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Removing the Clutter: Part 2 of 3 with Mary Yerkes

Posted Apr 28 2011 10:00am

Yesterday Mary Yerkes wrote about how simple living can be found when we start moving all of the different parts of our life in the same direction . Today she writes about how to turn our home into a sanctuary.

By Mark J. Yerkes, The Simple Life, Part 2 of 3

yerkes02 Removing the Clutter: Part 2 of 3 with Mary Yerkes

Personally, I’ve made several significant changes to my life over the past year, all of which fall under the category of moving toward a more simple, meaningful life that supports my life purpose and gives me the time and energy I need to focus of what I value most. I have not yet arrived, but I am headed in the right direction.

Here is the first significant change I’ve made over the past year, along with the benefits this, and the change I share with you tomorrow, brought:

For most of my life, I viewed my home as a quick place to refuel rather than a sanctuary. Cluttered with things acquired over more than thirty years of marriage, I had my space (my office and bookcases) and my husband had his (the basement and garage). The basement contained his lazy-boy leather recliners while my office featured artwork, books, and pops of color. And never the twain shall meet.

As my health declined, I began spending more time at home. The cry of my soul was for a sanctuary and a space that would reflect not only me but us as a couple. And so I created one.

The cry of my soul was for a sanctuary and a space that would reflect not only me but us as a couple. And so I created one.

My husband and I sold our beaten-up, clunky furniture, along with the tschotchkes we had scattered throughout the house that survived our son’s growing up years, two dogs, and two rabbits in a garage sale. We replaced our old things with simple, inexpensive furniture with clean lines. We painted the walls, cleared the clutter, and created the home of our dreams–all while staying on a budget. Our home now reflects us as individuals and as a couple. It brings together two very different personalities as one, a reflection of the marital relationship and union.

Just as we retain our individuality in marriage, so, too, we’ve made for individual expression in our home. As a writer and coach, I spend many hours in my office, so I needed a warm, inviting, and inspiring space where I could spend hours at a time. I painted the walls a spicy red with orange undertones, aptly names Salsa Dancing, and filled the room with books, artwork, and family photos. My husband is creating a media room in the basement, filled with leather recliners and football paraphernalia.

My home is a sanctuary, a place of refuge that nourishes my soul and feeds my spirit. It is a place where I worship God by honoring the person he created me to be-a wife, a friend, a writer, a coach.

yerkes04 Removing the Clutter: Part 2 of 3 with Mary Yerkes But it’s more than that.

What I failed to realize was the impact it would have on my relationships. More stuff usually means less time for relationships. I resisted friends just “dropping by” before, because the house was cluttered, and I could never clean the whole house at once with my limited mobility. With less to clean, I now have more time to cultivate meaningful relationships; and I love when friends drop by for coffee or conversation.

My home also gives me “soul space. . . room to breathe and freedom to dream,” as my friend, Jerome Daley, describes in his book, “ Soul Space: Where God Breaks In .” In it, he says, “Only a few things are necessary. The rest is clutter.”

With the clutter gone, all that surrounds me supports my life purpose-to foster spiritual and personal transformation in the lives of others through writing, coaching, speaking, and teaching.

I had no idea how significant a few simple changes could be.

Share below! Where would you start in your home, even in little ways, to make your home your sanctuary? (If you need to begin with just a night stand!)

mary yerkes Removing the Clutter: Part 2 of 3 with Mary Yerkes Chronic Illness Coach Mary Yerkes sparks hope in the lives of those facing life challenges and change. Through a prayer-soaked, thought-provoking, creative partnership, she helps people find their purpose and live their passion for greater kingdom impact and abundant living in Christ. To learn more about Mary, visit www.newlifechristiancoaching.com and www.maryyerkes.com .

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