January 2008

Home: Mastering Four Basics in 21 Days

What is home?
"A roof to keep out the rain? Four walls to keep out the wind? Floors to
keep out the cold? Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a
baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father, warmth of loving
hearts, lights from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship. Home is
first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is
right, what is good, and what is kind, where they go for comfort when they
are hurt or sick; where joy is shared and sorrow eased; where fathers and
mothers are respected and loved, where children are wanted; where the
simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned; where money is
not as important as loving-kindness; where even the tea kettle sings from
happiness. That is home. God bless it!" (Author Unknown --- please share if
you have the info. I loved this but it was listed as Anonymous)

It has been a long time since writing from this humble, humble little place
on earth and I thank you faithful subscribers for holding on and holding out
for me. Some of you know I found out my thyroid wasn't functioning right ---
or over functioning and it had apparently been so for some time. I cannot
believe how this can affect someone ... how it affected me! It would take
all day to share all the differences so I'll just let you know ... I am back
at my writing desk. Well, I'm back at the writing desk of my life and that
can be found in my carved out little corner, legs crossed under me borrowing
my husband's laptop in the midst of my family or outside while my little one
plays. Hopefully, I'll be back at once a month or so starting this letter...

1Timothy 1:12 I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for
that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service;

So many have written me and so many write on our list having a hard time
keeping up with their homes and not making things "just so" as they'd like.
It is a common thought that the many women writing from home all have it
together all the time. Some do and I try to learn from them but I am not
among their ranks.

Over the years, I've learned some valuable hints and tips on keeping up with
my home, some worthy lessons in organization, how to de clutter and how to
clean just about anything. I've worked on routines, schedules, household
plans and made notebooks and charts and read a shelf full of books.

You know what? I've mastered many things and built habits beautifully into
being by making it through the 21 days recommended for establishing those
habits. I still don't have it all together all the time. It is a bright and
beautiful day when I have it ALL together at one time! The gift for me is
that I do get it together eventually and I have a loving Father to teach me
day after day after day.

2Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say; for the Lord shall give thee
understanding in all things.

Someone said some endearing words to me recently about my home being cozy
and comforting. It felt so warm because like I shared with her... it means
God is at work. You see, with our precious Lord being strong when I am
weak... people see HIM shining through. This is my ultimate goal ... not to
shine myself. How superficial that would be. No, I want to be someone HE
shines through. This is what others need... not me and not how grand I'm
doing. They need HIM and grand HE is.
I've tried it on my own and my home was not a home. It was a house and
nothing was right. Anything good here comes ONLY from HIM.

Onto the Four Basics!

*I used to struggle with {dishes}. I've always managed a few weeks of
keeping up well but I could never seem to stay on top of them. I'd clean
after meals until I got tired and I'd save the rest for another time. I
didn't' see this as a problem.
My kids didn't like doing dishes and I could do them quicker soooo I'd
handle dishes and give them other chores.
If the dishwasher was going ... our dishes stacked and stacked in the sink
so the minute the first load was done --- at least one more full load was
piled up looking like a mess and in need of cleaning.

Now, I'm working every day to stay on top of this without spending all day
doing it.
When meals are over... my senior son and 8th grade daughter both help me
until every dish is either loaded/hand washed, dried and put up. When they
aren't here, I keep the dishwasher ready for rinsed dishes and hand wash
anything else as it gets to the sink or every so often when I see dishes

We only use the dishwasher once a day unless we have company and we wait
until it is as full as possible and still have everything clean. We always
try to make sure nothing gets dried or stuck on so it would be harder to
I'm also trying to be wise with water and save money every where we can so I
put enough warm and soapy water in the sink to wash whatever dishes I'm
doing during the day and use that for wiping down counters, stoves and more.
{I cannot stand dirty dish water though, so I do change this a lot and as
soon as the dishes are done and things are wiped down, I empty it and wipe
the sink down.}

I'm in love with using my microfiber towels on appliances with no cleaner or
just baking soda and I just saw this is something found with a wealth of
other housekeeping helps: (thanks SO much to Jennifer for sharing this link
with our list!)


*{Paperwork}! I had stacks all over my house, file cabinets stuffed and
never opened again, drawers almost jammed and boxes started all over. I
could not seem to get a grip on this no matter how many supplies I purchased
and made room for.

I wish I could tell you I am perfect in this area now but I'm still nowhere
near it... BUT... I do have a system of sorts that is working for me! This
is temporary because I'm actually waiting to order two file baskets with
liners I really want but the method will be the same anyway.

I have two plastic file boxes ... OPEN boxes... with lids put aside unless I
need them. I am definitely ones who needs to see things or they aren't
Anyway, the rules you are always reading about sorting mail as soon as it
comes in the house --- I'm doing those. Immediate trash, bills go in a small
sorter on top of the microwave and "to file" things get filed or stacked
neatly on top of the desk over the area where the file boxes are. Desk
cleared daily is my latest --- I've said I'd do it but now I'm doing it!
Simplistic, yes. For some of us... it takes years to not fight through such
things. There are so many other battles, after all. Smiles...

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your
eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just
before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work
as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest
things in life.
Engrave this quote in Our Store!
-Robert Louis Stevenson

*{Laundry}. Never has my laundry been perfect. I've never been able to stand
large amounts of laundry at once so that hasn't been an issue. Dirty clothes
don't congregate in my home. I'm too addicted to washing and drying or
hanging them on the clothesline. The challenge I've had has been with clean
clothes getting put up or hung up! I'll do it well for a few weeks and have
stacks up and around for the next few. It wouldn't be a problem but it looks
cluttered with a basket stuck here, a stack there and another stack between
the dresser and closet.
We have a small home and it can look untidy in no time.
I'm now allowing myself to be a bit of a fanatic putting laundry up as soon
as it is completed and it is going quite well since we pared down to ONLY
what we love and enjoy wearing! Now, the laundry easily and neatly places in
the drawers and hung up clothes can be hung without fighting with too many.

There isn't enough room for my three compartment sorter. This was the
easiest EVER on laundry. I had it in the laundry room sorted with: Lights &
whites/Darks & Brights/towels and sheets. When they were full, I threw them
in the washer. I did separate my towels from the sheets but I loved the
whole set up. Now, I have a small basket and everything goes in it. When I
think I have enough for a load, I empty, sort and start. Not easy because
our small entry triples as a laundry room and pantry but with 23+ years of
homemaking behind me... I'm learning to do what I can.

Dale Carnegie:
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator and those are wretched mixes for a
virtuous homemaker if her house is to be in fair shape at all! So, I'm
working on getting things done as soon as I can instead of putting them off
and not holding myself to such tough standards! This is becoming beautiful
and I thank God for bringing me here. I'm not where I should be in many
areas and maybe most but I'm looking to God. He is showing me a habit at a
time :) A growth process.

We are always and ever growing, aren't we? May we grow as God guides us and
may our homemaking bring glory to Him at every moment.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Sandy CJanuary2008



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