January Reflections

As January comes to a close I can feel the shift in my soul. Light is returning. Days get longer with every 24 hour rotation. Sometimes the sun feels warm.

I feel the shift in things I’m making. Winter isn’t my focus. We have a bumper crop of babies coming this spring to my husband’s side of the family. I also decided to make for myself. I’m excited about my cushion covers and can’t wait to share them with you.

(The start of my new cushion covers!)

Visit my Etsy Shop

I’m excited about February. I’m heading to Kripalu this weekend for a weekend of intense learning and studying with Stephen Cope.

And the Super Bowl! I’m excited because my team is playing. Go Pats!!

I’ll be partnering up later in February with @teetimegolfblog to make more yoga for golf videos. I’m sooooo excited!! I’m also teaching yoga nidra at Hot Asana Yoga in Hampstead, NH on February 18 at 6pm. If you’re local, you don’t want to miss this awesome class!

And at the end of February I’ll be flying to Washington state to spend some time with my beautiful mom. My daughters will be joining me as well.

How has the first month of 2018 treated you? What are you looking forward to in February?

Wishing you all Peace, love, and prosperity in February!!

What If Your Goals Are A Distraction

It’s that time of year again where everyone is planning and goal setting for 2018.

Yearly goals. Quarterly goals. Monthly goals. Daily goals. SMART goals. Financial goals. Personal goals.

I know. I know! Goals we set are goals we get. I’m an overachieving goal setter.

Every once in awhile, when the fog of goal setting clears, I get an image of a silly hamster running round and round…going nowhere fast. And it hits me. I’m the hamster.

There’s a couple of questions I asked myself this time last year:

1. What if my goals are a distraction?

2. What if my goals aren’t really *my*goals?

3. What would happen if I didn’t make any goals?

Trust me, I hear the sound of nails on a chalk board when I ask myself these questions. I also get slightly nauseous and a little bit anxious.

I’ve been taught so much about setting goals and why goals are so important to get ahead…to succeed.

Where exactly is ahead? What exactly do I need to be ahead of? What was I chasing? And why was it so elusive and vague?

I’ve spent the better part of this year answering my own questions.

I began 2017 without setting any particular goal. I decided to go with the flow and see where I ended up. Not haphazardly. It was a rather purposeful decision. And to be honest, probably the best and most productive decision I’ve made in a long time.

Here’s why:

At the very end of 2016, Rick and I drove to Key West and spent 2 wonderful months there. We rented a house on Rockland Key (mile marker 9) and while we were there, we came to a profound, life altering conclusion…we did not miss our stuff.

We drove down with a small trailer that had our motorcycle, clothes, my yarn and art supplies, and a few kitchen items. We didn’t miss what we left behind.

About half way through our 2 month stay, we made the decision to get rid of our stuff and sell our home.

We put a plan in place. We decided when we wanted to put the house on the market and we worked the calendar backward from there. We had a very short window to make small repairs and clear out the crap that had been sitting in our basement and garage for years.

We also went to Ireland for 10 days and then to Utah for 6 days. When all was said and done, our house went on the market on the Friday before Memorial Day.

Our desire was an offer for full asking price and no contingencies.

2 1/2 days later, we had an offer for full asking price and no contingencies. We gratefully accepted.

Now it was our turn to find a place. Rick and I had what I call a “whiteboard session.” We met for 2 hours in front of my whiteboard wall and wrote down all our MUSTS. Or what we like to call our “non-negotiables.”

We wrote down everything our new place must have. We wrote down every town we’d be willing to relocate to. We wrote down the dollar value we were willing to expend each month. We also wrote down what we wanted to save. We wrote down that we were willing to take out a small mortgage if we *had* to. What we wanted, more than anything, was to be able to pay cash.

After we wrote it all down, we left it there for 2 days. And then I erased it. We didn’t share what we wrote down with anyone.

Within 48 hours of erasing the board, my father sent me a link for a home his agent was about to list. I had goose bumps all over. It was everything we wrote down that was a must, it was in our same town, and we could pay cash for it outright.

The only catch that both of us had to get over in a big hurry was that it’s a double wide in a “garden home” community.

We went from 1600 sq. feet to 1400 square feet. We went from 2 floors to 1. We went from no master bathroom to a gorgeous master bathroom. We went from closed off spaces to a wide open, cathedral ceiling, spacious living area. We went from having a basement and 2 garage (or as my husband says, a very expensive storage unit) to having a parking spot big enough for both our vehicles and right now, a covered motorcycle.

