Posted by: pegspeaks | November 10, 2014

The Velveteen Rabbit…and Worship

I was a child when my mother bought me my first copy of “The Velveteen Rabbit”.  It had just come out in a hardback edition for a children’s book club and I can still picture that book and its illustrations today.  (I’m sure it helps that I’ve seen many reproductions of that particular edition).

For those who don’t know…the Velveteen Rabbit is a story about a stuffed animal….that eventually becomes real. I think that the quote below is one of the most well-known passages of the book:

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Now there are many ways that I could talk about “real” and worship – and as I read this passage again, I think of so many better ways that I could probably discuss it than what is on my mind.

But what is on my mind – has been on my mind for over a week now…it is something I’ve been contemplating – struggling with perhaps – and yet – trying to seek out why I struggle with it – why I can’t let it go.

As my readers know, I’ve joined a couple of groups on Facebook that deal with art journaling and scripture.  Some people do it in their Bibles but in the margins – some do it in their Bibles but over the words and the margins and some do it in a separate notebook.  Basically – people are encouraged to find what works best for them and do that.  For me – I like using a separate notebook for my larger pictures that are about lessons God is laying on my heart – and then the Bible for listing lessons that I want to remember, etc.

Now I want to start off by saying that I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life.  Seriously.  I can’t draw a straight line.   (I also can’t cut straight).  I have no creativity in me when it comes to art whether it is with crayons, pencils, paints, markers, chalk or any other form of artistic rendering.

So..sometimes I see stuff and I admit it – I’m in awe…and maybe just a tad bit envious of the talents of others…wishing God would’ve given me a bit of that talent.

But so many times I’ll see folks posting things and they’ll be talking about techniques or how they “messed up” a page…or whatever – and I get sorta…frustrated.

You see – for me at least – I thought that the journaling was about focusing on God and worshiping Him….not by having a perfect tree or vine or sheep or any other picture…not by being worried if the ink went through the page.  Because the focus of it isn’t on what is seen on the paper – but what is happening in my heart as I sit at my “Abba’s” feet and color/draw/attempt to create.

My concern with much of what I see – and I see this in so many other things too – is that we become so concerned with the mechanics of doing what we’re doing to worship…that we forget to actually worship.

Let me explain though – I’m not trying to judge others when I share this – I’m sort of looking at what they say and do and look at myself and then ask myself – “am I getting caught up in the mechanics of worship….or am I truly worshiping?”

In other words – Is my worship real – or am I just expressing something God has laid on my heart and hoping to impress others or change them or do whatever?

I like sharing what I do – sometimes.  But sometimes – the most special images I have (even if I haven’t put them down on paper yet) – are the ones between my Father and me.  The ones that only He sees and knows.

I think of Brother Lawrence sometimes.  He wrote a book which I’ve never read called “The Practice of the Presence of God” and talked in it about many things – one of which was how he could be in the presence of God while doing his daily chores.  I’ve seen several quotes from the book and probably should get a copy for myself.

Anyway – to get back to the point of this blog…which is this…

Is my worship real?  Am I doing it to sit at the feet of my Father and worship Him?  Or am I caught up in doing the “right thing” with the “right methods” in order to get the “best results”?

I will say this…..over the years I was more vocal in my worship and more “observable” by others as I’d worship God while in worship in church with others.

But over the years – as God has become more and more “real” to me through the various events in my life…sometimes the worship that feels most real for me to practice…it just to sit silently and meditate on His Word…and listen for His voice…and wait for His presence.  And when it happens…when my soul is quiet long enough to be still before Him and wait for Him…oh how precious it is…..

….and how real it becomes to me.

Posted by: pegspeaks | November 2, 2014

Picking a New Bible…things to look at

I am pretty sure I’ve written about this before – but I think I want to write about it again – it’s something that has been on my mind for a bit.  So grab a cup of coffee – or sweet tea or Coke or even (gasp) Dr. Pepper … or water.   You may want a sandwich or piece of pie or whatever too as this WILL be a long post…but the good news is…it will have pictures….LOTS of pictures.

If you’ve read my last blog entry- then you know that I’ve gotten into Bible Art Journaling….and I’m in a group on Facebook (now two groups on Facebook) where we discuss and show our drawings/sketchings, etc.  They each tend to have a weekly idea to work with and it is sorta fun.  Many times the discussion on the group is “Where do I get a journaling Bible and which one are you using?”  We then share our Bibles and folks go hunting.

But every once in a while the question comes up of ..”How do I pick a study Bible?” and it can be for any number of reasons…they may want a woman’s Bible for themselves…they may want a Bible for someone else…they may find that their journaling about the Bible is making them want to read more and understand more.  (By the way – I think it is so cool when that happens!)

One woman took a look at her family’s various Bibles and said, “I want a Bible that has this feature and this feature and that feature…” and my first thought was “oh my….that is a specific combination….not sure you’ll find one like that”.  I’ve been trying to look – but I haven’t found one like that either….although some come close.  I tried to share links to Bibles that she could look at online.

So this blog post is a bit in response to that but also just… sharing….because it is Christmas time and some of you may be thinking about a new Bible for yourself or a loved one.

Normally I would tell someone, “Start by finding the translation you are most comfortable reading and then look at the various study notes and Bibles for that translation”.

What I’ve decided to do today is to show a few of the Bibles I own and what Psalms 23 is like in each Bible….with notes, etc.  Since Psalms 23 (The Lord Is My Shepherd Psalm) is familiar to most people – I chose that scripture to share.

Let’s start out with 10685488_10204666343919283_6483508802775874457_n

I am a bit hesitant to share much about this Bible (which is pretty cool) because it isn’t a Bible I would recommend if someone doesn’t have another Bible to take with them to church or Bible study group or whatever.  The reason is….because all of the scripture is in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER here…for instance – the Psalms are here in the order they were written in David’s life (if they were ones he wrote).  Let me show you the table of contents for Psalms…perhaps that will help explain what I mean…


As you look at this – you can see how the Psalms are all spread out throughout the Old Testament.

But still yet – it is a neat Bible and has some neat study helps…so here is Psalms 23 from this Bible:


Here is the two page spread:


I am not sure how well you can read the notes – hopefully you can at least make out some of them.

Here is Psalms 23 from my Disciple’s Study Bible – it was put out by the Baptist Denomination (if I remember right) in the late 1980’s – this is the NIV version.  10734166_10204666344799305_8392353803093561428_n

The notes are tagged by various themes like “God, sovereignty” and “God, Grace” and “Evil and Suffering”.  To me – this Bible is  more of a “doctrinal” study Bible because the notes are designed to explain spiritual issues and scripture about various doctrines.  Many study Bibles are written this way – like the Ryrie Study Bible and the Scofield Study Bible.  I don’t have a Ryrie but I do have my mother’s old Scofield Bible (she had a couple of them – this one was from the 1980’s).


