Friday, November 28, 2014

There was one time in my life that I clearly remember begging for attention.  There may be other times when I did it, but I simply do not remember doing it.

My oldest was in the first grade.  Her teacher was also our church pastors wife.  I loved my church and had a huge respect and admiration for my pastor.  I had issues with him as a person, but the way he preached was unlike anything I had ever heard before.  I learned so much over the 6 years I attended that church.   To me knowledge is a gift, and I am eternally grateful to the gift giver.  As much as I did not like this woman's husband as a person, I sure did like this woman.  She was beautiful, patent, kind, and my kids favorite teacher.  Whenever she would give me her attention, I ate it up!  I knew I was needy, I knew I was putting too much pressure on her, but I couldn't stop.  Why?  I was a lot younger, and stupid, and probably a bit insecure.  I knew by doing what I did, I was only pushing her away.

Now I look back on that situation and think about how embarrassing it is, and honestly wonder why I tried so hard to get close with this woman?!?  Why do we try so hard for an unrequited love?  I had everything I needed and all I could ever want!  My husband, a faithful, loving man and an incredible father who would give me the world if he could.  I even had good friends who WANTED to spend time with me, who loved me and thought I was worth hanging out with.

What I can say is that I must have learned a huge lesson back then, because now, if I even remotely begin to act needy  toward someone who does not give me the attention I deserve, I WALK AWAY.  Call it jaded, slighted, or pessimistic, but if you do, you will be missing the point.  I can walk away because I do two things.  1. I pray.  My prayers give me the power to turn my eyes from the worldly distressing thing that is happening to me, and turn my eyes toward Jesus.  2.  I put my focus on the people who do give me the attention and love I deserve.  I find importance in my family more than the things/people who really aren't worth my attention.  It has been a long time coming to this way of thinking.

So what prompted me to write this?  Not what you may think.  You may be inclined to think that there is someone in my life who I have been behaving this way toward, nope, I assure you that is not it.  I am actually not going to admit what prompted me to write it, but I had to get it off my chest, and if you are one of those people who are needy and clingy to the person who does not want anything to do with you STOP IT!!  They are not a bad person, they just don't have a connection with you for some reason.  LET IT GO.  You are not going to change, and whatever it is you do that annoys them, is probably not going to change, and even if you change it's probably too late.  So go find someone who loves your quirky little habits and enjoy their company!  And if there is no one in the world who feels that way about you…it's time to evaluate the reason why.  Might I suggest getting on your knees before you begin your evaluation.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reflecting today

I woke up this morning feeling philosophical.  Today marks a milestone birthday.  I was thinking about what I have accomplished so far in this life.  The things I consider most important, I cannot take credit for.  Such as my wonderful Husband of 17 years.  I cannot act like I hand picked him and delivered him to myself.  I can only speculate that he is mine due to prayerful grandparents, and the will of my Heavenly Father, who in all perfectness, desired this man to be my life mate.  In regard to my children, the beautiful young woman they are becoming is due to the prayerful petitions for guidance from the Lord, then acting upon the direction I receive, and also for the parenting example I was raised with.  To my career.  I had not had a direction as to what my career should be until 2 years ago, and even then it was a prayerful choice to end up as a personal fitness trainer.  When I think of my experiences in life, what I have been through, and the decisions I have made-good and bad- I can only come to the conclusion that my career now would not have been right for me had I pursued it any earlier in life.

So, today I will celebrate with friends and family the day I was born the first time, with a very thankful heart, and a joy that is inexpressible and full of glory.  I will continue to reflect on where I have come, and where I will go.  This life has been good to me…sometimes I think too good.  Though I do not wish pestilence or peril on myself, I do desire to do more of the humble, selfless things in this life that bless others and make change that can only be made through divine inspiration.

Thank you for reading.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A short, possibly, witness experience.

I don't doubt God's existence, I don't doubt His love for me. I accept that some people do. I have questioned why a God so powerful, and full of grace would let sin abound in this world. Even though I know the answer, I try not to question that one, but honestly I still do. It is a good thing that God being God Almighty, all powerful, does not hinge on my questions and concerns.

I pray that I would have no fear in being a witness to the wonderful glory of Jesus, and how He saves. But I do have fear, and lots of it. After seeing that movie God's Not Dead they encouraged us, the audience, to text everyone we know “God's Not Dead.” I opened up my phone, and the first person I was to include in that text, I had an excuse not to. I fumbled with it, then told myself I have way too many contacts to mess with that and made a quick exit out of the text message. Great witness hey? I know God is not beating me up about it, but I am more than willing to do that to myself.
God affirms my faith through confirmation. Some people want to see a life saved, or someone rescued from a bad situation to believe God is who He says He is. I stopped looking for that a long time ago, and here is why. We are not promised a life without sorrow, misery, or pain. We were at one time, but the first human beings did just what anyone of us would have done, and fell into temptation making the world a fallen place. He does promise us a life of joy and peace. Joy; Psalm 5:11, Psalm 16:11 Peace; John 14:27

Sometimes when I get to praying about how I wish I was a better witness, and how many opportunities I let pass by, God sends me a message through a friend, or gives me a message for a friend, and it is a wonderful reminder of how concerned He is over my little vapor of a life.

