Archive for the ‘Cleaning (your house and your heart)’ Category

My Disability (On Cleaning)

August 5th, 2011

cleaning day
Why would a gal who doesn’t like to clean (and isn’t exactly the queen of clean) write a book on cleaning?

(My in-laws actually told me I was profiting from my disability.)

Read the answer over in the Bloom Book Club today!


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Photo Credit: Cleaning Day

“Messiness is not a moral issue”

August 3rd, 2011

Thankful- Heart and Home

I received a negative review on 31 Days to Clean on Amazon the other day.

The person who wrote the review concluded by writing, “messiness is not a moral issue.”

I agree. Mostly.

Read my thoughts about it here.


Photo Credit: Thankful – Heart and Home

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August 1st, 2011

This week I’m hanging out in the Bloom Book Club where 31 Days to Clean is being featured – will you join me? I’ll show you my laundry room


The Chore System that Works for Our Babes (So Far)

June 16th, 2011

The Lord must have heard my pleas for help because He gave me a little organizer.

My 5 year old Ella loves things to be organized, and it is not uncommon in my household to hear, “mommy, can I go organize my drawers, just for fun, pleeeeeeease?” Organizing, yes, cleaning, not so much. She gets overwhelmed and emotional at the very thought of cleaning her room (apparently, she does have my DNA). We needed a system that would work. I decided to try a chore book I purchased about a year ago but had yet to put in place.

I printed out the chore cards from Managers of their Chores, put the packs together, and showed her how to use them. I told her, “we’ll start with a morning chore pack and see how it goes; once you get used to it we can move on to more chore packs.”

Friends, a beautiful thing has occurred. My little babe LOVES cleaning her room now (and doing all of her chores). I kid you not. She wakes up in the morning and gets to it (there is an organizing aspect of the chore cards, which is why I think she thrives with them). She’s done before breakfast and is glowing because she accomplished something. So have I.

She is learning to be a manager of her domain, and this will serve her well in years to come. She also is ready for the afternoon and evening chore packs, “can I please have more chore packs mommy?!” Chore packs, FTW.

My son (4) also enjoy the chore packs, but he needs a little more help with his, so we work together. It is yet to be seen whether this system will be just right for him – we’ll have to wait and see.

Below is a video of Ella explaining how she uses her chore packs – grab your babes and enjoy!

(if you can’t see the video, click here)

Main Spaces

June 11th, 2011

Some of you who are participating in the 31 Days to Clean new Martha challenges were wondering what “Main Space Pick-up” meant. Here, let me show you…

(why yes, that is my two year old climbing up on a desk…oh, and normally there are more toys on the floor)

My “main spaces” get like this everyday. And I’ll tell you, I’m thankful to have a smaller house because can you imagine the overwhelming mess I’d be in if I had to clean a big house?!

Here are the after pics:

Yes, I agree, my dining room is sparse and boring and in desperate need of color. I’m not above admitting my serious need for decorating help. Did I mention I also have commitment issues? Myra? Nester? Melissa? Some help please?

Well, there you have it, what a main spaces pick-up looks like.

Happy Saturday! :)

Fresh Kitchen, Fresh Start!

June 7th, 2011

This month (and foreveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer) I’m working on the NEW Martha Challenges (not in the book, but available to those who own the book) from 31 Days to Clean. They are all about building a consistent cleaning routine.

For those of you who are joining in, I’d like to show you my progress thus far…introducing my kitchen (after one day of not cleaning it):

(you can send your sympathies to the hubs, motorcycling dude Jesse)


I have an AFTER picture!! WOOT!

(Notice we have TWO coffee machines. The obsession lives.)

All nice and sparkly clean! I even cleaned off our fridge (we had tons of pictures on there all askew) and when my babes saw it they both said, “did we get a new fridge?” Ha!

Now for a disclaimer. I normally wouldn’t add this because it sounds all insecure and whatever, but some of you may be curious as to my taste in decorating. The colors in my kitchen do not reveal my decor style at all. Blue counters? Country-fied? No. This is the way we got it. I’m thankful for a nice kitchen, but one of these days I’m going to make it my kind of pretty. Then I’ll show you pics, and THEN you’ll know what I likey.

Oh! I almost forgot to show you the other part of the challenge-to clean up a “hot spot” in the kitchen. This was mine:

Um, whoa.

This is what it looks like now:

I no longer have to dig behind piles to find my phone! (See, that’s why I never answered.)

If you want to join in the challenges and get yourself on track with a routine, it’s not too late-we just started! Find the book here and find the community on Facebook here.


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I Need a Focus Group

June 1st, 2011

*UPDATE* The focus group has been filled – thank you!

I just created a new set of challenges for 31 Days to Clean – Having a Martha House the Mary Wayand they are do-able (even with small children).

I’m looking for some women who are willing to read the ebook and do (and complete as best you can) the new challenges (separate from the book) as scheduled and described beginning this Monday – up for it?  The new challenges, which can only be accessed by those who have the ebook, can be found in the Reader Only Downloads.

If you participate, I will give you a free ebook (if you don’t already have it), plus three extra to give to friends or family. If the ebook goes to print publication, you may also end up in it {wink}.

Please email 31daystoclean (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested. Thank you!

When Failure is Heavy Like a Downpour

May 24th, 2011

“…to my husband, having a well-kept orderly house matters a lot…I really want to please him and make our house a pleasant place, but I can’t live up to it, and it makes him unhappy. He does help a lot when I’m behind on house-keeping, dishes, etc, but…it makes me feel like I’m a failure, like he has to pitch in because I haven’t done my job well… and so the guilt continues…What encouragement is there for those of us who have husbands who aren’t as “relaxed” as what posts like this encourage us to be?”

I completely relate with the feelings of the reader who left that question on my blog.

My husband needs a home that, for the most part, stays clean or he becomes very stressed out. This doesn’t bode well with my uncanny ability get overwhelmed and then not do anything, thus leaving a messier than desired home. However, we’re learning how to listen to each other and find ways that make it work (so that neither of us drive the other one crazy).

But this question, in my opinion, has less to do with the mechanics of the home and more to do with the heart.

I remember a time not too long ago that I felt like such a failure because I wasn’t a natural cleaning type. The guilt and shame was heavy, and I always said things like, “my husband would be so much happier if he was married to someone who was great at cleaning…if only I was like so and so.” You see, I was beginning to place my identity in being good at something, and if I wasn’t, then I was worthless. My spirit hurt deeply.

One night, crying, I shared these feelings with a close friend and she reminded me that my worth is not in what I can or can’t do, but that my worth was in Jesus. And no one, not even my husband, had the authority to tell me who I was (whether intentionally or not). Only God sits on that throne of grace, and only He can tell us who we are. God doesn’t look at our cleaning abilities (or lack-thereof) and decide if we are worthy or not. We are worthy because we are intertwined with His spirit; we are also perfect for all of eternity.

My friend also encouraged me to ask the Lord if there was a lie I was believing, because lies have a way of smudging our perspective.

The gal who left that question above may have to struggle with cleaning and how to do it well because her husband finds peace in a well-kept home, but the heaviness of failure and guilt to do not have to accompany the struggle. As with any struggle, we can grow if we stay before the Lord and His grace. Remember,

“…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, andhope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Bold mine) Romans 5:3-5

I would also say there are times to let our husbands know when we feel like we are drowning. And we can pray that God would intervene on our behalf to help us.

I encourage anyone who is feeling the heaviness of guilt, shame, and/or failure to believe your God, who loves you so much that He died for you. When you’re His, He loves you in the mess, just as He loves you when you’re not. His love is sealed in you, forever.


Core Lies (it’s free).

31 Days to Clean (50% off the PDF this week with code: hopeinthemess)


Sealed with His love forever – Ephesians 1:13,14

Perfect for eternity – Hebrews 10:14


Why are the comments turned off?

Photo Credit: Failure

If You’re Still Breathing, You Have Time To Change

May 3rd, 2011

Thread Heart

Listen, if you fear failure, and you struggle with, “why bother” and you get excited and you start things and then fall off the wagon, know this:

I am you.

And I understand and I get where you’re coming from. I fall, I fail, I figure it all out just to lose it. I’m tired a lot, too. But you know what? You are breathing, which means that you have time to change (and when I say “change” I don’t mean become another person with a totally different, magically new personality that no longer struggles, k?).  What I’m saying is that we can keep going…keep trying. You have a choice whether or not you will give up. You can choose to dust yourself off and take another step. Everyday is a choice, and life is hard and we manage. But we don’t manage alone.

We have someone who stands in the gap for us, helping us to change from the inside out. We are already perfect for eternity in Jesus, so now every bit of this life is a process of being made new. He knit us together, He makes us new, and He never gives up when we the seams come loose.

You will fail, and you will come undone at times. It’s okay. Keep going.


My before and after pics of my fridge (day 2 of 31 Days to Clean Martha challenge):

(Yep, this was in my fridge. Blech!)


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Photo Credit: Thread Heart

31 Days to Clean – Having a Martha House the Mary Way (Plus Some Awesome Sauce Giveaways!)

April 11th, 2011


*UPDATE! 31 Days to Clean is NOW available on Kindle! :)

I have so much goodness for you today.

But first things first…

Woo hoo, the E-Book is finally finished! Even though I wrote the bones of this E-Book two years ago, I changed some of it, added new days, and added completely different challenges. I am also honored to have Sandy (Reluctant Entertainer), Kimba (A Soft Place to Land), Kimberly(Raising Olives), and Darlene (Time-Warp Wife) as contributors to it. I think you will really enjoy this E-Book…I also think you’ll accomplish quite a bit with each day’s challenges; each day comes with a Mary challenge (deals with the heart) and a Martha challenge (all about cleaning) for you to complete. At the end of the book you will find some wonderful resources from ListPlanIt, official sponsor of the E-Book.

31 Days to Clean – Having a Martha House the Mary Way is only $4.99 and you can get it as a download or on Kindle (both for only $4.99!).

“Whether you need to be more like Mary and approach housekeeping from a God-pleasing heart, or you need to be more like Martha and get your physical house in order, this book is for you!  In addition to thoughtful, authentic reflections on they why’s of keeping a house up, Sarah Mae gives specific, actionable tasks each day to get you started. Do this for 31 days and not only will your soul be refreshed, your house will be sparkling, too!”

-Angela, Homegrown Mom

To celebrate the completion of 31 Days to Clean, I’m giving away goodies!

Of course I’m giving away the E-Book – three copies – I’m also giving away…

Design tips:, Facebook tips/promos:

  • A $50 Gift Certificate to Wal-mart or Target (your choice!) to stock up on cleaning supplies and/or organizing supplies

  • A Download Membership to official 31 Days to Clean sponsor, ListPlanIt (lists to put your world in order!)

To enter the giveaway:

  • Visit and then come back and leave a comment! (Wow, easy, I know.)

For extra entries (you do NOT need to do any of these to be entered; do them if you want to increase your odds of winning…and leave a separate comment for each thing you do):

  • Tweet this giveaway
  • Facebook this giveaway
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Put the below button on the sidebar of your blog (and link it to:

  • Oh, I don’t know, get creative and then tell me what you did via another comment! :)

If you want to just go ahead and buy the book, you can do that here. If you win the giveaway, I’ll refund your money! :)

Good “luck” everyone! Contest ends on Friday the 15th!

Fabulous cover design by Erin of Insight Blog Design – I HIGHLY recommend her. She is all butterflies and rainbows.

Genius subtitle by Beth from Sew Anyhow.

“What do you think of when you consider doing laundry, washing dishes, and cleaning the dreaded bathroom? Are you discouraged? Do you feel overwhelmed? I have to say I feel that way … often. In all my live-long days I haven’t seen my home as a ministry. Can I serve Jesus and others as I clean my home? Sarah Mae proves I can. As a wife, mom, mother-in-law and mentor to teenage moms I’m going to cherish this book and share what I learned. Cleaning is more than just fighting germs. It can be a ministry of the heart!”

-Tricia Goyer, author of 25 books, include Blue Like Play Dough: The Shaping of Motherhood in the Grip of God


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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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