31 songs to encourage you during difficult times

Chronic illness, unemployment, financial problems, failed marriages, wayward children, a harsh and changing world…more than ever, times are challenging.

Here are 31 encouraging songs to listen to during those difficult times.

Right Now – About A Mile

We Won’t be Shaken – Building 429

Where I Belong – Building 429

I Believe it Now – Sidewalk Prophets

Sinking Ships – Lincoln Brewster

Out of My Hands – Jeremy Camp

My Defender – Jeremy Camp

Without You – Ashes Remain

Right Here – Ashes Remain

Peace, Be Still – Rush of Fools

After the World – Disciple

One Thing Remains – Kutless

It Is Well – Kutless

Light Up the Sky – The Afters

I Will Fear No More – the Afters

You Are My Rescue – Royal Tailor

Anchor – Skillet

Stars – Skillet

Never Let You Go – Manafest

Look A Little Higher – JJ Weeks Band

Everything Falls – Fee

My Arms – Ledger

Sparrows – Jason Gray

Remind Me You’re Here – Jason Gray

Afraid – Tenth Avenue North

I Have This Hope – Tenth Avenue North

Worn – Tenth Avenue North

Strong Enough to Save – Tenth Avenue North

I Can Wait – Mikeschair

Let the Waters Rise – Mikeschair

Even If – Mercy Me

10 easy steps to organize your home

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

We recently remodeled the playroom and that meant going through everything that had accumulated in that little room.  As such, we found it necessary to do a major declutter. Today I hope to inspire you with some suggestions we found helpful in the remodel project and ten easy ways to help you organize, whether it be one room or your entire home.

1.         Get into the right frame of mind.  You must be in the correct frame of mind to organize.  Plan a day (or days!) to do it, then stick to it.

2.         Take small steps.  If you can’t get it all done in one or two days, that’s fine.  Set up another day to continue the task.  Tackle a certain area or room at a time.  Set realistic goals because if your goal is too big,  you will be overwhelmed and procrastinate.

1209088_deposit_trash3.         Set goals.  One of our main goals when “decluttering” the basement several years ago was to fill our garbage can full before “trash day.”  We easily reached this goal, and filled the neighbor’s garbage can full too.  (With her permission of course!) It also helps to write your goals down so that you can cross off each accomplishment.

4.         Spring clean, even if it’s not spring.  Take down each object from your shelves and cabinets and dust them.  This way, you will see everything you have.  As you are dusting each item, notice which items are not sentimental to you in anyway.  Also notice which items you do not have a personal attachment to or of which you have more than one.  These are potential “get rid of” items.  Check for old outdated items, such as, food, shampoos, lotions, and perfumes that also need to be tossed.

1225260_cardboard_box5.         Divide into piles.  Make four piles.  One pile will be for the items you are using now.  The second pile will be for items that that you will be storing in storage bins.  The third pile is for donation items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, and the fourth pile is items that are someone else’s that you have been storing and need to return. A good rule of thumb – if you have to think about whether or not you’ll ever use it, you should seriously consider getting rid of it.

6.         Help someone else. Besides donations to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, we also found a great organization in our town while remodeling the playroom that was looking for items for their garage sale. We loaded up quality items that we no longer needed and donated them. For an inspirational article on helping others with items you no longer need, see my post How to instill compassion and servanthood in your children.

7.         Take drastic action. For our playroom remodel project, we carried everything (and I mean everything!) from the playroom to the living room. It stayed there while we painted, redid moldings, and installed a new desk and cabinet. My rule of thumb was this…nothing was to be taken back into the playroom once the paint was dry unless it had “passed inspection.” The last thing we needed was to have everything returned without having gone through it.

1336514_a_cd_player8        Turn on the tunes.  It always helps to have a little outside noise to take your mind off of “decluttering.“  Put in your favorite CDs in the CD player and open your windows for a fresh breeze. For us, some Newsboys, Kutless, and Third Day were just the ticket!

9.         Enlist assistance.  When we decided to clean out our basement, I enlisted my husband’s help.  He was more than willing to assist me because 80% of the “stuff” was his and he didn’t want me to be the one to decide whether or not we should keep it.  My sister was also an unbiased  help because she is not sentimental like I am, so she was able to help me get rid of things that I no longer need or want (I sometimes need help knowing what I do and don’t want!)

10.         Congratulate yourself! After you have successfully organized and “decluttered”  your home, congratulate yourself and treat yourself to something special, preferably nothing of the cluttering sort!

What ideas do you find helpful when tackling a declutter project?

*Portions of this article first appeared in my article for Home and Family Magazine