FLYing Through Life’s Storms

06022012 Storm structure

(Photo credit: ϟStormLoverSwin93ϟ)

Things don’t always go as expected!

You’ve probably have been wondering why I’ve been MIA since November.  This fall, my course was set for a cross-country move to Ohio.  We sold our house and made all the preparations that a big move like that entails.  Just as we were making our final preparations, my husband lost his job.  As you can imagine, the wind blew right out of my sails.  I was all boxed up, with nowhere to go!  The road ahead of me took a totally unexpected turn.  Instead of moving to a new home in a new place, my belongings were moved into storage, and we moved in with my mother until we could pick up the pieces.  Talk about a transition!

You may have not experienced a turn in your road like this one, but we all hit unexpected storms as we journey through life.   It could be a job loss, a loss of a friend, an unexpected illness for you or a loved one, or just a period of stress, isolation or depression.  When these storms hit, it can be a real challenge to navigate your course and keep your Happy Home Habits in place!  I don’t pretend to know the secret for handling the events that catch us off guard, but maybe some of the tools I am using now will assist you the next time you hit one of these periods in your journey:

mess 0011. Create a corner of Order in your Chaos

After about 2 days of shock, I began to really grieve the loss of all the dreams I had built up for my life in Ohio.  I was sad, angry, confused and I didn’t have any idea what I was supposed to be doing next, even for that day’s schedule.  I wallowed in my emotions for a couple a days, but that just made things even worse.  I needed a time out from thinking about it.  I looked into my disorganized kitchen and decided to focus all my thought and energy into bringing my disaster of a kitchen into order.  I used my emotions as fuel for my kitchen cleanup.  For 45 min. I thought of nothing but how to get my kitchen looking clean and orderly.  I was fast and focused and gave everything a nice deep-clean.  It didn’t fix anything in my situation, but when I was finished I felt the satisfaction of a job well done, and at least one corner of my world was a little brighter and dealt with.  With a 45 min. break from thinking about my troubles, I was able to think a little clearer, and was able to at least create a game plan for the day ahead.  It really helped.  When you are hit with an overwhelming situation, it can be a help to give yourself a non-thinking project that you can channel your energy into.  Even though everything else in my life was out of control, I took control over my kitchen and won.  And that small win gave me the courage that I could keep moving forward and deal with what was coming my way.

today 0012.  When You Don’t Know Where To Start, Start at the Beginning!

When life gets rough, or I just have let my home get way out of control, I go back to Flylady’s 1st step in home maintenance —-Shining Your Sink!  No, it doesn’t get the whole house done, and it doesn’t make your problems disappear, but it does bring a little sparkle and progress back into your day!  The kitchen is the heart of the home, and if all is in disarray, it’s best to go straight to the soure and start cleaning out the sink.  Just scoop everything out of the sink, and get some hot soapy water started.  While its filling up, run a scrubby sponge over the sink surfaces and faucet to get the grime off and just get things tidied up a bit.  And then start dealing with the dishes on either side of the sink.  This just gets things moving in the right direction.  Start putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving.  Trials make us want to ball up and quit moving, but that doesn’t get us anywhere but more depressed.  Just keep taking the next step, and crossing off the next item on your to do list.  Don’t focus on your whole day’s to do list.  Just look at the next thing you need to do.  First, you focus on the sink, and then clearing the dishes.  That leads into clearing the counters and emptying the trash.  Before you know it, one room is semi-order and you’ll at least be able to have room to cook dinner that night.  Just keep pressing forward one step at a time.

bbr 0013. Fake it Until You Make It.

You may not feel all together, but you can keep things moving along.  Stick with your daily basics and then just add 1 more step when you feel up to it.  When I transitioned to my mom’s house, I was overwhelmed, so I just focused on my Big 3 routines.  In the evenings, I started out just getting my clothes set out for the next day, checking my calendar before bedtime, and doing a quick tidy-up of my belongings around the house.  Only 3 things.  Once my mom and I ironed out our dinner cooking situation, I added in tackling the dishes on the nights my mom cooked (we switched off cooking, and whoever wasn’t cooking tackled the dishes).  I just kept working on those until I felt up to doing more.  Every little bit helps, and there is no shame in just focusing on a few things.  Sometimes, that is all you can manage.  In the mornings, I make my bed, get dressed all the way to the shoes, and tackle the laundry.  You pick the steps that will help you the most, and just start with 3.  Focus on just those baby steps, and then add 1.  I’m still not up to full speed on my routines, but I’m making progress!

purse 0034. Pray Your Way to a Better Mindset

The most important aspect in keeping things together during this storm has been prayer.  Honestly, I couldn’t take care of myself or my family on my own.  I needed to take my troubles to God, and lay them there.  This helped me to clear my head and keep moving.  I have a journal that I like to use to focus my thoughts.  When I get upset, I try to take even just 5 min. to settle down and write a prayer to God in my journal.  This morning, I was feeling really emotional and angry for no reason, and I could see that my day was going to go straight downhill if I wasn’t able to get myself in order.  After the kids left for school, I headed to Starbucks with my journal in hand and spent 15 timed minutes (yes, I timed myself to force myself to keep writing) getting my feelings on paper.  I left there feeling so much stronger.  I didn’t have to carry my troubles with me all day.  To build a discipline of prayer time, I’ve been doing a “1-Minute A Day” Challenge.  Over the summer, a friend of mine challenged me to take up a task that I would eventually like to spend 30-60 min. on a day (any activity).  She chose organizing her craft room, and I chose prayer.  Along with some other friends, we added 1 minute per day toward working on our activity.  If it was the 5th of the month, I did 5 min. of timed writing in my journal, and on the next day, I did 6 min —-So easy!  I didn’t worry about if I skipped a day.  I just let the calendar tell me how many minutes I was supposed to do.  It’s a fun little way to work on any discipline.  And friends, if you are in a time of trouble, prayer is definitely a discipline that could be a game-changer for you.  Every time I spend a few minutes in my journal, I come away feeling more stable and ready to tackle the rest of my day.  I may not have answers, and my trials haven’t ended, by I have gotten the strength I needed from the Lord to keep on going.

If you are struggling, I hope some of these ideas get you started in the right direction.  If you are dealing with a longer more debilitating depression or health issue, be sure to reach out for help.  You don’t have to work through these times alone.  Sometimes we need others to help pull us up.  Just remember, Flying is not about getting your whole house in order and never being disorganized again; it’s about creating routines that help you through the swing of life to keep moving with your responsibilities.  Just keep stepping forward, and things will start coming together!