Monday, Why I love Mondays.

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MONDAY, MY FAVORITE DAY!!!

Monday is a day many dread.  It seems to some all falls onto their head on a Monday.  Being overwhelmed, the day can be unproductive, stressful, depressing, and it does not have to be this way.

About ten years ago I met a refreshing person whose name is Annemarie.  A perky blond whom looked like Meg Ryan.  I invited her to do something with me for the upcoming Monday and she said no, any day but Monday.  I asked her why not Monday.  She told me that was her day for herself.  She used Monday to get rest, to clean, do the laundry, to do gardening and lay in the sun.  I was so impressed that I have reserved Monday ever since.

A DAY OFF: If you have a choice in the matter.  If you can afford to work four days instead of five, why not take Monday off from your employment.  Many take Friday off by choice viewing it as a vacation day.  Yet, Monday may be an even better day to take off instead of Friday because it may be more fulfilling.  Everyone else in household is back to work and school.  Do not view your day as a day to Care Less or be carefree.  By carefully considering how you will spend your time on this special day, your life can take a change for the better.

Monday at home could mean an extra hour of needed sleep, getting in a relaxing walk, a trip to the library or museum by yourself, meeting a friend for lunch, doing your bills, or yard work.  For balance in my life, getting chores done in the form of a quick clean makes a difference for the whole week.  I do not mean a slave day, more like a day of time blocks adhered to.  Having attention deficit, time blocks help me to focus without the temptation to multitask.  If I multitask then my mind is unaccountable and takes flight.  The day is gone.  This can still happen to me when I feel weak due to health problems. Yet, I strive to do as much as I can on Monday because for me it is a sanity keeper.

A time block for extra rest like sleeping in an extra hour, and an hour break in the middle of the day.  A block for phone calls, A block for laundry which during that time while washing and drying are going on I can clean the bathrooms and or phone calls.  A Block for quick clean which is 12 minutes per room.  (my quick clean is ten minutes to do a quick pick up, gather what does not belong in the room including trash and set at doorway, wipe surfaces quickly, then timer goes off and I quickly sweep or vacuum. Then on to next room and set timer for ten minutes).  (The Slob Sisters have a great book about this and The Fly Lady, for years I read and reread. They helped me so much.  It seems so hard for me to read anymore books yet I will never forget that their programs are fantastic).  Then I run and put doorway items away as fast as possible.  Time for a break when all done.  A block for yard work or errands.  The blocks can be minutes long or a couple of hours long.  Use the timer.  If the timer goes off before your done then one must determine if another day of a few minutes will make a difference or if a few minutes now will make a big difference.  This is not the day to get caught up in trying to get each room done as a perfectionist would.  Each week of this activity will make a few weeks worth of efforts a visible accomplishment.

I like Monday because if I get my Monday work done, the whole week is much smoother.

What I like to do on Mondays.  First, I sleep in as long as I need to, with chronic health problems a lack of sleep contributes to my flare-ups.  Secondly, I start the laundry  and make my phone calls.  I do a deeper clean up in the kitchen.  Monday happens to be my deeper clean kitchen day.  While wash is going I clean my bathrooms.   A quick pick-up and sweep-up through the house remedies the mess the weekends create. I wash towels every Monday, and if possible I may get a jump ahead by doing them on Sunday night.

Setting up my schedule for the week on Sunday night helps me to know what phone calls are vital for me to make.  Doing my phone calls by 11:00a.m. really takes the pressure off the rest of the day.  Over the week, I pay attention to whose anniversary, graduation, or achievement has come about that I can on Sunday nights or Monday write out these cards and send them.  My husband seems to enjoy running errands, and I like being home on Monday.  Emotionally, I really like being home on Monday because life seems so busy on the weekends, the downtime to get things done is precious.  I rarely accept an invitation to leave my house on a Monday.  Hanging my clothes out to dry is another thing I have done for decades and I like to do if the weather permits.  Cooking a good meal and doing a little meal prep to make the next couple dinners for the week easier is important.  Eating a little lighter during the day helps me to maintain my focus and lessen the burden on my internals.  A walk or isometric exercises refreshes me.

