5.25.2011

Quotables: Jonathan Swift








Thought for the day....




"May you live all the days of your life."

- Jonathan Swift
Polite Conversation, Dialogue 2
I hope you are having
a lovely week...

5.23.2011

The List that Never Ends: # 271-280

Today I'm continuing with my list,
a list of gifts,
from the Giver of all good gifts...


Today I thank God...

271. ... for the birth of my new niece, Emma Joy.


272. ... for a safe delivery for my sister-in-law and the baby. The baby will require a surgery in a few months to open up one of the sutures in her skull that fused prematurely. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

273. ... for fresh radishes from my garden.

274. ... for animals dressed in clothes.



275. ... for a kind friend at church who organized a baby shower for my bro-in-law/sis-in-law.

276. ... for a bunch of spring birthdays to celebrate with different family members.

277. ... for the old man I saw at a gas station walking around in a captain's hat just like the one my brother wore every day for about two years when he was a kid, and for the smile and memories the sight brought.

278. ... for snow peas and hummus.

279. ... for a clean house.

280. ... for getting to see some positive results from a discipline.

I hope that today,
wherever you are,
and whatever you're doing,
you're taking a moment
to stop and acknowledge
all of the gifts
that you have been given too.



5.18.2011

Quotables: Martin Niemöller

"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. And then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up."

- Reverend Martin Niemöller, a Protestant Minister in Nazi Germany in 1945

5.16.2011

The List that Never Ends: #261-270

Still thanking God....

261. ...for the smell of honeysuckle and the little drop of sweetness.

262. ...for an up-close-and-personal-bee-keeping lesson with my brother, Zack. (More in-depth post on this experience coming soon.)
263. ...for honey bees - what amazing little creatures!

264. ...for the smell of newly-cut grass.


265. ...for warm, sunny days and riding with the windows down.
266. ...for garlic.
267. ...for a fun date night on Friday with Josh.
268. ...for good stories (we went and saw the new Jane Eyre movie Friday night).
269. ...for a kind friend who helps us out with all of our car and computer problems.
270. ...for a day of rest and worship with family and friends.

Are you giving thanks today? Link up with us over at...


Have a lovely week...

5.15.2011

Out of the whirlwind...


Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding...
- Job 38: 1-4

The photo above was captured by a local resident (I'm sorry, I don't know the name - it was forwarded to me via e-mail) during the recent tornado that hit our community.

Wow.
God is awesome.

Happy Sunday.

5.11.2011

Booking It: May, and a sneaky Quotables: William Morris


Well, folks, the 11th has rolled around again, and it's time for my Booking It installment for May. I will be linking this post up over at Life As Mom, and you can still join in on the reading challenge for the rest of the year there yourself. Thanks for hosting, Jessica!

I read two books this month. The first I read for personal reasons and, thus, won't be discussing here today.

The second was...

by Peter Walsh

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less StuffIf you don't recognize his face from the book cover, Walsh is the professional organizer from TLC's show Clean Sweep, and he is apparently a regular contributor on the Oprah Winfrey Show, which I never watch.

This was a quick read, and to a borderline-CDO person like myself, it was like music to the ears.... (CDO is like OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order, like they should be). Walsh has made a career out of helping people assess and adjust their relationship to their stuff and get organized, and this book is the step-by-step process on how you can do the same.

His argument is not simply to tell you "to clean your house," but rather, to cr eate a vision for the life you want to be living, and then how to let go of the psychological, emotional, and physical clutter that is preventing you from living that life.


The stuff that nightmares are made of.
Image Credit

Being a professional organizer, Walsh has had a lot of experience dealing with folks in extreme clutter situations like you would see on the A&E reality show, Hoarders (Have you seen that? It's morbidly fascinating - like a car wreck - horrible, but you can't stop looking). While your "stuff" situation may not be that critical, you could probably still stand to pare things down a bit (or a lot), organize what you do keep into a beautiful and functional arrangement, and then get busy living your life.

I'm obsessively fairly organized by nature, so there weren't really any "lightbulb" moments for me while reading this - most of it is just common sense... but if you aren't a naturally neat person and are trying to get organized but are a bit overwhelmed on where to start, this book would undoubtedly be very helpful.

