Overcoming Fear

Fear. Fear keeps us from reaching our potential – from doing the things we want to do, the things we should do. Fear paralyzes us.

So, how do you overcome fear? The Bible says that “perfect love casts out fear.” So love is how you overcome fear? Well, kind of…

This passage is talking about God’s perfect love.  But, specifically, its talking about the ultimate expression of love – Jesus ((1 John 4:9-10)). When God acted out his promise of sending Jesus to save the world, he expressed love. Or, he put actions to his words.

THIS is how we drive out fear. Through ACTION – acting out love comes in direct opposition of fear. It is not about good thoughts or big dreams. Its about taking small steps everyday that show fear that it has no power over us.

 

What fear will you overcome today?

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More to come…

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Simplicity around the home. (Part 3)

Simplicity is difficult anywhere. But, I think its most difficult at home.

When I was working outside of the home, I kept my desk clean and organized. And, if it did get messy, I would take a quick 10 minutes and re-organize my entire office and start fresh. My house? Not so much.

First, it was much larger and thus, harder to keep up with. Second, I didn’t have processes to keep it clean. Third, I had too much stuff. So, cleaning and organizing was a chore. You had to re-organized all your stuff each time you wanted to clean in, around, or under it. By the time you got done with that, you were so tired that you didn’t want to clean!

So, once we completed our first round of purging our belongings, I wanted to set up some processes to keep things more simple around the house. Here’s a few of those things:

Baskets & Bins. 

Baskets and bins are the bomb. They are simple ways to organize your home while looking cute at the same time. Instead of having a place for everything on a shelf, you can put (read: throw) like things into a basket. This is especially helpful if you have kids. Toys can overtake a space very quickly. But, having two baskets for toys in our living room has cut my picking-up time in half.

A basket/bin tip – use a slightly smaller basket than needed. If you use a large basket for small baby toys, your mind will see empty space and think it needs to fill it. This goes against The Simple Life. Use a basket that, when filled, has a few items peeking over the top. This will remind you each time you see it that it is full – as in, you don’t need any more of that item (stuff). 

Cleaning Products & Systems.

I used to get sooo overwhelmed by cleaning. Not only by all the things I had to clean, but the process of cleaning. My mom has a system that has worked for her for years – two cloths (one wet, one dry) that she brings with her throughout the house. I tried that when I got my own space, but even it was too complicated for me.

So, for a few years, I struggled with the best (simplest) way to clean. Three years ago, when I joined Young Living Essential Oils, I found my answer. Thieves Household Cleaner. First, it was non-toxic (like, really. Not like how everyone says, “Oh, yeah, we’re toootally non-toxic. Just, uh, don’t look into what our ingredients really are”). No, this stuff was truly non-toxic. And, it has essential oils in it which I was already sold on (future post).

But here’s why it really changed my life – it comes HIGHLY concentrated, so I mix 1 part cleaner with 30 parts water for most surfaces. It can clean kitchen counters, floors, glass, toilets, veggies…everything. Now, I carry one bottle of cleaner with me throughout the entire house and can clean all of the surfaces I encounter.

Talk about simple. And, it has drastically cut down on bottles of cleaner that I have to store. I have 1 bottle, plus a few backups, of the cleaner in my laundry room. Instead of my toilet cleaner, my window cleaner, my laundry stain remover, my stovetop cleaner, my oven cleaner, etc. I mix up one spray bottle for my upstairs and one for my downstairs.

Want more simple? I can clean while my kids are awake and my dog is inside because I don’t have to worry about them smelling the fumes or “getting into” the cleaner.

Want even more simple?? We got rid of our dining room table because our floors are so clean we can eat of them! (Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you were still reading).

If you want to learn more about Thieves Household Cleaner or the power of essential oils check me out here.

Laundry.

