eyes wide open

(Revised Common Lectionary readings can be found here.)

The Gospel reading is John 13: 21 – 32.

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.

One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved–was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

The Black Christ. Charles Cullen

it’s holy week.

This is Holy Week, capital H, capital W. It’s the week where we slowly trace the last bit of Jesus’ journey to the cross. We shouted “Hosanna” on Sunday, and if you are like me, you may have wrestled with the bit about the donkey the disciples stole, or perhaps you are tending conflicted feelings about the foreboding imminence of Good Friday and the expectation of an Easter Sunday celebration. Regardless of our level of discomfort with the events that culminated with the torture and death of Jesus, and the day of mourning before the resurrection, it’s important to sit with the tension of the following statement: The events of the Passion Week were necessary and intentional.

The Passion of Christ was not a giant cosmic whoops, or a story that took a wrong turn somewhere, or a random mistake. The Creator of the Universe would not accidentally become a created being. Jesus’ eyes were wide open and he was fully aware of how this whole thing was gonna go before he traded in his place on the mercy seat for the discomfort of the womb of a Palestinian Jewish girl. Jesus knew what it would mean for him to become incarnate: fully God and fully human.

The Passion of Christ was not a giant cosmic whoops.

The Lectionary offers us a Gospel lesson today that brings us in near the end of the communal Passover meal. In other Gospels, the authors tell of the way Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, and shared it with his friends. There is bread and wine in John’s account, but instead of focusing on the meal part of the Last Supper, John tells us that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. Most of the chapter our reading is from is about the foot washing, and the resulting conversation. OF COURSE Peter is completely extra and simultaneously refuses to be washed by Jesus and begs Jesus to wash him from head to toe.

We’ve heard this story before, and we know by now what happens after the meal. Judas betrays Jesus to the chief priests and the Pharisees, and he is arrested by the Roman soldiers, tortured and murdered. And this was the plan the entire time. This sequence of events is exactly what Jesus signed up for — does it hurt your brain? IT HURTS MY BRAIN.

 

Judas Kissing Jesus. Chris Cook Art. 

See the church has done a bad, bad thing when it talks about the Passion of Christ. We have been trained that Jesus’ pain and death is our fault, that we are responsible for killing the son of God. It would be cruel, emotional extortion and manipulation if I was to tell you that you are so completely horrible that someone needed to die to make up for all of your garbage behaviour. This is so often the message of the Church: guilt, shame, wretchedness. It hurts my heart. Does it hurt your heart, too?

The Church inflicts trauma on her people when she blames us for killing Christ. This is a wholly unnecessary, theologically troubling, cruel and unusual treatment of beloved community.

AND YET.

There is nothing in any story of Jesus that is cruel. There is nothing manipulative about Jesus. There is only love. Now, yes, sometimes that love comes Jeopardy! style, in the form of a question, but time and time again Jesus commands us to love. Jesus says, “Love one another as I have loved you,” at least once a chapter between John 13-16. He tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts and minds and spirits, and that loving our neighbor is like loving God. Jesus loved with intention and forethought. Jesus took on a human existence with intention and forethought and love. For him, healing was love. Feeding the hungry is love. Standing with the disenfranchised is love. Sharing a meal with sex workers is love. Protecting the vulnerable is love. Teaching people to read is love. Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers is love.

Jesus chose to live this human existence because being in relationship with people you love matters.

Jesus was intentionally incarnate. He had all the information when he chose to become the God-Man and he knew what it meant to go out into the far country and exist with and for the lost. Jesus made a conscious choice to be our Immanuel, our God With Us. It wasn’t like signing up for early church history class with Dr Tyson and reading the syllabus on the first day and discovering that there’s a handwritten, multiple essay final exam, and knowing there is absolutely no way to avoid that exam. Jesus chose to live this human existence because being in relationship with people you love matters. Friends, we are the people Jesus loves. Every person to draw breath on this earth, every heart that has ever beat belongs to a person Jesus loves.

invitation to an embodied faith

What would happen if we believed that Jesus was intentionally incarnate? What would our lives look like? What kind of faith would that be? The impact of the life of Jesus had political, economic, and social affect. The power of the Gospel of Christ is in the invitation to live and love like Jesus, and to practice faith that is political, economic, and social.

The power of the Gospel of Christ is in the invitation to live and love like Jesus, and to practice faith that is political, economic, and social.

It’s in the invitation to embody a political faith. Political faith is showing up with food, water, and a place to stay when ICE dumps migrant people around the corner from the bus station. Political faith rejects white supremacy and all of the ways it pollutes society. Political faith rejects the evangelical insistence for a theocracy.

It’s in the invitation to invest economically. Yes, it’s very sad that Notre Dame was on fire. But the Catholic Church has the capital to make it new again (make it old again?). How about we use our economic power to rebuild those churches in Louisiana that were burned to the ground by a racist arsonist? How about we put our money where our mouths are and get Flint some water already. How about maybe we don’t take that voluntourism trip that’s rooted in colonialism and white saviourism, and only temporarily benefits the people on the trip and instead invest in indigenous communities by giving them the money and not taking away the power to make their own decisions for their own communities. How about that?

And finally, it’s in the invitation to be socially faithful. Honestly, I think this one is more of a command due to the number of times Jesus tells us to love our neighbors, but you’re free to think about it in language that’s meaningful to you. It’s the invitation to not worry about which bathrooms people use. It’s the invitation to notice that your neighbor’s driveway hasn’t been shoveled in days. It’s the invitation for white folks to pull over and bear witness to interactions between people of colour and the police. It’s the invitation to be intentional about creating space that all members of the community can access equally.

We need to have our eyes wide open when we accept the invitation to join Jesus on this path to the cross. Because, dear ones, people still suffer for this Gospel. Suffering is part of being human. Here is how the Message expresses the verses from Hebrews: 

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

live the gospel into existence

Friends, the only way to bring the Gospel of Christ to the world is to live it intentionally into existence, and the only way to live it intentionally is to keep your eyes wide open and focused on Jesus. This means we need to see the hungry, the lonely, the people who are othered. To understand the life of Jesus we need to meet the gaze of the hurt, the oppressed, those who are abused, and the ones who suffer from violence. If we are going to make any sort of worthwhile contribution to this broken universe, we must walk the path of the cross for each other in love, the way Jesus walked it for us.

Amen.

benedictus

And now, community of my heart, may the Lord torment you. May the Lord keep before you the faces of the hungry, the lonely, the rejected and the despised. May the Lord afflict you with pain for the hurt, the wounded, the oppressed, the abused, the victims of violence. May God grace you with agony, a burning thirst for justice and righteousness. May the Lord give you courage and strength and compassion to make ours a better world, to make your communities a better community, to make your church a better church. And may you do your best to make it so, and after you have done your best, may the Lord grant you peace.

debacle

I turned the television to watch the election results at about 8:30 p.m. We are in the Eastern time zone, and I was looking forward to watching Hillary Clinton be declared president. An hour later, my gut told me the election was going the other way, and by 10:00, I knew the results were not going to turn out how I expected.

I thought about the people I know. I live in an extremely red town, in a red county, in a red section of a blue state. I thought about how excited many of my neighbors must be; I thought about the people I love who are not straight and white and Christian. My friends whose marriages may come under attack from a White House where the second in command believes in one-man-one-woman marriage, and advocates for electroshock therapy and conversion therapy to fix the gays. I thought about all the teenagers and twenty-somethings I know who are discovering that who they are is quite different from what their parents believe is good and correct. I thought about the Native people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the sacrifices they are making on a daily basis. I thought about Ana and the rest of the Buffalo 25, who were arrested in an ICE raid in October.

Wednesday morning I woke up, and saw a message from the parent of a Black son who was assaulted on the school bus by other children, because he was Black and because he was not born in this country. Nobody helped. Nobody stood up for this child. All day long, more and more reports of racist-fueled attacks came out via social media. A colleague of mine got a phone call from their children at school, asking to please be picked up because they were being harassed for their family’s politics. I could link every word in this blog post to separate incidents of hate-fueled crime and not run out of examples.

