Marie Kondo Made Me Cry: 3 Unexpected Results From Konmarie

While browsing through Netflix one day, I saw one the most feminine and dainty young women that I’ve ever laid eyes on. Her name is Marie Kondo and she is taking the nation by storm with her Netflix show, Tidying Up.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my house will be officially on the market next week. So tidying my home right now, is a no-brainer. However, there were a few unexpected benefits to Ms. Kondo’s method of sorting through things. I thought I’d share them with you…

Clearing Your Physical Space Clears Your Head Space

  1. Less is more – I’ve always been a believer in less is more. However, because I have often found myself a hair shy of impoverished, I tend to hoard in preparation for a rainy day. Honestly, it’s been fear that has kept me from donating clothes too big/small for me, thinking, “What if I lose/gain a bunch of weight and don’t have the money to buy the required clothing? What if I get rid of that shirt box I received for Christmas and I need one later?” Forget about the fact that styles may change or that boxes are literally less than a dollar at Dollar Tree, I’m afraid that as soon as I let go, that I will need that item…and I often do. However, I forgot how clearly I am able to think when the clutter is gone. And that’s worth something don’t you think? Finding the perfect balance between being prepared and being a hoarder is difficult, but our decision should definitely not be out of fear. After all, we are encouraged in I Tim. 1:7, that we have not been given the spirit of fear, but of love, power and of a sound mind.
  2. Gratitude “Sparks Joy” – As I sorted through my belongings, my level of gratitude began to soar. Marie Kondo asks her clients to hold each item and ask, “Does this spark joy?” As I did this, I was often reminded of the origin of the item. I remembered where I was when I purchased it, or who gave it to me. There were cards and letters others had written. I was becoming not only grateful for the items, but for the people and experiences in my life. At one point, I even found myself placing my hands on the ceiling beams of my attic bedroom and weeping praise and thanksgiving for the privilege of having lived in a house I’ve loved so much. One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, said, “Thanksgiving always proceeds the miracle.” But maybe the miracle is how thanksgiving heals the heart. I have so many changes coming my way right now, and I need to know that I am following God in all that I am doing. I believe that God is able to do much more when we keep a grateful heart, full of appreciation for the blessings He’s already given. We are told that we can enter His gates with thanksgiving.(Psalm 100:4) We are also told that in His presence is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11) So wouldn’t it suffice to say that thanksgiving brings joy because it puts us in the most joyful place of all which is His presence?
  3. Purging Material Items Brings Healing – I had no idea that a few of my possessions actually brought bad memories and pain to my heart. Holding each item and asking if that item sparked joy, I realized that a few things that I had kept for decades, brought fear, pain and a deep sadness and regret. Donating those items actually brought healing and freedom. Although they were lovely, not having them in my home feels a little like I have cleared away the cobwebs from my mind. I had no idea the negativity they were bringing into my environment.

Overall, the greatest blessing I received from the Konmarie Method is in letting go. We are told to forget those things that are behind and press forward toward the mark.(Phil 3:13) I had things hanging in my closet, trinkets and jewelry, and even books that were unbeknownst to me weighing me down like a beast of burden under too much strain. It was painfully glorious to let go of these things.

One of my key Scriptures as of late, is found in Isaiah and speaks of God doing a new thing, in unexpected places…and I feel Him stirring. But I had no idea He was stirring in my closet, my bookcase and even my junk drawer. But I’m glad He is, because now I am liberated to run faster, farther and freer than ever before without the cumbersome burden of too many things.

6 Reasons I Am Grateful For the Salvation Army

My family at a Salvation Army.  I'm the little girl on the far right...

My family at a Salvation Army. I’m the little girl on the far right…

Today is the Salvation Army’s 150th Birthday. The world is a much better place for the inception of this amazing organization. My world is a better place because of them. In fact, I just cannot stay silent on this day of celebration. So here are 6 reasons that I am grateful for on this Founder’s Day.

