Monthly Archives: July 2012

The ABC’s of Contentment at Home

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I live in a modest home with a very small yard.  From time to time, I suffer with discontent when I visit the homes of my friends and family.  There are some strategies I have found to keep me content when jealousy surfaces. Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

A-Appreciate your home. Because we live in such an affluent society, we often forget how blessed we are to live in a home in a safe neighborhood in a free country.  In my teens I went on a missions trip to Jamaica; the homes there were made of corrugated tin and cardboard.  Most of them were one room without running water.  When I lived in Russia during college, my friends lived far away from their parents in small dorm rooms. In place of refrigerators, many students hung baskets out the window to keep cold foods fresh. Many families are losing their homes to foreclosure in this difficult economy.  It is so important to thank God for the home we live in.

B-Bless your home. When we appreciate our homes, they can be a place of blessing.  One way to bless your home is to pray in each room and anoint the rooms with oil.  My husband and I did this one year after cleaning out some junk. We wanted to purify our home and our lives. While our church was under renovation after a fire, I hosted Bible Study at our home on Saturday mornings.  This was a sure way to make sure the house was tidied!  My husband commented that this brought a peaceful spirit to our home as well.  Pray that you can find a way for your home to be a blessing.

C-Clean your home.  When I don’t value my home and become discontent, I also become lazy.  It is important to keep a clean home to show good stewardship of what God has provided.  A routine is very helpful.  My mother has always done laundry on Mondays and ironing on Tuesday.  I follow the Flylady online.  The cleaning reminders there break down tasks into easy-to-do fifteen-minute segments.  It is important for the family to join in as well.  For too long I’ve shouldered the burden of the work.  Now that my children are teenagers, I need to reinforce some cleaning basics.

D-Declutter your home.  Although I keep up with laundry and dishes and vacuuming so that my home is clean, my home gets cluttered so easily as we run from activity to activity, dumping stuff in the foyer as we come in.  Sweatshirts get hung up over the banister, shoes are piled in the entryway, and papers and books are piled on the dining room table.  The bottom line is that we have too much stuff.  The easiest way to get rid of this clutter is throw way, put away and give away.  I just gave away two trash bags of clothing that my daughter has outgrown.  Once I put them in the bags, the bags sat there for about a week, so I had to get them out the door. Get rid of things that you don’t need so that your home feels more spacious and welcoming.

E-Embellish your home.  Once your home is clean and tidy, it is time to embellish it.  If you do not feel gifted in this area, enlist a friend.  There are many ways to make a home warm and welcoming.  I like to take pictures and hang them on the wall.  Some people set a beautiful table or display collections.  My missionary friend spent her furlough in a rented basement apartment.  She decorated it beautifully so that her family felt at home while they were away from the mission field.  There are many places to find inexpensive furnishing and embellishments.  A great way to freshen up your home is to put up a new coat of paint.

Proverbs 24: 3& 4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Ask God to help you make your home a cozy retreat, regardless of its location or size.

Progress Check

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I have been away from the blog for a few weeks as I got caught up in the busy summer. My children are both attending camps this week; My brother and wife welcomed a new baby last week, and family visited from out-of-state.  Now I am back to the blog and I want to take stock of my REACH goals.  This summer I am not working outside of the home, and I am focusing on my REACH lifestyle.  My RELATIONSHIP with God is going strong; I enjoy waking up each morning and having quiet time to read and pray.  During the summer I have more free time to connect with my FAMILY. Since my husband works nights, we have tried to spend more quality time together before he leaves for work.  My in-laws and parents have visited from out-of-state, and we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  I hope to spend more time with friends before the summer is over.  I start each day with EXERCISE; i love to walk in the beautiful summer mornings.  The biggest ADJUSTMENT I am making this summer is I am trying to do less and take time to rest and recharge.  I am glad that I am able to express my CREATIVITY with the writing that I have done this summer. I already have one article selected for publication, but I know I can do more if I stay diligent.  Keeping up with the blog is one facet of my creativity.  Finally, HOME MANAGEMENT is one of my biggest areas of struggle.  Since we are home more during the summer, it seems that there is much more housework to do!  I was hoping to use this big chunk of time to do some major projects, like cleaning out the closets. I did make progress in the dining room, getting rid of stacks of paper and books on the table.  I shredded about 10 grocery bags of old bills and paper work, but I need to resume my decluttering.  So, don’t let the summer pass you by.  Use this time to make and meet goals that will help you to REACH for excellence.

The Write Stuff

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I have had a wonderful day! I went for a walk with my friends around a beautiful, peaceful bog in the country.  I was able to relax much of the day and pursue various tasks that I needed around the house–recycling, dishes, laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, etc. To my delight and surprise while checking my emails I found out my first article was accepted by LIVE magazine!!! Look for it in October 2012.  The title is “Forty-fy Your Life”.  In the article, I reflect on turning forty and the many areas of our life that may need a tune-up.  A topic very important to me is education, and I hope to get together a focus group of my friends to discuss the benefits of public, private, and home schooling that I hope will become my next article.  My daughter and husband also have superstar status as they both will be in the musical West Side Story this summer. Stay tuned for more details!

Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Fourth of July! We started out with a rainy morning, so my husband did not walk in the parade as planned. He was going to support a local political candidate.  Things brightened up, and we had a small but festive lunch of hamburgers, potato salad, chips with guacamole, and watermelon. My daughter decorated a chocolate cake I baked, and then it was time for my husband to go to work. The kids and I had some time to relax; I spent the afternoon cleaning, and now we are headed to a friend’s house for some dessert before we go to the fireworks. Despite the many problems in our country, I am still proud to be an American!  Hope you will celebrate with family or friends.

All Bundled Up

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Last week I didn’t get a chance to post because I was busy with Vacation Bible School (VBS).  It was the first time our church had a VBS, and it was especially meaningful as it was our first opportunity for community out reach after the church fire 3 years ago. We ended up with 76 different children attending; it was wonderful to see the church family work together using their gifts! Now I am back to my summer projects. After reading my blog, a friend told me she didn’t know that I never had had a pedicure.  Another fun fact about me is that I don’t have a cell phone! I tell my students at school that I have no life–I am either at home or at work.  I can reach the kids when they are out. Anyway, when I paid my cable bill, the woman noticed that I have my land line with another provider, so I was able to bundle my services and save money.  For the same price I get more TV stations and phone.  My son was excited to get NBA tv.  Now my husband has to set up the phone with the kit I brought home.  So, I am saving money, and if I sell enough articles this summer I am going to treat myself to an iphone. I’ll keep you posted.