Thursday, July 21, 2011

In My Space

I made a map today. A map of my apartment, according to the most basic Feng Shui grid principals as shared in this article.

I am happy to report that without even knowing it, I feel certain energies I am already utilizing many of my spaces somewhat correctly. Please keep in mind that I previously knew nothing about what energies belong in what quadrants.  I only understood that the living space is divided into 9 equal spaces, and each one represents a different element.

First, my bedroom occupies the relationship/romance quadrant of the grid!

Second, the room I am intending to turn into a little photography studio/office is in the wealth quadrant!

Third, there is a nice area in the living room that is the knowledge quadrant. I already have a William Shakespeare print on that wall!  I have always envisioned that space as my "library", and while I have not used it that way for a couple of years, I was thinking of moving my bookshelves back over there.  Now I know for sure that I will!

Fourth: I don't use the space off my kitchen as a dining room, but I really like to be in that space!  It where I go when I am writing my blog, or working with my photos, or planning things.  As it turns out, this space (fittingly) is the helpful people/travel quadrant. No wonder I feel so comfortable there!  Travel is SUCH a desire for my life!

There are many quadrants that will really need some focus.

I think most glaringly, my career quadrant needs some major attention!! This space also happens to be where my front door is (but we never use the front door because the building lists and the door sticks and is a major pain to open) hm ... telling isn't it???  And that space is where the cat box currently is, because I don't use that entry way, so the box is out of the way, and I don't have to interact with the mess constantly.

But now I know what directions I want and need to go with those spaces and activities =)  Now I need to start rolling up my sleeves, and getting busy, and just focusing on one space at a time.

I am interested in how these changes will help to me continue to grow and ...

Live Well!!
Love as Always,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Taste of My Childhood Summers

Sunday afternoon I picked almost four cups of the huckleberries and tiny strawberries that grow wild around my better-half's home on five wooded acres. Monday I made a big bowl of oatmeal and put some of those fresh berries on it for my breakfast! The rest got nibbled away! One of my favorite tastes of summer. JQ's youngest son helps me pick the wild berries that grow everywhere, salmon berries, huckle berries, strawberries, blackberries, and pie cherries. We have a lot of fun putting together yummy things to eat. Pies, jam, on ice cream, just to eat, with cream cheese on a bagle. Life tastes good in the summer! Reminds me that I an every season ... LIVING WELL! Love, SuziQ

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's All Value Added

Things like artistic talents can be rather "use it or loose it" in nature.

I have to share that I am recently struggling to feel good and useful and productive with my "not at my job" time.  In the work world, it is called non-value added time ... LOL

I do all kinds of busy and good things, but at the end of the day, do I REALLY feel like I have been productive in the direction of the goals that I say I have set for myself?  Lately, no.

If I am NOT taking definitive action toward the goals I have in my head, then that tells me they are not deeply seated in my heart ... So, maybe I need to explore that, and think about what the hang-up really is.  Is it a fear of success?  I know that sounds strange, but really, once you have shown the world what you are really capable of, the bar gets raised, and more is expected of you ... No ... that is not the case for me ...

For me it is fear of rejection and failure.  What if i put myself out there, and no one likes my art?  What if i invest my time and effort, and get rejected, and no one buys it?

My logic knows that is not the case!  I have sold pieces in the past!  And people often tell me how good my work is ... but yet I still struggle with this deep seated voice of tenativeity (ya, I think I'm making up words again), hesitancy, apologetic for my talents and abilities ... WHY?  Really??? What do I have to apologize for?  I have God given talents!  The only thing that I ought to apologize for is not utilizing and developing them over the course of my life!

Now, I recognize that these are temporary and resolvable feelings.  I have recognized them, and can take sensible and definitive steps to change what I am doing, and therefore, bring myself back in alignment with the feelings I desire to have.  It is within my power (and honestly, my responsibility) to control.

If you are familiar with the biblical Parable of the Talents (which, ironically for our time, was a denomination of currency at the time of the story), you will recall that 3 people were given responsibility over some coins by their master in his absence. It is a simple story. A man who is preparing to leave on a journey entrusts his possessions to his servants. He distributes his wealth among three servants, according to their abilities. To the first he entrusted five talents, to the second two talents, and to the third one talent. The first two servants put their master's money to work. The third servant did not invest his master’s money at all; he dug a hole in the ground and buried it. When the master returned, the first two eagerly met their master, apparently delighted in the opportunity to multiply their master’s money. Both were commended as “good and faithful servants”; both were rewarded with increased responsibilities in their master’s service; both were invited to share in their master’s joy.
The master’s dealings with the third servant is a very different matter. This servant came to his master with only the talent his master had originally entrusted to him. He did not increase his master’s money at all. In fact, if this were to take place today, that money would likely be worth less, due to inflation. This servant offered a feeble excuse for his conduct. He told his master that he was a harsh and cruel man, a man who was demanding, and who expected gain where he had not labored. He contended that this is why he was afraid to take a risk with any kind of investment. And so he simply hid the money, and now he returned it, without any gain. The master rebuked this slave for being evil and lazy. He took his talent from him, gave it to the one who earned ten, and cast this fellow out.

So ... What is my story ...?  I was once the third servant, then discovered the error I was making, and became the second ... My current desire is to be more like the first servant ... 

Really, it's not that I am actually wasting time, it's just that I could be more focused at using my time and efforts toward the accomplishment of my goals.  Now I feel (again) like I can (and ought to) make a schedule to help me to get focused, and use my time wisely and productively so that my talents are utilized wisely and productively toward advancing my goals.  I can schedule my entire day ... from the moment that I wake till bedtime.  I think that it is important to make sure that I include scheduling my quiet time as well, otherwise I will take quiet time for me, and it will again, throw off the necessary responsibilities.  My schedule out to include, but not be limited to: time for going to the gym, and my paying job, and housework, and errands, and JQ time, and personal care time (gotta keep the gray covered, right girls!??), reading, crochet, my photography.  As I begin to regain control of the time that has been given to me, I may have to kind of micro manage my time until I get a balance that feels right and natural.  I have had to do a similar program with my budget, as discussed in a previous post!

I have talked about this with you before, that I am a list maker.  Sometimes I get away from it a little bit, not never altogether.  Recently my list making has just not been guiding my routine, which is ok

Using my time and my talents productively help me to really feel and see that I am ... Living Well!

Please share your comments below!  I love hearing from you!  It encourages me to keep sharing, and encourages me to dig a little deeper which helps me everyday to ...

Live Well!
Love to you all!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Two Coins in the Fountain

Just a little update on my financial planning...

I have made some adjustments to my budget again, as I do every 3-4 months.  I am going to try something that I have not done in a long time ... I am giving myself a cash allowance each pay day, to cover my gas and groceries, and anything that is not a bill.  No more shopping with the debit card ... cash only, and when it's gone, it's gone.  Right now, that is a very limited amount ... $50 a week.  This is going to challenge my creative side as far as cooking goes ... out comes the crock pot again.  Good thing I'm a coupon and sale shopper, and eat pretty light for the most part.  This might even encourage me to walk to work at least one day a week, or not come home for lunches (since it is only one mile, I usually don't feel guilty about that!!)

Years ago, I created a wonderful spreadsheet, with great formulas!  I enter my hourly wage, hours worked each pay period, and it calculates my approximate pay check!  Then I have a list of each of my bills, and the amount due each month, which then pops a total into the formula with the pay check info, and tells me how much allowance I get to have =)  I am hoping that I will be able to make better headway with my debt reduction in this manner!  We shall see how it goes!

I also want to explore some passive income opportunities, preferably something that includes my photography art!  I have heard of a couple of web sites where one can have photos made into calendars and such ... Yet again, another potential opportunity to explore as I work on financially ...

Living Well!
Love you as ever

Monday, July 4, 2011

Two Tickets to Paradise

I have had several opportunities to travel recently, and I have discovered, again, that it is something that I really enjoy!
I love the airport!
I love flying.
I love the view above the clouds!
I wish I could figure out a way to make traveling a regular part of my life … for business, for pleasure, for exploring, for development! 
I have a friend that travels all over the world doing work with humanitarian organizations, and his stories of meeting the local people and helping communities, and helping local agencies bring services to underserved areas is so inspiring to me!  I can feel in my heart a sort of calling … though I know not what that will look like at this time.
I have also discovered that I have plenty of room to improve as a good traveler!  I am hoping that the next few years bring me many opportunities to improve my packing and planning skills!  And to further research new techniques!
I recently went on vacation to Hawaii with JQ and his brother and sister-in-law.  While there are many other destinations that require longer travels, 6 hours is a long time to sit unable to move around much. 
Things I learned and decided about this flight:
1.      Check to see if the airline provides and food, without charge (usually not)!  Pack a little lunch if necessary!  OK … you can’t take just anything past security these days that is for sure, but you can bring non liquid snacks from home, and even buy things at the shops while you wait for your flight!  That is a long flight with only a 60 calorie snack pack of crackers and a soda! LOL

2.      Bring something to do on the plane! Read a book, or journal, or games to play with my sweetie!  We did buy magazines at one of the shops, and I had my laptop, so I was able to open it and work on some writing projects.  This was good!  Keeping those items accessible under the seat in front of me is very helpful.
3.      Bring a neck pillow, or in my case, I have a ROHO cushion that sure would have been good for me to be able to sit on!  Sitting that long, and unable to do much repositioning, sure was hard on my bad hip!
4.      Pack light, and save room for the souvenirs!
a.       When traveling to the Hawaiian Islands, I mostly wear my swim suits and sarongs with flip-flops, for beach and casual wear.  Shorts or capris w/ light weight cute tops, and sandals or flip-flops for exploring.  One nice outfit for that last night dinner at Duke’s!  Keep it simple and easily mix and match.  I did utilize my yoga pants and top every morning for yoga on the beach! Ahhhh … That was so grounding.
b.      The humidity is brutal on my hair, so I don’t leave it down much, so is my curling iron and hair dryer really necessary?  I think not!  A couple of cute hair clips … Those banana ponytail holders are great!  A solid snood with a pick to secure it in place.

I had to make my first trip to Montana as an emergency when my daughter went into pre-term labor.  I did not pack as well as I would have liked!  The most important thing that I discovered is that I forgot my camera!  Me.  The family photographer, that goes nowhere without my camera!  And I did not show up at one of the most important moments in my daughter’s life with my camera!  I will not beat myself up over this, but I will comment on it a few times so that I retain the huge lesson learned!  I also learned a lot about fling on small planes!
1.      My rolling carry-on is the perfect size for packing light and my laptop and camera fit in it!  It, however, does not fit in the overhead bins.  But, with a little wriggling it does slide nicely under the seat ahead of me, which is fine as long as I am only packing for a short trip, such as the last two.  I have decided that going forward, I will just put my suitcase in the “ala-cart”, and carry-on my laptop and camera in my brief case.

The next trip to Montana was planned for my daughter’s birthday, so it went so much better!
1.     I was able to read, and take pictures out the window, and journal.  I brought a movie to watch, but forgot my head phones since I did not bring my brief case, and was not up for spending the airport shop prices, so that stayed in the bag.  I bought some headphones at Wal-Mart before my return, but my seat mate had me a little crowded, and I did not feel comfortable wriggling the laptop out.  Again, I think that if I had utilized my brief case, it would have been easier to access.
2.       Is it bad to talk to people on the plane?  Funny story about the trip from Seattle … my seatmate got in trouble from his woman for chatting with me!  We were chatting and laughing about the noises small planes make, and wondering if there were a couple of chainsaw motors strapped to the top of the plane!  Or if someone had would the rubber band too tight … Ugly sideways stares were shooting across the isle!  If it weren’t for the fact that she was sitting with her 8 year old daughter, I would have changed seats with her, so she was sitting with him.  As it was, I told him I did not want him to get in any more trouble for having fun, so we did not talk much after that!  But did share a parting smile upon disembarking.  My return trip seat mate had a “do not disturb” vibe emanating loudly from her, so I tried as best as I could to not disrupt that.

3.       I got a huge abscess in my armpit and had to go to the doctor while there … they wanted to  do an incision and drainage, but I work in a wound care center, and I have no interest in having an open wound made in my armpit … while on a trip 900 some odd miles from home.  They put me on antibiotics, and said they would send chart notes to my primary doc back home, and I promised that if it was not clearing up that I would follow up with my PCP when I got home.  I wont go into details, but it did drain on it’s own, and I took all of my antibiotics, and kept a clean dressing on the abscess until it was no longer draining or showing any signs of an opening.  What did I learn from this??  It is very important to have a list of any medications or vitamin supplements you take in your wallet with your health insurance information!  I only have one Rx, so it’s not so bad, but I also take quite a few vitamin supplements, and an out of town doc or pharmacist would not have access to that information … incase of negative interactions.
So much more to learn!  Sure do hope that I have many many more opportunities to work on this!  I think traveling helps me to …

Live Well!
Love Suzi~Q