"Look and see, for everyone is coming home!" Isaiah 60:4

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Elusive Day 7 Update!

Hi all!

So, if you're following along with me, I was to tackle Day 7 of this challenge exactly 13 days ago. !!! Seriously, has it taken me this long to get it done??


Let's back up. I left off talking about the fall and how it is evident almost everywhere we look. Our world tends toward chaos, disaster, despair, and disorder because of the fall. We as humans tend toward those things as well. It's summed up in our sinful nature. Our homes are also subject to the same kind of  results because of the fall.

It takes work to keep things in order and when you have to do it day by day praying you're making progress along the way, it's VERY difficult. I never put two and two together in that just as our hearts, our sin natures are part of the fall, so is the chaos in our homes.

But there is hope!
Romans 8:20-21 states:
20 For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. (HCSB)

Our hope to be set free from the bondage of corruption is in Jesus Christ alone! There is a way out of the despair, away from the disaster and disorder. Only through Jesus and His saving power can we ever have a hope of digging our way out of the rubble. We have so much more than what meets the eye against us, but we also have our God who is bigger than all of that and who is FOR us, if we so choose to trust in Him. 

Little by little I am learning this along with a host of other things God the Holy Spirit has chosen to show me and teach me. I still feel overwhelmed at the thought of it all, so I try to not dwell on all that has to be done. When I do get overwhelmed I remember that this is exactly what the enemy wants me to feel because it brings a false sense of defeat. It paralyzes me and makes me feel like he wins. If he can get a foothold there, then he can get a foothold elsewhere too to whisper lies into my ears. 

As another part of this challenge, I had to clean out my kitchen cabinets, purge and rearrange. Well, that was what was mostly holding me up from an "official" update for this passage. I finally got it all done yesterday! Here's my progress and what I ended up throwing out/donating:

Over the past thirteen days I've thrown out/recycled/donated a total of 56 items! YAY! That averages out to about four items a day :D My kitchen feels much lighter and I have more space which is just visually appealing. I hated looking at all that clutter!

 I also cleaned out the pantry just yesterday (ouch). I was able to get rid of seven more things out of there and got the rest of it cleaned up and straightened out, reorganized. I've been waiting to update until I actually accomplished that bit of the challenge. Type A much?  Sorry for such a long delay because of that one little thing. For some reason, I would have felt dishonest without having done that first.

On top of all this, I'm actually posting from Hubby's computer. "My" computer's power cord no longer works, so it is currently dead. We've ordered another one, but I don't think it's going to get here until early June. Ugh. So.Over.This. All that to say, I won't be able to access the rest of the 31 Days to Clean study because it's on the dead computer. Makes me want to cry. So this will probably be one of the few posts until I can get the dead computer back up again. I'm committed to picking back up again. I'm also going to continue to do the Clutter Busting Challenge and am going to continue to chronicle the rest of that challenge. Hope to see you back!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 7

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey! 

Good Morning all! This is Day 7 of the 31DtC/CBC!

Today the reading spoke about the curse and it's role in what we're dealing with in our striving for a clean home.

I know there are times when I feel like I can't make any progress on the house, and I get so overwhelmed by it, by how much I see needs to be done. I don't know about you, but I feel so frustrated sometimes when it just doesn't seem to go the way I intend for it, or when it takes twice as long to get done. All of this is because of the Curse.

I don't want to go into too much detail and take away from the book, but I will say I'm not sure I agree with the reason the author gives for the Curse. Regardless of that point, the Curse is something we all deal with daily. Sometimes we realize it, sometimes we don't. But either way, turning things around in our home is that much more backbreaking, now that I realize what we're up against. The Curse of all things! No wonder I haven't been able to do this cleaning thing on my own. I now realize just how much I NEED Jesus with me while I tackle this. Amazing I would even try to do this on my own. Wow.

What do you think of what we're facing during this challenge? Do you feel it's something else entirely?

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 6 Update

Hi all! This is Day 6 update.

 Sorry I didn't post it last night. D-baby was not wanting me to go anywhere and wanted to cuddle with mama to go to sleep.

So yesterday I had to make a "Six List" for the day and start checking things off. Here's how my list ended up:

Not bad for the first try!

