Have you ever tried going to a coffee shop to work? While some people may be able to make it work by drowning out the noise, I would guess that the majority of us struggle to do so. We have every intention of going there to work and to focus but between the grind of the machines and the conversations at neighboring tables, our attention ends up being constantly diverted. Couple this with the regular alerts coming from our phones and there's no hope. Coffee shops and our phones are just a couple examples of distractions or "noise", that we encounter on a daily basis. This "noise" can disguise itself in many forms, from physical possessions and interior spaces, to the thoughts that we play on repeat. It is what we surround our-self with on daily basis; what captures our attention to the point of distraction. While some of this noise we can't control, a good part of it we can.
When it comes to our homes, the act of simplifying our decor and letting go of what is no longer used or needed, goes a long way in minimizing noise. By taking away the excess we are creating room to breathe or allowing "the eye to rest" as we say in design. For example, when we have something hanging on every wall, furniture crammed into every corner, books spilling out of shelves - there is a lot going on. There is no sense of peace. By having a wall or two with nothing on it or by having a well curated and styled shelf there is a sense of order and restraint.
It may be hard to believe that our possessions really do have an effect on our physical and mental state of well-being but they do. I challenge you to give this whole de-cluttering thing a try and see how you feel after a couple of weeks. One of my family members experienced the power of de-cluttering recently and couldn't believe how much better he felt because of it. He told me that while at first he would just get rid of a few things here and there, after a few days he was letting go of things by the bag full. His eyes were opened after years of not seeing the noise in his life and he was experiencing the benefits of it.
Its not just the things that we have in plain site though, that can be a source of noise. The possessions that we have boxed up and tucked away can also be a cause of distress and distraction; a metaphorical and literal weight. While they are out of sight they are not necessarily out of mind. Though we may not think about these possessions often, we know that they are there and we are aware of the space that they take up, as well as the cost (if they live in a storage unit).
Another way in which noise manifests itself in is in the thoughts we choose to meditate on in our day-to-day lives. This could be the to-do list that we have running in the back of our head, regrets and guilt about a decision that we made, negative memories that we have playing on repeat - it could be a lot of things. Just as with our physical possessions, our thoughts take up space. They too are a source of weight. One way that we can relieve some of this weight and to lighten the load is by releasing any negative thoughts. We can sit with and reflect, but after a while it's time to let them go. We can commit to change by showing ourselves grace in the way we speak to ourselves and respect by taking our to-do list seriously. By letting things pile up or get back-logged we are just heaping onto the stress that we already encounter on a daily basis. This pile is an obstacle in obtaining the peace that we so desire.
While there is some noise that we cannot control there is a lot of it that we can. We all possess the ability to choose what we allow into our homes: what we hang on our walls, what we wear, and what we have stored away. We also have the capacity to choose our thoughts; to "take them captive".* There is a lot of noise that we encounter on a regular basis but the freeing thing is that we have the ability to choose what we surround ourselves with. There is a lot of peace in that.
*2 Corinthians 10:5
Something that I like to do throughout the year but especially during these cold winter months, is to make up and distribute bags of affirmation. These paper bags are filled with snacks, clothes and encouraging words created for and handed out to those who we see standing on the street corner asking for money.
Not only do Phillip Adam products perform but they are of substance. Along with being paraben free, they are also: biodegradable, vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) free, and GMO free.
People matter more than the things that we buy is a belief held close to our hearts as well as our friends at Made. Owner Holly and her team work hard to ensure that every item that Made sells supports this belief not just in theory but in action, by caring for the artisans who make their products.
To help out with any shopping angst, we’ve put together a guide of thoughtful, creative, and sustainable gifts for this holiday season. The key behind a lot of them is that they are consumable - aka you appreciate it, enjoy it and then are able to recycle or reuse the item.
Why not elevate your gift wrapping this holiday season by using some sustainable alternatives to all of the wrapping paper, bubble wrap, or cello sheets out there? Not only will you show your loved ones how much you care about them but also how much you care about the environment!
Do you want to know something? A used to be a shopaholic. You know how after you graduate from high school and everyone generously gives you money for your next endeavor be it college or a job? Well I spent most of mine.
