Thursday, March 31, 2011


Awake!  Awake!

The two words that have been on my mind.

Do you ever get the feeling that you have settled into the unholy?  The routine, monotonous way of our culture?  The Idon'tneedtheHolySpirit to help me today because there's nothing big happening?  The I've got no plans today to live life in a way that would warrant the need for help from God or guiding from the Holy Spirit?

There are more questions I have.

I've been wandering where the fruitful labor in my life is?  Not the pat I'm staying home raising my kids making them disciples answer. Important? Yes.  All there is?  No.  Here's the deal.  I am very comfortable staying home raising my kids.  It is in my pulse. A huge part of what I was created to do.  It is a treasure.  A gift.  But.  That still, small voice won't leave me alone.  The still small voice of The Lord God Almighty who keeps whispering I have more if you'd let me in.

So with two hands, palm up, wide open my heart says Yes. Yes please come into my days.  My suburban home.  The life with 3 kids and a mini-van and soccer goals in the back yard Yes.  Please come in.

Several times over that last month the exact same quote has come across my path.  "If your dream is not intimidating to you it is probably insulting to God."

It has been about two weeks since my prayers have turned to an almost desperation cry to The Lord.  Please enter into my days.  Unpry my hands from the things I hold so tightly.  Change my vision.  Help me see.

We had a fire going in the fire pit.  It was a gorgeous Spring Day and we were enjoying the backyard.  Anna!  QUICK!  Get the water hose!  A spark had jumped into the yard and the grass was burning up and it was burning fast.  We put the fire out and I was reminded about a big upcoming event.  The one where fire will test how we've built and the quality of what we built.  It will be shown for what it is.  It will be revealed with fire.  It will be tested with fire.

That has me thinking about the only things last forever.  God.  God's Word.  People.   The souls of men and women.  The Quality Filter.

You want to try something that will totally freak you out and pump you up all at the same time?  Ask The Lord Almighty, God of the Universe to reveal to you today what living your life as a sacrifice to him looks like.  Today.  Right here.  Right now. Every head bowed every eye closed nobody watching.  Just Kiddin.  Really though.  Ask Him.  What needs to change.  What needs added in.  What needs taken out.

When that tiny thought or opportunity pops in your mind you probably will not want to do it.  You may but you may not.  And what if?  What if God On High heard you and spoke back.  Gave you something to do.  An opportunity.  A way to be the hands and feet of Christ in someones life today.  Fruitful Labor in The Name of Jesus.

He hears.

The cry of the broken-hearted and hungry he hears.

He talks back.

Not remaining silent.



Life changing.

The thing that adds color back into the bleakness of an ordinary life.

It is addictive. 

Starting to see God's fingerprints all over that ordinary life you've been living.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Swiffer Or Fly?

Feather Dusters.

A very important topic of discussion.

To Swiffer or Flylady?
The beauty of a feather duster is that your surfaces can be dusted clean in seconds.  You take the Flylady one and shake it outside to clear the dust out.
My Flylady feather duster is a few years old.  I feel like it does a good job.  The really nice thing about the Swiffer version is that you can see the dust on the duster.
Either way you go kids like getting in on the action!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Green and White

This morning as I was washing lettuce for dinner tonight I got to thinking about a trip I took a few weeks ago.  It was a cold, rainy day, much like today.  My friends and I met at Starbucks, got our coffee and headed off to our meetings for the weekend.  Everything was gray, wet and dreary.  It rained and rained.  We had a nice time at our meetings. 
On our way home the next day the sun was out.  A change was very evident.  It seemed overnight the earth had transformed into a sea of green and white.  White blossoms filled the trees.  Green was covering the ground.  Life was visible. 
It is amazing how a rain can cause change.  The washing can be good.  The colorful, vibrance after the rain a joy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

23. wind chimes filling the air

24. asking a 5 year old what floral means and him dropping to the floor to make a carpet angel
25. sunshine streaming onto carpet
26. the reflection of dancing leaves on the floor
27. flecks of dust floating through air
28. white, flower filled trees that look like snow
29. peacefulness of early morning
30. warmth of the fireplace
31. God's Word
32. lamps in early morning
33. coffee and cream
34. my oldest waking early morning to read with his Mama
35. first song of the day being sung from the trees
36. clean sheets, so soft, smell so good

I've been counting.  Counting the gifts in the days.  Looking around with eyes that see.  Hearing sounds I was numb to.  Awaking to God's goodness all around that I was blind too.  Counting to 1000.  1000 blessings.  1000 gifts in the now.

