15 September 2014


Do you ever feel like you're just drowning in clutter? Straight up fighting to get air from under the dirty dishes, piles of paper, laundry.

And books. So many books.

And it seems like I'm not alone. So many women on my instagram feed and blog roll are fighting the good fight against excess mess and excess stuff.

Two of my favorite ladies have talked about it this season.

Ruth (who is simply amazing) shares her perspective in At The Root of Clutter.

She starts off saying something that hits me hard.
And so I purchase baskets, and boxes, and labels, and sorters. And they help. But sometimes a chaotic home is a reflection of a chaotic mind, and sometimes a chaotic mind is a reflection of a chaotic home. Do you know the vicious cycle I speak of? Buying more tools for organization doesn't simply make the mess go away-- not on the dresser, not in the closet, and not in our overwhelmed minds and hearts.
Oh.my.gosh. Truth right there. I can't help to feel anxious when I come home to a messy house - and I can't help but let my home go when my mind is elsewhere.

But how do we find a balance?

So many times I've looked where it seems Ruth has looked. I think "how can I better organize ____" and I come home with the tools that I think will help.

When really, I need to get to the root of clutter and send things out the door instead of bringing things in.

Rachel from Finding Joy (one of my daily reads) says what I need to hear in the first sentence of her post Clear the Clutter.

Stuff can suffocate joy.
Oh my.

Rachel goes on to talk about taking charge of the clutter so it's "easier for us to operate out of joy."

I want to operate out of joy!!

I've done quite a bit already. Donated duplicates. Thought critically about my closet. Tried to limit my sentimentality towards objects and think more about function (which is really hard for me).

Just because it's cute, doesn't mean it has a place in my home.

How have you struggled against clutter? And if you haven't, well, I'd love to know your secret.

Told you we had a lot of books.

09 September 2014

Shaping My Heart

October 18, 2013 (in my journal):
"Another morning in the playroom, watching Sam explore.

He's one now. So hard to believe we made it through those difficult days, Our connection has become so strong. I look at Sam and see a part of myself, the best part. The holy part. I see Christ is my son. I see the Lord using him to sanctify me. I know I have a big responsibility as his mom, but I almost think his responsibility to me is even bigger.

Lord, help me go gently through this day. Help me to be intentional and present."

Have you ever thought of that? The role of our children in our lives? And not what we do for them - but rather, how God is using our children to shape and grow us.

I see this play out more and more every day. As Sam winds up in the timeout chair for the 100th time today, I see God using this experience to grow my heart toward patience and obedience. As I care for Sam when he's sick, I see God using this experience to shape my spirit toward softness and compassion. As I teach Sam the values of our family, I see God using this experience to mold my spirit toward the Holy Spirit.

Parenting is funny like that. You get so wrapped up in what you need to do as a parent, God pulls one over on you. You realize that you are really the student. You are the one changing. You are the one becoming better.. As much as I try to lead my child toward God, God is using my child to guide me as well. I am closer to God because of my closeness with Sam.

Lord, help me go gently through this day. Help me to be intentional and present. Help me to be open to the lessons you have for me. Help me to see my son as a teacher, a molder of my heart. Help me to grow toward you through what he is teaching me.

27 August 2014

So Sleepy

I am so sleepy. All the time. And I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of being tired.

I went in last week for a regular thyroid check, and my levels came back low. My medication was switched and adjusted, and I've been on it for a few days, but I am still so tired.

I told Kyle this morning that I have two settings lately: it's night time and I'm tired and I must sleep so I go to sleep, or it's daytime and I'm so tired and I want to sleep but I can't.

I could seriously sleep until 2015.

And I know, you're thinking "you're a mom, you're tired, it's normal." But you know, I really have no excuse. Sam's a great sleeper and rarely wakes us up. I'm not a night owl and I'm in bed by 10pm. But in the morning I hold on to my bed as long as possible until Sam is like "no really, momma, I'm 5 seconds from climbing out of this crib" and I have just enough time to take a fast shower, make crappy lunches, and put my shoes on in the car.

Are any of you sleepy sleepersens like me? What have you done to get a jolt of energy?

Here are a few of my goals as it relates to sleep:
First, I would like to get up on time.
Then, I would like to get up without hitting snooze.
Then, way in the future, I'd like to get up early. Like drinking coffee in a quiet home with my bible kind of early.

So baby steps, ya'll. Baby steps.

And because every blog post needs a picture.

Get it, he's sleeping.

13 August 2014

Overwhelmed With It All

I have to admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed with what is happening around the world. Quite overwhelmed, actually - terrorism and violence, rioting and racism, depression and loss. I've started to shut things out, hiding myself  from the news. It's like I almost don't want to know.
But I know I need to. I need to see what is happening. I need to feel sadness and anger. And while I'm not always sure what to do or how I can help, I know I can pray. I know I can turn to the one who sees and knows all. The one who listens. While I don't understand how these events fit into His plan, and while I'm saddened and confused, I chose to trust Him. Trust in Him and His workings. 

12 August 2014

Missing Her

This past week I was in my hometown, saying goodbye to one special lady. After a long, hard battle with cancer, my grandmother passed away.