Pros:

- It is a well-written, easy-to-read, friendly sort of book - Walsh seems like a genuinely nice person, and his writing style is kind and helpful.

- I like the fact that Walsh addresses the psychological attachment to things rather than simply telling you how to "get organized," because the emotional attachment to stuff is usually what gets you in trouble in the first place. He emphasizes that things are not people and gives you permission to let go of the "stuff" you're keeping, not because you use or like it, but because you feel "guilty" about getting rid of it because it once belonged to a relative or was given to you by a special person in your life, etc. I once watched an episode of Hoarders where a guy had taken that misconception to the extreme and wouldn't even throw away the hair his dog shed everywhere because he felt like he would be throwing away his dog - eek! Crazy and gross! So I think that is an important point when dealing with clutter situations.

- I like the fact that he encourages you to give things to people who really need it and emphasizes the importance of relationships with people over maintenance of "stuff."

- The book is neatly organized (duh!) into a systematic plan for dealing with your home, room-by-room. He gives very practical advice on how to deal with common problem areas in your home, and he makes it clear and simple for the organizationally-challenged.  

- Some good advice he included from William Morris (a British textile designer/artist/writer - also, a socialist, so enjoy this quote but take everything else from him cum grano salis):


"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."


(That was the sneaky "Quotables" installment for today, in case you were waiting for it...)

Cons:

- This book is not written from a Christian perspective. While Walsh does emphasize that there is more to life than "stuff" and that our priorities should be elsewhere, he places most of his emphasis on the fact that you could be "living a happy/fulfilling life" and "having meaningful relationships" if you aren't drowning in the chaos of too much clutter. He's definitely on the right track when he says there's more to life than "stuff," but, as a Christian, I believe there's also more to life than simply living a happy, organized life with the people you love. The Christian's relationship to stuff is one of stewardship - God has entrusted us with certain resources, and we are to be using them wisely in the way that most glorifies Him. We also need to keep in mind that everything we have here is temporary, and it's all going to burn one day. The valuable things are the eternal things. The book is missing the principle:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." - Matthew 6:19-21
However, I wouldn't expect a non-Christian to include that aspect of the thing anyway. I can also appreciate the fact that the book's primary purpose is a how-to guide for getting organized, and, thus, doesn't have to include a philosophical treatise on materialism and the purpose of life. Anyway.

- The only other thing I would mention is that Walsh, a homosexual, thanks his partner in the acknowledgements at the end and also includes several gay couples in his anecdotes throughout the book. However, other than mentioning the same-sex names together as couples, he really doesn't push any kind of homosexual agenda. The book is about cleaning out and organizing your house, and he pretty much sticks to that.

Final Verdict: Overall, it's a good read, and it could be very helpful to you if you need a little help or motivation to clean out your home, simplify, and adjust your thinking regarding "stuff." It's worth reading.


Love Among the Chickens by P.G. Wodehouse (Halcyon Classics)Incidentally, this month I also listened to the audio book,
a piece by one of my favorite authors for a fun, light read (or listen). It had a typical Wodehouse plot - a well-meaning young fellow finds himself in a couple of ridiculous predicaments due to his good-natured assistance with a flaky friend's hair-brained scheme to start a chicken farm, as well as his misfortune of falling in love with a young neighbor who is devoted to her short-tempered father. Through some calculated (and occasionally daft) scheming and his finesse with a niblick on the links, all comes out right in the end for our young hero (as it typically does in a Wodehouse book). While it doesn't compare to the "Jeeves" books, I still enjoyed it and had several laughs while listening. It's available as a free download from Librivox on itunes, which is where I got it. This is one for the beach!
I hope you're having a lovely week.... happy reading!

5.09.2011

The List that Never Ends: #251-260

It's been one of those weeks.... Because I'd been feeling a bit under the weather lately, I decided to do a hard-core-detox-type thing that basically eliminates all sugar, dairy, yeast, caffeine, starchy/carb-laden foods, and pretty much all fun and happiness from your diet. I'm sure I've been quite a pleasant person to be around lately (sorry, Josh!). In addition, Josh was sick with a cold, and my dog came down with a stomach virus (complete with explosive diarrhea) over the weekend. Oh yes, fun times were had by all.

