Get your home and your heart in order in just 31 days!Sarah Mae wants to let you in on a little secret about being a good homemaker: It’s not about having a clean house. She’d never claim to be a natural, organized cleaner herselfyet, like you, she wants a beautiful space to call home, a place where people feel loved and at peace. Where people can really settle in with good food, comfy pillows, and wide-open hearts.Is it possible to find a balance? To care for your heartand your homeat the same time?Journey with Sarah Mae on this easy, practical 31-day plan to get you moving and have your house looking and feeling fresh. But even more than that, you’ll gain a new vision for the home of your dreams, and how to make it a place of peace, comfort, and community. Originally published as the e-book 31 Days to Clean and now revised and expanded in print for the first time, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way will inspire you to find a happier, healthier . . . cleaner way to live.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
C. S. E. Cooney launched her voice-acting career narrating short fiction for Podcastle, the world's first audio fantasy magazine. She is a performance poet, singer-songwriter, and fantasy author whose collection Bone Swans has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Locus Magazine.
Read an Excerpt
Having a Martha Home the Mary Way
31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul
By Sarah Mae
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2016 Sarah Mae
All rights reserved.
I USED TO THINK that if my home was clean, I was a good homemaker.
Over the years, as I've reflected on my life and have recalled memories of growing up, I've come to the conclusion that it is not a clean house that defines good homemaking, but rather a warm, inviting place that is filled with love.
As a matter of fact, I would prefer to get rid of the word good altogether and replace it with gentle. I want to cultivate the art of "gentle homemaking," which is the ability to be gentle and kind with ourselves in the process of making and keeping a home while being gentle and kind to those around us.
It's so easy to beat ourselves up as well as cast blame on those closest to us, isn't it? We are quick to condemn ourselves and our efforts when things don't work out the way we envisioned. And once we feel frustrated with ourselves, it's a natural progression to accuse those around us. Our husbands and children can so easily get the brunt of our own feelings of inadequacy. I have often accused myself of being a homemaking failure. But you know, the only thing those condemning voices do is paralyze us from getting on with our lives, trusting God in our weaknesses, and moving forward in faith.
When we can move forward without the condemnation of our sometimes meager efforts, we can become better, gentler homemakers and lovers of others.
Now as to the actual chaos and practical business of homemaking, I have found that loving others and creating peace happens when there is less mess.
When I can't walk from the bedroom door to my child's bed without stepping on something, there is chaos.
When I walk into the kitchen and it's too messy to make a nutritious meal (who wants to cook in a mess?), my family misses out on a good meal prepared by me.
When I get up in the morning and can't find something to wear because I didn't do laundry again, I feel out of sorts and cranky. Or I'm late for an appointment because I have to search high and low for something I can throw on to make me presentable.
The point is, when we have less chaos in the house (via a mess), we have less chaos in our souls, and when we have less chaos in our souls, we have more energy and capacity to love.
How Does a Clean(ish) Home Love Others Well?
Love can be (and usually is) very practical. When I make sure I have clothes for my kids to wear, I have loved them practically. When I can get into the kitchen and cook good meals, I have loved my family practically. When I can extend a spur-of-the-moment invitation to a friend who needs to talk, and the surroundings are inviting, I have loved her practically.
Can we love our family and others who come into our home if everything is in a jumble? Of course! This book isn't a legalistic, do-exactly-as-I-say-or-else approach because I know firsthand that a messy home doesn't define who we are. I am simply offering possible ways to add more serenity and minimize the disarray in our homes. My goal with this book and with my life is not to worry about being a homemaker who rocks at cleaning, but rather resolve to be a homemaker who is kind and gentle and has a quiet soul and an available home. Maybe you want that as well?
Let's do that; let's journey together in learning how to quiet our souls, love well, and care for our homes practically.
Why Would a Woman Who Doesn't Like Cleaning Write a Book about Cleaning?
Simply because I wanted to encourage women in the life-giving beauty of homemaking without the guilt involved.
