Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It must be a new money venture for google/blogspot but I thought I'd let you know ---
the word "ideas" was not underlined in red by me and I didn't create the hyperlink. I noticed it wh en I posted just now and clicked on it to see why it was that way. It took me to a money making thing and I just wanted to let you know that I didn't do that.


Important Note

Dearest Readers,

I started writing Home Notes some time ago because homemaking is SUCH a passionate and purposeful part of my life. It is something I read stacks of books on (and always have) … go to first in magazines w hile waiting in grocery lines and talk about with others.

I love writing about it, too. I love sharing stories, tips, and gathering ideas from all over the world.
Even with all of this though, I haven’t been WRITING HOME NOTES as many have noticed.
My writing (by what I believe God has revealed to me over the years) is a gift from God to encourage, motivate, inspire and even strengthen the whole and the weary homemaker as she goes about being a keeper of her home.

Unless He pours it through, I don’t have it and I reached a point whenever it was where I could not write one word on the topic. Every time I go to. .. I either use the delete key or I start something entirely different. My home is as clean and cozy as I can seem to make it (with the exception of days when the messes and masses outnumber my energy level to keep up with) but it is in great disrepair and I find myself wanting to daydream things a different way when I write about them. If I’m dreaming of other circumstances, places, and settings --- I see no point in exposing you to the small offerings I’ve swept from the worn out places from the heart of my home.

I am not ending all homemaking writings (they are my favorite, after all) but just going to one blog and if/when the words come … I’ll share them there.

I’m keeping home notes up for those who repeatedly seek the archives but at this time, I won’t be sending new letters.

Still active sites:




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday Morning

A moment of respite. . .

I’m rewarding myself far more often than I should. When I clean for awhile, I find myself grabbing something to drink and heading to this monitor. Away the keys go clicking while I read emails, check out links, throw an update/status from my inbox and scatterings such as that. Smiles.

Housework has been sorting into our new school days and I love it! In the mornings, I read my Bible with some hot coffee and journal with whatever beloved pen I have handy. Laundry gets tossed in the washer while the coffee is making so I keep that moving until 1-3 loads are washed, dried, folded and put away. This should keep our laundry off the floor for a change! I have one hamper and baskets in the bedrooms but I put it on the floor to sort it and end up with it looking wretched until all is washed. Now, I have more time to focus and keep at it so it is coming along neatly and nicely. About time.

It is good to have certain chores for morning, afternoon and evening. The earlier part of the day is when I set to task on the main cleaning. The afternoon is a quick pick up and help from the kids and the evening is just a 10-20 minute pick up all over the house. Each person has a way, which works best for them and as long as some work is getting done… all in that regards is well!

My laundry is moving along today, the refrigerator is clean and looks so much better. I just used a soapy dish cloth and some hot water to wipe down the shelves, walls and the all on the inside. Most of the glass shelves and bins were taken out and washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Then, I rinsed well in very hot water and dried completely.

All the basics got done (making the bed, doing a quick clean on the toilet, gathering dirty laundry, sweeping, and such) so I just need to finish the things on today’s list.

I was blessed today and reminded of a time I was more thoughtful while I cleaned and worked about my home. While I was folding my husband’s worn blue jeans . . . I thought of how hard he works and how he keeps working no matter what things look like financially. I considered how strong he has to be to keep at it no matter what anyone says (sadly enough, at times even me… his own wife) and I prayed for him. I prayed for his work and just anything that came to mind to pray for him over. It was a gift for me by the time the load was done and I headed into our bedroom to put it all away.

Once there, I made our bed with sheets and pillow cases I washed this morning and whipped over our very, very worn quilt. It is a wedding ring quilt my mom gave us for Christmas (she bought it) many years ago. There is a large, black ink stain where our youngest son managed to leave a permanent marker open on. What I thought of as I neatened the corners and tucked the ends before folding down the top was my mother. I remembered her wrapping this and being so happy to give it to us and I was glad to still have it covering us at night… wrapping us continually in her love.

This is getting long so I’ll hurry on up  What about you? Are there feelings, memories, prayers, and/or thoughts you can reflect on while nurturing your home as only YOU can? Are there areas you need to clean out, shine up, or bring to blessed order?

I hope whatever your homemaking today holds. . . you are given the peace to appreciate the beauty and grace God so generously gives. Each and every job we do can be blessed by His hands… often through ours.

I’ll close with this lovely poem. Take from it what your heart will. I thought of the Lord and then my husband, children, and grandchildren when I read it.



Love is a shield to hold against the dark,
A fire to warm me, shelter from the night;
A lamp forever burning, and the spark,
The eternal spark that keeps the flame alight.
Love is the merchandise not bought or sold,
The gift, self-giving, counting not the price;
The deep – embedded vein of hidden gold
Refined in crucibles of sacrifice.
If I may have your love to keep beside me,
To hold inviolate, a precious thing,
If I may have its steady light to guide me,
If twill not matter what the years may bring,
Nor what the years may take beyond recall.
If I may have your love I shall have all.

Minnie Markham Kerr

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Power to Help or Overthrow

Reading in my Bible this morning, a verse in the 25th chapter of 2 Chronicles stood out for my heart.

“Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.” [vs.8]

This spoke so much truth into my life and I believe there is truth for all of us in it.

Our 20 year old son (before he turned 20, smiles) was talking to me one day before he came home from college for the summer. We were discussing all the things his dad and I have tried to do in order to make our situation better (house falling apart, finances extremely tight, need for a return to routine/structure and on it goes) and he said:

“It isn’t what you are doing. There is NO way either of you can do MORE than you are already doing. You are literally doing everything you can. You just need to change some things around and look to God and let HIM help.”
Wise kid.

