Moving forward in life and venturing into new territory.

Winter has arrived here in Alberta. I’m not ready for it, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. It’s here and I can either embrace it or complain. (Chances are I’ll do the latter more.)

The home renos are coming along nicely; only two more rooms to do the flooring in. My office is going to be the last one because it is the smallest and has the least amount of things to be moved. I’m thankful for the built-in bookshelves; no need to empty and move them.

At the end of this month the arborist is coming in and taking out several trees that have lived beyond their years. I presumed them to be healthy but when the leaves fell I realized just how unsafe they are. I don’t like to have trees cut down, but when they become a hazard it’s time. I will end up with some nice firewood at the end of it all though, which is nice.

Plus I’ll be able to plant some fruit trees in their place come spring; which I’m looking forward to. I know they’ll do well in that spot because they’ll have all the sunshine they want, yet be protected from the west winds by an existing hedge.

Now that life has settled for me, I am able to pursue something I have wanted to for a long time. It’s going to take time and work but I’m so excited about it!

For those of you who are authors or information product creators, you know how hard it is to get your work seen. And it’s even harder to earn a living from it. (For those of you who are earning a full-time income from your work, kudos to you!)

At the end of October I bit the bullet and started my own publishing company, Birchbark Publishing. Right now I’m concentrating on ebooks and information products, with the intent to expand to other digital formats (audio and video). Digital is faster to distribute, easier to fix errors, and can be read on any device (as they’ll be in PDF).

For those with an artisitic flair, I’m also accepting submissions for colouring books. The beauty of PDF is these can be printed by the buyer and coloured in the traditional way, or opened with a note-taking app and coloured digitally. Portability at its finest.

Fiction or nonfiction. Novels or short stories. Kids books too.

I know there’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m going to do my best to not have any screwups.

You can read my latest blog post on my publishing site here, and let me know what you think.


Getting Ready to End 2022 on a Positive Note, and Welcome 2023

I have to admit: I haven’t improved my procrastination situation any.

Getting back into a routine isn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I have become a little spoiled with not having to be anywhere in particular at any given time.

Summer is on its way out, and I have been working on getting to know my new house so I don’t have any unexpected major expenses. The recent expenses I have had have been completely planned; at least as far as my house goes.

My Jeep on the other hand: not so much. The joys of vehicle ownership, and having to rely on a dealership to make the major repairs. However, knowing some things about vehicles prevented me from being taken advantage of by a service tech. (I do believe he underestimated my knowledge just because I’m a woman.)

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2022 has been a year of some changes for me; with my move being the major one. I’m still not sure if it has really sunk in, and that I can do whatever I like to the house and yard. It definitely takes time and an adjustment period for it all to sink in.

One of my favourite things in my new house. Perfect for the chilly days.

As I adjust to this new chapter of my life I can’t help but feel blessed for all I have. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and the love and support of family and friends. Plus I get to spend time with a man who makes me feel good about me. And he doesn’t mind the fact we live in our own houses. (That in itself is a big plus for me.)

As the final quarter of 2022 approaches I do have a few things I want to accomplish before the start of 2023.

  1. Increase my Etsy Sales. My shops (NotJustAlpacaDesigns and TOLA50Printables) were put on the back burner during the move and now it’s time to work on both of them. What that means is getting back into designing both crochet patterns and printables. I’m looking forward to picking up my hook and yarn again.
  2. Get back into posting regularly. This isn’t the only blog that has been lacking in regular updates. My All-In Gardening site has been severely neglected as well. I have a couple of new e-books on gardening available on Kindle, and the links can be found on the site. (If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read them for free.)
  3. Finish the painting and install the flooring in the game room. Almost the entire house needs to be painted and the new flooring put in, but the game room is at the top of the list. I’m hosting Christmas this year and want it done so my nephews and other family members have a place to hang out.
  4. Make a conscious effort to be more present in the moment. I’m terrible when it comes to just enjoying the moment. My brain is always thinking about what needs to be done next, and I find myself missing bits of conversations. It’s time to really listen to others and pay attention: and just enjoy my small circle.(I think this is the most important one of them all.)

