If someone suddenly needed a place to stay, whether it be a natural disaster or a family “situation,” would you be ready to take them in?
It’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds. Listen as Erin and I discuss the few necessities you can have on hand in case Extreme Hospitality is at your door.
Mentioned in the episode: Twisting Jewelry
*Win a free copy of The What’s For Dinner Solution book by leaving a comment below! Share an idea you have in order to be prepared for Extreme Hospitality. One commenter will be chosen as the winner!
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ¼ chopped onion
- 16 oz. penne pasta, parboiled and drained
- 6 cups spaghetti sauce
- 6 slices mozzarella
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
Prepare: Brown ground beef and onions together. Add spaghetti sauce. Combine sauce and cooked pasta, mix well.
Freeze: Spread pasta in 9×13 pan and cover with foil. Attach two freezer bags to pan, one with the mozzarella cheese slices, one with gated Parmesan cheese. Freeze.
Serve: Thaw casserole and cheeses. Place mozzarella cheese slices over casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Serves 4.
by Bethany of Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy Team
When I make the choice to control the clutter, I find freedom waiting in the living room. A lot of family life happens in the living room, and I want to make it a point to spend a lot of time in there with my hubby and three kids. But I can only do this well if I keep the clutter from sucking the life out of the living room. Our living room needs to be a place where we connect and laugh together, not trip over junk and shift piles of books to find a spot on the couch.
Here’s what I know: The kids won’t remember if the pillows, couch and rug coordinate but they will remember the tickle fights. Guests won’t remember if clean floors or dust bunnies greeted them when they crossed the threshold of your living room but they will remember your kind hospitality. Why? Because these are the things that actually matter, not sparkling floors and not throw pillows.
Contain clutter and gain freedom to live—really live—in your living room.
Here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Dance Party
Turn up the volume on some of your favorite tunes and dance until you drop. Learn a line dance together and hilarity will follow.
2. Indoor Picnic
Spread out a blanket on the living room floor and break out the picnic foods, whether it’s 95 degrees or raining outside! Bonus: Dinner is easy peasy!
3. Game Night
Choose a night and invite a few friends over for pizza and games. The invitation and the fun are all that matter. Enjoy your guests. Repeat.
4. Lightsaber Fight
It just doesn’t get much better than a lightsaber fight. Get ready to watch the force in action—everyone is a kid with a lightsaber in hand. For extra fun, make it as dark as possible to stay safe and then record it. Everyone loves to see the action over and over again.
5. Coffee Shop
Make (or buy) a batch of cookies or muffins. Set out books, magazines, and candles. Brew your favorite cup and turn up some background music. Relish the blissful sips of clutter free life with family or friends!
We have a little putting mat that we bring into the living room now and then because…well, why not? Make a game of it and see who can sink the best out of ten putts. Winner gets to choose the snack.
7. Date Night Movie Night
After the kids are in bed, break out an appetizer extravaganza, whether its from your grocer’s frozen section or an exotic array of cheeses and fruit. You pick the food, fancy or fun, and hubby gets to choose the movie.
• What’s your favorite way to live — really live — in your living room?
• How does becoming clutter-free make it easier to enjoy life in your living room?
While you’re at it, how do you connect with your kids? Each of them has a different personality and each has different needs to feel loved. With 21 Ways to Connect to Your Kids, you’ll learn each of his/her personality traits and how to use that information to create real connection.
LEARN MORE >>>
Warning: February 14th can be a hard day for any woman not living inside the pages of a fiction novel or in an Anne Hathaway romcom.
We spend so much time here at Clutter Free talking about how to declutter your home, but we all know the truth:
Decluttering starts with our hearts and minds. When we can be focused and intentional about what emotions and thoughts we let in (and which ones we keep from taking up a chair and sitting down for a cup of coffee) it goes a long way to practicing peace.
And yes – emotions are at a high when bad things happen – a death, illness, financial trouble.
But I find that when the world tells us Valentine’s is “supposed” to be a great day — filled with flowers, poems, secret admirers, and declarations of undying love, well—that can set us up for disappointment in a way no crisis can.
This has been a struggle for me in the past.
- The friend who got 2 dozen roses delivered to work and my total haul was a card I got from a coworker.
- When I was going through my divorce and wondered if I would ever have someone to love me again.
- The time the guy I was dating broke up with me on February 13th. (True story.)
Following are five suggestions to help you begin de-cluttering your heart before Cupid’s arrow hits you between the eyes this Valentine’s Day.
1. Avoid the Comparison Trap – It’s easy to fall into the idea that Valentines’ Day “should” be a certain way. The best way to stop comparison is to disengage from social media, at least for this day. That way, you won’t be tempted to compare your situation with someone else.
2. Take the Air Out of the Holiday
Want a perfect recipe for disaster?
- Try to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day
- Pay a babysitter on Valentine’s Day
- Expect flowers on Valentine’s Day
Why not celebrate your love on a different day?
First, it lowers crazy expectations.
Second, it’s easier to find someone to help you take care of the kiddos.
Finally, you can actually get a reservation somewhere if you want to go to dinner. (Or do like we do, try a great, but cheap ethnic food place for Adventure Dining. All the romance, but my guy doesn’t have to wear a tie!)
Go for fun instead of tradition and make the holiday your own.
3. Practice Peace – Valentine’s Day can be fun, romantic, and yummy (if there’s chocolate involved), but it can also be stressful. Did I get the right card? What time is dinner again? Too many things to juggle and your joy can get zapped. Practice being mindful that God is peace. And since He lives in you, you have peace.
4. Celebrate Life Everyday – We can hype the idea that we are celebrating the day of love. But really? Are we? Showing loved ones love does not have to be on Valentine’s Day. You can show love and appreciation everyday. Celebrate the beauty of everyday joy and love.
And on this Valentine’s, instead of waiting for others to show their love, go out and create some. Bring some candy to the janitor at your kid’s school, take a balloon to your next door neighbor who lives alone, and spend some extra time snuggling your dog.
Don’t wait to be adored. Go out and create loving moments.
5. Practice Being Happy for Others – Someone else is going to have a nicer dress, a cooler card, and the bigger flower arrangement. Be happy for them. This may be exactly what they needed after a really rough time in their marriage or in their life. Practice having an inner attitude of positive feelings and thoughts about others.
If this a holiday that can be hurtful, don’t be hard on yourself. It is for a lot of women I speak to. But, don’t let bitterness ruin your day. Think on these verses that can put your day in perspective.
If you need a boost and a confidence builder for your Clutter Free lifestyle, Kickstart to Clutter Free is the perfect way to get started. In just 14 days, Kathi gives you simple steps in getting rid of 500 things. We’ve been hearing from people all over the country that are having great success with the Kickstart eCourse. Find out more here.
When I talk to women about what they want to improve in their lives, so many say something along these lines: “I want to focus on my husband this year. And I want to finally get organized. And lose weight!”
OK – so I may not be able to help you with the weight thing. But what if told you that you could improve both your marriage and your home at the same time?
It turns out that the state of our clutter and the state of our marriage could be more closely tied than we ever imagined.
In my book Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space I site a study from researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) that looked at the relationship between thirty-two California families and the thousands of objects in their homes.
To the surprise of no woman reading this, clutter has a profound effect on our mood and self-esteem. CELF’s scientists found a link between high cortisol (stress hormone,) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. In other words:
And we all know, if I’m not happy, that is going to have a profound affect on my marriage- and my husband.
There are some areas of your marriage where it takes two to pull off a big relationship boost – but when it comes to clutter, one person can make a huge difference.
If you are just starting this decluttering journey, let me tell you the two areas to concentrate on right now:
- The space that you greets you when you come home.
My hope for every couple is that their home is a haven for your marriage. I want you and your man to walk into your house after a long day fighting the battles of the world, and land in a soft place – your home.
But that only works if you don’t have chaos and distraction greeting you as you hit the door.
Wherever your first glimpse of home is at the end of the day, make sure that is rises up to greet you.
- Your bedroom.
If your home is your haven, I want your bedroom to be your nest. That place that blocks out everything from the world and is all about you and your man. That’s hard to do when you have to unbury your bed every time you want to cuddle up.
Don’t rearrange clutter, get it out of your house.
Clutter is anything that hasn’t earned the right to be in your home.
Create a home that is a haven for your marriage.
Want more ways to build up your marriage? My newest book just came out this week! I teamed up with my friends (who just happen to be relationship authors and speakers) Fawn Weaver, Shaunti Feldhahn, Sheila Wray Gregoire, Renee Swope, Crystal Paine, Michele Cushatt, and others, to bring you
101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him that will inspire you to nurture your man and foster a lasting, loving, and fun-filled relationship.
You all know (and love) my coauthor and friend Cheri Gregory. What I love about Cheri is that while being one of the smartest human beings on the planet, she is always first and foremost concerned about the heart – not the head. In today’s post, she talks about how knowing who we are personality-wise can affect how we combat one of our biggest temptations this season – the need to buy.
Be sure to hop over to her blog for a chance to win our book The Cure for the Perfect Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver.
“…be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’.”
(Hebrews 13:5b NIV)
Settling into my favorite chair, I smile and sigh.
I love my life.
Outside the window, a slight flutter catches my eye: a hummingbird. Delighted, I watch the little guy test the feeder options and settle on a favorite flower.
I have everything I could possibly need.
I look slowly around the living room, basking in abundant evidence of rich blessings: shelving units overflowing with books, an over-stuffed couch covered with soft blankets and seafoam green pillows, two cats snoozing in sunbeams.
If I didn’t know better, I’d envy myself!
I giggle and, trying not to feel guilty for being so happy, begin sorting the day’s mail.
A catalog catches my eye.
I don’t need anything, but it’ll be fun to browse for just a quick sec.
Ten minutes, one Sharpie, and fifteen Post-It Notes later, I am a woman possessed. I have found, at long last, the exact kitchen gadgets I need in order to …
I’m at it again.
I glance around the room. Sure enough: my contentment has been replaced by a gnawing sense of need.
The bookshelves are cheap and ugly. The couch is old and stained. The cats ruin everything.
In my lap, more catalogs offer instant solutions to my home improvement problems, quick fixes for the many defects in my wardrobe, and …
I’m not going down this road again.
Bankruptcy no longer tarnishes my credit record, but its lessons are etched into my heart.
I’m still vulnerable.
A book I used to read to Annemarie and Jonathon when they were little comes to mind: The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies.
I shake my head.
I still go from gratitude to gimmie in a heartbeat.
I get up, toss the catalogs in the recycling bin, and return to my chair.
As I watch the hummingbirds flit to and from the feeder, my contentment gradually makes a comeback.
Preparing Our Hearts for a Contented Christmas
During the holiday season, we are bombarded with a barrage of emails and billboards and sale flyers and TV advertisements that all scream, “You NEED this!”
But what we really need is internal fortitude to resist the external forces ganging up against us.
I’m not suggesting that buying things we need or want is inherently bad. Not by a long shot.
What I am suggesting is that we combat consumerism by intentionally choosing contentment. Here are a few how-to tips, customized for each personality:
An Expressive’s #1 goal is to have fun. We buy a fabulous new outfit or tickets to a big event, thinking, “This is going to be so much fun!” But as the fun fades (as all fun does), we’re tempted to keep spending money to keep the fun coming.
But the key to fun isn’t funding: it’s learning to trade expectation for anticipation. Rather than getting caught up in how much fun an event is supposed to be (followed by disappointment when it isn’t), we can choose to anticipate and then find the fun in each one.
This personality’s life goal is to achieve perfection. It’s so easy for her to get an image of a “picture perfect” holiday in her mind and think, “It isn’t truly Thanksgiving/Christmas unless the ______ (house, meal, tree, etc.) turns out just right!”
When perfection becomes our only conduit for contentment, disappointment is guaranteed: for ourselves and those who feel like they’ve let us down. Instead, we can choose to re-define “perfection” as “good enough” (no matter how much of an oxymoron that may seem to be!) and look for perfect moments to truly enjoy.
For Drivers, whose life goal is control, it’s very easy to treat the entire holiday season as one giant list, moving from one thing to the next: check, check, check. We had that last night, we have this today, and soon it’ll be tomorrow when we will… The danger in this approach is never being present in the moment.
Detaching contentment from achievement may require taking an eraser to the calendar. We may need to say, “No way. I can’t be fully present for every single one of these. I’m just going to be hopping and skipping and jumping but I’m never going to actually be there.” Slowing down and making space for relationships may feel less productive, but it’s what creates true contentment.
The Amiable’s life goal is peace. Always. Between all people. This can be tough at the holidays. Put a bunch of people with different personalities together, add some travel, throw in gifts, mix with fatigue, and Peace on Earth is not an easy goal to achieve.
It helps to remind ourselves that sometimes the messiness, chaos, and even conflicts of life are normal. We can focus on being grateful for those who have gathered together, even when they aren’t getting along perfectly. Even when the people around us aren’t exactly peaceful, we can still choose contentment.
Looking for encouragement to help you recover from that pesky problem of perfectionism? Today’s featured book is The Cure for the Perfect Life.
You can enter to win a signed copy by leaving a comment directly on Cheri’s blog.
PLUS, you’ll also be entered into the grand prize drawing for the Wrapped In Grace gift package: signed copies of all five of our books, a $100 Visa gift card, and a bunch of other fun goodies. All winners will be announced Saturday, October 24th, at http://www.WrappedInGrace.info.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. She is a frequent presenter at women’s retreats, parent groups, and educational conferences. She has contributed to or coauthored a dozen books, most with Kathi Lipp, including The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver and Clutter Free.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-seven years. She is “Mom” to Annemarie (24) and Jonathon (22), who are also opposite personalities. The Gregory family lives on the central California coast.