Now – I may have to go back out and check her Bibles to make sure I have the right picture.  I’m pretty sure this is the Scofield.  This is the another Bible of hers that I wanted to share that is sorta the same style – it is the Bible that was put out by Liberty University (Jerry Falwell’s church) also in the 80’s or 90’s.  Notice the study notes in it.


Now since the 1980’s – another study Bible has come out – that is the Life Application study Bible.  The first Bible I shared is a Life Application Study Bible but in Chronological format….here is Psalms 23 from a more traditional format of the Life Application Bible.


If you read the notes – you will see they are more designed to help the reader apply the scripture to their life – versus understanding the historical references and doctrinal issues. Also, the language is more modern and more like the way we speak today.

There are many study Bibles out that have specific focuses – for instance – here is Psalms 23 from the Worship Study Bible – where all the various notes, etc. are designed to help the reader learn more about worship.10407963_10204666347479372_6590057310830032545_n 10456799_10204666347199365_1299758812683046129_n


Another type of Bible I’ve seen is ones that ask questions in the side margins….here is Psalms 23 from the Quest Study Bible.  (Please note – I have an earlier version and this Bible has also been updated and now has colored margins and maybe more questions – I’m not sure).




So with all of the various Bibles that are out there – HOW does one know what to pick?

First of all – take a look at the notes – obviously – for the scripture you’re checking out.  But then check to see some of the other charts and notes that are in the Bible.  Frequently – there will be a list in the front or the back that will list every chart that is in the Bible so that you know where to find them.  Here are a few of my favorites from the Life Application Bible:
















As you look at the various notes and charts – ask yourself – does this draw you more INTO the Word…or does it distract from you wanting to read the Word? Where does your focus go?  Do the notes help you understand things better or only confuse you?

I once bought this gorgeous Bible – it was a New Living Translation and hardcover and I remember the notes were in color and how pretty it all was.  I could hardly wait to study it…except for one thing.  I kept getting distracted by the color of the maps and the charts that I spent more time reading them…and not the Word.  I wound up giving the Bible away or selling it or taking it back – I forget which.  I don’t think I’d written in it at all … which is unusual for me.  A few years later – I saw the same Bible and thought, “I’m going to try it again” – I want to say it was on sale and that was part of what convinced me to try it again.  Guess what…same thing.

I couldn’t handle all the colors, etc in the Bible (even though I write in my Bible in colors) – because I just found the layout too distracting. It was so pretty too…and I LOVE the color purple which was used a lot throughout it.  I think that maybe the maps were even in the area of scripture where it talked about…I mean…it was like my dream Bible come true…except…it wasn’t.

So ask yourself as you look at the Bibles..”Does this help me understand things better? Does it make me want to read more?”

I want to take a minute to address the topic of the study Bibles that have notes written by one specific person – for instance – Dr. Charles Stanley’s “Life Principles Bible” and all of the various Bibles that are out there with notes by distinguished teachers and preachers and speakers.  I mention Dr. Stanley’s by name because I have his Bible (I am also considering adding one other by Dr. MacArthur).

There is nothing wrong with having a Bible with notes from one person – but – it can be “limiting” if that is all you read and it can be tempting with any Bible – to simply read the notes that are written and equate them with the scriptures.  I’ve heard comments before about this or that is true because “Scofield says so…”- so it was even true back when the Scofield study Bible first came out in the early 1900’s.

But when we read scripture in a study Bible – we need to remember that there is a difference between the scripture and the NOTES.   The scriptures were “God-breathed” and “inspired”.  The notes….while written by a person or group of people who were hopefully working under the Holy Spirit’s direction and leading – are still notes…from their understanding.

Anyway – I guess I should probably end this now – as my coffee is about gone and my stomach is rumbling and I’m sure you must be getting tired of reading this.

But I will close with this one last tip about picking a study Bible.  If you can – try to visit a Christian bookstore or regular bookstore and look at the Bibles and read the notes, etc. in person.  However, you may be like me and unable to do so.  My closest bookstore is over 150 miles away. In that case, I recommend that you go to and use the “check inside this book”option to look in different Bibles or google the Bible by title and then check the images that come up to see if you can read the notes.  Or ask friends online or in your local church if you can see their study Bibles and ask why they like their Bibles and the notes or if they wish they’d chosen something else.

I hope this helps….hopefully my next blog will be later today or this week and include some art I’m wanting to journal…if I can just find the time!


Posted by: pegspeaks | October 28, 2014

Peeking in….debating on blogging again

Hello!  I was just peeking in at my blog after talking about it with someone else…has it really been all these months since I last posted?  Why did I take such a long break?  Oh well..

There was a lot happening in my life – and to be honest with you – there still is a lot happening in my life.  Let’s see – we’ve gone past the one year mark of Art quitting his job and now we’re working together as merchandisers.  Some accounts we work together on (like putting out magazines in our local HEB and Walmart) – some accounts we do alone (Art is a Glidden paint representative for our local Walmart and I work in 2 Dollar General stores and a Family Dollar store for a company).  We not only merchandise but we do other odd jobs – like taking photos of vehicles that have been damaged in accidents and sending then into a company who then submits them to the insurance companies – and putting out auction signs for homes that are in foreclosure.  We both mystery shop.  Life is definitely “different” but somehow- that seems to suit us.  The nice thing is that we’ve reached the point that this will be our last week of “traveling” for work and that should free up time for me to do more things…like blog.

I’ve recently started doing something that is a real blessing to me and I wanted to share it with y’all – because if I blog – it will be about this.  I’ve started “Bible Journaling”. I first learned about it when I saw a friend had joined a community on Facebook – so I joined to learn more about it.  I thought it was about reading the Bible and then keeping a journal of your studies or something – but it is so much more.  I guess what it is depends upon who you are and how you do it.  Some women – write or draw or paint or doodle in their Bibles.  Some use stickers or stamps – some women go over the writing (I personally am not comfortable with that for me) – some women do it in the margins – and some women do it in a separate journal. When I look at some of the creations that women make…I am amazed.  God has blessed a lot of women with some creative and artistic talent…me…not so much.  But I am still blessed when I see what they create and reflect upon how they shared their thoughts.

So I started with an art journal from Walmart and some colored pencils.  I also ordered an older “International Inductive Study Bible” in the NASB version because I knew it would have fairly wide margins that I could draw in.  Then I saw someone’s “Interactive Notetaker’s Women’s Bible” in the HCSB translation – and I just HAD to order it.  (It is out of print and I feel so blessed that I was one of the last 17 to get a copy for around $35 from Australia – and that INCLUDES the shipping).

Since starting this a couple of weeks ago, I constantly find myself thinking about scripture – about what it means – about why it is important to me – and about how I want to share it on paper.  There are so many verses and so many passages that I want to draw out or list out…to think about and reflect on.

But for now – I’ll share with you what I’ve done.

