Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Picture this… a mom, who is trying her best to keep her kids fed and thriving and learning and not fighting and the house clean and the dishes clean and the toys put away and the kids entertained and the clothes put away and the dog fed and the bathrooms wiped down and the kitchen sanitized and the carpet looking as best it can and her husband de-stressed at home and the car vacuumed and the flowers alive

Tired yet?

Yeah, me too.  Sometimes in my day I can’t seem to keep my head above water, or above the clutter.  Some days I have to literally walk around with my head looking up so as not to be burdened by all the stuff collecting in my home.  Please say you can relate!

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my closet, before

I truly believe whether you are a stay a home mom, a working mom, a single mom, or not a mom at all, we all have the struggle with STUFF.  And I believe that the society that we live in has made us obsessed with having more.  Doing more. Being more.  So when my days get heavy with the hard stuff and my house can’t even be a calming, peaceful retreat, I cannot seem to get a grasp on any one thing. 

I am so excited to share this book with you! The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing a.k.a The KonMari Method.

It was recommended by a friend, so I read it as quickly as I could.  Along the way, I shared some ideas with my husband.  He was so quickly on board that he wanted to get started even before I finished reading the book! Ha!

So what did we do?  Called up my parents and asked if they could watch our kids so that we could…CLEAN!  I know.  We are some wild and crazy kids! 

I was drowning so deep in my things that

Once we began, the KonMari rules started to make sense.  For example, the book recommends starting with categories of items instead of rooms. The author suggests touching each piece to truly part with it. We asked ourselves if different items sparked joy in our life, among other rules outlined in the book.  Initially, we mocked the rules, but as we worked through the process, we began to praise them. 

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my closet, mostly done!

 

To be honest, it has been a spiritual experience for me.  The Lord asks the rich ruler to give all of his posessions away — could I do that?  The Lord calls me to be a good steward of what I have been given, and honestly, if I can’t even be joyful in my home, am I being a good steward in it?  Can I serve my kids, husband, friends, and family well?  My problem was that I was drowning so deep in my things that I couldn’t be a good mom or wife or daughter of the King.  I wasn’t a good version of myself. 

I am learning through my imperfections that the Lord wants me as I am.  But I have to make room in my life to hear Him.   I must make room in my life and in my home to learn and worship Him in all areas. This means willingly giving up things that are currently taking up space to make room for more of God.  

Over the next several weeks, maybe even months — because truly this is a process — Creating a Great Day will:

  • Weekly have a “KonMari Spiritual Adventures” thread on Facebook as a way to encourage each other on this journey.  Post what you feel comfortable with.  This is not about embarrassing anyone but truly freeing ourselves from physical stuff so that spiritually we can be ready for any adventure God takes us on.  
  • Every few weeks encourage you to tackle a new area of your house with a Blog post.  Of course, we will be following the KonMari method so we will go in her order but detail it out for you, just in case you don’t know it, sharing our funny stories and our spiritual lessons.
Will you join us on the KonMari Adventure with a Spiritual Twist of freeing ourselves up physically and spiritually to do God’s will?  

Don’t have a copy of the book?  No problem!  Enter to win a copy.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Book Giveway

This is not a sponsored post.  Creating a Great Day is providing the book for this giveaway because we have found this to be helpful to us.

Although the book itself isn’t spiritual in nature, it does provide a lot of springboard applications that can be used to tidy up our hearts as well as our homes.

Attacking the Closet! {KonMari Spiritual Adventures}

KonMari home, mind, and soul

The Years at Home Filling Our Time-Capsule Well

The Years at Home Filling Our Time-Capsule Well

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Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of four. After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home mom. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W
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I look on, my gaze resting on her smiling face. She reaches her hand for the stem before her and gently plucks it, her smiling eyes turning around to meet mine. I have watched her harvest the dandelions of the field on many occasions, but this time was different. Like iron lead, so was the lump that I found resting in my throat.  I worked to etch the soft tendrils framing her face full of wonder and glee, this moment, I wanted to freeze in my mind. I listened even closer to the sound of her giggle, burning its melody into my memory. The escalator of time that she was standing on was weighing heavy on me. I watched her blow the seeds into the wind. I drop another memory into my motherhood time-capsule. The words are swishing around in my heart, “The days are long, but the years are short”. The sunlight dances on her hair; and I ask for not a moment to be wasted.

