Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Simpler Life

Tonight, I am not home.  No...I am relaxing in my very own room at The Lamp Post Inn and Gallery Bed & Breakfast!  It is located in a quaint town along the Mississippi River in McGregor, IA.  My hosts are Ramona and Dorrance.  This is my 2nd year staying with them, as they have graciously opened their home to me while I am here in town to perform for a Chamber of Commerce event.

I am soooo enjoying the peace and tranquility here.  There is no TV...although they do have wireless internet access, obviously! 

Here is a picture of the room I am staying in:
This is the 'Butler's Quarters'.

As I look around the room, I am thinking about the simplicity it has to offer.  No clutter...PEACE!!  There is a simple order in this room.  Everything I need is at my fingertips.  This shows me that I can certainly survive without all the 'things' I think I must have.

I am asking myself, "Why...why do I seem to feel more secure with all the 'stuff' I have and cannot seem to let it go?"  And, yet, I know I do not feel security.  I feel overwhelmed helplessness, disorder, discontent, and the list goes on!  Now, I realize I have quite a bit more of the unusual things...such as PUPPETS!!!  Puppets, props and more puppets do seem to take over my house at times!  More on that later...

Back to 'stuff'...and the 'why'.  I don't know the answer, but I am praying about it.  I truly believe that when I discover the 'why' of hanging onto the 'stuff', I will discover the freedom in letting go of the 'stuff'!  I am also praying that I will continue to work on discipline...discipline to create peace, just as I'm feeling here at this Bed & Breakfast! 

And, speaking of 'breakfast'...I am going to go to sleep, now!  Breakfast is fantastic at this place!  I'll let you know what we have...I do know we're having some type of breakfast bread, because Ramona was baking it when I arrived this afternoon...mmmm...the smells in the air were wonderful!

Until breakfast....I mean, later...



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spiritual Clutter vs. Balance

I haven't posted for the past few days for a number of reasons.

1)  I am trying to be more disciplined in different areas and found I was spending way too much time on the computer.

2)  Remember Good Morning Girls I wrote about in an earlier post?  I am re-committing myself to being disciplined to have my daily time with the Lord. 

We are studying the book of James right now...verse by verse.  This week was the beginning of James chapter 3, which covers the topic of our 'tongue'.  It's such a small, untamed part of our body...but it can be oh, so destructive!  We are expected to tame our tongue, or it will be like fire kindling that can set a whole forest afire!  Just a spark is all it takes to set something on fire.

I have been challenged to look at how I am using my tongue!  How do my words affect my husband?  Are they uplifting, encouraging, motivating, loving?  Or am I tearing down my husband?  Are my words 'biting'?  Are they judgemental?  I am asking myself the same questions regarding my children.

Proverbs 18:21 says "death and life are in the power of the tongue".  Is my tongue bringing LIFE to people I am around?  Or is it bringing DEATH?

Another thought that has been brought to my attention is this:

How do I speak or act when I'm away from my home?  In other words, do I act the same outside my home as I am when I'm at home with my family? 

The enemy, the devil, would like nothing better than to have us tear one another down, especially those we love the most!  Getting caught up in the spirit of gossipping, backbiting...all with the excuse of "this way I will know how to pray"...or maybe we share what doesn't need to be shared because, if we're honest with ourselves, it makes us feel good to 'know' something someone else doesn't know!  Maybe we've been hurt by someone...we may feel that we 'deserve' to talk to's going to help us to feel better!  Not true!  I've been there!  I KNOW the lies the devil tries to get us to believe!  Talking about the one who hurt you, what happened, etc., only 'feeds' the spirits of unforgiveness and bitterness.  What happens is that the root of bitterness begins to grow and to take hold, which will ultimately lead to a spiritual death if not pulled out!  Our tongue can be sooo deadly!

Oh, I so want to create a Women's Ministry Program where I can share this message with ladies all across the nation!  I am praying about this...I have so many ideas of how I can use my ventriloquism to reach ladies with this message!

Maybe you're wondering what in the world this has to do with organizing?  Well, to me, it has everything to do with it!  You see, having a  personal spiritual life that is cluttered with ungodly attitudes, words, and thoughts, is as wrong as having a cluttered, dis-organized home.  We must have our spiritual life in order! 

Let's take all of the spiritual clutter to God in prayer, asking Him to help us to discipline and tame our tongue...and move onto the next level in our walk with Him!

Do you have anything to share on this topic?  I'd love to hear from you!

Organizing bit-by-bit!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Working on balance!

Today has been a busy day, as I've been preparing to go to a nearby town tomorrow morning to minister with puppets.  When I was winding down for the evening, I was tempted to just sit down on the couch to watch a movie...veggin' out, ya know!  Well, something inside of me said "NO!  You have to balance out the day!"  So...I thought about what one thing really bothered me a lot about my house, and my fridge came to mind!  Every time I opened the door of the fridge or freezer, this is what greeted me:

I made this picture larger so you could see how gross the shelf is!  It's been like this for about a week...why is it that something this easy to clean takes so long to actually get to?

