Thursday, December 26, 2019

Epiphany Season Starts Now!

Epiphany:  A moment of sudden revelation or insights…  a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being… the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6th  (Seri definition)

This is our Penny Kitty
Epiphany day was introduced to be by my aunt Darlene. I love the idea of a whole day for just for Epiphanies.

How I celebrate 
Epiphany day: the day we get and celebrate Epiphanies 

This year I'm using the 12 days of Christmas as 12 delightful days to cultivate and create space for Epiphanies...and set in motion a beautiful 2020

Yes, I know I'm redefining the meaning of both the 12 Days of Christmas and Epiphany Day.  Can I do that?  Yes, I can. As far as I know there is no such thing as Holiday police.

 The secret to a great ending is a brilliant beginning.  That’s exactly what Epiphany season is... creating space for the new year...the new decade.

The season goes something like this… 

On the first day of Christmas …which is also Epiphany season, my true love gave to me…
             1 hour to play and a freshly cleaned out office storage cabinet...
On the second day of Christmas… which is also Epiphany season, my true love gave to me
              …...…?????...…   You get the gist

  How do you want to live in 2020?  
From Dec 26th to Jan 6th...
                    clean; clean out; discover; create space for 2020; to encourage Epiphanies …
                                          Pay attention…Epiphanies are quick and nibble                                          
      One more thing…have fun!  Epiphanies love delight.       
The more fun you have the more Epiphanies you'll attract.
                                       Happy Epiphany Season... it's magical
                                                                             Denise Frakes… Seasonal Epiphany Coach...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

What day should you clean your house?

I have given this question a tremendous amount of thought... Seriously, odd amounts of ponderings. When I was a kid, my mom cleaned on Saturdays...which meant I cleaned on Saturdays.  Over the years I've tried cleaning on Saturdays- all times, Monday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, Sunday nights, hardly ever on Thursdays and Friday mornings.

I explore's a thing … My quest has been long and deep

Cleaning re-boots our lives and un-muddles our homes.  It creates a cozy, nourishing space to rest and play.  Cleaning is even one of the 7 essentials for a healthy home.  I can go on and know I can.  I've written about cleaning on this blog for 10 years!  A kindly cleaned home is good for the soul.  This I get, no question there is value of what cleaning does for our lives.  But...

When do we clean???

The when of are my discoveries from a life of cleaning as a practice...

Cleaning needs space.  If I don't have a designated time and day to clean, cleaning gets put off and before I know it my house is muddled, dust bunnies run wild and I no longer have a cozy life.  Having a rhythm to this practice of cleaning- creates a natural ease in your life.  Cleaning needs space- consistent time just for cleaning...putting your life back in order.

 Early Friday morning is my favorite time.
    Each day of the week has a natural energy to it.  It's like what farmers do when they plant with the moon's rhythms.   There is a time to grow, to weed, to plant and a time to rest. The days of the week have a similar feel.  Friday's has the energy of completion for the week, love and art.  This is the perfect energy for cleaning.  I get my home in order and I use cleaning as a lovely practice of love and artistic play.  Super early Fridays morning is my absolutely my preferred space for home TLC

 When I need my creativity to be ignited.  
   Cleaning jump starts my brain for writing and creating.  If I want to write about cleaning, or give a talk on clutter, the best way to dig in is to start with cleaning. We get ideas when we shower, go on walks, cook etc.  By getting out of our brain and into methodical physical movement, our brains relax and our creativity gets a kick start. Cleaning cleans my brain.

 When I'm stressed, feeling ungrounded or don't know where to start... I clean.
    Cleaning is the great de-stressor.  Having my home in order makes me feel like my life is in order... When my home is's usually a sign my life is going in too many directions.  Cleaning brings me back to center and relaxes my nervous system.  When my thoughts are muddled, I organize my books and paper.  I use cleaning as productive therapy.