166. Mamaw's Quilt on my bed
167. lazy, cooling whirl of fan
168. soft light entering through blinds turned down

Ingratitude.  The sin that threatens to plague every waking moment of every day.  Discontentment with it all.  Home, work, marriage, wanting to be married, decorations, everything.  Tainted by a heart of discontentment.

170. hot water and soap to wash with
171. bird pecking around for food
172. squirrel flying through air to new tree
173. soft lamb's ear growing in garden
174. climbing jasmine
175. first blade of green grass in sea of straw

Joy.  The gift available if we put on a different pair of glasses to see with. 

1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The little book that found it's way into my hands last Tuesday that I cannot put down.  The little book that My Heavenly Father is using to usher in a new era in this heart.  The beauty of it all.  A dare to live fully, right where you are. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

She Laughed

Today my 5 year old tossed an orange juice cup my way and it turns out the cup was half full.

The juice covered me in a shower.

I laughed.

He laughed.

We all laughed and we laughed hard.

When did I turn this corner? The corner of not stressing over cleaning up another mess and instead having eyes to see the humor of it all?

The beauty of the last 3 weeks is filtering into every area of my life.  We have good food to eat.  My home is not perfect, nor is it perfectly clean, but it is sparkling one area at a time.  My kitchen floor has been sticky for two days, but it is waiting.  It is waiting because I've been working on some other things.  Productive things. 

I'm not spending valuable time on the telephone or computer when I need to be working with my children and around my home.  There is a direction to our days and I see it.  I see it.  There is purpose.  I was wandering aimlessly in a land of chaos.  God is setting my feet on new courses.

Saying No.

Saying no to myself.  No I won't run to Bath and Body Works today because my Wall-flowers are empty.  It will wait until Thursday, and then I will evaluate if that still needs to be a priority.

Saying Yes.

Saying yes to change.  Tonight for example, my husband has asked me to work on taxes.  I thought really long and hard about going out to eat and spending time browsing the rows of Hobby Lobby instead.  The thought of a cold, dark Wednesday night spent in the warmth of a restaurant where I was not the chef nor was I the dish washer.  That was a nice thought.  Wednesday night is when that sounds the best.  Followed by Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday after church.  Oh yes, I'd eat out all the time if we could.  But what about finding a little contentment in the mundane.

What about going home, whipping up some grilled cheese sandwiches made with Sharp Cheddar and going in the office when we're done with our simple dinner.  What about turning on the lamps, lighting a candle, turning on Kari Jobe, inviting my boys to come in to talk with me while I work?  That is the road that leads to fulfillment.

As I sit here my heart is full.  It is full because I made the choice.

The choice to deny myself.

The choice to honor a request my husband asked of me.

The choice to tackle a little paper work even when that is literally the very last thing I'd naturally enjoy doing.

The choice to create beauty in the moment.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cleaning a microwave

Cleaning your microwave tutorial:
  1. Fill a coffee mug half way with water.
  2. Put in in the microwave for 5 minutes.  It will create steam and the microwave will wipe clean very easily.
  3. Take the glass bottom tray out and wash it.  Wipe the inside out.
  4. Shine the front.
  5. This only takes about 8 minutes from start to finish.  Now don't forget to cover your food when you heat it to prevent splatters in the first place.  Or you can buy a round, plastic cover to place on top of dishes.  Ours stays in the microwave at all times.  Under $5 at Wal-Mart.

Today it would be a great idea to give your kitchen floor a good mopping.  These pictures are from last week when I only had about 15 minutes from start to finish.  I chose two things I could quickly do and it made my Kitchen shine.  A clean floor and clean microwave.


You know what else I've been up to?  Throwing clothes away (aka getting ready to Consign and put the rest in a yard sale).  100 things to be exact.  100 empty hangers.  Do you think you could top that?  My clothes and the little boys.  Do you ever reach the point where you are just disgusted at the amount of clothing on the rack when you go to get dressed?  Things are not easily found.  Hangers and clothes are packed tightly in the space.
I love my clothing organization in my closets. It is not a color coded system.  I organize by type.  Here are examples in my closet of my groupings.

  1. Camisoles and tank tops
  2. Nice T-Shirts
  3. Nice long sleeve shirts
  4. Casual T-Shirts
  5. Casual long sleeve t-shirts and sweat shirts
  6. Dress Shirts (for work and church)
  7. Pants/Capris/Leggings
  8. Dresses
This is nice because take today for example,  it is fuh-reezing.  I need long pants and a long shirt.  Tomorrow however it may be exotically hot and I may need a cute short sleeve shirt.  Very easy and quick to put an outfit together.

