Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty Six

Question #36:  What do you think about Sara's statement, "We reflect Jesus in the small things so our families can see Him in the bigger things."?  Is this hard to do?  Why or why not?

This question is based on the story of Sara and dog poo.  I'll just leave that for ya!  If you haven't got the book, you will now, wontcha?!

Let me preface the start of my answer by saying that I do not think I am a great person and you all should follow my example!  But doing little things just seems to come second nature to me most of the time.  I don't really think about it, I just do it.  I'm not even completely aware unless someone says something to me.  I'll chase down grocery carts in the parking lot, I'll pull product forward on the shelf instead of leaving a hole, I'll hang something back up that fell off a hanger at the store, or rearrange a pile of folded shirts on display that someone else treated like a yard sale.  At physical therapy, I have even cleaned the bottom of the table that has a lot of dust because obviously they don't have time and it will only take me a second.  Some people appreciate it and some people call me a control or neat freak.  Think whatever you like, I'm just trying to make my little part of the world a better place.

Now for the second part, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees!  Especially at a gathering, I will suddenly notice that I'm enjoying the conversation but I am the only woman in the living room.  All the other girls are in the kitchen cleaning up.  Ooops!  I have found out the hard way that this can seriously offend females.  And while I'm usually the first one to notice a mess and what needs to be cleaned up, sometimes I don't pick up on helping someone out like this. But at the same time I'm torn.  I am really into this conversation and there are ten of them in the kitchen.  They don't really need my help, and they are talking about the latest fashions.  I'd rather clean up dog poo!

But I digress.  Not having children I never thought about purposely doing something small to reflect Jesus.  But evidently I have anyway.  My husband said something to me before about how I'm always doing these little things and not looking to be rewarded (his words, not mine).  He is usually completely oblivious to anything like this, even when someone drops a hint I have to point it out to him.  But he actually said he wanted to be more like me!  I was shocked.  And to his credit, he has done a lot of little things himself in the past couple years.

Is it hard to do?  When there is something I REALLY don't want to do, but it's in line with what I would normally do anyway, then yes, it's very hard.  For example, If I always clean up a spill I see on the floor, but this time it is extra special smelly, I really don't want to!  Or if my time is short while walking the dog, but I see something on the other side of the road that could cause a flat tire, I start talking myself out of going over there and figuring out what to do with it.  I have to remind myself that my inaction could cost someone a lot of money!  I just have to remind myself that a small inconvenience for me could be a huge blessing to someone else.  And when you think of it that way, isn't it always worth it?

Until Next Time.....

Monday, May 28, 2012

1 year to an Organized Life - May Week 4

This week you can:

  • complete a big organizing project from last week or move on to a new project

I finished the laundry room!  If you remember I had started "ridding" out and did the cleaning and organizing, but I still needed a window treatment.  So I got one curtain panel and a rod.  The window is smaller than others in the house, so even with just one panel on the rod it still scrunches up and hangs nicely.

The next place I hope to finish is this upstairs spare bedroom.  That's it's label anyway.  It's actually the home office and gym.  You saw a pic of my desk already.  This is the view FROM my desk.  What I couldn't get in the pic were all the hand weights and kettlebells to the right of the recumbent bike.  There is also open floor space in front of the machines and a small tv in the corner so I can follow along with workout dvds.  All this space needs is the curtain in the closet to hide the shelving unit.

In this week's chapter, Regina gives us another worksheet example as well as some cautions about not skipping over the stuff we already have stored.  I can't agree more!  This was my problem and why I decided to do this book this year.  When I was working, every summer I would go through the house and reorganize stuff that my husband and I had gotten lazy with throughout the school year.  I would also get rid of clothes and other things.  But I would get tired of it and when I came to boxes I would tell myself, oh yeah, I wanted to keep all of that and not look through it all.  This year, I have touched everything in my house so far and I have gotten rid of more than I ever have before!  It really has been freeing.  The yard sale is this weekend and I can hardly wait!  Once that is out, not only will I have a little extra cash, but then I can finish the downstairs spare room.  I am really looking forward to the entire house finally being organized!

Keep up the good work!  You can do it!  It's going to be so awesome when everything is done!!

