Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Example of Creative Cleaning or Do You Really Hate Cleaning the Kitchen?!

At the beginning of November, I told you that we were going to do November 2015 Kitchen Challenge on my Facebook Page. This is what I wrote over there today with none of the lists of emptying the dishwasher or shining the sink. The thing that I see as significant in this is some people really do not like cleaning the kitchen. Their focus is elsewhere, and they are always ready to be doing something other than that. For some reason, the kitchen looms as a huge overwhelming almost unconquerable mountain. However, it is just a room that we all need to use. Even if you buy takeout, you are probably going to have to wash something in the kitchen, make some tea, or occasionally fix a snack. Following is what I wrote on Facebook today with the part I especially want you to read italicized.
"Hopefully you are halfway or more done with wiping down your cabinets in the kitchen. If you are not and you need a break, take it! The cabinets are not going anywhere. I am thinking about people who might have had weeks that have not quite fallen into the grooves they planned. If you are feeling behind, that is just part of life: it is Not an indicator of your worth. Jump in there and work on the glaring things in your kitchen. If you have a couple of pots sitting on the stove or in the sink, wash one. Give yourself permission to take a break.
After the break, wash another pot. This is one of the things I mean about creative decluttering. Maybe, you really hate cleaning the kitchen, but you don't want a dirty kitchen either. Make a game out of this. Set the timer. Do what you need to do. You may actually find it is not the awful chore you thought it was. As you see the pile in your kitchen get smaller, you will feel encouraged. One day, it may even feel like almost nothing to go in the kitchen and clean it up: you will just go in there and do it. Done!!!!!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Shoe Palooza

Picture me as I walk in the house, and change to the shoes I like to wear as I work around here.  Or, if I am going to lounge around, I change to a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off.  I do not like sitting in a recliner with shoes on.  It makes lounging uncomfortable.  Sometimes, it makes my ankles hurt.  How do you like to lounge when you put your feet up?

Where do the shoes I take off usually go?

It looked lots worse than this
 on my bedroom floor.
 I had at least eight pairs of shoes
 strewn around my bedroom
If I am being exceptionally neat, they usually are in a neat row under a chair in my bedroom, because I may want to change those shoes for another activity.  Right?  Ha, ha!  They might be at the foot of my bed.  Why on earth would I want to put them in my closet?  I would just have to find them, because I have shoes in my shoe hanging bags, that I hardly ever wear.  Some of them have been there so long, they are dusty.

That has been one of the messy things about me, that I have glossed over in my mind.  If I just didn't get too many shoes out at a time, I could rationalize this behavior of rarely putting my shoes away.  Well, I have now forced myself to do something about the shoes in the bedroom.  When I vacuumed this week, I threw them all in the hallway, except for my slippers and flip-flops.  Our closet is at the end of the hallway, because it was added later and I don't think people even had closets when this house was built.  That night I told my husband I was too tired to put the shoes away in the closet, but I would get to it later, and I made sure they were where nobody would trip over them.

Today, I went into my closet with the mindset I was going to get rid of any shoes I had not worn in the last year, shoes that were a hazard to my health, and  shoes that were uncomfortable.  I emptied out most of my two hanging shoe organizers and dusted off shoes I wear.  I sorted my shoes into give aways, throw aways, and put aways.  I did keep a pair of heels I am saving to wear with a really cute dress when my weight gets down enough.  I can rationalize that, because I am actually losing weight and I love that dress.  Then, I sorted through the shoes in the hallway.  I actually did have pair of hazardous to my health sandals:  it is amazing I have not tripped as they turned sideways on me while I was walking through the house.  I saved an old pair of walking (tennis shoes) that I like to use outside if I have to walk through wet grass with the dog or some other little chore.  I would wear them for gardening, even though I cannot use them for walking shoes anymore.  

Today, I have probably been more honest with myself about my shoes;  and, it is not that I never told the truth to myself about it.  I have gotten rid of other pairs of shoes over the years, but I found myself not wanting to give up something that was supposed to be comfortable.  Not only that, I felt guilty about getting rid of shoes I might wear again.  However, the truth is that even though a shoe may feel comfortable in the store and seem like the right shoe, there are times a shoe ends up being something that my foot slips out of as I walk or it is not stable enough for my feet and gait.I am getting better about my choices, but sometimes I mess up.  

This time I did it.  At this moment, not even my slippers are on my bedroom floor.  I am going to work on putting my shoes away every time.  Baby steps!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Never Ending Story

And you thought that one day the whole house would be cleaned, never to be messed up again?  How I wish that was true for me.  It really does seem to be a never ending story, so I keep removing items from the household, avoid buying anything we do not really need, and I fortify my mind and body to do more.  Or, in simpler language, I psych myself up to clean an area I have let get out of hand -- Again.

While we have been doing the first week of the November 2015 Kitchen Challenge, I have been sorting out my dining/office/craft room.  I was working on the old kitchen, also known as the breakfast room, but it ended up being a repository for things I had to get out of the way in the dining room.  Actually, it started the other way around.  I have been in this process of throw away, give away, rearrange, and I am happy with what I have in the dining room right now.

