Happy Birthday, Katherine! I love having you for a sister! Where would I be without you?
Wow! Where did March go??? Well, it was another great month of Small Things and friendship around here, and I am eternally grateful for each of you girls who are keeping me company along the way. I can't tell you how many times the very thought of you has helped motivate me to keep plugging away, to keep loving and working and savoring these crazy days. Thank you!
Do you remember what the Prizes of the month are?
The Most Points winner will receive a gorgeous, hand-crafted necklace AND a pair of earrings by Ann Margaret, jewelry maker extraordinaire. It's very hard to part with these items, but I know whoever wins them will absolutely love them. Go check out Ann's website to see more of her beautiful things.
Jasper and silver.... delicious.
Copper and glass bead earrings.
The Random Drawing winner will receive a signed copy of A New Kind of Normal, by Carol Kent. This story is so riveting, you will not be able to put it down. Just throw your name into my virtual hat and this book might be yours! Everyone gets entered into the Random Drawing, whether you collected points, or did just one Small Thing for fun.
Today's Small Thing is to add up your points for the month of March and email your total to me! If you simply want to be entered into the Random Drawing, all you need to do is send me your name....no points are necessary.
Oh, and please let everyone know what your favorite Small Thing of the month was, or what you have enjoyed about being a Company Girl! I LOVE seeing what everyone says, because each person has something different that has meant the most.
POINTS: 40 points for emailing me AND leaving a comment, good toward March's total.
When it comes right down to it, housekeeping can only go so far to create a wonderful place for your family. That's awfully good news for those of us who sorta struggle in this area. Most everyone would choose a home filled with love and acceptance, that's a little on the messy side, over a spotless home that is full of anger and criticism. And we all know that the hurts harsh words can cause go far deeper than any mess a busy family can make.
But when life gets crazy, it's easy to forget the importance of certain words and phrases. Or maybe we DO know their importance, but those words just don't seem to come out easily. Like trying to say "rural juror," our tongues get tangled and we give up trying.
Oh, I could list so many things I struggle to say.
Today's Small Thing is to think of something that might be difficult to say...and then say it. Perhaps there are words that should be spoken on your knees to your Heavenly Father, and you've been putting it off. Or maybe you know an apology is due someone but your pride is making you tongue tied. It could be as simple as saying "yes" to a child's hare-brained idea to wear pajamas all day.
Yeah, I know that scrubbing something would be far easier to accomplish today. And you may not be able to think of anything to say. But somehow, I've always found that when I ask the Lord to show me what I need to do, He tends to make it plain. And I want my home to be filled with kindness and acceptance, even when it's hard to clear the air by saying what should be said.
POINTS: 40 for untangling your tongue and saying something difficult
What will you say today?
Since I am getting Today's Small Thing posted so late in the day, let's give ourselves until Monday to get this fun one done. YESSSS! I love having extra time!
For being a person who has made a career being creative for other people, I'm surprisingly UNcreative when it comes to my own home. Like all of us, I have trouble seeing my own decorating faux-pas and the clutter that would be only so obvious if I hired someone ELSE like me to come in and help me out.
Perhaps I should pay myself to fix up my own house, and then maybe it would get done? An idea worth consideration.
There are the Big Decor items, like paint and carpet, that usually can't be replaced in one day. And there are furniture items, like armoires and couches, that aren't easily moved. But there are smaller things that can make a huge difference, simply with a little fussing and fluffing.
For example, I recently moved ONE throw pillow from a chair to the couch, and it makes me happy every time I see it! Golly, it takes so little to make life sweet.
And not long ago, I moved the sofa and love seat to a slightly different angle....OH MY! I've fallen in love with the living room all over again.
Today's Small Thing is to take a few minutes to fuss with and fluff the things you already have in your home.
Here are a few ideas:
OK, now let's hear some of YOUR ideas! How will you fuss and fluff this weekend? You don't have to make the perfect arrangement to be able to enjoy it! Just take a few minutes to squint your eyes and purse your lips, as you tip your head to the side to decide how to make the most of what you already have!
