The new year feels like it is in full swing to me now that I’ve been home for a bit and am settling into a new schedule. New year, new schedule actually pretty accurately sums up last week. One of my goals for 2014 is to find a better balance between the different facets of my life. Implementing more structure around my work feels like the most important place to start. Working from home and for yourself can lead to some major blurring of boundary lines in my experience. I think it’s important to have some space between my online endeavors and my personal pursuits. I am giving myself a few weeks to settle into this new schedule and it’s not necessary that I stick strictly to it, but so far I am enjoying the rewards of my efforts in this area. My goal at the moment is to (eventually) work weekdays only from about 10 AM to 6 PM. I figure this will leave me time for some of my housewifely duties and personal endeavors in the pre 10 AM and post 6 PM time frame on weekdays as well as leave weekends free to split between household projects, family togetherness, and me time. I hope to talk more about my time management schedule in an upcoming video and coordinating blog post on OLJ. Stay tuned for that if you’re interested!
So, what’s happened since last week’s WIR? Well, we returned home from our two week holiday spent out at the family abode in Utah. We were so lucky to have traveled in-between terrible Chicago weather! I miss Utah and those mountains, as I do all of the time that I am not physically there, but I do feel like I got my “fix” for the time being. I’ve settled into a pattern of spending a minimum of two weeks out there once a quarter (every season). How luxurious, I know! It’s so nice that we have a family house there with all the comforts of home that makes traveling there a breeze. I can also carry on with my usual daily to-dos and work while I am there, if I so chose. After a trip out, though, I look forward to returning to my Sweet Home Chicago, my house, and my extended family. I am so grateful to have my home away from home in Utah in addition to my lovely place in the Chicagoland area. Life is good!
The Utah weather was pretty mild during our early January stay with, to my great disappointment, very little snow. The return to Chicago has been just the opposite, however, with icy, chilly days and so much SNOW! I love it! I’ve become a huge fan of winter in recent years. I know many others are pretty sick of winter by now, but I am so enamored by the beautiful peace of it all. Something else I love about winter is the opportunity to eat some warm comfort food. I love winter squash, tea and cookies, and hot baked oatmeal crisp! Winter is a delicious season!
One of my biggest goals of the year and anytime, really, is to work on being more present. “Living in the moment” by Jason Mraz is my theme song this January! For me, this means not dwelling too much on the past that I cannot change or a future I cannot predict. Whether I am storing holiday decorations, shopping for groceries, writing a blog post, or reading a book in the bath tub, I strive to experience what I am doing in that exact moment. This does not come naturally to me, but over the past few years with concentrated effort I have made massive improvements. My life is and has been, on the whole, a very happy and blessed one, and I am grateful for it every day. Just because I have been fortunate to live the life I have so far, however, does not mean that my experiences are impervious to the negative affects that anxiety can impose on even the happiest of occasions. Being more focused on the here and now helps me to keep my anxiety and its mean-spirited nature at bay, which leads to a better quality of life overall. I have to keep a constant vigil for when I start to slip and pull myself back to the present when I start to drift into the what ifs and what could have beens that never have a satisfactory answer. This is the most powerful and beneficial journey I have ever embarked on and I suspect it will last a lifetime. In fact, I am counting on it, because I find there are endless opportunities to learn and grow on these life journeys.
One of the things I find necessary in striking a more balanced experience is quiet down time. I’ve mentioned many times in the past how sacred my tub and reading time is to me, which it continues to be. Lately, however, I’ve found an additional activity that calms my overactive imagination (otherwise known as my worrywart brain) and soothes any frayed nerves or unresolved tensions I may be experiencing. I mentioned last week how I’d taken up knitting and I hoped my reclaimed hobby would last. I do believe it will this time. I’ve officially caught the knitting bug and I am delighting in it! I’ve started to poke around more on Ravelry, an online fiber arts community. I even started an OrganizedJen online knitting group of sorts there called Bliss Knits. Please feel free to check it out and join if you care to. It’s open to anyone, not just knitters. I love sharing my experiences with you and knitting just seems to be the sort of thing that’s perfect for sharing.
Speaking of sharing, you can watch last week’s vlog here if you’d like:
As I mentioned in the video, I have a little giveaway to share this week. The Weekly Wednesday Sigma Giveaway will run until Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open internationally. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. One person will win the Sigma Paris Palette and set of five brushes pictured below:
You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below. I’ll announce the winner on THIS blog post and contact them directly, as always. Good luck!
*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***
Congrats to Melissa on being selected as the winner of my Weekly Wednesday Sigma Giveaway!
The Poll Results for *What should I include in addition to vlog footage in my Weekly Vlogs?* out of 3334 entries:
Share both mail & answer a question (1089) 33%
Answer viewer questions (976) 29%
Nothing else, just vlog footage (898) 27%
Showcase mail from the week (251) 8%
Something else (leave a blog comment with your suggestions) (120) 4%
If you’d like to learn more about my goals for the year please check out my 2014 New Years Resolutions post. I hope you all are having a wonderful week and staying warm if the winter chill is wherever you are!
* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *