Posted by: clearspaces60 | March 11, 2017

What Do I Do Last?

I have been wrapping my head around this question. Not “What do I do first?” but “What do I do last”?  I flipped it around when I felt like I had more to do than time to do it.  Not an uncommon feeling for many and getting started can be difficult, so I began with the ending.  Like visualizing how you want things to be or feel, seeing a project completed or feeling great about a party you hosted, you focus on the end result and prioritize from that point.  But what would be my last step or action? Why did it appear that looking at a problem from this point would help?

I decided to apply it for a couple of weeks and see what happened.  My first situation was creating a budget for our monthly bills and calculating how much money we needed.  We own our own business and take salaries and sometimes distributions.  I wanted to deposit enough money into our account to pay the entire month’s bills but I also had bills to print and a couple of weeks of mail to open. When I first get the mail, I tend to only open things that are urgent or extremely important. I asked myself, what is the thing I will do last?  Open all the mail was my answer.  This seemed counter intuitive because that is usually the first thing I get caught up on. Yet the more I thought about it the more it made sense.  This usually creates a pile of paperwork, recycling and shredding, not to mention the bills that are emailed to me that I need to print.  Since I create a budget everything month in Excel, I decided to estimate payments I did not know for sure and if necessary, search for one or two envelopes for a specific  statement.  I was able to figure out what we needed, make the deposit and pay the current bills while the neat stack of envelopes stayed that way until I could focus on only that task.

The next opportunity to ask myself this question came about when I decided that my husband and I would host a lunch in our home for my visiting sister, our family and friends.  Getting the house clean, decluttered and ready for feeding many guests can be time-consuming and exhausting.  My husband was doing the shopping and cooking which he loves to do. Getting the house ready and clearing off our dining room table which I use as a work space was mine to do.  What do I do last?  Many things came to mind, more like a list of things that I would like to do if I had the time.  That really wasn’t the question.  For example, I thought about getting fresh flowers and putting them in a few vases and rearranging the bookshelves so they looked open and highlighted certain books or displayed items like all the designers tell us to do. Wake up!! These were dreams! The last things I would do came to me so that I would not have to do them more than once or took very little time. I would vacuum, clean the bathroom and set out the plates, utensils, serving dishes and wine and water glasses.  This end result planning helped me manage my time better and see the house ready for guests.  I wasn’t redoing any cleaning or vacuuming and it all was finished with time to spare. It all came together in a beautiful way and we had a lovely afternoon with a house full of people.  Dreams do come true! Two of them brought me fresh flowers!

In the past few weeks, I have used this question to get me through a couple of piles of filing, working on pulling information together for our upcoming tax appointment and even with laundry.  Washing and drying what takes the shortest time to the longest time works when I am in a time crunch, but when I am doing one or two loads a day, having a load of sheets or towels or items that need to be hung up or lay flat to dry doesn’t really make a difference in my schedule.  What works for you? What do you want to do last? See the end result and find out if working from this vantage point gives you a new perspective.

Posted by: clearspaces60 | February 11, 2017

2017-How Is Your Year Going?

Here we are on February 11th as promised.  I find that my list of aspects I would like to attain-both tangible and abstract – is changing daily and sometimes hourly.  The climate of our country and the world, both political and environmental, is changing faster than I can keep up with. (OK Grammar Police, help me with that sentence). What actions can I take?  How can I be heard? How can I make a difference in the lives of others?  All good questions requiring thought and contemplation. More on this as our year unfolds.

Back to my previous post, I wanted to walk several times a week, that has not happened.  I asked myself Why?  I was sick part of the time, it rained some of the time, I was really busy and oh yeah, I just plain procrastinated.  Yet I asked myself, was there anything I did around physical exercise or health that was better than before?  Well, yes there was.  My other desire to subtract items that do not inspire joy and beauty in our home resulted in a great deal of physical effort to move, sort, box up, bag up and clean.  I filled our porch for the donation truck and gave some items to friends and family.  I also realized that I had been walking a lot more when I went out or went shopping, parking farther away than usual for a longer walk and I was standing a whole lot more when I was working or cleaning or talking on the phone. I cleared a few spaces, shelves, drawers, and reorganized a few areas.  Nothing big, but I can see it. Not perfect, but a little progress.

