Just thought I’d check in with you this evening before heading off to bed.
I’m gearing up for an awesome week, and I want the same for you.
I have a few items on my to-do list for Monday (I’m sure I won’t get them all done, but I’ll get more done than if I hadn’t made a list).
On the elimination diet I mentioned the other day, I have attempted to set myself up for a successful week. I started the Whole 30 on July 1 (a Friday), and I’ve been on vacation since that evening. I start back to work on Monday, after a successful 10 days on the plan.
I didn’t realize it when I scheduled my vacation, but that was the perfect set-up. After surviving Day 1, a workday (I came home for lunch and fixed myself Whole 30-compliant snacky foods), I’ve been home for meals and couldn’t be more happy with the results. (I’ll tell you a couple of the things that are improving – besides weight loss – at the end of the week.)
For now, I’m sharing with you some inspiration, in the form of my lunch for the next couple of days (when I make a salad, I throw in whatever veggies and fruits I have on hand, and a lot of it comes from the farmers market); a snack (I’ll have half a boiled egg and some raw almonds with half of the orange pictured at right); and a wish:
May your week be filled with healthful, delicious food, positive thoughts and the knowledge that God loves you beyond your ability to comprehend.
Tell me in the comments: What is your game plan for this week? If you don’t have one, pause for 5-10 minutes to think about one way you could make a positive change in your life. (Baby steps.)
It’s time to take my “decluttering” mission seriously.
In that vein, I’m going to be painfully, brutally, embarrassingly honest.
(I can’t seem to do life any other way.)
I’m going to show you pictures. (Embarrassing pictures.)
This is such a big deal to me (and to you, I hope) that I’m giving this sucker a name: The Well Well Well Project.
I’m doing this for two people-groups:
Why did I list myself first, when my purpose for this blog is to help others live their best lives?
Well, you know how the flight attendant always instructs you to don your own oxygen mask first, before you help your child or other helpless loved one do the same?
Same principle applies here: I have to help myself so that I can help you (does that make you my helpless loved one?). I can’t guide you on how to declutter your life without doing it myself first. With pictures. (Ugh.)
That’s my oxygen mask: starting the ball rolling on my own mess. It’s also how I’ll be able to tell what works and what doesn’t, what I can recommend and what you can skip, plus other helpful information. (With humiliating pictures.)
My desire is to dispense with everything that’s cluttering my life so that I can live it without regret, confusion, delay, displaced priorities or any other kind of stress. And I want that for you, too.
WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN
Here’s what I want to declutter:
My home (household items, personal files, finances, car and property).
My body (with exercise, healthful eating and weight loss).
My mind (family calendar, freelance scheduling, email inbox and other things that tend to stress me out on the regular). This one is the real challenge.
Most of the process involves purging the unnecessary and organizing the necessary (after deciding which is which). I have many sources to draw from (I’ve been reading declutter/organize books and articles for years), and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
This will require a lifelong maintenance plan, but let’s get the clutter out of the way first. We can learn about maintenance along the way.
I’ve already started this process in a few areas:
1) Home: A year ago, I reorganized my bedroom closet (just mine; I didn’t touch Bruce’s). I wrotea bit about it on my other blog, including a “before” photo (above), but I never finished the whole-house project. I’ve been taking baby steps along the way (started working on a kitchen purge last month), but this time it’s going to happen – by Dec. 31. Period.
(What’s gonna be different this time? My expectations about how much I can get done at one time and how much time I have to write and post pictures about it. Also, setting a deadline makes a project much more likely to be completed – so the experts say.)
2) Body: I’m on Day 7 of a 30-day elimination diet (one that excludes potential “trigger foods” in an effort to find out what might be causing certain physiological problems). I’ll tell you more about that in a future post, but I can say that it is a CHALLENGE and I’m glad I’m on vacation this week. Being home makes it sooo much easier.
3) Mind: The best nonfiction book I read last year wasEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Lessby Greg McKeown. I wish I could say I had published a review of it, but that was one of my “good intentions” that I didn’t follow through on.
One of my failures to follow through involves my blogs (I’m probably cray-cray for having two, right?). For instance, I finish a great book and intend to review it, then I don’t. Or I start a great book and decide to write a multipart series on the book’s sections, then I write one post and don’t write the others (or finish reading the book).The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, anyone?
Sometimes I think I have attention-deficit disorder (maybe I do), but a lot of it has to do with blogging and freelancing on top of my full-time day job. My schedule is overloaded, and my mind can’t keep up with the clutter.
BOTTOM-LINE IT FOR ME, SISTER
Here’s how I envision this project:
I tackle a particular area, take pictures (if appropriate – I will NOT be posting pictures of me in my underwear for the weight-loss portion), post here and on social media (this is going to get interesting) and basically humiliate myself – all for you (and, yes, for me).
You decide to join the fun by tackling a challenge in your own life. (Don’t worry; we won’t expect you to post pictures of you in your underwear, either.) Your challenge can be about ANYTHING you want it to be. Maybe you need to get into the habit of flossing your teeth every night (I finally started doing that this year, and I’ll tell you later about the two things that helped). Or maybe you want to start eating better. Maybe you need to start going to bed an hour earlier each night. Or cut out the late-night Oreos (not that I would know anything about that). You just pick a thing and tell us about it.
Or you wait awhile. Maybe you know you need to change some things but you’re not ready yet. I hear you, my friend. Change is hard (I believeI said that once before), and no one can make you ready before you’re ready. I’m here to hold your hand, though.
Expect at least one post a week. I’m not going to promise more than that (see? I’m learning), but I might write more if my schedule permits.
Let’s figure out together whether this needs to be a bigger thing: Do we need our own Facebook page, Instagram challenge, Pinterest board? Crisis hotline? Pint of Ben & Jerry’s? (Oops – nevermind that last one!)
Tell me what you want and need. Better yet, tell me what you’re going to commit to. Then you can tell me what you need.
Life is hard enough on your own; let’s do this together.
SOME RESOURCES TO GET YOU STARTED
Here are a few books I’ve read, apps I’ve used and websites I’ve visited over the years that have helped me along the journey to sanity. In fact, I plan to read a few of the books again. Take a look at some of them if you need help deciding what to tackle.
Debt Proof Livingwebsite (I’ve subscribed to the newsletter since 1994, when it was called Cheapskate Monthly and delivered via snail mail, and I have many of Mary Hunt’s books).
IT’S YOUR TURN
Ready? Your first assignment, once you’ve decided what you’re ready to tackle (something small, like flossing, or something big, like eliminating processed sugar from your diet): Tell me about it in the comment section.
Let’s do this!
(On social media –Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, wherever – use the hashtag #WellWellWellProject.)
You don’t have to be a former meth addict to appreciate the words of David in Psalm 18.
David was running from a human enemy, and the Psalm is one of thanks for God’s rescue. At Primrose Hill Teen Challenge, you’ll hear stories of rescue from drug addiction, alcohol addiction, fears and failures.
So many stories of second (and third) chances …
Jenn, who survived a methamphetamine addiction, divorce, jail, loss of family relationships and more, quotes Psalm 18:16 and says that’s exactly what God did for her.
He took hold of her:
“God’s grace and mercy started working miracles in my life. He restored my family and transformed me into a beautiful and loving woman, mother and child of God.”
Jenn is just one example of the power of transformation that begins at Primrose Hill.
At the recovery center (located in north-central Missouri), the women learn life skills, social skills, parenting skills and work skills. GED classes are available for those who didn’t finish high school, and the women are discipled in their faith.
Benefits to the children include in-home care, learning and a loving environment, according to the organization’s website.
One way the residents help the organization pay for their care is by making soaps, lotions and lip balms.
The tagline on every label: “Made better by our story.”
