Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Do you ever let your life slip into auto-pilot and just continue to go and go and go and........

I'm really good at going, and going, a lot like the energizer bunny, but I'm not very good at stopping. Past experience has taught me that it takes something big to stop me, but when it does, I am stopped dead in my tracks and forced to slow down, regroup, rest, re-evaluate, etc.
I told myself, "Self, I am going to take better care of you".
I have praised God for the way he has revealed himself to me lately and for the opportunity to grow closer to him. But boy, I am a work in progress!!

SO I started with a scratchy throat Friday night, Saturday night felt awful, Sunday ok, but by Tuesday I was MISERABLE. Turns out I had tonsillitis, sinusitis, and strep throatitis!! (i know it doesn't have itis on it, but doesn't it make it funnier!) I got a shot Wednesday afternoon, got antibiotics, the saline nose wash thing(watch for a post about this), and several other things to promote comfort. I came home, got in the shower, and as I was thinking over my little moment of self-pity on the way home where I was driving and blubbering tears, I could hear God saying-

"Attention Dawn, this is your pilot speaking, the pilot of your life, and I have shutdown your controls because you keep trying to do this thing called life by yourself and you can't!!"

It amazes me how easily we can try to take control, when we are in such better hands when GOD is our pilot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Decluttering Lion and The Linen Closet

My mom is "shocked and slightly embarassed at the sight of" my clutter and disarray being displayed for the world to see. I, on the other hand, think that you're like me and need to see that no matter how hard we try, we're not perfect and don't have to time for everything. Rome wasn't built in a day, and a clean and organized home comes from constant work and upkeep. My current process has been to methodically room by room, closet by closet, purge and declutter. If you are a packrat, just skip on to the pictures, close your ears and your eyes because you are not going to like what I am going to say.
Are all the packrats gone??
For YEARS, I mean since I was in high school, I have saved things. Special things, not special things, things I thought could be repurposed, broken things, ridiculous things, things for art projects, useful or not it got saved. I thought I "couldn't part with it". I linked memories, money, happiness, and lots of other things to all this STUFF.
A mess that I could not keep up with. When we bought our house, we bought a fixer-upper, because it had more character, and more square footage. That was 6 years ago. I couldn't believe all the closets, cabinets, and space, after living in my apartment and then dorm room before that. Then one day I woke up and the house was full. The attic, the closets, the basements, drawers, cabinets, every space full of STUFF!! For a long time I and those who loved me couldn't understand why I couldn't keep my house clean, why I couldn't just pick up as I went, why I let it get so bad, and why it didn't bother me unless company was coming.
I read books about it, I read blogs about it, searched for tips, tried little things like baskets for my medicine, it helped a little, but was not the cure.
They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and that's what happened with me. I got tired of not being comfortable in my home, of not being able to find what I needed, and not having a place to put things. (Being hospitalized for the 2nd year in a row helped this just a little)
I am by NO means finished. This is going to be a process, a long one. But I've accomplished a lot and gotten rid of a lot!! I think my current count is 6 bags of trash and about 8 bags/boxes of things for Goodwill, thrift, etc.
You saw my bedroom earlier in the week, but I forgot to tell you that I also tackled my linen closet-the dark abyss of forgotten linens. It is amazing what we accumulate, way to much of stuff that is used WAY to little. I got rid of icky sheets and towels, scratchy ones, and just kept the good stuff. I, in fact, did a little research about stocking a linen closet and how much of what you needed. This helped guide me a little in how much of what to keep. So check out the stuff I pulled out and the end result.



