Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Getting Started on the Right Foot

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

I've been silent for awhile. That isn't like  me. But everything is okay. I have just been very busy trying to get organized for the new year so I can get started on the right foot. Also, to be honest, I haven't felt up to blogging. I feel I have too much to say and I have no idea where to begin. So I simply stayed quiet for a few days so I could focus on some other tasks.

Some of you know that last year I began to work on a number of projects after being sick for several years and not being able to do too much. I haven't much experience with written goals but in the last two years or so I've found it is one way to help me keep on track and try to focus on those things that are most important to me on those days when I actually feel up to doing things.

I shared my goals for the first time here on the blog in  2010 and I'm happy to report that I was able to accomplish almost everything on my list over the course of the year. At the same time, I stated in early 2010 that due to my illness,  I was not going to pressure myself with deadlines for accomplishing my goals in 2010.  Whatever didn't get done in 2010 would simply be carried over to the next year.  I have now identified my goals for 2011 and posted them.  But again, I am not putting pressure on myself to reach all of my goals. I will do what I can and carry over anything left undone to the next year and so on.

I have a huge decluttering project that has been underway for some time. I do make progress on it from time to time but there is still much more to be done. This is really a project in learning to live more simply and scaling back on the material things so that I can focus my time and energy on things that are more important to me. Unfortunately, this isn't as easily achievable for me as it is for some people because I am a pack rat at heart.

I do tend to accumulate things and I have this idea when I come across something that I can always read it later, use it later or even give it to someone who needs it.   Often however these things end up collecting dust and becoming clutter. I know it will take time to achieve my goal of decluttering and simplifying but I am sure it will happen if I continue to plug away at it. One thing that motivates me in this area is the fact that my mom is also a clutter bug but unlike me she has never really organized her clutter. Now that she is too sick and disabled to do anything for herself, I find myself having to attend to it for her and this has been a huge burden on me. Doing so however has forced me to be ruthless in getting rid of things and has also helped me to think about being ruthless in streamlining my own possessions.

Some of the giveaway bags.
Just before the world rang in the New Year I began working in earnest on my big decluttering project. I cleaned out my dresser drawers and my closets and threw away a garbage bag of tattered clothes/  I also put together 4 large shopping bags of clothes for give away and  went through several boxes and bags that hadn't been unpacked since the fire we had over a year ago.  I was able to shred and discard so much of it. I also made some progress in cleaning the master bathroom and finding some spaces for the overflow of bags/suitcases I have in my bedroom.

One of my cleaned out drawers. This one houses summer shirts & t-shirts.
In the main living area, the slipcovers for the sofa and arm chair were washed and mended.  They look much better now. I moved my armchair from the window wall so I could put my stationary bike in its place. I also moved my weights closer to my bike and found a space for my Swiss ball and yoga mat in the corner of the living room.  This means I will use my living room for a work out room.  Hopefully this will help me be more consistent about working out, getting healthy and losing weight as I spend much of my time in this room. So far I have managed to do my cardio exercise every day of the new year. I am keeping things simple and starting off with 20-30 minutes daily on the bike and hope to do resistance training every other day or so. The idea is that once I feel a bit stronger and have more endurance I can increase my exercise time. I also hope to get back to my swimming lessons which were at a bit of a standstill due to family responsibilities, Christmas and travel.

I can watch TV from this perch. Hopefully that will help keep me consistent with the bike.
I am also determined to make more time this year for bible study and have been researching new study aids and bibles. If any of you have recommendations (along with reasons for your recommendations) please send them my way.

My bible is King James Version.
In terms of my hobbies, I haven't had so much time for them. I am just trying to get my books out of nooks and crannies and place them in readily accessible places. I am talking here of books that don't fit onto my crowded bookshelves. These days I mostly buy second hand books and I borrow books whenever I can. That way when I have finished reading them I can pass them along without feeling any reluctance. Of course I return borrowed books to my friends.

Recently, I finished reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky and am currently reading a number of other books at the same time, including Véra by Stacy Schiff and A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.   A Suitable Boy is a book I started a long time ago but put aside because it was packed away after the fire. I am happy to begin reading it again but have decided to start once more from the beginning to enjoy it more fully.  Véra .is about Véra Nabokov; the wife, muse and translator of Vladimir Nabokov who translated Dostoevsky into English.  Vladimir Nabokov is also the author of the controversial book and movie of the same name, Lolita. I am finding that I am learning a lot about both Nabokovs through the book about Véra.

