Gearing Up for Iceland

I’ve already purchased the most important parts of my gear for my upcoming trip to Iceland…hiking boots, socks, and my geologic field book. I’ll wear the boots every day, hiking around volcanos, geothermal pools, and fault lines. The socks are also key. I got the best, warm socks with no seams which are knit to conform to your foot. The notebook was prescribed…a waterproof, bound book with geologic references in the back. Next up? Layers.

I bought my boots at REI. I don’t know what it is about them that drew me there, but I couldn’t even think of another place to go. Once there, I was surprised to learn that they are a co-op and that membership of $20 (which goes to local trails) gives you entrée to discounts and more. In my first trip, I got my boots, socks, and water shoes. The water shoes will be nice for the hostel shower, but I really bought them for fording streams (don’t you just love the adventure in those words?).

My second trip, I was in search of rain gear…my outer layer. The weather will be between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I will need to go out for the day with clothing that protects me from rain and snow and sun. I could head out in a snow squall, spend hours making observations in the rain, and then find myself at a geothermal pool ready to swim. The sun will be up for 20 hours and in twilight-mode for the other four hours. What to wear, what to wear!

The helpful folks at REI helped me find a rain jacket and rain pants. For some reason, the woman helping me thought I was going to Iceland with my husband, despite my correcting her multiple times. I told her I was traveling there with a class. Finally, she got it and apologized. Then she told the next associate that “the teacher” needed help finding a waterproof pen. I let that one slide. Yes, I am a 52 year old student…being mistaken for a teacher is an honor!

In the end, I chose the low-end products for my outer layer. You can spend a fortune on this stuff, but I’ll only need it for a couple of weeks. I need to buy bigger sizes so that I can wear a light jacket and pants over at least two other layers for warmth. When the associates tried to get me to buy other layers, I demurred. I have tons of running gear and I’m pretty sure that I can fill my suitcase with my winter running tights, running jackets and long-sleeved T’s. I don’t need backpacking-specific clothes when I already have similar gear for running.Buff

I did succumb to something called a “Buff”. This turned out to be $20 for $5 dollar worth of fabric. I bought into the concept of a lightweight loop of fabric that I could wear around my neck and use to warm my neck, face, and/or head just by shifting the fabric.

In the end, it’s not about fashion. It’s about flexibility. I’m not ready to pack yet, but I am thinking ahead to when I will. I need a few new things…hopefully things I can continue to use after my trip. In the meantime…

Find the Joy in the Journey…and remember, you can’t go wrong with layers!

 

 

Every Day I Write Is A Good Day

I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stress lately and reading, writing, and running have taken a back seat to simple survival. I’ve noticed that I lose equilibrium when I skip any of these things, so I will examine each individually, starting with writing.

I’ve found it difficult lately to keep up with my every-other-day blog-posting schedule. I have, for the first time in the three years that I’ve been blogging, missed a few. I’ve become creative with writing posts after-the-fact then pre-dating them (guilty for this post). I find myself doing lots of writing in an evening to catch up with a lot of days of not writing.

This blog has become a lot of things to me over the years (yes, years!) and some of them were not things I anticipated. For one thing, I now see it as a legacy for my children, and maybe even my grandchildren. Not that my children usually read it, but it is here for them. I never anticipated it as a way to connect with my parents, but it has done that for me too. My dad is my biggest fan and my mom enjoys the pieces I write about my childhood…seeing how differently I see things in memory than how she remembers them.

Writing can be cathartic…although the things I most need catharsis on are not things I post publicly. So, this blog is opening up more of me than I imagined to public scrutiny, but still the really painful things are held back. More importantly, this blog has been self revelatory. I often say I have a poor memory, especially of my childhood, but I’ve been able to remember things long forgotten (and still forgotten by everyone else involved…hmmm…).

It has inspired me to try new things and re-try old things. I read more than I have since my twenties and I certainly write more than I ever have. Even my running is linked to the blog. It has given me much fodder for posts and made me feel accountable to finish what I set out to do. I’ve not been as successful with other goals, but running is one which I will keep coming back to.

Although I’ve gotten behind on the blog, I still have ambitions to finish my novel and the two follow-on books that are incubating in my brain. I’ve thought about going to a writers’ conference and I’ve got one in mind. I just need to work out the logistics and apply. I have learned about myself that I can make myself accountable by putting my money where my mouth is, usually in the form of a race entry fee, and having a concrete, step-by-step plan (usually created by someone else).

