Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Affliction of False Guilt

Did I ever mention how guilty I feel when I have been sitting in the recliner most of the day?  It may not hit me early in the day;  but as the day progresses, I start feeling a bit uneasy, especially if there is any clutter nearby.  Even though I am there because I am extremely fatigued or in more pain than usual, I feel like I should have done more.  I have a hard time shaking this.  I felt that way tonight, because I could still see a lot of clutter in my living room.

I am supposed to be writing you to encourage you, and I am telling you something that has a negative tone to it.  However, I am not telling you about my little guilt complex to say you should feel that way.  On the contrary, my negativity is a peace annihilator.  Negative thoughts afflict us.  These negative thoughts pull us down, sucking away the feelings of accomplishment we have for the good things we do. 

My Negative to Positive Thought
Negative Thought 
I feel guilty because sat in the recliner today, and I did not pick up the clutter in the living room.
Positive Response
I could not have walked around the house today without aggravating my hip and joint pain--sometimes, I just have to give it a rest. 

I did do important things today.  Here are some of them:  alternated ice and heat on my hip and back; checked my emails and answered those that needed an answer; talked to my husband, talked on the telephone with 2 granddaughters and 1 daughter; made a salad for lunch; made a short grocery list for my husband; cooked a vegetable for supper and reheated another one, which I mashed and enhanced with spices; shredded chicken into smaller pieces and mixed with rice (for our dog who was sick yesterday);  I prayed about writing a devotional (what to write) and did some web surfing on scriptures for inspiration; and I am writing my blog.  And I haven't even listed the small things I needed to do; because most people go through their day, not noting the necessity of seemingly inconsequential actions, which are actually important.  I did all these things, and I felt like I had wasted my day.  That is the lie my mind told me. I saw the clutter and I did not recognize the lie--not until I had written it down, did I completely realize the bologna I was swallowing earlier.

When I harbor false guilt, it brings confusion.  It makes me second guess myself and criticize myself.  It can also be bred from the perfectionism that was stuck in my brain for so long.  It's not bad to have goals, but berating myself has never helped me to reach them.  If I use today for a typical example, I know I can apply a couple of drive-by cleanings tonight, clean a hot spot for 2 minutes, or spend 5 minutes picking up. I am going to go for something that is directly in my line of vision when I sit in my recliner.  OK.  I have a plan.  I will apply.  Now, that is success--a job well done! 

I hope this helps you, my readers.  My hope is you will see that you are not the only one that gets negative thoughts about yourself.  And I hope this little walk-through of parts of my day is helpful. One of the things I see is that kowtowing to false guilt is wasteful.  It wastes my time, my energy, and my peace.  If I wallow in false guilt long enough, I end up with a messier house and depression.  I am thankful I am learning to live more simply; and, I am thankful I feel more peace in my life. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Drive-By Cleaning

Today, I came up with a new phrase for a very simple way to pick up the clutter--Drive-By Cleaning.  My inspiration came from the 27 Fling Boogie, another FlyLady technique.  Drive-By Cleaning is when you pick up or throw away something on your way to somewhere else.  My aha moment came to me after I got dressed today.  I saw my worst slippers, which I consider uncomfortable and dangerous;  so, I picked them up and tossed them in the trash.  I have been thinking about doing that for months;  but, my husband bought them for me, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  I tried to prepare him for this moment a couple of days ago, when I said, "Honey, I love the way these slippers look and feel, but I can't walk in them.  My feet always slip to the side:  I'm afraid I will trip in them."

How many times do we walk by something that needs to be picked up?  And why?  I haven't figured that out yet.  I still have 2 blouses that had to be hung to dry, which need to be put away--one on a hook in the hallway and one on the chandelier in the dining room. Go figure, they have been there for 4 days:  it would take less than a minute to put them away.  I think it is time to do more drive-by cleaning in my house.  How about yours?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seeing Progress

Seeing progress is a great encouragment;  however, people that have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or other disabilities need to balance their activities with their energy levels.  Moreover, they have to remember that output doesn't equal input when one has CFS. 

