Sunday, September 17, 2017

Seasonal Switch

In my last blog post I mentioned my new venture, The Counter-Jones: permission to let go of the have-have-life.  Well, I figured the best place to start was in my own closet.

Plus, I said I was going to do another one of these posts in the fall, and here we are.  For the first post click HERE.

It was hardly a good day, temperature-wise, to switch out my summer clothes for my winter ones.  I think the thermometer topped out somewhere in the 90 range (in the sun). But I know that cooler weather has GOT to be close, and since I had a little bit of time on a lazy Saturday, I went for it.

Before the switch

As I stated in my post from the Spring, I am working on paring my wardrobe down. I find that I can get dressed more efficiently, and even feel more satisfied with what I have, when there is less to choose from.

I have attempted in the past to do a Capsule Wardrobe but I just could not bring myself to eliminate my closet down to 30 items.  Once I switched out my clothes from summer to winter, I thought I would just go ahead and at least count how many items I have.

Full disclosure: I did not count my leggings, undershirts, pajamas, or running clothes. Those are sort of essentials that I felt shouldn't be counted in my number. Leggings are just about an everyday must for a work dress code that calls for skirts and dresses. Undershirts are needed for those V-necks that are just a little too "V," and running stuff....well I'm not quitting that.

I ended up counting 80 items: shirts, cardigans, sweaters, jeans, dresses, and skirts.

I figured I could at least pare it down by half. So I shot for 40.

A few things were easily to pull out. Others, not so much.  I'm going to give it a shot but I think for this thing to really work is that I am going to have to do one main thing:

Avoid Target.

Nothing makes me want get the style of the season quite like a stroll through the women's section of Target.  I usually end up at the discount racks, but still, it isn't really anything that I am needing.

Keeping up with the style, keeping up with the Joneses. However you look at it, I'm trying to work against it.

For me, it's having items that I absolutely love and that I feel comfortable in.  Items that are classic, things that don't necessarily go out of style. If it's a fad...I don't own it.

So, I am going on a spending freeze. No thrift stores, no Target, no online shopping. No clothing purchases for myself for this season (so, let's say, 6 months).  This sounds really good in theory, but when it comes down to it, I think it will be a bit difficult to implement. Stay tuned, I'll let you know how this goes!

A sweet upside to doing this exercise, Hannah wanted to do the same thing to her closet!

I figured I better jump on that train before it left the station and we started right in on hers when I finished with mine. We pared hers down to 30 winter items (with 10 additional summer items since I don't know when this heat will break) and she was thrilled with it. Let's hope with fewer items it helps with this disaster.....

Yeah, we're going to address the rest of it very soon. And this is how Madeline feels about it....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Keeping up....or choosing not to.

I've had this friend, well, I don't really want to call him a friend because he's never really been nice to me.  He makes me feel inferior, discontent, and just well, yucky.

I'm guessing you have this friend, too. It likes to hang onto my back, whisper in my ear and sometimes shows up at just the worst time.

Comparison. You know him? Yeah, sorry to meet his acquaintance.

But, sadly, I have not been able to shake him lately. It seems silly, really. Because when it comes to my life, well, I really like it.

I'm thankful for my Jesus, my husband, my children, my job, my house. And the list goes on. And in reality, I wouldn't change a thing. But comparison keeps showing up and telling me what someone else has and how my measly one just doesn't foot the bill.

I was mulling this around in my head today as I was coming back from a run.  And as I walked by our landscaping (or lack thereof) I had the thought, "Boy, the Joneses don't have to worry about us competing." But then it was quickly followed by, "Who cares what the Joneses think, and really, do the Joneses even know someone is trying to compete?!"

And thus, I came to conclusion of a blog series I am starting. I don't know the whole gist of it yet, but it will consist of pictures and stories about how my life is not going to keep up with the Joneses, and how your life doesn't need to either.

It's "The Counter-Jones: permission to let go of the have-to-have life"

I don't really dislike the Joneses, I'm sure their nice people, so I'm not anti-Jones. But I am going to go in the opposite direction of them, so Counter-Jones is where it's at.

And you know what? When I told myself that there wasn't anybody out there that I needed to be like except myself, that I didn't need anything else other than what I have right now, I felt release. And relief. It surprised me. I didn't realize how much angst I was holding onto just because I thought I needed to.

Why do we do that to ourselves?!

So when I post on the Counter-Jones life, it will correlate with frugality, purging of junk, non-consumerism, and debt free living. If any of those things interest you, I invite you along.

