Freedom from Searching for Approval

FreedomFromApproval

I sometimes struggle with wanting to seek the approval of others. This is evident to me when I talk a lot about something really awesome my kids did or when I share too much about my own life. Yes, some sharing is needed for friendship building but not when it’s done with the hope of feeling good enough.

So I’ve been thinking – what would happen if I simply didn’t care whether or not others approve of me? How would I feel? What would change?

For me, I think it’d look like this:

  • Not feeling embarrassed or worried that someone may think I’m a bad mom when my kids act out.
  • Embracing my imperfections to the point that I can laugh about them.
  • Not hiding my successes out of fear of looking “too perfect” to others.
  • Explaining myself less.
  • Using more exclamation points when I write. (!)
  • Et cetera.

Not caring about meeting others’ approval feels like freedom.

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And I wonder: why do I ever care about meeting the approval of someone else? Why do I sometimes feel the need to hide how great or not-so-great that I’m doing? What does that accomplish? Those who truly care about me don’t even need or want me to search for their approval.

Plus, successful approval-seeking may help me to feel good, but only temporarily. And then I’m left trying again, working harder, just to try to find more approval. But in the end it doesn’t matter.  It’s suffocating. It’s exhausting. And it’s costly. It costs me my well being, my sense of freedom, and it can hurt my relationships with those I love the most.

In the end, it doesn’t even matter what everyone else thinks of me. It ultimately only matters what Christ thinks. Did I love Him fully? Did I serve Him well? Did I encourage my family to glorify Him above all else?

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NKJV)

Trying to be approved by the world is an impossible task that can never be fully accomplished. But in Christ? It’s enough. I’m enough. I’m loved. I’m approved. I’m complete.

And so are you.

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Reminder: Final Chance to Purchase Your Organizational eBook Bundle

Organize365 All Organized Ebundle 23 ebooks to organize your home and home based business for $20

Just a reminder that today (Monday, April 7th, 2014) is the last day to purchase the All Organized eBundle.

This fabulous eBundle is only $20 for all 23 books, plus printables. That’s a savings of $133! Go here today to see the rest of the details. Or if you’re ready to buy, you can just click below:

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Thanks for reading; I’ll be back to my regular-style posts later this week!
~Davonne~

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Helping You Organize Your Home and Home-Based Business: A Fantastic eBook Bundle!

Special Note: While the fun sale I’m going to tell you about lasts for 14 days, you will only receive 2 emails total from me about this – this one today plus a last-minute reminder the final day of the sale (April 7th).

Organize365 All Organized Ebundle 23 ebooks to organize your home and home based business for $20

Since this blog is not a sales blog, I rarely write sales articles. Today, however, I want to share information about an organizational eBook bundle with you because:

  1. This is a great deal.
  2. I love organization.
  3. I’m excited that one of my books is part of this bundle!

Here’s information about this fabulous deal…

Welcome to the eBundle that will have you organizing your schedule as well as spring cleaning your home and home based business! In these 23 eBooks, you’ll find tips, support and know-how about working from home, cleaning, organizing, and mom support along with printables!

Organize365 All Organized Ebundle 23 ebooks to organize your home and home based business for $20

The All Organized – Organization eBook Bundle is available March 24th until April 7th for only $20. That’s a savings of $133! So hop over and buy it now!

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Organizing your home

Organize your home and home based business with the organizing mini bundle from Organize365.com

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This 6 eBook mini eBundle (sold as part of the full eBundle) will have you breathing a sigh of relief as you move through getting your pictures organized, know what paper you need to keep, help for homemaking, and working towards having less stuff & more living!

Working from home

Organize your home and home based business with the work at home mom mini bundle from Organize365.com

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The ‘Working from Home’ mini eBundle (sold as part of the full eBundle) will help you stay calm and productive when you need to work while children are underfoot. Complete with an eClass, this bundle will also help you organize your direct sales business as well as learn about establishing office hours and a schedule that will help you thrive as you run a family and a business.