For 2 hours
   Like all things, cleaning will take up whatever time I give it.  I like two hours.  By cleaning in a designated 2 hour block, my mind will stay clear and focused.  I will get whatever needs done- done.  And here is the only giving myself 2 hours to clean, I focus more on prevention during the week so when I do clean I have less to do.  Be firm with yourself- set a time boundary for your cleaning and then be super focused and present when you do clean.  (shut off distractions)
After and before... 
   After a big project or event, cleaning re-grounds me and re-boots my space.  After a trip, work project, party... my home and life need to be cleaned up and put away before I move on.  On the opposite side, I clean before I begin a project or have an event.  I did extra cleaning before we had thanksgiving at our house.  This type of cleaning is more like a project and event related vs weekly maintenance.  Having a clean home helps you welcome people into your home---with less stress.

Did that help?  Here is the thing.  Cleaning is a gift or it is a burden.  It supports you or depletes you.  How you do your work has more to do with your attitude, habits and wisdom than it does the actual work.  It is what we say it is.

Happy cleaning,
          Denise... traveler of life chores and dust bunnies

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Beauty is a state of being

We don't buy beauty.  Beauty is a state of being.  True beauty is found in the moments.  It catches our breath and expands our heart.

 I remember stripping coatings off slate floors.  A plastic, shiny, muddled coating covering up.  When we  removed the coating, I was amazed time and time again how the real beauty became visible.  It wasn't something to be added but something to be removed.  The essence of the stone of was there all along.

When I looked at those floors, when Dallas looked, what we started seeing was the texture, the colors, the lines, the art.  We saw images and even fossils of plants imbedded in those slate floors.  The idea of covering up the true authentic beauty of something naturally created millions of years ago seemed wrong. It was such a waste.

To be able to see beauty is a practice in seeing.  Shiny and enhanced beauty is easy to spot- but that kind of beauty can be washed off, or stripped off.  The kind of beauty I'm talking about is awareness of a deep beauty.  I see it in winter, when the leaves are gone.  The trees become works of art.  I saw this beauty when I would travel to see my family in Holyoke Colorado.   Driving in plains of Colorado, miles and miles of sage brush, rolling hills and open space, my heart would expand. -literally- I could feel it.  So can my mom.

I can see this beauty in myself when I wake up, all ruffled and messy from sleep.  Or come in from a run or walk in the woods.  Nothing fancy- just happy.  I see this beauty in acts of kindness, creative ideas, play.  I saw it in the my friend as we walked in the woods this morning.  I even see it in myself.

Just a moment in time...this morning

To me beauty is a practice.  If you want to be beautiful.  Learn to see beauty, to feel beauty, to give beauty.  To be present, nourished and at ease.  To eat foods that nourish your skin, your cells, your digestive system and your soul.  To sleep deeply and richly.  To smile for the pure joy of smiling and as a practice of smiling.

If you like wearing make up and it gives you joy, it is part of your creative essence that's beautiful too.  When you wash off your make up, your creative expression, and look in the mirror, smile at the radiant being looking back at you.  Like the naked slate floors...this is where the true beauty lives.

 Early morning walk in the woods, this is a great place to find true beauty!!


Thursday, September 19, 2019

What do Comfort zones, Butterflies and Clutter have in common?

My sister and I were talking the other day about comfort zones. Our conclusion, you have to be comfortable to actually be in a comfort zone.  If you are dreaming of change, then technically you are not in a comfort zone!!  Think of clutter as an uncomfortable and muddling comfort zone.  A butterfly stuck in a cocoon.

Have you ever watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?  My Aunt Velma was a scientist at heart. Her back yard was one big science experiment. When I would visit, she would bring me to the back yard and show me butterfly cocoons.  We would check on the cocoons everyday watching caterpillars become butterflies. 

 The purpose of clutter clearing isn't just reducing your stuff. Hardly!  Clutter clearing is the uplift of your life.  The exploration of your spirit.  It's pulling weeds and pruning branches. It's making space to plant.  It's unsticking your brain from its ruts. It is spreading your wings and transforming. It's the discovery of what kind of butterfly you are.

 Clutter clearing is a metamorphosis of mind, body and spirit.
  Transformation is getting out of your comfort zone, your cocoon.  
Why go to the trouble of clearing clutter and changing your life?  
Because the payoff is... you get to fly, wear beautiful colors and children squeal with delight when they see you.  That's why.

Intentionally transformation
 Percolate your curiosity

"... caterpillars are short, stubby and have no wings at all. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation,called 'metamorphosis,' to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge."  
                                                 The Butterfly Site

Autumn begins a season change.
We know we need to clean out from summer and prepare ourselves for winter.
 Leaves are falling.  The season is shifting.
Expand your wings

     Take 1 hour this week and unclutter a pile that needs un-cocooned!
          I'll be with you all the way,

Monday, July 15, 2019

Don't let summer pass you by...

 When I started this summer's mastermind workshops, my thought was to create space to accomplish one major summer project.  And it still is... uncluttering our paper, downsizing our stuff, writing that book, painting your house, visiting Italy...  A project that come autumn, your future self will say thank you!

in the process of creating space to work, I was called to add in play.  Summer isn't summer without play, exploration, outside, freedom to be, watermelon and long summer nights.  If we forget this, then come winter, our spirits will baulk.

So I added in the summer bucket list, 10 simple pleasures of summer.  Actions requiring very little time, energy, finances or thought.  Little things like- eating a hot dog at a ball game, trying a new flavor of ice-cream, going on a walking road trip to no where, exploration of summer. Things you would do when life was simple and your imagination and curiosity were big.

You do know,  I never ask anything of you I'm not willing to do myself.  So this summer while I'm focusing on my one project, I'm also checking off my summer bucket list.  So far I have eaten 4 different kinds of hot dogs (I haven't got the right bite yet so still in quest), gone on daily micro road trips and tried 3 different kinds of ice-cream.  I have added in more dance, road trips on foot and beauty.

 My whimsical bucket turning out to be the driving force and inspiration to my project and life.

By focusing on curiosity- what do I love to do in the summer?  I'm creating time and space to play, to discover.  Adventures and ideas are showing up.  My brain is working differently. I feel lighter.

We have 4 more mastermind workshops this summer.  Next one is July 23rd.  Let your joy muscles start percolating and your pride of accomplishment grow.  Everyone should take this class.  We can't forget our joy as we go about living. And big projects are best done in bite sized chunks.

Our summer workshops and taking summer two weeks at a time- play and progress.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Summer bucket list... Do you have one?

Do you have a bucket list?  I didn't until this summer.
You all know I'm a huge fan of simplicity, clearing out clutter and stuck energy.  Over the past 10 plus years, what I've come to know for sure is uncluttering is only 1/2 the equation.  The other 1/2 comes in discovering and intentionally creating.

 Creating a life we thrive in, that delights our spirits.  A life we love.  A life that gives light to others.  Getting rid of our stuff unsticks our lives, clears our minds and revives our spirits.

Clutter Clearing is powerful work on all realms: spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and environmentally. Once we clear the way, our lives start to flow.  We gain energy. We can do more and share more of our natural gifts with others.

However,  if we only work, our internal kid will feel robbed.  Summer is a balance of both work and play.  We need to time to weed, unclutter, simplify and un-procrastinate our lives, and time to play, hang with friends, travel, explore and be free.

 Our inner 10 year old's are wise.  Yes, we should get a good project in and set the groundwork for the rest of the year.  And we should play, be free to do nothing and explore the summer- our own way.

This summer I challenge you to create a summer bucket of the simplest, most delightful activates your 10 year old you would pick.    Think less- spontaneous adventures you could do on an very tiny 10 year old allowance. Be creative!!!

