Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
My current read....Happy New Year to Me!

It's been quite some  time since my last post.  As the year came to a close, my list of to-do's multiplied exponentially!  My life was like a roller coaster out of control and it affected every second of my waking hours.  My husband and kiddos can attest to that and to the fact that my busyness affected every second of their waking hours too.  Of course, all the items on that to-do list were not all self imposed, but they made it to the list nonetheless.

My hope for the coming year is to bring some order back to my life while pursuing goals that I will finally put in print.  I say that every year and I never do, but today, I'm doing just that.  I'm home with the nastiest of colds, being the final victim in the household to succumb to this awful virus that has stuck around during our entire holiday break.  One good thing about being ordered to the couch by my kiddos and hubby is that I can catch up on reading, goal setting, and getting organized, in my head and on paper.

I've chosen a few books to put me on the track to productivity and organization and, what I like to call, "slowdowndom".  We all need to slow down a bit, don't we?  I'm always trying to tell my kiddos to slow down and enjoy every stage of their lives and to be proud of their accomplishments, great or small.  I want them to be happy and satisfied that, if they do their best in every way, they have earned the right to take it easy and enjoy the moment.  It appears as if, however, that while I dole out that advice, I don't take it for myself.  Well, today, I will take my own advice.  Hopefully what I have gleaned from these books, which were checked out from our amazing new Central Library here in San Diego, will put me on the right track.

Here's a list of the books, they're all pretty amazing!

Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Finding the Sweet Spot, The Natural Entrepreneur's Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work by Dave Pollard

EtsyPreneurship by Jason Makinak

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

The Sustainable Kitchen by Stu Stein

Salvage Style in Your Home by Moira and Nicholas Hankinson

I'm also reading some great books from Amazon that I got for free thanks to my mother-in-law sending me the free alerts she receives.  They are:

The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore

How to Photograph Anything Like a Pro by Steve Rutherford

Sometimes getting sick is a blessing.  No, I'm not crazy, but I do think that if it hadn't been for this nasty virus, I wouldn't have taken the time to map out the next year.  I would have gone into it with great expectations without a game plan.  So, here's my game plan (bullets arranged in no certain order - hey, I have to have some chaos and flexibility:) :
  • Organize my work area at home - I have two great spaces, one inside and one in the garage.  When they're organized, I'm much more productive.
  • Plan out the rest of the year at work - I love my job and love the flexibility I have when I plan week to week.  I now realize though, that I spend much more time on planning this way than if I take some of my own time "off the clock" to get organized.  I'm an elementary school library media technician and I am blessed to be able to work amazing teachers and fantastic kiddos.  I want to be the best for them I can be. 
  • Revamp my blog - I will be looking at different formats and templates, so you may see a change coming soon.
  • Become more educated in sustainable living - Our family has made great strides toward leading a more sustainable life.  We all try to reduce our carbon footprint, but sometimes let our fast paced lives get in the way.  I am mostly vegetarian and try to consume organic produce as often as possible. I want to go even further and begin to grow vegetables and shop from local farmers' markets.  We already stay away from processed foods and bad-for-you snacks and drinks.  But, we can all do better.
  • Take my overall health more seriously - I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008.  While I have had very few serious flare ups during the past five years, I know that I must do all I can to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I put MS out of my mind with the exception of administering my disease modifying drug every other day.  I will use my severe fatigue and pain at times as a reminder to slow down and become more educated.  My hope is to be more aware of studies and news in the research community and to pay closer attention to doctor's orders regarding my own health.
  • Carve out me time - This one should probably be listed first but I decided not to rank these bullets because their order of importance can change daily.  I desperately want to find a special time each day to spend meditating, reading and writing in my prayer journal.
  • Focus more on my Etsy shop, Hartley Rowe - I opened an Etsy shop in July 2012.  It's been a great outlet for my creativity and sharing  my creations with others.  I just don't have a lot of time to develop  it while I continue to devote my time to my day job.   If I can spend some time trying to work on the above items, I truly believe I can devote more time to Hartley Rowe.  It has brought some amazing opportunities my way and I would love to continue to make it grow.  I hope to use some of the proceeds from the shop to increase our youngest son's (our fourth and final!) college account and to add to our charitable giving.  It would also be very neat if we could get to a point where we could rely on Hartley Rowe to help supplement our retirement.

So, there we have it!  I say "We" because now I've included you in my journey.  I hope you will keep me focused.  I turned 48 just a couple of weeks ago, so I know that my list of items above  is also the product of a mild mid-life crisis.  Nonetheless, I do feel that I am somewhat on track and that by putting this all in writing, I can stay focused and get ready to have a great new year!

Thank you all for your continued support of my blog.  I will do my best to continue to add posts of interest and I promise to keep you posted on my progress through the year.

Happy New Year!

~ Alison