Friday, July 29, 2016

The 7 Experiment: Clothing Week 1



Last week I wrapped up my fast from food excess and this week I am jumping into the clothing fast. This one is going to be a bit more interesting seeing as I don't put a lot of stock into my clothing choices. I mean, lets be real, I am a stay at home mom. I have four kiddos ages 6-3 in my home on a daily basis. I only really leave "the house 2 maybe 3 days a week. So for me, my basic wardrobe is yoga pants (gasp!), a big baggy T-shirt, and my tennis shoes.

In the intro to this chapter Jen says that the purpose of the fast is to pinch a little. To take into consideration the vast importance we as individuals place on our clothing and our outward appearance.

The questions we are to consider before breaking into the study are:

1) Why do you think we spend so much time consumed with our clothes?
2) How might tour closet reflect your heart?
3) Read Matthew 6:21. How have you found Jesus' words true in your life?
4) Read Matthew 6:28-30. How can Jesus' words encourage you when it comes to your closet?

I will get to all those questions a bit later. First I am going to outline how I will be partaking in this fast. Since my leggings and yoga pants are my best of friends I think the best way for me to really dive into this is to fold them up and put them away for the next 2 weeks.

Here are the 7 items I will be wearing for the next 2 weeks:
2 pair of dark wash jeans
1 Short sleeved pink "SWBTS" t-shirt with white print
1 Short sleeved pink v-neck t shirt
1 Short Sleeved pink " Blessed is She" t shirt with white lettering
2 cami undershirts 
Sock and underwear don't count
Shoes don't count (mostly because I only wear 1 pair of shoes anyway)
The only jewelry I ever wear is my wedding ring and my fitbit so that wasn't an area I focused on either

So there it is, the 7 articles of clothing I will be wearing for the next 14 days. My biggest concern in all of this is maintaining the resolve to wear jeans for 14 days. I really don't like wearing "real" pants!

Considering the fact that we live in a small space and on a fairly limited budget I like to think that the size of my wardrobe is on the modest end. However, every time I look into my closet and stare at the items hanging there and complain that I have nothing to wear what I am really trying to say is "I have nothing I desire to wear that is currently clean" which usually means that I should consider doing laundry.  That's not to mention the number of pairs of shoes I currently own. In all honestly I only where one pair of shoes (my comfy tennis shoes) but that doesn't mean that I don't own way to many pair.

Over all, my wardrobe is not lacking even when I convince myself that I just have nothing to put on in the mornings.

What does the Bible Say?

James 2:1-6 says

1My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

James clearly states how we at the Church should react to each and every individual. He tells the reader that an individual's outward appearance is not what one should be paying attention to. James points out that it is the poor in the world who will be rich in faith and will be the true heirs to the kingdom. It is the rich in the world, those who lord their wealth over the poor who are getting their reward. How often do we judge the proverbial book by it's cover? How often do we jump to conclusions about a person's character based on the clothing they are wearing, making silent judgement calls because their clothes cost too much or to little for our liking?

Our judgement also turns to ourselves. We, especially as women, spend countless hours questioning what we are wearing. We ask questions like "Does this look professional enough?" "Does this look like I am trying to hard?" "Does this outfit say I'm easy?" "Will anyone notice that my shirt doesn't fit just right?" We pay for personal stylists, read magazines with 'experts' on fashion, and follow everu blog we can find on the subject hoping to fit with the latest trends and fad. We strive to fit in and stand out all at the same time. We spend so much time focusing on our outward appearance that we leave little time to cultivate our inward spirit.

While there is nothing wrong with taking pride in our outward appearance, the Bible is clear about what our focus should be. 1 Peter 3:3 tells us that we shouldn't adorn ourselves outwardly with fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, but rather, we should adorn ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that we are to strive to live in the Fruit of the Sprirt; love, joy, peace. patience, gentleness, and self-control. Being presentable to the world is important and often a valuable asset to opening up conversation with other. However, our ultimate goal should be who we are inside the pages of our book.

