I wrote a few weeks ago that when my head is a mess, I am compelled to order my environment. In practical application, this means three things: cleaning. purging. painting.
and I guess decorating. If you count framing stuff I’ve been meaning to frame for…ever. and putting new flooring in downstairs. and getting rid of useless decorative items that just take up space in my house.
Like a bowl of rocks.
at one point in my life, I PAID for a bowl of rocks and put them on a flat surface in my house. To hold candles. Candles that are – to this day – still wrapped in plastic.
purging. This particular purge isn’t so bad. The biggest purge I’ve done was after my hysterectomy in 2009. That was bad. My house and it’s contents suffered nearly two years of female neglect because of chronic anemia and limited activity, followed by another 6 months of recovery after the surgery.
This purge is deeper.
A stripping down to basics purge.
On May 31st, I said I wanted “I want every superfluous thing in my house gone. GONE.” I’m looking at EVERYTHING in my house as if I were moving. Would I want to pack it? or get rid of it?
I’ve thrown away and shredded so. much. paper. We’ve already made one trip to the dump. I’ve completely emptied every bathroom cabinet and only put back the things we need. I’ve gotten rid of pointless dust collecting decorations, including the bowl of rocks. I’ve even gotten rid of over 100 books.
I’ve been posting some of my progress on my public facebook page. You don’t even need to have a facebook account to see it.
Yesterday’s facebook post:
An entire pick-up truck load of furniture and multiple boxes of books, clothing, appliances, and pointless decorative dust collectors – all now in the FUMCO Whale of a Sale storage POD. I have zero dining room chairs and I do not care. I didn’t love them and they took up too much space, so they had to go. Based on that criteria, all members of my family will be staying. I suppose the cats can stay too. Tomorrow? The linen closet purge. I have to make room for the single tablecloth and the single set of placemats I’m keeping after giving away my buffet. #pruning #purging
Today’s facebook posts:
11:57am – Can’t decide what to do today. So I’m going to do everything. 5 minutes at a time. & fb/tweet my progress for accountability & motivation.
12:15pm – 1st micro-action of the day: Weeding the rose bed. Took 10 minutes. Love it when a huge bunch of weeds turns out to be a lot of runners.
12:23pm – How many fridge shelves can I clean in 5 minutes? Three. & I cooled off enough to go back outside. I’m gonna need shoes. #microactions
1:15pm – Prune long neglected roses-10 minutes, put roses in vase, download & learn photo editing app-15 min. #microactions (click any of the photos to enlarge)
3:06pm – An hour deep cleaning the kitchen, including the window, the front of the cabinets, the wall, the prints and my cobalt. More dust collecting decorations to get rid of. #microactions
3:13pm – This is going to be hideous. & hot. But tomorrow is yard waste day. Any guesses how long it will take? #microactions
4:06pm – If you do it fast enough, weeding is cardio. (posted “before” pic earlier) #microactions
4:56pm – 20 minutes to make this mess. But my view is much clearer. Gotta bind all this up after I pick PinkGirl up.#microactions
9:28pm – Got on a roll. FavoriteSon and I mowed and he whacked weeds while I bound up what seemed to equate to a small forest. I ran out of daylight. And I may have discovered a new smell. A cross between sunscreen, bug spray, gasoline and sweat. #pruning #purging
I took an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory. Hopefully, I’ll be good to go tomorrow. I never did get to that linen closet today.
[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series "the search for Joy."]
“God does not ask us to work to achieve salvation. All he asks us to do is believe. There is not one verse in the Bible that says anything about believing and doing good works so that you will be saved. Not one.”
“Our works are evidence of our new life. They don’t cause our new life.”
“So stop trying and start believing. Take the free gift.”
from Saved: Answers That Can Save Your Life, by Troy Schmidt
I’ve been MIA for the last two weeks because I’ve been serving as the co-chair of my church’s annual gymnasium-sized rummage sale called the WHALE of Sale. It’s been mostly 12+ hour days for two weeks and I’m on my way back to normal life, albeit covered with multiple bruises from moving furniture and hefting boxes of everything from clothing to books to VHS tapes. The official numbers aren’t in, but we tipped $25,000 this year. For most people, that’s for two weeks of work, but for my co-chair and I – and our families, and our right hand woman and her family, it’s been months. Even with all the exhaustion, ibuprofen and Epsom salts, we love it.