More baskets. Yes, I know that in a “Simplicity around the home” post, I should probably use the word less instead of more, but hear me out. I went to Target and got four laundry baskets (on sale, of course). One blue, one pink, one black, and one white. Each laundry basket color is assigned to a specific type of laundry. Blue = my son, pink = my daughter, white = my husband and I, black = Towels. I do laundry basket by basket. I take the laundry out of the basket, put it in washer. Switch to dryer and put back in basket. Fold and take to assigned room.

Here’s why this is simple – there’s no sorting. I wash on cold so that we can wash everything together. When my kids get older, one of their chores will be to bring the filled basket down to the laundry room and take back up to be put away once washed (got that idea from a friend!).

The laundry is pre-sorted and I literally just have to throw it in the washer. This is a fairly new process for us, but I just did 4 loads of laundry today. They are all washed, (sorted), folded and back in their respective rooms. So, I’m pretty much doing awesome today.

Taking some time to cut out the clutter has drastically changed my cleaning routine. I’ll be posting more about this in the future, but suffice it to say that this journey of cutting back has already lifted a weight from my shoulders. I feel like I can enjoy being in my house instead of feeling like I’m imprisoned by my chores!

More to come…

Simplicity – Part 2. Making new ideas stick.

“Get the Most Bestest Life Ever for You Right This Second!” Oh yeah? Ohhh yeahhh?

Sometimes I read book titles and think, “If that was truly the case, wouldn’t I see a lot more people walking around with a lot more of their life together?” So, why is the “self help” portion of the bookstore stuffed full and the world is lacking in people who have it all together? Do you think its just that they are they all non-readers? Doubt it. Here’s what I think it is…

I think they read too much. I think they watch too many motivational speakers. I think they consume too much “feel-good” throughout the day. AND, I don’t think they do enough with it.

This idea came to me in college. I went to a small Christian school where my friends and I enjoyed being well-read in current topics of faith. I was also a part of student leadership on campus where we would read books together about faith. I was also attending classes where we would be assigned books about faith. I was also going to a local church where we would hear about faith. I was taking in a TON of information but somehow I felt more unsure and scattered than I had for quite a while. And that’s when it hit me. I am intaking so much information, that I never have the opportunity to implement it and therefore can never internalize it.

What do I mean by that? I mean that you can read and consume information all day. But, habits and thought processes take time, consistency, repetition to form. You have to act on, or implement, the idea. Then, you can internalize it, or have it make some real change in the way you think or act. This takes time.

We don’t have any time to implement and internalize if we are always intaking.

In the recent past, my church has illustrated this concept well with the parable of the seeds and soil. In Matthew 13, there are 4 different types of soil – the path, the rocky soil, the thorns, and good soil. When the seed falls on the ground, each type of soil receives the seed and has a chance to let it take root. However, in three of the cases, the soil is not conducive to flourishing. The seed is easily carried off, or scorched or choked out. In only one instance does the seed have the opportunity to take root and grow – to leave an impact on the soil.

This idea is applicable in any instance that you are learning something new. Is the soil of your mind or heart conducive to new ideas taking root? If you are currently intaking information about leadership and personal finance and confidence and interpersonal relationships and the list goes on, then which of those ideas are your choosing to implement and, in turn, internalize? Let me take a wild guess – you’re either not making any changes at all OR you’re trying to make so many changes at once and you feel so overwhelmed that you want to quit (or actually do).

Yep. Been there.

Here’s what I’ve found – I choose three to five topics that I want to intake during a season of my life. I consume information on those three things almost exclusively. Then, I make intentional effort to implement them in my life. After a season of implementing, they have become internalized and I can then move on to the next.

What are you intaking, implementing and internalizing in this season of life?

More to come…

Simplicity. Part 1.

Simplicity.

Simplicity is a term I’ve been pondering for a while. What does it truly mean to live simply? In high school, I thought it meant decorating your home with as many antiques and rustic decor you could find. In college, I thought it meant selling all your belongings and wearing sackcloth. As a newlywed, I thought it meant following Dave Ramsey and sitting at home on Friday nights. Recently, I’ve been exploring an entirely new meaning to the word.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

Throw of everything that hinders. Sin that so easily entangles. I can think of about a million things that are “hindering” me. And those hindrances are making my life more complicated. They cloud my dreams, fill my mind with fear, and keep me in a perpetual journey of right-where-I-am.