How would you answer the questions I posed at the beginning of this post? Come back next week to see how I answer those questions.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crafting My Life Mission Statement



Over the past few years here at Seminary I have had any number of conversations on any number of topics with women on all different walks of life. Generally at some point while having those conversations the question will come up about one’s chosen “life verse”

You know, that one particular Scripture verse or passage that just jumps out of the Bible and smacks you in the face. The one that says to you “This is it! This is what my life is all about!” A favorite verse or passage that you just can’t wait to share with others and really get to grass roots of the meaning behind it. You find any number of ways to incorporate it into your life mission and the reason you get out of bed each morning.

When I met my husband he told me his favorite verses in the Bible were in Proverbs. Chapter 1 Verses 15 and 16:

15 my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path, 16 because their feet run toward trouble and the hurry to commit murder.


These are the verses that serve as a constant reminder to him that he needs to be following God’s path that is set out for him and not follow in the footsteps of his brothers, his friends, or anyone else that might be trying to direct the way he is going. It’s a mission to live above the fold. These 2 verses guide and direct the decisions he makes in his life, not only for himself but for our family as well.

He has also always said that when life is all said and done and he is standing in front of the Lord the one thing he wants to hear above all others is 

“Well done my good and faithful servant” 

Just like is said from the master to the slave in Matthew 25:21

Over the past couple of years I have read and re-read the Bible in an attempt to find my “life verse” and over and over again I always come back to one place at the end of Proverbs. In the lesson from King Lemuel’s mother on the characteristics of a virtuous woman I always find my eyes being drawn to the end of the chapter.

Proverbs 31:29 says




While I have been knee deep in my homemaking studies as well as my theological studies I have been fascinated by the Proverbs 31 woman. And often I have felt like she is a measuring stick that I just can’t stand up against. However, I also know that my job and my calling in life is to be the best wife and mother that I can be.
Does that mean that I need to do every single thing that is outlined in those 11 verses? Absolutely. This paints a picture of the priorities in this woman’s life. She has her life mission and she does well to make sure that everything she does is in line with those priorities and mission.


My life is all about fulfilling my mission of being the best wife and mother I can be.  While my husband longs to hear “well done my good and faithful servant” and I wish to hear that as well, I also want to hear that I did my duty and I was so capable at what I was doing that I surpassed them all. 

Proverbs is full of wisdom and reminders to follow the Lord in all thing. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to 



If my mission is to hear that I was a capable wife whom no one surpasses the first step is to trust my life to God. Far to often I find that I am trying to lean on the things that I know. I rely on my personal experience and the facts that I read in books written by men. Instead, if I am to be the wife and mother I desire to be it is my responsibility to trust in the Lord with all my heart, mind, body and soul. Trust that He will put me and my family on the right path. 

Taking all of that into consideration, my life mission then is to
Become the wife and mother God intended me to be by trusting in the Lord with all my heart, mind, body, and soul allowing Him to make my paths straight so that I may be a capable woman whom none can surpass.

What is your life verse and life mission statement? 

Monday, July 25, 2016

4 Reasons Why We Play Pokemon Go!




The interactive game played on smart phones based on a game created for the Gameboy way back in 1995 has taken the world by storm. Pokemon Go has gotten people out of the house and wandering their neighborhoods in search of virtual creatures.

The History Behind Pokemon 

There have been several stories behind where the world of Pokemon came from. One theory is that it is based on a true story of a little boy who fell into a coma after an accident and the whole world of Pokemon along with the adventures and the amazing creatures we all part of his very vivid dream while in the coma. The theory is that eventually he came out of the coma and used that event to create the Pokemon franchise and all that goes with it.

The truth of the matter is this: Pokemon is based on a real boy and his real adventures. However, a coma is not part of the story. A boy living life with Asperger's syndrome, a syndrome on the Autism spectrum, found his interest in bugs. All things creepy crawly. He would collect them, catalog them, and even observe them fighting one another. As time passed and he grew so did the location in Japan that he was living in. This meant that the fields, ponds, and other places outdoors that he would hunt for is creatures in became buildings, roadways, and covered in concrete. This boy was forced to find a new hobby, and that hobby was video games. 

Fast forward several years where our young man began a career in the video gaming industry. He began working his way up the food chain learning everything he could about gaming and programming. One day while on a lunch break he witnessed 2 children playing on the GameBoy with the connection cables that were used to transfer information. In that instant his brain was on overload remembering his little crawly friends and imagining them crawling back and forth across the cable and into the hand held gaming device. A world of creatures to capture, train, and compete with was born. He took his idea to Nintendo and we now have a multi-million dollar franchise with video games, television series, and products to supply all your Pokemon needs. The latest installment is the Smart phone game taking over our communities.

Our Involvement With Pokemon Go

When the news first broke about this revolutionary game I have to admit I was clueless. I had absolutely no idea that the posts I was reading on my Facebook feed were all about. And then my sweet husband came home from work and was in the process of downloading the game. He explained to me how it worked and I, like I tend to do when it comes to games my husband wants to play, laughed about the ridiculousness of it all. However, it wasn't long before he convinced me to download the game and get in on the action. 

Here are 4 reasons why we enjoy playing the game as a family:

Quality Family Time

Hubby and Son walking hunting Pokemon
One thing my husband and I have made a priority in our family is fun quality time, both with just each other as well as with our family as a whole. When he came home with the game installed on his
phone he was super excited about the prospect of taking the kids out to areas of the city we haven't really explored taking turns hunting down and cataloging our Pokemon. Over the past 2 weeks we have explored TCU's beautiful campus, Sundance Square, and several areas around our church. In the past when when the end of the day rolls around we are all ready to sit down and zone out in front of the TV. However, lately as soon as Dusty gets home he is ready for everyone to head out, either to some where new or just to wander our own Seminary campus. We spend time together talking, laughing, and just being together.

Exercise for the whole family.

Going hand in hand with the quality family time comes the family exercise. The main component is wandering around waiting for random Pokemon to jump out and allow you to catch them. There is a little list at the bottom of your screen that tells you what Pokemon might be nearby and how far away. Another aspect of the game is to hatch eggs that you can acquire.  The only way to hatch the eggs is to walk. There are 2 different distances that you are required to walk to make the egg hatch. That means we get to do a lot of walking out in the fresh air to get those eggs to hatch.

Collecting


We like to collect things. Dusty has a fairly extensive Superman collection, the kiddos each collect things, and I have a nice collection of Coca Cola collection. The idea of collecting all the Pokemon, cataloging them in the Pokedex is just a fun activity for us. The kids like to look at the information on each one and help us to know what we have and what we still need to catch. 

Ministry Opportunity

Another aspect of the game is the ability to gather items like healing potions, extra pokeballs to catch your Pokemon in, and other items for the games. These locations are called "pokestops". You can also take the Pokemon in to PokeGyms and battle other Pokemon or train yours. Often time these locations, the poke-stops and gyms are located at churches. The complex that our church is located in has one of each. The Seminary has over a dozen poke-stops and 3 gyms right on campus. This means that people who wouldn't normally be near these places of ministry are making their way to our local churches and theological centers. Just this past week the faculty and staff here at the seminary took advantage of the latest craze allowing individuals who came to our campus voluntarily to be presented with the good news of Christ. More about that here. Whether we
like it or not people hunting Pokemon are coming to the doors of our churches. It is a prime time to capitalize on a growing trend and have a little fun while you are at it.

While many people are finding reasons to not be playing the game our family is using it as another way to connect with ourselves as well as those in our community.


Do you play Pokemon Go?



