Google+

What I’m Reading – May 2016 Edition

I mentioned before that last year, after reading The Fringe Hours, I made it a goal of mine to read more. I used to love reading and devoured books, but as I’ve gotten older I haven’t always made that a priority so I thought I’d try and make it a goal. I didn’t tell anyone about it, but I set the goal in January of 2015 to read 12 books that year. Younger me would be appalled at that small number, but post-depression me saw it as a worthy goal. And I’m happy to report that I did it! I literally finished book 12 on December 31st. But I did it! That’s all that mattered to me.

So this year, I set the goal to read one book a month. For those good with math, yes, that’s still 12 books in a year. Doesn’t mean I can’t read more (or less) if I feel like it, but it’s doable so I’m going with it.

I thought some of my friends who are readers might want to check out some of what I’m reading so here we are.

LOVING this book. @nickikoziarz

A photo posted by Christina L (@christinaplainandsimple) on

This month, I read 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz, thanks to a recommendation from Sarah at The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast.

In the book, the author outlines how and why we quit and how to cultivate habits that will help prevent you from quitting.

Honestly, I wasn’t surprised to find out that I’m a Quiet Quitter. Basically, I quit before I get started. I talk myself out of things all. the. time. I am fantastic at finding new things to do and then talk myself out of them. My internal dialog consists of, “This is a great idea! But…”

want to follow through. I want to do so many things. It’s the “but” that gets me. But I’ll never be good at it. But I don’t have (make) time for it. But it won’t be perfect so why bother?

If I’m truly honest, I think this book really hit me hard. It’s made me face all of those things that I quit. It made me face why. I’m still dealing with these thoughts. I’m still dealing with the conviction. I don’t want to quit. I want to be brave enough to step out and do things, even if I fail. I want to be brave enough to step out and do things, even if I don’t feel like it. I don’t have to be beholden to those feelings of doubt.

Overall, I really loved this book. As a matter of fact, I loved it so much, I ran out and bought a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath that was recommended by the author. It’s designed to help you find and build on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. I gave that a read too! And I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test. I’m still digging in to the results of that test, but so far things have been eye opening for me and it’s sparking a lot of positive thought.

I will tell you that the book has a Christian slant to it, so if that’s not your thing, I just wanted you to know. I still think it’s worth a read even if you aren’t normally drawn to that.

You can find more information about the book here: 5HabitsBook.com and you can even get a free chapter to give it a try. I love that!




B+ Goals May 2016

Untitled

I think it’s kind of appropriate that it’s Mental Health Awareness month and I’ve decided to hop back into the writing fray. Writing – not blogging – a distinction I’ll make in another post soon, but I digress.

Y’all, I’m a hot mess. Depression saps all motivation that I have some days and the other days I’m so focused on doing everything for everyone else (something I’m working on). It’s…well, it’s a mess. As I said. 😉

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to participate in this B+ Goals thing for awhile. Have you read Sarah R. Bagley’s blog? Y’all I want to be her when I grow up. (And she’s younger than me! So frustrating…kidding!) She has this philosophy that as a recovering perfectionist “done is better than perfect”. Some days – ok most days – I need that reminder. Each month she sets a list of goals that are considered “B+”, no perfectionism, no stressing over whether it’s the best, just getting things done. I feel like I need that. As part of that there’s a link up, and so here I am. I thought I’d share with you my first round of B+ Goals for this month.

Now, the perfectionist in me is screaming “BUT IT’S MAY! IT’S NOT EVEN JANUARY!” and I’m slightly panicking, but let’s make this work.

1. Read 1 book.

Last year, after reading The Fringe Hours, I made it a priority to read more for “me” time and I loved it, so I want to keep that up this year. So far so good, but it’s always in my calendar as a reminder.

