#384: Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

#384: Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

This week, Kathi chats with special guest and prolific author Tricia Goyer about Tricia’s new book, The Grumble-Free Year. We’ll learn how her family’s year-long experiment giving up grumbling had an impact on the whole family and the way they interacted with one another.

In this episode, you’ll also discover how our physical space can have an impact on our emotions. Clutter free really can work, even for a family of 11! You’ll find tips to help you:

  • reduce your tendency to grumble, even when times are hard
  • set a grumble-free tone for your whole family and get your kids on board with less grumbling
  • cultivate a greater sense of peace in your home

Click here to download Chapter One of Tricia’s book The Grumble-Free Year. If you like what you read, you can order your copy of The Grumble-Free Year on Amazon.

If you’re inspired to write a book of your own, check out Tricia’s Write That Book group for tips and coaching to make your dream a reality.

Giveaway

As a bonus for two lucky listeners, we are giving away two copies of Tricia’s book, The Grumble-Free Year! Enter below by commenting and letting us know:

What area causes you to grumble the most? What is one tip you’re going to use to try and combat that?

 

 

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #384

Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small do-able steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. Today we are really not on the ‘less’ part of it. We’re on the ‘super-sized’ part of life. I am here with my friend Tricia Goyer. How many books, Tricia?

Tricia: Seventy five? I think seventy five.

Kathi – People always are like, “I can’t believe how many books you’ve written, Kathi.” And I’m like, “Have you met my friend Tricia?” I am still in pre-school when it comes to that. You’re unusual in that you have succeeded in fiction, non-fiction. You’ve been all over the place. You’re one of the few people who have done it and done it well. I have been especially excited about your latest book, “The Grumble Free Year”. Tricia, welcome to Clutter Free Academy.

Tricia – Thank you so much. I always love chatting with you.

Kathi – We have so much fun. I get to be a part of what you’re doing in Write That Book. Give us two sentences about what Write That Book is. I’ll put that link in there, ‘cause we have lots of people who love to write who listen to this podcast.

Tricia – I get asked all the time by people, to mentor them on how to write a book; how to get started; how to talk to agents and I love helping people, but I cannot help people individually, so I started this subscription group and I have 3-5 experts a week come in for an hour and teach on a subject. How to Write a Book Proposal, How to Prepare for a Conference. It’s $29/month and I just feel like I want to give them a ton of help. They can ask question that we will answer in there. So, it’s great.

Kathi – It is! It’s so much fun to be in there. I love seeing everybody growing and doing. Today, ‘though, I want to talk about The Grumble Free Year. As we are approaching the holidays and we’re in the thick of it, it’s the time that we always talk about being the most grateful, but also I feel like it’s also the time where it’s the easiest to become dissatisfied. This was an experiment, not just for you, it was for your entire family. Can you just give us a snapshot of your family?

Tricia – Yeah! So, I’ve been married to John for twenty nine years. Before I met and married him, I was a teen mom. So, I had my son Cory, and I met and married John and we had two more kids, so that brings it up to three. Then we adopted seven kids, and my grandma, who’s 90, lives with us, too.

 

Kathi – Holy cow.

 

Tricia – So, some of the kids are out of the house. We have three out of the house. We have seven kids, and grandma and me and my husband and two dogs and a rabbit and hermit crabs still at our house.

Kathi – It’s so funny. People are like, “Well, the Clutter Free stuff won’t work for me because, Kathi, you don’t understand, I have three kids.” And I’m like, “Okay, first of all, let’s be clear, I had four kids, so I’m not a stranger to a large family.” But eleven people! I know they’re not all in house right now.

Tricia – When we wrote the book, there was eleven people in the house. My son actually has his own apartment, so there are only ten people in the house.

Kathi – Only ten.

Tricia – Only ten. But eleven of us decided to do the challenge without grumbling for a year.

Kathi – Okay, so here’s what I want to know. Tell me, how do you get eleven people to not grumble for a year? You said you’ve made some real changes in your life because of decluttering and stuff, so I want to hear about that, but how do you approach not grumbling for a year?

Tricia – Well, John and I knew that grumbling was a problem. Every time we’d tell someone to do their chores, to clean their room, anything. It was just grumbling, grumbling. With eleven people, that’s a lot of grumbling. So, we knew it would take a while, ‘cause it’s hard issues, it’s habits, it’s stuff we can’t just do in a week. And we knew there would have to be some kind of reward. So we told the kids, “We’ll go on a family trip. We’ll go on a cruise, or something fun, but everyone has to work on it.” So, that got them to buy in that we were going to do this. I started with a list of things to do; scripture verses to read; different activities to do to learn your grumbling styles; talk about heart issues. We read about the Israelites and the wilderness. We did a lot of stuff, but really, God brought surprising stuff, too. My grandma broke her back during that year and just seeing her praise God and not grumble in the middle of having a back brace and can’t get out of bed without help. We’re like, “Okay, this is so much more. This is not just memorizing verses.” God was like, “This is evidence, right here, of someone who was praising God in the middle of a very hard thing.” So, through the year, I recorded every month what we were doing. Some months it was, “Nothing is working.” Then the next month, I’m like, “Wow! I really see changes.” After the year, I can completely see changes in my family; how we talk to each other; how we communicate. Not that we never grumble, but I would say it’s about 80% less than it was before we started.

