Assignment: Create a Christmas binder with tabs
The Christmas binder is going to be your friend for the next few weeks. You know–the kind of friend you count on to help you keep your sanity. Your friend should reflect you, but more importantly, the vision you have for your family Christmas! Yesterday you made a list of what is important to you for the holidays. What it would look like for you if you started fresh this year.
Use your mission statement and go from there. But don’t forget this is supposed to be quick and easy!
Supplies: a three-ring binder, tabs, (optional) colored pens, plain paper to decorate a cover sleeve to slide in the clear pocket.
Maybe you have an old binder lying around that contains your child’s old science fair project. Perhaps you were on a committee for church a few years back and you can recycle one for a new purpose! Maybe you will take out a blank sheet of paper and decorate it and then slide it into the clear sleeve of the front cover of the binder. You can always make a fun label for the outside. Whatever you end up creating, make it SIMPLE.
Next, get some dividers for the different categories. Get one for Cards, Recipes, Budget and Receipts, etc. Next place them in the order that makes sense to you. Keep a copy of the mission statement on the front. This is to remind yourself of your core values and what matters most to your family.
Then set a reminder on your phone or an appointment on your calendar to do a binder check weekly. This check will ensure you are USING it after you took the time to create it! It is so important for you to not get overwhelmed.
Use this time to store away any needed items to keep yourself organized. Put that receipt in the receipt section now because when you are in a hurry later, it won’t happen. Doing a simple task now will keep you from feeling crazed later!
Share Your Thoughts:
Where did you get your binder? Is it newly repurposed? What tabs did you put inside? Did you list out your Mission Statement and enclose it?
When we can’t find the things we know we have, it can make us feel stupid or ashamed. Our Christmas binder and Christmas Headquarters will keep everything we need for the holidays in one place. Remember–creativity is on the other side of clutter. And so is peace.
Assignment: Create your holiday/Christmas mission statement
In order to enjoy a peaceful holiday season, you may have to let go of some things you’ve always done. It’s time to focus on what brings you and your family joy. Make a list of what you normally do around the holidays, as well as what you’d like your holiday season to look like.
After your list is complete, circle or highlight what is most important to you and your family. Next, cross out what you can let go of this year. Once you’ve focused on what you’d like your celebration to look like, grab your index cards! It’s time to write your Christmas mission statement.
Remember to stick the cards somewhere visible to help remind you of your Christmas plan.
For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas (page 22)
Supplies: two or three index cards, a marker, My Holiday Mission Statement form (found in the back of Get Yourself Organized for Christmas)
Share Your Thoughts:
Now that you have your Christmas priorities straight, how do you feel? What did you decide to eliminate? What gets top priority? Where did you post your Christmas mission statement?
Your Holiday Mission Statement is a way of pre-deciding what’s important to you, so you won’t stay up all night Christmas Eve making the perfect bows for your presents when your family would prefer a well-rested mama who remembers to turn the oven on for Christmas dinner. (Not that any of us has been there … )
And join us over on the Clutter Free Academy Facebook group where we encourage one another and stay accountable as we become Clutter Free!
Thanksgiving is coming up too! If you are hosting, grab your downloadable copy of Get Yourself Organized for Thanksgiving for just $.99 in the Shop.
For more tips on being true to your future self, get your copy of Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity.
It could be just one more thing to pack into an already overwhelming summer.
“A Bible study? Whose got time for that?”
Welcome to the least overwhelming Bible study you will ever do.
No travel required – you are part of this study from the comfort of your own home (or on the beach, or locked in a car for eight hours going to grandma’s…)
No child care – you can do this study while the kids are asleep (or while they are hanging off you on the couch…)
No extra study guide to purchase – you just need the book.
No snacks to bring – you can just have a stash of your own favorite snacks at home to bust out when the kids are actually in bed.
Sound good? Here are the details:
Women’s Bible Cafe has chosen Overwhelmed as their summer Bible study! We’ll start the study the week of June 19th and finish the week of August 21, 2017. r
My very favorite partner in crime, Cheri Gregory, and I will be working together to bring you fresh insights and great tools to get you to a place of peach this summer. I can’t wait.
What do you need to do? Just two steps:
- Order Overwhelmed
- Sign up to join the Women’s Bible Cafe
It’s that easy.
Didn’t I say “least Overwhelming Bible study ever?”
We all struggle with identity—who we are, why we are, and what we have to offer. About the time we start to feel good about ourselves, something happens to leave us fully aware of what we lack. A harsh word. A wounded relationship. A mistake, misstep or failure. Then, in spite of our best efforts to get over it and move on, we end up ‘hoarding’ people and stuff at an effort to make ourselves feel more secure.
