1.15.2019

Organized Women Do THIS in January!

Come on over to my new website www.ThriveOnOneIncome.com to discover 12 things organized women do every January to have a better year!

Arthur Sarnoff, Illustrator
I used to feel like a mess.  I was always overwhelmed.  One day I asked an ultra-organized friend to show me how she does things.  She happily showed me all over her house, her ways of doing things, her best tips and tools, and her routines.  She even came over to my house and pointed out what specific cleaners and tools would help me with my problem areas!  Needless to say, I learned a lot from her.

I had already come far by being a subscriber to FlyLady’s e-mails (Flylady.net), but my friend’s tour “behind the scenes” was the push I needed to make major changes, because I could SEE what she was doing and how it worked.  I’m extremely visual.

I’m also a list-maker.  Thus, I’m sharing my list of what I learned to do each January, with you.  Read more here.

My next two posts in January will continue to focus on organizing. Our God is a God of order. May God bless you as you bring order and harmony to your home!

Janine

11.08.2018

From Christmas Chaos to Christmas CALM

Priscilla Poynter
I spent many, many years unorganized. After reading countless books and decluttering, I just had my best Christmas ever, even though I was ill Dec. 21 & 22.  I had NO STRESS.  Everything was on schedule! Let me share with you the four steps I took to move from Christmas Chaos to Christmas Calm:



1)  Write up, then type up, your Christmas Countdown.  
This is what MY list looks like:
Christmas Countdown

January

  1. Buy Christmas cards for next year (I do actual Christmas cards, not photo cards).  
  2. Go to post office and buy Christmas stamps (I did this today, and saved myself the postage increase happening Jan. 21, 2018) 
  3. Shop online for after-Christmas sales - Christmas themed items for next Christmas (it can be gifts, partyware, decor, wrapping paper, etc.)
  4. Place large empty box or Christmas bag into closet for gifts bought throughout the year, with post-it note for who it is for, or you will forget!
  5. Type up Christmas card list and be sure to save it under the correct year.  Do this now.  Please don't wait until next December!  (No need to print yet.)
  6. Put an empty plastic shoebox on shelf to fill with items for Samaritan's Purse during the year.

October

  1. Go to Big Lots for Susan Branch calendars - for me, mom, and 2 friends
  2. Do I have a picture of child or family I want to include in card, or do I need to do a photo shoot?
  3. Look over accumulated gifts, write them down on my gift list.
  4. Make hair appointments. 
  5. Prepare Samaritan's Purse shoebox.

November

  1. Call friend to see if she is interested in Pageant
  2. Mail Christmas packages now to other countries, or even across America, in order to avoid long postal lines.  If you didn't do it in January, buy Christmas stamps now.  
  3.  Make a list of your favorite stores, thrift stores, boutiques, Christian stores, and craft fairs that you don't want to miss
  4. Saturday before Thanksgiving - Shop Cost Plus - use coupon that came in mail in Oct or Nov.  This store usually has an unannounced sale the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Shop for stocking stuffers, candy, scone mix, and gifts.  They have great retro-toys for stocking stuffers.
  5. Go to Dollar store for packages of 8 Thank-you notes to be used for Christmas and birthdays.  Buy enough for the year.
  6. Go to Rite-Aid and buy Bob's Candy Canes.
  7. Week before Thanksgiving - get haircuts for everyone; paint toenails.
  8. Thanksgiving week - Order from ChristianBook.com.  They usually have a sale that begins the Monday of Thanksgiving week.  Be sure to use a free s/h coupon. Sometimes it is for a $35 order, other times you have to spend $100.  Don't jump the gun - be sure to make sure there is an early-bird sale going on.
  9. Prepare for Thanksgiving.  Shop early in week.  Be thankful!

