Friday, April 30, 2010

Mission Organization: Part 2 Managing Your Mail

If you are like me you love to get mail! An exciting part of my day is walking to the mailbox and seeing what is inside, especially if I am expecting something! However, it can quickly pile up and become a daunting task deciding what to do with it all. I am excited to have found The 15 Minute Organizer, a book by Emilie Barnes, that a great friend let me borrow. I was overjoyed to find a chapter on "How to Manage Your Mail." I am hoping that the advice I found in this chapter will help me change my "mail messy" ways for good!

Barnes gives us three easy steps in organizing our mail.
1.) Designate an area where you open and process your mail.
2.) Don't let it pile up. Make sure you go through your mail daily and determine what is important and what can be thrown away.
3.) Make decisions--don't put it down, put it away, and don't be a mail scooter. I fit into this category. I have a pile of mail that usually ends up on my kitchen island and then when I clean I end up moving the pile or "scooting" it up to my study/office.

Barnes advises to make categories:
  • Throwaway mail-junk mail, advertisements, etc.
  • Mail you need to read, but don't have time for now
  • Mail you need to file away, such as bills, insurance papers, and receipts.
  • Mail you need to ask someone about--husband, children, etc.
  • Mail that needs a phone call.
  • Mail to be answered. Personal letters, forms to be filled out and returned, RSVP's for invitations.
All of these categories can be labeled on a file folder and put into a file box or cabinet. I have decided to put mine in folders but keep them in a desktop organizer so they are easily accessible. With file folders we still need to be aware of piles ups as now they will be out of sight, just don't put them out of mind.

I like some of the tips that Barnes gives.
  • Toss the junk mail. It is a time waster, just toss it. Don't fall into the trap of "I might use this or need this someday," because you very likely will not.
  • I love this idea! When you don't have time to read publications, place them in a file folder and take them with you in the car. When you have time to read them (waiting at the doctor's office, for children, or even in a long line) you can have time to catch up on your mail reading.
  • Make address changes immediately upon receipt! I often will say I will make the change later and then when I need the new address the paper is missing. If you do it immediately this will not occur.
  • An RSVP should be answered as soon as you know your plans. This is a common courtesy to the host or hostess.
  • Mark dates on your calendar as soon as they arrive. Also write down birthdays, appointments, and other significant reminders immediately. With our busy lives it is best to not rely on our memories!
Taken from The 15 Minute Organizer by Emilie Barnes. Pages 206-207.

Now onto what I did. I searched online and found some great ideas for organizing mail. Some varied in price. One of my favorite ideas I found at the Container Store. It is a stainless steal magnetic wall pocket. You could then put the file folders in here and hang it on a wall or refrigerator. It costs $21.99 at the container store. However, when I was at Target today (I love that store), I found a desk organizer for $4.99 and pretty file folders (to make it fun) for $3.99 (for 12 folders). So for a total of $9.00 I am set! Here is my set up! I love sliding the mail into its corresponding spot, especially since the folders are so fun! I have never had any kind of folder other than the plain manilla folders. I just might be able to keep this system running!

I would love to hear your tips and tricks on organizing mail. Leave me a comment!
Happy Organizing!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A God Walk

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

Max, Cooper and I loaded up the stroller and took a walk. The sole purpose of this walk was to take in the beauty and splendor of our Lord Jesus Christ. I called it a God Walk. I told Max to point out everything to me that God made. It was a great teaching time as well as a great time of reminding us of all the God has made and all that He does for us. I took the camera and told him we would take pictures of everything that God made and then we would make a book out of it. It was so sweet to hear him telling me, "Mommy, God made the grass...trees...

flowers......water, and birds (we couldn't get a close up picture of a bird)!...
...and Cooper and me!
For me it was a great time to focus on God and His creation and to not focus on myself and what I needed to get done that day. So take a moment, get outside, and be thankful for everything God has made!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Are you singing the song in your head....or out loud yet? I can hear it! Well, it is the number one thing that you can give your man. I have been reading the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. This book looks at what you need to know about the inner lives of men. I'm sure you are all going to be racing out to get this one after hearing the subtitle. I believe Chapter 2 is a huge thing for all of us as women to understand. The chapter is titled "Your Love Is Not Enough." Respect means more to our husbands that even our love. They definitely want our love, but without our respect, the love doesn't mean anything to him.

Feldhahn surveyed many men and asked them "If you had to choose, would you rather feel alone and unloved in the world OR would you rather feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?" Men hands done said they would rather feel unloved and alone. Women asked this same question said they would rather feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. While women need need respect, especially from his woman, his partner in life. Actually the men surveyed felt that the two choices were not even different. "What that translates to is this: If you want to love your man in the way he needs to be loved, then you need to ensure that he feels your respect most of all." To do that here are a few interesting tidbits that might help us.

-Anger is often a man's response to feeling disrespected.

-Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love toward us even if they don't feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect.

