Dec 172016
 

Let Worry Go! #FearFightingBook

I woke up in the middle of the night, my mind tossing and turning worse than my body had been ten minutes ago.

Everything hit me at once: I’m not taking care of my family well enough. Good moms make their kids homemade meals, they don’t buy the boxed variety in the aisle’s of Trader Joe’s. They aldo don’t have picture ornaments hanging on their Christmas trees without the faces of their loves ones in them. Most of all they don’t forget birthday parties and gym day at school. Not only this, they don’t leave their houses complete wrecks; they tidy them. I’m the worst mom. I’ve got to do better. I can’t do better though, there is hardly any time for anything. My kids are bound to hate me one day.

Worry is like a spin cycle that never ends. It turns and turns and turns and turns until you are nauseous from its movement.

I should know; I sit in worry often. Do you?

The worst thing about worry is that all its circles get you nowhere. They clean nothing up, they spic and span no dish sitting in the sink and they fix no task before you.

So, why do I worry so much? You may be asking yourself the same question.

I’ve sat up countless nights circling this question. Kelly, why are you worrying? Why are you shredding a good night’s sleep with this stupid process? And, why can’t you stop thinking about what you are thinking about?

Nothing of value is ever accomplished in one’s mind in the middle of the night. I’ve determined this.

So, what is a peace-hungry woman supposed to do?

Finally, brothers and sister, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8

That’s what! Do you know how it looks for me in the middle of the night, when the sneaky enemy prowls around like a ravenous beast?

It looks like me saying the ABC’s of God’s goodness.

It goes like this:

A is for Always by my side, God will be.
B is for Before me, God goes.
C is for Carry me He will, when I am weak.
D is for Delight in him, he will give me the desires of my heart.

Can I tell you all something I’ve never made it all the way through the alphabet.
Never. Ever. Ever.

I’ve always fallen asleep – in peace.

When you focus on the goodness of God, you find the good thing you were always after. When you trust him and his ways, he leads you to the best way. When you stop worrying that you are worrying, you make space to start praising his name.

It works. It works anywhere at any time in any place. Start singing. Start thanking. Start noticing creation as you drive on a traffic-filled street full of cars that will never let you arrive at your destination. Still, it works.

With this, tonight, rather than dozing off to the doozy that is my motherhood-style; I’ll doze off to the truth that God has good in store even in the center of all I cannot control.

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her boo, Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s cousel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. www.FearFightingBook.com

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at www.FearFightingBook.com

We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits
 
Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.
$15.99 USD
Oct 202016
 

I’ve reached this sort of burn out that I didn’t know I could get if I wasn’t post-partum. This exhaustion that cuts into the marrow of my bones and sucks me dry. A weekend, the kind where you relax and have happy family time isn’t in the foreseeable future, but when is it when you have teens?

Between teens wandering off and sports I am beginning to believe I live in the car. My autoimmune issues are in a constant flare-up, my allergies are beginning to feel like a disease and I have literally dangled by my hair from the seatbelt trying to escape the all-wheel drive jail cell.

I should be grateful for all that I have, and in actual fact, I am. I know that I have far more blessings than so many people in this world but that doesn’t change that I am falling asleep everywhere, not sleeping when I need to, and have a to-do list a mile long with worry on my mind and pain in my soul.

I actually look forward to a Monday now because that means the hectic weekend is over and that I can check off some of those boxes and try to detox my soul by sinking into the Word while allowing it to sink into me.

Don’t ever ask a stay at home mama what she does all day, because it is really exhausting, even if you are healthy.

Apr 182016
 

The laundry is done and I am placing the last of the folded clothes away inside a child’s drawer and decide to straighten up a bit. Three throw blankets that had been pulled from the top closet shelf folded and put up. Bending down to pick up a toppled over guitar I spot it.

A pile of soiled laundry tucked in the corner by a child who decided to hide a spill instead of being honest. I breathe deep and remind myself that I am homemaking for Christ and that I will be talking to this child about how hiding something and being deceptive is also lying.

The dishes are washed and sitting in the sink to dry and just as the last of the water drains and I toss my rag into the wash a plate pops in and again I have to look to God because that little plate could lead to a lot of frustration.

I am learning that when you live with your two kids and your two parents you end up with a lot of things always being dirty and rarely in a state of cleanliness that lasts more than a few seconds. These are my top 5 tips that I use to enjoy homemaking and make it awesome.

ONE

Worship music.

Yep, you heard me right, since I feel that homemaking is a calling from the Lord and I believe that I should do it to the very best of my ability in that moment or on that day I often sing hymns or play worship music on my IPad as I move around the house form one task or the other. It keeps my focus on Christ and serving Him by serving my family. One day I had a revelation on the bathroom floor and I haven’t looked back.

TWO

Grace.

A whole lot of grace. God gives me grace and I know I have to give my family grace. They eat, wear clothes, shower, make messes and aren’t perfect and neither am I. If God is so eager to give me grace, then it is my duty as a daughter of Christ to be a daughter that gives grace to my parents and children too.

THREE

Time Myself.

I hear so many people complain that they don’t have time to do the dishes or take the trash out or even clean the bathroom. Flylady says you can do anything for 15 minutes and way back when I used to set a timer for 15 minutes and would be amazed by how much I could get done in that time. Now I am less into the timer but have learned to use my time wisely.

For example, last night, I turned the kettle on for my tea and even though it was Sunday and the meal was big and my brother had been here I decided to wash dishes while I waited. I was done washing up before the kettle went off, which was less than 3 minutes. Dishes that I had planned to just leave for today because I was in pain and not feeling well were finished. Today we were able to wake up to clean pots and pans so the morning wasn’t rushed and we weren’t working around a mess.

FOUR

Pick up as I go.

If I head into a child’s room with laundry to deliver I will pick up any trash or Lego that has made its way into the room or onto the floor. It makes sense to make fewer trips and it makes it easier for my young teens to pick up their rooms on their own. It also makes my job easier if I find a glass or a plate and have it ready to wash BEFORE I do dishes!

The same goes for laundry, and of course, other rooms. Instead of walking past a throw on the floor I will grab it and fold it and toss it back onto the couch. Our one dog LOVES to throw the pillows and blankets in the living room around and if I want it to look somewhat orderly I may as well just pick it up as I walk past it. That way, when a bigger job like vacuuming comes along, the floor and surfaces are for the most part ready to go!

FIVE

Have a schedule.

Daily tasks are simple but easily forgotten. Put away my OWN laundry. Open the curtains. Bring any dishes from my bedroom to the kitchen. Fill my water bottle.

My weekly tasks include a day for wiping down the entire kitchen, meaning I remove everything from the counters and spray it, wipe it, and get rid of any crumbs. It always shocks me how many crumbs get behind things each week! EWW.

Other weekly tasks include vacuuming upstairs, vacuuming downstairs, deep cleaning the entire bathroom (I do some things as needed through the week so it stays mostly clean), watering the plants, fish tank maintenance, sweeping the stairs. I am sure you get the idea.

Monthly tasks include things like washing the comforters and duvets, turning mattresses, wiping the windows, cleaning out the car, and decluttering.

I don’t have to check my schedule every day but I do check it regularly. It is a nice guideline to help me be productive throughout the week.

What are your tips for keeping homemaking fun? I would love to know your tricks in the comments!

Feb 192016
 

I clean the bathroom on Thursdays unless it needs it otherwise. Call me crazy for leaving it a full week before doing it again but Thursday seems to be what works for our family so that’s what I do. This week though I have been feeling sick still from the flu I had last week. Exhaustion comes simply from thinking and naps have been a must for the past 10 days or so. I did clean the bathroom last week so I wasn’t really behind. Yet yesterday I just slept most of the day and had no energy so it got moved over to the to-do list for Friday.

Isn’t that how everyone wants to spend their Friday evening?

I woke up from my long nap around dinner time, everyone had eaten and I had no appetite yet again. I sat on the bed contemplating whether or not being awake was a good thing and I wondered how babies sleep in such awkward positions without being stiff. This extremely deep thought forced me to conclude that that is why babies cry -stiff joints after a good nap.

I pulled out my planner to see what I hadn’t done this week and the list was a mile long and the bathroom stood out to me like a sore thumb. After some deep Biblical talk (yes seriously) with myself about cleaning the bathroom to serve the Lord I got off my butt and went upstairs and used that highly toxic mint scented toilet bowl cleaner and wondered to myself how on earth getting cancer was godly, then, I noted that I am only going to use natural cleaners once that bottle is gone.

I removed everything from the counters and wiped away, got mold out of the window, finished with the 7 toothbrushes and toothpastes, refilled the soap dispenser and then pulled out my trusty and equally toxic Lysol wipes and quickly gave the outside of the toilet a once over. Then, it hit me.

I was cleaning the bathroom to serve God and my family BUT I wasn’t doing it with a servants heart. Revelation right there on the floor. I pulled out a few more wipes and torqued my body around the toilet and wiped it properly, I was actually pretty grossed out by how much my once over missed and continued to clean. This time while talking to God about how I need Him to continue to work in my heart to help me make the mundane into something that can bring Him glory. Yes, I want my toilet to shine, not just for me, but to show God how grateful I am to have a toilet to clean, a family to mess it up and the cleaning supplies to get the task done.

I grabbed the toilet brush and scrubbed away while humming some of my favorite worship songs and for the first time in awhile it felt like cleaning the bathroom wasn’t a chore, but a duty asked of me by God.

When I was done with that I cleaned the mirrors in the rest of the house that didn’t have a streak free shine despite having just been done, because I wanted them to sparkle for God instead of just being half-done or done incorrectly just so they could get a check mark. I swept the floor around the dog crates, put 2 gallons of water in the fish tank and wiped down their glass.

I am still behind on my chores for the week, but I am excited to be approaching them with the mindset that I am serving not only my family, but the One who has gifted me all that I have.

Growing up I often heard that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and while I don’t believe that to be true because we all have different standards and ideas of what clean is, I feel that God is moving in my heart to do the job to the best of my ability whether I am wiping up crumbs, scrubbing a toilet, or simply taking care of myself. He isn’t calling me to be perfect, He is calling me to serve.

Jan 312016
 

I have been seeing so many people talking about the KonMari method from the books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and her new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up both by Marie Kondo. So, I decided maybe this was for me!

I have been a perfectionist of the worst kind for several years. I am either all or nothing. Meaning, if I can’t do it all perfectly, I don’t do it at all. This either leaves us with a very clean house, or now that I am in pain most days, a very messy home that seems to be falling apart around us.

I have spent a long time placing the blame for the clutter on my family. They don’t want to part with anything and the house is cluttered, but MY SPACE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! When I began to learn a bit about the KonMari method of decluttering it really hit home for me. What is worth my time and my pain to keep tidy and clean? From there I purged down my closet but I didn’t follow the rules of pulling out every article of clothing that I owned and placing it in a pile and going through each one, touching each one and seeing if it sparks joy while deciding to donate, toss or keep.

This afternoon I did just that with my clothing. Some of which had been stored in bags that I haven’t looked at in a few years. Since I already did my main clothes last week I didn’t pull those items out again as I know they are all part of my wardrobe that definitely spark joy. Here is the floor of my bedroom after I pulled everything that I had stored out. I am shocked that I had so many things stored, some of which still on hangers! Please tell me I am not alone?!


It only took me about a half hour to do my first sort through. I did 3 piles that I knew would work well for me. Keep, toss and maybe. This giant pile was quickly split in half which left me thinking “do I really want to hang up these things and keep them?”

So I went through the keep pile again and only kept a few pieces. A dress for my daughter that is brand new and will likely be worn to a school dance, a button up shirt, 2 leather skirts, a leather jacket, my pink spring trench coat, my white leather jacket and 3 tanks. Funny enough, these were ALL items I had been looking for and was upset that I couldn’t find. I had assumed they must’ve been lost in the move and I was looking to replace them. I am definitely happy I found these things! It saved me money and are pieces that I LOVE!


I also kept a stack of things my grandma made that bring me joy. They don’t fit but they have sentimental value. I will have to re-evaluate these items when I get to the sentimental portion of the KonMari method! For now, they stay.


And this is what I am getting rid of. I would have loved to be able to donate everything but unfortunately most of the things that were taking up space in my life were torn, stained and embarrassing. They served me well at one point and they definitely showed it! The blue bag is what I am able to donate. It includes pyjamas, pants, shirts, skirts, and even a set of sheets. I am excited that this bag will be able to bless others. I am also excited that I won’t be hurting my back anymore moving these things around just to tidy up.

I am definitely feeling like this method is something that is going to work for me. I am excited to get through all of my things so that I can then move forward to the kids and help them tidy up their lives and only have things that bring them joy as well. Who knows, maybe the rest of the family will catch on too!!!

This in total probably took me about 45 minutes, including pulling everything out of storage, dumping it out, sorting, sorting again, bagging things up and moving them to the door to be taken out by my dad. A task that had literally waited years because I didn’t have the time ended up being super easy and more than fulfilling! I would love to know how you declutter and how you keep things organized. Have you read through Marie Kondo’s books and did they help you?

This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

$16.99 USD
Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes—and lives—across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.
$18.99 USD
Jan 302016
 

I woke up this morning and within an hour I had made tea, had a banana, washed the dishes from yesterday (wasn’t feeling well) and put them away, moved everything off the counter and wiped it down, cleaned the stove top, changed the trash bag and swept the floor and was working up a little bit of a sweat.

My muscles started to scream at me for water. I drank 32 ounces within a few seconds and remembered that I keep forgetting about me.

More importantly though, where was God?

As I guzzled water down fast the thought that God was searching for me when I wasn’t seeking Him was crossing my mind. Then, the words, “man cannot live off bread alone” slid into my head rapidly followed by fueling my aching soul with water from God’s well instead of my own.

It was definitely one of those moments where you are like “okay God, I am listening, I get the point. Slow down, take care of myself physically AND spiritually!”

As mama’s we forget to take care of ourselves and as children of God we tend to put our Bible studies at the end of our to-do lists instead of as part of our daily routine.

I have been studying the book of Ruth with Hello Mornings the past few weeks and it has been great, but today is Saturday and there was no reading for today, but God beckoned me anyway.

“Make ME a habit. Not a chore!”

So, I am going to focus on giving God the best of my day instead of fitting Him in.

How do you keep His Word on your tongue and have you heard God speak to you without any doubt before?

Jan 212016
 

I had everything pulled off the counter and was wiping the far-to-reach corners of the backsplash while standing on a stood (short person problems) while she sat and talked to me from the table. I had planned to start dinner and then go sit down and hang out on the internet. Maybe watch some YouTube videos or scroll through social media, but instead I grabbed a rag and had started to scrub and before too long the counter was clean and even the crumb trays on the toaster had been wiped to a shimmering shine.

She talked and I talked back. We talked about school, how she finished her homework in her gym class because she can’t participate because of her knees, we talked about boys and “ships” and girls and their “ships” and all of that stuff. She showed me a few videos of what she found fun today and talked about her best friend not using his phone today while on the school bus so he could actually talk to him.

Yeah, I was present. I was present for the moments that make memories. I don’t want to be remembered for napping all the time and for being on my computer when I am conscious. I want to be present. I want to be the one that the kids talk to while dinner is being prepared. I want to help with their homework and learn about their interests.

It fascinates me that social media has given us this amazing gateway to be connected and yet we are excruciatingly disconnected from the ones that mean the most. I am not one who has their phone in their hand or beside them at all times. I don’t even have a phone. But, that’s not the point. I have spent so much time being depressed and hiding out, hiding behind the screen and fostering relationships with people I will likely never meet that I am guilty of neglecting the ones who sit right in front of me.

And while Jesus was The Gift, the ultimate Present. It was his presence that gave us redeeming grace. What would Jesus do? He would sit in the kitchen and talk over chores or leave the chores to wait. He wouldn’t say the internet is bad, but he would likely say real life is better.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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