Simplify Sunday: 8/26

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

This past Friday night was the first football game at our only high school in our very special little town. By the excitement in the air you would have thought we were home to one of the biggest NFL teams. A helpful hint, if you want to eat out without having to wait for a table and dine while having a quiet uninterrupted meal, plan on eating out on Friday night any time after 7:30 during football season. You’ll be assured of a peaceful dining experience in any local restaurant.

With the very first ball game I start to get “fall fever”. Even as the end of August is in sight the mornings have gotten a bit cooler and the smell of fall is in the air. Sure, it’s between 7am and 7:15am, but at least it’s there. I am ready to drag out the decorations, go pumpkin shopping and try every fall recipe that I have found on Pinterest.

The problem with my dreams of fall leaves dancing in my head is the summer dust bunnies dancing around my feet! It never fails when I choose to focus on one area of my life (recovering from surgery is my latest excuse) everything takes a back seat.

I like to compare my life to a juggling act. Sometimes I am able to keep everything running smooth; dinner on the table, floors swept, dishes done and laundry washed folded and put away (all the balls in the air). Then I notice other things around me that I have neglected and the balls start to hit the floor one at a time until game over and the monster “overwhelmed” raises her ugly head and begins to laugh.

To overcome this dilemma we developed a list of chores. Some need to be done on a regular basis while others a few times a year. This has worked like a well-oiled machine and has been a life saver however right now I’m having a hard time getting it going again. I guess I’ve done it so long that it has become second nature so I assume I no longer need my list. Then, I have one of those days when I just don’t have enough energy to get everything done. So the next day I try to catch up and thus begins the downward spiral in to the pit of “overwhelmed” .

Once I realize I’ve dropped the ball it’s hard to convince myself I just need to start over. Before I know it, I wind up filling my time with other things just to keep from facing the clutter of unfinished stuff. Anyone relate? Many times we fill up our time with great and honorable things like helping others, cooking meals for those in need and volunteering. Anything to keep our mind off of our mess and our need for order. The best way to avoid things that need to be done……..focus on something else.

When I finally have enough of the “poor pitiful me party” and accept that the cleaning fairy is not going to arrive, I find one thing that I need to get in order. Somehow it lights my organizing fire again. I really can get a rush from finishing a project, even those that I was reluctant to jump in and slay the clutter dragon. I don’t know, maybe it’s the smell of cleaning products that clears my mind so that I can see the task that needs to be done in a new light or the feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. Whatever it is it makes my heart beat faster and my body feel lighter and I love it!!! In fact, I sleep better, eat healthier and I am sure I can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I will commit to focusing on one area of my house that needs attention. I will not finish in one day, but I will persevere! I know once this area is in proper order I will be ready to move on. My first project, is an area I use on a daily bases, really almost hourly – the area over my washer and dryer. It’s the family catch all, the place to put anything that will fit that you don’t know where else to put. I will treat it like a treasure hunt, a seek and destroy mission, I will overcome. In fact, I may even paint it, I have a color running around in my head that I may use when we redo the living room. This would be the perfect place to try it out and see how it sits with me. Oh my, just making plans gets me all excited!! I will let you know how it all works out and if I am brave enough to post some pics— we will see.

As the women’s ministry person at our church I find myself getting overwhelmed when I realize how much needs to be done to meet the needs of our women in our church and community. It really grieved my heart when I realized I cannot do it all nor do I have the funding to solve all the problems that I find every day. At times I have gotten so down about the whole mess that I send myself into a tail spin.

After doing the pity me party thing, God pointed out that I had taken my eyes off of the reason I was called to do this; to disciple women, to teach them to disciple others and above all to bring glory to Him in all we do. Yep, just smack me around a bit. Sometimes I feel like the disciple Peter when Jesus called him out of the boat to come to Him. He was asked to do something he saw as impossible but when he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on water, to do what no one can do except in the power of Christ. As soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus, he started to sink. As soon as he realized where he was, doing something he knew he couldn’t do without the power of Christ, he started to panic and focus on what was going on around him instead of ignoring it and staying the course.

