Thursday, May 29, 2014

Organizing a Little at a Time ~ My Desk and Bedside Table

Dear friends,

Since I worked part-time as a teacher this past year, I put off a lot of organizing projects until school let out two weeks ago. I have been listing them all on an iPod app as I think of them, and I try to knock them off one by one, little by little. Each day I think, "What am I up to doing today?"  It depends on my available time, which area of the house is bugging me most, and other factors.

The past few days, I've kept coming back to my bedroom to work. I may not be able to totally control what happens in the other rooms of the house, but I can at least take full responsibility for my own!  

Yesterday, I spent the most time at my desk. Until recently, I had a metal and laminate computer desk, but it was getting more wobbly by the day. In fact, when we moved it out of the bedroom, it split into two pieces! Yikes! Last month, I found my current sturdy wood desk (pictured above) at an estate sale for $5. I replaced the hinged handles (which were on three drawers) with much nicer knobs that I salvaged from an old dresser. I filled the desk drawers with some of my office supplies and papers when I got it, but I continually add more and rearrange as I go along.  

It is simply amazing to have a bunch of desk drawers. I'm not sure how I ever got by without them. I labeled two of them "Supplies" and "Paper" and told my family that those are the only two drawers they may open if they really need something.  (We have the some kind of supplies and paper in the dining room, too.)  The rest of the drawers are just for me -- for my hanging files and such -- because my desk is my own private area to work.   In a busy household with several kids still at home, I need a quiet place where I can close the door to work, as well as a safe place for my lap top.

At the same estate sale, I bought this wicker drawer unit to hold charging cords, receipts, snacks, and other small items. I store extra books on top, so I had to move my bulletin board up and over to make room.

Two days ago, I decided to tackle the piles of miscellaneous store receipts that had been plaguing me. I'm trying to get a system for dealing with them. I folded several pieces of card stock in half to make small file folders to store receipts for purchases from different bank accounts, tax deductible expenses, items which might need to be returned, and warranty information.  My plan is to empty receipts from my wallet into the folders every day or two. When it is time to itemize them for our records, I will take a folder, tally up the budget categories, and then throw away any receipt I don't need for product returns or tax purposes. Think it will work?  I hope so!

I've had the white cabinet on my desk for quite some time, and it's gotten quite messy on the inside. (Yay for doors.) Yesterday I took everything out and started fresh. What did I want in there? Where should each thing go? The top shelf in holds all medical supplies, the next shelf down is for extra office supplies and eye glasses cleaning supplies, and the open bottom shelf has a butterfly flower pot with my most commonly used supplies and a basket for miscellaneous small stuff.

I taped my Mary Engelbreit greeting card collection on the outside of the cabinet. This one says, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you."  I decided to use some of the blank space to write in some of my priorities: Jesus, family time, home making, creativity, planning, friendship, inspiration, learning, writing, teaching, rest, service, exercise, focus, nutrition, and peacemaking. Just a reminder when I'm tempted to fritter away time with mindless web surfing!

I keep an old piano bench next to my desk to hold a big basket for my two clipboards and other things.  One clipboard is for papers (like budgets) that my husband wants to leave for me, so they won't get lost in my piles. The other clipboard is for papers I need handy for specific purposes, such as for upcoming events.

As I work in my room, I often find stuff my kids have left in here. I grabbed a big empty bin from our storage room and just started tossing it in. I'll take the bin out when I'm done with the room, and get them to put their belongings away. I have similar bins in some of the other rooms.

The other area I worked on in the past two days is my bed area. I washed all the linens, including my ultra-soft comforter.  This vintage wooden tea cart that I use as my bedside table had gotten cluttered up and dusty.  I took everything off, wiped it down, and started putting back only the bare basics: a lamp, my iPod dock/clock, two small baskets, my medicine bottle, and a water mug. I keep my glasses on the padded blue box on the headboard shelf at night, along with my phone.  I always know where to find them if I have to get up in a hurry.

I use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, and I decided to put it in my biggest Longaberger basket on top of my headboard. The basket helps camouflage it and it also corrals the long air tube and face mask during the day time. I just have to make sure I leave adequate room behind the machine for its air intake. The jug of water on the bottom shelf of the cart is for refilling the CPAP humidifier chamber. I like to keep things handy so I'm more likely to use them.

