Can I get a Grace Card?

Hello again. Did you read yesterday’s post? No? Huh, that’s funny, because it was really great. Some might even call it inspired. And by that I mean, I didn’t write yesterday. I used to have a professor in college who gave us all a “grace card” at the beginning of the semester, which we could use to make up the points lost on any one assignment we handed in late. In that spirit, I would like to use my grace card for yesterday’s lack of a post. Accept it?

The truth of the matter is, had I written yesterday, it would have been all about how I didn’t want to write. I even started a post, and that was pretty much all it was about. Yesterday was a day of discouragement and just feeling down. I don’t know why, but this whole week has been like that—even when I’m having a really good day, I still just feel like a failure and broken. Writing yesterday felt like hypocrisy—how could I possibly write about getting your crap together if mine was so very obviously not together? And so instead of telling you about the storm, I sought shelter and let go of the pressure I’ve put on myself regarding this blog. Remember back at this post where I mentioned realizing you can’t get everything perfect and taking yourself out of the running? Well, that is this for me. Sometimes, other things are more important. I am still here, and I am still blogging, but I’m not the best or most committed. That’s okay. 

I did want to tell you all though… something exciting happened this week. It’s here.

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That’s it! The real thing, in real life! And can I tell you? I love it just as much as I thought I would. I have started carrying it everywhere with me and it is seriously so convenient! I am already thinking about getting one for next year.

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I also took this opportunity to write in my deadlines for each portion of the house, in reference to the goal I told you about a few days ago! So I mean… I guess I’ve made some progress, right?

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To read the rest of the series “31 Days of Getting my Crap Together!”, click here!

31 Days!

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Is it too late? (&50th blog post!)

First of all, I want you to know that this is my 50th blog post! Woo hoo! Milestones.

So… I probably should have set a goal for myself at the beginning of this series. But ya know what? That would indicate that I am already organized, which I clearly am not. Yesterday, however, I thought of a goal. We’ll pretend that it’s in honor of this being the 50th post 😉

Last week I shared with you my front bedroom/storage unit, and how messy it is. This doesn’t really bother me on a normal basis, because we don’t need to use it as a living space right now. However, I’ve been going through all of my things recently, cupboard by cupboard and drawer by drawer, collecting boxes of things to give away, sell, or put in storage. So far I’ve made it through the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and half of the bedroom. I’ve been doing really good actually at clearing stuff out, but I don’t want to actually donate all of the things until I’m completely done and can take it all in one fell swoop. So… I just have boxes of crap I no longer want or need, sitting around my house. (Update: want to see them? Check out this post for my organization method :)) I really don’t want them to sit around forever, because then in 6 months when I come across them again, I’m going to feel the need to sort them all over again… and I really don’t want to do all of this work twice. I also would really prefer if they were out of here before the holidays come around, so that I can maximize my space for Christmas decor!

And so… by the end of this month (that’s just over 2 weeks, people!) I want to be DONE sorting. This means that I have to tackle a few drawers in the bedroom, our cars, a basket on the front balcony, and….

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THIS.

Our disaster zone.

Now let me clarify: this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be spotless and clean and organized. But it will definitely be a much more solid starting place, because at least all of the things we don’t want will be gone. Can I do this, people?
Tell me I can. Or tell me I can’t and give me permission to back out. Either way. 😉

ALSO! Since this is the 50th post, I thought I’d celebrate by a little reminiscing; re-sharing the 5 posts that have gotten the most traffic so far. 🙂

  1. 8 Things I Learned in 2014
  2. “You’re Pretty Normal, Considering How Weird You Are!”
  3. Better than Fiction
  4. 31 Days of Finding Joy: Dinner is Served
  5. Prioritize!

Now here’s to 50 more! 🙂

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together. To read the rest, click here!

31 Days!

Learning how to Rest

I know, I know, this is a series about productivity, organization, staying focused, and getting your life back in order. But here’s the thing: in order to truly get your crap together, you need to be making the most of all your time, which includes the time you spend relaxing. Have you ever had a day where you get to the end of it and feel like you wasted the entire thing? I’ve so been there. I go the whole day not really being productive and getting anything done, and before you know it it’s bedtime and it feels like a waste. The worst part about this is that I don’t feel any more relaxed or rejuvenated—in some ways, I feel even worse than I did before! No thank you.

