Category: Home Life

When Your Friend Has One of Those Drama Fits, and You’re Trying to Be a Good Christian

 

 

I’ve had one of those weeks where somebody you thought was a friend turns out to be worse than an enemy. I’ve got to be a little vague, because I don’t want it to seem like I’m gossiping. And for the record, I won’t gossip about it, let’s not go there, please don’t ask me who it was. But I was attacked, some of those around me were hit by the flying mortars, and she went over my head to complain about me.

I would have taken a bullet for her – then I saw she was the one behind the trigger.

You’ve been there. Your stomach clenches and churns; your heart races, and its all you can think about. You get absolutely nothing else done because your mind keeps returning to The Situation. Eventually, you get a headache, or your back hurts, or you throw up.

You feel guilty, even though you’ve bent over backwards to try to make it right with this person and there isn’t any making it right. The agenda is not yours to control, and it goes from bad to worse as you try your best to fix it. In truth isn’t about making it right or smoothing it over or fixing it; it’s about this person being able to say she was victimized, she was stabbed in the heart by the dagger you hold, and you were responsible (even if you weren’t).

“You and I spend way too much time worrying about the fact that we were accused,” my daughter said. “Even if you had done what she’s accusing you of – there is no excuse for her behavior.”

It’s a really good point. The behavior was so outrageous I could laugh – except I can’t. Because I’m still on the verge of crying. Or throwing up. Or both.

I also question what I’ve done wrong in this situation. Could I have handled it better, or differently? Which leads me to thinking about mercy: did I have enough?

It’s something I think about often, because to me mercy, love and grace are three requirements for living well.

“You’re showing her a lot more mercy than I would,” a friend says. I get that a lot. I don’t really mind because I want to show mercy.

 The Bible is my guide for living and it says,
“The Lord comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV).

Here is the same verse in a different translation, The Message, which I love:
 “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message ).

The struggles we have, the ones you have and I have, have shaped us to be the people that we are. Those struggles have made us able to sympathize with people who are in need. Which is exactly why we can reach out and give us “the same comfort God has given us.”

Which is why I question myself.

Because I know this person is in need, I know that she struggles. I know she doesn’t have a lot of friends, and she considered me one of them. Before she attacked me. Before she burned all the bridges, and turned back around and built structures over them so that there was no way to ever go back.

And said, “I’ve blocked you on Facebook” like a third-grader.

Mostly I feel sad. I’m sad that she reached out and clawed, swiping again and again at me like a feral cat. I’m sad that she has lied, and will continue to lie. I know that those lies will be repeated to others, who may or may not believe them. A long time ago this would have hurt me and I would’ve spent a lot of time worrying about whether people would believe it or not. Now I just share sadness with her, sorrow that we’ve both lost a friendship over a simple mistake, a stupid misunderstanding that could have been resolved with a one-minute conversation. I’m sad for all the people like her who feel the need to create drama and twist and manipulate, and lose their friends. (I do that. I encompass the whole world, while I’m at it.)

I’m sad that people can be our age and still go through this.

I read back over our emails to each other endlessly, pointlessly. “Please call me,” I begged from the beginning. “I know we can resolve this just call me,” another one implored. No calls, as is her modus operandi. Just the sudden irrational attacks. And Facebook blocking, which I know people do all the time but it seems so…childish. Like: I have the POWER to block you! On Facebook!

Please.

To me mercy, love and grace are three requirements for living well.

I read back over the 2 Corinthians verse again, The Message version. I realize and I’m comforted by the fact that God will bring her alongside of somebody else, not me, who can comfort her. It’s not my problem. It’s not my job.

“Wow,” one of the standers-by who got dragged in and hit by shrapnel emailed me. “Best we move on.” (She was similarly given the don’t-contact-me-anymore order)

We should, and we will. I find myself okay with that, and okay in general – something that lets me know I’m in a really good place right now. I feel a measure of peace because I did the best I could, even if it wasn’t right or enough or there was some other agenda going on to negate my efforts. I feel good because I’m surrounded by an incredible group of close friends and the most wonderful husband anybody could imagine. Those are the people you need when things like this happen, and they’ve all come through.

