Simplify Sunday: 12-19

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….

Well, it’s less than one week to Christmas and I can just about bet the only thing you are thinking as far as organization is where in the world am I going to put all this stuff? Don’t worry your pretty little head about that now. Relax and enjoy Christmas. All that mess isn’t going anywhere and it won’t disappear overnight, no matter how good you have been all year. I also know that the last thing you want to hear is all my great ideas for the coming year. So RELAX- you get this week off. But as soon as the New Year shows up, we will hit the floor running. Just think, this time next year you will able to relax and know you have a nice neat place everything after all the celebrating.
Christmas is my favorite time of year! I love all the decorations, inside and out. People that do not work in retail are unusually happy. Those that do work in retail are praying every hour that they don’t lose it for having to fix that display for the hundredth time that day. I know this first hand because my darling daughter has worked in retail for the last 3 years. The best part is she made sure to tell God she did not want to work in retail EVER! Ha ha, guess who is in control. Because of some of her experiences I try to be extra nice when I go shopping. That can be a challenge at times so sometimes I choose to just stay home and shop online. Problem solved!
I have great memories of growing up in a house with 3 sisters. Christmas was all about pretty dresses and baby dolls. Lots of friends coming over for breakfast, eating out, more presents and of course the aunt that always gave underwear in a toilet paper tube, all wrapped up and tied with a lovely bow. What I wouldn’t give to hear all of us girls giggling again as we tried to sneak past my parent’s room to check out the present (we always got caught). I miss those simple days of making your list and relaxing in the fact that at least one thing on the list would find its way under the tree. We never gave a thought to how hard it must have been to get 4 new dresses, 4 new baby dolls, and 4 of whatever else we had picked out. My parents never complained, they just went shopping one night and finished before bedtime. Those were the simple times, not all the stress and busyness. They never were too busy shopping to watch a Christmas movie on TV, which we always did as a family. We went several times to drive around to see all the lights. We attended many family Christmas parties. We enjoyed it all, it seemed nothing got in the way of time with family and friends.
I wonder if Christ was born today would we notice? Would His birth even make the evening news? Would it make the front page or be stuck somewhere between all the sales? I am not sure we would even hear the angels announce His birth because of all the noise in our heads.
Once we finally heard about the event, how many church committee meetings would it take before we officially made an announcement? Would we keep the news to ourselves, just for the believers, not to be shared with others? We probably would, because we do that every day. Do you make a point to share the news that Christ has come to save the world? I can’t say I do every time I have the chance.
What will it take for us to realize what Christmas is all about? Will it take us losing the freedom to talk about it? Sometimes we don’t know what we have until it is taken away. I have found out how much I cared about someone when they weren’t around much. We seem to take so much for granted.
We have lost the simple meaning of Christmas. The event that all of time is marked by. The one night in all of history that shaped who we are as people and as a nation. One simple night, one simple birth, one soft cry from a baby that changed history. A scary night for a young girl, in a strange town, giving birth to a little baby boy in a dirty barn. A little boy that was willing to leave heaven to be born to save you and me. A mom who knew from the time her baby entered this world He was sent here to die. She never got to dream about what would He be when He grew up- she knew. She never got to plan His wedding or play with her grandchildren, because she knew why He came and why He would die. How did she keep from just giving up, but she had a job to do, to raise the Savior of the world.
I wonder if she worried about the little things like we do, manners, washing behind your ears, eating your veggies, or potty training. I have a feeling she was a mom just like you and me. Crying when they are hurt and kissing away the pain. The difference is she knew what was ahead, she knew she had a special purpose. She knew she was handpicked by God.
Are we really that different, aren’t we handpicked by the same God? Aren’t we given a job to do, to raise up families that honor God? Aren’t we supposed to share our faith whenever and wherever we can. I am afraid I have let my mission become taken over by the world, just like we have allowed Christmas to become “holiday”. We have bought into all the “holiday” trappings, the busyness, the rushing around from here to there. Have you taken the time to read the Christmas story as a family this year or do you hope the pastor covers that in this Sunday’s sermon? Have you explained to a little one why there is a manger or who were the wise men or even what is a Sheppard? How far have we traveled from that night, in a dirty barn when our Savior was born? How far must we travel to get back to the “reason for the season”? The good news is we can never get so far away that we can’t come “home”.
Before Christmas day arrives, find a quiet spot, go for a ride and remember why we even have this special celebration. Not for the sales, not for the food, not for the gifts given and received but for a little baby boy, born to save the world. A baby boy so special that kings and queens would bow just at the mention of His name. A little boy so special that you and I can one day be welcomed into heaven by a loving God, who loved us so much that He sent His only son to pay the price for our sins so we can be with Him for all eternity. WOW! Now that’s a reason to celebrate Christmas!!!
I pray you and your families have a most Blessed Christmas!!

