Thursday, October 31, 2013

Finding Balance

Today is the last day of the 31 day series.  I have honestly greatly enjoyed it.  I HIGHLY recommend 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae.  My home is cleaner (even though I didn't finish all of the challenges), and my heart and spirit is renewed in the caring of my home.  I learned more about myself.  Things like, why I have such a hard time doing some things, as well as why I get so overwhelmed.  I am still working on fixing these things, but I am honestly excited with what God is doing I'm my life and how He is changing me.


Here are some key take aways that I had from this month that I think will help you bring life to your home:
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others!  Choose to lower your expectations and stop feeling guilty.
  2. Find and then use a form of motivation that works for you.
  3. Disciple and joy are both a choice you make daily for yourself.
  4. Make a plan and a schedule.  Learn how to say "no", so that you can say "yes".
  5. We all fall, and make mistakes and struggle, that is part of our sinful nature.  Keep trying! Your home is worth it!
  6. It is a blessing to be able to bring life to your home, it is one of the things we are made for.
All of these things lead to the key that I am not sharing with you:

BALANCE

We can not be all things to all people.  So stop trying.  Do the best of your ability to be present where you are in your life.  Acknowledge your short comings, and move past them.  If you focus on only one area of your life, you will neglect the other areas.  I have decided to adopt a new process for keeping balance in my life.  It is actually working out quite well.  Each day I create a 6 list, and put one thing from each category in it.
  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with Husband
  3. Relationship with Kids
  4. Myself - something just for me
  5. My home
  6. My blog
For example todays list looks like this:
  1. Read Proverbs 31 3x's & pray (1 down 3 to go)
  2. Spend extra time with hubby one-on-one today
  3. Take the kids Trick-or-Treating and make it a special memory
  4. Read a chapter of my "for fun" book (currently reading this book, not going to finish it by tomorrow for the movie release but hubby and I are going to go see it in two weeks)
  5. Have a clean kitchen before getting into bed
  6. Wrap up the 31 day series
When I first did my 6 list, I didn't have enough balance to it, most of the things I did were for my home, not for me, and important relationships.  I also make a 6 list for at work, but I am still working on making it more realistic (sometimes I don't have things to add that I know are not realistic for me to do in one day).  It is all about finding the right balance for you, your family and your home.

I have been so blessed by reading this book.  I honestly can't recommend it enough.  I have also had a wonderful time blogging this much.  I really feel like when I blog everyday, I get into a groove.  I think that maybe even if I don't post everyday, that I need to at lease write everyday.  This way I can keep improving my writing.  This may make it into the "me column" more often than not.  I think this month, I have really rediscover my passion for writing.  Now to put first things, and say no to the unimportant things, so that I can say YES to the things I want to be able to do.

I truly hope that this series has been an encouragement to you, and that you will share that with me, either by commenting below, or via email.  Thanks for joining me on this amazing journey.  I hope and pray that you will be able to continue to bring life to your homes, and not kill yourself in the process.












Linking up

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30: Contentment in the Season of Your Life

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.

I know that in this season of my life, my home will never look "pintrest worthy" for longer than it takes me to take a quick picture of it (if that).  I am learning to be thankful for what I have, and not what I don't.  Learning to dream big, and shoot for the stars but still be happy with where you are now is practically impossible.  I am a dreamer, a wisher, a longer.  I thing big thoughts, and dream big glorious dreams.  My realities never quite line up to those dreams, but I am learning that my reality is far better than my dreams.

Today I am thankful for:
My husband
My children
My imperfect home
Food on the table
God's provision for our family
Being blessed with a special trip (coming soon) by my amazing mother-in-law
My job
Coffee
Being able to trust in God
A Heavenly Father who loves me, cares for me and is always there for me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29: Hiring Help?

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.


Today I am thankful for how much help I have around the house, even though I'd really love to hire professionals to clean it all for me.

