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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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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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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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Unexpected Organizing for Kids’ Crafts

Welcome back to the Unexpected Organizing Series!  Are you ready for some of the cutest organizing I’ve ever done? (At least, I think so.)

How I love my kids’ craft area! I don’t want their craft supplies to be shoved into tubs they can’t reach or open without my help.., I want them to be able to create, instantly!  I’d love to help you support your kids’ creativity and joy as well.  So, here goes…

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Organize Your Photos: Halloween Album

The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Proverbs 10:7

 

Welcome back to the Organizing Your Photos series, the Halloween edition!

So, Halloween is not my favorite holiday (as I wrote in this post about making Halloween about Jesus). I know that Christians have varied stances on Halloween, and I’m not trying to glamorize it. But I do believe the righteous can find joy, fun, and blessing in Halloween without stepping into wickedness.

And I do love seeing my kids all dressed up! I always take pictures. Since this is a holiday when I’m pretty much guaranteed to have at least one picture, Halloween makes for a perfect As-They-Grow album.

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Unexpected Organizing for Craft Supplies

Welcome to what just might be my favorite Unexpected Organizing post: Unexpected Organizing for crafting!

If you’ve read Organizing You (which is about time and project management), you know that I’m a big proponent of scheduling time for yourself—time to relax and work on projects that fill you with joy. I also firmly believe that taking a Sabbath Day of rest each week is a commandment, not a suggestion, from our Lord who loves us. (This post addresses that in a fun way.)

Over the years I’ve enjoyed my Sabbath and “project time” with many various crafts. I’ve cross-stitched and scrapbooked. I’ve knitted and crocheted. I’ve made homemade cards and gift tags. I’ve sewed and hot-glued. I’ve made gifts and home décor. And in general I’ve collected a lot of crafting supplies.

Craft supplies are tricky items to let go.

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How to Organize Your Books

Every word of God is flawless;
    He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Proverbs 30:5

“Whatever you read, read the Bible first. Beware of bad books: there are plenty in this day. Take heed what you read.”

-J.C.Ryle

 

 

I think books are wonderful.

At a recent speaking gig, I met a lovely pastor and fellow bibliophile. She and I chatted about books we love, books we want to read, and favorite authors. It quickly became clear that she owns far more books than I do. In fact, it sounded as though her books might be overwhelming her house…and her.

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Unexpected Organizing: Out the Door

Welcome back, Friends!  The previous Unexpected Organizing post was mainly about using kitchen organizers to streamline your getting-ready routine. Now I’m going to offer you ideas about using bedroom and office organizers in your mudroom (or just near your door) to help you leave your house!

As a mom of three, I know that getting everyone out the door can clutter a mom’s spirit.  The easier we make it on them, the easier we make it on ourselves.

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Organize Your Photos: Vacation Albums

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

 

Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full.  This is His kind of abundance—not stuff, but life!

A lot of wonderfully abundant life is lived on family vacations. To truly live in God’s abundance and enjoy His blessings, I’ve needed to re-frame how I look at vacations:

  • I want to enjoy anticipating a vacation—to embrace the planning and the exciting feelings about the joy to come.
  • I want to enjoy the vacation as it happens—to let my planning unfold and be flexible, to be in the moment, to relax. (I actually wrote an entirely separate post about vacation planning, and then relaxing.)
  • I need to enjoy remembering the vacation—to keep the joyful memories alive, to remember the good times, to tell the stories.  This is where the Vacation Album comes in.

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