Building on these ideas and desires, I now want to add focusing on our business as corporate and personal taxes are due in March and April.  In an attempt to boost my energy around this, I started reading a book that I have had for at least a decade but have never read, how it landed on the top of a pile of books is serendipitous because I swear I have not touched it in years.  Visionary Business by Marc Allen.  I am about half way through, it is more of a story, like Richard Bach’s Illusions, (one of my all-time favorite books ever) AND it says that on the back cover. It is exactly what I need in this moment.

My other desire is to write more often, keep a better schedule and blog once a week.  Lofty goals, as I have had them for years, but putting them out to the small masses that read this feels like a promise to myself first and foremost.  And a promise to those that support me in my writing.

Let me hear from you about your quest to add your desired aspects, goals, desires and dreams and to subtract what you do not love, use, need or no longer serves you.  Here’s to seeing you next week!

Posted by: clearspaces60 | January 11, 2017

What A Year! What’s Next?

Let’s return to December 29, 2016 – Two hours before my writers group

 This year is nearly over, the rest of today and two more full days. What a year it has been! The tragedies, Acts of God and Acts of Man, the blessings, Acts of God and Acts of Man, the loss of humanity, the birth of new souls.  How do we embrace or release all we may have experienced personally?  There may be infinite answers to this question but one I will continue to give is – Do Away With Resolutions!

Whatever you want to change about yourself or your life, add or subtract, transform or destroy, resolutions are not the answer.  If you really think they are your answer, then why not change today and not on January 1st or 2nd?  How about beginning, ending, changing, adding or subtracting whatever it is; habits, thoughts, routines, schedules, meals, exercise, organizing, decluttering, procrastination, laziness, apathy, stuckness – on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis.

What can we give ourselves now instead of the self-destructive habit of, “Let me get through (fill in the blank), then I can work on (fill in the blank).”  Current example I have heard numerous times over the past month, from my own lips as well, “Let me get through the holidays, then I can think about getting new kitchen countertops and a sink in the coming year.”  The very thought of thinking about that now brings up already mounting decisions about money, projected income, bills, debt, loans, taxes and all that needs to be done by year-end which is Saturday!!  Yes, we need to get this work done, budget for it, plan it out, but not today!!  I know some of you are with me on this.

What can I give myself now?  I struggled with this question because is it fear, procrastination, avoidance, evasion, limitation, overwhelm or exhaustion? Most likely some of each, please let me know if you have other answers.

I realized I could give myself permission to accept where I am and not feel guilty or pressured to think about and deal with everything that needs to be done, planned, thought about, discussed or researched.  I know there is no such thing as multi-tasking and my brain can only do one thing at a time, even if my attention shifts for a second.  My body can multi-task, thank heavens!, but my mind can only focus on one thing at a time, there is research to back this up, I promise you.

With permission granted, now what? I do want to make changes for a better now, tomorrow, next month and all through next year.  What can I do differently that supports me in this quest?  How about identifying these aspects-tangible or abstract and write them down in a free-flowing stream of consciousness fashion.  No categories or editing!!  Then, what if I chose one to focus on each month, and if things go well, maybe one or more will happen!!

Now once a month, that gave me pause, I certainly know myself well enough that this is not going to happen on the first of each month.  What would work for me? I was born on the 11th and I do love that number so maybe I will mark that on my calendar each month and check in with my list and myself and give it a try. I will select one thing on January 11, 2017.  See you then if not sooner.

Happy New Year! May 2017 bring out the better angels in each of us!

Today is January 11, 2017

 I choose to post on my Blog on the 11th of each month with my current additions and/or subtractions.  This month I am adding walking several times a week and subtracting items that do not inspire joy and beauty in our home. I will keep you posted on my progress.  I would love to hear about yours too!


Posted by: clearspaces60 | December 17, 2016

Can’t Fail Christmas or Fudge

Right now, nearly every woman I know is at least a little stressed about Christmas.  It comes with the territory every December.  Yesterday I realized that pre-Christmas is like the movie Groundhog Day.  Why do we vow that next year will be better, easier, more organized, we will start sooner, we will plan better? Some of us have been doing this for DECADES and are in the same boat every year.  How can we be kinder to ourselves?