Before the bloom

These are the years where the soft buds of our children are forming. We only have so long, or rather so little time, before the blossom appears. If we are not careful, the blossom will have taken place and left us missing out on the joy and wonder of the bloom. A blossom never returns to the bud, time does not allow for such wishes.

The days of growth are crucial – they are the slow days of tending. If we are so focused on the task, we miss the joy of who it is we are caring. Sometimes we look so forward to seeing the blossom, that we forget about the wonder of the bud in-waiting.  Tending the tender buds, guarding for the day of its blossom – it is a task of patience, resilience, and attentiveness. But then the bloom… and the years of attending the bud are but a memory. While the blossom will be beautiful and we will love its new season of growth, I imagine there will be an ache in the remembrance of caring for the bud.

So, as the laughter flows, let us give thanks for the years before the bloom. In the stormy seasons, let us ask for wisdom where we have to guard and tend buds carefully. When joy falls like rain, let us tuck away those memories and store them for when seasons of drought come along.

The years before the bloom are hard, but they are also glorious.

Capturing moments

As we sit here, let us remember the gift of time-present. Laundry will eventually lessen, the messes will gradually stop showing up in various spaces of our home, and sleep will find its way back to us again. But what we have right now…we will never be able to recapture. It happens and it is over, just like that. The winds of change blowing through can not be sucked back in and held.

We cannot pretend that everyday will be perfect. But we can pray for every day to be captured for God’s glory and our good. We can begin by asking for a shift in our mindset and attitude. Let us be the ones who take the little time we have with our children and cultivate it well. The time-capsule of motherhood is before us, may we fill it well.

Ideas to nourish time with your children

  • Spending time in God’s Word together.
    • This is about enjoying God with your children. We can easily turn this into a lesson for them or we may approach this dryly…Enter into this time with reverence and awe. Point to the holiness of God and His goodness. Be in wonder of Him ALONG with your children. Make this time about worshiping Him.
  • Explore nature together
    • Here is a book that can help you along with this.
  • Unplug.
    • A time set aside that is device-free. No phones, tablets, or screens of any kind. Be present with each other. Laugh together. Enjoy conversation with each other.
  • Read books together
  • Start a new hobby together
    • Learn how to – knit, draw, cook, bake, build, etc. Let this be a group effort
  • Visit a local farm to pick fresh fruit.
  • Play board/card games

 

Starting some of these things (or all of them) might be difficult, but it will be worth it. Don’t waste away the years. Hold on to them and may your time spent in them be rich and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Introducing Quiet Time And Sticking To It!

Introducing Quiet Time And Sticking To It!

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Have you ever felt completely tapped out?  Do you find yourself at 3:00 pulling your hair out and searching for a chocolate bar (or ice cream, or coke, or wine)? I know I have, and let me begin by saying that I don’t think this is something that we have to accept as a “normal” part of motherhood.  Let me tell you what saved me from this post-lunch, pre-dinner, still-have-2.5-hours-until-Dad-gets-home-disaster. The miracle answer?

Quiet Time

What is this magical cure called quiet time you might ask?  I’m so glad you did!  I discovered quiet time several years ago.  I cannot remember what particular atrocity brought me to my wits’ end that fateful day, however if I had to wager a guess, it was probably some combination of too many requests to entertain one child while another screamed and clung to my legs for dear life.  You see, I never planned on playing Suzy Homemaker.  Oh, no, no!  My grand plan included slacks, business casual lunches, and a fulfilling career.

