Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Truly Amazed

I'm sure you've heard, because it's all I'm talking about lately, that I'm leading a team for my local Relay for Life.  You can read more about it here, where I guest posted about it over at SomeGirl's place.  I felt very called to do this.  My heart was leading me to it.  But I never imagined that we could have possibly been so successful.  I know it's not me, it's that I listened to the whispers of God telling me I coud do this.  Really.  Because my introverted self wouldn't have/ couldn't have ever done this without that push.

Now, tonight, my team is ranked number 4 on the top teams list.  And I'm not telling you this to brag, because it's not something that I did.  It's something amazing happening.  It's a miracle, in my book, that it's all coming together in such happy way.  That I could recruit enough friends to fill out our team.  That together we could fundraise over $1,100, before the event has even begun!  That is a pure and wonderful miracle. 

What's that verse about God having a bigger plan for me than I had for myself?  Is it even a verse?  I googled it and came up with a movie quote, but whatever it may be, that's definitely what it feels like to me.  I had hoped to struggle along and maybe raise $500.  I wasn't sure if there would even be more than 3 of us on the team.  But is' all working out bigger and so much better than I ever dreamed.  The verses below were the best I could come up with.  If you know one that fits better, I'd love for you to share it.

If you have joined my team, and are helping to make this happen, or if you have donated to our Relay for Life team, THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping our team to help others.  I am so truly blessed.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  
Proverbs 16:3

A person may plan his own journey,
   but the Lord directs his steps. 
Proverbs 16:9

Friday, September 24, 2010

If You Could Do Anything...

It's Friday.  I thought a little fun might be in order, so I'm asking this quick question.  I hope you'll leave an answer in the comments and let me know what your answer would be!  I can't wait to hear from you.

If you could do anything.... What would it be?  No strings attached, no cost limitations, no 'oh-but-who-would-watch-my-kids', no restrictions.  Something that would make you just full of joy and happy inside.  Something just for you.  If you could do anything, for yourself, what would you do?

For me?  I'd wander around and take pictures.  I truly love photography.  Someday I plan to go take a few classes, but in the meantime, I'm happy anytime I can pull out my pocket camera and take some fun, interesting photos.  It makes me happy, deep down inside.  I'm especially happy taking pics out in nature.  Puts a smile in my heart that looks kind of like this ---->

So, If you could do anything, for yourself, what would you do?

What's stopping you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

#GoodByeJunk Helpful Tip #3.... Keep Going!

 Keep Going!  That's it for the tip today.  Just keep going.  You know how Dorie in Finding Nemo sings, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...", well just keep tossing, donating, selling, filing, whatever it is you've been doing.  Don't give up now that you've gotten such a good start getting rid of junk.  Keep doing what you're doing.  One thing a day.  Several things on the weekend.  Whatever is working for you, just don't give up!

Don't forget to chime in and let us know how you're doing from time to time!

I promise to have a better tip next week.... It's been kinda crazy around here, and Thursday just really snuck up on me this week!  Keep saying Goodbye Junk in the meantime...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Make This Mistake...

The biggest mistake you can make 
is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

Don’t second-guess yourself.  Even the littlest gifts add up over time to make a big difference.  Do the thing that you've been wanting to, but haven't because you don't think you can do enough.  The biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are you still saying #GoodByeJunk ?

The Goodbye Junk Challenge:
*Get rid of one item each day. 
*Find one item that needs a home, and give it a home.  Easy!
  For more details, click here.

Are you still working on our #GoodbyeJunk challenge? I know I am.  This week I didn't have too much to donate, but I pulled out what seemed like tons of trash and got rid of it.  Old phone books, piles of expired coupons,  old bills and other junk mail that never got tossed when it should have.  I've also got a bag going with unopened happy meal toys that I've found all over.  We're donating them to the school carnival for game prizes.

