Faith

In the book of John, chapter 8, we are told about a group of men who find a woman committing adultery. They want to stone/kill her immediately. You can read the short passage at the bottom of this page if you are not familiar with the story.

There is a lot we could discuss in just these few verses – like where were these men in the first place that they found this woman? Or, did they bring the woman to Jesus just to test him on the law/Moses? Who did they think they were? But instead – let’s look at the response of Jesus.

Jesus tells the men: whoever has not sinned, please throw the first stone.

After hearing this, one by one, the crowd began to leave. It says beginning with the older ones, the wiser ones. I imagine them loosening their grip, dropping their stones, feeling convicted. Hopefully they walked away and decided to look at themselves before judging others in the future. Hopefully they put themselves in her place, and felt the love of God.

Jesus tells whoever has not sinned to throw the first stone. He could have thrown a stone. He could have thrown a million stones. at her. at me. at you.

But He chose not to. In that moment and on the cross. He took your place. He took my place. He took her place.

How beautiful – just as the men with stones in their hands walked away one by one, Jesus erases our sins one by one: past, present, and future. He took it all for me and you on the cross.

May we “go and sin no more”. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Not in our strength, but His. Not our will, but Yours be done, Lord. We are so, so grateful that Your mercies are new every morning. Every second. And they will not ever end.

 

John 8 The Message (MSG)

To Throw the Stone

1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

3-6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

11 “No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

one by one

Aside
poetry

I enjoy the flowers, until they cause me to sneeze

I enjoy the food, until my stomach aches

I enjoy the relationship, until it’s too complicated

I enjoy the creatures, until they drink my blood

I enjoy the memories, often more than the actual event

I enjoy the wind, but only when I’m warm

I enjoy the ride, until I’m tired of waiting

I enjoy the sunshine, until my skin turns cherry

I enjoy the music, until that song comes on

I enjoy my space, until you’re gone too long

I enjoy the rain, until it floods my city

I enjoy it all, until I don’t.

Convenience

Aside
Faith, Fitness, Mental Health

We Run.

A poem I wrote in 2014. Here is just a glimpse into my brain and why I love to run….


I run

My intimate time

The rhythm of my feet on the pavement begins as a metronome

My heart beat catches up

I am free

Nothing can touch me

Time goes on

The endorphins awake and give me a high that addicts throw their lives away for

As my feet alternate from ground to air, my worries spill out before the feet of Jesus

I tell Him about my day, my goals, my fears

Sweat drips down my nose

I take a different road than normal because I’m tired of my usual route

The Lord reminds me that no matter which way I go, He is there

And when I go astray, He is still there

I cannot go the wrong way as long as He is first in my life

He carries me when I feel tired

and shows me His beautiful creations every time

I understand deeper

I tell Him more about my dreams

He listens

We run.

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Organization

tiny tidy tips

My house is on the smaller side as far as houses go. As you’ll see in the pictures below, my couch and love seat take up more than half of the living room. When space is limited, it’s all the more important to keep things neat and tidy – clutter can happen in the blink of an eye! In order to have, keep, and maintain a tidy house, you need to change behaviors.

  • Have a place for everything – If everything within your home has a home, then tidying and cleaning up become way less stressful!

 

  • Be in a constant state of tidying – Take a moment every day to put things away such as clothes, shoes, mail, etc. If you “have a place for everything” then this shouldn’t be rocket science. I understand that this is easier to accomplish if you do not live with small humans – and even easier to accomplish if you live alone. Small efforts every day keep you from spending your entire week cleaning up before you have guests.

 

  • Don’t keep things on the floor – I have two items in my home that belong on the floor other than furniture, rugs, and standing lamps. Those things are both baskets/bins. One for shoes by the front door and one that holds the dog bones and toys. Keeping your floor clear is a major key to keeping your home tidy. It also helps when it is time to sweep/vacuum.

 

  • Storage – storage must be respected. Do not allow any storage in your house to be so completely full of items that you are not even sure what is inside. Storage is your friend when it comes to keeping a tidy house, so be sure to treat it as one. Pictured below: we keep blankets in the chest that also serves as a coffee table. We keep puzzles, games, and electronics in the hanging shelves. Also pictured: peep the bin near the front door that is literally labeled “storage”. This is used by my husband for keys, wallets, pocket knives, etc.

 

  • Routinely downsize and donate – Know when it is time to let things go. Walk around your home and really take a look at what you have stored in your home. Does that item still serve a purpose? Do you use it? Does it bring you joy? If not, donate it so someone else can enjoy it. Is it something you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of? Re-purpose it! Pictured below, I have a giraffe figurine from my mission trip to Kenya and my wooden elephant that my best friend sent me from Thailand living their best lives as bookends on my mantle. Learn to let go and enjoy items as they serve their purpose. Things will come and go in this lifetime, and some things need to go sooner rather than later. Isn’t this true in many aspects of our lives?

 

  • Keep decorations minimal – or they will become clutter. I am a firm believer that less is actually more. Pick a few key pieces and decorate. Don’t go overboard. May I remind you that empty space is a decorative statement as well.

 

Leading a tidy lifestyle will not happen overnight. It comes when you respect your home and your belongings. Respecting inanimate objects may seem silly, but it will carry into other aspects of your life as well, and will even make the atmosphere of your home and heart lighter.

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Fashion, Organization

horizontal vs. vertical storage in drawers

I used to fold my clothes and pile them on top of each other in my dresser drawers just like most of you do. It’s nice and neat after laundry day, but when you rummage through to find the shirt you need for Sunday brunch, there is no going back.

