Contentment Challenge

It’s October…how did we get here already?

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Oh right. First Sean was a two-headed cow and tuberculosis (From Orchids to Octopi), then we were Iago and Desdemona (Othello), then we were Mollie Ralston and Sgt. Trotter (The Mousetrap), now I’m Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (Steel Magnolias).

I love theater, always have, always will. It’s how Sean and I met, and a passion we share. And this has been an incredible year for roles. But it never seems to fail that I allow a show to bring discord into my home. I’m gone 3 nights a week. My home falls into disarray. We eat like crap. I feel like I’m always kissing my daughter good-bye as I head out the door. Natalie now mimics me, purse over her shoulder, waving bye and blowing me a kiss. I ask her where she’s going, and she says she doesn’t know. Now, as a daycare provider, I’m with her all day, it’s not like I’m an absentee mother. But for some reason this strikes a chord somewhere in me. Looks like I’m the one with separation anxiety issues, not the toddler. We’ve been constantly on the go, so much that it feels weird and I get antsy if we don’t have anywhere to be. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to just BE.

So I’m calling a time out.

Ok, maybe not a time out…a sabbatical?

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Something has to change. I read about a Contentment Challenge first on photographer Nancy Ray‘s blog, then on my friend Lara Casey‘s, and I thought ‘maybe this is what I need’. But I decided that, instead of throwing myself into it immediately, I’d pray about it. Ask God if this is what he meant for me, if this is what I truly needed. I prayed for 2 weeks, and the pull never left my heart. Then, sitting in our friends’ apartment last Friday for our first Financial Peace University class, Dave Ramsey talked about how people forget about true contentment.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  (Phil 4:12-13)

Ding Ding.

My life is over run with STUFF. Clutter. Both physical and mental. Natalie’s incredibly impressionable, and I want to provide the best environment for her as possible, because this is her foundation.

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The Contentment Challenge : October, November & December 2013

We will give up shopping for clothes, accessories, household decor, and “stuff” for 3 months, to focus our hearts and minds on the root of true contentment. We will actively pursue fulfilling activities that will replace our addiction to material things.

The Guidelines:

• For the next 10 days, your homework is the following: prepare your heart, organize your closet, and make any necessary purchases that you might need during these months. (This is not a last minute shopping spree! This is one final trip to the store for items you will need, and the opportunity for you to say your goodbyes to Target.)

• Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time. There are so many great options at your local library. I will be choosing Love Does by Bob Goff and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge

• Gifts are okay! If someone gives you a new dress or piece of decor during that time, receive it graciously! If you need to buy someone else a gift, by all means, do so. The point is not to be rude, but to learn more of ourselves and the Lord. Personally, I have a gift card to Ruche from my birthday that I am savoring  and will be utilizing at some point, but it will be for an item that is needed to .

• Necessities are okay! If you drop and break your phone, please go get a new one! If you lose your glasses, buy a new pair. Just don’t start justifying new purchases for items that you already have. (“I really NEED this bathing suit, even though there are 8 in my closet already.”) My exceptions to the challenge include a few extras for Natalie’s birthday (maybe some balloons to surprise her in the morning) and a Christmas tree.

• You must actively pursue something – anything – that replaces your tendency to buy stuff. Begin thinking about something you love or a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, and make preparations to actually do it. I will be focusing on creating, simplifying and creating memories. Gifts for Christmas, planning my garden for 2014, purging our home and having a yard sale.

So, who’s with me?

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Office Overhaul: Phase One

 

I give you fair warning folks, it’s about to get ugly up in here. This is keeping it real. There is a room in our house that I had the highest hopes for, but I currently HATE. Loathe. Despise. It’s also the room that’s supposed to house what I love to do most (outside of playing and caring for the Princess).

Prepare yourselves, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is our office/craft room.

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We have tried a million times to wrangle this mess, and it gets the best of us every time. So here’s hoping the million and oneth time is the charm.

Sean and I were insane and went to IKEA yesterday, aka President’s Day on a school vacation week. We spent about $170 and came home with a 4×2 Expedit bookcase, a Billy bookcase, a Vika desktop and a couple legs, and a handful of other non-office related items.

I cleared out the room last night and gave the wood floors a good clean, so it was ready for construction.

Enter my sister, who came into town for the day and was swiftly enlisted into the crafty chicks club.

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Cue the cheesy “look what we did” photos that I texted to Sean.

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This is almost the final configuration (if you can see it under that mess…oh dear). The bookcases provide oodles of storage, and the tops will act as a cutting/pinning/pressing table.

The wooden bookcase with the swords on top will be moved out and the desktop will go there. That’s where my sewing machine will live. My poor Mac is feeling claustrophobic.

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A view of Sean’s corner and the Billy, which will house all of our books.

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Sitting at my Mac, there’s plenty of space to work around the cutting table.

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This little space in front of the closet I imagine will house a little table and play space for Natalie while we’re working.

 

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More progress will happen when Sean gets home this evening, so hopefully we’ll be in awesome shape soon!

Bon Voyage Pet Bed | Pinterest Challenge

I’m joining in on the fun over at Young House Love, Bower Power, Hi Sugarplum, and The Great Indoors.

The challenge was to finally take one of those projects or ideas that you’ve been pinning on Pinterest and make something! I had a couple ideas, but after an impromptu thrift shop trip, I scored a beautiful older suitcase, and decided to make a cat bed, inspired by Apartment Therapy’s post.

In the inspiration post, they use a half suitcase, but this one had a great pocket where I could stash my boys’ toys. Plus, I was working within Natalie’s nap time, and wanted to get it done before she woke up.

I gathered my materials:

  • 1 hard sided suitcase
  • 1 old pillow that was retired from the guest bedroom
  • 1 length of fabric from my stash
  • trim
  • hot glue gun
  • safety pins
  • scissors

First, I cut the fabric large enough that it would wrap around the pillow.

Because I was working within the uncertain confines of Natalie’s nap, I did a no sew version of a pillow cover. I pulled in the fabric around the corners, similar to hospital corners on a bed. Then I used safety pins to secure them, slipping the pin through the pillow fabric as well.

I made sure the pins were safely under the pillow so they wouldn’t be exposed.

I then used hot glue to secure the trim to the lids, so that it would stay propped open at just beyond 90 degrees and not open all the way to 180 degrees.

Note to self: use trim that is not stretchy. Stretchy trim makes this step pointless.

I propped it against the wall, relocated the multitude of cat toys, and waited for approval from the boys.

I didn’t have to wait long.

Breakdown of costs:

  • suitcase = $7.99
  • pillow = free – retired from the guest bedroom
  • fabric = free – from my stash, originally given to me by a friend, so truly free
  • trim = free – from my stash, originally given to me by a friend, so, again, truly free
  • safety pins = free – had on hand

So the total came in at a whopping $7.99!