I am thankful to have a working:
Dishwasher
Fridge/Freezer
Washer/Dryer
Vacuum
Crock-pot 
Oven
Stove
Microwave
Running water (and hot too)

I am thankful to have a husband who will do work around the house (even if it isn't how I would do it or done the "right way").  He is amazing and puts in a good amount of work to keep our house afloat.

I may not have a magical fairy to do my laundry for me, and keep my kitchen clean, but I do have a wonderful home and people I love to share it with.  Maybe some day I will have someone come clean my house for me.  Maybe some day I can keep it up the way I want.  I hope that I will be able to eventually do it all, but I know that God will give me the strength to do what I need to do, when I need it.

What are you thankful to have in your home?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28: Who are You Trying to Please?

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.


Hi!  My name is Ashley and I am a people pleaser.  

Seriously it is a problem.  Ok, so its kind of a BIG problem.  It is a big problem in the way that I go around pleasing everyone else and I make myself completely miserable in the process.  Here is an example.  A few weeks back, I went shopping.  I spent the most amount of money on myself in one day that I have in our entire marriage.  I have finally been loosing the baby weight, but am not in this awkward place where I'm too small for my "post-baby" wardrobe and still too be for my "pre-two-babies" wardrobe.  I didn't even own a single pair of pants that fit.  I spent way to much time scouring the clothing rack, bought things that fit, simply because they were on sale (read "cheap" or a too-good-to-pass-up deal).  I didn't get them because I liked them particularly or because I was attached to them.  However after several of them sat I'm my closet for over a week unworn, and I returned everything in my closet that still had a tag on it.  In the same trip I also bought my husband two new pairs of work pants (he needed them), and purchased each of my kids a new pair of pajamas as the weather has started to turn, and they needed warmer sleep wear.  See everyone is happy, I met the needs of my family.  

The problem is, I didn't meet my needs.  I am still super stressed out every morning while trying to find an appropriate outfit for work.  I also now have a shoe crisis.  Our wonderful dog enjoys chewing my shoes, and ONLY my shoes.  I have been forced to get rid of many pairs, and some I donated that I just hadn't worn in the last few years.  Now, I am struggling, because I can now count the pairs of shoes I own on my hands, and I don't own a single pair of sensible flats.  

Here is my thing. 
 Guilt 
(what this day's reading is really about)

I feel guilty meeting my own needs/wants.  I feel guilty to take time for myself.  I feel guilty to spend time talking to my friends when I "should" be cleaning, or preparing things for the week.  I feel guilty buying fully priced clothing for myself, even at stores like kohl's, but don't even blink at cute outfits for my babies.  I honestly struggle with this for a few reasons.  I have this deeply engrained feeling that being selfish is wrong.  Buying things (even cheap things) for myself is selfish.  Buying them for others is not.  Spending extra money on myself is not ok, but spending it on my husband or kids is fine.  I also don't like to spend money on making things look "pretty".  I'm slowly getting over this, but it is a battle (in my head I'm looking at the price and calculating how many starving children we could feed).  I have been living in this guilt trapped life of how things "should be" in my head.  I had a long talk with my husband about this.  I basically need to get over it.  

I feel outside pressures, for "not spending enough time with my kids" because I work away from the home.  To maintain a "perfect household", to dedicate myself to my family fully.  Attempting to live up to these types of expectations, and the crushing guilt of failure is making me miserable.  I am the only one who can change this, it is me who has to shed the "ideal" of these crazy expectations I put on myself that is driving me (and therefore the people I share my home with) crazy.  

Do you do this?  How do you push past it?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27: Becoming Friends with Goodwill


For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.


"The reduction of clutter: bliss." - page 63 of 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae

Does it not make sense that if we have fewer things, we have less to clean/organize?  They are just things.  We will not take them with us when we die, so why do we cling to them so?  Purging will feel so good.  So, so good.  We are actually planing to have a garage sale, (we also need then money) so we are boxing thing up and putting them aside for our big sale.  Let me tell you there are boxes, and boxes, and I still have tons more to go through!  What could you get rid of?  What haven't you used in the last 6 months?  I'm not saying to get rid of your china that you use for special occasions (unless you really don't have the room/need) but give your items an honest evaluation and donate what you don't need/use.

