Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Get Orgainzed Girlfriends Event


We hosted an event at the church called Let’s Get Organized. I don’t know if you are an organized person or not, but I can tell you I am not. It isn’t in my DNA. I have even met my birth family and we all tend to carry around a “messy” gene. So I was thrilled to have this event at the church. Unfortunately, like most events that I am in charge of, I didn’t really get to sit down and listen. So I have borrowed notes from my friend and will detail them here… so we can all learn together.

Becky Roes, a good friend of mine, was our speaker. She is one of those people that are VERY organized. She would make sure that I said she wasn’t perfect, but to me her home and organization seems perfect. I have realized recently though… both with home organization and other general life things… like being a size 6 (ha!) that unless I am really willing to make the sacrifice required I can’t really complain or be upset that someone has what I want. You know what I mean? So using the tools I learned on Thursday I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday organizing my home. It is fabulous! I will show pictures down below.

Most of these notes will be in first person because I need every bit of them!
TWO MAIN PHRASES TO KNOW:
It is easier to keep up than catch up (don’t I know that!)
&
A place for everything, and everything in its place!

My home should be my retreat, a place to bless me and my family!
I don’t need to suffer from CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I need to have a vision for my home.
Look around and see if my home is a true reflection of me.
I know I am someone that holds on to things and there was a phrase that she said that really stuck with me. “If everything is special, then nothing is special. It all becomes clutter”. That was such a good point. If I knick-knack my house to death with “special things” then there will never be a spot light on my truly special things.

So, in the process of trying to get de-clutter I need to ask myself two questions
1) Does it bless me?
2) Does it have a use?
If I answer no to both then, get rid of it!

Steps to follow:
1) Identify what frustrates me: if when I am doing something I notice frustration, I need to define it and decide what to do about it! (i.e. can’t ever find the lid to Tupperware containers)
2) When putting things away ask myself “why is this here?” and “Is there a better place for it?”
3) Ask for help! Have a friend come over who can look at your home with a new set of eyes. If it is some you trust and they know you want to stay accountable to them, it will help you keep from cluttering it back up.
4) When organizing put it into piles:
a. Sell/Donate
b. Throw Away
c. Keep in this spot
d. Organize somewhere else

Keep things only if you can think of a use for it right then
Remember: Organizing and cleaning imperfectly is still a blessing to my family!

More questions to ask if trying to decide if I am going to keep an item:
1) Does it bless me and have a definite use?
2) Can I get another one inexpensively?
3) What is the worst thing that could happen if I get rid of it?
4) Have I used it in the last year?
5) Do I need to keep it for legal or tax purposes?
6) Would it be difficult to replace?

Reasons we keep things we shouldn’t:
1) Gift from a loved one
2) It was a bad purchase from the beginning but we spent good money on it and don’t want to waste our cash
3) Home/D├ęcor taste has changed
4) Doesn’t fit the space it was purchased for, or just doesn’t fit me overall
*if trying to get rid of something, have a friend hold it… there is less emotional attachment that way*
5) If you cannot decide – box it up and if you do no use it in the next 6 months, get rid of it!
6) When I buy something, I need to get rid of something too!
7) Don’t save things for special occasions… use it now!
8) If I do not need it and am not going to use it, don’t buy it… even if it was originally $400 and it is 99% off!!! If you don’t need it, it isn’t a bargain.

When buying things questions to ask:
1) How many hours did it take to earn this item? (ugh, that puts things in perspective huh?)
2) Where am I going to put it?
3) Do I need another one of these?
*use cash when making purchases… it is harder to let go of then plastic

Good Reminders:
Anything you bring into a room, bring back out with you
Before you set something down ask: Is this where it belongs or will I need to move it later?
Put three things away before leaving a room
Time yourself doing an activity… it rarely takes as long in actuality as it does in our minds when we don’t want to dot it!

Great way to clean out the closet:
Turn all your hangers backwards in the closet. As you use/wear something put it back with the hanger forward. After 6 months see what you haven’t worn and get rid of it!

