Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Make Mention

Most moms struggle with not praying for their family enough.  I feel bad that I don't have long, persevering prayer times regularly for my husband, children and unsaved family members.  Then, I stumbled across Philemon 1:4.  (Ephesians 1:16 and 1 Thessalonians 1:2 are similar verses). 

"I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers"...

Paul, one of the most respected apostles, made mention of people in his prayers!  AHA!  (It really was a lightbulb moment!)  I can mention those desires and requests regarding my family to the Lord in prayer - over the wash, while I do dishes, in the shower, and best of all, during my personal time with God.  While I still desire those times of longer, more persevering type prayer, I can see that God values "making mention" of my family in my prayers.  I must not throw out any tools that God puts in the toolbox!  Making faith-filled mention of my family in my prayers is as important as those Spirit-led times of longer, intense prayer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Be Real

Not long ago, it struck me that I let my guard down with my family.  And, while this may not seem like anything new to you, it made me come to a realization.  We all need good family or very close friends.  Why?  To keep us humble.  Being around my family keeps me humble.  Let's face it, most of us strive to keep up some sort of face or front for others.  We want them to think we're super-mom, super-wife or something like that.  And, when I'm around family, I tell the real story.  They see my down times and up times.  They see the true me - the bad reactions and the good reactions to all sorts of situations.  That's a really good thing.  It's humbling to know that my family knows my struggles and my victories.  It helps me to remember not to think of myself more highly than I ought.  Christian family and close friends help me to think of myself as I ought. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

One final note on neatness

I forgot one little thing.  I teach my children to type - early... like in Kindergarten.  Why?  Because, I'd rather type than write by hand.  It's a nice change.  And, it's a technological world out there.  They need to be proficient.  Oftentimes, doing work on the computer is a "treat."  So, as soon as they can read, we start lessons on  What a great site!  When they can type fairly well, I let them type some assignments.  Suddenly, writing a story or essay is not nearly so daunting!  And, you'd be amazed how quickly a 5 year old can catch on to typing - with correct hand placement! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy 3rd Birthday, little Skipper (#3)!

Mommy and Daddy love you very much!

The Biggest Thing in Neatness

#4 - Lastly, I've told you so many times that I take the Bible literally.  It affects everything here.  So, I like to say, "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" or "Do it heartily, as to the Lord."  Think, if you were writing this to Jesus, wouldn't you write it as neatly as you could?  Yep, that's how seriously I take the Word.  If that seems ridiculous to you, I look at schoolwork as something that is shaping my children's work ethic.  How they treat this, is probably how they will someday treat their workload at a job somewhere.  And, will they treat it in a manner that glorifies the Lord?  Oh, Lord, let it be so!

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Reinforce Neatness

#3 - My final observation has been that handwriting lessons should be short and sweet.  (Thank you, Charlotte Mason for this idea.)  My children do one line of handwriting practice every day.  Maybe this goes against your grain.  Think about it.  You hand a child 10 lines of handwriting practice.  All they learn is that it takes a long time.  As a result, they form a growing dislike for neat handwriting.  Instead, I give them one line, and they work their very hardest to write neatly on that one line.  I've have seen more progress in the past months with this method, than anything my constant nagging could do.  It is much easier to "hunker" down for 1 line, than for 10.  Yes, I encourage neatness in all other forms of handwriting in all other subjects.  And, if it's getting out of hand, they have to re-write their answers neatly.  However, as far as practice, one line of day working on formation, spacing and slant seems to be the best approach. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another "Neatness" Observation

#2 - The second big revelation was the QUALITY of work was better when she wrote neatly.  In other words, when she took the time to write neatly, it stood that she also was more careful to follow instructions and to think each problem through carefully and thoroughly.  So, in my opinion, neatness led to better quality work.  Sloppy handwriting wasted time.  I found that I had to keep calling her back to correct careless mistakes and ill-thought-out answers.  It is always better to do it right the first time.  I want my children to apply this principle to schoolwork and ALL work. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I insist that my children write neatly.  Does that sound ridiculous?  I figure, who cares if you're smart, if nobody can read and decipher your intelligence?!  So, I offer a few observations about neatness in schoolwork. 

#1 - Skeeter (#1) and I performed an experiment.  I timed her when she wrote as fast as she could.  I then timed her writing neatly in all her schoolwork.  We were SO surprised!  It took the same amount of time for her to write neatly as it did to write sloppily. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Thoughts on Tidiness

"Tidiness begets tidiness."  When things are tidy, you tend to want to keep them tidy.  For this reason, I always make my bed.  Or I always refold the throws on the back of the couch.  They are just little things that beget more tidiness.

"I don't have time not to be tidy or organized."  Seriously, I can't stand rooting through dirty laundry to find the one shirt I need.  I am bothered if I have to rip apart a cabinet to find that one elusive ingredient.  I get annoyed when I sit down to play dollhouse with my girls and there aren't any dollhouse pieces to be found.  I save time by being tidy and organized. 