You see what I mean, though? We can fight courageously as the Scripture says… work harder… try more… and more on those never-ending lines. It is STILL up to GOD’S power to help us or overthrow.

If we are in line with His Word and following Him in all of our lives. . . I believe with all of my heart the Bible is clear that He’ll help us.
This doesn’t mean we’ll always have help the way we expect it but He is a Lord of HELP and has been from the start.

The Scriptures I read before verse 8 - shared that King Amaziah hired men from Israel to fight and had already paid them wages when he was warned to not use them.

But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the LORD is not with Israel --- not with any of the people of Ephraim.”
2 Chronicles 25:7

The king’s first reply was about the money he had already paid. He had already invested his money for these men to fight for him.

Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for the Israelite troops?”

The response was not to find a wise way to get some other work done for the money. It was actually this:

“The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than that.” 2 Chronicles 25:9

No matter what we are doing. . . matter not what we have already done. . .
God has the POWER to help us and to make up for ANY lack we can possibly have in the process.

All we need to do is follow Him as we’ve read of and heard of and known for so long.
It is all about belief in HIM.
Belief above ourselves.
Belief above our circumstances.
Belief beyond what we see and to what we know in Christ.

I’ll close with some beautiful wisdom God’s Spirit seems to have poured through a man named Matthew Henry in the 1700’s:

He has ways enough to make up the loss to thee; it is below thee to speak of it.
Note, A firm belief of God's all-sufficiency to bear us out in our duty, and to make up all the loss and damage we sustain in his service abundantly to our advantage, will make his yoke very easy and his burden very light.

What is it to trust in God, but to be willing to venture the loss of any thing for him, in confidence of the goodness of the security he gives us that we shall not lose by him, but that whatever we part with for his sake shall be made up to us in kind or kindness.
When we grudge to part with any thing for God and our religion, this should satisfy us, that God is able to give us much more than this. He is just, and he is good, and he is solvent.
If men would but duly consider the inability of all those things to help them to which they have recourse when they forsake God, they would not be such enemies to themselves.
Those that will not persuaded to do well for their souls will justly be given up to their own counsels to do ill for themselves even in their outward affairs.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on parts of 2 Chronicles 25


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He'll Reveal

Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter. Daniel 14-23

Daniel wonders why such a harsh decree is made concerning the wise men. He and at least three of his friends (who knows how many of the other wise men they were friends with) were going to be murdered.

A king who ordered people cut into pieces and their homes turned in to rubble (some of the verses in Daniel 1 and 2) was quite capable of making this happen.

Daniel chose to speak responsibly and with good judgment to the commander of the King’s guard. He asked why the king was making such a rash and harsh order.

He listened to the answer . . . went to the king and asked for time to interpret the dream. Then, he went to his house and explained everything to Hanania, Mishael and Azariah (who the king had named Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego) and urged them to pray for God’s mercy and help concerning the mystery.

And said:

“Praise be to the name of God forever and ever;
Wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness,
And light dwells with him.
I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors;
You have given me wisdom and power,
You have made known to me what we asked of You,
You have made known to us the dream of the king. Daniel 2:20-23 TNIV

I really thought of how helpful this basic structure could be in the lives of many women of Christ.
A problem, fear, or trial comes up and instead of getting defensive, fretting, or right out losing it… we inquire about it reasonably.
Whether it is a person or a plot, we look into it to see what we are dealing with.

After this, we can go to our homes and our churches and tell our families and church family (or friends or relatives or whoever) what is going on and ask for prayer.

When all that is done. . . we praise our Father. We praise His very name and acknowledge His wisdom and His power.

It is HE Who changes our times. . . our seasons and He will shine His light through our darkness.

We thank Him and. . . see that He will make known to us what we ask of Him.

This is so powerful. We pray and pray and pray and pray for help. . . for hope. . . for clarity. . . for His will. . . for so many things and we need to know. For me, I suffer more not being able to figure out God’s will in a given situation more than the actual situation usually takes from me!
He will make known to us what we ask of Him.
He isn’t on our time schedule and doesn’t need to be so we can’t pin point a date, an hour or a minute He’ll reveal something. We can rest though, knowing HE will reveal it.

Are you stressed over finances and have no idea what to do about it?
Do you have something threatening your peace and/or your family’s well being?
Is there something you need God’s wisdom on?

He knows. He shows. He goes before you. Keep seeking Him first and most and He will show all you need to know.

Just thought I’d share that from my morning’s quiet timeJ

Friday, August 7, 2009

Holy. Pure. Sanctified.

1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
1Th 4:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
1Th 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1Th 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Whenever the body is, as it ought to be, devoted to God, and dedicated and set apart for him, it should be kept clean and pure for his service; and, as chastity is one branch of our sanctification, so this is one thing which God commands in his law, and what his grace effects in all true believers.

(2.) This will be greatly for our honour: so much is plainly implied, 1Th_4:4. Whereas the contrary will be a great dishonour. And his reproach shall not be wiped away, Pro_6:33. The body is here called the vessel of the soul, which dwells therein (so 1Sa_21:5), and it must be kept pure from defiling lusts. Every one should be careful in this matter, as he values his own honour and will not be contemptible on this account, that his inferior appetites and passions gain not the ascendant, tyrannizing over his reason and conscience, and enslaving the superior faculties of his soul. What can be more dishonourable than for a rational soul to be enslaved by bodily affections and brutal appetites?

