Today is Monday the 1st Day of December 2014. Each Monday launch your week by quickly putting your home back into order after the weekend.

Bears on TreeToday is Monday the 1st Day of December 2014. Each Monday launch your week by quickly putting your home back into order after the weekend. Each Monday, clean your toilets and while you are in the bathroom(s) to clean the toilet check to see if you have all the cleaning, paper, and personal supplies you need. If you shake a bottle to see if it has anything in it and it doesn’t, quickly put it into the waste basket.

Area of Focus

The Area of Focus from the 1st to the 7th is the Living Room/Family Room. Today look high to see if there are any cobwebs lurking in the corners. Are your ceiling fans clean? In the winter the blades should rotate in a clockwise direction to bring the warm air down. There is a button on the side of the housing to change the direction the blades rotate—counter clockwise in warm weather, clockwise in colder weather.

We have been REALLY busy the past several days since picking up my daughter Our tree topper 2014and her family from the airport. My dishwasher and washer and dryer have been in constant use. I realized that when my family was home I kept the laundry going all the time. This week there have been seven people including two little ones in our home and so my memory has been refreshed about the challenges I faced when my children were growing up. Bottom line—a little done constantly is better than major campaigns to clean and organize sporadically.  Keep the dishwasher emptied of clean dishes and put the dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher. Keep the laundry moving—each time you have a load, start that load.

Making your bed makes a huge difference not only in your bedroom but in your entire house. An unmade bed tells you it doesn’t make any difference if you drop your clothes on the floor, leave trash in the room, and allow all the flat surfaces to become cluttered. The clutter somehow spreads out throughout your home. You feel that small things don’t make any difference—but they do. A made bed makes you want to keep the entire room cleaner and more orderly. The same is true of keeping the kitchen sink and counters empty of dirty dishes. If those dishes go directly into the dishwasher the kitchen stays cleaner. Another important element is the example you set for your children. Developing the disciplines involved in keeping a clean room and helping to keep a clean home will affect them in other areas of their lives—it’s developing self-discipline and the adults need to set the example. The older children set the example for the younger children, also. This attitude of letting everything slide is affecting our entire society. If you don’t already, begin to hold yourself accountable and set a standard of excellence—not perfection, excellence.

Yes, I cut off the top of the tree in the picture but I make no claims to being a photographer.
Yes, I cut off the top of the tree in the picture but I make no claims to being a photographer.

We celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving  as well as Nicholas’ 4th birthday which is coming up in a few weeks. Believe me it has been a flurry of activity. As I watched our littlest grandchildren getting gifts it occurs to me that we need to teach them to both receive and give. Thank you notes are important for them to learn to express appreciation for gifts and acts of kindness. Giving to those who have less should be built into their souls. If nothing else, clearing out their toys, clothes and other things and donating them to make room for what will be coming in is a good idea. But even further, even those of us who don’t have a lot can usually find someone who has less and share what we have. God doesn’t intend for the government to take care of our neighbors, He wants us to care for people in need. Neighbor helping neighbor is better than any government program ever created. We are able to learn each other’s needs and meet them one to one.

Please be thinking about the meaning of Christmas and don’t get caught up in just shopping and decorating. My heart breaks as I see the loss of value happening in our society. Often:

  • We don’t worship God and seek to lead lives pleasing to Him.
  • We don’t respect ourselves and our God created bodies. We misuse drugs, alcohol and the intimate relationship that God gave us to celebrate within marriage.
  • We don’t value our spouse and our marriages.
  • We don’t value our children.
  • We don’t respect and care for our parents as they age.

Fireplace with Christmas swagOur God is ourselves and we have idols on sports teams, television and movies. Gossip is accepted as the norm.  Take time to think about not just today but eternity. What legacy are you passing on to your family. Is it a tradition of being first in line for the best deals on Thanksgiving Day or is it sharing being truly thankful for the many ways we are blessed.

God put on skin and came down and lived as a person. He experienced pain, loss, rejection, and other suffering even to allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross—a humiliating and excruciating death for the Son of God who is God with skin on. I don’t mean to start the week on a down note but I am asking you to consider your life and the lives of your family in light of eternity and to have a heart to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us—Himself and forgiveness for the ways we have missed the mark, fallen short, and failed to do the good we ought to do. As we celebrate His entry into this world, please consider the greatest Gift.

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Does your To Do List need to be refreshed after this past holiday? Pace yourself between now and Christmas.

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The Rhythm of This Week for Me

IMG_0003I  am so excited to begin this week. You dread it? It doesn’t have to be that way. I delight in my God. I delight in my relationships. I delight in this day. Intentionally. This does not mean that everything in my life is the way I want it—it isn’t. I believe God is at work in my life and in the lives of others and that nothing that happens in my life is without purpose. I believe that God will use my challenges in my life and the lives of others for good.

