Organize not minimize

Recently I heard author Joshua Becker(@joshua_becker) interviewed on the radio. He made this statement, “organizing isn’t minimizing.” He’s the author of several books, two of which book coverare The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own; and Clutter-free with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home.

Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents, explaining how they can set the standard for how much stuff their kids have, and the expectation with family members about gift giving.

This #minimalist mindset is said to be a trend among the gen x’ers. Research shows they prefer to spend their money on experiences like traveling, rather than big homes and fancy cars. This generation doesn’t want a lot of stuff handed down to them. It makes you wonder about all of the short-term storage units being built. Really, we have so much stuff that the next generation doesn’t want, that we store it — just in case.

Becker’s statement that organizing isn’t minimizing makes complete sense. You can rearrange a dozen boxes in an attic, or stack them neatly out of the way in the garage, but there are still a dozen boxes.

To minimize you must eliminate. Go ahead, if you haven’t worn something in two cycles of seasons, you aren’t going to! Let it go. You’d be surprised what else you might find in your closet to wear. If you don’t love those books on your shelf, sell them! My book problem is that many of my favorites are by authors I know, or have been autographed.

My mother never understood why I didn’t want a lot of trinket things sitting around on my tables and mantel. Well, those statuettes serve no function and they collect dust. The few I have were gifts and have meaning beyond the aesthetics. But that’s the difference between her generation and mine. She was raised to be a housewife. Homes were “decorated” not “staged.” The home design for the times was pictures hung in great collages on the wall and nick nacks on all flat surfaces.

Having a simplistic space can temper the noise of life. Order in our space can minimize the chaos that whirls through our minds.

Yep, it’s Christmas time and I’m talking about not having too much stuff. It is the time of year when retail marketing is at its extreme. It is the “political ad season” for retail. You must have, you can’t live without, wouldn’t your life be better if, time of year. Believe me, I’m not downing gift giving. Even in choosing a gift, there is an art to not just choosing anything. But that’s a topic for another blog.

For now, as you are making space for all the new stuff, consider what you need, and what needs to be passed along.

KK

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How to catch an earworm

Many mornings I wake with a song on my mind. Not a bad way for this non-morning person to start the day. Going through the routine of getting ready for work, the song hangs on. If it lasts beyond breakfast, I declare it an earworm and decide its demise. This morning the song was a snippet of a hymn we sang Sunday morning when we visited a Baptist church. It was a hymn I had learned in middle school when we attended Walnut Street Baptist church. So it was familiar and singing it stirred the memory. It had a catchy melody. One that can easily get stuck. I guess it’s not bad to have an inspirational song rattling around in your head. The problem is that all I could remember was the chorus, so those two lines kept running over, and over, and over in my head. By the time I got in the car, the song went from inspirational to flat out annoying.

There are two cures for earworms that I’ve been successful with. First, listen to the song and sing along. That gets the melody and the words through your cognitive path it’s stuck on and out your mouth. Ok, so there is probably a fancy scientific reason this works, but girl with headphones singing with all her heart to the music.in layman’s terms…just sing it!

The other cure is to listen to some other music. You don’t have to sing along, but it seems that just getting another tune going spooks the earworm and it crawls away.

To save my office neighbors an uninvited concert this morning, I’ve tapped into the second cure. Along with sharing this with you, it seems to be working.

What’s your earworm (#earworm) story?

KK

Do you need to go to the bathroom?

boys-and-girls-bathroom-signs-for-popular-girls-bathroom-signs-for-kids-diy-bathroom-door-signs-happiness-is-19There is an interesting social phenomenon among females that all these years later is still a mystery to me. The bathroom buddy system. Do I need to go to the bathroom? I’m pretty sure before middle school I hadn’t been asked that since I was two-years-old. It was a significant life-lesson for me to know the question had nothing to do with having to USE the facility. In middle school and high school, it’s not uncommon to see a gaggle of girls all going to the bathroom together. If you were female and not in the group going, it is likely you were the subject of conversation while the girls were using the facility, checking make-up, and brushing hair. At the end of a meal or at a given point in a social gathering one of the girls would say to the others, “do you need to go to the bathroom?”

The high school I attended (Christian Academy of Louisville, Rock Creek campus), had a girls room right off the cafeteria. This was a bathroom (single user) perhaps as big as 7′ x 5′. It included a sink with mirror, a toilet and, a radiator. While sharing “all the news on the gossip chain, we had a method for rotating turns in front of the mirror that included at least one of us sitting on the radiator, and someone standing on the back of the toilet. Of course, no one actually voided their bladder. This trip was all about primping and news gathering.

In college, the bathrooms got larger but were still a gathering place for the exchange of gossip. Girls still went to the bathroom in groups. There were more mirrors, sinks and now we had stalls for taking care of other personal activities. This is when the whole odyssey to the restroom changed for me. I still took the journey to the restroom with the girls, but it became a little weird to me to talk over the stalls. I don’t know, it just seems weird to me to have a normal conversation while doing that which should NEVER be shared with anyone. No one. That’s a little too intimate for me.

For me, the need for pairing up to go to the bathroom ended with college. If I’m the odd person out and become the topic of conversation, I consider it an honor. Spoiler alert, I’m not that interesting. Don’t waste your time. Part of this maturity may come from me really not caring to participate in the commentary of wardrobe, behaviors, parenting skills, or evaluations of the date someone came with. One of the most awkward social moments I’ve had as an adult is when another female in our party has stopped conversations to ask me if I wanted to go the bathroom. Not to embarrass them too much, I simply replied, “No, I’m good. Thanks.”

