Are You Superstitious?

Image from Morguefile

Image from Morguefile

This past Tuesday, we officially sold our house in Pittsburgh! We accepted an offer on the house at the end of April…and I haven’t posted anything here since! Not because I’ve been too busy or because I haven’t had anything to say. The truth is that I couldn’t wait to tell you all about our big sales news. But I had a nagging fear that posting the news here (in such a public way before the closing happened), would be tempting fate too much. Now, I don’t usually consider myself to be a superstitious person. I’m not afraid of black cats and I don’t throw a pinch of spilled salt over my shoulder. But I guess the sale of our house was just too big a thing to risk. Thankfully, it is now a done deal and I can happily (and with great relief) tell you that we are officially no longer homeowners!!!

But I’m curious…are you superstitious? Have you ever found yourself afraid to share a piece of good news because you somehow felt that doing so would jinx it?

 

Snow Day!

Yesterday it was 50 degrees here.  The sun was shining and we wore light jackets as we walked on the nature trail by our house.   And today…well, today it looks like this:

Snow Day Picture

I realize it’s January, which means that today’s weather is way more expected than yesterday’s weather.  But that doesn’t make today’s snowfall and cold temps any less of a shock to the system.

While I may be lamenting this snowstorm, the kids are thrilled.  Big snow storm=no school.  They’re headed outside right now to build a snowman and ride their sleds.  D already asked me if school will be cancelled for tomorrow too.  And since this snow day turned an already long 3 day weekend into a 4 day weekend, it took everything inside me not to shout “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I HOPE NOT!”  But between you and me, one snow day is plenty for this week, thank you very much!

If you are experiencing this snowstorm today too, I hope you are staying safe and warm!

The Change Potential is now on Facebook!

Happy Sunday!  I don’t normally post on the weekend, but I couldn’t wait to tell you….The Change Potential is now on Facebook!  

Facebook logo

As you may recall, my phrase for 2014 is “Take action and move forward.”  I’ve been meaning to set up a Facebook page for the blog but it never seemed to rank very high on my To-Do list.  I decided that a simple way to kick off my new phrase for 2014 was to stop procrastinating and take action on setting up the page.   And you know what?  Setting it up took me very little time but made me feel so happy! 

It’s still a work in progress -I’ll be adding more links and other fun stuff- but if you are on Facebook, I hope you’ll stop by and visit my new page.  

 

New Year’s Resolution…with a Twist

Happy New Year!  Are you as relieved as I am to be back in a more normal routine after the craziness of the holidays?

We spent time with family and friends over the days surrounding Christmas, and then hosted some friends at our house to ring in 2014.  While eating Monkey Bread for breakfast on New Year’s Day, there was some discussion about New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t typically put a lot of time or energy into thinking up resolutions each year.  In fact, I rarely make New Year’s resolutions.  But this year is different.  I actually started thinking about this whole resolution thing back in December.

Resolutions are a tricky business.  While we were talking on New Year’s Day, one of our friends questioned whether it is better to make big, grandiose resolutions, such as “I’m going to lose 50 pounds”, or to make smaller, more easily attainable resolutions, such as “I’m going to eat two servings of vegetables every day.”  Personally, I’ve never been good at keeping the big resolutions and I find the smaller resolutions uninspiring.  This conundrum (and my inability to make decisions) is probably why resolution making falls low on my list of priorities.

But this year is different because this year I was inspired by other bloggers, including Gretchen Rubin and The Nester, to think outside the resolution box.  Instead of coming up with something specific I want to do in 2014 (or not do, as the case may be), I’m following in their footsteps by picking a word (actually, a phrase) that will be my focus for 2014.  I know a few friends who will most likely scoff at this idea, but I like taking this broad, all encompassing approach.  Instead of focusing on a single aspect of my life, this phrase gives me a lens to view all aspects of my life.  And so, after a few weeks of consideration, my phrase for 2014 is this:

2014 There are really two halves to this phrase, and I did consider shortening it to either “take action” or “move forward.”  But for me, at this point in my life, they kind of go together.  Maybe it’s out of habit or maybe it’s out of fear, but there is a huge gap between the things I want to do and the things I actually do.  I have a long list of new things I want to try, new places I want to see, and new experiences I want to have.  But rarely do I take the steps to actually try, see, or experience any of them.  And I’m beginning to realize that my inability to take action is keeping me from moving forward in my life.  And so, this year, I have decided to take action and move forward.  What will that look like?  More on that later….