  • Sound Biblical Teaching: The Salvation Army is a not only an international movement, but a church. As a girl growing up in a second-generation Army household I remember how quizzical faces became when I told them that I attended the Salvation Army for church services. My paternal grandparents were Salvation Army officers as well as most of my father’s siblings. At one time, the Dalberg family was quite a name to drop in the American SA. So it was natural that we attended the Army for our weekly church services. I am grateful for the foundational and scriptural teaching I received as a Junior Soldier.
  • Family Heritage: I cannot think of a finer legacy than that of “Heart to God, Hand to Man”, and even though I no longer attend the Salvation Army as my local church I have always had a tender spot in my heart for serving others. In fact, I am now the Executive Director of a Christian non-profit Love INC. I know that this is due to the heritage that the Salvation Army has instilled in my life. I am eternally grateful.
  • Radical Love: The Army truly does love the unloved. You know…the ones no one else wants in their church; the homeless, the dirty, the slightly insane, the man or is he a woman, or is he a man? I’ll never forget one of the first Salvation Army church services I brought my children to when they were still elementary students. Scripture was read by a bearded woman…a fully-bearded woman and special music was done by a woman playing the accordion while on oxygen. Not to mention there were several outbursts by an intoxicated man. My daughter whispered to me, “This is better than the circus!” I was mortified by her comment. But this is their calling, my beloved Salvation Army. One of their songs boldly proclaims, “Oh to love the unloved, in the service of the Lord!” They love people right where they are…and many times those same people learn to live better, godlier and more productive lives. Some of them even enter the ministry. I’ve never seen a better record of truly transformed lives. Love changes everything.
  • Patience: There have been seasons in my lifetime when I have been more than a little concerned about the direction of my beloved Army. I have feared that like many other charities that they might lose their spiritual roots, but every time God has raised up His standard and the Army has remained faithful to His call. I pray that they will continue to seek wisdom on how to continue this vital ministry in a mixed up and crazy world. But through it all I have learned to give organizations time to correct and autocorrect and to respond to obstacles. This Army is the Lord’s and He is well able to take care of it.
  • Love of Others Before Love of Self: I am thankful that as a Junior Soldier I was asked to sign a commitment never to drink alcohol. I am not sure if this continues to be a practice, but this commitment had a profound affect on my life. It was a commitment I took very seriously. And the reason for this commitment was not because the Bible says not to drink. It was for the sake of the weaker brother and sister, for the many who come to the Salvation Army for help. It was for the love of others. Even as an adult, when my first marriage fell apart and I was a single mom confused and alone, I remember having a fleeting thought that maybe I should try drowning my pain in a bottle of wine. But then I remembered a piece of paper that I had signed as a 10 year old and I ran instead to the Throne Room and into the arms of my Savior. He was able to handle my pain better than any bottle of wine.
  • Refuge: Recently I have had a family member use the Army’s services due to mental illness. The family didn’t know what to do. The local church didn’t know what to do. Quite honestly, government programs didn’t have any answers. But my beautiful Army they embraced him. They loved the one that no one had any answers for and he is on his way to recovery. It was too difficult for family to fight alone. The Body of Christ needed help caring for this member. When there was no government program; When caring for the loved one was destroying family; When the Body of Christ was weary and weak, that’s when the Army became a place of refuge. This is my Army, and I am forever grateful.

A Letter To Ann Voskamp


Dear Ann,

Last night I had a dream that you invited me to stay at your farm for a welcome retreat from the battles I face. You were so excited to share healing with me, and I was overwhelmed by your generosity and nurture. But sometimes Ann I look at your pictures, even of your messes, and think you don’t understand pain. But I know better. I’ve read your book. Purchased several copies to share. Counted to 300 something. And even though I know your life has been harder than most, you’ve decided. Now I decide. I decide to see beauty in struggle as my ugly caterpillar self waits in quiet darkness for what comes next. For my embryonic state only declares to me that new birth is coming and I can choose, if I dare. I can choose to be content in the warm and safe place of His arms, trusting His hand to craft wings of color to my worm body.

I can choose as my heart breaks in two for the desperation of others to see my most prized possessions: two bushes ablaze with beauty, one with lilac and the other with pearly peony.

I can choose to be relieved that my cocoon is dark because then I can not see the scalpel performing surgery on my broken pieces.

I can choose to see hope in the hard, singing in the sad, trust in the trial and love for the lost.

