Monday, March 31

Get Ready!!

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day! There probably isn't another source around that will remind you to get ready and play a trick on someone you love. Not a cruel and unusual trick, just something that will make them have an old-fashion belly-laugh!

It takes 74 muscles to frown, 14 muscles to smile, so get ready for a face lift tomorrow and laugh along with someone!

If you have kids, get them involved in surprising daddy with something that will make him laugh. Be careful in picking your joke so that it will cause everyone to laugh at the joke, not at a person. Children naturally will laugh at another person, this is a good day to teach them to laugh along with one another.

No time to plan a good joke? No time to laugh? Better check your priorities then, because tomorrow is a day to laugh! Back in Martin Luther's day, he used a form of humor as therapy. He advised people not to "isolate themselves but to surround themselves with friends who could joke and make them laugh."

So this April Fool's a joke on someone that will make that person laugh. Consider it therapy.

Friday, March 28

Home Improvement

Today's it's time for some Home Improvement!

If you haven't already started assembling your Home Management Binder, this weekend is the perfect time to start.

Do you need to buy a binder and folders? Make a run to Target, Wal-mart, or an office store.

Do you need to gather items/papers around your home? Start putting them in piles...those piles will soon become your folders/categories. Or, start making a list of the categories you'd like to include.'s a work in progress. You'll have to figure out how to use it, where to store it, and how often you'll need to reference it. I keep a lot of contact information on the computer, so I am not going to duplicate those efforts. But it's those things that come in the mail and need a home that go in my binder.

Start small today....and see if you can develop this throughout the next few weeks. I believe it can become an invaluable tool if we make a habit of using it.

We'd love to hear from you! Let us know if you have questions about the binder, or if you are planning to try this and what you think of it.

Blessings on your home (and your home improvement efforts!) this weekend.

Thursday, March 27

Time is Money!

I recently attended a seminar for work where the instructor said that according to Bill Gates, an activity will take you 10 times longer "if you don't have a system for it!"

That's what we are talking about here as we develop a Home Management Binder. Do you remember the last time your husband asked you where you put the rebate form from Home Depot? How about when you wasted so much time looking for directions to your cousin's wedding? You need a system!!

Stacy's posting (3/26/08) pretty much explains it all!
I just want to add, that your system...this Home Management Binder, will change as your season of life changes. For years, mine was full of kids' invitations and notices to activities, school, friends and doctors.

Now mine is not as full, but is still a main-stay on my desk as I file away my magazine subscriptions waiting to see if I want to renew.
I have a 'plastic business card holder' for my business cards for the handyman and business cards I want to refer to in the future.
I have other folders that are similar to Stacy's, I just use them differently in this season of life.

Develop your personal Home Management Binder and save yourself a whole bunch of time! If time is money...then maybe that is the secret to Bill Gates' wealth!

Wednesday, March 26

3 rings + folders = command central?

Up until about two months ago I had a basket on my kitchen counter. When you walked in from the garage the basket was right there. In went the mail, the bills, the invitations, the cards, the coupons. It was a catch all for....everything! (I wish I had taken a picture of it!!)

This basket became an eye sore and my husband hated it! He could never find what he was looking for and when I needed something I had to dig through a basket of miscellaneous items to find it.
...wasting time and energy.

Proverbs 31
:27 says "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." I realize that while I was managing the affairs of my home, I was not doing a very good job.

And if I am going
to manage, why not manage well?

To watch over the affairs of the household in 2008 I believe a Home Management Binder can help us do that well. Check out for their description of this type of binder. I love this quote from their web site: "By compiling and storing family information in a central location, life at home benefits. No more searching for scraps of paper or mislaid permission slips. They're always right where they belong: in the household notebook."

Here's what you'll need to create your own binder (aka command central notebook):

A 3-ring binder

Clear page protectors
or pocket folders

I do not have children so these are my current categories with examples of items in each category:

  1. Errands (Store coupons when I am out and about, reminders about upcoming sales)
  2. Home (Vietnam Vets pick-up reminder, paint swatches, garbage disposal guy, some business cards, a print out from a web site I may need for moving, a post card from a local artist, directions and hours for furniture stores)
  3. Food (Let's Dish coupon, pamphlets for two different stores I'd like to check out, directions to a bakery, menu for local Thai take-out)
  4. Medical (Appointment reminder cards, directions, phone numbers, dental coupon for free whitening, list of supplements I'm taking)
  5. Events (wedding save the dates and invitations)

If/when I have children, I might add sections like activity/sports schedules, school-related information and baby sitter information.

