Time to Spring Clean! with Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Have you looked at the calendar? Do you know what Saturday was? Yep! The first day of spring! I am soooo ready for spring this year. It has been so damp, gloomy, cold this year. I am ready for some sunshine, fresh air, and nicer temperatures. Believe it or not, I am even ready to spring clean this year. So ready that I have already been spring cleaning EVERYTHING!

Want to join me? Super!

Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at several different areas of our lives that need to be “cleaned out” so we can have the best year ever. I really want for you to dig in and do the hard work WITH ME so we can spring clean our lives together.

What we will do is look at the need. Then, I will give you some action steps to help you get going. Good deal? Ok…

Let’s look at the first area that just might need a bit of “cleaning” out. Ready? If you want to print this out to read and apply, just download the PDF version here: DOWNLOAD BY PDF.

Ready to get busy spring cleaning? The first area is spring cleaning our day. Let’s dig in…

Spring Clean Your Day

Seem like a strange place to begin? Well, sometimes the real mess in our lives is caused by the one thing that gets into a rut and is so hard to SEE as the problem. I have missed this one over and over and over. Sometimes I have blamed my messies on my homeschool curriculum. Other times I have blamed it all on my husband (sorry, but I have). Other times I have blamed it on my children and their lack of….you name it: obedience, behavior, help, etc. Even since the kids have grown up, I have blamed it on my business. Looking everywhere but the most obvious: MY DAY.

If my DAY is a mess, it is funny how every other area of my life gets messy–my commitments, my home, my relationships, my business, ME. Funny thing, it doesn’t take much to get it together and keep it together. But, how?

1. Dust off that schedule!
Nothing can help things to run more smoothly than taking time to get our daily schedule together. It gives us a framework to our day. It keeps things moving smoothly. When things get out of whack, there is usually one of two things that I need to do:

Get the extras back off my schedule.
Adjust to the new things in my life and work them into a spot in my schedule.

It is spring. How is your schedule? Does it need to be cleaned out? Have too many “extras” gotten into the schedule? Is it time to cut them out of your day? Or, are you in a new place? Is it time to readjust your schedule? Is it time to take a little time to get that “new thing” into your lifestyle so that it is not such a struggle each and every day? Why not roll up your sleeves and get to work dusting off that schedule. You will see your day shaping back up very quickly.

2. Make time for what really counts–what really matters to you.
There is no reason to live even one more day just going through the motions like a hamster on a wheel. Let’s make this year really count! Let’s make time for what really counts. Let’s make time for what really matters. I know that we are four months into the year. I know that days fly by and it is easy to let time fly by just barely getting things done for each and every day. But, why don’t we clean out anything in our day that is holding us back from doing the things on our heart? Why don’t we make room for those things FIRST in our day? The other things may be clammering, squealing, and pitching fits to get our attention, but let’s commit to make THIS YEAR really count. Let’s be intentional about getting those things done first. Then, watch how our day changes. It will shape up and become a sweet history without regrets.

3. Balance it all. Many times it does not take anything big to get things out of balance. In fact, usually it only takes something small and insignificant to get things out of whack. Take some time to really look at your day. You may want to take a few days to journal each and everything that you are doing and how long it is taking. My journals ALWAYS point to the problems instantly. Look back over all that is getting done AND those things that are not getting done. Evaluate:

–> Are there things that are getting out of boundaries? My life is full of things that have a tendency to get out of their boundaries. We homeschooled our children from the time they were in pre-school until they graduated. Everything about homeschooling had a tendency to take longer than I planned. Actually, the best lesssons-those that I would not trade now for anything-took the longest. I could have homeschooled all day and all night and never got everything done that I really wanted. Same thing with business. I have had a home business for over 20 years. You would think that I could set my hours and stick to it. Yet, I have noticed that my business is as bad or worse than homeschooling about taking way more time than projected. Oh! And, that is not all! Even homemaking has a tendency to get out of boundaries. Any one area can demand so much that everything gets out of balance. I have to watch out! I have to work hard at setting limits and sticking to them. How about you? Is it time to simplify, clean out, organize, and systematize things so that it is easier to keep everything in its boundaries? Roll up your sleeve and dig-in! It will make a huge difference!