I did not take a picture of the dining room before this time, but it was unpleasant.  I had sewing things out that were not being used, because I did not even want to be in that room.  My sideboard was piled high, because I kept setting things there.  I have a great word for it: Yucky!  It looked awful.   And, I couldn't dust, because there was not any point in dusting the mess that I kept walking by.  I felt overwhelmed by it.

Here are some pictures.  I haven't done anything special to the dining table other than dust it, because I need to cut out some curtains.
November, 2015

October, 2014

If you could see the plates, you would see that they have blue, orange, red, green, and yellow in the design.  I see a rolled up wall hanging in the left corner; but quite frankly, this is an undecided item for me, which I cannot quite bring myself to let go.  I keep thinking I may have someplace to put it someday.  I could bring myself to give it away to someone who really loved it.  So yes, I do have things I am undecided on giving away.  I guess I will have to put it in the cedar chest or a closet.

On the Left:

I am so proud of my craft corner.  It has been vacuumed, dusted, and reorganized.  My paints and other small items have gone into drawers.  I used to have other things in those drawers, but I threw away the things that have been there for too long, put some Christmas towels in a giveaway bag, and I put the Christmas hand towels I wanted to keep in a closet with other towels.

 On the Right:

That is my poor breakfast room table that got things piled on it again;  however, I have been setting my timer and it is almost cleared.

Here I am viewing the breakfast room into the kitchen.  Can you see I was dusting?

The picture below shows a work in progress.  I moved my coffee maker, and I don't like the way this looks.  However, the important thing is it is clean.  While I have been working on other areas, I continue to work on the kitchen.  I am keeping up with it.  How are you doing with yours?  Do it as you go along every day, and it will be easier than letting it pile up.

Finally, I want to say a word about older kitchens versus newer kitchens.  If you are anything like me, you admire the gorgeous kitchens in magazines, as well as those featured on the internet.  The house I lived in prior to this one had beautiful granite counter tops and everything in it was new.  It belonged in a magazine.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had  to move.  I missed that kitchen, but I was very sick when we lived at that house and it was hard for me to clean. As lovely as that whole house was, I did not enjoy it when it was messy and cluttered.

Simplicity is the key.  
If you have all kinds of gadgets and no room for them, it merely ends up being frustrating.  If your house is full of things you have not used for years, you are doing yourself a disservice by surrounding yourself with clutter.  

Finally, this week the November 2015 Kitchen Challenge continues.  We are building habits.  Each day, I will post a new challenge on my Facebook page.  Join me at Fatigue, Creative Decluttering, and a Better Life.   

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Preparing For the Holidays Starts Now

Altered Picture--Origin of Picture Unknown

Think about whether you are going to do Christmas decorations this year.  Do you have to get out several boxes to get to them?  Do you have a room or a corner of a room that is not in use?  This is where you want to put those boxes, so you don't always have them in sight.  This week, go through that room, starting at the door and work around the room from left to right.  Work 15 minutes at a time picking up, throwing away, and giving away.  3 boxes or hampers to sort this will help.  Make sure you PUPA--PICK UP, PUT AWAY.  I suggest 15 minutes a day on this room.  If you want to work more, remember we are concentrating on the kitchen and you have tidying to do in other rooms. 

It depends where you are in your own personal health and life, whether or not you should put up many holiday decorations.  Could you be satisfied with just a few holiday touches in the house?  After all, you do not want being overworked, which can steal the joy of celebrating from you.  Also, what is put up has to be taken down.

Things to consider:

  • Do you have help with putting up the decorations and taking them down?
  • What holiday traditions are the most important to you?  Maybe, that should be what you concentrate on.  
  • How can you make the holiday easier this year?  ~smaller tree; only decorating your mantel; buying precooked food for some of the special holiday meals;  pot-luck or assigned dishes for a holiday meal and do it buffet style;  gift cards for presents; asking adult family members to give to favorite charities or to some special needs families this year, because you plan to do the same.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2015 Kitchen Challenge

Breaking your housework into small steps works in all rooms of your house.  For the month of November, I am sponsoring a Kitchen Challenge on my Facebook Page:  Fatigue, Creative Decluttering, and a New Life .  I will be posting suggestions several times each week for your encouragement. If you want to be an active participant in the comments, you could share what you have done in your kitchen and how you think making cleaning your kitchen a priority has freed you to do other things in your home or elsewhere.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Home's Launchpad

Image Courtesy of  Appolonia
Whether preparing a holiday feast or just keeping up with the day to day tidying, a clean kitchen is a launch pad for raising our spirits and enjoying our homes.  Nobody likes to work in a cluttered kitchen with dirty dishes piled in the sink and in some cases on the counters.  Wiping off the counters and table tops in your kitchen are so much easier to handle when done after every meal and each cooking task in the kitchen.  I know this sounds difficult to some of you, and I do not want you to fall into the perfectionist trap that you have to do it perfectly every time.

Every time you work on the task of cleaning the kitchen, you are building better habits, particularly when you make an effort to do it throughout the day, rather than letting things pile up.  Some people think they have to do housework in wholes:  clean the entire refrigerator, scrub both sides of the sink, wipe off all the counters, etc.  However, not everyone finds that an acceptable and easy thing to do.

The truth is that whether you are bursting with energy, whether you are 18 or 80, whether you have a chronic illness or not, whether you would just rather do something else -- it is easier and quicker to spend short amounts of time working on the kitchen.  It frees you to do other things you need to do or you want to do.  Whether you have a very messy kitchen or it is not bad at all, this is an excellent time to concentrate on this area.  If you have family coming for the holidays, it may be just the thing to get a kind of rhythm  going in your life, where it just seems like the norm to spend 10 or 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen  several times a day.

Join me for the Kitchen Challenge during the month of November.  I think you may actually be surprised at how easy tidying your kitchen can be.  And remember, baby steps will get you there.  Perfectionism is not an option.  Let it go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

15 Minutes: A Short Amount of Time

Today, I read this on on FlyLady's flight plan:

Today I want you to spend 15 minutes getting rid of anything that does not belong in your living room. Things that have gotten thrown in a corner, on a chair, or even the floor. If you have children get them involved. Make it a family game with the timer. If you do not have any kids set the timer for yourself! You should only declutter for 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off sit down and breathe.

Then, I thought, "What a short amount of time fifteen minutes is."  Of course, I suppose that is relative to how you feel or what that fifteen minutes might contain;  but, it really is a small segment of a day in comparison to the rest of the things you do during a day.  

When I think about the time that passes so quickly when I am immersed in a reading a book, playing a game, reading email, or writing--15 minutes seems minuscule.  It makes me wonder why it is often hard to get started earlier in the day on household tasks.  Truthfully, it does seem that getting started earlier would be better, rather than doing a dozen other things first that are not going to make my surroundings more pleasant or more efficient.  15 minutes of housework spread through the day several times Each Day would make the process of keeping things tidy a walk in the park rather than a marathon.  

15 minutes of tidying, spread throughout my day, will leave me plenty of time to do the other things I want to do, as well as the things I must do.  Furthermore, I will avoid that overwhelmed feeling that happens when one is always playing "catch up."  

Take the first step.  Decide what needs to be done first.  Set my timer.  Get moving!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do You Ever Fake It Til You Make It?

Image Courtesy of artur84
Today, I want to share an article, which I will list at the end of this page.  I think it sums up some of what we have to do when we are working on our habits and our attitudes.  I can think of many excellent ways to apply the information by Karen Koenig, therapist and author of Normal Eating.   Practice:  does it ever end?  Sometimes, I think not, as I learn and hopefully improve my own actions, thoughts, and feelings in life.

However, I have to admit I do have an aversion to being fake, so where do I draw the line?  I want to be authentic.  Is there a place you draw the line?

Let's explore that by listing some of the ways we might "fake it 'til we make it."  Perhaps you can add some ways you have done this in our discussion on facebook or here in our comments.

Ways I have or am working on faking it until I make it:

  • I am not totally sure this applies, because it is such an ongoing thing, and I honestly do keep working at this;  however, I am not completely there (wherever there is) yet.  It is the area of keeping down clutter in the house.  I have made such wonderful progress over the last five years in that area;  however, sometimes my house gets out of hand when I am working on a project or life takes over in unexpected ways.  Then, I have to regroup; and, I used to feel like I was starting all over again, but that has changed.  Now, I have all the habits and things I have learned and relearned whch fall back into place so much easier than before.  Moreover, I have made such great progress in getting rid of years of stuff that I think most people tend to save if they have room, which we do not have in this particular house.  I am not done yet, but I am closer.  And, it is actually fun when you realize that you are freer by being able to get rid of the detritus.
  • Emotions is a hot topic.  But, I have a body that gets that cortisol thing going when I get anxious and upset.  It starts a cycle that can get out of hand, because it hurts so much.  I hate that chemicals in our body have such power over our physical selves and our brains;  but, I am certain that is part of my genetic makeup.  And, it also is part of what makes me sensitive to how others feel.  The things that help me and have helped me in the past are: prayer, scripture, relaxation techiniques, running (I can't do that now), walking on the beach or in a park, reading, even playing a game (unless the computer is fueling my anxiety), doing a crossword puzzle, cleaning house.  Ha, ha, I never thought that last one would show up on my list, but if clutter is the source of the anxiety it makes me feel better to have neat and organized surroundings
My list is not exhaustive, because I only meant it as an example, and I am not so concerned with the past, so much as how this can help us now.  Although, I did think about one that applies that happened to me today.  My dog is super sensitive to my emotions.  She even gets diarrhea when I am upset.  I am pretty sure that is the connection to her tummy problem.  Today, I was dealing with something that has had my cortisol flowing like crazy streams.  My anxiety was palpable, like you could touch it.  And, I saw her cringe.  I realized she was feeling my upset.  So, "Fake It Until I Make It"  went into immediate action.  We have a game where I say, "Let's cuddle-buddle."  She jumps on the bed.  I lay across it, and she gets a tummy rub.  It started when I was not able to get down on the floor before my hip surgery when she was a puppy.  She is the only dog that has ever been allowed on the furniture or in the bed.  I realize I have totally spoiled her in that one way.  

The thing is the actions I took with our dog actually helped me feel better.  Now, I am writing and I feel pretty good.  Admittedly, I took half of a pill for anxiety, but this time I had to.  I am so glad that panic attacks are not something that regularly happen to me anymore, but I do keep my medicine on hand for the rare moments.  Lately, I have cut them in half, because I so rarely need them, a whole tab makes me feel sleepy.  From my view, that is progress.  

I hope this helps you in some way.  I can see many ways to apply Koenig's excellent article.  I am so glad she reached out past her practice to help people.  She could not possibly see all the people she has encouraged.  Here is the link:  Fake It Til You Make It Equals Practice.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Link to a Great Article About "How Clutter Affects Your Brain."

I found this fantastic article on a subject near and dear to me.  It is perfect that I found it today, because October is my month to get back on track in several areas of my life. Moreover, I know that entails cleaning the clutter out of all areas of my life.  To do that is going to take more than a month:  it is really an ongoing process.  

The point is that I think better, do my daily work better, and I manage life better when I do not let clutter get the best of me.  I am dividing the following article into manageable sections and planning on seeing how I can best apply it to my life.  

Blessings!  I hope you enjoy reading How Clutter Affects Your Brain (and what you can do about it) by Mikael Cho.  And, I hope he does not mind me pointing you to his well-written article.  I loved knowing about how the brain is actually affected by clutter, which is no surprise to me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Selfish House-guest, Oh My!

What was your first thought when you saw the title A Selfish House-guest, Oh My!?  Did you think of people seeing your cluttered house, sorrow that you are embarrassed to have anyone over, or worry that you would be worn out by preparing for any house-guest?  

Only the first part of my title is original, because I am actually pointing you to another article that made me curious.  I never expected to be confronted with the idea that Clutter is a guest in my home, nor all the things that it keeps me from.  Even though, my home is better than it was, I am still working on it.  Of course, some things about keeping house are ongoing, but Clutter fills one with a sense of guilt and obligation.  Please read on by clicking on FlyLady's article called Your Selfish Houseguest.  I just had to share it with you.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Instant Feel Good Moment

Feeling Serene...
This morning, I had an excellent feel good moment from something that almost anyone can do each day.  This is something that was an instant lift to my spirit.

Let me explain.  I sat down in my chair in the living room, as I swallowed my morning medicine;  and, I saw a pile that I could tell was going to drain some of the good feelings from my spirit.  It was a mishmash of a massage thing with rollers that go up and down your back, electric cords, and the heating pad.  I know I left it there with the idea that I would only have to reach for it if I needed it;
however, it was so depressing seeing that pile there.  And, I had not used it for a couple of days.

I picked that pile up:  put the heating pad in it's drawer and put the roller thingy away.  Pile gone:  spirit better.  It was as easy as that--less than 5 minutes, folks!  You can do this too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Not Worth It To Stress Over Unplanned Interruptions

Yesterday was one of those days that I had unexpected work and interruptions that I had not planned.
image courtesy of Iamnee
Unfortunately, that meant I didn't do the things I had planned to do.  While I found it unsettling, I also found it educational, because I could have let myself be thrown into old feelings of inadequacy, which does not do myself, nor anyone in my family any good.

I did spend about 30 minutes working on organizing the Guest Room, in which I made the mistake of pulling out more than I could get done in one day.  Unfortunately, it was one of those times I really had to get to the back of the stack in the closet to go through what was there. This week, my goal is to put that room back to rights, but I continue to do it bit by bit, step by baby step.  I want to be ready for company at any time, and I do not want to have to do an emergency cleanup session, so steady I go, chipping away at it.

In the past, I have had that room guest ready .  It was me pulling out the boxed clutter that made the mess, as well as throwing things in that room from other rooms.  Does anyone else ever take out too much, making a bigger mess in the process of cleaning things up?

Why am I telling you all this?  I want you to realize that getting rid of clutter is ongoing.  Sometimes, it is an imperfect process that seems like it will never get done.  And unfortunately, there is some truth in that.  Most people have paperwork they have to save, things they have not gotten to, and work that begs to be done that day, not later.  Some things are immediate, and you cannot put them off to another day.  It does not mean you are doing anything wrong or your schedule is going to be permanently messed up.  Like FlyLady says, "Jump in where you are."

image courtesy of marin
Take one step at a time, and know that you will again be back to working in that room you neglected.  Keep making the circle in your zone work.  If you have a few extra minutes and the energy, pop into that room that got out of control and work on it for a few minutes.  However, it is not worth stressing over.  Stressing over the way your house looks will not make you healthier or happier.

I hope this helps.  Keeping your house clean does not end.  It is an ongoing process.  Keeping out the clutter seems to be an ongoing process too.  The thing that I really want us all to learn is to be smart in how we go about it.  And, of course, the less we have to clean and move around, the easier it will be.  So, keep on getting rid of that clutter.  We can do it!  You can do it!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My List Grew?

Did you ever make a short list of things you needed to do, and you wondered why it took you so long to complete it?  Or, maybe you have felt frustrated and fussed at yourself about not getting enough done.  Take a deep breath.  Now, breathe slowly. That's right.  Relax.  Maybe, you have just gotten more done than you think you did.  

There have been many times in the past that I looked around me, and I felt like I was inadequate; because, I have high expectations of myself.  Then, my expectations got less after realize I was simply too sick to get everything done.  I was not able, so letting go of some of my expectations of myself was a matter of saving my "sanity."  I learned to be content to do less, which in that setting was okay.  However, now things are different.  I feel better, I actually have more I want to get done;  and, I know I can do more.  Can you see where I am going with this?

I started letting some of my perfectionism start creeping back in.  I took on more and more, because I could.  I finally let some blogs and Facebook pages go, because I saw that I was working more than taking time to smell the roses or clean my house.  However, I still had Mr. Perfectionist sitting on my shoulder, saying "That sure is a short list.  You did not do enough today.  Why aren't you doing more?  You need to manage your time better."

Today, I knocked that burden off my shoulder.  I had my list.  I took a much deserved break to eat lunch and read a novel.  It's a Christian novel, and the things that were being said in the story kept speaking to me.  Then, I started reflecting on this list, and I decided to write down everything I had done that day.  Actually, I probably forgot something, because there are so many small things we do that we do not even think about just to get one basic job done.  Moreover, I know I will do other things that are important that are not even listed on my long list.

If you ever feel like I did--inadequate, frustrated you are not up to your or someone else's expectations (roll my eyes), imperfect (well, aren't we all?), or unfinished--make yourself a list of all the things you have achieved for that day.  You might surprise yourself!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wow! I Already Did That.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to again start using the missions on and to hook up with her page on Facebook.  I had to drop everything last week and go out of town for a devastating family emergency, but now that I am home again, I want to get back to flying.  Today, it became a huge reality in my life that I am seeing the results of having worked steadily for the last few years to take back my household.

When I was younger, it was much easier to care for my household;  however, cleaning house became very difficult when I became chronically ill.  I have been rebuilding those habits with the idea that I was going to have a reasonably clean house, not a perfect one.  Imagine the thrill I felt when I discovered that the most of the jobs in Flylady's Zone Cleaning for this coming week are already done. I have been making these things a regular habit.  I will actually have time left to work on some other areas in the house that are calling for my attention.

Also, it was nice coming home to a shiny, clean kitchen sink and spotless kitchen counters on Saturday.  My bathrooms were clean and the floors were mopped.  My bed was made.  The fact I had to drop my housecleaning for several days did not matter, nor did I have to run around like a madwoman trying to get it done before I left.  Of course, I could not do that anyway, because it was one of those times one has to pack as quickly as possible and go.

Someone brought us a cake this afternoon, and my porch was clean!  I was still in my pajamas, but that was because I was still tired when I woke up.  However, when our friend brought the cake by our house, I was actually on my way to the shower.  I had decided to get dressed, even though it took me longer to get going today.  If we have more visitors this week, my living room is clean enough to invite someone in without feeling embarrassed.

Knowing all these things actually helps to lift a burden off your back.  I know it is hard, but don't give up.  Someday, you are going to be so happy that you worked at this little by little and formed better habits.  Maybe you are trying to get back habits you used to have or simply improve on what you already do.  Whatever your reason for working on getting rid of the clutter, it is wonderful to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

I am looking forward to my Monday jobs.  I have already been putting away the things in my suitcases, and I hope to finish tomorrow.  It doesn't seem like a burden, but I look forward to knowing the job will be done.  I may even finish before I go to bed tonight.

This is what I want for you too:  to find that balance,  to learn to clean according to your ability, and to stretch those wings of yours a little at a time.  Don't compare yourself to other people:  just do what you can.   Remember, you can do it in baby steps.

P.S.  Even my dressing table was neat and clean.  How cool is that?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sorting Through Old Cards and Boxes: Is It Worth It?

image courtesy of somkku9
Yesterday and Today, I have been working on what some people might consider the dullest of tasks. However, I have not found it dull, even though I am feeling drained now;  but, only because of the work and the many emotions that cross the barriers of my mind during this job.  Also, I tend to get drawn into it, and I have a hard time stopping.  I found myself ignoring the timer.

If you are like me, you are the spouse that usually gets the sorting tasks;  so, I put aside whatever I have I think might be important, throw away other stuff, and shred the rest.  My goal is to condense a lifetime into a couple of boxes.  I thought I had done that, but I found I was not satisfied with the job. Sometimes, I think that if it all burned up, I would still be who I am now.  But I have to admit that it is interesting seeing how I have traveled the journey.  Also, I am blessed to have been married for many years, and it is nice to see where we have been together in our lives.  

image courtesy of chrisroll
Mixed in with our lives is recalling happy times, difficult times, the people that loved us, and ordinary daily events.  It is up to each of us to decide how to sort this;  and, I am not going to give advice on what you should do.  However, I am going to tell you what some of my personal guidelines have been. 

My Guidelines for Sorting Through Relics of My Past

  1. Save pictures from different stages of our family's lives.  Save enough that each grown child can have their own copies.  Don't save all of them if you took a lot of pictures.  Save the ones with special meaning.
  2. Save cards and letters that remind you of special relationships.  If you have a lot of the same type of card, then you may not want them all.  Save samples of special letters from your parents, your spouse, your children, and other important people.
  3. Some people may not agree, but I have also found it cathartic to throw away some of the things from places and people that are no longer in my life.  Many of them are only memories to me, and I have lived too full a life in too many places (work related) to keep up with all of them.  I think some people may feel guilty about this, but I have to grow where I am planted now.  If I can become reacquainted with some people someday, that would be nice;  however,  that is going to have to based on more than the past.  I do regret that we cannot connect with some people, but it is physically impossible.  Someday in Eternity, then I hope to see some of those wonderful people.
  4. image courtesy of Simon Howden
  5. Plastic bins would be nice for keeping the saved things.  My sinuses are still suffering from inhaled dust and debris.  The plastic bins will keep out insects.  Yes, they do get in there, even if you have a clean house.  Certain insects love paper and cardboard.