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These images are all very special to me right now and personal because they share much of what God has been teaching me for a bit.  The first two pictures were actually done today….the first one is a reminder to myself that I need to delight myself in God and trust Him to put in my hearts the things He wants me to have.  It isn’t all about me getting what *I* want – but instead – about letting Him put in my life and my heart what He wants me to have.  Sorta reminds me of a saying I have in almost all of my Bibles – “God cares more about our holiness than our happiness.”

The second one that you see is a reminder to myself of what I used to be like (and still am like if I’m not careful) and how God wants me to act…how as a Christian – He wants me to “wear” certain qualities that speak of His working in my life.  In 1988 I heard a sermon about these verses in Colossians and it was called “The Christian’s Wardrobe”…my notes from that sermon go in almost every Bible I own.

The butterfly picture is really special to me because it is something I’m really learning now.  I was brought up in a Christian home- attended church every Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night (well – almost) – read my Bible, etc – and I often struggle with the fact that not all Christians are the same or believe the EXACT same things.  We don’t all vote the same way – we don’t all wear the same clothes.  I was sorta brought up in a very…I’m not sure how to say it – but a very conservative upbringing and I guess whether I was taught it – or whatever – I expected that other Christians would believe the same way I do…after all.  God has been opening my eyes lately to the fact that while we are all His children when we become saved – we are all different.  So often butterflies are used to represent the idea of us being a “new creation” that I wanted to remind myself and others that not only are we “new” creations – but that we’re each “unique” creations too and that I need to remember to honor that and let God and the Holy Spirit do any judging…not me!

Years ago there was a song out about “Take another trip around Mount Sinai…till you learn your lesson.”  I was really frustrated and upset one night.  Once again – I had “blown it” – big time – with someone I cared about.  I really felt upset about it and had repented but knew that once again – God had lessons in store for me about my tongue and how I need to use it (I have one project in mind that I can hardly wait to do – it has to do with the four gates our words need to pass through before they are spoken or written…but I need to really meditate on it some more).  Anyway – I was sorta tossing and turning and unable to sleep and I just had to get it down on paper somehow that I knew I was in for “another trip around Mount Sinai” and that I was wanting to accept the lessons that God had for me THIS time around.  (Somehow – I think I got the season pass – always renewed for FREE based upon my words and deeds).

The final picture is probably my favorite – because it is a reminder that God wants to use ALL things in my life (the good – the bad – and yes – even the ugly) to help conform me to the image of Christ…because that is what the “all things work together for good” is designed to do…conform me to HIS image.

I have one last picture to share – it is from my new HCSB Bible – to show you how I’m working in that to journal.  Because this Bible has lined margins…I am going to be using it mainly to list things I learn….10649816_10204629511998508_703603907102915887_n

I have had so much fun with this Bible tonight – in several different scriptures.  I may share some of them later on…but for now…here are my notes on Psalms 37 – one of my favorite Psalms.

For those who are wondering about Bible Journaling or would like to join a group, etc – there is a group on Facebook of over 4,000 people – you can search on there for “Journaling Bible Community”.  You can also go to and subscribe to her blog and get a FREE study on Ephesians and it’s pretty cool.  I wound up buying ALL of her studies because they look really fun and I hope to share them with you once I start on them (maybe next week once things slow down here).

I do have to share a couple of links from her blog because they are so cool and sorta explain a bit of what I may be doing in the future …

So….I guess that is what is happening in my life right now.  I look forward to sharing the rest of this journey with you – just not making any promises on how often I’ll post…..I’ve learned my lesson!

Posted by: pegspeaks | January 27, 2014

Nobody wins in a mud fight…not even John Wayne!

I love a good, “old-fashioned” Western movie.  You know…the kind with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart….where they told fairly decent stories about conflicts going on.  Some were based upon real life – others weren’t.

I especially love the fights in the old-time Westerns.  I love the big, wide punches that they threw at each other and the background sounds made as they jabbed and punched at each other and fell down.  I will sit on the couch eating popcorn and laugh and laugh as I watch punch after punch thrown.  What is it about a fight scene that makes it seem so funny?

I don’t know – but two movie fight scenes come to mind today as I think about this. I’ve tried to find them both on YouTube and can only come up with one – which is a shame because they both are so good.

The first fight scene that comes to mind is from the movie Shenandoah which starred Jimmy Stewart. The movie takes place during the Civil War and Stewart is doing all he can to hold his family together in one piece even though his sons are adults and have differing feelings about the war and what they believe.  They all stay home to help with the farm because they are all needed.  When someone comes out to ask Stewart about his sons going to war because “Virginia needs all her sons”, Stewart reminds them that these are HIS sons and not the state’s and that the state didn’t nurse them when they were young.  Shortly afterwards in the movie, people come wanting to get horses and Stewart is not about to have that happen because they need their horses – and a brawl breaks out.

What is amazing to me about this whole brawl…is watching the youngest son.  I don’t remember him ever getting a punch in at all – he gets knocked into the water trough and every time he stands back up or starts to get out, he gets knocked back in again. Nothing he can do seems to work. Its hilarious to see him get out of the trough only to wind up being pushed back in … again and again…and again. At the end of the fight, Stewart yells at him for being in the trough and asks him if he wants to make himself sick – or something like that.  Poor guy – I really did feel for him because he never got a chance to fight and only got knocked around.

Probably the most famous fight in an old Western the infamous mud fight in McClintock. If you’ve never seen it before, you can watch it here:  The scene is about 6 minutes long and it seems like almost everybody winds up in the mud – whether they meant to – or not.

Mud brawls can be fun to watch…sorta.  You watch as one person tries to throw mud at the other person – or they try to get them down into the mud completely and perhaps sit on them or be on top and be declared “the winner”.  I’m not overly familiar with the rules…nor do I care to be.  But the basic idea seems to be…..get the other person more muddy than you…no matter what it takes..and then keep them down….and you win!

Earlier this week I got involved in something that felt this way – and the worst part about it was – I knew better.

It started out because of the Grammy awards and comments that were made at the show that were derogatory towards Christians and the Bible.  I didn’t see the show nor did I hear the comments – but I read the comments of those who did see the show and instead of walking away and letting it go…I decided to “enter the brawl” so to speak.

BAD move.  BAD BAD move.

Inside my heart, I felt the Holy Spirit saying…(you see it coming…..right…?) “Let.It.Go.”

But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t understand why people were so up in arms about one person’s viewpoint and how horrible it was.  I mean – Christians have been maligned for years and years now on tv and in print.  So what was one more person?

It bothered me to see Christians (and Conservatives) reacting to this so much because it was like it would just feed the whole fire thing…instead of making this a one-day would drag it out longer.  Kinda like what they would talk about in various West Wing if you respond to something…you make it an even longer story….whereby if you ignore it…it is a one day thing.

Anyway….the conversation kept going on…partly because I was misunderstood and came across as uncaring and I felt the “need” to defend myself.  After every post I wrote, I’d feel that nudge in my “”

Of course I obeyed…right?

