40 bags of stuff. · Lent

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 9

40trashbags

Today is Thursday,  March 5, 2009

This is the ninth day of the 2009 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

Today’s  bag of stuff for our family will come from the office.  This is a clutter day for me – while I would love to be able to bless someone else with each bag, that isn’t possible.  I am going through my files culling out old and outdated information (that lease agreement form 1994 is NOT going to be needed again) and tossing them.

I suppose in a way this sort of thing helps others, mostly my family, but also those I have made commitments to.  I am one of those people who end up with piles and piles of semi-important papers because I am afraid to let anything go until I have thought about it.  But my procrastination lets things accumulate as I put off thinking about them.  Then I have clutter.  Lent is a good time to look at those problems we face with a critical eye,   How is this helping my walk with Christ, or is it hindering me.  Not dealing with semi-important things in a timely manner hurts.  It hurts my peace, my real life friendships and my spiritual progression.

We are missed starting talking about St Casimir yesterday so we are catching that today along with this fine Saint we are looking at Lithuania and Poland, especially their Easter traditions.

Today’s Scripture Reading

Quote for the day: First, do what is necessary. Next, do what is possible. Soon, you will find you are doing the impossible!”  –  St. Francis of Assisi

Reading about Saint Casimir.

Craftpisanki for kids  (this will take about three days).

Lap book page: Poland and Lithuania packet.  St Casmir,  maps, coloring page. (this will span over for several days.

Other great ideas: (if you stumble on something that should be linked here please comment or send me the link)

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff.

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 8

40trashbags

Today is Wednesday,  March 4, 2009

This is the eighth day of the 2009 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

Today I am culling through books.  I am starting with the children’s books.  Instead of bags I am using book boxes for this stage.

Lent links

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff.

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 7

40trashbags

Today is Tuesday,  March 3, 2009

This is the seventh day of the 2009 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

Today’s  bag of stuff for our family will come from the girl’s room.  I am going through the winter clothing in anticipation of spring and culling out all the worn, stained, or damaged clothing and tossing it.  The excess that we have accumulated goes to Goodwill.

Since I was ill yesterday I am cheating shamelessly by asking my teenager to fill a bag from the stuff in her room.

Today’s Scripture Reading

Quote for the day: “If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.” Thomas Merton

Reading St Clare from our saints book.

Craft:  nothing planned today.

Lap book page: We are doing a “catch-up” day with our schooling so we don’t have anything for today.

Other great ideas: (if you stumble on something that should be linked here please comment or send me the link)

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff. · Lent

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 3

40trashbags

Today is Friday, February 27, 2008

This is the second day of the 2008 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

Today’s  bag of stuff for our family will come from the closets.  We are going through our shoes and coats and collecting a bag (or two) for charity.

We are talking about shoes.

Today’s Scripture Reading

Quote for the day: The bread which you use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.” – Saint Basil

Read we are reading “Master Pfriem” and our Saint story of Basil the Great.

Craft:  We are making pretzels.

Lap book page: Trace each child’s feet and cut them out.  Decorate the “shoe” on the top and the back list (or draw) the things our feet do.

Other great ideas: (if you stumble on something that should be linked here please comment or send me the link)

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff. · Lent

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 2

40trashbags

Today is Wednesday, February 26, 2008

This is the second day of the 2008 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

Today’s  bag of stuff for our family will come from the kitchen.  We are going through our cupboards and letting go of  those items we rarely or never use.  This can be baking pans, small appliances,  dishes, or anything stored in the kitchen.  I am also going to hit the dreaded “junk” drawer.  Anything that I don’t have a home or use for I am letting go of.    I am also using a box instead of a bag for the big things like pans or plates.

We are talking about  spring.

Today’s Scripture Reading

Quote for the day: “Totus tuus” – the apostolic motto of Pope John Paul II (totally yours)

See and do activity: Take a nature walk and notice the early bulbs, leaves and new green growth.  Talk about how God blesses use, how all things ultimately belong to Him.

Read we are reading “A seed is sleepy”.

