harnessing time

by Sharon Santoni

watercolour painting of flowers in front of green door in paris

I have time on my mind today, time and how we use it.   Maybe its because I turned a year older a few weeks ago, or maybe it is simply because yesterday I printed out my schedule for the next six months, and was surprised to see how busy it looks already! ….

This new and unexpected activity, it’s all part of the reinvention thing …. it’s fun for sure, but it also needs to be harnessed.

Foolishly, I used to love telling everyone how busy I was.  As if the mere fact of being busy had its own intrinsic value.   Especially when the children were all very young and I was doing the Mom thing of juggling the family schedule with all the rest.  I loved being busy then, and I still do now, but today ‘busy’ and I have come to a different understanding.  The reasons are twofold.

watercolour of paris facade

Firstly, today there is an  understanding that just ‘being busy’ to fill a schedule is not a good idea.  Today, if my diary is full, I want it to be with the right things, I want to get to the end of each day feeling that I have achieved something creative, constructive … that in one way or another I have progressed.  And of course I want to find the right balance … home, family, work, leisure and even those dogs.

The second reason is more about pier pressure and social expectations.  Nowadays I am  reluctant to talk about being busy.   I am at an age when many of my friends are also empty-nesters, and are happily playing tennis or golf every week, and enjoying their garden or the first grandchildren, which is great, but not everyone understands that I have ‘work’ commitments and still want to run around.    I really have no wish to slow down, but I can feel a sort of social pressure to do so, the result is that I’ve learnt to create sections in my life.    There are places and people I frequent where I can be the blogger/author/photographer: hungry for new material; excited about sharing and learning and looking for the next idea ….. and then there are other people and  places that I enjoy but where I necessarily tone it down, adopt a slower pace and where I don’t mention my work unless requested.

I guess the family is the exception to this rule.  They know me too well, they know how much I love the blog and the various activities that have grown from it, and they understood long ago that I need this creative outlet for my balance and well being.

watercolour of paintbrushes and book

You know how strongly I feel about the opportunities that we  have today to reinvent ourselves and, health permitting, restructure our lives in new ways, discovering new pleasures and revealing hidden talents.   So how about you?    I know that many of you have your own fabulous tales of reinvention, but how do you balance your time and your schedule?

Are there opportunities that you turn down, to allow for more free time, or do you simply fit in as much as you can, and drop weary but happy into bed each evening?  I’d love to hear your point of view

This piece is illustrated by the gorgeous watercolours of my friend Jeanne McKay, whose schedule is the perfect demonstration of harnessing time, and finding the right balance between work, creativity and leisure.

watercolour of gilr running in trenchcoat

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend, thank you for reading me.



Beth March 6, 2016 - 4:44 pm

I love your blog and photographs on FB. I have only been to France once, but fell in love. I was 60 on my first and only trip – certainly old enough to appreciate the beauty, people, and traditions I saw. Hope to go again – still kicking and love to travel! Thanks for your lovely insights.

Tessie March 6, 2016 - 5:14 pm

Me too, Beth <3 last August just after my 60" Birthday. It is pleasure to read this blog, look pics and these lovely watercolours of Jeanne….amazing!

Lin Powell March 6, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Yes, Beth. I agree. Travelling when you are older gives a different perspective and new appreciation for things. I travelled when I was in my 20s and now in my 60s. Although I have gone to some of the same places, I view them totally different at each age. This blog helps keep up my interest of France.

Aude Clément March 7, 2016 - 10:36 am

Dear Sharon,
You just said everything I feel, I am involved in, I had to make choices but you are doing so well , Keep going !

Fran March 6, 2016 - 4:53 pm

I used to be a great multitasker and could fit “umpteen” things into a day. Sadly, it is not the case anymore and just fulfilling a couple things/chores per day is difficult. I do have health issues and maybe it all “caught up to me.” I say, do what you can – but don’t over extend yourself – carve time out for yourself – this is very important. Balance in one’s life is extremely important…..I think I learned that a little too late.

