Tag Archives: Our Journeys

I feel best

I feel best when… My Manifesto

14 Apr 15
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When you live every day with chronic pain and fatigue it can sometimes be difficult to remember what it’s like to feel good, to feel ‘normal’. It’s important though to not focus just on your symptoms but to find at least something each and every day to be grateful for. Something that will make you feel as good as you possibly can given everything you’re living with.

I feel best when…

I feel best when I’m making a difference. When I’m able to find a way in which I can contribute something of meaning to the community. I currently do this by sharing my stories here on the blog and through other social media outlets. By sharing I hope to help others to live simple, sustainable and meaningful lives of their own.

I feel best when I’m able to pace myself well. At the moment that means:

  • only working 1-2 hours a day, up to 4 days a week
  • finding time each day to do some stretches and yoga
  • maintaining a step count of around 5,000 steps a day
  • ensuring I get adequate rest throughout the day

I feel best when I’m adequately hydrated. Remembering to drink enough water can be difficult when I’m at my most foggy, but I try hard to remember.

I feel best when I eat a balanced diet. Eating enough nutritious fruit, veg, nuts and meat, mainly eating home cooked meals with fresh produce and avoiding alcohol, dairy and gluten all help to keep me healthy.

I feel best when I have a project to work on that I’m passionate about. At the moment, my passion project is to try and build the sense of community on my street. Although I feel connected to my wider community online, I feel like I don’t really know my neighbours that well.

I feel best when I’m part of a connected community that supports one another and works together towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

I feel best when I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family.


Rest – Could you take a whole day off?

13 Apr 15
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Yesterday I took the day off. Not only did I not allow myself to do any work, I attempted to completely avoid technology as well. As you’ll see below I wasn’t quite successful in this second quest but the day was still worth it.

Why take a whole day off?

It seems counterproductive when you’re really busy and have a lot to do to just stop and do nothing for a whole day but in reality it’s anything but that. When you don’t take the time to rest and switch off your productivity drops dramatically. Although you may always be doing something it can take you longer to do it and the quality of the work you produce may not be to your best standards if you are stressed and attempting to multitask too much.

By taking a day off to allow your batteries to recharge, you come back to the work with a clear head and focused on what you want to achieve. I find after taking a break I also tend to come back with a renewed passion and interest in whatever it was I’m trying to get done.

Another benefit of taking a day off, is it allows you to reflect on what you do and identify things that you do that are actually not being helpful and could be counterproductive. For example, I tend to crash out in front of the TV or browsing the internet when my brain fog sets in. If I actually take a rest instead I can return to my productive work quicker and with a clearer head.

A sample day of rest

As I mentioned above, and on social media yesterday, I took the day off and avoided technology to focus on rest and recovery.

What did my day look like?

6:30 AM – The cats woke me up

My husband is away this week, finishing a cycling tour of the Mawson Trail so the cats woke me instead to feed them. I managed to ignore them and get back to sleep for a while though.

7:20 AM – Up and feed the animals (cats and fish) followed by a 10 minute rest

7:30 AM – Breakfast

I made a container of coconut rice the day before so had some of that with fruit and honey for breakfast.

8:00 AM – Bath with a book (Seven Little Australians)

Due to pain levels on cold days I tend to spend a lot of my time in the bath. Yesterday was one of those days.

8:30 AM – 20 minute rest

8:50 AM – Snack

Because I was up so early, my energy levels were low so I had a few snacks throughout the day.

9:00 AM – 20 minute walk

This was a short but very slow walk around the block. Just because it was a day for rest didn’t mean it was OK for me to avoid all exercise. In order to manage my pain and fatigue levels I have to maintain a certain level of activity. In my normal daily life I currently don’t do any specific walks like this because I get my target step count or higher just doing tasks around the house. However, as I wasn’t doing housework I would not have met my target without a designated walk.

9:20 AM – Pot of tea and Journal

When I’m managing well I try to write in my journal daily, however life can get in the way. I hadn’t written in my journal since January so I spent some time reflecting over the changes that have occurred in the last few months.

9:50 AM – 20 minute rest

10:15 AM – Back in the bath with my book

As I said above, when the weather is cold and my pain levels high I tend to spend a lot of time in the bath. I don’t run a completely new bath though, just top up the water to make it warm again.

At this stage I actually finished my book.

12:00 PM – Lunch

For lunch I had left over pizza (gluten and dairy free) from dinner with friends the night before. At this point I did go on my phone for a little while just to get an update from my husband as to how their trip was going.

