Tag Archives: Marie Kondo

Let’s Start the Year Off Right with Help from “Chasing Slow—Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path” by Erin Loechner

Friends!  Happy New Year!  Let’s rejoice we have a fresh start…a new year, a new calendar, a do-over (anyone?), a mulligan for you golfers.

Recently I discovered a multi-talented young lady by the name of Erin Loechner. Some of you know her from her wildly popular blog, www.designformankind.com Others of you may have caught her when she was on HGTV.  I found her from her latest book which caught my eye:  Chasing Slow—Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path.  The book cover plus its’ title grabbed me right away.

The layout of the book is clean, easy to navigate, and includes some amazing, healthy recipes.  SOLD.  Divided into three parts (“Chasing More”, “Chasing Less”, and “Surrender”), you’ll get thirty-four small chapters to absorb.

Because I’m forever using phrases like, “I’m chasin’ my tail today.” Or “I’m playing beat the clock and losing again…”, Chasing Slow sounded wildly appealing.

Erin takes you on her journey while showing us what it looks like to look for, but avoid, the lion. You know, the roaring one lying to you through his teeth.

Newly married and living in LA, Erin and her husband, Ken, learn he’s got a brain tumor. Couple that with depression and anxiety on Erin’s part, and they’ve got more than a full plate.

She says, “In my mind’s ocean are jaws of depression, tentacles of anxiety. I live daily in the hope that if I work hard enough, if I paddle fast enough, I might outswim the sadness. I might outsmart the tension. I might overcome life’s ambiguity with sheer will, force of mind….” (Notice how many times she uses “I”.)

Then she remembers this verse:

She concludes, “I do know that with God comes wisdom and time, and with wisdom and time comes perspective, and that sometimes, overcoming depression requires an oversized cocktail shaker of all of those things, on the rocks, please.”

Bottom line?  She carries on her sense of humor:  “But sometimes, often, the most reverent spiritual practice is to pick up the pug dung and get back to work.”  In other words, just do the next thing.

You’ll get to see how her blog was born, which she says is her escape, a way to “silence our lions.” She honestly reveals many of their highs and lows. In an article in Relevant magazine from last fall, Erin says, “It’s all about creating margin, ‘Sabbath’ is there for a reason.’”

Another fun fact from the layout of this book, is every so often Erin gifts us with a math lesson. My favorite is #004:  “No = a Complete Sentence.”

Savor this from G.K. Chesterton:

You’ll also get to see how Erin and Ken get themselves into a financial mess, which leads to a move back home in the Midwest with Erin’s family. An opportunity with HGTV suddenly arrives and Erin remarks, “The thing about apples is that we’re always biting off more than we can chew. It is hard to see which bites might nourish and which might cause us to choke.” That’s another case of beware of that prowling lion!

Erin teaches, “Here is the secret to subtraction: It doesn’t matter what you remove. What matters is that you stop adding it back.” POW.

Erin and Ken become blessed with a new baby daughter, they name “Bee”. Their navigation into parenthood is a blast to read. If you’ve had a newborn in your life before, you’ll laugh along with them. Another one of Erin’s math lessons for us is #010:  “Sticker sheet + Toddlers = 5 minutes of peace and quiet for Mama.”

While Erin was writing Chasing Slow, her circle of friends began passing a book around called, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You might imagine Erin adores it given her book topic. Don’t miss her hysterical remarks about the book.  It was passed around my circle of friends as well.  As I survey my surroundings, I spot signs of mega clutter. It’s occurring to me I may need to dig that meddling book back out with the new year. Sigh…

Finally, when you hit chapter 34, you find yourself wanting more from Erin, and yet her encouragement, use of Scripture verses, and prayers throughout make you want to roll your sleeves up and start chasing slow. Erin suggests, “Chase what God wants for your life, and ask Him how to get there.”

The grande finale of the book holds TWO surprises before you read the last page: (1) The Resource section.  “From A to Z, a Few Easy Changes to Slow Your Life” will bless you further. And (2) “Five Methods of Decluttering Your Home”.  These are priceless.

Thank you, Erin, for a delightful way to start 2018!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

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Clearing Clutter Clears Your Mind…and then some… (With help from author Ruth Soukup)

Friends!  I pray this finds you well and rested, having had fun family time over Memorial Day Weekend.

