Taking A Momentary Break

Hey there friends, I wanted to write a quick update and let you know that I’m still here, but am in winter hiding for a bit.

Everything is just fine and I’m taking a little break from, well, everything.

Well, not everything.

I’m working on fixing some things with ME. I’m still on the injured list, but I’m managing to get in a 20-60 minute workout every day with 1-2 rest days a week. Lots of planks, ab work, squats, lunges and other heart-raising fun. Everything except for running.

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And that’s okay for now.

I started writing a blog post over a week ago, but since it’s filled with some research and science, I’ve hesitated on pushing the ‘publish’ button until I’ve written it to my satisfaction. I also want to learn how to do a few things before I publish it, like creating infographics, so I don’t steal someone else’s hard work! If you have a good resource for that, I’d love to know!

In the meantime, I’ve been without a printer for 2 weeks and just bought a fancy one a few days ago. Today the printer and I spent 2 hours battling it out through my router and laptop trying to get everything to magically connect and print through thin-air! You’d think with the amount of money we spent, I could just snap my fingers and WAH-LAH… it would just happen. But not quite.

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Spring cleaning has also hit our house pretty hard and I do a little every day to tackle some big projects I’ve been putting by the wayside for months… maybe years. It’s amazing how much time I have now that I’m not running for hours and hours every week. (Dare I say, I kind of like it).

We are also in the process of selling a house in another state and that’s been a big time suck with decision-making for us. Thankfully, I have the most amazing realtor in the history of real estate who is worth her weight in gold and will definitely earn the commission when we sell it (anyone buying in Vegas?!).

This was my favorite house to live in, in terms of upgrades you want in a house. While I’m not a fan of the exterior, I still want to take some of the awesomeness, like the hand-sculpted hardwood floors, and someday put them in our current place…. can you say LOOOVE?!

And of course, the kids want the pool, but it’s not really practical here in the mid-west where it’s winter 6-months a year!

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So yes, everything is fine and dandy with me… I’ve just stepped off the blogging planet for a moment.

I want to try to start blogging more regularity and about anything I feel like writing about. It’ll probably start in the next week or two as I get to report for jury duty tomorrow! I’ve never served on one outside of the military… sadly, we sent the man to jail for a long time. I’m just hoping that if I end up on the jury, the trial lasts a day or two and it’s a simple matter. Time will tell.

Have you ever served on a jury duty before? How did that go? Have you ever just stepped back and taken a break from everything, even running, before?

I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew (an idiom one too many)

OK! OK! OK!

Running Gods… I get it now! Please let me HEAL!

It’s time for me to come clean. With all the talk about goal setting the end of 2015, I had ultras on my mind for this year! I was pumped up as I ramped up my distances.

BUT (can I increase the font x100 here?)

I did it too fast and now I’m paying the price. I bit off more than I could chew.

It’s been 3 weeks since I decided to stop running because of my plantar fasciitis heel pain in hopes of healing what turns out to be an injury that takes forever and a day to fix.

The only thing I haven’t tried, yet, is acupuncture, physical therapy (ugh) and a cortisone shot (bigger UGH). I just ordered a foot wrap to help with healing, too.

Now I need more patience on the…. shall I say it… heeling end?!

This morning I woke up at 6 am and looked outside to see the most gorgeous sunrise. And I cried (over spilt milk). I’m depressed because I can’t run.

It’s my favorite time of day to go out and meet up with my running friends, or even just take Mr. Leo for some alone time. (He’s hating not running, too).

What happens when I don't run Mr. Leo!

What happens when I don’t run Mr. Leo!

I miss running terribly. Seeing all the instagram, facebook and blog posts has me running in the opposite direction… not the kind of running I want to be doing.

As I write, I’m sitting here thinking that my butt is huge and I’m flabby because I’ve skipped working out this past week while eating buttered popcorn and chocolate chip brownies to cheer myself up, simultaneously realizing how incredibly stupid this is because now all the hard work I’ve done is going down the proverbial drain.

It occurs to me that I’m focusing on the wrong plan and that’s causing me to be sad because of something I cannot do.

