I skipped the TToT link-up last weekend.

I never do that.

It wasn’t for lack of intent or even lack of things for which to be thankful. It was simply the result of circumstance. So this week I have plenty to add. Mostly I think I’ve found many ways to acknowledge small bits of progress (remember that word – my long lost One Word for the year?) and to keep the positive efforts flowing.

Let’s start with the beauty of autumn. I love this season most of all and even if the color changes aren’t the most spectacular around here this year, I still love everything about this particular season and its changes. The empty corn fields across the road from us struck me as particularly interesting this year…there’s a post coming, I think.

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Next, I’ll add the overwhelming fatigue that knocked me down last Sunday and Monday is gone. Fatigue is a lousy thing. I sometimes think I prefer pain to fatigue; pain is manageable but fatigue is often difficult to overcome. I did all the right things, though, including accepting that I was fatigued, letting go of things that were simply not going to get accomplished, and not beating myself up about it.

My efforts in Clark’s anti-gravity challenge are paying off, even if in extremely small measure. Coming home from a weekend trip and not finding five to ten extra pounds on the scale come Monday morning? Very good thing. Here’s hoping that little bit of success this week sparks some more motivation.

Sailing ships and eliminating shoulds. Lizzi knows what this is about. In some conversations we’ve had lately, I’ve become aware of how often I say I should or should not do something. That is detrimental thinking. So I’m keeping an eye on that and finding better ways to handle those thoughts. As for sailing ships, well, that’s about sending out one positive effort every day that will help me get where I want to be. I think I’ve been doing that pretty steadily all week. It’s a way of measuring progress, no matter how small, and some days that is extremely important to acknowledge.

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Writing. I’m doing more of it and I think the more I do the more the juices flow again. The only down side here is trying to find the time to sit and do it. As much as I’d love to agree that a writer simply finds the time, that is not always practical or possible. But I’m working on making sure it fits in the hours I have to give. Mostly, I’ve been posting some poetry, which is something I never do. So hooray for that.

Working. So in the last few weeks many (OK pretty much all) of the things I have worked to put in place to keep us moving forward (or at least not moving backward) financially have managed to not pan out. I’ve been battling an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and frustration that every one of my efforts have been thwarted. But thanks to the sailing ships concept above, I’ve found at least one opportunity to replace some of that planning and am working on more. I am still quite nervous about the whole thing, but perhaps I’ve at least managed to get to a place where I feel like I can take back control and am not overwhelmingly terrified by the whole situation.

Zilla. Just everything about this little girl makes me happy and thankful. She’s doing well in school, making great progress toward her goals and our goals for her, she’s enjoying life, she’s happy, she’s positive about so many things. Someone said to me recently that your child’s happiness goes a long way toward affecting your own. Very true.

The Fab Hub. Really ditto the sentiment for Zilla. No matter what, he is supportive and encouraging. He keeps me from jumping completely off the edge of rational and into the abyss of hysteria. He’s the logical half of this partnership and he keeps me grounded. Even when things look the worst, he reminds me to keep my eye on the prize. And of course there’s his coffee.

Well out of order here, but last weekend we enjoyed a short trip to enjoy a fun and kid-friendly Halloween adventure in Hershey. We had some fun in the amusement park, wasted too many coins on Whack-a-Snake and Skee-Ball, hung out at Chocolate World a bit, and visited the Hershey Museum. Grand fun. And check out these flowers we saw outside the museum – I’ve never seen such a vibrant color combo in one flower before.

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Getting away for a couple of days was just what we needed, I think. And besides all of that, we got to spend some time with my Mom, which is always great. We managed not to eat total junk all weekend – in fact, breakfast and dinner on Saturday were both awesome and really not all that huge or unhealthy. Delicious.

Finally, a last-minute add of thankfulness for some recent communication with a former colleague and I suppose current friend. Sometimes we don’t quite realize that we are not alone in our feelings and experiences until it’s clearly pointed out for us. That’s true for me right now. And I’m glad to know that others go through the same feelings of doubt and uncertainty. It’s very helpful. But to know the successes they have found in the aftermath is even more encouraging.

OK, I’m sure that’s ten – do I ever even count any more? I have many more things I want to do today. So I’m out.

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Your turn: What are you thankful for this week?

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Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

24 thoughts on “TToT – A Bit of Progress

  1. I love this post and can relate to soooo much of it. I love watching the leaves change colour in autumn, the trees in my neighbour’s garden turn a bright red and I always look at them in awe each year.
    I am still struggling with the writing too. In fact I can’t quite understand how I set my blog up and used to publish on a weekly basis. I can’t find the time even when I have made the time – does that make sense? It’s extremely frustrating.
    Fatigue is a horrid thing – I’m glad you were able to accept it, give in and not feel guilty about it. I think I am getting better at that (possibly the reason for the lack of writing : \ ).
    AD

    1. AD, I often wonder how I managed to post more on the blog than I have been. I think it’s about life and its cycles – sometimes things fit and flow and sometimes they don’t. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s frustrating, though!
      I’m a little disappointed in the autumn colors around here this year – they seem late and minimal. Sort of disappointing overall, but I”m trying to appreciate what I do see.