Have you heard? Have you tried it??? I've gotten 20 swagbucks, just by doing my normal searches, how fun is that!!! Swagbucks are the greenbax stamps of our time. Just for doing what we normally do, searching, online shopping etc., we can win swagbucks and spend them in the swag store!!! If you get people to join you earn bucks too-so click here and come join the fun SWAG

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

It was pretty convenient to be off for tackle it Tuesday-I was able to tackle several things that I've left unfinished :)
Our Master Bedroom Before:
And 3 black garbage bags full of stuff for the thrift store and 1 black garbage bag full of garbage later-

I especially love the unfinished dry wall-where my hubby remodeled the closet 2 years ago-we have had high hopes of doing the bathroom too, so never painted, needless to say neither is done now :) But, the new shelf and the propping of the picture mask most of the unpainted wall-it makes me feel better any way!

Snow Day- What????

It seems that our town is the town Snow forgot!!! I think maybe that would be the perfect children's book, I'll have to add it to my ever growing list of ideas. But, all kidding aside, it seems that the other end of our county is covered and here we are at home with clear ground. Isaac is watching anxiously, encouraging the few sad flakes that are floating to the ground and hoping for enough to at least go out and try to catch some.
Normally, I would be tickled for a snow day, but this was going to be our second 4 day week in a row, and our next break would be a teacher work day in Feb. Now, we will have to work that day and therfore, won't have another day off until at least March-yick. But, because of our trip to Charleston and crazy schedule I am a little behind with a few of my chores, so while Isaac enjoys some PBS specials, I am going to catch up on some chores, so that maybe later I can light a few candles and catch up on some reading :) And who knows, maybe today will be the day that I upload some pictures for your veiwing pleasure-stay tuned-you never know what a full day home might bring :)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I have never been good at using coupons-I cut them out and lose them. So in an effort to be more organized at this too-I bought an accordion organizer that fits in my purse and has slots for my coupons. I also bought a small notebook with 3 tabbed sections where I keep a running inventory/grocery list, keep track of what I want to get where, and my current to-d0's. Yesterday I took the paper mom passed on to us and sat down cutting out and sorting the coupons. Then I took the CVS and Ingles ad to figure out the best deals and what coupons I needed to use. I tried to combine sale things, good deals, etc. So heres what I did:

CVSing today-and it was super exciting. I had my bonus bucks, as well as just my ECB's from my last purchase-and I had perused the add carefully. I got 4 2-liters, 4 12-packs, 2 bags of tostitoes, 3 V-day cards, 8 cans of soup, 6 pack of hershey's bars and nose spray. I completed 2 transactions and ended up with about $3.75 in OOP expense-wooooooohooooo!!! Russell said he was glad that I had the patience to figure it out, because he would not fool with it, but it was fun to get a deal, I am always up for a deal :)

This evening I ran to Ingles to try some triple-couponing. They are tripling coupons all week :) I used about 6-to see if it ended up being worth it and it did. I had several coupons that ended up meaning I got $1.5o off of an item. I ended up saving $10.00 on the 6 things I used coupons for and that would have translated to only spending about $10-if I hadn't needed the required bread, milk, and peanutbutter-which unfortunately totaled $10.00
I will probably end up going back and trying a few more before the week is out :)

Friday, January 16, 2009


I've been released!

My surgeon said "Have a nice life" and I said-OOOOOOH I most certainly will-Praise the Lord :)

My scars looked great, the biggest still red and a little sore, but otherwise fine. Everything else was great, great, great. Nothing to worry about, nothing to fret over-


I feel soooo good. My friend Lana's husband commented a few nights ago that I seemed like a different person-"you're just so bubbly and happy" AND I AM-and IT FEELS GOOD. I feel better than I have felt since before I had menigitis in 2007-and it is not anything that a doctor can explain or that man can accomplish-I give GOD all the glory :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

1.A Clean House-I have been trying to FLY this week, and it has really made a difference. I need to tweak a few things in my lists and schedules, but I love coming home to an orderly house.
2.Less Clutter-I LOVE that I can look around and things look fresh and different and that I can open up drawers without them spilling over.
3. New Bath products-I have never been a big lotion fan, but a friend and my dh got me various bath and body products this year and they have been a big treat. I've gotten into the routine of using all the different products, and I love leaving the house smelling nice, much better than drowning in perfume :)
4.Teaching my wonderful class-I LOVE my students. And it has been so wonderful to be back, feel good, and begin to dig in and really work hard to help them meet their goals ;)
5.New Clothes-I did a little shopping once I started feeling better and it has been awesome to have some fun, inspiring, lovely choices in my closet this week. I found some great deals at BELK in Hendersonville and then later in Spartanburg. Lana helped find some cute stuff and I even got a pair of jeans :) I also love having somebody to shop with besides Russell and Isaac

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When it rains it pours......

