Monday, March 24, 2014

Happiness Is... Another Grandie

I did not post last week. It was one of those weeks. You know the kind where you finally get to sit down to catch your breath and notice there are 423 messages in your inbox? Where did the week go? Busier more than normal. But amidst the hustle and bustle of an overloaded week, came an overwhelming joy. One with two tiny feet and an adorable little face that made this Grandma's heart melt.

With a happy heart full of giddiness, I would like to introduce you to: Little Miss Emma Jane

God has blessed us with another Grandie! Yippee Skippee! Another girl!

The let the Tea Parties  begin!

So Blessed!

Before you were born

I knew I loved you.

I prayed for you too, before you were born.

And when you were born,

One look at your little face and I knew you were a blessed child.

I love you, Grandpa loves you too.

Your Daddy loves you, your mommy loves you.

And most of all… God loves you!

Some might call you lucky,

But I call you blessed… so blessed!

 A new baby brings so much happiness. And a new baby can cause a heart to reflect. Just sit, looking at that little tiny human and think. I caught her Mama doing that today. This brand new little life. So new. So fresh. So fragile. I pray for her when I hold her. I talk to her about loving God. Even though she is only 5 days old. I pray someday she will understand His love. Her need. His forgiveness and salvation. And how blessed she is.
What a blessing to be able to show Christ to these little girls God has given us. I can't wait to see what He has planned for them! It's going to be great and I want a front row seat! Blessed, indeed.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Please, Pinterest Responsibly

Please, Pinterest Responsibly

Pinterest. Need I say more? The word alone causes my heart to flutter. So many ideas. So many things I want to do or make. Good things. Things for my family.  Things for me. Gift ideas. I’m struck with Pinterest-fever. I love Pinterest. It feels like my calling in life. Soul food.
But Pinterest is bad for me, in a way. The problem is not actually Pinterest. The problem is me. I have difficulty staying on Pinterest longer than I should. I have trouble getting caught up in ideas. Things to make… bake…craft… cook… decorate… do….ideas…ideas…ideas. Ahhhh! My mind and time become consumed with all the ideas I want to pursue.
When my mind is consumed with other things, there is no room for thoughts of God. No time to meditate on His word. And truth be told, the more I allow my mind and heart to be satisfied with Pins, the less I desire God’s word in my life. When my soul feeds on the deliciousness of each Pin, my hunger for God seems to sink into the shadows.
As a child of God, my mind should be first consumed with following Christ rather than the latest and greatest boards on Pinterest. My soul should seek to delight in God. My mind should first look for ways He wants me to serve my husband and family each day rather than focusing on what new idea I can find. I should be using my time to build my faith and my home instead of building my Boards.
Ideas come and go, no matter how awesome they are. But the word of God stands forever. It has life giving power, truth and living water. It shows me how to live a godly life. I need to start there, in scripture and prayer each day and save my Pinterest-ing for the extra moments that may or may not come available.
Every time I Pinterest I loose all track of time and end up wasting time or neglecting things I am supposed to do. Before I know it, the day is gone and I have not accomplished much around my home. You too?
We need a “Pinterest Responsibly” campaign to remind us of our real calling in life. Without a clear view and reminders of our calling as wives and moms, we are likely to become women with much awesomeness on our Pin Boards but ineffective in our homes and faith.
5 Ways To Pinterest Responsibly
1. Allow yourself no Pinterest-ing until you have read your bible and prayed each day. Period.
2. Set a timer before you sit down to Pinterest. Don’t let it eat up your day.
3. Have a board full of home organization tips? Gift ideas? Workouts? Cleaning tips?  Implement one each week. (Give yourself a deadline, no Pinterest-ing until it is done.)
4. Choose 3 daily chores you love to avoid. Pinterest-ing is your sweet reward for work well done.
5. Create a board of Bible study and faith walk tips. Choose one and follow it through. When you’re through it, choose another and do it again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Obstacles to a Clean Home & How to Overcome Them

Welcome back! This week we're finishing our Women Living Well book club. We read chapters  19-20 & the conclusion. These 3 chapters inspired a bit of spring fever in me to tackle some dark corners of my house. But it seems there are so many reasons why I avoid doing this!  I hope this inspires you to join me in a bit of fresh spring cleaning around your house!

5 Obstacles to a Clean Home and How to Overcome Them

1950’s housewife had long hard days. She didn’t throw her laundry in the machine, set it to large load and go on with other chores. She didn’t throw the clothing into the dryer on permanent press cycle. She didn’t load the dishwasher after dinner. No, house work used to be a full contact sport and we, my friends, have it easy now.

But we tend to whine when the floors need vacuumed. Or feel like a martyr when no one has clean clothes left and we are forced to do the laundry. We put off doing dishes until they have taken over the kitchen, and we wait as long as possible to clean the bathroom – if we ever get to it! 

Why do we do this? We are blessed women. We have so many things that make house work easier. Yet we still try to avoid it. I’m not saying a house needs to be kept spotless, that is not a reality. But I do think it is our job to keep it neat and clean. Make it a place that is nice and comfortable to live in. Make it a home.

How do you care for your home? Do you clean a bit every day or let it build up until your family is leaving you notes in the dust? Do you keep up with the laundry or avoid it until there is no clean underwear in the house? Do you clean with a thankful heart or grumble and complain each time?

It often seems like I don’t have time to keep up with house chores. I do believe some women have packed their lives way too full and this possibly is true. But, for the rest of us, I think this is merely an excuse. Let’s be honest. We have time to Pinterest. Time to Facebook. Time to watch Downtown Abbey. I’m guilty right here with you, dear. I have time, you have time. Yes, we do indeed have time; we just choose to use it in other ways.