The above statements are things I have experienced.  For instance,  the second sentence states "output doesn't equal input."  That means recovery, after one has expended energy, takes longer than someone that does not have CFS.  I have to consider the effect of work on my hip joint too.  If I overdo, I pay in pain. So I rest often, and I consider this a normal part of my day.  I may not get all the things done on my To Do List, but I can go back to it:  knowing this keeps me from worrying that I will never get done.

Working in 7, 10, or 15 minute blocks of time can also be helpful.  If I am dealing with a more fatigue, I work in 7 minute increments.  That may not sound like much, but it's surprising how much can be accomplished when one works and rests in blocks of time.  Adjust the blocks according to your own needs.  You will see progress over time.  Just try not to add to what you have started to clean:  that means pick up after yourself.  An example would be hanging a clothes item up, or putting it in the dirty clothes, rather than throwing it on the floor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ugh?  Have I gone cave-woman?  Lost my voice?  Ugh!????!!!!  Please forgive me my moment of frustration.  Remember, I am in the process of learning to balance life changes too; and sometimes, it feels like a lopsided juggling act.  If you are doing this, than we are doing it together.  So feel free to join me in the process by adding comments to my blog. 

Ugh?  I guess I am simply trying to inject humor into the fact that I FEEL DONE IN.  Excuse me for shouting.  I haven't accomplished all my goals for today.  My leg hurts from my hip down to my foot.  Yet, I still feel at peace, because God is in this with me.  He has shown me ways to accomplish what I need to get done.   I have peace instead of frustration, because I know I can take a break if I need it.  I can attack my To Do List after I have rested. 

I may be cleaning slowly, but that is alright.  When one is disabled, one has to adapt to the situation. 

Resting Is Doing Something

I would love to follow FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps without any break in the chain of habits I am establishing;  however, that is not always possible.  Since I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, there are days that I do not have the energy to accomplish the things I want to do.  In fact, that was the beginning of me learning how to balance my life changesNow, I am dealing with hip and ball joint arthritis too, so I am glad I don't suffer from the guilt that used to consume me when I went through the months of having no energy to do anything.  The negative thoughts, which  would come into my head telling me how worthless I am.  That would fan the flames of depression, and I would get caught in a cycle that made me feel stuck and worthless.

I am so thankful for learning to speak kindly to myself.  FlyLady's acronym FLYfinally loving yourself, is an apt description of what I am doing.  I am learning I can accomplish things in very small steps, that are appropriate to my energy level.   When I do a few minutes of one thing on my To Do List, it is reason to celebrate.  I feel like I have accomplished something, which leads me to do something else.  Some days, I have to put the brakes on, or I pay with increased pain and fatigue. 

And some days like yesterday, I have to stay off my feet because of the pain; and I let my body rest.  I push away any feelings of guilt, knowing that because of the small things I did yesterday, I am that much closer to having a clutter free house.

P.S. Why do I say, I am learning,  instead of I have learned?  For me, learning to balance my life is not something I can jump into and say I am done.  It is a process I started with very small steps.  There is no magic pill that will help me change instantly.  As much as I would like that to be true for me, it just isn't.  However, I can see that the concept of baby steps works in my life.  I can see the changes in me, and how I handle my infirmities.  It has taken several years of trial and error, of searching, and of babysteps for me to feel good about myself.  Am I doing it perfectly?  No, but I am doing it:  I am in the process of learning to balancing life changes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Too Hot to Handle? Blocked?

I have promised myself I am going to write this blog for the 31 days I followed FlyLady's 31 Beginner's Babysteps.  However, I have deleted and started this article more than 4 times.  I love the days my blog seems to write itself:  on those days, the words seemingly flow onto the page. But today, getting started writing and getting started doing anything around the house seemed to follow the same dismal path.  I was blocked on writing, and I was procrastinating on getting my day started well -- other than eating breakfast or brunch,  which I seldom skip.  I hate feeling stuck, like I can't climb up out of the muck.

