As we conclude our book club series (interview with Sharon James coming soon!) this quote from chapter twelve fits well with our spring-clean topic this week. On page 193, Elizabeth writes to a friend:
“I sympathize with your fear of spending too much time adorning your home, etc. etc. It is a nice question how far to go and how far to stay. But I honestly believe that a bare, blank, prosaic home makes religion appear dreadfully homely [unattractive]. We enjoy seeing our children enjoy their work and their play; is our Father unwilling to let us enjoy ours?...It seems to me that we are meant to use all the faculties God gives us…”
Elizabeth understood the truth that Mom highlighted on Monday. By making our homes beautiful we can reflect God’s delight in beauty to those around us. So let’s enjoy using the faculties God has given us and pick that one spot!
Mom, Nicole and I are going to join Kristin and attempt to eat our own elephant one bite at a time. And we want to offer a little incentive for you to do the same. Yep, it’s been way too long since we’ve had a girltalk contest. So to inspire us all to do some spring-cleaning, we want to offer a challenge.
Here’s the deal: find that room, closet, or cabinet that really needs some reorganization. But before you get started, snap a “before” picture. Then, get to it, a little bit at a time (or all at once if you’re really inspired!). When it’s looking sparkly clean, take another picture and email your “before” and “after” pics to us here at girltalk. We’ll choose our favorite organizational makeover and the winner will receive a $100 gift card toward enhancing the beauty of her home. The deadline to participate in the contest is April 27, so pick that spot soon. Happy cleaning everyone!
Continuing with our theme of “spring clean” and Janelle’s encouragement to “pick one spot” I want to share the following excerpt from our forthcoming book, Shopping For Time:
This final suggestion will assist us in tackling those outsized projects—the ones that simply don’t fit into the sixteen waking hours of a given day. Instead of being intimidated by their sheer size and running the other direction, we can break them down into small, manageable segments. Plan to do a little bit each day. Or, as the phrase goes, “eat an elephant one bite at a time.”
In the book, Life Management for Busy Women, Elizabeth George explains her approach:
I’m working my way through my house by my own method. I call it the “one foot” method. I clean out at least one drawer, one shelf, or one foot of space every day. And it’s usually done during transitional time, while I’m doing something else, like warming something in the microwave, waiting for the coffee to brew, heating food on the stove, talking on the phone, etc.
Organizing an entire house is a daunting task, an elephant; but one that can be accomplished by eating it a bite at a time. So what’s the elephant in your life—boxes full of old photographs, piles of unsorted papers, a big thick book? Simply subdivide them into smaller portions and eat them one bite, one day, at time.
There is a room in my house that I am seeking to avoid at all cost! It’s my storage and laundry room. Yes, it is quite messy right now and no, you may not go into it and borrow something (as I told someone yesterday). I would be happy to get it for you.
Every time I walk into this particular room I exit mentally trying to figure out how I can make enough time to bring it back to order. Needless to say, that “time” has not magically appeared. You see, the last month has been rather busy for my family and the stomach bug brought my laundry piles to an all time high (my boys rarely made it in the bucket).
This room is my “elephant.” So inspired by this quote I decided to come up with a plan to tackle this project using the “one foot” method. This week I am going to spend twenty minutes per day organizing this room. It may not all get done but progress will certainly be made!
So let’s do it together. Find that spot in your house that you want to avoid at all cost and plan to organize it for a certain number of minutes each day. You, like me, will probably be amazed to find out just how much progress you’ve made by the end of the week.
Yesterday, we heard from Mom about how we can imitate God’s delight in beauty by making our own surroundings beautiful. One practical way we can apply this principle is by cleaning and organizing our homes. By clearing away clutter and scrubbing surfaces, we can make our homes pleasant and attractive for our family and guests. This in turn reflects God’s character by creating a beautiful environment for others to delight in. That’s why, with spring in the air, we thought this week would be a great time to encourage us all to do a little spring-cleaning.
Traditionally speaking, spring-cleaning implies a thorough cleaning and organizing of the entire house from top to bottom. (I’m getting tired just thinking about it). But have no fear—I’m not about to suggest anything of the kind. I’m actually partial to an idea featured in a recent Washington Post article, which suggests that we “pick one spot” to clean and de-clutter.
ONE spot—that’s doable, isn’t it? Take a minute to check out this article. We think you’ll be inspired, like we were, to make one area of your home more beautiful. More on spring cleaning tomorrow!
Spring is here and among the many blessings it brings is an opportunity to worship God for one of the many aspects of His character: His beauty. Not only is God “the perfection of beauty” (Ps. 50:2), He takes great delight in beauty.
