Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making Space Mondays: Link Up Party #1

Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow and my mind is on Christ and how HE took my seemingly useless, worthless life and chose to raise it to new life in HIM. I am beyond grateful. I am in love with the Master of the universe and want to put everything I have, as little as that may be, into serving Him.

Today, being such a special holiday in a Christian’s life, I want to share with you a bit of my testimony…at least the part that relates to this blog.

My life started spiraling downhill several years back. I felt worthless and depressed and it seemed I had no purpose in my life. I knew God had made me to be a writer—I feel it deep down in my bones, like a purpose trying to escape. But I felt hopeless. I knew my precious children were more important than any novel I could write, and yet I couldn’t do both. Believe me, I tried. I tried to be a good mom and I tried to be a good writer, but they clashed. Every time I was deep into a storyline, my kids would ask for a refill on juice or to take them potty.

I finally gave in and really prayed, “God, tell me what I should do. I know I’m supposed to be a writer. I also know I’m supposed to be good to my children.” His response was clear and brief.

It’s all in the timing.

So, I shelved my books. This was a huge deal for me as I had an offer from a professional writer to be an understudy and really learn the freelance trade. Life went on, but I didn’t really understand it all. My depression deepened and everything in my life seemed to be worth very little to me. I didn’t realize at the time, that God was trying to teach me what He wanted me to write about.

Down the road a little, God blessed us with this house and with an experience that would change my life. On Mother’s Day after we moved in, I fell down some marble steps in a museum and broke my ankle all the way through. It took two plates and nine screws to hold my leg bones to my foot bones. The therapy afterward got me walking again, but not without a shift in my thinking.

I had a long recovery ahead and no way to keep myself busy! I sat on a couch and stared at the floor all day. My mom came to stay with me for a few weeks, and helped me learn to get in the bathroom by myself. It took every ounce of energy I possessed to make it to the nearest one. I had to lift my weakened body to get into the wheelchair, roll down the hall, hop with 100 extra pounds of weight than I should've had, for about 5 feet. Then I had to slowly lower myself to sitting. I had to lift myself back up, balance on one leg to wash my hands, and make my way back. It was exhausting.

I had a lot to be thankful for that I hadn’t even realized before. I was passionate about teaching. I homeschooled my children and they were home with me all day—they were 7 and 5. But, I had taught them skills that I thought they wouldn’t need until much later.

 I had taught them to obey. I could let them play, because every time I called them, they came. I learned to get in the wheelchair and make my way slowly around the house. They would pick up and put away things as I directed them. They would go get dressed at my request and brushed their teeth with only a little groan. But they were obedient. It made life a lot easier.

My daughter, 7 at the time, had learned how to use the microwave, toaster,  and the coffee pot. This hadn’t been more than fun before, but suddenly she was making everyone’s breakfast and lunch for about 2 months straight. I felt so bad for her, but she never complained (and neither did I when a pbj was finger smushed and dripping with jelly). We bought microwave meals, Ramen, and Bagels. We had a lot of sandwiches, and I found out how very serving and loving my daughter was.

Also, I had taught my children to run the washing machine and dryer. I couldn’t fit the wheelchair and later the walker into the laundry room. I would sit right outside the door and wait patiently while they hummed and played their way through one load of laundry. We only did one load every few days and Josh took care of the rest, but they wanted to do it and it was a break in our otherwise mundane day.

During that time I realized how very important I was to my family. I might not have been a great house keeper before, but at least I could wash Josh’s clothes and fix breakfast and lunch for my family. I also learned how much it meant to be on the receiving side. When I couldn’t—they did. And it meant the world to me. All at once I knew it meant the same to them even when they didn’t say so. I recovered and was determined to change.

Change was slow. I quickly forgot how much I meant to my family. Then the unthinkable happened. It would change my life for good. A drunk driver hit me.

