Monthly Archives: February 2010

What Do YOU Do? : Cleaning

So, it’s pretty much official. Though I’m just barely halfway through it, am already falling head over heels in love with this book: Steady Days: a Journey Towards Intentional, Professional Motherhood by Jamie C. Martin.

It’s all about…well, becoming more intentional and “professional” in your approach towards motherhood, particularly if you are a stay-at-home mom. It’s a quick and easy read, broken down into “bite size” chapters and chock-full of practical suggestions on everything from developing a simple “routine” for your day to maintaining enthusiasm and inspiration. Really, it’s all about learning to make the most of these precious years at home with your kiddos. Which is what I’m all about. Which is why I am loving the book.

Have I mentioned I’m loving this book?

ANYWAY…in addition to the “Steady Days” book, the author has a blog, and today’s post caught my eye. Why? Because it’s called “intentional cleaning“, which is a topic that has happened to beΒ  on my mind for awhile.

I’ve been trying to come up with a good “method” for keeping things reasonably clean around here. I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning but I also want my home to be a comfortable, clean, safe place for my kids.

Our most recent method has been the “company is coming!” method. This involves inviting company over and then cleaning furiously in an effort to present the facade that our home is immaculately clean once they arrive. Of course, there always ends up being an oversight, such as sticky spots on the floor, or (in the case of what happened the other day) a horrifically messy freezer, revealed only when the guest, in an effort to put away the delicious frozen dessert they had brought, opened the freezer door (before IΒ  had a chance to stop them) only to be met by a disastrous pile of frozen and freezer-burned chaos, with nary an inch to spare for said dessert….now that was embarrassing…but I digress. πŸ™‚

Seriously, though, for a long time my method has been “try to find a day to just get it all done” β€” which wasn’t working for me. Too random; too much pressure; too much STUFF building up into a mess as I waited for a time when I could get it all done!

So, another method I’ve been working on has been the “days of the week” method, which (for me) looks something like this:

Monday β€” Master Bedroom

Tuesday β€” Kitchen

Wednesday β€” Bathrooms

Thursday β€” Living Room/Dining Room

Friday β€” Kids Bedrooms

I like the idea of breaking it all down into manageable chunks β€” just having, essentially, 1 “chore” to conquer every day. It just seems like it will work in this season of my life. Now, I haven’t really been implementing this method long enough to know if it works for me, but I guess time will tell!

I’m definitely curious to hear what all you other ladies do to keep your home spic and span. Do/did you use a particular “method”? What has or hasn’t worked for you? Do you stress about keeping your house clean? What’s your “cleaning” philosophy? Other thoughts on the topic?

What Do YOU Do?

  1. Blog your thoughts on the topic, including a link back to my blog post
  2. Leave a comment on my blog including a link to your blog post
  3. If you don’t have a blog (or don’t feel like blogging about it), just leave a comment! I still want to hear from you!
  4. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who have participated!
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Taste & See

“There is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious, and having a new sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. The difference between believing that God is gracious and tasting that God is gracious is as different as having a rational belief that honey is sweet and having the actual sense of its sweetness.”

β€” Jonathan Edwards, “A Divine and Supernatural Light”

I recently read this quote in Timothy Keller’s The Prodigal God, and it really spoke to me. Intellectual belief comes pretty easy to me, but I want to be someone who, in addition to believing, really “tastes” God’s goodness and graciousness, even in the mundane of day-to-day life!

Figure Skating

It is a little known fact that I used to be a figure skater.

Yes, once upon a time I frequented the illustrious Bloomington Ice Garden, where my parents enrolled my brother and I in Saturday morning skating lessons. Naturally, as we’d never been in skating lessons before, they enrolled us in the beginners level.

The only trouble was that the rest of the class consisted of kindergartners.

I was in 4th grade. This is a big deal in elementary school.

And then, to add insult to injury* (*don’t worry mom, I was neither insulted nor injured; just a figure of speech), we didn’t even pass the class. I distinctly remember the stern, grey-haired gentleman with a thick European accent making swift check marks upon the pad of paper he held fiercely as I did my best to display my newly learned skills of Schwizzles (skating while moving your feet in and out) and skating in a straight line, and I recall my horror when he told me I hadn’t passed. I mean COME ON. I mean, I was no Katarina Witt, but seriously. I was 9. To this day I swear I was jipped.

But I digress.

The lessons didn’t really matter. What did matter was the letter that I receieved shortly after my classes ended, inviting all skating lesson participants to take part in the spring skating show, along with the figure skating club (the “clubbers” were the REALLY good skaters).

I was so excited! I remember begging my parents to allow me to participate, but not because I loved skating or wanted to grow in my “craft”.

No. I mean really. I was a 9 year old girl. I’d seen the Olympics. I wanted a cool costume. Something…sparkly…frilly…maybe even pink?!

My parents relented. They paid the little fee and signed me up. I started going to the practices. I was part of a group of skaters who would be performing a number called “Ragtime Rhythm”. The other girls in my group were 5. I was awkwardly tall compared to them. So very awkwardly tall. But “it will be worth it”, I told myself “once I get to wear that beautiful costume, it will be worth it!”.

Finally it happened…I remember well the first time I got to get a glimpse of our groups costumes. I’d seen my friend Jacquie’s costume β€” a frilly, tassled, pink number that screamed “roaring 20s”. So cute…so pretty. I couldn’t wait to see what mine would be!

Then I saw it.

It was orange.

Shimmery, metallic, orange, with a few black and white sequins on it. And it had…it’s almost so painful to type…a large black and white checkered foof right on the bum.

I was sorely disappointed.

Still, I skated with my kindergarten friends.

And that was the end of my figure skating career. And kind of par for the course for me for the many awkward years to come (ha ha!) πŸ™‚

“Be Kind Days 6 – 14″ or ” On Shame”

Have you ever neglected your blog for longer than you intended to?

Have you ever done so even though you were in the middle of a “challenge” in which you’d agreed to write a blog about something kind you’d done every day?

And then have you ever been so filled with embarrassment over your lack of follow-through that you only continued to not blog, causing yourself only more embarrassment as your blogging-less days increased in number (in other words, has it ever snowballed on you)?

Well, that sort of explains my lack of blog posts this week. Ha ha! It’s not that I’ve not been kind…I promise I’ve been more consciously kind than I was before the challenge. I’ve written cards for friends…sent an encouraging email to a missionary relative…e-mailed both of my Compassion kids…purchased birthday gifts and baby gifts for friends…stuff like that.

Bottom line is, though…and this is so terribly embarrassing to admit on a blog…I kind of failed at the whole “do something intentionally kind every single day” thing.

There. I said it. Mission not accomplished.

Phew. (cuz ouch, that hurt).

Still, I appreciated the challenge and it definitely did get me thinking about the importance of making a conscious effort to step outside of myself every single day. This is good. Thank you again, ThreadedBasil, for the challenge!!!

I hope you & yours had a happy Valentine’s day!

Be Kind: Day 5

Music is an amazing thing. Powerful and personal. I’m thinking of the many mix tapes I have received over the years. One that stands out in my mind came from my friend Suzi in college. We’d worked in the kitchen at camp together that summer, and therefore had listened to lots of music together. On my birthday that year, she sent me a mix tape (yes, tape). It was the most random assortment of music in the world β€” everything from Anointed to Indigo Girls to PFR to Blind Melon. I loved it. It was like getting a little bit of Suzi β€” and memories from camp β€” in the mail!

SO…today I decided to make a mix CD for a friend. I’m not going to write *who* on here, because I think she might read it, but she is one of my favorite and dearest friends β€” a busy mom β€” we don’t get to talk as much as we’d like anymore (we’re just BUSY!) but maybe a little music could life her spirits on those crazyfunbusy days of mommyhood!

Be Kind: Days 3 & 4 (yes, I’m behind in blogging)

So…I have to admit my first fail in the Be Kind challenge. I had every intention of doing something nice on day 3 β€” but at the last second realized I didn’t have what I needed to do it. Oops. Fail. I will make up for it later.

So…onto day 4.

Baking has power, doesn’t it. I’m thinking of the time two Christmastimes ago when I came to my door at the end of a long day of shopping to see a cellophane-wrapped plate sitting on my door stop. My neighbor Jane had made us an assortment of cookies and dropped them off for us β€” including two of her fabulous brownies! Jane is a wonderful baker and her thoughtfulness put a smile on my face.

With that in mind, I decided to bake a batch of cookies for my wonderful husband. If I haven’t written about it, I happened to marry the most wonderful, thoughtful, honest, selfless, fun guy around. And he loves cookies. So I made him some. And I saved him some dough (of course I have to admit that – ahem- I MAY have eaten some of the cookies…and dough…myself. So my intentions may not have been completely pure…!).

Be Kind: Day 2

Today I decided to write a note of encouragement to a friend.

On the flip side, today I was the recipient of much kindness β€” which gave me an idea. For every “Be Kind” activity that I blog about doing, I want to include an example of how someone has been kind to me. After all, these stories are so much sweeter than any deed I blog about doing myself. Truly, there are some wonderful, generous people out there!

Today I am thinking of my mom and sisters who are so readily available to give of their time, love and hugs to care for me and my kids when I/we need it. This morning was a (the?) prime example. They dropped what they were doing to come help me out and it blessed me beyond belief. I am so grateful to have them in my life!!!

I’m diggin’ this Be Kind thing.Β  It’s a good thing to think about. Thanks, Threaded Basil, for the idea!