After Thanksgiving

  1. Undecorate from Thanksgiving and Decorate for Christmas
  2. Outside Lights
  3. Tree 
    Elgin Tree Farm
  4. Send picture from phone to a place like Walgreens when they run a special.  I only needed 60 pictures for my cards, but it was cheaper to order 75 at 10 cents each.  I put the extras in scrapbooks and frames, etc. 
  5. Update card mailing list with new addresses and deletions.  Print a copy for you to keep in your Christmas binder and cross off as you send cards, and also print your labels.  The copy is for when you wake up at 2:00 am and say, "Did I send a card to Aunt Mary?"  Or when you receive a card and you want to add the person to your list for this year and next.
  6. Begin addressing Christmas cards - add a personal note, especially to people you rarely see, and the elderly.
  7. Begin buying gift cards at restaurants that offer a special, such as Olive Garden - buy $50 and get an extra $10 card back for yourself.  Del Taco offers coupons with free items.  You won't get these extra "goodies" if you buy giftcards from the grocery store.  Make notes of which stores offer what for next year.
  8. Shop.  But remember, "The gifts of life are really feelings, not things.  Make this a FEELING Christmas, instead of a HAVING Christmas." ~ Pam Young and Peggy Jones

December

  1. Mail Christmas cards.
  2. Attend community Pageant 2nd weekend of December.  I make a note in my calendar and Christmas binder on what street to park on, what time to arrive, which day is best to attend, reminder to dress warmly with mittens and hats, and any other notes I would need to tell a friend we are bringing for the first time.
  3. Cleaning begins.  Go room by room, beginning with your bedroom.  This isn't a time to redecorate.  This is a time to purge, declutter, dust and vacuum.
  4. Make room for new toys by deciding WITH your children which toys they can part with.  Helps to either give items to a thrift shop they are familiar with, or sell on ebay in the coming year.  Clean their room in a CIRCLE so that no area gets missed.
  5. Begin wrapping and labeling gifts.  Did you know that most children have never unwrapped a gift? They've only received gift bags.  When I heard this I began wrapping all of my son's gifts and birthday gifts for his friends, and others.  Wrapping paper is just more fun!  I often will use "old-fashioned" labels that don't stick as well.  One little girl thanked me.  She told me that I do things the right way - the storybook way.  I even heard my son say to several people, "My mom isn't lazy.  She WRAPS ALL her gifts."  (And I let him make a huge mess on Christmas morning - we don't use trash bags as we go along.  We make a big mess and clean it up later.  It's delightful!)
  6. Watch old Christmas movies and cartoons.
  7. Decide what meals will be served at anything you are hosting. 
  8. Mom's Homeschooling Group party with gift exchange.
  9. Christmas Eve gathering and gifts for game exchange. 
  10. Attend a candle-light Christmas service.
  11. Christmas Day 
  12. Christmas with family - We host family on December 26.  Last year we bought cooked chicken from Ralphs grocery store with mashed potatoes and rolls.  I heated up some baked beans, green beans, corn, and mac and cheese for the little ones.  It was SO simple and cost less than $50.  No stress and everyone seemed to like it.  My husband is the pickiest and he loved it, so this will probably be a tradition.
  13. Annual visit with friend - make list of all that is needed to bring and keep it in Christmas binder
  14. Undecorate on 12/31
  15. Write thank-you notes
  16. Enjoy New Year's Day at home and plan for the coming year

2)  On a separate piece of paper, write down who you need to buy gifts for.  Type it up.  This will go into a page protector to be used annually in your Christmas binder.

Print a second copy, put the year at the top, and write down what you bought for each person.  Because sometimes you buy things in a series, and next year you will know if you got Season 4 or 5, or book 3 or 4.  

Make a column for gifts received from these people.  This list will be used for Thank-you notes.

Gifts for:                                                       Gifts received:
Aunt and Uncle 
Gil Elvgren

Friend
Neighbor
Son 
Husband
Brother
Sister
Mom
Dad
Gma
Gpa
Nieces
Nephews
Cousins
Small children
Family "game" exchange
Friend
Son's friends
Paper delivery guy (keep Paper's address in binder) 
Mail carrier (know his or her name!)
Hair dresser
Barber (extra tip)

3)  Grab a 3-ring binder.  I keep white binders of various sizes on hand.  The Christmas binder will be thin.  When buying binders, also buy a 50 pack of page protectors - they come in SO handy!  You will also need labels (30 to a page) for printing addresses for Christmas card labels.

4)  Keep binder in a special place where you won't forget it.  Add:
  • The Christmas stamps you bought
  • List of stores with Christmas specials (buy gift card, get $ back)
  • List of stores where you want to shop 
  • Cute return labels
  • Christmas stickers
  • Christmas stories
  • Ideas of events you'd like to attend in the future (parades, harbor tours, boat parade, tree lighting, etc.)
  • Ideas of traditions you'd like to include that focus on the real meaning of Christmas
  • Gift ideas that celebrate Christ
  • Christmas charitable giving - decide with your family which organizations or people to give to
  • Favorite Christmas magazine articles on decorating
  • When you get a notice that someone has moved, put it into your Christmas binder to update your labels in November.
Doing these 4 steps today (or really, really soon before you forget), will move you from Christmas Chaos to Christmas Calm!

11.01.2018

How to Thrive on One Income

  • Is the desire of your heart to be at home with your children?
  • Are you on the fence about coming home because you don’t see how it could possibly work? 
  • Do you not have children, but desire to be a homemaker just the same?
  • Are you already at home but need help in making ends meet?

Every woman has financial concerns about coming home and surviving on only her husband’s income.  It is scary to contemplate…your heart will begin to pound as you prepare your budget and realize that there is absolutely no way to make ends meet on only one income…but you WANT to be at home!

A book full of encouragement, Janine has given you straight-forward guidelines, and financial principles found in the Holy Bible.  

She shares her action plan of over 125 little steps to help you gather your courage, step out in faith, and successfully thrive on one income!
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give 
you your heart’s desires.  Psalm 37:4

“Do you have a higher calling and purpose for your life?  The need to live on one income?  This book is for you!  Whether it’s raising children, doing charity work, or fulfilling God's calling... the practical tips and encouragement you need to make it possible, are found in the pages of this book.  

“Janine is an inspiration.  She shows what courage, diligence and persistence can bring:  a simple life with priorities, contentment, and joy.”  ~Dawn Segawa, champion for God, and At-Home Mom
 
Thus reads the back cover of my new book,
How to Thrive on One Income.



It was because of readers of this blog, and women with whom I correspond on e-mail, who wrote me such sweet comments, that I was encouraged to put my story in print for the world to see.  

At each step in the process I asked God, "Is what I'm writing TRUE?  Does it align with Scripture?" and He would put a scripture or a book title in my head.  I would read it and say, "Yes, it does align.  It is true.  These people are saying the same thing.  It worked for me, and it worked for them.  It will work for others."  

Whenever I got cold feet and prayed, "Am I really to do this?" all publishing obstacles would be overcome, usually within hours.  "Should I really say this, Lord?  Am I coming across too harshly?"  I would re-read what I wrote, and would either edit or feel a sense of peace -- yes, I should say THAT.  Someone needs to hear it. 

So I kept plodding along, day by day.  I would think I was done, and every day God would show me more!  I thought I'd never finish!  But it is finally complete.

I'm so thankful for the sweet comments of my blog readers, such as:

Rebecca - I just found your blog through the Women Living Well link-up. I have already read almost all your posts. I currently work full-time and am completely overwhelmed but I am longing to be home caring for my husband, children, and home. This post in particular was very helpful. I cannot way (sic) to try your suggestions. Thanks for the help! :)

Judith - Coming home from work is so worth it!! I quit my job over 25+ years ago and never looked back. That is a wonderful list of ideas and worth lots of people reading it. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Wednesdays. Have a great week!!

Tiffiney - Hey Janine, I just love this post! Like I said in my comment to you on my blog - we are kindred spirits. You have my heart with this post. I live in a little house on the freeway and I've been busy making it a beautiful place to live these days with my fall harvest decor. I just love this and I'm sharing on welcomehomeministry.com's fb page!

Elizabeth - Hi, Janine...I'm going to echo my girl Tiffiney, whom I have to thank for leading me to you, and say that we are kindred spirits. You had me with this: "I am a Keeper at Home, the one who watches, guards and maintains our home…the vital center of our life. My intent is to have our home be a sanctuary of love, peace, warmth and order." YES! Me, too! Looking forward to following you from now on! :)

and Kelli - Wow, this is such a great post. You have no idea how much I needed to hear some of this. I couldn't agree more with you, especially in regards to the daycare reality. Thank you so much for sharing this.  Praise God!

Praise God, indeed!  I so hope my book will be a huge blessing in helping to bring more mothers home to raise their children, and other women who would also prefer to be homemakers.

May God bless you, too.

Love,

Janine

Table of Contents

Introduction – I May Not Be Rich, But I Am Wealthy
1)  Accumulating Choices, The List Illusion, and Making Home Happy
2)  Planning My New Life
3)  I Held the Key to My Own Happiness
4)  How to Clean Up Your Own Credit File
5)  Buying a House
6)  A Mortgage
7)  Empty Houses
8)  How Did We Get Here?
9)  Having A Vision for Home
10) Another Type of Empty House
11) What You Do With Your Income
12) A Bills Calendar
13) Praying Over Your Budget
14) How I Paid Off Our Car Six Months Early
15) My Top 27 Steps for Grocery Shopping
16) Finding My Way Home
17) What I No Longer Use and Other Thrifty Steps
18) 80 Steps Towards Living on His Income
19) You Are So Lucky!
20) On Being and Staying Debt-Free
21) What if I'm Not Making Ends Meet Now?
22) What If...
23) Working Towards Contentment
24) “Mama…Work?”
25) An Overheard Conversation
26) Consider BEFORE
27) The Prequel to Living on His Income
28) God's Provision
29) Sparrow Math
Appendixes
For Further Reading
The Most Important Decision of Your Life

8.01.2018

A Welcome Home Checklist and A Favorite Poem

This is not a list to be done daily, nor is it meant to convey the impression we must be perfect, and live in a perfectly clean, magazine-worthy home.  No!  It is just the "ultimate" list I finally wrote because I was always forgetting something and wanted it all in one place.  My windows will never be spotless.  But it sounds good on the list, doesn't it?  It's a goal - something to shoot for.  But don't worry - your house doesn't need to be perfect to be welcoming.  In fact, perfect homes are not welcoming.  We don't want our homes to be hotel rooms.  My fridge will always be covered in photos, magnets, and drawings.  That gives us pleasure.  I think refrigerators without childish decor looks sterile and unfriendly.  I'll take a lived in, much loved home over a perfect home any day!  This is just for offering tips to help you spruce up your living areas, or for help before throwing a big party.


A Welcome Home
Checklist
 Curb Appeal

¨    Lawn is mowed and watered regularly
¨    Plants are in good condition; flowers deadheaded; a minimum of plants and garden decor
¨    Property is clear of trash, newspapers, animal droppings, toys and other items
¨    Walkways, porches, masonry, and decks are clean
¨    Door is clean and beautiful porch light is cobweb-free
¨    Windows are spotless
¨    Mailbox, door hardware, railings and address plaque are in like-new condition
¨    Does your porch area make you smile?
¨    The appearance of your front yard declares that you love your home!
 
Entrance Way

¨    Area is clean and free from overspilling shoes, papers, jackets, sports equipment - items are where they belong in a closet or drawers
¨    Launch pad of keys, phones and other items are neat or in bins
¨    A subtle scent, such as vanilla, but no odors such as pets, stinky cooking, shoes, etc.
¨    Mirror is clean
¨    An electric candle or small decorative lamp on a timer says Welcome Home!
 
Kitchen and Dining Room

¨    Sinks, faucets, and all reflective items are glistening
¨    All appliances are clean on the outside, and the inside
¨    Cupboards and fridge contents are tidy and not overcrowded
¨    Countertops and tabletops are clear
¨    Pet dishes are clean; pet area is clean
¨    Sink is clean; dirty dishes are in dishwasher; run at night, unload in morning
¨    Trash cans aren't overflowing and aren't odorous; visible small cans are emptied into a larger can and trash is tossed at the end of each evening; small recycle bin is emptied into larger can outside each evening

Living Room

¨    Windows are smudge-free; sills are clean from dirt and bugs
¨    All items are in their proper places - find bins and other hidden storage to make homes for all items
¨    All surfaces are dust-free
¨    Floor is clean - nothing is stored on the floors
¨    Lights are on in the evenings; especially one decorative lamp on a timer; electric candles are placed about on timers; a candle or lamp is in a front window making commuters wish they lived in your welcoming home!
 
Bedrooms

¨    All clean clothes are put away; dirty clothes are in a basket (if possible in a laundry area - if not, basket should have a lid for when company comes)
¨    Bed is dressed in luxurious linens, a bedspread you love, no more than 3 plump decorative pillows, and a bed skirt to hide any storage containers under the bed; bed has a headboard
¨    Dressers and nightstands are clear of clutter
¨    Closet is neat - especially the floor; clothes are hung first by type, and then by color; all hangers face the same direction; no brittle plastic, wire or drycleaner hangers
 
Bathrooms

¨    Toilet seat is down
¨    Mirror, sink, counters and bathing area is spotless and shining
¨    Decorative trash can is empty
¨    Personal items in shower aren't too numerous and are not covered in mildew
¨    Mats and rugs are clean and fluffy
¨    Shower curtain or doors are clean
¨    Plenty of toilet paper readily accessible
¨    Clean towels
¨    Floor is clean of hair and footprints
¨    Cupboards are decluttered and ready for company to view

From a favorite childhood book of mine, Childcraft Vol. 2.  It's fun to say aloud. Gets me back to remembering how much fun it was to play house.  I'd read this poem and wish for my own house to care for.  Well, I have it! Let's keep that spirit and pass it down to our own children!