The sin of uncleanness is contrary to the nature and design of our Christian calling: For God hath called us not unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, 1Th_4:7. The law of God forbids all impurity, and the gospel requires the greatest purity; it calls us from uncleanness unto holiness.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

My morning Bible readings always feed me. These times comfort, guide, remind, restore, and urge me onward and I pray the same for each and every one. . . what a difference it makes.

Anyway, (smiles) today I read from a plan I’ve been using for several months and read two days worth. I missed some when I lost my Bible so I do more than one day at a time. I ended up in Chronicles and Thessalonians and here is something I had underlined before:

I Thessalonians 4:3-7. . . my Bible titled this section: “Directions for Growth” and I can see why.

We are literally surrounded on all sides by things that threaten our purity. People joke about it all the time, I know but the Bible is clear on how bad it can really be.

We’ve seen it in our own lives and I have lost count of how many over the years who have shared from other lives. A lack of purity can lead to more than we allow ourselves to believe.

The truth is. . . it isn’t just about a look from the eyes, a thought from the mind, or harmless this or that. It is a heart issue and any of it springs from there and does not stop unless we stop it by the grace and power of Christ.
Is it THAT big of a deal? It can be.

Every affair, adulterous act, shattering of a family and on and on it goes… started with such things.

It can somewhat be compared to a tiny fire … a little bitty flame on a few leaves surrounded by a forest. And the tiny impure thought is like a bitty drop of gas.
When that little flame sparks a bit higher… the wise heart should stop it by smothering it immediately! How easily it is controlled before the gas drop hits or the second it does but that is NOT the case if it is allowed another minute or two. By then, the fire can catch leaves, debris, and trees so quickly --- an entire area of the world can be in flames and even fireman can’t reach it.
This is the case with impurity and a flippant attitude about it.

I’ve had it… probably most of us have at one point or another. It is the way of the naïve child though and not the mature Christian.

Lord, may we live holy, holy, holy! If the world laughs at this. . . let them. It laughed at our Savior and the very ground on which He stood was holy.
In His holy Name…

Flee from immorality.
None of us are perfect and temptations will come. They can either be stopped within seconds or they can run rampant from our souls. . . He allows us to choose. How much heart ache we’d save if we chose the will of God in this and all things.

I will close with that and a note for our home lives:

And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;
So that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
I Thessalonians 4:11-12

May we allow our time to be so spent on leading quiet lives, attending to our business and working with our hands that there is only room for sanctified thoughts. . .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quiet Time Notes

For the fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

My sister and I have discussed, lately . . . the abundant life of a Christian.
We have struggled financially and in some other ways and there are times it seems we are under a yoke of it. Pressed down under the weight and prayers for help have started sounding monotonous to our own ears.

Reading His Word each day is our guide through this. Place after place after place reveals His faithfulness and fullness. He gives us from Himself and we all receive. . . grace upon grace. When we focus on the grace He gives. . . the lack we “see” fades in comparison.

Psalm 145:14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

Picturing what the above verse says blesses without measure. Most of us have fallen … into sin, out of money, into great need, into despair, onto the pavement of one pain or another.

The Lord upholds each and every one of us each and every time. He reaches down and He raises up. . . ALL THOSE who are bowed down.

It doesn’t say what kind of bowed down we have to be. . . just that He raises us UP.
His ways are so different than the world’s ways. He is the King above all Kings but He takes the time to lift our hearts, our bodies, our spirits . . . from the dusty and dirty places in this world and He lovingly lifts them up. Not as the world . . . it only reaches out to help to get something in return. Not with our Father.

But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. 2 Chronicles 12:8

Whatever the battle or battles may be. . . we are not standing alone with no help.
There is one place to safely trust getting help from. When we have no strength, no ideas left, no plan to prepare and no hope to be found: we have a God to trust in.

Then Asa called to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude, O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.” 2 Chronicles 14:11

It dawned on me throughout today’s Bible reading that truths I have learned before still hold true. Just like God never changes. . . His instructions to us don’t waver. We keep on keeping on and we walk and work in the Name of the Lord . . . and He Himself will reward us.

Be strong today, dear Sister. Do not lose courage. . . Your Lord holds you in the palm of His hand and He will be faithful in helping you.

“And nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” 2 Chronicles 15:6-7


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Morning by Morning

My morning routine has been so scattered all summer long.
It didn’t bother me much when I first stopped rising early. A lot was going on (a LOT) and as a result . . . I wasn’t getting sleep at night. This made rising early almost non-existent and this changed everything about my early day activity.
Some things still took place. . . I have kept to drinking my coffee, starting the laundry and reading my Bible. After those… the days have hit with so much to do that I fall into bed dazed.
I crave order and routine and structure when things get this way. There are times when routines make me feel pressured to keep up or bored with the monotony of continually complying. Things like facing the dishwasher, sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, folding clothes and making meals again and again and again. . . together and with more added… they can make one feel tied down to them. There is a difference in tied down with and tied to though:
This morning, I got up earlier and my Bible reading had some verses that stood out to me on the subject. These verses held some sort of comfort in the rhythm they presented and made me look forward to the upcoming schedule changes.
Once again, I can enjoy having an early routine with some of the same things done day in and day out. Morning by morning. . .

