Snapshots & Snippets

Snapshots & Snippets: Releasing and Prioritizing

Welcome to “Snapshots and Snippets” … some musings and practical thoughts along with goodies from around the web to bless and encourage you.


Every week, as I go to write these week-end posts, I think of the title and try to sum up all the myriad of our experiences into a few encapsulating words.  It’s actually a fun exercise.  You might try it sometime.  Reflect over your week.  What stands out to you?  What lessons are being taught to you by the Lord in this season of your life?  What fond memories are etched in your mind as you close out the week?  What tough times did you endure?  This week sure had a smattering of all of the above. 

Paul on pony

{making room for what matters most}

I’ve been going through what I’m affectionately calling #summerpurge2016.  I take about 15 minutes a day to clear out a minor spot of our home – like a section of my closet, our tea cabinets, or my PJ drawer.  Simply eating the proverbial elephant a bite at a time.  I declutter for 10 minutes, decide what to keep, give away, donate or throw out.  Then, for five minutes, I restore the original spot to order {with fewer things – only those which are beautiful, meaningful or purposeful}.  Fifteen minutes total and I’m done.  Here’s why:  I am making room for what matters most. 

Whether we are consciously aware or not, clutter and excess stuff takes up rent in our head.  Our homes run less efficiently because we can’t find things or we’re just plain hanging onto things for who knows why.  And, believe me, there are battles to be had as you purge.  I have to have little talks with myself: “What if I miss that skirt?  I might regret getting rid of it.”  “Yes, but you haven’t worn it in at least a year, maybe two or three.  It’s time.  Let go.”  Let go.  Let go.  Let go.  That’s the lesson.  Funny how donating a crystal vase and some old snow jackets can bring a fresh breeze of hope and freedom into the heart.  Less is more.  It’s not too late to join me in summer purging.  Let’s clear out some space in our lives so we can focus on what really matters: relationships and ministry.

Boys jumping at beach

{days of rest}

We’re officially in summer mode.  Hot days; less structure in our daily schedule; more boys in my home at all hours; swimming; day trips; and an overall feeling that life doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it.  Summer has it’s own pace.  We stuff away the schoolbooks and suddenly try to make up for nine months of missed social opportunities and fun.  We’re flitting from pool to beach to playdate.  The neighbor boys are here for hours on end and I love the sound of their laughter and the funny things they say without meaning to be humorous in any way.  We find time for laying out on blankets in the yard or doing crafts.  I intentionally kept my youngest inside one day so we could recuperate from go-go-going.  We listened to an audiobook while snuggled on the couch, read some books, played legos, sat on the grass watching the tortoise nibble lettuce, played piano and did a bunch of nothing together.  It was good for our souls.  Give me a day with no agenda. 

I’m taking this summer in segments: Purge/Plan/Prepare.  I’m in purge mode right now.  We’ll move into planning next.  I’ll order curriculum, gather ideas for cultural days and set aside time to think through our rhythm for the fall.  I’m always finding new things that add to our learning experiences, like this fun resource for studying cultures.  Finally in the few weeks before we officially go back to a full day of home educating, I’ll prepare lessons and materials. 

Pool party

{weathering storms}

Uncomfortable stuff came up in a couple significant relationships this week.  I do not like it Sam I am.  I’m not afraid to talk about what hurts – that’s one of my specialties – but I avoid mudslinging and especially recoil from passive-aggressive anything.  Here’s what the Lord did for me in the midst of turmoil.  He showed me some truths about dynamics under the surface.  Then, He gently and certainly turned me towards His Word and His heart.  I have to take seriously His guidance as to how I respond to those who hurt me.  He says very specific things – pray for them, do good to them, LOVE them.  Whew-ee.  And then there’s that whole log in your own eye stuff.  I need to be willing to endure the discomfort of looking at my side in situations and then release {see, that really IS my lesson in this season} and forgive while I allow Him to move through me to extend His love to souls who are not acting very lovable {they, like me, need Him and His grace every minute of every day}.  Sometimes the windshield gets muddy and I forget His real nature.  I can lose sight of Him and start to flow along with my surroundings.  Then, He shows Himself and I’m reminded, humbled and willing.  P.s. I still get to set healthy boundaries with toxic people.  I just don’t get to see myself as better than them or hold them in contempt in my heart.  Big work.  Glad He’s the one doing it in me. 


{goodies on the web}

This week there’s just so much goodness to share with you.  Between popsicles and watergun fights, I highly suggest you use the Moms In Prayer method of teaching your children to pray this summer.  A dear friend has prayed for my boys and her son with me for years.  Now I have another sweet friend who asked me to pray Moms In Prayer style for our children once a week.  It is already blessing our socks off. 

On a more serious note, I walked intimately with a dear friend who lost a baby earlier this year.  Because of what she endured, I’m especially sensitive to the issue of miscarriage.  Alia Joy shared her story candidly this week.  What I loved about it was that she brought in the often unspoken truth.  We have a God who allows us to bring to Him our doubts and unanswerable questions.  We can draw near to Him in anger and confusion and He hears us and gives us His loving presence as we heal. We don’t even always feel Him through the din of our grief, but He remains with us as we turn towards Him with all we are – even the unfinished parts. 

One of the biggest blessings I have received from being a part of blogging communities online is finding great bloggers and learning from them.  Rachel {at Smart Mom, Smart Ideas} put out a list of the top ten productivity books for moms.  I don’t know about you, but I’m all about how to use my time more wisely.  Why?  So I can free it up for what matters most.  I’d add Lysa Teurkerst’s book, The Best Yes to the list and Tsh Oxenrider’s Organized Simplicity too … but then it would be the top 12 list and that’s not as catchy as the top ten.  Just sneak my two recommendations into your book bag anyway.  Now, if I can just manage my time well enough to make time to read these books!

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I long for most as a mom is to have my boys return home to visit when they move out.  I want to be an involved grandma and I want to maintain relationships with my boys while I pour into whomever they choose as their lifetime love.  Hayley Novak wrote a great post with some tips as to what she is doing to make her home a place her kids will want to return to after they leave.  I love it!  So much good advice here.  I’m bookmarking the page and going back to it to intentionally build in some things we aren’t already doing. 

I love hearing from YOU!  If you want to share here, my previously frustratingly broken comments tool is – tada – fixed!  Comment here to join the conversation or come over and comment on the Hearts Homeward Facebook page.  You can also find me on Twitter these days.  I know.  Tweeting at last.  What’s next?! 

Have a blessed week and come back Monday for my post on Being Devoted to One Another in Love or join me on Wednesdays for my series on parenting teens.

Print Friendly

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    June 12, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    I so need to declutter my home. Unfortunately, I’m not home enough to do it and my weekends are so full. I would love to be home so that I can open my home to the neighborhood during the week. I love all the information in this post. You are a gem!

    • Reply
      June 12, 2016 at 11:29 PM

      Thanks, Barbie. I’m feeling both those barriers as you share them. It’s hard to do anything when your time is pulled. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the very littlest thing you can do and starting there – maybe purging one item a week even. If that isn’t possible, you need to extend yourself the grace you would extend everyone else and know this isn’t a time in your life when decluttering is a reasonable goal. I have had that with exercise, weight loss, consistency in reading and writing … on it goes. Sometimes I lacked willingness, other times, motivation and then, as you say right now, sometimes there just wasn’t the time. Different seasons mean different capacities. Your heart to bless your neighborhood reflects Jesus and it is YOUR heart for sure. You are such a welcoming and outreaching person – always giving where you can. I have been immensely blessed by your contributions to my life as a blogger. Thanks so much for letting me know you came by 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: