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Posts Tagged ‘decluttering’

Inspiration can come from so many places…

– Last fall it was my dad. His knowledge of Scripture inspires me. It is truly incredible. And the stories and lessons he shares with me from Scripture inspire me too. So on January first I began reading the One Year Bible. I have made it to Joshua in the Old Testament and Luke in the New. I am excited about what is still left for me to read and learn!

– Sometime in January it was my mom. My mom inspires me, in one way or another, on a weekly basis. But in January it was a conversation about organic eating that inspired me. For about a year now I have had the desire to feed my family only organic foods. However, eating organic can be pretty expensive. And as I am also committed to a budget, I have been hesitant to spend that much more money every month. But her suggestion made sense to me- “Just switch some of the things your family eats the most. You don’t have to go cold turkey to be benefited. Little changes make a difference too.” So now we eat about 50/50. I feel better about what I am feeding my family. And my budget thanks me too.

– This spring it was zerowastehome.blogspot.com. Reading it has inspired within me a whole new perspective on quite a few different things. But more specifically it inspired me to start composting. It really is too easy and too cheap and too good for the environment not to do! So on May 11th my sweet husband surprised me with a compost bin and then this past Sunday he did all the steps required to get it started for me! (He is such a good man. I think it was about 95 degrees at the time. Good, good man.)

– Also this spring it was tumbleweedhouses.com. The whole idea of “tiny houses” is quite intriguing to me. I actually find it to be quite appealing too. And though I don’t see myself living in a tiny house anytime soon (if ever), the idea of a tiny house has inspired me to rethink what we truly need or are even benefited by in this life (like how many square feet, how many books, how many toys, how many pairs of shoes one should really own…). It has also inspired me to declutter! A process I am truly enjoying and feeling very blessed by this time around. Sooo freeing.

– Around the middle of April it was “Our Noble, Essential Decency” by Robert A. Heinlein in the book “This I Believe”. Reading that inspired this “glass-half-empty-gal” (yes, its true, as much as I hate it, I tend to be one of those glass-half-empty people), to pay more attention to, give more credit to and acknowledge more often to myself and others the kindness and thoughtfulness shown to me by the people in my life. One way I have done this is by writing down those experiences when they happen. This simple, easy practice has blessed me so much and really improved my perspective on people and life.

– Around the end of April it was a magazine article (I cannot for the life of me think of which magazine…). The article was about a mama of two who kept running (along with a support group of other preggo runners) through her entire second pregnancy. Yes, she got a lot slower. And yes, the distance she would run diminished considerably the further into her pregnancy she got. But she kept at it. And knowing that that was possible for her, has inspired me to do so as well. I may not make it to the ninth month (Or maybe I will. Who knows. We shall see.). But I can run today. And so I did. And so I will. As long as I am able.

– May 14th-21st it was the beach. Oh, the beach. I love the beach. I could (and might still) write a whole post about the beach. It inspires me in so many ways. It inspires me to spend time outside, out of the city, to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of God’s creation. It inspires me to travel. What a fascinating and magnificent planet we live on. I want to see more of it. It inspires me to spend more time with my family. All thirteen of them. They are amazing. And our family dynamic is pretty amazing too. And it inspires me to simplify. Everything we needed that week fit in the trunk of our car. Do we really need all of the other  2200 square feet of stuff that we came home to? It inspires me to run. And write. And take a deep breath. In so many ways it inspires me.

– This week it was the heat. That, combined with feeling so, so pregnant these days, has inspired me to drink more water. I have committed to downing 80+ ounces of water each and every day for the rest of this pregnancy. So far it has been surprisingly easy! (The only downside being how many freakin’ trips to the bathroom I make every day!)

– And two days ago it was an article in the “Davidson A.M” about Mayor Karl Dean and his challenge to the city to “Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor”. Running has evolved dramatically for me since getting pregnant in December. And as a result I have really struggled with motivation. But my days are so much better when I fit in a run (even a really short one!) and so is my health, my energy, my mood and my frame of mind. I have run/walked more than 136 miles this pregnancy. This article has inspired me to commit to running/walking, over the next 15ish weeks, another 150 more.