How many times have I been so excited to do what the Lord called me to do only to allow those around me to distract me with words of discouragement? It is in these times I realized I had taken my eyes off of my sweet Jesus, worried about pleasing those around me instead of the One that called me. I can’t promise this won’t happen again. However, as I grow I know I won’t be distracted so easily. The closer I grow in my walk with Jesus the louder I will hear His voice above all the other voices in my life.

May we learn to focus on the things that are important in our home and in our walk with Jesus!

Love you to Jesus,


Simplify Sunday 8/12: Debby’s baaaccckkkk!

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

After several weeks away – I AM BACK!!!! Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been the “voice in the wind” telling you to clean up the clutter and put away your mess, hope you enjoyed the break because I am ready to get back to the business of decluttering our lives.

But before we get back to the business at hand, I would like to catch you up on my weight loss journey. In the last month I have gone from hoping against hope that insurance would approve my surgery to God providing the money, surgical team and hospital even though insurance denied it not once but three times. In a matter of less than one week I was honored to watch God work miracle after miracle to make a dream of mine finally come true, in His perfect timing.

To recap, my general doctor had said that if and when I reach 170 pounds (which meant a weight loss of 70 pounds) he would ok for me to have the surgery to remove the extra hanging skin. Needless to say that journey took several years as I am sure many of you have fought the same battle over and over, one step forward two steps back. Then this past spring I finally was able to make an appointment with my doctor to show him I had reached the goal he had set and to get the ball rolling to make my dream a reality.

Well, if any of you have ever wanted something so bad you could taste it you will definitely understand how I felt as I sat in his office waiting to have him say “Good job, let’s move forward”. But as I waited for those words the words that followed took my breath and almost sent me to the floor – “I doubt that insurance will pay for this surgery, we will try but don’t get your hopes up”. REALLY? I have done the work to get the weight off and the one thing standing between me and my dream of having a fit body is the approval of someone setting behind a desk that has no idea how this will change my life and probably doesn’t really care. But I left the doctor’s office confident in the fact that the good work that God had started in and out of my body He would see it through. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He knew what I needed and exactly when I needed it, so I was able to rest in that fact. But to say I wasn’t disappointed would be a lie.

Knowing this would be an uphill battle I went to see the same surgeon that two years ago had removed basal cell cancer from my face and was confident in his ability to do a “simple removal” of the left over from weight loss. In fact to be honest I was sure he would want to do it that same day! (YES! I will admit I live in a dream world) He did confirm the fact that it was very important to have this skin removed so I could continue and complete my weight loss journey. Since he had never performed this type of surgery he wanted me to see a plastic surgeon thinking insurance would be more likely to approve it then. The miracle in this is I was able to get in to see the plastic surgeon 2 days later, normally there is a waiting period of a few weeks, so I knew God was gearing up for something great. As I left I was told it would be at least four weeks before we would know if insurance approved it or not. I prayed that God would hurry that process along as only He can do. Miracle number two- within two days insurance called the office and said that the surgery would not be approved. Well, stink fire!! In my head I just knew that this was the direction God was leading.

So back to my original surgeon to see what to do next. Because he so believed that for my health I needed to have this done he agreed to do the surgery. But once again insurance denied the request and it didn’t matter how important they said it was, no deal. Miracle number 3 – heard back from insurance the very next day, the office staff was so surprised and kept saying- that never happens, insurance takes forever to let you know anything.

Now that we had a surgeon willing to do this, the reality that I had to pay for this myself came crashing in on me. That evening I posted on face book this results of this journey so far and if anyone had about five thousand dollars laying around please let me know and I promised to put it to good use. Warning: be careful what you post because you never know who will read it. In God’s perfect plan my youngest sister read it and mentioned it to my mom. In the meantime my husband and I had decided to apply for one of the loans for cosmetic surgery that was available through the plastic surgeons website.

Miracle number 4- One hour before we had planned to get on line and fill out the application my mom called and said the Lord told her to send me a check for ten thousand dollars. Needless to say I cried like a baby and told her no, that we were taking care of it through a medical loan. She went on to explain that when she sold her house last year she had put this money back for each of her daughters. The plan was for us to receive this once she relocated to heaven. But she decided she wanted to give this to us now so she could see us enjoy the money instead of her never knowing how it changed our lives.

Miracle number five- So on July 11th I had surgery to remove 12 to 15 pounds of hanging skin. One week later all 86 staples were removed and I was walking upright. It has been one month this week since that blessed day, and my husband is recovering from have to take care of me and I am one VERY Happy lady. I can say I finally am able to see the difference and feel smaller in my space. I am not finished with this journey; I still have about 30 or 40 more pounds I would like to lose. The words my doctor said to me on my first checkup will forever ring in my head, “This was not a mommy makeover, this was important for your health and to make it possible for you to complete your journey!” needless to say I promised to make him proud!

So as of today I have gone from a size 24 to a size 12 skinny jean, Miracle number 6!! I am having a difficult time being patient though the healing process, waiting to get back to walking 3 miles, riding 6 miles, lifting weights and being back to my normal life. So through this I am learning to lean in to Jesus, to trust His timing and His plan. I thought I had a wonderful plan but He had a better plan! I thought I knew what was best for me but He knew what was the best of the best for me!

I know beyond my wildest dreams that God has dreamed even bigger dreams for me and I can’t wait to see what is around the corner! Never doubt that God has a plan, be confident in the fact that He that has begun a good work will complete it in your life.

Now enjoy to break because next week we will hit the floor running trying to get our lives and house back in order!!

Simplify Sunday

Debbie McCuiston, self-proclaimed “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important.  Take it away Debbie….

This is an oldie, but goody Simplify Sunday from our archives.

OK, I have been shopping several times this week and have encountered the infamous “lady with the big purse.” Needless to say this is a pet peeve of mine. It’s not the size of the purse that drives me up the wall. It’s the fact that women that carry these feel that they must carry everything for their entire family in that purse. How many times have you been in line behind this women waiting for her to find that .25 cent coupons on dog food. As she is digging in the abyss she is totally unaware that your ice cream is starting to melt. What makes it worst is that she is sporting a 5 carat ring on each hand. Don’t you want to give her the stinking 25 cents she “needs” to save?

If you are one of these women–why? Why do you feel you need to carry everything for everyone is that purse? That’s what diaper bags are for. Or maybe you aren’t the one choosing to be the pack mule for the family, but as you leave the house your darling husband drops his wallet in your purse because if he carries it in his pocket his butt may look big in those jeans. Or the kids add their loot to your purse “just in case”. Then the baby needs a few extra diapers and bottle and maybe a change of clothes. Now take into consideration the meds we must carry “just in case” your family comes down with malaria or the latest illness while grocery shopping. Now that it’s loaded for the trip, what about all the other stuff–notes, old nasty tissues, snacks from the last diet, phones, ipods(in case we get a wild hair to jog while we are out), extra extension cords and a millon other things. A little crazy, yes but no real problem until you decide to unload it on the store counter to look for a coupon (you are sure you have) or the phone that keeps ringing, or the car keys or maybe possibly even your your youngest child– yep, there she is hanging on the car keys in the zipper pocket on the inside.

Maybe I should start a new campaign–Clean out your purse and save the world!!!

I really don’t think it will catch on but maybe we could have some type of device at the door that will go off if your purse is overloaded. We all have seen these ladies dragging their  purse behind them leaving a trail of who knows what in it’s wake. Ladies there are MANY  different ways to organize your purse – also known as your “second home”. First thing to do is clean the thing out:.

  • Get rid of anything that is dirty, nasty, or unuseable.
  • Take all clothes out that your children have outgrown.
  • Do not continue to carry food that you no longer reconize.