At 1:30 pm. on Monday is a PBS station sewing show called Sew it All.   I like to stop and enjoy this show and put my legs up.  It is only a half hour and because I enjoy sewing it is a treat to watch.  On Wednesday, Sew Easy comes on, I will tape it to watch later.  If sewing or painting or something else is your interest, give yourself  a 90 minutes time block to work on a project, and then that evening your free to get back to it if you can.

Filling my Monday with practical efficient activities sets up my week  for greater productivity and less stress.  Whether it is every Monday or only a once a month Monday, having this day to catch up on domestics, relaxing activities, yard work, gardening, and phone calls makes for a better start to the week.  It also is important to avoid time wasters on this day.  Unless the errands are vital for the week to go smooth try to keep most of the day to yourself at home.  Beware of Time Wasters such as gabbing on the phone, texting, internet cruising, or television watching.  This day is a day for yourself to reset and restore.  With an extra hour of rest, getting a home in order, car cleaned, laundry done, gardening, essential phone calls and bill paying your investing in a more peaceful life.  The week and month will go smoother.  The evening of Monday is a good time to be refreshed by going to bed early for an extra hour of rest before resuming regular activities on Tuesday.  Monday’s never get me … .

 

 

 

When a size Large is too small…

Five Things I can Do to reach my weight loss goal.

Doesn’t life seem that way sometimes?.. Everything is off, nothing seems to work right, and nothing fits.  Efforts seem futile, like today I was putting the onions in the ground to grown when I was done, I looked at my nice small shallow rows with the onions planted, when suddenly J.J. my Sylvester cat decides to jump in, lay there, pull and chew on them.  I urged him to leave the patch and he dug a hole as if that would be the perfect spot to do his evacuation.  I turned the hose on sprinkle mode and he left out of the area quite quickly.

I love the clothes in the Robert Redford line of Sundance.  His catalog features such beautiful clothes and goods, superior quality, and the price to match.  Sadly, I just cannot afford these wonderful items.  I came across one linen blouse, just gorgeous, and a size large.  Last year I wore a medium.  For less than $20.00, I received this lovely blouse.  You can imagine my feeling’s when I discovered it is just a tight fit, is it the companies fault?

Last week, I was attempting to try on a dress when my husband was standing there looking at me.  I said to him, “I am going to try this on…” trying to give him a hint it is a good time for him to move on to other rooms and activities.  He stood there, still, and then he said, “From the looks of it, it might be a tight fit!”.  I told him to just get on the move.  I put the dress on, and I could not button it.  Sadly, the stinker was right.

It is no fault of any clothing company, it is, just what it is, OBESITY.  How did I get here, and why.  When I was young, I was too skinny and I could not gain a pound.  Now, I patrol all I put in my mouth and it is an accruing situation.

At 215 pounds, it seems to be a losing battle, as I steadily gain.  Now, off the antibiotics, I feel I can lose some.  A friend said, “How do you go about losing 90 LBS?”.  My response, “How else, a pound at a time”.  She is sweet and very encouraging about anything I want to do.  She respects my needs for projects and is always interested.  So, losing this 90 lbs is my newest project.

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Filet, Sweet Potatoes, an Asperagus

What is a project without a plan?….How soon can I realistically achieve my goal?  What can I do today that is simple or small that will help me be equipped to reach the goal?

