“Until it is Carved in Stone”

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”   Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

Start living and have a wonderful Tuesday!

 

 

 

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40 Bags/40 Days Declutter Charity Challenge

For the last few years, I have participated in a challenge that I first saw introduced by the lovely Sarah over at Clover Lane. It’s called the “40 Bags in 40 Days challenge” and the idea is to rid your home of unneeded and unwanted “stuff” by filling a bag every day during the 40 days of Lent. By the end, you will have donated/sold/tossed 40 BAGS of clutter.

I have to admit that the first year I did this challenge, I was a bit overwhelmed. Sarah suggests writing down 40 different areas of your home that you want to focus on during the challenge, and that was definitely helpful for me. I broke things down into very small categories and even dedicated one day to just cleaning out file drawers {not even my whole desk}. Following that daily plan of one small area at a time made things much more manageable. Also, instead of trying to fill an entire big garbage bag each day, I would focus on grocery size bags for the small projects. In the end, I had collected 21 black garbage bags/boxes and 19 grocery bags of STUFF we didn’t need. Some went into the recycling bin, some went to our garage sale, and some went to charities.

As much as I enjoy the decluttering process of this challenge, I think the part that I love most is finding new charities to contribute to. Having “too much stuff” is a blessing we take for granted sometimes. There are people that would do anything to have shoes without holes, dress clothes appropriate enough for a job interview, pots and pans to make meals at home, toys for their children to play with, glasses to see with, etc. And if we have extras of these things lying around, unused, why not give them to people who need them?! Use this challenge and every day of Lent {regardless of your religion} to give back to your community. To give to people in need. To do something good with all those blessings you take for granted.

This year, I plan to use my 40 Bags/40 Days list a little differently. Instead of listing 40 areas of my home, I am going to list out my 40 “bags” and where they went. I want to be able to look back and see how much I was able to recycle, how much I was able to sell and most importantly…how much I was able to donate to people in need.

Although there are many places that will take most of your items {like AMVETSSalvation Army or Red Cross}, there also some other wonderful charities that are looking for specific items like shoes, dress clothes, eye glasses, plastic toys, etc. Here are links to some charities I have worked with in the past and some I hope to work with again this year:

For gently used shoes: Share Your Soles
For gently worn or new dress clothes: Dress for Success
For old {good condition} eyeglasses: Lions Recycle for Sight
For gently used plastic toys: Second Chance Toys
Used books: Reading Tree
Old cell phones: Cell Phones for Soldiers
Gently worn coats and jackets: Operation Warm

 

I am so excited to get started on this year’s challenge and hopefully get my whole family involved too. And of course, to help you all out with this challenge, here is a free planner printable to help you track your 40 bags/40 Day:

 

Use it to plan out the 40 areas of your home you want to tackle in the challenge, or use it like I am and track your “bags” and where they are going.

Start Spring off right with an organized home, and a full heart :-)

Download the Large {8.5 x 11} list HERE.
Download the Small {5.5 x 8.5} list HERE.
Download the XSmall {3.75 x 6.75} list HERE.

 

I am reposting this from my friend, Jen, at Polka Dot Posie. (http://www.thepolkadotposie.com/2014/03/40-bags40-days-declutter-charity.html ) Let’s all join in and make the next 40 days count!

Don’t forget to check Southern Charm Planners on Facebook! at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

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Tackling the Mail –

For some reason, mail seems to overwhelm even the most organized of people. I am proposing a few easy steps that I think will help you conquer the mail pile forever.

First, stop at the garbage can – preferably inside, because you should be tearing off the back page with your address and shredding it for security purposes. I usually dump the load of mail (and sometimes it is just that – a load) on the island in my kitchen. But, WAIT, I don’t leave it there, so walk off just yet. I quickly divide the envelopes and circulars/magazines in to two piles (one of each.) I know immediately if I am going to order from the catalog this month or not and chances are, I also receive an email from the company (I am currently working on my addiction to electronic mail.) If I have no intention of ordering, I tear off the back page and toss the remainder in the garbage. And so it goes with each piece of mail. Then, I tackle the envelopes. Most of the time it is junk, but I follow the same procedure. I tear off our name and address to shred and check for any documentation inside that may contain our information and then I toss. It seems more and more, as we attempt to protect our private information, credit card companies are filling out card applications for us before mailing them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s up with that. Help us out here guys.

