A little theology of vacuuming


The whole house was done. I got the last few corners of my bedroom and began to wind up the cord.

I am so happy.

My favorite house chore complete again. Of all the tasks left undone for weeks, vacuuming is not one of them.

So happy. Happy?

My thoughts were provoked.

This floor will be messed up in days. Where will my happiness be then?

It’s not wrong to have a good feeling from something being clean or put in order. But where did this love come from? Is there a deeper reason I enjoy the finished product of vacuuming?

I believe, yes! Created in God’s image, made in the likeness of the One who operates with complete order and beauty – this is from Him! And He is a source of happiness that will never end.

Of course it’s not wrong to feel happy about a house that is vacuumed. But let temporal happiness point you to something eternal. Shouldn’t that be one of the permanent benefits of our daily work? Take note of that love of order; revel in the One who gave it to you.

Worship the Lord for being made in His image. Worship Him for the common grace of loving the things He loves. Worship Him for giving us meaningful work and for the ability to enjoy it. Worship Him for being the One who does everything perfectly.

The list could go on. And after worship there is thankfulness.

Thankful for a vacuum. Thankful for energy and time. Thankful for people to vacuum after. Thankful for a house to vacuum.

Good theology takes you so much farther than temporal good feelings. It challenges you to know what is true about God and to see yourself in light of Him.

Everything true and beautiful about Him will remain even when the floor is messed up again. And that is something to be eternally happy about.

It never ends


“Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.”

For what it’s worth, I will still take the woman’s work; however, this post is not actually about the unending demands on wives or moms.

It is about the faithfulness of God. A precious truth that has become my constant friend. Of all the reasons to know and love the Old Testament, to let it speak for itself – this is one of the best. Over and over we see the faithfulness of God brilliantly displayed against the darkness of human faithlessness.

It used to be that in the mornings (if I was even spiritually together enough to meditate), I would try to think of things that would help me do or think what I thought  I should while making breakfast or getting the kids ready. And then a bowl of oatmeal would hit the floor, or a toddler would have an accident while I was nursing, or I would realize that we had no clean clothes to wear for the fourth day in a row, and before you know it I was thinking  things like I will never get caught up. I am so bad at this. I should have gotten up earlier to read my Bible. I should have joy no matter what. 

One morning by God’s great grace (manifested no doubt in some really good teaching and preaching of His Word at my church) it occurred to me that I should just think about the faithfulness of God. Forget thinking about all the things I couldn’t seem to do, forget about the possibility that I may never do them well, forget even for the moment about my desire to be faithful – just think about the faithfulness of God. To Abraham. To Joseph. At the Red Sea. At the walls of Jericho. Even throughout captivity. Over and over we see the steadfast love of God in His covenant-keeping faithfulness.

Honestly, that first time there wasn’t even an immediate application; it was just a rest. Just enough joy for the ordinary tasks ahead. I do remember some lame thought like Wow, that really helped.

Now I seem to need it more in the evening during those last hours before the kids go to bed. I’m so tired and yet I want to value every moment with them and then the baby is fussy while two are downstairs painting (by my consent – why?), and two are getting out of the shower, and the toddler I just bathed is sure she needs to use the restroom and threatening to take off her pajamas and accompanying diaper while I’m just trying to get this baby to stop crying and… (that was tonight). Unfortunately there is no eject button, neither is there a magic machine that will smoothly put the children to bed when you really don’t think you can take any more. So what do you think? Think about the faithfulness of God. It has never ended, and it never will. And with the faith that you have, ask Him to help you be faithful.

And He does.

From your first thought in the morning to the time you’re trying to relax before bed, He is faithful. All through the night and through every stage of life.

His faithfulness never ends.

The flower fades


These flowers have been such a blessing to me!

I’ve enjoyed their beauty and been cheered by, well… their cheerfulness.


It doesn’t hurt that they sit right by my rocker so I get to look at them quite frequently while caring for Owen.


Today I can’t stop thinking about how the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever. How blessed we are to have God’s Word in our language, our laps, our devices, and our hearts.

Oh for grace to fill my life and mind and home more with this eternal beauty and treasure!



Dollars like Pine Straw


It was a few short months before we would move. We were under contract with our house, but still using “if” and “maybe” terms with the girls just in case something fell through. Boxes were piling up and our already crowded living space was growing smaller by the day.

