the life-changing magic of tidying up

•April 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

I know I’m a bit late to the party. Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been on the best sellers list for quite some time now. Better late than never!

With all the heavy (but good), books I’ve been reading lately. This book was a breath of fresh air. A non-fiction book I could relatively easily do something about. While implementing Brene Brown’s overcoming shame techniques is also something I’d recommend, it is significantly harder and requires much more emotional energy. I digress.

This books message hides behind tidying. It is about sorting and organizing, but as a means to an end. It is really about discovering who you are and decluttering your mind. To quote the book,”a messy room equals a messy mind.” The process (in her order) of discerning what ‘sparks joy’ is designed to hone your decision making skills regarding what should and should not be in your life. “When a room becomes cluttered, the cause it more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.” Guilty as charged.

Marie has a very specific method, the KonMari method, she insists must be done in order, all at once, once and for all. She says it takes the average household six months to make it through her whole system and then you are done. No more purging, no more sorting, no relapse. She says once you’ve felt what life is like after you are done, you will never go back. She says she has a no relapse rate for clients that finish the process.

To be honest, all of this sounds a bit pie in the sky for me, but I am continually purging, sorting, and re-organizing as is. If this doesn’t work, at the very least I’ve just continued on in our normal. But part of me thinks it might.

Let me tell you a story. Long, long ago in a galaxy far far away…wait wrong story…

Early in our marriage our bedroom was a disaster. The bed was never made and rarely clean. Mount Rushmore had permanent residence on the bedroom floor. Nothing was ever dusted or put away unless someone was coming over. Our curtain was an old fitted sheet. It was just gross.

Then when we got pregnant I signed up for flylady. I don’t even know if she still exists, but she was a big believer in your bedroom was your haven, your sanctuary from all the rest of the chaos. She believed you should make your bed, everyday, as soon as you got out of it. This single act would inspire the rest of the room to be cleaned. She has all sorts of routines to declutter and keep things clean, most of which I don’t remember, but our bed stuck. With few exceptions our bed has been made everyday since, and our room DID turn into a haven. It’s the one place relatively picked up and clean. I’m not trying to say it’s catalog all the time. There are dirty clothes on the floor here and there and sometimes a few other stray items wander there way in, but it has NEVER gone back to how it was.

That feeling of peace was addicting. I actually enjoying dusting our room and putting the few things out of place back in order. In fact it’s the only room that gets regularly dusted in our house. I realized, after reading Marie’s book, I’ve only let happy things in that space. I like looking at my little ring dish from Israel and my jewelry holder from the taj mahal. They make me smile when I pick them up to dust around them.

So the cynical part of me is still having a hard time buying this, but I’m trying it. I’ve found the cynical side of me is wrong a lot anyway. So I’m good at planning things, and even starting things, but not so great at finishing them. But my sucess rate goes way up with a team and I’d beat yours does too.

So join me! I’ve written up a plan and attached it to a timeline. I’ll post assignments week by week here on the blog. I would strongly encourage you to read the book first, it’s a relatively short book and an easy read. But I will be posting the steps following her method so it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t (but do it’s really good!)

So who’s with me?

a birthday for a girl

•April 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Dear first born daughter,

You and I went to the beach together to watch the sunrise on your first day as an 8 year old. I woke you up, put you in the car and asked how you felt now that you were 8. You made a surprised sound and said, “I’d forgotten! Sometimes you forget things when you go to sleep.” We started the day with a laugh.

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You have continued to blossom this last year. You’ve found a love in gymnastics and dance. You’ve added round offs and pirouettes to your still near constant cartwheeling through life. Piano has also been added to your repertoire and I am in wonder watching you play. You have a regular practice time, but it’s so rarely the only time you play. The only time I enjoy hearing Let It Go is when you play it. Though I still enjoy the Star Wars Theme and your favorite Hall of the Mountain King a bit more.

Baking has been big for you this year and you made your own mermaid cupcake cake for your party.

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You’ve also been somewhat obsessed with tiny houses. You make your own in the bedrooms, you plan how you will someday make a real one, you watch documentaries on them. I, for one, would be very interested in seeing a tiny house you made. You’ve also been taking your faith more seriously this year. You read through your entire kids’ study Bible and are in the process of considering being baptized. It is very exciting for me to see you begin to rely on God. He is the one who made you who you are, and He is so vested in your life.

You throw all of yourself into the things and the people you love. You are kind, generous and caring toward the people in your life. You consider what they like when picking out gifts, even when you’re tempted by what you like. You are excited about life and having adventures. You are so many things it took me so many years to learn and it gives me such joy to watch you.

