Living Room Organization

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“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” Proverbs 24:3

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? Are you sticking in there for the long haul?

Lesson learned so far this week: When I slip, fix it!

I am back at work again.  The holiday break ended. Yesterday was my first day back. I slipped. I came home exhausted, cold after running, hungry, and grumpy. I didn’t do my time of decluttering. 

Today is a new day. Today I have to get back on board. I don’t have many options. My family deserves a house that is under control.

Having said that, here is the living room update.  For the most part, the decluttering is complete.


This shows the piles of stuff that had overtaken my living room. Here are the afters…





Now I am moving to my bathrooms. As Fly Lady says, You can’t clean clutter!”



The Importance of a Name

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Two of the toughest decisions we’ve had as parents were choosing the names of our kids.  It was a painstaking process in which we vetoed decisions from the other,  argued, compromised, and argued some more.  We probably sounded a bit like our Congress during this government shutdown!

A good name is more desirable than great riches;     to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

Names are important.  A name says a lot about a person.  Throughout the Bible, God and Jesus have many names.  In fact, songs have been written just about their names.

With just a name, I can send my four-year old into a tizzy.  Mention Santa in this house, and you will get a reaction.  My one-year old has the same reaction when you say, “Daddy.”

Some shudder in fear when they hear a certain name.  They cower as if the name itself is a threat.

Yesterday, during my middle school lesson at church, we read through the Ten Commandments.  The kids were discussing what each one meant when they started talking about taking the Lord’s name in vain.  I heard a kid ask why that was as bad as the others.  My first instinct was a quick prayer asking for help with this one.  I replied that God has power in His name.  The name of God, alone, is a powerful word.  I tried to explain that Jesus tells us to pray in His name.  I don’t know how thoroughly I explained it, but hopefully the idea will stick with the kids.  I clearly have a Bible verse for next week’s lesson!

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:13-14

What power does the name of God hold in your life?


The Power in Positive Language

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A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1 KJV

The morning routine has changed for my students this year.  Many of them arrive in my classroom about 30 minutes earlier than they did last year.  I didn’t think the added thirty minutes would make that big of a difference, but it does for one kid.  

There is one young man who walks into my classroom every morning in a rage!  He barrels through the crowd of kids, pushes desks, knocks over water bottles, and yells at people to move out of his way, grunting and kicking the whole time.  Now, he isn’t a mean kid.  He can actually be very sweet.  This behavior surprised me, so I began to investigate his bus situation.  I wanted to know who he sat with, was someone picking on him, what was the bus driver doing, and was something happening during the walk from the bus into my room. I got nothing! In fact, his ride on the bus is very short.

After a bit more investigation, I realized that this kid’s mornings are crazy at home.  I imagine his mom yells at him to hurry up.  His step dad is the disciplinarian, and probably rubs the kid the wrong way.  This child starts his day in chaos, and then he can’t calm down.  

We all know that it doesn’t take much to put us in a bad mood.  One person can speak a negative thought to us and set us up for a bad day.  We also know that it can be hard to turn around a bad mood.  

I began playing soft music in my classroom.  I started requiring my kids to work quietly.  I now watch my words very carefully.  I know that I need to ignore his bad mood and say several calming, kind statements to him before he can calm down. I have noticed that other kids are beginning to react to him in the same manner.  They are using calming statements with each other and seem to enjoy our quiet moments before the instructional day begins. 

Those of us with kids know how important this is.  We all have had those mornings where our bad mood rubbed off onto our kids.  God doesn’t want us to walk through this life in misery.  He gave us an amazing world full of blessings to enjoy!  Whose morning can you influence tomorrow?  Can your positive language change the day for someone?


Reactions and Choosing Your Actions

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Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

You know those moments when someone asks you a question, you react, and then you try to cover up your reaction?  Let me give you an example.  Yesterday a student asked me a question about a change to my schedule.  I don’t like the change, but I didn’t really want to kids to know that.  My reaction, however, made it all too clear.  I quickly tried to cover for myself by explaining that I will try to reserve judgement until I see the effects of the change.  I didn’t do such a great job hiding my true feelings.

This verse from Proverbs came to mind.  I realized that I have to really guard my heart from negativity.  There are moments when I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I cannot hide my true feelings about a situation.  I need for my true feelings to always be full of love toward others, peace regardless of the circumstances, and hopefulness for the future.  I don’t want to walk around as an example of negativity for my students or my personal children.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that I need to spend more time filling my heart with prayer, Bible study, friendly conversations, and positive self-talk.  If not, my actions and reactions may be full of gossip, hurtful words, and uncertainty about the future.  I know that I can trust my future to God, so my reactions need to be filled with a peacefulness to demonstrate that.

Anyone else have a bad reaction story to share?


What is a Devotional?

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

Superhero Son asked me what “devotional” means.  He asked because he heard me talking about the upcoming book, With Unveiled Face, which is a daily devotional.  I tried to explain and found that my explanation was crazy complicated.  I decided my explanation better fit my adult audience rather than a four year old.

We learn from the Bible, Psalm 1 for example, that reading scripture allows a life source into our daily routine.  This life source is like a tree growing near a river.  The constant flow of information sustains us throughout our lives.

Devote means to concentrate upon or dedicate to something.  It comes from a Latin word from which we get the word “vow.”  I always thought of a vow as being a promise.  Therefore, if we are devoting our lives to living for God, we are promising to follow Him.  He explicitly tells us over and over to dive into scripture.  The New Testament tells us that scripture is “God-breathed.”  Whether you believe that God guided the hands that wrote the Bible or guided the decisions of which books to include in the Bible, does not matter. What matters is whether or not you devote your time to reading His Word.

A daily devotional assists us in that promise.  I don’t always use a daily devotional.  Sometimes I work my way through a Bible study or simply read through certain books of the Bible.  I bet you could have guessed this, but Proverbs is among my favorite books.  I am currently working through a study from my Bible app on my tablet.  I love technology!

My revised explanation for Superhero Son was that a devotional is a book we read everyday that helps us understand the Bible.  He proceeded to tell me that I wouldn’t need it if my Bible had pictures like his does.  If only it were that simple!

Do you study the Bible daily?  How has it impacted your life?