Also, if you are computer savvy (and even if you’re not) have your bills delivered electronically and eliminate even more mail. I set up an email called myfinancials@mail.com (use your name and gmail or yahoo, etc.) Only bills and financial documents go to that email. It is not a social email. This ensures your bills do not get lost in the shuffle of daily emails.

I also use an app called PaperKarma. You scan your mailing label and they take care of stopping the unwanted solicitations. It has helped tremendously in getting rid of those pesky flyers you get once a company sells your address information. I literally went from getting twenty mailings a day, to one or two a day.

Second - Now that you’ve sorted and thrown away all the unwanted mail, you have the bills left. If you utilize on-line bill pay with your bank, why file them away and have to handle them a second time, if all you need to do is set up the payment on-line? I make it a habit to only handle paper a minimal of times. When the water bill comes in, I immediately set it up for payment and file it. I don’t have to worry about remembering a due date. Before bill-pay was available, I would immediately write and date the check and put it in the envelope. Instead of a stamp, I would put the date it needed to be mailed. I then filed the bill and placed the envelope in my planner to be mailed on the appropriate date. I did this with each bill. If you do not have time to do this each day, place all of the bills in a file and either on Friday or Monday (or your choice of the day), write all the checks and record the mail date in place of a stamp.

Third – For other papers which need to be filed, such as insurance (medical, auto, etc.) I have files set up and the paperwork is filed as soon as the check is written. If you have magazine subscriptions, keep the renewal notices and payments all together in one place. Magazines are famous for sending you renewal notices a year in advance. You’ll know if you need to renew by quickly scanning the file. I typed up a chart and had columns for the magazine name, renewed date, and renewal date for easy reference.

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...

Also, another idea to keep in mind is that most larger magazines are also available on-line to read on your tablet, kindle, or computer. This also eliminates clutter. When I read an article or see a recipe that I’d like to keep, I use the Evernote (available on Kindle, iPhone, computer, etc.) to save it to folders that I have set up. It is easily accessible and involves no clutter. You can read about the advantages of using Evernote here: http://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2013/11/15/technology-thursday-a-gem-called-evernote/

Image representing PaperKarma as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

For all other bills and receipts that need to be filed for tax purposes, I have a notebook system in place. You can read about it here: http://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2014/02/07/that-pesky-end-of-the-year-tax-stuff-organization/

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Fourth – There is no fourth – you are finished! No mail. No piles. Done. Go enjoy yourself and let your mind be free.

Do you have a system for dealing with the mail? If so, what is your system? If not, uh – what are you waiting for!?

As always, thanks for stopping by. I hoped you found the post informative. Should you have any questions, please comment.

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That pesky end-of-the-year Tax Stuff Organization

How many of you dread that end of the year thing where you are scrambling around trying to corral all the papers you need to file your taxes? Wow! That’s too many of you!

When my Hubby retired from the State Police a few years ago, we started up a small construction/rental company, and you guessed it – as much as I ADHORE numbers, I became a make-shift accountant. My life has become my biggest nightmare!

Before Hubby retired, he also trawled (we live in Southern Louisiana and it’s what you do) to supplement our income. It was at this time, being the organizer I am, that I set up our accounts in an organized manner – that is, I destroyed his old filing system (a shoe box – literally!) If you fall into the category of small business owner and your files are not huge and complicated, my system will work for you. It will also work if you just need to hold on to a few things in order to make deductions.

I currently use Quickbooks on the computer, but in the beginning, all I used was a ledger sheet and it worked beautifully. To set yourself up, you will need a three-ring binder (choose an appealing color and you’ll be much more likely to continue this practice – I know, I like pretty.) You will need either plastic dividers or plastic divider folders (Avery makes these). I prefer folders because they are easier to put the papers in. They come in a multitude of colors and you will need enough for year (12) and a couple of extras. Next up is labels (or not – you can handwrite on the dividers) and an expandable file (for year’s end.) And, in case I forget – did I mention how economical this filing system is? It is! You may have most of the supplies already lying around the house.

Recap:

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3-ring binder, separating receipts at end of month
  • 3-ring binder (at least 2-3″)
  • plastic divider pockets
  • labels
  • expandable file

When I first set up my file, I used a label maker and labeled each folder with a month. I then put the folders in the binder with December on top and worked my way back. I did originally set it up with January in the front, but as the year progresses, the files are harder to turn. Trust me here, December to January with the extra files in the front. I use the unlabeled folders for pending items or when I need a reminder to handle something, etc. You may or may not use these every year.

