Date: Feb 7th, 2005 5:45:16 pm - Subscribe
Mood: Happy and Hopeful

I've not written because I've been beating myself up for still struggling to establish a real working routine that helps me get everything done that I need and want to do.

I get emails from FLYLADY. She's a woman who mentors people through email to help them get organized by establishing daily routines.

check her out at

I keep reading the emails and feeling like a failure, and then today I read one that I could have written myself:

Dear FlyLady,

My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness to you. I had been "the
depths of despair", the black pit of my CHAOS. Then baby steps began
to help me lose the despair and are giving me joy---one small
accomplishment at a time.

Each day I read the wonderful testimonials. I have always wanted to
be able to have one of my own to send.

But I seem to be a slow learner, (or maybe a stubborn one) and I
started letting this thinking get me down... "How come everyone else
can make the changes and not me," and on and on, you know, the
stinking (and paralyzing) thinking.

Then came last week's testimonial from the new flybaby who, after only
one week was so totally with it. Well, I sat down and thought of why
I am failing and guess what I found out!

I'm not failing!

There are voices (and not only from inside me, either) who say "we can
never change," or "we aren't as good as so-and-so.," You know those
"dragger downer" thoughts which we need washed from.

So I did a sort of Count Your Blessings thing. Only it was a count
your accomplishments instead! And these really are blessings.

Here is what I found:

-We (almost) never lose our car keys any more. We have a key holder,
and over time have become consistent at using it. This is a huge
blessing, especially since we play musical cars with 5 drivers in our
home. The stress of lost keys is gone! (and good riddance)

-I (almost) never lose my purse. It has a place just inside the door
and gets put there. And put back there. Amazing. We said a happy
good-bye to that stresser.

-The kids have a backpack shelf where their packs (usually) can be
found. Hooray. A before-school stresser gone.

-The school lunches (all eight of them) are (normally) done the night
before, as part of my before bed routine. Wow. Better lunches and
less anxiety in the a.m., what a great thing.

-(Mostly) the clothes are clean, so the kids can actually lay them out
the night before. Gone are the frantic searches through the baskets
of clean (or dirty) clothes for something to wear. Whew, what a
relief, and blessing, to the whole family.

-I can (often) see the bottom of the sink, even though we have enough
dishes to run a full load plus a full drainer twice a day. How much
easier to fix meals!

-The table is cleared (almost always) after school, so we can sit and
enjoy a snack and tea-time, the kids and the mom.

-The phone book has a place where everyone knows to to find it and,
usually, puts it. That's a stress reducer right there. Small item
but we don't miss that stress, do we!

-We have zone-type chores so the children can all help and bless the
family in a routine job at a predictable time which has an end. No
more worries that they are the only one who ever does anything. So we
can see each other as contributors to the well-being of the family.
That's a good thing. And it gives them something to feel satisfied
about; Empowering.

-I have the start of a control journal, enough that I have overheard
family members say, with confidence, "Mom has that number in her
control journal," or some other equally satisfying remark!

-My Calendar has kept me out of many scrapes this whole last year!!!
I have remembered games, appointments, programs, birthday parties,
classes, and on and on and on.! Not so much mind clutter! My calendar
is my friend. Bye bye to the forgetfulness guilt that made me feel
lower than a snake's belly. Halleluiah!

Although I can't think of any more great routines we have going
regularly, and I still have so far to go to get rid of CHAOS, the
flings and boogies have made it take less time to clean up, even if it
still is a crisis clean.

And the timer is teaching us all to attack the task for a do-able and
finite time, which is decreasing our discouragement. Slowly, slowly
we are getting a more optimistic attitude and a "can do" mentality.

I realize now that since I am a sensitive and melancholic kind of
perfectionist, I have coped with the difficulties of my large family
by avoidance behaviors. Although people thought I didn't care about
my house, I cared so much that I really was paralyzed by so many
negative thoughts.

I am slowly----but surely---coming out of years long depression and am
seeing, especially through the routines and the uplifting
testimonials, a way up and out. A good way. A guilt-free way. A
joyful way. A clutterless way.

And, I am finding a way to do it! A routine way. A boogieing way. A
flinging and singing way. A fluttering and not bingeing way. A
blessing way to open my life and release my family from the clutches
of the clutter that so easily entangles us.