Ha ha.  Well – after about 6 or 7 posts maybe.

You see, I realized that I’d wound up in a mud pile and no matter what I did or said – it was still going be some way of slinging some mud around…or at least getting in the way of mud.

I found myself feeling dirty – quite literally.  I also felt hurt..misunderstood and really wanting to have others hear me out and understand me.  But the more I typed..the worse things got.

And suddenly I realized…I didn’t have to stay down there in the mud, slugging out my beliefs and trying to explain myself again and again. Because no matter what I said or did – I was still gonna be down there – in the mud – feeling dirty and not able to climb up the slippery slope to get out.

So I just walked away. Period.

In fact, I blocked the person so I couldn’t even see the conversation or be tempted to get involved again because I realized it was fruitless and in the end – meaningless for my life.

To be honest with you – the whole conversation still hurts though now – even though its the next day. Part of me keeps wanting to type out the details – to get you to “my side”.  But then I hear that still small voice…””  I start to type…wind up hearing a louder “Let.It.Go.” and backtrack and  delete my words.

I think the whole point of this blog is this though…

There are times in our lives when we get drawn into fights and arguments.  It can be like the first situation where we’re just in the way when the first few punches are thrown and we can’t disentangle ourselves (or perhaps even engage others) no matter how hard we try.  We keep winding up back in the water trough…soaking wet to our bones…but at least the water isn’t muddy.

Then there are other times when we’re given the opportunity to get into a mud pit and slug it out with others.  We’ll pick up the mud and sling it and knock others down, cheering ourselves and others along all the way because we’re “making our point” and “winning”.

But as for me…as much as I love a good Western and a good slugfest…from now on – when I see the mud pit appear….I’m taking a wide berth around it.  I don’t want to throw mud and I don’t want to get involved in winning points and making sure people get “my point”.

For my life (not saying this is for others) – God is telling me to “Let.It.Go.”  That’s right…let go of the right to speak…to be understood…to have my way.

Perhaps instead I’m supposed to listen and seek to understand others.

No matter what – at least I (hopefully) won’t be covered in mud.

And if I am…I’ll just…


Posted by: pegspeaks | January 19, 2014

Letting.It.Go. Works!

You’ve seen me talk about “Let.It.Go.” and how God is using that in my life.  Sometimes I literally have to break down and say those three words – out loud – with the period in between each one – to emphasize the phrase.

I’m sorry its been 12 days since I’ve written.  I’ve been busy but I’ve thought of this blog so often and have a topic or two I hope to write about later this week since this *may* be a slower week for me….we’ll see.

But let me talk about what has happened since I’ve started to let “it” go…no matter what it is.

First of all – my kitchen is much cleaner.  Those of you who are friends are facebook have seen my updates- how I am cleaning it up every night (something which is probably a “duh” to many people).  No matter how tired I am…I make myself load and run the dishwasher and every night (except one) if there were dishes left, I just did them up by hand.  One night I did leave two bowls..and kicked myself the next day.

The rewards from letting go of all that of that CLUTTER I had..have been..just…amazing.  If you had told me 20 days ago that I would be cooking from scratch things like Strawberry Cream pie, or baking chicken after making my own sort of method of working with it – or making a homemade fajita seasoning to marinate the chicken so I can bake chicken fajitas for supper…I would have laughed in your face.  If you’d said, “Guess what about 3-4 weeks you’re going to have your own “make-a-mixes” so you can whip up brownies or cookies or pie crust or seasonings or even..homemade gravy…in just minutes..” – I’d have rolled on the floor (with the binkying dust bunnies) and laughed.  NO WAY.  Yet, that is my project for this week now that I’ve got my “make a mix” cookbook.

Yet that is what is happening.  I’ve rediscovered a joy in cooking and preparing nutritious and tasty meals for my family and I usually enjoy getting in the kitchen and cooking and trying a new recipe (something I would have rarely done before).

But I had to give up…the clutter…to receive this joy.

Let’s move on to the shopping I talked about…what a stranglehold the idea of buying stuff had on me because of the adrenaline rush I received.  I must admit – at times – the temptation is still there…but….the realization of WHY I am buying usually keeps me from making an unwise purchase.  In fact, I really want to share an example from last week that made me so proud.

I was doing a mystery shop at “Ross Dress for Less” where I go in and I do certain things.  With this particular shop, I do not need to purchase anything – but I usually like to do so to have a receipt to prove I was in the store.  Of course, in the years I’ve been doing this shop, I’ve never had my shop questioned.

So last Sunday I was doing this shop when I thought, “I don’t HAVE to buy something…I don’t NEED a receipt”. I thought, “oooh…but what if I see something I really WANT or even worse..NEED.”.

Since I was looking for a replacement for a mug we’d had to toss from a mug set we bought there, I allowed myself to walk some aisles when I was done.  I saw the cutest mason jar type containers in pink and light blue.  I laughed and said, “Ooh..I’d love that…but it’s not like that’s gonna be like $1.49 or’ll be closer to $5.”.  So I pick it up.  Guess what?  On clearance for….$1.49.

Oh man.  I really liked the light blue one.  But then I thought, “Where would I use this? Do I have something in my kitchen that needs this type of storage?”  No.  I couldn’t think of anything.  And then I thought of how nice and clutter-free my kitchen is.

The jar never made it into my cart…not even once.

So then I decide to look through the shirts just one time.  I have two places I especially love to buy tops – Cato – and Ross Dress for Less.  Nothing was catching my eye till I saw this one shirt.  Oh – I KNEW that shirt…I have it black and grays and my son saw a picture of me in it and really liked it enough to even compliment me on the shirt and stuff.  This one had the gray…and greens.  It would look so nice with my new brown hair coloring (vs. the washed out gray and gray roots). I held it.  I looked at it.  Perfect size.  Nothing wrong with it.  Only $10.99.  I knew the clothes I’d wear with it.

I put it in the cart.  I walked around.  I had this sinking feeling in my stomach.  I argued with God that I wasn’t buying it for an adrenaline feeling but because I KNEW it would look good on me. I told Him I’d been doing so good…what was one little shirt?  Till I thought of my pile of laundry…that needed to be washed…that was filled with all of those “one little shirt” purchases.

I put it back and walked out of the store without getting it.  In fact, I left….almost immediately.  I didn’t want to be tempted.

Truth be told, I have thought about that shirt and I’d still like to have it.  But I told myself that until I get all caught up on the laundry and can pick out three shirts to get rid of – I can’t go get that shirt – even if it is still there.

I guess I haven’t wanted it that bad….for I haven’t started catching up on the laundry or picked out three shirts to get rid of.

Now – I can still go shopping and buy stuff…I just bought some new office supplies the other day (what fun!) to get all of our work and home paperwork organized…and I’m getting ready to go out today and do some buying (which I’ll explain in a bit).  But…before I purchase something I just ask myself if this is a real need or a want and why I’m buying it.  Most of the time at least some of the stuff in the cart goes back.

