November–An Overview

Roast Turkey and StuffingI promise you, I have never felt like cleaning the toilets, dusting, paying bills, filing, or cleaning the floors. Part of being a big person (AKA an adult) is developing the self-discipline to do those things we need to do whether we FEEL like it or not.

Today is Saturday the first day of November.

Remember to VOTE responsibly on Tuesday  the 4th

Veteran’s Day is November 11th the sacrifices of those who have served, fought, suffered debilitating injuries, and died for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. You may want to remember that when you vote next Tuesday. Our freedoms may be free for us but others have and still fight and die for them.

Thanksgiving is Thursday the 26th. Start preparing today by buying what you will need for that day a little at a time, by talking to your family about plans for the day, and being thankful to God each and every day for all the ways we are blessed.

The Weekly Areas of Focus are

  • Saturday November 1st to Friday the 7th          The Living Room and Family Room
  • Saturday November 8th to Friday the 14th        The Kitchen
  • Saturday November 15th to Friday the 21st      The Bedroom, En Suite Bath, and Closet
  • Saturday November 22nd to Friday the 28th     The Dining Room, Front Porch and Entry
  • Saturday the 29th                                             The Family Bath

You may want to give the Family Bath attention on the day you clean your bathroom and refresh it on the 29th.

The Daily Tasks are:

  • Monday               Launch your Week – Clean your toilets, check for needed supplies and add them to your                                               shopping list
  • Tuesday              Duster Dance Day—Dance the Dust right out the door. Put on some happy music and                                                   make it fun
  • Wednesday          Desk Day—Pay bills, take care of family business, and file
  • Thursday              Floor Day—Sweep and mop the hard floors in your home—tile, wood, linoleum
  • Friday                   Wrap up Your Week Day—Clean out your purse or whatever bags travel outside your home with                                  you like a diaper bag or computer bag

Clean out your car

Vacuum the traffic areas in your home giving special attention to the floors in your Area of Focus.

  • Saturday              Family Fun Day

Sunday                         Worship with Your Family and Plan Your Week .

On planning day, remember to coordinate the activities for all family member including games, practices, special events. All commitments need to go on the family calendar as soon as you learn of them so you will know if you need to provide food, have special clothes ready, or have a project completed.image

We are in countdown mode for our daughter’s family visit for Thanksgiving. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas over a long weekend. I have been boring you to tears with our progress in refreshing our home in anticipation of their visit. I also plan to cook ahead so we will have time together as a family. That said, I am so pleased with and grateful for my husband.

This morning I had my Quiet Time, prepared to teach tomorrow morning, had breakfast with Roy, and milled wheatberries to make bread and put the ingredients into my bread machine. Now I am going to go upstairs and get busy in the back bedroom while Roy paints our bedroom.

Remember you do well what you enjoy and you enjoy what you do well.

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Tuesday, February 18, 2014: Routines, You Can Do It and Walking Through Colossians: Colossians 3:

Bible Reading: Exodus 35-36; Psalm 36

Area of Focus: Master Bedroom, Bathroom, and ClosetIMG_0424

Each Tuesday is Duster Dance Day

Put on some happy music. Grab your favorite duster, gather up the dust in your home, and shake it outside.

Declutter for 15 to 30 Minutes

Walk in God’s Love

You can do it

  • If you plan your work and work your plan, you can do it.
  • Even a bad day gives you good data. Dr. Daniel Amen
  • A setback is a setup for a comeback. Dr. Daniel Amen
  • If you believe you can’t do it, you’re right. If you believe you can do it, you are right.
  • Our life is built of small choices. If you consistently make good choices you are building a productive life. If you consistently make poor choices . . .
  • You are either a part of the problem or the solution. Which do you choose to be?
  • For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Live your life intentionally in line with the will of God.

Walking Through Colossians: Colossians 3: 18-25—Instructions for Christian Households

IMG_0351What does Paul say in Colossians 3 about relationships?

For wives

  • 18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands,

Why?

  • as is fitting in the Lord.

For husbands

  • 19Husbands,
    • love your wives
    • and do not be harsh with them.

For children

  • 20Children, obey your parents in everything,

Why?

  • for this pleases the Lord.

Fathers

  • 21Fathers,c do not embitter your children,

Why?

  • or they will become discouraged.

Employees (slaves or workers)

  • 22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything;
  • and do it, not only when their eye is on you
  • and to curry their favor,
  • but with sincerity of heart
  • and reverence for the Lord.
  • 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
  • as working for the Lord,
  • not for human masters,
  • 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
  • It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
  • 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs,
  • and there is no favoritism.

Colossians 4:1 Masters—Bosses, managers, and supervisor.

  • 1Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair,

Why?

  • because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Hugs,

Mary

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bible Reading: Exodus  37-38; Psalm 37

Area of Focus: Master Bedroom, Bathroom, and ClosetIMG_0421

Each Wednesday is Desk Day

  • Catch up on personal and family business by paying bills, sending notes, cards, letters and emails, and making any needed phone calls
  • File–Store only those papers you will need in a way that you will be able to locate them when needed.

