Monday, July 27, 2015

Declutter Series Week Seven: Children's and Guest Bedrooms


It's week seven and time to tackle the children's rooms and guest bedroom!


We have a nursery attached to our room and the bedroom next to ours doubles as our son's room as well as the guest bedroom.


Like last week, we will just be tackling the room not the closet at this time.

Make sure to take a before picture and share with our group!

Gather bins to sort into: trash, donate, keep in room, for another room, clothes and toys.


Then focus on one spot at a time. Do not overwhelm yourself with the whole room! Work from space to space, hot spot to hot spot. Begin maybe under the bed or with a dresser top, then move to another.

If you find clothes, quickly sort through them checking sizes and condition.

Clean as you go: wiping down surfaces, cleaning windows, dusting fans and other touchable areas. Vacuum once you have finished sorting the room.

Now begin organizing! We do not keep toys in our children's rooms so those would immediately be removed but if you do keep toys in these rooms I suggest using containers or bins to keep like items together. Use baskets and dividers to keep surfaces and drawers clean and organized.

Then take the trash to the curb and donation items to your car to dispose of the next time you are in town.

Best wishes in this week ahead ladies!


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bible Study Week Eleven: An Acrostic

Dearest ladies, here we are in week eleven. Is the Proverbs 31 Woman becoming less of a guilt trip? Is she beginning to feel more like a friend and inspiration as you get to know her?


She certainly sets a high standard for us, but might we find it comforting to know that she is simply fearing God and, as a result, is empowered by God and is eager to devote her time and energy to serving Him and those around her? What she does is simply an outwork of who she is as a woman who fears and loves the Lord.

What we do is a manifestation of who we are in Christ and, praise God, we "can do all things in Christ who strengthens" us (Philippians 4:13). We can get out of bed and know He will give us the strength to do battle against the sin in our own hearts and the effects of sin all around us.

This week, we will be looking back at all we have studied thus far.

Let us pray for willingness to rest in God's empowering strength as we look back over all we have learned studying this chapter of Proverbs. Then, read Proverbs 31:10-31 (have you started to memorize sections yet?)

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

This passage, is a poem, an acrostic poem about the virtuous wife. Each verse starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet going through it in entirety. Verse 10 begins with aleph, the first letter. Verse 11 starts with bet and so on. 



As we read this description of the wife every man should pray for and every woman should pray to become,  we are reading a complete description of her from A to Z! 

This A to Z acrostic arrangement also acts as a memory aid, giving the Jewish reciter of this poem a little clue for each verse. Because these verse have now been translated into English, we miss out on this literary structure.

This week, we will begin work on our own acrostic version of this poem. This will be a simple tool to help us remember the basic content of this passage. The goal is not necessarily an accurate paraphrase, just something to help us to remember.

Beginning with verse 10:

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.



What word can we use to replace virtuous so it begins with A for our acrostic? Amazing? Awesome? Abundantly valiant? Pick a word that is memorable and speaks to you. Then move to verse 11.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

This one might be a bit more difficult. You could substitute "Boy! The heart of her husband...." or "Booty? No need for it". I personally like using the word bosom instead of heart. I still might use booty instead of spoil though (haha!).

Remember, this is not about making light of scripture. It's about memorization and triggers. It's to consider what we have been studying and push those thoughts deeper into our brains so they might come out further in our actions. 

Continue through verse 16 keeping your acrostic on one page in your notebook. We will add more to this further into our study.




With Our Children 

Work with your children to create an acrostic for Proverbs 31:10-16

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Help them to design a poster, chalk drawing, or book to illustrate this concept. Keep it in a safe and usable place to continue to add to in the following weeks.


Blessings in the week ahead ladies,

Audrey 



Image Credit: These all were found on Google, if I can find original sources I will post them. 

Victory Series Bible Study Week 11: The Good News

Greetings Gents!

Today, we continue our Bible Study by switching gears away from the story of The Fall, to the story of Salvation. This topic will continue for the next 5 weeks, and we begin first with Paul's passionate letter to Philemon verses 1-25:

"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer,
And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house:
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,
Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:
13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.
22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;
24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."

Here, we see Paul sharing The Good News: Jesus Christ, through his death, has freed humanity from the Sin unleashed in the destruction of Eden. Humanity has, in spirit, been given the chance to be reborn from spiritual death.

To overcome the effects from The Fall and offer Salvation, three things had to be overcome: the Sins which separated man from God had to be atoned for, spiritual death had to conquered, and the works of Satan had to be destroyed.

Compare these passages, which demonstrate the gravity of the task that Jesus triumphed in:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" - Ephesians 2: 1-2
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" - Romans 3: 23
"For the wages of sin is death" - Romans 6: 23

Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection overcame all the aforementioned problems from The Fall. His death atoned for the sins of the humanity, his resurrection opened the pathway for the rebirth of a spiritually dead humanity, and the combination ensured the defeat of Satan and his works.

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." - 1 John 3: 8

Through Christ we receive eternal life, the forgiveness of our sins and freedom from the grip of the devil. This is the basis of salvation and our Good News.

Questions for consideration over the coming week:
- Read Colossians 2: 13-15. What are the three primary aspects of the Gospel?
-Which of those three aspects are most overlooked in Church today?
- Why do you think the cross and forgiveness have been emphasized more than new life and resurrection?
- What effect has the Good News of Christ had on you personally?
- How have you not fully embraced your new life in Christ and not let go of the past?

Next week we will continue with our exploration of the salvation narrative and discuss in greater detail the forgiveness of our sins. I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Stay strong, Gents!

Hunter

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Declutter Series Week Six: Bedroom After Pictures

 
We are wrapping up Week Six and are half way through our challenge! How are your home looking? Feeling?

Here are the after pictures of our master bedroom. I'm loving our new set up!







We have a new office area set up with a rolling cart for papers and supplies. The desk is from Big Lots the cart from Target.





We moved the bookshelves to create a sleeping space for our toddler separate from our bed. The lowest shelves hold bins (from Target) for his basic clothing items (pjs, plain shirts, socks and pants). The upper shelves hold our books as well as some of his. The two striped bins are our "Work in Progress/Office in a Basket" bins.


Our toddler's bed.


And lastly, our bed got a minor makeover. I pulled the comforter our of storage and put covers on some of our pillows. The decorative pillows I found at a thrift store.


I hope you all have had lovely weeks and look forward to next week's challenge: Guest and/or Kid's bedrooms!


Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, July 20, 2015

Declutter Series Week Six: Master Bedroom


Welcome to Week Six in our Declutter Series! This week's challenge is the Master Bedroom.

There is no need to worry about the closet at this time, we will tackle that later on.

Begin with your before picture and share it with the other ladies in our group.

Yes, this is my real Master Bedroom. The large bag is Dh's 
he just returned from a weekend away for Army Reserve duty.

Gather some bags or bins to sort into. You might want to use the categories of: Trash, Donate, Different Room, Clothes and Keep for This Room.

Then concentrate on one spot at a time. Do not overwhelm yourself with the whole room! Start with just the top of your dresser or clean out under the bed. Work from hot spot to hot spot sorting as you go. If you find clothes, quickly try them on then decide if you should keep them or donate (or even trash if they are beyond repair).

This is where I have spent the last few months mostly.
I do the majority of my work from bed (this pregnancy has been a bit rough on me)

Clean the spaces as you go. Wipe down surfaces and vacuum the floor. A quick wipe down of ceiling fans, windows, doors and other touchable areas in the room is a good idea.

Once it is clean and sorted, begin organizing. Use baskets and bins to corral like items together. Using drawer dividers is very helpful even in nightstands, no more rummaging for the Kindle charger! You might want to move furniture around at this time as well and you may find you don't need all the pieces you have.

