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48 Days – “Ah Ha Moments”

48 Days – “Ah Ha Moments”

48Days-3“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I call them Ah Ha Moments – like a light bulb appearing over a cartoon head on TV – all of a sudden that moment of realization hits you – that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I was sitting in the 5th row of seats at church.  We were a few minutes early and made it in time for the on-screen announcements.   To my surprise Dave Ramsey appeared on the jumbo screen.  Everything in life paused for a moment and my face lit up like a candle!  I caught myself instantly being filled with an overwhelming sense of longing to Dave’s energy and passion for what he does.  I’ve always liked Dave Ramsey – his personality, his passion, his energy, his drive, his overall message, his love for the Lord – all of it.  He even reminds me of my dad and I catch myself calling him “Uncle Dave” – even though I don’t have any relation to him at all (deep down I really wish I did though).

Dan says in his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, that everyone has a vocation or a calling and you need to take notice of Ah Ha Moments in your life – this may give you a strong indication of your calling.  Those moments of deep longing, or when you are doing something and realize in that moment that you are doing exactly what you were born to do.  A calling is not something reserved just for pastors, priests and monks.  God places a calling inside each one of us with special gifts and talents reserved just for us as individuals.  We fulfill our calling simply by being exactly what God created us to be and by being excellent at it.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  I’ve struggled with this idea for such a long time – trying to figure out my true calling in life and never really understanding what it is.  Half the time I always felt like people are “called” into ministry – but rarely  do you hear someone say, I’m called to be a mom or an IT professional.  Seems like you can only be “called” when it has to do with devoting your life to full-time ministry, but that’s flawed thinking – 100% flawed.  Think about it – God created everything and everyone and each has a unique purpose – God created trees to be trees and by that tree being a tree it gives glory to God.  The same is true for us – God created each of us unique and by being ourselves and doing to the best of our ability exactly what God intended for us to do, we will find ultimate fulfillment.  Whoa!  That was profound – even for me!

So, how in the world do we figure out our calling?  According to Dan it starts with understanding the difference between your vocation, your career, and your job.  I’d have to say I used the words vocation and career interchangeably – they seemed like the same thing, where in fact, they are not, and this understanding has again lifted a burden off me.  Your vocation is the big picture of your life – the overall direction and purpose, the thing you do in life that gives you meaning and leaves a legacy for generations to come.

The Dictionary defines Vocation as:

  1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
  2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
  3. a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.
  4. a function or station in life to which one is called by God.

I define vocation as the overall direction of your life, your calling – that unique path for your life that only God could put you on – that “thing” that you were put on this earth to do.

Your career is an entirely different thing – it’s a line of work that you do for a certain amount of time and you can have many different careers in your lifetime.

The Dictionary defines Career as:

  1. an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
  2. a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking.
  3. success in a profession, occupation, etc.
  4. a course, especially a swift one.

My favorite definition is #2 –  a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking.  “Through a phase of life” – this perfectly explains a career to me.  A phase of life – think on that.

When I figure out my vocation and the overall big picture of what I want to do with my life, then there will be many careers that I may choose to do that still fulfill my overall vocation, especially if I decide that the career path I choose when I was 18 is no longer the career I want today.  Take for example the vocation of “helping people” – that can translate into many different careers such as being a teacher, doctor, pastor, writer, entertainer, etc.  And that also translates into many different jobs within a chosen career path.  If you started out helping people by being a special education teacher in an elementary and then decided that teaching kids was not your thing at all, then you could change your career path by going on to teach college students instead or start a ministry where you are helping homeless people.  All of these careers still fall within the vocation of “helping people.”

I hope I haven’t lost you yet!  All of this is a like gold to me!  I feel like I’m learning about myself and living backwards – oh to go back to my younger years and do all of this in the correct order!  Oh well, I’m sure if I could go back in time, none of this would seem so profound.  Right?!  I’m hoping my journey can somehow offer hope to someone else in my shoes who is struggling with their calling as well.

Let’s also define a Job – the Dictionary defines Job as:

  1. a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price.
  2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position.
  3. anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility.

A job is a job.  It can be big or small.  It can be fun, or awful.  It can be the best choice you ever made or the worst.  It’s all up to you!  And the best part, it’s just a job – so if you hate it, change it.  If you love it, turn it into your career and if it’s fulfilling to you, then most likely it’s right in line with your vocation and you can truly say it’s your calling in life!  I think most people live their entire lives never finding their true vocation or calling – not because they haven’t tried, but because they let life and circumstances get in the way.  There were bills to pay and kids to take care of and they took the first job they could make money doing so that their kids were taken care of.  Next thing they know, it’s 20 years down the road and they are wondering what happened to their life.  Maybe, it never occurred to them to look at their life’s purpose and seek to understand what is God’s best for them.  Please Lord, don’t ever let that be me!  I don’t want to be scared to dream, to wonder, to take a leap!

Dan says, “Jobs will come and go, but they should never derail you from the fulfillment of your calling.”

I think I’ve made it too hard for me to see my calling.  It’s probably right in front of me and has been all this time.   I must be making it complicated – as if my calling is not enough – like it must be more, or harder, or it’s not worthy of being the calling of my life.  Funny, when I consider who placed that calling on my life – who is the Master and Creator of ALL that I am?

“You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” – Psalm 139:16

Lord, help me see it – help me see my calling, my vocation, the overall direction of what you want me to be and do with my life.  Make it clear to me and give me a sense of Peace when it’s resonated in my heart.

I’m still working on this one you guys…. I’m thinking and praying about it and will be back with my thoughts soon.

48Days-3

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September 19, 20170 commentsRead More
My 48 Day Journey – Money Isn’t Everything

My 48 Day Journey – Money Isn’t Everything

48Days-2“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

As I dive into the 48 Days to Work You Love book by Dan Miller I’m struck with many “um hmmm” and “yes” and “oh you tell ‘em Dan” mumblings out of my mouth.  I read a page or two and wanted to highlight most of the words!  He has so many one-line truths that make me feel very hopeful and validated.  I even feel validated in my confusion of what I’m doing with my life, which is very encouraging.  I think I’ve always felt that your job is what defines your success in life – if you climb the corporate ladder just high enough, or if you start your own business and have a bunch of employees, or if you join a network marketing business and build your team to the top level, then that means you were successful in life.  With each of these, there would also be a big stream of money that came along with it.  Big fancy job, high level career, top earner and lots of money – to me, that was being successful.