One of the cool things about using FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps is that one small step tends to lead to another one. I may not be well enough to clean my house in one fell swoop, but I can peck away at it, little by little.  I didn't start first thing after I got up, but I don't have to fall into the rut that paralyzes perfectionists--the if you aren't going to do it perfectly, don't do it at all syndrome.  My Day 6 assignment was to practice putting my Hot Spot out for two minutes.  I didn't have to do more than 2 minutes, even if my cluttered spot was still messy.  Also, I was to continue doing the prior assignments (I'm building habits!)  What is a Hot Spot?  It's place in your home or office where things begin to pile. These hot spots seem to attract more objects:  clutter attracts clutter.  Mine multiplies into more than one Hot Spot; and that clutter is going to be thrown away, put away, or given away-- one piece at a time. This is a healthy step towards balancing my life

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday Skip a Day

Have I have quashed the perfectionist in me for good?  Probably not -- but, I am writing this blog, and I did not do Day 6 of FlyLady's Beginner Babysteps

Instead, I have been trying to select the perfect e-card, read my email, and do one load of laundry
My Puppy 
 I also mended Puppy Dog's stuffed toy, which means I pulled the stuffing out,
 and closed the hole.  Puppy dog got Toy open, made a new hole, put her nose in it; and she started pulling more stuffing out of Toy's legs.  I didn't expect that one at all.  This dog is smart and determined.       She has to tear up her toys, pulling out the stuffing and the squeekies.  So now you know something about my dog, who is still a puppy and has been a blessing to our family.  She is very good company and quite the cuddler.  Of course, she is going to need to be trained that she is not a true lap dog;  however, that may be a useless bit of work.  I have never had a labrador retriever that thought she wasn't a lap dog.

It's Saturday and I would like to give myself relief from Sunday morning stress.  I wish I could get ready on Saturday night and go to bed in my clothes.  Then all I would have to do on Sunday is eat breakfast, take my medicine, brush my teeth and walk out the door.   I love the Sunday mornings I have gotten my things together ahead of time.  I don't have to make decisions about what to wear, or hunt for things I need at the last minute.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Write down what I hear? - Day 5

What?  Write down what I hear?  Let's see -- the air conditioner, my husband's snoring, the dog's snoring--is that what FlyLady means?  Or maybe when I see my grandchildren, I should be writing down the sweet things they say.  But no;  as I read more, I understand.  She wants me to write down what the negative voices in my head are saying. "How am I going to get anything done today?  I haven't had any sleep", is one thought that has been running through my brain.  Insomnia is awful; furthermore, once I go to sleep, I get in a rut of going to bed late--very late--and waking up late.  So the cycle continues.  I thought I had it solved when we got sweet puppy, because I had to get up early to take her out.  Well, at least she has no problem sleeping.

Lucky Dog -- She sleeps like a baby.

 I know you didn't come here to read about negative voices, because they can get so depressing; but, did you see how I began to ruminate over not sleeping?  Even my seemingly positive "well, at least she has no problem sleeping" sounded envious.  I can hear the negative tone of voice in my head every time I read that sentence. 

Thankfully, I have already been working on my negative voices; and, I can see the value of writing them down if I come up with a better positive.  However, the most valuable tool I have found comes from my faith.   I went to the Bible to find answers for the negative voices, which are usually formed by anxiety or worry.  Lately, I have spent much of my time in Matthew 6.  There is a very juicy section in Matthew 6: 25-34 on how we should handle our anxiety.  One of the scriptures that has recently been very close to my heart is, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34, NASV).  It fits right in with my resolve to experience the moment I am in, rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future.  And I can truthfully tell you, I am seeing the results in my life.

Am I enjoying my life more?  Yes.  Have I reached perfection in my thought life?  No.  Is it worth the time and effort to remind myself everyday to chase away those negative thoughts and replace them with thoughts that are healthy?  I say, "Yes!  A resounding yes!"   Philippians 4:8 says it better than I can:  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (NIV)

Note:  I have always found it helpful to read Bible verses in context;  moreover,  I have found the writings of some authors do not agree with scripture, when I compared what they were saying with the verses before and after their quotes.  Reading the Bible in context means reading what comes before and after the quoted verse.  One might have to read an entire chapter to understand the true meaning of the text.  I have often found that God speaks to me personally through reading scripture in context.  I believe that I should be careful to make sure the text I am reading agrees with scripture, and not blindly accept everything I read or hear.