Anyway, I am excited because I am about to go through my Make-A-Mix cookbook and list the various mixes I want to make and how much each mix makes when you make it up.  For instance, the brownie mix makes 15 cups and the corn bread mix makes 10 cups.  The graham cracker crust mix makes 9 cups and the hot roll mix makes 22 cups.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Although I LOVE my Tupperware modular mates and prefer them, I have found that Walmart has a Rubbermaid brand that is *almost* as good in my opinion.  It is their “modular” grouping and they work very well.  You can see them here: and the set here: but I think the picture is inaccurate for you’re only getting 4 pieces with the lids..not 5.

Anyway…I am either going to go to our local store to buy some…or order them online once I’m making my list of our needs.

Buying for our needs…not just my wants.  Just another way I

I wish I could share with y’all the inner peace I have with just the few changes we’ve made.  I still have a whole house to declutter (anyone wanna send Peter Walsh my way?  I loved him on Clean Sweep on TLC and I’d love to have him come help me now).

All I can say is that when God lays it on your heart to – no matter what the “it” is – whether it is a person, a thing, an event, a memory or whatever – it is because HE has something so much better to fill that spot with.

Well – I’m off to do some shopping while my baked chicken fajita meat marinades for supper tonight. I do have a blog post I hope to do sometime this week about “prairie dog faith”…but till then…

Remember…its ok to if God tells you to!

Posted by: pegspeaks | January 7, 2014

Just some thoughts from my quiet time today

I’m supposed to be doing a study on the life of David (and I’ll be reading that later tonight) – but for some reason today – my mind has been on Elijah and the Israelites and the three year drought…and the sacrifice Elijah made there and how God responded.

But let me start back with my “Let. It. Go.” theme that has been running through my heart and mind a lot lately.  I have been getting rid of junk/clutter and even trying to not mourn when a huge glass jar broke (I know I can get another one at Walmart later on) – the emotional clutter has been the worst problem I think. 

Yesterday I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of organizers for my pantry and I was so proud of myself because I went in there with a budget of $25 – came out spending a bit less than $20 and I didn’t buy the junky cute little stuff that did tempt me…but I reminded myself what my goals were for that particular shopping trip.  

Anyway – for some reason today I was thinking about droughts…reading about how the Texas ranchers are starting to consider rebuilding their herds because the drought here is lessening…and I started thinking about the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal and the sacrifice at Mount Carmel.  Let me share about it below.

For those who may not be familiar with the story or would like a refresher, in I Kings 17, God tells Elijah to go speak to King Ahab and tell him that there will not be any rain for 3 years – and then God has Elijah go away to a brook where He has ravens feed Elijah and Elijah drinks from the brook.  Of course you see it happening  – right?  The brook…as all brooks will do – dries up. So God sends Elijah another place and then finally – in chapter 18, verse 1, God tells Elijah (in the third year) to go and present himself to Ahab because God will send rain on the earth.

So in chapter 18 of I Kings, we have the “showdown on Mount Carmel” – where all the various prophets of Baal call upon their god and they cut themselves and cry out for him to send down fire and receive their sacrifice.  At times, Elijah taunts them by suggesting their god is busy or traveling or perhaps asleep and must be awakened.

Finally, it is Elijah’s turn to call upon His God.  He calls the people near him – he repairs the altar of the Lord that was broken down, he lays out 12 stones (for the 12 tribes of Israel) and makes an altar.  Then he builds a trench…..a trench big enough to hold two “seahs of seed”.  The closest information I could find that made sense was that this much seed would probably be held in a five gallon bucket.

Then – Elijah has them take 4 waterpots and pour water on the sacrifice.

So what you say?

The land had been under drought for THREE years.  The brooks had dried up. 

Yes, there was a promise that God would bring water.  But did the people – would the people – believe God enough that water was coming….to give up what might have been the last of the water that they had?

Ok..we don’t know for sure that this was “the last” of the water.

But in my mind, I picture myself standing there…with my little cup of water….watching them take water into those waterpots and pouring them on the sacrifice.

Not once.

Not twice.

But three times.

I imagine myself looking into my little cup that might have a few spoonfuls of water at most….perhaps I had been hoarding it  – after all – there was a drought.

What I ask myself … is…if Elijah saw that cup in my hand…if he asked me to add my spoonfuls to those waterpots to drench the sacrifice (which we want to burn mind you – NOT boil) – would I do it?

Would I Let.It.Go.?

Or would I hold onto those few spoonfuls…because they were mine.

Would I trust God was going to provide the rain? Or would I depend upon myself.

I don’t know. 

For those who don’t know “the rest of the story”….God does answer Elijah’s prayer with fire and it consumed the burnt savrifice, the wood, the stones,the dust AND it “licked up the water” that was in the trench.

The people repent and turn back to God – Elijah tells them to kill the prophets of Baal (which they do).  

And yes…..God does send the rain.  It isn’t “immediate” and it doesn’t suddenly downpour like you’d expect to see in a the movies nowadays. It starts as a small cloud – the size of a man’s hand….and then it grows.

Anyway, as I meditated upon this story today, I felt like Lord saying to me…”How much do you trust me? Do you trust me enough that even if you’d been in a drought for 3 years…and were at the end of your supply of water…would you be willing to “” (your possession and ownership of the water) and give it to Me to be used?

I didn’t have an answer right away – at least not one that I liked.

I sure am glad that although Elijah called upon them to drench the sacrifice with what probably seemed like “necessary” water for their life…they did “”


Posted by: pegspeaks | January 4, 2014

A Follow-Up (review?) on Week One

How did it get to be Saturday already?  Where did the week go?  How did I lose it?

Unfortunately, I find myself thinking that almost every Saturday. I start out the week strong…but end weak.  Sometimes I’m dazed and confused and wonder how I lost track of myself, the house or whatever is going on and the things I said were important.

Honestly though, this has been a good week even if it wasn’t as productive as I wanted.  Thought I’d recap a bit of what I’ve been dealing with – share how I’m handling it – and move forward and maybe share some of next week’s plans.

First of all – the kitchen – looks fabulous this morning.  We are making it a point to clean it up every night and load the dishwasher and start it running and then wiping down the countertops and putting things away.  This morning it is a bit off as there were a few things left on the countertop from cleaning off the breakfast bar and we need to find homes for them.  However, with a bit of looking around and making some decisions on things – the kitchen will be restored to rights in about 5 minutes.  I even posted pictures on facebook!

Emotionally, I am shocked at how I am doing.  I’m finding that getting rid of clutter is easy.  Art is amazed at how much I’m willing to just toss.  Many times I will find something and debate for maybe 30 seconds and then say to myself “” as it gets tossed in the trash.  I don’t even look back and second-guess myself.  I guess I’ve been so overwhelmed by clutter that the feeling of release as something goes in the trash is just…I can’t explain it.  Like a breath of fresh air coming into my life?  A few things I’ve looked at for a moment or two and had actual pangs about trashing – so I’ve set them aside to figure out later. I’d say that probably 95% of the stuff has been an immediate “get rid of it” feeling. What can I say? I like my kitchen – I like walking out here and seeing how neat it looks.  This could get addicting.

