Any Day Is A Great Day To Start

Quote courtesy of www.dailyquote.co. Check out other great quotes!

Quote courtesy of http://www.dailyquote.co. Check out other great quotes!

Begin at the beginning.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

There are probably thousands of quotes about starting now or not procrastinating. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent seems like a great opportunity to do just that. Start. Get started. Do something. Anything. Don’t wait. You don’t need to be part of a religion that observes 40 days of commitment to commit to something.

January 1 has never been a day I liked to use as a starting point. I like to let the Christmas season linger a bit. Decorations are still up. If we’re lucky there are still cookies and fudge to be eaten. It’s dark and cold. Not a time I feel like starting. However, I did participate in the #mileaday running at least one mile a day between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. Knowing that I wouldn’t fell like doing a lot of anything between Christmas and New Year’s was a great motivator.

Having worked a school-year schedule for so long, my natural inclination is to use that as my Day 1 or jumping off point for new habits. New pencils and notebooks will do that for a person.

But beginning doesn’t have to start on a specific day or season. It doesn’t even have to start in the morning! In 2006 I realized that I had bought the largest size pants I could stand to buy. I knew I was a bit too round for my very small frame. I joined Weight Watchers. On a Wednesday. Not a Monday. Not a Sunday. But Wednesday. It’s my Day 1 for keeping my health as a focus. Monday’s are too hard, but Wednesday has worked out wonderfully. I have time to indulge a little over the weekend and still have two days before I weigh to get things back to normal.

The commitment you make doesn’t have to be as big as giving up meat or losing weight. Anything in your life that you want to be different can be changed starting today. Eat dinner with your family. Spend 10 minutes talking to your kids. Take the dog for a walk. Stop posting mean things on Facebook. The 40 days of Lent are a short enough time that it doesn’t seem overwhelming, but a long enough for a new habit to form.

This weekend, as I sat talking with my dear sister who is on the cusp of a major life change, I was thinking how proud I am that she has the guts to change her situation. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that she’s suffered for over 15 years. It would be easy for her to look at the past as time wasted. Or to think that it’s not worth the struggle that this change will be for her. But she’s not quite 33 years old. So young. Maybe you’re reading this and you’re 43, or 63, or even 83 and thinking that you’re not as young or that it’s too late for your change. But that’s not true at all. That’s the point of Lent. None of us is beyond change. Speaking kindly to your spouse is never a waste. Sitting and watching the sun rise, or taking a walk after dinner, or holding a door for someone is never a waste. Perhaps you want to complete a more concrete task. Start a blog, put photos in an album (heck, just getting the photos printed is half the battle!), clean out your spare room. What if today was Day 1? No shame about what state those things are in now. Just progress and no looking back?

Want to tackle clutter? Check out this post from White House Black Shutters.

Read more about #mileaday in Elise Blaha’s post here.

How are others observing Lent? Hear what Tracy Tran has to say. Or read about Olive’s 40 Acts for the 40 days of Lent.

Gratitude Garland

Thanks for joining me on the new blog! I feel like Thanksgiving gets the short end of the holiday stick, but in our house gratitude is important. November is the perfect month to practice being grateful and this easy craft will help you and the kids understand what that means. It only takes a few minutes of prep for you to make an adorable garland which the kids can assemble on Thanksgiving Eve!

Find a printable leaf pattern like this one online. Or, you may already have one in a coloring book at home. I traced some large leaf cookie cutters we had onto a sheet of white paper. You can also just snag some real leaves from the yard and trace those. The shapes should be simple to trace and easy to cut out because you’ll need lots!

Once you have your shapes traced on a paper, figure out about how many leaves you’ll need, one per family member per day. Maybe a few extras for guests or mistakes. Now run your fall colored paper through the printer to copy the leaves onto colored paper. If you’re tracing and using construction paper, you can just trace each leaf onto the paper. Bigger kids can help! Now cut out the leaves. We placed them in a basket next to the dinner table.

Each night while we ate dinner and talked about our day, we would tell one thing we were thankful for and write that on the leaf. Completed leaves went back into the basket.

On Thanksgiving Eve (as we call it!) we cut brown pipe cleaners in half. Glue these on the backs of the leafs, leaving about half of the pipe cleaner hanging off the leaf. This will be the part you use to attach the leaf to the garland.

Leave the leaves out to dry! Cut a length of twine, jute, raffia, whatever, to the length of the garland. If you have lots of leaves, you’ll need more string! If you want the garland to look full, shorten the length of the string.

Using the pipe cleaner “tail” affix the leaves to the string by curling the pipe cleaner around the string. Make it snug. Hang in the dining room or wherever your Thanksgiving festivities occur!

You could easily add to this each year. It’s fun to look back and see what your family was thankful for the previous year!

On another note, if you followed me from my previous blog, thanks! Please be patient as I get it up and looking pretty! I’m hoping to add a greater variety of content, but the cooking and humor will still abound! I’m hoping I’ll also be able to be a bit more transparent and add some “life” to the blog as well. Hopefully you’ll enjoy those posts, too! live•rinse•repeat is kind of how I find myself these days. I am fortunate to be saved by Jesus and feel like I get another chance everyday to wash off the mistakes of yesterday and begin again fresh. We all make mistakes, we can all recover from them. I’m willing to share mine with you. I hope you’ll feel welcome to comment, and, just maybe, share some of your do-overs!

I’m grateful to have you as a reader! What are you grateful for?

Happy November!

Follow me on Twitter too! I’m linking up to the36thavenuehappyhourprojects and notjustahousewife.

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