Friday, July 22, 2016

7 Experiment: Food Week 2




Last week we dove into the Intro on Food for our 7 experiment. The scene was set and discussion on the purpose behind fasting. This week we will finish up or study on food.

In this second half of the chapter Jen Hatmaker discusses the elements of our western diet. With the rise of industry and more dual income families whole foods, home grown products and even prepared from scratch meals are at an all time low. Families are eating more food from a box than fromt he ground.

Fast food is a booming industry while mothers and fathers are eating critical meals in the car while racing from one activity to another. Even now, as I write this I am thinking about what fast food restaurant we will be driving through on our way to the next event for our busy Friday.

Our children are facing chronic illnesses not normally seen in such young bodies until recently and the life expectancy of our children, for the first time in American history is declining rather than increasing. Our children's generation is the first facing a shorter life span than their parents. And I am one to say I have bought into the hype. I LOVE my sugar, my high fatty foods, and my high carb foods! The fact that my children BEG me to buy fresh fruit and veggies because we never have any in the house breaks my heart. To say that I am just as guilty as the next person for doing such a huge disservice to my children would be an understatement.

What Does The Bible Say About Food?


The fact that there has been such a drastic change in the way we grow, produce, package, distribute, and consume food over the generations would lead one to think that maybe food is just another thing that is irrelevant to our spiritual lives. However, the opposite couldn't be more true.

God laid out some very specific guidelines for how His people should nourish their bodies.

To begin with, all the way back in Genesis, we find that humans lived originally on a plant based vegan diet. Humans were told they could eat the food from the trees, but never given any direction on milk from the animals, the meat of animals, or anything of that nature. Humans and animals were to live together peacefully. 

The flood changed all that and God then gave Noah instructions on eating the animals as food provided for them. This was helpful since all the vegetation was probably pretty waterlogged at this point. While plants need water, too much is not a good thing for them. So here we go. We have meat.

But as we read on we find that not all meat is good. There are "clean" and "unclean" animals. Animals were broken into categories and there are express reasons on what to eat and why. 

With hindsight, and years upon years of life to look back on its easy to see that God knew what he was doing when he gave out these simple rules on what to eat and what not to eat. He prevented the people from getting diseases through these unsafe foods. It wasn't just because God wanted to give us another set of  unrealistic regulations to try and follow. God set out to protect his creation, all of it.

How does this affect me?

I will be the first to admit that my food choices are made based on convenience and cost. I mean, lets be real, I am a seminary student. We live in student housing, paying rent, electricity, internet, tuition, and any number of other bills. The grocery budget isn't what it used to be. Top that off with a complete inability to grow my own fruits and veggies, I am at the mercy of the grocery store and the clock. However, I will aslso be the first to admit that this is merely an excuse.

Why do I say that? 

Easy. Because I have fed my family whole nutritious, and even sometimes organic foods on my tiny little grocery budget. But then life gets in the way, I get tired, busy, or fed up and I go back to my old ways of boxed meals and frozen foods.

The Bible talks a lot about how we are to keep the temple, where the holy of holies resides, clean and pure and fit for the Lord to dwell in. In the Old Testament the temple was a beautiful building, with lots of rules and regulations on who can go in, how they can go in, what worship practices are to take place, and so on and so forth. In the New Testament, after Jesus' sacrifice, return, and ascension to heaven the temple became our personal bodies. Christ takes up his living space within us.

 So doesn't that mean we should be more careful with how we are treating our bodies? The dwelling place of the holy of holies? Shouldn't we take more consideration into what we put into our bodies claiming it to be nourishment and care?  And as the keeper of the home, shouldn't I be concerned with the way I am treating my families bodies, also the temple of the Lord through the meals I am providing them?

All of these are questions that have struck me hard as I have studied through this lesson. The more I have studied and read the more I realized that through me not taking care of the place where my Lord and Savior resides is showing just where my priorities lie. Does this mean I am going to give up completely my "Western" diet? Probably not. But I am going to make sure to be making better food choices as well as doing everything I can to keep this temple healthy for as long as I can.



