Blog

thinking lately

Update: I started this post back on July 9, 2021, and went back to re-read it.

(7/9/2021) Here’s what I’ve been thinking lately: I’ve been eating way too many carbs! Mostly because we have had too many carbs (cookies, cake, frosting, etc) in the house. Usually I can walk by it and not give in to the temptation. And certainly, if we don’t buy it and don’t keep it in the house, then it’s much easier for me to NOT eat it. And ice cream – lately, for some reason, I’ve had a taste for ice cream. Maybe it’s the summer heat. I’m not sure. But, I have had more ice cream ‘treats’ (small bowls in the evening before bedtime) in the last few weeks than I’ve had in the last 5 years combined.

So, that needs to stop. I know I don’t need the extra carbs. I’m not even hungry. I just want ‘a little something’ which turns out to be 200-500 extra empty calories…

But I think there’s something underneath my extra snacking. It’s some combination of boredom and fear. We are slowly becoming ’empty nesters’ as my daughter is slowly moving more and more of her stuff out and gradually moving in with her boyfriend. Which is OK. There’s no big, logical reason why she shouldn’t. Except that she’s my baby girl. She’s always been here in the house, part of the comings and goings, part of the action. Who also happens to be 21 and graduated college a few months ago.

So, where does that put me? What’s the next chapter or season look like for me?


Back to present, 11/18/2021: That blog post I started back in July is pretty much exactly the same as today! I am still struggling with eating too much sugar, and too many extra treats that I don’t need. And still wondering what the next chapter or season looks like.

Today I have run across Mary Oliver’s famous quote ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?’ TWICE! The first is an article from the Good Trade ‘What if I Never Do Anything Prolific?’ And then second is from a video that focused on Creativity. So what is my intuition telling me about this? Still thinking on this a bit.

From the article on The Good Trade, Henah Velez writes:

“That excerpt from The Summer Day about our “wild and precious life”? It’s a great one, popular for a reason. But we never see the earlier lines, which read: “I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

Oliver wasn’t telling us to live our biggest, most aspirational lives; she was reminding us to slow down, to see the beauty in the everyday, to be present and observant, and to focus on what’s most worthwhile—because life is fleeting.” 

I so appreciate the context of that quote now! I think it’s pointing us to the ‘now’ and living each day as if it’s the only one. Mary Oliver is telling us to find the Joy and the Beauty in the everyday things, live in the present, and be the best me I can be today.

I may still eat too much sugar today, but I will try to eat less than I did last week, and maybe skip the ice cream. 🙂 I am a somebody, and I’m going to strive to be the best me I can.

And I want to encourage you to be your best too. Make one small choice or take one small step today towards being your best.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

100%

I have been noticing my phone battery a lot lately. That little number that tells me how much charge is left in the battery, how much talk time and screen time I have left. I notice my Fitbit watch battery a lot too. I want it to be at a substantial charge before I go out for a run so that it can track my steps and distance.

If I don’t pay attention to those numbers, how much battery is left, then I could find myself with a dead Fitbit halfway through my run. Does it even count then, if the Fitbit didn’t track the whole thing? 🙂

If I let my phone battery get too low, then I risk it running out completely and not having a means of communication if I’m out shopping or driving somewhere. I don’t think I have ever just let my phone run down to 0% on accident. I keep a close eye on it. Is it at 34%? How long will that last me? Until the evening? Am I going out, should it be charged up more? I feel like I want a bit of cushion with the charge. I don’t want to go out for the evening at 26% and then be worried about my phone running down to 0% before I get back home. When I’m traveling, I’m even more watchful. The airports have little charging stations scattered throughout. And the chairs at the gates have all been adapted to have electrical outlets, so you could charge up there too. Most cars nowadays have USB plugs built right in, for convenient charging on the go.

So I find myself making sure to plug my phone in during the day and give it time to charge up completely. I’ll plug my Fitbit in at lunch, so it will be fully charged and ready for my after-work run.

And all of this thinking about charging my phone, and my Fitbit, and even my laptop has made me think about me. What kind of recharging do I need for my batteries? How long does my energy last without the proper recharging like sleep and food and water? If we go and go and go like the Energizer bunny, then eventually our batteries run down. And we won’t be able to give our best to the world. We won’t be able to concentrate and do all the mental things we do all day. When we are run down and low on energy, our immune system is weakened, and we are more at risk for illnesses.

Sleep and naps and rest are so important. Healthy food, fresh air, plenty of water. All of these are important and critical ways to recharge our batteries and keep our bodies functioning efficiently.

And in the darker season of the winter months, more rest makes sense. It’s a time for the ground to rest before the spring planting season. It’s a time of hibernation for some animals.

This well-known Bible verse, Matthew 11:28-30, talks about rest too:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –New International Version

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” –The Message Version

I included the Message Version because I like the relational language and the reference to the ‘unforced rhythms of grace.’ That sounds like being in the gentle flow of life, resting as needed.

Wishing you some extra naps and good sleep and rejuvenating rest in this season. Take care!

exploring hygge

I ran across the word ‘hygge’ a couple of years ago, after seeing a friend’s post on Instagram about a book she had just read (The Little Book of Hygge published in 2016 by Meik Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark) and how she was trying to bring more elements of cozy and comfortable into her home and living space.


What is hygge? It’s pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ and per Wikipedia it is a Danish word meaning ‘to give courage, comfort, joy.’ Wikipedia goes on to explain that hygge might have originated from the word hug, which comes from the word hugge (think 1560s Old Norse language), meaning ‘to embrace.’ Tracing back a little further, hugge seems to be associated with the Old Norse word hygga meaning ‘to comfort,’ and descended from the word hugr meaning ‘mood.’ Going back even further, hugr comes from hugyan, of Germanic descent and related to the Old English word hycgan, meaning ‘to think, consider.’

According to Wikipedia, hygge appeared in Danish writing in the 19th century, and has grown in popularity, use, and overall culture in Norway and Denmark. While both Norwegian and Danish languages assign the same meaning to the word, Norway treats hygge as just a word, similar to the word cozy. Denmark, on the other hand, embraces hygge as a significant part of their cultural identity.

The Collins English Dictionary uses this definition for hygge – ‘the practice of creating cosy and congenial environments that promote emotional wellbeing.’ The popularity of the word hygge can be gauged by its runner-up status as word of the year in the UK in 2016, second only to ‘Brexit‘ that year.

Since 2016, hygge has increased in popularity with the publication of several books focusing on the subject: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (2016), Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg (2016), and The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits.


Hygge is not restricted to just Norway and Denmark. Other countries (and languages) have words with similar meanings.

  • Dutch – gezellig and gezelligheid: similar concept to hygge, also pertaining to comfort and cosiness, but these words are more socially oriented.
  • German – Gemütlichkeit: means the state of warmth, friendliness and belonging.
  • Norwegian – koselig: adjective used to describe a feeling of warmth, intimacy and getting together in an agreeable environment.
  • Swedish – mysig (and its associated noun mys): adjective describing a pleasant and warm atmosphere of togetherness in a pleasant setting.
  • Japanese – まったり (mattari): suggests a feeling of calm relaxation.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

Back to my friend’s Instagram post a few years ago. What she meant was warm blankets, hot cocoa, and candles on chilly winter nights as evidenced by her pics. It looked very cozy, a place to curl up and relax or read a book.

I think there’s more to hygge. There’s a physical hygge – the blankets, the style, candles, plants, coffee, a wool sweater on a cool day.

But, I believe there is also a mental form of hygge, as in the feeling of well-being or contentment within yourself. Hygge in your physical surroundings can certainly help with your mental hygge, but can a warm blanket and lovely candle fix everything?

The more detailed meaning for both Danish and Norwegian languages consider hygge to mean ‘a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow.’ Hygge also means something nice, cozy, safe and known, and refers to a psychological state as well as the coziness of warm blankets.

In my quest for finding joy along the way, this concept of hygge really resonates with me. What if the distilled down definition of hygge is really joy? Where are you finding hygge or joy today?

Is it in washing and cutting the vegetables for your evening meal? Is it watering your flowers and seeing the new blooms? Is it the fresh smell of petrichor soon after starting to rain? Watching the hummingbird land softly on the feeder outside your kitchen window?

Whatever it is, I am wishing you clear and distinct moments that bring you joy and hygge this week.

joy

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” –Rumi

When you are ‘in the flow,’ when things feel aligned and right, you feel a joy start to rise up inside.

Find moments like that. Find Joy along the way.