Category Archives: love

Confessions of a Clutter-aholic: I’m Giving Up Junk Instead Of Junk Food For Lent

Hi. My name is Jill, and I’m a Clutter-aholic.

If you know me, or have read through the earlier postings on this blog, you are aware that over the past year my family and I have downsized from a very large and spacious home to a small/average sized home that also contains a functioning business within it. Our living and storage space is probably a quarter of what it was a year ago. It has been challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure anything could have adequately prepared me for this…my head is still spinning from all of the moving, rearranging, throwing away, selling, purging, and burning that we have already done….and my anxiety peaks every time I look at the mountains of boxes, bags, laundry baskets, etc. that still need sorted through and organized. It’s honestly more overwhelming than I can explain…

If I were an organized, Martha Stewart type neat freak, I’m sure I’d feel like I had the courage and skills to tackle it…but then again, if I were that type of personality, I wouldn’t be quite in the predicament I am right now, would I?  I wouldn’t have collected all of the junk and crap. I would have thrown away items of no use, donated clothing we no longer needed or used, shredded old documents and papers. Prior to the move I would’ve had things organized, boxed, and labeled properly. That’s the person I WANT to be. That I aspire to become.

But I’m pretty much as far from that as one can possibly get on the “neat freak spectrum”. I’m not going to say I’m a “hoarder”, because, that is just too scary for me to even think about. I’m not like the hoarders that television shows are made of, at least not yet (you will not find any dead animal carcasses anywhere and you do not need a shovel to be able to find my floor…so that makes me feel like “hoarder” is definitely too strong of a word for me…).

I like to think of it as simply having a gift for acquiring crap and keeping it. Forever. I can’t even explain it. Let me show you…

The last time I cleaned out my bag (or very large purse), I dumped it on the table and this is a portion of the contents that spilled out: 10745109_4678314331874_1024699730_nSee what I mean? Crazy, huh? It’s all perfectly good stuff…but in my bag that I carry around daily? I mean how often does one need a remote control or canning jar lid when you’re out and about? How many times did you ever wish you had thought to throw an outlet cover, baggie of googly eyes or container of garlic powder into your bag before leaving for the mall? And I had been carrying it around for a couple of months, probably.

Now if you take a look at that, and then consider that I have an entire basement full of “stuff” that needs sorted through, you can imagine my apprehension. And my subsequent avoidance of it. I’m the Queen of “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m not proud to hold that title, trust me. I have fantasies about having the most organized home and life on the planet. I want to be able to go to a drawer, cupboard, closet, or box and know exactly what I will find in there.

I know. I NEED HELP.

Today, I walked to the basement. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked at the catastrophic heap of clutter and literally said out loud “Oh My God, I have no idea what to do with this mess.” And I turned around and walked up the stairs, closing the door on it like I had done 100 times.

This is where I believe Divine intervention came into play.

I walked directly to the computer, sat down, and on my Facebook newsfeed was a posting from a Facebook page called White House Black Shutters, with a link to their website at http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com, but what caught my eye was THIS picture:40bagsdecrapgraphic-700x700I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing. I mean, I HAD just told God that I had no idea what to do with the mess in the basement. If this wasn’t a sign, I’m not sure what it was. And I’m much too God-fearing to ignore it. So guess what? Tomorrow, Wednesday February 18, is Day 1 of my “40 Bags In 40 Days” challenge. Please click on their link and check out, in detail, how exactly this awesome decluttering challenge works. Anna Marie, the genius behind it all, has been doing this for several years now, and gives tons of great tips for the most successful decluttering outcome. She also gives ideas for organization, offers support, and provides links to other great resources within her website and facebook page.

In a nutshell, this is what I will be doing:  I will go through a portion of the basement, or a box, drawer, or closet upstairs….and declutter — DECRAPIFY — that one spot or space that I assigned myself for the day. If it’s a very busy day, I will still go through even one small box, bag, cupboard or drawer…to get rid of what I can’t or won’t use, and organize the remaining items. Even a small amount of daily decluttering is positive progress and better than nothing. And I am committing to do this throughout Lent, through April 4th. Sundays are a “free” day, in which you can take a break from it.