I was also good about finding a home for some of my paper clutter, namely my littlest one's preschool stuff from last year.  I spent Friday night with some friends starting his scrapbook, and I got about 12 pages done.  I'm hoping to have that one finished in a couple of weeks, so that I can move on to finding a home for his older brother's school papers.  I've got 1st and 2nd grade to catch up on...Yikes!

My friend who came and scrapbooked with me had a great idea about not letting the school stuff pile up.  Her plan is to scrap things as they come home, if they are worth saving.  So, Friday night she spent her time scrapping this year's first day of school and her son's first-ever spelling test.  And now she's caught up.  Isn't that great?  I just might have to steal her idea!

How is it going for  you?  Are you doing well or struggling?  Link up or leave a comment below so we can encourage you!  Don't forget to find us on Twitter with the hashtag #GoodByeJunk too.  I'd love to see some TwitPics of your success!

What have you been working on for saying Goodbye to Junk?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Revelation...

I realized something tonight, driving down the road to my yoga class of all places...


That sounds a little silly, doesn't it?  But this was a major revelation.  I'm not talking, 'Hey, it was a good day today Happy'.  I'm talking, 'Wow, this-is-incredible, can't-stop-smiling, deep-in-my-soul HAPPY'  Just generally happy.  Not because of a particular thing or event, but.....just because.

Do you want to know the kicker?  I should be freaking out right now.  I am sooooo far backlogged on paperwork,  my office is a perpetual disaster zone, my good friend and I have taken on the role of putting together and leading a team for the Relay for Life, my pastor just asked me to take over the job of leading the handbell choir (which I feel woefully underqualified for...),  I'm trying to declutter our house and organize our family of four,  I'm hosting a GoodbyeJunk Challenge on this blog & on twitter.... I'm getting started training to walk a half marathon, with asthma... See? 


But, I'm not.  I am HAPPY!  Go figure.

Maybe it's the Yoga.  Maybe it's Goodbye Junk.  Maybe it's HelloMornings.  Maybe it's Prayer.  Maybe it's taking real care of myself for a change, and looking at things with gratitude.  Maybe it's just the simple fact that I'm not trying to be perfect anymore, and I'm just trying to do my best little by little to make progress.  Maybe it's a combination of all of those things.   Whatever it is, I'm going to keep doing it, because it's working! 

Be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead....
 - I Peter 1:6

May you find joy and happiness as well. 

This post is dedicated to my dear friends K & M.  I'm convinced that conversations with the two of you are a real part of where I've found this happiness. Thank you for the blessing of your friendship and support!

#GoodbyeJunk Helpful Tip #2

Goodbye Junk Helpful Tip # 2:
Get rid of the junk in your pantry.  It may not be in sight for company, but YOU see it everyday.  Wouldn't it feel wonderful to look into a clean, not junky pantry when it's time to fix dinner?

Go through and toss expired foods in your pantry.  Try one shelf at a time.  One shelf a week.  Whatever works for you.  While you're at it, set aside everything that will expire in the next few months, so that you can use them up, or donate them to a local shelter.  Thanks Nemo,  for inspiring this tip by tweeting about cleaning out your cupboards!

I went through mine about a month or two back, one at a time.  Over the course of a couple of weeks I threw out a disgraceful amount of expired food, most from when I was doing the coupon game which seemed like it was saving me tons of money.  In truth, it just encouraged me to overstock or stock up on things we didn't need and therefore wouldn't use, because it was 'such a good deal'.

I put foods about to expire in a basket on my kitchen counter.  Everything that would expire by the end of 2010 went in my basket.  I'm trying to use them up, and hope that having them out in plain sight will help me to remember that.  So far it's working pretty well, and we've probably used up about a third of them already.  You could also donate foods to a food pantry, if you don't want to use them and they're not too close to expiring. 

Throwing away expired foods feels extremely wasteful.  And it is.  But the reality is, if it's already expired, there isn't anything you can do about that.  Feeling guilty won't change that.  What you can change is how you buy, store, and use the food you restock with.  Don't go out and go hog wild replacing every thing you just tossed, because chances are you'll have the same expired foods later on down the road.  Rethink what you need and how you buy it.  Make it work for you, with the goal of not letting food expire. 