 This is read at the same tempo as "Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash.

7.28.2018

A Home Improvements Checklist


Eloise Wilkin We Help Daddy
Whether you are selling your home or just need to look at your home with new eyes, here is a checklist I compiled from improving my own fixer-upper.
 Home Improvements Checklist

¨    Front door should be repainted every one or two years at most (unless it is stained wood kept in great condition)
 ¨    Add outside shutters or decorative trim
¨    Update or repaint garage door
¨    Wallpaper should be in good condition or remove it
¨    Repair nail holes, cracks, stains or repaint
¨    No leaking faucets; update faucets and fixtures that are tarnished, worn, ugly or outdated
¨    Fix broken shower doors or toilets (includes stains and hinges for toilet seats)
¨    Fix bathtub if worn, chipped or damaged; fix caulking
¨    Replace any bathroom carpet or worn linoleum with water-resistant flooring
¨    Fix creaky doors, drawers, and windows
¨    Light fixtures should be pretty and work well
¨    Paint or replace trim and baseboards if necessary
¨    Replace sagging shelving
¨    Organize closets with labeled bins, updated hangers
¨    Repaint outside and/or inside; repair walls first
¨    Beautify the front door - update doorbells, house numbers, door knockers, mailbox, kickplates, porch light - all should appear new and not tarnished - coordinate them if possible
¨    If your locks stick - fix them!
¨    Keep gutters and downspouts clean
¨    Repair floors that are worn or damaged
¨    Fix or change damaged countertops, range hoods, tile, faucets, cupboard hardware and hinges, exhaust fans, and appliances
¨    Have adequate lighting in all work areas, and reading areas
¨    Make work areas, such as the laundry room, airy and beautiful by repainting, having baskets, bins, flowers, pictures that make the area a pleasing place to work in
¨    Fix walkways, patio stones, fences, hardware, and windows
¨    Weed and mulch gardens
¨    Toss worn towels, hand towels, washrags, and bedding; replace with ones you love
¨    Put in 3 way lightbulbs
¨    If beds don't have headboards, buy them - otherwise walls get very dirty
¨    Clean dirty walls easily with a Magic Eraser
¨    Declutter, declutter, declutter!
¨    Clean, clean, clean!

Eloise Wilkin
E. Wilkin

7.20.2018

Our Year of NO

We dropped out of everything in order to clear our heads, revive our bodies, refresh our spirits and decide on what really mattered.

A. Sarnoff
No sports.
No extra classes.
No seminars.
No weekly school groups.
No monthly homeschool meetings.
No extra teaching.
No monthly field trips.
No monthly park days.
No library club.

We stopped everything except seeing my parents once a week.  We said no to everything except birthday parties and scheduled play dates.  We said no to most potlucks and most Christmas parties.

We slept in in the mornings, awakening when our bodies told us to, and never set an alarm.  What a difference that made!  We all awoke at different times, but everyone was well rested.  We all decided that getting ready for bed would be at 9:00, storytime at 9:15, and lights out at 10:00.

We began our school day at 11:00, and ended by 4:00.  This meant we had our mornings for: chores (a clean house!), decluttering, walks, dentist appts, haircuts, errands, laundry, and grocery shopping on Thursdays.

My husband and son focused on the outside of our home, and I did the KonMari method inside. 
Eloise Wilkin

We read A LOT.  

We had time for our neighbors.

We had time for phone calls.

We had time for visits.

We had a few people over.

We had unrushed, day dreaming time.

We read and rested on our backyard swing.

We walked and got to know new neighbors. 

We got things DONE.

I did keep my monthly homeschooling moms book group that meets in my home, because it is enjoyable and not stressful.

Last summer we attended 2 VBS's that we really enjoyed, but not the usual 4.  This summer we only attended one.