Thank you FlyLady,
A FlyBaby (from remedial class)
Who can't even think where she would be without your God-sent help

This phrase hit me especially hard. It is so ME.

I realize now that since I am a sensitive and melancholic kind of
perfectionist, I have coped with the difficulties of my large family
by avoidance behaviors. Although people thought I didn't care about
my house, I cared so much that I really was paralyzed by so many
negative thoughts.

Truth be told, I even use this blog as a way to avoid things that create anxiety for me. I can always find one more thing to do or read on the computer. It's my little escape machine.

On a very positive note, I'm making beads again! Not just ugly beads, but some really beautiful, creative beads. That makes me feel so much happier, and relieves some of the pressure I'm putting on myself to be perfect in every single way.
Comments: (2)

report 1/10/05
Date: Jan 11th, 2005 11:00:01 am - Subscribe
Mood: spent

Morning routine: done
Evening routine: done

Ounces of water: I think around 32, which is way too little.
Breakfast: yes
Vitamins: yes
Exercise: none
Comments: (0)

What now?
Date: Jan 9th, 2005 6:45:35 pm - Subscribe
Mood: REALLY tired

Well, last week all I expected of myself was to get out of bed and get dressed while it was still morning. I did that, for the most part. I think. I'm having trouble remembering for sure. Must be mommy-brain. This week I will add something new.

I will:
~get up
~get dressed
~drink a tall glass of water
~spend 5 minutes cleaning up the kitchen (ideally the kitchen would already be clean because I want to make that part of my evening routine as it has been in the past, but I'm not there yet.)
~eat breakfast
~take my vitamins

At night I will:
~set out clothes for the morning
~make a SMALL to do list
~brush and floss
~wash and moisturize

Okay, that's it. I'll start tonight.

I'm reading a couple of books:
The Comfort Trap or, What If You're Riding a Dead Horse? by Judith Sills, Ph.D.
The Shrewd Christian by Neil Atkinson

I spend so much time thinking about improving but when it comes right down to it I simply don't have the energy. Is this normal? Maybe I'm allergic to wheat. I swing from moments of hopelessness to determination. I'm scared I can't do things better, and that I can't live with myself if I don't. Just the tiniest bit of improvement, small steps in the right direction is better than standing still or worse sliding backward. I'll try to be happy with myself for improvement and not expect perfection.

I'm sounding like a broken record. Time for action. I plan too much. Starting tomorrow I will check in with progress reports.

Morning routine accomplished?
Evening routine accomplished?

Ounces of water?

Comments: (2)

Date: Jan 3rd, 2005 8:24:26 pm - Subscribe
Mood: fine

I should save that subject line for a more profound entry. wink.gif I just wanted to say that I redeemed the day. I drank lots of water, took my vitamins, cleaned the kitchen, went grocery shopping, and did 2 loads of laundry. I think for the rest of the week all I will require of myself is that I get out of bed and get dressed while it's still morning. Next week I'll add something else.
Comments: (0)

Duty, Duty, Doodee
Date: Jan 3rd, 2005 1:00:59 pm - Subscribe
Mood: fatigued

Ever say a word so often it loses all meaning? I think I'm talking about my goals too much. They're losing meaning.

I got up and got dressed this morning. That's it. I guess that's enough for now. Believe it or not it's better than I've been doing for the last few weeks.

I'm so tired in the morning. Getting out of bed is so hard after a night of up and down, taking care of kids. Parenthood = never getting enough sleep. It's been 14 years since I was able to sleep like that was all I had to worry about at night. No wonder I struggle with depression.
Comments: (1)

Such a cliche!
Date: Jan 2nd, 2005 3:00:42 pm - Subscribe
Mood: distracted

Hmmm, I don't usually make "New Year's Resolutions". I just don't think picking an arbitrary day of the year (okay, the first day is a pretty good one if you're going to pick a day.) to make a change. I think it's best to make changes at a time when it makes sense to do so. For me, that ideal time was six months ago, and I did a great job for a few months, but unfortunately, the changes I made were not permanent. (I'm beginning to think I'm incapable of making permanent changes.)