Need #1 Respect his judgement. Our men deeply need us to respect their knowledge, opinions, and decisions. This means don't question their knowledge or the argue with their decisions all the time. Feldhahn said, "Several men confessed that they felt like their opinions and decisions were actively valued in every area of their lives except at home. Some men felt their comrades at work trusted their judgment more than their own wives did." This is very sad to me. I don't want my husband to feel this way. I was to make sure that I respect his judgment.

Need #2 Respect his abilities- Men have the strong need to be able to figure things out for themselves. I can relate here, because I am someone who likes to try to figure things out too. I know how I feel if someone starts to questions whether I can do something or if I know how. It makes me feel really small. This is what it does to our men too. Even if you get lost and your man is at the wheel...let him figure it out. Don't insist that he pull over and ask someone for directions.

Need #3 Respect in communication. "Women hold an incredible power in the way we communicate with our men (both husbands and sons) to build them up or to tear them down, to encourage or to exasperate."

-Some things just push a man's buttons. This goes beyond what we say--and into how we say it.

A large number of men also read something negative into the simple female reminder. More than one-third of these men took that reminder as nagging or as an accusation of laziness or mistrust. Remember the verse Proverbs 21:9 that says, "Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife."

Need #4 Respect in public. Ladies this means building him up in front of others not tearing him down or teasing him. Be respectful even when he is absent. Showing public respect goes a long way.

Need #5 Respect in our assumptions. This means always assuming the best of him and not the worst. For some reason, it is easy for us as woman to jump to conclusions and assume things.

The bottom line "a man's heart is powerfully touched by a few simple words: 'I'm so proud of you.'" Remember this and tell him often. Affirm your man, he needs that affirmation from you more than anyone else. He is the man you choose to do life with. Love on him. Respect him. I love what Feldhahn says on page 50, "If a man's wife believes in him, he can conquer the world--or at least his little corner of it."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild-Come Read With Me!

"Be careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise." Ephesians 5:15

Hey Girls! I am going to be reading the book Girls Gone Wise in World Gone Wild! I am hoping that you all will join me. The book is by Mary Kassian and she is going to be doing a video blog twice a week to go along with the book. It sounds like a lot of fun. Here is a little note from her below.I’m inviting you to study the “Girls Gone Wise” book online with me on the Girls Gone Wise Video Book Blog. The Video Book Blog will start on May 18, 2010, right here on, and also on We’ll study the book chapter by chapter. Twice a week, I’ll post a new video blog. You can watch the video blog, read the corresponding chapter, answer some questions for personal reflection, and discuss the chapter online with others. It’s a great way to learn. Plan to join in–it’ll be a lot of fun!

I just ordered my book off of and it was only $10.19. I hope you will all want to join me! I will also be posting on this blog my responses to the book, and would love to have you all do so as well and have an ongoing dialogue/discussion about the book. Let me know if you are thinking about joining me! Go to the website Girls Gone Wise if you would like to check it out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mission Organization: Part 1 Hall Closet Catch-All

Do you have a spot that is the catch all place? You know, a go to spot for clutter? The place where when you don't know where something should go, you go put it there. Well, this place for me is the coat closet. I wanted to do a little organizing. It was about time (as you can see from the picture). It was confirmed to me after we had our dinners for six group over to our house for dinner. Chris opened the closet to hang up their coats and there was no where to hang them. Yikes! So, I'm about to let you take a peek at what it looked like before. Oh, this is hard for me. Here goes....Okay, I did it. Look at that floor. It was in need of a makeover, bad. So, I decided to do something about it. For only $7.47 (for this hanging organizer) I organized the entire closet..... ....and it looks like this now! Tah dah! What do you think?First I started off by taking everything out of the closet and making piles. Three piles to be exact: throw away, keep, and give away. Then everything that needed to go back in I started to organize. This hanging organizer is a great way to organize all of the hats, gloves, and scarfs. Each family member has a shelf (I have two...what can I say I'm the only girl in the family;) I can't take the credit for this awesome idea I saw it in the January issue of Parents Magazine! Here's some close ups.

This is another great idea...which is not my own either. I place all of my gift bags (for all occasions) in this plastic tub. Whenever I have a gift that needs wrapped I go to the closet and get in the tub. Think of all the money you will save not buying gift bags for every gift. Recycle!I am so glad my closet is now organized. The other day I walked over to it to hang up a jacket and almost jumped a foot backward as I was in complete shock at how organized it was. It made me smile!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whispers of Encouragement

"I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of His power." Ephesians 3:7

Be Available for God's Work

You simply have to be yourself--at any age--as God made you,
available to Him so that He can work in and through you to bring about
His kingdom and His glory.

Luci Swindoll
(From the book Whispers of Encouragement--Daily Encouragement for Women)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Strawberries! Kids in the Kitchen

Max and I made a fun treat on Friday afternoon that I thought I would share with you. It is a great recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen. It was fast, easy, and cleanup was quick! Here is everything you need.Strawberries
Strawberry Marshmallows
Baker's Dipping Chocolate
Wax Paper

First you need to follow the directions on the back of the Baker's Dipping Chocolate. When it is melted you are ready to go!
2. Put a strawberry marshmallow on a skewer and dip in the chocolate
3. Sprinkle the chocolate marshmallow and then lay it on the waxed paper. When you complete the chocolate process on the desired amount of marshmallows place the waxed paper full of chocolate marshmallows in the refrigerator to harden (approximately 10-15 minutes). 4. When ready wash the strawberries and place a fresh strawberry on the skewer with the marshmallow. Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hard Truths That Hit Close To Home

A word from our guest blogger Amy Vance.

Have you ever been hit with a really hard truth from God? I'm sure we all have. I'm in the process of learning a difficult lesson about something that hits very close to home. In my home if you want to be technical about it. Let me start at the beginning...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my family! I have a wonderful husband that I'm very much in love with. I have a beautiful little girl that I absolutely adore. I think about them all the time: 1st thing in the morning, all day long and as I'm falling asleep at night. I want to make sure they have everything they need to make life as good and easy for them as possible. I want our home to be a place they enjoy being-safe, clean, and comfortable. I want them to eat well and have the best food they can get (within my abilities, of course) and for them to be healthy and happy. I think about all the best ways to teach my daughter to be kind, loving, respectful and to one day follow after Jesus. I think about how to make time for my husband, to be attentive to him and let him know that in the midst of everything he is loved. After all, I'm a mom. That's our job. We think about these things (and so many others)-ALL THE TIME, ALL DAY, EVERYDAY. And when we aren't thinking about keeping them happy, healthy, well-fed, safe and loved we're worrying about what else we could have done better or differently. And when that's done we start thinking about what they'll need for tomorrow! Am I speaking to anyone, here?

This is where the difficult lesson comes in...I'll do my best to explain. I read a passage of scripture out of Matthew that really stepped on my toes. Matthew 10:37 says, "The person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." Ouch! Then I came across Luke 14:26 which says, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, and even his own life-he cannot be My disciple." What did He say? Hate my family?!? Why would he say that? Aren't we supposed to love others? And wouldn't that especially apply to our very own families?

Here's the deal. The amount of love we have for our families should look like hate compared to the love we have for Christ. He wants all of us. He wants us to make Him our very top priority. And the fact of the matter is, the Bible says that God is Love. And that's not love as a verb, but love as a noun. He IS love. Without Him there is no love at all. But that's not where the lesson has ended for me. I started thinking about how I had put my family in the position that God should have been in my life: #1. And you know what the cold, hard fact about that is? I've made my own family into an idol that I had begun to worship. No, I haven't built an alter to my husband or my daughter in my basement or anything. But they had consumed more of my thought life, my time and my affections than God had.

Now, remember what I said before about God being love? The crazy thing about all of this is that by putting my family first I've actually robbed them of the most spectacular love I could ever give them. You see, when I put God first in my life, He fills me and He gives me a capacity to love far more than I could ever do on my own. What a weird cycle: by esteeming my family and not the Father, I've actually taken away from the love I could be giving them.

So my mission, that I'm choosing to accept, is to love my family the way God intended me to love them. I'm trying to put them in their proper place in my heart and that is right after my Savior!
Amy resides in a suburb of Kansas City. She is a Bible study teacher, wife of a pastor, and mother of one sweet little girl!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

He's Alive!

"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness...Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD." Psalm 150:1-2, 6 NIV

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter. I did. It was a great day for me. Sunday service was probably the first time since Cooper was born that I was able to worship and enjoy the service without any distractions! I left service that morning feeling uplifted and encouraged.

I thought we would discuss what Easter means to us. This year Chris and I really tried to communicate the true meaning of Easter to Max. I'm not saying the "bunny," eggs and candy are bad. I just wanted to make sure that these were not the first thing Max would think of when he heard the word Easter.

To me Easter is a time to remember what Jesus did for us. Through Jesus we see the ultimate sacrifice of His life for each one of our lives. He paid the price so we would not have to. He did this so we can live forever with Him. All we have to do is simply believe that He is our Lord and Savior, and live for Him.

Easter is also a time to celebrate the miracle! He is Alive, ("Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." Mark 16:5-7). I love that it is no coincidence that Easter happens at the start of spring when new life is witnessed in everything we see. The old is gone (winter), and the new has come (spring). Just like when we give our lives to Jesus we are a new creation. The old is gone!

Lastly, it is a time to ask myself if I'm doing my part? Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. What is my job to help His message fulfilled? To tell others! A sweet friend who has been in ministry for many years recently told us (at a gathering) that in one of her first years of ministry a little boy came to her and motioned for her to bend down. He whispered in her ear on Easter morning, "He's Alive! Tell someone!" It gave me chills. Something so simple, but that is our mission here on this earth!

So, as you walk along the way remember this..."HE'S ALIVE, TELL SOMEONE." Please share any other thoughts you would like to share about Easter and what it means to you.