I hate that I even put that on paper, I feel like it makes me sound shallow.  Yes, I had dreams too, and yes having money sure seems to be the best solution to a lot of life’s hardships.  How many times have you taken a job just because of the money?  Or better yet, how many times have you tried a job because of the promise of BIG money?  You know what I’m talking about.  We all have the one friend who is in a network marketing business – not too long ago I was also in one myself.  My husband and I got into the business because we loved the products and we wanted to share them with everyone!  Naturally, I assumed that every person in my life would want to try them, and I also assumed that the products would literally sell themselves.

At the beginning, lots of friends and family did support us and they gave the products a try.  Our business declined as soon as I ran out of friends and family to talk to.  I desperatlely wanted our business to succeed because we both wanted that promise of money, more time with the kids, and the cool car that came along with the higher levels of achievement (we did need a new car at the time, so this seemed like a win-win).  We stuck with it for two solid years.  We went to all the local meetings, and traveled to the BIG meetings out of state, and held our own meetings out of our house.

I wrote ebooks, blogged about the products, shared the products on all forms of social media, messaged and called all my contacts, and as time went on I started to notice a shift in my attitude.  I no longer saw people as people – they were a target.  I would consider every possible angle I could think of to somehow bring up how my products or business could fix any problems they had.  I no longer saw people for who they were – my friends, my family, people God placed in my path on a daily basis that needed His love – they were all possible business associates that could take us to our next level.  Ick!!! When I finally realized this I was ashamed of who I had become.  That’s not who I am.  I love being around people and being there for them when they need something.

I realized my new business that I started with the best intentions had turned into something that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore.   And you know what?  I didn’t see God’s blessing in it either – it was like  we were spinning our wheels and never getting any traction.  After the second year of trying to fit a square peg into a circle we finally walked away, and I’m not sorry we did.  Let me tell you, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I could finally love on my friends again without seeing a dollar sign.  For me the big selling part to joining a network marketing business was the amount of money and success you could achieve – all depending on how hard you work – I wanted to experience the American Dream of having lots of money, toys, and time.  While I think this business model is legit, it’s super hard, and so many of us try and don’t last very long.  For those that make it and enjoy it, I applaud you, but for me, I sure hated how much I thought about money and the constant push for more time, more meetings, more people, more…more..more…more.

In the pursuit of my dream, I was sacrificing so many other parts of my life.  I was focused too much on money and forgot about caring for people.  My good intentions of having a better and more fulfilling life were pushed way off to the side and eventually I lost myself.  I toiled so hard in working our business that I didn’t make physical exercise a daily habit, and I quit eating healthy because it took up too much time to prepare healthy food.  I only made coffee dates with potential clients instead of just meeting up with a friend to see how they were doing.  I stopped volunteering to make dinners for neighbors in need because I was “too busy working”.  I quit doing a lot of the things that God put me here on earth, in my state, in my neighborhood, on my street, to do for others.   Like I said, it was a big learning experience!

My journey of being a part of a network marketing company taught me many things about myself.  I don’t want to sell – period.  The funny thing about that is I totally can.  I have a personality for days – I can talk to just about anyone, but I hate the feeling of having to “sell” to someone or convince someone they need what I have.  It’s not who I am and I’m so glad I found Dan’s book because one thing I’ve learned is that just because I have the skills to do something really well, like selling, it doesn’t mean I have to do that for my job.

Until I figure out what I want to do for my “work” I’m happy that there is more to life than just job success.  I saw so many people in my network marketing business that seemed happy on the outside because of their top level achievement, but behind the scenes when no one was looking, they were over-worked, stressed out, and quite possibly unfulfilled.  I didn’t want to be one of those people who spent all my time, efforts and energies working on my business and neglected all other parts of my life.

I won’t ever take a job again where I have to convince people to buy something – it just feels wrong to me.  For those of you out there who are in a network marketing business and love it – ROCK ON!!!  Stick with it if you are loving it and can’t wait to get up every morning to work on it.  For me, I’m glad I now know that my job success is not the only piece to a successful life.  There are so many other parts to who we are as human beings, and the key is to keep it all in balance and to make deposits into all areas of your life – not just work.

Dan’s book has a whole new take on what really is a successful life.  A successful life is so much more than a job or a career.  Your work is only a small part of your overall life success, or at least it should be.  That’s the key.  In Dan’s book, 48 Days To The Work You Love he says, “Work cannot be the only component of a successful, fulfilling life, but it is a very useful tool.”  God made us to work and it’s a part of life, but why not have work that is fulfilling both physically, mentally, and spiritually? Yes!!

How in the world do you even figure this out?  That’s what I want, a J-O-B that earns money, is fun, exciting, fulfills my spiritual gifts, helps people, and doesn’t feel like work.  That’s what I’m looking for.  But I have to remind myself that work is not the only part of having a fulfilled life.  We need to stop being defined by what we do, but instead by who we are.   There are 6 areas of your life that need constant deposits made into them to keep them running – Work, Family, Personal Development, Community, Church, and Recreation.  If you spend all your waking hours working, then your family and kids suffer.  If you spend all your time with your friends in community – staying out too late then your job suffers and your home life falls apart.  If you spend too much time working on personal development by reading books and watching YouTube seminars never leaving your couch, then your health suffers.  If you give and give and give to your kids and family always meeting their needs first, then your health and personal development suffer.  It’s a nasty cycle of give and take.  You give too much to one thing, than everything else suffers.  I think a successful life is all about balance – which is so much easier said than done.  Am I right?!  Success cannot be defined by work alone.  Mind-blowing!!!

So…wrap it up Katrina…what do you mean?!  For right now, I feel like Dan has just lifted a burden off of me.  Work and money are not everything!  In our crazy, success-driven American lives, we give our souls to our work and there are lots of other areas of life that are worthy and are part of a successful and fulfilling life.  Just dwell on that for a few days…until I have more.

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September 7, 20170 commentsRead More
My 48 Day Journey – The Beginning

My 48 Day Journey – The Beginning

 

48Days-1Part of my recent silence has been a lot of contemplation, not only about my kids, but about me and where I’m going in my life.  When I was senior in high school I had HUGE dreams – my life was all ahead of me, and I thought I would be something AMAZING!  I dreamed of being a business owner that would make my first million dollars by the time I was 30 and then I planned to sell everything I owned, donate my million to my local church and go be a missionary in the poorest parts of Mexico.  For real.  Those were my dreams!

At the ripe age of 18 I had to pick my future career, and for me, that was deciding what business I wanted to have that would make me my million dollars.  I had been exposed to graphic design in my high school classes and won a bunch of awards, so I felt like that was what I was good at.  I had also been exposed to business classes and truly loved them – I ran our school store and was the CEO of our school business department – that was my true passion, I just didn’t realize it.