Our toddler's floor bed. Working on getting him into 
the nursery which is through the archway to the right.

Take out the trash immediately and load the donation items into your car to get rid of the next time you are in town.

Good luck in this week ladies and I hope this challenge helps your bedrooms to feel more like a sanctuary!


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week Ten Bible Study: Considering A Field

Most of the ladies reading this are probably not going to be doing a great deal of real estate investment. The majority of us will likely never consider planting a vineyard, however, we can still learn much from the Proverbs 31 Woman of Valor as she considers fields, buys and plants her vineyard. 


Let us begin by praying for guidance as we study the Word this week. Then, read Proverbs 31:10-31.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

This week we will be focusing on verse 16 and the mention of the virtuous wife's hands.

We are going to look at each of the words in this verse rather quickly and then compile what we have learned to help us better apply this verse to our own lives. 

We are first going to look at the meaning of she considereth. Take notes on how the word is used, then quickly skim through the other passages to get a feel for how the word is used elsewhere. Note that this word has to do with murmuring or muttering (talking to oneself in a low voice).

Can you hear this woman thinking to herself? Can you hear her pondering, "Is this piece of land worth the money? Does it have the correct grade and sun exposure to grow good grapes? Can I afford to withdraw this much money from my savings?" Perhaps she asks a local farmer to come look at the soil with her. Is it rich enough to produce a hearty crop?

She takes her time, considering if this is a wise use of her resources.


Looking at the meaning of field next, it is fairly self explanatory. The root word is interesting though, it means to spread out. Keep this in mind.

The word buyeth is next. There are words here that evoke the image of military (at them to your military images page). Words like seizing or capturing bring to mind a picture of a military leader surveying a battlefield, thinking through his strategy and taking possession of it. 

The valiant wife is thinking, evaluating, strategizing and then claiming the field for her own. She purchases this land with the fruit of her hands. She's worked hard! She has resources set aside, investing them wisely will add to her household's wealth.

It is noteworthy that she doesn't go into debt for this business venture. She doesn't spend money that she doesn't already have. She is simply seeking to increase what she has. 


She plants a vineyard, a long term investment. It will take at least two years of labor and patience before she can harvest a crop from this vineyard. What does this say of her character?

Based on our study of these words, summarize what the Proverbs 31 Woman does in verse 16 in your notebooks. Then meditate on the verse. What can we learn from the virtuous wife's example? What can we imitate as we watch her consider, murmur, and strategize over the spread out field before her? What is she teaching us as she takes possession of it and invests time and energy to improve and cultivate it?


We have different "fields" in our lives. Fields that we need to seize and cultivate. Our children will only be with us for a short time, do we have a plan? How will we prepare them? Doe we have goals that we are seeking to accomplish?

We have long term projects in our families. Perhaps buying or building a home, writing a book, starting a business, etc. How can we strategize in order to take hold of these "fields"?

This woman can also teach us about thinking carefully before committing to new obligations. Do we weight the costs before we take on new responsibilities or do we just dive in and then regret our decision?

Continue to meditate on this for awhile? What is God teaching you through it? Record your thoughts, then act on what you have learned.


With Our Children

Read Proverbs 31:10-16 together

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Then let your children use dress up materials and props to act out the virtuous wife's activities in verses 10-16. Tape them so they can watch themselves and later, have them perform for Daddy.

Talk with them about what you have learned and the importance of planning and discernment. 


Have a blessed week Ladies,

Audrey

Victory Series Bible Study Week 10: Meaningless Living

Greetings Gents!

This week we continue our study with the focus being on the ultimate effect of humanity's fall from grace: meaningless life. Our verse of focus is Ecclesiastes 1: 1-18:

"1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."

Being that the The Fall left man separated from God (spiritual death), Adam and his descendants were forced to provide for their own needs outside of the Garden of Eden. This meant that man was bereft of his original purpose for being: an intimate relationship with God. Essentially, man no longer had a purpose and was left scrambling for a new one.

