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Is your conscience healthy?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I was reading one of the Spark articles about emotional eating (this should be no surprise to anyone)... and it got my mind musing. Now of course, when I go hunting for the link, I can't find it. Edited to add: I found it! www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellnes
s_articles.asp?id=692


It talks about the little voice that tells us the right thing: our conscience, and about the voice that beats up on us being like the conscience being "stuck" in the blame game.

Anyway, all the drive to work, I was amused by this thought: "Is my conscience passive aggressive?" Does it shut up when I start heading for a binge, muttering under its breath, "you know what that will do... but go ahead, I won't stop you!" Only to later scream at me, post-binge, "See, you never listen to me!"

What kind of a conscience would DO that? A conscience with a borderline personality disorder?

Anyway, since deciding to kick perfectionism to the curb and give myself a break on the whole "being human" bit, I've discovered the old conscience is taking on some healthier habits, too! It's speaking up more often ahead of time. It's holding discussions with the rebellious side, rather than ominous "I told you so". It's offering loving advice, not grudging blame. And it's speaking up about treating myself better after a slip, too.

I think I like this healthier conscience! How's yours doing?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 4/23/2010 4:39PM

    This is a really thought-provoking blog Barb and I was quite tickled by the idea of a passive aggressive conscience.

My conscience is still a very strict disciplarian. I used to think that this was a virtue but I know that it's not.

Thanks for giving a dfferent perspective.



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SUNNY332 4/23/2010 9:12AM

    I do think that we all need to be a little more human and not beat ourselves up so much. I think that is totally counter productive.

I am not perfect and knowing this, I can also celebrate my successes!

Hugs, Sunny



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CONCHA77 4/23/2010 7:27AM

    Great blog, Barb. I can relate. Have a great day.

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KASEYCOFF 4/23/2010 4:44AM

    I'm always in favor of 'rational discussion' over 'post-game self-flaggelation' lol...

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/22/2010 11:26PM

    I'm not near the point you are, but I can notice small changes. Just since this afternoon when I decided to take a "time out" from SP, I started what I believed would be a 3+ day binge. But know what? After a few "no-no" items I realized that I really wasn't even enjoying them (though I still ate them -- what's up with that?). I'm going to write one more blog this evening about that and what I'm thinking before taking the next few days off.

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Your words ring very true for me.

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DEBRA_T 4/22/2010 10:38PM

    I'm with you on this one Barb! I've discovered a very kind and loving person inside me who understands or wants to understand what is going on and is very uninterested in judging me or anyone else for the struggles I (or they) have. It's very refreshing! Now I find myself encouraging me on the inside to go for a walk, do just 10 minutes of the DVD (you don't have to do the whole thing if you don't want to),etc. I think my conscience is in a lot better shape than I am, but maybe it's just leading the way!

Good post!

xoxo

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MSLZZY 4/22/2010 10:25PM

    My conscience questions my behavior and choices and reminds exactly why I need to rethink what I am doing. It reminds me of my goals and guides me back to better decisions.
Thanks for the wonderful blog about keeping my conscious healthy and positive! emoticon

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NELLIEC 4/22/2010 10:22PM

    It sounds like your conscience is getting healthier habits! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Big words and arm pats from the doctor

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fair-skinned people. Higher susceptibility to... yeah, skin cancers. A friend at work had recently had a spot on her arm looked at and frozen. Made me think about this one spot on my own arm which I had sort of become conscious of changing this year. I went in to have the doctor have a look. He did a "punch biopsy". The labs came back yesterday. The fancy long words are Actinic Keratosis. This is a pre-cancerous condition, and needs to be treated, lest it progress to true cancer.

Some of you are probably far more savvy than I am about this kind of thing. But the bottom line is that I will have a little bit of my arm excised in a few weeks. Because the spot isn't just a little mole sized thing, it's about the size of a nickel.

Just a heads up... if any of you need the nudge of "this happened to my friend, I might want to have my own looked at"... you just got it.