Moms

Organize your home and home based business with the mom support mini bundle from Organize365.com

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This mini eBundle (sold as part of the full eBundle) will help all of us with meal planning and involving the kids in cleaning so we can work and live more efficiently. There’s also support here for the mothers of special needs children and those in the military to learn how to organize their homes even more efficiently.

Cleaning

Organize your home and home based business with the cleaning mini bundle from Organize365.com

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This mini eBundle of 2 cleaning books is mighty! It’ll help you schedule your cleaning and know what’s clean enough so you’re not embarrassed when clients, friends, or your mother-in-law stops by unexpectedly.

(Also sold as part of the full eBundle.)

Schedule

Organize your home and home based business with the scheduling mini bundle from Organize365.com

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This ‘Scheduling’ mini eBundle of 6 will help you create a schedule, arrive on time, and provide simple strategies that work for your entire life. With the planner printables included, you will be able to make a plan that works for YOU!

(Also sold as part of the full eBundle.)

This eBundle will be available March 24th until April 7th for only $20. That’s a savings of $133! So hop over and buy it now!

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The Fine Print: We have all the nitty gritty details over on the Frequently Asked Questions Page, but here are a few highlights:

  • Download and back up your eBundle right away! We all know how busy life can be, so don’t wait! We can renew download links until May 9, 2014.
  • Can’t find your eBundle? Check the spam folder in your PAYPAL email.
  • All sales are final. There are no refunds and the deadline for purchasing will not be extended.
  • If you have any questions or issues with any of the e-Books included in this bundle, please contact that author directly.
  • YES! This eBundle CAN be read on Kindles, iPads and more!
  • Have questions about the eBundle? Check out the FAQ page for support!

EXTRA fun!

Want to become an author or affiliate of our next eBundle? Head over and submit your eBook information!

Organize365 All Organized Ebundle 23 ebooks to organize your home and home based business for $20

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Thanks for reading – please feel free to contact me if you have any questions after reading the FAQ page. I’ll be back to my regular-style posts later this week!
~Davonne~

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Finding Quiet Rest in a Busy Culture

QuietRest
In a culture where busy-ness is glorified
and whoever has the most jam-packed schedule often appears to be the winner, seeking refuge and rest can be difficult.

But after a long year of challenges (that I wrote a little about here, here, and here), my family was burnt out. Our hearts were hurting, our health was suffering, and our souls were weary. We needed to rest, to heal, and to re-bond as a family.

So we pulled back. I quit the Internet. We didn’t sign up for extra-curricular activities. We stayed home more. We rested. I rested. And slowly, I found us healing.

As I allowed a season of quiet to permeate our lives, this song was often on my heart:

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

by Cleland B. McAfee
(Go here to see the rest of the lyrics and to listen to the song.)

And now as we emerge from our little cocoon of quietness, I’m finding that my family has blossomed together. This season of togetherness at home has enabled us to pinpoint issues and work on them.

My wild-one is calmer, my shy one is more confident, my husband and I are closer than ever, and we’re all emerging with our arms and eyes wide open.

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So I want to encourage you, sweet friend. If you’re burnt out, if you need to heal – then rest. Reevaluate your schedule. Seek a place of quiet rest, both in your home and in your heart.

Don’t be afraid to pull back. The activities will still be there if and when you’re ready.

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Why I Decided to Free Myself from the Internet

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Last spring, I went from working part time outside the home to being a full time stay-at-home mom but I didn’t always feel like I was spending much more quality time with my kids than when I worked.

Sure, my children and I spent more time cleaning since we were actually home to make messes. I also continued to spend a lot of time meeting their basic day-to-day needs like schoolwork, making and eating meals, and dealing with behavioral issues. And, yes, that stuff really does count. But it wasn’t enough.