  1. Faith:  Have Faith and conviction that the idea, goal or project is worthy to accomplish. 
  2. Acknowledge:  Acknowledge the Healthy habits and routines that are already practiced as beneficial.  Feel Good about what we already have right!
  3. Implement:  When the most beneficial plan of action is decided upon, get to it.
  4. Tenaciousness:  A friend of mine whom is slender is very tenacious about her diet.  She is sensitive as to how different foods affect her.  She does not let social gatherings affect her feelings about the importance of sticking with her eating plan.  I am a person swayed too easily by my emotions.  I forget my diet if a lovely dessert appears in my mind.  It is time to pull out my “Instead Of:” list. (I previously wrote about the power of Instead Of)  Instead of the banana split, I will work on a painting.  Or take a walk .  Being Tenacious with our goal is protecting our investment of heart, effort, etc.  Aggressively seeing it thru to the finish is what is required to have a successful outcome in the shortest time possible.
  5. Hum:  People whom hum often times do so because of a happy tune or a happy heart.  Feel good about all the baby steps we stick to.  If, we think about how far we have to go, we may give up.  If we feel good about following our small achievements.  We will be successful in achieving our goals.

What goal do you want to achieve?

  1.  We need to write the goal at the top of a nice piece of cardstock.
  2. Break down three categories titled of types of actions needed to accomplish goal.  For example:  Weight loss of 90 lbs.  The four categories for this are 1: Diet, 2: Exercise, 3:  Weekly Positive affirmations,  4:  Attitude check and Progress.
  3. As I look at the first category, I will write down just three things I want to do for my diet, whether it is Lower my carbs to 25 per meal, or have two cups of vegetables each day, or have 350 calories for breakfast as well as lunch, then 450 calories for dinner with just 100 calories for a snack.  Be specific.  Whereas, the Exercise category may be cardio for 35 minutes every other day, with biometrics on the other days.  The Category of  Weekly Positive Affirmations are statements that give a person courage, truthful statements that are considered several times a day, whether a reminder put on cell phone or written on a paper or something included in prayer.  A positive weight loss affirmation for me is:  I do not need to be heavy to be strong, I do not need this fat as a protection.  I am strong and safe anytime.  (with Jehovah’s help).  or another is:  I like caring for myself with the best food possible. Each person knows their own insecurities.  One of mine was, If I was heavy, I would not have to deal with unwanted attention.  Turned out, even while heavy, I still get bothered.  A lot of people have this problem, either they bother others or they are getting bothered.  I am learning to put my hand up in a strong manner when I do not like what is coming my way.  This is difficult for me, but it is becoming my manner.  And the last category is Attitude Check and Progress.  Write down the weight each week, what is my attitude that week gone by, and what good thing I can say to myself to keep motivated.  If I gained three pounds, checking my attitude like:  I have been in the dumps so I ate cookies and skipped my workout all week. Then my new Affirmations will be born out of that.  Example:  After a healthy early dinner and walk, I am going to the bookstore and checking in the bargain section for a craft book.  Or, I am going to arrange to meet a couple of friends to go on a walk with me on some local trails.  Affirmation: I am not waiting for good to happen in my life, I am inviting happy activities into my life each day.

It is time to practice FAITH in our daily life.  We must keep having Faith and Conviction in the beneficial outcome of our project.  We have to Acknowledge the good things we already do right,

in order to have a healthy mind frame.  Implementing our plan of action gives us the power and action through habits and routines. After we come up with our plan of action we must keep it visible in order to implement our new plan.   The Tenacity we exercise because we see how worthy our goal is, we must be Tenacious in sticking to our plan of action.  We can Hum because we know we are right now fulfilling our goal.

 

 

The Harvest in our Life.

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Alabama Cotton Harvest  photographer, Gina Rydin

The Harvest in our Life.  A farmer knows when to plant his fields.  His routine and schedule must be diligently adhered to if he is to recieve the bounty that is anticipated.  A farmer cannot be happenstance regarding his goal.  The planning, is exacting.  A farmer whom procastinates is a poor destitute farmer.  A farmer whom waits for the perfect day, or perfect conditions is a farmer whom will not reap as others in his community.

How is the Harvest in our life?  Can we reflect a farmer’s attitude with our habits, routines, short and long term goals?

 

The Last Quarter. We can make meaningful changes in our life.

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Chili with Cheddar Chive Scones          by Gina at fatfitanfab.com

October, is the start of our last quarter as we are near the end of another year. Sometimes we can feel time is running out, what can we do with the time left?