12:50 PM – 40 minute rest

This was my big rest for the day. On any day I tend to crash in the afternoon. I normally try to hold our until at least 1 pm, usually 2 – 3 pm then put the TV on and crash on the couch.

1:30 PM – Woke up and Snack

1:50 PM – Yoga

As well as my step count I do daily yoga stretches to reduce pain levels. This is mainly the pelvic stretches discussed in my routines post last week.

2:05 PM – Hot Chocolate and a book (Kitchen Table Sustainability)

This book could technically count as doing work, as the information is useful for the development of my ideas, but it is a book I’ve been trying to read for a while and as I’d finished my fiction book I decided to read some of this one instead of starting another new book.

3:15 PM – Clean Kitchen

I know it was meant to be a complete day of rest but I had come back the day before from a night away and had bags of food and cooking appliances that had been used while we were away. To be able to make dinner I had to clear the bench space so I washed the dishes and put away the food.

By this stage I was really struggling with just wanting to crash on the couch with the TV on. I had made myself a promise to have a technology free day so I held out on myself.

3:45 PM – Visit a Neighbour

As I was struggling with a desire to crash on the couch and just rest, I decided a day off was a good opportunity to begin to foster better relationships with my neighbours. I really want to feel like I’m part of a strong knit community but in the 7+ years we’ve been in our house I only know a few of the neighbours to the extent of waving hello.

Recently a friend’s parents moved in 2 houses up from us so I decided to visit them yesterday and introduce myself properly.

I spent 2 hours at their house having a cup of tea and a chat. I found out that my friend’s mother has fibromyalgia as well so it was great to chat to her about what she does to manage her symptoms.

** Confession time: The TV was on in the background while I was there.

6:00 PM – Dinner

I threw a few vegetables (onion, baby spinach, mushroom, capsicum, chilli and garlic)  in a pan to saute and gluten free gnocchi in a pot.

6:30 PM – Bath and book

By this stage I really just wanted to collapse in front of the TV or go to bed. I decided it was too early for bed and I was still attempting to avoid TV so I made myself read a bit more of my book in the bath. I found myself struggling to read though so I wasn’t in there very long.

7:00 PM – Attempt to go to bed

I was exhausted and thought I would fall straight to sleep but as usual I just couldn’t get comfy.

7:10 PM – TV ON!!!

After attempting to get to sleep for 10 minutes I realised it just wasn’t going to happen. Not only was it a little early but my husband wasn’t home. Normally when he’s not home I have the TV on for noise in the background when I attempt to fall asleep. I gave in and put it on.

I also ended up taking a sleeping tablet as I didn’t manage to get to sleep until after 1 AM.

As you can see, even a rest day can be busy. The idea though is to do activities that recharge your batteries, not ones that drain them further.

Although I didn’t quite manage the whole day technology free, limiting my exposure to technology did maintain my energy levels slightly higher than on a normal day filled with the internet, tv and phone.

Yesterday was the first day in many, many months that could be classified as an OK day for me (not bad or crash) so obviously I need to do this type of thing more often.

What do you do to rest?

Do you ever take a whole day to just relax and do nothing?


Nutrition and Diet – Keep it Simple

07 Apr 15
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You are what you eat

That’s the saying…

It’s World Health Day today and the focus is on safe food. As a result, the WEGO health activist writer’s challenge is focused on nutrition and diet today.

Last month we talked about eating locally and how you can support your local farmers, and today I’m going to talk about how I eat for my health

Even before March 2013, when my life went upside down with chronic illness, I was on a path to becoming the healthiest I could be. I have suffered from allergies, eczema and asthma my whole life and about 6 months earlier I had gone to an allergist for testing.

At this point my diet changed. I removed all dairy and gluten, and I noticed that my eczema disappeared.

Then the pain and extreme fatigue started.

My diet didn’t really change that much in terms of the types of food I ate but my ability to spend lots of time cooking did change. As my illness progressed I also began to add supplements to help with management.

I now take fish oil, magnesium, calcium, iodine and folic acid, Vitamin D and Vitamin B regularly. Combined these are helping to reduce my pain levels and increase my bone density (which was found to be extremely low last year).

Thankfully my husband is around to help make meals and this means I’ve been able to maintain a healthy diet while managing my energy levels. As I’ve recovered slowly, I’ve been able to make more meals myself although I still have to pace.

When I’m cooking myself I’ve found a variety of meals that are simple and easy to make. These include lentil burgers, pad thai and steak or sausages and veg during summer, and soups during winter. Many of these meals are also generally made in bulk so that after cooking one night we have leftovers for another dinner and usually a lunch or two.

By cooking in bulk I keep it simple. I use fresh produce as much as possible and I get support from family and friends when I need it. As previously discussed, we do grow some of our own vegetables as well. When there’s greens in the garden and I’m home, I tend to get lunch straight from the garden.

Do you focus on your nutrition to maintain your health?

Have you had to change your diet for any reason?


Routines and Schedules – Creature of Habit

04 Apr 15
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In March 2013, my life was full of structure and routines. I worked full time, studied (almost full time), visited the gym at least 3 x a week (usually 5-6 x a week), and spent time with family and friends. Then my life came crashing down around me.

Suddenly I was in so much pain I could barely walk let alone visit the gym. I had to give up my full time job and my study and just focus on getting through day to day. Most days for the first 4 – 5 months were spent in bed or on the couch asleep when I wasn’t at doctors and specialist appointments.

I’ve found though that since I’ve focused on my health and worked on trying to improve my health over the last 2 years, having a routine is a key factor in my ability to improve. Learning to pace myself and break up activities with rest has led to me now returning to work on a casual basis and taking on a variety of activities including blogging, sewing, reading and studying again.

Without a routine this wouldn’t be possible and, even though at times I fall off track, knowing what I should be doing and when helps to simplify my life.

So… what routines do I have in place?

Morning Routines

Every day, when I wake up, I lie in bed for a while and just assess where my body is at then I get up and have a shower. The time of this may vary as I no longer use an alarm and lately it can be anywhere between 8 am and 10 am.

After a shower I have a short rest before getting dressed and thinking about breakfast.

If I’m sticking to my routine, breakfast would normally be a smoothie with banana, almond milk and either a gluten free weetbix or greens (cucumber, celery and baby spinach) added to it.

Then I move on with my day. Depending on what’s scheduled, this could involve writing a blog post, doing some housework, or driving to an appointment.

Cleaning Routines

I’ve found without a routine, maintaining the house is impossible with a chronic illness. If I only cleaned when I had the energy it would never get done so I have a routine in place:

Daily: Run robo-vacuum on hard floors downstairs

Monday: Dust and run robo-vacuum around upstairs to clean floors

Tuesday: Load of washing

Wednesday: Day off as I usually have my doctors appointments

Thursday: Load of washing

Friday: Clean shower and toilets

Saturday: Load of washing

Sunday: Day off

As you can see, I do washing every 2-3 days. This helps keep the size of the load down so that I can carry the basket myself. Usually the clothes are folded and put away the day after they’re washed (we line dry).

This routine helps keep the house at a reasonable level of cleanliness. I don’t always manage the dusting on the Monday, and obviously there is other big jobs that need doing less often, but so far this routine is working for us.

Exercise Routines

Before getting sick, I was passionate about staying fit and healthy. I walked everywhere I could and, as mentioned above, I went to the gym regularly. Now my routine is a lot more relaxed…

My goal is to average 5,000 steps a day on good days and 2-3,000 on a crash day (tracked with my Garmin Vivofit).  This goal is usually reached just maintaining my day to day activities without any specific walks.

I meditate, including body relaxation techniques, and do gentle yoga stretches daily. The yoga stretches include a series of stretches specifically to reduce pelvic pain from the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia.

Occasionally, I may get to a pool and participate in some hydrotherapy. This is something I’m working on making more regular.

Routines, Routines, Routines

As you can see above, I have plenty of routines in my life that are helping me to maintain and improve my health (and I’m sure I’ve missed some of them out here!).

Do you have any routines that you stick to?

What have you found helps you?


Happiness – Enough and random acts of kindness

03 Apr 15
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As those of you who follow us on social media would be aware, I’m participating in WEGO Health‘s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

Here at LiveKen we are on a journey to discover what a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is for us.  On this journey we have discovered that recognising that we are enough and we have enough is one of the key steps towards being happy with your life.

Yesterday’s prompt for the challenge was to answer the question

What is the key to happiness?

My key to happiness is to be grateful for what I have. To recognise that Enough is all that is needed to be happy with life. I may have several chronic illnesses which impact on my ability to live what is considered a normal life, but I have enough health to do the things which matter the most to me. I have enough health to spend time with my family and friends, to read a good book, write this blog, and make a contribution to the world. I am enough just the way I am.

Today’s prompt for the challenge is

Random Acts of Kindness

To me, these two prompts are linked. The random acts of kindness I observe and participate day to day are the things that remind me of the fact that I am, and have, enough.

When I do a random act of kindness, whether that is to make a meal for someone I love or give someone a big hug, I feel that I am making someone else’s life better. I am enough as I am to make a difference.

When I am the recipient of a random act of kindness, I am reminded that I have enough people who love and care for me to make my life special.

For example, the other week we were at a friends house for drinks. The host had made lasagna for dinner. 2 large ones full of dairy and gluten. We had only RSVP’d that day, as I’m usually unable to be sure of whether I can commit until the last moment, and I can’t eat dairy or gluten. Even though we RSVP’d so late, they went to a lot of effort making me a separate, smaller heart shaped lasagna with gluten free pasta sheets and a potato topping instead of the cheese sauce.

I am so grateful that they had made such a special effort to make sure I had enough to eat. In fact, the special heart shaped lasagna was so big I could only eat half, and shared the rest with others around the table.

To me, the key to happiness is being grateful for what you do have. It is recognising that you are, and you have, enough and celebrating every achievement no matter how small.

Random Acts of Kindness act as a reminder of how important it is to be a part of a community and to contribute to that community to help everyone find their key to happiness.

What is your key to happiness?

Have you been a recipient of a random act of kindness?

Local Food

Local Food, earth hour and pain management…

19 Mar 15
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Today’s post is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s been a while since I’ve done a post so I wanted to share a bit about what I’ve been through the last few months plus bring your attention to our focus for the month of March, Local Food.

Pain Management Update

As many of you would be aware, I have several chronic illnesses which mean I live in pretty much constant pain and exhaustion/fatigue. Over the last few months I’ve been doing as much as I can to reduce the impact these conditions have on my life and have been working towards a part time return to work in the near future. This has included seeing a Pain Management Clinic, and two pelvic pain specialists.

Pain Clinic Fatigue

After my appointments at the Pain Clinic I was completely wiped out.

To be honest, I’m not sure I got much out of the pain clinic. It was another reinforcement that I’m doing the right things in terms of pacing, maintaining what exercise I can, and not continuing medications that aren’t doing anything to help. I was hoping, however, to get some new ideas out of it and that didn’t happen.


The pelvic pain specialists have been a little more promising with suggestions of additional/different diagnoses that have potential treatments and a strong focus on pain management for my pelvic floor. It appears my pelvic floor muscles need to learn to relax. Unlike other women, who generally need to learn how to tighten and utilise their pelvic floor, I need to learn to relax the muscles and avoid all core body exercises. I have been given a CD to help with relaxation and various stretches and tools to teach my muscles to relax.

Local Food

This month our focus is on local food and supporting our local produce growers.

Why have we chosen this focus?

Earth Hour 2015 on Saturday 28 March, is focused on supporting local farmers through choosing and purchasing local products. We’re broadening this a bit further and considering the most local of products, home grown…

Local Food - Limes

Our lime tree and our compost bin (behind it).

In our garden we have a lime, an orange, a mulberry and a nectarine tree. We also have a couple of rosemary bushes and two garden beds in which we grow produce. I admit to not being the best gardener and this has been exacerbated with my illness as I don’t have much energy to be able to spend much time in the garden. Despite this we have successfully had some vegetables and herbs growing in our garden for the last 3 years. Usually it’s just herbs such as parsley, oregano and chives. Each year we attempt other vegetables based on what my father-in-law provides us (he grows seedlings for us) and we usually have some successes and some failures.

Local Food - Mulberries

Mulberries straight off our tree

In the last year we’ve had success with broccolini, spring onions, tomatoes, spinach and silverbeet as well as our regular herbs. We currently have our first ever pumpkin growing (rather late in the season) so we’ll wait to see if that is a success as well. We haven’t had much success with zucchini this year.

Obviously we don’t grow enough yet to be able to avoid the shops completely, so when shopping we aim to get local whenever possible. Next time Janelle will be discussing the way in which their house receives it’s local produce delivered to their door. I looked into the same method, however I didn’t have much luck as they don’t deliver to our area so we just do our best with our local stores.

Why eat local food?

There are many benefits to eating local food.

Local food is usually a more sustainable food choice as you are eating fresh, in season produce that hasn’t had to travel far to get to you. If you grow it yourself you know exactly what has been used to grow it and know there are no chemicals being used. If you purchase from a local supplier, you are more likely to be able to find out exactly how it’s been grown as well. You are either buying direct and can ask questions, or if you are really interested you can take the time to visit or call the suppliers.

An additional benefit of buying and eating local food is that you are supporting your local economy, ensuring that people within your area are employed.

Do you eat local food? If so, how do you get it?

We encourage you to consider participating in Earth Hour this year by enjoying local produce and by switching off your lights on Saturday 28 March between 8:30 and 9:30 pm in your local time.