Join me next week when we jump into the lesson on clothing!


Friday, July 15, 2016

7 Experiment: Food

Ok, so I know this whole project is supposed to be a consecutive 7 week project, but my life just doesn't really work that way. At first I was trying to do each area in 2 weeks and I am still going to do that but I just any not be able to do it on a continual basis. With traveling, family visits, and just life mixing in I just have to take my moments when I can.

With that said, lets jump in to the lesson on Food.

Photo Credit:Sherry Holmes (my awesome mom!)

Intro: Food

This is supposed to be a video based lesson but unfortunately I wasn't able to get my hands on the videos, however, I think I can still answer all of the study questions based on just the book reading.

The chapter opens up with some "group guide" questions: 

Does your lifestyle influence your food choices of do your food choices influence your lifestyle? Why?

To be honest this question is a hard one for me to answer. Why? Because it changes from time to time. On one hand, my lifestyle will influence the food choices we make because we are busy, school in in session and I just don't have time or something similar. But then I will make a decision that we need to eat better or save money or something along those lines and then my food choices will influence my lifestyle for a time. Its a vicious cycle really.

How could food become an idol in our lives that distracts us from God's kingdom?

There are so many different directions that I can go with this one. I know individuals that use food as a comfort measure (sometimes even I fall into this trap). Others use food as an excuse for why to do  or not to do something. Dietary restrictions such as allergies have also been know to become a distraction or and idol rather than just another thing to navigate through each day. What ever the reason, food like any other "thing" out there runs the risk of becoming an idol and distracting from God's kingdom. 

What are some practical ways you can live out Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35-40?

Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I love the ministry of hospitality. I just love it. The ability to invite people into my home and provide a basic need, food and shelter, possibly even clothing, just makes my heart happy. I believe that when we show this kind of love to each person that we cross, no matter what their station in life we are showing some practical ways to live out Jesus' words in this passage.

Setting the Scene

Food is a tricky area when it comes to fasting, especially where there are young lives in the mix. Jen made the decision to live off of just 7 (go figure right!) basic foods for a month. She didn't really require her children to join in so that made things a bit more complicated. I don't have the budget to be able to do one thing for me and the hubs and another for 2-6 children (I babysit 2 kiddos 4 days a week and sometimes I have extras joining in on top of the 2 that are here all the time) so I had to really take some time to evaluate what I was going to do to fulfill this week's lesson.

I made the decision that we would just eat out of our fridge and pantry for 2 weeks. Whatever we have in there is what I will create meals out of for our family. Practically speaking that shouldn't be too big of a challenge. Realistically, however, is another animal all its own.

This first week I tried really hard to do my best, but with family in town visiting we have had a few meals that we have eaten out. The meals that we have eaten at home, however, have been all from ingredients we had in the house with the exception of some cheese (because you can't have burritos without cheese)

The one meal that has been the biggest challenge thus far has been breakfast. First of all I am not a morning food eater. I never have been. I actually scored lower on all my testing as a kid when they made me eat breakfast before taking the test. The problem is I have at least one child that wakes up each day and the first words she says to be after asking if she can get out of bed are "Mommy I am hungry" 

Every. Single. Day.

So that meal has been a bit problematic. The others, however, have been just fine. 

The Spiritual Side of Things

Fasting is discussed in several different places throughout the Bible. There are 3 different times that jump to my mind when I think about fasting in the Bible. I always think of Daniel and his friends who fought hard to have the opportunity to eat the foods they felt God wanted them to eat, ultimately succeeding in proving their point to those in control as well as remaining faithful to God. The second event that comes to mind is of Esther requesting her people fast and pray for her as she prepared to go uninvited before the king in an attempt to save her people. This young girl, who had no desire to be in such a position, relied on the faithfulness of God and the people, through the act of prayer and fasting, to save an entire people group. And the last event that I recall is that of Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert as he was being tempted by Satan himself. Jesus knew that he would need the strength of the Lord, His heavenly Father, to get through the coming days and it was through prayer, fasting, and recalling the words of Scripture that he was able to overcome the temptation of the flesh.

On a personal level, my dear husband and I have partaken in an annual "Daniel Fast" at the beginning of the year. We take time to fast, eating only the foods that Daniel and his friends ate for 40 days, as we pray over the new year, our goals and plans for our family, and asking God to be the center of our family life. We haven't always been consistent with it but in the years that we have taken the first 40 days of the year to center our marriage and family on the Lord we seem to find that things go just a bit smoother.


Paved with good intentions...

Fasting, of any kind for any reason, has to be done with the right intentions. When you make a decision to fast from food and the reason behind it isn't to draw closer to the Lord all you are really doing is setting yourself up to be very hungry.

Fasting also shouldn't be done with the idea of changing God behind it. Realistically, the idea should be about coming before the Lord in prayer and petition for HIM to be changing YOU. That should be the ultimate motivation.

For the next few weeks my prayer when it comes to fasting has simply been "Lord, help me to find You in all the clutter, chaos, and noise. Help me to sift through all the junk and find You in all things."
That is my intention behind jumping further into this study. 



Have you ever fasted for any reason? If so, why and what type of fast?

Join me next week when we will finish up the Food lesson as I get deeper into my journey to less excess.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Escaping From The Trap of People-Pleasing


Hi. My name is Elizabeth and I am a people pleaser.

Yep, its true. Always have been. And until recently I was sure I would always be trapped in this constant cycle of striving to please everyone around me and ultimately getting no where and just feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

I am the type of person that just can't stand disappointing others around me. I don't like being the one that has to "let people down", even if that means putting my wants and often time my needs on the back burner. I can handle someone being angry with me, yelling at me, calling me all kinds of ugly things but the minute you tell me I have disappointed you I will crumble into a million tiny pieces.

I have made all the decisions in my life base on this foundation. I take the time to think things through when a challenge or opportunity presents itself. However, often times the evaluation is done though the lense of "what will (insert name here) think?"

How will my friends react to my decisions? Will they laugh or make fun of me?

What will my parents think if we do this or that thing? Will they still support and be proud of me?

If I write, read, study (insert subject hereh will my professors still see potential in me? Will they still invest time in me or will I become a lost cause?

All of these are things that pass through my mind as I attempt to navigate through my daily life.

The more I found myself living this life of questioning and seconding guessing the more I began to feel I was drifting further and further away from my walk with the Lord.

As I began researching what the Bible has to say about being a people pleaser I stumbled upon a blog that was written by Pastor Rick Warren on his blog. In this blog he talked about how being a people pleaser is, in reality, a form of idolatry.

Ouch. Idolatry.

According to the Merriam-Webster website Idolatry is defined as:
plural 

idolatries

 
  1. 1:  the worship of a physical object as a god
  2. 2:  immoderate attachment or devotion to something.





When God brought the Israelite people out of Egypt and a life of slavery He gave them 10 basic rules to follow, His 10 Commandments.

The first of the commandments tells us to have no other gods before the one true Lord. The second commandment says to not make an idol for yourself. (Ephesians 20)

Taking into account what the Bible says and adding to that what the dictionary defines idolatry to be I realized just how guilty of breaking these 2 commandments I really am.

You see, the more I focus on what the PEOPLE around me thing, feel, and will react to the decisions I make in my life the less time I have to focus on what the one individual that really matters thinks about my decision making skills.

Paul says in Galatians 1:10
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I had never stopped to take into consideration that by my desire to have every individual around me like me, approve of my life choices, and be proud of me I was isolating and ignoring the One who ultimately matters. The one who created me, loves me, and died for me.

So What Do I Do Now?

How do I correct this problem? How do I break the cycle of people pleasing and not focusing on the Lord's desire for my life?

Pray

The way I seek approval from those around me is in conversation. I talk to them and I tell them what I am doing, why, and how it will better my life. It only makes sense that I would need to do the same thing with God. However, rather then me TELLING God what I am doing and why, I need to LISTEN to the direction God has for my life.

Read the Bible

God lays out His plan for us in His Word. He gives guidance and direction. The only way I can know what that plan is by being in His Word. Rather than spending that 15 to 20 minutes on the phone or the internet talking with others around me I can take that time to study the God's plan book.

Have Confidence in the Decisions I am making after Prayer and Study

Proverbs 31:25 tells us that the "Proverbs 31 Woman" is clothed in strength and dignity and that she can laugh at the time to come. Why? Because she is confident in the lifestyle she has. The decisions that she and her husband have made for themselves. While I don't think that the woman described in the last chapter of Proverbs is a woman that I have to emulate 100 percent all of the time I do believe that this is one example I can follow.


Jesus said: "I don't try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me." Ultimately, my goal in life is to do all things to please God. From my education, to my homemaking and home management, and my parenting. It is my responsibility to teach and train my children to have the ultimate focus of pleasing God as well. The more they see me be confident in my decision making as well as my ability to "let people down" or not be able to fulfill everything that someone expects or needs from me, the more they will be able to live fulfilling and healthy lifestyles as well.



Are you a recovering People-Pleaser? What have you done to break free from that?


Monday, July 11, 2016

A not so minimal minimalist lifestyle


Just a couple of months ago I did a MAJOR de-cluttering job on my home. The amount of stuff I took out of this house to me was unreal. I just couldn't believe that we had that much junk and trash living in our small seminary townhouse.

The process of de-cluttering has caused us to really reevaluate how we are living and they types of things we allow into our home. Along with that we also took some time to evaluate the way we are utilizing the rooms in our house. The more I looked at the lay out of each room and the furniture we we have in each room I made a decision that we could do better and make our home more efficient.

Here is how we did that:

Kitchen

The kitchen can't and hasn't really changed much. The best part of this room is that our kitchen table has SO much potential. The table can go from a small 2 person table top to 7 feet long with enough room for 8 or more people to sit around it. That means during the day when we aren't needing it I can fold it up and leave the kitchen open for movement. When it is just the 4 of us we raise up on leaf and make room for the whole family to sit at the table together for dinner. And when we have company we can make sure there is room at the table for everyone.

I try to keep the counters as clean and clutter free as possible as well. Not always an easy task


Livingroom

In the livingroom we also house our library. This means there are a few more things in here than I would like. However, we have managed to make it work for there to be plenty of open floor space for us to move around in each day. By taking the couch out (more on that to come in a minute) and just having a few recliners and my favorite chair there is a lot more space. We have camp chairs and other seating options for when we have friends and family over. 
The president of the seminary says we need to have at least 1500 books in our
personal library by the time we leave seminary. I think we are well on our way.


A new recliner will be added into this mix in the next day or two.



Master Bedroom

This is the room that has made the most drastic transformation. You see, normally I do all my writing and homework at the kitchen table. This means that I have to constantly have to pick up and get back out my work when it comes time for meals. That makes getting much done on a consistent basis challenging. That was when I decided I really wanted to do something to make my bedroom more like an office during the day so that I can work up there and be able to get more done while still leaving the table free for family meals. The decision was made to break down our bed, frame and all and take it out of our bedroom. We then moved the couch upstairs. This couch happens to have a pull out bed in it. This means that during the day the bed is tucked away nicely and the room is used and an office and a school room. At night we pull the bed out and sleep soundly. So far we are loving the arrangement.



The thing we have realized is that no matter how little you have its really all about how you choose to use the space you have. 

The kids room will be done next but first we have to get through some big events at the end of July! Stay tuned to see how we maximize the space in that room as well. 

Thanks for stopping by!


How do you maximize your space?