And you know what? It’s my choice, not anyone else’s. I can choose to be grateful. No one can take this from me. Because as you have so beautifully said, “when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”

So I’m starting my list over and this time I won’t stop. I will come to the place you’ve created as a retreat for me and other weary travellers. And I will rest on the front porch rocking chair. Back and forth, back and forth, to the rhythm of His heart beat. I can not walk this road alone, so I will re-learn gratitude, with your beautiful list, a respirator of thanksgiving, I breathe in, out, in, out. Breathe out thanks, breathe in gift, breathe out thanks, breathe in gift. I will learn to spirit-breathe again, but I might cough and sputter a little, because I have allowed my air to be polluted with death wishes and dream killers. So let the breathing treatments begin. And Ann? Thanks for the invitation.

1. For the invitation to really see… herehere

Three things orange?
2. #2 pencils scratching on lined notebook paper
3. Daughter’s orange scarf peeking out of basket.



4. Splash of orange cheer on my Dunkin

…sharing a playdate with Laura:
and at a new place for writers Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

and with beautiful Jennifer Dukes Lee…{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252
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And with my dearest Emily…

Making Memorial Day Memorable


In the United States, the Memorial Day holiday has come to indicate the official beginning of the summer vacation season. Many spend the day focused on cookouts, pool openings, and a day off from work. However, its origins are more somber. After the American Civil War, citizens put aside a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers–to memorialize them. Eventually, this became a nationally recognized event. Yet through the years, the day has lost its original significance of remembering veterans. Grilling has taken priority over gratitude. It’s meaning has been forgotten along with the soldiers who served their country…join me at Family Fire to find out some fun new traditions for Memorial Day.

What Every Mother Wants to Find in Her Teenaged Son’s Pocket

The mornings are frosty now, and I’ve decided to do the dreaded change of seasonal clothes. Juggling household duties with working part-time (haha!) has prompted procrastination.

But the chill has run straight through marrow and I can not put it off any longer. In the midst of our coat drive at work, I marvel at my own family’s abundance. Each person has two coats, and I wonder how that even happened. Most were not purchased, and my mind plays a slide show of the faces who have passed them along to us, whispering a prayer of thanks for each contributor.

Usually, I empty pockets in spring when I pack these testimony lined coats away for the season, but I must have missed one. My son’s pockets are packed to the brim, a museum collection, a time capsule of sorts. First I pull out a pay stub from his full time position at the church where he uses his creativity and gifts for the glory of God. Suddenly I am overwhelmed knowing that so many young people are unemployed after college, and here he is, employed in his field, while still attending college. Then I pull out a pack of his favorite gum, hardened with age. I realize that my care for him in this way is on borrowed time, and someday it will be his responsibility, or the responsibility of a wife ready to be named later. I pause a moment to pray for her, whomever she is.

But then I find something that takes my breath away. My chest tightens and I feel the wind knocked out of me. For I have found something that every Christian mother wants to find in her teenaged son’s pocket. I know this because as the mother of three I have found other things in pockets. Things that left me breathless for different not-so-happy reasons. I fall to my knees in gratitude, for I have found a pocket full of Gospel tracks. This shy, quiet, behind-the-scenes young man pushes through himself in order to love God and others. His life teaches me so much. Some people are secretive about doing wrong…I continually find that he secretly does right. I never discover this from his own lips, always from the lips of others or in this case what he has left in his pockets. And it’s not about whether a tract is an effective tool for the lost, it’s about whether it’s an effective tool for this young man. A tool whereby he proves to himself and his world that he belongs to Him, and that this isn’t a game we are playing but it is in fact more real than what we call reality. In a world where we escape into the unreal lives of others and call it a “reality” tv show, my son, the one who loves to play video games for hours has remembered what is really real.

I cry out for mercy for this son, this God-child, that he would continue on this path, and never be distracted by the cares of this world, his peers, but would always hold his hunger for God-things at the core of his being. Because I’ve learned from my own life that even the ability to endure to the end is not my own, but is given by Him. Humbled I realize how busy with my own life I have become. I don’t pray for my children enough. I never could there’s so much to pray for! I get all busy and wrapped up with today, and if I do pray for them, I usually pray about what I’m worried about rather than what I am thankful for.