I bought the Grandma mug a couple of weeks ago when my youngest grandson was born, but just put it on my bedside table yesterday. My plan is to fill it up every night before I go to bed so I can take my thyroid medicine early in the morning without getting up. If I use a regular plastic cup, someone always takes it. This one will be dedicated wholly to its job, and the cover will keep dust and bugs out at night.

Two last pictures! I bought this "Dare To" butterfly poster at Michael's craft store before Christmas and hung it with inexpensive poster hanging rods that slip onto the top and bottom edges. This was much cheaper and faster than framing. I like to be inspired and motivated, and you probably already know I am a word person from morning until night!

R is for Reinvent Yourself.  I've had to do that a lot in recent years with so many life transitions. Overcome Adversity, too!  There is always a bit of Fail, and Dare to Suceed.  Most of all, Love All You Can. 

I'm glad my bedroom is becoming a place for rest, reflection, and renewed responsibility along the journey.

What have you done to make your bedroom special?

You can find two other posts related to my bedroom here:

Thanks for reading!

Virginia Knowles

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Thy Good and Comfortable Word" by Amy Carmichael

“Thy Good and Comfortable Word”

Lover of souls, Thee have I heard,
Thee will I sing, for sing I must,
Thy good and comfortable word
Hath raised my spirit from the dust.

In dusty ways my feet had strayed,
And foolish fears laid hold on me,
Until what time I was afraid,
 I suddenly remembered Thee.

Remembering Thee, I straight forgot,
What otherwhile had troubled me;
It was as if it all were not,
I only was aware of Thee.

Of Thee, of Thee alone, aware,
I rested me, I held me still,
The blessed thought of Thee, most Fair,
Dispelled the brooding sense of ill.

And quietness about me fell,
And Thou didst speak: my spirit heard;
I worshipped and rejoiced; for well
I knew Thy comfortable word.

Whoso hath known that comforting,
The inward touch that maketh whole,
How can he ever choose but sing
To Thee, O Lover of his soul.

Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Her main ministry was rescuing children from immoral duties in the Hindu temples, and then raising them in the Christian faith at Dohnavur Fellowship.  The children often sang songs of praise to God throughout the day; this was a key part of their upbringing!   Amy did not have an easy life.  After a painful injury, she spent her latter decades as an invalid.  These experiences enabled her to write straight from the heart of God to comfort those who faced trials and difficulties, and to challenge them to rise up to the call of God on their lives no matter what.

I wanted to share an Amy Carmichael poem with these magnolia pictures, so I thumbed through my dog-eared copy of her book Toward Jerusalem which I've had since college.  It was hard picking.  Perhaps "Bud of Joy" would have been more fitting for the pictures, but that one didn't "speak" to me at the moment.  I also like "Wandering Thoughts" - I remember that going deep into me one hard year.  "Love Through Me" and "The Sign" and "Cape Comorin" are other old favorites which I shared at our ladies' Bible study two weeks ago, since our lesson mentioned Amy Carmichael.

When I finally settled on "Thy Comfortable Word", I did a Google search on the title so I wouldn't have to type in all the stanzas.  The top entry on the list?  Mine!  Apparently, I had included it in one of my old e-magazines over eight years ago, the same issue in which I announced the birth of my youngest daughter Melody.  If I'm not mistaken, I think I remember breathing out these poems' lines during labor.   (I really did strange things like that.)  I do know, based on a note I included with it in that e-magazine, that I sent one of my older daughters to grab the book from the shelf one day when I was feeling really low.  It could have been a day when I felt like that first and last magnolia in the pictures above, with the stamens falling out of the center,  just lying there disconnected in a heap.     As I read the poem then, I  could sense the comfort of God wash over me, his inward touch that made me whole.   Read it again, and maybe it will bless you now, too.  Perhaps these links about magnolias, Amy Carmichael poems, and lessons I learned from mothering Melody will also encourage you.   Enjoy...

P.S.  My daughter Julia is about to give birth to her first child any day now.  Say a prayer for her, will you?  Funny thing is, the midwife who is supposed to deliver baby Lucas also delivered my little Melody.  We didn't make that connection until about a month ago.  How time flies...  

I often link my posts to these blogs:

  • Still Saturday
  • The Sunday Community