Search This Blog

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Here I Come, Hopping Down the Rabbit Trail!

Well, here it is Wednesday, and it's been an interesting several days.  I did meet with a lot of success, a lot of mess, some roadblocks, more progress, more rabbit trails.  I realize that I include a lot of detail about my days.  I am doing so to document my progress and also, hopefully, share some wisdom to others with the same struggles.  That is, wisdom on what to do and NOT what to do!

I think I posted my last post in the wee hours of Friday morning before I went to bed.  Friday was my designated day to do laundry and iron.  I'm committed to use these time blocks as a framework to keep me focused on all areas of my life, and sometimes, the day needs to go in a different direction.  I ended up mostly having a day with friends.  It was actually just a few hours, but it took up the chunk of my planned chores.  I saw the wisdom in the middle of the day to make Friday a more relaxed and casual day for several reasons and make Saturday a more focused workday (that is, on the days we are in town). 

Going into the weekend, I wanted to push more on my sewing project, the bookkeeping and the ironing.  Those are the areas that I am most behind on.  I took a lot of our habitual "couch time," when we are watching ball games and our favorite shows, to enter long lists of transactions in QuickBooks and Quicken.  I took a rabbit trail (but a fortunate one at that) on Saturday and Sunday sorting pictures on my computer.  I had uploaded the photos on all of our electronics to the computer recently and had them all in one file, which was over 2,000 pictures.  On a whim, I went to my pictures library to see if I remembered how to move a picture from one file to another.  One click led to another click, and before I knew it, I went into super-focus and ended up sorting all of those 2,000+ pics in assigned folders.  It wasn't planned, but I'm very glad to have that done! 

My ironing pile isn't as big as I feared, but I made a point to do little time blocks (pomodoros--a 25/5 minute work/rest time block) to iron a few shirts at a time, so the pile has shrunk.  I made a bit more progress with the slipcover for the couch, doing another pomodoro or two for it.  I somehow got the machine totally clogged up under the metal plate.  Early Sunday morning, Jake was a dear and opened it up and pulled out a bunch of thread and fuzz.  I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong, or if it is just something to be careful about.  The dropcloths have a lot of fuzz and unraveling.  I was zigzagging around the edges to prevent fraying, but I will find another way, because I think that is what was clogging up the machine.  Other fabric would not be so inclined to do that.  Saturday ended up being very productive, mostly in the paperwork area, and a bit more in the other areas.

**My sis Kathi asked me what a bleached drop cloth is.  It is literally a bleached drop cloth, the ones that painters use to cover things and to catch drips.  They come in huge sizes and is a very economical way to get lots of fabric for projects.  It has a rough texture that many find very appealing for rustic and shabby-type decors.  The one Jake bought for me is the largest size at Home Depot or Lowe's.  It was big enough to cover a room, and except for a few pieces, I can cover the whole couch with it.  Most people bleach it for hours and then wash it with a lot of softener.  I would like to find a more natural way.  It is taking a long time to get out all of the smell of bleach. 

I did remember to wash my hair and prepare for church on Sunday morning.  I was still doubtful when I went to bed that I would get there; I was pretty tired from all of the other work.  I just asked God for his help, and sure enough, I was up in the morning and went. 

Things sort of spun out from there.  I felt sort of insecure that morning.  I reached out to one person and was in a little bit of doubt about if it was the right thing to do.  I was feeling ready to cut out and retreat to my house. 

I did have a very good thing happen, though.  I have a friend, who I met right after Megan's death, and for several reasons was wondering if she was avoiding me or had a problem with me.  I'm so glad to have learned that I don't have to be responsible for making sure everyone is happy with me, so I wasn't taking on that burden.  But I saw her in the hall talking to another person and took the opportunity to pause and talk to her.  It ended up being fine.  She seemed genuinely glad to see me and converse, and we spent five or ten minutes catching up with each other.  Those little doubts and bugaboos can make such clutter in our minds and emotions, and that area definitely looked much tidier and more pleasant. 

