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 🙂

Catholic homemaking · Simplicity

A penny saved

WWII Poster encouraging thrift - The National Archives
WWII Poster encouraging thrift - The National Archives

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”.  A well worn little axiom if there ever was one.   January is always a great  month to start working on new ideas, new plans, new goals.  With the current economic situation many of us are talking about ways to be thrifty, live more simply, basically spend and use less.

Right before Christmas Portland was blanketed in snow and ice.  After the holiday had pass and the snow was all but gone I took my oldest to get her hair cut and happened to overhear another customer talking about what a great Christmas she had had.  She hadn’t been able to get out and shop for all her last minute gifts, but she had a wonderful Christmas anyway.  She had made a couple gifts and just hadn’t given as many gifts as usual.  I thought it was really cool that she felt that way instead of feeling as though she had missed something.

Yesterday I found a really nice post about economy at  The Simple Wife.   I like her takes on the concept of economy and I agree whole heartily that we live in a culture with too much waste and trash.  We view everything as disposable — even people.

One of the themes in Tolkien’s work which has stuck with me is the thought of  things made to last.  He covers almost in passing, but as an enduring theme in his books,  the connections between craftsmanship, beauty and thrift.  All things functional also have form and where possible the form should be lovely and well crafted.  All things worth of creating are worth creating well and nothing should be wasted, tossed aside or abandoned.  Which is in a sense the essence of simple living, have less, do more with it and select those things we add to our life with care and care for what we have.  Only when something is ruined and twisted or wasted beyond repair is it destroyed.

Fun · Simple Woman's Daybook · Simplicity

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – December 22, 2008

 
The Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by
Peggy at the Simple Woman.
Thank you Peggy.

FOR TODAY : December 22, 2008
So we had some snow last week, this week we are snowed in.  We have a good ten inches of snow (easily).  The trees are coated in ice, thanks to Saturday night’s freezing rain.  The weather outside is frightful… we are all safe and warm.

Outside my Window – Wow… snow, ice, feels like a moved to Vermont or something.  

I am thinking –   About the pantry.  My dad is out and about and will be picking us up some essentials at the store.  We are staying put until it thaws a bit. 

From the learning roomsMy neighbor brought over a gingerbread house kit… fun craft for this afternoon.

I am thankful for-  My warm home.  My dad who is the emergency snow-man, and escort to the ballet.  Yeah for him and his 4 wheel drive, snow tires and chains.

From the kitchen – More cookies and maybe some fudge.

I am wearing – Grey sweats and my black velvet top.

I am reading – Nothing in particular at the moment.  I skimmed through the latest issue of “Threads” last night. 

I am hoping –  That everyone stays safe today.

I am creating –  Christmas cookies and fun crafts.

I am hearing –  Kyle teasing Josh about tossing him out in the snow.  Josh thinks it is hilarious.

Around the house – You would think they would be getting tired of the weather…. nope.  But they do need to get some energy burned off.

One of my favorite things – My camera.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week – Christmas!!!!  .

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you – 

iceflocked

 

Homemaking · Simple Woman's Daybook · Simplicity

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – December 8, 2008

 
The Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by
Peggy at the Simple Woman.
Thank you Peggy.

 FOR TODAY : December 8, 2008
Today is cold and cloudy.  There are some breaks in the clouds with blue sky peeking through. It is the second week of Advent and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

 Outside my Window –  It almost feels frosty.  The greyness of the morning and the wet chill lend the air the feel of frost even when there is none.  

I am thinking –   We will put up our lights this week.  The tree is up but bare.

From the learning roomsWe have been working on Christopher’s Badge for scouts.   It has been an interesting project.

I am thankful for-  My full spectrum light.

From the kitchen – The sourdough starter is ready.  Yummy bread tonight!

I am wearing – My grunngies.

I am reading – The Five Love Languages. 

I am hoping –  That I figure out what to do with the dog.   Part of me says she should go to the vet, part of me says she hates the vet so badly that it isn’t worth the trip.  I also dread finding out that she really needs some horribly awful expensive treatment.  We just can’t/won’t do that.  Which in some sense makes me feel badly, but then I really question some of what is done in the vetinary medicine feild.  (whole other post there)

I am creating –  Nothing!  Just getting ready for Christmas and doing the Advent things.

I am hearing –  Bounder barking to come back in.

Around the house – The children are getting their morning chores done.

One of my favorite things – Coffee.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week – Nothing too exciting.  Scouts is tomorrow, Ballet and CCD today, . 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you – 

kidsnwreath
The children with the Advent wreath