There’s always a moral, a take-away, and this is no different. I believe the unhappiness, bewilderment, and ultimate coming-apart of this friendship happened because of a misunderstanding.

Yet we both made a commitment in the very beginning of the email barrage not to have that. “I don’t want any misunderstands [sic]” she wrote in the second one. “I don’t either, that is why I want you to call me,” I wrote back. She didn’t.

In life, we misunderstand, miscommunicate, and don’t hear each other.  We don’t make time for (proper) communication. We know we need to listen better, so we make promises like I will communicate more by phone, not text. Or I will listen to my wife better. Or I will be present when someone is talking.

Then we forget, and the miscommunication starts and we are upset and have headaches and lose people who are important to us. That is my take-away.

To that end, I’ve made a list of ways we can communicate better. The link is the big graphic at the bottom of this post. The list works from both ends (talking and listening) and although I have a Biblical worldview, it isn’t strictly a “Christian” list. Meaning some parts may related to a Bible verse, but there is no citation. They’re just my suggestions, actually they are more a very short “Notes to Self” than anything formal or spectacular. Maybe someday I’ll make it into an ebook or something, but for now it’s like lifting a bit out of my diary. Take what you like and try it. Let me know how it turns out.

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
― J.K. Rowling

Friday Five March 31

friday five

If God is everywhere, why are so many people lonely?

friday five

I hear from readers about loneliness almost every day. One of my most popular articles is How to know God, but another one had the title “I Want to Belong Somewhere.“  We have an innate desire to belong and to feel loved. We want and need a tribe. It’s God’s plan that we have a sense of belonging. If that doesn’t happen we feel lonely.

And God is everywhere. So why do you feel so lonely?

The immediate answer in recent years usually blames Social media “it isolates us somewhat,” one counselor told me. That’s true; one friend said she’s made a New Year’s resolution to reach out by phone rather than messenger. But surely there is more to it than that…

I strongly believe the “love yourself” phrases and ideologies have hurt our culture much, much more than they have helped. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to love ourselves. (Jesus did refer to loving ourselves, in the sense that we already do. But he did not direct us to do so.)

True belonging only occurs when we become other-centric. By focusing on others, on their needs/wants/desires, we become more like Jesus. Isn’t that our goal? Jesus’ way of caring needs to flow from you and me down to those who are struggling. If we are walking with Him and focusing on lifting up others, we lose the lonely, isolated feeling and instead feel the depth of  true joy – God-joy, a feeling that is a result of our faith. This deep, honest joy can only be experienced by true believers. Loneliness becomes a thing of the past.

Reference:

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5).

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to love ourselves.

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Changes in Attitude

Being a freelance writer/entrepreneur, I’m always trying to improve on things. One of the areas I’m working on right now is spending enough hours per week writing. When you work for yourself, if you don’t write you don’t get paid, end of story.

I used to be a lot better at BIC (Butt in Chair) than I am right now. There are many reasons excuses. Those are the cause for my title, Changes in Attitude. It isn’t my office, desk, husband, appetite, editor, book subject, or anything else – it’s my attitude, or call it mindset if you will, that’s got to change.

I need to spend more time writing. Not surfing the Internet, playing a game, petting the dogs, or my favorite excuse: Eating. In years past I’ve done this little study where, when I become unproductive, I make myself write down what I am doing every 15 minutes for 3 days. You get honest real fast when you have to write TV four times in a row, and it was 2 pm.

I didn’t do that today; instead I wrote a note that said I was going to spend 4 90-minute sessions working on ONE project. (I read someplace that we do our best work in 90-minute segments followed by a break). Working this way, walking the dogs in between (dogs were thrilled) I pounded out more than I have in the past month. And I enjoy checking things off, so I got to put my little marks by the “4”.

Another helpful part of freelancer-gets-back-on-track is this cool app, Momentum. If you use Chrome, it is worth a try. It shows you a beautiful scene along with the words “What is your focus today” and if you fill it in, it prints that as your to-do plastered right in the center of the screen. Very helpful as a reminder to stay off the Internet, too.

