Monday, December 10, 2012

Blog Changes

Well, here I go, making changes again and stretching outside my comfort zone. For a while now I have struggled with wanting to share some what I am learning as a mom and wife and, well, as a person. It seems that this aspect of my writing and sharing should be different or maybe more focused than my occasional ramblings, thoughts, and sharing that I tend to do on this blog.  As the idea has been bouncing around, I really wanted to be able to share more of what I blog about with the audience that I am looking to bless, but felt that that more thoughtful sharing that I do on my blog would not directly relate or appeal to them.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Habit of the Month: Being Present

New month, new habit . . . well, I struggled with whether or not I would do a new habit for this month of December. After all this month seems so full of activities, events, and things to do already; why add creating a new habit into the mix? The logic side of me reasoned: You would better be able to focus on a new habit once the new year started. What habit are you going to work on anyway? Maybe it would be better to wait. Then in the midst of sleepless nights due to a serious head cold and cough being passed around our home, surrounded by days of clamoring from my kids for activities and attention, my new habit idea was born.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Habit of the Month Follow-up: Taking It Down A Notch

This month has been a weird combination of time flying by and slow motion. Overall the month has been very enjoyable, and our family was able to celebrate a wonderfully calm Thanksgiving Weekend.  

For the last month, the habit I have focused on has been one of reduction.  Taking my plans, ideas for activities, and to do list expectations and cutting them down a bit.  For more of an idea of what that entailed for us, check out my original post from the beginning of the month.  

So, how did I do at scaling back?  
Well, I think pretty good.  

Our extended family's Thanksgiving was celebrated at our home for the first time in several years, with both sets of grandparents being able to come.  What fun!  I initially started off with some pretty big ideas of cleaning, decorating, and food for the special day; then, considering my Habit for the Month, I started crossing things off my idea list.   Even after that, there were some family events that forced me to reevaluate what really "needed" to be done, and more cutting and trimming of expectations took place. Those coming to our home to eat made it very easy for me to delegate food dishes for them to bring, and everyone in our home pitched in to help clean and do some project things our home.  I even got some Pinterest ideas put into real life for the occasion.   Nothing fantastical about the event, but it was perfect for us.  

I am so pleased with the results of this month's habit.   Not only was I able to put to practical application a somewhat vague idea, but I was able to see the direct and indirect benefits of practicing my new habit.  With the new month's approach, I know that I will continue to have opportunity to practice my new habit, and I anticipate that it will continue to be solidified in my long term life habits and the benefits will continue to be as enjoyable as they have been this past month.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hello Morning! Week 12

Wow!  This is the final week of this Hello Mornings Challenge.  It has been a joy to work on my Study habit and be able to hone my skills a bit during the twelve weeks.  I am eager to enter this week, finish the study, and start on the next step of my Hello Morning! Journey.  Taking a moment to just breathe in God's Word and breathe out prayer in the mornings before "life" begins has been a rewarding and refreshing change.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Habit of the Month: Taking It Down a Notch

This is a different sort of habit.  Often habits we develop with intention are something we establish to make us better or to help us do more.  This month's habit for me is to do less!

I love, love, love planning - almost to a fault.  When I get in planning mode, I can very quickly develop a plan that is so big or involved that putting it into action is difficult at best or impossible and stressful at worst.  So for this month my habit is to take a step back and strike something from the plan - just bring it down a notch.

  • If I plan to run four errands today - move one to next week.
  • When we get together to bake with Grandma, instead of making four types of cookies, maybe do two.
  • If I wake expecting (planning) to accomplish five things from my project list - bring that down to two or three.

My reasoning for the unusual habit - simply to reduce the stress and pressure I can put on myself and my family to accomplish more than is reasonable or possible while tending to all the routine things of life.  If I am able to accomplish more great! Or maybe enjoy a few minutes of relaxation, go for a walk, play an extra game with the kids, etc. The idea is to just reduce the pressure and stress trying to cram more into the minutes of my day, just because I planned more than was reasonable. 

