Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Great Purge of 2012

I live with six other human beings.  Seven of us like to collect stuff.  A couple of us don't like to get rid of much, even empty boxes. But, tonight as I drove home from a late night at work, then dinner with The Husband, it hit me that the chaos I've been experiencing is a response to my lack of control.  

I realized that in order for me to get a handle on my life and live it with intention and purpose, I need first to PURGE.  I need to identify and eliminate all the unnecessary stuff in my life.  I need to focus on, not just the GOOD, but the RIGHT good.  And most importantly, I need to strike and hold a balance.

I've been thinking about this blog post for a few days.  And, would have posted it sooner if not for the  awful strep throat that has blown through our family like a grain of sand in a windstorm.  I am happy that I waited until now, though.  I think I have a few more pieces of the puzzle connected than I would have had a couple days ago. 

I wouldn't consider myself a clean freak.  I don't think of myself as a messy person either.  I am certain that I am NOT a hoarder.  Too much clutter and junk drives me crazy.  I know that the clutter and to do tasks that go undone leaving me with a constant sense of overwhelm.  I've made a conscious decision to take back control.  

My first thought...In order to live on purpose, you must first HAVE a purpose.  I realized with all this "clutter" in my life in just about every wonder I haven't found my purpose yet.  Sure there's things I am good at.  There are things that fill my heart with joy. But until I purge all this superfulous stuff from my life, I KNOW I'll never see it clearly.  And I want more for my life.  So I'm taking action.
Here are some of the things that are helping me get on track right now. 

1.)  Getting My Priorities In Order
I made a list of priorities thanks to Bernice and her site.  I am going to use that list to be intentional about the ways in which fill up each day.  Is what I am doing part of my overall plan or just busy work, keeping me distracted from the things that make me happy and give my life purpose?

My next project is a family mission statement....I'll have to consult Bernice's site for advice on that as well.  I like her way of breaking down the seemingly daunting tasks into small, manageable tasks and before you know it...Viola!  You just accomplished that thing you thought you'd NEVER be able to do. 
2.) Getting My Family In Order 
An AMAZING online (an yes, there's an app for that) family command central.  Use it to schedule and keep appointments for all family members, remember what to pick up at the grocery store, what memorable milestone occurred today and so much more.  The biggest benefit is the scheduled reminders you can have texted to your phone.  Seriously?  Yes!!  

We have been using Cozi for about a year.  The kids still aren't 100% in.  But, The Husband and I have really made an effort to put all our activities and appointments on there and schedule reminders for ourselves, usually the day before, so we dont' forget.  Love it! 

3.) Getting My Body/Nutrition In Order 
Quitting Soda 
I have a toxic relationship with soda.  I am an addict.  I love the taste of it so much that once I allow a sip, I can not stop.  And, when I am drinking I don't usually drink anything else.  Soda with breakfast, soda when I'm thirsty, soda for a treat, soda at dinner.  I'm sure some of you out there can identify.  I like to refer to it as "Devil Juice."  

I've come to realize that I am never going to be able to drink it again.  That I need to choose me and not be a slave to the addiction anymore.  I'll never reach my dreams if I'm weighted down with all that sugar.  So, I quit.  I quit for the I don't know how many-ith time.  But this time.  I mean it.  Cold turkey.  I haven't had a soda in about 2 weeks and I can already see that my mood is so much more consistent and pleasant.  Amazing that it has that much of an effect, but it absolutely does.  

4.)  Getting My Mind/Spirit In Order 
Joel Osteen
We have 5 kids ranging from 2 to 16.  It is EXTREMELY difficult to peacefully get everyone up, fed, ready, out the door and able to arrive at a physical church location each sunday.  And by EXTREMELY difficult, I mean impossible.  Or, at least that was what it felt like.  So I allowed this speed bump to slow our spiritual growth as a family to a gradual stand still over the years.  Then one Sunday, I was flipping through the channels and stopped on Joel Osteen.  I'd heard OF him but never HEARD him.  So I decided to stop for a second and just listen.  

He actually made some joke about country music (which The Husband feverishly dislikes) and I heard The Husband chuckle.  He thought it was funny.  Joel continued to talk and I continued to linger on the channel.  Church on TV.  Could it really be church.  But, every word Joel spoke seemed to be either directed straight at ME personally or at my family as a whole.  He got my attention that day and I decided that if we couldn't get to church, I was going to bring Church to us.  

We have made watching Joel a Sunday Morning staple along with The Husband's famous homemade waffles.  We eat breakfast as a family and then settle in on the sofa for a Joel Osteen message.  He's positive, inspiring and even though he's 2 dimensional on the screen, his impact has been immeasureable in our home and in our hearts.  I knew we had really stummbled on to something when the second week rolled around and my two oldest sons had both asked "when are we watching church?"  Hello!  Yes, it's that good.  If you haven't given it a can find his messages on youtube also.  

