Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days...A Spending Freeze & Using What You Have!

Like many of you, I'm joining the Nester in her 31 Day series!  For the past 3 years, she has taken the month of October to write on one single topic for 31 days.  A great challenge for blog writing and creativity.  Anyone is welcome to join in the fun, so as a young blogger still developing, I'm all in!

When it came to choosing a topic, the timing couldn't have been better.  I had recently allowed myself to get in a completely overwhelmed state.  With everything.  Staying up late to work on the blog, my moms group, to catch up on emails.....or for a pinterest binge ;)  I was going to bed later and later, needing more and more coffee to keep up and really not taking very good care of myself.   I had put expectations on myself and the blog that were forcing me to work at a crazy pace, completely unrealistic of a mom with 3 young kids.

This is when it hit me...I was being a fake.  With you and with everyone.  Because the truth is, Superwoman is a fraud.   Everywhere you look there are messages telling you that in a single day your house should be beautifully decorated for the season, you should've been able to squeeze in a rockin' workout for a rock hard bod, got caught up on the laundry, prepared homemade crafts to do with your children, volunteered in the classroom or with a cause, cooked up a complete, organic meal for your family, nourished your thriving marriage/relationship, met up with the girlfriends for drinks, had quiet time for prayer, wrote up an awesome blog entry, posted a witty facebook update, pinned some awesome inspiration on pinterest and tweeted all about it......all while wearing a fantastic outfit.  I'm exhausted from just typing it.

The reality is that Supermom/Superwoman doesn't exist.  She's not meant to do all these things, all at once, and all on her own.  She's at least not able to do them all well.  And if she is, then something is usually paying the price.  For me it was time my family/friends and my health.  

There are seasons of life that allow us to do more than others and all of those things above have a place, but in proper balance and priority.  This is where I had fallen off-track, and needed to reassess.  I was too tired to really be present when we were together as a family; I missed some very important emails (a friend losing a pregnancy, requests for prayer, etc.) because I was so overwhelmed with everything on my plate; and I knew I couldn't say 'yes' to new opportunities because it might just put me over the edge, but I did anyway.

God used a very painful moment (literally) to make me finally stop and realize where I had gone.  My parents were in from out of state for the weekend, and while they are here they always like to help us accomplish one (or more!) of those projects that we just haven't been able to finish.  I had quite the ambitious list for us but the first night they were here (brace for it....)  I ripped my big toe nail off while moving the boys train table.  Did you vomit just reading that?  Still convulsing from the heebie-geebie induced shakes?  I apologize.

I will spare you any more details, but it literally put me on my behind for their visit.  And after hearing gentle, truthful words from mom (don't you hate when they are right?), I saw that this was an opportunity.  Did God rip off my toe nail?  No, but as I was elevating my foot, He opened my eyes to how my self-imposed, unrealistic expectations were causing my family and I to suffer.

They were mostly efforts to grow this blog and really put out posts that were great......quality pics, dramatic before and afters, unique and helpful information, inspiring material.  The usual ;)  But by doing that I was as guilty as all those other sources that cause us to feel inadequate.

The reality of our life is that home improvement is very slow.  Some projects get put on hold midway for lack of budget or simply not having enough time for the next phase of the project.  When I show you a lovely, completed space, odds are good that there's a mess right behind the camera.  I was also guilty of stretching our budget more than I should in the name of the blog.  Bad decision. Not helpful to us, not helpful to you.

I want this blog to be a place where you feel inspired to make the changes in your house that really make it feel like home, to show you that it's ok to break the rules to put a system in place that makes life a little easier or meets your family's needs, to go for that idea you really love, and that it's also ok, if things take a little more time to get done. Home is not the completed product, but the place where you are most loved.

There was a time people would come over, compliment our home and my response was "Thanks - it's a work in progress!"  And it is, but I felt I had to apologize in advance for all we hadn't done yet. Because heaven forbid someone think I actually picked that wallpaper.  My pride took over and I lost my sense of gratitude.  We have a wonderful home, just as it is.   We have welcomed people over in the middle of a kitchen reno, and entertained with a paint stained guest bathroom sink.  If we wait until our house is just the way we want before we invite friends over, then we miss out on the most important thing: building relationships.  And relationships always trump. 

So, for the next 31 days, I'll be getting back to that sense of gratitude and reality.  I have acquired so many DIY supplies over time and supplies for projects that fell by the wayside.  So, I'm putting myself on a spending freeze for October.  I'm not buying any new project materials (fabric, storage, furniture, etc) and will force myself to work with what I already own.  I'm hoping it will get my creative juices flowing again, and help all of us to shop our home before going straight to the store.

I'm also going to let this carry over to my closet. It's another area I can fall victim to feeling inadequate, especially with the changing seasons.  All those fabulous fall "must have's" are pulling for my attention and pocketbook.  But I'm putting myself on a clothing spending freeze too, taking creativity to the clothes I already have in my closet. More on that soon!

