Archive for the ‘Nowell Kiddos’ Category

Armed with my handful of black trash bags, I donned my scuba mask (the kind that covers your nose) and heavy-duty gloves, preparing for my trek to the man-child’s room. As I traversed the first mountain of dirty clothes, I regretted my decision not to pack a sandwich. I could be in here for hours! I heard a groan from across the room, then a large lump on the bed whined, “Do we have to do this today?”

“Be brave, Tris” I whispered.

He didn’t get my Divergent joke, or find the mask and gloves the least bit funny.

While almost none of this story is true, (the groaning and trash bags were real) Max was nervous but determined to clear out his stuff. And guess what? We did it!

We spent the morning distracted by friendly visitors, including a very sweet and cuddly 3-month-old named Lillian Grace. When everyone left, I explained my plan to my firstborn and we got to work. Together. That was the key. I could yell and scream at that kid for hours about cleaning up his room, shaming him for letting it get so out of hand, and threatening to take away his birthday, but I decided to try out the adage about catching flies with honey instead of vinegar.

Before we began, I made a list of questions for us to ask as we deliberated over the harder choices of what to part with:

Purging QuestionsWe started at the doorway and chatted while we worked side by side, sorting clothing, shoes, papers, books, trash, and projects.

Oh. My. Word. Max loves projects. He’s a creative spirit and his hands are always moving, shaping, cutting, crafting, carving, and duct-taping. And his room tells the tale. His work table alone qualifies for hoarding status.Well, it did. Now it’s a sleek work space.

All of my children are sentimental, so I wondered if this purging quest would challenge them to tears. I was a bit surprised as I watched Max toss things in the trash I was sure he’d have a reason for keeping. I was prepared to talk him through it, but he was doing fine on his own, so I kept my mouth SHUT! In the case of decluttering, more is better, and there was no way I was slowing that process down.

I didn’t ask him why he kept every scrap of paper his girlfriend has ever given him, or why he needs a dozen green lantern rings, but I was truly puzzled why he had four shoes with no mates. Seriously? Four? How does that even happen?

At the end of the day we had cleared out three large bags of trash, donated over half of his stuff to the thrift store down the street, and discovered he does in fact have carpet in his room.

What did we learn from this hours-long process?

  1. It’s not about organizing your stuff, it’s about getting rid of stuff so you have less to organize.
  2. Stuff quickly becomes junk when left on the floor to get stepped on.
  3. Teenage boys can reach a breaking point with their clutter and beg to just bag everything up and start over.
  4. It’s possible to have too many pillows and blankets, and pens. The boy has almost as many pens as I do!
  5. He slept better in his clean space last night, and I slept better knowing we’re almost half way done! We didn’t work on the house today, but tomorrow is all about Zoe’s room, the bathrooms, and hall closets.

I almost forgot! Not only did a friend stop by with Chai, Benny and Zoe purged the kitchen and dining room for me!

How about you? Are you inspired to purge your own house yet? Are you ready to embrace simple minimalism? What is the strangest thing you’ve decluttered? Does it beat four mismatched shoes?

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3 boys. 1 girl. 2 parents. 1 dog. 1 snake.

That’s who lives at the Nowell house these days. One very big happy family. I know 6 people doesn’t sound like a lot, but our family extends further than those who live under our roof, although that number increased this month too.

This is Mat. He’s the newest member of the honorary Nowell family, and he lives with us. Mat is witty, goofy, and proficient at X-box. We’ve all enjoyed having him here even though he brought his snake with him. I’m kidding. He has blended right in, which was our prayer. Yay God!

We have family from all parts of our life: Blood relatives, old church friends, former youth group kids who are now adults, summer interns, supporters of our ministry, people who’ve mentored us and spoken life over us, people we mentor, street friends and those who aren’t homeless anymore, friends we’ve met online and will someday meet face to face, current church friends, neighbors, former co-workers, camp friends, college friends, the list goes on.

I love my family. 🙂

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I was excited to be given this book to review because of the valuable lesson of recycle-reuse-renew, something I’m already teaching my children who are 7, 9, and 12 years old. We read the book together, marveling at the soft, bright colors the artist chose. We especially liked that the brother and sister were working together to care for their environment. We all appreciated the tips for conservation, and agreed that it is our job to care for the world around us, but all of us struggled with some of the inconsistencies throughout the story.

While talking about chemicals polluting our water supply, there was a picture of the kids swimming in a pool which requires chemicals to keep it clean, and the scripture on that page references a stream in the mountains. It shows the children unplugging their Wii to conserve electricity, and then depicts them watching a TV as old as I am, with dials to change the channel – not Wii compatible or as energy-efficient as newer models. We live in a big city with lots of bright lights, yet the book looks at that as a bad thing (listed along with poisonous smog) because we can’t see the moon and stars, and where we live in Colorado, it is illegal to collect rainwater for your garden, so we talked about other ways we could conserve that are relevant to us.

My oldest son questioned why the author used scriptures that have nothing to do with caring for the planet. Good question. This book is clearly written for Christians and I’m all for using scripture when teaching, but I was as puzzled as my son.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I feel as if I’m starting off on the wrong foot with this as my first book review for Book Divas. I rarely give negative reviews, but as a reviewer and a believer, you’ll always get my honest opinion.

Over all, my children liked the book and it was a good discussion starter. While I appreciated the author’s heart for teaching children valuable lessons about caring for creation, I would not intentionally choose this book as that tool. I will say that this is the first book I’ve read by Christy Baldwin, and I would give her other books a chance.

About Christy Baldwin:
Writing has been a passion of Christy’s since she was very young. As a child, she loved to write stories for her grandfather and poems just for fun. She lives in Mason, Ohio with her family and is active in church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and volunteering with various organizations. Christy has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Scranton. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her kids and being involved in their schools. Her previous children’s titles include Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night and Remembering Wilma.

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