Category Archives: Take the Challenge

The Blessing of Limitations

He brought me out to a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me.

Psalm 18:19

 

Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a 10-bedroom home, your space is limited.

We all have “limited space”—and that can be such a good thing!

As a society, we have a tendency to collect, and a propensity toward wanting more. We tend to accumulate (and accumulate) until we’re seeking new and better ways to store our stuff.

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Organize Your Photos: The Interest Album

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

 

I used to give a talk on taking and organizing photographs. I loved that talk! I truly love being our family’s Keeper of Memories, the Family Historian.

However, the demand for that particular talk is so nearly nonexistent that I stopped offering it. Not everyone loves taking and/or organizing photographs… and times are changing.

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Summer Idea Sprouts

Organizing Your Summer, Part 2

The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

Last May, I posted about the Live it Up summer initiative. The Uptons tried an ambitious plan to Use it Up, Eat it Up, Play it Up, Read it Up, Watch it Up, and Trip it Up. You can read more about it here, but basically we determined to enjoy the summer by enjoying the things we already had!

If you’re wondering, it went really well. We didn’t do everything I’d planned, but we did an awful lot of it and I’ve never been so contented with a summer of fun. We played with more, tried more things, and used up more of our stuff than we ever have before. Getting organized about our family’s summer was wonderful!

 

This year, though, I wanted to try a simpler endeavor.

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7 Clutter-Free Ways to Feel Like an Awesome Mom

Fathers, do not exasperate your children;

instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

“Mom, you’re the best mom ever.”

The words were just out of my daughter Karly’s mouth, filling my heart, when her little brother Oliver piped up. “Wait, I thought Mary—you know, Mary, Jesus’ mom?— was the best mom ever.”

“Whoa, burn!” said big brother Spencer. “Mary burn!”

Life with kids.

Seriously, don’t you just love hearing the words “best mom ever” or “best grandma ever” from your kids? Even if it is a fleeting moment!

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Exactly HOW long?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

 

I’ve been in a season where I’ve been giving my Time Management Talk, “Where is Your Time Going?” I dearly love the “ah-ha!” looks I see out in the audience as women realize they can manage their time with Jesus and for Him. Time management has to be my favorite kind of organization!

But as I was speaking, something was niggling at me… an idea that’s been in the back of my mind for a while. As I try to manage my time, am I working with all of the facts? Do we know how long it really takes to do the things that we regularly do?

We all constantly, and without truly thinking about it, estimate the time it will take to our daily tasks and plan accordingly. Estimation is a great tool and often a time saver.

Here’s the problem: We can guess wrong.

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Ignoring a Call—what it might cost you…

 

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.

Acts 9:18

 

What a huge moment in history that was.

In this moment, Paul chose to follow God’s call and become His instrument. He chose to become a disciple of Jesus, to go and tell the world about Him, making arguably the biggest impact for Christ ever made.

In this moment, Paul also chose a hard life. A life of persecution and prison. His former friends wanted him dead. His power and prestige in the Jewish faith and community instantly vanished. A question occurred to me:

In this huge moment, what if Paul had chosen differently?

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Doing a Bible Sturdy (no, that’s not a typo)

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24

 

I’m a terrible typist, and a lot of the time autocorrect aids and abets my stupidity.

Most recently, it disagreed with me about my friend’s daughter’s name. My dear friend was blessed with a beautiful daughter she named Taryn, and as you would expect, absolute flurries of texting ensued. But it seemed that no matter how I typed “Taryn,” auto correct morphed it into “Terrible.”

As in, “What a beautiful pic of Terrible! What a doll!”

Or, “How did Terrible sleep last night?”

One thing you DON’T want to call your BFF’s beloved adopted infant is Terrible. (Good thing my sweet friend is so understanding!) Because of this, I began to notice other funny goofs autocorrect and I were making together:

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A Heart for Missions is Too Full For Guilt

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

 

Recently as I was preparing to leave for a mission trip, my spirit became deeply cluttered.

Just thinking about it was causing me a lot of worry and pre-guilt. Would I be able to handle being with children in extreme poverty, often with physical and/or mental disabilities? Several people with much more mission experience than I warned me that I would be heartsick, broken, and overwhelmed with my own underserved blessings.

So, I prayed, and I fasted, and then I went to Jamaica—not the touristy part.

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6 Ways to Organize Your Devotional Space

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5:16

One of the top New Year’s resolutions on every Christian’s list is to spend more time with God. We want to improve the quantity or the quality of our devotional time—or both!

I know it’s one of my top resolutions every year… and it will be until I die. We can never spend too much time with God, or focus on Him too closely! But we can (and should) feel satisfied after our devotional time with Him. We should feel full of His peace and presence, and ready to tackle what’s next.

Of course, our enemy wants to pull us away from any close time with God. He throws anything he can in our way… especially those whirling negative thoughts that I call Spiritual Clutter. Unfortunately for him, we can use a little organization to clear out the mess in our heads and make room for God’s peace.

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The Art of Being Real

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1

 

I love organizing, and I love Jesus even more. But I hope that you don’t read any of my stuff and think, Well, Little Miss Organized certainly has it all together.

I really don’t have it all together. In all of my writing and speaking, I try to be super transparent, letting you know that I struggle with intentionally living for Christ just as much as the next person, if not more. I need His grace.

But it sure can be tempting to try to impress… 

Here are a few true confessions:

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