And you shall provide a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering to the LORD daily; morning by morning you shall provide it.
Also you shall provide a grain offering with it morning by morning, a sixth of an ephah, and a third of a hin of oil to moisten the fine flour, a grain offering to the LORD continually by a perpetual ordinance.
Thus they shall provide the lamp, the grain offering, and the oil, morning by morning, for a continual burnt offering.
Ezekiel 46:13-15

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer for Clean & Cozy Homemakers

Prayer for Clean & Cozy HomemakersJ

Dearest Lord and Father,

I bring each and every heart on this list to Your amazing throne.
Pour Your Word into our hearts, minds, and souls so we may drink and hydrate every part of us. Let this overflow into the people and places around us, with us, and sent to us each day.

Thy words were found and I ate them,
And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16

Help us. Feed us. Hydrate us. Comfort, console, encourage, edify, strengthen and uplift us as we do all those things in and to and by YOUR NAME.

Lord, You are the helper for our every need so I pray for our help in getting the laundry washed, dried, folded, hung and put away.
I pray for our laundry rooms to be neatened and pantry shelves brought to order. Help us plan our meals and prepare nutritious and hearty meals no matter what bounty we do or don't have.
Give us sharing spirits so we don't hesitate to share the food gracing our counters and tables to others.
Infuse us with a heart to work as unto You and give us what we need to get all the floors cleaned up, swept, and mopped.
Show us through bringing order to every area of our homes...
Guide us through needed house repairs and planned home projects...
Give strength to our hands and arms so our dishes can stay washed and neatly put up and our sinks can be sanitary.

Make our hearts happy ... not with the world's view of happiness but YOUR SPIRIT'S joy always and ever flowing regardless of what is going on. When we are tackling allergy inducing dusting chores... help us sing in spite of it.
Let us find joy in clearing our homes of clutter, giving and giving some more from our bounty and helping others as we help ourselves.
Allow us to vacuum up pet hair, sparkle our glass and windows, tidy up, clean toilets, scrub shower stalls, wipe down bathtubs, scrub the dirty places and bring beauty to the homes You have blessed us with.

The other things on our To Do list --- let them all be led and designed and determined by YOU and not our own understanding. Help us serve, visit, share, give, comfort, encourage and more just as our precious Savior did while on earth. Just as He does now. In HIS NAME, Amen.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Martha's Hands & Mary Mind


Lord of all pots and pans and
tins, since I've not time to be
A saint by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
Or dreaming in the twilight, or
storming heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals
and washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha's
hands, I have a Mary mind;
And when I black the boots and
shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I
I think of how Thou trod the
earth, each time I scrub the
Accept this meditation, Lord,
I haven't time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy
love and light it with Thy
Forgive me all my worrying and
make all grumbling cease;
Thou who didst love to give men
food ---in room or by the sea ---
Accept this service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

Author Unknown

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Changed Thinking

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

We have a “kind of baby” beagle. She left that pretty puppy stage and hit the barely- make -it –through- without -crying one many dogs put their masters through at certain ages. The previous family needed a new home for her ASAP and what started out as me helping find a home, ended with my home being it.

Bella, named by our teenage daughter, walks early each morning. We are crate training her like we did the other two and she sleeps in her crate like a baby bed.

This morning, I walked her and let my eyes wander over and across my yard. Thoughts turned into silent questions and all lined up for a turn: when will I get the fence we need for our garden plot? How much longer will our worn out little porch hold up? How will we cut the grass with a broken lawn mower? Where will get mulch enough to save the plants I’ve prayed to keep alive through the years?

This thinking walk of mine turned into concerns and collided with worry. By that point, it wasn’t just the yard and I felt fretting coming on strong. I thought of each of our kids (from the youngest to the grown & grandkids) and of the needed house repairs and before I reached the house… my peace was gone. Dangling on a tick covered tree I passed or caught up in some of the briars I almost tripped in was the peace I walked outside with.

A verse I read the same morning came to mind on not looking at the things seen but those not seen.{top of post} Another verse tapped in…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The morning opened to this:

It wasn’t about what I could see or even what I could feel.

It should be about hope and assurance in a GOD proven faithful for our every need.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

How thankful I am for the Word of God! It lifts me out of my worldly defeats and into higher truths.

Just like a mountaintop, You lift me up. . .
Just like a desert stream, You fill my cup . . .

The Only Thing That’s Beautiful To Me: Rush of Fools

Monday, May 4, 2009

Family, Home, & Garden: Bible Verses

‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their produce.
‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear son and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.

‘And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for a welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’

Jeremiah 29:5-7 & 11-13

I really loved picturing the living out of these verses. Families --- building up and making homes, planting gardens, bringing the bounty in for meals and really, the whole scene.

This made me think of my own home and garden and I wonder how I’m doing at building it up?

So often, we easily tear down what we have worked hard to create in our homes.
At least, I find this happening here.

Things like: Having a complaining spirit, being or sounding negative, and that emotion most of us detest and still fall into. . . anger. It seems I go for months drawing on the peace provided in God’s Word as I read it each and every morning before reading anything else.

Then, one day … everything gets on my nerves. I end up being discontent, frazzled, and irritated. It is so hard to break such a mood when it sets in and I always hate the effect it has on my family. Every one seems down cast and the very rooms we laugh, love, and live in seem the same way.

Thankfully, those days do pass and a new day and new hope shines brightly again.
Those days are the building up and building on times and they help carry us through the tearing down times.

“Again, you shall plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;

The planters shall plant and shall enjoy them.” Jeremiah 31:5

The LORD wants so much for his, doesn’t He?! He wants us to enjoy the homes and gardens we build and nurture.

Here in our home, it is a time of celebration. Our son is coming home after three years of mere leaves and visits. He left home to train in Fort Benning, GA and went from there to where he was stationed in Italy. He deployed from Italy for 15 months in Afghanistan and has been several months back in Italy since returning. God has been so good and He has carried this guy who left home a boy and is coming back a man.

How thankful I am for my LORD and Savior. HE alone carried this mother’s heart through the terrors, agonies, heart cries, and the heart breaks. He also built UP my faith and tore DOWN my fear. My God is an awesome God! Your God is an awesome God!

“And there is hope for your future,” declares the LORD, and your children shall return to their own territory.” Jeremiah 31:17

And for those “tear down” kind of days? We can dwell on His truth. The truth that HE satisfies and HE refreshes through all our days.

“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Jeremiah 31:25

Friday, May 1, 2009

Housekeeping in Heart and by Hand

"When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Thy consolations delight my soul."
Psalm 94:19

I usually don't get over worried or preoccupied over flu scares, peace threats, and/or surivival situations. When they hit the news, I pray and trust God with being the ONE in control.

This latest flu fear crossing all over right now has nudged me off my secure stance a bit. Worldly thoughts came pressing on the doorway of my heart like storms beating the entry of a house.

What if?
My dad taught me long ago to not give in to those two words.

The Lord gave me a renewed peace as I've prayed for people, my family and others and heard the developing news. He is still in control.

Circumstances, situations, and/or rumors of them don't change the fact that our God is over all and everything.

He is our peace.

For me, this makes the whole world look brighter.

Around here, I am following many of the tips I've read taking some of the safety precautions. Beyond that, I don't have to feel panicked because we are in the hands of the Lord.

Steps to "Safer" Housekeeping

* Spray all doorknobs, light switches and knobs and wipe down. I used straight vinegar in a spray bottle with several drops of lavender shaken in. You can use alcohol, peroxide (more below) or a spray of tea tree oil and distilled water.

* Use peroxide on faucets, kitchen and bathroom sinks, counters, worktables, tubs nad toilets.

* Dissolve Borax in clean water and wipe down doorways, appliance handles, wipe down surfaces, and mop the floors.

* Adding tea tree oil, lavender, or eucalyptus oil in my laundry. I add a few to several drops as the machine is filling with water.

I'm sure there is lots more but these are some basics I am doing around here.

Another thing:
I already wash my hands so much I have to keep lotion around and now that I'm doing that even more, I need more. I've started rubbing a small piece of coconut oil on my hands and between my fingers. Instant softness!

Have a great day and coming weekend and I hope you are safe and feeling the peace of the Lord.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Start of Summer Mornings

Some would not consider it summer yet basing things on temperature, school still being open, and/or the date on the calendar. Around here... I can tell it is the first days of our hottest and longest season.

I get up between 4:30am and 7:00am and the house is already less dark in the early mornings. By the time I have the coffee done, laundry moving, breakfast made, kitchen tidied, bathroom swished & swiped and floor vac'd --- the sun is bright and warm.

This is the first year I have looked this forward to a hot time of year since I was a child. It might be the garden we are growing, getting Blake in on my yard plans, or just getting some sunshine absorbed; I just know I have hope for a good one.

There is a bumblebee buzzing and bouncing (quite gracefully) all over our yellow bell bushes outside this window. Blue Jay's dive into one tree and cardinals swoop down from another. My purple azaleas are in full bloom and I wish my husband hadn't covered my gorgous white azaleas with big rocks! He did this when his parents' old house was torn down to build new and he lugged all kinds of rock down here to save and use.

I hope to get the floors mopped again today with some rosemary essential oil. I need to give it a good scrub again!

Just thought I'd slip a quickly "scratched" note from my home this developing day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Homemaking Praise

{picture from allposters.com}

My laundry is caught up, Lord . . .
My laundry is caught up!
The piles are all washed, rinsed, dried and folded,
All are in drawers and in closets with care
Not a person was reminded so no one was scolded. . .
For leaving them in stacks here and there.
This time it all has been put away,
Each person took a basket
This made for a tidy day!
The dishes are done, Lord . . .
The dishes are done!
The bowls, cups and plates
line neatly in cupboards;
Each and every one.
The floors are swept up of debris,
The corners swept up, too. . .
Tomorrow I will mop them
And give more praise to YOU!
The house is tidy and all is neat,
candles twinkle tiny flickers of glowing heat.
Thank You for joy You provide
Around, about and all inside!

Sandy W. 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Planning & Preparing

*What happened to our option at blogspot to choose a font and font size?*

There is a lot going on in our home each day.

For me, it seems home schooling one presses more at times than all four of the other children at once. We are doing lap books and ABeka for now because I was struggling for time to keep up with finding, printing, and scheduling learning materials.

I’m in awe of those of you who manage so much. I am spending time every day on business paperwork and then dragging through tax forms once a month so that takes some thinking and planning time.

We are starting a garden this year and it takes a lot more time in the planning stages than I ever realized! I’m working on an article all about it but we are moving forward a step at a time. I’m trying to set up for harvesting time NOW so we are prepared and don’t allow for waste.

Menu making and cooking from scratch, taking care of personal papers and keeping up with all around homemaking… this can take a lot of time. Smiles.

Today, my husband and I discussed some plans over coffee, I did some quick research online and answered a few emails, took care of a few necessary phone calls, got homeschooling finished, took care of lunch (homemade tortillas --- I am sharing that on http://www.nutmegnotes08.blogspot.com) and hand washed all the dishes. I got some laundry done and dealt with some discipline issues (to put it sweetly;) with our five year old.

