Green Smoothies Simplify Your Diet

I often will drink green smoothies for my breakfast and lunch. This means I only have to prepare one meal a day, which I usually have already prepared in a crockpot.  I have been drinking green smoothies for about a decade now. I love them. Here is one of the clearest, easiest recipes I have found.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/12/26/green-smoothie-recipe/

The Best Testimonial Yet–Given By My Son!

My mom has been helping me get organized from the time she was pregnant. She had to be pretty organized to have a home birth, have 6 ladies attend, do attachment parenting and all that good stuff.

It was in my older years that her organizing skills really came in handy. When I decided to apply to go to college after being unschooled for the first 19 years of my life, and I got accepted after studying for the SAT test for three weeks, I really needed help. I was already busy leading worship at church, being the head guy in our band, The Flight to Light, and supporting our youth group. And of course, volleyball took up a good part of my time.

Mom helped me to get my house organized several times. My dad and I live in a tiny one bedroom house and the lack of storage space made it difficult to keep things decluttered. But with her help and motivation, I finally cleaned the whole place up so that we only have what we need in the house, and there is a home for everything. For example, when I need to grab my bass guitar, or my suitcase full of music, or my briefcase for school–I can easily find it so it goes into my car.  Being the person of many interests and activities as I am, this is essential.

I found that with mom’s help, I got the biggest part of the organizing done because she was fearless in tackling a closet that I was terrified to even touch. In fact, I discouraged her from starting that project thinking that it would never get done. But my mom is so courageous. She just started taking things out, and I realized that it was really important to clear out the only storage space in the house. She didn’t force the issue–but she did nudge me quite a bit! And I am so glad.

I am so fortunate to have a variety of activities at my church near Kingston AR, at Faithful Servant Ministries in Huntsville AR, and at the University of Arkansas where I am a grad student teaching public speaking. Almost every day I am on the road, and in my car. So keeping my car organized is really important–otherwise I get overwhelmed, lose things, and just feel yucky.

So one day my mom helped me pull everything out of the car and spread it all over our parking lot. Within just a few hours, together we created homes for everything that stays in my car, as well as more space for the things that are in there temporarily.  Not only was it fun, but I felt so much better now that I knew I would save time because I didn’t have to search for things, and also I would have more energy and peace of mind because my car looked neat and tidy. Plus, there was more room to carry passengers (which include my mom and my sister).

Most recently, mom volunteered to help me get organized for my upcoming semester. I am going to do more work than usual, and I knew I needed to figure out a way of making sure that I kept track of all the papers I would be grading and tasks that needed to be done for teaching. After all, I want to be the best teacher I can be, and being scattered is not good for that job!  Within one hour we put together a notebook that will keep me focused. I am not done because I need more information about what exactly I will be doing, but I know mom will be there to efficiently and effortlessly help me.

What I especially like about mom’s organizing is that she honors that I know what I want. I am a pretty good organizer (I’m sure due to our common organizing genes) but I appreciate someone coming along side me to do some of the physical work, give ideas (that I can accept or reject) and just give me moral support.

I feel grateful that I can call upon my mom whenever I need a professional organizer. We are really close and as an adult, I am glad to have mom as a mentor and coach and friend. I would recommend her to anyone who needs to downsize, clutter, get organized, plan a project, or accomplish just about any goal. And I am not just saying that because she is my mom!

Christopher Mikkelson

Patricia’s Semi-Simple Sorting System

This sorting system is designed to make it easy on both the team members and the client in the following ways:

  • Anyone who is helping the client can sort things in a way that prevents stress for the client because only clearly designated items are thrown away.
  • Helper(s) can feel satisfied that there is movement because items are sorted in categories which the client can then more easily make decisions about.
  • Since the client has already clearly identified things that are not to be sorted, helpers can feel confident that nothing is being packed away that client might need.
First items are sorted into large categories. Then those items into categories. And if necessary and if there is time,   those items are then sorted into categories. The more specific the categories are, the easier it will be for client to make decisions.
 
Broad categories are:
  • Flat (papers, office supplies, books, magazines, pictures etc)
  • Soft (clothes, towels, bedding, stuffed animals etc)
  • Small (not flat) This includes office supplies, safety pins, small toys, anything less than 5 or 6inches in diameter)
  • Medium (not flat) including toilet article,  toys, office supplies, electronics–bigger than 6 inches, less than a foot),
  • Fragile (not boxed until wrapped in packing material. place in a shallow box to deal with later)
  • Large (not boxed–placed on a table or surface in the room)
  • High priority (anything of any shape or size that looks like the client should look at including checks, important documents, bills that are overdue, jewelry)
How it works:
  • Categories will be listed on poster board so helpers can easily be reminded.
  • Boxes will be provided for each broad category
  • Runner will come and get full boxes to go into the staging area for sorting into smaller categories. Runner will replace the box with another one.
Why I do it this way:
This makes the entire decluttering go very fast because it minimizes the amount of decisions that are made
Going from a broad category to smaller ones decreases the amount of boxes that are in a room. If you try to categorize too many things it is both overwhelming and takes up a lot of space.
Someone will bring the boxes from all the rooms into the staging area where there will be signs that say the following;
  • Flat
  • Medium
  • Soft
  • Small

If there are enough people helping, people can start immediately sorting the above categories into narrower categories which are:

  •  papers to sort (including magazines and catalogues)
  • books
  • office supplies
  • memories
  • toys
  • crafts
  • bathroom
  • kitchen
  • clothes
  • bedding
  • electronics
  • misc. (doesn’t fit in any of the above categories)
  • hardware, tools

Once these categories are sorted, they can be sorted into sub categories which I will be writing about in more detail later. The one category that will probably be very large is papers, and I advise sorting these boxes out next. You can ask the client what papers they are willing to let you recycle or shred.

 
Papers to sort
 
  • low priority papers–probably throw away (or client might give permission to recycle like junk mail, newspapers, etc.
  • Shred (credit card offers and other things with confidential info)
  • magazines
  • catalogues
  • bills/financial/medical
  • art work
  • memories: cards, personal notes

If the client is really passionate about something–like crafts–then if possible, get the crafts sorted into obvious categories so that they can be utilized easily.

Obviously, you will need lots and lots of boxes of various sizes and shapes.

Team Organizing: Work Party Preparation

After the initial walk through and staging, we organize the work party.

I supply the event organizer with all the things that are needed to enlist and inspire people to come to the team organizing event, which is usually an 8 hour day.

Potential team members are contacted via email or a printed copy of an invitation.

The assistant and I make sure that we have the following in place:

  • Supplies including boxes
  • Staging area completely ready
  • Roles assigned once people sign up to come
  • Assistant helps client to clearly label and define those things that he or she does not want to be sorted

On the day of the team organizing event,  I (or someone I have trained) oversee the volunteers so that they can compassionately, quickly and efficiently de-clutter and clean the home using my simple, efficient and unique techniques.

A list of people who are coming is compiled, and the event organizer and I work together to assign roles ahead of time utilizing each person’s unique talents and resources.

When each of the following roles is filled, a tremendous amount can get done in a day or two with an experienced coordinator such as myself or someone I train. The coordinator is essential in helping to keep the work flow moving smoothly. Some people may double up on roles, which are as follows:

  • Cleaners
  • Sorters
  • Runners (to keep the boxes going to staging area)
  • Label maker and box coordinator: makes sure boxes are put together and every box has a label
  • Index maker: Creates a 3 x 5 file that lists any items that are put away so that client knows where to find them
  • Systems creator–to contain things that need to be utilized and start the process of preventing clutter
  • Assistant to client: Helps client sort items in a way that is minimally stressful on brain and heart.
  • Processor–Keeps laundry going, cleans items to give away, tests things to see if they work,  cleans things that are going to be used.
 Proceed with Patricia’s Simple Sorting System. Here is how it works:
  • Remember–Before the work party, client has identified things he or she does NOT want sorted with painters tape. This makes it really easy for sorters to pull things out for either sorting or packing.
  • One or two volunteers are assigned to each room
  • They pull out things from closets, shelves, drawers etc.
  • Volunteers sort items into categories as taught by Patricia
  • Runner comes and periodically empties out the boxes into larger boxes in staging area
  • Volunteers place some items (they will be taught how to decide) on tables and other surfaces for client to easily see.
  • Once the storage areas and surfaces in a room are entirely de-cluttered, cleaners come in to clean storage areas, drawers etc.
  • Client comes in and sorts the items that have been placed on surfaces.
  •  Assistant works to help client sort. The client decides which things are easily and clearly things that he or she wants to keep. These items are put away according to how often the item is used.
  • Once room is decluttered and things are put away, cleaners come in and clean the surfaces on which items were placed.
  • Voila–the room is clean, de-cluttered and beautiful!

