Archive for the ‘Resolutions’ Category

Something Like Underwhelmed   Leave a comment

I think I need to achieve something. Not really anything specific, but just something from my goals for the year. Somewhere along the line, between being sick, running a VBS, having sick kids, and then trying to get back into our groove after VBS only to be defeated by my husband being hurt and not working. . . somewhere in there, I hit a real funk. The last two months feel like they just disappeared. I know I did things in there. I still have the card from all my VBS volunteers to prove that it happened. But it feels like a million years ago.

Maybe it was just too much stress packed into too little time. I was running VBS (and yes, we do ours way early, during Spring Break) and practicing for our Easter cantata ( 2 weeks after VBS), all while trying to figure out where I was going to find time to buy groceries and pay the bills. And since my husband has been off work, we’ve had to dip into our emergency fund. And that really sucks, since we’ve only had it since we got our tax refund. Though, I suppose I should be happy that we had one right before we needed it.

But now, my husband is back at work (thank you, God!), and I’m trying to get back on a schedule with the kids and it’s just. . . bafflingly hard. The rhythm of meals and nap times and whatnot isn’t an issue. But motivating myself to get things back in order, things like laundry and dishes and picking up the living room, these things are a struggle. And the two month pause in my goals makes them feel ridiculously overwhelming, even though I was excited about everything in January. I suppose this is why I normally avoid New Years Resolutions. I even made a point to call them goals rather than resolutions and it still fell apart.

Today, though, I’ve gotten some things done and it makes me feel as though I can get the rest figured out. Perhaps it’s time to pull my goals back out and give them a look. The thing about goals that gives them an advantage over resolutions is that I can look at them and change them if I need to. So maybe if I do just that, I’ll be able to get my rump out of this funk and back into life.

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Posted April 13, 2012 by Maidenfine in Randomness, Resolutions

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Working On It   Leave a comment

So, the blog is moved. And I’ve fixed the background (well enough, for now). So now, all I have to do is move the other pages from my webs.com website, over to the new domain. I’m hoping that I can work on that and still get some posts going up here. My goal next week is at least one post. I’d like to get three of them up. I’ve been writing like crazy, so I probably have six of them that I just need to type up, find a picture for and get set up. So we’ll see how productive my weekend is.

Other things I’ve been working on:

*One of my goals for the new year is to start getting up at 7am and writing before the kids get up. So far, out of 12 days in the year, I’ve gotten up I think three of them. 25% success rate. I’m working on it.

*I’m the VBS Director at my church! This is super-exciting to me because I love VBS and it’s one of our biggest outreaches at the church. We host our VBS during Spring Break when most parents have to scramble for child care or leave their kids home alone. We have people at the church from 6 or 7 am until 6 or so in the evening so parents don’t have to worry about what their kids are doing during the break. This year, Spring Break is March 19-23, so I’m getting started recruiting volunteers and working on promotion stuff. This is the part I really love (I’m a little wishy-washy when it comes to enjoying other people’s kids).

*This Sunday, I start a new Sunday School class at our church. I’m going to be teaching 3rd and 4th graders, which will be super nice. Before now, we had K-3 and 4-6 as our split, but the gap in learning levels is pretty big there. So I’m popping into the middle to help out with that. And I”m super excited about the curriculum. It’s one that I’ve wished I could afford to buy for my home because their materials are just awesome. www.biblestudyguide.com (This is not an affiliate link.)

*Memorization! One of the blogs that I follow (and I’ll try to figure out which one, but they all come to my email so I sort of read them without taking the time to separate them mentally) is participating, with her church, in an attempt at memorizing the book of Colossians. They have materials that you can download and print out if you want to try it too. If you’re interested, drop a line in the comments and I’ll track down the link for you.

*Getting back on the FlyLady bandwagon. I’m going back through the Baby Steps (and not allowing myself to skip any this time) while also going slowly through 31 Days to Clean. There’s a group on Facebook that is stretching 31 Days to Clean over 3 months. So I’m hoping that’ll make it so I can keep up. (Also not an affiliate link.)

Success. . . sort of.   Leave a comment

I got the hosting set up. I got the domain set up. I got WordPress installed. I got the old site exported and then imported. So everything is here. As long as everything doesn’t include the theme that I was using and the header that I absolutely loved. Or even the font that I had. So really, when I say everything is here, I just mean all my old posts.

But bear with me. I will be getting all the colors and things back the way I like them very soon. There are only so many hours in a day though, and I’ve been writing up a storm, along with trying to work on some non-blog-related goals. So it might take until the end of next week. In the meantime, enjoy the header that seems to be rotating through multiple pictures (or I have a really terrible memory from one hour to the next) and the white everywhere. I’ll be fixing it soon.

Posted January 6, 2012 by Maidenfine in Randomness, Resolutions, Website, Writing

31 Day To Clean: Why Clean?   Leave a comment

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about cleaning. And making plans for cleaning. And reading books and blogs about how to clean, because I never figured it out on my own. But one thing I hadn’t thought about in all that time was why I wanted my house to be clean. And none of the rest of it makes any difference until you know the why.

