What We Moms Can Do For Each Other – Guest Post by Lisa-Jo Baker

When one mama comes together with another mama, the talk suddenly gets deep and if you are lucky, one will lean in and whisper, “What about you? What about this? Let’s do this together.” And you will be grateful you are not alone!

And that is what my sweet friend, Lisa-Jo does for me. I was blessed to have the leaning, the cheering, the laughing as I sat with her talking of bubbly boys and growing girls. But I also get the same kind of leaning, cheering, and laughing when I read her words. Her words bless. They go deep into the places where you breathe a sigh of comfort and hope and you suddenly feel okay with this whole messy, magnificent, and amazing motherhood thing.

I am blessed that she is sharing her words over here today.

 

Mothering can be a lonely gig. For all we spend it surrounded by many tiny humans. And their big, gaping demands. And their tugging, tireless hands.

 

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We can tend to retreat, to hole up, to recede from life and each other because, let’s face it, just managing our own homes is more than enough crazy for a lifetime. This might work for a season, a day, a week or two. But there is a danger of withering beneath the weight of the every day, 24 hours set on repeat over and over again with no off button if we keep at it alone.

There is something you can give.

Something you can receive.

From your sisters. From the women you might never actually meet. From the neighbor who lives at the end of your quiet street, your mother-in-law, your church friend, school friend, PTA parent, baseball-bleachers-sitting sister. There is this one thing we can do for one another. This one thing that is everything. And costs nothing.

Holding up the arms.

Rubbing the tired shoulders, folding the laundry, sharing the recipes, reminding each other about free donut days and birthdays and showering grace when we’re late to the preschool pick up.

Not comparing our kids. Celebrating the victories. Weeping the pain. Delivering the casseroles. Sharing more than just, “I’m fine.” Rocking the colicky babies, offering the girls nights out, teaching the best teething gels, powders, rings. Admitting the temper tantrums.

 

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Sending the cards, loaning the good boots, complimenting the jeans. Sharing the best books, driving the car pool, ignoring the squabbling kids, making time for the catching up. Coming when she calls when her man’s out of town. Showing up with the Starbucks and sticky buns.

Telling her, she can. Especially on the days when she’s still wearing her pajamas.

Telling her to be kind to herself, and that comfy clothes are always the right choice.

Not comparing. Not comparing houses or laundry piles or kids’ behavior.

Cheering. Cheering for each others’ dreams, kids, work, art, new hair cut.

Crying alongside. Holding on. Hoping. Passing the tissues. Buying the chocolate. Holding the hands. Opening arms to the grief. Patiently walking the valleys, flash light packed, stop watch left at home. Believing the best, giving the benefit of the doubt, calling. Complimenting. Spending time in each others’ kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, cars. Meeting up for breakfasts, sending notes just because.

Praying. Cracking knees to the mat and praying for her story, her life, her rabid fear of parenting. Sharing the mess ups, the upside downs, the glimpses into your chaos, the dog days of motherhood when you want your money back.

Not cleaning up before she comes over. Being OK with being seen just as you really are.

 

Welcoming her. Welcoming her into your real life. So she can exhale. And you can be encouraged.

 

{To see the video reminder of why mothers are braver than they know, click here}.

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This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom. No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.

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And Friends, Sweet Lisa-Jo has also offered a giveaway or this post!  She will sign THREE of these awesome bookplates for a few lucky winners!  Lisa-Jo will make the bookplates out to whoever the winner wants!  Seriously, you can tell her who to write it out to!  {Actually you will tell me and I will email her and let her know and she will be right on it in a super fast flash. She’s pretty awesome like that!} What a fun idea for Mother’s Day! Or a birthday! Or an I really want to encourage this amazing woman today day! Just comment below and you will be entered to win!

And to make this party even more fun, I am linking up with Lisa-Jo for her ever popular and ever uber fun Five Minute Friday!  Come on over and visit this amazing community! Blessings and hugs!

