Goals and Progress

TGT mast headTHREE TEENY, TINY GOALS FOR LAST WEEK

1  Pursue a path of recovery with the new chiropractor, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.

HOW I DID!

On Goals 1 and 2 this week, I did well.

Goal No. 1:  I found a new chiropractor and have begun treatments.  I’ll be seen 3 times per week for 24 sessions total before I move out of this phase of treatment and into maintenance.  I’m happy I have begun this process and I have seen immediate results, which is kind of cool and an indicator that I’m moving in the right direction.  The past two nights in bed have been blissful, with no numbing sensations in leg or back, and sleep that is unfamiliar to me.  Wholly unfamiliar, since it is deep and relaxing, and renewing in scope. Yay!!!

Goal No. 2:  I’m continuing to follow a plan I’ve put in place to live a more simple life. So far I have de-cluttered my kitchen cabinets (all the upper ones, and one lower one), the master bath, the guest bath, the guest closet, the master closet, and two clothes dressers.  I have also given up on one social obligation that was causing me stress, and I have made a wish list of potential changes to the house that are yet to come.  No complaints by Mr–in fact, he is rather loving working with me to get rid of some of his ratty clothes and not-needed coffee mugs. I seriously expected more blow back or resistance when I suggested to him we go through his dresser and throw away shirts he loves but that are really too worn out to wear in public anymore.  How many grunge work outfits does one guy need, right?  He was happy, if not giddy, to rid himself of old clothes.  Who knew?!

GOAL NO. 3

I have been drinking more water than usual this week, so that’s partial success in the goal category, and I have tried to get more veggies in me, but not as seriously as I should.  I did make one huge decision this week, to not keep a sugary treat in the house anymore.  I’m going at the de-cluttering of my food choices slowly, since I know if there is any place the boat might be capsized, it is with the food.  We have a passionate love/hate relationship that is complicated, but I think I’m winning with my efforts to simplify my food.  Just today I thought while in the grocery store, “What might it look like for you to clean out your food pantry completely and put back in there only the things that you truly need to feed your body, a very simple list of ingredients that you could use over and over again to simplify your eating and nutritional needs?”

Okay, so I didn’t talk to myself exactly that way.  It went more like this: “Hey, having a list of foods in the pantry would be cool.  If I only bought that stuff and nothing else, how easy would it be for me to stay on track?”  I was also thinking how easy cooking would be if it were more routine, repeating regularly the recipes we love, and forgetting about the more complicated stuff.

OTHER STUFF I DID THIS WEEK

I began a Goals/Gratitude Journal, recording what I’m thankful for each day.

I moved more, mostly because my pain levels were way down.

I picked blueberries with a friend, the last of the season.

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK

I’m going to keep the goals the same for another week…

1  Pursue a path of recovery with the new chiropractor, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.

Are you into Action Plans?  If not, how do you stay on track? What system do you use?

Super Powers-Part 2

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What you are about to read is part TWO of my two-part launch into a series about living a simpler life.  [I need a catchy title for that series, so if you think of one, please add your suggestions in the comments below].

If you’re like me–sick of how much “stuff” you’ve been saving for a rainy day (or have in abundance because of a great sale), I hope you’ll find some encouragement here.  If not, please don’t feel I’m judging you for not making the same decisions I make.  Not the case, I assure you.  Variety is the spice of life, so please keep following the beat of your own drummer and be authentically you.  If you’ve been in my life for more than a lil while, it’s because you add color to my pallet with your style.  I love the fact that you are You!!!  Viva la Difference!

THE FIRST TEST 

The first test of my newfound skills with living simpler was utilized when I got home from that backyard BBQ I referenced yesterday and decided (I actually decided something—yay), to clean out my kitchen cupboards.  I had cups, glasses, and plates in there that I never use.  Never!  I decided to donate them to someone who would.

