The Magic of Tidying Up

I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.  If you haven’t read it yet, I definitely recommend it and following the advice, not that I’ve done all of what she says but it definitely has changed my life.

She provides strategies for creating space and decluttering so that we can get the most out of life. Her advice is simple and her words keep resonating in my head. Her basic premise is to consider all that you have and ask yourself whether each item brings you joy. If it doesn’t, she tells you to get rid of it so that you can create space for what does.  I absolutely love this and keep thinking about everything I see now and wonder if it brings me joy. If it doesn’t, I’m letting it go and clearing it out. It feels so good to get rid of stuff, I can’t even tell you.

My mom was here last week and I was telling her about the book and how I want to get rid of everything but that it takes time to clear things out. I pointed to a cabinet in my kitchen and she started asking questions and the next thing you know, we’re clearing out the cupboards and now they are empty. The space is ready to be repurposed and I can’t wait. Right now I love just knowing that the shelves are empty and that there is order.  I can’t wait to do more.

I called my sister to tell her of my a-ha moment and she told me she was reading the same book and was already clearing out her closets! She sent me pictures of the pounds and bags of stuff she was ready to recycle and sent me pictures of her newly organized closet. She was so happy. I couldn’t believe we were both reading the same book at the same time and sharing similar experiences.

My favorite part of the book is the end. The book is about learning how to declutter and find a space for everything and putting things back every day so that you have more time to do what you love and to spend less time wasting life on tidying and looking for things you can’t find.  She helps you to learn how to make decisions and to chose what is meaningful and these processes relate to all other parts of our lives.

She says, “pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life. I am convinced that putting your house in order will hep you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.”

I think by deciding what you want and don’t want and by being actively present and aware as you make these decisions, these small daily decisions will actually help you to decide what else you really want in your life and to take action right now.

I already noticed in a change in my thinking. This morning I woke up and decided I wanted to go to the Farmer’s Market. Usually I’ll sit around and read the paper and make excuses why I shouldn’t move or go out. Today was different and I made a decision to go and invited Jeff to join me. He said yes, and we went on a spontaneous date together that made my day. I loved walking around, seeing friends, gathering food for dinner tonight, and eating breakfast together outside.


When we came home, I decided I wanted to cook Thai food and learn how to poach chicken. I spent several hours in the kitchen cooking and preparing dishes, just for fun. I didn’t procrastinate, as I usually do, and I enjoyed cleaning out the kitchen and just being home, playing and cooking. I loved seeing the kids come in to pick at my food and to enjoy my work and that an impromptu dinner was ready when they were hungry. I loved bringing out my beautiful dishes that I love, and actually using them just for me.  I think this is what Marie Kondo was talking about.

I created space. I made decisions. I enjoyed what I love and today was good.

I wish the same for you. Clear out the clutter. Create space. Do what you love.  nAMaste. xo

Yoga Fun

I had the best weekend and was still on a high today thinking about all that was good.

On Thursday, I went to Rachel Brathen’s book signing and was filled with her joyful spirit and love.

I got to spend time with my BFFS in San Francisco and do yoga with them and Yoga Girl!

Can you find me in this group photo?

I was giddy with joy.

And then I was selected  to do yoga with my baby girl and Ringo the Gringo at a top secret location for 40 people that was beautiful!

This was a first for me and I loved every minute of it.

Now I’m energized and want to do yoga every damn day!

I love getting out of bed and doing a few stretches but I don’t do many sun salutations. I think I have a new goal for myself.

What do you absolutely love to do and are you making time to do it?  I hope so. Do what makes you happy!

nAMaste BeLoveRs.  Be sure you’re taking care of yourself and carving out time to do what you love. We only live once!!  xo

Do What You Love



Tennis is what I love to do right now. My hobbies and passions change often, but this one has stuck with me for the past 6 years.  I started playing tennis to get out of volunteering, following a wise friend’s lead. She had started taking lessons twice a week, so that she would be “busy” and wouldn’t always be available to say yes to volunteer requests.  I thought that was brilliant. And it wasn’t that she didn’t volunteer, she was just the UBER volunteer and was so good at it, that people were always asking for her help.  I really admire her and followed in her footsteps.

I still volunteer and love that part of my life too, but I really also love having something for myself.  I love the practice and skill building. I love the social aspects. I love the physical and mental challenges.  I love the new friends I meet and hearing their stories. I love working hard, playing hard and winning!! There’s always something new to learn and practice and perfect and it’s always changing and stimulating.

