How to Simplify Your Home Office Setup

How to Simplify Your Office Setup

How to Simplify Your Home Office Setup

We recently moved into a new home. While searching for this home Chris and I agreed that we didn’t want so large a home office as we’ve had in the past but a few points were still of necessity to our family. Here are some small and large changes that made our decision for the current home office we have (pictured above) a great fit.

  • Have a favorite pen? Great! Buy 1 or 2 of them and get rid of the rest. You don’t need  10 pens, 4 hi-lighters, and 3 erasers. (I put our extras in the kids’ art supplies.)
  • Do establish an inbox/outbox process for your paperwork and mail.
  • Do you really use that stapler?
  • I prefer not to face a door or window to avoid distractions and focus better. This layout in our home works best so that we are able to keep an eye on what our children are viewing online.
  • Hide that laptop! When we’re not using the laptop, it can be stored in a drawer to keep the tabletop clear.
  • Bypass a desk phone.
  • Knick-knacks aren’t necessary. I have a fantastic piece of blown glass art Chris bought me and a few of my kids’ works of art that take center stage on our memo board and shelves, otherwise we keep the area free of the framed photos, wall hangings, and desktop toys that are common.
  • Invest in a comfortable chair.
  • Add lighting to the area that doesn’t cause your eyes to be strained as you write or use the computer.
  • Don’t go for big. The bigger the space, the more can be gathered into it.
  • Function counts. We own a printer/scanner but it’s tucked away under a cabinet since it’s not used often. It’s there if we need it but out of sight 99% of the time.

Which part of your home office makes it work well for you?

The Necessity of A Calm Bedroom

The Necessity of A Calm Bedroom

The Necessity of A Calm Bedroom

Here’s a strong opinion for you: Bedrooms are nothing if not calm.

Note: I didn’t say bedrooms are nothing if they don’t have expensive furniture. Nor did I say bedrooms are nothing if they are small.

No matter the color scheme, room size, furniture quality, or whether you share the room with anyone else…what counts is whether you take the time to make sure your bedroom gives you a sense of calm when you walk through its door.

Go ahead, walk into your bedroom. How do you feel? Overwhelmed by the pile of clothing on the bed? Frustrated that you didn’t make the bed this morning? Thrilled that things are in order and the room isn’t cluttered?

If your bedroom experience is less than calm, here are a few things I’ve done over the years to increase the peace which might work for you:

  • No laundry in the bedroom. All clothing (both clean and dirty) are in my closet either hanging, folded, or in the hamper.
  • Empty floors. Apart from the legs of a few pieces of furniture, clear the floors. You don’t need those decorative items that have to be vacuumed around or dusted, and they’re visually removing eyes from the main attractions of a welcoming bed or the view out your window.
  • Lighting matters. During the day use natural light if you have it and avoid harsh overhead lights in the evening. Bedside table lamps are preferable for reading.
  • Clutter-free bedside tables, please. Apart from the charging cable for my iPhone, I keep the rest (namely, my Kindle and a book or two) in a drawer in my bedside table. I used to have a dresser in my bedroom but it was a clutter magnet.

CHALLENGE: Remove decorative items and all those dusty framed photos from your bedroom today. Open the blinds and crack a window or two if the weather permits. Get the laundry out and give it a new home! Give yourself the gift of a calm bedroom.

#mintip photo

via Instagram

Join me! Live Church Online Events in England & Ireland Church Online events in England & Ireland June 2013 Church Online events in England & Ireland June 2013

Willow Creek UK & Ireland is partnering with for a special regional event. As’s Church Online Community Pastor, I am honored to share about the global reach of Church Online and how a partnership might play a part in local church mission in the UK. 

Come and join with other leaders in your region and explore the opportunities that a partnership with Church Online presents. You will be inspired by what you hear!

June 3 Stafford, England
June 4 Scunthorpe, England
June 5 London, England (SW11 1EJ)
June 6 Bracknell, England
June 7 Bangor, N. Ireland

For more specific details on the events in June, check out

What is Church Online?

As long as there is even one soul hurting, Church Online will be a place to encounter God and people who care through:

Global Reach. Church Online reaches people who live in countries without the freedom to worship Christ, people who don’t live near a campus, military families stationed abroad, those searching for answers online, and millions more. In 2012, 4.8 million unique visitors in more than 220 countries and territories attended Church Online at

Shared Experience. There are more than 50 experience times at Church Online that share worship, a community pastor, and a powerful message delivered by Pastor Craig Groeschel just like at a location.

Real Community. Church Online at is a community of people all over the world experiencing God and connecting with one another like never before in history. People from all walks of life experience church together in real-time including live chat and one-on-one prayer with a passionate volunteer.

Changed Lives. You can change the life of someone you know who lives far from a your physical location or isn’t quite ready to walk through the doors. Invite someone you know to attend a Church Online at service at

Join the Team. By accepting people where they are with love, incredible life change happens every week. That’s only possible because of the hundreds of volunteers with a passion to serve. This is your chance to be a global missionary in a digital world. Details at

#mintip photo – My Simple Workspace

via Instagram
Have I told you how much I love my work?  :)  Having a simple workspace makes it so easy to create each day. I can stand or sit to work, and there’s minimal distraction when I keep my desktop clear by putting things away following each task.
What’s your setup for keeping the creativity flowing all day long?

Clocking Out: Transitioning from Work to Home in the Evening


I like to put my feet up for a few minutes when I arrive at home in the evenings.

I like to put my feet up for a few minutes when I arrive at home in the evenings.

This is a post written for every parent who faces the evening transition.

I’ve been a mom for about 10 years now. I’ve worked from home, worked in offices, and worked full-time at home as a mommy. If you’re a parent, there comes a time in every day when you clock out and change hats, no matter where you happen to be working.

What’s a hat change or transition? Here’s a few examples:

  • Your spouse arrives home from work
  • Homeschooling is done for the day
  • The kids go to bed
  • You leave the office

TRANSITION HABIT – Start the process before the transition happens

The best advice I have to give you on this is to have a transition habit. Go for a short walk to the car from the office, pray, or revisit your evening schedule. Maybe you could listen to music as you prepare dinner. When my kids were toddlers, their TV time came late in the afternoon when I took a few minutes to regroup then began preparing dinner.

In my current situation, I have about a 2 minute walk from my office in the evening to get my kids. That’s my transition time. Then we’re off for a 25 minute drive home. Which is never quiet. It’s often full of multiple interruptions and there’s a good chance for an argument or two between the kids. One wants music, the other doesn’t. You get the picture. I think my blood pressure is rising just typing about my commute with the kids. I struggle with focusing on driving with the noise and distraction. It’s stressful for me, meaning I have to do all I can to arrive home calm and not bring the anxiety with me. So what do I do? I use my transition habit to prepare for the drive home and my arrival at the house.

This habit is to stop at the restroom on the way between my office and where I pick up my kids. I may not even actually use the bathroom. It feels silly to write it out, but it’s this act of pushing the pause button – to look in the mirror, wash my hands, consider our dinner plans, glance at the calendar on my phone, and take a deep breath – that helps me regroup a little by saying goodbye to my workday and stepping into the hours I have in the evening at home with my family. I’ve done this for almost a year now, and it seems I step into the ladies room after work without even thinking about it now.


How do you switch hats well once you’re in full swing of the change? Sometimes we need to do something to snap out of the mode we’re in and engage in time with our families. Try these suggestions to keep it simple.

  1. Use the phone bowl
  2. Turn the TV off to discuss your day.
  3. Take a little time alone to regroup if needed (book or bath, perhaps? I like to put my feet up.)
  4. Engage in eye to eye conversations (family dinner, on the couch with your spouse)
  5. Hug someone (The longer the hug, the more you’ll relax.)

How do YOU smooth out the road you travel (literally or figuratively) while transitioning from work to home in the evening?

#mintip photo

via Instagram

#mintip photo

via Instagram

Lemonade International: The Least of These in Guatemala

This week while on the Lemonade International trip I heard more than once that the people of La Limonada are forgotten and among the least of these. They are people whom, were Jesus will walking this earth, He would’ve spent time with. Jesus isn’t here in person, but I know a lot of you reading this blog carry His Spirit in you.

Last week in America Mackenzie asked me to turn up the volume when a certain song came on the radio. I admit I hadn’t listened to the lyrics too much until that point when I’d heard the songs previously. When I stopped to listen I realized the words refer to what you and I are called to do.

Sponsorship of a child through Lemonade International provides them Monday-Friday education, Bible classes, toothbrushing at school, vitamins, and relationships with passionate teachers who teach them not to embrace the gang lifestyle that is so prevalent in the La Limonada community. A full monthly sponsorship of $70 provides for the child as well as for school expenses to serve the children, but half-sponsorships (in which you pay $35 and share the fee with another donor) are also available.

An open letter to my kids: Guatemala follow-up

Our kids in Guatemala this week

Our kids in Guatemala this week

Gosh, BC and Mac, it can’t be easy being our kids. Your dad and I can’t explain why both of us are so passionate about collaborating with people in other countries around the purpose of advancing the gospel. There’s no easy answer to why we are so pro-adoption. It can’t be fully understood why adventure is often part of our lives. Except that God created us this way, united us, and now He’s multiplied our joy to have you two along on our journey of faith and obedience. Every international friend we have is also an ally to both of you. Each time we invest time or money in a cause near to our hearts we do it for God’s glory and to see if we can’t pencil out a path for each of you to explore. God is using our family’s story to develop you. You are already gifted leaders and your education and development are a key focus of ours.

Today it’s only a little visible, but I believe God is at work revealing to us tiny pieces of the grand puzzles that are your lives’ purposes. This week in Guatemala you saw pain and poverty like most adults never see in their entire lives. You asked questions, offered prayer, and accepted the confusion that these circumstances bring. You gave hugs, offered smiles, and courageously trusted us to lead you each day despite the smells, sights, and sounds you were confronted with. I loved seeing you introduce yourselves to new people using broken Spanish. You watched teachers wash blood out of the road in front of a school following a crime and never asked to go home. You took a leap of faith by joining Dad and me on this trip and wound up being sad about leaving after such a great experience. Blake and Mackenzie – you are not complainers; you are are grateful…and watching you this week makes my heart swell with joy.

Who knows? One of you could be an artist, the other an activist. Perhaps one of you will invest your gifts in the local church or a global mission? It might come to pass that you’re entrepreneurs. We won’t dare make the plans for you, but we aim to expose you to all God offers us. Over time we will see the light within you both growing ever brighter until you’re engaged in living out your passions just like Daddy and I do.

My sweeties – if you are so blessed as to raise children someday, please take them along with you on the journey. Watching them follow you into God-sized dreams with trust will bless you immeasureably, just as your willingness to pursue our dreams together as a family has blessed your Daddy and me.

I love you like crazy cakes,

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