Monthly Archives: March 2010

Flying Frantic – The Purse

As I fly frantically through another busy day, I’m blogging on my third area of organization to help the flight be on time with a lot less turbulence.  Day one I talked about the Purse Project.  Yesterday, I explained why my husband calls me The Bag Lady.

A mom’s purse is a wonderful, horrible experience in hoarding, trauma preparation and “I told you someone would need it sometime”.

My family loves to tease me about my “luggage” because my purses get bigger and heavier each year. But, they always know who to turn to when they need a chapstick, a fingernail clipper, a piece of floss, a nail file, a piece of paper, a pen, or money. I am even usually good for safety pins, a mini sewing kit, water and a healthy snack.

I won a prize at a baby shower for having the heaviest purse.

But, the scariest part of having a purse like mine, is actually having to stick your hand into it to find something.

I have always said, “The scariest place on earth is the bottom of a woman’s purse.” Part of it is true, part of it is scare tactics to keep my kids out of my purse.

This past year, to lessen the danger and fear in sticking my hand all the way to the bottom of my purse, while groping for that elusive nail file, I purchased clear zipper pouches. I can now find items instantly.  They also work great for going through airport security.

I use one for personal items,

and one for medicine type things.

The upside is, my purse is a mini-medicine cabinet. I am ready for anything.

The downside is the kids learn to rely on the purse for ALL their needs.

Because they know I have a small medicine cabinet, of course they will use the lone two bandages in my case instead of taking one from the box of 100 in their medicine cabinet. They will take the last two ibuprofen because it is closer to walk to the front hall closet for my purse than down the hallway to the medicine cabinet with the bottle of 500 ibuprofen.

Not only do they go into my clear case for my chapstick, they might leave it unzipped, along with the purse zipper, so that next time I heave my luggage onto my shoulder and run out the door, I WILL spill everything. Then, they will think I am such a NAG because they left two zippers open. Sheesh lousise.

Another obstacles in organization was eliminated when I bought a wallet with a lot of compartments. I have a place for coupons,  punch cards and receipts. 

I bought a separate organizer for business cards, a small hard snap case that keeps them crisp and unwrinkled.

All food items, gum, mints and snacks, are kept in the outside zippered pocket for easy access. 

The two end pockets are also used for things that need immediate access, one for my water bottle, one for my cell phone.

A few years ago, I started carrying a journal.  I love to write, and was done being frustrated by not having anything to write on.

The uncleanliness of public places led me to start carrying individually wrapped antibiotic wipes and a small sanitizer in my purse.

Once you figure out what your problems points in your purse are, find a solution that works for you. Some women, like me, want to be prepared for anything.  Some women find it less stressful to NOT have anything in their purse.

A purse shouldn’t cause stress, it should relieve stress.

With a purse big enough to have spare room, I can throw in a book, a PURSE PROJECT, my mini computer and my camera.

Of course, the only stress my purse causes is from the weight. When I need to lighten the load, I can easily remove objects because they are in organized containers and I know exactly what I am leaving behind.

When I carried a diaper bag, it was stocked in clear pouches, as well, but my purse was teeny tiny and I just tucked it in the diaper bag. You want to be well prepared, but not overstocked.

When I was single and a new believer, I was thrilled to find Proverbs 31. A whole chapter dedicated to women!  One verse confused me.

Verse 17, “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”

I understood about diligence, perseverence, looking out for her family, but I just couldn’t understand the strong arms.

Until I got married.  And had a family.  And had to start carrying everything…

…in my purse.

Flying Frantic – Tote Bags

This is the second in a series,
hoping to inspire some organizational processes into frantically busy lives.
My husband lovingly calls me The Bag Lady.
Partly in jest of being an Ol’ Bag,
but partly because I use a lot of  tote bags.
I am a mom,
I homeschool,
I teach Sunday School
and am involved in a homeschool coop.
 I have discovered that instead of having one tote bag
that I would always forget to unpack or repack,
it’s easier to have one bag for each activity.
My coop bag has

the binder I need with all the information in clear sheet protectors,
 and a zippered pouch filled with school supplies.
They are never leave this bag, except during coop.
I can also throw in a book, a game to play or a purse project
Anything I need to bring, I slip it in during the week.

