MamaCreates

Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

2018 in 2018 – March Update

 

It’s time for an update on my progress to eliminate 2,018 items from my house this year – hence the title 2018 in 2018! It can be done!

I was able to do it last year, but then I was also moving so I had an additional incentive. But I also think that moving into a smaller house is another incentive to reduce what I keep here.

The ‘rules’ are simple:

  • Items can be trashed or recycled, donated, or sold.
  • Items that are part of a set count as one item: salt & pepper shaker set counts as one item; each book or magazine counts as one item.
  • “Long lost” items that are found and finally used up also count.

That’s it. Anything that permanantly leaves the house counts. After all, the goal is to de-clutter, reduce, and/or simplify.

While I haven’t sold anything yet this year, I do have plenty of things set aside for either ebay, facebook sale pages, or a yard sale or two.

I have been working on some organizing in the house and have found many things to trash or recycle. It’s really quite freeing to eliminate handfuls, or even piles of things I no longer need or use.

In January, I trashed/recycled 14 items.

In February, I trashed/recycled 19 items.

But in March, I got busy! I was able to trash/recycle 56 items! Not only that, I donated 57 books to a book drive at my daughter’s school!

As much as I love books – and it has always been a motto of mine that one can never have too many books – it was time to allow other children to enjoy some of the books my children enjoyed when they were younger. Now that they’re growing up, they need room for more young adult titles.

That brings my total items eliminated in March to 113! My most productive month yet!

For the first quarter of 2018 then, there are 146 items that no longer live at my house!

As great as that is though, it’s really not anywhere close to what I need to be doing. If you divide 2,018 by twelve months, the goal should be 169 items each month. Since I haven’t even done that in three months, I am seriously behind.

So re-working the plan…  If I subtract my 146 from 2,018, I have 1,872 more items to eliminate. Then if I divide that by the nine months remaining this year, I now need to focus on 208 items per month. That. Is. A. Lot.

It’s daunting!

I guess I need to be a bit more ruthless…

Hopefully, I’ll be back at the end of next month with some better news!

It’s not too late to get started; if you come across this post, you can start at any time. The goal is to simplify your life; any time is a good time to get started!

Just keep letting go!

Fifty Weeks – Weeks Three & Four

 

Well, that didn’t take long! I skipped the Week Three post, but I didn’t skip the kindness.

And I had a good reason too.

I went to the doctor for an odd symptom, which led to urgent tests, which led to a biopsy…

Praise God that it was benign; but they’re not sure what it is, so it needs to be removed. Yay; surgery!

So my blog post got delayed, but I still tried to be kind through out the last two weeks. I modeled this time after St. Terese of Lisieux and her “Little Way” – which means that I tried to do little things with love.

You can learn more about St. Terese here and here.

So… what did I do over the last two weeks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Moved over on the highway so someone else could go around me
  • Slowed down to allow a car, stuck behind a parked car, to enter my lane
  • Allowed people to cross the street, even though I had the right of way (did not inconvenience anyone behind me by doing this)
  • Complimented my son in a way that made him very happy
  • Offered to pick up another student from rehearsal so her mother wouldn’t have to drive as far
  • Picked up this student multiple times; and will continue to do so until rehearsal ends
  • Complimented an employee in front of his manager
  • Saw my daughter’s frustration with a mess she’d made and cleaned it up for her
  • Took another student home with us on a half day and kept her until her father was able to come get her
  • Completed some of the kids’ chores for them
  • Said prayers for the homeless I saw on the streets
  • Shared a special treat I received with my son
  • Remained calm and did not react when I had justification to be angry
  • Took my daughter somewhere she wanted to go even though I would have preferred to be at home
  • Drove an hour to take my daughter to a new activity, sat and waited for two hours, then drove an hour home, with love
  • Laughed off a frustrating one hour wait time on hold; joking with the customer service representative who probably heard her share of complaints throughout her shift
  • Hid the tests & biopsy from my kids in order to spare them worry & anxiety (some may argue that it’s not right to keep things from them like that, but I disagree in this case)
  • Prayed for a friend’s son who was encountering a difficult situation
  • Deliberately waved ‘thank you’ to all drivers who slowed down for me, allowed me in their lane, and one who entered a lane to stop traffic in order to allow me to cross
  • Picked up two neighbors’ trash cans that had blown into the street
  • Used a freebie I received to order some prints for my daughter (Shhhh! It’s a surprise!)
  • Wished a stranger good luck when I noticed she was studying for a test
  • Looked for a home remedy for a friend and texted her photos of it
  • Did something for my daughter that would embarrass her if I provided details
  • Went through some books and created a pile to donate to a book drive
  • Went through some clothes and decided to donate some
  • Modeled praying for those who hate & persecute by praying for my ex-husband in front of the children
  • Chose one person who used to pray & attend church, but no longer does, to pray for throughout Lent; and prayed for her daily

I am sure there are other things, but silly me forgot to write them down. I guess I can be kind to myself and cut me some slack…

Barring any other surprises, I’ll be back again next week!

Keep being kind; even if it’s just in the little things ~ Especially in the little things!

 

Love is in the Hair

 

From 7 am pst on February 14th, 2018 til 11:59 pm pst on February 15th, Lilla Rose is having a “Love is in the Hair” sale!

Here’s what that means:

  • 20-40% off select styles
  • One free Bobby Pin on all orders of $40 or more
  • Two free Bobby Pins on all orders of $50 or more
  • Free shipping on all orders of $60 or more

For $60, you can get some sale items for yourself or for gifts, plus two free Bobby Pins and free shipping!

We also still have our February Flexi-of-the-Month (FOTM) available! You can even add a photo to this one; and it comes in two finishes!

Head on over to my website HERE and get yours before it’s over!

Fifty Weeks – Week Two

 

Today ends Week Two. Our weather doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. We’ve had days in the 60s, days with hail, and days with ice.

During the week, we had two days that ice was predicted to come in overnight. The first one caught me off guard and I wasn’t prepared. I like to leave my wipers up so they don’t get frozen to my windshield; and I like to be able to salt my walkway so we can get to our vehicle safely. I didn’t do either of those things. Thankfully, school was cancelled and I didn’t have to go out. Then it warmed up quickly and the ice disappeared.

But I was ready for the second day. When we got home from rehearsal, I told the kids to go inside while I salted our walkway. I am grateful for this project because it has my eyes open to possibilities.

My next door neighbors are a married couple. The wife cares for their grandchildren each day; and the husband mowed my lawn every time he mowed his. So here was my opportunity to do something for them. He leaves for work very early in the morning and I wanted him to have a safe path to his work van. For my Random Act of Kindness (RAK) this week, I took my salt and salted their walkway and their steps, all the way up to their front door.

It was a very simple gesture; and it cost me very little. But it created a safe way for him to get out in the morning. After all that he help me over the last year it felt good to be able to do something for him. And I think the best part was doing it without being known (at least I don’t think anyone saw me), though I’m sure they could figure it out. But that’s not the point…

My first week’s act cost me a little money, but this act really didn’t. I already had the salt, so I was able to share from my resources.

So now we move in to Week Three… which also is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of penance and sacrifice, and that fits in nicely with what I’m trying to do. Sacrifice to bless others.

One of my goals during each Lent is to make my sacrifice be something that leads to a positive change in my life; something that brings me closer to Jesus. I pray that He uses me this Lent to be His Hands & Feet to start a lifetime change of blessing  His people.

Fifty Weeks – Week One

 

Well, Week 1 is behind me…

What I did involves a website, a family business. And it made me think about how I wanted to handle links and other people’s businesses. So I’m going to add a disclaimer:

While I do use affiliate links on this site, I will not use any on my “50 Weeks til Fifty” blog posts. It is not my intention to gain financially through these acts of kindness. If I link to a website, it’s because I’ve used it and/or I think it will be beneficial to someone else. Clicking on it will not earn me a commission. If I decide to do anything with either of my businesses along this journey, I will not link to their websites within the post. The purpose of this series is to bless and inspire others, not to make money off of it. That said, let’s get on to the Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs)!