What happened today?
I was at the doctor waiting for my dreaded appointment (nothing serious, just annoying) and I was chatting with a woman there. She said she is at the age of mammograms. I asked her what age that was, and she told me 40. She said she was at risk for breast cancer because it runs in her family. She has the gene. I just spoke to someone not 2 hours earlier who has the gene, and has battled, and continues to battle breast cancer, that woman knows Jesus. The woman at the doctor office told me that if she gets it, then she will probably not pursue treatment, she will just be content to die. I thought to myself that this woman must have a great relationship with Jesus to be so comfortable with death. She must really be looking forward to heaven, so I asked her “Do you know the Lord?” She said, “Me, do I know the Lord? I said, “Yes, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?”
“No, I do not, Me and the Lord are not friends, you see, I am an atheist”
“Yep, and I am totally okay with not having a relationship with God.”
“Oh, okay, so you have been asked about this?”
“Yes, lots of times.”
“Well, I know to just let that go because pressure is only going to make it worse, especially if you tell me straight up that you don't want to hear anymore about that. You understand my asking, right?”
“Oh yes, as I know that is what you are supposed to do, but they should be witnessing to Christians who aren't following the right way.” “I may not believe in God, but I have more morals that people who say they are Christians.”
I say “Oh, I did not doubt that!”
She went on to iterate how very much she did not want to hear about it because she was totally fine about not knowing the Lord, and was content with her life the way it is.
I told her “People should respect your decision, as I do, but I am going to turn around and pray for you.”
She said “Oh, thank you. You do whatever makes you feel good about yourself.” The funny thing is, as snide as that sounds...I know with all of my being that she did not mean it that way.

I also forgot to mention that I said a little something about the Lord wanting her attention by sending all these people her way, but it got quickly pushed aside...not even a second to hang in the air.

I had to really let that conversation sink in. It wasn't as uncomfortable as ones I have had in the past, but it was up there pretty good. I know I handled it the right way, and probably could have handled it even better, but I have some after thoughts.

The first thought being that God is in control, I should pray for her, and God is definitely showing himself to her (I wasn't even planning on getting into a conversation with an atheist, I thought she was a believer, remember?)

The second thought was that I had a million questions for her about where her hope lies, how does she feel about other religious beliefs, can she be a conservative and an atheist all at the same time, where does she stand with the Hobby Lobby/Obama care thing, what does she think about abortion, is she angry with me for loving God, does she think I am less intelligent because of that, do I think she is less intelligent because she does not? I am just being really super open and honest about my after thoughts, I guess hoping to expose some of the thoughts that go through peoples heads when they share the message of Jesus Christ. Do I stand alone in these crazy thoughts?

I know some things. God loved the world enough to send His only son to live in this wretched place and take on all of our sin so we may be saved, and to have life more abundantly. I know that He loves us with that kind of a love no matter what life we choose for ourselves. I know that if we confess our sins and believe in Him for eternal salvation, that we will one day wake up in the land of glory. Until then friends, I will tarry on in the exceptionally wonderful life he has given me, and pray for the strength to do something one day that is bigger than myself.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Housekeeper

First let me say that I am glad I had some de-cluttering concepts in practice already, because this process would be taking at least a month longer if I had not.  At the beginning of this last week I had two things marked on my to-do list 1. Garage 2. Craft room.

The Garage was a one day deal, and as I mentioned in my last post, there is more to be done out there.  My plan is to park the van outside and spend an hour or two making sense out of the large cabinet that sits against the back wall.  I would also love to put some personal touches in the laundry area.  I have always loved the idea of a mud room, therefore I would like to get this as close to that as possible.  Maybe it is time to start googling ideas!

The Craft Room: Two days
This room is always a challenge for me because it is where I store every fun activity I ever took the time to learn so that I could participate in.  Sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, stamping, screen printing…the list really does go on.  About the screen printing: I have the YUDU, but in one of my hastes to clean the garage and get rid of things, I think I threw away the power cord!  I sincerely hope to find that thing because I would love to make some hoodies for my business.  Tangent, sorry.
About 2 years ago I went through my craft room and made sense out of it.  I have a lot of cabinets, so I dedicated each cabinet to a craft.  I hung a shoe holder on the back of the door to hold odds and ends, and I have a couple of rolling drawer carts that hold ribbons, paper, and sewing notions.  The main closet is built like a book shelf and there it holds the many books I bought over the years to help me learn.  The reason this room is a challenge is because while I am looking and sorting through everything, I have dreams about playing in it all.  Gotta stay on task!

I really tossed the idea around of which photos to show, as I don't want to bore you all with the craft room details, you have the choice to scroll down or stop.

