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Friday, January 31, 2014


OK I don't do this often.  I don't want to turn this blog into Grandmother's Brag Book.  But I have waited a month and I'm not going to wait any longer to share our Christmas Gift with you.

On December 25, 2013, Mary Alice Alligood arrived.  As you can see, she is perfect.  Just like her brother Jonathan.  I'm not stupid - if she weren't gorgeous, I would be able to recognize that fact.  But clearly she is.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Her aunt Mary says it's the name......

I had no idea the blessings I would experience to see my child become a mother and then to watch her in action. Treasures.  That's all I know to say.  Treasures.

Look very closely and you can see several adults wrapped around that tiny pinkie.

Oh, and please try and not be jealous when you see how perfectly adorable she is.  :)

This is her big brother .  He is also clearly perfect.  Just sayin......

The main thing

I deliberately saved this tip for last.  It could've been the first one, because it really is the most important.  Without this tip, none of the others matter at all.

Yesterday I shared a couple of things I learned during my years at the Chick-fil-A office.  Today, I have another one.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just do it

I had the great privilege of working for several years for Chick-fil-A Inc .   It was a wonderful opportunity for many reasons, not the least of which are the lessons I learned from founder Truett Cathy and then President Jimmy Collins.  Today's tip comes from a couple of those such lessons.

I recall hearing Jimmy often say - "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." By watching his example, I learned to always have a plan.  When circumstances change, that plan can be adjusted but it always helps for a plan to be in place.  I am not suggesting rigidity nor am I na├»ve enough to think that simply having a plan can always prevent disaster.  But, not having a plan, well, that's a recipe for failure.  Apply this to everything from finances to social schedule to housekeeping.  A plan.

The other lesson comes from Truett.  I heard him speak to many different groups and his message often included these three points:
The formula for success is simple -
1.  You gotta have the "want to"
2.  You gotta get the "know how"
3.  Then, you just gotta "do it".

Over this past month, I have shared with you my coping mechanisms to survive my natural bent towards being unorganized.  If you suffer from a similar ailment, then I encourage you to take a tip or two and develop it into a habit.  Make a plan.  Learn how to do something that you aren't succeeding at right now.  Maybe it's meal planning or being on time or taking care of laundry.  You hold the key to the "want to".  There's plenty of "know how" out there if you want it.

Now just "do it".

Good luck!  I'm cheering for you !

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

God's trying to teach me something - or not

So many times I have heard "God's trying to teach me something."  So many times I have said it.

I have realized it's wrong.  Here's why:

Pick up lines

Nope, I am definitely not organized but I've developed enough habits that help me survive.  Without too much collateral damage in the process.

Today's Tip:

Pick up after yourself.  Yep, that's it.  Simple, yes, but amazing at how much this habit keeps clutter and chaos and incapacitation at bay.  I like breaking tasks down into manageable steps instead of attacking a mountain all at once. 

When I come in the door - purse goes on the coat hook, shoes in the basket by the door.  And kids do the same.
When I am cooking, I put things away as soon as I use them.
I urge (ok - insist??) that things be returned to their proper room after use.  School books, games (although of course I allow the world's longest running game of Risk to remain at the dining room table until world domination is achieved, even if that takes several days!)
Meal clean up happens as soon as we finish.  And since I cleaned up as I cooked, the eating phase clean up is easier.

Decluttering is nullified if we don't maintain the environment.  Simply picking up after ourselves - cleaning as we go - is easier than letting it build up. 

Even if your kids say otherwise!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Declutter. Repeatedly

The buzz word is "declutter".  Fancy for "get rid of stuff". 

Although I think I have done this successfully, somehow "stuff" multiplies and/or my house possesses a magnetic field that attracts clutter in the dead of night.  I need to consistently go through drawers and cabinets and toss "stuff". 

Having less stuff to keep track of makes organization easier.  And "decluttering" doesn't have to be a daunting task.  I like to tackle 15 minutes worth at a time.  Just 15 minutes can clean out a linen closet or several drawers.  A quarter of an hour every day for a week will result in an entire room spiffed up.

Today's suggestion - start somewhere easy, like the laundry room (or laundry closet, like I had for most years of my married life!) or hall closet.  Attack it for 15 minutes.  Toss the trash, donate the surplus, and straighten up the rest. The payoff of an organized corner of your house far exceeds the investment of some 15 minute blocks!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dinner in a hurry

Sometimes I need dinner in a hurry.  Nothing in the freezer.  No time to run to the grocery store.  And it's not Tuesday night.  So I keep ingredients for a couple of quick and easy dinners that have saved my hide once!  I credit my friends Cindi and Dianna with the ideas for these two.  I get by with a little help from my friends!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Simple things can have substantial results

When all my kiddos were living at home, there were times I was really really really overwhelmed.  I wasn't trying to keep my head above water, I just wanted the straw I stuck up above the water line to not get clogged up ! LOL!!

At one point, I sent my husband an SOS, thinking his solution would surely be to whip the kids into shape and tell them they had to do all my work or something.  Instead, he came up with

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A picture is worth 1000 words

A few posts ago, I mentioned how I handle mail and that prompted some questions about my, uh, system.  I responded with some pics on FB of my, uh, system.  Since then, I've had more queries so here's more info on my, uh, system.

I sort the mail each day as soon as I possibly can.  And I trash as much as possible.  I don't keep catalogs or most magazines.  Seriously.  If they contain game changing info, I feel sure I can dig it up online.  So I toss it.  Then I distribute what remains to family members.  (For a while years ago, I used different color folders for each of us.  Then I decided the children didn't get enough mail for all that trouble.  So, my current, uh, system evolved)  I put hubby's mail in the contraption shown below and he handles as needed.  This is located on the bookcase beside his chair and I would love to "clean it out" for him :) but I don't dare.  Marital happiness and all that.

Next step - wall mounted mail holder/file system.  I got this as a wedding gift from my friend Beth and it is probably the most used gift we received.  LOVE IT!!  Top slot - all tax info (receipts for my tutoring business, contribution receipts, etc)  At tax time, I turn it all over to hubby.  Middle slot - paid bills and other things that need to be filed later in more permanent folders (not shown here)  This is a temporary holding spot for all those things that I don't have time to file after I handle them.  I know lots of folks use only digital copies and hopefully I will catch up with the rest of the universe one day.  For now, this works for me.  Bottom bin - bills to be paid (I only pay once a month) and any other pending correspondence.  As much as possible, I handle things immediately but sometimes I need input before I RSVP to an event or whatever.

There you have it - my, uh, mail system.

  Notice the keys.  We have a lot of drivers in our family.  Dear hubby lives by the rule that car keys should be placed here immediately upon entering house.  I appealed for an exemption so he lets me keep mine in my purse.  Most of the time that's the case.....
Funny - no, actually it's sad - story on keys.  Sweet neighbor gave me a duplicate of her house key for an emergency.  Of course those things are just a safety net - emergencies never happen, right?  Well, said neighbor locked herself out of her house one day but she didn't worry.  Cuz she knew I had a key to her house!  Right?  Well, except that I couldn't find it.  Oh my goodness.  I looked high and low and tried every key in this collection.  None worked.  Weeks later I found her key - in its labeled envelope - stuck down in one of these bins.  I've been embarrassed for two years.  Thankfully she is a gracious woman and still speaks to me. 

Next pic - organizational tip from my 11 year old.  Her room would make an army colonel proud.  Every single thing is in its rightful place, down to each bottle of nail polish.  She saw my tshirt drawer one day and rearranged it for me.  Changed my life forever.  Instead of folding each shirt, she rolled them up and placed each one like a file folder.  Now they all fit and I can see each one easily instead of digging through a stack to find the one I want on the bottom.
Out of the mouths of babes.  Wow.  This picture is its current state, shirts placed by yours truly.  When Betsy arranged them, they looked even better.

This last picture is of my linen closet.  I want you to know that I really mean it when I say I am not organized. This is really what it looks like and I am not exactly sure what all is in there.

But that's why God had someone invent closet doors.
What I can't see doesn't bother me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another BFF tip

Remember I told you my freezer is my BFF when it comes to saving time?  And I mentioned a couple of recipes that are mainstays for me but only shared one?  Well, here's the other one.  This is def a family fav.  I think Katie may have shared it already but since everyone isn't FB friends with her - here it is.  Ravioli Soup.  I found it two decades ago in a book called "Once A Month Cooking". (I tweaked just a few things so if you locate the book and look up "Ravioli Soup", you will notice a few minor changes.  Don't stress - it's all good) This was my introduction to cooking meals to store in the freezer and I've been at it ever since.  I confess to being much too disorganized to pull off an entire cooking day as the book describes but I've been able to survive by adapting the concept to what works for me.  I double or triple recipes and stash the extras.  This particular one I quadruple!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Be a lazy mom

 I'm lucky enough to benefit from the wisdom of others. Perhaps God knew how lacking I would be so He kindly placed wise women right under my nose. In my own family. So I could watch and learn. Today's tip comes from observing one of my SIL's who was already successfully training three little ones before I ever entered the marvelous world of sleep deprivation.

She encouraged them to be thinkers and doers instead of dependents. I would often hear her respond "I think you can solve your problem" when they came to her with a frustration or dilemma. Such as not being able to reach something or untangling a toy cord. She didn't brush them off and go on her merry way but neither did she  rush in and save the day continuously. Instead she patiently and cheerfully and gently helped them to figure things out on their own.

 At first this will feel like it takes a lot of time and that efficiency would  be better served if you just solve the problem yourself. But think long term. Instead of running to mommy every time a puzzle piece won't fit, the child learns to handle it independently. In the long run, being a "lazy Mom" will save you time.  And then some!  Not that I am writing a parental advice column but surely we all need to remember that our goal is to (eventually) raise adults!!

 Trust me. More than efficiency is achieved. My SIL now has 4 grown independent confident successful adults who all landed great jobs upon graduation.   Apparently employers like problem solvers too. 

Today's tip. Strive to be a lazy mom. Teach kids to figure things out for themselves. 

Works for your list of chores as well. Just sayin 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Birds of a feather....

The things I get to learn from my sisters-in-law!  I could write a book - I should - on the ways they make my life better.  Today's tip came from one of them.  It might sound simple but it's quite amazing how efficient and effective it is.

Parenting tip

I don't write much about the "how to's" of parenting.  Hardly anything at all, actually.  I am often asked to, though, so I'd like to explain why I don't. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Years ago I read Margin by Richard Swenson.  Highly recommend it.  Here's the concept: 


Read this passage.  I'll bet this one is easier. What's the difference?  There are spaces between the words.  Not unnecessary spaces, ones where they need to be in order to make the words discernible and meaningful.  That's margin.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Company's coming!

I love having guests in our home.  Especially overnight guests.  So that I can enjoy their time with our family to the fullest, I prepare as much food in advance as possible.  Then I can serve them yummy stuff and still spend maximum time visiting -  I don't want to waste their visit spending all my time in the kitchen!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Early to bed

Today's tip will be dismissed by lots of you.  But I guarantee you that it will work if you will try it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

To the Dad at the orthodontist's office

I had to drive around for a few minutes, searching for a parking spot, so I got more than a quick glance of observation.  First I noticed this executive-ly dressed man holding hands with what seemed to be a middle school age girl.  She had on a cute North Face fleece and was obviously chattering away quite happily. Not that it's unheard of for a man to be escorting his daughter in to get brackets tightened but most of the time moms handle most of that stuff.  At least at our house.  So the duo caught my attention.  I circled the block again and noticed more.

Stop the crazies

Today's survival tip for unorganized folks like me -

Friday, January 17, 2014

Slow cooking

My next survival tip - use the crockpot.  Often, I have more time around 9 AM than I do at 5 .  This suits crockpot meals perfectly.

Here are a few recipes that we love -

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time for cookies

The reference to cookie dough yesterday reminded me of one of my favorite survival tips.  I learned to do this one after being the beneficiary of it from my friend Hisayo, many years ago.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pray...and what else?

Prayer is God’s chosen means of getting HIS will done on earth.  It is the way He keeps us connected to Him, aware of our need for Him, fostering intimacy with Him.  Surely it is beyond our ability to comprehend but prayer is the key that unlocks the door of His power.  Mysterious, but true.

It is always God who moves and acts to answer our petitions but sometimes He calls us to be part of His answer.  Let’s consider Nehemiah 4:9 – “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.”  In this passage, we see God’s people rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem which had long been devastated by her enemies.  They are excited and hopeful about their future but threats by outsiders quickly discouraged them.  In verse 9, we see Nehemiah’s response.

They prayed.  Oh, yes, they prayed.  Many times before, they had witnessed God’s intervention in their lives.  They knew that He was their source, their refuge in times of trouble.  And it was to Him they turned. 

But we also see that Nehemiah understood that they were part of His answer.  They didn’t only pray; they stood guard against invaders, equipped with swords and spears and shields, ready to protect the wall from attack.  They stood on the truth of God’s provision – verse 20 says “Our God will fight for us” – but they also knew they had a part to play – verse 16 says  From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail.”
So, as we pray, crying out to God for His deliverance from our problems, let’s consider if perhaps He would have us be part of the answer.  If our need is financial, maybe He wants us to take an extra job for a while.  If we are burdened by a relationship, it could be that He directs us to initiate reconciliation. Or fasting.  Or giving to meet someone else’s need.  Or stepping out of our comfort zone to serve.  Or….let’s just ask Him and see!




This tip is a lifesaver for me.  I'll label it "SAS" - simple and sustainable. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Make time count

As you read my suggestions, please remind yourself that I never promised sophistication!  Instead, I warned you that these tips are simple, simply my way to survive my unorganized nature.

Just a disclaimer.                                                             

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quick and easy

This tip is so simple I am almost embarrassed to share it.  But it's something I am intentional about and I think it makes a big difference.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

GIfts in a minute

Gift box.  Invaluable.  I keep a box of gift items under my bed and when it's time for a birthday party or a hostess gift, we go shopping.  Under my bed.  Another box full of wrapping paper, gift bags, tape, tissue paper, note cards, scissors.  ALL ITEMS must be returned to the box after use.  Well, not the used paper,  just the scissors, tape, and remaining wrapping stuff.  You get the idea.  Saves tons of time and $$$ and sanity.  All in one place.

I stock up on things when I find a good deal or something that I think kids, friends, etc would like.  Right now, I have some things from Bath and Body Works recent semi-annual sale, some Pottery Barn deals, Christmas china (I like to give this as wedding gifts to summer brides), gorgeous candles, and some Southern Living closeouts.  From time to time, I stock up on iTunes gift cards, too -- these are always appropriate for tweens and teens. 

That's my survival tip for today!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dinner's in the Freezer

My freezer is my BFF when it comes to efficiency.  I have learned to freeze about a bazillion things.  When I find a good sale on milk or butter or meat or bread, I buy up and freeze the extras.  But my favorite service provided by my freezer is to stash a horde of ready-to-cook meals for my crew.  With my initiation into motherhood, I found out about "The Arsenic Hour"....the time period before dinner when you are trying to get the meal ready and your kids don't cooperate -- thus, you are ready to take OR GIVE some arsenic!  Or "The Unholy Hour" when you come in the door from church and everyone is starved, expecting to eat and all lookin at you.  Every lesson on love and grace learned earlier that morning takes flight and leaves!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Breakfast included

Sometimes I pull out the cereal boxes, slice a banana, and refuse to feel guilty about it.  But most days I want to feed my family something more nourishing.  My man really likes having eggs and bacon with his coffee so he gets that pretty much every day.  It's not much trouble and, really, he's worth it!  I could fix that for everyone but we tend to eat breakfast in shifts around here.  And, since cold scrambled eggs don't suit anyone but the dog and I don't want to stand at the stove all morning, I need other options.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seeing double

I think I learned this from my flight attendant friends, Tricia and Kaki.  Keep your suitcase packed with duplicates of toiletries, makeup, hair dryer, and the like.  Then when it's time to go somewhere, all you need to think about are the clothes and shoes you will wear. 

For my over 50 friends - I use the same principle when it comes to reading glasses.  I picked up several pair from the dollar store and I assign one pair to the kitchen, one to the den, one to my bedroom, etc.  It's wonderful!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Amazing clutter

Tip for today - don't let clutter accumulate.  Simply because it mysteriously develops a magnetic field and attracts other items to the pile.  In milliseconds.  Amazing phenomenon.

Just put the stuff away as soon as you're done with it.  When I'm cooking, I get all ingredients out and then put them back as I use them.  Might be an extra step or two but it not only gets it all put away it helps me remember if I've added the baking soda or not!  When we come in the door, we take our shoes off and put them in the shoe basket.  (OK so my hubby doesn't do this but since he not only pays the mortgage but is also bigger than I am, I let him keep his on)  School books don't land on the kitchen table.  Mail doesn't lay on the island - I sort it and deal with it when it comes each day.  (I was taught in a business seminar years ago to only touch a piece of paper once - pretty good advice) Clothes don't pile up on the bed - they are hung up or placed in laundry baskets. 

