June was a month of healing. I had my left ACL replaced in my knee on May 30. Recovery was a bit tougher than I had figured. My body was so exhausted, it shut down. I had no choice but to relax and let my body heal. For two weeks my journal was filled with posts about lack of sleep due to an immobilizer, pain, and stiffness. But as I wrote I could note the improvements.
I used this time to edit Sketchy Dinosaurs–my middle grade novel that is due to be published in December. I read, emptied my schedule, and stayed home. I gave up the idea that I had to be everywhere and do everything.
There’s a certain freedom in completely surrendering to my body’s needs. When I didn’t, my body rebelled. I spent time with friends and gave myself permission to let things go. Taking a step back gave other people in the foundation the opportunity to be in charge and allow their talents to shine. I loved that and hope to keep my schedule lighter to let others get involved and open space for new projects.
I didn’t reach a lot of my goals, but I was not realistic with what I could get done. My goal should have been to heal my body and nothing more. However, that’s hard when life continues to happen, and I can’t let a whole month go by without working. The best part about being a writer is that I can do it anywhere.
It may take me forever to learn that I can’t accomplish all that I put on my plate. I always think I’ll get more done than I do. I figure even if I get half of my goals done, I’ll feel better. That’s not the case because all I think about is what I didn’t do.
I plan to spread my goals out, so that I won’t feel so much pressure and can enjoy the process and results more.
July has begun and I’m still healing, editing my book, working on a picture book, and overseeing the creation of a new website. I’m slowly down, see?
October always has been a month of joy, love, and connections. With losing Nick, it’s also mired with sadness and exhaustion. Over the last 10 years, I have struggled to find some type of balance and way to get through the month.
This year I wanted more and even though I had my usual exhaustion, I think I found it.
There was a definite sense of letting go to hold space for opportunities where I could share hope and healing, not only for myself, but for others. I taught writing and shared hope through my books. I spent a lot of time with my tribe, celebrating our October birthdays, our children’s fantastic feats in volleyball, karate, school, jobs, and wedding plans.
We have so many family and friend birthdays in October that I basically celebrated my birthday all month!
To get all of these women together in one place is short of miraculous in our crazy lives. But if there is one thing that I know–when we need each other, we are always there. That is what grounds me in October.
We recognize Nick’s birthday differently now, but he is always a part of our October month of celebration. And Stephen turned 21 this year. Even with him, we made plans that worked for him, and it was a huge joy to cook for all his friends and be a part of his world.
Girl time was huge for me this month, and I carved a huge chunk out between gatherings, lunch dates, and traveling to Sarasota with Karen and our husbands. I needed to be someplace where I could be with my sadness and then enjoy a new place.
I could be with Nick without all the distractions of the month, between teaching, writing, celebrating, weddings, traveling over two other weekends. I didn’t have time to be with him. This trip to Sarasota gave me that space, and Nick gave me signs that he was there.
October opened up with letting go to bring in the good, and it ended with a vow to keep that space open, even when the darkness threatens to settle in.
November will bring jewels of gratitude and continued writing.
July began and ended with Nick’s Fight to be Healed events, was packed with writing goals, creating space deadlines, and lots of family fun.
I had so much on my plate. The biggest deadline was getting my Saving Atlantis manuscript done. I had to push back the date and I wasn’t happy about it.
It feels like the July 4th parade had happened months ago. I think it had to do with being very present in most everything I did. I didn’t hand out candy. I watched the teens hand it out and took note of the children’s happy faces.
The best part of July was all the gatherings with my family and friends.
My nephew and his wife drove through and stopped by, so of course a big gathering happened. Family always gathers for the July 4th festivities, and I felt the love and connections.
Good news came for one of our Melodies families. Regan received her last spinal treatment and will be done in September! Karen captured the moment.
I finished Saving Atlantis and got it to the printer and now will wait for the final product! That was probably my biggest stressor. It’s a positive one to have, but the need to get it right adds a lot of pressure on me.
One of my most thrilling moments of July was Stephen getting his motorcycle license and riding with his dad and myself. He has jumped in with both feet and absolutely loves it. He is holding Liam, who will be riding next to him some day.
The month ended with a beautiful fundraiser to honor my son Nick during the 11th Annual pig roast that our wonderful friends hold every year.
In between the foundation events, family moments, finishing a book, and creating space in my house, which I noted in separate posts, I still managed to journal and enjoy the world around me.
For August I will keep: connecting with people who lift me up and break down my goals into accessible parts.
I will stop: booking myself out for so many nights and day appointments and putting so much on my plate.
I will start: reserving Fridays for cleaning and organizing my office and catching up on reading.
It was a fantastic month, and I’m grateful I captured so much of it to remember.
My week of Creating Space was a lesson in learning what is attainable! There were many positives like following a tight schedule and getting more done than I think I would have, but the stressful part was attempting to get it all done when life steps in.
In addition, I had this huge goal of finishing my novel to get it to the printer. That definitely ate up a lot of my time, but was part of a my business plan.
My Create Space project needed to be broken down into four phases that I will schedule for the rest of this month.
Phase One–Declutter & Clean–Go through each room and get rid of what I didn’t like, need or use. This involves removing everything, checking for doubles like having 6 wooden spoons in my kitchen drawer and 100 pens!
Handle it once. Give it away, donate it, or sell it. Right now some boxes are still in my dining room, so that is on the to do list. Cleaning each room as I went through helped to break up the monotony and emotional struggle of decluttering. All my windows have been washed, which felt good.
I didn’t finish any particular room completely. So in the future, I would declutter and clean each room as a specific goal. For example, take two days to declutter my bedroom, closet, and bathroom. Then detail clean if needed. Then that room is complete.
Phase Two–Files and Binders–This should really be first for me, because part of the reason why I took on this project was to clean my office, clear my files and teaching binders, so they were organized and the lesson plans and handouts were easily accessible.
This phase will take a full week, and I will specifically break down this goal for the week of July 23.
Phase Three–Index Journals–This is more about creating accessible history and finding entries easily. I only started indexing my journals two years ago, so I have years of journals that aren’t titled or indexed. Part of this plan is to do just that.
In addition, I currently write a separate journal to my sons, but I had previous entries mixed in with my personal journals. I managed to mark those. I will make this a project to transcribe them into separate journals. I only have a few, so this might be a winter goal.
Phase Four–Digital Decluttering and Organizing–The best way to avoid this is to go through my photos and files and get rid of what doesn’t work each month! I was great about this when I first got my Mac, but five years later I’m overloaded! I did manage to create some space, but it’s disorganized. I get very frustrated when I can’t find a file or photo. I am uploading my files and photos to Google and am doing it in what I think is an organized manner.
I need a week to do this right. I haven’t set a goal for this yet, but since my computer is vital to my job, it has to be done in the next couple of weeks.
I also made a list of what I needed to replace or never purchased–like curtains in my bedroom and now my office.
But back to my main reason for creating space–building an efficient and effective business. Next week I will focus on my files and binders. Then I will have the space to create my book promotion for Saving Atlantis, which will be published this fall.
Here is what I managed to finish:
Was my Create Space plan SMART?
Specific–I was very specific in what I wanted to get done and what I would do each day. That helped me to be extremely productive.
Measurable–Crossing items off my list never felt so satisfying, even though part of me was bummed for not getting everything done.
Attainable–I have to put half of what I want to get done in my calendar, because it always takes so much longer. I have a tendency to add in too much work. But at least I have a guideline to follow and know what needs to get done.
Realistic–Not in one week! Another is Relevant–I should have stuck to the ultimate reason I wanted to do this–for my business and I probably could have had my office done.
Time-based–I will break down the rest of my Create Space into longer time periods.
The most important part of my week was that I made time to take care of myself. When I chose to exercise or be with my family, I truly enjoyed those moments. I was mindful of my decisions.
Thank you to everyone who encouraged me online and in person. You held me accountable and gave great advice!
What is your goal and how are you going to achieve it? Start today!
Sometimes you are forced to make space, because nothing else will fit. This is where I’m at with my macbook. I’ve had it for five years and this is all the space I have left.
I can no longer download photos or back up my phone. So this morning I worked on my book, carefully editing each page by reading it out loud.
Then I transferred videos and quite a few photos onto Google Drive and deleted them from my computer. It’s very time consuming. While my computer was expelling data, I went through my journals. This was more of an organizing project than creating space. I had journaled to my boys and for myself using the same journals. My plan is to separate them. First, they were messy and Stephen would never be able to read them. Second, they were in the midst of my personal writing, and I didn’t want Stephen to have to read them if he really didn’t want to.
Today, I identified pages written to him and Nick. Now I will set aside time each week to transcribe it into separate journals. It’s a process.
I now have 29 GB free on my computer, but I’m not stopping until I get through my files and photos. There’s so much junk and photos that aren’t clear! The only problem with automatically saving your photos to the Cloud or Google is that all the bad photos gets placed there as well.
