Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….
With this new year in full swing I have been busy narrowing the list of things I want to change for the up and coming year. It always seems that around November I start to realize all of the things I have let fall by the way side, birthdays, anniversaries, missed parties, and the list keeps growing. Lucky for me the holidays take over and I can push the guilt away for a few more months, now that the dust has settled, decorations are put away and the guilt starts to creep back in.
One of the things that seems to have fallen by the wayside in my life seems to be the little things that on the outside seem to be unimportant but to friends and family that mean a lot. It is the art of sending a personal note of thank you, a card to congratulations for a job well done or birthday wishes or my favorite, the note that says, I was thinking about you and praying for you. I have relied way too much on email or Facebook for a last minute birthday wish right before bed hoping they don’t notice it was sent at 11:59pm. This way of receiving birthday wishes or notes of encouragement has been wonderful for those that are far away or for people you would probably never hear from if it wasn’t for these social mediums. But I must confess I have sent very close family members a quick “happy birthday to you” because I had forgotten and only remembered because I saw all the birthday wishes as I was hanging out in cyber space. Yes, I feel horrible and know if I am too busy to remember precious family member’s birthday I am too busy or not making the right things a priority.
To try to make a valiant effort to honor the family and friends that mean so much to me, I am trying keep my calendar up to date and in my mind more this year. To even hold my feet to the fire a bit more I went so far as to ask each family member to send me (via email, of course) a complete list of birthdays, anniversaries and any other celebration they wanted to list. Now they know I have this information, NO EXCUSE will do to get me out of hot water so I am all the way in to this resolution!
When my kids were growing up we lived by the calendar, and made a rule that if it wasn’t on the calendar it usually didn’t happen. Everyone had a color and each week we checked the events coming up and planned for what was ahead. Cards were addressed, gifts were bought and wrapped, uniforms ironed and hung, bags packed and ready and most of the time all this took place on Sunday afternoon. For the most part our weeks went by with little drama.
Now that I am only responsible for myself and my sweet hubby I seem to have relaxed a bit too much. I really do miss the days that were organized and purposeful. So to try to reel my wayward self back in I have purchased 4 (yes, 4) calenders. One that I keep in my purse and one to keep on my kitchen counter, both of these have a page with the entire month in view at once then the following pages are daily activities a week at a time. Within those daily pages there are spaces for meal planning, a place for a shopping list and hopefully all I need to stay focused and organized.
The other 2 calendars are the larger ones that will just have each day’s activities (colored coded of course) one is in the bathroom and the other is in the hall on the pantry door. I picked places we both spent a lot of time passing each day. Maybe between the two of us seeing these on a regular bases we will be able to keep the other in check about upcoming events ahead of time.
My phone does have the capability to have all of the weekly information entered and will notify me when something is coming up, I am not sure if I will use this feature because I am not sure if I know how to use it and my kids are getting tired of the phones calls asking “how do I do______.” But who knows I may just branch out and figure it out all by myself—- Maybe!
Looking back over the last year the things I think I regret the most is that I didn’t make it a priorty keeping up with the personal touches to those that I care so much about. I know that when I send a card or note it will not change the world in any major way but it may change a moment in the life of a friend that may be grieving the loss of her husband or a nephew that is missing his daddy that is away on business. I wonder what impact I will have on my future grandkids if I failed to send cards, notes saying how much I loved them and send goodies just to celebrate their little life. Will I have the privilege to influence their life if I haven’t taken the time along the way to show how much I care about them in some way? I doubt it! I do not take in the advice I am given from people that have not invested in me or my family. Their words really are like white noise in my head. How that breaks my heart to think that I may become “white noise” in the life of those I love so much. So the investment in 4 calendars to make this a thoughtful year for me seems to be a wise choice.
I wonder with all the effort to make sure we let people know how much we care how much it would affect us if those cards, letters or gifts were never opened. If we saw years of cards and gifts stacked in a corner unopened would it change how we feel about that person? What would our response be when we asked why these were not opened and they said “I am just so busy”?
Isn’t this what we are doing to the Lord each day we do not open our Bible? The words that He gave to tell us how much He loves us and the stories that will be able to teach us and guide us, left unread day after day, gifts given to us, unused day after day, how His heart must break day after day. But never is there a moment we aren’t loved and given the best, all it requires is a moment of our time to set, open His word and listen to the plans He has for us. He never fails to give up His best, speak words of love and guidance for our lives. Are we doing the same for those we love, doing and giving out of pure love, not for anything in return, but just to let those we say we love, really know how much we truly love them.
May this be the year I listen more, share more and bless others more because I have spent time with and listened to my sweet Jesus.
Love you to Jesus!!