Monday, November 15, 2010

What's on my mind?

With all my sorting and organising I have been thinking about a few things that I wanted to get down to try and clarify why I do what I do. So here goes.

One of my biggest motivators is something that seems to come up time and again through things that I hear and read, is that I have enough hours in a day to do all the things that God intends. Phil 4:13 says 'I can do all this through him who gives me strength'. Notice it isn't I can do all things. I'm not supermum! So how do I know what I should be doing? The answer lies in being in tune with God. Knowing his voice when I ask just what I am supposed to be doing. It usually starts with a feeling. Whether I have a peace about what I am going to do. Then looking at the options. What is important vs urgent. Something I learnt from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. My key bible verse at the moment is Rom 12:2 which you will find at the top of my blog. We live in a busy time, rushing from one thing to the next and it is so easy to overcommit our selves and our children and not really enjoy anything that we are doing. John 10:10b says 'I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Daily we need to make a commitment to stand out from the world and do what is right with God

This leads me into my next train of thought. If there are things that I should be doing does it mean that I have to leave the things that aren't a priority? One thing I have heard countless times as a mum is the old adage that the washing will still be there tomorrow so we can leave it and do what is more important like playing with our children. They grow up so quickly etc etc. True but along with that days washing comes tomorrows and soon we are overwhelmed with the day to day things that drive us crazy. So I find I have adopted more of a theory of the need for balance. While I would love to plan my days and be organised for what is coming up I have learnt that my circumstances do not allow for it. At the moment I have an overall picture of what I what to get done and do things one at a time. When I feel I haven't been doing something in one area say creative I make time to do something. The same goes for time with my husband and children, organising, business opportunities. One thing that I am beginning to understand more is how to use my time more effectively. My thinking was I needed long stretches of time to really get things done. But I would be waiting too long because it just doesn't happen. So I found that spending small amounts of time on one thing gets me that much closer to my goal. It is amazing what you can do in 15 mins. A tip I picked up from my reading and notes about scrapbooking that I have been reading. While some might call the things I do over organised. The systems I have put in place save me time that I can use for other things. And ultimately I can enjoy my life.

What's on my nightstand?

Being the night owl that I have become since my boys go to bed so late. I have been doing a bit of reading. I love to read and relish curling up with a good book. So I thought I would share what I have been reading of late.

I started the Janette Oke series Love Comes Softly a while back and have got back into reading it. These are the last two in the series and I am getting through them at a fast rate. A great read! Part of my defining me material is thoughts and reflections on the books that I read. I have a section where I jot down things that I get out of books and movies and character qualities that I am inspired by.

When I picked up these ones at our library at Northpoint Church, Christine Cain's Stop acting like a Christian just be one caught my eye. I have heard her speaking so am looking forward to getting into this one. Especially when a recent teaching I heard reminded me that we are 'human beings not doings' Something I have been dwelling on of late.

As the boys go through changes as they grow I thought I would dig out a favourite from Ian Grant 'Growing Great Boys'.

And last a book that a friend lent me after talking about what I have been doing to get organised and here on my blog 'More hours in my day' by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli. Interesting reading. Lots of things I am already doing and a number of pointers that I would like to put in place. Alot of what I want to share on my blog is about this. The things that I do to create time for what I want to be doing. There are alot of things that I wish I had known a long time ago and set up. Its taken a lot of time but I am getting there and it feels good. Love that it is from a Christian perspective

Will have to keep you posted about what comes from it

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One word 2010

I read this awesome post from Ali Edwards at the start of the year. Be sure to check out the links as she explains it really well

My word for this year is


I chose it because I am focusing this year on decluttering and simplifying. I want to be enjoying life and I am certain that the process I am going through is going to enable me to do the things that I want to be doing. I realise just how important it is to stop and breathe. To think before I act and to slow down and take in all the things around me.

Present box

We were invited to birthday party on the weekend and I had the chance to use my birthday box so I thought I would share what it is. I love giving gifts even something small. While I like to personalise it for the person I am giving it to, sometimes they are on the spot invites so I thought I would get better prepared to save the stress. I have a box that I keep little gifts for different events: baby, children, female, male. I also grab a large roll of wrapping paper from office products stores that suits all including Christmas if I can. Every so often I spy bargains that I add to the box. I am also building up presents for Christmas for the boys. I do need to make a few more cards to add to it though.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where have I been?

