You may be asking – What in the world is a Cricut Explore Air 2?!?! It’s craft-lovers dream machine. This thing draws and cuts paper-like materials like you never thought was possible… It can cut just about anything that is flat including fabric, leather and balsa wood!
I had a similar machine called the Silhouette years ago, but it really doesn’t compare. Back then, the Cricut machines still used cartridges and custom designing was not yet available or was very limited. Needless to say, the technology has greatly improved and I’m thrilled about it.
I hoping to put this thing to work for custom classroom Valentines, a laundry room door decal and a wood signs for the cabin. I’m discovering daily the flexibility and endless possibilities for this machine! I have to admit I’m not much of a crafty type, which may seem odd because I do think of myself as creative. But I see this machine making crafting, especially with the kids WAY more fun. I have plenty of supplies to experiment with this weekend. Check back next for our class valentines done Pokemon style. =)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
We have decided to donate 100% of our proceeds of Design Lotus’ 2016 faith-based holiday collection to an organization called The Last Well. Typically, we prefer to do stuff like this on the down-low. But, in order to maximize the gift, we need to share what we are doing and why.
It is a little ironic that Amy and I have been blogging about our experiences with enoughism (decluttering our lives to make room for stuff that really matters) and chanting – “less is more!” But, we’ve recently come across an instance where more really is more.
Simply put: more clean water = more life.
Praise be to God
Recently, we had a chance to attend The Last Well’s Worship and Benefit Night at Mclean Bible Church. Amy and I met at McLean in 2001. It’s where we grew in faith and in community. It’s where Amy and I got to know each other through a missions trip to Ecuador in 2002. It’s where we met our husbands. It is where The Last Well got its beginning. So, there is a real history here.
The Last Well’s mission is “to provide access to clean water to the entire nation of Liberia and offer the Gospel to every person we serve by 2020.”
Did you catch that?! The ENTIRE nation of Liberia border to border! That’s not a big deal… That’s a HUGE deal! If you think it can’t be done, you would not be the first person. Everyone doubted it… But God has proven nothing is impossible for Him. Since 2008, The Last Well project has already helped reach over 750,000 Liberians with water and the Gospel through over 1,000 clean water projects in Liberia! And with the appropriate funding, they are on track to finish their mission of bringing the good news and clean water to ALL the people of Liberia by 2020!
It would be amazing if preventable water-borne illnesses could be eradicated in Liberia. Families could flourish and kids could go to school! And, they would know of God’s great love for them.
Being inspired by such an incredible movement and out of gratitude for all that we’ve been given, we are stepping out in faith and giving ALL of the proceeds of this year’s Christ-centered designs back to God’s work in Liberia.
God With Us
Generally promotion is something we’ve always struggled with and shy away from. But for The Last Well, we will joyfully use the platform we have been entrusted with to help bring living water to the ends of the earth!
Please know that you do not need to buy our designs to support The Last Well. You can help by signing up as a donor, giving a one-time gift and/or getting word out about their mission!
But, if you are looking for beautiful Christian holiday cards, look no further! Minted has the best assortment even beyond our designs. You can help The Last Well by shopping through this link – Design Lotus for The Last Well.
So I got off to a running start with the office. But, now I’m at a painfully slow crawl. My problems are papers, magazines and books…
Paper Paper Everywhere! So I did get started with The Paperless Home by the Lawsons. Plain and simple, I’m lazy. I don’t want to sort through piles and label each thing I scan. Soooo…. I just scanned in batches. I kind of sorted, but not really and less than halfway through I stopped naming crap. I’m applying grace to this area in my life. In other words, I’m taking the lazy route. This crap was not in order before and it’s not going to be in order on my computer. I’m scanning random stuff together in batches just to get it done and know that I have it. Thanks to Evernote’s converting documents to searchable PDFs, I will be able to search for something later if I need it. But I’m secretly hoping I’ll never need it. Eek! This is still way better than my current random pile system – where I have it somewhere… I just have no idea where! I may or may not name files as I scan them in going forward but I’m betting i won’t…
Magazine Hoarder I hoard decor magazines and I don’t know if I can let them go yet to be honest. I have pared down a ton, but this is an area where I don’t think logically. Instead I tell myself I will go back through them for idea later- but my track record has not been good on this. My hope is that once I get rid of the “too much” in my life I will be able to made good on this idea of using my years and years of magazine inspiration.
