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Live a simple life – Day 13

“No matter how bad you want things to happen right now, sometimes later is better” ~Christine Sternfels

Live a simple life day 13 - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… practice patience.  It’s in God’s time, not ours.  It’s difficult to be patient, but to suffer the consequences of haste is usually worse.

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Live a simple life – Day 12

“Don’t take the daily simple pleasures in life for granted.  They are the moments you can enjoy at little  or no cost, effort or sacrifice” ~Christine Sternfels

Live a simple life day 12   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… find the time to enjoy a cup of tea.  Take this time to soak in the silence, peace and quiet and to reflect on the abundant blessings you have in your life.

Live a simple life – Day 11

“The goal of life: simple, but not empty.” ~Terri Guillemets

Live a simple life day 11   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… find simple things to do, while enjoying the company of loved ones.

Live a simple life – Day 10

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning”. ~Winston Churchill

Sternfels Family Photography - 053111 (26)

Something as simple as a market or grocery list, a “To Do” list or a schedule can help simplify things.  To live a simple life… plan ahead.

Live a simple life – Day 9

“A place for everything, everything in its place.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Live a simple life day 9   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… stay organized

For some of us, this isn’t as simple as it sounds, simply because we haven’t made a habit out of it.  I always tell my kids, it takes less effort to put things back in its place or where they belong as opposed to stacking it on your floor and having to pick it all up later.  I need to practice what I preach.

Live a simple life – Day 8

 If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot.  ~Korean Proverb

Live a simple life day 8   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… pick your battles and keep calm.  This reduces the time and energy you spend being angry and frustrated, thus giving you more time to be focused, pleasant and happy.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Live a simple life – Day 7

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live a simple life day 7  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life…  find beauty in everything and everyone.

Live a simple life – Day 6

Experience is what you got by not having it when you need it.  ~Author Unknown

SUNSET RACE - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life…  know your limits, then find the courage to push beyond them.

Live a simple life – Day 5

The little money I have – that is my wealth, but the things I have for which I would not take money, that is my treasure.  ~Robert Brault,

Live a simple life day 5  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

I cannot always agree that money can’t buy you happiness.

It does pay for gas when I want to go to the beach.  It allows me to donate to charities with great causes.  It allows me to take a vacation, giving me quality time with my family.  It gives me peace of mind when I can pay the mortgage, groceries and the electric bill.  It allows me to get a massage after working 60 hours a week for months.  It is a big part of survival so I try to be good to it, because it is good to me.  The key is its role.  I don’t make it the most important part of my life but I know I need it to survive.  To live a simple life…  have a budget and do your best to stick to it.  Respect your money.

Live a simple life – Day 4

Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.  ~Author Unknown

Live a simple life day 4  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Share your burdens, share your glories.  To live a simple life…  don’t navigate through life alone.

Live a simple life – Day 3

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.  ~E. Joseph Cossman.  To live a simple life… don’t sweat the small stuff.

Live a simple life day 3  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Live a simple life – Day 2

Wanting less will bring you more joy than having too much. ~ Christine Sternfels

Live a simple life day 2  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Who’s guilty of buying more than what they need because it was on sale?  Or buying something to reward yourself because you thought you deserved it.  How about convincing yourself you need something because you have to buy $200 worth of stuff so you can put it on your card – interest free for 12 months – because you swear it will be paid off by then?  This is the reason why my garage is a storage room.   I’m guilty of all of the above, and I’m sure I’m not alone here.

While transitioning to a simpler life, this is one of the things I struggled with most.  I wouldn’t say I was addicted to shopping or material things because ultimately, I discovered it was the instant gratification of possessing anything newly acquired that gave me the high.  That’s why finding joy in ownership or abundance of things is temporary because the bill comes then you have to start paying for it and eventually, something better comes along then you’re no longer happy with the one you have.  It’s a vicious cycle!

To live a simple life… Want less.



Live a simple life – Day 1

Sometimes, it takes hard and complicated decisions to make life simple. ~ Christine Sternfels

Live a simple life day 1  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Good morning everyone!  I’ve missed blogging and my cyber family & friends.  I was going through an emotional roller coaster after Charlie passed away and found it difficult to write.  So, I took a short break and I’ve allowed myself to grieve.  I’m much better now and am ready to heal.

