Thursday, January 31

Do The Next Thing

I remembering reading about Elizabeth Elliot and her struggle to move forward after her young husband died, leaving her with an infant to raise by herself. She sought out wisdom from others as to how to handle her inability to get things done. She wasn't able to focus. She was overcome with grief and fear. I read with interest, knowing what she learned would be of great value. It would rich in Biblical truth. It would be life changing.

Actually, the advice that meant the most to her during her dark days was quite simple. If I remember correctly, a wise woman told her the best way to get moving was to just "do the next thing!" Elizabeth went on to explain that her 'next thing' was to change her little daughter's dirty diaper! Not too inspirational. Not really Biblical in content. Not especially life-changing at first glance. But it was words that had great wisdom. She celebrated each time a diaper needed changing because she realized she was moving ahead and over time what she did would pay off. It did, she raised a beautiful daughter!

What wisdom: "Do the next thing"! As Homemakers, may we all tuck that motto in our hearts where we can easily retrive it as we wrestle with perfectionism or procrastination or whatever keeps us from living each day to the fullest.

Stacy made this posting easy for me as she reminded me of this poem:

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

Author Unknown

Have a blessed day and do the next thing!

Wednesday, January 30

Cooking is cooking

On Monday I talked about perfectionism. Today I want to talk about another 'P' word: procrastination.

While I would like to think that I am naturally disciplined, the older I get the more I realize that I am a procrastinator. I need deadlines to bring me to action. Whether that's for writing projects or home projects, I can procrastinate with the best of them.

I noticed this week that if I don't want to work on a writing assignment, I will spend time with the Lord instead. If I don't feel like spending time with the Lord, I will clean the house and do the dishes. If I don't feel like doing the dishes, I will work on a writing project. See the crazy cycle?

I can make excuses with the best of them, that's why I love this quote: "What's a writer? Someone who writes. Planning to write is not writing. Outlining a book is not writing. Researching is not writing. Talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing."
~ E. L. Doctorow

Here's the homemakers version: "What's a cook? Someone who cooks. Planning to cook is not cooking. Making a grocery list is not cooking. Clipping coupons is not cooking. Talking to people about a new recipe, none of that is cooking. Cooking is cooking."

Together let's remind is cooking!

I'm imagining Barb has some wise words to share about this topic. I look forward to hearing what they are.

Tuesday, January 29

The Missing Piece

I am reminded of the children's story, The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein everytime I am prone to seek perfection.

The author has the wonderful ability of making a Circle come to it searches for a piece that it's missing. The 'missing piece' makes the Circle roll through town lopsided and uneven. He longs for a replacement part but never finds a piece that quite fits him. His intense search and uneven gait slows him down as he rolls along. He smells the flowers and chats with butterflies, all the while he looks for 'the missing piece'.

The Circle's search comes to an end when he finally finds a piece that is not too big, not too pointy, not too flat, but just perfect! He finally becomes a 'Perfect Circle'! When he puts the missing piece into place, he is able to roll with ease. He no longer has to pause or slow down. He can make his own problem.

It doesn't take long for the Circle to realize that there was a problem, however. He was now capable of going where he wanted to go but didn't take heed of anything along the way. He missed opportunities. He missed the small stuff. He missed alot of life.

Before long, the Circle removed the missing piece and went back to being the imperfect Circle. Being perfect wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. The Circle realized that being whole and being perfect was two different things.

He was whole as an incomplete Circle because he allowed others into his life and relished their imput into his life.

When I think I need to be perfect to impress others I remind myself I would rather be whole than perfect. I would rather have others in my life than to have life all about me.

Maybe I don't remember the story in its entirety, or have come away with it's deepest meaning but it is enough to remind myself that I need to focus on being whole, not perfect. I need to turn to others when I fall short and allow them to encourage me on my way.

It is in the journey that we find the wholeness, not in the perfection of ourselves.

Monday, January 28


I have been thinking a lot the past few days about perfectionism. I was scrapbooking this past weekend and I think it is so easy to get caught up in the idea that we need to create perfect scrapbook layouts with perfect pictures that represent our perfect families. Or why scrapbook at all? That mentality can be applied to anything:

  • keeping a perfectly clean house
  • having a picture-perfect marriage
  • being the perfect mom
  • cooking perfect, healthy meals every night
  • being perfectly consistent in our time with the Lord
  • developing a perfect looking body

Not only is this not realistic, it’s not Biblical. Read the following quotes about perfectionism and see if they challenge your thinking:

"What we are seeking is excellence, not perfection. Perfection is for our own self-gratification, excellence is for the glory of God." - Olan Hendrix

Julie Fuimano, Personal & Career Coach, says, "Perfectionism is one of the roots of procrastination."

Michael J. Fox said, "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business."

I have also read that perfection is defined as control. We desire to control the look, the process, the outcome, the end result.

Ladies, this is not how we want to live!

When we strive for perfection we are focused on self and others. Excellence takes the focus off ourselves and off impressing others, and keeps our focus on the Lord and bringing glory to Him alone. As it says above, perfection is God's business.

Together lets strive for excellence in our Homemaking journeys.

Friday, January 25

Clutter and Kids!

As a young mom, I always said to my kids 'go clean your room'. That was a daunting task for them. Organization was not a buzz word back then. I am not sure if I said, 'go organize your shelves, that that would have inspired my kids to go in and tackle their rooms any differently. Rarely did my kids make any progress when I told them to 'go clean their room'.

With children comes chaos and clutter, but it is the wise mom who gently nudges her kids to start at a young age to take care of themselves. I am talking about 'age appropriate' behavior, but children need to see early on that work and taking care of themselves is a part of life. 'Cleaning a room' is not possible for a toddler, but taking care of their books is possible and it is necessary for them to see the importance of it. That is a baby step in the bigger picture of taking care of themselves.

When I saw housekeeping and organizing as an act of 'taking care of myself', I was able to do a better job on the daily tasks that needed attention. I think kids can relate to that more than a vague sense of 'clean'!

Here's favorite prayer from the Mother's Almanac that you might want to pray right along with your kids!

Help me to work,
Help me to play,
Help me to learn a bit each day.
Teach me to wash,
Teach me to scrub,
To hang my clothes and clean my tub;
To put my toys upon the shelf,
Help me, dear Lord, to help myself.

(Did I hear an AMEN?!)

Thursday, January 24

A place for everything....

For Christmas I got a CD of a talk by Organized Audrey (yes, my friends know me well...they followed up Queen of the Castle and the Label Maker with a motivational speaker on organization!). Side note: how organized does one have to be to get the professional title of organized before their name? Wow!

The CD has some great tips and one of the easiest to remember and implement is that everything in your home needs a home. That seems so obvious....especially when I think of the old saying "A place for everything and everything in its place!"

The more I thought about it, and observed my home, I realized that many things in my home, don't have a home. I shuffle papers from here to there, I move things from one room to another, one drawer to another... I mean to file them, or store them, or display them, but I'm just not sure where.

Audrey also says that clutter is a result of delayed decisions. Oh my. I delay all the time. And the reason is that I don't know where it should go because it doesn't have a home!

See the cycle? I found this great article online about "A place for everything...." If you don't have time to read it all, scroll down to the 6 points and read through those.

In the process of organizing my home, I bought containers for our bathroom and placed like items in each: sunscreen and lotions, bug spray, nail care, lotions, medicines, first aid items, travel items, restocking items and my toiletries and my husband's toiletries. Every single thing in our bathroom has a place and it seems to be working quite well. least one room is taken care of!

Have any of you tackled a room, or even a drawer, in your home? Lets encourage and motivate one another. I'd love to hear your challenges and successes!

Here's to a happy and someday-everything-in-its-place home!

Wednesday, January 23

What Is Your Dream?

You've heard it before, but I must say it again,

a 'goal is a dream with a deadline'!

Stacy is working towards her dream(see posting 1/22/08) move into a neighborhood where she will start a 'community to minister to her neighbors.' In order to achieve this dream, she needs to get her home packed up and ready for the sale. Ms FreeSpirit can handle this goal, because her dream pushes her onward. That's how we FreeSpirits operate!

We need a dream in sight to keep us on track.

What is your dream?

Whatever your style of Homemaking may be, remember to write out your goals/dreams to include:

1. A statement of quantity
ie: HOW MUCH you are wanting to accomplish
2. A date for completion
ie: A Deadline to meet

This will allow your dreams to become goals. They will be measureable. They will come to fruition.

