Count Down

One thing that I need to do is get back to working on my interior Mayhem before I can start tackling the garbage that has started to take over the house again (I am beginning to feel like I am living an episode of Hoarders recently!).  August 1st I will be embarking on a 30 day self-improvement program.  It is being sponsored over at The Personal Excellence Blog and is entitled Be a Better Me in 30 Days” (30BBM).   

Here is a description from the site -

What is 30BBM About?

30BBM is an all-new challenge where we’ll be working on ourselves, our characters, our personalities – thereby creating a better us at the end of the 30 days.

So what exactly does it mean to “Be a Better Me“? It means…

  • To become a better person – One that we will be proud of. If I were to ask you to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, what score would you give yourself? Would you rate it a 10? Why/Why not? No matter how good we are, there is always room to be a better person. Through 30BBM, we will do exactly that – be a better person.
    • Weed out the traits we do not like. Some of us may often complain about traits we’re not proud of. For example, procrastination. Laziness. Pessimism. Clumsiness. Carelessness. Forgetfulness. Tardiness. Impatience. Low self-confidence. Abrasiveness. Obsessiveness. Complaining. Self-victimizing. Etc. Does any of these sound familiar to you? During 30BBM, we will explore our negative traits and work to remove them.
    • Build new, desired traits. What traits do you want to cultivate? Compassion? Assertiveness? Responsibility? Resilience? Courage? Self-Belief? Sharpness? Wisdom? Wittiness? Femininity? Masculinity? Diligence? Through 30BBM, we’ll cultivate our ideal traits.
  • To develop our character. All of us develop a certain character based on our upbringing. When we don’t grow, don’t challenge ourselves, don’t explore new grounds, our character will atrophy into nothing. We become just another person in the crowd who goes with the flow, who sways with public opinion, who has no say/idea of his/her own. It is by taking on the right experiences and consciously growing where we build our character. By taking on 30BBM, you create the opportunity to develop your character in just 1 month, compared to if you don’t participate.
  • To (re-)discover ourselves. (Re-)Discovering who we are, on a whole new level. Connecting with our inner self. Knowing why we behave the way we do. Understanding the motivations behind our actions. Such self-reflection is needed for us to improve and become better. Many of the tasks in 30BBM will get us to reflect and rediscover ourselves.
  • To cultivate universal values. No matter who we are, there are universal values that connect us as humans. These values include Compassion, Gratitude, Love, Kindness, Truth, Authenticity, Generosity, Positivity, Growth, and more. Through the 30BBM tasks, we will reacquaint with these values and cultivate them in us.
There will be daily tasks to do.  I am looking forward to some structure.  This summer has sort of killed any type of structure I had in my life.  Everything I planned to do fell through, so I ended up being a sloth!   I figure it will also set an example for the girls.   They start back to school on August 11th, so when they sit down to do homework, I will be doing mine as well.
Anyone out there want to join me on this 30 day journey of self-discovery and growth?

Trashing the TV

Turn it off

Image by nitrodog via Flickr

Yesterday I talked about some of the concepts/lifestyles that I would like to take from The Waltons and put into my own life.  One thing that I listed was getting rid of nightly TV routine.  I would like to have some traditions to replace the TV.  Here are some things that I have been thinking about introducing or doing more routinely.

~Reading a book out loud.

~Putting together a puzzle as a family

~Reading the Bible

~Playing Wii together as a family

~Praying the rosary

~Playing board games/cards

~Listening to books on CD

~Going for a walk

~Sitting on the porch and identifying sounds in the dark

Does anyone have any other suggestions?  Any suggestions for games that would interest the whole family, including adults?

Priorities

The Waltons

Image via Wikipedia

During this time I have been recuperating from surgery, I have taken some time to look at things in my life, as I alluded to in my post yesterday.   Much of my time was spent in front of the TV, as my surgery took my right arm and hand out of commission. 

I am a serious sucker for TV shows that were popular when I was growing up.  In particular, shows that portray life as I would like it to be.  One show that I never grow tired of watching is “The Waltons”.   There are so many things about that family that I would like to include in my own family. 