It ended with him staying right by my side and being a part of what ever I was doing. This meant drying the dishes and putting them away as I hand washed. I let him put harder to reach things on a dry kitchen towel and I put those up. Next time, I’ll have him do this using his two- step stool from Mamaw’s house.
He also swept the floor and had some nice conversation with me and bolted the second his dad got home. He had been waiting all day for time at the rope swing they made together and they are going to the creek tonight. He couldn’t get his boots on fast enough!

The days on my planners (yes, I use two right now) fill almost every space but it is nice to stay busy. Good for us.

My goal is to keep up with my priorities and build my family and home up. If I am not careful with my time and wise with moments … I could easily be tearing it down. This verse has always spoken to me:

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

Monday, February 9, 2009

Scrubbing Bubbles... One more post, I think

Dearest Sandy,

First off, let me thank you for the lovely card you sent a couple of months ago. You really brightened my day when I opened it!

As I read about your Scrubbing Bubbles "miracle" I was reminded of a similar discovery by a friend of mine. She had read that it did the same with mini blinds. So she tried it, and it worked! All she did was take her mini blinds out to the yard, sprayed them with Scrubbing Bubbles (she tried the generic version but it didn't work--only the name brand did), and let them sit a few minutes (maybe 10 or 15 is all). Afterward, she sprayed them down with the garden hose (no, she didn't have to wipe them by hand at all), let them dry, and rehung them. They were spotless! Sure saved her a lot of hard work cleaning them! While they were drying it gave her a chance to thoroughly clean other areas of her home. She was glad of the extra time and energy she had since she didn't have to clean each mini blind by hand.

Just thought I'd pass this tidbit along. I've been meaning to post it on my blog, but once again, time is always a factor.

Please tell the dear ladies on CC&H I said hello!

Hugs,Cynthia Robin

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. ~Jude 21

Scrubbing Bubbles "Send In's"

I was given permission to share some of the responses to my excited sharing on what Scrubbing Bubbles did to kitchen grease. Here they are:

I just know I have used it every since we lived here and that has been almost 30 years. So we have used it for years . Just read the precautions for use....

1. allow to foam up about 10 minutes or so then wipe off with a warm wet cloth....

2. stay out of the fumes...spray and walk away...ie leave the room I do no more than 1/4 of a wall at a time...say...the upper two portions....on a ladder, then move to the lower portions.... so it takes about an hour to clean a wall allow it to dry for several hours, especially in this cold weather before painting....I have found that the outer walls don't allow paint to adhere as well when it is so cold outside.
But for spring, summer and fall painting....I clean all the walls and then can begin in on the painting.

Now, I caveat, I use a good quality paint...I use Latex enamel Bath and Kitchen paint in these high cleaning (scrubbable) areas and a good quality satin latex paint in all other areas. Results may not be the same depending on the paint. .. I have used brands from Home Depot, Sears and Martha Stewart and Gliddens paints.

I have used scrubbing bubbles to clean walls especially before I am going to paint with excellent results.
I spray it on, wipe it off and then follow with a cloth with warm warm....
It saves me time , effort and also...it is one of the few items I stock in our home...
I have a grandson with poor aim also!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Homemaking Month By Month

January's homemaking chores poured into February and I'm working to keep these from rushing into March. Smiles...
Not really. I am actually finally ... fine... with taking things one day at a time. Even though I would prefer everything be done in one day, I know it isn't going to be so why make it a worrisome thing? Bringing this active, working, love-filled home into a beautiful sense of order and comfortable clean is worth a slow and steady job.

Progress has been stacking up one de-cluttered and organized area at a time. The cleaning is being maintained in the process and around here... with all going on so much of the time, this is a good achievement.

Our bedroom was the worst room in the house. I vacuumed the carpet, made my bed pretty regularly and randomly cleaned off dressers and computer desk. Beyond that, we had stacks of paperwork to go through in one corner, a basket of things to go through in another and just disorder to figure out everywhere.

When the pipes busted, we had to get up the carpet fast. What a blessing! We are now carpet free (something we've been working for years on) except for three small closets. My husband installed some laminate flooring and we ONLY put back in the bedroom these items:

Bed. Two dressers. Nightstand. Small antique table.
We planned to put more in there but have fallen SO in love with the serenity, the simplicity and the almost Shaker like cleanliness. We've decided we don't need anything else in there after all.

Now, it is following us through the house. How much do we need? How much can one house hold? Why are we holding all of it?

There are still more rooms to go and work to be done in our bedroom. The walls and ceiling have to be fixed and painted and I'd like to add a pretty rug or two and definitely am dreaming of a lovely lamp but we are getting somewhere.

I'll try to share pictures soon and if you have a room you have reclaimed or changed around and would like to share it --- please do!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To Anyone Who has ever LOVED a BOOK...

Book Lovers DREAM Come True!

I love books and I read and read and read when I can force the time in for it. I have loved reading since childhood when my mother chose books and booksets for every gift giving occasion. Many times, I didn’t catch the gold in what she was doing and I wondered what her hang up with books was. Now I know. Now, my hang up with books is even greater than hers.

Over the years, much of the spare money, extra, gift money, gift cards and on it goes would greedily go for books. Bookstores, Christian gifts shops, thrift stores, antique malls, used book stores, yardsales and online shopping led me to more and more books.

Yes, you can have too many. I’ve tried extremely hard to be diligent over the years and have given boxes and boxes and boxes reluctantly away.

I tried one of the book programs supposedly just like Netflix is with movies but I was very much NOT impressed with the price involved.

Somehow, through a blog or something? I landed on the AWESOME SITE I’m sharing about now and it is amazingly FREE to join and participate in! IF you ship books out, you pay small shipping fees but you can “order” books yourself and pay none!