This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice (take joy and delight) in it.  Psalm 118:24

It is 5:28. I am dressed. I have had part of my Quiet Time. I have put the ingredients in my bread maker for the first rising, and here I am ready to share my life, my heart, and my mind with you.

We are in the middle of refreshing our home with fresh paint throughout our home, new light fixtures, towel bars, and mirrors in the bathrooms. Roy is painting the interior of our home a creamy yellow. It is getting sunshiny in here even on a cloudy day. I am going before and behind him making sure each area is in order, and taking pictures off the wall and clearing surfaces in the areas he is about to paint. This is a challenging purge for me because I have been purging for over 30 years now and I pretty much like everything in my home.

One special project this week is settled into Wednesday because Thursday is our trash pickup day. I need to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. The freezer was left open over night by person unknown over a month ago and most everything thawed. I am going to have to do a close my eyes and pitch for some items. I do not want to use fish and meat that has thawed and refrozen so out it goes. I tried some of the ice cream products and the texture had changed so out those things go, too. PAIN!!

imageThe Weekly Plan is always in effect if I am home.

Monday—Kick off the week, clean toilets, and check for needed supplies of any kind in the bathrooms

Tuesday—Duster Dance Day

Wednesday—Desk Day

Thursday—Floor Day (sweep and mop hardwood, tile or linoleum floors)

Friday—Wrap Up the Week—clean out the car, clean out my purse, and vacuum traffic areas.

Saturday—Family Fun Day—we work or play together as a family

Sunday—Worship and Plan—First we worship—intentionally show our honor to God by sharing a time of worship with our church family, and being a part of a Life Group and studying God’s word together.

If I do the basics each day and pickup after us everything does not descend into chaos.

My fridge
My fridge

In the Areas of Focus (aka Zones) Today is the 13th today and tomorrow would be in the kitchen but my kitchen is clean. There are a couple of things I have left in the kitchen:

  • Clean the ceiling fan
  • Go through the freezer compartment of my refrigerator

I will do these two things today and tomorrow.

On Wednesday I have an appointment to get my car serviced so I will run most all my errands that day along with cleaning out the fridge and freezer. Group your tasks so you can save time and gas. When I run errands, I plan my route so I can avoid backtracking.

Beginning on Wednesday until the following Tuesday (15th-21st) the regular Area of Focus is the Master Bedroom, Bathroom, and Closet. This area is orderly and ready for paint so my next area to go through is my office. Again, this is hard because I want every book and piece of paper I own but I still need to review each thing and some will go to new homes like the waste basket or thrift shop.

Our favorite thrift shop is the ROC Thrift Shop in Chester. My daughter called me Saturday morning and I dropped everything to go looking for some chairs for her new office at work. We found two chairs for her to paint and reupholster. After she painted one of them she discovered when she reupholstered it that it was made by the Murphy Chair Company in the 1800’s and it was worth (before the paint) around $200. We found it for about $17.00 at the ROC! We also found some art work that ended up being her father’s and my gift to her for her promotion–an early Picasso reproduction, a watercolor from the 1940’s and some lovely matted scissor work. If you know what you are looking for or you are just on a treasure hunt you can find really neat things at a thrift store. Just make sure you really need it or you may be donating it back to them. The store gives discounts to senior and military on Mondays. So . . . On the way to pick up Brayden I  am going back to see if a light fixture she fell in love with is still there and get it for her for Christmas.

Roast Turkey and StuffingSpeaking of Christmas—the holidays are on the way so why not begin to add a grocery item to each shopping trip to ease the pain of buying everything for your holiday meals at one time. Also, be alert for unique things your family really wants and start buying them, wrapping them, and stashing them in the attic.

We went to Joanne’s together and found the fabric and batting for reupholstering the seats of the chairs and had lunch at the Olive Garden together. What a nice time with one of my lovely daughters!

Shortly after I got home she messaged me the picture of the painted and upholstered chairs. They are darling!

The kitchen, powder room, and dining room are done. These rooms have been painted and put back in order. The curtains are washed, the storage areas are in order. I will dust again after Roy finishes painting down here probably on Thursday afternoon. Roy is taping a room and repairing walls one day and cutting in and rolling the walls the next so it is basically a room every two days. We are taking Sundays off—God designed us for a rhythm of work and rest. Rest is needed for us to function. We cannot run full tilt all the time. Honor God’s plan by taking rest on Sunday and making little oases of rest for yourself and your family throughout your day each day of the week.

Remember, declutter and organize your home one foot at a time and then maintain. Work around each area dealing with each item as you come to it—keep, belongs somewhere else in your home, donate or give away, return to rightful owner, or throw it away if none of the other categories apply. Each time you go through your home you get better at this. You are not going for sterile—the goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment—first  for yourself and your family, and –then for the people that God brings through the doors of your home.

Tonight for dinner we are having Italian sausage with peppers and onions.

This week I want to talk about some things we need in the kitchen so we can actually cook and bake. So check back in tomorrow.

Hugs,

Mary