Can you believe it’s almost Easter?

Me neither. I did manage to create some digital cards, though — Easter cards you print onto card stock from your computer! And they’re lavender! Get them here.

Enjoy Life

While working on the attitude/mindset change, balance is also important. I have to remember to enjoy life by getting my head out of work and into something meaningful. If you are that way too, remember to spend a few minutes every day seeking joy around you. Here are a few things from my list:

  • Work on something meaningful
  • Listen to good music
  • Read a good book
  • Watch the sunset
  • Help someone

Medication Alert

I was startled to learn that antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin (both of which I’ve taken in the past) have terrible, disabling side effects. Did you know about this?

The antibiotics are used for sinusitis, bronchitis, and other illnesses – but they can cause permanent problems with tendons, muscles, joints, nerves….hallucinations…

I first learned of this in this article

https://mountainsandmustardseedssite.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/this-antibiotic-will-ruin-you/

and I double checked it with the FDA here. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm500143.htm

Please read the warnings, they are quite serious.

Have a great weekend! I know I will — I am crafting with friends tomorrow. 🙂

 

 

 

friday five

Friday Five March 17

Five Tips to Help You Grow, Develop, Flourish

This has been one wild week. I have 2 publishers waiting on books that… keep getting pushed to the back burner. Aaaaagh.

Yesterday I painted – my class is called “paint with a pro” and the teacher is awesome (here’s some of his work). Well it was less than 50 degrees, and I swear the wind chill was about 30. I know for most people that’s not so cold, but when you live in Florida your blood gets thin, so I never really warmed up, you know?

Anyway… here are Friday’s Five:

Hand Lettering

A couple weeks ago, my son and I discovered that we both separately developed an interest in calligraphy. As I searched online, I found that calligraphy has become quite a thing. Look at Amazon’s best selling calligraphy pens – they vary from Pentel pens to a Hogwart’s quill!

More exciting, I found that in working on it my regular (illegible) handwriting has improved! So now I’m more motivated than ever to master it.

Here are some of our favorite sites for calligraphy or handwriting:

https://thepostmansknock.com/ Lindsey offers both free and very inexpensive worksheets, and tons of great tips.

Dawn Nicole recommends brush calligraphy; she also offers free downloads, and a 30-day challenge.

http://www.1001fonts.com/calligraphy-fonts.html  I include this one because you can look at the fonts and copy the ones you find interesting.

Faust does giant calligraphy-style graffiti.

Sleep Schedules

I finally slept last night for the first time in at least 3 weeks. Usually I wake up every hour or two, with one long (2-4 hour) period of wakefulness in the middle. This article suggests staying awake all night to re-set your sleep pattern! I was almost desperate enough to try it; someone told me loss of a single night’s sleep increases the odds of psychopathology by 60%.

I’ve tried essential oils, melatonin, sleepy teas, music, silence, and I have a great bedtime routine. What do you use to fight insomnia?

Simplifying

I keep working ok I think and read about, and occasionally work at, simplifying. We had a garage sale and raised over $1,000 and managed not to bring *most* of it back in the house.

But some items do better online, like eBay. I have a bunch of items going on eBay, but that venue hasn’t worked so well for me in the lasts 2,3 years. I’ve been on eBay since ’98, when it was wonderful. Over time, it went slowly downhill. Now I am so glad to learn they’ve made one major change, which I consider to be a big PLUS for sellers: EBay is removing its 3rd-party ads and allowing sellers to place a promoted listing in that spot instead. The 4th and 5th spots will be dedicated to promoted listings, and they will have the word “promoted” on them.

They’re also working at other ways to drive traffic to eBay. I think that’s really great news for eBay sellers.

This blog explains sponsored ads for eBay sellers.

