The Home Atmosphere We Crave

I recently read of the the food industry’s attempt to emphasize a “home atmosphere” in the marketing of their products because it appeals to our senses and sensibilities. This fascinated me because I have experienced that warm, fuzzy feeling when picking up a jelly jar off the supermarket shelves, with it’s beckoning red-checked lid masquerading as homemade goodness. What is it about these “homey” tactics that appeals to us so strongly?

The Home Atmosphere We Crave |

Here’s my theory…

Our entire lives are made up of memories.  These memories employ our 5 senses to tell us if something makes us feel good or bad.  We remember how chocolate chip cookies cheered us up.  We remember how a certain song made us sad.  We remember how Grandmother’s arms made us feel safe, how the smell of cinnamon reminds us of Christmas, and how every time we see gingham, it reminds us of picnics at the lake.

Memories are very personal.  The images our senses conjure up are unique to each of us.  However, there are certain senses that most people have been trained to associate with good memories – usually because they are traditional in our culture.  It is those types of things advertising companies play off of – gingham, carousels, aprons, pie, laundry hanging on a line, picnics, quilts, and countless other “icons” of our society.

The Home Atmosphere We Crave |

Another thing the advertisements are banking on is our desire to belong.  God created the concept of family.  It is a reflection of our belonging to Him through Jesus.  Even if our home life wasn’t wonderful growing up, we want home to be what God created it to be, and we associate certain things with that notion of home.

This use of home atmosphere to evoke certain emotions is nothing new.  Have you ever looked at those lovely Victorian paintings and photographs?  They elevate the status of the home to something etherial in order to elevate the Victorian era people to higher standards in their personal life.

The Home Atmosphere We Crave |

The children are neatly dressed.  Mother plays beautifully as Junior sings at her side.  The family is engaged in a culture of belonging.  It is an atmosphere of near perfection where everyone has a place, and all are content.

So, when advertisers work to tug at our heart strings with visions of a happy home atmosphere (either real or desired), we fall into their trap because they are serving us exactly what we crave – happy memories and a sense of belonging.

Now, I could sit here and debate all day long WHY we want this sense of home so badly, but what I would rather do is encourage you to not need those advertising ploys to give you that strong sense of home because your own home already serves you up plenty of memories and a sense of belonging that cannot be rivaled.

And how do we build a home atmosphere that creates these precious memories and a strong sense of family?

We live fully-present and full-tilt.

Be a mom who is fully in the moment with your family.  Don’t constantly be thinking of the next thing you need to do.  Stay away from the pull of too much technology.  Look your children and your husband in the eye.  Say yes more than you say no (or “later”).

And be a mom who lives with gusto!  Feast with your family!  Laugh, cry, pray for and with your family!  Enjoy the moments, no matter how small or large so that some day, their memories will be inextricably linked with the traditions of YOUR home!

Today, I encourage you to do one thing with your children and one thing with your husband WITHOUT thinking about 6 other things!  Be fully-present, in the moment, full-tilt mom/wife!  It doesn’t have to be quantity to start out with, but it does need to be quality!

And if you are looking for a way to get a jump start on your day, you can get the first lesson in the Make Over Your Mornings eCourse for FREE right now!

This course has been great for me, and I truly believe it will help you get a handle on your day so you can begin creating that home atmosphere you so desperately crave!

Stressed, Overwhelmed, & Anxious – But What Do We Do About It?

The other night I was contemplating the WHY behind so many people feeling anxious and overwhelmed when we’ve been doing the same things other people have been doing for hundreds of years.  In fact, we have more help than ever, and yet, we are more stressed out than ever.

This article seemed to offer the most reasonable explanations for WHY, but it didn’t offer any remedies.  For a moment, I wondered if there were any remedies, or are we Americans doomed to a life of worry?

I just can’t accept that.

Americans are some of the most stress, anxious and overwhelmed people on the planet.  Homemakers and homeschoolers are no exception.  But, what can we do about it?  |

The article cited above gave 3 main reasons for anxiety and stress in America.

1.  Loss of a real life community.

2.  Information overload. (Remember, when I wrote about Homeschool Information Overload?)

3.  The inability to sit with our feelings without medicating them in some way.

I agree with these findings.

My happiest memories of my adulthood involve being a part of a church that was like family, having wonderful neighbors who spent time together, and having family nearby.

I also know I am bombarded by more information than I can possibly sift through every single day.  I’ve felt my anxiety level rise as I’ve lifted the lid on my laptop, knowing my inbox would be overflowing, my Facebook feed teeming, and voices from every direction sharing ideas, suggestions, and how-to’s that are guaranteed to make my life better.  Except they don’t.

I’m also familiar with the desire to run from my feelings…or eat them.  Food is my medication of choice.  The numbing effects of chocolate and sugar rescue me from feeling bad.  I’ve also used the computer or other media to drown out the sadness or fear or loneliness.  I don’t want to feel bad.  Who really does?

Can you relate? Are you affected by a lack of community? Do you feel like there is too much information bombarding you every day? Are you afraid of uncomfortable feelings and turn to “medication” to avoid feeling them?

But, let’s not stop there…

Like I said, I’m not willing to throw my hands up and say, “Oh well, I guess this is just the way it is.”  I KNOW a slower, simpler, less stressful life is possible.  And for those suffering from anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and any other condition exacerbated by stress, it is IMPERATIVE we learn how to fix this.

So, first issue –

What can we do to foster a REAL LIFE sense of community?


1.  Go to church.  Actually, don’t just go, BE A PART of things.  We may not always be able to be near family, but the Church offers that family atmosphere in a God-ordained community. I know personally how tough it is to keep going when you aren’t rooted in a church.

2.  Work on friendships.  Friendships are difficult for a mom of many who homeschools, but they are possible.  They often come from relationships built at church or homeschool groups.  You will also have to make an effort to build friendships.  But, you don’t have to make it hard on yourself.  Invite another family over.  Have a cup of tea together.  Loan a book.  Learn more about the people around you.  And PRAY for godly friendships!

3.  Go outside and be visible.  This might strange on the surface, but think about something for a moment…what happened to front porches?  Do you know very few homes we have lived in over the years have had front porches?  We currently live in a house that does, and we have met more people simply by sitting on the front porch!

Next issue –

How do we sift, filter, and slow information overload?

This one is tough for me.  I like information.  I like to dig for answers, try new things, make notes and bookmark tidbits.  But it is killing me.  I don’t manage it well because it truly is unmanageable.  We are living in the information age.  Information bombards us at the speed of a keystroke.  It’s in our inboxes, on our social media, it’s pinging our phones, and popping up in the corners of our lives every second of the day.  We are drowning in it.  And getting out from under it feels impossible because so much of our lives involve “devices.”

I’m not even going to pretend to know all the answers here, but I can tell you what I am doing to slow the flow of information.

1.  Spend less time on the computer.  The less time I am on a computer or phone or tablet, the better I feel.  The more I live life, the better I feel.  I may not be writing as much here on Raising Arrows, but rest assured, when I do write, it’s because I actually have something to say that has been sparked by my REAL life.

2.  Shut off the notifications.  Yes, I may miss something.  It won’t be the end of the world.  I don’t need all those emails, notifications, pings, and promises clogging up my real life.  If God wants me to see that information, He will put it in my path!

3.  Put the internet in its “box.”  My life is made up of boxes of time that act as boundaries and regulations.  The computer needs to be in its box.  It can’t be allowed to invade every other box of my life.  This means when I pull up information for a homeschool lesson, I either need to print it off or I need to make a concerted effort to avoid going down a bunny trail, checking my email, or jumping on social media for a second.  And when it is time to check email or social media, I do that, and then I’m done.  This may mean shutting off the computer, putting it in a room that isn’t easily accessible, or choosing not to have my phone near me at all times.  Yes, I do miss calls and texts and emails.  Even if no one else understands, I know that my life cannot revolve around a digital device.

And lastly –

How do we cope with feeling sad, angry, or lonely without simply putting a bandage over it and pretending it isn’t there?

There’s really only one answer to this…

Cry out to Jesus.

There is pain in this life.  Constantly running away and avoiding it makes us reliant on ourselves (or a magic pill – that doesn’t REALLY help).  We have to allow ourselves to feel.  We have to allow ourselves to just be.  We have to allow the Lord to work in our lives because we know fully well we can do nothing else.