Some people create more of a daily binder with menu planning, grocery lists and coupons, daily schedules, chore lists for kids, cleaning schedules, etc. I have found that my recipes and menu planning have taken on a life of their own so they need a separate recipe binder. I view this more as a reference, but it can be whatever you make of it.

Do you want to know something rather ironic? It doesn't matter how cute or organized or user-friendly your binder is, IF YOU DON'T USE IT. As I was going through my binder to list out my categories I came across a coupon for $5 off an oil change at Midas. Guess what? I just got my oil changed last Thursday and didn't think to look in my binder for a coupon! A good reminder that this is always a work in progress...and it will take time to create a habit of using this regularly!

E-mail us with questions or clarifications and lets start managing the affairs of our household a bit better!

Here's a picture of the cover of a friend's binder. It might inspire you creative types....

Tomorrow Barb will post her categories.
Until then, start gathering appt. cards, business cards, post cards, coupons, invites, reminders, schedules, etc. If you already have a system in place no need to change it. This is to help centralize those things that just don't seem to have a home.

Are you ready to get started???

Tuesday, March 25

Home Management Binders!

Have you seen them at different stores lately? There are quite a few to choose from but I think the one that works best is the one that is made by you...for you! Check out a proto-type at Archivers (they have a class to make one for $25.00), but I think it limits you in what you put in it and how you design it.

Stacy will explain more of the nuts and bolts of it tomorow.

For today, think about all those pesky piles of papers that you have on your countertops and/or desk. These are papers that are too important to put too far out of sight, but they have no 'real place' to be filed so you just keep moving them around. You handle them too much and then you can't remember where you put them.
That's what we will be dealing with in building a Home Management Binder!

Spend some time gathering:

(1)important receipts, birth announcements (needing a gift), wedding invitations, REBATES (yuck, I am always losing those), or kids papers that need to be signed and returned to preschool/school.

(2)Find those loose business cards that tell you the name and number of the guy who cleans the gutters or sprays the lawn. You may have 'pending' cards of a potential hairstylist, chiropractor or nail salon that you want to hang onto.

(3)Then there are the receipts of returned items that you need to hang onto until you receive credit on your account.

(4)Gift cards

(5)Magazine subscription renewal that need to be sent in...someday

(6)Important numbers the baby sitter may need in case of an emergency

Are you getting the picture of what the Home Management Binder is for? I had a modified version when my kids were younger. These miscellaneous piles were put in this binder so I always knew where to look first. It took alittle time to get used to it, but then it became my master planner.

What my planner did not include were papers that already had a system:
(1)Bills to be paid
(2)Coupons for groceries
I felt there were too many of these for this planner...but again, this planner is for customization, so anything goes that will work for you!

Come back tomorrow to find out what to do next!

Monday, March 24

Tools for Home Management

"The choices you make about your home involve a lot more than wall color and window treatments. Home is where human beings develop. It's a place to restore souls, find shelter from outside pressures, and receive inspiration, comfort, and aid." - Kathy Peel, Family Home Manager

Doesn't that quote just stir something inside of you? The desire to create and provide a home for you and your loved ones that restores souls, offer shelter and protection, and gives comfort and encouragement?

I desire to create a home with those characteristics! But as we all know...that doesn't just happen. We have to be intentional and purposeful in creating a home like that.

One of the obstacles for me has always been organization. When I spend extra time and energy searching for items (where the heck is the RSVP card for that event?) and shuffling papers from pile to pile, it wastes time that could be spent on creating a relaxing and refreshing atmostphere in my home.

In order to get things accomplished in a timely and efficient manner we need tools. One of those tools is a Home Management Binder. This is a tool that I am currently developing and putting to use in the May household. Whether you are married or single, with kids or without, this binder can become an invaluable tool for managing your home well.

