Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Facebook Group for Blog

I have started a facebook group for this page. So if I don't know you personally, rather than requesting me on my personal page, I would love y'all to join me here on my group page :). Come hang out with us, encourage with your stories, and be encouraged by others! I will probably even throw in some challenges along the way! :D

https://www.facebook.com/groups/livealifeofnoregrets/


Monday, February 23, 2015

A WAY TO PAY DOWN DEBT

I am challenging myself, from now, until March 23 to see how LITTLE I can spend of our grocery money. ANY MONEY SAVED will be applied to our financial debt. We typically spend $700/month on groceries for our family of 5. That includes EVERYTHING...from toilet paper - to shampoo - to food/milk. It all fits neatly into that $700. Obviously we will have to spend some...we don't want to run out of toilet paper or soap and the kids need to eat ;). This is about to get interesting, but I'm excited about the challenge :). So glad I have a husband that is on board with my crazy ideas too :D.

I think my new minimalist mentality is changing my way of thinking and living in more ways than one. Gotta love it <3.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

EXCESS EQUALS STRESS

I used to sit on my couch at any random point in the day (or anywhere in my house for that matter), longing for a feeling peace amid the clutter but feeling a tension inside of me. Thoughts of "I wish my flat surfaces were completely clear" would constantly pass through my mind...I knew then I would feel the "no-clutter-peace" I was looking for. I would close my eyes and imagine it. It felt great. I could see how wonderful it would be to come to the end of my day and be able to feel good about my accomplishments and organized house. Thoughts of grabbing a box and just swiping would follow next. At least I would have peace of mind then. For me, clutter on my counters makes my mind feel cluttered, and it's unsettling to me. The thought of swiping everything into a box isn't much better because what if there's something in that box that I need and forget about? It's a viscous mental cycle of thinking I need everything I have to live a happy life but all the while struggling with all the stuff I've accumulated. It felt like a cyclical battle that I would never ever win. Then one day in January of 2015, after the kids had gone to bed, I started listening to minimalist talks on YouTube, searching for inspiration, while cleaning up my kitchen. The first two talks I heard inspired me so much that I continued to search and listen for THREE AND A HALF HOURS while going through every drawer and cabinet in my kitchen, getting rid of anything that was excess! These talks helped me to realize that excessive stuff was robbing me of my joy and that NOTHING would fix my problem EXCEPT for getting rid of the excess. At the end of the night. I FELT AMAZING. This was the start of a new beginning for me. I could feel it. I was NOT going to stop there. THIS MINIMALIST MENTALITY was the path to the feeling in my house that I had been craving. Almost a month later, it takes being intentional every day to maintain what I have done...but with so much less stuff in my kitchen, even less dishes and silverware, it is 100 times easier than before!

You can view one of the talks here: (I am having trouble linking the other one so maybe next time!)





If you're up for it, my challenge for you today is to go through your kitchen and remove anything you have doubles of and also things that haven't been used in the last 6 - 12 months. Remove anything that is excess or "just-in-case."  If you're not ready to completely get rid of them, put them in a box and throw that box into the attic or elsewhere so you can experience the joy of less. Keep only what is NEEDED on your counter top. If it can be hidden, hide it. And then sit back, and enjoy the peace of a clean, decluttered kitchen :).




Friday, February 20, 2015

WOULD YOU HELP FUND OUR MISSIONS TRIP FOR MY BIRTHDAY? :)

My birthday is Monday -  I don't usually ask for things but would you consider giving a donation to help my family get to Haiti? Even just $5 toward our missions trip adds up :). You can give online by clicking the link below or our PO box is PO BOX 9948 Tyler TX 75711.

This link allows you to give online and receive a TAX DEDUCTION ;).

http://org.grouprev.com/mccfam?saved=1


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CASH FOR CLUTTER

As I've been putting minimalism into practice in my house, I have been selling our clutter to raise money for our Haiti trip...and I have turned several pieces of clutter into $300 cash toward our missions trip!...and counting :). And this has only been in the last 2-3 weeks! Who knows, maybe God will fund our whole trip through our clutter ;). Ok, I really don't think I have that much left, but I will keep posting, so keep checking back! :)


THE STRUGGLE WITH GROWING OLD

Talked to my grandpa today. He returned my call that I had left him on his voicemail for his birthday. Oh I miss that man so much! Seeing him and grandma once a year is just not enough. Especially when I see them struggling. Let's be real - the aging process SUCKS when your loved ones are hurting. :( I wish I could be there for them like I was for my great grandma. I have great memories of going up to my Great Grandma's assisted living home and spending time with her and playing piano for her. She would sit in her chair right next to me as I played her favorite hymns and if I listened carefully I could even hear her quiet voice singing in my ear. Her favorite song was "IN THE GARDEN."...we would play and sing that one every. single time. She would close her eyes and sing those sweet words from her heart straight to her Savior. Her friends, the other residents, would gather one by one into the room where the Holy Spirit would minister to their hearts and mine. There was no greater joy than worshiping Jesus side by side with my great grandma and her generation. Oh to go back. And how I wish I lived close to my grandparents now so I could repeat the same thing with my grandma in her assisted living home today. How I wish I could spend their last years with them enjoying sweet fellowship and ministering to them in person. For some reason I'm a sobbing mess after hearing my grandpas voice today...and feeling at a loss for anything to do with them so far away. I want to hold them. I want to serve them. I want to worship with them. Phone calls and letters just don't seem like enough. But it's what I can do and so it's what I will do. And I pray that each phone call I make and each letter I send will lift their spirits, make them smile, and help them enjoy life and feel loved just that much more.

God gave me this sweet song when I got off the phone with my grandpa. I need to send it to him, too. I love the many ways God speaks to us.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

OUR FIRST FAMILY MISSIONS TRIP

LOVE GOD! LOVE PEOPLE! 

October 2015 will be the year of our first of hopefully many family missions trips. As we strive to raise and disciple our children in western culture, our eyes have been opened to how desensitized we Americans are 
to what truly matters - LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE. We, as a culture, are consumed with gratifying our desires and cravings for the latest toy or gadget in our attempts to satisfy that empty, but extremely loud space we feel inside of us.

1 John 2:15-17 reminds us of what really matters...

Do Not Love This World

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.



On our trip to Haiti, we want to 

1. Love on the sweet kiddos at the Hands and Feet Orphanage

2. Serve alongside a great Christian ministry we believe in

3. Teach our kids first hand that true and lasting happiness doesn't come from accumulating possessions. ...after Andi Rae viewed a video on YouTube of these sweet children at the Hands and Feet orphanage, she turned to me and said, "Mom! These kids have nothing and they're so happy! I want to sell all my toys so I can go be their friend!" I LOVE her tender heart toward the things that matter and I pray that never goes away!



We have always had a heart to be a missions-driven family. We do what we can to teach our kids to serve locally and want to go global as well, as God opens doors and leads. Never did we dream that we could introduce our kids to foreign missions at the ages of 4, 6, & 8! God is AMAZING! As we looked into this orphanage that we already had a heart for and were made aware that there was no minimum age, and they encouraged our family to come, we knew we had to step out in faith and move forward in this pursuit. In a world where our children are constantly bombarded with MORE + NEW = HAPPINESS, we want to expose them to a 3rd world reality, where the JOY OF THE LORD is proved to trump the THINGS of this world. We want their eyes to see that life really is all about LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE...that's where our joy comes from.

If God hasn't led you to give already, would you please prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible financial contribution to help send our family to Haiti? This cost includes everything - plane tickets, room and board, supplies, etc... you can contribute online via check/credit/debit here:

http://org.grouprev.com/mccfam?saved=1

If you prefer the snail-mail method, support can be sent to: K. McCuistion - PO Box 9948 - Tyler, TX 75711.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!



Isaiah 6:8 - And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me!”



PS - would you like to join us!? Contact me and I will tell you how you can!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DO YOU WANT LESS STUFF?

Have you been reading my blogs and fb status updates and wishing you could start minimizing too? Does clutter overwhelm your life? Do you walk into your house and wish it felt more homey? or peaceful? or inviting? Does it feel like there is too much and you are too attached and it could never be done? I HAVE BEEN IN YOUR SHOES! We have been fed the lie since we were born that buying more stuff will buy us happiness and contentment...Pretty much daily, we hear..."You NEED this or that! Buy this product and you will thrive and be successful! Buy that product for beautiful skin or hair. Buy that one over there for fastest weight loss." LIE LIE LIE!!!! We live in a culture of EXCESSIVE CONSUMERISM. Too much stuff truly does rob us of our joy. I've piddled with simplifying for the last 8 years and just the last few months, my brain has switched over and realized the REAL VALUE in getting rid of our "valuables." I'm done with clutter. My goal is to be completely clutter free by the 2nd week of April. 

Even if you're not ready to go extreme. Start somewhere! You will feel so much better!
There are countless helpful minimalist videos on YouTube...One of the videos I started with is here. And if you listen to it and declutter at the same time - it really helps your progress ;). And listening to them will give you great ideas for getting started! Not to mention inspiration from someone who has been where you may be and overcome it!

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

MY DE-CLUTTERED KITCHEN!

My husband and I have been accumulating STUFF for probably 8 out of our 9 years of marriage. Maybe 9 actually ;). But a year into our marriage we started having a slight desire to get rid of some of our stuff because we were running out of space and our home was always cluttered. Clutter is so stressful. And it's extremely hard to learn to break the emotional attachment that we form with our possessions. However, there is nothing peaceful to me about it when clutter takes over my own home. I tried and tried and tried to organize my clutter until sometime, nearing the end of 2014, I came to the realization that YOU CANNOT ORGANIZE CLUTTER! So sometime this last month I decided that I AM DONE! DONE trying to organize clutter. DONE being attached to (the rest of) my possessions. (some of my family would say I hardly have anything left anyway - and it's a running joke that I will put any random thing I'm given in a garage sale when I'm tired of it.) DONE keeping things around just in case. And so over the last several weeks I have been listening to motivational talks on YouTube about simplifying and minimizing while attacking my house at the same time. I have a WHOLE EXTRA ROOM in my house devoted to getting my STUFF out of my way so I can sell it in our upcoming CCC sale. The stuff that doesn't qualify to sell there will be donated to local charities if it doesn't sell via social media before April (to raise money for our family missions trip to an orphanage in Haiti).