Every cleaning area (especially bathrooms) need 3 things in them:
1) Comet/mildew or stain remover
2) 4 – 1 Lysol cleaner
3) Sponge or brush
*I just did this with my bathrooms… it cost me $10 to completely stock both bathrooms with toilet brushes, and all the cleaning necessities… so worth it!

Amazing Cleaning Tips:
A teaspoon of dish detergent with water gets spots out of your carpet!
Baking soda = the magic eraser. Use with a damp rag to get permanent marker off of wood floors and to get crayon off of walls (don’t scrub too hard!)
Wet a washcloth and microwave it for 30 seconds to get the gunk off the inside
I know that I felt a little overwhelmed at one point, even just reading this... but taking one thing and putting it into practice is huge!! I'll add pictures of my progress soon...

Oh! Also, an awesome website to check out! The FlyLady is life changing... http://www.flylady.net/

Blessings!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Undone...

No apologies
For who I'm meant to be
The only thing that matters is
I am free
When I am overwhelmed
Holding pieces of my heart
When I feel my worldStart to fall apart

To the cross I run
Holding high my chains undone
Now I am fin'lly free
I'm free to be what I've become
Undone

Even in defeat
The face of tragedy
Still you'd have to say that
I found victory
In brokenness comes beauty
Divine fragility
Reminding me of nail-scarred hands
Reaching out for me

To the cross I run
Holding high my chains undone
Now I am fin'lly free
I'm free to be what I've become
Undone

We sang this song this morning by Mercy Me. I hadn't heard it before but was struck by how powerful the words were. After the brokenness and difficulty that we are finally free to be what we have become... undone.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sacrifice of Praise

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)

Let's take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus' name.

Hebrews 13:15 (Message)


How much thought have you given to that verse? I have to be honest, I haven't given much thought at all. I think there is a song we sing sometimes with those words in it. That is probably the only reason I know this verse exists. As I was laying in bed last night I was thinking about the words sacrifice and praise. I have never thought they belong together. Praise usually comes out of an overflow, abundance, right? Usually.

I think I might be starting to have a small amount of understanding about this verse. Without going into too much detail, there has been something I desired greatly. I have prayed to God for years about this thing. I prayed specifically, hows and whens, it was a wonderful plan. Then as time passed, it looked like I would not see this dream realized the way I had envisioned. I was saddened but felt that I had given God every aspect of that dream, that hope, and I trusted His wisdom. Then I received the thing my heart had desired, the way my heart had desired. It was amazing. As if God wanted to give me the most perfect gift. I praised and thanked God over and over, amazed at His love for me. Yet not one week later, it was gone. The dream, the hope, was taken away. I refused to believe it, knowing that this had been a gift from God. How was this possible? I felt like I had been slapped across the face. I felt foolish. Yet, even amidst the pain of the loss I believed God and had faith. I trusted His will over my understanding. I KNOW He knows the end and that He will get glory, but was still so sad.

So, this past Sunday was the first time I had been back at church since all of this had happened. I didn't give any thought to it, wasn't worried or unsure about going. I am always at church, I WORK at a church. During the first service I walked into the back of the sanctuary and began to sing the music... and I realized I couldn't sing. I literally choked on the words. The words had to do with trusting God and His knowledge for what is best. I couldn't physically sing those words. Why? I DO trust God. I DO believe He knows what is best for me. I DO love Him and know that He loves me. So why the tears and inability to sing? I guess because my hope was deferred and my heart was sick.

Since Sunday I have really noticed that my prayer and praise hasn't been the same as it was before all of this. It has been difficult at times. It has been a sacrifice.

Do you think that is what this verse is referring to?

Have you had to choose to praise when it was difficult? I believe it is in times like these that God reveals another part of His character and love to us. Maybe this will resonate with you. Maybe you have been struggling to praise God. Ask Him for help, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)

He is faithful.

-Amy