Right now I have two 6 foot high bookshelves which are full of books and there is an overflow of books in the living room and bedroom. When I buy books at full price, I tend to want to keep them for later reading and that is why I have altogether too many books. My goal is to scale back my books as I read them and give them away so that I never have more books than will fit on my two bookshelves.  Perhaps when I get to that point I can make a new goal to scale back even more.  That would be ideal.

As far as other hobbies go I intend to continue to make doilies, experiment with embroidery, make a garment or two for my mom and continue to knit.  Hopefully I can perfect my slipper making ability as well as learn how to make basic sweaters.

Early knitting projects.
Rounding out my goals for the year are plans to save for emergencies and wants, pay down debt and get control of my spending. This is no small task as most of you can imagine. I did make significant progress on similar goals over the past year or two and I'm sure I will continue to do so in 2011. I also have plans for being a good sponsor mom to my two boys in Kenya. I will be writing them letters and sending little things to them in the mail. In addition,  I have some small projects I am involved in in Kenya as my desire is to help widows and orphans in a few villages.  Of course I also have family here at home that I need to engage with and help in various ways. One of those ways is helping my mom to get settled in the nursing home when her room becomes available. In talking to the home today it sounds like they are taking all the right steps in readiness for mom's arrival. It is difficult to say exactly when the move will happen but my hunch is that it could be very soon.

As you can see things have been busy for  me as I gear up to make the most of 2011 and get things started on the right foot.  I must say I am looking forward to 2011 and I pray that you and your household are also looking forward to 2011 and making new goals and plans.

Blessings to you and your household as you embark on 2011. 
May it hold everything you seek.


Diane said...

Phew I am exhausted just reading what you have accomplished!! I am trying to declutter so I do not have all the 'rubbish' still around when we make the final move to France. Still not sure when that will be but I hope it just maybe 2011. Keep up the good work. Diane

Joyful said...

Hi Diane, thank you for your comment. I am just happy I don't have to make a move right now to another country like you are doing. I'm not sure what I would do about decluttering! Good luck with your big project :-)

Regina said...

Oh posted your To Do List- with photos!! (lol) Well, though it sounds familiar, especially the part about(I'm scrolling..chuckle)
ah, right at the top- "too much to say and no idea where to begin"
Hmm, well, good if you can just get a flow going and I think you'll feel better for it. My dad liked to toss everything out and my mom was the one who saved stuff but had a difficult time organizing it as well..maybe my dad's solution was to just dump it? At any rate..wishing you a fabulous day today! Cheers to the New World of Order (ha ha) My best~

Joyful said...

Ha, ha, REGINA! The photos reflect some of my "to dos" and some of my "done", lol. Your mom and dad were polar opposites in terms of how they handled stuff so I'm curious to know how you handle stuff ;-) I agree that sometimes we just need to plunge in and yesterday I did write a long list of things to do and kind of took stock of where I am and I think that will help me to move forward. My best to you too!

Anonymous said...

Happy 2011! Your goals look so great, good luck with them! :)

With Bible study, I have committed to just reading a chapter a day - I managed to stick to that the whole of last year. It's short enough that I rarely miss it (or its easy to catch up if I do) and I can really dig into it without getting lost reading pages and pages. Also, if you read a chapter every day you get through the whole Bible in 3 years! (So if you read 3 chpters a day you get through it in a year - I did this once but found I skimmed a lot to get through my 3 chapters if I was tired or busy or whatever...)
I know you can get good Bible notes emailed to you aswell, that might be an idea. Like a "thought for the day".
So glad you are blogging again more :) xxx

Joyful said...

Hi RACHEL, thanks for letting me know how you go about studying your bible. I tend to go book by book and sometimes by subject. I agree with you that reading a chapter a day is a lot easier and doable than reading three chapters every day. Do you know of a good reference Bible to use?

Joyful said...

RACHEL, I forgot to add my thanks for your encouragement about my blogging endeavours. I'm happy you find something of value here to read and that you've missed my regular posts. I will try to be a bit more regular as time moves forward :-)

Kilauea Poetry said...

They dad was the cowboy shoot-um-up kind of simply avoided it. Well it took a great change in me..(sort of like a balancing act? (grin). Ya writing is an outlet huh. Cheers~

Joyful said...

They dad was the cowboy shoot-um-up kind of simply avoided it. Well it took a great change in me..(sort of like a balancing act? (grin). Ya writing is an outlet huh. Cheers~

Joyful said...

Hi RACHEL, thanks for letting me know how you go about studying your bible. I tend to go book by book and sometimes by subject. I agree with you that reading a chapter a day is a lot easier and doable than reading three chapters every day. Do you know of a good reference Bible to use?

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