Months in Review

January2019

January was a blur of catch up, rush, get overwhelmed, then catch up again. I literally accomplished one item on my publishing company goal, but finished a great deal of goals and updates for the foundation. This included a new website. Check it out at www.fighttobehealed.org

February2019

February’s focus was on family and finishing the first draft of Sketchy Dinosaurs, the third book in The Puzzle Quests‘ series. I scheduled when I would write and made it my priority. I also stayed home. That is a theme for me–keeping myself still is very difficult. The nature of my work involves meetings, events, teaching, and visiting patients, so I schedule stay at home time.

One change that really worked for me in February was a daily intention. My life/purpose word is HOPE. Everything I do with the foundation and my writing is driven by my desire to share, create, and grow hope.

But just like having a long-term goal, I needed smaller daily words to keep me on track. Every day I thought of an Intention Word that would help me accomplish my goal. I also wrote why or how this word applied. Sometimes it ended up as a phrase. Some were:

Deep Breaths of Gratitude

No Self-Doubt

Eat Clean and Healthy

Love Myself

Be Present

Patience

Acceptance

Joy

Peace

Persistent

At the end of the day, I wrote about the word and whether or not it resonated or helped with my goals. Some days it reminded me of my plan of action. On my Persistent day, I wrote for four hours. Other days when I didn’t set my intention, I titled my journal entry. Some were: Fatigue, Conflict, Reminders. There was a clear connection on how well my day went when I wrote down my word.

On the day my word was Simplify, I didn’t even write an entry. Using my journal as a reminder for my purpose, calendar, and entries kept me on track and gave me guidance on what was or wasn’t working.

I did incorporate Sunday Simplicity to plan for my week, which helped me rejuvenate and not feel as stressed. I relax, read, enjoy family, prepare my weekly calendar, order my food through Hannaford to Go, and do that never-ending laundry. Doing this lowers my stress levels and gives me time to take care of myself.

For March!

My big goal was getting the 2nd draft to the editor. Done! Check that off my list!

Keep Sunday Simplicity

Title my entries and continue Intention Words

I also wrote a list of my goals/to-do’s for the month, so each week when I plan my calendar, I have the list handy and can break them down into manageable projects. There’s nothing better than crossing off those finished items!

Reviewing your previous week/month guides you on whatever path you take, but you need to write it down in order to know what you have done. Schedule in that journal time. You’ll see and feel the difference it can make!

 

October Month in Review

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.

Grace’s senior night at volleyball. They won of course!

We have so many family and friend birthdays in October that I basically celebrated my birthday all month!

Birthday fun with some of my tribe!
And the celebrating continues with more of my tribe.

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.

The October trio–me and my boys.

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.

Lido Beach

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.

nicksarasotabeach2018

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 Month in Review

julymonthinreview

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.

julyparade
Annual July 4th float

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.

julyreganhealing

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.

julypigroast

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.

June Month in Review

juneinreview

June went by in a flash.

It always starts quick with a weeklong venture to the Americade Motorcycle Rally in Lake George. Luke, friends, and I rode motorcycles back and forth to Lake George each day. We demoed bikes from manufacturers, walked around, and met other bikers. It’s always a cold and rainy week, but we plowed through and had a great time.

We rode bikes by day and roller coasters at night that week, because our annual Gillette Carnival fundraiser was the same week. It made for lots of goodness and by the end of the week, I was wiped out.

Because I habitually have so much on my plate, I had to get the eighth draft of The Puzzle Quests: Saving Atlantis done, so my illustrator, Danielle LeBlanc, knew the page count for the spine and another set of readers could look for those nitty gritty mistakes. There are still quite a few, so you know what I’m doing in July.

By mid-June, I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotionally spent. Yet I was determined to find balance and self-care. In my adult journal workshop, we worked on setting goals and tracking it to support our purpose. Doing this with everyone clarified what I wanted to focus my time on, who I wanted to spent time with, and what I needed to do to make it happen.

If there is one think I have learned, it’s to ask for help. Volunteers, friends, and my wonderful husband joined in to help with fundraisers, get me to yoga, and simplify the rest of my summer.

Balancing work, play, and self-care has always been a conundrum for me, and I think many people feel the same way.

balanced rocks

I took this picture of three balancing rocks while I was with my husband for a soccer tournament in the middle of June! It reminded me of what I juggle in my life. In order for these rocks to maintain balance, there has to be a secure and firm foundation.

