Monday, January 31, 2011

Project 365: Week 5

Join us over at Sara's for Project 365.
It's a great way to remember the year!

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Monday, January 24th

Blackhawk at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum. We spent the afternoon touring the museum with Mark's parents.


I didn't actually take this picture, but borrowed it from Mom because one of the last things we did together before they left was make a run to Starbucks to warm up.


I spent Wednesday and Thursday working on some quilting projects. These are squares that my Grandma had made. I inherited them. I laid them out to see what I could make out of all the stripes. It has potential.


Finally some snow!! We had a wonderful lazy day enjoying the snow. I did, however, feel sorry for the neighbor who's work truck is under this tree. Ouch!

Late Thursday night we got a call that Mark's father passed away from a massive heart attack. I've been so busy making plans/arrangements that I didn't even think about taking pictures. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we fly to CA so maybe I'll get back in the swing of things as we travel.

The funeral is Wednesday at 11am. We'd appreciate your prayers for traveling safety (can we make it over the Midwest storm?) and comfort for our family. I'll be gone a couple of weeks and maybe unplugged. If you don't hear from me, I'll catch up when I get back!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Father's Passing

Thursday night we received the call that Mark's father passed away from a massive heart attack while reading his Bible in preparation for Sunday's sermon.

It has been a whirlwind of activity, phone calls, and little rest ever since.

My husband, Mark, is the oldest of five children and flew yesterday from Virginia to California to take care of his Mom and all the arrangements. We will follow soon.

At this time, words are hard. Tears are flowing. Mom and Dad were just with us last week for a visit. In the previous post you can see them playing a board game with us. Life can change in an instant.

Life will change in an instant a few times in our lives. If we have the Lord, He carries us beautifully through. How do others do it without Him? I can't imagine.

There are so many details that the Lord is orchestrating perfectly and I want to share them with you, but I'm too tired to think, let alone write at the moment. I will do my best to share His faithfulness with you soon.

If you feel led to pray, please ask for wisdom and strength for Mark and safety for family and friends who will be traveling, some even from the other side of the world. And, of course, comfort for the family.

Thank You!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Project 365: Week 4

Join us over at Sara's for Project 365.
It's a great way to remember the year!

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Sunday, January 16th

My 2011 calendar for January says, "May the hand of a friend always be near you...May your heart be filled with gladness to cheer you."


Katie and Dad were having a paper wad fight at the end of a meal. Katie ran off and came back to the table dressed for protection.


Cheeseburger Pie...not as photographic as I'd like on a red plate, but comfort food around here.


Clearing out the clutter...cookbooks to give-away.


So true... (sign hanging in my kitchen!)


In-laws from CA visiting. Teaching them how to play Settlers of Catan.


Here's Mom M. teaching me how to make zwieback.


My son ate the hoochie koochie burger with added hot sauce from Red Hot & Blue. The last bite was a tough one, but sweet victory went down well with milk!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Organization Speech

The following three posts contain my speech given to homeschool moms at a support group meeting last Thursday. I hope you'll take the time to read it through to the end. My heart's desire is that you will be encouraged!

Think Differently About Organization!

Organization. I venture a guess that when you hear someone is going to talk on the subject of organizing, you mentally think to yourself in one of three ways:

The first group thinks, “I’m organized already. Ok, well, maybe not all the way, but I love this stuff so I’m good.”

The second group thinks, “Organized? I’m in survival mode, lady! I don’t need the guilt, thank you very much. Please, go home and clean a closet or something and enjoy yourself. Right now I’ve got “x” to deal with and can’t even think about organizing something.”

Then there are a few of you who just hope I’ll touch on one or two areas that so desperately need attention in your life. You’re just looking for a fresh idea to try.

At different times I’ve thought all these things. So my goal today is to share something that will be useful, no matter what you may be thinking.

I believe that Organization is more about thinking than doing. I don’t have hard facts to back me up, but go with me for the moment and let’s say the process of organization is something like 80% thought and 20% execution.