With that said – let’s talk about my emotions right now.  I’m still struggling a bit with the fact that I became a compulsive shopper because it was one way to get approval of someone who loved me. It hurts me to think that for all these years, I’ve sought some sort of approval and satisfaction in things. I find that I can spend time dwelling on this – or I can choose to move on.  I think of the verse that goes something like, “Forgetting what is behind…I press onward to the mark..”.  I have to choose to….say it with me… “let. it. go.”  It was .. in the past. It defined me in the past but it has no hold on me now because I no longer give it permission to have hold on me.  Yes, I still have my moments when it hits me and I grieve but then I remind myself that I have to move on.  Grieving is a process we GO THROUGH…but it must be moved through and not dwelt within.

One thing that amazes me and yet makes perfect sense – is how hard it is to clean when there is clutter.  I think this is why we struggle so much to clean (if we’re clutterbugs) because there is so much to clean around and through.  I understand now why Flylady focuses on having you declutter at first before you start using a cleaning schedule – because clutter is almost impossible to clean.  Clutter takes up physical space and emotional space in our lives.

That is why my focus for right now is to keep the kitchen cleaned up on a daily basis and continue to work on decluttering the rest of the house.  I figure that for the first two months – we will be working on the kitchen (still) and the living room and entry area.

Wow – back to this blog.  Bet you never noticed I disappeared – to chat with my precious daughter-in-law for a bit.  I think chatting with her helped to clarify my direction for the next few days … so THANK YOU GOD for a precious daughter-in-law (and the rest of my family) who I love so much.

Anyway – what I’m finding is this….the physical clutter is easy to deal with.  I am shocked at how easy it is to let so many things go.  However, it is the emotional clutter that is holding me back – and that makes me struggle.  The emotional clutter deals not only with the things I have but why I keep them – why I don’t know what to do with them – and so much more.

I’m also finding that if I’m not careful – I wind up discouraging myself by looking at others.  I joined a list of women who were going to be working their way through decluttering their homes one room per week.  Wow.  They have already decluttered their kitchen this week and some are moving on.  They’re sharing interests from websites, etc. and when I go to look at the group…I get discouraged.  So – I’m removing myself from the list because it isn’t helping me in the long run.

I guess that much of what I’m struggling with is just a matter of going before God with each item – be it physical or mental or emotional and saying, “What do I do with it God?”.  A lot of time He answers with “” and sometimes He tells me to keep on moving on.

I’ve decided that since setting goals for this week went so well (the only things I haven’t done yet were the pantry and the entry way…oh…and finish up the kitchen…)….I’m going to continue to set goals and just work towards them.

Between now and next Saturday (starting today even) – I am going to be working on cleaning out the pantry and reorganizing it – along with inventorying the contents of our THREE freezers and also moving my cookbooks to where I can reach them.  I rarely cook with recipes but it is more like “ok…I’m going to work with beef and noodles..what can I toss in to add some veggies?” etc. So I’m hoping that if I move my cookbooks down to a level where I can reach them easily, I will get the urge to plan out some meals ahead of time and maybe even go back to my once a month cooking.

My current homemaking plan looks like this:

maintain kitchen to this level of cleanliness

get caught up on laundry

continue to work on decluttering pantry and entry area

set up a system for dealing with paperwork since work is now picking up

take care of me – emotionally and spiritually – starting an online study this week on the life of David

Next week’s schedule looks like this:

Monday – 6 hour nail care reset in local Walmart

Tuesday – 4 hour Cover Girl reset in local Walmart

Wednesday – 3 hour “set-up” of sunglass towers for men’s sunglasses in JC Penney

Thursdsay – 3.5 hour reset of Cover Girl in Walmart 50 miles away – plus mystery shop at Cato (women’s clothing)

Friday – ?  Still unknown

In addition – we have a few odds and ends of jobs maybe – I need to double check the calendar.

So if you don’t see me post much – you know why!

My take-away from all of this week is this..

Before you can really clean your house (or your life) effectively – you need to deal with clutter. This includes both emotional clutter and physical clutter. Clutter can be really hard to deal with – hard enough when it is physical – but when it is emotional – be prepared for a battle. 

You DO deserve to have a better life if that is where God is leading you.  It won’t be easy and yes, it may be a battle.  But it is one worth fighting.

Posted by: pegspeaks | January 2, 2014

(Habits) Shopping as a Hobby

I’ve been sharing the last day or so about the words God laid on my heart…the words of “Let. It. Go.”   Literally – like that – with a break in between each word.  Someone pointed out to me that one word for this could be release….but release (or released) just do not speak to me like those three words…spoken that way.

I’ve shared that I’ve been questioning God a bit on WHAT to let go…memories? things? attitudes?  One thing He has been quick to point out to me is….Shopping.

Almost a week ago now, I wound up signing up for a “declutter/organize your life” type program by Alejandra Costello.  Yes, it was expensive – almost $100 even at the half off.  But as I’d read the description of all that was included – I felt a very definite peace and a “yes”….so I signed up.

I started watching her videos and reading the information on the website.  Mind you – I’ve watched videos and read books for years – but there was something about either her presentation – or my ability and need to understand – that suddenly CLICKED.  I’ve been too ill to read much more or watch much more but from the little bit I saw and read at that time – wow.

One of the first things that she talked about was clutter.  She put the word up on a wall with each letter on a separate sheet of paper. As she talked about a letter – she would uncover it and then talk about the principle behind that letter and how that leads to clutter. For example – the “c” was “compulsive shopping” while the “l” was “life events” (and so on).

Let me briefly cover the life events because basically the principle behind that is that there may life events going on around you (good or bad) that may create more clutter.  For instance, the birth of a baby or planning a wedding or getting a new job.  All are good events but the things that go with them can cause you to create or ignore clutter as it develops.  Some bad life events can be a divorce or illness or death in the family.  Sometimes you just need to get through that time and make it through the other side to be able to deal with the clutter that can develop during that time.

But let’s move back to “compulsive shopping” – shall we? This really nailed me – big time.

Someone who is a compulsive shopper – shops for the “thrill” and the adrenaline rush of finding something good. There is something missing from their life and the rush they experience from the shopping and purchasing of something temporarily fills whatever it is that is missing in their life and they are able to better deal with their life’s circumstances – for at least a little while. Alejandra pointed out that with a compulsive shopper – they may feel that rush not only upon purchasing a new item but upon using it (particularly if it is an item of clothing) for the first few times that they wear the new item. The rush is there the first time the garment is worn.  It diminishes slightly the second time a garment is worn and by the third time a garment is worn, the thrill or rush or whatever is mostly gone.  The garment is then tossed towards the back of the closet while a new item is hunted for and purchased by this person who is looking to fill an emotional need.