First let’s take a deep breath and actually exhale it.  Second, let’s take a minute or two to write down a short list of things we would love to do this holiday season.  Third, do any of these things match the list (that I know you already have made) of what we believe we must do?? Fourth, can we incorporate two or three Loves into the Musts?  Fifth, and this one can be a little rough, can we feel our feelings as memories rise up, happy or sad, celebratory or tragic?

It’s December 17th, Christmas is one week from tomorrow and we have not started decorating.  We had new window coverings installed in three rooms yesterday and are nearly done remodeling a bathroom that has needed a redo for almost 6 years.  My husband and I decided to get all this done before company comes for Christmas!   Oh, and we took a long-awaited trip to Napa for five days at the beginning of the month.  Every one of these things is a blessing yet the guilt still crept in.  As long as things are “good enough” on Christmas Day, which they usually are, then why can’t I Let Go and Let God?

As I walked myself through this process, I mightily exhaled.  I love to make fudge, play Christmas music, and have our home feel Christmassy without feeling obligated to put our every single decoration we own. I would love to watch my favorite Christmas movies with my husband a glass of wine instead of frantically wrapping gifts while listening to the dialogue.    Can I incorporate these into my schedule beyond the cleaning and rearranging and shopping that Must be done?  Yes, I can if I set my intention and focus on my love of beauty, comfort and joy.  I  realized that many past Christmases were surrounded by illness, surgeries, accidents and death.  Events happen and we dearly miss people.  If we don’t feel our feelings, then all hell can break loose when you least expect it.  Being emotionally healthy is the biggest gift we can give ourselves.  And let’s be honest, except under the most extreme situations, when have we ever failed at Christmas?

Now on to the fudge.  My mom found this recipe when I was a teenager and I have been making this fudge for about 40 years now! It is easy to make and is delicious. I  often get rave reviews, one from woman who told me she was a judge at the County Fair and is now one of my best friends.  (One of these summers I will get my act together and enter it into the competition, hmmm, a future blog post.)

Can’t Fail Fudge

  • 4 Cups              Miniature marshmallows(Fresh from the store, not stale from your                                                                                 pantry, I know you)
  • 2/3 Cup            Evaporated Milk
  • ¼ Cup               Butter/ half a stick                 
  • 1 ½ Cups              Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon         Salt
  • 12 oz./1 Bag       Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Teaspoon         Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup                  Chopped Nuts (optional)

 Combine marshmallows, evaporated milk, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium/medium high heat.  Cook and stir until mixture comes to a full boil.  Boil for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips beating until melted.  Do not overbeat.  Gently fold in vanilla, (then the nuts).  Pour into a 9” square pan or pie pan and chill until firm.

Makes approximately 2 ½ pounds.


Posted by: clearspaces60 | October 5, 2016


Thinking about unfinished business makes me feel like there is an anchor around my neck, weighting me down, sapping my strength.  I spend more time thinking about it than dealing with it.  This too is draining.  At times it is simple stuff; paying a bill online that is due today or straightening up before company comes, other times it is more difficult and time consuming like preparing for your income tax appointment or cleaning out your fridge.  Unfinished business can apply to many areas in your life; health, home, family, work, school, church or anything else you are interested in or made a commitment to doing.

The most frustrating part for me is when you are ready, willing and able to tackle the work and then you hit a roadblock or get interrupted.  Papers are missing, phone calls go unreturned, e-mails are not answered or some other wrench gets thrown into the works.  While this is all a part of everyday life and for the most part things generally work themselves out- in that very moment, how do we respond?  Honestly, the true question is- how do we react?

When the unfinished business isn’t tangible, then it can be even harder to bring to a conclusion.  Conversations, apologies, standing up for yourself, requesting with assertion what is rightfully yours, can weigh heavily on your mind and heart until there is completion.