Some days I just couldn’t take it anymore and would announce to the girls, “Put your shoes on! We’re going outside.” It didn’t really matter if it was lunch time, nap time, something-else-important time, we would go out. One of the girls favorite places to go was the tennis courts. They could run around, play kickball (sort of), play baseball ( no apparent relation to the game you and I know), or sing the latest national anthem they had composed.

The little girls would often tire of the organized games the older girls attempted to play and begin to find fun of their own.


I was sitting there holding Zoe in a sleepy wrap, a little hot and so much on my mind. Gracie ran up to me with a piece of pine straw.

“Here! This is two dollars. You can buy a house with this!” she said with excitement.

I laughed. “I think we’ll need a little more than that.”

“Okay. No problem.” She ran off merrily.


It became a great game. She and Mckayla would hunt pine straw all over the tennis court and bring it to me for various things. Dollars for a house, dollars for food, dollars to buy the girlies a present, dollars for McDonald’s…

I received it all with great excitement – “thanks!”

I think I also received a gentle little reminder from the Lord.


Dollars really are like pine straw. He can find them wherever He wants and give or take them at His good pleasure. As silly as it is for my girls to pretend like a few needles of pine straw could pay for a house, it’s equally silly for humans to think that we can or cannot manage whatever God places in our path.

It’s easy to turn our attention once again to dollars at this Christmas season; but this is just a little reminder for me and maybe for you that our God really does own the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. The whole universe is at His disposal.

Our thoughts, plans, or worries regarding money – to Him might as well be pine straw.


Remember this {on bouncing back}


About this time last week, I was down. Down on housekeeping, down on homeschooling… cooking, kids, you name it.

When I look around and find myself so dissatisfied with what I see, feeling helpless to turn any of it around, I’m often forgetting some extenuating circumstances.

In this particular case, my husband just graduating from seminary! A four-year long culmination for him. Not to mention more than a week of careful preparation on my part to insure that everything went smoothly that weekend so we could fully enjoy celebrating together.

So yes, there were rotten bananas on the counter that just hadn’t gotten made into banana bread. The laundry that had been so carefully taken care of before Friday had once again spiraled out of control. The two-year-old who had completely mastered potty training started having accidents out in public when I had no extra clothes and no idea what to do about the mess.

But accidents and dirty laundry and rotten bananas are not the point. The point is that I let these things convince me that I’m a complete wreck who will never get it right no matter how hard I try. Which is completely untrue. What is true is that I am a very average homemaker who most of the time keeps everything in line enough so that our family can run smoothly and enjoy each other, who some of the time can do above that, and who sometimes bottoms out and lives in a very messy house for a few days before bouncing back.

When you’re pregnant and there’s big a big abnormal life event, you might have to just rest for a few days. And no, your housework will not get done while you’re resting. And that’s okay.

Because somehow, in some way, I usually bounce back. It’s not normally from the big, all day, get-this-place-cleaned-up times I dream of; it’s usually in very small, indiscernible steps. Then one day I look around, and things have gotten better.

This applies to so many areas of my life. Just after having a baby is a big one. Or when baby has to start eating solid food. Sometimes it’s not just the physical settings of a messy house, testy kids, disorganized homeschooling, or never-ending schedules, sometimes it can be spiritual growth (or the lack thereof), strained relationships, or cloudy moods that evoke those feelings of hopelessness. It’s hard to convince yourself that those circumstances won’t last forever, but really those “lows” are most often just as temporary as the equal and opposite “highs.”

It might be the next week, the next month or the next year, but most of the time if you wait long enough, things will bounce back.

Maybe I’ll remember for next time. = )


Just wanted to say a quick hello to you, the readers! This may be the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without blogging! We did indeed have a lovely and touching graduation. God blessed and everything was smooth and wonderful. It’s hard to believe that sweet time of life has come to an end. We currently have three days of homeschooling left before we finish our first year. And then, it’s get ready for all things baby! Somehow that has given me the itch to rearrange everything in the house. = ) I am woefully behind on sharing pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will have some ready for this Saturday. Until then or whenever, thank you so much for reading and for your sweet support. 

A little homeschooling update

A week before our trip to Louisville, I realized we were on target to finish school right when I wanted to! (two weeks before the end of May, right before Paul’s graduation)


I thought about putting something on Facebook and then thought, No, as soon as I do that something will happen and we’ll get all thrown off.

I knew we were going to Louisville, but had meticulously planned our lessons and worksheets to do while we were there. Ha! I didn’t take into account a Monday of packing and driving, a Tuesday of driving, a Wednesday and Thursday of playing, and a Friday of driving. Good work, genius. We accomplished exactly one lesson.

So we lost a week. No big problem. The family time was totally worth it. And, I’d realized that most of the major concepts for the year have already been taught so it’s really not a big deal to make up some days here and there. Besides, my big goal was to finish by the end of May. We could not make up anything and still beat that goal by a week.

Second thing I didn’t count on: all of us getting sick. For a week. Most noticeably, Hopey.

I have to say that while I will take colds, fevers, and exhaustion every time over stomach bugs, we were all pretty pathetic that next week.

So just like that, we lost two weeks of school.

Thankfully, last week we had a wonderful, normal week of school. It’s amazing how much you remember you love something after you step away from it for awhile. (even unintentionally)

Now we have exactly four weeks of school left to finish in the four weeks of May.

I want to finish strong *obviously*. But I also feel like these last four weeks could be an opportunity to do some more fun things as we practice and review what has been learned this year.

Last week we did school at the park on Monday. The girls had to line up, answer a question or do some sort of something before going down the slide and coming back for another question. It was a blast!

I admit that I’m looking through the daily worksheets very carefully and sometimes crossing off exercises that I feel are unnecessary at this point. Also, we are going to concentrate heavily on neatness in writing these last four weeks. Hope has learned her cursive letters so well! But it’s easy to get lazy after writing so many times, so again, I’m going to lighten the load a little bit and encourage her to do every word and every sentence as neatly as possible.

We are halfway through our Louis Braille biography and plan to finish that as well. It’s so fun to take turns reading. We completely slaughter all the French names. = /

Hopefully we will be able to do our art projects more consistently and also do more baking or fun extra things.

Looking ahead, I’m making lists of what to order for next year. It’s strange to me that even at the end of this year, that really excites me. Sophia can not wait to start kindergarten. She asked if she could start the day after Hopey finishes. = ) I’m really excited about teaching them together.

So there you have the status of our formal education around here. We’re praying for wisdom and perseverance to finish this first year of homeschooling well.

Wish I could take credit for these cool flags being a part of homeschooling. However, it's one of the things the girls figured out on their own while Mommy was napping in the afternoon. = ) Can you tell what countries they represent?
Wish I could take credit for these cool flags being a part of homeschooling. However, it’s one of the things the girls figured out on their own while Mommy was napping in the afternoon. = ) Can you tell what countries they represent?

Are you finished? Finishing? Still have a ways to go? Do tell. = )

Spring Cleaning purge: 7 bags in a week

Here’s the plan for kickstarting my spring cleaning this year. I wrote here that I was motivated to do a purge of the house before even starting to clean. So for seven days (starting today) we’re going to try to get rid of one 30 gallon trash bag of stuff.

Some of these will be trash; some will be Salvation Army, freecycle, or kids consignment. In fact, I already have a huge Salvation Army bag taking up room in the closet so that will be easy – just drop it off!

The point is to stop being frustrated by stuff that’s in the way and just get rid of it!

For instance, today is out of date coupon inserts. It shouldn’t take that long, but oh the room in the file cabinet that will be made for other papers currently cluttering up other places!

Sound like a plan? I’ll try to keep you posted on how it goes! If you feel like joining in on the great pre-spring-cleaning-purge-7-large-trash-bags-of-stuff-in-a-week campaign, let me know!

Pre-Spring Cleaning Purge

My number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy


It humors me slightly that I just wrote that title when I feel like I’m not getting anything done during this pregnancy. But in retrospect, that’s not exactly true; and feelings are never the best barometer of progress.

So in the interest of keeping things short for those who have a lot to do and not much time to do it, here it is.

My number one tip for getting things done during pregnancy is if you feel like doing something, do it!

I surely hope your world isn’t so small and fragile that it is now shattered. This is not rocket science, but it has been a huge help to me.