I have been quite absent of late. I have had several things that I have wanted to post but haven't quite got here. Then I read a blog in passing where someone had been taking a break and related the story of the rocks. You know the one? There are several variations of it.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly, picked up a very large and empty jar and start to fill it with rocks. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up the box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous yes. The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 'Now' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends and favourite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff. 'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for life. It you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. 'I'm so glad you asked'. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

So as the blogger said "I am taking care of some of my rocks". I discovered that I needed to take out a lot of sand to do this. My main thing being clearing my space and finishing tasks that I have begun so I can do what I really want to do. It has taken alot longer than I thought it would. I am nearly there.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Feeling guilty

I have been absent of late as I mentioned in this post I have been working mainly on clearing my pile of to do's. In doing so I have been reflecting on the big G - guilt. It has been lurking there and as I do got to thinking. Heres what I came up with.

I began thinking about guilt when I came across a video from Cheryl Richardson talking to 'supermoms' about how to say no. The number one reason we can't say no is because we feel guilty. She says that in feeling guilty we should embrace the guilt as our friend because it means we are doing something for ourselves.

Every day I make decisions about what I am going to do. And whatever I choose to do I generally end up feeling guilty because someone misses out or I do something that I could be doing better. And that is not okay. So I have made a decision. I will not feel guilty. Sounds great but is it that easy? In short no it's not. What you need to do is start small. With one step. I like to remind myself that I can do what I can with what I have. And we are so good at thinking about what we don't have and what we aren't doing. Start thinking about what you are doing and have done that is making a difference. You might be surprised at how much it boosts you.

John 10:10b 'I have come that they may have life and have it to the full'. Whatever I choose to do I want to enjoy it not be constantly thinking about what else I could or feel I should be doing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wardrobe sort

The weather is definitely changing and I am digging out some of my favourites from the wardrobe to keep warm. In doing so I found a few not so favourites and thought it was time I had another look at my wardrobe to see what needs to move on and what I do have to wear. I am definitely an advocate for feeling better when you look your best. While I don't have much chances to dress up and love being comfortable, dressing casually doesn't mean you can't look good I have always been a fan of Trinny and Susannah and other shows like Gok. What I love about their shows is that they deal with the real you. Loving the skin you're in so to speak. No surgery or major dieting required. Having stumbled across a book called Colour me Confident on special about dressing to suit your style and colours I put what I had seen to the test and sorted my wardrobe. Sure you can pay loads to have your own personal consultant but it gave me a start. Now I love to shop as I know what suits me. I know what I have and buy things to add to what I've got. Which is great for when there are sales. Which is exactly what I found the last couple of days. I happened to be at the right place at the right time. 30% off one top that I had seen and liked elsewhere and 25% at another store. Now if I could just find the right pair of black shoes to replace the ones the puppy chewed I will be happy. The pain about having such big feet!

If you are feeling like you don't have anything to wear maybe its time you had a look at what you've got. It starts with accepting what you look like and making something of it. Sometimes adding a few simple things to your wardrobe can make all the difference. And the next time you see someone looking good in something don't be jealous, get inspired. You might not be able to wear what they wear (you're not them) but what was it that caught your eye? The colour, the way they put their outfit together, the accessories. It certainly has made a difference to me. And others have noticed to. Accentuate your assets and they don't see the flaws (and yes we all have them). And remember that your biggest asset is not what you look like but what is on the inside. But that is another story I will get to another time.

I would love to hear your story. Leave a comment or email me at the address to the right.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Update on Tokens

After yesterday I was beginning to wonder just how effective our token system is. See here to read more. I thought that they would realise that its pretty great to be able to do what you want to do. You just need to get a few things done first. But it takes more than a bit of coaxing and reminding, they have to want to do something first. And of course particularly in the morning have had a reasonable sleep. I have really been noticing just how grumpy I have been with them and it sets us up for a bad day. I really don't want to send them off with a negative outlook. So this morning I made a conscious effort to think before I act and speak. Hurrying and growling just make them more frustrating. It becomes a game of who can be the most stubborn. And we did it. The boys got ready and had a bit of time to get out the lego again. Taking time with them made such a difference. The biggest thing I noticed was at the end of the day. Such an attitude change. There will always be something else to do. But what is more important? If you aren't ready to listen to the small stuff (and believe me it is a hard thing when you have all four wanting you at once) and are quick to brush them off they are less likely to want to tell you their most important things.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Life has been somewhat crazy of late. I have so many things that I am wanting to do and have just been managing to keep up with the day to day things like cooking, dishes, washing, cleaning and the like. Each day seems to blur into the next feeling like you are on autopilot. It was about time that I had a chance to stop and reflect on what I have been up to and what I want to be doing.