Declutter for 15 to 30 minutes

Walk in God’s love toward everyone, even your enemies

Wednesday, January 22, 2014: Routines, Walking Through Ephesians: Ephesians 3:1-13; Priorities and Disciplines

 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bible Reading: Genesis 41-42; Psalm 19

Area of Focus Wednesday, January 22nd  to Tuesday, January 28th :

The Dining Room, The Entry, and The Front Porch

My File Box for My Simple Filing System
My File Box for My Simple Filing System

Wednesday is Desk Day

  • Pay Bills
  • Deal with Any Paperwork, phone calls, emails, or notes that have to do with your personal business or family business. This does not mean a business as a job but you are the manager of your family and manage your personal affairs. Keep up with it regularly. Not dealing with personal and family business can be very expensive.
  • File—Put away papers you will need in a way that you will be able to locate them

IMG_0194Walking Through Ephesians: Ephesians 3: 1-13 God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

Who is writing this?

1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

What does Paul ask us we have heard about?

2Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,

What does Paul tell us about the mystery of the administration of God’s grace?

  • 3that is, the mystery made known to me
  • by revelation, as I have already written briefly.
  • 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
  • 5which was not made known to people in other generations
  •  as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
  • 6This mystery is that through the gospel
    • the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel,
    • members together of one body, and
    • sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

How did Paul become a servant of the good news of God’s grace to the Gentiles?

  • 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
  • 8Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles

What was Paul to proclaim to the Gentiles?

  • the boundless riches of Christ,
  • 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,
    • which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

What was God’s intent?

  • 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
  • 11according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

What did Paul tell them regarding his suffering?

  • 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Priorities and Disciplines (Sounds Like Fun, Doesn’t It?)

IMG_0001Each morning, before I sit down to write to you, exercise discipline to fulfill my commitments to the Lord on behalf of myself, and my husband.

The way I care for myself and my husband and my home and also for my grown children and their children is an “as onto the Lord.” The people I love are sometimes more or less popular with me based on their actions and attitudes. When I love them intentionally because of my relationship with Jesus, their actions and attitudes become less important to me and I can attempt to love them unconditionally and forgive them quickly.

My first discipline is to get up, brush my teeth, wash my face and moisturize, take a shower every other day, fix my hair and get dressed to the shoes. When I put on my shoes and socks I moisturize my feet.

My second discipline is to make sure my home is in good basic order as I head for my chair where I have Quiet Time. While I am reading the Bible and praying, my washer, and my dishwasher are hard at work. After I have had my Quiet Time and written to you, clothes are ready for the dryer, and dishes are ready to come out of the dishwasher. Roy is ususally up my now ( I can hear him moving around upstairs) so I can make the bed when I go up to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

At this point it is usually around 8 am and I have my day ahead of me to enjoy whatever the day holds:

  • I am dressed
  • My heart is lined up with My Savior’s
  • My home is in good basic order—dishes done, laundry on the move, rooms in order

This gives me tremendous freedom.

I am easily distracted. Becoming organized was WORK for me. These are disciplines (trainings) I have developed in my life that pay big dividends in freedom, time, peace of mind, and so many other things. Once these basics are done I am free to head out the door or do things that I enjoy or need to be done in my home. I can declutter, serve at Bible Study and in other groups, visit with friends, work on projects in my home, read, or take off for the day with my husband.

Get up—take care of the basics—and then schedule what needs to be done and some things you enjoy. Mix times of rest in with times of focused work.  Mix time outside your home with friends with time in your home caring for your family. Maintain balance and put first things first.

  • Relationship with God—times of prayer, reading, study, living continually in His Presence
  • Relationship with my husband—time talking, enjoying each other’s company, caring for him by caring for our home
  • Relationship with my children—spending time with them and helping them as I can
  • Relationships with friends and neighbors—helping and sharing life with them
  • Being a member of my church—serving and being aware and involved
  • Being a citizen of my country—being informed, sharing information, serving, voting

What are your priorities—what comes before what?  Are your husband and children coming in a poor last to others? What about me? I sprinkle me time throughout my day and I enjoy all I do including the things I don’t necessarily like to do. Cleaning toilets does not thrill my heart but having a clean bathroom and providing a pleasant environment for myself and Roy does.

What are your priorities? When you are asked to do something do you consider those priorities? Are your priorities out of order? That is a road paved with misery for you and your family.

There are times and seasons in your life. Enjoy the season you are in. There will be time in the future for the things that are part of that next season. As a young mom, don’t overload yourself with obligations. Learn to say no with a smile recognizing that in the future you will be able to say yes. I miss those years of struggle with small children, then homeschooling and then teens in conventional high school. Don’t miss the joy around you now and then look back with regret. God will give you strength for what He has called you to in this season. If you do not have the strength or the energy, something is out of kilter.

  • Ask God what is supposed to be part of this season
  • You are God’s woman where you are first.
  • Only you can be your husband’s wife. Only you can be your children’s mother. Do not let them feed on relationship leftovers
  • Carefully consider each other obligation in your life. You may need to make some hard changes to fulfill the primary commitments in your life.
  • Think about it, pray about it, talk about it with your husband, and then build the life God has for you.

