Monday, December 6, 2010

Multitudes on Monday; 1000 Gifts

* God who gives us a way back

* family's forgiveness after my anger yesterday

* husband who does mission work

* my son finally got his car and God, it is a good one! Thank you.

* quiet

* my new journal to record my gifts
 from Mardel's

My gifts lists are scattered about in several places, some numbered, some not. I am going to put them all in the journal above, number them and really commit to the practice of gratitude in my life.

I'm like the Israelites in the desert, complaining about what I don't have instead of being grateful for what I do have. Humble me, God. Forgive me, Father. Restore me.

Reading the whole Bible in one year. No, make that almost three years.

I wrote before about reading the Bible in one year using the Discipleship Journal Book-at-a-Time plan. I started in 2008. I got very behind that summer and also had the feeling that I was too prideful about having read the whole Bible once and in the middle of reading it a second time. I finally filed the plan away.

I must have gained some humility, because I felt called to pull it out and try to finish it up. And I did finish it, just last night. By the grace of God alone! That is a big one for my 1000 Gifts List!

And now I am interested in reading the Bible in 90 Days. I have prayed about it. (I just have to be on guard for prideful attitude about it.) If I get this done, it will also be by the grace of God. And with the help of Amy at Mom's Toolbox.

I want to put the graphic from her site here, but I don't guess I know how! Meanwhile, I bought another Bible to help me:

I didn't really need another Bible, but this one should help!

Go to Amy's post here to see why she recommends this Bible. I was convinced.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivated Moms Chore List

I am going to try this again. The Motivated Moms Chore List. Get it for only $1 for the rest of this year by using the coupon LLNOE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It is time... not for NaNoWriMo, but something...

It is time to take myself firmly in hand. Actually, it is past time. The bad mood and feeling sorry for myself has lasted too long.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last year and got a couple of paragraphs written before I abandoned the project, wondering what made me think I could fit it in. We're really busy.

So when I signed up, I got on an email list and now they are recruiting and motivating for this year. And I considered it. Briefly. But we are still too busy. And I am moody and feeling sorry for myself. So I am not going to do NaNoWriMo. Obviously.

But before I decided that, I requested No Plot, No Problem from the library. Picked up it and skimmed it. And realized this is not my time to write a novel in 30 days.

In that book, I read about how, in preparation for NaNoWriMo, you should write down how you spend your time for a week. Here's what Chris Baty said,
The Time Finder is to novel-planning what the Jaws of Life are to accident scenes. But rather than extracting precious things from tight places, the Time Finder does the opposite: It helps wedge large valuables into impossibly small spaces. The tool is the ideal way to discover the answer to the inevitable question, "Where the hell am I going to find the time to write a novel?"
 To use it, you only need some paper, a pen, and some red, blue and green highlighers (or colored pencils). You'll also need five minutes a night for seven nights in a row. And before you start complaining about getting homework already, let it be known: There are treats involved.
Here's how it works: Before you go to bed every night, sit down with your paper and pen, and write down everything you did that day, broken down into half-hour increments. ....
After you've carefully documented your activities for one week, bust out the highlighters or colored pencils, and go to town. First, go through and circle or underline every REQUIRED activity in red. ... Things in this category would be basic acts of personal hygiene, commutes to work or school, actual working, running work-related errands, eating meals, shuttling friends or family around, grocery shopping, and paying bills. 
Next, go through the lists and mark the HIGHLY DESIRED activities in blue.  In this category go the things that, if push came to shove, you could get by without doing for a month, but which would cause major stress or hardship. ...
 Finally, take that last color and mark all the FORGO-ABLE activities that you could give up for a month without courting disaster. ....
If, like me, you've found that you're spending between an hour and a half to two hours a day on forgo-able items, you're golden. These will be your sacrificial lambs next month. Say good-bye to them now, and know they will still be there when you pick them  up again in thirty days.
So, I don't know what my 30-day blitz is going to look like exactly, but I am going to start with The Time Finder.

I think my 30-day project (see, I don't even have a name for it yet) will include exercise for me, a plan for regular meals and snacks for the kids (more cooking and less fast-fooding), a serious look at what is going wrong in my housekeeping and laundry life and what I can do to counteract my frustration with my lot in life. (And I know I have a really great life, but I still complain a lot and get really frustrated and sometimes yell at my family and for someone who is trying to be more Christ-like, not because I am great but because I am a follower of His and we are supposed to get more mature, this--the complaining and frustrated and yelling part--makes me feel disappointed and defeated.)