It’s becoming clear that my Create Space week may take most of the month, so the rest of life doesn’t get backed up.
A wonderful part of my work today was that I could do it outside in the beautiful weather.
My self-care included walking my dogs and going for a motorcycle ride with Stephen, who is a new rider. It’s a special day in a mom’s life when her son asks her to go riding with him. Life is good!
It’s not over yet! Tomorrow more editing and transferring files!
Can you tell I’m decluttering? It felt more like adding to the chaos today. Day two of creating space was challenging. I thought the kitchen would be fast and easy. How wrong I was! It was difficult to stay focused. I had some foundation items to take care of, and I’m still editing Saving Atlantis. I find setting a strict schedule is forcing me to be efficient, but I physically can’t do what I had planned in one day.
I took this photo when I had to take a break. It’s my whole life in a nutshell, but I love that my journal just happened to be in the midst of the storm. Enjoy the little things. So very true.
I had the pleasure of talking with one of my lovely nieces, I walked the dogs, lifted weights, and took time to enjoy the evening sky.
Back to business. Anything that was chipped, not used in years, or didn’t serve me any longer were placed in boxes for Stephen’s apartment and donating. I got caught up in changing where I placed my dishes and glassware. They were switched a few times, but we’ll see how it goes!
I left my storage container area for last. I didn’t take a picture of it, because I believe it would burn your eyes. Just ask my sister, Michele, who has seen it first hand. But I will show you the results!
I love that there is so much space. My good dishes were way up high, and I always forgot what I had to use for those special occasions.
All my storage containers were placed mostly at eye level. It looks so neat, doesn’t it? We’ll see how long it lasts. I like to have the tops on the containers, because it takes so much time to find the cover. It takes up more space, but saves my sanity.
My utensil drawers drove me absolutely nuts! I had about 30 pens mixed in with serving spoons, 20 coupons for Venezia’s Pizza, (which went to Stephen), post-it notes, paper clips, and bad batteries. I kept only what I needed and got rid of the rest.
I cleaned the front of the fridge, but will do the inside this weekend. I still need to clean the outside of my cabinets, the appliances, and the counter will need a good scrubbing. So far my office and my kitchen aren’t quite where I need them to be, but keeping to my schedule definitely kept me on task. I accomplished much more than I had hoped.
I’m not getting to transferring my computer files to create needed storage space on my computer. I had scheduled this for the evenings, but I will do this on a separate week.
I feel good about where I am in the process! I am hearing from a lot of you who are decluttering. Let me know how it’s going and if you have any helpful tips!
I made it through the first day of creating space in my life and home. I decided to go with the highest priority and clear out my office. Anything I decided to throw away, recycle, or place in a different storage place was handled once. I knew if I put boxes in the kitchen, they would still be there.
By 1pm, there still wasn’t much room on the floor. I felt slightly overwhelmed, but I had cleaned the closet, the drawers, and my bookcase. I managed to clean out my cabinet, remove boxes and throw out a couple bags of garbage and fill the recycling bin halfway. I even cleaned out my desk!
My current office was Nick’s bedroom. I still had his martial arts decor and many of his clay and ceramic figurines on my bookshelf. I decided that part of creating space was changing the decor to reflect my personality. I felt sick to my stomach removing his throwing stars, nunchucks, dragon banner, and his clay creations. I took photos of all his items, so I have those memories. I removed his burgundy and black curtains and packed them in a box. I went into the spare room to find his matching sheets and couldn’t find them. If you saw the room, you would understand why. It has been the catch all place for everyone.
Dragon lost its eye!
I was frustrated I couldn’t find it, so tried again before I brought the box downstairs. I caught sight of it under some artwork. When I lifted the papers, I found my leather vest that has been missing for a couple of months! I laughed, because if I hadn’t decided to change the decor it would have taken me a while longer to find my vest. It was like Nick was letting me know it was all right.
True to my self-care schedule, I went to Sheryl’s Baptiste class at 4:30pm. Sheryl taught a heart opening class, and it was perfect for my intention. Open space for something new. I felt fabulous after class. The day was going well.
After yoga, I got distracted by dinner, but I accomplished a lot. I still need to decorate the room, create a cozy meditation area, and go through my business and writing files. This last part is going to be done next week I think. It will be a longer process, but I have the space to do it now.
I feel good. Tomorrow is the kitchen. This will be easier I hope! The only flaw is I planned to clean out the fridge, but I just went food shopping yesterday! So the family will be charged with eating a lot this week and it will get moved to the weekend action plan.
Thank you for your support! Love the encouraging words!