Suffocating Myself

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Suffocating Myself - on being a packrat and a minimalist in the same body

I am a minimalist at heart; I love things neat, clean and organized. But if I were being honest I’d also have to admit that I’m also a packrat that likes to buy things and often my stuff piles up and it’s too overwhelming to organize.

It’s like having a devil and an angel on my shoulder. Buy, buy, buy. Purge, purge, purge.
And lately, most days the buying wins.

All this stuff is starting to make me feel claustrophobic, like I’m suffocating, and I don’t know about you, but I kinda like breathing.

At the beginning of last year we made a huge effort to simplify and live a life of less, and somewhere between moving, traveling to South Africa and adopting Ephraim that all got pushed to the wayside.

A few weeks ago was the first time I brought my reusable bags to the grocery store since our move, I’ve just felt so bogged down with other stuff that I haven’t even been able to remember to bring them.

Being that overwhelmed is a sign to me that some simplifying needs to take place.

For the most part, we can all use some cleaning out of our lives (our homes and our schedules) so I thought I’d share a few ways I try to go about simplifying.

TAKE STOCK OF MY PROJECTS
I start by figuring out what is taking up all my time. I wrote out a list of projects I have on the go and others that I have in the queue. It was then that I realized that it’s just too much. I think this is good practice for anyone who feels like they may have taken on too much, it may not seem like a lot when it’s in your head but once you start writing it down you might realize how much you actually have going on.

LOOK AT MY SCHEDULE
This is probably the easiest one for people to go overboard on these days. We are always adding appointments to our calendars, many of them are great things to do but it usually just boils down to over commitment. I had a week like this a little while ago, somehow I had completely booked up my week and I was busy every evening eight nights in a row. For an introvert that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Thankfully the week went okay but I was feeling stressed the entire time because of it. I’ve now tried to be more intentional with making sure I leave a few evenings free a month.

Like I shared last week, sometimes we have to say no to things that are good things, maybe even really good things, that way we can make room in our lives for the great things. Recently I turned down a really great opportunity, at another time I would have said yes (well, I almost did now), but the truth is I have other projects on the go, we are going camping soon and I want to relax during that time and on top of it all I’ve got a four-year-old daughter who is going through a stage where she gets anxious when I go away. At another stage, this could have been a great opportunity but right now it would have just been overwhelming and I knew I would regret it.

To read a little more about simplifying stress and commitments you can read my post from last year about it.

EVALUATING MY STUFF
We recently finished our basement which means it was time to finally pull out all the bins of items we’d been storing for the last few months. I found the best way to see how much of a particular thing I had was to group all the like items together. Now that my craft room/what will be the guest bedroom is finished I gathered all my crafting stuff up from throughout the house and put it in that one room, and boy, did it make me realize just how much stuff I have and has made my decision on what I want to purge and what I will keep a lot easier.

I feel as though this fight between wanting more and wanting less at the same time will be a life long journey, but I’m hoping that on most days I find myself content with what I have  and grateful for the life God has given me.

Linking up with Ember Grey.

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On My Nightstand // June

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On My Nightstand - June 2015

As an avid reader I thought it would be fun to share some books that I’ve been reading on a monthly-ish basis. I did share my yearly favorite books for 2011, 2012 and 2013 but often by the end of the year I’ve forgotten a lot of the books I read, so I thought this would be a fun way to stay more on top of it.

I read a variety of books which will probably become evident after just a few months, you’ll likely see a lot of non-fiction books on Christian living, homeschooling books, classics (as I work on my goal of twelve classics), some biographies and memoirs, fiction, cookbooks . . . a little bit of everything. Though I definitely get obsessive, I’ll probably ready a bunch of one type of book one month and then it will be six months before I read that kind of book again, that’s just how my life rolls.

One of the blogs I follow does what she calls a monthly “book report” and while I loved reading throughout school I hated book reports. No, this will not be a book report, just me sharing what I am reading and a few thoughts on the book. I also plan to kind of draft this all month and write a bit about each book right after I read it so I don’t forget what I want to share and then after I’ve read a few books I’ll hit publish and share them with you. I hope others can find some good books to read this way and I’d love for you to share what you are currently reading, I’m always looking for some recommendations!

Follow Me by David Platt – ah, this book was so good for where I am at right now. I think it can be easy to get passive in life and forget that as Christians we have been commissioned to go out and make disciples. I think so often we get caught up in our daily lives and all of a sudden, days, weeks and years go by and we have not made an effort to follow the very command we were given by Jesus. This is actually the biggest reasons that I love the church we currently attend, they really focus on living your life on mission and making disciples where you are. Platt is honest in this book but a good kind of honest, I think some people might struggle with how strict he is (like saying that every true Christian should belong to a specific church) but I think he is spot on and he’s saying some hard things that people really need to hear. Pretty much, if you are a Christian I think you should read this book. :)

Scary Close by Donald Miller – This is the third or fourth of Donald Miller’s books that I’ve read and by far my favorite. I feel like he took a bit of a turn with this book and reading it kinda felt like I was reading the male version of Shauna Niequist (which is funny to write because she just shared that we should say the next ____ but I think it gives people a bit of an idea anyway). I enjoyed his honesty and while I’m comparing him to Shauna Niequist I definitely don’t think he is nearly as eloquent as her but it was a good read (obviously since I read it in less than 24 hours). He shares a lot about his journey to becoming more open and honest, about showing the true him instead of hiding behind an act. I feel like that’s something I can’t relate to at all, but it’s an interesting idea since I know so many people live that way and I found his story interesting.

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, David Cross & Wendy Sunshine – this has been the most recommended book on adoption given to us. I finally decided to read it since Ephraim began having some sleeping issues and I was hoping it would help us uncover why. I can see this book being beneficial to those who have adopted older children or who adopted young children, but they are now a little older, it seemed to me that’s what a lot of the book is written for. I wouldn’t say it was much help now, most of the stuff written for Ephraim’s age was pretty common sense to me but I can see myself coming back to it and reading it again in a few years.

When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman – A memoir about a girl who grew up as a the “evangelical poster child” and then her struggles with her faith as she matured. Truthfully, I struggled to read the first portion of the book because of the narrative it was written it but found the next parts much easier to read. That being said her story gets pretty dark, it’s her story so I can’t judge that, but it was a bit depressing. Despite it all I still found many truths in lesser form to what she was writing, and it was interesting to go back and remember all the Christian cliches of the 90’s; WWJD bracelets, Meet You at the Pole, True Love Waits . . . While all good movements in theory through the entire book I kept feeling as though we’ve put a lot of emphasis on these kinds of programs in the past, instead of teaching our children these values in the home like we should.

I think my next read will be The Highly Sensitive Child.

Your turn, what are you reading?
Any recommendations?

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When My Hobbies Stopped Me From Doing What I Really Wanted To Do

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When good things aren't the best thing

I’m an easy person to buys gifts for, I’ve always had approximately 73 hobbies on the go at any given time, each with little knick knacks and additions that could be purchased for me for birthdays and holidays.

These hobbies keep me busy when I feel bored and I can always bounce around from one hobby to the next whenever I feel like switching it up. In some ways this is great, I really love it.

But lately I’ve come to realize that all these hobbies of mine are actually taking away from what it really is that I want to do. These hobbies while good in and of themselves are not the best use of my time when they are distracting me from doing what it is I really feel led to be doing.

I’ve contemplated sharing here what it is that I want to do, the desire I have deep inside, but the truth is, sometimes saying it out loud gives the feeling that the goal has been accomplished and the high of sharing the goal can make people happy enough that they don’t even go out and achieve that goal. And that is definitely true for me. (I’m not even making this up, I read it somewhere years ago but no longer have any idea where (anyone else out there hear that before and can tell me where I read it?).)

There is a handful of people that I have shared my dream with and for now that is enough. Once I feel as though I am putting the effort in and getting somewhere I will definitely share it here.

But in the meantime, I was wondering if there was anyone else out there that could be in this same situation.

Sometimes saying yes to so many things, even good things, can take away from being able to say yes to great things.

This might be you if you answer yes to the following two questions:

Is there something deep in your heart you feel like you want to do or God has called you to do?

Do you find yourself procrastinating or making up excuses or filling your time with all the hobbies other than the thing you feel like you should be doing?

If you are in the same boat as me, what do we do from here? How do we stop putting it off and actually get started on our dreams?
A few things . . .

First, tell someone your dream. Someone who can be an accountability partner and you are around often enough that they will check in on you.

Next, set aside some time to work on your dream. For some it works to set aside 15 minutes a day (a la Jon Acuff’s Do Summer), for other types of projects it might work better to have fewer yet longer blocks of time, so maybe you could block off two hours every Saturday afternoon . . . either way, find some time in your life and schedule that work time in.

And the last part is to actually follow through . . . in the end it is up to you. Will you follow through and advance towards what God has called you to do or will you whittle away the years continuing to think about your dream but never making strides towards it?

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Faux Marbled Nightstand

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Faux Marbled Nighstand Faux Marbled Nighstand Before

A few months ago Jared picked up two idential nighstands. Rae needed one for her room and I figured it wouldn’t be long before Ephraim would need one too. They were in good shape but obviously needed some sprucing up.

I found myself a little over loaded with projects so it took me a while to get going on Raeca’s nighstand.

I finally started it a few weeks ago and painted it the same Coral Flower color as the cradle I painted a few months ago, and I knew that I wanted to do something about that top. I had seen people use marbled contact paper in some fun ways before so I thought it would be fun to make a faux marbled top.

I just cut the contact paper to size and then put a protective layer of the hard top modpodge over it. Easy peasy as Raeca would say. :)

Now give me a few more months and I’ll figure out what I want to do with Ephraim’s nighstand.

Faux Marbled Nighstand Faux Marbled Nighstand Faux Marbled Nighstand

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The Topside of the Tapestry

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We will stand amazed
to see the topside of the tapestry
and how God beautifully embroidered
each circumstance into a pattern
for our good and His glory.

– Joni Eareckson Tada

This family was a lot of fun! Jaimie and I actually went to school together from kindergarten to grade 4 and I hadn’t seen her since high school. It was amazing to see how God ended up taking two small town tomboys like us and giving each of us wonderful families.

He really does embroider a beautiful tapestry.

Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen Warman Family Photographer - Chantel Klassen

I also loved the chance to shoot a little bit of video in with the photos:

All photos were taken in Warman, Saskatchewan.

photo session

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