Friday, June 29, 2012

TPC "lite": Didn't vs. Did



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Replacing Baditude

  • I didn’t de-clutter my clothes.
  • I didn’t touch the garage.
  • I didn’t gut the guest room.
Didn’t...Didn’t...Didn’t.
Why do I focus so easily on what I didn’t do?
Especially when I said my goal was to go gently this month!
What’s the point of harping on what didn’t happen? I mean, it doesn’t even exist! 
And yet, I fall into this habit so easily. Just an hour ago, I brought my son home from a dental appointment only to learn that my husband had made a run to town while we were gone. To the exact same part of town. 
Why didn’t he tell me? 
Why didn’t he take Jonathon? 
Why didn’t we save the gas (and, more honestly, two hours of my time)?
Why am I harping on what didn’t happen? It’s over, done with, in the past. 
Yes, “next time,” we’ll both try to communicate better. But truth be told, we all got what we DID leave the house for: Jonathon’s teeth got cleaned, Daniel got a case of sparkling apple juice at the Martinelli plant, and I got four walnut-and-brown-sugar tarts from Starbucks.
I should be happy, right?
And yet what didn’t happen keeps eating at me. I’m handing my thinking brain on a silver platter to a non-entity. 
I think (with whatever brainpower is left) that it’s time to start laughing at myself … really, really hard!
This month, I DID:

  • 1)  Empty “The Box.” Turns out, it was full of old nylons. I washed them, cut off and mailed the legs to a reader who e-mailed me to say she could use them for craft projects! What a blessing!

  • 2)  Empty my Make Up Mess Drawer.  This new organizer is just what I need on a daily basis, and it fits inside the now-empty drawer!  I did keep the hanging organizer to use when I travel, as I can fit my make-up and all my liquids in it. 

  • 3)  Develop AND start using a Thank-You Note system! I’ve sent out two notes a week ever since my cry for help three weeks ago. When Daniel took Dusty in for a re-check of her broken leg recently, he said the vet mentioned our note at least 3 times in ten minutes.  

  • 4)  Take 4 shelves’ worth of books to the women’s class at church, where a master list is being made to be e-mailed to all members so they’ll know what books are available for them to come check out!  Library cards and pockets will be added this week. I’ll start writing short book reviews to share, especially with the mothers of young children who are so involved with childrens’ classes that they never make it to the women’s class.
With God’s Word
On Day 24, I wrote about how infinitely more powerful rejoicing is than complaining.
(Can't view image? Click here to read Philippians 4:4!)

On Day 25, I wrote about simple, do-able ways to take time to draw near to God each day.
(Can't view image? Click here to read Philippians 4:5!)
I need to let go of my expectations for what I “should” have done.
I need to Let God–not my own performance (or anyone else’s performance!)–be my reason to rejoice!
I need to let go of my frustrated “if only”s about de-cluttering or errand-running.
I need to Let God’s nearness bring gentleness to my heart!
And Gratitude
from my journal:
Today I’m praying…
  • … to continue de-cluttering, one item and one “baditude” at a time.
  • … to stay alert to those I need to thank (especially those I prefer to avoid, like the dentist!)
Today I’m watching for…
  • … an opportunity to show appreciation to Daniel (since I demonstrated my lack of appreciation rather clearly earlier.)
  • … a chance to laugh together as a family; Christian Comedy night may well be in order! 
Today I’m appreciating…
  • … all the “stuff” I’ve been blessed with, especially in light of the families who have lost everything in fires this week.  
  • … the increase in peace and calm in my everyday ordinaries; when I stepped on the gas to grab a parking spot today, it felt odd, like I don’t think I do that any more.

Your Turn! 
  • What's something you DID do today, this week, and/or this month that you can REJOICE about?
  • What's one way you are making a point to get/stay NEAR God?
  • Other thoughts / reflections / insights on today's topic?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TPC "lite": To-Do List vs. Master List


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People get overwhelmed by a To-Do List because they have a lot of Master List items on there–things that require a whole series of actions and aren’t broken down into simple, doable steps. It’s a great way to set yourself up for failure.
So today, gather everything that’s weighing on you and figure out what list it belongs on. If the whole thing takes less than 15 minutes, you can put it on your To-Do List. If it’s more complicated than that, put it on your Master List and figure out what your next steps are.
 