All we need to verify this fact is to consider the beauty He has created all around us.
Think with me for a moment about the world God has created. Whether it is an elegant flower, or towering trees, or a meandering river, or billowy clouds or the majestic night sky, or the first purple crocus of Spring. Every time we stop and take in one of these breathtaking scenes on display in God’s creation, we can’t help but be convinced that He delights in beauty!
All because we are created in the image of our Creator, each of us has a propensity to make things beautiful.
This means that when we decorate our homes, or we plant a lovely flower garden, or add some form of beauty to enhance our surroundings we are actually imitating and approving the works of our Great Creator. We are imitating God!
Now granted, these activities can be sinfully implemented, but we must not overlook the fact that the essence of our desire to beautify comes from God.
John Angell James in his book, Female Piety, offers this helpful thought:
This taste [for beauty], however in many cases it may be altogether corrupted in its object, wrong in its principle, or excessive in its degree, is in its own nature an imitation of the workmanship of God, who, “by his Spirit has garnished the heavens,” and covered the earth with beauty.
Thus we shouldn’t automatically dismiss our “taste for beauty,” even though it is tainted by sin, because our “taste for beauty” is an imitation of the workmanship of God.
Rather, we must discover from God’s Word how to regulate and steward this desire to bear good fruit. How can we use our “taste for beauty” to glorify God?
This week we’re going to consider one small way to imitate God’s delight in beauty. So come back tomorrow to find out more.
This one, sent to us by Kimm (a regular contributor to Friday Funnies), describes my car knowledge precisely. When I first started to drive I didn’t know which pedal was the gas and which was the brake. Scary, huh?
Have a wonderful Easter!
on behalf of Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, Caly and Tori
What’s a 710??
Yesterday I was having some work done at the car dealer. A woman came in and asked for a seven-hundred-ten.
They all looked at each other, and one of the mechanics asked, “What is a seven-hundred-ten?”
She replied, “You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine. I lost it and need a new one. It had always been there.”
The mechanic gave the woman a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like. She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710. He then took her over to another car which had the hood up and asked, “Is there a 710 on this car?”
She pointed and said, “Of course, it’s right there.”
Click here to learn the identity of the mysterious 710:
I get to be the bearer of some very exciting news for today’s book club post. Sharon James, the author of our current selection has kindly agreed to do an interview with us. What a treat!
Be sure to read the Epilogue and Conclusion of the book for this coming week.
Recently one of our readers sent us these wonderful thoughts on a quote from Elizabeth Prentiss’s book, Stepping Heavenward. They seemed a fitting post in light of the arrival of baby Tori. Thanks Stacy!
Today was one of those days. One of those days where the caring of my precious children seemed more like a duty than a delight. After a full day and evening of church, and a short night of sleep due to a crying toddler, I was disheartened to find my children did not make up for a late evening by sleeping in. Instead, they were up early and rearing to go! With the duties of a new week awaiting me, laundry and dishes ever plentiful, I was not in the most joyous mood as I prepared breakfast for my family. I murmured a prayer for God to help me and give me grace to be patient and loving with my family as I scraped mashed up banana into the trash can. It was then that the Spirit convicted me of my complaining attitude and self-pity as I remembered a quote from Elizabeth Prentiss that I had read the night before in her book, Stepping Heavenward.
She had just found out she was expecting her third baby and was delighted. Her sister-in-law, however, had a different outlook; much like the one I can be so prone to have.
“She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing. Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers!”(Stepping Heavenward, p.228-229)
The world says that children are a burden. The Bible tells us they are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). The world tells us that our significance is found in making a name for ourselves. The Bible tells us that we are to make God’s name great, in whatever He has called us to do. I need to remember, in however mundane the task, that God has bestowed on me the high and holy honor of raising children to live for His glory. May we embrace our calling as Mrs. Prentiss did, with great joy and purpose, making a willing sacrifice of time, love and leisure for the sake of the precious children the Lord has entrusted to us.
Steve just sent me some pics from today. Enjoy!
Hey y’all, sorry for the delay in getting an update posted today. We have been in recovery mode and busy taking care of our girls. Nicole and Tori are doing well and resting up after yesterday’s delivery and subsequent procedure. We simply cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers and encouragement. Your kind words and e-mails have been a blessing to Nicole. I was on the night shift in caring for Nicole last night so I don’t have new pics for you, but I just heard that Steve has been snapping away this afternoon so we should have more for you in the near future.