I had a situation go on for two years, yes for two years this matter appeared regularly on my To Do lists!  Now I know that some unfinished business goes on for many years, even decades, especially with property, land, family matters.  In my case, Chrysler owed us a refund on the unused portion of a service warranty contract for a van we had traded in for a new Chrysler van. We were told by the finance guy that we had to turn in our original paperwork to the dealer where we purchased the old van, even though that legal entity was no longer in business, we were supposed to drive this paperwork over an hour away to the “new” dealership.  Even though we were buying the van right here at the Chrysler dealership in our hometown!   He also said that we could mail our original paperwork to Chrysler in Michigan.  Well, I couldn’t find the original paperwork, I had a copy and the contract was already on file at Chrysler, confirmed by both a phone call to corporate and the computer in our hometown dealership.  I made phone calls, wrote letters, a few months would go by and I would make more phone calls.  My husband even said, you will never get that refund.  All of this weighed on me and took up far too much time and space in my head.

When I did find the original paperwork, I called again, not wanting to give up my original.  I sent more copies and after two years went by, I got a response that “yes indeed we were due a refund”, $25, not the $800 the computer showed in the Chrysler records. Why?  Because too much time had passed.

Well that was it, we really needed the money at this point in time and I was done.  I knew that we were owed this money so I decided to turn it over to the Universe/Spirit/God.  I said a prayer, decided to take all the actions that were in my power and then LET IT GO!

I was going to let everyone know about this, call the consumer people on local news stations and shout out to the world that we were done with Chrysler because I WAS DONE.  I called the person on the letter and shared all of this with them, then they escalated the call.  I was connected to a woman who started telling me why my refund was only $25 and something inside me broke wide open. Normally I am very patient (at least the beginning of the call) but I was done, I no longer cared as my emotions had reached a pinnacle and we needed this money and knew this multi-billion-dollar corporation could easily send us our refund.

Somewhere in my nonstop explanation, I asked her just what it took to be considered a “Chrysler family” IF three top of the line Town and Country vans, a 300C, a 300M, a Patriot Jeep and a Dodge Durango didn’t cut it over a 16-year period of time?  Then I paused for her answer.  Then she started asking me questions, looking up all of our records, and as I calmed down, her anger grew.  She told me things that I knew were true two years ago.  The finance guy that told me all of this was dead wrong.  He could have and in her opinion, should have, taken care of everything with NO paperwork because it was in the system. She had worked for Chrysler for 20 years and they have never had a policy of turning in your original paperwork to anyone.  The fact that we traded it in for a new van made her even angrier.  She was livid and if she didn’t live in Michigan we would now be best friends. She was processing my correct refund as we talked about our lives, our kids, our vehicles.  All of my anger, frustration and fury dissipated.  She had heard every word I said and validated everything that I knew to be true for the past two years. I asked her if there was someplace I could tell Chrysler what a great employee she was and she said there was no need.  I am sure I have her name written down in my paperwork.  After a year and a half, is there still time to sing her praises?

We had our refund within a week, we received it when we really needed it and I vowed to see unfinished business in a new light.  We can only do what we can do, you hear that all the time, but it is still true. Patience and perseverance are often difficult but do pay off more often than they don’t.  And unfinished business comes in many formats, perhaps acknowledging it is the first step, especially when you don’t know what action step to take.

Now how do I get Chrysler to realize that I belong in those minivan commercials with Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan? I need the money for our son’s college tuition!

P.S.  He is driving a Dodge Dart.



Posted by: clearspaces60 | August 13, 2016

Clear Spaces to Come

As I look around our home, I see the clear spaces to come.  The desk in the living room, the bathroom counter, the empty hamper, the key dish on the piano, the kitchen table.  His bed will be in a perpetual state of “made”, his dresser will be cleared of Starbucks cups, his floor will be void of clothes and books and homework from the past.  I find myself looking at his giant shoes on the living room floor and thinking, they won’t be there in a couple of weeks.  I won’t be asking him to straighten things up because friends are coming over.

I know there are other clear spaces to come, some I can expect and others that will surprise me.  No more asking him if he needs anything when we go to the store.  Although he is only an hour away so that may come up once in a while.  He has done his own laundry for years but no more coordinating unless he brings it home to do. What have I not anticipated? Our Bengal cat who thinks of him as her Human, how will she react to “their” empty room?  What will my own concerns, worries, wonders, expectations and excitement for his new beginning really feel like after he has moved into his dorm?