That afternoon, I was trying to make progress on the little sweater I am knitting.  I am using a very thin yarn.  The most common weight (or thickness?) is a 4, and this is a 1.  It's not thread, but very still very thin yarn.  It's also very stretchy and I'm realizing it is not a good yarn for ease of use.   It's impossible for me to keep the tension even for a smooth pattern.  The big snafu was that I got a huge tangle in the thread.  I could have cut off that big wad, reattached the yarn and gone on from there.  But I was in perfection mode.  I wanted the body to be one single piece of yarn--so I spent hours the rest of the day and Monday untangling that yarn.  (I go into hyper-focus untangling things.  You want to keep me busy--just throw a big wad of tangled mess into my lap, and I automatically go into untangling mode.)  And then when I finally started back to knitting, I actually cut it trying to get a fuzz ball off of it!  After all of that work.  It was obviously a poor and time-wasting decision, but--oh, well.  I think I learned a lot from that experience!  I had a very brief thought of scrapping the whole project, but I really want to finish it.  It won't look as good as I would like, but I'm determine to finish my first sweater.  I definitely will give much more thought and get advice on what yarn to use on the next sweater.

In looking back at my week, I really liked doing the designated days for different projects, and I want to continue doing it.  I will have to be very flexible, though--life happens.  And using an hour or so in the mornings for bookkeeping worked well.  I am much more comfortable with the software, so it shouldn't be as mind-numbing in the future.

I started out this Monday very weary and feeling briefly burned out.  I am recognizing those times as ones where I need to go into extreme self-care mode.  I had a dentist appointment (just having the permanent crown glued on), and the rest of the day, I just relaxed.  I mostly just took it easy, let my mind rest, letting God love on me and knitted/crocheted.  Most of the day Tuesday was spent driving and getting my hair done.  Wednesday is the first day I am getting back on schedule.  I eased myself back into a schedule, doing my daily routine.  Today is the day for cleaning and my yarn group.  We are on temporary hiatus for the group and other things were screaming for attention over doing some extra cleaning.   The rest of the day was not near as productive as I would like.  I did a few time blocks of ironing and sewing.  The sewing is getting easier each time I start.  I veered off to pick up a few groceries at the store right down the street and fixed an easy supper. 

I did some more crochet and knitting after dinner, but not very focused.  (I put a new word game on my phone, and I think I need to take it back off.  It is already causing problems.:/ ) And I am about to the point of scrapping this sweater.  I think I could start again with a different yarn and finish it quicker than finishing this one!

So it's ending on a rather frustrating note.  Hopefully, I will be more motivated today.  I am writing this at 1:15 a.m.  I will sleep before this day actually begins for me.  Good night! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

My Next Elephant: a Bleached, Drop Cloth Slipcover Couch

I would call yesterday a very successful day as far as my Getting Things Done system went.  I did about an hour of work on bookkeeping.  By the end of the hour, my speed and ease had picked up quite a bit on the software. (I was entering a lot of transactions and setting up new accounts for each one.)  Then I put that aside and proceeded to the Wednesday duties (cleaning and yarn group).  On a cleaning day, I do deeper cleaning than the daily chores.  Wednesday was a good day to choose because I expected company afterwards.

I ended up canceling the group because so many were out of pocket.  I may postpone any other get-togethers until after school starts.  August is a crazy month for many.  For me (and I have no complaint), my social calendar has become very empty.  I honestly love that, but I have to be careful and make myself get out.  I haven't been secluded, though.  I had a lot of connecting--texts, messages, a phone call and a visit from a friend yesterday. 

Before I tell you about today. . . .

Last year when I was mostly just sitting and reading about ADD/ADHD, I was strongly encouraged to not focus on things that were too hard or unpleasant but find a way to play and be creative.  One of our big needs is to feel successful at something and it needs to be enjoyable.  We can spend all of our energy trying to get our world in order and be miserable in the process.  Learning to play, and even make work like play is a key to success and happiness.

My first creative outlet was the bullet journal.  I had all kinds of fun browsing on Pinterest and setting up my new journal.  Next, I broke through and started a crochet project.  Then I reached another milestone decorating extravagantly for Christmas and doing some other decorator projects.  I sort of went out of control for awhile.  I tend to see something on Pinterest and want to do it, now.  I saw all of these cute pinecone projects.  I needed more pinecones for fall and Christmas anyway.  I was out one day and noticed a bunch of pinecones under some trees lined up behind one of the shopping centers.  So I began collecting bags and bags of pinecones, and did manage to get them baked and ready for projects.  I even bought some craft paint.  All of this is now in my new craft closet. 

