Taking on a Mini-Challenge!

Life is a mess 1


You might remember this picture from my post “Life is Messy” a few months back.  I am happy to say that my living room does not look nearly this bad as I type this.  The glass table top broke about a month ago, so the table went away (freecycled the frame and the larger glass piece is in the back of our truck waiting for a dump run – if there is something else to do with large glass pieces, I would love to know…recycling?).  This has cut down on the amount of clutter quite a bit (it was really just a landing strip for stuff).  But, there are still toys and blankets and legos and such strewn across the floor in limited numbers.  I have a pile of bedding to be folded and put away in one of the chairs and a basket of clothes, already folded, to be taken upstairs and put away.  I have some piles of papers on the dining room table and a bunch of boxes of stuff, including some Christmas stuff, in the garage to sort through and put away for the year.  My life has so. much. stuff. in it!  Some of it is necessary for the time being (legos are just something I’m sure we will deal with for years to come).  Other stuff could easily go away though and I want to jump start that effort this week by using Mary Organizes’ Mini De-Clutter Challenge Spring Edition challenge!

It seems pretty simple.  Starting tomorrow, I will find 10 things I can declutter from my home.  Throw away or give away or even getting it out to sell (although this will be a last resort since I often end up holding on to that stuff instead of actually selling it).  This will continue for six days – so sixty items total.

I am also determined to participate in our local area’s baby and children consignment sale this next weekend.  I have been holding on to stuff (I did get rid of some of it, so less sales for me, but I began to doubt I would ever do it) and need to organize, wash, iron, hang and tag all of it by Thursday.  I ordered a tagging gun and I’m going to start this afternoon.  I am not going to count any of those clothes towards the 60 items though as I don’t know if they will sell and they will come back for the next sale if they do not.  So, safer not to count them.

But, if I can do the sale and the sixty items, I will be in much better shape space-wise this time next week.  We shall see.

Anyone else doing some decluttering?  Link up in the comments!  I would love to see what you’re doing!



Saturday Replay – this week, I would like to share this wonderful poem from Teacher as Transformer. The idea of these “open spaces” was something we explored in a retreat I was at this weekend. They are so important to foster, both for ourselves and our children/students. Don’t just keep piling on the logs or you are sure to extinguish the fire!

Teacher as Transformer

Judy Brown wrote this poem and it is a gentle reminder of spaces in our lives that softly breath passion back into living. In these spaces, we lightly lay com-passion, integrating it in life and rekindling  passion.

Sabbath is an ongoing event. It is the daily pauses taken to be thankful and momentarily rest. It is meditation and prayer, listening not for certainty and answers, but more likely questions serving as life’s fuel. It is being in Nature and seeing ourselves as a small part of the larger whole.

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build

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My “Stop Doing List”

Danielle LaPorte recently published a “Celebration of The Stop Doing List”.  I have decided that I definitely love the idea of a Stop Doing List and trying to make it as long as my To-Do List!  Or maybe even longer!  So, here goes my first attempt at the Stop Doing List:

  1. Feeling inadequate because I can’t “do it all” all the time.  Go with what I can do and be satisfied with it.
  2. Spending money BEFORE I have it.
  3. Eating out instead of cooking my own meals.
  4. Not sleeping enough.
  5. Overscheduling myself, especially to do things I do not really want to do.
  6. Refusing to ask for help until I am completely over my head with things.
  7. Feeling like I have to be doing something all. the. time.
  8. Skipping things I really do want to do because I have “too much to do”.

This is just a start, of course.  Oh, one more:

9.  Not blogging because I don’t have something important enough to say or I can’t say it perfectly!


Tough Tuesday…

Today is not a great day.  It started off with a poor night of sleep (waking every two hours or less starting at 2:15 a.m.), then my daughter threw up in the car on the way to preschool.  Normally, I wouldn’t be too worried (and I probably still should not be), but she has been complaining of headaches the past couple of days and also complained of her stomach hurting this morning.  It is probably nothing (and so far seems to be), but it is still just something that weighs on me.  In addition, I am behind in grading and catching up is proving difficult as usual (grading is always the worst thing about teaching for me…I just can’t motivate myself to stay with it for long periods of time).  I am also feeling that post-Spring Break let-down.  I always feel like the Spring semester goes on for so long after Spring Break and sometimes it is difficult to face that long, drawn out time period.  Finally, my husband left for an eight day work trip this morning, so I’m on my own for another week. And that is also exhausting to think about.