 This is the back of the main door, as you can see it is multipurpose.  The bubbles can probably have a place in the storage above the RV, but I really don't want to treck out in the melting snow just to slip and fall.
 This is the closet with the book shelves where I put all of my books, including scrapbooks, and photo albums.  There is also a basket with markers, crayons, coloring books and some paper.  It makes for a quick grab when the kids and I need some downtime together.  I have found that no matter how old my kids get, they are never too old for markers and paper. (Neither am I).  This space also holds my cricut and it's cartridges.
 This unit was sold to us with the house.  Instead of using it for hanging files, I used the fact that it has big deep drawers.  The bottom right hand drawer couldn't keep up with the weight demand I put on it, so it is empty.  The other three drawers hold some sewing projects, patterns, batting, and other notions.  They also hold my knitting notions and my gym bag.  I know I mentioned that this house did not come with a coat closet…right?  It's okay, I would rather have a downstairs bathroom anyway.
 Not certain how much money I paid for this several years ago, but I don't regret it.  And to the right is of this unit is my paper divided by, specialty, patterned, colors, and plain.
 For me, this was really thinking outside the box to put my stamps in here.  My drive was to have clean counter space.  Sewing requires a lot of space for pinning and cutting.
 These are my stickers.  I love this because the kids can look through here and get my approval on which stickers they may use.
 What's left of my yarn collection on the left, and under it in the box is craft magazines mixed with running magazines.  On the right is what is left of my fabric collection.  I have so much to share with my girls, I sure do hope I don't wait till too late to teach them more of this stuff!
Above is where I found room for the sewing machine.  I would put it on the bottom shelf, but I won't fit.

So, above is where I started on Monday

This is how I finished.  I must admit I was quite frustrated that I had let things get so out of hand, but was determined to find a place for the odds and ends.  

So, what is this book I keep talking about?
I came up with the name: The Housekeeper

I think this is the closest I will ever come to having a maid.  In this binder is a system.  You have heard me talk about the Fly Lady, well I have read her book 
Sink Reflections
This is the book I read, this is how The Housekeeper came to be back in 2007.  I loaned out my copy and have no idea where it is now.  I just hope it is being passed around and helping others as it has helped me.  After I had put this into practice I knew I needed help as far as organizing, not long after, I found Monica :)  She helped me think outside the box, and to get things off my counters and put where they belong.  She helped me to realize that just because I am going to use it everyday (toaster) that doesn't mean it needs to sit out where I have to look at it every day.  She taught me to sort, group, and repurpose, she taught me to shop within and make a space my own.  She taught me to simplify and streamline.  I am grateful to her, and The Fly Lady.  

Here are the details of my binder:
Daily tasks are the things that need to be kept up daily, such as putting away hot spots, sweeping the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher…etc.  I have put my sheets in plastic coating because I love to cross things off my list.  

Weekly tasks are for the things that need to be kept up once a week, dusting, sweeping, linens, cleaning mirrors, emptying trash from all the rooms in the house.

Zones are the things that need to be done once a month, the deep cleaning stuff.  Catching the clutter that has built up, the scrubbing cabinets, cleaning out drawers, scrubbing shower and bath.  (During the daily tasks, showers can be sprayed down with 409 or a similar cleaner.  I have cleaning baskets in my bathroom for such tasks.  
Here are my examples:

Bathroom tasks
Empty dishwasher
Load of laundry
Check calendar/make phone calls
Reconcile check book
Put away hot spots
Feed Dogs
What's for dinner?

After Dinner

Clean up from dinner
Do hand dishes
Sweep kitchen and dining room floors
Pick up downstairs area
Hallway, living room, dining room, piano room
Make coffee
Go over errand list for tomorrow, make any necessary additions.

Weekly Cleaning list


Dust living room and Piano room furniture
Clean out the van

Change bed linens

Empty old food out of refrigerator
Clean bedroom and hall mirrors

Scrub kitchen and dining room floors
Empty trash from bathrooms, upstairs, kitchen and laundry.
Clean out purse

Mop bathroom floors
vacuum all floors

Make ahead soups burgers and dessert.

Zone One

Entrance and Hall: Tuesday
Dust chair rail
Dust baseboards
Dust light fixtures
Clean switchplate and finger prints on walls around
Vacuum cobwebs
Sweep and mop floors

Front Porch and Back Deck: Thursday
Sweep down cobwebs
Sweep off porch
Wipe off banisters and light fixtures
Get rid of unwanted items
Add your own personal touches to welcome guests :)

Dining Room and Piano Room: Monday
Vacuum cobwebs
Dust Windowsills
Dust Chair rail
Clean Windows
Wipe cabinet, safe, piano, desk, coffee table
Dust light fixtures
Sweep and mop floors
Craft Room: Wednesday
Wipe all surfaces
Vacuum cobwebs
Sweep and mop floors
Get rid of unwanted items

Zone 2
The Heart of The Home

Monday: Clean the oven, top of stove and microwave, scrub two cabinets.
Tuesday: Empty refrigerator of unwanted food and clean thoroughly, scrub two cabinets.
Wednesday: Clean light defusing bowls and light fixtures, wash inside window, clean two cabinets.
Thursday: Sweep and Scrub Kitchen floors
Vacuum cobwebs, Scrub two cabinets
Wipe fingerprints off light switches and walls
Friday: Straighten drawers and cupboards, wash canisters and knick knacks, scrub two cabinets.
Saturday: Clean coffee pot and under sink, wash additional cabinets.