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January cover page – type near the bottom of the page

Place one empty folder at the back. You will file the bills here that you do not need for tax deductions – power, water, gas, etc. These bills you can toss at the end of each year. Just file the new month in front of the old to keep them in order in the event you need to quickly find it. In the other files – monthly – you will file the bills and items that you use for deductions.

I put the electricity and water bills for Hubby’s workshop, fuel bill, phone and internet bills, etc. that are deductible along with their payment record. I also file his invoices and payments as well as a Profit & Loss sheet and the bank statement. I do not file bank statements separately because they are available on-line should you need one. I file these along with all the tax-deductible items in an expandable folder at the end of the year, mark the year on it and file it away.

At the end of the month, once the bank statement is reconciled, I print the month’s Profit & Loss and then pull all of the papers from the folder. I corral all of the fuel receipts and other little receipts and staple them together and then paperclip all of the papers together and attached the “January” page, and put them back in the folder until the end of the year.

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You will then fold over short edge (typing at bottom)

I continue this procedure for each month. At the end of the year, each month is taken from the folder and placed in the yearly file (expandable file) and labeled along with the yearly Profit & Loss sheet, and all 1099s. That’s it. I am ready for the accountant.

I also have the same set up for our business files for our company. We build rental houses and each house has its own file because we frequently reference the costs of items as we purchase them again. It is much easier to pull a house file than to start digging through receipts in a folder. I tried a couple of different ways of organizing before I developed this system that is tailored for our needs. Other than the house files, all other receipts, etc. are filed according to month. In the business binder, I also keep a supply of checks for when I need them. It is much easier than having to grab the huge check box every time I need a check – which isn’t often because I use on-line bill pay at the bank.

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Papers gathered with cover sheet folded over and clipped

The last part of my filing system happens after we’ve been to the accountant. I take the files he provides me with after filing our taxes and these go in the front of the expandable file before the file is packed away.

Well – this is my system. It is a very quick and easy system to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment. I’ll try to answer them as best I can. My motto is why make something complicated when you don’t have to. Work efficiently. You’ll have more time to play.

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Papers ready to place back in monthly file

A note: This post is only about my tax keeping system. There is a lot more to the day-to-day business operations that require additional files. You know – those pesky pending payment files and licenses to be paid files. That is all for another day!

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File back in monthly folder until end of year
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What do you do with old underwear?

I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away? 

 

No matter how many holes there are?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913

 

 

       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.

 

       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash! 

 

       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence. 

 

Be sure to follow my blog. 

 

You never know what subject will come up next! 

 

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Planner Organization – Making dividers

The last few posts I’ve written have had to do with setting up a paper planner that works with your brain and organizational style rather than against it. As you set up your planner, you will want to eventually decide on the different categories you want in your planner – calendar, financial, todo lists, grocery lists, etc. Unless you happen to find one of the many sites that sell homemade dividers, the market doesn’t offer much in the way of “pretty”. I solved that problem by making my own.

In response to requests to demonstrate how I made dividers for my planners, I will attempt to explain with the aid of many photos. It is a fairly simple technique and hopefully I can explain without making it seem more difficult than it is.

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My supplies

For the following two dividers, I used a double-sided card stock. Normally, I would not laminate a card stock, but for the purpose of demonstrating the laminating technique, I will laminate these two dividers. I also use a paper-cutter, tab punch and tabs, Martha Stewart single hole punch, a round-edge punch, and Avery self-laminating sheets.

Use one of the pages from your planner to determine the size of the divider. A page width is normally sufficient because you will be adding the tab, which will stick out beyond the page for easy viewing. If you are not using a paper cutter, use this page to trace the divider on the card stock.

A note before trimming your dividers. If you are not using one of the tab punches, you will need to trace a tab on your divider before trimming it and laminating. If you do not have confidence in your ability to free-hand a tab, grab a file folder and trace the tab and cut it out with scissors. If you do not have a cutting board (and the variety and price of the many on the market range from very cheap to expensive) just use a good pair of scissors (one that cuts) and cut along your trace lines.

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Trimming to size
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Trimmed edge
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Avery Self-laminating sheets

Once the card stock (or decorative paper) is cut to size, lay one sheet of the laminating sheet paper side up on the table. I use laminating sheets and have found that these serve my purpose quite nicely. There are a number (loads) of laminating machines on the market, both hot and cold. I do not laminate many things and have not felt the need to purchase one.

