Blogging

Expanding Horizons

What one new thing (or two) are you excited to learn or explore in 2019? πŸ™‚ (We gotta keep levelling up, right?)

Howdy amazing folks! We are moving into the final month of the current year which … likely means that you’re giving a think about the year ahead, right? πŸ˜‰ And if you haven’t yet then I would love it if you used this prompt to do so πŸ˜€

So that up there is Question #4. Give it some thought and share your answer/s below so we can inspire each other with awesome ideas & positive intentions πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ And don’t worry if it’s not final yet, we’re all entitled to brainstorm! πŸ˜€

~ My answers:

  1. Β crochet earrings
  2. crochet with beads
  3. creating “floor doilies” with t-shirt yarn
  4. crocheting owls
  5. macrame
  6. sewing – if my 1 year old will allow it

Okay that’s 6 instead of just one πŸ˜‚ but, except for #6, they’re all related so I think I can squeeze them all in in 2019.

What are your answers? πŸ˜€

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Books

November Read: One Small Step Can Change Your Life

KaizenOne of the perks of being a Kindle owner is being able to download free ebooks. (I think this is where Amazon puts new and aspiring authors to test the waters, you know, before they charge for their book … But I’m just taking a wild guess here 😁).Β 

Anyhow, I’ve downloaded quite a few free ebooks in the past and find that most of them should [perhaps] just remain free. I don’t say this to be mean, I know writing takes a lot of work but, there’s something to be said for quality and talent (or real good editors & proofreaders). I just think that quality and talent deserve distinction, price be one of them.

I digress because I can’t imagine this book, authored by Clinical Psychologist Robert Maurer, would stay free for very long*. It is well-written and well-organized. I wasn’t distracted by errors in grammar and composition (which I sadly often find even in books that aren’t free), and the thought process represented by the chapters flows logically and smoothly.

But good grammar and composition is definitely not all this book has to offer. The content itself, while not something novel or ground-breaking, is gold.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Tao Te Ching

Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement, is very familiar in the field of work.Β  Kaizen advocates using very small steps to improve a habit, a process or product using very small moments to inspire new products and inventions. Because it is so identified with efficiency at work, it just totally escaped me that Kaizen could also be applied to your personal and daily life.Β  (Yes, I’m looking at you flabby, post-baby body! 😠).

“Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” ~ Tao Te Ching

Chances are, there’s something in your life that you want to change or improve but have been dithering on.Β  According to the author:Β  “All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear.Β  But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.”

The key idea here is how fear (of change/improvement) can be conquered by something small. The book helps the reader explore how small can be very potent through chapters on asking small questions, thinking small thoughts, taking small actions, solving small problems, bestowing small rewards, and identifying small moments.

Even problems such as pessimism can be subdued by the question: What is one thing about me (or my spouse, or my place of work) that is special?

The book ends with the chapter “Kaizen for Life”Β  and encourages the reader to hold on to the essence of Kaizen, which is an optimistic belief in our potential for continuous improvement.

Like earlier mentioned this book was an easy yet stimulating read. I love books that give pragmatic and sound advice, more so this one where the recommendations do not involve drastic actions or shelling out money. I highly recommend this πŸ™‚

In ending I’d like to share with you one of the phrases that I highlighted and which is, I think, my favorite in the entire book:

If you spend a minute or two each day writing a kind note to tuck into a loved one’s briefcase or a child’s lunchbox, you may save yourself the headache that comesΒ  when relationships grow cool from a lack of nurturance and daily care”.

Now excuse me, I gotta go give my eldest a hug πŸ™‚

 

‘* as of this blogpost, the Kindle edition is now priced at $7.23 … aww, drats! 😢

Fitness & Vanities

Monster Appetite and Lethargy: The Downsides of Exercising?

sleepy dog
Happy Monday peeps! I hope everyone’s off to a strong and positive start πŸ™‚

Now let’s see … where do I start giving updates on my ‘motivated to move’ initiative for September? It’s difficult to think when you’re feeling lethargic o_O

Quick Progress Report:

The combination of exercise type variety and group class obligation has served me well the past week. I’ve been able to stick to my goal of doing two exercise types on most days by being mindful of combining high impact with medium to low impact workouts.