 Denise's summer bucket list 2019 
1. eat a cheap hot dog- the soft ball park kind
2. have a tea party
3. go on a walking road trip through a town or city
4. listen to music, outside on a warm night with Dallas (my hubby)
5. sit around a camp fire
6. eat a new flavor of ice cream
7. sleep outside
8. have a party
9. go to the movies
10. go on a spontaneous and delightful adventure
11. sit still and shoot the breeze with family and friends, with absolutely no rush to clouds go by as we sit...maybe have tea... or a beer
12. play catch

Do this now:
   Get out a pen and paper and create your own bucket list.  There is no right or wrong here.  You can add to it as you get inspired.  Post it and start checking off.  Don't spend much time thinking, if something more delightful pops up- do it and then add it to your list.

Share your list with us below!   Or Click here and post your list to my Facebook page

 Join me this summer in my mastermind workshops.
As of this blog posting we have 5 more meetings. Next meeting is July 9th- click here for details

Master Mind Uncluttering and Delight Workshops
  1.  Get support, motivation to complete a project you need to do, such getting rid of your paper clutter, your stuffed closets, muddled boxes or cleaning our your unruly garage... one project done at a time with a team
  2.  Make your own summer bucket list start checking off your fun.  Ignite you spirit, cultivate simple delights

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

What do you love?

Yesterday, my good friend Nancy L sent me the link to Plum Deluxe's tea and food blog.  Nancy is tea brilliant.

If you put a scone and a delightful cup of tea in front of me, I become surprisingly happy!  Friendships come with conversations over tea.
Happiness is really so simple.  A cup of tea, a scone, an afternoon to sit and visit.  Simple pleasures are not complicated, expensive or taxing.  When we simplify our lives ... magical moments appear.

 I challenge you to have a tea party this month.  Invite friends, neighbors or just you.  Bring your heart, taste buds and notepad.  If not a tea party, then pick something you would love to do.

June simple and rich:  Downsize your stuff, your to-do list, your schedule.  Add in play, adventures and rediscover what you love about June

Play!!  Celebrate Strawberries- go to a festival and each strawberry shortcake, watch clouds, celebrate the first day of summer, plant rosemary just to smell, do yoga outside. Walk at night, sleep with the windows wide open.  Enjoy early mornings and late nights.

   Happy travels,
            Send me pics of your tea party!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How to Activate Your Super Power in Work

Go from focus to play & ignite your super power

 According to Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, our ability to work fully focused and undistracted is a super power.  According to Brandon Burchard in his book High Performance Habits, taking a productive pause between focused working segments is just as important.

 Focused Deep Work will catapult us forward on our projects and out of overwhelm.
The Intentional Pause will keep our minds sharp and let us finish our day invigorated. 

I agree!

"Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy." Cal Newport  Deep Work

The practice of deep work
 100% fully present
 monotasking - one very specific project or task
set timer
phones off
social media off
tv off
all interruptions paused
task - goal clear
focus 100 % on project
Benefit- super power activated

The practice of intentional pausing 
100% present and unplugged from focused task
set timer 5-10-15 minutes
step outside
stretch- move:  especially if you have been sitting at a desk
hydrating and balancing your blood sugar
breathe from your belly
play, throw a ball,  juggle, skip, dance
take a short walk
Look at nature
Eat your lunch outside- away from your desk
Focus 100% away from work
Benefit- super power activated

Repeat throughout your workday or project

 When your timer goes off. Stop!
 Step away from your desk or project.   Think recess, play, shut off brain

Set your timer for the pause too.  Distractions are everywhere- even in our play

Value and commit to pausing as much as you are to the work.
The Pause is equally as important as the work itself.

The pause is what will keep your mind sharp and your energy strong.  It is what will help you finish the day refreshed.

By becoming fully present and pausing we give our brains a chance to turn on their super powers.

