Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Housekeeping, Day 2: Just do it

(Note: I had this set to automatically post yesterday, and it didn't. I'm still learning!)

Now that we understand the importance of keeping a (relatively) neat and tidy home, I'd like to mention something that seems so very simple, but yet I missed it for so long.

The most efficient way to get your housework done, whether it be laundry, dishes, cleaning, organizing or deep cleaning, is to just do it.

Yep. Just do it. Seems simple, right? But I know that at one point in my life, I would spend an entire day trying to figure out the most efficient way to get laundry done, for example. I would rearrange how I have the laundry room set up. I would spend time making charts on my computer about what to wash on which days. I would Google various schedules and systems for getting things done, rather than just DOING them. I would procrastinate in every way possible.

When, in fact, the best way to make sure your housework is done is to do it. Just DO it. When you're tired, get something small done ANYWAY. When you're busy, set aside a few minutes to just get something done in the home. We know it's important, right? We know that our family and our home is one of our primary responsibilities as mothers/wives, right? Then give it some importance.

Now, life happens. And later this week, we'll talk a bit about priorities and what to do when life happens. I'm not saying drop EVERYTHING and scrub your floors. Let's be realistic, shall we? But sort and fold clothes during NCIS. Empty and reload the dishwasher while the soup for dinner is simmering. Find five minutes and do some small job that obviously needs to be done. Find a system that you like (and we'll talk about various systems tomorrow), and accomplish something.

I have a house full of kiddos most days. It feels like this place can go from acceptable to warranting a call to Hoarders or Clean House in a matter of minutes. I know how it feels to just be overwhelmed. But pick somewhere to start, and start there. Pick one surface, one drawer, one task and start it. When you're done, pick another one.

It seems simple, right? And maybe I'm the only person that struggles with procrastination and feeling overwhelmed, not knowing where to start. But I know that it helps me sometimes to just focus on something small, and get it done.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Housekeeping, Day 1: Appreciate it

Okay, here goes my first ever blog series. And I chose something as exciting, as entertaining, as life-changing, as housework!! I suppose that says something about my life.

First, please understand that my home is not spotless. Right now, it desperately needs to be vacuumed. My windows don't sparkle from a distance. Every surface is not pristine. What I am talking about is a general feeling of orderliness. A neat bathroom. Bedrooms where you can see the floor, laundry that goes from dirty to clean, folded and put away in a reasonable amount of time. The ability to find last year's taxes with only a few hours notice. That kind of thing.

My first piece of advice about housework is, appreciate the importance. I confess, for a long time, I didn't understand the importance of an orderly home. My room, growing up, was always an absolute disaster. When Josh was a baby, our home was disgusting. I had postpartum depression, and I didn't do anything. I started to get better, I got pregnant with Blaine, we moved, and things didn't improve overly much. I put everything else first. I didn't think housework was important. I read the poems about dust going to sleep and cobwebs being quiet, and justified my mess by saying I had many small children around.

And in doing so, I was ignoring one of my primary responsibilities and callings from God. As a mother, keeping a safe, comfortable environment for my husband and children is my job. Whether a mom stays at home or works outside, her husband and children are to be her primary calling and responsibility. Not every mom is able to stay home, and not every mom would want to if she could. But the fact remains, the home is still the highest calling for a woman. The Proverbs 31 woman, held up as the standard for all women, worked outside the home (although whether she was one woman or did all these things at one time in her life is a debate for another post). But still, she provides food for her household, her household is clothed in scarlet, she watches over the ways of her household.

We as Christians are also called to be hospitable. Like it or not, we're supposed to have company over, ladies. There's no rule about how often or when or who should come to dinner (or even that says you have to serve food). But our homes should be welcoming. When people came into my house when the boys were little and there wasn't a clean surface upon which to sit -- and they couldn't get there anyway because they stuck to the floor the moment they walked in the door -- that wasn't hospitable. My home wasn't welcoming.

Lastly, you don't ever have to like cleaning toilets. You don't have to enjoy dusting, or fall into raptures at the thought of laundry or dishes. But keeping a relatively tidy home is important. And when I began to understand the importance, it made it easier to do the things necessary to keep it clean.

Stay tuned this week for more practical tips that have helped me as I figure this mess out!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Clean, clear, pristine

(NOTE: Housekeeping posts start tomorrow. It's Sunday, y'all. Take the Lord's day off!)

I braved the cold and snow today, after several days stuck up in the house. I don't generally like to be cold, even a little bit, so I usually just watch the snow. But I was going a bit stir crazy. I even contemplated reorganizing Nate's office area that he never uses, and maybe even walking into the younger boys' room to clean out toys!

In an effort to shake off those unwanted nesting-type urges, I bundled up and ventured into the snow.

I wanted to take some pictures, but I can't find my camera! One of the biggest snowstorms ever to hit our area, and my camera has disappeared somewhere. Typical.