2. Finish home inventory & manuals file. 

This is one I’ve been stressing on. I hate filing and cleaning out filing, and bleh the piles of paper that are everywhere in my house. This project has sat in my living room untouched for way longer than I want to admit. I worked a bit on it last weekend, but there’s still a ways to go and I want to get it done. I think (I hope) it’s finally clicking and I can take this off my never ending list.

3. Declutter the kitchen drawers.

OK not all of them. But there are 3 or 4 that need a good purge and organizing and I have a “bonus” week in my cleaning routine for May so I’m hoping to tackle this then.

4. Try 1 new healthy recipe.

We’ve been trying (and succeeding) at losing weight and I want to add more healthy meals to our rotation so I thought this would be a good idea.

5. Set up herb garden and my new potting bench.

Preferably not in that order. 😉

6. Finish the gallery wall in our basement stairwell. 

This is another one that’s been on the list for awhile and it’s about half finished. I want to get the other half done so it doesn’t continue to look goofy.

What about you? What are your goals for this month? I’ll fill you in on my progress in future posts.




Being Overwhelmed

8858684815_f2ff12e6c7

I’m struggling a lot with being overwhelmed today. Between running a business, running a household and trying to blog, I often find myself buried in a very long To Do list and a very long (and full of longing) Want To Do list.

I honestly don’t believe in that thing called “balance”. I don’t think achieving balance is possible. I think life tends to be more of a see saw. Some days we are weighed down in work, others in household responsibilities and on a very few rare occasions (at least for me) we feel light and lifted and are able to have some fun.

Today I am weighed down. I’m a people pleaser so I often take on too much (like right now) and spend my days wishing I could tackle the things I want to do, rather than the things I have to do.

Instead, I will finish this blog post, grab my To Do list and hopefully dig in with resolve and get out from under the weight of my responsibilities.

Maybe, just maybe, that means this weekend I’ll be able to do a few of the things I want to do. I hope you get that opportunity too.

(license)

photo credit: Margery Daw via photopin (license)




What crumbs are you leaving behind?

I rarely share my faith publicly. In today’s world it gets messy pretty fast. But this week as I did my daily Bible reading and devotional and came across a story of a woman who had the courage to confront (yes, confront) Jesus, I felt moved to share. I realize this might not be your cup of tea, but I encourage you to be open minded and give it a go anyway.

what crumbs are you leaving behind

Hate has been on my mind a lot recently. It’s a hot topic. There are lots of stories in the news revolving around it. We see the world through our own personal experiences and society around us, and y’all, I have to believe that hate is learned. No one is born with hate in their heart. Society teaches us to hate. I’m convinced of that.

I also think hate can be spread from the pulpit. Oh, we couch it in “God hates sin” or “God hates ______”. The problem is, God doesn’t hate.

Hate isn’t new. It happened in the Bible too. Even Jesus saw it, learned of it. Let’s look at that.

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Quick history lesson: Jesus came for his chosen people. The Canaanites were not those people. Instead they were people who practiced child sacrifice and temple prostitution. Yeah. So when Jesus says, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” The dogs are the Canaanites – ancient enemies of his people. Jesus knew that God had ordered their destruction long ago. That helps us put the rest into perspective.

Instead of backing down and slinking off dejected, this woman stood up to Jesus. Uh yeah. Even on my bravest day I don’t know that I could do that. But she did.

My favorite bit:

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread (the spiritual food and healing provided for his people) and toss it to the dogs (the Canaanites).”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Even among her own people as perverted as they were, she had heard of Jesus, heard of God, heard of his miracles and wanted that for herself. She addressed him as Lord. She recognized that. For her faith in him, her daughter was healed – despite being who she was.

Reread that last part.

This struck me. She had picked up the crumbs left by the few believers she had been around and gobbled them up – and she believed and received healing from Jesus himself because of it. This woman didn’t have a church or a minister or anything we have today. And I highly doubt anyone had gone out of their way to minister to her. She just picked up the crumbs.