We are fast approaching the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 14, 2018); the time when Christians all over the world commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, praying and being tempted by the devil.

Sometimes this season is difficult for children to understand – it can be difficult for adults too! We call it the 40 Days of Lent, but there are actually 46 days from Ash Wednesday until Holy Saturday. To help kids understand how Lent works, a Catholic family created an interactive adventure called Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure. It’s a completely free service; with activities, videos, projects, prayers, Bible stories, and more. All from one family! And it’s mostly done by the kids themselves. My kids did this adventure for several years; not only did they enjoy it, but they learned so much about their faith along the way. You can sign up for free here.

One of the optional products that can accompany the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure is a Lenten Road map called “Road to Easter

So for this week’s RAK, I purchased a couple of these and had them sent anonymously to my church so they could be handed out to kids who would enjoy using them. While it’s not necessary to use the maps for the Adventure, it is a nice little addition to it. Hopefully, some of the younger children in my parish will learn a little more about the 40 Days of Lent.

Note: The Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure, according to the website, is geared towards children aged 5-12.

50 Weeks til 50

I turned 49 about two weeks ago.

And it dawned on me that shortly, I’d have fifty weeks left until I turned fifty…

It took a while for that to sink in. Honestly, I thought my life would look a lot different at 50 than it looks right now. I realize that a lot can change – I hope some of it does – in fifty weeks, so I’m not giving up!

But this realization reminded me of a blog post I read several years ago about a woman who did something amazing for her birthday. She made the day about others instead of herself – 34 Random Acts of Kindness. I have wanted to do something like this ever since, but just never have.

But apparently, this is no longer a unique idea! When I went to search for the original article, I found several others, including:

I’m thrilled that this is no longer a new concept – I love that people are getting out of themselves and blessing others.

Birthdays have always been kinda difficult for me. There’s always at least a small pity party that I throw for myself; and that’s NOT the kind of party one really wants on their birthday!

So… since this is my 50th year, I’ve decided to celebrate people! My party and my gifts will last the entire year! But the party & gifts I’m talking about are going to be blessing others and the joy that these acts of kindness will bring to someone else.

Here’s what I’m proposing: each week from now until my 50th birthday, I will commit to intentionally seek out something to do for at least one other person. I will try to take pictures and post them here. That is not for glory or for pats on the back; it’s for holding myself accountable, and it’s for inspiration. The people in the above posts have inspired me to start this project; and if I can inspire someone else to do something similar, then the chain keeps growing.

And wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we were all just kind to each other?

Now when I was thinking about this project – 50 Weeks til 50 – I was wondering how I’d be able to afford to do this. I’m a single parent struggling to put two teenagers through Catholic High schools and plan for college tuition! But I realized that none of these Acts of Kindness need to be expensive. I can operate on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) and do as much or as little as my situation allows. But I also want to stretch myself; I shouldn’t take the easy way out by always doing something free or cheap. Therefore, over the course of the year (or 50 weeks), I will aim for a variety of ideas and types of things. Because I want this to be duplicable; I want someone to read these posts and be able to replicate them if they desire.

Who will join me? Don’t worry if you find this post when I’m on week 17, just jump right in and get started. And if you do decide to participate in any way, you can tag me on twitter or IG (@mamacre8s) and use the hashtag #50WeeksTil50 – I’d love to see how you show kindness to others!

“Have courage and be kind” ~ from Cinderella

2017 in 2017

I keep this tab open in my browser.

I click on it every once in a while and promise to come back to write.

I even have several post ideas bouncing around in my head at any given moment.