When we read an article on organization from a newsstand magazine it is often full of concrete tasks: “configure your closet like this, put your files in this order, set goals, prioritize and plan your week around it all.” They’ve tried to remove the thinking part for us and give us doable solutions.

In some instances, we adopt the idea presented and it works well. Other times we create our own variation on the idea and incorporate it. But all too often, we either know inherently that the idea won’t work for our lifestyle or we try it and find that we just don’t conform to it’s intended success.

Because of these experiences we come to a talk on Organization with a preconceived notion of what we’ll receive.

Today I’d like to explore the supposition that Organization is an 80/20 principle and mainly focus on the thinking aspect – the 80%. I’ll share some doable ideas along the way and give you a chance at the end to share at the tables, but let’s see if we can think differently about Organization this morning.

One of the most well-known mantras of all things Organization is “Strive for balance.”

I want to challenge you with the thought to “Strive for Imbalance.”

If balance is defined as trying to do it all, if it means giving our home, family, work and ministry equal time and energy, then it will be nearly impossible to maintain and unfulfilling on those few occasions when we do “strike a balance.”

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (See also Jeremiah 1:5, Acts 13:36)

Let’s look at Christ and His disciples as examples.

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Jesus probably had some carpentry skills because in Biblical times a son usually followed his father in making a livelihood. Even if, after Christ was found teaching in the Temple as a young boy, and it started to become clear that Christ wasn’t going to join the family business, my guess is that Joseph still shared his handiwork and knowledge with his son as a way to share himself.

When Christ reached adulthood he didn’t take over Joseph’s shop and try to set up His Kingdom on the weekends. Ok, you’re thinking that’s a drastic example, but what about the disciples? He called them away from their chosen professions to accomplish what they were created to do.

For the doubters, who are thinking, “Yeah, but Paul made tents and spread the gospel throughout the known world,” that’s true, but Paul’s wage-earning job he tells us was an integral part of being seen as a Christ-follower with pure motives. He still had a singular purpose.

Marcus Buckingham in Find Your Strongest Life defines a strength: not as something you’re good at, but rather as an activity that makes you feel strong. You may be good at something, but the doing of it bores you to tears! A strong moment is an activity where the doing of it invigorates you. You look forward to it. When you do it you become so immersed that time speeds up and you lose yourself. After doing it, you feel authentic and connected to who you really are. In essence, you are doing something you were created to do.

As I’ve thought differently about balance in this way, I’ve identified some of my strong moments:

At co-op, teaching music is a strong moment for me. Someone else could certainly do it better, but I love it. I look forward to it. I get lost in the fun of it and I feel satisfied when I’m done.

This also occurs when I welcome a visiting family at the church where I work or when I try a new hobby/craft, like quilting.

Through Mr. Buckingham’s book I’ve recognized that I have a strong “creator” gene. I love creating a fun learning environment, a new experience for people, and gifts that I’ve made with my own hands. These are strong moments for me.

Does this mean that I ignore the other areas of life to live in the strong moments? Of course not. There is still minimum maintenance. Do I still need to grocery shop, do laundry and answer email? Of course, I do. However, I don’t want to “balance” home, work, school, kid’s sports, music lessons, scouts, and relationships, etc. – giving each equal weight, priority or time.

We may think that we don’t try to do that, but if you look at how we spend our time, we’re trying to be the BEST at each and every thing. Making each moment count might mean that you do a passable job on something that is a low priority so you can redeem the time to do something God has created for you to do.

It’s just a different way to think about priorities.

Organization Speech, part 2

Another common piece of advice regarding organization is that we should prepare for the day the night before.

We’ve all heard that we should pack the backpacks & lunches, choose & maybe even layout our clothes, and gather all the necessary paperwork the night before to make the next day go smoothly.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a tough one for me to follow through on most of the time. Once we get dinner done and cleaned up, kid’s bathed, brushed and tucked in, all we want to do is have some quiet time to ourselves.

We may know it’s only going to take 15-20 minutes to actually get everything ready, but we tell ourselves we’ll have that time in the morning. By morning I’m usually questioning my sanity for not having those things completed, but then I stumbled upon a new way of looking at my day.