If simplicity is desired and we are more “at rest” when we are living simply, then why is it so dang hard? “Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.” // Richie Norton

Who has time for advanced thinking? Who commits the time to plan to be simple? Who desires simplicity enough to work for it? Not many.

Simplicity has nothing to do with the amount of things you have, the efficiency of your actions, or the size of your bank account. Simplicity is a state of being. Its a constant striving to focus on what matters and throw off all that hinders. It is not easy, it is never done, and it is countercultural. But, most things that are worth it are all of those.

There are some key areas of my life that I am focusing on (putting effort toward) making and keeping simple. Stay tuned.

More to come…

Kitchen. Need I say more?

The kitchen. Its my favorite room of the house. In our first home, I got to remodel the kitchen and design it myself. It was my baby. But then we found out we were having a real baby and that put things into perspective quickly. Here’s a peek at my creation:

2013-01-02_21-37-39_589 (Can you believe I don’t have a picture of the final product? And without our contractor in the picture…sheesh.) The final product had a beautiful island with amazing workspace. And it had another set of Butler Pantries to the left side of the fridge.

Now I have a different kitchen and I like some things about it and hate others. One of the “hate” items being “storage.” You know that ominous term “storage”. “We don’t have enough storage.” “We don’t have very good storage.” Storage, storage, storage. I said all of those and more about my new kitchen (even though its a larger kitchen in a larger house). As I was going through my cabinets, I realized that this is not about the storage. Its that I have too much stuff. If I am unable to fit all of my kitchen stuff in my cabinets, then let’s just get rid of some things.

(That may sound logical to you, but before we started this journey I would have opted for the “more storage solution.”)

We purged utensils and cooking/baking supplies. Some we had received as wedding gifts and never used (not yours, of course–we use your gift every day!). Some we had used but can live without.

I also worked to simplify our counter-spaces. The less stuff that is permanently stored on the counters, the less clutter you see, the more space you feel you have. This has helped me in to ways.

1. I have more food prep room. This is why I love my kitchen. Because cooking for my family is one of the ways I show them love. And cooking for the guests we’re entertaining is one of my passions. Baking treats brings back memories of making Christmas goodies with my mom, a tradition I want to continue with my daughter.

Before I purged our kitchen, I felt trapped – between the mess and the love of cooking. So I did nothing.

2. I have more leeway for messes. If my counters have minimal things sitting on them all the time, then I can set my daughter’s dish by the sink and still have space to prepare my lunch (let me “be real” with you for a second – having kids means you eat cold food after everyone else is done. See, I’m a real friend. You’re welcome).

Here’s what our kitchen looks like post-purge:

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Look at all that space!!

Now, we also have a desk in our house (you can see it in the above picture) that should be renamed “Catchall”. So, I worked on organizing (but purging FIRST because LESS>MESS). Here’s the after:

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We can charge our (1st generation) iPad and we can find things on the shelves – what a concept! Now, I’m going to be honest with you…this is our desk today:

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I’ve always struggled with processing papers and resisting the urge to “just set this here for a minute while I…”, which I’m learning is a HUGE key in keeping this minimalist thing working for you (You read: “duh”). So, I am working through that. (Honest again, see? You knew you could trust me). I’ll figure it out and write a post about it in the future, I’m sure!

More to come…

Why (and How) I’m never busy.

It’s amazing how much intentionality can do for your wellness.

It seemed that no matter how many (or few) things I had on my calendar, I was always too busy. Too busy to clean the house, too busy to hang out with friends, too busy to cook dinner and sometimes even too busy to sleep. My mind was always racing and there was no capacity for any new or fun experiences in my life.

