Monthly Archives

September 2015

Money

The October Budget Breakdown

September 30, 2015

Welcome back to the budget breakdown here at True Good and Beautiful!

We’ve recently started coordinating another Financial Peace University course and it’s gotten us fired up about budgeting all over again. Nothing like a shot in the arm from Dave Ramsey to get jazzed about the fundamental principles of financial freedom.

That’s what budgeting is, my friends. It’s fundamental to your winning or losing with money.

Your life will hinge on your ability to create and stick to a budget or your lack of ability to do so. Plain and simple. That’s why we DO these budget reminders every month because we want y’all thriving!

With that, let’s dive into October’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of October:

  • ALL THE FALL THINGS!!!!
    • Pumpkin Spice Lattes
    • Cider
    • Food Festivals
    • Oktoberfest
    • Pumpkin Patch
    • Hayrides
    • Horseback riding
    • Corn Maze
    • Apple Picking
    • Decorating
    • Pumpkin Carving
    • I could go on for days…you get the idea!
  • Halloween/All Saints Day
    • Secular costume
    • Saint costume
    • Candy or other treats
    • Party supplies
    • Decorations
  • Holidays Travel
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
  • Other Fall Activities
    • Football games
    • Baseball games
    • Football parties
    • Fantasy Football fees
  • Christmas (good idea to start saving a few months ahead!)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
  • Birthdays
  • Conference Fees
    • We’re attending the Dave Ramsey SMART Conference this month!
  • Anniversaries
    • We celebrate 4 years of marriage on October 22nd! 🙂
  • Annual Family Photo Shoot
    • Photography Fees
    • Props
    • Outfits/Accessories
    • Photo printing costs
  • Car Maintenance
    • Transmission Overhaul (blog post comin about that one!)

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or Christmas.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Intentional Living

Is This Book Revolutionary or Just A Useless Fad? The Wrap Up

September 29, 2015

Here’s my final review post on the amazing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up

In case you are just joining us, check out the first post in which I discuss the book and provide a general overview. Next, I started tackling categories in our house using her tactics. Lastly, I wrote about how to fold clothes according to the KonMari Method. Here in this last post, we will wrap it all up with a few last minute pointers and my overall thoughts on the book as a whole.

What other nuggets did I find in the book?

Once you have tidied, she encourages everything to have a designated home. “The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing.” She says this part of tidying will take far less time than the actual process of tidying. I am finding this to be true. Once I know what I’ve got, it’s pretty easy to give that object(s) a home.

Now…making sure I always put it in its home is another issue.

She says that, “The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again.” I see the wisdom in this. Things like loose change, mail, papers, bobby pins, etc. have a habit of making their way all around the house on dressers, desks, and table tops…AKA cluttering up my surfaces. By making sure they make it to their homes, I prevent clutter from every occurring again.

She then goes on to discuss storage and to keep things simple. 

In reflection,once I applied her methods of tidying by category and not location, I gained a sense of control. It’s as if I finally knew what I had and where it was located. Truly a freeing task! I was able to see duplicates and items we no longer needed that had been stored away collecting dust.

Discarding things that did not “spark joy” was my favorite part, since it felt like a weight was lifted with every bag filled for donation. Knowing we are surrounded by items that bring joy and we need is wonderful. It’s a simple way to live and I don’t want our home any other way now. I can see why she claims that no one reverts back to their old ways once she’s done with them! 🙂

Although we are not done tidying our home (she said it takes an average of 6 months to do!) we eagerly await the day when we’re finished. I don’t believe this book is simply a fad. I think it will be revolutionary in America, where we typically have so much excess in our homes.  We’re on board and hope to keep living according to most of the Kon-Mari principles as the years go by!

If you end up reading this book, let me know what you think too!

Intentional Living

How to Fold Clothes with the KonMari Method

September 22, 2015

Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

(If you don’t know where that phrase comes from tune into this commercial and wait for 1:50 where Jonathan has his breakout acting moment / a catch phrase was born.)

This tidying up has been tough work. In America, when we discuss tidying, most people think of dusting and picking up some toys. That’s not what  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up means. In the book, when KonMari talks about tiding, she really means “gutting your house” which is far more extereme…and necessary if one is actually going to see results and make permanent changes.

We tackled clothing this past weekend. It’s fairly easy to discern which clothing “sparks joy” but it just seems like there is so much of it! We started out by sorting Josephine’s clothes and that took us several hours. Doing our own wardrobes was even harder (especially since I am still nursing and haven’t worn or fit into several items in close to a year because of weight gained thanks to the meds I take for induced lactation).

In this post, we will discuss KonMari’s methods when it comes to tidying your clothing and storing it. Let’s do this thang.