In the meantime, I would love to hear about your resolutions.  Have you made any resolutions for 2014?  If you were going to pick a word or phrase for 2014, what would it be?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

The gifts are wrapped and the cookies are made.  The kids have been bouncing off the walls with excitement, first counting down the days (and now the hours) until Christmas morning.

On Sunday night, we made popcorn, put the kids into their pajamas, then all piled into the car and drove around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights.  It was peaceful and calm…exactly the way I wanted to spend one of the final evenings before Christmas.

As we drove around the neighborhood, we listened to Christmas music.  One of my favorite Christmas songs is the classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  There’s something about the words that speak to my (overly) sentimental heart every time a hear it:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on
our troubles will be out of sight 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay
From now on
our troubles will be miles away

Here were are as in olden days
happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

This Christmas, may your hearts be light, may your family and friends be near, and may your troubles be miles away (if only for a day or two).  Merry Christmas!!

 

It seemed like the right thing to do at the time

House in Hands

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mark and I have moved many times…nine to be exact.  It seems like each time we move, we move into a slightly different type of housing.  There have been apartments, townhomes, and single-family homes.  There have been hundred-year old homes and ten year old homes.  Sometimes we buy and sometimes we rent.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland.  We owned our home in Pittsburgh and when we moved, we decided to rent it out instead of selling it.  We had a number of reasons for deciding to rent it out, but here’s the simple summary of those reasons:  it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  But our decision not to sell our Pittsburgh house also meant that we didn’t have the money to purchase a house here in Maryland, so we once again became renters.  For the last year and a half, we’ve been renting a smallish townhouse in a very nice community.  We like the school and we like the area.  We have nice neighbors and the kids have made friends.  But we aren’t crazy about our house.  It’s smaller than we really need, it’s been rental property for a while so it needs some updates, and it’s honestly just not quite what we want for the long term.  And that’s fine because we’re just renting.

But then, a few months ago, our landlord informed us that he will be selling the house and so he asked us if we were interested in buying it.  Now up until that moment, Mark and I had always agreed that this house was too small.  We always said things like, “It’s not a bad house, but I wouldn’t want to own it.”  We had a list of issues with it:  the garage is too small for either of our cars, our daughters share a bedroom that isn’t quite big enough to be a shared bedroom, and we don’t have a guest room for our frequent overnight guests.  And so when our landlord approached us about buying the house, we of course said “Sure, why not!”  Yep, that’s right.  We said yes.  Now, you may be wondering why we would do that when we both felt that this house isn’t the right house for us.  We had a number of reasons for agreeing to purchase the house (contingent on the sale of our other house, of course) but here’s the summary of those reasons:  it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Do you know why it seemed like the right thing to do?  It’s actually the same reason that renting out our Pittsburgh house instead of selling it also seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  In both cases, we confused the “right” thing to do with the “easiest” thing to do.  As we were preparing to move out of Pittsburgh, the idea of renting out our house instead of selling it sounded so much easier.  My brother-in-law was looking for a place to live, we weren’t mentally prepared to deal with the selling process, and we weren’t sure how long it would take to sell.  So we choose the easy path.  The same is true for agreeing to sign a contingent contract on this rental house.  We knew that to not buy this house meant that we would need to move…again.  And when faced with the prospect of packing up all of our belongings again and searching for a new place to live again, we decided that staying put in a house we weren’t crazy about was easier, and thus a good idea.

But here’s the problem:  the easy thing isn’t always the right thing.  In fact, I’m starting to realize that the easy thing is rarely the right thing.  Too often, we choose the easy thing simply because it’s easy.  We find ourselves settling for good enough because we don’t want to take the time, put in the effort, or face the risks involved in searching for the thing that we really want.  But in the end, we are rarely happy with the easy thing we settled for because it’s not what we really wanted.  And while the fact that we can attain whatever it is easily sounds compelling in the beginning, it fails to matter at all once we’ve attained it.

