Monday, September 30, 2013

How We Celebrated Birthdays with Young Children!

I recently had a wonderful time in this Autumn weather of counting my blessings as I am a September birthday girl (I don't mind telling you how many birthdays this makes, but I always heard it wasn't good manners for a woman to tell!). I will say that I think the 50s are a great season!  

I know that some people consider every day the same, and there is not a lot of hoopla over someone’s birthday. That’s okay, too. Consider the family of Jim Elliot.  

Jim was a missionary who was martyred in 1956 for his faith at 28 years of age—he was murdered by the Huaorani Indians in Ecuador to whom he felt called to bring the Gospel. When Jim was only twenty-two, he said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

In Jim’s household growing up, his parents took the view that each day mattered the same to God, so there was not a lot of fuss made over birthdays.  They founded their belief on Romans 14:5 which states, “One man considers one day more sacred than another;  another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”  In their minds, they were convinced. 

I fall on the other side of the coin. I am fully convinced that some days are special days, “holy days,” such as holidays and birthdays. I am grateful that we began birthday traditions in our young family that will forever be a part of my children's childhood memories. 

I made a simple birthday flag out of felt before 2 of our 4 children were born. Our daughter, Blair, was nearly 4 when we made it "together," and our second child, John, was an infant. 

It's pictured below (thanks to Ann Hibbard for the idea in her book Family Celebrations) The balloons are hot glued on, but each child’s name is removable with Velcro or tape (I use the same banner and just change the name for that child's birthday). Each child has removable milestones from their life on the banner made out of felt, and dated on back. Here's what my son's (Alex) flag looks like:

Alex’s graphics are a tooth, (the year he lost his first tooth) a swing, (representing the year he learned to pump a swing) a deer, (the year he first went hunting) and I put a “P” on a sticky note with an American flag (he can now vote for the President of the United States!).

Our children’s birthdays were like no other day of the year!  On their birthday when they were small, they had the option of sleeping in our bed!  If not, I made sure they had fresh sheets for their birthday. I called special friends the day before, and asked if they could call on the birthday and leave a message.  

They wake up to pictures of themselves from their birth at the hospital to each year, all spread on the kitchen table in frames.  Signs are posted in the house saying “Happy Birthday!” (I go around the house gathering frames and putting up signs right before I go to bed the night before).

I serve their favorite foods for all three meals! (you have to gather everything a few days ahead so you're ready, of course!)

I interview each child on their birthday and record it. I make their first recording before they are born ... it is the sound of their heartbeat at the doctor’s office.  They are loved before they are even born!

Next, the whole family goes on a family birthday outing (once, my hubby had to meet us there because it came at a busy work time, but usually he was able to take the day off and we went in one car). 

For the outings, we have gone horseback riding, go-cart riding, putt-putting, museum depended on the child’s wishes. We listen to the tape of their birthday interviews in the car as we leave for the outing. How fun it is to hear their voices change over the years! 

They open their presents after the family celebration dinner, as each family member says what they most appreciate about that person.  My husband prays over that child in thanksgiving to God for their life. Because the entire day has been centered on the birthday child, gift-giving is purposefully placed at the end. They fall into bed on their birthday night knowing how much they are loved.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Enjoy the pictures below from my birthday weekend last weekend. Some of you already saw them on Instagram {@juanamikels}. ☺ I came home the night before my birthday to flowers and a cake with a beautiful note from my husband. He had arranged dinner for us with some friends. He had another small cake delivered to the table! We have a lot of cake. Would you like to come over?

It was parents' weekend at our sons' college (they attend same university). Now that was a wonderful that it was the same weekend! That was a huge blessing!

John (21), me, & Alex {yes Alex (19) had a moustache in the photo,
but it went off 5 minutes after this was taken!}
My hubby suggested it, and next thing I knew, it vanished :-)
I'd love to hear your family birthday traditions!

I'd also love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.
Walk by Faith, 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Link to Hear My Testimony Today at Bentwinds & Wednesday's Prayer Girls and Link-Up Party!

"The wise woman builds her house, 
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

(Proverbs 14:1)

I was that foolish woman—as you are about to hear.

Below is a link of the talk I gave today to the women of Priority Associates in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. 

We laughed together and we cried together!

