The Productive Woman MOVES

© Olivier26 |

© Olivier26 |

How's your week going? Me, I'm going through a few growing pains. It's overwhelming and wonderful to see the good reception The Productive Woman podcast has had, but a little scary as I ponder where it all might be going. This week the podcast moved to its own website over at the podcast network site. If you normally listen to it here online, you can still do that–just click on over the The Productive Woman at its site, and you can listen to it there and see the show notes. Of course, you can also subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher!

Blog SizeEpisode 16 of The Productive Woman podcast picks up where episode 14 left off, and outlines a step-by-step process for decluttering your home (or office), one room at a time. I hope you'll take the time to listen and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I'm working hard at the final manuscript edits of Do No Harm, having promised one of my favorite (and most encouraging and supportive) authors that I would wrap up the two-year-long writing/editing process and send the manuscript to the requesting agent before Christmas of this year. I can't break my promise to Susie!

Now that the podcast has moved to its own site, I'll be focusing on other topics in the blog here. In the near future I'll be posting a short survey to invite your input on the blog, the website, and how I can best serve you. I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, have a great week!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Podcast: The Productive Woman
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 014 – Conquering Clutter [podcast]


How do you feel about the stuff you own? Is every possession in your life something meaningful to you, or is your space overwhelmed with too much stuff? If you're like most people, it's likely the latter. In this episode we begin looking at the clutter of possessions in our lives, what it does to us, and what we can do about it.

Tip of the Week:

Make sure to protect the precious photos you've taken with your smart phone by backing them up and/or downloading them to a safer location.

Topic of the Week: Why do we have so much stuff?!


Costs of Having So Much Stuff
  • Financial
  • Time
  • Energy
  • Health & safety
  • Focus and serenity

When your house is full of things from your past, things that only remind you of who you were, you very literally have no room for who you are now and who you are becoming.”

Why Do We Have All This Stuff?
  • Want to be prepared. (End up over-prepared?)
  • Need for abundance/fear of scarcity
  • Sentimental attachment
  • Guilt
  • The “for now” disease
  • Need for distraction
What Can We Gain By Decluttering?
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Recover energy
  • Better focus and more serene life
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Satisfaction of helping others

Find more motivation at Simple Life Together with Dan & Vanessa Hayes (podcast, website, and many other resources)

Some Tips to Get You Started
  1. Create a vision for the space you want, and work toward that.
  2. Start small.
  3. Sort into three boxes/bags: things to keep, things to trash, things to donate.
  4. Set parameters before you start.
  5. Make a pact: for every new thing you bring into your space, discard or donate one (or two!).
  6. Make items earn their space in your life.
  7. Digitize photos and other mementos.

Tool of the Week:

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living – a great book by Tsh Oxenreider.

I reviewed it on my blog. You can get more info and insight on Tsh's website.

Some great resources to look at:


Your turn: What's your biggest clutter challenge, or your best tip for conquering clutter? What will you do this week to start conquering the clutter in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook. And don't forget to check out the other podcasts that make you think, laugh, and succeed at!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

A Woman’s Priorities

The other day I read another blog post addressed to women talking about priorities (it was a good post; read it here). In passing, on her way to make a different point, the writer mentioned the oft-repeated statement that if you're married, your priorities should/must be God first, then husband, then children.

That's been repeated so many times that it goes unchallenged and, truly, unexamined. But as I read it, I wondered:

Is it true?

Is it biblical?

Where does this “rule” come from?

And, more important, what does it mean in everyday life. How would we live those priorities?

Does it mean that if at a given moment our husband wants us and our kids want us, we always must respond to our husband's wants first?

Does it mean that we should spend more of our time doing things for/with our husbands than for/with our children?

Does it mean that if the house was on fire and we could only save one person, we should save our husband rather than our child? (Yes, I think about things like that.)

I guess it's human nature to try to rank things like this in a tidy order. We like to know the rules. We like to know where things stand. Maybe I'm missing the point, but to me, ranking people as priorities implies assigning relative importance — that is, deciding one is more important that the other. And that feels . . . wrong to me. 

What do you think? Do you agree with the idea of assigning priority that way? It's a “rule” I've generally seen only in Christian teaching — do you know where the rule came from? That is, is there a Bible passage that establishes it, or is this just a rule we've come up with on our own? And what does it mean, really? How exactly, practically, would we reflect that priority in day-to-day life?

Just one of those things I've been thinking about this week.

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

7 Blogs You Should Be Reading (if You’re a Mom)

In a previous post I shared a list of some of my favorite blogs. These are blogs that I think everybody should check out and most people will benefit from reading regularly. Their focus is relatively general, offering information relevant to most people's lives.

Blogs on JoopeA
Blogs on JoopeA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I want to share another list of favorite blogs. These are more narrowly focused–they are particularly of value to moms (of varying stages of life). Most moms that I know will appreciate the blogs I recommended in that previous post (here), but the blogs below offer content especially targeted toward moms. If you're a mom (or expect to be at some point in the future), consider visiting–and subscribing to–one or more of the following:

  • The Gypsy Mama. Lisa-Jo says she thinks “motherhood should come with a super hero cape and a cheerleader.” In her blog, she transparently shares her thoughts about life as a mom and tries to be that cheerleader. She also offers a free e-book called The Cheerleader for Tired Moms, available at the blog.
  • Simple Mom. This one's written by Tsh Oxenreider, author of Organized Simplicity, a really helpful book that I reviewed here. (You can order it from Amazon by clicking on the image at the bottom of this post.) Tsh's objective, through her blog, her books, and her other Simple Living Media endeavors, is to help people live more simply. She offers lots of useful information and encouragement toward that end.
  • iHeart Organizing. Jen loves to think and write about home organization, and her blog gives you an inside look at the projects she undertakes at her own home, in addition to lots of tips you can put to use at yours. This one is fun because she includes lots of photos.
  • 4Word. Aimed particularly at working women (that is, those with employment outside the home–yes, I know that all moms work), this one offers encouragement and advice for women who work . . . love . . . pray.
  • Tricia Goyer's blog. Tricia is an author and speaker with a heart for moms. She blogs on a variety of topics, including writing as well as family-focused posts. She also broadcasts on an internet radio show. Information and links are available on her site.
  • Digitwirl. Hosted by Carley Knobloch, Digitwirl presents short weekly video broadcasts that introduce you to “killer tech tools that will keep you organized and simplify your life.” The Digitwirl team tests all sorts of devices and apps and websites and then shares their recommendations via these fun little video clips. Really useful info here.
  • BlogHerMoms. Articles by moms on lots of different topics of interest to moms. Quite a variety of perspectives; take it all with a grain of salt and your own good judgment.

The internet is awash with blogs aimed at women, some better and more useful than others. Of those blogs that specifically speak to moms, these are some that I enjoy, which isn't to say that I necessarily agree with everything they say. You can click on the blog titles above to visit them and see whether you like them.

Which blogs do you enjoy most? Leave a comment below with your recommendations so we can all check them out.

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom

Email me

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Book Review (& FREE BOOK): Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

When everything that matters most to you seems to be falling apart, where do you turn?

After the safety of one of their children is threatened, Darlene Henderson and her husband Brad move their family from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas, moving into the old fixer-upper farm left to Darlene by her grandparents. Adjusting to the change is more difficult than any of them expected, especially for 15-year-old Grace, who becomes a cutter, using a dangerous and self-damaging way of coping with stress.

The move also begins to take a toll on the couple's marriage when Darlene decides to take a job outside the home in an effort to make new friends in the community. As the domestic tension rises, both Darlene and Brad begin to wonder whether the shared faith that has carried them through difficult times in the past will be strong enough to help them now.

To make matters worse, Darlene begins receiving inappropriate attention from the widowed father of the autistic young girl she works with at the school for special-needs children where she's employed. Unfortunately, this attention comes at a time when she's feeling vulnerable and unappreciated at home.

The small-town life that they though would be a haven from big-city dangers might just prove their undoing.

I received my review copy of Beth Wiseman‘s recently released novel, Need You Now, several weeks ago. Unfortunately, I had overcommitted myself to reading (judging two fiction contests and reading chapters from my critique group). Adding this to the heavy obligations of my law practice and a long daily commute left me with too much to do and not enough time to get it done. I put my review copy of the novel on my desk and planned to get to it “soon.” Every time I saw it on my desk I felt guilty. “I need to get that read so I can write the review I promised.” But other deadlines pressed and it got put off.

Last week I finally couldn't stand the guilt, so I picked it up at about 7 pm on Wednesday, determined to get some chapters read before bed.

At midnight (on a work night! when I had to get up at 5 am!) I finally put the book down, having read it to the end. That's how compelling I found this book.

Beth Wiseman is an award-winning, bestselling author of Amish fiction. I've never read her other novels, but the description of Need You Now (her first contemporary novel) intrigued me, so I happily accepted a review copy. She opens the story with a clever and suspenseful scene that immediately grabs you and draws you into the story. One by one, Wiseman layers on the complications and the conflicts, creating a family that the reader cares about in a situation that any of us might find ourselves in. There is no good place to put this book down–and that's why I ended up reading the whole book in one marathon sitting. Wiseman keeps you reading to find out whether these people will survive the crises that threaten to destroy this family. Will Darlene and Brad find out in time what their son is up to, and what Grace is doing to herself? Will Darlene be able to resist the temptation of a kind, understanding, attractive man? And will Brad emerge from his preoccupation with work in time to save his marriage?

I thought this book was a well written and engrossing story of how a family can fall apart little by little when nobody's paying attention, and how total destruction can be averted if people are willing to take the right steps at the right time. The characters are well drawn and believable. Although I've been employed full-time for quite awhile, I recognized in Darlene many of the career moms and homemakers that I've known, and, in fact, myself when I was at that stay-at-home mom stage of my own life. She loves her family and loves making a home for them, but sometimes feels isolated and unappreciated–even a little invisible to her family.

If I have any reservations about this novel, it's that I felt like a little too much blame was laid at Darlene's feet for taking a job instead of staying at home. There were a few places where I felt like the implication was that if she'd been home, none of this would have happened. Maybe, or maybe not. Darlene wasn't the only parent not paying close enough attention to what the kids were up to. Throughout the novel, Brad was completely preoccupied with his work and his hopes for making partner at his accounting firm. And frankly, those teenaged kids seemed a little ill-equipped to handle life–and just a little petulant about being asked to get their own breakfast sometimes.

Nevertheless, this is an outstanding novel that both entertains and challenges the reader. Maybe the lesson to be learned from the Hendersons' story is that family is just too important to take for granted.

I heartily recommend Need You Now to my friends who enjoy women's fiction. You can learn more about Beth at her website, and connect with her on Facebook. Need You Now is available in bookstores. You can find it both in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

Would you like a free copy of Need You Now? Leave a comment (and your email address) below. I'll draw a name later this month.

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .

Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog

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