Look to Soloman (the author of the above passage), under whom Israel experienced a Golden Age. At the height of his power and wisdom, there was nothing he could not have. And yet he still finds no contentment. He states that he has seen "all the works under the sun" and the best appraisal he can give is to declare it to be a "vexation of spirit" (Ecclesiastes 1: 14). Even mighty Soloman struggled with the void left following The Fall.

Most of us today struggle with some sort of identity problem. We view ourselves as mothers, fathers. We identify ourselves by our professions or the social groups to which we claim membership. But what happens if we are unable to have children, or we lose our children? What happens if we can no longer work at our chosen professions? What happens if we lose our social groups? The result is a return of the void, of the meaninglessness of our lives. It returns so quickly because it never left in the first place. We merely ignored it, and now we no longer can.

We all have a deeper longing that our kids and our professions and all the other aspects of earthly life can't fulfill. To paraphrase another author, we have a "God-shaped hole" in our beings. Only through having and maintaining a relationship with God can we ever truly overcome the sense of meaninglessness that lies on the outskirts of our lives. The path to God is through Christ.
"20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8: 20-21)

Questions for consideration over the coming week:
-Do you think the average person feels good about him or herself? Why or why not?
-Can the natural person find his or her identity and self-worth on their own? Why or why not?
-Are there any insignificant children of God? Explain.
-Who are you and what do you think of yourself?

Next week we move on to discuss the redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ. Pay close attention to the answers you give for the above questions and remember them for the coming weeks. I hope everyone has a fantastic week, Stay strong, gents!

Hunter

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Declutter Series Week Five: Bathroom After Pictures


It's the end of week five and hopefully we all have slightly cleaner bathrooms.

My birthday was Monday. I am now 26! I spent the week with family so my sincere apologies for being behind this week.


Our one little bathroom seems fresher to me now. Our toddler now has his own little potty and self care area.


His self care area and storage for our shower supplies (there is no storage in our shower).


These bins (from Big Lots and Target) hold our self care items. My husbands are on the left, hair brushes in the center and mine on the right.


Over our toilet we have a few books we are currently reading and more storage for diaper supplies, bath items and a catch all bin.


Our matching sink decor and shower curtain came from Big Lots. Our towels were bought at Target later but coordinate nicely.


Lastly, under our sink are now two bins holding cleaning supplies and our hair cutting kit.

I hope this week encouraged you ladies and I'm looking forward to next week: the Master Bedroom!


Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, July 13, 2015

Declutter Series Week Five: Bathrooms


Here we are on Week Five: Bathrooms!

Take a before picture of your space (or a few) and share with the ladies in the group. Then let's get started!


Gather bags or boxes to sort: Keep, Donate, Relocate, and Trash

Sort and Purge as you go. Go through every cabinet, shelf, bin, shower, etc.

Then clean. Wash your towels and shower curtain if you can. Do a quick clean of the toilet, sink, bath tub and shower. Vacuum the floors and do a mop down.


Once you are done, organize. Put back only what you really need. Everything else, trash or donate. Organize into bins with like items together to keep it all corralled and easy to find.

Take out your trash immediately and load your donations into the car. Take items that belong in other rooms to their proper places.

Post your after pictures later this week!


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Declutter Series Week Four: Dining Space After Pictures

 
Apologies for the tardiness! It is my birthday weekend and there has been much chaos in our home. I'll quickly share our after pictures before running off to join my family again though!


We had no storage in this room so I borrowed a night stand from the nursery. The drawer holds our cloth napkins and napkin rings. I'm still looking for a bin to put on the shelf to hold placemats. I grabbed a low wooden bin from our games closet (it used to hold a checkers set but we've long since lost the pieces) and used it to corral our internet boxes. On the shelves above are a candle and oil diffuser to make this room feel a little more homey and lovely.