Going Paperless

In an effort to continue fighting clutter, I’ve gone paperless. This has been a slow process and I don’t have it down yet. One tool I’m using is Evernote. It’s an online note storage system where you can put unlimited photos, links, clippings of web pages, and more. To do that, you’ll need to set up notebooks, which will be extremely personal, as they’re tailored to you. Here are mine:

!Inbox (anything you start with a ! will show up first; I want the Inbox at the top)

Art and Craft Business

Blogging

Books in Progress

Books Read 2017

Challenges (where I put notes about various painting or craft challenges)

Cricut (where my friends and I keep a list of our craft cartridges, so we can share them)à this list can be viewed from each of our Evernote accounts)

Family

House Hunt

Illustrations

Jokes

Quotes

Reference

Shopping (I’ve linked up hubby so we can share the list)

Statistics (don’t even remember what stats I’m tracking)

Today (to do list, which I forgot was there and don’t use)

Web Stuff (Miscellaneous clippings that don’t fit everywhere else)

As you can see, most of mine pertains to writing books but you can fix it however you want. I love it! I’ve already cleaned out one whole desk drawer (not an easy feat for a hoarder like me) and I’m working on another one.

To get the full use out of Evernote, you might want Evernote essentials which is $9.99 for the paperback but if you do the paperless, Kindle Unlimited version it’s free.

How to Praise God

If you don’t attend church regularly, or you do but you aren’t one of the hand-lifter / hallelujah crowd, you might wonder how you can “praise” God. We’re often told to praise him first thing (in prayer) and praise him daily, but so often no one tells us how.

I’m going to try to explain it.

Praise flows out of our sense of wonder for the Creator. It is something we choose to do, both to give him glory and to help us build a deeper relationship with him.

Praise to God can be done either outwardly or inwardly. Inward means in our thoughts. You might say something like “God, I am so glad to be a part of your world; I want to praise you in every way!” You might quote a Psalm – like Psalm 150. When your heart is grateful to God, you’re probably already thanking, exalting, and praising him; you just didn’t give it that name.

Outward expressions might be singing a song to God, or doing art or music that you use to honor him. You could state your praise publicly. You could pray a pre-written prayer. Dan Burke admits this felt a little awkward at first, and describes how he personalized it.

Dr. Michael Youssef explains that praise “teaches us to be joyful and thankful regardless of our circumstances.” Perhaps that explains why some people are so good at remaining joyful; they practice praise. And, if we aren’t feeling so great, praise him anyway – it is important to commit to doing so, and to follow through. Which it turn teaches us to be thankful regardless of our circumstances … so it’s a circle.

In addition to Psalm 150, I like Psalm 95 and 98.   And Exodus 15:11 “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?….”

When we praise God, he works in us and through us. He honors us and protects us. Others might see our praise and come to know him.

Changes Again

If you’re female and over the age of six, you’ve heard of Stampin’ Up, a resource for card-making supplies like stamps, cardstock, ink, and so on. I have been a SU demonstrator for awhile, but just took the plunge and set up my website. I won’t be discussing it much here (it’s not the purpose of this blog) so if you need Stampin Up supplies, this is the link to my store and here’s my blog where I will (eventually!) show some card-making techniques.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that, should you choose to use them, will compensate me for the referral. 

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When Your Friend Has One of Those Drama Fits, and You’re Trying to Be a Good Christian

I’ve had one of those weeks where somebody you thought was a friend turns out to be worse than an ...
Read More
friday five

Friday Five March 31

If God is everywhere, why are so many people lonely? I hear from readers about loneliness almost every day. One ...
Read More

Friday Five March 17

Five Tips to Help You Grow, Develop, Flourish This has been one wild week. I have 2 publishers waiting on ...
Read More

You wouldn’t Quote “Spare the Rod” If You Knew Where it Really Came From

Spare the Rod... I’m long past the age where parenting is a part of my day. So I was surprised ...
Read More

Just a Small Favor

Hi, As the year draws to a close and planning for 2017 has begun, I'm just hopping online with a ...
Read More

Simplify, Simplify

I was talking to my 30-year-old daughter a few months back about 2 habits I always made sure I kept ...
Read More

Organizing Your Home Slowly Vs the Tidying Up Way

I recently ran across this blog which offers a 52-week challenge for organizing your home. “You cannot expect to get ...
Read More
tanya logan rivers of living water

I Want to Belong Somewhere

Filling the Holes in our Hearts Some time back I searched through a number of Christian blogs. I was looking ...
Read More

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wed Charleston photo

Wordless Wed Charleston photo

 

 

 

When Your Friend Has One of Those Drama Fits, and You’re Trying to Be a Good Christian

I’ve had one of those weeks where somebody you thought was a friend turns out to be worse than an ...
Read More
friday five

Friday Five March 31

If God is everywhere, why are so many people lonely? I hear from readers about loneliness almost every day. One ...
Read More

Friday Five March 17

Five Tips to Help You Grow, Develop, Flourish This has been one wild week. I have 2 publishers waiting on ...
Read More

You wouldn’t Quote “Spare the Rod” If You Knew Where it Really Came From

Spare the Rod... I’m long past the age where parenting is a part of my day. So I was surprised ...
Read More

Just a Small Favor

Hi, As the year draws to a close and planning for 2017 has begun, I'm just hopping online with a ...
Read More

Simplify, Simplify

I was talking to my 30-year-old daughter a few months back about 2 habits I always made sure I kept ...
Read More

Organizing Your Home Slowly Vs the Tidying Up Way

I recently ran across this blog which offers a 52-week challenge for organizing your home. “You cannot expect to get ...
Read More
tanya logan rivers of living water

I Want to Belong Somewhere

Filling the Holes in our Hearts Some time back I searched through a number of Christian blogs. I was looking ...
Read More

You wouldn’t Quote “Spare the Rod” If You Knew Where it Really Came From

Spare the Rod…

I’m long past the age where parenting is a part of my day. So I was surprised when I visited a message board and found a parent struggling with her choices and the “spare the rod, spoil the child” quote was thrown in her face. Surprised, because this argument was around when I was parenting. You’d think its legs would have worn off by now. Surprised, because Christian parents are still being encouraged brainwashed into believing they have to hit their children in order for them to become responsible/normal/loving adults. Surprised, because I wouldn’t think today’s enlightened young adults would entertain the idea for one moment.

The saying is attributed to the Bible, but that isn’t quite true. The attributed verse is found in Proverbs, and in the New International Version it reads like this:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” (Prov 13:24)

Note that it’s not quite the quote we use.

The actual sentence is, instead taken from a poem written in the 1600s by Samuel Butler. It is a mock heroic narrative, and the sentence reads: “Love is a boy by poets stil’d /Then spare the rod and spoil the child. “

Wikepedia states, In the context of Hudibras the phrase is a bawdy metaphor suggesting the best way to curtail amorous passions or, through double entendre, to prevent conception.

Still want to quote it?

Back to Proverbs 13, or the perversion of it, many fundamentalist churches use to encourage spanking (“the rod”) as part of parenting. It’s part of the reason so many people struggle with who God is and what he wants from us. Corporal punishment is difficult to align with grace and love, isn’t it?

And since when does careful to discipline equate to hitting? But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself…

If we’re going to follow Christ, and be Disciples of Christ, we need to approach parenting in a Christ-like manner.

The overriding theme of Proverbs as it relates to parenting might be described as creating a culture of accountability, of culpability. God wants parents to give children the duty, the burden, of being responsible for their actions. Not beat them. Not verbally beat them, either; just teach them to bear the responsibility.

That’s a long way from hitting.

‘The Rod’ Defined

Thing is, the aforementioned “rod” didn’t have anything to do with spanking. A rod, in ancient times, was what a shepherd carried to care for his sheep. The Hebrew word used in Proverbs is “shabat.” A shabat had several purposes: it could be tossed past the errant sheep to startle him back to the flock, it could be used to fend off potential attackers, it was used to count the sheep (as they went under the rod), and it was used physically to pull back the wool in order to look at wounds or other defects on the sheep’s skin.

The rod would be pretty useless for these purposes if it were used as a weapon, wouldn’t it? I don’t think even a sheep would trust the rod being pushed against its wool for examination if it had been beaten with it!

At any rate, the rod is not a weapon, but rather a symbol for discipline. Sue Hille, in The Rod of Guidance, suggests the shabat has 5 symbolic uses in parenting:

Security—the child knows he/she is loved, cared for, accepted; 2) Guidance—the loving parent will teach the child and keep him/her from going astray; 3) Protection—the parent will not let outsiders hurt the child; 4) Evaluation—the child will be ʺcountedʺ and progress will be monitored; 5) Diagnosis—the parent will look for signs of anxiety or pain in the child and seek out treatment and healing.

These are solid principles, and they embrace the Word of God in the sense that they embrace grace and love – and forgiveness. I can’t imagine Christ raising a stick to beat a child, can you? If we’re going to follow Christ, and be Disciples of Christ, we need to approach parenting in a Christ-like manner. The Bible can help us do that.

My Story

I admit I did buy into the theory, for a number of years, that children needed to be spanked. You can only teach what you know, and I did come from a family that spanked. I gave fewer spankings than they did, and I really wanted to be able to align my parenting methods with God’s. A swat on a diaper when they ran toward true danger, like a busy road felt okay to me. But spanking didn’t seem to resolve anything, and as mentioned earlier it did not align with my idea of God as a giver of grace and love. Instead I searched for a gentler way…my kids are grown now and don’t seem to have suffered from the few spankings they got, though I am sure they’d tell you different.

Christian communities will suck you in and continually hammer you with what’s “best” for your child. It’s really difficult for new parents who are trying so, SO hard to do the right thing. Depending on your church family, you might be pushed to breastfeed, homeschool, use corporal punishment, and so on. Or you might be pushed in the other direction: bottle feed, use public schools, use time out for punishment. Going against either is like swimming upstream in a hard current. I know; I homeschooled and breastfed (in public – gasp!) and was from the “other” train of thought.

The one thing I know for sure is that God has a plan for you, the exact right plan that’s tailor-made for your child. His plan fits the child who is oversensitive, ADD, an introvert, and extrovert, and more. He already knows which of those labels fits the child, and He’s already worked out what to do. Getting into the Bible and knowing it will help to resolve the problem as well as the pressures that come along with belonging to a group.

By the way, if you started this article knowing that “spare the rod and spoil the child” was a distortion of the Proverb, kudos to you!

 

References:

Just a Small Favor

Hi,
As the year draws to a close and planning for 2017 has begun, I’m just hopping online with a quick request. I’d like to know why you read my blog. Do you love it? Do you love to hate it?

Do you wish you could see more of something? What would that be?

Just drop a quick line on the blog on Facebook, on twitter….wherever it’s most comfortable and easy for you. I have disabled on-blog comments because the spam was getting too offensive. I apologize for making it harder to communicate.

Thank you!

Be Blessed!

 

small-question

Simplify, Simplify

 

I was talking to my 30-year-old daughter a few months back about 2 habits I always made sure I kept doing. One is putting on makeup before going out. That one is probably not so important, but it is ingrained so I don’t know at this point if I could give it up or not (I said). I’m Southern, plus it goes way back to a beauty pageant, one of the Miss America prelims (yes, really) when we were told never go out without your face in place.

I’m good at following the rules, so I always put my face on. I mean, everybody else did too. We’re Southern. This is probably not so important here in South Florida, which is not the South but is, perhaps, a suburb of New Jersey, and where (1) it is hot and humid and (2) nobody else wears any and (3) did I mention hot? And Humid?

So – a couple weeks after our talk, I decided to quit wearing makeup. By “makeup” I mean foundation and / or powder. Not even Bare Minerals – have you ever actually seen what Bare Minerals looks like with a few drops of sweat running through it? Sort of like a sandy riverbed. Not pretty!

Besides the heat, my shoulder has been frozen all of 2016. Which means I can’t move my left (dominant) arm. I finally gave in and started taking pain pills the week they told me it was not frozen, but rather torn all the way through. Multiple tears on multiple muscles. The point of this is the pain pills make me sweat, as in hair-dripping-down-my-back sweat.

So I quit wearing makeup.

It was freeing; after all, I never wanted to bother with that stuff. It was the people who said things like “you need to put your best face forward,”  “you look soooo much better without it,” and so on. Superficial. I let go. (I also will probably save a bunch of money. Some months the bill for that stuff has been over $300).

It would be a great segue here to discuss why we teach our daughters that kind of rule, but perhaps I’ll save that one for another day.

Anyway. Enough about that. The other habit I like to keep in my routine is making the bed first thing in the morning. Not first-first, but somewhere in the getting dressed part of my day. Making the bed causes your room to look instantly cleaned up. It is a big part of the room, so if it isn’t made the bedroom will feel messy no matter what is going on around it. Plus, making the bed usually leads to more household chores like doing laundry or picking up the puppy’s toys. Anything that pushes me toward chores is a good thing.  So I like to keep my bed made. Except…my shoulder froze. I still made the bed, some, but then they told me it (the shoulder, not the bed) was torn. I quit making the bed in case it injured my shoulder more.

Now I am totally out of must-have routines. There’s nothing like a little pain to show you what matters. Makeup? No more. Fix my hair? Fuggedaboutit. I can’t reach it. The bed? Well, Mighty Man mentioned how he likes it made, and I explained that it takes about 15 minutes now, as I have to go from side to side dragging things with one arm. [Actually I might have said two hours…] So now he does it. So sweet!

Now that the musts are gone and a lot of the hacat-abed ve-tos are being ignored, I’m free to completely re-design my routines. I have to have some, otherwise chaos abounds. So I’m going to put a lot of thought into it and share it with you here on the blog. To follow these posts, use the category or tag Home Organization.

 

Photos Courtesy Someecards and Original-Cards

Organizing Your Home Slowly Vs the Tidying Up Way

 

I recently ran across this blog which offers a 52-week challenge for organizing your home.

“You cannot expect to get your home completely organized over night [sic], even though that would be wonderful. It just won’t realistically happen for most of us because we have too many areas in our homes that we need to address,” it reads.

On the other hand, we have The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book is so popular that people refer to decluttering as “Kondoing,” a play on the author’s last name.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Kondo claims that we don’t need to take an entire year to de-clutter our homes (I breathed a sigh of relief!  Really, my counters are cluttered again after a day—a year would kill me!). She says that if we follow her method of decluttering, and believe me it is drastic; we would never have to do it again. Imagine never going to the store for more storage containers, boxes, and sweater bins.

Usually my declutter lasts about one afternoon, and looks like this:

Piper helping Sort Magazines
Piper helping Sort Magazines

You will notice that I’ve read the book. Twice, in fact. You will also notice that I am here telling you what ‘she says,’ not ‘what worked for me.’

Yeah. There’s a reason for that.

It’s because I’m still trying to figure it out: Is it better to declutter over a short span of time, like two weeks, or over an entire year?

I’m a third-generation hoarder married to a 30+year antiques dealer, so we know clutter – intimately. Hubby says neither of us knows how to put our toys away.

Store front image
Our former stores, Fiddlesticks and Trace of Time.

 

Sadly, he is right, at least about me. I craft, paint, groom my own dogs, and write books, leaving all my related tools/parts/scraps/stacks wherever I was working last. Recently I had to set up a 6-foot table beside my desk because my desk is too cluttered to write.

My Desk :(
My Desk 🙁

Hanging my head in shame.

 

Handmade gemstone necklace
My favorite type of jewelry to make, a chunky gemstone beaded collar necklace.

 

Pendant
Handmade Pendant

 

 

 

 

 

Then I remember the two parts of the Life Changing Magic book that I did implement. One was to place a small box near my purse hang-out (for me that is the back of the walk-in closet) and empty the contents of your purse, using the box for your ‘have-to’ items. You can put away the lipstick, toss receipts, and store loose change. This gives you an empty purse to put away, and makes choosing one so much easier the next morning –grab the contents of the box, dump them in, and you’re ready to go. Well. With a lipstick and a car key.