Simplify Sunday: 12-12

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….

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. You only have one Saturday left.  It’s time to “bite the bullet” and go shopping.  During these crazy busy days I am sure not one person is thinking about how to organize your closet, (no matter how much you realize they may need it) so I decided that the best thing I could do for you this week is to give you all of my greatest shopping tips. Prepare yourself to be so motivated that you will get your last minute shopping done in 8 hours or less. If you are a lady reading this- get your favorite highlighter ready. If you are “last minute shopping male” please take very careful notes!

  • Know who you are shopping for. Just knowing their full name does not count. You need to listen to the little hints they are dropping along the way. Have they circled items in the sale flyers that show up at the house? Have they started pointing out things they REALLY like while you are out shopping for dog food? These are sure signs that they would like to be surprised with something that was really on their list and in their size. Gone are the days of shopping with no list, and no idea of what to get.  You used to be able to go to the nicer department stores and be given a personal shopper that would walk with you and help you shop for just the perfect gift. It’s all up to you now —No pressure! [Read more...]

Simplify Sundays

I am not sure about you but this time of year I feel like I am drowning in PAPER!  There has got to be a complete rain forest that has been wiped off the face of this earth because of all the paper that comes to my house.  When you have to take the wheelbarrow to the mail box to get  the Sunday paper, enough is enough.  I realize that I do add to the never ending stream of paper that arrives on my doorstep daily by getting 9 Sunday papers and a daily paper.  I do recycle when I can, but some days all I want is to see them disappear.  It’s strange how something so simple as a newspaper can bring joy (coupons) and stress all in the same day.  I have no idea what our paperboy thinks when he delivers all of those papers each Sunday.
However the paper that seems to take over isn’t just from the newspaper, it’s from everyone wanting to “give” me something… FREE! I keep saying, “If I wanted it, I promise I will call you”. I guess they don’t trust me because they still send the flyers.  If we went back to insulating our homes with newspaper, I could have 3 inch thick walls that could keep out the winter winds of South Dakota!  You would think with all the stuff that comes in on my computer that we should be a paperless society by now.  I have never once decided to buy something that I didn’t want or at least need because of the full page,  shiny color ad that came in the mail. (ok maybe once or twice :-) [Read more...]

Simplify Sunday: 11-28

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….

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Hope you had a few minutes to reflect on all the blessing God has supplied over this past year. I stand amazed when I look back on all He has done. Wow! What a year it has been!
If you are still washing dishes from all the company, you might want to re-think using paper or plastic next year. (Hint, Hint all of the Thanksgiving dinnerware is now on clearance in most stores so go ahead and pick up some for next year and you will be ahead of the game. Just don’t forget where you put them!) [Read more...]

Simplify Sunday: 11-21

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….

This week we are going to tackle the refrigerator. I realize that this job will take some very special equipment. Please take a few minutes to gather everything together in one spot. Put on a pot of coffee, as this may require extra doses of caffeine through out the day. You will need a bucket, rubber gloves, (if it is real bad, get the heavy duty ones that will protect from haz-mat waste) several old rags, garbage bags, (strong ones that can hold liquids and heavy items),some sort of strong cleaning solution and baking soda. (Warning: do not mix the baking soda with any type of cleaning solution, it will produce strange gases that will make you sick and unable to finish the task at hand).
Now before you tackle this beast, take a few minutes to think through why you must do this. Sometimes a little motivation will keep you going when you get bone tired and weary.
For many women their motivation may be that they love to open the door each morning to a sparkling, fresh-smelling frig. These are the women that also love a clean oven and spotless cabinets. I am sure they also have their kool-aide filed in ABC order. [Read more...]