I recently wrote about happiness, and one thing that makes people happy is planning a vacation. I can plan a trip to a writers’ conference and accomplish two things at once…moving closer to a lifetime goal, and getting happy in the process.

Embrace what makes you happy and helps you keep your equilibrium so that you can…

Find the Joy in the Journey!

Related Posts:

Every Day I Run Is A Good Day

Every Day I Read Is A Good Day

Time to Pick Myself Up, Dust Myself Off, and Start All Over Again

I am starting out my journey to self-integration by feeling very dis-integrated. I’ve missed 6 days of work in the last couple of weeks, two for a funeral and then four due to illness…an illness that lingers and wears me out. I skipped running altogether for a week and got behind at work. Having decided that during Lent, I want to focus on becoming a more whole person, a more integrated person, I find myself starting at a point when I’ve temporarily lost the center.

All the more reason, as I get well and start running again, to figure out what belongs in my life and what doesn’t. I’ve started down a path to add strength training and language learning to my life, yet neither has become a habit yet. Both have fallen by the wayside during my illness. I do think that both of these fit into who I am and therefore need to become a part of my life. I’ve successfully incorporated other things into my life over the last few years, including writing and running. Others I’ve managed in fits and starts, like reading more. 

I know some secrets to success and need to employ them, but some are easier said than done. I know that I should cut some things out of my life to make room for what should be in my life. I’ve already cut out a lot, so it’s hard to figure what else to cut. For the next several years, my life revolves to a large extent around my youngest child and I am reluctant to cut any of that time. Being there for her sometimes means, quite literally, being there.  For her.

Right now I’m trying to figure out how to add or fit-in new activities. One secret is to schedule them in. I find that I am more likely to do something if I schedule it, especially if someone else is involved, someone to whom I’m accountable. In training for the half-marathon, both last fall and over the winter, I’ve scheduled my workouts and written them into my calendar. I planned them into my schedule or planned around other things already in my schedule. I feel accountable to my work team, who gave me the race registration as a birthday gift, to keep up with my training and do my best in the race.

My plan for learning Spanish was to use the Duolingo app during unplanned downtime. I’ve since discovered that the app is more interactive than I realized and requires me to listen to phrases and to speak phrases as well. This is not something I can do while waiting in line at the grocery, as I had imagined. So, I need to plan time alone to work on it. The weight training has to be done at the gym, since I don’t have the equipment at home. As with the running, I need to plan ahead and put the appointments down on my calendar. I need to schedule my quarterly follow-up with the fitness consultant to keep myself accountable to someone else.

I still have a lot to think about with what I want to be a part of me now, and in the future. Meanwhile, I’ll focus on incorporating the first two while keeping an eye to maintaining or even gaining more balance in my life.

Find the Joy in the Journey…if one path doesn’t work, try another!

 

Reading, Writing, and Running–Part II

Twenty-one days until the BIG FIVE-OH, and I’m still reading, writing, and running and little else. I am not writing anywhere near as much as I’d like, but I have been reading more and running three half-marathons. I can’t do it all, so I decided to do what ever I want in the little spare time that I have…that has meant not much in the way of housekeeping and little other balance in my life. But then, I think balance is an over-used phrase and I’m not sure whether it’s worth having anyway, at least in the short-term.

So, I signed up for three half-marathons when I never intended to run even one. I trained for months and then ran on a slight injury for my first. Unsatisfied, I signed up for one just seven days later and got the time I wanted. Then I felt lost, not knowing how much to run and when any longer, so to delay any sort of new plan, I signed up for a third, which is coming up shortly. I do not feel prepared, and have learned that in just two short weeks I can go from trained to unprepared.

With all that running, it has made it tough to keep up with my writing. I still want to finish my novel and since it is National Novel Writing Month I thought I’d dust off the old manuscript. Never mind that I’m super busy this month. So far I’ve gotten a much better handle on my characters and my storyline, but not written any new chapters.

Being a supreme procrastinator, I handled all this lack of time and direction, by picking up a novel that my son had been wanting me to read for the last eight years. I wrote about Ender’s Game in my last post and how it opened up a window into my son’s mind for me. I was quick to pick up the second book in the series Speaker For The Dead and dive into that. So much for my writing.