That's how dreams do come true...for the SuperCleans and the FreeSpirits alike!

Tuesday, January 22

Queen of...chaos?

If your friends joke about your disorganization and messiness does that mean you are automatically labeled as a Free Spirit? Or how about when those same friends give you a book titled Queen of the Castle?

Some people might have been offended by such a gift, but I love the book and it is perfect for me! I am definitely NOT the Queen of Clean. The best part is the subhead: 52 Weeks of Encouragement for the Uninspired, Domestically Challenged or Just Plain Tired Homemaker.

We all need encouragement - particularly those of us who are uninspired. Case in point: currently I am going through my home room by room, closet by closet, drawer by drawer as we get ready to put our house on the market. It is a lot of work and not a process that I am enjoying at all.

But I LOVE the end result. I love the organization. I love the cleanliness. I love having things labeled and in Rubbermaid containers (my friends gave me a Label Maker as well!).

I'm sharing this as a way to encourage all you Free Spirits. As we have said before...the goal is not perfectionism. It's a home that is peaceful, comfortable and relaxing for all who live there.

If you are feeling domestically challenged just take it one drawer at a time. Your family will thank you for it (and if they don't, you'll thank yourself).

Monday, January 21

January is National Organization Month!

I think there are 2 kinds of Homemakers in this is the Ms SuperClean who has a place for everything and everything in its place; and then there is Ms FreeSpirit. She can't imagine having a 'place for everything' because it would completely destroy her creativity and individuality. Which one are you?
You may find yourself on a continuum somewhere in the middle, but none the less you have a bent towards one end or the other when it comes to keeping your house in order.
I can't bring both 'camps' of Homemakers together in this blog, but I can encourage you to realize what kind of Homemaker you tend to emulate and reach across the aisle to see what you might learn from the Homemaker who does things so different from you.
I have always had to stretch across the aisle to Ms SuperClean to get ideas of how to organize my home. It doesn't come easy for me. I have learned, however, the immense benefit my whole family has received when I made myself improve in this area. I have to also point out that my friends who reached across to get my help in 'living with flexibility', have grown in their ability to smell the roses even if they were strewn all over the patio.
Homemaking is personal. It is individual. It is a constant. But it also is a wonderful forum to discover your strengths and weaknesses and become even more than who you thought you could be.
Make January a 'National Personal Growth Month' and try being the Homemaker you never thought you could be! If you are Ms SuperClean, try relaxing and do what others in your home want you to do today. If you are Ms FreeSpirit, try disciplining yourself to organize your life for the sake of others in your family. It is the wise Homemaker that realizes that building a home is not about having things done 'my way'. It is about serving others joyfully and that might just mean that you may need to build within yourself first.

I can already hear the groans of personal growth beginning!
Happy January

Friday, January 18

Changed lives?

"The scriptures were given not to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives." - D. L. Moody

This weekend let's meditate on those wise words together. May the scriptures change our attitudes, our words and our actions as we strive to be Homemakers with Hope.

Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, January 17

Study...It's Biblical!

As much as I need to sit and listen to God, I have discovered over the years the importance of being a student of the Word as well. It is in KNOWING the Bible and God's character that I am able to find peace when my days are harried.

2 Timothy 2:15 says to "study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

For many years I took this to be the job of a pastor or teacher. But I have found through experience that I need to have the ability to search the scriptures and be able to find answers with confidence as I experience the ups and downs of life.

The Bible also repeats itself in the need to SEEK God.

Here are some verses to check out in your quiet time:

Hebrews 11:66 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Acts 17:2727 "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

Lam 3:25 "The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;"

Deut 4:29 "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Jer 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart "

What we started in Homemakers with Hope is just a basic binder...meant to be customized to fit each gal's style and journey with God. It will be a nice reference every year, with all of one year's insight in one place. It is not meant to take the place of praying and listening, but should add to those disciplines as God speaks to us and shows us what we need to learn in 2008.

Give it a try and let's journey together.

Wednesday, January 16

Being A Student

At Homemakers this week Barb gave us each a 3-ring binder and encouraged us to be students of the Word. Just as we would go to any class with our book and note-taking paper and binder, she encouraged us to go before the Lord each day with our 'study materials.'

