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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How Not to be The Perfect Hostess

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.

Galatians 6:4

My dear friend, Elise, is a great cook and a natural hostess.  She inspires me! She makes it all look effortless—nothing seems to ruffle her feathers. She hosts her church small group, frequently entertains houseguests (sometimes longterm), and has invited my family over for amazing meals.

I, on the other hand, dislike cooking. When we host Elise’s family, I almost always serve them pizza (not exactly hostess-with-the-mostest stuff, right?).  To be fair, I put out sides, make a whopper of a dessert, and try to set a nice table…but still. After years of this, I determined to do something really special for them and cook a nice, big dinner. 

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Unexpected Organizing: Infrequently Used Items

Welcome back to the Unexpected Organizing series! This is (I think) the last post of the series, and so it’s about the last thing we want to think of when it comes to organizing—the stuff we almost never use, but still want to keep.

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we haven’t used it in a year, we should get rid of it.  But that’s not practical!  And once we break that rule, we can find ourselves shrugging and keeping everything.  The real test for “keeping verses tossing” is this:  Do you need it or love it… and do you have room for it?

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Organizing a Yard Sale

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

I Timothy 6:7

 

I love a good garage or yard sale. I do enjoy going to them—you never know what you might find!—but I’m a very picky buyer.  What I really love is hosting a garage sale.

I know many people don’t feel this way.  (My husband certainly doesn’t!)  If you love to give things away and be done with it, that’s wonderful!  But I love getting the things we no longer need or love out of my house and knowing that they’ll be used in someone else’s.  I enjoy talking with the people in my community and hearing their stories.  And, of course, I’ve found the money very helpful as well!

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Countercultural Christianity

And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?

Matthew 5:47 (HCSB)

 

We all want to be out of the ordinary.  Jesus called us to be out of the ordinary, in the world but not of it. Interestingly, being countercultural has become very popular, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in not-so-good ways. Of course, if you’re acting counter-culturally with a heart for the Lord, it’s going to be very good.

I’ve heard from many readers who say the Organizing You books aren’t like any organizing books they’ve read before.  In fact, I like to think they’re counter-cultural…

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Organize Your Photos: Photos of Belongings

    …a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away.

Ecclesiastes 3:6

 

As we near the end of the Organizing Your Photos series, it’s time we talk about one of the best things about photos:

Photos can replace bulkier stuff.

Do you have souvenirs from vacations that you’re ready to let go? Take pictures and put them in a vacation album.

Do you have 20 t-shirts from high school that you can’t throw away? Take pictures—or get pictures of you in them—and make a little high school album. (Or, yes, you can make a quilt.)

Do you have several tubs full of your kids’ school projects, papers, and Mother’s Day art? Take pictures, or shrink the art on a copier, and make an album for each child.

Do you have boxes and boxes of belongings that use to belong to a beloved relative?  Take pictures of the items that have deep meaning for you or for them, then place the pictures in an album and write a few sentences about each picture.  Then bless others with those things by giving them away.

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Zero-Clutter Ways to Entertain Young Children

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

 

If you’re a mom with young kids (or if you otherwise have young kids in your life), you know that they’re quickly bored with the new toys they receive for Christmas.  Rather than cluttering your home with new things for them to play with—and your spirit with frustration—try these zero-clutter ways to entertain young kids this winter.  Ideas like this help to teach kids to enjoy their current blessings instead of waiting for more… and you’d never guess that so many of the things around your house could be so much fun!

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Unexpected Organizing in the Kitchen

This fact may not be particularly unexpected, especially if you’ve read my books: I don’t like cooking.

So, I may not be the very best person to write about unexpected organizing in the kitchen. But, as always, I’ll show you what I do and challenge you to think about what you do. Perfection has never been the point of these posts, anyway. (Whew!) 

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Christian Time Blocking

The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:10-11

 

Do you ever feel like your plans are thwarted by interruptions?

Lately, organizers and time management experts have been touting “Time Blocking.” Time blocking is a scheduling technique with which you focus on one and only one project at a time.

A woman who’s time blocking might set aside two hours to work on a certain project. During that time she’ll refuse to read emails, answer texts, look at social media, or touch any other projects. It’s anti-multitasking (a concept I don’t espouse) and pro-batching (a concept I wholeheartedly embrace). Time blocking is supposed to increase your productivity by eliminating distractions (and obstructing new spiritual clutter!).

As a project-oriented person, I love the concept of time blocking! But would Jesus?

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