Tag Archives: clean

Re-set Home Base: Refocus Challenge Week 2

#resethomebaseDo you ever have an area in your life you wish you could install a “reset” button? I used to play a bit of Mario Bro. back in the day, and that little reset button was my best friend.

Mario is about to fall down the hole? Reset!

I do the same with my electronics. iPod acting up? Reset back to factory settings. One of the twins got ahold of the TV remote and changed the screen to stealth mode (it exists I swear!)? Reset!

I even do this with a bad day. I take a nap, however short may be and wake up to start over: reset!

Today, my home needs a reset button. I wish such a button existed. Or that magical fairies would reset our home to “factory standards” while I take a nap. Alas, I realize that I am the reset button. My efforts are what will take our home from chaotic tornado leftovers to welcoming sense of order and celebration.

Disclaimer 1:

May I just say that I am 100% ok with having a messy house. I have no problem inviting other messy humans into my very real home. However, I do believe that having an orderly and clean environment fosters an atmosphere of welcome to guests and spurs on diligence and discipline for those of us that live here.

Disclaimer 2:

I whole-heartedly believe in saying “no” to chores in order to say “yes” to big moments of ministry, family togetherness, and pursing quiet times with God. This has been our week thus far. And I celebrate my dirty dishes when their presence on my counter indicates my attentions have been kingdom minded (although not so much when my attentions are netflix-minded). Still, now we are moving into a season which incorporates our home as the main sanctuary for rest and discipleship for our college students. Thus, Reset Home Base becomes the next task of the 5 Week Refocus Challenge.

She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27

The Plan:

My strategy is to clean in short bursts between writing this post. First up: clean out the car.  After our ministry overnight retreat, which included the dog, two babies, and half our kitchen, the Pirate Ship (my savvy name for our huge family suburban) needs to be reset…

(1 hour later)

Well, the car is clean, but the kids managed to open a ziplock bag of dog food in the entry way. I don’t know when they figured out how to open a ziplock bag, but it’s a new level of clever. Twins got skills, I’m telling you. With dog food everywhere, including the kids mouths, my next goal is to reset the living space. I imprison the children in the playroom for 10 minutes while I sweep up the puppy chow, only to return to a playroom covered in diapers. Evi managed to pull out all the diapers from a bag I left on the guest bed.

Long story short, the kids are setting the reset agenda for me. And making it feel like a never ending task.

(Next hour)

Nap time is a glorious productivity enhancer! I have now successfully rendered the kitchen, living room, and hallway back to order. (Check Instagram for the before and after photos) And yet, I’ve more to do, so I am going to finish this post so I can be singleminded as I clean.

4 Tips to Reset Your Home-Base:

4 tips to reset your home base

Clean Sweep: My mom always taught me to start at the door and work your way around the room. Pick up any item in your path and put it WHERE IT BELONGS. Don’t make piles.

Deal with Piles: Ok, I don’t follow all of my mom’s advice. I am a pile maker, people. I make piles of items based on their final location: bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, laundry, etc. My problem is, I sometimes forget the piles, and the piles become unpiled, and I’m back to square one. Don’t move on to the next task without rendering the piles finished. And don’t just shift piles from one room to the next. Find a home for everything

Clean top to bottom: Mom taught us a handy trick: while you are picking up, use a dust rag to sweep surfaces top to bottom, that way you won’t miss any bobby pins or knick-knacks out of place. Clever way to get us to dust, mom.

Focus on the small tasks: I’m putting laundry away one second, the next I am full-on cleaning out my closet. Meanwhile the rest of the house suffers my lack of attention. For my own sanity, I need to schedule big chores, to set-aside time later to tackle them so I can focus on the quick reset needed at the moment.

Whether your home-base is your house, your car, your bedroom, your office, or your bathroom, take some time to re-set it. Clear out the clutter, distractions, and evidence of wear-and-tear to make your space effective to launch you into your day, your worship, and your ministry to this world.

Week 2 Challenge:reset home base pin

  • Monday, Aug. 17: List 5 ways you can worship God and start your day right in the morning.
  • Tuesday, Aug 18: make a be-still plan. 
  • Wednesday, Aug 19: Download the free background for your phone, and start memorizing Psalms 46:10
  • Thursday, August 20: Reset your home base, and share a before/after pic of the reset on instagram or Facebook using #resettinghomebase #5weekrefocuschallenge
  • Friday, August 21: Take a break from all the busywork and re-read (see what I did there) Reinstating Stillness.
  • Saturday, August 22: Return here for a recap of Week 2 (and don’t forget to use #5weekrefocuschallenge so your instagram and Facebook posts can be featured here!)


What do you consider home-base and how do you reset it each season?

Spring Cleaning Step 4: Give Thanks

cleaning tip 4Finally, and perhaps most importantly, an effective Spring Cleaning in the home and the heart is not complete without…

Step 4: Give Thanks

I am priviledged to accumulate so much stuff in my home. I even stumble across things I never expected.

I found these old cards from the day I was born in a memory box. It gets me very excited for our babies to come!
I found these old cards from the day I was born in a memory box. It gets me very excited for our babies to come!

But it’s a lot of work-both physically and mentally- to sort through it all. I could complain about the work, and get irritated with the mess. In truth, I often envy societies who live simplistic lifestyles.

While I can aim toward minimalism, I must also acknowledge that I live in the society I live in: the one God has me in (for now at least). So I give thanks, give generously, and move on.

cleaning tip give thanksAnd before I know it, one room at a time is cleaned out, cleaned up, and in my current instance, packed and ready to move into the new place! The process is long and arduous, and as such it accurately represents God’s work in our hearts too.

Thank you Lord for continuing the work to make me look more like Jesus every day.

Now it’s your turn, dear friend:

  • What are you thankful for in your home today?
  • What is the one thing you wish God would just “be done” cleansing you of?
  • How can you persevere in surrender to His work, no matter how long He chooses to take?

Add your perspective by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for joining me for the Spring Cleaning!!!

Spring Cleaning Step 3: Organize

spring tip 3 organize

Now that I’ve established a decent purge of my home and my sinful heart, I typically want to “call it good” for the day. But step 3 is JUST as important in my spiritual and domestic spring-cleaning as the first 2 steps:

Step 3: Organize

Step 3.a: Put away the piles!

If an item is necessary or valuable to our life, I pile it based on its role (hair/bathroom, clothes, office supplies, etc.). At the end of my cleaning time, I MUST put these piles away.

The other day, I made the mistake of leaving the piles in my studio for the next day of cleaning. My writing productivity decreased greatly that week and I didn’t want to even go in the room!

In the same way, I believe God wants to bring order in my heart. He has given me a desire to do good and glorify God. But these Christlike qualities must have their “time and place.”

For instance, I could pack my day with appointments to mentor young women in my life (definitely a “keeper quality,” see Titus 2). But by evening, I’m brain-dead and still don’t have dinner on the table. I’ve missed out on “being still” before The Lord (Psalm 46:10), being helpful to my husband (1 Peter 3), and being faithful in other tasks (Luke 16:10).

It is important to keep certain items in my house, and my heart. But each must find a “home”: a place where it serves its purpose without distracting from the overall goal of glorifying God in my whole home/heart.

Step 3.b: Set a time-limit

I must organize the way I organize by setting a timer. I’ve always been an all-in kind of gal, so this is hard. I just want to go-go-go till it is done or I crash. Being pregnant means I crash much sooner, and more dangerously (dehydration, forgetting to eat lunch, over working my body).

I do the same thing with my heart. I could soul-search all day, pouring over what I need to “fix” in myself. That’s when I go back and read my “Breakfast with Jesus” post and remember that, in Christ, it is finished.

Campfire Check-In:

What are some ways you maintain organization in your life and your home?

Spring Cleaning Step 2: Purge

spring tip 2 purge
Welcome to Spring Cleaning Tips (for the Home and the Heart). Yesterday, I established how I prepare a room and my heart for a cleaning-spree. Today I will focus on the bulk of the work: the purge. The process to de-clutter the house and one’s heart of selfish desires can be exhausting work. So grab an energizing smoothie or a tall iced coffee and join me for...

Step 2: Purge.

Sort through each room: every wall, closet, drawer, box, and floor. Every item is subject to the following questions:

  • Does it add value to my life?
  • Have I used it in the last year?
  • Is it easily replaced?
  • Will it add value to someone else’s life?

If the item is not a “keeper,” it gets placed into one of the prepared bins: Garbage, Sell, Give Away.

As more items accumulate into the “give away” pile, I repeat John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

spring tip 2 purge verse

Also, I use the growing trash pile as a visual for the sin and selfishness that God is cleaning out of my heart:

  • I trash my pride in self-sufficiency.
  • I throw away the growing feeling of jealousy over other’s homes.
  • Let all rude talk be tossed out!

It can be difficult to let go of certain items in my home. Even though my blue sweater doesn’t fit anymore, I don’t want to lose it. I know certain books, magazines, and movies aren’t healthy to keep in our home, but I struggle to part with them.

I think we hang on to our sin nature in a similar way. This song is a huge encouragement to me when God purges me of relationships, habits, and desires that don’t belong in a daughter of God:

There you have it. Purge and repent… and see your life looking more like Christ’s and your home more like the simple sanctuary our families need.

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Spring Cleaning Step 1: Prepare

spring tip 1 prepareSpring is (finally) here and summer is fast on it’s heals. For those of us in the western states (like my gorgeous Wyoming), it has been a long hard winter. The cabin fever was definitely taking a toll on my husband and I by mid-Februrary. Now it is April, and I have taken on a much needed purging project of our home… if only I can stay inside long enough to conquer it!

Here’s my first step in cleaning my home, and my heart, to better glorify God.

Step 1: Prepare.

  • Light a candle: It instantly makes the room feel pleasant. It also reminds me of the presence of God working in my heart.
  • Set up 3 bins labeled:
    1. garbage
    2. give away
    3. sell.

If I can’t find a place for an item while I am cleaning, it goes into one of those bins.

  • Invite God to work: I prepare my heart for the Holy Spirit’s work by singing “Here For You” by Matt Redman.