As I thought about my days, I tried to figure out where I’d gone wrong and what I could possibly change. And while I’d heard all the advice about ignoring mom-guilt, I chose instead to listen to my instinct because I think guilt can sometimes be a good thing.

I believe that healthy guilt can propel us to change.

Some days I did really well, but as I listened to my guilt on my not-so-well days, I knew I felt guilty because I could have done better. I knew I’d disconnected from my kids for part of the day because being on the Internet was easier.

I was aware the real reason I didn’t read to my four year old some days was because I didn’t want anyone else to know I’d wasted time online that day so I chose to rush through afternoon chores instead of snuggling up with a good book.

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But you know what? My kids knew. They knew why I didn’t always have time to take them outside to play. They knew why I wasn’t always listening when they spoke to me. They knew the real reason I sometimes served a frozen pizza for dinner instead of cooking something healthier. Maybe I could hide it from everyone else, but the ones who matter the most, the little souls I’ve been entrusted to raise, they knew.

And I had two choices: I could either break free from the Internet now or I could one day regret that I hadn’t.

So I got drastic. I unfriended every single one of my Facebook friends. I deleted over 25,000 e-mails. I unsubscribed to no less than four dozen e-mail lists. I started keeping my phone on the charger again instead of in my pocket. I told my children I was sorry. I asked their forgiveness.

I started choosing to stay connected even when it was tough. Instead of escaping to an online world, I struggled and fought to stay focused on my own life.

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And I’m so glad I did. Because for me, in addition to being fully present for the difficult moments, being connected to real life also looks like:

  • Reading an entire stack of books to my four year old in one sitting.
  • Listening better to my eight year old.
  • Playing outside and visiting the library more often.
  • Training my children with more grace and diligence.
  • Welcoming friends into my home.
  • Spending more time with my husband each evening.
  • Joyfully organizing a few neglected areas.

It’s been a difficult fight and while I am completely positive that I still don’t have it perfectly correct, I have come a long way. I finally understand that, regardless of the struggle, overcoming is more than worth every second of the battle.

And the freedom is incredible.

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Tough Life Lessons that Taught Me to Embrace Today

Tough Life Lessons that Taught Me to Embrace Today

Sometimes I can be just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. There’s always a reason to be sad isn’t there?! Even on the most perfect days, I can think, “Well it’s going to end sometime.”

That is not a good attitude to have!

And you know what?

I’ve deeply regretted looking ahead to brighter days in the midst of difficult times because doing so has caused me to miss out on much of the beauty that’s offered in the here-and-now.

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Last year, I wrote an article about waiting for my Sunday to come. During that time, I had been searching for six months for an office manager to take my place at my husband’s computer business. I was weary. I couldn’t wait for the right person to take my position so I could just focus on homeschooling and writing and being with my sweet girls, as well as being able to take better care of my house.

But you know what happened in the midst of my search for a replacement? My grandfather passed away. His health had been getting poorer, but his death was very sudden. Here one minute, in Paradise the next. (It is mind-boggling to me to think about how quickly that happens).

Still, I clung to the hope that I’d be finished at the office soon. I even wrote my grandmother a two page letter about it. I told her all about how nervous I’d been for my upcoming transition into becoming a full-time stay-at-home-mom. I also wrote that as the time drew nearer, I’d started feeling a peace about it as God prepared my heart for home and for being together more with my precious family.

After I wrote that letter, I couldn’t help but think about the metaphorical similarities between God preparing my heart to come home to my children and God preparing my Grandmother’s heart to be with her missed loved ones in a more permanent dwelling place.

And just a few weeks after the new office manager took over my position, my grandmother passed away. Another sudden death. Out of the four family deaths in a nine month period, three happened so fast that nobody could even say goodbye.

Processing those deaths was difficult for me. And I learned a huge and painful lesson: I need to savor today. To enjoy the people I have right here. If I’d known my grandparents were going to die when I was busy searching for an office manager, I wouldn’t have been so anxious for that time of searching to end. I would have held on to those days, visited my grandparents more frequently on weekends, and soaked up their every word as I lingered on their couch and at their table.

But the thing is, I couldn’t know. I have no way of knowing who may or may not be in my life for much longer, whether it’s due to death, a move, or another circumstance. I don’t know how long I’ll have my health, or my possessions, or even my own earthy life. Everything could be gone in a second and I can’t do a thing about it.

I can choose to do one of two things with that knowledge: I can let fear of the unknown paralyze me, or I can appreciate what I have now, while it’s still here to enjoy.

I’m choosing the latter.

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I’m learning how to s
avor the moments so I can enjoy my days and my life.

Does this mean I’ll always be perfect at savoring every second? Absolutely not!

Recently, my kids acted ugly and I acted ugly right back. But instead of letting that ruin our day, I apologized and they apologized and we hugged and made up, then we all willingly admitted that we needed a break from each-other. So we set the timer for 90 minutes and went into our own corners of the house.

When we reunited, we were all happier to be together and we moved on with our day, refreshed and joyful once again.

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I can’t always choose what happens, but I can choose my reaction.

For example, I can choose to get annoyed when my husband arrives home late from work. Or, I can appreciate that he works hard to provide for our family and then choose to have a good evening with him.

When others treat me unkindly, I can get mad and treat them poorly right back, or I can realize that I’m blessed with an opportunity to grow, to mature, and to show them Jesus.

Regardless of the circumstances, I can either lean into the moments I’m given, or I can resist any discomfort as I allow undesirable situations to build a wall around my heart.

Although I know I won’t do this perfectly, whether my day is full of storms, filled with sunshine, or a mixture of both…

I want to lean.

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Why I Unfriended Every Single One of My Facebook Friends

Why I Unfriended Everyone On Facebook

Sometimes I wonder what my kids will be like when they (Lord-willing) become adults: Will my humorous, high-energy daughter focus her enthusiasm on something amazing? Will my sweet, creative daughter marry someone who will cherish her gentle spirit?

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Will my children love God?

What will their memories of me be like?

The questions and wonderings can swim around in my head until I have to shut off the “what-if’s” before those thoughts steal my joy of today.

And yet, one question remains: What will I regret?

I already know the answer.

I’ll regret being distracted. I’ll regret the times my oldest was trying to talk to me and I was too busy checking my Facebook news feed to really listen. I’ll regret the days when my youngest wanted me to read to her but I was too busy rushing around tidying up the house because I’d wasted time online.

I don’t know what events will someday stand out in my children’s minds, but I do know that I’ll deeply regret if most of their memories of me involve me looking at a bright screen instead of into their eyes.

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I shouldn’t live in a state of “What if’s,”
but asking myself what I’ll regret can be a valuable tool.

Because when I can get into my future brain for a few minutes and think back to my current self, I can clearly see what I should be doing.

And you know what I shouldn’t be doing? I shouldn’t be checking social media when I could be fully involved in the things that are happening right in front of me. I shouldn’t be distracted from real life.

So I evaluated my online time. I wrestled within myself. I spent months praying, thinking, and noticing.

I noticed that my kids are better-behaved when I stay away from my phone. I realized my high-energy daughter displays a quieter spirit when I snuggle up to read to her in an unrushed manner. I was reminded that my soft-spirited daughter shares her heart when the electronics are off and we’re working side-by-side on things like laundry and baking.

I noticed the days I kept all electronics 100% off, we accomplished more tasks, had more fun, and went to bed with that satisfied-exhausted feeling that only occurs after a productive, full day of work, play, and being connected.

girlsI also noticed that I didn’t have too many of those days before I felt the all-too-familiar tug of the Internet luring me back in. E-mails piled up, my Facebook news feeds grew, Pinterest had so many great things to pin…

Finally I had enough. I felt like I was in one of those slow-motion parts of movies, where the world starts spinning around, all of the noise blurs together, and the main character grows dizzier and dizzier until he cover his ears, curls into a ball, and shouts, “QUIET!”

