Sunday, November 15, 2015

Be Thou My Vision - The Life Changing Magic of Looking Up, Part 2

"Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
 Not be all else to me save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night, 
Waking or sleeping, Thy Presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word.
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and Thou only first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won.
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun
Heart of mine own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all."

* It has been a golden Sunday afternoon.  For the first time in weeks, the whole family was able to go to church.  I feel like I have finally found a toe hold and can rest for a few moments.  It's a lovely feeling to be able to breathe!  I have luxuriated in this restful state of mind for the last five minutes at least.  Until a certain little girl crashed through the door on an urgent mission to find a bathroom.  She refuses to use the boy's bathroom.  She might be only four, but she has standards!

The past week has been an interesting hybrid of Sick Day operating procedures and Get Your Butt Out Of Bed And Do Something Productive bootcamp.  Cy is down to taking his medicine throughout the day and sleeping through the night, which has been a huge relief to me.  He is still not a hundred percent, though.  He has a visit to the Pulmonologist on Tuesday.  Robert is back to work, which is also a huge relief.  I love having him home, but it is hard to keep the house on schedule when daddy is about!  Most of our time this week was split between various doctor's appointments, assorted school work and The Project.  (Cue ominous music - dum dum dum!)

*I have to make a full disclosure here.  I actually wrote this last week.  But, the description is pretty much still accurate and current.  Except it wasn't a golden autumn day.  It was cold and wet.  But still restful.  Oh, and yes, The. Kids. Are. Still. Sick.  Sigh.  Back to the ominous music-

Why the ominous music?  Just take a gander what I am up against:

Behold the boy's room!

I'm speechless with horror. These were all clean clothes!

The girl's room is even worse
Ah yes, The Project.  The Japanese-Feng Shui-Tidy Up-Inner Peace-Fest Of Doom Project.

There are a couple of steps you have to take to prepare yourself for such an audacious undertaking.

First, eat Chinese food to set the mood.  I know, Chinese is not quite Japanese, but at least I'm on the right continent.

Second, light a candle.  Oh, wait.  I'm not allowed to light candles anymore.  They might trigger asthma.  I don't think I can do this!  Deep breaths, Mary.  Deep breaths.

Third, ask yourself why you desire a clean and tidy house.  I mean it.  Conduct a regular 60 Minutes interview.  It's always helpful to define what you want and why.

Myself: "Why do you want a clean and tidy house?"
I: "I don't want people to get the wrong idea that we actually live this way."
Myself: "But you actually do live this way."
I: "Shut up."

Let's try this from a different angle.  Obviously false pride isn't such a great motivator.

Myself: "So, what great and noble value is motivating you to put in order your ungrateful progeny's chamber?"
I: "Safety.  It's my goal."
Myself: "Safety?  Explain."
I: "What if we had a fire in the middle of the night?  Maybe the dirty underwear in the corner spontaneously combusted. We'd all break our legs in the smokey blackness.  We'd stub our toes and step on LEGO's and trip over shoes and get twisted up in the laundry.  Then the firemen would have to break their way in with axes because rubble would be piled up against the door.  Maybe they would get lost in the blanket fort that never was put away.  We could all be overcome with smoke inhalation before they kicked through the stacks of diaper boxes that made up the wagon train earlier in the day.  We'll make the evening news.  I'm going to go to jail.  My children will be raised by hippies in California!"
Myself: "Oh brother."

The fact of the matter is, I have tried giving myself any number of pep talks and hard hitting interviews.  I have gone through about sixty different reasons why I should keep my home nice and orderly.  They range from the reasonable to the ridiculous.  But it really all comes down to Proverbs 30:8

"Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me."

Enough is as good as a feast, so Laura Ingall's mother used to say.

I don't want more.  I don't need more.  I just want to take care of the people and the possessions that have been entrusted to my care.  I want to be a wise steward with every available resource.  This includes  my
* time

Why would God bless our family with more of anything when we don't know how to care for what we already have?