When it comes to this epidemic of misplaced identity, few people have earned the right to be heard like my friend Michele Cushatt. Michele knows what it’s like to lose her footing and wonder who she is. But she also know what it’s like to push through the darkness, to cry out to God for mercy, and to discover the miracle of a God who delivers exactly what she needs most of all.
I’m a hoarder. Not in the sense of the reality television show, thank heavens. I can’t watch that horror for even five minutes without developing hives.
No, you will not find piles of junk or garbage or trinkets clogging my house from floor to ceiling. I’m quite the opposite. A neat freak to the core. I like it that way.
But when it comes to food, I tend to stockpile. Perhaps it’s because I’m a foodie at heart. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am the primary chef for a large and chronically hungry family. That means planning and preparing meals takes up a large chunk of each day. Not to mention multiple two-shopping-cart trips to the grocery store.
Helloooooooo, second mortgage.
Or maybe my food hoarding has nothing to do with those things at all. Perhaps, at root, it’s more about fear.
When it comes to food, I like the safety of stocking up. Not that I eat it; I simply need it nearby. Just in case. This urge to guard against hunger only increased after multiple surgeries that compromised my ability to eat normally. I’m afraid of starving without the resources to be fed. Feeding tubes and no food by mouth for months at a time will do that to a girl.
My chronic hunger goes beyond food, however. There’s a soul hunger I find myself equally compulsive to satisfy.
A hunger for approval from those I love.
A longing for meaningful relationships.
A need to know I’m doing a good job and pleasing those I most respect.
A desire for my life to count and to capture the attention of the Creator.
Although the cure for this hunger may not be as obvious as grocery store runs and cooking marathons, the fallout can be far more dangerous.
John 4 tells of a woman who understood starvation of the soul. A Samaritan with a sordid history, she met the Savior one day while drawing water from the community well. What began as a daily chore turned into a life-changing encounter.
“Will you give me a drink?” This was the first thing Jesus said to the woman (John 4:7).
She hesitated, confused by His crossing of gender and racial barriers by speaking to her. He was a Jew, she a Samaritan. Two cultures that mixed as well as oil and water. And yet He had spoken to her, had asked her for a drink. She questioned why:
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (v. 9).
He responded in riddle, encouraging her to think beyond the physical well and physical water:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water . . . Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 13–14).
His riddle must have perplexed her as it perplexes me. Living water? Water that never needs to be replenished? Thirst that never comes back? That’s quite a promise.
And yet promise it He did. According to John, the woman had five husbands and was living with a man she wasn’t married to. We don’t know much about her story, but it’s safe to assume she’d been “hoarding” relationships because her heart was desperate to be fed.
I don’t have a history of five husbands, but I know what it’s like to find my filling in lesser places. In my hunger of heart and soul, I’ve been known to compromise what is right and good to find a scrap of attention I desperately needed. The problem is the things I thought would satisfy made me even thirstier than before.
Have you ever been there? Do you know the desperation that can lead you to find satisfaction in a temporary well? And it’s not always other people that pull us from the living water. At times it’s money. Or food. Or success. Or awards. Or the next promotion. Or the drive to be perfect.
We’ve become experts at quenching our thirst with lesser loves. But like addicts who always need a bigger hit, we find nothing ever satisfies.
We need a different kind of well with a different kind of water.
And, thank the Lord in heaven, we have one.
He offers to quench our every thirst and feed our hungry souls, day after day. He is not turned off by our need, nor annoyed by our regular walks to the well of His presence. He knows before we do exactly what our souls crave.
And He promises to dish out a feast that can’t possibly compare to any other fare.
Pulling from her experiences of raising children from trauma, a personal life-threatening illness, and the devastating identity crises that came to her family as a result, Michele creates safe spaces for honest conversations around the tensions between real faith and real life.
The words of Michele’s most recent book—I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is—were penned during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of cancer during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about our current identity epidemic and the reasons why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds.
Michele and the love of her life, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long run, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele at michelecushatt.com.
Description of I Am
From the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:
Am I enough?
The pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?
We fear the answer is “No.”
When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.
With raw personal stories, rock-solid biblical teaching, and radical truths on which to rebuild your life, I Am will help you:
- End the barrage of negative self-talk with an empowering new narrative.
- Refuse to ride the rollercoaster of others’ opinions and start believing what God’s says about you.
- Stop agonizing over past regrets and failures and make peace with God’s sovereign plan for your life.
- Leave insecurity behind as you exchange temporary fixes for an identity established on God’s unchanging affection.
I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.
It’s like we were two ships passing in the night. Something was out of sync, and my husband and I just weren’t connecting in the everyday.
