All posts by Shannon Upton

All In

And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.

I Kings 8:61

 

I’ve been the sole proprietor of Organizing You Ministries for ten years now.  My “elevator pitch” has slowly evolved into this statement:

“I help women use organization as a tool to clear out their spiritual clutter so they can go all in for the Lord.”

The phrase “all in” seems to resonate strongly with Christian gals like me.  We want to worship the Lord every day (not just at church), pray continually (not just during a quiet time), and serve Him with our whole lives (not just as we volunteer).  My heart sings with this!  I want to be all in, and to feel as though I’ve gone all in with this ministry.

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Organize Your Photos: Event Albums

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

I thought I’d share one more Organize Your Photos post. Remember, organizing your photos doesn’t have to be a huge, complicated project.  You can choose to complete a fun little project in your own style. The goal here is to enjoy your photos with your family… and nothing says “joy” like remembering an event that celebrated them!

Like Vacation Albums, Event Albums have the simplicity of being about one specific thing.  No need to comb through a bunch of old photos—these are all saved in one place on your phone, computer, camera card, or social media feed.

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Housewalk One-Sheet

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

Hebrews 3:4

What is a Housewalk? Well, I made it up.  That’s part of the fun of being an author!

(True story: I was on Pinterest recently and saw a pin about a “Housewalk.”  I thought, Wait, is that a thing? I thought I made it up!  So I clicked on the pin.  Turns out, deep in the blog post, the writer actually mentioned getting the idea from Building Your House.  So yup, I did make it up!)

My second book, Building Your House, culminates in a Housewalk with Jesus.  Essentially, you walk through your home, praying over each room and discerning the spiritual clutter you have about that room (the ways the room is bothering you).  You then use your insights to organize your home in a way that really suits you.  A Housewalk is absolutely the best way to clear spiritual clutter out of your home.

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What to Write in a Card

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I Thessalonians 5:11

I absolutely love to encourage my friends and loved ones by sending cards—in fact, making homemade cards is one of my very favorite things to do! And I believe now more than ever that the personal touch of a card touches the lonely hearts of others.

But as a person who doesn’t like to write, I can get bogged down with what to actually pen inside my pretty, love-filled cards.

If you find yourself procrastinating about sending a card because you don’t know what to write in it, then you probably have some anxiety that you won’t say the “right thing.”  This spiritual clutter can lead to even more spiritual clutter: fretful, guilty feelings about not sending the card at all.

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Fighting the Post-Project Blues

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Psalm 34:19

Have you ever had the post-project blues?

Perhaps you dedicated an entire Saturday to organizing your kitchen—and you did a great job!—but on Monday morning you’re back to business as usual and your kitchen doesn’t seem so great anymore.

Maybe you had a day where you nailed your to-do list.  You were firing on all cylinders, making checkmark after checkmark.  You posted on social media about your accomplishments, garnering tons of likes and “You go!” comments.  But the next day, you’ve got a new list, and you can barely get up the energy to tackle the first item.

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Organize Your Photos: Marriage Album

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:12

Here’s a bonus post for the Organizing Your Photos Series!

Way back when I started this series, a reader recommended that I create a Marriage Album in the As They Grow format.  I loved the idea and started looking for pictures of Travis and me, just one for each year.

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How God Created You to Complete Your Goals

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

During my first appointment with a psychiatrist, back when I was struggling with a postpartum anxiety disorder, my doctor asked me an interesting question.

He’d begun the appointment by asking me to describe myself.  I told him about my different personality traits, ending with a slightly shameful admittance that I was quite organized and very Type-A.  (Remember, this was years before I had written or spoken a single word for this ministry.)

Looking down as he wrote his notes, he asked, “Do you like that about yourself?”

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Blessing Your Guests with Favors

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25

Party favors aren’t just for kids’ birthday parties!  Any time you host a gathering at your home, you can bless your guests with a small favor. Even the smallest, simplest gift can brighten your friends’ day. Women are always giving, so receiving even a little gift often feels like a balm to the soul—especially if you include a Bible verse or scriptural message to lift their spirits even more! 

Favors don’t have to be expensive, either.  Check out your local dollar store; wander around and let inspiration strike you. On one shopping trip I saw inexpensive colorful fly swatters shaped like flowers.  I added a note that said “Swat away your troubles with prayer,” and they were a big hit with the my guests!  Even a fly swatter can make a cute gift with a heart for the Lord behind it.

Here are some fun ideas to try at your next gathering:

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Picturing Peace

 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

 

I’ve been reading in the Old Testament more than I used to, and I’m enjoying all of the imagery.  In particular, I just read the section in Job where he describes his search for wisdom with a powerful, beautiful description of mining. (This is in Job 28 in case you’re interested—Job was a guy who surely knew a lot about anxiety!).

Pondering these verses made me remember my days in therapy for clinical anxiety, and the relaxation techniques recommended by my counselor.  She was not a Christian, so I always took her ideas and seasoned them with prayer and God’s presence.

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Observations from the Book Table

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

 

How do you look from behind my book table?

There are so many stories I could tell about the fascinating people I’ve met while on the road as a speaker. At my most recent event, a sweet elderly woman wearing several shawls wanted to take my picture as I signed her book. As she did, one of the shawls slipped and suddenly I was face to face with her chihuahua!

One of the challenges of being a Christian speaker is that I’m trying to help all kinds of people at the same time. In my particular specialty—organizing—I know that I’m speaking to people all over the organizational spectrum.

As I look out at an audience, I know that there are women who are slightly scared, even intimidated by the word “organizing.” Sitting right next to them are people who are more structured than I am! And next to them are the gals who fall somewhere in between.

Where are you on the organizing spectrum? See if you can find yourself in the comments that I frequently hear at my book table:

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