Christmas 2016

When I decided to host the yarn and boundaries groups at my house, I realized I wanted another couch for extra seating.  I was going to find a used one and slipcover it with bleached drop cloths for the farmhouse look.  (Ready to sigh now?)  We brought an old couch home, so I am all set, right?

Here is the "before" couch  (very comfortable)

Fabric waiting to be made into slipcovers

So now I have another elephant to eat.  When I got ready to start, I discovered that my old Bernina sewing machine from the 1970s no longer had the accessories.  I had been toying with the idea of buying a new machine with some bells and whistles that the old one does not have.  Jake was supportive of that, and I bought a Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist.  It's a pretty cool machine, but it's something else I'm having to learn to use.  I've learned enough to wind a bobbin, thread it,  and sew straight seams and backward stitches.  

Years ago, I sewed all the time, I mean all the time.  I made most of my own clothes, including lined jackets, fancy dresses, simple block quilts and window coverings.  But I haven't sewn it in years except for some simple drapes or curtains.  For a few years, it sounded too overwhelming to try again after being ill for quite a few years, just the mental part of it.  Sewing consists of so many details and different types of tasks (sewing, cutting, ironing, measuring, fitting).  But after giving it a lot of thought, I decided I wanted to try to bring back those skills.  And it's been rather like learning all over again--I can sew a seam just fine, it's putting all of that myriad of details together at one time.

Well, the project has become a bit overwhelming even though I know I can accomplish it if I put the new executive skills I am learning to work.  After getting started, bleaching the drop cloths, cutting out the large pieces, I managed to make a pile of welted cording for the cushions.

Cording for the cushions

I spent quite a few days measuring out the cushions and cutting out pieces to be sewn together.  The couch has two seat cushions and five back cushions.  I sort of hit a wall after that.  I have so many projects started, including knitting a sweater and crocheting the Sophie's Universe blanket, plus bags and bags of collected pinecones, and the rest of the house to decorate, that I felt a need to just stop and reorganize.  (Jake thinks I'm a bit crazy.😊😉)   I spent some time (like maybe three weeks) setting up some different work stations around the house.  My coffee table with big drawers now holds my current yarn projects.  The office is now dedicated to being just an office.  The future craft room now has a temporary table built in for the sewing machine (thank you, Hubby!). 

He cut some plywood and attached it to the wall with brackets.

Jake also built shelves in the closet for craft supplies.  So everything has been ready for me to proceed sewing. . . .

Projects like that is one of the main reasons I felt the need to assign dedicated days. If I was going to get back to that slipcover, I needed to have set times to actually work on it.  I have to get over that big hump of adjusting to new skills and work capabilities.  Slipcovering the couch may be a crazy idea, but I'm determined I'm going to do it.  I plan to do much smaller and easier projects after that--I promise!

So today, being the day planned for sewing, I began by putting in another one hour plus some doing books, did the daily routine, then took some quiet time for a bit.  When something is this big and intimidating, I have to really tiptoe in with baby steps.  I pulled the desk chair into the craft room and sat down.  I decided to take some before pictures first.  I turned on the machine.  I then had to get up and hunt for the cording I had made, which took about 10 minutes searching through the craft closet)  I had already sewn cording to five squares of fabric for the back cushions. So today-- I managed to sew four of the cushions together this afternoon.  The last one has to be ripped out because I sewed one square to the wrong side.  Years ago, I would have had this done in 30 minutes.  I would have loved to have gotten much farther, but I really estimated this was about how much I would get done.

But as I keep plugging away, I am confidant that I will get more proficient.  I will eventually learn how to use all the fun things on the machine (or at least some of them, anyway).  The rhythm I used to do for sewing will return, if not slowly, and I will begin to be back in the groove and actually enjoy this old hobby of mine.  And Jake will actually get to see a finished couch, ha-ha. 

I hope this post encourages you not to give up.  Let's reach for the dreams God has given us!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dealing with Brain Fatigue

Below, I am describing how I processed the day to see how I need to tweak my routine.  I'm looking at what worked and what didn't work so well.

I took about an hour to work through my daily chores, had some quiet time, and then started on the paperwork, which was the "work theme" for Tuesday.  My mind was sluggish, however, and I was having trouble focusing, so my pace was sluggish, too.  I spent about 3 hours total on bookkeeping, but I needed lots of breaks 

Doing a daily routine along with other tasks assigned to certain days is extremely helpful in getting my life in order.  I would love to see if I can grow into flowing naturally with less structure, but so far, adding some definite boundaries to my days seems to be what I need.

