One Sunday, not too far back, I attended a church service. My son had suggested that we go and, being that he is not even five years old, I went simple out of the sense that higher powers were sending a message through my son. That is how the Universe works after all. You never get direct and clear guidance, you get a riddle that comes through a person, place or thing. During the service, there was a banner that said, “40 days to change”. I liked it. Of course, it was more about Christianity and the message of the bible but I’m an opportunist and I decided to put my own spin on it.
40 days can be used to inspire all kinds of change. People do 30-day challenges all the time to jump start a new direction in their lives. It was time for a change and why not give yourself a full 40 days to get to the finish line.
Here are the challenges that I’d like to meet; optimizing my families health, getting sugar completely out of our diet, having more fun, being active daily. For my own personal goals, I want to focus on my writing. I want to have the books that are already out there shine and to build a big fiction library under my pen name. I want success with my writing, with my families well being, for my well being.
I can start a program that will be outlined through the 40 days, however, these are goals that will only be integrated during this period and then continued for a lifetime. That’s the hard part and the fun part. Finding what works for you and the family, finding things that you all will enjoy to infinite.
Day 1 began yesterday. It started with the books I already have and our diet. I also had to adjust our budget so we can start living a bit better and having some fun.
First I must explain that we live on one income and it’s been very small for years. Only recently has my husband taken over the management of a small gas station and is doing well, thus our income has increased. With our tax refund, we paid off a couple little debts. Our income is larger and more flexible now. We are still in that extreme frugal mode and it has become a drag, to be honest. Bali wants to take all the extra money and save like crazy. I agree with this and I also want us to all eat better, as in green juicing and more organics, and I want to travel to be with friends and family. We need some fun with that savings regime.
So, I will need to create a new budget. That will be on Day 3.
So, we will focus on diet. I have been experimenting with Paleo but I missed baking bread and I found it boring. Then I went crazy and wound up going off it by practically shooting up bread and chocolate. I made myself sick and now I’m at the drawing board again. I have decided to mix a few ways of eating. Paleo is great and I saw the benefits for me and my family, however, it’s also not super realistic in the long run for us. We like homemade baked bread and beans and rice. We love our homemade french fries. So, what am I really trying to accomplish here? Getting rid of the sugar and more vegetables. This is doable. Cooking from scratch is what I love doing and it is the best way to get the sugar out. If you don’t eat convenience foods you don’t eat chemicals and sugar. Getting my kids on more veggies. Juicing! I love juicing and they love drinking it. Then there is the coffee. I have to let it go for now. There is nothing wrong with it except that I must have honey or sugar and lots of cream in it.
Last night I began cleaning my kitchen deeply and organizing all the cupboards. I didn’t throw anything away, I just put certain foods and baking supplies up on higher shelves. We aren’t going extreme this time because I always act out. Cake stuff went on top shelves and dried beans went in jars on the counter. If a cake day happens, so be it. There is a comfort in knowing that there is cake mix or a box of macaroni and cheese in the cupboard. When you strip out your kitchen you feel like your life has been changed so drastically and that is when the freak out happens and you find your face planted in a cake.
I ask Bali to bring home some tea and veggies for juicing and he brought home bags of organic vegetables, greens, lemons, apples, ginger, and all sorts of teas and natural Stevia. I scrubbed the teapot and washed and stored the coffee pot. Out came the juicer onto the counter. By the time I went to bed my kitchen was scrubbed and organized like a cafe. A natural foods cafe.
I have also switched the cat and dogs off the cheap food and to Taste of the Wild. That is expensive but grain free and some of the best stuff. My dogs are sensitive and the sweet potatoes used in the cheap grain free brands gives the hound hot spots and the rice in the other brands was making them itch. I switched back to this good brand and this is the second day. No itching. Maggie, the cat, has also been switched to Taste of the Wild for felines and she has stopped itching. She also has firmer stools now and isn’t as frantic to get out the door when that moment comes upon her.
Today I made a huge batch of green juice with 4 types of greens, apples, lemons, carrots, celery, ginger, and beets. I had a quart and the boys drank 3 cups. I have black beans soaking from last night and now they are simmering with garlic and salt. I have brown rice steaming in the rice cooker. I will be baking bread today and steaming veggies to go with our burritos along with an organic chicken I baked the other day and have already used for 3 meals.
When we cut out the snacks, even pretzels, and any kind of eating out, especially the occasional dollar menu at Taco Bell, we have that extra money to exchange for more organic greens and fruit. I find that my children will eat much better, they will eat the plate of vegetables and bowls of beans if they don’t have the choice of crackers. They get a huge dose of vitamins with the green juices in the mornings and the day starts out powerfully in the health department.
As for me, I am on my second cup of tea and I’m not suffering. I like the idea of tea. I can drink cup after cup all day and not feel nervous and shaky when I’ve accidentally had one cup too much. I can feel my poor little liver thanking me.
Now for the books and writing. Yesterday I took some of the tax refund money and bought more nice book covers for my ebooks. There is something about having a purchased cover that ups sales. I also sent the last of my books to my friend the editor. She is kind in not charging me a full price yet as I only make a .35 cent royalty on my books. I’m only beginning to do well and it is literally enough for tea, covers, and a little editing work. As my books grow in popularity so do the ratings and this phantom person, I call “The Professor”. It’s always someone different but each and every book that starts to do well will eventually get a visit and a rating from “The Professor” who will say that he/she would have given me the full 5 stars but my typos and grammatical errors kept me out of the top list.
It’s time to spend that extra money and get professional about all this book business. When I started it was all just fun and a dollar here and there. I couldn’t afford a dime. I did free covers and did my own editing. I sold a book a week. Now I sell 11 to 16 a day. I have to step it up. I am having all my books recovered and edited professionally and I can still do it on a budget. I go to the friend that gives me a deal for proofreading and I buy covers from James from GoOnWrite.com who has a section of two for one. I get the $75 discount on two books but then select from the two for one. I get 4 covers for the price of two! I’m still frugal people!
With my fiction, I just need to sit and write. And write fast. No thinking. Just write. When you get into a rhythm and in tune with your characters and story, you will know when you are going the wrong way or creating the character in a way that doesn’t work. You “feel” your story. You can’t think about pleasing others or if this story will get those stars and good reviews. Just remember that there are readers for all and any kind of books. You will find your readers. And you will have your very own group of them. You will also have your very own set of critics. God bless them. Once you have fans and critics you will know that you’re making it.
With blogging, that’s still just fun but I have found better photos and a better background.
Today is Day 2.
Today I’m baking homemade bread and simmering homemade beans. I’m going to tackle a room a day. Yesterday was the kitchen. Today is my closet. I’ll get rid of the frumpy clothes. I’ve purchased a little makeup. I miss wearing more than mascara and it boosts my looks and esteem when I go out.
Another part of the 40 days challenge is getting me to my best inside and out. Focusing on daily meditation. Creating a more attractive wardrobe where I don’t look like a slob when I’m out shopping for groceries. Going back to wearing nice makeup and coloring my hair. I have slacked on the exercise so that will become daily again. Getting the sugar and junk out of my diet.
I had a family reunion recently and my aunt gave me some old photos. I was not that chubby as I always thought. It was the sugar and chronic dieting that got me to a larger and not so fabulous state. I’m not looking to lose a grand amount, I am looking to lose a good 30 lbs and have clear, glowing skin and shiny hair. I am looking to have a great and simple wardrobe and always present myself to the public looking bright and pretty. I want to look my absolute best at all my ages. I have young sons and I’m an older mother and they can still be proud of me. I can be proud of me. That starts with self-care.
The journey begins. We are off to a good start.