Now fast forward to today. You can’t go a day without someone shoving “morals” and “righteousness” in your face. Judgement is everywhere. People are condemned because of the color of their skin, where they eat, who they associate with and who they love. It’s not hard to find someone in the news claiming “religious freedom” when they spew hate or when they make moral judgments on how someone is living their lives. Are those the crumbs we want to leave behind? Instead of living our own lives well and treating each other with kindness and love we spend our days telling people how evil and horrible they are and how they are going to burn in hell. Really? That’s what you want to be remembered for? How you picketed a funeral because the world was full of evil and you made it your job to condemn people? How you refused to do your job because you hated the people you had to interact with and be kind to? I don’t know many non-believers who would grab those crumbs and be nourished by your hate.

Oh but people are picking up those crumbs – and guess what they are learning. “Christians” hate. They hate people of other races. They hate same sex couples. They hate poor children. They hate the needy. They hate people who live different lives than they do. They hate.

Jesus could have easily hated this woman. He could have easily told her to buzz off, but instead of looking at her as A) A Canaanite (evil) and B) A woman (less valuable than men) and C) Pagan he stopped and listened to what she had to say.

What crumbs are you leaving behind you?

 

photo credit: All gone via photopin (license)

(license)

 




Change, Change, Change…

****Insert awesome, magazine quality photo here because WordPress was being stupid and wouldn’t let me upload****

Change and I are not good friends. Not at all. We’re more like when you see someone at the mall that you knew in high school but you had a mutual dislike for one another and so you do the “look” and maybe the nod, but not the stop and talk. Or worse, we’re like when you see someone who didn’t like you at all in high school but now that you’re adults they seem to have forgotten that and when they see you they go, “Oh my gosh! HEY! It’s so nice to see you!” *gag*

Yeah, so we’re not friends. Which is why the last couple of months have been a bit rough, and why I’ve not been around the blog. I mean, no one wants to hear me whine, right? Right.

Here’s what’s happening here:

1. We remodeled our kitchen! Like, from the ground up. I want to share it with you, but honestly, it’s been kind of nice not trying to blog about everything I’ve done. I’ll get around to sharing it once it’s exactly where I want it, but for now, I’m just enjoying having a kitchen. Being without one for a month was as bad as you might expect.

2. We joined Weight Watchers! Like, yesterday. No really. So far, it’s not too bad, but I’m not going to lie. I’m not looking forward to the workouts. I know that once I get started again, I’ll become addicted to it like I did before, but ugh. Change.

3. Adam is dealing with some health issues right now that we’re trying to get under control. Since that’s his business I won’t be sharing it on the blog, but I do ask for your prayers and happy thoughts for him. (Nothing life threatening, just something we need to address.) I’ve said before that he’s largely responsible for getting me back on my feet when I was struggling. I’m doing my best to return the favor.

4. My VA business is growing! I’m so busy helping other bloggers that I just haven’t had time to work on my own blog. I miss it. I want to get back to it. It’s just a matter of managing my time better.

So, life happens. We’ve all been there. And as much as I hate change, I know eventually these changes won’t feel like “change” forever. Eventually, they’ll feel like a new normal.

What have you been up to?




Advice For Graduates (I’m not as old as your mama so you can listen…)

img183

Dear Graduates of 2015 (and beyond),

Seventeen (17!) years ago TODAY, I graduated high school. Yes, that’s right. When I was 18 – you were being born. Yes, I’m old. Old enough to know a few things, but not too old to be a fuddy duddy. (Wait, does using the phrase fuddy duddy make me one? Whatever. I’m not that old.) I’m here to fill you in on a few things that will happen or are necessities now that you are full grown adults. And yes, you are. Your parents probably won’t see you that way for awhile, but that’s why I’m here.

I know right now you’re probably rolling your eyes because another “adult” wants to give you advice. That’s fine. Just know that when you are almost 36, lots of 18 year olds are going to be rolling their eyes at you too. Karma is like that.