What I came to realise is that I have been slowly adding things to my life that seemed like a good idea at the time. After all they were just small things I could fit into what I was already doing. E 100 series, a conference at church, helping a friend, offering to write a devotion for a mums night, starting this blog. But small things on mass turn into pretty big things. Its not usually until it starts to take its toll physically that you realise just how much you have been doing. Sure these are great things that I really wanted to do and I was good at. However they all been extras that have meant that I haven't done a number of things that were already on my to do list. I can't do it all.

So I am in the process of completing what I started. Getting myself organised. I won't feel like I have got somewhere until the pile on the floor in my bedroom is gone. It has meant pushing myself to get things done and saying no to things that I would like to do. Sometimes you have to keep going up the mountain to get to the other side. One thing at a time.

One of the biggest things on my to do list is revisiting my goals and dreams and reviewing my mission statement. It helps to keep a balance of what is important. I recently read this article about how our dreams can sometimes be on hold. It got me thinking about how much I want to have things happen now but maybe I just have to wait and remember that God has it all under control. While I may not think that what I am doing is relevant it all fits in his plan. I was reminded of this again when our family pastor shared this Sunday about her travels to conference . Family ministry starts at home at our place. I can have all the greatest ideas and dreams but what I am doing here at home counts for far more.

Everyday Life

Who would have thought that this would happen at our place. These photos were captured of the boys getting into their lego on a school morning! Yes thats right on a school morning. Our usual routine involves mad dashes around the house and lots of coaxing, bribing, grumping and more to get four boys out the door to do school and kindy drop offs.
So how did I they do it you might well ask. The simple answer tokens. I have had the token system set up for a while but decided to have a revamp and get it going a bit more. It all started as a way to get the boys more involved in helping out. As much as it is easier to do things yourself sometimes when you are doing everything thats all you get to do. So it was a way of encouraging them to help out so they got to do what they wanted and so did I. Up on our wall is a list of things that the boys can earn tokens for like setting the table, putting their bags away, getting ready in the morning and some things worth two tokens like emptying the dishwasher. When they have ten tokens they get to cash them in for a prize. These include having a friend over, going for a bike ride or swim, staying up late etc.

So on this morning they were up and ready to go in no time earned themselves tokens and then had time to play. It would be fab to say that it lasted and mornings are great but you have to take joy in the moments when they do. Hence why I had to capture it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Filling the pantry

This week was grocery week again. The cupboards seem to get emptier each time I think. I thought I would share a little about how I get set up for shopping and cooking that saves time and money in the process. These notes come from a session that I took at a mums group.

I have always enjoyed cooking. My mother was a good cook and eating around the family table brings back fond memories. Having children of my own I am in awe of how she did it and have set out to retain the joys for myself as well as provide healthy and yummy meals for my family. How do I do it? The secret lies in the planning. While I enjoy spending time in the kitchen it just isn't practical with 4 children. So I am big on time savers and just love those one pan dinners.

The first step to getting organised is working out a meal list that you and your family enjoy. As you experiment with different things you will begin to add to and adapt it. Build on your basics. There are a lot of different sources for ideas. Once you have the list sit down and work out what you will eat for the week or fortnight. Plan around events that occur in the week such as sports evenings entertaining or easy Friday night food. Keep the list on your fridge or write it on the calendar.

You are now set to make up your grocery list for the week or as I do fortnight. I have made up a standard list of all the things that I routinely buy. I go through each of the meals that I am going to make and check off the ingredients to make sure I have the things on hand. I then work through the things that I have written on my fridge list and any other items that I need to get. Because the list is in the order of the supermarket I shop at it makes shopping even faster (especially with little ones). Be sure to include items for extra events or entertaining. The key here is home cooked always goes down a treat and will have your guests impressed. Try pizza add hot chips and a salad or hamburgers. Guests can make their own how they like it. For deserts pancakes or a fruit crumble are always enjoyed.