When I chose my college, I picked it because of scholarships I was given to attend, the warm location (I was tired of Colorado snow I guess), and because I wanted to attend a private Christian University.  My plan was to double major in Business and Graphic Design, but was advised to pick just one and I had a bigger scholarship for art, so I chose Graphic Design.  The problem was that my college did not have a good art department – it’s no wonder they gave me a big scholarship!  My 18-year-old self didn’t think much of any of this and I just put my business degree on the back burner and went ahead with an art degree at a private, out-of-state school that cost a lot of money and left me with a huge pile of debt when I was done.  If I could do it all again, I absolutely would have gone to a community college in my home state and went after a business degree instead of art.  It would have a saved me a ton of money, and given me a much more well-rounded education that was geared more towards my true passion which is business – not art – but at the age of 18 I didn’t think that far down the road.

My college years put me on a journey towards a career that now, almost 20 years later, I’m not longer interested in doing.  Awesome. ☹  I think this is common for a lot of people, you think you want to do one thing, you pay a ton of money to go to college to do that one career and then realize that is not really your true passion.  Seems like a very expensive way to learn that lesson, which is very frustrating at this time in my life.

Two months before I graduated from college (a year early I might add – yes, I could’ve handled a double major for sure…but oh well), I got married!   Wahoo!!!  We began our first business shortly thereafter – a graphic and web design company and we built it from the ground up.  We started it small, working at night and on the weekends with only one client at a time, and we made a deal to keep our business 100% debt free, so we knew it would grow slowly.

After a few years of both of us working on our business just part-time while we both worked full-time, we made a huge leap of faith to move to Colorado and for me to quit my full-time job and work our business full-time.  My husband was able to keep his full-time job and work remotely from our apartment in Denver, while I joined our local Chamber of Commerce and hit the pavement selling our business.  It took time, but slowly it began to grow.  After only living in Denver for a little while I was bringing in a lot of work and my husband was able to go part-time with his job and spend even more time on our business.  Only 6 months later our business had grown so much much that my husband quit his job and began working for our business full-time!  That was a huge leap of faith for us, and God totally honored it!

At its peak, our business was great and we were making more money than I ever imagined was possible!  It was one time in my life when I truly felt God’s blessing on what I was doing.  The phone was always ringing and the work just poured in.  My favorite thing each day was going to our mailbox and receiving signed contracts and deposit checks.  It was really awesome!  Even though our business was booming, it was a ton of work.  We had no down-time – we were always working, because we were the business, if we stopped working, we quit making money.  The up-side to our  business was that  we got to be together all the time and despite what you might think, that is a good thing for us!  We work very well together – probably because we are such opposites.  I miss working with him these days…..but that is another story…

A few years into our business we were making great money and we decided it was time to have some kids!  By the time our 3rd child was born, I was burnt out!  I couldn’t be business owner, full-time graphic designer, meet with clients and do all the sales while being a mom to 3 young children who were at home with us all day long.  It was such a challenge to balance work when they were napping – especially when they got older and didn’t nap nearly as much!  I realized one day when I was running my oldest son to Kindergarten and my middle child, who was super sick, had just thrown up in my car on the way school.  At the same time my newborn was screaming his head off and my cell phone was ringing off the hook with a client who needed to talk to me – it was just too much, I just couldn’t do it all anymore!  My priorities changed and I needed a break and felt like it was more important to just be a mom while the kids were young.  The stress totally got to me and I wanted a time-out!

My husband was also burnt out from all the long hours and the stress of being a business owner.  Because our oldest son was born with heart problems, we were having a hard time paying for our self-employment insurance – it was awful to know how much we had to pay for insurance just because we could not get on a group plan.  It was time for a change and I was ready to walk away from the business, the long hours, and the constant phone calls.  I was longing to breathe, play with kids, and not worry about clients.  It was much harder for my husband to walk away from it – it was like the death of a dream – he felt like a failure.  I, on the other hand was super proud of us!  We did it!  We started and successfully ran a thriving business that was our sole income for 7 years!  I think I was ok to walk away from it all because I didn’t enjoy all aspects of my duties – I learned that I loved business, actual business – I like managing our employees, organizing our work flow, and meeting with all our clients, but I didn’t love doing the actual graphic design work.

I’ve spent the last 11 years just being a mom – you know what I mean, carpooling, crafting, tons of cooking, gardening, more carpooling, coaching soccer teams, working with the kids at my church, starting a MOPS ministry, and lots of couponing.  When my kids were babies, it was very fun and fulfilling – the days were long and busy and I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  Now that all 3 of my kids are in school, I have a lot more time to think and dream and find myself at a spot where I’m totally lost as to what my purpose is.  I never planned or even thought about what my life would be like past starting a business and having kids.   It’s a very weird place to be.  I feel very unsure and lost about what I’m supposed to do next or what I even want to do next.

15 years ago, as a wedding present, we received Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover 12-Week Course and it was the best thing that ever happened to us.  From Dave Ramsey, we learned about Dan Miller and his book, 48 Day To The Work You Love.  I’ve heard Dave advertise this book on his website for years and it never seemed to apply to my life until now.  I checked out the book from the library and am going on a 48-day journey to try and figure out what is the work that I love!  Join me on my journey and I’ll try to let you know what I come up with!  So far, I wish I would’ve purchased the book because there are a ton of things I’d like to highlight and make notes about – it’s just that good!

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August 30, 20170 commentsRead More
Teach Your Kids To Fly

Teach Your Kids To Fly

TeachThemToFly

“Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.” –

Proverbs 22:6, The Message

 

I have swirling thoughts this morning.  You see, it’s another first for me today – all 3 of my kids are in school – at the same time!  My oldest son started Middle School last week, my middle daughter started 3rd grade, and my youngest started Kindergarten!  WHAT??!!!  I remember when they all were very young and it seemed like this day would never come – I though I would always be changing dirty diapers or picking up a long trail of Cherrios in the house – but today, they are off to school and I find myself sitting here with my worship music cranked really loud and pondering all that has happened over this last year.

I’ve taken a lot of time off from my blog to fully focus on my family and especially my kiddos.  When they were younger I remember feeling like I was smothered – by them.  You know the feeling, always needing to play referee, or sternly asking the older kids to be quiet since the youngest was sleeping, or tripping over little Hot Wheels cars when you try to walk down the stairs.   The years of diapers, spit up, goldfish all over your car, car seats, strollers loaded to the brim with picnic lunches and scooters, scraped knees and Band-Aids, a trail of sand in the kitchen, back screen doors constantly open, and Nerf Darts constantly bombarding you when you are making dinner!   While I love them dearly I would often find myself needing a break and praying for time-off when the Grandparents might offer to keep them for a few hours.  I felt like I needed those little breaks just to make it through that season in my life.

