Positivity: A How-to Guide

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while. I’ve seen lot of friends posting that they want to be more positive and I’ve had a lot of friends ask me how I do it. I’ve wanted to write a blog about it but until now I don’t think I had all the write words I wanted to use. I am not even sure I have all the right words now, but I have some good ones, and everything I am going to write about is stuff I’ve changed for myself, and I’ve collected a bunch of memes/quotes and I think I have some good answers to the one main question… “How can I live a  more positive life?”

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Think about it for a second. Did whatever happen today really ruin your entire day? Or are you deciding to dwell on it all day and let it keep bringing you down? Now I know what you’re going to say, “Chrissy, I wrecked my car and I can’t get to work now.” But are you alive? Did you make it home to your family? Are there other ways for you to get to work? The answer to those are probably YES, especially the first one because you’re sitting there reading this right now and you wouldn’t be able to if you were dead. My point is, there are always things to be thankful for in a crappy situation.

Let’s look at something less dramatic though. Your boss overlooked you and gave credit to someone else who didn’t deserve it. Totally a mood ruiner right? Totally! But the whole day? Not necessarily. There are a ton of ways to fix the situation if you want to. Again, if you want to. If you want to sit there and cry about it and not do anything, you’re not going to ever make it better. But if you speak up, change the situation, calmly of course, your mood gets better, your day gets better, and you move on.

I honestly cannot remember the last full on bad day I’ve had. I have bad moments, I have shitty moments, I have down times, but I always look at the positive and turn my mood around. I let it go. I move on. This is not how it always was for me. I used to hold grudges and let things bother me and get stressed and angry. And then one day I quit. I was tired of it. I was tired of fighting with my husband over dumb shit. So I stopped. When we got into an argument I would make myself stop and think about what good it was doing. When I realized it wouldn’t do anything, I would stop and laugh. It’s hard to argue with someone when they are laughing. Eventually the arguments and bad attitudes stopped happening because I would tell myself there was nothing to be negative about. Of course this isn’t just about fighting with your spouse, this can be about anything that brings you down or gets you mad. Assess what’s happening and find the positive. Even if the only positive thing you can think of is that you are breathing. Be thankful that you are still alive to have those emotions. You are a living, breathing, person.

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You can literally tell yourself to have a better day.  You can choose to be happy and positive. Adopt the habit of starting off your day with something positive. Write yourself a love note. Smile. Do something for yourself that brings you happiness. Seek out positivity in your daily life rather than dwelling on things you don’t enjoy.

If you feel a negative thought coming, immediately switch it to something positive. Don’t start a sentence with something negative. If you have to be negative, start with that but end with something positive. Example… “I had a shitty day.” Change that to, “I had a shitty day, but now I am home with my family and looking forward to (fill in the blank).”

STOP posting negativity on social media.  I cannot stress this one enough. The moment you put something negative online, other people are going to latch onto it and help you be more negative. Misery loves company. And some people love the drama that comes with other people’s negativity. You posting something negative on social media immediately puts that energy and vibe into the universe. And not only are you putting that vibe out for yourself, you’re putting it on everyone who is reading your stuff.

If you do choose to be negative on social media, I have two things you should never post about. Don’t ever post negativity about your spouse. I see it every single day; the passive aggressive posts…

“Of course my husband would choose today to be an asshole when he got home from work.”

“It’s always so nice when my husband takes his sweet time coming home from work.”

This goes for husbands posting too but it’s usually the wives. Sorry, ladies, but it’s true. And what are you getting out of this? I’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting. You’re getting your other lady friends to hop on the husband-bashing train and now you aren’t the only one being negative. You just recruited a whole batch of other people who are going to be negative too. And then when your spouse comes home, what kind of mood are you in? What if the reason your spouse came home late was because he decided to stop at Starbucks and bring you a Trenta Hibiscus Refresher? But you don’t know this so you’re an asshole to him when he gets home and you’ve already posted all that hate and negativity all over Facebook. You can’t get that back. It’s out there.

Next, Don’t ever post negativity about your kids. I am not talking about the stories about your kids that you tell as satire to make people laugh. We all love those and we know you aren’t really going to “sell the kids on ebay or etsy.” (Have you seen that meme? I love that one). I am talking about the same passive aggressive stuff like I said above. And I am talking about stuff that you should really just keep to yourself. I’ve seen so much negative stuff about some of my friend’s kids that if you asked me about those kids, I would only be able to tell you bad things. What does that say about those parents who are posting? It just puts out more negativity into the universe and you can’t take that back. You called your kid a little shit and at least 10 people saw that before you decided to delete it. Just stop. Make it a point to only post positivity about your kids.

