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Everything the Light Touches

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Ideas for Getting Rid of Old Clothes

Friday, July 7, 2017
Too many clothes and nothing to wear is a common part of the human experience. Even my husband has things he basically never wears, only to open the closet door to a nightmare of unworn clothes taking up space. It comes from a dangerous cycle of garment overloading where we buy for a certain occasion never to see that item again. If we are lucky we’re able to carve out some time to purge our wardrobe of the undesirable and useless items that are piling up. Cleaning out our closets helps us to lighten the clutter and gain perspective on the style, value, quality, and purpose of our clothing choices. We may even feel like a whole new person!

While home with Bunny I ransacked my closet. I was sick of the mess. Unfortunately, as cleansing as it was to take items out of the closet, the snoozing monster has been piled in the corner of my bedroom for months now. The obvious answer is to donate, which I considered until my little hippie brain got to thinking that a lot of resources - money, time, energy, textiles - were spent on these clothes that needed to be recouped, if only in some small way. As usual I took to the internet, researching options on what to do with old clothes that could help me regain some of the expenses and possibly do more than sit in the local thrift shop (which is TOTALLY worthy too). I learned a lot, tried a bit, and this is what I recommend.

Trade in items for cash

Taking my clothes to Plato’s Closet has been done before so I was somewhat confident in the process. Sadly I didn’t get what I was hoping for. Stores like Plato’s Closet are usually looking for specific items and are picky about the condition and labels. If you don’t know what it is they want you are left with a little bit of a headache after lugging your giant trash bag(s) to and from the store for nothing. Still, the stores are generally local and they will give you straight up cash if you want so it’s not all bad.

Pros: local, cash option, great for name brands that are in good condition
Cons: not a drop and go, definitely undervalue the clothing, picky selection process

Start an Instagram shop

I tried this next, which was a disaster. Instagram by itself is overwhelming and I still can’t figure out why I thought this was a good idea. My Insta-game is lame. Starting an entirely new account then marketing for said account while also doing all the other things on my list was impossible. I didn’t have time to advertise or put up pictures of new clothes, and this was before someone wanted to buy and I had to figure out payment and shipping. The front end was exhausting. There are plenty of successful Instagram shops out there with great followings and consistently trendy items, and more power to them, but this was just unrealistic for me.

Pros: can do it from home, money goes straight to you, work on your Insta-game
Cons: you do all the work, your clothes are still sitting around, really only works for niche fashion that I could tell

Recycle for discounts at your favorite stores

This is by far the simplest option and maybe has the best return for the work. Like donating, you can drop your clothes off at retail stores. The difference is the discounts in return. H&M has a sustainable fashion initiative that allows customers to bring in clothes from any brand in any condition and get a 15% discount coupon. And there’s no limit to how many times you can go in! Click here for a list of other retailers who may also be going green.

Pros: SO easy, no real limit to how many times you can do it, relatively good rewards, clothes get used
Cons: the result is not cash, you have to bring your crap through the mall or mail it somewhere which might be a little weird and/or counterproductive

Invite your community to shop your closet

I’ve never done this because my clothing labels are nothing special but I do know a fellow blogger in my area who does. My friend Tonya Michelle of her namesake blog is all about fashion, beauty, and DIY. She works with boutiques and labels from all over and she gets TONS of clothes which she doesn’t always keep. Every now and then she puts the word out on Facebook that she is downsizing and invites local ladies for a night to come shop her closet (literally). I love this because she gets to meet new people while cleaning. Wouldn’t we all like to make cleaning more fun?

Pros: great for those items you only wore once, make new friends, gets it all done at one time and place, buyers come to you
Cons: you have to clean your house haha, limited inventory with an even more limited guest list


I deliberately chose not to look into programs like Poshmark or ThreadUp for a few reasons. First, my clothes are not name brands and are generally out of season. Second, I didn’t really want to share the return I got in processing or other fees. And third, I appreciate the greener options like recycling fabrics. Did you know denim can be used for insulation? I’m sure those are great ways to get rid of old clothes, but again, that system wouldn’t work for me. Anyways I’m headed to the mall these weekend to unload my old stuff and I can’t wait to be free. I hope you find the perfect way to declutter your closet too!