Going into the holdiays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's it is easy to get over busy. Running around and stressed so much I am not enjoying the moments is not what I want for this Season. So for this month I am practicing cutting out something(s) and slowing down just to enjoy some simple moments.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Back to Routines" Follow-up

As I review what I wrote about getting back to routines in September, what a joy to see things that I expressed as being important to me becoming a reality!  Pleasant mornings are more regular then they were when I fist wrote about routines.  The skill of being able to see the big picture and how my daily activities are effected by my goals is developing in my life. 

It has been a good "getting back to routines" time, and I am happy with the overall relative calmness and confidence that has come as a result. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Being Hospitable

This past weeks passage (I Peter 4:1-11) seemed to be full of truths and things to study, ponder, and apply.  I found each day that certain phrases would jump off the page of my Bible.  Today's phrase is verse 9.

"Use hospitality one to another without grudging."

NKJV: Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.

ESV: Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Amplified Bible: "Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him)."

What does that mean?

Hospitality is defined as the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers [people]; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating [people] guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

Since I do my study in KJV, I also defined grudging.  It is an adjective that means displaying or reflecting reluctance or unwillingness.

So, the guests and strangers who enter our home should be willingly and happily received.  Generosity and friendliness should mark our acceptance of those who are guests in our home, and I added life.  An attitude that is unwilling or reluctant to accept and entertain others is not acceptable.  


Ouch, this one hit a little close to my heart. Not because I feel reluctant to be hospitable towards other people.  (I actually love it!)  But I know that I can feel that way about the people who live in my home every day, my family.  There are times when a friendly reception that treats my husband or children with warmth and generosity is far from issued in a way that is not reluctant or unwilling.  I have things that I need to do or want to do, and the last thing I feel like is stopping what I am doing and paying attention to them.  They will be there later . . . what I have needs to be done . . . the reasoning could go on.
No, I am to stop and welcome them willingly with warm generosity.  Whether it is when they come home from work or school or whether they are entering the room I am in from somewhere else in the house.   It does not have to be a big production, but the heart attitude of being hospitable without grudging needs to be in my life.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello Morning! Week 11

Wow!  Week 11!  We are on the home stretch of this study.  Only three more weeks, and this Hello Mornings! Study will be complete.  There seemed to be such a slow moving start to the study that I find it hard to believe we are nearing the end.  

With the initial read and study of the passage (I Peter 4:1-11), there seems to be so much to wrap my brain around and process, yet I am excited about what is there for me to glean this week.  Today I especially appreciated verse 11.

". . . If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things might be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen."

I am at a point, where I sense a particular opportunity opening and yet, I hesitate -  should I really do this?  can I do this?  I know that I can work in the ability God has given me, and commit the results to Him!

One practical aspect to the routine of this Hello Mornings Challenge has been the habit of clearing my desk.  I know that ladies often comment about doing their morning Bible study in their favorite chair or sitting comfortably on the sofa.  I have found if I am too comfortable, it is way to easy for me fall asleep again once I am settled in for my study and prayer time. That combined with that fact that I have been using some computer resources in my study (depending on how much time is available before I need to face the more urgent matters of the day), I have been sitting at my desk for my morning study time.  One day sort of by accident, I discovered a new way to make my approach to this early morning habit a joy.  I had gotten my desk fairly well cleared of pressing projects, and it was looking rather neat, so on a whim as I went to bed I put my study notebook and Bible out front and center of my desk work area.  The next morning, as I approached my desk for study, there they sat ready and waiting to greet me.  What a grand feeling it was!  What a great way to start my morning and a great encouragement to me to actually sit and do my study!  

And so was born a new habit and an addition (and motivation) to my evening routine.  I am still working to make this step a solidly consistent part of my evening routine, but the days I do, the reward is the happy greeting of "I am ready for you" the next day when I sit to study.  

I am praying for you, Reader, that this week, that you too will find a happy motivation in the life you are seeking to establish.  May your reward be the discovery of one small joy in what you face each day.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wrongful? Suffering

So often when we are wronged or we feel that we suffering unfairly, we think that no one else understands what we are experiencing - no one else has suffered the wrong that we are suffering.  "Christ . . . suffered . . . the just for the unjust."  I Peter 3:18a.  Not only does he know and understand our situation and how we feel, for He is, well, God! but Christ too suffered unjustly when on earth.  