I was shocked by Alejandra’s suggestion on how to counteract this but it honestly makes perfect sense to me.  She stated that it was better to have that same amount of money (if you wished) and when this need came on – that you should go and be with other people and do something that makes a memory together and makes you smile. Go out to eat or watch a movie.  See a play or go walk in the park. But create the same good feeling that you need – without bringing home something that is going to add to the amount of clutter in your house.

I really like that idea. I understand that there is a deeper issue at hand here – about having an unmet need and trying to find a way to meet it.  I’m sure that more could be looked at as far as dealing with that issue….but the fact is – you could still meet that need – without bringing home something that will eventually become clutter.

I have always loved to shop and I have a friend, Jeanette, who can probably tell you that we loved to shop together a lot almost 30 years ago.  It was always fun comparing what we bought and it was a great way to spend time together.

Years later, when we were in Alaska, I was introduced to Value Village – a “Goodwill” type of store. I LOVED Value Village and I was always amazed how I could go in with just a little bit of money and come out with bags and bags of stuff.  I remember one winter when their sweaters were $1 each and I came home with about 30 sweaters that were MY size (I’m a big girl) and my coloring.  I thought I’d scored big (I had sorta) but trying to keep them organized sure was a pain.

One thing that Alejandra pointed out in the video was that compulsive shoppers will often not only buy an item but they will buy it in several colors if one item fits them.  Oh – this is so me.  I have bought multiples of the same style of shirt, sweater or skirt so many times that I have lost track.  I will not buy certain colors if I know they don’t look good on me – but show me one really nice top in ten different colors and odds are good I’ll want to buy 7 or 8 of them to add to my wardrobe.  That can be a good thing – if your wardrobe is a reasonable size – or it can be a bad thing – if your clothing overflows all your available storage areas.

As I shared, I signed up for her program a few days ago and then got ill.  During the few lucid times I had where I just could not sleep any longer but had no energy to get out of bed, I spent some time thinking about various things I’d watched and read.  About 2:30 am one morning – it hit me – where this whole addiction to shopping started and why I am so tied to it.

When I was very young, probably between 5 years old and 9 years old, my mother and I used to go into the next town every weekend to do our laundry.  The laundry place was right next to a “5 and Dime” store…I think the name was Grant’s.  In order to keep me busy and from bugging her while mom was focusing on getting the laundry into machines, etc. – she often gave me some money to go into the store and buy myself a treat.  I imagine she figured it was a small price to pay for a few moments of peace from a fidgety child.

I don’t remember how much she would give me – perhaps a dollar sometimes – other times perhaps it was .50 or so. I just remember going into the store and wandering up and down the aisles and staring at all of the various items available for purchase. Sometimes I waited all week just sure I knew what I would be buying the following week – only to change my mind because something new had caught my eye.

I’ve seen a few of the junky trinkets I bought for my dad around the Father’s Day holiday….and I know they had to come from that store.  I wish I remembered more of what I bought….but I don’t.

But what I do remember is how much my mom (and my grandmother whenever she was visiting) would ooh and aah over my “treasures” I’d found at the store. They would look at them and praise them and comment on how they’d never noticed the item in the store before.

Wow.  I stood there almost preening before them – because I had done something good and I took all of that feedback as praise.

At some point, we got a washer and dryer in our basement (and that was a big thing) and my days of “hunting for treasure” were limited…until my pre-teen and early teen years when we discovered the local antique (aka USED) bookstore. I loved to read and I especially loved OLD books and old Bibles.  Once again, finding unusual treasures in this store was one way to get positive feedback from my mother.

I’m sitting here in tears as I write this because I realize now that the one thing that kept me from getting my mom’s ultimate approval as a homemaker – my clutter – came about largely because the only way I could get her approval as a youngster was finding “treasures” in the stores and sharing the excitement of the purchase with her.

I truly never connected the dots until moments ago…..and it hurts so bad to see that what brought me my mom’s approval and attention so long ago – eventually – drove us apart and kept me from not only getting her approval – but having the life I think I may have truly wanted if I’d only known enough to stop seeking attention from showing off my purchases.

I want to write more on this later – possibly tonight or tomorrow – because something happened this last weekend that showed me that some stuff is ok and good…but I need to gather my thoughts together.

And right now…I’m too busy sitting here crying.

God bless you all – I’ll write more when I can.

Oh – Alejandra’s site for those who are interested –

Posted by: pegspeaks | January 1, 2014

(RESPONSE) To Jodi – about lack of time

Jodi posted a few minutes ago:

What do you do when you just don’t have time?  I feel like I have so little ‘me’ time and when I do, I don’t want to clean.

For instance I get up at 6:00 am and am literally on the move from then until 7 or 8 at night.  During this time, I’ve washed dishes numerous times, went to work, walked the dogs, made supper and set the coffee for the next day.  BTW, I need to mention that walking the dogs is time I consider ‘me’ time.

But when I sit down after all that, I typically have a blog post to ready and then it is bed time.  Consequently the majority of my weekend is spent attending to other areas of the house and running errands.

First of all Jodi, I hope you know that I am NOT a cleaning expert nor am I am organizational expert by any means.  My issues have always been the opposite – I have so much time – how do I decide what time to use to clean?

I want to share some tips I learned years ago.  I used to love to take cassette tape sets out of the library and listen to motivational speakers on how to do more/be more, etc. One speaker (I forget which one) shared the 4 D’s of Life Management.  I’ve been thinking about doing a blog entry about it later on – but here is a bit of what it is.

When you look at the things you need to do – filter them through the four D’s I’m listing below.

DROP – which of these items could be dropped?  Does everything on your list really NEED to be done?  Are you working off a current, reasonable homemaking list (in this case) or trying to live with standards that were set back in the days when moms were home full-time and spent hours cleaning their silverware and washing windows every week, etc?

DELAY – are there items on the list that can be delayed?  Perhaps you’re trying to wash the car every week – could it be done once a month instead?

DELEGATE – who can share the burden?  I know you don’t have kids at home anymore – but you have a spouse.  What responsibilities could he help share?  (Perhaps he already does – I don’t know).  Perhaps you need to offer a plan like this, “Honey, if you will do these two errands this Saturday morning while I’m doing these three things – then we can go see that movie you want that afternoon.”  You get the idea.  Show him the benefits of helping you if he takes on some of the responsibilities.

DO – that’s right…eventually you get down to doing the things that you can’t drop, delay or delegate.    But hopefully, by doing those things – you’ve lightened your list a bunch.


Now to share how Flylady handles things.  I love how she does it – she has broken the home into “zones” and each area of the house has ONE WEEK of the month when you focus on that room with short missions.

But then she also has a “basic weekly plan” of what gets done every week to keep the house looking nice.