 

 

5 Rooms – 5 Tips to Save 5 hours of Time

Five Tips to Save Time
And Enjoy Being A Mom
I enjoy being a mom.  Do not get me wrong.  I love the taking care of the kids part.  I love the taking care of the home part.  It is just the taking care of the kids while I am taking care of the home.  And my husband.  And the laundry. And the Christmas cards (What?  My friends and family will now be asking, “Christmas cards?  We have not gotten those in three years!”  Oh, just wait…I am sending them for. the. last. three. years.) And the cooking.  And the dentist appointments. And…the new puppy.
There is just a lot to take care of being a mom.  I am not complaining and I am not even going to say that I do not have enough time in the day to do everything, because I really do.  We all do.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I will be the first to say it would be nice to have “more time.”  And we can look at other people and think we know what is going on in their lives that make it so much easier  and is reaping so much more time in their lives:
“Oh, she sends her kids to school.  She has all day to get things done.”
“Oh, she homeschools, she doesn’t have to do anything with the school that takes up time.”
“Oh, she is a stay at home mom who can get stuff done.”
“Oh, she works, but gets the summers off to get things done.”
“Oh, she has a cleaning lady.  Of course she has more time.”
But it really comes down to this:
What do you do with your time?
Here are five ways that I am going to save 5 or more hours every week.  Get ready.  Some of it is kind of radical, and some of it is kind of common knowledge that I do not make common enough in my life.  
Hold me to it, Friends…
Let’s start in the Kitchen:
TIP ONE:
Most of the time while I am making our meals, I am distracted by children (not distractions…let’s call them opportunities for some major growth!), phone calls, having to let the puppy out, etc.  I am going to start cutting back my prep time by waiting until the kiddos are in bed and I can fully prepare for the next day’s meals.  This is not to say I will not leave some things for my kids to do.  I actually think kids can prepare many parts of the meal.  If you can make it a part of your daily  routine, that is great.  But for the average parent who is busy trying to help get homework done, Sally off to soccer, and make it in time for the neighborhood book club, this might help. 
And it might even make some special time with your husband.  Why not prepare together?  Or have him going through paperwork at the table while you are preparing the pancake batter for tomorrow’s breakfast.  It only takes about 10 minutes to make the batter, put it in the fridge, then set the plates, syrup, and skillet out just ready for the next day.  And while you are at it, write a quick note to say, “Good luck on that speech” or just a simple, “Good morning. I love you.”
Next the Laundry Room:
TIP TWO:
If you have read any of my Christmas cards (from before three years ago), you would notice a trend:
I.hate.laundry.  (Please do not tell my kids I said this because we try not to say the h-word (hate), unless we are talking about sin, but really. . .laundry is pretty close to dirty sin. . .
Seriously, I talk about it in my Christmas letters.  Who does that?  But that is how much it permeates my life!
My time saver for this:
Do your laundry EVERY DAY.  Okay, I know . . . some of you will be thinking, “Yes, obviously, Angie, thanks for the take away tip that I took away many, many, years ago…”  But some of you might be in the camp of save it all for one day and get it all done that day.  My deal is that I want to be in the do it every day camp, but sometimes things get in the way and I forget, get too busy, decide to write a book, and it just does not get done.  SO, then I spend all weekend doing my laundry and it piles up all over my family room.  Clean  piles, but still piles…
Now, we have a basket that I put out in the hall and the kids put their clothes in it at the end of the day and I wash that load.  No more cleaning their rooms on Saturday and having a ton of folded clothes in the laundry bin.  I totally tried that growing up.  We actually had a wicker laundry bin that had a top on it.  I thought I was pulling a fast one on my mom until she busted me with the clothes that were still folded shoved into the bottom of the bin!
Best part, is you can do it while you are getting ready for tomorrow’s meals!
On to the Study:
TIP THREE:
Two time eaters in this room:  computers and phones.  Or, if you have a smart phone, this could be the same thing.  When you use either one, it is easy to lose track of time.  “Check e-mail twice a day and return messages all at once.  You’ll save an hour a day,” suggests Kristine Breese, author of Cereal for Dinner: Strategies, Shortcuts & Sanity for Moms Battling Cancer.
One of my friends just made a resolution to take Facebook off her phone.  What a great way to get the most out of your day instead of being constantly updated and distracted.  On average, one study showed subjects checked their phones 34 times a day, not necessarily because they really needed to check them that many times, but because it had become a habit or compulsion.
Next the Car…(Okay, not exactly a room, but please show me a little grace):
TIP FOUR:
I am not a huge errand mama.  I know some ladies who seem to be “running errands” all the time.  I am always thinking to myself, “What are these people doing every day?  What am I supposed to be doing and am not?”  And then, when I run out of paper towels, tissue paper, and napkins at the same time, I understand a little bit better.
In order to save time, Molly Gold, whose company GoMom, Inc, creates mom-friendly products, encourages moms to map out your errands before you leave your house. “You’ll save time if you make a circular route of your stops…and shave off two hours a week if you tackle a list with a partner.”  Whether it is your husband on the weekends or a friend down the street.  My sister has a neighbor who will always call when she is making a Costco run.  My sister does the same.  They can save time taking turns. 
And the last one…
the Family Room:
TIP FIVE:
I absolutely love this one and this one will be the radical one for some and not so much for others.  Judith Wright, author of There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming  Your Soft Addictions, states, “If you establish one or more TV-free nights every week, families can gain back eight hours a week…since Americans, on average, watch four hours of TV a night.”
Now, for some families, they might not watch TV during the week or maybe they only watch one show a week.  But for some others, maybe the die-hard getawholeseasonandwatchitonenight fans, this might save some time.
I know for me, if I get started watching something late at night with a yummy cheese stick snack, I can keep watching and keep eating. Instead of doing something a tad more productive or sleeping, I am wasting time.  Now, please hear this, I am not saying all TV is a waste of time.  Sometimes a fun 30 minute episode of American Funniest Home Videos is a perfect way to bring a family together.  I am saying, for me (and I am going to make my husband, fan of 24, do this too) the late nights of marathon episodes are done.
With the time I am saving, I am hoping to make more time for meaningful memories.  Precious MOMents.  The kinds of MOMents that makes us mamas love being a mom!

A Second Call from the Lord Jesus

Many people between the ages of thirty and sixty – no matter their place in the community and no matter their personal achievements – undergo what can truly be called a second journey.

In his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning describes this second journey.

A person gets to this stage in life and looks at all he or she has done and asks, “Is it all worth it?”

A dear friend of ours realized this with a health scare that brought him face to face with the possibility of meeting his Creator sooner rather than later.  It does not have to always be a life threatening event.  It can be good or bad.  A mom turns into Grandma and celebrates this gift. A thirty-five year old teacher gets smashed in a car wreck.  A fifty year old man decides to choose a church position over the offered, coveted CEO position. After retirement, a sixty year old woman finds herself living with a man she loves yet never had to spend this much time with.

Brennan Manning sums this up, “These people are dragged away from chosen and cherished patterns to face strange crises.  This is their second journey.”

He goes on to describe the wisdom that comes from a person expereiencning the second journey,
“It is a wisdom that gives some things up, lets some things die, and accepts human limitations.”

And for Christians, this journey can often start with a second call from the Lord.  In the examples above, our friend found saving grace in the love of his Savior.  The fifty year old man was my father who gave up that CEO position in order to be the Church Chairman of the Board.  These second calls summoned both of these men to a deeper commitment of faith.  And I love this part of Manning’s description:

      “The call asks,

Do you really accept the message that God is head over heels in love with you?”

That is what the second call is asking me now.  DO I really accept that message of love and grace?
Oh, I can say it and even tell people about it, but do I believe it? Do I embrace that love?
The confidence that the same God who raised Jesus can raise me?

Manning says that Faith means you want God and want to want nothing else.

And with a faith like that, every day will be new because God will show me in amazing ways his love for me and I in turn will desire to live out this crazy love for Him in order to bring Him the glory He intends for us to give Him!

I will have more joy filled MOMents as a mom because I will radically love my children.  I will let go of the little things (like the Mickey Mouse Lego set we lost) and focus on the big thing of God.

I will rest in these sweet times when my children are home and trust in the times when they are away from me.  Without fear.  Without despair.

I am starting to hear this call.  Oh, I plead with Him to allow me to hear and follow.  May I feel His love penetrate to every part of my soul so that with every breath, I know that God can scarcely be without me his love is so great!

Are you hearing the second call? 

Uh Oh…Mommy’s Losing It… Three Tips to Tame Your Temper


“Now get in your rooms and clean them,” I heard myself say in a voice with that high pitched sound that is a cross between not wanting to scream and a sickly, syrupy sweet tone to get my point across:  I won’t yell, but my kids always know I am close to losing it...