I hope you are taking care of your home and getting things cleaned, thrown away and put away.  Spring is just around the corner.  Daylight savings is SUNDAY thankyoudearLORD!  Work hard and enjoy the fruit of your labor-a home that can breathe!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Consistency Not Perfection

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
— Aristotle
Do you know what you want?

Do you know where you are heading?

Do you have a dream?

A Big One?

This weekend I was reminded again that if your dream is not intimidating to you it is probably insulting to God.

The road to reach your goal happens with consistency, not perfection.

Look around and think about it.

A little here and a little there every single day is the way to reach your goal.
Today is Laundry Day.  Get the loads going and caught up.  Go fast.
Fold and put away right away.
4:00pm is the cut-off time to be done.
There is an ending point.
While you are in the Laundry Room wipe something down right quick.
Give the floor a quick sweep.
Do something little to freshen it up each time you walk in.
Are you liking the house talks we've been having?

I want to make sure, because if it is uninteresting we can talk about other important things like Big Texas Hair.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday, Saturday & Sunday


Saturday is GARDENING DAY.

Sunday is THE LORD'S DAY.

  • wash everyone's sheets
  • quickly clean the house.  This can be done under 1 hour using Flylady's method.
  • 10 minutes feather dust
  • 10 minutes sweep/mop
  • 10 minutes, aww heck I forget, her website is (heh heh heh, can you tell I am in a hurry but did not want to leave you hanging)
  • use this day for yard work if you have it
  • clean out your car
  • straighten the garage
  • work on projects
  • plan and prepare what you will eat tomorrow
  • church and rest!
  • take a day off from cooking, cleaning and laundry.  There is blessing in taking a day off to focus more on God.  If you have never practiced this I encourage you to start this Sunday.  In the Old Testament God told His people over and over, plan ahead or deny yourself.  This is a good discipline for you and it is a good discipline for your children.  At our house, Sunday looks decidedly different than the rest of the week.  No chores, no video games, no computer, no laundry, no soup for you.  This is not to be legalistic but it is to put boundaries on the things that tend to crowd out fellowship with God and each other.  If our Heavenly Father took 6 days to work hard and rested on the 7th we would be wise to follow his example.
See you back here on Monday and we'll chat some more.  Remember, as you baby step your way to the home you love and creating a life that pleases and honors the Lord, take it one day at a timeConsistency is the key to successKeep doing the right things each day and order will come.  And with order comes peace, joy and life!

Town Day

Thursday is errand day but if you are like me, Town Day sounds so much more fun.  I am using the system Kim lays out in her book, Large Family Logistics.  Typically I wait for a time when Shane is home so I can shop by myself.  Shopping with all three little boys in tow is something I usually like to avoid.  The reason I am following this new routine is so that more time can be freed up to spend as a family when Shane is home.  It is a little more work on my part, but it is rewarding and in the process I am using the opportunity to teach my children.

It takes training to lay out the behavior expectations and it takes consistency to follow through on unruly behavior in the stores, when you get home.  Here is the kicker though:  If you want well behaved children in stores and public you have to take them out and teach them how to act.

Before we went to the Post Office and the grocery store I sat all three boys down on the couch.  We talked about what was expected of them in each place.

  • At the post office there will be no running or talking loud.  We will all get out of the bus on the same side (Mommy's side).  Big boys, you will hold hands and I will hold the babies  hand.
  • Once inside we will hold the door open for anyone coming or going.
  • Smile at people when you see them and say Hello.
  • Stay quietly by my side.
  • Anyone who does not obey the rules will answer to Daddy when he gets home.
We loaded up and headed to the post office.  Before we got out of the bus we reviewed the rules.  Hold hands, talk quietly, stay by Mommy the entire time.  They did great.  This may take some training.  Consistency is the key to success.

We headed to the grocery store.  Before we got out of the car I reviewed the store rules that we talked about on the couch before we left the house.  We are parking by the buggy corral.  Baby, you will sit on your bottom up front by Mommy.  You may not get up or unbuckle.  Big boys, you will walk beside Mommy in the parking lot, each with a hand on the buggy.  In the store there will be no running, yelling or asking for things.  We have a list and that is what we are buying today.

Once again, the boys did beautifully.  I tell you this because I think laying out very clear expectations before leaving and reminding them before we got out of the car each time was helpful.  They knew what I expected and they knew there would be a consequence when we got home for disobedience.

The reward for good behavior:  Well, besides a job well done they asked if we could play Uno when we got home.  Yes we can!  The laundry was done, the food was purchased for the following week, I knew that tomorrow would be cleaning and sheet washing day, so with my week being laid out it freed me up to sit and enjoy my children.  Even though they BOTH beat me it was really fun.