Here is her basic weekly plan for cleaning the house:

Weekly Home Blessing Day

This is the day you spend an hour doing basic cleaning in your house. There are seven parts to a Weekly Home Blessing Hour:

  1. Cull/toss old magazines
  2. Change sheets
  3. Empty all the trash
  4. Vacuum all rooms
  5. Mop kitchen and bath
  6. Clean mirrors and doors
  7. Dust

You have to understand that she CAN do all this in one hour because she has taken the time to declutter her home.  She has also taken the time to figure out the “deep-cleaning” part and doing it once a month.

Now I don’t know how large your home is – I know I have a three bedroom home and we only use two bedrooms and our kitchen/dining room/bath areas. I probably can’t do all that in an hour – especially the dust here in Texas…ha ha.  But I could do that spread out over two days a week spending an hour per day.

Let me share what Flylady has down for this week’s “zone” of in depth cleaning:

Zone 1: Mission #1 Wednesday

Dear Friends:

We are in Zone 1 for the rest of this week; that is the Front Porch,
the Entrance area and the Dining Room.

Today you are to sweep your front porch area around your front door.
Shake out your welcome mats and wipe down your front door. This
makes a huge difference in how your home looks. We have a tendency
to neglect this area and yet it is the first thing that people see
when they come to your home.  Some of you might not be able to do this
mission due to weather issues – if so wipe down the inside of your front

Spend 15 minutes taking care of this, you will be pleased with the

Zone 1: Mission #2 Thursday

Dear Friends:

Today take a look at the walls and the windows in your dining room.
Grab some cleaner and a cloth and go after the finger prints and
smudges that those mysterious little elves seem to leave behind as
they run through your house when no one is looking! LOL

Be careful with the walls as not to rub too hard to remove paint if
you have a flat finish.

Zone 1: Mission #3 Friday

Dear Friends:

We are heading into the Entrance area of your home today. Let’s grab
all those shoes, books and jackets that seem to pile up right by the
front door and put them away. In my house, no one ever drops their
things there, they get up and walk there all by themselves! LOL!
Grab these things and set your timer. I bet you can do this in less
than 15 minutes.

Here is a link to her detailed cleaning list for this zone:

Note her opening comments though:

This is my detailed cleaning list for Zone 1. Ensure you adapt it to fit your home and family. If you are still decluttering, you are not ready for this whole list, concentrate on decluttering only! BabySteps! – FlyLady


My final thoughts are this Jodi….are you struggling because your expectations are too high….or you have too much clutter that makes it hard to take care of the home….or do you have so many other commitments that you don’t have time for the home?

Could it be that instead of trying to do it all – you need to either lighten your load somewhere else or find a way to perhaps hire a teenage girl (or guy) to come in once a month on a Saturday morning and help you out?

Are there some of the other responsibilities that you have that can be lightened…like having a meal plan in place so you don’t have to figure out what to cook each night (or doing a 30 day cooking type thing so you have meals mostly predone in advance)?

I’m going to be brave today…I’m going to take a picture of our clean kitchen counter to share with y’all ….and I’m also going to take a picture of our breakfast bar (which I’m hoping to clean off today) and share the difference.  I think you will be able to look at them both and understand the difference in time it takes to clean the two because of the clutter difference.

By the way – don’t discount the other things in your life that you do – like your blog.  I have been working on a blog post about other bloggers I know and how we’ve all been called to do our blogs differently and I was going to use you as an example of someone who inspires me to want to keep blogging.  Your commitment to your blog – to being so faithful to it – and the way you interact with other bloggers and connect as a network – is a MAJOR inspiration to me.  So please – do not put your blog on the drop, delay or delegate list!  :D

Posted by: pegspeaks | January 1, 2014

(Homemaking) The Current Plan

I was just writing about the kitchen and the mental and physical clutter that I faced.  I thought I’d share what plans I feel like the Lord has been laying on my heart.  They have been sort of floating around and I haven’t yet been able to totally corral them into a coherent form…so please bear with me.

I’ve decided to start by focusing on my kitchen.  My kitchen is a disaster (but it is getting better).  I’m currently working on going through and decluttering my counter tops, frig top, window sill and breakfast bar so I can set a level of standard that I consider “basic clean” and can take a picture of to have for reference.

My goal for the kitchen is filled with multiple steps and processes and systems.  I’m currently working at switching over almost all of our grocery items to Tupperware’s Modular Mates which are on sale this week for a very good discount.  As a Tupperware consultant, I was able to buy one of each set at a huge discount (and some were combinations of sets) and I did so.  I’m actually going to order again this weekend –  I think to order one last grouping of odds and ends of pieces at my sample prices (I am limited to one of each at the sample price) to finish off getting the supplies for this project.  I love what I am seeing and I’m looking forward to sharing pictures with you soon.  So I’m hoping in the next week or so to share some pics of my new and improved kitchen.

I’m also going through and getting rid of multiple mugs and odds and ends of plates, etc. that mean nothing to us.  I want to pare down what we have to fill but not overfill the space we have.

As for routines, I want to start to follow part of Flylady’s routines.  I shared a link on facebook (and I’ll share it here in a bit) about how Flylady literally changed her life in 9 months by just changing one thing in her life each month.  I first read her essay in 1999 and was moved to tears.  Every time I read it now – I am reminded that change IS possible.  One of the first things she has people do is to “shine their sink” (and keep up with their dishes) because if the kitchen sink is cleaned and shiny…you are less likely to clutter up the counter tops, etc.   So I want to start with the habit of going to bed with a shiny sink (and dishes washing in the dishwasher) and then getting up in the morning and unloading the dishwasher and having a clean sink and counter top throughout the day.  I also want to start with her before-bed routine and early morning routine – both for the home and for me personally.  As time goes on, I will add more things – but baby steps are what I need right now.

In addition, I found a 52 week decluttering calendar that I am going to follow.  I will share the link below. I’ve looked at few of the various challenges and they seem fairly easy and since she is working in the kitchen in January – as I will be – it looks like a great match for me.

In addition, I love Nony in “A Slob Comes Clean” and she’s one of the few cleaning websites I follow.  At times I may do something she shares about.

My goals for January – for the kitchen – are to get it to a point where it is continually organized – where we have regular meals and hopefully where I’ll be making a regular meal plan – and where I’ve decluttered not only the stuff you can see – but also some of my attitudes and thoughts about being a homemaker and working in the kitchen as part of serving my family.  I hope to share some photos too (maybe – if I get brave enough).

I probably won’t get to “deep” decluttering till February or later this year if I move to the bedroom for February.

But for January – THE KITCHEN!

Links I recommend:

Flylady’s testimony:

52 week home organizing challenge:

Flylady’s Launch Pad:

My favorite cleaning blog:

Well – as I type this – it is 2 hours to go till January 1, 2014.  Hard to believe its already time for a new year.  For the first time in a long time – I’m looking forward to it.

I hope to share more as the journey starts!

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