Jill M. Tompkins March 6, 2016 - 5:10 pm

I agree. I went back to school when I was 56 and got a Bachelors of Fine Art. Some people thought after raising all those kids I should enjoy myself and have me time. Well for me
Me time is art and having a thriving Practice now is my reward.

Chris Sweeney March 6, 2016 - 5:19 pm

Jeanne’s water colors ar lovely, I would love to purchase the woman with the Channel bag hanging from her shoulder.
Thanks for any information .

Sharon Santoni March 10, 2016 - 9:32 pm

Hello Chris

You are welcome to contact Jeanne directly at jeanne@idreamofstudios.com


Cindy davsi March 6, 2016 - 5:20 pm

OMG…..you hit the nail on the head…..this is ME…..Thanks for the words of wisdom, I too, will balance more, starting today…..after I finish brunch for my family. Love these words. I have that same group of friends. Ok…..s l ow l y……breathe and enjoy today.

franki March 6, 2016 - 5:27 pm

Aaahhhh…”sometimes” it is a “good thing” to be retired….although, I AM STILL trying to get “used to the idea.” GO SPRING!! franki

janet March 6, 2016 - 5:27 pm

I, too, used to love the busyness of managing family, work, volunteer activities and more. When my nest emptied, I just dug in more to work. However, a health crisis later I find I really cherish time with my husband, the grandchildren, and friends along with an increased appreciation of stopping to smell the roses.

Debbie Williams March 6, 2016 - 6:21 pm

This is ME as well…….At 67 I have a new perspective of all the wonderful people and things in my life….and have learned how to (try to)
eliminate the ones that aren’t!
I copied another blogger and my ‘Word of the Year” is……. UNHURRIED.
I remind myself each day when I feel the pressure to ‘Rush’…….it is amazing how many things I have done at the end of a day in an ‘unhurried’ state of mind!

bonnie groves poppe March 6, 2016 - 5:41 pm

I love being busy. I’m not an empty nest person, as my nest always had only me and my former husband. I’ve always been busy with projects, fixing, creating, restoring, repairing …. houses, furniture, clothing, gardens, trailers (!), anything antique or vintage. Spending time with friends. Looking at exhibits, markets, gardens, museums, there is always something I want to do. Fortunately I remain healthy at my advanced age! Busy is good as long as its what you love, and you are creating a fulfilling life for yourself. I know people who are busy going to work that they don’t like so much, busy just trying to stay ahead, that kind of busy isn’t so nice. The sentence I have banished from my life is “No, I can’t, I’m too busy.”
bonnie in provence

Shell Parsons March 25, 2016 - 6:56 am

Well said Bonnie.x

Corinne March 6, 2016 - 5:43 pm

A timely post no matter where you are in life I think. I am retired now, several years but quite honestly it took more than 2 years to adjust to this new life. I juggled different interests for a while and have finally achieved balance. It takes personal insight to identify your needs, your responsibilities, and your goals. As a healthcare professional (we never really retire just so you know) I have seen the effects of sedentary lifestyle. You do not want that. No matter what your physical state one must remain as active and engaged as possible. Sadly, many begin to isolate because it is easier. I suggest volunteerism or charity work. You will meet the most wonderful people. So diverse from ones professional life. I over-extended for a while and have reached a point where I can handle things. For example, since I sew and do needle crafts I make little warmer hats for one of our neonate hospital nurseries, tassel caps for our Ronald McDonald house, blankets for Project Linus, quilts for Women’s Shelters, hygiene supplies for the women of Haiti, pillowcase dresses for the naked children there. Most of this work I do at home, in my own time. There is a large group of us who do this and meet periodically for a group sew. If you do not do this kind of work perhaps read to a Kindergarten class or volunteer at your library for special programs. All in all I suppose my message is to reach out, keep your mind busy but not too busy, make a difference for yourself and you will likely make a difference for someone else.

