Welcome to My Mess

My house is a bit of a mess right now. Laundry needs folded. Dishes need washed. Not to mention the living room and schoolroom that could use a good tidying:


That’s my life, my house right now. And while normally messes made in a clean house frustrate me, today they don’t. I’m trying not to see so much of the mess. I’m trying to see the life that created those messes.

Lily and Grace spent the day yesterday having tea parties with their dolls, building with blocks, doing science experiments, and trying out new art projects. So much life. So much love. So much fun. And yes, so much mess.

Sometimes it’s okay to be messy. The important thing is to keep cleaning it up so new messes can be created and more life and memories can happen.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the Spring Clean Your Home and Heart eBundle this week. Sometimes my house looks pretty clean, sometimes it doesn’t. And my heart? Oh, it needs renewing! I just read A Gentle Answer over the weekend (it’s in the bundle), and it was so soothing to my weary, wintered spirit.

I’m already noticing a difference in my response to how I react to my children when they make – and then fight over – their messes. And they’re already noticing a difference in me, too.

Go check out the fabulous details, and make sure to enter to win a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite (winner’s choice) while you’re there!

How do you feel when you see messes in your own house?


The Most Important Thing To Remember in 2015


I had it all planned out in my mind – an incredible organization post to start 2015. Links to fabulous printables, inspiring words… basically some huge fan-fare to celebrate this time of year when everyone is making their annual organization goals.

But when I tried to write that post, the words just wouldn’t come this time. Because it wasn’t from my heart. Because I know that organizational tools are fun, but those tools won’t do the work for us.

Organizing is hard. Organizing can be discouraging. Organizing isn’t always fun.

And honestly? Organization isn’t always the most important thing.

While so many of us (including me) are gearing up to declutter in January, some others are just trying to get through today. My preacher’s 17 month old niece died of cancer on Monday. So tiny. So precious.


Their family is spending their New Year in a funeral home, mourning a life that had barely started to live. They’re trying to answer questions from Alaina’s tiny siblings and cousins who don’t understand why she’s lying in a casket and will never wake up. How did she get to Jesus? they ask. Why can’t we go visit her?

Hospital bills have piled up but that’s not yet their main concern because they’re just trying to survive the moment.

Condolences are offered, prayers are cried out from Christians all across the world, and yet we know we can’t take away the family’s pain. It breaks my heart and tears stream down my cheeks as we sing the 4th verse of Jesus Loves Me in church tonight:

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

By the end of the song, I’m a snotty mess and rush to the bathroom to finish crying so I can clean my face and hands.

For 2015, the most important word on my heart isn’t organization. It’s intention. I want to intentionally choose to be with my kids. I want to be intentional about my writing goals so I can serve my readers without neglecting my family. I want to choose the best because I’m not promised that the best will be here tomorrow – I’m only promised this moment.


Yes, I do want to be intentional about reorganizing my home. But not just for the sake of organization. I want to reorganize my house so that I can be free to spend more quality time with my husband and children. Our house is easier to keep clean when there’s less clutter. And we can welcome people into our home without panicking.

We can relax better. We can snuggle up with a good book without a glaring mess in our peripheral vision.

I have amazing organizational plans for 2015 that I’m going to share with you within the next few days. But for now, let’s make a decision to live 2015 with intention. We can simplify. We should know our why.

And yes, let’s organize. But let’s organize with purpose so our homes can serve our families, not the other way around.

Special Note: If you’d like to help the Day family, will you consider donating a few dollars to go towards Alaina’s exorbitant medical bills? No amount is too small – even $5.00 is a blessing – and I’d love for my readers here to rally around the Day family so we can show our love and support in their time of heavy grieving.



When You’re Not Quite Ready for Christmas


I want to encourage you today. Maybe your house isn’t clean, your gifts aren’t wrapped or you don’t have the finances to purchase gifts, and you won’t have time to bake the cookies you wanted to make. It’s okay. Christmas will come and go, and more than our family wants us to have everything perfectly done, they want us to be present and pleasant.

And you know, there’s so much beauty in the undone. There’s beauty in the imperfect. And we can find joy amidst the mess and the tight budgets.

If you need a few last-minute ideas or encouragement, here are some things you may like. Don’t read all of these articles. Just pick and choose a few that will help you the most:



Embracing an Imperfect Holiday – on Beauty through Imperfection.

