2017 Year in Review

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This is always one of the most difficult posts for me to write.  I always feel that I’ve not accomplished as much as I wanted to over the past year.  I had separated my goals into sections, the first was focused on organization and meal planning.  I actually succeeded in this area.  I’ve been (for the most part), filing my mail immediately by paying bills as they come in, and then filing everything into the appropriate file folders.  And, I’ve been mostly planning my meals for the coming week on Sundays, and also filling out my shopping list at the same time.

Another area that I had goals for was stress management.  That’s still a work in progress, but I have been listening to wonderful stress-reduction music while I write and read my e-mail.  So, that’s been helpful.  However, I do need to increase my time spent just breathing (which is my version of Yoga breaths).

As far as writing in concerned, I haven’t really gotten anywhere.  I did finish my children’s book, but I’m still working on the illustrations.  So, there was a positive, but also a negative.  I did not work on my novel at all this year.  I never even re-read it.

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As far as exercise and health, I tweaked my eating, went no-oil, and lost 23 pounds.  I’ve kept those pounds off, even though I have been having the occasional cookie and piece of cake over the holidays.  As far as exercise is concerned, I have been walking mile a day, however I’ve not been getting up and working out in the morning.  So, again, both a positive and a negative.

As far as my business is concerned, I’ve started to work on my website, but still don’t have my certificates.  I know, I know….

I have done other good things, though.  My closets are all cleaned out as are my drawers and cabinets.  I have bought and hung up curtains in both the living room and dining room.  I’ve taken many boxes and bags of excess “stuff” to the donation center and the swap-shop. So, that’s another positive.

Overall, this year I’ve had about as many positives as negatives.  Not a total loss, but also not a fabulous year as far as goals.  How has your year been?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Joy and Gratitude

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After all the excitement of the last week or so, I hope that you’re able to take a few moments to sit back and reflect on all the things that have brought joy and gratitude to your lives this past year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of every day living, and forget to see the joy that surrounds us.  Daily life can be so stressful, that often our minds are only set on what we have to do and we miss connecting to the simple joys and gratitude of just living.  Take some time and think about what brought you joy this year, and what you’re grateful for.

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The Perfect Life?

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Are you waiting for your life to be perfect?  How about those 15 or so pounds you want to lose?  Are you waiting to lose them before you do something that you really want to do?  Or maybe you’re waiting until you save up the money to “fix up your house” before you have company over?

Thinking like this will do a couple of things.  First of all, it will prevent you from enjoying yourself and trying new things.  No one else will notice those extra pounds, and besides, if someone does, you probably don’t want to have anything to do with that person anyway.  Secondly, most people won’t judge you on your house.  If you’ve ever noticed, other people are in the process of saving up for some new things, also.

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Joy should be found in the experience of living life.  It doesn’t come from everything being perfect.  Some of the best meals can be served along with walls that need to be painted and floors that need refurnishing.  Those “things” don’t really matter.  How you treat others is what matters.  While I understand that what we see on social media gives most of us the impression that everyone else lives a “perfect” life, remember that most of those pictures are posed in a certain way so that we only see the “best”, and not the rest.  People accentuate the positive and hide the negative.

I’ve talked before about how I find joy in the little things.  The sunrises, sunsets, flowers, cold crisp air of fall.  Nature brings me joy nearly every day.  A positive outlook helps me find my joy.  Look for the good in life and it suddenly appears.  Even the worst day has something good in it, even if it’s a good cup of coffee.  Look for the joy, and it will be there.  I promise!

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Take a Breath

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We all know that today marks the beginning of the Christmas Season.  So, along with all the excitement there is way too much worry and stress.  The stress of whether or not people will like what you’ve bought, how the decorations will look, when will the cookies be done, etc. etc.  Not to mention how much in the hole of debt you may or may not want to go.  So, what to do?  Just take a breath.  Decide what is really important about this time of year.  Stop buying things you and others don’t need.  The whole season should be about love, and not more “stuff”.  Calm down and relax.  Try to not get caught up in things that in reality are simply not important.

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What to do When there is Extra Time?

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As you may know from an earlier post, we lost our electricity sometime early Monday morning.  This left me with a few problems, the worst of which was that we didn’t have any water.  To make matters worse than that, I also hadn’t washed the dishes on Sunday night.  So now I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I could do nothing with.  What to do?  I just left them there, after all, I needed any extra water to flush the toilet.

But, what do you do when you can’t distract yourself with cleaning the house, working on your computer and all those other things that require electricity?  Well, you read.  Yes, you read.  However, one of the problems with reading is that you need some form of light to do it.  So, that pretty much curtails your night just a little bit.

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I was lucky that my local library was open and had electricity.  I took out a good number of books and proceeded to read my way past the annoyance of no lights and no water.  It was great, but I felt horribly guilty…the dishes, the not being able to cook (okay, not so much), but it was really hard.  I also felt as though I was completely cut off from the world.  Yes, there were stores I could go to, and of course, the library.  However, there was no social media.  It was freeing.  I didn’t really know what was going on in this crazy world, but really, the news is usually fairly bad anyway.  But indictments dude!  However, I can’t really say that I missed my social media much.  It can be such a time-suck.  We all know what happens when you watch just one YouTube video and look up to find that you’ve “lost” two or even three hours.  Well, that didn’t happen.  The sad thing was that I always have a list of things to do just in case I have the time to do them.  However, most of them were things that electricity was a necessity.

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So, now that I have all this time on my hands, I’ve got a list of things to do once we get out electricity back.  Wonderful, exciting things like: running the dishwasher, washing the piles and piles of clothes, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming the house, washing the floors, and of course, the dreaded cooking. What fun!

So, what do you do when you find yourself with unexpected time?   

Quotes on Changing for the Better

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Changing things about your life can be hard.  For every step forward, there are times that you feel you’ve gone back two steps.  It’s hard to keep up the momentum, but the only way to succeed is to keep going.  Here are a few quotes to keep you on your path.

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Confidence

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If there is something that I don’t have, it’s confidence.  Whether my lack of this attribute comes from never measuring up when I was a child, or from just simply never thinking I was all that, if there is one thing that I, and many other people lack, it’s confidence.

There are many times that a lack of confidence is simply ridiculous.  From feeling that I can’t figure out a new recipe to being unsure of how to get somewhere that I’ve been before, it doesn’t take much to shake my confidence in myself.  While I realize that one of the reasons for a lack of confidence is the simple fact that we tend to remember when someone else said something negative to us as opposed to remembering the positive things (yes, this is an actual thing, and it just goes to show you how ingrained negativity can be), it can still be a hard thing to overcome.

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Before you let yourself get stymied by your lack of confidence, try to think of a few things.  Have you done whatever it is before, and if so, how did it go?  Did you live through it?  Good, if you’re here then you obviously did.  What could go wrong, and if that does go wrong what can you do to fix it?  Lots of times if you look at the possible negatives, you realize that there are solutions, and/or that the negative is a silly possibility that probably won’t happen.  Before GPS, I used to get lost almost every time I went somewhere new.  Even though I was nervous to go anywhere outside of my comfort zone, I realized that I could always stop and ask someone for directions!  And the best thing was that no one made fun of me, and everyone was always helpful.  See, my problem had a solution that worked every time.  I still deal with nerves every time I drive somewhere new, but it’s under control (thanks to GPS), but mostly because I make myself remember all the times the outcome was positive.

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Once again, the solution to a negative is a positive.  Confidence is the same way.  Make yourself think of a situation where you were not confident but pushed through anyway, and you survived.  Confidence is a muscle that you have to use.  At the very least, learn the words to the song “I Have Confidence” from the musical “The Sound of Music”.  I use the refrain all the time myself.  Of course I don’t go around singing it out loud (not all the time, anyway), but repeating the words to yourself can do wonders.  So, go out and believe in yourself!