Challenge Update: Week 20

Quiet progress…

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I don’t know why I did this to myself, but I went on Amazon this week. (Wait, yes, I do know why. My youngest scalawag broke the handle on my coffee maker and I wanted to see if I could buy a replacement. I can, but I of course couldn’t stop there.)

Of course, the cockroaches over in algorithm-world know that I have, on occasion, in years past, spent an inordinate amount of time poring over wrap dresses and sweaters and tops. So they naturally suggested, “For You!” a bunch of super cute dresses and tops.

And naturally, I couldn’t resist looking. Nothing really struck my fancy, and thank goodness. But I did have a moment when I wondered what I would do if I found something that did.

That said, I bought nothing and while I could have been tempted, I was not!

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

Holy cow! Do you remember when I nearly broke my Buy No Clothes in 2021 vow over a pair of black socks? Well guess what!? As I was fishing around in my sewing supplies in my Boudoir, I found a pair of black socks, never worn! I vaguely remember them being attached to a much more fun pair of zebra socks I bought like three (maybe more) years ago. How they ended up in my sewing supplies is a mystery, but it is a very happy mystery!

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Even as last week I debated retiring this rule, I dutifully posted photos, along with approximate weather information in my Go-To Journal. I had forgotten that this can be fun…to go back and look at unexpected ensembles that had actually worked.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

Twice this week my routine got disrupted and twice this week I got irrationally angry about it. Nonetheless, my Go-To Journal helped quickly get me back on track.

This routine is good for my Mental Health and when it is missing I feel off-kilter. This one little tiny thing I do for me carries so much importance, as a way to signal the end of one day and start investing emotionally in the next one.

As a person who has learned that carrying emotional baggage from one season of life to another is a sure fire way to find and compound discontent in the new season, I find that this act of Mise en Place is a moment to let go of baggage that clogs up during the day. It’s not the purpose of Mise en Place, but for me, it is a consequence. It is a moment to say “Thank you, next.”

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

Monday, 8:45 AM. I am back from dropping the boys off at school and my sewing machine is ready and humming.

Oh yes, I have photo receipts for this, too. I will share it in a few…


The Challenge is on track. Progress is being made, even if it is quiet progress that seems unexceptional.

In Other News:

Nothing much to report on this front. I made zero progress on my editing, publishing and novel writing.

This week was a bit unusual, in that the boys were not at their regular school, but doing a weeklong immersion in the German-language school we were tempted to send them to. It is a hefty distance from home and they had to be picked up for lunch…so I spent a lot of the week bustling around by car (not my favorite activity when it is in the city), and hustling for parking spots on very busy streets. This was nightmarish and did not lend itself to being in a mindset to sit down and write or query when I would get home.

While the school’s pedagogy is interesting, and I’m sure they are perfectly lovely people, their organization and communication left much to be desired. All their contextual excuses aside, none of us was convinced that this is where the scalawags should be swashbuckling in the Fall.

This immersion came at a good time for us, though, since my youngest’s teacher has been out with COVID for two weeks, prompting a closure of his class. (Both boys tested negative before their immersion!) Hopefully his teacher will be feeling better and be able to come back to school this week. If he doesn’t go back, then I will have another lost week of lost productivity…and June is staring us in the face pretty soon. Summer won’t be the most productive of times for me, so I really really hope she is better!!!!!!

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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