The point of relaxation and “days off” are to get you refilled and ready to tackle the following day. They provide balance in your life, and they are so so important. So why is it that our common modes of relaxation don’t seem to actually be relaxing anymore? I can sit for hours, literally, scrolling mindlessly through Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter… and yet at the end of it, I just feel like I’ve wasted 2 hours I’ll never get back, and I still feel as restless and tense as I did beforehand. I can hit the “I’m still watching” button on Netflix enough times that I know they’re judging me, and even though I’m in my pajamas I can still end up feeling just as sluggish and drained as I felt the day before.

Something I’ve really been working on this year is learning how to relax efficiently. If you can relate to any of my notes above, here a few tips and tricks that I’ve been working on implementing lately!

  • Realize the importance. From the beginning of time, God demonstrated to us that rest is necessary, and while taking a Sabbath day each week seems like a great commandment, we have such a hard time actually doing it. I know that some people really struggle with being a workaholic and working all the time, but it’s not just that. Work isn’t the only thing that gets in the way of our rest—it’s also worry, stress, and busyness. These things get in the way and even when we can find time to rest, we end up feeling unable to relax either physically or mentally. But here’s the thing—if you don’t find the time to rest, you will never be able to work hard on the other days. You might be able to keep running for a while, but eventually you’ll hit your wall and crash. And trust me, it won’t be pretty. I experienced this so many times in college, but never really learned my lesson. Plus, from a spiritual standpoint, it’s so important to realize that your life is not actually in your control—God is taking care of you, and taking one day completely free of work and putting it in His hands is a good exercise in trust.
  • Figure out what works. Now, I love Pinterest. Really. But the truth of the matter is, spending a whole day on social media just isn’t going to cut it when I’m going to try to relax. Try to figure out what things you can do that help your spirit actually rest. Personally, I like to craft, spend time with my husband or friends, go hiking or to a park, go for a walk through town, have a movie night, decorate in my apartment, read a good book, or maybe cook or bake. There are times, oddly enough, where I even like to organize or clean. The point is, determine something to do that will help you unwind and just be for a little while. Something that, even if it wears you out, it’s a good kind of exhaustion where you feel happy and calm at the end of the day. Make plans with friends or plan to stay home all day with a good meal in the crock pot. Just don’t waste the time you have.
  • Choose a day. Until this summer, I never really had a day. I would try and relax whenever I got the chance, but it usually was a few hours here and there when I could squeeze it in, instead of a scheduled time to look forward to. In spring of this year, Tyler and I both started new jobs. Until that time, we had both been working unpredictable hours and days, and never really knew when our time off would be or if it would coincide. So when the opportunity presented itself to have a set schedule, I seized it! Now, as a general rule, we have Sunday and Monday off together. We try so very hard to keep Mondays free of plans. Monday is our day to rest, relax, and spend time together before we move on with our very different schedules. The great thing about having a Sabbath day planned is that you have all of the rest of the week to get your stuff done. For instance, I know that if I don’t want to clean on Monday, I should work through the house on Sunday afternoon. And if I don’t want to worry about what’s for dinner, I should do all of my shopping previously so that whatever we eat can just be popped into the oven or crock pot. Plans with friends and family are almost always made for Sunday or another day of the week—and it really works well for us anyway, because most people are busy on Mondays! There are some exceptions but we try really hard to keep this day free. Now, I do realize that this is close to impossible for some families, depending where you’re at in life, but wherever you are, it’s a season. So, for the next season, schedule yourself some rest.

The truth of the matter is that if you don’t plan time to just relax, you will seriously lose productivity. Having a rest day planned helps keep me motivated throughout the rest of the week, because I know it’s only a few more days until I can rejuvenate. Have you found a great way to rest and relax? Please, inquiring minds want to know. Let’s support each other in something that seems like it should be easy but can actually be quite difficult, especially in a culture that promotes busyness. If your friend needs to cancel plans because she is just burnt out, have some grace. Offer to babysit for someone who needs a break. And seriously, learn how to take a breath and relax. Take some time to let your soul rest.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting my Crap Together! Yesterday’s post was about The Art of the Single Task, and for the rest of the series, click here!