Lets get down to business, shall we?

1. Have a plan, but be willing to let it grow and change, or let it go – sometimes plan B is better than plan A

Look, I get it. Right now everyone expects you to be making big plans. You probably already have. You most likely know what you want to do when you graduate from college (though as an aside: if you don’t, that’s fine too – DO NOT let the “adults” around you pressure you, you will figure it out in your own time). You might even know when you want to get married and have kids. Good for you.

When I graduated high school I had a great plan. I was going to graduate and start teaching at 22; be married by 24 and have my two children at 26 and 28 respectively. Yeah…that didn’t happen. Today my life looks completely different than I had planned. And you know what? I’m fine with that. It took some convincing, but I’m trying to save you some time here. If your plan goes off the trail, follow the new one and see where it takes you.

For me, I ended up in a state I didn’t know much about, married to a man I met online at 19 and didn’t meet in person until I was 21. I don’t teach anymore. I don’t have kids (yet, anyway).

Guess what? Plan B has been so much better than my plan probably would have been. Give Plan B a try if you end up there.

2. The real world isn’t a popularity contest 

Ah high school. It sucks. No really. A bunch of adults probably wistfully told you that these were the best years of your life and you should take advantage of them. Really? High school is filled with drama. Filled. Who is dating who, who has the best car/clothes/family/friends, etc. The popular crowd seemed to have it all together and if you are anything like I was that made you feel a little lost.

Guess what? REAL LIFE DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. I can’t stress that enough. Out here in the real world, no one cares if you were prom queen. (Though I can tell you that there are people you are graduating with today who honestly believe that will still matter and they will still be living high school at your 10 year reunion. Don’t be those people. No one wants to see the 38 year old at the club. Really.)

Your boss will not give one crap about what crew you hung out with in high school. You won’t get the job because you were pretty. Cheerleaders don’t get some free pass to an easy life.

If you are like me, know this – nerds kind of rule the world. The kids who didn’t fit in are now the most interesting people on the planet. Vapid “cool” girls are still vapid in their 30s unless they’ve figured something out and stopped caring about persona. Be you. Don’t worry about being popular. It gets you nowhere.

3. Pay your dues and be willing to work

I’m going to be honest here. You probably already know this, but older generations tend to look at the ones coming up behind us and think “Man, these kids are so self-absorbed, entitled and lazy.” It’s just a habit of getting older I think. But there is some value in knowing that. When you get out in the work force prove us wrong. Be willing to work an entry level job. Why? Because unless you are really lucky, no one is going to make you CEO on your first day, month or year at the office. Be humble. Accept the crap work and be fabulous at it. Work your butt off. Prove that you deserve to be there and work for the job you want not the crappy one you have. Seriously. You will be recognized for your work faster than anything else. If you prove you are dependable and hard working you will get promoted. It just takes time. Let it take time. Find one awesome thing to gain from each position you take and use it. When the next position comes (and it will, and it will be so much better) you’ll be ready.

Don’t be entitled. The world, and your bosses, don’t owe you anything. Even a paycheck.

4. In a year/ten years your life won’t look the same.

No one said this to me until I was in my late 20s and honestly, it’s probably the best bit of advice I’ve ever received. Life isn’t always going to be amazing. Sorry, but it’s true. Some years are going to suck. You’ll be broke. You’ll get dumped. You’ll lose a parent. These things happen and they blow. But in a year, your life will be different. Focus on that. Know that just about everything changes with time. All those crappy things go away, you adjust and you’re better off because of them. Focus on the next. I promise things will get better.