Right now I am on this side of it and doing my best to stay present and checking in with these whirlwind emotions.  Excitement and Anxiety are two sides of the same coin.  That’s okay, there are huge adjustments to be made for him and for us. I am working on rolling with it and allowing us all to deal with it as it comes up for us.  Being present and allowing space, that intangible place we all need when things are changing in a big way. I will let you know that is on the other side.  Another clear space to come.

Posted by: clearspaces60 | July 23, 2016

Order Before Beauty

You must have order before beauty.  But what kind of order? Where is it? How do we attain it?  How do you create order in the midst of the chaos in your home, office, desk, car or the racing non-stop thoughts swirling around in your head?

What if you just stopped completely for a few minutes, closed your eyes and visualized something beautiful?  A sunny day on the beach, sitting on a porch in the mountains, a vase filled with flowers, the sky, a rainbow, the face of a loved one.  Now add the sounds to your picture, the waves of the ocean, the rustling of the leaves, laughter, whatever music that comes to mind or the luxury of complete silence.  Then add the most important part- the feeling you want to achieve- calmness, serenity, peacefulness, harmony, enthusiasm, vibrant energy.  Sit with this for a few moments.

Creating order within allows us to reveal the beauty outside of ourselves that becomes our environment. Focusing on the feeling we wish to have makes it easier to step into action.  Whether it is a made bed, organized desk, folded laundry or all the toys put away for the night, the feeling it brings leads us beauty.  Try it on a few times and see what works for you.  For some, putting a beautiful vase in the center of a cluttered table leads us to remove the mess.  For others, the table must be cleared before the vase can be set down.  It doesn’t matter which camp you are in, everyone has their own process.

It all begins with our internal order and capturing the feeling we desire then moving into demonstrating more beauty in our physical world.

Posted by: clearspaces60 | July 6, 2016

Are You READY to Receive?

I hear you, this blog is called Clear Spaces. Doesn’t that mean we are clearing shit stuff out? Decluttering, making room, giving what we don’t use, need, want or love the old heave-ho?  Yes, it means all of that.  AND it means making room for what we do want to receive.

We do not live in a stagnant universe and unless you want to be incredibly frugal or live off the grid, then we are going to have stuff continue to come into our lives.  The answer is twofold, First, are you open to receive what you want, need, desire and love?  I think quite a bit is focused on being open. So let’s talk about the Second aspect, are you READY to receive it?

We may think we are ready to receive more money, better health, a romantic relationship, new job and whatever else our heart desires yet we forget to clean up and make room both literally and figuratively.

I learned a lot from Edwene Gaines, an icon in manifesting and prosperity.  I had the great fortune to hear her speak a couple of times in my late 20’s.  Many of us in the audience wanted a significant other and a couple of things she said really stuck with me. First, she wanted you to have a clear and specific idea about your desired mate, second she asked what our house looked like, was the living room ready for company? Who wants to make out on a couch that is covered with newspapers and clothes with a messy coffee table? Well she was in her 50’s at that time so I guess the men in her life had higher standards.  Then she asked if our bedrooms were ready for a guest. Edwene!!  Perhaps this is why that image stuck with me.

Yet this can be applied to anything we are open to receiving.  Do you know where you will put the money when you receive it, are the deposit slips handy? If banking on-line, do you know your user name and password?  Do you have a plan in place so the money doesn’t slip through your fingers?  How about Health?  We think we are ready for better health, but have we looked at how our lives will change. Are we ready for more energy, more time, more opportunities to take because our illness, injury is gone?  Are we truly ready to weigh less?  Do we have at least a couple of outfits for this smaller, leaner frame? If you want to travel, do you have the proper ID to fly or a passport to leave the country?

Now here are a couple of hard ones for me, I want more books and more shoes.  Yes, I have three Kindles, my husband keeps trying to get me to use them and at times I do, but for the most part I love the actual book.  And as much I want a library, there is no room in the house.  Can I ask myself the tough questions, which books can I give away and how do I make more room on my bookshelves?  Hard but necessary.  And shoes, anyone have connections to Bandelino? My favorite brand, I can spot a pair a mile away.  At this time, I don’t necessarily have to release any shoes, because I have been pretty diligent about my closet for the past few years.  I may have to rearrange a few things and this is still part of getting Ready to receive those beautiful shoes.