Kathi – Yes! There will always be grumbling, but there is also catching yourself and saying, “Okay.” And let’s just be clear. It was not just a year of you guys sitting around and singing Kumbaya to each other. I didn’t know about your grandmother. I just started the book, but what I did know, is that the ultimate test was thrown at you towards the end of this. The ultimate Build-a-Bear test. Tricia, tell us what happened with Build-a-Bear. I have to tell you, I was watching on social media, and I basically stopped my day to watch this unfold. Tell my listeners what was going on.

Tricia – Well, I thought it would be a really great idea to take eight kids to get a Build-a-Bear, because it was “Pay Your Age” day.

Kathi – You just didn’t take them on any day. You took them on the craziest day of the year.

Tricia – Yeah. I had no idea that many people would show up. $30 bears, my 6 year old could get it for $6. Everyone was there wanting a bear. So, at first, the line’s long, but I’m like, “This won’t take but a couple hours.” But we kept waiting and waiting and we’d move up kind of quickly, because I think a lot of people were leaving, but after five or six hours, I’m telling the kids, like, “I will go and buy you any bear you want at Wal-Mart. Let’s just leave.” No! They were in it. They wanted the Build-a-Bear. So, finally, nine hours later, we have bought all the mall food, they have eaten junk food all day. They’re filthy from sitting on the floor of the mall. We finally get to the threshold of being let in. They were only letting in fifteen people at a time. People are so excited. I see everyone talking to each other on walkie talkies, like the security guards, and I was like, “Oh no.”

Kathi – It’s like the president is there and all the security is like, “We’ve got an issue.”

Tricia – I could just tell. I was like, “Are we going to be able to get a bear?” The manager comes out and says, “Ma’am, there are still tons of people in line and the mall has to close. We have to close it.” I’m like, “Oh no. Oh no.”  We were the next ones in. He said, “Everyone is going to be able to come in. They can purchase a bear, but we can’t stuff them. You’re going to have to come back another time to get your bear stuffed.” And immediately, my kids are like, “What? Just let us in!” The next people are trying to compromise and the little one is like, “We’re not going to get a bear?!?” And at that moment, it popped in my mind, The Grumble Free Year. Of course! I said, “Guys! This is what we’ve been preparing for. We are tired. Things are not going as we expected. We are not getting our way. Remember not grumbling? How can we have gratitude?” So, I’m like, “We’re the first ones to get flat bears! We’ll show everyone our flat bears!” They pulled it together. They were like, “This is the best day ever!” I was like, “We got junk food. We got to spend the whole day together. We got to do Facebook Live.” Then I told them we’d go get a hamburger at MacDonald’s, ‘cause by this time, we’d already eaten two meals, but they’re starving. “We’re going to get to go to MacDonald’s!” So, by the time they go their bears, we did a video in the car, and they were like, “Best day ever!” They were showing off their bears, and it was like, “Wow. If we hadn’t been talking about it, and preparing all year long, it would have been a total meltdown.”

Kathi – A total meltdown! So, I’m going to extrapolate a couple things from this. First of all, the fact that your kids could be so excited over bear carcasses just makes me so happy I can’t stand it. Two things: One, I’ve always told Roger, I told him before we got married, “Don’t let me get too tired, too hot, or too hungry, and if all three happen at the same time, may God have mercy on your soul.” So, part of it, to keep from grumbling, is to taking good care of yourself, but also, it was your leadership that reframed it for your kids. That is huge. You kept them fed. I’m sure those $6 bears cost you $45 each, by the time you were done.

Tricia – I think I added up that I spent $150 in food that day.

Kathi – I have no problem believing that. Our family is looking to us to say, “How do I react to this?” and you were able to stand up and say, “Let me show you how we’re going to react to this.” You were able to reframe it, which I love. Let me ask you this: Because, you’ve said that, in your home, (and with eleven people, holy cow) decluttering has made a big impact on you and your family; even in connection to not grumbling. I want to hear about that. We have so many moms who are listening and desperate for peace in their home, through the stuff and through the attitude. I want to hear more about that.

Tricia – Absolutely. Well one thing that I realized with grumbling, is that the same negative thoughts keep going over and over. So, you have you have the same trouble spots. Like, “I really need to clean this out.” Or “This is really piling up.” Or “I hate all the schoolbooks.” My schoolbooks are in the hallway, so there are just piles of books, they don’t even fit on the shelf. I was actually talking to you, Kathi, and you were all “You don’t need to keep everything. If you’ve used it, get rid of it now.” I have a lot of author friends, and you said, “You can still love your friend and not keep their book.” And I was, like, “Oh my goodness, she’s so right!”

Kathi – Right? I’m sure you get more books than I do, and I probably get five books a week. I would have to build a wing to my house to store all the books from friends and random people I’ve never met. I think the best gift you can do is to get that book into the hands of somebody that will appreciate it.

