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Simple Joys

Organizing too much can make things complicated. Purge. Make it simple.

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Here is my very simple, organized entry closet

An entryway should be very functional. Pretty, but plain and simple.

Do you like konmari? It’s OK if you don’t. She’s right about a few things, though. Keep those things that spark joy.

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Wine glasses are neither functional nor simple. But maybe they spark joy. I’ll keep them.

I hardly ever have a drink, yet these glasses make the cut. They spark joy. I simply look at them and feel fancy while mopping up milk and rocking my mom hair. Simple.

Services I No Longer Pay For

Services I No Longer Pay For

We now have mostly wood floors and no longer need to clean carpets. Win. We also have working lawn equipment. That’s good! We no longer enjoy the oil-field income, so every little bit helps.

(mid) Western Woman

Dry cleaning and a few other chores one can do just as well at home; how is the quality? Sometimes, one can decide that good enough is good enough; some services one may opt to skip completely; and for the rest… save it for a professional.

  1. Hair care; I cut my family’s hair, including my own. I decided that I would be ok with the occasional “oops!” for the return of saved time and money. (I used to color my hair too, but no longer want the chemicals, nor do I have the time.) I actually get compliments on my hair a lot, which tells me that I must be doing something right. https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/cut-your-own-hair/ https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/cut-your-own-hair-short/
  2. Carwashes; we pay for it only in freezing weather (which is most of the time in Minnesota!) We wash our own cars as long as the hose works.
  3. Food Service; Yes, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep…

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Laugh

img_20161126_204551216I needed a laugh today. All week, actually. So when my aunt jokingly suggested I wear a prom dress to the grocery store, that is exactly what I did.

I took off my coat, smiled at each person I passed, and sailed through the store like it was a beauty pageant. People are so shy. They all pretended it was perfectly normal and kept walking. I think that was the funniest part!

My handsome little escort put warm fuzzies in my heart. Another bonus.

Please laugh with or at me, and then tell me something silly you do to get your giggle going on rough days!

Saying “No”

Saying “No”

O-oh tidings of overwork and stress. Like it or not, the Christmas race had begun. When did a peaceful Christmas season completely disappear? Let’s take it back. For our families, for ourselves, and for the real meaning of Christmas.

Here are some words that won’t kill you:

1. I’m currently in the middle of several projects.

2. I’m unavailable that day.

3. Please ask someone else to take a turn and step up.

4. Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I don’t want to add anything else to my plate.

Here are some gift truths that department stores would rather you didn’t know:

1. You don’t owe anyone a gift. That’s right, nobody. Give to show your love, if gifts are the correct love language for that person.

2. If you choose to gift, only do so within your means.

3. It is perfectly fine to regift something if you think the recipient will like it.

4. Don’t give clutter just to give. Do they want/need that item?

5. One underused trick that needs to come back: Giving a service. (babysitting, help with upcoming taxes, snow removal, organizing, whatever you have to offer.) Your forte may be your friend’s weakness. Know your audience. A lot of people would be so thrilled for such an offer.

Tidings of comfort and joy. If the circumstances don’t reflect the song, question the situation. You will thank yourself. #takingbackChristmas

Overwhelmed

IMG_20161026_150844996.jpgWacky Wednesday is a time to let down your hair because the perfect moment will never happen. Weekdays are crazy. Weekends are chaos on steroids. Here are a few hacks I have found that help me survive. Welcome.

1. Sleep is great if you can get it. A cup of herbal tea, warm milk, wine, or even melatonin are great if you can get to sleep a little earlier. Good luck.

2. Exhausted and it’s only 9 A.M? Take a brisk shower. Cheat your body into feeling like it had two extra hours of sleep.

3. Coffee works until it doesn’t. Drink water. Do your best.

4. Cut your to-do last in half. Twice.

5. Outsource. Simplify. Pray.

6. Above all, remember that God WILL give you more than you can handle. Inhale grace. Exhale stress. Turn to Him. He WILL help you. Let Him.

Stop being overwhelmed and do something crazy today. Happy Wednesday!

