turning toward a fresh new year

I have been so very scattered since Thanksgiving. Between the Holidays and my dad’s health crisis, I have been vacillating between feeling completely overwhelmed and a super-hyped emotional state. Every now and then I feel calm. Mostly when I am unconscious. To make it all just a little more interesting, my kids got a stomach bug in the middle of everything which they graciously passed along to me. And I felt kind of lousy for more than a week. Not wicked lousy; just lousy enough.


I know Christmas is a week away, but Yes, I DID begin writing this post a week before Christmas. Yes, it IS January 10th.



I hardly left this here easy chair for a week. It was Pep's and it's not pretty,
but holy dear La-Z-Boy is it comfy!

Can I tell you how happy I was when December 26th arrived? That makes me sound a bit Scrooge-y and I swear I wasn’t. We had a lovely Christmas—we busted Dad out of the rehab for the day and everyone had a great time. We didn’t travel anywhere this year and I never got out of my yoga pants and Grinch thermal shirt all day. But when the 26th arrived we sank into that wonderful in-between time of the year. You know that in-between time: the insanity of the Season is over and the new year (when you need to get your shizzle together) is still a week away. Steve (not his real name) was home from work all week and I let everything go. I cleaned when I felt like it (not much, that is), we ate leftovers and meals I had previously cooked and frozen, I sat in the easy chair and read books. Read books! (I had to say that twice, it was just that delicious.) It’s pretty much the only time of year (aside from our beach vacation) when I just stop. It is so good.

And I bought a new planner!


Oh, the joy and bliss and excitement a new planner bestows!

I have tried for many a-year to create the perfect planner—one that suits all my needs. I have tried spiral-bound ready-made planners, small-sized planners, homemade planners, but nothing quite worked. They were either too spirally, too limiting, too small, or too homemade. I wanted something in which I could add pages when the mood struck me and replace pages if I messed up (messy don’t work for me); something biggish wherein I could stash this and that with a spot for everything—the calendar, the daily planner, blog post brainstorming, writing idea note-taking, journaling, meal-planning. Then I found this! I love the free printables on this website and have been using them for quite a while. When I saw this, I suspected it might be the planner of my dreams!


It lives in a pretty 3-ring binder I bought at Target and I have pockets and folders and dividers! Oh, how I love my planner! It’s going to change everything and I will be 100% organized and nothing ever will go wrong and I will never be frustrated or feel like I am running endlessly on a hamster wheel strewn with dirty laundry! I will be perfect.

(Not really.)

Seriously, though, I needed this planner, people. When I think about it, I have been scattered for nearly a year. Making the decision to sell our house, getting it ready for market, the stress and tremendously (and surprisingly) time-consuming process of selling, moving, getting used to a new home. I simply needed to take control of SOMETHING. And this planner is a good start. I can schedule tasks rather than maintain an unwieldy and overwhelming to-do list, I can plan out homeschool and use the space to keep track of their progress and our activities. Everything is here in this one spot—meal plans, the family calendar, to-do tasks, and daily plans.

Organization is a lovely start to this new year, but the most important thing I am working on for 2014 is balance. I know we have all heard that word a trillion times with a trillion ways to achieve it. I’m not even going to try to fool you—I do not have the answer. But I am starting by trying to honor my needs. What does that mean for me? Honoring the fact that I am an introvert who needs time to decompress and renew my energy stores every day. That means making time for yoga. It also means honoring the fact that I need my evenings to rejuvenate. That is NOT the time to try to write, which is something I have been trying to force forever. I try and then get nothing substantial accomplished because I can’t really focus, then I feel badly that I am “not getting enough done,” and in the process I’m not only beating myself up but also not taking the time I need to refill the energy coffers.

No more!

How to remedy this? Get up earlier! I have been writing from 6:00 to 8:00am and then my evenings are free for whatever I want to do. Sometimes that means reading, sometimes a nice episode of Masters of Sex (OOOOH if you have Showtime, this is such a compelling show!), or organizing my planner. Or it can mean writing—if I want to. I am so much happier because I simply tuned in to what I needed. And I’m finding that I am spending quality, mindful time with Steve (not his real name) in the evening because I’m not trying to “get enough done” and staying up way past his early bedtime.

And I definitely feel more content! Is that what “balance” feels like?

I wish you much happiness in this new year! What are YOU doing to find balance in 2014?