A Season of Getting Clear ~ My 3 Step Plan


On the days leading up to the 31st, I’ve been excitedly working my way through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I’m realizing this past season has given me the gift of clarity. This was a Year of Major Change for me, namely a career change—but what I didn’t realize was that the cloud would lift on just about everything. It’s a good thing to enter January with a clear head, content heart, and insatiable desire to keep this momentum going. I am grateful.

There were 3 things I did to untangle the knots of the day to day. It wasn’t a get-a-pen-make-a-uber-long-list-post-it-on-every-surface-in-the-house plan. Thankfully, it unfolded naturally as I settled into the idea of completely swapping my entrepreneur life for a teacher’s schedule.

The first thing I did was turn off the noise.

It came in so many forms…Facebook, Twitter, blogging, blog reading, steadily capturing and posting my life (dinner plate and all)…as if it wouldn’t be real without cyber documentation. It was a huge relief to let it go cold turkey–almost like leaving a noisy lunchroom and going outside on the a park bench alone. I could actually hear my own thoughts again and separate them from what was swirling around me in my self-created Land of Needing to Share. I slept better. I enjoyed moments more because they belonged to only me and the person I was experiencing them with. It would still be a memory even if it didn’t show up in a blog feed.

There’s an incredible amount of HUSTLE when you work for yourself, especially when there’s art involved. I’m an introverted extrovert in that I gain energy from being alone (the obsessive planning part) and plunking myself in the middle of people (the marketing/relationship building part). To be really, really honest, the hustle never felt like a fun dance to me. It was like putting on someone else’s oversized clothes and flailing my way through a routine on stage. I admire and respect folks who can do this their whole career—it takes so much energy and thought! When I was certain I was ready to completely cross over (out of working for myself), it was incredibly freeing to let go of the vehicles that propelled this soft shoe that I was so busy refining. Just showing up and doing my thing was beginning to sound really appealing. It was also very clear that a strong desire for quiet was welling up in my heart.

The 2nd strategy in advancing toward the clarity finish line surfaced by accident.

Hyper-focus on one task is surprisingly helpful.

Teaching elementary school is incredibly rewarding, yet totally all-encompassing. I throw everything I have into the 3rd graders sitting with expectant faces in room 302. It started on Day One and only seems to be gaining speed. It’s a fast moving environment when I’m doing my thing and I find it so great to see their engagement. No texting, no screen domination…they’re not there yet (thankfully) and they want all of me and I’m happy to give it. There is little room to quibble about anything during a busy school day (heaven knows there was a heck-uv-a-lotta quibble fest in my studio…”Queen of Quibble”, that was me). This new job grounds me and the mission at hand is very definable:

Teach curriculum in the most creative way possible while building relationships with kids.

Who knew? Brilliant. Quibbles be gone.

The other interesting thing about uni-tasking is that I am able to turn it off when I leave class and head home. My home life has become much simpler (well…house-peeing dogs, Mom Taxi and microwave macaroni explosions aside). I always had a hard time meshing the scrambling entrepreneur artist lady with the mom person. I know my kids could sense my ambiguity with this dilemma. “Are you going to be much longer on the phone?” “Are you posting this picture?!” “Spaghetti again?”

You know what? I love turning on HGTV in the background, whipping out the chips and salsa, and catching up with my girls while I destroy the kitchen with a new creation. I like reading for pleasure….and movie watching…and gabbing with PH while we steam the nightly espresso. It’s disappointing to me to think about how distracted I was in years past. I will admit the past four months have been a ping pong game of school-home-school-home without much else going on. Frankly, this transition required 100% for me to insure that all involved were getting my best. I also will say that with The Desire Map has come a revelation that I am in desperate need of my girlfriends. I have amazing women in my life who I’ve been neglecting equally since September and it’s time to circle back around and connect. ‘Excited for future plans brewing for this season with the tribe.

The 3rd decision was a long time coming and has gradually become an addiction.

It’s a simplify-pare down-declutter dance I’m learning.

