Monday, June 29, 2009

The hardest part of my week

I have decided that the hardest part of my week is now Mondays. I have always liked Mondays; it’s a new start to the week, a chance to start off the week right and leave behind any mistakes or issues from the previous.

Mondays still feel like a new beginning, a new chance to do some great things, but I have been getting behind and not keeping up my good habits over the weekend. Throughout the week, I have been doing a good job of keeping the dirty dishes put in the dishwasher so that the kitchen is always only a few minutes away from being able to show the house. The weekend kind of gets away from me in that aspect. I don’t know if it is more that I want to spend that time hanging out with the family, or that my husband, who works out of town during the week is home, so we cook bigger more elaborate meals and make more dishes. It’s probably a combination of the two.

My goal for the rest of this week and through the weekend is to keep up with my dishes. I will strive to put them in the dishwasher as soon as a meal is over, to run the dishwasher when it is full, and get the clean ones put away promptly so there is room for the next set of dirties, and to go to bed with a clean kitchen counter.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I did it!

Two of the things that often cause my downfall are perfectionism and procrastination. They go hand in hand. I tend to be a perfectionist, which at first look doesn’t seem plausible, but my perfectionism leads to my procrastination. I can’t do the job completely, it seems too daunting to start, I only have a short amount of time and I tell myself it isn’t worth starting if I can’t finish.

I have to work hard to keep myself from falling into that trap too often. If I let things get too far behind then it will feel overwhelming so I don’t start. One of my goals is to do something each day, even if it is something small.

Yesterday I only got one thing done, I cleaned out my purse. Boy did it need it. It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking it wasn’t enough, it was such a small thing that it hardly counts, but it does. Every accomplishment toward your goal is an accomplishment. Big or small doesn’t matter when you can say, “I did it!”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed

I mentioned briefly in my first post that one of the reasons I was feeling the pull toward a more simple life was from the past two years of my youngest sons medical issues. If I told the whole story it would take way to long for anyone to want to read, so I'll try to condense as much as I can in order to explain why this contributes to my longing.

My youngest was adopted just over two years ago from China. He was a 'waiting child', meaning that he had some kind of special need. He was born with spina bifida. Since he has been home he has had two spinal cord detether surgeries, a shunt placed for hydrocephalus and a split tendon transfer on one ankle. These things, really haven't been an issue. It has been the previously undiagnosed things that have been much more difficult to adjust too. After he'd been home around 6 months he was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, one of the main hallmarks of that condition is excessive daytime sleepiness. He will fall asleep at anytime and any place. When his brain says sleep, he will, and there isn't much you can do to stop it. He also was diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder. SPD can take on so many different symptoms in a child. One thing for him is auditory defensiveness. If you are in the grocery store and see a friend that you want to visit with, you can tune out all the other noises and focus on your friends words. For my son, every sound will go into his brain and be processed with the same importance. He will hear the squeaky cart going down the next aisle, the special sale on apples over the intercom, maybe even the buzz of the florescent lights as well as the words of the friend. For him, most public places have felt like he was at a rock concert for him. He has improved greatly, and even survived a trip to a busy pizza place with friends last night with only minimal frustration. For him, when there is too much sensory input, he will get overwhelmed and feel threatened then go into fight or flight mode. Needless to say, a lot of busy public places have been difficult. He has learned how to cope in many situations, but there are still some that we just avoid because it isn't worth the risk of a meltdown.

How does this contribute to my tug toward a simpler lifestyle? We chose to not do many things, and not go to many different places because we knew it would be overwhelming. You know what? Most of those busy things, I really haven't missed.

So, my question for myself is, if I can survive without those things in my life, what else can I survive without?

I just searched through my book shelf to find "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard J. Foster. I read it years ago one summer in college at a bible study and wanted to reread the chapter on Simplicity.

"The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style." He goes on to say that having the outward life-style without the inward discipline it leads to legalism. I can see how this could so easily happen. I don't just want to have a clean house or an orderly house. I want a simpler lifestyle. I want to be happy with what God has given me. I want to be a good steward of the gifts He has granted me.

Our culture worries more about what you have, how good of a job you have, what kind of vehicle you drive, how big, or what neighborhood you live in. As we gear up to move to a larger metropolitan area, this has been on my mind quite a bit. How can I help protect myself and my family from getting even more into the 'stuff' culture.

Foster also says "It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick." I don't want to be sick. I don't want to conform to that society.

As I work toward an outwardly simple life, I must work even harder on the spiritual discipline of contentment and simplicity.


Stretching me

I am a messy. I admit it. I always have been it seems like. My mom is the total opposite, she is a clean freak. I don't know if my messy tendencies have anything to do with that or not, but I'm tired of it.

Our house is on the market, so therefore it has been a HUGE job to get things ready to sell. Its all about staging, and in reality, tricking the potential buyer to thinking you have more space than you do. That or I just had way too much stuff. Probably the latter.

I have spent months decluttering. With everything I come across I ask myself. "Is this worth paying money to move?" If the answer is yes, then it needs to find a home in my house, if the answer is no, then trash or to Goodwill it goes. I've lost track of how many van loads I've taken to Goodwill in the last couple of months. The scary thing is, that there is still so many things that I really don't need. Now that the house looks good, I've started going through closets and drawers and getting rid of more junk . . . I mean, good useful things that I really don't need and can easily live without . . . no, I really mean junk.
Here is a picture diary of one afternoon of my work. I never thought I would say this, me . . . the messy . . . but I actually enjoyed the process. Even more than the process, I LOVED the end product.

Corner kitchen cabinet before:

Can you believe all this stuff came off of that top shelf?

What was left on the top shelf. All of the cake decorating stuff, food coloring, sprinkles etc. are in the tub.

Look at all those cookie cutters. I make cut out sugar cookies only sometimes on holidays.
The holiday cutters I kept are in the tub on the left, the small Gladware container houses the thermometers for when the kids get sick.
Drum roll please . . .
Here is that same stuffed full and overflowing cabinet after:

We had so many medicines and vitamins that were all over the place. Now, on the middle shelf in the white tub are all the cold medicines. It is now easy to just pull that tub out when it is needed. The green tub holds the boys medicines and vitamins that they use on a daily basis. I can pull that tub out and fill their daily pill boxes each week.
On the bottom shelf I have, sorted into bins, the medicines and vitamins that we use on a more regular basis. All easily accessible and visible.

Longing for simplicity

Recently I have felt a tug toward living a more simple life. I don't know how much of this tug is God wanting me to grow more and teach me something, because of the current economy, because we are trying to sell our house, or because of the last two years of medical issues with my youngest son.

Either way, I feel a pull to live a less hectic life, to rely less on stuff and more on God.

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my journey as well as to keep me accountable. I figure even if only one person ends up reading this, it will help keep me going as I move forward in this personal and family journey.