We went from $1710 a month in living expenses (mortgage + condo fee) to $510 in lot rent. We’re pocketing $1200 a month because we have no mortgage. We have a 6.5 year ROI on our home.

Part of our Key West plan also included buying an RV so we could spend the winter in 2018 at the naval base, where military retirees and active duty can stay for $14 per day. We’re pushing this part off a year so we can finish remodeling our new place.

We’ve been nesting in our new place since August 1, 2017.

I honestly don’t think we’d be here if I had set goals the way I have all my adult life. This is where going with the flow took us. Awareness, being present, noticing, witnessing without judgment led us to a life transforming change.

Goal setting, the way I had been goal setting my whole life, turned out to be my biggest distraction from my Heart’s deepest desires. Goal setting kept me trapped on the hamster wheel, chasing after success and tilting at windmills.

In fact, goal setting kept my long time desire for financial freedom just out of reach.

I got out of my own way long enough for the Universe to work her magic.

Nobody owns us anymore. Not my job. Not our mortgage lender. Nobody.

Going into 2018, I’m not setting any goals or making New Year’s resolutions. I’m going with the flow again and I’m excited to see what shows up.

What about you? How are you approaching the New Year?

How I Uncomplicated My Life (and you can, too)

The more you complicate your life the more complicated your life becomes.

For a long, long time, I was the Queen of Complication. And it practically suffocated me.

5 ways in which I complicated my own life and how I uncomplicated it:

1. Clutter. Yup. From knick knacks to gobs of “important papers” I thought I needed to keep. Including somewhere between 600-1,000 books that needed important shelf space and quite frankly, became a huge weight every time I moved.

2. Taking on other people’s problems. For some reason I thought I had to either fix them, solve them, or hang on to them as if they were my own.

3. Financially stretching myself too thin. I once had $28,000 in credit card debt, a car payment, and a mortgage. Dreadful place to be.

4. Over committing myself. ‘nuf said.

5. Pursuing and chasing after what other people said I *should* be doing.

These were the 5 biggest ways I complicated my life. I was drowning in busy-ness and debt. I felt like a hamster in the proverbial wheel….going nowhere fast.

So, how did I uncomplicate my life?

1. I threw out or donated the clutter. And I make it a point to declutter at least every 6 weeks. Yup. Just purged a stack of those *important* papers, threw out old and broken Christmas ornaments and lights. And let me tell you how much I love my Kindle. (I still have about 50 resource books that have *keeper* status)

2. I learned how to differentiate between my problems and your problems and I don’t take on your problems anymore. Mine are enough.

3. It took a few years but I paid off *all* my credit card debt and paid off 2 car loans early. 5 months ago, my husband and I sold our home and *right sized.* We paid cash for our new home and no longer have a mortgage or any debt. Whew. Such a fantastically freeing feeling.

4. I learned a very important word…NO. And I know how and when to use it.

5. I stopped chasing after the nonsense. And there’s a lot of it floating around out there. I’ve created the life I want. Not the life the world keeps trying to shove down my throat.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to live a complicated life. The choice is yours. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to reach that boiling point when you’ve declared…ENOUGH.

I jumped off the crazy train. You can, too.

xxoo

Peggy Nolan

Why It’s Time For Me To Write Again

Wow. It’s been awhile. Truth is, I haven’t felt like writing. Not a single word.
 
Until now.
 
So, let’s catch up.
 
I spent the first two months of 2017 living and working from a rented home in Key West. Well, actually, Rockland Key, near mile marker 9. Because I can work from anywhere I have wifi, I did my job from the backside of paradise. Instead of freezing my ass off in New Hampshire during winter, my husband and I were kayaking the Key West flats at 4PM nearly every day. I loved everything about living in the Keys. We became the go to destination for family members who wanted to experience the Keys. The only drawback was that while everyone else was on vacation, I was working. Yes, I took time off but it would have been nicer to not have to worry about work while we were down there.


 

While we were living in the Keys, my husband and I made a big ginormous decision: sell the house. Neither of us missed our stuff and we agreed that selling our home and “right” sizing was the right move.
 
