Spring Cleaning, Tidying Up, KonMari

Spring Cleaning, Tidying Up & KonMari oh my!

Spring Cleaning, Tidying Up, and KonMari oh my!

‘Tis the season, not of celebration, rather of tossing the junk. Each year I get the itch, to clean out closets, get rid of extra plastic cups, small appliances and other things that have the tendency to clutter up my space. I do try to maintain this through the year so that it’s not quite a marathon come pre-spring, but inevitably there are some tasks that just need to be handled.

I have tried different methods through the years – Fly Lady, Stephen Covey, and KonMari, and each have their pluses. As a young mom, the hourly emails from Fly Lady would help me remember oh yes, I do need to move the wash to the dryer. Or I better defrost some meat now at 11am, or we will eat nothing tonight or we bust the budget for take-out.

Stephen Covey helped me plan out my day in 15-minute increments. Man I still love this honestly. It looks like SO MUCH TIME when there are all these empty blocks on my page. Even if I write Laundry in 4 blocks in a row, it just looks so much more impressive.

Marie Kondo wrote her book a couple years ago and is seeing renewed success now that she has her own TV show. Tidying Up allows her to enter someone’s home and she gives them assignments to get rid of the clutter, organize what remains and bring a sense of peace back into their lives.

I watched an episode recently while folding my own laundry and was struck by how sad I felt for the couple. Only married about 5 years with two small children, they were in a state of overwhelm and a growing sense of distance from each other because of the burden of their clutter. They really didn’t even realize that the reason they were growing apart had to do with the stuff around them, but as they removed items, involved their children in folding and putting away laundry, and found things they had forgotten like mementos from their wedding day, they discovered that indeed they still cared deeply for each other and wanted to be happy in their home together.

So I admit it, I cried. I felt emotional watching, because I remember what it’s like when the kids are young. You are just trying to keep up. The laundry never ends, someone always needs to eat, and a good night’s sleep is just a dream. My heart hurt because they had no system in place to deal with life and the negative effect it was having on their family.

One of the basic principles of design involves the idea of negative space. Not filling every nook and cranny or square inch of wall space with stuff. We do this in our homes by bringing in too much stuff, and not removing the things we no longer need. We do this in our hearts when we allow the things of this world to invade and take over and contaminate our minds.

It’s a pretty simple move to justify our sinful selves. We do it all the time. But the reality is that over time, this clutter takes over and creates an anxious mind that can’t focus on the truths of God’s word. The problem then spills over not just affecting our own lives, but into our family and home life. A contaminated mind that carries the burdens of this world and pursues fleshly desires, wreaks havoc on those we love.

As we spring clean our homes and closets and junk drawers, may we also step back to consider where we might need to sweep up the mess of allowing sin in. Decluttering frees us to enjoy our living space, and confession of sinful thoughts and motives allows us to enjoy the goodness of God in our lives.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Interested in more ideas like this on decluttering and negative space, check out Heart & Home: Design Basics for your Soul & Living Space debuting April 16, 2019. Purchase anywhere books are sold and order your copy today!

Advertisements

Life Lessons with Lightning McQueen

by Angela Jamison

When my youngest son was three, he was introduced to Lightning McQueen. From the first meeting, they were best of friends and he is still attached to him five years later. It’s one of the longest toy loves in my household.

My son still has numerous different McQueens – from wind up to color changing, mini to stuffed. It’s safe to say that you can find a Lightning McQueen in any given room of the house.

As with many things from when the kids were young, I’ve forgotten a lot of the turmoil that came with this Lightning McQueen love. I had forgotten the incessant watching of the movie and the hours long searches for exactly the right McQueen.

Today, this picture appeared in my memories.Picture1

This picture is a snapshot of my life just a few years ago. Here is my son, in his Lightning McQueen shirt, with eleven Lightning McQueens in reach. He’s panicking here because, “I can’t find Lightning!”

