Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Slow Down

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time.
Billy Joel

After a motivating Premier Designs Rally, I was telling my husband the events of the weekend.  At lunch one afternoon, the subject turned to Facebook and the games on Facebook.  I admitted that I am addicted to Farmville.  My one friend looked at me in shock, asking how I had time.  She, too, had as many obligations as me.  I told her that I have been escaping the past month or two in games, books, and movies.  To me, I have been spending too much time doing the things I enjoy, escaping from the realities of my life.

Laughing, my husband shook his head, and said "Janet, you are doing what normal people do every day.  You usually are trying to be superwoman, trying to cram too much into one day, and exhausting yourself to the point of getting sick.  How you have been the last couple of months is how you should be all the time."

Hmmm...  Maybe he's right.  As Billy Joel says, "You can't be everything you want to be before your time."  For years, I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion.  Because of my laid back attitude, many have never seen the perfectionism inside of me, but I admit, in things that I do, I am a perfectionist.  I will allow other to make mistakes, but I am very hard on myself.  I also expect more out of myself than I do of others.

A couple of years ago, I literally burnt out.  I was sick, tired all the time, couldn't think straight, ...  After that, I learned to say no to some things that were asked of me, realizing that I was getting older and my body could only do so much in a given day.  Sometimes, I knew and felt guilty for saying no to things I really thought I should do.  Yes, I did anger some people that were used to me being a "yes" person, but my family (shhh) did adjust.  I mean I'm the person who worked full time, had 3 part time businesses, managed my rental property (including all the renovations we did), sold things on ebay, and, until the last year, cleaned, cooked, and kept house like every other woman I know.  (Since my husband hasn't had much work lately, he's been doing most of the cooking and cleaning.)

The only problem was that I still did not say no to myself.  I just kept going like the Energizer Bunny until a couple of months ago when I realized that I could not stop my problems from happening - only God could.  And, when I thought about what I have done the last couple of months, it was a lot more than playing games, reading, and watching movies.  It was cleaning, showing, and renting out a grocery store; taking care of code violations, calling the architect, lawyer, contractors, and going to the violation hearing; preparing for Christmas, making gifts, and celebrating Christmas; dealing with a tenant's suit, the tenant breaking her lease, and her roommate that didn't want to move; the gas company breaking the line at the buildings and refusing to turn the gas back on without me being present when I was more than an hour away; dealing with my many money problems and receiving rents late; trying to start the New Year with a clean house; putting in orders for my 3 businesses; fixing computers on the side for extra $; and I could go on and on.

And I told her that I had been hiding from the world, escaping, and not doing anything.  (I had to type out the list for myself, so I would stop feeling guilty.  Someone should smack me over the head.  Or, better yet, give me a big hug, and tell me that 2010 is going to be a great year!!)

Oh, one side note, my DSL was really flaky the first two weeks of the year, so I couldn't really use the internet.  I couldn't play Farmville, read emails, try to write my blog, or surf for more than a minute or two without it going down, and me giving up.  So, I guess, truthfully, I can't even say that I was escaping in Farmville for the last whole two months.  And we were gone for almost a week, visiting my in-laws and going to Rally.

Now, it's 10:00 p.m., and I told myself that I was going to get ready for bed by 9:30.  Well, I still need to get two folders together for jewelry shows so I can drop them off tomorrow after work, so I better stop and say "No more, Janet.  Time to stop."

Nite, Nite, Everyone!
Aunt Janet

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Quest to Simplify

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak.
Hans Hofmann

I am on a quest - a quest to simplify my life, to eliminate the needless stress that I tend to invite by my actions.  Consciously, but slowly, step by step, I plan to find ways and methods to relieve stress, create time, and simplify.  I yearn for serenity.

Over the next couple of months, I hope to share with you what I have tried, and what has worked and hasn't worked for me, in the hopes that maybe you will find your path to serenity.

First, I need to get rid of the unnecessary, the clutter, and the unwanted.  At the same time, I need to acquire new habits to save time and energy.  They say that if you do something for 30 days, it will become a habit.  From there, I am unsure what the next step is.  I want to say to grow, but that's where by chaos came in to play - doing too much at one time.  Just maybe, the next step would be to be still, reflect, and think, while I maintain the new habits I have learned.  From there, I can then go on to what I discover is important to me, and then grow in those areas. 

A little secret - I think I already know what is important to me.  Hint:  The topics in my blog postings.  I'll let you know if I'm right.

