Hello! Over a month ago I published THIS POST
where I discussed a major life change I began. Today I wanted to update you on how it's been going and what I've been up to since then.
When I first quit my job in at the end of November, everyone kept asking me 'So how does it feel to be home again?", and my standard reply was 'I don't know, ask me again once I've had a normal week'. For you see, I quit my job during the holidays and life was full of Christmas activities like decorating, baking, cleaning, and my house was filled with laughter and fun because all my kids were home. Later, we also experienced some serious illness for a couple of weeks as my husband, son, and I came down with an awful upper respiratory infection. After Christmas, well, there's the usual depressing 'tearing down of the Christmas decorations', and driving my son back to college. Once all that was done and over, I finally had a normal week.
So what have I been up to? Well, for one, I found I had to exercise again for I gained about four pounds in my first week home. Gasp! Horror! That fact alone almost made me want to go back to work. I quickly realized that if I didn't get some type of physical activity everyday, I was going to gain a lot of weight. My previous job I was on my feet and walking all day, so I'm sure I used a lot of calories. Although, I've also gained a lot of weight this past year due to stress from work. I would get home late at night, and even though I've already eaten dinner, I would eat again because I would be so upset about something that happened at work I couldn't sleep.
So even though I hate, and I mean HATE, to exercise, I have been faithfully doing it one hour a day, five days a week, and I am no longer gaining weight. I even lost 5 lbs, which is a lot for me. I don't lose weight easily at my age. What do I do? Well, don't laugh, but I have these old video cassettes from the 90's called "The Firm: Aerobic Workouts with Weights". It's basically step aerobics with weights so that you get a cardiovascular workout and a muscle work out at once. They are very hard. I loaned one to a friend once and she couldn't even get half way through the tape. I don't enjoy it, but like eating broccoli, I do it cause I know it's good for me.
So I thought I'd put my vanity issues aside and show you what I look like working out with no make up. I always want to be real with you all, and if I put make up on just to take a picture of me working out, that wouldn't be real. So here I am, Au natural, on my way to getting fit. Even though I had been very active with my day job, it was a lot of work getting fit again. I had to start doing the routine without weights or a step, until I was strong enough. Now, one month later, I'm up to 5 lbs weights and the highest step. That's my step in the first picture. I got it for a steal at a rummage sale years ago. If your looking for fitness equipment, rummage sales are the best.
Because I have had lower back problems off and on through the years, I also use an exercise ball that I bought from my chiropractor. I can't recommend these enough! They are wonderful for stretching, doing abdominal exercises, and strengthening your core.
I also have a treadmill in my basement and have been walking on that for about an hour a day while I watch a t.v. program. I usually stay at a 5.0 incline, and a 2.5 walking speed, increasing to 3 for a 20 minute period, then cooling off back to 2.5 until my hour is up.
As soon as the weather warms up, I hope to be in my garden and then I probably won't exercise anymore. My garden is over an acre and built on hills, so gardening is all the exercise I need in the spring and summer.
In addition to exercising, I've also been eating better. Now, I've never been much of a junk food consumer or anyone who over-indulged in salts or sweets, but because of my crazy, hectic, lifestyle I had to eat out of the box, a lot. Power bars, frozen meals, were my main consumption, in addition to chopped, raw fruits, veggies, and a yogurt everyday. But I only had a real, home-cooked meal twice a week (my two days I had off from work) and I was really starting to worry about all the additives and preservatives in my diet. So when I quit my job, I decided it was time to only eat fresh, and I've been cooking every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner since then. This is what I had for breakfast today, and it was delicious. It is baked eggs in Canadian Bacon cups. Have you ever made these? They are so simple it's ridiculous. You simply spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, line it with a slice of Canadian Bacon, drop an egg in and cook at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Low fat, and high in protein!
And as promised in my original post, I'm spending a lot of time in my craft room. Some of you have mentioned that it is nice that I'm creating and posting more regularly than I have before. I've mostly been paper crafting, but I still haven't built up much or any of a stash to open an Etsy store. It seems my cards go out as fast as I can make them. But it is nice to have the time to make special cards for special people. I even make a card if only to write a note, like the one pictured below.
My aunt sent me a letter recently that required a response. Rather than just sending her a scribbled hand written note back, I took the time to make her a lovely card. I've had this set from Flourishes for years and never used it. I bought it for occasions such as this one, so it was nice to have the time to finally be able to put it to use. It was fairly easy to color since the flowers are so small. The hardest part was coloring the paper, but it wouldn't have to be. I could have just colored it a solid off-white and been done with it, but I wanted to create an aged, worn look so that took more time. I then curled one edge of the main image panel to echo the curled papers in the image, and then sponged the edges to make it look old.
