I have had the wonderful opportunity to see much of the country this past year, opposite ends of the country even. We began in Florida back in September and ended in Washington state just a few months ago. There were so many beautiful places! Places near oceans, rivers, mountains, on street corners, in hotels, not to mention all of the historic places.
A couple of my favorites were places like the Alamo in Texas (is that because I’m in love with American history??Maybe. ), Fox Island in Washington where we kayaked in the beautiful weather and then ate pizza on the beach. Downtown Seattle from the top of a very tall building, with its bays and bustling people and nearness to the ocean. The Riverwalk in San Antonio where you go down into this amazing below ground strip full of little shops and restaurants and ducks with names that everyone knows. Basically every beach in Florida, little quiet mountain towns in Colorado, and towns in small valleys way up in Canada that you reach after you’ve driven for hours, flown for hours and then driven some more. This town in particular looked like the night sky as we were pulling into the valley along the mountain road that brought us to it. It is one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen.
This is why I travel. Or at least a huge part of why. The different cultures, interesting people and beautiful places. I love experiencing it all. But, to be completely honest, it sometimes makes it difficult to be content living in one very familiar spot for a while. I mean, I like having more time and seeing my family and some friends here more often. But sometimes I have a hard time seeing this place where I live as beautiful or inspirational or good. ( Not that I’m complaining, I know I’m here at home for a reason right now. )
Everything tends to be smaller and I start to feel like it’s time for me to leave when I’ve only been here for a month. I suppose that’s the traveler in me though. She just thinks that it’s time to move on to the next place because I’ve seen all there is to see here. Maybe one day I’ll be more content with settling. But right now I’m young and have the time so, why not??
All of this to say that I have had to teach myself the habit of not only creating beautiful places in these small spaces, but bringing life to them as well. And I’ve learned that there is absolutely something wonderful about this sort of lifestyle. Practically speaking I do things that are simple and not terribly difficult in actuality, but they make a world of difference.
Organizing : Call me crazy but I absolutely cannot live in filth or clutter. It makes it very difficult for me to think clearly or have any order to my habits at all. Organizing helps me set things where they need to be and be more ordered in my head because of it.
Decorating : This just logically follows as the next step in my mind. And when I say decorating I mean filling my space, even if it’s small, with things that inspire and encourage me. Words and ideas are incredibly powerful and surrounding yourself with good things will help you be a better person. And if you’re a lover of books and all things history like I am, there is a never-ending wealth of resources to draw from. Also I LOVE hobby lobby and just about everything that they carry. I’ll be making a trip there soon to get some things for this new room I’m moving into.
3. Creating and Keeping Good Habits: This is the “bringing life into it” part. The fact is that places have life because of us. We create, work, sleep, inspire, become resourceful, help each other, develop programs that will make us all better, we sing, we dance, we love each other. So where there are people there is going to be life. But we can also strive to be life-giving in all of these things. If we don’t do these things well it can lead to destruction. Which is why I think developing good habits and doing so intentionally can really make your “place” be somewhere people want to come and stay a while. A few of the things I hope to continue doing are these…
– Read often ( Obviously. ) New books, old books, novels and books that are created to give information.
– Listen to or watch sermons, ted talks, documentaries, audio books, informative or inspirational movies. Intentionally, so that I am teaching myself and taking in good things regularly.
– Be intentional about how much media I am taking in and time I am spending on technology. Because we all know that our time can really get away from us when we sit down just to look at Facebook or one video on YouTube or a few posts on Insta, and before we know it we are three hours into a black hole of nothingness that hasn’t helped us AT ALL. One of the ways I hope to implement this is by getting an actual alarm clock!! And plugging my phone up on the other side of the room so I’m not tempted to jump on it first things in the morning or stay up late scrolling.
– Spending my time wisely. With people and by myself. And I know it’s hard to be intentional with your time. Or at least I’m finding out that it is. Because everyone expects something different of you. But if you try to be intentional and keep in mind that it’s for your good and everyone else’s, people will get the idea. You’ve just got to draw those lines and stick to them as often as you can. And eventually you’ll find that your time with people is spent well and intentionally as well as your time alone, so you’ve spent more quality time doing each of these things even if you’ve spent less actuall time there. Which in my experience tends to be more profitable and much better for relationships.
Also spend time with people who pour into you and people who you have the opportunity to pour into.
-Exercising. Because it clears your mind, makes you happier and is good for your body in so many ways. And you always feel good after you’ve accomplished it, no matter how hard it was to start. Also it gets easier to start over time so I mean, it’s kind of a win, win.
-Take time to just absorb lovely things. Like reading a good book for a long while. Lighting a scented candle and turning on some nice music while you’re cleaning and organizing ( I like oldies stuff but whatever is your favorite ), sitting in the sun and soaking it in, savoring a nice cup of tea before bead, hiking a new path that you’ve never explored before, talking to a good friend for a few hours, watching your favorite movie, enjoying a long hot bubble bath with candles and fancy soap for no reason at all, getting dressed up and going out to dinner once in a while. These are some of my favorite things to do, yours may be different but you get the idea. Make it a point to enjoy life. And that leads to my next point of advice.
– Be grateful. As in, actually being grateful instead of just saying that you are. Make a list often of all the things which bring joy to your life so that you remember to dwell on the fact that good things happen. We will always have difficulties and we will always have to work through them but we can’t let them rule our lives. We have to remember to enjoy life when we can and embrace the good things despite all the problems.
-And last but not least. Challenge yourself. This is in an effort to keep you growing and progressing. Because I don’t know about you but I NEED to progress. Staying where I am is just not something I enjoy. So figure out something that would be difficult for you, or that maybe is scary or something you thought you’d never be able to do and then just go for it. It’s a beautiful thing.
These are some of the ways I have found really help me bring structure and life to places, which in turn I think makes them beautiful. For you brave people who have made it to the end of this 1300 word post I am grateful. Thank you for spending your time here! All of these things I’ve touched on I hope to write about individually soon as well. For those who have less time on their hands.
Until next time..