Both of these novels were the so-called “author’s definitive edition” and as such the Introductions were written by the author, Orson Scott Card. As I’ve read these introductions, I’ve gotten a view into the mind of a science fiction novel writer. I’ve learned a lot about writing, re-writing, learning, setting aside, re-writing, learning some more, re-writing some more. I’m a bit daunted by the task in front of me to get my own novel written. Most of all, though, I know I can get the basics down this month, but that there are so many more things I need to think about in my novel. I need to get the basic story down so that I can then tear it apart and put it back together again, over and over again.

I know the fundamental flaws in my novel. I’ve tried to build it on a Campbell’s Hero Cycle framework, but I’ve let the main character act too independently…I need to identify her helpers and bring them on her side early into the novel instead of my idea to explain their roles all at the end like a classic “who done it”. I’ve written the novel in the third person from a single point of view. I’d like to keep that, but that means more integration of dialogue between her and her helpers.

I find the whole idea of writing a novel, a really good novel, so exciting. I need to dedicate a lot more time to it or it will never get done. I don’t think I can do it for a few weeks of the year, I need it to be my main project for the next year or even two. A lot has been going on in my life behind the scenes this past year, but as that draws to a close, I’m ready for the next chapter of my life. That next chapter includes writing my novel.

Find the Joy in the Journey…the housework can wait.

A Fallow Fall Day

All week, I’ve been busy with work and various work-related evenings. It’s been fun, but it’s left little time for my own, personal goals. I’ve had no time to run, even though I am staring down a third half-marathon with little preparation. I’ve also had no time to prepare for National Novel Writing Month even though I’ve promised myself that this year, I’ll finish the novel. So, I entered the weekend on high alert…time to get things done!

Saturday dawned, dark and rainy. I tried to sleep in…something that seems to be impossible for women of my age. I tried anyway…the darkness and soothing sound of rainfall helped. Even so, by 8 a.m. I was up and pondering my day. Rain fell steadily and I knew it would fall, off and on, all day, but by Sunday the weather would be dry. Even so, I felt guilty for not getting my long run in.

Instead, I tried to focus on writing. I’d started National Novel Writing Month off with a wimper…writing absolutely nothing on day one. I’d not even come up with any innovations or plot twists. I struggled through the morning, trying to get a chapter down in writing. In the end, I got a few paragraphs written, but nothing actually happened. Disgusted, I decided to take a shower. Might as well, since a long run was off the table.

While in the shower, heating the water as much as I could stand, I thought about my storyline. It is a classic “who done it” in the guise of industrial espionage. Suddenly, it dawned on me why all of my decoys and red herrings looked guilty…I’d solved a major riddle in my story! I also realized that I needed to write an outline, something that should have been done in October if only I’d not been so busy mixing and mingling!

Thus emboldened, I did nothing. I told my younger daughter that we could watch a movie on TV and I veggged-out. I did grab a piece of paper, though, and start plotting my story starting at the end and working backward. What I discovered is that I’m almost to the end of my story, even though I have fewer than 10,000 words written. This is a serious problem. Or is it?

I read through the story again, and I found an error. I’d changed a character mid-way through and I didn’t know why. This is the risk I took by writing the first few chapters one November, the rest the next November, then spending the third November cleaning it up and fixing mistakes. Apparently I missed this change. I tried to remember why I’d made the change, turning a female character into a male character. It finally dawned on my why I’d done it and it also made me more sure than ever that I’d written additional chapters that were now lost. It did solve another plot-line, however.

So, I am more convinced than ever that my writing style just doesn’t work with the typical NaNoWriMo method of dumping the whole story out, chronologically, until reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month. I am just a more circuitous writer. I write a beginning, I write an ending, I outline later than I should, I get the book down in words, then I go back and add the missing details, I flesh it out. That’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it!

Words written in the first two days of NaNoWriMo? About 400. Words to go? About 70,000!

Find the Joy in the Journey, and the freedom to take a fallow day…great thoughts often come when you least expect them!

Lighting The Way

It often takes a little hindsight to see things clearly. In the middle of a disaster, there’s no telling what is up, what is down, or even what is supposed to be up or down…it’s just all a swirl of dust and darkness and trying to grab onto something real when all of a sudden reality has abandoned you. That’s how I felt at the beginning of what will be a year of extricating myself from the destruction that I should have seen coming, but didn’t.

