Thursday, January 8, 2015

Empower: You Can Do It {Introduction}

The sun is shining brightly today making it look very warm outside, but looks can be deceiving. It is below freezing out there with a wind chill factor that makes it very cold for upstate South Carolina. My husband is outside splitting wood. I'm cozy and warm in my living room with the wood stove cranking out the heat with a fan that spreads it around the room.

I have a nice warm cup of Typhoo tea that just hits the spot. Lots of thoughts are swirling in my head, and I'm glad for this new year. It gives me a chance to make some changes, to be intentional about what I do so that the changes I make enhance our living rather than drag our spirits down.

The dust and the dirt and the clutter have been around so long that we tend to look past it or ignore it. We get lost in cyberspace or art or writing, anything to keep us from focusing on making our house an expression of ourselves, a place for people to feel welcomed and loved. Sometimes the mess can't be helped and I believe we can still welcome visitors even in the midst of it, and they can feel welcome.

I am not looking for a spotless, magazine-worthy house. That is so not me. I truly want to live more simply, and get rid of extra things that weigh me down. When you live in a place for 17 years, once having about 13 living here for a few weeks, but mostly 9 of us for many years, clutter builds up. It doesn't happen overnight, but if you don't weed things out on a regular basis you will find that it creeps up on you until one day you feel like it is taking over.

It's enough to make the best of us want to crawl into a hole so we don't have to look at it. We feel like giving up before we even get started. We tell ourselves it's no use so we might as well ignore it and go do what we want, so we do just that. But that is just a bandaid solution for the moment. Sure, doing something else can make us feel a whole lot better, but it doesn't make the clutter go away, and when we are done, it's still there.

I'm not saying we should wait until everything is as we want it before we stop to enjoy ourselves. That would be a big mistake. I don't know what I would do without my art and my writing to give me a creative outlet, to sort of recharge before jumping into work. What I am trying to tell myself is that procrastinating, even if I'm doing what I like, is just going to prolong the problem. 

What I need is a solution, a plan to jump start, some little baby steps to start making my home a beloved place for me and all who enter.

How do I start? Where do I start? 

It's just too hard. I can't do it, or can I? 

What if I just did one thing a day to make improvements? Would it really make any difference? Well, I have proof that it does! 

Today I made a simple solution of water, mineral oil and a few drops of lemongrass essential oil. I took a cloth and used the mixture to clean the piano, coffee and end tables and the dining table.

What a difference it made! It actually gives me incentive to keep going to make things nice. All of it took no more than 20 minutes, but it was surprising how good it made me feel, even though most of the house is still messy. 

(see how shiny the table is now?)

I wish I had thought to take before pictures, but at the time I didn't even have a blog post in mind. I had been praying earlier and thinking about what I do on my blog that might encourage others, but nothing seemed to come to me. I just felt stuck. 

When I sat down to start writing about my day, something seemed to click. Maybe other people feel stuck like I do, overwhelmed, not knowing where to start.

If I made this a series, sharing each week the baby steps I take, it would not only keep me accountable but might also encourage others. My daughter Jamie suggested I use the word empower for the series. I wasn't quite sure why until she gave this explanation: “That's what's in your way. In everyone's way. The confidence that we CAN.”

The more I thought about it the more I realized she was right. I was thinking I had no ideas that others haven't already come up with, but then I realized that was scarcity talking as my friend Abby Norman likes to point out. We are all individuals, and even if we talk about the same thing we will have a different way of saying it.

So my Empower: You Can Do It series is born! I like that title because it doesn't matter what you are struggling with. It might be clutter like I have or some other issue that is bothering you, big or small. I am here to cheer you on with these words.


Any of us can take one tiny step at a time in the direction we want to go, even if that step is only an idea. Take the idea, mull over it in your mind, and find a way to start with one tiny baby step. 

(local pussywillows)

I hope to make this a weekly event sharing what I learn and the steps I take. It helps to have encouragement from others, so if anyone would like to comment, share ideas, or baby steps you have taken I would love to hear from you!

I am linking up with Kelly Balarie's Cheerleaders of Faith #raralinkup.  Join us and find encouragement from others who share.

Please visit my other posts in the Empower: You Can Do It series.

#tips #encouragement #photography #empower #series #babysteps #youcandoit #incentive #house #clutter #cheer #ideas #homemadefurniturepolish #essentialoil #improvements #enough #noscarcity

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