Then a funny thing happened, something in my mind switched.  I found myself missing them when they would go off to play with their friends, or when they would go out to the field behind our house to play catch – without me.  They were growing up before my eyes and learning how to play with each other and work out their problems on their own – without mom having to intervene.  They had reached the point that I had dreamed they would get to someday – they were officially able to entertain themselves!  Although they can play with each other for hours on end, I still miss them and realize that their time with me is short.  Now, I want to spend as much time with them as possible and, I want to make the most of that time and prepare them to fly!

I think it all changed in my head when my oldest son turned 11.  I started to realize that he only has about 7 more years in our house – 7 years?!!!! WHAT?!!! So much in his life will change in those 7 years that it scares me, but it also makes me realize just how important my job as a parent really is over the next 7 years.  Talk about growing up – he will start middle school, ride the bus, youth group, go through puberty, school dances, get his drivers license, a job, go to high school, graduate and then off to college – all in the next 7 years!!! That is a lot of life change in a few years and I don’t want to miss out on any of it!

I realized that my job as his day-to-day mom is quickly coming to end as he will now be making a lot of his own decisions.  It’s time for him to start thinking about his core values, and beliefs and making them his own.  Oh my goodness does that scare me!  It’s also exciting at the same time.  I pray for him and his siblings every day, that God will lead and guide them and that they will have a heart of compassion and brokenness for other people.  I pray that God will help them to be confident in who they are as God’s precious child, and that they will be bold to share their faith and stand up for what is right.

I told you that I was pondering a lot, didn’t I?!  Moms out there, your job as a mom is so important!  Be there for your kids, but also let them go!  Help them fly and when they fall, pick them up, hug them, give them a Band-Aid and teach them another way to fly!

Train a child how to live the right way. Then even when he is old, he will still live that way. –Proverbs 22:6 (ICB)

TeachThemToFly

 

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August 15, 20170 commentsRead More
Stand Up For Your Faith

Stand Up For Your Faith

StandUpForYourFaithHave you ever taken a stand for your beliefs?  I have, quite a few times, and it can be really hard.  Talk about dead silence, shocking stares from people who thought they knew you, and some serious fear!  Let me share a secret with you though – I’m a very black and white person.  There is not much gray in my life – at all.  People who know me, either love this about me, or hate it.  If you don’t know this about me yet, well, I’m sure you will soon, and you’ll either disregard everything I say or take some of it to heart.

I know I’m a lot to take at times, but this is me and it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it.  :)  When is comes to right and wrong, I like being right, and I like to do what is right and expected of me.  I don’t push the boundaries at all, there is always a very clear line drawn in the sand and I don’t cross it.  I’ve been like this my whole life, it causes me to be very perfectionistic, as well as extremely self-motivated.  While I don’t mind setting high goals for myself and working hard at trying to reach them, having to perfect all the time is exhausting.  I’m learning to offer myself a lot of grace and if motherhood has taught me nothing else, it definitely has put me in my place and helped me realize that I can’t be perfect all the time, nor does God expect me to be – because then, what would I need Him for?

Back to my original topic – taking a stand for your beliefs.  I tell you all this about my personality so you will understand that it’s not hard for me to take a stand for what I believe.  I’m used to people disagreeing with me, and thinking that I’m crazy for being so rigid.  As I’ve gotten older, this no longer bothers me.  Lots of people don’t see the world through the same lense that I do and that’s ok!  But, there are some that do, and the best part about taking a stand is that you may find other people who believe the same way you do, and were too scared to make it known.  They may have needed to find you, and had you not shared your feelings, they might have never known you felt or believed the same thing.

My pastor was talking about this topic at church last weekend and he shared a story about Elijah and Obadiah from 1 Kings 18 and 19.  Elijah thought that he was all alone as the only prophet left in all the land who loved, served and took a stand for God.  When he was at his point of exhaustion and frustration, he was told that God had used Obadiah to reserve 7,000 in Israel who also believed in God as well!  Elijah had fooled himself in thinking he was all alone in his devotion to God and really there were many more!  I encourage you to take a stand for what you believe!

When I was thinking about this post, I was reminded of quite a few times when I took a stand for what I believed.  The most significant time I can remember standing up for my beliefs came as a high school sophomore in my science class.  We were discussing how the world came into existence and my teacher was passionately teaching us the Big Bang Theory.  It was very clear that this was her belief as well.  My problem came when I disagreed and asked if she was going to also teach the Creation Theory.  She politely declined and then put me on the spot, in front of my 30 classmates, asking exactly what I believed.  So I told her.  I believed that God created the world and everything in it.  Simple as that.  This statement caused my class to erupt into a lot of commotion and opinions and within a few minutes I was being asked to leave class and go to the Principal’s office.  Not kidding.  So I did.  Needless to say, I did not get into trouble for sharing my opinion, my teacher just didn’t know what to do with me and was annoyed at the commotion I caused.

A lot of good that came from that experience though.  You see, there were a few other students in the class that believed the same thing I did; that God made the universe.  They didn’t know me well enough to know that I shared their beliefs, but they approached me afterwards and believe it or not, we started a Prayer Group at our school.  Our Prayer Group started small, but soon it was well over 50 students who were also wanting to spend a little bit of each day praying for our school and friends.  May sound silly to some people, but it was a really neat group to be a part of.  Taking a stand for my faith, even as a high schooler, led me to new friends with shared beliefs and I knew I was not alone.

All of this to say, you never know who needs to find you if you take a stand for what you believe. I dare you to try it, even if its in a small way.

I’d love to know some of your stories – how did you stand up for your faith?  What was the outcome?

Hugs!

 

StandUpForYourFaith

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March 11, 20170 commentsRead More
Let Jesus Shine Through

Let Jesus Shine Through

LetJeusShineThroughIt’s early March here in Colorado and that means everything is a still a little brown outside.  My son and I LOVE to be outside, so every chance we get when the temperatures are even slightly warm enough, we head outside to enjoy the sunshine.  I noticed some green grass poking through all the dead brown grass a few days ago while we were walking to get the older kids from school.  We both were soo excited to see the little blades of green grass sprouting up – that means Spring is coming and with that, warmer weather and even more time outside!

It struck me this morning as I was driving and having this long conversation with my son about the coming Spring, that we all need some time to clean up our lives so that Jesus can shine through.   You see, there was a landscaping company out with their blowers, mowers, and rakes.  They were cleaning up the neighborhood by blowing away all the dead leaves, and power-raking all the withered brown grass.  Their hard work was giving everything a fresh clean look, and getting our neighborhood ready for new life to grow when Spring truly arrives.