Very early on, a friend who can’t be here in person due to living abroad, sent me an e-book and shared her own story of survival. That book was like a beacon, shining light into the dark areas and reassuring me that I had nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, and that I would survive and come out a year later with a whole new lease on life. That year is almost up, and when I look back, I know that my friend gave me a tool to light my way.

A couple of weeks ago, a package arrived for me at work. Well, it arrived at the mail room where I worked two moves ago. It took a while for the package to be forwarded to my new building. I had to sign for it and the mail room in my new building is only staffed a few hours a week. So, I had some time to speculate about exactly who could be sending me something and what it might be. I was pretty sure it was from the same friend who sent me the e-book because she’d sent it to the last address she knew for me…the building where we met and worked together before she left the company for a new opportunity.

20131027-202030.jpgFinally, I got my hands on the box and opened it up. Inside was a gift box with a brief note. Indeed it was from the same friend! She had sent me a light, this time a literal rather than figurative one. She explained that she was inspired by my posts about running to get back into it herself. She sent me the light, to be worn like a miner’s light on my head, so that I could keep up my running even as the mornings and evenings were getting too dark to run without a light.

I have put the light to use immediately, running after work a few nights a week. I think it annoys the motorists in the neighborhood, but then again, they clearly see me coming…even if I am shining a bright light in their eyes. When dusk starts to fall, the light doesn’t actually light my way, but is a beacon to others that I am coming. As the darkness deepens, the light becomes more visible to me, lighting the sidewalk ahead of me so that I don’t trip.

I have learned this year that it is ok to ask for help, to rely on others. As I come out of my year of darkness, I find myself ever more joyful and for the first time in a very long time, able to lift my head beyond my own immediate family and my own survival to those around me. I am grateful for my friends and family and looking forward to being a light for someone else.

In many ways, this blog has helped me, focusing me on the joy in my life instead of the sadness. It has also allowed me to be a light to others, some of whom I don’t know, by inspiring them to get out and run…whether to try the Couch to 5k program or to up their game to a 10k or even a half-marathon. I’m not sure exactly how I will transform this blog next month when I reach my fiftieth birthday, but I know I will keep on writing.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Be a light for others and let others light your way!

Reading, Writing, and Running

As my 50th birthday gets closer and closer I wonder what I’ll do with my blog…Laura’s 50 by 50 will be over when I get to that milestone. I know I won’t have done everything I wanted to do, but I sure have done a lot and I’m happy with my successes. Three things that have come to the forefront in my life recently are reading, writing, and running.

I have always loved to read…well, at least since I was 7. I was a late reader but have been an avid one ever since. As I started this project I admitted that I’d lost touch with the reader in me. My life is full of lots of responsibilities, many of which are time-consuming. Reading had taken a back seat to other activities. Even with a goal of reading 50 books for pleasure in the 2 and a half years leading up to my 50th birthday, I’m falling a bit short. This is one goal I will reach…I will make sure of it!

20130807-221156.jpg

Right now, I’m reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, my 36th book. I am enjoying it immensely, especially since I just read The Paris Wife, a novel by Paula McLain about the same time in Hemingway’s life based on primary sources. The version I’m reading was edited by Hemingway’s descendants, and they provide refreshing perspectives on his life.

I have always wanted to be a writer…well, at least since I was 7. I was a late reader, but I quickly got up to speed and hit college-level reading in fourth grade. Early on I read the Little House books and Little Women. The first was a memoir by prolific writer and journalist, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the second was a novel about a writer by a writer. It helped that Louisa May Alcott and I share a birthday. I was enamored with the idea of being a writer from almost the moment I first started to read.

I had the writer-wannabe down pat long ago…but with this blog, I finally have put writing into practice. It is not the kind of writing I long to do, but it is the kind of writing I can do every day and can fit into my current priorities. I started a novel a few years ago, trying to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, aka November) to get myself psyched. November turns out to not be a great time of year to write an entire novel…

I have wanted to be a runner since I was about 14. It didn’t go very well. I read Running by James Fixx and was inspired. I was young, I flew out the door and ran 3 miles. That was Easter and by Memorial Day, I was ready to run our quirky 5.2 mile, hilly hometown run. I vaguely recall running it in 52-ish minutes. I don’t recall running again until I was about 34, except as coerced in high school gym class. I had a lot of trouble with my ankles to the point where I had to stop running.

