Friday, April 15, 2011

Challenge #4 - Write a note

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I've been out of the loop lately. My grandmother died and I had to go back to the states for the funeral and there was packing and travelling and unpacking all related to that that took an entire week out of my "30 days to a better me." And then we didn't have internet for a day and a half. I mean, I didn't stop doing my challenges, I just stopped giving them for a bit.

Let me sum up my progress: I have not been charting my time, but it is no longer necessary. I have become incredibly aware of how my time got wasted, and apart from that, the last week has been so busy that I literally haven't had time to even check my e-mail. So, I'm not wasting time. For now.

I have kept my hot spot (my desk) clutter free. Except last night when I went to bed w/ stuff on it. My excuse? I am working on these same things this morning and putting them all away and pulling it back out again would probably use up some valuable time. Lousy excuse, I know, but I was zombie tired when I came up with it. It doesn't hold near as much water in the light of day. :)

Overeating: Mas o menos. I mean...a couple of times I have eaten too much, but I have lost of total of 3 lbs since the beginning of the month so I'm not too worried. I sort of "gave up" yesterday and ate too much and ate too much chocolate, but I won't do that today. It is a new day and I am done overeating.

The Challenge:
Write a note
Not an e-mail, an evite, or an e-card. Not a message on facebook or a tweet. An actual note on paper. We live in an electronic age and we have lost much of the value of pen and paper. There is something so cool about getting a letter or card in the mail with a handwritten address and a real stamp! This is an easy challenge, so to make it more difficult, I am going to ask you, plead with you, beseech you to make this a weekly thing. Do you need some ideas or inspiration?
Write a sweet/romantic note to your spouse and leave it with cologne or perfume on their pillow.
Write a note to your kid(s) and put it in their lunch box/backpack that tells them in detail how proud you are of them and how much they mean to you.
Write a thank you note to a friend or neighbor just for being there for you.
Write a far-away-not-in-touch-with relative to ask how they are doing and tell them you are thinking of them.
Be creative. Be genuine!
The Bible tells us to "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13
So how are you going to encourage someone today? Don't you want to be one of those people that makes other people feel important and cared for? Boy, I do! I am going to write some notes and mail them from here. Even cooler to have a postmark from Guatemala, right? haha!

Comment here and tell me how you are going to answer this challenge. We all need accountability.

(ps Look for another challenge coming very soon)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Challenge #3 - You are what you eat?

We are on our way to better us-es.
We have been logging our time to see where we've been waisting. Ok...I have had been travelling etc so I haven't logged but one day, but I'm gonna start again tomorrow.
We committed to "put out" a hot spot and keep it out for the next month. I am doing REALLY great on that front. My desk is neat and orderly.

Now we are going to address the next battle front in the war for a better us: our digestive system. I say that so generally because this issue is going to vary wildly depending on your habits and circumstances, I don't want to limit this challenge to any specific problem

We all have areas of our digestive health that are not super healthy. Some examples: You eat too much. You eat a disproportionate amount of carbs yet you don't run marathons. You skip breakfast. You don't get your recommended amount of water every day (take your weight in lbs, divide that in 2, and that is how many ounces you should drink in a day. I weight 135lbs, so I should drink 68oz of water in a day) . You don't take vitamins. You don't eat any vegetables. You eat fried foods more days than not. You never just eat 1 eat the whole batch. You drink soda on a regular basis. You don't get hardly any fiber in your diet. You eat an unnecessary late night snack every night before bed. I could go on, but you get my point.

The challenge:
Choose one unhealthy food related habit (or a healthy habit that is lacking) and change it. For the next month, don't do whatever it is that you do that puts junk and not goodness into your body. Commit to do this every day for one month.

I have already been addressing some of these things in my life, but one that I have let slip and have noticed a difference in is overeating. I tend to eat too much food when I really like it. I act as though this will be the last time that I am going to get to eat this amazing thing! The truth is that if I ate less, I would have some of whatever it is as left overs! I could eat it again and save money on groceries! Haha! So I commit to stop eating when I've had enough. Reducing my portion sizes to a reasonable amount, and only get a second (or third) helping if I am still hungry.

Well...we'll see how this goes! Are you doing this with me? Are you going to change something in your digestive life? I think we will see a difference! We can do this one step at a time.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Challenge #2 - Hot spots

Are you keeping track of your time today? I had said that Brandon and I were going to keep track for a week, but I don't think that will be necessary. At least not for me. I am finding that as I try to keep track of what I am doing and how long it is taking me, I am more aware of waisted time! I am going to make sure I track a home school day and a non-home school day so that I can really see where my time goes. But geez...I am staying on task so much more just knowing that I am going to have to log. It is not to late to participate in this challenge. Go here to find the post. (if that link doesn't work, or there isn't a link that appears, then just go to my last blog entry to find it)

The new challenge:
Take Care of a Hot Spot
What is a hot spot? This comes from Flylady and I LOVE IT! You know when you have had a fire but the fire has died down? Even if you don't see any flames or any red, there can be hot spots in the coals. Areas where there is enough heat that if you put a small log onto it, it will catch fire again. We have places like that in our house. Places that collect clutter. You can clean and organize it, but as soon as the first piece of mail (or whatever) hits it, it catches fire with clutter. These places are battle grounds for order. One day goes by unattended, and these hot spots are blazing (and covered w/ crap!)

The only thing you can do about hot spots is keep them clear. Keep them clear of ANYTHING. Hot spots can be bathroom counters, junk drawers, entry tables, nightstands, desks, kitchen counters, treadmills, and even living room furniture! The challenge this week is to become a fire fighter for at least one hot spot in your home. Take how ever much time you need to get it completely cleared off, actually finding a home for whatever was on there, even if that home is the garbage. Then, commit to keep it free of fuel. Every day, several times a day, whenever you see that spot, clear it off. And keep it clear for the next month.

My hot spot is going to be...hmm...I have so desk. That's the one. I commit to keep my desk free of clutter and things that don't belong there for the next month. I will put away my supplies when I finish a task. I will not get up from my work until my desk is orderly. I will struggle against the family machine that puts misc. toys/papers/trash/crap on my desk.

We will probably do this challenge again w/ a different hot spot, so don't overwhelm yourself with 10 places to de-clutter. Depending on how hot the spots are, 1 or 2 will be sufficient.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

30 Days to a Better Me

Actually it is going to be 28 days or so. It is from now until May 1st and since today is April 2nd, we won't have a full 30 days. 28 days of a better me doesn't sound as cool. I digress. Let me explain.

Over the next month I will be making a few changes, solidifying some changes I've already made, and sharing all of this with you. Nothing is going to happen too drastically or too quickly, but I know that if I'm honest here in sharing what I'm doing and going through, I am more likely to be honest with myself and more motivated to do what it is I want to do.

Also, I am going to ask you to be a part of what I'm doing. I want people to participate in these challenges with me. Won't that be fun? I commit to post here at least every other day (It would be fun to post every day but that might not be realistic) and give new challenges as well as keep track of any progress made or lost.

I know many of you read this blog on facebook, but if you want to you can subscribe to my blog by going to and clicking "subscribe via e-mail" and my blog will be sent directly to your e-mail.

So on to the first challenge. This will actually start tomorrow (Sunday, April 3rd).
Keep a daily log.
I suggest in 15 min. increments. Brandon and I are going to do this for a week because our daily schedule varies a lot depending on the day, but if your days are pretty routine, you could just do it for a couple of days. Basically, you write down everything that you do for the entire day in 15 or 30 min. increments. From brushing your teeth, to taking a shower, to fixing your hair, to preparing and eating meals. And just to give credit where credit is due, this is actually a suggestion by Dr. Howard Hendricks, renowned professor of Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics at Dallas Theological Seminary. I am going to print up a few excel spreadsheets to make it easier.

The purpose of this is as follows: So much of the time we waste time by keeping busy with things that we don't even realize we are doing. You are at work and you check facebook every hour or so but you are on for 15 min. You end up not working for almost 2 hours in your 8 hour day! You go in to take a shower and you spend a couple of minutes plucking your eyebrows and popping zits instead. You go into the kitchen to start on dinner and you find yourself looking through the pile of mail on the counter. 15 minutes later no bills are paid and you still haven't made dinner, but you have a really good idea which is your favorite rug in the new Pottery Barn catalog. You get on the computer to check e-mail at home, and you find a fun website that keeps you occupied for a half an hour. Maybe none of that sounds familiar to you, but there is probably time in your day when you are doing something that could wait until later, or you are doing something that takes longer than you planned. These little 15 min snippets rob our day of productive time and then we don't have the time that we need to do the things that we WANT to do. In my case it is practicing the guitar, playing the Wii w/ my kiddos, sewing, or making homemade bread.

If you want to do this challenge with us, and you want me to e-mail you a copy of the spreadsheet that I am making, just leave your e-mail address as a comment and I will send it to you. Just use the form "address at suchandsuch dot com" instead of typing in your actual address. After I do this for a couple of days, I will be able to post here some of my results.

Join us if you can. It will be fun to see what all we can accomplish in 30 (or so) days!