Tricia – Yes. That helped me, too. It’s just sitting on my shelf, but someone could be out there. So, I took a ton to my teen moms support group, there are some girls who loved to read. Homeschool books? I had friends, and I’m like, “Do you need a whole year’s curriculum that I’ve used but don’t have that age anymore? Here is, for free, a whole year.” They were like, “Oh my goodness, thank you so much!” But I had thought, “Well, I spent money, and we might need it later.” I don’t know. You keep those things, but it was so freeing. I got rid of eleven boxes of books, just from my bedroom. Just from my bedroom. My husband was loving it, too.

Kathi – That’s the most important room to do it in. Whether you’re single or married, to have a clean space where your brain can go and relax at night. We won’t even talk about the intimacy part. Just a safe space for your brain to go and relax. You have people talking at you all day long. Even if you’re not the matriarch in the house of eleven, we’ve got voices coming at us all the time that we need to be able to manage. To be able to have a safe space in your house is amazing. I love that. Okay, so, I’ve got a mom at home. She’s got three kids and they are just killing her right now, Tricia. They are killing her. The whining? She doesn’t drink, but she may take it up as a hobby. So, what do you say? I would say, get all the mayhem out of your life. Get the clutter out of your life. I really do believe that. I know, the science says it raises your stress level. What, as a family, would you encourage that mom to do, right away?

Tricia – One thing that really made a huge difference, first of all, memorizing scripture verses. “Do everything without grumbling and complaining.” That really helps, but instead of just picking on them about grumbling, because that doesn’t work, start praising them when they make a good choice. So, if I say, “Go do this.” And they don’t grumble. Even if they don’t say anything, say, “Great job for not grumbling. I really appreciate your maturity.” All of a sudden, they were, like, “Wow!”

Kathi – “I’m mature!” Is there anything better that you can call one of your kids, than ‘mature’? They love it.

Tricia – I know. They love it. So, I would always get on my kids, because their chores were never like I wanted them to do. First of all, who wants to do chores, then your mom is going to just grumble at you the whole time, saying you’re not doing a good job? So, I’m like, “I really need to start praising them!” So, one of my daughters, the one that grumbled the most about doing her chores, was wiping up the counter. I was like, “You are doing a great job on that counter.” The rest of the kitchen is a total mess still, but I was like, “It is amazing how clean you’re getting the counter.” Then, all of a sudden, she was cleaning the other part of the counter and wiping down the stove. I kept saying, “I am so proud of you. You are really showing that you are maturing and you’re doing a good job cleaning.” She probably spent an hour cleaning the kitchen, and it just started with me praising her on the counter, instead of grumbling, saying “You left stuff over here. You didn’t do this.” Because they don’t want to hear my grumbles. Now, that child is the best at her kitchen chore. The kids rotate. I think, so many times, we’re grumbling at their grumbling and no one is happy. If we start catching and praising them, it makes a huge difference. Kids want that. We want that. We love when people say, “Great job!”

Kathi – What you’re describing now is the training program we’re going through with our puppy. You basically ignore all the bad behaving, because they’re puppies! They’re kids! Their brains are mush for the most part. But when you catch them doing something good? They really do have a desire, most kids and all puppies, to please the person they’re looking up to. For me, what I noticed when my kids got older, I would say things like, “You know what? When you live on your own, you are going to be so capable of taking care of yourself, because look at this kitchen. This is something that a lot of adults can’t do. I’m seeing into your future and it’s going to be great, because you’re learning skills now.” The pride that they have. I’ve seen you do this on Facebook Lives. I’ve seen you do this with your words to your kids. I love it, Tricia. This has been amazing. So, where did your family go on their trip?

Tricia – We went to Mexico on a little five day cruise. They had a blast. We did some water stuff, going through caves and this water thing. It was so fun. Really, we were crammed in. There were five people to our room. We had no space. We got the cheapest cruise ever, but it was so worth it. Everyone worked really hard that year and we saw a difference and I think we need to be rewarded when we’re doing things and really making a difference in our lives.

Kathi – Stretching to grow into great human beings? It’s worth going on a cheap Mexican cruise. Here’s the other thing, friends. You could just have that family trip planned and just say, “Here’s what we’re working for.” I love that. I’ll say this as well; I’ve mentioned this here on the podcast. When we had our best grumble free vacation is when we had the kids contribute to the vacation. We said, “Hey! You’ve invested a lot in this. Let’s all make it great together.” So, I see your kids are investing in each other and investing in what you’re doing. Tricia, it’s just so great. You guys, we have so much. First of all, we have a free download of the first chapter of The Grumble Free Year, so if you want to get started off in the right direction while you’re waiting for the book to come to your house (and of course, we’ll have a link so you can purchase the book) but if you want to start reading it right away, go get that first chapter. Then, we also are giving away a couple of copies of The Grumble Free Year. This is what I’d love for you guys to do on the podcast notes. I’d love for you to go in there and just tell me what area causes you to grumble the most. I would love to hear that. Bonus points if you can give us one little tip about how you’re going to combat that. Tricia, thank you so much or writing this book and thank you for sharing it here on Clutter Free Academy.

