When Life Gives You Piles (A Survival Guide)

Recently, my husband stumbled upon a family selling all their furniture. The son was helping his 80-year-old mother get rid of everything in time for her wedding that weekend. (Marrying at 80? Wow!) We were able to purchase a table, two recliners, some decorative items, a bed for a great price, and more. What a blessing!

But also, what a mess!

Amidst all of that chaos, we have had some unwelcome guests..meet the wood scorpion and a baby rattle snake or a baby gopher snake. (We are in the process of identifying it.)

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We found one of these in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. If you get stung, it’s similar to a bee sting. You just need to be careful if you are allergic.

The Saga of the Baby Snake

This is a bit of a segue but I have to share this tale with you. The other day, I had just came home from the store and I was chatting with my neighbor. She was telling me about snake season and the tall grass. After a few minutes of chatting, I tell her it’s time to go make dinner. I go inside and what do I see but a small snake on my kitchen floor! I was less scared than I would have imagined, and I went into action mode. I told the kids to get on the couch in the other room. I started hitting the snake with a big metal spoon, but snakes are very muscular, it didn’t work. It started to scurry away under the oven. I pulled out the oven and got the broom and swept it out. Now it was caught under the broom and trying to get away. I stretched as much as I could for a random kitchen knife. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sharpest one. I proceeded to cut, er, saw, the snake in half. The snake behaved like a rattle snake – it shook the end of its tail, so it may have been. We’ll see what pest control says.

For anyone who is worried: We are in the process of making our home Fort Knox, needless to say. We have a pest control appointment, we have installed “pest reject” sensors in our main rooms to ward off mice which will in turn ward off snakes. We have plans to cut down our tall grass. We have located suspected spaces under the sink where the snake probably entered and sprayed a special foam to seal it off. As far as the scorpions, we had our pest control spray inside and apparently they don’t like lavender oil so I have been spraying that around all of the windows. I haven’t seen any since.

Unwelcome Visitors and Piles Everywhere

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do too well when my house is in disarray. The outside clutter effects how I feel inside. There have been piles everywhere for the last week and a half. Piles of laundry to do, piles of things to sort through and put away, furniture to dust and position…you get the picture. When life gives me piles I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes that causes me to procrastinate because I don’t know where to start and that only compounds the issue. I also don’t do well when a surprise pest rears it’s ugly head. I become hyper vigilant, worry about mine and my family’s safety, and I have a hard time sleeping at night.

My Survival Guide

I’ve learned from dealing with my fair share of piles and crazy circumstances some tricks that help make life easier:

  • Realize these aren’t normal circumstances and therefore adjust your expectations about what you are capable of. This is HUGE, and might be the hardest thing. It is for me. Know that life is harder right now because of something outside of your control, not because you are weak or lazy.
  • Have gratitude. Seriously. Thank God for the mess you have. Messes are always a good sign. My current mess meant I got new furniture that we really needed. Thank God! My kids messes mean I have two beautiful children. Alleluia! Find a reason to be happy about the mess.
  • Set a timer. Don’t work on the mess all day. The timer tells your brain you only have to work on something for “x” amount of time, and it also makes a stopping point so you don’t forget to eat or bathe or do something fun.
  • Prioritize. Think about what is going to have the most impact of your life. Health and safety should be at the top of the list. This can be hard, because most of us have the natural inclination to choose the tasks we like first.
  • Minimize distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb. Use distractions to your advantage. Play music in the background, listen to an audio book or podcast. I find that podcasts and audio books help me to forget how long something is taking because I want to hear more so I keep working. It feels like “me time.”
  • Simplify meals, think frozen meals, cereal for dinner. PB&J. This is not the time for meals that require tons of preparation and cleanup. It’s time to make life a little easier so you can get back to normal more quickly.
  • Gain perspective. In the grand scheme of things, what is going to happen if you don’t accomplish as much as you hoped for? Chances are, the important things will get done. As long as you prioritize, there is always time for the urgent, important things.
  • Go to bed early. This one is so hard for me, but it’s reward is great. I shoot for an hour earlier than normal.
  • Call a trusted loved one. This helps distract me in a positive way and it’s nice to have some social time amidst the chaos and know I’m not alone.
  • Pray. Ask the Lord to give you strength and wisdom through this time.
  • Know that this is bare minimum time, not a time for high standards.
  • Stop the diet , and just focus on healthier choices. If ice cream enters the scene, enjoy responsibly. The sooner you take a break, the sooner you will get back to optimum functioning.

Do any of you have some crazy pest stories? Encounters with a snake or some other wild creature? What do you do when life gets chaotic? What helps you get by during those hard times? Let me know in the comments below!

Everything Doesn’t Have To Match

Do you ever see other people’s homes, and feel like you are different and/or somehow wrong because in your house not everything matches perfectly? Or maybe you are a college student living paycheck to paycheck and you can’t afford to keep up on the latest trends (nor do you have the time.)

Whatever the case is, I’m here to tell you, everything doesn’t HAVE to match.

Or be curated. Pinterest-worthy. Instagram-ready. On trend.

It’s okay if things are mismatched. A few seasons old. Hand-me-downs. Antiques that have seen better days. Homemade. What matters is that you do the best you can with what you have, and demonstrate the kind of person you are.

What matters is that you do the best you can with what you have, and demonstrate the kind of person you are.

Learning to Invite People

I spent too long in my life closing myself off from inviting people in because my home wasn’t perfectly curated. Or just not being social because of budget restraints.

(And mind you, if your home has all of the latest, praise God! I am so happy for you. This message isn’t necessarily for you.)

This message is for those of us who worry out homes aren’t good enough. Or our wardrobe isn’t good enough , or our budget isn’t good enough. I’m here to tell you, that whatever the Lord has blessed you with at this current moment in time, is good enough. And don’t let comparison steal your peace and keep you from inviting people into your home, and from going out in public, etc. Maybe you don’t have a lot of money right now, but the things that show the character of a person are always free :

  • Creativity. Sometimes constraints are the key to our most creative endeavors.
  • Cleanliness. Clean is beautiful.
  • Tidiness. Tidy is peaceful.
  • Generosity. You don’t have to just give things, you can give your gifts of time and talent.
  • Kindness. One of my favorite quotes is , “Be the kind of somebody who makes others feel like somebody.”
  • Taste. You can cultivate your own style and taste by reading books, looking at magazines and notice what speaks to you.
  • Manners. They show respect and the type of person you are.

No One Cares

Certainly, design and cohesion are important. But you have to do it with the resources you have. Don’t stress yourself out or get into debt because of fear about what others think. Just do your best.

Besides all of these things, NO ONE CARES. Everyone else is too worried about themselves.

Seriously though guys. How much of us are in debt because of trying to keep up with the Jones’ and have what is popular? As Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” And then we waste our precious lives working way too hard to pay the things off. Meanwhile we could be using that time to enjoy our lives, our homes, our friends, and our family. Haley Stewart has some great insight on this in her book:

And good ol’ Dr. Suess said it best:

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It’s None of My Business Anyway

Whenever I feel insecure, I just remind myself that my responsibility is to be the best version of myself and to be a blessing to others – what they think of me is none of my business! I find this very empowering. It frees me from worry because it reminds me of the only thing I have control over – my own actions.

Be Social Anyway

So go ahead. Your are now empowered to be social anyway. Be social despite your shortcomings and despite your imperfections. Just do what you can and God will do the rest.