So with all that said…what’s inspiring you lately?

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Today’s Random Thoughts and Observations in No Particular Order:

– I think spring is magical. The blooms on our trees, the flowers, the sunshine, the warm air, the cool breeze, the noisy birds, green grass, not having to bundle up to go check the mail, no longer being stuck inside for months on end, the desire to spend every waking moment outdoors (although, with this weather, napping outside sounds appealing too), the itch to clean and be active and be productive, the endless signs of life and beauty and rejuvination that surround me every time I step out the door or look out the window- magical.

– Sleeping with my baby boy (for the first time since he was 2 months old), in our guest bed, 2 of the last 3 nights, because he is very sick and I am worried about what might happen if I let him sleep in his crib for his usual 12-14 hours, is absolutely precious, but not remotely restful. Both nights he moved non-stop, including lots of kicking, hitting, and lying on top of me, rolling, scooting and throwing the covers around- all in his sleep. So, though he is probably rested (if you can be, when you are that active in your sleep) I. Am. Not.

– Being sick sucks. I have not felt good for almost a week now and I am feeling great compassion for people who deal with chronic pain and illness. I am really struggling with my patience and my attitude, and I have only felt this way for 6 days. I cannot imagine the patience and strength of character it takes for people who feel bad every day, to be even the least bit functional.

– One of the things that drives me crazy about being sick is feeling like I am trapped in my head. What I mean is- I look around me and there are so many things I want and need to do- I need to do the dishes and fold the laundry and clean up the piles of papers and toys that are accumulating around our house, I want to workout and run around with my kids and do some spring cleaning and plant flowers and go to the park with my mom friends and their kiddos and really take advantage of this gorgeous weather, I want/need to do a lot- but every time I stand up all I can think is “How long till I can lay down again?”. Its like my brain is still going a mile a minute with its wants and thoughts and to do lists, but my body just can’t keep up.

– My son can count to 10! I am so excited and proud of him! He is learning things, even though he rarely lets on that he is listening or interested or catching on. I will ask him frequenly to count with me or sing the ABCs or point out colors and he usually refuses. But last week I heard him and his friend Nora counting before they jumped from coffee table to couch and this morning I heard him counting with his sister! Yay, Bubba. I am so proud of you.

– I needed some soothing music this morning, to quiet my restless, frustrated spirit and I realized then that Amy Grant and Celine Dion are the two artists that have the most immediate and powerful affect on me. I think this is because my dad often played their music when I was living at home, so they both, more than any other, take me back to my childhood. (Christmas music has the same affect!) Thank you, daddy, for creating such a safe and peaceful home for me to grow up in. (And thank you, mama. You were a big part of that too.)

– I desperately need to do some decluttering. I vacillate between only keeping what I love and what I use, and getting this strange urge to keep anything and everything (because “I might need it someday or miss it if I get rid of it!”). What is wrong with me? I know that the “If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it!” policy is what brings peace and order to my home. Why do I ever stray from this?

– I decided to do a cleanse of sorts yesterday and Monday, after eating waaay to much junk over the weekend. It is amazing to me how two days of deprivation can change one’s perspective. I allowed myself a cup of coffee this morning (my first consumption of caffeine or sugar since Sunday). The coffee, usually a given, something I drink every morning and take for granted and don’t always relish or pay particular attention to, seemed like such a treat! So, if you are wanting to reawaken your senses, your enjoyment and appreciation for life’s little treats, try not allowing yourself to have them for a period of time- and see what happens!

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The following is a list of ten, kind of random things that I have been thinking about and trying to do, especially since the new year. They have all been a blessing to me. I challenge you to try each of them. I hope they are a blessing to you, however big or small!

1) Start your day thirty minutes to an hour before your children wake up with some sort of quiet time with God. This is a new one for me and it has been such a blessing. Thankfully my children don’t get up until after eight so doing this is not a particularly challenging schedule, but starting my day with a quiet breakfast while I read my Bible and write in my prayer journal affects me the rest of the day. My patience is improved, my peace, my attitude. Incredible!