I hope I didn’t go on too much, didn’t mean to bore but having been at each end of the Busy spectrum I want to share what I have learned. Someone shared with me and helped me through the most painful and difficult time of my life. Taking time for yourself is just as important, you don’t want to get lost! Spring is just around the corner here, I have Pansies on my mind!

Pauline March 9, 2016 - 9:20 am

Thank you Corinne

I was a busy person work family and the day to day chores of life. My children although very much still in my life have there own very full lives for which I am very pleased as that is how it should be. For years and I mean decades my husband was planning to retire early and to facilitate this we became mortgage free and lived our lives as stress free as possible as he had such a busy job. We bought a house in France in preparation which initially wasn’t my dream but I now love. Unfortunately I parked a lot of my dreams and my husband has now changed his mind and wants none of the above and I’m less than busy now. I work in the voluntary sector and have met the most interesting and diverse people and I’m gradually filling the gaps but only with things that I want to do and are interesting to me. Takes awhile to find yourself but as you say to fall into the trap of isolation is not the answer. Just registering for a calligraphy course, woo hoo

Lucia Donahower March 6, 2016 - 5:48 pm

Sharon, I love your blog and all the photographs you post! I think you are doing it right and I hope you continue . The water colors are beautiful!
Thank you

BWF March 6, 2016 - 6:10 pm

Having struggled with some of your issues, I say “Do what you want!” I know people who are miserable in retirement with little to do. Others love the leisure of retirement. I like a mix. The key is to do what you love, whatever that is. Say “No” to those requests that you don’t want to do, and don’t feel guilty. Then what you do isn’t “being busy” it is what you want your life to be. Sorry you have to tone down your many activities to some friends. I think there is a bit of jealousy if they don’t want to hear of your many “loves” such as your blog and tours,etc. Be Yourself and don’t apoligize!

Jeannine March 6, 2016 - 8:05 pm

Excellent comment. I agree.

Kathleen March 6, 2016 - 6:12 pm

Being “busy” no longer carries a badge of any sort of honor for me. The real “presents” are in “prescence”.
I am perfect, whole & complete and therefore without the need to prove anything to anyone else, I only choose to please myself.
My intention for 2016 is to see the gift in everyone & everything! My daily mantra is to only do the things I really want to do. This includes a lot of “medium to slow time” & lots of time in nature.

Rosemary Foreman March 6, 2016 - 6:23 pm

I love your blog. I’m looking to go to France and stay a month or two. ( I turn 60 in 2.5 months). Is there any site where there are gals on a budget, who would love to share expenses, and spend a few weeks in Paris…and a few weeks in Provence, or other?! I lived in Valence, south of Lyon, for one year…but because of work, didn’t get a chance to enjoy it deeply…my hubby now tells me to GO DO IT!! I’m a scaredy-cat on my own….

Barbara March 6, 2016 - 8:35 pm

I am very interested in the same thing! ~ with a hubby who doesn’t want to go, already did his European travels. I am an artist in my retired years and loving it. And Paris and especially Provence are my chosen areas, perhaps Aix-en-Provence. I definitely want time to get a deeper feel for the place, live a tiny bit like a local, and . . to PAINT and SKETCH.

Rosemary March 6, 2016 - 9:46 pm

I love Aix! I would live to go back! Vibrant, and a great ” taking off” point for touring around!! My hubby just doesn’t have the time, with work!! Id love to hear from anyone with ideas of sharing…. I’m not fluent , but do ok !!

Rosemary March 10, 2016 - 8:53 pm

D’accord!! Mais c’est trôp cher pour moi!!
It does look just amazing…but flying from San Francisco, I’d want to stay longer, I love gîtes and just would need to be more cost cautious…but yes, I’m truly up for going…im pretty flexible & easy-going…but truly adore travel! You’re so lucky you have an eager sister!!! Fantastique!!! ⚜

Pat March 6, 2016 - 6:49 pm

I, too, have filled my schedule to keep busy. Whether it was work or volunteering, I couldn’t pass a void without feeling the need to fill it. Needless to say, this can be a recipe for burnout. Too many times I found myself resenting the people or organizations I had volunteered to help.