Suddenly, I change purses all the time. And they look so orderly there in the back of the closet. None of them fall off the shelf from the weight of mystery items inside. I don’t carry around 5 pounds of stuff I don’t need. I feel…organized.

The other change was the way she folds and stores clothing in dresser drawers. Rather than folding more or less in half and stacking them, Kondo suggests folding shirts (for example) into thirds, then into a little package and stacking them endwise. The drawer holds way more shirts that way, and you can see what you’ve got without digging around wrinkling them. I did that, and loved it… and changed around another drawer, then another…

Courtney Carver, who I have followed online for a long time, says there is no such thing as overnight decluttering. I participated in her Project 333 (you choose 33 items of clothing for the current season and put away the rest; presumably you’ll decide you don’t actually need the rest). It really worked, and 33 items were plenty for my lifestyle, as long as I kept as much jewelry as I wanted. But I gained and gained and gained weight since then – so now my closet bulges with sizes from 8 on the left, to 10 and 12 in the center, up to size, yep you guessed it, 16. Booo!

I guess I could redo the Project 333, but honestly the closet door can be closed, and there’s clutter everywhere else…

So what do you think? Declutter fast or declutter slowly?

I Want to Belong Somewhere

tanya logan rivers of living water

Filling the Holes in our Hearts

Some time back I searched through a number of Christian blogs. I was looking for a tiny bit of encouragement, a message of hope, or an uplifting post. What I found was eleventy thousand posts all dealing with the negative and the hardships and the trouble with life.

[Yes it’s a real number, and it’s mine.]

When we have holes in our spiritual life, they are not necessarily filled by focusing on the bad, by reworking and reliving and re-discussing the negative situations we encounter daily. We can’t fill those holes by dwelling on them.

Just like a hole in the side of a boat, the holes in our spiritual cloth must not be left open; if they are, the good that is inside will leak out and the dirty water that is outside will leak in. Instead, they need to be plugged with a different substance. Sometimes they are filled by hearing a positive message. Often they are filled by other people.

Those holes in our spiritual life represent our neediness. We need/want to be accepted. We want to feel loved. We want to believe we are worthy. We want to know for sure that we are forgiven.

I remember a friend observing someone….she said, “He has a hole in his heart that needs to be filled with the love of God.”

She was right.

Often we go to others to get these needs filled, and something different happens. We think we will get help. We think that our community holds the answers, they are more mature, or they have a higher position, or they’re older so they know better.

Instead of helping us patch the holes they drag us down. And we would have known this would happen, had we read our Bibles:

Isaiah 14:10 They will all respond,
they will say to you,
“You also have become weak, as we are;
you have become like us.”

“But wait!” You cry, “I didn’t want to become like them! I’m not supposed to.”

You would be right. Because you have that hole in the boat, and you decided to repair it using rotten wood and a toy hammer–your friends– instead of the grind and patch process, now you’re part of a different community. In this community, everybody’s boat is on dry land. It’s like a sea of boats except they’re not on the sea; they’re all laying side-by-side in a vast field of brokenness.

“All I wanted was to feel loved,” you say, feeling hopelessly off course and off kilter.

Ah, but it’s the way you went about it that was wrong. It’s the way we all go about it that moves us so far from True North.

C.S. Lewis said, “We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

We want to belong.

That’s the crux of the matter.

It is why we reach out, over and over, to the wrong places in the wrong people. It’s why we can’t stop trying, even when we say we are going to. How many times do we say “Never again will I—“

We are compelled to keep reaching.

When your heart is only half full, it is easy to reach in the wrong direction. It is only when we see dirty water leaking into the boat that we realize what we’ve done. It wasn’t helpful, but detrimental. It wasn’t quenching your thirst, instead it left you begging for more. And when left alone, that heart will not fill up by itself. Next time, drink water straight from the source:

John 7:37,38 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (MSG)

Rivers. Of living water.

Rivers that brim

And spill

And spill from your depths, my depths

Our depths!

Imagine the beauty, the fulfilment of brimming with the Holy Spirit until we spill over.

Sounds like there are no more holes, doesn’t it?

Thank you, God!