Time Savings

The first new habit that I will practice is to get my outfit ready for the next day.  This will include my clothing, my jewelry, and my bags.  I know that many of you have a habit of doing this, but I have never done this, so this is new to me.  Usually, I am running around, trying to figure out what matches what, finding socks to match, grabbing jewelry, stuffing things in my bag, and running out the door.  I don't know how many times I had to run back in because I forgot something, or not being able to find a pair of earrings that go with my necklace.  I sell jewelry, so I have to make sure I look like a jewelry lady, right? 

Well, beginning tonight, that will change.  I will let you know in my next couple of blogs how I'm doing on this new habit.

Money Savings

I came upon this idea on a blog I visited, and, after I explain it to my husband, we're going to do this.  It's called Eat from the Pantry Challenge, and was started by Jessica G. Fisher at Life as Mom and Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom.

Per Jessica, "Here are some guidelines to help you think about this challenge and how you can grow in kitchen management this month:

  • Reduce grocery spending. We're talking about reducing grocery spending this month, not eliminating it. Set a goal that is lower than your regular food budget and shoot for not exceeding it.
  • Take stock. Take an afternoon and empty your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Ditch what's gone bad and make a list of what's left. Knowing what you have will make you less likely to buy more.
  • Use what you have. Check your pantry before you meal plan or head off to the store. Develop meals based on what you have rather than buying new.
It's a personal challenge, and you make up the rules.  My goal is to sit down with my husband and come up with our rules by the end of the week.  I'll let you know what they are by the weekend. 

One of my biggest problems is buying things on sale.  Our pantry is loaded with brownie boxes, and jello, and God knows what else.  I know that we need to go through our freezer, (throw out what is freezer burnt,) and take inventory, but I would love to try to eat from our pantry to save money.  I do still plan on buying from Angel Food Ministries because of the money savings. 

One note - I think I may have offended someone when I suggested Angel Food Ministries to them.  Per their website, "There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications.  Everyone is encouraged to participate. Some churches even encourage participants to apply the money they saved to help someone else in need."  Also, they say "With a heart to help others and a generous spirit, Joe and Linda Wingo founded Angel Food Ministries in 1994 to provide food for friends and neighbors who were struggling financially."  They purchase the food from "the nation's top food suppliers" at discounted prices.

Since the majority of us are going through financial hardships at this time, they encourage everyone to participate.  I believe that they are able to charge so little because church volunteers coordinate and distribute the food.  It gives seniors a chance to volunteer - to feel needed, and it gives us help and hope.  I kind of look at it as sort of a God food co-op.

I better go pick out my outfit.  Talk to you soon!
Aunt Janet

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year's!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity
and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Alas, 2009 is gone, and a New Year is here! A New Year to hope, to plan, to seek, to love, and to realize dreams. I look forward to this New Year with much anticipation - it will definitely be a good year!

Due to life's trials, 2010 may be a year where we learn to change. Life is not what it was five years ago. We will become less materialistic, and we will simplify, holding on to our values and close ones more than things. This is the year we let go of the anger, let go of the fear, and resolve to find different roads to our happiness. I feel that family and friends will gather and share more of life's burdens, and rejoice in togetherness.

My New Year's resolution - 2010 will be a great year! Period, end of story, I'm claiming it! I will need to let go of the anger, the fear, and humble myself to go down roads I do not know or chose to avoid in the past. Although I have done this in the past, I give all my woes to God, and ask that His plan for my life become clearer, and He lights the path brightly, the one that I am to take. In the past, I thought I was doing what He wanted me to do, but the results weren't always good. So, now I ask, and pray, that these paths are illuminated so I know clearly where to go.

I also claim for year that 2010 will be a great year! Be brave and look up for it may not be what you expected, and it may take you be surprise, but, at the close of the year, if you kept your faith, you will look back and say "Yes, 2010 was a great year!"


I began the New Year reading a daily inspirational book called God's Abundance: 365 Days to a Simpler Life, and a best seller which you will probably recognize, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy. My goal in reading these books (for the second or third time) is to learn techniques and ways to simplify my life and be content.  Check them out by clicking on the book name above.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

This is a saying that I picked up from my dad.  When I was growing up, my family always brought in the New Year.  We held silver dollars, kissed and hugged, and drank a smidgen of champaign.  Being Polish, some even ate the pickled herring which is supposed to bring in good luck for the coming year. 

"How you start the year is how it will be all year long."  If you start the year with a clean house, your house will be clean.  If you start the year with a positive attitude, you will be positive all year. 

One interesting tradition I just learned - on New Year's, place a penny on a windowsill to increase the chances of prosperity in the year to come.  I'm trying it, and I'll let you know if it helps.
Happy New Year!
Aunt Janet
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