There are enough voices out there telling us to "just do it!" I am writing from the perspective of a woman who isn't a natural cleaner, but who wants to persevere in the traditions of homemaking. I do not believe homemaking is a dying art; rather, it is a time-tested skill that when cultivated creates a womb-like environment where life is nourished.
At its heart, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is really about just that — the heart. It is about releasing any personal guilt and shame you are carrying and embracing the truth that your "good enough" has nothing to do with your cleaning abilities. Many of us need to hear that we don't have to get it all together to be good and loving. Our worth begins when we find our identity in the One who says, "By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14, ESV).
I love the freedom that comes from knowing I am already — from eternity's perspective — perfect and complete, for all time. I don't have to do better or be better; I just need to walk faithfully with my God as He molds me. And so do you.
You can keep and care for your home one step at a time, however imperfectly. You wear imperfect flesh, but you have a perfect soul if you know Him. The blood covers the ugly.
If you struggle with maintaining your house, you get overwhelmed, and you wish you had a maid (I'm praying for one for you!), don't let those feelings define you or get you stuck. Give them to God and walk in His steps as He goes before you.
I'm in this with you, and together, with Him and our hearts set on eternity, we can persevere!CHAPTER 2
What Dos It Mean to Have a Martha House the Mary Way?
SUCH A FUN PLAY on words, isn't it? I wish it were my idea but I can't take the credit.
Before I wrote the first edition of this book, I had taken readers through a 31 Days to Clean blog series in which the biblical sisters Mary and Martha were not included. It was just me, offering encouragement to my readers before getting to the business of cleaning. However, when I decided to turn the blog series into an e-book, I asked my readers to help me come up with a subtitle. Beth Buster brilliantly came up with Having a Martha House the Mary Way.
In the original e-book, I had meshed everything together but Christin Slade encouraged me to make the Mary and Martha challenges separate from the main entry. These generous women helped shape the book into the inspiring resource you are holding in your hands. Thank you both so much!
And now, that subtitle (slightly tweaked) has become the title of this updated edition.
The Story of Mary and Martha
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." LUKE 10:38-42, ESV
As I have studied the interactions between Martha and Mary, I have come not only to appreciate differences in personalities, but also to love the differences that make all of us who we are.
Some of us relate to Martha, the industrious, hardworking woman who is taking care of business, sometimes to the detriment of relationships. Some of us relate to Mary, the woman who would rather sit and be with the company than help with the work. There are admirable things about both of these women, but as we examine the story more closely, we can see how wise Mary's choices were. Let's look together.
Just for fun I decided to profile Mary and Martha, based on the accounts where they are mentioned — in Luke 10 above as well as John 11:1-44 and John 12:1-8. The profiles I've drawn up, though based on what we're told in the Bible, are expansions of my own perceptions of their personalities, so please keep that in mind.
It is a widely held belief that Martha is the older sister. It seems as though she has taken on the role of mother to her siblings, Mary and Lazarus, since no living parents are mentioned. She takes care of business, but it's evident that the weight of her family responsibilities is taking a toll on her. But that doesn't stop her. She is strong, keeps busy, and doesn't have time to mince words. She is bold, but sometimes forgets herself and doesn't always filter her responses. Martha doesn't seem to conform to the expectations of the culture, where women are submissive and quiet and know their place. She says what she thinks and can be demanding. She also knows when it's safe to be herself. She knows who Jesus is and has great faith in Him. But she is also troubled and anxious because she is the caretaker of the family; it hasn't quite sunk into her heart that God has promised and can be trusted to provide for them.
MARTHA'S KEY VERSES:
[Jesus said,] "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." LUKE 10:41-42, ESV
Jesus said to [Martha], "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." JOHN 11 125-27, ESV
Jesus said, "Take away the stone. "Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." JOHN 11:39, ESV
Mary, the apparent younger sister, is quiet and patient and exhibits great self-control. She wants to learn, and ponders what she hears. She understands what it means to be in the presence of Jesus, and she doesn't take it for granted. Mary allows herself to be vulnerable, and she is filled up inside with emotion, which she releases at the proper time. She is wise and faithful, and she knows what really matters. Her heart is laid bare, and she doesn't care who sees because she just wants Jesus.