There are 3 more zones, and of course you will make this your own if it is something you decide to do, but I just wanted to give you an idea of what I am doing.  I figure one hour a day or less and I will be good to go!  I have also begun to map out my days as far as what times I will be doing this, what times I will be spending time in my studio, time helping kids with homework, and the other stuff for which I did not plan.

The red book above means so many things for me.  It means always clean baseboards and chair rails, no more dusty guitar.  It means company can give me a 15 minute warning and I will be ready for them.  It means a clear mind for personal touches.  It means thinking twice before I bring another piece of clutter into my home.  It means more time with my Jesus, more time with my family, more time to dedicate to my business.  For me, a clean home, and a healthy body will always require a step by step plan.  That is just the way it is.  So I have my bible, my binder, my training schedule, and Dr. Fuhrman's program.  I'd say I am one content lady.  

I have taken most of the artwork off the walls to create a blank slate.  This stuff is currently hanging out in the spare room waiting for Katie to come help me with placement.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I know my triggers for set backs

As the wind blusters, and the snow swirls around outside, I am thankful to be safely warm at home.  I also figured that this would be a good time to add to my poor neglected de-cluttering situation.

The one "room" I was able to tackle this week, so far, was the garage.  I am keeping in mind that there are still some changes I could make to it, but it is exhausting work and I just wanted it to be done.

 This kind of thing happens to my garage more often than not.  I have had this thing so spiffy, and then it's like I just stop trying, then I get overwhelmed.
Unfortunately some of the stuff that looks like clutter are summer toys that need this storage at the moment.

I am at a point where I have really begun to put the hammer down on routine cleaning.  I also have my girls helping me.  One way I learned from the Fly Lady  on how to keep a bathroom clean is to wipe down the surfaces, toilet, and swish in the toilet bowl with the brush daily.  With her plan the whole bathroom is kept clean in this type of style, you just don't ever have to do it all at once.  My girls (with incentive) clean the bathrooms in the morning everyday before school.  Their other before school task includes making sure the pets are fed and watered, on top of making certain they are ready for school.  I think I may add that they be sure their rooms are picked up.  That way when they get home from school, the only thing they need to worry about it homework.  We have put into place the idea of rinsing out ones dish and putting it into the dishwasher.  Everything takes time.

As I am still in the process of getting all the rooms de-cluttered I feel as though I cannot commit the hour a day it takes to complete the morning, evening, daily, and weekly tasks yet.  I would rather commit that one hour to de-cluttering.  So what am I doing blogging?  Oh man, I just need to share I guess.

There are two things that happen to me when I begin to keep up and use the book I made.  One is that I start to get my head above water (socks begin to have matches, all the laundry is done, all the dishes are clean an put away, the hot spots are cleaned up) and the other thing is anxiety.  I am fearful that if I do not complete my daily tasks everyday, it will all crumble.  The reason I have this fear, is because of past behavior.  Just like in weight loss, I know the cycle and the triggers for set backs.  

We bought a second dog bed, and I have begun the "kick the dogs off my couch" process.  I plan to train them to stay off my couch, then I will clean it and put a very nice couch cover on it.  Here is my method.  
I have to put stuff on the couch constantly so they do not get on it.  
In return, they can get accustomed to laying in their beds.

I am going to go for now because as it is, I cannot sit in one place for too long knowing that I could be using this time to get stuff done.  Yesterday I was a machine!  I got almost all caught up on the laundry, and was able to wash out the microwave!  When I get all de-cluttered and into full swing with my book I made, I will go into more detail of what I did.  
Thank you for taking the time to read this!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The week before my husbands birthday

This week has been filled with excitement (race finish, husbands birthday), and little de-cluttering.   Here is what I have accomplished.
 Finally a home for my scarf collection
 Fancy shoes in boxes at the top, and the basket is holding the scarves.  I grouped my clothes together by color
 More color grouping here.

Even though my clothes are in the spare room at the moment, I am loving the order of things.  
I even busted out my master binder that gives me chores and tasks to accomplish during the week.  I have begun to incorporate a few, such as, emptying the dishwasher in the morning.  This has been such a blessing because there is nothing like coming home from the grocery store an having the ability to get started with dinner right away.  

It is so difficult not to get discouraged and just throw my hands up in the air.  I look at the rooms that I have de-cluttered and then there are messes lying around.  The kids pick them up when I ask, but I miss being able to walk into a room and just see it clean without having to ask someone to put it away.  

The other thing is the garbage situation.  It is like a contest between my husband and I of who can fill up the trash the fastest.  I always say "I will just make a run to the dumps."  Of all the things in my schedule to do, the dumps are out of the way.  

I know, I know, and yes, I would like a little cheese with my whine.  

Next on my agenda is the garage and craft room.  I think once I clear out the garage it will be another monumental task out of the way.  This week was nice also because I did not have any runs scheduled.  It is good to take a week off after a half marathon (for those of us who do not run full marathons).  So, today I head out for 5 miles on the treadmill, then tonight is date night, tomorrow is church and Super Bowl, next week I have several appointments, kid activities, and some client training sessions (which I love), and so it goes. 

