Tuesday, January 29, 2013

holy sifter

i sat down with full intention of sharing sweet sentiments on the latest happenings in our home. after all, we have celebrated not one, or two, but three entire birthdays this past week. they were splendid occasions, and i promise i will share the splendor, but right now, there's something weighing on my heart.

HOLINESS.. to be set apart, righteous, worthy of honor, uncommon

 my husband preached on this Sunday. it's been weighing on me so heavily that it feels much longer ago.

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior." 1 Peter 1:14-15

having grown up in church all my life, and raised in a wonderful Christian home, i have heard these verses many times. and, as my hubby pointed out yesterday, hearing and knowing things with such familiarity can cause me to ease into it like an old pair of shoes, rather than stand in awe of the true meaning of the words.

when i read these verses i was hit mostly with that highlighted portion.  my reaction went something like this...   repeating the words in my head.."in all your behavior".." like the Holy One".. but, Lord, we're not perfect..I'm not perfect.. how can this be possible? 
what He spoke to my heart was sure and swift.. My Spirit dwells in you. are you willing to send each part of your life through the Holy sifter? 
i kid you not. there have been many times when God has shown me His quiet love, His tender mercy, as well as His strong righteousness. there are also times that He makes it very clear to me that He is not only a loving Father, but also gently humorous. a Holy sifter?? i almost started laughing right there during service.

but i got it. 
His desire for me was to sift every part of my waking hours through the filter of holiness.

for me, this means my thoughts from the moment i wake up. i can begin each day yielding my own desires to His control. He wants to and will work in me and through me. i can be Holy as i talk with and teach my children, as i communicate with my husband, in friendships and other relationships...
 beyond relational, there is all behavior to be sifted... attitude to be checked...

as i have gone through this first day of using my "holy sifter", i have often asked the Lord, "am i handling this in a holy way?"

"am i allowing the Holy Spirit to live through me, behaving in a way that is uncommon to this world?"

on the chance of convincing you that i am completely odd...i share this...

 i found that actually shaking my head rapidly helped me to visualize the sifting.. (yes, like a wet dog)..placing the situation inside of the sifter, laying it before God, and asking what He would have with it. then i shake my head and "watch" the non-eternity-matter fall through. at that point, i can be still and see clearly what remains and what His answer is. 

i know this whole post is slightly odd.. and i'm okay with that. it's just on my heart.

signing off and sifting on,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

chore charts

hello! two posts in one week! it's sure to snow. although, with temperatures in the teens and wind chills below zero, a little snow would make the cold worthwhile.

you know i'm not one to usually share the insides of my closets or cabinets, nor the complete workings of my family. these past two posts have been a little odd for me. however, here is another thing that we've found works, and some have asked about it.

with a lively family of four boys, we find that sharing chore responsibilities not only proves the adage "many hands make light work", but also helps instill good work habits in the boys themselves. we have shared the chores for years now..within age appropriateness. the only problem, if you will, is that each time i handed out assignments, the boys would sometimes say things like, "i did that last time", or "i was hoping to do ___". it wasn't complaining per say. i just couldn't keep track of who had done what on a week to week basis.

enter a new system.

 (no, they do not really say "child's name". i took out my boy's names and just showed you where they go.)
after scouring the internet for some ideas on chore charts, i ended up marrying a few ideas, ending up with this simple system that has worked beautifully for 6 months now.

i first made a list of the chores that we have in our home.. vacuum, swiffer, dust, bathrooms (believe it or not, one of my boys would love to be assigned bathrooms every time), windows and laundry are the ones that are done most often. the "extras" are changing bed linen, cleaning off stairs (are we the only ones who end up collecting stuff there??), wiping down the kitchen... i also saw, and liked, the idea of showing a special act of love and writing thank you notes.. so those are included as well. there is a special one for our dog, Daisy, whom the boys take turns taking care of each day.  they move that magnet themselves each morning.

i then drew pictures for each chore, and had a little fun coloring and punching them out with a circle punch. the final step was modge podging the pictures behind a clear florist glass (they're marble-like, but flat on one side), and attaching a round magnet.

the charts have two sides for each boy.. a to-do side, and a done side. when it's time to clean up, i put the assigned tasks on their to-do sides, they check it and go to work. and they do move the magnet to the done side, with quite a level of satisfaction, when they complete a task. the recently assigned chores are all on the done side in the pictures, where they will stay until the next time i assign them. that tells me who did what the last time, allowing me to change it up.

 the metal surface itself is two dollar tree cookie sheets. you could cover them with decorative paper and fancy them up. or, you could be in a "get in done as fast as possible mode", like i was, and use a paint marker to write your children's names and draw imperfect lines. either way, find what works for your family and go for it! :)

i'm off to stoke the fire and drink some hot chocolate!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

organizing.. on the cheap

once upon a time i heard myself tell a friend that we had seemingly avoided the stomach bug that had found it's way into so many homes. then only two days later was greeted at 4 AM by a sweet, but oh-so-sick boy. he was followed by his older brother that very afternoon, and despite all of my hand washing and cleansing, it claimed me victim three. praying it leaves soon and skips right over the remaining three.