I love the idea and am excited about putting my binder to use and filling it with all I am learning this year. She even gave us a 'skeleton' of tabs to fill it up:

Theme and goals (Notes, Scripture, our theme definition and what we are learning about our 2008 theme)

Notes (from Sunday sermons or anything we learn in our time with the Lord)

Verses (Verses we have memorized, want to remember, or want to memorize)

People (Relationships with people in our life, relationships we need to repair)

Books and quotes (Lists of books we want to read, books we did read, quotes that we found this year and want to remember)

We can customize the binder (and so can you) but the idea is not to make a perfect binder, but rather put it to use as we go before the Lord each day and become a student.

I love this idea since knowing God is my theme for 08. As I read through Scripture I am writing down attributes of God's character. As I read through stories I write down things I am learning about God that I want to know and remember. I look forward to seeing my binder filled with life-changing truths that I have learned this year.

Does this idea appeal to you? What study materials do you use in your time with the Lord? Would you consider grabbing a 3-ring binder and becoming a student of the Lord in 08?

Tuesday, January 15

Wise Men Do It...So Should Wise Women!

Socrates said a “life unexamined is a life not worth living.”

Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Jim Elliot, the missionary who was brutally murdered by the people he was serving, said that journaling "was one discipline that forced himself to articulate on paper and that helped him concentrate and give direction to life".

These wise men wrote down their thoughts and their dreams.

Writing down the moments of life that were meaningful to these men lead them in a direction that made their life memorable and meaningful. As Stacy and I have been talking about finding a 'theme' for your new year, we are really saying to take some time to focus on what it is you want to go after in your walk with God and in your personal life in 2008. By narrowing it down to a theme, you will be more aware of teachable moments in your life that you may have missed in years gone by.
At "Homemakers with Hope" last night, I read the 3 quotes from above and once again encouraged the girls to WRITE out their theme. I challenged them to find the definition of the word and find verses that reinforce the theme.
Writing out what you hope to discover about yourself in choosing that theme may give you clarity and purpose. One year my theme was 'Generosity'. I wanted to reach out to others and give without regret. I wanted to share without holding on to my possessions so tightly. I wanted to give sincere compliments and reach out to help in a generous way. Boy, that was a busy year...of changing my habits, actions, life.

If you decide to take on this challenge of having a theme for 2008, try different 'themes' on for size and choose a theme that will go along with where you are in life right now. If you can't see straight because of all that you have to do, consider the simple theme of 'breathe'. Practicing what it means to inhale God's strength and spirit when you feel like you are burning out. To find God's 'still small voice' as you breathe and escape the hustle and bustle of your frantic schedules. Maybe a theme of 'laughter' would make you mindful to lighten up. What a gift that would be for your family. Or maybe you need to get more serious so a theme of 'discipline' or 'focus' would be more appropriate.

Whatever you choose, WRITE IT DOWN. Don't write it down in hopes that you will go down in history like Socrates or Thoreau, but in hopes that some day your children and husband may rise up and call you 'blessed' because you intentionally sought God's best for your life each year.

Monday, January 14

Knowing God

A few weeks ago Barb posted about having a theme each year. Barb encourages the Homemakers to do this each January so I have had a few themes over the years. This year my theme is "Knowing God."

In the past I haven't given as much thought to my theme. I chose it, but then I didn't do too much with it. I would think about it from time to time and maybe read a book on that topic or look up some related Scripture.

This year I decided to write out my theme. I chose to write why I picked this theme, found some related scripture and a few quotes that challenged me about my theme. I plan to work on my theme daily. The only way I can know God more is if I read His Word and spend time in His presence.

I thought I would share my theme with you and encourage you to choose a theme as well. If you take the time to do this now, you could see great results in how your attitude changed, what you learned or how you grew from being intentional about this theme.

Please comment if you are choosing a theme. We'd love to know what you've picked!

Knowing God


I recently heard a quote by Beth Moore that challenged my thinking: "I know my God,” she said. “I don't understand everything about Him. But I know my God is good. I know my God is love. I know my God has my best interest in mind."

Then I read this quote and it spoke right to me: “We only trust people we know,” says Martha Tennison. “If you’re really struggling to trust God, it may be because you don’t really know God.”


Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

“Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God.” - Andrew Murray

“The more you get to know the Lord, the easier it will be to obey Him. That is what our quiet times should be about…getting to know Him.”

