Fri Fav – 5 Books You Should Be Reading

Fri Fav – 5 Books You Should Be Reading

Top 5 Book Recommendations for May 2016

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I so rarely read fiction these days because it feels like an indulgence. This book has letters between an American and a British used book store owner. It’s during the war and she sends them food and treats. She does things that only an American would do. He searches for books for her. It’s lovely, charming and wonderful! Recommended by Kathi Lipp

Purchase Link


Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

Two Harvard Professors unpack the mysteries and agonies of giving and receiving feedback effectively. It is a practical approach for anyone who struggles to use feedback to their advantage and view it an an invaluable tool for growth. Recommended by Amberly Neese

Link to purchase


The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God by Shelia Walsh

Shelia Walsh immediately captured my attention when I saw a video promotion of this must-read book. The Longing in Me will help you see that your longings are built from the blueprint of your needs: for protection, for love, for God. And those needs aren’t going anywhere. Your cravings are not the problem. It’s where they lead you that makes all the difference. Recommended by Mary Lou Caskey

Purchase link

Rising Strong by Dr. Brene Brown

Rising Strong offers an opportunity to see that failure is not to be feared, but used to rise stronger. God uses people who feel unqualified to do amazing things. Recommended by Mary Lou Caskey

Purchase Link



Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy

Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Step by step instructions on how to stop letting our lives slip away and making the most productive use of your time and your life. I love the message in the book and how it encourages action. Recommended by Robin O’Neal Smith

Purchase Link

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Fri Fav – 5 Essential Items for Your Office

Fri Fav – 5 Essential Items for Your Office


As someone who is constantly working to keep on clutter, I have to say that office supplies and kitchen gadgets are my Clutter Free Kryptonite.

So giving other decluttering warriors a list of office supplies to get is a bit like publishing the Girl Scout Cookie menu at a Weight Watcher’s meeting.

But, as you know, I’m not about living an austere minimalist life. I’m all about having the tools you need to get the stuff done in life that you are designed to do. So with that in mind, here is my list of must haves for your home office (but do yourself a favor and stay out of the accessory aisle at Office Max. That just leads to regret and despair the next day.)

  1. Colored Stapler
    I got this idea from Cheri Gregory, a long-time teacher who has a red stapler in her classroom, so whenever a student is looking for the stapler, all Cheri has to do is say “Look for the red!”
    I of course, do not have a red stapler (because as a redhead, I’ve had a life-long aversion to red and pink…) so my stapler is aqua blue and it makes me happy every time I see it. And office Stapler-Marchsupplies that make you happy, are a must.
  1. Wireless Headset for Phone
    “How cute…” you think to yourself. “She still uses a real phone – just like Carol on the Brady Bunch…” Yes- I still use a real, wired into the wall, phone. (I do radio interviews, and they insist on having a land line.) But, I also have a wireless headset so that I can walk around, clean my desk, take notes on my computer, do laundry, and pretty much, keep being awesome while I’m talking on that phone.
  1. Coffee Warmer
    My coffee warmer is responsible for most of my great ideas. I love this low-tech gadget because it keeps me supplied in warm coffee, without having to go up and down to the microwave ever fifteen minutes. (And you know that every time you get up from your thinking place, the potential of losing a brilliant idea triples.)
  1. Amazon Echo
    This is like having a personal assistant at your desk. I love my Echo (her name is Alexa,) because she is just sitting there, waiting for me to tell her what to do (that’s the dream, right?)

The list of what I use Alexa for keeps growing:
• Creating shopping lists (“Hey Alexa, add cat food to my shopping list.”)
• Adding items to my to-do list (“Hey Alexa, add go to dry-cleaners to my to-do list.”)
• Playing music
• Checking the weather
• Setting a timer for 15 minutes to focus my time
• Setting a reminder
• Reordering things on Amazon

If you’re not familiar with the Echo, check it out on Amazon!

  1. Wall Calendar
    Yes- I have a perfectly good calendar on my computer. Why would I need one on my wall? It’s all about saying no.When I have a visual reminder of what my month – and next month – already look like time-wise, it helps me to not over-commit my time and energy. Plus, it’s a great reminder to pray for my upcoming work and projects.

Because of my color-coding, I can quickly see when I’m working too much, when I’m not spending enough tie with Roger, and more. It helps me insure that my life is in balance every single day of my busy month.

So what are your office must haves? Tell me in the comments below so I can test-drive a few and report back in a later blog post.

Fri Fav – 5 Blogs You Should Be Reading

Fri Fav – 5 Blogs You Should Be Reading


This March, we are all about taking your office to the next level. In addition to your space, I want you to upgrade your mind. Here are five of my favorite blogs for taking care of business. Subscribe, you’ll be glad you did.

  1. I am a huge fan of the GTD (Getting Things Done) system and David Allen (and have been for years). It has helped me stay focused, more productive, and keep a tight lid on my clutter. It is an overhaul to apply his principles, but when you do, your life will become a lot more focused, quickly.
  1. Let me be straight up with you – Crystal is one of my favorite people on the planet, I would promote her making a box of Mac and Cheese. But Crystal has one of the best business minds I’ve ever encountered, and if you are in business, launching a business or thinking of starting a business, you need to follow what she is doing.
  1. Michael is all about using the time you have well. He is smart and focused and his blog posts give you the practical application that you need in order to make a real difference in your day (and your business.) Oh- and listen to his podcast because Michele Cushatt is the cohost and she ROCKS.
  1. You will never be bored listening to, or reading, Ken Davis. What I love about what Ken does is he is all about communication and making it as effective as possible. If communication is a part of your business, this is a blog to read.
  1. Aspiring authors – Chad is the one to read. He has had great success in launching books and now is sharing that knowledge with the world. If you are an author, this is definitely a blog you want to get on your rotation.
5  Books You Should Be Reading

5 Books You Should Be Reading


This article contains affiliate links.