On Monday, when I first read through this week's Hello Mornings study passage (I Peter 3:18-22), I got stuck in the comments about Noah and baptism and it's relation to salvation.   Throughout the week, I have not done well with staying in the I Peter study.   I have done a lot of praying and "sitting at the feet of Jesus", but it has been through other avenues and not my Hello Mornings Study. Then this morning, having some "extra" quiet time, I intentionally went back to the I Peter study thinking I should study the passage a bit more before we move on to a new week and new section of Scripture.  Verse 18 just jumped off the page of my Bible!  

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"  

Christ suffered unjustly, but not just because of a misunderstanding or someone's hurtful actions or words, but by willing choice that He through the shedding of His blood and death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead, might provide a way to bring us into the presence of God the Father! Our sin (the pride of thinking we don't need God and setting ourselves up as gods and all the resulting actions and thoughts that come from that) separates us from a relationship with God. Christ died to bridge that separation. 

All the just and unjust difficulties or pain that I may experience in my life does not stand in the face of the suffering Christ bore for me (for everyone).  How dare I complain!  The difficulty is still difficult, that does not change, but my attitude of "woe is me" really has no place!

"Thank you, Father God, for the joys and the pains of life."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hello, Morning! Week 6

Here we are in the middle of week six of the Hello Mornings Challenge over at Inspired to Action.   I am finding it hard to believe that we are in Week 6 already!  Yet, at the same time, it seems as if we are just getting started.  This week we are starting in to the second chapter of I Peter.   In my initial read of verses 1-12, the phrases "the LORD is gracious" and "his marvelous light" and "we have obtained mercy" jumped at me.   

As I am going through this week, the graciousness of God is my rejoicing.  His great riches poured on me.  As I heard defined last week: divine influence in the heart reflected in one's life.  God's grace.  

The pattern of this study is becoming very evident in the weekly approach to the passage of Scripture.  Reading for understanding or clarification of words and phrases the first day.  The the next three days reading the passage looking for truths, promises, and commands.  Finally, applying the passage to daily life.  The no nonsense approach that is easy to follow each week, is a great tool to learn.  Not only for use in study this current passage of I Peter, but to be taken and used in the study of any Scripture passage.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hello, Morning! Week 5

Week five is drawing to a close, and it seems as if the time has flown this week.  Study has been more challenging, and I am slipping in my early morning study time.  It is more of a mid-day study time the last few days. I am continuing to rise early (for the most part), but my family is starting to make the adjustment to early mornings along with me, and so what has been a quiet time for me in the early hours is becoming more of a family time.   I love the transition for us all, we seem to be starting our days better because it, but I am missing the alone time before everyone else is up.  

The passage of study this week has been a challenge to read each day.  The sentence structure and flow of thoughts within thoughts has been difficult for me to wrap my brain around.  Prayer:  "Holy Spirit guide me and grant me understanding as I read."   Two truths that seemed to repeating jump at me as I read and reread the passage this week, has been from verse 18 & 19 and 23.   "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,  . . . but with the precious blood of Christ" and " . .. . the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."   It is not me, and anything in me, it is God and God alone that does the amazing work of salvation and that keeps us!  He abides forever! despite what I do or how I act or think.  He is the great I AM.  Now and forever.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review: Survival for Busy Women

Survival For Busy Women:  Establishing Efficient Home Management by Emlie Barnes is a good resource of advice and ideas for helping any woman learn how to better manage her home and life.

Life can be very busy or stressful and the suggestions and guidelines through out this book are practical how to's for those seeking guidance and help for life management.   Lists and charts, project ideas, and organizational suggestions are scattered through out the book. 

I enjoyed the easy reading of Emlie's writing and the format of this book.  The ideas presented, though not new to me, where done simply and in some cases differently than I have seen previously. 

The edition of this book I read was published over twenty-five years ago and that fact could be seen in several of the tools she referenced.  The ideas are still applicable, though.  The concepts of life management do not change over time.   An update of to this book is available, and I am looking forward to reading it to see if and how the author incorporates the tools technology has made available.   I am curious to see if she has an new ideas or suggestions after twenty plus years.  