Do any of YOU have decluttering and decrapifying that needs done? Let’s declutter and decrapify together…I’m not too proud to admit that I could really use a support system. Do you wish you had more order and organization in your life or home? Do you feel overwhelmed or have anxiety about crap that you’ve accumulated and need to get rid of?  Woman walking across landscape of clothesIf so, PLEASE PLEASE join me. I would love to have some company on this journey.  I will keep you updated occasionally by posting some before and after pics with updates, and it would be beyond awesome to see some of YOUR progress and feedback as well. Let’s decrapify together!!

—make sure you “Follow” me on my blog (Click the blue “follow” button” here on the blog site) and “Like”  This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla Facebook page to see my updated posts.

I’m well aware that actually getting rid of the stuff and organizing is the first step, and as big of a task as it is, the bigger and harder part of the journey for me will be the maintenance that is required to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m bound and determined to live a life of calmness, organization and simplicity.

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Cheers to a “Less is More” state of mind (and never again finding garlic powder and a remote control in my purse),

Jill ❤

I Am Who I Am

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following status on Facebook, as a result of a stretch of bad weather that brought several days with 2 hour delays and/or school closings for our school district:

10994680_10200145928486988_1688217090_nMy intent was a stab at humor, laced with the honest truth that my own kids (and the kids in the daycare) were starting to give me a run for my money (and make me want to pull my hair out, drink coffee in large quantities, eat chocolate for comfort from the chaos, and by the end of the day push me to drinking, lol). For the most part, I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends got that and had a good laugh with me, several commiserating over the fact that their kids were driving them crazy too. The next day someone asked me if I was concerned that a status like that would offend people, or hurt my daycare business. And that started me thinking…WOULD that be offensive to people? As a daycare business owner, am I putting myself at risk by a status such as this? Would it make them speculate that I don’t want their children at daycare or appear rude? After a few minutes of thought, my honest reply was “Well I would hope that it wouldn’t be offensive or hurt my business, because that’s just me being REAL. And if I can’t be real and still be respected and trusted, then I probably am not a good fit as a daycare provider for that person.” Does it make me a bad mom or daycare provider to admit that I’m human, not Mary Poppins? No, it just makes me honest.

Isn’t is exhausting to have to pretend to be something we aren’t? It’s no fun to try to have to keep up a façade that everything in our lives is perfect and lovely and beautiful every single day. I’ve been there and done that, and it just plain stinks, having to play that part and not being able to be yourself…being afraid of what others might think of you. Isn’t it more interesting and so much easier to just be real? Yes, there will always be those that judge you or point their finger at you, trying to make you look small in order to pump up their own ego. So what? Let them, I say.

I would rather share the real stuff, and allow myself and my life to have the transparency that it needs so that others can know who I AM. How else can you have honest connections with others, especially in the world as we know it, where social media is often times the only way we keep connected to friends and family? And go ahead and admit it, I know every one of you reading this has a friend (either on Facebook or actively in your life) who pretends that everything is just GREAT. The marriage is fantastic and the children are perfect angels 100% of the time and they have a garden and grow all of their own vegetables and are completely organic and work out every day and run marathons and have fabulous vacations and every selfie is flawless and they have a dream job and make a million dollars and of course they also volunteer for several charities and are on every committee at their school and church…and so on. You get the picture, don’t you?

Raise your hand if you just want to throat punch them when you see that stuff day in and day out. Go ahead, raise it up high, no one is going to know. And I’m right there with you. 

Check this out. See these yummy turtle chocolate chip cookies? I made these last night. No, not from scratch…they were the cheating kind, that you just break apart and throw in the oven. SO good though, seriously. With pecans and ooey gooey caramel, and I left them underbaked just a tad so they stayed really soft. Perfection. There was a dozen in the package.11004132_10200141090766048_864673559_n I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I was disappointed when Vincent walked in the kitchen and wanted one. I tried to convince him that he wouldn’t like them, but he tried one anyway…and then there were eleven. And by 8am today there were ZERO. Because I ate all eleven of those cookies by myself and they made me happy. How’s that for being real? Eating those cookies was the last thing that I needed to do, particularly since every time I get dressed to go somewhere I’m near tears about how I look and feel about myself right now. It’s been a long winter and this wasn’t my first date with a package of these cookies. I most definitely have a lot of work to do to get my butt back into shape. Literally. But you know what? It was cold outside and I was tired, and I wanted the damn cookies, plain and simple. I washed them down with a couple glasses of milk and then laid on the couch. It happens, friends, in the real world.

And a few days ago I posted a blog about the fact that I had a less than stellar moment as a mom, when I realized that I had pretty much NOTHING to put into my 8 year old’s lunch for school. So I popped a bag of microwave popcorn and threw it in his lunch box along with a half dehydrated apple, a type of granola bar that I knew he didn’t even like, and some almonds. I could’ve cried about it, because I really did feel like a horrible mom– but the feedback I received from that post with comments like “omg this has happened to me too” or “don’t worry, my kid won’t eat sandwiches so I just send snacks” etc. turned into a whole lot of fun reading and made me feel less horrible and more normal.

So here’s to being ourselves, flaws and all, and not being afraid to show that we’re only human.

Although I have to admit I really WOULD love to know how to take one of those flawless selfies that some of these chicks pull off….someone needs to give me the inside scoop on that one…

Cheers to (hopefully) a much more interesting read in my upcoming news feeds, friends….

Jill ❤

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One of those less than stellar mom moments….

Well it’s lunchtime and I can’t help but wonder what Gino thought about his lunch that I packed for him today….

Twenty years. I’ve been packing school lunches for my children for twenty long years. I can best describe this task as…MISERY. If I had known how much I would loathe it, I would’ve chosen to have my four children in the span of four years rather than eighteen years, just to get past the misery of packing these wretched lunches everyday as quickly as possible.

When my first child started school and could take a lunch, it was FUN for me. Going to the grocery store was like a treasure hunt to find the coolest foods and snacks to pack in his cute little lunch box. All the first grade kids (and their newbie moms like me) were so excited. It’s like a right of passage into first grade–you get to go to the cafeteria and sit at the lunch tables as a big kid.  And all the kids check out what the other kids bring in their lunch–an unofficial first grade lunch packer contest to see who brings the coolest stuff.  And you know where that pressure falls, right? Yep, right here onto Mom. Moms are in a secret competition to one up each other and give their kid “best packer” status. And that part of it doesn’t end at first grade….as they get older there’s still that whole–“hey what did YOU bring today?” thing that goes on between the kids at lunch. My firstborn very well may have earned that status of “best packer”. Gino, however, as kid number four….not a snowball’s chance in hell.

I have tried to bribe child number four to buy the school lunch. Begged, pleaded, offered trips to Toys R Us, even. Anything to get out of packing that lunch.  In my own defense, IT’S HARD–I’m totally burnt out as the Packer of the Lunch. Today I think I hit rock bottom. Because I forgot to do a mental inventory of the fridge last night to make sure I had enough “lunch stuff”  (or maybe I just blocked it out). And after standing in front of the kid this morning, reading the lunch menu and giving an Oscar worthy performance as I made the Penne Pasta with Meatsauce sound like the most fabulous and delectable dish on earth, I got the two thumbs down sign and knew I was in big trouble. I literally had NO IDEA what I was going to put in that lunch box because I had already checked out the fridge. When I scanned the contents I had broken out into a nervous sweat and cursed myself for not having thought to stop at the grocery store last night. It was the packing mother’s worst nightmare. No lunchmeat. No string cheese. No yogurt. None of the staples that I’d typically send. Not even a freaking Slim Jim that I could try to mentally justify as a “meat”. The kid won’t eat a peanut butter sandwich to save his life. I actually considered setting the alarm on my phone as a reminder to call Fox’s Pizza at 11am and have them deliver a personal size Stromboli to the elementary school for him (but thought that might be frowned upon….)….

Today when Gino opens his lunch he will get a baggie of microwave popcorn, a rice krispie treat, an apple that I intended to throw out yesterday because it was getting to look just a tad bit shriveled, a handful of grapes that I salvaged as edible, a Nutrigrain bar in a flavor he doesnt like, a few almonds, a bottle of water, and milk money.