I think he thought everything was fine but I was frustrated by how little we communicated.
He got home after I put our son to bed which left only a few brief hours together before sleep. My husband was tired from working all day and teaching jiu-jitsu after work.
When he came home, he showered and sat on the couch to catch up on his favorite TV shows. I felt undervalued and overlooked. It seemed like I was only receiving the leftover scraps from his day.
When he was finally interested in connecting on a physical level my love tank was low, and I was half asleep. How could I be in the mood or right frame of mind?
Studying my spouse
As an engaged couple, we attended a marriage retreat in which we learned the value of studying your spouse. Something about studying my husband stuck with me.
My husband is a creature of habit. I started paying attention to see how I could interject myself into his daily routine.
Every night when he got home from jiu-jitsu he showered. One night I asked if I could join him in the shower. He was surprised by my new gesture and welcomed my company.
While under the spray of water, he told me about his day. In fact, he didn’t stop talking. I was floored!
So the next night when he got in the shower, I jumped in too. Once again he talked my ear off, then he asked me about my day.
After a week of this, I knew I was onto something. We were communicating and connecting on a deeper level. It was amazing!
Had I never joined him in the shower, he would have gone about his normal routine, and I would have felt deflated. Instead, our “shower talks,” became our new favorite time of day.
His schedule changed, and he no longer teaches after work, but our “shower talks” are still a part of our daily routine.
One Small Win: Through studying my husband, I discovered an opportunity to make more meaningful connections. I helped foster a safe place where we both could share freely, resulting in both our emotional and physical needs being met. We found a true connection in an unlikely place.
What About You?
Is your husband a creature of habit? What are his routines? I encourage you to study him and discover where you can interject yourself into his life. Finding unconventional ways to meet your husband in his daily habits will do wonders for your marriage.
Julie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships – especially in marriage and friendship. She is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage.
She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband. Having been married 12 years, she and her husband cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her nine-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents.
“I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?”
For years, I heard these words of protest from my kids when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.
Sometimes, I responded with a snarky comeback about all my years of selfless diaper-changing. Other times, I cleaned up the kitchen myself.
Honestly, whenever I took care of the kitchen on my own, I caught myself thinking the exact same thing:
I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?
The problem with cleaning the kitchen
Our protests reveal our belief that whoever makes the kitchen mess should be the one to clean it up.
As with so many time-honored cliches, this seems so logical.
Like, “You break it; you fix it.”
And, “You make your bed; you lie in it.”
“You mess it, you clean it.”
It just felt right.
But it caused all sorts of overwhelmingly negative feelings, such as annoyance, frustration, irritation, and resentment. (Just for starters.)
A different way of thinking
A few years ago, I realized there are valid exceptions to the “you mess it, you clean it” rule.
1. Sometimes, the person who makes the kitchen mess has done so to bless the family, or perhaps a houseful of guests, with a delicious meal. Since they’ve done all the work of fixing the food, it’s only fair for others to pitch in and help with the clean-up.
2. Other times, the kitchen stays messy while a cleaning-related process is happening, such as running the dishwasher or waiting for pots and pans in the drainer to air dry.
3. Often, it’s impossible to figure out “who made this mess.” When we try, we end up in petty arguments:
– “No, that’s not my knife. I put my knife in the dishwasher already!”
– “Those aren’t my crumbs. I know how to use a sponge!”
– “The stain in the sink is green. I never fix green food.”
Our solution to cut the complaining
Instead of wasting our time and energy fretting about “who made this mess?” we started asking ourselves one simple question when entering the kitchen:
“How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”
Together, we came up with a list of kitchen stages and necessary actions:
The sink is full of dishes. Put them in the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is full. Run it.
The dishwasher is clean. Empty it.
The dishes in the drainer are dry. Put them away.
The counters are crumby. Wipe them down.
This one simple change in focus produced surprising results.
1. We’ve quit worrying about “Who made the mess?” and accepted the fact kitchens get messy.
2. We’ve all taken ownership of the kitchen. And its messes and clean-up.
3. We’ve become more considerate. We realize when we each do our small part, the “next stage” requires far less work.
Making it work for you
Your kitchen stages may well be different than ours. And if you have younger children, you’ll want to break the various stages and actions into micro-steps. Perhaps even make a stages flow chart and wipe-off checklist to put on the fridge.
Consider printing and posting 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 as a reminder that while we are unique individuals, God calls us to work together as one.
One Small Win: However you choose to do it, intentionally change the protest “I didn’t make this mess!” to the question “How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”
You’ll say, “Good-bye” to overwhelming negativity.
And “Hello” to cooperation in the kitchen.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.
Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.