Paperwork day is a day to not only catch up on bookkeeping, but also work on digital organization and pictures. One problem, though, with having a definite day for these tasks is that I had little mental energy which I needed for learning software and other computer skills.  GTD stresses that projects should be chosen according to our environment and other factors like our available energy.  I am most behind in the area of paperwork.  My one client does not take too much time, but I also have our business books to keep, along with the digital organizational.  The digital files are a mess and I am still on a learning curve with different software and procedures.  I think I could spend a solid month or two doing nothing but getting the paperwork in order and caught up. 

From what I am seeing, I need to take advantage when my brain is ticking efficiently.  Probably, the best way to accomplish that is to have a block of time first thing in the mornings to do these brain-taxing chores, at least until I become very adept with the software.  Adding a second paperwork day might well end up having the same problem of fatigue.  So the next "tweak" will be to plan paper-work as a daily thing along with the daily list.  I'll try that tomorrow.  I have my yarn group at 1:30 and will need to prepare for that, but I could still get a unit of time in if I don't sleep too late.

I think I also need to break the paperwork into more baby steps.  A short list of smaller steps will make the work less intimidating and fatiguing.  Once I get caught up and become expert at the software, all of this should become very natural.

How would you overview a challenging day and plan something different?

On the health and fitness front, I jogged two minutes and stayed on track with Weight Watchers.  Hopefully, I'm on my way to another chunk of weight lost!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beginning Baby Steps

Today, I focused on putting GTD into practice.  The day went well.  I went through my daily routine this morning like I used to do.  I also started a baby step back into jogging.  I jogged 90 seconds, easy, even for me, lol.  Eating was a success so far.  I tracked my Weight Watcher points today, and am well in the range I should be.  On my daily page, I made a tracker to check off the various areas of focus to help assure that I am intentional in all of them. 

One change I made from the GTD system was to assign day-sensitive tasks to help me focus on one or two areas on certain days.  This is how I planned it::
  • Sunday - church, weekly review
  • Monday - contacts, organization
  • Tuesday - wash hair, paperwork
  • Wednesday - cleaning, yarn group
  • Thursday - sewing and crafts
  • Friday - laundry, ironing, grocery list, menu planning
When I have tried this before, it has worked out well for me.  Also, the world will not fall apart if I am not able to do it on that day, but will just help keep me balanced and not let difficult areas slide. Today, being Monday (contacts and organization), I called a friend to see about meeting and spent about an hour making sure the correct items were in our drawers and closets. 

 I added the Weight Watchers tracking and jogging into my daily routine.  The daily routine looks like a lot of items.  Many items will be fine if I do them 3 times a week, but they still need to be on a daily list rather than a particular day assigned to them.

My dailies are:
  • Make bed
  • Weigh
  • Shower
  • Plan day
  • Makeup
  • Clean ears
  • Shave legs
  • Brush teeth
  • Floss
  • Medication
  • Vitamins
  • Dust mop
  • Feather dust
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Load dishes
  • Run dishwasher
  • Wipe counters and stove
  • Wipe toilets
  • Wipe sinks and vanities in bathrooms
  • Tidy up
  • Tone 5 minutes
  • Cook dinner
  • Jog
  • Plan dinner
  • Dinner cleanup
  • Evening tidy up
  • Brush teeth, p.m

That looks like a lot of dailies, but only about half NEED to be done daily.  Also, I have broken down "single" tasks into baby steps.  Just morning grooming is broken down into eight steps.  I like it this way; it is motivating to check off so many completed tasks.  One of these days, I probably won't list all of them.  Many of them take anywhere from a few seconds to less than five minutes.  It's amazing how doing them regularly makes them a breeze.  I usually can whisk through them in 30-45 minutes.  And then, I am ready and the house is ready for whatever happens.  Also, quiet time is not on the list of dailies even though, of course, it's a daily; it's just not an item to rush through.

These planned days are not grueling, rigid days.  There were a few hours of productive work and plenty of relaxation in between. 

An exciting thing for me today was planning with a friend her start on baby steps to normalcy.  (Bonnie gave me permission to talk about her in my blog.)  We spent a couple of hours planning ways to help her gain control over her life.  We made this list according to where her life is at the moment and what we saw as her most urgent needs:

1.  Make a list of the most crucial things to do daily.  Keep it as short as possible and then break it down into as small of baby steps as will motivate rather than overwhelm.