After doing some research on organization a year ago, my clothes have never been so easy to find! Like many of you, I used to have shirts that would get shoved to the bottom of the smorgasbord of fabrics stuffed in the drawer. But now that I fold and store my clothes horizontally rather than vertically in my drawers that problem is one of the past! What does horizontal clothing storage look like you ask? Take a look at some shots of my dresser drawers below!

I will admit, it took some getting used to and I had to retrain my brain when folding and putting away laundry, but after a month or two something clicked. I will never be able to go back to my old ways again.

It is important to note that there are certain items and fabrics that need to be hung. My dress pants and skirts along with a few dress shirts are hanging in my closet. In my pants drawer you will only find workout leggings, sweatpants, jeans, and shorts.

Now that I am able to see every shirt option and every pant/shorts option at all times, I no longer lose items or pull a shirt out of the bottom of the drawer only to find it wrinkled beyond wearability. I have even found that standing my shirts up and rolling my pants result in even fewer wrinkles and creases than before. Don’t believe me? Give it a try! (And let me know how you like or dislike it!)

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Fashion, Hair

Tips for getting that good braid. Yas kween.

1. Practice, practice, practice – practice on yourself, practice on your friends, practice on your dog. Just practice! I learned how to French braid by practicing on my American Girl doll. (Shout out to Samantha). And I learned how to Dutch braid by mistake. Every time I tried to French braid my own hair, my hands were upside down and all turned around from me looking in the mirror, so naturally rather than bringing the braid from the outside in, I braided from the middle, out.

2. Loosen up! – loosen every braid once you have the hair tie secure. This makes your hair look thicker and makes your braid look fuller! For classic French braids, I only loosen the bottoms. For Dutch braids, I loosen the entire braid.

3. Another reminder to practice – it took about two years of braiding at slumber parties for me to finally get braids that were tight enough and even on a head. And that was just on my dolls and my friend’s heads! It took another two years on top of that for me to create tight, even braids on my own melon! Don’t let braids break you! You can do this!

4. Dirty little secret – second and third day hair is best for braids. Clean hair is slippery and doesn’t stay well when teased and tugged. Second day hair holds better in a braid and loosens beautifully (as pictured below).

  • Dutch braids are always a yes. I add them to as many hairstyles as I can.
  • French braids are my go to for active days, workouts, and days when my hair is greasy but it’s unacceptable to wear a baseball cap.
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Food, Organization

How to keep your kitchen feeling fresh, calm, and clean

The kitchen is a sacred place. Food is a necessity, so shouldn’t your kitchen be a peaceful and inviting space? Whether you are the one doing the cooking, the eating, helping with the dishes, or all of the above, an ample amount of kitchen time is coming up with the holidays being just around the corner. So, here are some tips for keeping your kitchen feeling fresh, calm, and clean.

  • Tip #1: Keep the counters and table tops clear

The less you have sitting on the counter, the better. Put as much as you can away in cabinets. Leave out just a few necessary or decorative items along with any snacks or food. If you are someone who keeps mail, keys,wallets, etc. on the counter- stop! Find a drawer or cubby for these items and stop cluttering your precious counter space. What did it ever do to you?!

  • Tip #2: You can never have too much white

There is something about a white kitchen that just screams CLEAN (Or CLEAN ME depending on the day of the week). But when it is clean, there is no place I’d rather be. There is a freshness and pureness that comes along with the color white that you simply can’t replicate with other colors.

  • Tip #3: Plants!

Plants keep your kitchen feeling fresh. And literally freshen the air with oxygen – shout out to photosynthesis. Some plants even get rid of toxins! I am terribly poor at keeping plants alive, and as you can see in the pictures below, even I have plants! I have an orchid on my table and a hanging plant above my sink called philodendron. There is hope for everyone! You just have to find the easy, low maintenance plants if you’re anything like me.

  • Tip #4: Candles

I have a candle on the corner of my kitchen bench and on my kitchen counter at all times. I light them if I’m having company over or if I’m doing dishes/cleaning the kitchen. Candles can make even the craziest of atmospheres feel calm and fresh.

  • Tip #5: Bake, bake, bake

Nothing makes a kitchen as warm and relaxing as fresh baked cookies. Don’t know how to bake or don’t like to bake? Buy the cookie dough that is already made and throw it on a pan and into the oven. Set the timer, then watch and smell your kitchen transform!

  • Tip #6: The most obvious – clean up

Wipe down your counters as much as you can. I’m convinced that little elves live in my cabinets and spill sticky stuff on my counters every night. I’m sure they have friends at your house too. Take a second to wipe down your counters every day or two (depending on how the elves are feeling). Once the counters are clear, tell Alexa to tell your robot to clean the floors. If no robots show up to vacuum, use an old school broom and dust pan. Throw in some dance moves here and there. You’ll feel awesome and you’ll look great doing it. Side note – Swiffers and Swiffer wet jets are sent from heaven.

Remember, time spent preparing and sharing meals is of great value, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Having a clean and tidy kitchen is not more important than making memories with your loved ones. However, I find that keeping a clean kitchen helps relieve my stress when it’s time to cook. I’ve also found that I enjoy being in my kitchen when it is fresh and calm rather than avoiding it and grabbing takeout. So follow these tips and surprise yourself by inviting friends over for dinner and card games. Or, follow these tips and make your kitchen the place to be this holiday season even when it’s packed with uninvited extended family members and in-laws.

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