These days, however, I’ve managed in the last 15 months to go from couch to half-marathon-training. I am happy about the running, but completely stressed-out about the half-marathon. I think that 6 miles is a sweet-spot for me. I’m still determined to meet my goal of running a half-marathon, but after that, I just want to enjoy a 6-mile run two or three times a week.

So, as I approach the point of letting go of this blog, at least the name of this blog, I wonder what to turn it into…at the moment, Reading, Writing, and Running is on my short list.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and remember that rather than an ending, you can choose to evolve!

<a

The Book Is The Thing

I’ve been “working” on my first book for several years now. Which is to say, I spend more time thinking about it and talking about it and trying to find the darned flash drive that holds my only copy, than actually writing. This past October, I spent untold frantic hours trying to find it. I found bits and pieces on my hard drive, but chapters were missing. I wrote about how my own writing process wasn’t particularly aligned with the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) methodology or timing in NaNoWriMo a NoNo. (November? Really?)

Even so, I am excited about this writing project. I recently mentioned it to a few folks at work and got a bit animated as I told them my synopsis of the plot. They were mesmerized and told me they would love to read it. Oh my goodness! Such pressure! And, also, such a great inspiration to get back to it. In the midst of my current obsession to get back in shape and lose weight, much has fallen by the wayside. I admitted right off the bat that losing weight required me to be obsessive…and it does…and it is working. So, I don’t want to mess up my weight-loss progress (even though I spent 8 weeks at a plateau).

In the past week, however, a hometown gal put her book up on Amazon…and she highlighted another hometown gal’s recently published book too. I felt like I’d slacked off! Regardless of my own feelings of falling behind, I immediately purchased and downloaded the book by Connie Hansen…a woman who lived next to me on Pine Street…I was three when she was born and she was three when I moved across town. We shared one year of high school together, given the difference in our ages. Even so, I enjoy a Facebook relationship with her. She’s an amazing, witty, potty-mouthed, cookie baking, marketing entrepreneur, novel-writing phenom! You can check out her novel, Code Name VOID  on Amazon.  I am tearing myself away from it only long enough to catch up on my blogging!

Although I have a lot on my plate…and my focus is now on weight-loss and physical fitness…I need to keep up with many other aspects of my life. Now I just need to figure out how I fit novel-writing into my schedule.  In all honesty, the hold-up is less about time and more about figuring out where my novel is going, how my Campbell-cycle rounds-out to a conclusion, and how my sequels are properly seeded into this first work.

When I focus on my novel, I dream of my characters and know them intimately. I worry that I will take so long in writing my novel that the topical nature of it will be old news. In the end, I need to pick it back up again and just write…NaNoWriMo-style…then later I can edit to my heart’s content.

I must admit that I have a wonderful problem…so many creative projects to work on that I have no time to do them all…May we all have so many wonderful ideas and choices that we can’t possibly do them all. Just pick a favorite or two and get on with it!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in every creative project you pick up!

A Look Forward to 2013

I have spent some time looking back at 2012 to see what worked and what didn’t. I’ve also given myself a few gifts: the gift of routine, the gift of fun and fitness, and the gift of forgiveness and do-overs, which I wrote about in Putting on My Oxygen Mask—Gifts for Myself in the New Year. Now it is time to take a deep breath and figure out my 2013 resolutions, which overlap heavily with the last year of my 50-by-50 project.

Last year, I determined six categories around which to build my resolutions, and these six categories are still valid foundations on which to build my 2013 resolutions. This means I really did figure out a way to focus my life. I thought about combining them somehow, or whittling them down a bit, which I could do…but I decided not to mess with success. Instead, I will tweak the specific actions I want to take within the same framework. The six things, in no particular order, are:

  1. Relationships
  2. Health
  3. Wealth
  4. Charity
  5. Career
  6. Writing

Continuing the tradition, I have come up with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals:

Relationships

  • Help my older daughter through her college selection process and her transition from high school to college.
  • Support my younger daughter’s insatiable appetite for activities. Attend her sporting events, plays, and Girl Scout ceremonies with a heart full of joy and appreciation for her youthful enthusiasm.
  • Help my son through his own special issues by providing just the right balance of support, advice, parenting, and freedom.
  • Spend time with my friends, old and new, and cultivate positive relationships.