I do not have a before picture...there is probably one somewhere on my computer...but you can ask any of my friends and they will tell you how messy my counter tops used to be!

My kitchen has made GREAT progress...my counters used to CONSTANTLY be cluttered. ALL OF THEM. They have never been this bare since we moved in however many years ago. I LOVE the peace it brings. I LOVE being able to sit down at the end of the day and see THIS. THIS is what allows my mind to slow down and rest. THIS allowed me to play hide-and-seek with my husband and kids outside in the dark last night and not feel like I had to be doing something! THIS is freedom from my clutter. And I'm still purging ;). We have somewhat minimized our dishes as well - there's something about having less dishes/cups/etc that makes cleaning the kitchen so much faster and easier! Things cannot pile up throughout the day if you don't have enough of them to pile up before needing them for the next meal, ya know!? I LOVE living like this.

I cannot put into words how excited I am about all this. About how refreshing it is to my spirit. My oldest is loving it too. In fact, she got out of bed tonight, an hour into bedtime, and came out grinning ear-to-ear asking if she could de-clutter more of her stuff. Of course I said not until morning ;). But I'm so excited that she's excited too! Clutter leaves a negative energy and my family is feeling the positive effects of purging ourselves of a materialistic mentality. On the other side, they also feel the negative energy created when mommy is restless and can't play because I need to tend to our STUFF...take care of it, clean it, organize it - NO MORE. I'm done with that.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

THE BEGINNING OF MINIMALISM (but not to the extreme;)

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to enjoy life and your family when you are on vacation!? No distractions. (unless you still can't put down your cell phone ;).  No job/housework to get in your way. No project calling your name. No dishes in the sink to do. No clutter to pick up. NOTHING - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING between you and your family. It has always intrigued me, as a wife and mom, how free I feel on vacations because my mind is not being pulled toward all the STUFF that my task-oriented self fells the drive to tend to. I tend to get pulled to the "Martha" side of the "Mary and Martha" story in the Bible...I find it very hard to relax and enjoy my family when there is so much STUFF to take care of! Recently, in my latest drive to minimize my belongings and simplify my life, I have realize that MY STUFF is a tactic designed by my enemy, the devil, to move me to focus on THINGS THAT DO NOT MATTER. THINGS do NOT add meaning to my life! THINGS take away meaning from my life. The more stuff I have, the more stuff has me - because it pulls me to take care of it in one way or another. Luke 12:15-25 has jumped out at me in a fresh way...this man had accumulated SO MUCH STUFF that he had to build bigger barns JUST TO STORE ALL HIS STUFF!!!! And our Americanized bigger, better lifestyle is not any different! We work, to make more money, to buy more stuff, to get lost in taking care of it, to miss out on what truly matters. LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE! Having things is not wrong...but the greedy accumulation of things is - and it is also wrong for however little or much we have to control or dictate our priorities in life. PEOPLE MATTER MORE. 


Luke 12:15-2 (ESV)15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down mybarns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This nightyour soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Let me say this - it is NOT WRONG TO BE RICH...but it does matter where our heart is. And it DOES MATTER how we spend our money. To whom much has been given...much more will be required. (Luke 12:48)
So this freedom that I feel on vacation...the freedom from stuff...I have lately found myself minimizing my stuff, so that I can feel that freedom from stuff as a normal part of my every day life. I don't NEED stuff...

I've come to a place in my life where I never thought I would be...I can honestly say that there is no material possession that I find myself wanting. I am completely content with everything I have. In fact, I don't want STUFF anymore. I want to let it all go. I am realizing more and more how the stuff I own takes away from my relationships...because the more stuff I have, the more I have to take care of, the more THINGS get in the way of what really matters. 

So I have very seriously began this journey of minimizing. Not to the extremes that some people go - which you can find on YouTube - although I have to admit it is tempting ;). But having felt the freedom from stuff on road trips, and having experienced the freedom in boxing up my doubles and extras, and things I don't use to sell/give away, I feel like I've tapped in to a whole new world/way of living! So now I am selling our STUFF, to raise money for our family missions trip to Haiti. We cannot wait for this amazing experience. Can't wait to go love on some kiddos who having nothing material-wise, but who know real happiness. We were never designed to be tied to our stuff. We were not created to focus on STUFF! We were created to do life with other people...TO LOVE GOD, and LOVE PEOPLE. Good bye to my THINGS that get in my way of that.