5 Simple Things to do in January to Organize Your Year

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As you may have noticed if you’ve been in the checkout lane of the supermarket or read your weekly Target ad, January is the time to get everything organized, from matching your towels, boxing up your winter clothes, cleaning your bathroom, and traveling with your baby. January is the time that all of those things go on sale. Maybe they think you’ve put things off for the holidays, and now you need their expertise and sales to get things back in order. Some of that is probably true. We’re getting prepared for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend, and my husband asked about putting the Christmas tree away. My answer was an emphatic NO! For one thing, I like the tree. For another, it went up late, so I want it to remain a little bit longer. And for the last thing, if we put away the tree, we’ll have to put away the presents that are neatly being kept under it and it will take two weeks to get rid of all the pine needles (even artificial trees shed). I prefer the “Christmas mess” over the real cluttered mess that we usually have. However, there are other ways to begin the new year’s organization process even if you still want it to be Christmas.

1. The Mail. Deal with it! Bring it in the house, open it, read it, file it. If it’s junk, throw it away. Yes, now. If it’s sensitive information, shred it and then throw it away. You don’t have a shredder? Rip it into little pieces and mix it in with your food garbage. Make identity thieves work for it.

2. Lists. I swear by lists all year long, but January is the worst. Some things aren’t on the calendar yet. Things from school come home at the last minute (like tonight’s dance and sleepover – thanks for the notice!). My current list is too long to include, but some of the items are food shopping, vacuuming, workshop tomorrow, unpacking from last weekend’s retreat, clean off table for party, make goody bags, and take a shower.

3. Plan your week’s meals from what’s on sale in the supermarket ad. Go shopping once for the week, although you may need to replenish milk and bread. For a great sale, buy two and put one in the freezer for next week.

4. Take advantage of January’s stock up sales. If you have the space, it is much cheaper (and easier) to buy the huge package of toilet paper rather than the four pack that will run out before you’re barely home. Target has a lot of buy two of this, get a $5 gift card. Paper towels, garbage bags, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, shampoo, soap. You save the money from buying the larger item and you also save the gas from not going when you run out.

5. Clear out the pantry and freezer. How many of your items are expired? And I don’t mean by a couple of weeks, but I bet there’s stuff from a couple of months, even a couple of years. While you’re clearing these out, do not donate expired or near-expired items to food pantries. They will only have to throw them out. Try and donate longer lasting items. The fall is the big rush to donate for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but food items are needed year round.

What are your best organizing tips for the new year?

Tea Time

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Twinings Green Tea with Jasmine. (c)2020

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

if you are too heated, it will cool you;

if you are depressed, it will cheer you;

if you are excited it will calm you.

William Ewart

I feel this quote. I drink hot tea all year long. It is always good, perfect, soothing, and inspiring.

I also included this picture of green tea mainly because I typically do not like green tea; I’m a black tea drinker. The first Lent that I gave up something, though I chose to give up Diet Coke. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I drink Diet Coke several times throughout the day. A friend recommended the green tea with jasmine, and said that it would stem cravings. I think they were thinking with the caffeine withdrawal, but caffeine doesn’t really affect me. At home, I’m caffeine free with soda. However, it would give me something to drink in the morning when I shouldn’t have been drinking soda anyway, but sometimes was known to.

What teas are your favorites and what would you recommend trying?

Election Connection: 42 Weeks

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From Crooked Media comes a new six-episode series talking to whomever necessary in order to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box on November 3rd. This election is too important to skip out on. We’ve seen what can happen when the wrong person is in The White House, and we have forty-two weeks to rectify this.

What will it take to defeat Donald Trump in November? In season 2 of The Wilderness, Jon Favreau looks for the path to victory in 2020 by talking to voters, strategists, organizers, and candidates in the battleground states that will decide the election.

Favreau takes listeners to the four most competitive regions on the road to 270 electoral votes and 51 Senate seats, where he conducts focus groups with voters in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin. The series also follows grassroots organizers and candidates in these states who share their winning strategies to reach these voters.

Through his own experience as a campaign veteran and speechwriter for Barack Obama, Favreau attempts to unpack the complicated and often surprising reasons voters support a particular candidate, or choose not to participate at all.

Episodes 1 and 2 are available now wherever you get your podcasts. (I personally use Player.FM and like its service very much.)

Subscribe so the rest of the series will automatically download each week and you won’t miss any. If you didn’t catch The Wilderness, Part 1 when it premiered, the link will take you to the first of fifteen episodes that are well worth listening to.

The Wilderness, Part 2

Episode 1: The Stakes

Episode 2: The Northeast

New Year, New Retreat: How’d I Do?

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Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? How did I do this weekend?

I’ve reproduced the quixotic list I put on the New Year, New Retreat post. I think I knew as soon as I hit publish that the list was a bit grandiose for the amount of time I had left in the weekend. It was too much to get done in half a weekend. Half of the list has been on a list in some form or other for the past six months. I did get some of it done, though! And as I went back through my notes and thought about it, I did pretty well. Here are the results:

1. Set up editorial calendar for the next three months from my personal Book of Days.

DONE

2. Finish planning and research the rest of the tea series for January.

DIDN’T EVEN TOUCH IT

3. Plan out Election Connection through Leap Day.

TENTATIVELY PLANNED WITH PRIMARY DATES AND MOST RESOURCES

4. Write stories from Canada that I’ve been meaning to write since the summer.

I DID ONE.

5. Wales book outline.

STARTED A LIST, NOT NECESSARILY IN ORDER

6. Labyrinth book outline.

DONE-ISH

So, actually not bad with the admission that I did some finishing touches this afternoon between grocery shopping and a church activity. And I now have some things to concentrate on for the next few weeks.

Happy New Year!

Hen Galan

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Today marks the celebration of Hen Galan or the Welsh New Year. This has been celebrated in Wales on 13 January since 1752 when Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar from the Julian one, making the new year begin on January 1st. This is the Gregorian calendar which we use today. At that time, many people believed that losing those eleven days from the calendar coincided with losing those eleven days from their lives.

The village of Cwn Gwaun continues to celebrate this holiday in modern times. If the day falls on a weekday, school is closed. The town gathers with each other, in houses or more likely in the pub in town. It’s festive, filled with fun and feasting in celebration. Children go door-to-door or farm-to-farm around the valley parish (about 18 miles) singing traditional Welsh songs and receiving calennig from the grown-ups, sweets or money. It was like having two Christmases.

Enjoy the following links and Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Hen Galan: Welsh village celebrates new year on 13 January (first published 2019)

The tiny Welsh village that celebrates New Year’s Eve on this night every year: In Cwn Gwaun they party like it’s 1699! (first published 2018)

Gwaun Valley children mark old New Year (first published 2012)

Snowdon Mountains, North Wales. (c)2020