 

Yet, it’s been over a year since I posted last. Though you might think it’s been longer, looking at my last post. Apparently, the last time wordpress updated, it deleted posts from the last three years! This is why you’re supposed to back things up. So I guess it’s good thing that there weren’t too many posts during those years to lose.

It’s been extremely busy and my children are no longer children (though they’ll always be my babies). LEGOFan and Diva, as I used to call them to protect their young identities, have become teenagers with social media accounts of their own. Their lives have become filled with activity; which means mine has too.

But busy can sometimes mean too much clutter; too many forgotten things. About six years ago, I was introduced to a concept called 2012 in 2012. You can read about my first foray into that here. I was not completely successful, but I did remove a lot of things from my home. And each year, I have attempted to do some conscious purging. Yet last year was different. We moved. We have finally – after five years – brought everything out of storage. With the kids growing up, there was much to purge.

 

Clothes were too small.

Toys were too young.

Things I saved no longer held meaning.

 

It began with packing everything to move from a 2,600 sq. ft. house (where things never got unpacked because we decided to move shortly after buying the house – I would not advise this!) to an 1,100 sq. ft. townhouse. The ‘stuff” needed to go. And much of it did.

I was able to sort through things and Let. It. Go. (cue ice princess song…)

I threw things away or recycled where I could. I donated a lot of clothing and toys that could finally be worn or played with again. And I sold several things.

In the end, I had not only met, but exceeded, my goal of purging 2,017 things in the year 2017. Before moving, I eliminated 1,055 items, though I didn’t save the breakdown. It was great not to have to move them! But after the move; and unpacking boxes I hadn’t opened in years, I trashed 352 items, I donated 1,135 items, and I sold 25 items. That’s 1,515 things gone after moving. Boy, do I wish I hadn’t moved them, but I am glad they’re gone now! That’s a total of 2,570 items gone from my house in one year’s time!

But there’s still more to do. So guess what? 2,018 in 2018 has begun! As I unpacked over the last few months I’ve designated a shelf for things I’d like to sell; and I’d like to focus on that this year. It never hurts to bring in a little extra cash to pay those bills!

I know that I don’t have a large following here on the blog, if anyone’s left at all! However, I’m hoping that this post will be seen eventually and that someone – several someones – will join me in this endeavor to rid our homes of clutter.

Clutter costs us time and money. It steals our space, and sometimes our joy. One of the last posts I wrote that’s left in my archives was one about a book called Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp. I really enjoyed reading the book and learned a lot from Kathi. I need to start putting it into practice again.

 

Who’s with me this year?

Clutter Free

I think I have always lived with clutter; I’ve never been accused of being a neat-freak!

Actually, I’ve always described it as an organized mess and most of the time I could still find what I was seeking. But recently my children and I were required to move into a very small space and clutter very quickly took its toll. It’s difficult to find places for things; and then equally difficult to find them again.

We are trying to find a new place to live; however, we must live in the allotted space until that new place is found. It is getting bad trying to make space for myself and two pre-teens, but Kathi Lipp has come to the rescue with her book Clutter Free and her 21 Day Challenge.

 

So I began today; and I invite you to join me on this journey. Will you? Will you take the challenge to be Clutter Free in 2015? You can start here: http://www.kathilipp.com/clutter-free-21-day-challenge

Here is some of what I’m working on…

 

Box ClutterGames & Crafts Clutter

 

The top image is of Box Clutter. Like I said, we are trying to move, so I am collecting boxes in anticipation. However, we don’t know when that’s going to happen, so the pile of boxes, bubble wrap, paper, air pockets, etc. continues to grow and take over the room.

The bottom image is that of games, craft supplies, bags of items I need when I take my Lilla Rose business to vendor events, etc. This is definitely a case of too much stuff and not enough space. It’s also a result of a bit of laziness on both me and Diva. Granted, given our current living situation, the containers lining the wall are necessary evils, but the clutter on top, around the bottom, hanging out, etc. is not necessary.