What is a Simplified Living Coach?

With simple living and minimalism all the rage these days, it is about time that we who have had experience in these areas start to help those who have not–but want to learn–transform their lives.  I decided that I am more than a professional organizer–I am a simplified living coach.

Here are the things you will learn as I support you on your journey:

  • Sorting techniques that are FAST and easy
  • De-cluttering methods that are efficient
  • Goal setting, project,  and time management
  • Nonviolent communication–we’ll be practicing it all the time:)
  • Simple stretching and exercises to keep us awake and focused!
  • Basic healthy  practices including:  expressing appreciation, dry brushing, standing on the earth, hand and foot massage, journaling,  drinking water, imaginative prayer, healthy touch and laughing a lot!
  • How to have fun in simple ways
  • Learning to live with less
  • How to decide what is really important and necessary
  • Developing a life plan to look towards so that when you have more time you can move on those things that are important to you!

Here is the experience along with skills I have developed so that I can support you in many ways–from offering empathy to preparing healthy food to being super efficient in the letting go process:

  • Simple living practitioner: 40 years
  • Professional organizer with a focus on downsizing: 15 years.
  • Project planner and implementer: 44 years
  • Vegetarian (now mostly raw plant-based vegan) 40 years
  • Follower of the non-violent Jesus and his teachings of loving God and people: 13 years
  • Homeschooling, grace-based parenting mom (now with one child entering the second year of the masters program at University of Arkansas):  26 years
  • Gardener: 40 years
  • Nonviolent Communication practitioner: 25 years

 

 

Baby Steps: The Fly Lady Can Help You Get Into Good Habits

Everywhere I look I see this concept of taking small steps and celebrating progress over perfection. One of the most inspiring things that Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Center for Nonviolent Communication, said 26 years ago when I first started taking classes from him, was “anything worth doing is worth doing imperfectly.”

I believe that when a person is a perfectionist, they often then do nothing because the task seems to daunting. But when you take the attitude, “I can take baby steps,” or “I’ll just get started even though I am not quite sure how to do this right,” there is more momentum gained. Once you feel a bit of confidence and hope after moving forward, neuropath ways in the brain are opened up so that it is easier for you to take the action the next time.

So even if you are still in the process of downsizing and simplifying, you can get into habits like keeping your sink shiny. I don’t know if I am ready to dry my sink every time I use it, but I am willing to keep it clean and free of dishes. (I have a bin under my sink to put dishes that await processing–it really helps!) Here is some advice from the Fly Lady who comes very highly recommended by a number of my friends.

Why I haven’t Been Posting Much On My Blog: My San Diego Journey and More

The past year and four months have been full of adventures, changes, and growth. I have chosen to rearrange priorities and simplify my life so much that I have not written much on my blog or Facebook page. I thought I would spend a few minutes catching my readers up on what has evolved.

Just before I left on my first trip to San Diego with the purpose of being there for my daughter who was staying with family members while I lived in an intentional community. I had a few wonderful organizing jobs while I was there, and people asked me to come back and help more. I couldn’t resist!  My daughter and I came back to Fayetteville, and within a month I was back on the Greyhound bus headed to San Diego.