You send books out and get credits for them and you can get books sent to you in a matter of days. I have waited to share more on this until I saw if I liked it and the deal is : I LOVE IT!

IF YOU SIGN UP, PLEASE use me as a referral! My email name is
smile529@charter.net --- I’ve been sharing and sharing with people around me about this and didn’t know YOU get CREDITS for sharing with others! Very fun thing and there are so many cool features.

Just a few:
· Message boards. You can ask questions, read feedbacks, chat or whatever with other members all over.
· You get assigned someone to help you through as a new member and I’ve been helped instantly with my questions from the start. Amazing to get all this for free.
· You can add a facebook app and share the news that way and there are all kinds of website banners, email signatures, and more. I am freaking out over all of these.
· Everything is kept up for y ou. What books you send/sent, what books you receive. I recently found out you can email the person you are sending the book to and email the one sending you a book.
· The process is SO EASY! I am the world’s WORSE mail things out person. I really don’t know if anyone on this planet could come close to my wretched record. Things are changing… this place lets you PRINT the label straight from the website and you can wrap the book in it or slip it in a bubble envelope and tape the label there.

· There are several mailing options AND instruction sheets for wrapping paperbacks, hardcovers and more.

I cannot say enough about this wonderful deal. I do hope more and more will join the thousands of members already participating because the more of us there … the wider our book inventory and resources will be! My sister (THANK YOU, SISTA!) gave me a stack of books to start me off sending and three were asked for immediately. I now can browse for homemaking, cookbooks, Christian, fiction, drama, classics, biographies, college books, kids books, and just about any other book you can think of!

Please check it out if you get a few minutes!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

[I love the picture here. Found it at art.com or allposters.com]

Today hasn’t been as productive. My glasses got broken and I was huddled around this computer screen making sure I could still read. I have an appointment on Monday to have my eyes checked and will PRAY to find affordable and wonderful glasses all in one piece.

I did get a problematic cupboard brought back to order. It is big and is on top of a small double wall oven. Once you open the doors, it has one shelf in the back and I keep our tea pitcher, glass storage containers, white Corningware (we’ve had it 15 or 20 years) set , a Spirulina (to make ribbons or zoodles out of vegetables) and Lauren’s lunch supplies. It was a big mess!

I didn’t get it cleared out, wiped down and buffed dry as I planned but I did neatly stack everything and it looks much better now.

I also wiped down the top and front of the stove …again… did several loads of laundry, wipe down the counters and work table, swept, and did all the dishes.
Another big thing on my to do list has been business paperwork and I spent a great deal of time on that today. Love having a handle on that because it can be out of hand so quickly! I really can’t wait until we save up for Quick Books software one day!

Yesterday, a lot of house work got done. The cookie sheet area was cleared, wiped down and everything put neatly back in. The counters, worktable, dishes, some of the appliances and some other things were done by Lauren and I.

Braxton put the blankets on the couch, picked up all the toys in the living room, picked up all the trash, swept the floor and vacuumed.

Lauren cleaned the bathroom.

It was so relaxing to watch a wonderful movie I just might buy:
The Christmas Cottage… I’ve told someone about it and wrote about twice now. I made a big cup of Earl Grey tea, stirred in a dripping spoon of local honey and swirled half-n-half in that.

Just keeping up with homemaking on here until I have more time to write more cozily . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kitchen Help

This picture shows things in mid progress. I have to finish hanging a few things (two rolling pins go above the pots and pans and some more things on the hooks) but I wanted to show how there are no grease stains!
I am not advanced in photography (I know, gasp for air and great shock) and I chose between this one and the version with a flash. It was TOO bright.

I have been working on my kitchen for days. Some I have spent HOURS scrubbing, organizing, stacking, de-cluttering and wiping clean. Others, I have forced myself through the daily basics and added a very relaxed couple of hours of work just to keep me going until I get it all done. And to think I used to do my entire HOME in one hour .

Anyway, today's kitchen work was trying to clean the grease and find the original paint, silver, and appliances. Ha Ha.

Seriously, I rarely fry ANYthing but I do cook a LOT and I guess the grease accumulates in some places worse than others.

I have used a dish cloth swished in hot, soapy water and wrung out. Couldn't even tell a difference. I tried a cleaner here and there and just coughed over the "fumes". tried wiping down with almost boiling water and barely could tell I even tried.

Today, I got the dishes done after lunch and the laundry has been done since this morning and decided to finish as much of the stainless steel cleaning as I could. I cleaned and polished the two stainless steel shelves on the wall and the ss work table using a stray (and old) can of Stainless Steel cleaner I got whenever ago from Sam's. I wish I had bought a case because my stainless steel hasn't been so gleamy since it was new!

It all looked so good that I started moving around the kitchen and tackling walls and more affected by at least one layer of grease. It wasn't so noticeable until I started getting an area clean and it was WHITE compared to NOT WHITE. Smiles.

I could NOT get an area clean above my stove top where a previous pressure cooker spewed out a gasket and shot a powerful and greasy mess to stay for too long. When it happened, I immediately set to work grabbing all the skillets and took turns with a little girl spending time in our home trying to remedy to damage. We never could get the worst parts/places.

That has ALL changed!

I asked my husband to try cleaning an area to see if maybe I just wasn't using enough muscle in tackling this bad looking problem. He scrubbed a bit using a damp cloth, used one of my own cleaners, tried a strong solution of Simple Green and then jumped down saying he knew exactly what to use. He came back from the bathroom carrying a can of Scrubbing Bubbles.