I also had to clean out my cabinets, reorganize an purge some stuff if it didn't belong anymore. Here's what I got rid of. I'm going to make this stone count for two birds and use this for my Clutter Busting Challenge.

~ Four coffee mugs
~ Two sippy cups
~ Three lids with no cups
~ One flip top cup that I've never really liked.

10 things for the day. I only got through 3 cabinets, and I have 6 left. We'll see how today goes. I'm hoping to get through most of them today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 6

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey! 

Good morning all!

I hope everyone's weekend went well! We've been battling more sickness here, so sorry for the lack of posts on time. I'm praying and taking action to make sure this week will be much better.

Today was day 6 in the 31DtC/CBC and the book reviewed "The Six List". You can see the original story here, but it's basically getting into the habit of writing down the six most important things for the day and then tackling them one by one.

I've seen this in Mary Kay before, but I never really took it to heart then. Now, I do something like that to keep the two most important chores going every day. I go through my morning routines and then start on the dishes and laundry. I figure these are the most important things to tackle here because if we're too busy for anything else, we'll at least have clean clothes and diapers for D-baby and we'll have clean dishes. Then I'll tackle the rest of the chores/projects the rest of the day. 

I've tried to do it more like this before, but never really made it habit. I don't know if I'll stick with it like this, but I'll try for the challenge. I know there are a couple things I've been putting off for awhile, so maybe doing it this way will help me remember them much better than my current method, which can be a bit scattered at times.

So, how do you organize your day's tasks? Have you tried "The Six List" or something similar? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 4 and 5 Update

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey! 
Hi all!

Usually I don't update 2 days at once, but it had to be done. 

Anyways, so here's the results of my day 4. I didn't get anyone invited over, but I did call a few people that day which resulted in me sitting down for a while instead of multitasking and cleaning while on the phone. It was so nice to be able to just sit for awhile and intentionally not worry about what mess was lurking behind the corner. 

For day 4 I was also to clean the oven and microwave.

BLECH! I am so glad that's gone now!
Here's the oven. I've got it all sprayed down with oven cleaner. It's been sitting overnight, so I'll clean it up later on today.
For day 5, I thought about the way my priorities seem to be lined out right now. I still haven't come to a conclusion for how to best realign them to what I think they should be. Is it just that I need to spend more time on those that are important to me or do I just need to make it a heart adjustment? I'll really need to think on this more. For now, I think I'll use what was written in the book as a springboard for crafting my own set of priorities. 

Today, I also cleaned up the glass door and the window in the kitchen. It was ugly, ya'll.

Here's the before of the door:

and the after:

I forgot I had needed to get 14 things for the Clutter Busting Challenge and ended up only getting 7 instead. I'll try to remember again today. Here's what I'm getting rid of:

~5 old, expired medications. I emptied out the bottles, but our recycling program doesn't take prescription bottles, so I just took off the old labels, washed them out and will re-purpose them to hold seeds from the garden. I am so glad these are out of my house!
~A bag of cheerios I found in my purse
~A plastic container 

Hope to be back with a Day 6 post in a bit!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 5

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey!
Good morning all! This is day 5 of the 31DtC/CBC!
I haven't gotten to post my Day 4 update yet, mostly because I haven't done it yet, so I'll be doing Days 4 and 5 together and posting them together tonight, including getting rid of 14 things total, since I didn't get to that yesterday either.

Today's passage is about the priorities in our lives. Most of us would say we have our priorities in line. But do our lives reflect what we say our priorities are? Probably not as much as we would like them to. I know this is true for me most every single day. I say certain things are at the forefront of my day, but are they really? Right now, my focus is getting to a more personal relationship with God through prayer at the start of my day. I know that if I don't do it first, it won't get done. And there have been many days I didn't put the effort into it.
I want my priorities to be God, Hubby/Marriage, Kids/Parenting, Home, Personal. But usually it ends up more like this: God, Home, Kids, Personal, Kids (again), Home (again), Personal (again) Hubby. This obviously isn't how I say I want my priorities to be lined up. God does get the first little bit of my time, but that's the only time He gets. Don't you think he deserves so much more. The house and kids are the next big areas, but mostly because I spend most of my waking moments with both of them in some capacity. I do get a little bit of personal time during naptime and sometimes when the kids are in bed. Hubby ends up dead last, mostly because he and I don't see each other much unless the kids are sleeping. We also rarely make an effort to spend time together apart from the kids during the times he is with us. Something's gotta change. 

Today I'll be praying and focusing on what my priorities are as they stand, and how to get them where I want them to be. I'd like to hear your point of view too!

What are your priorities, and how do you get them back in line when things get off track?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge: Day 4

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey!
Good morning all! This is day 4 of my 31DtC/CBC!
I'm feeling pretty good about things, so this is exciting for me!

Today we talked about how to make sure you have a house others feel welcomed in and not that is "untouchable". I've been in houses like that before. Not only is it untouchable, but to me it generally feels cold and unloving. That's not what we're aiming for here.

I've discussed with my husband a few times before about this kind of thing. He's always laughed and joked with me that I dream of a huge, fancy house that looks perfect and belongs in a magazine. Secretly my type A self would love that, but I don't want something that looks perfect for that reason alone. I want a house, any size house, that looks lived in and most of all, allows whomever walks in to feel loved or to see that "those who live here love here". Sterile and cold is just not my thing. 

So, what do you do to fill your home with love?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 3 Update

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey!
I'm so bad at getting things done on time....sorry all!
But I did get everything done on my list! I'm excited, especially since today my Graves was acting up pretty bad most of the time. 

31DTC Challenge

For the first part of the challenge I was to find out what makes my family feel the most loved when I care for our home.  These are the responses I got:
~Keeping the bedroom clean, making it feel more relaxed and less cluttered.
~When we go to the store to get more food.
~When I can be a helper.
For the second part I cleaned off the top of the refrigerator, and cleaned off the outsides of the cabinets, including the oven door. 
Yikes....um, seriously needed to do this today. I had no clue it was this bad!

SO much better! Now I don't feel gross about it anymore.

Um, so I just noticed how awful the dishwasher door looks. I don't know why I didn't do that along with the rest of the cabinets.

Clutter Busting Challenge

Here's what I'm getting rid of today:

~ A movie
~ A book
~ A cute "Yard Sale Money" jar
~ A candle
~ 6 jarred baby foods
~ A can of formula

I love getting rid of all this stuff! Tomorrow I'll show you where it's all going and why I haven't gotten rid of it just yet!

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 3

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining 
Join me on this journey!

Morning all!

Today is day 3 of the Clutter Busting Challenge! 

Sorry for the weird hiatus. We've been battling allergies with Isabel for the past week or so, and then randomly my middle and the baby started with allergies and I came down with flu-ish symptoms. On top of that, around dinner time last night, Isabel scratched her cornea and we had to make a trip to urgent care. They think it'll be healed by tomorrow at the latest, but she has to wear a patch on her eye for today. Please be praying for her. She's a bit self conscious about wearing that to school. I don't blame her. 

Today's passage covered specific ways we can give life to our homes. I so needed this. I had a generalized idea of what this would look like in my head, but this really helped me see much more clearly what it would look like in real life. It also pointed out several spots where I'm lacking greatly. 

As I was going through this list I realized the first three points centered around controlling the tongue. The same tongue that is talked about in James 3:2-10. Yikes!

Oh boy.
Tackling this list might take a bit lot longer than I thought.

The next two points centered around what our eyes see.  Not just what we perceive, but really what we see and take in consciously and sub-consciously. The first part of Psalm 101:3 speaks clearly to these things. And let's face it, clutter is worthless. 1 Peter 2: 4-5 talks about the church being built into a "spiritual house". We are also told to remember we are "temples of the Holy Spirit" in 1 Corinthians 6:19. When I picture these two "houses" I don't see them as cluttered. They are beautiful.

The last five points are either of a spiritual nature, emotional nature or both. It's starting me straight in the eye how none of these things that really bring life to our homes are really about just the clutter. It centers around a heart issue or an emotional/spiritual issue. 

I don't know how God will lead me to resolve these issues in the next few weeks but I'm praying for healing in these areas. If you're following along with me and you need healing in these areas, know I'm praying for you. If you care to leave a comment, please do. It's so amazing to see how God weaves this all together. But even if you don't, know that God knows you and knows every bit of your situation, down to where it hurts the most and how to heal it.