The three rocks represent my purpose, family, and life. My purpose is what I’m passionate about, my higher calling, which is to bring hope through my books and teaching writing. In order to do this, I need to take care of myself, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The next rock is my family. I am extremely family oriented. I have my husband, sons (one here and one in my heart), siblings, my mom, nieces, nephews, and and friends who are my chosen family. I love to spend time with all of them and have to balance how often I can see them and how I can help them when needed. Love is the ultimate reason why I’m here, and I express this to my family as often as I can.

The most precarious rock is life. It’s what happens along the way as I try to take care of myself, fulfill my purpose, spend time with my family and friends, and be the best I can be. When life throws me a curve or throws me off a cliff, I have to trust my foundation of family, friends, and purpose.

Then I can rebalance and start over.

July will be a month of simplifying, clearing space in my life and my physical space, in order to create in a more positive atmosphere. Completing the ninth draft of Saving Atlantis, and enjoying my beautiful family. Reflecting back on each month keeps me on my path and makes me grateful for this practice.

How was your month of June? Review, reflect, and do what serves you best!

May Month in Review

the-month-may

Most of May was maniacal mayhem. Amazingly, I journaled almost every day, but the level of activity for work, classes, writing, and foundation was too high. Everything else suffered. It’s difficult to find balance when I love all that I do. But there can even be too much of a good thing.

I exercised quite a bit in the beginning of the month, but as life got busier, my self-care suffered. My yoga practice fell off the planet. What I ate went down hill as I reached for fast and easy food. Yes, I know, this is when I should be going to yoga more and fueling my body with what nourishes me and makes me stronger. It’s very easy to write it down, but much harder to follow through. It’s a familiar pattern.

My son came home from college, so the house dynamics shifted. I am adjusting while also loving and appreciating having him home. My house suffered in May. Having another person in the house, yes, but really I didn’t have any time for upkeep and cleaning. I have this bone deep urge to rip my house apart and get rid of junk, stuff I don’t need, in order to clear my life and start fresh.

Create Space:

That’s my goal for no other reason than to be able to breathe a little fuller and appreciate what I have done instead of jumping to the next project because of unrealistic timelines.

Create a space conducive to my writing and creativity.

I am two weeks into June and finally have space in my calendar to catch up. Consistent journaling can be life saving, life altering, and indicative of what is bubbling underneath the surface.

There’s so much that I struggle with and burying myself in work is a way I cope, even if it’s not healthy.

If I want everlasting change I have to dig deep before the eruption takes over everything. That is what journaling during the month of May showed me.

Immediate Goals for June:

Enjoy and appreciate my family.

Get Saving Atlantis to my proofreaders by June 18. Get book to the printer by July 6. It’s a couple weeks off schedule, but still where I want it to be.

Get back to my yoga practice, healthy eating, and exercise.

Journal, journal, journal

How was your month of May? What are your goals for June? It’s never too late to change or start again.

 

January in Review

Before I jump into a new month I like to review where I have been. The power of journaling is in the self-inquiry and checking in to make sure I’m on the right path.

As far as using my journal for my calendar, this is the first time I laid out the entire month. I listed my goals for the month to keep my priorities up front and center. It helped me track what I had to do and spread it out through the month.

I added daily quotes, which inspired and were often self-fulfilling.

One of my goals for January was to write book two of The Puzzle Quests. I’m more than halfway through, but emphasizing it as a priority was motivation, and I plan to finish the draft this month.

Stephen was home during the beginning of the month for school break. That feels so long ago! This was a perfect example of being flexible and remembering my priority-him when he is home.

I’m at this awesome place in my life where I can focus on my business. Luke and I have our own goals and those that we share. We give each other the space we need to fulfill our dreams

I still struggle with too much on my plate. My journal keeps me accountable on how I spend my time. I need more downtime. I was out of the house 19 of 31 nights. Too much for me with working all day.

I started getting more exercise in and slowly adjusting my food to healthier choices.

In February I will continue to write and create, focusing on self-care. And of course Valentine’s Day! Have a fabulous month!

November in Review

novemberJournaling is a practice. As with anything else, you only get as much from it as you put into it. Committing to journaling every day can be daunting, but when you see the difference it makes in your life and how more self-aware you are, it becomes an integral part of your day.

I track my calendar, my dreams, daily journal entries, creative writing, research, and notes in my journal. It’s basically my whole life on paper. I looked back at the month of November to check in. See how the month went, what journal techniques are working, what isn’t working. It sets up the following month and what I want to focus on or let go.

