Tag Archives: spring cleaning

Heart Pruning

24 Jan

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” ~ John 15:1-2

My devotional this morning reflected on the above passage of scripture.  My thoughts during my prayer time began to run over my own gardening skills, of both flowers and the heart.

I am not a very accomplished gardener.  Oh, how I wish I was.

I keep thinking one day I will wake up and realize that my Mima’s green-thumb genes have finally made their way down to me.  I am still waiting.  For now I accept the fact that my skills are limited and I rejoice in the knowledge that my succulents survived all summer and will hopefully make it back after a long winter’s nap.

Pruning the Vine

As I thought about my garden, or lack there-of, I was drawn to the image I snapped of the “dead” hydrangea bush in the backyard awhile back.  I remember thinking when I took the picture, “This is how I feel.”

Dried up. Forgotten. Something once beautiful dying inside.

I snapped the picture thinking that I could look back at it one day and hopefully be in a better place spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Thankfully I am able to look back today and realize that I am better.

I’m not where I want to be, and I have a long road ahead of me, but today, for now, I am able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

But it took hard work.

It took a lot of pruning.

And there is work yet to do.

Just like the hydrangea bushes in my yard need to be pruned, the dead flowers and branches cut off so new beautiful ones can bloom in Spring, I too need my life pruned of the dead things that weigh me down and keep me from blooming.

In the midst of preparing for Spring cleaning I need to take an inventory of my life and figure out what heart pruning needs to happen.

What is preventing me from becoming the person God has created me to be?  What is holding me back?  What is making me heart-sick?

Maybe it is too much of something, like too much tv, or even social media.  Maybe it is not enough of something, like time with God or time with the Hubs.

Whatever is causing me to wither needs to be cut away, and whatever needs to take root needs to be watered and nourished so that I can bear the fruit that God intends for my life.

It will take more hard work.

It will take an honest and deep look into the dark, dusty corners of my heart.

It will take time and attention to what is really important.

But I know that I am not alone as I prune my heart, and neither are you.

If you continue to read the passage of scripture in John 15, Jesus reminds us to remain in Him and He will help us to bear much fruit.  He also points out that He doesn’t talk about the hard work of pruning to be cruel, but does so out of love and for our good, so that we can be complete.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ~John 15:11

Heart pruning isn’t easy or quick work, just like gardening.

Your hands will get dirty.

You will get tired.

Your knees might ache, because the best place to begin pruning is in prayer.

What heart pruning does your life need?

What is keeping you from picking up those “pruners?”  Fear? Doubt? Pride? Pain?

I have let all of those things and more keep me from the business of pruning sometimes.  Sometimes it is hard to know what to do.

Let the Master Gardener help!  God is more than willing and able to give you gardening tips!

So, let’s create some splendid heart gardens that bloom with love, hope, and grace, making the world a much more beautiful place to live.

Gracefully~~Heather

(P.S. For those readers that have stuck around, thank you!  I have been on hiatus in the midst of some major heart pruning, which has included this blog.  I have been allowing God to guide me as I figure out where my desires and His meet for my life.  I know writing is a major part of that but it is going to take a little different path.  I will be starting a new blog soon called Soul Beautiful.  SO stay tuned!  I hope you follow me over there and continue to let God bless you as He speaks through my words. Thanks!)

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Family Style

14 Apr Kids cleaning

Spring has sprung for a few weeks for sure.  The pollen count is up and the tissues are everywhere!  Must be time to clean.  Ugh.  Really, again?  It seems every magazine I have opened or passed by in the store recently is pointing out the annoying reminder to deep clean everything from our closets to our over-scheduled lives.  One thing I noticed is that most of the articles and tips are geared towards women or a woman, as in the singular, you clean by yourself lady.  Why not make it a family affair if you can?

1)      Assemble the Team– Whether husbands, wives, and/or kids, gather the team, give a pep talk, and assign tasks.  You DON’T have to do it all by yourself.  Remind your family that a clean and organized home is better for everyone.

2)      Keep Tasks Kid-Sized– It isn’t reasonable or realistic to expect a toddler to scrub all the windows, or even for your tween to terminate all the dust bunnies by their self.  Creating small zones and setting time limits is a great way to keep older kids on task without overwhelming them.  Include younger kids and help them feel useful by keeping their capabilities in mind and putting their likes and strengths to good use.  Have a speedy, non-stop preschooler?  Give them a rag spritzed with a safe cleaner, and then tell them you will time them to see how well and quickly they can clean the windowsills.  Have a kiddo that loves to organize?  Have them check the pantry and cabinets for past-date food items.

3)      Set Goals & Rewards– If stickers make your little one happy, keep some handy to pass out as each task is completed.  Entice your crew with the reward of a trip for ice-cream or some other sweet treat if they tackle their tasks.  Or, get a roll of tickets and assign a number to each task, say 2 tickets per clean window or 5 for a spotless bedroom.  Then decide if the tickets can be redeemed for cash, prizes, or rewards such as a later bedtime.  10 tickets?  Step right up and claim your $5 iTunes gift card!  8 tickets you say?  How about an extra 30 minutes before bed?!

4)      Treasure Hunt– Tell yourself and your kids (especially if they are young) that deep cleaning usually means uncovering lost treasures.  Make it fun and create a “Lost Treasure Chest” out of a box or even a laundry hamper and then place recovered loot in it as it is discovered.  At the end, gather together to count and divvy up the spoils, sharing a few laughs at just how many pairs of socks had been MIA.  You might just unearth a few gold doubloons as well! Continue reading