First, let’s start with the things that I would like to include but will probably never happen.  The chances of me living on a mountain, surrounded by family and friends is probably not going to happen.  I would be content with about 7-10 acres that contain a small woods, a stream, a large yard where I can plant a garden, and farmhouse similar to the one the Waltons lived in, but with a few more modern amenities – a couple more bathrooms,  and a gas range/oven.  Being a SAHM to a large family with a husband that worked from home is probably not in the cards either, but I can still dream. 

Now for the things that I can incorporate into my family.  Slowing down.  Being involved in every activity at school and church is not something that our family must do.  Family dinners.  There is absolutely no reason that my family cannot sit down to dinner at the table, say grace and share our day with each other at least 5 times a week.  Turning off the TV.  A lot of people will say that watching TV is the modern version of listening to the radio.  I sincerely disagree.  The TV is something that seems to suck my children into it.  There are many other activities that we can be doing – listening to music, listening to books on CD, reading books out-loud to each other, playing games with each other.  All of those activities encourage interaction with each other.  Choosing activities that support our Christian beliefs.  There are a lot of worthwhile activities that my children can get involved in through school.  But there is an edge to all of them – fund-raising, competition, and interacting with lots of children who don’t share our value of respect.  I am not saying that I want to totally shelter my children from these things, but I think elementary school is a bit too young for it to infiltrate every part of their lives.  Talking to my children.  I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the day, bouncing from activity to activity, getting homework done, getting chores done, I realize that I have not really talked to my girls.  I am missing golden opportunities to get to know them, to help guide them to follow Christ, to become compassionate, respectful adults. 

So, things in my house need to change.  No they are going to change.  Step by step I am going to reclaim my family.  I am going to take a step back in time and enjoy the simple things.  It is not going to be easy.  It is not going to be without some withdrawal pains.  But I think my family will be the richer for it.

Wacky Wednesday – Goals, Gifts and Memories

Goals

Yesterday I posted about a new goal that I am starting.  I even bragged that I had started a new habit.  Do you know how I know I have a new habit?  Do you even want to know?  Sure you do.

I use an online program called HabitForge.  It is a free program that allows you to set up your desired habit.  The program will then send you an e-mail each day asking if you followed-thru the day before.  It then has a little diagram showing how well you are doing.   I am one that loves to mark things off (to-do lists are my specialty, though I do have issues actually working them).  Being reminded each day keep me on track.  At the end of 21 days you have the option of continuing getting reminders for the next 3 weeks or ending it.

Gifts

No, this part is not about Christmas, or even about gifts for just me.  This is about the gift we can give our children – the gift of our time.   Kat over at Inspired to Action wrote about how to be a rock star to your children with 30 minutes and pink tablecloth.

Then she asked for readers to tell her things we do to become rock stars to our own children.  I submitted a few ideas.  Not only did she use them in her next article, Be A Rockstar…Today, but she even mentioned my name!  I feel like a celebrity!  She has 128 different ways to be a rockstar with your kids.  Check it out!  It really does not take much – but it means so very much to your child, and to your own heart.

Memories

The rest of this post is devoted to my youngest daughter and her First Mom.  Today our family celebrates that God blessed the world with the gift of our youngest daughter.  It is a bittersweet day for me and probably for her as she grows up.   I pray for everyone who ever was and is currently in her life. (Written last year on her birthday)

Misty weather in the low to mid 50s.

No indoor heat.

Labor pains.

The final push.

A girl – a healthy, perfect baby girl – lots of dark hair, little button nose, chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes.

A decision to be made within the next 48 hours. Not enough time to know who this little person was who had been growning inside her for 9 months.

Did she want to know this little person or was it easier to not know?

Does she cry for her little girl as her little girl cries for her years later?

Does she wonder about the woman who is raising her child as I wonder about her?

Does she wonder how her daughter tilts her head when thinking, or how she skips when she on her way to do something, or her ability to figure out math problems and sound out words?

Does she wonder what her giggle sounds like when her neck is nuzzled?

Does she share a love for all things pink and lavender with her daughter?