We've really been making an effort to live on less over the past year, and to change our perspective of what we really need.  But there are times I still feel the "need" to really do something to improve the house, or buy a few more clothes, or just get whatever it is that would life so much better.  I believe one of the best responses to that feeling of want, is gratitude.

So this is going to be 31 days of living thanks for what we have, and using them to make this place a little more like home.  

*Anyone else joining the 31 day series? Up for joining me on using what you have for a month?  I would love to see the ways you get creative with the things you have lying around the house!

*I'll be adding all the 31 day links here as they are published*

Day 2: Paint For The Bathroom
Day 3: Instruments As Art
Day 4: Mouse Pad Update
Day 5: Fall Decor Panic
Day 6: Taking It To The Closet
Day 7: The Seasonal Clothes Cycle & Keeping The Kids Clothes Under Control
Day 8: Hooks, Hooks & More Hooks
Day 9: A Few Finds
Day 10: A Shelf Addition
Day 11: A Confession
Day 12: Home For Hampers
Day 13: College Game Day - Weekend Wardrobe
Day 14: Balloon Fiesta!
Day 15: Art For A Kid's Room
Day 16: Update The Vanity
 Day 17: Taming The Recipes
Day 18: Brussel Sprouts - Don't Knock Em' Till You Try Em'!
Day 19: Grey & Yellow
Day 20: Temptations
Day 21: Easy Like Sunday Morning  - Weekend Wardrobe
Day 22: Coffee and Candles
Day 23: Curls
Day 24: A Plan To Winterize The Car
Day 25: Our {Mostly} Winterized and Organized Car
Day 26: Enjoying What Your City Has To Offer
Day 27: Stripes, How Do I Love Thee...
Day 28: A Dining Room Scheme & Fabrics
Day 29: Creating A Drop Zone For Mom
Day 30: Reusing Costumes
Day 31: DIY Mike Wazowski Costume

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  1. OH Deme! I know just how you feel. As you know, I was trying to all of the above too. My old home blog became a source of stress instead of a creative outlet. I used to love the DIY cheapo projects I did but then felt I had to compete with the Pottery Barners of the World. It was too much and I was too stressed missing out on the wonderful little ones I have in my life. I congratulate you in your openness to God's enlightening (but painful moment)! I can't wait to see what you do this month and your closet...You know I love me some good clothes eye candy.

  2. What a great idea. I'm sure that using what you have will lead you to fabulous projects, and knowing that they didn't cost any extra money will leave you feeling very proud!!

  3. Great post Deme! I can't wait to read the rest of the series! I love that you are being so honest and admitting that you can't do it all and that these projects aren't as easy as they seem. We can't be superwoman. I think it is wonderful that you are going to freeze spending for a month on crafts and clothes!! You may find you already have some pretty awesome stuff :)

    1. Thanks Samantha! Cross your fingers I can dig that awesomeness out of the rubble :)

  4. I am looking forward to reading more on your not spending for the month. I will pray it all goes well.

  5. Beautiful reflection, Deme! You absolutely right. We have to have the courage to live fully our feminine vocation to wifedom and motherhood in the midst of a culture that tells us we should be more/better/corporate executive. I am so looking forward to learning from you in the month ahead.

  6. I have two "31 Days" series going on. The first one is for my public blog Project Simple Home, and it's called "31 Days of Often Overlooked Prepping." It focuses on those little things we typically let slip by when preparing for emergency situations but can make all the difference if/when the time comes.

    More importantly, on my personal blog, I am doing "31 Things I Love About Motherhood" just to remind me what really matters each day: my 3-month old son Kael. Sometimes juggling everything sucks, and I miss the freedom that my pre-baby life allowed (like quickly picking up something at the store or sleeping more than three hours at a time). However when he smiles at me first thing in the morning, or laughs as I sing to him, I know that I would choose this life all over again despite the struggles it brings.

    I'm really looking forward to participating in 31 Days of October as well as reading what so many others are focusing on. Good luck with your projects!

    Andrea @

  7. Amen Deme! It is overwhelming and so much of it is unnecessarily self induced. I won't be joining the 31 days just because there is no possible way I can post every day, so I figure I'm not going to add that stress onto myself. Great post.

  8. This came at exactly the perfect time for me, Deme -- thank you for your honesty and generous insights! There is so much pressure to be "perfect" and to be busy accomplishing things 24/7. Your post has reminded me that I need to slow down and appreciate all the blessings I have around me, and not feel such anxiety or pressure to be "perfect." I am trying to use what I have in my kitchen cabinets this month instead of buying new cans and boxed mixes at the grocery store. I'm chronicling my journey on my blog:

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Dallas! I love that you are trying to use what's in your cabinets before going to the store this month!


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