I hope this is helpful.  It was very freeing to have all my errands planned for Town Day.  It helped me actually get them done and not procrastinate.  Thursday morning is Town Day.  We'll make it a fun time in our week.  The morning we get out the door and get out of the house.  Hallelujer, we get to see people today!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Office Day

Welcome to Wednesday which is code for Office Day.  Today is a day for you to organize and plan your menu for the week.  I went to a class a couple of weeks ago and this little menu planning tool is the biggest thing I took off and ran with.  Such a simple little change in how I did my grocery list has made a huge impact on my planning and cooking.  In the olden days, you know, about 5 weeks ago, I was making a grocery list and after the store it stayed crumpled in my purse.  Then when it came time to cook I had no idea what I had meal ingredients for.

This is a very high tech system so please pay attention.  Take a piece of paper, a ruler (if you are OCD) and a crayon or pencil.  Draw a line down the center of the paper.  Divide the left side into 6 squares.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sat/Sun.  Get your calender.  Look at your week.  If you have plans Tuesday night write it on the bottom of Tuesdays square.  Do this for each evening activity you have.  Next, write in the dinner's you want for each night.  Use the right side of the page to list your things you need from the store.
When you get home from the store, hang your menu on the side of your fridge.  Now you know what you have the fixin's for.  I have found that we mix it up.  I may feel like Pizza Spaghetti Casserole and Salad on Thursday instead of Friday.  That's OK.  The Menu Nazi's will not show up at your door.

Keep a running Wal-Mart list on the fridge so you can quickly jot down what you need to get.  Keep the next week's blank menu behind this week's so if you run out of a staple like sugar you can jot it down.

Menu planning is the biggest thing to do today as you start out.  We'll talk about more things to do in Office Day next week.  (a little sneak peak: Thursday is errand day, the day to go to the grocery store for the week)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kitchen Day

Hello Lovely Ladies, Welcome to Kitchen Day.  This is Day 2 of me sharing with you the new routine and systems that I am trying out for the next couple of weeks.  So far the hard work has paid off and we are enjoying the blessing of spending more time together as a family.  We've had time for conversation.  More time for rest which comes at a good time since I am under the weather right now.

So, what is Kitchen Day you ask?  Kitchen Day is a day when you spend extra time in your Kitchen.  The heart of your home.  The place where you find yourself 21 times a week plus snacks.  Or 1, 095 times a year plus snacks.  Kitchen Day is a planned day where you can spend extra time baking, preparing meats for dishes later in the week/month, cleaning out a cupboard, cleaning out a drawer, getting things organized.

I spent my very first kitchen day roasting chicken.  Line your pan with foil (you will thank me and feel like giving me a big old hug if this is new to you).  No scrubbing.  Personally I put my cookie sheet in the dishwasher versus hand washing when I am done because I firmly feel this is what the Proverbs 31 Woman would have done.

(a sidenote about a package of fresh chicken: I used to divide it up when I got home from the grocery store in packages, think foil or Ziploc bags, of 2...HOWEVER, since my roasting chicken day was so successful now I will just toss the entire package into the freezer and roast it all on Kitchen Day)

Preheat your oven to 375.  Line your pan with foil.  Lay chicken in a single layer, top with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Salt and Pepper generously.  Bake (or say Roast because it makes you sound like the Gourmet Cook that you are) for 40 minutes.  Take out of oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.  This allows the chicken to cool and it lets the juices redistribute. Very Food Networky of us isn't it?
OK so we already talked about preheating the oven to 375.  Always preheat your oven.  I don't know why.  Good cooks tell me to do it so now I'm telling you, it'll help you get in touch with The Gourmet Cook within.

Chop up the chicken and place in bags with the amount written on the bag.  I added 1 1/2 cups to this bag and popped in the freezer.  When we made a Chicken Pot Pie last week my chicken was cooked and ready.  Look at my sweet little helper.  He loved the Roast Chicken.  Would you take a look at those chubby little hands, love that.  You could have chicken prepared for Chicken Chili, Mexican Chicken, Quesadillas, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Spaghetti...just to throw a few ideas out there.
You can also use Kitchen Day to do a little extra deep cleaning in the kitchen area while you wait for things to bake.  Plan your most labor intensive, time consuming recipe for the week on this day.

(another side note: do you have disposable kitchen gloves?  you can buy 1,000 at Sam's Club for under  $5.00.  they are so nice to have on hand in the kitchen when you are preparing food)