First things first, you must ask yourself, “What things will bring you you if you keep them as part of your life?” Once you get into that mindset, you are ready to begin.

KonMari recommends gathering every. single. item. of clothing you own and piling it all in one place. Don’t leave any piece out of the pile, since she says if you find something after you’ve done that category, you must discard it since it wasn’t important enough to remember in the first place. (Unless it’s in the laundry.) So grab all your winter coats, old t-shirts, bins in the attic of off-season attire, etc. Get it all together and thrown into a giant pile to start sorting.

mountain clothes

(That’s not ACTUALLY our clothes. You would’ve seen our clothing pile but Wrigley, our dog, ate the photo memory card.)

She then places an emphasis on every item needing to be handled. By picking up each item individually you can more readily discern if it bring you joy.

Once you’ve sorted your way through the pile, take a brief rest because the hard and satisfying part is about to begin. It’s time to begin implementing the KonMari folding technique. She’s very specific about how to fold and store your clothes to get the most from your space but also more easily visualize your items.

The key to storing things in to stand them up as opposed to laying flat in the drawer. 

Mind. Blown.

I don’t know why we never thought of this before but immediately upon folding and storing per her instructions, I could feel order being restored to our dressers.

Let’s go over how to fold your clothes, KonMari style:

tshirt-folding

pants-folding

And now how to stack them in the drawer:

DSC06636

Once you’ve mastered the dressers, where she encourages most of your clothes to be, she moves on to closets. KonMari suggests that clothes go into the closet according to their category. Tops are with other tops and pants are with pants, etc. Overall, the clothes should rise to the right, creating a more comforting feeling.

There are a few other small tips, such as never ever balling up your socks since it stresses them out….but we’re just not implementing that one. I like to fold socks by balling them up and that’s how it will be. I’ll get a shoe box and keep them neatly contained but we are a sock balling family for life.

And that’s how to tidy your clothing. Intense but very freeing once it’s done. Knowing I can now go to my closet and find only things I love is incredible. No more “hating my clothes” like I used to say. And being able to have breathing room in my closet and drawers is amazing. Goodbye are the days of crammed up closets and drawers stuffed to the point of overflowing.

I can see why she calls this stuff “life-changing magic!” 🙂

Intentional Living

Is This Book Revolutionary or Just a Useless Fad? Tidying Up Our Junk

September 17, 2015

Welcome back!

In case you missed my first post, this week here at True Good and Beautiful, we are reviewing the book  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up!

It’s been a good read thus far, despite a few cultural differences here and there. For example, in America we don’t really talk to our clothes or think about how they “feel” about being folded. With those little things aside, the content KonMari shares is insightful and practical.

What are some golden nuggets I’ve gleaned so far?

To get inspired, she encourages readers to start with the end in mind.  She says, “Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.” This activity alone really got me excited. Our house is fairly neat to begin with but to image every ounce of clutter being GONE? What a peaceful thought.

Then before beginning the work of tidying, you must reflect on the question, “Does it spark joy?” This is the yard stick you are supposed to use in helping you choose what items to keep and which to discard.

With these things in mind, we began tidying by category. Thus far we’ve tidied our paperwork and all kitchen items. She recommends getting all the items relating to that particular category you are tidying out on the table. This way you can see everything you’re working with and actually handle and feel each individual item to ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Below is our kitchen, before and after:

kitchen

As you can see, we had a lot of stuff…

We didn’t follow her advice exactly since we left our pots and pans in their cabinets. We knew they sparked joy and didn’t want to move them. Pretty much everything else was on the table and counter tops. It took about 2 hours,to sort through every item and place the ones we loved back in their drawers. Per her advice, we folded our napkins, towels, hot pads, and wash clothes upright so they are visible upon opening the drawer. MUCH easier to find what we need!

There were two full bags of donations and one full bag of trash. It’s pretty cool knowing that everything in our kitchen is something we actually love and use on a regular basis.

Then it was onto paperwork:

paper

KonMari says that when dealing with paper, she always leans towards discarding it…unless it falls into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely. 

She also then encourages to, “Make sure that you keep all such papers in one spot only. Never let them spread to other parts of the house.”

So we gathered all the paperwork. Boy was there a lot! We even had receipt paper…for all those times we’ve never printed receipts. We had paperwork from almost 8 years ago spread across three different acordian folders. It was a mess. Thanks to KonMari, we filled an entire trashcan with paper clutter. Oh, and we found our social security cards that I’d misplaced! Oopsies!

Whew!

In the book she states that on average a proper tidying up takes on average of 6 months. There is definitely part of me that was like, “We’re going to tackle it all in ONE WEEK!” And then reality smacked me upside the head and I remembered that other little human living in our house who likes attention every now and again. 🙂 So we won’t be going as quickly as I’d hoped but we’re making progress!