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bible Reading: Genesis 43-44; Psalm 20

Area of Focus: Your Entry, Dining Room and Front Porch

My China Cabinet
My China Cabinet

Each Thursday is Floor Day:  Clean Your Hard Floors

Wood, laminate, tile, linoleum

Declutter each day for 15 to 30 minutes

Friday, January 17, 2014–Routines, Ephesians 1:1-14, and It Only Works If You Do It

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bible Reading: Genesis 33-34; Psalm 15

The Area of Focus is The Master Bedroom, Closet, and En Suite BathroomIMG_0422

Each Friday is Wrap Up Your Week Day

  • Clean out your purse, backpack, diaper bag or whatever you carry with you when you go out the door
  • Clean out your car
  • Vacuum the traffic areas in your home—just the traffic areas in all but your Area of Focus. In your Area of Focus vacuum behind, under, and  around—a more thorough vacuuming.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bible Reading: Genesis 35-36; Psalm 16

Family Fun Day—Work and Play as a Family and Make It Fun!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bible Reading: Catch Up If You Are Behind or Take Time to Reflect on This Week’s Readings or Scripture from Today’s Sermon

Worship Our God and Savior with Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Meet with Your Family to Plan the Week

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise to Me!

I am purposefully , intentionally remembering that whatever God calls us to do, He will give us a good provision for that purpose. I am facilitating a study of The Daniel Plan at my home for the next 6 weeks. I thought maybe 6 to 10, 12 tops would sign up. I am blessed with 24 wonderful women coming to my home each Monday for the next six weeks. When I began to see that the group might be larger than I had thought, I spoke with my sweet husband to ask him if I might be able to have a morning and an afternoon session (10-11:30 and 1:2:30). He was gracious. The size of the group still exceeded my wildest dreams. I have a comfortable home but not palatial . I can seat 16 in my living room if I bring in all the chairs in my home. So pride to the side, I will make coffee, turn on the DVD and let the ladies talk and learn together. God knew before I did who would want to take part in this class. It is no surprise to Him. I work for Him, I am His servant and He has graciously provided my home and all that is in it.  Is there anything holding you back from a call God is speaking to your heart? Launch out into the deep with me and let’s see how He meets our needs. I am fully relying on Him.

Plunging in to EphesiansIMG_0371

Yesterday I asked you to read through Ephesians just as the letter it is. I mentioned being alert for the “In Him” statements in the letter. When you read the Bible, asks yourself questions:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • Why
  • When
  • How

** below indicates my comments.

Today, let’s begin to walk through this letter that tells us how to walk in this world, in our relationships and in relationship with Him. Today  Chapter One—the greeting plus verses 3-14, Paul wrote:

Greetings from Paul

Why is Paul an apostle? chosen by the will of God to be an apostle

Whose apostle is Paul? an apostle of Christ Jesus

An apostle is an emissary of a person in position of leadership who is sent to represent that king, emperor or other person. The words that person speaks are to be the words of the person he is representing so Paul carries the responsibility to speak Jesus’ words, convey God’s message to whomever he is addressing.

1This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

Who in that specific time is Paul writing to?

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,a who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

How does Paul greet them?

2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

What is grace?

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance—grace, favor

From chairo; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude) — acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy).

**For us grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is a gift, not anything we deserve.

What is peace?

Strong’s one, peace, quietness, rest.

Probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity — one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again.

**The Hebrew concept of peace is whole and complete, nothing missing, nothing broken.

**(In the Greek verses 3-14 are one sentence)

Spiritual Blessings

**Paul opens with praise in response to what God has done for us

Who does Paul praise? 3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

What has the Father done for us?

  • who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms
    • Why? because we are united with Christ.
    • When? 4Even before he made the world,
  • God loved us and
  • chose us in Christ
    • What? to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
  • 5God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself
    • How? through Jesus Christ.
  • This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Why do we praise God?6So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out

  • To Who? on us who belong to his dear Son.b

What also has the Father done for us?

  • 7He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom

What did God use to purchase our freedom? with the blood of his Son

  • and forgave our sins.
  • 8He has showered his kindness on us,
  • along with all wisdom and understanding.

What has God revealed?

9God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.

What is God’s plan?

  • 10And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
  • 11Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he
    • chose us in advance, and
    • he makes everything work out according to his plan.

What is God’s purpose?

  • For the Jews: 12God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.
  • For the Gentiles: 13And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth,

What truth?

  • the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own
  • How? by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.
  • Why? He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

If you think you can’t, you’re right. If you think you can, you’re right.

