Friday, January 6, 2012

and so it begins.

so i wasn't just saying this year was going to be different to say it.

i mean, you can say you're going to lose 50lbs this year and then the next day your at target walking by the christmas clearance section. where those christmas m&m's are. for 70% off! be still my beating heart... ok it's true, this happened today. and these 2 overweight older ladies were filling their cart and one of them says, what about that resolution to eat better? and the other lady was like, oh, i already forgot about that. chuckle chuckle. awkward silence. bag crinkling and clinging into the basket.

(that's a "dragon" underneath all the writing. thanks layne.)

and i would have taken a couple bags too if we didn't resolve to do this detox thing. and write it down. and make a plan. and make other people do it with us, so as torture them and also to have accountability. but will i make all week? i don't know. but i'm trying.

and we're detoxing in other areas too. detoxing from stuff we don't need. and accumulation of meaningless things. and thoughtless days. and ungratefulness. spending money that doesn't need to be spent. aside from a few gift cards from christmas, i'm trying not spend our money on frivolous things. in just a couple of days, i have found this to be difficult. telling myself no at target. some people say, just don't go to target. but wait, is that just modifying your behavior or is it better to just go and continue to practice self-control? time will tell. perhaps i will only find the answers to this and other heavy questions (like why did the show lost have such a crappy ending) at the pearly gates.

so ya, just saying that i want to be more grateful this year is really vague. and will lose it's motivational grip if i don't have an action plan behind it. go ahead, say a goal. i bet it's vague.
now ask, what does that look like?
there. now we're getting somewhere.

for the first time in our marriage, nato and i wrote down goals for the year. we felt kind of nerdy for some reason. nato looked at me like i was insane when i actually handed him a goals worksheet.
but he was a good sport and filled it out.

and i made one for everyone!'s like oprah. YOU GET A WORKSHEET! YOU GET A WORKSHEET....YOUUUUUU GET A WORKSHEET!
now there is nothing fancy about these. you can find much more detailed and cute ones on the mighty intranet. but there is something great and underwhelming about being simple. who needs to be overwhelmed by overly detailed lists that you'll never be able to keep up with? not me.
i wanted you to be able to print them off and not waste all your ink. it doesn't need to blow your mind. it needs to help you accomplish your goals.

i made them black and white too so you don't have to waste your color. uhthankyou
here is the color.
here is the B&W

confession: i'm not a planner. i'm not good at being organized. but i am trying this year. i think the one thing that has held me back from writing down goals and planning out days and weeks or vacations or that by nature, i'm not a structured person. i like to be a free bird. just go where the day takes me.
the only problem with that is...well...a lot of things don't get done. dinner time comes and i'm scrounging for things in the fridge. kindergarten is coming and i'm like...oh hey, maybe you should know how to write your name. ya, shameful. so i need to stop blaming that on my personality. and change some things up. there will certainly be a balance between structure and the latter. so i created a little ditty to help me plan out my days as well. specifically...what i'll do with each kid every day. 3 simple things. i think i can handle that.
the above can be printed here.

 here i will circle 3 things that need to get done that week or that day. these are specifically things i hate doing. which is like every chore, basically. hmmm. anyway,  i'm going to make a notepad on for now, this will work.
you can print that one here

now the truth is, these lists will not get filled out with every day. i'm going to try and do them for the month so as to create a new habit. a thought process. maybe i'll just write them out on the chalkboard in the morning.  i'm going to also give myself grace. i'm not going for awesomeness...just habit change.

but doing the same thing every year by making vague resolutions or saying that resolutions are dumb as yielded nothing. surprise! goals actually work when practiced daily.

so on january one, we said...let's do this. structure style.
in uncle tony's language, we said
come here you devil log!
(turn off the music at the bottom of the blog to get the full effect)

this is from a movie called heavy weights. about a fat camp with a fanatic health nut played by ben stiller. if you're looking for an inspirational movie, watch this. NOT really.

anyway, we are working through what gratefulness looks like in our family. so we removed every toy from downstairs and upstairs and everywhere. we went through them all.
there were broken toy pieces, trash, non working toys, things the kids don't play with, and spoons from the kitchen(what?). there those were.

