First Steps to a Clutter Free Life

When people come over to our home, at first glance, most things are in their place and you normally don't see a lot of clutter around.

Our mostly clutter free front room

However, once you turn the corner and see my desk...

My cluttered desk

...or the pile of magazines...

Magazine pile

...or if you happen to be one of the very few people who get to see the dresser in our bedroom...

The cluttered top of my dresser

I am almost embarrassed to post these photos...especially this last one! Yikes! Look at all that dust! Unfortunately, these are not the only areas of clutter in my home...

But I met someone this past weekend who I believe is going to help me make those first steps to a Clutter Free Life.

Who did I meet? I can hear you asking...

Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp

I met Kathi Lipp!

Kathi was one of  the speakers at our local homeschool conference over the weekend. I had a chance to talk with her a bit on Thursday evening after I introduced myself to her as a Compassion Advocate in the area. Kathi is a speaker and writer who has recently partnered with Compassion to help more children find sponsors at her events.

She graciously gifted me with her new book 'Clutter Free' which I have practically devoured over the past couple of days. I still have about 50 pages to read, but I love her approach to identifying why we have clutter, and her three questions to help us identify what has earned a right to be in our homes.

In fact, just this morning, I had a pile of stuff to go through from VBS (yes, I know VBS was weeks ago, but I just kept procrastinating going through the stuff!) In about 15 minutes, I was able to go through two boxes and it feels so good to have it done! I am looking forward to finishing her book and taking more steps to live a more clutter free life!

Simplify your space...take back your life.
— Kathi Lipp

If you are struggling with clutter in your home, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Kathi's book.



Colombia Day Six: Our Final Day

Our final day in Colombia was spent at a church with the most energetic, passionate pastor I have ever met. Here is a video of his sharing with our group at the end of our day together:

So you know if he had this much energy at the end of our day together, you can just imagine how much energy he had at the beginning of our day!

Our day at this center started like many other center visits with presentations by the children. But I don't believe any of us were prepared for this (be sure to have kleenex handy...):

I know you may want to pass over the video, but don' is one of the most precious things I have ever watched.

Yes, God is in this city in Colombia.

And He is in many more cities just like this one.

In many more communities and countries around our world.

He is waiting for His people to do His work to share with His children just how much they are loved by Him.

I am not saying that you need to sponsor a Compassion child. 

Sweet little girl Compassion Colombia

But if you have ever felt that tug at your heart...

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

Colombia Day Five: Meeting Lina

The night before our planned Fun Day with our sponsored children, we received quite a surprise! Becca, one of our awesome trip leaders was praying at the end of our evening together at the hotel. She was kind of taking her time too. Imagine our surprise when we opened our eyes and saw a big group of children in the front of the was all of our sponsored kids!!!!! I immediately jumped up from my chair, my chair fell backwards, so I turned around to pick it up. By the time I stood back up and looked around, there was a beautiful young lady standing next to me. And I knew exactly who it was!!

Meeting my sponsored child Lina in Colombia

There are no words to describe this moment...none at all! How do you put into words the moment of meeting someone you have loved from miles away, someone you have prayed for, someone you have exchanged letters with, someone you never thought it would be possible to meet in this life?

We didn't have long to spend with the kids at this initial meeting, but it sure helped to alleviate some of the nervousness that we had been experiencing about the next day.

Our fun day with our sponsored children was spent at a water park near the coast of Barranquilla, Colombia. I really didn't take a lot of pictures this day because we spent a lot of time in the water! Lina had never traveled outside of her community, so she had never been to the coast of her country. This was her very first time to the Caribbean Sea!!

Angelica (the center director from Lina's project), me, and Lina loving our day at the beach!

Angelica (the center director from Lina's project), me, and Lina loving our day at the beach!

Me, Lina, and Mauricio (our translator)

Me, Lina, and Mauricio (our translator)

Even though we spent a lot of time in the water, we still had time to talk quite a bit.

I learned that Lina almost left the program before we started sponsoring her. Her previous sponsor didn't send her any letters. Angelica told me that when the letters we sent to Lina when we started sponsoring her made a big difference in Lina's life.

Did you hear that?

Letters...a few words written on a page to encourage a young girl who lives thousands of miles away from us.


The thing is though...not only have those letters made a difference in Lina's life...they have made a difference in my life.

Almost every month, I set aside time to write letters to our Compassion sponsored kids. I don't write really long letters.

But in each letter I share a Bible verse and remind these kids that God loves them.

Doesn't it make you feel good when someone reminds you that God loves you?

Maybe if my words don't convince you that child sponsorship works, maybe this will:

Are you ready to make a difference in the life of a child living in extreme poverty in Jesus' name?

Explore Their World Printable

When we first started sponsoring a Compassion child in Colombia five years ago, we were eager to learn more about that country. 

Learning about Colombia

We found Colombia on the globe and read more about the country where our sponsored child lives. As we were learning about Colombia, I thought this would be a great way to learn more about all of the countries where Compassion is working.

Compassion Colombia Facts

I created a pretty simple printable for us to discover more about each of the countries where Compassion is working through the local churches to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. Since that time, I have been wanting to create something to share with others to help them on their own journey to help educate their children about the countries where Compassion is making a difference.

With help from my creative husband for adding the fun doodles, I now have an Explore Their World Printable to share with you! By clicking on the above image, you can access this printable to use with your own family.

In the future, I hope to add a few more printable images covering a few other topics to help your family build a relationship with your sponsored child. Enjoy exploring!

Our First Launch

When your children are little, many older moms always tell you to enjoy the moments you have with your children because the time goes quickly.

My children playing pirates

The days turn into months, and the months turn into years. After all the good times and hard times, you finally arrive at that moment.

You know the one, the moment when your first child is ready to leave home.

Working at the Compassion Mobile Experience

Over the past few years, we have had the opportunity to volunteer at many Compassion events. Concerts, conferences, and the Mobile Experience, Matthew has graciously come along side me to be my traveling companion.

Then, an incredible opportunity came about for Matthew. One that would give him an opportunity to travel around the country, and be a part of making a difference in the lives of children waiting for sponsors with Compassion.

Matthew heading to Nashville

On Sunday, we dropped Matthew off at the airport so he could fly out to his new job! He is now employed at Brewco Marketing Group as a Brand Ambassador for Compassion with their Mobile Experience!

I am over the top excited for him, but I have definitely had some weeping moments over the last couple of days. So much of my life has been poured into my children. I am not sure if there is anything that anyone can say or do that makes this any easier.

But I do know one thing...I completely trust in the Lord that this is His plan for Matthew at this point of his life. As much as we will miss him while he is not in our home, we know that he is going to be making a huge difference in the lives of many children around the world.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11