My pantry looked bare at first, but now I've gotten used to it this way, and I love it.  There are only things that we eat regularly in it now.  Special things I can go out and buy when needed, but if they are in my pantry, chances are I won't use them before they expire.  The bonus?  I can easily see everything we have, and I don't end up buying it again at the store just because I couldn't see or find it.   I plan to go through the pantry roughly every six months to look for items that might be expiring soon, or within the next several months.  Then I can put them in my 'I need to use these up' basket again, or donate them to a food pantry.

Are you 'holding onto stuff because you feel it would be a waste of good money if you got rid of it...'?   Read this article and free yourself of the burden of feeling wasteful.

Also, Gwen wrote this wonderful post about the impact of our Goodwill donations.  Stop by and check it out.  She talks about the impact of donations for both the people Goodwill Industries helps and for the people who shop there for great deals!  Thanks, Gwen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

#GoodbyeJunk Updates...

 Hey all...
How did you do this week at saying #GoodByeJunk?  Did you get rid of something daily?  Did you do enough for the week all at once?  How about finding a home for random things?  Were you successful at that too?

I had a great week.  I got rid of 43 pounds of stuff, added it to the pile from the week before, and drove it all to Goodwill.  What a wonderful feeling.  So far, I've donated at least 67 pounds of junk.  It feels terrific! There are lots more things to work on, so I'm not going to be done anytime soon, but I love the feeling that just doing one thing a day makes me feel successful.  And it's so easy I don't even try to avoid it!

By the way, there is a great calculator at GOODWILL online where you can calculate the impact of your donation.  I put in the things I rounded up my first week, and it came out to roughly an hour of training per pound.  An hour a pound of help for someone else...What a fabulous incentive to declutter!

As far as finding a home for things, I've been doing pretty well at that too. Mostly in my office, where there were a lot of leftover VBS or summer craft things that needed to be put away.  I also worked out in the garage a bit, organizing and tossing things in there.

Don't forget to check back on Thursday, when I have another helpful tip scheduled to keep you motivated!  If you have anything that's working really well for you, or a tip you'd like to share, please email me at goodbyejunkchallenge@gmail.com so I can include it in a future post for everyone.  Thanks!

If you're doing the challenge with us, how did YOU do? 
Link up to a post you've written about #GoodbyeJunk, or just leave a comment for us so we can encourage you!   Don't forget to tell us your Twitter handle so we can encourage you there too.  Be sure to tweet me @2BeStill if you haven't already so I can support you!  After you link or comment, be sure to stop by and visit some of your fellow GoodbyeJunkers to give them a little support.  I'm so proud of how well everyone is doing.  Keep up the great work!

Here's this week's GoodbyeJunk Linkup:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#Goodbye Junk Helpful Tip #1

As my son would say, "Helllloooooo, ladies!!"

How are you doing with your #GoodbyeJunk challenge this week?  Don't forget there will be a new linkup coming on Monday, so snap a picture, or jot down something that you can post or leave in the comments so we can support you!

Here's our first Goodbye Junk Helpful Tip:  Figure out a way to deal with your horizontal surfaces.  You know- those flat spots on a table, counter, or wherever that just collect junk in piles?  Yeah.  Those surfaces.

For myself, I've done two things.  First, once I get one of these cleared off, I make it a priority to keep it cleared off or at least get it completely cleared off before the end of the day.  The biggest help here is not letting something that doesn't have a home sit there for later.  I try to find a home for it right away.  Somedays that works better than others.  The other way I've decided to deal with these junk hotspots is to make them pretty.  Yes, you heard me!  If it's pretty, I'm much more likely to not want to cover it up with some pile of clutter.  Try it.  Let me know if it works for you.