Next, I went through the toy bin.  I filled several boxes with baby toys, toys the boys never touch, and books that they never ask to be read and tossed them in the donation bin.  I pulled out blankets we never use, pillow cases no one cares about, and junky junk we had picked up at the fair, or a rummage sale, or collected through someone else’s donations to us.  I filled SEVEN boxes with these items and off they went to the Salvation Army.

My next stop was the bathroom, where I tore out old wash cloths and expired bottles of hair dye, and shampoo containers that only had a titch of shampoo left in them.  I threw away expired bug spray and old, dirty toothbrushes, and pieces of hardware that didn’t belong in the bathroom.  I bought new airy bins for the stuff that doesn’t easily fit on the shelving without falling all over, and I cleaned up the mold that had grown on the wall next to the old bins that did not allow for air flow between them and the wall.  Eek!

My bathroom was as dream when I finished.  So nice!!!

When my bathroom was done, I headed to the guest bathroom and the same was accomplished there.  I had FIVE more bins of donations to carry out of the house on Saturday. I was feeling freer and less indecisive as I counted up those blessings that would soon reside in someone else’s house.  Some of the stuff I gave away was brand new or only slightly used, but it wasn’t used by us.  And it wouldn’t be–off it went.

It was working!

INITIALLY

Since my first de-cluttering spurt, my enthusiasm for getting the “stuff” out of my life has not diminished one iota.  In fact, I feel more determined than ever to relieve our home of all those duplicate spoons, broken baskets, do-hickies that don’t work right, and new stuff we never use, and next is the JUNK DRAWER.

Oh, Junk Drawer, I’m coming for you!  Be afraid. Be very afraid!!

With each haul of stuff from my house to Sally’s Boutique I feel lighter, more in sync with our space, and better able to decide what I need to do next.  Bonus:  My guys have not had one of their feathers ruffled since this began. They, too, are happy to not have all the junk lying around and to free up additional space for the good stuff.

Yay, a double blessing!

I have not stopped sorting, stacking, and off-loading yet, though.  How do we accumulate this much stuff?

In addition to applying my new-found freedom to material things, I have also applied this discipline of simplification to my electronic usage, my social commitments, and all that white noise that used to fill my head. You know it, right?  That state of worry we go through that suggests we might forget to remember something important.

What, you say you don’t struggle with that. Well, bless your hearts—be happy.  It is not a pleasant burden to carry through life and I’ve been carrying it since I was in my early 20s, when I used to continually keep a note pad and pen next to my bed so I could write lists in the night, so I wouldn’t forget all those important appointments, dates, and duties once the sun rose.  Ugh! Now, I’ve handed that list and those worries over to the Lord.  Might that mean I forget some stuff that ought to be remembered? Yep, but I’m good with that.  It feels wonderful to not have to fret about it anymore.  Wonderful!!!

This has turned into a post that was much longer than expected, so I think I should now end this.  Just know, if you visit me here again in 2016, you will probably be hearing more about how my experiment is coming along.

One side benefit of all this is that I am getting a chance to really live out my belief in the importance of storing up things in heaven and not on earth.  That puts a smile on my face.  Going forward, it will be people, experiences, and hugs that I will treasure on earth.  Hopefully, they will all go to heaven with me some day!  At the very least they all have a chance to be there.  That electric razor we never used and my ripped jeans, not so much.

What part of your house do you need to clean to free up some space?  What do you like most/least about sorting and cleaning?

 

Super Powers-Part 1

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What you’re about to read is part ONE of a TWO-part blog post.  I try to avoid long posts, so I’m breaking this one up into two parts.  Part TWO will publish tomorrow, when I hope you’ll all come on back for the second half!

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6: 19-21

I feel like my super power is indecision! 

I’ve made that statement a lot the past year.  I made it a few times the year before. I’m not sure when the phrase first popped into my head, but once it did, I ran with it.  It was a humorous way to describe the not-so-humorous habit I have for not being able to make up my mind.

I hate not being able to make up my mind!!!