100 Goal Challenge

100 Goal Challenge: Life Enjoyment

19 Feb 15
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Like Megan’s last post, I will be sharing with you my 100 Goal Challenge. This challenge came about for Megan last year when she was reading a self-help book that focused on getting the reader to conduct activities that would help to identify your passions in life. The book is titled It starts with Passion by Keith Abraham and the idea behind it is to “do what you love and love what you do”.

The key to this challenge is that by writing down your goals, whether achievable tomorrow or maybe in the next few decades, you have identified the direction in life you want to take and inherently giving yourself something to strive for.  That drive in life is what makes you jump out of bed in the mornings instead of just rolling over wishing you could sleep for another few hours.

This will be once again a long post and I have, like Megan tried to break it done into categories to make it easier to work through. My 100 Goals are not just physical things that I want to do or achieve but also about creating and working towards the mindset and person I want to be, which I feel is just as important. What follows is my 100 Goal Challenge in no particular order of importance.

My 100 Goal Challenge List


House and Garden

  1. Buy a house

    A plant from our garden – many more to be added

  2. Have and maintain a garden
  3. Make people feel welcomed and relaxed in our home.
  4. Clean regularly – something I need to do after I finish writing this!
  5. Build a garden from a patch of dirt.
  6. Grow a herb garden
  7. Cover the walls with our lives and adventures (art that is personal)
  8. Grow a fruit tree
  9. Renovate (or even build?)
  10. Grow a veggie patch
  11. Knock down a wall!

    All ready for some plants!

  12. Build a wall.
  13. Have a proper compost pile
  14. Have a house full of laughter
  15. Set up a rain water tank to recycle water
  16. Have a functional and usable home
  17. Spend more time in the garden to enjoy it.
  18. Share my home with friends and family
  19. Grow a hedge of fruit trees (espalier)
  20. Set up a veggie patch with aquaponics


  1. Visit each continent

    Plane wing from our last overseas trip

  2. Travel to India
  3. Go diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  4. Put my feet in as many seas as possible!
  5. End every holiday with a restort to relax.
  6. Go on local holidays a few times a year
  7. Climb a Mountain!
  8. Don’t go on fast tours – stay in destinations
  9. Go and see the Northern Lights
  10. Honeymoon!!!!


  1. Cook and bake more for the enjoyment

    baking some cupcakes

  2. Try new recipes every month
  3. Eat less meat
  4. Learn how to cook Indian
  5. Make healthy snacks
  6. Learn more vegan and vegetarian dishes
  7. Cook a pavlova.
  8. Eat more fruit and veggies
  9. Learn how to make more raw dishes
  10. Drink more juices and smoothies, every few days!

Me playing some tennis

Fitness and Exercise

  1. Maintain and increase my current level of fitness
  2. Get to 10 000 steps most days
  3. Go swimming weekly
  4. Play a sport socially – always!
  5. Be able to do 10+ push-ups without dying
  6. Have a six pack once in my life
  7. Get up before work to do exercise
  8. Improve my tennis game – win more often!
  9. Compete in obstacle courses (True Grit)
  10. Try out running, as a habit.

Education and Learning

  1. Never stop trying and learning new things

    Graduation a few years ago

  2. Educate myself on finance
  3. Get further certification / degrees
  4. Research and implement further sustainable living
  5. Stay open minded to ideas and technologies
  6. Teach myself about soils, fertilizers and composting.
  7. Learn more about photography
  8. Learn nutrition
  9. Learn massage and body movement
  10. Learn aquaponics
  11. Learn about myself and further my interests
  12. Education in business management
  13. Improve on self-confidence, projection and conversing

Mind Development

  1. Listen, learn then form opinions

    spending time alone to reflect is productive

  2. Approach everything with an open mind
  3. Respond do not react.
  4. Be more patient
  5. Speak to my sister every week
  6. Be more assertive
  7. Value my own opinion
  8. Spend time alone every week
  9. Focus and remember the positive
  10. Do not be afraid to disagree
  11. Become more patient and giving with my parents
  12. Be present where I am
  13. Voice my opinion, especially when I don’t agree
  14. Become aware of time constraints and be realistic in planning


  1. Own a house
    just waiting to be ridden!
  2. See parents once a week
  3. Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – ‘not yet’ is not an answer
  4. Visit my sister a few times a year
  5. Have children
  6. Learn to ride a scooter (maybe a motorbike)
  7. Fix my own computer once or twice
  8. Laugh and enjoy the people around me
  9. Hold dinner parties regularly
  10. Catch up with friends more often
  11. Save where we can but not at the expense of living
  12. Go on more dates

    our cat – being sneaky

  13. Use less chemicals
  14. Declutter my home
  15. Declutter my life
  16. Go Abseiling / rock climbing
  17. Skydive
  18. Go in a hot air balloon
  19. Find a work / life balance
  20. Have more family pets (especially a dog)
  21. House at least one Guide Dog
  22. Read more – fact and fiction
  23. Get Married!