but being home, with little energy for much else, i have some time to share a bit with you.

i mentioned a while back that i had begun going through some closets.. purging and organizing. a couple of friends asked to see pictures. now before anyone gets their hopes dashed, i assure you.. this is nothing fancy. my goal in organizing is how to do it on-the-cheap. it's not that i don't like cutesy baskets and bins, it's that free boxes from Aldis are much more in our budget. i debated on covering them with decorative paper, but when it was all said and done, simple computer paper and tape won out. our closet is clean and functional.. that is what matters in the long run.

we have found that coats are more likely to be hung up when there is a simple hook available for each family member. our four boy's hooks are against the far wall, with mine and my hubby's on the right wall. they're screwed into a simple 2x4, which is secured into studs in the wall.

 each family member also has a row on the shoe rack, with a pair of play shoes, a nicer pair and sandals. there is a hanging rack with a standing rack beneath it. the basket above holds snow gloves.
the boxes on the top hold baseball caps and winter gear. before, the hats were all stacked on the shelf. they easily toppled over when someone insisted on wearing the one on the bottom. now, we just grab the box, choose a hat and slide the box back onto the shelf. no more leaning tower of hats.

while home, taking care of the sick ones, i took advantage of the time and dismantled a couple of my kitchen cabinets. (who says i can't multitask .. catching throw up one minute, cleaning out cabinets the next.) with the help of some little shelves and baskets from the Dollar Tree, they're now better laid out and function beautifully. again, nothing fancy.. just functional.
 a corner shelf makes it so that my tortilla holders do not fall on my head every time i open the cabinet door. i had gotten pretty good at catching the lids in mid air as they took aim at my face. now, i just find myself flinching for no reason.
this cabinet holds all of my baking gear and small appliances. the green baskets are a perfect solution for all of our sprinkles and food coloring. and the stack-able wire baskets on the left now hold our cheese grater, hand mixer, food chopper and sifter. i loved that these baskets stacked.
if you're in need of some cheap organizing tools, head to your local Dollar Tree..or grab a box or two next time you're at the grocery store :-).

i close with a thought...
i think that in this pinter*st world that we live in that it can be a little frustrating to try and organize your home. sure, there are some good ideas floating around out there, but all too often, i see perfection as the goal. what i try to remember is that what works for someone else might not work for me and my family. each one of us is different, in personality, gifts, talents, and the way we make our homes work for our families. do what works for you, and love the result.

Friday, January 4, 2013


i sit here typing with very little in mind.. not that you wanted to hear that. but now, realizing that you are hanging on with baited breath, i will go on to share of our recent happenings. just trusting that as i type, there will be something worth sharing.

i just read my last year's posts, and overall, i am pleased to say that it was a year of growth. i saw God move, expanding my knowledge and understanding of Who He is and how He works. there were times when my hands were left empty, human control not even a figment of reality, the need to press into the truth of His character and promise to never leave us, and there were times of great rejoicing, giving thanks for all He had done. the highs and lows were connected with every day, of course. mundane to some, but wonderful to me. ~~i am truly so grateful for the privilege of being home with our boys.

beyond reminiscing, i have hit 2013 with my running shoes on. not that you'll EVER find me breathless, stomping pavement..running has never been my thing. however, i have found that lacing them up first thing sets my feet a-moving and makes for a happy spine and legs come night. i have been a-moving throughout my house, purging every area i come across. i get this feeling about this time every year, but it's worse this time for some reason... an urgent alarm going off silently in my head..it is so loud. the Christmas decorations even made an earlier than normal appearance back to the attic. considering some of them have lingered their visit 'til mid february in the past, i have no idea what has come over me.

the weather has played nicely with my plans as well, snow remaining on the ground long enough to melt a bit, only to stake it's frozen claim once again as the temperature dives again into the 20's. no, it hasn't been alluring to us to be out in it. so frigid. so, spruce it up has been my motto. i am anxious to get everything accomplished before the weather turns warm.

in other news.. i was asked today, by one of my piano students, whether i had made a new year's resolution. her question was sincere, and i loved that her goal was to have her own vegetable garden this year...seems worthy and doable, don't you think? but it got me thinking... every time i hear of a resolution, my ears go slightly mute. it's not that i don't care, or that there aren't good commitments to be made. i have just never made one..and i got to thinking about why this may be. my conclusion is this... if i did, it would most likely be the same every year. not that i wouldn't accomplish it, but growing closer to God is my on-going commitment. i trust Him to guide me in everything else. it is only in that, i am resolute. i see no reason to complicate it.

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