People can get so wrapped up in exterior activities whether extracurricular activities for their kids, holidays, politics, that just living life has lost it’s meaning.  Being overly committed and obligated can cause us to be well-spent emotionally, financially, and with our time.

Routines are a practice that may not always be honestly rewarding.  If it is our practice to watch television for three or four hours before bed so as to relax it is a choice.  Is there a more rewarding choice?  My husband bought a lathe for woodworking at a yard sale.  Brock, 23, after work has been coming home from work making beautiful cups and bowls.  He is enjoying it and it is rewarding.  Is there an activity whether creative or purposeful that would be beneficial to do a night or two each week?

I am naturally a clutter bug, yet, my floors are clean.  Piles, piles still occupy the perimeter of many spaces in our home.  How they get there, where they come from, I can never see it happening, yet, I am the culprit.  As I am practicing better habits, not adding to the problem, it still happens.  I have been working on an area outside my painting area or artist corner.  It seems my creative forces has emerged from the room and congested beyond the room.  Is there an excuse?  I have an empty cabinet in there, and drawers half full, and the books put up on top of the cabinet.  These are all holdups and blocks to my creativity.

In the evening I have been putting on good music and working in there a few minutes, turning it into a real artists retreat.  Privately, I am a bit turned off by the junky furniture.  It is all like new, it is just pressed board stuff you could get cheap.  I love good wood.  If it was made the same of walnut, or cherry, as you can see, I am a brat.

I feel so much appreciation for this area I have, when there have been times in my life where I did not have an artists den.  So, I want to occupy the space since my secret is out about the furniture which looks new.  I am ashamed of myself for such notions.  That represents life too, maybe we have notions that hold us up.

“If only I were thin I would” do this or wear that;  If only I had an exercize machine or a membership;  if only someone loved me I would do this; if only my home was like this I would invite people over; if only my mate would  buy me flowers or be more romantic.  “If Only”!!!.  We can be set back with thinking like this.

An exaggerated answer to the “If Onlies.”  My son says this is an oxymoron.  There is no plural to the concept of only.  He could be correct, but for purposes he may be slow to understand, he still says we have a ton of “if only” in our life.  It is plural no matter how you put it.  John says, “If only the dog didn’t stop to crap in the road I would not be late to work.”  As we debate on proper or improper use.  I would still like to make a long awaited for point.

If only I were thin I would wear more chic outfits.  When I was in my low 130’s I fretted because I was not in my low 120’s,  then prednisone gave me an extra 45lbs that compounded the problem, ashamed I wore thrift store duds.  I wouldn’t buy the close I really liked because I did not deserve it til I lost some weight.  Now, at 205 lbs and on antiobotics and other meds my weight is still going up despite my efforts.  I am buying and have been buying new garments that are tasteful and comfortable.  I feel better no longer stressing over this “If Only” business causes years to go by wasted.

If only, is a matter of procrastination.  It makes our excuse sound valid.  Invite friends to your home even though it is not perfect.  It they are your friend they will pitch in an help with no judgement or just have a good time.

Do not wait for a bouquet of flowers and romance.  Buy the flowers yourself, and buy a new tie or dress socks for your man, and give a card expressing appreciation for all his hardwork and love.  Gifts are gifts, not a matter of exchange.  Do not wait for romance, create it.  If they miss the point of our ovature at least they know we love them.  They likely need us to romance them more than we need them to.  Just remember, when our mate works long days, their minds may not be thinking about romance, their romance is their sacrifice going out working to put the roof over our head and food on the table.  It is a valid gift that is not appreciated often enough. It can be more stressful or even degrading then we realize for them at work.  Let them come home to a big smile, a warm hug, with respect and appreciation.  We may be the only thing that puts joy an motivation in our mates life.  Women whom work like this benefit the same as men do by the unexpected gifts, or words of appreciation.