The past year or so I’ve been disentangling myself from commitments that just aren’t fulfilling. How freeing!

Earlier this year I came across a question/quote: “are you majoring in minor things?” Wow, did that hit a chord! Now, whenever I feel the urge to fill a void, I ask myself this question.

Shell Parsons March 25, 2016 - 7:01 am

Pat I love how you spoke of “disentangling myself from commitments that just aren’t fulfilling”. It is something I am trying to do also. Saying no, in a nice way, to things the old me would have said ‘yes’ to, just to be polite. I also love ‘are you majoring in minor things.’ Thanks for sharing this.x

Barbara Lilian March 6, 2016 - 7:20 pm

This post took me back to when I was 50. We had sold our beautiful bungalow in Devon S/W. England packed up all our belongings & moved to France to a little farmhouse with a huge barn so much land we didn’t know what to do with it, to start a new life since then I have done so many things I never thought I’d be able to achieve. Today we have celebrated my husbands 76 birthday with our daughter her French husband & our two teenage grandsons , who say they are European . Life is still exciting and we are now trying to sell our house with a gite so that we can finally retire. Enjoy yourself and only when you are not enjoying what you do , is it time to stop.

Dina Burke March 6, 2016 - 7:51 pm

Sharon you must have read my mind! This is a topic that has been swiming in my brain recently. First let me say I am so thrilled to just have found you this week randomly. As a designer I am always looking for inspiration, and your photos and blog are a visual delight! What a candy store for my winter weary eyes.
I think as a creative entrepreneur I am constantly struggling with balancing my online work, creativity, demands of human family , and canine family. I undestand your dilemma. I am so much younger than my peers even though we are the same age. By that I mean while most people would be thinking of retiring after two sucessful careers, I have no desire to do so. Instead I have repurposed my brick and mortar design biz into an online presence. Like you, I don’t discuss ‘work’ with local friends in my social circles unless prompted. They would not relate to entreprenurial concerns. One thing I have done is say yes to far less things groups or committees. Been there done that. More time to work on biz, blog, exercise, hobby of showing dogs, being more peaceful, developing friendships with likeminded entrepreneurs. It’s not being busy for busy’s sake, but being more selective with the time I have . Realizing limitations of time and our time on the panet is not something I thought about in my 20’s , but seems relevant now.thanks for the inspiration

Our French Oasis March 6, 2016 - 8:04 pm

I am afraid I am one of those people who manages to cram an extraordinary amount of things into each day and frequently I find myself still writing the blog at midnight. Sometimes I think I was mad to start it with five children and other work commitments, but I have never sat down during the day to read a magazine or even when pregnant to take a nap, I remember my doctor saying he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to run around as much as I did, but he agreed it seemed to do me no harm and he knew he would never change me! However, no matter how much I fit in and no matter how much I truly love being busy and I will always find time to do things with my children and husband. If the girls want to play tennis for an hour, I will play with them, what I was doing can always be done after they have gone to bed. Family will always come first, it’s how I balance things, it keeps me on my toes but whilst they are young enough to be at home and want my company I will always be there for them, even if it does mean burning the candle at both ends; it’s a very happy candle!

Catherine D March 6, 2016 - 8:13 pm

At 31 I had to stop my job to breed my children for some time. E great problem with a nurse… And I had the opportunity to attend some aquarelle lessons, especially “aquarelle botanique”. I thought it was not very nice, because all the bad images of calendars. And in fact it has been a love story … untill now I am 68, no more job but I am still a teacher, and very happy to organize small shows… ad keep my mind busy.

lissy parker March 6, 2016 - 8:39 pm

You keep right on going strong! My father-in-law worked until age 94 and then still went in to call on clients. He always said “Keep learning something new every day so you never get old.” Great words to live by.
xo, lissy

Merle Neill March 6, 2016 - 8:41 pm

I would also like to purchase the watercolor that Chris Sweeney asked you about. I like them all, but that is a fave!!