Best of luck in searching through your things and cutting them down to size.  Be strong and be brave:  you can do it!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tuesday--Anti-Procrastination Week Challenge

This is the list I made on Sunday afternoon.

As the best-laid plans of mice and men often go, I got slightly side-tracked on Monday, because my husband was sick.  I had to take on some chores that are not usually mine, but I was still able to make progress toward getting some of the jobs done.

What I did was combine one job with an Unplanned job, because they were in the same immediate area.  Because I had a list, my plans were close to my thoughts.  Otherwise, I might have forgotten completely or just skipped the plan.  I love that I have gotten part of my plan done, even though it is a small thing.  It has encouraged me to get right back into the thick of things today.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Anti-Procrastination Week Challenge

image courtesy of tiramisustudios /
No matter how I plan to follow my cleaning schedule and get everything spiffy "perfect," I still end up with things undone.  Some of those things I can ignore for a while, but eventually, life happens; and, I see I am going to be in a real bind if I do not get some of these things done.  Since, I do not ever want to be in the position of getting everything done in a week before company comes, or I cannot finish a certain Very Important Project until I make headway  on another project first, I have to ignore the cleaning or chore schedule I made, and figure out a way to get things done.

Today, I knew it was time to make a list and get focused.  Please, will you join me?  We can cheer each other on.

Friday, June 12, 2015

How I Discovered my Post-Exertional Malaise Was Not Depression

Since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in spring of 2008, my life has been a series of ups and downs and of opportunities to learn from my experiences.  Adding aging and a couple of other chronic medical conditions to the mix, my life has been a challenge to say the least.  At my point of collapse in September, 2007, I had struggled with pain that had increased in frequency and magnitude.  I had fought depression with the suggested tools of my doctors--counseling and antidepressants, and I blamed my fatigue on depression.

However, now that I understand what has helped and not helped me,  I realize that everything that had been going on in my body up to that time was interrelated, and that includes the depression.  I am not going to get into what helped me in 2008, because that is not really the purpose of this post.  What I want to say is that I mistakenly thought that Post-Exertional Malaise was Depression.  I thought I was fatigued, because I was depressed.  However, I really think I was depressed, because hormones and other functions of my body were out of balance.  That was one of the reasons the anti-depressants did not keep me from getting "depressed."  My doctors blamed my inability to get things done on depression;  however, my "lack of motivation"  was because my body was not working properly.  I simply did not have sustainable energy.  Also, I did not understand that every time I had enough energy to get things done or exercise, I was taking myself past a point I could recover from, so I was frequently in a state of relapse.

If I had not taken charge of my own health, found doctors that look past the depression, and had not continued to study and research how to handle my fibromyalgia and depression, I doubt I would feel any better now.  Through much prayer, as well as reading, when I felt well enough to get through the brain-fog, I finally found a doctor that looked at everything that was going on.  And, even after that, I kept learning to manage my medical conditions and my life, sometimes doing it well and sometimes not so well;  but, I never gave up.  In saying that, I have to be clear that there were many times I felt like it was too hard.  However, there was always that hope in my heart that God would cure me or help me find something that would strengthen my body.  After all, I had been this way for a very long time.  In fact, I now realize that I cannot say for sure how long I had fibromyalgia, but I suspect I had it in the 1980's.  Now, I think I have had it for a much longer amount of time than that.

Some people look at illnesses like Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as the results of deconditioning.  However, I see that as an insult to those of us who exercised and did hard physical labor until they could Not!  Sure, my body has become softer and flabbier over all the years that I was unable to do regular exercise;  and, that is a Result of my illness.  My illness is not a result of being a couch potato.  Prior to  what I call "the great collapse", I was a person that pursued physical fitness, because I simply loved being active.  I loved playing tennis, dancing, and going to jazzercize classes.  I loved swimming.  Also, I was regular runner before I hurt my back.  I loved rowing, ballet, modern dance, bike riding, volleyball, and hiking with my family.

So, let me repeat, the deconditioning of my body was due to Not being able to endure sustained physical activity.  Moreover, every time I had even an ounce of energy, I tried to get back to my former life, and I could not do it.  There was always the relapse.

My very long introduction brings me to the purpose of this article, which is sharing Adrienne Dellwo's latest post from with you.  It brought back the memories of all I have been through in this journey, including what I have found that has helped me the most.  I think one needs to understand Post-Exertional Malaise to understand this person who looks normal does not have a normal functioning body.  I have even heard that people who suffer with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as ME, feel as sick as someone who has cancer;  however, the cause of feeling ill is different;  and, CFS / ME  and Fibromyalgia are something one endures for years, often with finding little relief.  In fact, it kind of like an illness marathon.  Now, that is a horrible analogy, but it is long and hard to live with, so I think it fits.