Next on the list is cleaning out our clothing, stay tuned, since she has a really awesome way to fold and store clothes!

Intentional Living

Is This Book Revolutionary or Just a Useless Fad? First Impressions

September 14, 2015

Have you heard about the popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

It’s a #1 New York Times bestselling guide to decluttering and tidying one’s home developed by Marie Kondo.

For weeks now I have been hearing about it from friends and the blog-o-sphere…all of them simply raving about the KonMari Method. I looked it up in our local library database and was shocked to see it had 300+ holds! Wowzers!

100holds

All this hype got me thinking: Is this book actually life-changing like it claims or is it just another one of those self-help books that produces buzz but fades in time without making a lasting impact?

Hmmm. I wonder.

Jonathan and I do a decent job at keeping things in order. If I am being honest though, the Casa de Teixeira is prone to what we like to call “blow ups” a few times each month. OOPS! We then have to carve out an entire weekend afternoon to clean the whole house until the next inevitable blow up. Nearly four years into marriage and we can’t seem to break this pattern. If this book is the key to getting a tidy home once and for all, we need it.

So I figured I better do some investigation and bring you all along with me. This week here at True Good and Beautiful, I will be reading and blogging my way through the book.

What first impressions do I have thus far?

Marie Kondo begins the book by claiming that if you do it her way, you will never revert to cluttering again….bold but I love it!

She then lays out the core of her method, “Start by discarding. Then organize your space thoroughly, completely, all in one go.” She says that if you follow the age-old advice of simply cleaning up one room at a time or a little bit each day, you will never fully get rid of the clutter within your home. I see the wisdom in this. If Jonathan and I clean out our entire home the way she describes and we finally see what things can look like clutter-free, we’ll never want to go back. Our mind-set will be changed forever.

Marie then goes on to say that, “A booby trap lies within the term “storage” because “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.” Boom. This is a large part of our problem. If you took a peek into Jonathan and I’s closets, attic, or drawers you would be scandalized. I know I am! We are experts at shoving things out of sight…creating an illusion of cleanliness. EEP! This will be something I am excited to see change drastically through implementing the KonMari Method.

Lastly, I was very surprised to see that she encourages tidying up by category and not by location. Habitually when I begin cleaning, I start in the kitchen and then work my way through the bedrooms and then onto other common spaces. She mentions that this is a mistake though, since many people will store similar items in more than one location. She says to tidy by category: clothes, books, papers, etc. instead.

It’s safe to say that first impressions were good. I was surprised by her strategy but I am hopeful that it will work. I have yet to dive into the practicals but that’s for the next post! Stay tuned this week as I implement this method in our home and even post some before/after photos.

Catholicism

I Was About to Leave the Church Then THIS Happened

September 11, 2015

I arrived on campus planning to leave the Catholic Church. I’d become disillusioned with religion over the last few years, and now that I was out of Mom and Dad’s house, it was time to stop going to church.

Then I got a phone call.

Matt, from Catholic Campus Ministry wanted to get together. He got my number from a contact card I filled out (under Mom and Dad’s insistence) when we visited over the summer.

I wasn’t against the Church or God, I just didn’t care that much. Matt seemed nice enough, and I thought I’d be a jerk to say no to meeting, so we set a time to grab a bite.

We got together, and it turned out that Matt wasn’t some crazy religious nut. He was actually a pretty cool guy. After talking for a bit, Matt invited me to a new student event at the chapel. I had no reason to say no, so I said yes.

At the event, Matt introduced me to some other freshman guys. They were cool, friendly, stand-up dudes. These were guys I wanted to hang out with. They also happened to love Jesus.

I hung out with these guys, and they started rubbing off on me. They were all going on a retreat, so I did too. That retreat sealed the deal.

At that retreat I met 40 people who cared about me like nobody else I’d met yet on campus. These people had a joy that was unknown to me. I went to confession, (and laughed in it!) I prayed in Eucharistic adoration for the first time.

When I got back to campus, I joined Matt’s Bible study. I decided to spent more time with my Catholic friends. I attended daily Mass several times a week. Matt taught me how to pray. Before I knew it, I had a new way of looking at the world. I learned that God loved me, made me for a relationship with him, and became man and died to ensure I’d be able to enter into that relationship. Everything had changed.

And it never would have happened if Matt wouldn’t have called, if those other freshman guys didn’t welcome me in, if the Catholic Campus Ministry at George Mason University wouldn’t have made the decision to share the Gospel and evangelize the Campus. When we choose to leave our comfort zone and share Jesus, lives change. I know, because mine did.