You get the idea.  Put stuff away immediately.  That magnetic field is scary.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Calendar

Lots of folks utilize their phone and/or computer for scheduling.  I still use a large calendar.  Not big enough to cover a chalkboard but one that hangs on the side of my fridge and is large enough to write lots of appointments and ball games and piano recitals and birthdays on each day.

But it doesn't just hang there.  I USE IT.  I order mine from  I like it because it begins in August (seems like so many activities tie in with the school year ) and runs for 16 more months.  It has plenty of room to write on each day and it has a pocket on the back where I stick invitations, appointment reminders and other pertinent info that doesn't need to be filed elsewhere.  At the beginning of each school year, I transfer all birthdays from the old calendar to the new one as well as adding everything my family needs to do on the appropriate days.  Every ball game AND PRACTICE, doctor's appointments, meetings, church activities, work commitments, etc.  As new opportunities arise, my kids know to go check the calendar before they even ask me if they can go.  If it's clear, they then ask for permission to go and we add it to the calendar.  If an event requires me to do something in advance such as bake cookies or get a gift, I "time-activate" it a couple of days prior so I'll get it done.

My truly organized friend Catherine uses different color sharpies for each family member's activities.  I am happy if I can just read my handwriting once I've recorded the event on the date.  But if you are so inclined, then I applaud your box of Crayolas - you go, girl!!

Just use a calendar.  Religiously. It has saved my tail numerous times.  Seriously.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The List

Pretty much all my "survivor tips" are simple, even bland.  But I'm not writing an article for Good Housekeeping - the only seal they would award me is to participate as the "Before" picture!  SO, I hope your expectations are manageable as you read today's tip:

an ongoing "to do"list

Yep, that's all for today.  Simple that it is, it really helps me get things done.  And helps me remember things.  That's more and more important with each flip of the calendar....

Here's what I do -- I have a  pad of paper by my kitchen phone.  Every time I think of something I need to do, I jot it down.  On the list at this very moment are things like this - get piano tuned, clean basement shelves, freezer meals for Mary, Chip's game Friday, pay orthodontist bill (with 4 kids, that one gets marked off only to be re-written for two more years!!!!), etc.  I put immediate type items (grocery store by Friday) and long term projects (build deck).  Once completed, I mark it off (gives me a high every time) and keep adding to the list.  Once the page is full, I copy the unmarked items onto the next page of the pad and toss the marked up one.  As soon as an idea floats into my brain, I jot it onto this pad.  Then I don't have to worry about forgetting it because I am in this area of my house so that I can peek at the list all day long.  Plus writing it down helps with remembering, too.

Simple.  But, for unorganized me - it's effective.

Good way to use up all those free notepads you get from hotel rooms, too.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Planning meals

Survival tip for today is simple.  Plan meals on a weekly basis.  On Sundays, I get the family's schedule for the week so that I know who will be home when and therefore when I need to cook.  As in, if Dad's not home, we will probably have CORD  (Clean Out Refrigerator Day).  Or if everyone is in and out all evening, it might be YOYO  (You're On Your Own)

Planning our meals this way enables me to take advantage of the blocks of time available to prepare as much in advance as possible.  Browning ground beef, thawing chicken, chopping veggies, etc., goes a long way towards keeping me out of the fast food drive through.  Although I do confess that Tuesday night $5 pizza is evidence of God's abundant grace!

Try putting this idea into practice today.  Plan what you will prepare for dinner every night this week. And write it down.  I even have a chalkboard in the kitchen where I list the week's menu.  This not only keeps me on track, it helps reduce the "what's for dinner" queries!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One bite at a time.....

In case you're just joining in on this month's theme, I am offering survival techniques for folks that are NOT organized.  Folks like yours truly.  I need coping mechanisms for home management and just plain LIFE in general because I am not one of those folks who ooze organization.  My friend Jan told me once that I am "macro-organized", not "micro-organized."  I think that was a kind embrace of my messy cabinets and a choice to celebrate the ability to purchase Christmas gifts in July.  So I'm going with it. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Clean kitchen

Even though I am truly not organized, I don't like clutter and chaos.  I function well in a harmonious environment.  This explains why my cabinets and closets look like they do - as long as I don't have to look at them, I don't mind so much! Just keep my living space tidy and I'm OK!!

This is especially true for my kitchen. It's such an integral part of not only my day but also each member of my family that its appearance affects the atmosphere of our home. " Dirty and cluttered" spreads negativity.  .  Being greeted by dirty dishes in the sink or pandemonium on the counters when I wake up in the morning or come in from a long day drains the energy from me.  It seems to take more strength, time, and thought to clean up at those points than it does just before bed or right before I head out the door. Conversely, clean and tidy living space translates positively to our attitudes.    So I make sure my kitchen is clean before I leave the house or go to bed. 

I found years ago that this simple strategy brings huge payoff. (  And "clean" doesn't have to mean suitable for surgery.  Just no dishes in the sink.  Counters wiped off.  Items returned to proper places.  A quick floor sweep is a bonus but not mandatory. ) It's not only a boost to our spirits but it's also easier to maintain a clean kitchen once it's tidy. If it's dirty or cluttered, it acts like a magnet to attract more chaos.  That little bit of extra effort is certainly worth the trouble.

A friend told me about a website that has some great tips and step by step instructions on keeping your house in order.  She suggests that the first thing to do is "shine your sink".  I like her site.  Although I don't technically "shine my sink", I like her approach and her systems.  And I really like a kitchen that's ready for me to enjoy!

Tip for today - clean the kitchen before bed and/or leaving the house

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's beginning to look alot like over

Some of you may get a pass on today's tip.  You may already have implemented this suggestion because your Mama told you the same thing mine did - Christmas decorations have to come down before the New Year begins.  I believe that is somewhere in the Bible.

Today's tip is to put your Christmas decorations away if you haven't already done so.  Throw out the ones that need to go.  Make your first 2014 donation to Goodwill if there are items you don't use but don't need to trash. Getting rid of stuff will make your life a lot easier.  Promise.  Label items so that unpacking them in December will be easy.  (And so that your family members could easily pack them away for you next year.  That was the case for me this year when my sweet Mary Alice arrived on Christmas Day and I got to take care of her big brother for a few days while my home crew undecorated the house.  They read that same part of the Bible about decorations.  Generational bondage...?)

It won't take as long as you think it will.  Packing and labeling doesn't have to meet House Beautiful standards.  Just put the stuff neatly in a box or bag and write the contents with a sharpie on a piece of masking tape.  Then put it all in the attic or garage.  Together.

If you get to rest today, go thank your Mama.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Day Tip

Today, I will cook a bunch of black-eyed peas.  My Mom will cook the collard greens because I can't stand them - but I will surely take a bite as I have for as long as I can remember....because it's good luck!  I won't do laundry (although I think that somewhere in my unremembered past I surely must have washed clothes on New Year's Day and have been consequently condemned to the perennial laundry duty that is my current existence.....).  And watch football with family and friends. 

My organizational tip for today is to relax.  Replenish.  Recharge your batteries after a demanding holiday season.  And look forward to this month of tips, realizing that you don't have to be the organized person all the magazines urge you to be.  When I worked in the corporate world, management training seminars instructed us to "work smarter, not harder".  That's my mantra as a wife, a mom, and a woman.  Smarter, not harder.

So today, relax.  We'll start forming new habits tomorrow.  See ya then!

It's a new what?


It's the beginning of a new year. I love this season!  A new page on the calendar - a new calendar in fact!  Fresh start.  Chance to begin again.

We've had an unusually busy couple of months at our house.  Addition to our family, getting my folks settled here, on top of the holidays and a household that operates at warp speed for normalcy.  It's been exciting but it was comforting when my husband decided it was time to circle the wagons and called us together for family conference.  Time to regroup.  He asked us all to share 3 successes from this past year and then 3 goals we would set for 2014.  Not resolutions.  Goals.  Things that would stretch us, but be attainable.  Something measurable and specific. 

I am so glad he led us through this exercise.  It got me to thinking way past our family meeting.  So very helpful to take some time to evaluate my life from this past year, celebrating ground I've gained as well as to contemplate what things I can do differently for next year .

My goals cover three different aspects of my life - physical, spiritual, and practical.   I challenge you to do the same, regardless of which areas you focus on. And share your goals with someone - goals made public are far more likely to be reached.

Rather than being idle or pointlessly busy, I want to make the most of every opportunity.  In fact, I want to create opportunities! Life will just pass by without my making investments in anything that matters unless I am intentional and purposeful.  And that won't happen without some thought.  Before you move into the next day, spend some time thinking about your goals and heed what Ephesians 5:16 exhorts:
making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 
I hope that this time next year I'll have 3 success stories to share.  And more goals to set!
Happy New Year!