Monday, June 18, 2007

Self-help & SUCCESS!

For those of you who have been waiting patiently- the toy room is done! 5 hours of work, 2 days and 2 headaches later- I'm completely satisfied with the room. Here are the results:

While going through every toy in this room, I was thinking about how & why we allow our lives to be cluttered. I could have doing so many other things in the 5 hours it took me to overhaul this room! That being said, I ran across this info on decluttering and 'the basics of tossing.' Would you all believe that I used to be a pack-rat? I used to keep EVERYTHING and every piece of paper that might be linked to a memory. I am a pack-rat in recovery, 10 years sober! :) Today I am grateful that my headache is gone and one room in our house is in order!

Have a great week!

The Basics of Tossing:

At times, all of us spend money on items that we don't end up using. Most of us spend a lot of money on these things. For some of us, it is exercise equipment; for others it might be clothes, toys, kitchen gadgets or tools. We keep them because we would feel guilty if we got rid of them. "I mean, Do you know how much that is worth?" or "What if I get rid of it only to discover that I need it?"

Why are you punishing yourself by keeping something that is cluttering your life? Stress is one of the biggest problems that Americans face today and disorganization and clutter are among the biggest causes of stress. If you bought something you don't use, face it. You made a mistake. Don't make an even bigger one by keeping it. Get rid of it and move on. Donate it to someone who can use it and relieve you and your family of the stress of living with it. Learn from your mistakes and try to evaluate better whether you actually need something before you spend money.

If you are saying, "...but that might be worth something", why don't you find out. If you are afraid to lose out on a financial windfall, sell it on Ebay or put it out for a garage sale. If you make big bucks, put it in the bank! If that item doesn't get $5.00 on Ebay, you probably overestimated its value. Toss it!

But what if you get rid of it and later find out that you do need it? Most of us save all sorts of things that we might use one day. Very few of us will ever use more than one thing in twenty that we keep "just in case".

Think about this: If you sell the things that will put money in the bank, give the useful things you don't need to other people or a thrift store and toss the rest, you can't really lose. When you find out later that you needed that extra toolbox, take the money you made selling all the other stuff you never ended up needing and buy it! Almost everyone will be way ahead financially doing this because we will never need most of it. Not only that, but doing this will also eliminate the stress and expense of storing and moving it.

Oh and if it's trash but you feel guilty about separating yourself emotionally from it, just put it in the trash. Don't make the thrift store do it. Say a prayer over it if it makes you feel better and let it go.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Ok- don't get scared...just put on your 'funny cap!'
I promise this really is adoption related, I'll explain below. I'm about to share something very personal, it's not often I admit something of this magnitude...if you know me and my many quirks- you know that I am: borderline obsessive/compulsive (maybe I'm really over the 'line'), very organized (I actually dream about how to organize things better & make them more functional), and I have great attention to detail. Well, if all this is true- how did our play room get to look like this?

What you can't see here is the two stains on the carpet from chocolate milk & a couple of old sippy cups that were stuck under the recliner. Ok, so I know you are laughing now- I would be. I'm thinking of all my friends, and even my sister, who have commented on this very problem. Kid toys & stuff. Come on ya'll (there's my southern slang!), there's got to be a better way. Why are we letting ourselves be so stressed out by all this stuff?

I've been threatening for years that we would buy one of those old dressers at a yard sale (the kind with 6 big drawers) & let each child have 1 or 2 drawers for ALL their 'stuff.' I've been overwhelmed with toys since our first child was born. Everything seems to be in excess- and the kids don't even play with anything! I know I'm not preaching to the choir here...I hear this kind of problem all the time from moms.

So this is what I've done- I've torn every toy out of every corner and made a HUGE pile in the middle of the floor. I went to Walmart tonight and purchased 9 matching rubbermaid bins. The lovely built in bookshelves we have in the toy room will house all 9 bins and all of our children's books. There will be 7 bins (one for every day of the week) that will hold toys, activities, dress up clothes, etc. for DD#3 & DS #3. They (besides the baby) will be the youngest children and are still young enough to play with toys. Each bin will hold things for DD#3 & DS#3, divided equally. On the corresponding day (ex. Monday), they will only be allowed to open that particular bin and play with it's contents for the ENTIRE day. Technically, by the end of the day only the toys that fit in the bin will need to be picked up. Seems like a good idea doesn't it? The other two bins will be for #1: Baby toys (that DD#4 will have access to every day- but they all have to fit in the ONE bin) & #2: Angelina Ballerina and accessories. Angelina will be accessible to DD#3 every day because DS#3 has his trucks, dumptrucks, etc. available in his bedroom closet.

I am about to head upstairs and sneak into the toy room to do the night-time purging and sorting into the bins. I'll attach pictures of the room when I'm done.

How this relates to the adoptions:
I have been preparing the house for our 4 Liberian children for over a year now. It has come in many stages: painting, rearranging rooms, purchasing furniture, fixing and refinishing donated furniture, planning out the best way to function with 9 people in this house (laundry, eating, school, bathrooms/showers, etc.) I am still tweaking and am not done yet. I've been in this 'nesting phase' for a LONG time now. Just when I think I'm doing ok, I think of another thing to go through and organize. I still have a long way to go, but you have to understand that if I had it my way- every cabinet would be labeled in this entire house! Really, I'm serious!

Among all of this, I'm still trying to repaint the interior of our entire house and decorate (a process that we started 2 years ago when we moved in). Every surface in this house needed attention- ceilings, trim, walls, carpet, etc. With being pregnant when we moved here (and now) having 3 children among all my other responsibilities- it's really been baby steps. But...we are preparing and getting ready for the Liberian children.

