Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If the Lord wills...

I did it again.
You would think I would learn.
But alas, I apparently have not.

James 4:13-14 says it all...
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Over weeks and weeks I thought of ways to tackle my mess of stuff. Stuff we had accumulated through years and years of kids and great intentions, stuff that is no longer our "style", stuff we can't figure out how we accumulated. I knew I needed to purge, but I also needed to do school, help with E's parents, organize events for the upcoming school year, prepare lessons for our little Friday "co-op".

Then, some friends and I set a date for a garage sale. Next, I looked at our schedule and could see a small window of time when we would have a break from school (Hannah was attending a week-long quilting camp). I peered in my garage and my kids rooms and down my hallway and saw huge piles of stuff. And after a little pondering I had a plan.

I am great at making plans.
I sometimes even make cute little charts to go along side my fabulous plans.
But then it happened.
I forget something...

James 4:15 reminds me...
Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."
And that is where I messed up. I forgot to seek the Lord before I made my plans for my super purge party. Not that getting rid of stuff was bad, it was that I did not seek the Lord's will for my use of time. And while my purging has been successful in the area of getting rid of unnecessary things, it has also left my house in a shambles and left me cranky and quick to grow angry with the kids and overwhelmed with the piles.

So, the next couple of days will be one for making repairs... both to the order of my home, but also with the children, seeking their forgiveness for being "snappy Momma", and resuming gentle teaching and guiding, encouraging them to work joyfully on their chores. And they will be days where the children and I can discuss how God's mercies are new every morning.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Goodbye stroller, goodbye wagon...

I have been asking myself all week, "Do I really need this?" Sometimes the answer is "yes" and other times "maybe" and a few times there has been a bittersweet "no".

Tonight I continued the purging and cleaning and, thanks to the cool after-rain weather, I decided to tackle the garage. For those of you who don't know, the garage is my nemesis. I will spend a whole Saturday to put everything where it belongs, sweeping and decluttering, only for it to be returned to a complete disaster in a matter of days.

One of my biggest garage challenges had always been age-appropriate ride-on toys for 6 children and two adults. Strollers, wagons, pedal car, push cars, trikes, bikes, scooters, and then just plain stuff. This evening as I was working it occurred to me that in the last year or so the only time we have taken the big red wagon out of the garage was to get to something else. I have taken the stroller places recently, but it only ends up being used as a hard-to-maneuver purse and kid stuff holder. So, as sad as it was, I packed it up and took it to my mom's for the upcoming garage sale, along with two car loads full of stuff. I am hoping the garage stays clean for a little longer now...

This week I plan to keep purging and cleaning and organizing. We need to start school again on the 27th, with our new fall "co-op" of sorts starting the following Friday. I want to "put everything in its place" and make an easy to keep up with cleaning schedule.

All the time I have been cleaning and purging, I keep being reminded of Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

It has been good for me, to lay aside this weight of stuff. The process has challenged me to consider my priorities, my buying habits, as well as revealed that organized hoarding is just as bad as disorganized hoarding. I have been able to sympathize with my children who struggle to put their stuff away (even though they have clearly labeled bins), they have benefited from letting some stuff go, as hard as it is sometimes...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Of order and organizing...

Back in the Spring we tried to sell our house to buy a little ranch... I spent more than two weeks working all day long and until 2am prepacking, taking things to a storage unit, scrubbing, cleaning, painting. In the end, we didn't keep our house on the market very long (the people who's ranchette we wanted said "no"), and all the stuff in storage came back and landed in my garage.

Since then, months and months ago, I have taken a few hours here and a morning there, trying to unpack and reduce clutter. Much to my disappointment, I have found myself unsuccessful and overwhelmed by our stuff. Part of the frustration is that in the past I bought too much, sometimes I bought things way before my children were capable of doing the craft project, or puzzle, or game and I have stored it for years because of that. Some of the frustration comes from children (and husband) who take after their grand and great grandparents, who were ranchers and kept everything because you may need it... and when I say everything, I mean everything! When you buy too much and you keep everything, there is only so much that clever organization can do, at some point, the seams split and you have to make a decision.

So, this week we were planning to do school... last week NJ when to golf camp and next week H goes to quilting camp, so this week we were going to do plug away at school... instead we are purging, cleaning, organizing. The kids have joyfully been really trying, sometimes they are overly eager and we put a few items back, other times their motivation wanes... but our pile of stuff to give away/sell/throw away is growing and growing and growing. (Garage sale on September 15th... I love deadlines.)

And now, back to dusting, sorting, purging...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This week has been a blur, and yet it is only Wednesday. Weeks like this remind me why we keep a low profile and strive to minimize our outside commitments.

Noah has been at golf camp all week. Hannah has had two orthodontist appointments to remove her braces and be fitted for her retainer. We have driven across San Antonio and back looking for items for Elliott to wear/use/decorate with on "Orange Spirit Day" at Whataburger on Friday. I have been dragging kids in and out of stores all week (but we got some really cool stuff... I will have to post pictures!) We have been out of the house for five hours a day straight, and then had errands and other commitments in the afternoons. I am wiped out.

Tomorrow is our last day of flitting around. I am so excited for lunchtime to come tomorrow and to be able to curl up on the couch with the kids and finish reading Johnny Tremain. Friday during the day we have nothing planned, but the weekend is full and our family will head in three different directions on Saturday. The kids are all excited about getting back into our school routine on Monday. I am too.

We have a few more weeks before some of the really big "back to school" stuff kicks off. I am still trying to figure out the logistics of it all. All of it is very exciting!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another direction...

I have had such a wonderful time detailing my blessings for the last month on this blog. I have found the exercise of being purposefully thankful to be an amazing tool in teaching me to look at everyday, mundane, moments in new ways. Not to mention, considering how blessings sometimes come in unlikely, and at times unpleasant, circumstances. It has been the perfect reminder that Romans 8:28-29 really is true, and God is incredibly faithful to continue to sanctify me!

However, due to time constraints (i.e. very little computer time during the day with littles all around), I have found it nearly impossible to make lists and blog. Don't get me wrong, I love lists!!! But I do miss complete sentences. I imagine that from time to time, I will jot down some things to be thankful for, knowing that opportunities for being grateful to the Lord for all He has done abound innumerably.

Our school year has started and some exciting things on are the horizon... I look forward to sharing some of the wacky and crazy things we are going to try this year, like hosting a co-op of sorts at my house... and helping start up a local 4-H Chapter... and building a new house!

Right now I am sitting in the middle of my husband's office trying to unpack things we packed away when we tried to sell our house a few months back, organize some stuff that never seems to get put where it belongs, and pack anything we don't use everyday to get a jumpstart on our move next spring... not to mention the purge and trash piles that are growing in anticipation of a neighborhood garage sale!

I am thankful for a week off from school (we have already logged a month!!!!) while Noah goes to golf camp... I am going to work around the house and trying to be brutal with letting stuff go. I began culling out toddler stuff (Micah turns 3 next week!) and offering to our church nursery renovation.

But for now, back to organizing, and then to bed! Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Encouragement and coffee...

253. Seeing blessings in the mundane
254. Dogs who curl up and sleep on the couch with us for afternoon read-alouds
255. Grocery shopping with three of the youngest, and for a GF treat at the checkout
256. Coffee and shopping with a sweet friend, reminding each other of God's sovereignty and perfect plan
257. Elliott baking brownies
258. A great start to the new school year, and even more wonderful things coming soon
259. God's Word and the testimony of past heroes of the faith

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Can't help but keep counting...

246. For chiropractors who help "get the kinks out"
247. A surprise dinner with friends
248. Getting some organizing projects started
249. Costco's Rotisserie Chicken being Gluten-Free
250. Cleaning up my email and getting some scheduling done for the Fall
251. An afternoon nap which helped me cope with a 5-day migraine
252. A faithful piano teacher who comes every week to teach my wiggly kids how to play the great hymns of the Christian faith