Tools For Easier (& More Fun) Daily Scripture Study

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Hands up if in January you promised to read your scriptures more this year. Yeah, me too... I’m learning that making a new habit isn’t so easy as just saying it. Life does get away from us and simply sitting and opening your Bible, Book of Mormon, etc. can get boring/overwhelming/tedious REAL fast.

Growing up we got all kinds of creative access to scripture stories. We met the characters in cartoons and songs, associated the lessons with snacks or games. Knowing those stories is something we can directly trace back to childhood. We should be proud that at one time we were nearest to God. Instead of becoming like little children, we *were* those little children!

Fast forward to being an adult. I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning or feed myself lunch. Taking a quiet moment to improve our relationship with God is more of a to do list item than an actual part of our daily lives. We set our goals but we have to go outside the box to meet said goals and overcome the potential snooze fest of traditional scripture study. Thankfully there are plenty of tools out there to help. These are my picks, mainly geared towards Mormon doctrine and resources. But no matter your faith I encourage you to find similar ways to make scripture study a more unique and fulfilling part of your day.

**This post contains NO affiliate links. All writing and opinions are mine and exist only because I want to share cool stuff with you.**

Audiobooks

While in school Spencer and I were taking a class focused on studying the Book of Mormon. A semester-long project required us to put together a plan for reading daily. We knew just reading through wouldn’t be too fun so we decided to listen via audiobook. We would sit down together every night and hit play while we worked on other things. It was really smart for allowing us to multi-task. We’ve done this a few more times since for many reasons. May I add it’s perfect for talks too! You can download the scriptures on audiobook here, or access text-to-speech via the Gospel Library mobile app (see below).

Illustrated Books

I had an illustrated Bible growing up. The images I have today of those stories are from that book. Naturally I wanted something similar for learning scriptures when Spencer and I were asked to teach the 4-year-old Sunday School class. We now own all four of the illustrated scriptures. The write ups are simple, you can get the basics quickly. Plus you can visualize things. Someday I’ll own the coloring books too haha.

Purchase

Social Media

I’m kind of obsessed with social media. I spend hours refreshing Facebook and liking posts (which I might be doing while writing this). Twitter is even more enjoyable. But there is a whole lot of nonsense out there. To get a break from all the noise, I follow and like scripture- and gospel-related accounts such as Book of Mormon Central which has some insightful information on Book of Mormon and LDS church history. You learn so much! And my friend works there, so I feel cool.

Now while I generally stick to Facebook and Twitter, another great account is 3 Mormons on YouTube. I just found them and their discussions are insightful as well as addicting and fun. I’ve left Instagram of this list because I’m not a huge fan and because I don’t know of any interesting Mormon- or Christian-based accounts. If you know of any to check out send them my way! And don’t forget you can follow the LDS Church and its leadership on pretty much every platform. *thumbs up*

My fave social accounts:
Twitter LDS Quotes
Facebook Book of Mormon Central
YouTube 3 Mormons

Apps

I have an LDS Scripture-A-Day widget on my phone's home screen. Some days that’s all the reading I do, but at least I'm getting something. Also the LDS mobile apps are a must have with everything from scriptures to Conference talks to Sunday School materials. There are even videos and music! Apps are by far the best for accessibility and keeping your back from going out while still having all that stuff with you. Log in and you can keep track of bookmarks, annotations, and notes!

Download the LDS Mobile Apps

Book of Mormon Central also has an app (AWESOME). KnoWhy on Google Play // in the App Store


I wrote this post because I realized fifteen years have gone by since my baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I still don’t know my Book of Mormon stories. Since making the commitment to get more gospel in my day I’ve sincerely tried to find ways to make this easier and more realistic. We are so lucky to have unlimited, quick access to the scriptures in unique ways. Definitely go find out which one of these works for you. Then come tell me what you try or find!

Some Things About the Author

Monday, May 29, 2017
Who the heck are you and why should I read your blog?