I tell how I came to faith in Christ, how He saved my marriage, and how He provided His  grace to us in the birth of our 4th child who was born totally blind (running time: 53 minutes, which includes a 2 minute introduction by Teresa Parker Hamby).

May you be drawn to the Savior in whatever circumstances you are in as you listen to my testimony. To listen, go to the follow link and click download:

If you're reading this on your smartphone, you can click the above link and listen on your phone if you prefer to drive or walk with earphones and listen.  You can also cut and paste the above link and email it to someone else.  

The two Biblical principles I gave in my talk above are:

1. Man's part is to trust, and God's part is to work.

2.  Receive everything in your life as directly from God's hand. 

Now it's time for

Wednesday's Prayer Girls and the Link-Up Party!


Can't wait to hear what's been on your heart! If you are a Christian blogger, we'd love to read what you've been writing, so link-up below!

If you have a non-confidential prayer request, or praise to share, please put it in the blog comments below, and I will reply back to you there!

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be given to you as well." -Matthew 6:33

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Former LGBT Woman's Train Wreck Conversion Story: A 180° Turn

To me, there's nothing that quite compares to hearing the story of a changed life. Today I want you to meet a beautiful, courageous woman named Rosaria.

Dr. Rosaria Butterfield
Rosaria is a Pastor's wife and a mother—homeschooling her younger two children. A former English professor who received tenure the same year she received Christ, Dr. Rosaria Butterfield recently spoke on her former homosexuality, feminism, university culture, and the gospel integrity that shone through the lives of Christian neighbors and friends. I have the link of the talk for you below.

Over a decade ago, she had written a controversial public article which spurred a good bit of mail. She placed each response into one of two boxes: hate mail and fan mail. Oddly, there was one letter that fell into neither category from a man named Ken Smith. She threw it into the trash. She later retrieved it. It was the beginning of a long journey.

I won't spoil the talk!  You can hear her entire talk complete with questions from the audience at the end here

Rosaria's testimony reminded me of the complete grace of God, and challenged me to pray for opportunities to engage in other's lives with the real, tangible love of Christ in friendship.

You can find her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert here.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Three Reasons Why A Godly Woman Gets Her Sleep

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about sleep. I've had plenty of time, because ever since school began a few weeks ago, I haven't been sleeping so well. So as usual, I'm mostly talking to ... ahem ... myself {embarrassed face}.

How have you been sleeping? I usually sleep quite well, falling fast asleep in five minutes and waking up with the alarm. Lately, I seem to be wide awake and have difficulty falling asleep and then am dragging when the alarm goes off.

I can't complain because I have a friend that is being treated for major sleep difficulties. She has been going through trouble sleeping for month and months, and averages about three hours sleep per night. I have another friend that has a loud ringing in one ear (please lift them up in prayer right now!).

All this has me thinking about sleep. So let's go to the Source!

Since those of us who call ourselves Christians look to God's Word to know the mind of God on whatever troubles us, let's look at what God tells us personally in His love letter to us—about the thing He invented for us to do for one-third of our lives—sleep.

"It is vain for you that ye rise up early and so late take rest, and eat the bread of toil: for so He giveth unto His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2)

Wow! That's a lot to unpack. Let's get started on 3 reasons why God gives us sleep:

1. God gives sleep! God is a giving God! Remember, "for God so loved the world He gave..." Sleep is a gift from Him. He created us, and He created our bodies in such a way that we sleep and need sleep daily.

2. Sleep gives us rest! Have you ever gone to bed with what seemed like a huge, insurmountable problem only to find out that after a good night's rest the solution came much easier and quicker than the previous night? A good night's sleep refreshes us! But let's look closer, it appears from God's Word that He intends for more than just physical nourishment during our sleep time.

3. He tells us that He is working on our behalf while we sleep! This is getting to be my absolute favorite reason, although for years I confess I have coveted sleep only for the rest factor. Evidently there are some things that need to be accomplished in our life that God chooses to do while we are doing nothing but sleeping! 

Just think of it! We can tell ourselves, "I need to get in bed now, for God has much He is doing in my life!" Psalm 127:2 tells us we can be certain of that!

Oh, how foolishly I do the very opposite. I run around and when I should be winding down, I'm just getting started. I guess I would say I'm a night person. But as I've been pondering Psalm 127:2, being a "night person" is no excuse. 

