I have written posts several times referring to the fact that I have such a busy life. It’s really a struggle for me to rest, just as it was for Martha when Jesus came to her house. I’ve been reading the book of Luke along with the First 5 app, and something really caught my attention in chapter five. In that chapter, it says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places:
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
When I first heard just the part about withdrawing to lonely places, I thought what we all think, which is that we all need to make time for ourselves–even Jesus did. But right after that thought, I noticed that the text says Jesus went to those lonely places for a different reason. He prayed.
I have been to the spa multiple times, and I’ve had massages and vacations and romantic getaways, but I never really come back totally rested in my spirit. I still have overwhelming thoughts and sometimes even depression or frustration. I think it must be that
I need to follow Christ’s example. He afforded himself purposeful rest. Yes, He needed to escape from the crowds, which we see many times in the Word. However, He did for himself what he promises to do for us, which is to give us rest for our souls. That kind of rest is never going to come from us coloring in a book or doing a relaxing craft. It’s only going to come from spending time with the Lord.
I was surprisingly convicted listening to this short little passage of Scripture, but that’s what I love about the Word. The rhema word is a word that comes alive to us in a moment even though we might’ve read it a hundred times before. This word I’m sharing I hope will be a rhema word for you and for me today.
Do you need rest for your soul? Come to Jesus, who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Leave a comment below about how I can pray for you to find rest. I am convinced it’s for all of us.
Want to hear more about this conversation? Check out this video from our weekly Facebook Live session. It happens every week at 8:30 PM EST at my Facebook page. We’d love to have you tune in next week.
Happy New Year!
For eleven years, I taught children. They might’ve been teenage children, but they were moldable, able to be disciplined, and (even though I’m fun) generally controllable. Now I teach adults. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. What am I going to do to an adult who does not do his or her homework for a computer training class? Put him in the corner? It’s with this dilemma and memories of my own former high school and middle school classrooms that I have discovered gamification.
To gamify something means to make a game out of it. You wouldn’t believe what teachers would do to win banana pudding or two hours of me teaching their worst classes 🙂 In a recent training series, just being on teams with the same color helped teachers to encourage one another to do their best work and to do it on time.
What does this have to do with anything? To me, if there’s anything I can do to engage my willpower a little more, I want to do it. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that meeting goals is not always my strong suit 🙂 That’s why I’ve written the kind of posts I have, and that’s why my blog is named what it is, The Beam in My Eye. I know I have a lot of weaknesses. I need help addressing them, and I thought that today I would give you some practical tips I’m using to help myself maintain excitement about my goals–in other words, these are the ways I’m gaming my own motivation. I’ve talked about weight loss on here and my struggle to pray, as well as many other goals like organization that I have yet to achieve. With that being said, let’s talk about some tools I’m using to help myself reach my goals and to add that little bit of childhood play that engages my willpower.
There are so many ways to reach goals that I haven’t mentioned here. I’m just discussing a few apps, the use of stickers, and the importance of relationships to achieve permanent change. What other tools would you like to share? I’d love to hear them! Tell you what, if you share the best idea in the comments below AND you have an iPhone, I will buy you the Commit app! So let’s get this comments party started!
As of today, my blog is five months old. From zero views, it’s grown to sixteen hundred. I had no comments, and now I have over thirty. My highest views in a day were 113 on my adoption post, and half the people who read that one shared it! To any “more-accomplished” blogger reading those numbers, they might look very small, but I continue to be amazed that my reader base has grown the way it has in just a short time. If you are one of those readers, (and you are, or you wouldn’t be here, right?) thank you! And if this blog has motivated you to take the next step and start writing, I hope this second round of tips for the new blogger helps you. If you missed the first part, it’s here.
Without further ado–
My blog is not perfect, and it probably never will be. But that’s exactly the point. I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help. [Tweet “I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help.”] Everything you will find me writing about is my struggle and God’s triumph simultaneously on display. I am hoping that this blog is blessing someone, and that these tips help someone else to use blogging as an outlet for creativity and even faith.
Is that new blogger you? I would love to hear any questions or comments you have about your new blog journey. Hope the tips get you started!
Prayer should not be hard, but I’ve spent much of my life wrestling with it, as I shared in my previous post, “Get Down on It”.
And the struggle must be real, because my friend Jamie just wrote about very same thing. I was challenged this week to spend an extended amount of time in prayer, longer than I’ve ever spent. If I’m not anything else, I’m dependable. As long as I don’t forget what I’m supposed to be faithful to (ha!), if someone’s counting on me, I will be there. There was an ongoing prayer chain, and when one of us was done, another would be taking over. As I write this, one sister is taking up her link in the chain, and another will start this evening. I knew the night of my “assignment” was coming, and yet, I struggled with knowing if I could make the whole time matter. Jesus’ disciples felt the same way; on the most important night of their friend’s life, they fell asleep repeatedly when he asked them just to pray with him for one hour.
[Tweet “What if all of us stopped looking at prayer as a chore and started looking at it as a date?”]
When I am out with my husband or with our best couple friends, Chris and Toshia, hours pass and I don’t even look at the clock. I enjoy being with them. And the whole time, I’m talking and listening. None of that bores me. What are we doing when we pray? We are talking and we are listening, the same as on a night out. Better than that, we are spending time with someone who can actually solve our problems, not just hear us discuss them. That’s amazing and should be spur us to pray to the one who wants the greatest intimacy with us!
The thing about me and prayer is that once I get into it and fight through my flesh, I love it! However, would I be able to fight the flesh for that long? That question led me to think of ways I could sustain my energy, focus, and enthusiasm throughout this time I was asked to join the prayer chain. I thought I might share some ideas birthed out of this concern with those of you who struggle to pray as well. Ready for the list? Here it is!
This list is great, but may I say something else? Prayer is not a gimmick. As I said in my “Season of Seeking” post, God only cares about our prayers if we care about them. There is no substitute for blood, sweat, and tears in our sustained time with the Lord. God knows when I have five minutes to sincerely pray, and He will move in that, but He also wants to see me pray until something happens, and that may take years, not just hours. Want proof? Just check out these stories of how both Daniel in the Old Testament and the disciples in the New tarried on the answer from God, and in both cases, the answers were worth it! I promise the same will be true for you.
So will you join me on this prayer journey? Comment below with your thoughts AND the numbers from the list that might reinvigorate your prayer life.
As I was reading from my favorite place, Pinterest of course, I came across an amazing post and then from that, another blog where I read that there were other people in the world who didn’t like to clean. What? I always feel that I’m the only one, that everyone else’s house is perfect. Or at least if they don’t have kids, their houses are perfect. Sadly, I’m one of those who has to meet people at the door if I’m not expecting them, to avoid their seeing the dog-hair tumbleweeds or the dishes I haven’t gotten to yet. As I shared in a previous post, part of the reason I started this blog is to encourage some public accountability, but none of you have come banging down my door yet, so…
It’s time for me to get down on it. You know, like the disco song? I find myself quoting it in everyday life, but not just about cleaning. Cleaning is just what triggered my need to “get [my] back up off the wall.” Anyone else dancing? Just me? Okay, well…I have several areas where I need to just take action. But I know me. I know how many times I’ve tried EVERYTHING and failed at it. And I also know I’m a multi-tasker, so I can’t just focus on one thing at a time. Doesn’t work.
So, this is a four-part challenge. It’s time for me (and hopefully, you) to pump ourselves up and participate in the
I’ve decided that what makes an outfit cute is rarely the outfit itself but the person wearing it, and the one thing all the cute outfits have in common is that they’re worn by skinny people. Anybody with me? My husband is so kind to say that he doesn’t want a girl with a huge thigh-gap (Praise God!), but I wouldn’t mind a little draft blowing between the knees myself:) So that makes two things, a clean house and physical fitness, that I need to change.
But what else?
