For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12-15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. [Read more…]
Just about every day I read a post on Facebook or one of the many blogs I follow about getting older. And while many of them poke fun at the experience, most of the time the posts subtly (or not so subtly!) talk about the drawbacks to aging. But, when you think about it, every single day each of us is getting older—and thankfully so! Consider the alternative. So instead of thinking of life as a gradual decline, maybe it is time to start thinking of how life gets better as we go along—and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And even though I’m not facing a significant birthday for several months, I decided a good way to prepare was to start focusing on the benefits long before the day arrives. [Read more…]
Last week I noticed a very suspicious looking blemish on my cheek, and I started worrying. I was especially nervous because when my mother was my age, she developed skin cancer under her right eye. Then several years ago my sister Ann had an angry looking sore on the back of her leg that wouldn’t heal for months. Even though hers turned out to benign, the experience made for some anxious times. So it didn’t require much imagination on my part to convince myself that my blemish could require a big chunk to be cut out of my cheek, scaring me for a lifetime. Or worse.
Finally, after waking up in the middle of the night with worry on my mind, I called the dermatologist. Although he couldn’t see me for a week, I realized that I could continue to allow fear and worry to control my life for the following seven days, or I could do something else. But isn’t that choice something we all face every day in this thing called life? Fear and worry? Or peace and happiness? We decide. [Read more…]
As many of you know Thom and I have been on the path of simplifying our lives for several years. Every January we like to sit down and discuss ways we can better live that example during the coming year. But in case you haven’t noticed, there are many people offering lots of advice that it’s challenging to decide which way to approach the topic. So while we don’t consider ourselves experts on the subject, we do think it’s helpful to list what we consider to be most important. From that point forward we each can then decide where and how we can put our attention during 2014.
So here are our Top 10 Commandments:
I’ve always loved quotes. One of the best things about them is that you can read one and it can instantly turn your attention around to a new, and likely more positive, direction. Quotes also have the ability to lift you up when you’re going through tough times or encourage you when you need a boost. That’s why I thought it might be SMART to list a number of quotes that are most helpful to me as a way to jumpstart our New Year. To make it even easier to read through them—I’ve classified them according to the SMART categories. When you’re done, I’d love to hear which one’s you liked best in the comments below. Even better, if you have one that you’d like to add to the list, please share it with all of us as well. Ready for a lift? Here are the quotes: [Read more…]
The end of 2013 marks two and a half years of blogging at SMART Living 365. From a statistical perspective it is an excellent reminder that perseverance is one of the best qualities a writer can bring to her craft. At the end of 2011 I had barely 50 email subscribers and a handful of feed subscribers. Now two years later I want to thank the thousands of readers who have stopped by and made SMART Living a part of their lives.
With that in mind I went through and looked at my top posts during the previous 30 months. With so many new followers I’m assuming many of you may have missed some of them. As usual they reflect some angle of what I consider a SMART Life. And always my goal is to share ideas that will help us all live a more happy, peaceful and meaningful life. Here they are: [Read more…]
Last week my post talked about three challenges that I think stand in the way of many of us living gratefully each and every day. What occurred to me from some of the comments and other conversations I’ve had during the week is that there are a number of people who aren’t convinced that we should live either gratefully or happy every single day anyway. What’s interesting to me after all the research I’ve done over the years about creating happiness, is how closely the reasoning to avoid gratitude on a daily basis appears the same. That led me to explore some of the more common myths that exist for happiness—and observe at how those same myths apply to living thankfully 365. [Read more…]
Those of you who may be new to this blog might be unaware that the “T” in the acronym SMART stands for thankful. I included it precisely because I know without a doubt that the practice of gratitude and thankfulness is essential to a happy, fulfilled and content life. At the same time I am also aware that just about every person I know and every blog I read with a focus on happiness, simple living and minimalism reports that a fundamental concept to the philosophy is appreciating what you have right now (in other words, “gratitude.”) What I find a bit surprising is that even though so many of us admit that it is important, something holds us back from the actual practice of it on a daily basis. Could it be possible that practicing thankfulness every day and making thanks living a habit, is the key to creating both a great minimalist lifestyle and a happy life? [Read more…]
In scouring the Internet for the blog post links listed below I came across one that very simply listed 50 things they were grateful for in their lives. What a GREAT idea! If you believe the concept that what we think about grows, what we dwell upon we become, you might want to try it yourself. (If you want to go directly to this week’s gratitude links—scroll down to the bottom of this post)
So, here are 50 things I’m grateful for in my life right now: [Read more…]
Most of us know that one of the best ways to live a SMART, happy and fulfilled life is to practice gratitude on a regular basis. As Mathew Henry said, “Thanksgiving is good, but Thanks Living is better.” Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me it’s far too easy to get stuck in our routines or troubles and let the doing of it slip our mind on a daily basis. That’s why for the second year in a row I am challenging myself to highlight aspects of “Thanksgiving” here on my blog in a way that keeps much of my focus and attention on both the feeling and expression of gratitude every day throughout the month. And hopefully, just like last year, you will be inspired enough to join me and “share the gratitude” in any way that you can. [Read more…]