The year is now up.  We are refreshed!  Now we are deciding on what to add back - what we missed and want to continue. 


The only thing I really missed was teaching Sunday School, and I would like to add that back in.  I will probably add in a few more field trips during the next year as well.

I don't think my husband and son want to add anything back in!



I am at the final stage of the KonMari Method - Sentimental Items.  (I will do a separate post on this method later.)  

My husband and son still have lots of outdoor projects to continue.
If you are overwhelmed with life, I highly recommend that you stay at home.

I just read a delightful post over at The Legacy of Homecalled "The House Comes First."  I highly recommend it, and agree with what she says. 

When we put our family, homes and neighbors above extracurricular activities, we make our homes a happy place and fill our lives with joy!

I value this delicious home feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow.  ~Washington Irving



3.02.2018

Organizing for LIFE


I love reading books on organizing.  Harder is implementing.  Sometimes I just need a little encouragement before I can act.
I thought this book, Organizing for Life by Sandra Felton, was one of the best I've read.  I've kept these notes in my binder for a year, and today thought I'd share them.  I think they will encourage you, too!

Page 144  Become proficient in what you do...  You are more powerful than the house is....  The real tension will be relieved when the house is beautiful and orderly....  Then the stress of an ugly house, so powerful because it is so closely tied to womanhood, will be alleviated.

154   Proverbs says "It is possible to give away and become richer!  It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything.  Yes, the liberal man shall be rich!   By watering others, he waters himself."  (11:24-25 TLB)    Is this not true of our situation?  Those who willingly give things away gain a beautiful, orderly house.  Those who hold on to everything lose what they are hoarding, the peace and comfort of ownership.

Stevan Dohanos 1953
155 You were an automatic saving machine.  Now the automatic part has been turned off and you have taken control of what you keep and what you get rid of.

157  Collecting things is a subconscious wish to participate in what they do not really expect will happen (such as travel brochures and home renovating magazines)  Successful average housekeepers... do not fear the future, so they don't keep things they may need someday.  Make a schedule for morning, evening, and various points during the day.  Follow it consistently without even thinking about it.  While you are wondering how it is happening, your house will change slowly but surely before your eyes.

159  ....the real problem is not your house; it's your mind-set....If professional organizers get your house in perfect order before you change your mind-set, the house will slip back into its former condition.

173  Women are suckers for anything that promises to make us better nurturers.  That's why it is so hard to get rid of kitchen things.  But the more junk we keep, the less effective our nurturing will be.  It gives an illusion of nurturing, but little of the reality. 


187  Done is better than perfect.

191  Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier:  Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of thy peace.

194  ...(we have) the desire for order and beauty.  Many Messies are puzzled when their houses don't look nicer after they have worked so hard, so they enroll in another craft class or buy another knickknack.  Yet somehow the desire for beauty is not satisfied.

195  Another way Messies seek beauty in a drab house is by substituting beautiful words and thoughts for visual beauty.  They keep piles of books and magazines around them, frequently in their bedrooms and on the bed.  They are pleased to have this much intellectual beauty at their fingertips.  But this type of beauty, though important, cannot substitute for the beauty that comes only through our eyes.

196  When we start our search for gracious surroundings, we will feel as though we are walking from the harsh sunlight of a desert into a shaded garden glen.  We will experience a sense of balance and coolness.  Life will seem more worthwhile and balanced, and we will feel less tension.  When beauty comes to our home, we relax and start to see our total surroundings without having to limit our vision to a few pleasant items.
            The order that once eluded us is much closer at hand.  Messies generally believe that order produces beauty.  This is true to some extent.  But in the Messie experience, I believe it is more true that BEAUTY PRODUCES ORDER.
            There is one other surprising result of having a beautiful home.  Beauty lifts us out of our tiredness and depression.  Many people beat the blues by ... beautiful clothes or walking in a beautiful outdoor setting.....Part of this depression comes from lack of control, but part comes simply from living in a graceless home.

196-197  In Emotional Phases of a Woman's Life, Jean Lush writes about a woman's need for beauty:  lack of beauty - ugliness - brings grief to the spirit.  Shabbiness and disorder drain us...beauty creates energy.  It lifts the spirit.

