$500 Cash Giveaway!

The Christmas season is upon us! And while this is a joyous and festive time of the year, it can also be a time of financial stress and worry for some.

That is why I’m teaming up with 25 other bloggers to bring you a Christmas Blessings Giveaway for $500 Paypal cash! We understand the stress of fulfilling our kids’ Christmas lists, or having an unexpected bill to pay, or even just having enough money to put gas in the car and coats on our kids.

Christmas Blessings Giveaway

We hope to lift some of that burden for one family and bless them with $500 Paypal cash to use for whatever their family needs. Whether it’s for Christmas gifts, to pay off bills, or to save for a rainy day, we hope this giveaway will bless a family this holiday season. And we are blessed to be a blessing as well.

Enter Below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from Monday, December 7th through Sunday, December 13th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.

I’d love to hear – how would you spend an extra $500 this Christmas season?


Housekeeping Tip #4: Stop Waiting for Perfect (and My First Vlog!)

I tiptoe toward my bedroom to sneak away for a few minutes of quiet relaxation. Just before crossing the threshold, I pause and glance back to the kitchen. It’s quiet now and the lights are dim, but plates and cups remain on the table.

I turn to my room again, my eyes drinking in the site of my warm comforter. Just a few minutes, I tell myself. Then I’ll be refreshed and ready to clean.

But I hear a phrase echoing in my mind:

“The bitterness of living in a mess remains long after the sweetness of resting is forgotten.” – Sandra Felton, The Messies Manual

Hesitating, I pivot my body back and forth as I glance from my bedroom to the kitchen and back again.

My heart knows that Ms. Felton was right when she penned those wise words. The inward battle is over. I stride to the kitchen and roll up my sleeves. I know this is a choice well made.

And the resting will be even sweeter because a bitter mess won’t be waiting for me after.

Sometimes we wait for perfect. We wait for the perfect schedule, the perfect timing, the perfect mood, or the perfect weather. We think that we’ll clean when our kids are older, or we’re less busy, or we have a week off work, or after we get a better night’s sleep. The list could go on forever.

But a life lived in waiting isn’t a life fully lived at all. Life isn’t about one big choice that magically fixes everything and makes our lives perfect. It’s about little decisions. Small, right decisions many times a day over the course of many, many years.

Those small choices will turn into large habits. And those habits will greatly impact the quality of our lives and the value of our memories.

Tidy Up friends, we can’t do everything, but we can do something. Choose one room, or even a corner of one room, and start there. If you need a little extra encouragement, you can join the private Tidy Up Facebook page.

We’re working on a challenge this week of Preparing Our Homes for the Holidays, and the before & after photos are so inspiring! After you join the group, you can view Assignment 1 encouragement here.

And friends, I would absolutely love to have each one of you into my home. It would be glorious to sit together as we inspire one another to create space for life, love, and warm memories.

But because teleports aren’t yet real, I created a video channel on Vimeo. Consider this your invitation to housekeeping inspiration as I virtually welcome you into my living room.

When you know you need to clean, what holds you back from beginning? Is it feeling overwhelmed, being too busy, or thinking a project needs to be completed perfectly before you can even start? Let’s encourage each other in the comments as we begin together.


Housekeeping Tip #3: Be Kind to Yourself

“I often feel that when people look at me, they don’t really see me,” I whisper. “They notice my outfit, my husband, our business, the clean-enough house, or our home-schooled kids, and they think I have it all together.”

She knows I’m not looking for affirmation. So she waits. She allows the words to come, unrushed, when I’m ready.

“What they don’t see,” I finally continue, “Is that I come with so much baggage. Others don’t always recognize the work that has been done to heal my heart. They don’t know that, while things appear easy on the outside, none of it has come without a hard-fought battle.”

She watches my face carefully, allowing me time to talk and to process. When she replies, her words make me stop and I tilt my head, absorbing the simple wisdom.

“You’re beautiful,” she says. “That’s easy to see.”