we threw a ton out. a TON. isn't it weird how we just let our homes become heavy with trash? needless stuff we don't look at our play with? it feels heavy living like this.

it was an all day activity. layne said he loved every toy. of course. it's like me going through my shoes...oh but i love these! even though i haven't worn them in a year! and my feet have grown since i had another baby and they don't even fit. i think i'll let them clutter up my closet for yet another year instead of give to someone in need because i'm selfish! yay!

he was scared that anything i touched was going to be thrown away.
nothing was safe...wahahahahaha!


so once we organized everything into groups...
we took it all to the basement. we set it up in a way that the kids could see in each bin. we wanted to get shelving, but we thought it would be better to save the money and just keep it on the floor for now.

there is literally nothing to play with upstairs. the kids have to be intentional when they want to play with something.
layne thinks about it.
he asks to go get it.
brings it upstairs.
when he's done, he has to put it away or he can't go get something else.

can i just say, that this has been amazing. my house is not insanely messy all the damn time. nor are their bedrooms.
wow. it sounds so drastic, and it kind of is. i guess... in america. i think of children playing in trash heaps scrounging around for something that resembles a ball and i don't feel so drastic then.

and 'm pretty sure most of the fun my children were having was in just making the mess.
bold statement, i know.

so anyway, all that to say, i believe this is helping gratefulness because the kids have found a new appreciation for toys they already have. layne says, it's like we have a store in our basement!
there is a sense of gratefulness shown when you learn to take care of what you already own.
and you don't need to be overstimulated with 800 different toys staring you in the face at all hours of the day. it makes no sense to ask our children to be grateful and then bombard them with more than what they need constantly.
over. stim. u. lation.

layne is playing with toys he hasn't played with in years. score.
our house is getting de cluttered by the minute. PTL.
and i am needing God every minute to help me stay focused on what i feel He has stirred up in my heart.
repenting is a process that is painful yet good. or something deep like that.
but strangely enough, through the repenting, i actually feel vibrant and energized. looks like all that stuff was cluttering more than i thought.

i read a verse today(acts 3:19). it said, Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...
sums up what's going on in our lives right now.


  1. OH.. I needed to read that verse this morning...
    Thanks for sharing that...
    You Blessed me today!!

  2. All I have to say is... I didn't know you watched LOST!

    Also, MOPS yesterday was about getting your home organized. So I think I may print some of your stuff to go with that. And is Kristin one of the pals you talked into detoxing with you? I'm excited to hear about it.

  3. There is something magical, spiritual and just darn good about decluttering your home, your life. I am in the process now after spending a weekend clearing out Grandpa's house. Think Hoarders. I quickly came home and have already purged 5 bags to Goodwill, 3 bags to the trash and am still working on it. Simplify for 2012! It's going to be a good year.

  4. Wow, Jami. You never cease to amaze me - seriously!!! Lately your posts have made me think about making serious changes in my life....and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Keep doing what you're doing!!

    P.S. I printed off the sheets and can't wait to use them! Thank you!

  5. our christmas candy at target was 90% off yesterday and i didn't even think twice about buying them. yay for me!

    i've been going through all my kids old toys and getting rid of all the "baby toys". my 3 year old caught me in his room and told me firmly that there were no baby toys in his room. when i asked him what he didn't want in his room, he simply pointed at his sister's side of the room! i have a ways to go with my kids. :)

  6. fantastic. all of it. i agree with everything you just said. seriously.

  7. I love it. I think you are doing a great service to your children and your marriage. I must remember this when M gets bigger because I think it is such an important lesson that I feel is easy to overlook in our society.

  8. loved this post. i've been convicted and inspired to change in a lot of the same areas, and i'm working on figuring out what the most practical ways are to put things into force. this was really helpful to me. could you maybe tell me how to print a flip book on vista print for those little daily to-do's? i liked that. are you going to incorporate the "3 things to do with each kid" list into that book? that would be cool if you could open it up and see one page of the circle daily to-do's, and the facing page had the kiddo to do list. now i am rambling. perhaps i should just call you. =)

  9. you're marvelous... I just needed to say that!