 218  Deeper still is the beauty of the Spirit that shines through the eyes, the bearing, and the personality.  The Bible speaks of the beauty of holiness.  This beauty is not caused by a halo and a wispy smile.  This beauty is the love and joy that come from knowing the God who IS love.
D is for Dad, Vintage ABC card
Books by Sandra Felton:
The Messies Manual 2005
When yo Live with a Messie  1994
The Messie Motivator  1986
Neat Mom, Messie Kids  2002
Hope for the Hopeless Messie: Steps of Restoring Sanity to Your Cluttered Life  1999
Why Can't I get Organized? / Whiz Bang Guide  1998
The Quick Guide to Home Organizing
Organized for Life
www.Messies.com

Books she recommends:
Culp, Stephanie.  How to Get Organized When You Don't Have the Time  1986
Fulton, Alice, and Pauline Hatch.  It's Here...Somewhere.  1985
Kolberg, Judith.  Conquering Chronic Disorganization.  1999
McCullough, Bonnie.  Totally Organized the Bonnie McCullough Way  1991

2.01.2017

How to Clean Up Your Own Credit File

A. Sarnoff
In 1995 I was saddled with my own debt AND debt that wasn't mine - stolen info, fraud, etc.  In 1997 my roommate taught me how to clean up my credit.  I did what she said, and, at the same time, I paid off my OWN stupid debt!   It took me two years.  In 1999 I bought my first home.  In 2014 I became 100% debt-free.  You can do it, too!  One year from now you will wish you began TODAY!  So do it!

You can read about how to do this in my book,
How to Thrive on One Income.
 
Or you can subscribe to my new website ThriveOnOneIncome.com and receive the first 5 chapters of my book for free, including the chapter on how to clean up your own credit file.
 
Thanks!

1.23.2017

The Perfect Year, Area #4: Serene Spaces (Choosing a life of Peacefulness)

1.  Practice silence in the car.  Turn off that radio.  Or have a child read out loud.  Or get books on tape.  Adventures in Odyssey! Or old radio shows.  Silence helps your children to talk to you, and if alone, for you to think deeply.  Or introduce your child to one classical piece of music each day.  It always grows on the child.  It's brain food.  It's also calming.  And they will begin to recognize it all over the place.  Learn together.  My favorite: Pachelbel's Canon in D. 

2.  At home - turn off the TV.  Turn off the music.  What do you hear?  "Be still and know that I am God."  When was the last time you were still?

3.  Practice Peace.  A quieter home - just people living, candles (real or battery).  Listen to the quiet sounds of home.  Choose family books to read aloud.  Begin with a Children's Bible storybook, such as The Rhyming Bible for little ones, or Uncle Arthur's Bible Story set.  It's the best!  He also has a set of "Bedtime Stories" and a set called "The Children's Hour."  More on this in Life - In Order.       

We are currently reading "Rabbit Hill".  Almost any "old" Weekly Reader book - from the 50's and 60's - will be excellent for family read alouds.  Carolyn Haywood books are perfect for ages 4-9. Most Catherine Woolley "Ginny" books are great for girls 4th grade+ - they are in reprint (loved all except "Mysterious Light").  Try the "Mad Scientists Club" books - they are in reprint in 2 volumes. Boys will love, and many girls, too.  "Meet the Austins" and the 2 Christmas prequels are fantastic for 11+, but the sequels are terrible.  Classic books are typically for the older child.  Try booklists from Heart of Dakota. She's done a fantastic job of compiling the classics and the correct age group (unlike others).

4.  Buy a swing this summer.  A big one that you can cuddle your family on, and also lay down on.  It's a great way to read together and play verbal games outside, like trivia games, or 20 questions.  Start saving now from your grocery money!

5.  This week, practice praying with your family.  Out loud.  Bless them.  Ask God for healing and a peaceful home.  Pray for world events and peace. 

King Solomon, paraphrased, said:  Eat!  Drink!  Rejoice!  Sing!  Do good!  Love!  Live joyfully with your wife!  Do with your might what your hands find to do!  Praise the Lord!  Fear God!

6.  Take big breaths.  No need to empty your mind.  God said to fill it with Scripture.  No need for yoga to take big breaths.  No need to meditate. 

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV) says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.  A good verse to post by the t.v.! 

Just turn down the noise, take big, refreshing breaths, pray, SMILE, SING a capella, dance with your babies, love on your hubby, and ENJOY THE MOMENT.  Then you will have a perfect year.