As you grow into the approaching pre-teen years, these years that seem to start earlier and earlier these days. I will try to make sure you hear the good things I think and believe about being a woman said out loud. I will try to show you how to love yourself and your body. I will try to show you to not internalize the guilt and shame others will try to put on you. I will try my best to be free, so you will know the path to staying that way. I know they’ve shown that children, you, learn best by example. Nothing has made me try harder to be the whole person God intended me to be, so you’ll know how to do the same.

As always, I love you, for who you are,

Mommy

sunrise sunset sunrise sunset

•March 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I want to start by thanking all of you who prayed, sent messages and texts last week. I do believe they made a difference, we seemed to reach a turning point after the post. Thursday early morning was our last panic attack. Bycemaster has been function and back at work since Thursday afternoon. We are still continuing on with the cardiologist appointment this afternoon, but not out of any real need anymore. We are continuing on with our chosen course of actions and are happy and excited that life has, for the most part, returned to normal. As quickly as it came, it went, and now life goes on.

This weekend was my sister’s birthday and with Bycemaster feeling good again I was able to do some celebrating with her. We spent her actual birthday morning up way too early. We drove to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was good. I think we are both ready to put the night behind us and start new in the sun.

Thanks for walking this journey with us, enjoy the sunrise:)

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lucky 13

•March 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It’s national women’s day today. We did not know when we picked a wedding date, whose only qualification was to match our spring break, that we picked National women’s day.

I, personally, find it fitting. It’s not often talked about, accepted, or PC to talk about the way a husband supports and maintains a strong woman. There are so many examples of how abusive men hold women down, push women down, and try to strip us of our strength.

But that isn’t the whole story. Those negative examples do exist, but so do the positives. There are men in relationships with women who support them and build them up. Men who compound our inner strength by combining it with their own. Some men know a strong man does not need a weak woman to ‘balance’ them. They know two strong partners make a partnership stronger.

Today marks 13 years since Bycemaster and I began the process of learning how to pour our strength together. It took many years from the day we walked down the aisle promising to love each other through sickness and health, richer or poorer, and all of the in-between, to even begin to figure out how to be strong together. I am also certain we’ve more to learn.

We started deep in the poorer, two college students making no money and have travelled to the bills get paid and there’s some savings! We’ve had many years of health and are now walking through a season of sickness. There are some serious health concerns going on with Bycemaster’s family of origin right now. Things I don’t feel are my place to share here (but we’d still love prayer!)

But the sickness is also within our own family. It started last Saturday with what we now believe was a massive panic attack. It unfortunately did not stop there. Bycemaster has continued to have weakness and shaking as well as continuing attacks almost everyday, many days more than one. He is moving forward, but it’s been a 2 steps forward 1 step back kind of dance, and treatment feels slow to take affect.

It’s been debilitating to watch, I can only imagine what’s its been to experience. Life has been slower since. Most everything outside our home has been cut. There’s been lots of sitting, lots of holding hands, lots of breathing together as we wait for the anxiety to lesson and his heart rate to drop back down.

These past few years especially, as we’ve walked this adoption road (more than 2 years since we started researching agencies) I’ve rested on, relied on and channeled his strength for my own. Through my identity crisis leaving the office to come home and our homeschooling transition (and continuing journey!) I’ve relied on him to hold up my arms when I could not go on. I would often hear top executives at work talk about how they never could do it without their wives there to support them. To be honest, it felt like lip service at the time. But I’ve felt it in action. I know, my greater strength comes not from me, but from us. As I’ve watched him ‘down’ this past week I almost didn’t remember how to go on, on my own.

I know I’m never truly alone. I know God is always there for me. Even know He’s given me little reminders lest I forget. I also believe he’s given me this partnership. Functioning without it’s strength has been a stumbling, draining process, but it is one I feel honored to do.

This man has been my rock through so many break downs, family drama, work insecurities, baby struggles and a whole host of anxious thoughts. He’s been there for me to lean on and cry on. He’s prayed for me and leant me his strength so I could go on. There’s been relatively little in comparison where the roles have been reversed. So even though it has been so hard to see him ‘down,’ and even though it’s been hard to single parent and take care of him for the last 11 days. Even though I’ve had my own moments of breakdown and fear, I am honored to be able to lend him my strength as we lean on God together.

We promised lots of things on this day 13 years ago. Things neither of us knew much about. Life has a way of teaching, if you let it. It has imparted much wisdom and much love.

I would marry him again in a regular or racing heartbeat. Here’s to lucky 13!

baby update

•February 24, 2016 • 2 Comments

So it’s the last week of February. We have infant carrier installed and bouncy seat washed, even the highchair cleaned up (gross) and reclined for a newborn. We are more set up and prepared than we were before, to now continue waiting again.