What is our problem? Why don’t we just do the work that needs to be done? It’s not a good feeling having chores hanging over our heads, knowing that they are getting bigger each day while we ignore them. We really do want a neat home. We do enjoy a clean kitchen without dirty dishes piled high. We like the feeling of all the laundry done and put away. And showering in a clean shower – so much more relaxing than lathering up in a grimy one! So why don’t we just do it?

5 Obstacles to A Clean Home & How to Overcome Them

1. Time.  You may not have an hour or two to clean up the house, neither do I.  I have minutes in my day, but I don’t have an extra hour or more to give up.  So I have to use the time I do have. Have 10 minutes before going to work? Tackle the dishes in the sink. 15 min before an appointment? Empty the dishwasher. Or throw a load in the washer. Or fold a load of clothes. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal each morning. Then use those 10 min to clean the toilet, sink and mirror. There are many tasks that take only minutes. Using your minutes gets the task be done and off the list for today! Ta-Da! What a good feeling!

2. Schedule.   Without a schedule, things can get pretty cruddy before I even notice and then the chore requires a lot of elbow grease to come clean. I don’t like to use elbow grease. I’m a wimp. And I don’t want to chisel away at the soap scum in the shower for 45 minutes. I want to be done in 10, so I clean my shower and tub every Friday night before I hop out of the shower. It takes me less than 10 minutes, its easy to clean because nothing has built up and my shower always looks clean. I don’t loathe cleaning the shower anymore. Creating a schedule for your home will help you stay ahead of housework and get it done while it is still in the easy-to-handle phase. There are many books and blogs out there that have excellent ideas. When I was 12, I read “Sidetracked Home Executives” and put my sister-in-law’s house on a card file schedule for cleaning. I learned so much from that book and how daily maintenance can keep chores from piling up, which makes less work. Work smart, not hard. Oh, ya!

3. Organization. An unorganized and over-stuffed house can leave me feeling overwhelmed. I don’t even know where to start and it is easier to close the door and walk away. “Everything in its place” is a good rule of thumb to keep your house clutter free. But first everything needs a place. Clean out your overstuffed closets, crooks and crannies. (A project that looms ahead of me this year.) Create a place for each item. Get rid of the things you don’t have room for or you no longer need. If this idea has you breaking out in hives, hire someone to come in or enlist a friend to help. You can do it- start with one step at a time and keep going.

4. Priorities. Truth be told, many times we just put many other things above caring for our home. Our homes should be a priority. Not the priority, but a priority. There are lots of other things you do each day that are more important, but don’t forget to put your home in there with your priorities.  I have to write “vacuum” or “bathrooms” on my to-do list or those tasks get lost in the sea of other things that need my attention. A perfect, spotless home is not the goal, but a neat clean one is. It won’t stay that way with a family living in it, but by using your little bits of time – 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 5 minutes or so- you will be able to keep up on the mess.

5. Family. Our families can make it difficult to keep a home neat. Mud tracked in… school papers on the counter…coats on the couch…dirty dishes left on the coffee table… Enlist their help in your goal to have a neat home. Teaching your kids to be neat is a good character quality that will help them long into adulthood. Have a total toy pick up before lunch, supper and bed. Teach them to put things away. Teach them to help with household chores and the importance of caring for their home. A 4 year old can match socks out of the dryer and put them on the beds in the right rooms. A 2 year old can put the silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer. A 6 year old can wash bathroom counters and sweep the floor. Look for ways to involve your kids. They will acquire valuable skills and develop a work ethic they will use the rest of their lives.

With spring approaching (It is going to show up, isn’t it?) and the newness to life brings, now is a good time to give your home a makeover to match that fresh spring air.  What tips and tricks do you use to help you stay on track with your home? I’d love to hear your ideas – leave a comment!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Making Your Home A Haven

Welcome back! We are almost finished with our book club. We have been reading Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.

This week we read 3 great chapters (16-18) on homemaking, but for lack of time I am just going to key on the one topic that is near and dear to my heart. Making your home a haven. One of the most important aspects of your role as wife & mom is the responsibility to set the atmosphere in your home. Making your home a special place for your family. A place they love to be.

What makes your home a haven? The answer to that question will be different from mine. No two families are exactly the same. And it may change with different seasons and stages of your family life.

When our boys were little, making our home a haven meant allowing it to be a place where they could kick a soccer ball, wrestle with their dad, run and even ride small tricycles (yes- in the house!). I kept breakables packed away, d├ęcor to a minimum, and understood it was a time in our lives for those 2 little rambunctious boys to be boys.

As our kids grew, it meant having space, things to do (swimming pool, trampoline, pool table…) and lots of food for them and their friends to enjoy. It meant not minding the noise and mess of a dozen middle school boys or giggling little girls running through the house and yard.

Now, with my kids all grown, making my home a haven is where my husband gets a back rub after a long day, grandies can come over and be spoiled, and we can gather for family dinners.

What is important to your family? Peace and quiet? Social gatherings with lots of food? Space to develop hobbies? Make your home a place where they love to be and feel free to explore interests. A place where they know they belong, where they can share their struggles and receive godly advice.

You, as the mom, play such an important role in this. Your personal mood sets the tone each day. Are you fun to be around or grumpy much of the time? Are you encouraging or critical? Involved in their lives or distracted with your own? Stressed out or relaxed?

It’s so easy to get so engulfed in life and forget that one of the most important things we can do is create a loving, happy environment for our kids to grow in.

Watch yourself for a week. What does your family see? Are there areas can you improve? How can you be more encouraging? More fun? More involved? More relaxed? Make a plan, and begin to grow these qualities in your heart. Be a blessing.