One of the first challenges in 31 Days to Clean is to sit down and figure out your why. Then you type it up and hang it somewhere you’ll see it. Mine hangs in my bathroom on the mirror. My mission statement is:

A cluttered house creates a cluttered mind creates a cluttered house.

A clean house creates peace, calm, and relaxation. A clean house allows love and fun to be enjoyed without distraction. A clean house saves time spent looking for items that are not in their place. A clean house saves money spent on items that are not in their place. A clean house shows that the beasts of laziness and procrastination have been conquered, leaving something better in their place.

 

I absolutely think that everyone needs to make their own mission statement, but I made a PDF version with a nice picture in the background, so I’m going to make that available to anyone who’s interested. You can download it here.

 

I also promised Before pictures. My biggest issue is clutter, as you’ll see very quickly. Anything from mail to toys to the milk jugs my husband was saving so he could use the flat plastic from the sides, is sitting everywhere. What I probably need is a babysitter for a whole day so I can just go around the house and clean out all the junk. That’s not going to happen anytime soon, so I’m doing 31 Days to Clean instead. And we’ll see what gets done. Without further ado, my embarrassing Before pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing to keep in mind is that I have a very curious 9-month old. The ring of large objects around my living room is designed to keep him from getting into things we don’t want him getting into. Other than that, it’s all on the to-do list this month.

31 Days To Clean   Leave a comment

If NaNoWriMo has taught me anything, it’s the power of doing something that seems huge with a group of other people. I’ve written three novels using the power of other crazy writers, and now, I hope to turn my house completely around using the power of other ambitious homemakers.

And yes, I know I’m not a homemaker right now. But the fact is, I’m still the main caretaker of the house. If I don’t do things, often, they don’t get done. So I am embarking on 31 Days to Clean. If you want to join, the group that I’m doing it with is at Homemaker’s Challenge. As much as I can manage it, I plan to take part in the weekly link-up. If you want to get more information about the book, you can read about it (and buy the PDF) here. If you prefer to buy it for Kindle, I’d greatly love if you used my affiliate link to do it here.

Next week, I’m going to post some Before pictures, even though they feel a little embarrassing. The truly amazing thing, to me, is that I can be embarrassed about how my house looks now, while at the same time knowing what a vast improvement it is from the way it looked before we moved last October. And while that was embarrassing to me, what a vast improvement it was from the year before that. And that continues until my ultimate embarrassment just after Elisebeth was born. I think I truly saw my house for the first time when I emerged from our bedroom at the end of my husband’s two weeks off to “help out.” I nearly burst into tears that day, just from being overwhelmed by it.  I hated that I couldn’t really give my daughter tummy time, because there was hardly enough clear space on the floor for a small blanket. But when you hit the bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. And that’s the way I have been heading ever since that day. I’m slow to develop good habits, and sometimes I take a few steps backwards, but in general, the trend is toward a better house.  Right now, I actually wish I had Before pictures from back then to show you. But I avoided taking pictures of my house, for obvious reasons. So, Before pictures from now will just have to work. I’ll get those put up next week along with my “Why Clean?” post that will include a download of my Mission Statement that currently hangs on my bathroom mirror.

I tried this challenge once before, but I couldn’t get the book until the group was most of the way through. And on my own, I only made it to Day 1. So this time I’m already ahead of myself. In some things, I do poorly enough that improving is easy. But this is why I’m joining in with the group at the beginning.

Crossing It Off the List   Leave a comment

5. Own my own home.

My lifetime to-do list includes one less item. Shortly before my boy was born (very shortly), we moved into our own home. It was a nightmare of paperwork to get into the place. And since then, we’ve found gazillion little things wrong with the place that we hadn’t noticed. And it’s really scary to know that if any major repairs need to be done, we’ll be responsible for it. But I own my own home. And in seven years, it’ll be completely paid off. Then we can sell it and use the money as a downpayment on a nicer place. I’m hoping for something with a basement. Tornado shelters are very interesting places, but I’d prefer to weather a storm in my own space.

And I need to remember to put $10 in a savings account for the this one.

Anybody out there have a list? What things have you crossed off lately?

How CHAOS Affects Everything   1 comment

If you’ve ever had an uncommon illness, particularly a chronic one, you probably know how much relief can come from a diagnosis. You have symptoms, you know something’s wrong, but if the doctor takes too long to figure out what it is, you start thinking you’re crazy. Maybe it’s all in your head. But then you get the diagnosis and it’s better. Even if you have something bad, there’s a comfort in the KNOWING.