Here's an example before and after of one of my previously awful horizontal surfaces. This is in my office, which is by far the very worst room in the house.  I think even the garage might be better.  So, before:

I wanted to hide these drawers (they look so messy, even though their contents are organized). But I still wanted to have easy access, so I took some particle board and covered it with pretty scrapbook paper. 
Particle board, recycled from somewhere else in the house.

This is so much prettier in person!
I even added a lovely quote that makes me happy.
 And finally, the result:
Saying Goodbye Junk to the piles on either side next!

Now, it's a lovely table top, and I don't want to put anything on it that will take away from the prettiness of it. In fact, I'm planning a few more finishing touches to make it even nicer.  The bonus is all the drawer storage for different projects that's now hidden underneath, but still easy to access.   Just finished it, so I'll let you know how that works out, but I'm pretty hopeful that it will be a success.

If you're still looking for inspiration, read here for more helpful ideas from Organizing Junkie (and she's got a little challenge too...)

How are you dealing with your horizontal surfaces?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#GoodbyeJunk Challenge Linkup

 Hello Goodbye Junkers!  So glad to have you along for the ride.  Doesn't it feel great to get rid of the junk and not have to deal with it anymore? Aren't you looking forward to cabinets that don't look like this anymore?  Don't you love how easy it is?  Just two things a day- one to donate/trash/sell and one to find a home.  Simple.  We can all do that.  For more about the details of the #GoodbyeJunk Challenge, click here.

I want to say thank you for all the support that I've gotten for this challenge, and for all the support I see all of you giving each other.  Way to go, everyone!  Wouldn't the world be so much nicer if everyone were so encouraging?  In that spirit of encouragement, let's link up and continue to support each other.  Please link up either a post on your blog (with a #GoodbyeJunk theme, perhaps?) or your twitter handle. Or both!

I plan to have two #GoodbyeJunk posts each week.  On Mondays, we'll have a linkup where we can show our successes (do a post with a picture of your cleaner space, or just tell us how it's going.  Or just tweet about it.  Anything #GoodbyeJunk related, really!).   On Thursdays, I'll share a short and sweet tip that might help you with your #GoodbyeJunk challenge. 

So, it's a day late due to the Labor Day holiday yesterday, but here's our first linkup!  Please take a moment to stop by the other blogs and leave a comment,  or leave your fellow #GoodbyeJunkers a tweet of support.  Oh, and feel free to grab a Goodbye Junk Button for your self/blog.  The code is over on the sidebar.  Thanks, and happy #GoodbyeJunking!

Link up here for #GoodbyeJunk Challenge support:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Don't Give Up!

Success does not mean never giving up.  It means always finding a  reason to start a new beginning. 

All of us, at some point or other give up.  In our head (or maybe out loud) ,  there is a sad defeated *Sigh* and the thought 'I give up'  drops in.  It might be for a day a week, a minute or even just a fleeting second.  But at some point, we all experience that "I give up" feeling.  And it's okay.  I think it's normal.  It's good to vent your frustrations, to let them out and not bury them inside.  But it's even more important to keep finding a reason for a new beginning. 

I gave up.  I did or didn't do ________.  But this is Labor Day weekend.  Which means Tuesday is a new beginning.  How many things start 'The day after Labor Day'?  It's a new beginning.  Or maybe October 1st.  It's the first day of a new month.  Maybe every Sunday is a new beginning.  Maybe Monday.  Maybe Friday because it's the beginning of the weekend.  Maybe...it's the middle of an unremarkable day and your new beginning is just a random point in the day.  The point is to seize those new beginnings.  Enjoy them.  Pat yourself on the back for finding them, for starting anew, and for not letting the 'I give up' feeling to linger and defeat you.

New beginnings are fun.  They are exciting.  They are motivating.  Why wait for January 1st or some other far away time to start over?  Find a reason to start a new beginning today and do it!

Note: I had this post written, and stumbled upon the quote below posted by @monicaricci on Twitter.  I love when perfectly timed things like that happen!

 "You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, 
for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."
~Mary Pickford
Actress and Producer

What are you waiting for?  Start now!