A binder like this one absolutely needs to be personalized but could include:
receipts, invitations, busienss cards, phone numbers, addresses, sports or class schedules, baby sitting information, pet information, meal planning and grocery lists, to-do lists, home maintenance, and more!

This week we'll be writing about how to create a Home Management Binder and the value it will bring to your home and family.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, March 21

Home Improvement!

In the past, we challenged you with homework on Fridays. Now we are going to ‘class it up abit’ and call it “Home Improvement”. Basically, it will be homework…but the intent will be to improve yourself as a wife, woman, mom, daughter, businesswoman, friend, child of God, homemaker and in turn you will be improving your home! I hope you consider this challenge, because a favorite line of mine is:
a woman isn’t wise because of what she knows, she is wise by the way in which she lives.

So here’s the Home Improvement challenge for this week:
We have shared about what it means to ‘think good thoughts’ this week. I would like you to identify ONE re-occurring thought that haunts you. For example, coveting…wanting what your friends have. Not only is this a personal weakness for me, it is mentioned in the Ten Commandments so I know it is a prevalent mindset.

After you have identified a negative thought you would like to control, think of what would be a thought that would be the exact opposite of that bad one.
For me, I work on replacing a coveting thought with a thought of celebration for person I am envious of. I congratulation them, compliment them, ask to see their new home or whatever it is I am jealous of. When I find myself coveting, I know exactly what thought I need to bring to mind to wipe out my bad thought. It isn’t easy, but I never said it was!

When you are on a diet, you have to make new choices. Instead of a chocolate chip cookie when you are trying to change your eating habits, you choose a cup of yogurt. So think of this challenge as a ‘thought diet’ for your mind! Instead of anger, you choose forgiveness; instead of greediness, you choose to be generous; instead of criticizing, you choose to perceive what is true…etc.

For this Home Improvement challenge, just work on replacing one harmful thought with it’s opposite. Be mindful of this all weekend. Use Stacy’s tips to help you…little reminders around the house to keep your mind free of the damaging thoughts that your mind wanders to.

In all of this, ask God for His Spirit to keep your mind thinking on things that will start to shape your mind to be as attractive as you want your body and home to be. In time, this will be the ultimate makeover!

("Do not worry...pray about everything,...give thanks...His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 LNIV)

Thursday, March 20

Habits, habits...

It has been estimated that more than 10,000 thoughts pass through the human mind every day!

We have so many thoughts....joyful thoughts, excited thoughts, loving thoughts, sad thoughts, angry thoughts, hurtful thoughts, anxious thoughts, concerned thoughts.

In her book Loving God With All Your Mind, Elizabeth George talks about Philippians 4:8...thinking on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, ++.

If God commands us to think these good thoughts than it must be possible right?

But how do we do that? Elizabeth suggests three habits that she has relied on through the years: memorize, meditate and apply God's Word.

She memorizes verses by taping index cards around her home (on mirrors, doors and above her kitchen sink).

She meditates throughout her day on passages that encourage her to think good thoughts. As negative or anxious thoughts fill her mind, Elizabeth stops and asks herself, "Am I thinking on what is true and real?"

She applies all this by putting into practice what she has memorized and meditated on. She says it's not good enought to know what we shold do, but we actually have to do it!

Hmmm....this sounds a lot like what I've learned in Homemakers over the years!

Wednesday, March 19

On The Job Training...

John Ortberg in his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, says ‘there is an immense difference between training to do something and trying to do something.’

I receive ‘on the job training’ in my thought life…daily. I find I have to ‘train’ my thoughts intentionally to think about what is ‘true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy’ as stated in Philippians 4:8.

Last night was a good example. My daughter was expecting some good news. Big news…that she had waited patiently to receive. Instead, the news was the opposite and it was really disappointing. I witnessed how the whole scenario played out and immediately had thoughts of anger, disappointment, blame, and pity. I wanted to lash out with a few choice words…those thoughts swirled around in my head. It was more intense as I watched her disappointment mount.

I knew my thoughts weren’t noble last night. I knew my thoughts were human and perhaps justified…I just couldn’t wallow in them

Having bad thoughts isn’t a sin, I don’t believe. Staying stuck in those thoughts is.