2.  Get the public areas of the house looking nice and presentable enough for visitors.  Beware of perfection!

3.  Make a list of focus areas, usually 8-10 areas.  I talked about them in my previous post.  Give thought and prayer to how your heart wants these areas to look.  Beware of others' expectations or your own unreasonable expectations.  List projects in these areas and what the completed project looks like.  (Instead of "lose weight," be more specific, such as "lose 90 pounds."

4  Do the collection process as described in GTD.  Gather all of paperwork and written goals, etc. into one area to make an in-box. 

5.  She is also going to begin looking at all of the relationships and commitments in her life.  We plan to talk about those next time to see what changes need to be made.  Bonnie has been pulled into too many situations that are draining and over-committed to too many responsibilities, which has left little energy for herself.

This is a pretty hefty amount to tackle in an overwhelmed state, but it looked manageable to Bonnie.
So we'll see how the week goes for her.

I'm in a bit of a sober mood this evening, just a desire to not be caught off guard.  In so many situations, we have to remember to totally trust God and not lean on our own understanding.  I'm reminded that my understanding can trip me up every time.  In the past, I have been thrown totally off course by not doing that.  God is the one who keeps me steady and stable; it does not depend on other people.  I have so enjoyed this last year of peace and rest.  I also want to be prepared and plugged in to my Father if something unexpected happens.  And I don't have to be responsible to read and judge everything I see; that is God's job.  Nothing in particular happened to put me in this state of mind tonight.  I'm just being open and transparent about what is going on with me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hyper-Focus, Rabbit Trails and Those Pesky Transitions

The title of this post might give you a clue to what this weekend has been like.  Five years ago, I knew almost nothing about ADD except concern for those who either were ADD or had children who were. ( I use ADD and ADHD almost interchangeably.)  The first time I have a definite memory about the subject was in the early 80s.  Reading and learning about ADD has, for the most part, been one of the most liberating and life-changing things to happen to me.  Finally, a way to keep growing and progressing and getting some real traction in life.

Most areas of struggle are in the area of executive life skills.  These include things like decision making, planning, control of emotions, self-initiation, staying on task, self-monitoring.  Some typical situations are:

  1. Hyper-focus.  One gets stuck on a single thought or task and loses awareness of other things going on around them.
  2. Rabbit trails.  This is the opposite of hyper-focus and how most people think of an ADD individual.  One is constantly jumping from one thought or activity to another.  I am constantly doing this, and within just a few minutes, I can have four projects, and all of the materials for that project spread out or strung out everywhere!
  3. Transitions.  Transitions are the adjusting or adapting to a change, finishing one task and being able to start the next task.  It can be especially difficult if the tasks are in two completely different modes.  Some things take a huge mental and emotional shift. 
I mention these three because that is presently what I am working hard to manage.  I learn "coping skills," which are the new skills added to make up for these challenges.  It was heartening to know that one can learn these skills, which come so naturally to most(?) people, just like we learn to walk, tie our shoes, ride a bike.  We build and develop new habits and, subsequently, new brain waves, as we learn these skills.

When I began bullet journaling (do a internet search and you will find tons on the subject) and then in trying to learn GTD (Getting Things Done), I divided my life on paper into various areas of responsibility:
  • Relationships - friends, family, associates
  • Spiritual - prayer, meditation, Bible study, relationship with God
  • Personal development
  • Finance - budgeting, investing, planning for retirement
  • Career - which includes blogging and bookkeeping
  • Home - cleaning, entertaining, laundry, cooking, decorating
  • Health & fitness
  • Crafts
  • Ministry, service and giving
  • Marriage
  • Self-care - emotional, mental health, grooming, wardrobe, rest and relaxation
  • Hobbies and recreation
This has been very helpful to me as I've prayerfully looked over these areas.  It helps to give me a sense of balance.  I'm finding that these are not neat compartments.  The spiritual actually encompasses every area of my life.  Every area must also be connected to relationships or it will interfere with our ultimate God-given purposes.  Treating ADD involves every area. 

Also, some areas remain a priority as I learn to order my life.  Another area will take a time of intense focus as opportunities and needs arise.  What I am finding that is difficult for me is to steward these areas at the same time, not letting one suffer when another one is flourishing.  In a lot of areas, I feel a need to hyper-focus on that thing to get it done, but it takes from other areas.  That is life to a certain respect, but it can be overwhelming and seemingly downright hopeless for many ADDers. 

