Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Plan for February

Finally got it (pretty much) nailed down. I wrote down all of the areas/ rooms in the house and decided how long it would take me to declutter and deep clean each area/ room. I also looked at my calendar to see which days I would be working on this. I will not be doing anything on Valentine's Day because I'll be busy with school parties. I am also not doing anything on Sundays or on Saturdays when the two older boys are home. I know the storage room is going to be the biggest job so I left plenty of time for that. Here is what I came up with:

Since I cut my days down and won't be working on it EVERY day, I've decided on the days I am cleaning and decluttering, I will sell/ donate TEN items instead of five. I already have a bit of a pile going. I can't wait to add to it and get it gone!!!

After this is all done, I will sort through my bins of boy clothes (I have accumulated more clothes in each size than Emmett could ever wear!) and find a way to store the boys' artwork from school. If any one has any bright ideas for that, I'm open to suggestions. Oh! I think I'll peruse Pinterest and see what I can find there.

I am looking forward to this month of cleaning and decluttering and am glad to have a few friends join me!

What Now?

In winter of 2011, just shy of my 10 year wedding anniversary, I started making plans to leave my husband. He was served with divorce papers on March 17. There were a lot of reasons for me making this decision, some valid, some probably not. I poured through the Bible and prayed, trying to find wisdom, and couldn't make sense of what was the truth and what was me twisting stuff to align with what I wanted. On my knees, in tears, begging God for answers night after night.

I went to a counselor, talked to friends, to the wife of one of our pastors.

I was desperate for knowledge, for answers.

Ultimately, I chose to pursue divorce. I'm not going to get into all the why's and whether it was the right choice or not but I do want to share a little of what it's been like since then and what I've learned/ am learning.

Divorce is a crazy thing that tears families apart, ruins friendships, and complicates life beyond what one could fathom.

For the last three years, I have dealt with guilt and shame- because I am the one who chose to cause this chaos. To ruin friendships and tear our family apart.

And because I was told, in the process of seeking wisdom, that God hates divorce and that divorce is never in His will and since God never changes, I would never again be in His will.

And this is what I want to address.

What is a person supposed to do with that? According to this nugget of  "wisdom," my life might as well be over, I no longer had a purpose, would never again walk in His will, and therefore am condemned to Hell.

Well, I am here to tell you the other side of it. The message of HOPE. The message I'm still learning myself. It's such a beautiful message of peace, hope, grace, and mercy, that everyone needs to hear it.

Imagine if, every time someone strayed from God's will, their life became pointless.

We'd have a world full of wandering nobodies.

It's such an awful place to be in, to think that your life has no purpose, that you can never again be in God's will, and that you are condemned to hell.

Here are some verses that I find comfort, peace, grace, and mercy in:

Psalm 139:14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful"

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Psalm 86:5 "You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you."

Romans 8:1 "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God."

No matter what you've been through, the choices you've made, the path you've walked- God does still love you and have a plan for you and your life IS important. Be encouraged. Pursue God and righteousness and you will find your purpose!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why I'm Not Working Out In February

Sometime last year, in the midst of having a newborn baby and long Saturdays spent at Highland Games competitions,

I began to wonder about my activities and working out and if it was all Biblical or not as far as femininity and the calling of a wife and mother. That would be a whole different blog post but it does lead in to part of my February challenge.

In February, I will be cleaning and purging. I am going to go room to room and do a deep clean and also purge (hopefully) a lot of the "stuff" we have here.

In thinking about the challenge and what it will entail, I started to think about the Proverbs 31 woman and all of the things that she did in a day. Then I realized that I don't recall her ever taking time to exercise or to nap.

It does say in verse 17 that "she girdeth her loins with strength, and stregtheneth her arms" but if you look at the previous verse, it tells us that "she considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands, she planteth a vineyard."

My interpretation of this is that yes, she was strong but... she achieved that by working.

To test my "theory," during the month of February, while I'm working hard at cleaning and decluttering, I will NOT be working out.

I think I might die.

But lets hope not ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why January is NOT a Good Month to Start

January is the month of new beginnings, New Year's Resolutions, making goals, fresh starts. I've decided, however, that February is a better month for that.

Why? You may wonder.

Think about it- Christmas is at the end of December. Our first party was the 20th and our last, the 28th. Shortly after that was New Year's which, while it was a intimate party of four, involved planning, set up, clean up (oh the confetti! Yeah, we threw confetti all over the living room. Cuz I'm cool like that )

Then, another four days of Christmas break and two snow days for the kids and today is January 13th and I am just now feeling like I am getting back in the swing of things.

No way was I in any shape or form to be able to take on a challenge, make resolutions or goals or try to attempt a feat of any such sort over the last two weeks.

But now, half way through January, I can start thinking about my challenge. And that's going to take preparation and organization.

So, February. February is the month in which I will purge five items a DAY from our home. I am so excited about this!!! It's amazing to me how much STUFF we accumulate and doing the no spend November has helped me to really hone in on my spending. Between purging and spending less, we should be among the minimalists in no time.

I also know there are others out there who need to purge and organize. And a challenge is always more fun when done with others so I'm going to ask: WHO WANTS TO JOIN ME IN PURGING 140 THINGS FROM YOUR HOME?!

Come on, you know you want to! Comment on my blog or on my facebook page and let me know you're in and watch for a blog post soon about the guidelines I'm using for the challenge.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Celebrating Grandpa

Every year, after the Christmas celebrations are done and New Years is rung in, I start to reflect on a very important person in my life- my grandpa. While some choose to continue to mourn the loss and be grief stricken by the fact that he is no longer with us, I choose to celebrate his life and the memories he has left us with. Yes, I miss him and occasionally, it makes me sad, but I'm not going to allow myself to be overcome with grief every year when this time rolls around. Not only is it not healthy, it's not what he would want.

Thirteen years ago this week, he slipped away from us. I don't remember when he got his diagnosis but he was told he had stage four cancer and would only live six months to a year. This picture was taken in December of 1999. He had gotten his diagnosis at this point and the following Christmas was his last with us. I am thankful that his last year was full of life and memory making and he was a fighter and really didn't get very sick until the last couple of months (he opted out of treatment for the cancer).

There were times in my life when we lived hours from my grandparents, and a good chunk of years where we lived just minutes, maybe even seconds apart (just down the street). We spent a lot of time with grandma and grandpa and I have so many fond memories of them both. But my grandpa, he was something special. He always had a shoulder to lean on and good advice to give. He was strong and determined. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

One thing that impacted me most is his determination. As a kid, he lost his right arm to polio. He was right handed and had to not only learn to do everything with one arm and hand- but with his less dominant side! And he did not let that slow him down one bit. When we lived on the lake, he raked the bottom of the swimming area to keep it nice for us. He tied a rope to the end of a giant rake and would throw it out there and then use the rope to pull it back in. Seriously amazing. He did EVERYTHING.

In college, I took a creative writing class and I was going through my papers the other day and came across this poem I had written as a tribute to my grandpa:

I will never forget
what a strong, wise man
my grandpa was
or how much he loved
his family and the outdoors

There was never a task
he would turn down;
his knowledge of life
and words of advice,
I will never forget

His body is slowly
growing weaker and his
breaths becoming shorter
but this does not change
the man he is inside.

We all know that soon
 it will be his time to go
the holidays are coming
and there's no question
these will be his last.

No matter what happens,
how sick he may get
I will always remember
the strong and wise man
I have always admired
This, I will not forget

We love you grandpa! And while we miss you, we also celebrate you. The memories you gave us and the love you showed us will always be very dear to each and every one of us!