Survival for Busy Women is a good primer for those seeking to be more efficient in their home management.  Whether for a young person or a lady with much experience, I would recommend this book for the basic ideas, suggestions, and charts presented by the author.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello, Morning!: Week 4

Wow!  This past week has been tough.  The holiday weekend at the beginning of the week, a sick child home for two days, and an explainable lack of focus have all contributed to making my study time much more of a discipline than a joy this week.  

My prayers as I have entered Bible Study this week, have been very much along the lines of, "Father, drive away the distractions and help me focus on Your Word! PLEASE!!!"  

God's gracious riches extended to me, so that I may obey and honor Him has been the thought that has been noticeable to me in the passage this week.   I am so grateful that even when I don't feel it, God is good and still is choosing to guide and bless me.  

As I enter this week, I had hoped to be moving on to a new habit to solidify. Not so -- my focus is going to be staying on track.  I sense I am at a crossroads in my study time and the development of this habit of everyday focus moments.  I will either continue on in the pursuit of something I know is good, or I will turn aside to something else.  The something else is not really what I want to do . . . so for this week - focus and perseverance!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Habit of the Month: Back to Routines

I have taken a break from writing and posting over the summer months.  Now, as my girls are headed back to school and our schedule needs are changing, it is time for a "back to routines" evaluation.  

Some times of the year just naturally lend themselves to changes in the routines of my day and a reevaluation of my time usage.  The start of the school year and beginning of the fall season are one of those times.  (Oh, how I love the fall!  Maybe more on that in a later post.)  The relaxed morning and evening duties/routines of summer do not assist in the smooth functioning of our family as a tighter schedule becomes necessary for school obligations.  

Mornings can be chaos and craziness if we don't have some sense of structure to them.  Getting my family up and started on their days with a pleasant attitude in our home, is a priority for me.  To help make this a reality, having a routine to our mornings is a must!  Once we get into it, even on the weekends it seems the routine is followed, though at a slightly more relaxed pace.  

Often repeated in organization and time management circles, is the concept that your morning really starts the evening before.  When I first heard the idea I agreed a routine the night before that considers the morning coming would be helpful, though I really did not think it was that important.  Well, I have been converted!  Considering the next morning and day as you go into the activities for the evening is cornerstone in helping me to make the coming morning pleasant. 

In addition to getting back to more structured morning and evening routines, evaluating my activities in the home, time spent out of the home, and where I am putting my energy is a big part of getting back to routines.  Big activities, jobs, and events all trickle down into the everyday tasks and commitments.   I need to be certain they are the priorities I should have and want.  If I don't things quickly spin out of control.  

So, this month's habit:  "Back to routines!"  I am looking forward to the structured organization and different sort of relaxed feeling it will bring to my life and our home.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hello Morning!: Week 3

image from
What a fast week of study it has been.   Last week, those following the I Peter study read through the entire book - a chapter a day.  It was a great overview week, and it is wonderful how the Lord gives verses of encouragement and application through the book.   If you want to read what Katie at Inspired To Action says this week about the study, you can find her comments here.

This week, we look at the first passage (I Peter 1:1-2, 5:12-14).  Personally, I am curious as to why the writers of the study paired these verses.   Hopefully by the end of the week, it will be clear to me. Each day this week has a different focus as we read the passage.

Day 1:  Read the passage.
Day 2:  Look for specific truths.
Day 3:  Find the promises given.
Day 4:  Note commands.
Day 5:  Apply what I have learned to my life.

This week as we enter more of the in depth study of the passage, my focus will be spending time in prayer before each study.  I want to glean from this passage what I need to be learning, and I know that I need God's direction and help.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello Morning!: Week 2

Last week was a good start to the development of my Hello Mornings Habit.  I was up a bit earlier each day, though I did not get my study time in each day before others were up and needing attention.  

I did get through all five days of my Bible Study and actually had an extra day to do some additional reading.  Yah!   The feeling of taking control of my day and being more proactive and intentional is wonderful.  I think also, the fact that my family is seeing that this is important to me has been wonderful.  

This week's focus will be to not only continue getting up a bit earlier to do some reading and study, but to be getting to bed a bit earlier to make those morning moments more enjoyable.   This should help too with solidifying my evening routine as we head into the school year.  

How are you doing on the development of your new habit?  Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed.  One tiny baby step at a time . . . you are moving forward!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hello Morning!

