Hakuna Matata!

My SA Reading today (which was actually the day dated October 24) is about worrying over money. The topic of worry, any kind, always brings to mind the sermon I heard many years ago, given by a college student who’s name I can’t remember. The man spoke of worry and how the Bible says that we should “not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” The preacher pointed out that it was OK to plan ahead, but that all the “what if’s” and the worry were wrong. He made the distinction between “concern” and “worry”, stating that concern was a positive attitude, worry focuses on the negative. He made a congregation full of some of the stuffiest stuffed shirt I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, shout out “Hakuna Matata!” over and over. and of course the big joke afterwards was to replace “I’m worried about…” with “I’m concerned about…”

But back to Sarah and Simple Abundance. Sarah points out, just as the preacher had oh so many years ago, that worry never solves anything, especially when it comes to money, she adds. Sarah even believes that all that negative thought towards money will actually repel money. Instead, she asks you to calculate whether you have enough to meet your needs. Note to self: Needs are not wants. Determine your needs and budget your money accordingly. Stop focusing on lack! If you have more than you need then happy happy day! That’s called Abundance! But while you are waiting for your ship to come in, focus on the positives, don’t dwell on the negatives. Ask yourself, how can I create money today?

“Constant worry about money blocks your creativity & clear thinking.”

– Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer, Creating Money: Keys to Abundance

Keep it (your budget) simple, uncomplicated. I think of applying FLYlady’s principles of housecleaning to the budget. De-clutter! Look at your spending and get rid of anything you don’t need or love. For example, at this moment in time, all I need to pay is the phone bill and the TV bill. The military handles the rest for as long as we live in base housing. Soon, we will be moving, and hopefully buying a home. Instead of sitting here, chewing my fingernails, worrying over if we will be able to afford our own place, I can be looking over the budget, looking at what the mortgage payment will most likely be, find out the average cost of electric, water, homeowner’s insurance, homeowners association dues, and anything else that goes into owning a home. Once I figure out what those bills *might* look like, I can look at our current budget, and plan for the future. having a plan in place will not only stop the worry growing in my heart, but will help us curtail the spending now, and show us how much of a house we can *afford* without going into serious debt.

Sarah likens a simple budget to a rose bush that is cut back in the winter, so it can grow again in the spring. Well… it’s winter outside my window right now. Here’s hoping for a very prosperous spring! *S*

Lesson from Loss

I’ve picked up Simple Abundance again… and I started with the passage marked October 18 (even though it is indeed the 20th). The article can be summed up in one statement: Life is precious, don’t waste it.

Sarah tells the story of 7 women who died in a plane crash on their way home. Sarah says, “What were their last thoughts? It certainly wasn’t the deal made or lost or how hassled their day had been. Surely their last thoughts were Real.” No kidding.

I got to thinking, dangerous, i know. But if this were my last moments on Earth, and I knew it… Would I be sitting here surfing the internet? or watching TV? or would i be snuggling one last time with my babies? I think that answer is pretty crystal clear… but then I thought, what would regret? I would regret the harsh words spoken to my children throughout the day. I would regret spending so much time on the internet each day. How would my babies remember me?? would they remember the times I played tickle chase, and took them to the park? or would they remember mom as the back of my head as I geeked away?

I’ve got to get my life into focus….  So since the kids are in bed (notice i didn’t say sleeping), and the ball game is recording…  time to catch up on some blogging, and finish up my design work so that I can totally attempt to turn off the computer tommorrow afternoon.

Use the calendar!

“A schedule defends from CHAOS and whim.  It is a net for catching days… A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order – willed, faked, and so brought into being.”

-Annie Dillard

Todays Simple Abundance (ok, it’s really August 3rds, but I missed reading it yesterday) is all about creating a more effective To-Do list.  Sarah says, the brain loves lists, which explains why I have to make at least one every day.  Seriously.  Every day.

I’ve tried so many ways of doing this.  Computer programs, my Outlook task list, a control Journal…  The way that I usually wind up with is to write a list of things the need to be done ASAP on a piece of scrap paper in front of me.  then mark it off through out the day.  Problem with this method is that by the end of the week, I’ve got so many half-done lists floating around my desk, and my desk is covered in so many other things, reciepts, miscellaneous papers, etc, that it’s next to impossible to find anything.  and I wind up sitting here all day, feeling lost on what to do next.