What if we discovered just how fun life can be when we don't have to slave over taking care of stuff?  What if we actually dropped off nice things at Goodwill, instead of broken junk?  (I'm sure the Goodwill crew shudders when they see my van pull up.  "There's the girl who only donates holey shirts.  Hide!" )  What if we discovered that the less we have, the more we actually do?  I would like to find out!

I pray that God will teach me to number not only my days, but my shelves, my socks and my cookbooks so that I can apply my heart to wisdom and my home to peace.

Back to those disaster areas I call bedrooms.  The first step was to fold all the clothes, storing the in-between sizes in plastic totes and getting rid of everything that is worn out and stained.  Did you know that plastic bags really stink at storing clothes because they WILL be used as step stools and bean bag chairs and they will spill their contents all over the floors and will co-habit with the dirty clothes and be fruitful and multiply? 
Well, you do now.

   I had to really re-think our storing method for the clothes that we are currently using.  Marie Kondo recommends folding everything except formal wear and storing in drawers or on shelves.  It just so happens that we have three shelves on each end of the boys closet.  Alvin and Dee get each of these 

This is the new and improved Boy's Closet!  I am SO pumped!  The only items hanging are the suits and dress shirts for all three of the boys.  Later, I moved all their winter coats in, since we had so much room. 

These are what Dee's shelves look like.

Just keeping it real.  After a week of putting away his own laundry, it's a little messy.  What is astounding to me is that all of his clothes are here.  There are 19 short and long sleeved shirts on that top shelf, y'all!  All the pants and shorts he owns are nestled up on the bottom shelf.  Not pictured are the socks, underwear and pajamas on the shelf above.

Cy gets the fancy "armoir" thingy all to himself, since he's the oldest.

This includes all of his t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, shorts, socks and underwear.  The whole nine yards with room to spare!

The finished Girl's Room nearly makes me weep. 

This is truly a case of Less is More.  I removed the toddler bed, changing table and toy box. I got rid of tons of trash, old clothes and junk.  There are no toys left in either bedroom, other than the two you see pictured here.  I want to keep these rooms easy to clean!

The only items I have purchased so far have been the white set of drawers here and a few plastic totes.   I haven't even needed all the totes yet.  The folding system has been so efficient, I have tons of room left!  In this closet we have all the clothes worn by my two girls, both summer and winter.  All their shoes, diapers, wipes and pullups, coats and jackets, as well as the one tote of shoes for the two of them to grow into and one tote of clothes for Ana to grow into. Oh yeah, and one tote of gift bags!  And two crib sized mattresses.  It's a nice closet, but not unusually large.  Origami folding is like magic!

One last closet pic, I promise.  Maybe.

Robert was so excited to come to this on Friday!

Why did I move all of our coats out of the hall closet and into each child's space?

So I could do this.

The unwieldy closet organizer that used to hold Ana's clothes, (and very poorly, I might add) is perfect for holding all of our winter mittens, stocking caps, scarves, shooting safety glasses, vacuum bags, and extra Kleenex.  The ex coat closet now houses the vacuum and ironing board.  No more coats littered across the entry way!

I have big plans for my walk-in closet.  I am going to do something radical!  I will move the bulk of my clothes OUT of the closet and re-purpose the space as Robert's "man cave" for his birthday.  I can't wait!!! 

This isn't quite the polished post I had hoped to put out.  But hopefully it will provide some encouragement and inspiration to think out of the box and beyond the hangar when organizing closets.  I am encouraged that I have made it nearly two weeks with these changes and the bedrooms have yet to revert to chaos.  Maybe, just maybe this will be the configuration that brings peace and order to our lives.

Okay, it probably won't.  But, I love the OCD high it's given me this week!  And if I can teach the boys to be better stewards with their clothes and bedrooms, maybe my future daughters in law will rise up and call me blessed.  That would be something!