year, I encourage you to join me in revisiting what living simple actually means. Do you need 20 pairs of jeans, 50 CDs that you never listen to or that pile of old junk from your college years? I have recently read an article that I have begun implementing into my new year, Simplify Your Life. In this article it talks about several steps you can take to get rid of all of your stuff, so that you can live life more fully. Below are some of my favorite steps of this process:

1.      List your top 4-5 most important things:
These 4-5 things can be anything: relationships, hobbies, possessions, interests, etc. What are the top 4-5 things that you live for? Sometimes this can be hard to narrow down, because there are so many other things cluttering our lives, but if you can make a list of your priorities.

2.      Evaluate:
How do you currently spend your time? If you are doing things that do not relate to your most important things, why are you doing them? When you make this list, check out what you should keep doing and what you should push to the side. When I answered this question, I found out (as I am sure many will) that I was spending way too much time with technology, esp. the internet, when it really wasn’t in line with my 4-5 important things. One of my goals is to leave my phone sit more often and limit my internet time, by only getting online from 12-7pm (VERY DIFFICULT!).

3.      Learn to say NO:
I think that this is a hard one for us. We have been taught that getting involved will help boost our job potential. Saying no is not always necessary, but if you find yourself having no time to work on the top 4-5 important things in your life, why are you clogging your schedule with the unnecessary?

4.      Declutter your packrattery:
What exactly is packratter? All of that stuff that you are saving for “that one day”… get rid of it! Can you honestly say that you have used it in the last 3-6 months? If not, give it away to someone who might need it. Take all of that stuff that you have piled up in your storage unit and organize it into a keep and a donate pile. I recently did this, because we just moved into a new house. It was a relief knowing I could get rid of useless junk and give it to someone who may need it more.

5.      Spending Time With People:
Because we are so tech savvy, we often forget about the people around us. Instead of meeting up with a friend, we decided that commenting on their Facebook picture is good enough or sending them a quick text will do the job. Instead of using a “middle man” to communicate, go visit the people who are most important to you. We have so much stuff that takes up our time, we often forget about the people around us. Go out and spend time building relationships instead of cooped up in your house with all of your stuff.

Think about when you go on vacation…you live out of a suitcase and you aren’t worried about all of your stuff, instead you are interested in going out and visiting new places, doing new things. It feels like a better quality of life and we often wish we could be on vacation 100% of the time. Then instead of coming home and closing yourself off in your house, why don’t we continue to go out in our community and see what it has to offer? You never know what new experiences you might have or who you might meet right in your back yard!

At the end of the day, we are always going to have too much stuff. There will always be ways to simplify, but it can be hard to do because we are moving at such a rapid pace. When you face a new opportunity, whether it is buying a new toy, joining a new organization or downloading a new app, ask yourself “Will this simplify my life?”

Do you have any new ideas for the new year that will make your life easier? Please share! Here is to a simpler 2014! Cheers!

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Fall Favorites

23 Sep

Pumpkin PancakesCool crisp air, sweatshirts, football games and warm cider…who wouldn’t love fall? It seems to be a pretty popular season among us Midlanders and I am sure you can see why! Personally I am a summer girl, but fall is definitely my second favorite because I LOVE pumpkin everything! Now this love isn’t just an “I love those shoes” kind of love, it is a “when September hits I make everything with pumpkin in it” kind of love! For instance, last weekend I made pumpkin pancakes (without the yucky whip cream of course)! Subtle flavor, but delicious change of pace from your average plain Jane pancake and I definitely recommend them. I also am a huge fan of the PSL, Pumpkin Spice Latte for those of you non-coffee drinkers. Take your pick: Coffee Chaos, Grounds for a Better World, Journeys, etc. I love the PSL no matter where it is from! Please feel free to share your favorite pumpkin recipe with me or if you are nervous about trying one, send me an email with the recipe and I will let you know how it turns out.

I have come to the realization that not everyone is as obsessed with pumpkin edible delights like I am, so let’s talk about the other fun things you can do in the fall! According to our MYPros Poll Results, several of you also enjoy spending time outside watching the leaves change. The Rail Trail is the perfect spot to observe all of the beautiful changing leaves and if you want you can even take an adventure and journey off onto little side trails for more of a scenic experience! I know Jennelle Maki has found a couple awesome hiking trails off of the Rail Trail, so be sure to ask her about those if you are up for a new challenge this season!