I decided to begin with the box clutter. I figured that once the boxes were sorted and organized; once the miscellany around the boxes is cleaned up, perhaps we can assign homes to some of the stuff in the other room (or at least begin to pack it in the boxes – ya know, the whole ‘kill two birds with one stone’ thing).

I was able to spend a little time on it this afternoon and it does look better. It’s not done yet, but things are more organized; and better yet? Some things are G-O-N-E!

Yep, gone. I assigned one of the boxes to be for those items I no longer want and can either sell or donate. I put some items in there, but I won’t count them until they actually leave the house. I also threw some things into the recycling bag. Those I counted and noted for later.

Wait. Why am I counting these things? Well, Kathi has challenged us to get rid of 2000 things over the course of the next year. Dare I attempt 2015 in 2015? I did this back in 2012 and was pretty successful at it. It can be challenging, but that’s what this process is all about, right?

And moving time is a perfect opportunity to start fresh. The only problem is that most of my ‘stuff’ is in storage and won’t be accessible until the move happens; but I will do my best with what I have. Too bad I didn’t count before I sent that bag off to ThredUp two weeks ago – but, wait, they will send me an itemized list, so maybe I will count that once I get that…

After one day’s work, I can sate that I eliminated (via the recycle bag) 28 items, plus a few crumpled up receipts that I didn’t count. Not bad.

Now… Who is going to join me? Who is going to take up Kathi’s challenge? Comment below and share your commitment to go Clutter Free. If you write up your own post about your participation, put your link in the comments and I’ll stop by.

C’Mon Ladies; We Can Do This!

 

* Disclaimer: If you make a purchase at Lilla Rose through my link, I will earn commission; if you sign up for ThredUp, I will earn clothing credit. As for Kathi’s book (Clutter Free), I received a free advance copy in order for my honest and willing participation (the link to amazon is an affiliate link).

 

I Am A Rebel

I am divorced.

And although I am the one who filed the paperwork, it wasn’t my choice.

And, I know this goes against popular thinking, but I was an abused wife who didn’t want the divorce.

Yes, that revelation is a tough pill to swallow personally, but it’s also tough to admit. I’ve always been shy, but living in an abusive marriage took away any bravery that I may have had. (Let me just state up front that the majority of my abuse wasn’t physical.) My daily life was filled with words and experiences designed to let me know that I wasn’t good enough; that I was less than acceptable.

I learned that nothing I did was good enough, so I had to try harder to be perfect. Maybe then the words would soften and I would be good enough for him.

I learned that I had to try harder to make him, and subsequently others, like me so I could please them. Maybe then the affairs and pornography would stop.

I learned that I had to try harder to get everything done that he wanted done. I started making lists of everything I did during the day so he would know I wasn’t lazy. Maybe then I’d be performing better so he wouldn’t be so embarrassed and maybe take me out, involve me with his co-workers, or let me invite people over.

Then I learned that trying harder to be perfect didn’t help. Neither did trying to please him or performing better. So I learned something else: procrastination. If none of these things helped anyway, why even try? I was going to get yelled at and called names anyway, why try?

My kids were going to hear me called names and put down regardless of what everyone did all day. They were going to see me in tears no matter what. So…

WHY

EVEN

TRY?

All of my years of trying harder to be what someone else wanted, which was unreasonable and unattainable, made me fall victim to several bullies. The first and foremost bully was my ex-husband. And it took a long time to re-learn that I was a valued and loved Child of God and that I was not the “things’ he told me I was.

But while that bully was one over which I have absolutely no control, the other bullies are ones I used myself. They were tools, and I use that word loosely, handed to me by the enemy to knock me down to a point where I would ultimately give up and not live out the life with which I have been blessed.