As humorous as it is for me to look back at those so-called dreams now, it’s necessary to see where I’m coming from.  Some moms just totally get it.  They were born to be moms.  They wear their hair just so and it’s always nice.  They don’t ever appear to lose their cool.  They plan fun outings and educational activities on a weekly basis.  They always have neat snacks packed in an uber-organized bag and they never run out of tissues.  All right so I may be stretching things a little here, but seriously, there are some moms who are just awesome. They just totally were made for this mom thing.

The Possibilities of Quiet Time

Let me tell you a secret–you can be too!  Oh believe me, friend, it is possible!  I too was doubtful.  I too was buried beneath the doubt and guilt that is parenting in the 21st century.  But fear not!  The answer for me was easy.  Enter: Quiet Time.  The magical one hour of each day that you can tell your children to go away and just be.  And then you know what?  You too can just be.  Think about it…the possibilities are ENDLESS!  You could shower!  Eat something!  Watch some TV!  Or simply stare blankly at the wall and just be one with yourself and your own thoughts.

This is the time I use to make those important phone calls, eat a snack without sharing, and open my bible.  We are constantly being encouraged as moms to rise before the children, open up our bibles and have some alone time with God to start the day off right.  Let me tell you that I’ve tried this and I have one thing to say about it, HAHAHA!  Seriously, my second child will rise when I rise.  If I’m up at 7:30, she’s up and asking for breakfast.  If I’m up at 6:00, she’s lumbering out of bed and asking what I’m doing and why is it still dark out?!

Psalm 32-6-8New International Version (NIV)6

No, rising before the children doesn’t work for me, so I use this time to catch up on my time with the Lord.  I’m not always successful in this endeavor.  I really struggle sometimes in having enough discipline to apply myself to His Word each day.  I feel like this can be a big battle for exhausted moms.  Hopefully starting a daily Quiet Time for yourself and your children can help make that battle a little easier, if that’s something you’re struggling with.

My best tips to get started with Quiet Time

1 – First, let me tell you that I’m not encouraging you to put your one-year-old in a room alone and shut the door.  

Independent play is something that does have an age factor to it.  For my kids, Quiet Time begins when they stop napping regularly.  For my son, that was sometime in his 4th year.  My daughter started at three.  If you have a two-year-old who has given up napping, you could try implementing a modified Quiet Time where the door stays open and the time is shortened to whatever is appropriate for that particular child.

2 – Regardless of when you begin, you’ll need to be prepared to work at it a bit.

When I began Quiet Time with my son, he was already fairly good at independent play.  He has always enjoyed creating things, so for him it was just another opportunity to make something awesome.  My daughter, on the other hand, was quite a bit younger, and being the second child, was used to always having someone else around.  She took some work, but through perseverance, we made it through.

I suggest beginning with a short amount of time when you first implement Quiet Time.  

3 – Remember to lay the ground rules and reiterate it a few times. 

Children learn through repetition, so it won’t hurt to have them recite the rules back to you after you’ve told them what you expect.  For us the expectations are:

  • You will be quiet while you are in Quiet Time.  You may listen to music or a book on CD, you may talk or sing, however your noise level should not reach me in the living room.
  • You are expected to enter Quiet Time with whatever you think is necessary to get you through the hour.  If you need a cup of water, snack, special toy, coloring book, etc., please gather your things on your way to your room.
  • If you need to come out, make sure it is for a legitimate reason.  You may come out to use the restroom, ask me an urgent question, or tell me something very important.  However, if you continue to come out of Quiet Time before time is up, you’ll receive extra time in your room.
  • When Quiet Time is over, Mom WILL come and get you.  I will not just leave you in there.
  • You are expected to do a quick pick-up in your room at the end of Quiet Time.
Now, please know that I am not some crazy rule Nazi.  

My children frequently come out to tell me that they made something super awesome or to ask if Quiet Time is over; however, I try to limit their chances before they get a warning.  I always remind them that Quiet Time is for everyone and that includes me.  If they come out, they are interrupting my Quiet Time as well as possibly disrupting their siblings.  These are the rules that work well for our family.  You’ll have to think about what works best for your family.