Tricia – Thank you, Kathi. Thank you for inspiring me. My husband thanks you, too, for me cleaning out the house.

Kathi – If I could have any small impact, if the Clutter Free community could have any small impact on a mom with eleven humans in her house? My work here is done. I feel that’s amazing. Tricia, thank you so much. Friends, thank you for being here. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

<<music>>

*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

Meet Our Guest

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, doting grandma, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published seventy books and is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Finalist. She won the Retailer Best Award in 2015 and has received starred reviews from Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly. She is also on the blogging team at TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. Tricia is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries and currently leads a teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, Arkansas.

#383: Hot Mess to Totally Blessed with Comedian Kerri Pomarolli

#383: Hot Mess to Totally Blessed with Comedian Kerri Pomarolli

If you are overwhelmed trying to make life Pinterest-perfect, you are in good company! This week, Kathi chats with comedian and self-proclaimed Hot Mess for Jesus, Kerri Pomarolli. Kathi and Kerri discuss what it means to find grace right where you are today, in the midst of a messy, busy life.

In this episode, you’ll laugh along with Kathi and Kerri as you learn:

  • What it means to be a Proverbs 32 woman, AKA a Hot Mess for Jesus.
  • How to figure out what level of decluttering works for you
  • Who are the people you need to have around you in your life

For Kathi’s family stuffing recipe, click here.

To hear Sebastian Maniscalco’s bit about company coming over, click here (warning: some language is inappropriate for children).

Order your copy of Kerri’s book, Confessions of a Proverbs 32 Woman: How I Went From Messed Up to Blessed Up Without Changing a Single Thing from Amazon today.

 

Giveaway

As a special treat, Harvest House has generously offered our readers the chance to win five copies of Kerri’s new book, Confessions of a Proverbs 32 Woman: How I Went from Messed Up to Blessed Up Without Changing a Single Thing.

One grand-prize winner will also win:
Kerri’s devotional book, She Rises Late and Her Kids Make Her Breakfast
Assorted Tea
Nutella 2pack
Snack Box

Click here to enter today!

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Kerri Pomarolli

Kerri Pomarolli

Comedian Kerri Pomarolli discovered her call to stand-up after trading in her pursuit of a star on the Walk of Fame for faith. From movies and television to stand-up comedy, she tours extensively and is one of the most sought-after comedians in both Christian and secular venues. An accomplished writer and author, she is known as “Hollywood’s Favorite God Girl.” She lives with her daughters in Los Angeles.

You can learn more at Proverbs32woman.com

How Our Cluttered Thinking Prevents Us from Getting Rid of Physical Clutter

How Our Cluttered Thinking Prevents Us from Getting Rid of Physical Clutter

For years, I had a “put together” living room. It was the room I kept immaculate no matter what, in case someone popped over. Because my hand-me-down couch was 70’s-era brown and orange floral, I spent several minutes each day tucking in and straightening a velour couch cover. I had the matching pillows, a beautiful entertainment center, and the shiny wood piano my husband played. There wasn’t a stray book, paper, or dish to be found.

But the other rooms were a different story. My desk looked like an avalanche of papers and books. My kitchen drawers were crammed with various cooking tools, some of which I hadn’t used since I bought them. My closet was a mishmash of wardrobes consisting of several sizes. Homeschool books and other materials covered every flat surface.

I spent too much time looking for things and trying to organize way too much stuff. I was the master of the dash and stash. Everyone thought I was a well-organized and capable housekeeper, but my messy Marvin tendencies were a problem.

Here’s the irony — because I wasted so much time trying to look like I had it all together, I never actually had it all together. My thinking was as cluttered as the hidden parts of my home.

As long as my thinking was cluttered, my home would be too.

I’ve learned that there are three ways our cluttered thinking prevents us from getting clutter out of our homes:

Comparing Ourselves to Others

Our journey isn’t going to look like another person’s. We all have different reasons we’re overwhelmed with clutter, so our solutions can’t all be exactly the same.

We’ve all seen photos of perfectly decorated rooms on Facebook or Pinterest without a single speck of dust, let alone clutter. But what we can’t see outside the angle of the camera lens is the piles of stuff the photographer doesn’t want you to see.

Rather than giving up and deciding that you’ll just hide it, consider your reasons for wanting to declutter.

Often our motives for doing something indicate whether we’ll be successful. Our big wins come with the right motivations.

Do you want to impress others and look good? Or do you want to declutter so that you can be free to do what you’re created to do?

All or Nothing Mentality

Sometimes we look at our twenty years’ worth of clutter and decide that it isn’t going away anytime soon, so we might as well not even try.

At first, 15 minutes a day doesn’t seem like it would be effective, but after several days in a row, I saw victory in one section of my house. Then I wanted to take back another section, so I kept going.

After awhile, I noticed that I spent less time looking for missing books and cooking utensils. I also spent less time “tidying up” when we expected company. The realization that I will never be “done” decluttering gives me the peace and sanity I need to continue with a faithful decluttering routine that frees me up to do better things.