Primrose sent me a box of goodies recently in the hope that I would like them, talk about them and spread the word to my peeps (that’s you). Each woman involved in the production hand-signs each bottle, jar, bar and tube. (Lindsey, thank you for the lotion and the sugar scrub. Stacie, thanks for the hand and body soap. Krista, the Sweet Dreams bar of soap smelled … sweet and dreamy! And the Honey Bunch lip balm? Well, I guess the label was too small for a signature, but, to the young woman who produced it: hugs and kisses from me to you!)
I can’t squirt out a dollop of liquid soap or lotion, or run a bar of the Sweet Dreams soap along my arms as I sit in the bath, without thinking about the women who made them … without praying with every breath for each resident, each child, for each beautiful soul at Primrose who cares for the women and their kids, without thanking God for such an organization.
Places like Primrose change lives.
I am grateful for the soaps, lotion, lip balm and body scrub, but I’m even more grateful that Primrose invited me to be a part of its story.
So, whether you need a Primrose Hill product (no synthetic ingredients, and includes a fragrance-free option) or simply would like to make a donation and/or say a prayer for the ministry and those involved, please visit the website and look around. You’ll be encouraged and enlightened.
It takes about $2,000 per mom and $100 per child each month to operate the Primrose Hill recovery center. I hope you can help, and I know the families will be eternally grateful.
This morning I ran before church. I used to run early every Sunday morning, but it’s been a while, and today I had to do some convincing. It was 37 degrees, and I was cold!
I’ve been running (consistently, more or less) for about 5 1/2 years, and I’ve come up with plenty of excuses not to lace up and JUST DO IT.
Here are three tips that will help you get your franny out the door and not stop until the job’s done, even when you really don’t want to. (I use running as an example, but you can substitute your chosen activity – and I’m not talking beer-drinking marathons or Oreo-eating contests.)
Don’t accept excuses from yourself. Running is 10 percent effort and 90 percent self-talk. (OK, I made that up – running is hard, and probably more than 10 percent of the equation – but you know what I mean.) I am the queen of excuses. Today I didn’t let my excuses win. (Note to self: Don’t be five minutes late to church next time you’re slaying the excuses.)
Find a mantra. I have all sorts of little phrases I use when I need to keep up the effort. Nowadays they call them hashtags 🙂 but the concept has been around for ages. Some of mine, when I need convincing:
#IAmTough and #MindOverMatter (these two truly help me keep going).
Believe in yourself. This may be the most important of all. Each year, when we recruit participants for the 10-week WRA run/walk clinic, the leaders meet ladies who need convincing that they are worth the effort – that taking care of themselves by getting fit is just as important as taking care of their families. If we are out of shape, unhealthy and/or self-loathing, how can we take the best care of someone else? Believe me when I say: YOU ARE WORTH IT.
I’m in danger of getting on a soapbox here, so I’ll leave you with this extra tip, which I plan to write about in greater depth toward the end of clinic, when it will be easier to quit:
REMEMBER YOUR WHY.
Remembering your “why” makes all things easier. (And if you don’t know your why, it’s time to get busy figuring it out.)
What is your “why”? Leave a comment to share it with the rest of us.
In the years since I started wearing a Road ID, I’ve become somewhat of an evangelist for the ID bands.
When I received my first band, I wore it only when I ran outdoors – especially if I was running alone. I got Bruce one, too.
Then I got us each a second band. Gotta have a backup for when the original one is sweaty and in need of a wash, right? By then I was wearing a Road ID whenever I ran – and whenever we traveled – and I urged Bruce to do the same.
Then, in 2013, I had heart surgery. Took my Road ID with me to the hospital, and I kept it on at all times. (You never know when they might wheel the wrong unconscious patient down that long hallway to the OR – I didn’t want them to remove a kidney when they were supposed to be fixing my leaky valve.)
By that point, Road ID was a no-brainer. I now wear my bracelet any time I leave the house. Period.