I’ve got some posts coming up that were inspired by my experiences the last few weeks and I’ll tell you right now, the first one is long – about 4 pages – so if you have the gumption to read it, bring a cup of coffee and a comfortable chair.
If you want to catch up on what happened in my life over the last two weeks and what my pedometer reading was every night, check out the two facebook pages I was posting on during that time (Mine and the Whale’s – both public – facebook membership not required to view, just close the “do you want to join facebook” screen that pops up).
I’m back to writing my book again! Momentarily holding distractions at arm’s length.
Working on my chapter on Influence, writing about the impact of Groupthink. Curious. If you were in the elevator with these people, what would YOU do?
Back to yoga class this morning. I’m paying for taking the summer off.
PinkGirl: “WHAT is that SMELL?”
FavoriteHusband, working on my shoulder: “your mom calls it ‘stinky hot’ but it’s really called BENGAY.”
PinkGirl: “it’s GROSS!”
A few minutes later:
FavoriteSon: “Why do I smell Pepto-Bismol?”
Me: “It’s stinky hot.”
FavoriteSon: “Smells like Pepto.”
Mr. Miyagi could fix my shoulder without stinkin up the place.
Me: “PinkGirl, you know what time it is?”
Me: “Time to lay out your clothes for school tomorrow.”
extreme, dramatic faux fainting
Me: “And pack your lunch.”
and just like that. Summer is over.
(a short excerpt from the book I’m writing – and WILL eventually finish)
Why is it that when faced with a problem, my first inclination is to do something? To take action? Why is it that my knee jerk reaction is to throw myself into problem solving mode? Then, when I’ve expended every effort, when I’ve explored every possible option, only then do I pray? Why is it so counter-intuitive to pray first? Why is it that I, more often than I’d like to admit, see prayer as a last resort in a time of crisis instead of a first line of defense?
This is not something I’m proud of, nor is it something I can rationalize or dismiss. What I want to do when faced with a challenge or crisis, is immediately, intuitively go to God for help, but instead, time and time again, I find myself at the end of my own abilities, begging God for direction and ideas – and supernatural intervention.
Prayer is seriously underrated. We tend to keep it in a nice, neat little box, taking it out only when we need it. In the words of Robin Williams as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin:
“Phenomenal cosmic power! itty bitty living space.”
I’ve found that when I’m actively committed to consistently spending time with God, the tendency to handle things on my own is automatically diminished. When I’ve already spent time with God on a given day, reaching out to Him as a first response when something happens later in the day is much more intuitive. I’m also less easily discouraged because when I talk to God first, my approach to a problem is much clearer and calmer. I’m not saying that every time I bring a problem to God I come away with a crystal clear approach to successful and immediate problem solving.
But in the great debate of whether prayer changes God’s mind or our hearts, chalk this one up to a changed heart.
Termite Guy: “I added 8 new bait stations and put these little flags at each one. That’s a total of 31 stations all the way around the house.”
Me: “I’m not a big fan of the orange plastic flags on wire sticks. I can put something more subtle and decorative at each station if you need them marked.”
Termite Guy: “I’ll just push them all the way down to the ground. You’ll barely notice them.”
Me: “I’m just going to pull the ugly orange plastic flags out of the ground after you leave.”
(I actually said that to myself. There was really no reason to say it to him, he didn’t listen to me the first time.)
Friday, May 11, 2012 – Trying to learn this: “The difference between being 95% prepared & 100% prepared (whatever that is) is infinitesimal. It is not perceived. But the energy expended in moving from 95% to 100% is immense, much more than that required to move from 75% to 95%.” Alan Weiss
Saturday, May 12 2012
11:24am – My husband loves me! He just used his AMEX points to buy me a new phone for Mother’s Day!!! (I’m not eligible for an upgrade till November). I hope I love it as much as I think I will! But if not, I ordered it from Walmart. They let you return anything.
4:19pm – Tackling the paper mountain that is my office. I’ve avoided working in there since I brought the 45+ pounds of paper home from my mom’s house after her death in December. Time to reclaim my work space. #somuchpaper
7:45pm – More than three hours later and I’m still going through the 45+ pounds of paper I’ve ignored since I brought it home from my mom’s after her death in December. Thousands of pieces of paper – mementos, letters, records, photos…when I started this weekend project, I didn’t even connect it with Mother’s Day. God is weird that way.