I have a church bag.
Throughout the week, I fill it with things I need to bring to the church.
 A book to return to someone, sanitizers, tracts I ordered,
Sunday school treats, prizes or craft items.
On Sunday morning it eliminates the frantic rush,
helping us to get to church on time
AND
in the Spirit.
My camera bag is also stocked.
The right pocket has personal items,
the front pocket paper items,
and left pocket camera supplies.
 I can leave the purse, throw my wallet in my camera bag,
 and I am ready to hike, sightsee or just stalk my children.
Even though it isn’t a bag, this errand basket organizes my life.
When Woolworths went out of business,
I bought a stack of these beauties for $1 each.
They are some of my prize possessions.
I keep it by the door and add:
-returns that need to be made
-lone overdue library book found under the couch
-packages that need to be mailed
I even have a special Zune bag from Hawaii.
The bag orignally came with coffee,
but is perfect for my Zune and accesories.
Yes, I made the container for my ear phones
from a dental floss box.
Remove label, add a monkey sticker,
and it is a cute little thing ready to hold treasures.
During their younger years, each of our kids had a library bag. My husand mounted a peg shelf at their level, so they could always return their bag, with books in it, to the peg shelf. It kept books from being lost and  made it easier to return the books. A clear pocket on the outside would have been a great idea for the checkout slip.

When I am beginning to organize things to bring or send to someone, I begin a brown paper bag in the closet with their name printed in black, bold letters. As things are purchased, found or finished, they are put into the bag. If it is to be mailed, I might even pick out the box ahead of time and put that in the closet labeled. When it is full, it is mailed.

My youngest keeps a toy bag packed in the van. She is encouraged to keep a few toys, books, personal items, water bottle and maybe a snack. Living in a busy area, one accident on the highway and your commute home just got 29 minutes longer. Baseball season is here, and games can get long for the little ones.

Now that it is baseball season I have a baseball bag. Because it can be chilly, I keep a fleece blanket, extra hats and gloves, snacks and kleenex.

Just for fun, I looked up bag in the Bible.

Didja’ know David organized his five smooth stones  in a shepherd’s bag? 1 Samuel 17:40

The best use I found for a bag yet was in the book of Job.

Job 14:17
My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You cover my iniquity.

Another good reason for my hubby to call me The Bag Lady.

Flying Frantic – The Purse Project

Women FLY FRANTICALLY through life.
We generally feel there aren’t enough hours in the day.
And if there were more hours,
we would just make our TO DO LISTS longer.
That’s what we women do.
We write lotsa’ things on the never-ending TO DO LIST,
and feel guilty about the ones we haven’t crossed off.
Not only do I feel like I can’t catch up,
I  know I’ll never get ahead.
Some days, I feel like I am just
hooking-bobbing fleeting time.
So, I’ve learned to pray about my list,
and have the Lord guide me in what He wants me to do,
and give me strength and wisdom to accomplish much.
Somedays I don’t even make that list.
I just listen.
 I’ve also learned that the more organized I am,
the more I can accomplish.
I spend less time looking for things and
less time preparing,
while flying through life.
“Organizing is what you do before you do something,
so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
A.A. Milne
 
This week I am FLYING FRANTICALLY
through organizing projects
that have all helped in the challenging area of
getting out of the house,
with or without
kids.
The Purse Project
are projects that can be thrown in a purse
to fill up little wasted minutes in the car,
in waiting rooms or at kids’  lessons/practices.
Women rarely have a spare hour.
But, we all can find 15 minutes in a day.
I got the idea years ago,
from the only  Sewing With Nancy episode I watched.
It changed the way I view my sewing/craft/household projects.
She encouraged sewers to break up their projects into 15 minute increments.
These socks sat on my dryer for weeks, until I finally dealt with them. 
 After being worn and washed once,
the ruffles started unraveling.
Little girls really, really need white, ruffly socks.
It took five minutes to stuff my scissors, thread, needle and the socks
 in a ziploc bag and put it in my purse.
Both were mended by noon the next day.
My latest purse project began with this summer fabric.
 I have had it over six years.
That’s as long as some of you have been married.
Some of you have sewn many quilts or dresses in that time.
I finally can confess,
I have been reduced to merely collecting fabric.
I rarely sew anymore.
One day I prewashed the fabric.
The next day I ironed it.
Don’t these ants just make you want to have a picnic?
The next free time slot I used to cut out cloth napkins.
I counted squares to make it easier.
I put the napkins by my sewing machine,
which I now leave out,
and in between correcting school work,
I  stitched a napkin or two,
again using the squares as my guidelines.
They just need to be unraveled.

My stitched napkins, scissors and seam ripper were put in a ziploc,
and are taken with me on car trips, and to ball games.
 
It is slow, but I am making progress.
A lot more progress than I made in the first six years of owning the fabric!
Sometimes my purse project is a magazine I need to read.
I bring Post-it notes to mark pages of interest.
Other times I throw in a book or a curriculum catalogue.
The idea of The Purse Project
 is to accomplish,
not overwhelm.
It has to be something that you can reasonably get done,
in 15 minute increments.
We all have a purse (or diaper bag),
and we all have 15 minutes.
What project is currently in your purse,
or what would you like to toss in this week?
*****************
This blog will be linked to
and
Visit both blogs for some wonderful inspiration to jumpstart your week.

MM Meditation – Outside the Camp

Today’s devotional was written by my favorite preacher, my husband Scott.  This is a thought that has blessing his heart this past week, and I wanted to share the blessing.
******************
Exodus 33:7
Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp,
and called it the tabernacle of meeting.
And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD
went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.
God’ presence was moved outside the camp because of sin as shown in Exodus 33:1-6. While Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments, the impatient, unbelieving people were dancing naked before a golden calf in a man-made religion. As a result of God’s judgment to the people, we read in Exodus 33:7 that if the people wanted the LORD, they had to leave the comforts of the town, the people and the world’s ways to find Him.
God moved His presence.

Now, let’s go to the New Testament for an intrepretation and application for us today.

Hebrews 13
11 For the bodies of those animals,
whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin,
are burned outside the camp.
12 Therefore Jesus also,
that He might sanctify the people with His own blood,
suffered outside the gate.
13 Therefore let us go forth to Him,
outside the camp,
 bearing His reproach.

The verse above in Hebrews teaches us that the Lord Jesus was crucified “outside the camp”, or outside the city.  Verse 13 teaches us that if we are to have real fellowship and communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, we too must go outside the camp bearing His reproach.


This gives us a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus, who was crucified outside the camp and we are to go outside the worlds’ religion to seek the Lord Jesus for salvation,  bearing His reproach.

2 Timothy 3:12
 “And all that will live Godly, will suffer persecution.”

What a beautiful interpretation we have in Hebrews 13:13 of Exodus 33:7. God, in His wisdom, has made every aspect of the Scriptures harmonize together beautifully.
Application:  Let’s you and I go outside the camp, outside “the world’s ways” to commune with the Lord Jesus, and suffer His reproach, that we might be like Him.  It’s lonely at times to leave the comforts of the world, stand alone and rejected from family, and suffer persecution for being different than the world and professing Christendom.  But, let us stand strong in the Lord Jesus Christ, for He will help us and comfort in our times of need. 

A song that comes to mind:  “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus . . . “

Poddy Training Axe Murderers

After rehashing Blank Slate and  Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Girls, the final college theory I wanna revisit concerns poddy training. I have accomplished this six times and recently have been a life-coach via the cell-phone.

“Yea, Brookie, did you go poo-poo in the poddy? Gramma is so happy with you!”

“Brookie, do you wear big girl panties now? What a good girl!”

“Oh, did you accidentally pee on Mommy’s floor three times today? “

I knew the tremendous impact of my life-coaching when she pooped in her poddy one day, then picked up her plastic cell phone. Her mommy heard her yelling from the bathroom, “Gamma? Poopy! Gamma? Poopy!”

Yes, not only did I poddy train my daughter, Jana, against all the advice I was given in college, I was so successful she actually knew how to poddy train her own daughter.

Neither of them are axe murderers. In fact, none of my six early-trained kids are.

You see, that was one of the comments made during a university college course. They were talking about the horrific impact of poddy training a child too early, too scheduled or too harshly. Early training, supposedly, could cause emotional problems and neuroses later in life. The professor actually used the term axe-murderer. I don’t remember the exact context of the reference, but I thought maybe these theories might just be taking the problem a little too far.

He continued to lecture us, asking us to imagine how traumatic it could be to entice a little child to perform on the poddy, then you flush their prize down.

I didn’t want to ask him what they thought you should do with the poo, I was mute with disbelief. Another boatload of money wasted on educational crap, and we all sat there, taking it in, not daring to question the authority. I knew they bronzed little baby shoes, but I was pretty sure you couldn’t send in a fecal specimen for preservation.

I wondered why just telling the truth would be so harmful to a child.

“This is poo-poo. It is icky. It has all the bad things your body doesn’t need. When you poo-poo for Mommy, I will flush-flush and make it go away, where icky poo-poo needs to go.”

I totally agree that any child training could be traumatic if you are angry, rude and violent, but I never understood or agreed with the criticism on poddy training too early or being too scheduled.

Training early means less money spent on diapers. (If you are green, this is earth friendly, less diapers in the landfill, or less water and soap needed to wash diapers.) If other society’s train their infants from birth, I think we Americans can easily train before 2 years of age. With that said, it isn’t a rule. Each Mom gets to choose when and how she wants to train. I think it is more about when Mom is ready than when the child is ready. But, the main point is that it isn’t harmful to train them young if you train them with patience, love and kindness.

When I trained my girls at 18 around months, my boys at 2 years, I was often told I was trained, not my kid. I’m not sure what people meant, but if a child can warn you they have to poddy and go when put on the chair, I am pretty sure they’re poddy trained.

Scheduling is needful because when you are training them, you need to catch them with full bladders and bowels. If you go into the bathroom often, eventually you will catch them at the right moment, and they’ll do their business in the poddy. They learn the sensation of fullness and  the sensation of release. Eventually, you won’t have to be as scheduled, they will learn to discern the sensations on their own. But, it is called poddy TRAINING because you are TRAINING them. Regular trips to the bathroom are kinda’ necessary. The first day kids don’t sit down on the poddy every time they need to go. The first few days you can pretty much guarantee they will pee and poo everywhere BUT the poddy.

Later, the routine of taking them to the bathroom often is necessary because children NEVER have to go to the bathroom if you ask them. They can be standing with their legs crossed, holding themselves, or doing the trying-to-make-my-pee-go-away dance, and if you ask if they have to go poddy, they will usually say NO. It’s training. Training them first how to use the poddy is only the first step.  Training them to actually take themselves poddy when they need to go is the next step that can, unfortunately, take years.

I found it amazing, when looking up this theory the other day, to discover some of this early bad advice actually came from the government.  No comment.

Through the years of raising kids, my best advice has not come from books or from seminars or from people with initials after their names. My number one guidance has been the Bible. When subjects aren’t covered there, like baby food and poddy training, I go to other moms. I go to older moms and younger moms and moms at the same stage. I glean from each of them and compile their advice for what works for me. Not all advice works, but gathering more than you need is useful. Eventually, something will work for you.

When looking for advice on poddy training, don’t look for a highly educated person who has written books.  Look for a successful, experienced mom who has a wealth of information to share.

She’ll be the mom with the kid in dry undies.

From the Outside Looking In

Once in awhile,
my family gets tired of being stalked
 wherever they go,
whatever they’re doing,
whoever they’re with,
and being blinded by my camera flash.
In retaliation they pick up my camera
and starting shooting me.
Sometimes my husband picks up the camera
just because he wants a picture of me.
This picture caught me off guard.
This is what people see when they look on in my life.
Slightly disorganized,
slightly frazzled,
always near children.
I love the kids part,
but would like to ditch the disorganized and frazzled part.
This picture also made me take action in my kitchen.
Kettles are now in the drawer of the stove.
I hung up  vintage red and white coffee pots  instead.
Knives are off the counter.
I threw away a few things,
 moved more things off the counters
and everything off the window sill.
Sometimes, something can be out of place
SO LONG,
you don’t even notice anymore.
You stare through it,
walk by it,
because it unintentionally
became a part of your life.
Until someone takes a picture,
from the outside,
looking in.
My kitchen is just like my life.
It is so easy to look in from the outside and know what’s wrong.
It is much harder to be discerning in the midst of the fray.
We need friends who can look through the window of our heart,
and show us what needs to be
 removed,
cleaned,
rearranged,
or just thrown out.
That’s a true friend.
One who loves you enough
to tell you what they are really seeing,
when they take a closer peak inside.
Proverbs 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

My best friend is my husband, Scott.
We continually marvel at the goodness of the Lord
in giving us 24 years together so far,
to provoke one another to
love and good deeds.
Sometimes a little more provoking than good deeds,
but we are still growing.
I also have been blessed
to have several close sisters in the Lord 
that look through my heart window,
and clean house.
Do you have a friend like that?
Do you have someone who will speak the truth in love?

Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Girls

Yesterday, I talked about how the Blank Slate theory didn’t pan out for me in real life.  Today, I am writiing about another theory I was taught in college.

I don’t remember the cool name of the theory, but I was taught that boys behaved the way they do only because that is what they were taught.  They were taught to love cars, trucks, blocks, sticks and mud because those items were presented to them and it was expected that they play with them.

That also meant girls were only girls because they were taught to be girls. They were given dolls and dishes and dressed up in dresses, lace and ribbons.

Each gender was only responding in the way that was taught and expected of them.  Like the Blank Slate theory, everything was by nuture and not by nature.

I thought it sounded a bit odd.  My parents hadn’t made a big deal about what toys we could play with.  My brothers were never discouraged from playing with my toys, and I wasn’t forbidden to play with their toys.  We just played and shared.  There wasn’t men’s work and women’s work, there was just work. But, my brothers turned out very differently from my sisters.
By reading the Bible and raising my own kids, I decided this theory was bunk, too.  I never taught my first daughter she HAD  to only play with dolls, she wanted to.  Our first Christmas together Scott  bought me a Cabbage Patch doll and I bought him a Stomper truck.  Jana grew up playing with both, but loved the doll. She played with the truck only occasionally when she could play with her Daddy, or if she put dolls in it.

I didn’t teach her girls shouldn’t get dirty when they played, she automatically hated dirty hands.  She would play outside, then come to the door fussing with her hands out, wanting to be wiped down before she would go back outside and play.

Three more times I was blessed with a baby daughter.  Three more times they showed preference for dolls over cars, dress-ups over legos, dishes over sticks and cleanliness over mud.

You guessed it.  My two sons intentionally looked for every puddle.  They couldn’t jump enough or splash enough in the mud.  They were addicted to sticks and could  transform them into anything their active imagination could create. They instinctively knew how to make car noises, which are different from airplane noises. They loved tools, sports and anything dangerous or with moving parts.

I bought Cabbage Patch dolls for each of the kids when they were born.  My son had a homemade hockey uniform, complete with a little plastic hockey stick, a baseball uniform, cool very-boyish things.  He tolerated the doll on his bed for a few years while very young, but never really played with it.  He just wasn’t interested.

My kids’ toy preferences may not be enough to give credibility to my tossing out an accepted theory, but let’s look at the adult model.  How different are you from your  husband?  Are those differences there just because you were each TAUGHT to behave a certain way? 

No.

If that was true, then women long ago would have changed that. You don’t have to be married very long before you realize the great differences between men and women.  After living with their husbands, they would have DEFINATELY and DESPERATELY taught their sons to be different.  I’ve tried this.  I have tried to tell my sons I am raising them for their future wives, but it just hasn’t sunk in yet.  Yes, behavior can be learned and changed with effort, but you can’t change the nature of their gender.

 It’s been engrained in our hearts, minds and souls, from the beginning of human life on earth.

Adam and Eve were created differently.

Adam and Eve sinned differently.

Adam and Eve had different consequences for their sin.

We weren’t taught to be different, we were created to be different, by a great and glorious God who knew it would be of our best interests to have a spouse that is so opposite and so able to complement us.

The other thing I don’t appreciate about this theory, is that it is wrong for us to teach gender “stereotypes” to our children. 

I have adopted my parents’ great theory in raising all kids capable and able.  All of our kids learn to cook, clean, sew, garden, use tools, budget their money, paint, babysit and take care of cars.  We want them all to be helpful and functional when we send them out into society.

But, I also have distinct ideas of how I want my sons to act.  I have distinct ideas of how I want my daughters to act. My distinct ideas are based on the Bible, with convictions I have gained through the years of reading what the Lord desires from men and women.  I am teaching behavior, yes, but only to enhance their natural differences.
 
I want to embrace, appreciate and glorify the beautiful way that the Lord created male and female as distinctly different genders.