31 Days!

The Art of the Single-Task

Every time I start to feel like my life is falling apart, I do one of two things: curl up on the floor and cry (metaphorically speaking, of course… usually), or decide that I am going to fix EVERYTHING. I want to get my life back together, which means that I must

  • clean my house and discover the perfect system to keep it clean
  • decorate my house and hang curtains make it the picture-perfect little bloggable apartment
  • get my finances in order and pay off my debt in 1/200th of the time expected
  • become more dedicated to my faith and read my Bible more, pray more, and participate in church activities more
  • volunteer more and increase my effort and time with my volunteer work
  • figure out how to be the perfect wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and employee
  • come up with a meal plan and follow through
  • find time to excel at a hobby, like this blog or a craft
  • teach myself to have the patience to bake
  • better my education
  • get my career in order
  • exercise and get healthy
  • diy everything

Oh my goodness, I’m exhausted just looking at that list–and that’s just a sampling. So I go crazy and decide that I must do it ALL.all of them. I need to be a better me and I need to be that now and so I need to fix it all. In case you haven’t seen where this is going… it’s not pretty. Trying to be everything to everyone and fix everything all at once is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. So the short time I have between my “do it all!” resolve and the inevitable crash and burn, I take my new-found dedication to being a better person and I try and apply it to 50 things at once. I am a woman so I think I am fantastic at multi-tasking. You know what happens when you multi-task? You accidentally put double the amount of something in the recipe. You forget to do the last step necessary for a particular job. You forget to answer that friend’s text, or send out that card, or move the laundry to the dryer. And then what do you have? Just an inedible dessert and mildewy clothes. Yeah, I went there.

Listen, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with multi-tasking. Sometimes it’s necessary and it’s really not all bad. But I have to ask, when did our culture lose the art of single-tasking? As Major Winchester would put it, “I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then, I move on.” Now I’m taking this quote out of context (cue Hawkeye’s frustration), but there is wisdom to be found here. It’s time to stop trying to do 50 things perfectly. It’s a worthless effort, anyway. Nobody can do it. You will end up being mediocre at all 50 things and feeling like you are a failure.

So here’s my challenge, to you and to me. This week, focus on the art of the single task. Resist the urge to be constantly switching browser tabs. ‘X out’ of Facebook and Twitter. Put your phone down. Do one thing well before you move on to the next. Give whatever is in front of you all of your attention, instead of trying to also do the next two things in line behind it, plus a couple of things in the periphery.

YEAH! ....wait. just one?...wait really, just one of the things?I know, I know, it’s hard. Trust me, I’m struggling with this too. But maybe if we both commit to it, it won’t be quite as difficult. Maybe, for once, I can give the thing I’m doing my full attention. Be completely where I’m at instead of focusing on tomorrow and the next day, and what’s for dinner next week and how on earth I’m going to hang that curtain. It will be hard, but there’s a good possibility that the results will be worth it. It may seem like I’m wasting time, but it won’t be as likely that my work needs re-done due to lack of focus.

So now I leave you with the wise words of Ron Swanson, (little ears warning, there is a smidgen of language in that link), who says in 40 seconds what I have taken 735 words to express. You cannot resist his logic.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together! Read the rest of the series here.

31 Days of Getting My Crap Together! | Waiting for Home Blog

Because tonight, we sleep!

Today I was productive.
I’m also tired. Having to get up at 5:45 for a 10-hour work day, after not getting enough sleep… that’ll do it. So tonight, I beg you to allow me to just write a little mini post, the kind of post where I can go to sleep before midnight.

Today I accomplished:

  • work, as previously mentioned
  • managed to know where my work uniform, badge, name tag, and keys all were. I got out the door on time. If you read yesterday’s post or have spent a significant amount of time with me, you’ll know that this is true.
  • cleaned the living room, part of the kitchen, part of the bathroom, and did a load of laundry
  • didn’t fall asleep at work
  • babysat for an adorable tot. (what is this ‘tot’ anyway. That is such a weird word.)
  • ordered and ate pizza. honey sriracha crust. YUM.
  • read a decent sized portion of one of the books I got at the friends of the library book sale… Outcast by Jolina Petersheim.
  • thought of a good blog topic… for tomorrow. Tonight, you’re stuck with this.