IMG_0403I believe I can do anything God has called me to do in His strength. In days past, when someone told me something that would be effective to help me to be better organized, use my time better, or any number of things I longed for in my life, I was resistant. That might work for them, but I was different. It wouldn’t work for me. Then one day I realized that if I never tried anything new I would stay where I was. I think it’s Einstein’s quote that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I resolved to try wearing shoes, getting up and getting dressed in the morning, having basic routines—daily, weekly, monthly. If it didn’t work for me I would try to adjust plans that had been effective in other’s lives. I cannot begin to tell you the number of books I have read since the 1970’s on time management and organization, cleaning, or any number of topics to make a difference in my home. I see the same basic concepts repeated over and over. There is no magic bullet. There are ways to work smarter and to enjoy and be more effective in caring for your family and home. No fairy is going to drop down from the sky and sprinkle perfection dust on all you touch. Unless you have the finances to hire organizers and a cleaning team, you will probably have to do the work. If you hire people to clean and organize, unless you learn how to maintain what they do, their work will only last for several weeks maximum. You can do this. I cannot imagine anyone who is any more of a mess than I have been in my life. I am a dreamer, easily distracted, inclined to want to sit, sip tea and watch the clouds roll by (interpret that: at least a little lazy). If I can have a clean, orderly, and pleasant home, you can, too. I have not always had the cooperation of husband and children. You can come up with a reason (excuse) why just about anything will not work for you. Unless you try and give it at least a few weeks, you will be in the same place, next week, next month, next year. You can get a job or go shopping to get out or your home but you will come home to the same mess. You can by doing a little consistently, change yourself, change your home, and change your life—and the lives of the people you love. Start small and build. Maintain. Be tenacious but loving. You can do this.

Hugs,

Mary

Friday, October 4, 2013–Change Begins on the Inside. How Is Your Vision Adjustment Going?

imageAnother Friday! Where does time go? Remember the tasks for each day and the Area of Focus until Tuesday are in Monday’s blog.

Change begins from the inside out. If you have an organizer, a decorator, and/or a cleaner come into your home, within 6 weeks things will be back in the same condition unless the change happens in you first. The greatest change in me came after I recognized Jesus, not as my fire insurance, but as the Lord (the Boss) of my life. It’s been 34 years (last Tuesday) since the day I gave up on my self-improvement projects and turned this beautiful mess over to Jesus. He is definitely still working on me but I am not the same person I was then.

Even though I would like to imagine otherwise, I am very ordinary. Anything extraordinary in me is simply Jesus. I am a mess simply made beautiful by Jesus. If that is not true of you, it can be. Take your focus off the people and situation that you think are your problems and place them firmly on Him. He will give you beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning. (Isaiah 61:3)

IMG_0194Earlier this week we talked about eye infections—our failure to see ourselves and others with God’s eyes. Are you beginning to see yourself, Woman of God, through God’s eyes? Daughter of the King, in Him you are a person of worth, strength, dignity, and beauty. You are lovely in His eyes. Now look with His eyes for the beauty in others that is there. Yes, they are messed up. Yes, they grieve us BUT GOD . . can/will make all things new. He transforms people. He transforms situation. You do what you are supposed to do

  • Act with grace, dignity, and forgiveness in the lives of people He has given you to love.
  • Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.  Do not simply measure the temperature in your home. Set the temperature.
  • Develop a sense of humor. Jesus has a sense of humor.
  • You are Jesus’ representative in the lives of the people around you. It would be nice if those people were the same back to you BUT if they are not, until they are—you do what you are supposed to do. Their bad attitude is not an excuse for yours.

As usual, when I am pointing one finger at you, I am pointing three back at myself.

Always Go Here For Your Answers

IMG_0371How can you know who you are in Christ? How can you know how to respond? How can you receive that gentle correction and encouragement? Get up early, grab your Bible and dig in.

  • We have His Word. I am so excited when I see the women who are studying with me, digging in and learning to read and study the Bible.
    • I love it when they look for the whole counsel of the Word of God on a subject—not picking and choosing verses to fit personal agendas.
    •  It is so good to learn to see what God is teaching us on any subject in context. I do not know who said it but,” A text out of context, is a pretext,” has rattled around in my head for years.
    • The Priscilla Shirer study of Gideon is such an encouragement and inspiration to me as I study each morning. I am eager to grab my Bible and hate to stop at the end of the lesson. If there is no study group in your area, you can buy the book and get the downloads for each session for about $5.00 each at http://www.lifeway.com/Product/gideon-video-sessions-M00000308?intcmp=Gideon-MTX-Text-Session2-20130612. The resources we have available to us online now amaze me! We are without excuse.

We stand accountable before God for rightly handling His Word. We are to conform ourselves to His Word and not His Word to our personal opinion. For years, I did not realize that my greatest idol was my intelligence, my viewpoint, my opinion.  I worshipped “Me.”

Come on, Woman of God, let’s change our world—our selves, our marriages, our relationships—by finding out what God’s Word says about us, our relationships, and other people. Get our focus off our challenges and onto the One who leads us to be overcomers.

Again, the change in our homes has to begin with us. We cannot change other people. We can only change ourselves and then the only true change comes as we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in us. Declutter your heart and your head. Organize your thinking with His Word. Decorate your soul and spirit with the beauty of His Word.  The inner renovation will begin to make you more beautiful than you could have imagined from the inside out.

PREVIEW

Monday will be our last day in October in our Living and Family Rooms. I am working on one small area of my home each day this month. IMG_0420I showed you our coat closet on Tuesday. Wednesday I straightened the area under my Powder Room Sink. Thursday was a busy day for me—two Bible Studies—one leading, one participating , and a meeting. For Thursday I will count the work my sweet husband did on our screen door. He took down the door, power washed it, and put in new screening. Today, I am going to look at the drawers in the table that holds our television and move some of the books and papers that have crept from my office to the living room, back to the office.  I tend to develop nests with my books and papers that can get pretty messy.