I remember being in a revival where I had a vision. I don’t care if anyone else thinks this is silly, but it was profound for me. I had struggled for years and years with wanting to pray, and even praying about praying, but faithfulness in that area was not there for me. I felt God say to me (He tells it like it is to those who do the same), “If I hung on that cross for you, you can get up at ________ in the morning and pray. Stop being lazy.” Part of the vision was also that I needed to put a sign over the numbers on my alarm clock that told me (in short form) what He spoke to my spirit. I told my pastor’s wife, because as you read in my “Good Advice” post, accountability is key to follow through. That vision carried me for a long time, and even though I have been (mostly) faithful with my morning prayers, they are not like they used to be. I love Jesus more than anything else in my life, and I need to prove that to myself by acting on that love. As my sweet friend Jamie and DC Talk remind us, “Love is a verb.”
Along with prayer, reading the Word is paramount. I really want to get into scripture journaling that I’ve read about here (and and that I’m going to teach my friends about on our cabin weekend coming soon!), because I know that the same Word you’ve read many times really does come alive when, and only when, you couple it with prayer and read with a pen in hand. A pretty pen nonetheless!
Are there more things I need to change in my life? Absolutely. Eating less is one of them that I hope to take with some of my readers using this Made to Crave post. However, eating less is not something I need to do more of, so it doesn’t fit in this category.
My thirty-day lifestyle change is called a change, because I don’t just want another challenge. I want to commit to something and do it. What else is there to do in March anyway? It’s blustery, as Pooh Bear would remind us, and it’s leading us into Spring, a time when we can start over, even if we didn’t quite get started in the New Year.
[Tweet “My thirty-day lifestyle change is called a change, because I don’t just want another challenge. I want to commit to something and do it.”]
So what is the change? Are you ready?
It will have four parts and will start March 1:
What will you get for all this? Take a picture of your checklist-in-progress and post it to my fanpage for the blog every day. More pictures (like every day!) equals more chances to win the items below.
Ready? Let’s get down on it! Comment below if you are joining me in the lifestyle change.
Hi Friends! I don’t know about you, but I get tired of going to get that crazy code off the side of my wireless modem. It has about a million characters, and if I’m trying to get the code for someone else without having to also give them a tour of my messy office (more of my house woes here), I have to yell. Don’t you know when you yell from room-to-room, it’s never polite, nor can you be properly understood? So, here’s a quick solution.
[Tweet “Tired of having to search for the WI-FI code for guests? Get your cute, free WI-FI Information Display here!”]
I have two frame-worthy displays for your guest bedroom, living room, restroom (eek!), or home office. Since many of you don’t have color ink, I am showing both the black-and-white and color versions I made. Feel free to snag one and share it. Just tell all your friends where you got it.
After you print, why not come back here and show me how you displayed it? I would love it!
“And I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” Such is the lament of one of my favorite Disney
characters, Alice. I often feel the same way. This blog was intended to be a place where I gave myself very PUBLIC good advice, in hopes that I would actually act on it with Jesus’ help. So how am I faring since I started blogging in the New Year? I thought it might be time for an update, because I know we all enjoy other people’s confessions:)
Overeating: I have been pretty good about this for about a week, no thanks to the fact that none of you signed up for Made to Crave with me…sniffle, sniffle. I was excited to see Tisha win the book–send me your address, girl! There is still time to sign up. I don’t want to do the study unless some of you are going to join me, so just leave a comment on my original post “Made to Crave Giveaway” to let me know I can count on you.
Organization: I have given away so much stuff lately, y’all, to the point that my mom cried and thought I was moving away without telling her. No, I just needed to get rid of stuff. However, there is still so much to do to get this house in shape. I did take a trip to The Container Store (and La Madeleine) with my mom yesterday to buy a teabag organizer. Does that count? And I also labeled it when I got home. I can take organization a lot better than cleaning, which is especially miserable, because it is never done. Anyone else with me? Read my post about the why of organization here.