    I put on my great aunt's apron last night and became intentional. I've had a similar heavy weight of "TOO MUCH" weighing on my heart too. I ran into a book called 7 at my local Christian book store. Check it out. Then.. I unloaded 3 bags (got rid of 6 bags last week) of goodwill stuff and 2 large bags (got rid of 3 large ones last week) of garbage. Such clutter. Such a mess in my psyche at the same time. God is so amazing and it's so cleansing to listen to His call. To go. To change.

    I'm with you sister!

    Content in Minnesota,

  10. Thank you for writing such an insperational post. My husband is CONSTANTLY talking to me about the toys. He always says stupid stuff like, "When I was little I played with rocks Jill." I know he sounds like he is is 80 (He is 31), but he is actually probably telling the truth considering he grew up dirt poor eating only garden vegetables and beans almost everyday. No lie. When he tells me stories from when he was little it makes me think so differently about material possessions. Its crazy.

    Thanks for the cute lists too! I am definitely going to print them out and use them..... Not just let them sit on my table. :-D

  11. SO AWESOME! thanks for sharing. i can't wait to get back to my apartment and start getting rid of stuff!

  12. great tip on how to organize the chaos of toys and awesome verse from acts. con.vict.ion.

  13. what a great post jami.. thanks for sharing. we did the same thing with our toys before christmas and realized we had a a lot of stuff just to have it.. feels so much better to toss/or donate it.. i did find myself trying to keep stuff just in case but my kids were the ones who were like mom just donate it! LOL
    I bought a daily top do notebook in dec and think it's fab thought you might like it..

  14. love everything about this... love the possibility of new beginnings and that with God, every day is new! so awesome!

    that verse? wow. i am so ready for that time of refreshing!

    love your goal worksheet... although i'm single so i can't really use it since it says marriage. haha! or maybe i should and use it to write out goals for getting married! haha!

  15. This post is dangerous and encouraging to me! I'm less than 3 weeks away from having our 2nd child and in full out nesting mode. NO toy will be safe this weekend at our house. I LOVE this idea and totally share your thoughts. Our 2 year old doesn't play with hardly ANY toys. Just wants to color and play outside...why do I keep buying this crap???

  16. Yay for the Nato family! I too have been thinking a lot about all the CRAP that takes up so much of our life. Last year I read "The Power of Half" and was inspired to make do with what we already had available. I can't say that I am completely free of the "Need More Stuff" bug, but I am making progress. I know this because I am now so reluctant to spend my money on junk that I don't really need! I never really thought about all that stuff dragging down my spiritual life though, so thanks for making me think even more! God bless you and your family this year :)

  17. You guys are awesome. I love that you have actually acted upon your resolutions. You are setting such a good example for your children, and you will all be so much better for it. We don't have kids yet, but I really like this system.

  18. I just love reading success stories and this made me happy. I think it's easy to drown in our wealth, takes effort to "be intentional" as you say.
    When I did a "detox" years ago, I made it a point to never look at catalogs either. They made me think I needed things I didn't--so into the recycle bin they'd go, unopened. It helped a lot.

  19. Good for you doing what it takes for your family! I am inspired!

    As a general rule, toys are not allowed out of our basement. Except Legos. The Legos are everywhere.

  20. Okay, sidenote, on my dang ipad i kept trying to hit the comment button and your post "he likes to spoon" kept popping up, it was freakin' me out and i kept saying to myself, "no no no i just want to leave a freakin' comment!" but there was the title and Nato's face and yah, it was traumatizing for just a second but here i am leaving a comment now and all is well. Soooooo, what i wanted to say was we are totally on the same wave-length right now. It is like you have a divine psychy connected with my heart. I was JUST thinking this last night but it was after i spent the entire day dead on the couch sick so i did nothing about it. So, this is just what i needed to hear! Thank you!
    Love, jenn

  21. i swear we are living the same lives just in different states. well. sort of.
    we did the same thing with all of our toys last year. we minimized the amount they can take out and also where they can play with them. we also just went through them again this week to give away to kids who don't have much. Asher gave away over 100 hot wheels. RIDIC.
    i love what you are doing with your family and plan to walk along side this with you, with my own family. keep inspiring and sharing my friend!