Now if you don’t like being outside AND you hate the taste of pumpkin you will just have to visit our MYPros Poll and let us know what you do like! Enjoy the season…Happy Fall!

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Bumpy Ride

23 Aug

Bicicletta. Fahrrad. Bicicleta. Biciclo. Bisiklet. Bicycle…Midland, MI is filled with people from many different languages and although we may not all come from the same background, bicycling is a common outdoor activity in all countries. Luckily in Midland we have the opportunity to bike not only on the Rail Trail, but on sidewalks that run throughout the city. I truly believe that you could get wherever you want to go in Midland, by bike! With that being said, traveling by bike is not always the smoothest or safest when you have cracked sidewalks, untrimmed greens covering the paths and no bike lanes on main streets.

Let’s first talk about the sidewalks. Yes, I am 100% grateful that they weave and wind everywhere throughout Midland, however some of those turns can easily cause a crash, because they are so sharp and abrupt. The sidewalks are also uneven in many areas and although there are spots which are fixed, there are still several “drops” in the paths. These cracks make it easy for quick accidents to occur and are hard on the structure and tires of the bicycles themselves.

Trees and greenery add a color ambience to a scenic bike tour. Midland Blooms does a wonderful job at making Midland look beautiful in the summer months, filling the sides of the roads with bright flowers and colorful plants. As plants and trees continue to grow more maintenance is required. There are locations throughout Midland that have overgrown their planted “homes”. I am specifically talking about the tree branches that hover the sidewalks, like door frames, and the plants that have grown across the ground, like carpet. These plants create visual impairments for riders making the journey quite dangerous, unless you travel off the sidewalk, through the grass, to avoid them.

Bike Lanes are placed on main roads to keep bikers out of the way of walkers/runners. These paths travel alongside the road and are marked with a white line and a bicycle symbol. Although Midland has been improving their non-motorized transportation paths, more bike lanes through the city would eliminate the first two problems stated above, keeping biking safe and protecting the riders.

I know that Midland is an active town. People love to be outdoors whether it is biking, running, swimming or walking. I do not believe that the cracked sidewalks, untrimmed greenery or lack of bike lanes will hold anyone back from enjoying the beautiful summers we have here, however it would make for a smoother ride!

Learn more about what the City of Midland is doing today to improve transportation in our area at http://www.midland-mi.org/government/departments/planning/Planning/NMTCommittee.htm.

Follow the City of Midland online for transportation updates and information and view the map of the current routes through the city.Biking in Midland

 

 

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Local Library Gets Tech Savvy

31 Jul

E-Reading

What do you think of when you think of a library? Quite, silent, dark, old…am I forgetting anything? I think of innovative, current and online! The Grace A. Dow Library is just that. No longer your ordinary library, our public library offers book rentals through your hand held device! Now I don’t have to worry about accidentally tearing a page, carrying around heavy books in my purse or driving to the library in general!

Yeah, it’s possible to rent a book through your hand held device simply by visiting the library website and clicking on Overdrive EBooks to view the online selection of thousands of books! You will be prompted to Log In with your library card number when you get to the Overdrive page. (If you do not have a library card, visit the library and the ladies there will hook you up in just a few minutes. Just be sure to bring your Driver’s License. Don’t worry, they will not take your picture.)

If you have a Library card you can search for your book by title, category, author, etc. and find the book you are interested in. My current read is “Picture Perfect” by Jodi Picoult (one of my ultimate favorite authors). I love the way that she reels you into the story and makes you feel like you are living with the characters, through every flip of the page. I also love how the chapters are divided by characters’ viewpoints…but I digress. The fact that the library offers this program makes my interest to read more prevalent, because it is so quick and easy!

After you find your book and pick your download format you will be walked through how to finish the rental process. Instantly, seriously within seconds, your book will be digitally delivered to your device (just be sure to sync it when you turn it on next time).

The option to digitally download books onto your hand held devices is not something offered by all libraries. It is awesome that our library here in Midland offers something different and fresh for those of us that are a little more technologically advanced!

Now head to the Grace A. Dow Library website and search for that summer book you have been wanting to read and enjoy the fact that our library is as tech savvy as we are!