Try deep work and intentional pausing for a day.  Let me know how it goes.
This practice is incredibly effective on mentally challenging tasks but equally helpful on boring or mundane tasks.   This practice of focusing on and then off, can be used on any task from writing a grant, downsizing your paper clutter, to even watching TV.  The most important part is to become present, fully intentional of your task and setting your timer to help you focus and then reboot.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Practice of Smiling as a Meditation

The practice of smiling as a meditation is one of the most profound and flexible meditations you will ever find.  By thoughtfully taking time to smile, no matter the weather, day's events or season, you will not only relax your nervous system and up your resiliency but you also become present.

The Practice of Smiling as a Meditation

  "Smiling is a practice.  There are over 300 muscles in your face.
When you are angry or fearful, these muscles tense up.
The tension in these muscles creates a feeling of hardness.

If you know how to breathe and produce a smile however, the tension will disappear."
"Make smiling an exercise."

"There are times when your joy produces a smile.
There are also times when a smile causes relaxation, calm and joyu.
I do not wait until there is joy in me to smile:  Joy will come later

Sometimes when I am along in my room in the dark, 
 I practice smiling to myself.
I do this to be kind to myself, to take good care of myself, to love myself.

I know that if I cannot take care of myself, I cannot take care of anyone else."

"Being compassionate to yourself is a very important practice.  
When you are tired, angry or in despair,
you should know hoe to take care of your tiredness, your anger and your despair.

That is why we practice smiling, mindful walking, breathing and mindful eating."

To create smiling as a practice, I recommend incorporating this smiling practice into an already established habit.  Something you do everyday- rain or shine: washing your face, cooking dinner, exercising, driving, right before you go to sleep and when you wake up.  By connecting this new baby practice with a current habit you are using what is called a trigger habit.  When you connect a new habit with an existing habit it ups its chances of becoming a habit exponentially.

Just a FYI, there are days this practice comes easy and there are times it is a deep practice.                     Be kind, consistent and persistent - the benefits are huge!!

Happy travels,
                                         Life Coach and Speaker for home and health

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Waking up- the practice of 17 things

Familiarity - lulls us to sleep

My dad and I stopped by a bakery.  As we chatted with the baker, she mentioned the bakery no longer smelled like fresh doughnuts.  The longer she has worked there the less she can smell donuts.

It is not just scent either, sound has the same way of disappearing.  Have you ever lived by a train track?  I did when I was little.  At first, the trains rattle your home and your brain.  But over time something peculiar happens, we stop hearing trains.

A few years ago, my father in law asked me if we got many airplanes flying over our home.  I said, no, not too much.  But then I paused and listened, sure enough one was flying over our home that very minute!!  Amazing- our senses are amazing!

The same thing happens with our vision.  What we see all the time, we stopped seeing.  I see this in houses all the time. The longer something sits, the more invisible it becomes. 

Our senses, they give us so much.  They also protect us and help us adapt to any situation.
 If you want to see your life clearly, you must shift the normal.  Travel new paths with your senses and life.

Look at what has become consistent in your life, your daily actions.  What has become stagnate.  Dust them off, move them completely out of their entrenched space and see what happens.

Spring brings a fresh start. If you want to see it clearly, re-spark your senses.  Start with a clean slate, a fresh canvas.  Sometimes what you have been looking for has been sitting right in front of you the whole time.  Keeping your life fresh and alive requires movement and change.  Let the gift of your senses start to shine again.

This month shift 17 things.  Start March by waking up your senses.  Eat 3 new foods,  travel a route to work, play new music, move 17 things in your home, call old friends, turn off your cell phone, try a new hobby- juggling?  Add flowers to your kitchen, read from a new author, read nothing. Shake up 17 of your normal habits.  Wake up your senses and your life.

Let me know what you shift and what happens to your senses when you do,
         Happy Travels,
                       Life Coach and Healthy Home Specialist

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Find more joy... look up!

How we see the world is often how the world is...

