Category Archives: Home Management

Let it Snow!

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Recently we have had two snowstorms which interrupted our schedule. My Christmas vacation was extended 2 days due to a storm, then last week we had another storm with blizzard-like conditions. It is very cold, so the snowfall has stayed on the ground. The cold snap continues for a week or so. I finally figured out how to load my pictures from my iphone to the computer, so I’m able to add them to the post. I intended to write a post the day of the storm, but my lack of technical knowledge set me back.

our home Jan 2014

living roomShoveling out

 

Ok, so I didn’t upload the pictures perfectly, but here are views of our snowed-in home and the shovel and broom we used to remove the snow so we could walk the dog. The third photo is of the snowmen indoors. I’ve collected snowmen for a while and most of them are gifts. I like displaying snowmen so that the display can stay out for a while instead of taking it down right after the Christmas season. I always try to put up the tree Thanksgiving weekend and take it down during school vacation. Otherwise, it would stay up year round! The paintings above the snowmen are ones I created. I hope to have more time for creativity this year as part of my goals. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of the time during the snow days to focus on art; I did get housework and correcting done. We may have some more snow headed our way, but only a few inches. Stay warm and cozy! Our family has a busy week ahead as there are finals at school and Jeremy has four basketball games this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions

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As you can infer from my previous post, I enjoy this time of year as I take stock of the previous year and anticipate the one to come. I have almost always made new year’s resolutions, and this year is no exception.  I recently listened to a teleseminar by Donna Partow and used some of that goal-setting time to finalize some areas that I would like to develop this year.

1. Writing—I am returning to blogging and I am planning to complete 1000 posts.  From what I’ve read, that is about the number of posts it takes to have a strong online presence and build a platform.  In addition, I want to start writing a devotional book. This will take about 2 years as I plan to cull my quiet time journals for the various selections.  I also hope to write an e-book on prayer. Now I’ve made it public, so that gives me more encouragement to stick with it.

2. Career –When I return to work as an English teacher in January, I have some new leadership responsibilities as our school system begins to implement the educator evaluation system established by the federal government. In addition, I will have a student teacher under my supervision. As I anticipate receiving my professional license this year, I am looking ahead, and wondering if I should pursue an administrative license. This is something I am praying about, as my full-time work really becomes a ministry.

3. HOME –I am still working on home management and I continue to follow the Flylady system. We have been in our home almost fifteen years, so at this point in addition to decluttering, some remodeling needs to take place. With our busy schedule, things pile up quickly if I don’t maintain order.

4. Finances—With my husband in school, our budget is strained, and this year I want to pay off some debts as we will be needing a newer vehicle.  It seems this area is a constant battle for me. However, God has been so faithful to provide for all our needs and many of our wants as well. The discipline of keeping a budget makes me disciplined in other areas as well, and I have seen my children become content.

5. Creativity— I have stacks of art magazines and supplies stacked up without finished products to show for it. So, as my “reward” for meeting my writing goals, I am going to give myself permission to work on my art.  If I don’t develop my creativity by completing a few specific projects, I will give or throw away my magazines and art supplies on July 31, 2014, freeing up time, space, and mental energy to pursue something else.

I didn’t include my spiritual disciplines or exercise on my list because these two items are part of my every day routine. When I wake up, I walk the dog, make some coffee, and have my devotions before I start the day. In the afternoon I take a walk or go to the Y.

The verse I chose for the year is “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of SELF-DISCIPLINE.” 2 Timothy 1:7

 

R.E.A.C.H. Your Potential in Christ

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As a busy Christian woman, I juggle many priorities.  I am a wife, mother of teenagers, a teacher, a writer, and friend.  As I manage my busy days, I have to keep my values in mind so that I am not sidetracked from the ministries God has for me.  The book of Philippians has always been meaningful to me, and for my years my guiding verse has been Philippians 3:12-14, “I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” (NCV)

I have used the word R.E.A.C.H. as an acronym to prioritize my busy life.  The areas I try to cultivate daily are Relationships, Exercise, Adjustment, Creativity, and Home Management.  I believe these areas have great value for everyone.

R-Relationships.  The most important relationship in my life must be with God.  I am so grateful that my parents modeled a godly life for me.  The most consistent memory I have of my mother is of waking up and walking through the living room to see her on the couch with her Bible and prayer list, meeting with the Lord for daily morning devotions.  This is a habit I cultivate in my life today.  Jesus is my faithful friend, and I spend time in prayer and Bible reading daily.  The next relationship is my marriage.  My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years and we have to continue to develop ways to connect.  He works nights and weekends, and I get up at five a.m. and work during the day, so sometimes our communication gets weak. We need to prioritize time together as a couple. Finally, my relationships extend to friends and family.  God has blessed me with a variety of women of all ages and walks of life.  While I have friendships with women at work and in the community, my closest friendships must be with Christian women who encourage me to live for Christ.

E-Exercise.  It is important for everyone to exercise and eat right to keep up with the demands of a busy schedule.  The Bible tells us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) I believe walking is the best exercise for everyone.  It is free, low-impact and can be done anywhere. I love exercise because it helps me to release stress after working with teenagers all day. It improves mood and helps to manage weight.  It sets a great example for our children to have healthy habits.

A-Adjustment.  Every day we need to adjust to situations that arise.  Some adjustments are short-term.  Paul reminds us in our theme verse to forget the past and strain toward what is ahead.   Daily confessing my sin helps me to start fresh each day.  If I have spoken harshly to my husband, was sloppy in my housework, or too tired to exercise, I can confess my shortcoming and move on.  God’s word says, “his compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:23) Other adjustments are long term.  Grief from the loss of a loved one, recovery from surgery, a long separation followed by divorce, a change caused by a new job or school year require an extra measure of God’s grace as we move and learn through a difficult season. During these seasons, the routine of Bible study, prayer, and exercise coupled with the support of friends and family help us to cope.

C-Creativity.  God himself is a creator, and I believe we are like Christ when we express ourselves creatively.  I encourage you to take the time you do have to express your God-given talent.  Some ladies are beautiful homemakers, creating a warm and beautiful haven. Others are wonderful cooks.  My mother cross-stitches baby and wedding samplers for the family to celebrate each life.  My grandmother has sewn clothing for herself and her family.  My son loves to play guitar, and my daughter sings.  In Exodus, the Lord told Moses to appoint Bezalel and Oholiab to create the Tent of Meeting. “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” (Exodus 31: 3)  Like these men, we can use our creativity not only to express ourselves, but to bless others and to glorify God.

H-Home Management.  Home management is an area where I struggle the most.  I blame my creativity for the piles of stuff and unfinished projects that I have lying around.  However, I know I need to be a good steward of the home and resources that I have.  We are all familiar with the Biblical standard of the housewife found in Proverbs 31: 27, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” The best solution I have for clutter is to get rid of stuff.  Now that my children are teenagers, they no longer use the toys they have accumulated over the years.  They spend their time and money on activities and sports, clothing and electronics.  However, their old stuffed animals and toys still take up room in the closets and floors of our home.  When our homes are cluttered, our effectiveness is stalled. I have lost many bills and important papers because I pile them instead of filing them.  There are many important resources to help us manage our homes.  I am following the Fly Lady and using her systems to get my home straightened.  Again, when our homes are a beautiful oasis we can invite others to visit and bless them with hospitality, showing them God’s love.

REACH-ing my potential in Christ is a daily effort, but I believe it helps me to focus my priorities and serve the Lord most effectively.  I hope that you can adopt these principles in your life.

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.