“God wants you to simply know him in the present and trust him with the unspoken ending”. – Ginger Garrett

“Being still before God is the Greatest Privilege that a Christian can have, besides being Born Again. When we are with God, we start to become more and more like him. This is something that most Christians lack - being still before the Throne of God. We dedicate most of our time getting our heads full of knowledge and have no quality time with our Father. An unsaved person can learn doctrine but that doesn't make him a good Christian. The same with us - we can learn doctrine until we are blue in the face and it can actually hinder us from knowing Jesus, like apostle Paul said ‘Knowledge puffs up but Love edifies.’" - Tony Ciaramello

Friday, January 11

A Misquote!!!

Did you know that "Practice Makes Perfect" is a misquote? I didn't know that! For the longest time, I have been practicing to be perfect!

"Practice Is Everything!" was the original quote said by Periander!

What a relief, actually! I don't need to strive for perfection. I just need to keep practicing!!
As soon as I posted the other day about dealing with interruptions in my well-planned day, I was tested all day long with interruptions of all sorts. I had to 'practice' using creativity to handle my interruptions and more importantly I had to 'practice' keeping my attitude relaxed.

As we move into the New Year, let's remember that 'practice is everything' is part of the journey. Let's not get discouraged if we don't 'achieve' all that we hope to do. Let's encourage one another to just keep practicing to work towards the goal that WISE WOMEN MAKE GOOD USE OF THEIR TIME. If practice is everything, we will reach that goal. Maybe not perfect, but certainly wiser as we learn to value our time and make the most of each day of this New Year.

Thursday, January 10

Only Six Things To Do?

I love to-do lists. In fact, I make them all the time. I write them when I am in the car, at church, in my office, or whenever I can grab a post-it note. I have always believed that to-do lists help me use my time wisely and get a lot accomplished.

However, my long to-do lists often overwhelm me and I can easily get side-tracked from my list.

I once heard that to be successful in life you should write down the six most important things you need to do tomorrow in order of importance and do them.

Turns out this bit of advice is worth a lot of money!

The story goes....
Around 100 years ago, Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, wanted to increase his own efficiency, and of the management team at the steel company. Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert of the time, approached Mr. Schwab, and made a proposition Charles Schwab could not refuse:

Ivy Lee: "I can increase your people's efficiency – and your sales – if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives."

Charles Schwab: "How much will it cost me?"

Ivy Lee: "Nothing, unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it's worth to you."

Charles Schwab: "It's a deal."

The following day, Ivy Lee met with Charles Schwab's management executives, spending only ten minutes with each in order to tell them:

Ivy Lee: "I want you to promise me that for the next ninety days, before leaving your office at the end of the day, you will make a list of the six most important things you have to do the next day and number them in their order of importance."

Astonished Executives: "That it?"

Ivy Lee: "That's it. Scratch off each item after finishing it, and go on to the next one on your list. If something doesn't get done, put it on the following day's list."

Three months later, Schwab studied the results and was so pleased that he sent Lee a check for $25,000.

This story is referred to as the $25,000 idea. It's so simple! Six things seems a lot more manageable than my usual to-do list. Let's try this together for 7 days and see if it helps us use our time more wisely!

Wednesday, January 9

A Quick Question...What About the Interruptions?

Wise Women Make Good Use of Their Time...that is our topic this week. It actually could be our topic for the month as there are so many ways to look at this subject. As I wrestled with learning how to handle my time, a re-occurring question kept coming to my mind. "What do I do with all the interruptions that bombard me every day?" No matter how much I planned, I could never anticipate many things/people that would interrupt my well-designed day.
I read a book years ago that has given me the best answer to my question. The name of the book was Ride the Wild Horses. I don't remember anything about the book except the author gave three ways to handle life's interruptions. The book was probably pretty heavy-duty as far as subject matter, but I took these 3 points and applied it to daily interruptions. It really worked! As I have become aware of these choices, I have become aware of how they transfer over to handling bigger life interruptions. ( a topic for another week!)

Have I teased you enough that you want to know what the three ways of looking at interruptions are?
1. You can handle interruptions with resentment.
2. You can handle interruptions stoically.
3. You can handle interruptions creatively.