Today, we begin our thirty-day series on “Live a simple life”.   This is the fourth ingredient of my “Secret sauce” for happiness.  We started with “The re-discovery of happiness“, followed by “Being grateful for the little things“, then “Random acts of kindness“.

Live a simple life will be about steps taken, lessons learned and ideas to simplify life.  I look forward to sharing my discoveries and hearing back from what you’ve experienced in your own lives.  Today, to simplify my life… I’m letting go.

Have you ever re-lived moments that make you cringe, upset or sad?  Yet we keep going back to that awful place, which leaves mixed feelings that won’t go away.  Before you know it, the day has gone by and you’ve lived most of it re-living a not-so-pleasant past.   Often, we hold on to feelings that hold us prisoners of our past.  We hold on to feelings for reasons we’ve convinced ourselves are valid, to the point of not being able to move forward to appreciate the present.  As much as we’re able to choose to hold on, we’re just as capable of making the choice to let go.  We hold the key to our own chains.  Join me today, by unlocking that chain and breaking whatever it is that is keeping you in the past.  Today, let’s start moving forward.

Today, the sun will set.  With it, will be what I no longer need to hold on to.   Life is full of possibilities, new beginnings and beauty.  I will make it simpler by letting go of emotions that dampen my mood, cloud my judgement, make me sad and get in the way of experiencing the good moments.  No, I’m not letting go of the memories that fill my life, just the sadness that comes with it.



Life according to Charlie

You’re not gone… just on another great adventure. ~Christine Sternfels


Today, I picked up Charlie’s ashes and paw print.  First I cried, then smiled, then cried, then smiled.  Passersby were starting to look concerned (or scared).  I finally got myself together, wiping the tears and snot from my face then I started to think about how life is according to how Charlie lived.  Thought I’d share…

According to Charlie…
Life is simple. If you have to think too hard about anything, you’re just making it complicated and your brain cells are dying in vain. Love abundantly and shamelessly.  Family is so precious, never take them for granted.  Lick their faces if they’re mad at you.  If you want friends, be one.  If you don’t have friends, you probably need a bath.  Be grateful.  Be kind.  Live simply.  Want nothing beyond your needs.  Smile, and it’s okay to drool at the same time.  Give without wanting anything in return, maybe a belly rub now and then.  Dream.  Chase other dogs in your dreams.  Dream about chasing other dogs in a dream.  Take long naps.  If you start snoring, tell your boss it’s nasal therapy.  Work hard.  Play harder.  Change happens, go with the flow.  If the kid gives you a tacky Mohawk, she loves you.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, there’s better use for that energy. Cry if you have to.  Laugh out loud (literally… none of that lol text stuff).  Hug.  Sing (or in my case, howl).  Dance.  Be silly.  Have compassion.  Reserve barking for when it is really needed. Wag your tail even when you’re sad.  Don’t be sad too long.  If it doesn’t smell right, don’t lick it.  Not everything is edible.  Be yourself.  Let life teach, then learn.  If you weren’t born to chase squirrels, don’t.  Different strokes for different folks, opinions don’t always have to be shared.  Don’t judge.  Don’t be a bully, it’s dumb.  Be gentle.  You don’t have to chase the ball just because that’s what the other dogs are doing.  Balls can be admired from a distance.  Relax, I’m just smelling your butt… there is no way I’m eating that!  Listen when someone’s talking.  Do no harm.  Don’t hold grudges.  Get along.  I want world peace.  If you have to explain, you probably should have done it.  Be honest.  Be true to yourself and to others.  There is always a bright side.  Look for the good in everyone.  You don’t have to understand everything.  Wealth is not always measured in gold, money or possessions.  Usually it’s how often you get hugs and belly rubs.  Be remembered for the love you gave.  Love.  Love.  Love.  If all else fails, lick their faces.

I know all dogs go to heaven

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

I miss you_1

At 10:47am yesterday, our sweet boy Charlie drew his last breath.  He would have been twelve this Thursday.

