10 Steps to Declutter

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your workspace? Drowning in clutter?  Overflowing emails? No room to breathe?  Me too!

I’ve made a checklist of 10 things that I can do in 10(ish) minutes to declutter my workspace:

  1. Email: Delete or archive emails.  Take 10 minutes a day (or once a week) until all old and unnecessary emails are out of your Inbox.
  2. Voicemail:  One word – delete. This should take less than 10 minutes.
  3. Computer Desktop: Organize the icons on your desktop, grouping similar icons together and make the most used icons more visible for quick access.  Remember to delete any unused icons.  Caution: Call the IT department before removing any unfamiliar, techy-looking icons.
  4. Recycle:  Because my job is paper oriented, I keep a small box under my desk for recycling. My recycling quickly gets out of control making my workspace feel cluttered and stressful.  Taking 10 minutes or less once every two weeks keeps it under control.
  5. Drawers: Clear out all unnecessary items, including documents.  Then re-organize to meet your needs.
  6. File Cabinets/Shelves: Remove any completed/closed project files to make room for new files. Arrange the remaining files alphabetically and/or alphabetically by client.
  7. Desk: Clear your workspace of any filing and non-essential items. Designate a place for the items in your newly organized drawers.  Remember, “a place for everything and everything in its place”.
  8. Clean:   Now that your desk is clear, wipe it down.  Remember to clean behind the computer where dust likes to gather the most.  Use an air duster to clean your keyboard.  Lastly, sanitize your phone!
  9. Organize:   Now that your desk is decluttered and disinfected, it’s time to organize it to your natural work flow. Use nice file folders to keep everyday forms/invoices, etc., at your fingertips.
  10. Assignments:  Complete as many year-end assignments as possible by January 30th to clear both your desk and your mind in preparation of the coming year!

Bonus:

  • Mobile Devices: Smart phones and tablets can also become cluttered making some functions and apps run slow or not at all.  Take time to delete unwanted photos and download others to your home computer.  Remember to backup your devices’ contact and other information. Let’s face it, most of us have dropped our devices at least once.  Unfortunately, my phone took a hot french vanilla latte bath.  I lost everything!

If you are ready to take the challenge of taking back your workspace, get the free 10 Steps to Declutter 2016  checklist!

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Time Management

January, the month for new beginnings, new resolutions, new planners!  Oh the planners, calendars, life binders…  which do I choose.  They are all so good, and well thought out.  Some are so elaborate that it is a job just to keep up with them.  One blogger, has a lovely and elaborate planner with a matching traveling caddy for her sticky notes, special pens, decorative tape and tags.  I do love being organized, but for me, too much is overwhelming!

Planners are a tool to keep us on track, not to burden us.  To  keep us focused, not to distract us.  Priscilla Shirer said it best on page 135 of  Fervent:

“Slaves don’t rest.  Slaves just work.  They don’t control their agenda for the day; the day’s agenda controls them.”

Again on page 144:

“…we have not been put here to be salves to schedules that eat up every inch of margin from our families, our friendships, our worship, and our calling, nor to let others decide every day what our plans and priorities are supposed to be.  We’re not a “bondwoman”, but a “free woman.”

Don’t misunderstand me,  I am a true believer in a good planner, a solid schedule and a routine.  Being a working mom, I thrive on knowing what to expect in my day.  It makes my life easier.  After all isn’t that the purpose of a planner?

I agree with Priscilla that we (I) need to take a personal inventory of our (my) priorities to make sure the “priorities” are a priority and not just busy work. That the “things” I’m doing are a need.  Are the “things’ truly important?  For example, do I really need to vacuum my floor everyday? Or volunteer for every ministry placed in front of me? Or work overtime everyday? Ladies, we need to prayerfully determine what our true priorities are.  We should control our agendas, not allow our agendas to control us. It will lead to exhaustion, physically and emotionally.  It happened to me.

I faced this truth a few years ago as I sat in a bible study at church and was in tears from nothing more than complete and utter exhaustion.  I knew I had to do something.  So I did.  I started saying “no”.  Not to all things, but things I didn’t have time to do.  The reward was redeemed time.  Time for my priorities.  Time for my family. Time for the ministries I was called to do.  Time for everyday kingdom work.  Time to listen.  Time to rest.