So, instead of over extending ourselves needlessly, let us look at our life.. can we see what routines or habits can be modified so as to bring greater joy and accomplishment in our life.  By switching things up a couple nights a week.  Whether by inviting others over, doing extra cleaning, getting ahead on our taxes, going for early evening walk, doing a craft or hobby we enjoy.  We can examine our life by finding ways to destress, and declutter.

We have someone come in an clean once a week doing things that are hard for me.  It is a necessity. And it helps me to get more done.

How about a trip to the zoo before it gets too cold, or the museums, or the library.  Let us make use of this month to get a few things back on track.  We will have pride an joy instead of depression.

This is a very stressful quarter for many. Slow down, save your money, enjoy the great outdoors. End the year doing the things you promised yourself you would be doing when the year started.

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Live now! Do not wait to LIVE your life.

Does time pass you by?  Life’s responsibilities keep us busy enough.  Yet, a sneaky thief may be invading your life.  It steals valuable time that could be used for more rewarding activities.

Consider these ten rewarding activities, then find out the thief you may be mindlessly aiding.

1. Productivity:  Productivity requires time set aside to reach goals. Using our time wisely gives us the reward of something tangible.

2. PERSONAL ORGANIZATION:  order of our enviroment, finances, and diet require good habits that are routine.  Instead of seeking fulfillment from shallow pursuits which take money an time.  Using our time wisely to get things done causes us to feel more accomplished.  When our enviroment is organized an less cluttered we are free to be creative. 

3.  Exercize:  making time for a daily walk or going for an exercize class a few times a week is very satisfying. This investment pays off in a few ways including the possibility of staving off weightgain, controlling our blood sugar levels, and having our clothes fit better.  A workout three times a week can help us maintain.  A workout 4-6 times a week can help us to lose weight with a sensible diet.  

4.  Food we take in:  Well planned meals can give us energy, save money, and improve our health. The other day I saw my thin friend eating a salad while she was sitting in her car waiting on someone.  I was impressed by her forethought. Another friend whom is losing weight packs a little cooler an takes it everywhere, when we meet at the donut shop she is snacking from her pack.  

5.  LIMITS:   People feel so threatened by LIMITS which are boundaries. Limits can be a protection.  Excess of anything can be costly.

6.  Social Activities:  Making time to do something with your mate or children is essential for healthy bonds.  Inviting aquaintences, extended family members, etc., to go to the zoo or museum can build lasting relationships.

7.  Take time for yourself to replenish:  Daily Bible reading and prayer have done much to empower a person to make healthier choices in their life.

8.  Plan Ahead:  By having a yearly, quarterly, bi-monthly, monthly, and weekly goal plan can help make life more rewarding.  Including areas just discussed in this article in your plan can change your life.

9. Living your Dream:  What have you dreamed of being or doing?  Whether it is learning carpentry skills, educating yourself about photography, learning to do great sauces and gravies from scratch. It is important to view these as relaxing activities so they will no longer be put off to imagined better circumstances that may never come.  I did not know I would be in a car accident that would make it so I could never play golf. I sent my children for Golf lessons, I should have been getting them too. You may be waiting to write that book or take the cooking class or joing the crochet-knitting group at the senior citizen group.  

10.  Sleep:  Try to get some sleep on a schedule.  Consider your natural circadian clock.  Are your activities circumventing your natural rhythm?

The thief revealed:  Time, how you spend it.  Do you imagine your relaxing is coming home to watch the television?  Playing games on your pad or cruising the net for a couple hours.  Messaging is the greatest interupter.  I saw a person having a nice run whom stopped to check a message.  If we are cleaning the garage or doing housework, writing, cooking, exercizing, crafting, doing personal bible reading, or enjoying social activities we are rewarded by protecting our focus.  More people complain of problems focusing which interpheres with accomplishment and satisfaction.  Electronics have their purpose, yet, without limits can bring our lives to ruin.  We overspend, we have no time to exercize, eating less mindfully, looking at our phones during a fine meal provoking jealousy, our domestics are harder to manage, and taking time to learn a craft or hobby becomes a distant thought.  Do not let an aid become a thief in your life.  See what adjustments may improve your life.