This reminded me that we all need a good power-raking in our lives, a time to remove all the icky, old stuff that is clouding our vision and weighing us down so that Jesus can shine through!  Just think of how hard it is to see the good in your life when your life is so full of hurt, pain, and sorrow?  Or when you are weighed down by a broken relationship?  Sometimes we get so worn down from the hurt in our lives that our light is no longer shining, I’ve been there and I understand.   It’s time to clean it up, remove it, mend the hurt and start fresh so Jesus can grow your life!  Spring is an excellent time to take a good look at your life and see if there are hidden places or very open places you can heal and fix so that Jesus can shine through!

“Don’t hide your light!  Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.”  — Matthew 5:16

 

LetJeusShineThrough

 

 

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March 2, 20170 commentsRead More
How To Throw A Hot Wheels Birthday Party

How To Throw A Hot Wheels Birthday Party

HotWheelsThemedPartyMy youngest son, Rylyn, just turned 5!  We had such a fun birthday party for him – you see, Rylyn used to love trains more than anything – but as the years have gone by, his love for trains has turned into a love for all things cars, especially Hot Wheels tracks and cars.  He loves them!  When we started to think about themes for his birthday party, we knew we had to do a Hot Wheels themed party.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I love to plan birthday parties for my kids and I love to plan over-the-top fun parties on a serious budget – in my mind, there is no other way to do it!  I think if you work at it, you can absolutely have an amazing birthday party for your child without spending a lot of money – and, you can do it from home (which saves even more money)!

 

I wanted to make this party for Rylyn extra special because it’s the first “friend” party he’s had!  I know what you are thinking, Katrina, he’s 5, why in the world is this his first real party?  Well, I’ll be real honest with you, take a seat…. I’m a mom of 3 kids, and he’s the 3rd kid.  Simple as that – plus I’m smarter now.  :)  I didn’t want to start off this awesome birthday party tradition with Rylyn too soon, because I have many years ahead of fun parties with him.   He’s a crazy boy with so much energy, that I honestly wanted to put off the “friend” parties with him for as long as I could.

 

This was the first year that he finally noticed the fun parties that my other kids had and was already planning his own party.  When I think back on it now, I can’t believe that my oldest son, who turned 10 this year, has had 10 amazing at-home birthday parties.  His parties have been over-the-top!   He’s had really fun themes like: Messy Party, Star Wars, Science Lab, Minute-To-Win-It, etc.  My daughter, who turned 7 this year, has had a few less than my son (you see, I was starting to wise-up).  Her fun at-home parties started when she was 3 with her first “friend” party.  She’s had 4 great years of fun parties with themes like: Tea Party, Italian Cooking Party, Cheerleader Party, Daddy-Daughter Construction Building Party, etc.  Now that we are on to my 3rd, I’m older and wiser and think it’s ok that he’s just starting his “friend” party tradition.

 

When I’m planning a birthday party I start out by making a quick Word doc with all my ideas of themes that they might like.  I then make a guest list and ask for input from my child on who they would like to invite.  We go over the themes and I let them pick one.  Thankfully this year I pretty much knew what theme he was going to pick, it was either going to be Trains or Hot Wheels.  He chose Hot Wheels and I was off the races to start coming up with games and things to do for a November Hot Wheels party indoors with a bunch of 5 year olds.  What in the world can you do inside with car track? I did what any mom would do, I got on Pinterest to see what everyone else has done.  I found a lot of great pins for decorations for a “car-themed” party, but I know my son, and he could care less about the décor, he’s all about the fun things you would DO at the party.  He’s a very active boy and so are his friends, I knew I needed to keep them very busy or I’d lose control of them all.  I really didn’t find very many ideas at all of fun Hot Wheels themed activities we could do and was bummed.

 

It was close to Halloween and I still didn’t know what we were going to do at this party, but I had the invites made, the décor picked out and a cake ordered (from my mom of course).  A local high school in our area was hosting a Halloween Party for little kids, so we got ours all dressed up and headed over there for the free candy!  Once inside they had transformed the whole school into a Candy Land themed Halloween Party with tons of carnival games and it struck me, we could do that for Rylyn’s party!  Carnival type games that are Hot Wheels themed!  Genius!  My older son even mentioned to me much later that we should do a bunch of those simple games for Rylyn’s birthday party because Rylyn had so much fun and so did all the kids his age!  He even offered to help me make the games, and viola, we were off and running.  I was pumped because they all were fairly simple and inexpensive to put together, and they would work as indoor or outdoor games if the weather was nice enough (which at the time I had no idea what the November weather in Colorado would be like).  We got super lucky and had very warm weather the day of his party and could do most of the games outside, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

Here are all the game stations we came up with:

 

  • “Tire Toss” – We set up some old tires which I just so happened to as we had just put new tires on one of our vehicles.  YouHotWheels6 could also use ring shaped floaties used for the pool for kids who can’t swim yet.  You just set up the tires staggered and use beanie bags to toss into the tires.  If they make it into a tire, then they win a prize.
  • “Ring Toss” – We used glow necklaces hooked together to make a ring and had the kids toss them on to yellow caution cones that I happened to have for coaching soccer.  I found both at the dollar store.  The children had to take a “tire” glow necklace and toss it onto the cone.  If they made it, they won a prize.
  • •“Pin Wheel”– Think of Pin the Tail On The Donkey, same idea but I made a big poster board of a Hot Wheels Car instead.  Then I printed and cut out a page of small tires.  At this station, I had my dear friend give each child a tire with some tape on the back and after they spun the child around a few times, blindfolded, they got to try to get their tire on the Hot Wheels Car.  We gave everyone candy for just trying this one no matter where their tire ended up.  I hung this poster on my garage and it worked out great.
  • “Car Walk” – Just think of a good old fashioned Cake Walk!  Same thing, except if your number is called you win candy instead of a yummy baked good.  J I made numbers 1-10 and taped them to my driveway for the kids to walk on.  We played music and when we stopped the music you had to be on a number.  You would then pick a number out of a jar and whatever number was called won a piece of candy.  My daughter helped with this station and loved every second of it.  Hands down, this was the wall time favorite station by all the kids at the party.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good ‘ole cake walk?!HotWheels5
  • “Tire Eating Contest” – This was so fun!!! We hung mini chocolate donuts, which were the “tires” with fishing line from a low branch on our big tree in our front yard all at different lengths.  We then lined all the kids up in front of a donut that hung basically right in their face.  At the same time, with their hands behind their backs, they had to eat the donuts without touching them.  HILARIOUS to watch and so yummy!  The kids loved this one as well.  We only did this station one time as a group.
  • “Car Race”  – this was the last activity.  My older son built a Hot Wheels track that went down our stairs and made the cars go really fast!  We had everyone use the Hot Wheels car they were given from the “Car Fishing” game to face off with each other and see which car was faster.  I initially planned to make a big tournament poster with individual heats for the cars to race, but time got away from me and I realized that being 5 year olds, they didn’t really care who won!  They just wanted to race!
  • “Stop Light Piñata” – I made a VERY simple piñata from a tall rectangular Amazon box and stuffed the candy in the bottom of the box.  Taped it together and then decorated the box by wrapping black streamer paper all around the box completely covering it.  Then I cut out a red, yellow, and green circle from construction paper and taped them on the front of the box and it looked just like a stop light.  We hung the piñata from our front tree and used a very hard baseball bat toHotWheels4 whack it.  I was worried it might have a hard time busting open because it was a real cardboard box, but thankfully, that also meant that each child got to hit the box a few times and then we let the birthday box pound on it until it all feel apart – which he loved.  Was a very cheap way to make an adorable piñata.  This was another all group activity that we did only one time.
  • •“Car Fishing” – This one is where you hold a fishing pole with a string hooked to it, then the child tosses it over a big board and the person behind the board hooks a toy to the string and tosses it back like the child “caught” a fish!  We changed it up a bit and attached a red Solo cup to the end of a string on a wooden pole I had.  When they child tossed it over they were given a brand-new Hot Wheels car in their cup! They all seemed to love this and the best part was that the Hot Wheels cars are usually on $1!  We then planned to have each child keep that Hot Wheels car and use it for the Car Race that would happen later.