"Those are specifically for the bathroom and I don't think they will work on something that hard to clean." This is what I told my husband so he wouldn't waste his time on something that so obviously wouldn't work.

He sprayed a small area. He wiped it and told me to look where the grease HAD been! It wiped RIGHT OFF! He started spraying more and do you know that in a matter of MINUTES . the entire white beam was white again and so was the wall behind it!

When he stopped to finish what he had been doing before giving me a helping hand. I set about testing these bubbles. The only reason we even HAVE them is because one of my daughter's daily chores is cleaning the bathroom. Her list includes spraying down the sink and wiping it clean, spraying down the toilet handle and outside of toilet and cleaning the inside of it. Also, the floor, trash and so on.

Having a little brother makes this job detestable for her (I'll spare you the reasons why --- he has to clean up after himself but even when he does, we want a bit more assurance of sanitation) so when she begged for Scrubbing Bubbles (her favorite since she was little) . I gave in. On our last trip to Sam's, I bought her a three pack.

I make ALL of our cleaners so this kind of goes against what we are doing in order to save money, the earth and ourselves from dangerous chemicals. There are exceptions to that and this is one in our home!

My vent hood has been such a challenge to clean but I got it clean with one spray of the Scrubbing Bubbles foam and a quick wipe down! I did the same for the black side of our fridge and the top of it --- wiped as clean as new.

I am not recommending anyone try this though BECAUSE I don't know if it is actually safe on appliances, painted surfaces and even walls. I just had to share that it DID make a huge difference in my cleaning today! I got about half of the kitchen scrubbed and polished clean and will try to finish the few areas of wall I didn't get to today, cabinet fronts, and the other stainless steel cart tomorrow.

It is EXCITING to find something so instantly effective!

Do you have a favorite cleaner? An amazing discovery with something surprising you with how well it worked? Please share!

I've been trying to get my kitchen totally done so I can do some batch baking so MAYBE I'll get to that soon.


Friday, January 9, 2009

One Drawer at a Time...

One Drawer at a Time, Sweet Jesus

My mom spent many years humming, singing, or saying the words to the song… “One Day at a Time” … and she brought this up during a recent conversation.

When hard times pressed her down as a single, working mother of four daughters, I’d hear parts of that song.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of You” and so on. When her Daddy was in a hospital bed the last hours of his life, he couldn’t sleep unless she held his hand. She was tired already because she was in nursing school full time and spending every other available moment with Grandaddy. She grew so tired at one point, she grew fearful that she wouldn’t be able to keep it up.
She thought to the Lord… “One moment at a time, sweet Jesus” and He gave her the strength to not let go.

My first year of homeschooling four children from 5 years up to high school years, I wore myself out in a matter of weeks. A mentor, friend, and our Pastor’s wife (all one lady) exhorted me to only focus on one day at a time. “We can handle one day” , she shared. It served me well.

Most of the time, there is a touching story to go with one whatever at a time but I’ve found myself thinking of it in simple homemaking!

It is easy reach a point where you don’t feel strong enough for the task. The dishes, laundry, muddy floors, spotty windows and what feel like decades of dust can seem to be bigger than one person. They usually are and for those of us with kids --- we shouldn’t be doing it alone in the first place.
Regardless, even though my kids have chore list, rooms to take on daily, dinner and after meal clean up duties and so on… a lot order ends up on me. Sometimes I do better than others… smiles.

Anyway, things need to be done for thousands of reasons and jobs can only be put off for so long. I am back to tackling an area or room a day until the whole house is shining again… or at least offering a gleam or glow.

Today it was my little writing room here along with some of the kitchen cabinets. I worked most of the day and into the evening and tackled it one drawer, one shelf, one area at a time. I covered a great deal more than I realized I would and hope to pick it back up tomorrow.

I removed everything from four shelving areas and gave the tops, sides and bottoms a good scrubbing. I then organized and changed some things around for better functioning. The sweet and sticky things (smaller containers of honey, molasses, corn syrup, agave nectar and so on) fit nicely in one of my less often used baking dishes. All spices are together, baking basics are gathered, and food storage items grouped together.

I managed six drawers, too! One wide drawer has held my dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, Mason jar lids and biscuit/cookie cutters. It has always been hard to keep orderly. Today, I found Christmas cookie tins that fit perfectly in my drawer in rows of three! I have six small "dividers" and a large tin along with two round. Blake even loved this idea:)

How are you doing on homekeeping? Are there duties you have put off and been too overwhelmed to tackle? Ask the Lord to get you through one piece of it at a time and see what a difference it makes!

I’m going after the addictively vintage saying of everything having a place and everything being in its place. This is one of my New Year’s goals --- to find a place for every single thing or send it to another loving home.

Book recommendation: 15-Minute Home and Family Organizer by Emilie Barnes. This was one of the first homemaking books I read from start to finish and I still love it.

One Day At A Time

I'm only human--
I'm just a woman.
Help me believe in what I believe
and all that I am.
Show me the stairway
that I have to climb,
Lord, for my sake,
teach me to take,
One day At A time.

One Day at a time, sweet Jesus,
that's all I'm asking of you.
Teach me today, to do all the things
that I have to do.
Yesterdays gone, Sweet Jesus,
and tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord, for my sake,
teach me to take,
One day At A time.

Do you remember,
when you walked among men?
Well, Jesus you know, if you're looking below,
It's worse now than then.
There's cheating and stealing--
violence and crime.
So for my sake -
teach me to take
One day At A time.
Marijohn Wilkins and Kris Kristofferson