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty Five

Question #35: Have you ever tried to learn a new skill?  What happened?

Actually, I could entertain you with more than one story on this topic, but I'll stick with the most recent one.  My grandmother had tried to teach me to crochet when I was young and no matter how hard I tried I just COULD NOT get it!  A couple years ago I thought I would try knitting.

So, I got one of those little craft kits...for kids...where I think it would end up being a scarf.  How hard can that be?  The most basic of basics.  And it was meant for CHILDREN!

Yes, you can already guess where this was going.  I could not do it to save my life.  There was a lot of random, frustrated screaming before I finally gave up, but didn't quite give in.  OK, so I can't knit in the traditional way...

Have you seen those round looms that have little knobby pegs all the way around?  You are supposed to be able to weave the yarn in and around these pegs and end up with a knitted tube that could be many things depending on how you finished it.  So I decided to do a scarf that would be double layered.  

Good, gobilty, gook!!!  Of course, I couldn't do that right either.  I had to restart so many times I lost count.  Then once I actually got it going for quite a long time, but then, while CAREFULLY following directions, I tried to take it off the loom to finish it....and it came halfway unraveled.

Needless to say I have completely given up on the yarn arts, and had quite a few items for the yard sale I participated in shortly thereafter.

I do not plan on starting any new hobbies anytime soon!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, May 21, 2012

1 Year to an Organized Life - May Week 3

This week you can:

  • begin your first project!!
Remember, you do not have to get everything done this month.  A few of the upcoming months probably have an aspect that doesn't apply to you so you can use that week to catch up.  Be sure to keep your goals in mind (remember the list you made on week one?).  Pencil in your plans on your calendar and start making some appointments with any other people that might need to be involved such as dumpster rental or another family member that needs to get their stuff out of your house.

Regina spends the rest of the week describing how you might plan to work through a big space, using the garage as an example.  My husband finally had some time to work in there.  I had to wait for him.  The only things I have in the garage are my bike and the truck.  Everything else is his!  I told him my goals for the space, and he did the best he could...I guess.  He did put up a bike rack similar to this.  Ours hangs a little higher, but it does have 5 bikes on it...remember, only one is mine.

Another thing that I like that he did was we had gotten some industrial shelving some time ago.  It is on one wall and he put a lot of his stuff in like size, see thru bins.  That helped a lot.  Now if he didn't feel like he needed so many power tools and toys!

The next project is finishing up the upstairs spare bedroom.  It's already looking better but isn't quite complete.  What's next for you?

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty Four

Question #34:  How do you welcome your husband home when he has been out of town or away on business?  Do you show him a lot of love or just his to-do list?

I'm very lucky in that while my husband does travel for work, usually every week, it has only been an overnight thing a couple of times the whole time we've been together.  He is usually very tired when he has been out of town, because when he does it's usually many hours away.  Have you ever driven for 6-8 hours or more in a day?  Even though you are just sitting, you feel so exhausted when you finally get out of that car!  

When he has been out of town, and I have a good idea of when he will be home, those are the days I like to make sure that I cook something, not have a leftovers night.  Of course that's not always possible if it is the night we have to be at small group or I have to teach my Bible study, but I do my best.

One thing that I have learned over the years about a to-do list is that, unless something is extremely urgent, (the washer clogged up and the fabric softener quit coming out) I do not give him a to-do list until the weekend.  He has worked hard all day and he deserves a rest.  Yes, I have worked all day too, but my goal in scheduling my own work is to be done by the time that he comes home so we have most evenings to rest together, spend time together, walk the dogs together, etc.  His special treat is when I go teach, he is supposed to watch TV the whole time.  (seriously, 22 episodes of his fishing show?! It's clogging up my DVR!)

Another thing that I have learned over the years about a to-do list is to not make it really long.  Why should we "force" our husbands to work their tail off all weekend long after a long hard week at their regular job?  Again, yes, I know that I worked hard all week long too, but again, I try to schedule all my work during his regular work hours so that we have the weekends free together.  What I will do is try to be sure I do not put more than three jobs on there, unless maybe it's something that he can do in 5 minutes but I just couldn't reach it, wasn't strong enough, etc.  My husband loves to fish, and the only time he can do this is on the weekends.  I want to be sure that he has this time.  While I am not always happy that he wants to spend every Saturday on the river, he deserves his down time to de-stress just as much as anyone else.  And to be fair, if I have given him weekend chores, I give myself some too.  Maybe I am assisting him with what I asked him to do, or maybe I'm working somewhere else in the house.  Then when we are both done, we get to do something fun together.