It won't always be pretty, and there will probably be more chaos, real life pictures than pretty, staged ones. But I like to be authentic so there it is.

And just so you don't think I'm dropping my cluttering challenge of 2017. It's still there! In fact, now that school is in full swing and our Zambia trip is in the rear window (sniff.) I'm ready to tackle it again. Looking over the list I think it's feasible to get it done in this year as planned. Some of the things I could scratch out since they didn't apply to us at all so that eliminated a few weeks right there! If you are wanting to find the list I'm following click here. I'm actually going off a list from 2015 so it may look different from her website. And I found there was a bit much on there to sift through, hence, my pared down version here.

And also so you know I do NOT have my act together. Sorry if I ever came across like I did! Here is my laundry room in all it's glory earlier today....4 months after I organized it (face palm).

 Just keeping it real.

Monday, September 4, 2017

August Lookback

I don't know who said it first, but August feels like the Sunday of Summer.

Summer is winding down, you know school and structure and schedules are coming. So you bask in the glow of the setting sun, knowing tomorrow brings busy and movement and challenge.

We started school about a week earlier this year, so not much of August got to be enjoyed in "summer" mode. But we tried our best to make the most of what we had (a familiar mantra around here).

The first week was prep work for the Annual Gateway Woods auction, this year bringing in over $600,000. I'm still astounded by the number. But I shouldn't be. It's all God and He's all about astounding us.

Hannah got to enjoy her first ever time away from home with a week away at camp with her best friend. She's still talking about it.

We had friends over, tried out some taekwondo, watched a solar eclipse, started back to school, amped up the training for our Columbus Half-Marathon in October, celebrated 15 years of marriage, started the venture of chicken raising, and tried to figure out the new normal of this school year.

As always, I humbly recognize the gifts that are everyday life.  Serving Jesus beside the best man I could ever ask for with 3 mini-us's that we are incredible proud to call ours.

Striving to live life with what we have, where we are, with what we got. Seeking to be content but striving to make each day better than the last.

And now, August in pictures:

Notes from the rate of her spelling, school needed to happen.....

Prepping for the Gateway Woods Auction. Over a thousand items sold in less than 5 hours bringing in over $600,000. It seems crazy just typing that.

There were quite a few non-humid, cool mornings that I could enjoy my morning devotions on the front porch, along with a cup of coffee.

Picking up Hannah from camp, where their cabin leader prayed with them before they left....
and then they all rolled down the hill.

School shopping. We were able to reuse a lot of their supplies from last year which meant I spent less than $25 per kid on school this year (score!). Plus, they had buy one get one free mochiattos that day - any size! So one big one for me....and a free one split 3 ways (score again!)

The obligatory first day of school pictures
Carrying her stuffed animals Zambian-style in her chitenge

Helping making one of MANY batches of zucchini muffins.

Revving up the race training. Want to support Bryer's Song? Click HERE.  And thanks :)

This Cross Country season Paul is the assistant coach for the high school team.  We haven't been able to make it to many of the meets because they are far away, but the one that was in town, the kids and I went and cheered them on. Took me back to my own CC days....

The kids took a 5 class Confidence-course at a local Tae Kwon Do studio. These pics were before any training happened, FYI.

Something blissful about chitenge blowing in the breeze

We had a bumper crop of lettuce

This one LOVES mud and getting dirty. 

Solar eclipse viewing. It made some pretty cool shadows on the ground through the leaves. I didn't have the glasses so I went with the pin hole shadow (below).

Paul had access to more free stuff and since we never turn down something that is free....we now have 1000 blank library cards.

Our 15th anniversary was celebrated in his classroom with a quick bite of takeout. Paul had Parent's Night at school so after a 30 minute "date" I had to scoot out.

A hot air balloon drifted by one morning while I sat on the porch doing my morning devotions.

Found another use for those library cards.

More race training: Paul runs while we ride bikes, meet him halfway at a park with his Gatorade, and then head back home.

There is a hill nearby that I love to try to capture silhouettes of kids. They are willing participants, jumping over and over again....

So, I bought a plant labeled "cucumber" at the store last Spring....and I have given up hope that this plant will ever produce actual cucumbers.  Upside, this is the first time we have ever successfully grown cataloupe!

Newest adventure: chickens. I got to be the lucky one to pick them up. The kids are super excited and I hope that those chickens can actual produce eggs after the harrowing experience of meeting these 3.