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Easy Tips to stop being a slob

So I am new to this mom game. I have two kids ages 2 and 10 months and they are both movin and grovin.  My son spilled his green smoothie (on purpose!) all of the floor the other day! I make these for him because he refuses to eat vegetables so he drinks them.  Baby girl is crawling now and the days of watching her play on a blanket have come and gone. She really is like blood hound, sniffing out every single little thing that may or may not be edible on the floor.

I have a husband ,who I love dearly of course. He gets upset when I leave dishes on the counter, yet he leaves just about everything everywhere! One time I found a piece of pop tart in the tub! Don’t ask don’t tell.

Then of course there is me…While I like to pretend that I am prim and proper. If left to my own devices I would more than likely not bathe for a couple of days, and watch Netflix in my unmentionables.

So when it comes to being sloppy its 4 against 1; the one being the faint hints of will power that over take me from time to time to actually do something about it.  In honor of my little sprinkles of will power I figured I would write about things I have learned along the way to challenge our sloppy trajectory and manage the clutter.

A place for everything and everything in its place 

Of course the house is sloppy when you don’t have room for what you have! When this occurs you have two options: get rid of stuff, or move to a bigger place. Gratefully my family did the later a couple of months ago. We went from a 600 square foot apartment to a 4 bedroom house and BAM! Presto Chango I am a better house keeper without even trying! More room means I have more places to put things away.

You must must must get rid of things you don’t use

If you haven’t  worn it, used it or played with it in a year it needs to go! We donate things all the time even things we may need down the road. For instance I am an avid donator of baby clothes. I keep the kids clothes stored away in diaper boxes (because lets face it, a mother of small children has no shortage of these) and I always keep a give away box handy. I’ve been asked, “but Christen what if you have another girl soon?” Time has taught me that what I release I typically get back. We have yet to buy our daughter one article of clothing in almost a year’s time because our friends and family have been so generous with new and gently used clothes.

Try not to keep ever single thing your child has ever done! 

I love my babies just as much as the next mom but if you intend to keep every single scribble they have ever done you may as well go ahead and purchase and off site storage unit for yourself. Choose the special things that have good memories attached and grab a special box or a folder to store it in.

Place clothes baskets everywhere! 

I cannot stress this enough. Really every square inch of our home should be covered in clothes baskets. If you ask any mom, aside from the toys, they will tell you that managing sloppy clothes pile ups is the number one problem. I recently asked a vet mom and wife WHEN WILL THE CLOTHES EVER STOP! Her response, NEVER!!!!! Now I am blessed to have a husband that does the majority of the laundry (More on that later), but I still have to manage the mess. I have noticed that clothes start to pile up in key areas: outside of the bathroom, at the foot of our bed, in the entry way to the family room and in the entry way to the house. So instead of beginning the painstaking process of behavior modification why not just place receptacles all over? If you are wondering how this would mess up your decor, ask yourself, Would you rather look at a t laundry basket or a pile of sweaty socks and old wash rags?

Involve your kiddos in the cleaning

My oldest loves to clean so I give him a towel and let him have at it! In fact he gets made when I try to clean his highchair because he wants to do it.

Buy a swiffer wet Jet!

 This thing is ahhhh-mazing!  We all know the wet jet is not for the deep cleans! But if you do it often enough you will never ever ever ever have to wring out an actual mop another day in your life! Also did you know they make a cartridge for Hard Wood Floors! I just swap out the fluid to do my wood floors and we are golden! (BTW I do use the pads twice to save money they are typically worn out of after two times)

Spray down your sink and shower daily!

I hate cleaning the bathroom like most other human beings. So I learned at camp when we had tons and tons of ladies taking multiple showers a day, that if you spray down your shower after every use you will not need to scrub it so often. I am reluctant to say never, but it will be a rare occasion that you have to get on your knees. I use 409 bathroom cleaner or any other non-bleach antibacterial spray. No need to by that supper awkward and expensive self cleaner for the shower, a couple of sprays and you are good to go.

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. 

I admit I can be a procrastinator, most slobs are. So I have to remind myself not to be a slacker. It is super embarrassing but I am the type of person who will walk by a piece of paper on the ground and keep going thinking, “I’ll just do it later.” If you are like me, later becomes never. So if you can do it, do it as soon as you can and you will find you have more time to rest later.

