Easy, Every Day Ways to Create a Peaceful Atmosphere in Your Space

AuthenticVirtue.com // 5 Ways to Pursue Peace in Your Home

We live in such a busy, heart-bruising world it’s easy to mistake busyness for prosperity and chaos for peace. I know from experience that an atmosphere of peace in our homes and spaces does not happen by accident.

The last two weeks have kicked my butt in more ways than one. I spent a week out-of-town, deep cleaning seven smallish houses with a friend. My Darling Man made sure I had a few quiet, rest-filled days before I jumped back into my school schedule (which was so sweet!) but no sooner was I  physically rested than an emotional storm hit. We had to make some tough, life-impacting decisions which left me crying for 2+ days and bruised my heart deeply.

Needless to say, a peaceful atmosphere has been a challenge.

As Christian women, we have the amazing opportunity to live life in a way that we *reek* peace. The beautiful thing is that living peaceful lives looks different for every home and person; but, there are key things we can do to ensure our homes are less chaotic and more enjoyable. It just takes a little practice.

Here are five ways I’m pursuing peace in our space.

AuthenticVirtue.com Decluttering is key to emotional and physical peace. The great thing about decluttering is that it can be done right here, right now. Don’t know where to start? Wash the breakfast dishes. Put away the cereal box. File those random papers on your desk. Call the next person on your list. When life feels crazy look around you — is there something you can donate or giveaway? Throwaway? When we declutter we begin to feel sane … even in the midst of the storm.

Pressing play on my favorite Christian radio or Pandora station is one of the first ways I transform our home from crazy to calm. Early in the morning while I cook breakfast and Dalton gets ready for work we’ll often turn on our favorite worship music. Almost immediately my soul is blessed and my spirit is lifted (even if I’m washing last night’s dishes!). 😉 Press play to whatever lifts and encourages your heart and your one step closer to a peace-filled space.

Writing a to-do list is activity I must do when life overwhelms and our home feels out of control. Earlier this week I struggled to fall asleep, so, I rose from bed and wrote a schedule and to-do list for the remaining weeks of school. Ah … having goals, to-do’s and responsibilities handwritten and hanging from my fridge immediately gave me a sense of rest and control. I may not get everything on my to-do list done and that’s okay. It’s not about letting my list control my life but my using self-control and completing what I need to get done.

Saying no to unnecessary activities and requests is super important when creating a peace-filled home. Some days you can take the kids to the pool, carpool with other mommies, schedule a lunch date, babysit your neighbor’s cat, blog, fold laundry, paint the shutters, and lead a Bible study all in one week.

But then there are days when you need to say no. Our homes and spaces are our first priorities and if random, miscellaneous activities are spoiling the atmosphere you desire then it’s okay to say no for a while. 🙂

Choosing peace is, ultimately, the most important thing we get to do. As Christians we are promised peace — even when the world is ripping apart and destroying all that we love. The first part of this week involved me bawling my eyes out but during the hard things I knew peace. Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

We can write schedules, say no to miscellaneous activities, declutter our spaces and listen to encouraging music but if we forget to choose and pursue a heart of peace our homes will continue reeking of a chaotic atmosphere. I know because I’ve been there.

Choosing to believe “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” is the most important and effective way to create a peace-filled space.

AuthenticVirtue.com

How do you pursue peace in your space? Is there one thing you love doing that helps bring calm from the chaos? Tell us about your peace-keeping powers! We’d love to know! 🙂 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Top 5 Marriage Posts (plus a few others goodies, too)

AuthenticVirtue.com lists her top 5 favorite marriage posts!Hello, sweet people! It’s Monday, the perfect day to gather inspiration and choose to live your life to the fullest. Today, I’m sharing my top five posts on marriage as well as some of my favorite marriage pieces written by other fine bloggers.

First, here are my top five posts on marriage. What I love most about you readers is that you have made this blog a community of grace and love. I’ve written about the many joys, challenges and learnings my darling marriage has brought me and you’ve been there cheering me on and hearing my heart so graciously. You all are awesome!

How to Properly Pamper Your Partner

How I Didn’t Know He Was the One Until I Decided He Was

Five Signs of a Good Man

Your Marriage is Meant to Endure Conflict

The Laughing Wife

Without fail, here are four of my favorite posts by other writers. I often return to these articles because they’re a wonderful collection of truth, simply put. And I like simple. 🙂

Weekly Questions by Today’s Letters

Ten Things that Have Made All the Difference by Today’s Letters

Six Important Marriage Lessons the Bible Has Taught Us by Time-Warp Wife

Pizza and Dessert Tonight, Honey? by Lindsay Hall

Who are your favorite marriage bloggers? Share the link in a comment below — I’d love to check them out!

Here’s to your Monday — may it be purposeful, delightful and full of a thankful heart.

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Your Marriage is Meant to Endure Conflict

Your marriage is meant to endure conflict! Learn how with AuthenticVirtue.com

Honesty time.

Sometimes, even in the happiest, God-centered marriages, your going to be angry. You’re going to be angry with your unmet expectations, forgotten trash, or cancelled plans.

Sometimes the cause is legitimate while other times it’s your own personal issue causing the angry, emotional torrents to come bubbling out. Then, there are the days when it’s not a his or her problem as much as it’s a hormonal problem or lack of sleep problem.

This is real life, ya’ll.

So, what do you do when you’re tempted to be angry? How do you adjust to the fact that your adorable, wonderful marriage may have grumpy days?

Realize bad days do not equal a bad marriage

Ugh. I cannot count the times I’ve felt like a failure because we had grumpy days. As Dalton’s bride, I took full responsibility for the constant, 100% never blue, happy days I wanted our marriage to be full of.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when I fell to pieces the first time a bad day came around. I had placed an unrealistic expectation on both D and I.

Friend, grumpy days happen and they do not signify the apocalypse-ing end of your marriage. Grumpy days test you and your spouse’s humanness. It signifies that you’re both sinners in need of grace, God’s amazing gift of holiness and forgiveness.

So don’t freak out. Instead …

Assess the situation

What’s going on? What has turned your Knight in Shining Armor into something less than shining? Why are you acting like a shrew instead of the beautiful bride that you are? Are you tired? Hormonal? Is hubby carrying a stressful workload? Are bills piling up? Is there an family or in-law issue causing tension?

Assess the situation; most of the time grumpy days have root issues which go deeper then the current problem. In other words, it isn’t always about the cheese.

Take time to discover what’s causing the tension in your home instead of jumping to hasty conclusions. Then …

Communicate

I recently heard a radio speaker suggest couples keep an index card in the freezer saying, “I’m angry with you and want to talk about it but I won’t attack you. Is now a good time?” He suggested the angry spouse pull the card out of the freezer and hand it to the offending party whenever an issue required resolving or a communication stalemate has occurred.

I love this idea because I’ve found that communication is key. When grumpy days come it’s easy to let our inner Ice Queens take over — we’re hurt but we’re waiting for our spouse to breach the divide. Hours pass in uneasy tension as emotions foster anger, assumptions and bitterness. D likes to say, “Talk it out otherwise you’ll assume the worst.”

He’s right. Talk it out. Hand your spouse the ice cold index card assuring him that you won’t attack but want to get to the root issue of the problem.

Realize James 1:20

Confession: Anger is one of my big sins. For years I labored at maintaining my cool cucumber appearance only sharing my deep, angry thoughts and disappointments with family who knew and understood me. For years I allowed myself to not call sin sin.

I met Dalton and the façade pressed on (because, well, I wanted him to think I ways always sweet, wonderful and perfect … who wouldn’t?) 😉 It wasn’t till after we married and he mentioned that he didn’t like the burlap banners I tacked above every window and bare space our smallish home possessed. (Think up to 6-8 hot-glued tool, burlap banners — haha.)

He left for work and I threw myself on our bed. I was so mad. So angry in fact that my thoughts startled me. They were vengeful and malicious.

I’ve since made James 1:20 my key, go-to verse when I sense emotions getting the better of me. Because, truth be told, my anger will never work God’s righteousness in my life — only sin. It doesn’t matter how justified I feel, how badly I’ve been offended or how deserving of punishment the offender is. Our anger will not work one once of righteousness in our lives.

Forgive and Bless

Ultimately, I’m responsible for myself and my emotions. Grumpy days will happen and when we assess the situation (figure out what’s really going on), communicate (but not attack), and recognize that wrath will only hinder God’s work in our life then it’s time to move on. It’s time to forgive and bless. 

The beautiful thing about forgiving our spouses when they act grumpy or hurt us is that it’s life-giving to both parties. When Dalton forgives me for being an emotional ball of negative energy and chooses to bless me he is not only breathing life into my life but his.

So, do the next thing. Forgive and bless. I once heard the advice of baking your husband’s favorite cookies when you’re struggling with negative emotions toward him. It’s good for us to give up on steaming and steeping over our spouses faults and move toward finding ways of encouraging and brightening their day.

It’s good for them and it’s really good for you.

This is from experience because I’ve been there. I’ve been angry and have wrought havoc because I refused to handle the issue correctly. Let’s grow in grace by being women and men of God who handle the grumpy days properly. Knowing that arguments do not equal divorce, assessing the situation, communicating and forgiving will bring joy to your lives.

I know because I’ve learned the hard way. Marriage is meant to endure conflict. Learn how.

Free Printable @ 800x800 px with AuthenticVirtue.com

Need a little inspiration when days get tough? Feel free to download and print this 8×10 inch freebie printable. I love this quote by Fawn Weaver. Click here for the link and enjoy.

How do you handle grumpy days in your marriage? Did the arguments surprise and/or scare you? What are your strengths in dealing with conflict? Your weakness? Let’s grow in grace and community — this is a safe place to share!

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

Morning Routines For the Morning-Challenged

An easy how-to for having a sucessful, productive day by a morning-challenged gal! Mmmm … morning routines. The earliest hours of day are filled with surprises — from the bursts of sunlight to the first notes sung by birds — this time is by far my most favorite of the day.

I haven’t always been an early-bird. I’ve had my fair share of sleeping in till noon. But marrying an (extreme, haha!) early-riser has helped me love waking earlier than most and starting the day before the sun.

The funny thing is that having a good morning doesn’t happen on accident. I’ve found that having established, purposeful routines are necessary for starting out the day successfully. And starting a day well usually leads to finishing well. Here are four tips I’ve found helpful in creating relaxing, productive and awesomely successful mornings.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Start the night before[/pullquote]

Having a successful, pleasant morning doesn’t happen without a little planning. (And this is coming from a girl who knows!) I’ve been known to jump into bed leaving the sink full of greasy dishes and the living room in disarray. Waking up was a chore because I had neglected my chores. No one wants to see ugly, disorganization first thing in the morning (and no one wants to fish out the stinky, soggy washrag stewing in yesterday’s dishwater — yuck!).

Prepare for your successful morning by spending 15 minutes tidying your home the night before. Load the dishes into the dishwater and push start, fluff the living room pillows, put away dvds and clear the miscellaneous coffee cups which multiply like rabbits. You’re sleep will be sweeter with the knowledge that you ended the day productively and your morning will be a lot more fun to wake up to.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Establish a routine[/pullquote]

Routines help humans excel at life. We work, play, relax and learn best when we know what to expect so why would we allow our mornings to be vague, chaotic surprises when it’s easy and awesome-feeling to have set habits and routines?

The beautiful thing is that everyone’s morning routine should look different. We’re all unique with different family sizes and situations so setting ourselves free from the pressure to copy others habits, expectations and routines is necessary for our personal productivity and success.

For me, I start my day by making a cup of coffee, kissing my husband (whose already been up for 2+ hours) and snuggling in the recliner for 15 minutes. Then, after I’ve had a sip or two of black goodness, I move to the kitchen and put away the dried dishes and start breakfast. I follow this routine every day including weekends.

Crazy confession: we eat the same thing every morning except for Sunday. Normally there are two options, oatmeal and eggs or oatmeal and a protein shake. And before you pity me and send me coupons let me say that there is an abundance of flexibility in keeping to routine in your meals. 😀 Oatmeal can be made traditionally with a variety of toppings (brown sugar, honey, berries, milk, cinnamon, chocolate chips, etc.) or in a parfait fashion with fruit and yogurt. And of course eggs can be cooked in countless ways (scrambled, fried, omelet, or muffin style). Having a few, select choices for breakfast make mornings easier on everyone (kids included).

Establishing a morning routine that works for you is an awesome way to make your mornings more fun and successful.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Take time to drink your coffee … and listen to something uplifting [/pullquote]

It’s so simple. I used to believe that being a good keeper of my home meant waking before dawn and jumping right into daily chores. False. Every thing in creation requires a few moments to warm up. Birds fluff feathers, cats stretch and dogs yawn. Even machines require warm-up time. Why should we be any different?

Friend, etch out time in your morning to simply be. Pour yourself something yummy and find a place to watch the sunrise. Rest. Relax. Pray. Listen to worship music. There’s nothing lazy about taking a few minutes to yourself. Mommies, you can even teach your little ones to play quietly in their crib for 15 minutes after they wake.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Do the next thing[/pullquote]

You’ve woken up to home sweet and tidied from the night before, began the day with your established routines and taken a few minutes to drink your coffee and enjoy quiet. What now?

Simple, do the next thing. Quite easy, really. 🙂 I’m sure many of you practical folk are laughing at me but I cannot tell you how easy it is for me to get distracted and put off what’s needed. (Too easy.) 😉

Do what works for you. Write a to-do list. Set a timer on your phone. For me, I write a list and work my way though. Normally, I start with Bible reading then move on to the daily cleaning which involves dishes, sweeping and vacuuming, wiping down the bathroom and dinner prep. By the time I’ve finished I’m free to move onto “fun projects.” Crafting, blogging, reading, Netflix, baking and miscellaneous house projects. 🙂 Is there anything better than having the freedom to do what you love? And all because you had a successful morning!

Good Monring Freebie Printable with AuthenticVirtue.com

For additional, therapeutic support enjoy this free, 8×10 printable I made. (I know, right? Frannie made a printable? Get ready world … she’s advancing and who’s to stop her!) 😉 Follow this link to download this darling print — print it out and stick it to the fridge for morning inspiration. You can make your mornings and days productive, friend. Believe it and put that belief into practice and you’re half way to making mornings fun and blessed.

What does your morning routine look like? Are you an early-bird or are you morning-challenged? Do you have any funny stories about groggy mornings?

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

3 Treasure-Filled Lessons Marriage Has Taught Me

Authentic Virtue

It’s been one beautiful adventure, my marrying Dalton. Today, we celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. For the last 731 days I’ve grown more in love with a man who is an obvious God-send.

Last year, I wrote a post titled 55 Things I’ve Learned After Being Married One Year. This year I feel a little less ambitious and long-winded. 😉 Here are my three most recent, most life-altering lessons marriage has taught me.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Delighted In[/pullquote] Silly, isn’t it? We yearn to be loved but when the chance comes we freeze. Our minds swirl with dangerous ideas: no one could love me, no one could adore my faulty body, no one could find me irresistible — I’m not worthy enough. We push our husbands away and forsake their genuine, God-given delight in us.

Sweet one, stop. I’ve been there; I’ve doubted my husband’s words, ignored his truth and resisted being fully loved by him. I was afraid. It’s scary letting someone take full delight in you — they might find a flaw.

Dare to take the risk. Dare to fall into your Adam’s arms and dare to be his Eve. Believe that the love he has for you is the gift that it is and rejoice in it.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to Love Fully[/pullquote] Okay, okay. I know this is strange. Somehow, in my single years, I developed the idea that it was wrong to be as in love with my husband as I am now. It wasn’t spiritual to make him my priority. It was embarrassing to be radiantly, happily in love. The vulnerability of having a person I’m loyal to above all made me sickeningly weak.

Crazy, right?

It wasn’t until I read Song of Solomon that I realized my error. We’ve been given permission to love our husbands fully — it’s good to be ravishingly, totally enthralled with our person. Love isn’t supposed to be conservative. It’s generously visable to the world.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Weak  [/pullquote] Someone very dear spoke these words of life to me: receiving criticism doesn’t mean you failed, it means you have room to grow.

Marriage will reveal weakness. And, if you have an addiction to perfection like me, you can imagine the horror of having someone see you for the human that you are.

It’s okay.

Sweet friend, it’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to need forgiveness, restoration, and grace. That’s why Christ came. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.[/pullquote]

Two years married to a person who sees all my selfishness, greed and pride has been hard on the side of me that wants self-made righteousness — but it’s been good for the part of me that needs grace.

Reader, whether you’re married or not, I hope you know that it is okay to be delighted in, it’s okay to love fully, and it’s okay to be weak. When we learn to accept these truths life becomes treasure-filled; you may even wonder how you ever thought yourself happy before, these truths are that rewarding.

For a montage of our wedded bliss and a shot of us as a happy, watermelon-wearing couple, why not friend me on Facebook at Authentic Virtue Blog or on my own profile!

With love, blessings and one very happy, well-loved heart,

Frannie