Monday, March 30, 2015


            Well, it’s finally happened. My word for the year, chosen in January, is ‘Finish’, and it is now April and I finally finished some things. I started working on this website in November and voila! Here it is finished.
            A family member, who shall remain nameless, suggested the word Finish when I was trying to decide what to focus on for the year. Last year I chose the word Joy, and that was a good year. I wanted to choose another word like Happy, Cheerful or Fun, but those didn’t seem right. After looking around at all my unfinished projects, stacks of paper and writing assignments lying around, I agreed the word Finish would be a good focus word for the New Year.

            I love to start new projects, but after a while my enthusiasm wanes, and sometimes I have trouble finishing the projects, especially with mundane tasks like balancing the checkbook or filing insurance claims. So, after much determination I focused and attacked the piles of paper clutter that had accumulated on and around my desk. It took some hours but now that these things are truly finished, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted.
            During Easter week when we are reminded of Jesus’ famous words on the cross, “It is finished,” I am grateful for the burden He took on for us. To know that He took the burden of our sins on Himself, and paid the price with His life, is overwhelmingly humbling.
            A woman whose husband recently passed away told me she was so grateful she learned that Jesus loved her and forgave her for her sins. She became a changed person a few years ago, after the burden of carrying her past and her struggles were forgiven. She said she knew about Jesus and Him dying on the cross, but never knew He did it for her personally and that she could come to know the God who loved her. She said her husband received Christ as his Savior on his deathbed, and told her it was because he had seen her life change when she started following Christ. Amazing.
            I’m thankful Jesus finished His work on the cross to pay for our sins. But I am also thankful He is not finished with us. The Bible says,
“ I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6.
            Do you have any unfinished business, personal or spiritual, you need to do this year? Feel free to share my word for the year. Finish.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Once a Month Cleaning

          I love to read organizing blogs and articles. I like to read about systems, simplifying, becoming more productive and yes, even better ways to clean and organize my house. Many blogs like this also cover organizing meal plans. One of the concepts I tried, without success, is once a month cooking. I read about it. I planned. I bought all the food. I even attempted to chop, sort, bag and freeze some of the items. I’m not sure where exactly it fizzled out, somewhere between the prepping, chopping and freezing. It seemed easier just to cook everything.

           As I was vacuuming this week I contemplated why I was not more successful with once a month cooking. Then it hit me. I may be a once a month cooking failure, but when it comes to once a month CLEANING, I am a rock star! I am a natural at once a month cleaning. It must be a gift! I have never had to read a book or a blog about once a month cleaning. It never occurred to me that this is a skill or something to be valued. I am considering starting a new website dedicated to once a month cleaning!

           Why and how does once a month cleaning work for me?

1. First, it helps to be a minimalist when it comes to home decorating. I think I fell into being a minimalist naturally when I couldn’t decide how to decorate and what to buy, so I didn’t. The house we are in now has a lot of windows, thus very little wall space to hang things or put decorative items.

2. I also realized having kids helps. I know this seems contradictory because kids are the ones who mess up the house. But, when they are old enough to do chores and value money they can be bribed rewarded when they clean the house. (i.e. a dollar to make their bed, a dollar for cleaning the bathroom, a dollar for cleaning and picking up the living room.) As they have grown older it seems they always want something from me. So, I attached that something to a house-cleaning chore.

When they want to go to a friend’s house - “Sure, as soon as these clothes are folded and put away.”

When they want a friend to come over - “Sure, as soon as your room is cleaned and vacuumed.”

When they want to play video games - “Sure, I need the trash taken out and the kitchen mopped before you start.”

The list goes on and on. Just this week, “Mom, can you order something for me from Amazon?” “Absolutely. While I am doing that please empty the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen. Thanks.”

           This seriously cuts down on the amount of cleaning that is left for me to do.

3. At least once a month we have some type of event at our house. We have a meeting, a Bible study, a party or have friends over for dinner. That is when I do my once a month whole house cleaning. It works out great. The house is not too dirty because little cleaning chores have been taken care of throughout the month.

           Instead of kicking myself for being a once a month cooking fail, I decided to embrace the skills I do have.

           Being a Pastor’s wife, I see people who treat worshiping the Lord like I treat cleaning house. Studies show the average church goer attends about once a month. If there is an event or a special holiday like Christmas or Easter, more people attend.

           As much as I am in the habit of once a month cleaning, I know it is not the best. There are definitely gaps that could be filled, . . . or cleaned, if I was more consistent. I think it is the same with our worship of God. There are gaps. We miss out on worshiping the Lord who loves us. We miss out on learning and applying God’s Word. And we miss out on the friendship and community of the family of believers.

“We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” Hebrews 10:24,25  

Do you clean your house more than once a month? How about worshiping the Lord? Are you a once a monther?