Perhaps it’s time for me to adjust my sails. This is just a big bump in the road and I need to get over, around and through it. The challenge and desire to do more has always been there and now it’s a different injury I will conquer in time.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m the crazy person who loves to run for hours and hours and hours, but right now it’s not possible.

Sometimes when we focus on something for an exceptionally long time, we miss the big picture. Click To Tweet

Instead of a lot of running posts, you’ll start seeing me focus on strengthening my body and healing it so I can run again. While it’s a far cry from those ultra runs I love, maybe this is a blessing in disguise.

Every cloud has a silver lining… as a runner, you know I’ll go the extra mile to get back on track. I think yoga and strength training need to take up a permanent residence in my cross-training regimen, so I’ll be SLOWLY bringing those into my training plans on a more regular basis.

I also need to really buckle down on making healthier meal choices (Racing Weight). I can’t give in to my bad habits of the past.

So, I’m officially deciding all plans for ultra’s this year are on hold. In fact, I’m not planning one single official PR race at all until I can fix my body. None. Zero. Zip.

I have one race that I have my heart set on, but if I get to that point in July and I can’t cut the mustard (not the cheese… I know what you were thinking! LOL!), I will go out and sleep on a cot rain or shine, pour margaritas all night and later sangria’s the next morning while handing out pickles and boiled potaotes all night long to my fellow Ultra Badass Babes!

Please. Please. If you take just one thing away from my post here today, be patient with your training. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Don’t chew off more than you can swallow.

Last but not least, have you ever had to completely change your goals for the entire year before? (and bragging rights goes to the person who know how many idioms I used!)

 

Everything Except Running!

One of my New Year’s wishes was not to have any injuries.

I jinxed myself.

Three or four weeks ago I started feeling a twinge of pain in my right heel. I thought I bruised it and so ran easy on it not following my plan, but listening to my body.

Well, my body feels fine, but my heel does not and let me just say, walking and running really depends on that little part of the body!

I’m pretty disappointed, but our group came to the consensus we needed to postpone the Frosted All-Terrain 50K until another time for several reasons. So, I think we’re going to meet up for lunch instead! The #FAT50 is living up to its name already!

In the meantime, I’ve been dabbling with yoga and a 30-day strength workout from home. And being lazy on days I just don’t want to do either.

Our family went snowboarding this past weekend which I haven’t done in about 8 years.

This is truly my happy place!

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My brother taught me how to snowboard on Mt. Hood in Oregon more than 20 years ago and then I was lucky to take it to Colorado for a couple of years when I lived there. A lot has changed over the years in terms of technology, bindings, double cambers, better clothing, so I enjoyed talking to our local snowboard shop learning a few new things.

I’ve also been playing around with my photography.

Last week, the challenge was to use only natural light to create a portrait. There are so many talented photographers and I felt like I was bringing in preschool work compared to theirs, but this is my journey and I’m learning so much as I go along and share with them.

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I took a serious photo, but this one really captured his character… in between giggles

This week I’m learning how to use a fast shutter speed which captures a quick moment in time. I played around with water and am not quite happy yet with my creations. Here’s just an example for you to get an idea. I took about 30 shots just to get this one. Some other photographers have taken 100’s and of course they look amazing!

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I’m still working on creating my submission for this week because I’d like to see what else I can create!

De-cluttering my house has remained a priority, though I’ve fallen behind because my amazing best friend has enticed me into the wonderful world of….

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Crochet!!!

I’m really bad at it now, but know I’ll get better. To be 100% honest, I’m tired of getting on social media every morning, noon and night to catch up and so you may see me take a bit of a step back as I reconnect with my family in the evenings and just unwind while still feeling productive.

There are some really cool projects out there… except you’ll see potholders and scarves from this Mama for a little while. I am learning from a wonderful guy named Mikey over at The Crochet Crowd! It’s easy to plug in my earphones and watch his tutorials on my phone for a few minutes at night while I goof around learning new stitches.