We got him for Danielle’s thirteenth birthday.  She wanted a chocolate Lab so we went to a breeder’s house.  When we got there, there were several little chocos running around and people were there trying to pick the next member of their family.  That’s when we noticed a little tethered box in the corner.  Something was moving under the rags when a head popped out.  He was trying so desperately to uncover himself, but his paws were so big and clumsy.  The breeder told us to make our pick before they were all gone and we asked him, how about the cute one in the box?  He responded “Oh that?  You don’t want that, he’s the runt and I can’t give you papers for him.  You don’t want him”  That’s when we knew, he was ours!

He was three months old and his paws were the size of his head.  He always stumbled and his belly was so big that it dragged on the floor.  We got him a trainer and she came to the house every week.  It took three lessons for us to know, Charlie can’t be trained… he’s so smart he plays dumb so well!  He was sweet, sensitive and very funny.

He loved camping and going for hikes but get this… he hates the water.  Yes he’s a pure bred Hunting Labrador from the Dakotas and does excellent pointing to ducks, but trying to get him in the water was impossible.  He cries when we bathe him, he whines when we take him to the beach but he’ll run around in the shallow water if he thinks we’re chasing each other.  When he realizes he’s wet, he walks around as if he was saying “Ewe…ewe..wet..ewe” carefully trotting his way out of there.  The first time we took him to the river and tried to get him in the water was fun.  It was like playing tug of war.  We were on one end and he was on the other.  He dug his two front legs into the pebbled beach and anchored his butt down and pulled back.  It was funny and it caught everyone’s attention because here was this water dog, afraid to go in.  The drag marks was classic.  Charlie gave in to trick us because as soon as we thought he was going in and stopped pulling, he ran away really fast.

He loved rolling in dirt, freshly cut grass and sand.  He loves to pounce on short girls, get them down to the ground and just lick them.  He was a 90 pound lap dog, oh he loved climbing on my husband’s lap all the time.  It was a challenge pulling him back on road trips because he wanted to be in the front with hubby.  He loved french fries and peanut butter.  One time my husband was eating his pb&j sandwich.  He had the sandwich in his hand, looked away for a second, turned to take another bite and it was gone!  There was Charlie, licking his chops and getting rid of the evidence.  He also loved getting his nails done.  Good thing dogs are color blind, if he knew the kid was putting fuchsia on his toenails, I doubt he would have just sat there and let her… but then again he loved her so much he probably wouldn’t have cared.   It’s fun watching hubby and the kid play catch with him.  They will throw a frisbee or a ball, Charlie will look where it went, then look back at them with an expression on his face as if he was saying ” And you want me to do what with that thing?…” Charlie loved life, but most of all… he loved us and we knew it.

I will miss waking up to big eyes staring back at me after getting a whiff of his stale breath.  I will miss having my morning cup of coffee outside when he does his morning business.  When we watch scary movies, he will sit on the couch, bury his head under the blankets and shake like a baby.  I will miss having to hide my gum or anything minty in a high place because he loves it so much.  One time I was in the hallway passing by my daughter’s room when I saw him in there quietly (as if on stealth mode)  unzipping her back pack to get to her gum.  He even got into my aunt’s luggage and bit into the can of Altoids… that was a bit too much for him because he didn’t finish it.  But no matter how much gum or mint he ate, he always had bad breath!  I will miss his stinky farts, especially when the family is intensely watching a movie… everyone is quiet and concentrated until we all scream “Ewe, Charlie!”.  I will miss making salad because he loved the bottoms of romaine hearts.  I will miss him walking into my office in the middle of the day to rest his head on my lap or nag me with his paws to go outside.  Packing lunch for the kid won’t be the same without him waiting for me to drop something on the floor.  I will miss our therapy sessions where he sits there, paws crossed, listening to me while I complain about the little petty things.  He always made me feel better, with his wise and quiet reassurance that life is so much more than that and everything will be okay.  He was such a gentle giant, I think I’ve only heard him bark at most 4 times in his post puppy life.  But when he barked, he meant business and they were times he was protecting us from squirrels, raccoons and stuff.

I could write a book on our life with him and all the things we’ll miss about him, he was so special.  I will miss you terribly my sweet boy and my heart is hurting so much right now.  You will be in our hearts and thoughts always… we love you Charlie!

