Goodbye, Clutter!

I love Thanksgiving. I love Christmas. But there’s something that comes with a New Year that makes everything feel fresh. I love Christmas decorations, but I really love the feeling when they are all packed away until the next year. The New Year Reset is one of my favorite times of year. I love how everything looks when it is free of seasonal decor. It always seems so neat and clean.

Currently I’m going through a yearly home organization challenge hosted by A Bowl Full of Lemons. Each week it focuses on a different area of the home and a deep cleaning of that room and a purging of all the stuff that never gets used. So far, I’ve cleaned out the kitchen, the pantry, and my closet. As I went through each area, I realized there are some things I’ve carted from Murray to Mayfield, on to Evansville and Newburgh and never once used. Why? Why keep all this stuff that only takes up space? I know I’m not the only one who has packed stuff along like that. I’ve boxed and unboxes items multiple times, probably even thinking, “I never even use this!” while putting it away in a cabinet or drawer.

The same goes with clothes and shoes. Why do we hang on to things for years without actually wearing them? Then I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and it discussed the sentimental attachment we form with things. I made it about 15 minutes into the first episode before I had to go clean out a closet. I had tshirts in my closet from spring breaks of my youth and summer vacations from years ago that I hadn’t worn in literal years. I associated these items with the memories. If I don’t have the shirt, did it really happen? But thankfully, that’s not how memories actually work! As I started to pull things out I had to stop myself multiple times from saying, “well, maybe one day I’ll…”. Let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t.

So my goal, house-wise, for 2019 is to get rid of all the stuff we haven’t used since moving to our current home. I’m going to be brutally honest with it, too. Sorry, tong-spoon hybrid, I’ve never used you, time to go! Same for you, unused mug, I don’t even remember you came from!

What about you? Are you like me with holding onto things for years or do you keep things decluttered naturally?

Either way, I hope your 2019 is off to a great start!

♥️

Food is my Love Language

As we near the end of the 2018 holiday season I’ve been reflecting a lot on what some of my favorite holiday memories are and I realize that most of them involve food in one way or another.

So when I say that food is my love language, I’m not trying to be silly. To me, cooking is an act of love. You take food when somebody is sick, you make special food for holidays, you have special meals for life’s celebrations, you go out for special meals to mark achievements. Food brings people together better than anything else, in my opinion.

Cooking is one of the greatest things I can do for another. Time spent making sure people are happy and full is never time spent wasted. I may not be the best cook in the kitchen, but I’ve been blessed to grow up in a family of cooks on all sides, ready and willing to instruct. I’m so thankful they had the patience to teach me, even when I didn’t have the patience to listen.

Many of my favorite memories with family and friends are tied to shared meals and lessons in the kitchen. I’ve learned that a dropped chocolate cake, still in the carrier, is just as good when it is scraped out of a lid as it is when it is gleaming on a cake stand. A turkey can be brined in an old Coleman in the garage, as long as you weigh down the top to keep the raccoons out. Dishes that are well-used and well-loved never go out of fashion (not even Nana’s Desert Rose). Tomatoes are never as big as the ones grown in a home garden. There’s never a bad time to make some bacon and, when in doubt, add more butter.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season with wonderful memories and delicious food!

Here’s to a good 2019 (and all the meals ahead)!

Goal Getter

wordswag_1542380634950I met a major goal today. I ran a 5k in under forty minutes, without stopping or walking. It was 30° and there is snow on the ground, but I did it.

If you remember, I wrote a post earlier this year about the phrase: Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud. It’s a phrase I’ve come back to numerous times over the last few months.

I’m a planner, but to be honest, I’ve never been a big goal setter, at least when it comes to non-work related things. I honestly can’t remember the last time I set a large goal like this. I’m good with small goals. Short-term endeavors. Checking things off of a list. I get distracted easily with larger projects (I get distracted easily, period).

Running 3.1 miles in under 40 minutes without stopping or walking was a looong-term goal. It took me 134 days from the start of my training plan to today to achieve it.

I didn’t stop, and now I’m proud.

Goal setting, though, is a tricky art. Too short term and you don’t always value what it takes to achieve it. You may not appreciate the results as much. Too long term and it’s easy to lose focus. You get distracted. Too many goals and they’re easy to discard in place of others.

I always have good intentions when I set goals, but my follow-through isn’t always the best for any number of reasons.

But, I’ve met this goal. So now I wonder, “what’s next?”

To me, goal setting is about finding a balance. I want to set a goal I have to work to achieve, but not one so difficult that I don’t stand a chance of achieving it.

So here it is: I would like to get my time to under 35 minutes. From there, who knows?

What about you? How do you go about setting goals? What goals are you currently working towards?

♥️

Ch-Ch-Changes

If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of change. I’ll never win an award for “most spontaneous”. I’m a planner. An organizer. An analyzer. I once made a list of lists that needed making. But I’ve discovered something over the last few months.

Change isn’t always bad. They don’t have to be scary and anxiety-inducing.

There were some changes in my life I needed to make. First and foremost was my health. I love food. But I was loving it too much. I enjoy watching TV, but I was enjoying it too much (bye bye, Netflix!).

So, inspired by Matthew, I started a training program for a 5k. I needed to get healthier and get outside.
Inspired by the scale, I joined Weight Watchers. My relationship with food HAD to change.

