Friday, March 23, 2012

Keep a Straight Face

A really busy week at our house---so I'm just going to post some funnies for you.  Hope you can keep a straight face, too.

Who can make the saddest face when poked and provoked?

First picnic with the provokers and he's happy he's not being poked.

Um, short lived reaction as our mega-crawler has been imprisoned by newly installed baby gates.  You ain't nothin' but a hound dog.  Crying all the time.

Daddy keeps a straight face.

 Daddy loses his straight face.

Tristan loves to eat.  Pho Noodles. 
Oh my goodness, just look at those CHEEKS!


My almost 5 1/2 year old clown decides to get into Tristan's high chair.


Tristan thinks it's the most hilarious thing.  Ever.
Oh, steal my heart....look at that one tooth one-der!

Honest moment:  Did you keep a straight face?  I sure hope not!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ruler of My Heart

I am still picking up my chin from off the floor.  I still have so much to process through and so much work to do.  This past weekend, I had the privilege of going to the Women's Retreat at Reston Bible and I did not have any clue how impacted I would be by the experience!

One thing is clear:  The Lord delights in revealing Himself to you, especially your wrong thinking.  Just when you think you know a lot, you realize you don't know very much at all.

The topic of the retreat was Ruler of My Heart.  The speaker was Margaret Ashmore (above) from Denton Bible Church in Texas (pastored by Tommy Nelson) and she spoke about PRIDE through the CONTROL we have in our hearts that belongs to God.  We often try to control through either lust (obtaining and wanting things--material things, status, personal goals....or that one other thing you think you need to make your life complete.  You stop at nothing to get it) and control through fear of rejection or withdrawal of love (manipulating situations, your friends, your spouse, through anger or the silent treatment) so that we don't get hurt.  Instead of feeling joy, abundance and contentment, our burden to control fails---- and we are left with a sinking depression.  The kind that robs us of what Christ came to do in our lives.  Than the inevitable happens:  other people look at Christians and they see how defeated we are and who would want to live a life like that?  A bunch of victory-less hypocrites.  So the question you are left with is who is the ruler of your heart? Who is in control?  And if it's not God, what things do you have to relinquish? 

It was so powerful and so impacting.   I desire to live a life of freedom and humility---not a life burdened by fear and control, which ultimately is rooted in pride.  I am grateful for the things I'm learning so I can have a better marriage and can be a better example to my little guys.  This is changing lives.

As an aside, I am totally impressed by the women of Reston Bible.   Many of them are exactly who I aspire to be.  I feel so grateful to have met them!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Inspiration to Organize!

I gave a little Time Organization talk to my moms group one day--- and before I knew it, I was asked to speak to a rather large group, MOPs (Mothers of Pre-schoolers) at the Mclean Bible Loudoun chapter.  I was really nervous giving my talk, but I was encouraged at all the feedback afterwards.  I had tips for managing time as a busy mom of young kids and also I gave ways to help organize your home so that you can have MORE TIME and ministry moments with your kids.

Here are a few  organization tips from my presentation, as they come with inspiring photos from PINTEREST!

1.  De-clutter high traffic areas!  Wish you had a mudroom for when your kids drop their backpacks, shoes, coats---everywhere??  Or how about things they leave all over the house?  These are called CRAP BASKETS.  Even daddy gets one.  At the end of the day, you can empower children and enable them to put away their stuff in the right place. Homegoods, Ross,  TJMAX, Tuesday Morning all have great inexpensive baskets.

 2.  Do it Yourself Laundry.  Ever feel like you're constantly sorting clothing?  Wouldn't it be nice to just take a basket and go?  Here's a great way to set a system up for your family to do the work for you.  Even your toddlers can put dirty clothes away by color: lights, whites, and colors. 

3.  Purge, purge, purge.  One thing I taught in Franklin Covey's time management course was when you get information, you either File, Act, or Delete.  So, your choices are:  Keep it, Act on it, or Throw it away.   That's it.   One way to encourage purging is to keep a large basket to give a way to a charity or thrift store.  You can also practice giving away toys they don't play with to other poor children who are in need!

4.  Picky Preschoolers.  I waste tons of time arguing with Micah about what he's going to wear.  A great system is to have your picky preschooler pre-pick the clothes they want to wear at the start of the week.  With mommy's approval, they can put the clothes away AND learn the days of the week at the same time.  Note to moms with babies:  You can also put away five outfits you like so daddy doesn't dress your princess in the plaid and polkadot combo!   Sweater rack is $10 from Walmart.

 5.  Toys, crafts, clutter!  This is a great idea.  A good friend of mine picked up an armoire FREE on Craigslist.  She then painted it white and voila!  She had a new storage area.  You can make your own office, scrap-booking center, or gift-wrapping station.

6.  Papers Galore!  Do you have tons of digital photos just stored away on a disk drive? Or kid's artwork that you can't bring yourself to throw away?  Here's a great idea!  One mom took a photo of all her favorite kid's artwork and then made a wonderful picture collage from it.  That way, junior will always have this memory.  You can do one for every year! For the digital photos, a great tip is to find a sale at or a Groupon for a photo book and all you do is download the photos and hit a button and it will AUTO populate a photo album for you.  Literally, it takes 5 minutes and then you pick it up from the store.  It's a quick way to ensure you have all the photos for display for each child, each year.  Done!  It's in the little victories. 

 7.  Are you a basketcase?  I am.  Another clutter area is your pantry and linen closets.  One idea is to use baskets.  You can never have enough baskets at our house.  Baskets hide things and also gives everything it's designated place.  The neat idea with these baskets is you can use them for anything.  Use a glue gun and clothespins and then change out the labels!

8.  Speedy Lunches.  One thing that slows time down is finding everything I need to make their lunches.  One great idea is to have this basket (Dollar Store) in your refrigerator ready to go!  It's got your yogurts, your mayonnaise, mustard, carrots, cheesesticks.  Pull it out over your bread box and your ziploc bags and go, go, go!

9.  Book it!  I love it when things are repurposed.  These are spice racks sold at IKEA for $3.99 and they make great book racks for a small nook in your playroom or kid's bedroom.  It's so much fun for the kids to see a display of new books each week so you can encourage them to read!

10.  Mommy, can I have a snack? One way to be more efficient is to reduce the number of times the kids ask for drinks or snacks.  They still have to ask for a snack, but they are big enough to get it themselves!  One great idea is to have a cabinet just for them.  When the kids are older, this will be great to have "approved" snacks to share with their friends that come over.  Bonus!  Put their plates, cups, utensils in there and they can set the table for dinner!

So top ten tricks are about all you can handle in one blog post!  Believe it or not, I have a TON more!!!  Hope you can use these ideas not because you want to manage your home, but because when you manage your home better, you can use that precious time to actually be with your kids!