All Things in Place

Thus saith the Lord: Set thy house in order.

·        1 Kings 20


I have faced my fear of heights by climbing mountains, feel energized by speaking to large audiences, gladly take financial risks for the sake of a worthy venture and regularly take on my personal dragons. What sets my heart to fibrillating and weakens by knees is adminophobia – the fear of all the little tasks undone that grow like mold, that mock and whine, “You’re not enough. You’ll never get done.” One morning after returning from a trip, an anxiety attack woke me early. Bleary-eyed, I got up and went to my prayer corner. “Help!” I said aloud, “I need real help! I just can’t face the pile on my desk.” I saw in my mind’s eye a holy figure in the distance standing on a beach where I often saw him. He was smiling at me and beckoning. As I approached him, I noticed something colorful in his right hand, glinting in the sunlight. It was a set of “pick-up sticks,” a game I played as a child. He lifted his head and raised his eyebrows, directing me to watch closely. He tossed the sticks onto the sand where they landed in a jumbled pile. He put his thumb and forefinger together and shook them with a wry expression which said “Watch this!” He bent slightly from the waist, and, without disturbing the rest of the pile, carefully and effortlessly picked up one red stick. He held it up with a triumphant smile and looked deep into my eyes. I quickly journaled the meditation, writing “One thing at a time.”

When I walked into the office, there was the expected pile left by me secretary. As my computer hummed to life, I picked up one thing from the teetering pile with thumb and forefinger. I handled it with calm, focused concentration. By noon, my out-basket was brimming and my desk was mercifully clear.

-Linda Kavelin Popov, Sacred Moments – Daily Meditations on the Virtues

Ten Tips for a Tidier Home

1. Whenever you have a few minutes to spare put away five or ten items that are not in their correct place. These could be toys that the kids have left somewhere, letters that need filing away or odd socks that need putting in a drawer.

2. Dump junk mail the moment you receive it. Deal with other mail at least once a week filing away what you need to keep in an indexed concertina file, card or plastic file wallets or even large brown envelopes.

3. The five boxes method. This will clear clutter from any room or area of the house, but can look awful while in progress. Set aside some time when you won't be disturbed, put on a tape of upbeat music and have a treat in the fridge for lunch. First job is to label the boxes - Rubbish, Give Away/Sell, Keep, Sentimental and Not Sure. You then go through everything in the area consigning each item to one of the boxes. Theoretically, by the time you have got rid of the Rubbish and Give Away/Sell boxes, you should have enough space to store the Sentimental and put the Keep items back in an orderly way. The Not Sure box should be sealed up, stored in basement or attic and if not needed after six months or one year, given away unopened, so that you're not tempted to keep the contents all over again.

4. Be ruthless. If you haven't used an item in the last two years you are not likely to need it again. Do you really want a clutter free, streamlined home or not?

5. If you can't face an entire room, break the job down into manageable tasks - the kitchen junk drawer, the letter pile, the hats, coats and shoes area. That way you won't be put off de-cluttering as just too big a task.

6. Treat yourself to items that make staying tidy easier. Cardboard storage boxes are great for sewing and craft items, Christmas decorations, treasures that your children have made. Plastic or fabric hanging shoe bags are perfect for storing small toys and dolls or for hairbrushes, clips, cosmetics and toiletries. Invest in some of those drawer dividers that separate drawers into a dozen little compartments - but don't fill them with junk!

7. Clean and put away fifty per cent of your ornaments. Not only will this give your home a more modern minimalist look, you will get your dusting done in half the time.

8. Consider enlisting the help of a family member or friend to be your organizing buddy. She helps you with your house - you help with her clutter disposal. Hearing yourself try to explain why you need a whole kitchen cupboard full of plastic containers can help you get them into that Rubbish box.

9. Don't keep buying things. Stop and think, do I really need this and have I got somewhere to keep this? Some people work on a one in, one out system, i.e. if you buy a new sweater, toy for the children etc. then one goes to the charity shop or is given to a friend.

10. Don't give up. It will take time. All the clutter didn't come into your home in one day and you won't get rid of it all in one day. Keep on sorting, dumping, tidying and labeling, cut back on bringing new clutter home and it is a battle that can be won. You will have more time, a neat home and less stress as a reward for your efforts.

-Colleen Moulding

Colleen is a freelance writer from England where she has had many features on parenting, childcare, travel, the Internet and many other subjects published in national magazines and newspapers. She has also published a variety of women's and children's fiction. Her work frequently appears at many sites on the Internet and at her own site for women and children, All That Women - a magazine, web guide and resource for women everywhere. Subscribe to her FREE monthly e-zine by sending a blank e-mail to


She would greet us pleasantly, and immediately she seemed to surround the chaotic atmosphere of morning strife with something of order, of efficient and quiet uniformity, so that one had the feeling that life was small and curiously ordered.

·        Meridel LeSueur

Use your senses to create a sacred home

Your home is a shelter, a safe haven and a place to hang your hat.  It is also a reflection of your soul, of who you are and what you value. Your home should be a sanctuary where you can feel nurtured and refreshed.  Coco Chanel was fond of saying, "An interior is the natural projection of the soul." Creating your own sacred space in your home is as easy as using your five senses, sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.  Follow along as we tour your home and show you five easy ways to begin creating your sacred home today.

What does your sacred home look like? What do you see as you walk up to the front door of your home?  Your entryway is the important transition between the outside world and your home. Paint your front door a welcoming color, place some flowering plants on your front steps and hang prayer flags that flutter gently in the breeze.  Now, step over the threshold into the entryway to your home. Is it bright and joyful?  Is it inviting?  If your entryway is dark or dingy try hanging brightly colored artwork or mirrors to reflect light. Different colors can evoke different feelings so consider using blue for relaxation, yellow for energy, red for passion, and white for clarity. At a minimum, keep this area clean and free of clutter.

What does your sacred home sound like? Step inside, close the front door, stop and listen. Most people are surprised to discover that the ambient sound level in their homes is quite high. As you listen, consider what kinds of sounds you hear. Are they happy sounds such as birds chirping or children playing? Is it the stressful noise of traffic or neighbors? Is it the irritating noise of phones ringing?  Your living room is where the outside world bursts in through telephones, televisions, radios and computers.  As with any boisterous guest, don’t let the din of the world overstay its welcome. Create a retreat atmosphere by switching off everything that makes noise. Don’t leave the television on if no one is watching and don’t use it as background noise while you are busy elsewhere.

What does your sacred home feel like?  Walk into your bedroom and run your hand across your bedspread and pillow.  Do they feel soft and inviting? Are they warm or sensuous? If you have difficulty falling asleep, even little things such as the feel and texture of sheets can have a big effect on how easily you doze off.  You will spend nearly one-third of your life asleep and the bedroom is your place to renew at the beginning and relax at the end of each day.  Make your bed using cool cotton sheets during spring and autumn and crisp linen ones in summer for a peaceful sleep.  Cuddly flannel sheets and fluffy down comforters create a cozy refuge in the wintertime. Have soft, fuzzy carpeting on the floor or comfy slippers to coddle your bare feet and fluffy pillows to cuddle your head.

What does your sacred home smell like? Your bathroom is the perfect place to explore aromatherapy with bath salts, candles, oils and soap.  Quality and not quantity is what is important, so shop for pure oils and essences and beeswax candles with a pure cotton wick. Products containing pure oils and essences have stronger healing properties than those made from chemicals. Research has shown that one of the fastest ways to influence mood is through smell. Some aromatherapy scents to consider: the heady bouquet of rose for romance, the soothing aroma of vanilla for comfort, the delicate scents of lavender, geranium or rosemary for relaxation, the fresh fragrances of orange or peppermint for energy.

What does your sacred home taste like? Your kitchen is the place to celebrate life - to nourish and be nourished. Honor your family heritage and create a dish similar to one your great-great grandmother might have prepared. Are you stuck in a taste rut with not enough zest in your food?  Buy a new spice like cardamom or turmeric.  Use all of your taste buds sweet, sour, bitter, salty  and taste textures such as crunchy, creamy or chewy. Eat slowly and savor your food.  Experiment by creating ethnic dishes together with friends to nourish and sustain both your body and your spirit.

You can easily transform your house into a sanctuary for your spirit by using your five senses. When you become aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts, you can turn your home into a reflection of your soul.

-Lorraine Aho

Lorraine is the founder of®…”for the art and soul of your home.” She enjoys helping people create sacred spaces in their homes, providing a broad variety of advice and products to accomplish this with style and panache. She lives in a sacred home in Sonoma, California with her husband and two cats. To learn other tips for creating a sacred home, visit Sacred

My sweetheart and I will be moving to Denver, Colorado for a year, due to my job. This is an excellent opportunity for us to simplify and beautify our lives and our sacred home, to reduce our collection of useless and outdated things, and to learn to embrace the changes that continue to come our way. I hope you find the advice of Linda, Colleen and Lorraine as useful as I have.



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