Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Life goes on. Self-nurture works. A good night's sleep. A nourishing breakfast (still experimenting with the grits about once a week... this morning it was with fresh strawberries and chocolate, cooked in skim milk... and it turned out pretty good). A little exercise. And my "one thing", which this morning included vacuuming the master bedroom and the upstairs hall.
Why "one thing"? Besides of course dealing with the sense of being overwhelmed? It had its roots in wanting to have more free time on weekends, and not feel overwhelmed by my endless to do list which was causing me to toss in the towel at the beginning of Saturday!
Problem solving: I pondered back over the years when my son was young. How *did* we do all that we had to do to support a growing child with sports and school and all that? Well, we *used* the work days. Before and after work, there were things that we did that constituted living. School projects, transport to games, all that goes with it. Cooking meals, bedtime rituals, conversations with the family over a TV show, dish washing (we did not have a machine)... it all somehow happened. Yes, clutter built up, it was not always smooth... but we were a family and we lived life. Every day, not just on weekends.
A lot of that changed over time, particularly since I became a true "empty nester". Since I had infinite time (so goes the thought)... things could be put off for later. Then the weekend would get here, and there would be this huge pile of uncompleted tasks that keep a house going... and just me. Why do them at all?
It dawned on me, post-weight loss, during maintenance, that I needed to start living *every day* again. Enter the "one thing" concept... something my stress-cleaning sister had dropping in a conversation some holiday or other. She had read about it somewhere, and she practices it. HER home is almost always at least close to ready for an impromptu gathering.
Never mind that she's an extrovert and I'm an introvert: she has choices! She can say yes or no, based on whether she wants company, not on whether her home is in order!
So... that's the story behind my motivation: I want to be able to have that choice... and when the weekend gets here, if my "one things" have the house pretty much there, guess what? I have time to play AND a clear conscience to go with it!
Life's good. Spark on!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
and wisdom to know the difference.
This is a boundaries thing, and a heartstrings thing. How many of us are carrying more than our physical size around? Burdens of wanting to run the rest of the human race, or more likely, a selected few of them? Preserve me from trying to run the lives of others!
I am bracing myself for the next year and a half or two years. Practicing my tongue-biting skills. I am taking deep breaths and planning how I have to not give up fitness and nutrition because I will need strength to get through this. Regaining and carrying extra pounds will NOT help it. Losing fitness will NOT help it. Making myself ill by neglecting myself will NOT help it.
Last night in an IM conversation my son broke news that I had been semi-anticipating. He had previously foreshadowed that this was a possibility. His next "business trip" is a go. He starts pre-trip training next February. He has time to get one more University semester in before he goes. Then he will be gone and I will have to support his mission by handling things on his behalf, and his wife and I will once again be asked to look after one another for a year of his absence.
These things add mega-stress... I lost most of my weight while he was gone. I have maintained for a year with him back. Maybe this time I'll be able to lose the clutter from the house? My older sister is a stress cleaner. I was a stress eater, but some levels of stress are beyond what food will help. And I chose exercise and self-nurture as my stress management system.
Breathe deep: living in and of itself is a good thing! Taking care of oneself, physically, mentally, and emotionally is essential. I'm counting this as a new ... of I don't know how many, but each of them counts!
Keep praying, and Spark on!
Monday, August 15, 2011
I've written about this before, but it's worth resurrecting from time to time:
One of the great strengths of becoming fit is that more active things start being "fun". And many of us were raised with the "work first, play later" mind set. This can get in the way of being active for the purpose of health maintenance, if your "work" is not active!
I found this to be the case yesterday as part of my "one thing" was more active (closet cleaning), but the evening part was stitching up some pockets in an overcoat... very sedentary activity, but still counts towards my "one thing" goal. If I get too many of those sedentary tasks on my to do list and I get to procrastinating on them, I am subject to the temptation NOT to "play", i.e. exercise!
Well! Back to basics when that happens. As much fun as being active is, it is also ESSENTIAL to good health. And those sedentary tasks aren't getting done while you're procrastinating on them anyway! So, yes, if the body needs to move... move it, already!
And what are we back to, friends and Sparklers? (Do I hear a "balance" out there?)
Life's good... Spark on!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I had finished my latest "reading for fun" book and haven't yet gone to the library to get another. In the meantime, I picked up my current self-help read: Getting Organized, by Stephanie Winston. I have owned this book for probably ten or twelve years. Every time I pick it up, I get discouraged... it doesn't seem to apply... my life is just "too".
"Too what?" you may well ask. "What makes YOU so special, Barb? Everybody's life has its points of pain/disorder/need for improvement."
"But," I argue back, "it's EVERYTHING!" That is the point of "one thing" initiative: to by doing identify a reasonable set of values and goals related to order.
And as with weight and fitness, this area of life needs a custom solution, one that fits *me*. In fact, every area of each of our lives needs that kind of custom solution. In order to live fully, aware, awake, and appreciative of the gift that LIFE is, we need to find the way to who we are and why we are here... and it's not *just* to be healthy and fit. It's to *do something* with that health and fitness.
Having order and harmony in my home is similar... it is not just for the sake of order and harmony. It is not something rigid or perfectionist... it is to enable me to live fully and to fulfill that purpose, that reason I'm here.
This led me to start trying to apply the first step the book suggests: to write down at most six elements in my life that need to be put in order. I had trouble doing this. This is where I always get stuck. Because for the most part, my life sort of works. And yet, I am not satisfied... so... that sort of implies I'm in some level of denial about life working. "Where is the pain?" I ask myself.
After some dithering about and writing down preliminaries, I called it "good for now", closed my notebook, and moved on with my day.
In the evening, the kids came over and were playing with the kittens when the doorbell rang... and there at my door were Becky and "the girls"... her two absolutely gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointers that bring back the soul of my Diamond. Becky got to meet my son as we both came out to pet the dogs and make a fuss over them.
We didn't invite them in, as the dogs would probably have freaked out the kitties. My daughter in law stayed in with the kitties. Although, I have to say, The Prisoner was right there at the door wanting to come out and investigate those dogs!
In the course of those two events: the kids being over, and Becky dropping over, my organizing principle became clear to me, and I discovered that I have two:
1. My home is to be a place of refuge for ME, that serves me, instead of me serving it.
2. My home is to be a place of harmony and love that expresses welcome to those I choose to invite into it.
My goal is to have my home in good enough order that I feel comfortable, not embarrassed, to invite someone in who just happens to be in the neighborhood. I recognize that part of this is work on ME, psychologically... and part of it is the legwork of finding systems I can live with to keep the place in order. That means losing some clutter, for sure.
This initiative is not that different from the Sparks that lead to weight loss and maintenance... small changes, adding up, over time... preparing ahead, appreciating and giving myself credit for progress, not demanding perfection.
This morning, my hall closet, the one at the front door called to me. What better place to start: if there is no room in the closet to hang a guest's coat, what message does THAT send?
Coat, gloves, jacket... in the laundry. Pockets being stitched up. I will not be caught at the first frost THIS year. The closet floor has been swept. Several things moved to a proper place in the house... the garage, a different closet. I am ready to take some old stuff to the donation bin. I haven't done the shelves above yet... but I've certainly done my "one thing" for this morning.
And for a treat/reward, I will go to the library and get the next book on my list of "to read for fun"!
Life's good... Spark on!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Who would have thought that in two weeks they have lived at my house they would spurt like this? And of course they are expanding the territory they "claim" within the house, day by day.
Yesterday my Spark calendar told me to take a nap. Since I had the day off, I took its advice. But before I did that I got my hair done... I'd been "too busy" to get a haircut and my bangs had been straggling down to mid-glasses... not cool. I feel much less ragged now.
I got a full night's sleep last night, too. In fact, after taking my thyroid meds this morning I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep, barely getting up in time to go biking with Becky's bike group. I dashed through breakfast, dressing, etc. in 20 minutes to make it all happen. But it was a great day for a bike ride!
When I got home, I bundled those kittens into their box for a trip to the vet to have microchips inserted. They are now safely registered and if they ever escape and get lost, they will be easy to identify and return to their hu-mom.
I will end today with a birthday dinner for my daughter in law out at the place of her choice. Which she tells me will be Red Lobster. I've had the counts out there for their menu for a while, so it should be a breeze to track.
In short... life goes on, and it is good. Spark on!
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