POINTS: 40 for fussing and fluffing!
Fridays are the days I use as an opportunity to tell you what is going on in my life.....besides the Small Things. Yes, I do I have a life outside of the little tasks that help me stay sane!
Last weekend, I had a chance to run over to the Christian Book Expo for another round of hugs from Lori and Sweetie, and I had the cool pleasure of running into another Company Girl, MamaBug! She recognized me from the blog and introduced herself, so OF COURSE we had to take a picture.
I also got to meet up with Lisa Whelchel, an acquaintance of mine. I LOVED her perspective on parenting in the session I went to. She was so humble and encouraging! Basically, she said that no "one thing" in her book, Creative Correction, actually worked. What it really came down to was daily asking God for wisdom, using teachable moments, and realizing that it takes a lifetime of small things that add up while you are raising your children. Now THAT, I can relate to.
Beyond that, I've been working on a redesign of my Home Sanctuary blog this week. I am hoping to have it done sometime next week and I'm so excited!! It will have all the same content that you know and love, but will get a makeover that will make it easier to navigate and be pretty on the eyes! Woo Hoo!
TODAY'S SMALL THING WON'T BE POSTED UNTIL THIS AFTERNOON BECAUSE I PLAYED WITH THE BLOG DESIGN TOO LONG TO GET IT DONE! Sorry, girls....I've failed you.
Link up below so we can catch up with what is going on with YOU! Coffee Fridays are my favorite day of the week....even though sometimes it takes me through the weekend to make my rounds of visiting! Just enter your name and blog URL into the boxes and you'll be all set! Non-bloggers...chat in the comment section! We love to hear from you, too!
I almost didn't choose Today's Small Thing because it is something that many people will find silly.
And, in fact, YOU may look at the computer screen blankly and wonder what on earth I'm talking about because this little task is something you never have a problem with.
I salute you.
For the rest of us, let's just say we have some hang ups.
See, when I walk into my (tiny) closet, there are usually one or two items that have decided to slide off their hangers and relax on the floor. They obviously don't have the strength to shoulder the waiting in there, so with a nonchalant shrug, they leave their spot on the rod for better times on the carpet.
There are also the clothing items that drape themselves over chairs, ends of beds and dusty exercise equipment because they are too tired to march themselves into the closet and retire to the hangers like good soldiers. It's pathetic.
And I have to get after the coats and sweaters, who, after a long winter, are finding it difficult to keep hanging on to their hooks. No matter how many times I scold them, they lack the willpower to stay put. I know it's because there are too many of them and they're feeling crowded, but it's as if they've given up and are ready to be put away for Spring. There are always one or two despondent items in a crumpled heap of despair on the floor.
I won't even tell you about the clean-but-unsorted laundry that only WISHES it could be hung neatly in the closet. Day after day it sits, its wrinkles becoming set as the basket is dug through for the undies and socks that lie like buried treasures within its depths. The button-down shirts are particularly angry, but they've always got a bit of an attitude.
So, for those of you Company Girls with no hang-ups to deal with, today will be an easy day. For the rest of us, we should do some personal therapy by handling our "issues" one at a time.
Today's Small Thing is to hang up the lazy, unmotivated or simply wistful clothing items that are laying around the house. Some of them need to be put in their place with a good talking-to, and others will thank you for the chance to hang with the big boys.
POINTS: 50 for hanging up what's laying around
If you don't have any hang-ups to deal with, take your 50 points and pat yourself on the back!
There are some tasks on my "Daily" list of things to do that normally get done without too much trouble.
I'm long past my revulsion over doing dishes day in and day out. I just put my game face on and do them.
I make my bed without thought.
I straighten the living room.
But for some reason, there are a couple of things that I am either too tired, too annoyed or too ready to move on to other tasks to attend to.
The most glaring one is my kitchen floor.
Why I don't take a broom and swoop it around AT LEAST once a day is beyond me.