Today, as we celebrate with milk shakes after church, our table will filled not only with those of us laughing, but also by the shadow people – the people who gave her the precious gift of life, the people who live in the background only because we don’t know who they are and how to draw them out of the shadows and into the light of the love of our family, but more importantly, into the light of her eyes. They will probably forever live in the shadows because of circumstances beyond their control and our control – the victims of the politcal machine that controls the fate of so many in EBs birth country.

So today I send out prayers for the family who has no idea who this child has become, for the family that had to make a decision that I cannot even hope to comprehend from my warm and comfortable house in a country that does not have the same social, political, and filial pressures as theirs. I pray for peace in their hearts and in the heart of our little girl, for while she lives in my house, calls me Mama, loves me as unconditionally as I love her, she is not just mine, but theirs as well. I will say prayers of thanksgiving that they chose to bring this little girl into the world when her life could easily have been snuffed out.

Our little girl has so much to offer this world of ours. She is incredibly smart. She has a wickedly funny sense of humor. She is sassy. She is loving and giving. She is physically beautiful – saucy eyes, soft hair, long, strong limbs. She has a gentle heart, though it is often hidden by her childish desire to ALWAYS get her way. She loves to avoid manual labor, but will work for hours on an art project. She knows how to push her sister’s buttons and drive her crazy, but will staunchly defend her if someone is picking on her. There is so much of all 4 of her parents in her it is impossible to separate the characteristics that each of us have given her. Together we are creating and molding such a sensitive, wonderful young girl.

So when the flicker of the candles’ light illuminate EB’s face as she makes her wish over her cake, I know I will catch a fleeting glimpse of those people standing in the shadows. Maybe one day the light will reach far enough that they can step out of the shadows and we can fully share and enjoy this miracle that is our daughter.

 

 

Blog plan

Gentaur schedule

Image via Wikipedia

OK -
I have decided to add some structure to my blog, thus also to my life.

I am going to have a schedule of topics each week.  Those will be the meat and potatoes of the blog, but I will also add some spontaneous posts as things occur or if I need to vent or toot my own horn.

So here is the schedule.  It may be tweaked as time goes on, but I think it covers a lot of what I need to contemplate in my life.

Motivation Monday -

Mondays I will offer up a quote/reflection/Scripture verse/etc as well as my own reflection on it. It may be be totally random, or it may be something that I need to address that week.  But it will always be thought-provoking and motivational.

Trashy Tuesday -

This is the day that I will talk about decluttering.  I will link up with articles that I have found helpful.  I will also talk about what my current decluttering project is and the progress I am making.

Wacky Wednesday -

Wednesdays are going to be a “surprise”.   I may go more in-depth about something I am already talking about on another day.  I may post a “funny” about something.  I may post a recipe that I found.  But you never quite know what I am going to writing about until you open the post!

Thoughtful Thursday -

Thursdays are my day to explore what has made me into the person that I am today.  It will be self-reflective.  I will also explore ways to grow.  I hope to learn a lot about myself, but I also hope that other people will share in the comments and feel like they were able to learn more about themselves.  Of course, I may be just so weird that no one can relate to me, too!

Family Friday -

Fridays are going to be all about family life.  I will evaluate how my own family is doing and look for ways to make my family grow closer.  I may post craft sites for kids, games that we love, plans for the weekend, goals for my family, or anything else that relates to the relationships within my family.

I am setting up a poll.   While this blog is about making myself accountable for changing my perspective, and it is about using that perspective change to find the gifts in my life, I also want to keep it stimulating enough that readers will keep coming back.  Please fill out the poll and also let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Status Check

Status check  -

Morning routine

Get up and in the shower

Do hair (now I have added make-up to the routine so that I can run out the door at a moment’s notice, and also so that I look good for hubby)

Get Fully Dressed

Eat Breakfast

Take morning medications

Have now been successful for 19 straight days!

Exercise

purposefully move for 15 minutes a day

This does not include routine movement like going to the fridge, the facilities, etc.

I have chosen to not try to do this 7 days a week.  I am aiming for 5 days a week.  Sundays will be a “rest” day, where I don’t have to think about it at all.  If I do it, great.  If I don’t, I am not going to stress about it.