Last weekend I read that 66% of white women voted for Donald Trump. Sixty-six percent of white women think it is better to have a president who speaks with disdain and disrespect about women, and brags about sexually assaulting women, than it is to have a woman president. I don’t understand this, but as the days slip by I realize that the things I don’t understand are many, and that nothing is every only white or only black. I wonder if what we consider to be white is really a million different shades of grey. Or is it an asymptote? Is the path of things just a curved particularity that get closer and closer to its definition, but never quite gets all the way there, even after it exceeds infinity?

Or are things exactly the opposite? Do they begin near their definition, and then follow a trajectory up and out and away, always recreating, doubling down, becoming caricatures of what they originally were?

Two years ago, our President-Elect tweeted, “Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?” and now he is the president, and his list of cabinet appointees is a swamp of incompetence. The latest, education secretary Betsy DeVos, has never taught, has no personal experience with public education, and appears to be a Ken Ham-level science denier. But she’s rich and white and Christian, and has fulfilled the Trump Trifecta.

“Just wait! It will work out! Everything will be fine!” Yes. Everything will be fine for the people who are CHRISTIAN, WEALTHY, and WHITE. If you meet the criteria, you could plug your nose and bury your head in the sand and completely ignore the storm that is brewing in Manhattan. You could come up for air right before the next election.

But hear this. The president-elect is already placing limits on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, and he’s not even in office yet. He’s going to make America great again by making sure nobody is around to report on his daily activities, by doubling down on the militarization of police, by closing the gap between Church and State, and by trimming the Bill of Rights. Oh, and so what if it costs a million dollars a day for his wife and child to live in Manhattan from now until June? And so what if he is making money by being the landlord to the Secret Service members who are protecting his family? And so what if he is part owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and has a vested interest in completing that project?

So no, I’m not going to get over this. And neither is America.

a psalm of praise

It has been so long since I have posted my writing.
Here is my first assignment for the Psalms class I am taking this semester, a psalm of praise.
*****

O God, it is you who I praise.
You are the one who creates,
you reached into the depths and brought forth all that is
You breathed life into my lungs and with that, I sing to you.

What was there, what substance did you find in those depths
that you should see it and think of humanity?
You spoke the sun, moon, and stars into being,
From the inside of nothing you set apart the water and the land.

Again and again you dipped your hands in the deep
and again and again you brought forth all we could ever need—
Food, water, creatures to walk beside us, and soar overhead.
Your every action overflows with love for what you have made.

You placed your hands in the dirt and shaped us
You formed us to be your image-bearers so that every
time we look at one another we see
your face, your love, your gentleness and mercy.

With every breath that crosses my lips, I sing your praises,
My heart overflows with gratitude and amazement
that the beauty I see was created for me.
My great God, it is you who I praise.

diffusing joy

I have been unreasonably crabby today. In a horrible stroke of luck, or –possibly– bad planning, we ran out of heavy cream. See, I don’t play around when it comes to coffee. I know what kind of beans of like, I know how to make my cuppa exactly how I like it, and I like my coffee with heavy cream. No sugar, no half and half, none of that non-dairy powder or milk-like flavour syrup.

So that happened. I’m practically decaffeinated. And to give you a little mental picture of the sort of things happening here, I offer this list of things I have said today.

“Please do not touch him.”

“NE PAS TOUCHER!!!”

“Control your feet, sir.”

“We do not use kicking as a form of communication.”

“Please explain to me how you accidentally kicked him? You do understand that when you thrust your foot away from your body, toward his body, when he’s close to you, that it gives the impression that you intended to kick him?”

“Well if you do not intend to kick someone, you should stop flinging your feet away from your body, and into the body of your brother.”

Yep. It’s like that. I’m combatting the combat with a couple drops of Joy in the diffuser, a bowl of popcorn, and some chocolate.

 

 

 

 

real winter is cold.

Apparently we have been having pretend winters up here in the great white North-ish-but-really-Western-New-York. Snow, thaw, cold, not-so-cold, freeze, snow, thaw. FOR YEARS. Like a decade.