I'm OK... what needs to be done will be done. But the doctor kind of patted my arm like he expected I might have trouble with the news. Kind of puzzled me later... am I responding abnormally to be calm, or am I still sort of in denial?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 4/22/2010 9:07PM

    I have a family history of melanoma and get checked every 6 months with bits biopsied out from time to time -- you're doing exactly the right thing and that's why you deserve to stay calm!! When they catch it early -- precancer-- it's very treatable. That's exemplary taking care of yourself. All the best!

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WALKINGANNIE 4/22/2010 5:40PM

    Both your action and your reaction seem typically sensible Barb. What a good job that you went to the doctor and got this sorted out. Treatments these days are very effective and I'm sure that you'll do well. Thanks for telling your story so that you can get support if you need it and for giving others a timely nudge about this important issue.

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PATRISNA 4/22/2010 7:48AM

    I hope all goes well with your next visit to the doctor. Try not worry about it over the few weeks you are waiting. Everyone should have a skin exam done once a year or more often if they see changes.

My husband and I both have skin exams every year. My father died from melanoma at the age of 53 so we take this very seriously. I am glad you went for the exam. I am also glad you wrote this blog. it may change a person's life.

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KASEYCOFF 4/22/2010 3:44AM

    Sounds like it's a very early stage, and it's being dealt with in a way that should completely remove it and take care of the problem, so... makes me think he's had a wild reaction from a different patient at some point and maybe he now expects people to react with anxiety or hysteria or something. So no, I don't think you're being abnormally calm or unconcerned or anything. I'm fair-skinned too. So I wonder - do you, or have you, spent a lot of time in the sun? I know they say we should get a modicum of sunlight if only for the Vitamin D process, but are you one who normally would (or used to) spend hours outdoors in sunlight?

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PENNYAN45 4/22/2010 1:39AM

    Your reaction sounds very reasonable to me.
I had a skin cancer removed two years ago -- and even THAT didn't make me feel all that nervous.
It happens to lots of people - and it gets taken care of easily.

I, too, am a fair-skinned person who got lots of sun damage as a child. That was before we knew about the connection between sunburn and skin cancer.



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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/21/2010 10:24PM

    I think you're having a normal reaction. You were wise to go in and have it looked at and praise the Lord it's pre-cancerous. Cut it out and get on with your life. Good public service message, Barb!

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MSLZZY 4/21/2010 10:21PM

    A good reminder to be aware of what is going on with your body and don't ignore something and think it will go away! Take care!

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TEACHINMOM 4/21/2010 9:58PM

    Sorry to hear that you have to have more done to your arm BUT, it's wonderful that you got right on having yours looked at. I don't think it is unreasonable to stay calm considering you caught it before it became "true cancer." I think that is great. Keep looking at the brighter side. You are an awesome example for others in so many ways!
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NELLIEC 4/21/2010 9:50PM

    I had a mole removed recently (I am fair-skinned also). My doc was pretty sure it would be malignant, but it wasn't.

I suspect your doc has seen enough of these that he has that feeling that it could be bad -- though not necessarily.

You, however, are at the point where you want to wait and see -- so you don't freak out unnecessarily if it turns out to be fine.

Whichever way it turns out, stay in prayer about it. Have your friends pray for you. I will be praying.

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Oh, and the shorts fit!

Monday, April 19, 2010

In the midst of all my fretting about over the weekend, as I was pulling things out from under the bed and vacuuming (getting rid of the worst dust-bunnies, as someone else put it)... I discovered my boxed up summer clothes, including the size 10 shorts from a couple of Summers ago... 2007 when I did the triathlon.

Of course I HAD to try them on... and... yeah, predictable that they fit, right? Only it's NOT predictable to me when I'm in a funk. What a boost to my mood.

And, followup to my housekeeping anxiety attack: the roofer came and looked at my problem. He thinks it is one of two vents, and the one (turbine style) is even broken off its bracket. He'll replace that and shingle around it, and then we monitor. Meantime I had him all over the house, junk rooms and all, and felt only mildly weird about it.

And of course he put me right at home by admiring the dog. emoticon One more day in the books.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 4/20/2010 2:26PM

    Great news about the shorts - a reward for weight loss and housekeeping - and about being OK about the roofer's visit.

