Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Changes Are Happening

Since we are (still) in the first month of this new 2009 year, I’ve been contemplating changes I need to approach/adopt in my life. Nothing terribly dramatic, mind you, but changes going in a forward rather than reverse motion, or even status quo.

First: My house is disorganized.
Second: My housekeeping is disorganized and sporadic.
Third: Well, those two pretty much cover a lot of ground.

Apparently, it takes me a little longer to work up a head of steam now a days, so it’s nearly the end of the first month and I’m just now getting into doing things about organizing and being more practical with my time/resources.

Last week, I worked up a two week menu plan. (Today I finished another two week menu.) Since it was sort of the middle of the week when I started and my menu sheet begins on a Sunday, I just filled in the meals already made on the appropriate days, then moved on to plan for the remainder of the two week period. Perhaps I should mention that frugality is a portion of the impetus for this leap in planning. I knew I had nearly two weeks of meals to plan before payday and didn’t want to run to buy groceries anyway. That was primarily due to the fact that I’ve developed a huge aversion to shopping for groceries any more with prices having increased by leaps and bounds over the past several months. I’ve always tried to “stock up” on basics and canned goods, just cause, so my pantry wasn’t hurting too badly.

Prior to actually deciding what to put on the menu, I was forced to actually inventory my freezers to learn precisely what kinds of meat and how much of each I had to work with. (My freezers consist of the two units that are part of the two refrigerators we own. Nothing so fine as a proper deep freeze.)

The great thing about actually planning a menu ahead of time—and this was part of my design—was that you can plan ahead when and what of your leftovers you can use. Like the hamburger vegetable soup leftovers were a little on the scant side of things, but the penne rigate with marinara sauce blended together was a nice mix, especially when combined with leftover crusty Italian bread.

So, it’s been a week—and all of you who are menu planning pros my hat’s off to you—it’s been great! I know in the morning, or the night or afternoon before what I’m going to fix for supper on a given night! No last minute panic about what to fix for supper! Hurray! And planning to use leftovers is an added bonus because I don’t forget about them—like I sometimes, too often, used to. Savings all the way around!

That’s one of the most fun changes I’ve made. Another fun change I’ve made . . . I’ve cut back on my sweets intake. There are actually days I don’t even think about eating something sweet after supper. And, also, I’ve gotten back to walking (on a treadmill) for about 30 minutes every other day. And I’m SOOOOO happy to report that I’ve lost 8 pounds since Christmas AND I’m back in my size 12 jeans. Which is great! I no longer look like a sixty year old woman who might be 8 months pregnant.

Additionally, I’ve made a chart to track my household chores and other necessary activities—indicating the days I should plan to do certain things and also check them off when done.

It occurred to me that since I have no children living at home now I’ve gotten a bit soft about taking care of things. When any or all of my kids were here 24/7 I had my work cut out. So many demands with their own time schedules. Even when down to my youngest being the only one at home and in his sophomore year of high school, I began teaching a Seminary class Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 am for students in 9th to 12th grades. Every day school was in session, Seminary class was held. I truly enjoyed having that opportunity, which lasted for 5 ½ years. So I had a schedule because of my responsibilities. I got up at 5 am each day and went about my business. Those of you who raise cattle and the like, don’t snicker too much, please! I know you’re so much busier than I! Getting up at 5 am is probably sleeping in for you.

I was having some health issues and felt the early morning challenge was part of the problem, so just a year ago this week I was called to teach college age students instead. We meet one night each week, each semester. I’m loving this opportunity. I was pretty much blown away by that challenge when it came, but I truly love studying the Scriptures and teaching them, so now, I’m in my third semester of doing so. Though I’ve had two years (collectively give or take) of college, I don’t have a degree, so I really have had to work. There’s much I still have to learn, and I expect that when I’m 90, I’ll say something similar to what my Grandmother said to me at that age, “You know, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know—particularly about the Scriptures.” I was in my 30’s when she told me that. My jaw dropped, but I could really quote her now and it would be an accurate first-hand statement of fact.

With all that said, my schedule now is far more relaxed than it has been for the last 33 years, so I have to work at doing what I should be doing without having lots of little, or not so little, people demanding my time and energy. So, yes. I’ve become a bit of a lump and I’m trying to get over that! Now that I have some new tools in place, I’m feeling a tiny less lump-ish. And I’m smilin’!


Scribbit said...

I set up a schedule for myself and it's not only helped me get more done but I don't feel so overwhelmed. When I get like that I tend to get paralyzed so this has been really helpful.

Pencil Writer said...

Yep! That was the impetus for me! Don't like feeling overwhelmed, because then I tend to zone out and am even less effective! I thought your post yesterday was very nice and closely related to what prompted my own! Thanks for the comments--here and there!

Mary Paddock said...

Somewhere around here is a book by Emilie Barnes that helped me a lot whne the kids were little. Because of her I kept a notebook of lists for years. It helped enormously.

I do understand zoning out when you feel overwhelmed. I do this too. It's very much a matter of shaking myself by my own scruff sometimes. :)

Congrats on the weight loss, by the way!

Debby said...

Lists are a great help to me. Plus it is so soul satisfying to check things off!

Pencil Writer said...

You're so right, Debby! X X X