So, here is my best effort to write some pictures of what I saw.

Picture little brown birds, perched on a picnic table covered in snow. Quick little movements, teeny little feet leaving the cutest bird tracks you ever saw as they hop around pecking up the seeds we put out yesterday.

Then, walk out farther into the yard with me. Picture a red metal swingset, well used and well loved by the many children who have played in our yard. Picture a huge pine limb, covered in heavy white snow, cracked and laying on top of the swing set. But the swing set held, and didn't even bend. I think God knew the boys would have missed it.

Walk down to the pond with me, will you? Picture an arched wooden bridge over an icy, snowy creek, covered in nearly two feet of pristine snow. Across the bridge, the pond is iced over and also covered in snow.

Then, turn your head and look down through the cow field. Picture black cows in their thick, fuzzy winter coats. See them standing in the field, usually a muddy mess but now -- just white and clean. See the limbs of the trees behind them, also white with snow, against a deep blue winter sky. No clouds in sight.

Then, like me, you can thank God for the trees, for the cows, for beautiful view and the weekend of stopping and doing nothing. And maybe, like me, you will even thank Him for the snow.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I used to be a horrible housekeeper. Seriously, awful. My grandmother came once a week and cleaned my house. And that was back when I only had two children at home!

These days, I usually have five little ones at home. Josh (9), Blaine (8), Justin (6), Ayumi (1) and Cy-guy (1). The younger two are little ones I babysit. They are tons of fun -- but babies are work!

I'm not the world's best housekeeper, but I keep it pretty well picked up. The laundry is usually caught up, the floors have been vacuumed, the kitchen cleaned. It's not Martha Stewart's house by any means, but all in all -- company can drop by and it won't set me off.

There has been a lot of talk on various boards I post on about the best methods/systems for housekeeping.

Now, I am no expert. I have a looooong way to go. But in an effort to get out some thoughts on an issue that is obviously near and dear to the hearts of many Christian stay at home moms (and maybe to induce myself to blog more regularly), I'm going to blog about these issues this week!

My very first blog series! Wahoo.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Snow and I have a complicated relationship.

First off, I detest the cold. I'm a t-shirt and capris, sandals and ponytail kind of girl. The hotter, the better. Therefore, I do not go out in the snow.

However, I love to watch it fall from the sky. It makes everything look so clean and neat and white -- none of which are terms which could usually be used to describe my back yard. All of the broken plastic ride on toys, stacks of wood "forts" created by the boys, and piles of whatever that stuff is out next to Nate's shed all look pretty and white.

I love being forced to slow down, to enjoy one another's company, when we get a large snowfall. I love movies and cookies and hot chocolate with my boys. They are so wide open all the time, and beginning to have their own lives. Those times when we hang out as a family (or, "like a family," as they call it) are precious. Bad weather forces us to do that.

But then, in a few days, real life has to kick back up. And the snow makes me have tons of laundry. Lots of wet clothes and socks and lots of layers. And then the MUD. Snow is really water, in case you didn't know that. And when it melts into the ground, it makes mud. And then the mud gets on the shoes. Which come into my house on the feet. And then the mud falls off the shoes on the floor.

So, I will enjoy the 18 to 30 inches of snow which are about to fall from the sky for a few days. And when I stop enjoying it, I will just remember that May is only 85 days away.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Justin has a doctor's appt today. First, we are going to have the doc check out his ears. He had serious ear issues at birth that weren't followed up until he came to live with us when he was 20 months old. He had tubes and has improved, but he's been very loud recently. He's had the TV cranked up, and he keeps asking us to repeat ourselves. So, hearing checkup it is!

But more importantly, we are going to speak with the doctor regarding his recent behavior issues. Justin has been struggling a lot, and I have been struggling with him. He's been extremely defiant, terribly rude and basically evil to be around. Because he has RAD, I can't tell if there are other issues going on or if it just a complication of the RAD.

The last time we saw the doc, he gently suggested that perhaps it was time to consider some ADD/ADHD medications. I'm not sure whether or not I'm willing to go there.

Please pray for this appt. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Church planting

Church planting is hard.

It is probably the hardest thing I've ever been a part of.

The thing is, no matter how often we say otherwise out loud, there is always this underlying conviction that when God calls you to do something, it's going to go well. It's going to be a success.

And there is absolutely no indication in Scripture that this is the case. God says everything will work out "to the good" of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. But God doesn't define good the same way we do. God defines good as more holy, more Christ-like. Less selfish, less prideful, less focused on the things of this world.

God will put us through whatever fires are necessary to purify us to look more like Him. That's His "good."

And as we walk down a difficult road, I am reminded that God called me here whether I want to be here or not. My attitude needs to be graceful obedience.

And on the other side of all this, I will look more like Him.