A couple of years ago, when I was buying a dress for my cousin’s wedding, I decided it was time to order a “dressy Road ID” (something besides a fabric and Velcro version that I could wipe clean easily and wear to church and nicer events and not feel so … sporty). I ordered myself a white one and Bruce a black one – both silicone bands.
So, a few days ago, when I discovered that Road ID has an affiliate program (I’ll explain that in a minute), I leaped for joy!
I believe in Road ID.
I nag people to order their own Road IDs.
I bought my mom a Road ID. She’s diabetic, and I make her wear it during travel and hospital stays.
ROAD ID COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.
I’m not going to nag you, but I want you to understand the importance of having identification and emergency contact info easily accessible in the event of an accident that incapacitates you. I’ll let the testimonials on the website speak for themselves.
So now I’m an “affiliate” of Road ID. This means that if you click the Road ID ad on my page (at this writing, I have it as a banner on top of the page, but I might move it to the right sidebar in the future), or this link, and you make a purchase, I’ll get a small commission.
I would never endorse – or become an affiliate for – any company or product that I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly.
Ask my friends how long I’ve been singing the praises of Road ID, and nagging them to get one (or two, or three – they’re not pricey).
A long time. And I only got approved as an affiliate yesterday.
So … click the link, pick out a custom band for yourself or a loved one, or buy a gift certificate and explain to the recipient the importance of this gift … and gain a little piece of mind.
You can buy a band for your wrist, your ankle, your shoe … there are lots of options, my friend. Lots of colors and designs, in case plain black or white bores you. There’s even an interactive version, in case you want to sign up for an annual membership and be able to update your info electronically any time it changes.
Ordering a Road ID is worth the small investment of your time and a few dollars, especially when you consider the pricelessness of a human life.
Trouble is, most of the time it’s of their own making. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
A recovering perfectionist, in working out a long-ago commitment to make that phrase past tense (recovered perfectionist), might attempt an artsy version of a favorite song lyric – prompted by a friend’sSong of the Monthpost and inspired by other friends’ practice of expressing beautiful truths in watercolor and other media (AlisonandJeanetta) – and decide to post her own, primitively written piece of “art.”
(She might even leave an incredibly long and convoluted sentence long and convoluted and hope that the reader will plow through enough to understand it.)
In the interest of demonstrating that trusting in Him – creator of the universe, of art and our very souls – is the higher virtue, this recovering perfectionist might decide:
The good Lord will appreciate the effort and look over the crudeness of the lettering, not judging it on “artistic merit” but on intent.
It’s a good exercise toward the “recovering” part of perfectionism.
The artist’s willingness to show vulnerability might just encourage another weary traveler to do the same.
A nonperfectionist might look at this piece and decide that it’s just fine. (What’s all the fuss?)
There’s value in declaring that true SATISFACTION can be found in Him and only Him. (Someone please inform Mick Jagger.)
So I present to you this crudely drawn, deeply felt quotation, which will go on my bathroom mirror, and maybe even find a spot at my workstation at the office.
Btw, don’t bother looking for any lightly drawn pencil marks on the quotation that may have helped the aforementioned still-recovering perfectionist keep the rows straight. (Those were probably erased once the lettering was complete.)
(If they existed at all.)
Perfectionism, a hard row to hoe?
My friends, recovering from perfectionism can leave you face down in the dirt!
What attempts at overcoming perfectionism have you made recently? Publishing a poem that may not be understood? Taking an art class and letting the “flaws” show in the finished product? Leaving the toilet seat up? Share your vulnerable moment in the Comments section.
One of the things that draws me to people is their honesty and transparency about their struggles. When someone is brutally honest about his or her life without glossing over the mess, that’s when I can relate. That’s what draws me in to a story.
Usually when I think of the death of little Maria Sue Chapman (5-year-old daughter of Mary Beth Chapman and contemporary Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman), three things come to mind: 1) the morning I heard the news on my car radio, 2) the family’s appearance on Larry King Live a couple of months later and 3) Steven’s sweet song “Cinderella,” which was even more poignant after Maria died.