Okay!  Enough of me talking.  I am going to post the links to Dellwo's articles, and I hope you read them.  Just knowing that an expert in scientific journalism takes the time to do the research is a comfort.  She is an excellent writer, and she has lived the pain.  Adrienne Dellwo knows what it feels like to have Fibromyalgia and related conditions, because she experiences it daily.

Causes of Post-Exertional Malaise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is Post-Exertional Malaise?

Post Script

Many of you know I have found supplements that help me.  They help me find balance, but they have not cured me.  Sometimes, we hear how well someone is doing after taking certain products, and we assume she is cured, because she has gotten her life back.  However, it is learning to manage her medications, supplements, and activities that has made the difference.  I cannot talk about my supplements in this article, even though I think they are the most wonderful thing since apple pie.  In fact, because of the assumptions we tend to make and because of being compliant with the regulations of my company, I can only tell you how much better my life is, which is considerable.  A year ago, I had my life changed.  I hope I never have to go back to how I use to feel all the time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Living in My "Vacation" Home

Image Courtesy of Simon Howden
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room, an apartment/condo, or a small house for a week while on vacation?  Or, maybe you were there for only two or three days.  Did you notice how the uncluttered rooms helped you to relax;  or, how much easier it was to pick up, because you did not have much to put away.  Also, you were really enjoying the uncluttered atmosphere, and you literally wanted to bask in it when you were resting in the room or rooms.
Image Courtesy of artur84

I don't know for sure that everyone experiences this, but I have;  and, I have decided that I am going to make my home, which by my definition is where I live with my family now (whether I own it or not), my very own vacation spot, my bed and breakfast, and my place that I can look at with an uncritical eye, which I will always want to keep up, because it is easier to do that in my  vacation home.  It is true that I do live here all the time, unless I visit someone else or I travel to an overnight destination; however, I think this is a valid goal.  Simplicity makes life a little easier.

You may ask what sparked this revelation.  While I was browsing vacation rentals from the quaint and vintage to the out of my ball park price, I realized that I am too critical of how my own home looks.  It hit me as I looked at the quaint and vintage, that for just a few dollars and getting rid of even more clutter than I already have, I have my own quaint and vintage place everyday.  Since I am working on  the process of making it even better, I am taking some time to review some of the items I have kept and the big question I ask myself is "Do I really love this item?".  As I set aside the items I want to let loose of, I label them with blue painter tape and a price, because I plan to have a garage sale.  Why do I use Blue Painter Tape?  It is easy to remove.
Image Courtesy of winnond

Image Courtesy of Simon Howden
I am not going to post any pictures of areas of my house right now, because I am quite busy with the process.  But, I can tell you that it feels quite painless, and less daunting than when I had piles of clutter from being ill and too much saved from years past.  I am going for simple.  How simple?  I will decide as I go along, and I will try to remember to keep you informed.

God bless you as you work on your home.  I hope this encourages you in your quest for a less cluttered life.

Image courtesy of artur84

Image Courtesy of digidreamgrafix

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Small Backsplash Can Make a Difference

This lady is a very happy camper right now, because I have a new backsplash.  I used to have a backsplash that was covered with the same covering the counters have.  Unfortunately, the backsplash was made out of particle board, and was probably installed in the 1960's or '70's.  Over the years, water had gotten under there and rotted the particle board, then this winter the covering started to crack in small sections.  You could hardly wipe it.  So, for those that live in newer houses, instead of one like this, which was built in the 1920's, I will tell you old houses can be aggravating at times.

The wonderful contractor, who goes to our church, fixed that backsplash when he was here with his crew to replace the wiring in the house.  Not only did he fix it, he put a wide backsplash that fits the wall-border I bought when I was trying to figure out how to fix it myself.  He had a piece of backsplash that he only had to cut a little shorter, but it was pure white, so I put that border on it, modge-podged it several times, and sprayed it twice with a sealant.

Note that the walls do still look old,
but they would have to be painted;
but, they are okay for now.
It kind of goes with the crackle look on the border.

Oh, and did I mention how I deep cleaned the counters and sink today?  I also thoroughly wiped off all the small appliances, and got the crumbs out of the toaster.  Even with the pots from supper sitting there, I loved looking at my nice clean counters and pretty backsplash. Small things do make a difference.  Having the energy to do all that is nice too.  I remember a time, that I would have been totally wrung out from 15 minutes of work, and I know I spent over an hour cleaning and fixing in the kitchen today.

I am so thankful I have more energy to clean at this time.  I have been faithfully taking my Plexus products, and using my Plexus Ease capsules and the Plexus Ease Cream when I need a little extra comfort for those muscular and joint discomforts.

This product testimonial is an individual's experiences, reflecting the real life experiences of the individual who used Plexus products. However, individual results may vary. We do not claim, nor should the reader assume, that any individual experiences recounted are typical or representative of what any other consumer might experience.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Heaviness of Clutter

Clutter is heavy.  It weights us down physically and emotionally.  It seems inescapable.
However, that is a lie meant to destroy and keep us from moving on in our lives.

So, do we have to live this way?
Do we need everything that is weighting us down and making our lives heavy 
and our souls frustrated?