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Random acts of kindness – Day 30

Don’t choose who to be kind to, be kind to everyone.  Don’t decide when to be kind, be kind at all times.  Don’t worry about how small it may seem, to someone it makes a big difference.  Don’t limit yourself to the easy acts, kindness is supposed to be selfless.    ~Christine Sternfels


When I started this series, I thought “Piece of cake!  I can do random acts of kindness with my eyes closed.”  It was ok at first because I was doing things I wanted to do, when I wanted.  The more I got into it, the harder it got because I could not come up with things that fit my schedule.  I wasn’t trying to change the world, but why was I looking for grander gestures to make a difference?  I learned it had to start with small acts, at any given time, anywhere and with anyone.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”  ~Mother Teresa

I hope this series’ posts have somehow inspired you to do something kind by nature and frequently.  Have a great weekend everyone!


Random acts of kindness – Day 29

Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on.  ~Henry Burton

Random acts of kindness day 29  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

What act of kindness will you pass on today?  I’d love to hear about them!


Random acts of kindness – Day 28

No matter how nice you are, there will always be someone to criticize you.  ~Author unknown

SPLITTING IMAGE - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Can you go a day without criticizing someone no matter how blatantly funny they look?  Why not give it a try?

Random acts of kindness – Day 27

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  ~Leo Buscaglia

Random acts of kindness day 27  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Random acts of kindness – Day 26

I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.  ~Author Unknown

Mayan Ruins - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Mayan Ruins1  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Today’s exercise is encouragement.  There is much uncertainty going around, the hectic holiday schedule, the upcoming new year and the rumor that today is the last day of our existence.  Tweet a positive quote, make an upbeat Facebook status, blog something cheerful and encouraging.

One year ago today, we visited the Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula and were educated on “THE” calendar, where all the Mayans went and why all these pyramids were abandoned.  The calendar goes in cycles, and today simply means the end of a 5,125 year-long cycle and tomorrow is the start of another cycle.  The Mayans were not taken by Martians, they simply migrated to other areas because their natural resources ran out, thus the abandoned pyramids.  So basically, they ran out of water, fertile soil, animals and harvest so they all went in different directions.  By the time they went to other cities, towns and areas, they adapted to the way of living in their new environment and were mostly ruled by the Spaniards – who had their own King and Queen to serve and would not hear of sacrificing the captain of the football team from a 4 foot 11 inch tall man!

Lots of interesting facts learned that week but in a nut shell… everything’s gonna be okay.  Have a great weekend everyone!


Random acts of kindness – Day 25

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.  ~James Matthew Barrie

Random acts of kindness day 25  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

I will be a baking fool in the next few days to make goodies for local senior centers so my daughter and her friends can visit and chat with them.  I’ve placed a call to some places and I’m hoping someone will get back to me because the girls are really looking forward to it.  Have a great day everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 24

To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving.  ~Max Beerbohm

Random acts of kindness day 24  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Today’s exercise is to stuff small stockings with simple items.   In it, include a note that says “This gift is for whoever finds it.  Please take its contents and replace it with a gift from you.  Leave the note in the stocking and place it where ever you want to.  Happy giving!”

I also stuffed some stockings for my mailman.  I put in a personal note from our family.  We often take them for granted but their job is very important and regardless of the weather, your mail arrives.  Take time to thank them even with a holiday card and gift card or just a thank you note.

Have a great time spreading the love everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 22

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.  ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

Random acts of kindness day 22  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Today’s exercise is to find someone who needs holiday decorations.  Some families don’t have a tree or any ornaments for it.  If you have gently used ornaments you no longer want, there is someone out there who needs it and will want it.  Maybe ask around?    Have a great day everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 21

Eventually you come to realize that most people aren’t looking for a fight but for someone to surrender to.  ~Robert Brault

Random acts of kindness day 21  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Today’s exercise is to make peace with someone you have a disagreement with.  Pick up the phone, don’t text, IM or email.  It’s not a matter of who’s right or wrong, whose fault it is, who started it.  What matters is you mend what’s broken.  And if you have nobody you need to make peace with, I’m sure you have someone to call, text or email to let them know how much you care.  Have a beautiful day everyone!


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