My Parameters

When I decided to blog on all things faith, home, and family years ago—long before the blog on this site, I realized that many women would not have a great deal of financial resources. I determined to

  • use what I had,
  • to shop sales
  • to make use of thrift and consignment shop
  • to try to use solutions that were affordable to most people
  • to do the work ourselves when we could—I have a very handy husband

This has worked out well for us because we are retirees and my husband has two expensive hobbies—golf and his boat. Our home is a simple family home but I love it because we have put more of ourselves into it than money. The down side is that Roy says it’s more comfortable to him than any B&B so there go my travel plans.

Invest yourself in creating a home for your family. Invest in giving them direction toward a life well lived—a life of faith, home, and family.

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Thursday, September 12, 2013—Floor Day and Loving On Purpose

Thursday is Floor Day
Thursday is Floor Day
Each Thursday—Clean your floors—the hard finished floors: wood, laminate, tile, or linoleum.
Give special attention to the floors in your Area of Focus—the Kitchen.
To make a difference in your kitchen:
• Keep flat surfaces clear of clutter—the counters, the table and the top of your fridge.
• Keep the front 2/3 of your kitchen counters clear for food preparation. Keep décor and other items to the back 1/3 of your counter. Keep only appliances you use regularly on the counters. It is nigh unto impossible to cook in a kitchen where there is no clear work space.
• Keep your sink clean and clear of dishes. This habit by itself will make a difference in your kitchen.
My fridge
My fridge

• Empty your dishwasher as soon as you can after the cleaning cycle has been run. Then, load dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher instead leaving them on the counter or in the sink.
• When you begin cooking, fill the sink with soapy water and wash bowls, pots, pans and cooking utensils as you finish with them.
• In the same way, put away ingredients you are using to prepare food as you are finished with them. When you do this, you will find that when you have finished cooking your kitchen will be clean and orderly.
• Wipe up spills quickly wherever they happen, in the fridge, on the floor, on the counter. Remember that plain water might not be enough to clean spills that have sugar in them. The sticky residue will attract dirt.
My Beverage Center
My Beverage Center
• In your pantry and cupboards store items you use together in the same area—create centers such as a beverage center with all you need to make a cup of coffee or tea; baking center with bowls, measuring cups and spoons, mixer, and other items you need to put together a cake or pan of brownies; serving center with all your serving pieces stored together.
• Put new purchases in back of older items so that canned goods and other items will not go out of date. It takes a few extra minutes but will save you money.
• A friend in Alabama who was an inspiration to me, told me years ago that organized people did not have to do major reorganizations and cleanings because each time they opened a cupboard, drawer, cabinet, or closet they put anything that was out of place back where it belonged. Before she went shopping for groceries, Jean took a few minutes while checking for whatever supplies she needed to put her pantry and fridge in order and prepared to receive the groceries she was about to buy.
I talked yesterday about laying things out before the Lord and asking what to pick up again. I have known that I need to write my posts in the evenings so I can spend the mornings on Quiet Time and with my husband, chatting and having coffee. It is important to me that I keep my priorities in order and God and Roy come before all else. I love my husband on purpose. When I made my commitment to Christ, I was already married to Roy. This means that even when I’m in a less than stellar frame of mind, when Roy is grumpy, whatever happens Roy is the love of my life—no looking back, no looking around. I will not compare him with unfavorably other men. I will focus on his good qualities which are many, and recognize that his weaker points are no worse than my own. I will thank him and treat him with no less courtesy than I would anyone else. I am his booster, his best friend, and I will do him nothing but good all the days of my life even when he does not do what I want, think what I want, or say what I want. We have now been married more than 38 years. When we married they were taking bets at the Officers’ Club on how many weeks we would be married. God has made all the difference. God has wired men differently than He has wired women. We cannot be upset that they are not like us for that reason. Remember different is not always wrong, sometimes it is simply different. Give your husband grace, let him be wrong, let him do things differently, don’t criticize him to your family and friends. You do not have a choice in what happens to you, you do not have a choice about what is said about or to you, but you have a choice in the way you respond. Let love be your standard.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
People are not our problem.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (NLT) Ephesians 6:12
We have an enemy that wants to destroy us and our relationships. Put on God’s full armor and stand against the attacks of the enemy.
Note: If there is genuine abuse involved, put some physical space between you and any abusive person–don’t endanger yourself or others you love. God can and does transform people but while the Lord models unconditional love, trust, once lost, takes time to re-establish.
Hugs,
Mary