Tonight we had an evening match in a beautiful location. However, I screamed out loud twice when I noticed a squirrel trying to get a nut out of my bag. Someone had to shoe him away and off the tennis courts twice.  This was a bit distracting, however we still won our first set 6-1 and were having a lot of fun. At the beginning of the second set, my partner hurt her knee. At first she tried to keep playing, and then sat out for the 3 minute time period allowed for physical injury recovery.  We iced it, rubbed some aspercream on it, and wrapped it in a brace.  When the 3 minutes was up, she bravely decided to come back  on the court to play again, yet her knee just wouldn’t allow her to continue and we had to forfeit the game.  I was disappointed that we didn’t get to continue our match, but was thankful that she didn’t fall down or hurt herself more seriously. I know that she was disappointed too, but she handled herself with grace.  And hey, that’s just part of the game. Life happens.

I decided to stay and watch my teammates play on the other courts and this is where the photo above was taken. It was a gorgeous night out. One of my opponents came to sit by me and we enjoyed a lovely conversation about our match, while nibbling on healthy kale and quinoa salads and sipping wine. She told me that she didn’t play as well tonight as she usually does, and then proceeded to tell me that she is a breast cancer survivor and was proud of her short , dark, hair that had grown back. She told me how she played tennis through her chemo and recovery and that she didn’t give up. I told her that I had a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and was just beginning her treatment. Right away, she had a compassionate look on her face, like she was a sister. She gave me her contact information and told me to tell my friend to call her, if she needed someone who has been through the experience. She said that so many people helped her and that she wanted to help others too.

And that my friends, is another reason why I love tennis.  The stories, The hope. The friendships. The movement. The personal growth and challenges.  It’s all good. Even when your game gets forfeited.

Love this life.


What Did You Love the Most Today?

They say what we think, we become.

So let’s think about what we loved today. What went right?  What made you smile?

Today I loved the connection I had with Juliana the most. Sometimes parenting a teen and being a teenager are both challenging roles, and when we can dance together and not step on each others’ toes or walk off the dance floor, the day is good.

I loved playing tennis with my teenager today and really, truly enjoyed having her on the court with me, sharing my passion and time alone together.  There are so many reasons why I loved this the most today, but basically I loved us just playing together and taking the time out of our busy day to stop and play.


Life is good.

Day 37: Tennis Love

Today I got to play tennis again, with a great group of new women.  Tennis is very different here than it is in the states. And the organization and process to find a court and to play is quite complicated, as I learned today. After I found out how complicated it was, I was especially thankful that Claire and Karin extended the invitation to me to join their Friday lesson.

You see, we played indoors since it was raining outside. There are limited amounts of indoor courts in Amstelveen and to reserve a court or to become a member of an indoor club takes some work too. And once you figure it out, all the forms and instructions are in Dutch – so add another layer of complexity. So that they would share their court with me was priceless.  And that they sat and had a coffee with me afterwards to share and explain and to introduce me to more tennis players just made my day.  I have to now find a partner to signup for tournament play that supposedly starts next month. Once you’re in the tournament, then you can play every other Friday. I sure hope I can find a partner this week. Wish me luck.  I think tournaments are more like league play, and I’m not sure yet how the tournaments are judged, if they are judged at all. We’ll see… just have to get a court and partner!!


Tonight Dorine and Nadja came over for dinner. I made my Thai Yellow Curry with chicken and vegetables, Jasmine rice, cucumber salad, kroeproek, and chicken satay with peanut sauce and brownies and petit little cream puffs for dessert. Yum! It’s really nice to have family come to visit and to spend time together. Seeing my kids give them big hugs before bed, just cemented that feeling.  I keep hearing stories about how hard it is for expats after the honeymoon stage passes and that I should expect a dip in my positive feelings. I can believe this to be true, yet I’m hoping this doesn’t happen.


I think one of the keys to success might be to find what makes you happy and do it!  Do what you love, love what you do. And that’s what I’m trying to do. And I know what makes me happy. Working out. Hanging out with girlfriends. Time spent with family. Playing on Facebook. Exploring new adventures. Writing my blog. Playing Words with Friends. Chatting with friends and family back home. Eating Dutch licorice. Cooking and entertaining. Having friends over and going over to their houses. Drinking coffee and wine. Helping Others. Eating Chocolate and cheese.  Pretty simple, right? So IF and when the time comes, and you notice a dip in my positivity  – please poke me and remind me that life is good, no matter where you are and even if it’s cold and wet, and to re-read and do the list above.  Right? I sure hope it’s that simple.  Bring on Day 38… and 68… and 98… Namaste.