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Christmas Uncluttered – Day 25

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25

What a journey! December 1 – December 25 has been an eye opening journey for our family. As you know, we started a project on December 1 where each family member gives away one item on December 1, two items on December 2 and so on until Christmas Day when we each gave away 25 items. Our total? 325 items each and 1,625 items collected as a family to give away.

photo 3Along this journey and during this season, I thought many times about Mary and Joseph as they traveled to Bethlehem. Mary pregnant, I’m sure uncomfortable, and Joseph concerned about protecting her along the way. Remembering that their journey was much more difficult than our simple project continually encouraged me to keep going – to finish what I had started with our family.

Many times I had to remind my family to put their items in the “give away” box (which has now become a “give away” ROOM!) but as time went on, they all seemed to be more and more motivated to get it done. Either to stop my nagging or I would like to think they, like me, were encouraged to clear their parts of our house and begin the New Year uncluttered.

Throughout the journey, each of my kids started giving away each other’s items and even items they knew they would need in the future. Some trades were made and negotiations to allow trash to be counted as an item. At that point, I agreed to count trash and allow trades in order to keep everyone participating. Our dog even participated by taking the same two stuffed animals from the pile day after day. I took this as his negotiation to keep these two items for himself which we now call his “babies.”

Even though our “give away” project is complete, the journey is not yet over as there are several drawers and rooms that we haven’t even gone through. This project has motivated us to finish what we started and go through everything. We will continue adding items to the “give away” room until we are done. I hope this will happen within the next week so that we can actually “give away” all that we have collected.

We can’t tell that we’ve given away anything and definitely aren’t suffering with less. The kid’s rooms are cleaner than I have seen them in a long time! They are glad they participated but one said, “I won’t be able to do this again next year because I won’t have enough stuff.” I think that’s a great thing (and his room is now really bare) but am hoping we can do some version of this each year – or better yet, let’s not excessively spend and accumulate things we think we need but really don’t. It’s comforting to know that we can live with less and convicting to see the excess we have accumulated and thought we needed but in reality didn’t.

God has clearly provided and I know will continue to provide for our family, beyond measure.

Happy New Year!

Paige

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Christmas Uncluttered Day 3

The king is pleased with words from righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly. Proverbs 16:13

The joy of parenting – especially when we see the fruits of our labor! Day 3 was a day of honesty in more than one way from the same teen in our family. Not that others in our family aren’t honest but today was a special day. This morning, on the way to school, he humbly and honestly admits (without my prompting), that he forgot to put his items in the “give away” box last night but will make sure he gets them into the box after school. Gotta love it! How many times have we talked to our kids about the importance of honesty (and many other important character traits critical for excelling in life)? Just like the king, we parents are pleased with words of honesty. And what a blessing to witness when one of our kids “get it.”

Then tonight, as I was searching for my Christmas Uncluttered items, I found myself struggling to depart with a few sentimental accessories. Luckily my humble and honest teen was standing next to me and provided a gentle and honest “No, you shouldn’t wear that…,” followed by a silent look on his face of “…ever!” Before thinking about these items further, I quickly pushed them deep down into the bottom of the “give away” box so that I wouldn’t see them and be tempted to pull them back out. It’s only Day 3 and I’m already a bit anxious to say the least! If I’m sentimental and struggling to give away three items, how will I give away 325? Maybe today’s scripture should have been “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I’m sure I will recall this verse often in order to get through the next 21 days.

I hope you too experience the fruits of parenting and the humble honesty our kids can bring us. Join our family on this journey to a Christmas Uncluttered! Clearly we are beginning to receive as much as we give.

Merry Christmas!

Paige

40 Days to Easter

A NEW 40 Day Challenge for this season of Lent!

I treasure the season of Lent. Not only does it remind me of my Louisiana roots and the traditions of Mardis Gras, it provides for me a time of preparation for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, a season of spiritual growth, and an opportunity to press into God’s presence and experience Him like never before. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying which marked a critical chapter in his life. He was fully tested, but this experience set the stage for his greatest victories over the enemy.

Accept this 40 Day Challenge with me, Margaret Feinberg, and Catalyst leaders to read through the entire New Testament in 40 days to experience some of the most life-giving, perspective-changing, hope-filled days of the entire year!

The New Testament contains 260 chapters. That means reading the it in 40 days requires reading about 7 chapters per day. And if you’re running errands, working in the garage, or have a daily commute, you can listen to an audio version of the Bible (e.g., download Biblegateway or YouVersion on your smartphone). About 30 minutes a day for forty days – and you’ll journey through the entire New Testament. It may sound like a lot to you. But I am confident you can do this as last year many of us read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in 90 days!

“I believe that during these 40 days God wants to speak to you through Scripture. He has words that are written just for your heart, just for this time, and just for what’s coming around the corner.” says Margaret Feinberg, popular author, Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences.

Click here to download the free Lent 2014: 40 Day Bible Reading Guide. For more information/details about the 40 Day Challenge, visit Margaret’s website.

Some friends are going to join us in this so tweet your progress and experiences with #LentChallenge. You can also check back here with me each Wednesday for blog updates and post your own comments on how God is working in and through you.

I pray that Christ will meet us, reveal Himself to us, and surprise us as we enter this Lenten season with a hunger for Him and lean in to hear His voice more clearly.

Prayerfully, Paige

Empty Your Cup

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

I was talking with a friend the other day about doing something special for a co-worker. As we talked, I was reminded of a session at a recent event given by North Point Community Church Lead Pastor, Andy Stanley. He called it, “Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone,” because doing for no one what you wish you could do for everyone is detrimental to ministry.

Have you turned on the news lately? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much need in the world. And as Christians we feel called to help. Between being overwhelmed and the busyness of life that gets in our way, we find ourselves falling into two extremes: burnout – we’re so busy doing everything for everyone we are spread too thin, or checkout – we shut it all out and do nothing for no one. Burnout tends to leave us bitter and checkout tends leave us cynical.

Sometimes we try to be fair and do a little here and there for many. Never be fair. It’s about doing the right thing. God wasn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. Fair isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. Don’t be fair, be engaged!

The Apostle Paul’s letter, written to a group of Christians in Galatians 6:9, talks about how he understands the weariness that comes with caring. Don’t disengage. We can’t be overwhelmed, do it the easy way, or we will miss the opportunity or time God has given us to do something for someone. Over time there is a payoff.

Andy Stanley states:
* go deep rather than wide
* long-term rather than short-term
* go time and not just money

The beauty of “doing for one” will allow you to be engaged rather than disengaged. And when you do for one, you will often do for more than one.

It may not change the world but it will change someone’s world!

I pray you will empty your cup with your one.

Blessings,
Paige

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