My jobs included the following:

  • A retired school teacher who was busier than ever with volunteer jobs who needed help organizing her yard and container garden of rare plants.
  • A professor who lived in an intentional community in a tiny room which also served as her office who was passionate about helping with immigrants rights.
  • A man who’s wife had died a year previously, and he hadn’t been able to sort through clutter because of fear of bringing up memories.
  • A talented writer who was ready to focus on her children’s book, but the clutter was clogging up her creativity.
  • A vivacious, outgoing life coach (among other things) who was so passionate about many things that she didn’t like to take the time to sort through her stuff, and her condo was out of control.
  • A blogger and activist who’s home office and bedroom was full of dust and unnecessary stuff that had been saved over the past 4 decades, and was keeping him from pursing his dreams.
  • An retired woman living in a small senior housing apartment who needed to get her kitchen in order so she could work on her health issues, and wanted to organize her home-office so she could pursue her dreams of being a writer and helping people who have cancer.
  • A children’s musician who needed feedback on his performance at libraries-and needed help with his home office.
  • The director of an intentional community needed help organizing activities and getting more life into the community.
  • Teacher of Non-violent communication who needed help in his garden

As you might imagine, I had the time of my life traveling all over the San Diego area helping this diverse group of people.  I felt so uplifted, inspired, and satisfied as I saw the burdens that each one of these unique people had weighing them down.  Each person had felt stuck, and didn’t know how to proceed. Yet because they were motivated to move forward, and felt safe with me, together we made the changes that each of them told me made a big difference in their lives.

I plan on following up with each of these people and finding out how their lives had changed because of our work together.  Most of them gave me a beautiful testimony about how I had been instrumental in getting them unstuck and on the way to creating a more life-giving environment.  Because I only stayed about six weeks, I was not able to continue to work with the clients to complete the jobs. However, I feel hopeful that so much progress was made with each one, that they were able to either get someone else to help, or move forward on their own.

When I wrote the list of all the people I worked for, I felt the warmth of good memories coming back to me.

Riding on the trolley and bus to many of my jobs. I love public transportation and all the adventures that are a natural part of that process.

Getting rides from various points in San Diego and chatting with my clients.

Having deep conversations about what my clients were going through, getting to know their hearts, and feeling the joy that comes from being able to help people in need.

Seeing the smiles and satisfied looks on my clients faces as they felt the weight of unnecessary stuff lifted off of them

Hearing how helping them create systems enabled them to save time, energy and even money.

Reading the testimonials that people wrote that expressed such love and care.

When I came back to San Diego, I decided to try to find a place where I could trade rent in order to save money and thus work less. Debi Lambeth, a former organizing client, was kind enough to give me a try.  We have been living together and working out problems in a beautiful way for almost a year. We have become good friends through the process of cooperating and mutually meeting needs. My simplified life made it possible for me to do things I had really wanted to do, including:

  • Spend more time mentoring and hanging out with my kids
  • meet regularly with our Wellspring Community
  • Get involved with church activities
  • Learn more about permaculture and kugelgarding–and then transforming our front yard into a beautiful garden
  • Spend more time practicing the Immanuel Approach
  • Ride my bike as my main mode of transportation
  • Continue to downsize, de-clutter, and get organized (yes, of course professional organizers need to do that too!)
  • Get back into the flow of shopping at Farmer’s Market
  • Have more margin in my life so that when opportunities for unexpected activities or connections happened, I could be available.
  • Exploring new possibilities like Underearners Anonymous and Life Coaching Certification–and then realizing that they were not right for me. But I learned so much!
  • Keeping my connection with my friend Sky in San Diego.
  • Cultivating friendships with a small number of other people in NWA.
  • Arranging meetings with people who I wanted to connect with
  • having quiet mornings and sometimes days without needing to do anything where I could write, walk, read, study the Bible and other spiritual teachings, or research on the web.
  • Watch Anne of Avonleigh (the ending series of Anne of Green Gables) where I discovered that I was more like Anne than anyone I have ever met!
  • Take the time to grieve leaving a church I had been part of for 14 years.
  • Making very healthy food every day.