It is exhausting.  I feel like my life is exhausting again.  I feel like I go through these cycles…I feel overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden and tired.  Then I start to feel like I get a grip on things.  I get the house cleaned up.  I get somewhat caught up in work (or a semester ends).  I feel on top of things.  Then, within a very short time, I’m back in the pits again.  I am not sure exactly what to do about it.

So, here I am. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  Perhaps I can get out of the hole before long.

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Spring Break Edition


All good things end too soon.

So, Spring Break is just about over.  I spent one day of it at a teaching workshop, two days driving to and from Alturas CA and basically sitting in a hotel room or eating at a diner when not driving (I did get to see some antelope, but that was about it), and then two and a half days at my mom’s house dealing with health insurance, medical appointments, etc.  So, five an a half our of my eight days off were spent doing less than exciting, non-break-like things.  I have tomorrow to finish it up.  My plan is to go to church in the morning, play a little in the park after church (the weather is amazing here right now), and then try to do all the grading that I did not get done this past week done.  I have a bit of cleaning up to do around the house tonight, but my focus needs to be on catching up for work.  Sigh…



Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – “Joy”

2014-03-16 11.15.10Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is Joy – so, here goes:

Unbridled joy.  How many of us have that feeling as adults?  The picture of my daughter above captures what I consider to be pure joy. She was so happy to be on that swing, flying high in the air, and feeling the breeze in her hair.  As adults, we seem to have a habit of focusing on “controlling” our joy or, even worse, focusing on the struggle.

I am spending a couple of days of my Spring Break with my mom.  My dad passed away in January and even before that, his health was not good for a couple of years.  And even before that my mom’s health has been up and down with cancer coming and going and coming back again.  My mom seems to have lost all joy.  I can’t remember the last time she has had a lasting smile or a full day of enjoying herself.  She has a lot of physical pain and even more mental anguish and anxiety.  I struggle to know what to do and say that will at least not cause her more pain and anguish.  It is sad, but it is also frustrating.  I saw a post last night that said “Telling someone who is depressed that they shouldn’t be because their life is great is like telling someone with asthma that they shouldn’t struggle to breathe because there is plenty of air in the room.”  But, it is hard to know what to tell them or what to say.  It all seems so overwhelming.

So, I am trying to focus on my own attitude and my own feelings.  I am trying to make sure that I am able to focus on happiness and joy and capture moments like the one above with my daughter.  I may not be able to capture that same amount of joy anymore, but I can at least capture little bits of joy and truly bask in them like sunlight on a spring day after the rain and clouds have passed.

I wish I could figure out a way to get my mom’s rain and clouds to pass…but, they are there.  And they seem to be pretty steadfast in their daily appearance.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #15 – Bare Bones Edition


Well, the bare bones edition is happening because it is 11:37 pm, so I only have 23 minutes to truly post this on Thursday.  Plus, I don’t have a lot of things to give a thumbs up to this week.  Sorry, it has been a pretty bland week.  But, here goes:

1)  The iPad –


So many reasons for this one.  First, I have a five year old and yes, I am one of THOSE parents who has let their child play on both the iPhone and iPad forever.  But, I will say that it is a lifesaver when in the car, in the hospital, in waiting rooms, etc.  It is truly magic. I realize there are other things that can do make these places better, but this one is really a showstopper.  In addition, I can house literally hundreds of books, articles, student papers, etc. on it and fit it in my purse!  That is pretty amazing as well! I am not an Apple loving person really, but the iPad has definitely made me love it.  So, thumbs up Apple!

2)  $1 Iced Teas at McDonalds –


I drink a LOT of iced tea.  I also drive a lot.  So, being able to get a good, big, unsweetened iced tea (actually brewed – the fountain drink iced tea tastes really chemically) is a big boon for me!  McDonald’s consistently has good iced tea cheap, so they are my go-to place for picking up a drink along the way.

Yeah, its 11:49 p.m. now and I’m tired.  So, I’m ending it there this week.  I’m sure there are a ton of other things I could give a thumbs up to tonight, but I will just have to be happy with the two things.  Tomorrow is Friday – three more days of Spring Break and then it is back to work for me.  So sad…