5.)  Getting Back To Basics
Cleaning / Organizing & Chores 
We have a HUGE house.  I am not making that statement to brag.  I am actually forming a bit of a complaint.  When a house is too large in sq footage, it's easy to find ways to spend time apart.  And, much easier to come up with excuses about why you can't keep it all clean.  There's just so much of it.  Ugh!  

There are a ton of housework advice sites.  How to clean this, when to clean that.  I have found a couple I like and  (Flylady actually partners with Cozi).  But, the biggest breakthrough I've had came yesterday during a little hissy-fit of mine.  I decided this was the last time I was going to have something that needed to be done, go undone when someone could be helping do it.  So, I sat down with a pen and paper (I know...who uses pens and paper anymore?  I do!)  and drew 2 columns on a piece of graph paper.  Left column - Downstairs, Right column, upstairs.  Then I started jotting tasks down on the perspective sides of the paper with a (w) weekly, (d) daily or (m) monthly indication beside each one.  

When The Husband arrived home, I showed him the list to add to it where he felt I might have missed.  So, the next step in this lovely process is to break those tasks down into duties that can be assigned to appropriate members of our household thereby lessening the load on dear old mom.  Yay!  Stay tuned for updates on  that.  

6) Getting My Thoughts In Order 
Finding My Voice / Blogging 
I think  personal blogs are a great way for individuals to share of themselves and reach out to others for, I guess, a sort of unspoken (or spoken) validation.  As if to hear "Hey, I do that too!"  Or, "Don't feel bad, there's fries stuck to my floor mats too!"  

As women we THRIVE on community, on getting together with other women and sharing our thoughts and feelings.  Blogs allow us to do just that.  Blogs allow us to be genuine with others.  Readers know fake when they see it.  Why do you think the average profile lifespan on Facebook is about (I researched and could not find any estimations on how long a user maintains a profile on average before deleting it) 18-24 months.  This figure is based on my own experience with friends on my account and friends who have been on and then discontinued use.  People log on to relive the past, maybe look up old flames (big trouble there...just sayin') and see how others are living their lives.  

It's all fun and games until we start to COMPARE.  We compare ourselves, our bodies, our homes, our children, our cars, and our accomplishments to others on Facebook.  We start to criticize ourselves, our spouses.  Why don't we look like her?  Why aren't we happy like them?  How come our kids don't have ten activities after school?  Am I a bad mom? 

What we don't realize is that people show us what they WANT us to see.  They aren't REAL and GENUINE on Facebook.  Oh, that was a Freudian slip...but oh so perfect.  That's what it is, Fake.  The problem is that if you want to reach the masses, you don't want to push away any form of social media.  It's something that is useful, even though it's flawed.  

I decided that in order to have real dialog with real readers, I needed to branch out and start writing about things that I am passionate about.  Not just what bar I went to and what drink I had last night or about what I found in my garbage or posting a funny picture of my dog or cat doing something at five different times of the day.  (No offense, but kids and animals are cute but don't go all Kathy Lee Giffords, please - there's a reason she got booted from Regis & Kathie Lee).  

7.)  Getting Rid of the Clutter 
Donations of EPIC Proportions 
I looked around my house recently and observed, maybe for the first time, what an insane amount of just STUFF we've accumulated over the last three or four years.  (Since we've moved to this house).  We have regulation sized hockey nets, computer parts, Christmas decorations that didn't get put away with the round, pictures that have fallen off the wall thanks to Command strips and their lack of STICK, chipped paint, overflowing of extra serving ware and novelties, bedding out the wazzoo, books, way too many clothes, we could dress an army for sure.  The list goes on.  

I started to realize that the STUFF was symbolic of my WEIGHT.  I was feeling out of control in life, so I have been letting the STUFF / CALORIES pile up on my plate.  I think there's a book out there...something about does this house make my butt look big.  I get it!  It does!!  Get control of the clutter and chaos, GET CONTROL OF THE WEIGHT! Brilliant.  So, I'm doing it.  I'll keep you posted on that progress as well.  

What do you do with your clutter when it builds up?  Do you trash it?  Donate it?  Try to find someone who needs it and get it to them somehow?  Ebay it?  I'd love to hear your strategies girls.  

As I'm sure most of you will learn pretty quickly, I'm pretty critical of myself.  I tend to not give myself credit where credit is do.  I need to start celebrating me, celebrating my ideas, dreaming my dreams (somewhere I lost them) and believing in myself.  So I am going to step back the next couple weeks and observe, while documenting here of course, the ups and downs of all that is The GREAT Purge of 2012. 


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