Rather than feeling lousy about how much decluttering we have left to do, we become more productive when we achieve small gains that add up to big victories over time.

One and Done (Wishful) Thinking

If we look at decluttering projects as a big monster project to tackle, we’ll become discouraged when we realize that the same space just gets cluttery all over again. That’s because we haven’t resolved the real issue: decluttering is like brushing your teeth—it’s much more effective if you stay on top of it and do it regularly, rather than expecting your twice-per-year dental visits to maintain dental health.

Kerri Pomarolli, comedienne and author, writes, “Aren’t most of us constantly feeling as though we are in a race but we have no idea where the finish line is?”

That’s how I’ve come to think about clutter. No finish line. But we can have success with an established regular routine.

Enter the Drawing!

Harvest House has generously offered our readers the chance to win five copies of Kerri’s new book, Confessions of a Proverbs 32 Woman: How I Went from Messed Up to Blessed Up Without Changing a Single Thing.

One grand-prize winner will also win:

Kerri’s devotional book, She Rises Late and Her Kids Make Her Breakfast

Assorted Tea

Nutella 2pack

Snack Box

 

To enter, leave us a comment.

What is one way you plan to change your thinking to unblock your clutter-free efforts?

#382: How to Hold Onto Hope – For My Friends Who Are Suffering

#382: How to Hold Onto Hope – For My Friends Who Are Suffering

When you hear the word “relentless,” does it have a positive or negative connotation for you? Some of us hear it and think of persevering, continuing no matter what is in our way. Others of us think of wave after wave of challenges in our lives.

In this week’s episode, Kathi sits down with Michele Cushatt, one of her besties and author of Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves, to discuss how to hold onto hope when life feels relentless in its difficulties.

Kathi and Michele give real-life examples of ways life can feel relentless and how we try to cope with that chaos. In this episode, you’ll also hear:

  • Two unhelpful extremes that we try to “fix” chaos in our lives and two helpful ways to cope.
  • How we can find an anchor outside ourselves and our circumstances to keep us from being tossed about.
  • How relentless challenges and God’s relentless presence can coexist.

If you want to go deeper in learning about how to hold on to hope, check out Michele Cushatt’s book Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves, available on Amazon.

Giveaway

As a special treat we are giving away a copy of Michele’s book, Relentless, to two lucky listeners. If you’d like to enter to win a copy, comment below and let us know:

What situation are you going through where you need to be reminded of God’s unshakeable presence?

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Transcript of Clutter Free Academy Podcast #382

Read along with the podcast!

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #382

Holding On to Hope

<<intro music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our heart is to help you become clutter free in every area of your life. Today I have one of my best friends, and the author of the new book, Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves. Michele, welcome back to Clutter Free Academy.

Michele – Thank you! I love that I get to be with your Clutter Free peeps! I also love, and I’m going to sound like a junior high girl, that I’m one of your best friends.

Kathi – You are! I’m sorry if I’ve never said that.

Michele – I know! A girl likes to hear that.

Kathi – You know what? it is nice to be confirmed. You’re like, “I like them. Do they like me?” 

Michele – Maybe it’s because I have a twelve and thirteen year old girl right now, so I get to hear stories like, “She’s my best friend. Well, she’s not my best friend anymore. She used to be my best friend, but she’s not now.” 

Kathi – There’s not a million dollars you could give me to go back to that nonsense.

Michele – Oh my Gosh! This is my everyday reality, and I’m like, “Oh, for the love!” So, when you said best friend, I’m like, “Hah! I can go to my girls tonight and say, ‘I have a best friend!’”

Kathi – I love it. It makes me super-happy. I know! We’ll get BFF bracelets. 

Michele – Maybe a necklace, you know? ‘Cause that’s not cheesy at all. 

Kathi – No. Not cheesy at all.

Michele – You have half of it and I have the other half.

Kathi – There we go. There will be interlocking hearts. There we go.

Michele – Maybe we can put our photo on the back, just to take it up a notch.

Kathi – There we go. And we’ll sign each other’s yearbooks first. I’ll give you a whole page.

Michele – A whole page? I’ll use permanent ink.

Kathi – Permanent puffy ink. Okay, so I want to talk to you about your title, Relentless. I think, for a lot of people, Relentless has a great connotation. If you’re a runner, you’re that kind of person, Relentless. You’re persistent. Constant. Continual. Those are some great words. Can I tell you what Relentless means to me?  It’s like the relentless tide of stuff coming into my house. The relentless whine of my children. The relentless pounding of noise in my life. So, I think it’s really interesting. This is one of those words, depending on who’s saying it and what their intention is, can be such a compliment or a curse.

Michele – Exactly, and that was intentional. It was intentional to be a play on words. The whole heart behind it is, many times, it feels like our circumstances are relentless. It’s just one thing after another. You wake up optimistic, and before nine AM rolls around, fifty things have gone wrong, and you’re like, “Oh my Gosh!” It’s like the buzzing mosquito in your ear that’s relentless. You can just never seem to get ahead of the vehicle.

Kathi – You and I were taking of-air, ‘cause we haven’t talked in a while, which is crazy for best friends.

