Less is More

Recently my husband and I had a conversation about personal electronics which ended on the note, “first world problems.” Sometimes we forget that earthly treasures–although in and of themselves a neutral thing that are meant to be used for the glory of God–are not as essential as we might think.

For example, collecting–or just plain keeping–too much stuff in our homes can lead to chronic disorganization at best and hoarding at worst. Not to say that anyone can determine for others how much stuff is too much for their personal tastes, which varies wildly from the minimalist to the curator of multiple collections. But the general idea is that, if we’re not careful, as we’ve heard before, our stuff can end up owning us instead of us owning our stuff.

Likewise, earthly wealth can be a useful tool in the kingdom when wisely stewarded. But in some cases it may be that the best thing for one to do is to dispose of it. Today is the feast of the apostle St. Matthew and I like what St. Bede has to say about Matthew’s relationship to stuff in the form of earthly riches. It reminds me that although the outcome of my husband and mine’s conversation resulted in my receiving a Chromebook to replace a Macbook Air that had died, the new laptop is not going to change my life the way Christ has and is and will continue to (as long as I cooperate!).

“There is no reason for surprise that Matthew the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose Leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. For Matthew understood that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had the everlasting treasures of heaven to give.”

St. Bede the Venerable, from September 21 entry in My Daily Catholic Bible

Something to think about as we manage our own earthly possessions.

Too Much Tuesday: Too Much Stuff

To the tune of “Three Blind Mice”


Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

It’s out of the closets and filling our space;

It’s growing and spilling all over the place;

We’re tripping all over, a terrible case

of too much stuff.


Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

The piles are staring us in the face;

They multiply at an alarming pace;

And soon we’ll be buried without a trace

in too much stuff.


Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

It isn’t easy to run the race,

With all this stuff slowing down the pace;

I think I need some additional grace

for too much stuff.


Marjorie Morrison shared via Elisabeth Elliot on “Gateway to Joy” over a decade ago.




The Power of 15

The following post on the power of 15 minutes is one I could have written myself. For those who don’t read comments, here’s what I had to add. I’ve found another thing that works well with using this approach is to take a quick pic of the area(s) I’m working on before and after the 15 minutes. Seeing the difference I can make in this concrete way really helps motivate me to keep on going with this “one bite at a time” approach. Additionally, using a timer–(I like the Time Timer app for my phone–http://www.timetimer.com/)–is helpful in making these 15 minutes happen for me. I need help both in starting and stopping! 







Back to Basics: A Simple Prayer to Make a Difference

In the midst of another pile-up on our living room sofa–because I do my paperwork and phone calls et al. from my comfy wing chair, thereby sometimes resulting in a nearby crazy pile of clipboards, papers, and other paraphernalia related to household administrative activities–I definitely needed to be reminded of this prayer!

“Dear God,

Thank You that You have a purpose for me in my job. Help me to recognize ways I can simplify my work spaces and working habits so I can better accomplish what’s before me.  Help me to make a positive difference in the world through the work I do today. 


Marcia Ramsland, Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way! 


Back to Basics: A Simple Prayer for Perseverance

Here is another great prayer for help with getting things done when for whatever reason you might be struggling with accomplishing the things that need to be accomplished.

“Dear God,

Thank You for putting a roof over my head and a place to call home. Help me to keep at the clutter and cleaning pick-ups so my home becomes my castle. Help me to persevere and stay focused. I am grateful that at least You and I know what I did today.


Marcia Ramsland, Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way!



Back to Basics: A Simple Prayer for Help

Over the past few weeks I’ve been on new meds and am feeling better than I have in over a year–praise God!–so naturally I’ve been tackling the backlog of chaos around our home. Having energy, motivation, and focus–not to mention less pain–go a long way in my getting things done. So, I’m spurred on to get into a regular routine again for a variety of reasons including that it’s the beginning of school for the last year for our son and so our family routine changes. The following prayer states my intention perfectly. Maybe it will also reflect yours.

“Dear God,

I really would like to simplify [and thereby help stabilize] my life, but I’ve tried before. This time help me actually do it, especially when I don’t feel like it.


Marcia Ramsland, Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way!

Too Much Tuesdays

Today I’d like to bring up the reminder that we can often end up, for a variety of reasons, with too many material possessions. This may not be a problem for you but for the majority of Americans it is. (Hence the booming storage unit business, professional organizers/declutterers, and books on organizing/decluttering). Many of us wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time, keep things that are broken that may or may not be fixable, find parting with objects we no longer need but paid a lot for almost impossible, (not to mention the items we feel we’d get in trouble for if the giver knew we parted with it), and the list just goes on. As I work on my decluttering–due to my lifelong difficulty with either getting rid of things or just procrastinating on making the decisions involved in doing so–I’ve learned something valuable. If you focus on how letting go of this excess stuff will be a blessing to someone else then it becomes a form of alms-giving. So, consider giving some of your excess away and be a blessing to someone else this Lent (and year round!). Prayerfully think of what others’ needs are, keep what you truly love/need, and then be as generous as you possibly can.

There are all kinds of places that will accept your donations; some will even come to you. There are your traditional thrift stores–some of whom will come to you–as well as freecycle.org, craigslist.org, etc. Even specialty items can be of great help, particularly with new or gently used ones: off the top of my head crisis pregnancy centers accept a variety of items to help those in need prepare for a child they hadn’t planned on having. And last but not least, what about cleaning out your cabinets and making a donation to your local food pantry? Also, some schools have a weekend backpack program where you assist in providing various items to help kids who don’t have enough to eat at home (although some prefer monetary donations only in order to finance their buying quality food in bulk).

Whatever the case, we don’t have to keep living with Too Much Stuff. There are so many out there who lack the basics and/or could use some of your non-used or less-liked items to provide for them. Don’t donate worn out stuff; be picky. If you wouldn’t wear/use it, trash it. But if it’s taking up space that you could use for other things–or that glorious breathing space that so many homes lack these days–send it packing and let someone else know that Someone is looking out for their needs and wants just like you know He is yours.

Easter is on its way!


Uncluttering of all sorts…

Unclutterer (un-‘kle-ter-er) n. Someone who chooses to get rid of the distractions that get in the way of a remarkable life.

Distractions, also known as clutter, come in many forms–physical, time management, mental, and bad systems. When your surroundings, schedule, and thoughts are chaotic it’s hard to move through the day…The list of distractions is endless and only you know how clutter is interfering with your life. By getting rid of clutter and organizing your work and home life you will free up time, space, and energy so that you can focus on what really matters to you.

Erin Rooney Doland, Unclutter Your Life in One Week

I love autumn (and any hints of it during what is technically still summer!). I love it because, among other things, my version of the spring cleaning bug kicks in. As I am hardly known for being a neat freak<g> the above quote reflects my desire to stay focused on removing whatever distractions in my life that are keeping me from living a “remarkable” or (as I prefer to call it) intentional life. However, no matter how great my intentions limits always exist to keep me from realizing my ideals. But what ultimately matters is staying focused, which requires a balance between simultaneously cultivating the spiritual life without failing to tend to other aspects of my life (e.g., dealing with physical and mental clutter in order to free up time and energy for nurturing relationships and my vocation’s work, creating and following healthy self-care habits, etc). Nonetheless, since becoming Catholic I feel my relationship with God has become much less cluttered and I find myself all the more grateful to realize my life is truly “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). It’s good to know that in the midst of whatever kind of clutter we may find ourselves in, He can always find us.

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