I have been hibernating, happy as an introvert can possibly be, trapped in the house for days on end with four stir-crazy short people and a super-bored cat whose goal in life is to eat the parakeet. We got a LOT of schoolwork done until this week. We are now studying building mechanics and physics and figuring out the velocity and force of impact of an airborne 9 year-old who weighs about 70 pounds, when he leaps from the back of the sofa. (Answer: the force is strong with that one.) Also, we eat a lot of popcorn.

Earlier this week,  Facebook News Service reported that Lake Erie had frozen over (YAY!!!), thereby ending Lake Effect Season. Lake Effect Season happens from the time the lake isn’t frozen and the wind blows magic air over the lake and BIG ENORMOUS SNOW happens, until the time the lake freezes and kills the magic. It is a very ambiguous timeline. The people of Western New York rejoiced! Huzzah!

Alas, our joy was not to be. The Weather Poltergeist has issued a Lake Effect Advisory/Watch/Warning/Thingy, because Canada hasn’t turned off their wind-maker that’s on the north side of the Other Lake, also known as Lake Ontario, or The Lake So Deep It Doesn’t Actually Freeze Because It’s Hateful And Despises Us All.

So now, not only do we have wind chill temperatures that are so low, the only places colder than outside my house are Antarctica, and a tiny village in Siberia, BUT we also are expecting an additional 6-10 inches of snow in the next 12 hours.

New York is awesome. You should all move here.

taking a trip

I’m going to Lebanon in June.

I am part of a team of 15 people from my church who are going to serve in the poor communities surrounding Beirut. About half of the team will be working with a children’s ministry, running a summer-camp-like experience. Some of the team will work on a building project for the Near East Initiative. I will be serving in the refugee community.

There is an enormous refugee situation in Lebanon due to the civil war that rages in Syria. As of March 13, there are said to be near 750,000 refugees in Lebanon. Almost a million displaced people crammed into a country the size of Western New York. Lebanon isn’t the only country receiving refugees, there are refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq, along with nearly 4 million homeless Syrians who are still in Syria. Nearly a quarter of the Syrian people are displaced.

I have been following the news about Syria for over a year. I read the news every day; I read about children freezing to death because they don’t have even the simplest tent to sleep in at night, because they don’t have clothing that’s warm enough. I read about them starving and contracting typhoid because the only water that is accessible to them is poisoned with sewage. I read about the women; wives, daughters, mothers raped and murdered. I see their photographs, and their wide-eyed faces are the faces of my own babies; the women are my friends, the dead soldiers wear the faces of my husband and brothers.

These people are so very real, and my heart is broken for them.

They have been discarded, thrown away by their corrupt government, murdered by thugs, starved by a hunger for power.

Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me.

So I will go, and I will do. Maybe I will serve food, give clothing, hand out clean water, scrub the toilets… I really don’t know what my job will be. Yes, I would be thrilled to not scrub toilets for seventeen days, but if seeing this white American girl scrub poo is what I need to do to show the love of my God to people who have nothing, then so be it.

Part of going on a mission trip is raising money. This trip costs about $4000, not including renewing my passport, all of the immunizations, and other random expenses that will pop up along the way. One of the opportunities the team has is to sell Twice Cleansed organic olive oil soap. It has three ingredients: olive oil, water, and lye. Olive oil soap is wonderful for people who have dry, itchy skin. You can click here to read more about the soap, and to make a purchase. A single bar is $5, and a 4-pack is $20. It takes a whole lot of soap-selling to reach $4000, so I would love if you would share the link with your social media circles.

If you aren’t interested in soap, but would rather just make a donation to support my fundraising efforts, please let me know, and I will provide you with my paypal address or send you one of the fancy donation envelopes that the church provides. (Fancy donation envelope = tax deduction, btw.)

And as much as I appreciate your financial support, I ask you to pray for my team. We are fully aware that we are travelling to a dangerous place, and that there will be enormous demands on our mental and physical abilities. If you are not a pray-er, we’ll take your good thoughts and intentions.