This is why I am blogging it out people.  I am sure you can relate.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It takes a village

As I am currently in the throws of de-cluttering I wanted to share a few things about what's been going on.  First, I feel very good to be back on track, back to business.  It really helps to have someone holding me accountable.  If you are wondering why am I blogging instead of working, Hey, we all need a break here and there!  Monica has been emailing me with questions and just plain keeping me on board.

Today I decided to stop lamenting about the closet situation upstairs, and decided to tackle the bathroom.  I keep pulling myself every which way.  I tell myself that this room, no, this room, no this room…and on it goes.  Today I said, "Jolene, every room needs to be done, therefore you must pick one, no priority necessary, just pick ONE.

One thing I have noticed is that I am determined to have a place for everything, but the problem is that I do not want to re-store the items back in the same place they were, when I know they go somewhere else, I just don't know where yet!  So I have made my spare room my catch all until I can get all rooms de-cluttered, and my mind opened.  The things I do NOT store in the spare room are: Good Will stuff, and the baskets labeled "to another room".   I try to empty the "other room" basket after every de-clutter session, and today I am making  run to GW before I pick up the kiddo's.  So, the spare room currently holds: Sheets, my entire clothing and shoe collection, the printer, kids shared toys, and then the stuff that actually goes in that room.  I am very excited at the thought of putting things where they make much more sense.  My other family members might not be so excited as I am, but they'll get used to it :).

I have a lot of storage space in my bathroom, which is where I housed my sheets.  This house did not come with a linen closet.  I did not have to throw out stuff, as much as put stuff where it belongs.  It will never cease to amaze me at the items which end up in the bathroom!

A word about the organizer lady situation…

Thursday I had lunch with my friend Katie, I was telling her about the de-cluttering situation/progress.  I told her about not knowing where to place things, and how I was looking for a decorators eye.  She said, well I am pretty good with that stuff, I can come over and help you.  It was like a huge light bulb went off over my head.  I am talking flood light here.  Katie is the first one I thought of when I thought of asking for help, as her house is very simplified and immaculate!  The reason I did not ask her is because I was mortified at the thought of her seeing my mess in the deepest extent.  But now that I am seeing things getting cleaned up and looking better, I am all for it!  She will be coming to help me with the decorator portion.   YAY!!!!!!!!!

This took me to another thought, I have been thinking and praying over this situation with the organizer lady coming out to help me.  Every time I think about her coming out here, and think of what I need from her, and the cost of it all, I am just uneasy.  Being a personal trainer, I can understand needing something and paying good money for it, but would I be getting what I need for the price?  I cannot say I know for sure, because so far I have not really given her a chance, but there was no peace about her coming out here.  I went to her website that had been down for about a week, and finally was able to see before and after photos.  She got the stuff organized and cleaned, but the after photo was not stunning to me, not for the price she asks $50 hr.  Also I had to look at how God has shown me the help I can get within my very own village.  As women, we should glean from each other and never underestimate the power of helping a friend.

I explained all of this to Monica over the phone, and we came up with a place for my sheets and blankets. The kids sheets can go in their bedroom closets.  The extra blankets can go in the linen space in the kid's bathroom.  We had a long discussion about the entryway and what to do.  She suggested I look up entry ways online.  I did, and got some great ideas!

 This "bench" is actually a desk topper that has not been in use for a long time, and was taking up space in our master bedroom.  I took the idea Monica suggested about having a storage bin of some sort that the stuff to go upstairs can go into.  The baskets on the top are my kid's baskets.  This morning all I had to do was ask the kids to take their baskets upstairs and unload them in their rooms.  VIOLA!!!  I am thinking of refurbishing the "bench" and decorating the wall with some family photos or something, this would be Katie's department.  The space is not finished, but it's a good start!
 My husband likes to exaggerate and weave through the entry way like it's an obstacle course.  It is not really that tight of a fit. Company has a place now to put their keys.

This is the sewing table that so desperately needed a home.  Monica gave me Kudos and congratulated my new skill to shop within!  I love that I already had the stuff to make this happen.  

Today is Jan 28th and I had to write down what my plans are so I would not get overwhelmed.  I am tackling laundry mountain, and grouping my closet items, then cleaning out the girls bath.  I also hope to get some client stuff accomplished.  I plan to have more photos of progress by the end of today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's progress at least

I have not been as busy de-cluttering this week as I had hoped, but I did manage to get my clothing and shoes moved from the master bedroom to the spare bedroom.  At first I thought this may be a permanent fix, but now that my stuff is out, I can see the space a lot better.

This is a pic of my closet before I emptied everything.  The words in the box just explain that I don't want you the viewer to see my undergarment that is behind the box.
So this is what it looks like when it is clear.