We can find a better way.
The first is to trust in God to help us see exactly what to keep and not to keep.
You are not sure.  Ask Him.  It all belongs to Him anyway.

Next, trust that He will answer you in your heart.  Listen for His voice.
What does He whisper to you?

Does He tell you to trust Him even in this mess -- the mess of your heart and your home?
Does He tell you, I love you?
He does.  He really does.
He would not have sent
 His only son Jesus to die for your sins
 if  He did not love you.

So, you can ask Him to help you with this, and not feel guilty about it.
 He cares about this burden you carry, and he wants you to have peace in your heart.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Body Clutter, Cleaning House, and the Month of March

My Goal for March is to begin working on body clutter more intensely.  I plan to post more often in Loving Ourselves, Finding Ourselves, as well as on the corresponding Facebook group.  I would love to have you join me.

My plan is to eat healthier, according to what my body needs;  but, on the other hand, I do not plan to get myself in a position of feeling like I am on a diet.  However, if I want to lose the few pounds I have gained from emotional eating, which for me usually means eating more sweets and eating when I am not hungry, I need to do some things to get myself back on the right track.

That does not mean I will be bound by the scale, but I know in my heart that I need to pay more attention to what I eat and move more.  I will not tell you whether you should be on a particular food plan.  However, I am going to be finding out what I need to do, and I will share the valleys and the victories.  It's hard work, and it's so much better when that is shared.

Meanwhile, back at the hacienda, remember that cleaning house Is Exercise.  This is movement that counts, so if you are cleaning up your cluttered areas and taking care of your home, you are getting exercise!  Hooray!

Finally, I am posting 2 Habits of the Month.  One involves what we eat, and the other involves cleaning up the clutter in your home and/or office  Don't take on too much.  I don't want you to feel overwhelmed.  Do what you can do, but do not obsess about it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Last Days of the 28 Day Challenge

I did post the last part of our 28 Day Challenge on Facebook, so I hope you saw it.  If you did not, you can adjust your days and carry them into March.  

The whole point of this challenge was to encourage us to make some headway in our homes and to become more self-motivated in getting rid of our clutter and keeping things up.  Also, I wanted you to see, there is always a starting point, even when events or illness keep you from getting chores done.  Know that you can jump in, whether your house is huge mess or just a little out of shape.  

Each day is a new day.  Decide what your priorities need to be and don't give up.

Monday, February 23, 2015

5 Days left after today of the 28 Day Challenge

Hopefully, Monday has already become Bathroom Cleanup Time for you. As we do these last 6 days of the 28 Day Challenge, I hope you are baby stepping toward a schedule of cleaning that works for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Days 17 -22........28 Day Decluttering Challenge

Let's not get weary of well-doing. I know it is hard. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to get things done. Just remember, you will feel better for every baby-step taken. If my list is too hard, make a simpler, shorter goal. I don't always get the things done that I want to get done or I plan to get done. That is life. Do the best you can at the moment. Then, let it go. Do not be angry with yourself.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 16 --- February 28 Day Cleaning Challenge

Sorry I did not post for today earlier.  I was sick this weekend--doing better.  Also, I think this is a good base for starting the week, as well as approaching the weekend.  Even if you do not get to cleaning the bathroom daily, this will make it an easier job.  This is a  manageable and realistic plan that would work, even if you should happen to only get around to cleaning a bathroom once a week.  And, you can divide the job up for more than one bathroom.  Wipe one down lightly and do a heavy duty job on the other.  Mix it up.  Make it work!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 12 - February Challenge, 28 Days of Decluttering

Use a timer for this activity.  If you do not know how to use Hampers, Boxes, or Baskets for getting rid of the clutter, read my article published on September 23, 2014, I Moved Into a Smaller Home, Where do I Start?.  There is also a list of questions in this article that will help you determine what is and is not clutter.

Day 11, February 28 Day Decluttering Challenge

You may think it impossible to make a difference in the way your house looks in baby steps;  but, I know it is possible, because I did it.  Now, I have a new job, because I feel better.  Fortunately, I work out of my home, because I am in the health and wellness industry.  Please feel free to ask me about that.  My life is so very different, and I feel better than I ever thought was possible.  Even when I have an off-day, I feel better than I used to feel.  I am healthier, stronger, seldom in pain, and totally impressed with my wellness products.  Oh, I am making some money too.  I love them--really do.

Okay.  I guess I chased that rabbit long enough.  The point is I have to keep after the clutter.  I think I am a hopeless piler, but I am not willing to give up hope I can change.  Here is the graphic for today.  I am sorry it is late.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 10, 28 Day Cleaning and Decluttering Challenge

Just jump in, right where we are, or start at the beginning.
I am also pasting each challenge on my Facebook Page.

One of the purposes of this challenge is to practice daily continuing to clean the areas we are working on.  For instance, I have been doing a much better job of daily wiping down my bathroom.  If for some reason, I skip a day, it is much easier than if it is let go.  And, it takes less time, when you do these things as you go along.  For instance, if you use the bathroom, take time to wipe down the counter top when water is dripped on it.  I keep a clean washcloth folded or rolled on the counter, so that it looks decorative.   This works quite well for me, and has made my job easier.