I feel like if I could get Leila to come over, she'd gently let me know, in no uncertain terms, to stop whining and get on with it. And I have a feeling she'd pray for me, too.

The exercise is to help me feel better. The meals, laundry and housework is about serving my family and working to make things smoother for all of us. But I will only succeed if I get to the root of the problem, whether it is laziness, pride, selfishness or whatever. And I can only overcome those things with the help of the Lord. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The house is a bit of a mess; the laundry isn't done...

And I want to do what I can to change it. In the next hour. (Only an hour now because, goodness, it is 1:45 in the morning!) And then more tomorrow.

  • Get the uniforms that are needed tomorrow in the washer (5 minutes)
  • Work on putting up clean clothes. Put the kids' clean stuff just outside their door. (15 minutes)
  • Unload dishwasher. (What is this doing being undone this late in the day/early the next day? For shame!) (10 minutes)
  • Move wet things to dryer (1 minute)
  • Sweep kitchen (5 minutes)
  • Put away more clothes (10 minutes)
  • Tidy kitchen (5 minutes)
  • Pick up and straighten up downstairs (aiming for the biggest, most obvious messes) (9 minutes)
The most important first step, the step you cannot accomplish this without doing first, no matter who you are is...


I'll report on how my one hour worked soon...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Times Mom Family Organizer Wall Calendar

My review from

I'm kinda nuts when it comes to the calendar I use.

"Nuts" in that I spend more time than I should looking at what is available, comparing features and sometimes even making charts comparing the size of the calendars and size of the grids.

2011 will be the tenth year we will use the More Time Moms Family Organizer. And while I am a loyal customer, I am most interested in getting the best calendar for us. I look to see what is available before I buy.

I love this calendar for these reasons:

It is big...

Closed, it is 11 inches long by 15 inches wide. Closed means that you would be seeing half of the calendar: either the first half of the month or the second half of the month. This is for those of you who only have about 11 inches by 15 inches to spare for it.

Opened up to the whole month, it is 22 inches long by 15 inches wide. This is the way we use it.

It has great paper...

The paper is strong, takes heavy writing (pencil and pen; felt pens might bleed through), highlighting and erasing and in nine years I have never had a page tear or come loose from the spiral binding.

The squares are perfect...

They are 2 inches by 3 3/4 inches. They have faint lines to keep your writing straight. The lines help me visually divide the squares up so I can put morning things near the top, afternoon things in the middle and evening things close to the bottom. The lines could just as easily be ignored. The lines dividing the squares are strong. Holidays and moon phases are noted.

I like the illustrations...

They are family-oriented, but not too cutesy. Some months the primary illustration is in color, other months, black and white (for children to illustrate). There will usually be another one or two small illustrations on the pages and these are in color. Visually, I really like how this calendar looks.

Additional room for notes and things...

Each monthly spread also contains other spaces for writing reminders: Kids' Chores, Reminders and then perhaps another space for Back to School, Gardening or Vacation Plans. You can use these as suggested, or change the title and use them in other ways. You will also get the previous and next months' at-a-glace calendar and a space called: "Schedule time for important things: Yourself: exercise, fresh air, reading hobbies, church, etc. Your partner, family, friends, relatives and community." And there will be a thoughtful quote, often new to me.


260 (and you can order more from the More Time Moms website). Some years I use them a lot, other years I might just use the birthday, anniversary, doctors' appointments and important stickers. The sticker sheet is bound into the calendar, so you won't lose it.

Heavy-duty pocket...

The inside back cover of the calendar contains a heavy-duty pocket (mine has never torn). I use the pocket for a few papers, but what I like to do is hang a clip board under the calendar with copies of school schedules, school calendars, sports schedules and so on. I put all the dates on the calendar, which is referred to daily, sometimes many times a day, but the clip board contains the originals if I need more information. I have created a document with the names, phone numbers and addresses of our doctors and dentist and I keep that in the pocket.

Also printed on the inside back cover is the whole next year's calendar and January's calendar (it is the same as the monthly spread, but smaller, of course).

More writing space...

On the back of the December page is more space for writing. There are grids there for Emergency Numbers, Medical Card Numbers, Kids' phone numbers, Everyone else's phone numbers and a blank for your use.

Charity donation...

5% of profits are donated to children's charities in developing countries. I love this.

She listens to customer feedback...

This is the 15th year this calendar has been available. Joanne, the creator of the calendar, listens to customers' feedback and makes small changes based on that. The basic format and features have remained the same.

A couple of other notes:

Our family life is busy now. Someday, I'll have time to go back and review what we've done and organize photos and scrapbooks. I keep our calendars for this reason. I've tried to remember to write things like who has Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with us, specifics about where we go on vacation and so on for these reasons.

Sometimes I want to mark a series of days, for example, my husband's vacation days, or the days of Lent or Advent. I use crayons to do this. I just outline the time period with a crayon and then lightly color in the squares. Other times I will just use a long line to indicate something that goes from Monday through Friday (a week-long camp, for example).

This is the calendar that Flylady used before she made her own. I think this one is better because of the size, layout and visually I prefer this one.

I notice that Amy Knapp has a big wall calendar available now.

I love Amy Knapp's Family Organizer, a portable planner. I was surprised and disappointed to see that Amy Knapp's wall calendar is virtually the same design as the More Time Moms calendar. Granted, there aren't that many different ways to organize a wall calendar, but it just seems too similar. I want to give my business to the originator (as long as it is still a great product and it is!).

Paying a little more for a product that I so fully rely on and use daily is worth it to me. The amazon price seems high, but does includes free shipping... I would pay more for this calendar if I had to!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Seems Like a Fair Approach ....

I haven't been following the debate about the mosque near Ground Zero closely, but I do sorta know what people are saying about it.

I really like this perspective:
ChosenRebel -- my cultural engagement blog: A Friendly Response to a Reader and Friend's Push Back

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1000 Gifts

summer, fall, winter, spring: changing seasons
when my husband laughs
kids growing up
State Parks
National Parks
our public schools
More Times Mom family calendar

The Heat and The Blues

It's hot. Like 100 degrees hot. I'm low on energy and enthusiasm. Feeling a little defeated.

Summer was busy because the kids were busy (and productive). When kids who don't drive are busy, that means that mom and dad are on the go a lot. Which means the projects this mom hoped to tackle this summer didn't get tackled. Which has led to this defeated attitude that I have been moping around with for a few days. Maybe as long as almost a week. And everyone's so busy, that no one noticed my mood. Which didn't help.

Maybe I'm on the uphill side of this downhill slope, because I am starting to feel like I want to... feel better. And even do something to help make that happen.

I took a little inventory for the last few days:

Bible reading - no, not this last week
Formal Prayer - not the last few days and maybe longer
Talking-to-God-as-I-go-Prayer - yes, some
Exercise - no (and it has been longer than a week since I exercised)
Vitamins and supplements - no
Good diet - not really
Caffeine - a little too much
Water - I'm good here
Sleep - not 8 hours a night (which I need; 8-1/2 is better)
Quiet - finally had some this morning
Gratitude - no, not noticing gifts

I guess my mood is not so mysterious. And I know some things I can do to feel better. So I am going to take a walk. (Even though it is 96 degrees here, at 7:30 pm.)

Book Review: What the Bible is All About Handbook: KJV

I wrote this review for, here, and decided to publish it here, too.

A Crash Course on the Whole Bible in One Year!, July 24, 2010

This review is from: What the Bible Is All About Handbook: KJV Edition (Paperback)
The author of this book lived from 1890 until 1963 and the first version of this book was copyrighted in 1953. It was revised in 1983 and again in 1997. The fact that it is still being published shows how valuable the information is! It is a great book.

There are a number of versions of the book.

What the Bible is All About Handbook is a 5" by 8", 1-1/2" thick paperback, with black and white illustrations. It has over 700 pages. It comes two versions: NIV (New International Version) and KJV (King James Version). I have the KVJ and have used it with a NIV Bible, so while you probably want to match the version of Bible you read, you could use either. It has black and white illustrations in the clean and precise Gospel Light style. This is the version that I will review (further down).

[You can see the illustration style by looking inside the book, Reproducible Maps, Charts, Time Lines and Illustrations: What the Bible is All About Resources, here. Note that the Reproducible book has many more illustrations than are in the Handbook (and they are 8-1/2" by 11"), but the style is the same.]

Another version is the What the Bible is All About: Visual Edition. (Notice it doesn't call itself a handbook anymore.) It is about the same size, but has been abridged and over 500 color graphics (maps, photos and so on) have been added. It has under 500 pages.

There is also the What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers: Based on the Best-Selling Classic.... It is a little over 350 pages, but is definitely written for younger readers, ages 9 to 12. I think that many 12-years-olds might be too old for this, unless they knew very little about the Bible or were reluctant readers.

There are also the 2000 versions:
What the Bible is All About 101 Old Testament: Genesis to Esther
What the Bible is All About 102 Old Testament: Job to Malachi
What the Bible is All About 201 New Testament: Matthew to Philippians
What the Bible is All About 202 New Testament: Colossians to Revelations
These books are 8-1/2" by 11" and would probably be best suited to classroom use.

Okay, to review this version: What the Bible is All About Handbook (either NIV or KJV)

From the Preface you will learn that this book came about from a high school course written by Dr. Henrietta Meirs called Scripture Panorama Series. It was a one year (52-week) crash course of all 66 books in the Bible taught to high schoolers. What the Bible is All About Handbook was written in the 1960s from the teachers' books of Scripture Panorama Series.

The purpose, as expressed in the Preface, is to familiarize the reader with the Bible through a general overview of the whole Bible.

Here is what I love about this book and what makes it different from every other Bible handbook I have seen:

It is written in 52 chapters. Each chapter has a Bible reading for each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday.

After the first chapter, which is an introduction to the Bible, you will go through the Bible, one Bible book a week, with this handbook as a friendly, encouraging guide! You are free to read the Bible book in whole, or you can read just the listed passages, which hit the highlights of the book you are learning about.

There are periodic reviews (chapters 13, 26, 39 and 52) and an introduction to the Gospel (chapter 27).

Obviously, since there are 66 books in the Bible and six introductory and review chapters in this 52-chapter book, there are some weeks where you will cover two or three Bible books. Remember, you may chose to read the whole book, or you may read the listed passages, which are more manageable. Some of the books of the Bible are really short, so it makes sense to read more than one during some of the weeks.

Here are two examples of the suggested readings.

Chapter 2 covers Genesis.

Sunday: Creation (Genesis 1:1-5; 26-31; 2:7-22)
Monday: The Gall (Genesis 3:1-24)
Tuesday: The Flood (Genesis 6:1-7; 7:7-24; 8:6-11, 18-22; 9:1-16)
Wednesday: Beginning of Languages (Genesis 11:1-9)
Thursday: The Abrahamic Call and Covenant (Genesis 12:1-9; 13:14-18; 15:1-21; 17:4-8; 22:15-20; 26:1-5; 28:10-15)
Friday: Story of Joseph (Genesis 37:1-36; 42)
Saturday: Jacob's Final Blessing (Genesis 4-9)

Chapter 27 is Understand the Gospels:

Sunday: The King Christ Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12; 21:1-11)
Monday: The Servant Christ Jesus (Mark 10:35-45; 2:1-22)
Tuesday: The Man Christ Jesus (Luke 4:1-13; John 19:4-13)
Wednesday: The God-Man ((john 1:1-18; 3:1-16)
Thursday: Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ (John 19:16-42)
Friday: The Master, Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:18-25)
Saturday: Our Master, Jesus Christ (John 21:1-17)

Keep in mind that the list of selected reading is a small part of the book. The bulk of the book is the commentary and other helps that are in each chapter. For example, the chapter on Genesis covers pages 35 through 46.

This book can be used as outlined above, a crash course of the whole Bible in 52 weeks, or it can be used as a handbook or commentary, dipped into as needed and as time allows.

What I think is valuable is the emphasis on reading and understanding whole books of the Bible and attempting to understand the Bible as a whole.

There is a lot of great information packed into this reasonably priced paperback book!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My solution to "Where do I hang my Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter?"

Here is my solution to "Where in the world will I hang my Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter?"

The problems are that it is heavy when filled with soil, plant and water and that it needs to be in full sun. It also needs to be pretty high up so that the plant can grow long (down).

You cannot hang them on the edge of your roof. It is too heavy.

So my solution is to hang it on the swing set! The structure is very stable and will take the weight and it is in the sun.

I took one swing down and hung two plants on the clips that held the swing. But our swing set has one of those ladder things across the top (so that you can use your hands to swing from one end to the other--monkey bars) and I wanted to hang them on that. I found an "S" hook at Wal-Mart for less than two dollars. It had to be persuaded to go onto the crossbars (with a hammer tapping on it), but it works.

Now I have two more Topsy Turvys because my mom cannot find a place to hang hers. The kids don't want to give up another swing, but they may have to, at least until tomato season is over.

Monday, March 29, 2010

CasaBlast: I am loving this program, so far!

I found this last week: CasaBlast.

I signed up and set up an account and what I have seen so far, I really love!

It is a family account that comes with a phone number. I set up each person in the account with their name and a different color. I then (very easily) put their schedule (such as practices, games and so on) on the calendar. When I did that, I indicated whether or not I wanted reminder texts to go out to cell phones. Calendar page tells me what's coming up for the day. Hubby and I get a text with everything for that day. Kids can decide if they want reminders or (so far, my son does not, daughter does, other daughter doesn't have phone yet).

Anyone in family can send a blast to all cell phones.

Also, a grocery list that can be sent to cell phone.

I skimmed the terms of agreement and they look okay.

It is free for the first 10,000 subscribers.

I will update this review as I use it more.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Latitude and Longitude -- how I can finally remember the difference!

I finally came up with a way to remember longitude and latitude. I had trouble remembering which was which.

I focus on the second letter of the word.

lAtitude: the A has the cross in the middle (equator) and the tip at the top. The lines are different lengths. Latitude lines are the ones going horizontally, and the lines get smaller going north and south. The lines are not the same length.

lOngitude: the O reminds me of the longitude lines that are all the same length and encircle the globe.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Life is messy. Cliche, but true.

And it occurs to me as I am gathering laundry that I am behind on, again, and mulling over recent events among neighbors, that I don't like messy.

The two (paying) jobs that best suited my talents were both about organization. One was coming in behind a manager who was good in many ways, but not good at discarding mountains of unnecessary paper and organizing the necessary ones. The other was setting up a human resources department that needed to exist, but didn't. Instead, aspects of H.R. were handled by a variety of people in different departments.

And here is something that I think is weird. I like creating forms. The form that captures and organizes need information gives me a small thrill.

I like life neat and this recent emotional messiness has laid me low. I can deal with the messy house and piles of laundry. And, through God's grace, I hope to learn to deal with the other messiness, too.

Then I think about Jesus. He was God-made-man. How it must have grieved him to see, to be in, life here on earth. People twisting Holy teachings for selfish purposes. Others just completely misunderstanding. Sabbaths and festivals that had become something they were not intended to be. Followers who usually didn't understand what was going on. Some of them even vying for things that were not His to give. Those who wanted a political revolution, not a spiritual one.

Did He look ahead to the time of redemption as His expense for comfort?

And I whisper, reverently, "thank you, Jesus."

Monday, February 22, 2010

I've been busy and not been here...

Here is some of what I have been focusing on:

De-cluttering the house. Gave lots of things to our church for their massive garage sale that benefits missions. Made it easier to get rid of things--knowing it was going for missions.

Organizing the house. I worked on the pantry and kitchen cabinets, hall closet and what we call "the piano room." I had the most fun with this when my sister was here to help me.

Organizing my housekeeping. Figuring out my daily, weekly, monthly (and so on) chores. Okay, so now I need to do them.

Exercising with my new T-Tapp exercise DVDs. I think this exercise system is incredible.

Some yard work. Lots to do.

Planning a vegetable garden. We had one about ten years ago, but we were so busy with the kids and their activities, that we let it go. I hope to get some things planted in March.

Reading about backyard chickens. I think I may get three for our backyard. Some new, entertaining pets, fresh eggs and no longer contributing to the miserable life of battery chickens. I have decided that if I do get chickens, I will name them after Jane Austen characters. Probably Elizabeth, Jane and Emma.

My weekly project of emailing parents the activities at the high school. There is lots of info out there about what is happening at the school and in the district, but it is in many different places. I put it into one email and send it out. I hope to do it on Sunday evenings, but I have been late a lot the last month or so. This takes a lot of time, but I think it is worth it. I have been told it is appreciated.

Dione and I did a BraveWriter class in November and December. Love the concepts.

New foods. Re-read my copy of Full Moon Feast and was less overwhelmed with all the ideas (many of which I had heard of before). I started with kombucha and ginger beer with ginger bug. Found a ginger beer plant and have made some of that. Also, saurkraut. Want to get some kefir grains. Bought my own copy of Nourishing Traditions and joined the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Learning about The Book of Common Prayer and how to pray with it. Finally found a couple of books that explain how to use the BCP for praying the daily office. I love the rich language of the prayers. I sometimes used to feel like a greedy kid with a long list of things I wanted. The thoughts and prayers in the BCP are for good things.

Still loving KISS Grammar and trying to learn more about it.

Bought some red worms and I am doing a little vericomposting (composting with worms). There was a great YouTube video about how to make a small bin. Worm casting are terrific for the garden and this is a good way to compost fruit and vegetable scraps. Also set up a compost bin outside for leaves and stuff. I probably will not put much food scraps out there. Our bin from about ten years ago ending up attracting rats.

Dione and I are participating in Mystery Class by Journey North. I think this will be very interesting.

Still recording gifts for the Endless Gifts List, but haven't made this a habit yet. I really want to get consistent with this.

I will try to add links later.