 

Other Things I Made:

The Decorations:

HotWheels3If you have read my posts from my other parties, you know I like to keep things cute, but simple and budget-friendly!  Rather than buying official Hot Wheels branded décor, I believe in picking solid colors that match and making my own birthday banners out of poster board and ribbon, and making my own signs and hanging them up.  Plus, we always use matching streamers.  I also made a simple tablecloth for the main table to look like a road.  I picked up a black plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Store as well as some white duct tape made my own road!  It was cute and cheap!  Don’t forget the balloons!  I always get about 10-15 solid color balloons and disperse them around the house – as well as outside so it sets the mood when you guests arrive!  Simple, cheap, and awesome!

Signs:

I made my own signs FREE from my favorite website – Canva, that I glued onto poster board and hung it up near each station.  I also recruited a few parents and family members, even my older kids, to run each station so that they could help the kids and hand out prizes.  My prizes consisted of a lot of candy (that I recycled from Halloween, and small little toys like pencils, erasers, stickers, that were again recycled from Halloween and that I picked up at the Dollar store).  I tried to find some fun Hot Wheels themed prizes, but when they got too pricey, I figured kids love candy and I had a TON from Halloween that was just a week before his party!

Goody Bags:

These were very necessary as the children needed a bag to carry around during the entire party so that they could put all the candyHotWheels2 and treats they won at each station – as well as when we did the piñata.  I kept these simple as well, I just picked up a package of red paper lunch bags that I found from my local Dollar Store and printed out a small tag that I made on Canva.com for each bag that I glued to the front and added each child’s name.  I had these sitting out so each child could grab their bag when they arrived to the party.

The Cake:

My mom is our cake maker extraordinaire!  She makes the cakes for my kids every year and they are  amazing!  The best part about her cakes is that they are gorgeous and usually make for an awesome focal point on the main table.  This year, she out-did herself with a Hot Wheels cake that had a tunnel right through the middle that you could drive a Hot Wheels car through (that was the request from the birthday boy)!   Even if you can’t make an extravagant cake, there are so many cute ideas on Pinterest for cakes, treats, and cupcake that go right along with the theme.  If I didn’t have my mom to make the cake, I was going to go with something simple – a “tire” donut cake!  Just take a bunch of small chocolate donuts and stack them up on a plate just like a bunch of tires. Then stick a candle on top and there you go – a “tire” cake!  Viola and super simple, plus this would be very inexpensive!

Invitations and Thank You Cards:

HotWheels7I also made my own invitations on Canva and used the same layout to make a thank you card.  I like to make invites that are simple 3.5 x 5 in postcards that are 1 sided that I can put in an envelope or pop right in the mail as a postcard.  It’s much faster to just make your own, print them out and mail, versus hunting down a matching invitation at the store and hand-writing in all the info (at least it is for me).  Plus, I love to make stuff on my own and personalize it!

 

It may sound like a lot of work, but besides making the signs and few other décor items, it really wasn’t that bad!  The party was a lot of fun and really you could use the same games to fit any theme for any party!  My son loved this 5th Hot Wheels birthday party and for me, that’s all that matters!

 

 

HotWheelsThemedParty

 

 

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February 27, 20170 commentsRead More
Time To Tidy Up: Discarding Memories

Time To Tidy Up: Discarding Memories

Tidy-DiscardingMemoriesThis weekend has been killer.  How in the world are you supposed to discard memories?? I’m a huge photograph junkie…in fact, deep down I long to be an amazing photographer – but I’m not.  I’m just ok.  I know enough to take pretty decent photos of our family, but nothing amazing.  I’m always so fond of photographers that can create these amazing shots out of a rather boring setting.  Photography is one of my favorite art forms that I truly appreciate.  Growing up, my parents didn’t take very many photos of me and my brother – there are some, but film and development was a lot more expensive and there was no such thing as a digital photo.   Because I have a bad memory, I have a very hard time remembering a special event or situation unless there was a photo taken to help jog my memory.  I think because my parents took so few photos, I’ve made it a point to take as many as I can of my kids and my life so that I can always remember all the fun things we did.

I tend to give photographic momentos as gifts to people – because I always seem to have that perfect photo of a fun memory me and the recipient shared.  I think these types of gifts are the best type of gifts.  I have a boxes and boxes of prints, ticket stubs, cards, letters, award certificates, brochures, maps, etc. of all sorts of grand adventures and trips and special occasions that I’ve experienced because memories and the people I’ve shared them with are a huge part of what I treasure about my life.  While there are many great memories in these boxes, there are also some painful ones.  Going through just one box of photos is emotionally draining.