If we feel like slaves to our out-of-control-agendas, let’s:

“…use prayer, like a sharp pair of scissors to help cut ourselves loose.”                (Fervent, page 143)

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Page 1 of “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer” spoke to me…actually it was page VII – the Table of Contents.  Yep, right there lines three and four “Strategy 1: Your Passion, Getting it Back”.  Those words screamed at me, touched me, reminded me…. “remember when?”

Yes, I remember  when I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to spend time in study and prayer.  Praying for family, friends and the world, specific, heart felt passionate prayers sometimes with tear filled eyes.  Yes, I remember when I was considered a prayer warrior and a fire burned inside me. 

I don’t remember when I stopped because it was gradual.  Life happened, draining me emotionally and physically until I was broken, empty, and finally silent.  Did you see that- I was silent, not God. I knew I needed to pray prostrate before God, but I did not have the heart to do so, being too weary, too overcome, too…

Then one day Fervent “found” me.  I thumbed through it, making my way to the Introduction not expecting much.  But as I read, chills went through me, not once, not twice, but over and over.  I circled, made notes and dogeared pages that spoke to me.  The more I read, I realized that I had allowed the enemy to use my situation  to withdrawal me not only from praying, but from studying God’s Word daily.  I had allowed the enemy to steal my joy and my passion. 

One morning, instead of checking Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest,  I returned to my “prayer closet” and began to pray and study and again the next morning, then the next and the next.  I am not back to the level of passion I had, but I am steady on my feet and growing.  So steady that when the next storm hit, it did not knock me down, but gave me peace. A peace of knowing that God knows what happened, knows what He has planned, and knowing that there is nothing I can do but be patient, pray and wait.  

One of my favorite lines Priscilla wrote is that God wants me (and you) “to become such a stick-of-dynamite prayer warrior that Satan just hates hearing your coffeepot heat up in the morning.”  Had I not returned to prayer, this latest storm had the potential knocking me off my feet, but it didn’t. 

Priscilla gives specific examples with specific solutions to igniting a passionate prayer life whether you want to “maintain it or regain it”.  Fervent is a good place to start preparing your strategy for “fervent and effective prayer”. 

With the New Year comes the new resolutions.  Let one of those resolutions be a new or renewed prayer life. To help you start the New Year off right,  I am giving away one copy of Fervent. Just leave a comment and one winner will be randomly selected.

(Disclosure: B&H Publishing provided a copy of Fervent to review and a second copy to giveaway. The opinions are my own.)

Posted in Best of Mama, Book Review, We Read | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Helen Keller

Posted in Encouragement, Tuesday's Treasure | Comments Off on Tuesday’s Treasure

Sometimes there is a season of silence
for which certain things should not be spoken or written. 

Sometimes we do not overcome a painful situation
before another is thrust upon us. 

Sometimes a door closes that we do not choose
and will not be open to us until God moves.

Sometimes we need to stand in the midst of God and pray.

Sometimes we need to stand in His presence and wait….

Posted in Encouragement, Tuesday's Treasure | 1 Comment

Imitation is not real.

                                                                                         Love Mama

Posted in Bible, Tuesday's Treasure | Comments Off on Tuesday (Truth) Treasure

Can you believe that school starts in just a few short weeks? Where has the summer gone? Very few things have been marked off my summer to-do list and now it’s time to work on the-back-to-school-to-do list! Shew!

Whether your kids are homeschooled, attend private or public school, we all have to prepare. Here are some tips to prepare for back to school, saving both money and time:

1. Supplies: Oh the supply list, pencils, notebooks, dry erase markers, crayons and on and on and on. To save money, shop your “stockpile”. Go through your drawers and closets to see what supplies you have left over from years past. Check it off the list. One less item to purchase is money saved – cha-ching!

2. Clothes & Uniforms: Again, shop your closets and drawers before you go to the store! If the clothes/uniforms are still in good condition and the kiddos can wear them or can be passed down to a younger sibling, there isn’t a need to spend a lot of money on new items. I generally add two to three new short sleeve and long sleeve shirts for the new school year in additional to what I already have. Our school has a program in which we can donate outgrown uniforms to the younger kids in our school which saves money. If your school doesn’t have a program like this, maybe you can start one!

3. Lunch:  We pack lunch everyday which can be a challenge to be both creative and healthy.  It is my goal this year to prepare a 20-day nutritious lunch menu so I will not be standing in front of the fridge wondering what to make!  By planning, I will be better prepared and KJ will not have cold sandwiches everyday.  Some of our favorite and easiest choices include fresh fruit and veggies, applesauce, yogurt, PB & J, and soup.