Have questions for me? I’ll do my best to answer them in the comment section, unless it’s something a little too personal to share with all the interwebs, in which case I’ll send you an email.

organize now challege: memorabilia

Oh, the stuff that piles up when you have four children. My word, people, it can get ugly so fast. The papers, the artwork, the random sticks and stones and bottle caps and strings. Add to that moving into a house packed to the brim with a all of the things your husband’s granddad and grandmother owned… Oy.
The Mister and I got married in 2001, months after his grandfather passed away, and we moved into his grandfather’s house. Everything was there. Pots, pans, dishes, silverware, linens, furniture, all.of.the.things. On one hand, it was a huge blessing to have everything provided for us. On the other hand, it was just a lot of stuff. And on the other hand, it was very interesting to sort through all the things with my new mother-in-law. 
Most of my stuff from my childhood and college years was in boxes in the garage and basement, where it stayed for YEARS because a) I had no immediate use for it, and b) there was no place to put it. Last summer I went through most of the boxes and discovered that there was next to nothing in any of the boxes that was even sort of important to me. I filled our big green garbage bin; I filled contractor bags. It was SO.CRAZY.GOOD to have it gone.
One of the first things Jen says in her chapter about memorabilia is to save only what is STILL MEANINGFUL to you, not what was meaningful to you back in the day. I pitched random tchotchkes, all the letters from former boyfriends (I had one that really embraced the idea of the love letter), programs from concerts I performed in college that I didn’t remember. It felt really good to shed all those extra pounds of things I had stopped caring about.
Another idea Jennifer proposes is to organize photos into archival-quality albums. My two oldest children have well-documented albums of their first few years. I don’t have albums of the last two, but I do have thousands upon thousands of digital files of photographs that are organized by month on our computer. And yes, they are backed up. Because seriously people? BACK.UP.YOUR.FILES. It’s so easy I can do it all by myself, and I will not have to perform The Ugly Cry if our hard drive bites the dust.
I do have two clothing items I am saving: my high school jacket (I’m really not sure why I’m keeping it, other than that I’m just not ready to pitch it yet), and my wedding dress and veil. Right after our wedding, I had my dress cleaned and preserved, and it lives in the back of my super-small closet in an enormous box. There are some tiny baby clothes saved from when my people were tiny, and those are wrapped in tissue and stored in our non-hypo-allergenic cedar chest, away from the nasty moths.
Now. If only I could part with yarn and fabric as easily. Hrmph.
Check in to see what the other super-organizers are doing!
House of Grace