The next step in this process is to come up with a plan for all our clothes.  There is a dead space to the right of our closet.  On the other side is a small closet made to fit into that same style of space.  We are considering a few options that involve lumber and nails :)

Meanwhile downstairs I was able to get the large cabinet in the dining room cleaned out.  Now, instead of much odds and ends, the cabinet has more sensible things in it, such as some office supplies (the office area is just off of the dining room), placemats and pot holders, small tools for use around the house, flashlights, and such.  On the top of the unit there are two plants and two decorative items from our Chinese exchange students whom we housed a couple years ago.  I have pulled all of the other items off the top and set them aside, as I do think they have a place in my home, I just do not know where.  

Now that I am coming out of the muck of clutter, I am looking forward to the organizer lady to come and hopefully have some great ideas of where and how to put stuff.  

Remember how I told you my sweet husband worked on and cut that desk for me?  Well here are the photos. Thank you Monica for suggesting that I put them up.  

Sweet labor of love

So Monica reminds me that it is a process.  I think I finally understand what she is saying.  As most of you know, I equate this process to losing weight in a lot of ways.  If a person were to wake up skinny, they would not have put in the hard work and practice to be able to keep the weight off.  In all this de-cluttering, and seeing spaces transform into open, clean, freedom, I have noticed a change in my behavior.  I now see a reason to make sure my counters are cleaned off in the evening, and socks to be picked up off the floor.  Oh, by the way, I know why those random socks keep ending up all over the house.  It's courtesy of one of the furry occupants living under this roof.  There are other small things I have been changing.  I have noticed certain things that lead to messes, like not putting something away.  I am the biggest offender of setting something that belongs somewhere, near where it belongs, but not going the extra step and storing it.  

Here is an excellent email from Monica:

Miss Jolene,

How blessed are you to have a handy man. He had a vision and executed the project. Perfect!

My advice is to get the TAPE measure out and tape a visual on the wall and floor. This will give you a better perspective of the units dimensions and if you like it. Take a step back and talk it over together. 

Great coffee table for the sun room. It will allow more storage and a place to set items on. 

Your Personal Organizer

This is the table to which Monica is referring.  It is so pretty!

And check out this powerful advice!  

Hi friend,

I totally understand about needing to set things in order before delegating out. You will get to a place of simplicity and serenity. Sometimes it looks like it's getting worse before it gets better. Patience 

This process is not just about gaining lost order, but questioning ourselves along the way as to how we got there. It sounds to me that you are incredibly determined and motivated to implement and practice new systems that will keep you organized. You are retraining your brain. In this journey you are also modeling to your family " how to get organized". 

Time management comes in many shapes and forms. It applies to many sections of our home as well. You have a 2-story home which means that a distribution box of some sort needs to be in place on each level. It does not make sense to run upstairs with one one or two items. Collect them over the morning, noon or night, then run them up to the rightful places. Better yet, delegate It! 

As you are de-cluttering play a game with yourself and the family. Pretend you are about to move again. When you moved from Astoria you scaled WAY down. Your house was on the market and you new potential buyers would be super snoopy. With this mindset it might push you to think differently. You were ready at any given moment to let any person roam free in your space. You were confident of its appearance and proud to show it off. Trash, donate and recycle are your key new words to changing your mindset and obtaining the organized house you desire. 

Just a thought for today,

Hugs from your personal organizer,

Trash, donate, and recycle ARE my new key words!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pause for emotion

My husband is on project duty, for the rest of the school yearS.  Right now we have the beluga whale model being created.  When I see the project sprawled out on the dining room table, I am not upset about the mess.  I am elated that I can go about my de-cluttering, homework helping, memory verse recital hearing, state capitol memorization policing, dinner making, laundry doing…you get the idea.  I am no good at those school projects.  The teacher requires 75% of the work be done by the child.  The last project I helped with, the teacher said "It is good when I can see that the child has actually done most the work."  Yep, that's how good I am with those projects.

Have you ever asked God to examine your heart?  To show you what you need to change?  I have, and on occasion still do.  I have found that when I do that, I get to see things that make me very uncomfortable and unhappy.  It is never enjoyable to see how I have allowed the ugly junk to creep into my heart and out of my emotions and, sometimes, words.  It hurts to know that I am not as great as I imagined myself to be (tongue-in-cheek).  Though I may have never imagined myself to be great, I certainly can get high on my hog every now and then.

Even though I am not high on my hog when it comes to my house, I guess I had not truly examined it before.  The deeper I get into this adventure, it has caused me to take a microscopic look at the mess I have created.  As I not only notice all the stuff I have that I do not need, or that is out of place, I am forced to notice the dust that I have ignored.  I find myself saying things like, "why is this sock here?", or "how can dust be so thick?".

 All this revelation has led to a sort of downer.  Right now I am in the valley with this process.  I had a very rough week last week.  From a house in shambles and a desk dilemma, to a couple of runs gone bad (I am training for a half marathon) I was really feeling down.  Try as I might to not be in the poor pitiful me state of mind, I could not get out of my slump!

I took Friday off from de-cluttering and had lunch with my husband, that was a bright spot in my week.    Saturday I was really hoping to get the 10 mile run over with that I was feeling anxious about. When that did not happen, I went into a downward spiral.  I was nobodies friend.  I just wanted to disappear.  I had so much to do, and all I wanted to do was cry.  All because of a missed run?  Not sure.  I do know that the enemy was taking full advantage of the fact that I was feeling sorry for myself.