The Jewish day begins at sundown, rather than in the middle of the night for us. For a while I put into practice this mental shift and it made it easier for me to prepare for the morning.

I utilize the half hour or so of cooking time prior to eating dinner to get the kids to pick up toys and schoolwork. Then they pack any necessary bags for the next day and put them near the front door. By the time dinner is cleaned up, the preparations for morning are complete and we can all enjoy leisure time together.

I don’t know if the mental shift of defining a 24 hour period will help you, but it is a different way to think about your day.

The popular wisdom of today says look at what doesn’t work and fix it, right? Buy a new tool or gadget to solve your organizational dilemma. There are a variety of solutions for every task imagined, but maybe the answer to your problem could be found in something in which you already succeed.

Everyone in this room is great at some skill that falls under life-management or organization.

Maybe you're rarely late, maybe you only have today’s email in your inbox (please share!), maybe you never miss someone’s birthday or Dr. appts, maybe your craft/hobby is efficiently organized, maybe you get a homemade dinner on the table each night, maybe your house gets cleaned regularly, maybe others depend on your in a crisis, or maybe you have no problem mending clothes. (Does anyone else's children outgrow their clothes in the mending pile?)

Everyone does something well! Think about what it is that you do well.

Spend time thinking about “why” it works for you. Is the time of day good? Do you have a designated place? Do you allow yourself extra time? What is it that makes it easy for you to succeed? Then borrow the successful element and apply it to a trouble spot.

For example, many years ago I used a professional librarian’s filing system in my home. Everything was neatly filed in coded folders and the contents could come and go without any disruption to the system. It was a beautiful masterpiece, but it didn’t work very well for me. To find what I needed, I had to use the master list at the beginning of each category, which proved to be tedious. I ended up memorizing the codes of my frequently pulled folders just to get to them quickly.

A few years into this system, I was introduced to a home décor 3-ring binder idea. I created a visual party of color and ideas by clipping magazine pictures and affixing them to paper in 3-ring binders. I added page protectors for drop-in items, and had the time of my life dreaming about decorating projects.

One day in frustration as I rummaged through a certain section of files, I thought, “This would work so much better in a 3-ring binder.” I borrowed the success of something that worked for me and applied it to a trouble spot. It proved to be genius and now MOST of my paperwork is tucked away in labeled 3-ring binders. I have binders for co-op, work, Christmas, home décor, forms, address/phone directories, recipes, devotions/prayer and several others.

I have often applied this idea to find other solutions and it has worked time and time again. Remember, you’re organizing for the way you live not living for the way you organize!

Organization Speech, part 3

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a room I thought was ready for a spread in Southern Living. Guess what? If real people live in the home featured, it doesn’t always look picture-perfect either. We often think our level of organization, cleanliness or décor should rival the media’s example, but we need to think differently and give ourselves some grace. (& others too.)

We'll always have struggles in some areas. Try for minimum maintenance where you are not strong and shine in your strengths.

Organization looks different to every single person in this room and it looks different to every single person in your family. We shouldn’t feel pressured to meet an organizational standard set out in a magazine or by a friend. You may have to compromise with those you live with, but be who God created you to be. Organization isn’t the end-all to a happy life.

It took me 15 years into my marriage before I realized that I needed to give grace as to how I defined myself as a homemaker. In 2003, I had a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 1-year-old and a newborn. I was overwhelmed! I had an older woman as a mentor who met me for coffee one night every week during that year and she was my lifeline.

I remember meeting one evening and she listened as I cried again about not being able to do it all. She stopped me and said, “I have two assignments for you:

First, keep a record for 2-3 days on how you spend your time. Write down everything – changing diapers, feeding babies, answering phone calls – everything.” I thought she was nuts! Didn’t she just hear me say I was overwhelmed? The thought of keeping pen and paper nearby to jot down every dribble was at best irritating, but I liked her so I said I’d try.