Because I absolutely love the feeling of a clean floor! I hate to crunch on old Cheerios, chips and Rice Chex. I abhor finding a slimy onion that leaped from my saute pan before reaching my plate. I cringe at the sticky orange juice spill that grabs at my shoe.
I just keep ignoring it in favor of spending more time blogging. Or running errands. Or paying bills. Or watching Rachael Ray.
Today's Small Thing is to run a broom over the kitchen floor.
So EASY! So Quick! So Gratifying!
You can vacuum it, if you prefer, but the point is to get rid of the crunchies.
And, if you REALLY want to make it barefoot-worthy, you can damp-mop it for some extra points. But hey, that is totally up to you. This is not about killing yourself for points, so use some discretion here.
POINTS: 40 for a simple kitchen sweep
BONUS POINTS: 40 for mopping
I'm going to take a moment to do a shameless Product Endorsement, because this is one "luxury" I love:
The Swiffer Sweeper.
I've always been "yucked out" at dirty mops, and the dirty mop water you end up dipping into to "clean" your floor. I totally love throwing away the dirty disposable wet cloths, and better yet, the job this tool does on my floors. For some reason, the cleaner in the wet cloths seems to dissolve the sticky stuff and leave my floors feeling really super-clean and shiny.
This is yet another reason I wonder at my brain sometimes. With a Swiffer, the job is so quick and easy, WHY DON'T I DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE? My life would be so much richer.
While I work on figuring out my housekeeping shortcomings, let's just agree that having a good tool is at least half the battle. I use the cloths on other surfaces besides the floor...they are great on my cabinets and the outsides of my appliances, where sticky messes seem to collect. Really, just about any sealed surface is a candidate for a Swiffer wet cloth. Bathrooms, particularly around the toilets, are my favorite places to use them because the thought of using a sponge mop in there truly gags me.
There is a money-back offer and some coupons available on the Swiffer website, perfect for the housewife with everything but a clean floor.
Yesterday's Small Thing was hard. Not that it took so long to do, but DECIDING which pile to free my soul from was a challenge.
Should this stack receive my attention?
Perhaps THIS lovely stack of "who knows what"?
This pile next to my bed is the equivalent of an alcoholic's stash of liquor. It's tucked away where no one can see it, but I know it's there. Its disheveled presence apparently gives me some kind of comfort, because it's been there for.....well. Never mind how long it's been there. I swear I need intervention.
Because my day was packed with activity, I did not address my piles until about 9 pm. Even choosing one seemed so daunting! But armed with the song, "Shackles," I chose the one on the dining room table.
FOUR MINUTES LATER, I WAS FREE!
It felt so good, I even worked on the kitchen counter pile. In THREE MINUTES, I had released myself from the bondage of looking at those unsightly stacks!
Ladies, I'm asking you. Where would I be without the Small Things to kick my rear in gear and get me moving on those things that truly make my life BETTER? You'd think by now I'd simply do them on my own because I love order....but somehow I let things slip until we can all do them together as Small Things and I can slap my forehead and think, "Good gracious, that was easy! What took me so long??"
Today's Small Thing is yet another thing that drives me crazy, but often gets passed over because I'm obviously too busy to take the 1.5 minutes to straighten.
The bathroom counter.
I'll admit there are days when my bathroom counters look a whole lot worse than these photos. I hate the way the clutter looks, and yet I'll walk past it a thousand times, hating it each and every time, before I finally take a minute to scoop it up.
For Today's Small Thing, simply clear your bathroom counter of the debris. You can take your left arm and pull everything toward you as you open a drawer with your right arm, and then dump it all in. It's a simple move that takes a tiny bit of practice, but can be perfected easily.
Seeing your counter top again MAY make you giddy with excitement, so if you want extra cred, you can wipe it down. You'll be positively thrilled with the resulting serenity that will flood your soul.