(Kathi Lipp, The Get Yourself Organized Project, page 184) 

I finished my MA research project yesterday. 
By “finished” I mean that I finally have a pretty awful first draft of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and–after nine hours of straight writing yesterday–Chapter 4.
I’m not so much excited as I am relieved.
This degree was supposed to be done five years ago. But then we moved and I put it on the back burner. Repeatedly.
Two years ago, I did my research. And the data has been sitting ever since.
Oh, I’ve been busy–no doubt about that! 
But no busier than those who actually finish their degrees...or anything else they start with great enthusiasm before encountering unexpected obstacles. 
(Note: Just like my bookshelves are “not about the books,” this is “not about the degree”!)
I’ve had time. Small pockets of time. Weekends with time. Vacation stretches of time. But until 2012, I’ve made very little progress.
The #1 reason for my lack of progress will be the topic of my blog posts in July and August. It’s a big bad bully who’s been running my life for decades without me recognizing it. If you want a sneak peek, check out this monologue I wrote performed in May (...keeping in mind that it’s a “work in progress”!)

Replacing Baditude


The #2 reason for my lack of progress is that I kept putting “Work on MA Project” on my To-Do List. 

But when I had a pocket of time, I had no idea what to do next. I’d look at my shelves of books and binders freeze, utterly overwhelmed.
When I finally moved “Work on MA Project” to my Master List, momentum started building.
Some days, the only thing on my “To-Do List” was “figure out next step.”

Seriously!
I’d hunker down for 20 or 30 minutes, whatever chunk of time I had, and do “nothing”...except the absolutely most important thing I could possibly do:

I figured out my next little step.
This is working so well that I’m starting to question the Nike slogan.
“Just do it!” sounds great, in theory. But sometimes, it’s a poor fit.
This month, I’ve intentionally tried not to “just do it” when approaching the clutter in my home and my heart.
I’ve simply tried to figure out my next little step.
And then take it.
With God’s Word
On Day 22, I wrote about the difference between “fake fruit” and real growth.
(Can't view image? Click here to read Galatians 5:22-23!)

I’m done forcing myself to “just do it” on my own strength, hanging out lots of “fake fruit” and hoping nobody comes close enough to notice. My home is far from completely de-cluttered. But it’s better, and I’m tasting more and more peace and joy with every next little step I take.

On Day 23, I wrote about the “fig leaves” I hide behind in an attempt to “clean up my act” on my own.
(Can't view image? Click here to read 1 John 1:9!)

When I start the day with my Master, He will reveal to me the next little steps for my To-Do List. And He will cleanse me and my heart so that I no longer want to keep all my “fig leaves.”
I need to let go of my “all-or-nothing” approach.
I need to Let God lead me in taking the next little step. And the next.
I need to let go of everything I hide behind.
I need to Let God do the clean-up work in my life. 
And Gratitude
from my journal:
Today I’m praying…
  • … for continued patience with myself – “slowly” and “gently” are so unfamiliar!
  • … that I can finish the MA “chapter” of my life quickly...yet gently.

Today I’m watching for…
  • … an opportunity to affirm Daniel, Jonathon, and Annemarie who have been my cheering section these last few months.
  • … someone unexpected You desire me to serve.

Today I’m appreciating…
  • … the “little changes” produced by taking “the next little step.” 
  • … a chance to have lunch with Daniel at Panda Express in about an hour! :-)


Your Turn! 

  •  Do you have a "To-Do List" and a "Master List" or a similar system?
  •  How has knowing (or not knowing) your next little step helped (or hindered) you?
  • Other thoughts / reflections / insights on today's topic?

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Monday, June 25, 2012

TPC "lite": Losing vs. Blessing

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Replacing Baditude
"Blessing Bins" ready to go to church!
On Friday, I had an epiphany: I’ve been focusing on loss
I’m losing my beloved books.
Yes, I’ve tried to “gently” force...er...nudge myself through these necessary losses. 
But it’s still been all about loss.

  • De-cluttering.
  • Giving away. 
  • Getting rid of stuff.
All about what I will no longer have.
Loss.
But Friday, a new idea showed up via Luke 6:28
Bless.
And I started thinking entirely different thoughts:

  • Who can I bless with my books?
  • How can I be a blessing to others by sharing of my abundance?
  • How can my “too much” solve their “not enough”?
With God’s Word
On Day 20, I shared Florence Littauer’s “Silver Boxes” message about building others up with our words.
(Can't view image? Click here to read Ephesians 4:29!)
On Day 21, I wrote about learning to hold my tongue by holding God’s word in my heart and, ultimately, saying “yes” to His invitation to simply hold me.
(Can't view image? Click here to read Proverbs 10:19!)


I need to let go of my urge to build up a store of so-called “treasure” here on earth and devote my energy to building up the people in my life.
I need to Let God fill my life so much that I “consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
I need to let go of the stuff I hold and practice, instead, holding God’s word until it’s the first thing to come to mind.
I need to Let God hold me when I feel like reaching for more stuff to comfort me.
And Gratitude

New bookshelves in women's class at church!
from my journal:
Today I’m praying…

  • … to quit building for myself; it never lasts.
  • … to quit holding onto things; they always disappoint.
Today I’m watching for…

  • … for more "stuff" that will bless those who need it and will use it!
  • … opportunities to build Jonathon and Daniel.
Today I’m appreciating…

  • … that holding my tongue is less difficult/painful than it was two months ago.
  • … do-overs for when I blow it like I did this morning!


Your Turn! 
  •  How might the difference between "loss" and "bless" applying to your de-cluttering of stuff and baditude?
  •  How might you change how you "build" and/or "hold"? 
  • Other thoughts / reflections / insights on today's topic?

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Friday, June 22, 2012

TPC "lite": Living Bye-Bye the Books


Replacing Baditude
A "bye-bye" box...books I'm going to miss (?!?)  vs. (see below)
I wasn’t going to blog today.
Everyone is sick and tired of hearing you go on and on and on about your books! 
Get over them already!
Just get the job done!
MOVE ON!
I almost cleared today’s schedule and forced myself to power through the books, regardless of damage to my body or my relationships, just to get them behind me.
But that’s not gentle.
And gentle is my goal for June.
If I weren’t deafening myself with baditude over my “stupid book issues,” what invitation might I hear from my gentle Father?
With God’s Word
On Day 19, I wrote about the "Ramon"s in my life: people with whom I have conflict. And how easily I transform such people from children of God into caricatures.
Only today, I’m doing it to myself. I’ve reduced myself to “the crazy book lady,” as if this label is somehow gentle or helpful. 

Making myself feel worse so I’ll act better is one of my most often tried life improvement strategies (...with a 99.9% failure rate!)
(Can't view image? Click here to read Luke 6:27-28)

I need to let go of my tendency to become my own worst enemy when I feel stuck, frustrated by my failure to progress according to plan.
I need to Let God’s ever-present blessings remind me that he loves me regardless of how I’m doing with “the books.” 
And Gratitude
from my journal:
Today I’m praying…
"Blessing Bins" for books to bless others!
  • …to fully receive Your love and mercy and grace. 
  • …for the strength to slowly fill these empty bins with books that will be a blessing to others.

Today I’m watching for…
  • …someone specific I can bless with one+ of my books.
  • …one way in which I can serve Daniel (I’ve gotten too wrapped up in my “stuff” and busyness this week!)


Today I’m appreciating…
  • …Your patience with me as I grow.
  • …Your invitation to be still and know that You are God.

Your Turn! 
  • In what area(s) do you struggle with being gentle toward yourself? 
  • If you’ve ever used the strategy of making yourself feel worse so you’ll act better, how did it work in the short-term? long-term? 
  • Other thoughts / reflections / insights on today's topic?
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