I told my kids I was sorry. That I’d had enough. That I hated to be online again, but I needed some time to myself so I could break free from the Internet. They watched a movie and I got to work.

I deleted every single Facebook friend (although I did add my husband back when he asked), I “Unliked” about 40 pages, I left time-consuming groups, and I wrote a big status that I made public so if people search for me, they’ll be able to read it and know that my unfriending frenzy had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.

And I didn’t stop at Facebook. I deleted over 25,000 e-mails. I unsubscribed to no less than 50 e-mail lists (2 dozen the first day, and a couple dozen more since). I unfollowed several Pinterest boards.

It took hours. And you know what? I didn’t feel free right away. I felt mad.

There was nothing left to distract me from real life, and I felt serious social-media withdrawals. But I stuck it out.

And now, a few weeks later? I can’t imagine why I ever wasted so much time on Facebook. I love not knowing everything that’s going on with practically everybody I’ve ever met. I can still text, call, or e-mail whoever I need to talk to. People can contact me directly as well. I’m calmer. I feel like I have more time in my day.

I do still get online, but now it’s intentional. Basically, family needs to trump electronic time.

Will I ever regret this decision? I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of anyone who looked back on their life and said, “Oh, I just wish I’d ignored real life more and wasted more time on electronics.”

Quite the opposite. I’ve heard of people saying, with deep, heart-wrenching regret that they wish they’d been there more. For their kids. For their spouse. For their church family. They wish they’d obeyed God. They wish they’d focused on the important things.

That’s what I want – to focus on the important things. To spend time on what really matters. I can add social media back to my life later, but I can never make my kids young again.

I only get one shot at raising them.

I want to be all in.

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When Less Really Is More

WhenLessIsMore
We live in a culture of more.
We want more free time, more money, more clothes, more vacations, more gadgets, more perfect-weather days… more, more, more.

But do we realize that the more we have, the less we have?

For example:

  • More money often contributes to less free time (due to extra work hours).
  • More toys for our kids allows less space for our kids to play in.
  • More vacations means less money and less time at home.
  • More clothes leads to less closet space (and more piles of laundry!).
  • More activities, committees, and sporting events contributes to less family time.
  • More electronic time can mean less productive time.
  • More work hours means less free time.
  • More gorgeous days means less rain and therefore less foliage.

Do we understand what’s happening? We can spend so much time wanting more that many of us slip into a habit of having less of some things that are truly important.

On the flip side of things:

  • Less electronic time means more time with our little ones.
  • Less money often leads to more creativity (when one has a positive attitude about less money).
  • Less wanting leads to more contentment.
  • Less worry means more calm.
  • Less perfection allows for more freedom.
  • Less scheduling permits more breathing room.
  • Less activities for the kids gives them more play time to develop their own unique talents.
  • Having less stuff gives a home more space.

We have this motto in our home: “The less there is, the less there is to clean.” The sentiment behind the motto is that when we have less stuff to clean, we have more time for what we really want to do.

This sentiment usually applies to other areas of our life as well. Oftentimes, less really is more.

What about you? What areas will you work towards having less in so you can have more of something else?

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“28 Days to Timeliness” on sale for just $0.99 this week only!

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to start being on time this year? If not, should you have made a goal about timeliness?

Well, guess what?! I am the perfect person to help you with your timeliness goals and resolutions because I’ve been there, done that (sometimes am still there) and because my eBook, “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person” is on sale on Amazon for just $0.99 this week only!

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Go here
to purchase your copy. Already have a copy? Tell your friends about it so they can buy one!

If you’ve read my book and found it helpful, please leave a review on Amazon.

Thank you so much for your support everyone!

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Ten Simple Ways to Beat Cabin Fever With Your Kids

10 Simple Ways to Beat Cabin Fever With Your Kids
It’s that time of year againCabin Fever. I’m so thankful that my girls are healthy and active. But, a time comes each winter when they get a little restless. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has to get a little more creative with activities this time of year, so I want to offer a few suggestions of what works for us when Cabin Fever starts to kick in.