Something that article, and any other from a secular source, will never tell you is that you NEED to be SAVED from all this worry, stress, and strife.  But, it isn’t a WHAT that is going to save you.  It’s WHO.

Faith is tough, folks.  It’s not the easy road. There are a lot of voices out there telling us we should think for ourselves, we should “get help”, we should do whatever it takes to get away, all the while avoiding the TRUTH.  The answer isn’t a better ME.  The answer is a perfect Savior who doesn’t need me to meet a certain standard, feel a certain way, or have the perfect plan.

Sometimes we try too hard.



This slow-down is an ongoing process.  It takes time to build, repair, and learn the art of abiding.  Thank you, Jesus, for saving me from myself!

Now, it’s your turn…

Are you struggling?  Have you had victories?  Share them here!  Raising Arrows isn’t a REAL LIFE community, but the readers here REALLY DO CARE!

Getting Your Home Back in Order with a 15 Minute Tidy

Have you ever looked about your home after a day of homeschooling or a day of play, and gasped at the mess?  It can be absolutely frightening!  But, you do not need to be afraid of the mess because you are only 15 minutes away from tidy!

Is your home in disarray?  15 minutes is all it takes to get it back in order! |

This method works no matter how many children you have, but it is based on two assumptions…that your home is relatively clean underneath the clutter, and that you and your family know where most things go – meaning your stuff has a home.  If your home is NOT clean underneath, take some time to work out a cleaning routine that works for you that will get the underneath clean.

Here are a few of the ways I have kept our home clean over the years:

home blessing listOne Day Home Blessing

Cleaning by the Day of the Week

Chore Board

If your home is so bad you are beyond overwhelmed, may I gently suggest FLYlady or A Slob Comes Clean.

FLYlady is how I learned to keep my home under control, but A Slob Comes Clean is for those who have failed at FLYlady and need something even more remedial.  No judgement.

I’d also encourage you to gain some understanding as to why you are hanging onto certain things.  My eBooklet Letting Go of What You Own:  A Biblical Approach to Decluttering is available on my Subscriber page.  Sign up below and you will find a link at the bottom of every email you receive from Raising Arrows.

Subscribe to Raising Arrows

OK, so now that we’ve worked out those assumptions, let me mention the number of children thing.  Some might argue that of course I can have a really tidy house in 15 minutes because there are a whole bunch of us working, but remember, the flip side of having a lot of children to help out is that I also have a lot of children creating messes!  For what it is worth, we have been doing 15 Minute Tidies since my oldest two children were tiny.  They helped as much as they could while I worked like a whirlwind.  Now, I have 4 really great Tidy-ers, 2 sort-of Tidy-ers, and 2 not-helping-at-all-ers.  If this didn’t work, I would not have continued to do it all these years!

So, let’s get started!

Music can be very helpful to use as a “timer” – put together a playlist that is about 15 minutes long (Hamster Dance is a favorite on our list!) and start the music at the beginning of the 15 Minute Tidy.  (Amazon Prime Music is a great way to create a Cleaning Playlist!)

Gather everyone in the same room to get them started.  This lets you put eyes on every single child and direct those who need directing.  If I didn’t bring them all to the same room (usually the worst room), they would lay around and not help at all.

Announce the reward for their effort.  We ALWAYS have a reward for getting the work done.  15 Minute Tidies are set at times when there is a natural reward – before snack (announce what the snack will be), before movie night (announce that the movie night will start as soon as the tidy is finished), before you head to the park (announce that you will be heading out as soon as the timer goes off).  This is the motivation everyone needs to get the job done!

Ready, Set, Go!
Start your timer or your music, and get moving!

You have 2 Options on how YOU handle the tidy:

1.  You do the bulk of the work and not worry about what the children are doing except for directing as they pass by.

2.  You work as a facilitator and delegator.  (This is how I have chosen to work.)

If you don’t have a lot of children or none really old enough to be of much help, then you will need to be the primary worker.  Get moving and work as quickly as you can, giving your children direct orders as you go.  Take that to….  Pick that up and set it over there…  Help me pick these up…  (you get the idea)  The name of the game is beat the clock and get as much put away as you can.  (We’ll talk in a moment about how to keep from wasting precious steps and time.)