How vain it is for me to toil late, thinking I'm accomplishing "so much" on my own. On the contrary, God tells me in His Word basically to stop, and go to bed, because I'm acting like for God's will to be done in my life it's really up to me to be busy as a bee squeezing the most out of everyday. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Responding to one more email.

Getting out just one tweet.

Just one more piece of paper to move about the house.

If God's in it, a reasonable amount of effort on my part is enoughif He is not in itno amount of effort on my part will be enough.

I'm actually looking forward to going to bed tonight! I'm thinking of all that God is going to do that I can't see that is taking place divinely as I'm asleep.

Isn't faith defined as the "assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen?" (Hebrews 11:1)

Tonight, I'm committing my life and my soul to God as I sleep, and may He grant me rest as He does His supernatural spiritual workas only God can do. I hope you'll be joining me wherever your head hits the pillow tonight!

"The deepest concerns of our souls, whether they be good or bad, are furthered during sleep. It is not merely a physical fact that you go to bed perplexed and wake clear-minded: God has been ministering to you during sleep. Sometimes God cannot get at us until we are asleep." -Oswald Chambers

How's your sleep? Do you want to join me in welcoming God's supernatural work in your life in the sleep He grants you instead of scurrying or surfing around when we should be in bed?

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Disclaimer: Mothers of young children are in a fleeting season of life. They often have to grab sleep when babies sleep—especially if they are expecting another child! Also, you or your husband may work nights, or have a small window to see one another which would be a great reason to stay up to see him. We don't have young children anymore {sad face}. The season of young children goes so fast. It is a delightful season but it is exhausting! Our family's routine is that of up days, and sleep nights—which is the case for the majority. Your situation may be unique. Please see comments below which help to bring balance to this post. So grateful for you!  
Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Speaking Next Tuesday in NC & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

For those that live in the Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina area, I'll be speaking there next Tuesday, September 24, for Priority Associates at the Bentwinds Country Club. They still have room if you would like to join us for lunch at 11:30 a.m. The event is over at 1:00 p.m.

I'll be giving my testimony of how I came to faith in Christ, how God gave us a second chance at our marriage, and God's grace in the birth of our fourth child who was born totally blind.

I'd love to meet you there!  To register, contact:

Priority Associates
Registrar: Faye Johnson

Today is Wednesday, and it's time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls and Link-Up Party!

I love to pray for you on Wednesdays. Just leave your non-confidential prayer in the comment section below, and I will write you back there.

For Christian bloggers, please share your blog link below! We'd love to hop around and see what you've been writing lately! Thank you for sharing what's on your heart below. 

Walk by Faith,

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking Up of the Cross in Marriage (& Everyday Life!)

When a bride walks down the aisle to join with her groom, the last word on her mind is duty. Duty? She's thinking, "I love this man!"

As I attended a dear friend's daughter's wedding last month, the word "duty" came easily to my mind as the bride was marrying a navy pilot. His life is one filled with duty! He had to report immediately for survival training as soon as they returned from their honeymoon.

What a great name for training: survival training. He would be left for two weeks in a remote location to survive in preparation for work he could later be called upon to do.

I thought about our callings as wives and the taking up of the cross.

"To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us." -J. H. Newman

What "small duty" do you have that you would just as soon skip because it is not your thing? It's not your cup of tea?

Perhaps your husband loves sports and you don't care a thing about sports. Can you sit with him as he watches the game? Can you make that an offering to Christ?

I love how Newman defines the taking up of the cross as the "continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us." They cut across our preferences, don't they? That's where we can take up our cross. That's where the rubber meets the road. 

Whenever something cuts against our will—we have an opportunity to die to ourselves.  

We cannot take up our cross in some huge heroic effort and consider it "done" either. We need to take up the cross of Christ daily, as we die to ourselvesdie to our own way.

I think it's easy to think that when the Bible speaks of the "taking up of the cross," that means some huge thing done for Christ—like a decision to move to the opposite side of the country or to work in a hospital in Africa. And for some, this certainly may be a taking up of the cross. 

But for most of us, I think it's easy to miss the chance to take up the cross in everyday matters.  If our faith cannot meet us right where we live, what use is it? 

So, how does the "taking up of the cross" work itself out practically in our lives?