I would like my list to be longer, but putting too much pressure on myself tends to lead to frustration when I don’t get it all done. I’m finally starting to realize the world won’t end if I take time for myself, and to spend with family and friends. Some habits are hard to break but I’m doing what I can to get myself out of the rut I created.

Something to ponder: Enjoy the time spent with loved ones, because tomorrow is never promised. Take the time for others now, while you have the chance.

What is most important to you at this stage of your life?

How to get back into a routine after a major move.

I hope your summer has been a good one.

Mine has been extremely busy with the move and even a mini vacation, but now it’s time to get back into some sort of routine.

With moving comes semi-organized chaos, bittersweet moments, and then learning the ins and outs of a new place. It has definitely been an adventure for me.

I have my new office set up, complete with two desks, a beautiful built-in bookcase, and plenty of room to move around. It’s a nice change from the spare room I used as an office in my other house. Amd the bright paint is a motivator in itself.

I spent the majority of July either moving, packing, unpacking, or painting. I do have to say I’m glad the packing and moving part is done at least. The unpacking and painting will be done over time, but at least I have the main things unpacked.

It has been wonderful to just spend some time in my new house to figure out what I want to put where, which light switches do what, and do some yard work. I know it’s going to take time to get it all figured out, but that’s all part of the process.

I looked back at my last blog post and realized it has been over two months since I wrote anything. I honestly thought being able to do it from my phone would be easier, but it seems I was wrong. Apparently I need a little more structure than I thought.

Getting back into a routine after a major move doesn’t come easy; at least not for me. And this time it was me doing the majority alone; aside from help with the big stuff over the course of one weekend. Going through my late husband’s things wasn’t easy; it was hard to decide what to keep and what to give away. I don’t wish that scenario on anyone.

Now, to let you know what’s working for me in regards to getting back into a routine:

  • A view. My office faces south (as did my other one) but the view isn’t blocked by trees. I can see the road and the field across the road, plus I’ll see bison during the winter as they graze in the corn field. (Perhaps some inspiration for my fiction.)
  • Books and work-related things only. My office is only for work; no crafts allowed. That means no yarn, no fabric, no sewing machine, and no weaving projects. My Cricut is allowed, but a lot of its use will be for products in my Etsy shops.
  • A Kanban board within reach. I have used a kanban board before and it worked. Somewhere along the way I stopped using it, and my progress went to shit. Getting back into using it is helping. The first time I heard about a kanban board was when I watched one of Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings videos several years ago. Here’s a post from her in January 2021 resetting hers. I love her enthusiasm, and her methods work.
My Kanban Board ready for the next set of sticky notes. And of course my AWAI Copywriter’s Cheat Sheet.
  • Cutting the clutter. Yes, I am in a new space; but yet the clutter finds a way. It doesn’t take long for the mail to pile up on my desk, or the binders full of printed material to not be put back on the bookshelf. I find if I tidy before I leave it for the day, the next morning is easier to get right to work.
  • Take breaks. I’m terrible when it comes to regular breaks/mealtimes, but I’m getting better. By taking breaks for a snack, meal, or to refill my water bottle, I find I am more productive and can stick to a schedule.

It’s a big change being in a new home; but a change that needed to be made. As I get settled and figure out the creaks, groans, and lay of the land I’ll also be growing as a person.

The hardest thing I’ve had to do since I moved was to make the decision to have my Buddy euthanized. His loss of sight and hearing left him terribly anxious all the time, and I couldn’t bear to see him suffer because of it. I believe him and my late husband are now howling together (something they did on an almost daily basis) in Heaven; and their ashes are side by side on my mantle.

In closing I want to leave you with this: no matter what life throws at you, find a way to keep moving forward. Ask for help if you need it, or change your postal code if necessary…and always remember you’re never alone.

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