Yesterday was the beginning of the Hello Mornings Challenge over at Inspired to Action.  Though, I am not officially joining the challenge, I am using their study of I Peter and doing my own Hello Morning! Challenge.

There are several aspects to the Hello Morning Challenge routine:  God. Plan. Move.  Check out more at the Hello Mornings official site.

God:  Spend time reading God's Word, studying Scripture, and praying.  This area is the the primary focus for me this challenge.  I have a big need to grow in my personal Bible study habits and prayer time. 
Plan: I could spend all day in this area of the routine, so for me it is more of putting into action my plan for the day - acting on the flexible structure I try to have in each day.  
Move:  This habit of exercising is not one I plan to focus on during this fall challenge.  I do think the habit of basic stretch routine might be in order, though. 

Come join me in this twelve week challenge/adventure.  Whether it be in study and prayer, moving, or planning.  Join me in solidifying the habit of starting our days with a Good Morning.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Large Family Logistics

Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family by Kim Brenneman is an easy, enjoyable  read.  Kim's ideas are encouraging and practical.  She starts with the reality of where we may be as women and systematically presents principles and ideas that will help us grow.

Kim, mother of nine, and her husband run a farm and micro-dairy in Iowa.  She home-schools her children and enjoys a variety of gardening and sewing activities.   She offers a variety of ideas and suggestions for household, personal, and learning management. 

Kim starts her book with a section presenting principles that can help you be the women, wife, mother, and manager that is God-honoring.  Her premise that we need to be grounded in Scripture helps to bring the focus back to the reality that all we do is for God - even the care of ourselves and our home.   The second section of her book focuses on presenting ideas and plans for the organization and running of your home.  She approaches everything with the idea that we are to be working together as a family and, as a mom, we have the responsibility to teach our children the maintenance of a home and family and allow them the opportunity to "practice" by working with their siblings to help mom and dad run the house.  
I enjoyed the easy reading of Kim's writing.  She wrote in a way that is very familiar and it was almost as if she was having a conversation with you.  The chapters are fairly short, some only a couple of pages, which makes fitting a moment of reading in easy amidst everything else of life.  She has excellent ideas and lays them out in a very understandable and easy to implement way.  

There are a few times where Kim's strong feelings about how something should be done, came across very clearly.  It is important to remember in everything we read to measure it against the Truth and our own priorities.  What she says is great! but if you are not sure of where you stand you could be lead to feel badly about where you currently are and choices your family has made.  

I would recommend Large Family Logistics to most any wife and mother who is seeking to improve the management and function of her household.  It is especially helpful to those who have a large number of family members and/or a variety of responsibilities.  Her ideas can easily be translated and modified to apply in a smaller family setting as well.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Newest Lasagna Creation

We love lasagna in our family (well, four of the five of us love it, one will force it down when required to do so and motivated by the thought of dessert).  I have recently found a couple of different recipes for lasagna meals, and several weeks ago (actually months now) made an attempt at one of them.  

I love cooking with my crockpot - the fix it and forget for the day idea works well with my brain, since I usually think about supper when I am cleaning up from breakfast.  And I love the ability to easily get supper on the table in the evening when we are all very hungry and I usually have a toddler wrapped around my legs or am attempting to assist with homework studies.

The recipe I tried was very tasty, though more like chili.  I added my modifications below and would even suggest trying it with a different large noodle next time.  Also, watch the cooking time carefully.  It burned easily along the edges once the noodles were done cooking.  Of course, our cheese loving family topped each serving with a pinch of parmesan or mozzarella cheese.  

Lasagna Chili (modified from Easy Crockpot Lasagna)

1+ lb. gr. turkey and sausage (½ and ½)
½ c. onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 – 26 oz. jar of Prego traditional pasta sauce
½ c. water

1½ c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. cottage cheese
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. parsley
1 egg