February, Is this Leap Year? I am a day late. We have eleven Months to live fabulously.

We are already in the second month of 2016, and we have eleven months to get into the practice of living Fabulously despite.

The sad fact is all endure something.  Employment, family, friendships, health, fitness, financial, are all things that affect our attitude and outlook.  Things occur that we have no control over, tragedies can happen to anyone and do.  Thankfully, some or most of these things can be short in duration in comparison to our whole life.  Yet, this does not cure the present devastation or to minimize overall long-term loss.  I am sad for anyone that is suffering.  May your prayers be answered and that you receive comfort.

The Good News is that there is much we can control.  As you realize, this blog is named fatfitanfab.com.  Sometimes, we cannot control being fat, or other things.  We are in control of more than we realize.  We can be mentally and physically fit as we practice routines and habits that will result in us being fab.

This year, we will consider and practice many things that will add joy to our lives and to those around us.  Check back to fatfitanfab.com often to learn along with me.

I have been working on my goal of walking at least five times a week.  As I have been dealing with a serious infection and inflammation of my left calf and lower leg for a few weeks, I do not feel well.  Yet, although last week I went five days without a walk, I am on track again.  I have gone for a walk the last three days.  At this time, I am only cooking, doing laundry, and picking up after my self.  This infection has to do with the lupus and rheumatoid I endure.  The fevers are grueling and the antibiotics cause me to feel I must stay close to home.   It is a surprise I am not knitting as I am sitting, elevating the legs.  Just do not feel like it when everything hurts.  I loved the movie about Toni Braxton whom also suffers Lupus.  Seeing that really helped me to understand how I am at times, and now I will not feel so ashamed of feeling that way.

Friends have been a source of encouragement.  I appreciate the visitors whom share such uplifting things.  Friends stopped by this morning and it was great visiting with them.

What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to my flowers coming up and I am planning my garden.    My friends do sewing challenges with me.  You would think I like to sew.  It is exciting picking the fabric, style, and making it.  I am not adept with most things, and if you remember one of my first articles “Toil, Toil, and it has all gone to Pots”.  I still have all kinds of discouraging mishaps that I call ‘Hold Ups’.

How come I feel Fabulous despite all this going on?  I must tell you the truth, I get down about things I cannot change.  There are times I am overwhelmed and feel I will never get a mastery of My Life Management Skills.  I am happy and I feel fabulous because I am learning the practice of a rewarding life.   Routines and Habits make a difference.   This year I have already lost ten pounds, and 15 since October of 2015.  Now that I am on thyroid medicine it seems a bit easier to lose.  That is something to celebrate.   I finally sewed the buttonholes on my Suit Jacket I made for the convention last month.  A sewing machine my friend loaned me worked.  Yae!  The meals have been delicious.  Do you like to cook?  Think about, Are there new aspects to cooking you would like to incorporate, like making salads a few times a week to go with your meals?  I feel fabulous because as long as we can plan, we live to plan and we plan to live.  While we live, we must plan.  A friend said to me a couple weeks ago, What projects are you working on now? As long as I have known you, you have had projects going on.  She is right.  I likely crossed my eyes at her because I could not help but think of all the projects I did not complete.  I will not think about that, because I have been practicing finishing projects and I have finished so many it just feels Fab.

One goal I have for Feb is Food Conservation.  That will be in my next article.  What goals do you have?  A positive attitude is another goal.  My friend Mattie said to me on Monday to give yourself a little cheer after you complete something, a real feel good event.  So after I washed a load of laundry and put away, I said, Good Job! Well done!  After my walk I did another Cheer.  My friend Mattie is a super influence on me.  Whom says cheering is only for a football game.  Let us cheer each other on and ourselves.

Challenge, Make life more rewarding An get a new ATTITUDE

Take a moment and look in the dictionary, like I looked in the Merriam-Webster, The word, Challenge.  I just never thought of all the definitions for this one word.