–> Are there things that need to go? I don’t know if you are like me, but I have always had a resistance to change. This can be good news if you depend upon me to be consistent and be a person of integrity. (SMILE) Of course, this one quality has gotten me and my life out of balance more times than I can recount. Ready for a true confession? I am so bad to hold onto things until I am simply NOT able to hold on any longer. I can see clearly that things would be easier or that things would be better yet there is something within me that struggles every single time with letting things go. Want the good news? Every single time that I have let go, every single time that I have unclasped my fingers from around those things, it has always been sooo much better! It has always been worth it. Everything has smoothed out. Every season we have to let things go if we are going to have room in our lives for new things. It is sooo worth it! Until we do, things just get messy. Things get bumpy. Things get stressful. Need to let things go? Today is a great day to pile it up and get rid of it.

That brings me to the final idea…

4. Get on track and make this year your best ever–day-by-day! You may have started this year with big intentions. Maybe you wanted to lose weight and get in shape. Maybe you wanted to pay off your debts. Maybe you wanted to get your home organized. Maybe you wanted to make time to remodel that room in your home. Maybe you wanted more time with your spouse or children. Maybe you wanted for this year to be that year that you read through the Bible. Well, what was your goal? What was your resolution? What would make your day a success? What would make this year really count?

When we look at the year, it is made of days and moments in those days. In order for our year to be a year that counts, we have to begin with each moment, getting it on track so that we have a collection of moments and days that really count. Why not go back to those resolutions and give them another look. I know it is not January. THIS is when you look at them. This is when we put them on our daily schedule. This is when we live them out. Let’s get on track and make this year the year when we DO IT! Deal? Get on track today. Make this year your very best year ever–day-by-day!

Ok…we are not done yet. We have much, much more to dig into. Don’t miss next week’s ezine!

Cindy2015Need MORE Help?

If you need more help, don’t miss any of Cindy Rushton’s LIVE workshops that she will be teaching on these topics. She is scheduled to speak for many conventions, conferences, retreats, and Bible Studies. If you want for her to come to your area, message here today at CindyRushton@Gmail.com

Making Your Quiet Times Happen this Year – Even When You Can’t Get Up in the Morning by Jennifer Schwilling

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Reading the Bible and praying more is right at the top of Christian womens’ goals and resolutions lists, up there with getting organized and losing weight.  Unfortunately, just like organizing and weight loss aspirations, our best plans and intentions to have daily devotions or quiet times tend to fizzle a few weeks into the year.  What happens?  We’re convinced of the value of spending time getting to know our God through His word.  We’re convinced of the power of prayer in our lives and others’.  How does something this important and desirable keep slipping through the cracks in our days?

One of the ways we unintentionally keep something from happening is making it too difficult or complicated.  Do you admire a friend who is able to read her Bible an hour or two a day?  Or a friend who studies Greek daily?  A favorite author who writes about watching the sun rise as she prays over her day?  All of these things may be good, but do they work for you at this point of your life?  Maybe you have three small children running around and 1 – 2 hours of uninterrupted reading time just isn’t going to happen.  Maybe you are anything but a morning person.  In your mind is anything less than your “ideal” quiet time not worth doing?  In other words, are you making it more difficult than it needs to be?

All you really need to have your quiet time are three things:  A time, a place, and your “stuff”
– your Bible and anything else you’re planning to read.  Place and “stuff” are pretty straightforward.  You need a place to sit and read and something to read of course.  Where we usually get messed up is time.  We usually know “what” we want to do, it’s the “when” we have a problem with, as in the “when” just not happening!

Here is a common scenario.  We hear that waking up early to have our quiet time is the best way to go so that’s what we shoot for.  If you’re an “early riser” this can work great, but for the rest of us…  Tell me if this sounds familiar:  You wake up later than you planned (again) and you resolve to get on track and have your quiet time later that morning.  Then “something” happens and you have to put it off until lunch.  Lunchtime ends up being taken up with “something” else and you figure maybe in the afternoon you’ll catch a little time.  Guess what… “something” keeps happening until you’re laying in bed wondering what happened to your quiet time.

