Monday, April 27, 2015

Pushing PAUSE

Once the Spring Cleaning process begins you get on a roll....and then sometimes it comes to a screeching halt because, well because, life happens.
That is what has happened here on the homefront. I still have much to do but I have had to push pause for a bit while other things are going on. I am sure you can relate.
One of the things I am being sure to do while I am in this holding pattern is to completely rid of all of the piles, bags, "stuff" I have pulled out. Completing, following through with the process. Then when I am ready to dig back in I will not have piles of clutter in the way.

How does that look in our hearts?

You have pulled out all of the junk that has been held inside, now do not move on until you have completely processed what needs to be done.
Do you need to seek forgiveness? Is it time you forgive someone else and LET IT GO? Go ahead and break into that popular show tune.  ;)  Are you ready to own your mistakes and move on? Can you finally break free from the voices of your past? I know it is time to see yourself as God sees you. Time to release your insecurities and doubts and open your heart to God's plan for your life.

If you too are in pause mode, it's the perfect time to be thorough and compete the process you have begun. You will never succeed in life if you quit in the middle of the process. Carry on sweet sister and while you are at it...LET IT GO!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Be A Blessing.... A Weekend Challenge

My email inbox is beginning to look a lot like my mail box. So much junk mail. I remember well the days that I would open my mail box to find handwritten, hand addressed cards and letters. That is why  I LOVE Christmas time so much. Well one of the reasons.
Are you experiencing the same thing?
You see the number pop up on your phone screen that tells you there are 27 emails waiting for you, you anxiously open it up and find all sorts of junk mail?  Yea, me too!  :(
Let me encourage you TODAY to drop a note or a card to someone you love, someone you would love to lift their spirits with a simple note scrawled out and torn out of a binder or in a beautiful purchased card. Really it only takes minutes, or if you are so inclined it will take more but will be beautifully welcomed.
That is my challenge for you this weekend. You can pick up cards at the grocery store while you are doing your weekly shopping. Truly there are no real excuses.
I would love to hear from you, if you sent something to someone this weekend. I promise you it will be received with so much gratitude and appreciation.
Have a beautiful weekend. Bless someone and be blessed! 
XO Sherry

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


So you did the hard work of digging out the junk. Now you are following the tracks of your symptoms to see where they lead.
Here are some of the paths you might trace:
* You are filled with frustration because you have overloaded your schedule without giving yourself any breaks.
 *You cannot shake that anxious feeling because you are failing to turn things over to the One who IS in control?
 * Maybe you are holding on to things and people too tightly when God is reminding you that HE is the only One you should be clinging to.
 * Are you depressed after years of living under scrutiny and judgment, feeling as if you will never measure up no matter how hard you try?
Fill in the blanks. What are your symptoms telling you?

When we are sick and we ignore our symptoms what happens? Our illness progresses and becomes much more serious, oftentimes life-threatening if it is a severe case. So why would be ignore the symptoms of our heart if it is possible they are life-threatening?

I would encourage you to pull out your journal (you have one somewhere I bet), and jot down some of your thoughts about this process. Even if it is just a list of symptoms, that is a start. Once we begin identifying our symptoms we are able to come to a conclusion about the condition of our heart.

When I was knee deep in my closet I had to identify the stuff that had built up all around me determining what was clutter, what was simply misplaced and what was absolute TRASH!

Take time (MAKE time) to ponder these things in your heart to determine the things that it is time to throw away once and for all.

I have a funny story about something I held on to for far too long that needed throwing away, and it took an intervention to get me to do so.
The last time I was cleaning my closet my daughter happened to be here. Sitting upon the large bag I had set aside to be donated were a pair of super cute orange wedges. My daughter asked me about them. I began explaining to her that I knew I needed to get rid of them but I love them so much and they were the perfect shoe that goes with a particular dress, yada yada yada.
 She picked them up and began looking them over. "Mom, have you been gluing them?" Well, yea, the sole has been trying to come off so I keep gluing it back on. Oh and yes the insole too. She gave me a sideways look and marched them out to the trash can.
 Really?! I thought they were worth keeping when they were falling apart!

How many times in our lives do we hang on to things that are falling apart at the seams when it is time to walk away. Now do not mis-read this as any kind of permission to leave a marriage without a legitimate- God reason. I am referring to relationships that are falling apart, filled with deception and lies but you keep on making excuses to hang on to them. Bad habits that are causing you to trip. Excuses that keep you from moving forward in your life. We hang on to these things gluing them together, which only fixes it temporarily. It is time to march some of your excuses out to the trash.
Time to let go of the things you have been clutching on to; control, perfectionism, self-doubt, anxiety, fear, past mistakes, brokenness... The list goes on and on.
Grab that journal and begin writing....who cares if you are writing well, or making sense, just write. I promise you the process will help you to unload it all. Identify those symptoms and begin discovering what they are telling you.

You cannot fix what you do not acknowledge, so let the acknowledgement begin.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sidetracked and On Task

So, I thought I would be back sooner with some more details about getting rid of the "heart clutter" but I got a little side-lined doing none other than MY OWN SPRING CLEANING.             Go figure.
As Spring has sprung I have committed to going through my entire house doing a deep cleaning. I began this ambitious project with the dreaded master closet.
Ohhh myy worrrd! I was instantly reminded of how grueling and overwhelming the process can be. My husband worked alongside me all day Sunday as we purged and scrubbed (it was better to have him there to make the decisions about his clothes and clutter).
Once we finished up in the closet I moved into the Master bath, scrubbing and cleaning out drawers and cupboards. It has been a busy few days, with clutter and piles to pilfer through. Now that I am done with this area though I have to say I just love walking in there, it feels so refreshing. Once I was done I lit a few candles and did a few decorating touches and it felt so rewarding.

We are going to stay on this topic and talk about the purging a bit more.
I just looked up the word PURGE and the definition is: 1) the act of clearing yourself (or another) from some stigma or charge. 2) the act of removing by cleansing; ridding of sediment or other undesired elements. Sounds spot on to our topic.
 Let's talk about this physical purging we do in our homes, cars, work spaces. What we fail to realize is that we live in a state of clutter and frustration much too long when all it takes is stopping and taking care of business.
 Certainly it takes TIME. That one thing none of us seem to feel as if we have enough of. Yet I venture to say we can manage to squeeze in a chore here and there to make it more manageable. What if you were to carve out maybe a half an hour a day or an afternoon on the weekend?

 First step is to pull out your planner and see where you can squeeze it in. Schedule it in. I had known all week long we were going to be spending our Sunday on this project. We had gone to church on Saturday evening so we had the entire day.
Second step is to show up ready to knock it out. Trash bags, cleaning rags, and a determined mind to get the job done. I will admit that half way through my closet I was ready to say "I quit." Since quitting mid-project was not an option (neither one of us were willing to trip over piles til I felt ready again, ha!) I poured us a fresh glass of iced tea and turned on some music. Hey, whatever it takes right?
One of the ways this de-cluttering works best for us is; we pile up all of the things we need to "go through" (like the stack of magazines my husband had acquired) and set them aside and do it at a different time. For instance, Jim has been bringing piles of magazines into the living room in the evenings while watching "The Voice" the past two nights processing the ones he wants to keep and what he is going to toss.

Of course all this talk about Spring cleaning leads us to think about our heart clutter and the things that have been sitting there, cluttering up the precious space within us. Often times we just keep  pushing things down instead of facing the inevitable which is; we need to deal with it (whatever "it" happens to be). It could be a wounded friendship, a broken heart, old wounds that have sat dormant for a very long time creating residual wounds.
So how do we even begin to know what these things are and what to do about them?

In Soul Steps I talk about looking for the "symptoms." Those are your signs. When you get sick you begin to show symptoms and those are the very things that will help you determine exactly what is going on with you, your body. You will take notice of the signs that something is going awry in your body which will be a warning that you need to do something about it.  You have a persistent cough, a pain in your stomach, a high fever, these are all indicators that you need to see a doctor.
Same thing holds true for a heart symptom. We are being warned that there is something not quite right, something we have held on to for too long and it is causing emotional distress, that we need to see THEE doctor.Those symptoms can be something like: excess anxiety, frustration, depression, fear, doubt, lack of self-esteem, anger, the list goes on and on.

I encourage you to take a deep look into your own heart and see if you are beginning to show signs of wear and tear of a heart worn out from carrying a load it is not meant to carry.
Are you displaying symptoms that may be signs of underlying struggles?
Have you been holding on to the pain of being mis-treated as a child? Is the pain of a failed marriage hanging on with a death grip? Are you tired of believing the lies that continue to roll around in your mind? Have you been walked on one too many times?
Start digging out the heart clutter that is stifling your peace and joy. Right now that is all you need to do, just begin digging it out without worrying about what to do with it. Just like my husband has been doing with his piles of magazines, we will sit down with it later and determine how to deal with those piles of clutter.

Just like when I was knee deep in piles of shoes and purses wanting to quit, you might find yourself ready to throw in the towel before the work is completed. You might just have to fix yourself a fresh glass of iced tea and turn on some good Christian music and allow Him to penetrate your soul, infusing you with energy and courage.

I promise you it is well worth the hard work, effort and determination.

Much love,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Those "Piles"

Image result for spring cleaning
So, back to the Spring Cleaning.
You've pulled everything out and you are left with heaps of piles here and there, either figuratively or physically. Let's first tackle the physical items that you have pulled out of your closet and are not sure what to do with just yet.
It is tough to let go of things that have sentimental value, really tough. One of the solutions for this is to have one place to keep all the "valuable memorabilia". Your issue then will be to keep it all in that one place, whether it be a drawer, trunk, box, basket, or large storage container. You will have to constantly evaluate as it begins filling up, possibly letting something else go in order to make room. (which happens to be a key organizing  tool)
 Some things like art work, may be photographed and an album made of these treasures. Doing online books makes it easy to do a project like this.
My friend (the one I was helping organize) and I discovered something quite interesting as we began giving our adult kiddos some of their memorabilia back; they do not treasure it near as much as we do and they do not want to hold on to it. So it seems fitting that we just keep some particularly important pieces and let the rest go.
This will be the hardest step in the Spring Cleaning process. Maybe you have ideas and tips you would like to share about how you have faced this spring cleaning dilemma.  I would love to hear about them. How do you decide what to keep and what to let go of without over running your storage area?

Now about the spring cleaning of our hearts...How do we let go of those things we have held on to for far too long?  Those things we have become attached to? Maybe they are the labels we have associated with for years, or the emotional baggage of how we were treated in a past relationship. Maybe you have hung on to your self-doubt and lack of worth. Many of us tend to hold on to insecurities and feelings of unworthiness. There may be a whole jumble of things we need to sort through in this emotional baggage category. But just like every step of this Spring Cleaning process, you do it one itty-bitty-teeny-tiny step at a time.
Pick one thing today. Just one. Now begin to process it and identify where it comes from and where it belongs (probably in the sea of forgetfulness).
The best way to begin to deal with these heart-issues is to seek God. Pray about this thing that you have unearthed and ask Him what needs to be done with it. You may have to hash it out and feel a few painful twinges before coming to the end of it, but once you have released it, your heart will be free of the clutter of that thing that has been taking up far too much space.

I will go into greater detail of getting rid of the heart clutter next time.
In the meantime...go tackle those piles.

Much love on this beautiful Spring day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Itty-Bitty-Teeny-Tiny Steps

Like I have said before; once the air becomes warmer and the days are longer we find ourselves ready to dig in and began some Spring cleaning projects. Just yesterday I began assisting a friend with some of her tasks.
First up was her daughters closet. They diligently  began the process by dumping the contents out of the closet  into the room before I arrived. This is the perfect way to begin, but it can be quite overwhelming. Heaping piles surrounding you can make you feel as if you will: 1) never get done, 2) never fit it all back in and 3) it is going to take forever!
Yet, we: 1) got it done! 2) fit it and more back in and 3) were done much quicker than we ever imagined.
How? One teeny-tiny-itty-bitty-step at a time.
You must proceed to tackle one thing at a time. First up was the tangled jewelry. One of us sat on the floor and untangled and sorted through the jumble of jewelry. Then we created a functional yet beautiful display on a closet shelf we had set aside. Done.
Next up was the pilfering through and sorting of clothes. What to keep, give away and put aside for an upcoming yard sale. (the yard sale and give away items are things that you just keep on hanging on to, might wear that one day, it might come back in style, you know....)  After nicely hanging the clothes being kept (in color and type sections of course!), creating a hefty pile for the yard sale and removing a ka-jillion extra hangers, Done!
This process continued through shoes, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, books, CD's; all the typical things you find in ones closet.  We employed the use of baskets to keep things confined and organized. The oodles of flip flops lined upright in a basket taking up much less space than being spread out, and they are easy to sort through to find.

Here's the point I want to make: As much as I think you will definitely benefit from these helpful tips for cleaning out your closet, I want you to begin to think of these same steps in terms of cleaning out your heart and life.
Those things that have been piling up, making it impossible to walk through the "closet" without tripping need to be pulled out. All the "junk" that keeps getting shoved here and there til you are ready to deal with, needs to be dealt with. It does not magically disappear or get put where it belongs.
It will just keep building up and creating a mess of things. Stuff like anger, resentment, unforgiveness, haunting memories of your past, things that were done to you or those terrible decisions you once made. Those words that keep ringing in your ears telling you the opposite of what God is telling you. All of this junk is cluttering up your heart in a big way.
We have to tackle it just how we tackled that messy closet; one itty-bitty-teeny-tiny step at a time.
One "thing" at a time.
Do you feel like there are just so many things overwhelming you, your life, your heart? As if you just do not know where to start because it is all just too much? Do you look at the mess that represents your life and feel so overwhelmed by it that you prefer just shoving it all back into the "closet" and moving on like it wasn't really there?
That continual shoving and pushing down only creates a bigger mess, one that becomes more difficult to manage.
I want to encourage you to begin pulling it all out...laying it all out there. Then; one thing at a time, one pile at a time, you can begin dealing with these issues.
Taking itty-bitty-teeny-tiny steps out of the mess and into the fullness of a life of freedom.
Let's talk more about handling all these "piles" next time.
Til then, begin pondering all the stuff that has been filling up your heart and life that needs to go.
Much love