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Learning to Love Where You Live

Last month, Jordan and I went on vacation for 9 days. When we came home, everything in our house was exactly as we had left it, except two things.

  1. The place smelled like it did on the day we bought it. You know that empty, new house smell.
  2. Our voices echoed off the walls like before you move the furniture in.

It was an ominous feeling. I’d never realized before how much a living body impacts the atmosphere of a home. I thought furniture and rugs were what made a house stop echoing, but maybe not. They say humans shed almost two pounds of skin each year. Maybe us sloughing our skin off all the time dampens the echo or something.

Anyway, it was weird. And it got me thinking. Continue reading “Learning to Love Where You Live”

Christmas doesn't have to be a stressful time. These quick tips will help you say no when you need to, save money and enjoy the season.

4 Quick Tips to De-Stress Christmas

Ah, Christmas. The time for glistening snow, cheery faces, gift-giving and Elf on the Shelf. Families spend time picking the perfect ornaments for this year’s chosen tree. Fudge abounds. Extended family comes together. It is supposed to be a winsome time of year.

But sometimes the snow is dirty slush, your children want much more than you can afford, the cats peed on the tree, which is shedding needles all over the house, and you can’t believe you have to go to four Christmas parties in one week.

Sometimes Christmas can be downright painful.

Christmas itself has turned into a money machine, cranking out stress and dissent disguised as gift-giving and rosy cheeks. We aren’t exactly sensible anymore as a society. We’ve taken Christmas to the furthest level of excess and obligation.

We’ve lost sight of what it truly means.

And that is stressful. It is stressful trying to buy gifts for all 20 of your cousins, 16 of your co-workers, your spouse and your children. Who has the money for that? Who has the time for that?

Trying to plan Christmas fairly with both sides of the family is stressful. Especially if one or both sets of parents are divorced. Who has the time for four Family Christmas get togethers? I guess it’s time to paste on a smile and endure.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! It doesn’t have to be stressful. It is possible to de-stress Christmas.

Continue reading “4 Quick Tips to De-Stress Christmas”

Being normal has a bad connotation these days. But if we take a look at its dictionary definition, we'll see that being normal does not mean you are a boring clone.

Redefining the Word Normal

For some reason, the word normal has bad connotations. There are lots of campaigns against normality. Here are some examples:

“Why be normal, when you can be magical?” – Nikita Gill

“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but now flowers grow on it.” – Van Gogh

“Being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage.” – Practical Magic

I have to admit, at one point in my life, I identified with all of these. I cherished my abnormality. My differences. My quirks. Of course, I still value myself, and by no means am I saying we need to be walking clones, but I think we are misusing the word. So, let’s look at some definitions. Continue reading “Redefining the Word Normal”