Well, it's time to get back on track, and my recommitment to that process just happens to coincide with the New Year. So, with tomorrow being the first Monday of the new year (and the first day of the rest of my life) I will, come hell or high water, start again with a small morning and evening routine. I will also start eating healthier, which for me means eating three meals a day and avoiding refined sugars and grains, and drinking lots of water. I will stretch the dollars and start paying off our debt instead of adding to it. I will get my house completely DE-cluttered and ready to sell.

So, it's now or never, back to square one, time to bite the bullet. I'll give my pound of flesh and discover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I'm gonna put my money where my mouth is and push the envelope, go for broke, raise the bar, and take the bull by the horns.

carpe diem
Comments: (1)

Date: Dec 31st, 2004 1:43:03 pm - Subscribe
Mood: lackadaisical

Anytime you don't feel good about yourself you can remedy that by doing something good.

Comments: (2)

What\'s my problem?
Date: Dec 30th, 2004 3:38:21 pm - Subscribe
Mood: wiped out

Er, it's not going so well. I mean I haven't even been able to handle the smallest routine. Part of the problem is that I'm not sleeping well at night. Abby and I got the flu before Christmas and that messed up her ability to sleep on her own at night. Now, she's waking up again at night and having a very hard time getting back to sleep. So, I'm wiped out. I dragged myself out of bed at 11 o'clock this morning. Thank God the kids are here to help with Abby on days like this.

Good sleep is the foundation of my day, and I'm not getting it, but I don't think I can wait till I'm sleeping well to make changes. Actually, I think I'll sleep better after I make some of those changes. For example, when I lost 20 pounds I was sleeping better. Now that I've gained back 10, I've noticed that my back and neck hurt at night. Is it possible that my hips are just enough bigger to create problems for me at night?

I think I need to focus my energy on just one or two areas for change and work from there. I can't change too much too fast, and while I know that, I can't resist the temptation to try and change everything that is wrong all at once. I struggle with this issue over and over. I'm wondering if counseling would help. Do I need that? Part of me wants to believe I'm too smart to not be able to figure this out for myself, and part of me would really welcome some help. Maybe today I'll make a phone call or two to see how much of the cost our insurance would cover.

I was in therapy once before, but that was different. I was truly depressed then and so far gone that I was having panic attacks and couldn't see my way out. I'm not depressed now, just stuck. I can see my way out, but can't seem to make myself move toward the light. So, I'm not sure this situation deserves that kind of intervention. Counseling seems like a luxury right now, an indulgence. Hmmm, I'll just sit with that for now.
Comments: (0)

Well, Maybe Tomorrow,...
Date: Dec 28th, 2004 2:01:18 pm - Subscribe
Mood: Eh

I didn't exactly start fresh today, as I had intended. It was cold, and oh, so hard to get out of bed in the morning. So, I'm parked in front of the computer, which is such a powerful draw for me in the morning. I enjoy my cup of coffee and reading my email. I should use that pleasure as an incentive, though. From now on I will save the email and coffee as a reward for completing my morning routine. No routine - No email. It works for my kids with chores and video games.

One of the areas where I must make a change is finances, and one of the best ways I can do that is by preparing a family dinner every night. When I don't do that we make more trips to the grocery store, and we eat more junk. When I do plan menus and prepare dinner every night we save money and I lose weight. SUCH A PAYOFF! So, why do I resist doing it? I don't dislike cooking. I just procrastinate. Oh, and a messy kitchen is part of the problem. It really all works (or falls apart) together.

I started a new blog where I'll share recipes and menu plans. Check it out: What's for dinner?

I reduced the number of cell phone minutes we have on our plan, which will save us money. I had increased them because I needed extra minutes for my business, but now I don't. Our entertainment budget is now ZERO, which doesn't mean we won't be having fun as a family. It just means that we will be looking for free ways to have fun. We have a family zoo membership, so that's one thing we'll be taking advantage of. We'll also be playing more board games, and doing jigsaw puzzles together. Instead of buying microwave popcorn and renting movies, we'll be air popping corn that I buy in bulk and checking movies out from the library. During the summer we'll have more picnics, maybe get the deck cleaned off and eat outside more often.

Basically, our plan is to live more on less. We want to increase our enjoyment in life while decreasing the amount of money we spend. Can we do it? Well, we really have no choice. It's either that or continue on this disastrous path.