Really, though. You’re thinking this right now. Since getting my act together around here I’ve been wondering whether or not I’ve answered these questions for anyone who visits the site.

My self-perception is of me wearing many hats. It’s a great visual: A woman looking at herself in the mirror fidgeting with a range of hats, each one for a different job or feeling, trying to decide which one to wear. You, the visitor, have little or no idea what that means. This is the part where I tell you exactly that and why it matters. Here's four things about me I think you should know.

I’m a (brand new) mom.

My daughter was born about two months ago. Her whole existence still surprises (and amazes) me. I'm working out the kinks in my relationships and responsibilities, and figuring out exactly what my mom identity is. My take on motherhood isn't always one of eagerness. Yet that little girl is everything I could have ever wanted. I want to do right by her. It's all taking some getting used to. While I do that I hope to find other moms who have a similar view of motherhood or who can give me more to chew on. This will be an ever-changing journey and I would appreciate some friends along the way. Wouldn’t we all?

I’m a musician.

Yeah I'm in a band! We are QOK Music and we are five siblings with a message or two to offer through our music. In the band I'm the lead singer and a lyricist. We have been playing together for about ten years, but we've only been truly serious within the last two. Someday we expect all the effort will pay off in one way or another.

I write about my band because I believe our story is inspiring. We're ordinary people putting our creativity out there, working hard to perfect and share what we have to give. I always hope that by talking about the experience someone will be moved to do the same with his or her talents or passions. Creative people often need encouragement. In my experience if I see someone relatively like me (i.e. normal) doing their do I feel a little bit better about doing mine. My wish is that I am passing that along.

I’m a Mormon.

I believe in God and his son, Jesus Christ. I know that God has a plan for all of us. I accept the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the way I know God's plan to work.

I was baptized at the age of thirteen with my parents and younger brother. My family has been insanely blessed by that choice. Everyday what I receive from my church, both doctrinally and culturally, becomes more and more a part of my whole being. I'm not determined to share all the moments that touch me, but there are some that compel me to shout from the rooftops. That is what and when and why I will write. You deserve perspective. You deserve honesty. By sharing my faith I am trying to give you both.

I am more…

Something I often emphasize about myself is that many parts make up the whole. Even the list above isn't all of who I am, though I've tried to be concise. There is a lot to this party! My interests and influences are varied. I’ve got post ideas for television shows I’m into, outfits I’ve worn, recipes I’ve tried, quotes that inspire me, ways to deal with stress and anxiety… and the list goes on. Any path requires some level of navigation so I'm leaving room to talk about whatever is important or necessary or cool or enjoyable to me as I make my way. Maybe you’ll agree and hang out for a minute.

Now, who am I and why read this blog?

I’m Kristyn - A mom, musician, Mormon, and much, much more. Chances are you’re a whole made up of many parts as well, and I’d like to find where we connect. Read on and I’ll see you around :)

Words of Acknowledgement for 2017 Moms

Sunday, May 14, 2017
Being a mom today is tough. I saw the following in a Facebook post the other day that sums it up well enough:

“How To Be A Mom in 2017: Make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and social needs are being met while being careful not to overstimulate, understimulate, improperly medicate, helicopter, or neglect them in a screen-free, processed foods-free, GMO-free, negative energy-free, plastic-free, body positive, socially conscious, egalitarian but also authoritative, nurturing but fostering of independence, gentle but not overly permissive, pesticide-free two-story, multilingual home preferably on a cul-de-sac with a backyard and 1.5 siblings spaced at least two years apart for proper development. Also don’t forget the coconut oil.

How To Be A Mom in Literally Every Other Generation Before Ours: Feed them sometimes.

(This is why we are crazy.)”

I watch my mom and dad do real work with my younger siblings, and occasionally myself, everyday. The truth is with all the world has to offer - knowledge, access, communication - it comes with a price and as adults we have to not only navigate it all for ourselves but also for the next generation. It’s TOUGH. Even in my one month of motherhood I’m feeling anxious and a little lost and lonely. And while I know it’s not a singular experience, I also know that we moms (and dads) rarely get a chance to hear what we need/want to in order to feel confident enough to keep going.

I based this list first off of my own experience within the last month. One month isn't a lot of time but I need some clarity every now and then. Secondly, I've reflected on the experiences of moms I know who are dealing with real worries and struggles at home. These women tend to blame themselves, which is less than fair. Moms (and dads) deserve to have their efforts acknowledged because this is a job with limited water cooler breaks. And let’s be honest, our clients can be very demanding.

“You were an individual before you had children and you are an individual now.”

Throughout my pregnancy I often confided in Spencer the dread of being overshadowed by Bunny’s existence. There weren’t many people outside my house that I talked to on a regular basis. Suddenly I was the talk of town, or at least my baby and pregnancy were. Forget that I had interests or anything else to offer before that. This REALLY bothered me. It's so personal… Also I’m afraid of the rest of me fading into only one contribution. While I’m learning to love being a mom, I also want to keep my original self in tact.

Sarah Kolman, writing for Seventh Generation, explains it well, saying, “This paradox often leaves me struggling with how to integrate my pervasive identity as mother with my greater Self-identity… If not, I’m only mom.” Kolman goes on to emphasize finding balance, meaning seek out what makes you You. We love our children, but we have to take care of ourselves.

So instead of leaving a mom stranded on Planet Mommy, tell her she has always existed and she experienced life for herself once before. Then offer to watch her kids so she can go eat some ice cream, specifically a flavor she actually likes, in peace.

“I’m proud of you.”

As I mentioned, I’ve had the unique experience of watching 21st century moms in action while being a conscious adult myself. There is a truckload of emotion that comes with mothering these days. Added to the ever-increasing number of influences outside the home moms hold less ground and question whether they are getting through. Almost just as difficult is being a witness to the whole thing. We all have our fingers crossed that the next generation becomes everything they can possibly be.

Whenever I see my mom “guiding” my siblings I tell her I’m proud of her and I am grateful for her. She stands her ground against attitude- and angst-ridden teens on the daily, which is no easy task. At the very least what I have to say has to be nicer to hear than back talk. Keep that in mind next time you witness a particularly intense “teaching moment.”

“Sometimes that’s just how it is.”

Followed by a slight encouraging chuckle and maybe a hug.

Just after her two week appointment Bunny started having nightly fits. She would scream and cry and I was super self-conscious of how it was affecting everyone else in the house. One night after a bunch of nights where no one was actually sleeping, my dad was helping walk her around to help soothe her before bed and I blurted out that I was sorry.

“Why?” he shrugged. “Doesn’t bother me. This is what babies do. You’ll figure it out. She’ll figure it out. This is just how it is.” That was honestly one of the best things anyone could have said to me. In that exchange my dad had told me two very important things: First, babies cry and it’s not my fault. Second, there isn’t always an immediate answer, or any answer at all. Raising each individual child is different.

The moral of the story is next time a mom apologizes, remind her that life happens. Offer to help in whatever way you can, give her the advice she asks for, and then talk to her about something grown up. Who knows when her last adult conversation was...

“It’s okay to cry.”

In the shower. In public. During an emotional commercial on tv. Over your breakfast. While you’re “hiding” on the front porch. In the bathroom during lunch. Yup. Cry. Crying means we are trying.

If you see a mom crying, don’t let that woman believe for one second she is weak. Tell her she is strong for caring and working so. dang. hard. Help her find her truth: That she is doing something worthwhile, that she is not alone, that she will survive, and she will be rewarded. Then tell her the lamest joke you can think of and laugh together.

And now a shout out to my mom because she is totally reading this.

Mama, you are amazing at doing all the things and keeping it together. You inspire me to be the rock for Bunny that you have been for me. I am grateful for your ability to know your children, your perspective, your love of God, your attention, your advice, and your sense of humor. You've given me and my family a home, a safe place to grow. You're my best friend and my hero. I am me because of the life you and Papa have created. 

If you have a special lady who needs to hear from you, go now! Tell her what she deserves to hear whether it's from this list or something else more worthy. Just make sure what you say comes from the heart.

Happy Mother's Day :)

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