I recently found the term Reduction Rebel on this site and I really love it. I’m embracing it with squeezy arms. ‘Strangest thing that a clear counter (as in, just the coffee maker and knife block taking up real estate) can bring ridiculous amounts of glee in this rebel. I’ve been doing weekly “passes” through the house with a Goodwill-bound box firmly in hand…it’s actually quite fun. The fam seems to be on board too and I’m grateful I’m not playing tug-of-war with too-small clothes and countless race t-shirts with my beloveds. My classroom is next…I’m feeling a sort of kickin-ass-and-takin’-names strength in the face of all of the crap-ola that has accumulated in this busy life.

Clear spaces nurture creative breathing space.

I’m sure of this. So sure that I’m willing to bet there will be an alarming downsizing percolating when the kidlets leave home. It’s appealing to fantasize about the freedom that owning less can bring. In the meantime, I’m trying hard not bring in more stuff (a trying feat in the face of post-holiday put-aways), but I’m feeling motivated to use what I have. The wardrobe pare-down has been an eye-opening process…and although I’m no Project 333 goddess, I am whittling away a clothes rack that doesn’t overwhelm my tired eyes in the morning. More on this later…I’ve been crafting a post on this and will reveal it in the new year.

So..there you have it. In a verbose fashion as only I can master, I have recorded what this season has been for my future self ….and for you, dear lovelies, who so graciously read my flip-floppy tirades about what I’m becoming. I do believe I’ve arrived at what suits me best. I haven’t felt a me-ness like this in a long time…it’s truly wonderful.

Here’s hoping your new year is happy and bright! I do recommend Danielle’s book for nailing down your Core Desires. It has been so helpful. I will share my own process after the 1st of the year.

So much love to you!


Posted in Confessional Sunday, Fab MPG women, Happiness, MPG quote and wisdom, MPG stirrings, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Airstream Thanksgiving


We did something different for Thanksgiving this year. As in I-don’t-have-to-cook-let’s-get-the-heck-out-of-Dodge different.

I loved it…really loved it.

There’s something about hiding away in a small space out in the elements with all of the daily distractions left at home. In this case the Navy base at Cliffside on Whidbey Island  was the haven, and The Twinkie was our dwelling space.















Two growing kids, a very tall spouse, an itchy Beagle and a cranky Chihuahua fit amazingly well as we climbed over each other for four days. It also helped that my in-laws were parked in Twinkie #2 next door and the kids retreated over there on several occasions…mainly when there was promise of sweet edible treats and board game fun.


PH and I have been talking about how much this Black Friday mess has stolen from the Thanksgiving holiday. The day should be sacred time to decompress and relish connecting with family and friends. The thought of someone unpacking cheap TV’s at the local Kmart instead of enjoying family time makes me feel sad…albeit, he or she is making time and a half, but the whole skewed consumerist concept of the holidays has gotten so out of hand.

We just wanted to escape.

The beach at Cliffside was the perfect place to walk and play…just being with my kids away from the mayhem that is connected to teenage life was enough to sustain me for a little while. There were card game tournaments, movies to watch and beach combing sessions each day and the meal itself was on the Navy base in the dining hall with the soldiers. Just. Really. Fantastic.

I love Airstream living. I like having everything I could possibly need within reach of the kitchen sink. Airstreams are really high on cubby storage space and we jammed them full this time round. I realize this kind of living is a different can of worms when you know you’ve got a bigger space waiting for you at home. I would like to believe that if our lifestyle permitted, we could survive a cross-country family adventure (even for several months). I’m sure my girls would be in danger of maiming each other (as well as their mother), but I can’t help but think it would be such a wonderful experience for our family. We do not have a life that permits this during the school year, but perhaps somewhere down the road we can hit the road in the summer months.

Something is happening to me lately.

I am riding a huge wave of desire for less. Less crammed into the schedule….less chaos during the holidays…fewer wardrobe choices when I’m getting ready in the morning…fewer pieces of furniture and décor in Chez MPG-ville….a simpler meal repertoire that I can keep up with on a weekly basis….less digital connection via devices that lurk about our house. I can feel this pull in every part of me towards a simpler existence, yet I know that the years ahead are going to be full. Full with activities and events and to-do lists (many of which will be exciting and good)…but I also wish for a fullness when it comes to downtime with my family and solitude between the craziness. I do believe this can be achieved, but it requires a consciousness to be present in every moment…it requires a decision that must be protected without worry about what the outside world thinks. To me, that’s the hardest part—a fear of disappointment from others. Gathering family time and solitude can sometimes be construed as holing up or hiding out…but I don’t think the opinions of others are enough to stop a process that could be very, very good for us as a family.

