Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quiet time....

Quiet time is something I crave.  A few minutes here or there where it's just me, no noise and no distractions.  For everyone this time looks like something different.....
Lately for me it looks like this

My alarm goes off at an ungodly hour so that I can start my day.  I let the dogs out, poke the teen to get her started and turn on the coffee pot.  I brew that first lovely cup of coffee.

Then I get my coffee, and my bible and go sit on the couch.  I take a few minutes to pray and ask God to help me see what he wants me to see in the bible.  I thank him for my blessings and open up to whichever chapter I am studying.  If my teen is up, sometimes I read it out loud (she asks me to sometimes) sometimes I don't.  I don't turn on the TV, check the internet or anything else before I get this quiet time....

I always start out with one chapter in the old testament, one psalm, the days proverb, and one chapter in the new testament.  I get sidetracked sometimes, something catches my eye and I keep reading or I just felt led.  I also use my bible app for a bible study that I'm doing. 

Then I thank God again, ask him to be with me throughout the day and move on with my day.  I feel better on the days when I manage to do this.
I used to always want to sit and read my bible, but I let other things get in the way.  I didn't make a daily commitment to it.  Oh I would do okay for a day or two, maybe even a week but then I would get busy and stop again. 

After we got moved in up here I decided to try yet again to be consistent.  This included my decision to not check my email, phone, television etc before I did my reading.  Can I tell you the change it has made in my whole day, and my whole outlook? 
I still have my crazy days, but I handle them better.  I feel more peaceful, I think I'm better with the girls.  I just feel at peace.

I implore you... find your quiet time.  I know it's hard when the kids are little and you work all day (in or out of the house).  I know that you will skip a day here or there (I have) but try to find a way to do it consistently.... A few minutes each day just you, God and your bible.  I promise you that if you do it things will change.  Not outside things, but inside things... the things that matter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marriage as a priority and a ministry

Good Morning World....
I have spent time in prayer this week on marriage.  This morning while I was reading in 1 Corinthians I came across a devotion in my bible that brought the points home.  I have the Woman Thou Art Loosed bible (among several other bibles) from T.D. Jakes.

 I have been talking to friends about marriage and what our priority should be.  What comes first our marriage or being a servant to God?  How do you balance the two?  For many people marriage comes last, not first. 

The bible calls us to minister to our families first.  1 Corinthians 7:33-34 we are admonished not to be so caught up in the spiritual duties that we forget to be a wife and see to his needs, and vice versa.  God wants husbands and wives to see to one another, then to the needs of the world.  We are to be concerned with pleasing one another first.  Your priorities need to begin at home... God has called you to be a wife/husband and a parent if you have kids first.  Then to be a minister, teacher, nurse, cook, waitress etc, etc, etc... 

Now this doesn't release us from our obligation to spend time in the word, and serving others.  It is a reminder that our ministry should begin in our own home.  Do you spend time in your bible?  Do you pray for one another? Do you pray with one another? 

I am not about to say my marriage is perfect, in fact it is far from it.  We don't often find the time to read the bible together (although we are trying) and I know that often we forget to make our marriage a priority.  It takes work, we have to schedule time for our spouses. Make a date for after the kids go to bed, go for a walk together... This doesn't cost you anything and it will draw you closer to one another.  Pray for your spouse every day... not in a oh God fix him way either, in an Oh God fix me and my attitude way.  You can't fix him, you can only fix yourself....

Be blessed today my friends. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Housework... not cooking today

School is back in here, for which I'm so grateful and I am getting back into a routine.  I have to say that after many years I think I have finally gotten the hang of this housework thing (as long as I don't get sick of course)....

Let's be real, most of us don't enjoy housework.  Yes, we all enjoy a clean house and peace but we hate doing the actual work.  Now, I know there are a few of you that like cleaning but I don't really.  I like seeing that the work is done, and that I have crossed stuff of my list but there are a million things I would rather be doing.  Sewing, reading, knitting, writing something, vegging out and doing nothing.  Those things can't  happen though unless the house is clean.  I have a hard time relaxing in a mess.

I have tried all sorts of systems and of course none worked exactly for me.  I read a book years ago (really I think it may have been when my teen was a baby) that talked about my specific problem, perhaps it is your problem too....