Acknowledging I had thoughts and words that I wanted to spew out at someone only made me aware of how much I need the Holy Spirit within me.

'Training wisely' with the help of the Holy Spirit is much easier than 'trying harder'. Training wisely makes me better. Trying harder usually makes me tired!

If I could tell you how to think good thoughts, may I suggest…just pay attention to your daily jobs. You will receive enough training there to make you an expert.

'On the job training'…it’s a bigger job than you thought.

Tuesday, March 18

I don't know...but I'm willing to try

1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

This is one of Ryan's favorite verses. He quotes it often - to himself and to other people. I asked him tonight, but how do you do that? HOW do you cast all your anxieties on God and leave them with Him? How do you not stay up at night worrying, or wake up early because you're overwhelmed or feeling overly burdened by your....burdens?

I don't know.

I haven't figured out how to think on what is true and right and noble and lovely. I haven't discovered the secret to casting my concerns onto the Lord. I know I should do these things, but I don't necessarily know how to consistently practice them in my thought life.

But I do know that it takes time. It takes practice. It takes training. It means developing new habits to replace old habits.

Beth Moore says that the most important thing God ever taught her is to pray for what she lacks.

So ladies, I think we need to pray....

Monday, March 17

A Quick Question...

How do we keep our thoughts focused on what is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy" as it says to do in Phillipians 4:8?

This is a question I've asked myself over the years and just recently I was asked by a younger woman just how is that possible?

Before answering this question, I had to realize the truth of Proverbs 23:7..."For as he (a woman) thinketh in his (her) heart, so is he (she)" (KJV).

What I was thinking about was really who I was!
I didn't particularly like hearing that truth... as I was busy trying to build a life that 'looked good' to others but wasn't necessarily bothering about my thought-life.

What I love about the Bible is that it doesn't let me get away with that! I have had to learn to become a woman who is consistent in who I appear to be and who I really am...To be authentic...and that begins with my thought life.

If my thought life is really who I am, keeping my thoughts focused on what is right and true, pure and noble, is really the key to becoming a better person, mom and wife.

That is the 'why' behind the question of how do we keep our thoughts pure. I will add to this in my next posting, but in the do you keep your thought-life managed?!

Thursday, March 13

Simplify Shopping?!

I was on a schedule again yesterday. I had a break between appointments so I hustled into Macy’s to pay a bill and scope out the spring fashions. My head was full of all the good blog postings of Stacy’s from the past week, so I was anxious to see how LITTLE I could buy! I needed a black pair of jeans. That was all. I am not a ‘frequent shopper,’ so I was amazed at all the fun clothes that were displayed for spring. Spring color was everywhere…and I was shopping for black jeans?!

I immediately started talking to God. Praying about my purchase and about the ‘need’ I had for those jeans. I told Him about the price point I was hoping to stay in and that I was hoping to find a pair that wouldn’t need to be hemmed up.

My selection was very limited but I did find a pair that had a unique cut to it. I liked them! My size was available, so I tried a pair on. It wasn’t a perfect match so I opted to go home empty handed. I wasn’t discouraged however, because I am used to this pattern of shopping. I have learned (sometimes with much reminding of myself) that I need to trust in God’s timing…even in supplying a pair of jeans!

I share this silly outing with you because as an older woman, I can’t tell you a ‘sure-fire’ way to guard your heart or mind against ‘wanting more’ or being content with what you have.
It isn’t like a weigh-loss coach who can tell you to take in “1000 calories and you will lose weight”.

I can encourage you however, by sharing how I shop. I have been doing this for years and as elementary as it seems, I have to fill my mind with what Stacy mentioned in her posting yesterday…what is true, right, lovely, excellent…things of worth rather than just mindlessly coveting everything I see.

It is remarkable to me to see God at work even as I shop. My best outfits have been purchased when I have relied the most on His direction. I share this exercise with you hoping you already have figured this out in your own life. If not, give it a try. You will not only experience the wonder of having Him as your personal shopper, but you will also find the wonder of not wanting everything you see. You will reign in the need to ‘buy it all.’
You will see, as Stacy said, “living simply means we must be intentional about our thought life....because if we don't take over our thoughts, our thoughts will eventually take over us!” You know the danger that can cause while shopping!

An intentional shopping trip may be the start to guarding your mind and “bringing into captivity every thought!” (2 Cor 10:5) …including what pair of jeans to buy!

Wednesday, March 12

Happy anniversary to us!

March 12 is the one-year anniversary of our blog! It's hard to believe we've been blogging for a year. We hope you are enjoying our postings and that they are challenging you in all your roles.

If you have ideas or suggestions on topics you would like read about, please comment and let us know. Of if you have questions you would like answered, we'd love to tackle those. This is an interactive blog so please share your thoughts!

Here's to homemaking in the next year!

Room for God?

Barb's posting yesterday focused on an inner issue that we need to address: the heart. Along with the heart, I believe the mind is a powerful tool (or weapon) when we are seeking to live a more simplified life.

I shared this week with friends that I am consumed so much of the time it seems with stuff "to-do." Not activities to go to and commitments to attend to, but rather stuff that I just want to get done personally...errands to run, calls to make, people to e-mail, cards to send, things to check out online and on and on (not to mention work!). It's all self-imposed -- or most of it is anyway. But it keeps me busy, busy, busy and at times even feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Isn't that crazy? Just this week I am recognizing this trend in my I'm working to take every thought captive and think on things that are true, noble, just and pure.
Psalm 10:4 says, "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."

If my thoughts are filled with all the things I have to get done then where is there room for God? This passage is convicting and challenging. That's not how God wants me to live...and not how I want to live either.

I think I'm realizing that living simply means we must be intentional about our thought life....because if we don't take over our thoughts, our thoughts will eventually take over us!

Tuesday, March 11

One Thing...

Good Morning,

I just returned from a week's vacation, living out of one suitcase, reading Stacy's postings on Living Simply! It was so fun to read about 'stuff' and 'busyness', knowing I was hundred of miles away from my stuff and I didn't miss a thing (except my toenail clipper, which I was reminded of daily as I walked the golf course!). I didn't have a packed agenda and my 'busyness' consisted of strolling the streets in the evening just people watching. That's the life!

But it wasn't 'real life'! Now I am back to the daily grind, needing to make a living and keeping my 'stuff' in order and I reflect back on all that Stacy wrote.

Living Simply isn't a new challenge. I think women have always been quick to multi-task and try to keep many balls in the air. Jesus talked to his friend Martha and said, " Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing."

Jesus wasn't talking of going on vacation with one suitcase. He was talking about pursuing one thing...seeking the Kingdom of God. Having an undivided focus.

Clifford Williams summarizes my thoughts,
"We possess singleness when we are not pulled in opposite directions and when we act without wanting something further for ourselves. Our inner drives do not conflict; they are aimed in one direction. The motives we appear to have are the ones we are really have. Our inner focus is unified and our public posture corresponds with it. We are not, in short, divided."

If the secret of life is pursuing one thing, maybe my stress comes from my own divided heart, not the busyness of my day. It's a tough pill to swallow, but even as I lived out of one suitcase, I found myself wanting more and desiring to 'buy' my happiness during my vacation. Even without 'stuff' and a long 'to do' list, I had a yearning.

Until I addressed my divided heart, I wasn't going to find the simple life...even while on vacation.

Monday, March 10

Living consciously....deliberately...and thoughtfully

Barb and I often talk about Living Intentionally. To live intentionally one has to make deliberate choices throughout their days, their weeks, their years.

I love this explanation of living simply and intentionally from The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs:
"Simple living is about living deliberately. That's all. You choose your existence rather than sailing through life on automatic pilot. Your existence can be in the woods, in the city, as a carpet cleaner, a doctor, an office manager, a retired person, a single person, a parent of six, a person in his 20s, a person in her 80s.....Simple living is about making deliberate, thoughtful choices. The difference is that you are fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully."

Count the number of times the word choice or choose is used in that quote!

Simple living is about make deliberate choices with your calendar and commitments, your home life, your check book, your health, your relationships.

I'll leave you with one last quote to ponder, "Simplicity means stopping for a moment and asking what the heck we are doing with our lives. Simplicity asks whether we need to follow the status quo just because everyone else is doing it. Simplicity asks: Is it right for me? For us? If not, then simplicity gives us the inner strength we'll need to say no."

May the Lord grant each of us the inner strength we need to choose what is right for our families today!

Saturday, March 8

Homemakers Homework

I'm a day late posting homework....but there's still plenty of time to implement it!

Making choices in support of simplicity allows you to save more or give more generously, have more time on your calendar, and enables you to take control over your actions and attitudes.

So your homework is to intentionally choose simplicity just once this weekend. Maybe that's in not buying something, not saying yes to something, not letting yourself be influenced by the world and our culture.

Choices in support of a life of simplicity (even small choices) will leave you feeling a sense of freedom. That doesn't mean they will always be easy decisions, but you'll be free to choose and live according to your values and priorities.

Choose simplicity and see how it doesn't make a difference in your home!

Thursday, March 6

Commandment #4: Take a day off

I've been reading books on simplicity. I've been listening to sermons online. I've been doing some research. Everything I'm reading and hearing says that we need to rest.

Whether you are 'religious' or not, you've probably heard that the fourth commandment says to Honor the Sabbath. Pastor and author Andy Stanley paraphrases this commandment as "Thou Shalt Take a Day Off."

Take a day off? WHAT? With work, to-do lists, loads of responsibility, cooking, cleaning, errands, kids, etc, etc, how exactly can one afford to take a day off?
And what exactly does a 'Sabbath' look like in 2008?

For starters, we can't afford to not take a day off. We need rest to be the kind of homemakers God is calling us to be. To have the energy, the right attitude and to be in our best health for the other six days of the week, we need to rest and rejuvenate physically and mentally.

In case you're not quite sold on the idea of resting for a day.....a good friend of mine said that he was recently challenged when someone said to him: who are you to think that you don't need to obey a commandment set by the God of the universe? Are you so busy, so committed, so over-scheduled that you're telling the Lord you are going to disobey this command?

Hard to argue with that logic, huh?

While Sabbath may seem like a foreign word, I think we all understand the concept of resting and relaxing.

Here are some 'take a day off' ideas:

  • Have fun with your family.
  • Make a craft (alone, with your spouse or with your kids).
  • Goof off.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Go on a picnic or a bike ride or take a walk.
  • Watch a movie together.
  • Have conversations with your spouse, family members or kids. Really communicate.
  • Just don't work.
Can you imagine having 24 hours of fun and rest to look forward to each week? You can talk about it with your kids and anticipate it with your spouse. But know that 24 hours of rest will not just happen for you and your family. You need to be intentional about scheduling and planning for this. It can be a Saturday or a Sunday or whatever day works best for you. But I challenge you, as I have been challenged, to take a 24-hour period once every 7 days for the next month and see if it doesn't change your life.

Andy Stanley asks us if we trust God enough that He will provide for us (whether that's money, time, or energy) if we work hard six days and take a day to rest and celebrate. Joanne Heim, author of Living Simply, suggests we should look at it as a guilt-free vacation day each week.

Ladies remember that this too is counter-cultural. We don't live in a society that values rest and relaxation on a weekly basis. If you are going to apply this principle in your life, it's not going to be easy. You're going to have to plan ahead. You're going to have to say no to some enticing activities that are outside the family. But when you honor God with this commandment, you will be blessed, your family will be blessed and you'll be taking another step toward living a life of simplicity.

"May the Sabbath be an oasis of peace, calm and rest in the middle of your life." - Living Simply

Wednesday, March 5

Voluntary Simplicity

Another book I've been reading is called 'Tis a Gift to be Simple: Embracing the Freedom of Living with Less. It was written in the early 90s, and so much of what the authors wrote applies even more to our lives today.

Did you notice the word freedom in the title? There is freedom in living simply. Freedom in having less, buying less, doing less, working less, worrying less. Freedom to play more, laugh more, love more, relax more, enjoy your life more.

The authors write about voluntary simplicity: the idea that one can intentionally live less extravagantly and purposely live more simply. "Voluntary simplicity does not mean we all have to sell our homes. It doesn't even mean we can't have nice things. It may mean that we can't have all of them."