Simplify Sunday: 11-14

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….

Well, it’s that time of year–time to clean out to the coat closet. Out with the old and in with the new. I am sure you have several long forgotten coats lurking in the back of the closet, I know I do. Coats seem to last a long time and rarely go out of style (or if they go out of style they will come back a few years). That’s seem to be the reason we hold on to them for so long.
Sometime coats become like warm, comfy friends. It doesn’t matter how old and ratty they get, they are our go-to coat. It doesn’t matter if we are running to the mailbox, the store, or dinner with the President…it’s the coat we reach for. If we saw a picture of ourselves in “that coat” over our fancy clothes we would die of embarrassment. So– no pictures please!!!
We all have those coats that we use to wear. The letter jacket from high school, that old jacket that you wore the night you went on your first date and “fell” in love. Some of the coats we may not even know why we have kept them all these years, but there they still hang just waiting their turn to be used.
My husband still has his letter jackets from junior high and high school (surprise! but I am the one that wants him to keep them, our kids have grown up wearing them and they are always good for a walk down memory lane). I look at these as heirlooms, things the kids will really want after we are gone.
I have had some coats in our closet that I wore when I was pregnant with both of my kids (the oldest is 29). They were large tent type things that I could cover my belly up in the winter (not that you get very cold while you are “with child”). I have let those coats go–at this age I know I will never need them again. Maybe they are keeping some sweet young mom warm as she looks forward to the arrival of her sweet baby child.
There were coats still hanging from when my kids were younger. I passed those on a few years ago. Wish I could see the little boy or girl that is wearing those jackets now. I wonder if the mom picked them for the same reasons I did…it matched their eyes or would look so cute over that sweet little pink dress on Sundays. Whatever the reason, I hope it is keeping them safe and warm. Now there is the reason to let those jackets go.
If you are holding on to coats that you or your kids have long since out-grown, it’s time to let them go. Send them on their way to keep someone else warm and cozy. They are serving no purpose hanging in the closet. They could be keeping a little girl or boy safe and warm. I always hated to see a little one climbing on a bus early in the morning with just a shirt on his tiny little body. How sad it was to tell a little one they had to miss recess because he or she had no coat to keep them warm. It always breaks my heart to watch a little one as they try to run between the rain drops on those icy, rainy days. Then I get home to my warm, toasty house, with a warm jacket to hang in the closet beside all those coats that kept my kids warm all those years. It never even crossed my mind to pass those coats along until a few years ago when I realized that the coat wasn’t really the important thing, it was the sweet memories of watching my kids run and play as the snow fell. By holding on to those coats I was trying to hold on to that special time in my life. Surprisingly it doesn’t work that way. They grow up and need bigger coats but will continue to leave sweet memories along the way. I am keeping another mom from enjoying watching her little one being able to run and play in the cooler weather, just doesn’t seem fair when I think about it like that. So it’s time to donate them! There are several different groups that take gently used coats, clean them up and pass them on to those little ones.
So what else are you hiding in that dark closet? We all have a “closet” full of regrets or deep dark secrets. Maybe it’s time we took those out and one at a time and let the “son” cleanse them. Let Him get rid of them. They are serving no purpose in our life except to weigh us down and keep us from moving along. The things that we thought we need to hide because if anyone knew, we would be embarrassed. Time to let it go, time to clean our “spiritual closet” out. The things we work so hard to hide and keep in the dark are the things that God wants to remove as far as the east is from the west. It’s time!!!
This week as you see any man or women wearing a jacket that let’s you know they are among the bravest that serve this country, now or in the past, go to them and thank them for a job well done. Thank them for what they have given so I can sit and write about cleaning and you have the ability to read my silly musing. The things we take for granted, they fought so we can continue to have the privilege of living a life created for us by our heavenly Father–God Himself.
Love you sweet Ladies!! Let the Son in this week!

Simplify Sunday: 10/10

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….

In our area this coming week is “Fall Break”. It comes at a perfect time. School has been in session long enough for the thrill of a new year to be on it’s way out. Far enough away from the holidays so as not to feel the pressure to spend every waking minute shopping. This would be a great time to head out on vacation to one of the places that are crazy busy during the summer months.

[Read more...]

Simplify Sundays: 10/3

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….