Have you ever thought about how you might go about preparing to add 4 children to your life/home? Think about what you need for 1 baby. Think of all the things one receives at a baby shower to 'ready' themselves for the coming of a child. How may areas in one's life need to be thought about when adding 4 children who have interests, desires, personalities, likes/dislikes & teenage (or preteen) emotions/hormones!

Yea, it could get overwhelming- especially for the obsessive/compulsive mind... On that note, wish me luck as I sneak upstairs to the toy room. More pictures to come!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Mother's Legacy

As I was reading in Psalms this morning, I came across this devotional- can any of you relate?

"Often people have asked me what has been my greatest fear as a mother. My answer is too private to share with anyone except God. Yet with all the vigor of my heart, I want to proclaim to the world that God does carry a mother through such a firestorm of agony. He proves himself to be what he promised- a shield, a refuge, a comforter, a restorer of the soul. He defangs the monster of fear.
Moses stands as a monument to his mother's courage against staggering opposition. Jochebed's dilemma seemed impossible, but with God's help, she solved it. Her example encourages me as I keep coming back to the Lord, morning after morning. And he is there, available to me and to any mother who seeks him. He performs what he promises, and that assurance overcomes my fears. Perhaps his words to Joshua best summarize what I've learned over the years: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go' (Joshua 1:9).
*To read about the birth of Moses, look at Exodus 2: 1-10

"He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, 'What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!'" Matthew 8: 26-7

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1: 7

Monday, June 11, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about the conveniences that we have- that our Liberian children don't have. I'm wondering what will be amazing to them- and what will be overwhelming...

Here's the things I have accomplished so far today (by 11am) with running water:
~ran dishwasher
~ ran 3 loads of clothes in the washing machine
~scrubbed kitchen floor
~flushed toilets (many times since 6am)
~watered the chickens/rabbit/dogs/cats *and washed my hands afterwards
~showered & brushed my teeth
~older children brushed their teeth and washed faces
~I cleaned the 1 year old after a breakfast with syrup (you can imagine!!)
~filled my glass with ice & water
~made a pitcher of juice and a pitcher of crystal light
~watered (with the water hose) the wild flowers/herb garden/vegetable garden
~cleaned paint brushes and roller

What have you done today with the convenience of running water? Do you ever think about doing these chores after hauling a bucket of water to your house? What about if you had to walk in 90-100 degree weather for miles to bring that precious water back to your house- would you be so fast to 'waste' water? How many times would you have to re-fill your bucket to accomplish all your chores?

Today I am grateful for:
Running water

You know you're the mom of young children when...

I had to laugh at myself this morning! I made a big breakfast & when the kids were 'contained' I thought to myself, "what can I do?"

I loaded the dishwasher, started a load of clothes to wash & scrubbed the kitchen floor- all while the kids were eating and the baby was strapped in the high chair!

Estimated amount of time to accomplish these tasks: 10 minutes

Now, that's multi-tasking at its finest!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


An 'anonymous reader' just sent me the lyrics to the song I was referring to- enjoy!

Father wears his Sunday best
Mothers tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sisters sighing in her sleep
Brothers got a date to keep
He cant hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And its usually quite loud
Our mum shes so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Something tells you that you've got to get away from it

Father gets up late for work
Mother has to iron his shirt
Then she sends the kids to school
Sees them off with a small kiss
Shes the one they're going to miss
In lots of ways

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how wed play simply waste the day away
Then wed say nothing would come between us two dreamers

Father wears his Sunday best
Mothers tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sisters sighing in her sleep
Brothers got a date to keep
He cant hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, in the middle of our street

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Our home

Isn't there a song that talks about "our house?" I would probably embarrass myself if I tried to remember the lyrics- was it an 80's song? Anyway, today I am grateful for our home.

I am grateful that we have a home of our own, in which I can allow my creativity to flow....thus painting the living rooms walls a shade of rust red.

I am grateful for the doors that lock and keep us safe and sound. I'm grateful for my sewing machine and the skills my grandmother taught me that has allowed me to sew lace curtains for those beautiful, strong doors.

I am grateful for more than one bedroom, in which our children have their own beds and a comfortable space to sleep each night.

I am grateful for the animals we have chosen to join our family, who also call this place their home.

I am grateful for the running water and electricity that come into this home- our African children don't know this pleasure, yet.

I am grateful for the way we live our life, because we chose to live this way. There is no one governing the way we speak, the way we worship or the way we raise our children.

I am grateful for a soft pillow and warm blankets to cover me as I dream sweet dreams each night.

All of these things take place in- our home.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

For Dear Son #1

Written on May 30, 2007

Today God showed me a precious piece of your heart. I am blessed to have a front row seat as I watch God direct you on this road called life. As you explained to me all you have been doing, what you have been teaching and how you are approaching every day- I was truly humbled and found myself so proud. I had a moment when the rest of the world disappeared- all I could hear was your voice on the other end of the telephone. I realized that even though you are half-a-world away, we have the extreme privilege to begin building our relationship as mother and son before you even arrive home.

I am so proud of you. I am beaming with joy! You are a precious gem that God has sent our way and I am so overwhelmed with the young man you have already become. I am so overwhelmed that God has given ME the privilege to be your mother and that I can love you until the end of eternity. You are a precious, precious boy and your heart is so pure. I anxiously wait for the day you come home and we can continue growing our relationship here in this place. I am overcome with excitement & anticipation to see what God will do with your precious life here on earth!

I love you my precious son!
Love, Mom