Hey, don’t judge! I’m tired. Today, I had my crap together. Let me enjoy that and reward myself by going to bed at a decent hour. So tonight, we sleep. Tomorrow, we write! That’ll do, pig.

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting my Crap Together!, and in some of the posts I actually form full sentences and say real things. Thanks for journeying with me!

31 Days!

Okay, but where is it?

I literally lose everything. Granted I generally find it eventually… no, scratch that, Tyler usually finds it eventually.

I try to be super responsible. I try to fulfill all expectations of me, I really try to be on time (although that’s been a struggle lately too), and if I don’t follow through on something I feel terrible. BUT WHERE ARE MY KEYS?!

For pete’s sake, I can never find  anything. In the last 24 hours I’ve lost (and then found, or Tyler has found) 2 different sets of keys, my phone, my ipad, a roll of wrapping paper, my phone again, my cash envelopes, a box of baking soda, a couple of receipts that I wanted, and I currently am looking for my Roku remote. And tomorrow morning I’ll probably be on a hunt to find my work uniform and badge. **insert groan of frustration here**

I have tried and tried to fix this. I have done everything I’m supposed to do. I come up with specific places, I try to put them back where I’ve found them… no. luck. In college I was constantly losing my ID. Before that, there was an endless list of things that I would call my mom and ask her if she knew where they were.

It’s even worse right now because most mornings I am alone in the house as I prepare for work, and so I’m rushing around till the very last minute, frantically trying to find everything I need and get out the door with it all. I usually have to run back in the house because I forgot something.

UGH. Does anyone have a way for me to fix this?! I am at my wit’s end here! And I’m sure that Tyler could do without me constantly enlisting his help. And for real, I just wanted to watch Netflix tonight! WHERE is that Roku remote?!

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting my Crap Together! Read the rest right here!

31 Days!

Finances Part 2: Some Helpful Hints

Hello, folks! After yesterday’s topic of our finances, I decided to continue on and give you a couple of other resources that have really done wonders for our budget!

  1. I know that I have mentioned several times that Tyler and I participated in a Financial Peace University course last year. If at all possible, I suggest you participate in one–this stuff is always easier when we’re doing it with other people, instead of trying to do it on your own! However, another option is buying the corresponding book and reading through that on your own. There are also a lot of other resources that I’ve heard are really great, but this is the only one that I’ve personally used and feel comfortable recommending.
  2. In addition, I would recommend either purchasing or making your own cash envelope system. There are many, many ways to make your own and they are so easy, and they don’t even have to be pretty! But having the cash all there and compact into one holder is so helpful. For the longest time I had a bunch of little individual yellow envelopes and long story short, it was just a mess. Do this, it’s worth it. Just go to the bank at the beginning of the month and get enough cash for all of your cash-only categories. For us these categories are groceries, clothing, blow money, entertainment, Christmas gifts… and similar things. We do use our debit card for things like gas that are just simpler to use plastic for.
  3. Last but certainly not least, if you have a debt mountain that you’re climbing, there is a great resource out there waiting for you to use it for free. It’s called the Debt Reduction Calculator and it is SO GREAT. Seriously, so great. You can enter up to 10 debts into the calculator, plus your payment amounts, and it will tell you when you’re going to be debt free! Each month that you make an extra payment, you type it in and it updates accordingly. I wish we would have found this sooner! As of this writing it is completely free with no strings attached. All you need is excel (or even a google sheets account, as there’s a version for that as well) and you are good to go. It doesn’t connect to your actual accounts so there is no worry about someone getting ahold of your data. Just a great tool for you to use. I highly, highly recommend this. Each time I look at this sheet, I am motivated to put more and more towards our debt and see that pay off date get closer and closer.

As one more note, I would definitely suggest that you set yourself a reward. Tyler and I have decided that our first month of living debt-free, we will take the money that would have gone toward debt payments that month and just do something FUN. We are planning a “Treat Yo Self” day, and even though that’s years in the future, it is motivating and exciting to know that we’ll treat ourselves to a couple hundred dollars worth of fun. I know that some people would call this irresponsible, but I say that if we pay off $70,000+ in debt, then we deserve one month of craziness!

Okay, so what are your tips and tricks? Do you have any resources that have really helped you make progress with your finances? Don’t keep them to yourself, inquiring minds want to know!

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together!

31 Days!