Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 16: The Preciousness of Life

This week a tragedy struck some of our very dear friends. A car accident. Not fatal. Not even critical. But very serious. Mom, Dad, and 5 of the 8 children were in the family minivan on their way to Scouts when an ice storm hit. Details are not completely clear yet but it appears that another minivan heading in the opposite direction lost control and hit our friends head on.

Before I go on, let me remind you all of the importance of wearing seat belts. This would be a completely different post if our friends were not buckled in. The 3-year old suffered facial injuries/factures when his car seat flew into the seat in front of him but he is alive. Two other children suffered broken collar bones, but they are alive. One child's femur was shattered but she is alive. Another child was feared to have internal injuries but is fine now and is alive. Dad's hand is broken, but he is alive. Finally, both of Mom's ankles are broken and her lung collapsed but she is wonderfully, gloriously alive.

This is a reminder to all of us that life can change in a mere second. Sometimes because of our own doing but other times through no fault of our own, like when another car hits a patch of ice. Are you prepared for such a drastic change in your life? Will you be blindsided or prepared?

Lent is all about sacrifice. Giving of ourselves to God and to others. Our 40-Days project has not, should not, be about us. It is about giving glory to God. It is about giving to our families.

It is through such sacrificial love that our friends will survive this accident. Oh, I don't mean physically. But mentally and spiritually. All week there has been talk of God's mercy and grace. Of His undying love. That is what will help them heal.

God has also put into place already the material instruments to help them financially and with the everyday things. How is a mother to care for her husband and 5 injured children when she herself is seriously injured? Because of this mother's commitment to selflessly serving others in her homeschool and faith communities, people are lining up to lend a helping hand. Her example of servitude has been an inspiration to the rest of us long before this accident.

God is good.

Will you please join me in offering up today's work for this family? For their physical and mental healing, for financial recovery, and that they continue to see God's hand and goodness in everything.

Today's Plan:
Morning: Surface clean the living room
Afternoon: Boys' closets
Evening: Spiritual reading

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day Twelve: 40 Dirty Jobs for Lent

My friend Jeanette wrote on her Facebook page last week, "Thank you to my friend, Maureen Wittmann, for inspiring me to make a list of 40 Dirty Jobs to do as a sacrifice for lent. Today is Day 5 and is freezer defrosting day."

40 Dirty Jobs List! I love it. Getting down and dirty for Lent! What a great visual. Then we'll all emerge on Easter beautiful and clean. Yeah!

Today's Plan:
Morning: Clean all door knobs, phones, remote controls, switch plates,banisters, and are things that are repeatedly touched. A good job after your house has been hit with sickness!
Afternoon: Attack the boys' closets (come looking for me if I don't make it out by dinner).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Days 10 & 11: Sickness

I have been down with a virus and so I am very late in blogging. I'm on the road to good health but I'm sure not to be back on track with the 40-day plan again until tomorrow. Fortunately (really) I've had plenty to offer up over the past few days.

If you've been relying on my daily posts to keep to your own plan, please accept my apology. You can check this document for each day's plan: 40 Days to a Cleaner and More Organized Home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day Nine: Our Physical Selves

Over the past ten days we've worked on making our homes and our souls more beautiful. Today let's think about working on our bodies. As busy moms, many of us do not get the physical exercise we need. Who has time to workout!

Yet, as homeschooling mothers aren't we all masters of multi-tasking? Today I'm committed to taking a walk while praying my rosary.

How can you combine exercise with your other daily activities so that you don't have to skimp elsewhere?

Today's Plan:
Morning: Sweep and mop a floor or two
Afternoon: Clean out the fridge and take a walk
Evening: Read a good book

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day Eight: Adding Devotions

Lent is a good time to either add new family devotions or refocus on old ones. What can you add? Perhaps you can add something as simple as wearing a scapular or praying a morning offering? It would be wonderful to add the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 pm each day. Or the Rosary before you start school each morning or before sleep at night.

One thing we do every Lent is add the Stations of the Cross on Fridays at church. This week we put up the Stations on the wall in the basement. It would be lovely if we can keep it up after Lent is over.

What devotions do you practice as a family?

Today's Plan:
Morning: Deep clean the living room
Afternoon: Organize the food pantry
Evening: Spiritual reading

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day Seven: Planning Ahead for Back Sliding

Someone mentioned on Facebook that she is prepared for those crazy days when the day's plan just doesn't get done. If she's feeling energetic, she goes ahead and completes a job from a future day. That way she doesn't feel like a failure if something gets skipped later on. Good idea!

Today's Plan:
Morning: Surface clean the living room
Afternoon: Organize utensils/silverware in kitchen
Evening: Spiritual reading

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day Six: 40 Days for Kids

My children, upon discovering my Lenten plan, asked, "You're not going to make us do it to are you???"

Mmm, not a bad idea. Imagine if Junior spent 20 minutes a day on his bedroom. It would be the most glorious space at the end of 40 days. I'm going to have to think about this!

Today's Plan:
Morning: Dust the shelves
Afternoon: Organize kitchen shelves with pots/pans
Evening: Read a good book

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day Five: Spiritual Reading

Just as we need to feed our bodies so we need to feed our minds and souls. If all we read or watch on TV is junk then we'll become junk. If we are mindful to focus on the True and the Beautiful then we will grow in Truth and Beauty.

Lent is a great time to clean out the junk. Not just in our basements and our closets. What are you reading these days? Last week I talked a wee bit about reading good fiction. How about nonfiction?

Do you know of some great Lenten reflections online? How about great spiritual books? Please share in the comments your favorite spiritual reading. Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with just about anything by Mike Aquilina or Scott Hahn. Who are your favorite Catholic nonfiction authors?