Let our praise be Your welcome
Let our songs be a sign
We are here for You

We welcome You with praise
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

spring tip 1 prep verse

  • Start with a clean space (home)/Come as you are (heart): 

In my home, it is hard to sort, purge, then organize things if they are not ready to be put away (like dirty dishes and clothes). Starting with a clean space gives me a good baseline to work with.

The complete opposite is true in my spiritual life. So often I want to “clean up” before I meet with Jesus. For instance, if I have caught myself gossiping or talking rudely, I want to give myself a couple days to speak kind words, blog about the evils of gossip, and diligently guard my tongue. After I have “cleaned up my act,” then I will sit down and meet with God. I feel my repentance is genuine and proven, so there is no need to feel guilty anymore.
There are two major flaws in this approach to spiritual spring cleaning:
1. I am relying on my own perceived ability to wash myself clean.
I don’t want to turn to God for sanctification, I want to do it myself. It gives me a sense of pride and control. This good deed, of course, is covering sin with sin, and appears like further filth in Gods eyes (filthy rags). My spiritual tidy-up is not a true form of repentance.
2. My “cleaning up before coming to Jesus” isn’t needed.
On the cross, Jesus said “it is finished.” Past, present, and future sins have already been paid for through HIS work. My “work” to pay for it is just a joke, and perhaps slap in the face to the One who died for them.
spring clean prep quote
Instead, I should come to God wholly acknowledging my dirty cluttered selfish heart.I can do so with confidence and gratefulness because I know God already sees the finished product: a clean, organized, shining image of His Son. The Holy Spirit does the work to reconcile my perspective with God’s, and I remain humbly thanking Jesus for His payment for it all.

As you tidy up a room before deep cleaning, take a moment with me to acknowledge our helplessness before our God “who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9


Campfire Check In:

These simple ideas help me get into the groove for deep spiritual and domestic cleaning. How do you get ready for a cleaning-spree?

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Spring Cleaning Tips (for the Home and the Heart)

spring cleaningAnyone gearing up for Spring cleaning!?

As we prepare to move into a new home and welcome two new humans into our life, I have been compelled to conduct an epic pre-move purge.

I have also committed to opening my heart to the Holy Spirit’s Spring cleaning in preparation for the coming changes.

My anthem for this journey is this:

Psalm 139


As I search and “try” each aspect of our home, I am asking God to do the same in my heart. (My pup is less than interested in this adventure and will probably continue sleeping through it all.)

For the next few days, I’ll be posting my steps to empty both my home and heart of what doesn’t belong. I hope you join me for this time of sanctifying our homes and hearts, from the inside out.

Click "follow" to get regular updates and the next installment in the Spring Cleaning series.

Campfire Check in:

What room needs the most attention in your home? How about your heart?

Active Prayers for your Husband: Part 5

Its just a couple days till 2013! One way I have been preparing for the newness of the year is by cleaning. It was a little early to take down our tree, but I accidentally killed it (turns out a Christmas tree needs water every day.) So Shane and I dragged the forest out of our home and I have been busy picking pine needles out of my carpet and couch cushions. Never been much of a cleaner, but the sense of newness hanging in the air drives me to pick up a scrub brush. (Not to mention, my brother-in-law and his perfectly lovely girlfriend are coming to visit, and I’m sure they’d like to sit on a couch that didn’t resemble a porcupine.)

Cleaning is also a great reminder to pray. Read on for the final installment of 5 Active Prayers for your Husband:

Intercession while cleaning your house:


This active prayer is more personal than directly related to your husband. I have this idea that a proper husband desires a clean and orderly home, with dinner on the table and pie in the oven. While this is not the reality for most women, home-making is an art that is often lost in the busyness of today. I had this great expectation that I would be a master home-maker by our 1st year anniversary….

That failed.

But I did learn a valuable lesson. My husband does not desire a warm and welcoming house and much as he longs for a warm and welcoming wife. He said to me once, “Becky, you are my home.” I realized that all the time I spent stressing about vacuums and windex, getting the enchiladas just right, and designing and decorating the home was coming from a good heart, but a misplaced direction.

Because if I burnt the enchiladas or left the vacuum out when my husband got home, I felt worthless. My self-esteem crashed and I spent the night pouting about my failure as a home-maker. What my husband truly desires was a wife who had a clean heart, not a clean house. He wants to come home to a warm embrace, not always a warm plate. I resolved to praying for my husband while cooking or cleaning, focusing God’s work within me, not just my work within the home.

visit Darlene Schacht's website for more great ideas: http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.ca
visit Darlene Schacht’s website for more great ideas: http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.ca

I pray for humility and warmth to welcome my husband with the heart of a Godly woman. I ask God to prepare my heart, my mind, and my body to be available to minister to my husband in the few evening hours I get to spend with him in the work week.

Preparing our home, and my heart, through prayer makes my husbands home-coming so much more pleasant for the both of us.

Try praying this for yourself, and your husband: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Psalms 51:10-12)

Well, there you have it, 5 ways to actively (and hopefully with less distraction) pray for your husband. I hope that it renews your intimacy with the Lord and in your marriage.