POINTS: 40 for clearing a bathroom counter
BONUS POINTS: 30 for wiping it down and getting rid of the toothpaste and hairspray residue
Today we're gonna get free, baby!
Whatcha got laying around your house that is pulling you down? A pile of laundry? A stack of mail? A bunch of bills? A mountain of dishes?
Today's Small Thing is to get free of ONE PILE. It can be a pile of anything, you name it. Clutter, receipts, clothes, newspapers, office papers, toys....it doesn't matter.
You only have to do ONE pile. Getting rid of one pile of something is enough to tell procrastination that you are getting FREE! So put it away, organize it, throw it, DEAL WITH IT!
Tell it you're through being shackled to it!
Then you oughta turn this song up and do a freedom dance. Oh, yeah!
POINTS: 30 for getting free of one pile
BONUS POINTS: 20 for freedom dancing afterward! Get up and do a little praisin!
Then tell us: what did you get free of today? Let us give you a Woo Hoo!
Where would we be without rechargeable batteries for cameras, hand-held games, video recorders and flashlights? But when they first came out, I remember how hard it was to shell out the extra money for something we knew would save us money in the long run, but for which we didn't QUITE see the need.
As a mom, my own "batteries" feel run-down and in need of a recharge quite often. Between the constant demands of child-rearing, work, housekeeping, church, sports, marriage and the general whoop-de-doo of life, I'm drained.
Let's face it, the life force of a mom is not an inexhaustible resource.
And when we get tired, our patience runs short. Things slip out of our mouths that we wish we could take back. We stop caring about things like...our kids acting like hooligans, sticking to a diet and of course, the whoop-de-doo in the bedroom. We just don't have it in us to deal with it anymore.
Just like those rechargeable batteries that cost more up front, it's sometimes hard "pay the price" of taking the time to build up our resources on the inside. We think we can just keep going and going, but the reality is we will burn out if we don't pay attention to connecting to a power source to get our energy back.
Of course, the Ultimate Energy Source is on a spiritual level. Our devotional life is often the first thing to get cut when we start running on empty. Without "plugging in" to the word of God and connecting with Him in prayer, we will never really be filled like we should be.
And then there are practical things that we can do that will "recharge" our physical batteries. We should eat good food. We need to drink water and not gallons of diet soda. Probably should lay off the fries. A decent night sleep will do wonders. I can only imagine what exercise might do.
Beyond that, there are "frivolous" things that have a way of rocket-boosting the practical and spiritual methods because they touch our emotional level. It's the cup of tea, a phone call to a friend, a new shade of toenail polish and a pair of dangly earrings that bring a smile to our face and make life seem a little softer. A few minutes alone at Target has been known to completely renew a woman's world.
Today's Small Thing is really "This Weekend's Three Small Things" because it will take a bit more doing to earn our points. We are going to "recharge" our batteries on all three levels, in some way, between now and Monday morning.
1. Would you take a few moments to connect with God? He's waiting in the wings, and if you stop long enough, you might even hear Him calling your name. His voice floats on the cool breeze and rustles in the budding leaves. He is speaking in the quiet of a sleeping child and in the morning cup of coffee before the house wakes. He is in the pages of the Bible on your nightstand. Nourish your spirit.
2. Next, do something that is good for your physical body. If you need an extra hour of sleep, get your man to get up with the kids in the morning. Take some care to pay attention to what your body is telling you: to eat a healthy meal, go for a walk, take your vitamins or hit the gym. Treat your body well.
3. Finally, pick something frivolous and completely "unnecessary" to do for yourself that refreshes your soul. Read a chapter in a book, send the kids to the neighbor's house so you have a few moments alone, wear something pretty, or go our for coffee, it doesn't matter! You don't have to spend a dime to be reminded that you are worth taking care of. Feed your soul.
POINTS: This might be a little bit tough to get all this done, so I am going to give 50 points for each of the three "recharges." You can earn up to 150 points this weekend! Wow! What a way to earn them.
Please share! How will you recharge your batteries? You KNOW you need all three!