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*31 Days to Clean* Experiment

I have been reading "31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way" and it is blessing me more than I would have thought.

I began one week ago today, and I will admit that I am now only on day 6 because I did not do it over the weekend. I made a decision in starting it, that it was going to take more than 31 days. The weekends are so precious to me and at the same time, so busy for our family that I don't want to add anything else to them. I also generally use the weekends to catch up on chores like laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, and general pick-up around the house.

Day one began with a challenge to write a "mission statement"of sorts, reminding yourself of WHY you clean. This was mine >

Lord, I want my home to be a cozy haven. I want to rid it of chaos and disorganization, so that it will be a place of relaxation and fellowship. An inviting environment, that feels like home. As I clean each day, remind me that you are my Heavenly Homemaker, and that you have cleansed me. Help me to have a pleasant attitude and a joyful spirit as I purify my home, teaching my children to honor You in even the “mundane” tasks. Remind me that I do none of it for myself – but for those who may be ministered to by entering my home. I pray that my home and family glorifies You in every way.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

It is posted on my refrigerator, and it truly has already helped me to be cheerful in bring life to my home. That brings me to day 2 - This chapter talked about bringing life into your home. That as women, we are life-givers in a literal sense, but also emotionally and spiritually we bring life to our families and homes. The Mary challenge for the day was to find some way to bring life into your home. I watered my plants and created a new centerpiece on the table of flowers. I lit some candles and put on some worship music. It felt like peace...It felt like home. Oh, we get so busy that it is those little details - the things that bring life to a dreary place, that we often overlook...I know I do. The Martha challenge for that day was to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Boy, did I need to do this! It didn't take long at all, and I felt so accomplished afterwards. I really love the idea of accomplishing one simple task a day, and how it brings a sense of productiveness, without feeling overwhelming.

Day 3, brought about challenges to talk to your family members about what makes them feel the most loved when it comes to me caring for our home, and on the Martha side, dusting the tops of refrigerator, cabinets and selves, clean and shine outsides of drawers and cabinets. Since my children are a little young to be able to verbalize to me what makes them feel loved in my home-making, I decided to just look at what makes them feel loved. They feel loved when I have things prepared for them, like snacks or a special project. They feel loved when I allow them to be a part of daily tasks like cleaning and cooking. They feel loved when I believe in them to accomplish tasks on their own - Evelyn does an excellent job cleaning her own room and dressing herself! My husband, Ben, feels loved when he can come home to a orderly home that is full of love and a peaceful atmosphere. It is not about all the toys being picked up, but about him knowing that I care enough about him, to want him to be able to relax in our home. Ben feels loved when I take special care in preparing goodies and meals for church members visiting our home, because it shows him that I care about the people God has given him to shepherd.

It was perfect that day 4 was all about creating a "put your feet up" environment. Recently, we had a couple from church over for marriage counseling. I tried my best to create this environment. I prepared coffee, iced tea and brownies for them, and played on the floor with their daughter as we chatted and prayed. I love having people into my home, and have actually done so 4 times in the past week! God is certainly allowing me to get a lot of experience in this area. As a Pastor's Wife, it is especially important for me to always be ready for someone to come knocking on the door. The challenges for this day were to invite someone over and try to create this atmosphere, and to clean out your oven and microwave. Check!

Day 5 came yesterday and it was a bit of a challenge, the kids had a rough day and it was not easy to find the time to squeeze this in. The Mary challenge was to create a priority list for your life, to remind you of what is most important and help you to track how you are doing.
My priority list looks like this:
1. God - Spend time everyday in communion with the Lord, praying, learning, loving others and in His word.
Goal: To spend purposeful time everyday reading my bible and praying.
2. Husband - Be a best friend, confidant, supporter, comforter and lover.
Goal: To say positive words everyday, validating him and recognizing his hard work and provision for our family.
3. Children - Raise them in a home filled with love and grace, to grow up to be men and women after God's heart.
Goal: To spend more time playing and doing fun, new activities. To extend grace and forgiveness always.
4. Friends, Family & Church Family - Be an encouragement to others, always striving to see the good in others and the positive in situations.
Goal: To pray regularly for my friends, family and church. Make an effort to build more connections.
5. Myself - Live a healthy life, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Goal: To exercise daily and make healthy eating choices. To pray more, read more, and do things that I love to do.

The Martha Challenge was to wash your window treatments and blinds. Wash inside of windows (just kitchen). I actually did the Kitchen, Dining room and living room and it was super quick and easy. Honestly, I think most of my curtains have not ever been washed - eek! They are mostly only a little over a year old, but, it definitely need done :)

And that is where I am...headed upstairs now to accomplish day 6 challenges, it should be interesting since Beckett just woke up super early from his nap, but I will just have to enlist his help!

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