MARY'S KEY VERSES:
Mary ... sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching, LUKE 10:39, ESV
[Jesus said,] "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." LUKE 10:41-42, ESV
[Martha] went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you. " And when [Mary] heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. ... Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died" When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit. JOHN 11:28-29, 32-33, ESV
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. JOHN 12:3, ESV
I can't wait to meet these women in heaven one day! What a joy it will be to truly get to know them.
Here's the lovely thing we learn from John's Gospel: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus" (John 11:5, emphasis added). That fact is evident through all of these Scripture snapshots, both in Jesus' words and His actions toward them. Jesus loved these women. He loved their whole family.
And so it is with us. We don't have to have a certain "right" personality to be loved. Jesus loves us as we are. But one way He shows His love to us is to uncover us, because He sees into the deep places where our wounds and worries are hidden. He knows each one of them, and He wants us to be free from their grip and be whole.
As we go through these next thirty-one days, I want you to love who you are and yet be able to let Jesus into the hard places. I want you to sit with Him and let Him heal you, so you can be whole.
This is why there are Mary and Martha challenges. First, we get our hearts right before the Lord, and then we can tackle the practical business.
So yes, let's work toward having a Martha-like home, but let's do it the Mary way, with our hearts focused first on Jesus. May we begin each day with this prayer: "My choice is you, God, first and only" (Psalm 16:5, MSG).CHAPTER 3
IT WAS DARK AND we were in the car outside of an ice cream shop. Tears were fresh on my cheeks. My sister-in-law, Renee, and I had set out to pick up some milk, but more was to come out of that trip than picking up a few gallons of dairy products.
I was crying because my heart hurt deeply; the feelings of not being a good enough wife were eating me up, and I didn't know what to do. I told my sister-in-law that I thought my husband, Jesse, would rather be married to someone else, someone better, who was good at cleaning. "I have this friend," I said through my tears, "who gets up early, is efficient, and is so good at cleaning and getting things done. I'm sure Jesse wishes I was like her. I'm such a failure."
As Renee began to speak life-giving truth to me, my mind raced, trying to rewind the events that had brought me to this point of brokenness and disappointment in myself.
An Inclination toward Messy ... Plus Babies and Aprons
Nearly all of my childhood, after my parents divorced, I lived with my dad and stepmom. My stepmom cleaned everything except my room; I never even washed a dish. In fact, I didn't do my own laundry until I was fourteen and living with my mom.
Under my dad's roof, I was expected to keep my room fairly clean. If I let it get too messy, I would find a note from him on my bed saying something like, "YOU MAY NOT GO TO YOUNG LIFE OR DO ANYTHING UNTIL THIS ROOM IS CLEAN. Love, Dad." He rarely came down hard on me, but he did want me to take care of my room. When I moved in with my mom, it was a whole new ball game. I could keep my room in whatever state I liked; my mom didn't care about it at all. I had freedom! I don't think I was terribly messy, but I didn't put much stock in tidy surroundings.
Once I got to college, my true colors really came out. I roomed with a gal who was extremely neat, and it became clear immediately that I wasn't. I remember her actually taking tape and creating a line midway across the top of the vanity between her side and mine so my mess wouldn't creep over to her organized side. She was mostly gracious, but I'm pretty sure I drove her crazy.
The next place I lived, I had another roommate who kept things spotless, and again, I had to work hard to do my part. Finally, my junior year, I moved in with a gal who was just like me, if not worse. Our one-bedroom apartment always looked like a bomb had gone off in it.
One morning while we were still in our beds, we heard the front door to our apartment open. We looked at each other, and then my roomie threw the covers over her head thinking that it would be a cue for the unexpected visitor to go away. I started to get my defensive hackles up when all of a sudden we heard, "Ahhh ... ohhh ... uhhh ... groan." What in the world?
I opened our bedroom door to find our landlady bleeding on the bathroom floor, in a pile of our mess. She had tripped over our clutter in the hallway, veered off, and hit her head on the bathroom sink. Talk about embarrassing! She was there for some sort of routine maintenance check, which apparently we had been advised of in a mailed notice that was most certainly in the papers strewn all over the floor. If I had known of the upcoming visit by actually reading the paper, I would have cleaned up a bit. Really.
Of course, the upside for my roomie and me was the assurance that if someone did decide to break into the apartment, the intruder would probably end up in a bloody heap before doing any harm.
Fast-forward to my first year of marriage. Jesse and I lived in the small apartment that my messy roomie and I had shared — she had moved out and I stayed. I tried to keep it nice for my husband. My biggest issue was papers and junk that all ended up on the dining room table. And I always had a messy kitchen. But still, in my opinion, it wasn't too terrible. My husband and I were stretching into our new lives together, learning about each other, and just enjoying the freedom that marriage brings. It wasn't until I got pregnant that things got ugly really fast.
Excerpted from Having a Martha Home the Mary Way by Sarah Mae. Copyright © 2016 Sarah Mae. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Logan Wolfram, ix,
Gentle Homemaking: An Introduction, xiii,
What Does It Mean to Have a Martha House the Mary Way?, xvii,
My Story, 1,
How to Use This Book, 11,
DAY 0: Prep Day!, 15,
DAY 1: Lifting Life above Mere Existence, 17,
DAY 2: Define Your Vision, 25,
DAY 3: Rhythm Priorities, 33,
DAY 4: Developing a Workable Routine, 43,
DAY 5: The Six List: The $25,000 Piece of Advice, 49,
DAY 6: Overcoming the Curse, 57,
DAY 7: Your Cleaning Style, 63,
DAY 8: Making Your Personality Work for You, 69,
DAY 9: Tornado Cleaning, 77,
DAY 10: Slow and Steady, 85,
DAY 11: A Place to Put Your Feet Up, 89,
DAY 12: Feeling Overwhelmed, 95,
DAY 13: Purge, Baby, Purge, 101,
DAY 14: The Toy Situation, 107,
DAY 15: Kids and Cleaning, 113,
DAY 16: I'd Rather Do Anything but Clean (When the Bones Are Feeling Lazy), 119,
DAY 17: Finding Joy in the Self-Disciplined Life, 125,
DAY 18: Grace for Those Days, 131,
DAY 19: Fighting Fatigue, 137,
DAY 20: Distractions, 145,
DAY 21: Limitations (Life Is Hard), 149,
DAY 22: Diligence and Willing Hands, 155,
DAY 23: Time, 161,
DAY 24: Help! To Hire or Not to Hire, 169,
DAY 25: The Thing We All Have in Common, 173,
DAY 26: The High-Low Cycle, 179,
DAY 27: Laundry Blues, 183,
DAY 28: Who Are You Trying to Please?, 191,
DAY 29: What I Would Say to My Younger Self about Cleaning, 197,
DAY 30: Contentment in Your Season of Life, 205,
DAY 31: Balancing It All, 209,
Is Messiness a Morality Issue?, 213,
A Word about Guilt, 215,
Ten Quick Tips for the Decorating Challenged, 217,
Four Handy Dandy Quick Tips to Help You in Your Cleaning Efforts, 221,
About the Author, 229,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has encouraged me AND given me practical tools to make our house a home. One quote especially speaks to my heart, “If we are in Christ, then everything we do not only has value here on earth, but also has value for eternity.” The fact that I do the same thing, day after day after day, and never feel like I get anywhere had left me discouraged and apathetic. So the reassurance that those mundane tasks have value just because I am doing them in obedience to God’s will for my life… HUGE! The shift in my spirit and mindset has spurred the motivation that I thought had been beaten out of me for good. I knew my house needed to be cleaned and decluttered but I had no idea how much I needed the same thing in my spiritual life. I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
Do you ever feel like the art of housekeeping is lost to you? Life can be extremely busy and demanding. There is so much to do, so many places to go, commitments to keep, that keeping a tidy clean home can seem nigh to impossible. Personally, I master this only on very rare occasions and more often than not, I am feeling overwhelmed beneath the chaos. It seems to be a never ending goal of mine to do better. Sarah Mae's book has heartfelt advice as well as tips for moms like me. Now I know there are some of you reading this who are born organizers and neat freaks. No offense intended, but some of us were not blessed with those genes and we need help Thankfully this book is also about grace. Sarah says, " I'm gonna mess up and fail, but I am not a failure. I am literally a work in progress and I accept that." "So I walk, I fall; I walk, I fall; and all along I am available for him to mold." After the introduction the book consists of 31 Days of house cleaning assignments. Each day has a Mary section, in which your relationship with God will be strengthened and encouraged. This section is for your heart. Then part two of that day is your Martha assignment, working your way through your home. Sarah also encourages you to get your children involved. The jobs are easy to handle and doable. There are lots of great tips in the back of the book too. I believe this book is extremely beneficial spiritually and physically. Sarah advises giving yourself grace and seeing yourself through your heavenly Father's eyes. I am looking forward to working through this book in depth. I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Sarah Mae is real. She has a real, attainable method for getting your house in order, and turning it into a home you will want to be in. Sarah recognizes - even embraces - the struggles we all face with "housekeeping." Whether it's corralling the kids' stuff, juggling laundry, or keeping the kitchen counters clear, she has a solution! AND she helps your heart at the same time. Activities throughout her book will guide you through steps to becoming satisfied and at peace. I love the Martha and Mary comparisons - no matter which extreme you are coming from, Sarah Mae will help you find a happy middle where you home becomes a place of joy for you and your loved ones.
This is an incredible book! There are many excellent books that talk about home organization, decluttering and minimalistic living. This is not a book so much about good homemaking, but rather the art of gentle homemaking. It is a very practical, inspirational and dare I say it... fun book about creating a welcoming, loving and, yes, clean home for oneself, family, friends, and anyone that could use a warm, receptive, and peaceful environment. I appreciate Sarah Mae sharing the very real struggle of a person who is not naturally the "cleaning type" while desiring to experience the peace and art of homemaking. She shares how she learned to lean into the heart of a loving Heavenly Father who knows our weaknesses. And shares how daily victory, no matter how big or small, can be sought and experienced with faith and action. If you're one that could use a gentle reminder that you are not alone in the journey and the benefit of a fellow sojourner that says "take my hand, let's walk this road together," this is the book for you.
I read this book in the span of a few days…over half of it in one morning. As I turned the last page, I felt a renewed sense of peace in myself and the lack of the clean gene. It helped that I could relate to Sarah Mae in that I would find myself nodding and saying to myself, gosh, that is so something I would say or do! Finding out that we're not alone is such a blessing. This book renewed in me my worth and identity in Christ isn't rooted in my ability to clean or keep a clean home (or anything *I* DO), but rather to go deeper in the Word and get closer to Him (through the Mary challenges.) I needed that more than any other truth or cleaning plan that is laid out in this book. In doing that, however, I am also encouraged the rest will follow (through the Martha challenges) with a heart toward serving my God and my family through a tidy home. I love that each chapter is short and sweet, the challenges have you reading Scripture every day as well as manageable cleaning and organizing tasks to get your home tidy. I encourage you to pick up this book and read through with a group of friends so you can discuss and encourage each other along the way. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
Overall, I found Having a Martha Home the Mary Way a wondeful book. But to clear a couple of things up about what this book is and what it isn’t: First of all, this book is not a Bible study. Each day is divded into a Martha task and a Mary task. The Martha, is the cleaning/organizing of the home. The Mary is a bit more insightful. The Mary tasks definitely incorporate scripture and even encourage you to apply something to be gleaned from them for your own life. They are meant to be reflective and examine how you run your home. And second, the Martha tasks are not going to be your one stop solution to a constantly clean home. The tasks are designed for those who struggle to clean to get your home clean (not deep cleaning… there’s no washing walls or pulling out appliances). But, the book does encourage you to clean out junk drawers and cabinets. Now, with those out of the way. Here is what I loved about the book: -Sarah Mae has an extremely conversational way of writing. I felt like I was just chatting with a good friend about the struggles of maintaining a home. -The tips in the book are wonderful. Some of them are simple things (for example, place aluminum foil on the lowest rack of your oven to keep it cleaner when food spills over). Some of them encourage mothers to get their kids involved. -Most of the daily tasks are doable in about an hour or less (it really depends on what the condition of your home is when you begin). But even beyond that, she encourages habits that really do help get things in order and maintain them (every morning, tackle the dirty dishes–whether it is handwashing them or putting them in the dishwasher and then wipe down the counters). -The cleaning tasks are meant to be flexible to whatever the condition of your home is in to how many rooms your home may have. And then there were a couple of things that I felt that I missed in this book: -I really wish some of the Mary tasks went a bit deeper. -A calendar of what to expect for the cleaning tasks would have been nice. In the end though, I don’t think this book was a complete waste. There are some wonderful takeaways from it. For myself, I’ve had to examine my own thoughts and ask myself what is my motivation for some of the things that I do or don’t do. I learned that keeping a clean home is a way that I can demonstrate love to my husband, and in the future, to any children we may have. That, has helped to adjust my attitude, and sometimes things that can do that, are certainly worth picking up. **I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blogging Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Housekeeping is a major chore for me, one I don't enjoy and one that often leaves me feeling like I've failed something so simple. From the very beginning of this book though, Sarah Mae makes it easy to laugh at my failures, celebrate my accomplishments, and enjoy myself no matter what. This book is filled with mini goals, motivational verses, and baby steps that will bring god's grace and mercy into your heart and your home one day at a time. While my home may not be completely clean and uncluttered, it's better than it was and I look forward to going through the steps of this book again.
This book is a great reminder to keep the right attitude in making my home. I do need to sweep and do the dishes and wash yet another load of laundry! But I have to keep the right attitude. I've loved the encouragement to do both!
Sarah Mae does not disappoint in this new release of an update to a previous eBook. This book is about finding freedom in who you are and how you are wired. Sarah walks us through 31 days on Martha moments of cleaning and 31 days of Mary moments of sitting at Jesus's feet. Read this book to dig into finding balance and freedom between Mary and Martha ways of living.
I have read Sarah Mae's other books, and was excited to read this one. I followed her as she wrote the original ebook, and did the 31 days to a clean house. It's been many years, and life has been quite full lately, so I was excited to take on the challenge of Having a Martha Home the Mary Way. My home and husband are thankful. :) I love that it has short chapters, it tells you what to clean that day and also has a short devotional. I've always found myself a bit like Martha. This book shows you how to find the balance between these two ladies. This book is for everyone - from neat freaks to total slobs. I lean more towards the neat freak, but have been quite slack lately. This book gave me the gentle push (or shove?!) that I needed to get back on track. If you are a total slob, but want to change that, there's hope for you!
I first was introduced to Sarah Mae’s work though her 31 days to clean eBook and her blog. It was the most refreshing approach to home keeping that I have seen. It has a gentle, balanced, non-judgmental approach that is actually attainable and sustainable. Her bubbly personality makes it fun every step of the way. As a natural procrastinator, I feel victorious when I realize I have been using this method for almost a year! This is not a trend or a fad. This really works. It works because it changed the way you see housework and the purpose of working in your home. I am constantly busy, I’m active, and I’m social. Keeping up with housework was usually at the bottom of my priority list. This book permanently changed my ways. I was so excited when I heard Sarah Mae was enriching her material and putting it in book form. It did not disappoint. The book takes a faith based look at your natural cleaning tendencies of being a Mary or a Martha. In this case I would be mostly a Mary with a few Martha tendencies. The Marthas of the world are natural “neat freaks” and not usually the ones who need a housekeeping program. But, if you are a Martha please give this a look! This is all about balance. It will help you relax and enjoy your home so much more! It’s not about doing it right it’s about doing it well. You will stop fretting about what’s not perfect and start enjoying your home and the experiences inside it! Sarah Mae brings in a team spirit that makes you feel as though she is right by your side the whole way as she guides you through each room of your house. She cheers you on with humor, thought provoking questions, and scripture. She will even tell you to give yourself a cookie. Before you know it, you have a whole new perspective on keeping your home. My own “pro tip”: After working through the book a few times. I entered the daily tasks into my phone’s calendar as I went along and then set them to repeat monthly. Now each day I get a reminder of what my focus for the day is. It works! I would give this book more than five stars if I could.
In 2012, I took part in a blog challenge based on her ebook 31 Days to Clean which is the source material for this new book. I loved the original concept which found its inspiration in the story of Jesus's sister-friends, Mary and Martha, and how we can incorporate the lesson of these sisters into our lives as homemakers. Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is an updated and expanded version and is excellent. This book is filled with inspiration, personal insight, practical suggestions, daily actiivities, Bible verses for inspiration and questions to ponder, along with so much more. Easy to read, the book is broken down into 31 days to help the reader learn what it means to have a clean home (hint--it is not just about having an organized space) through the art of "gentle homemaking." I recommend this book to all women who desire to find a peaceful balance between expectation and reality. Trust me. Your home and heart will benefit from the experience.
First of all, gorgeous cover! The cover alone inspires you to beautify your home :). Beyond just a clever title and a beautiful cover, Sarah Mae inspired me to identify my reasons for wanting a tidy home (if you own your why, you will be motivated to keep up your efforts), to not be burdened by my failures and shortcomings, and to work diligently to care for my home as an outpouring of my love for others. She strikes the perfect balance, addressing both the logistics of and my heart behind cleaning, and exploring the blurry line between legitimate struggle to be neat and sinful laziness. Your heart will be refreshed, and you'll have a new bounce in your step as you get to cleaning. Grab a couple of girlfriends to join you- it's perfect for spurring one another on to good works. Your house will be cleaner, your soul will feel freer, and if you do it with a couple of friends your friendships will be tighter. So good!
Whether you are a woman who loves to clean or are overwhelmed by cleaning, gentle homemaking is the key! Written from the perspective of a close friend, Sarah Mae’s “gentle homemaking” book is filled with encouragement and motivation. Whether you are someone who is regularly organized and wants to do some purging of your closets, or a woman who often feels overwhelmed with daily cleaning tasks, I’d recommend this book to you! I have perfectionistic tendencies and can be very organized. However, I also get stressed out easily and have a hard time staying on top of a regular cleaning schedule. I look at my house and think of all the projects I should do, such as painting or deep cleaning something, but looking at the piles of laundry around and a sink full of dirty dishes depletes me from doing extra tasks. This book has helped to free me! It has really inspired me to get my heart and home in order, make a weekly cleaning schedule, and ultimately, “have realistic expectations…but without expecting perfection…land in the softness of grace.” (This is a quote from the book about making your personality work for you). Each day Sarah writes about a different topic that is related to cleaning. She genuinely shares stories from her own struggles and helpful tips that energize her readers to take action. For example, one day you discover your cleaning style, another day focuses on purging, while another day she speaks of distractions that keep us from our goals. At the end of each chapter, there is a Mary challenge and a Martha challenge. The Mary challenge starts with a Bible verse and then asks questions to focus your heart and sometimes to respond to short, yet poignant questions. The Martha challenge is where you take action with a daily, manageable cleaning or organizing task. The tasks are very specific; however, they are easily adaptable no matter your season of life or how many rooms you have in your home. I personally love cleaning and organizational books, but I must say this is a favorite of mine. Generally, when I’ve read a book of this nature I may take note of one or two concepts to apply and then pass the book along to someone else. Not this book! This is a book I know I’ll want to return to on a regular basis. This book really helps you to prioritize your time, but never out of guilt. Sarah’s tone is so friendly that it motivates me even more to get off the couch and moving. Also, I love how the book is divided into doable tasks, so even for busy days most can be completed in small chunks of time. I can go forward now to stay on top of my cleaning, but return to Sarah’s wonderful book when I need a boost.
FREEING, FUN & MOVES YOU TO ACTION! What I love about this book is that it hits both sides of the "Martha" & "Mary" spectrum. If you regularly frequent time with the Lord & are not a natural cleaner (ahem that's me), if you are more of a doer and struggle with taking time off to sit with Jesus or if you are a mix of both, this book is for you! In this book the author paints a beautiful picture of how homemaking is supposed to be. Having a Martha Home the Mary Way reminds us of the importance of letting Jesus define who we are, not how well we keep house. Sarah Mae's humor and transparency is a breath of fresh air and I'm pretty sure I had hands raised and shouted "Amen sister" at some point during every chapter. She keeps us entertained but on task by offering an easy to follow monthly cleaning schedule that won't overwhelm even the most unorganized of us. Hallelujah! And, before we jump to the cleaning assigned to each day the author encourages us to sit a few moments with the Lord. Guided by scripture we are led to find our worth in Christ and we receive the motivation and purpose of keeping up our homes THROUGH time spent in His presence. This is a resource I'll be using daily and is everything a homemaking book should be: Freeing, fun & moves you to action!
One of the things I believe we all crave is the ability to get it all done, and done well. We struggle with who we are based solely on how well we maintain our homes, and our lives. Sarah Mae's book opens the door to finally having the answer to how to have a home that is maintained, but more importantly how to have a soul that is maintained first. She openly shares her struggle with maintaining her home and breaks down the cleaning into manageable "Martha Challenges" spread over 31 days. Even more importantly she gives a "Mary Challenge" every day too, that allows you to begin to understand who you truly need to be, and why doing it all and finding your worth in doing it all, will never satisfy your soul. This book is PERFECT for those seeking to get their homes in order, or for those with organized homes who just need to have a fresh perspective on all they are doing. It's an easy read, with small chapters so you won't feel overwhelmed with how much time each day takes to read. The challenges aren't time consuming either, but be ready to have your life changed! It is that powerful!
"Strive for excellence, but land in the softness of grace." I love, love, love Sarah Mae and her openness in her books!!! As a fellow sister in Christ, a fellow Mom who is responsible for her kids, her home, and herself, Sarah uses her own real life struggles and successes to help shift our focus to Christ. I love how she weaves verses of encouragement throughout her new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way! The chapters are short so even those with short attention spans will be successful in reading through them. I love how she includes a small Bible study (the "Mary" part) at the end of each chapter, as well as a "Martha" part---the cleaning house parts! She keeps those short and sweet as well and very doable! She doesn't make us focus on deep cleaning, but rather the simple, every day cleaning that each home needs to have done to keep it livable, clean, and peaceful. I am personally such a "Martha"....if my to do list isn't checked off, I feel like a failure. If my house is messy, I feel like I can't have anyone over, or if they do stop by, I'm apologizing for my messy house. If there is chaos in my house, I "feel" it...it creeps into my being and I can't let go of the frustration of not having enough hours (or energy!) in the day to get everything done!!! Sarah reminds us to take a step back and spend some time with the Lord and that what defines us is NOT how clean our house may be or what kind of housekeeper we actually are ... but rather it's God that defines us. She reminds us that God has so much grace to give us, that even when we fail or feel like we're failing, he gives us grace to fall on. I know that I need more "Mary" moments in my every day life and I'm so thankful Sarah Mae has shared this wonderful book to help along that journey!!!