If I happen to run into someone coming in or at the mirror, I may chat. But sorry, I’m not having a conversation over the stall wall. Oh, and more than likely I won’t participate in epic gossip.

Just a thought,

KK

#metoo
#restroom

 

Sing a song, Dance a dance

Do you remember being little and twirling about? Or in your teens singing your favorite love song (into the hairbrush, on your bed or in front of the mirror) thinking of the ONE boy you were madly in love with? Maybe you can’t carry a tune and have two left feet, but singing and dancing are so good for us that they should not be ignored.animated-snoopy-image-0028

Dancing boosts memory, improves flexibility, reduces stress and depression, improves balance and makes your heart happy.

Singing has been said to strengthen your immune system, improves your posture, your sleep and reduces stress.

I know what you’re thinking all that singing and dancing around will make your family think you’ve gone nuts. Maybe it’s time to surprise your family. Sashay across the kitchen or twirl your way to the dinner table. Or maybe you just dance when no one is watching. And sing as loud as you as can when you are alone at home or in your car. Who cares what the grump in the car next to you thinks. It’s fun and frees the spirit.

We all have a happy dance inside somewhere. It’s time to let it out.

KK

#snoopydance

#happydance

 

 

 

 

 

Road Rage

 

aggressive-driver-or-road-rage-fanatic
Really, a hammer?

Road rage isn’t something I’ve struggled with. Sure there are times when I’m running behind and I get frustrated in traffic, but never angry. Usually, if I’m running behind it’s my own fault. But that’s not the issue at hand, we’ll talk timeliness another time. For my new full-time job, I commute to downtown Louisville.

 

On a good day, it takes me about 30 minutes. With the beginning of the school year, it seems everyone has returned from vacation and is back in their routine, driving to work downtown at the same time I do. The clogged highway has slowed me down in the morning. The other day I noticed as I crept along that I wasn’t angry but a little anxious. Not a normal emotion for me. So I turned on my “sing along” playlist.

This is the playlist of all the songs I love to sing along with. And when I’m alone, I like to sing very loud. In doing so, I no longer felt anxious and I gave my lungs a little workout. Walking into the office, I had a song in my heart and wasn’t all stressed from the ride in.

I may have found a cure for all those angry, crazed drivers. Sing! Here’s what’s great, no one can hear you, sing loud. Go ahead and flashback to those stand-on-your-bed with the hairbrush microphone moments. The escape will de-stress and change your spirit for the day.

KK

#roadrage

Hearing Other’s Thoughts

What if could hear other people’s thoughts? Do you ever wonder when you’re standing in line behind a stranger, what are they thinking? Or if you notice someone noticing you, do you wonder what opinion they are forming?

In the 2000 romantic comedy, What Women Want, ladies man, Nick, through an electrical shock is given the ability to hear women’s thoughts; to peek behind the curtain into the psyche of the female mind. After being just a little freaked out about it, it’s explained to him to be a gift. But, would it really be a gift to hear other’s thoughts?

There are many women reading this right now thinking, yes! I would love to hear my husband’s thoughts and really know what goes on inside his brain. I get that. But we don’t. How many times have you thought something and then the discernment filter comes out added to a little wisdom and you don’t express the thought? How many arguments were avoided or hurt feelings preserved? On the other hand, do we miss opportunities to encourage and support?

The ability to hear others’ thoughts would be cheating ourselves of the journey to getting to know each other. Relationships are grown over time. We slowly reveal our selves to others as trust is built and our connection grows. It a melding of souls. For those we interact with who will remain strangers or acquaintances, let me encourage you to take notice and take the opportunity to share an encouraging word or thought. You never know, it may change the direction of their thoughts.

 

KK

Measured Steps

Do our steps count if we aren’t wearing our pedometer or Fitbit device? At first we were sold on counting our steps, trying to get 10,000 each day. That’s a little over four and half miles. We clipped pedometers to our shoes or belts and took off. Corporations added pedometers and step tracking to their health incentives for employees. That’s kinda fun to have the camaraderie of your co-workers to help achieve the goal.

Then the devices or apps on our phones began to track heart rate, pulse and even blood pressure. Again, not bad to do, but are we becoming over sensitized to every uneven beat of our hearts and every elevated moment of our pulse? Our bodies were fearfully and wonderfully created. In the course of a day our physiological systems are constantly adjusting to its environment. We eat and it begins to metabolize the nutrients and throw off the waste. We get hot and our bodies sweat. We walk outside and our eyes adjust to the sun.

 

young fitness woman hiker legs at forest trail

The tracking devices have made us more aware of getting up and moving more often. I am guilty of sitting for too long a period of time during the day. I can sit down to work and get so caught up that I don’t get up for several hours. So there is certainly a place for prompting us to live healthier lives.

What happens when we forget to wear our device or turn on the app? All of a sudden all these steps aren’t measured. Do they still count? Did the tree fall and not make a sound? Once again we are getting sucked into a gadget (for better or worse) being our measurement of success. Do you remember the days when runners would go run then come home and drive the course in their cars to see how far they had gone?

Our success with our health goals happens whether we measure it or not. Our success comes from just getting up and doing it. After having worn a Fitbit for almost two years, I can guess within ten percent how many steps I’ve taken in a day (or not taken). When it recently broke, it took me a couple of days to figure out I was still walking, taking steps. They still counted. My evening walks still relaxed me. What I miss are the little bursts of color when I’m active for over 30 minutes. Or the buzz vibration it made when I hit 10,000 steps. That was fun.

Maybe I can come up with my own little burst of celebration after my walk or workout. So if you see me fist-bump myself or do a little touchdown jig, you’ll know I’m on the move.

KK