I think for women, we can die to ourselves when we bite our tongues instead of going on and on (talking to myself here!).  Our tongues can get us in a lot of trouble. Can I get an "Amen" on that one? "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." (Proverbs 10:19)

If my husband turns left, and I think we need to turn right—wouldn't it be better to just be quiet and see the way my husband is choosing to go? Dying to self is a very practical thing, isn't it?

Newman defined it above as taking up duties that are distasteful to us. Literally speaking, isn't that like swallowing a bite of food we don't like? No one wants to taste food that we don't like, but the point is we can swallow it—with the right attitude.

What if everyone wants to go out for Chinese, and you want Mexican? Why not keep your ( mouth shut literally and be easy to live with? (I'm talking to myself here, who would quite naturally want to recount to everyone the number of times we had recently had Chinese and justify why we should get Mexican!)

We need to purchase a car soon. A young driver hit my car when my daughter was driving last week, and thankfully no one got a scratch on them, but my car is totaled. My husband knows a lot about cars. I don't know a thing about cars. He's been searching Internet to identify what kind of car we are going to get.

I need my answer to be, "sure," when he finishes his search and decides what car is the best one for us. Is it really that easy? Of course not! 

I don't want a red car. I think they stick out too much. I just want to get where I'm going and not be noticed. You know what the Lord keeps telling me? Just be quiet about the car, and let your husband pick a car for your family. I need to die to self on this car thing. If we end up getting a red car, I'm going to get a lot of opportunities to die to self as I'm riding a red car down the road!!!  

I'm sorry if I just burst your bubble and you thought I was some super spiritual person, because I am not. I don't like red cars for me. I need God's help every hour. I need to just be thankful for it and drive the thing. If I'm going to follow Christ, I need to die to self. Enough about the car. 

I love the following short story, and it's attributed to a source named "Life of James Hinton." 

"On one occasion an intimate friend of his was fretting somewhat at not being able to put a cross on the grave of a relation, because the rest of the family disliked it. 'Don't you see,' he said to her, 'that by giving up your own way, you will be virtually putting a cross on the grave? You'll have it in its effect. The one is but a stone cross, the other is a true spiritual cross.' "

Think of all the spiritual crosses we could offer back to God as we give up our own way! We could offer a mere glance upward to God as we deny our way for His. What a beautiful spiritual cross!

I remember that dear old saint, Corrie Ten Boom, who traveled over 60 countries as a "tramp for the Lord," telling of his saving grace in the concentration camps during World War II. As the Lord began calling her to give her testimony after the war, she in effect said, "Lord, I just hope you don't call me to Germany. I'll go anywhere but Germany." Germany had been the cause of so much pain including the death of her sister in a concentration camp there.

Yet, as God worked in her heart, she began to change her prayer to, "Lord, I'll go anywhere You want me to go to tell your story."

That's a heart ready to take up the cross!

Her calling did eventually lead her right into Germany with the message of Christ's love and forgiveness to a people desperately in need of the Gospel message.

Hearing her story inspires me, and almost makes me feel foolish for the non-issue things I take time to even lose thoughts over! Lord, I want to drive any car you want me to, and to be thankful for it for transportation! Thank you for the money to buy a car. 

If I end up with a red car, I could offer it up everyday as an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality! After all, it would be red like the blood Jesus shed for me!

Can we learn to say my life for yours—modeled so beautifully by our Lord who said, "not my will, but Thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

Now it's your turn. How can you give up your right to your preference in your marriage or in everyday life?

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross daily, and follow me. " -Luke 9:23

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In My Seat - A Pilot's Story Like No Other on Sept 10-11

Steve Scheibner was supposed to have the pilot's seat on one of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center. Listen as he tells his story—pointing us all to the ultimate One who took our place on the cross. To hear the rest of Steve's story read "In My Seat" the book. It is available at

Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Giveaway Winners Announced & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Two people are going to be excited to be the winners of the beautiful ceramic prayer bowls from the good people at! We just pulled two names out of the hat. The winners are:

You will each be receiving a lovely scripture bowl with prayer cards!

Tracey K. and Cflegette, email me at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your lovely prayerbowl, with your complete mailing address! Tom and Karen Berry, the owners of are going to mail your gift directly to you. You are going to love it!

