mission clothes – part 2

•May 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

So Bycemaster and I went through our clothes last week, closet, coat closet and drawers. All was sorted and bagged and removed from the house (though it is in the garage, but it’s going!)

Here’s my take-aways:

  1. I had no idea there was so much guilt attached to my wardrobe. I’ve have a war on guilt. I don’t want it and I don’t need to live with it, but I had never even considered my closet a source of it. Now when I get dressed in the morning, there is no subliminal guilt rushing in to start my day. It’s fantastic.
  2. I had much more clothes than I thought. I’ve kept my wardrobe lean for years, but there was still two giant bags of stuff I took out with no issue. There are clothes left, plenty of them actually. I must admit, I was a little scared.
  3. It looks so neat and orderly. Every drawer has a little bit of wiggle room, the hangers have space between them. I could hang up all my wraps that I’d kept in the closet where I could see them. It feels lighter.
  4. I’m actually excited to do the kids’ clothes, even if it’s still daunting.

So this week is kids’ clothes. I’m planning to have them work with me, at least the older two. I’ll do the baby clothes myself. What brings joy to me is what that little angel is going to where when she gets here. She can have her own opinion when she gets older:)

I had originally planned these for two weeks, boys’ clothes one week and the girls’ the next. But I’m thinking I should take the momentum and do them all in one week. I know some of you did the whole family last week already! But for the rest of us, is that too much for everyone? Can we get all kiddie clothes done in a week?

Do as much as you can this week and comment and let me know if we need to stretch it another week.

How did your last week go? Are you catching the excitement? Are you feeling freer yet?

 

mission next – clothes part 1

•May 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hey everyone! We are back from vacation and I’m ready to start. I hope you all did your homework and visualized your future in your tidy home and why you want it! We are jumping right in this week.

According to the order of things in the KonMari method, clothes are first. They are the easiest and least emotional area of the home to sort through (according to her.) Since we have 6 people’s worth of clothes over here I am splitting this into 3 weeks, starting with the adult clothes. I mean we are supposed to be setting an example for our kids, right?

So gather ALL your clothes in one place, jackets, scarfs, hats, workout clothes, pjs, underwear, all of it. The importance of having them all in one place is to show the real quantity (which she says most people are surprised by) and begin to combat the ‘I don’t have enough’ mentality.

She says to make a big pile on the floor, I’m planning to use our bed (little more motivation to finish!). Once we have everything, (she says anything that was missed was obviously not important enough to be remembered so it immediately goes if/when found later) we are to individually pick up each article of clothing. If picking it up sparks joy, brings a smile to your face, makes you feel good, feels like you, whatever you want to call it, keep it. The rest goes.

Our objective is to focus on what we are keeping. This isn’t purging, this is finding the things that are you, that are me, and ONLY having those around. Be thankful for the things that are going. They were designed to bring joy to someone, let them go to do their job. Be thankful for the purpose they played in your life while you had and send them on their way.

If you want to have a little fun, keep track of how many bags of clothes are going on to bring joy somewhere else. We can post them on next weeks assignments for a little motivation/competition (for those that are into that sort of thing.)

Joy with what is kept, gratitude for what is going. That’s the goal. Are you ready?

You have one week. GO!

your first mission should you choose to accept

•May 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

We are getting ready to go on vacation. For a whole week. Just our family. We are breaking new ground over here. Long overdue ground. I am super pumped!

Cat sitting and house sitting is set up, van is cleaned out, suitcases are almost packed. Which means it’s time to blog! Right? Packing food, finishing the suitcases, cleaning the dirty dishes and taking out the trash…I am certain they all come after blogging.

I want to leave you with your first tidying assignment! I know already that some of you are going to scoff at this assignment (I can hear you in my head). But this is important. I want you to give it your full attention this week.

I want you to visualize.

Yep that’s right. This week’s assignment is all in your head. But we can’t get anywhere when we don’t know where we are going.

So from Marie:

“This means visualizing the ideal lifestyle you dream of. If you skip this step, not only will it delay the whole process, but it will also put you at a higher risk of rebound.”

“Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.”

“Your next step is to identify why you want to live like that.”

She recommends you ask why to each piece you visualize at least 3-5 times. Really drill down to why you want this.

So for me, I know my house is going to be messy, I have a bunch of children here, we are (lord willing!) going to have a baby here again. Messy it will be.

But…I want everything to have a place. Why? Because I want the house to be 15 minutes from tidied, even when it’s messy. If everything has a place and everyone knows where that place is, picking up is quicker and easier. Why? Because I want us all to be able to sit down at night and relax in a clean environment. Why? Because I love beautiful things and I love the beautiful things I’ve put in our home, when I can see them. When I’m not distracted by the piles and mess and clutter. Why? Because they bring me peace and joy. We have more anxiety than we need in our life right now. I want peace. And there we have arrived.

I am doing this for peace.

The physical clutter is just a part of the mental clutter. We are facing and dealing with both over here. I’m really in this for the mental benefits.

Really think this week and visualize a whole day in your clutter free space. What will it look like? Feel like? What will you do in that space? Can you see it?

Why do you want to live clutter free? Why? Why? Why? What’s really driving you?

I’ll see you next week! Can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

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!

 
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