Next, I wanted to do something for me. Something that I could channel creativity into. I can’t knit. I can’t focus long enough to cross-stitch (I tried). Scrapbooking isn’t my cup of tea. In comes the planner community: people who have turned their love of planning, crafting, and organizing into this massive creative movement. Inspired by them, I made an Instagram for my planning hobby to get more involved.

It’s not about me trying to change and be someone new. It’s about trying to develop into a better, more well-rounded version of myself who isn’t controlled by bad habits.

Running isn’t easy (one day I’ll master breathing in through my nose). Weight Watchers isn’t always fun (but cupcakes every day would be worse in the long run). And my planner isn’t always the prettiest. But I’m taking ownership over my habits and focusing on improving them.

They’re small changes that will hopefully have a big impact!

What about you? Any big changes on the horizon?

It doesn’t get easier, but…

“It doesn’t get easier, but you get better.”

I saw this quote once on a late night Instagram scrolling binge when I was up nursing Sawyer in the middle of the night. At the time I remember thinking that it wasn’t very helpful. I really wanted things to get easier. Being a new mom was rough.

But things didn’t get any easier.  Instead, I got better. I don’t think parenting will ever be “easy”, but I am getting better at handling the day-to-day.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would reach a point where I’d be able to run multiple errands at a time with the kiddo or take spontaneous trips to the zoo, I would have laughed. Out loud. Possibly in their face (and then apologized profusely, because that would have been super rude).

But that doesn’t mean it has gotten easier. I just have more practice under my belt. I’m better at preparing for the hiccups.

Once, if it wasn’t on my to-do list, I would panic at the thought of any variation in schedule. I still struggle sometimes with the anxiety of planning, but I know I’m capable of getting all of it done. I know I can make it work, whatever it is.

The same goes for running. In May, I “ran” my first 5k (let’s be real, three two-minute intervals in and I was practically wheezing and my shins were on fire). I have two more scheduled this year that *hopefully*, I’ll actually run the full time. Matthew and I have been doing a training plan through the MapMyRun app. I’m on week 12 and it hasn’t gotten easier. But I have gotten better. My shins still ache from time to time, but it’s nothing some well-placed KT Tape can’t fix.

So whatever you are struggling with, it may not get easier, but you will get better. Your burdens may not get lighter to carry, but your shoulders will get stronger.

The Life I’ve Been Assigned

I struggle sometimes with what to write. I try to think about what is going on in my life at the time and what I think would help the most to get written down.

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to write, but have no idea how to put it into words.

Today is one of those days. I read a bible verse today that really hit me: “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” To me, this speaks of contentment and thankfulness.

Am I content? Have I made decisions that have left me at peace? Am I accepting of the life I have been assigned? Do I show my appreciation for it?

Over the last few weeks, I have really struggled with this (one day, I may be brave enough to talk about it fully, but today is not that day). But the answer is yes, I am. I am so happy with the life I have.

Sometimes we fight and struggle for things and we attain them (Sawyer, for instance). Sometimes things fall into our lap without so much as a thought. Sometimes though, we fight and push and pray, and it’s simply not in our cards (like a second child). It’s not part of our assignment. (I can hear Mick Jagger singing about not getting what I want as I write this.)

As a teacher, I appreciate the assignment metaphor. I assign work and expect it to be done and reward effective completion. But the kids aren’t always a fan of the assignment. They complain or whine or disregard it all together. Yet, I can’t be like those students.

When it comes to life, the life God has given me, I’m not supposed to be that way. God has given me this life to live and I need to make sure I’m always thankful for it. I need to have faith that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). God’s plans are always better than my own.

Keep in mind, that’s not saying one shouldn’t strive to reach their goals or achieve their dreams. I have so much I’d like to achieve in this life that I’ve yet to do, and I plan to do them (Google the Manitou Incline in Colorado and you’ll have an idea). It’s just a matter of being thankful each day for what I do have and not lamenting what I think I lack.

So that’s what I’m going to strive for: thankfulness and contentment each day. I have an amazing husband and an amazing son. What else could I possibly need?

What about you? What are you striving for? What are you thankful for?

Starting Again

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Sawyer turned one and overnight he became this romping, stomping toddler (who has discovered the ability to assert himself dramatically). Life got busy. And then even busier. And I haven’t had a post up in a while

But it’s never too late to set a goal (or goals, in this case). It’s never too late to start fresh. Despite being a stay at home mom, I can’t give up my academic year planner*. Something about nearing the end of July signals that it’s about time to start again.  So that’s what I’m doing. If I tell you my goals, I think that will better hold me accountable to them.

Goals for the 2018-2019 academic year:
1. Post once a week (suggestions on topics?)
2. Get back into daily Bible study (I’ve been working on this for a bit, but it can always improve).
3. Read and finish the book for the book club I’m in each month. (A friend and I joined a book club, so I’m stepping out of my comfort zone there.)
4. Develop a healthier lifestyle (walking, jogging, not eating garbage).
5. Write handwritten notes to people every other week (I still love getting notes in the mail, maybe others do, too).
6. Start Baby Bins with Sawyer. They’re a great way to introduce new concepts and the hard work is already done.

They’re simple goals, but if I keep them up they will give me a sense of accomplishment.

What are your goals for the 2018-2019 school year?

♥,
Mrs. Mama

 

*It seems I also can’t give up my usual back to school dreams. This one involved not having a syllabus prepared on the first day (always a part of the dream, since I began my teaching career) and also not knowing where my classroom was.