  2. Glad to see you back. We all missed you at the TToT last week, but life is like that sometimes.
    I struggled with writing, for so long, dealing with both fatigue and pain. One usually comes along with the other for me.
    You are lucky to have your little girl and husband, for sure. I feel more thankful for the children in my life, but I can’t deny that I do sometimes wish I had child/partner in my own life, just to be there on a day to day basis.
    Sounds like a great trip you guys took. Anything involving chocolate where you don’t gain weight is worth being thankful in my eyes.
    Glad the writing is returning like it is.

    1. Aw, thanks, Kerry! It’s nice to be missed.
      My little family is absolutely the best thing for me in so many ways. Our trip was great but as for the chocolate and not gaining…well, we’ll see what tomorrow’s scale number looks like after the very many mini Heath bars I had this weekend…I was so very weak!
      I am glad for the writing – I hope it keeps flowing!

  3. I know that fatigue, and it is miserable. I’m glad you got over it and have some energy back.
    Making small, positive steps can take you really far. Moving in the right direction, even if in small steps, is good. Many times, those little steps lead to bigger ones. I hope your forward movement provides fruitful and stress-reducing.
    I have made very little progress (almost none) in the gravity challenge. I need to seriously take charge of the situation. I’ve been very lackadaisical about the whole thing lately.

    1. Oh, Christine, I do know that you understand that fatigue. It’s awful. And it always hits out of absolutely nowhere, it seems. I think that bugs me more than anything. But I do feel more energetic now so that’s grand.
      I also hope that my small steps will lead to much bigger strides. This is a frustrating and holy cow faith-trying time of my life for sure. I’m trying to hang in.
      As for the gravity challenge – it keeps me a bit honest, but I can’t say I’m seeing the progress I’d like. Of course, I’m not doing much to actually MAKE any real progress, but I like to think the small moves downward (or at least not upward) will eventually get me motivated to make more effort in that area.

  4. though understandably not a fan of the increasing cold, I will say that the sky during the Fall season is pretty damn impressive… (what we used to call, ‘going back to school blue’)
    half the battle is perspective, you seem to have that (with the fatigue), and while maybe that alone is not sufficient to eliminate it, knowing that it is one (of many) states of being, goes a long way to reducing the emotional wear and tear.
    glad you’re with us on the gravity challenge

    1. Back to school blue – yeah, that’s definitely a thing!
      Perspective is very powerful, Clark, that’s true. And no, it doesn’t completely change anything but it does help.
      My gravity is not so great today – too many Heath bars, Halloween size. 😀 Here’s hoping some lighter eating today (only one Heath bar) will counteract my weekend weakness.

  5. Ahhhh I’m so happy to read your list, and to know that even if things aren’t quite perfect yet (or still chugging on the way to ‘good’), you’re feeling more manageable about them all, and that you have taken back control.

    I *hate* those people who say “it’s all about your attitude” – mostly because they’re sometimes kind of right, and I usually don’t want to hear it at the time, but it *is* the case that perspective makes a difference.

    I’m glad you’ve been taking time for you, though, and acknowledging you can’t do it all 🙂 Keep sending those ships xo

    1. Yeah, it’s far from perfect here right now. I am trying to focus on what’s going well, what’s in process, and the perspective that I’m in control, even if I don’t happen to like how things are unfolding at the moment. I refuse to give up hope that things will still fall into place better than they seem at the moment.
      Yup, I know exactly what you mean about attitude, perspective, etc. but it absolutely makes a difference. Isn’t that why we all hang around here at the TToT? To find those positives among the crap? To find the silver linings in the storm? Academically, logically, I know there are far worse things in the world than the things I’m frustrated about right now. Doesn’t make it go away. And so all we can do is keep soldiering on, keep sending out those ships, keep shooting out those filaments that we need to connect us to the people who hold us up and the things that we want for ourselves. XO

  6. Your things to be thankful for always get me thinking about my own, which is much needed at this particular time in my life. Sailing ships, indeed.

    PS Those flowers are a type of Verbena. I search for them everywhere to put in my pots in the summer. Their blooms never fail all summer (and into the fall, apparently!)

    1. Thanks for the flower tip – so I have a vote here for verbena and a vote for lantana. Are those related? Still, they are gorgeous and vibrant and just so happy!
      One thing that has been very important for me through a very long and difficult time these last couple of years has been focusing on the items in life that are good and positive – the things for which I am thankful. I’m always happy to know that our lists inspire others to focus their thoughts that way, Andrea, and have to admit it’s also good to know that others find the need to focus on the positive. Hang in there!

  7. Hey, Lisa. Aren’t we just our own worst enemies? So hard on ourselves. You have some great things going on. Sometimes I get so much more inspired when I get away from everything and the synapses start snapping upon my return. Those lovely flowers are lantana and we had some with the same colors in our pots this year. Lovely.

    1. Thanks for the garden info, Val! I am nothing at all close to a gardener but I do enjoy looking. I’ve never seen any like that before – kind of remind me of Fruity Pebbles cereal! 😀
      We are often our own worst enemies and so very hard on ourselves, which you know from reading my #1000Speak post. I do hope that these are great things and that they are the precursors to even greater things to come.

  8. Oh, the dreaded “shoulds” and “need tos!” There will ALWAYS be more good than is possible to accomplish, and I am learning to ask myself, not how much did I get done, but rather, how did I use my time? It’s a subtle difference, but helpful for me.

    1. I agree, Kristi. It’s too easy to focus on what we have not accomplished, not finished, etc. Putting the focus on what we DID do or – as you said – how we spent our time – makes it a very different picture. I try to remember to do that.

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