Oh, yeah...we are guilty of being pop-a-holics!  I've thought about starting Pop-a-holics Anonymous!  Seriously...

There it is!  The dreaded refrigerator!

But, after about 1/2 hour, this is the make-over:

I found 2 unused plastic shoebox containers to try items.  I do think I will look for other containers that are not quite as tall, though...and I still need to label them.  It's a start...

See the clean shelf!!  It was VERRRYYY sticky!

I think it's time to do a little grocery shopping now.  It's much easier when you can see what you have!

I do have to show one thing that my daughter thought quite disgusting...see if you can figure out what it is:

If you guessed 'cilantro', you are right!  At least in it's 1st lifetime!  LOL!  This was the worst food item found in the fridge, though...

For the little time it took, I am very pleased!  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to keep balance in my day!  If I can keep this going on a daily basis, balance, order, and peace will be a constant in my home!

I'd love to hear how you organize YOUR fridge and freezer!

Organizing bit-by-bit,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finding Balance without...God?

After posting my previous message, I got up, took my shower, got dressed, all the while thinking about my 'to-do' list I had written.  When it dawned on me...I hadn't even added "spend time with God" on it.  Anywhere.  Na-da.  It's not there! 
So, how am I expected to 'find balance' in my life if I don't let God be a part of it on a daily basis?  Oh, wonderful...another area I am lacking discipline.  This reminds me that I need to get back with  I have been using the excuse that I'm out of ink so I can't print our S.O.A.P. missions for the week...also out of paper.  But, umm...I do have notebooks, right?  I even have one started that I keep in a basket next to where I like to read my Bible and do my studying.  Okay!  Enough with the excuses!  Add this one to the previous list:
And, put it at the top!

Organizing bit-by-bit...with God by my side,


Finding Balance...

This morning, I was laying in bed trying to summon the courage to get up so I could begin my day...have you ever been there?  Laying in bed, I thought of all the things that needed to be done, and I just wanted to roll back over and cover my head with the blanket!  It seemed my mind never stopped thinking...
  • clear off the island in kitchen (wish I could go to an island!)
  • clear off kitchen table
  • sweep kitchen floor
  • clear off counter by phone
  • vacuum family room floor
  • begin washing clothing
  • work on programming for tomorrow night
  • work on programming for tomorrow afternoon
  • work on programming for tonight!
  • work on programming for Sunday morning at a church
  • return a phone call
  • make bed
  • pick up living room
  • have Kayli scoop kitty litter
  • what's for supper?
  • what's for breakfast?
  • and the list goes on...
This is what was going on in my head as I laid in bed.  One of my biggest struggles is...finding balance between my business and my home.  This is what I mean:  it's either all about my business/ministry or it's all about my home and family.  I have struggled for years with this.  How do I find balance in my chaotic times?  I've worked on routines (remember my wonderful Home Management Guide?)  Sticking to a routine if very hard for me...but, I think this is part of the answer.  I need to quit making excuses why I 'can't' find balance and work at bringing balance to my life. 

My business is starting to pick up for a while, meaning more planning time and practice time is needed.  In the past, my home became so terribly neglected.  I really believe we could have been on that "Hoarders" show.  How embarrassing!  

I cannot let all the work I've done in the past 2 months become 'un-done'.  It just cannot happen!  So...I'll ask again: how do I find balance in my chaotic times?  I know...get the family more involved...I have tried, but have been very unsuccessful.  I have never been a disciplined person...whatever comes our way, go with it.  "It's easier if I just do it".  "I've asked them 3 times, and they don't even 'remember'".   But, today, I am declaring WAR against the distractions of the enemy!  I will NOT be distracted from making, and sticking to, my routines...I will NOT be distracted from getting my family more involved!  I can and will find balance and have more peace in my spirit!

Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed."  This is a promise from GOD and I know He keeps His promises!

So, today, amidst planning for tonights' program, cleaning up what has become 'un-done', working on routines for the whole family, and more...I commit all these plans to the Lord...and the WILL succeed...and I WILL finally...find balance!

Please share with me how YOU find balance in your life.  Do you work with routines?  A Home Management Guide type book?  What works for you?  I am a willing learner!  Thanks for reading this long post, but it's been on  my heart for months...

Organizing bit-by-bit,


Friday, February 11, 2011

Living Room clean-up

Well, with all the crazy-ness that's going on in our house and with family, it seems that all my work de-cluttering and organzing is falling by the way-side.  So...I decided not to focus on the kitchen (dirty dishes piling up, etc.) and tackle the leftover mess from working in the Master Bedroom.

