Count down to School: Three Days

I tackled the den and dining room today. I used my new vacuum and killed a speaker cord.

On thing to note here: I am hard on my things. Washer. Dryer. Dishwasher. Vacuum. Nothing can escape my "Come on, this is what I want you to do - now do it!" Most of the time, they comply. Sometimes, not so much. This vacuum has a five year warranty. Sounds like a personal challenge to me.

This afternoon, the kiddos and I headed to their school for open house. Baby Gurl saw her teacher from last year and cried! She said that she had been away from school too long. It took her teacher from last year and me a full minute to convince her that she wasn't the only one who left school for the summer.

Once she met her teacher for this year, however, she was right as rain. Maybe it was the goody bag the teacher had out for the kids that won her over? Actually, I suspect she's a lot like her mama in that she's afraid of the unknown. Now that she knows where her class is and who her teacher is, there's nothing left to worry about.

The Boy's teachers seem pretty neat this year, too. He's got two since he's in the gifted program this year. After talking with them both, I believe he's going to have an exciting and challenging year. I'm really looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, I'll be going to my school to meet my teacher.

Until next time...

Driving in the Driver's Ed Car

Do you know that moment when you wake up, but you're not really awake?  It's almost like you're a computer booting up - first your hard drive starts 'waking up' and your monitor is really the last thing to turn on?

This morning, my brain woke up before my eyes even opened.  It's very strange.  You can hear your surroundings.  You start your day before opening your eyes or even removing the sleep from them.

I started my day thinking about my upcoming job.  Being that I have no idea what to expect, I've been assuming a lot.  Everyone knows I'm pretty nervous.  But everyone also knows that I'm pretty excited.  I have a job!

Not just any job - but a paying job that makes a difference.  Sure, I've been a stay-at-home mom for the past ten years and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but this is an opportunity to affect the world around me instead of my immediate circle of influence.

Sure, serving the kiddos at the preschool their daily grindage is important but how much of a daily, lasting impact do I make doing it?  I figure not very much.

To work so intimately with students in a classroom environment is very exciting to me!   Someone suggested that it's hard not to get attached.  I'm almost certain that I'll get attached.  It comes with the territory, don't you think?

Thinking about all of this brought me back to how I live my life.  Thinking back to the past ten years, I know I've made a lot of mistakes as a wife and a mother.  In fact, I'm sure there are times when The Man Beast and the Kiddos have prayed that God would have given me a practice family to make my mistakes on and moved on to them once I was perfect.

Well, I'm 100% positive I'll never be perfect.  I wasn't born the perfect wife and mother.  Sometimes, I wish I was.  I think of these past 11 years of marriage as Boot Camp.  But as my Scripture passage on my blog (at the tippy top if you've missed it), God's grace is made perfect in my weakness.

God's grace is top notch in this lady's life, let me tell you!

But it's reassuring, too, that I don't have to be perfect.  I don't have to have it all together in order for God to work in my life.  You don't have to be perfect, either.  You don't have to be good enough or earn Our Father's love.  It's there for the taking - just as you are.  God meets you where you are.  He doesn't wait until you've reached a place where you're worthy of His grace and His love.  Right here.  Right now.  That's where God reaches us.

One of my favorite Christian bands, Casting Crowns, has a song that is very popular right now called Praise You in the Storm.  The song talks about praising God no matter what is going on in our lives.  But there is a stanza in the song that shakes me and moves me to the very core:

For You are who You are
No matter where I am


Chew on that a bit, will you?  For You are who You are no matter where I am.

Life on this side of heaven is uncertain.  It's sad. It's heartbreaking.  It's disappointing.  But He is the constant in our ever-changing world.  That alone is my comfort and my peace.

I'm not sure why I chose to blog on this subject.  According to my schedule, I should be talking about my cleaning, decluttering and unpacking (all of which I will be doing today).  But I felt moved to talk about this, so I did.

Maybe one of you need to read this?  Maybe I just needed to read my own words to be reassured for what's coming.

What ever the reason it's here, I pray it blesses you.

Casting Crowns Praise You In This Storm Video

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme



Two for Tuesday.  Actually, that's another meme entirely, but I figured I'd participate in Tackle It Tuesday.  Not every week will have two memes listed since WOYN is not a weekly thing - this week is just special.

And it's special in more ways than one!  Since we're not moving, I have unpacking to do.  This is my Tackle It Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday and probably Friday and Saturday, too). 

We got rid of all the cats except Kitty and Phantom, so we took the opportunity to spray for fleas and ants.  (Living in GA has it's perks, but bugs are not one of them.  Did I tell you we have rats - outside - too?  This ensured that Phantom stayed..he is our resident Rodent Killer). 

So, here's what I have to do to turn my To Dos into Ta Das:
  1. Clean every single dish, pot and pan in the house.
  2. Wash all sheets and blankets.
  3. Wash all towels.
  4. Wipe out kitchen cabinets.
  5. Wipe down shelves.
  6. Unpack a bazillion boxes.
I better get going...the house isn't going to clean itself!

Until next time...

What's On Your Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand



5MinutesforBooks is doing a new meme on Tuesdays - What's On Your Nightstand?  I'll be reviewing books as well as sharing what's on my nightstand.  If you'd like to participate, head on over there and leave your link!

Have you ever just 'clicked' with someone?

It might be with a total stranger or a friend of a friend, but somehow, at the moment of introduction there is a connection that you just know was meant to be.

For those who don't know, The Man Beast and I met at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (now, Busch Gardens Europe).  We both worked in the Black Forest Picnic area serving up delectable dishes such as hot dogs and hamburgers with potato salad.

I was 19 and he had barely turned 17.  On everyone's name tags is the state (or country) you're from.  The Man Beast and I both were from California.  That alone was conversation for us one fateful day in the Festhaus as we were getting iced tea.

One thing led to another and pretty soon, he was asking me for my number in the catacombs after our shift was over.  I was a good girl and would have never given out y number to someone I had just met, but there was something about The Man Beast and I never hesitated.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Such is the case for Travis Parker and Gabby Holland, two main characters in Nicholas Spark's The Choice.  They are neighbors who have absolutely nothing in common except a shared property line.  They meet by chance when Gabby storms next door and confronts Travis whose dog, Gabby suspects, has gotten her dog, pregnant.

The story is filled with choices that both Travis and Gabby have to make - from the trivial to the life-altering - and it's these choices that make it flow so well.  I am not a Nicholas Spark's fan.  It's just not my flavor.  I did read the Notebook, but unlike all my friends, I did not cry.  Sure it was a good read...I just wasn't moved by it.  I was moved by The Choice.  I was in dentist office with Baby Gurl when the tears started flowing.

Travis must answer the ultimate question: how far would you go for love?  It's a question I don't even like to consider and Travis' decision took me out of my comfort zone a million times over.

But if you're a Sparks fan, you'll definitely have to add this to your repertoire.

Do You Know Why You Believe What You Do?

Do you know why you believe what you do? If you believe in Christ, do you know why you believe in Him?

This was the topic of today's sermon by the Guest Preacher Man. My Preacher Man was out of town with his family (a lot of families were out of town this week - it's the last week before school starts).

I enjoyed the sermon very much, even though it was delivered in a different manner than my Preacher Man. I was still able to take notes - and I'd like to share some random truths. I pray they bless you.

Jesus Christ was not half man, half God as many people believe. He was 100% man and 100% God. Point in case: Jesus was tempted (man) but he did not give into that temptation (God).

Today's message focused on Philippians 2:5-11:

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

The Guest Preacher Man called this passage the kenosis passage. The word kenosis is the Greek word for emptiness and GPM suggests that we do what Christ did and empty ourselves to ourselves every morning (so God can work in us, of course).

Some things to think about - The World vs Jesus

The world teaches that in order to matter or count, you have to be somebody (have a good job, money, status, etc).
Christ teaches that in order to matter, you need to be nothing (example: Moses was a stutter, and God used him)

The world teaches that we must look after #1 - that would be ourselves.
Christ teaches that we must look after ourselves last; we must wash other people's feet before we wash our own.

The world teaches that we must define our purpose.
Christ teaches that we have only one purpose: to glorify God. God can use our talents for His purpose.
Only a creator can give His creation purpose. It cannot create purpose for itself.

Obedience and happiness are not synonymous. Joy is something that God gives; happiness is something that 'stuff' gives. To have joy in life, you must be obedient.

And finally, I leave you with this: sin is anything that separates you from God. What might be sin for me will not be sin for you. The pastor gave the following example. He has always been one who has struggled with his weight and he has not treated his body as the tabernacle that it is. He made promise to God to start treating his body better. If he were to go down to the local Krispy Kreme and eat three donuts, he would be sinning. Not because he ate the donuts, but because those donuts had separated him from God. His son, however, could eat three donuts and it wouldn't be a sin for him because those donuts wouldn't cause separation for him from God.

Make sense? Think about it for a bit and then give me your thoughts on it.

And tomorrow, before you even get out of bed, attempt to empty yourself, submit to nothingness, in order to be receptive to God in your life.

Until next time...

Okay, this is it...

Okay, ladies...how'd you do?  Today was the last day of the Time Challenge.  How'd this week go for you?  Was it terribly challenging to keep up with yourself?  Was the week enlightening for you?  Please, share with us your thoughts.

As you know, this week, I have been in the middle of a move.  Through a turn of events, we are no longer moving, so instead of packing, I will be unpacking.  (But before I do that, I will go through and decide if I need everything I have.  I suspect I don't since I've done without it for over two weeks).  Because of the whole packing/moving thing, my week wasn't at all like the rest of my summer has been.  But I can tell that you most of my time is spent in front of this computer.  But I wonder if I'd spend so much time in front of it if there wasn't so much I could do on it?  I check email and blogs. I also check a select message boards.  Then, I spend some time researching what I'm thinking about at the time.

To give you an idea of how this works, I'll give you a rough outline of how I started reading a blog and ended up on YouTube.  Call it the Seven Degrees of Internet Sidetracking, if you will.

I started reading Tracie's Blog.  She's doing a really neat challenge, but I figured since I had already challenged you to keep track of your time as well as be nice to your enemies, I would skip this one.  But I still check in and read on the bloggers who are participating.  Today, Tracie was discussing being proud of your faith and standing up for it, even in the midst of political incorrectness.  A perfect example of this kind of commitment to Christ is Cassie RenĂ© Bernall, one of the victims of the Columbine shooting.

I couldn't remember exact details of Cassie's death, so I went on a search.  I found a page that gave Cassie's stats - her favorite animal, her favorite Scripture verse...I went back to the search page and noticed that Jars of Clay gave a dedication to her when they had won a Grammy.

I read further down the page and noticed some movies that JOC's music had been in and noticed Jack Frost (the PG movie, not the horror movie, of course).  I really enjoyed that movie, but couldn't remember which song they had played for the movie, which led me to YouTube.

From there, I watched the trailer for Jack Frost, listened to a few new Jars of Clay songs that I hadn't heard and even listened to some Bob Carlisle (whose music is also in Jack Frost).

So, as you can see...Iva on the computer starts out innocently enough - email, reading a few friends' blogs.  And then before I know it, I'm over in YouTube land searching for videos pertaining to a movie I saw a million years ago.  This is how the time on my computer goes.  And it can happen at any time.  I might be researching a recipe and come across a technique in which I'm unfamiliar, which of course, leads me around the 'net until I find the answer.  And then...well, one thing leads to another, leads to another.

So, they say the first step is admitting you have a problem.  Well, I say, you can't say there's a problem unless you resolve to find a solution.  My solution is simple - don't spend so much time on the computer.

Duh.


Do you have a problem?  What's your solution?  I'd love to hear it.

I'm the outline

I had commented on a friend's blog that sometimes I didn't even feel like a work in progress; I felt more like the outline before the work in progress.

Last night, (in retrospect), I see that I was in a very bad mood. I could excuse it all and say that I had caught The Man Beast's attitude but that wouldn't be fair. In truth, the Man Beast can have all the attitude he wants - it's my choice whether to 'catch' it or not; which in all honesty, I do quite frequently. I do believe I'm wounded soul. I suppose I would need therapy to figure it all out but therapy is too expensive, so I'll blog.

We had just left from looking at a prospective house to rent. I sensed that the Man Beast was less than thrilled with the house and it was confirmed when he said, "You have already fallen in love with the house, so it doesn't matter what I say." The truth of it was that the house is available now, it's in our price range, and I know we're not going to live there for ever. It's a house I can make due. It is not the perfect house and that's unfortunate. But it has all of the right prerequisites, so it's winner in my book.

He just felt mopey to me and I fed off that vibe. So, when the Boy and the Man Beast started arguing I told them, "I am not in the mood to play referee. Y'all need to just knock it off." Both of my guys just stared at me. Then the Boy comments from the back seat:

"All my friends say [future school] is fancy."

I start running my mouth giving a verbal dissertation on how it doesn't matter what school he goes to, he is who is he and he will thrive where ever he goes.

It's only after I'm done that the Man Beast turns to me and says, "My, we are crabby tonight, aren't we?" [insert my evil eye here] "The boy only made a comment about what his friends said about the school. You didn't even ask him what they meant. You just went off."

I tried to comment. Opening my mouth to respond, I'd quickly shut it again. I tried to defend myself. But I couldn't. The Man Beast was right.

Until next time...

Tales of Times Gone By

Giving Courage
Mommy, I’m scared to walk down the hallway to my bedroom.
Do you need me to give you courage?
Yes.
I gently take my son’s hand in my own and tell him to close his eyes. Then I run the tips of my fingers from the top of his hand to the inside of his elbow. I do this many times. I tell my son that his courage is filling up and that I’m just about through. When it is full, I tell him to open his eyes. I touch his nose to turn on his courage.
This went on for a couple of weeks; giving the courage and turning it on so my son could take that frightening trip down the dark, menacing hallway. One day, my son decided he was going to give himself courage. He ran his own fingertips up his arm until his courage meter was full. Then he turned it on by touching his nose.
This was a snippet of memory I wrote back when the Boy was around three or four.  Eventually, he didn't need that courage anymore, but he still remembers it. It's nice to know that I was able to give my son exactly what he needed at the exact time he needed it.  This doesn't happen very often.  Most of the time I miss the mark - a lot.  But for this brief moment in time, I did exactly what I was supposed to at the exact time I was supposed to do it.
This is one of my fondest Mommy Memories. 
Until next time...
 