  22. You're a smart one, Jami Nato! I love every single thing you wrote. I made a copy of the goals and things to do today sheets. THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom. Really. I appreciate it. It's just what I needed.

  23. this is wonderful! thanks for sharing your worksheets.

  24. This is really encouraging. I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of goals that never actually amount to anything. I need to stop feeling paralyzed by everything that needs to happen, and prayerfully, intentionally START. Thanks!

  25. What? Okay. We have the same Frye boots. Yes, I got Melissa boots too. LOL! And, Iust 2 seconds ago I posted something so similar on my blog. Even called it detoxing my house and have a picture of a garbage bag. I just wasn't thoughtful enough to incorporate scripture and anything about Jesus. Actually, wait. I wanted to but didn't want to take the time to figure out how it all was coming together in my heart and head. So, thank you for doing it for me. Crazy. God is working things out in people's hearts right now - just the same in KC and in Portlandia. He is uh-mazing.

  26. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one working on detoxing in all areas. Love the printables.. now, if I can only find my printer.

  27. I'm right there with you. Just made a master list of everything that needs gone through, purged and organized, and already throwing away anything that crosses me. Tired of the clutter - it's such a drain on our joy! Three cheers for your basement "toy store" - that's fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing, Jami!

  28. Love the toy idea! I'm trying to get rid of toys too, they are eating my house alive...

  29. Thank you so much for writing this! Immediately (and I mean IMMEDIATELY!) after reading this, I threw every single toy in our living room into the middle of the floor and went through EVERYTHING. I had a bag for trash, a bag for Goodwill and a bag for "Must Go Somewhere Else"...I was a woman on a mission! An hour later, my living room is clean and organized and I was so proud of myself I took an unnecessary amount of pictures of the room! Ha! Thanks for the kick in the bum to have a more intentional 2012!

  30. i LOVE THIS!!! I just did this in my daycare area and it felt soo good! I did it with the kids and I think it helped them realize we have to much we play with nothing or the same favorite toy every day! It was GREAT!!!

  31. thank you for this post; I loved it.
    great work, mama!
    you have inspired me!

  32. These are great ideas! Thank you for taking the time to share the print-out pages and the tips, etc. Now, if I can get to the store to replace my ink cartridge, I might actually be able to print out the pages. Of course, I might look around and find some deals I cannot pass up and end up spending much more than the $50 it costs to replace the cartridges. On second thought, why don't I just send you a SASE and have you print out a few for me! (jk!)

    It is very inspiring, though, to see someone take some action on their ideas. I was told once, by a good friend, that I was an "ideas person." It made me very sad, because I know that there are many good ideas, intentions, and unwritten thank you notes up there in my brain and they have never seen the light of day. So sad.

    I tend to make simple goals. One year I made the goal of making my bed every day. Sounds silly, but it was never a habit for me. Every time I made it, though, I felt great! It really does make the room look sooo much better.

    I didn't make any goals for myself or the family this year, but it's great to be able to glean from others. Thank you for this post!

    By the way, the only reason I'm commenting is 'cause you were encouraging us to do so in another post (rather than be jealous or comparing).

    Oh, and if you need a place to send your old shoes, and they might possibly be an 8 1/2 or 9, I'll gladly receive them in Lancaster, PA. :)

  33. Hey Jami - I just started following your blog...LOVE IT! And I just made you oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I am not sure what I did wrong, but the cookies turned out super flat. They taste ok, but they don't look like yours. Any suggestions?!?!

    Thanks so much!

  34. Jocelyn, we are so much day we'll meet in real life. and wear the same boots. haha

  35. amen. i decided to make a list this year, too, and put it in a google doc and sent it to my husband (even more nerdy than your worksheet, yes?) with almost exactly the same categories for goals. and this toy idea needs to be done at my it.

  36. I seriously need to get off my butt and go purge some crap. Our house is completely overfilled with excess. Maybe this will be my year to finally declutter and organize. I hope!

  37. i LOVVVVVVE this!!
    yes! to 'goals' over resolutions.
    and a million re-resolutions everyday that make the goals happen.

    so inspired by your heart for 2012.