A quick wipe down of this table and vacuuming the rug made a huge difference. These placemats are reversible (the opposite side is brown with cream) and were on sale at Big Lots. I'm planning to repaint the table and chairs, but that will have to wait until after baby girl is born.

 

Off to the right in this picture, I leaned a ladder against the wall. I plan to put some knick knacks on it, but will need to secure it to do so. Through the hallway door is our linen closet where many of my dining linens are now stored (instead of dumped on the table). It is open storage so I'm still working on a plan for that!

Next week, we are working on bathrooms! 

I hope you all have had a wonderful week and enjoy the weekend!



Blessings,

Audrey

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Keeping the Home Clean Once You Have Organized

As we work through this Declutter Series challenge here are some tips for keeping up your hard work!


1. Have the children help. Before nap and bedtime, I have my toddler help me clean up his toys and other spaces for 15 minutes.

2. Take advantage of nap and bed times. I require that my son still nap even if he doesn't want to. He stays in his room with low lights, some music and a few books. During this time I work on projects (or relax. Yay Mommy Time!)

3. For every item in, one item goes out. Try as we might, new things will make their way into our house. When they do, add an item to your trash or donate pile.

4. Get rid of your donate pile immediately. Most people put their trash out once a week, think of your donate pile the same way. Add to it regularly and get rid of it regularly.

5. Give items a proper place. If there is a labelled container, items will get put away. Pick up simple bins from the Dollar Store and while your there you can grab labels. I've been known to tape off sections in our storage space as well so it's easy to find and put away items (like Christmas boxes).

6. Create rotation boxes. Get stuff out of your daily use areas. Box up some items and put aside for bad weather days, treats or to decide to get rid of after a few months. This works especially well with toys and books.

7. Get rid of any big items that you can. Extra furniture creates visual clutter and is money waiting to happen! Bless another family who needs it.

8. Clean the middles every day. Pick up items of the floor, return things to their proper room and space and quickly sweep or vacuum the middles. It's clean. Now don't worry about it.

9. Do a little every day. Work on one bigger project over several days. Break it down into small pieces. If you need to clean the walls, do one each day until they're done.

10. Don't sweat it if you get behind. It happens. Take a deep breath and start again. Give yourself grace. If you need help, ask for it. Don't let your pride stop you and don't let stuff overwhelm you. At the end of the day, it's just stuff and life is so much more important.


Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, July 06, 2015

Declutter Series Week Four: Dining Areas


Welcome to week four! This week, we are tackling our dining areas. Whether you have an actual dining room, an eat in area in the kitchen, table and chairs on the patio or some other area you and your family eat choose that space.

This space is another catch all often in homes. In even more homes, it is rarely used. At the end of the week, hopefully you will have some order brought to this space so you may choose to use it!


Like the other spaces, you will want to gather something to organize your dining room needs in. This might be bins or baskets if you have shelves to put them on, a dresser, an armoir, or other piece of furniture.


Use your drawers, bins, etc to organize your placemats, table cloths, napkins, napkin rings, fancy dishware, disposable dishware and whatever else you keep in this space. Separate all items into categories, keep like items together and store like categories near each other if possible.


In our house, this room is a disaster as we don't have any storage. I get most of my storage items from the Dollar Store, Walmart, Target and Big Lots, so we'll be making a run to one or more of these stores this week! Our bedroom is off this room so I'm very hopeful to make this space more peaceful so mornings will feel better. (And yes, that is a broken window....toddlers ;) )


As always ladies, take this room at your pace. Don't let the challenge overwhelm you. Only pull out what you are sure you can deal with in allotted time. Remember, during our next challenge (Cleaning Series) we will come back to these rooms!


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Week Nine Bible Study: Morning

Take a moment to pray ladies, this week's study will hit home in all our hearts. Pray to be ready to listen and obey. Then, read Proverbs 31:10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


 Mary Cassat

We are specifically studying verse 15 this week. The virtuous wife arises while it is still night. It makes one wonder: "when exactly does she sleep? She rises before dawn, her candle doesn't go out at night, but she still transforms flax into clothing, brings food from afar and manages to speak with kindness?"