NonObviousNon-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas, and Predict the Future
by Rohit Bhargava

If you are an idea person (and are fascinated with how people come up with ideas), you will love digging into this book. If you’ve been to one of my Finally Clutter Free events, you know that I talk a lot about living a “curated” life. And while that concept didn’t originate with this book, reading it helped me shape and define the practice.


Journal RIGHTUndone: a Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life
by Michele Cushatt

If you’ve ever known what it’s like to have a dream unravel, a hope or desire remain unfulfilled, regardless of how long and hard you’ve wished and prayed otherwise, then pull up a chair. You’re not alone. Beginning February 22, Michele is starting five weeks of “Undone Life Together,” unraveling the unexpected life, one question and conversation at a time.

Head on over to to sign up for this journey together.


Habit StackingHabit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less
by S.J. Scott

I love this little book. Weighing in at less than 130 pages, this is a quick read that will introduce you to the concept of “habit stacking”: building habits on top of each other to create effective routines. I love it and refer back to it often.


PlentyPlenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Robust Year of Eating Locally
by Alisa Smith, J.B. Mackinnon

As much as I love fiction, give me a good memoir of people challenging themselves to be better any day. This is a lovely book about a couple who, while living in no-man’s-land, eat locally for a year. I enjoyed both of their writing styles, along with the creativity and ingenuity they employed to make a great life for themselves.


CreativityCreativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

As you might guess, this was written by one of the founders of Pixar. I love the intentional ways that their team develops, well, teams and leads with excellence while still developing artists. If you want to get your creative juices flowing, this is the book you’ll want to read.



21 Unique Ways to Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day

21 Unique Ways to Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day

Considering something different this Valentine’s Day?
Tired of giving the same old thing?
Here are some ideas on how to show your love, devotion and creativity this February…


For Your Best Friend

  1. New gloves. If you live where it is cold, a nice pair of gloves is welcomed. You can include a note, “Thank for always ‘giving me a hand’ when I need it.”
  2. Who can resist hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels? They are easy to make, just dip in chocolate and add heart shaped pink and red sprinkles. Wrap in a plastic bag with a red ribbon and you have a wonderful gift. Don’t have time to make your own, most grocery stores now offer similar treats.
  3. If you have a friend that collects things, buy something to add to her collection. My friend collects old dishes. You can often find amazing dishes at a yard sale or thrift store, I add some candy or handmade soap to the dish and tie with a 2016-01-20 19.01.17 by Robinfabric ribbon.
  4. Purchase some Chap Stick (my favorite is Burt’s Bees brand in pink grapefruit flavor) tie it with a ribbon and a note
    saying, “I’ll always “stick” by you!”
  5. Put a mini Hershey Bar, two graham-cracker sticks and a marshmallow in a little bag, tie with a ribbon and a note to the top that says, “I need S’more People Like You”.
  6. Find a picture of the two of you over the years and have it enlarged and framed. (I personally love this type of gift.)


For Your Kids

  1. Plan a game afternoon or night, prizes for the games involve chocolate or other valentine candy. You could also use Hershey Kisses or Miniatures as the game pieces.
  2. Spend time together creating a Valentine craft. Instructions for all kinds of fun decorations and skill levels can be found on Pinterest.
  3. Volunteer your time together at a local animal shelter or other community organization that could use some extra help. Most kids love animals and giving of themselves is a great way to give back and learn about love.
  4. How about treating the kids to an experience they have been wanting to participate in. Maybe bowling, roller skating, snowboarding, skiing, or other physical activity. Maybe it is going to the ballet, a movie, concert, or a play.   Experiences make memories and we all want to give our children great memories.
  5. Speaking of experiences, how about giving them their own “Tea Party” complete with homemade heart shaped cookies and hot tea. They can invite a friend or two or just include family and the stuffed animals.
  6. Teenagers love gift cards to their favorite store or how about a new set of ear phones or other tech device. Maybe a new app for their phone.


Couple kissing in sunset
For  Your True Love

  1. Diamond stud earrings (In case my husband is reading this article….)
  2. A subscription to audiobooks, Netflix or Spotify.
  3. A handwritten letter with the reasons you love him or love being married to him.
  4. Create a work of art for his desk. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest.
  5. Tickets to his favorite event, sporting match, or game. Whatever he loves, get tickets and go with him and enjoy.
  6. Make a home-cooked meal. Spend time making the food he enjoys and set the table for the event. Make it a special occasion.
  7. Make his favorite snack. Whether it is chocolate chip cookies or homemade fudge, make a batch just for him.
  8. Cover his mirror with red post it notes with reasons why you love him.
  9. Plan a special weekend. Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday. If your budget allows include a hotel. If it doesn’t, no big deal just plan events throughout the weekend the two of you can do together.  But you make all the plans and reservations.   It could include doing something you both love, visiting a place you both have been talking about, eating out, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company for a whole weekend.


Valentine’s Day is a time to show the people you love a little extra attention.   It doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Just be sure you take the time to celebrate the “day of love” with them.

*Photo credit to Robin O’Neal Smith

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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.