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Paper backing – will be removed

Peel the backing slowly working from the top left-hand corner. Be careful not to touch the sticky side unnecessarily because it is very sticky. The sheet will lie flat on the work surface. Once it is exposed, lay each piece of card stock (one sheet of decorative paper if making large dividers) down on the laminate. This size card stock allowed for two to a page of laminate. I placed them side by side.

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Peeling backing

Next, pick the sheet of laminate with the two pieces of card stock up and lay it to the side.

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Place a second sheet paper side up on the work surface. Peel the backing off as before. Place the sheet containing the card stock on top sandwiching the card stock between the two sheets of laminate matching the white strip at the end. Smooth out all wrinkles by running hands over the card stock. Matching up the two paper edges that remain on the end after removing the paper backing make this task very easy. Match the paper edging and hold with one hand while you roll the dividers down until the papers are stuck together.

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Sandwiching – use these paper strips to align
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Trimming to size

After smoothing the laminate and making sure the bubbles are worked out, the next step is to cut the extra laminate away.

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Trimming laminate

After trimming the excess laminate, set the pages aside to work on the tabs. If you do not have a tab maker, you should trace a tab on the divider before cutting and laminating so it will be one piece (see above). I use a tab maker and the laminating tabs that come with it.

photo 1 (2)
Tab punch

I punch the tabs looking at the bottom of the punch to cut as close to the edge as possible to avoid waste. This leaves the rest of the page for another project.

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Place the cut tab onto the tab laminating sheet and stick to one side of the divider page.

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Adhering tab to tab laminate

Fold over the top of the tab and adhere to the top of the divider page. Press to seal.

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Folding top over

This is a little messy, but you can unstick and redo. It was a little difficult trying to do the project and photograph it at the same time.

photo 4
Completed tab

After the tabs are done, use the edge rounder or scissors and round off the inner corners. Then using another divider as a guide, punch the holes in the new divider and place in planner. I really like this particular single hole punch. The hole in the bottom allows you to line up holes when punching. It is a Martha Steward tool and can be found anywhere her products are sold. It is also heavy duty and easy to grip for those of you, who like me (I have arthritis) need that extra help. Using a labeler or felt-tip pen write the name of the category you have chosen.

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Punching

photo 1 copy 4

I hope this tutorial has helped solved the mystery of making dividers with tabs for your planner. It is fun and easy and now you, too, can make your planner match your personality. There is no limit to the different papers and decorations available and for those of you who also scrapbook, this should be a really fun project. I am thinking of doing a set of seasonal dividers next…

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. As always, thank you for visiting my blog. And, if you are looking for a planner group in which to plant yourself, check out Southern Charm Planners on Face book! https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

All products used were found on Amazon or at Michael’s.

Tab Punch (comes with a set of tabs): We R Memory Keepers Tab Paper Punch, Bracket

Tab brackets: Tab Stickers-Bracket

Martha Stewart heavy duty punch: Martha Stewart Crafts Heavy Duty Paper Punch

Martha Stewart rounded corner punch: Martha Stewart Crafts Corner Punch, Rounder

Avery: Avery Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets, 9 x 12 Inches, Box of 50 (73601)

Fiskar’s cutting board: Fiskars 196920-1001 Portable Paper Trimmer, 12-Inch

Day-Timer Malibu Planner: http://www.daytimer.com/daytimerstore/mwv/product/Malibu-Leather-Snap-Tab-1%22-Portable-Size-Planner-Cover/8177?searchClickId=0159137938%2C861&catId=&prodId=8177

Organizing a Gift Wrapping Station

I live in a small cottage in Southern Louisiana and some organizing problems require innovative solutions. One of these problem areas for me was a gift wrapping station (other than the dining room table.) The neighbors were selling off an old house that had a wash shed attached. Hubby came up with the fabulous idea to take it off their hands and bring it over to our piece of land. He and a friend quite literally drug it over – behind a tractor. The two of them admitted later that they had a contingency plan – one I never knew about. If it began to fall apart as they entered the highway making the corner into our yard, they were just going to scape it off to the side of the road. I, for one, was so happy that plan never came into play. However, I have to admit that my fingers and toes were crossed as they slid it down the long driveway and turned into place at just the right angle for me.