Frugally Healthy

I’m not going to tell you to buy vitamins and food that you can’t afford. I know what it’s like to wash towels in the bathtub because there were no quarters for the machine. If there isn’t money for laundry, there certainly isn’t money for grass-fed beef. I have been there. So that is why my top advice for budget living is to be as healthy as you can. Here are some ideas to stretch those dollars:

1. Sleep!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so do what you can to not get sick. A visit to the doctor would blow our family budget in a minute. Be well-rested so the body can recharge on its own. Cost: Free.

2. Water.

If coffee and other beverages are taking over, let the body to adjust to simple water. Maybe not cold-turkey, but do your best. Water flushes out toxins. Toxins make you sick. Cost: Water filter cartridges as needed.

3. Supplements …

… but only if you can afford them. Food first. Don’t buy vitamins if you can’t afford good food. We don’t. Cost: Do what you can afford.

4. Healthy Food.

This one is tricky. Health food is expensive. You just do your best. We know it’s cheaper and healthier to make your own than to buy ready-made. Be careful not to eat unhealthy food that can destroy your health. In a perfect world, a healthy diet will have all the vitamins and minerals you need; no supplements required. Cost: For a family of 6, that may be $400-$1000/month. (If you have less than $400 available, and it’s not being used irresponsibly in another category, you are probably eligible for assistance.)

5. The outdoors.

This one is a great way to destress, get vitamin D from the sun, and experience some natural exercise. Cost: Free.

6. Plug your ears.

If someone is quizzing you on whether you are buying the right things, and you know it’s not in the budget, don’t receive it. It’s stressful. Stress can make you sick. File #13. Cost: Free

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Getting some healthy rays while we eat al fresco.

Being healthy is the best thing you can do your budget. You will be able to work better and avoid the cost of sickness. Do your best. And most importantly, know that you can, because you are wonderfully and fearfully made.

I Should Have Said Something

I Should Have Said Something
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Don’t be a chicken. Use your voice.

It was all a mistake. I was expecting a woman for the massage, which my tense body so desperately needed. My sister in law was so generous and booked a session for me. When I arrived and realized it would be a middle-aged man, I could have said “no thank you,” and walked out. Why couldn’t I just use my voice?

I was left in privacy to undress and hide under the sheet. Completely naked and feeling utterly vulnerable, I told myself I was overreacting. “Relax,” I ordered myself. “This is normal.” Indeed the therapist knocked politely and acted quite normal as he began the massage. He asked where I need help, and I told him neck and upper back. I didn’t tell him my hips and legs were fine, but that is where he spent most of the next 45 minutes. I don’t mean my lower legs, either. One hair closer and I would have been screaming, “Rape!” Also, the whole pecs thing, which involves massaging a significant amount of upper chest and yes, side boob. Eww. He never asked me if I was comfortable with it, or even warned me where his hands were going. I steeled myself with the thought, “maybe this is normal. That’s how they do full body massage. Don’t ruin your chance to get your upper back fixed.” I was hurting and I felt desperate. Also, 30, not 45 minutes had not been booked. I had to wonder if he was generous or just enjoying himself. I felt beyond humiliated. I should have said something.

In his defense he could have been totally innocent, although I have since learned that message therapists are taught to ask before moving to “risky” areas. The usual no-touch zones can be legitimate parts of a massage, but I didn’t know that. And if the sheet slips, or fingers accidentally graze the wrong area, which definitely happened, they should apologize. I could understand an honest mistake. But when he didn’t ask or apologize, I should have ended the session.

When he did focus attention on my upper back and neck, I was so nervous that it just made my knots worse. My uptight neck muscles between my shoulders ended up feeling like hamburger. Why didn’t I say something?

When it was over I made a little small talk and quickly left, leaving a tip and trying to be invisible. Only after reaching the safety of my vehicle did I give credit to my gut feeling. Maybe he had innocent intentions, but that was wrong.

I showered hard trying to remove the icky feeling and took ibuprofen for the next couple days as I nursed my painful neck and upper back. And you know what I did? I called manager and said something.

I told management what I am telling you. I don’t think the therapist will be in trouble, (unless it was a repeated offense and he in fact wasn’t innocent) but I think he might learn to show more respect for vulnerable tongue-tied clients who don’t know what to say. As for me, I’m going to get better at using the voice God gave me.