I did get pretty lax with Quiet Time over the summer, and let me tell you that after a few months I was getting pretty cranky and so were the kids!

Luckily, I recognized that I had been neglecting Quiet Time, which essentially leaves no time for myself.  So I would say that once you get it going, you should really think hard about taking a long break.  My kids don’t do Quiet Time 365 days a year.  Some days we have play dates, other days we’re out and about, and of course weekends are family time, so they have plenty of non-Quiet Time days.  However, taking a long break over summer had everybody gnashing teeth and lashing out at one another.

4 – Independent play is so beneficial for children that it really is something we should encourage.

In a culture that places an emphasis on scheduled activities and so many group get-togethers for children, it’s very important for kids to not only know how to entertain themselves, but to really be able to open their minds and explore their abilities.  I encourage everyone to do some more research if you’re unsure about the benefits of independent play.  A great place to start is here.

When are you able to get in your alone time with the Lord?

Do you implement some type of Quiet Time in your home?  What does it look like for your family?  

 

Prayer for Moms Across the World

Prayer for Moms Across the World

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

My husband and I adopted our son almost three years ago. Ever since we decided to adopt, I have had a wide range of emotions on Mother’s Day. Knowing that I will always share that day with my son’s biological mother encourages me to think of other women who may experience grief and joy on this day. This reflection helps focus my thoughts and prayers during this time. Join me in honoring these women in our thoughts and prayers this week!

A prayer for moms everywhere

Dear God, we come before your throne today, asking for your intercession in the lives of women across the world. We pray for…

  • the women who become moms today. Guide their hearts, minds, and emotions as they experience motherhood for the first time.
  • the moms who have lost children. Bring them the peace that comes only from you.
  • the mothers who work outside (or from) the home to provide for their children. Whether they work one (or three) jobs, help their work and sacrifice to be appreciated and noticed.
  • the moms who stay home with their children. Help them feel loved and appreciated by their children and spouses.

Father, we also pray for the moms who…

  • have chosen to place their children into adoptive families. Give them the peace and clarity they need in their lives. Help those around them celebrate their choice for life, but allow those moms an emotional space to grieve.
  • live in poverty. Help give them the emotional, spiritual, and financial supports they need to lead their family toward you.
  • are raising their children on their own. Remind their neighborhood or church communities to rally around them so those moms never feel alone.
  • became mothers through adoption. Bless their motherhood journey and give them the strength and clarity needed to raise their children in a new family.
  • became moms through foster care. Give them courage to fight for what they know is right and the ability to love even when it hurts.

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We pray for…

  • the moms who protect their children from violence, war, and abuse. Let them know that there is still light even in darkness.
  • the women who have lost their own moms. Encourage us to surround these women with love. Help us give them the space they need to celebrate and grieve simultaneously.
  • the women who suffer from depression, anxiety, or mental illness. Put people in their lives to encourage them and help them get the support they need.

And we lift up these women as well…

  • the moms who love their children but not their spouses. Help them realize that one of the best ways to show love to their children is to love their spouse.
  • the moms who are struggling in their relationships with their children. Let them know that you are with them. Always.
  • the women who are “mother figures” in the lives of children in our homes and communities. Equip those women to engage, mentor, and love children.

We ask you to cover these moms (and others) with your love, peace, and mercy. May we never forget the importance of what the word “mom” means. In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Six Tip to Prepare for a Mission Trip Praying the Psalms We all struggle  A Mother to More than Your Own

prayers-for-moms-across-the-world-pinterest

prayers-for-moms-across-the-world-social
What Bible Time with Little Ones is Really Like (and encouragement for not giving up)

What Bible Time with Little Ones is Really Like (and encouragement for not giving up)

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

The Expectation of Bible Time

Before my oldest was born I had hundreds of ideas for how to spend Bible time with my children. Of course, my little ones would sit sweetly with anxious hearts for stories, songs, and activities. As a children’s ministry major, I’d even studied Bible class teaching in college. I couldn’t wait to do with my own children what I’d been reading about for years and years!