Please tell me that I am not the only one who feels this.  It creeps on you when you least expect it.  But when it comes, things fly out of your mouth before you realize it and there are hurt feelings.  It could be an offhand remark about not having time for the library even though you promised to go.  It could be angry words to your husband over the unfinished swing set.  It could even be a less than patient response to a complete stranger who disciplines your child for going through the revolving door at Panera more than once even though it was the first time he had ever been in a revolving door and you told him he could go twice! ( Wow, I think I need to let that one go…)

We all experience times when we get frustrated, hurt, and angry.  The actual emotion of anger is not the wrong thing.  

In fact, God knows we will be angry sometimes.  He got angry.  There is a story in the Bible where He got so angry, He messed up the Temple and overturned tables of the money collectors. You can read it by clicking here.

So God knew we would become angry.  “In your anger do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26 NIV  

It was not if you get angry, it was when.

So, how can we overcome our anger?

In our house, we use the STOP, DROP, and ROLL.

I know…I am stealing that from every fireman talk you have heard, but it is so easy to remember.  And to put out anger is like putting out a fire that will consume you if you do not get it under control.

Ready to get your anger under control?

Start by considering these simple steps:

STOP and Take a Time Out


Time outs are not just for kids. Counting to 10 isn’t just for kids, either. Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to
breathe deeply in and out. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Oh wow, I sound like my lamaze instructor. But it works. I still use “cleansing breaths” even though my babies now range from 6 years to 12 years old. Slowing down can help not only bring your temper flare ups down, it brings necessary oxygen to the brain for proper thinking. You can also take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.


DROP to Your Knees and Pray.


You need to think before you speak. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything.  Pray to God to give you patience.  Ask Him to give you clarity of the situation.  He created you and desires to give you power through the Holy Spirit in order to give you words and wisdom.  Call on that power.  The time talking to Him will only bring it into perspective so that you can continue to model calmness instead of angry outbursts to your kids.  
Ask the Lord to give you clarification on whether this is a moment of rebellion or something unique your child struggles with and needs your grace.  In the book Grace Based Parenting, Ted Kimmel describes the ability to talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s work of grace in their hearts.  Grace not only means that God loves them even through they are sinners, but that He loves them uniquely and specially.” (p. 141)

ROLL With it by Understanding It

You need to indentfy the reasons why you are getting angry and possible solutions. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Does your son refuse to wear a button down shirt for picture day? Get him a nice Polo. Take time to figure out what is really important in the whole realm of life. Is your husband late for dinner? Schedule meals later in the evening

Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything, and will only make it worse.




When the temper trials do happen, there are things to do in the situation which will help:

Forgiveness.  Ask the other person to forgive you if you lose your temper.  Forgive the other person for the action that caused you to lose your temper.  Remember that the person is most often not trying to get you mad.  My son is not purposely trying to irritate me by saying his underwear is too tight even though he said the same kind fit yesterday! In fact, I did go apologize to the lady at Panera.  I felt much better.  And after my son went through the door a few more times, I felt even better!

HumorLightening up can help diffuse tension. Laugh more and anger will not have a hold on you as much.  But, don’t ever laugh at the person to try to help them laugh. And never use use sarcasm. Sarcasm is a thing that becomes a habit and it can hurt feelings and make things worse.



and the greatest of these is…


Love.  Remember to try to treat one another as you would have them treat you.  Behave to your family like you would if company were over.  Deal with situations regarding your children with the same compassion as you would another child.  

And always know that you were created with love by God and He gave you these moments to enjoy.  Anger will happen, but I pray you can step back,

STOP
DROP, and
ROLL

and have many more happy MOMents instead.

5 Steps to Achieve Your Dreams

I know what you are thinking…

I sound like a life coach.  (Man, I wish I had thought of that job! )

But I mean it,

Only 5 Steps to Achieve Your Dreams

We tell our kids all the time that they can do whatever they set their minds on.  Dream Big!

The only catch is that the dreams that you might think are theirs or yours may be just that.  YOUR dreams.  What you desire to do might not be what God has in store for you…  
His Dreams. 
His Plans.

That being said, I believe God instills in each of us a desire and enjoyment of a certain activity that combines with talents or gifts He has given us.

God tells us in Romans 12:5-7 that He gives us different gifts and talents.

