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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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55 Everyday Photo Ideas

Any mom’s spirit can be cluttered by the feeling that she isn’t taking enough pictures.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by how quickly our kids are growing up.  We don’t want to miss it—and we don’t want to forget what it’s like right now.

With a little thought and some intention, you can take more pictures and enjoy more of your memories.  You can choose an everyday moment that you’d like to capture, or wait for inspiration to strike!  Keep your camera handy, because you never know when a great moment will happen.

Here are a few things to be on the look out for…or do on purpose, just for the pictures.  (Don’t knock it—who cares if it’s a little contrived?   You’re still having fun!)

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Reduce Your Anxiety with Jesus

When you get right down to it, clearing out spiritual clutter is all about reducing anxiety.  The Lord tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).  That’s why I began this ministry in the first place!

God took my four-year battle with a clinical anxiety disorder and used it for His glory.  Without that experience I never would have written a book or started a public speaking ministry, even though it’s not directly what I talk or write about.

Well, until now.  So many women who have read the Organizing You books or have heard me speak share their anxiety struggles with me—from their everyday worries to clinical anxiety to panic attacks.  In order to help, I’d like to share with you a few specific ways that I’ve learned to seek peace in my anxious moments.

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How Not to Parent

Read it!: II Samuel 13

Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur.

But King David mourned for his son every day.

(vs 37)

Think it through:

II Samuel 13 describes a history of absolutely miserable family dysfunction: the sons and daughters of King David committing terrible crimes against one another, from rape to murder. It’s a sad chapter to read, and must have been an infinitely sadder chapter to live as King David. As brave as he was against Goliath and other military foes, David was completely unable (or unwilling) to deal with his family.

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