For years I had been driving a little Saturn because we were determined to remain debt free from anything that wasn’t life threatening. But I was pregnant and we were about to have a family too big to FIT into the cars we had. We had $2600 saved in the bank. We were determined to stay under that, but what in the world could you pay cash for that would run, had air, and was big enough for our family without going over $2600? Not much.

It was an enormous brown full size custom van. This van was huge! And I believe with all that’s in me that it was because of our wonderful, marvelous God that it was the only vehicle to meet our criteria that we could afford. A drunk driver collided into the driver’s side of that big ol BEAUTIFUL van right under where I sat! Did you get that? Only a couple months before, I would have been 3 feet lower. Think about that for just a minute. And this driver was not going 30 miles an hour. It was on the intersection of a freeway and when he collided into me it pushed that 2 ton van up off the ground and over 2 lanes, a median the size of two lanes, pancaked a speed sign and landed on the opposite side of the median. How fast do you think that was? I’m not sure. But fast.

I was 6 ½ months pregnant. Little Joshua is fine.

So, when I say that God has resurrected my life, I’m not just trailing a bunch of words. He saved my life…and He did it with the first vehicle we bought without paying debt.

What now?

I’m writing again, but with new direction. I have learned the importance of work that’s done in the home, of training our kids, and of loving and serving those who love and depend on us. I write because I was created to write. I write about debt free living and homemaking because God has opened my eyes and I want others who are blind to see.

So, on this Resurrection Sunday I’m starting a new series that will go on and on. It’s about Making Space. Yes, physical space. But also space for family, space for friends, space for what’s important to us, space for hobbies and time to garden, space for those projects that have been hanging over our head, space for siting out on the patio and having the best coffee you can afford, and space for God.

I would like to introduce to you my new series:

The Depths of Clutter by Tabitha Fletcher

(please respect my copyright to this material and copy and share only with my name attached and a link to this blog).

I will be writing my thoughts on clutter, how to get rid of it and how to free ourselves of the bondage to stuff. For now, I just want to give you a brief introduction since this post is so very long already.

Link here to my first post about clutter.

I believe that the solution to our clutter problem is deeper than decision making. And I believe that clutter covers more than just the things we need to get rid of. Clutter is anything that clogs up your life and home. Some of what clogs your life and home need to remain, but not where they are or in the condition they're in. Some things are mental clutter. Some need to stay and some need to go, but all things that are not where they belong and doing exactly what they’re meant to do, are in fact clutter.

I believe that aside from deciding what stays and goes, which I will also be writing about, there are 5 depths to clutter and dealing with it.

Depth 1: OOPS

OOPS stands for Out Of Place Stuff. This is typically stuff that is used and loved, but is out of place. It is clutter because it clogs up your space, time and thought.

Depth 2: E.T.’s CUP

E.T.’s CUP stands for Easy Trash and Clean Up Place. This stuff is easy, no thought clutter that does need to go but takes very little thought to just throw it out. It belongs in one of your trashcans and doesn’t take any thought beyond getting it there and cleaning up the area where it sat.

Depth 3: PITS

PITS stands for Pass IT Stuff. This stuff is no longer emotionally yours. You are ready to get rid of it, but it takes more than just throwing it in the trash. It takes passing it on to whoever you have determined it should freely go. This includes donations, hand-me-downs, things that you’ve borrowed and need to return, and any other things that requiring physically moving them from your space to another person’s space.

Depth 4: TLC

TLC stands for Tedious Longsuffering Care. This is getting harder to rid yourself of clutter. Some of this clutter stays with you but not in its current state, such as a broken car, a stool waiting to be painted, or a couch that’s unpaid for because you owe on it. This includes all things that need to be read/done/paid for/finished/repaired/hauled away/sold. These items need work and sometimes lots of it to stay or leave. Most of the clutter in your home that remains for years on end is in this category and takes enormous amounts of effort and time to get rid of even one very small item.

Depth 5: NAPs and MAPs

NAPs and MAPs stands for Needs A Place and/or Make A Place. This is the fun part a lot of times. It’s organizing, playing around with and containerizing what remains.