Yesterday was a very enjoyable day.  I've been working diligently on turning this blog into a source of ministry and income.  I am so into it right now, studying, praying, talking with Jake, coming up with dozens of ideas.  I want to begin to put creative projects on here, plus ways to teach these life skills, organization, helps with weight loss, areas of Christian growth.  Last night, Jake and I were brainstorming about different projects that could be turned into blog posts and series.  I remember going to bed on Thursday night and not sleeping much just because I was so excited and my brain still had countless ideas going through my head.

So all day yesterday, I was writing, learning to use Blogger, crocheting, working on the sweater, watching golf.  I was thinking about the next day being Sunday and I needed to wash my hair.  I usually start about 16 hours ahead of time to make sure I can make it to church, tending to hair, maybe nails, picking out clothes.  At one point I went and got a towel to wash my hair in the sink.  Somehow, I was distracted, and I realized at 1:00 a.m. that I had never done it.  I never got back on that track.  I was asleep about 2:00. 

When I woke up this morning, the alarm went off early for me.  I turned it off, dozed back off, and then the battery on my phone went dead sometime after that.  I was slowly waking up and lay there a long time thinking about transitions.  I finally got up, wondering if I had time to make it to church.  When I walked into the living room, it was 1:00 p.m.  I used to think I didn't struggle with my sense of time, but I evidently do in some ways. 

I was thinking about transitions this morning because it was so hard to shift out of the planning blog mode and into the getting-to-church mode.  I totally did not succeed this morning.  No condemnation, but this is the area I am working on and praying for wisdom for.  By the way, I didn't have a list yesterday, and I forgot to take my meds. 

God keeps reminding me to slow down, keep centered on Him because He is the one who is guiding and empowering me.  I can't lose track of the important relationships He's put in my life, some of them mentoring relationships. 

On the positive side, I find this lack an exciting challenge to grow in.  One helpful strategy is to make these learning challenges fun.  I spent part of the day trying to develop an attractive layout page that helps keep track and encourages me to shift gears into the different modes.  I have a trial one sketched into my Bujo to try out for tomorrow.  I'm even planning to track my eating and begin jogging again.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. . . .

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Getting Things Done

As expected, this week has been much about recovering from two dental extractions.  My schedule has suddenly slowed down.  I finished my Boundaries group last week and cancelled the yarn group Wednesday due to pain.  I've had a chance to do some quiet quality work at home.

The schedule for the rest of the summer is pretty empty, which I love, being an introvert.  I can find infinite ways to entertain myself at home. 

I ate a few more frogs this week, finally getting over all of my roadblocks that were holding back some big projects.  My sis stayed up last night and helped me straighten out a big issue on this blog.  I was so grateful!  I'm determined to be much more knowledgeable in my computer skills.  I've come a long way, but I would love to be an expert,   It would also relieve a lot of stress.  There's nothing like the stress when technology is not cooperating!  I always had the attitude that either you were good with computers, or you were not.  But with some real grit and determination, I think I can be as competent as most, maybe better.  It's on my bucket list now.  Much of my time and energy has just recently shifted over into a business mode, all done on the computer.  So it's essential to hone those skills. 

The last couple of weeks have been dotted liberally with connection with others--talks with Jake, lunch or coffee with a friend, some new relationships, some brief sharing at church, texts, messages. As my mouth was healing this week, one friend brought me soup, another friend a smoothy.  I'm loving this slower pace, other than the aching gums.  I pray, read, plan, dream, organize and work on some quiet projects. 

I read through two books during the last two weeks, Getting Things Done and Making Things Work, both by David Allen.  In one sense, it's as if he is describing how to walk in the Spirit in a very practical way.  I'm surprised I never heard of his method; I think there are thousands and thousands who follow his method. I feel a need to balance the things in my life a little more.  One area will get tons of focus and another area slides.  (Currently, my weight loss and exercise have fallen off the map.)