That is how I feel this week, and no, I’m not talking about PCOS. I’m talking about CHAOS. Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Seeing that written for the first time made me feel normal. There is comfort in knowing that other people are going through the same things that I am. I currently suffer from three breeds of CHAOS. The first is actually the easiest to deal with. My husband has social anxiety, so he doesn’t like strangers in the house. But he’s willing to make exceptions. The Parents as Teachers Parent Educator. Our friends and family. They’re all welcome. That’s where the other two breeds of CHAOS kick in. The next is an old, chronic form that stems from a lack of education. My mother is a Born Organizer, so I grew up in an organized home, but I never really learned how to create that for myself. It was just something she did automatically. How do you teach someone to breathe? Well, if you never had to struggle to learn to breathe, it’s probably not likely to be possible. So, without that education, when I got out on my own, things would slowly slide into CHAOS until I noticed and then I’d spend an entire day cleaning. But keeping things clean never became a habit.

The last breed of CHAOS is an acute form that I am slowly getting over. In the Spring of 2005, I was deeply depressed for about 6 months. When I finally felt like getting out of bed again, my house was buried beneath so much clutter and crap, I didn’t even know where to begin. And then we moved, and brought it all with us. I was trapped in a smaller place, with tiny closets and not enough cupboards or drawers. I didn’t know what to do. So I lived with it for a long time. I did the bare minimum to keep us from being swallowed alive and I lived with it.

Then came November 2008, and my rock bottom. I was so rock bottom, I even tried to quit writing. I was miserable and I realized it. I never felt like I had time to write, because there was so much to be done. But I wasn’t really doing any of it. I was just sitting around being overwhelmed by how much there was. So, for the first time, I sat down and made New Years Resolutions. If I’d realized my misery at any other time of year, they would have just been goals, but the end of the year is a good time for deciding things. I sat down and decided who I wanted to be, and figured out how to get there.

Who do I want to be? I want to be a woman who writes. Every day. I want to finish things. I want to take steps that lead to publication. I want to be fit and maybe even a little athletic. I want to work out and eat right and feel good about myself. I want to go to church every Sunday and show my daughter how to live for God. I want to have a house that is clean and organized and clutter-free and ready for company on a moments notice.

When I first began my journey toward this person that I want to be, it was hard. I wasn’t losing much weight, despite my efforts (thank you, PCOS). I managed to clean my house a bit (one room at a time), but I still felt like I was buried. I tried to make writing a priority but things would get hectic at work and there was still “so much to do” at home. It felt like the world was against me.

Over the course of 2009, I made progress, whether I noticed it at the time or not. I managed to lose 30 pounds, which felt like nothing while I was losing it, but added up over the course of the year. I finally (mostly) conquered my living room. I turned the ex-office where we happened to put the crib, into an actual bedroom for my daughter. I cleaned out the Pit of Despair (aka the spare bedroom) and turned it into both organized storage and an office for me to write in. For my birthday (in September), I gave myself a little makeover with a new hairstyle and new makeup from Mary Kay (all my old stuff was WAY beyond expiration). It didn’t feel like much progress at the time, but looking back, it adds up.

And 2009 was just the groundwork for 2010. So far this year, I’ve lost another almost 20 pounds. I’ve actually made it to every single meeting for my writers group (after two years as a member), and I’ve managed to make a little more organizational progress. Which leads me back to CHAOS.

CHAOS makes it hard to write. I sit down to write and immediately think of all the things I should be doing around the house. Even though it looks worlds better than it did a year ago, it’s still a clutter-filled mess.

I recently started homeschooling my daughter, teaching her colors, numbers and such and getting her used to “lessons” with Mommy. But I know how I am. I love books, paper, pens, crayons, all things school and office related. So I thought I should look into a way to keep things organized so I didn’t get out of hand. The led me to information about household binders, and that led me to the term Sidetracked Home Executives (SHEs). I wasn’t sure if that was me, but I looked closer and ended up at Flylady.net. And that’s when I saw my diagnosis. I was living with CHAOS. And the fact that someone else knew enough about how I felt to give it a name made me feel 50 shades of happy.

I looked at the Beginner Baby Steps and checked out a couple books. The first obstacle I ran into was a lack of bleach. I just don’t use it. After some research, I decided to go with vinegar anyway because I just don’t want to deal with dangerous bleach fumes, especially when I’m trying to get pregnant again. Next, I discovered that I didn’t have any Windex. I think the lack of necessary cleaning supplies is pretty accurate testimony to the state of my house. Especially since I didn’t realize I was missing them until I needed to use them.

But I’m feeling hopeful. CHAOS has a cure. Or at least a treatment. And I feel like a light has popped on over my head. Add the baby steps toward a great home to the work I’ve already done to the success I’ve had recently with my weight loss to the positive attitude that I’ve somehow developed to the writers retreat that will reignite my fire and it will all equal writing goodness in the future. I’m slowly learning how it feels to have success and it’s a little addicting.

In another three months, maybe I’ll be FLYing like a pro, and I think when that happens, other things will follow. Feeling good about myself, my house, and my family seems like the secret to finding out how to feel good about my writing. And it will also lead to feeling good about making time for it.

Edit: I completely spaced on putting all the links in. Fixed it now.