  38. This is so great! It gets me all motivated 'n stuff. :) The only problem is I think I fall on the other end of the spectrum. I already make lists, and calendars, and schedules, and purge. I have days for laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, working, blogging, etc. But what I'm NOT good at is sitting on the floor and playing with my kids - even when there's stuff to do. Or looking in their eyes and smiling...every day. Or playing outside on a beautiful day - scheduled or not! Life is all about balance and being one way or the other is not good or healthy so maybe you and I can work at meeting in the middle. :) We are definitely working on "gratefulness" in our home and purging is like my favorite thing to do. ;) I just remember our pastor's wife coming home from Poland and saying how cluttered her house felt. We have so much CRAP we don't need in America!! I always try to remember that when I'm tempted to fill my home with useless things.

  39. Hah, Im like the cleanout nazi at our house. I love to thrift and find deals but that can also create clutter if its not controlled.
    I had just done a big cleanout after Christmas and then we had a fire here Wed. night. We're Ok as is our house but theres smoke damage...which means more might go. Insurance should be covering all the cleanup, thank the Lord. In a twisted moment this afternoon I was thinking "well, thats one way to get a thorough spring cleaning done!"
    If I didnt laugh, Id still be crying:)
    Hooray for simplifying and gratitude.

  40. I've been doing a lot of the same. One of my goals is to memorize Scripture with the kids. I am going to try and pick out a weekly or bi-weekly verse for Aidan and a longer passage for myself. I am super excited about it. Also, the hubs and I are going to be more intentional about praying together. We've written out a list of things we want to pray for or things we want to see happen in 2012 and we are going to try and start making more of a point to sit down every day and pray for those things. It is so good to refocus...and it is good to see others doing the same.

  41. and I need to be committed to change, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith...
    did you read Paul Tripp's article over at Desiring God??

    dude! totally same wavelength!
    loving it~~


  42. What kind of budgeting tools do you use? I'm pretty poor but I like to use My sister (judging by photos, I don't know anything about your guys' finances) and her husband seem to be closer to you guys in the finances department and she's actually the one that turned me on to mint. It has tools to help you create budgets and goals for your finances. You can upload any checking/savings accts., student loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc. so you can see all of your debt and income in one place. It also breaks down your shopping habits. Seeing how much money I spent eating out was like being kicked in the face. Just be sure to set up the notifications section to your taste, you can be emailed every day/week/month/never etc.

  43. You, are amazing. As per usual.
    Thank you.

  44. I really could thank you in about thousand different ways for this post. But the FREEBIES take the cake sweet cheeks! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  45. this has inspired me to move. a thought of mine for sometime but we actually made it action. thank you

  46. Really...your posts resonate. I think I say that in every comment I leave.

    I, too, have three kids (all boys, 4,2,1). I want to instill gratefulness. I want them to appreciate all the excess we have. (I want to appreciate it).

    When I first read this, I thought, that's it, that's what I'm doing! Of course, once I read it to my husband, he said it sounds like a lot of police-ing. Know what I mean? So I'm curious as to how it's panning out for you. How old is Layne? How are the attention spans of your kids? I would love to hear how this has changed your day to day. It sounds like such a fantastic idea!!

  47. Big chalk board. I like the organizes print out you have there. I am a new follower.

    Check out mines

  48. This post was awesome! I've definitely been feeling the same way about gratefulness lately, and you've really inspired me to take action. Thank you!

  49. You were my scatter-brained I feel like I need to get my act together, if you're getting yours together. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed it.

  50. THANKS SO MUCH for this post; thanks, too, for sharing your lists! I love your approach to your resolution; I so often let mine fall through the cracks (and well i guess so do a lot of people.. wait am i just saying that to make myself feel better? probably. wah wah).. ANYWAY THANKS for your vigilance and zeal to NOT let yours fall thru--- thanks for sharing with the world your steps to make goal setting (and ACHIEVING!) :) do-able and not overwhelming. THANKS JAMI!

    sorry we've never met and i'm just a blog-stalker-intranet friend from ohio! haha:)
    ella :)

  51. Obviously I'm a little late reading this. But I was just sitting in my room procrastinating cleaning/laundry while facebooking/blogging. This is inspirational enough to get me from taking that nap I want, and to finish de-cluttering this place! Thanks! And great verse at the end.


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