We came back to New Hampshire in time for 2 more snowstorms, a family issue, and a round of layoffs where I work. I was not on the list to be laid off…this time. The family issue sorted itself out and I really dislike snow. My husband tackled the “get the house ready to sell” list with gusto. We had a self-imposed deadline to have the house ready to list before Memorial Day Weekend.
 
Baked into our half-baked plan, were two trips. We spent 10 days in Ireland in early April visiting our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and year old grand boy, Pearse. After all my trips to Ireland, this time I finally got to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. We saw Lindsey Sterling in concert at the Vicar, spent time in our favorite spots in Dublin, and of course, I loved all over that grand boy of mine. And I should mention that I was able to get my yarn fix at my favorite yarn shop, The Constant Knitter, where I discovered some of the finest hand-dyed artisan yarn by The Fibre Kitchen.

 
Our second trip was a week in southern Utah with my mom, her husband, my dad, and my youngest brother and his family. My husband and I went to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and we visited Dinosaur Tracks in St. George.


 
In between our two trips, we hired a dumpster and got rid of loads and loads of stuff. Even when we got rid of stuff, we felt we still had too much stuff. My husband fixed things we knew needed fixing but never fixed because we got used to things in an unfixed state. Holes got patched. Walls got painted. Two wooden ties on the front steps got replaced. I donated over 1,000 books. I sold nearly all my Polish Pottery (I kept a few pieces for myself). We sold some furniture. We both donated clothes the 80’s desperately wanted back.
 
On May 26, with our house sparkling and ready for sale, we put it on the market. Our agent, Chip Sutton, was amazing. Two and half days later, on Memorial Day, we received an offer for full price and no contingencies.
 
Because where we live is a hot seller’s market, we knew our home would sell quickly. We took a deep breath and created two new lists. The first list was a list of all the things that were non-negotiable in our next home. The second list was a list of all the things we had to do to be out of our home before July 31, 2017.
 
To make things a bit less stressful, we had already made arrangements to stay at my dad’s until we found our next place. There’s nothing worse than having to make a decision under pressure. Especially when it comes to where you live.
 
Within 48 hours of making the list for our next home, my dad sent me a link to a “coming soon” blog post from his agent. Based on the 4 or 5 photos in the blog post and the features of the property, my husband and I knew we had to be the first to see the place. Before it came on the market, we drove by it and checked out the neighborhood. Outer appearances were fine. A few days earlier, we had driven by another property and the neighborhood was a total turn-off. We had our agent call the seller’s agent and we go the first available time to walk-through the inside.
 
On June 24, 2017, we saw the inside of the home we now live in. It met every item we listed off that was non-negotiable. The only thing I asked my husband was if he could remodel the kitchen, re-do the floors, and pretty much update the inside to our liking. He said he could and because he remodeled our last home, I believe him. Richard does amazing work. We made our offer. Oh, and I should mention that I figured out how to pay cash for our new place.

(The gorgeous kitchen Richard remodeled in our "old" house.)


 
24 hours after we submitted our cash offer with no contingencies other than home inspection, the seller accepted our offer.
 
We spent the next 4 weeks moving our stuff into storage, donating more stuff, selling a few more things, and making more than a few dump runs. We spent 3 nights at my dad’s, closed on both houses on July 31, and moved in on August 1.
 
We right sized from a 1600 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in a condo association to a 1400 square foot manufactured home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a mobile home “garden community.” We got rid of a mortgage in favor of zero and I mean zero debt. And because we no longer pay a mortgage, we’re banking an extra $1,300 every single month. Our return on investment calculation is 6 years. Not too shabby. You’ll hear more about how we got to zero debt in a future blog post.
 
In light of all the purging of stuff, I also decided to purge and release unwanted poundage from my 5’3” frame. I started going to hot yoga classes in late April and started Weight Watchers on May 10 (right before I went on vacation…of course…naturally.) Since May 10, I’ve shed 18 pounds and almost 2 sizes. I can’t say enough about how Weight Watchers has been a game changer for me. I’ll share my a-ha’s and insights in another post.
 
I don’t want to forget to mention my return to yoga. I never really left but it wasn’t this core, central thing anymore. I discovered there was a hot yoga studio 8 miles (now 12) from where I live and that’s where you can find me 4-5 times a week. My days of martial arts and Muay Thai Kickboxing are over due to a repetitive injury and a knee issue. Getting older means I need to change what I’m doing to do my body. Yoga has always been my passion and it’s been rekindled exactly in a time in my life when I need it. More on yoga in future posts.
 