It does take a while to get into the process of doing it, but is well worth the effort. In the end you don't have to worry about what you are having for the week. You can also do preparation the night before by taking out the meat for the following day and/or getting ingredients ready.

The key to preparing great meals is being set up for success. I have a little pantry space and kitchen that is really on its last legs, but I have set it up so that I can prepare meals easily even when my littlies want to join in and help. I have the tools and ingredients that I use on a regular basis at hand. I also make good use of those must have kitchen appliances (Kitchen whiz, bread maker, stick whiz) Other regular use items such as breakfast ingredients and baking ingredients are stored on trays that can be pulled out used and put back without too much fuss.

When it comes to getting a meal ready I start by getting out all the ingredients and tools that I need so I don't have to go looking for them in the middle of cooking. Do as much of the preparation as you can before you start cooking eg: peeling, chopping, grating. If you have the bench space sometimes this can be easier to do earlier in the day.

Thats kind of it in a nutshell. You really have to see the process in action.It sounds really organised and I guess it is. But I live by Stephen Covey's idea that it is a habit of highly effective people. In life you have to be intentional about what you want in order to make time for the things that you really want to do. Leave a comment or email me at if you have any questions or want to know more. I would love to pass on what I have found useful. I would also love to know how you organise your shopping as I am always looking for ideas. I will be posting more later about recipes I use and how to get your kids eating more of the things you would like them to. There isn't much our boys won't eat.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

E100 Bible Study

One of my biggest goals this year would have to be making the most important thing the most important thing. What is that you ask? My relationship with God. Through all I have read, seen and heard I know that when I am connected I can live life better. All God desires is for us to be in relationship with him.

At church we have started the E100 Bible Challenge. It involves 100 readings through the bible to give an overall understanding of it. I was all keen and eager. A great kick start to getting back into regularly reading the bible. A week has been and already I am struggling with keeping to the schedule.

I heard a great message from Joyce Meyer today though that was a real boost. The main message I took from it is how we all desire to be better but no matter what we do God loves us anyway.

So I will not feel guilty about not doing what I thought I would. I will press on and do what I can when I can. It won't just happen though I need to be intentional about it. I will keep you posted

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some time for myself

Had some much needed time out to get my haircut today. It is one of the things that you really can't do with children about, but feels so much better especially when it is overdue. As much as I would love to spoil myself and get a colour and spend some time at the hairdressers. For some people this is the perfect treat and a must do. I don't have that time luxury and like to spend the money on other things. So it was off to Just Cuts which is fab as you don't need an appointment. The only downside is you can't guarantee you will get the same stylist each time. I get around this by having pictures ready either from magazines or from the web of what I am wanting. I now just need to do the dye (which I can sometimes get Mum to do when I see her). The products are relatively easy to use. There are other great money saver ideas if you know where to find them. Like hairdressing school (money saver), dye your main colour and get your hairdresser to add highlights (money saver), asking whether your hairdresser will put your colour in and then you go home and rinse out yourself (time saver). How do you get your hair done?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome to the chaos

When I was deciding on the name for my blog I came up with sorted life not because it is sorted, because then I would have to call it perfect life. Sorted implies that I have it all together and everything happens as it should which is far from the truth. No I called it sorted life because it fits with my creative blog sorted scrapper but more because I have discovered that by choosing what is important I am sorted in life.

Right now I am happy. Not because of my circumstances but because I choose to be. At the time I started this blog this was the state of my bedroom and lounge. We are the proud owners of an eight week old puppy that has added a new spice to our family (hence why we called him Cajun) The week prior to getting him was spent getting ready for him and I have been throwing everything on my desk and floor and shutting the door. Before this state of chaos would have driven me crazy because I like everything to be in its place. But I am able to look at it and know that it doesn't mean I am untidy but that we had something more important to do. I got to go to an amazing conference. We started soccer and Logan scored his first goal. We spent time together as a family going fishing. The pile of washing is at least dry. I just need to fold it up.

I can't do everything. There are only a certain number of hours in the day and most of mine are spent with my children. I do however have a choice about how I spend those hours. I want to share how I do that here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The start of something new

I have been meaning to start this blog for some time now. I keep thinking that when I get life sorted that I will have something to share. But my life is a work in progress. So I am starting it now because this moment is what I can be sure of. I am creating this space to document my journey in life and bring together what I have learnt and resources that I use. Join me as I explore what it means to me to have a sorted life.
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