I won’t bore you with all that ensued over the last few months.  The short story is this:  our Pittsburgh house hasn’t sold, our contingent contract expired, and we ultimately decided not to sign another one.  Our house in Pittsburgh remains on the market because we realized that selling it is the right thing to do, even if it takes some time and effort.  And we decided not to buy this house because we realized that with a little time and effort, we will find a house that better suits our wants and needs.  Not buying this house means that in a few short months, we’ll be once again searching for a new place to live.  We’ll need to decide whether to purchase a house or rent a house.  We’ll need to decide whether to stay in our current community or move into a new one.  We’ll be packing up our stuff in boxes and praying that nothing gets broken.  Moving is hard, there’s no doubt about it.  We’re not doing the easy thing, but I feel like we’re doing the right thing.

 

ABC Award

abc-award_thumb

I’m honored to have been awarded the “Awesome Blog Content” award by Michael at Harcourt51.  Michael has a fantastic blog (actually multiple blogs) featuring lovely poems, beautiful photography, and insightful blog posts.  You can find links to each of his blogs on Harcourt51.  Thank you, Michael, for thinking of me for this award.  It means so much!  Michael nominated me for this award a number of weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to write this post but time slipped by without me even realizing it.

There are a few rules that go along with accepting this award.  They are as follows:

1.  Display the “ABC” award on your blog.
2.  Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who awarded you.
3.  Present 8 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
4.  Link your awardees with the post and let them know of their award.
5.  Write a word or phrase about yourself for each letter of the alphabet.

I really struggled with #5…that’s one of the reasons it took me so long to write this post!  But here it is…each letter of the alphabet with a word/phrase about me:

A.  Autumn- my favorite season

B.  Billy Joel- my favorite musician and the famous person I would most like to meet.

C.  Coffee- it makes everything better, especially the morning.

D. Dessert- best part of any meal

E.  Eve- My two favorite days of the year are actually “Eves” – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

F.  Family- what matters most to me

G.  Germany- I lived there for 3 fabulous years and would do it again in a heartbeat.

H.  Horseback riding- Someday I am going to learn how to do this!

I.   Introvert- I took me some time to figure this out, but I am definitely an Introvert.

J.  Jeans- What you’ll find me wearing 95% of the time.

K. Kindle- I really want to like reading books on a Kindle, but I just don’t.

L.  Late- Being late is one of my biggest pet peeves.

M.  Musician- my first career

N.  Nine- the number of times Mark and I have moved in the fifteen years we’ve been married.

O.  Only Child- I am an only child but always wished for siblings.

P.  Psychology- After deciding that music wasn’t for me, I went back to school and earned a Psychology degree.

Q.  Quotes- I am definitely a quote collector.  I have them on my walls, written down in notebooks, and I use them all over my blog.

R.  Reading- one of my favorite pastimes.

S.  Skiing- Tried it twice, hated it both times, won’t do it again.

T.  Travel- love it but having 3 kids makes it a lot harder to do.

U.  Uggs- I may be the only girl alive who still doesn’t own a pair of Uggs.

V.  Victorian- of all the houses we’ve lived in, our Victorian house was definitely my favorite.

W.  Winter- my least favorite season

X.  Xanadu (by Olivia Newton-John) – First song I ever memorized the words to, allowing me to sing it in my room all day and night (sorry Mom and Dad!)

Y.  Yellow- Wish I could wear this color but it makes me look sick.

Z.  ZZZ’s- I never seem to get enough of them!

And now for my eight nominations, in no particular order:

1.  DorkDaddy.com

2.  Simply Kierste

3.  Simply Organized

4.  A Sorta Fairtale

5.  Twinfamy

6.  Mom in the Muddle 

7.  Act in Kindness 

8. 30 Handmade Days 

Thanks again to Michael for the award!  And thanks to everyone who reads my blog.  I appreciate all of you so very much!