4. Routine:  To avoid the I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed syndrome, start your family’s school routine  two weeks before school  begins.  Re-establish both bath time and bed time routines.  This will make for an easier transition for the first day of school.  Remember to allow extra time for the first day of school pictures!

5. Prep:  “The Jewish day begins the night before”, I once heard my friend say.  Such a simple statement, but yet so wise.  Ask yourself, “What can I do tonight to make my day easier tomorrow?”

    • Set your coffee for automatic brew to have nice, hot coffee waiting for you;
    • Keep healthy breakfasts on hand by making ahead and freezing. Everyone can choose what they want and pop it in the microwave for a quick breakfast;
    • Prepare clothes the night before including any necessary ironing;
    • Prepare and freeze healthy lunches for both you and the kiddos for another “grab and go” idea;
    • Make sure the kids have what they need for the next day of school, gym clothes, instruments, school projects, etc. The older ones can do this on their own, but the younger ones will need your help.

6. Calendar: To keep the kids on track during the school year, place a calendar at eye level and in a location they will see it everyday.   We use a small weekly, dry erase calendar along with the weekly assignment schedule provided by the school.  I discovered a few years ago that KJ does much better when he knows what to expect.

7.  After School RoutineHaving an after school routine will help reduce the “I’m too’s” of after school.  You know the “I’m too hungry”, “I’m too tired” and the “I’m too active”, to do my homework.  By having a routine in place kids will know what to expect when they get home.  Make an “after school chart” and place it with each child’s calendar.  Do they get a snack as soon as they get home? Do they get some “me time”, “play time” or even some “mommy time” before homework?  Is homework expected to be completed before or after dinner? Remember, kids are not robots. Each day is different and their needs may be different each day. Be flexible without going too far outside the box.

For a successful school year be prepared, be organized, be flexible, but most of all pray for your children, their friends, teachers, and their safety.

Posted in Family, Homeschooling/Education, School | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A day off for a working mom? Never. The only thing a working mom has the day off from is her job. We use our personal time and vacation time for virtually everything but a vacation. Today is an example of one such “day off”.

I desperately wanted to “sleep in” this morning because I remain utterly exhausted from my mission work during the past weekend. I did get to “sleep in” until 6:30 a.m. before KJ decided it was time to get up. I stumbled downstairs to make coffee and check my email. After two cups of coffee and breakfast I got ready for the day.

We were out the door by 8:30ish on our way to run an errand then off to the grocery store for a quick trip before picking up KJ’s BFF for the day.  On the way to pick up BFF, KJ discovered an overdue library book hidden in the back console. Luckily BFF lives near the library and after picking him up we returned the book.

The boys decided it was lunch time, so I made pizza. After lunch, I prepared beef stew and threw it in the slow cooker. The boys were off running and playing while I cleaned the kitchen riding it of the all the dirt and mud from our mission work over the weekend. I also cleaned the new coffee maker and the Keurig. I washed the master bedding; two loads of dishes; and at last count, nine loads of laundry. I also spiralized several cucumbers, made brownies, wrote this post and started on another post!

So you see, a working mom’s “day off” only means a day off from her job not a day off from life.  And I remain, Exhausted!

Posted in Work | 4 Comments

Could you use extra $$ to help with the household budget? How about gift cards to use to purchase gifts without breaking the bank, especially with Christmas less than six months away!  There are ways to make extra $money$ on the side without being a blogger.

1.  My Points: By reading emails, watching videos and shopping online, you can earn points towards gift cards from $10-$100 from a large selection of stores, such as Amazon, Cracker Barrel, Home Depot, StarBucks, Target,Wal-Mart, QVC (one of my favs), and many more.

2.  Inbox Dollars: This is another way to earn gift cards online by reading emails, taking surveys, etc.  You will earn $5.00 just for signing up with Inbox Dollars and earn 10% of the qualified earnings from anyone you refer. 

3.  Resale Shops/Consignments:  Clean out your closets! I earned $24.00 Friday by cleaning out KJ’s closet.  Not only did I earn money, I decluttered his closet by selling items he can no longer wear!  I called the resale store ahead of time to find out  their  requirements and what they were buying!

4. Yard Sales:  I am not a fan of having a yard sale because they are so time consuming. I am a fan of decluttering and making money. Get your family involved in the preparation by assigning each child to their own belongings to choose what toys, books and clothing they would like to sell. For their hard work, give them the proceeds from the sale their toys.  This will encourage work ethic.

You and your husband tackle the rest of the house including the garage and basement.  This should be a family project because it benefits the whole family.  To make the task a little easier yard sale kits can be purchased that include everything you need to price and tag the items.

5. Books:   There are two options for reducing your books (1) sell them at the yard sale (2) take them to a place like Half Price Books.  This is not a huge money maker unless you have a rare book which will bring big bucks.

6. Talent: If you’re crafty, which  I am not, and have old pieces of furniture lying around, try your hand and re-purposing the pieces. You can use the pieces yourself and save the expense of buying new or make a profit by selling it.

7. Culinary Skills: Do you enjoy creative baking?  Why not turn it into a way to make extra money.  There are also online classes you can take to improve your skills and learn how to start a cake business.

8. Mystery Shopper: Love shopping? Become a mystery shopper and earn money and merchandise.  Make sure the company is legitimate and never pay a fee to be a mystery shopper.

9. Nickels and Dimes: I have a cousin who was couponing before it was “cool”, but with a twist.  For every penny she saved in coupons she put into savings – no matter how small or large! I think this is brilliant- not only was she saving money, but she saved money!

None of these are get-rich-quick schemes, but they will put extra cash in your pocket!

{Note: Some of he links in this post are affiliate links. See Disclosure Policy.}

 

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“Let us go there, because they are an unreached nation.”

America is the only nation in the world whose foundation is the word of God.  There are those who try to tell us that it is not.  That our founding fathers were really not that “religious”.   That their writings are taken out of context and we only have half the truth.

The truth is that the world only wants us to have half the truth.  They want to make us a Christ-less nation.  A nation with a crumbling foundation.  A nation without conviction.  A nation to live life as we choose without boundaries and especially without God.  A nation in which  “good is called evil and evil is called good”.  But wait, is this not happening right before our very eyes?  Why is this happening?  We, as a nation, are becoming an “unreached people group”.

The roots of our Jerusalem are dying and not being nourished so that new growth can continue. How can we change this? How can we encourage new growth in our own nation? By sharing the gospel day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. In everything we do, everywhere we go, and everything we say. We should live our lives  in such a manner that people are drawn to us. What does this look like on any given day?

1. Moms (and Dads): Our first commitment is always to God.  Our second commitment is to our spouse.  Our third commitment is to our children, but should be our first mission. They are a heritage from God.  We are to diligently teach them the word of God.  To live our lives in such a way that He is gloried.  To speak in a manner that is seasoned. Speak life giving words.  Should we fail to teach our children the word of God and who He is, the world will teach them who God is not.

2. Workplace: The workplace is a mission field.  Most Christians feel its just a place to  earn a living. While this is true it is also not true.  I believe  that God places us where He wants us to be for a reason and for a season.  There are many hurting and lost people at work.  They go from bar to bar,  and person to person, looking for something to fill that empty place that only God can fill! Don’t be afraid to share your faith at work.  You will be surprised to see who will come to you with questions, and ask for prayer.  I know because I have lived it.  God has given me many opportunities in my workplace to pray for my co-workers and to talk to them about God. Yes, it can be scarey and intimidating at times, but it gets easier.  If you live your faith out loud, they will come to you.  Jesus lived His life in such a manner that people were attracted to Him and wanted to know more.  This is how we are to live!  Fearless!

3.  Sickness: How can I tell people about Jesus when I am sick?  Praise Him in your infirmity.  Talk to your doctors, nurses, and other staff about Jesus. Ask the medical staff and other patients if you can pray for them. Pray!  If you are a caregiver to person who is suffering you can to do this! Remember if you or your loved one is not healed on this side of Heaven, you will be healed on the other side of Heaven! Praise and Prayer!

4. Everyday:  Everyday is a new day and has opportunities. Everyday choose kindness over cruelty;  love over hate; joy over bitterness; peace over wrath; self-control over self-will.  Live in such a way that you are blameless before men.

5. Missions & Ministries: Find a home mission/ministry to volunteer with or support. You will be a blessing to a hurting world and be blessed. If you have a mission/ministry you work with, I would enjoy hearing about it and link it to my blog to get the word out.

We can share the love of Christ everyday.  Imagine if we started to live our lives in this manner how many people in our Jerusalem could we reach! How deep would our roots run? How fruitful would our nation be? How much would God be glorified?

 Begin in Jerusalem


You May Also Like:
1. Kick Off Missions Month
2. Jerusalem- The Beginning

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