10 Day Checkup: My 40-for-40 Challenge

LENT CHALLENGE

Contrary to popular belief, I am not perfect 😉

I am, however, proud to say that I have risen to my 40-for-40 Lent Challenge in a close-to-perfect kind of a way…here is my 10 Day Checkup:

I have managed to completely give up sweets with 2 tiny slip-ups.  I have not had any cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, etc…, but I tossed two chocolate mints in my mouth at Kona Grill without even realizing what I was doing (I wanted to spit them out as soon as I became cognizant of what I had done, but I thought that might not be too lady-like so I chomped and swallowed them in a sickly, guilty manner), and I had blueberry muffins for breakfast (my adorably sweet family made them, so I did not have the heart to say, “Thanks for the efforts, loved ones, but I refuse to eat that.”) – all in all, though, I feel like my Give Up challenge has been uberly successful.

It has been so successful that for the next 10 days, I am adding to my Give Up column.  Drum roll please…I am also giving up bread for the rest of Lent.  My reasoning goes like this:  #1) Bread is heavenly, just like dessert, so really it could be considered a sweet in my world, therefore, I need to give it up, and #2) I’m not gonna lie, I had hoped that the extra “sweet” pounds would just fall off of me after 10 days of no dessert, but it has not (although, I’ve been eating more than I usually do and not gaining weight, either), so I figure the next highest hurdle on my list of weaknesses is bread.

This one will be tough!  I use bread daily, and let’s be honest, I love bread.  I keep cinnamon raison bread on hand for a quick breakfast with fruit, I snag a PB&J sandwich on the go for lunch on a regular basis, and I serve some sort of bread with dinner almost every night (like any self-respecting southern momma who shows her love through over-stuffing her family at least once a day, sometimes twice or thrice!!).  But I can do it, and I have a hunch that I will feel much less “bogged down” because I do believe that while bread is tasty and filling, it does slow us down and create that weighted, sleepy feeling that encourages doing less and napping more.  I can do it…at least, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Now for the Add To challenges I gave myself.

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I purposefully aligned certain challenges with dates that I had fun things planned, so “Begin a daily yoga routine” was easy because I was enrolled for a free trial class that day, and “See a show” was absolutely no effort as I already had tickets for the theater.

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WICKED was AWESOME!! Angel Girl and I went to Austin to see it with Aunt Aimee, Clara Belle, and our Sophie Rae. We had a phenomenal dinner at Eastside Cafe before the show, and then we were dazzled with truly amazing singing, dancing, characters, music, lights, costumes, and one heck of a Broadway experience right here in Texas!

My beautiful meal at Eastside Cafe: Elaine's Blue Plate Special of Chicken & Spinach Crepes with Yellow Curry Sauce and Apple Chutney.  It was so good!!

My beautiful meal: Elaine’s Blue Plate Special of Chicken & Spinach Crepes with Yellow Curry Sauce and Apple Chutney. It was so good!!

My beautiful girls outside this charming restaurant: www.eastsidecafeaustin.com

My beautiful girls: Sophie Rae, Clara Belle, and my Angel Girl
www.eastsidecafeaustin.com

After putting the easy Add To items on my list for those first ten days, I filled in with wish list items.  I am happy to report that I accomplished most everything I challenged myself to do.

I was less-than-perfect on my exercise which is, sadly, no big surprise as this is an area where I fall flat from the greatest of intentions pretty regularly.  But I’m not giving up, and I plan to continue putting yoga and core work on my daily calendar.  The other items on the list are checked off, and I’ll share some pics and stories over the next few days.  I will also share progress on days 11-20 which I have tweaked just a little after days 1-10 illustrated to me exactly how desperate I am to get a few projects and organizational tasks checked off and put out to pasture.  So, here is how my next 10 days will look:

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That should keep me busy and in line!  I hope your first 10 days have gone well, and I hope your next ten days are even better – please, please, please share your ideas, your challenges, and your progress 🙂

Just think, only 30 days till Easter dessert!!

Live with Less for Lent: My 40-for-40 Challenge

First thing first…the disclaimer:  I am a Christian.  Just a Christian.  Not a Baptist Christian, nor a Methodist Christian, nor a Catholic Christian.  Just a Christian.

I do not subscribe to the dissection of faith that creates different denominations and allows one group to judge another group as lacking or less.  I’m sure that particular viewpoint makes me pretty unpopular, but that is ok.

I do, on the other hand, have a tremendous respect for the traditions and ceremonies that different people choose to observe within their faith.  I also believe that a time for reevaluating, refocusing, and renewal is a beautiful thing.  So, although it’s not a family ritual or a “typical thing” done within my family, I’ve decided to participate in Lent this year.

My first step was to learn a little more about Lent.  Here are a few articles that I found helpful:

The best part about what I read: everyone observes Lent in their own person and unique way.  There is no wrong or right, so I can’t screw this up – hip hip hooray!!

My next step was to ask myself the three questions that I posed to you earlier today:

  1. What is something you want but don’t need?  It should be something that weighs you down or holds you back, something that you rely on too much and would be well-served to put on the back burner for a while.
  2. What are you willing and able to do without?  I’d like to give up all forms of spending for 40 days, but the water department, electric company, wage-earning husband, and starving teens might have a slight problem with that.  This “something” should be something you will miss but can definitely live without.
  3. What areas of personal growth would you like to foster?  Don’t just concentrate on the “give up” aspect of the next 40 days; make a list of 40 “add to” items that will enrich your world.