One other thing…so 3 things you shouldn’t do… Don’t over-share. It kind of goes with the posting about your spouse and kids. But social media doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING, especially if it’s negative.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

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I cannot stress this one enough. I am not sure if I mentioned in other posts, but when I lived in Arizona I lived in a black hole of negativity. And it was so easy to get sucked in. I actually lost quite a few friends because I would choose to stay out of the drama and just stay home. I was constantly around people who would take something good and immediately turn it into something bad. The very first day I was at my brand new house, a lady drove by and said, “Oh you’re new? Welcome to Hell.” This is the kind of negative vibe I am talking about. She put that on me. I was so excited to live in a new place and she immediately put a bad taste in my mouth within the first 10 minutes of me being there. Obviously we never became friends, lol.

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Evaluate the relationships you have. Are your friends constantly negative? Do they like to bring you down? Or are you friends with people who love to have fun and smile and make you happy? It’s a hard task, trust me. When you start to really look at people in your life, sometimes it ends up that your closest friends are not the people you want to be close with anymore. Some of those people even end up being family members. But are you happier without them in your life? Yep!

 

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I am not saying you need to learn to meditate, although it wouldn’t hurt, but take 3-5 minutes and just breathe. Lock yourself in a closet and breathe. Making yourself take a break can work wonders for your mind and change your mood. Close your eyes, don’t think about anything negative, and just breathe. Try it. For me.

If you take one thing away from this, let it be that YOU can make yourself positive. You have that power. You just need to do it.  It won’t be the easiest thing you do, but it will be the most rewarding.

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The Purge! #JTM

I know I already had a Volume 1 of the purge post but this really should have been the first one. The other one I wrote was more spontaneous while this one was more thought out.

As I mentioned, we are slowly working on our journey towards minimalism. As soon as I watched that documentary I immediately started looking around the house at things I didn’t need. The first purge was clothes.

I purge my clothes pretty often. I used to be a clothes hoarder. I would keep ALLLLLL my t-shirts from forever ago because at one point I loved them. Then I got pregnant and most of my clothes never fit me again. Purge. Then I started losing weight and clothes didn’t fit. Purge. But I would still keep a lot. WHY?!? One day I read something about cleaning out your closet and it stuck, and it’s what I ask myself whenever I clean my closet. “Weather dependent, would I put this on today and wear it?” If the answer is no, it goes. It’s really that simple. And you know what? I don’t miss any of those things I got rid of. Another rule someone mentioned that is a good one: if you buy something new, something old needs to go. It really keeps you from frivolous buying. I purge my clothes seasonally and it seems to be working for me.

But I was not the only one purging this time. My husband purged his clothes and I think he had 3 times as many bags as me. While I hoard shirts, he hoards pants. He had stacks of jeans that he never wears. Why? Because he might wear them someday. Would he put them on that day and wear them out? NO? Out they go!!

Here’s our SHARED closet after we were done. Most of our clothes are foldable and are in cube-type storage (Ikea stuff) but this is all that hangs.

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You can see my husbands current pile of pants, lol. He is rotating his clothes so only shorts are out for wearing now. I have to cut him some slack though because he needs more clothes for his job. He can’t just dump everything when he has uniforms and certain clothes for certain jobs.

Next was the craft closet. I say craft because it’s in our craft room but really it’s the “catch-all” closet. The place you put everything you don’t really have a place for. Also where you throw everything you don’t want to see. I wish I took before photos. Grrr! But still, it’s a thousand times cleaner and more organized than it was.

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That white hanging compartment was full of shoes. I think I kept one pair. I even went through all those plastic drawers and organized them. I was putting in work.

Next was the kitchen. This was the next biggest purge after the clothes as far as how much I got rid of. Why did I need 14 dinner plates when we are a family of 3? Why did I need 44,000 plastic cups? Why did I need to start collecting mugs when I only drink out of one? And why did I keep things just for the sake of keeping them? Do you have an answer because I sure don’t.

I kept our one set of 8 dishes; large plates, small plates, bowls, and mugs. I got rid of all the other dishes. If we happen to have a party or something I’ll buy paper plates. It’s really that easy. I kept about 10 mugs that meant something to me. I kept about 10 drinking glasses and a few plastic ones for the child. I went through all the plastic tumbler-type cups and matched them with their lids. No match, why do I have you!?! The biggest part of this purge was getting rid of glasses and cups we NEVER EVER use. The ones you get when you buy the special drink at a restaurant but you never use the cup again. The flasks that were a fun gift because they had a mustache on them but have never been used because we don’t drink liquor from a flask, lol. All gone!! And now I have empty shelves. WHOA!

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I also went through the drawers. Why was I hoarding steak knives when we only use the 4 new ones?

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The top left photo is all the silverware that WAS mixed in in the drawer. I had wayyyy too much. The photo on the right of the drawers is great because previously you could not see the bottom of either of those drawers.

So what did I do with all the other dishes and stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. A lot I put in that huge pile for a yard sale. And some of it I wrapped up nicely and put in boxes for my daughter when she moves out (she’s 9 now). I had a set of China that my abuelos gave to me when I got married. It used to be our normal dishes until I bought something new. It’s a great set with dinner plates, small plates, tea cups, saucers, a platter, a huge bowl, tea pot, and sugar container. It’s really a perfect set of dishes that was collecting dust in my cabinet. So that will be given to my daughter. Basically, my daughter’s kitchen will be fully equipped. She will have all the dishes, glasses, mugs, and utensils. But only the things she will use. And the cool part is that they will all mean something to her. The mugs I chose to give her, rather than sell, are all from places she’s been as well. And if she decides she doesn’t want all that stuff at some point, it will be hers to decide.

Not pictured but another big purge was our movies. Sure we love movies, especially without cable, but there were so many we never watch and probably won’t ever again. I have a giant black garbage bag full of movies to sell. Also not pictured, on Easter my daughter and I purged her room. She’s really good at it. She is a small time hoarder of things “she might play with later” but she still understands and is willing to part with a lot.

I think the craziest part so far is seeing how much shit we had upstairs with us that wasn’t bringing any meaning to our life. I’ll show you this photo again…

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ALL of this stuff for the yard sale was upstairs. I can’t. I don’t even get it.

So now the storage purge continues. After my last post we stopped going through everything because we were headed to a friend’s house, but we emptied 4 boxes. We have a pile set aside to keep, a pile to burn/toss, and then we’ll add to the yard sale pile. It’s a good time going through the stuff because I do keep some really cool things that mean things to my husband even though he had no idea they did. I kept a box full of the letters he received when he was in basic training and overseas. He didn’t know they were still around and he really enjoyed reading some, especially the ones from family members who have passed away. So really it always comes down to that question…”Does this bring me happiness?” Sometimes you find things that truly do make you happy and those are the thing we won’t ever get rid of. But if we have no connection to items anymore, out they go.

Embracing Change: A Love Story

This post has been brewing for a long time. It all started with a question quite a few months ago; I’ll get to that. I was going to write it yesterday but the day came and went. But here it comes.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of being “John and Chrissy.” 18 years as a couple. Our story began in 4th grade when we sat next to each other. I moved to a different community for middle school but then came back for high school. The rest is history. We started dating freshman year and have been “us” every since.

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Freshman Year, 1999

A few months ago I went to have a coffee date with a new friend. We were doing the usual “get to know each other” question and answer session. She asked me, referring to my husband and I being together so long, “Have you guys changed a lot?” My immediate response, with a laugh, “Pshhh, no!” I didn’t realize the impact of that question. I have thought of that question almost every day since then.

When I initially asked myself the question again, my reasoning for the NO answer was this: I am still the goof I was in high school. He’s still the muscle that can pick me up and swing me over his shoulder. We still listen to the same music. He still drives and I passenger. We are still together so of course we haven’t changed. But then I continued to ask myself the question over and over since then and I keep realizing, we are totally NOT the same people that we were when we first met, or got married, and we definitely aren’t the same couple after all these years.

The easiest change to see, we are now parents. And even that has changed in the 9 years since we had our daughter. But the other changes might not be as obvious, even to the people who know us best.

The first thing I think of is the way we eat. On our 1 year dating anniversary, John took me out to a super fancy seafood restaurant, not realizing I didn’t eat any sort of seafood. I filled up on bread and ordered a chicken meal. It took me a good 15 years to live that one down. “Remember the time I took you out for fish and you ordered the chicken?” When we were first married I don’t think I ever cooked a vegetable. We ate meat with rice or pasta. We ate out a lot. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago we decided to make changes in our diet. And it wasn’t until just last year that we really decided we were going to clean out our cabinets and start from scratch and start eating clean. Vegetables are now one of our favorite things to eat! And I LOVE seafood!! And I cook wayyyy more often than I ever did; we rarely eat out.

