Spring Cleaning purge: 7 bags in a week

Here’s the plan for kickstarting my spring cleaning this year. I wrote here that I was motivated to do a purge of the house before even starting to clean. So for seven days (starting today) we’re going to try to get rid of one 30 gallon trash bag of stuff.

Some of these will be trash; some will be Salvation Army, freecycle, or kids consignment. In fact, I already have a huge Salvation Army bag taking up room in the closet so that will be easy – just drop it off!

The point is to stop being frustrated by stuff that’s in the way and just get rid of it!

For instance, today is out of date coupon inserts. It shouldn’t take that long, but oh the room in the file cabinet that will be made for other papers currently cluttering up other places!

Sound like a plan? I’ll try to keep you posted on how it goes! If you feel like joining in on the great pre-spring-cleaning-purge-7-large-trash-bags-of-stuff-in-a-week campaign, let me know!

Pre-Spring Cleaning Purge

Spring Cleaning: the plan for this year

It’s been Spring for about a month now and I have done absolutely zero spring cleaning.

My problem and a possible solution finally clicked a few days ago.

Last year, we did a concentrated top to bottom spring cleaning. I loved it and looked forward to Spring all year just so we could do it again. A little crazy, I know. But something was different last year. I was neither pregnant nor nursing for the first time in five years! The energy and ability to plan and execute projects amazed me! Wow, no wonder nothing got done in the previous five years. = )

I knew for this year that my first project would be using the broom and a rag to clean all along the top walls and ceilings. But I just never quite had the energy to do that. And I didn’t want to start with something else because you’re supposed to start at the top!

Then I remembered I’m pregnant.

Yes, it took me about a month of putting off spring cleaning to remember that I was pregnant and I might not be able to do it the same as last year.

Have I still had fun pinning different lists and projects? Yes, but I am not really expecting myself to get through all of them.

Want to hear Plan B?

It might sound a little bit like this post about my number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy.

My grand and glorious plan for spring cleaning this year is to do what I feel like when I feel like doing it! Because I am really motivated to clean and there are lots of things that I’m excited about doing. Dusting for cobwebs along the ceiling is just not one of them. Maybe it will be next month.

First I think I’m going to start with a huge housewide purge. I do these every few months anyways, but for some reason I’m really anxious to get rid of stuff. What a fun way to start! For me at least. = )

Then there are these things that must get done.

1. Magic eraser crayon marks off the walls. Have particular artist help or at least stand by while receiving a lecture. = )

2. Stain treat the carpet. Nail polish, purple paint, silly putty… use this method.

3. Clean oven, dishwasher, and washing machine. Use easy, natural methods found on Pinterest.

And so it begins.

Little by little, I’ll reference lists and see things that need to get done and Lord-willing do them.

As much as a it would be lovely to have a deep-cleaned house, I have to remember my priorities for this year, the fact that I’m pregnant, and that overall we’re not doing too bad in the cleaning department.

It will be okay!

What’s going on in your world with Spring Cleaning? If you have any favorite posts or lists be sure to leave them in the comments!

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An Easter idea for the neighbors

A few weeks ago, I had this idea for Easter. It’s normal to “do something for the neighbors” at Christmas. Not that I ever actually have. But we’ve been thinking the last few years about how for the believer, Christ’s resurrection is our biggest celebration of the year. The greatest moment to exalt in. Anyways, I thought, we should “do something for the neighbors” and maybe write them a card or note explaining why celebrating Christ’s resurrection on Easter means so much to us.

So fast forward to about two days ago and I think we’ve got a plan!

There are little kids in every apartment near us, so we’re going to give them this book.

More Than a Story

More Than a Story

More Than a Story, Easter book

More Than a Story, Easter children's book

The illustrations are beautiful and the words have a beautiful rhythm. It outlines some of the fantastic miracles throughout the Bible and then gives the defense that if Christ had the power to rise from the dead, that all of that is possible. It’s a wonderful presentation of the gospel, of the authority of Scripture, and of God’s revealing Himself to mankind.

Not to mention our girls love it, and we love reading it to them, too! (In fact, I think the idea came while reading it to them)

And then for fun, we’re going to try to make these fun treats!

I should probably make some practice ones. = )

It’s a simple start, but it’s something. I know it’s a little late in the game to post about this, but maybe it could start some ideas of how you could use this season to spread the glory of Christ.

Looking forward to celebrating!!

My number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy

It humors me slightly that I just wrote that title when I feel like I’m not getting anything done during this pregnancy. But in retrospect, that’s not exactly true; and feelings are never the best barometer of progress.

So in the interest of keeping things short for those who have a lot to do and not much time to do it, here it is.

My number one tip for getting things done during pregnancy is if you feel like doing something, do it!

I surely hope your world isn’t so small and fragile that it is now shattered. This is not rocket science, but it has been a huge help to me.

Case and point, in case you’re not quite tracking (I wouldn’t be either yet), every now and then I put the girls in bed and think, I’ve got twenty minutes until Paul comes home, I could clean a bathroom. If that thought even enters my mind, boom! I’m going to do it. Because honestly, the next time I have that time, or energy, or inclination… it could be in three weeks.

Disclaimer: I don’t always wait for a feeling to do something and I do try to clean the bathrooms more often than every three weeks.

That being said, energy really does come and go on a whim during pregnancy; if you’re motivated to do something go ahead and get it done.

Many times the next day I will think, I could not possibly do that right now! I’m so glad I did it when I thought about it. 

This can apply to housework, errands, doing something special with your kids, meals, just about anything.