In a nutshell, GTD is a way to collect all of your thoughts, ideas, goals, projects, paperwork, etc. to a central place.  It allows you to empty your mind of all of the things that pull at and distract you and get them in an organized external place.  The point is to be able to live each day, totally focused on the task or conversation or event at hand, without other things constantly going through your mind.  You only calendar time-sensitive items.  The rest of the day you choose hour by hour the next most effective thing to be doing at the time.  It allows for order and a beautiful flow of your life to transition and go from task to task. There is way too much info to describe here, but I knew immediately I wanted to learn this new skill.  I am constantly double and triple tasking, or hopping from one thing to another, or getting locked into one thing for hours on end when I need to put it away and go to another thing. 

In starting the plan, I gathered all the paperwork and lists along with my bullet journal and began laying out the projects in different areas of my life.  He stresses identifying what the next action is for each project and keeping that list handy.  There is a learning curve to the system.  Quite a few have worked GTD into their bullet journals, and I am working on a way to do that.

As always, I find a way to knit and crochet.  Last night, I went to another yarn group that a friend started.  It was a larger group than mine.  I plan on attending it more often.  I did notice that when the group gets larger, it is a lot to take in at once.  There was a lot of talking, some younger girls, some newbies learning to crochet, and then you are trying to keep up with your own pattern.  It was very fun, but I was a little on overload at times. That's something to think about if my Wednesday group grows a lot.  I need to bring simple projects to big groups because so much is going on. 

One project I am doing is a tiny sweater.  It's my first serious attempt to actually finish a sweater (another bucket list item).  I'm sure it will go to my new grandbaby.   This pattern is called Sunnyside Cardigan from Tanis Fiber Arts.  I first did a practice sweater with thicker yarn and larger needles to learn the pattern.  It's a top-down sweater, all knit in one piece.  So far so good.  I'm not sure exactly what size it will be.  I'm still learning how to read a gauge.  But I think it will be a little big for her, and she can grow into it.  It's a very light yarn, so it will not be a thick sweater. 

Most of today was spent at the computer with a Dummies book alongside.  I mixed in some housework, cooking dinner and talking to several friends by messaging and phone.  Today is also the first day I have shared a link to this blog with anyone.  Another baby step. 
That's all for today.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow, which is Saturday. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to Eat a Frog that Turned into an Elephant (or Move that Mountain)

Yes, I ate a frog that turned into an elephant.  With God's help, I slayed that giant; I moved that mountain. 

To eat a frog refers to tackling those unpleasant or daunting tasks that we want to procrastinate on or are afraid to do.  Several months ago, I talked about needing to go to the dentist.  I could not even figure out a way to make myself go.  It was not a frog anymore, it had become an elephant.  The only way to eat an elephant is ONE BITE AT A TIME.  I have definitely had a phobia about it, as is common with many people, but it had grown totally out of proportion.  And the longer I put it off, the more work would likely be needed.  There finally came a point, as I improved and faced other areas of my life, that it was the only huge thing nagging at me and giving me worry.  I became so weary of having that thing take up this much space in my brain, and it was time to evict that fear. 

I have learned this year, that with ADHD, certain tasks becoming overwhelming to the point it may paralyze us or keep us from thinking clearly.  A simple thing like making an appointment became big enough that I had to break it down into tiny steps.  The first step was realizing that I didn't want to go back to my old dentist and it was the reason I kept putting it off.  We moved away from Midland in 2013 and 2014, and I saw a different dentist in Kyle, who I really liked.  I went back and forth actually thinking about traveling the six hours to see her, which was really crazy.  Then it finally occurred to me that I could find a new one here.   It took months for me just to get to that point!  Anyone relate?  So I'm finally facing this thing head-on and praying for the courage to slay this giant. 

I started researching and reading reviews of dentists here in town and a revelation hits me.  I need a children's dentist!  I need a dentist who will be very patient and tender and even give me drugs if needed.  I finally settled on a place with good reviews and told my husband I was going to make an appointment that week and for him to please push me if I resisted.  He didn't have to, though, because I was ready.  I drove to the office and went in to make sure I liked the atmosphere.  I did--it seemed very pleasant.  I talked to the receptionist and made sure they would see adults, which they did.  I let her know I was the anxious type and needed the best dentist in the office for treating that kind of patient, lol.  She immediately recommended one of the four and I made an appointment.  I then returned home and whooped it up with Jake for being so daring and brave, haha!!

It was such a relief just to make the appointment.  I went in the following Monday and had a thorough checkup, x-rays and cleaning.  The news was not good, but I was prepared.  It would take several visits to get my mouth back into shape.  I needed several fillings, a crown, a possible root canal.  But I was determined to get there, and I wasn't stopping now.  And I was determined that six month checkups and cleanings WOULD happen in the future so I never have to go through this again. 

This all started happening in June.  I went back in two weeks later for my first round of work.  Some unexpected and good things happened.  I learned from my son about a discount program for dental care.  It sort of seems too good to be true.  I signed up with Careington Care 500 Series plan.  If you go to a provider, the costs are discounted.  I was able to sign up immediately with a temporary card emailed to me.  I double checked with the office before my appointment to make sure they indeed were with this plan, which they were.  This plan actually saved me close to 60%!  I was amazed.  Jake and I are actively finding ways to pare down expenses, and this helps immensely.  Jake is even planning on going to this children's dentist now. 

When I arrived for my appointment, I had a long wait so they could get approval from Careington.  I also found out that the dentist I was scheduled with was out that day, and I would have a different one.  I agreed to that, a bit unsure.  But that ended up being such a wonderful God thing.  This doctor was this wonderful male dentist from somewhere in Africa.  He had the most calming voice and assuring manner and went into great detail about what and why he did each thing.  The dental assistant told me how much she liked him because he was the same with them.  He also does implants and dentures and was able to give me an alternative long-range plan that I knew was perfect for me.  The actual work on my teeth that day took about two hours, and I was a bundle of nerves by the end.  One reason was that I needed some sort of support under my neck.  I held out, though, and didn't ask for any gas.

I remember reading a few years ago about dealing with fear.  Sometimes, actually focusing on that thing I'm afraid of and facing it straight on will conquer that fear.  And I'm not alone; God is holding my hand and His presence is with me the whole time.  I began to focus on what the drill actually felt like.  That was the main thing I'm afraid of.  I've had a couple of occasions when I was not deadened enough.  I welcome the shot needles.  The drilling actually was not so bad.  The high-pitched sound is not pleasant.  I actually felt very little, mostly the water being sprayed in my mouth.  He did four fillings that day, some were two and three surfaces, so the drilling took A LONG TIME.  It was rather unnerving eventually.  And I made the mistake of putting my tongue inside one of the caverns in my tooth.  Big mistake.  It was a huge hole.  I'll not do that again.  I've passed out before hearing people talked about dental nightmares.  But we got through it. 

He did the whole right side of my mouth except for one extraction.  We made the decision to extract this tooth, a 12-year molar, rather than the possible root canal because I didn't have the molar under it anyway.  I would not need an implant there either. 

This dentist actually practices in Odessa.  I took a few days, decided I wanted him to finish the work, called the Odessa office and made the appointment.  The next appointment, which was 11 days ago, was so much better.  I made a small pillow that I could put under my neck to be more comfortable.  He did three more fillings that day on the left side, which went quickly.  I was amazed--my mind even wandered here and there when he was drilling.  I didn't think that was possible!  We planned to do the temporary crown and an extraction right next to it the following week.  (Yes, I needed another extraction.  No more 12-year molars.)  The permanent crown and second extraction would be at the appointment following that one.

I went back in on Monday for the temporary crown and extraction, and we decided to go ahead and do both extractions.  It took only a few seconds for me to realize that if we did both, I would be DONE except for the permanent crown.  I was actually fairly relaxed this time.  I had had a very busy morning organizing drawers and closets and brought a book with me, so I was pleasantly distracted.  I still didn't ask for drugs.  This took almost two hours again, but the pillow worked wonders, and the drilling was getting to be no big deal.  There were lots of molds to do with the crown.  When he finished putting on the temporary, he topped off the local anesthesia and deadened the other side of my mouth also.  Extractions are not fun.  There is no way not to feel the pressure of the tooth being pulled.  The worse part was that when he began pulling the tooth on the opposite side, I could FEEL IT!  Not level 10 pain, but some pain and panic nonetheless.  I immediately stopped him, and he calmly injected more anesthesia and went to the other side.  The rest was painless, but very unpleasant. 

When he was done, he looked as excited as I did.  He exclaimed with a big grin, "We're done!"  All I have left is the permanent crown put on.  I will not even think about implants right now.  I'm just going to bask in the enjoyment of being done, focus on lots of brushing and flossing, and make sure I make my six-month appointment. 

I would love to hear other stories of how you face your fears head on with God at your side.  Killing a giant is definitely an exhilarating experience!