Now some may look at my life and ask, “How is your life blessed?” And from the outside they may have a point…

  • I’m a single mom.
  • I take care of two kids, one with special needs.
  • I homeschool my kids and their father rarely sees them, so I’m rarely alone.
  • Since I homeschool, I don’t have a full-time job, which means I don’t have full-time income.
  • I work four direct sales companies from home, so when I’m not teaching, I’m usually working in some capacity.
  • I’m living in someone’s living room. On. A. Couch.
  • It’s next to impossible to find an affordable place to rent in a safe area.
  • It’s almost impossible to to get a mortgage; again an affordable in a safe area.
  • There is no money, no extras.

So HOW is my life blessed? My God, through various people, helped me escape that abusive life and find the hope and love that was there all along. I have a family member who is willing to help. I have my kids! I get to watch them grow up; educate them; make sure my son gets everything he needs; show them what bravery looks like.

And here lies another blessing: friends! I have never really had friends. Like I mentioned earlier, I am relatively shy. I had a few friends growing up, but being a military family, I never had time to allow those friendships to become solid. But since my divorce, God has showered me with friendships with some amazing women – some I’ve met and some I haven’t. But I know that several of these women, even those I haven’t met, support me, pray for me, love me. I can’t believe that I am finally learning what friendship is in my 40s! This is one of the best blessings lately.

Two of the ladies I have had a chance only to ‘meet’ online have written a book on this very subject. And they blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of their Braver Living Rebellion. That’s right. I’m a rebel.

Rebel Princess

Yep, I AM A REBEL! I can kick Performancism, People-Pleasing, Perfectionism, and Procrastination to the curb! Buh-Bye!

The Cure for the "Perfect" Life

Sometimes we get so entrenched in our stinkin’ thinkin’ that it’s hard to find a way out. Sometimes it’s hard to know that there is a way out. Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp have teamed up to start the Braver Living Rebellion for those of us who are stuck with one or more of these P-Bullies. And honestly, Ladies, I don’t know a single woman who is not encumbered by at least one. Let’s be honest… it’s time to get rid of them!

So where to begin? How about a free chapter to get you started? Then you can purchase your own copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, CBD, or Family Christian.

I am grateful to Kathi and Cheri for their honesty in this book, for their friendship (even if we’ve never met face-to-face), for the opportunity to realize that I am brave, for allowing me to be a rebel, and for truly showing me that:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Phil 4:13)

 

From “The Cure for the “Perfect” Life”:

Are you crumbling under the burden of perfection?

You know the expectations are unreasonable–even unreachable.

And when everyone else seems more together than you, where do you turn for help?

Meet Kathi, a disguised perfectionist always looking to put everyone else’s needs above her own, and Cheri, a formerly confused and exhausted poster girl for playing it safe.  They’ve struggled just like you–and found the cure. With unabashed empathy and humor, they invite you to take part in their rebellion against perfection. Step-by-step they’ll teach you how to challenge and change unhealthy beliefs. As they free you from always seeking more or needing the approval of others, you’ll discover a new, braver way of living. At last, you’ll exchange outdated views of who you should be for a clearer vision of who you are in Christ. 

The truth is you don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to be brave enough to read this book.

I received a free copy of this book. My post and endorsement are completely my own. Some of the links are affiliate links so when you purchase I may receive a small amount, but your price will not change.


Liberty Bow

Lilla Rose normally releases a Flexi-of-the-Month on the first. But, because Independence Day is the 4th they wanted you to be able to have it in time! Yay for us!

Introducing Liberty Bow:

Liberty Bow - July Flexi-of-the-Month (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

And to sweeten the pot, Lilla Rose is offering a sale on everything on the site for two days (sale runs from June 25th until 11:59 pm on June 26th, 2014). All items on the site are 10% off and you get free shipping on all orders over $40.

Lilla Rose Sale 10% off Everything (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

And don’t forget, because this is an early release, you can still get June’s Flexi-of-the-Month, Calla Lily, until June 30th (and it’s included in the sale too!).

June Calla Lilly  (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

* All clicks go directly to my website; any sales help to keep my kids home, and is much appreciated.

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