The Christmas Cookie Disaster – Sometimes it’s easy to think that other people’s Christmases are perfect and beautiful all the time, but that’s simply not true. In this post about my nearly disastrous cookie baking experience, I share how I finally realized that my attitude matters more than the circumstance.

Why We Simplified Christmas This Year – by Money Saving Mom.

Dealing With Difficult Relatives During the Holidays – on Worshipful Living.



22 Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – If you’re trying to think of a last-minute gift for someone on your list, then read this article. Not only are there 22 great themed ideas, but each idea is also frugal and (mostly) clutter-free! Plus over 30 other gift lists are included in the link-up on this post so you’re sure to find some fantastic inspiration.

10 MORE Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, need a last-minute co-worker or family gift, or just want a little fun inspiration, you’ll definitely want to check out these neat ideas.

Celebrating a Memorable Christmas on a Zero-Dollar Budget – by Brandy at the Prudent Homemaker.

How to Frugally Fill Awesome & Clutter-Free Stockings – Enough Said 🙂

Scheduling, Cleaning & Organizing


Last Minute Holiday Sanity-Saving Tips – If you need to simplify your holiday to-do’s but aren’t sure where to start, then check out this article for practical tips and encouragement.

How to Keep Your Kid’s Christmas Gifts From Taking Over Your House – This was one of the most brilliantly simple ideas I’ve ever had and I just had to share it.

How to Fake a Clean House in Less Than 20 Minutes – If you want a cozy feel amidst the chaos in your home this Christmas, or if company is coming on short notice, then you’ll definitely want to see the tips in this article.

Crafts, Recipes & Decor

Christmas Dinner

Simple & Elegant Christmas Dinner Menu – This is what I’ll be making for Christmas Dinner this year. Maybe you’ll see a few ideas that you like?

25 Frugal Days of Christmas – Check out this link-up for crafts, recipes, and other fun ideas.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments – My friend Stephanie introduced me to these Christmas tree decorations, and they’re absolutely wonderful! These are so easy that my five-year-old can make them almost completely by herself and these beautiful ornaments make the house smell amazing.

A Cute and Easy Way to Display Greeting Cards – If you’re looking for a quick way to display your greeting cards, then simply put them on a bookshelf or try this idea. And I’d love to know: how do you display your greeting cards?

Christmas In The Midst Of Our Mess – by the Nester.

More Christmas-ing

You can read all of my Christmas articles here or see my Christmas inspiration board on Pinterest.

What’s one thing you do to simplify Christmas preparations?

When You Want to Adopt… But Your Spouse Says No

{NOTE: This is different from the type of article I usually write, but sometimes I sit at my laptop, put my fingers to the keys, and words fly out that surprise even me. I hope it encourages some of you who are having a difficult time getting on the same page with your spouse. I’ll be back with a new organizational post tomorrow!}


I thought I’d have four children. Two girls and two boys.

The only problem with my plan was that my husband disagreed. “Only two,” he told me. “I can take care of two. I can be a good dad to two.”

“Yes,” I answered. “And we can be good parents to more than two as well.”

More talking. More late night whispering. More praying.

“I want to adopt,” I announced, several months later. “I know we agreed that we’d only adopt if we couldn’t have biological children, but so many kids need good homes and we have a good home. We’re the perfect people to do this.”

“Only two,” he repeated. “I can be a good dad to two.”

I reminded him of how I’ve had this desire on my heart since I was 13 years old. Yet, he stood firmly by his decision.

I’ll pray, I decided.

I spent weeks in deep prayer. I wanted to be as fair as possible, so instead of asking God to change my husband’s mind, I diplomatically prayed this:

“Dear God, Thank You for giving me a husband who is a good father to our children. You know that I want to adopt and he doesn’t. You know there are so many orphans out there who need good homes. I know that Your will for Nathan is the same as Your will for me in this. Please change one of our hearts and bring us to the same page. Thank you for loving us and adopting us into Your kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

I fully expected God to change my husband’s heart. I’ve heard so many stories about how the husband wasn’t on board but God worked behind the scenes. And I could hardly wait for my husband to come to me, seemingly out of the blue, and announce that he wanted to adopt!

Only it didn’t happen that way. God didn’t change my husband’s heart.

{Join me over at My Joy-Filled Life to read the rest –>}