Michele – Good thing I have the necklace.

Kathi – That’s right. And the puffy paint! The thing is, I was telling you, I’ve had a really good year, but there has been one thing after another. Nothing has been catastrophic, but it gets to a point, and it’s too much. 

Michele – It’s too much.

Kathi – Just recently, I’ve really come to this place of understanding. Overwhelm is a couple of things. It’s loneliness. It’s feeling like you’re alone in this situation. Clutter, often times, we don’t feel like we can rely on other people, so it’s all up to us. It’s that feeling of loneliness. This relentlessness of it comes every day. There’s no place to take a breath. So, when you talk about a relentless God, I know what you mean by that, but I want to talk more about when you feel like life is relentless. How do you get through the day? I happen to know for a fact that clutter is not your thing. It’s not your issue. But God’s given you enough other issues.

Michele – I was going to say: I have plenty of other issues. Clutter just happens to not be one of them. 

Kathi – Which is okay, ‘cause we can still like her, friends, because she has a lot of compassion and mercy for those of us who struggle. 

Michele – I have kids that are hoarders, so I do have that aspect of constantly fighting it in my kids’ bedrooms. 

Kathi – You guys think she’s being cute when she says that her kids are hoarders.

Michele – No, they really are.

Kathi – They’re little magpies. They like little versions of me. There’s something shiny and they have to own it, even if it’s a gum wrapper.

Michele – A gum wrapper, restaurant menus, napkins with a picture on it. That comes from their history of early childhood trauma and abuse. When I say they’re hoarders, they really are. We have to go in and clean things out, because it’s bad.

Kathi – I feel like when life is relentless, humans tend to go to one of two extremes. They either give up, because they just feel like the chaos is so out of control, why even bother? Or, they go to the other extreme, where they try to control everything and get frustrated when life doesn’t go according to plan. So, which one are you?

Michele – Oh, hands down, the control. I would love to say that I’m one that concedes, gives up and lets the chaos take over my life, but I try to convince myself that if I just exert a little bit more control, everything will come under my dominion.

Kathi – How’s that working for you?

Michele – It’s not working so well. I’m pretty exhausted.

Kathi – So, I’m more of the “Hey, I’m just going to let go and let God.” I’ll say ridiculous things like that.

Michele – Is that how it’s done?

Kathi – I’ll say ridiculousness like that. But even in my abdication, I still want to have control. I still want to know that things are going to go according to plan. So, when we’re in that space, where life is just coming at us, and I’m not just talking about clutter, I’m talking about all the things. Those family dynamics. You talk a lot about that in Relentless, where you don’t get to have a lot of control over how the other people in your home, in your life, behave. So, what do you do in those situations, Michele?

Michele – Are you asking me on a good day, or a bad day?

Kathi – I want to hear both. Let’s talk about the bad day first. 

Michele – Yeah, the bad day, because it’s so spiritual and mature. On the bad day, when this happens, I just lose it. When I’m just trying so hard to keep all the balls spinning, and keep everything in order, and then the people in my life, it feels like, they’re working to oppose it. They’re doing the exact opposite. For example, I follow behind my son, and have him pick up his stuff, and all he does is pick it up and drop it at another place in the house, right? You do this a hundred times before you eventually lose your cool and yell, “Oh my Gosh! Just put it away!” So, that’s on the bad days. I just keep upping my game, right? I just get louder, and more controlling, and more obnoxious and more of a bull in a china shop, trying to exert that control. On the good days, I realize that I have to find an anchor within the chaos. In terms of a boat on a lake in a storm. It’s going to be rocked everywhere. You can try with all your might to row your way through it, but you really have no control over the waves. The key to a boat in the storm is, you have to have an anchor. You have to have a dock to tie yourself to. It has to be external to yourself. 

Kathi – Okay, so talk about that. It has to be external to yourself. So, it’s not just grit your teeth and bear it.

Michele – That doesn’t work. It works for a time, I should say. I’m a very determined, persistent, persevering person, so gritting your teeth does work for a time, but sooner or later, and this is what I talk about in Relentless, your circumstance, your reality, is going to be beyond your ability to bootstrap through.

Kathi – When you’re dealing with pain, which you’ve dealt with a lot of physical pain over the past several years, when you’re dealing with relational pain, the gritting your teeth and bearing it, just trying to ride it out. You can do that for a time. It doesn’t matter what the pain is. The pain of a house in chaos. The pain of a relationship. You can do it for a certain amount of time and then you’re going to have to find something outside of yourself. So, if we’re the people who are used to bootstrapping it, what is our first step? Whether it’s clutter, ‘cause I know so many of you, as we’ve always talked about, is a physical manifestation for what’s going on inside of your heart. Some people work on the heart first. Some people work on the clutter first. There’s no right way. Both of them need to happen. But for that person who’s like, “I’m just overwhelmed and I just can’t do it anymore.” What is that first step in finding that outside anchor?