The second assignment was to make a list of everything I thought I should accomplish that week. I thought, “No problem! I keep lists of everything. Would you like that in Excel or Word?”

The next day I started my time log and within 6 hours I was blown away by how my time had been used. It had been a typical day and I had not stopped – not even for a 5 min. break to get a drink or use the restroom. It was one feeding, changing, schooling, cleaning moment after another and I felt like I had not really accomplished much that day. Certainly the house didn’t look like I had done anything.

I called my mentor and begged permission to quit the time log. I had gotten the point. I was working hard at being a good mom and sometimes it’s hard to see tangible results when we’re succeeding.

The following week I brought the time log and my list (in Word) to our coffee session. She looked at the time log with a knowing smile and set it to the side, making only the comment to let the machine pick up the phone during school hours. Then she took in hand the list of tasks for the week, took out her pen, and began crossing items off the list. I gasped, “What are you doing?” She handed me back the list, which had half the tasks marked out and she said, “that’s what you need to do every week.”

I was a little dumbfounded. She had marked out volunteer opportunities and ironing (yes!), but what really put me in a tizzy was that she had put a line through mopping. I had a crawling 1-year-old; I had to mop! She explained that my 10-year-old could sweep the floor daily, but that mopping every week at this time wasn’t necessary. I left a little incredulous, but…I didn’t mop that week!

She instructed me to care more about my children’s well-being and development before any household task. If I did that then I would be a success. That was the best advice ever given to me and I think differently by giving myself grace when the list doesn’t get done.

I don’t think you can pick up a book on organizing without reading the recommendation to ask others for help. I agree with that advice, but I think we often leave out the most important person to seek help from – the Lord.

Over the last year and a half the Lord has been steadily teaching me about how to walk with Him moment by moment.

Psalm 37:23 tells us, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;"

Lamentations 3:22-26, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

When you think you can't do it, turn to 2 Cor 9:8!

About a year ago I was folding laundry and mentally spiraling with the thoughts of all I had to do. I quickly said, “God, what do I do first?” Immediately the confusion and angst lifted and I knew which task to move to next. I was floored by His quick response. I had kept a prayer journal most of my life and knew He answered prayer, but it was usually slower than I liked. I thought that’s the way He worked so when He answered within seconds I was amazed.Off and on I continued asking for His immediate direction with daily tasks and He always answered.

Just last week I was getting ready for my daughter’s birthday party. I had to-do’s that were pressing from many areas in my life and I knew I could not accomplish the most important ones without His help.

I had an action item of making salsa. I kept returning to the kitchen and my to-do list thinking, “I’ve got to make the salsa early so the flavors can meld before dinner.” Yet each time I quickly asked the Lord what to do next He directed me to other items.

“Salsa, Lord? No.”

An hour before the party I was in Target making a last minute purchase when the idea struck me to go to our favorite nearby Mexican restaurant and purchase salsa and queso blanco for the meal. I had never done that before!

I made the purchase and when I served it at the meal it was a huge hit! My daughter said it was so cool to have her favorite salsa and cheese dip at home for her birthday dinner.

I thought to myself, “Ok, Lord, so that’s why no salsa. Thanks for helping me make her night special and for getting me through my day.”

2 Chronicles 32:8b says, “but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

I want to share one more aspect of seeking the Lord’s help step-by-step. As you can imagine, it has strengthened my spiritual life, but it has also helped me with managing my daily life. With His help I realize that I have a trigger or a key element that plays into whether I have a profitable day or not.

I can muddle through my day sick, hungry or upset, but I can’t function when I’m tired. To walk with the Lord through each day well, I need my rest. I asked my oldest daughter if that were true for her and she said, “No.” She could get through tired, but once hunger sets in, she struggles.

I challenge you to ask the Lord to show you what you need to do to walk with Him on a daily basis.

So, in conclusion, although I think you could have a more effective aptitude for Organization if you spent more time thinking about it, I believe even more so that if you give your mind to the Lord He will change your thinking, not only about organization, but about what’s important in life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365: Week 3

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Join Sara for Project 365 where you'll make new friends and capture 2011 in pictures!