10:53pm – took over 6 hours to sort all the paper from my mom’s house. Now I’m ready to deep clean and purge my office of our own paper and clutter. Well. not NOW. Maybe tomorrow.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
2:34pm – So proud of PinkGirl! She did a wonderful job on “Mighty to Save” this morning during the 8am and 11am services. And an added mom bonus? She LISTENED and FOLLOWED MY ADVICE during her vocal warm up this morning!!! A Mother’s Day miracle! #ilovemydaughter
3:08pm – I ordered my new phone yesterday. I’m ready for it to be here now. #impatient
I’m going from a 2.5 x 2.5 inch Motorola Flipout to a 7 inch Dell Streak
This is a HUGE change for me. No more tucking my phone in my bra. Just saying.
PinkGirl’s text to her dad about singing special music at the 8am service this morning: “The power went out so we stopped and I messed up double so yay!” 8:29 AM
PinkGirl: “DAD!” 8:31 AM
PinkGirl: “Yo Horton!!!” 8:31 AM
Her Dad: “Bummer. You will do better at 11″ 8:34 AM
PinkGirl: My dress was sooo short i was afraid i was gonna flash the congregation! :o” 8:36 AM
(Mom Note: she is so impatient. I don’t know where she gets it. and the dress was short, but not that short. There was no view of London or France at any time.)
7:06pm – I had to complete a scavenger hunt to find my Mother’s Day present. Seven clues later, it was a coupon for “a FREE two day pass to PINKGIRL WORLD! Where PinkGirl will tend to your every need and do whatever you want willingly without grumbling or complaining. Not valid on School Days.” The location of this priceless coupon? Buried in the cat’s litter box. At least she scooped it first. #ilovemydaughter
All in all, it was a good weekend. Finally got to meet a long time blog friend and her family at EPCOT Friday night while they were vacationing here. A rare Sunday morning praise team set where I think we had a perfect balance between abandoning ourselves to worship and striving for excellence and time spent with friends and family on Sunday afternoon.
God is Good. All the Time.
FirstHusband and FavoriteSon went to a college “Discovery Day” on Saturday, inspecting a potential choice for FavoriteSon.
I think it just hit me that, if he goes away to college as a freshman, his sister will only be in 7th grade when he goes.
That hadn’t even crossed my mind.
We would miss him like crazy, but his sister? Serious, serious, serious sadness. The loss of that daily interaction between them would be so hard for her. They may fight sometimes, but they really love each other.
Anyone have that experience themselves as a child? Have an older sibling move away to college? How old were you? How did it change your daily life? How do you think the presence an older brother or sister in your daily life would have changed your remaining years living at home?
Watching Mythbusters on DVR tonight and that was one of the questions.
FirstHusband: “Oh, DEFINITELY a man.”
Me: “You know why?”
FirstHusband: “Spacial relationships.”
Me: “nope. it’s because we don’t care.”
Once I get the suitcase closed, my job is done.
Me, to FirstHusband at Home Depot: “I know that guy. How do I know that guy?”
One minute later, staring at the guy: “WHERE do I know him from?”
And again, this time staring blankly at nothing, watching a clouded memory play back in my head: “He’s a doctor. Whoever he is, he wears a white coat. I know I’ve had a conversation with him while he was wearing a white coat.”
And again: “What doctors do we go to? This is going to drive me nuts all day.”
30 seconds later: “I’m going to wake up at 2am and tell you who he is.”
FirstHusband: “I hope we’re not in the middle of anything.”
Me: “at 2 o’clock in the morning?”
(he got the “yeah, right” raised eyebrow look)
FINALLY: “He’s our VET! ahhhh.”
A few seconds later: “Well, that was five minutes of crazy.”
FirstHusband: “Five minutes. Yeah, we’ll go with that.”
I don’t know what he’s talking about.
Last night I was repeating: “God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do.”
FavoriteSon went out. On a Friday night. First time driving in heavy traffic IN THE DARK.
“God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do. God loves my kids more than I do.”
In the end, God brought FavoriteSon home safe.
Actually, his friend drove him home because they finished up after 11pm and his dad and I won’t allow him to drive past the State of Florida driving curfew for 16 year olds (11pm). We have to go pick up his car today, but it’s a very small price to pay to reinforce the lesson that we don’t break the law, even if he “probably wouldn’t have gotten caught.”
After starting over on a new book, I thought I was finished with the introduction.
I told FirstHusband I wasn’t ready for him to read it because I wasn’t ready for negative feedback.
Took two days to build up the courage.