You should try it!  I think you'll see an improvement in not only his attitude towards chores, but yours as well.  Plus you will have more meaningful down times together.  You might even find a new hobby that both of you enjoy.

Until Next Time.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

1 Year to an Organized Life - May Week 2

This week you can:

  • consider the tools at your disposal such as dumpsters, consignment shops, charities
  • learn about yard sales
  • make arrangements for the tools you are going to use
The above pic is from an internet image search since I haven't had my sale yet.  If you've been following me for very long you know that I have already posted about how to prepare for a yard sale so that it isn't quite so overwhelming.  (see the post)  Mine is coming up in a little over 2 weeks, so for me that means getting through all these extra areas of the home before then.  I can do it, and I am excited to do it!  When all of that stuff is gone and my spaces are clean, organized and more open, I know I will really feel like my home is more of a sanctuary.  I can hardly wait!

I like that Regina starts the week out with a reminder on page 130.  "The whole of anything is overwhelming. We always need to break things down into manageable chunks. ...the first order of business is to eliminate what is no longer needed."  That's my favorite part!  I don't know about you, but once I've made that decision about an item I instantly feel better.  Stuff weighs us down!  The next thing to do is to know what you want to accomplish and know who you need to contact to do that if it takes someone dumpster rental.

Regina also talks about yard sales and her take on preparing for them starting on page 132.  Just like her, maybe yard sales aren't for you.  If that's the case, find charities in your area to donate your unwanted stuff.  Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or maybe an area rescue mission.  I do totally agree with one of her points on page 133 to be prepared to deliver anything leftover to charities.  In my post, I tell you that too.  What I do is when the sale is over, I start making a list....5 sweaters, 3 belts, 6 kitchen utensils, etc.  Then I box and/or bag it as I go.  Those boxes and bags go right in my truck and go straight to Goodwill that day.  The only thing I take back into my house at the end of a sale is any unsold books.  I then take those to a used bookstore that will give me trade credit for them THE VERY NEXT DAY THEY ARE OPEN.  In fact, usually what I do is when we come back from Goodwill, I'll put those books in my truck to remind me to go to the bookstore....nothing back in the house!!

Now we need to start implementing the plan we came up with in week one.  You need to decide what areas are right for you to focus on first.  For me, since I've already planned for my sale, I decided to start in the laundry room.  There wasn't really much to get rid of here, but it had slowly gotten messy and unorganized.  I took everything out of the cabinets, cleaned them then put things back orderly.  There is a window in this room that has never had any kind of covering except the blind that came with the house.  So I got a window panel, purple of course, and a rod for it.  It will be installed either tonight or tomorrow.  Then the laundry room is done!

Look ahead and start planning when to tackle each project.  I wrote them in on my calendar.  The garage and the upstairs spare bedroom are tied for next.  Since I need my husband to be able to do a good job in the garage I'll have to see when he is available.  The only thing that I need to do in the upstairs room is get a curtain kind of covering for the closet that has no doors.  I think I told you before that doors wouldn't work anyway with the way this room is set up.  You know what I found that I like?  A shower curtain!  Don't laugh, have you looked at them lately?  They're not all plastic, some are cloth and they are wide enough to cover a large closet opening.  To make it cheaper, I'll be using  pocket rod which is anywhere from $5-$15 cheaper than a shower or tension rod.  This will actually be hung on the inside, so the curtain won't be outside covering the trim.  (think of a stage and its curtain)  SInce it is on the inside where no one will see the hard ware, I'm going to use binder rings to go through the holes in the shower curtain.  You get them at office supply stores.  You might see them in the corner of a stack of index cards with a hole punched through them all so you can flip the cards without losing your place.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  These are again anywhere from $5-$15 cheaper than using shower curtain hooks or cafe hooks.