Alright so that is my 100 Goals! It was hard to get started but once you do you’ll find that it just follows out. I’m also sure I’ve probably missed things but its written down for now and as I grow and change so will my goals.

Now the challenge is set! Go and get a pen and some paper if you have not already and start writing down your 100 Goals.

We would love to hear how you went so please let us know if you try the 100 Goal Challenge or if you have any suggestions for future posts.

100 Goal Challenge

100 Goal Challenge: My Life To-Do-List

05 Feb 15
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[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post was first published on My Chronic Life Journey in March 2014. This is my response to the 100 Goal Challenge. I found it to be a great way to identify what is important in my life and to help me take the first steps towards a more simple, sustainable and meaningful life. I highly recommend the process to everyone.

As discussed in last week’s post about Finding Your Passion, the first steps are to undertake the 100 Goal Challenge and use your answers to identify your Driving Emotions.

I shared my Driving Emotions and their definitions in the previous post and as requested I’m sharing my list of 100 Goals with you today. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post (I’ve tried to break it up with images so it’s not just text). I hope the goals inspire you and help you in creating your own Life To-Do List (100 goals).

Looking through them I think I can break them down into my Defining the Best ME categories (Mental, Physical, Wisdom) and some fit into more than one category.

My 100 Goal Challenge List:

  1. Start/Run my own business
  2. Have 2 children/start a family
  3. Develop/run educational resources/sessions for business, community and schools/unis
  4. Visit the Great Barrier Reef
  5. Visit Tasmania
  6. Work internationally
  7. Travel to Europe/UK
  8. Do 30 minutes walk/run/ride daily
  9. Daily yoga
  10. Daily meditation
  11. Travel to Africa/See wild Gorillas
  12. Participate in 12hr Rogaine (I did this when I first got ill – before I realised how serious it was – and would love to have the energy/low pain levels to do it again)
  13. Contribute to charity regularly
  14. Publish Foggy Frog Picture book

    The dummy book for Foggy Frog...

    The dummy book for Foggy Frog…

  15. Work nationally
  16. Have annual holidays
  17. Build own house
  18. Annual income of $100,000 (This one I’m really not sure about, I’d be happy with earning just enough to live off, but the process said to dream big so that’s what I tried to do)
  19. Retire with enough financial security to continue annual holidays
  20. Celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (It’s our 3rd this year)

    On our Wedding Day Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

    On our Wedding Day
    Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

  21. Continue to learn something new each year
  22. Learn to sew my own clothes

    Patterns I've bought but not sewn yet

    Patterns I’ve bought but not sewn yet

  23. Live as sustainably as possible
  24. Complete my Bachelor of Education
  25. Help others live sustainably

    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

  26. Help others understand chronic illness
  27. Have monthly dinner parties with family and friends
  28. Have monthly games afternoons with friends (board games)
  29. Clean out old and unused things and give to people who will use them
  30. Set up my own space for sewing, drawing and studying
  31. Plant and maintain veg garden

    Our veggie garden last year

    Our veggie garden last year

  32. Find a mentor(s) to help me achieve my goals (I’ve found one business mentor already since setting this goal, but I feel that I would benefit from a team of people I can go to for advice/support)
  33. Schedule time weekly to reflect/review my goals and achievements
  34. Achieve work/life balance (need to work out what this actually means to me)
  35. Have a weekly ‘date’ with E
  36. Pay off our mortgage
  37. Only buy quality items
  38. Save 10% of my income
  39. Organise a financial plan
  40. Teach my children how to save, invest and create wealth for themselves (need to teach myself this first so I know what I’m talking about… still not too clear on investments and wealth creation)
  41. Teach my children to live sustainably
  42. Ensure I have regular health checks
  43. Read every week (would love daily if possible)
  44. Learn to live a fulfilling life with my chronic illnesses

    Retrieved from Facebook.

    Retrieved from Facebook.

  45. Swim regularly 1-2 x a week
  46. Visit T in Hong Kong
  47. Develop networks to help make my ideas reality
  48. Visit Japan
  49. Teach my children to cook
  50. Schedule time to draw
  51. Learn to belly dance
  52. Get a family dog
  53. Participate in a yoga/health retreat
  54. Find a hobby E and I can do together (used to hike regularly but I’m not up to that at this stage)
  55. Learn to be more assertive
  56. Get monthly massages
  57. Learn to play the guitar better
  58. Write 2 blog posts a week
  59. Spend a day by myself every 6 months focusing on reviewing and renewing my goals and plans
  60. Find a weekly routine that works (I feel very flustered lately as I can’t settle into one routine with things changing all the time)
  61. Write a will
  62. Go on a 4 week holiday by myself
  63. Write regular articles for other blogs/websites/media sources
  64. Learn to cook more delicious and healthy dairy and gluten free meals
  65. Spend time in nature regularly

    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

  66. Enter writing competition and win
  67. Organise an annual event to raise awareness of, and funds for research into, chronic illness
  68. Act as a mentor for someone
  69. Have quarterly girls nights/afternoons/days with my closest friends
  70. Get Foggy Frog into libraries, schools and homes around the world
  71. Keep a gratitude jar and read the contents yearly

    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

  72. Create a neighbourhood/community sustainability group to catch up and share ideas
  73. Be present and mindful every day
  74. Develop a morning and evening routine
  75. Keep a regular journal
  76. Incorporate physio recommended exercises/stretches into daily life
  77. Declutter my life
  78. Spend a weekend away with E every 6 months
  79. Learn more about business mangement and marketing
  80. Deliver a TED talk (about my work and education programs?)
  81. Smile every day

    Christmas 2013...

    Christmas 2013…

  82. Learn to deal with conflict
  83. Write every day
  84. Frame our pictures and display them in the house
  85. Interact with people who support my vision
  86. Make a firm career decision and pursue it
  87. Be well regarded and respected for my work
  88. Develop a realistic business plan, implement the plan and follow through
  89. Assist 10 people to live a fulfilling life with a chronic illness
  90. Get my superannuation strategy working for me
  91. Maintain a healthy weight
  92. Have regular skin checks
  93. Have monthly goals to focus on
  94. Build a team around me to help me reach my goals
  95. Be around for my children as much as possible
  96. Visit my Uncle in Vietnam
  97. Buy local as much as possible
  98. Focus on experiences not possesions
  99. Eat vegetables with every meal
  100. Focus on the good things in life

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012...

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012… He made us smile, we took photos but left him for others to find and enjoy as well.

 What I’ve learnt from creating my 100 Goal Challenge list

The following are the key important things I’ve pulled from my list:

  • Helping others/Educating and Awareness Raising. As I go through this list I can count over 10 items that relate to helping/teaching others about different things.
  • Having a support team and strong relationships with my family and friends.  Again multiple items on the list focus on spending time with or identifying others who can help me/I can help them.
  • Sustainable living. In terms of how I live my life, my financial security, and how I interact with others, having a positive impact instead of a negative one is key.
  • Structure and Simplicity. In order to manage my illness and remain as healthy as possible I should aim to have some structure in my daily/weekly routines and I should simplify as much as possible. (This will be a focus of a future post)

Have you completed your 100 Goal Challenge?

If so, what have you learnt from reviewing the goals you’ve set?

If not, has my list helped you identify a few more things you could add to your own?

Simplifying Your Life: Decluttering Your Wardrobe

22 Jan 15
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[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post has been in our backlog for several months. We apologise for the delay in sharing this part of our journey.

Last year (28 August 2014) Megan talked about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we hope you have taken some of our ideas and been inspired.

This week I’ll be talking to you about decluttering your house and especially your wardrobe, which I have recently undertaken. I’m fully aware not that many people enjoy the idea of cleaning out their wardrobe and I can tell you honestly I have never been the biggest fan myself.

However when you can no longer easily fit anything back into your wardrobe without waging a battle with your clothes and are contemplating buying more storage space I think everyone would say it’s probably time.

Now my partner and myself had decided to clean out and simplify our wardrobe a little while ago and being much better than me – he had more than finished doing his stuff before I even started mine. But I make myself feel better by saying that I helped him do his side first – even if my help was minimal.

I find if you are ever dragging your feet to do anything – like I was – I find some music helps you get into the groove- so I suggest putting on anything that makes you want to dance! Two of my favourites at the moment are; “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Ready” by AJR and while I know that many people would think my choices are a little lame I can’t help but want to dance and sing along to them like an idiot.

But enough about avoiding. As Megan said last week through decluttering your physical environment you’ll feel calmer, more organised and have made your life simpler. So after convincing myself I had a huge task ahead of me and should wait for a free afternoon or morning to begin – thus putting off staring for longer – I randomly walked into my wardrobe one evening and just started.

