If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips for the Troops Week 7: The Simple Life

A day late and a dollar short.

That's how I've felt this week (see photo!), so it is not at all surprising that my Wednesday "Tips for the Troops" are being posted on Thursday.

And it's quite providential that my dear friend and organizing guide Dina is going to talk to us today about "simplifying." I desperately need the reminder.

Simple is good. It helps us focus on what really matters. And so much of the stuff we think is so important really isn't.

For all of you parents of little ones out there, especially, learn this lesson well now. I wish I could rewind and relive so many moments that I was too "busy" to savor when mine were little.

I want a do-over.

I'm not gonna get one, but I can do it right today. And if you're like me and have sacrificed precious childhood moments on the altar of overcommitment, you can, too! Praise God that "his mercies are new every morning!"

Alright, enough blubbering from me! Let's get our instructions from our Commanding Organizer Dina, troops.

Hi, again soldiers!
You haven't given up have you? Are you still working on decluttering and organizing your homes - and your lives? I hope so! Remember, this is a work in progress. Don't let the business of everyday life discourage you from a more organized lifestyle.

We've been learning different ideas and methods of getting rid of clutter and organizing our homes, but how in the world do we keep it this way? By simplifying.

Troops, when we simplify our lives we live richer lives. Let's face it - just having spouses, jobs, and children to keep up with adds complication to our lives. So, why do we pile more activities and commitments on our schedules that aren't really necessary?

1.) Take a look at your commitments and see if you can "declutter" anything from your schedule. I limit the amount of activities that my kids are allowed to be in. I do my best to coordinate things so they are on the same days so we have time at home and aren't constantly rushing from one thing to the next.

I'm also careful about what I add to my already busy life each week. I know I need about three mornings at home a week just to keep up with my house. I can't always work this out, but I do my best to keep time open. I get really cranky otherwise!

2.) IT'S OK TO SAY NO! People pleasing is not conducive to a simple life. You can't do it all! (original, huh?) Think carefully before you say "yes" next time.

3.) Be the garbage gatekeeper. Now that you've gotten rid of some of the junk in your home, do your best to filter what comes back in -- like those wonderful party favors from kid's parties. You know - pencils, stickers that will never get used, and other Dollar Store items. Once this little tiny stuff comes in the house it lays around cluttering everything. Just trash it. (And do your friends a favor and don't send their kids home with that stuff, either! McDonald's gift certificates are better!)

Sort your mail each day and trash that junk mail immediately. I literally stand by the garbage can when I sort my mail. The junk and empty envelopes go straight in the "can" and my bills go in their slot to be paid. Just don't let mail pile up on you. It will take more of your time to go through a big pile of it later on.

Before you buy clothes ask yourself if you really LOVE that piece. Don't buy it just because it's a bargain - do you really love it and know you will wear it? If not, maybe you don't need to buy it.

Remember: The more you own, the more you have to maintain. Let's work on maintaining relationships, not stuff!

These are just a few ways to simplify. There are many, many more! A book I recommend is Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George. She lays out a plan to help you prioritize your life.

Well, have a great week - next week we wrap up the challenge. I pray that you all feel a sense of accomplishment and peacefulness that maybe you didn't have before you started this challenge.

This week's giveaway is the book that Dina just recommended!

Can you believe we're almost to week eight? Let's finish well, troops!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

1 comment:

  1. Melinda, thank you so much for your encouraging words and all the tips on organizing our home. I have one favor to ask of you. I wrote a post today and wanted to know what you think and to join me in prayer for marriages that are facing difficult times. There are two couples that I'm praying for. Thank you.


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