Martha Challenge:
Here is just one of my "going" boxes.  They are baby things mostly, because my babies are no longer babies.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26: Laundry

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.


On a quick side note, I must apologize to you my dear readers.  I thought I had posted the last several days, but they were scheduled and didn't actually post!  I missed that they were still drafts, and I sincerely apologize if I left any of you hanging.  I will do my best to not let it happen again, now on to our regularly scheduled post...

Honestly, I would love to hear the first thing that pops in your head when you hear the word "laundry".  Please make sure to comment what it is, because I am really hoping that I am not alone.  My word would be "endless".  Honestly, my husband and I used to get by with 2-3 loads per week.  We figured adding a baby would add an extra load or two, but the clothes were small, so it couldn't be that big of a deal.  (laugh with me here).  Little did we know that having an infant who NEVER hit the burp rag would cause our laundry load to double and sometimes triple.  Oh yes, and that was BEFORE the cloth diapers we chose to use.  All of the sudden, laundry was a nightmare and until last year, we didn't have access to one in our home or complex, so we used my parents.  They were so wonderful to let us use their nice machines, but now we have our own "laundry room".  Its really more of a closet where the washer/dryer and water heater are, that is behind the garage.

I've never minded doing laundry, honestly its the putting away that always gets me.  Clothes end up clean, and dumped on the bed for putting away "later" then I'm running late to climb into bed and I dump it back in the hamper, or in a chair and there it stays.  I will say that until my son decided to start emptying his drawers for "fun" daily, I was decent at the kids clothes.  Here is a picture of how I feel at times.
Credit
What is your laundry nemesis?  How do you tackle the never ending "piles of fun"???



Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25: Highs and Lows

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



I am so guilty of this.  I do so good, and get on a kick and am really successful with something and just when I feel like I'm getting my grove...
... something happens.  I get knocked down, I stop doing so well, I go back to my old ways.  I am so sick of my old ways.  I mean, they are obviously not working for me, so why do we go back to them?

It is a struggle for me.  It is also good to be reminded that everyone struggles.  No one is perfect, we all go through ups and downs in different parts of our lives at different times.  I'm going to get better.  My hope is that my highs become more frequent and longer and my lows become less often and shorter.  Eventually I hope to normalize my highs, specifically in keeping my home.

What about you?  Do you go on cleaning kicks and then get stuck and things go back to the way they were?  Really hoping I'm not alone here on this one.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 24: Organization

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



"...don’t let the beautiful pictures that you see in catalogs and online intimidate you to the point where you don’t do anything" -page 49 of 31 Days to Clean

I am so guilty of this.  I see beautiful homes and spaces on blogs and pintrest.  Everything I try and do to create these things never end up the way I wish for them to be.  It is so frustrating.  It is even demotivating.

"I believe that a reasonably organized home means that you can find what you need when you need it. You don’t have to waste tons of time hunting for your stuff." Page 50 of 31 Days to Clean

It is good to know that no matter my messes, no matter my imperfections, I can still most likely make my home reasonably organized.  My home may never look as beautiful as those bloggers and pins I love to be inspired by, but you know what, if I can find my keys, and get out the door with out spending 20 minutes looking for the things I need, then it is good enough.  I long to create beauty in my home, to give life to it, it is something I am working on.  I am actually thinking that I may just have a "pintrest worthy" project in the making... stay tuned.

Martha Challenge:  Created a HUGE purge pile, to sell at a garage sale... eventually.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23: Dealing with Distractions


For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



I get sucked in by so many distractions.  The problem is, most of the time, I don't see them as distractions until they have sucked way more of my time than I would care to admit.  I love reading inspiring blogs, I think I will just spend a bit relaxing and catching up on my blogs... then the next thing I know, more than an hour has passed and I am behind for the whole day.  

What distracts you?  How do you stay focused?

My new method for spending "just a bit" on something like blogs, pintrest, games on my phone etc is to physically set a timer.  This way I wont mindlessly loose my time, and hopefully gain some more time to do the things I want to do.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22: Scheduling


For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



I love writing things down, and make plans for my day.  I am not the greatest at actually following them.  Honestly, if I did my life would be so much better!  I made this awesome cleaning/housework schedule to help our family stay on top of things.  Any guesses as to how well it actually gets followed?  I have been diligently working the last few weeks about making sure that my priorities come first.  We, as a family, have had the TV on less.  I get up before the kids (mostly-ish) and spend some quality time with them in the mornings.  It is nice when I beat them up, because I can get things done and then we still have time to play before we have to get out the door.  Why earlier this week we spent a good 20 minutes playing outside (its still getting to the 90's here - be jealous) before work/daycare and the kids had a ball.  If I actually followed my schedule, things like this could happen more often and I would be so much less stressed, and our home would have so much more life.

What would happen if you made and stuck to a schedule???

Martha Challenge:

My cleaning schedule:

It is in plastic on our fridge so we can use a wet/dry erase marker to check things off.  Obviously the daily stuff gets checked every day (ideally that is).  The day of the week stuff can be flexible, but the goal is that I don't spend my entire weekend cleaning, with no time off.  Other than a load of laundry, Saturday and Sunday have no weekly tasks scheduled so that I can be flexible.  


Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21: The Importance of a Plan


For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



I have always heard that if you fail to plan you plan to fail.  So often I feel that I am flying by the seat of my pants in my home.  Its not fun.  I don't like it.  I really don't like scrambling at the last minute, racing out of the house in the morning trying to gather the things I need, tracking down my keys or my phone that I set down at some point in the morning (they never seem to be in the same place).  I am trying really hard to plan better and make sure that I am better about doing the things I need to.  I have discovered that if I want to get up and walk in the mornings, I HAVE to lay out my work out clothes the night before, because between sleeping in and getting up early and having to dig around for my work out clothes, hitting my snooze button is going to win every time.

Preparing and making a plan is critical to my success in life and around the house.  What is your plan?  Do you have a plan of attack?  I'm still developing mine, it is in progress but I think I am getting better. Going through this book has really helped me, and I finally feel that I am starting to get a rhythm around the house as far as maintaining it and keeping it up better.  You still can not show up unannounced, yet.  That is my goal, to where people can drop by whenever they want and our home be welcoming and not a disaster zone.  I will eventually get there.

Martha Challenge:
(because you all really wanted to see a picture of my clean toilet)






Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 20: Time

For the month of October, I am joining over a thousand other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



How do you spend your time?

No, really.  How do you actually spend it?  Not how you think you spend it, but what do you actually do with the time you have.  What are your time sucks?  Is it facebooks, blogs, games on your phone, too much TV?  Pick your poison.  I have all of those listed above.  If I truly wanted to make time for more, I could.  I just need to stop the time suckers.  What is your time suck?  How much time do you waste on it?

Spend some honest time evaluating your time.  I did, and I was surprised at how much time I could make through getting rid of some things that aren't needed.  My time does not reflect my priorities as I wish it would.  I am working on changing that, on setting a better example for my kids.  I'm working to put first things first in my life.  I'm trying to let God show me how to better use my time.  I have so many things that I want to do, and the way I want to spend my time, well, I have plans about that.  However, I know that I need to let God choose the way I should be spending my time.  I did try to do a series on time management awhile go, you can read it here and here.  However I am still in the learning process of this one and this goes back to my self-disciple issues, but I am learning.  What do you to to take control of your time?  How do you spend it?  What do you do to help control it? 


Martha Challenge:
Bathroom mirrors take bad pictures - sorry.




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19: Self-Discipline and Joy?


Welcome to my October series!  I am joining TONS of other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  I am taking a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.  Join me as I blog my thoughts, challenges and impressions as go through this book.