When I was busy,  I had a set response to the question “How are you?” You know the one – “Sooooooo busy.” (Cue knowing headshake.) Now, I did have a 20 month old and a newborn. So, no one would have faulted me for saying that I was busy. But, do you think they would ask me to do anything after that? No. That word-“busy”-was building walls between me and the people that I wanted to get to know. It was building walls between me and my husband. And me and my kids. And me and God. And me and myself. It was keeping me in enough of a tizzy that I couldn’t do anything differently. Or so I thought.

My husband and I had been praying for our marriage and for capacity for our friendships – existing ones and new ones. But, every time I worked to make room in the calendar for friendships, I would hear a little voice in my head: “They have plenty of friends – I’m sure they’re too busy to hang out with you.” So, I would chicken out, fill my calendar with something less important and miss out.

One day, when I wrestling over inviting a friend to hang out – would I just be burdening them? I know the are always busy, blah, blah, blah. I heard the small, sweet voice of the Spirit: “You know…they could say the same about you.”

I was shocked. I immediately thought, I don’t want to be known as “busy.”

“Hey, do you know that Hillary Baden?” “Yeah…she is always so busy.” But, was I truly busy? Or was I just being unintentional with my time. Was I busy? Or was I wasting my most precious resource on insignificant things. I wasn’t spending my time in a meaningful way–I desired deep relationships, a better connection with my husband, more time to spend with my kids, but I was stuck in the urgent and unimportant because I was letting them take precedence.

Remember, Purposefully Well is about intentionality (So, what is “Purposefully Well”?). So, I decided to be intentional about cutting the word “busy” from my vocabulary.

Once I did that, I couldn’t believe how much time I had! When I (intentionally) stopped focusing on all the appointments on my calender, I began to see all the empty spaces – opportunities to spend my time wisely and intentionally. I’ve found time to exercise, time to make new friends, time to volunteer at church, time to focus on my business AND time to start a blog! (I had been contemplating this blog for almost a year now but I was always – you guessed it – too busy.)

I’ve made a decision to not be busy. Even when I have a lot on my calendar, I never have the mindset of “busy”. I can also find or make time for what is important to me.

Be intentional about your words and attitude regarding your time and you’ll be amazed at how much more of it you’ll have.

More to come…

Why do I have feelings about my “stuff”?

Why do I have feelings about stuff? This was the number one reason that I was stuck in a clutter-depression-anxiety spiral. How do we get rid of our things? They have so many memories and those memories bring up emotions and its just too stinking hard to part with my old t-shirt.

My husband and I had a closet FULL of “memory boxes” when we first were married. I’m talking multiple Rubbermaid containers for each of us. Even then, before I had chosen the path to minimalism, I knew that was ridiculous.

Why is it so hard to part with things and why do I have feelings about my stuff? I think this is the enemy’s way (yes, I’m talking about Satan) of keeping us in bondage. Stuff weighs us down. Literally and figuratively. It makes it harder for us to go places because we have to clean our stuff. It takes up our time because we have to organize our stuff. It takes up our money because we need more stuff. And, it takes up our emotions because they’re attached to our stuff.

Would you agree that there has to be a better way to live?

God calls us to an abundant life. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV. But he didn’t mean an abundance of stuff. He wants us to have abundance in time, energy, freedom, and emotion. Stuff is amoral. It is not good or bad. Its the love of stuff, or when we get caught in that crazy cycle of needing more and more stuff, that is the issue.

This all came to a head for me when my grandma passed away. My mom, cousin, and I went to my grandma’s house after she was gone to “split up her stuff.” We talked about memories we had had in that house and with that stuff. But, the memories were special because grandma was in them. Not because the stuff was in them.

As we were unpacking everything I had inherited from her (it was literally a truckload), I vividly remember sitting on the couch and thinking, “What am I going to do with all this stuff?!” Stuff. That’s all it was. It wasn’t grandma and it didn’t bring her back. She had a house full of stuff that she couldn’t take to Heaven with her. It was left here on Earth for us to sort through.

While I am sorting through my stuff to get rid of as much as I can, I am coming across some of my grandma’s things. I envision her looking down from Heaven saying, “Let it go. I’m up here now and none of it matters. There’s so much more to life.”

More to come…