I know, I know, I just blew my chance at Mother of the Year. For all of you over achieving, extremely organized and 1000% organic and healthy moms, I’m sorry that you had to read this. The struggle is real. I promise I will have a multi-course, healthy, hot dinner waiting for him when he gets home from school. No need to call the authorities. AND I will restock the fridge….And undoubtedly hide some Slim Jims in the cupboard for future emergencies such as this 🙂

Cheers to tonight’s refrigerator restocking party!

Jill

Love Knows No Distance: When the one you love is far away

abad4dc74967dff7e3e64a0bdb185a22 “It’s the way I miss him before he even leaves.”

Sunday afternoon I cried, alone, in the kitchen. If those walls could talk, they would tell you that I cried my “ugly cry” shamelessly for about 10 minutes, as I mixed and molded a goopy mess into some pretty tasty meatballs that I later served for dinner. By then I was wearing a bright smile.  I was hoping I had all the tears out of my system, but when Monday morning rolled around and it was time to say goodbye to the man I love, I felt that familiar tightening in my chest that moved up into my throat. Even though I tried my best to not let it escape, it came out as a muted sob, and I had no choice but to surrender to it as he held me tight and told me he loved me. I tried not to do the ugly cry again because, let’s be honest, no one really wants their boyfriend to have THAT unflattering image burnt into his memory as his last mental image of you, especially when it would be several weeks until he would see you again.  I was going for more of a bright, cheerful, fresh-faced send off…. but darn it, it just didn’t go that way. He had to see my mascara-smeared, raccoon eyes and I think maybe I even wiped my nose on his shoulder. Crap… Maybe he didn’t notice? What can I say, I’m a cry baby and I can’t help it.

It’s the way I miss him before he even leaves. A force with a mind of its own that reduces me to ugly crying and wiping my snotty nose on his shirt. This is real life stuff, and sometimes no matter how hard you try to reason with yourself, raw emotion wins….

I watched him drive off, heading back to his home in Nashville, 500 miles away. And like several other times just like this, I said a prayer for his safe travels, giving thanks for the past several days we had shared, reflecting on time we had spent enjoying friends and family, as well as the precious moments we had gotten to spend alone together. And then it was time for me to get back to life that was happening around me, and as I was working around the house I found myself already mentally planning for a weekend trip to Nashville to see him within the next few weeks. And through my sadness of him leaving, I began to sense the rays of hope and excitement bleeding through, as I thought of my upcoming visit with him, and the memories we would make together there. And in that moment, the tears were gone and I was anxious to begin counting down the days to my next weekend adventure with my love. This, friends, is love in a long distance relationship.

Persevere: (verb). 1. to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; to continue steadfastly.

Missing someone is part of loving them.  If you never find yourself apart from each other, you’ll never know how strong your love really is. You persevere, push through the obstacles, times of sadness and loneliness, and hold onto the knowledge that you would rather battle the distance than give up on this love. I’d be lying if I told you that loving from a distance doesn’t come along with its fair share of struggles, ugly crying and all. Heck I woke up this morning and saw the empty Mountain Dew can sitting on the bedside table that he had left there from the night before, and I instantly got a knot in my stomach and I felt the threat of tears. Simple, random sights or sounds can cause a memory of him to flash through your mind, and with that comes the realization that he’s not here with you, and you miss him desperately. You may have doubt at times, you may feel jealousy, you may question the validity and “realness” of loving someone so far away.  But I can honestly tell you that when I finally was able to let go of the idea of what a “normal” relationship is, I realized that we each have the luxury of creating our very own “normal”. There is no “one size fits all” template that a relationship must conform to.  I could have chosen to say no to this. I could have walked away and insisted that I needed to have a partner that was physically present each and every day. But I won’t do that, because I admire his decision to follow his gut, that intuitive feeling that nagged at him for countless years, telling him to go to Nashville.  A huge part of the reason I love him is because of his steadfastness in being true to himself. And now, even though I admittedly miss him, that longing reminds me daily of how much I love him. Instead of the distance pulling us apart, it makes us even stronger.

Distance is not for the fearful, it’s for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough.