Would appreciate information if that could be arranged.

Thank you.

Merle Neill Info below:

Sharon Santoni March 10, 2016 - 9:35 pm

Hello Merle

You are welcome to contact Jeanne directly at jeanne@idreamofstudios.com


Emm March 6, 2016 - 8:41 pm

Oh my, where’s the “Like!!” button? So very many good comments here.
I think women in our culture spend so much of their lives doing for others that when they, finally, get to set their own schedules it seems somehow daunting. The idea that you can do what you want, without accounting to others — as several have said, it takes a while to balance it all out. But, oh, what a wealth of talent and entrepreneurial energy for our societies.

Donna March 6, 2016 - 9:00 pm

Hi Sharon,
Thank you for asking the questions that always seem to get us thinking!
I am 63 and working full time. My husband and I share our home with our daughter, son-in-law and 2 young grandchildren. Busy is my middle name!!
I have gained a good deal of insight from all the thoughtful participants to this discussion… Do what you love. Be present. Spend time with family and friends. My own additions are: Create bonds and don’t keep the ones’ you love at arm-length. Be explicit in your gratitude for the richness of your life.

Elizabeth (Eiffel Tells) March 6, 2016 - 9:33 pm

A fabulous post with great comments. I’ve just read it before I dash to work. This is my year of taking stock before the next (exciting?) phase in my life. There is great wisdom here for me to contemplate. Amicalement, Elizabeth

Penny March 6, 2016 - 10:00 pm

Keep it up! We love all that you do. We all wish we could be running around with you!

Dottie Monta March 6, 2016 - 11:31 pm

Sharon, you and I and all those who love your delightful blog know in our hearts that creative people are ALWAYS busy! Our antennae are always alert as we concoct wonderful dishes, design our interior spaces (thank you, Sharon, for inspiration!), study our French vocabulary for our next trip (about to check if Leslie Caron is still welcoming wanderers at La Lucarne aux Chouettes), reading anything recommended by engineer and academia offspring (political, sci fi, you name it), volunteering to arrange flowers at our church (again, thank you, Sharon, for your bell’occhio), and of course shopping in order to maintain our chic mindset. Anything you offer in your blog that assists us is so very much appreciated. And enjoyed!

Pamela March 7, 2016 - 1:10 am

Such a an awesome post and so timely. The watercolors are great. I believe that to stay young we need keep moving, keep our minds sharp. Love what you do and love and enjoy those of whom you love, for tomorrow is not promised.


Maria March 7, 2016 - 2:02 am

I can so relate to this post! I was lucky enough to be a full-time Mom when my children were younger and as they reached high school I took a part-time job that was extremely flexible and I was able to work and be home when my children came home from school and keep my home in top running order. But I always knew I wanted to
do what I loved when my youngest left for college. And sure enough I started my antique business the first month after moving her to university. This became a passion of mine during the time our family lived in Paris from 1996-2000. Many days and weekends of antiquing honed my knowledge of furniture, transferware, ceramics, silver and much more. When we moved to Atlanta I continued my learning at antique fairs here with my best antiquing buddy. A dozen years later I set up shop at a monthly antique fair and have a shop in an antique mall and have since been back to shop for antiques twice in France and three times in England. In many ways all the time management I practiced in my years as a stay at home Mom have helped me manage my time now as a small business owner and traveling companion to my semi-retired Husband. It has been such a treat to re-invent myself this way but I have to say I could never have accomplished this without the ever present support and encouragement of my Husband and daughters. Thank you for sharing your story with is your faithful readers and fans.

Sandy Jones March 11, 2016 - 4:14 am

Maria: Where are your shops in the Atlanta Area?


