Saturday, February 28, 2015

Getting It All Done With a Little Fun

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..."... Colossians 3:23


My buddy, Dolores, asked how I keep up with housework. I've been a bit of a slouch lately (being on winter vacation, shall we say...), but I have kept the house straightened.

While sitting around like a slug, one doesn't want to gaze for hours at piles of clutter, right?  :)

So here are some ideas and you need not only associate them with housekeeping. Go broader, ok? These can help anyone do anything.

First idea: Mix it up. Ruts can, if not kill you, kill your creativity, enjoyment and your 'want to'.

Some days I do my housework/blogging/whatever during tv commercials. I'll watch a couple favorite shows, pop up from the couch during their ads and quickly peck away at tasks like loading the dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen, feeding the cats, gathering clothes for laundry etc., (such an endless list, indeed). If my program has no commercials, I pause it every few minutes.

(This also works when you pause between chapters of books. Been there, done that a zillion times.)

When it comes to ironing or clipping coupons, I do those during tv shows and I pay bills while listening to terrific radio retro-tunes.

Some mornings, I set a timer for ten minutes and play Beat The Clock. Often I can straighten our tiny house in that short time, but even if I can't, it's fun to try.

If I complete a task, especially a procrastinated one, I reward myself with extra reading or computer or playing outside time. Or, ok, a snack and a tv show.  :) (Fill in the blank your favorite reward _____.)

I keep a list on the refrigerator for tasks which need to be done and find pleasure in crossing them off. Other days I just tear off a tiny piece to write down what must be done that day (or else!) and set it in the middle of the counter. (The refrigerator list is always crazy-long and easy to ignore.)

Occasionally I keep a typed-up Monday-through-Sunday list of chores and some ideas for fun and creativity, spreading tasks evenly. My favorite thing about this is, when Friday comes along, I can grab this list and quickly run around so to complete unfinished chores.

Lists. A homemaker's best friend. Also, I spend lots of time asking myself, "How can I make my job easier around here?" I often look for short-cuts to housework online and in old-fashioned homemaking books.

Quoting the verse, above, greatly helps. So does (especially as one grows older) repeating, "I can do this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And carrying God's presence while doing whatever we must do. This changes everything.

Learning to receive Grace for doing everything--that's huge. God's mercy is new every morning, as well as His measures of creativity, inspiration and the will to make each month/year/decade unique and rut-free.

At least, that's what I believe.


Still need some inspiration for keeping house? This blog might help. But oh, there are a ton of others out there, as well!


Wondering about Tom over in South Africa? He's doing fine. Mostly. A water line did break in the ceiling outside of the bathroom he shares with a roommate and while they (and others) cleared the water, he strained his back a bit. He moved in with someone else, but will probably return to his room today.

We do chat over Skype daily, but we're unable to use the see-the-other-person feature because his signal over there is weak. Oh well. At least we do get to talk each day, even for a few minutes.


Free Kindle books:

The Christmas Sisters

Out of the Storm

Christian Marriage 101

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For Lovers of Houses. And Peace.

"Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."   ... Colossians 3:13


Netflix.  The greatest thing since chocolate cake.  

This morning at Netflix I discovered The Brian Boitano Project. You haven't seen it yet? It's about this:

"On a recent vacation to the old country, Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano discovered his Italian family, and the town his relatives migrated from. He also discovered, and ultimately purchased an old family home in desperate need of repair. Now Brian is taking it upon himself to totally renovate the home as a summer villa for family and friends to enjoy, and we are there for the journey!"

But here's the thing: After purchasing the crumbling, centuries' old family home with all its (awesome) antique tables, beds, chairs and a cast-iron stove, Brian takes two of his little-old-lady cousins through the house and they share old family stories with him.

Then while he spends a month in the States, those 'sweet little old ladies' secretly sell all of Brian's furniture. They emptied the entire house, well, except for the basement junk.

Oh. My. Goodness. Brian returns, discovers what they've done and is shocked. But within hours he decides to let it go. To say nothing to the women and to not reclaim the furniture since by now, it has the negativity of this situation attached to it, anyway.


Me? I'd have gone and pounded on those women's door. "How could you?" I would have puffed. "The house was mine, the furniture was mine. Get it back. Get it all back. Now."  And then been known as one of those insane, selfish Americans, thus alienating me from the group of Italian relatives I'd just met.

Obviously, Brian Boitano is a better man than I am.  :)

Anyway, I'm so enjoying watching Brian, his crew and his nieces restore this lovely old Italian villa. And I'm learning about forgiveness by viewing an example in action, something of which we can never see too much.


"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two."   ...Matthew 5:39-41


Here are some other stories of houses I thought you might like:

Restoration of a French Chateau.

Living Happily in 90 Square Feet

Ten Tiny Dwellings


Free Kindle books:

Preppers' Garden Food Production

Natural Cleaning Solutions

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Are You 'Saying So'?

I graduated from high school in Chester, CA and it's been 27 years since I lived there, but you know what I still enjoy doing? Every few weeks I read the obituaries from Chester's newspaper online.

There's just something about a good obituary, even if you didn't know the person, as in the case of this woman whose obit, today, I found touching: 

"Marcie’s personal life was defined by her unconditional love for and devotion to her husband Bob, who sadly preceded her in death by four years. They were deeply in love throughout their 62 year marriage and relished their final years together in Graeagle.

Marcie’s dynamic spirit and vitality will be greatly missed. She will be remembered for many things by many people: her inspirational strength, her steadfast work ethic, her patriotism and her commitment to serve her country and her community. Marcie wanted no memorial service — she asked only of her family that they “remember me” after her passing, and to this we reply: “Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma – with the impact that you have had on shaping our moral and ethical compasses, how could we possibly forget you?”

But it surprises me how often I recognize the family name of kids with whom I attended high school. The past few years, many have lost a parent (as I have) and sometimes, even a brother or sister. And something I like to do? When possible, I try to contact those classmates, even if they might not remember me, and express my condolences.

I think that's an important thing, speaking or writing our compassionate thoughts. Here online, also, when any of us run across bloggers or others who have lost someone or even a dearly-loved pet.

Here's a verse which nudges me to do that, though it's one of those verses which people truly need to yank outside of the box we've often stuffed it into:

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."   ...Psalm 107:2

To me? That verse means way more than boldly admitting we are Christians and our gratitude for such. I believe it instructs us to also speak out our condolences, our thank-you's for kindnesses from others, our encouragement to the depressed, our compliments, love, appreciation and so much more.

Basically, we should live ready to speak as Jesus would if He was standing here, visibly, amongst us. And to say unto others what we'd appreciate them saying to us.

Often I ask myself, "Are you, a redeemed one, saying so?" And usually I answer, "Oh dear. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no."

My aim is to someday be able to say, "Always, yes!"


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."   ...Proverbs 16:24

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."   ... James 4:17

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."   ... Colossians 4:6


This weekend we are due for temperatures above freezing for the first time since January(!) Be still my heart, and look-out supermarket and Dollar Tree, here I come! :)


Free Kindle books:

Where Wildflowers Bloom

The Homecoming

Mail Order Brides