Money Management: Okay, so Dusty tells me he budgets in his head. I am not entirely, or at all, comfortable with that. I want to see our debts being paid down and our savings increasing. Maybe he can take what’s in his head and make me some charts:) If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I like pretty! I did download this pattern to make the Dave Ramsey money envelopes. Perhaps I should read my Pinterest time-management article again to motivate myself to sew that pattern while I’m off this week. What about today?! Then I could post a picture here and at least feel accomplished in one area, ha ha. Not in actual saving, but in the making-a-cute-envelope-intended-for saving way.
Wedding Planning: First of all, let me say that this part of my blog has nothing to do with the rest of it. I am hoping to host it elsewhere once I get some more pictures done. I wanted to apprentice myself (offer my slave labor) to a wedding planner who managed a friend’s event last year. And I received a rejection email! What’s up with that? She apparently didn’t have time to let me follow her around. I’m sad:( I am still the special events coordinator for Wildlife Action Center (see pretty pictures here), so if you know of anyone who would like FREE wedding planning services and is willing to take a chance on me, my first three brides are free. I am also thinking of hosting an open house, so again, send me those contacts. I guess I can say I’ve done my part in this area, so on one out of four, I have achieved!
1. “Ask and ye shall receive.” The first step is to ask Jesus to remind us of our commitments and why they are important to both Him and us. Then we have to daily depend on Him to carry us through, confessing any missteps and asking Him to show us a better way.
2. Make the goals public. I have done that, but maybe you haven’t. Or maybe you need to publicly discuss your struggles. When people think we’ve taken care of something, they lose the feeling that they still need to hold us accountable, so it’s good if we let them know we are still weak in an area.
3. Which leads me to step three. Have an accountability partner. You need someone who has achieved the goal you are striving for, or someone who will actively work through your process with you. It also needs to be someone who will actually remember to hold you accountable and who isn’t afraid to tell you to the truth with love. Now recruiting…
What does that title mean? How do I waste time on youtube and still do it efficiently? I am going to give you some tips in this short(er) post.
1. Watch with a purpose. I will confess I have an Alejandra.tv addiction. If you have never watched “my friend” Alejandra in action, you will love her. She seems so sweet and unscripted…and so unlike me in the clean and organized department. I don’t sit around and look up funny animal videos, nor do I click on every video I see posted on facebook. Where do people find time for that? Instead, when I do have some time to watch videos, I find myself returning to these subconscious questions:
2. Make a list. If you’ve ever found yourself sucked into the blackhole of YouTube or the Internet in general, you know that you can spend a lot of time looking at nothing. Even if the search starts innocently and with total purpose, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the sheer volume of what is out there. I started to notice that habit with myself, so I started making a list. For instance, with every Alejandra video I watched, I would start writing down good ideas from the videos. Here is the link to my good ideas from several of her videos.
3. Use the ideas. By definition, useful means that, um, we are able to use something. If I watch a video and never use the ideas, I am really just wasting time and turning my brain into mush. What I do to make sure the ideas are used, aka useful, is that I have the Google Sheets and Google Drive apps on my phone. Both are free, so that I can take my inspiration list everywhere I go. I feel a trip to The Container Store coming on:) With that said, like I advised in my Pinterest-related blog post, budget has to be key. We can’t go hog-wild at a store buying stuff we can’t afford to organize the mountains of stuff we should probably donate anyway. I want to use the YouTube ideas to both get tasks done and bless others with my financial responsibility.
Let me end with this, a prayer for productivity:
Lord, you know the purpose of this blog is to chronicle my journey of becoming more Jesus-dependent and less independent. I often feel convicted about wasting time. Help me, Lord, to “redeem the time, for the days are evil.” I don’t want to waste a minute that could be used to change the world. In Jesus’ name, amen!
What do you do to become more productive? Are you inspired by the ideas I’ve shared? Let’s get the discussion going below.