Pitfalls:

1. Exercising in the mornings makes me feel lethargic throughout the rest of the day.I don’t know if my body will adjust in due time, but for now, I need my coffee and noontime siesta. Badly!
2. Meal schedule has been thrown out of whack. Because of my group fitness classes, I now eat brunch and then a heavy snack mid-afternoon. And if I’m not careful, a very late dinner too!
3. My appetite has definitely increased. I half-expected this to happen though, what with the sudden increase in activity o_O
4. I munch the whole time. I alternate between craving sweets to salty food. I think this has much to do with the lethargy I feel the rest of the day.
5. There’s much less time for crochet πŸ˜₯

So what’s the plan?

Moving for fitness is all well and good but if I am not mindful of what and how I eat, I am basically just shooting myself in the foot.

I am therefore going to focus on 2 things diet related this week:

❗ Prepare enough food the evenings prior so I can eat better (albeit warmed up food) the following day.

Leaving for the gym at 7:30 AM does not leave me enough time to prepare my own food. As well, I am usually too tired and hungry after a workout to even think of cooking. The result is that I reach for readily available junk food – refined carbs and heavily creamed/sugared coffee mostly – to fill my tank. This has to STOP! because it is only temporary relief from hunger and does not do me any favors, energy and weight -wise.

❗ 14 hours intermittent fasting.

This means no food after 6pm, and no food before 8am. This is just really disciplining myself to eat dinner earlier to facilitate better sleep, and so I can train my stomach to crave breakfast at around the same time each day.

 
And now comes the hard part – consistent application. Wish me luck you guys! πŸ™‚

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Mostly Sunny With A Chance of Fish Sauce

just keep looking upAh, it’s time for another monthly look-back. How time flies! Very soon I’m gonna have to start thinking about crocheting for the holidays πŸ™‚

So how was June for all you beautiful people? Did you make the most of it? I hope so πŸ™‚

For me, it was an about-face month. Let me tell you why.

Lethargy, lethargy go away! Paardje wants to play!

I was immensely homesick, as can be expected from someone who just moved to another country.Β  I seemed okay on the surface, but I was emotional-eating, wasn’t sleeping very well and just felt unhinged. Tears would come rushing out of nowhere especially at bedtime, I was irritable and could see no beauty in my surroundings.

Then by the 4th week of May, an angry voice in my head said “quit whining and smell the flowers!”. I ran out of patience for myself and sulking was no longer an option.

Exercise. Podcasts. Crochet. Repeat.

So I took on a fitness challenge for June, and I told you all about that here, here, and here. I am so happy I did that because it’s been really therapeutic. I love waking up early, enjoying nature sounds and seeing the sun come up. My spirits lifted a bit higher each day and it gave me something good to focus on.

yarn bingeI also threw myself into crochet.Β  I remember feeling really anxious to take on a project that I actually binged on expensive 100% cotton yarn – to the tune of 100 US dollars! – without having a particular crochet project in mind! I’m still suffering from this yarn binge but, lesson learned πŸ™‚

Meantime, while my hands were busy I bombarded my brain with positivity in the form of podcasts. Hal Elrod, Tony Wrighton and a host of others became my constant companions. This prevented me from brooding and overall just fed my brain with practical ideas for living with more motivation and a better attitude.

Seeing my surroundings for the first time.at the supermarket

Much calmer now, knowing that happiness is something you [have to] engineer for yourself, I am finallyΒ able to appreciate the charm of my surroundings.

We go on mini adventures on most weekends – even a simple roadtrip is something to look forward to.Β  Recently we just found out where to buy tasty whole wheat bread that actually has a chance of being actual whole wheat bread! And it’s a fun discovery πŸ™‚ I am able to laugh at stuff that used to irritate me, and I see smiling faces everywhere.Β  As a matter of fact, I’m starting to enjoy being a foreigner.Β  I can be crazy and say “haloooo!” loudly at anyone while waving like silly and it gives me a kick πŸ˜€ Nods and a curt “mornin'” just don’t do it for me anymore.

Feeling grateful.

The best part is I am beginning to genuinely feel grateful at this opportunity to be abroad.Β  When I get to be old, I can add “having lived in Indonesia” to my resume.Β  Now doesn’t that sound pretty awesome? πŸ˜‰

let it go shake it off

Potpourri

30 Dr. Seuss Quotes That Can Change Your Life

Quotes are a lot of fun and can really help the decision-making process when referred to at the right time.Β  My experience is that often it’s the simplest quotes that are the most potent and memorable.Β  Here’s something I was really delighted to find floating about on the internet.Β  I couldn’t resist getting a copy for this blog πŸ™‚

My favorites are #3 and 11.Β  Which one is yours?

30DrSeuss