Because I have a lot of children and a lot of littles too, being a facilitator makes more sense for our household.  I delegate rooms and chores and also work quickly by picking things up in specific rooms and piling them onto a specified surface while the children work hard to put those things away.  I also continually check on everyone to make sure they are working.  I am in constant motion.

How to work efficiently during your 15 Minute Tidy

Start in the COMMON ROOMS (i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, etc).
Don’t waste your time on the rooms no one sees.  That way, if you run out of time, you have at least gotten the main rooms in the house tidied up.  If you have enough time, you can send everyone to their respective rooms or you can have another 15 minute tidy time at some point that is specifically for bedrooms.

Start in the MESSIEST ROOM.  Everyone likes to start where there isn’t much work to be done.  Don’t get caught in that trap.  The rooms that aren’t super messy can easily be cleaned later.  Pay the most attention to the worst rooms and you will feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment.

As I mentioned above, I will work in one room and make a pile of all the misplaced items from that room.  If I was working alone, I would be the main one putting that pile away as soon as I was finished making it, but if I’m delegating, I will have one or two children as designated put-awayers (that’s a real word, right?).  Then, I move to the next room.  The reason this creates efficiency is because you are not constantly leaving the room to put things away.  You do the putting away at the end.

NOTE:  You can also grab a laundry basket or box and fill it up in EVERY room before putting anything away.

DON’T get caught up organizing or decluttering.  This is NOT the time for that.  In fact, if you find you have a lot of STUFF that has no home, rather than dealing with it now, grab a laundry basket or box and just throw it all in there…especially if your “reward” is having company over.  You can take a look at that box later and try to figure out where a good home for those items would be.  When you do find a place for them, be sure to let everyone know where that place is so the next time you do your 15 Minute Tidy, they will know exactly where to put those items.

Time’s Up!

Now, you reward yourself and everyone else!  This can be a cup of coffee, a movie, a snack.  You name it, it’s yours!  (Ok, not really, but a girl can dream, can’t she.)

And that’s all there is to it!  Give it a try today and let me know how it turned out!

Need help managing your homeschool?

Homeschool Management Sale!There is a HUGE sale on the Homeschool Management Pack at Educents!
Ends tomorrow night!

Feeling overwhelmed?

Get Simplified Pantry’s FREE Brain Dump Worksheet
(I’m loving this resource right now!)

Large Family Hacks – Play Shoes Crate

When you have a lot of kiddos, you have a lot of shoes!  They are everywhere all over the house, yet the crazy thing is it is next to impossible to find a matching pair when you need them!

Enter our newest organizational tool…the Play Shoes Crate!Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate to keep shoes contained and easily found! |

{affiliate links included}

Back when we used to do Workboxes, I purchased several black milk crates to house the files we were using for a modified workbox system.  However, years later, the milk crates were just taking up space in storage.  (Funny how I have storage items IN storage!)

With all these little boys, we end up with a lot of play shoes and no great place to put them – especially when they are muddy.  So, I decided to pull 2 of the crates out (black was definitely a good color choice!), and put one by each of the most used doors.

Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate |

Piling the shoes into the crate is easy work for any one of the children, and it keeps the floors by the doors free of shoe clutter and the shoes easy to find.  On really muddy days, I’ll put a junk towel by the back door to line the shoes on and get them dry before putting them in the crate, but for the most part, when you come in from playing, your shoes go in the crate – thank you very much!

Large Family Hacks - learn the little things that make their homes run smoother! |

Find all the Large Family Hacks here!

Is Your Plate Too Full {or is it something else?}

There have been times in my life when everything feels chaotic and overwhelming, and the only answer I can think of is to run away.  (In the Fight or Flight Model, I’m a Flight – all the way.)  My sense of duty and propriety keep me from it, and I continue to muddle through, finding the other side of the mess eventually.

Because this has been “one of those years”, I’ve found myself often considering those feelings of being overwhelmed and mulling over how they came about.  One thing I have arrived upon is that you can’t always trust the thought that your plate is too full.

