Slowing Down in a World of Rush

In case you have begun to think that the only thing I write about on this blog is Bonnie Gray’s book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, I wanted to assure you that I am nearing the end of my focus on this particular book. When Bonnie decided she was going to do a “21 Days of Rest” blog tour, I was in no way obligated to join her, but I felt like there were so many good bits of wisdom in the pages that I wanted to continue sharing right along with her. When she realized that all the opportunities opening up for her would not allow her to blog for 21 straight days, Bonnie explained that she would spread the 21 days out as time allowed. This helped me as well, as I had begun to feel overwhelmed myself.

Which brings me to a new book of interest. This one is by Lysa TerKeurst. “She is the New York Times bestselling author of Made to Crave and Unglued. She isn’t shy about admitting what a mess she can be. But in the midst of everyday ‘growth opportunities,’ she’s been learning God’s lessons and sharing them on her blog ( and in her books.”

I enjoyed this book.

I follow Lysa’s blog and her Instagram posts, and I have read other books of hers (like Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl). She’s got a great sense of humor and a wonderful way of connecting with her readers.

I am looking forward to reading Lysa’s current book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. I think it connects well to the idea of trying to find spiritual whitespace, as well as attempting to simplify our lives by making changes to our cluttered homes and cluttered schedules.


Here’s a brief description of Lysa’s new book.

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. In The Best Yes she will help you:

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

That’s all I’m going to share for now, but look for more on this book, more on what the right “yes” could mean for you, and more of my photos and thoughts.

Thanks for being here with me.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

“There is no reason to complicate your family culture just because the culture at large is complicated. When you choose the simple road over the one cluttered with gadgets, theories, and systems, your whole family will probably have more peace and less stress.” Tsh Oxenreider from her book Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.
(Great book!)

The simple road … that’s the path I’m trying to take these days. It’s not always easy, you know?Some people pair the words “simple” and “easy” together as if they automatically go hand-in-hand. But they don’t. My friend Ben explains the difference a little better in his recent blog post “Simple vs. Easy.” The bottom line is – although it’s not always easy to simplify, it’s definitely worth the effort.

To me, simplifying is all about being who you were meant to be and taking the time to determine what it is you value the most, what your priorities are, and where you are spending your time vs. where you would rather be spending your time. We have to be more intentional about the decisions we make as far as spending money, bringing more stuff into our homes, scheduling events and activities, and just plain living everyday life if we want our lives and our homes to reflect who we really are and what matters most to us.

So, I’m working on that. One of the first steps for me is decluttering … learning to let go of the things that are just taking up space and weighing me down. In fact, I think I’m a lot like Gretchen Rubin from Good Housekeeping who says, “For most people – and this is certainly true for me – outer order contributes to inner clam. When I’m surrounded by a mess, I feel restless and unsettled, but clearing clutter gives me a surge of energy and cheer.” I want the calm that comes with a simple and orderly home.

Before 1This past weekend, I tackled the office closet. Here, I keep shipping supplies, binders, copies of completed jobs, suitcases, electronics, extra tote bags, a couple jackets, and my wedding dress. Quite an assortment of things. If we owned our home, I would redo this closet to include a better storage system, but since we rent, I found an inexpensive way to make use of the space. I use hanging closet organizers that are meant to hold shirts and sweaters and other types of clothing. The only problem is – I’ve been tossing miscellaneous items in them lately rather than using them in a way that makes the best sense for my office space. Before 2

When you’re decluttering and organizing, if possible, use items you already have around the house (boxes, crates, shelves) to help you corral your stuff; if you need some good ideas or want to purchase new supplies, one of my favorite places for organizational tools is The Container Store. Love that place!

Anyway, back to the task at hand. My first step was to take everything out of the closet. When I did that, I found several electronic items that we really have no need to keep anymore: a printer that doesn’t really work; a scanner that I don’t need because my new printer has one built in; a fax machine, which is unnecessary because I can scan and email documents; a DVD player, which we don’t use because we play movies in our XBox, etc. I pulled all of these items aside to get rid of them.


Did you know that Best Buy has been advertising a new Trade In Program for old electronics? You can get credit on a gift card for “gently used” electronics and games. Of course there are some conditions on what they’ll accept, but it’s certainly worth checking into. And anything that doesn’t have a trade-in value will be recycled for you, so you won’t have to worry about non-working items ending up in a landfill. I’m going to look into this trade-in concept this next week. At this point, we’ve got nothing to lose, but clutter.