Cheri’s passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” You can visit Cheri’s website and connect with her on Facebook.
Carey Scott, is a new friend, but boy – when you read just what her mother-in-law did to sabotage her Christmas – you will instantly bond with her, just like I did.
Be sure to head over to Carey’s blog to enter to win her latest book Untangled.
She left out one of the main ingredients.
As my mother-in-law was writing down the recipe for her crowd-pleasing breakfast casserole – the one my husband really wanted me to make for Christmas morning – no one realized she was angry.
Even though we had spent Thanksgiving with them and planned on Christmas Eve too, the fact that we’d wake up at my parent’s house on the 25th made her spittin’-mad.
And as my husband stood over her shoulder, he noticed she not only skipped a flavor-delivering ingredient, but also tweaked the measurements of the others.
I was being set-up for failure – a label I already wore when it came to all-things hospitality. A label she wanted me to continue wearing.
Truth is I’m not a confident cook or baker, so I’d have followed the recipe to a tee. The result would have been one nasty casserole. And ruining the Christmas morning meal would have heaped guilt and shame on me for not being better equipped in the kitchen — tightening the tangle that said “I’m a culinary catastrophe.”
There’s something about the holidays that brings out the nasty in family and the insecurity in us.
… Maybe we step back into dysfunctional family patterns, the ones we’ve paid big bucks in counseling to overcome.
… Maybe we feel like mom is judging the way we celebrate the holidays today because it’s different than how she did it when we were kids.
… Maybe old tapes replay in our minds, and we hear the tangling messages from childhood of “You’ll never be good enough” all over again.
… Or maybe growing up in our home was so painful that spending time there causes us to feel oppression all over again.
In a season where we’re supposed to step out of hectic schedules, set aside disagreements, and gather together to celebrate the important things in life… we find ourselves tangled in the messy-ness of family.
And instead of looking forward to the holidays, we dread them.
So what can you do to make family-time be tangle-free during the holidays?
Be prayed up
If you don’t ask God to prepare your heart in advance of these self-esteem-draining situations (and people), you’ll find your tinsel tangled. Start now praying for grace … for peace… for perspective… and for God to tender your heart while He strengthens your spirit. Ask Him to remind you of all the ways He delights in who you are. It will make a difference.
Plan to step out
Instead of maxing out your time with family that maxes out your confidence, be clever. Find opportunities to regroup. Make a run to the store. Take an extra long shower. Take the dog for a walk. Find ways to step out of the insanity so God can replace those age-old lies of worthlessness with His truth.
Breathe grace in
Experts agree a fail-safe way to keep from unleashing your anger on someone is to take a deep breath in. I don’t know the physiology of it, but I know how many times this simple idea has saved the life of the person standing in front of me (#justsayin). When your self-worth gets dinged and your hurt turns to anger, take a God-sized dose of grace into your lungs so you can exhale kindness and mercy. You don’t want to be a tangle-maker.
My mother-in-law and I never saw eye-to-eye. In all fairness, I wasn’t always easy to love. But neither was she. And while we made peace before she passed a few years ago, she was a tangle-maker through and through. Each time we got together, I asked God for help, I found pockets of time to regroup, and I inhaled grace. Lots of it.
The holidays can get us all wrapped up in the wrong things because we’re around the people who know what buttons to push, and have often been the ones to hurt us the most. But this year can be different.
Remember friend: Be prayed up. Plan to step out. Breathe grace in.
And never forget that the Creator of the world – the one whose virgin birth we’re about to celebrate – delights in you… stumbles, fumbles and all.
He created you to be a gift to the world… and you are.
Looking for encouragement to help you recover from that pesky problem of perfectionism? Today’s featured book is Untangled.
You can enter to win a signed copy by leaving a comment directly on Carey’s blog.
PLUS, you’ll also be entered into the grand prize drawing for the Wrapped In Grace gift package: signed copies of all five of our books, a $100 Visa gift card, and a bunch of other fun goodies. All winners will be announced Saturday, October 24th at http://www.WrappedInGrace.info.
Carey Scott is an author, speaker, and life coach, honest about her walk with the Lord… stumbles, fumbles and all. Her passion is reminding women of their immeasurable worth, something the world is quick to discount. She speaks to women’s groups and writes about the issues that matter most to the heart of a woman.
Carey lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two kids where she tries to be domestic, and appreciates the grace when she’s not. You can learn more by visiting her website and blog at www.CareyScottTalks.com, or by tracking her down at the closest Starbucks.