"Steady plodding makes good progress."  I look at my cleaning rotation as a way to steadily plod toward good progress in a tidy home.  Every day I steadily plod away at a little bit of cleaning.  And, steadily I see good progress.  Little by little, we get the job done here. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Evaluate your house

We have white linoleum in our kitchen.  Hence the reason I do a quick mop on Tuesdays and a full mop on Fridays.  It shows e v e r y t h I n g.  I suspect that whenever it gets changed to a nice neutral dirt-hiding floor (like my Mom and my sister-in-law have), I may only need to mop once a week.  We also have 2 cats, 1 bird and one dog.  This is why I vacuum twice a week and tidy the couches once a week.  If you don't have pets, this may not be necessary.  Evaluate your home and your habits and plan accordingly.  I also plan so that the big impact cleaning is done toward the end of the week.  So, the house is the cleanest, per se, going in to the weekend, when I spend less time cleaning and more time on other projects and events.  Evaluate your work schedule and school schedule and plan accordingly.  Stick with it.  Remember, a tidy home glorifies God!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Clean Sooner

I clean before things look horrendous.  The bathrooms don't look horrific when it comes to cleaning time on Thursdays.  However, I can clean them a lot quicker.  During the times when my chores have had to wait a few extra days or an extra week (usually on account of sickness in the house or a new baby or something), I have found that I then have to spend WAY more time on those chores.  When I've skipped a week mopping, I've promised myself that I wouldn't do that again any time soon.  It was awful having to scrub so hard!  So, save time, and clean sooner!!!  Keeping most things on a weekly rotation saves time in the long run and then you rarely have to see that awful buildup of weeks' worth of crud.  Maybe you'll find you don't hate it so much.  And, maybe you'll find you can squeeze it in those smaller windows of time that we Mommies seem to have.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Practical Help

Here's the practical side of how I keep my house tidy.  Remember that post on rotations?  I use the same concept on cleaning.  I created this rotation when Skeeter (#1) was only approximately 6 mos. old.  I found that my thinking went like this, "Oh the house is clean."  I thought this for several days.  Then, suddenly EVERYTHING needed to be cleaned on the same day.  And, it all looked terrible.  I'd rather do a little every day and have the house basically tidy all week.  Then, drop-in visitors don't create panic and embarrassment and my family has a nice place to live. 

M - Tidy couches (we have pets), Wash Fingerprinted Windows, Clean Microwave, Generally Tidy up from Weekend
Tu - Quick Mop Kitchen, Vacuum Whole House, Pull Down Cobwebs
W - Dust House
Th - Clean All Bathrooms
F - Full Mop Kitchen and Bathroom, Vacuum Whole House

Every morning, I tidy up the kitchen (meaning any additional dishes, sweep floor, etc).  I do at least one load of wash every day.  We tidy up toys (we call it quick-clean) before lunch, before supper and before bed, so that keeps the toys under control.  I rarely go to bed without completing the chores for the day.  The house is manageable this way.  I can plan around my rotation.  For example, Wednesday is my easiest day so I tend to make plans more often on Wednesdays.  Mondays are catch-up day from the weekend.  And, this rotation rarely changes so I typed the above from memory.  I know what is expected and the house benefits, as does my family. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

For Him, him and your children

I take the Bible so literally.  And, I think to myself, if Jesus lived here, how would I keep this place?  If this was Jesus' house, how tidy would it be?  I love Matthew 25:40, 45 that talks about whatever you've done to the least of these, you've done to Christ.  Whatever you've NOT done to the least of these, you've NOT done to Christ.  I know that children definitely fall into the "least of these" category.  Just think about it.  Whatever I do to them, I am doing to Christ and whatever I haven't done to them, I haven't done to Christ!  It's mind-boggling.  Even convicting!  And then, there's Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, do heartily as to the Lord and not to men."  Keep your house tidy unto Christ.  This is my way of serving and blessing His name.  That's how literally I take the Bible.  It even applies to how I keep my home.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

For your Husband

Some husbands care what the home looks like and some don't.  However, I strongly believe that this is a huge way you can bless your husband.  You can make the home a haven.  I actually belive that some women are driving their husbands away from them by unconsciously making their homes an added stressor to him.

- Proverbs 31:12 says that she does her husband good!  I think every one of us agrees that it's a harsh and nasty world out there.  We must do all we can to help our husbands.  My tidy home is one way I do my husband good.  Coming home is a breath of fresh air.  It's peaceful.  It's happy.  It's full of love.  Untidyness is rarely any of the above, especially peaceful.  If he comes home to an untidy, disorganized mess habitually, in his head, he thinks that it's just one more thing amiss in his life, that needs to be handled or fixed.

- Proverbs 31:11 even says that my husband safely trusts in me.  Our home is our largest investment, with several smaller investments in it - appliances, vehicles, furniture and most importantly, PEOPLE.  How I care for those investments can affect my husband.  My husband trusts me to care for all those things.  In essence, the chain of command is God, my husband, then, me.  I'm a steward.  And, I want to hear, "Well done, you good and faithful servant."  In the here and now, I want to hear it from my husband.  In the Great Hereafter, I want to hear it from God.