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CONCHA77 4/20/2010 8:39AM

    Glad your shorts fit! You are doing a great job with focusing on your health!
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KASEYCOFF 4/20/2010 7:01AM

    WE notice our messy house, but I bet half the people are just like the roofer: they don't even see it. I really like the fact that he noticed the important thing - your dog! I don't have any of my own, so when I get the opportunity, I always make a fuss over someone else's. Best of all, m'gawd, girl, those size 10s fit!!! THAT would put ME over the moon too - CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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PATRISNA 4/20/2010 6:59AM

    I am so happy your shorts fit! emoticon

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PENNYAN45 4/20/2010 12:48AM

    What a treat -- finding a box of smaller sized shorts -- and discovering that they FIT!!

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ANDEEJC 4/19/2010 11:19PM

    YAY!!!! I am so happy that your skinny shorts fit, that is so fantastic. Keep up the good work. You can do it!

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MSLZZY 4/19/2010 11:00PM

    Wonderful! Glad the shorts fit! How totally awesome!
The roofer has probably seen a lot worse in his career. Plus, who can resist a cute dog?
Have a great night!

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LJCANNON 4/19/2010 10:50PM

    emoticonGreat day, Great Blog, and keeping my fingers crossed that your roof problem is fixed.

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DEBRA_T 4/19/2010 10:49PM

    Congratulations on the shorts -- what a great boost that would be to anyone to find shorts that fit! LOL

Your story of the roofer reminds me that so many of the things we fear will happen, don't.

Who wouldn't love that dog!

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FRAN0426 4/19/2010 10:10PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NELLIEC 4/19/2010 10:07PM

    For dog people, the dog is much more important than some junk!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/19/2010 8:46PM

    Woo-hoo! How wonderful for you. I've always read that when the scale (or mood) isn't showing progress, you just have to find another means to get the validation you yearn for. Looks like the shorts did it for you. SO happy for you! So now that the shorts fit, is another triathalon on the horizon?

And, as far as the cleaning/junk rooms -- men rarely notice that kind of stuff anyway. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Be prepared for the answers when you post...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

When you post a blog on SP, be prepared for a variety of responses: supportive, yes. With advice, yes. And finally, with sometimes surprising insight from the experience, strength and hope of others.

Yesterday I blogged about anxiety related to my housekeeping "failures", as defined by myself. Predictably I got a variety of responses... from pure statements of support / empathy, to suggestions of things to try, to insights for further self-examination. To you all, my thanks. It's humbling to see how this community responds to the needs of one another.

For those few who may be following long-term like a serial... the end result of the day was mixed. Sometimes just blogging feelings helps me deal with them. I did better than I sometimes do, but not perfectly. I did indulge in some self-soothing eating. But I also stopped myself from some of the worse excesses of which I am capable.

I also did not clean like a crazy woman. I did do ordinary weekend chores. And some careful self-examination while pondering some of the responses.

Yes, it's me that does the judging. I have internalized the voices of my grandmother, mother and sister. Why do I care about their opinions? I think I am still seeking their approval! Two of them are dead, the third has mellowed out... but my reaction is now internal.

The suggestions about having someone else help / buddy up led me to contemplate the social aspects of housekeeping, and I went on to think about my childhood, living as part of a family of seven. There was a lot of social interaction in my childhood related to cleaning house, washing dishes, etc.

I once commented to my son that I have observed myself starting to pick up and straighten when he comes over... it somehow makes me feel more comfortable to clean in the presence of others. But it had never occurred to me to actually ASK someone for help... maybe because cleaning my house is my own responsibility. There is a sense that "I should be able to do this on my own" is strong.

Now doesn't THAT sound familiar, fellow Sparkers?! How many of us think we should be able to lose weight on our own? Ah, I see a number of raised hands in the room! emoticon

Maybe this is an area that I need to also give myself some patience on...

So, three reasons to rejoice today: first in the support that comes from this site. Second in that I didn't do as badly in handling the stress / anxiety in my life as I sometimes do. And finally in having a few more insights into another area for future growth and self-acceptance!

Blessings to you all this Sunday.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRIGHTSPARK7 4/18/2010 7:17PM

    Thanks for following up. Interesting connection you have made between social connections around house-cleaning and the support we give each other around weight issues.

