Today I’m excited to introduce you to Mary from Gallagher Farm and Faith.
She is going to share with us some really awesome tips including how to declutter our minds!
The Spotlight on:
Mary from Gallagher farm and faith.
Hi, I’m Mary I’m living my lifelong dream on my farm in central Texas. I love to simplify so I have time in my life for what’s important to me. Creating a simple, full life didn’t just happen. It took courage, vision, and some strategic planning. I’ve always had a knack for finding my way through the clutter and distractions. As an experienced coach and educator I know how to help others do the same. I help women love the simple life so they can live an authentic life of faith.
What are you reading right now? How did it get into your hands?
Right now I am reading two books. I typically have one I read in the morning during my reading and prayer time and one I read that has been highly recommended by peers. The Sacred Slow by Alicia Britt Chole found its way onto my Kindle as a recommendation from Kindle. I was introduced to Chole’s work through a member of my Facebook group. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had already downloaded her book! The Sacred Slow is a slow and intentional journey for women to discover beautiful things about themselves and God. Chole believes that our fast-food faith leaves us spiritually malnourished and we need to take time to allow our faith to develop deeply and gracefully.
The other book I am reading is Tribes – We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin. Tribes is about leadership in the modern age. Godin makes you think about what it means to be a leader and how the internet has broken down barriers for people to connect around the world. The one thing that remains constant is the need for leaders who are willing to be brave, take risks, and put others first. It’s challenging and enlightening for anyone who believes they have a message to convey.
What inspired you to start Gallagher Farm and Faith?
I’ve know for almost 20 years that God had made me to be a writer but I let life get in the way. As I began to simplify my life, I heard Him wooing me back to the life of the writer. As soon as my heart and mind said “yes” I unexpectedly was laid off from my stressful job. I saw that as the writing on the wall (no pun intended!) to jump into the writing life full time. Losing my job was one of the best days of my life!
I needed a framework for my blog and found that many of my friends were intrigued with my sudden departure from the fast-paced suburban lifestyle to the simple farm life. Moving across country and starting over seemed to capture their attention and they were eager to know more about how I started following my dreams and my adjustment to the simple life. I decided that Gallagher Farm and Faith would capture the essence of simplifying and the charm of farm life that connected to my readers. The Simple Life Simple Faith tagline sums up the journey I’ve been on and the journey I hope to take my readers on as they pursue an authentic life of faith.
Why did you choose it?
I chose this verse from the Message translation because it exemplified all that I was walking away from (a showy life) and all that I wanted to find (a full life). As with much of God’s ways, this truth is the opposite of the world’s ways. I had tried to fill my life with more – a better job, a bigger house, fancier vacations, status and position – only to find myself slowly dying on the inside. I had lost all joy, my sense of purpose, peace, and inspiration. My life looked full on the outside but on the inside it felt empty. I was gripped with an overwhelming desire to simplify, to strip back all the stuff and the pretense, and get back to basics. That’s the journey I’ve been on and as I take things away, I find room for the things that truly matter and fulfill. As I settle my intentions on those things my life becomes fuller and more meaningful.
How do you understand the stewardship of your time and talents? How does this look practically in your life now?
One of the parables that has become real to me is the parable of the talents. Traditionally used to talk about money and investment, I see this parable as a way to understand how God has gifted each one of us and that His investment in us is the talents and gifts he’s given us.
For the last several years at my job I had this nagging sense of wasting my time and talents. I was good at what I did and passionate about the work, but I realized someone else could do my job just as well and probably better. What nobody else could do was write like me. I began to understand that while I was using some of my skills and talents, I wasn’t stewarding them the best that I could. And I wasn’t using my time to invest in people (God’s most precious commodity) or in things of eternal value. I knew I needed to care about what God cared about and that He had placed desires, passions, and gifts in me that were waiting to be used in a more productive way.
My life is now focused around quality time with God. I spend vast amounts of time in prayer, reading His word, and seeking Him. For me this is the center of all I do. I take care of my health, I rest when I need to, and I say no to things that I know will cause me unhealthy stress. Our lifestyle has altered a bit so I can stay home and write but it’s a tradeoff neither my husband nor I mind because I am a better person when I write. I am now able to volunteer and invest in friendships. I’ve committed to not looking back at what was and to not compare my life with anyone else’s.
Living the simple life gives me time to reflect in order to make adjustments when I see myself getting off track. I guard my time carefully and I keep my a vision board visible that reminds me of what is important to me.
This quote keeps me in check and reminds of where I never want my life to go again: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau.
I want to be like Erma Bombeck and be able to say when I stand before God, “I used everything you gave me. I left it all on the table.”
Could you share a couple of practical things we can do to unclutter our brains?
Gosh – yes – for me it was the mental clutter more than anything that left me exhausted at the end of the day. I was never able to rest – my mind was running constantly and all the undone items on my To-Do List haunted me day and night. Depending on our personality type, this type of clutter can be harder to manage and more damaging than it is for others. I am The Perfectionist on the Enneagram so for me to leave things undone is stressful and demoralizing.
It’s clear we live in an age of overload. We are bombarded with images and sounds and things that vie for our attention.
I recommend several things to tame the mental clutter:
Step back and examine all you are doing. Keeping the overwhelm and stress at bay is going to be virtually impossible if you are overcommitted and doing too much. I talk about this in my post called The Secret to a Balanced Life.
Clear out commitments that are optional. Free up calendar space to create margin. When you have margin, you have breathing room, and space for overflow. Knowing you have some time during the day to catch up or spend quality time on a project relaxes your mind from having to worry about it.
Keep everything in one place.
If you have all your appointments in one calendar, you will worry less that you are forgetting something. I also like to put each week’s appointments on a whiteboard as a visual reminder. This gives me a level of comfort that allows me to stop stressing that I will forget something.
Allow for silence whenever possible.
Turn off the radio when you are in the car. Keep the television off during the day. If you have children, set parameters around when noisy things can be turned on. Hearing the news or grating voices on the TV first thing in the morning can set you on edge all day and fill up your mind with words and images that crowd out the whisper of God’s voice. Take walks in silence. Just listen to the sounds around you. Our minds are like a bucket, we can only fill them with so much and they will be stuffed.
Choose carefully what you read.
Take some time to weed out your newsletters and email updates. Only subscribe to those things that add value to your life, that make you feel refreshed after reading them, pitch those things that make you feel stressed. Social Media and screen time – this is a biggie and so much to say. I’ll direct you to this post for that. Silence and solitude are scarce commodities in our society so you will need to be intentional about working them into your life – especially if you have a busy family!
I also make lists for everything.
Not as a pressure to do but as a way of getting things out of my head. Once I write something down, it loses its grip over me. I can relax and let that thought leave my mental space. Journaling is much the same. If you have trouble sleeping at night because your mind won’t stop, keep a notebook next to your bed and write everything down. I promise you will sleep better!
Ultimately it comes down to trust. Trust God that you are doing exactly what you need to be doing in each season of life. Don’t get ahead of Him. Life flows smoothly when we are in tune with the rhythms of His grace, but we must make room to hear His voice and study His ways or the wisdom He longs to impart to us will remain out of our reach.
Thank you so much Mary for your time, your wisdom. Speaking on behalf of all the young, frazzled moms out there, we need a voice like yours, with your experience, to encourage us and impart wisdom.
Check out her blog below, if you haven’t already.