He had some excellent constructive criticism. Nothing to edit or delete. But he did make some strong arguments for needing to add an intro and a conclusion to the intro. Thankfully, the arguments came with some good ideas.
As I expected, I’m not finished with the intro.
My pastor asked a question yesterday morning:
“Are you standing at the boundary between what you can accomplish on your own naturally and what God can accomplish THROUGH you supernaturally?”
yes. yes, I am.
Logic says, avoid risk.
Fear says, avoid change.
Above the voices of logic and fear, I can still hear God’s small, still voice saying “Trust me.”
I don’t usually have the courage to give up something good, in order to make room in my life for something better. I don’t often have the courage to say no to the immediate good in order to make room for the long term better.
(cryptic, I know. but I’m not ready to talk about the details, so this is all you’re gonna get right now.)
Of course, when I can clearly see the “better” that God has for me, it’s SO much easier to take the big step away from the old and toward the new.
The problem comes when what’s next is nowhere in my line of sight when I should be giving up the “good” thing. I tend to ignore the subtle hints God supplies me with, only to see them in hindsight.
And then there’s trying to discern if the thing that is so logically and clearly “something better” only seems like better, but is really Satan trying to derail me because I’m on actually track with what God’s equipping me to do.
It’s possible there’s a hint the size of an elephant in the room. I’m ignoring it. (Who am I kidding? Elephants might be quiet, but they tend to stink up the place.) It’s possible Satan is waving a shiny thing in my peripheral vision.
In the past, God has had to take away the “good” thing. And, in the process, pry my white knuckled fingers off of whatever it is I’m clinging to.
This is especially difficult when there weren’t any hints, or when I’ve been ignoring them. I don’t like it when I’m blindsided with change.
And then there’s the waiting for “next.”
I really hate it when that happens.
Praying for discernment. And for the Lord to provide an answer to a question in a very specific, supernatural way.
I’m trying not to place my human limitations on God. Because He can do ANYthing. And I would rather play a small part in His story that the main character of my own.
Yesterday, I went back to yoga for the first time since tearing my MCL on December 2nd. My knee has been feeling pretty good, so I intentionally put on yoga shorts that morning. As the time to leave the house got closer, I debated. I was on a writing roll. If I stopped, I would lose momentum. and the coffee was so good. (Joffrey’s Jamaican Me Crazy)
LazyMe: “I don’t wanna go. I’m comfortable.”
AnnoyingMe: “Come on. After class is over, you’ll be glad you did it.”
AnnoyingMe: “What is it you always say? That you’re ‘striving to be a good steward of the body God has blessed you with?’”
LazyMe: ” It’s early. I’ve got all day. I can be a good steward later.”
AnnoyingMe: “Did you shave your legs for nothing?”
LazyMe: (sigh) “alright. I’m goin.”
Last night, I was really feeling the after-effects of this pose (below).
My whole body hurt – from holding it perfectly still for a total of just a few minutes.
Tonight, I’m feeling it even more.
There’s only one thing to do. Go back tomorrow.
It’s been a while since I updated my fitness log. Tomorrow marks EIGHT weeks since my partial MCL tear and ACL strain! Recommended healing for my injury was 6 to 8 weeks!
YEAH! I’m HEALED! (yes. this is how I think)
First day back to the incline treadmill walking (at an incline of 4 and a speed of 3 mph). I think I’ll take it slow and only walk a mile or two. Unless I decide to walk 5 miles a day till the end of the month to get to an average of a mile a day for the entire month. (yes. this is how I think.)
On another note, I was doing my two minute forearm plank a few weeks ago and FirstHusband said, “Ya know, I’m kind of surprised you’re still satisfied with a two minute plank. That’s not like you.”
seriously? He had to plant that thought in my freakishly self-competitive head?
So, I’m up to two minutes, ten seconds. The new goal is to be able to do a three minute plank by the end of the year.
Writing about “Don’t Eat The Marshmallow” today. LOVE these kids.
(the premise is that children who are capable of delayed gratification are more “successful” than children who can’t delay gratification. The test? Give a kid a marshmallow and tell them they can eat it – BUT if they can wait 10-15 minutes, they can have TWO marshmallows. Some kids make it. Some kids don’t. Some kids find a way to eat the INSIDE of a marshmallow and make it look like they didn’t eat it. That would be the little girl with the pink headband. The kid vs. marshmallow test video begins around the 3 minute mark.)