5. You’ll never really feel like a grown up, you’ll feel like an adult at times, but never like a grown up

OK I really, really hate to burst your bubble here, but you’ll never feel like a grown up. I’m almost 36 and…I still feel your age. Seriously. Yeah, I feel like an adult when I have to pay bills, or take my car into the shop or work when I really don’t feel like it. But as for feeling like a grown up? Nope. If you think that one day you’ll magically wake up and have it all together like your parents do, uh, it won’t happen. Why? Your parents don’t either. I’m betting that sometimes they feel like a fraud and wonder why they don’t seem more grown up like their parents. See what I’m getting at here? You’ll do adult things, but you’ll never be “grown up”. No one is. It’s a lie.

Who’s with me in this?

A photo posted by Christina L (@christinaplainandsimple) on

 

6. Facebook changes everything about graduation

I can remember my AP English teacher sitting with us just a few days before graduation and telling us that we would probably never see the bulk of these people around us again. Sure, we’d have a few good friends we’d stay in contact with, but for the most part, we’d never see 95% of the people in our graduating class again. Even factoring in reunions.

Sorry kids, but you don’t have that luxury. Facebook has changed everything for you. Will you even need reunions? I doubt it. You’ll likely stay in touch with a large part of your friends from middle and high school. That’s just the world we live in now. On my friends list I have like, half of my high school class. People who were in the mega popular crowd who barely spoke to me even. It’s strange.

Here’s the thing though. Know that going forward you don’t have to associate with people who treat you like crap. Those people in high school who didn’t give you the time of day, but who made a point of having you on their friends list to inflate numbers? Yeah you don’t need them in your life. From now on YOU get to choose your family. (And yes, friends are family – you’ll find that out very, very soon) You get to choose who you let use up the real estate of your life. Be careful of that. Protect that real estate. Ain’t nobody got time for drama in the real world. It’s OK to let those crappy people go.

7. You will blink and find yourself at your 10/20 year reunion…go – schadenfreude is cathartic

Time flies when you’re having fun. It flies faster with each birthday. I’m not making that up. You won’t believe me right now, but bookmark this and come back when you’re 36. You can tell me then. I literally just blinked and it went from Christmas to summer. I imagine when you’re 80 years are just one blink – maybe half.

That said, you’re going to find yourself with a 10 Year Reunion invitation in like two blinks. You will not know where the time went and you’re going to question whether or not you should even go.

Do me a favor. GO.

In case you aren’t familiar with the term, schadenfreude is German. It means happiness at the misfortune of others (leave it to the Germans…). I promise you that there is at least one person who made you their target all four years of high school that’s going to go. Guess what? They are probably still failing at life. Go and take your 5 minutes of pleasure in seeing them fat, balding and sad (and probably still living their glory days – they are the old creeper at the club). Yeah, I know that sounds horrible. But I truly believe you need it for closure. You need it for validation that they were just crappy and you don’t need them in life and you don’t need their approval to feel good about yourself. Go, have your one drink, see the circus and then get the heck out of there.

8. Take care of yourself and your mental health

Not to scare you (ok, maybe to scare you just a little…) but your body is going to start rejecting you at 25. Your skin is going to start to change. It’s weird. I can’t explain it. You’ll just have to believe me. At 30 you’ll probably start getting pimples again. (It’s annoying. Buy some good pimple cream and deal with it. Next year things won’t be the same, remember?) By 35 you will not be able to handle a hangover anymore, not that you’ll want to, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Start taking care of yourself now. Wear sunscreen and moisturizer.

And take care of your mental health. No one talks about that, but seriously. Your brain is important. Pay attention to your stress level, even now as you go into college. Learn to relax. Learn to be away from your phone and the computer and the TV and just unplug. Learn to be quiet and enjoy a lack of noise. I promise life is better if you do.

9. There will be a time when naps and nights in are waaaaaay better than partying. Embrace it.

Parties are awesome. Drinking (responsibly) is fun. Clubs are great if you’re into that. But there will come a time where you’ll be in your PJs at like 8:30 and for a split second you’ll think “Man, this is sad.” and then right after that you’ll think “NO WAY. THIS IS AWESOME.” Embrace the yoga pants and the pajamas and Netflix with ice cream. Take naps. Seriously, you spend most of your life wanting to PAR-TAY but eventually a nap is going to sound awesome. And they are. Enjoy that.