But those are things I saw and heard from a distance – before I read Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn – before I heard the rest of the story from a grieving mom. After finishing the book, I had a deeper understanding of the family’s grief and how far Mary Beth, her husband and their children came in the two years between the accident and the book’s publication. Slowly but surely … God was healing them. In the meantime, they remained faithful to giving Him the glory and honor – even in the messy middle of their grief.
The family shares some of that story in the Larry King interview, too. The links to the interview start here, and below is the first segment:
The Chapmans’ faith – strengthened by their history of walking with God, and with a strong support network of friends, family, church members and counselors – is a testimony to others who are grieving, questioning … struggling.
There are no pat answers here, no trite quotes or pithy sayings, only the words of a mom being honest about her journey to healing. That she (and her family) looks to God as the ultimate source of that healing is largely what the book is about.
I wrote about this on my other blog last weekend, in a post called “Of funerals and letting go,” after I put down the book to get ready for a friend’s funeral. It was a day that could have been depressing but instead was encouraging.
Something that astounded me is that Mary Beth dealt with depression in the early years of her life, yet she still managed to cling tightly to God’s hand as she mourned, as she struggled and as she told her family’s story.
This story strengthened my faith and reminded me of the great truths of God’s love, mercy and healing.
If you or someone you know has suffered a deeply felt loss, my prayer is that this book would strengthen and encourage you, too. Check it out.
In the aftermath of losing Maria, Steven began writing songs for a new album, which he called Beauty Will Rise. The song “Faithful,” quoted above, is from that album. Give it a listen. It, too, is honest and vulnerable – filled with hope.
Each week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).
Here are this week’s three:
COMMUNITY • FAITH • SPIRITUAL
I’m not sure how to introduce this, because I have a ton of opinions on how we treat people who are not like us. So I guess I’ll just keep it simple: Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ should see each person as a creation of God – each and every one of us created in His image. That includes Muslims (even terrorists). If you have time to click just one of these links today, please let it be this one.
My friend Lois regularly inspires and encourages me with her insights on life and faith. In this post, she brings out a part of the Christmas story that doesn’t get a lot of air time: the role Mary’s cousin Elizabeth played in the drama. (Also, my pastor pointed out something this morning that had never occurred to me: John the Baptist was the first person to celebrate Advent! [The whole leaping-in-the-womb thing.]) Lois points out that our waiting may not be about us at all – perhaps it’s for someone else’s benefit.
Like Lois (and me), my friend Alison wrestles with things. And in the midst of it, these two beautiful ladies usually write words that challenge my tiny faith and encourage me to think higher thoughts. Alison and her family have been living in Aberdeen, Scotland, for a couple of years while her husband works on a PhD in theology. Today, she talks about trusting God with her family’s future.
Each week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).
Here are this week’s three:
HOLIDAY • ORGANIZING
FellowArkansas Women Bloggers member Mary knows what it’s like to be stressed out (don’t we all?), and one way she deals with that is by being organized and helping others do the same.
As we all know, the calendar has rolled over to November and our schedules are about to kick into hyperdrive (as if they weren’t already overloaded). That’s why I was happy to discover Mary’s cute, festive and oh-so-helpful (and did I mention cute?) holiday planning guide, including a checklist for meal planning, travel prep, gift buying and more.
Sometimes laughter is the best medicine (especially when “someone” has already eaten your square of emergency chocolate). I’ve been followingDo Overauthor and speaker Jon Acuff for a few months, since participating in aMichael Hyatt–promoted webinar in the spring. I can totally relate to Jon: He has an unnatural 🙂 obsession with trying to make people laugh (and he doesn’t fall flat on his face nearly as much as I do!); he’s a writer; and he wants to make a difference in the world.
Maybe you won’t get this one if you’ve never thought of writing a book, never worried what others think, never tried to change the world with your brilliance and generosity 🙂 … but I think he nailed it.