Wait ’til you hear what nearly happened:  My sweet husband, John, and I recently came within hours of buying another house.  As in Sunday night, before we were to answer the contract Monday morning, we were leaving the potential purchase and I said, “Ya know, I’m just not 100%.”  To which he replied, “Me neither.”

KUNG…..Are you kidding me?  I’d already mentally placed furniture in each room thanks to sleepless nights among other distractions. We’d be gaining a neat, “lock and leave” concept-of-a-home with a four foot by eight foot patch of grass verses our current two acres, a first floor master, etc.

John stopped the car mid-hill and we said in unison, “Let’s not do it.”  That was that.

While some of our friends considered us in dire need of a psychological evaluation (!!!), others “got it”.  Several of our friends are downsizing, simplifying, and purging their homes of stuff so their poor children don’t have to years later. Having gone thru’ that with my own parents, that experience was no picnic.  At  all. At  all.

One huge “aha” moment occurred during this lapse of sanity.  I declared while in a major panic mode:  “Wow, if we have to show this house for sale, the first and second floors are good.  But  the closets?  And  the basements?  Major deal-breakers. Buyers would run for the hills.”

You may have noticed “basements” is plural.  Yes, we have two basements.  Both small, but both very full of stuff.  Largely thanks to my parents’ home we emptied.

Thus we’ve begun the purging process.  We’ve made good dents in all the closets.  But, we’ve not ventured down to the basements yet.  Soon tho’, very soon.  It’s a very good feeling to finally begin this long, overdue process.

There are a gazillion books available to aid those of us in the pack rat category.  One which many of us have read and continually quote is Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

One of Marie’s suggestions is to hold up the item in question (whether to keep or toss), and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” My friends and I’ve had a boatload of fun discussing this.

The other good news is there are numerous organizations more than happy to take your stuff, friends in need, maybe even consignment opportunities. Our “trash” is morphing into someone else’s “treasure”.  Hallelujah!!!

Another book I read years ago is by a guy whose fame largely came from Oprah. His name is Peter Walsh. He’s written many more books since the one I read.  I confess I totally bought this book on a whim because the title made me howl right there in the bookstore: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?  For  real?  Yet it seems there is a correlation to people with stuff also carrying around extra pounds…Hmmm…

Even better news, I’ve discovered a lovely Christian author named Ruth Soukup.  She’s authored several books on decluttering and comes highly recommended.  Her most recent book is called Unstuffed:  Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul.

Check out her amazing blog, too:  www.lvingwellspendingless.com

On Ruth’s blog, she says her mission is to “eliminate overwhelm and make your life just a little bit easier.”  Amen. She even offers many amazing recipes!

Lysa TerKeurst says, “As women, we have the tendency to overstuff our lives, our schedules, and our homes with things that really aren’t beneficial.  And our souls suffer because of our unwillingness to let go.  Ruth Soukup tackles this issue head-on and gives practical steps to be purposeful with the stuff we let into our sacred spaces.”

Ruth’s book is divided into three parts:  Home, Mind, and Soul.  It’s not just about decluttering stuff, she helps you seriously look at your schedule, your paperwork, and other people’s stuff…as in letting go of guilt.  i.e. “My Mother would never forgive me if I got rid of _______________.”

She also talks about when you’re “drowning in magazines” as an example of the paperwork part.  (Please, no one venture onto our porch right now as there’s a pile of magazines and catalogs awaiting my review.  Hello? Busted.)

Regarding your soul, Ruth addresses friends, wellness and your spirit, “Letting go of the need to do it yourself.”  She tells us, “Each chapter will offer sidebars of concrete ideas you can implement right away to clear the chaos and create calm, clutter-free zones within your home…”

While we may have missed the spring cleaning season (it’s not quite summer yet, is it?), it’s never too late to begin purging.  Your home and your family will thank you, trust me.

Before we close, let’s look at some other books by Ruth:

31 Days to a Clutter Free Life:  One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind and Schedule

Living Well Spending Less:  12 Secrets of the Good Life

31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero:  Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life.

Before I return to editing my book, I’m tackling two horrendous looking piles surrounding me on my desk.  Got a place in mind you need to tackle?  Go for it! Just start, little by little.

Clear the clutter, clear your mind.  You’ll be honoring the Lord with your efforts and He will be well pleased.

Proverbs 16:3 reminds us to include God in our efforts: 

‘Til next time!

 

 

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