Friday, June 29, 2007


I want to make sure you all are aware that below the blog post,and below the "click" comments, next to the published by Robin Meadows and the time is the word "comment". If you place your cursor over this word and click, it will direct you to a separate page where you can leave your ideas, feedback, agreements or disagreements or even questions. This blog is for the exchange of ideas and interaction among all of us. I hope you will be encouraged to leave a comment in the future.

Rain, Rain Go Away – Or Help Me Fight this Gloom Today

A guest writer today is my oldest daughter, Erin Simms. Homeschooled through highschool, and a graduate of Oklahoma City University, Erin is the mother of my two adorable grandsons, Kaden (4 yrs on Sat) and Will (2 yrs in Aug), and has been the wife of my son-in-love, Jon, for 9 yrs. She is a dance instructor at Victory School of Fine Arts. She writes....

Summer. Ahhh . . . close your eyes . . . what do you picture? Soakin’ up some rays, hangin’ at the pool, the kids running carefree through the yard – staying healthy (finally after fighting winter colds for so long), laying in the grass enjoying a family picnic, digging in the garden & watching those seedlings you so tenderly planted grow into massive fruit-bearing towers. This is what comes to life in my behind-the-lids contemplation. So why am I sitting inside staring at a computer with my blinds still down, ‘cause it’s still dark outside at 10:00 in the morning? Why is one of my good friends sick & another friend’s child in bed sick today? If I tried to have a picnic outside it wouldn’t be ants I would be worried about; the rain droplets would march by the millions from the sky and pester my outdoor cuisine. The only thing growing in the garden are sodden weeds – those tiny seedlings still limply trying to do their thing in this flooded earth with no sun to help them lift their heads. I mean, I’m used to getting wet in the summer – in the pool or from perspiration, but to get soaked by rain showers no matter the hour, day after day – this is not how summer is supposed to be.

So, I’m sitting here after having to change all my plans for the weekend because of this wretched rain. I’m in a funk – my spirit feeling like those dark clouds hanging over my realm. I’m just lying around & pulling my kids down with me, sinking even further & further into my swamp of despair. Through my vaporous depression I managed to pick up my Bible and started reading where I had left off in Jeremiah, which was chapter 10. In Jeremiah 10:13 it popped out at me with this, “When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.” I didn’t really know what to do with this, but He spoke to me, & He’s like, “ Erin , do you hear my voice in the thunder? Are you letting me be God or what? Your always-met expectations have made you believe you don’t even need me.” So after thanking God for the slap in the face I’ve decided to use this unexpected season for what He would have me do. Let us all take this cooped-up time and use it even though it’s not what we expected out of our summer. Let’s spend more time with our family, cuddling with the kids in the floor, reading books, making popsicles, setting up forts in our houses, even running in the rain. And especially, let’s give ourselves wholly to The Maker of the Storms. Do something crazy – dance around your house in unabashed worship, take time praying over your kids & each room in your house, sit outside in the rain & let it pour over you & just feel His presence. Are you letting Him speak to you in the thunder, or are you still saying Rain, Rain go Away? Whatever works for you, make “Sonshine” in your hearts even though outside it’s still raining . . . & raining . . . & raining . . . & raining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Household Notebook

Several years ago, keeping track of all the information needed to run a home was more than I could keep in my overcrowded brain. When I came across the idea of a notebook that would help store that information, I decided to try it out.

The Household Notebook (aka in our home: Mom’s Brain) is a tool worth investigating for your own home. This is a 3-ring binder with page dividers and categories for the various areas of your home management.

My notebook includes:

· A monthly calendar
· A phone list (pre-cell phone days)
· Menus
· Master grocery list
· To do list (a current running list to remind me what needs to be done next)
· Videos that we want to see
· Books I want to read
· Teaching ideas
· Important numbers (a list of numbers including social security numbers, battery numbers, any numbers needed for quick reference)·

The notebook also holds a plastic zip pocket where I keep a couple of writing tools, and a pair of small scissors (so I can always find a pair!).

Maybe a notebook is a little outdated now, and your laptop and Microsoft Word would be a better place for you to store your needed information. However, my notebook has outlasted several crashed computers, and while I don’t use it nearly like I did when my kids were young, I still use the menu section on a regular basis. We’ll talk “menus” soon!

What are some notebook sections that would be helpful in your home?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Playgroup Moms

A group of stay-at-home moms (two of my daughters and a friend) have formed a playgroup and have plans to get together on a scheduled basis once or twice a week this summer. They have a calendar of dates and activities planned. Check out their myspace page or e-mail them and join them for fun and fellowship. Most of these moms have young children, but everyone is welcome!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just Do It

Here are some other cleaning and organizing sites with ideas that may work for you: If your house is a mess; if meal prep mostly refers to drive-thru; if you’re always running late; if you procrastinate and if you can’t get the car in the garage ‘cause it’s crammed with junk—then you have an inner brat who has been running the show. If you are an adult who understands and are willing to admit you have an inner brat who needs taming, you (and your brat) are invited to play here at Bratland.
Flylady has been around for several years. She has some great ideas including putting your shoes on FIRST thing in the morning, keeping your kitchen sink shined, and my favorite – the 27- fling Boogie for throwing away 27 things every day!
The Organized Home has many suggestions for every area in your home. The Household Notebook is something we incorporated into our home for many years and aptly named it "Mom's Brain". I still have it around and refer to it often. I’ll share more in detail about it another time.

One great help for us has been our "Ten Minute Cleanup". When we've been busy doing schoolwork, or things have just gotten out of hand, I set the timer for 10 minutes and announce "Ten Minute Cleanup" and everyone puts things away for only 10 minutes. It's amazing how much better the house looks in that short amount of time!

The important thing about home chores and organization is that we JUST DO IT! Its never easy, sometimes we're completely overwhelmed with how badly our homes get out of order and then we just want to give up. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning! Find what works for you and then implement it. Get your kids on board. Even a two or three-year old can begin helping with light chores: folding wash cloths, picking up toys, dusting, shaking out small rugs, putting away silverware from the dishwasher. Keep them with you and train them as you go. They’ll even enjoy it!

What method works for you? Or do you need a new direction? Share your thoughts.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It Still Works for Me

The year was 1981. Yeah, I know, you probably weren’t even born, or at least you were very young. But I was a young mom with two children, ages 3 and 1. And I was staying home with them 24/7. A first for me. I had always been extremely active (outside the home) and had worked until my first daughter was born. And then I found myself being responsible for something I didn’t know much about: the cleaning and care of my home and the cleaning and care of my children! Like I told you, I’m not a natural organizer. But I set out on a mission to learn. I’m a huge reader/researcher. So, I looked to a book. I came across a newly written one, The Side-tracked Home Executives: From Playpen to Paradise,by sisters Pam Young and Peggy Jones.

This hilariously written book actually made me feel better about my own cleaning skills! And what it offered me is something I still use today—an index card system of cleaning, organizing, and reminders.

I always dreaded cleaning the house, because I felt like I needed a large period of time to get it all done. These girls suggest you actually time yourself for each chore you do. You know what? Most of those things don’t take nearly the amount of time that we anticipate. So, after timing myself, and dividing up my chores into daily, weekly, and monthly cards, I began to get my home clean and in order.

I also remembered to take my library books back—on time. Remembered to water my plants. And had a reminder to clip my children’s fingernails! I also learned that the top of the refrigerator needs to be cleaned (I couldn’t see it, so it didn’t need it, right?) and that light fixtures should occasionally be cleaned.

I’ve used this system for 26 years now! It has gone through various revamps, but has worked for all my children. I would make a stack of chore cards for each child and they knew they were responsible to get them done, usually before noon. Before they were able to read, I even drew picture cards of simple chores so even the youngest could join in.

Is my house spotless? Never any clutter? Of course not! But years of being trained with this system have taught me how and when to get the job done. This book has been reprinted and updated several times and is one of many ways to clean and organize your home. There are many other plans and ideas beside this one. I’ll talk about a few others in a later post.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Knot or Not?

Several years ago my husband and I happened upon an outdoor art show while we were visiting Chicago. A photographer had a framed picture of a boat dock with ropes at either end. On one end was a perfectly coiled rope. On the other was a rope, just piled. He had titled his piece of art, “Knot or Not”. My husband and I looked at each other immediately understanding the photo. It perfectly described us! Dirk is the knot, I am…….well, “not”.

I just wasn’t born with any natural instinct for neatness. Dirk, on the other hand, knows how to organize anything. I wouldn’t call myself a slob….maybe I am just organizationally challenged.

Over the years of our marriage, I discovered some ways to teach myself to become more organized. We’ll be discussing some of those ideas next week. Are you a “knot” or just “not”? Share your organizational secrets with us.

Monday, June 04, 2007


My daughter, Katie, who is to be married on July 12 had a wedding shower yesterday. It was a fun-filled time with lots of friends, gifts and a bit of really good food. But what I came away with was more than just the good feeling of my daughter being blessed with many wonderful and helpful gifts. I had the pleasure of witnessing and overhearing many other gifts being given. The gifts of blessing as one woman would share the love of Christ in the form of encouragement to another woman. I remember overhearing the conversation of an older mother encouraging a younger mother that her calling as a mom and wife is far above the calling of her former passions. Another involved two church employees sharing the joys and struggles of being involved in full-time ministry. Another, of a group of homeschooling moms talking about how difficult it is raising teenagers, but that our children’s choices do not affect the calling that God has placed on our lives. The great-grandmothers sharing the joy of seeing their grandchildren marry; the flower girls making friends of each other. And just the blending of two families (both homeschooling families) joining in the anticipation of their children becoming a new family. Those are the best sorts of gifts---treasures wrapped in layers of unconditional love and affection. But, after 34 years of marriage, I still think I need to go register for some new wedding gifts for myself!

2 Corinthians 4:7 “For we have this treasure in earthen vessels….”