Save us, Oh Lord, from the messes of our own making

Man, that’s an awesome title up there.  Like, just THINK of all the theological goodness I’m about to spew at you.

Just kidding. Let’s talk about my laundry room.

Right now, this is the view from the doorway of my nice, large, laundry room.

image

Please excuse the glare coming from the window.

I LOVE this room.  It’s huge.  We have tons of storage space in there for all sorts of things, plus room for all the laundry type stuff, folding laundry in there and whatnot.

But if you can’t tell, it’s kind of a disaster.  Some things are fairly well organized, and just need some sprucing up.

For example, this is the shelf on the wall to the right when you come in.

image

Some of those glassware things can be consolidated, some things better stacked, etc.  But the worst thing about it is that you might drop something if you are getting something off the top.  Not tooooo bad. (we won’t talk about UNDER the table, which is a file cabinet of no organization, boxes and containers for bottle returns.)

Or the shelves along the other wall.

image

It’s kind of hard to tell from the pile in FRONT of the shelves, but these are actually fairly well organized.  There is a bunch of stuff that can probably go in the trash/donated, but it’s pretty minimal.

But the piles of boxes, the craft supplies and whatnot is the real problem.

image

Those four three drawer carts are supposed to be craft supplies, puzzles and some various kids toys like blocks and a peg board set and such.  If you can’t tell, it’s a mess.  The pile in front of everything is ALSO a mess.  About half of the boxes are office supplies from when we moved things around a while back.  Other boxes are too small kids clothing, unused cloth diapers (need to be sold/donated/something).  And a bunch of other random stuff that needs to either find a home, or be gone.

We’re hosting Thanksgiving here this year.  Now, there is ZERO reason for anyone but Chris or I to go in the laundry room on that day.  There’s a door.  We could stuff it full of crap from the rest of the house and call it a day.  But when this room is bad like this, I can not function.  More specifically, I can’t do laundry.  I like to put the baskets for each person on the table under the shelf, sort clean laundry into those and then take them to each room to put away.  But if it’s a mess in there, and the table is covered in who knows what, I can’t do that.  And then we run out of clean underwear.  And that’s not good.

So my goal for the next couple days is to tackle this project.  If we can get it done quickly, all the better!  You can all look forward to pictures of a well organized room, hopefully in the near future!

Meh (word of the year 2014)

So, most years I try to have a “word of the year” instead of a resolution or goals or what have you.  Typically I put some goals and ideas INTO the word, but it is more about embracing the word and what it means in my life.  And usually I end up with a slightly different definition when the year comes to a close.  In the past I’ve had “Peace” and “Do”.

I was ruminating on this earlier in the shower and the only thing I was feeling was ambivalent.  “Meh” was the word that summed up how I was feeling.  Lately I’ve been in a funk, trying to figure out what my role is in life, how to embrace my vocation as wife/mother while also trying to figure out how to provide for my family and whatnot (getting laid off does this kind of thing to you I think).  And besides those kind of existential things, I also have to deal with children who don’t sleep through the night all the time (big kids, Evelyn has lately been getting up every single hour thanks to a growth spurt, but I think that’s coming to an end, Thank GOD).  So I’m just kind of tired and “meh” about everything.  All the “usual” words like growth and change and love and trust and all these very wonderful ideas just weren’t resonating with me.  And then it came to me.

Embrace.

It felt right, so I’m going with it.  I’m going to Embrace Life, no matter what gets thrown my way.  I’m going to Embrace things the way they are and learn contentment.  I’m going to Embrace that some things need to change and I’m going to grow and learn.  I’m going to Embrace all that is my life with little kids.  I’m going to Embrace my husband more.  I’m going to run and Embrace the Lord.

Which brings me to another thing, the “Verse of the Year”.  I have an awesome bible app and they are encouraging this, so I’m going with it too.  I wanted something with my word in it somehow and I found the perfect thing.

But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance. Luke 8:15 NABRE

I love this.  I want to be one of those seeds (don’t we all?!) that fall on the rich soil, that are watered with the Spirit and fed by the Son and who EMBRACE the WORD and bear good fruit.

So friends, what is your word?  Have you found a verse to go with it?

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Good Morning everyone and happy Ash Wednesday!  Whether you have gone to mass already, are yet to go, or maybe aren’t (it is NOT a holy day of obligation today) I pray that you spend this day meditating on the season of Lent and what you can do to grow closer to God.

I will be doing a Lenten series here over the next 40 days.  I hope to encourage you, provide you with resources and generally give you hope that you are not alone on this journey.  “Catholic” means “universal” and as a universal church we are to support each other as one body.

So here are my goals for Lent (some are still being nailed down, but this is my general outline):

1) For myself, I will be increasing my prayer time.  This might mean saying a rosary and reading scripture one day, or just saying the angelus the next.  I was pretty much at a zero before, so any increase would be great.  One resource that I will be using is the Creighton Online Ministries Lent page. They have tons of great stuff to read, prayers, meditations and just tons of stuff.  I highly encourage the site.  They also have a simple “one prayer a day” section that is shorter and easier if you can’t get the time to do a longer prayer time.  Good stuff!

Why did I choose this?  Several reasons.  First, I wanted something simple that would be done daily but wouldn’t cause me too much stress.  If worst comes to worst, when I go to bed at night I can pray a decade of the rosary and feel that I fulfilled my promise.  Secondly, I strongly feel that if I focus on this and really increase my time in prayer, naturally time will decrease in areas where I shouldn’t be spending as much time.  My priorities will realign naturally into a better order.  Third, what could be “bad” about this?  Even if I have some selfish motives (which I don’t feel that I do) by spending time in prayer my spirit will be changed and reordered to be closer to God.

2) With my spouse, I think we will be spending some time in prayer together daily and I want us to go to confession biweekly.  I have to double check with Chris tonight though.

3) As a family we’re going to do a couple things, all “car related”.  First, we’re going to turn off the secular music.  To fill the silence, we’ll either play praise and worship or the rosary or other faithful music (gregorian chant, maybe?).  Me and Grace will also make an attempt to always stop at the parish that is on our way home that has a 24 hour adoration chapel.  Either we’ll leave 10 minutes early or we’ll stop on the way home.  Grace can’t participate much since she’s only 9 1/2 months old, but I think this is a good way to do something as a family.

So there they are.  Written down in a public place.  If you know me in real life, feel free to ask me how these are going!  I would love the accountability!

I also suggest going and reading Pope Benedict’s Lenten Message.  It is a meditation on justice, a virtue that is sorely lacking in the modern world.  It’s always a wise thing to go see what our fearless leader has to say!  My favorite part?

So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.”

As we fast today, let us remember in our prayers those who have no food or clean water.  They suffer daily.  Also, a little note on fasting.  You are required to fast from your 18th birthday until the last day of your 59th year.  Fasting consits of having one regular size meal, two other meals that when combined do not equal the full meal and no snacks.  However, there are some exemptions:

Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline. (EWTN)

As a nursing mother, I am technically exempt from fasting and if I need meat, apparently I could have that too.  However, I do encourage mothers to fast in some way.   Today, I am attempting to not eat in between meals (I’m a “grazer”) and I’m only drinking water.  I am eating regular size meals, though, although I am going meatless.

Have a wonderful Ash Wednesday everyone!  And share your goals in the comments!

This post is part of the Lenten series.  To see other posts in this series, click on “Lent” in the tags.

OrgJunkie’s 28 day challenge- Before pictures

Over at orgjunkie.com, you can find tons of wonderful, helpful organizing info.  There’s currently a challenge going on, and I’m going to be participating.   Clearly, I have procrastination tendencies as the project I picked has been on my mind for at least 6 months and it’s taken me 5 days to write this post.

Originally, I was going to do two projects, a small space and a whole room.  Now I think I’m just going to focus on my small space.  Today, I bring you the Before pictures.

Let me introduce you to my linen closet.  As you can see there is “some” organization in the form of two baskets on each shelf.  However, it’s not very organized and I could probably get rid of a good chunk of this stuff.

In addition to the closet, there is also the extension: the under the sink basket.  Again, this is a conglomeration of rarely used items.  I would like to completely eliminate the need for the orange crate.  The shelf system is used (holds stuff that is used daily, or nearly daily) so it may stay.

Plan of action:

1. Clean the bathroom.  Basic cleaning, wipe down, toilet, sweep and mop.   It will make it much easier to take care of.

2. Declutter.   Go through ONE shelf or basket at a time.  Any left over body care products will be offered to family first, friends second, and then donated to a worthy cause (if in new condition).  If I deem it necessary, I will “repackage” items into gift bags to be stand by birthday gifts.

3. Deep clean.  I’m going to scrub that bathroom floor.  The shelves will be super duper cleaned and maybe lined with something.

4.  When finished, I’m going to reward myself in some way.  I think perhaps a bubble bath with a new book or magazine.  Have any other reward ideas?

Resolution

My overarching resolution for this year is (drumroll please):

To become the best version of myself for this year.

Essentially, I want to improve myself, to be ME, to not be ashamed of who I am and to do so in the context of 2010.  Because frankly, people change.  Who I am this year is not who I was in 2009, no is it who I’ll be in 2011 (or 2060).

I do have other goals too (not resolutions, per say) for this year.  They are based on my values (read them here) and my roles (ie: wife/mother/daughter of God/sister/friend, etc).  Here are the ones I have thought of, but I’m sure I’ll add more throughout the year.

  1. Work on financial peace (setting and keeping budgets, working to get out of debt, saving money, etc).
  2. Blog more (feeds my creativity/intelligence) with the goal of eventually writing a book about… something.
  3. Feed my creativity by taking the Wilton cake decorating classes and scrapbooking.
  4. Fully organize my home and develop cleaning habits so I’m never spending an entire month with my facebook status saying “Rachel is cleaning.. again”.
  5. Get in shape (not necessarily lose weight, just develop a fitness plan and stick to it).
  6. Spend time every day in some form of structured prayer.   Reading religious books does not count.

What are your goals for this year?  If you haven’t thought of any, don’t worry!  Just because it’s already January 1st doesn’t mean you can’t join in!

Motherhood, daughters and the new year.

“…so that they [older women] may encourage [or train] the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored [blasphemed or discredited].” Titus 2:3-5

I’m doing some “blog hopping” today, trying to find some good ones to add to my google reader.  Particularly I was looking for good, Christ-centered Moms who I could connect with (bonus if they have super cute kids or blog designs).  I’m not opposed to non-Catholic blogs, simply because there is wisdom and wit to be found in all sorts of places.

I came across a beautiful blog (that I’m still exploring) with this intriguing post: If You’re Not Raising Your Daughters To Be Homemakers, You Are Potentially Hurting Them.

The author’s main point is that daughters are often told things like “You can do whatever you want” but what ends up happening to most of them is that they grow up to be wives and moms (often stay at home moms, at least for a season of their life)!   I think I’m lucky enough that in some respects, I was raised to be a homemaker or at the least, I was raised with a good amount of “mom training”.  I think my training did suffer a bit though, on the actual “homemaking” front.  Yes, I know how to do all the household chores.  I can wash dishes, do loads of laundry, and tidy up the living room.

But homemaking is considerably more than just chores.  During 2009 I spent a good chunk of time on sites like flylady.net trying to figure out just what homemaking really is. I don’t think I know yet.  In fact, I think it changes in all sorts of myriad ways as families change and grow and add (or subtract) members.  One of my biggest goals for 2010 is to really take myself and grow into a homemaker.  That’s always been my clear vocation, but I was never “trained” in that way.

And, of course, part of this is about how I’m going to train up my daughter(s).  Grace may grow up to be a nun, a president, a single woman, or like most women, a wife and mother.  Since the odds are that she’ll need to know how to do that job, I will have to make sure to fulfill my vocation by teaching her up in those ways.  And this doesn’t mean having a home economics class in high school for one semester.  This is about constantly working with Grace, being an example to her, and slowly teaching her over the course of her whole life the skills that she needs.

So yes, I’ll bake cookies with her, and hopefully give her siblings so that she can get hands on child care experience and make her wash dishes and do the laundry.  But most of all I hope to teach her to do these things efficiently and with a joyful heart, always praising God.

Make me angry.

I have a weird response to being angry: I clean.  For example, if Chris and I are in a heated discussion, I will likely calm down by scrubbing the bathroom, folding clothes, or washing dishes (typically the chores I least like to do!).  It’s surprising to me that Chris hasn’t figured this out and used it against me to get me to clean, cause that would probably work!

Today, although it is Sunday, I am accomplishing things!  Chris is working and we went to mass yesterday, so I have the house to myself this  morning.  While I didn’t get too much done earlier, I’m getting some done now!  Here’s my list:

  • Reorganize my clothes and get them all hung up
  • Clean off the dining room table
  • Tidy up the rest of the house

Small list, yes, but it is Sunday and I’ll likely only be working on this for a while.  Hooray for getting things done!

blog signature