He couldn’t find Lightning McQueen…

To this day, this picture makes me smile. There are obvious Lightning McQueens right in front of him, yet he’s still searching, unsatisfied.

How often does this very picture represent us in any given aspect of our lives? How often does God lay out our desires right in front of us yet we continue searching unsatisfied?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4 NIV

God intends to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to make all our plans succeed. He often lays out in front of us exactly what we need, willing us to seek Him.

Satan muddles with our perception, confusing our eyes and causing distress. He lines up the McQueens in front of us while whispering that we haven’t found the right one. Satan plants the seed of dissatisfaction and waters it while prolonging the search.

Busy yourself not with Satan’s lies, but rather God’s promises. Break free of the Lightning McQueen traffic jam in your life and embrace the blessings right in front of you. Live in the joy of your heart’s desires.

 

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more about Angela on her website https://angelajamison.com/

 

 

 

 

Ambition, Time and Frugality

I had started a completely different post to share with y’all today.  But I’ve scrapped it because this has been relevant for me this month, and possibly, just maybe someone else can relate and be encouraged.

One of my character strengths/flaws is being ambitious.

It’s a strength because it gives me great drive to pursue goals. And I am always and forever working on goals – I don’t think there will ever come a time for me to just sit and chill longterm.  This ambitiousness propels me forward to pursue things that don’t come easy and gives me motivation to work hard.

It’s a flaw because well, for all the things listed above.  I’m very goal oriented, not people oriented and I can get so involved in meeting self imposed deadlines, and working goals that I can lose track of time and forget that relationships are the core of human interaction.  It can be very hard for me to pull away from a task when I’m in and working hard, but some days I have to set a timer and stick to it – it’s the only way for me to limit myself.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and found myself once again today immersed in a whole pile of to-do’s.  You see I’ve been a bit frustrated lately about being “behind” on my 90 day goals.  I’m behind for a very logical reason, but I’m frustrated with myself because I feel I could and should be doing more.  Does this make sense to anyone?  I had to sit down and evaluate where my time was going.  See I have a part time job that usually holds itself to 10 hours or less.  This month every week has been above 25 hours.  That in itself should make me feel better, but still…

Most of my days are 17 hours,  some are slightly less, and some are more.  I make myself take the first two hours of my day and create space in my schedule.  The space gives me the opportunity to drink my coffee, wake up and watch the sunrise, pray for my friends and family and spend time reading my Bible.  I’ve taken on an ambitious reading plan – 10 chapters a day – which has helped me to finish the following books of the Bible already this year –

Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, Joshua – almost finished with Matthew, Genesis, I Corinthians, I Peter, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Judges, Isaiah, Acts.   In this time I also read and review books which have included 3 Bible Studies this month, getting ready to begin another one.

From there, my days involve a variety of tasks – just like many of you.  Cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, helping my children run a business – sometimes this includes advertising, social media, copywriting, etc., running to the doctor, dentist, well checks, etc. etc. etc. etc. I am taking classes on marketing, building my brand, SEO adwords, websites, landing pages, and online courses.  I am working to create a new landing page and starting my online course website including curriculum handouts and important info.  I have 12 writing projects that I want to flesh out this year, and get contracts for – a girl can hope. And I’m working on speaking/conference materials. I teach piano lessons, and run kids to sports activities and events and babysitting. I create daily coloring pages for free, and keep the books of multiple businesses and our personal finances.  I haven’t listed church work yet, but I think you get the picture already – right?  And at the end of the day I’m tired, and don’t feel as if I’m getting much done.

Anyone tracking here?  So I have also been thinking about something else.  I am by nature very frugal.  Or stingy…or whatever other word you like.  I sympathize with Paul and his writings when he said he knew how “to be abased and how to abound.”  I’ve been there – when we haven’t had two nickels to rub together, and when we have been comfortable.  Doesn’t matter, I tend to be very conservative with my spending…but here’s the kicker – not so much with my TIME!