I also vacuumed and dusted yesterday after reading your blog. And have got to enjoy the freshness of the room all weekend. Even though no one was coming over. It was great to do it for myself and the hubs. I learned that just fifteen minutes invested in this made for a much more pleasant weekend.

I like what Debra T says, too. Ultimately, what is important is not what I think, or feel, -- it's what you think and feel about the situation. Do what brings you peace.

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WATERMELLEN 4/18/2010 6:37PM

    Really an interesting blog -- I've never been much of a housekeeper but sure do get that "internal critic" voice more generally . . . gotta remember DEBRA_T's wisdom, "what other people think of me is none of my business"!!

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FRAN0426 4/18/2010 4:54PM

    Glad you were able to keep the eating in check when dealing with the issues of cleaning the house. I came from a home that was spotless at all times, nothing out of place. Complete in deepth cleaning of washing ceilings and walls, shampooing the carpets and more twice a year etc. Do you think my house is that way? It was when I first married and while the clildren were small, but over the years it hasn't gotten that much attention twice a year and I'm not as neat as mom was--but we're just as happy. I tend to get all the rooms done once a year, and everyweek cleaning isn't like how I was brought up either, and thats ok.

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BUGGYS 4/18/2010 4:25PM

    I try to clean once a week...vaccum every day because of the kids and dog hair and my house is clean enough...I have a friend who doesn't really enjoy her home because she is a neat freak and is constantly cleaning it. I enjoy my space and so does my family and that's good enough for me!!!

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LBIMAMMA 4/18/2010 3:43PM

    I too came from a family with siblings, and the work load was shared. I'll have my kids share in chores and while they may need to be asked, they will do it without much angst. My husband is a really a lost cause. Once in awhile he will help out, but to be honest, it just isn't worth it. That being said, my house is clean enough to be healthy and happy :-)

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DEBRA_T 4/18/2010 3:15PM

    I missed your post yesterday, Barb, but whenever I'm tempted to worry about what other people will think of me because of my weight or some other thing that makes me less than a shining example in my own mind, I remember some words of wisdom from the 12-Step programs: what other people think of me is none of my business.

The rest, as you very capably know, is about self-acceptance and deciding what is important to you.

Cheers, Debra
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KASEYCOFF 4/18/2010 3:09PM

    Good insight, Barb: we do indeed try to 'go it alone' all too often. If we don't learn anything else at SP (and I for one surely hope I do, lol...) I hope we learn not just to support each other, but to rely on each other. It is the reaching out that can be so important to our well-being and our growth.

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WALKINGANNIE 4/18/2010 2:55PM

    Glad that you worked through some of the issues and didn't go too overboard on the eating Barb.

A response that you might not have foreseen was that you motivated this friend to do some clearing of clutter! I took a look around our house and wondered how much difference I could make in an hour. To cut the story short, I was pathetically proud when our daughter arrived for Sunday lunch and asked who else was coming because it looked as if I'd done a pre-visitors' tidy up of the kitchen and living room! It helped that I thought of calories burned while I worked.

I will try to remember your cautionary tale and to imagine how the upstairs rooms would fare under the scrutiny of an emergency roofer - or how I would fare in these circumstances.

Hope you continue to feel a bit better about this.

Annie

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SLENDERELLA61 4/18/2010 2:23PM

    I appreciate your insights so much. I had never thought about how social house cleaning was when I was growing up and how isolating it is now. When I first married my husband, I cried almost every week end about the housecleaning. It just wasn't what I'd envisioned my life to be about.

I'm not the greatest housekeeper, but, you know, I think I am good enough. At least for the most part.

You are so right, that when you post, you must be ready for the responses. And you are right that most, if not all, are helpful. Take care. Don't judge yourself so harshly. Take care of filth, but don't worry about clutter. Make yourself happy in your space. Make your obsessive self compromise with your more relaxed self. Well, that's my advice. -Marsha

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MSLZZY 4/18/2010 2:14PM

    Sounds like the responses moved you to a neutral zone and yet, amde it possible for you to look at things in a new light and come to a good resolution. Excellent!
At one time, I had a cleaning lady come in once a week and I found I cleaned furiously the
day before because I didn't want to be embarrassed. emoticon
Financial issues helped me decide if I could clean before she came, I could do it on my own very nicely, thank you. Now I pace myself, do what I can when the time allows and live
in relative sanity. A clean house is nice but it isn't a disaster if it is not perfect. It could always
look better but it has been a lot worse LOL!
Here's to future growth and self-acceptance! It's an area that needs improvement in my
life, too!
Have a great day! emoticon emoticon

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Comparisons are death

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Even when we know this, we still do it... why?

The current comparison I'm having trouble with is one I've always been more embarrassed about than even my weight at its heaviest. I'm a lousy housekeeper. I do not take good care of my things. It probably should be no surprise I didn't take good care of my body, either.

I'm getting better about my body, although I still do have those times when I get overwhelmed and neglect it in favor of some other shiny / distracting object / event in my life. But my house and its contents? Not as far along that path.

Night before last we had a rain storm and I had a leak. It was pouring down from the threshold between my bedroom and the hall. That means I'm going to have a roofer come take a look. As it turns out, the roofer is married to a work mate of mine.

And... my house is in a horrible state. Some people have a "junk" room or closet where they throw things? I live alone in a 3-bedroom house. Two of those bedrooms are "junk" rooms.
I have a dog that has done a number on my carpets, too. And like I said, not a good housekeeper.

I had finally got to the point where I sort of forgave myself for not being able to do it all (i.e. everything my dad did to earn a living plus everything my mom did to make a home... come on, SOME of you know what I'm talking about here). But when someone is going to come over and actually see the status of my cluttered home? Ouch.

The fear/anxiety point in this is he sees my house, he says something to his wife, it gets back in the workplace and everyone KNOWS what a horrible housekeeper I am.
Like they couldn't see how my desk is kept at the office, already! It doesn't have to be rational, it's an anxiety thing, right?

Some folks have weight / size issues based on commentary they heard in the homes of their upbringing? I have a soundtrack loop in the back of my head about housekeeping standards... from my grandmother judging the homes of others, from my mother feeling not up to her mother's standards, and from myself!

So, this weekend, I have two choices: try like a madwoman and fail to make my home live up to those standards in the head... or take another giant step down the path to self-acceptance. I will do what I can... but this is who and what I am.

I am the "Aunt Grace" of my generation... the one my grandmother clucked her tongue over. But THAT'S OK! Aunt Grace was a wonderful woman, smart, caring... just not a housekeeper... OK? OK! She had a master's degree in math education and well into her 70's and maybe even her 80's she was tutoring students through their high school math.

Embrace it, Barb! Your own sister may cluck her tongue, too... but you don't really need fixing... you just need acceptance. And not to overeat in reaction to this particular anxiety!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 4/20/2010 7:20AM

    Barb,
I have to agree with KASEYCOFF clean clothes and dishes mean more than passing a "white glove" inspection. DH and I know we are hopeless slobs. We do clean, but it is not a priority.

When my messy house really starts getting to me I always say the aunt's line from the movie Urbancowboy. The Aunt is busy cleaning John Travolta's & Debra Winger's trailer she looks around and says "Ya'all live like pigs!"

I used to have a plate on our door bell that said "Martha Stewart doesn't live here!"

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KASEYCOFF 4/18/2010 3:31PM

    Well for what it's worth, Barb, EYE accept you, messy house 'n' all, lol... I am in many ways just like you, and I don't even have the excuse of working full-time, because I am retired. I keep the worst of it (the largest dust bunnies!) at bay, but I always think there are either more important things to do or more fun things to do. As long as we have clean clothes to wear (we do) and clean dishes to eat from (we do) and a place to sit now and then (we do) then we are doing okay. I come from a long line of women who thought reading, or crossword puzzles, or taking a walk, or sewing, or... well, just about ANYthing was better than housework. As far as I'm concerned, messy is okay as long as it's comfortable and the Board of Health isn't condemning the house. :-)

p.s. When people come over, I invite them to kick their shoes off, put their feet on the coffee table if they want to, and have a gabfest. I don't think people who are worried about the state of cleanliness in my house are too apt to c'mon in and set a spell, LOL!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/17/2010 11:05PM

    I could also be a better housekeeper. When it feels overwhelming, I try to do a little and that makes me feel a whole lot better.

The other thing that helps me is to have friends over for a visit every couple of weeks. It helps me share who I am, as I am, while also encouraging me to pick up a bit more. Not perfect, but perfectly human.

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REJ7777 4/17/2010 6:46PM

    I know that feeling of dread when someone's coming over! It's a feeling only a real "messie" can understand. Fortunately, my sister is a "cleanie" and comes to help me when I'm desperate, like when my son and his fiance came to spend 3 weeks in my 3-room apartment, last summer! Is there someone who can help you? Sometimes knowing someone is coming over is a motivator for housecleaning. Just do your best and then forget about it. We're really nice people, just not cleanies! emoticon

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NELLIEC 4/17/2010 3:37PM

    Well, I am not exactly Susie Homemaker either! My ex (when we were married) would complain about the house (the same man who when he was laid off for a while, commented that I worked harder than he did). Nowadays, I am very fortunate to have Medicaid which pays for a choreworker to come and help me with the house. Even then it is cluttered since my daughter's famly is presently living here, and the choreworker is only allowed to help me -- not them.

A number of years ago, I gave up on carpets. And I am glad that I did. Now critter accidents are easily mopped up and my allergies are not triggered by all the dust in carpets!

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WALKINGANNIE 4/17/2010 3:32PM

    Oh dear, I so recognise this one Barb. I'm not a good housekeeper either and I'm especially untidy with books and papers.

Until I read this blog and the comments I hadn't seen the analogy between an 'untidy' body cluttered by overeating and not tidied by exercise and an untidy home. It might be an interesting motivator in the longer term.

Given your tight timescale, you can't do it all so just do what will make the biggest difference and then wear a big smile - confident that your life is much too interesting to have found time for the housekeeping!

Good luck!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/17/2010 1:52PM

    Barb, it's YOUR home. And if you're comfortable in it, you need not be concerned about what others think. If they don't like it, they don't have to look at it. I bet there are a lot of other people you work with who have similar situations. Would you think less of them because they don't have a perfectly kept house, neatly manicured lawn, well-behaved children/pets? I don't think so. Live your life and be happy. As long as you're not hurting anyone else, it doesn't really matter.

That being said, I think a lot like you do. I discovered several years ago that if you have huge dust bunnies (or don't clean the toilet for two weeks) that no one dies. LOL!

Just do what you do best - being you - and don't get hung-up on what others may be thinking.

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LJCANNON 4/17/2010 10:15AM

    I know exactly what you are talking about!! I have a very 'cluttered' house too--plus an elderly cat that doesn't always find the litter box.
I am kind of hoping that as I take better care of my body, I will begin taking better care of the house, too.
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GINABUG 4/17/2010 9:47AM

    You are perfect, just as you are. I would say that if you feel discomfort, find the source. Is it the state of the house, or your fear of others judging the state of the house? Your actions will then become more clear for you -- whether they be cleaning or working on your own self-judgment. For, I have found when I fear what others think, it is often I who is doing the judging!

Sorry about the leak, but look at the wonderful lessons it is providing! Oy! Why oh why does the Universe work this way?
:-)

Blessings, dear one!

GinaBug emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/17/2010 9:48:14 AM

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RITAROSE 4/17/2010 9:12AM

  I am a helper by nature. I would like nothing more than to come along side you to clean today. I'm not the best housekeeper either, but my dh is. We often work together to clear out the unnecessary junk to make things easier to keep up. I'm praying for you this weekend. A verse that always helps me with the hard things is Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Hugs, Ritarose

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MSLZZY 4/17/2010 8:50AM

    Self-acceptance is key to happiness. Do what you can and live with the results. It would be impossible to meet everyone else's standards, no matter what. Shut the doors and let go of the stress. emoticon

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LINDAJOYWK 4/17/2010 8:33AM

    I understand where you are coming from-sometimes we just get overwhelmed. I
having been on a mission to get rid of stuff I don't use (and once & for all clean out
married son's room)! There is a really wonderful book called(I think this is title,or
something similar)"Does my clutter make my but look fat?" Great book-I So recommend it.-Linda


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