My life was so packed with work, trying to get more work, and doing chores before I left for San Diego that I rarely had time for any of the above except for focusing on my kids and community and making healthy food. Yes, sometimes I would pour myself into some activity that I got excited about, both before I left and even during the past year. But I continue to realize that each moment I have is so precious, and I want to be discerning about how I spend my time.  There are endless needs in the world, and a part of me wants to address all of those needs. But finally I realize that unless I really take care of myself,  my children and community first, then I can not successfully help make positive changes in the world.

How I used to resist the idea, “Be the change you want to see happen.”  It was much easier for me with my boundless energy and endless dreams to be outward directed.  Right now, I am choosing to be on a kind of retreat where I work only as much as necessary to meet my basic needs. I am still asking the question, “How can I best use my talents in order to serve?”

I hope to take more time to write about my simple living journey which really started 4 decades and a year ago when I was 20, sitting in an airplane high above some country between Belgium and New York City.  The God that I did not believe in at the time inspired me to have the revelation, “The only way you will be happy is if you use your talents and serve.”  In order to do that, I needed to live very frugally which I have done successfully (for the most part) for the past 41 years. I look forward to sharing with you.

How Team Organizing Works

Team Organizing is the term I use to describe a work party where four or more people work together to help the client.  Within one or two days, depending on how bad the situation and how many people are willing to help, the home is cleaned and de-cluttered. This is done in a way that is very nurturing to the client because helpers are taught how to get the job done without the client having much stress.

With the help of loving companions who I teach and coordinate, we work together to make it super easy for the client to  sort in such a way that items are let go of, or packed away temporarily. Only what the client loves and uses regularly is left out. The result is a beautiful, de-cluttered house that is ready to have systems in place that will help the client keep the home clean and orderly.

Here are the steps:

  • A friend, professional (such as a counselor, social worker, or pastor)  or relative of the client contacts me about the working with a team to help the client. I will call that person the event organizer.
  • A three way conversation on the phone takes place with the client and event organizer.
  • I do an initial assessment with the client(s) and friend or relative of the client (wo I call the assistant) to familiarize the client with how the work party will take place, and for me to get a feel of how big the job is. I take notes, and make a list of tasks that need to be done specific to this job. This report is sent to the client and the assistant.
  • The assistant, client, and I clear a space, such as garage or guest bedroom, to serve as a staging area where boxes of stuff can be stacked and categorized for future sorting and processing. Then we get the work party organized.
  • I supply the event organizer with all the things that are needed to enlist and inspire people to come to the team organizing event, which is usually an 8 hour day.
  • On the day of the team organizing work party,  I (or someone I have trained) oversee the volunteers so that they can compassionately, quickly and efficiently de-clutter and clean the home using my simple, efficient and unique techniques.

The

  • Is clutter driving you crazy?
  • Do you feel like you’re drowning in stuff?
  • Do you have a hard time finding things?
  • Are you overwhelmed by paperwork?
  • Are you feeling stuck and frustrated?
  • Is the question “Where to begin?” cause for confusion or paralysis?
  • Do you wish you could turn some of your junk into a bit of cash…

If you answer “Yes!” to any of these questions, you could use my help.

I call myself a “simplified living coach” aka professional organizer.  An expert with 16 years experience, I can help you simplify your life. We will deal with the clutter, AND I help you to improve how you interact with your stuff, so you can keep your environment peaceful and ordered. What I don’t do is go through your space and throw out everything – no giant garbage bags or dumpsters unless that is what you absolutely need and want.

  • You can keep things that are useful and/or bring you joy
  • Learn to love your version of “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
  • Finally discover that you actually need less stuff and CAN live more sanely!

I adapt to your unique needs; you do not have to adapt to my system. Be one of the many people I have helped to get UNstuck. A free one half hour consultation on the phone – with tips on how to get started on the path to a more ordered, peaceful environmentis only a phone call away. Feel free to bring a friend or relative in on the call for the consultation; I’ll help them learn how to help you. If you are in my neighborhood, within easy bike riding distance from MIssion and Old Wire in Fayetteville, I will come to your place in person.

Call or text me at 479-313-0414 or email me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com