Don’t do a half “A” job

Ok I try not to cuss and reference cuss word in my writings lol but this one will stick with you as it did with me. My father, who also does not cuss (Had to clean that up dad), gave me a long talk about this after I swept the floor as a child. He told me that his father before him taught him this phrase lol. I got the lecture because like most children, I was more concerned with playing than cleaning and I had found ways to cut corners and do things halfheartedly. I have found that this terrible habit has followed me into adulthood. As I sweep the floor I may see a crumb tucked away in the corner and I think oh well the high traffic areas are clean! NO Christen don’t do a half “A” job do a full “A” job. I repeat this mantra to myself. In fact if I put in just a little more effort to get the job done right in the first place, I don’t have to address the mess later on.

The Final One, and this is a Doozie! Don’t expect your family members to automatically get with the program. 

Ladies you can spend your entire life trying to get your husband to properly clean his shaving clippings out of the sink or you can save yourself the hassle and frustration by simply cleaning it up yourself. Is this fair? NO OF COURSE but life is not fair and marriage is not fair. From one day to the next he may give more effort than you and then you turn around and do the same. There is no even steven in marriage. I have heard that once your family sees the benefit of these changes they typically fall in line. (The verdict is still out on this one.)

Please Note: This is a disclaimer mostly for my hubs that I am not perfect at this. He and I are both at fault in our mess so we do have to work together, however in cleaning and in marriage you get the best results when you focus on working on yourself then spreading the love!

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Eating Scrolls: Ezekiel 3

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We meet Ezekiel the prophet in the middle of his strange vision. Now the Lord is instructing him to eat a scroll! A long rolled up parchment paper is not exactly the most appetizing thing to eat  but here he says, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth , and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezekiel 3:1-3)

Ezekiel would have been very familiar with scrolls such as the one the Lord presented to him. Priest had to memorize and copy scrolls from a young age. He knew the value of it, the weight of it, the smell would have evoked memories of devotion to the pouring over of God’s word, but never had he thought to eat it.

So why is the Lord God almighty offering him this unseemly entree?  God commanded Ezekiel to eat this scroll as the representation of the Word of God, in that he was internalizing God’s will and his words in the truest sense of the word.

There is mystery in the way our body processes what we eat. There is delight in it too. White chocolate, raspberry truffle, cheese cakes…… one of the most decadent things I can imagine putting in my mouth! The desire you feel when you see it presented on the the plate and the anticipation you have as you bring your fork to your mouth, and the elation that follows when you finally taste how sweet it is!

Ezekiel ate the scroll that God presented to him and it was sweet as honey in his mouth. This is where things get interesting, God was calling Ezekiel to speak on his behalf to the Israelites, to hold them accountable for their sins, to call them to repentance to usher in forgiveness and grace if they turn to the Lord, and destruction if they do not.  God says that the people to whom Ezekiel would speak were a “obstinate and stubborn nation” (Ezekiel 2:4) and furthermore that these people would not even list to what he would say. (Ezekiel 3:7) This was the word of God represented by this scroll, one of destruction because he knew their hearts were hardened and they refused to listen. My question to you…. How can a word of destruction be sweeter than honey when eaten?

The answer points to a great truth that excites me even as I type “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

The Word of God, whether one of blessing or one of cursing, is the stuff of life for the believer and even more so for those who are called to minister through the Word. Ezekiel internalizes this scroll that represents God’s Word, a Word of rebuke one may consider it would taste kinda bitter. But it is sweet!  Every word of God is sweet and life giving because he holds the master plan.

As Ezekiel eats the scroll as food he chews and swallows and it fills his belly and he digests it then it sustains him. It brings him energy! Energy to complete a task that is doomed from the start. The Lord tells him, My people will not listen but I will send you anyway. What does that say about God’s character and what does that say about the character of his minister Ezekiel? It says that God’s heart for his children is so full that he will continue to offer grace and call for repentance even when he knows they wont take it. And here we have Ezekiel he takes on a job title yet he is told that he will not be effective and he goes regardless. He is sent, yet they will not listen. He is sustained by God’s word of bitterness to his rebelling people yet it is as sweet as honey when he eats it.

Here is a truth we need to remember, the sweetness, the beauty the grandeur of God is not dependent upon man’s opinion of Him. Whether  he speaks destruction or healing, whether he gives or takes away blessed be the Name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)

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God and Weird visions: Ezekiel 1-2

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I am overwhelmed by the complexity of God and his written word to us. I pause even to write this because the task of trying to explain and understand this complexity feels beyond me in every way. Don’t get me wrong I know that God desires that we know Him that we have intimacy in him as a child looks up to his father or as the beloved disciple was able to recline and lay his head against Jesus. What a sweet intimacy that is and what a privilege to share in it!

But if you may, can we look at another facet of God’s character? While he is near, he is also far. While we are made in his image, he is vastly other. He walks with us in time, but yet he supersedes time. We understand that he is eternal but we can’t begin to fathom an existence that has no beginning and one that lives outside of time itself.

It seems to me that God wants to communicate his vast “otherness” to us at times and Ezekiel is quite the display of weird stuff! If you are like me and grew up in a predominately black Baptist church you know that the saints of old have passed down traditional sayings that describe how we talk about God whether biblical or not. You know he is the “rose of Sharon” the “prince of peace” the “rock of  ages” and finally the “wheel in the middle of the wheel.”  It was always that last one that I had no clue what it meant. There was even a song about Jesus. “He’s my rock, my rock, my sword, my shield, he is the wheel in the middle of the wheel.”  Why is there a wheel in the middle of a wheel? What use is a wheel intersecting with another wheel?

Well this strange contraption is a part of Ezekiel’s inaugural Vision in Ezekiel 1& 2. Ezekiel, I imagine, was a fairly normal priest and then he is whisked away to get a glimpse at the complexity of our Lord. ” In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heaves were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)

Here we are introduced to these winged creatures with four faces and four wings and human arms under said wings. They had feet like calf and shined in brilliance and beside each one was a wheel in the middle of a wheel. A wheel of equal shinning brilliance that intersected with another wheel and the  wheel was covered in eyes! Of all things yes the wheel had eyes! The wheel moved about with the creatures going where they went without even turning as it is said the spirit of those creatures was in the the wheel. (Ezekiel 1:20)

And get this, there is more! There was some sort of vault over the heads of the creatures and and image like a man was atop this thing. And its appearance was “like glowing metal, as if full of fire…” it is said there was radiance around him like the “appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day.” (Ezekiel 1:27-28)

This figure in all its might and majesty is the Lord God Almighty sitting upon his throne. Can we take a break from the strangeness of it all and consider the beauty of it? Rather can we accept that the strangeness of it, is in fact its beauty.

This sweet image that the Lord allowed Ezekiel to see is like pulling back the curtain so we can see even the slightest sliver of God’s mystery. And a beautiful mystery it is.  We have to remember that God’s inspired word is ordained by the Holy Spirit so when Ezekiel pinned this, the Lord wanted to specifically highlight some of these things for the immediate audience as well as the eternal audience which we are a part of.  That means that what this image displays is something important to God to communicate to his people so we need to take notice.

I don’t pretend that I speak on God’s behalf or anything, however there is an overarching message we find in Ezekiel’s vision and I think it may be this… The Almighty God, who was and is and is to come, the maker of the heavens and the earth, the giver of every good and perfect gift, the alpha and omega, the one who is the judge and the justifier, has an existence that is so powerful and more grand that we can wrap our minds around.

I am not the first person to shudder in the face of our Lord’s grandeur. History has shown us that theologians either decide to use this understanding of the mystery of God to drive us further from him and some allow it to drive us nearer.

So what is the correct response to all of this otherness? Reverence is the first thing that comes to mind but maybe even something deeper than that. Could it be that we can find comfort in the vast separation between the glory of the shinning image sitting above the vault, instead of dread and fear?  Could it be that in God’s infinite  power and grandeur we find our champion? Who better to have your back then the one whose Glory is so powerful it cannot be looked upon? I find peace, safety and a sense of victory knowing that God is not like you and I in this way. I have enough people like me standing for me, But if God is for us, Who can be against us?