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I know it’s not technically fall — and at a hot and humid 85 degrees in Chicago, it sure doesn’t seem like fall — but Labor Day still feels like it demarcates a new season. I love these points in time: days that make us stop, look around, and reassess before slipping back into our routines and habits.

Today is a big day. Adeline started at her new Montessori school this morning. After almost two months at home with mama she was a little uncertain about going back to school. She clung to me when I tried to drop her off, and when, after many kisses and goodbyes, I finally closed the door, I could hear her screaming and crying inside. But it stopped after about two minutes. I peaked in the window a few minutes later and she was happily playing with some water. Girl LOVES playing with water.

So here I am. I have free time again. I have time to work! This is it you guys. I MUST write this novel. NOW. I’m going to finish this post, minimize Firefox, and start working. There are no more excuses. No more, “I don’t have time to focus because I’m constantly running around with Adeline.” No more, “By the time I get her to bed I’m too tired to do much of anything.” No more, “I’ll do it when Addie starts school again.” Addie just started school. It’s time to work!

My goal is to have a first draft by the end of the year. That’s four months. If I’m aiming for about 100,000 words, that’s about 1000 words a day (giving myself some days off). So here goes nothing. I’ll keep you updated!!

I’m using this new season as a jumping off point for another change as well: back to clean eating and healthy living. I finished my last cleanse the day before Memorial Day. Since then, I’ve been progressively slipping back into bad eating and living habits. Three months later is a perfect time to start again. This time I’ll be doing a six-week program from the book Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again. I’m so excited about this program! The book gives all the background on Spent and why you should change your habits. Then it gives you daily changes to make to improve your life. The first day (today): cut out all refined sugars.

Holy cats, you guys. There is so much refined sugar in a typical American diet! Even in what I considered to be the relatively healthy diet I was eating over the summer. No bread, no baked goods, no sandwiches! But also, not many drinks other than water. Almost no processed foods of any kind. It’s a change for sure. But a really good and important one. So far, it’s going well. I just finished a salad for lunch and I’d certainly love some bread, but it’s not overpowering. I know from experience that the second and third days are the hardest. After that, it’s smooth sailing. So here goes nothing.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, get the book and join me – it will be fun!

Yes, today is a big day. A day for changes and new beginnings. What are you starting fresh today?