So if you don’t get up early in the morning is all lost?  Not at all!  Look at your day and pick the best time that works for you.  Don’t worry about your friend, your favorite author’s schedule, or what you’ve heard is “most spiritual.”  What time of your day tends to be the least hectic and most likely to be somewhat quiet?  The kids’ nap time?   While dinner is in the oven?  My best time is right before bedtime!  It’s quiet, there’s nowhere I have to be, and everyone else is in bed too.  Be creative!  What’s important isn’t the time of day you pick, it’s that you pick a time that works best for your current schedule and that you guard it from invading “somethings”.  The “best” time for your quiet time is the time you can realistically make it happen!  You might have to experiment a bit to find the best time.  Also, have your place picked out and your “stuff” where it needs to be so looking for your Bible and a pen doesn’t end up being a “something” that comes up!

So how long should your quiet time be?  Again, look at what works for you.  I’d love to have two hours a day but in this season of my life when I have four kids, one with special needs, two hours isn’t going to happen on a typical day.  God knows your circumstances and responsibilities – He created your family!  Do what you realistically can.  You can probably get 20 – 30 minutes into your day.  Some days you’ll have more time, some days you’ll have less.  If you can’t find even 20 – 30 minutes, take a look at some other activities you find time for like checking e-mail, web surfing, Facebook, telephone calls, reading…  We make time for these things without thinking twice about it.  Not trying to be legalistic… just something to think about!

It’s not too late to get your prayer and Bible reading resolutions and goals back on track.  Sit down and take a few moments to think about what the best time is for you and make a plan of attack!

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Don’t you just LOVE Jennifer? I ADORE HER!

She is one of our speakers at our upcoming (in just a FEW WEEKS) Ultimate Women’s Expo! Don’t miss her! You will be fired, inspired, encouraged, and equipped to make THIS YEAR count!

Are you a “night owl” who needs more help making a consistent quiet times happen?  Jennifer Schwilling’s new e-book Night Owl Devotions is all about thinking outside the box to make meaningful devotions a part of a busy mom’s life.  You can visit her on-line at:  http://www.MomsNoChaosZone.com or http://www.DaisyChainDailyCarnival.com

Sleep to Succeed: A Lesson in Productivity

Cindy2015Ever feel that there are not enough hours in the day? Oh! I do! There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes. With your schedule, something always gets put off until tomorrow. In order to catch up, you might be tempted to work longer but that will have the opposite effect.

When your schedule runs long or you have a pressing project at work, the first thing that enters your mind is that you can come in early or stay late to get it done. The problem with that idea is that the rest of your routine will suffer. There will be less, if any, time for your family. From the point that you steal time from one area to benefit another, you will be playing catch up.

Over time, your body will respond to the added demands. It won’t be pretty. Stress of any kind that is prolonged can cause health problems. You are more likely to develop illnesses because of a depressed immune system. You won’t be your kind and cheery self anymore as you become short tempered and bite everyone’s head off.

What about your goals? Whether work-related or personal, your goals never seem to get met. The laws of nature are a funny thing. In our society, we have the idea that to get more done you have to speed up and sacrifice. While that may be true in some situations, the part that we choose to sacrifice makes a big difference.

To get ahead and get more done you need to slow down. Sleep is a part of your daily routine. It’s a part that we don’t pay much attention to. After all, if you are tired, you will eventually fall asleep, right? That’s not how sleep is supposed to work.

The human body is like a beautiful machine. All machines need maintenance to continue working. The body does its repair jobs while you sleep. There are several sleep cycles. During the deepest sleep, the body can go about restoration and repair because you are not keeping it occupied with movement and thought. It’s sort of like a short hibernation period.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough restorative sleep for it to matter. You wake up tired and that leads to concentration problems. It’s hard to think of new ways to increase your productivity when you can’t keep your eyes open. Burning the candle at both ends will leave you with nothing.

Do yourself a favor. Get your 7-8 hours of sleep a night. As a result you will wake up refreshed and your focus will be clear. You’ll find you have more energy and get more accomplished in all areas of your life. There is less downtime needed during the day because you got all of the rest you needed when you slept.