6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

½ c. mozzarella cheese
1 T. grated parmesan cheese

    1. Cook ground turkey and sausage.  Add onion and garlic until cooked tender.  Combine with pasta sauce and water, simmer for five minutes and set aside.
    2. Combine mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley and egg.  Set aside.
    3. In 4-6 qt. crockpot pour 1 c. of spaghetti meat sauce.   Place half of the noodles in, breaking them as necessary so they fit.  Top with half the cheese mixture. 
    4. Place remaining noodles and top with 2 c. of meat sauce, and remaining cheese mixture. 
    5. Top with remaining meat sauce, and cook for 4 hours on low or until noodles are soft.  (I would start checking it after 3 hours.)
    6. Top with mozzarella/parmasen mixture and let it sit for 10’ covered with the heat turned off. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review

I enjoy reading and learning . . . probably the most of any of the more casual pastimes I have.  Almost as much, I enjoy telling others what I am learning and sharing the ideas I read.  So, here is the first of what I am hoping will be many reviews of the books I have or am reading.

My first review venture is Regina Leed's, One Year to An Organized Life.  My sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday last year and we have been reading it together.

This book is an excellent guide to organization and de-cluttering for those who want to act but are not sure where to start.  

Regina Leeds is a professional organizer from Los Angeles area. She lays out an unique monthly and weekly plan to help the reader develop routines and break down tasks so that the organization of one's life is not so overwhelming.  

There are very few areas left untouched by the habits and methods taught in this book. Regina works through questions and journal writing to help the reader get to the core of why you do things the way your do. She systematically lays out an organization plan to help you see what you are doing that works well, discover where and why things are not working, and assist you in organizing more in line with what helps you function best. 

The sections of the book are broken down by month and each month is divided into four weeks of chapters.  Each month's reading included some reflection or examination questions, ideas of how to organize or develop routines, and an assignment with a project that deals directly with the area being worked on that month. 

This book is enjoyable to read.  There is a lot of ideas to learn and implement. The projects can be big or little depending on your current situation and the area. Regina gives you much to think about as she encourages you to address some deeper reasons to why your organization is the way it is.  If you read the book cover to cover it can be very overwhelming.  I have chosen to approach this book like a class. Each week I read the appropriate chapter and do the assignment whether it is the journal questions, a quick purge, or a massive organization.  

My sister-in-law and I have been working through the book for almost nine months now. Doing it together has helped keep me on track and we have been able to help each other with a project or two.    As a mom with young children I found some of the project assignments very challenging and overwhelming.  Time does not always allow me to stop everything for a complete day in order to focus on an effective overhaul of an area.  However, there has always been some aspect of the assigned project I have been able to accomplish.  Any step forward, no matter how big or small, is good.  

I recommend One Year to an Organized Life to most anyone looking to make changes in their organization.  As for myself, this book is going on my bookshelf for future reference when I am done with it, and I am sure I will be rereading and revisiting aspects of it for years to come.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Habit of the Month: April

This month's habit at first glance seems to be very applicable to me.  The Habit of the Month is Completion: finishing the task or project I am doing before moving on to another. My life at times seems to be a constant string of interruptions. With family demands, housework that is never done, and my personal list of tasks there are days I feel as if I am moving from one thing to another with out never really finishing anything. 

So, this month, my attention will be to work on completing the project or task I am doing. Admittedly there will be times when that is not an option. If a screaming child calls from the other room or an appointment time comes, of course I will need to pause what I am doing to move on the another responsibility. The key will be coming back to and completing it when I am able to do so.  

As I think about this habit, I am not sure how it will play out in my life this month. So, we shall see.  I am curious to see how and if changes the way I do things. Would you join me this month is seeking to be intentional with completing the task or project at hand before moving on to another?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Habit of the Month Follow-up: March

This month's habit has been to find a home for the stray items laying around our home.  Overall I have done well.  Definitely not perfect, but steps of progress have been made.  More importantly than seeing the progress around me, the development of the habit has been good.  Just establishing the habit of finding homes for things in our home or letting them go if they are not something we use and love has been a wonderful exercise.

Now on with a new month and the establishment of a new habit.  Of course, not forgetting to continue to find homes for the loose items I find around our house.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Window Art

Last weekend was long . . . the kids had a day off of school, the weather was cold enough I did not want them outside (we were all fighting or recovering from colds), my husband was very sick so I was single parenting, and we were all driving each other a bit nuts.