This weekend I decided to tackle the gigantic stack of memories that I need to sort through.  I started with some of the great memories – like my wedding!  What a lovely day that was, I even found a copy of my wedding vows!  I had no idea I saved a printed copy all these years – I’m pretty sure it’s straight out of my dad’s Bible, as he was the one who married us and there are also a few handwritten notes in his handwriting.  What a blessing to discover these!  It was fun to read what we actually said to each other because the whole ceremony was all a blur and my poor husband was so nervous that he almost fainted while we stood there at the altar!  J

I did find a gigantic pile of cards we were given for our wedding and as I read through some of them, I’m sad to say that I don’t even remember who some of the people are – there were quite a few that were signed with only a first name.  While I’m so thankful for all the amazing people we shared our wedding day with almost 15 years ago, I don’t need to hold on to all those cards.  It was easy to use Marie Kondo’s method of thanking the cards for their purpose they served at the time and it was even easier to discard them.   I also found about 50 extra copies of our wedding invitations and wedding program – I don’t need to keep that many copies – I saved a few of each and discarded the rest.

The emotional part came when I found some old letters from my college days.  College was a hard time for me and clearly there were a lot of emotions that I struggled through and reliving them now as an adult is even harder.  It’s emotional, and draining and very stressful.  I’m honestly struggling with how to process some of the emotions that are coming up looking at all this stuff.  I catch myself wondering why in the world I saved the letters to begin with.  Do they spark joy?  Absolutely not.  They make my heart beat fast, they cause me to panic and sweat – and without even reading them again, I just want them gone.  I don’t need to go there – I’m older, wiser, and more mature now and don’t need to hold onto the memories of the dumb mistakes I made.

I’m sure you all have stuff like this that is just not necessary to hold onto anymore – maybe a card or love letter from an old boyfriend, or even photographs of a past relationship?  Or maybe old letters from a deceased family member, or even a letter from a parent.  Memories are a good thing, we need to learn from them and grow, not hold on to them and stay stuck in the past.

I had no idea when I decided to tidy my house that I would be about 6 weeks into the project and still feel like I had so much to left to do.  I’ve only scratched the surface of my momentos and I only lasted about an hour before I had to stop.  It’s going to take me some time to go through them all and deal with the past.  I’m hoping to finish this job quickly, but I notice another side effect of all the emotions that are being stirred up – my back pain.  It gets so much worse when I’m walking down memory lane.  I’m trying so hard to heal my back and get back to life, but I can see my body dealing with some of these hard memories by aggravating the pain in my back.  It’s crazy, but I know there is a connection, and without being able to strap on my Adidas and run off my stress like I usually do, I don’t have a lot of recourse to deal with the that old memories are causing me.  I may just put all my momentos in a box and deal with them in 6 months.  J

This whole tidying journey has been truly that…a journey.  It’s been amazing, liberating, time-consuming, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It’s so much more than just cleaning up your house, it’s a way of cleaning up your whole life.  Opening doors in your heart that you have kept closed for many years.  Cleaning out the cobwebs in your soul that you had no idea needed to be cleaned.  It’s a deep journey and I even though I wanted the process to go so much faster and be over and done with – it’s going to take me a while.  I’m ok with that.  I’m super proud of myself for sticking with it the last 6 weeks, and I’m going to see myself all the way through it.  I feel like God has called me to this journey at this specific time in my life, as a means of growing me and refining me and helping me to see things about myself that I’ve never seen before.  I’m thankful, humbled, and a bit overwhelmed, but determined to finish.

Officially my mind is blown.

Tidy-DiscardingMemories

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February 12, 20170 commentsRead More
Snowboarding, Pain, and God’s Glory

Snowboarding, Pain, and God’s Glory

SnowboardingThe last 3 weeks have been hard for me.  I’m not sure if many of you know, but I went snowboarding before Christmas, and it was awful.  Why, you might ask?  It was my very first time on a board and I honestly didn’t stay upright on my board long enough to know if it’s even fun.  I fell so many times and I had NO idea that it would hurt as bad as it did to fall.  I kept thinking, oh it’s just snow, how hard could it hurt to fall on my very padded butt?  Ooooohhhh, was I wrong.

The first time I feel backwards on my butt it was like a rug was pulled right out from underneath me and I hit the snow so hard that it hurt from my bum all the way up to my skull, and I wasn’t even moving!!  I fell so many times my first day on the slopes that my body hurt in places that I didn’t know it could hurt in.  In fact, I only made it down the baby bunny hill two times the entire day I was up there. and after falling over and over and over again on the way down the hill I’d finally had enough.  Snowboarding might be fun, but I’m not sure my body can take really finding out for sure if it is.

You see, after that horribly painful day, my body was feeling very sore, but still functionable.  I continued with my regular running and exercise class schedule which has me working out 5-6 days a week for about an hour.  Then, I decided I better give this snowboarding thing one more try, but on a much smaller scale – so I spent a morning boarding down a very small sledding hill in my neighborhood.  Not nearlyl as scary and actually a little bit fun.  :) I made it down the sledding hill about 25 times before I was just tuckered out, but I had 2 really good falls on my bum.  My back hurt for the rest of the day and into the next.  It was so sore, but it went away and I kept up with regular life again.

A few days later, I got a bur in my saddle to start tidying my whole house, which you can read all about here.  I got so excited to tidy, that I roped my husband into tidying our storage room.  We spent an entire weekend buried in the basement, sorting boxes and boxes of stuff.  I went to pick up a box at one point and felt a pinch in my back that spasamed my whole back and it’s now 3 weeks later and I’m still dealing with it.  3 weeks!!! It feels like an eternity to me.  I know how dumb that sounds because God bless all the people out there that deal with chronic pain and injuries – I don’t know how you do it.  I’ve been to my amazing chiropractor quite a bit in the last 3 weeks and am eternally grateful to her and all that she does.  She has explained to me that back pain is complicated and can be extremely frustrating to deal with.  I’m not sure when my back with finally relax and calm down, but I spent the first 2 weeks babying my back and not lifting anything heavy.  Of course that also meant no working out or running at all and for me, that’s really hard as I love doing both of those things.

My chiropractor also told me that she is pretty certain the spasam is from snowboarding.  Did you all hear that?? Snowboarding.  From the continual falling over and over and over, that I weakened my lower back muscles so badly and when I continued with my regular life and activity it finally gave up on me.  You can’t fall that much and that hard without some serious damage being done to your body.  Shoot!  And to think I hurt my body this bad doing something that I didn’t want to do anyways.  Double bummer.  My attempt at trying to be brave for my kids worked, but I also injured myself and that is where God comes in with a life lesson.

So, Katrina, connect the dots.  What do you mean the life lesson?  Ok, I’m glad you asked….  I was at my Community Bible Study yesterday and was struck by a very deep answer to a question that I ponder all the time.  I wonder all the time what is God’s purpose for my life, and if I’m actually doing what I should be doing?

Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  Did you catch that?  It’s the whole created for my glory part.  It’s not about if I’m doing the exact thing that God wants me to be doing and trying to figure that one thing out for the rest of my life, my life is not mine to begin with and what I want for my life is not the issue.  My life is from God, created by God, given to me as a gift from God and the whole point of my life is to bring Glory to my Father – not glory to myself.  Like a smack in the face huh?  Yep, I know.

I know what you are thinking…you are losing me Katrina, what does that have to do with snowboarding and back pain?  Snowboarding was born out of my husband’s desire for our family to all go skiing together.  He loves to ski and he wants me and my kids to love it too.  The only problem, I’ve never liked skiing, so I figured I would try snowboarding instead because the kids wanted to try to skiing so bad this year.  It was doomed before we even went, but I put on my bravest face and tried.  The kids loved it, the husband loved it, but mommy had an entirely different experience.

While I’m proud of myself for doing something that scared me out of my mind, I’m super annoyed that trying something I didn’t want to do to begin with is now keeping me from doing things I love to do.  Me, I, me, me, me….that’s the problem.  I keep thinking my life is all about me and what I want.  I keep thinking that just because it’s my life that I have some right to how it goes.  If I was able to do my regular working out I would be able to drop those additional 20lbs that I was so determined to lose early this year.  Again, it’s all about me.  As I was sitting at Community Bible Study this past week God whispered a truth to me – the fact that my life is not mine.  My life is for God and to glorify Him with what He has given me.  Whether that is 20lbs heavier than I want to be or not.  It’s about my attitude and my gratefulness for what He gave me and how I use that for His glory.

Ouch.  Such a good truth though.

Snowboarding

 

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February 5, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

OnlyKeepStuffYouLoveI’ve learned a lot this week, but the best thing so far – it’s ok to throw stuff away.  Really, it’s ok.  Even if that stuff is a gift from someone you love.  It may be a wonderful gift that had great intentions, but over the years, that gift sat on a shelf and collected dust.  It’s taken up a piece of real estate in your house and over the years you can’t seem to part with it since it was a gift.

You know what I’m talking about – that candle that you burned a few times and then you stuffed it in the very back of your kitchen cabinet because you got another one you liked better.  Or, it’s the quilt that someone made you as a wedding present.  While the quilt is lovely, it doesn’t match the decor of your house, or even of your guest room, so it’s been sitting in a box for 15 years.  Or, maybe it’s that collection of items from your favorite sports team – the mugs, light-up beer steins (and you don’t even drink beer), hats, coasters, posters, soda can cozies, tickets from games you have attended, and on and on – while you love this sports team, you may not love all the gifts you are given year after year with their logo plastered on it.

I know how you feel though – being stuck with a gift and feeling like you have to keep it just because you love the person who gave it to you.  In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she says, “Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need ‘just because.’”  Most people have no idea how much space these things are taking up in their homes.

For me, I’ve seen this truth to be true – I can’t believe that in my already orderly (or so I thought) house I found 16 bags of things just taking up space that I didn’t want anymore, and I’m only just beginning.  The question to ask yourself when sorting through gifts is “Does this spark joy?”   Simple as that.  You have to remember that gifts are just things that are used to convey someone’s feelings for you – and after they have given you the gift, the gift’s purpose has been fulfilled.  Think about that.  It’s so true and my mind is blown.  This makes me think about gifts in a whole new light – both gifts I receive and gifts I give – honestly, it makes me want to try a lot harder when I’m giving a gift to someone.

While some gifts are hard to part with, others are easy to discard.  You can part with that engraved china plate you got as a wedding gift that has sat in a box for your entire marriage.  Yes, it was a gift, but do you even remember who gave it to you?  This happened to me yesterday.  We tackled our storage room.  This room holds a giant pile of boxes that are old grade school papers, trophies from Awana, diplomas and awards from DECA and FBLA, Coca-Cola collections, M & M collections of everything you can dream of shaped, stuffed or imprinted with an M & M on it, wedding gifts, old cards and letters, etc.  It was intense.  I can’t believe how much we threw away!  We had so many empty boxes that we had saved and intended to use for shipping gifts to people.  Silliest thing ever, because we maybe ship 3-4 boxes a year!  We had enough boxes and shipping materials to ship boxes for the next 20 years or more!  Not only were these boxes taking up a ton of space, so were all the boxes of momentos.

We spent 5 hours working on this room and have made some great progress, but we still have a long way to go.  The funny thing, I noticed my attitude change over the course of the day.  I was super excited to get started on the room – I loved seeing all the things we were able to discard and haul to the trash.  Once we started unpacking my M & M collection and my box of unexpected photos from college, I started to get really stressed.  I didn’t know what to do with this stuff.  I panicked.  We kept going and I had to walk away for awhile.  I was getting totally overwhelmed.  There were boxes overflowing with packing peanuts,  piles of sorted item we were going to donate, and piles of discarded items.  Just walking from the storage room to the the stairs was like walking through a mine field.  We cleared a path and I set aside all my momentos to deal with at a later time.  The photos and special memory items are the items you sort through last.  Thank goodness, because I like to take photos of everything!

I unpacked boxes that have been packed since I moved into my house 10 years ago.  I had boxes of decor items that don’t match my current house and honestly I didn’t even remember I had them.  I found a really cool set of metal lamps that I really like, but have no problem selling instead of keeping.  In fact, I’m not only donating items, but finding a lot that I can sell on VarageSale.  I have listed over 100 items since I’ve begun my tidying journey and I’m loving the extra money that I’m making.

I’m super proud of my husband as well, he loves to collect stuff and tends to have multiple collections of things,  let’s see, there is the Coca-Cola collection, the Star Wars Lego collection, and the Broncos collection.  I tend to look at these things as ways to collect dust, which drives him crazy.  He thinks I’m boring because I don’t really collect anything.  Yep, we are a perfect match!  He did make some great decisions on things he was willing to part with and we have big plans for our storage room.  We are going to add some shelves and I’m so excited!  Our compromise, I have to find a place to display his Coke collection because he unpacked it all!  I still have to figure this one out.  :)

Needless to say, I survived the day, we still have a ton to do, but we made a huge dent in our stuff that I’m super proud and excited.  As I work through the whole house, I’m finding that I have a ton of storage totes and bins that I no longer need – as I’ve discarded most of the items that used to be in them.  I’m also loving reading Marie Kondo’s book because there are just times in your life when you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to throw stuff away.  I also feel relieved that you really only need to keep stuff that you truly love.  How is your tidying journey going?

OnlyKeepStuffYouLove

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January 16, 20170 commentsRead More