I’m also feeling a shift here on the blog. Stay tuned for some changes. I figured it would happen as my life has really done a 180 in this job change (for the better, I believe). I went on a long run on our Whidbey trip and I came up with a plan. Clarity always comes on long runs (and in the shower!) Go figure.

Are any of you feeling this pull to release the expectations the world (or your community) have on you? Like me, are you trying to find a slower pace and simpler existence? I’d love to hear your thoughts…especially as I make changes to the blog. What kinds of things do you want to read about?


Posted in Digital fine art, Fabulous family time, iPhoneography, MPG stirrings, MPG travelista, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Prairie Girl Dreams, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tranquility du Jour #299

I’m featured on Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility du Jour podcast! Very exciting :)

Loved photographing her and Sir Louis last summer.















Happy Thanksgiving week, Lovelies! I’m thankful for you.


Posted in Fab MPG women, Happiness, Lara's photography classes, My dog obsession, My photography world | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fab Finds of the season

Hello, Lovelies! I hope your fall is beautiful wherever you are. ‘Thought I would share some of my loves as of late.

First, some inspiring books:

* I found this little gem via a post here.












I love Allison’s honest style of writing and her message is a good one:

Life is short. Be BRAVE.

I believe This guy is in Allison’s writing community.











I’ve posted about his work before. His latest is good and I recommend it.

*Loving this site because I think I’m ready to tackle my achy belly once and for all. I’ve cut dairy for 20 years now and red meat & pork for five…ready to feel better. I’m asking for this cookbook for Christmas.








I made a connection with a sweet blog reader this week who has embraced the SCD diet due to her IBS. It struck a chord with me and I will look forward to watching her progress as I venture into my own experiment.

For the body:

* My new favorite face foundation.








I don’t usually wear any, but this is light and covers so nicely. My hair stylist recommended it and her skin always looks so lovely.

* Loving the boots and skinny jeans look…especially with yummy, mushy sweaters.













I’ve been wearing out my own black riding boots and it’s hard not to wear them every day!

* I’m intrigued by vegetables masquerading as starches. I think I might be game to give these a try.


For the soul:

*It’s all things Airstream around here lately…I will explain more later, but there’s news about ours. This is such a lovely scene, isn’t it? Oh…and those BEDS! Be still my heart.


















via image 

How cute is this blog about a couple on the move?

* Speaking of Riveted Living...I’m obsessed with Airstream art as well.


This painter is such a talent…love the colors! Leah Giberson…a name I shall be watching.

* Loving this podcast on my weekend runs.



They are just the sweetest people with such a great message. I’ve learned a lot and they make me laugh.



For the family:

*Watching Wonder Woman episodes via Netflix.


















Okay…okay…so they’re REALLY bad..but oh, so good! Ha! I feel like a kid spinning around making firecracker noises all over again. My kids are obsessed with it. How in the world did she keep that strapless number up when she ran? And we’re not even talking about the control top hose she’s rockin’ while she’s putting away bad guys. Yikes…in a good way.

* Four words…Pandora Michael Jackson station.


It is the best cleaning music ever…especially when you watch your kids doing the dance moves they think were in your generation (Helloooo?! The running man wasn’t until the 90′s) My youngest was the initiator on this one and it surprised me. She says “Black and White” is the ultimate running song. I have to agree.

I showed her the video (pretty cutting-edge for the 80′s, don’t you think?) and she was impressed…especially the morphing thing at the end. You owe it to yourself to step back in time and just watch that part ;)

* * *

Well…those are some things I’m loving on this season. We’re actually doing some serious Netflix-watching today as my youngest is home sick. I’d so rather take my kids’ places when they’re ill. Seeing them listless and red-faced isn’t fun at all. I did, however, get a little couch time with her today…and that doesn’t happen very often. I’m just hoping my class didn’t eat my sub alive. First one of the year! Praying for a good report.

Happy week, Lovelies!




Posted in Artist crushes, Fabulous family time, Good Books, Good Design, MPG good eats, MPG music, MPG Style and apparel, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Prairie Beauty goods, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment