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Ordinary People. Ordinary Things. with Melissa Radke

Jan 21, 2020

A few months ago I got a book in the mail titled Uncluttered. Imagine that frozen moment in time, when I was holding this book while standing in my kitchen surrounded by, you guessed it, clutter! In spite of the stuff that creates clutter, today's podcast isn't about removing physical clutter. It's about removing noise, stress, and over commitments. This show is for anyone who wakes up from a nap and says, "I wish I could do that again." 

It's for people who buy books and find them later dusty and unread. It's for those who meet God on vacation or in quiet moments and wish they had more times like that. Courtney Ellis is a writer, speaker, and mom of three. She serves alongside her husband as a Presbyterian pastor in Southern California. She is the author of Uncluttered and Almost Holy Mama. Courtney is also an advocate for minimal-ish living, a crossword puzzle nerd, and a candy connoisseur. 

This episode will hit home for a lot of you, because it’s about discovering that there is room and space in our lives for the things that matter. We just have to sometimes make that room. Courtney shares her journey with getting rid of physical, digital, and time clutter and learning to let go and rest. She shares how to make it a personal experience depending on the seasons and preferences of your family. It’s all about living with less to create more. This is a fun, practical, and sweet interview. I know you’re going to love Courtney as much as I do. 

Show Notes:

  • [03:20] Courtney grew up in the Midwest. She's from Wisconsin. She now lives in Southern California with her family where she has a fear of earthquakes.
  • [04:38] Her oldest son is seven. Her middle son is 3 and 1/2. She also has a nine month old baby girl.
  • [04:59] Courtney and her husband are co-pastors in a Presbyterian Church. They take turns being home with the kids.
  • [06:08] It's easy to burn out if you aren't caring for your marriage and caring for your soul. Simplicity, Sabbath practice, and resting are even more important for those of us who serve in ministry.
  • [06:53] Courtney has written two books, and they both came out the same year. 
  • [07:43] Writing is what fills Courtney's cup back up. 
  • [08:09] The lessons of Courtney's books are universal, because they aren't how to books, they are me to books. They are invitations to practice spiritual practices and live with less, so God can give you more.
  • [09:29] Uncluttered is about going from overwhelmed to rest. Her schedule, closets, and digital media were too full. Something had to change, because she couldn't go on that way any longer.
  • [10:04] The book is all about less. It's about how she pared down her digital life and cleaned out her closets. The second half of the book was the biggest surprise to her, because she started writing about less and God started teaching her about more.
  • [10:36] God wanted to give her amazing things, but her schedule had no room. It's the story of more to less to more.
  • [15:24] Courtney and her family began the journey by stopping. They stopped buying non-essentials, and they stopped putting things on their calendar.
  • [16:10] They also have a sacred family Sabbath. They rest, play, and nap. They have to say no to a lot to make it happen, but it reset every other area in their lives.
  • [19:26] Possessions aren't neutral. Everything we have takes time to store, care for, and manage. Each possession was stealing time from Courtney. She wanted that valuable time back.
  • [22:28] Uncluttering the soul and the spirit has changed everything for Courtney and her family. She also pared-down social media. We can make the choices whether we want to give our time away or not.
  • [25:49] What would you do if the end result was hearing God better?
  • [28:46] For Courtney, it was a journey of God being willing to meet her where she is in her life now.
  • [29:26] Courtney would meditate on scripture in the shower or pray while she was folding laundry.
  • [30:06] We don't have to wait, God will meet us where we are.
  • [33:00] We wrap up with three fun questions that may or may not include Asian Box, sitting with someone in a messy house, and Michelle Williams. 

Thanks for joining us on Ordinary People Ordinary Things. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. Just like your mother taught you.

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