Last night, I made a quick scarf. My teenager and I had a late night laugh as I held it up to discover that not only was it only half a scarf, but I had added a stitch or two in a few rows so my scarf became wider as I went along!

I guess this is what people who are runners do with their free time. Stay tuned to see what all my extra energy produces as I try not to go out of my mind!

What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any favorite hobbies?

Why Do I Run To Fruitful Yield?

Do you ever wonder why the grocery store has only one ‘health food’ isle? I guess that means the rest of the store is junk food, right?

While I’m not perfect every day, I’ve gained a real appreciation for real food for my family and fur-babies. I’m especially interested in optimal fueling and recovery as an athlete and distance runner, which means I’m always on the lookout for healthy, natural resources.

Sometimes finding great choices for healthy food at the store is challenging.

But, I have an answer for you if you live in the Chicagoland area!

About 3 years ago, I had to drive over 20 minutes to the nearest health food store… until they put in a new store in my town that was even better!

Say hello to Fruitful Yield! The health-food store I run to! #FYWellness Click To Tweet

Moment of Truth

I love this store.

If I have extra time to ‘window shop’, you won’t find me at the outlet mall. You will find me perusing the Fruitful Yield essential oils or homeopathic displays getting all nerdy learning what combinations work for stinky clothes different ailments. (I’d probably be a holistic doctor if I could do it all over again).

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Or, I’m checking out the protein bar isle reading all the yummy ingredients and nutrients to figure out what to carry with me on my next long run!

All the ingredients are on the label!

All the ingredients are on the label you see here!

So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited by Karen at Trading In My Heels to join her for a tour from the store manager, Tina, and her amazing associates over at the Elmwood Park, IL  location. They are getting ready to celebrate their one year anniversary with some fun which I’ll share in just a few moments…

But first, there are some very specific reasons why I choose to run to Fruitful Yield as my store of choice and maybe why you’d like to check them out, too!

EDUCATION

I learned so much on this trip and now I’m loving it even more, especially because Fruitful Yield provides such personal AND knowledgeable service.

Everyone I talk to knows something about the product and if they don’t, they find out from someone who does. The company is very serious about making sure their employees receive training every week to help the customers make informed decisions about the products in their stores.

Noa helped guide me with several general product suggestions to help me with my head cold and asthma. I learned about the benefits of black elderberry and how research shows it may strengthen immunity and reduce the severity and time you have a cold (it worked for me and I’m a convert!).

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Please say hi to Noa and thank him for me when you see him!

PRICING

I was really impressed with the prices.

Every health-conscious person can agree that healthy can sometimes seem expensive. To me, you can’t put a price on having the best health possible. However, being able to save wherever I can is important to this mother of three growing and very hungry boys!

I think my little athletes would love this cereal that quite honestly is the same price as some of those sugar laden choco-puffs you can buy at any regular grocery store. In fact, this same Pro-Teen cereal is cheaper than the regular price at Wal-Mart!!!

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Love the play on words and this healthy option for kids with allergies!

How can Fruitful Yield afford to do this?

Easy. They limit their advertising so they can pass on the savings to their customers. 80%-90% of their products are at wholesale pricing which is 20% cheaper than retail!

TIP: When you see this little “everyday low price” sign, you know it’s 35% or more cheaper!

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I even went home and did a little google searching and sure enough, Fruitful Yield had very competitive pricing often times beating out the big names like Amazon!

Yes, organic, healthy foods and products CAN be affordable when you shop smart.

SELECTIONS

You name it, they have it!

Vegan, organic, non-gmo, grass-fed, nut free, gluten-free, soy free, sesame free!

Sometimes you go into a health food store and they have just a couple (or one) options for a specific item, but this store had so many choices!

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Their frozen and refrigerated section full of great foods!

I was really happy to see all the Asian foods, especially wild caught seafood, Japanese kimchi, shirataki noodles, kombu kelp, organic soy sauce and more. Usually, I have to go to the Asian grocery store to get some of these specialty items.

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This store even had Honey Stingers and Vega endurance gels… wow! I’m in heaven.