And with those talents, those natural bents, you tend to want to do something. Be something.  Write something. Teach something.  Serve people. Decorate homes. Care for the elderly. Guide people. Do something. Create something.

Have you achieved all that you want?  All that you think you can do for Him?

If you are still breathing, He still has work for you to complete.  He is still working on and in your Heart. Your HEART.  That is where we will start:

STEP 1:

H – Hurt

What?! What kind of beginning is that?  Yep, I said it.  Step one is being okay with not being where you thought you would be.  It is being okay with feeling disappointed enough to do something.  It is okay to hurt.  It is being okay with the fact that the book you have been wanting to write for five years, and had an outline for, but you had all these kids that needed your attention and time and you had to work so you never got to write it, and someone else just published a book with the same idea…or something like that. (sigh)
It is okay feeling a tinge of sadness when you see a house that is organized and clean and all the kids there wear underwear.  Because I guess to some, that is a big deal.  Our household, not so much…  It all depends on the never-ending laundry situation…
It is okay if your child cries over not making the musical.  Let her cry. Cry with her, but then tell her there is hope.

Be upset, be bummed, be disappointed.  But then…Be done.

STEP 2:

E – Endure

This is where your hurt turns into work.  Yes, you have to endure and persevere to make your goals happen.  Success does not come overnight.  I should have written that book then. Someone else should have taken that extra class in college.  Another should have trained a little harder.  But all these “should haves” need to be turned into “will do.”  You have to set your mind on the fact that anything takes work.  Be prepared for a few sacrifices.  Even the whole world took six days.  Did you really think you would get your closet organized in one Saturday afternoon?

Remember, your children will look to you to set the tone for these MOMents.  Will you encourage them to keep practicing for the recital? Will you write out a list of college grants to apply for and help them check off each one?   Do you sit with them as they practice their audition song?  And then, do you spend that much time on your dream? So now, you know what to do.  But how?

STEP 3:

A – Act

This is the most detailed step as far as the planning that goes into it.  This is the part where I sound like a life coach again.  I wonder how much they make?
This is where you act on your dream.  Make an action plan.
First, write down your dream. His dream.
Then,
You need to set goals.  Little goals.  Day by day goals.
For example, I cannot just say,”I am going to write a book today” (because that one author already wrote it…) :)
No, I need to break it up. I am going to do one blog entry.  This week I am going to send out one proposal.  This week, I will write 1,000 pages.

For someone else, it could be, “Today, I am going to clean my junk drawer. This week, I will switch out my clothes for winter.”  Or it could be, “Today, I am going to find my old resume.  This week, I will rewrite it.  Next week, I will send it to three employment offices.” Or, “Today, I will write out a daily reading calendar for the whole Bible. Tomorrow, I will start on Day One.”

You have to act on it.  Make lists.  Check the list. Double check the list.  Start simply, but simply start!

STEP 4:

R – Reach Out

This is one of the most fun steps for some, but could be terrifying for others.  You need to reach out for help.  It could be as simple as asking someone to proofread an article.  Have a friend go through one bin of summer clothes with you. Meet with an advisor to evaluate your spending budget.  OR it could mean a little more.  Set up a time to see a counselor on a weekly basis.  Meet with a mentor. Contact several communities to get connected.  A little networking goes a long way.  And keep track of those networks.  Be organized with each step.  The worst thing I did was lose the name of an editor that said I could send him a manuscript of a book.  Lost chance. Lesson learned.

People want to help.  Especially your friends.  They are there to support you when it is hard and to celebrate when things do start falling into place.

and STEP 5:

T – Thank Him

This is the most important.  Thank God for what He has done so far.  Celebrate the little things in achieving your dreams.  Throw a mini party with the kids once the whole basement is clean.  Do not agonize about the whole house.  Be thankful you have a home to live in, and celebrate that fact.  Go out for ice cream when you memorized the book of James or maybe even just the first verse.  Write a letter to your grandchildren (that you have or that you  might have someday) and record all the details of running the marathon.  Not just when you finished it, but even the training.  Life is made up of the training.  Each step will be a celebration of what God is doing so far in your story.  Teach your children to be grateful for the little things in their lives.

A friend shared a great idea: Make a backward bucket list and list all the things you have done.  You will see that He has already given you more than you could have asked or imagined.  And He will continue to give you gifts.  Gifts to use for Him.

He gave you your talents, your being, your HEART.  He came to live in your heart.

To love.
To live.
To love. YOU.

I pray as I write these words that you might give your heart to Him.  HE is the one who gave you this MOMent.

How will you use it?

Five Friends Everyone Needs

I was talking to a dear friend recently and she said something that I really needed to hear.  She said, “I really like what you write.  You are a good writer.”

They were simple words to say.  Said in a quick conversation while she picked up her daughter from my house.  I am sure she has not thought about them since, but hearing those words brightened my outlook in that one moment.

A good writer?  Hmm… Maybe I can finish that proposal tonight.  Maybe I can add a few more chapters on that book.  Maybe I can just jot down in my journal a couple cute things my kids said today.

She is my friend and she was being my friend.

She was being a friend.

A specific type of friend.

For at least in that moment she was being an encourager.

That is one example of the Five Friends that Everyone Needs:

The Encourager

This friend is the one who notices the little things and makes them into special big things.  She is the one that knows your hair is a little lighter and a little shorter.  She is the one who comes to the PTA meeting just because you are speaking about getting new uniforms for gym class.  She is the one who LIKES your Facebook page of your son setting up a tea party for you.  This Friend is the one who helps you get dressed for your first date after your divorce.  The one that puts notes of devotion into your car, your phone, your heart.  She encourages you because she loves you.

The Listener

This friend is the one who you can call at any time of day and night and she will answer.  Even late at night, she sounds as if she has been up just waiting for you to call.  She lets you talk about being up all night worrying about your house addition without mentioning that she actually had the flu all night.  She is the one who not only lets you share all the silly, but extremely important, details of your sixth date, but asks questions about what you wore, what he said, and if the topic of marriage came up.  This Friend sits down when you are together, jumps in your car while waiting to pick up your kids, and walks with you even though she would rather get a Chocolate Frosty.  She listens to you because she loves you.

The Challenger

This friend knows your flaws, your ick, yuck, and muck, and will still ask you to rethink the next step.  This is the one who asks if it good for your family.  If it is good for you.  She questions where you have been.  She checks the garbage can.  This is the friend that will use your words right back at you to make you happier, stronger, and hopefully a little wiser.  This is the one who calls you to get your body out of bed and into the pool so you can be ready for that tri-athalon. She challenges you because she loves you.

The Sister

This friend does not have to be a childhood sister or even one by marriage.  It is the Friend who is like your sister in every way.  She will come over to your house at 5am to watch your kids so you and your husband can catch a flight to Aruba.  You can drop your kids off to her house in an emergency or even if you need to take a nap.  She is the friend that doesn’t go to the party without you because she has your back and you have hers. She will listen to your complaints about boyfriends who never love, husbands who never lead, or exes that never learn.  She is the one who in the future, when learning about your death, will go straight to your house and make sure it is clean before notifying any of your other friends.  She is the one who does not judge you when you ask for the seventy fifth time if it was okay that you told the neighbor that you spank your children.  To have a sister friend is wonderful.  But when she is a family member and you get to share childhood memories, holiday traditions, and vacation mishaps, you are doubly blessed.  This friend prays for you, prays with you, and honors you. She is your sister because she loves you.

The Savior

This friend outshines them all, for without this one, all the others will fade away.  Other friends will let you down. This is the friend who desires to be with you.  Desires to share wisdom with you. Desires to encourage you. Desires to challenge you. Desires to listen to you. This is the friend who values you so much that every minute is one to be spent with you.  This friend loves you so completely, He would rather die than to live without you.  This friend is Jesus.  Before time began He thought you up, designed you, and then created you to love Him, to glorify Him, to be His forever.  He thinks you are beautiful.  Jesus loves you because He is love.

“A friend loves at all times.” ~ Proverbs 17:17

How to Organize your Pantry

Five Easy Steps to Clutter Free Simplicity

We have heard these steps many times from many sources.  Some switch a few of the letters to mean different things, but the basic message is the same:

Less is Best!

So here is my Friday Foment…
( Uh, foment means the same as plan, devise, cause to happen…check it out here.   I don’t even think I am using that word right…I was just looking for a word that started with F.)