Mike and the kids are doing 15 minutes "blitzes" every night which is very helpful. A blitz is when we turn on music, set the timer, and clean as hard and as fast as we can. It's not hard to do when you know it's only going to be 15 minutes, and it's amazing how much can be accomplished when we all work together like that.

This is the plan for the next several months. Hopefully, I'll also be able to work on getting the house ready to sell. But first I have to create a structure for my life, which is really my greatest challenge. Wish me luck! Or better yet, pray for me.
Comments: (1)

Starting Yet Again
Date: Dec 27th, 2004 4:15:25 pm - Subscribe
Mood: enlightened

I failed again. I stopped doing my routines, gained back 10 pounds, let the house get messy again, and let our finances get even worse. I'm very stressed out by the amount of debt we are carrying. I'm disappointed in myself that once again I failed to create lasting change in my life.

The good news is that I'm prepared to start over. I've also decided that adding a home business to my list of responsibilities at a time when I hadn't yet mastered the basics in my life was part of my undoing. I think I really must focus on basics right now and resist the temptation to add more to my life as I start to get my head above water.

How crazy is that? Imagine me drowning. I realize that if I relax I will rise to the surface where I can lift my head to breathe. That extra breath gives me just enough energy to tread water a bit, which restores some of my confidence so I add a few strokes and begin to move toward the shore. The shore is still quite far, but I'm feeling strong and hopeful. I spot a beautiful treasure chest, and although it's heavy I grab it and begin to drag it with me to the shore. Is it any wonder that I slowly run out of energy and begin to drown again? If I want to save my life I have to leave the treasure in the ocean and get to the shore. After I do that I can seek treasure, or maybe I will have already found the real treasure.

I believe it is really that serious. I believe that I am truly in danger of drowning if I don't make steady, unhindered progress toward the shore. I'm afraid I will slide back into depression if I don't drop the treasure chest, gather my strength, and head for the shore. That's all a pretty way of saying that I've decided, with a heavy heart, to lay aside my hopes and dreams of success with this business for now so that I can save my life.

I need to start over with the basics. I went to the beginning of my blog to find a few things that I needed to remember. I was feeling uneasy because I really lack the committment to this process that I felt I needed to make it work and then I read this:

I wish I could marshal some excitement or even cautious anticipation at my decision to change my life. The truth is, I've tried it before. I've resolved to lose weight, organize my house, find my bliss, you name it, at least a hundred times without success.

So, I wasn't feeling motivated or committed to the process in July when I began, but by taking small steps I experienced a great deal of success. I lost 20 lbs almost effortlessly! I haven't gained it ALL back. :-)

I also read this:

Can I at least promise myself that if nothing else I'll keep writing about it? Yes, I can do that. (The fact that I just love sitting in front of my computer absolutely supports me in keeping this promise to myself. grin.gif )

I think I stopped writing about it because I didn't want to face the fact that I was letting myself down. I was betraying myself and I denied it. So, here I am writing again.

I'm taking baby steps toward getting the house organized, and it feels really good. In the morning I'm doing three things to get a routine started. I'm getting dressed, which includes washing and moisturizing my face, making my bed, and starting a load of laundry. In the evening I've promised myself that I'll clean the kitchen sink (and the rest of the kitchen if I'm feeling energetic), set out my clothes for the morning, brush my teeth, and wash/moisturize my face. That's it for now!

This is where I begin again. This is my starting point and I can come back to it as many times as I need to. The sooner I do, the easier it will be. The longer I wait the more damage will be done. I'll have more to fix before getting back to where I was.

When I read this,...

I'm still working at this one step at a time, and I'm prepared for it to take longer than a month or two or six for me to pull myself together.

I felt wonderful. It made me realize that I didn't fail! I'm actually on track. I didn't expect to change in just a few weeks, but I lost sight of that and started expecting too much. Here I am six months later and I'm not in the same place I was. I am a little closer to the shore. I'm still 10 lbs lighter, and I know exactly what I must do to get back on track.

So, tonight I will pick out clothes to wear tomorrow. (It's a little harder to do because I threw out my fat clothes and my other clothes are feeling a little too tight.) I'll clean up the kitchen. I'll wash my face, brush my teeth, and tomorrow I'll begin again.
Comments: (0)

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