Monday, July 25, 2011

Crazy, Drastic and Wildly Rewarding

In the reflection and analysis of our life that John and I have been doing in the last month or two, we came to a conclusion...the way we had our home laid out just wasn't working for us and what God has called us to.

In some ways it never has. 

Our disaster of a home office, is a prime example. 

We have had a "home office" the entire 11 years we've owned our house.  We have only used it very sporadically during that time.  Most of the time, I work at the kitchen table and John works curled up on the living room sofa. 

So... part of the reason that I've been so quiet this month is that John and I decided to drastically cosmetically and organizationally "remodel" 4 rooms in our house:

The kids' room.
The office.
The family room.
My sewing/craft/scrapbooking room.

We're about halfway through and we've gotten rid of more junk stuff than I could have imagined.  We've bought several pieces of new furniture and made 4 trips to IKEA in the last 10 days.  We have at least 1 more trip to go.  And a pile of things to go to the donation drop off for our favorite charity on Thursday evening.  And several more stacks of paper and two file drawers worth of paper to sort through and hopefully recycle or shred most of it.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've said "Why on earth did we keep this?!?!"  

John has gotten very proficient at assembling IKEA furniture. 
I've gotten very proficient at getting rid of paper (something I've struggled with for a long time).

Not that we needed more chaos in our already crazy lives - school starts for me and the kiddos in August, John's leading 2 Bible studies in the next month's worth of time (starting Tuesday), we have 2 weeks and 1 day with no childcare between now and when school starts, I'm getting ready for a conference out of state, and we've been driving hither-and-yon for John to do weekend fill-in work with his seminary program.  I've even managed to up my workout schedule to 6 days a week!

It's been crazy - both at home and with all our work and school 'things'.

We've taken some very drastic steps and schedule changes.

And it's been WILDLY and AMAZINGLY rewarding.

I''ll be showing off some real "before" and "after" pictures in September but for now here's a teaser for you.... and an idea of the real mountain I've been up against cleaning out my house....and why the door to that room has always been closed when people come over :) ...

For a long time, there wasn't even this path and the pile on the left there (behind the humidifier) kept changing - it would get cleaned out and then would return with different content.  At least here the desk was usable and we could walk through the room without falling over!  (Note: I am shooting at an angle so the path isn't as narrow as it looks! Really.)

 This is standing at the other end of the room looking toward the door.  The path through the room is about as wide as the door itself.  The room is 10 ft x 7 ft.

The morning after we took this photo, the filing cabinet you see here went downstairs. The cabinet was behind/under the "pile" in the photo immediately above.  It embarrassing how little time it took to actually get everything out of the room! (And its embarrassing that I actually have photos of rooms in my house that look like the two above!  ****Sheesh***)

And I'm not going to tell you (yet) what this room is going to become! :)  You have to wait for September to find out!
I've realized that sometimes you just have to take drastic steps if you're going to get the results you want.

I've also realized that sometimes you have to change your plan - cleaning out my house was a good goal. 

Making my house functional for my family is a better goal.

Making my house function so my family can follow God's goals for us is the best goal yet!

And sometimes it takes crazy, drastic and wildly rewarding steps to get there!
How are you doing with your goals?

PS This is one of two rooms in my house that look looked like this - the other is my sewing/scrapbooking/craft room and that just got there in the last year.  Just for the record, the rest of my house does NOT look like this in any way, shape or form!  The other 8 rooms are normal. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of July 3rd, 2011

One of our dinners from our camping trip last month - salmon and corn on the cob! Yum!

Does anyone else feel like summer just arrived and we're already halfway through it?  I am wondering where my June went here.  July is going to be very busy for us and I'm hoping to get several large things crossed off my do-to list.  We'll see!

In terms of menus, I'm loving the summer produce!  We have had a cold and very, very wet spring and early summer so the summer produce is just now coming into the Farmer's Market and the grocery stores.  I am really enjoying the strawberries and blackberries - and I'm eagerly awaiting our first crop of raspberries on our 'invading' bushes that crawled under the fence from next door.  It looks like we're going to get a good crop and I'm excited!