Sunday, January 9th

Rough draft of my volunteer's schedules at church for the first quarter.
Update: I schedule 31 volunteers at 13 different greeter/check-in stations for our children's department on Sunday PM. So the words you can kind of make out are just abbreviations of the stations.


There to greet me every Monday morning. Sigh.


A lost tooth. Yay!


Don't ya'll get a hankerin' for an egg sandwich sometimes? It just looked like a work of art to me.


I spoke to a support group of homeschool moms on organization during the day and began a new Bible study with my neighbor that evening where I used my Grandma's china for the first time.


These sayings in the Extra Gum crack my girls up. They especially like the message in the green box.


Zoobles have now entered our domain. The girls received these as favors from the birthday party they attended Saturday afternoon.

That's our week! See you next time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Right Between the Eyes

Why are we surprised when Satan attacks right after a victory?

I had a few mountain top moments this week and since yesterday, I have been struggling both internally and outwardly. Of course, I'd like to blame it on my monthly cycle, but I know that the Lord gives us victory even over THAT, so I am left without excuse.

This morning I had to pick a new Siesta Verse (see Beth's blog to join) and I wanted to choose Proverbs 29:11, "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back."

Yep. That would have been a good one. But somehow it just didn't seem to capture ALL that needed to be held back, so I chose instead,

Ephesians 4:31-32 (New Living Translation)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Jerry Bridges in The Gospel for Real Life tells us in talking about the verse to love our neighbors as yourself (Matt 22:39), that we should cherish them, never show ungodly behavior toward them, that we should be earnest with our interest in them in all ways, that we should never feel superior, and that we should forgive all wrongs.

How are we doing on that?

For me, not so good.

Ok, pretty badly, actually. But it isn't about where we fail, for if we ask forgiveness, the Lord covers it all. I feel terrible for some of my behavior, and certainly need to commit Ephesians 4:31 to heart. (My mom has already drilled into my childhood brain verse 32; thanks mom!) I need to get up off my knees, brush myself off and strive to lean on Him through each moment.

The ranting in my brain needs to not come out of my mouth.
That would be a first step.

Then I need to let the ranting in my head be given fully to the Lord and replace it with Truth!
That's where I want to be.

It seems like a far off place today, but not everyday. Some days there are victories; some days defeat.

It isn't about being perfect.

It's about being His.

How I long for full transformation!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Organizing Tips

Tomorrow morning I am talking about organization to our homeschool support group. My mind has been swirling with tips and ideas so I've decided to share some of my "finds" with you, dear readers.

Tip # 1 – Organize where you drop things. This is how you live! So, if shoes are left just inside the door instead of making it to the cubbies in the hall closet (and you can live with that), then put a decorative rug or basket by the door to contain the shoes. Analyze how you live and organize around it.

For example, I used to keep all my towels in the linen closet on the third floor of our townhouse. So everyday when it would be time to change the hand towel in the 2nd floor powder room, I would have to go upstairs to get a towel. I would often think about getting it later when I was upstairs, but so often I would completely forget and the towel would not get changed for days. I finally decided to bring the hand towels for that bathroom down to the 2nd floor. I roll them up and put them in a decorative basket on the floor next to the sink. It works and now we get a fresh towel almost every day.

Tip # 2 – Expect change. Organization is not a fixed destination. Your family is always changing – your interests, your ages, your bodies, and your schedules/activities. If we live in a flow of change, why are we stubbornly hanging on to an old organizational solution that worked before, but doesn’t work now.

This tip presents itself the most in my 3-ring binder I use to organize our homeschool year. Each year, each child will be learning something different. My weekly assignment sheets may change form or the records I keep for a 1st grader will look vastly different than the ones I keep for my sophomore. I come to my homeschool binder each summer with an open mind about how to organize the best way for the coming year. I let go of anything I’ve used before if it doesn’t seem to fit what is to come.

Tip # 3 – How I organize my week. For uber list-makers like me, I keep a running to do list in Excel and I’ve titled it, “Brain Dump” for fun. I prioritize by ABC, A=what to accomplish within the week, B=what to accomplish within the next 30 days, C=what to accomplish whenever (just great ideas to try.)You don’t need to keep a running to do list, so if this just sounds overwhelming, stay with me.

On Sunday night I sit with a Steno Pad and write down the categories of my life: Home, Work, AHG, Co-Op, Projects, Family/Friends.

Then under each category I write what needs done that week.

I, then, take a weekly planner (show example) and in pencil put the tasks on different days. I do this step so that if I see I have too much going on, I need to put some tasks off until the following week. I load heavily toward the first part of the week and then try to catch up on Friday/Saturday. I write it in pencil so that I can move things around and erase the tasks as I’m assigning them. As I work through the planner during the week, I mark the tasks off in pen!

I already have some daily routines so what I’m planning for the week are additional to-do’s. However, if you don’t have routines, then just start with putting down some things you’d like to accomplish each day. At least you’ll have a semblance of a plan, but remember to give grace to yourself when you don’t get it all done.

Tip # 4 – Conquer the backlog of paper. Whether in a large chunk of time or in small increments (15 min a day), take each paper in hand and ask, “If this piece of paper had a folder, what would it be called?” Write it on a post-it note, attach it to the front of a manila folder and put it in a temporary place. Keep doing this until all papers are categorized.

You’ll find that most of your papers will reside in just a few folders, depending on how varied your interests and activities are. You will find some folders can be combined or some will need to be separated further to be able to get your hands on the contents quickly.

If this sounds like torture to you, but you have a child at home that might enjoy the process. Let them at it. By categorizing everything, instead of deciding what’s important to keep and discard, it will make it easier for you to pick up one folder at a time with all related items and make those decisions yourself.

Remember, files should be simple, easy to get to quickly and make sense to the primary user. You can make the files more permanent by labeling them, once you know they’ll work for you.

Tip # 5 – We all face frustration with the volume of Kid’s artwork or it’s unusual size/shape. One solution is to snap pictures of the artwork and make a photobook at Blurb, Shutterfly, or even Costco. Hang on to the artwork until the book arrives (just in case). When it arrives, your child will be elated to have their artwork featured in their own book and may be willing to part with the actual pieces.

Tip # 6 – Isn’t it frustrating when you put small items in the dishwasher (like medicine cups, baby spoons, and bottle tops) and they end up in the bottom of the machine at the end of the cycle. You could put them into a mesh laundry bag, zip them up and lay the bag on the top shelf of the dishwasher and you won’t have that problem again.

Tip # 7 – Buy greeting cards only a few times a year, based upon your budget. You could purchase them 1 x a year, 2 x’s a year, or every quarter. When you get them home (or I have been known to take a pencil to Hallmark) write the name of the person on the envelope in the corner where the stamp will go. You can file them by month, putting the specifically chosen ones in front of the ones you have for use at anytime. I use a pencil lightly so it can be erased, in case I give the card by hand. This has saved me from getting into my cards and finding a 2-year-old card for a girl and wondering whose birthday I missed and what I will ever do with that card in the future.

Tip # 8 – A fun idea I found at under organization tips for winter closets is this:

On the inside of the closet door, attach one adhesive hook towards the top and another near the bottom. Tie a piece of clothesline between them and attach your gear—or gloves that need to dry—with large kitchen clips. (or clothes pins) For a special touch, decorate the clothesline with ribbons and buttons.

Tip # 9 – I don’t know if this will benefit someone here, but I thought the idea was novel. If you like to have a certain sweetener in your drinks, but find yourself at places without a selection of sweeteners(like Bible study), tuck a few packets into a business card holder and slip it into your purse to have at the ready.

Tip # 10 – You may enjoy having a clip magnet attached to your stove hood to hold the recipe you are making, to keep it handy and clean.

Tip # 11 – For some, using a hierarchy system with your email folders would be helpful. Put an “A” before the most used folders through “Z” to the least used. This may be more beneficial to you than an alphabetized list.