Those who did not win, don't feel discouraged! Check out the bowls at I have some good news for you. Remember the book Passion Pursuit, from this summer's giveaway by Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow? Moody mailed me two more yesterday, so we will be pulling 2 more names from this summer's entries! More soon on that, and how newcomers can enter. 

It's Wednesday and that means it's time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls and Link-Up Party!
If I can pray for your non-confidential prayer request, please leave it in the comments below, and I'm happy to reply to you there and pray for you. I did the first one for you!

If you're a Christian blogger, please share one or more of your blog links below so everyone can enjoy hopping around your beautiful blogs. We'd love to see what you've been writing about!

Walk by Faith,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pan-Roast Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese {Plus Side Dishes}

Recently we had a few good friends over for dinner, and I made this recipe which was a big hit so I thought I would share it with you, along with the sides I served. It's Pan-Roast Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese, Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, and Sizzling Garlic Broccoli florets.

It's best to use fresh herbs if possible. We had lots of rosemary in our garden, that you'll see I used below for the potatoes, but the rest of the herbs I bought in those small fresh packages at the store.

You'll see in a moment in the recipe below that you will be transferring the stuffed chicken to a hot oven for only ten minutes after browning it on the stove first. The goat cheese gets good and melty as your chicken finishes cooking in the oven {yum-yum}.

The house smelled fabulous when the Lemon-Rosemary Potatoes were roasting in the oven.

You'll love that the sizzling broccoli florets take only about 12 minutes.

I was having so much fun visiting with everyone that I forgot to take a picture of the dessert. I wanted it to be really super easy in case I ran out of time, so I fell back on these Belgian Mini Cream Puffs that I bought at the grocery store. 

I thawed them and dusted them with sifted confectioner's sugar. I served them all from one big plate with colorful strawberries and blueberries and coffee.

My husband helped me to wash up all the pots and pans as I cleaned up before our company started ringing the doorbell :-)

I think everyone liked it because all the plates were ... empty!

Ingredients for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese:
(serves 4)

  • 4 0z. creamy goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I used parsley, chives, oregano, and basil...did slightly more and saved the extra to sprinkle on top...see picture above.)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, salt, pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine goat cheese, herbs and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. With one hand hold chicken breast in place, and cut in nearly in half horizontally (kitchen scissors make this easier). Open out flat and spread a quarter of the herbed mixture over the opened out breast half. Fold over and secure with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Repeat for each chicken breast
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the chicken and brown each side until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer to an oven pan, and cook through about 10 minutes.
Ingredients for Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes:
(serves 4-6)
  • 2 lb. potatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp crumbled dried)
  • 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine the potato quarters with the garlic, lemon juice, oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix to coat each piece evenly (I use latex gloves!) Place in a baking pan (I first sprayed the pan with cooking spray, but not sure if that's necessary with the oil on the potatoes?)
  3. Cook uncovered for 70 minutes or until crisp. 

Ingredients for Sizzling Garlic Broccoli Florets
(serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 10 oz - 1 lb broccoli florets (cook in microwave with about 1 cup water about 7 minutes 'til tender, but keep bright green; drain)
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt, black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 'til garlic golden, about 1 minute
  3. Add the bright green cooked florets
  4. Cook, stirring, until wilted and tender but still bright green. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper. Serve hot.
I also served one pan of hot rolls. 

Everyone asked me what they could bring. Sometimes we all pitch in. But now and then— like with this mealI love answering: "nothing except YOU!" It's a gift to give a friend a night completely ... "off"

Enjoy your meal!

Last thing ... tonight (September 9) at midnight EST is the deadline for entries to win the beautiful scripture bowl on my blog from the good people at who will be mailing 2 ceramic bowls from Portugal directly to our winners. 

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog I wrote last week, saying something you are thankful to God for! How easy is that? (just click the word COMMENT at the very end of the blog under my signature) 

It comes with prayer cards to pray for people who are on your heart. You can see the bowl right here—it's very pretty! 

Walk by Faith,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Organization Tip: Put Away, Give Away, Throw Away!

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." 
"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." 
-1 Corinthians 14:33,40 

I remember years ago realizing that it was important that I learn to have order in our home to be a good homemaker. As I sat poolside with a coworker's wife, I was telling her about it. She was from the Great Lakes area, where she loved skiing. She told me that when she came in from skiing, she would drop everything in their home wherever she was.