Yesterday was kind of iffy.  It was movement, it was purposeful, but I am really stretching it to say that I got any benefit from it.  Today I spent with a 16#, 4 month old who was still fussy from his shots.  Needless to say I did a lot of slow walking, but I was carrying him.  So I am going to count that. Last week I got 3 days in where I fully did some very purposeful, continuous movement.

I am going to see how this week works before I add anymore goals into the mix.   I am proud of the strides that I am making.  When I started this I really doubted my ability to do it.  Now I am excited and know that I can continue to move forward.  I have found that while this journey is hard, it is much more rewarding than I thought it was going to be.  I have also found that by slowing down, analyzing why I am making a particular goal, and keeping them small but meaningful, I can make get farther than I ever dreamed!

Half Way There

I am half way to establishing a habit!  I can’t believe that I have gotten up and taken a shower and eaten breakfast 10 days in a row!  Normally there would have been at least one day that I would hang out in my jammies during this 10 stretch.  But not this time!  This is honestly an amazing feat for me!

I have also managed to keep 2 of my 3 tables in my living room clutter free for 4 weeks.  I have still not managed to attack that one table, but I will get there!  Please don’t ask me what the rest of my house looks like.  It is not pretty,  But I have 2 clean tables!  We have even managed to sit down and eat dinner at the table as a family, with the TV off, at least 3 times a week in the last 4 weeks.  That does not include any times that we have eaten out together.  So I am making some progress in getting my priorities straight.

Since I am at the halfway point with my first goal, I am adding another.  This may seem like a puny goal to many people, but to me, who absolutely does not like to sweat, it is a starting point.  My new goal is to do at least 15 minutes of purposeful movement each day.  That does not include walking to the bathroom, going downstairs to get something to drink or eat, etc.  This is 15 minutes of movement just to move.

Now that I am actually making progress, I have to slow myself down from trying to jump on top of more goals.  I want to slow down and be methodical and purposeful in my goal selection so that I don’t defeat myself.  If I get other things done, great.  That is a terrific bonus.  But I don’t want to set too many goals and end up setting myself up for failure.

So, as London Tipton would say “Yay Me!”

Brenda Song on set of The Suite Life

(Oh dear, I have been watching too much Disney Channel with my girls!)

Morning Goal

I am still getting up.

Not always quite as early as I plan.

But I have gotten up and taken a shower and eaten breakfast each morning since I have started this challenge.  I am going much slower than the “guide” suggests, but I know me.  If I really push it I will give up.  Once I have done this for a full week, then I will add a little more to my morning routine.   One thing, though, that I really need to work on is my evening routine – as in getting to bed at a decent hour!  That may be a challenge, since I am such a night owl.
I have started looking at why I want to do this challenge.  Is it really something that I want to do?  I have mixed feelings about it.  I don’t want to change because my body’s natural rhythm is being a night owl.  But for my family, which nourishes my very being, I need to do this change.  I need to be able to meet their emotional needs with a glad heart.  I need to be able to grab those precious moments when they want to spend time with me.  Yes, my pillows are friendly, but they can’t compare to a child who wants to snuggle, or play a game, or go over homework.  Those are my amazing gifts.  So in order to receive those gifts, I have to give a gift.  The gift of myself, which requires change.

Pillows are so friendly!

3.365 - Not a morning person

Well, it has been several days now.  I will tell you that getting up is not getting much easier.  My pillows are so friendly in the morning.  They cry out for me not to leave them.

I am committed to doing this, though!

Pam In Missouri commented:

Did you see what was on the ITA (Inspired to Action) site yesterday? I love her comment about the morning not needing to be the

main time for praying, exercising, or planning. I struggle with an idealized version of what mornings should look like versus what really happens for this night owl/non-morning person.

I was very glad to have seen that post, as well.  I am, by nature, a night-owl.  But I really do need to change that for the well-being of my family.  The hardest part is trying to force myself to get to bed on time.   I also have to remember that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I have been doing this less than 7.

I am headed down to help get my oldest motivated to finish her homework and then spend some time with Hubby, then off to bed on time!