Victori Savu March 7, 2016 - 2:26 am

Hi Sharon,
Your blog speaks to me quite often and this time is one of those. I have reinvented myself often, after a divorce, a empty nest, remarried and now retired. The retired one was hard at first. I was lost. But I had always loved anything that evolves making a beautiful home so I through myself in to it. I decorate, paint furniture, garden, and last year my husband and I put in a another kitchen just for my baking. Now you would think all that sounds fun and it is but too often I drop into bed all stressed and exhausted because I have over extend myself. I have not figured out yet how to rein myself in. If I don’t learn my fun will turn into not so much fun. Maybe after reading your blog I will purposely schedule down time where I put up my feet and chill. And have more family and girlfriend time. Thank you Sharon.

Debbie Spence March 7, 2016 - 3:00 am

BUSY is a four letter word, one we hate or use as an excuse when it suits us. For the most part, I hate being busy. I much prefer to be fulfilled, at the age of 55 I seem to bounce back in forth between the two. Although 3 of my 5 children are gone from home, just when I think I might have a moment of silence or be on the verge of an empty nest, my house bulges at the seams once more. I tend to be the mama that brings in strays and I’m not talking about animals. I’m currently on my third, a 15 year old that can be quite a challenge. Some days the need for constant monitoring and guidance, my busy, cause me to be desperate for time to do some less noble things, but then my past charges call me mom and tell me how I changed their lives and I press on with my form of busyness. Being busy with things that make a difference for others or that bring us fulfillment is a good way to use our very limited time.

July March 7, 2016 - 3:52 am

Hi Sharon
I love reading your blog, though I don’t get that time to read everyday. I am so busy like yourself. I love to read about your daily life. Tell me about it that we don’t stay in bed until late morning and wanting to get in early evening. Myself, I do want to get in the bed early enough to get an early morning, but at times I find myself cutting fabrics until past 2 am in the morning. I have been sick since January until last week, I decided to see my doc and I got some medication, I mended my wings and I have now landed on my two legs again. I have not even fulfilled my blog since early January, as my health was so down, I could barely put my sewing machine on and to cut a piece of fabric. I was so tired and I am someone who really puts myself under pressure.
Join the team of women who loves to work. And plus though I go to bed late, I am still an early morning bird.
Keep up the hard and good work. You are an inspiration to lots of women out there. Thank you for your writings. Take care now.

Wendy Dewar Hughes March 7, 2016 - 6:52 am

Being busy for the sake of business is vastly over-rated. Once you get on that treadmill, it’s hard to jump off. In fact, sometimes exhaustion just pushes you off and you have to re-think priorities. Nice article, and such pretty watercolours.

Jen March 7, 2016 - 9:45 am

At a time in my life when I am free to concentrate on a schedule of my very own, I have found that being busy is always a choice. By choosing to be busy means the project must be inspiring & allow me to be productive & positive. I’m learning to refuse unrealistic deadlines and to not overload the calendar with “stuff”. But you are so right Sharon, there are times to wear the entrepreneur hat & times to wear the peaceful woman hat, it all about balancing the two. xo

Marian from England March 7, 2016 - 11:27 am

A very good post and thought provoking. I retired last year at 64. The summer was taken up with gardening, we are re-designing our garden, so lots of work and the time flew by. Then it was Christmas. My plan was then to spend the first 3 months of 2016 with curtain making, the last big job to complete the interior of our small cottage. But just before Christmas we experienced a problem with our neighbours which has carried on, leaving us bewildered and distressed and all my motivation has gone. My husband is not yet retired so I spend a lot of time on my own and find it is so easy to just stay in and do nothing. Not atall what I had planned! I had planned a blog, to begin some craft, plant our garden, have friends and family to stay, go walking, oh so many ideas! To not do these things is not an option. As other readers have said, you must keep alive, keep interested, but also savour and enjoy the fact that you can CHOOSE how busy to be. You no longer have to be under someone else’s strict regime and running to their timeclock and expectations. For the first time you can create your own schedule and daily patterns. But I’m finding it’s just taking some time to get into a new way of being. It will come and reading your blog will help to encourage me on my way. Thank you.

Deborah Lindsay March 7, 2016 - 1:56 pm

I can really relate to your column. Two of my very close friends have retired while I am still working in a high pressure job that I do enjoy. Sometimes I feel left out of the weekday fun!