Then she continues:

“The baggage? Everyone has that. You’ve just learned to carry yours well. I love that you take what you’ve learned and are using it to heal the world, starting at home.

I tuck her words into my heart and I remember her encouragement like some memorize a handwritten note from a loved one.

I’m not alone. Everyone has baggage. Healing the world starts at home.

It starts with me. And it starts with you.

Healing begins with kindness. To ourselves and to those within our household. It begins with a nice word, a gentle smile, a soft touch.

Kindness begins with making ourselves a soothing cup of tea when we’re sick. It starts with caring for our homes so we can give ourselves a soft place to land after a long day.

Kindness continues to heal whenever we offer grace, not judgment, to those who fall short of our expectations and desires.

Kindness? It may seem small, but it can heal our hearts, and it can heal the world. Let the healing start at home, within ourselves. And as we heal, let’s use what we’ve learned to help heal the hearts of others.

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24, NKJV

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Tidy Friends, my preacher recently delivered what may be the most beautiful sermon I’ve ever heard. His 17-month old niece died after a heartbreaking battle with cancer, and he spoke from a place deep within his own heart straight into the souls of other broken spirits.

As you wrestle with your inner wounds, I encourage you to listen to Mark Day’s sermon about Faith in the Face of Questions. As we battle through tough things, we ask tough questions. We wonder if God cares and we want to know if He really is good. My friends, I can tell you that He cares and He is good. Listen here.

Share with us – how has kindness helped to heal your own heart? What words of encouragement have you kept tucked away in your memory bank? Share your healing thoughts with the Tidy Up community, either as a comment on this article or in the private Facebook group, and let’s grow together.


Housekeeping Tip #2: Find Your Mission Field (It’s Closer than You Think)

I stood at the sink, viciously scrubbing a cherry colored pan. The bright hue mocked me and I felt bitterness well up within my soul as murky dishwater swirled down the drain.

There are real problems in this world but I’m stuck here at home instead of doing something that actually matters, I thought furiously.

I scrubbed harder, charred remains of the previous night’s dinner finally coming loose, and I vowed that I would someday find time for more important things than just washing sinks full of dirty dishes.

If I could turn back the clock, I would gently whisper truths to my younger self. I would tell her that cleaning does matter. I’d let her know that right now, at home, she’s in her mission field. I’d tell her that making a difference in the lives of those around her will have an eternal impact.

Nurturing souls, whether they’re in our living rooms or across the world, is no small task. And when we can offer a soft place for our families to land, when we can welcome others in without hesitation, we’re uniting together to offer havens, refuges, from a sometimes harsh world.

This difficult, monotonous work of sweeping floors and scrubbing toilets is not in vain. Creating and maintaining order within our own four walls is one of the most important works we’ll ever do. Not because a clean house in itself is so important, but because having a clean home opens up our lives for so much more.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15, NKJV

Cleaning is not a necessary evil – it’s a beautiful opportunity.

I no longer own the cherry colored pans, but I’ll never forget the years I spent scrubbing them as I wrestled within myself, longing for an opportunity to impact lives but feeling trapped within my own four walls. Years of experience has shown me, however, that cleaning is not the end – it’s the beginning.

Will you begin with me?

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This week’s assignment: Consider your mission field. How would you spend your precious hours if you weren’t digging through laundry mounds for clean outfits or rifling through piles of papers in hopes of finding the one you need? Share encouragement and inspiration with others by leaving your answer as a comment on this article, posting in the private Tidy Up Club on Facebook, or starting discussions with your loved ones about how you can make an impact together.

If you have a little extra time this week, also take a few minutes to watch an incredible video that one commenter shared on last week’s article. When we know our why, it changes everything and that concept is illustrated beautifully in the video.

If you’re ready to start organizing but need a little guidance, check out my eBook Chaos to Clutter-Free. It’s a simple and realistic book that will help you restore (or find) order in your home. Read the details here.