IMG_1003The old wash shed came to rest in its place next to a large and growing oak tree in our back yard. This is also the dog kennel and each of my shepherds has a matching house under the overhang to the left.

I went to work demolishing the inside to better utilize the space. Hubby built shelves along one side and came around the corner to the front and back doors. Along the opposite side, he built a long countertop with shelves underneath and a shelf along the top.

One end houses my craft supplies and the other houses my newly organized gift wrapping station. For anyone who has had to drag out the containers of gift wrap and hunt for scissors and ribbon due to lack of space to wrap gifts, knows that this is a godsend.

IMG_1027

IMG_2197

Before setting up the gift wrapping station permanently, it was tucked into the corner. As time went on and I took the time to use it, I began to figure out how I needed it to work and set about accomplishing my goal.

I added a rod under one of the shelves to hold my collection of ribbon and then mounted mop racks on the wall beneath the shelf to hold my wrapping paper. I actually used two of the racks that mounted across hold mops and brooms. I installed them vertically and the polls holding my wrapping paper fit perfectly.

IMG_1017IMG_1013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I store extra rolls of paper upright in a tall garbage bin. Some ribbon is stored in glass jars and I have since added a basket with my tape dispenser, cards, and scissors.

I will reveal the remaining side of my Garden House in another post. It is set up with areas for gardening, my cookie cutter collection, and items for entertaining.

 

Technology Thursday: Learning to use the Key Ring App

It is a foregone conclusion that way too many people out there are running out to purchase iPhones and then not utilizing them! It seems that everywhere I go, I end up teaching someone about an app.

If you follow my blog, you have already been witness to some of my screwups – like tripling my contacts, etc. You can take it from me – on good authority – that there is simply no reason not to play around with apps and your phone. If you mess something up, you simply head on over to iTunes and begin searching, because I promise you – there is an app to fix it because someone else has already beat you to the screwup.

We all have those pesky store discount cards dangling from our already full key rings – well, not me. But, they were corralled in my wallet, taking up valuable real estate.

I was doing one of my favorite pass time hobbies – surfing iTunes. Does anyone else do this? I came across an app that was named quite appropriately –  Key Ring App.

No longer do you have to shove an actual key ring full of store discount cards in your purse, or heaven forbid, your pocket.

You simply scan all of your cards (library, store, hotel, etc.) into the app using your phone camera. When you check out at a store that you have a card for, simple open up your app and the cashier will scan the bar code from your phone. The app can also be shared with another person.

You can have all of the individual store apps on your phone, but I have had others tell me that they sometimes have trouble while attempting to scan at the stores. This app has never given me any problems, AND the bonus is that they are all located in one app, not scattered around my phone.

This app also sports additional features are just plain wonderful! Using your GPS, it will find store promotions in your area.

The ‘Offers’ icon finds and shows me the coupons available through the stored cards I entered.

Under the ‘Sales’ icon, I can view the sale papers of the stores where I have loyalty cards. No more searching high and low for the sale papers when I’m ready to shop!

Did I mention that it is also FREE! How great is that!

I want to hear from you. Do you use Key Ring or another similar app?

Be sure to follow my blog and tune in next Thursday for another episode of ‘Technology Thursday’.

keyring app

Don’t Store Gloves in Coat Pockets

Even though it’s the most convenient place to stash them, to keep your 

Oxblood Gloves

 

gloves in the best condition you should avoid sto

ring them in your coat pockets. Why? Because your hands perspire when you’re wearing gloves (yes, even when temps are below freezing), and they need to dry out once you’ve taken them off, which they can’t do wadded up in your coat pockets. Instead try putting them next to your keys on your entry table. That way they’ll dry out, and you won’t forget them when you rush out the door.


This is a reprint from Simply Stated (the link is below).


I thought I’d share this tidbit – because guess what!? I’m a confessed princess and that means there is a pair of matching gloves and a hat for each coat I have. And, guess where I’ve been shoving those little matching gloves? That’s right! In the pocket of the matching coat!


I guess this proves that you are never too old to learn a new trick!


Do you have any little tidbits you’d like to share? Please leave a comment.

Related articles

What do you do with old underwear?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913
Ladies’ underwear advertisement, 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away?

No matter how many holes there are?
       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.
       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash!
       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence.
Be sure to follow my blog.
You never know what subject will come up next!
Donna

When no means NO!

