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October 3 - October 24, 2018
Joanna Schaefer's avatar

Joanna Schaefer

Portland General Electric

"I've been participating in the EcoChallenge for a number of years, and I've loved how some of the challenges become day-to-day habits! I've got some new goals this year, as well as some returning ones. Let's teach old dogs new tricks!"


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    being mindful

Joanna's actions



I will meditate or create a moment of silence for 5 minute(s) each day to reflect on things important to me.




I will write down three things every day that I am grateful for, or send one email every day thanking or praising someone.



De-Clutter My Home

I will de-clutter, clean, and donate or recycle unneeded items in my home.



Weekly Meal Planning

I will reduce food waste and save money by planning a weekly menu, only buying the ingredients I need.


Participant Feed

Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/25/2018 8:59 AM
    Lessons Learned:  I learned that I can set time aside for myself -- to focus on myself -- and my family won't die if I leave them unattended for a bit.  I learned that I can continue to find items in my life that I don't need anymore, and it's easy enough to toss or donate them.  I also learned that my family is not quite ready for weekly meal plans, but I did find some cost-saving measures and ways to create less food waste anyway.  :)
    Simplicity Meditate
    What would you like to invest more time in reflecting on?

    Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/24/2018 8:31 AM
    Maybe this goes along with my happiness/gratitude goal, but I've really been focused on reflecting on the things that are going well.  There's been a lot of sadness and illness in my family lately --not to mention the current political turmoil -- and sometimes when you're caught up in just surviving the tough times that you forget that the world is usually good.  You forget that there are still beautiful things in the world to enjoy.  You forget that you can take a few moments to listen to your body and take care of your mind.
    Food Weekly Meal Planning
    An average American throws out about 240 lbs of food per year. The average family of four spends $1,500 a year on food that they throw out. Does this surprise you? Where would you rather use this money?

    Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/24/2018 8:26 AM
    Of course it's shocking, but it doesn't surprise me that so much food goes to waste.  One of my neighbors gleens from Trader Joe's and shares with the neighborhood, and there is always so much food. Even after the neighbors pick it over, there is so much food left over.  In doing this challenge, I've been trying to keep this in mind, and I've noticed that we really are starting to throw less away.  The garbage cans over the past few weeks have not been nearly as full as they have been.  $1500/year = $125/mo which is about 10% of my food budget.  This money could be used toward new school clothes for my daughter, this money could be used to help fund a vacation, this money could even be used to pay for nice dinners out!

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/23/2018 7:59 AM
    Gratitude:  I started out this challenge by writing some things I'm grateful for in a journal.  As the challenge has moved forward, I've been putting less in the journal, and sending out more gratitude to my friends and family.  Sometimes it's a little text message.  Sometimes it's a longer email.  Sometimes it's been a long phone call.  Getting my gratitude out into the world seems to be working a little better for me than keeping it locked away.
    Health Happiness
    How does/can practicing gratitude keep you centered and motivated to work for a better world?

    Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/23/2018 7:52 AM
    It's really easy to get distracted by bad news, by health problems, by stress at work.  It's really easy to get caught up in the negatives of life and to start feeling like that's all there is.  Practicing gratitude can switch up your focus, add a bit of levity or relief to the hum-drum of a stressful life.  When you work at finding the positives in your day, and you keep doing it over and over, it becomes another habit.  A habit that calls your attention to what is and what could be.  And if you can focus on some positive outcomes -- rather than being swept up by negative ones -- you might not give up so easily on trying to achieve them.
    Simplicity De-Clutter My Home
    How can you prevent yourself from accumulating more things in the future?

    Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/17/2018 9:44 AM
    One of the things that my spouse and I have talked about to reduce our clutter is that if we're bringing something new into the house, then something else has to leave.  While we aren't necessarily great about following this one-to-one rule, we do make deals with each other like, "This new pair of shoes will replace that old pair that's wearing out," or, "This new kitchen gadget will replace three that we already have, and create more cabinet space."  I used to be a hoarder, so this has been working okay for the past eight years or so.

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/17/2018 9:36 AM
    I've been out of town since Friday on religious retreat.  With no access to internet, I was unable to log my actions.  But, there was a whole lot of gratitude happening.  There was a whole lot of meditation happening.  And I was able to give away some stuff to friends in my community, so my de-clutter goals were met.  I'm feeling good about what I've done, even if the computer won't let me play catch up!  :)

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/11/2018 9:45 AM
    Meal Planning:  Meal planning at my house usually consists of just dinner.  But it doesn't have to be!  I planned ahead yesterday and had a great lunch waiting for myself this morning!  Bon Appétit!

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/10/2018 1:53 PM
    Health:  A few things have been "sticky" for a while that suddenly came "unstuck" today.  Of course, maybe it's just the timing of things, but maybe the meditation and the gratitude lists have been ushering things through the cosmos to land safely in my lap today.  Maybe.  :)

  • Joanna Schaefer's avatar
    Joanna Schaefer 10/09/2018 4:16 PM
    Meal Planning:  Teenager is back to being uninterested in eating what I'm cooking.  I still make sure that she puts the snacks that she wants on the list and I don't buy snacks outside of that list.  I'm saving money and teaching her responsibility.  And I've still been cooking delicious meals for myself.  The other night I made a tofu scramble with shallots and zucchini, using leftover veg.  Yum!