I know this is a lot of work to plan for, but you've made it this far, so don't give up yet!!  You will be enjoying the benefits of all this hard work for years to come!  Just think...for me, by the time my yard sale is over, my entire two story house will be completely clean and organized!!  No more drawers or rooms where stuff gets shoved in or hidden then forgotten about.  Awesome!

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty Three

Question #33:  How do you handle arguments with your husband?

OK, I know I've said it before, but now I really, really, really don't want to answer this question!!!

This does not make me look or sound good at all, but when my husband and I argue, I always win.  Seriously, always.  I cannot think of a single time that we have argued that he started it, or that he won.  This has bothered me in the past, but not in the way it should.  It bothers me because I think that I can't possibly be right all of the time.  It bothers me because I feel like he isn't speaking up for himself or wanting to share his point of view.  And that bothers me because if you hold something inside for too long, even if you think you are doing what's best, one day it will eventually blow up like a volcano....and there's no putting a volcano back together.  I've seen it happen so many times before.  A couple argues about something, one of them never says anything about how they really feel, then 5-10 years later whatever that issue or behavior is now drives that person so crazy that they actually can't stand their spouse any longer and they don't want to fix anything either.  Marriage over.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not constantly screaming at my husband, we actually don't argue much at all.  What I call an argument is when he has done, or NOT done, something and I can't take it anymore so I bring it to his attention.  He almost always apologizes and says he will do better.  The only time that "screaming" comes in is if I've had a really bad day and that issue or behavior is the last straw, or if I have waited too long to eat....we've already discussed this, no need to revisit ;)  We had a talk about arguments early on.  He understands where I'm coming from on 99% of the things we discuss, and agrees with me.  Sometimes he just gets lazy.  I think really we are very lucky.  First that we see eye to eye on so many things, and second, he understands that sometimes I need to get really loud and then I feel much better. :)

This makes me wonder how much other people argue.  Usually it's done behind closed doors, you don't see your friends fighting in front of you when they invite you over for dinner.  The most you see is on TV, and of course we know how reliable that is.  Of course I read books and articles that talk about the divorce rate, including the rate among's scary!  I know that they say people argue the most over money, then secondly over parenting.  I guess I can kind of see those points.  If the two of you have very different points of view, yep, that'll bring on an argument.  I guess I just don't understand why these things weren't discussed before you got married.  Of course when it comes to the kids, you can say that you agree on things before you ever have them, but sometimes when they come out, all bets are off.  What if the child has special needs and there are so many different ways to treat that, now you disagree.

And money...well, the more I think about it I could see where problems might come in.  Maybe you did discuss it before you got married, but then someone lost a job.  Or one of you became ill and couldn't work anymore.  Or maybe one of your parents now needs caregiving and you weren't planning on having to pay for that.  Yes, money can be a touchy subject I guess.  I think the actual root of the problem, though, is fear.  What if we run out?  What if we can't pay the bills?  What if we have to sell our home?  Where will we go?  I'm guilty of that one.  I did become ill and can't work anymore.  We didn't plan on that...not at this point anyway.  When I first was diagnosed we thought, well, when we get the house paid off I would just quit working.  But then I got more ill.  And even though we are still able to put a little bit extra on the payment every month, it wasn't what we planned.  We certainly didn't plan to be paying as much for health insurance as I am right now.

Lucky for us, at this point anyway and I hope it doesn't change, we can see that God will take care of us one way or another.  It may not be the way that we planned, but it will be alright.  We might have to make even bigger changes and cut even more corners, but God will not fail us.  He will take care of us...maybe not "in the manner to which we are accustomed", but He will take care of us nonetheless!  

Hmmmm, I'm not so sure that I stayed on topic, but maybe someone needed to read what I wrote as it just seemed to flow right out.  Or maybe I just needed to be reminded myself!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, May 7, 2012

1 Year to an Organized Life - May Week 1

This week you can:

  • find out what a true pack rat is....are you one?  do you live with one?
  • take a clinical look at the bonus areas of your home.  what works in these spaces and what doesn't
  • decide what concrete steps you can take to make these areas work better
  • begin your shopping list for the month's projects
Woo!  This is going to be one heck of a month for me!!  I have all of the areas mentioned except the attic.  Well, OK, I have an attic but the only things up there are insulation and a few dead birds.  I know, gross, right?  They squeeze into the smallest places then can't get out.  I hate it!