My Happy Friday News

For those of you who don't already know (and who doesn't?), I had an interview yesterday at one of our middle schools for the paraprofessional position. Today, I got the call -- I got the job!Celebrating

I officially start on August 3rd, the first day of school, but I'll go in the Thursday or Friday before to get to know the staff.

In the middle of all of this, we're still moving. And we think we know where we're moving, but nothing is set in stone. I'll let you know as soon as I sign the lease...then it will be carved in stone. Until then, I ain't sayin' nothin'.Amen


PS - I spent all day looking at houses. That's all there is to report about my Time Challenge. Tomorrow is the last day, though, so make it count!

The Haps With Me

I fell asleep last night utterly exhausted and yet a bit guilty that I didn't update with my totals.  Just one more day of the challenge, ladies and then we can digest the data and come to some conclusions.
Speaking of challenges, how did you do with mine yesterday?  I did okay...I kind of bit The Man Beasts head off when I told him he just shouldn't speak at all to the Boy because nothing good ever comes out when he did.  He could have retaliated and bit my head off.  Instead, he said some Man thing about making him a stronger and more witty man.  I will never understand how men communicate.  All I know is that the Boy is rarely hurt or offended by what The Man Beast says to him.  It's a guy thing and I should cut the apron strings and let the Man Beast mold his boy to become a Man.  If I live a million years, I will never understand how men communicate.  But then, I suppose that's why God gave She Beasts Man Beasts in the first place - to communicate with our Boys.

My tallies yesterday weren't an exact science.  Here is what you need to know:

I got up at 6:30-ish to make the Man Beast his lunch.  I had coffee and checked email after he left.  Did some laundry, piddled around the house, made breakfast.  Then, I got a phone call for a job interview for 4 pm that day.  After that, my mind pretty much goes into a fog.  I'm excited. I'm scared.  I'm nervous.  I'm going to throw up.  All of this in a matter of nanoseconds.

I took the kids to a church friend's house at 3 and I went to my interview while they played in the pool.

(BTW, the interview went really well.  My friend, as well as a few other character references seem to feel I got the job.  I'm not sure.  I think it could go either way.  I will let you know as soon as I know something).

After the interview, I stayed at my friend's house and talked and talked and talked.  I got back in the car with dripping wet kiddos only to discover the Man Beast had called nine times.  Uh oh.

He was not happy when I got home (he had to 'break' into the house because I had locked all the doors, he got home earlier than expected, and he didn't have a key).  Hurried to make dinner.  Finally ate around 7 or so and then watch TV with the man beast until 10.

There ya go...that was my day.

Until next time...

Thumper Said It, But Solomon Said It First (and best)

If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all.
Thumper, "Bambi" Copyright 1942 Disney


I love Thumper, don't you? He's the epitome of all of us at some point or another. His father could be a four pawed, long eared version of Solomon, however. For those who don't remember, Thumper delivered this line after his mother admonished him for saying something rude about Bambi. This was the advice his father gave him. He repeated it dutifully (even if he did forget it, temporarily).

Proverbs is also filled with warnings about using the tongue. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 15: 4 - The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (If you want to read different versions, BibleGateway is a terrific website).

I'm not sure if it's my sinful nature or just my nature as a woman but I always have to have the last word. Always. And more often than not, in order to do it, I have to deliver a cutting remark. It is so hard for me to lose an argument or not 'bite back' when bitten. But lose, I must.

Could you imagine how different the Message would have been if Jesus had to have had the last word?

I read a commentary not too long ago that said Jesus went through all He did - betrayal, humiliation, pain - so that nothing we ever go through here on Earth could compare. As bad as the situations in our life can be, they do not compare to the trials of The Prince of Peace (and isn't a good thing, too?)

And speaking of peace, if Jesus could hold his tongue - even forgive his transgressors - when he was beaten and hung on a cross to die, shouldn't I be able to lose an argument; let a comment go unchallenged?

My challenge to you today is to hold your tongue when you find yourself wanting to lash out to win an argument. I challenge you, instead, to lose yourself and use your tongue to build someone up.

Until next time...

It's been a long, emotional day

Just a quick post tonight, guys.  Sorry to disappoint those of you who really enjoy reading my long ramblings.  They'll get longer again...just as soon as I have something worth saying, am not nursing a headache, and have not had  an emotionally trying day.

Baby Gurl had a dentist appointment today at 10. We didn't get out of there until noon.  The chair she was in was right next to the waiting room I was sitting in.  She cried.  The dentists fussed.  And I read a book.  I had to!  If I didn't, Mama Bear would have been in there rippin' the room apart.

Baby Gurl is very proud of her 'new' tooth and had to show everyone at church.

Totals for today - I honestly couldn't tell you.  I know I was up at 7.  We left the house at 9:30.  We got home around 12:30 or so.  Had lunch.  I took a nap on the couch and then left for WalMart to do grocery shopping at 4.  Got back at 5 or so.  Made dinner, finished reading my book (I'll be blogging about that on Tuesday) and got ready for church.  Church at 7, home by around 8 or so.  Sat here with The Man Beast and watched an episode of the Dresdin Files and here I am, blogging to you.  Not as much computer time today.  I'm sure I'll make up for it tomorrow, in between taking the kids to the library and looking for a place to live.

Until tomorrow...



Tuesday's Tallies

About all y'all need to know about my tallies today is I spent a lot of time on the computer.  I not only checked email and read blogs, but I was doing some banking online, changed my phone service (again) online as well as looked at some rental properties locally (please, do not ask).

I took the kids to the movies, as I explained in my earlier post.  I did a load of laundry.  But mostly, I spent time on the computer.

How did you do today?


Blog Banter and Other Ramblings

My day started out quite strange. I transposed my cell phone number, so when I went online to put more money on my phone (I use AlltelU), I actually ended putting it on the wrong account! After I realized my mistake (my time didn't add up on the screen and neither did my calling features - unlimited mobile to mobile and free nights and weekends), I got on the phone with Alltel.

Fifteen minutes later, I finally got through to a human. Of course, he had to make sure I was telling the truth, so he captured the last four digits of my debit card, the phone number I added minutes to (good thing I wrote it down) as well as the trace number. (He actually asked for the confirmation number, but I had already navigated away from that page so the best I could give him was my trace number).

Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom - success!

The kids and I leave soon after to go see Nanny McPhee at the free summer movie theater (a terrific movie. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it). We get out an hour and a half later and as customary, I turn the ringer on my cell phone back on. I notice that no one has called. I go home as planned.

Well, I get home and there are messages on my answer machine:

"You need to add minutes to your phone. Call me back."
"Hey, it's me. Iva ... pick up. Pick up, Iva. Where are you? Call me back."
"Where are you? Call me back!"

All from the Man Beast. I try to call him on my cell (free M2M, remember?) and it says that I don't have sufficient funds on the phone.