I can’t help but laugh as I think about my previous expectations. I’d spent plenty of time with of other children in Bible classes so it should have come as no surprise that my daughter would have a wonderful mind of her own! It did not take long for me to realize that Bible time at home needs to be casual and flexible!

The Reality of Bible Time

During Bible time with little ones you can expect wiggles, interruptions, and even resistance. It will feel like they are not listening. They might not sing along with you, or they might want to read a different Bible story than the one you picked out. It’s possible they might not understand the point you are making. Or  they might not want to do Bible time at all.

With all of this you might get frustrated and wonder if it’s even worth it. You might assume your kids are just too young and think about putting it off for the future. Oh, sweet momma, this is all so normal! Your kids are probably retaining more information than you think. I encourage you to keep it up because not only will you eventually see fruit from your effort, you are instilling a very important habit in their lives.

Establishing the Habit of Bible Time

Our kids, even at the earliest stages, have little hearts that need to be ministered to. I fully believe that, and I’m sure you do too! Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The ways of the Lord are to be a part of our everyday life. We fill our time in so many ways: play dates, zoo trips, errands, ballet, sports, school, work, chores. But it is vitally important for our children to grow up with a developed habit of daily praising God, praying to him, and reading his word.

Trying to organize Bible time often overwhelms me. I want everything planned out, and I want to know where we are headed in our studies and have set out goals. I’ve come to realize that my methods for Bible time with my daughter are not nearly as important as the habit of doing it daily. The best Bible program you can do with your kids is one that you will actually do. What that will be for you family, I can’t tell you. I’ve learned not to get bogged down with a system.

Incorporating Bible Time into Everyday Life

We must also remember that this task of impressing God’s way on our children is not something we do ten minutes a day during our Bible time. This mission is to be intertwined into our lifestyle. We must intentionally make God a topic of conversation as we sit at the table with our children, as we are helping them change their behavior and work through their feelings, as we drive in the car, when we find down time at home, and when we go to bed. We must also be a living example for our children, doing all we can to live the way God calls us to live.

Are you embracing the task of raising your children to be part of God’s kingdom? It is surely the most important job we have as parents. Don’t be discouraged if Bible time with your little ones isn’t going the way you envisioned. Keep reading God’s word. Continue singing those sweet songs. Keep talking with them. Lastly, don’t forget to keep praying with them, and for them.

How do you engage your little one in God’s word? 

 

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

The holidays for 2017 have come and gone. If you are like my family, you’ve already put away most of the Christmas decorations and your usual routine is beginning again. For me personally, one of the hardest parts about cleaning up the festive decorations is knowing what to do with Christmas cards from friends and family. The giver of each beautiful card put not only their money, but also their love into the card they’ve sent. I usually save pictures from a few of them, but many are doomed for the trash. It feels wrong to just throw them all away, at least so soon. Some of my friends cut pictures from them to use for future gift tags, which is a great idea. But I find myself wanting to appreciate my Christmas cards for a little bit longer.

I recently heard of a wonderful idea for recycling your Christmas cards and extending their joy throughout the year. Place them all in a special box or basket in your kitchen and every so often at dinner, take out a card, talk about the family you received it from, and pray for them. How lovely is that? Talk about how you know them, a memory you share with them, or why you are thankful for them. You might know specific issues in their life that need prayer, or you might give thanks to the Lord for putting them in your life. You could choose to pull out one card a week and pray over that family all week long or perhaps daily until you’ve gone through them all. It’s up to you!

Prayerfully remembering the ones God has placed in our life is a wonderful way to continue the spirit of the holiday season all year long! 

Father God,

We thank you for the people you put in our lives to find love, family, and community with. We praise you for those who help us know you better and encourage us in our walk with you. For those we love who do not know you, we ask that you use us to help them see you. May we see the ones who need life spoken to them and offer them your word. You are so good and we love you.

In the name of Jesus we pray,

Amen

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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