10. Money

I couldn’t think of a clever way to say this one, sorry. There are going to be times when you have it and times when you don’t. My best advice is to try not to go into debt. Everywhere you turn on campus for the next four years, someone is going to be offering you free swag if you sign up for a credit card. DON’T.

Have one credit card. Use it for emergencies, not pizza.

Pay cash for things as much as you can.

Take control of your money and learn to budget. I’m sorry to say that high school probably didn’t prepare you for that. It should’ve. That’s our bad.

Don’t spend money to impress people. Don’t buy “stuff”, buy experiences. Save up for the expensive stuff you want – delayed gratification isn’t a bad thing despite what society is throwing at you on a daily basis. Yes, it’s awesome to have the expensive stuff your friends do. But your friends are going to be saddled with student loans and credit card bills the size of a state budget when you graduate- broke from the start – still want to be like them? Didn’t think so.

11. Lastly, life is what you make it. Yes, that makes me sound like an old lady. But it’s true.

Look, the bottom line is that you are now the captain of this ship. Even now, at 18. Your parents have a little pull if they’re paying your college tuition, but even the college or university you attend can’t share information with them. Even your grades. It’s illegal. Now that you aren’t a minor it’s all on you. So in ten years, your life is what you will have crafted. You can’t blame your parents or your friends or society or life. Sorry. It’s all on you.

Make sure you get what you want. And have fun in the process. Remember, you’re only as old as you feel and I still feel 18. And I own this.

Now go kick ass.




Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Mother’s Day

img183

Me and mom on my high school graduation day.

 

Friends, this weekend is going to be extremely hard for me. While most of you are out celebrating either being a mom or celebrating the woman who *is* your mom, I won’t be celebrating. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

You see, I’m 35 and I don’t have kids – not from a lack of trying, it just doesn’t seem to be happening. And yet, I still get “So when are you going to get pregnant?” or “I bet your dad would love more grandkids”, as though it were entirely up to me.

On top of that, I don’t have a mother. She died when I was 27. She didn’t get to see me get married. She won’t be around if nature ever decides to grant me children (doubtful). Losing your mom just as you’re beginning to get it together as an adult is extremely hard. Much harder if you’re a child, I’m sure, but still. I bet when you moved out you still called your mama for advice, recipes, how-tos and just to chat, growing a friendship with that woman who was the bane of your existence in your teen years, but whom now you can’t imagine not having around. I didn’t have that luxury for very long. I miss it dearly. Some days I long for it.

Losing a parent is never easy. It’s a strange feeling. It means that you’re next in line. It means that you’re going it alone. It means that resource, that person who loves you unconditionally is just … gone.

It does get better. My first Mother’s Day without mom was horrible. Being a teacher made it harder, because I had to coordinate Mother’s Day activities when all I really wanted to do was ignore that the holiday even existed.

Today, I can sort of smile knowingly as the neighborhood kids bring home cute projects they made with their own hands for their mama and proudly present them early because they just can’t wait until Sunday.

I hope that in the midst of all of your well-deserved celebrating, you might consider saying a prayer for someone like me – someone who longs to be a mama, but isn’t and longs to spend the day with her own mama, but can’t. For us the day will be extremely hard. Writing this is extremely hard – I’m crying as I type. But it needs to be said.

Those of us without a reason to celebrate don’t want to take away from your joyful time – but we would like to be remembered, hugged, prayed for.

Would you?




Spring DeJunk Challenge – My Process to Purging the Junk

spring dejunk process

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Spring De-Junk Challenge and Giveaway. Organizing and cleaning your home is much more fun with a friend, so join us, and let’s get de-junking!

spring-de-junk-challenge-giveaway-ig (1)

 

Today is Day 1 of our 10-Day Challenge to Clean, Organize and De Junk Your Home for Spring.