But this package stuffed in coat pocket has reminded me of all that I can be grateful for. Concrete basement floor has become holy ground, because I have built an altar of thanksgiving right where I am. I am resolved to pray not only for the prodigal, but also for the faithful, because I remember that Satan is just as hard after those trying to do the right thing as he is those who are doing their own thing. Maybe even more.

Hugging the coat the way I used to hold this man of God when he was little, I weep and give thanks.

Rest For The Weary – A Community Thanksgiving Poem Project

Welcome to our Thanksgiving play place! We are taking on a challenge as a community to write poetry together. Each day I will provide a picture and a line of poetry. Your job is to leave a line of your own in the comment section. I will provide a new prompt and picture and a poem created by all of us the following day! Will you take time for a little wordplay?

'autumn leaf' photo (c) 2004, tracy ducasse - license:

Leather worn leaf settles to rest for winter’s sleep…and so do I.

I am so proud of our first work together!! Your word pictures were beautiful…thank you for sharing your heart!

Margus Saluste

Frost Dawn

by the Journey Towards Epiphany Community

Moon sliver slices sky silver
and star dust settles
on shoulders and hair
reminding me that I am dust.
And slithering down, down,
deep into Spirit breath
that holds it all together
Inhaling scent of pumpkin spice,
autumn leaves,
the candles crackle
casting characters on the wall…
loving all things autumn.

The dappled drops of light
play silently on my face,
casting me as the lonely spirit
that I am,
a character also on the wall.
Cup of warmth in hand I step outside
where icy, white horse in pasture
glistens in moonlight glow.
She snorts and prances
bold and fearless
dancing praise to her Creator.

Sun shoots neon pink
painting treetop tips
the new day has begun
and I am here to witness.
But trunks and ground
stay colorless
unstained by morning rays.
These shades of brown and gray
seat so deeply into heart
– the branches empty and wanting –
o be still my heart and listen
for His whisper of
hope and new life.

Colored leaves
dancing through the crisp air
sweep me off my feet
into the glory of God,
spirit soaring,
and then love taking the final bow.
The buoyancy of the breeze
beckons boldly
while my breath
ingests it’s intoxicating essence…
Then I fly into my imagination
and I’m happily in heaven.

Though light pierces through
eastern sky,
sobbing clouds mist tears overhead.
The cold that aches my fingers
reminds me
I don’t have to sleep on a street;
The drizzle stinging my face,
reminds me
my home is safe and dry;
The dreary grey sky,
now blazing with fire color
reminds me
that my family is safe and happy;
And all of this?
reminds me
Of His love for all less fortunate than I.
We are poor,
and we are rich
– it is the search
that determines which.
Day drives on
His presence near
And because of traffic snarls,
I get gift of sunrise,
and sunset;
all in one day.
Search over
I am rich.

Waiting. With Anticipation. – Day 8 Photo Scavenger Hunt

Waiting. With Anticipation.

Each day, children wait
to open the presents under the tree.
Cradling pacakges,
they check them for size and shape,
weight and balance.
Shaking them to discover
if they make a sound.
Breathless, trembling,
they anticipate opening day.
Filled with awe and wonder.

Each day, we wait
to find the gifts He’s left behind.
Cradling His love letter,
We whisper words of praise,
singing songs of delight.
We search for unexpected
objects of beauty
in places so obvious
That they aren’t noticed anymore.
Breathless, trembling
We are filled with awe and wonder.

Giving thanks today with Ann:

84. Snow, a Christmas miracle.

85. Grown up daughter baking Christmas cookies while listening to music that I haven’t asked to listen to…someday I’ll miss this…

86. Nutella and pretzels.

87. Seeing daughter bring the house down in Christmas production.

88. Looking at the beautiful stage my son helped design for the production at church.

89. Going out to eat with two of my favorite guys…

90. Cutest present under the tree.

Congratulations to Jennifer at To Tell You The Truth for winning the angel photo prompt!

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:
Monday – A Gift
Tuesday – Salvation Army Bellringer
Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be from now through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

There were no entries for the outdoor lights photo contest.

and with dearest Michelle: