Challenge, Life

Less. So there can be More.

less

Last year was the first time that I ditched resolutions for just one word.  You can read about that here and here.  I was inspired by both One Word 365 and My One Word.  Definitely check them out when choosing your word.

For 2014, I intend to remain “Intentional” and for me, during this season of my life, this means “Less”.  And “More”.  I spent weeks thinking and praying about my word for 2014. So many good ones to choose from!  But I kept coming back. Over and over. I want more from life, but there are so many things I keep tripping over (sometimes literally!) and so many things blocking my way.  In order to get to that “More”, there has to be “Less”.

Let’s start with “stuff”.  The clutter.  You know what I am talking about – those {big} piles of stuff that fill our homes. It is living on borrowed time in my house.  Every closet, drawer, and room in my home will be decluttered {and organized} by 2015.

stuff

I will value quality over quantity. My home is a part of me and I want the message my home is sending to be one of openness, hospitality, warmth, and love.  Not chaos.  I want my home to be an inspiring place to spend time.  I want a home with space to actually live.  I want to look around my home and call it enough.  I want a place to recharge and unwind.  I want to live a more simple life, focusing on people rather than on things.

But…there is also the “More”. More relationship and connection.  But for there to be more of that, there must also be less.  Less stress, less preoccupation, and less  distractions.

busy

I want my heart and my life to be full of more love and more compassion for others.  I want to really focus on living second.  This life it’s not about me…it’s about serving God and loving people.  I want more of that. I want meaningful face to face connections with others.  I want to be content, no matter what circumstances I find myself in. Happiness and joy come from a place of choosing happiness and joy.  You can’t buy that at Walmart or even Nordstrom.  What I have and who I am in each and every moment needs to be enough.

So, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  I won’t include my complete action plan, but every goal had to be a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  I am committing to:

  • 2014 things gone.  Plus one additional item for each one that I bring in.
  • Less social media and technology – every day.
  • More face to face time with friends on a regular (at least monthly) basis.
  • Stick to my budget.
  • Healthier food choices and menu planning every week.
  • More exercise – daily doing something.
  • Prioritizing my tasks, cutting down where I can.
  • Nurture traditions and make memories.

Some helpful resources I’d love to share with you!!  This blog series was really inspiring to me on my journey to less (and more). I am participating in this 2014 Challenge to reduce the clutter in my life.

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Challenge, Christmas, Family

Challenges.

I love challenges.  I constantly sign up for new e-mail challenges, Christmas, stress-busters, health, you name it.  And that was just this month.  I don’t know if it’s the challenge themselves, just to prove I “can” do it or something else.  I think it’s probably a mix, a desire to better myself and to push myself.

letitgo5daysemailheader

http://www.karenehman.com/

I would encourage you to check out Karen’s blog and challenge.

Here’s a few things I learned from it:

Day 1:  I didn’t necessarily learn this entirely today, but it does apply.  I am a control freak.  Holidays, especially Christmas, included.  It’s not specific items I want to control, but mainly, I don’t want my important things forgotten.

I do find it a bit challenging to give up all control of the holidays to my ten year old.  (The challenge is backing off on making any holiday decision.)  But I can commit to backing off of some and including her more, backing off completely at time.  Part two of the challenge, I did include having Fiona’s input on our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness — and I changed some of them to better suit her.  I want her to enjoy it, so she should be in on the planning and this year I will let her do it her way.;  🙂

Day 2:  Today was a good one for me!!  I think it was a good reminder of what’s really important!  The holidays (any holiday) doesn’t have to be “perfect.”  Especially when our standard of perfect comes from HGTV, a magazine, or Pinterest.  Sometimes imperfection makes the best memories…sometimes way better memories than the “perfect” ones.  Change your focus from the external to the internal.

Christmas at my actual home has never been perfect, rarely ever lived up to my expectations.  And in the past, that’s always made me sad/frustrated/discouraged.  This year, thanks to the challenge, I hope to resolve that.  Instead of the old standard, this year we will focus on others.  Our “measuring stick” will be the joy that we see.  In the big picture — and really, truly, the important Eternity picture — nothing else matters.  It’s about loving family and celebrating Jesus’ birth. It is not about gifts, lights, decorations, food, or whatever.  And refocusing makes all the difference in the world.

Day 3:  Ooh!  I love the Bible.  Today’s verse really hit me — Mark 7:8.  Check it out.  Traditions are a funny thing.  We really stuck to them more when I was a kid, then the last few years have been this weird in-flux time in our lives.  A couple things have remained, but not really a lot of our traditions.  I did have a family meeting with Fiona and we together decided what this would look like for our family this year.

The tradition that knocks me out is the amount of gifts.  Too much money, too much time shopping, too much wrapping.  It’s just too much.  This year we are downsizing.  And grabbing a new perspective?  Done.  Love others.  Seek peace.  Don’t worry.  Love this…I am enjoying this Christmas more already!!

Day 4:  Ah, family…what would Christmas be without them?  And I am lucky to have one pretty amazing family.  Not perfect.  But perfect for me.  However, that being said…our holidays have often been overshadowed by conflict and a lot of tears.  Today reminded how often I should be praying (constantly!) about interacting with challenging people.  Another good reminder — I can’t control everyone’s actions and responses, but I can control mine.  My reactions and actions.  I can make sure that my actions are not hurtful or cruel, that they are pleasing to God.
I won’t name names on who my difficult family members are, wouldn’t that be hurtful?  But I can remind them, as well as the other members of my family that Jesus loves them unconditionally — and I do too.  Even when they hurt me or betray me, not just because they are in my family — because I want to love like Jesus does.
Day 5:  Loved today!  Loved it!!  You see, I LOVE to buy gifts for people.  One of my favorite things to do…give someone a gift.  But today, really helped remind me of something — give purposefully.  It’s not about quantity, but about the thought and love behind the giving.
The challenge today was to do one act of kindness for someone in need, but one of the things that we have decided to continue as a tradition is our Advent Calendar — Random/intentional acts of kindness from Dec 1 to Dec 25.  It’s about making ourselves focus on other’s throughout the holiday season.  And it’s FUN.
Thanks for letting me share about this challenge and how it influenced me…I hope you sign up and then let me know what you think.  🙂
God bless…Katie