organize now challenge: post four – the routine

I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m not really a morning person. Turns out that five out of six Daytons in my house is not a morning person. Those are HORRIBLE ODDS, people, horrible. We thrashed through preschool with the oldest two, and very nearly lost our minds with the third. We sent our oldest to public school, and no matter what we did to make it easier, happier, better, it just wasn’t a good fit. We went to church Every! Sunday! Because! That’s! What! We! Did! It was brutal, and I’m pretty sure that the answer to the cliche “What Would Jesus Do?” was nothing that was actually happening in our home.
So we stopped. We evaluated our options. We slowed down.
And oh, my word, people, the thrashing about and soldiering on fell away. We found our rhythm, one that is a little bit flexible and a little bit scheduled. Some of the short people like to cuddle in our bed in the morning and talk about The Things and The Stuff; another one grabs his school books and joins in the pile. Some days we school at the kitchen table, on others we grab a quilt and head to the back yard (not now, obvs, but in the autumn and spring), sometimes everyone fetches their own quilts and hunkers down on the sofa with assorted school books and novels.
It works for us. 
Even so, there are days when we need to get up and out in short order, namely homeschool group days. The short people each have three classes, and I usually teach one or two fiber arts classes. This semester it’s crochet. 
The first tip in the Organize Your Morning Routine chapter is to have a list for each person’s to-dos, including chores, grooming habits, breakfast, etc. Next, Jen suggests that you estimate how long it takes each person to do each item on the list, and plan a Rise-and-Shine time based on that. The third tip is to pare the list down, and eliminate all the things you can do the night before. Jen also recommends establishing a family “Launch Pad”, a resting place for all the items that will be grabbed on the way out the door.
This is how it works out for us:
The Night Before:
  1. Pack all the supplies I need to teach my classes. This semester, it’s extra crochet hooks, scissors, extra yarn, finished squares for the blanket we’re making.
  2. Pack snacks for after class. Usually I stuff our picnic basket with apples, cheese sticks, yogurt and something salty. And water bottles. Lord help me if I forget the water bottles.
  3. Round up anything each of the short people needs to take to class. This is usually a pretty quick item, but one semester I forgot to double check that a certain girl-child had packed the novel the class was discussing and the notebook… EVERY CLASS. Six times in a row. I earned an F for FORGETTER.
  4. Pack five pairs of shoes, so that when the winter boots come off, shoes can go on. My people are notorious for forgetting shoes (see item 3 and know they come by this honestly).
  5. Take all of the packed things out to the car.
  6. Remove bagels and cream cheese from the fridge so breakfast is easy-peasy.
  7. Load slow cooker with next-day’s dinner. Plug slow cooker into the outlet, otherwise the Ugly Cry is guaranteed at approximately 3:25 the next afternoon.
The Morning Of:
  1. Wake everyone by 7:45. Except Jack, because he’s always already up.
  2. Wake everyone up again at 8:00.
  3. Forcibly remove girl-child from bed no later than 8:10. 
  4. Everybody gets dressed before going downstairs. Except Jack, because he’s already dressed, and has been entertaining himself for an hour.
  5. I toast bagels and spread cream cheese and make coffee for me (and sometimes the girl-child will get a mocha if she’s playing nicely with others; I’m not above a bribe).
  6. Short people put on coats and boots, and when their bagel is wrapped in a napkin, they get in the car.
  7. We need to be driving away from the house no later than 8:45 in good weather, and no later than 8:30 in wretched weather, because we have an hour drive.
Jen’s tips for Organizing the Evening Routine are pretty similar, but also include setting consistent dinner and bed times.
We usually eat dinner between 6 and 6:30, depending on when The Mister gets home from work. The boys are in their pajamas by 7:30, and they snack while The Mister reads to them. They are in bed around 8:30, and then we spend time with Miss O and Elliott; they’re the night owls of the bunch. 
I think the most important question to ask when you’re creating a routine and a daily schedule is, “Is this good for my family?” Parents are so busy paying attention to so many things that it is really easy for us to forget that we are growing the next generation of adults. Doing all of the things all of the time is not always the best lesson to teach our babies. 
Here’s what the other (much more prompt) ladies have to say about their routines:
Bonnie at House of Grace
Jennifer at Mother Thyme
Linda at Tapas Lifestyle

P.S. It sounds like I kicked church to the curb, but that’s not the case. The Mister works at a church with a Saturday night service, so we attend there. And when it doesn’t work out, we put our big kid pants on and pull it together for Sunday morning service.

organize now challenge: post the fifth – papers

Here’s a tip to reduce the number of trees you are killing: take your kid out of public school. 
I KID. Really. I’m joking. Pulling your kid out of school to manage your paper issues is a terrible decision, and if your paper issues are that bad, I’m really sad for you.
Not a joke: We do not have mail delivery on my street. There’s a real live mail delivery lady who lives on our street, but the only time the mail Jeep drives by is when she’s headed to work, or on her way home. We have to go to the Post Office to fetch our mail.  
You might think it’s annoying, but let me tell you what the Post Office has besides mail: RECYCLING BINS. All my junk mail? Stays at the Post Office. Stuff never enters my home unless The Mister happens to be the one to get the mail because he just grabs the stuff and gets in the car. Not me. I open, read, and pitch what is useless. I LOVE HAVING TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE.

Another superty awesome thing I have discovered is that EVERYTHING CAN BE PAID ONLINE, thereby eliminating (almost) all of our outgoing mail. We get the occasional invoice in the mail, and if I’m really on top of things I pay it while I’m at the post office sorting the day’s mail. This also means I don’t keep stamps at my house (translation: I don’t LOSE stamps at my house).

My favourite part of each chapter in Jen’s book is the Stay Organized! list of suggestions. I can institute a new system like a boss, but sticking with it is not my strong suit. She suggests cleaning out your mail basket once a week, and once a month, making sure you’ve addressed all the invites/bills/random letters that are piling up. 

Want to see what the other participants are doing with their papers?
Jennifer Ford-Berry
Linda DeFalco 
Jennifer from Mother Thyme
Michelle McDermott