The next morning my husband was sitting with me on the couch drinking coffee.  This was after we had to clean 4 piles of dog puke in random carpeted spots around the house. Yes, first thing in the morning we were doing this.  As we sat there, he looked at the desk.  He said, "What if I cut the desk here?" We talked about what he was proposing and came to an agreement.  He looked at me, then looked at the desk and said "Well, I better get to working on this if I am going to get it done."  I can cry right now at why he got up off the couch and started on that desk on his day off.  I can cry happy tears at how wonderful of a man he is.   My day began to uncloud.  Not because I was finally getting the desk the way I wanted it, but because of the determination of my husband to lift my spirits.  It was as if I was being shown a huge blessing in my life of which I needed to be aware.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Losing steam already?

Before I get started on today, I will fill you in on what I accomplished.  So after I cleared off the desk and got all the unnecessary stuff out of the way, I moved into the sewing table.  This is how it turned out.
I cannot believe I was able to move into such a small space.  I do have to come up with something for the inbox/outbox situation, because it is necessary.  Until then this will work.  

It's been a rough start to my morning emotionally.  The day is super foggy, and cold.  I feel overwhelmed with clutter and am quickly losing excitement now that I am experiencing what it really takes to make it happen.

Having all this clutter makes me realize how lazy I am.  As I group items together and put items in the "go to another room" basket, I am reminded of why it is in the wrong room at all.  Why is it so difficult to go put stuff away!!!  I have become so lazy, and that is why my house is in the shape it is again.

I told Kurt last night.  "This is like when I first lost the weight then gained most of it back.  Then lost it again.  This time I am not going to gain my weight back, I have kept it off for a year and a half.  This time I am not going to get cluttered again!!!!"

I believe that I have strategies in place in my mind that I can implement to prevent a backslide.  I will make it a habit just like I did with exercise.  I am in training right now.

So, I sent a video to Monica of my house.  There is no way in the world that I am going to share that video here.  Here is the email she sent me, and here are my replies.  Does anyone reading this feel this way?  Am I making too many excuses?

I have a headache…

Hello Monica,

I am going to continue de-cluttering and setting aside favorite items that I wish to place around the house.  For now I will put answers down to your questions.  I know you are asking them so I will think about them, but I will send you my responses, and that way they show you where my head is at, and they give me something to look at and think about.  I hope your work days are going well, and that your clients are cooperating.

Thank you for the video. A few questions for you to think about and discuss with your family.

Let's start ant the entry:

Is the entry functional for you and your family?  Unfortunately the entry has always been a frustration.  At one time it was an incredible eye sore, but now it is at least under somewhat of control.  It looks much better in the summer when there are no coats or backpacks.  Instead of making a closet under the stairs, the people who built the house chose a bathroom for that space.

Does it represent you and your style when guests appear? I would love to have it be more welcoming _I have some decorative ideas rolling in my head that I may implement once the mess is gone.

Are your guests able to set down any personal items when they arrive? Nope

Moving into the family room:

I love your sectional couch with a nice size coffee table. Great pieces!  Thank you

Is there storage under the coffee table? Yes, this is where I try to convince the family to keep the remote controls
Is there space behind the center of the couch for lighting? Yes, there is actually an attractive floor lamp there.
Is there a console table you could match up to the coffee table under the TV? This one is a great idea!  I am officially on the lookout.

Going upstairs:

Is that your time out chair at the top of the landing?  lol LOL, I wish it were MY time out chair!  No.  In fact I should have pointed out more of that area to you so you could help me make it more useful.  There are some curious spaces at the landing.
What is your laundry system? Are the girls accountable the there portion?  My laundry system is: girls bring it down, they help me sort it.  I wash and dry it, and they help fold it.  Laundry is a 5 step process, and I have fallen off the wagon on step 5.

Master Bedroom:

Try moving your bench to the wall by the mirror then flank the bench with the hall tree.  Which side of the  bench should I put that "hall tree", that is if my husband lets me move it.  Which side of the mirror should I put the bench on?
Is the shelf in the closet blocking any light?  The shelf in the closet is blocking the window.  
When was the last time you did a Big purge of clothes and shoes? I have purged clothes and shoes more times than I care to remember.  It seems as though I keep getting rid of stuff, and still cannot manage what I am left with.  Maybe I should just make the official move to the guest bedroom.  Seriously, my bedroom is NOT set up for a husband and wife to share a closet.  What bedroom ever is????
It's time to simplify and figure out your true inventory for 2014. This goes for everyone in the house.  My kids have done it, but if it's REALLY going to happen, I need to be over the shoulder.  Haley just did one during Christmas break and I helped her.  Kurt definitely needs to, but I cannot push him on that yet.  I know he wants too though.  

Master Bath:

Lets take a closer look in your linen closet and focus on grouping items together. This will allow you to know what containers to purchase to house them in.  Okay, will do.