Where do your eyes go when you have an idea?  Where do your eyes look when you are happy or feeling awe?  UP.  Over time our eyes, like us, can become fatigued - weighed down with gravity.

January 1st, I joined Donna Eden in her 31 day eye challenge.  It was an easy challenge.  Over the 31 days in January, she posted daily 3-10 minute videos on YouTube.  Each video demonstrated the same 8 exercise repeated over and over again by different practitioners.  I did the exercise along with Donna, her family and students around the world.   Easy!

The eye exercises weren't new.  I had taken the Energy 101 and 102 courses about 8 years ago.  These exercises were part of that course.   Over the years I dabbled here and there but not much happened...I was too random and not consistent enough.

As I type this, I have been doing these exercises for 37 days.  I'm absolutely stunned by my eyes.  Here were the benefits the class said you might gain from doing the exercises.  Good enough right?  But what I'm experiencing is so beyond this list!

  • Eye fatigue and strain
  • Red, itchy, watery eyes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Headaches
  • Allergies with eye-related symptoms
  • Eye-related conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • The need for prescription eye glasses and/or contacts
I was expecting my eyes to feel less fatigued and maybe be able to see better.  But what I'm experiencing goes way beyond red and itchy eyes.  My upper vision has expanded.  I see up more.  When I'm walking I find myself looking up to the tops of the trees, out into the horizon.  In stores I see the whole store.  My eyes are more open.  It feels like I had an eye lift without any surgery.  I feel younger in spirit.  When I look in the mirror my eyes shine back at me.  

These exercises are magical.  I'm posting a few of the class videos- they are available on YouTube.  Also, check out Edenmedicine for more classes for your whole body.  Thank you Donna Eden!!
Try it for yourself.  Do the exercises everyday for 31 days.  Once you get the hang of it they can take as little as 2 minutes to complete.

The big improvements came from light and consistent practice.   A habit of bright and shining eyes!!  I have no idea what you will experience, but if it's close to what I'm experiencing- you are going to love me!!!   Habits are all about persistently and consistency.  its only 3 minutes - day

PS.  These exercise do not take the place of your eye doctor or in any way give medical advice.  This is an a exercise, a practice.  I'm finding great joy and benefit from this practice and wanted to share with my community, friends and family.  Enjoy

Happy smiling with bright and beautiful eyes.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Habits are like compound interest

If you want to be happier this year focus on your habits.  Create a clear and beautiful vision of your future.  Then create habits to support that vision.  Small simple actions towards your goals...consistently and persistently done.  Pick one it everyday...see how it transforms over time.  Like compound interest- tiny and consistent actions become powerful habits.

 Habits are like compound interest.  At first it doesn't seem like much

The easiest way to add a new habit is to hook it up with an already established habit. A Trigger habit:  A task or activity you already have to do and have been doing long enough that it is habitual.  Such as waking up, washing dishes, riding in the car, eating or even washing your face.  Our simple daily activities are a gold mine when it comes to creating a natural space and rhythm to nourish a new habit.

You want to have more energy?  Improve your breath.  Everytime you engage in a household chore, start with taking 5 long slow deep breaths.  Stand tall, smile and relax your shoulders, come back to present for 5 breathes or even 5 minutes.   As you vacuum, as you wash dishes, as you shop, as you clean...  you practice breathing.  This tiny practice becomes fertile ground to uplift your life.

Home care is a rich space to create new habits and up shift deeply imbedded unhealthy habits.
       Goals need legs to survive.  Cultivate your dreams and vision in your habits

Denise Coach and Trainer:  Home life and work at your service

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Habits...Fuel for Goals

A clear vision with beautiful habits supports the journey 

  I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well turn over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed -
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people;
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great,
I have made great.
Those who are failures,
I have made failures.
I am not a machine,
though I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin -
it makes no difference to me.
Take me,
train me,
be firm with me,
And I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me,
and I will destroy you.

May your journey be beautiful, thoughtful and extraordinary in 2019,
         Denise- Coach