Sarah suggests looking at everything that needs to be done in a week.  Like work, kids, errands, appointments, household stuff, church requirments, you get the idea.  She suggests to use your calendar, and block out the time needed for each item on your list.  But don’t forget yourself!  Be sure to block out time each day for you, and something you enjoy.  *S*

Sarah suggests spending about 20 minutes each Sunday, plotting out the next week.  Then scan your list every morning and Every night.  FLYbabies, does this sound familiar?  Doesn’t Marla tell us all to check our calendars every night as we lay out clothes appropriate to the next day, and to check it again in the morning to be sure we haven’t forgotten anything over night?

Sarah also suggests to cross the completed items off in red marker.  I agree with crossing things off once they are done.  It always gives me a sense of satisfaction to see my list all crossed out.  Makes me feel like I’m really accomplishing something.  *S*  Another suggestion is to keep a list of what you’ve actually done.  So that when you start feeling like nothing is getting accomplished, you can, in the words of FLYLady. “Celebrate your successes.”  I know I did this for a while, updating my FLYbaby email group with a list of everything I actually completed in one day.  Those lists were quite impressive, especially when I felt like nothing was being finished. It was pretty eye-opening to see how much was actaully being accomplished, despite my chicken-with-its-head-cut-off syndrome.

Desipte all my scraps of To-Do lists, I do need to set up a schedule.  Outlook is probably my best tool for this, because I can set it up to remind me of scheduled items.  I’m already using Outlook to plan dinners and keep track of appointments.  A schedule would just be the next step.  *S*

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

– Annie Dillard

Seeking God

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately. Admittedly some of it has been of my own making. My Mom gave me some advice… she told me to get back into my devotionals… talk about a DUH! moment! *S* so here goes:

From today’s Simple Abundance reading:

Find your “True North”, your contentment and joy. Artist Georgia O Keefe decided that if she could not live where she wanted, go where she wanted, or even speak as she wanted, she would at least paint as she wanted.

Just like my mom was telling me the other day… find what brings you joy and immerse yourself in it. For her, it’s Christian Comedy tapes. If it’s got Ken Davis or Mark Lowry, it’s hers.

For me… it’s music. I love to lose myself in a song, and sing along, loudly, and often times off-key. The evil ones in my neighborhood may have made it so I can not even speak freely in my own home… But I can still listen to my music, as loud as I want to. Well, as loud as my kids will allow. *S* And my kids are used to my off-key singing…

From Lisa Whechel’s The Busy Mom’s Guide to Wisdom:

Verse for the week:

If you seek it like silver and for it as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:4-5

If you were given a map to a great treasure… Would you dismiss it, ignore it, not even attempt to find the time to go looking? Is not the opportunity to know God worth even a little effort on my part?

Today I will: Pray. More than just at mealtimes.

SA is back!!!

Ok.. Ya’ll have prolly noticed that It’s been a while since I posted an SA reading…  HEre’s what happened.  I realized something almost scary.  Swimsuit season is only a few short months away, and my belly…  well… it is definatly not in swimsuit shape.  So I made the decision that TaeBo was more important, not just to my waistline, but also to my future.  The more in shape I get myself now, the longer of a future I will have.

So here I am, it’s a very rare morning when my boys (DS5 & DS1) are sleeping in, and my DD3 is here playing quietly by herself on her computer.  My TaeBo is done, and there is no one begging for my attention, other then the occasional, “Mommy look!” from my DD3.

So I decided to just jump in to the month of April with my readings…  I skimmed over the articles about personal style and color.  But today, the one that drew me was the April 8th reading.  the start of a small series on finances and Simple Abundance.

She mentions that we will not always be able to afford the Armani sweater, or other such high priced fashion (A corelation to her style and color  articles earlier in the month), and admits that such things do not necesarilly fall in line with someone who has commited to
a spirtual journey to find one’s authentic self.  My favorite little quote in this article comes from Marianne Williamson:

“Seek ye first, the kingdom of heaven, and the Maserati will get here when it’s supposed to.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach goes on to encourage us all to use our own creatity to compensate for what our wallets can not afford.  I love this because as I scan over the Arpil 9th article, IT speaks to simplicity and luxury.  I think the quote from Geoffrey Beene that Sarah has placed at the top says it all really.

“Luxury need not have a price — comfort itself is a luxury.”

Luxury doesn’t have to bee a life of ease, it can be as simple as adding a little whipped cream to your hot chocolate, or giving yourself that extra ten minutes in bed in the morning.  And of course, todays actuall assigned reading is about the wonders of thrift shops.  I’ll admit, it’s been a long while since I went to a thrift shop.  But I remember well the bargins I used to find there.  Some of my fav clothes came from thrift shops, as well as the pair of New York Giants glasses.  I really ought take a walk through my local thrift store someday…  Who knows what treasures I may find there.  *S*

Me Time

**A special thanks to Bev, who encouraged me via email after yesterday’s post. Bev reminded me that not every topic in the book will apply to every person. Also, that Sarah wouldn’t want anyone getting depressed because of her writings… Thanks for the head check Bev! *S*

So today’s reading boils down to this: If you feel like you are at your breaking point, take some time for you. Order take out, or hold your own film festival. Do something just for you. Say “NO” to the next person who asks you to do that one more thing that will send you over the edge. While this is an awesome thing, to take time for yourself when you are stressed to recoup and gather yourself, I think it needs some improvement.

Frankly, I think waiting until you are at that breaking point to do something just for you, is too late.  Again, this is another instance where FLYlady dovetails with SA.  FLYlady’s right hand woman Kelly issues weekly “Pamper Me” challenges.  Marla constatly teaches us that we are worth it. I think you should prolly pamper yourself at least once a week.  My “Me time” is my scrapping, and my blog time.  Usually it’s first thing in the morning….  but then there are days like today when I don’t get to posting until well after noon.  either way, at least I’ve taken a few minutes for myself.  *S*

I encourage you, my readers, take some time for you today.  *S*  Even if it’s just to watch American Idol tonight!  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  *S*

FLY!

Finally Loving Yourself. That’s what FLY stands for. today I have taken Marla’s advice and just jumped in where I am as far as my Simple Abundance reading. I must admit, the last time I read this little book, I was less than happy with myself… somehow I had allowed this little book to twist me around so much, I was questioning my mothering abilities and getting quite depressed. I took a bit of a break from reading, and got my head on straight, mostly thanks to my DH, who assured me every day that I’m a good wife and mother… *Thanks Babe! I love you so much. I’d be lost without you!*

So here I am, skipping all the “exacvating the authentic you” and the “Search for the authentic you” type stuff… Because quite frankly, I like who I am today. I had allowed this book to make me lose sight of who am I in the search for the “athentic me”. Maybe, at some point in my future, I’ll go back to those pages… but for now, it’s better, for my own sanity, to just skip it all…. So, I look at the March 13 reading, and what is the title? “Accepting yourself as you are today” BINGO! I have found my new starting point!

The whole passage is geared to getting you to accept who you are today, and learn to love all the wrinkles and stretch marks and sags that make up our bodies and faces. This is something I’ve been working on for years! Yup! I’ve already been doing this assignment for the last several years thanks to Marla Cilley, aka the FLYlady. Since March 2002, I have been learning to FLY.

I think the day I learned to truly FLY, was in late 2003, when I decluttered all my “thin” clothes, and finally learned to love the “Big Girl” I had become. Of course, shortly after that, I loved myself so much, I got myself fixed and began losing all the extra weight I had packed on during those first pregnancies. But that’s another story and can be found under the “Improving Me” category.

FLYing has been a journey ever since. When it comes to my body, I’ve reached a weight I’m comfortable with. I would like to someday tone my tummy, but I’m quite happy with who I am and how I look now. (although I do need to schedule another hair cut ASAP! *S*) I’m actually happy with my strechmarks, as each one tells a story that has resulted in my all 7 of my angels, the 4 flying ones, and the 3 running ones. I mean, how many people can honestly say that they have a foot print on their belly, made out of stretch marks, left there by their first born son. *S*

What it all boils down to, is that I can accept myself for who I am now, and be happy with that. Especially, cuz as Martina Mc Bride sings, “My baby loves me just the way that I am!”

He never tells me I'm not good enough
Just gives me unconditional love
He loves me tender and he loves me mad
He loves me silly and he loves me sad

He thinks I'm pretty, he thinks I'm smart
He likes my nerve and he loves my heart
He's always sayin' he's my biggest fan
My baby loves me just the way that I am
**For full song lyrics, click here

Slay the dragons!

**This is the post I wrote earlier this morning, and my DSL ate it!

Just in case you didn’t know….  dragons equal fears. Sarah challenges us to face our fears as part of our journey of self discovery. and I gotta admit… I’ve been hiding from this challenge! That’s part of why there have been no posts in the last few days…. I’ve been sleeping in, or trying to… and just closing the book, because I didn’t feel ready to face my fear. And then… after all that soul seraching and facing up to it this morning… the DSL blinked and it was all gone! ARRGGHH! So here I go again…. What is it that I fear I will discover about myself?

My biggest fear….. and it was hard enough to type the the first time…. but what if I go through all this self discovery, and finding what makes me me, only to discover that I don’t like being a mother? All my life I wanted to be a wife and mother. That’s it. Dream accomplished! I should be delirously happy! so why then do I feel like such a failure as a mom? I used to love working with the 0-5 yr old crowd in church… But somehow, I feel totally lost when it comes to my own kids…  There are times when I can’t wait for them all to be old enough for school, so I can have my days back for just me…..  And other times when my inner brat, Kassie, declares she is tired of playing house!  She’s ready to go home now!  So often I feel like I am in a constant battle of wills with all three of my children…  and I’m tired of fighting!
I should take a moment to point out…. I love my kids. I love them so much! It’s because I love them that I continue to fight these battles with them.  Because I want them to grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, and smart.  And I have the greatest times with them. There truly is nothing better than the feeling of your baby with his pudgy little arms wrapped around your neck as he snuggles into your shoulder for a great big hug. These are the memories I want to keep.

As I face down this “dragon” today, I truly believe that I do indeed love being a mom.  I just need to realize that I will never be that ideal mom that seems to be in my head.  I will scream and yell at times.  I will lose the battles every now and then (but as Mercer Mayer says, “Momma always wins!” *S* Shout out to all the Little Critter fans!).  My house may occasionally fall apart around me as I spend time playing with the kids or geeking online.  I will get frustrated with the kids.  I will question my every move in an attempt to find a better mousetrap so to speak.  I will have days when my body hurts too much to do everything they want me to do with them.  I will occasionaly let my hormones get the better of me. (Put down the chocolate, and slowly back away! *S*)
I will never be June Clever…. (Lord above knows I absolutely despise dresses!)…. But I will always be me. I have the power to change me, and I am the only one who can. So if I don’t like how I handle a situation, “I” am the only one with the power to do anything about it!

I struggle constantly with the amount of yelling I do. I grew up in a house with a “Screamer!” and always swore I wouldn’t be that way, yet here I am…. and just like Mark Lowry, my kids know that when mommy’s voice hits a certain pitch, they’d better obey…. Pastor Burcham once said “You’ll never prove strength by yelling.  Watch your mouth!”  That quote has stuck with me.  It’s very true.  I haven’t gained anything by yelling, except maybe a sore throat.  I always feel that I yell too much, yet I’m the only one that can control it!

I also need to work on my reactions. I have a tendency to hyper-focus on one task, and block out all else. I hear DS5 asking for milk…. I just don’t respond cuz I’m focused on my task. then when he asks for like the 100th time in 5 minutes (yes it is possible. trust me!) I lash out, “WHAT? What do you want?” frustrated at being interuptted. What’s worse, I catch him doing the same thing! To me, to his brother and sister…. probably at school too… not kuel. but I have the power to change it now! I’m trying. I’m trying to get better at saying, “One minute! please let me finish this!” or even, “I’m sorry” after I’ve lashed out irrationally.

So there you go. One huge dragon faced. not once but twice today! I’m actually feeling much better now that I’ve gotten this all down… Writing is very cathartic for me… Hence why so many of my blogs are deep and reflective, yet in IRL I love making the people I love laugh…

My small risk…

As I’ve been reading Simple Abundance, one of the things Sarah Ban Breathnach urges us to do is to take small risks. Step out of our comfort zones and try something new. So when I went shopping for sunglasses recently, I did just that. Normally I would have gone with the basic black sunglasses. But this I decided to try the tortise shell ones with the little bits of bling on the edges. *S* They look awesome! *S* and certainly set me apart from the crowd around here. So of course I did a layout! *S*

New Shades
Donna Pelletier’s Power of Kindness kit. Found here.
Title written in WoodcuttedCaps Black, using a paper as a fill pattern on the text. Journaling written in AndrewScript.I used a brush to Burn the edges of the photo, which was taken on my nearly white countertop, and generally just had fun with papers!

Kassie the Explorer

Sarah wants us to travel in our minds if we cannot afford to do so in real life. So Sarah’s question today… If you go travel anywhere in the world, all expense paid, babysitter provided, where would you go?

That’s a toughie…. Cuz first of all, I wouldn’t want to leave my kids behind. Secondly, with as little as we see my DH’s side of the family, I’d prolly want to take everyone to see the family. After that, I’d maybe want to go to Ireland, spend some time chasing down family history. Thinking about it, I’d love to see the Hardenbergh castle in the Netherlands, as that is also a part of my family history. And I would love to go to the town in Mexico that is named after my husband’s family.  *S*  See a theme here??  Geneology is one of my hobbies.  Unfortunatly it’s one of those hobbies that I just don’t have time, or money, for right now.  But I would love to travel to these places, maybe someday I will.  Until then, I can visit the websites!  *S*