THE SUGGESTION THAT STARTED IT ALL

A short while back my niece had a backyard BBQ.  It was an awesome party that I thoroughly enjoyed.  While I was there, in response to a conversation started about super powers, I said to someone at the party, “No kidding? My super power is indecision. I just haven’t figured out yet how I’m going to use it to help anyone or save the world.” Yes, we are that family, and yes, we do realize these kind of conversations are geeky.

After I shared about my propensity to be indecisive, we all laughed. The conversation continued, and someone said, “Have you ever thought that maybe you can’t decide, because you have so many choices?”

Bazinga!

The light came on!

The sun dawned!

That hammer that hits people when they have an epiphany, yeah, it hit me!

There was the crux of my problem!!!!

That suggestion…that innocent thing said…it got me thinking. What if the problem with me really was that I had too much?  What if having less would solve it?  What if going through my home and office and getting rid of anything that I don’t need could really and finally solve this problem I had with indecision? What if I could decide something, anything, without hedging?  How might that change my life?

There and then an idea was born. There and then I decided to embark upon my culling experiment.  There and then I decided that I could live with less. And maybe I could like it more. Maybe I could get some relief from the constant nagging sense that at my age I should be able to make up my mind.

Maybe…

Please join me tomorrow for part two of my indecision dilemma re-do.

When, if ever, have you suffered with indecision?  What, if anything, causes you to become confused when trying to make a decision (money needed, time needed, possible other options)?

Vacation

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In a few weeks hubs and I will head out of the front door on our Great Adventure 2016–our summer/fall vacation tour.  We are still undecided about where we will go.

Lake George, for sure. We love it there.

Probably Meredith, New Hampshire, too.  Bob can’t quit talking about the resort where we stayed a few years ago, in that area.  Gorgeous place!

I think this year we’d like to head to Maine for a day or two, but other than a quick weekend trip there 6 or 7 years ago, wherein we saw very little of the state except from the highway, we have never been.  I’m looking for some ideas.

Any of you ever head up north, to Maine?  Where did you go? What did you see?  What did you miss?  Any regrets?

We’re open to hear your thoughts!

Son No. 2 will be staying at home with the critters, so we are free as elderly birds with somewhat crimped wings can be.  Tell us, what should be make sure we don’t miss?

Go!

Where would you visit if you were going to Maine?  Where else would you travel, if you were heading north?

Yancy Gets Me

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I love Philip Yancy!  He’s one of my all-time favorite writers. He gets me. Not only does he understand my heart condition and the struggles that I have, but he writes about them.  That’s important to me because I don’t personally know Philip Yancy.  I’ve never met the man, and yet, I feel like he regularly opens my chest and takes a peek inside and reports on what he sees.  I’m so glad he writes and shares his struggles with me.

Philip Yancy Gets Me!!!

I’m sharing what I am today because I quit my teaching job at the church recently.  It was hard, but it needed to be done.  I’m not worried about who will step up to take my place.  There are many wonderful teachers at our church and I know the lil corner room will soon be filled with some amazing other who will be blessed by God as he or she ruminates on his or her understanding of the Holy Scriptures.  I’m glad for that. Delighted, actually!

It will be good to hear someone else share their questions about this faith we wrestle with as the body of Christ.

The impetus to step away, for me, has been revealing.  I wanted to share some of what I’m feeling with you.  A lil glimmer into what I’m dealing with right now is this…

God is a vapor in my life today.  A shadow in fog that is present, but hard to see and even harder to hear.  He’s been really silent in my studies lately.  I feel Him in the desperate moments, but I don’t want to teach from a place of worry.  I’m having a hard time concentrating on the Word lately, or hearing Him speak to me in significant or inspiring ways.  Not good!  Not for a facilitator of discussions with eternal significance attached.

Yancy has had his won quiet seasons with God, too. 

Today, I want to share a snippet of vintage Yancy, taken from his book,  Reaching for the Invisible God, and included in his book, Grace Note: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did, and I hope it resonates with you as much as it has with me.  Those passages emphasized with bold lettering are the places where this writing hit me hardest today.

I love Yancy!  He gets me, and to me, that’s important!

Yancy wrote…

“Faith gets tested when a sense of God’s presence fades or when the very ordinariness of life makes us questions whether our responses even matter.  We wonder, “What can one person do? What difference will my small effort make?”

I once watched a series based on interviews with survivors from World War II.  The soldiers recalled how they spent a particular day. One sat in a foxhole all day; once or twice a German tank drove by, and he shot at it. Others played cards and frittered away the time.  A few got involved in furious firefights. Mostly, the day passed like any other day for an infantryman on the front.  Later, they learned they had just participated in one of the largest, most decisive engagements of the war, the Battle of the Bulge.  It did not feel decisive to any of them at the time, because none had the big picture of what was happening elsewhere.

Great victories are won when ordinary people execute their assigned tasks—and a faithful person does not debate each day whether he or she is in the mood to follow the sergeant’s orders or show up at a boring job. We exercise faith by responding to the task that lies before us.  I sometimes wish the gospel writers had included details about Jesus’ life before he turned to ministry. Did he ever question the value of the time he was spending as a carpenter on such repetitious tasks?

More often than I would care to admit, doubts gnaw away at me.  I wonder about apparent conflicts in the Bible, about suffering and injustice, about the huge gap between the ideals and reality of the Christian life.  At such times, I plod on, “acting as if” it is true, relying on the habit of belief, praying for the assurance that eventually comes yet never shields me against the doubts’ return.”   –Philip Yancy, Reaching for the Invisible God

Have you ever read anything by Philip Yancy?  What is your favorite title by him?

Decisions and Goals

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I made a decision this week that helped clear away the fog!

I decided to step away from my position as facilitator of spiritual discussions at my church.  The decision was a long time coming, and it was difficult for me to make, but as I shared with others in my circle when I notified them about the change, “Where God is silent, I dare not speak.”

Last night, I was reading from 1 Samuel.  When the Scripture’s talked about young Samuel hearing God for the first time, and Eli’s not hearing Him, I thought, “Yep, there it is. Confirmation!”

Still, I have a bulldog mentality some times.

I hate quitting!  I hate giving up!  I hate walking away!  Still, I have to realize that there is a time for all things under the sun. Sometimes it is now time to pack it up and move on.  I did that this week, and I’m proud of myself for finally taking a step into the unknown.  Note: I am not leaving my church, only my teaching position.

I don’t know where God will send me next. I don’t know what my next mission field will look like.  I’ve thought about a few things, and I’ve talked to a few individuals about what’s next, but as of right now I don’t know.

This I do know: There is no one I would rather go on a mystery tour with than Jesus!!!

God’s silence in my study times is just one reason for me making a decision to step away from teaching for a while.  Another is my health. Two words: Sciatica pain.  Some days it is unbearable.  I’m also working on de-cluttering my life, so that I no longer have to tell others my super power is indecision. That sucks!

My goals this week reflect where I’m at right now in life.  This post has turned epic, so I’m gonna quit sharing other “stuff” and relay to you this week’s goals. Thanks for reading this far!

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS

This week I’m going to try something different.  One list with three goals that should be easy to achieve and yet leave me wiggle room to develop a new Action Plan for life.

1  Pursue a path of recovery with the new chiropractor, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.

I’ll letcha know how it goes.

What new discovery have you recently made about yourself?  How are your goals today addressing your needs for the future?

Encouragement

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I’m a big fan of encouragement.  A BIG fan!

It doesn’t cost anything to give encouragement to someone else, ‘cept maybe a few minutes of your time, and it means so much to those who receive it.

On the tough days.

On the dark days.

On the less-than-stellar days we all experience from time to time.

Encouragement helps!

I found Deborah Crocker’s blog, Talking to My Weight Loss Counselor–God, encouraging today and I wanted to share it here.

Enjoy the poem she’s posted, and please, be encouraged!