Question Mark
Question Mark (Photo credit: auntiepauline)
When someone tells you no, does it register?
 Do you stop what you are doing or saying?
Or, do you continue?
No, means no!
        No, I do not want that food. No, do not sit on the dog. No, I do not want to answeryour question. No. No. NO!
       I recently wrote a piece on manners for my blog; and one of the commenters asked me to write on accepting no. Her example was one I was actually all too familiar with so I thought, why not.
“These days when people say no thank you to an invitation, for some reason they feel compelled to explain why. Invariably, the comment is something like, “I can’t make it because I am doing something WAY MORE FUN than attending your event!” A simple “no thank you” should be sufficient. I use a “no thank you”, no matter if I have another pressing engagement or I don’t feel like going. Also, when I use my simple “no thank you”, I have been asked to explain why I can’t go. “What else could you be doing that could possibly be more important and why don’t you rearrange it?” the host demands. It makes for an awkward situation.”
       I am with her on this. If I invite you somewhere, you do not need to explain – unless you happen to be my best friend and we always explain– why you cannot attend. A simple “I would love to, but I’m busy that night” more than suffices. When I am invited and I do not wish to attend or for some reason, cannot, I simply say thank you for the invitation, but I will be unable to attend. I also wish them a great event.
       I do not feel I need to explain past that response and I absolutely abhor being interrogated. It really is not anyone’s business. Anyone who has this habit might want to check themselves. The next time you ask someone “why”, you may just get an honest answer you do not want to hear. I know that in my life, it has gotten to the point where I get really honest in my answers when pushed. Yes, it makes for an awfully awkward moment, but then again, put the awkward back on them with an honest answer – not ugly – honest. After all, they pushed the subject.
       At one time, I had a friend who was obsessive about knowing everyone’s business. She had a bad habit of asking inappropriate questions and would not take no for an answer. She would push and push no matter how many times you told her that you did not want to talk about something or that it was none of her business.
       I am an extremely private person  -you are probably thinking –private? – and so she writes a blog?- and I do not like other people in my business. If I constantly change the subject when you ask a question, you can be absolutely sure that is “Me telling You” – finger pointing here –  that I do not wish to talk about whatever it is that you are trying to pry out of me. Now, on the other hand, if you cannot shut me up, it is a clear indication that I am willing to share, so at that point, you had better ask your questions, because those times are rare.
       I have recently adopted the policy, if someone keeps pressing me for more information, to the point of being rude, and making me uncomfortable, then that person needs to hear no less than the truth. If being nice and giving an evasive answer does not work, then transfer the awkward position that they have put you in, to them. Tell them the truth. You just do not want to attend. You have other things you would rather do.
       I know this sounds rude, but to have to resort to this type of answer, means the person has pushed you beyond appropriate boundaries. It should not matter why you do not want to attend a function just that you do not; and you have been respectful in stating your feelings.
Colossians 3:12-14 tells us, “… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV 1984)
       We all need to be mindful of others in our lives, and to remember when having to give answers to difficult people, be as kind, and gentle, as you are able to be. Some people still may not “get it” but our job as aChristian is to keep the exchange as kind as possible and extendforgiveness for their ignorance.
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All Things Southern – Simply put – washing the house

    I know that everyone washes their house, or at the very least hires someone to wash it for them.

    Well, in this Southern household where equality reigns supreme (giggling here), Hubby is the house washer. I had a visit earlier in the day from my very first best friend, who I had not seen in several years, and, after she left, he asked me to help him finish washing the house.

Of course, I said yes with a huge smile on face, but that wasn’t really what I had in mind for an afternoon activity. So, like the good little Southern wife that I claim to be, I went grudgingly out to help.

This is what happened. Hubby did not want me spraying the mixture that he had concocted onto the house…because he wanted it done right.

Hubby did not let me use the scrub brush to make sure all the nooks and crannies were suds properly…because he wanted it done right.

Hubby did not let me rinse the house…because he wanted to make sure that all of the concoction was rinsed off – the right way.

So what was I doing all this time? I was helping, of course! I was sitting on a bench (which I kept moving so I didn’t get wet) watching Hubby wash the house. Pardon me – watching Hubby wash the house “the right way.”

Then, he informed me that he didn’t have to take a bath tonight because he had already been wet, cloroxed, and rinsed. Ummmm

I suppose if I had to guess what my part in “washing the house” was, it was simply to keep Hubby company, at which I excelled.

Has anyone else had this experience?