Today's Plan:
Morning: Deep clean 1 bathroom
Afternoon: Organize the Tupperware drawer
Evening: Curl up with a good book

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day Four: No Time to Blog

Good Morning Everyone!

Saturday is the regular cleaning day at the Wittmann house. So, I'm going to get that 27-whatever done today along with regular chores and my list.

Praying all is good at your house and you're starting to see some extra sparkle.

Today's Plan:
Morning: Surface clean 1 bathroom
Afternoon: Take items to thrift store and recycling center
Evening: Cuddle up with a good book

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Three: FAIL Blog

Yesterday was one of those days. Plans were made. Plans were dashed. The 27 Fling Boogie did not get done. Does this mean that my 40-day plan is a fail? Does that mean I'm a failure? No! I'm only a failure if I let this setback set the tone for the next 37 days. I'm only a failure if I say, "I obviously can't do this so I'm giving up on the plan."

Instead, I'm going to shake myself off and start anew today. I'll go with my plan for today. If I find time, and I may as there is far less on my plate today, then I'll do the 27 Fling Boogie. But if I don't get to it then I'm not going to let it worry me.

If you get off track, just get back on and keep going. Don't worry about catching up. Do what you can do today.

Today's plan:
Morning: Clean interior windows & tidy school room
Afternoon: 5-minute tidy in 4 different rooms with timer.
Bedtime: Spiritual reading.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day Two: What Are You Reading?

My motto has always been, "How can I do housework when there are so many good books to read!" But hey, even though I'm focusing more on housework during these 40 days of Lent, I can still catch a few minutes before bedtime to read.

The best Lenten reading I've ever experienced was when I was assigned Louis De Wohl's Spear for a magazine article. It just happened to be Holy Week and I have to say it was one of the best Holy Weeks in my life. That novel really brought the Passion alive for me.

I'll talk about nonfiction books in future posts, but today let's talk about favorite novels that also raise your heart up to the True and Beautiful. Share in the comments your favorite fiction books that are also morally uplifting.

For me, I was happy to discover this morning that all of the Louis De Wohl novels are available on Kindle. I've already read most of them so I downloaded one I haven't seen yet, The Last Crusader. It's a novel based on Don Juan of Austria (NOT the fictional womanizer Don Juan). I know it doesn't sound very lentish, but that's not really the point here. The point is being uplifted in everyday things.

Remember we talked about baby steps. I don't want to overwhelm myself so that I end up a failure. The Last Crusader looks to be a lovely, uplifting novel. It's okay to enjoy myself as I also work on my spiritual self.

Today's Plan:
Morning: Deep clean the kitchen
Afternoon: The FlyLady's 27 Fling Boogie (Yesterday I threw out 27 things. Today I'll give away 27 things)
Bedtime: Cuddle up with a good book

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day One: Remember to Pray!

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Is it okay to say "Happy Ash Wednesday"? It is a day of ashes and sacrifice, yet it is also a day to rejoice. What a gift to be able to offer up our small suffering to Jesus whose great suffering brought us redemption.

Today is the first day of our 40-day challenge. The goal is not only a cleaner and more organized home. It is also spiritual. This is a Lenten journey after all.

Remember to pray as you clean and declutter. Thank God for His many gifts. Ask Him to help you persevere and complete the job.

Also remember to smile. God would love His gift wrapped in your joy not in your grumblings.

Today's plan after attending Ash Wednesday Mass:
Morning: Surface clean the kitchen
Afternoon: The Fly Lady's 27 Fling Boogie (that just sounds soooo fun!)

Let me know how your first day went.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The List for 40 Days to a Clean and Organized Home

The checkoff list is all typed up and available at my Scribd account: 40 Days to a Clean and Organized Home.

Keep in mind that I made this list to fit my life, my family, my home. It is a Word Doc. so you can edit to fit your life.

I set my Lenten journey to a clean and organized home into two parts. You can choose to follow Part One (cleaning) or Part Two (organizing/decluttering) or both.

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Prep Work for 40 Days to a Clean and Organized Home

Your assignment for today or tomorrow is to:
  1. Grab a pencil and paper
  2. Write in the columns the numbers 1 to 40
  3. Block off each week. Remember 6 days to a week because Sunday is a day off.
  4. Go through your house and write down what you want to tackle
  5. Remember baby steps. Do a little each day and it will add up. If you write down 40 HUGE jobs, you'll get overwhelmed and nothing will get done.
Here is what I did:

I'm going to clean this up and type it out to post later. This is only one part of my total plan. What I'd like to do is a 2-part plan. This is the organizing part of the plan. I'm also putting together a cleaning part. I promise to have it all posted by tomorrow morning.

40 Days to a Clean and Organized Home

I've been looking for just the right thing to sacrifice for Lent, wanting to do something completely new and different. Inspired by a post over at Oro Et Laboro, I've decided to come up with a plan to clean and organize my house throughout Lent.

With the exception of cooking, I am not gifted in the domestic arts. I envy women who are able to create beauty throughout the family home. It is truly a gift to be able to keep a family home tidy, organized and welcoming.

Of course, my lack of domestic skill is probably directly related to the fact that I simply don't like cleaning. My motto has always been, "How can I do housework when there are so many good books to read!" So, dedicating Lent to a cleaner and more organized home is a serious sacrifice for me.

Ash Wednesday is only 2 days away so I'm pulling together my 40 Days to a Clean and Organized Home a little late in the game. However, I'm committed to doing it. I'll get started within the hour.

Part of my Lenten commitment will be to blog on my progress. Would you like to join me? If so, let me know in the comments. Feel free to leave tips and ideas for the rest of us. We're in this together.

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