Books are good, but only if you read them… Why do we hang on to books like they aren’t readily available to most people? Everyone probably has access a local public library. As you can guess my books are mostly pretty decor and design books and unused notebooks out the wazoo. But I hoard books for our kids hoping they will be readers unlike me… This might actually be working? The hubs probably has the most books out of all of us but they have been banned to his office so I don’t really care, yet…
What stops me from cleaning up my books… Dang these things are heavy and not only that they don’t live in a centralized place. They in every room of the house. I guess that’s why they recommend going room by room. Who’s they? I don’t know… but you know what i mean right? =P My laziness is very good at coming up with every and any excuses for me to not do work. Can you hear it working? It’s too heavy… The kids need all these books to be smart… I’ll need that book for reference one day. I paid money for that so I need to hang on to it. I’m gonna read it one day. Oh I love this one… I can make Brian read it for me. Yes. I’ve actually asked him to read books for me and just tell me the good parts. I’m so bad… These are just a few of the crazy thoughts that run through my head when I go to do anything with the books.
Know you’re reading this and probably understand what I’m struggling with helps me get off my lazy rear do something. So here the plan… Everything needs a home and I’m just focusing on my books and magazines for my office. Since it’s probably more that I can handle already. They need a home. Otherwise they will live in places like on the floor next to my bed, in my nightstand where I forget they exist and do me no good. If I wasn’t so obsessed with the way my office looks… I could just put them on the shelves above the computer where they would clearly be very accessible. But no, I have issues people! The books don’t match and would look like clutter to me. If you don’t care about this! That’s great! Don’t be like me. Function should take priority over form.
So I’ve narrowed it down to 3 options:
Floating shelves in the back corner next to the doors
Short bookcase hidden under desk
Short bookcase under window
First I need to go gather all my heavyass books… Ughh. I’m going! I’m going!
Papers, I hate you! You are such a pain to get rid of! You are constantly invading my house via 2 main so seemingly harmless sources – mailbox and school! I try to keep you contained, but somehow you infiltrate every room of our home… Sometimes I go to throw you out, but you contain personal info – so I need to shred you first. This is how you elude destruction for weeks, months, then years. I try to organize you in files, but there is never enough room because the influx is never ceasing… Well I’ve got news for you. Your day of reckoning has arrived in the form of a dump truck grinder thingy that comes to my front door… Bless you Data Destruction!
Magazines, my beautiful magazines… Parting with you is such sweet sorrow. I so wanted to go back through each and everyone of you again, but alas I am only one person with a very limited attention span… I thank you for your inspiration, but you need to move along now. House & Home, Country Living and special issues you made the cut this year… But I have a feeling you will be following your predecessors eventually.
Books, getting rid of you was much easier that I had originally thought. You were literally weighing me down! I am glad that you have a home in the public library to go to that welcomes you with open arms. I no longer need to see you and feel guilty that I never read you… Peace out!
Amy had the great idea to write about our real life experiences where we wish we had a do-over. So, we are calling this Faith Retake. As Design Retake, we reimagine what something could look like in our homes. We wanted to see if we could relate that to our life experiences.
We will share about an experience where we “could’ve, should’ve,” but we didn’t. We ask you the reader to share what you might do or have done in a similar situation. The purpose of this exercise would be to encourage people that we all make mistakes, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
So I pulled this experience from the archives of my Facebook page, circa 2014.
True Confessions of a Soccer Mom:
So last weekend my son’s team (Green Team) played against Yellow Team and it was a really close game. A Yellow Team mom yells: “That’s ok, we beat Green last year 3 to 0!” Another soccer mom tells her quietly: ”’that is not good sportsmanship.” Yellow Team mom defiantly yells even louder “Like I said: We beat Green last year 3 to 0!!!!!” Then she turns to me and says “Your son is a bad person – he tripped someone on my team.”
I don’t know if you’ve seen boys under 10 playing soccer – but it can be messy. (My son Andrew and a Yellow Team player both went for the ball at full speed – and the other player fell down). But I digress…
So she talks smack about my team and then my son?!? I say nothing to her, but instead imagine a nice pile drive to her angry face! (I said this was a “confession”). Andrew scores to tie the game. I say an inner-voiced “in yo face!” and went home justified in my anger. Is this as silly as it sounds? I now understand the negative connotation of “soccer mom.” My husband AJ says I shouldn’t attend any more games if I am going to get so worked up😳.
Fast forward to Tuesday night bible study when I hear from a woman in my group who was short with a nasty store clerk. As she leaves the store, she does a figurative and literal 180, apologizes to the store clerk for being short with her, says she is a Christian, says to the clerk she understands she may be having a bad day and asks if she could pray for her. Clerk accepts her on-the-spot prayers and begins to weep…
So what does that have to do with soccer? I would like a do- over if I ever see Yellow Team mom and offer her a kindness of some sort because Jesus loves to turn situations on their heads.
What would you have done differently to turn this situation around?
Back up. I need to stop for a minute because I need to tell you about this new adventure I’m on. It started with the idea of minimalism but, it is a journey toward what I’m going to call “enoughism.” By the end of this post, I hope you will know what I mean.
So if you are following what I am doing in my office and the rest of my home, you might have a better understanding of why I am doing it. I’ll do my best to document this and provide the best steps and share any missteps I may make along the way.
I know what started this. I was looking for organizing and decluttering books. Let’s be clear: I do not like to read. So I was looking for visual guides within these books to show me how to organize all my crap. So I checked out a ton of them…
Declutter Anything : a room-by-room guide to cleaning your home and simplifying your life / Ed Morro
Decluttering Your Home : tips, techniques and trade secrets / Geralin Thomas.
New Order : a decluttering handbook for creative folks (and everyone else) / Fay Wolf ; illustrated
Clutterfree with Kids : change your thinking, discover new habits, free your home / Joshua Becker.
The Joy of Less : a minimalist guide to declutter, organize, and simplify / Francine Jay
Never too busy to Cure Clutter : simplify your life one minute at a time / Erin Rooney Doland.
The Nesting Place : it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful / Myquillyn Smith.
OH THE IRONY : having a stack of decluttering books cluttering up my floor!
Sadly, none of those books had what I was looking for. Mind you, I was hunting for a book to show me visually how to organize things. Most books were nothing but words… I KNOW I KNOW it’s a book! Duh. The others felted very cluttered… Crazy since it was supposed to help me do the opposite… In the midst of searching for on my public library site though I stumbled across Hoopla, which solved my not liking to read problem. Through my local library I am able to access https://www.hoopladigital.com/ and listen to a multitude of books for free! They even have an iphone app! Disclaimer – So if ever say I read a book, I’m technically lying because I probably listened to it. Except for a couple Harry Potter books that I tore through in a week. =) (Go to your local library and see what types of online audiobook options they have. If you still insist on a hard copy, at least you can check a book out at the library before you purchase it for yourself.)
So, did I tell you that I don’t like reading yet? I began looking up videos on Youtube on minimalism when I came across Joshua Becker’s video.
Because I am a Christian, I wanted to hear what he had to say and to see if living minimally was even biblical. It is… I’ll want to explore this some more later.
“If organizing your stuff worked, wouldn’t you be done by now?” —Courtney Carver
Organizing is not the answer! I needed something different altogether. It is all about moving past my mental roadblocks, immediate selfish, defensive arguments/thoughts and the guilt over so much money wasted…
I was basically hooked by his message. It just made so much sense. The truth was sitting right in front of me. But, I couldn’t see it because I had all this crap! People are definitely hungry for something different. I think that’s why his book and the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up are best sellers.
Our soul is crying out and screaming “enough! You can’t quite put your finger on it because we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us “you need this to be happy.” All around us are the messages that you need the newer, the better, the faster. These are lies. And the longer we listen to them, we’ll lose our ability to recognize them as lies. We’ll just absorb them.
But, one of the first objections that I personally had to minimalism was the idea that minimalism = getting rid of everything. But minimal is not none people. I don’t even like the word minimalism. I don’t want the very minimum of what life offers. I want to live in the enough – just enough. Without excess.
So my journey is toward “enoughism.”
ENOUGHISM: Having just the things in your life that are useful, add value and bring you joy.
What does that look like for me? I’m figuring it out still. You will have to ask what this looks like for you.
In the coming weeks, I will be posting about finishing up my office, how I tackled my closet and my bathroom, and trying to figure out how this new adventure will look for our family of five.
This is my invitation to you. Join me on this journey/adventure – whatever you want to call it. The process of decluttering our lives is a P-R-O-C-E-S-S. Start small and see the benefits. Don’t start with the hard stuff – sentimental items or other people’s stuff.
Let’s start living in the enough – rather than being stuck in the rut of too much. In order to do this, we need to define what “enough” is for ourselves, our families and our lives. Let’s make enough our goal. If we don’t define what enough is, we continue to buy more, not knowing when to stop… Man! I have to say that was kinda deep. Right?! LOL I have to crack up because, if you knew me, I’m so not deep y’all…