Michele – The first step is to simply acknowledge the emotion. What is going on? Too many times we act very reactively to what’s happening, but we never really stop to check in ourselves and say, “What is it, exactly, that I’m feeling right now?” Whether I’m buying a bunch of stuff, or controlling my environment, both of those are ways to numb the emotion that’s happening. So, what we need to do is check in with ourselves and say, “Why did I just go buy fifty Rubbermaid tubs? What’s the reason for that?” Or, for me, “Why did you just spend hours cleaning and picking up, and doing these obsessive compulsive kinds of activities?” I’m trying to distract myself from something. I’m trying to numb, so that first step is simply to stop and check in with yourself and say, “What’s the dominant emotion here? What am I feeling that’s causing me to do this desperate kind of behavior?”

Kathi – I love it. So, I love the acknowledging part. I think, for so many of us, we feel like, “This is just my reality. I can’t change it.” What I love in your book, is you talk about believing that God is present, even when there’s pain. I don’t want to minimalize the pain that so many of our listeners are going through. The pain of feeling out of control and disorganized. But you went through such tremendous physical pain, how did you anchor yourself to believe that God was there?

Michele – Well, it’s been a long journey. That’s part of the book. I really doubted it. I really doubted God’s nearness. When you feel pain, when you’re living in chaos, whether it’s clutter of physical suffering, whatever it may be, we equate the reality of our pain and chaos with the absence of God. “Since I’m experiencing pain and difficulties and trials, God must have abandoned me.” Or worse, “He’s not real at all.” They can’t co-exist. That’s a pretty natural human response to any kind of challenge or difficulty. So, you have to acknowledge it, but then you have to remind yourself of truth. This again, truth has to be external to our emotions. When everything’s chaos, it’s pretty loud. Chaos is a very loud thing, whether it’s physical chaos, or emotional chaos, or spiritual chaos, it screams pretty loud. So, somehow we have to come up with truth that can pierce that noise. So, for me, eventually, I had to sit down, and write some clarity of what God says is true about His presence. So, I could butt that truth up against the lies I was believing, that God must have abandoned me. So, it’s as simple, for me, as writing some of those verses down on a notecard, and carrying them around with me. Some of those notecards, I’ve been carrying for about seven years. 

Kathi – Wow. Guys, first of all, I want you to get this book. I really do. I don’t normally say that just so directly. Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves. I’m going to have it in the notes. There’s probably a friend, too, that needs to go through this with you, with a gentle guide. We’re going to be giving a couple of copies away. I would love for my listeners to get vulnerable and put in the comments, just what is the situation you’re going through. You can just say, “It’s personal.” That’s fine. Maybe it’s the overwhelm of stuff in your house. Maybe it’s overwhelming circumstances.  Maybe it’s overwhelming relationships. If you are looking for a way to be reminded that there is a God who doesn’t leave; who doesn’t abandon, even when you feel alone. I’m going to really encourage you to pick up Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves. Michele, thanks so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.

Michele – Thank you, my friend. I love your peeps, so thanks for having me here.

Kathi – My peeps are pretty awesome. They really are. And friends, you awesome people, thanks for listening. You’ve been here at Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

<<music>>

*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

 

Meet Our Guest

Michele Cushatt

Michele Cushatt

As an experienced communicator, Michele Cushatt speaks internationally to a wide variety of audiences including Women of Faith, Life Today TV, Compassion International, Ziglar Family, Family Life Blended, and Focus on the Family.

A three-time head and neck cancer survivor and parent of “children from hard places,” Michele is a (reluctant) expert of trauma, pain and the deep human need for authentic connection. She and her husband, Troy, share a blended family of six children, including biological children, stepchildren, and foster-adopt children. They live in Denver, Colorado.

Learn more at michelecushatt.com/

#377: Tradition vs. Truth: How to Grow in Wisdom Every Single Day with Amanda Hope Haley

#377: Tradition vs. Truth: How to Grow in Wisdom Every Single Day with Amanda Hope Haley

In this week’s episode, Kathi sits down to chat with Amanda Hope Haley, author of Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eye Shadow, about how to grow in wisdom every day. They invite us to take a journey of rediscovering who God is as we strip off mistaken ideas that can clutter our understanding and read the Bible with fresh eyes.

You’ll learn from Amanda’s journey of unlearning some of her preconceived notions about the Bible. You’ll also learn how we can grow in wisdom through:

  • Approaching the Bible boldly, with fresh eyes
  • Pressing into uncomfortable and confusing passages
  • Allowing the Living Word to teach us something new

To start your own journey of rediscovery, get your copy of Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eye Shadow on Amazon today.

Giveaway

Thanks to the generosity of Harvest House Publishers, we have a few copies of Amanda’s book to give away to our readers!

One Grand Prize Winner will receive a copy of Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eye Shadow, along with some lovely things to provide a cozy reading atmosphere. Curl up with some slippers, tea, a journal, and pens to enjoy this book and dig into truths from the Bible.

Enter to win here

 

We would love to stay connected. To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one. Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Amanda Hope Haley

Amanda Hope Haley

Amanda Hope Haley has a master of theological studies in Hebrew Scripture and Interpretation from Harvard University. She is a lover of the Bible–its God, its words, and its history. Amanda and David live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with their always-entertaining basset hound, Copper. You can learn more at amandahopehaley.com

Three Sneaky Ways Our Misconceptions Land Us in Piles of Clutter

Three Sneaky Ways Our Misconceptions Land Us in Piles of Clutter

What you believe directly correlates with what you do. Sometimes our false beliefs hold us back from living the clutter-free life and being the person God created us to be.

Today we talk about a few of those misconceptions and how we can replace them with the truth.

Clutter Misconception #1

So-and-so gave it to me.

As a twenty-something, I visited my family in my home state. It took two days to drive with two little girls in the back seat. We had a wonderful visit, but as I was packing my car, an aunt insisted that I take two giant stuffed toys — a bunny and crow dressed as a scarecrow.

I said no. She ignored my request, instead buckling them into the seatbelts as if they were passengers. My twenty-something self simply shrugged and drove away. (My forty-something self would…respond differently.) I got quite a few second looks as I drove home two days through three states with a bunny and a crow riding shotgun.

A year later, after the girls were tired of keeping the oversized toys, we put them into our garage sale and sold them to good homes.

Again I made the trip back home to see family. When the topic of the bunny and crow came up with my aunt, I told her I’d sold them. She then had the audacity to scold me for getting rid of them.

And then…I died.

Kidding!

I didn’t die. I survived the awkwardness and (mostly) enjoyed my visit with family.

We’re afraid of other people’s reactions sometimes and that’s why we keep stuff we don’t love or use. But my experience with my aunt’s reaction only took a few minutes as opposed to looking at stuff we neither want nor need indefinitely.

Clutter Misconception #2

We might need it again someday.

I’ll never forget the day I pulled my beautiful rose-shaped candles out of storage. Instead of delicate pink petals and perfect, unburned wicks, I found a melted glob of cloying pink wax all over photo frames and other keepsakes. I’d never had a specific purpose for them, but I thought surely I’d use them someday.

This is the worst reason to keep an item you’re not using right now. If you don’t know for sure whether it will come in handy, wouldn’t it be best for your space (and the item) if it were being used by someone who does need it now?

To be clear, I’m not talking about a treasured, irreplaceable heirloom you have to put in storage because you don’t have room in your living space in this season of life. If you can say yes to “Do I love it?” then keep it. But if you don’t use it, love it, and wouldn’t buy it again, give someone else the pleasure of using it now.

Clutter Misconception #3

I spent money on it, so now I need to keep it even though I don’t use it.

We visited our friends in Oregon City, OR a couple of years ago. Their adult son, his wife, and four children were home on furlough from their mission in Indonesia. They gave us a special gift: nutmeg still in its shell, grown on the island where they were serving. (They looked almost like pecans.)

I kept them in a special bowl on my dresser, where they served as a pretty fall decoration. I came across the perfect kitchen tool one day in the store — a spice grater. How perfect! I would save it all for Christmas and then make my family wonderful holiday drinks with freshly grated nutmeg on top. It would make Christmas even more magical!

Well, Christmas came and went in a flurry of present buying and wrapping, post office trips, grocery store runs and aaaalllll the cooking. We had a great time but I never got around to making special hot drinks or grating my own nutmeg. The little grater sat in a drawer for months and my cat scattered the nutmeg seeds all over the house. (She thinks my dresser is her personal toy store.)

I knew where those paws had been, so there’s no way I was going to consume anything she’d batted around the floor. Every time I looked into the kitchen drawer, I saw the grater taking up space. You might say it grated on me, but that might be getting a little cheesy.

Still, I couldn’t get rid of it. I’d spent good money on it but never used it.

The next Christmas, my brother smoked some ribs for us all to have for Christmas dinner. In the process of making iced tea, I flooded my counter and all the water drained into that drawer. As I was emptying the drawer to dry everything out, my brother made fun of all my obscure kitchen tools, especially the grater, in the way only siblings can do. (Don’t you love siblings? They’re ruthless and some of your favorite people ever all rolled into one.)

That Christmas, I chose to put the grater (and some other tools) into the giveaway bin. Guess what? I haven’t felt guilty for spending money on it since then, because I don’t have anything around to remind me. By giving it to someone who would use it, I got out of the guilt cycle and blessed someone else. (Who knows? I may have enabled the next winner of Top Chef by providing the one tool needed to get to the next level!)

Clutter-Free Truths

Before you get rid of the clutter, you have to get rid of the misconceptions that make you believe you need to keep it.

Kathi’s three questions help us base every decision on the truth:

Do I love it?

Do I use it?

Would I buy it again?

 

Giveaway Time!*

Speaking of misconceptions, clutter isn’t the only thing we get confused about. That’s why Amanda Haley wrote Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eyeshadow — to help us sort out our misconceptions about the Bible.

Thanks to the generosity of Harvest House Publishers, we have a few of these to give away to our readers!

One Grand Prize Winner will receive one copy of the book, along with some lovely things to provide a cozy reading atmosphere. Curl up with some slippers, tea, a journal, and pens to enjoy this book and dig into truths from the Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment below to be entered to win.

What clutter misconceptions are holding you back from a clutter-free life?

*Giveaway for US residents only.