As woman, wives, moms, sisters, daughters, friends, and homemakers, we can choose to be influenced by the world (which is constantly telling us more, bigger, better) or we can choose to pursue the freedom that comes with living our homes, on our calendars, in our checkbooks, in our relationships....and influence those around us.

Tomorrow I want to talk about a day of rest as it relates to simplicity. Now that's counter-cultural!

In the spirit of rest, I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, March 4


Continuing with the topic of simplicity, today I want to talk about stuff.

Now I love stuff. I love it in all shapes, sizes, colors, and brands. I like the latest stuff. I like the newest stuff. I like the cutest, prettiest, most fun, and most entertaining stuff.

But sometimes I feel as thought I am consumed by stuff. Anyone out there agree with me?

Whether it's
stuff for yourself personally (even valuable time-saving kitchen tools), or stuff for your kids (gotta have that toy), we are bombarded with commercials, ads, and billboards that tell us we need more stuff.

Listen to this quote:
"We live in a culture that is tying its identity, self-worth and enjoyment in life to stuff. But stuff doesn't bring lasting satisfaction."

Did you know that on average people spend six hours every week shopping for more stuff? And on average parents spend just 45 minutes a week playing with their kids.

Ask yourself this question that was recently posed to me: "We're not defined by stuff when we're born or when we die, so why would we choose to be defined by what we own and what we consume while we are living?"

This has really hit home for me as I've cleaned, organized and gotten my home ready to put on the market. I have an entire closet filled with boxes of....
stuff. I have taken at least 5 carloads of stuff to my parents and a friend's home to store for us while our house is on the market. Where did all this stuff come from? Why do I need more?

In Living Simply, Joanne Heim says, "We must take care, when furnishing our homes, to fill them with objects that are useful, beautiful, uplifting and beneficial to our families."

I believe another step toward simplicity is a) getting rid of some of our
stuff and b) choosing to live in such a way that our lives are not centered on consuming more stuff.

Sunday, March 2

A simple challenge

As we kick off the month of March, I will be sharing some things I have been reading, hearing and learning....all having to do with the topic of simplicity. Simplicity in our schedules, our finances, our lifestyles, our homes, our relationships, and our sense of well being.

What do you think of when you hear the word 'simplicity'? Does it sounds like a soft sigh of relief? Does it make you think of a breath of fresh air? Do you imagine relaxation and peace?

I imagine that we each define simplicity in different ways. One of the words I would use to define simplicity is freedom. It may be hard to make the connection between simplicity and freedom, but in the coming days
you'll begin to understand how simplicity and freedom go hand in hand.

I recently read a book called Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More by Joanne Heim. It's written specifically for busy wives and moms who desire contentment, who long for the kind of abundant life Christ talks about, and a better quality of life that is not filled with chaos and consumption.

I think this statement from the book sums up the way many of us are living: "I've found that living a simple life is more than just getting rid of stuff. Stuff is part of it, for sure. But it's also about full calendars, schedules, commitments, activities, and to-do lists. Like Thanksgiving dinner, a lot of it is good - nice things, people we enjoy, and activities we really do want to do. But we're too full - stuffed, in fact - and we feel a little sick knowing we just can't handle all those things our lives are full of."

This is a big topic to address, so today I want to start with one small challenge.
Joanne mentions in her book how empty days on our calendars are rare and instead of relaxing and enjoying them, we use them to catch up on everything we've fallen behind on. So our 'empty days' become full and we don't take the time to rest.

My challenge to you is to look at your calendar in the coming week or two and find a day that doesn't have anything scheduled. Mark it off. Write Me Day or Open Day or whatever you need to do to keep from scheduling appointments, outings, etc. Hopefully this day isn't too many weeks down the road. I challenge you to keep it empty. Maybe it will be a day to relax with your family or maybe a day for you to relax on your own. It's not a day to clean, run errands and catch up on life. It's a day to rest, to relax and to have the freedom to do whatever you feel like doing when those 24 hours rolls around.

If you are inspired to take me up on this challenge, comment below with the date you are blocking off on your calendar. I'll pray for you on that date as you take this one small step toward living simply.