In an attempt to find a variation to our activities I pulled out the dry erase markers and asked the girls to draw some pictures on our large porch door windows.  They thought it was great!  Out came the step stool and their imaginations took off.  Soon the windows were covered with butterflies, horses, rainbows, renderings of our our family, pictures of our house, castles, etc.  I think they had a slight sense that they were getting away with something they should not be doing.  Their toddler brother had fun erasing what he could reach and watching them jump and squeal in response.

My only regret in the whole activity was my inability to keep their artwork. When the time came to wash the windows on Monday, what was left of their great pictures was wiped off.  I did try taking some photos which helped a bit in preserving the memory. 

Overall the activity was a great success.  Score one for mom's ability to find a new way to do a common activity.  Oh, and the girls each learned to draw something different from each other and they exercised their imaginations!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Habit of the Month: March

This month, as I seek to help my home be a bit more organized, I am tackling the hidden or not so hidden areas of our house: our storage locker, the extra closet in the baby's room, and the top of the large closet in the master bedroom.  I may even attack the boxes in our bedroom - the ones that have become invisible because of their long time residence along the walls.  

Regina Leeds' recommendation for this month's habit is to watch for the following comments: "I don't know where this goes.  I'll just put it here for now;" then acting to find a home for those things.*  When I find myself thinking or saying this (or hearing it from someone else in my family), I will find it a home or seriously consider letting the item go.  If it does not have a place in our home, why is it here?

How about you?  Do you have a habit you would like to solidify in your life this month?  Is there a new habit you have been wanting to develop?  Make this month the month to start.  Maybe you would join me in seeking to find homes for the stray or orphaned objects in our homes?  

*One Year to an Organized Life, Leeds, p. 119.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Habit of the Month Follow-up: February

February's habit of wiping off the bathroom counters each day has been challenging to implement.  Mid-month I almost gave up . . . Enter the mental image of me standing at the mirror yelling, "I quit"; them calm me responding, "No, I don't" and heading back to do my best to establish this habit . . . .

I have a large container of disinfecting wipes left over from a pack of three I bought for my daughter's class last fall.  Actually, I have two left (why I bought a pack of three very large wipe containers when I only needed one, still escapes the logic side of my brain).  Two containers - perfect - one for each of our bathrooms.  I moved the containers under the sinks for easy access and started wiping what of the counter I could see.  In the master bathroom this was the space of about the size of a dessert plate at first.  Yikes!  

I needed to consistently have the counter cleared enough to access it with the wipes.  So, last week I moved the items I use each morning into a portable container and stashed it under the sink.  This freed up some space.  After adding things from my bathroom drawers to my "morning container" I was able to move most of what lived on my counter out of sight.  NICE!  What a difference!  Now I can actually get at the counter consistently enough to wipe it off.  

This habit has mostly affected  just "my" side of the counter in our master bath.  I didn't even try to touch my husband's side of the counter.  The main bathroom has also benefited a bit.  I didn't get it wiped everyday, but even that counter has been cleared a bit more and there appears to be some improvement.  I even caught my five year old wiping the counter the other day.  Her comment, "It needed it, Mommy"  Wow!  Habits really do wear off on those around you.  I am so thankful this one was a good one.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Habit of the Month: February

Here it is, the end of February and I have yet to write about the habit I have been working on developing this month.  February's habit is wiping off the bathroom counters everyday.  As I read and work through Regna Leeds book, One Year to An Organized Life, I am working in the bathroom this month.  She advocates wiping the counter each time you are in the room.  I am going for at least once everyday.  

So . . . I guess this means I need to be able to access the counter.  The clutter and "necessary" items that usually live on the counter top will need to be pared down and assigned a new home.  

So I am seeking to have a clear counter able to be wiped off each day.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Habit of the Month Follow-up: January

Well, it is new month (really, already?).  As I seek to establish a new habit each month, this means on to the next.  Before I do that, how did I do with last month's habit?  As I sought to deal with all the paper we have in our home, not necessarily in piles, just a lot of it in files and notebooks and cabinets, I was trying to deal with it all more efficiently as it enters our home.  This initially translated into dealing with the postal mail as it came into the house.  The idea grew as the month progressed.