Tips # 12 - 14

3 free programs to try:

This site allows you to create a virtual recipe box with your own recipes, plus 170,000 others contributed by other members. There is a free membership, that allows you to create a public (recipes shared) box, but you can pay a low yearly fee to have the pro membership that will allow you to keep your recipes confidential and allow you to generate grocery lists. There is also a free IPhone app. Other recipes sites to check out: eChef and

Do you enjoy mind-mapping? It’s great for brainstorming, keeping track of projects, writing essays, managing goals taking notes, etc. Freemind is a free software download that can get you started. It appeals to the visual learner, aides people with dyslexia and because Freemind is tidy and has collapsible nodes, it’s not overwhelming for those who are usually not big fans of this way of thinking.

And my favorite:

"If you can see it or think it, evernote can help you remember it." Whether it be a text note, screen shot, web page or photo, Evernote will save it, organize it and allow you to retrieve it from almost any computer, phone or mobile device. You can use the free monthly service or pay $5 a month for a premium account. Most users are free. Trust me, check this one out! You'll be glad you did!

Got any tips to share??

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project 365: Week 2

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Week 2 with Sara for Project 365.

Sunday, Jan 2

Mark decided to wear sandals to church.
It was warm, but not that warm!


Christmas break is OVER...back to practicing the piano!


Some paint swatches for a new project. What could it be?


Katie turns 9! Gotta love a girl who wants fruit tart over cake!


1st - 3rd grade recorder band on Thursday afternoons. Missed my kids.


Katie has her first bowling party/sleepover with friends for her birthday.


This is what I woke up to on Saturday morning. Yum!

The new Playdough Cake Decorating Kit that was given to Katie for her birthday has been a "scrumptious" success!


Being silly before bed. Please, don't fall down the stairs!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

12 Book Challenge-Revised

This picture was taken by my bedside last March. It's worse now, if you can believe it! I'm too ashamed to even take a picture. So I'm going to challenge myself to read 12 books that I would not normally read in 12 months.

The books I've chosen have cluttered the bookshelf for years. I usually enjoy non-fiction, so I've challenged myself to delve into some fiction and Christian books to expand my scope of reading material.

Check out what I'm reading in my sidebar and feel free to share what's on your reading list for this year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Project 365-Week 1

Project 365 button designed by
Here we go again! Sara hosts Project 365, where we take a picture each day of the year. I participated in 2010, but didn't keep up with my posts once August began. I hope to make it to the end of the year this time!

I believe 2010 was the most memorable year for me because of this project. During the quiet of the holidays I looked back at the Project 365 posts and it was so much fun remembering the small things...the new candy bar, the sunset over the library, dinner on the porch in March.

Usually, everyone remembers the trips they've taken, the holidays/celebrations and maybe a few other hard-to-forget moments, but with Project 365, you really focus on enjoying the moment and capturing it each day with a photo. If you haven't given it a try before and it sounds like fun, join us next weekend. You can start today; it won't be a problem.

Saturday, Jan 1Fingers and toes are painted for church on Sunday.

I am determined to spend more time with my little girls this year. I get so busy with "things" that I neglect to enjoy my family. They heard too many times last year, "Not right now, I have work to do." Having a daughter who will be getting married this summer is just a reminder that time goes quickly. I want to enjoy every moment I can!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Team

On Beth Moore's Living Proof Ministries blog Beth encourages us to be committed to Scripture memory this year. The gist: memorize 24 verses in 2011, 2 per month. We post our verses in the comment section on the 1st and 15th of every month.

Every two weeks I will be sharing the verse that I'm working on in my sidebar. There are over 1,000 women participating and if you'd like to join us, that would be awesome!! Make sure to let me know in the comment section here on my blog. I would be honored to pray for your faithfulness in committing Scripture to heart and mind.

Click here for the instructions (wouldn't it be fun to take a trip to fellowship with other Scripture memory teammates! What a victory!) Click here for today's post and add your verse to the comment section.

Let's fill our minds with His good things this year! Don't wait!