It was the 3rd way of handling interruptions that was a light-bulb moment for me. Before considering this option, I would take on an interruption and fume about it and resent that my day was now wrecked. Sometimes I would 'stuff' my emotions and passively deal with the interruption (stoically). Neither of these options would solve my problem of interruptions and neither would allow me to deal with them in a positive way. When I took on interruptions as a challenge to be creative and learn how I could incorporate them into my day...I became successful in managing my time. I was managing my problems...hence I was managing my life.
Hey, be encouraged! You have your whole life ahead to implement new ideas. Be creative this New've got 357 more days to manage!!

Tuesday, January 8

Time wasters

Wow, Barb's words really hit home with me! Now that I work from home a few days each week I have no one here to watch how I use my time. From day one I said I wanted to be a good steward of my time. I said I wanted to be efficient and effective with my time.

Some days I am and some days I am not. And, in the New Year, if I am honest with myself, the days I am not a good steward of my time seem to be more frequent.

Just like Barb mentioned, e-mail and the Internet are two huge time wasters for me! I can hop on for just 10 minutes and an hour later be engrossed in, on someone's blog or researching a topic :)

I also have found that the phone can eat up my time. Why do I always feel the need to answer it? If I am in the middle of work, a project or something else that needs my attention, I know the chances of me returning to that are slim to none when I get done chatting with a friend. Then I don't get my work or home projects completed, and I am out of time!

How does one learn to manage time better? For me, praying through my time and the list of things I have to do is always helpful. I ask others to pray about me being a good steward of my time. And, I have asked for accountability in this area as well.

I wish I was more disciplined than I am. I wish I was so focused that I didn't get distracted by my computer or the ringing of the phone. But recognizing I do is step one. Making some wise choices (and changing some bad habits) is step two...and the harder of the two!

Monday, January 7

Wise Women Make Good Use of Their Time!

I am not a real dogmatic person. I don't like confrontation and I would prefer to listen to someone else talk rather than control the conversation myself. There are a few topics, however, that I can get very passionate about. Making good use of my time is one of them. I can be passionate about it because I have not always held that conviction. As a young wife, I thought I had all the time in the world. I wasn't even aware that I should be more conscious of how I spent my days. I would love to go back to those days with the awareness I have now about time-management and apply some of those skills to my life. Wow, my life would have been so much easier and enjoyable. I loved being on my own and when I got married, I loved the feeling of being spontaneous and flexible. All of that is fine, but there needs to be some focus and balance. I had a terrible time changing my habits and getting my schedule in order and my time under control, so that is why I would like to shout it from the roof-tops to all aspiring wise women: WISE WOMEN MAKE GOOD USE OF THEIR TIME! This New Year, be honest with yourself as to how good a time manager you are. Ephesians 6:15-16 says we are to "live not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." That Biblical principle could have saved me YEARS, if I had only intentionally obeyed it. A house doesn't get organized by itself, the meals don't get made, my body doesn't get a work-out, and on the list goes if TIME isn't managed. What might be a time waster for you?
1. E-mail is a newer phenomenon and a potential time waster
2. Surfing the internet without a specific purpose or time limit (set a timer if you are in the habit of doing this!)
3. Running to the grocery story too often because you haven't taken the time to plan a menu and prepare a list
4. Talking on the phone can be a subtle time waster
5. Distractions can pull you off track if you aren't mindful of your time.
6. TV can grab you in a minute and before you know it,an hour has gone by!
7. Disorganization (more about this in the days ahead!)

It's a New Year. It's a New Week! Start today to live in the moment and consider how you are spending your time. I've quoted Ps 90:12 before, "Teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom"
Now go and become wise!!

Friday, January 4

He Makes All Things New

Steven Curtis Chapman has a song titled "All Things New." I love that song... "You redeem and You transform, You renew and You restore. You make all things new." Praise God for those beautiful words.

Revelations 21:5 says, "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."

So in 2008 I am writing to tell you that God makes all things new because I believe those words are true and that we have a God who is faithful. He promises to make ALL things new.

While it may not be this side of Heaven that we will see things made new, what joy it brings to know that one day God will wipe all our tears away and death, sorrow, crying and pain will be no more.

I feel a sense of peace that my God declared for all people of all time that he is a God who makes all things new.

A dear friend who had a difficult 2007 shared with me a few weeks ago that she woke up to "All Things New" playing on her radio. She is believing and trusting in a God who makes all things new. She is choosing to believe that 2008 is a New Year with new potential, new hopes and new dreams.

