Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Looking Up

I'm a sucker for self help books.

Actually, I'm just a sucker for the written word.  If you want to get through to me, write it down!  I refuse to listen to a podcast.  I will skip the video and go straight to the transcript below.  And if there is none, well, it probably wasn't too important to begin with. 

My whole life pretty much revolves around books, articles, blogs, newspaper clippings, cereal boxes.  I devour whatever my eyes come across.  This is how I learn, relax and find inspiration.

I am often in need of inspiration.

In August it was Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman.  These simple but profound gospel meditations exhort mothers to seek the all sufficiency of Christ through every challenge.  It was like a drink of cold water on a summer's day.
Last month it was The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.  It prompted a few panic attacks and an Amazon buying frenzy in an attempt to get my sloppy school up to Classically Inspired standards.  I have yet to recover.

This month has been all about The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Since school has started, the house has definitely been neglected.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I haven't dusted regularly since my second child was born.  I need help!

I first heard of  TLCMOTU when my friend, Rebbecca showed me this really weird way of folding one's garments.  It was like origami, for jeans!  Then I heard how this quaint Japanese lady thanked her socks.  Every day!

Like a cherry blossom, the KonMari method of decluttering, folding and organizing began to blossom across my consciousness.  She was everywhere!  When I finally looked into borrowing it from the library, there was an eight week waiting list.

The timing was perfect.  I could not have dreamed what began as a remodeling project would end with my ten year old in the hospital and TLCMOTU was going to be the key to pull it all together.

Cy has asthma.  Unusually well  behaved asthma, ninety percent of the time.  This is the other ten percent.  When his airways react, they are stubborn!

We have been planning on getting rid of our nasty carpet for years.  But, you know how it is.  Projects are daunting.  You've heard the old proverb, "It's easier to live with the carpet you know then take a chance on the tile you don't".  Or something like that.  But Miss Sherry upset the whole thing when she gave me re-upholstered chairs as a birthday present.  After that, the dining room just HAD to be painted!  And so it went, one change fostered another until at last, we had the ancient carpet removed and wood styled tile installed and the living room painted.  My hope was that this would eliminate the heavy, dusty air in our home and be much healthier for Cy.  And I think it will do just that.  But at about the time we did all this is when Cy started having allergy trouble.  Which led to Strep Throat.  I could see him declining every day.  I gave him his rescue inhalers faithfully.  We went to the doctor repeatedly, but it wasn't enough.  I couldn't keep him out of the hospital.

So, what does all this have to do with TLCMOTU and origami for jeans and the twisted title?

You see, in the hospital I had time to reflect on the book I had just finished.  I was uncertain while reading if it would do me any good.  I mean, some of her requirements are just too wacky.  She actually communicates with her stuff !!!  But, I have been seriously and literally asking God for wisdom to get my home in order.  I have felt convicted for not better utilizing all my resources and for all the waste.  I have been chafing under the distinct  impression that things were not the way they were supposed to be.  I was missing something.

And now, I'm being reminded that it's my duty to keep my son's room the cleanest room in the house.  I remonstrate with myself for being too lax to enforce strict medication regimens.  I am bewildered to learn that my open window, line dried clothing, candle burning, flower child policies might have contributed to Cy's locked down airways. 


Something has to change.

And so I look up.

Because the only Life Changing Book is God's Word.

There are no rules to life other than the two great commandments: Love God and Love Others.

I don't have to do things exactly the way it is written in some old book.  It's not the power of words on a page from a guru of education or from a guru of organization that holds sway over my life.  It's the power of God's revealed will in the Holy Bible.  It's the power of the Holy Spirit, indwelling, nudging, guiding me through this mess we call life.  And, sometimes, He guides me to interesting books that have applicable tips.  Have you ever prayed over what book to read next?  Try it some time! 

What I am learning right now is to pray over every. single. thing. 

*The grocery list
*The grocery sales for the week
*The menu
*The To Do list
*When to chuck aforementioned list
*School curriculum
*When to panic over children's reading levels
*When to chill over children's reading levels
*What color of tile to choose
*How to remove gum from the dryer
and last but not least
*How to organize my home

God cares about each and every one of these issues.  He created me for this job and He created this particular job for me.  He has promised to give wisdom to everyone that asks.  Habits of thrift, industry and excellence are praised in His Word as virtues to be cultivated.  Why not look up and ask your Father?

And so, I know things have to change.

I look up.

Here is the game plan, subject to change as God leads:

I will embark on an extreme purge of our junk worldly possessions.  Armed with the KonMari secret to letting go of the superfluous, I will no longer be held to my junk by guilt.  The Japanese mindset is very mystical.  The objects have personalities and souls.  Miss Kondo brings this to her closet by treating the shirts the way the shirts want to be treated.  She has no guilt for releasing an item that no longer brings her joy.  It has fulfilled it's purpose, either as a gift to bring joy or as a purchase to fulfill a need or maybe just to teach a lesson such as, "I hate that color and will never buy it again."

 So, am I saying that I should adopt this Eastern mystical view? 

No!  It is an Animist and Shinto superstition.

But what if I held each object in my hand, thanked God for the purpose He had for it in my life and then either carefully put it away to be used and enjoyed or thankfully released it as it's purpose has already been fulfilled?  What a different approach to cleaning!  No more guilt.  No more hanging on to things that have no purpose in my home.  Keeping only what is needed and treasured.  Taking care of each treasured blessing, instead of tromping all over the fallen clothes on the bedroom floor. 

This is my vision.

This is my mission.

My family's health depends on it.

My sanity depends on it.

I hope to keep you updated as I implement this exciting new outlook in our home.  I can hardly contain myself over the laundry origami!

Cy is home now, after two days in the Pediatric Hilton.  We enjoyed the time together, one on one.  We, or at least he, had great food, cable TV to watch Walker, Texas Ranger and the History channel and a seriously gorgeous view out the window.  It almost felt like a retreat.  Now that we're home, I'm getting up every four hours to administer breathing treatments.  My darling husband, who held down the fort while I was gone, is snowed under by the flu.  I'm exhausted and overwhelmed.  But, what else can you do when weighted down, but look up?

The view is worth it!