After 2As I sorted the remaining closet items, I filled up a trash bag and a recycling bag, and then began to place things back into the closet in a more orderly fashion. It really didn’t take that long, and it wasn’t that hard to do. But it felt good to cross this project off  my list (I’ve been meaning to do it for two or three weeks). When Bart got home, I had to show him what I had accomplished; I was proud of myself. He was impressed that we could actually walk into the closet once again.

After 1As I closed the door on this particular project, I felt good. Not from achieving perfection, but from creating order out of disorder. From knowing that this was a simple start to a lifelong commitment of creating a more peaceful living space where things become less prominent, and what I do have is organized, easy to find, and much easier to enjoy.

“The surprising effect of getting rid of the things that you don’t love is that you grow deeper in love with the things you choose to keep.” Tsh Oxenreider

The hall medicine/linen closet is next on my list. What about you? What choices are you making to accomplish great things (or even small things) in the name of order and peace of mind?

Sharing It Forward

Several months ago, I discovered Pinterest. At first the concept sounded strange to me. I get blogging and sharing words and ideas, but what was the point of “pinning” pictures and following other peoples pins? Well, I tried it, and I liked it. A lot! [If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, click here. If you’d like to know more about how Pinterest works and what the benefits are, leave a comment below, and I’ll write about it in a future post.]

Through Pinterest, I found yummy recipes to try, great ideas for decorating and organizing, and awesome writers and photographers to follow. In fact, I discovered tons of wonderful sources of information and inspiration out there … way too many for me to keep up with them all on my own.

That’s when I started thinking about how cool it would be to gather tips and ideas from articles that I read (both in print and online) and share them with you, and then you could share some of the things you’ve discovered with me. We could pool our resources. With that in mind, here are a few links to some great sites with recipes (some healthy, some not as much), decluttering ideas, green tips, amazing photography, and a Did You Know.

Check these out

Gluten-Free/Dairy FreeThe Best Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve got some almond flour to experiment with. I’m definitely going to make these; I’ll let you know how they turn out.


Tired of chicken? Try the Best Pork Chops You will Ever Taste. I made these, and they are pretty tasty. They come out with a nice, crisp breading but are baked, not fried.


Quick and EasyImpossibly Easy Mini-Cheeseburger Pies: This seems like something simple to make on nights when your time is limited. I haven’t personally tried these yet, but I printed the recipe out and I plan to.


Give your child’s lunch an extreme, and deliciously nutritious, makeover–Five Ways to Pack a Healthier Lunch
Bart and I are currently making our own trail/snack mix to take to work. We buy things like roasted peanuts, honey roasted almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, craisens, and chocolate and peanut butter chips and mix them together. It’s pretty yummy and goes a lot further than some of the pre-packaged mixes in the store.


Don’t have the space for a regular garden? Try Container Gardening I used to grow tomatoes in a container out back. We had to keep it up off the ground away from the bunnies. Last summer was just too darn hot to grow anything. In the past, I have also grown bell peppers and jalapeños in a container. It’s easy and very rewarding, especially if you have kids and you get them involved.


Interested in trying a little green living? Here are Five Tips for a Healthy and Green Picnic. A perfect idea for beautiful days like those we’ve been having lately.


Is all your STUFF weighing you down? Check out Parade Magazine’s “Full House” and learn how you can lose the extra, unnecessary possessions cluttering up your home, and take back your life.


And last, but not least, I just had to share this site. I absolutely LOVE this guy’s stunning macro photography and his inner reflections:



In last week’s post, I mentioned that I had found a place where you could recycle all the unmatched keys you had lying around your house. Keys For Kindness  is a small, family-run program where they’ll take the keys, recycle them, and give the proceeds to the Multiple Sclerosis society. The site doesn’t currently look super active though, so you might want to email them before sending anything.

Personally, I found another use for the extra keys in my house. I’m going to add them as embellishments on cards. “You Hold the [KEY] to My Heart.” “[KEY]P up the great work!” (not shown)











As I continue with this blog, I think some weeks I will write more content and share specific things I am doing to declutter or “healthify” my life, and other times, I will mainly provide a list of  links to great sites or sources of information. If you want to keep up with what I find, follow me and you will receive notifications every time I post, which I hope will be every Monday.

Have a great and peace-filled week.