And for an added touch, I put just a touch of pink Stickles in the center of each flower.
Other than paper crafting, I have also been quilting again, but only about one block a day. I am only one block away from finishing all the blocks I need for my quilt before I start putting it all together.
I cleaned my whole house from top to bottom except for my kitchen. I'm still working on that. I only completed one wall of my kitchen so far. But you have to understand, my kitchen is no ordinary kitchen. It is filled from top to bottom with blue and white china and silver kitchen antiques, and all white cabinetry. It takes forever to wash the gunk and grease off of every single piece, and all the grooved white paneling. I can only do so much a day before I can't stand inhaling one more breath of bleach or the muscles in my arms give out and I call it a day. I read the most entertaining post
the other day based on the quote 'A Clean House is a Sign of a Wasted Life'. Although I love my home neat and tidy, I did have to agree on the majority of the article. Life is to short to obsess that much over cleanliness.
Nevertheless, I've been spending more time trying to keep the house prettier than it has been the past six years, and that includes decorating for all the holidays and seasons. For Valentine's Day I like to do something, no matter how small, even if it's just putting out pretty little hand towels like these in my guest bathroom.
Or fake red roses in my kitchen window until my husband gives me real ones!
And I change out my door greetings with ones like these:
So all in all, it's been a good change. I enjoy seeing my husband everyday and eating a meal together at night, even though he is home such a brief time because of his long work days. I hope it won't be too much longer till he can cut his hours back so we can spend more time together.
I'm just now starting to get a little anxious (didn't take me long did it, only two months) and I'm still keeping my eye open for that perfect job. But everything I'm coming across seems to have the wrong hours or too much stress again. So in the mean time, I've picked up reading again. Do you have any idea how many years it has been since I've read a book! I use to love to read, I was an English Literature major in college, but it just became too exhausting for me and I stopped. The last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work reading hundreds of emails and policies, was pick up a book! But my adventurous self became interested in the new 'Wild' movie with Reese Witherspoon and since I rarely see a movie when it first hits the theaters, I decided to read the book instead. It's a true story of a young woman whose life tragically falls apart and she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail for three months of soul-searching. I'm about three quarters of the way through, and it is quite a good read, though as a believer it is hard for me to read the destructive lifestyle of this young woman. I keep thinking, she wouldn't feel this way or do these self destructive behaviors if she knew Jesus. And I found it interesting, that God placed a Christian on her path, on the Pacific Crest Trail, to help her, but I don't think she realized it (not sure if she ever realizes it, I didn't get to the end yet).
I was interested in reading this book because I love to travel, and hiking in State and National Parks is one of my favorite things to do when I'm on vacation. I mentioned doing this with my husband, and he said, 'Well, I might be open to doing it for a couple of days, but not that long, and not that far away!' We might have to go back to the Blue Ridge Mountains for that adventure!
But reading again has been good for me, and I consider it a good brain exercise too, so if you know of any other books I might be interested in reading, I'd love to hear about them. I'm looking for my next book!
And finally, I've been blogging, just like I promised. I can't tell you how much I enjoy coming here everyday and writing. I really, really love it. And the best part is, I keep meeting more and more wonderful new people that have the same interests as I do. And that's great, because where I live, I don't have a lot of friends. My interests are very different than my neighbors, and there isn't a lot I have in common with them. If there is one good thing I can say about social media, is that it really threw open the doors, windows, and everything else to be able to meet interesting people from around the world and connect everyone to each other without being filtered through a secular media first. I would like to hear from you about what topics you'd like for me to primarily post on. When I look at my blog statistics, my fashion posts continue to far surpass any other type of topic so I have been considering adding more than one fashion post a week because of that. I don't know why, but it seems more people are interested in what this old lady is wearing instead of what she is making. It could be because the paper crafting industry in general is waning in popularity, but I also think women just like to see what regular women wear, and not models. I know I do! I would also love to do more travel posts, but I don't see any big vacations coming up in the near future because of my unemployment, so other than Staycations, those will have to wait for awhile. So if you have any requests, ideas, or suggestions on future posts, I would love to hear from you!
And that folks, is me lately. Now what about you? What have you been up to lately. How do you intend to get through these next two months of winter?
Have a great day! Amy