July 28, 2010

Making Progress

We came back from our vacation with a re-newed sense of needing to simplify our lives.  We had managed to live for a week in a much smaller house with much less stuff and it had been good.  Really good.

It turns out that purging accumulated clutter, clothing and just...well... stuff, takes time.  It is a process and not something that just happens in a quick pass.  The biggest challenge for Steve & I is that we don't want to just throw away things that are perfectly good and useful to someone.  So we (read me), are searching for places to donate things, trying to sell some things, and finding people who can use what we are trying to reduce in our lives.  We have been very blessed - to the excess in some cases - and I don't want to waste those blessings.

My new rule for things to be kept in the house is that they must be useful, loved, bring us joy and have a permanent home - and by that I mean have a place they belong as 'put away'.  I have cleared off the top of the piano and the mantle in the living room and have 2 boxes of 'stuff' to find new homes for soon.  I have purged 2 bookcases or school curriculum that I am trying to sell.  And have begun working on the two younger kids bedrooms.

We've lived in our home for more than 14 years now.  That is a LOT of accumulated stuff to wade through.  But we are making progress and it feels good.  I am thankful for all our blessings and even more thankful that God is nudging us to a more mindful and purposeful way of living so that we can focus on what is truly important for His glory through our lives.

Blessings on the journey~

July 20, 2010

A July Sky

These are some photos I took after a storm blew through on a July evening.  The light outside was amazing and drew me out into the twilight with a camera.  Not generally my sort of thing - that is Steve's department usually - but I tried and they are pretty neat.

July 14, 2010

Wednesday Rain

It rained!
I suppose that may not be reason enough for a real celebration, but given the SERIOUS lack of water here lately.  I was more than happy to thank God during my prayer time this morning for sending us some rain.
I'm working to get back on track with life now that my computer is fixed and a nice rainy/gray day is a good day for more of that.  I still have lots of school-related files to re-create, but I'm making progress.
I've also started working on a 'home notebook' which includes a complete inventory of my pantry stock-pile and will work on inventory of the freezer either today or tomorrow.  I also need to go through my spice cabinet and that will be at least a half-day project.  Sometimes it amazes me how long seemingly simple tasks really take.
The idea for the home notebook came from this very cool site: Organized Home
So I used one of those small binders and inserted some pretty scrap-book paper for covers and printed out some forms/pages to get started.  It's a process and hopefully will make life a bit easier as I work towards being more organized and a better steward and keeper of my home.
Blessings on the journey~

July 9, 2010

Almost fixed

I have the most amazing husband... I know... I say that a lot.  But it's true!
He has spent literally hours upon HOURS over the past few days working to fix my computer.  He has installed a new hard drive, done tons of stuff to get it ready to upgrade and is installing the upgrade to Windows 7 for me.
We've re-arranged some computer furniture, changed locations on some systems and he set me up with dual monitors and things are hopefully on the way to being more stable computer-wise here for a while.
We still haven't recovered the data off the other drive, but I found one of my most important files on our backup drive, so that is a HUGE blessing and answer to prayer.  God is good... and I am most blessed.

July 8, 2010

Re-boot. re-set, re... something!

Boy is returning from a marvelous vacation a challenge at times.  Especially when it seems God is nudging both Steve and I along a journey to simplify our lives in preparation for whatever He has planned next.
We returned home to find that my main computer system died... I mean... DIED.  The hard drive is dead for no apparent reason.  It was fine before I left and was turned off all week.  Very strange.
Steve has been valiantly trying to find a solution and even today is still working on some data recovery ideas.  For some unknown reason, our external back-up drive stopped backing up my files earlier this spring. *sigh*  All my files and data for months are now gone unless God grants us a small miracle.  I did manage to do a direct write backup of one major file just before we left - so that is a HUGE blessing.
In looking for how God may have orchestrated this for our good - I discovered that it is very possible that I was plugging along under my own steam relating to our home school and now will have to do a total re-set.  This will mean not plunging back into a lot of schoolwork next week as I'd planned. 
This could be good in a lot of ways really.   Especially as I now have  a new list of things to work on for simplifying and making some potentially significant changes in our home life.  The kids will have a bit more down-time/vacation.  Perhaps the house will become cleaner? :-)
God is pretty clearly telling us some things... I'm not entirely sure exactly what it all is just yet.  The really awesome thing is that Steve seems to be hearing/seeing a lot of the same things that I am hearing/seeing.  That God is moving us both in the same direction is an incredible blessing and makes the journey sweeter... not necessarily any easier, but absolutely sweeter.  My husband is pretty awesome and in the past few weeks I've seen so many more things that make me appreciate all he is and does on a whole new level.
So... I'm off today to find a good buy on a new hard drive and Windows 7 and whatever all else is needed for surgery on my computer.
Blessings on the journey~

July 1, 2010

Ocean Vacation

We've been on vacation!
I love that we have the blessing of being able to take our children on family vacations.  We did that only very rarely when I was a child (once when I was 10 or so and not again until high school). 
I don't feel deprived about it or have any negative feelings around it.  I didn't know anyone who went away on vacations when I was a kid.  Dads worked, sometimes Moms too, we kids went to school, played outside after school and during summer vacations.  Normal kid life. :-)
We have taken some of our children on vacations far away (A went to NV/AZ/UT when he was 5) and all 3 went to FL a few times.  Normally our trips are pretty local - within a few hours drive.  Our most favorite vacation spot so far is Acadia.  We drive the 4-5 hours up to Maine, camp, play around in the ocean, hike and sight see in the National Park, noodle around in the shops and eat ice cream. It's great!
This year we did something different.  We have never done this before.  We rented a cottage right on the point - right on the water.  It's gorgeous and we love it. 
I think camping is going to be really a challenge after this experience. :-)