As you read the verses again, underline the word night with a black pen or pencil and mentally note where they appear. Now we're going to do a word study looking at the phrase she riseth.  These definitions sound like a valian, woman of valor rising! Take notes on what you read, especially where you see her becoming powerful. She knows she is on a mission the moment she awakes and she is ready to move into action.

Quickly, look at the phrase arise night. Looking at all the verses that speak of during the night, what sort of activities generally take place?

Now, look at arose night. Look again at the verses specifically mentioning arising during the night. Is there a similar pattern? Some mighty men of valor make an appearance in some of these verses as well!


The woman of valor arises while it is still night to do battle, to conquer. 

Add the phrase "rises while it is yet night" to the page in your notebook labelled Military Images.  

As she tackles the beginning of her day, the valiant wife gives "meat to her household" to all that dwell with her.

Look at the word meat. This is a strong word. You can look at other translations as you scroll (and click the other tabs for more information). Notice the word spoil in there. Look at the other verses associated with this word. Many speak of lions hunting and devouring their prey. This lady takes the feeding her household quite seriously. She is preparing them for their day!

And that is just what she turns to next. 

The meaning of the word portion here does not mean how large a piece of cake may be that she is serving. It speaks of a prescribed task or statute. 

Beatrix Potter

The word maidens tells us more. Is this why she is able to get so much done, because she has servants? She is starting out her day by feeding them and then assigning their tasks, their portions, for the day. Note: this word could also include her daughters being among those receiving their assignments. 

But, lest we smugly huff and say "No wonder we can't keep up with her!" let us check ourselves and look around our homes. We do have servants, we just don't feed them. On our kitchen counters, our laundry rooms, our cupboards, our garages. We have all sorts of "maidens" who assist us in our work.

As we start our day, we can imitate the Proverbs 31 Woman in at least three ways:

We can tackle our day with a plan. We'll be much better stewards of our God given time with one.

We can give direction and tasks to our children. A good wife and mother is a good delegator. She is able to lighten her load so she can serve in other ways and helps her children learn to do work.


We can put our servants to work. Whether that is a load of laundry in the washer before breakfast so it is ready for the dryer when breakfast is done, soup in the stock pot on the stove for lunch or meat in the crockpot so dinner is ready after a busy day of errands (then followed by oatmeal in the clean crock so breakfast is ready in the morning). All of these edify our Lord. Try adding some music to set the tone for the day first thing in the morning as well.

And always pray. Pray about this verse and what we have studied. What can we learn about the valiant wife? In what ways can our fear of God display itself in our morning routines, planning of our days and in our employment of the helpers God has given us? Jot down some quick ideas to get you started in your notebook. 

Cicely Mary Barker

If you struggle getting up in the morning what steps can you take to make it easier? Making a to do list the night before helps me. Waking up with hymns and a Bible study helps me to set my mood as well. Do some prayerful brainstorming and then, move valiantly forward ladies!

With Our Children

Read Proverbs 31:15 together and explain what you learned about maidens in your study. 

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Then, have a maiden hunt in your house. How many maidens can they find that hep do all the work that it takes to run a household? Look for faucets, appliances, heaters, vacuums, etc.

When done, offer each child who is old enough the responsibility of operating one of these maidens. Even young children can be helpful with these, do not underestimate them!

 To further this less, make use of their help gathering the materials for breakfast tomorrow morning. Discuss what you will be making and the work that goes into doing so. In the morning, hide the ingredients separately through the house (take care with items like eggs). Then let the children hunt for them! When all the prey has been captured return to the kitch and assign duties to each child. Enjoy breakfast then use a maiden to clean it all up before sitting down for your next lesson together.


Blessings and encouragement in the week ahead,

Audrey