Now, it is for Friday as in you have the weekend to complete it!  Next week, I will post it earlier on Friday.  And if there are any good ideas for using an “S” word for a Saturday Challenge..feel free to share it with me!

On to the Challenge:

Pantry Overhaul

My goal is to have not only a pantry that stores food, but one that a guest in my house can find things quickly and just a place that makes me smile!!!

When I talked about simplicity in an earlier post, I shared how I wanted my home to be a place that my kids love.  In this post, I will share five steps that you can use on any cluttered space in order to organize your home and make it a place that you love.

A simple place to start is your food closet or pantry. Now, some do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture.

I do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture!  If I did, I would not have time to write this post because I would be too busy getting that kitchen towel to hang out of the Kitchen Aid mixer at just the right angle to look pretty!

Some have a small walk in pantry, some have just a cupboard, and some might have just a few shelves. I have one friend that only has four shelves, but she utilizes the space well and it is organized and beautiful with space for all she needs!

1.  SORT:

Put all of your like items in a pile.  Wow!  Did you know you had that many boxes of food coloring?  And water bottles?  I stopped counting at fifteen!

Once you have piles all over the place,

2. PURGE!

This is where you go through your piles and really decide what you need.  Do you really use the tortilla warmer?  How about that candle that has shells in the bottom of it?

 I have a pasta maker that we have used three times in the thirteen times we have been married.  I have wonderful dream like images of our family in the kitchen making pasta together and laughing as we take turns spinning the handle while oodles of noodles come out!  It happened once and I think the kids got bored after the second spin!  Toss IT!

Now, once the piles are REALLY piles you want to save,

3.  ASSIGN

Assign places to these piles.  Do some of the pile go together?  Party napkins, birthday candles, special napkins can all go into one pile.  If you are having a party, all you need is together.  Making lunches for the kids?  Put the water bottles, lunch bags, and cooler containers all together!

Once the piles are put together in an organized manner,

4.  CONTAINERIZE!

This is the fun part.  I read somewhere that the most unorganized people are often the ones that are always looking for bins or baskets to put their stuff as if a bin will hold their garbage stuff and make it look better!

I agree with that, but you have already gotten rid of stuff, so now you are looking for the perfect container.  It might be something you already have or you might have to go get a basket or a bin.  Sometimes, it looks nicer just lined up.  Like the photo above, there are a couple baskets to hold towels and a couple buckets, but the rest is in neat rows.

(Okay, I know there is hardly any food in this photo!  And the pattern that they lined up their sparkling water…C’mon!)

 I will show you what a REAL pantry looks like after I do my Foment!   (Now I know I am not using that word right…it’s not a noun…right?)

This might mean that you put some things together that you never did before.  I have two “meal” baskets where I put ingredients for my “go-to” meals.  For example, there is all my pasta stuff and sauces in one and taco shells, spices, mexican rice, beans, etc. in another.

And the last step:

5. EQUALIZE!

This is actually a step you do after it is all done and it includes keeping it clean by checking on it every day and making needed adjustments.  For example, I kept all of my baking supplies together but I did not use the cookie cutters as much as I thought I did, so I put all of my cookie cutters in a bin and put it a little higher out of the main space in my pantry.

Now, this challenge is for you and me!  I will do this as well and I will post a REAL pantry photo on Monday.

Look for the updates!

Now, for the MOMent…

Get your kids involved!!!

No matter how old they are…my youngest actually got me started on this because he could not even walk up to the shelves without stepping over piles of lunch boxes and paper bags!  So he started to clean the pantry.

He organized it beautifully!  But I still don’t think we need the candy bin in the bottom shelf…

Any good organizing tips?

Blessings,
Angie

Courage for Another Day

I will try again tomorrow.

Today was long.

My gentle voice came too late.

My sighs came too fast.

I will try again tomorrow.

The courage of a mother

young or old

Giving of herself for love

Giving of herself for Him

Him who gave these children to her

Whether from birth

Or later

Whether hers together

Or alone

I will try again tomorrow

To finish the Lego game

To read the next chapter

in Anne of Green Gables

To have special time with every one of them.

For that is the true joy.

When the courage opens the door

To hope, faith, and love,

and one more round of Legos.

I will try again tomorrow.


“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

May you have courage in your MOMents today!

Blessings,

Angie