Well, that probably didn’t change your life, but there’s enough awesome stuff out there that can do that, right?

What is your number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy?

Generous, ordinary words

imageA few evenings ago I caught myself in some rather nostalgic contemplation as I was doing dishes late at night. I was thinking about words that had been said to me that had meant the most in my life. Oddly enough, I don’t think any of the people who spoke them would have given them a second thought; especially not imagined that they would mean that much to me.

For example, out of all the things my dad ever told me (and there were many very good and helpful things), the most special one to me was so simple and ordinary. (I’m planning on posting about another one closer to Father’s Day)

I was fourteen or fifteen and in the middle of having braces. I had pined for braces since I was a little girl because I thought they were so cool. = ) Luckily I had inherited my father’s rather crooked teeth, so soon enough I got my wish. Overall, it had been a great experience; not nearly as painful or bothersome as I had heard others describe.

However, one particular time after an appointment, my mouth and jaw were really hurting, the only time I remember this happening. I walked by my dad’s door and saw him resting on his bed from a long week of work. He must have asked how I was doing and I decided to tell him that my mouth was hurting pretty bad.

I’m sure he said he was sorry or something, but there is one thing he said that I’ll never forget. “Just remember I had them, too; and I know exactly how you feel.”

I probably just smiled, said thanks, and went on with whatever I was doing. But everything in me felt completely better.

Isn’t it strange how much that impacted me?

Another one that struck me unexpectedly was a simple remark that a man in our church choir had made right before I left for college. I had been the church pianist for about four years, so naturally lots of people were coming around to give goodbye hugs and good wishes for that next step in my life. One quiet man told me with a small smile that he remembered when I first started playing for the choir. (It was when my sister had left for college) He said he remembered how hard it was for me to play even the simple choir accompaniments, and how fun it had been to watch as I grew little by little. I’ll never forget those words. Forget all the compliments from other performances in my life; someone remembered when it was hard, when I was just a complete play-by-ear fake who had to really work at reading music.

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I began to think that possibly the words I speak that will be remembered will be ones I’m completely oblivious to, spoken only in passing. I mean of all the things I say to my girls day after day what will really warm their heart when they’re all grown up doing dishes late at night? Of all the words that I speak to friends or casual acquaintances what will it be that matters?

It appears the answer is… who knows?

Sometimes I recall a conversation or remark spoken in passing and think, “Why is my first reaction to say something about myself? Or, wow, what I said had some really negative undertones. Is that really what’s in my heart?” Of course, we can say good or wholesome things when someone approaches us for help or when we have a chance to prepare. But what do my mindless words that spill out communicate to others? What should they teach me?

As I stood there scrubbing away, I desired for God to change my heart; to make me someone who loved others above myself; to give me a spirit that would generously speak compassion and love even when I’m not really thinking. Every day so many words are spoken. May they be redeemed to be ones that bless and minister grace in the moment, whether they’re ever remembered or not.

What the fly on the wall heard {a little more serious}

I guess one of the joys and terrors of parenting is answering the questions your children are bound to ask. We’ve had some pretty good ones in the last year, so I thought it’d be fun to write them down.

Here they are, in no particular order.

Hope:

“Mommy, if God is righteous and would never do anything wrong, then why did He tell Abraham to take the life of his son Isaac? Doesn’t the Bible say that killing is wrong? I don’t understand.”

“Mommy, before Adam and Eve sinned, when they walked with God… was God still invisible to them?”

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Sophia:

“Mommy, does God know all the people that will believe in Him?”

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Gracie

“Mommy, what are feelings?” Seriously, have you ever tried to define the concept of feelings without using the word “feel”? It took me a good five minutes to come up with an answer. Let alone the fact that I was driving the car, ending a phone call about lunch plans, and hoping for a red light so I could put on my make-up. Their timing!

A few days later she asked, “What does ‘after’ mean?”

Hope

This one she asked while really thinking through salvation. I thought it was pretty interesting that even at five we want to figure out a way to gain our own righteousness. “So Mommy, what if a person could stop sinning and only do good things for the rest of their life. Could they go to heaven then?”

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And for a light ending, yesterday I saw Gracie in the middle of the living room, arms extended, passionately preaching. It didn’t take long to realize she was being Jonah. (She was the only one there) After a few more minutes, she dropped her hands and looked dejectedly up, “God, the people of Nineveh just won’t settle down!”

Three no-brainer tips for pregnancy

Today, I decide to state the obvious.

These tips should be easy, but they’re just not always easy for me.

1. Drink water like you’re about to spend a week in the Sahara Desert.

If you think about getting a drink, drop everything and just go get one. If you’re thirsty, drink all the water you can handle. Try not to leave home without it, and take any opportunities when out and about to have some.

Drinking water has helped me with headaches, dizziness, fatigue, other nameless annoyances of pregnancy, and overall comfort.

And if someone could come up with some glasses that would block out any and all advertisements of Coke, that would help, too.

2. Eat something before you get hungry – every two hours. Or forty-five minutes.

I totally did not get this when I was first pregnant. But now I do and my life is so much better when I obey.

Even a handful of almonds (my current go-to) can do wonders.

3. If it’s not already, make sleep your new best friend. 

I am not the greatest at going to bed early or getting up on time. However, I am working on it really hard this time around because I know *negatively* what a big difference it makes.

Napping if possible is a wonderful help.

Adding any extra nighttime sleep you can is truly worth the effort.

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And… ladies and gentleman this has been my three no-brainer tips for a fantastic pregnancy. Pardon me, while I go work on them myself.