SPRING CLEANING

 

I’ve been looking around our house the past few months, wondering how in the world we ever called ourselves minimalists.  It’s funny how quickly stuff just piles up.  The past two weeks I have been spring cleaning, though! It was a spring cleaning that turned into a spring purge and ended in a fresh coat of paint through the main room, and now everything is MUCH easier to tidy and fresher to look at! 

I really wish I could be a minimalist, but I know I have a tendency to save things.  When we were on our honeymoon, we watched Hoarders for the first time, and I was so convicted and motivated, it began our little journey of living more simply.  Pete was an unintentional minimalist in college: he didn’t call himself one, but I was shocked the first time I saw his dorm room.  It looked like he could pack up and leave in the night with just a bag on his back, and I was intrigued. 

Eventually, 3 years into our marriage, somebody walked into our apartment and asked if we were just moving in because it looked so empty– we had lived there almost a year.  It was thrilling being on the minimal side of that question! 

And then life happened; birthdays and holidays felt too close together, we bought a house, and eventually it seemed as if clothes and books and toys were pouring out of every drawer, corner, and empty shelf.  It was past time to reevaluate.  I viciously purged out 3 van loads full of stuff to the thrift store and an entire van full of trash/recycling.  I was even finally able to pitch some things that have made it through all the other purges over the years: some textbooks and sentimental items.

It all felt so refreshing and echo-ey that I decided to give our living room a fresh white coat of paint.  It was the perfect way to end a crazy week of spring cleaning, and I’m satisfied with how it looks.  Most of all, I’m pleased with how empty all the little spaces feel again.

Although I wish I could just pitch stuff once and be done, there’s a constant, sneaky flow of stuff coming into our home that piles up so quickly!  Gifts and hand-me-downs, things we purchase, and things the kids pick up here and there are somehow steadily streaming through our doors.  I’m realizing this is another repetitive life processes that never ends.  It’s nice to have a springtime to remind us to open our windows and the doors of every nook and cranny hiding all the unnecessary things taking up space in our homes.

The biggest bonus after my massive spring clean this year: I can tidy so quickly!  I know some people enjoy tidying constantly, but I don’t.  I don’t naturally want to walk around picking up and rearranging little things all day long.  However, because I enjoy cleanliness so much, the only solution I see is having less stuff to tidy.  With fewer clothes comes less laundry; fewer toys make less pickup time; less furniture means less dusting. 

And now it’s Friday, and I’m about to go do a quick house cleanup to prep for the weekend, and I’m so excited to tackle what I know will maybe take an hour instead of three! 

SPRING THINGS

We’ve been spending SO much time outside the past few days because the sun finally came out, and it feels like spring this week!  We are officially warming up, and enjoying our last days in the woods behind our house before the poison ivy and copperheads take over. 

Gardening: I’m always motivated this time of year every year to start a garden.  For a few years I grew a successful garden planted in large tubs on our patio.  Last year was our first summer in our new house, and I spent spring break building raised garden beds and planning out my garden.  However, I discovered we don’t have enough sun in our yard because we live in the woods.  The plants grew but didn’t give us any produce; it was really disappointing.  I also planted watermelon directly in mounds on the ground without raised beds, and something dug them up.  I think it was an armadillo, but we also have squirrels, rabbits, opossums, deer, and raccoon in our yard regularly, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  This year I’m just giving up and turning the raised beds into sandboxes.  I think we might have enough sun on our deck to plant things in containers, but I’m really trying to have self control this year and not purchase any plants.  We’re wanting to travel some this summer, so a garden wouldn’t survive without us home anyway.

Morning workouts: Morning workouts have been my thing this month.  Every morning for the month of March, actually.  I know that’s normal for some people, but not for me.  I’m normally really inconsistent when it comes to the time of day I feel like working out.  I’m trying to be more disciplined, though. 

Yoga: For years I thought yoga was boring.  I also had trouble with the asymmetrical-ness: when the workout would spend too long on one side of the body before switching sides I would get an OCD panic that we would never get around to completing the exact same exercises and stretches on the other side of the body.  However, when weight lifting and other fast paced bodyweight workouts weren’t interesting anymore, I had to find something else.  I went months bored and frustrated last year doing the same workouts over and over; I even ended up going a few months doing almost nothing.  I think different workouts fit different seasons of our life, and what works one year might not work the next.  We have to be willing to search out something different and not give up altogether.  I started trying different things, and yoga stuck.  I realized I had never found a good yoga workout video, and found a few great ones that I really like.  I still haven’t gone to an actual class yet (I know, I need to), but I’m really enjoying my morning yoga at home for now!

Spring allergies: I can’t talk about spring without mentioning allergies.  This past week has gotten really bad.  I can’t go outside without suffering through sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.  For now, I can’t run outside, but I’m thankful it only lasts a few weeks and then I’m back to normal.  Spring is still my favorite season in the Ozarks, regardless of the allergies!

Spring break: We’re having spring break at home this year, and loving it! Sometimes it’s just nice to stay home and do home things without the rush and seriousness of regular life.  We’re taking care of all the errands that are easier with two adults (one to watch kids and the other to run the errand!)  Pete’s been running every morning; I’ve been teaching ESL classes every morning online; the kids have been playing outside every day; we’ve had family visit…and this is just the beginning of the week!  

All the sunshine we’re having is so refreshing after so many cloudy days this winter.  I’m off to enjoy another day of our spring break!  I hope you are all enjoying this first week of spring!

GENESIS 8:22

“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
There’s comfort in the stability of the seasons and in God’s promise of their steadiness; there will always be a time of growth and life, no matter how dark or dead things seem now.
“He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they give drink to every beast of the field…You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate… He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord!” {Psalm 104}

《Summer and winter,

Springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness,

To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.》

PROVERBS 4:25


I took the kids for a walk today and I cannot count the amount of times I had to say “stay on the path.” If I wasn’t saying stay on the path, I was climbing into the thorny brush to pull Sam back on the path. It was a good reminder to me of how much patience and grace God must have for us, watching us make our own decisions– often leaving the path– yet steadily reminding us the path is the best way. While some trouble can meet us on the path, the path ensures we avoid so many avoidable dangers and troubles. And then, in the same way my love for Sam never changed no matter how many times I had to climb into thorns to get him, God’s love remains, even when we turn off the path of living for Him.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:25

EARLY MORNING THOUGHTS ON TIME MANAGEMENT

 

Happy Friday, friends! I woke up this morning to thunder and opened the door to feel the temperature drop of almost 30 degrees less than yesterday– happy Friday for sure!  It finally feels a little like fall today; I know it will probably heat back up again before it’s truly cooler here in Arkansas, but for now I’m going to enjoy it.

One of my favorite things about the weather getting cooler is spending some time out in the crisp air and then coming back inside with a fresh perspective and curling up in a chair with a good book.  I’m working on finishing up all my books I started over the summer so I can pick some new ones to read over the next couple months, but I also must confess, I am sometimes bad about beginning books and never finishing them.  I love getting new books at the library, and I sometimes get a little too ambitious about how many I choose to take home.

I have a few books right now I’m wanting to read–a few I’ve seen at the library, and a few sitting on my shelf at home.  It’s my turn to pick what we read next in a little book club I do with my sisters, and it’s such a fun decision to make.  I’ve been scanning my bookcase for either an old favorite or something I’ve been wanting to read for awhile;  I don’t want to let everyone down with something new that I’ve never read before just in case it’s not good, so I finally narrowed down my choices to a couple favorites I haven’t read in a long time, and a few I’ve been eyeing for awhile on the shelf.

Something I’ve been mulling over a lot lately is how I’m spending my time.  It’s so easy to label anything on the internet or social media as distracting, but I’m also considering other things that distract me from living in the moment each day.  There have always been distractions, even before we could go online; reading a book sounds healthy and wholesome compared to staring at a screen, but if it’s still keeping me from being present, is it really any better?  I tend to give my full attention to something when I am interested in it, which means once I start a book, I struggle with neglecting everything and everyone else until I finish it.  It’s not something I have an answer to, I’m just processing it and trying to put myself in the shoes of someone 30-40 years ago;  I wonder if there’s some wisdom in there we can glean from our parents and grandparents or anyone else from an older generation.  What did they do for enjoyment and distraction from day to day life, and how much of this “distraction” is okay?

Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to balance my time between what I want to do, what I need to do, and what I know I’ll be glad I did later on, and I’m learning to be content in an imperfect day.  There will always be days where I’m pleased with how I spent my time and other days where I disappoint myself, and that shouldn’t be the basis for happiness.  Top priority should always go to what we know we’ll be glad we did later on because these things are productive and satisfying.  Next, it’s important to grind out the things we need to do, and finally leave room for what we want to do.  I think that’s why wrapping up in a cozy blanket with a book is the most delightful after a hard day’s work or a run outside in the cold air; it feels well-deserved and like icing on a cake.  Icing is not completely necessary to make the cake, but actually pretty necessary to enjoy the cake.  Likewise, those well placed moments of doing something we enjoy aren’t completely necessary to live our life, but they’re actually pretty necessary to enjoy life.  It’s just learning to balance our icing to cake ratio: too much of the icing would make the cake inedible, and in the same way spending too much time on what we want to do makes us feel wasteful and regretful.

Now that these Friday morning thoughts have me wanting some delicious chocolate cake with perfectly whipped cream cheese icing, I’m going to go work on being present in my day! Have a good weekend!