Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Beyond the Packing List

Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 43:11-14

 

I loved reading these verses in Genesis 43 this week, as I plan for a vacation. How appropriate!  These verses describe Jacob (Israel) telling his sons how to prepare for a dangerous trip to Egypt.

And why did these verses resonate with me so much? Because they are my trip-organizing philosophy in a Bible passage. This is what Jacob is basically advising:

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The Shoe-Lover’s Guide to Organizing

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

From the Armor of God verses, Ephesians 6:10-18

I love shoes.

“Shoe” was my first word. The story goes that I didn’t talk for a long time and my parents were starting to get a bit nervous. Then one day on the changing table, my mom was putting shoes on my little feet. I pointed at one and said, clear as a bell, “shoe.” Seeing Mom’s delight, I went on to point out “sock,” and then “foot”… and basically they haven’t gotten me to stop talking since.

Note that “shoe” started the avalanche.

I do love shoes, but when I clean out my wardrobe, they’re often a neglected section. By the time I’m done with the clothes, I don’t have much energy for the shoes…. and then they all start looking like keepers. Been there?

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How to Make Chore Passports for Kids

Every mom’s spirit gets cluttered with chores sometimes. 

We love taking care of our families, but we can hit our limit.  We face yet another lunch to pack, or bed to make, or pet to feed, and something inside us rebels—can’t someone else do this, just this once?  After all, part of our mommy job is to teach our kids to take care of themselves and their belongings, right?  Absolutely.  And as Christian Moms, we want to challenge our kids to help us out before our spirits get cluttered and overwhelmed!

One summer, I challenged my “big” kids (then 5 and 9 years old) to learn some new life skills by presenting them with Chore Passports.  I explained the process to the kids and they were raring to go.  Suddenly, they were excited it was Laundry Day—they couldn’t wait to put away their clothes and fold the towels!

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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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The Closet Clean-Out

How is what you’re wearing right now affecting your spirit? 

Maybe you’re in your jammies, all comfy and cozy.  Maybe you’re dressed for work, classy and confident.  Maybe you’re home with the kids, pretty and prepared for the day.  On the other hand, what you’re wearing may have you feeling frumpy, frazzled and frustrated.

We don’t fully enjoy each day when our spirits are cluttered with doubts about our outfit and general appearance.  Christian women want to be happy and confident about what we’re wearing so our joy in Lord can shine through!  But for that to happen, we have to get rid of the “just OK” clothes in our closet—those clothes that are distracting us from the great outfits we can put together.

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Prepare to be Spontaneous! (How to Go Park Hopping)

Can you prepare to be spontaneous? Isn’t that an oxymoron? 

Absolutely not!  We moms can engineer a little fun on purpose.  When we do the planning ahead of time, the activity can be even more relaxed, and exciting!  (And when I have a free printable chart for you, that makes it even easier!)

We live about half a block from a little neighborhood park.  It’s a fine park and we go there all the time.  But it’s hot- no shade at all.  And, we’ve done everything there is to do there—lots of times.  Last summer, when my kids asked to go to the park, I found myself starting to resist.

So I went to our local parks and rec website to look for a new park to try—and it turned out there were a ton!  I wasn’t sure which to try first, or how to remember our favorites…and so, Park Hopping was born.

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How to Throw Down a Toy Challenge

I have a love/hate relationship with toys.  You know the feeling.  Of course we want our kids to have toys, but they can clutter our spirits just as much our family rooms.  Every once in a while it hits us: some of these toys have got to go!  But how should we decide which toys to keep and which to give away?

It can be so hard to let go of toys!  Over there’s a perfectly good toy they never even played with.  Here’s a toy they haven’t touched in months, but claim to absolutely love.  And here’s a toy you love and wish they were still playing with (they’re growing up too quickly!).

We all struggle with this! When you’re on the fence about getting rid of a toy, or when your kids are giving you the I’m bored-and-I-have-nothing-to-play-with moan,

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More Jesus at Christmas!

Christmastime can give any mom spiritual clutter. 

All of the extra holiday to-dos and events—and the feeling of panic that hits us when we realize it’s already December [fill in the date]—can push the Christmas joy right out of our hearts.  We hate to admit it, but even wonderful Christian moms like us need to be intentional about keeping our hearts centered on Christ at Christmas!

So this December, clear out some of that spiritual clutter.  Plan and prepare ahead as much as possible.  Skip “traditions” you don’t even like.  Simplify where you can and just do less…but, I also want to challenge you to do more in order to keep the joy of our Savior front and center in your heart.

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3 Ways to Journal Joyfully

Today’s moms are taking tons of pictures with their phones and digital cameras, which is fantastic—as long as we remember what our pictures are about.  Years from now, we don’t want to look at our pictures and think, Where were we? or worse, How old were the kids in this picture? or worst of all, Is that my oldest or my youngest?

And then there are the intangible things we want to remember but can’t really photograph…like the way my oldest used to say “strawbabies” instead of “strawberries,” or how my preschool-aged daughter’s favorite color was brown(!), or how thankful I am for my youngest’s joyful disposition.  We think we’ll always remember those kinds of things—but what if we don’t?

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