Challenge, such as, prove your point. Or, As in a dual, or other forms of defending yourself or a cause, or a decision.

I like the application they made in their dictionary on-line that helps make the point of my article.  I have my article lined up and I love to look up a word occasionally.  To use the dictionary reaffirms what I believe it to mean, or it rounds out the meaning of the word and all the uses and applications, thus making it so I can be completely confident.  Can you make use of the dictionary more often?

The application that the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary said ” It’s a game that will challenge a child’s imagination.” , and the second was “The work doesn’t challenge him anymore, and he’s often bored.”

In life, there are times that a person goes through the motions of living almost habitually.  Almost with dread approaching the same routine, and stagnation has set in.  Where is the optimism and joy?  Motivation, what is motivation?  As a person commented on my blog, they feel they hesitate too much and too long before attending to something.  I will have to talk about that later, as I am often guilty of the same.  Missed opportunities is all I will say about that at the moment.

Motivation, look it up in the dictionary please!  When life is not stimulating and your caught up in the same old worries and pressures it is time for a challenge.

When we were children, remember when we would do the Library Summer Reading Program?  We had to read so many books during the summer and that was the challenge, not only did it keep us out of our parents hair, it was truly beneficial.  It kept us busy and hopefully out of trouble as our minds were lost in the plot of the story.  We worked at reading our books and we were proud of ourselves as we achieved and fulfilled the challenge.  Challenges can be healthful and enjoyable.

Think of things that you previously enjoyed and let go of because of the responsibilities in life.   Years just continue going by.  Is there something you have been interested in and just have not pursued?  Here is a brief list:  gardening, painting, reading, spiritual interests, exercise, dance, education, golfing, community events, operas, orchestras and live bands.  There is also crocheting, knitting, writing, woodwork, weightloss, personal organization, improving your finances, container gardening, visiting museums, bowling, spring cleaning, better posture, remodeling, cleaning the basement, attic or garage.  There are life changing challenges such as improving your image, updating your appearance, improving your marriage, enjoying your family life.  The list goes on and on, and maybe you can make yourself a list.

Have a wall calendar or a personal calendar just for your challenges and keeping track of yourself.

Steps to successful challenges.

1.  Time period for your challenge must be established.  Will it be a 14 day, 30 day, six week, eight week or a 90 day challenge?  What day or evening each week can you devote to achieving your challenge?  If it is a physical fitness goal, is there three to five days a week you can devote to this new routine?  Once the time period and days are established then what can you do to feel the rewards of working on your new challenge?

2.  Preparation, if you want to get in shape but you have been putting off getting the membership, get signed up.  If you want to paint, then set up a corner or room with all your supplies.  If you need supplies you can contact the local senior citizens center in your area and sometimes supplies are left there by ones that are no longer interested and they may give them to you, and they may let you join them for the classes to get you going with your artwork.  Put things in motion now.  Get out all your supplies, go buy what you need, and set a time aside for when you can work on it.  My friend Diana, she has special needs children she adopted, and on Tuesday, one day she is alone at home, she paints pictures, it is relaxing and satisfying for her.  I am proud of her for doing this, it is a sanity keeper.

If you cannot afford supplies, check craigslist, or post in the wanted section what you are looking for.  Please,’ hoarders’, do not bother, leave it for those truly interested in doing something with now.  Did I step on your toes, I am sorry, I do not want to add to your accumulation.  You can check the wanted section and if someone has a need and you have in your stash what will help them, then generosity is rewarding in itself to  share.

If gardening is your interest, dig up some pots and fill up with new gardeners soil and plant some seeds.  It takes a couple months to get some good size plants to put in your garden.  PBS has some great gardening shows, and the Gardening section at the library has a lot of books on gardening.  Whether it is flowers or vegetables, get them started.  I bought some bulbs a couple months ago at Walmart and I wanted a monochromatic garden.  A four foot by 12′ section of Johnson grass and weeds were an eyesore and we have planted and deweeded there for years.  If you know anything about Johnson grass, it grow deep, it is nearly impossible to get rid of.  My husband tilled deep and we believe we got most of it out.  Several days of raking and hoeing to be sure.  The bulbs come in a variety of heights  from some being 8″ up to others being 42″.  I wanted the rear 2′ x 12′ to be a light pink monochromatic but the front two to be pastels including the same hue of pink with all the other colors.