So, since all the papers (mail, school worksheets, newsletters and bulletins, fliers from our neighborhood, and things for Mom to deal with) were being piled on my desk, that became monster to attack this month. When I wanted to sit at my desk to do any work or writing or even just check my e-mail, I had to do it around the piles of papers or deal with them first.  Yuck!  My solution: an inbox.  I bought an inexpensive tray and placed it at the corner of my desk.  All things that Mom needs to see or do something with go there, then at the end of the day when I check my e-mail for the last time, I look at and deal with what is in my inbox.  

Overall it has worked well.  I think that I am the one that uses it the most. There are so many times during the day when I need to do something with but am not in a position to stop what I am doing to do it.  In my inbox it goes, and I know that before the day ends I will take the opportunity to review the papers and then do what is needed: file, recycle, or place in my action files.  (I am still working on how the action file idea will look and function for me.)  

My goal going forward is that at the end of each day, I'll have an empty inbox to greet me the next morning when I sit down at my desk.  I have yet to be consistent with that aspect of the habit, but just having it there is making a big difference in corralling the papers and keeping them from taking over my desk.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Habit of the Month: January

I drafted this several weeks ago, and I as I was reviewing posts to write my monthly habit follow-up I realized I never posted this article.  Yikes!  So, here is what I wrote about the habit of the month for January.  Tomorrow I'll post my follow-up and then on to the new month's habit.  
As the Holiday Season fades and the New Year is bright with all the possibilities and freshness of a new beginning, I turn again to my organizing book and return to the routine of reading, learning and organizing.  

This month's organizing area is the paper!  It seems to be everywhere and self reproducing.  I don't necessary sense I am drowning in it as some might, so I'd like to say it is reasonably under control.  However, it is everywhere!  In the era of more and more paperless options and so many things available electronically, I am struck by the irony of even electronic paper clutter.  As I weed through all the files in my filing cabinet, the miscellaneous boxes around my home, and on my computer I will be seeking to cull it down to the necessary and important items.  

To assist me in maintaining what I am seeking to set up, my habit for this month is to deal with the paper once when it comes in to our home.  This would be the postal mail, my e-mail, the papers the kids bring home from school, the newsletter and bulletins from different events or groups.  Papers seem to easily overtake my desk, so should assist with controlling that very messy monster.   

Maybe this simple habit, will help manage what some may classify as a necessary evil in the business of life.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goal: Encouragement

As I write out my goals for this coming year, it really seems to be amounting to a list of habits I already have but would like to cement or expand this year.  

One of those habits is note writing.  This year, I seek to solidify this habit by intentionally finding a person or family in my church each month to encourage with a note or card.  We worship, learn, and minister along side of one another and yet at times I feel disconnected from them amidst life.  

I pray this habit of encouragement will cause me to be aware of the needs around me and those who may need a little more prayerful support.  May the LORD use my pen to bless others through my monthly encouragements.  

May be next year God will guide me to a friend who will join me in seeking to write encouragements each month.  This could be the start of something wonderful!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Word for 2012

Today I am linking up with the One Word 365 Community.  This is something new for me, and I am excited about doing something different.   One Word 365 is about finding one word to apply to your life each year, every day, all year.  

Wow - narrowing it down to only one word has been a challenge.  I have mulled over the possibilities for a week and still today I was not sure.   I was settling on "aware" - aware of others around me, things that needed attention, time to spend with family, opportunities to grow, chances to minister - the list could continue.  

I was pretty sure "aware" or something similar was to be the word I would claim for 2012.  Then, in my study and reading this morning I found a chart which listed character traits to work with develop in and with your children*.  (As any parent knows or soon will discover, you tend to work on developing a character trait or habit in yourself just as you are seeking to teach your child.)  First on the chart was "alertness: knowing what is going on around me."  OK -- that settled it alert - aware they seemed to be in the same general category.  So, my word for 2012 - Alert.  ("Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  Let all that you do be done with love." I Corinthians. 16:13-14)

Now how exactly does that flesh out in daily life?  What is the definition of alert and how am I do apply that.   To discover this is my self assigned homework for year 2012.  As the year progresses, I'll report what I am learning and how I am being affected.  

* The chart I refer to was compiled by Jill Savage and is found in her book, My Heart's at Home (pp. 94-97).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my family, friends and fellow blog readers!  May your new year be full of happy memories and wonderful experiences for you and all those close to you.