Monday, September 2, 2013 Labor Day

This week's Area of Focus-- The Living Room/Family Room
This week’s Area of Focus– The Living Room/Family Room
We are traveling to Michigan for a week so I wanted to give you an overview because I am unsure of my opportunities to blog. If I can, I may, but seeing my family is top priority this week and my parents don’t have internet.
Each Week’s Areas of Focus:
Sept 1-7 Living Room/ Family Room
Sept 8-14 Kitchen
Sept 15-21 Master Bedroom, Bathroom, and Closet
Sept 22-28 Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room
Sept 29-30 Bathroom
Weekly Tasks:
Monday Launch Your Week, Clean Toilets, Check Supplies
Tuesday Duster Dance Day
Wednesday Desk Day—Pay Bills, Take Care of Family and Personal Business and File
Thursday Floor Day—Clean Hard Floors
Friday Wrap Up Your Week—Clean Out Your Car, Clean Your Purse, Vacuum Traffic Areas
Saturday Family Fun Day
Sunday Worship
Habits to Remember:
• Draw Your Daily To Do List from Your Master To Do List
• One of the most important habits to develop is to pick up after yourself continually. Don’t leave tasks for later. Hang up your jacket. Put things back where they belong when you are finished with them. Don’t leave stuff, just for now. After years of doing this, whenever I try to leave something I find myself turning around, going back and doing it. I’ve never regretted picking up after myself. I always regret it when I don’t. That’s setting the example.
• The next part in keeping an orderly home is teaching your sweeties. Declare pick up times and make it fun. Choose a number of items for each person to pick up and put away. Have a pickup box—if you pick it up and it belongs to them, they must perform a task to buy it back. They can do the same to you. Fair in this case is fair.
• Don’t sit and yell at people to do something.
o Get up.
o Get their attention by looking in their eyes.
o Speak calmly and kindly.
o Follow through.
• Don’t expect, inspect.
• Work with them.
• Teach them, don’t expect them to learn by osmosis.
When our smallest grands visit there are some changes in our home. It is much more work than usual but so worth it.
Changes to our household routine:
• The laundry goes into the washer at bedtime and into the dryer first thing in the morning. Two loads are folded and returned to their rooms in the morning.
• Waste baskets with diapers get emptied frequently. Damp diaper smell is not my favorite aroma.
• Toy pickup is an ongoing process.
• I swapped my tablecloth and crystal bowl for placemats and a less breakable centerpiece. I moved a couple of breakable items above a three year old reach. I never put away the child safety cabinet locks and outlet covers. I want to enjoy the little ones, not fear for my home. You cannot expect toddlers to know and understand what has value for you. Put up the big people treasures.
Hugs,
Mary P

Today’s post have some tough verses and the questions are–Is God’s Word true? Does God’s Word work? Even when I have not liked what it says, when I have followed God’s Word I have found it to work in ways for good that I never expected.

And finally—The Proverbs 31 Woman
Proverbs 31:30-31
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
These ending verses speak so clearly for themselves.
A woman who fears the Lord will be GREATLY praised. I want to value the Lord’s Word on anything above my thoughts and opinions. I want to be a woman of tact and have always wanted to be beautiful but fear of the Lord comes waaaay before popularity and hotness. Hotness is for your husband, not for the world at large.
Read these difficult verses from 1 Peter 2 and 3. It begins by speaking of slaves, talks about Christ’s attitude and then speaks of wives. This is not PC, sisters, but it makes a difference in the lives of people around you as live it.
1 Peter 2:
18 You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you, not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are punished for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.
By his wounds you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

1 Peter 3
Wives
1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.
3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
Husbands
7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (the weaker here is like the difference between a porcelain teacup and a stoneware mug)
(Note: We cannot force people to fulfill their God given rolls. Browbeating people with God’s Word will cause them to become more and more resistant to it. Share, don’t insist. Set the example but the job of Holy Spirit is already taken)
All Christians
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

You are doing this with Christ as your true master. You honor your husband as master to honor Christ. Notice that it says that unbelieving husband can be won by the reverent and respectful behavior of the wife. For years I wanted only fire insurance from God—I didn’t want to spend eternity in hell. Then I surrendered to Jesus and my Master and my Lord. He is my Boss. The enemy tempts you with all kinds of pretty poison and tells you that you have the right to make your own decisions about what’s right and wrong. Living with Christ as your Lord is voluntary. It’s a choice you make—a hard choice, but one that transforms your life and the lives of people around you.

In the end of Proverbs 31 the last verse tells us to let your deeds praise you. Do what is right and eventually what you have done will speak for you.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Duster Dance Day and Your Planner

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Last day of this month with The Kitchen as your Area of Focus (Zone).

  • What do you need to do in the kitchen to make it a low clutter zone?
  • To make your kitchen more orderly?
  • To make your kitchen a more welcoming and pleasant place to be?

Take a few minutes today—Tuesday, Duster Dance Day-to make the wood surfaces in your kitchen glow.

Did I mention—it’s Duster Dance Day??!! Grab your duster, put on the music and dance your dust away. This is a quick once over for the flat surfaces in your home. A feather duster will allow you to dust around the things on your surfaces without moving each one.

My favorite duster for lampshade and things with curves and crevices is . . . . A soft painter’s paintbrush! image

Tomorrow—New Area of Focus—Your Bedroom, En Suite Bathroom, and Closet.  As the season changes take a few minutes each day over the next week to try on your summer clothes.

Everything in your closet should fit, be clean, and be in good repair. You should also be able to feel good in the clothes you wear. The cut of your clothes can either emphasize your flaws or flatter. Let’s go for flattering. The colors of the clothes you wear should also be flattering. Show respect for yourself by the way you dress and care for yourself. If you do not respect yourself, other than God, who will?