Health

  • Continue along the path I’ve chosen to be more physically active. Achieve a 30 minute 5k. Build up to running a 5k. Take a fencing lessons with my younger daughter and really work on my skills.
  • Maintain a spiritual practice by regularly attending church services and leaving time for quiet reflection at least once a week.
  • Read books of a variety of genres and achieve my goal of 50 books from the start of this project to my 50th birthday.
  • Listen to music I love, whenever and wherever I can.

Wealth

  • Work with a financial planner to get an honest look at my financial situation and work on creating a realistic plan to get my kids through college, pay off my house, and retire comfortably.
  • Continue my priority to live within my means and not accumulate debt.

Charity

  • Use both corporate-sponsored volunteer days at work, choosing and planning one for my work group this year.
  • Continue on as a member of the finance committee of my favorite charity, having term-limited off of the board of directors and my Treasurer position.
  • Figure out my new role with my favorite charity as a contributing committee member to its expansion committee
  • Create a budget for charitable contributions based on family and personal values

Career

  • Put together SMART objectives for my work group by the end of January and cascade it to my direct reports.
  • Nail those objectives!

Writing

  • Continue to publish Laura’s 50 by 50 every other day
  • Finish my novel
  • Write outlines for the two sequels to my novel

Somehow, woven into all of these categories is another goal…one that is at once specific and incredibly ambiguous.  I wrote about it, recently, in Time to Lighten my Load. I need to de-clutter every aspect of my life, from possessions to relationships to my physical body. As one of my Facebook friends recently messaged me, “Life is a consistent journey of learning and becoming more of spirit than of body…”

Find the Joy in the Journey… and embrace the growth of your spirit!

Related Posts:

Time to Lighten My Load

Not Ready for Resolutions–Yet

Putting on My Oxygen Mask—Gifts to Myself for the New Year

A Look Back at 2012

Fist Pump–Today I Turn 49!

As I write this, I am listening to the mix-tape my daughter made me for Mother’s Day. The music, some from her generation, some from mine,  and When I’m 64 thrown in their for good measure, makes me smile. I listen to more music since I started this project and I wonder why I ever stopped. I read more, and I wonder how I let reading fall out of my daily routine. The answer, of course, is that I raised a family while working full-time and my own life got mostly squeezed aside in the process. At 47 and a half, I made a conscious decision to find myself again and to prepare myself for a life beyond child-raising. A year and a half later, I’m still raising a family and working full-time, but I’ve started to discover myself as the kids become more independent and start leaving the nest.

I started this project a year and a half ago, and it has one more year to run. Sometimes I despair that I am falling miserably behind and other times I marvel at how much I’ve done in the last year and a half. In the end, I will have accomplished so much more than if I’d never begun, so there is no point in feeling bad about not getting absolutely everything done. I may not finish my novel, nor become fluent in another language, but I will have tried. I am definitely reading more, writing more, and listening to more music.

Even in the last year, I’ve made important changes. I just re-read my post from a year ago, Fist Pump—Today I Turn 48!, and realized how well I’ve built from that point to where I am now. I have made considerable progress in the last six months on a cluster of goals related to my health. I exercise regularly, I monitor my diet, and I’ve lost 18 pounds and dropped a dress-size in the process. I even ran a 5k race from start to finish and run the same distance 2 or 3 times a week to keep in shape. My lack of weight loss was my biggest disappointment a year ago and now my weight loss is my biggest accomplishment and I have the momentum to keep going to get to my goal of losing 50 to 60 pounds by the time I turn 50.

I’ve also made progress in fixing up my house and getting rid of stuff that is cluttering up my life…but these goals seem unending. I started small with my mud room, linen closet, and utility closet and those areas have stayed cleared out and much more useful. Other areas just fill back up again with clutter once they are cleaned out! I also have vast areas of stuff that my husband and I have accumulated since we were children that I haven’t even started to tackle. If we’re ever going to down-size, all that stuff has to be dis-positioned somehow!

I am starting to look at a horizon beyond my 50th birthday. I intend to end this blog on my next birthday, but I do intend to keep on writing…perhaps a new blog. A year from now I’ll be down to one child at home (albeit a very active child) and more time on my hands…time to keep in shape and more time to write.

I hope you’ll follow along, inspire me, and even be inspired by me. It’s never to late too start something…do something…be someone. We all get older, day by day, and goals don’t accomplish themselves. Make a small step now and then just keep on moving. You will be amazed, as I am, by how much you can accomplish by taking a few small steps every day.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and stop waiting for the perfect time to improve your life…that time is now!