 

If you missed the post introducing the challenge, click here for directions and details.

Today, I thought I’d share with you my simple process for purging and clearing out the clutter – my husband would say it doesn’t happen often enough 😉 – but it really is easy!

dejunk step 1

Any time I work to organize and clear the junk out of a space I like to move quickly and clear everything out in one fell swoop. But, you need somewhere to put all that “stuff” that you’re going through so yesterday I ran to Lowe’s and grabbed 3 boxes, the kind you’d use for packing and moving. I put those together and then used some chalkboard tape to label them Put Away, Recycle, Donate. (You’ll see these when you follow along on Instagram. I just move them from space to space as I fill and empty them.) I also keep a big (and I mean like lawn size) trash back with me for garbage. I’m lazy y’all. Ain’t nobody got time to run to a trash can every 5 minutes!

dejunk step 2

I love setting a timer. It tends to keep me focused (especially these days). If I know the clock is counting down, I’m working fast and I’m motivated to beat that clock! It also means I’m not spending a ton of time deliberating on an item that really should go.

And I like to be ruthless! Haven’t used it? It goes. Doesn’t fit well and make me feel good about myself? Donate! Seriously folks, this stuff ends up taking up valuable real estate in your house and your brain. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! Get purging.

dejunk step 3

OK truth time, this is the hardest part for me. If I’m feeling lazy, it’s really tempting to leave stuff in the “put away” box for “later”. Don’t let later happen to you! Go ahead and reset that timer and move fast, putting things back where they belong and taking items to donation or recycling ASAP. If you let it sit, that’s where it will stay. For the purposes of our challenge, I’m having Adam help me stay accountable to get things put up and get them out of the house if needed. And it helps that I’m sharing this journey with all of you over on Instagram. If you notice I’m not getting things put away, call a girl out OK? It’s time to get the junk up outta here!

Before you jump into the challenge, how about some inspiration? Visit each of our participating bloggers to see our best cleaning and organizing tips for Spring.

spring-de-junk-challenge-collage-3

#1: Decluttering Tips for Kids from One Creative Mommy

#2: My Process for Purging the Junk from Christina, Plain and Simple

#3: De-Junking Checklist Printables from The Princess and Her Cowboys

#4: Garage Sale Tips and Tricks from 4 You with Love

#5: A Busy Woman’s Guide to the Best Cleaning Products from Occasionally Crafty

#6: Declutter Your Mind to Declutter Your Space {Book Review & Giveaway} from The Frugal Foodie Mama

#7: De-Junk Challenge: How to Organize your Closets from Juggling Act Mama

#8: Hats Off to Organization from Redo Mom

#9: Get Organized in the #SpringDeJunkChallenge from Fearlessly Creative Mammas

#10: Spring Declutter Project from Krystal’s Kitsch

The Giveaway:

No challenge is complete without a giveaway. One lucky de-junker is going to win $210 to spend at Amazon.com!  Good luck with the challenge and the giveaway. No matter who wins, we all win with a cleaner and more organized home.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you join the challenge, feel free to leave me your Instagram handle in the comments so that I can follow your De-Junking Journey. If you’d like, tag me (@christinaplainandsimple) in your Instagram posts so that I can follow your progress.




Declutter Your Home! Spring De-Junk Challenge and GIVEAWAY!

spring-de-junk-challenge-giveaway-1

 

Hey guys! While preparing for my dad’s visit last week from Florida, it became even clearer to me that I have got to purge this house of unwanted “stuff” so I’m super excited to be participating in Heidi from OneCreativeMommy’s #SpringDeJunkChallenge from April 27th through May 7th.

No really, I’ve even gotten hubby on board. (He may have been subtly hinting that we have too much stuff…and I may have been putting it off…a lot.)

