Have you ever arrived at the end of a chapter in your Bible reading and realized, “I don't remember one single thing I just read”?
I do that all the time!
My mind gets so preoccupied with remembering everything I need to do that I'm reading the words but not really processing them.
Or sometimes I'm just flat out tired and my brain isn't exactly functioning very well.
Read out loud.
It feels a little awkward at first, but once you start it's easy to keep going.
It amazes me how much easier it is to focus on what the verses mean. And quite often, even on days where I don't feel like my brain is fried but I'm just having a little trouble understanding the passage, it suddenly makes more sense once I read it out loud.
Reading your Bible out loud also works well if you have little ones clamoring for your attention. You get your time in God's Word, and they get to benefit from hearing you read it too.
Oh, and one last thing. You can use this tip for prayer too! When you're falling asleep, just start praying out loud and you won't have that problem any more!
Would you like to be more intentional about spending time in the Bible and prayer?
I've put together a 7 day email challenge where I share how to keep a spiritual journal, how to study the Bible, and how to have a more meaningful prayer life.
Care to join me? Just click the button below!
When it comes to spring cleaning, I do not have a week or even a whole day to dedicate to scrubbing every nook and cranny of my house. With 5 small children underfoot, there's only so much I can do. There are diapers to be changed, boo-boos to be kissed, and mouths to feed (5,897 times a day.)
As a busy mom, I try to focus my spring cleaning efforts on what I call “quick wins”.
I look for things that I can do in about 5 minutes or less that will make the biggest difference in how clean that area is. That's it!
When Babbleboxx asked if they could send me a box of spring cleaning items to try, I readily agreed, knowing that I'd be able to use these tools for my 5 minute “quick win” sessions!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.
You know how the little drips from laundry detergents and stain removers make the shelves where they sit get all gunky and slimy? Cleaning this area can be a quick win for you!
Have you ever used shelf liner anywhere in your house? Well, there's a new kid in town that takes things to a new level when it comes to shelf liners.
My laundry room shelves were experiencing gunk overload, so I knew I needed to do a quick win on them. Babbleboxx had sent me a roll of Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner with Clorox, so I used that to line the shelves of my laundry room cabinet.
Apparently, shelf liner is no longer plain old shelf liner. Duck Easy Liner now has a Clorox antimicrobial coating embedded into it to help prevent mold and mildew growth.
It was so quick and easy to cut the liner down to size and put it on the shelf, but it made a noticeable difference in how clean the shelf looked. (The “quick wins” are my absolute favorite when it comes to spring cleaning!)
I really liked the smooth top. Those sticky-feeling shelf liners have their place for other things, but when you need to slide laundry products in and out all day long, they can get annoying. The smooth top makes it so nice. Plus, the smooth top makes it easy to wipe down if something gets spilled on it. (The underside is still sticky so that it stays on the shelf without sliding around.) It's water-resistant too, which is a good thing, since I'm using it in the laundry room. And finally, if I ever needed too, I could toss it into the wash (yes – it's machine washable!)
All these factors made it the perfect choice for this job.
Do you have a spring cleaning job where Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner would be helpful?
You can purchase it in either white or taupe, and it comes in both 12” x 10’ and 20” x 6’ sizes.
You wouldn't think removing water stains from wood would be a quick win. I wouldn't anyway.
My husband's night stand had gotten some pretty ugly water stains. It was one of those things where I was going to research “how to get water stains out of wood” — someday. I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.
But since Babbleboxx had included a bottle of TriNova Wood Cleaner and Conditioner in the spring cleaning kit they sent me, I thought, “Why not? It can't hurt to try.”
Wow! I honestly did not think it would get the stains out! I thought it would clean any surface residue and shine it up a bit, but I was shocked that it took the water stains right out!
If you have a lot of wood surfaces in your house, you can use TriNova Wood Cleaner and Conditioner for any of them, such as furniture, cabinets, or hardwood floors.
I really loved this product so much more than I expected to. It doesn't leave any kind of residue; it just made the wood feel so smooth. (And of course it took out those stains!) I will DEFINITELY be using this often to keep my wood surfaces shiny and clean.
You can pick up TriNova Wood Cleaner from Amazon right here. Through April 30, 2017, you can use the coupon code Babble20 to get an extra 20% off.
Another area that I wouldn't necessarily have thought would be a quick win certainly ended up that way with the right tools for the job.
I was walking through the kitchen and I noticed how horribly dirty the fabric on our island stools had become. (Note to self: when there are kids in the house, only purchase hard surfaces for anything that goes in the kitchen.)
(Wow – that's embarrassing!)
I was trying to figure out what I could use to clean it, and I thought, “Well, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is supposed to be all-purpose. I wouldn't normally think to use it on fabric, but let's just see what happens. At this point, I certainly can't make that stool any worse.”
It's all-purpose all right.
I've used the bottle of Simple Green for tons of little quick-win jobs since then – mopping the floor, wiping down baseboards, anything that looks dirty really. I LOVE having all-purpose cleaner around! (And I love that Simple Green is non-toxic too.)
Simple Green is a concentrated cleaner, meaning that you should dilute it for most jobs because it's just way too powerful for what you need. Diluting it means that one bottle goes a LONG way, making it very cost-effective.
But when you have a really tough job, you can use it straight, and it will do your cleaning for you without the need for much elbow grease from you.
I also received a bottle of Simple Green Stone Cleaner and Polish, which I didn't try because I don't have surfaces in my house that called for it. I'm sure it does just as good of a job as the all-purpose cleaner, though.
You can find more information about both products on the Simple Green website, along with LOTS of ideas for how to use them. You can also grab a coupon for $1.75 off (that's a good coupon!) right here.
I know what you're thinking. “Why are you including dirty dishes in a list of spring cleaning quick wins?”
So, here's my philosophy. Every day is spring cleaning day – not just a day or a week sometime in the spring. Anything that needs to be cleaned, big or small, well…it needs to be cleaned.
And you know what I really like to neglect? It's when there's a pot in which I overcooked the food and now it is going to be really hard to wash. So then I let it sit there “to soak”, but when I come back it's not any easier to wash.
I have two choices at this point. 1. I can dig in and just get the job done or 2. I can continue to let it sit there soaking.
The job needs to get done! But scrubbing a pot with burned-on food is not an easy task, and it's not going to be a quick win!
Until…I tried out the Scrub Daddy.
Let me be honest. I kind of groaned when I saw the Scrub Daddy in the box because I was thinking about how much I hate doing dishes. It didn't look like a fun or unique “spring cleaning” task, but it just meant I'd be doing boring old dishes.
But when I made myself try it out, I was like, “Ohhh. I like this thing.”
The Scrub Daddy turned getting that crusty pot off my counter into a spring cleaning quick win!
No joke – this guy doesn't scratch my non-stick pots!! I can bust through that crud in a flash without babying my pots!
Here's how it works: When it's cold it's stiff and hard so you can do tough scrubbing jobs. When it's warm, it gets soft so you can just use it for regular old dish washing.
And here's what else I like – the Scrub Daddy doesn't get all slimy and nasty like regular sponges that you leave sitting in your sink too long. It rinses right off and dries out nicely. You can pop it into the dishwasher if it does need a deeper cleaning.
I received Scrub Daddy's counterpart, Scrub Mommy, too, which has the scrubby part on one side and a more spongy part on the other side.
You can check out the Scrub Daddy (and the Scrub Mommy) right here.
If you're wanting to try to accomplish a few quick wins throughout the day, here are more things you can do:
I've noticed a trend lately when it comes to Bible journaling. People are drawing and coloring in their Bible, purchasing fancy Bible coloring books, or searching online for printable Bible journals.
I'm not saying these things are wrong, but be careful that you do not get swept up into doing these things just because they are trendy or because a blogger somewhere created a printable worksheet for you to fill in, so that must be how you're “supposed” to do Bible journaling.
Bible artwork or spiritual journal worksheets printed from the internet can be helpful if that's truly how you learn and solidify in your heart what God is teaching you.
But you also need to be careful that those things don't end up watering down your spiritual life or becoming a superficial replacement for the Holy Spirit's work in your heart.
I fear that in some cases, Bible journaling becomes a replacement for studying God's Word. I have no problem whatsoever with someone using art as an expression of worship or as a way to meditate on Scripture. Some of the Scripture illustrations I have seen online are absolutely beautiful. But when Bible journaling begins stealing your time from really digging into the Word and studying it in-depth, then it is time to reconsider its worth.
For myself, I do not do Bible journaling because I would get pretty much nothing out of it spiritually. I am not artistically talented whatsoever, and for that reason I don't really enjoy it. If I tried to draw illustrations of the verses in the Bible, I would not be thinking about the verse one bit. I would be concentrating on coloring in the lines, not meditating on whatever verse I was trying to color. If I tried to strengthen my spiritual walk in this way, it would be like eating a package of Oreos and hoping that it would improve my physical health.
Similarly, if I were to print a spiritual journal worksheet from the internet and try to fill it out, the questions on it might not contain whatever the Holy Spirit had been teaching me. I would be doing myself a great disservice by ignoring what he wanted me to meditate on and forcing myself to meditate on something completely different.
In a day when “Bible journaling” seems to be synonymous with creating cute illustrations in your Bible or writing on pre-made worksheets, remember that it doesn't have to be that way — and it shouldn't if it's not truly strengthening your relationship with the Lord.
Rather than spending my time creating colorful illustrations (again, not wrong, just be careful!) I keep a simple spiritual journal with a notebook and pen.
It serves as a record of my walk with the Lord and it helps me delve deeper into God's Word.
To start a spiritual journal, all you need is a notebook and a pen.
Inside, you can write down things like:
Whatever is on your heart, simply write it down! There is not a right way and a wrong way to keep a spiritual journal. (That means that if art is an effective way for you to record your thoughts, go for it!)
When you keep a spiritual journal, you are creating a record of your walk with God.
When he teaches you something through his word, it is much easier to remember it if you write it down.
When he answers specific prayers, you will have a record of his power in your life. Over time, you learn to trust him more because you can remember the goodness and power he has displayed on your behalf in the past.
When you're feeling discouraged, reading your spiritual journal will remind you of all that God has done for you and for your family.
You'll be reminded of spiritual growth and encouraged to continue drawing even closer to God.
And one of the biggest benefits of spiritual journaling I have found in my own life is that it draws out the thoughts I couldn't quite seem to form inside my head. Maybe I've felt uneasy or burdened and didn't quite know why. Writing down what I'm feeling helps me to gain clarity as to what it is that's troubling me. Then I can search the Scriptures and pray more specifically about my problems. Sometimes God gives me the solution right away. The answer is often Scriptures I already knew well, but before I wrote down my thoughts I was unable to see the problem clearly enough to apply them. Sometimes I see a need that I should add to my long-term prayer list and begin praying fervently about it and waiting on God to answer specifically.
Would you like to get into the habit of keeping a spiritual journal? Why not join me for a 7 day challenge? You'll receive daily emails with tips and encouragement for recording your walk with God.
No coloring sheets, no pre-written prompts, no fill-in-the-blanks.
This will be just you and God.
Maybe you've never tried keeping a spiritual journal before. Maybe you've kept one in the past and gotten out of the habit in the midst of life's busyness.Jumpstart your habit by joining the challenge below!
As a member of the Wayfair Homemakers blogging team, I was given the opportunity to share a sponsored post with with a spring cleaning theme. One of the things I know the most about is how to organize a small house (because I live in one!) I hope these organizing tips will help you get your own house spruced up this spring!
We live in a very small house, especially for having 5 children. Though we would love to live somewhere with a little more space, we are content with what God has provided and we enjoy coming up with creative ways to organize a small house. As crowded as it is, I think we have some great solutions that help to maximize our space.
1.Use the space under the bed.
There is a lot of space under the bed, so it's a great place to store things. Some ideas for things you can store under the bed are:
2. Use the walls.
You can find a lot of storage and organization space on your walls! All you need is some strategically placed cabinets. Using the space on your walls frees up floor space and keeps your small home from feeling so crowded.
Our homeschool room has a vintage feel to it, and I would LOVE this cabinet in there!
3. Use baskets and bins.
One of the simplest tips I have learned is to use baskets and bins a lot! It gives you a place for all of those “I need to keep this around, but I don't have a good place to put it” items where they won't be sitting and causing an eyesore.
I use baskets or bins for:
4. Use stackable storage.
If you can stack things, you are multiplying how much you can fit into a space. Now, the BEST way to keep a small house organized is to minimize how much you are trying to fit into it in the first place. Declutter, declutter, declutter. And then declutter some more! BUT…there are still things that we all need to keep, and we have to have a place to put them. Stack it up, and you'll be able to fit more in your space!
5. Sometimes bigger is better.
In our kitchen we used to have a small baker's rack where we kept the microwave and some dishes and what-not. Then my amazing husband custom built me a HUGE cabinet that filled the entire wall. I was fearful that it would make the kitchen feel smaller having that large piece of furniture in there, but I was wrong! Having a floor-to-ceiling piece of furniture made the room feel BIGGER, and of course the big bonus was that I had TONS more storage space too!
We ended up doing the same thing in the bathroom, and even though the room is tiny, the large piece of furniture actually makes the room feel bigger and gives me so much more space to store all of our toiletries and towels.
(The bathroom is so small that I had to go into the hallway to back up far enough to take a picture of the cabinet!)
This cabinet has been the best thing! Mom, dad, and the kids have their separate bins with their toiletries and “hair fixing stuff”. The middle section holds our rolled up towels (when they're clean – ha!) The bottom left cabinet holds the laundry hamper, and the bottom right holds the trash can. It just keeps everything looking so neat and streamlined instead of a chaotic hodge-podge of random articles everywhere.
If you don't have a handy-man husband, or if you'd just rather do things the easy way :), Wayfair has a large selection of cabinets and chests. You should be able to find something there that meets your needs.
If you need more inspiration for organizing a small house, I've created an idea board on Wayfair with all kinds of smart storage solutions that will help maximize the space in your small house.
It is possible to organize a small house! You just need to make sure you reduce what you have to the bare minimum and take advantage of all of the spaces that often go unused.
“Come sit here close to me,” I said as I motioned my daughter to my side and snuggled her up tightly. “Want to tell me what's the matter?”
“I just feel overwhelmed,” she replied, adding a little fling of her arms for emphasis. (Someone's a little bit too much like her mother.) “It just seems like nobody likes me,” she continued. “And I hate having to clean my room all the time. And my brothers are always so mean to me.”
(This is our girl who struggles with big emotions if you couldn't tell.)
“Hmm, let's think about this for a few minutes, shall we?” I encouraged her. “You're sure that nobody likes you? And you really have to clean your room all the time? And your brothers are always mean to you? I bet you could think of someone who likes you. Let's try, shall we? Does mommy like you?”
“Does Daddy like you?”
“Does Grandma like you?”
And thus we continued, adding more and more people to the list.
“And what are some things you've done today besides clean your room?”
“Well, I played the piano some. And I ate my breakfast. And I played with my sister.”
Once again the list of good things began to grow.
“What about your brothers being mean to you? Have they done one nice thing for you today?”
“I can't think of anything.”
“Well, I'll tell you what. Let's get a piece of paper and pen. You carry it with you today, and every time someone does something nice for you, I want you to make a tally mark on your paper. You might be surprised to find out that your brothers are actually nice to you much more often than you realized.”
Now, those may seem like childish emotions to have, and we adults would never be so emotional over such trivial things…or would we?
What about those times when I throw up my hands in frustration because “I can't ever keep this laundry done! Every time I think I'm keeping up with it I find perfectly clean clothes the kids have thrown in the hamper and now have to be rewashed because they were in with the dirty clothes!” (Then I take a big, gasping breath because I just blurted out that really long sentence without even breathing.)
Oh, really? Every time, huh?
Or what about those other times when a child draws on the wall, and I mutter, “I can never have anything nice around here. Everybody ruins everything I own.”
Mmm hmm. You don't have one nice thing in this entire house. Every single thing you own is a rag.
Can you relate? Do your children sound the way mine do? Does your own voice sound the way mine does many times?
Do you know what creates an unhappy, turbulent home life?
It's when the members of that family focus on the negative.
When we allow our thoughts to dwell on every single thing that we don't like, our attitudes become bitter. And pretty soon all of the negative emotions that we are dwelling upon, start to come out. The words we speak to each other start to become critical and nasty. And pretty soon our home is filled with whining and arguing, bickering and badgering.
We can focus on what is true. We can think about good things. We can make a habit of dwelling on the lovely.
The Bible tells us that part of the fruit of the spirit is joy and peace. But in order to be filled with the spirit, we must be filled with the Word of God.
Romans 7:25 tells us that way we do what is right is through the mind. We also find in Romans 12:2 that the way we are transformed into Christ's image is through the renewing of our mind.
I want to cultivate a habit of thinking on things that are true and good. (See also: How to Remain Calm When Your Kids Make You Upset.)
I want that for my family too.
If I want to teach my children to live spirit-filled lives, I must help them create those habits starting right now.
I decided that Philippians 4:8 was going to become our “family verse” for the next while (however long it takes before we all start to see significant growth in this area.)
There's no better guideline for choosing what to set our thoughts upon than a verse that says THINK ON THESE THINGS.
I created this printable wall art of Philippians 4:8 and hung it up in our kitchen so that we would see it and be reminded of it constantly.
(If you'd like your own copy of this scripture art, you can download it immediately using the form below.)
Download The Printable
Join our email community and receive immediate access to the Scripture art, plus receive weekly homemaking encouragement in your inbox!
You may also like:
I hurriedly made my bed this morning, wishing there were more hours in the day.
Just a few minutes earlier, my five year old had asked me if I would teach him how to play the piano. I let out a longing sigh, wishing that it were possible for me to drop everything I was doing and go spend some time at the piano with my boy.
But I knew that wasn’t the thing that needed to be done at the moment.
For every homemaker, there’s a constant question of when to spend one’s time maintaining a clean and pleasant environment and when to forget about the to-do list and give undivided attention to the people who live in that environment.
Unfortunately, after we’ve made our decision, there’s usually a nagging in the back our mind as to whether or not we made the right one. If we spend our time cleaning, we feel guilty for not giving more one-on-one attention to our kids. If we spend our time playing with or reading to the kids, we feel guilty that some of the housework is left undone.
No matter how beautiful and clean one’s house is, and no matter how much loving attention one’s family receives, none of us will ever be a perfect homemaker.
We can make every effort known to man to improve our skills and to manage our time better, but the twenty-four hours allotted to each day will still never be enough to attain perfection in all areas of homemaking.
But as I made my bed this morning, frustrated by those limitations of time, I realized that I actually do know a perfect homemaker.
And that homemaker is not even a woman – not even a human actually. That’s what makes him so perfect.
The perfect homemaker is God.
Right now he is preparing a perfect home for his children.
He is not limited in time or resources. He possesses all the time necessary for maintaining a home of infinite beauty and order, while simultaneously giving his children unlimited love and attention.
I’ll admit that this analogy of God as a homemaker seemed a little cheesy at first, but the more I thought about it, the more encouraged I became in my own role as a homemaker.
I need not succumb to irritation at the limitations of the time-bound, sin-cursed earth on which I live. The impossibility of ever attaining perfection as a homemaker instead makes me turn my attention to my eternal home!
Just think! A home with no dirt on the floor, no legos to step on, and unlimited time to spend with the ones we love!
The reality of imperfect homemaking gives us endless opportunities to focus on the eternal and to teach our children to do the same.
When you are confronted with dirt, disorder, and a clock that moves far too quickly, remember the perfect home that awaits you some day.
Let’s get a fresh perspective of homemaking. Homemaking was never about “doing it all”. Homemaking is about creating an environment where CHRIST is the center of all that is done and said. And what better opportunity to turn the attention of our family onto things above than when we're confronted with reminders that this world is not our home?