Most of the 'stuff' around this room is what came out of our bedroom as I was painting and de-cluttering it.  The biggest challenge is knowing what to do with it all! 

I went to work and this is how it all looked about an hour later:
This is also our 'music' room!  Jordan plays drums, piano, guitar(s), and harmonica.  Kayli is taking violin lessons.  Our home is filled with music throughout the day! 

This sectional is huge and has a hide-a-bed that gets used when we have a houseful of cousins overnight!

There you have it!  It's amazing what a person can get done in an hour!  Of course, there's a pile of 'thrift store' stuff you can't see, but that's going out soon!  Yeah!

Organizing bit-by-bit,


P.S.  Guess what!  I was ready to publish this post when I heard...wait for it...RUNNING WATER!!!  We really don't know how blessed we are until something is taken away from us!  Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank you, Lord, for my home...

I just have to say "Thank you" to God for my home.  I sometimes minimize the fact that we live in a mobile home, but this morning something happened that made me so thankful to have a home.

My husband's phone rang today.  It was his brother, who proceeded to tell him that their house had burned down this morning.  Literally...everything is lost.  They have no children, but had 3 dogs.  One of them didn't make it.  They are heartbroken.

This morning, we woke up to frozen water pipes.  After complaining, wondering how I was ever going to brush my teeth, do dishes, etc., I heard this news.  It was at that moment that I said "Thank you, Lord, for my home..."  There are others so much worse off than us.  We have a home, heat in our home, food to eat, etc.  We are lacking nothing.  We have all that we need.  Because He is faithful!  Even if we DID lose everything, we still would be lacking in nothing.

Thank you, Lord...for my home...


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bedroom Makeover!

My hubby and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage on Monday, Feb. 14th!  Yes, we were married on Valentine's Day!  Traditionally, we go away for a couple of nights, but this year, we decided to re-do our bedroom!  Here is what it has looked like, more or less, for approx. 7 years:
Yes, that is a hutch in my...bedroom...thought it was a good idea at the time!  And a tennis ball?

 Notice the icky green walls?  So dark, and it's been like this for about 7 years!  Our bedroom is fairly large, with pretty good lighting.  However, this was a color that got very old, very fast!

Most of the re-do has been done on a next-to-nothing budget!  It's been fun to see what I could find to make our little 'love nest' just exactly what we wanted!  I began painting this past Saturday, and I just finished this afternoon (Monday)!

We moved the bed to the wall opposite of where it had been.

See our pretty kitty?  That's Romeo...he thinks he's King of the Bed!

We found this comforter set (which was like brand new!) at one of our local Thrift Stores!  It is hard to see the design in this picture, but we HEART it so much!  It came with the skirting, 2 plain (gold) pillow shams and 2 other coordinating pillow shams.  I'm not ready to put the pillow shams on, yet...waiting until we get NEW pillows!

We moved my bookcase to the wall just inside our door.  I don't like it there, but it's going to have to do for now.

I really HEART this saying! 

Don't you just LOVE this?

This is where the bed had been.  (pic taken from the doorway)  The dresser on the right is one my dad had that belonged to his aunt.

The dresser on the left is in baaaddd shape...I had great plans for it!  Right now, it's holding games that were in that green hutch!  Oh, yeah...notice it's not in our bedroom???

These are Fenton pieces that finally have a home!  I think they really show up nicely on this old dresser.

Two of these old books belonged to my mother, and the other 2 belonged to my hubby's grandfather.  The blue lamp will eventually get a make-over.

Here's the icky dresser...I don't know if I should paint it, refinish it, or what...let me know if you have an idea!  There are no hardware on it right now, so we have to leave the drawers open a bit!!! 

I bought this pillow for .50 at the Thrift store...yeah, it's one of my favorite stores.  I had an idea I saw on another blog...when I find it, I'll add it.

 I used the patterns on the blog (again...I'll post it when I find it) and dark brown felt.
I hot-glued them together, then to the pillow.  I added a vintage button to it and...I now have a beautiful throw pillow to add to our bed!  Here's the picture again of it on our bed:

I just have to show you my room again!

So, what do you think?  There are still other decor items I haven't added, because I'm lovin' the uncluttered look that I have created!  That's a look that I don't see often in my home!  I'll post more pics if I do anything else!

Thanks for checking our new 'love nest'...I can't wait to get the rest of the house looking this great!

Organizing bit-by-bit!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dry Erase Menu Board

I saw this on Little Birdie Secrets  I knew I had to make one!

So...I went Thrift store shopping to find a cheap frame that I could paint and re-make.  Here's what I found:

Just so you know, I don't know anyone named "Holly"!  I took the frame apart and began painting it black.
While the paint was drying, I found a piece of scrapbook paper that I hadn't used yet and cut it down to size, adding a piece of rick-rack for a bit of decor.
Here it is!  I do wish I had a Silhouette to make my wording, though!  For now, though, I will use a dry erase marker to write down our weekly meals.  I think this will be very valuable in saving us time and money.  Each morning, it will just take a glance to see what will be for supper.  Easy!

I added the Valentine's Day, I can change it out for different holidays! 

Just another way to help me as I...
Organizine bit-by-bit!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Managing the peace and order!

One thing I often wonder when I read about other's organizing and de-cluttering are they doing in managing their peaceful and ordered homes?

So...I thought I'd write about how I'm managing MY peaceful and ordered spaces.  You were curious, weren't you?

I'm not going to show you any pictures, because there is nothing different to show!  Yes!  I, along with my family, have been able to maintain the order that I have been working so hard on!  I am finding that when I keep areas cleared out, my children (for the most part) are 'seeing' the change and helping out...mostly without being reminded!

This is what I'm doing to maintain and manage what I've already put in order:

1.  Swish and swipe Master Bathroom toilet (I have moved those wonderful LYSOL cleaning wipes to a cabinet next to the toilet...handy and quick to use)

2.  Quickly wipe down the bathroom countertop and sink (using those cleaning wipes)

3.  Look around the Master Bathroom to make sure I've put all my clothing away!  Yes, I like to throw them over the edge of the bathtub.

4.  Make the bed...right away after getting up!

5.  Put everything in it's place...easier to do it right away, rather than later.

6.  Continually remind the family to put their own dishes in the dishwasher. 

7.  Clothing gets put away as soon as they are washed and dried.

8.  Living room--I walk through it to get to my bedroom, so I take a quick look while passing through...everything must be in it's place!

9.  Family room--before going to bed, be sure blankets are folded, end tables cleared off, my 'area' picked up and in order...recliner foot rests are pushed in...yes, my family likes to leave them up!

10.  Make a 'to-do' list for the next day...before going to bed!

11.  Command Center--be sure to sort through papers ASAP, avoiding a huge pile!  Cut and file coupons and important papers!

These are just a few things I'm doing to be maintain order in my home.  Of course, I have more to work on, but I am on my way! 

Organizing bit-by-bit!


February Challenge--Praising my husband!

The 3rd week of this challenge given by Courtney over at   began yesterday.  I am a little behind, as I've been focusing on 'other things'...but with Valentine's Day coming in 2 weeks, I have been giving more thought to the attention I give my husband.

I guess this is one reason I'm taking a small sabitical from major de-cluttering and organizing to make some simple Valentine's Day decorations. hubby and I celebrate our 24th Anniversary on...wait for it...Feb. 14th!  Notice that I was making some of our ONLY Valentine's Day decorations?  Sad, isn't it...and it's supposed to be our 'special' day.

I am so thankful for groups like Women Living Well, Good Morning Girls, and other blogs and sites I've found that are reminding us women to Love our Husbands, focus on them, Praise them, etc.! 

Here I am with my hubby, Joel.
We have been married 24 years on Feb. 14th.  He is 10 years older than I am, and we've known each other since I was 10 years old!!!  Joel has MS and lung cancer, but God is so good!  Up until about 3 years ago, he worked 60 hours a week!  But, he had to quit when the MS became so bad that he couldn't physically work anymore.  He loves God with all his heart and he is a great prayer warrior!

We have 2 wonderful children, Jordan and Kayli.  We were unable to conceive for 7 years and did foster care for 4 1/2 of those years.  We homeschool our children and are striving to train them to be a Godly young man and young lady.

I am joining the challenge, even though I'm late, because I believe it's never too late to begin! 

What does this have to do with Organizing bit-by-bit?  This is all in order, because God has ordered it himself...and I want to be in order with His plan!

I love you, Joel!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heart Garland...Easy!

I finished another Valentine's Day project!  I found this on another blog and she's is so easy! 

First, you pick the colors of felt (your basic craft felt), make a small heart pattern, trace and cut out the hearts.  I was able to get 16-18 hearts out of 1 piece of felt, depending on how I laid them out.

Then stitch them together!  Made-by-Rae suggested starting at the 'cup' part of the heart.  When reaching the point, have another one ready and continue until you're done! 
I made 2 different lengths so I could use them in 2 places. 
Here is where I used them:

Remember the picture frame I made?  I draped the garland over the top of the shelf below it.  I think it goes well with the picture.

This is the entertainment center in our Family Room.  My husband made it many years ago for his mother.  She couldn't use it anymore, so she gave it to us and I painted it black.  I think the garland looks great on it!  Oh, and the "Simplify" sign?  It is the passion I have for my home!  Bit-by-bit!

So, do you like it?  Let me know what you think and if you have any easy, fun decorating ideas you'd like to share!