And guess what?? YOU can play along too and maybe, just maybe win some money? Who can use some extra money? *raises hand* I bet you can too.

Are you with me?

Welcome to the Spring De-Junk Challenge and Giveaway!

 

We’re announcing the challenge a week early so that you have time to mark your calendar to be ready to join us on Day 1.

The Instagram Challenge:

For 10 days, do one thing every day to make some progress toward de-junking or spring cleaning your home.  The challenge starts Monday, April 27th, and continues until May 7th. (That’s 11 days, in case you would like to take Sunday off. If you chose to continue through Sunday, you can end the challenge on May 6th.)

  • Each day, pick a spot in your home that you need to clean or de-junk.  (For some, this may be one drawer.  For others, it might be the entire garage.  Do what works for you.  Big or small, it’s still progress!)
  • Before you tackle the mess, take a before photo and share it on Instagram.
  • When you’ve finished dejunking or organinzing that spot, post another photo of your newly cleaned space. Include the hashtag #SpringDeJunkChallenge with both photos so that we can follow your progress and to inspire others to join the fun.
  • No Instagram account?  No problem.  Use Facebook instead.
  • The purpose of taking pictures and posting them is to make the challenge more fun and to inspire other people to join us.  Everything’s more fun with a friend, right?  If taking and posting pictures will keep you from completing the challenge, feel free to skip that part. (I think you’ll find that it’s pretty motivating, though!)

So, are you up for the challenge? Follow your hosts on Instagram (links are in the Rafflecopter for the giveaway) to see how we’re all completing the challenge and to get some ideas.

The Inspiration:

11 bloggers have accepted the challenge. To add to the fun, all 11 of us will share a special post about getting our home in shape for Spring on Day 1 of the challenge. Don’t forget to check back on Monday to get lots of inspiration for your own home.

The Giveaway:

What challenge would be complete without a prize? For most of us, the prize will be a clean and organized home. For one lucky de-junker, the prize will be a little bigger. How about a little something to improve your home? Maybe $210 to spend at Amazon.com?!!!  Sounds good, right? So enter away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you join the challenge, feel free to leave me your Instagram handle in the comments so that I can follow your De-Junking Journey.

Be sure to visit the bloggers sponsoring the series and check out the great ideas on their blogs. We all love new visitors, and we’d love to hear from you!

Heidi from One Creative Mommy

Ang from Juggling Act Mama

Christina from Christina, Plain and Simple

Vicki from Simply Vicki

Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Marilyn from 4 You with Love

Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama

Mary from Redo Mom

Valerie from Occasionally Crafty

Brittney from The Princess and Her Cowboys

Krystal from Krystal’s Kitsch

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and good luck with the challenge!




Top Secret Blogger Tip #6 – Round Ups

Top Secrets of Big Bloggers Graphic

 

 

Round ups – an easy post to throw up and fill editorial calendar space, while highlighting your new blogging friend’s work. If you’ve been around long enough in this world of ours, you know these became popular quickly and (hopefully) drive great traffic.

I’ll admit that what I’m about to share is simple, but it was another “duh” moment for me. I always kind of saw these as filler posts; ways to share other people’s work and get attention on Pinterest. I never really considered how they could benefit me aside from getting repins or being eye catching because I had “50 Ways to Cook Eggs” or “12 Crafts Perfect for Toddlers!”.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my clients: bigger bloggers round up and share their own work in round ups.

Y’all, my first thought was, “Is that allowed?” Um, DUH Christina, it’s your blog, you can do whatever the heck you want! I totally thought that wasn’t in the rule book. That you shouldn’t repromote your old content in a round up you created using links to other people’s blogs. Really? Why not? What’s so wrong about that?

I shouldn’t assume that because you read my blog now that you have been since 2010. Why shouldn’t I share older content with new readers?

Serious. Duh. Moment.

So simple, and such common sense, yet I never even gave it a thought.

What about you? Do you create round ups? Do you include your own work? You should!