Our meeting with the birth mother never materialized and after a long period of radio silence from her the agency called last night to tell us they are considering the match off and putting us back in waiting.

We want to thank all of you who were excited with us and supported us financially and in prayer for this match. Because our match meeting never even happened we are actually able to move ALL the funds forward for the next one, so we are still close to our goal. With just a little more we will be full funded before the baby actually arrives, which would be fantastic.

Click here if you’d still like to contribute:)

We heard from the agency last week that the mother had stopped contacting and even though we hoped, we kinda knew what that meant. I tend to live a step ahead (live in the present, I know, I know, I do what I can), so my grieving has happened. Last night was quite honestly a relief. I am sure there will still be patches of grief, but for the moment, we are relieved to know where we stand again and ready to solider on with waiting. We know God has his plan and we do not want what he does not want.

The children took it well. As always, they add perspective to life.

Whew, that’s not the worst that could happen mom, the worst is she would NEVER get here.

Can we still have our sleepover at Papa and Nana’s?

Yes! I can have more screen time. I was going to be so busy taking care of my little sister I wouldn’t have had much. Oh but don’t worry I still want her to come mom!

Please continue to pray for birth mom. We don’t know much about what’s going on, but the situation the lead her to consider adoption at all was not the best. Please pray for peace and safety and support for her. Please also pray for continued patience and peace and joy while we wait. We are in a much better spot waiting now than we were before the failed match, so that is good. As always we appreciate all of you.

We are over here finding ways to enjoy our current stage for as long as it lasts, anticipating it’s happy end, someday.

 

always darkest before dawn

•February 2, 2016 • 4 Comments

Just yesterday I was planning a post. I was planning to tell you I just can’t keep writing right now. It’s too hard, I’m in a dark place, please pray. But I couldn’t even do that. I took the pack n’ play down last night, I couldn’t see it open and empty anymore. Once the holiday rush was over everything just came crashing down and it was hard, so hard.

Then this afternoon happened. The phone started ringing, again (did some law change in the new year, I have gotten a ton of sales calls in the last few weeks!) “ITS JUST A NUMBER MOM, WE DIDN’T ANSWER IT” was screamed at me. Then I hear “it’s a 407 number, those are local numbers…blah blah blah.”

And I froze. Now as soon as I heard 407 I thought THIS IS IT! But I will also say I thought that when my sister called two hours before and just about every other phone call I’d received since Christmas. So yeah, there’s that.

But this time I was right! They wanted to have both Bycemaster and I on the phone at the same time to tell us, so we had to finagle around and get logistics going for a bit since he was at work AND in a meeting. But we got it worked out and they told us we’ve been picked:)

I will admit I started crying and maybe shaking, just a little!

Our little girl should be here by the end of the month! Our whole little family is thrilled.

We are not at liberty to share too many more details as she is not legally ours yet, we have just taken the next step on the journey to that day.

Please continue to pray for all of us as we meet birth mom and plan arrangements to bring home our little girl. Pray that things continue to go smoothly until things are legally complete.

And if you are able to give, we still have some money left to raise. We’ve gotten most of our support in person, but you are more than welcome to use the fundly as well! We are so very close, any help would be appreciated, no matter how small.

https://fundly.com/neil-joy-s-adoption-fund

As always we, especially me, so value your support and prayers. We are praying, hoping, and expecting things to go all the way to completion with this match. But even if they don’t I know will be happy to have shared knowing you all will support us through either outcome.

More to come, but I need to go set back up that pack n’ play:)

Happy New Year!

•January 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were all able to rest up after the holidays. Our vacation is over, or intermittent holiday crazy stay cation would more accurately describe it. Today is back to regularly scheduled programming. I’ll admit, yesterday I was dreading it just a little. Today I’m so happy it’s finally here! School will happen this afternoon, chores have already happened this morning. The kids are happily playing (school ironically) with each other before they have to start school this afternoon and I’m getting to sit down and get some work done.

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This meme is so me it’s a tad ridiculous. Yay routines! They are back.

My physical head is still screaming that taking away our sugar was a bad bad idea. The caffeine too! You’re killing us over here! I’m on day three of a near constant headache and fatigue even though I’ve been sleeping. But it’s a dull roar today and my mental head is ecstatic! The too much excess too much sugar too little normal overwhelmed and dull feeling in my mind is finally gone.

I’m ready to tackle all this paper work and appointments again. I’m ready for everyone to have clean underwear in their room (as opposed to the dryer) again. I’m ready to not be sore after a run because it’s a normal occurrence. I’m also ready to sit down and make up some goals for the new year, as daunting as that feels this year.

So lets go!

Are you ready for the year? Still trying to get out of the holiday funk? What are your goals and hopes for the year?

 
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