Is Your Plate Too Full? {or is it something else} |

When things were at their worst earlier this year, I listed out everything I had to do (or felt I had to do).  The list wasn’t huge, and it certainly could fit into a 24 hour day.  Even with a new house and new baby, I knew what I was feeling could not possibly be due to what was on my plate.  Nothing that was on my plate was outside my domain.  Nothing that was on my plate was outside what the Lord had handed me.  I knew there was more to this, and I had to stop blaming the plate.

Do you feel like there is too much to do in a day, yet, you cannot figure out where to carve out any more time or how to get rid of any responsibilities?  Perhaps it isn't the stuff on the plate that is causing the problem... |

Is it hormones?

I really hate it when people make excuses for what you are feeling with the word “hormones,” but I must admit, sometimes it truly IS hormones.  I don’t consider myself a hormonal person.  Most people describe me as even-keel.  However, I have noticed the times I feel the most overwhelmed are after having a baby and before my monthly cycle.  Hmmmm….

If the plate feels too full because of hormones, there are a couple of things you can do.

1.  Wait it out and take it easy while you do.  Sometimes all you need is a little time.  For instance, after having a baby, it is crazy to expect life to normalize the day you get home from the hospital.  What you should really do is bring your life down to the bare minimum, and give it time.  The key here is to be able to RECOGNIZE what is going on, and not freak out over what you are feeling.

2.  Fix what needs fixing.  If time is not fixing things, then you need to explore options.  I’m not going to tell you what you need to do, but I can tell you that you will know when you find the answer.  I do not believe God intends for us to do nothing if something hormonal can be helped.  He created us and expects us to care for His temple to the best of our ability.  You can read about what I did to help balance my hormones HERE.

Is it a lack of rest?

This is literal and figurative.  Literally speaking, we can become easily overwhelmed when we are not getting enough sleep at night or when we push too hard for too long.  You simply cannot handle all life throws at you when you are tired.  Get more sleep at night or take a nap if you can.  Force yourself to do this one thing, and you will find your outlook on life greatly improved.

And don’t forget to take a Sabbath rest.  Work hard, rest well.  God put this cycle in place for a reason.  Don’t ignore it.

Need help finding rest?  Read THIS POST.

Figuratively speaking, are you running through your day in a frenzy?  Are you breathing at all?  Do you spend most of the day in a frantic pace, afraid everything will fall apart if you stop moving?

“Be still and know that I am God…”
Psalm 46:10a

Psalm 46 closes with those words, but it opens with something even more telling…

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Psalm 46:1-3

If you are overwhelmed by your day, remember on whose strength you must rely.  Slow you pace, so your can see Him work.  Things may feel overwhelming, but God is still Lord of all.

Is there something on the horizon?

Sometimes those overwhelmed and anxious feelings come from upcoming events that are in your subconscious, but haven’t managed to make their way to the surface as yet.  Perhaps you have a difficult family member coming for a visit, or a difficult holiday is coming up.  Maybe you are nervous about an upcoming event or afraid you won’t be prepared.  You may not consciously KNOW why you are feeling overwhelmed, but your mind is an amazing place, and often sends out distress signals long before you are fully aware of what is causing the distress.

I have learned to be in the habit of thinking through what I am feeling (especially if it is a sudden onslaught of emotions), and considering what might be on the horizon that is making me feel as if I have too much on my plate.  This is simply a matter of learning to be aware of how your emotions are linked to your circumstances.  Learning to deal with both your circumstances and your emotions are a whole different can of worms!

Is it expectations?

Often, this one is inextricably linked to the previous question.  Is there someone in your life who has placed certain expectations on you, and you are dreadfully afraid you won’t live up to them?  Are they coming for a visit or have you been spending too much time with them?

Or perhaps, YOU are the one who has placed unattainable expectations on yourself.  (Read my post on how unrealistic homeschool moms can be.)  I want so badly for my home to be perfectly decorated and cleaned and orderly at all times, but that is completely unrealistic.  I know my home can be company ready in 15 minutes (or so), but still, I have a standard that tends to stress me out.  And when I am stressed, I tend to be a rather UNfun mom.  As our friend Dan says,

“I was having a bad day…until I lowered my expectations.”

Is it sensory issues?

While a lot of factors go into sensory issues in moms (read more about that HERE), when it pertains to “too much on your plate,” it is usually noise that is the thing that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.  It’s the toddler screaming, the boys laughing as they run in the house, the 6 year old saying Mommy over and over and over.  Your plate may not actually be too full, it may just be too loud.  Before you throw the plate out the window, step outside (or wherever it isn’t as noisy), and take a breath.