Treat yourselves to new towels you deserve it!  Maybe

Keep delegating out tasks. We are not meant to do this alone. You are amazing and keep living " one day at a time".   I understand that we are not supposed to do this alone, but I need to get it to a state of well being alone, so I can think and not get confused over delegating and being worried about what they are doing.  Once it is done and cleared, then I will begin to dole out responsibilities. 

Hugs from California,
Monica (your personal organizer)

Thanks for reading.  Back to de-cluttering I go…it is all going to be worth it, you'll see. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Now that I've decided to get rid of that desk, I want it GONE

Crafty was my middle name in the early part of the century.  If it was popular I was doing it, if it was a lost art, I was doing it!  You can imagine my excitement when my husband and I found an incredible deal on a large desk with room to house many of my craft digs and surface space enough to spread out projects.

Monica called me last night and we talked about the computer/piano/sun room.  This room is without a doubt my favorite room in the house.  It has several windows and lets a gracious amount of light in during the day.  There are a few problems with it at the moment.  The first problem is the lighting for the evening.  There is no center light in the ceiling, which has led to the need of a lot of floor lamps. The couch sits against the windows so there is no way to sit on it and look out at the beautiful land we live on.  This would be the only room one could really do that in.  Monica spoke out loud about the room and what it had to offer, tossing around ideas in her head.  One of the ideas had to do with a possibility of the couch floating.  I have had this same idea in the past, but with the size of the desk awkwardly taking up half the room, it was never possible.  I said "I could get rid of the desk."  She said "If you want to, that would certainly work." I think she was more excited about the prospect than she let on.

That was all I needed.  I cleared off the desk with intentions of following Monica's instructions to divide up the papers into sections of what they are to me, such as, Need to be reviewed, filed, mailed, etc.  That way if I have piles that have a name to them, then I will have an idea of what things migrate to my desk, and will better understand how to manage them.  She spoke briefly about having three stackable boxes for floating papers.  I was on cloud nine.  Things were really moving forward in a direction that put me in line for smooth household conditions.  No more dreaming of getting to the things I want to do as I am cleaning up my mess and everyone else's.  No more getting an hour or two to myself then feeling guilty because I am using it for something other than cleaning.  Nope, my plan is to declutter, repurpose, organize, and create a cleaning schedule so that my home will be maintained on a daily basis by only needing 1 hour a day to keep it that way.  1 hour!!!  Do you understand?  NO MORE BEING OVERWHELMED!!

When the kids got home Haley was the first to notice the cleared off desk.  She was yelling to Emily that she had to come in here and look at this!  She was ecstatic.  Until she realized I was getting rid of the desk.  Her claim to be upset was that there were memories tied to that desk.  I basically told her it was my desk, and it was going.  When I asked her to change the location of where she normally puts her back pack, I thought the world was going to end.  Ugh why do kids have to be such creatures of habit?

Not long after, my husband came home.  I was chattering on about the desk and giving it to my sister and possibly trading it for her old one, but that it might be too small, etc.  He said nothing.  Then about 10 minutes later I asked him if he thought I could start taking the desk apart without him.  He stopped what he was doing and looked at me with a most seriously stressed face.  "Why do you need to get rid of the desk? Is it so you can go buy one?"  I said "I don't need to spend a lot of money, we can just get one at the thrift store, I know I can find something good there."  "Oh, like the chair you found there?", he said pointing to a chair he has detested every since I brought it home from the Salvation Army.  I will admit the chair is rather homely.  It is time to get rid of that chair too.  But before he said any of this, he said "That desk has a lot of memories."  Seriously, he said that.
Said chair, that is assisting me in organizing by holding recycle

Just like that, the wind was knocked out of my sails.  Not because my husband knocked it out, but because I was feeling guilty for not consulting him about it.  I try to make those kinds of mistakes once because they make me feel so crappy.  I apologized to him and told him I honestly did not think it was that big of a deal.  He told me it really was not, but he just wants to make sure we don't get some piece of junk to replace it.

Update:  Professional organizer lady who was supposed to come on Monday needed to reschedule.  This, for me, was a blessing.  I am taking that time to get the clutter out so when she does come, it will not be mess she sees, but rather a way to repurpose.  I am secretly hoping Monica and I will have it done before then.

Today: Tuesday.  No clients so I am able to de-clutter carte blanche!  (Forget the dishes!!)  I put all the stuff from my mega desk onto the dining room table (forget dinner!) and began to arrange my piles.  Here is what I came up with.
 These piles are divided up as follows: 
To be filed, Blank paper for use, Used on one side scrap, check carbons can't get rid of, check register
 The right corner is office supplies
Baskets are: Middle is stuff that needs to be relocated
Right side is stuff that can be sold or given away

When Monica lived near me and we were working face to face, she would take my stuff for me so that I would not be tempted to pull it out of the trash.  That was such a huge blessing!  Speaking of blessing, she prays for me, much like I do for my clients.  Okay, I am going to post for now, and work on something else until I receive instruction…Oh, did I mention how great Monica is with communication?  I should really take a lesson from her. (Oh wait, I am!) :)