Craft: We are planting small containers of flower seeds to watch them grow.

Lap book page: Draw and color some of the new growth we saw today.

Other great ideas: (if you stumble on something that should be linked here please comment or send me the link)

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff. · Lent

40 Trash Bag Challenge — Day 1

40trashbags

Today is Wednesday, February 25, 2008  —  Ash Wednesday

This is the first day of the 2008 40 trash bag challenge.  The challenge is an  opportunity to remove the excess clutter and “stuff” from our lives.  The excess can be given away, sold, donated or trashed.   The first goal is to let go; the second goal is to bless others.

The first bag of stuff for our family will come from the kitchen.  I am going through an tossing anything that is expired, out of date, junk food (chips, cookies, etc.) that we are avoiding during Lent.  In the fridge anything out of date or “gone bad” is getting bagged.  The freezer and deep freeze are losing anything freezer-burned or expired.   From the pantry we are taking any boxed or canned goods which are unopened but which we won’t use down to the food pantry.

We are talking about  “fasting and alms-giving”.

Today’s Scripture Reading

Quote for the day: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

See and do activity: Take an empty glass and drop a single drop of water into it.  Talk to the children about the quote of Mother Teresa and how sometimes it feels like our offerings are very small.   Ask the children how long they think it might take to fill the glass one drop at a time.  Set the sink to drip into the glass, check it throughout the day to see how long it takes.  (it usually takes surprisingly little time)

Read the story of the Widow’s Mite.   Select a charity to collect “pennies”  for.  You might try “Operation Rice bowl” , Aid to the Church in Need or a local charity.

CraftSalt-bread dough wreath of thorns:  This is a fun activity for even the preschoolers.

Lap book page: Draw or print out a picture of a face.  Use charcoal to mark the cross on the forehead.  Talk about the Ash Wednesday ashes and what the mean.

Other great ideas:

Jesus Tree

A Meaningful Lent

40 bags of stuff.

40 days

40 bags

40trashbags

this Lent I am riviving my project from last spring the “40 trash bag challenge”.

There are a few changes from last spring.  We are looking to give away more this year.  Each week we want to have a least one bag specifically for charity.   This year we are doing themed days, for instance tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and we will be hitting the kitchen to get rid of  “junk food”.   Many of the days will have scriptures or Saint stories associated with them.   The children will be putting together a “lap book” for Lent that will include these stories and of course I will be blogging our progress here.  I have also set up a Facebook group for the 40 trash bag challenge.

Good luck to those who are going to give this a go.  Tomorrow is our first day.

40 bags of stuff. · Catholic stuff · Lent · My world

40 Bags of stuff

Last year I did a rather crazy thing.  I ditched 40 kitchen trash bags (or the equivalent) of stuff out of our house.  40 – yes, really.  It is amazing how much stuff was lurking in the backs of cupboards and closets and how many “extra” things I had.  Too many towels, sheets, coats, shoes, books,  small kitchen appliances… the list goes on and on.

40trashbags

This was started as a housekeeping exercise.  Something I did because my home needed a good dejunking.  It had been years since I had really decluttered and letting go was so liberating.  By the end I starting thinking about the processes of letting go of “stuff” as a spiritual exercise.  Sometime last summer Fr Kyle contacted me and asked about the idea of using the 40 trash bag challenge as a part of his Lenten program.  This delighted me to no end and  it got me thinking again about the whole project; what worked best and what didn’t.

40 bags. One thing I know caused some people pause was the picture of the big overstuffed black bag.  “No way could I fill forty of those bags.”   I don’t know that I could fill 40 lawn and yard bags.  My home is under 3000 sq feet.

But then again I could.  When I look at what others have, what my ancestors considered wealth, what the crazy woman with all her worldly possessions in a grocery cart have and then compare it to my well appointed 3000 sq feet I could fill up 40 huge bags.  But if I was single and living in a dorm, no – I couldn’t.    But the size of “bag” is really immaterial.  It is the consistency of everyday shedding off some of our material goods.   A grocery bag would be a better measure for some — I suppose if I was very wealthy and had multiple homes maybe something more on the lines of a truck bed full a day would work better.  The point is not the size of the bag, box or bundle, it is the act of letting go of the “stuff” a bit each day.