Have you put together a household planner with:

  • Emergency phone numbers—in an emergency you will be so glad to have these numbers at your fingertips. It took me over 15 minutes to find the emergency  number for the water department—not something I’d want to do if there was a broken pipe or other water emergency after hours.
  • Household instructions—What day is the trash picked up? The recycling? Is there any routine maintenance unique to your home?
  • Cleaning checklists for each room
  • List of birthdays and special occasions
  • Cycle menus
  • Personal information for each family member—blood type, SSN
  • List of credit/debit cards

Note –disguise important numbers in some way so they cannot be misused.

This planner is primarily for others to refer to in your absence. You may need it, too, if your cell phone is not charged or for a quick reminder.

Love your home and take care of what you have. When you despise what you have and don’t care for it, your home is kind of a sad place—no matter what the value of the real estate. When you appreciate what you have and care for it you create a place that says love and welcome.  I used to enjoy going away for a few days to a B & B. Then one day my husband pointed out we were not as comfortable in the B&B’s as we are at home. I have happily ruined it for myself. I smile every time I pull into our driveway.  Our home is not all high end finishes but it’s HOME and I love it here.

Don’t spend all your time and money trying to escape from your home. Instead, a little effort each day will over time create a place where you, your family, and friends will love to be.

Hugs,

Mary

Just a Little Grammar—

Principle—how something works or a standard

Principal—a person of first rank

The principal explained the principles of ethics for the school.

Friday, May 10, 2013—Wrap Up the Week Day, Preparing for Grocery Shopping and Bible Translations

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Each Friday:

  • Clean out your purse, backpack, briefcase or whatever you carry with you
  • Clean out your car—get rid of any trash, put away anything better stored elsewhere, shake out the mats, run the car through the car wash or rinse the car off with a hose.
    • Your car is not a storage unit on wheels. In a sudden stop, anything in your car can go airborne and injure you or other passengers including the littlest of passengers—babies secured in car seats. Do not leave stuff unsecured in any part of your car.
    • Cars are major investments and you will get a better return when you sell or trade in your car if it has been cared for. When was the last time the oil was changed?
    • Vacuum the traffic areas in your home.  This is not a thorough vacuuming but traffic areas only. Exception—your area of focus (zone) gets an under, around, over, and behind vacuuming.

Your Area of Focus (Zone—The Kitchen) Continue to work around the room dealing with each area as you come to it. Years ago I was told by a highly organized friend, Jean Watson, that organized people did not have to clean out closets because they straighten them every time they find anything out of place. I am not as highly organized but I do try to quickly put things back into place when I find them out of order.

HINT—When preparing to shop for groceries:

  • Check your food storage areas. Put anything out of place back where it belongs.
  • Note what you are in short supply of and add those items to your list.
  • Please note—for some unknown reason, loved ones tend to put empty boxes away and leave full boxes on the counter. I do not know why this is true but I see it regularly. Shake boxes that may be empty—the open containers of family favorite foods.
  • With your storage areas in order it is easier to put groceries away and you are less likely to discover you are out of some crucial item after you return home from shopping
  • Keep a magnetic pad on your fridge and list items you are about to run out of. Do not wait until the last smidgen is gone.
  • Your refrigerator is a cold storage cabinet. Regularly put it back into order. Check its contents before shopping, also.

A couple more words about your refrigerator:

  • Dairy products and eggs are better stored on the shelves inside the fridge instead of the door because of the constant temperature changes as the door is opened and closed. They will remain fresh longer.
  • Keep a basket with masking tape and a sharpie on top of your fridge. Label your containers with the date and contents. Use or toss before they become science experiments.
  • I made a label for the storage drawer where I keep lunch meats and cheeses requesting that whoever opens the package put the date on the container. Sometimes it works.

From this morning’s Quiet Time:

Psalm 59: 16-17

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
            Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
            For You have been my stronghold
            And a refuge in the day of my distress.

O my strength, I will sing praises to You;
            For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.

And from the Genesis of the New Testament, John 1:1-5; 14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

      14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That was from the New American Standard Bible (NASB or NAS)

When studying the Bible use a translation rather than a paraphrase. Translators use one of two methods or a degree of each in translating the Scripture: formal equivalence and dynamic (functional) equivalence. Formal equivalence tries to give a word for word translation of the original language. Dynamic equivalence tries to give a thought for thought translation in an effort to have the original “dynamic impact” on the reader as it did to the original readers and hearers.

Translation

Abbrev.