Is it priorities and stewardship?

Here’s where I hit a nerve…mine to be exact.  Sadly, more often than not I feel overwhelmed because I have not been a good steward of the things on my plate.  I have chosen to give priority to the wrong things.  My blog cannot be my priority.  The internet cannot be my priority.  Projects and hobbies cannot be my priority.  They can be a PART of my life, but they cannot trump my main responsibilities.

If it is stewardship and prioritizing that is your issue, it might help to actually write out IN ORDER your priorities and post it in your kitchen, near your computer, or wherever you need a little reminder.  Put the stuff on your plate in the proper order, and you will be surprised how much you actually get done in a day!

Is your plate too full or is it something else? |

What if your plate really is too full?

Truthfully, there are times when you have bitten off more than you can chew.  The too-full plate is real, and if this is you, then need to address the truth.

Can you let go of something?

If yes, then just do it!  A few years ago for me it was a mass email delete.  I was on information overload and had put upon myself a need to read every email that came to my inbox.  I could not do it.  I needed to start over…even if I missed something.  *gasp*

More recently, it was saying “no” to a very worthy project.  It was blog related and would have been a great fit for the Raising Arrows audience, but I was maxed out.  And when I’m maxed out, all of my readers can feel it.  It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to you.  So, I said no.

What if you can’t let go of something?

Sometimes you just don’t have the option to let something go.  Either you need to fully complete a commitment or the massive amount of things you have on your plate are something you must deal with for a season.  For instance, you need to ramp up a home business while your husband goes back to college or you need to take in your sister’s children while she walks through a messy divorce.  When this is the case, the answer is to do things that help you handle the stuff on the plate with as much grace and joy as possible.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

1.  Pray your way through it – Let a prayer always be on your breath.  Put on the praise music.  Keep your Bible at the ready.  And cry out to the Lord!  And don’t forget to thank Him when He answers!  Be grateful for the trials, the tears, the big and small answers, the mercy, and the love beyond comprehension.

2.  Take short breaks – You may not be able to fit in a lengthy rest, but do what you can to catch short breaks here and there.  (Read my post on creating a place to relax.)

3.  Exercise – When you are in a flight or fight situation, your adrenaline kicks into high gear.  You NEED a release for that pent-up adrenaline or you WILL go into adrenal fatigue.  Exercising will help you avoid this.  And when I say exercising, I do not mean a 2 mile run or an hour on the elliptical.  I mean exerting more energy for a longer period of time than your normal every day activity.  It might be playing tag in the backyard with the kids or doing several sets of lunges in your living room.  Don’t get hung up on the word.  It’s not as bad as you think it is.

4.  Eat right – Yeah, I know – you are busy and food is about the last thing on your mind.  Well, I hate to say it, but when your plate is over-full, you will need to do your very best to not give in to the ease of eating junk.  No, you don’t have to soak your grains and buy only organic, but you will need to reduce the sugar and eat as much REAL FOOD as you can.  Don’t make it hard, but do make it nourishing.

5.  Drink plenty of water – When your plate is full, you tend to run on caffeine and sugar.  Don’t.  Get a bag of ice, a sack of lemons, a pretty cup – whatever it takes to make the water appealing.

6.  Guard your time – Try not to add anything to your plate.  When the pastor’s wife calls and asks you to do the music for VBS, say, “I’m sorry – I can’t this year.”  Remember, this is a season.  You can add things to your plate (as the Lord leads) later.

Also, try not to tackle the major things on your plate that require your concentration in a time slot that will only frustrate you.  Making business phone calls while your toddler is in 4 o’clock crazy mode is NOT a good idea.  Put a time management plan in place that makes sense and won’t make you feel like you are living one big emergency.

7.  Surrender  – Give the entire plate over to God.  You should be doing this no matter how full the plate is, but when the plate is overflowing, there won’t be any possibility of doing this in your own strength.  Let go of the notion that YOU are going to have to do this, and let God take over.  His strength will become yours if you remember to let Him handle the plate.

So, is your plate really too full?  Or is it something else?