2) Commit to some kind of exercise program! I know not everyone is crazy like me and enjoys exercising but I am more and more convinced that being active in some form, at least a couple days a week is invaluable, no matter who you are. (If you have no idea how to go about this or where to start or why this really matters, ask me!) And eat better! Not because you have to, not because you’ll die if you don’t…because you will feel better! (I have a lot of thoughts about this one too but I’ll probably write them in another post, another time…)

3) Make lists. I am a listmaker so I like this one but I have seen it bless non-listmakers too. I suggest finding a notebook rather than random slips of paper that get lost and thrown away. Keep this notebook with you always. Write in it ideas, goals, to-do lists, contact information, etc.; all the random things that you think of and are told through out the day that you will never remember. (The one exception I suggest is your grocery list. Keep this one on the fridge and write on it every time you run out of something and need to replace it. That way you don’t have to try and remember what all you need on grocery day. The list has already been written, just grab it and run!)

4) Turn off the TV; for your sake, for your childrens sake, for peacefulness sake, for creativity sake, for motivation sake, for relationship sake. This entertainment box robs us of our time, our connection to one another, our peace and quiet, our motivation to get off the couch. So just turn it off. And hide the remote! 🙂 It will be hard at first and weird and you will be very tempted to turn it back on…but turn it off anyway and see what happens!

5) SIMPLIFY AND DECLUTTER! We are a culture that believes more is better; more stuff, more activity, more money, more more more. Well I say, be counter-cultural! There are not enough hours in the day to do everything so be committed to only doing that which is important to you, that which will be a blessing to you or someone else. If there are too many important things in your life to fit in, then you may need to reconsider what really is important! And declutter! If you don’t love it or use it…get rid of it!!! The less stuff we have the less there is to clean, to manage, to find, to maintain, etc…and the more time there is to love our families, our friends, our God and ourselves!

6) Find something that you love to do and do it! So many of us grow up and become so consumed with what we have to do that we stop doing what we want to do, what we love to do! Find a hobby, make a little time each week, and enjoy! I believe taking a little time to do the things we want to do makes the time we spend doing the things we have to do more peaceful and manageable and even enjoyable. So I encourage you to find the balance between the two.

7) Wash one load of laundry every day and set it on your bed to be folded before you get into your bed. I have tried so many methods of staying on top of the laundry, so far this one is working the best. Avoiding laundry baskets and avoiding doing seven loads at once has kept our laundry clean and put away. I have been skipping the baskets, going straight from washer to dryer to bed to folded to put away! Ideally it’s folded and put away before bedtime but worst case you spend ten minutes right before you crawl into bed and its done! Voila! (You do have to be committed to not just setting it on the floor or dresser for tomorrow if you are particularly tired that night though…)

8 ) Go to bed with a clean kitchen. Waking up to a clean kitchen helps set a more peaceful, more comfortable tone for my day. Knowing that I am starting fresh in the kitchen has helped me feel less overwhelmed with the rest of the house. The two ways this has stayed possible for me are: doing a light cleaning after each meal or snack (this includes putting away all food, throwing away all trash and putting all dishes in the sink) and doing a final, more thorough cleaning right after dinner (including putting away all food, throwing away all trash, loading and starting dishwasher, handwashing any other dishes, wiping down all counters and stove and sink, and sometimes sweeping), while daddy plays with the kids and gives them their baths. Staying committed to this has been a challenge for me but sooo worth the effort! (I am still working on figuring out how to keep the rest of the house clean. Sigh.)

9) Get enough sleep! Seven to eight hours is ideal for me, less and I feel it the next day. Sleep for your health, your mood, your energy level, your attitude, your quality of life!

10) And lastly, though I believe that one through nine matter and are life improving, always remember that people are more important than stuff, than money, than chores, than hobbies. I am confident that when we are all old and life has slowed down, we will not look back and be glad we had all our laundry done each night or that we stayed in amazing shape or that we were never late or behind or forgetful. I believe we will look back and remember the laughter, the love, the forgiveness, the intimacy that we shared with our spouses, our children, our friends and our neighbors. Let us improve who we are and how we love before we improve what we do and how we do it!

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