.Tell your family they are on their own- you are no longer the family pack mule. Stop the insanity!!! Put matching stuff in ziplock bags if you can’t find any other way to start. All 500 pens go in the same bag (get rid of the ones that no longer work). Put all the lipsticks together.

Put your checks in the checkbook holder. Don’t carry loose checks in your purse–unless you are hoping someone steals it and writes checks on your account. Just because you can’t find your check book when you need it does not mean a thief can’t in 30 seconds or less!

There are several items that you can buy that fit down in your purse that is full of pockets– a place for everything and everything in it’s  place. I have seen purses that the whole inside is divided into small sections – no empty space for things to get lost in. (Yes, I made sure my sweet hubby saw this and knows without a doubt it is on my must have list). Life is much simplier when your purse is organized and clean.

If you are one of those ladies that does not carry a purse and stuffs everything in a plastic shopping bag or in her coat pocket –don’t get me started!!!! Please be kind to yourself and take a few minutes and clean that thing out. You do not want to be the one that we are talking about at our next “fellowship” or asking for special prayer for you and your purse. Be kind to those around you and take the plunge–spend an evening and clean and organize your purse. Boy!! I feel better– venting– is so cleansing. Now don’t make me stand behind you in the grocery store while you dive in and search for that special coupon–just ask if I have one you can have, I promise to find one for you in my very organized coupon notebook.

Hope you have a blessed week–and be a blessing to someone each day!!!

Send questions or ideas to



Simplify Sunday: 6/17

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!!!!

My dad will be celebrating his 8th father’s day in heaven at the feet of our heavenly Father. I miss him so much, but I know that his time in heaven is so much better than a million years on this earth. Happy Father’s Day daddy!!

I have heard many pastors and authors compare our heavenly Father to our earthly fathers. I have often wondered if that is why so many of us have a warped view of God and His longing to have a deeper relationship with us.

On this special day I think a lot about my dad who is spending father’s day in heaven. I miss him but can’t even imagine how happy and healthy he is now sitting with his heavenly Father. I know that our time on this earth is limited but to know that I will see my dad again in heaven makes the loss of him bearable. If your dad is still on this earth, may I share a few words of wisdom: enjoy the little moments, let them take hold down deep and don’t sweat the small stuff, it really is like dust in the wind. Hold on to the good memories and let forgiveness rule your heart and mind. As you get older you get to take a long hard look at what is really important and what really matters in life.


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Simplify Sunday: 6/10

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

This week I have spent time weeding through my closet again! Now to most of you this does not sound like fun but for me it is an outward sign of progress. My beautiful daughter came up to visit for a few hours and since she was here I decided to tackle the closet while I had her expert fashion opinion.

If you have been “weight challenged” for as many years as I have (about 30 years), I found that I was stuck in a fashion time warp. Fashion for someone that has fought with their weight is not usually trend setting, it boils down to the simplest decision of picking color and pattern for your outfit. At times it can resemble a circus tent. The last time I can remember wearing something I really felt pretty in and that fit my body was during the college and pre-baby days. Good thing…those are the styles that are popular again. My daughter serves as my fashion police because I don’t want to appear to be reliving my “good ole’ days” with short skits and tight shirts. Neither do I want to look like I am ready for a shuffleboard game at the retirement home in Florida. Somewhere in between would be fun. Who ever thought fashion would be this hard?

If you are like me you have saved pieces of clothing you loved but could no longer wear because you are still carrying around the “baby weight” (problem is my baby is 28 yrs. old) hoping to get back in them. Since I began this weight loss process, I have been able to give those up to make room for the clothes I bought to wear when I hit my goal. The old clothes have been the bench mark I used to see the changes in my body. Since I am very visual, this helped more than seeing the numbers change on the scale. Some of my smaller clothes have been worn once or twice since I have reached that point. I don’t think I have ever been as happy as the day I was able to drop the old clothes in the giveaway pile. I keep a bag handy in my closet for just that purpose. When I first started on this weight lose journey, I was so afraid to let go of the things I could no longer wear because I kept asking myself “what if I don’t lose the weight this time”? I found that safety net was holding me back and there is freedom in being able to let things go. It also confirms that I am making progress and my mindset is changing.