Well, why not? I added time this morning! (I frequently talk to inanimate objects. Sometimes, they answer back).

I use the house phone to call the MB up and tell him that we were at the movies. He proceeds to tell me to get my phone fixed.

Yes, sir.

Another fifteen minute phone call later, and my phone is now able to both make and receive phone calls. But really, I wonder why it didn't work - unless when the first Alltel guy forgot to reset my phone? When I *369, I get my balance...and it's a positive balance. Oh well. It works now, that's all I care about.
***
Have you checked out my blog roll lately? I'm slowly adding to it as I find blogs that interest me. Eventually, I think I'd like to neaten it up a bit so that my readers can go to other's blogs based on what interests them. (For example, I have friends' blogs mixed in with speakers' blogs mixed in with strangers' blogs whom I really enjoy reading). Maybe that's something else I can think about when I redesign my blog in December. (It goes without saying that if there is something that's 'weird' for you as a reader that you can most definitely shoot me a comment and I'll take it into consideration. Remember, what I see on my computer screen and what you see on yours might be totally different).

My blog roll is very personal. I don't just put women (and for now, they are all women) on there haphazardly. I'd say I'm pretty methodical in my approach:
  • She needs to post regularly (or semi regularly). I made the mistake of letting my blog go stale and people who used to visit don't visit anymore. I won't make that mistake again. I know I have readers out there who might actually look forward to and enjoy my blog - I can't let them down (especially since they're so hard to get!)
  • She needs to be family friendly. Since I went ahead and made the claim public, I need to stick to my guns. She can be opinionated and her views can differ from mine, but she's got to be family friendly. (A special note here: I cannot control what other people put on their blogs. There's a good chance that a family friendly blog might venture into territory that is uncomfortable for you or your family. Please use discretion when visiting the ladies in my blog roll).
  • She needs to have something to offer others. Whether she gives someone something to think about or posts a recipe, she's got to have something to offer. Obviously, since there is no way of knowing what my blog readers need to read (unless they tell me), I can't possibly offer up a solution to everything. Instead, I go by what I need. If you find something that you can use, great. If you can't, well that's okay, too.
  • She has to be funny and/or entertaining. I get sidetracked easily. If she can keep my attention, she's a keeper.
Anyway, I just felt compelled to share why my blog roll consists of who it does. When I'm able to divide them up in some way that doesn't completely clutter my blog, I'll no doubt add more. Expect to see a lot of writing blogs in the future as this is currently my focus at the present. I don't homeschool anymore, but a good majority of my blog ladies do, so if you do, you'll find something worth noting.

Until next time...

PS - Are my posts too long. Be honest.

Storms A Brewin'

Making this entry quick.  We've got a big pile of mess coming out way.  Oh, don't worry about me, Dear Readers. We'll be fine.  My area of GA seems to be a safe pocket.  It's the internet that doesn't like to cooperate.  Oh, and the power.  So, The Man Beast and I have set our cell phone alarms, just in case.

Here are my totals for today--

Woke up and stayed in bed until 9.  I took a shower, had a cup of coffee, ate breakfast and surfed the web.

At 10:30, the kiddos and I left for the bank.  After the bank, I paid a few bills.  I came home and spent about an hour on the computer paying more bills and balancing my checkbook.

I had lunch and did laundry at 1 and then spent an hour with the  Man Beast watching TV.  I then spent about an hour reading and then an hour checking emails.

Then it was time for meal prep.

We ate dinner around 7:30 and watched some more TV.  (I watch a lot of TV at night - internet TV - when the Man Beast is at home and isn't playing online).

Watched a lot of TV today...didn't spend a lot of time online.  Tomorrow will be the true test of how productive I'll be.

It's funny...knowing that I have to air my dirty laundry to all of you out there makes me want to be more productive.  Guess it's another aspect of Peer Pressure.

Go figure.

Until next time...

Today was such a good day

Today, my church voted on its new youth pastor.  What made this day so special is that the youth pastor they voted on is my Sunday School teacher's son.  I couldn't vote, as I'm not a member of the church, but I was so happy I could burst.  I believe that Preacher Man-in-Training will do a fabulous job leading our youth.  And don't forget, The Boy will be 'youth' a year from now.  It's not something I want to really think too hard about, but it's nice knowing that there is such a wonderful guy leading My Guy in his Walk.

So, how'd you do today with your time challenge?  Obviously, the day isn't done, but I'll post my totals so far:

Meal Prep and Dinner: 3 hrs (we had wet burritos and I made the sauce and tortillas from scratch)
Shopping: 1 hr (I went to Walgreens and Staples and took advantage of a few back-to-school sales)
Reading: 2 hrs (I'm reading Nicolas Sparks' The Choice)
Computer: 4 hrs (between checking email, reading blogs and talking with Elizabeth)
TV: 2 hrs (The Man Beast watched the rest of My Big, Fat Greek Wedding with me and then we watched two episodes of ALF on Hulu)

The math doesn't add up, does it?ROFL 2Well, that's because I kind of multitasked.  But I counted it.

So, how did you do?  Let's hear those totals.  And let's see what Monday brings!

It's Time! It's Time!

Okay, so my joke is a little ... odd. But it is time for our Time Challenge. I'm so excited! I hope you are, too.

Here's how this is going to work:

  • If you decide that you want to participate in the challenge, grab the Time Challenge button located over there ===> When you upload it to your blog, please link back to this message. (Just click the title to get the direct URL)
  • Simply use my document or your own, to keep track of your hourly happenings.
  • Every day next week, I'll have a Mister Linky form under my posts. (Look at the bottom of this post to find it. Go ahead an post your link if you're doing this with me. It'll be fun!) This is for our Daily Tallies. Every day, post your tallies and come back here to a post the link to that blog post (not your blog), so that we can check in on you.
  • For your convenience, I've created a little sheet for you to use. You can use whatever you want. Use scratch paper if that's your thing. But if you choose to use what I've created, you can get it here. Being a Word document, you should be able to open it. I also have a PDF version of the same file. If you prefer the file in PDF format, you can email me at TurtleMom23 AT gmail DOT COM.
That's it! Simple, huh? You'll see on my Time Card that I have blocks from 5 am to 12 midnight. This can be very general. You don't have to write down every single thing you do. For example, if you're in the bathroom in the morning, you don't have to report how long it takes you to shower, brush your teeth, style your hair, put on your make up, etc. Just report that you spent 30 minutes in the bathroom. It'll be okay.

I'm really looking forward to this y'all. I think it's going to be a real eye opening experience. I do! And remember, if you aren't participating in the Time Challenge, please do visit me (and other participants) daily to encourage us.

Music Soothes The Depressed Beast

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. If you've been paying attention, you'll notice that I haven't been marking off my packing to do list. I've been feeling overwhelmed with some personal things, the house has been a cluttered wreck, and I just haven't felt like doing much of anything.

Yesterday, I decided that enough was enough (this is usually how I get out of my 'poor me' depression moments - they truly are not serious). I turned on some tunes and I immediately felt better. I didn't get much done, but I got something done and that's a start.

Today, Elizabeth calls me when she decides that she's spent enough time on the computer. She told me if she didn't get off then, she'd be on it all day and would never get anything done. Well, I can't read my blogs and talk at the same time, so I closed up the laptop and talked to Elizabeth. Since I'm notorious for multitasking trying to get more done today than I did yesterday, I decided to create a to do list. The kids' list was actually longer than mine, but only because most of mine was mental. It was just doing it.

After we hung up, I logged onto The Man Beast's machine (it's hooked up to the TV with the surround sound) and added the XM Widget (he has Vista). I've been listening to my favorite station pretty much all day (Elizabeth can testify to this as she probably heard it in the background when she called me again).

Today, I've been listening to country. Sometimes, I listen to praise and worship (I've got a favorite for that, too).

It's simply amazing what music can do. Sometimes, I want complete silence, but obviously, I needed more this time.

Oh and that to do list? Yeah, it's all done.2 Thumbs Up

Until next time...

Tomorrow is decision time

I spent today working on the Time Sheets for the Time Challenge. I've got a few people willing to participate. A few I think are just scared. Or maybe they think it's a waste of their time. Please know that I appreciate everyone who is willing to do this with me. And for those who aren't, that's fine, too. But I pray you come and read up on my progress. Y'all keep me accountable. I need you.

You'll never guess whose blog I found tonight -- Beth Moore's! Of course I found it through a link of a link of a link, but the point is I found it! Anyone who has attended a Beth Moore study has been richly blessed by her teachings. You'll definitely want to check out her blog. It's on my blog roll listed as "Beth Moore".

Many people who blog on Fridays participate in Frugal Fridays. I certainly do not and after today's WalMart trip, I'd cause all my Frugal Friday bloggers to hang their heads in shame.

I went to WalMart for two things:
  1. Cool Blue cooler ice insert thingies
  2. Cat Food
That's it.

$30 later, I walk out with school supplies. Now, I have to point out that the school supplies I got were probably the best price I could get them for. What really put me over the edge was The Boy's 2" binder. $5!! He better get a lot of use out of that bad boy. (And don't think I won't be taking it back if I find it cheaper at Staples when I go on Sunday to take advantage of their 5 cent sale - I have some erasers to pick up.) I'm holding out for our tax free days for clothes shopping. I figure if I can hit Beall's Outlet, I'll be good to go.

5 Minutes

In light of the Time Challenge that I posted about yesterday, it's kind if ironic that I write about Five Minutes. Let me first start out by saying that this post is not about five minutes. Oh sure, the title is five minutes and it might take me just five minutes to write this as I have dinner to make. But I have not spent five minutes on the sites that I am going to share with you. I could spend so much longer. But to save time, I have instead, subscribed to the news feed so that I might multi-task and just check email and be done with the computer. (Okay, in all actuality, since the computer is the great multi-tasker of its time - I can read, write, listen to music, stay in touch with friends and my pastor, all at the same time! - more time is wasted than saved. But that's a post for another time).

There is a term rolling around the Internet - web ring. Simply put, it's a directory of like-minded blogs. I like to hang out a Christian sites for women simply because...well, that's what I am. (It's also very important to me that no one ever be afraid to come to my blog with kiddos reading over their shoulders for fear of what they might see. Special Note: Christmas--all bets are off. You need to just keep the kiddos out of the rooms when we start talking about gifts. But generally speaking, my site will always be family friendly.)

Where was I? Oh yeah...web ring.

Through clicking through links of links of links (we've all been there!), I found:

Mom Blogs Oh happy day! Oodles of information! And it gets better. 5MFM has sister sites! (Are you giddy yet?)
parenting
Five Minutes for Parenting


Five Minutes for Books



WindButton


Five Minutes for Going Green

Special Needs Blog
Five Minutes for Special Needs

Oh, ho-ney! If you can't find a nugget of goodness in one of these sites, then...well, you're just hard to please! (I suppose if you're a guy reading my post, none of the above sites might be of interest to you...but you just never know. Plenty of moms and women have gotten good advice from male bloggers...maybe it's time to reciprocate the favor?)

Okay, that's it for me. This has actually taken me ten minutes to post, not five.

See? Nothing is ever quick and simple for me.

Enjoy the sites. If you need help figuring out how to subscribe to them (if you choose), just let me know. I'll help. After dinner.


How Can I Waste Time? Let Me Count Thee Ways

My dear high school friend, Elizabeth over at My So Called Crazy Life, posted about time yesterday. She said that there never seemed to be enough hours in a day. Boy, don't we all feel that way, sometimes?!?!

I just finished Donna Otto's book, Get More Done In Less Time. In it, she too, talks about how women constantly tell her at her seminars how they feel that there isn't enough hours in a day to get done everything that needs gettin' done. She suggests that we actually waste more time than we realize. She offers up the following challenge:

Record everything you do for an entire week and add up the hours.

I am going to take this challenge and challenge all my readers to do the same. (I'm not sure how many of you there are, but I get an average of five ladies who regularly post - or at least read - my blog. I'm talking to the five of you. If more of you are lurking (that's okay, chances are, I'm lurking your blog, too, take this challenge as well).

Starting Sunday night (because for some reason the week starts on a Sunday, although in my mind it starts on a Monday), I want you to keep track (as best you can) of what you do every waking minute of the day for seven days.

That means if you watch two of your favorite reality TV shows every night for a week (let's assume you TiVo'd them and you have a lot of catching up to do), you will have spent 14 of your 168 hours watching TV. Did I really spend fourteen hours watching the Boob Tube? Yes, you did. Own up to it.

The idea in this exercise is to see how much time we actually waste doing fruitless activties and once we know them, we can work on making the most of our day.

I will post stats at the end of my blog posts each day next week so y'all can keep up with me. I can tell you right now that most of my time will be spent on this infernal machine. (I've grown quite addicted to blogging). For you, it might be watching TV. Or sewing. Or reading. Whatever it is, I would love it if you'd share with me how you spend the most of your days.

Maybe, together, we can tighten up our ship and start accomplishing some of goals that 'we never have enough time to do'. I suspect we have plenty of time to do them, we just choose to get side tracked with other distractions - computer, TV, reading, etc.

I'll be adding a button to my side bar. Take it and link to this post. (If you don't know how, I'll walk you through it. I won't be able to do it all awesome-like because I don't know java script...but I'll try to make it as cool as I can make it).

You've got a couple of days to really think about this and decide if you want to take on this challenge. You might as well try it. What's the most that can happen? You realize how much time you really waste?

This is it...for now

The template you saw earlier (interestingly enough, the circles that looked strangely like horizontal yo-yos) is the template I'm going to undoubtedly go with. When I can afford it.

Oh it's free as it stands. But I want it tweaked a bit and that's going to cost a bit. Anyone want to sponsor me? I can create a PayPal link. (While I am joking, I've seen a lot of people do this on their blogs. Some call it 'Buy me a Beer' while others call it 'Buy me a Cup of coffee'. I think I would call mine 'Buy me a bottle of Calgon'!)

I got this lovely template over at www.splitdecisionz.com. While Linda is using one of her designs, I didn't hear about the site from Linda. I heard about the site from Laura over at Organizing Junkie. I had commented on how great her blog was and asked for some references for blog creators. I got a whole list last week and have been muling things over. But I do believe I'm going to go with Leelou. It has to be said, though, that there are literally hundreds of awesome ladies (men, too) who create some really out of this world stuff. One day, I'm going to learn ... or maybe not. I can't know how to do everything, right?

Under construction

Please stick with me a second while I attempt to clean house.

I've been at it for two hours now. I woke up this morning to find that my blog list was gone!
Bye Bye

Since I changed my title and the the tag-line (see my cool verse that I found? I thought of it last night but had to be sure to write it down so I could get to sleep!) It just fits me ... and it's a fabulous, reassuring verse, isn't it?

I'll be back later to continue...but now it's lunch time!

I've Changed My Title

It happened quite by accident. I was just finishing up on posting about our won ton adventure tonight and commenting on Linda's reply to yesterday's post when I mentioned that I felt like my life with Christ was more like a horizontal yo-yo than a walk beside Him.

Something just kind of clicked. I asked the Man Beast what he pictured when he thought of a yo-yo in action: up and down or out and in (as in toward the body). He said he pictured it going up and down.

Click.

I am the horizontal yo-yo.
In movement as I ought to be, but not going in the right direction as I should be.

I should be more organized.
I should be more patient (both with my family as well as with my enemies).
I should move more.
I should eat less.
I should pray more.
I should read more - especially The Word.

Horizontal yo-yo.

It's actually a perfect analogy. So many bloggers have them and now I have one.

I realize that life should not be full of a shoulda, coulda, woulda - and mine isn't. But if I didn't strive towards something every day (the ideal being Jesus Christ), then I would get stagnant at best or become a lukewarm Christian (wife, mother, friend, person) at worse.

Welcome to my world. Enjoy your stay!

Stimulating the Economy

The Man Beast, the Kiddos and I stimulated the economy today; we received our stimulus check today. It actually served double duty because while we were doing our civic duty of stimulating the economy with our stimulus check, the Kiddos were able to eat a new food - won ton soup.

There is an awesome Chinese food place in town (we actually have two of them...well four total, but two that this family frequents). We usually just go there for lunch. (But only occasionally. We don't stimulate the economy much as we typically don't have a lot of money to do more than buy gas.) But today, we decided to go there for dinner.

When I first saw the prices, I wanted to high-tail it out of there. But then we ordered the food, (combo meals - three sweet & sour chickens and one chicken & broccoli with eggs rolls and our choice of soup - egg drop or won ton)I could see why it was a bit much. The food was a bit much. We ended up bringing home three doggy bags - well, boxes.

There wasn't just a lot of food, it was how it was served, that was most impressive. It wasn't quite family style (although it could have been). We each got one plate with our rice (a lot of rice! Probably two cups, at least!) and egg roll and then got a separate dish with our meat course (again, probably two cups). The soup, of course, came out first. At first, the kids didn't know what to think. But then they ate it. It's good, they said. Yay.

Of course, Baby Gurl didn't get the chance to finish hers before the main meal came out. I believe her eyes were as big as her plate. She munched a bit and pretty soon I heard the very sad, My tummy hurts, cry from my youngest offspring. Her tummy was full, but I think she figures she can get more sympathy if she says it hurts. And to be fair, it probably did hurt after eating all that food.

I jokingly told The Boy that we had to keep 9-1-1 on speed dial tonight since he tried a new food. Last time he tried a new food - mangoes - he ended up in the hospital with a bad case of the hives.

So far, so good.

Don't Drink the Kool Aid

I have a confession to make: I am a Bible Geek. I am the one who takes notes during Sunday School and church service. There are times when I'll actually bug my dear pastor with questions. (He's so patient and awesome -- he answers every single one and isn't a bit offended by my questions. I like that about him.)

My pastor, when he speaks, he speaks in series. He arranges his sermons in such a way that note taking is a breeze and scripture cross-reference is a snap. He words his main points in such a way that one can really understand and remember them after church is over. (How many of us leave church in the morning and by afternoon, the pastor's message is lost on us? Yeah, me too.) Not when I take notes. Not when I listen. (Imagine actually listening in church. A novel idea, eh?)

So, we've been learning about God's Will for Our Lives. Today, we learned about discerning what God's will is and what it is not. (15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Eph 5:15-17)

There are two things that God's will is not:
  1. A Feeling
  2. A Formula
We know that God's will isn't a feeling because feelings change. God's will does not. God's will will take place day by day.

We know that God's will isn't a formula because there are mistakes to be made in formulas. If we lived our life (and our salvation) according to a formula and got it wrong, we wouldn't have salvation. We would have blown our shot. But we know that our salvation is not a formula because it's open to every man, woman and child, regardless of our pasts. Moses was a murderer. Zacheus was a tax collector. In fact, try as you might, you will not find one person in the Bible who worked in God's glory who was not a sinner - except Jesus Christ. But God used everyone in the Bible, regardless of their past. God can help us too.

How many times a day do I sin? Countless. I know I don't catch them all when I confess them. But our Father is a forgiving father. Thank Him, too, because Lord knows, I don't deserve His mercy.

You can be sure of one thing about God's Will:

God's Will is Fellowship

God created Adam and Eve as people, not puppets. We have free will to make decisions. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we get it wrong. But aren't we glad that God is constant? Aren't we glad that God is love?


Packing Clothes

So, the Man Beast informs me the other day that I cannot leave the clothes in the dresser drawers for moving. (It's too heavy, he says. Like that's a good excuse!)

This all fine and dandy, but the question remains: how do I pack the clothes?

To pack them in boxes seems like a waste of boxes.
To pack them in suitcases means we run out of suitcases.

A part of me just wants to pack them in (clean) trash bags and call it a day.

So, my question to you is: how do you pack clothes?


Spoiled Milk

This Is My Wish - Anonymous
This Is My Wish - Anonymous
There is absolutely nothing like being jolted awake, realizing that the gallon of frozen milk you left on the chest freezer to thaw has been left out all night. What makes this realization even worse is knowing that you were in said kitchen, not 12 hours earlier, cleaning it up and you walked right past the milk without even thinking about putting it up.

I declare moving hazardous to your mental health. The proof is in the pudding. Or milk. Whatever.

Today, I'm choosing to tackle the den bookcase. I grabbed a few of my book and looked up the ISBN numbers on Cash4Books. With The Man Beast's two text books, I scored myself $42. Granted, I could have made more if I listed them on eBay. (In fact, the Man Beast had a cow when he found out I didn't go that route). But my thinking is this - quick, fast, speedy...did I mention quick? I cannot be bothered with dealing with listings. I wanted it gone now and I chose this route. At least with C4B, they pay for the shipping and they pay me. The best part is the only thing I have to do on my part is take the box to the post office, tape the prepaid sheet onto the box and ship. That's it! I'm done.

This is why planning ahead is such a great idea. If I would have posted the books on eBay back when the Man Beast first mentioned it, when I had time; I probably could have doubled my money. But I didn't. So I didn't.

Lesson learned.

I'm learning. I'm currently reading this fabulous book - Get More Done In Less Time by Donna Otto. The title is pretty self explanatory. An interesting note here is that I put this book on hold at my library over two months ago. I do not believe that it's a coincidence that I got the book the week that I started planning a move.

We all know that organization saves us time and money...but it also saves us sanity. Think about it: how great do you feel after cleaning house all day and waking up the next day to the fruits of your labors? How happy are you? I'm borderline giddy. And it's so stupid really because this is one thing in my life that I really can control.

Nothing makes me happier than when the Man Beast asks where something is and I know exactly where it is. It's really the little things that keeps this chick happy. It's very sad sometimes.

What impresses me most about what Donna Otto says in her book is what she says after she talks about a memo to Jesus from Jordan Management Consultants regarding the 12 men's applications that He submitted for the positions of the 12 Disciples. The Consultants nix every single man except one: Judas Iscariot.

Not one of us is a mistake. We are here for a purpose....

If God of the universe could have chosen 11 of the most unlikely men to carry out a task that changed the world, I am convinced that the same God has given me the right husband, the right house (it's not too small, it's not too big), the right child (she's not too slow, she's not too fast; she's not too fat, she's not too thin), and the very best situation for who I am and who he wants me to be. I am further convinced that I can live an orderly life. I am content with my space and my place.



Get More Done in Less Time, Donna Otto, 1995 pgs. 22, 27

Wow. So often, I like to compartmentalize God. I put Him in a box and take Him out on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. I'll talk to Him more when I'm in trouble than when I'm not. Very rarely do I put God where He belongs - in every single aspect of my life.

I should not do this grudgingly. I should do this willingly. After all, I am not a mistake. I was put here for a purpose. Every single second of my Walk should focus on Him. More importantly, every single second of my life should focus on Him.

Even this move.

Especially this move.

Why not take this Saturday to keep God a conscious part of your day? Talk to Him. Tell Him everything. Praise Him. Even if your Walk is dark right now, count the blessings He has given you. Chances are, once you start thinking about them, your list will grow quite long.

Packing a little *too* well

Today, I spent a few hours in Baby Gurl's room. We played the ole Keep/Toss game. I admit we kept a lot more than we tossed. And if we stick with the Man Beast's rule of three boxes, this Mom is going to have to get creative!

The Boy got his room completely packed up yesterday. Completely. He did such a good job of packing yesterday, that he was searching through his boxes to find a pencil today.

Ooops.

We have never been this organized in moving - ever. And I've been known to move my fair share. I've been moving on average, every two years since I was a child. I know how it's done. Well, I know how it's usually done. At least in my circle.

TIPS TO MOVING IN MY CIRCLE:
1. Decide you want to move at the last minute.
2. Pack at the last minute.
3. Move at the last minute.
4. Clean at the last minute.

I've been doing it a bit different this time around. I'm packing three weeks early! To be honest, I'm just not quite sure what to do with myself. Aside from the pencil incident today with The Boy, it's amazing how much you can do without!

Maybe this should be a clue that we really don't need everything we're hanging onto.

Interesting theory. Of course, it won't fly with the Man Beast. So, of course, since I'm such a Godly striving to be a Godly wife, I'll shape my will to his will (while still being in His will), and find my creative, inventive side and do what I do best - make due.

Now, if I had it my way, we'd probably do what Dear Linda's husband wants to do and sell everything and start fresh.

But then again, I've covered why that's not such a good idea.

I Will Survive

you think I'd crumble
you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive, 1978

My dear friend, Linda, created my theme song for the next three weeks and she didn't even know it! It will be my mantra - I will survive, I will survive. In my mind, I sound a lot like Natalie Wood when she repeats her mantra about believing, even though she thinks it's silly. (Name that movie and you win bragging rights). Actually, instead of relying on Miss Gloria, maybe I should repeat this mantra:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13, NKJV


I know of so many people who are moving right now - this month. In fact, my Sunday school teachers are closing on their house at the end of this month and like my friend, Linda, are leaving a house they've been in for a long time. They have two children about my age and they moved into the house in their 20s. I'd say they've lived there just about 30 years. (Imagine how much they have to pack, Linda, after 30 years!)

But knowing that there are a handful of people who are moving does not alleviate my stress of moving my family. I look around and think, There's not so much to do. I just need to box some things up and then I'll be done.

Oh how naive I am! I just got finished cleaning out from under my stove and refrigerator. (And let me tell you, nothing puts a mirror in front of your face about your housekeeping skills than the balls of fur, various toys, and who-knows-what which appear under your appliances when you decide to move them.) I am so glad that no one was here to see my mess. I would be horrified. But no one is here so I'm just stressed. To the max. And it's just this one room.

The rest of my house, while not spotless, is no where near the freak fest that my kitchen is. Why is that? Is it because I spend most of the time in there or because there's food in there? Whatever it is, it's messy and it's overwhelming.

Who else has a vine growing up their wall behind their refrigerator? I do! Now, I'm pretty sure that this has nothing to do with my housekeeping abilities, but rather paints a true picture of how uninsulated this house really is. But a vine? Come on! Oh, and did I mention it's stuck it's little buds onto my wall? It has. I tried to scrub it off with my mop while I was mopping under the refrigerator and it won't come off! (How is this going to affect my security deposit? First the stain on the shower wall and now this.)

While I was looking behind my stove, sweeping and mopping (and throwing away toys that hadn't been played with for months), I looked closely at my walls. Oh. My. Goodness. What is that?!?! It looks disgusting. It looks like someone took some maple syrup and dripped it down my walls. (Which, in this house, probably isn't much of a stretch).

So, in my kitchen, I'll have to do the regular cleaning - wiping down counters, cabinets, sweeping and mopping - as well as scraping vine buds off my wall and cleaning up stickiness behind my stove!

Lord, help me.

Please tell me that everyone has these problems. Well, I suppose the vine deal is all mine...but the mysterious stickies? Someone out there has that, right? Right?!?!

Well, regardless. It's back to work. And with weird messes like this, I'll be cleaning my kitchen for the next three weeks!

BTW, I still haven't gotten the stain off my shower wall. I could really use some help, ladies. Although, I was on the Lowe's website and found the 5-piece set that my landlords bought and it's not very expensive. But it's the principle of the matter, ya know?

Did anyone find my goody I posted about yesterday? I'll give you one hint: look at the whole page on the main website - www.womenwithin.blogspot.com.

Oh, and if anyone wants to come help me, I'll let you. I'll just have to blind fold you first!










What to do...what to do...



Okay, so I really should be be packing, instead, I'm going to blog about it. Blogging really is an obsession. Have you ever noticed that there are literally millions of blogs? Most people want to share their thoughts in hopes of helping or aspiring others. There's a small percentage of blogs that just talk about themselves.

Aren't you glad I'm not like that?Poking
To-Do List by Jennifer Dawson
So The Man Beast, in his infinite wisdom, suggested the the kids each get three boxes to pack their bedroom - one semi-large box and two large, but thin boxes (if you hadn't guessed, he's the brains of this operation called our marriage). One could argue that this is a very evil child psychology experiment and under normal circumstances, you'd be right. (You all know how I love to torture my children. Okay, not really...but I can play the Big Meanie online). But to know the kiddos and know their bedrooms, you would see that 95% of their belongings never get used or played with...or even touched. And to be completely fair, they take after their parents.

Which brings me to the point of my post -- the post I'm writing instead of doing what I'm about post about. I'm a great procrastinator.

Purging. It's an ugly word, isn't it? But it shouldn't be. Let's see -- when we're violently ill, our body purges itself to get rid of the yucky stuff. Similarly, I need to purge my house so that I don't move needless things to the new house.

(I ought to warn you that moving in this family gets us all one step closer to an emotional breakdown. Or divorce. Or both. It's not pretty. The more I purge now, the less has to get moved later. The law of probability states that for each box that MB doesn't have to move is one step closer towards a loving and lasting marriage.)

So, the question remains: what do I purge?

The MB called 30 minutes ago to give instructions to the kids about moving (he seems to hold more clout because the kiddos know that Daddy means business). That and the box business was his idea. We have a standing rule in this house that whoever comes up with ideas/rules for the kids implements said ideas/rules. There are exceptions, of course; but these rules are for the exceptions outside the exceptions.

While I had him on the phone, I asked him if I should pack the ice cube trays. The new house has a side-by-side with an ice maker but I wasn't sure if it was hooked up. The Man Beast told me to go ahead and donate those.

Now, I realize that something like ice cube trays sounds like a pretty trivial decision. But what you don't understand is that I've never stayed in one place very long and each move I've had to make has meant leaving something behind. Not purging like we talked about earlier. No, we're talking about "We're leaving soon, you need to decide what you're going to take. No, you can't take that. We don't have enough space."

Leaving things behind isn't a bad thing in and of itself. It's when your things don't get replaced that you get nervous about leaving your 'stuff' behind. Old habits die hard. I want to keep things I've accumulated because it's taken me my whole married life to accumulate these.

But one has to wonder -- how much 'stuff' does one person really need? In reality, probably not much. A friend of mine wrote an article recently about determining needs vs wants. Interestingly enough, a couple of months ago in Sunday School, we were talking about needs vs wants. What's really interesting to think about is how little we actually need. Food and water. That's about it. Shelter is nice and it's a luxury, but it's not a need. (I know, pretty deep and very uncomfortable to think about it, but it's true. If you really think about it, you know that the only things we need are food and water).

Okay, you know what? That's a little bit too deep for me at the moment. My want-needs (that's what I'm going to call them) are: shelter, electricity, water, food. I've got that. But what of my wants that are actually haves do I bring?

I'm bringing my mixer - even though I only use it maybe four times a year. I'm bringing my sewing machine - even though I've only used it four times in four years. (I'm going to start sewing. I am. I am!).

I'm bringing my pots, my pans and my plastics.

I'm just bringing my whole kitchen! I've decided, just now. It's all going. Well, except the ice cube trays. I can't part with any of it.

But you can bet I can part with some things on the Big Honkin' Desk as well as the kids' desk. I can part with some stuff on my bookshelves. I can part with some things that are in boxes in my laundry room and my bedroom closet. I can even part with some clothes that are in my closet that no longer fit.

Yes! I can part with quite a bit and still keep the useful 'stuff' (or the potentially useful 'stuff').

So, I've decided where I can purge. I feel that this blog post has been very useful and therapeutic.

The daunting task still looms ahead, however - doing it.

Well, the only way to ensure it gets done is to do it, right? So I'm gonna go do it.

In a second. But first I want to say that since I'll be moving in three weeks, and probably packing and cleaning and cleaning and packing every day of those three weeks, I'll be blogging about moving simply because it'll be the only thing that will occupy my thoughts over the next three weeks. That and school registration. And back-to-school shopping. And the parapro position at the school. Oh, and my book.

Oh my...you all will be lucky if you can make heads or tails of my posts over these next few weeks, huh? But I have faith that you all will survive. My survival, however, is still up in the air.

I guess we'll find out, won't we?

Incidentally, I posted a *goody* on my blog today. See if you can find it -- and if you can, I hope you use it to help your family.



Tuesday's Totals

I've decided that I want to start a new themed day for Tuesday - Tuesday's Totals. Since The Man Beast gets paid weekly and the new sales papers come out on Tuesdays, I'm going to start doing my grocery shopping on Tuesdays. I'll report here on Tuesdays to share any deals I got as well as how much I spent for the week. (My Harvey's has Wednesday-only sales. Some weeks I'll take advantage of them, other weeks, I won't. This week, I choose to take advantage of the 88 cent Food Lion Apple Juice and the 3/$5 deal on Dixie Sugar - I'll only buy one bag as I don't use sugar except for baking, occasionally. I'm out and this is a good chance to stock my pantry. Thanks, Linda)

This week was another week where I used the meat in my freezer to create my grocery list. I'm praying that there is another ground beef sale soon. My supply is dwindling. Next week, I'll be buying ground beef, so I'm just praying it is on sale - a good sale would help).

Oh, and speaking of praying, I prayed before I went shopping today. I actually prayed for patience as the kiddos were on my nerves (Lynne had just informed me that she stepped on her glassesAnnoyed 2). I was not a patient mom, so I prayed for patience. I also asked God to guide me in my shopping as I only had $60 to shop with this week. (I did $100, but I didn't plan ahead this week and ended up making TWO separate shopping trips for dinner -- this is bad, bad, BAD practice. I highly suggest that those of you who are watching your pennies, NOT do this. Trust me on this. I know of what I speak.) I actually got the idea of praying before going shopping from Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood Online. I think it's a practice I will continue as the week's follow. It didn't hurt and it allowed God into a little bit more of my compartmentalized life. (God, you go here and here...but not here. You all know what I'm talking about here.)

I hit Kroger first. I didn't get as awesome deals as I did the last trip (remember my $1 milk?) but I was able to get some about-to-expire hamburger buns for 69 cents. For the rest, I just shopped the sales. I think most everything I got was on sale or really cheap. (The Man Beast complains about commercial spaghetti sauce being soupy. I've tried the cheap stuff, the expensive stuff...everything is soupy. I'm going to try something new this week -- I'm going to add a bit of tomato paste to thicken it. I'll let you know how it goes).

I hit Food Lion next. I bought some Hamburger Helper that was on sale. (I was at a loss for coming up with that seventh meal, so I just threw in HH as a means to an end. We hardly ever buy it, but since it was on sale, I figured why not. I could have gotten the generic, but I find that those tend to be way too salty. I also bought some corn to throw into the HH because Man Beast likes corn. And I hate to disappoint Man Beast like I did this past week. I committed mutiny by serving him goulash. You would have thought he was dying as much as he ranted about it. Lesson learned -- no more goulash.)

So, all in all, I spent $53 today at the two stores. I'll spent a couple more dollars tomorrow at Harvey's...but all in all, I will have spent $60 for a week's worth of groceries...not too shabby, I think. I'll get better. I didn't use any coupons this time around and I didn't buy any stockpile items. But I'll get there).

Oh, and here is my menu for the week:

Tuna Melts with french fries
Spaghetti with butter bread
Hamburger Helper
Smoked Sausage, Au Gratin Potatoes
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Fritos
Fried Chicken with french fries
Tacos, spanish rice and beans (with homemade tortillas -- store bought are no longer an option)

So, how'd you do this week?

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