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In fact, if you have a store near you and you don’t see a favorite product you’ve found in another store… or that you love. Just ask! They listen to their customers 🙂

GENEROSITY

The best part of Fruitful Yield is their generosity with their time, smiles and samples!

Come to any store and you’ll find free samples when you walk in the door and often tucked into other locations within the store. There’s also tons of free educational materials, recipes for healthy eating and always great conversation!

We met this gal from Vega who let us try several samples of her yummy protein shakes! I liked the Coconut Almond and Mocha flavors the best.

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It’s only fair that I mention I was given this amazing goodie bag filled to the top with wonderful products created with the athlete in mind and a gift card for helping Fruitful Yield get the word out about their store and event this weekend. I’m so very thankful for their thoughtfulness.20160121_204801-02.jpeg

The sunflower seeds & rolled oats cookies? Inhaled and devoured. I was really excited to receive a few Now Foods items and new products I’ve been wanting to try and will let you all know what I think about them in future posts.

So here’s the fun news I want to share with you!

This weekend, Fruitful Yield is celebrating its first anniversary at all its stores in the Chicagoland area with a Fruitful Yield Get Fit – Get Healthy Expo. 

Check out the new Elmwood Park store on Saturday, Jan 23rd from 10am-4pm and Sunday, Jan 24th from 12pm – 4pm. They will have lots of demos, drawings, gift bags, and many samples for you to try!

Have you been to a Fruitful Yield store before? What’s your favorite health food product you can’t live without?

Founded by Elmwood Richard in 1962, Fruitful Yield was opened in Elmhurst, IL to give consumers direct access to natural and healthier foods and products. Today, Fruitful Yield is known as Chicagoland’s leading natural food market with 13 stores across the West and Northwest suburbs. Still owned by the Richard family, Fruitful Yield promises only high quality standards, helpful and educated staff, a wide selection of products and everyday below-retail pricing!

The Joy of Yoga Not Yet Discovered

Does yoga bring you joy?

Many of you know I’m not a regular yoga-er! (how do you say this?!) Yogi? Person who performs yoga? Yoga exerciser? ACccK!

But, today I felt a calling. It took me quite some time to get my mental state ready to do it and for some reason, there were too many noises and distractions in my house and mind.

I couldn’t do it where I normally workout in front of the TV, or in our entryway where the dogs come to see what I’m up to and often get in the way. The tile is really hard and cold there, too.

So, I thought to myself, where can I do yoga where it’s the most peaceful and I feel at rest?

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My bedroom.

I can relax without distractions in my bedroom (it helps that it’s now 95% decluttered!!!)

I am a member of the online Bootcamp Hub and every once in a while they feature a Yoga segment. There was one for 44 minutes long and I thought, “Why not”?

I’ve tried yoga at the local gym and honestly, it’s always been really hard for me. I did okay. Someone as athletic as I feel like I am should have no problems with yoga, but I honestly struggle with balance and strengthening positions that feel… awkward. And hard.

There’s even a nice pile of Yoga magazines in my house… of which I’ve admired many great poses, but tried none of them (the articles are good!).

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While I was doing this really relaxing and EASY yoga program, I thought to myself, why can’t ALL yoga be like this? Why can’t there be a beginner program that really takes it’s time and doesn’t make me feel like a failure, yet stretches and challenges me just enough.

I see all these women of all ages, shapes and sizes doing these awesome things in yoga. There’s no reason why I can’t do a headstand or a handstand, too. Right? But first, I could use the yoga to increase my flexibility, balance and strength to help me with running.

I wonder why so many workout programs aren’t geared for true beginners. They just go all out and people feel like they have to kill themselves from the start to feel like they got something out of it. We erroneously believe that if we can’t walk or put on our shirt the next day, it must have been a great workout.

WRONG.

For me, that’s a big mistake. Because I’m the dumb one who will push it and get hurt. I’ll have the wrong form, or think I’m a bag of chips and all that, then pull a muscle (my brain being the first one pulled).