To me, two words could not be further apart in my mind.  Joy, and self-discipline what could they possibly have in common.  I am not very good at self-discipline, I really am rather bad at it actually.  I love the way Sarah links the two in today's reading.
"How do we live a joy filled life of self-discipline?  I think the joy part comes in the accomplishment of living a self-disciplined/self- controlled lifestyle that promotes peace instead of chaos" - Page 39 of 31 Days to Clean
I love accomplishments.  I really do, they make me feel good.  I have joy when my floor is clean, my kitchen is clean and my house in order.  It makes me smile.  I do not always like, or even enjoy to process of getting there.  It can be really hard.  The results however, bring bring me peace and keep me out of chaos.  It is a process, that I am working on, and by no means "good at" yet, however small baby steps, are still growth.  I am going to choose to become more disciplined so that I can choose joy and peace for my home.  I am going to choose to look at my schedule with more scrutiny and be more careful about over committing myself.

Do you think that being more disciplined in your life will lead you to more joy?  

Martha Challenge:
I am not going to divulge what exactly I cleaned, but it was gross, I worked hard, and it required way too many swifter dusters.






Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17: My Cleaning Style

For the month of October, I am joining TONS of other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



I took the quiz that was part of the book.  The results were of no surprise to me.  What is a surprise to me is how little I exist anymore.  That sounded bad, let me explain, as I read the description of my personality, I was saying, yes that is me!  That is how I work, that is how I think, that is what is comfortable to me.  Then I realized, that is not how I have been living my life.  I have been trying to force myself to do things in a way that I is not the way I am designed by God.

What a crazy realization.  Honestly, how did I not know this?  I am a morning person at heart.  I feel so much better when I am out of bed by 6am and productive in the morning.  Trying to stay up late and then being exhausted in the mornings is not me.  It isn't the way I tick.  I struggle with the "polish" or "finishing" touches that really bring a project together.  It is so hard for me to do that, and I really struggle when my projects never look like I want when they are complete.  As a perfectionist, it is difficult for me to start something that I know I can't perfect.  I know those sound like opposite things, but they are the same.  It is hard to explain without sounding completely crazy, but long story short.  I need to get back to being me, and cleaning in my own God given style.

What is your style?  Do you fight it or embrace it? 



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16: Willing Hands


For the month of October, I am joining TONS of other bloggers by linking up with The Nester for 31 day blogging challenge where we post about one topic each day for the whole month.  After lots of consideration, I have chosen to take a journey through this book31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by Sarah Mae.  Check out more information about the book from my 1st post here, and see my intro post with the links to the entire series here.



Have you ever been at the point where you feel that all you have done is dream and think of how nice your home would look if it were clean, but get stuff in the practicalities of actually doing the work?  I feel like this so often.  I have a willing heart, but my action steps suck.

"I can pursue my ideals and I can do them {mostly} consistently, with the Lord’s help and grace. My block is that I always think they are out of reach, which in turn keeps me in a rut. I give up, my hands stop being willing." page 33 of 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae
I so often think my dreams are out of reach that I get unmotivated and stop what I'm doing.  I feel like I've been running a very long way, and the end is nowhere in sight so I just stop.  It goes back to my motivation issues I talked about yesterday.  I need to just get over the block and DO IT.

I have a few blocks I need to work through, one block, is not seeing results fast enough.  I feel like when I clean, my kids are just making a bigger mess somewhere else.  It never ends.  There is never a point where I feel the home is "good enough".  There is rarely a point where I feel like I've accomplished anything.  I need to get over this, but doing small things where I can stop and feel accomplished in that one area.

Another block I have is time.  I want to spend time with my kids when I can.  As a working mom I'm away from them more than I'd like to be.  It is really frustrating and difficult to spend time cleaning when they are awake, and even harder to stay up late, or try to beat them up early enough to get anything done.  It's something I'm working on.

My biggest block is my own laziness.  I would rather relax on the couch and watch a movie or TV show with my hubby for an hour than clean.  I have little to no self disciple in this area, and I need to fix it.

What blocks or barriers to you have to keeping a clean home?