Saturday, April 30, 2011

Non Fiction Books

A few great Non Fiction Reads
I recently discovered an author named Donald Miller and I am in the process of reading all his books. I have bought my three favorites and one I just started reading the fourth:

A Million Miles and a Thousand Years

Blue Like Jazz

Father Fiction (previously To Own a Dragon)

Searching For God Knows What

I found these books to be inspiring and hilarious, they have struck a chord and resonated in my life. They are true and messy, he paints life like it happens.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I read selected classic literature (mostly unabridged)  every year, my favorites are in no particular order:

Jane Austen
Pride and Predjudice
Sense and Sensibility
Nothanger Abbey
Mansfeild Park
(I haven't read Emma yet and I know for some it is their favorite)

The Bronte Sisters
Wuthering Heights
Jane Eyre

Henry James
The American

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I won't own an elephant again..even if it's free

Sometimes people want to give you very valuable items for free, but they often give you very large burdens instead. Below is the picture of an elephant gift, a once expensive item that lost it's usefulness. It was thoughtfully given but became something more than we bargained for.

  One Huge Project that My husband and I have been putting off for years. He and I had to lift it end over end to get it close enough to the fence for the tractor to pick it up. Not to mention this was filled with Styrofoam peanuts that scattered all over. The kids were helping clean up all that mess well past bedtime. But we had a lot of fun and it is so rewarding to have it gone.
So long.... you giant luxury burden.

I believe this experience has taught us when taking on ownership of "elephants"

Free doesn't mean freedom (possessions can tie us down)
Proper Care and Maintenance is also part of ownership
Don't buy or (agree to own) something that weighs as much as an elephant.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mastery vs. Versitility

So what is better... to do a few things perfectly or  a lot of things fairly well. I have many different interests but I am master of none. I enjoy learning about new topics, and trying new skills, experimenting with others ideas. I prefer to be somewhat of a Renaissance gal than have my PhD in one area. I am so glad everyone is different.  I am also thankful there are many single minded folks who have a passion for one area of expertise.
I like the Ben Franklin's and Da Vincis but I also admire the George Washington Carvers and Marie Curies.

I don't have allusions that I am anything like these amazing people but I purpose to make my corner of the world a little brighter.

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.  ~John Burroughs

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Clean

Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do but it is something that brings satisfaction and order to my home.

There are three tasks in home keeping that are often lumped together, we try to do them all at once and end up overwhelmed and frustrated. To simplify my home keeping I follow these steps.

Step One:                                       
De-Clutter: First throw away garbage, give things away you don’t use, are broken, have extras, need repairing or replacing.

Step Two:                             
 Organize: Put things away, pick up and stay focused. When you think you need more storage or space it’s time to get rid of stuff.

Step Three:                                    
Clean: This is a separate task but dependent on the other two. Cleaning is easier and faster if we de-clutter and organize first.

I don't do this all in one day either. Sometimes I do a day of decluttering and then a day of organizing and a quick clean. Sometimes I get after a specific room. I like to break down these tasks into smaller steps so I don't get discouraged.
I often get disgusted with all the stuuffffff  we accumulate. On Wednesday I cleared out 5 bags of garbage (paper, broken toys, things that needed to get gone) and 6 bags to donate and sell at my friends garage sale. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cleaning Safely

 A study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the air quality in U.S. homes was 5 to 10 times more toxic than the air outside. Indoor air is typically contaminated by anywhere between 20 and 150 different pollutants, most of which come from petroleum based cleaners.
The average person cleans about 350 hours a year, using about 25 gallons of household cleaning products.  Using naturally safe cleaners is better than breathing in toxic fumes and bathing in glass cleaner.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.
I like being able to clean my house with simple items that are not harmful for me or my kids. I am really sensitive to smells and chemicals and I don't have to leave my house now after cleaning. They work and they are very inexpensive to make.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Average is as Averge does.

Photo Credit
I like statistics but I don't like being just average. In may ways I want to be below the average American like in hours of  watching television per week (avg. is 35+ hours) and consumer debt ( card is $6,000- $9,000). In other areas I want to be well above the average. I love to read but the Average American does not.

 Some very sad statistics:

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.
(Source: Jerold Jenkins,

I also know that if you can read and afford to buy a book you are among the wealthiest of the world. I read a lot of great books and so do my children.

"You may have tangible wealth untold. 
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. 
Richer than I you can never be – 
I had a mother who read to me."
— Strickland Gillilan 

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
— Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!" 

"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
— Austin Phelps

"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read."
— Abraham Lincoln 

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Read Some Books Today!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why getting up when your alarm goes off is a good thing!

Getting out of bed is really hard to do sometimes. The last 5 years I was usually awakened by a child, crying baby, my husband's phone and an assortment of other things. I was constantly tired and thought if I could just get 15 more minutes my day would be better. Well I rarely got the extra 15 minutes and when I did usually one of my great children would do something that would take me at least 15 minutes to clean plus a bad attitude. So my neighbor and I decided we would no longer be the victims of  morning chaos.
Photo credit

We purposed to get up and out of bed when our alarms went off the first time! No snooze button. Then we would text each other when we had our cup of coffee in hand. We have both missed a couple mornings but I feel so encouraged when I get a little beep and a text. Also I have some blessed time to myself. It is quiet and I can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee without having to re heat it 7 times. I love it, it is making a difference in how my day goes. I am getting more accomplished than before and my housework is done more quickly because I take time everyday and plan.
I even get up early on weekends too. The added benefit to getting up on time is it forces me to go to bed at a decent hour. I also have cut back on my bad TV habit.
I like being on time to appointments, I personally believe that being late is a form of rudeness. So now I keep my first appointment of the day with myself and I am on time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gifts of Time

# 3,4,&5 and myself

What is the best gift we can give someone? Often I am overwhelmed by the needs of others I like to help others, but often I am not able. I have to give what I can in situations that I have little control over.

     I cannot give health... but I can provide a healthy meal.
     I cannot heal a broken heart... but I can listen and offer encouragement.
     I cannot make someone change... but I can pray for them.
     I cannot right all the wrongs... but I can offer hope by showing kindness.
     I cannot be everything to everyone... but I can love others the best I know how.

    The best gifts are:
                     Our time
                     Our attention
                     Our encouragement
                     Our love
  May you be a blessing to all you meet today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blessings and Burdens

I have more than I realize.
Spring is here everything is fresh and new and I want to be organized. I want to get projects finished. I want to be able to start my garden and be outside more and more. Instead of Spring Cleaning this year I am doing a Spring Inventory. I am doing a COMPLETE inventory of my home. Does this sound ridiculous? Well I believe that writing down everything I have will help me to decide what to purge from my home and help me not to buy more things that I don’t really need and already have.
I am going room to room and writing everything down some of the items are (but not limited to): furniture, art, kitchen items, clothing, appliances, bedding, and toys.  I think the kitchen, clothing and toys will take the most time.  Categorizing the items will assist in the organizing process and if we ever have our house burn down or broken into we will have a record for insurance purposes. 

 The inventory spread sheet looks like this:


I found that I have 7 queen size sheet sets (ridiculous)! We only have one queen size bed!!! I do not need 7 sets. I am going to keep three. One set of flannel and two regular sets. They are my favorites.

Photo Credit
We are blessed with so many things that they become burdens, so today I am starting to bless others and lighten my load. Taking care of people is more important than taking care of things.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm not content enough...

      Content    –adjective
        1. To be satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
        2. peace of mind; mental or emotional satisfaction
        3. Impossible (just kidding)

     I find it very hard to be content for long, and I would like to blame society.  American consumerism, advertising and even the government continually remind us of our need to buy stuff. Granted most of that stuff we can justify needing; food, clothing, shelter, furnishings, gifts, and computers. I find myself getting very creative in order to justify the purchase. 
     Stuff; it can be wonderful and fun to buy, we get enjoyment from purchasing a "need", and often guilty for buying a want. Often a the justification comes in the form of a "deal to good to pass up".  One of my favorite sayings is,"I'm going broke, saving so much money." 
  I find when shopping online I am much less impulsive, even if it is a good deal.

Photo Credit
But is is not all the fault of our global economy, it is perhaps harder because we are constantly bombarded with advertising and retail genius. Discontentment has been around from the beginning of time (see Bible; Adam and Eve) through the ages and even the Bard himself was not immune, but perhaps a bit more savvy.

Nought's had, all's spent,
Where our desire is got without content.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 4-5.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oh Well

     You know the saying,"My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it."  Well at my house it's, "my house was clean 5 minutes ago, sorry you missed it." I sweep my floor at least 4 times per day, we spill some sort of liquid everyday, and I don't go one day with out doing some laundry. Most days I don't mind, my kids and I work together, my husband usually throws a load of laundry in, and it looks alright.
     My aim isn't perfection, I like things to be organized, clear walkways, clean bathroom, and beds made.  I have fingerprints on all my windows, mirrors and glass surfaces, I could easily vacuum everyday and still have crumbs and other stuff on the floors, I could spend most of my time picking up after children and my house would look better. Alas I like to do other things more.
  I have a small house so I am able to get my house picked up in 30-45 minutes every morning. This includes:  Kitchen-dishes, counters, table, and floor
Bedroom- Bed made, clothes put away
Living Room- Toys, books, clothes and papers picked up (kids help)
Bathroom- Tidy sink and clean toilet
Kids Bedrooms- Laundry, beds and toys picked up (the older ones do this themselves)
Start laundry, empty garbage cans and have some more coffee.

I have a list of other cleaning jobs that need to get done and I usually do 1 to 3 of those throughout the day. Sometimes I don't and we go to the library instead.