I didn’t battle a weight problem until I was about 30. By my birthday that year, my hips had grown wider than I was accustomed to, and it only got worse from there. Part of my reason for blogging about my struggles is to help others (while helping myself work through it and to stay accountable).
With all the crazy talk about diet and health, including mega-money spent on marketing and advertising cheap, fake, unhealthful foods, Dietitian Cassie’s blog was a breath of fresh air. I’ve written about her before because I love her sensible, open-minded approach to healthy living. In this post, she gives her thoughts on “cheat days,” which I used to take advantage of until I realized that if I were eating real food in a balanced way, I wouldn’t feel deprived.
It’s been a crazy week, and it promises to be a busy weekend. A few highlights:
Thursday was my last day atFirst Community Bank, where I had worked since moving back to Batesville in 2010. It was a tough decision because it’s a great place to work, but I’m going back to another awesome company, Edward Jones, so all is well. I was working at one of the North Little Rock branches of Jones when Bruce and I decided to move to Batesville, so I already know that it’s a fabulous place to work. Only the location and the boss-man have changed. Plus, I’ll be working with another office administrator instead of being the only one (this is very helpful when I need a bathroom break – someone to cover the phones for a minute, right?).
Monday will be a new beginning (again), so I’m using it as an opportunity to restart my abortedWhole30challenge. I started it in August and had been on the plan two weeks when I had a weekend conference out of town, and, people let me tell you, conference food is typically not Whole30-friendly. I tried, but by Saturday night I had caved (when we ate at a German restaurant).
It may be a little crazy to try to start a clean-eating plan the same day I start a new job, but I have a couple of things in my favor:
I’ve done Whole30 before.
I’ve worked for this company before.
I’m choosing to look at Monday morning as a fresh start on all counts.
Also, if I wait any longer, what will fall in the middle of the schedule? Thanksgiving and my birthday.
If I start Monday (Oct. 26), the 30-day plan will end two days before Thanksgiving, so I’ll be able to reintroduce a food type the day before the big holiday. I think I’m going to start with grains and save dairy for last.
This isn’t about losing weight (although I certainly do need to lose the weight I’ve regained recently). This is about clearing up some minor health issues that are dragging me down. I’ll tell you about those over the next month.
One thing I won’t do: journal this daily on the blog, as I had planned to do last time. Ugh – what was I thinking?
I’ll give you weeklyrecaps.
THE MAGIC OF TIDYING
Also to come: recaps on my decluttering project around the house. I wrote aboutmy bedroom closet declutterin July, and I’ve been struggling to find the time and energy to finish the bedroom. I gave away a ton of books, so my big bookcase isn’t about to collapse anymore, but I still have to sort through the dresser contents and make some donations to the new resale shop in town. (I’ll tell you aboutHidden Treasuressoon.) And then there’s the kitchen. Don’t make me talk about that today; our kitchen is poorly laid out – nothing I can do about that right now – and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to organize it. It stresses me out. Our two office workspaces will be last (unless I still need to procrastinate about the kitchen).
I also owe you a couple of book reviews, but I was waiting to present those until I finished the whole-house declutter. But, in case you’re interested in reading these life-changing books in advance, they are:
One final thing: I realized after Monday’s post that I had already talked a lot in the previous post aboutProject STIR. But I hope you’ll forgive me for one more mention, because Sarah’s fundraising deadline is a week away and I hope you’ll consider making a small donation. This is such an awesome project, and your donation will help Sarah tell families’ stories through their recipes. Heck, she’ll even let you write about your own beloved family recipe if you want to. Watch the 3-minute video (so sweet – a young woman learning a recipe from her Mamaw), then scroll down to the Kickstarter section, click and donate. Sarah will be so appreciative of your help!
RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST …
I wrote all of this in a hurry because I have to head over to Mom’s to watch a football game, so forgive any typos.