So, here’s the schedule:

1st Monday of each month will be focused on Depth 1, OOPS (Out Of Place Stuff).

2nd Monday of each month will be focused on Depth 2, E.T.’s CUP (Easy Trash and Clean Up Place).

3rd Monday of each month will be focused on Depth 3, PITS (Pass IT Stuff).

4th Monday of each month will be a combo of Depth 4, TLC (Tedious Longsuffering Care) and Depth 5, NAPs and MAPs (Needs A Place and/or Make A Place). If there’s a 5th Monday, I’ll just separate the two.

I hope to have a link up party each Monday. I’m working right now on creating one. Don’t worry about it being exactly on topic. If you have Made Space in your life in any way, link it up! Maybe you’ve finally started or finished a project. Link it. If you’ve finally taken that trip to Disney World, let us know. Have a garage sale and show off all the stuff you just got rid of or just clean out a drawer and link to your post. It can be grand scale or tiny. Doesn’t matter to me. Anything that’s checked off that mental list, gone from your life or finally off your mind because you’ve started it, is game. The only thing I ask is that you keep it personal. Don’t link up sales pitches or anything of that sort. We want to hear about YOU and YOUR family.

Happy Easter Everyone! Here’s to resurrecting our homes and our lives. May the God of the universe and of our souls help and guide us through each week.

Linking up at A Bowl Full Of Lemons
Funky Junk Interiors
Tatertots And Jello
Finding Fabulous
The Southern Institute
Between Naps on the Porch
Under the Table and Dreaming
You're Talking Too Much
DIY Home Sweet Home
It's A Blog Party

Love, Tabitha Fletcher (Debt Free Mommy)


  1. Thank you for sharing your testimony; it was truly moving and inspiring. There is no doubt the God of the universe is with you. I haven't blogged much at all about my testimony--it's been a while, but I don't feel it, so it's not God's timing. If you want to see what I have written, go to

  2. I would love to see what you've written. I'm going over to visit right now. I can hear the grasshoppers at my link party,lol. Probably because I wrote such a Looooooooong post before getting around to the link up. Post as many as you want, especially if there are specific posts you'd like us to read.

  3. Amazing story Tabitha. I don't know how to respond except to say that you are an amazing woman and truly blessed. Idk if your comments are spare because of the length of your post, most likely it's because it's so hard to put onto words our reactions to the magnitude of what you went through.

    About your new series I am very much looking forward to it. Clutter is so much more then just simple choices and you have such a wonderful and inspiring (love your acronyms!) way of putting your clever thoughts to words. You have insight that I've not seen elsewhere, and I can't wait to read what you come up with next! :)

    BTW, you do make a great writer. Maybe these years of 'shelving your novels' is only because you are gaining practice and experience through your blog. Writing, (doing anything!) is impossible with children home. Who knows? I'm just thinking maybe it's another of God's ways.

    1. Thank you, Paperkat! You are such an encouragement! I can't wait to start working through this clutter project. I've been thinking about it for years and haven't been able to put my feet and hands to work on it until recently. I'll be decluttering right along with everyone else who follows along. I'm no expert...just have different ideas about clutter than most others.

  4. blogging certainly has given your life a boost and it shows. You've paid attention to what God may have been trying to tell you and brava to you for seeing that changes had to be made.

    Really enjoy the next part of your blog about clutter - interesting how it all ties in together. Best of luck and kudos for a great job!

    1. Thanks Maggie! I sure hope for change. I can't wait to see my home in a new way after all this decluttering is finished! I hope you'll stop by again.

  5. I am very touched by your experience. I will go to read some of your other
    things and wish you the very best going forward.

    1. Nice to meet you Nancy. I'll probably never forget what happened, but to me it's already in the past and doesn't weigh me down--except the slow walking...that's a little annoying for someone like me. Anyway, I hope to see you back here again.


I love your comments! They inspire me to keep writing and I read every one.

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