I am choosing to believe 2008 will be a year filled with new opportunities, new lessons learned, and new memories.

I pray that the words of Revelation 21 will encourage your heart today as you claim the promise that God makes all things new!

Thursday, January 3

What Does 2008 Hold For You?

Happy New Year...we are into January 2008! A new calendar, everything is fresh and uncluttered. Have you thought about giving a 'theme' to this year? A theme that will encourage you to learn more about you and your walk with God? I have chosen a 'theme' for each year for many years. I did so just to give myself something to learn about over the year. It was not a rigid task or a way to conquer a topic, but simply to make me aware of a new concept or habit. One year, I had 'faith' for my theme. I challenged myself to live by faith, to respond in faith and to read and learn about faith through out that year. I found that small habits began to change as I started 'giving in faith'. That was a challenge for me because I work on commission and I save things up for the future...just in case I might need it. The year I tried to learn more about faith, I gave freely, having faith that God would supply my needs. I remember having to talk myself into parting with things in order to test my faith. The year I was learning about faith just made me aware of how I didn't operate on faith very much. It made me aware that it was a life-long challenge, but at least I was getting a start. That awareness has been with me to this day. One year isn't enough to devote to a topic as big a 'faith', but as least it got me started thinking about having that focus. Other themes I have chosen have been perseverance, prayer, a quiet spirit, listening to God and peace. Choosing a theme is easy, focusing on it and learning about it takes abit more discipline. That's why we have a New begin again and try to do things in a better way, a way that might make me a better woman, wife, mom, and friend. This year my theme is 'Delight'! Why? Because the Bible says to "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Often I wonder why I don't get my desires fulfilled. This year I am going to focus on delighting myself in the Lord and see what habits and attitudes I may need to change. 'Delight', according to the dictionary is having "a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture. Something that gives great pleasure." If I do nothing else than live each day with pleasure,with 'delight in the Lord', 2008 will be a very good year.
So what would be a good theme for 2008 for you? Share with us and we can encourage each other along the way!

Wednesday, January 2

Here's to a healthy snack in the new year!

My husband loves to snack! When he gets home from work his eyes start looking for something to munch on. Recently, I have been making this snack for him - it's a much better snacking option than a bag of chips! We really enjoy it and I hope you do too!

Gobble Up Granola Snack

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup or honey

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, stir together the rice cereal and oats. Set aside. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine the brown sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the cereal and oat mixture, and mix well.

3. Press into the prepared pan using the back of a large spoon. Allow to cool, then cut into squares.

Tuesday, January 1

Saturated Fat

Happy New Year!

How is 'Saturated Fat' for a title to my posting?! This time of year we are all thinking, talking and planning our New Year's Resolutions. What are you resolving this year?

I challenge and encourage you to choose a resolution that is specific and measurable. Eat healthy or exercise more is not measurable or specific. What choices will you make to eat healthy? How many days/minutes will you exercise? Maybe your resolution is to spend more time with your husband or kids at home. Maybe it is to watch less tv. What does that look like and how will you measure it to determine if you are doing it successfully?

Shortly after Thanksgiving we discovered that my husband has high cholesterol. Our goal is to lower his cholesterol through his diet and exercise. Through research and discussions with others, we have learned that we do not need to limit all fats from his diet, but specifically saturated fats.

So I am resolving to pay very close attention to saturated fats this year. This means that I am busy reading labels on everything I buy. I am learning a lot and trying not to purchase foods that have more than 1 g or 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.

It is hard but my husband's health inspires me! When we go out to eat it is harder to make wise food choices so we are resolving to be wise with what we eat at home....and for us that means less saturated fat. That said, I did make cookies tonight :) But we ate in moderation....!

Do you read labels? That is a great way to be aware of what you are eating and what you are preparing for your family to eat. Barb told us in one of our first years of Homemakers that much of what our husband eats is due to what WE place in front of them. That includes breakfast, dinner and often times left overs for lunch.

That seems like a lot of responsibility and it is. At times I am do I cook healthy meals that don't take hours to prepare while being conscious of the food budget? One day at a time :)

Please comment and let us know what your New Year's Resolutions are. We'll try to tackle some of those topics in the coming days and weeks!