Then I had to examine my answers to determine how my 40 days of Lent would shape up…what I decided is that #1: I need to give up dessert (yes, I really am giving up my beloved sweets for 40 full days because while I moan, groan, and complain that I am not the size I want to be, I also justify one little cupcake, just a taste – or bowlful – of cobbler, and maybe just a handful of these hot-out-of-the-oven cookies), #2: I am desperate to let go of my clutter (the old adage is true that whatever space one has, one will find a way to fill, and I have 4000 square feet plus two attics and a lake cabin to prove it…oy vey), and #3: I really want to follow through on the little things that I let slip by each day (I am not a self-disciplined person; therefore, I wake up with great intentions, a very spiffy To-Do list, and not enough inclination nor motivation to get things done; in the end, I sputter out only to feel down, frustrated, or guilty about it all later).

The true “giving up” part for Lent is easy: no sugary, sweet, scrumptious desserts until Easter.  Come Easter Sunday, though, I fully intend to save a little room at the end of dinner to savor my success!

The second “doing without” part is a little tougher, but something that has been on my mind and in my heart for a while now.  My sister gave me the greatest t-shirt in the world; it’s made of the softest cotton I’ve ever felt, and it reads “Live with Less” with an anchor in the background.  It’s a mantra that I truly want to adopt!

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For me, that means breaking the vicious cycle of letting STUFF pin me down, overwhelm me, or stress me out.  Just as the 40 days of Lent are intended to refocus our hearts, I think I can also refocus my perspective.

I can “make do” with the myriad of clothes that I’ve already purchased (because they were adorable and I liked them) instead of buying the super cute dresses that flood my Pinterest and Facebook feeds; I mean, honestly, can you remember what I was wearing the last time we were together?  Don’t worry – neither can I…

I can utilize the gobs and oodles of gift wrapping, scrapbooking, and craft supplies that are taking up space in every available closet, attic, nook, and cranny instead of grabbing something new at the store simply for convenience.  I’m a creative gal – without a doubt I am capable of using what is at my disposal.  I just have to do it!

If I manage to find myself bored one day, I can spend the afternoon cleaning up my craft space, organizing a closet or pantry, completing a quilt or crochet project that was set to the side, or digging weeds out of my flowerbeds instead of running to town for something to do and someplace to eat.  My world is full of stuff, stuff that I must have liked or else I would not have paid money to bring it all home with me, so for the next 40 days (and hopefully beyond) I intend to use up, clean out, and reorganize my STUFF.

Finally, the hardest part…the personal growth portion of the program.  This is where the 40 things for 40 days comes into play.  I made a wish list of 40 To-Do items that I talk about doing and dream about doing but rarely actually do.  Some of the things are hobbies, some are indulgences, some are entertainment, and some are just peaceful, relaxing, quiet time for me.  All of them are special to me, and I know that I’ll enjoy doing them as well as crossing them off my To-Do list.  For 40 days, I will focus, for at least one moment each day, on me.

Here are my first 10 days – that’s as far as I’ve matched the To-Dos with the To-Days.

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I feel certain that at least one activity will make me think of another activity that I simply can not live without and will, thus, add to the list, so the 40 I cross off throughout Lent will most likely be a little different from the 40 I have written on my list today.

I also know that your list will look totally different than mine, but I hope you will give it a try with me.  After the fright of Halloween, the feasts of Thanksgiving, the chaos of Christmas, the mind-numbing torture of back to school, and the endless waves of winter we have had, I think a few weeks to refocus, refresh, and renew will be really rewarding!

LENT CHALLENGE

Good luck, and please, please, please share your plans and progress!!

Day 1 down,

Ashli

Uhhhgggg! Technology :(

I’ve been sitting in this same chair, typing on this same keyboard, for about an hour. I was creating a wonderfully, witty blog entry about my plan for Lent. I went to insert my cute, little picture, and BAM – my entry was gone. Not just gone, but erased from the planet. Not on the screen, not in the draft folder, and not in the browser history.

UHHGGGGG!

(Pause here while I hit the  < SAVE DRAFT >  button, please.)

So, I will have to recreate my fabulous ramblings to post later because I’m about to be out the door to accomplish my Day 1 40-for-40 Challenge: Begin a daily yoga routine.

I’ve fought a gimpy knee for over 20 years, but in the last 6 months, the poor thing has really given up on me.  I miss my Cross Fit and Zumba, I miss the exercise, I miss the music, and I especially miss the people, but one day of fun has been translating into a week of reduced mobility and constant discomfort.  So today, I am trying yoga.  My fingers are crossed that I can manage most of the poses without terrible pain; my hope is that this will be THE thing to help me remain active until I’m old enough to have my knee replaced.

While I’m gone, please consider these three questions:

  1. What is something you want but don’t need?  It should be something that weighs you down or holds you back, something that you rely on too much and would be well-served to put on the back burner for a while.
  2. What are you willing and able to do without?  I’d like to give up all forms of spending for 40 days, but the water department, electric company, wage-earning husband, and starving teens might have a slight problem with that.  This “something” should be something you will miss but can definitely live without.
  3. What areas of personal growth would you like to foster?  Don’t just concentrate on the “give up” aspect of the next 40 days; make a list of “add to” items that will enrich your world.

For me, one of those items is this new yoga adventure.  Which I need to leave for right about now.  But, I’ll be back.  And when I return, I promise to explain what was in my first blog entry that so rudely vanished, this 40-for-40 Challenge that I’ve created, and how we can tackle it together 🙂

Namaste, my friends!

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