Publisher

Year

Type

Notes

Amplified

AMP

Zondervaan

1965

 

Definitions of words are in the text

Contemporary English Version

CEV

American Bible Society

1995

Thought for Thought

 

English Standard Version

ESV

Crossway Publishers

2001

Word for Word

 

God’s Word Translation

GWT

World Publishing

1995

Thought for Thought

 

Holman Christian Standard Bible

HCSB

Holman Bible Publishers

2003

Optimal Equivalence*

This is the version used at CHBC

King James Version

KJV

Public Domain

1611

Word for Word

 

Living Bible

LB

Tyndale House

1979

Paraphrase

 

The Message

Msg

NavPress

1993

Paraphrase

 

New American Bible

NAB

Catholic Press

1970

Thought for Thought

 

New American Standard

NASB

Foundation Press

1973

Word for Word

 

New Century Version

NCV

Word Bibles

1991

Free Translation

 

New International Version

NIV

International Bible Society

1978,1984, 2011

Thought for Thought

I prefer 1984 version

New Jerusalem Bible

NJB

Doubleday

1985

Thought for Thought

 

New King James Version

NKJV

Nelson

1982

Word for Word

 

New Living Translation

NLT

Tyndale House

1996

Thought for thought

 

New Revised Standard Version

NRSV

Zondervaan

1990

Word for Word

 

New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips

Ph

Macmillan

1958

Paraphrase

 

Commonly referred to as the Phillips

Today’s English Version

TEV

American Bible Society

1992

Thought for thought

Also called Good News Translation

 

* According to the translators, the primary goal of an optimal equivalence translation is “to convey a sense of the original text with as much clarity as possible”. To that end, the ancient source texts were exhaustively scrutinized at every level (word, phrase, clause, sentence, discourse) to determine its original meaning and intention. Afterwards, using the best language tools available, the semantic and linguistic equivalents were translated into readable a text as possible. (Holman Christian Standard Bible theory of translation)

Hugs,

Mary

Just A Little Grammar—

There—a location—over there

Their—a possessive—their home

They’re—a contraction of the words They are

Tuesday, May 7, 2013—Duster Dance Day, Getting Ready for a Colonoscopy, and Nourishment for My Heart

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Every Tuesday—Grab your duster and make dusting fun. Put on some music and arm any little ones at home with their own duster. Then dance and sing around your home and liberate the dust from the surfaces. Shake, shake, shake your duster outside and send that dust off into the breezes. When children work with you from toddlerhood—and you make it fun—fun will be their context for work. Take delight in your work and it will be delightful to you.

Today is the last day in our Living Room/Family Room area(s)
. Since it is Duster Dance Day we will feed and nourish the furniture in these areas with a little furniture polish. Whatever the task for the day we exercise a little more effort in our area of focus (zone).
What needs to happen in these rooms to rid them of clutter, make them more orderly, make them cleaner, and make them more lovely and comfortable?

In all your good work to make your home a place you want to be:

• Banish the clutter—find a home for each object in your home—not an overstuffed home but a home where it can be easily found when needed. If it will never be needed bless someone else with it—donate or give away. If it is in poor repair—fix it or toss it. If it makes you miserable, give it to someone who will enjoy it.
• Put each place into order—after you declutter, organize. Clutter defies organization.
• Clean each place—it is so amazing to clean a clutter free and orderly room. It is so much easier you will marvel at it.
• Make each place more beautiful and more comfortable. You are not cleaning a house. You are creating a place of comfort and beauty for yourself, and your loved ones—husband, children, family, and friends. You are making a place of sanctuary, love, joy, and peace—and, yes, there is peace even in the hubbub of children. There is peace in love and laughter.

Tomorrow—The Kitchen (May 8th-14th) and Wednesday—Desk Day!

In a couple of hours I will be headed to the hospital for a colonoscopy. The preparation was not fun but nowhere near as bad as I was told. In the days before the preparation I ate more lightly. I used my timer to keep me on track drinking that stuff that tasted like salty lemon Alka Seltzer. I did not sip. I drank it down as quickly as I could.

This morning I have
• Walked through my home and put each area in order. (5 minutes)
• Read my Bible and prayed (30 minutes)
• Put a load in the washer that is now ready to go into the dryer. (2 minutes)
• Started the dishwasher and wiped off the kitchen counters (1 minute)
• As soon as this is posted I will use Quicken to download all banking transactions and check my email. (15 minutes)
• I will get dressed and ready to go to the hospital for the colonoscopy
• I will spend 15 minutes in my office—that is where I am currently decluttering.
If I do nothing else today my home is in order and I have accomplished at least a little.

God’s Word nourishes me. This morning I read about David and how he was chosen King over Israel years before he would be crowned and how his focus on God and his vision of who the Israelites were made him able to defeat Goliath—a huge man and experienced warrior. (1 Samuel 16-17) In Psalm 57 my heart and soul were lifted up as I read:
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above the earth (vs. 5)

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and give praise. (vs. 7)

I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;
O will sing to You among the nations.
For your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above all the earth. (vss. 9-11)

Then in Proverbs 15:26, I read:
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD.
But the words of the pure are pleasant.

Finally, in Luke 23:26-56, I read about Jesus’ death on the cross and burial. I read about one of the thieves crucified next to Jesus, seeing Jesus for who He is and repenting. That man of sin was transformed into a man of God. He was promised that he would be with Jesus that day in paradise—the criminal’s life was forever changed for eternity in its last hours on earth.

Now my heart is steadfast for another day.

Hugs,
Mary


Do you make your bed each morning?
Your bed is the largest flat surface in your bedroom. Putting it into order will make an immediate difference in your room. It’s also wonderful to climb into a clean and comfortable bed at night instead of a tumble of sheets and blankets.