Taste of France March 7, 2016 - 3:59 pm

Not everybody spent their lives doing what they loved, and they are only too happy to step out of the rat race. Other people just don’t want the stress or hours, and it’s too bad employers aren’t more flexible in allowing people to keep working, but not flat-out anymore.
Personally I couldn’t be happy without an intellectual demand on me. Just reading or studying for pleasure is lovely, but it isn’t as satisfying as having a specific reason to do it.
Also, remember that work expands to fill the time. If I have 10 things to do, I’ll get to 9 (perfection is impossible, or the things to do are too simple). But if I have 100 things to do, I’ll accomplish 99, and that is so much more satisfying.

Karena March 7, 2016 - 4:30 pm

Dear Sharon, as you can see this is a great topic for discussion and I am enjoying reading the comments. Personally, I no longer feel the need to fill every moment of the day with frantic activity. It is nice to be at a place in life where there are more choices and maybe we need to give ourselves permission to do just that, make choices that are good for us, and not feel any need to justify why we aren’t working 60 hour weeks, volunteering for every event, etc.

The Arts by Karena

Phyllis March 7, 2016 - 8:30 pm

I just retired in October from owning my own home decor store. I am 66 and will be 67 in May. I am relishing my freedom, but I can see how it is very easy to fill one’s days with an ongoing “to do” list. I am trying to be more selective these days with how I spend my time. I am feeling age creeping up on me with compromised mobility, but I know how important it is to keep moving. I have three children and five grandchildren that all live far away from me so travel plans are always a priority in planning the year ahead. My husband retired a year before I did and we are happy planning our days together or in solitude. I love to garden, sew, read, hike, hunt for antique textiles and trims and decorate my home. I know it is most important to enjoy every day, whether it is sitting and reading or exploring sites beyond and to remember that, at this age, it is easy to create our own unnecessary stress by filling the day with too many demands on ourselves. (I love your blog and all the beauty and richness of life that it conveys. Thank you for taking the time to share this with everyone.)

Debbie Durnwald March 9, 2016 - 12:18 am

I think your work is fantastic! I love your blog, your book, your videos, your photography and basically everything about you. I just wanted to thank you for the countless hours of enjoyment that I, and many others, have obtained through your selfless work and beautiful outlook on life. You are a true inspiration and I am very grateful for all that you do.

R March 9, 2016 - 2:41 am

Thank you for your thought-provoking post! I am in the midst of figuring out how to balance family life (2 young children & a husband), part-time work, volunteer/community commitments, hobbies etc. I love each activity & relationship individually for they each nourish my soul in a different way; however I’ve learned that sometimes too many commitments fall on the calendar during a particular week (or month), and they become burdens rather than activities to enjoy. I’m still trying to figure how out how to push through the exhaustion and find that enjoyment again during the busy/stressful times. If you have any advice, I’m all ears! In the meantime, I’ll be attempting to reprioritize my calendar to try to make time for a little fun & rest each week.

Sandy Jones March 11, 2016 - 4:19 am

I wish to reinforce Debbie’s comment. Keep going Sharon. We depend on your blog for peace, joy, beauty, calm and dreaming.

Sandy Jones March 11, 2016 - 4:27 am

Having had two very satisfying lives (raising three children as a stay at home Mom, and a wholesale jewelry designer) at 60 I embarked on another career as a retail jewelry store owner. Many have told me that I was CRAZY to do something so foolish in this economy. Working full time for the first time in 35 years, I am thriving on this new endeavor. I am so lucky to have a fabulous assistant who allows me to balance my personal life and family responsibilities with the store. As a new grandmother of two small boys, I cherish every moment I can spend with them. Lucky to have all of my children close in Atlanta, I am blest with being able to keep up with them all. Having a wonderful husband, going on 35 years now, has given me the support to follow my dreams. Now if only I can make enough money to buy that 5 bedroom B & B as a family vacation spot……


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