Sidetracked or Simple? Day 4

I can see a small girl sitting in class, her face alight with the joy of learning new things; and then, her teacher starts enumerating and complicating the lesson.  All of a sudden, the little girl's brow knits and she draws back into herself, afraid she will have to answer a question about a subject she really doesn't feel certain she understands.  She wants to give the perfect answer, because perfection seems to please all the adults she knows.  Only, the small girl understands, she does not have all the right answers.  She can feel the jumbled feelings inside of her, the butterflies of nervousness that come with being unsure.

 Life is not simple:  it gets complicated, as this young girl discovers quickly.  All she wants to do is please.  Her mother tells her to pick up her mess, and she has no idea where to start, so she keeps on playing, taking another toy out.  Feelings of frustration build, because she wants everything to be neat, but doesn't know where to start.  Her mother did not make it simple; and, she yelled, because the mess was still there.

I am so glad that FlyLady doesn't yell.  She is gentle with us grownup girls and boys.  I readily admit that at fifty-nine years old the little girl wanting to please is still here.  Only, I know now that I am doing this to please me too.  I honestly don't think all mothers know how to get their children to do things in small increments; otherwise, I probably would have learned that myself before I was grown. I had plenty of role models, but I only learned to jump in and spend a whole day cleaning.   I learned to apply the theory of working in small segments of time in college.  And I loved college, because I love to learn and I was unafraid (most of the time).  Now, I am studying how to have a clean house in small segments of time.  I have learned cleaning can be fun, easy, and simple.

My lovely  bed, made imperfectly.  Look how clean the table is.

I thought Day 4 would add another chore.    By the way, I am dressed, wearing sandals, and I have a cute headband in my hair today.  My bed is made, and I haven't even gotten to that Day yet.  And I did not spend two hours writing my blog today. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whew! Relief - Day 3 - Do it again.

     I would like to preface today's blog with why I am using the first person I, rather than the second person you.  I am telling you things that have been helpful for me; and I know from the testimonials I have read, that many people have benefited from FlyLady's methods.  However, I would not deign to tell you what to do.  You know your situation and you need to do what is appropriate for  your particular needs.  One of the things I have adapted to my needs is FlyLady's rule about wearing lace-up shoes.  I do this on days I have to be on my feet for an extended amount of time, but it is not the most practical thing for me.   I have to rest often, with my feet up, so lace-up shoes tend to be inconvenient.

     Since I am dealing with more pronounced pain and fatigue today, I am relieved that my assignment is to "do what  [ I ]  have already done."  My assignment has gone well thus far, and I improved on yesterday's assignment by getting dressed as soon as I got out of bed.  I am so proud of myself, because that is not something I have ever felt inclined to do.  I have always eaten breakfast in my night clothes and gotten dressed afterwards. 

Getting dressed in the morning or any time of the day gives me a lift.  I have noticed this in previous campaigns to makeover myself and my habits.  It is easy to stay in pajamas when I have no expectations of going somewhere that day, or if I don't expect anyone to visit.  And I don't think there is anything wrong with spending the day in pj's.  I just know I tend to feel better about myself if I make the effort, and I usually get more done around the house.  I also go outside more when I get dressed.  If I have a day that clothes feel uncomfortable, I have a mumu and a lounging dress, which are loose but attractive.  I can take the dog outside and greet visitors without embarrassment.  If I get "caught"  on a pj day; then, I remember I am ill and others will just have to deal with it.  However, I don't want to go back to days and to weeks of not getting dressed.  I know "dressing to the shoes" is better for me mentally, because it helps me to feel ready for the day.

Today, part of my assignment is too spend time looking over Big Tent, the platform FlyLady uses to send out her emails.  Since I already subscribe, as well as being a part of the FlyLady group on Facebook, I feel like I have a head start.  I will read some testimonials and see what is going on, and I might play a little FlyLady Bingo, which has been a fun way to get myself motivated. 