If you’ve read any of my posts at all, you know that this blog is not written by a woman who has it all together in any way, much less in the clean-and-organized department. My grandmother helped raise me, along with my dad. I am the only girl with two younger brothers. Can I get a shoutout from a sister who knows where I’m going here? Of course, I was in charge of cleaning the hard stuff, like the kitchen. If you’ve ever seen most little brothers (or husbands, for that matter) clean, you know that even the least cleaning-oriented of us do a better job and often have to redo their jobs anyway. Whenever my dad came home yelling about the dirty house, the yell was directed at me. Weren’t there three of us? Anyway…I will let that bitterness go for now. Back to my grandmother. In two of the houses we lived in, we didn’t have a dishwasher. Unless you counted me. My grandmother had already raised herclean dirty dishwasher sign own nine children by the time she came to stay with us, so she said she would cook, but she was not going to clean up the mess. She had already done that for too many years. What she would do is put the dishes in the sink with extremely hot water to soak. When I would go to wash the dishes, my hands would be scalded and I would complain, whine, whatever. She would tell me to just put some cold water in. There was no room! She had filled the sink all the way to the top with hot water! No matter the difficulty, though, the dishes were most often my job.
What does my childhood hardship (first-world problems) have to do with simple steps to a clean, organized kitchen? Just this: when I do clean, I still find myself drawn to doing the kitchen first. I don’t like it any more than I ever did, but a clean kitchen still gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction. Because I dislike it, though, I have to have an easy routine. I even want to change up some steps for the New Year. This post is not going to tell you how to clean a kitchen. Hopefully you already know that. I just want to share a few things to make it less torturous. So here goes–
1. Empty the dishwasher before cooking. Here’s the deal: I use up every dish when I cook. When I’m done cooking, the sink is overflowing. Mind you, I have a dishwasher. It’s just that the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes, so there’s nowhere to put the dirty ones, so there’s nowhere to put the ones I am currently dirtying…and so on. My new goal (and hopefully yours) is to empty the dishwasher at least before I cook and end the madness!
P.S. to Tip 1–Because I sort of wait to unload the dishwasher, sometimes I forget whether the dishes are clean or dirty. I have made you a printable clean dirty dishwasher sign to put on the front of your dishwasher. Here’s how to use it–cut the sign in half, taping the two sides back-to-back and facing up. Laminate it or use packing tape to fake-laminate it. Punch a hole in the top. Attach a command hook to the front of your dishwasher, and hang the sign. Now you never have to smell your dishes…
2. Never own a single-purpose appliance. Though I love homemade bread, both the smell and the taste, I refuse to own even a free, hand-me-down bread machine. (Thanks anyway, Mom.) What I will own are two slow cookers. I can do my famous coffee punch (recipe stolen from Adron Gilley) in one and an awesome soup in another. My waffle maker can make not only waffles, but those amazing brownies and cinnamon rolls in a waffle iron I’ve been tempted by on Pinterest. If I find I’m not using an appliance, I give it away. (Like the Magic Bullet that my husband re-bought…don’t get me started.) The ones I do keep are neatly organized above a label in my pantry.
P.S. to Tip 2–Even your cookie jar can be multi-purpose. I made this taco soup for dinner tonight and had a lot left over to freeze for later. My cookie jar is great for filling gallon-sized bags. I simply line the cookie jar with a labeled gallon-size bag, like I would line a trash can, and pour in the soup. The jar stays clean, and the bag doesn’t flop everywhere when I’m trying to fill it. Genius!
3. Make it dummy-proof for those who are helping you clean and organize. Ha! Well, in case the other people using up the dishes would ever like to help. Anyway, I got tired of being asked where things went in the cabinets when my husband would help me unload the dishwasher, so I came up with a system. I labeled the base of each cabinet with what went there. I even labeled the silverware organizer. This is also handy for me if I have accidentally taken NyQuil during the day instead of DayQuil and am in a fog…oops.
What is your
favorite least-hated room to clean? Any kitchen cleaning or organization tips? Share them here.
And remember, Jesus cares about it all, even your organization. Forget why? Check out this post.
Happy cleaning and organizing!