Oh…and I also made a huge decision to open my own Etsy shop for my crocheted things. And I’m going to be a vendor at this year’s Derryfest in September. I’ve been busy creating and crocheting. Last Christmas I nearly got run over by the Messy Bun hat craze – demand was through the roof. This year, I won’t be caught behind the 8 ball. I have inventory…hats, scarves, shawls, baby clothes, doll clothes, and now I’m making sweaters. I can’t wait to share with you my love of yarn and crochet.

(My sister-in-law is modeling my most recent completed cocoon sweater, which I sold within minutes of posting on Facebook. Have no fear, you can place your order through my Etsy Shop!)


 
In light of everything that’s transpired in my life since January, there’s bound to be changes about what I write about and when I write. I used to think I could help and inspire people with my words and I traveled that path for a few years only to be constantly frustrated. Most likely because I was following the paths of others and not forging my own.
 
Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’re all caught up now. What’s new with you?
 
xxoo
Peggy

all photos taken by Peggy Nolan.

26 Inspiring Quotes To Help You Begin Each Day With A Positive Attitude

Mindset. Attitude. Motivation. New Beginnings. Every day is an opportunity to begin again.

The following quotes have been buried in my journals. As I was rescuing poems, also buried in my journals and to be published sometime in 2017, I found these reminders. And I needed them to be in one place, not stuck between the lines in last year’s notebook.

These 26 inspiring quotes are mostly for me. And you. I hope you find a few that you can take forward, onward, and upward every single morning.

26 Inspiring Quotes To Help You Begin Each Day With A Positive Attitude

“Fear interferes with the mindful use of your power. When you base choices on fears, chaos comes between you and your inner divinity.” ~ Carolyn Miss

“Fear and faith both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.” ~ Bob Proctor

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” ~ Paul Tournier

“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” Jim Rohn

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Mary Robinson

“Expect miracles in the most unexpected places.” ~ Unk

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”
Pooh: “You don’t. You feel it.”

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” ~  CS Lewis

“To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.” ~ Bruce Lee

“Don’t be satisfied with stories of how things have gone with others, unfold your own myth.” ~ Rumi

“Beginnings are imbued with Magic.” ~ Herman Hesse

“Yoga induces self-regulation, which is the ability to manage feelings, thoughts, and quiet in the mind.” ~ Stephen Cope

“Regular yoga practice improves the brains near transmitters, which promotes feeling of well being. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the “rest and relax” system as opposed to the “fight or flight” system.” Stephen Cope

“Life is really about beginning to feel the slight tugging of dissatisfaction with ____________ and then feeling the gentle process of clarifying personal preferences regarding something different and then aligning with the idea and details of the desired OUTCOME and then consciously witnessing the movement of forces and situations to accommodate the desired outcome.” HICKS

“From the state of balanced energy, you experience clarity, vitality, eagerness, physical wellness, abundance in all things you consider to be good, and an exuberant site of joy. This the natural state of who you really are.” – HICKS

Nothing can come to you without your invitations of it. Thinking about something is inviting the essence of that something into your experiences.

You are the creator of your own reality. Everything about you r life is coming to you in response to the focus of our thoughts.

The way you FEEL as you are focusing thought is really what matters the most.

You get what you feel about what you think about ______

Whenever you ask, it is always given.

You are free to choose the direction of your own thoughts. HICKS

“There’s only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.” ~ Christopher Morley

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within  yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross

“Dreams are the seedlings of reality” Napleon Hill

“Sometimes we don’t know how flexible we are until we give ourselves the freedom to create and discover.” Shiva Rea

“Silence has a mysterious calming affect, allowing your soul to be at peace with your thoughts.” Anthony Douglas Williams

Once you learn how to be happy, you won’t tolerate being around people who make you feel anything else ~ Lessons Learned in Life

“Stories move in circles. They do not go in strain lines. So it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home. And part of the finding is the getting lost and when you’re lost, you star to look around and listen.” Deana Metzger”

“The Latin root of perfect means finished not “without flaws.” Everyday Sacred

“The only thing that grows is the that which you give energy to.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Let go of anger – it is an acid that burns away the delicate layers of your happiness.” Taro Gold

So there you have it. 26 inspiring quotes to help you start each day with positivity and a bold, kickass attitude!

If you liked what you read, please share this with everyone you know and don’t forget to eat your peas!

xoxo

Peggy