My FlyLady Makeover - Day 2 - Dressing to Your Shoes

This is the second day of my FlyLady Makeover--well actually this is very early in the morning after the second day of my makeover--but I had to write this, because I don't want the momentum to fade.  If I start skipping reports on whether I did the babystep of the day; I may start skipping the babysteps. If I can do all thirty-one of FlyLady's beginner's flying lessons, it will be the first time I have gone all the way through them. 

I wore those sandals out.
Today I was supposed to Get Dressed to my Shoes.  That meant I was supposed to get dressed first thing in the morning; do my hair and face; and put on moisturizer or makeup.  My shoes were supposed to be the kind that lace up.  I have to confess:  I did not do number two perfectly.  I got out of my pj's in the afternoon, after I had already done some household chores; and I did not wear shoes that lace up. I do nod to the fact that Cilley (FlyLady) is probably right, that for many people her methods are tried and true;  however, she also says that chores done imperfectly are better than not doing them.

This is what happened to me.  I had a hope, a dream, and a memory of what I could do in the past.  For years, I had this ideal of what should be done in my home, but I couldn't keep up with it.  Therefore, things kept piling up on me, because I would think about all the stuff I should be doing; and if I ever got around to doing it, I would have to hide clutter in closets and under beds.  Finally, I got to the point, that I couldn't walk if stayed on my feet and walked for too long.  The pain increased in my leg and hip, and it would take several days or weeks for me to recover enough from the Chronic Fatigue to do a little again.

So here I am, adapting FlyLady's methods to work for me; wearing supportive sandals in the summer, instead of lace-up shoes, and being satisfied with having gotten dressed in the afternoon.  And I must say, I looked smashing.  I was clean from the top of my head to my toes, my outfit was cute, and I felt good.  I even wore a little bit of makeup.  And I have done things today that amazed me:  I finally started working on my messy dining room table.  It still held paraphenalia  from a project I finished 2 or 3 weeks ago.  I made my bed before I got dressed and tidied up the master bedroom.  It looked gorgeous, just like walking into a hotel with the beautiful bed awaiting me. 

And  I did not feel at all guilty asking my husband to fix some rice and a vegetable to go with the leftover pork chops from yesterday.  Nor did he mind.  I am blessed to have a supportive husband,  If I was alone, I would have fixed a frozen dinner for my supper, because I was in pain and tired. I am happy and satisfied, because I am a few steps closer to a clean house and a beneficial routine.  Ahhh {smile & sigh}, I am still basking in the afterglow of success.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Released from Perfectionism - Day 1 - Shine my Sink

Most of us know how to clean house and keep our lives in order; but, knowing and doing are two different things.  I know how to make it look like I know how to do keep the house clean when I am backed into a corner, but I have never ever done it perfectly.  Even when I get the FlyLady routines down, I don't expect to do it perfectly.  In fact, I feel released from perfectionism.  I am just going to do what I can, and I am not going to let myself worry about doing it perfectly.  I am going to enjoy The Process.  Also, I will do things on my job list, and continue to nurture the attitude of "enjoying the process", while reestablishing my routines and clearing the clutter.

The important thing is to remember to take baby steps and rest when needed.  I am not going to worry about being behind or what I have not done.  I will concentrate on what I can do.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011


My husband likes to use the acronym, KISS-keep it simple, sweetie.  Oh, how I wish I found it easy to achieve that:  instead, I often muddle along without doing the things I wish to achieve.  That sounds dismal, but there is an upside to this; which is that I am not alone.  I know this, because I have been inspired and encouraged by reading the posts from the FlyLady, Marla Cilley.  Also, I read what other FlyBabies say on Facebook.

If anyone wishes follow me, I am determined to embark on a journey to simplify.  It may take me the rest of my life, but I do believe this will help to make my life better.  I have already been taking babysteps to clear the clutter for several years, but it is an ongoing process, considering the rate at which clutter invades my home, even without my permission.  I will not list the multiple ways this happens:  I will address this at a later date, because I am also determined to make this blog SIMPLE too.

God bless you all, and may you find ways to simplify your life.