In the introduction to the month, starting on page 118, Regina talks about these places that we traditionally use for some type of storage.  Usually they hold things that we are reluctant to make decisions about.  I never thought of it exactly that way, but it's true.  These are the places that I'll put things when company is coming and I don't want them to see it.  We shove things in and shut the door.  Sometimes we don't touch these thing again for months, but for some reason we couldn't part with it when we touched it in the first place!

I like how she says on page 119, that we free our spaces and ourselves when we let go of stuff.  Amen to that!!  Too much stuff, especially the stuff that I'm not sure what to do with, weighs me down.  It actually makes me feel yucky.  When we bought this house, I just went along with my husband when he didn't get rid of anything.  His take was, well, we're not using the space it takes up so we might as well keep it.  And since I grew up with a mother whose mantra was "you'll never know when you might need that", as I said, I just went along.  But no more!  If we end up with some big empty open spaces, so much the better for us, the animals to move around in, and it will be easier to clean!!  I almost feel bad that we have a bigger house than two people really need, but you know what?  I've looked into smaller places....we actually can't afford to go smaller!  So I guess we just enjoy our space.  And to do that it must be cleaned out and organized!!

So, I made a chart as Regina suggested with all of the rooms and what I like and dislike about each one.  Most of what I dislike can be easily solved using the methods I have already learned in the book.  The one area that can't be easily solved is the downstairs living room.  It's a very nice space, and when we have company it's great that the guests can sit here and maybe stay up later than we do and watch TV or read.  The problem is that I love books.  Now, I have really, really pared them down...yes I have!!!  And I have been doing MUCH better at not buying so many.  But the fact remains that I have a lot of books.  There wasn't a single shelf in this house when we moved in.  I only have 1 large bookcase and 1 small one......and a lot of piles!  The pic above is close to what I would love to have.  In the middle above those drawers is where I would put the TV, then above and on either side of it I want shelves taking up the whole rest of that wall.  That should give me plenty of room for all of my books, and I could get rid of the other two mis-matched bookcases.  Of course, I can't afford that right now, but it's on the dream list!

The only thing I will need to purchase for all of these rooms to be organized, is something to hang in the spare bedroom that's half office half gym.  In the closet is where I have shelves with those bins I've talked about before.  I think a curtain would be best for this, closet doors wouldn't really work with the way the room is set up.  For all of the other rooms, all I need to do (all, HA!) is rid things out, clean, and then organize what's left.  Of course, my husband is going to have to help with two of the spaces since most of what is in those two areas are his things.  Getting time from him is going to be the hard part since he works so much.  But my goal is to get these areas done by the end of May.  I don't know that I will be successful, one or two might have to be put off, but I'm going to do my best to get it done now.

Wish me luck.....and good luck to you!!

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty Two

Question #32:  What's something sweet and surprising your husband has done for you?

Ah! The tables are turned, now we get to talk about a husband that has done good.  Hmmmmm, I'm still thinking.....

Just kidding!  He did something very sweet and surprising just last week.  Being a librarian at heart, when something interests me a lot, I research it to death.  There was a book I wanted to read, but it was not at the public library, or at the local used bookstore, or at the full price bookstore.  I found it at Amazon, but I was hesitant to buy it.  We are trying so hard not to spend any extra money, and although this book would actually help me and not just be a curiosity expenditure, I couldn't decide if I should get it.  You know how Amazon works.  The book was only $10.88, but you'd have to pay shipping.  So to avoid shipping you want to spend $25.  But I couldn't come up with $25 worth of stuff that I could justify.  Yes, there's a lot more than $25 that I want but not that I need.

So my husband knows I've been talking about this book for weeks.  I placed it on my wish list so I wouldn't have to look it up every time I wanted to read the reviews and such.  Without telling me, he bought that book for me and gave it to me last Thursday.

That really meant a lot to me because I know that sometimes he is not paying attention to me when I start talking about a subject that I am really interested in.  He was this time, and he knew how much it would mean to me to be able to read what was in that book.

And that's why I keep him around ;)

Until Next Time.....