Monday, April 30, 2012

Cleaning House

Tsh Oxenreider does a good job of saying what needs to be said, without saying too much.  I have tried to read 'get your life in order' type books before and I usually stop reading before I am half-way through because I get bored and restless.  Organized Simplicity has been different (thank You, LORD!... and thank you, Tsh!).

She starts you off by prompting you through some questions and evaluations to help you write out a purpose statement for your family.  Everything you do and own should reflect that purpose statement. 
It's so simple, and yet the common sense of this book is strangely... uncommon.
After she speaks to subjects like scheduling and finances, she moves you into the fun stuff.  Cleaning your house.... with a garage sale in your future.  I giggled when I read her reason for why she thinks you should do a garage sale:  to learn your lesson about over-consuming and hoarding, and spending outside of your purpose.  Garage sales hurt.  I might rather visit the gyno or dentist than do another garage sale.  Yes, it is an effective means of lesson learning.
So, I am moving room by room.  Per Tsh's instructions, I am taking out everything from a room except the rugs and furniture.  I then clean the room from top to bottom including windows, walls, vents, etc.  I only put back in the room what is useful or beautiful and what lines up with our family purpose statement. 

Here are some before pics of our family room:

Here's how much junk was stored in that room:

Here's what it looked like after the cleaning before putting what we kept back:

And here's the after:

Though this first room went quickly, the music room and school room took the weekend.  There were lots of papers, books, and odds and ends that needed sorting through.  Lots of stuff is making its way into either the garbage, recycle, or sell room (my guest bedroom is converted into the garage-sale-prep room for now.  :)

Having these two major areas behind me, I am ready to press forward into utility rooms, closets and pantry, kids rooms, and play room. 

Our garage sale is this weekend.  I've got LOTS of work to do between now and Friday.   When I walk into the two main rooms I've already done, I feel such a sense of accomplishment.... I feel lighter and more free.
  Something else I learned, and this is HUGE: By physically touching each and everything I own, I feel the weight of it's value.  Often the thing falls short of what I would hope for something I kept so long, or spent money on.  Sometimes I rejoice and am thankful to re-discover an amazing resource or tool that I have had all along and was under-utilizing.  All the while, through the whole process, I am keeping our family's purpose statement front-and-center in my mind.

So that's what's up with the west-coast Liechtys!

and now, counting with my grateful friends:

~ a Sunday walk with my love and our pup, down tree-lined streets and falling petals,  for pizza and root beer

~ the feeling of being tucked in bed with a good book at the end of a busy weekend

~ the scent of honeysuckle in the air

~ kitchen creativity with two funny girls

~ SG and Hannah sewing their re-purposed creations for their Etsy business

~ a friend bringing flowers

~ a friend showing mercy

~ Alex bringing SG ladybug earrings for her new pierced ears after the two of them released 1500 ladybugs into the garden

~ watching SG's focus and determination in her softball games

~ Samuel entering another Lego contest... never daunted by not winning in the past

~ good books, math manipulatives, science tools, art supplies, great music, pencils, paper

~ the feeling and knowledge of what it is to become more myself

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meet Sarah Grace, Age 10

Ten years ago today, I birthed this beautiful girl into the world.
She lights up a room with her nose- crinkling, freckle-faced smile and auburn hair.
She's grown out of her pudginess and no longer looks down upon her peers.
She's small in stature, but a scrapper none-the-less.  
She likes to dress like a twin to her best friend, string beads, make sketches and any other art she can figure.
She writes praise songs, poems and stories.
She sometimes tries to sneak out of the house with eye shadow on.
She loves putting an outfit together.
She doesn't brush her hair everyday.
She's calls her daddy "Daddy-O" and "Daddy-Doo".
Sometimes she misspells her brother's name.
She has a heart for neighborhood missions.
She likes all kinds of music.
She climbs trees, kisses her puppy, digs up worms and bugs (and names them), and has to wash her feet when she comes in from outside.
She likes playing basketball and softball and swimming.
She wants to be a pitcher.
She likes looking after little kids.
She named her Venus Fly Trap Petey, and planted her ladybug house in the rose garden.
She buried her deceased Praying Mantis, P-Man, in her brother's potted dwarf spruce.
She's funny and does great British and Texan accents.
She wants to learn to sew and open an Etsy store with her BFF.
She wants to raise chickens and goats and have fruit trees.
She wants a little brother or sister.
She's touchy-feel-y.
She cries when one of her bugs die.
She's not an open book.
She is easy to be with.
She's girlie, but not prissy.
Blue is her favorite color.
She doesn't care if she has to use  boys' stuff or second-hand.
She's not particular.
She's a good eater.
She likes to cook.
She sleeps with mama most mornings.
She's right brained.
She makes great art and does math slow.
She's a whole lot wrapped up in a little package.
Today she is ten.

Happy Birthday Peachy Peach!

And counting my blessings with Ann and the others:

a fantabulous weekend of warm weather and sunny blue skies
an equally beautiful day for Peachy's B-day
having lunch with friends in the warm open air
dreams of summer expeditions
Toby acting like a good dog
how sickness makes you slow down
a yummy meal from a sweet, precious friend
yard work with my love
a slice of raspberry vanilla cake specially delivered to my kitchen by a sweet little baker-girl
the upcoming garage sale that will make the dream of purging a reality
the friend that went to the trouble to arrange it
stories from my nine year old that now is ten
the non-stop chatter of my sweet boy
hearing my sisters voice on the other end of the line

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Read about Rachel

I have the honor of covering a new artist, getting ready to open her new online shoppe.  Check it out at Imagination Nexus:

Monday, April 9, 2012

When I Want to Break Away

There is a restlessness around here.  I hate it because it's the antithesis of contentment.  Contentment with godliness is great gain.... I believe it.  I know it to be true.  But what do you do when it slips from your grasp?

Two things I do.  Remember I am not made for this world.  It cannot satisfy my longings.  It will never be enough.  Grasping for more of it does not get me closer to any arrival.  In Kingdom speak:  this is not my home.  I'm here on assignment and I'm a gypsy.  To try to shed my cloak of otherworldly oddity would not only be futile, but very disappointing.   Because, underneath the cloak, I'm still a gypsy.  This place doesn't have what I'm looking for.  No need to pretend it does.

But then, sometimes it does have what I am looking for.  When I look for Him, I can find Him.  Even here.
He is here.  He is here on assignment, too.  I'm part of His clan, and He gives His own special powers.... yes supernaturally special powers.  And so the second thing I do in my restlessness?

By His power I see, hear, taste and know.

Ears to hear and eyes to see--both are gifts from the LORD.
Proverbs 20:12

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Psalm 34:8A

and    more counting:
Good Friday worship
all in black...
falling out of sight, out of notice
for the cross set before us
with roses red
hammered violent into the rough wood
like the Rose of Sharon
and there we received
body and blood
and we remembered
as the hammer fell, 
we remembered
so we will not forget

warmth out-of-doors
sun on skin
shoulders dropping
short sleeves
kids playing... really playing 
a screen-less day

home-made chili and cornbread made by 9 year old hands
Coach Ally at dinner, because
the boy and girl invited her to come
and she did

sharing Easter lunch at Famous Dave's with friends
congregating at a park with friends, kids and dogs
friendly chats with strangers

sitting at table communing with good friends
'leftover friends':  friends you can eat left-overs with
sharing troubles, thoughts, dreams and possibilities

cross and candle put away
but not forgotten
yellow tulips on the table
the boy baking brownies
living resurrection life
because we can
because He did.

He is Risen Indeed!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Food Rules

Adkins~GAPS~Low Carb~High Carb~Eat for your Type~South Beach~Mediterranean~Cabbage Soup~Grapefruit~Weight Watchers~Vegan~Vegetarian~Gluten Free~High Protein~Low Fat~Raw Food~21 Day~3 Day~3 Hour~The Zone~Alkaline~Medifast~Jenny Craig~Mayo Clinic~Baby Food~Belly Fat Cure~Flat Belly~Gene Smart~Fruit Flush~Hallelujah~Hormone~High School Reunion~Instinct~Volumetrics~PersonalityType~Perricone~The Spectrum~You, On a Diet

By the way, I left out a bunch... and I didn't make any up, I swear.  You can go to Web MD, just like I did, and get a long (but not exhaustive, I'm sure) list of the diets that are out there for your eating pleasure.... or most probably, dis-pleasure as the case may be.

Now I know that this whole issue is a sacred cow for many people.  I, myself, have a disease that forces me to exclude certain foods from my diet.  I don't eat that way because it's popular or currently *in*.  I eat that way to stay alive.  I don't get the luxury of following a trend when it comes to the way I eat.  I also don't discuss my disease or my eating habits frequently.  I don't like to associate myself with the stuff I don't eat.  I don't like to associate myself with a disease, either.  I say this, because I inevitably do have to share my dietary restrictions with others as I enjoy eating with friends and family.  And some people that don't know me, perhaps, think I am being fashionable with my food choices.  Sometimes this assumption causes me to experience a very large, internal eye roll, that I'm fairly certain would cause my eye balls to stick at the back of my head, were it possible for me to actually roll my eyes back that far.

But enough about me, I just say all that to say, I understand the food becoming a sacred cow thing.
Here's the thing, though,  I do think we can make gathering, preparing and eating our food a real drag.  And I don't think it should or *needs* to be that way.... even in the face of disease.

This is where I am going to give a big shout out for the best take on food I have ever read (and I have read, oh-so-many takes on food).  Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, is the best common-sense source of food science you will find only second to your grandma (or great-grandma depending on when grandma was born).  Here's a hint:  It's NOT a diet, or program to follow.

Go check it out.  You'll be glad you did, I promise!  And now I leave you with Pollan's food motto:

Eat Food..... Not Too Much ...... Mostly Plants.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Counting Blessings

This is a habit I can't give up.... a habit worth time and effort and thoughtfulness.  Counting my blessings bows me low at the feet of Mercy, it quiets any cacophony, and releases his healing power into my most broken places.
It's a habit I cannot give up.

sunlight streaming through windows
the smell, texture and sight of lemons
used book stores
gentle answers
friends and food at the table
eyes and ears to people watch
my husband, Oh my husband!
kids waving palm branches
kids singing His praises
lying in fresh linens
bedtime reading
the beginning of Holy Week
Man of Sorrows
Prince of Peace