Right into the basement!

That's right-our basement-full of water, that's what we got to deal with today :) But we are still smiling and pushing forward. Russell worked all day packing up his stuff-the basement was/is his man cave! Since I got home at 4:00 my Mom and I have been plowing through our guest room/mount crumpet/junk hole. 3 boxes in the attic later, 2 bags of clothes sorted for new homes, several bags of trash, and piles of other stuff all over my house-we have restored some order. Russell was able to get all of the things from the basement clean and into rubbermaid tubs that were put in the closet in our guest room-one giant one in the floor. Now we have to deal with the furniture, carpet, etc. Most of the furniture is ruined, and unless we can be sure it doesn't have mold, we won't keep it, because I am allergic to mold and mildew-and we don't want anyone to breath it, allergic or not :) We don't know what the insurance will cover-but everything is ruined-carpet, furniture, paneling, etc. AND in order for it not to happen again, it's going to take about $3,o00 or more worth of work on the outside of the house, to dig trenches, build drains, etc.
I'm frustrated, but it could be so much worse and we are still so blessed. I am so thankful I had completed all the things I had done, otherwise I don't know if I would have ever been able to dig out of the mess that would have been made. Instead, I have some piles and stacks to deal with, but for the most part things are okay-and as a bonus we got our major clutter hole (the guest room) clean!! We even got part of the crazy pit of a hall closet clean, only because we had stuff that had to go on it!! Mom and dad just left, bless them, and Cher brought Isaac home from church for us-which helped tremendously. I'm going to shower and see if I can't at least try to contain things a little. It seems the biggest messes are in the hall and our bedroom-which I just almost finished cleaning.
This too shall pass! I continue to be thankful for my healing-I feel sooooooooo good-and can't imagine doing this, experiencing all this, still feeling bad-I praise the LORD for the healing he has brought and for what he continues to do in our lives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

I have really tackled a lot in the last few days in the hope of being more organized this year. My latest accomplishment is pictureless-sorry the batteries died, but I promise after pictures tomorrow! I have cleaned and organized the computer desk-whew it was bad. But today, it was the blackhole cabinet in the kitchen. I have to tell you I found a few crazy things. I didn't even know we had a Tater Twister-it's brand new. My dh says we got it as a wedding present-I disagree-we moved once I really don't think I would have kept it-we don't fry at all. So if anyone wants a brand new Tater Twister-speak up or its off to the donation pile. I also found random slicer and dicer parts, an arcaic mixer, as well as my old broken mixer that my amazing mom replaced with my dream bright red shiny Kitchen Aid Mixer last year!!! And then there was the cruddy, gross, nasty toaster oven that my DH has had since he was a MARINE, I mean really!! So I promised him I would buy him a new one (won't that be a great Valentine's Day gift :)), and it too is in the donation pile. Way, way, way too many gadgets. 2 crockpots-I use and love-, the other is almost all expendable, except for the AWESOME bright shiny red mixer-Isaac and I couldn't make banana bread without it! So if my DH will take all the clutter to donate it tomorrow I will really be in business :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Did you resolve to do it?

It's been really funny to listen to people talk about whether or not they made resolutions this year. It seems that the resounding answer is "Why do it, if I'm just going to break it?" It also seems that many people had the same idea I did, to set goals for themselves instead of blanket resolutions. Goals are reachable-concievable-and reasonable, whereas resolutions are usually none of these!! I'm really looking forward to being able to look back at this year as one where I began to be more deliberate and intentional in my actions in every way and where God was in every part of it.

Goals for 2009 in no certain order:

1. To have an organized home.

-Begin to clear unwanted, unuseful, not needed items from our home.
-Make spaces for storage that are functional, easy to find, and that work.

2. To have a clean home.

-Develop routines and structures to help me stay on track daily, weekly, and monthly.
-Become better at staying picked up.
-Work with Isaac to help him learn where to keep his belongings

3. To be healthier for my family and as a family.

-Use healthier recipes and cooking styles.
-Incorporate more fresh fruit and veggies and less processed foods.
-Spend more time outside together playing and exercising.

4. To be better stewards of our money.

-Spend less on unnecessary items.
-Budget our income-so that we see where each dollar goes
-Continue to pay off medical bills
-Tithe first instead of last

5.To deepen our walk with God.

-Study and pray as a couple and as a family with Isaac
-Continue to be involved as Church members, looking for opportunities to serve.
-Be more deliberate about carving out time alone with God.

What about you? Did you resolve to do something? Did you set goals for yourself? As I thought through things it was easy for me to lay out what I could do to meet the goal and made it much more realistic-What did you do to make your goals realistic?

Thinking forward

1. What skill do you most want to learn this year?
Digital Scrapbooking and Organizing
2. What is one skill you already have that you’d like to improve this year?
Being a Mommy and a Wife
3. Name three books you most definitely want to read in 2009.
Get Out of That Pit, Soul Fire, The Frazzled Factor, Bringing up Boys
4. In what specific area do you most want to encourage your spouse? What are some ways you can do this?
In his walk with the Lord, as a father, and as a firefighter. By being encouraging and helping him take the opportunities he has to become better at all of these.
5. Think of one of your major life goals. What will you do this year to make you one step closer to reaching that goal? To start living with less clutter not just in my house, but in my life, and continue to save and strive to be more frugal!
6. Name your kids’ biggest strengths. What are some ways you can specifically nourish those strengths? Very verbal, helpful, imaginative-Provide opportunities for him to use his creativity and imagination and to help others!
7. Name your kids’ most prominent weakness. What are some ways you can encourage their ability to overcome it? Listening and handling not getting his way-which are pretty typical for a 4 year old. We are playing listening games and trying to be very consistent about how we handle "fits"
8. What is one of your strengths? Think of some specific ways you can exercise it this year.
9. What is one of your weaknesses? Brainstorm some ideas on how you can overcome this deficiency. Sticking with something is my biggest weakness-I'm really working on developing routines, and staying on track to help me with this this year.
10. Think of an important relationship aside from your spouse and children. How will you nurture that relationship this year? I am so blessed to have some really close female friends now and I hope to continue to nurture these realtionships through quality time together and with our families and by starting a Bible study together.
11. Name a few ways your physical health could be improved. Well----I'm giving up Diet Coke, and trying to go back to some healthy eating guidelines-and hoping to through in some exercise once I get the okay from my doctor.
12. Name a few ways your family’s financial health could be improved.
By saving more and spending less-we are really working on this!!
13. In what way do you want to draw closer to God? By really making the effort to spend time not only in prayer, but in listening
14. What is one area of home management that frustrates you? Think of some specific ways you could improve your attitude about it. Cleaning, really, really frustrates me-SO my new attitude is-if it stays clean, then I don't have to waste a whole day doing what I could do in little spurts. I'm using some "FLYlady" principles and just trying to be organized too.
15. Have you ever created a family mission statement with your spouse? If so, why not do one for this year? This is a work in progress-you can see it soon
16. Name one specific thing you could do with your spouse this year that will deepen your intimacy. Spending more time in prayer together
17. What is something that is continually undone in your life? What will you do to fully complete it this year? Our house-begin to finish projects before we start new ones.
18. In what ways will you be involved with your local community? Through outreach at our church-we have great things in store :)
19. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish by your birthday this year?To be living in an organized and clutter free house-and body and to feel good about both!!
20. Think of three words you’d like to describe your 2009.Healthy,Content,Wonderful

So What about you??? Copy and paste-can't wait to see what you have in mind!

Not Me Monday

-I did not go back to work today, only 16 days after surgery-who would do that-???

-I did not wake up my child by probing him about what new Rescue Hero he wanted as a reward (bribe)

-I did not continue to bribe/reward my child with stickers for not laying down in the floor and pitching a fit about going to daycare.

-And of course it didn't work, because it never has before:)

-I most certainly didn't come home from work and think about all the things I could have accomlished if I had just gone ahead and stayed home today!

-And I definitely am not going to bed when Isaac goes to be-who would do that??

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A place for everything-even if it means putting it in the garbage!

This is the first of many projects I'm working on. I'm cleaning EVERYTHING out. I'm tired of clutter, tired of messes, tired of not knowing where something is, and tired of stuff being everywhere. I've sorted, trashed, piled for donation, and sorted some more. I can't lift over 5 pounds, so that makes things interesting :) My dear hubby is beginning to wonder if the doctors tinkered with my brain a little-due to this sudden fluctuation in my behavior. He hopes that it sticks, but knows that I'm good at digging in, but not always so great at keeping up with it. So take a look at my first project:

Back when Isaac was only a flutter in my tummy we began working on his room. We tackled the closet first, hoping to get it ready and be able to be organized. Ha!! Ha-Ha!! We got the great Closetmaid set, did drawers, 2 poles, shelves, all the right stuff-but it was almost like it was too much space. I've struggled with what goes where and what to do with the shelves for 4 years. But now, I'm into the lets just stick it all in a basket phase-so that's what I did. I bought baskets, and Santa brought my DH a snazzy labeler in his stocking. I'm hoping that the old saying "a place for everything and everything in it's place" will pay off. I've never been good about having a place for everything-so here it goes!

The infamous shelves. The higher they go, the less Isaac needs to reach it!Keeping fire gear closest, of course :)

Soft toys, puzzles, and finally a drawer for shoes so they aren't all over the floor!!

All this was stuffed inside his desk and never used, because he couldn't get to it. Now, paper, workbooks, and coloring books all within reach :)

This hanging organizer was great, but his "equipment" always fell out. Now there are baskets in each hole-pretend, Carolina Panthers, Clemson, Soccer, and Baseball.

I would love to know your tips and tricks for staying organized and dealing with clutter. What are you secrets, routines, or habits that help you keep your home in order?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I love to start out cleaning up and organizing after Christmas. However, this is year 2 that I am recovering from something. As a matter of fact if you look back to the past 6 years-there has only been 1 when haven't been nursing someone and 3 of the times it was me.

2008-Dawn recovering from liver resection and gallbladder surgery

2007-Dawn recovering from spinal meningitis

2006-(Normal) well, relatively :)

2005-Isaac recovering from RSV

2004-Dawn recovering from having Isaac
Isaac recovering from NICU stay for severe Jaundice

2003-Dawn's Dad Dirk, recovering from staph infection that had eaten away at the bone in his foot-yick!

It has been a long haul for sure!!

But today, exactly 2 weeks from the day they removed 1/2 my liver and 2 months from when we found out there was a mass and so many things were unsure, I stand in awe and amazement at the work the Lord has done! I am still a little sore, but just a little-and my incisions are all looking great. The best part is my belly button doesn't hurt like it did after the last surgery. I still don't have a ton of energy-but I feel REALLY great- and I know that GOD is providing :) But more than anything-I am looking so forward-now more than ever to what GOD has in store for us this year. I'm here and so appreciative for every second! There were so many times of uncertainty over the last 2 months and I was able to lean on the Lord and know that is why I am on this end of it, but I remember thinking early on "God, is this really all you want out of me?? This is all I'm suppose to do?" and thinking that I knew there was more and we had to cling to HIS promises-and we did and here we are! Praise the Lord :)