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Thanksgiving Already? Stop the Hustle and Choose What is Better

40600064If you’re like me, you probably looked at the calendar sometime this week and asked, “Thanksgiving is next week?  How did the month go by so fast?”  That’s right, Thanksgiving is next week already, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to kick it into the high-stress, high-gear, faster-than-the-speed-of-life mentality to start off the holiday season!

At left, you can see a shot of the kids’ tables at our family Thanksgiving a few years ago.  This only pictured some of the children and their tables were downstairs – now imagine all the adults upstairs!  A packed house, tons of people, chaos, food… you get the idea. 

It can be easy to get wrapped up in making the preparations – so wrapped up, in fact, that you ignore the people who are there to see you, not just eat your food!

It reminds me of the biblical story of 2 sisters named Martha and Mary (you can read the whole story in Luke 10:38-41).  Mary sat with the guests and visited, while Martha did all the work in the kitchen of getting a meal ready.  Martha was so preoccupied with preparing food for her unexpected visitors (one of whom was Jesus) that all she did was work the whole time they were there.  Mary, on the other hand, knew that it was more important to spend time with them than to serve the finest meal they had ever had! 

When Martha complained to Jesus, “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!”, he replied, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:40-41

Don’t be a Martha!  Choose what is better – to keep in mind the reason for the day.  Remember the most important thing: Thanksgiving is NOT about food.  Even if Thanksgiving dinner is at your house and you have tons of family coming in from out of town, the point of the day is spending time with your loved ones and be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life.  Your family will not care if the food you prepare or the table you set for Thanksgiving is the best you’ve ever done in your life!  Give your guests the gift of your presence and let them know that you are thankful for them being there with you.

It’s important to keep things in perspective in order to maintain your own peace and sanity on what, for many people, is an incredibly stressful day.  Choose what is better and stop hustling and bustling to get every detail perfect.  Happy Thanksgiving!

5 Problem Areas – What Keeps Me From an Organized Life?

Melissa Smallwood is a professional organizer, mother of three boys, mommy blogger, and the owner of the informational website, Organized Life by Design.  You can catch up with her on Twitter @multitaskingme.


What Keeps Me From an Organized Life?  The 5 Problem Areas

1.  Schedules- Never have we tried to pack more into the day than in our current time. Many families say they feel like ships that pass in the night.

That is not to say that having your kids involved in activities and volunteering is a bad thing, not at all. But if those things replace or get in the way of your connection or cause friction in your marriage then you need to take another look at the schedule.

2.  Household Responsibilities- Betty Crocker and Mrs. Clean I am not. Nor do I encourage my clients to try to live up to these crazy expectations. There is a difference between your house being organized and clean and it being picture perfect!

3.  Needs- Each of you reading this article has unique life situations- whether it be parenting small children, taking care of older loved ones, living with a chronic illness, working outside or inside of the home, having a special needs child, etc. Those are all things that can become barriers to being organized.

4.  Obligations- Oooh, shudder at the word. When I went to the Women of Faith Conference last year, a little lady named Patsy Clairmont introduced me to the concept of the “holy no”. I just loved this idea. That just because someone asks you to do something, be a part of a committee, donate your time, money, whatever DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO SAY YES or the earth is going to open and you are going to go on the sliding board straight to hell. How can we abide in the Lord if we are so busy doing things that run us ragged and make us cranky? Let’s be real, ladies. There are things we enjoy doing and are in line with the gifts Christ has given us and there are the things we do because we didn’t have the courage to say “I would rather not”.

5.  Being Overwhelmed-  The things we have just talked about lead to the next four obstacles on the list- being overextended leads us to feel overwhelmed, our family becomes resentful, we are exhausted and the idea of adding another project, like “get organized”, to our to-do list makes us want to curl under a blanket and hide. But, it is worth it!

As women we have a responsibility for modeling character and priorities to our family. We can lead by a good example or by a poor one based on the decisions we make about how we spend our time and manage our lives. So, let’s get organized!

Catch Organizing with Melissa for more organizing help.  Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more life organizing tips.

Why Get Organized?

Melissa Smallwood is a professional organizer, mom of three boys, blogger, and the owner Organized Life by Design.  She is an organizing coach to the stars of the blogworld, including @ConsumerQueen and @ConsumerKing.  You can catch up with Melissa on Twitter @multitaskingme.


Why Get Organized?

A recent survey conducted by the New York Times found that women rank stress as the number one problem they face on a daily basis. The dictionary defines “organized” as methodical and efficient in arrangement or function; Formed into a structured or coherent whole.

When you look at that definition and apply it to your life, you can see the inherent reasons people desire order and structure in their lives. Being organized = less stress.

Wouldn’t you love to be able to describe your life as efficient and coherent?  There are plenty of days I do not feel coherent, let alone possessing a life that is formed into a structured whole.

When I work with clients, whether it be stay at home moms (SAHMs), seniors, groups or professionals; people often have the same complaint. There is not enough time to accomplish everything we feel we need to accomplish in a day, week, month or year. And we allow the guilt, feelings of failure and sense of being constantly overwhelmed to push us further, spur us on to try to do more and in the process- we don’t realize we are losing focus of what is truly important.

We live in a time where we are expected to accomplish more than any other generation in exactly the same amount of hours in a day. Could it be there is a way to navigate these waters?  To create a life of balance and order?  I believe there is and it stems from becoming more organized. When you approach life from an organized perspective, you develop tools, tricks and routines that put you back in control. Stress is not good, for you or those living with you. Let’s learn how to get organized and let life keep up with you, not the other way around.

Catch Organizing with Melissa  for “What keeps me from an organized life?”   Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more life organizing tips.