November was chaos.

fractal-chaosnovembermonth

I know this is a math image of fractal chaos, but it visually described last month. The beauty, the colors, the chaos, the out of control actions that all make up who I am and what I do.

First thing I noticed was that I was all over the place. Physically, mentally, project-wise. This is nothing new, but there was a great deal of stress making sure I was getting everything done. I had signed up to do the NaNoWriMo challenge where you write 50,000 words in a month. I started off great, but died out before Thanksgiving. I did write 16,000 words, which probably would not have happened otherwise, so for that I am grateful.

I was selected to be part of the Nuts, Bolts, & Business Artist Entrepreneurial program through the Troy Arts Center from a grant that I wrote. This is a seven month venture and will require a great deal of my time, and it began in November. I had homework and a presentation to prepare, but I am very excited about growing my business.

Basically, I wore many different hats including book sales, writing my application for BOCES arts in ed, which was accepted, and I can’t wait to get more involved with teaching writing in the schools. Stephen was home, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him, Thanksgiving, yoga. And if that wasn’t enough, I had my bedroom painted and redecorated!

Good stuff in November, but also high stress, which ramped up my poor eating habits. The one change I did implement in November was a weekly Stay at Home day. Because I am always out and running around, I needed to be more grounded. When I plan my week, I schedule a day to work at home and not go anywhere during the day or night. I absolutely love it. It forces me to get paperwork and business done and reduces my stress.

So what did I learn from November? I am most effective when I remain true to myself, my purpose, and I sit and do the work. Also by daily writing what I am grateful for, my attitude changed, and I focused on what nourished me.

For December I will:

Continue the weekly Stay at Home Day

Track my exercise, eating, and water intake for better personal health, which includes kicking gluten out of my life once again.

Daily December Gifts to Gratitude letter writing (see previous blog)

Focus on promoting Shimmer’s Eggs and writing Saving Atlantis (Book Two!)

Enjoying my family during this festive time of year.

If I hadn’t written everything in my journal I wouldn’t have remembered all the wonderful activities I did in November or how hard I worked or how stressed out I really was. It takes a toll on my health. Now I am more aware of what I need to do going forward.

Can you commit to 5 minutes of writing daily in your journal? Then review it weekly or monthly to see what is working and where you want to go next. It’s a path to healing and living a full and wonderful life!

Month in Review

february

It’s March 1. After clearing my physical space yesterday, I’m taking the time to look back at my February journal to see what did or didn’t work. I had made a list of goals for the foundation, my publishing company, personal to do items that also include the family, and my physical/exercise goals.

First I looked back at the month. I tried a new daily scheduling technique that I learned from www.bulletjournal.com. It separated each day into hours so I could break up my daily appointments and to do tasks. I liked it because I felt I had more room. I decided to have each daily calendar on the left, and then on the right I would journal about my day in connection to what I did. The journaling part worked very well. I found that I wrote almost every day, especially since I didn’t want to have a blank page! I wrote a lot about my day, but also how I was feeling doing the different activities.

calendar
I block off the time for activities in the left column and also color code my different jobs.

The calendar worked well at first. I found I was getting a lot done, but I wasn’t migrating what I didn’t do to the following week. Then I over scheduled and wasn’t even writing my to do list on my calendar. I was floundering in the too much work mode that I always fall in to. I basically couldn’t catch up.

calendar2
My journal entry for this day was titled Manic Monday. Need I say anymore?

The other indicator that something wasn’t working was my list of February goals. In the four categories, I didn’t even finish half, except in personal. The problem is much of it is ongoing, but the question is: Are my expectations too high? Am I trying to do too much? Have I not figured out that I can’t be Super Girl, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Zelda all at the same time?

This is the good and bad part of journaling everything. You get the whole picture. Sometimes it great and Yay Me! Other times it’s a wake up call. The value of sticking to a journal and laying everything out is that it forces you to prioritize.

So that is what I’m going to do. I will try the daily calendar again for March with my journaling space on the opposite page. And I’m also going to create a timeline for all my 2017 projects so that they will guide my priorities.

My biggest problem, however, is following the calendar. So just like I created space in my home office, I’m going to create space in my calendar to be realistic and effective.

Take a look at your journal for the month of February. Did you accomplish what you wanted to do? What do you want to add or change for March? Write about it, make a new plan, and start once again. No judging, no self criticism. A journal is fluid like life. Have a great month!