Bear with me, I’m just coming to grips with the reality that just because I can do something, it doesn’t mean I should.  I mean if I need to create nice pictures, memes and posts, I will spend the time and energy to do it and figure it out.  The problem here is the time factor.  Someone else could for just a few dollars create something just as nice and wonderful, and I could spend my time doing the things I’m made for.

Maybe you’re not worried about making memes and posts.  What about the convenience of grocery shopping services.  How much time could you save, if you just went and picked up your food, instead of spending the time looking for the groceries.  Would it be worth $5?

What about discount clothes? I spent years ONLY buying things on sale because I couldn’t justify the added expense of buying something I really loved when it wasn’t on sale.  My husband reminded me that buying things that don’t look or fit right just because they are on sale, they are actually a waste of money instead of a savings.

Don’t get me wrong.  I prefer a sale, and I have loved my couponing days.  There’s a huge thrill to getting those things that I do love, for a great discount. If at all possible I do try to get things for a discount or with a coupon code.  I always try.

But with regards to time, my husband has been trying to communicate this to me for years.  I guess I’m just a slow learner. I always thought he was against doing crafts and projects because he thought it was silly, but the reality was that he was against the time factor.  His view that if it’s not a strength, and we are just trying to do it to save money, we are just spending time instead.

Sometimes outsourcing the tasks you do, makes more sense. Perhaps not in a financial way, but a way that matters more – time is a commodity we all only have so much of.  We have to use it wisely and spend it doing the things we were put on earth to do.  Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should…I’m learning.  I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

Bible Studies & Giveaways!

The recent Bible studies released through Women of Faith include 3 titles – Building Your Strengths, Praying with Power and Giving God your Future. Each study includes twelve weeks of lessons with easy to understand illustrations.  The questions for each lesson have you turning in your Bibles to find the answers and prompt deeper thought about each topic.  There are multiple insets throughout the book with a quote or verse highlighted for special focus. Each lesson also contains three smaller sections at the end helping to dig deeper into the topic for the week, how to meditate and pray, and a trinket to treasure – an object designed to help us remember the lesson.  The format is easy to follow and the consistency between the books make each one an easy transition to the next.  With forwards written by Patsy Clairmont and Thelma Wells, the name recognition give to each study should help it be very successful on shelves in bookstores.

Each lesson is fairly short.  The illustration/explanation is usually just the first page, most of the study relies on answering the questions which are firmly based in Scripture.  These studies will not take an enormous amount of time each day to complete and can be easily added to your ongoing Bible reading without creating too much additional work.  I appreciate so much that the majority of the questions in these studies leads you back to your Bible – the answers aren’t found in the book itself.  This is a feature that is a huge benefit I believe for encouraging actual study to take place in our Bibles.

Included in the back of the book is a leader guide, in case someone chose to do this study with a small group – no extra purchase is necessary.  It is extremely convenient, not to mention a great savings for those of us used to having to purchase an additional leader’s guide to conduct a study.

After having planned on reading Praying with Power first, I decided to sit down one afternoon and take a quick glance through on Building Your Strengths.  Instead of glancing through though, I stopped and did the study and read the book in its entirety.  This is a very practical guide to thinking through our strengths and how God can use them to further His kingdom.  Not just stopping with our own strength though the author does make sure to acknowledge the Divine Strength that we as children have access to in God our Father.  The practical application of all the chapters is an outward focus which I believe is an important one for us women as we can many times become consumed by the demands on our time and energy. I look forward to finishing all 3 of these studies in the days ahead.

From the foreword Building Your Strengths –
“If God sends us on strong paths, we are provided strong shoes.” Corrie Ten Boom

IF you’d like a free copy of each of these three studies – you are in luck!  I’m giving away one set of these three books to one lucky winner!  Follow the instructions below – do all three things:

  1. Leave a comment on the blog by sharing which book you’d be most interested in reading.
  2. Like the Encouraging Women Today Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/encouragingwomen2day/
  3. Share this giveaway with others –either by sharing the links to the website encouragingwomentoday.com or the Facebook page link to this blog post.