Here we go…

Ten Simple Ways to Beat Cabin Fever With Your Kids:

1. Exercise together.
Turn on Bo on the GO! (Free episodes are on Youtube or if you have a Netflix account, you can watch on there.) This is not your zone-out-in-front-of-the-TV kind of show. Bo is active and she helps get the kids active too. My four year old loves this show and even my eight year old has fun joining in. You can do crunches or jog in place while they watch.

Not a fan of Bo? Turn on one of your work-out DVDs (affiliate link) or search for workout videos on YouTube that you can do together (this one is only eight minutes long). If you only have a minute, just roll some brain breaks together!

2. Go outside.
Really. Bundle up and go outside together. You could ride bikes, take a walk, play in snow, or stop by a park for a few minutes. Sunlight, fresh air, and exercise – even in small increments – are wonderful natural mood boosters.

3. Surround yourself with color and music.
Turn on the radio or Pandora, then paint a wall or piece of furniture a cheerful color, encourage your kids to wear bright shirts, or set out fresh flowers (Aldi sells them for $3.99 per bouquet!).

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4. Get together with friends.
Invite family friends over to play or ask them to meet at your local library.

5. Call a long distance friend or relative you haven’t talked to in awhile.
Give each person five minutes to talk to Grandma, a cousin, or a Great Uncle.

6. Complete an indoor project together.
Think of all the jobs that, when springtime rolls around, you’ll wish you’d taken care of while the weather was still cold! A half-finished scrapbook? A clutter pile in the bottom of somebody’s closet? (Oh wait, that’s me.) Or maybe you’ve been meaning to clean out a kitchen cabinet. Pick a small chore you’ve been putting off and complete it together.

Bonus: If you’re not against offering paid chore money to your kids, this is a great way for them to be productive, put their energy to good use, and earn a little extra cash all at the same time.

7. Dress up a little.
Whether you’re leaving the house or not, have everyone put on a nice outfit (even if it’s just jeans with a nice shirt). Then set the timer for 10 minutes and give your kids a friendly race (like seeing who can make their bed and put away their toys the fastest), then use those 10 minutes to fix your hair and put on a little make-up.

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8. Read a good book together.

A really fantastic book list is here. You can also download classic audio books and eBooks for free on BooksShouldBeFree.com.

NOTE: If you’re feeling more than just a little blah (re: if you’re truly depressed), do yourself a favor and purchase a copy of “Conquering Depression: A 30-Day Plan to Finding Happiness” (affiliate link) by Bruce Hennigan and Mark Sutton to read on your own.

9. Write in a journal.
Distribute notebooks to everyone in your house, including yourself. Write about your day, your feelings, family memories, whatever you want. Long or short entries, complete sentences or short phrases. It doesn’t matter. Just spend a few minutes writing and reflecting. (Writing prompt: What’s your favorite memory? What makes that memory so special?) Your children can scribble or draw if they’re not yet able to write.

10. Let the younger ones “go swimming” in the bathtub.
They could also put on swim wear and “swim” around the living room.

And two bonus tips for how to beat the winter “blah’s” with your kids:

11. Serve together.
I shared some of my thoughts about service here as well as a few simple service ideas here. Basically, I can’t think of a better way to help ourselves understand just how blessed we are than to serve those in need.

12. Help them embrace the cold.
Think about it. No grass mowing, no gardening, less frequent baths for the kids, getting to sip hot tea under cozy blankets, more time for indoor things like watching movies, baking, or crafting (or decluttering :) )… Winter can be a beautifully peaceful time that includes a little bit of quiet rest and reflection. Choose to have a positive attitude as you embrace the season and your kids will likely (sort-of) do the same.

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What about you? What are your favorite ways to help your family beat Cabin Fever?

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