You start cleaning up your living room, and see the glass that needs to go to the kitchen so you take it to the kitchen where you see crumbs on the table.  You set down the glass and wipe off the table, except now the floor is dirty (you know you dropped those crumbs), you go to the laundry room to get the broom and you see that there is a load of wash that you need to fold.  You fold it and go to the upstairs to put it away and realize that the room is messy.  The cycle continues and you realize that you haven't ever managed to finish cleaning anything.  The house is still a mess and you have been running all day long.  You throw up your hands in frustration and go eat bonbons....

Okay, so the bon bons part is not real.  At least not for me....  I will admit to being reduced to tears by frustration at the never ending part of housework.  I try to remind myself that everything I do is important but sometimes it gets overwhelming.  I know it and you know it.

The important thing is to find a system that works for YOU, what works for me may not work for you.  Keep trying till you figure out what that is...  I have found a lot of help from flylady.net and definitely recommend it if you are looking for a system.  I will tell you what works for me though, and hopefully it helps someone.

First of all, I try to pick up as I go, and get the kids and husband to do this too.  It doesn't always work but I try.  Then I have a different focus each day, that is the room that gets deep cleaned that day.  The other rooms get a cursory clean. 

Daily - I wipe off the counters, make sure the dishes get loaded in the dishwasher (although if I get it emptied in morning the girls are responsible for loading their own dishes).  I also sweep and vacuum every other day (or the girls do if it is their assigned chore) because of the pets.  I retuck the slipcovers on the couches, and clear off any hotspots (you know where ever papers get tossed).  If I do this in the morning and again at night my house stays fairly tidy.  I also try to start a load of laundry before bed and then I put it in the dryer as soon as I get up, then fold when it's done. The girls are also responsible for taking their laundry up and putting it away.  I also look around and if I see something that needs to be done I do it.  I walk through the girls rooms checking for anything that I can pick up quickly and easily (which is usually a discarded shirt or something), and walk through their bathroom as well.  They do a fairly good job keeping their stuff picked up now since they are all bigger but I still give each room a cursory check each day.

Monday - I clean the kitchen in detail.  I start at the top (the light fixture) and work my way down. I wipe off cabinet fronts, put a dish with vinegar and water in the microwave and turn it on for 2 min to loosen up the junk, I pull the burner covers and throw them in the sink to soak.  Then I wipe down the inside of the microwave, wipe off the counters, wipe out the sink.  I load the dishwasher with whatever is laying around to include the drip pan from the coffee pot and the toaster.  I clean the burner covers and put them back on the stove.  Then I sweep and steam mop.  Once a month I try to remember to pull out the stove and fridge but that doesn't always happen.

Tuesday - I clean up the living rooms.  That includes three rooms in this new house, the living room, the craft room and the game room.  I dust the blinds, pictures, knick knacks whatever.  I clear off surfaces and wipe them down.  I dust the TV, the computer and the keyboard.  I wipe off the game room table.  Then I make sure the movies are all put away and I vacuum (the girls do most of the vacuuming so on Tuesday I make sure to do it well, I move furniture to get all the nooks and crannies).

Wednesday - I do the bathrooms.  I squirt cleaner in the toilet and close the lid.  Then I clean my mirror, clear off the counter top, wipe it down.  I wipe out the sink and dust any knicknacks in the bathroom.  Then I clean the outside of the toilet.  Finally I use the scrub brush.  Then I wipe out the shower and tubs in the two rooms that have them and hit the floors.

Thursday - this is the bedroom day.  The girls strip their sheets before school (or that's the plan anyway... doesn't always happen).  I do my sheets Thursday as well.  I dust as needed and vacuum.  The girls try to pick up their rooms each night and if they do I will vacuum for them.  Otherwise they do it on the weekends.

Friday - Car and Purse clean out day...  I get whatever junk has accumulated in the car and bring it in.  I throw out the trash and empty my purse.  I also try to hit any hot spots in the house that need it on Friday.  My goal is to have the house clean for the weekend so other than just picking up whatever we get out there isn't any real cleaning on the weekends.

This is our system.  It's not perfect, it doesn't always work either.  Sometimes it piles up, or I get too busy or the girls do.  This is my guideline though and what I try to do.  I will say that as long as everyone is putting out what they get away this system works very well.  When I follow this system my house tends to stay clean enough for company and we are all calmer. 

So tell me what is your secret to a clean house?