Now with the physical work out of the way, what about the mental and emotional work.  Ready for a new partner or a new job? Are you? Are there any exes you need to let go of emotionally? Companies, bosses or co-workers to forgive so they don’t show up in different clothing this time around?  Release and forgive so repeat offenders stay far, far away.

Take a look at what you want to bring into your life.  Make sure there is Space Available in your head, heart and home.


Posted by: clearspaces60 | June 24, 2016

Shaken, Not Stirred

It’s Friday and 5 O’clock Somewhere

“I want pure clear alcohol”.  I met some friends at a bar after work one Friday. I needed a new drink, Rum and Coke wasn’t going to cut it. My day had been horrible. I had been advised/counseled/threatened that although I was dealing with a painful worker’s comp injury, I had better have a smile on my face, be more feminine-my 80’s pastel suits weren’t enough?? AND I had better compliment our female CEO on her clothing or jewelry to stay in her good graces.  Are you serious? Yes, said my boss, the male CFO.  Are your balls in her purse?  (Turns out they were, they had an affair that ended pretty badly for him, another story for another day.)

I was all of 29 at this point in my life, and the friends were older men of 33 or 34, well versed in pure clear alcohol. They ran through a list of choices, gin, vodka, whiskey, scotch, tequila.  Hmm, my best friend Jayne’s dad served us vodka tonics when we turned 18, heavy on the tonic but still good.  Vodka was chosen, then how did I want it, did I like olives, pearl onions, lemon, lime.  Olives sounded good, a little food with my drink.  The dry martini on the rocks was selected.  Why on the rocks?  I honestly don’t remember.  These were the kind of guys that looked out for me, maybe they thought the more ice the better. It was magnificent, I sipped away and felt like a real adult.  Well the boys were right, it has been my favorite cocktail ever since.

Last week we celebrated a friend’s birthday, two couples having dinner.  We ordered cocktails and the bartender must have been new or confused.  My vodka martini was cloudy, not clear, and tasted of cucumber or something close to it.  We all tasted it to see if it was “me” or the drink.  Looking at the opaque mixture, we all started talking about the different drinks we used to enjoy regularly and in greater volume.  Long Island Ice Tea, Rum and Coke, Sloe Gin, Harvey Wallbangers and on we went.  Looking at the drinks we were ordering now in our 50’s and 60’s, martinis, gimlets, alcohol of your choice on the rocks, it occurred to me that we had moved from sugary, sometimes messy combinations to something more clear and straight forward.  It was pretty obvious if your order was incorrect, yet there was still a little fun in making sure, and there was a clarity and simplification in our consumption.  Maybe we really are grown-ups.

P.S. Do not look up the history of the word “cocktail”, I am still trying to erase it from my brain.


Posted by: clearspaces60 | June 8, 2016

Creating Courage

I am sick and tired of needing courage and having to create it in order to face fear, disappointment and heartache.  Life is not fair and I am fed up with that saying as well.  Why can’t life be fair??  The people who say that are usually the people not suffering.  They pat the suffering on the head and say “Life’s not fair”.  In other words, I have mine, you don’t, get over it.  What does this have to do with courage?  I am not sure but every now and then a good rant clears the senses.  You can’t have courage unless you are afraid of something.  You can’t be brave unless there is something scary to overcome.  Who in the hell came up with this life strategy?

How about we all have a day off?

Just one day off, no need for courage or bravery, nothing to fear, no one is hurting or suffering or afraid.  No nightmares, real or not.  No one is harming anyone, no one is experiencing pain.  No drama, no stories, no poverty, no hunger, no sickness, no homelessness, no tragedies.  No crime, no pollution, no lack, no evictions, no overdrawn accounts, no car trouble, no traffic, no harsh words, no injustice, no greed, no corruption, no indifference.  Everyone is living in love, joy, peace, harmony, cooperation, co-existing with one another and with nature.

What kind of courage do we need to create to have that kind of day?

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