And while I thought I would need come back when I had more time, I said to myself why not move out some of the items of clothing I knew I didn’t want to keep while I had a few minutes. Half an hour later I had stormed through more than half my wardrobe and had a significant pile of empty coat hangers and a large pile of clothing that I no longer needed.

I decided to start at one side of my wardrobe and work my way along as I went, meaning I could stop and come back at any stage. However, many people think taking everything out onto your bed is a better way to start. This way you have to go through everything before you put it back into your wardrobe and nothing can be missed or left to another day.

But it doesn’t really matter what way you start just that you’ve started, find a way that works for you. If its everything out at once or different sections at a time.

For us, once we had separated into keeping or not keeping we then further separated into another two different piles for the clothes we no longer needed. One for the bin and one to donate and recycle. Anything that was not really recyclable, broken or about to fall apart ended up in the bin pile and anything that was still good quality but either didn’t fit or was something that would be rarely or never worn again went into the recycling pile.

I think it is also important at this stage to mention that you don’t necessarily need to give away your unwanted clothes. They could be used for other things round the house, you could take them to a clothes swap and potentially pick up some new items yourself, or see if any of your friends or family members would appreciate them – this is especially true for growing children. I remember many times getting hand-me-downs from my cousins that were a few years older than me and it is a good way to save money, recycle and re-use clothes.

At the end of our wardrobe spring clean-up we ended up with four full garbage bags of clothes to donate to our local Salvos store. This is a reasonably large amount but I decided to be brutal with my selection, getting rid of anything that I couldn’t remember wearing recently. You don’t have to do this. Instead, if you are unsure about something pack it away for 3-6 months and see if you need it – if you do use it keep, it if not it might be time to find it a new home.

Another popular way of sorting out what you use and not use is to put all of your coat hangers around backwards and as you use what is hanging on them put them back in your wardrobe the other way round. In six months or so you will find out what you no longer wear and once again it might be time to let some else use and appreciate it.

Another good suggestion to try out is Project 333. This is essentially the idea that you have 33 items of clothing for 3 months of the year and is all about keeping things simple. Even if you don’t give it a full go it’s definitely worth a read.

Decluttering your wardrobe is a great place to start and I am very glad I have finally finished mine, it is very nice to have clothes in your wardrobe that you want and like. Donating clothes also makes you feel like you haven’t wasted anything and your once loved items of clothes can find a new home and help someone else out.

I am now going to move onto other areas of my house and start to declutter them also. Starting with my bathroom cupboard, but not just decluttering the cupboard I want to simplify and cut back on the number of products and chemicals I use on my face and skin and I look forward to sharing it with you all on this journey.

Have you decluttered your wardrobe or any other rooms in your house?

Let us know how you went and if there is anything you suggest we try.

Enough: 2015 year of gratitude and contentment

13 Jan 15
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[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditor’s Note: This post was first published on My Chronic Life Journey. As part of making life more sustainable, I will be slowly encouraging followers over at My Chronic Life Journey to join us here at LiveKen and consolidating the two sites.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Let me begin this post of with an apology for being missing in action for the past few months. For those of you who like our Facebook page you’d be aware that I’ve had to take some time off to focus on myself and trying to get things in a way that I can sustain and maintain my lifestyle.

In 2014, I focused my efforts on being the Best ME I could be. I focused on working out what my limits are and (more importantly) what I’m still capable of physically, mentally and spiritually.

It was a busy year and with your help and support I was able to raise the funds necessary to publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book (to happen this year). I also identified my physical boundaries and worked on pacing myself to maintain and even slightly improve my health throughout the year.

In the last few months, while I’ve been missing in action I’ve been focused on simplifying my home and my lifestyle so that I can focus on what is important to me.

This year, 2015, I will be continuing my journey on simplifying and creating a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t impact negatively on my health. I will be sharing this journey with you through this site and our sister site My Chronic Life Journey. I’d love to have all of you join me on this journey.

I have realised that in my home and in my life I have enough, if not too much, of many things. I have enough people around me who love and support me. I have enough health to appreciate what happens around me in my life and can do enough to keep me happy. I have enough physical items and would actually like to reduce the amount dramatically as less clutter means more time and energy to focus on what is important. Most importantly, I am enough! I would like my health to improve (I’d love a complete recovery) but realistically I am enough and I don’t need to try and change who I am to make others happy.

My focus this year is on being grateful for what I have and doing what I can to help others have enough and be enough to be happy with their lives.

Do you have a focus for 2015?

Are you ready to join me on a journey of gratitude and reflection?