It reminds me of when I started running. Though it was only 4 blocks of miserable, lung-burning exercise, I pushed myself too hard – call it the ‘Ex-Athlete’ mentality. I probably should have just jogged a block, walked a block and then alternated until I could go 2 blocks.

So, I’m in search of a great beginner’s yoga video program I feel really comfortable with and would love recommending. Something with a mix of relaxing stretching combined with a progressively building repertoire of poses that build on each skill would be my ideal vision of Yoga Joy!

I just can’t walk into a yoga class and learn everything new and sweat my buns off while twisting body parts like Gumby in the very first class! #epicbackwardbendtwistymovefail

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This is my goal pose.

Another reason I haven’t had much luck with yoga studios is because of all the essential oils and incense smells. I have allergies and they sometimes make me miserable, so the idea of a video not only allows me a sneeze-free experience, but I can do it as early, or late in the day as I can squeeze 45 precious minutes.

After this one video, I felt Yoga Joy and want to try again! #yogajoy Click To Tweet

Do you have a favorite yoga program or suggestions for this very beginner yoga-er who wants to improve?

Tough Times Don’t Last… Tough People Do

Are you tough? What do you do when life just keeps kicking you down?

Get up! Get up! Get up!

Get dressed. Take a shower. Grab coffee. Make a plan. Click To Tweet

That’s what’s missing for me. I have lots of great ideas of what I want to accomplish, but I’m fumbling in a couple of areas. I need a plan. I need to write it down.

Life has been really tough for our family this past year and suddenly the clouds are beginning to clear. I really shouldn’t complain because it could always be worse. However, I’m now dealing with another challenge (and I am having a temporary pity party, too).

I think I have plantar fasciitis in my right heel. I have NEVER had this before and it just came on suddenly. It’s a serious pain to deal with and very difficult to heal unless you just stay off it.

“Ya, right”, said every runner on the planet!!!

I’m stretching, rolling, doing heel drops, icing, ibuprofen, rest and I’m about to go see an acupuncturist! I even purchased ‘grandma’ shoes on Amazon to see if that might help. Any other suggestions?

Anyway, I’m working on about 50 things at one time and only making slight progress in two or three.

The Camera is Tough

As you know, this year I’m focusing on my passion for photography! I’m absolutely loving the weekly challenge group I’ve joined, but I’m terrible about having the patience to figure out technology. Very slowly, I’m plodding along and learning some new lingo and techniques as I go. I’m also learning how to use my phone and DSLR camera in more than Auto-mode!

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Tough HDR Photography Mode – Android Samsung Galaxy6

 

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Tough Food Close-up using Selective Focus – Samsung Galaxy6. I love the colors in this salad, but am not happy with the focus.

One thing I’d like to mention is that photography is serious business for some people, even for amateurs. If you see an image on the internet and you want to use it, be kind and please ask for permission from the owner, first. I learned you can get into some serious trouble for copying an image that is not licensed for reuse.

The Closets are Tough

The other project I’m attacking with a vengeance is with the 30-day decluttering project! We are on day 11 and it’s books and magazines for a couple of days. This is going to be a serious challenge for me. See here? I use books as decorations in my house!

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I’ve made over $100 on reselling a few items and donated 10 bags with a trunk full to still donate. I’ll be taking the books as a donation to our local library for their book sale. I will say it’s probably one of the best libraries we’ve ever been able to use, so I’m happy to keep making it better. The kids books will go to a free lending library at the school.

It’s hard to believe it’s only 1/3 of the way through this challenge. I still see a mountain full of stuff we really don’t use or need and know I need to keep pushing through because some of the toughest decluttering is yet to come.

The hard work is starting to make a difference.

The Body is Tough

Not running has been really, really, hard for me. Especially with the proposed FAT50K looming in a couple weekends. I’m not sure how far we’ll get (maybe as far as the nearest Bloody Mary), but in the meantime, I’m doing as many planks as I can to help keep my core in shape and avoid any other injuries!

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Planks are tough, but more fun in pajamas while watching Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey!