I'm planning on being back with a Day 3 update by 6 pm tonight. Praying for you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 2 Update

For the month of May I'll be spring cleaning 
through the ebook 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae and joining
Join me on this journey!

Hi all! I'm back to give the results of Day 2!

For the 31 Days to Clean I cleaned out and wiped down my fridge. I would have done the freezer, but Hubs wasn't home yet and it goes so much faster (and more fun!) when we tackle it together. Plus we cleaned out the freezer about a month ago, so I don't think it's too gross.

 Then I wiped down the doors, the water/ice dispenser, especially the door handles! Yikes!

For the Clutter Busting Challenge, I was able to get rid of 7 more things:

~An old Walkman
~A votive candle
~A bottle of fish food (our fish died about a year ago)
~A pants hanger
~A movie
~A book
~An almost expired phone book

How much were you able to get rid of?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clutter Busting Challenge : Day 2

Good morning all!

We're on day 2 of the challenge. Today talked about how as women we are life givers, to those around us and the environment we live in. What can I do today to bring life to my home, my family and those around me? Here's what I can do specifically in today's important areas of life:

Marriage: Having a date night with hubby tonight! yay!
Kids: Have a game time with them today after school! Maybe pop some popcorn, a favorite around here.
Home: Get 7 items in the box and complete Martha challenge day 2, clean fridge and freezer.

I've never thought of myself as a life giver. I'm not sure I've even known of the concept of being a life giver til I read today's passage. But I do agree that we as women do have that role. We all just need practice on being life givers in different areas of our lives. I personally need to practice it in the last two areas listed above, Kids and Home. I'm not great in the marriage area, but I do try to make conscious decisions about what I could do for my hubby daily to improve/maintain our marriage.

I mentioned I would share a little about my new morning routine and how excited I was about it! After I completed the Early to Rise Challenge, I knew I wasn't going to stop getting up at 5 am. But I also wanted to be able to incorporate some other goals into my morning, specifically prayer time. So, for now, my morning routine is:
~Prayer time
~Coffee and toast, Bible Study and Daily Bible Readings
~Write 31DtC/7 items recap
~Get kids up and ready for the day

I really like the way this is set up to put prayer as the very first thing I do in the morning. I tried this morning just a typical one on one with God prayer time, but I think I need to do something different than a traditional prayer method. I found my thoughts wandering ALL OVER the place and couldn't get a handle on what I was exactly saying. I'm thinking prayer journaling  would be the way to go. I know a lot of people set up their prayer journal with just entries of what to pray for during their prayer time, but I'd like to figure out a way to do that plus an area for writing out my prayer to God while I'm praying it. I think just the act of writing it while I'm thinking it will slow my thoughts down and make them clearer for me to process. Plus I can write down updates and answered prayers and be able to cross reference them to see the process God lead. I'm excited!

Oh, and I know I mentioned a picture of my Mary challenge from yesterday so here it is:

We were told to write out our why so we have a vision for what we're doing and can focus back on it when we need to remember why we're doing this in the first place.

Hope to be back today with a recap!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Early To Rise Challenge Day 30!!!! and Recap of Clutter Busting Challenge Day 1

Good Morning all!

This is Day 30 of the Money Saving Mom Early to Rise Challenge!

Day 30!!! EEKKK!!

*happy dance*

I honestly didn't think I would make it all the way til the end. My track record shows I typically give up about 1/3 of the way into something, so this is big for me. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to tackle something like this, and complete the task. This really gives me motivation for other challenges in the future.

Thank you so much Andy Traub for writing this book. It really has been a catalyst for me to start changing my life in so many different ways. The rising early habit I have learned is now time that I value instead of dread. I can already see a difference in the way I tackle the day and that in itself is a big accomplishment. No more ruts for me!

Now, I have to be honest. Not everything is changing. I still stay up WAY too late for my good, sometimes I still hit the snooze button and I am still way too hard on myself for not having loads of progress at times. Old habits die hard, huh? I suspect progress will come with time for those goals too.

On to tackle more challenges!

Yesterday I mentioned I was joining in on Money Saving Mom's May Clutter Busting Challenge. I'm also combining this challenge with Sarah Mae's ebook 31 Days to Clean just to have a chance to spring clean too. Then we'll tackle two birds with one stone. By the end of this month I'll have less stuff to try to keep clean. Makes sense to me!

Yesterday went well. I was able to get the 31DtC challenges done that morning, but hadn't done the CB challenge by dinnertime. I don't know why I waited so long. It took me all of 3 minutes to do.

Here's what I ended up getting rid of:

2 plastic containers, 3 boxes of breastmilk storage bags, a package of bottle nipples, and a baby monitor. I didn't take pictures of my 31DtC accomplishments, but will try to remember to have those up with today's Day 2 post. OH, and sorry for the lack of post on "actual" day 1. I had planned to after dinner, but we had to make an emergency run to the doc.

Isabel had been having itchy watery eyes since the day before and I thought nothing of it at first. I gave her the typical allergy eye drops and benedryl because I thought they were her seasonal allergies, but nothing was working. Finally I suspected pink eye and realized if we didn't get her to the doc within the hour she'd have to wait until today to go, meaning I would miss a meeting at Renew this morning, not to mention she would be miserable. I was right (I hate it when I'm right sometimes) We didn't get back home til after 9 pm. Oh well. She won't be going to school today, so the kids can afford to sleep in this morning.

Anyway, I'll try to get my 31DtC/CBC done before dinner tonight! See you in a bit!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Month, New 31 Days to Clean Challenge

Hi all!

I am so stoked for the new month!

With the ETR challenge FINALLY ending tomorrow, I decided it would be a perfect time to start a new challenge.This month, I'll be doing the 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae as well as Money Saving Mom's Clutter Busting Challenge. I missed Money Saving Mom's April spring cleaning challenge :( so I thought I would do my own during May. I was planning on catching back up with her in June, but her May Clutter Busting challenge just fit right in.

Here's what'll happen...

Tomorrow I'll put up my last ETR challenge post AND my first morning Spring Clean post and share with you my new morning routine come May 3! I'm pretty excited about it, if you can't tell ;) I'm finally able to set myself up to tackle several goals at once with my early mornings. I've been trying to figure out how to work tackling more goals into my day since January.

So, be on the look out for this button:

(I made it myself!)

and be sure to follow my Pinterest board if you don't already!

Tonight I'll post my first 31DtC/CBC post for day 1!
See you in a bit!

*Please note: As far as I know Sara Mae is not doing a challenge on her blog that I'm following. I'm just going out of her 31 Days to Clean ebook. I have no affiliation with her otherwise. Over and out.

Early To Rise Challenge Day 29

Good Morning!

This is Day 29 of the Money Saving Mom Early to Rise Challenge!

This is a busy week at our house and I'm excited to share some of it with you later today!

For now, we'll just get on to the passage for today. It was a great reminder for my type A self to not pressure myself so much. I really love that the passages are real. Today we covered how not every morning will be amazing, yield massive progress, etc.

Like I said, I need the reminder daily pretty much that things just won't go quite as I planned. I get so caught up in making sure I have enough time to complete what I was hoping to that I have actually sent my kids back to bed after they unexpectedly got up (it was summer, so they could afford to sleep in, and they got up around 5:30 for cryin' out loud!)

Worrying about the older two getting up too early is no longer an issue since they discovered they like their sleep and have to grudgingly get up at 6:30 am every morning. Now it's D-baby that I'm dealing with. Lately he's not too much of a morning intruder, but I really did struggle when he would wake up around 5:30 am too. 5:30 was NOT a time I wanted to allow a 1 year old to get up and start the day.

I've had to remember not to beat myself up for it too much and have actually had to deal with feelings of inadequacy because I wasn't able to get to everything I wanted to. Usually I bite off way more than I can chew anyway. Another habit I need to get rid of.

How do you deal with unexpected interruptions, either during your quiet time in the morning or other times of the day?

So what time did I get up this morning? I was up by 5:04 am and was able to start on my new challenge for the month of May. I'll share more later today. I'm very excited to pursue another challenge and really hope it will be as beneficial as this one was.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this challenge! One more day, one more day!