It should hurt a little – not a lot, but a bit.  There should be some small sense of having to sacrifice or maybe some small bit of contrition at how much we hold onto things when we could give that time and energy to God.   If you struggle as I do with organization then I am sure you have read about the theories of hording and attachment to the “stuff”.    Our environments began to posses us instead of serving us.  If you don’t deal with that particular mental vice then there is still the beauty of the words of Christ ”

24 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

These words were said to people, many of whom could proabably put everything they personally owned  in one of my closets.

Lent – This year I am going to be doing the trash bag challenge again, but a little differently as well.  One thing I am going to do is involve the children more.   I also want to tie the days into a scripture lessons for the children.  Talking about service or giving – having a theme for our “decluttering” days.

Lent begins on February 25, two weeks from today.   Next week I will put up the plan and maybe I will figure out the Mr Linky thing too 🙂

40 bags of stuff. · Food · Fun · Mary Mary and Martha

More this and that

 
Woman in Rocking Chair Thomas Pollock Anschutz
 Finally my site traffic seems to be going back to normal.

About Comments: Please note I have closed all comments on the posts about the Adam Race/Carol Race story from last week and I do moderate comments on other postings.   I will be posting updated information if and when I get it.  I want to thank again all the very good and kind people who have contacted me about the situation.  Also I ask that you all keep the Race family and their parish community in your prayers.

Stand-mixer Whole-wheat Bread Recipe:

mix:
1cup very warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1-2 tbsp sweeter (honey, sugar)
2 tbsp oil or shortening (butter, lard, olive oil)
~1 tbsp salt
mix until blended and then let sit for 10-15 mins, switch to the bread hook.
then mix in:
4 cups flour (I use 1cup bread flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and two cups whole-grain white)
1 cup warm water
alternate the flour and water until the flour and water are all in then continue to add flour until the dough forms a single mass.  The dough will still be sticky to the touch but shouldn’t be sticking to the bowl sides.  Let your machine kneed the dough for about ten minutes then stop and let it rise for about 30 mins.  (optionally: Knock the dough down and let it rise again for about 30 mins.)  Place the dough in loaf pans and let rise 20-30 mins and then bake at about 375 for about 20 minutes. 

 
40 Trash bag challenge:
I am on week 8.  I will be moving the challenge to the side bar so you can still keep up with it.  It has been a lot of fun especially as the children have gotten involved.

One Space a day Challenge:
I have had so much fun with my bags that I am starting an organizing challenge for myself.  The goal will be to de-clutter and organize one small area a day for thirty days in six weeks.  One shelf, one drawer, a desktop, counter top or cupboard.  I plan to do before and after shots for this round. 

 

40 bags of stuff. · Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world

40 Trash bag Challenge

 

So far I have managed to get about 17 bags of stuff out of my house for good.  Most of this is old clothing and sheets.  In part because I haven’t even gotten out of the bedroom closet area.  Today I am heading into the bathroom and then on to the girl’s room. 

I was about to write that I hadn’t learned anything insightful so far, but that isn’t true.  When Kyle and I were going through the closet (I didn’t want to toss anything of his without his input) one thing we both noticed was how ofter we said “Wow, I forgot I owned that”.  We have some items that we more or less store in our closet and somehow things we like had dissapperead behind things we didn’t and before long they were completly forgotten.  So, the lesson I take from this is pretty straight forward.  Don’t store things you rarely use with things you use all the time.  Seperate them in some way.  Put them in a storage bag or box, move them to a storage area in your home, but sperate them in some way.  This lesson was reiterated with the linen closet.  Things had more or less been put back in a rather haphazard manner and so it was difficult to find sets, pillow cases had taken to hidding in the oddest places and a good portion of this problem was simply that there were too many items not regularaly used mixed in with the items I need every week.