Ha! Ha! Thought you might find it funny seeing me in my pajamas. I will say a minute and thirty seconds goes by really fast when you get sucked into TV drama! Gordon Ramsey is tough… but his food is oh so good! I also love watching Undercover Boss.

All these tough things can only make a person stand the test of time. I’m not a quitter and I’m not going to let these little things stop me from working on my goals and dreams. I figure we might take detours in life, but if our passions and dreams are mapped out, we’ll eventually be back on our journey!

What do you do to stay TOUGH? How do you stay focused and on track when you hit a bump in the road?

P.S. I’m not sure how great I’ll be at posting on Facebook for a while because my phone application is having some serious “Karate Kick You Out” issues, but you know I’ll be on Instagram and am working on Twitter and Pinterest, too! I hope you’ll connect with me there as I post images you won’t see here.

 

Organizing My Way To Joy

Does the state of your house make you happy? Are you good at organizing?

I can be, but I haven’t been in quite some time. In fact, even though I love our house, I feel like it is out of control and I want to run away!

I also tend to be more organized when I’m being held accountable, like volunteering or work, but don’t come to my house and start looking behind closets and doors.

NIGHTMARE!

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Ok, this is NOT my closet. Yes it is. Please tell me I’m not alone!!!

Last month, I decided to re-energize a group I started a year ago to take on a 30-Day Declutter Project (aka De-Crapify). This time, I thought it would be fun to use a tool to help our group me focus our efforts and maybe stay motivated through the entire month.

While I was cruising the holiday sales on Amazon Prime, I stumbled across a little unassuming book with great reviews that piqued my interest because of the sub-title!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo.

The more reviews I read, the more I wanted that little book. So Santa gave me what I wished for and I started devouring the book highlighting, tabbing and folding over corners. I’m not quite finished, but it’s enough for me to dive head first into the task at hand.

There are so many suprising epiphanies causing me to examine my world much deeper than the act of organizing. I’m asking my self, “why?”.

Marie Kondo somehow takes a topic most of us struggle with our whole lives and discovers the most simple way to live. She narrows it down to one thing: JOY.

Start living! The things in your home should only create a spark of joy in your heart.… Click To Tweet

Marie teaches that if what you have does not spark joy for you, you should discard it. Don’t just organize it and try to make it fit. You will just keep adding to the disorganization madness.

It’s only been 6 days into discarding and it’s causing me to examine more than just my stuff. I never expected that.

This process is making me examine everything.

Gratitude. Appreciation. Love. Joy. Even sadness. Of course lots of memories are being relived as I pull out sentimental items and clothes that remind me of some really wonderful times in my life.

I am embarrassed to admit I’ve discarded clothes that are older than my children. Check out this circa 1993 shirt! I mean seriously. I have a relationship with my shirt longer than my marriage. #thatsnotright

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A bridesmaid dress, a Christmas gift when I was first married, clothes that were too small, and clothes that were too big, even a few pieces with tags still on all made it into a donation pile. There was one small set of clothes that caused me to burst out into tears. I’ll deal with those later (as the KonMari Method recommends).

My AH-HA Moment

I hold onto the past. I’m stuck there and that’s why I often feel like it’s so hard for me to make forward progress in anything!

The work our group is accomplishing is nothing short of amazing. And I don’t mean the amount of items we are clearing from our stuffed closets. Let’s just say, I walked into Target this week to pick up a prescription and didn’t see one single thing that created the urge for an impulse buy.

Shocker, right?! And I’m very happy about that because buying something for the sake of satisfying an immediate fix… really doesn’t fix anything. (Unless you’re hungry or need superglue or an ugly Christmas dog sweater!)

I’m taking massive action toward changing our home to something simpler so we can truly focus on what really matters most to us. (Honey, if you’re reading this, don’t worry… I’m not touching your stuff).

I will admit running has been put on the back burner. But I’m ok with that. The gym is too crowded right now anyway… it’ll clear up in 30 days! LOL!

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Stay tuned as I share more about my organizing journey to joy. My goal is to really have the whole house in order by May!

Have you tried organizing your home using The KonMari Method?