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Simplify Sunday: 6/3

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….


Since this is the season for college and high school graduations, I have run across several articles with the thoughts and future plans for many of the graduates. Every once in a while I’ll hear a reporter ask the question about the problem with America. This question peaked my interest since I think our country is the best place to live in the entire world…so I made sure to read looking for insight to this age old question.
The same theme of complacency seemed to be the thread that held each of these articles together. The more I read the more I started to understand the thoughts of the young ones that will become the leaders of tomorrow. In our culture when we hear time and time again “whatever” or “who really cares anyway” or “I am tired of caring” it makes me realize how we have become a people who have lost our vision for the future and have given our power away.
We have gotten way off tack by allowing or complacency to undermine our progress. You can see this on the national and local level.

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Simplify Sunday: 5/26

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

As I am writing my son and his beautiful wife are landing in Ireland…the land of my grandfather. Now that’s the way to get away from the fast pace of New York City!! They know how to vacation in style!

My awesome husband is out digging holes in the “hard as nails” red, southern clay to plant 20 rose bushes along our white fence in the front yard. What a man!! I have the vision and he makes it happen, we are a great team.
We also have plans on this long weekend to put together a swing set. That is if it arrives in time. Most of the time we run out of weekend and money before we run out of projects.

I have dreams of a cute little play house in the corner of our backyard with a white fence behind it. This is the summer that we have set aside to make my dream a reality. You know how most projects go…make a list of what you need, go to the hardware store to get an idea of how much money you will need and save-save-save. Right when you are ready to start your project, the $600 dollar project turns into a $1200 dollar project. WOW!! I can dream big but not that big. So with those staggering figures Plan B is born.

We have two storage sheds in our back yard that store all the “stuff” I thought we needed to save. Needless to say, I have come to my senses and have been able to let go of enough stuff that we are ready to for one of the sheds to become a playhouse. Oh yes, two projects that will be finished before the end of the summer. Maybe before the end of June.

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Simplify Sunday: Taking a Look Back in our Archives

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

We are taking a step back today to the very first Simplify Sunday article from January 2011. We appreciate Debby’s dedication to our community and her words of wisdom. Debby, thanks so much for all you do!

Since this is the first of (hopefully of many) ways to simplify your life, let’s get started. If you are like most of the people in America you have made you new year’s resolutions. I don’t write them down anymore, that way there is no real evidence that they ever existed when by the 2nd wk in Jan I have totally forgotten all about them.

The best advice I can give you at this point is– make up your mind. Reality is you can not lose those 50 pounds and repaint the house or organize your life all by May.
Stop trying to do it ALL!!!!!

Make a list of what you want to accomplish in the span of the next 24 hours. Then get started, stop making up reasons why you can’t do it. Make it a priority!!! Right now mine is getting christmas stuff put away so I can see what needs to be done. So as we speak my darling husband (no I don’t rent him out) is packing up the decorations so I can write. Our goal is to have them done before bed tonight. If you have already put yours away, I am impressed!!! So go get that junk drawer cleaned out. Do one small thing each day this week to make your goals for the new year a reality. Spend no more that 30 minutes a day, BUT make sure you work on the project for the whole time not thinking about it or pondering what else you could be doing. DO NOT go on to another project until you complete the task at hand.
Helpful hint: When in doubt if you should keep something- ask your kids or any family member “when I die will you want this or will you keep this?” The responses will put your saving ways in perspective. My kids have helped me get rid of several truck loads of things I was saving for them or their kids. Their comments ranged from “Why in the world would I want that? I have always hated it!” to “What were you thinking!!”
Organize your life one drawer at a time.

If have any questions or comments please e-mail me at — queenofclutterfree@ May God bless you as you begin clearing the clutter that keeps us in bondage and hinders us for being who he created us to be.