She said that was just the way she was. She turned to me (I remember this like it was yesterday!) and said, "what's wrong with chaos?"

I told her that I was a "messie," too, and could totally relate, but that we could learn to have order not for the sake of order, but because we live in our homes with other people. I told her God was a God of order, and that I wanted to reflect His design.

Having order in our home is something that does not come naturally for me, and I have to constantly work on it.

Do you, (like me ;-) ever have trouble finding something because you haven't put your stuff away to begin with? I'm so guilty of that!

I get back from one place and don't fully unpack before I start pulling out my hair brush and my tennis shoes to use them. Before I know it, we are packing to go somewhere else and I'm looking for something that never got unpacked! Then when I get back, I start pulling out the first thing I need at that moment all over again... not a very organized way to find what you need.

A much better plan would be to unpack everything and put it away. I hope to do that next time I get back from a trip!

One huge organization tip that I learned years ago is the sorting method of cleaning up. You put everything in the area you are cleaning into one of three piles: put away, give away, and throw away (warning: don't try to tackle the whole apartment or whole house!). Pick an area you can really accomplish in the next 30 minutes tops, or reasonable amount of time)

Remember to allow time to really put the items where they belong that are in the put away bag.

Let me know how you do. Don't forget to do something with your piles. You might want to put the give away bag in your car. You want it handy when you are near Good Will or the people you want to give the items to.You know that potty that you haven't used in 12 years because your youngest in now 14? You can give it away!

The throw away pile is easy. Just toss it in the trash. All those pens that don't work that you keep around thinking one day they might just start working again—just throw them away! If something is broken beyond repair, you can actually feel good about finally getting rid of it!

I'm actually heading off right now to do some sorting and putting away myself. I can promise you I'll have a throw away pile of papers that no one needs!

I can't believe I got through this whole post and never mentioned the C word. CLUTTER!!!!! It surfaces and multiplies so easily. When we remove clutter, we actually feel more energy looking at a clean counter (I don't have any scientific research on it—just speaking here to my own experience as having spent a lot of one on one time with clutter... he zaps me of energy and I feel so much more motivated when things are in order. Not to mention that my husband LOVES order.

I'd love to hear about your battle with clutter, and how you get organized!

Psssssssst! Before we go, don't forget about the current giveaway I have going on right now because of the good people at Their ceramic prayer bowl is lovely and they will mail 2 winners off my blog a brand new prayer bowl next week. Contest ends Monday night, September 9, at midnight. Details are here on my last blog here.

Walk by Faith

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Christian PrayerBowl Giveaway & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Hi everyone! I missed you this weekend as I was away with my family with all four of our children with us. I'm back and ready to launch a fantastic Christian Giveaway today with you as we also host prayer here on my blog on Wednesday's Prayer Girls and Link-Up Party!

Everyone who has been reading my blog long knows that setting aside one day a week on the blog helps me to pray for your needs and for you to pray for one another!

That's why I was really excited to offer you this lovely prayer bowl from Tom and Karen Berry of

Karen had been very sick several years ago. Family and friends prayed for her, and even some strangers. One stranger prayed daily for Karen for over a year by placing her name on a card and placing it in a bowl as a reminder to pray for her. Karen liked the idea so much, that she made a distinctive bowl for herself and a few others. That's how PrayerBowls began.

They created these lovely ceramic bowls from Portugal to facilitate your praying for others. Isn't it beautiful? They actually have two styles and have provided one of each for our giveaway!

You simply write out the prayer for a specific person and place it in the bowl. I find that placing the bowl on our kitchen table makes it easy to remember to pray for them.

Here's how to enter to win:

Leave a one sentence prayer of thanksgiving in the comment section below with your first name and last initial before this link-up closes next Monday, September 9, at 11:59 PM, EST!
Two winners will be randomly picked & announced on next Wednesday's Prayer Girls (Sept 11)
Re-enter drawing for each time you share this blog link (& tell me so:-) on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

 It's time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Bloggers, enter your link to your Christian Blog below! To enter to win this beautiful PrayerBowl, enter something you are thankful for as a prayer to encourage someone else in the comments section below! I've entered the first one for you!
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." -Philippians 4:6

Walk by Faith,