3.  Purchase a magazine or book of your interest.  Then make your challenge.

One obvious challenge was The Skirt a Day Sewing book by Nicole Smith.  A couple years ago when I was in the hospital for five days having surgery and facing more threatening surgery, my husband kindly went and bought this book for me.  I read it cover to cover and it kept my head out of my depressing and distressing circumstances.  Endorphin Therapy, I love it.  I have yet to do the 28 skirts and I have reread her book a couple times.  A delightful light read, very instructive.  In fact I contacted her on her webpage once and she replied and was so very helpful about a fitting problem I deal with when making skirts and pants.  When I get some of these other projects done, I look forward to doing this challenge.  I am a bit of a slow worker likely I would have to give myself six weeks to do this challenge.  Of course this is an example of a challenge.

The most recent challenge I was involved with was with my Friend Mattie, she is a great sewer and I love to sew.  We picked a pattern she had and being that we had a convention we were going to see each other at in a couple weeks we decided to make the outfit for the convention.  She did an amazing job on hers and she looked very elegant with her lovely brown skirt and Jacket.  I did not have the same pattern so I used a blouse pattern and modified it.  The Jacket had the front angled from the center at the bottom to your left upper chest with the buttons going up at the angle.  Having a lot of fitting issues and having to draft up my pattern, for instance, I have very small narrow shoulders, therefore, I had to take four inches, yes, four inches off the shoulders and make the armhole adjustment.  It was such an exciting project.  My biggest challenge was my sewing machines broke down.  My daughter-in-law Lindsea is so kindly letting me use her machine for a bit, I received it the other night.  Mattie and I attended this large convention we attend three times a year every year and she had on her new outfit with a cute little hat.  I had on my jacket and the color was spice, and the texture not quite tencel or suede.  And although I did not get to make the skirt in time,  the jacket matched a skirt I had very well.  We both received a lot of complements and the challenge was rewarding.  As sewing buddies, we have this two week challenge to just clean up our sewing rooms and finish a couple of projects and get them out of the way.  She gets to decide on our next challenge.  I cannot wait.

The cookbook challenge, take a cookbook you own and scan the chapters or sections.  Pick a section and work it for the month.  Such as one chapter a month.  Or, let this be Sauces Month.  Learn how to make alfredo, and gravies, etc.  Or do a crock pot recipe once a week.

I make notes in my books and magazines when I accomplish the project and I put the date on it too.

A magazine on woodworking, you can do the project.  Make notes, and show time spent on each step.  Make the notes in the magazine and take pictures.

Some want to make Bible reading their challenge or goal, yet it can be daunting.  Keep it inspiring especially if you have not been successful with daily reading in the past.  Would you want to break it down into Bible characters and read the chapters regarding them, Like the book of Ruth, or about Abraham, then do that and really think about what you are reading and how some of their qualities can enrich your life.  Or, Would you want to read the gospels?  I love to read the book of Psalm and the book of Proverbs.  It is not about how many chapters you read each day, it is just that you devote time each day to prayerfully do it.  I love the Imitate Their Faith series and book on jw.org .

Make a list of your interests, masterlist and a timeframe.  A lot of our cellphones have reminders, and to-do lists where we can enter information to help us stay on track with our goals and challenges.  Make use of them.

4.   Have a buddy or an interest group that you are involved with regarding your interest.  It will keep you going and encouraged.

Time is difficult to manage especially with the obligations people face.  Some people come home and fall on the couch and turn on the television or computer for some mindless activites that fein relaxation.  It is ok, but the reward is to trade up the time for more personal achievements.  Now you will no longer be stagnating and you will have something to look forward to.