Here's what we're eating this holiday week:

July 3, 2011, Sunday:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch:  BLT's, Strawberries and Blackberries
   Dinner:  Leftovers

July 4, 2011, Monday, Independence Day!
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Bananas
   Lunch: Salad with Steak and Shredded BBQ Chicken, Watermelon
   Dinner:  Pot Luck at a Friend's House:  Bring a Fruit Salad

July 5, 2011, Tuesday:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
   Lunch:  Chicken and Rice Soup, Bread, Honeydew
   Dinner:  Shrimp Stir Fry, Rice, Honeydew and Watermelon

July 6, 2011, Wednesday:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
   Lunch: PB&J, Ants on a Log, Sliced Sweet Peppers
   Dinner: At Church: Bring a Tossed Salad

July 7, 2011, Thursday:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Raisins
   Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Strawberries and Apple Slices
   Dinner:  Ground Beef Tacos, Salad, Melon

July 8, 2011, Friday:
   Breakfast:  Oatmeal with Blueberries
   Lunch: Crackers and Cheese, Sliced Sweet Peppers, Bananas
   Dinner:  Leftovers

July 9, 2011, Saturday:
   Breakfast: Peanut Butter Toast and Bananas
   Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Strawberries
   Dinner: Out 

What are you eating this week? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share and be inspired. 

Goals Update - A few little things that have arrived at our house...

The stole and the cross are from Tanzania, a gift from my parents and their work in Tanzania - the purchase of the stole and the cross supports the school they work at there.  The robe with its tie and the shirts are part of the progress through seminary.  He needs both for the work he'll be doing this fall.

It has been so amazing and humbling to watch John as he travels this path. 

He has lead worship this summer and will be doing so again - wearing the shirts, the robe and its tie.  He cannot wear the stole until he is ordained.  He has done a wonderful job.  Even when being put on the spot to chant and come up with a children's sermon that he hadn't previously prepared. 

He is so humble and unassuming and yet definitely the leader.

The stole symbolizes the yoke we take on when we are equally yoked with Jesus, pulling with Him on His labor in life.  There are other things it symbolizes too, but that is the part that I like the best.

John is so very yoked with Jesus. 
And I am so very blessed to be yoked with John.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - June's Blessings

Way back when I started this blog, before it was even 'open to the public', I wrote a monthly review of blessings that God had given us over the previous month.  I decided that for my own reminder I needed to bring that back!

So, here are June 2011's Blessings:
* All the uniform pieces our kids need for school in the fall (including an awesome fleece sweatshirt for Missy!) for totally free via the uniform swap at the kids' school.  Yes, ALL of them.  About 22 pieces total.   I was beyond excited!

* A new black skirt and sweater for me for 25 cents each at a neighbor's garage sale.

* The repairs needed for our van that came up very suddenly only costing us $150 to repair!

* A chance to see Cars 2 for free!  (And it was an awesome movie too!)

* Two outdoor movies in a friend's backyard with great food (potluck style) and great conversations with great people.

* John not needing major medical treatment for his illness this month - just lots and lots and lots of rest.

* The beautiful field across from our Camper Cabin, covered with fire flies.  It was so awesomely beautiful I can't even describe it!  And we got to enjoy it for 6 whole nights in a row.

* Being able to go hiking and cook over an open fire every single day of our camping trip, even though it was cold and rained every day while we were there!

* Writing a family mission statement.  This was a very powerful experience and I highly recommend it if you don't have one.

* John doing an excellent job leading worship this month - even though it included chanting, which he really seriously dislikes doing!

* John doing a terrific children's sermon with the "Stump the Pastor Bucket", which held a snow globe!  The church he was at has a bucket that is passed around through the kids in the congregation during the summer and the Pastor/Children's Minister/Fill-in-person has to come up with a children's sermon on the fly about the article in the bucket.

* Getting to hold a friend's brand new baby at worship one Sunday.

* John's collared shirts coming in the mail and having them fit perfectly with no altering!  He has a very large neck compared to the rest of him so I'm very grateful for that - I was expecting to have to take the shirts in.

We've had lots of progress around the house and on things at school and work too.  It's been a good, though busy and at times disappointing month.

Thanks for listening to my Blessings for June!
Do you have any to share?