We grew up in southern California. I am not trying to say that there are only two types of people in SoCal, but for this blog there are two types of people; fancy people and hippies. Maybe instead of fancy I could call them lavish. In my opinion, lavish people want a perfect house, the perfect clothes, the perfect tan. Hippies are carefree, they differentiate between wants and needs, and they care more about other people than themselves. I would say we grew up being a healthy mix of those two. We lived in a pretty great neighborhood with all the things we wanted, could go to the beach to get our perfect tans, but were also pretty grounded with good heads on our shoulders and good morals.

When we were first married I think we wanted to be the lavish kids we thought we were. We bought all the things we wanted. We had a tv in each room. We HAD to have cable with HBO. When we could afford to, we spent money on new clothes and new things for the house because we wanted them. And when we had our daughter we wanted her to have all the latest and greatest gadgets because that would be the best for her. We aren’t those people anymore.

We’re the hippies now, 100%. We were slow and steady to make this change. Moving out to the country away from everyone was the first big step. Wanting to live off the land and not have to spend all our money on food when we could grow our own. We realized we wanted to spend more time with each other doing things outside rather than watching tv, so we kept extra tv’s in the moving boxes. We discontinued cable. We had very limited internet (this wasn’t a choice in the beginning but it was a blessing in disguise). We took away our daughter’s tablet (another thing that we didn’t realize was a blessing). We’re in the process of downsizing all of our stuff. We are heading in the minimalist direction, hoping to one day maybe be those weirdos who live in a tiny house with just a bed and a stove on a huge plot of land with chickens and a garden (I’m not kidding, it’s become our dream).

Growing up we weren’t raised religious. We had some church background but nothing that I would say was enough to form us into the people we are today. We still aren’t religious, like Bible religious, but we are both very spiritual. We are constantly learning and sharing ideas with each other that build on our spirituality. It’s something we have grown to share.

And then there’s our relationship. We have always loved each other, no question. And we’ve always been best friends; we GREW up together, how could we not be best friends? But when we were first married, and only 19, we still had growing up to do and things to experience. We did everything together but we still had those moments when we wanted to get away from each other. I was that annoying nagging wife at times. And he was the worker bee that I wanted more attention from. We fought over dumb things, like any new couple, we kept grudges, and would dwell on things we had no control over. Today, we not only love each other more, we LIKE each other more. There’s totally a difference. You can love someone but not enjoy being around them. We enjoy each other. We want to spend time together as much as possible. And we definitely don’t hold grudges. We agree on a lot but when we don’t, we figure it out without being assholes to each other. We laugh A LOT more, me especially when I think we’re fighting over something stupid. We work together. All while still maintaining our independence.

The point of all this is that the answer to the question, “Have you changed?” is most definitely a, “Hell yes, we’ve changed!” And the best part is, we’ve done it together. The second best part is, we are happy. Like, really happy. The happiest we’ve ever been. When talking about us and our lifestyle, hippie-ish, I always tell people that I think this was all in there deep down but it just took a while to really embrace it. Deep down we wanted all this but maybe just didn’t know how to make it happen. And all the roads we’ve taken together were all eventually going to lead us to this point. And now, this is the new starting point down our next road of adventure. Will a lot more change in another 18 years? Who knows. I would guess that we will just further embrace a lot of the things we are moving towards now. And the best part is, we’ll still be doing it together.

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April 13, 2017. 18 years

Yuma and Me are Like Peas and Carrots (A half crafting blog)

Title taken from one of my all time favorite movies. Second in line to Legends of the Fall. Why do I love a movie where EVERYONE dies (sorry if that spoils it for you)? Mr. Pitt of course. And if you want to know more about things I obsess about, check out my Pinterest board all about Me.  But anyhoo, back to the normally scheduled blog post. Yuma, Arizona. Not the first place I thought I would live. But boy am I happy to be here.

I grew up in southern California. When I was 19 I got married and moved to North Carolina. I had never been anywhere past El Paso, TX (except right before I got married but that’s a technicality). So I’m on the east coast. At first I was scared. I didn’t go outside too much. I was so happy to be with my husband and that was all that mattered. I met some people but it wasn’t until a couple years in that I met some really great friends and started to find out more about this east coast place. We lived there for 7 years and did so many things. We traveled all around the state. Sometimes we would drive 3 hours to Charlotte just to eat some tacos from Jack in the Box. Yes, they are THAT important. We saw the mountains, the beach, we drove to Virginia, my husband took me to D.C for the first time. We had a life there. We had a house. We became a family. We had “family” there.  So, when my husband got orders to move to Tampa, it was a bit tough. We assumed that we would love it there and then after his 3 years were up we would move back to NC and get right back into where we were before.

Boy were we wrong. At first, Tampa was awesome. But then maybe that was because my best friend (from NC) drove there with us and stayed with us for 2 weeks. I had brought a piece of “home” with me. We drove around and went to the beach and were having a blast. When she left, it all sunk in. Here I am, in a brand new place, no friends, starting all over again. Plus we are a one-car family so it’s not like I can go and explore. But, I made the best of it. I was cool with not having too many friends and being cooped up in the house all day with my daughter. Who am I kidding? It sucked. And how does a housewife make friends? She doesn’t. I am totally outgoing but I will not walk up to someone and ask them to be my friend. And it’s not like I can go out to a bar and meet people. That is just asking for trouble.  And I absolutely LOVE being a stay-at-home mom. But not having any sort of time alone is hard. Even my daughter would get sick of me. Sometimes you just need some space. One nervous breakdown later, I knew a few things had to change. I needed more ME time. I could bore you with even more details, but here’s the gist. I started making friends. I made some really good friends. And then I moved away.

We only stayed in Tampa for 2 years. But I’m not sad. I never felt a connection to Tampa. At first we thought, this is just like San Diego (where we are both from). There’s the beach, the big city, the weather is similar, this is awesome. But that faded quickly. Big city can get boring. And there wasn’t much to do that didn’t cost money. My daughter and I miss being able to go outside in the backyard to see dolphins and manatees. I truly miss the friends I made months before I left. But when people ask me if I miss Tampa, my answer is easy; No.

When people would hear we were moving to Yuma, they seriously thought my husband had done something wrong to get here. No one could believe that he asked to come here.  I would tell them, “We used to vacation in Yuma,” and they would start to laugh. No seriously. I totally know my way around. We moved here just a few weeks before my favorite car show, Midnight at the Oasis.

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Even now when I meet people from around the base, the first thing they do is complain. “Welcome to Hell” was a sentence we heard more than enough times when we first got here. We just laugh and listen to them complain and then when they ask how we like it here, we always say the same thing, “We love it here!” And it’s true. We have done more things in the 3 months we have been here that we ever did while we were in Tampa. We explore. We go off-roading. Last week, my husband and I went hiking all day. And did I mention for that the first time in almost 10 years we live within driving distance of home? I’ve seen my parents almost every weekend. I used to see them every few months, maybe. We have seen our friends. One of our friends actually already came out here to visit us. And he’s already making plans to come back.

Being happy is all about finding the best in your situation. And I feel like crap saying that after I just bashed Tampa. But we really did make the best of it. It just took a little time for us to make the best of it. But, I am pretty damn happy here in Yuma. I feel like I am meant for desert living. I say that now before the temperatures are around 130 degrees, but really. Sometimes when we are out rock hounding my husband will be hammering rocks and I will just sit there and stare out into the desert. I listen to the wind, I feel the beating sun on my shoulders (super tan shoulders) and I am just happy. I’m happy to live here. I’m happy to live in such a tiny place that I can ride my pink beach cruiser around to get the mail or go to the grocery store. I am happy that my daughter gets to spend so much time with her grandparents. I am happy that my husband found new hobbies. I am happy that he’s happy. People look at photos I post of us and they say, “Arizona looks good on you.” Yes, I think it does.

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So let’s get to the crafting part because you know that’s what makes me really happy. So I finally got settled and opened my shop again. I was getting a few people asking me to paint things, do the normal stuff. Then one day while we were checking out an old abandoned mine, I found a super cool shiny rock. My husband said, “Wow! That’s the find of the day.” Little did we know it would get better. We walked around to the other side of this hill and the ground was littered with these little guys.

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These are rose quartz. It’s hard to tell but they have a purple or pink hue to them. When I saw these, the first thing I saw were a pair of earrings. Now, when we first got here we bought a rock tumbler. After I found these I told my husband we needed another one.

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Out came these beauties. Can you believe that those are the rocks I found? How awesome is that? And with those i made…..

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A super one of a kind pair of earrings. I found the rocks, I tumbled them, I wrapped them and made them into earrings. So super cool.

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I made these with quartz that I found that hasn’t been tumbled. Just a couple of rocks I found turned into a beautiful pair of earrings.

Then of course we were in Quartzsite (a town you may have heard of) and we happened upon a gem/rock store and I bought a bag of rocks. These have already been tumbled but still, pretty one of a kind.

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I was there for at least 30 minutes picking through the rocks trying to find “pairs”. So keep your eyes out on my Facebook page in case you want to buy a pair of earrings. Hoping to make a couple sets with a rock pendant necklace too.

The main idea of this post? I’m a pretty happy gal. I got my family and my rocks and “that’s all I need.” (The Jerk)

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