Now, when we do have time together, we don’t take anything for granted. What many couples would consider to be “small stuff” or inconsequential, is big stuff to us.  Holding hands, sharing a cup of coffee, holding each other at night and waking beside each other in the morning–these very common everyday occurrences become incredibly significant to people in long distance relationships. We may not see each other everyday like most couples do, but we make the very most of the time that we DO spend together. We make the moments count, we make sure to share details about our days and dig deep to communicate how we are feeling. We depend on each other for emotional support if one of us is struggling and needs encouragement. We are each other’s strength. When faced with many, many trials and tribulations over the years, our love has endured, and I believe those times prepared us for this part of our journey—loving each other from afar. Our love story continues to write itself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you, and be sure to tell those both far and near how much you love them!

Cheers!

Jill ❤
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2015, We barely know each other but I already love you.

10906139_4919087831061_224543120854867953_nI have to admit, I love the idea of a fresh start. A do-over. A chance to wipe the slate clean and begin, again. To hopefully take the lessons the past year has taught me, and use the knowledge I’ve gathered to help guide me through a new year.  Do you all feel like that as well? It’s more, WAY more, than just the “New Year’s resolution”….it’s a true feeling that you get in your gut. Sort of like a mixture of hope, determination, and spunk.

Maybe I’m a slow learner, but finally, I think I’m getting a few things right, and this year, 2015, will mark some significant changes for me, and the way I’m hoping to live, love, and enjoy life.. Here are a few thoughts and ideas that I’m taking with me into 2015:

1. Living large can, ironically, mean living with much LESS.

I’ve been doing some MAJOR downsizing. Clearing out clutter, selling off or giving away items that take up too much space, organizing, streamlining my career, even, in the hopes of leading a more stress free life. I feel that society, as a whole, has gotten so caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones'”, so to speak, that we accumulate so much “stuff” to the point where it overwhelms us not only financially but also physically and mentally. Listen, I’m not pointing fingers. I am a guilty party to it as well. Thankfully I have seen the light and have been taking the steps to live lighter and with less baggage, literally. Let me tell you how refreshing it is, once you finally loosen your grip on all of those “things” that you thought you had to have. Take it from me—-let them go. It’s an enlightening experience and my only regret is not having done it sooner.

2. I’m over caring what people think.

There you have it. I don’t care what you think. It almost makes me giggle, because I can’t believe that I’m saying this and actually MEAN it. But it’s true. I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong….I WANT you to like me, I WANT you to approve of me. But I’ve let go of worrying about getting everyone’s approval, or having anxiety over wondering how someone might react to a decision I’ve made. In the end, the decisions I make and actions I live by are between God and I. It’s so easy for us to forget that. As long as we know what’s in our heart and what motivates us, that’s all that’s important.

3.  Saving money is a monthly priority.

One of the positive results of the downsizing of material things is the opportunity to be able to save some money. I’ve gone from a huge home and daycare to two average size homes, to finally, just this month, ONE average size home. I’ve slashed utility expenses, living expenses, and liquidated some junk I had sitting around just taking up space. All of that equals a step in the right direction toward financial security and getting my ducks in a row, as I like to put it.  I sat down, made a budget, and right at the top was a line for savings. I’ve made it a priority and I have a yearly goal that I not only intend to meet but hope to exceed.

4. Living life to the fullest extent while maintaining responsibility for my family and business.

Let’s face it, I can’t just jet set away to exotic lands, jump off of cliffs into oceans of blue water or go on incredible excursions at the drop of a hat, but I WILL be traveling more, enjoying time with those that I love on a more consistent basis, and experiencing more of what life has to offer. Being in a long distance relationship was a bit daunting for me for a while, until I realized that it’s actually a GIFT. I’ve embraced it, and no longer see it as an obstacle; instead it’s a chance to show support to my partner and share in his journey with him. Spectacular adventures, meeting new people and making new friends, going places and seeing things I’ve never seen before—I’m a lucky girl to be given this opportunity called “living”. I intend to make the most of it. You should too.

5. Most importantly, I’m sharing all of these changes with my children in the hopes that they will incorporate them into their own lives, and benefit from them as well.

I’ve learned that the best gift I can give my children is allowing them to see me truly happy. I haven’t always been successful at that, so I get a tremendous amount of joy in finally getting to a point where the positive changes, although viewed as radical by some, have brought about a peace and happiness in me that is easily seen and felt by my children. There’s nothing better than that.

Have you made changes for 2015? I’d love to hear about them!

Cheers to 2015!

Jill