Nevertheless.....

I still have a lot for which to be thankful. So I'm continuing my list of 1000 gifts....because life is a gift, and because we're commanded to give thanks in all things. So...

Today, I am thanking God...

251. ...for the fact that I even have food options....and food, period.

252. ...for stevia, my lifeline right now.

253. ...for carpet shampooers.

254. ...for some mighty fine weather.


255. ...for my Mom, Mamaw, Mother-in-Law, and Grandmothers-in-Law. (Happy Mother's Day yesterday!)

256. ...that Harvey seems to be on the mend.




257. ...for herbs - the flavors, the medicinal qualities.

258. ...for fresh air.


259. ...for the color green.

260. ...for the smell of blooming wild roses.

Are you giving thanks today? Link up with me over at:


5.08.2011

Happy Mother's Day...


Happy Mother's Day

to...

my Mom
my Mamaw
my Aunts
my Mother-in-Law
my Grandmothers-in-Law
my Sisters-in-Law
and all the other Moms out there
who have taken seriously
the command to raise your children
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

There is no job more important than yours.
Thanks for all you do,
even when no one notices...

5.04.2011

Quotables: Carl Larsson

"…should it not be a sufficiently worthy goal to let people learn to recognize people through my pictures, how pretty a flower looks at the roadside, how charmingly a little girl's braids snuggle against her little round neck, how the rays of sunlight fall on the little nose … But it must be done as well as I possibly can, must be done with enthusiastic joy, with infinite care and deep sighs; and the end-result must be a victory; in it there must be visible no vagueness and yet no effort, it must beam forth to the viewer and fall like scales from the eyes: He should praise God and thank Him for all the beauty there is in this vale of tears and see in the promise and hint of the splendors that await him beyond the grave."

- Carl Larsson, Swedish illustrator/artist, in"Aims and Media" in Konst 1911

5.02.2011

The List that Never Ends: #241-250

It's been a tough week here in Greene County. Late Wednesday evening, a number of tornadoes ripped through the South - two of them touching down in communities here in our neck of the woods. Six people were killed, many more were injured, and many homes, barns, and businesses were partially or completely destroyed. This all happened within a ten-minute drive from my house.

Although it is sometimes difficult to recognize blessings during the dark times, we are still supposed to do it. God is always good, and He is still showering his grace on us, even in the middle of tragedies like this.

So, I'm still counting...

Today, I am thanking God...

241. ...for keeping my family, church family, and friends safe during the tornado.

242. ...for keeping so many other people and homes in the area safe.

This is the "command center" for the relief efforts...
243. ...for the rescue teams and individuals who have given their time and risked their own safety to help find missing people, clear roads and debris, and serve the people who lost everything.
244. ...for the local churches who are truly acting like the Body of Christ, helping those in need.

245. ...that God spared some very good friends who were less than half a mile away from the path of the storm - their home is one ridge over from the road where just about everything was completely destroyed.

246. ...for modern technology that gives us some warning about severe weather.

247. ...for getting to have Josh home for two nights this past weekend, when I didn't expect to get to see him at all. (He's away at school during the week and over the weekend had to go to Nashville for some "community volunteering" that the school requires. Long story - I'm looking forward to December!)

248. ...for homegrown lettuce and other veggies coming up in my garden.

249. ...for some fun "girl time" this week - dinner, a movie, gelato, and a loooong, late-night talk with my oldest friend (who is also my cousin), and a "royal wedding" party with my Bible study friends.

250. ...that God is always watching over us and knows our needs before we ask Him.





Below is a video someone made showing the aftermath of the tornado here. If you would like to donate to the relief efforts, I have added links below the video. Please keep the people affected by this tragedy in your prayers - some of them lost loved ones, and many lost everything they owned. Thank you.





The Red Cross
Various Links
Facebook Page for Camp Creek Disaster Relief

Thank you for your help...

Linking up today at: