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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TIPS for the UNorganized

The goal of this post is to correct the misperceptions of my friends.  Those who think I am organized.  I AM NOT.  Seriously, I am not. I really really really wish I were.  I so admire organized people!  I long to be so.  But I am not.  "Organized" applies to many of my friends, too many to name in fact.  Friends whose pantries have order to them.  Not places where many things have to be moved in order to get an item out.  Friends whose linen closets have sheets neatly stacked.  Not one where it's luck to even find flat sheets that match fitted sheets.  Oh, snap, to even find both types of sheets, much less ones that match!  Friends who use systems to group together bank statements or recipes or photos.  Systems that surpass a file folder crammed full with contents that spill out so the folder has to be housed in a bag.  Friends who calmly retrieve papers or items or facts w/o panicking thoughts that perhaps early Alzheimers is the explanation for inability to do so. 

Organized I am not.  But out of self-defense, I have developed coping mechanisms over the years and I want to share some with you.  In hopes that you can discover a new tip or two that will help.  If you're looking for organizational guru suggestions, try Pinterest.  My thoughts aren't pinnable.  But there might be one or two that give you hope. Or keep you from dissolving into tears over missed appointments. 

So, for the month of January, I will share things that I do to survive.  I am planful and perhaps efficient and putting these traits in action keep me from drowning.  Or running away.  I would love to hear some things that you do, too, because I am perennially on the lookout for more things that make life easier for my UNorganized self.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

The kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law that we might receive the adoption as sons.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Duck Dynasty Firestorm

The Duck Dynasty firestorm.  Seems like every other news story or FB post weighs in on it.  I kept my mouth shut...til now. When I read a post that insisted Jesus wouldn't agree with what Phil Robertson said and that He didn't even support public prayer citing Matthew 6:5 as proof, I could not keep silent.  I am probably going to succeed only at ticking off 99% of readers because I agree with both sides...and neither side.  I am not in the middle nor on the outskirts.  I am everywhere else.

I could so easily be Phil Robertson OR A&E.  Doctrinally, I align more closely with the duck caller and have often said things that offend. But I have also been in the position of distancing myself from something I thought wouldn't benefit me.  Caring too much what others might think and reacting from a standpoint of fear or reprisal. And I have probably also been in the place of insecurity and fear of condemnation that organizations such as GLAD are in, demanding to be acknowledged and affirmed.

Here's some things I've pondered as I processed:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

God's Work...and ours

And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night  Nehemiah 4:9

A little background.  God's people are rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem which had been devastated by enemies and looters.  They had returned from long years of exile and were set on restoring their city to beauty and safety.  Although commissioned by Almighty God, the work was not without setbacks and discouragement.  The opposition came initially in the form of jeers and verbal abuse and eventually led to threat of invasion.  Thus, verse 9.  (Ultimately, the source of discouragement came also from within their ranks, not from the outside.  But that's another post!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Less is more....check up

Lots of us began this year with a project:  31 Days towards Living with Less.  Remember the "purge the closet" idea?  Well, now's the time to check those hangers.  And get rid of the clothes we didn't wear.  Donate them - somebody else can make good use of them. 

I'd love to hear from you -- how much were you able to give away?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Planning. Simplification. Preparation.

My tips for reducing holiday stress and returning it to a time of peace and joy -
And now, preparation.

Remember the ant we extolled when looking at planning?  (Proverbs 30:25 - The ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer;)  Well, the way the ant plans for the winter is to be prepared.  Planning alone is an inadequate step.  Lots of folks can get plans on paper.  It's moving them onto the pavement that makes the difference.

Here are some arenas in which preparation can help de-stress your life:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Luke 10:41,42
41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her

This passage is rich with not only spiritual but also practical meaning and application.  You might be familiar with the story -- Jesus has come to visit His dear friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  Martha can hardly enjoy the visit because she is so busy trying to get dinner on the table.  And she's irritated with her sister who, instead of helping Martha accomplish her agenda, is just sitting with Jesus.  She even (self-righteously??) implores Jesus to make Martha come help her.  Verses 41 and 42 record His gentle answer.

Last week we considered the ant, who plans in advance for what is coming.  Application of that principle helps me get things done, weather emergencies , take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and minimize my stress.  The principle of simplicity is at least as important as that of planning. How does planning dovetail with simplicity?

Let me explain....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ThanksLIVING update

I hope and pray that the updates I share about what Betsy and I are doing are received as they are intended -- as ideas for you to springboard from, not as boasting.  They are such simple ideas that it would be pitiful boasting material for sure!  But I truly hope you know my heart.  I am encouraged and inspired when others let their lights shine for all the world to see....and give glory to our Father who is in Heaven.

Here's what we've done since the last time I posted:

Made cards that said "Random Acts of Kindness to wish you a Merry CHRISTmas" and taped candy canes to them.  Then we drove all over the east side of Athens and taped them to ATMS and bus stops.  This was so fun!  Especially when the same state trooper spied us twice in the act :)

Made coffeecake for our church staff and delivered for their staff meeting

(Betsy) wrote a thank you note to an adult who has had a significant impact on her life

(Betsy) wrote a note to encourage a friend.

If you're doing some things like these, I'd love to hear your ideas!!  Thanks!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The sibling test

The post "Just some things we must tell the children" is one of the most popular ones I've done.  And one of the most frequent comments is "what's the sibling test?"  I've answered the questions briefly but now it's time for a post for "the rest of the story"

The sibling test is really quite simple.  When pondering a serious relationship, our family members rely on the feedback of their sibs.  We've seen it time and time again -- brothers and sisters know one another in a dimension different than anyone else.  Their love goes back further and down deeper than anyone but parents and they are able to assess potential relationships with wisdom that belies their years.  Without overstepping their bounds and interfering in a sibling's love life, our kids have proven their ability to appraise a suitor with such accuracy that we have come to the conclusion that a sibling's approval is as important as a parent's. After all, they have to share the Thanksgiving table with them forever so they oughta have some input!

Now for the background....the sibling test originated in my own dating life.  In my era, we didn't have "DTR" talks nor did we ponder the seriousness of a relationship based on Facebook status.  Most of my peers in the 80's dated lots of folks simultaneously, had lots of harmless fun, and didn't get exclusive until marriage was on the radar.  One of my husband's favorite stories to tell our kids is the time he was my 3rd one day.  I saved the best for last - what can I say?  In spite of the lack of relational commitment, we gals (of course) were always sizing up the fellas to determine if they were "MM" - that would be "marriage material".  Dozens of guys came and went.  Lots made it home to meet my family and come under their scrutiny.  During the time I was dating the tall dark handsome man who is now my husband, I was, nonetheless, "keeping my options open". There were lots of dates to be had and I didn't want to miss any! However, this one continued to appear on the scene,and my family figured it was potentially serious.  My brother remarked to my Mom (and of course the comment made its way to me!) that this would be the one I would marry because he was the only one that wouldn't do what I told him to!  Initially, that insight irritated me.  That didn't sound like true love to me - a man that wouldn't do what I wanted, well, my goodness!  But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me.  The magnetism I felt for this man was founded on respect.  Admiration that he was not able to be manipulated or intimidated by me.  Instead of feeling like NON love, it felt awfully secure.  Respect.  Yes, there was chemistry.  But there was more to this relationship.

 And somehow my brother could sense it.  Somehow he knew that this tall slim fresh out of college kid would not only love his sister with all his heart, provide him with 3 nieces and 1 nephew to love, help care for his parents, share the ups and downs of UGA football like no other, but also be his best friend for life.

27 years, 4 kids, grandchildren, some tears, lots of laughs, some stresses, an unshakeable faith, a life full of kindness and love....and my brother's still right -- this man still won't do what I tell him to!

And, guess what....I'm so glad.

The sibling test.  It worked.

ThanksLIVING update - Days 1-5

So far, our little service project endeavor has been a lot of fun...and not a lot of extra work for Mom.  Hate to sound selfish but just being honest -- if this idea had added too much to my plate, there would not have been a sweet spirit to go with the living of thanks.  Just sayin :)

Here's what Betsy and I have done so far--
Made cookies and homemade cards and delivered to a dear neighbor
Delivered cookies and card to the police department
Wrote TY notes and added small gift cards for her Sunday School teachers
Today we deliver cookies to our friends at the Post Office

Do you see a theme here??? F-O-O=D!!!!  That's how my family spells "LOVE"....and apparently "Thanks" !!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday plans

The ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer;  Proverbs 30:25

I love Christmas.  I should say I love SOME things about Christmas!  I love what we celebrate, I love expressions of affection towards friends and family, I love being purposeful about spending time with family, I love the halo effect of cheer and kindness that often prevails, I love the spirit of generosity that permeates the atmosphere.  I think that's what Christmas is all about.

But there are some other things that I don't love about Christmas.  It can feel like a program, even a "Christmas machine" that looms ready to roll right over me and smash me flatter than a pancake.  Do you know what I mean?  Presents to buy, interminable to-do lists, decorating, children's performances, office parties, memories to make.  All fun things....until I cave to what I perceive are the expectations of others.  (Note that I deliberately say "perceive" -- often these expectations are in MY head, not the minds of others).  I can stress that someone will be disappointed (in me), something important will be forgotten, or an opportunity will be missed.  If I'm not mindful of my propensity to operate under the burden of perceived expectations rather than the Spirit of Christmas, I find myself longing for Dec 26.  Guilty that I spent too much money.  Sad that I didn't achieve the magic desired.  Irritated that I had so much to do.  Exhausted because I tried to do so much.  Defeated.  I don't think this is what Christmas is all about.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 1 - ThanksLIVING

I promised updates on our ThanksLIVING focus.  So far today, I explained the concept to Betsy, gave her the ThanksLIVING "Advent" Calendar.  Day 1 project was to make cards for the police station, our neighbor across the street, and the post office.  Tomorrow we will make cookies and deliver them with the cards over the next couple of days.

Betsy is "all in".... at least for now.  And the chocolate kiss for each day helps :)

Oh, and this next idea has become a family tradition.  Not sure how long we have done this but we love it.  Paul distributes $10 to each of us with the charge to find someone to bless with it in some way.  Can't be an organization, has to be an individual.  Preferably a stranger and something we wouldn't have done otherwise.  We have until Christmas to bless someone somehow.  Then we share the blessing by telling our story when we gather Christmas Eve.

Are any of you doing random acts of kindness for Christmas?  Please share if you are!