When I would think of thrift stores and consignment shops I would envision dirty, poorly lit spaces with clothing that couldn’t possibly be stylish or in good condition. Years later, through some humbling and personal experience, I’ve found that this image that I had had in my mind couldn’t be farther from the truth. While shopping second-hand can be hit or miss, for the most part it is really an enjoyable experience.
Our homes are supposed to be our refuge but did you know that they could also be making us sick? Asthma, headaches, coughing, and allergies are just a few of the signs that you may need to make some changes to your home. Lucky for you, we've outlined some of the problem areas and what you can do to create a healthier environment for you and your family!
The healing benefits of tea are amazing and something that I recently met up to discuss with Mai-Anh of Discover Teas. Along with getting into the nourishing properties of tea, we also talked about the story of Discover Teas, about women supporting women, and the importance of community.
I think that most of us could agree that some of the hardest items to sort through and to let go of are old: photographs, cards and letters. Compared to most of the other items in our homes, these are some of the most sentimental. Sorting through we find accounts of our childhood and adult years, words of encouragement, funny stories, and accounts of daily life.
Every year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Whether you yourself suffer with mental illness or you have a friend or family member who suffers, we have all been affected in some way by mental illness.
The older we get, the more we tend to value community. However for the longest time it was not a high priority in my life. It wasn’t until I had graduated college, gotten married and moved to a new city that I realized how much I longed for a core group of men and women that I could share life with.
The name "making room for peace" actually came to me during that time of anxiety and questioning. I had had another blog at the time that had experienced some relative success but had started to feel superficial to me. I knew that just as with my spiritual life, I wanted something with more depth, that discussed topics such as decluttering and faith.
Wife, mother of four, and owner of Abundant Life Partner’s, Meghan is one busy woman! I wanted to sit down with her to learn her secrets to having such a positive attitude, energy and how she makes room for peace in her life.
When discussing the design of her office, Meghan was looking for something that was professional while also being fresh and serene. We selected a soothing color palette of grays, blues, and warm woods with pops of brass and greenery.
Our home hasn't always looked as styled and decluttered as it does now. In fact, it used to be overflowing with stuff! Stuff that we loved mixed in with things that we no longer used or valued.
Whether your a stay-at-home mom or a business-owner operating from your home office, working at home is no easy feat! Its easy to get off track when you don't have a manager monitoring your work flow, so what do you do to stay focused?
Often times when we talk about decluttering we discuss "removing things", "shedding items", or "letting go" but there is so much more to it that than that! When we shed what is no longer serving us we are letting go in one sense but we are also making room for more - more time, energy, space, money…
It was during this time that I began to learn that organizing is more or less shifting items around in a space to: one, make the room more physically attractive; two, make room for more items and three, to properly categorize items. Decluttering on the other hand involves removing items out of a space that are no longer needed, loved, or valued.
We all feel this pressure, whether we are comparing ourselves with others or we are competing with an idealized version of ourselves. It is healthy to have goals and to use our gifts as long as you don’t let those desires distract you from the beauty of the present.
What we create then is often a true reflection of how we are feeling, a reflection of what's going on in our heart. In our "Design Your Own Table Linens" workshop, we were able to leave not only with a set of new skills but also with a sense of feeling valued and refreshed.
Rebeca Howe is one of those people who when you first meet, you immediately feel at home with. Her warm, bubbly personality lights up every room that she walks into; and her words of affirmation leave you feeling loved and valued.
There are so many single use items that we (myself included!) use on a regular basis without even thinking about it... plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils... the list could go on and on! Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all of the waste that we're causing and that is going on around us I would like to encourage you to take a deep breath and start where you are, doing what you can.
Summer is our favorite time of year for many reasons, one being the large selection of produce that is in season. The list goes on and on of brightly colored, flavorful fruits and vegetables that are wonderful alone or combined into a seasonal dish.
So what do you do when you partner isn't on board with decluttering? You've read up on all the decluttering tips and methods out there, you've seen the beautiful images of what simple living could look like and now you are ready to give it a try.
You see that moment in time I began to carry those words close to my heart. I didn't see myself beautiful. I looked at all the girls in my school and thought: God why did you create me this way?