How do you say goodbye to someone who helped raise you?
My mother was really sick after she had me, so my grandmother stepped in, helping my dad with the late night feedings, early doctor's appointments, and tiny baby diaper changes for the few weeks of my life. Later in my childhood, my parents and I moved just down the road from my grandparents and memories of them in my life are too numerous to count.

How do you say goodbye to someone who gave so much?
I've never met a woman (in combination with my grandfather) who were more generous. And not just financially. With their time and talents, too. Serving in the church and in the community. Hosting events, sponsoring programs. My grandmother crafting tote bags/ornaments/wreaths into the wee hours of the night for whatever charity auction she was participating in. They gave big to their families - heart and soul.

How do you say goodbye to someone you're basically more and more like every day?
My grandma and I argued tirelessly when I was younger. She had an opinion about everything (and did until her last breath). I was a strong-willed teenager, not wanting any of her wisdom. But she kept dishing it out, and although I sighed and rolled my eyes then, what I wouldn't give for one last life lesson. I said something the other day and Kyle turned to me and said "You are her. You are your grandmother." I smiled, laughing that the person I often fought against when I was young is really who I became.

She was a devoted mother and wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a leader. She was a believer. She was a fighter. She fought for her family, for her faith. At the end, she fought for her health, and then, graciously acknowledged it was time to fight now more. To drift away and enter paradise.

And that's where she is. With Jesus, living her eternity, a reward for a beautiful life well spent.

30 July 2014

Quiet Time

I find myself longing for more quiet time. As a mom, I don't have enough.

But you, know, that's a lie.

I do have time for quiet time. It's just that I don't make it a priority. Yes, a lot of my time is filled with the chores of every day life. But there is time in my day that I just waste - blatantly and ridiculously. 

I try to justify my wasted time by saying that my mind is too tired for "quiet time." This TV show or that internet game (Candy Crush, oh geez) will help me quiet down for the day. 

But in reality, but I need, what my soul needs, is real, reflective quiet time.

Our small group is going through Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Chapter three, The Day Alone, is all about the need for quiet time. Bonhoeffer's book is all about living in community, so it was strange to see a chapter about being alone in the midst of a book about living with others. He says, "Let him who cannot be alone beware of community."

I have long viewed quiet time as "me time," the shutting off of my brain, melting into the couch, weary at the end of the day. But the wasted time at the end of the day doesn't feed me like intentional, well-spent quiet moments.

"Silence is the simple stillness of the individual... nothing else but waiting for God's word and coming from God's word with a blessing."

Bonhoeffer outlines "three purposes for which the Christian needs a definite time when he can be alone during the day: scripture meditation, prayer, and intercession."

Scripture meditation: Bonhoeffer calls us to not read scripture as generic words, but to "read God's Word as God's Word for us." Scripture reading and meditation is a personal process, hearing God speaking directly to our heart and experiences.

Prayer: "We pray for the clarification of our day, for preservation from sin, for growth in sanctification, for faithfulness and strength in our work." When I am at a loss of how to pray, Bonhoeffer sums it up sweetly - I love his outline and can see if revealing so much.

Intercession: I often find myself writing down the struggles and prayers of others and never returning to those pages. How do I even begin praying for other? "Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God, to see him under the cross of Jesus."

How do you use "quiet time," and how do you make it a priority in your day?

29 July 2014


- I have read this post from Andrea from For the Love Of about a 100 times and each time I get more motivated to make a commitment to my families health and wellness.
The first 7 food items I banned from the house were Nutella, Coffee Mate, Eggo waffles, Country Crock margarine, frozen chicken nuggets, Cheez-Its, fake maple syrup. These items were the biggest offenders in our household because they were filled with sugar, artificial colors, additives, preservatives, MSG, and hydrogenated oils. And we were consuming them on an almost daily basis. My biggest break through in all of this came when I started to see these as “fake foods” which were made to mimic real products, and offered no real nutrients. 
- I desperately need to follow these tips for getting more done each day from Living Well Spending Less. For me, it's not necessarily that I run out of time. It's that I run out of motivation.

Take 10 minutes to list your priorities and to examine who or what is important to you. Keep this list in a place where you can look at it frequently, and make sure the big stuff comes first. Think of your life as a jar you want to fill with rocks & sand. If you put the sand in first, the rocks won’t fit.  The amount of time you spend on things should be somewhat relative to how important it is in your life. Life is short and moments are precious.  Don’t waste time on the things that don’t matter.
- On a similar note, I love The Shabby Creek Cottage's tips for decluttering your life. She's speaking truth directly to my heart!
Getting organized brought to light a fairly new habit at our house – gimme 20 minutes. Every day when my girls get home from school we crank up the music and clean for 20 minutes. You’d be amazed at how clean you can keep a house in only 20 minutes a day. No more days full of cleaning – no more yelling at them to pick up their things. And the music helps to make it fun. If we spend those 20 minutes cleaning, then we have the rest of the afternoon (or day) to spend together doing things we enjoy. And bonus – most days we’re done in less than 15 minutes!