Case and point, in case you’re not quite tracking (I wouldn’t be either yet), every now and then I put the girls in bed and think, I’ve got twenty minutes until Paul comes home, I could clean a bathroom. If that thought even enters my mind, boom! I’m going to do it. Because honestly, the next time I have that time, or energy, or inclination… it could be in three weeks.

Disclaimer: I don’t always wait for a feeling to do something and I do try to clean the bathrooms more often than every three weeks.

That being said, energy really does come and go on a whim during pregnancy; if you’re motivated to do something go ahead and get it done.

Many times the next day I will think, I could not possibly do that right now! I’m so glad I did it when I thought about it. 

This can apply to housework, errands, doing something special with your kids, meals, just about anything.

Well, that probably didn’t change your life, but there’s enough awesome stuff out there that can do that, right?

What is your number one rule for getting things done during pregnancy?

Housekeeping and the Second Law of Thermodynamics


It’s only been about a year now since I’ve realized a very encouraging principle for a very discouraging reality.

We all know that certain jobs will never be done. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. have to be done over and over. However, I used to get very discouraged when I would tackle a certain problem area to organize it or fix it or decorate it, only to notice a few weeks later that it’s condition was once again deteriorating.

But at some point it clicked, a lesson from some science class somewhere.

“Everything in the universe tends to disorder.” 

More correctly stated:


And a definition for the all-important word “entropy:”


And there you have it.

Though it feels so good to step back from a project or job and admire the order I see, at some little place in my head I need to remember that this space, too, is subject to the laws of the universe. It will become disorderly again without work and effort.

Sometimes I just walk through my house putting in back in order or cleaning something I had just cleaned the day before and think to myself, “Houses just take constant maintenance.” And not just the laundry, cooking and cleaning  -all of it. It’s no longer a reason for discouragement. Hopefully it’s an incentive to dive in and thoughtfully strive to bring order to this little place under my dominion.

Perhaps I’ve been thinking about this more because with being pregnant I have really seen how quickly things lose order when extra rest or downtime is needed.

Some of my New Year’s goals are aimed at organization and consistent maintenance of our little dwelling place. I am certainly not the best housekeeper in the world, but his is an area where I want to grow.

What about you?

I’ve read about every organization post I can find. = ) Now what I’m working on is taking all those ideas and making them work around here. Little by little, step by step.


Apartment Improv: coat closet and pantry

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to talk about I guess what’s called a “homemaking hack”? What is that anyway? Well, I’m going to call it an apartment improv because I like how that sounds better. This will certainly not apply to everybody, but maybe it can be helpful to someone.

We love our apartment! When we moved in here, it felt like a mansion. However, there are some space challenges that you have to work with. I wish I was better at figuring it all out, but it’s a fun process.

One thing that has worked well for me is dividing the coat closet by the front door into a half closet, half pantry.

Disclaimer: these pictures are grainy. = \ I’m trying to shoot only in manual with my point-and-shoot; I thought these turned out pretty good as I’m also playing around with exposure and iso (whatever those are), but alas, on here they are just grainy. Good news, though! I found the manual this week and can maybe learn more in all my spare time. = )

Use your coat closet for a pantry as well.
Use your coat closet for a pantry as well.

Our kitchen is right across from this, and while there is plenty of space to keep dishes and such, there is no space for… food!

Keep food staples on a small wire shelf underneath coats in closet.
Keep food staples on a small wire shelf underneath coats in closet.

I have no idea where I got this little wire shelf, but it occurred to me one day that it would fit perfectly in our little coat closet.

Over-the-door hanging organizer, bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Over-the-door hanging organizer, bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Several months after that idea, I was gifted with a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card and I knew just what to do with it. This hanging door organizer gives me even more storage! Granted, these are expensive for what you’re actually getting. But for what they do for you, I think it’s worth it. I was so excited after putting it up that I entertained the idea of getting one for every door in the house. = )

So there you have it. Our half closet, half pantry wonder space. That’s a little dramatic, I know.

half closet, half pantry

The basket on top holds placemats and cloth napkins for when I feel like using them.

half coat closet, half pantry

The middle keeps our coats, Awana vests, and tablecloths orderly. (I think the tablecloths wish they could go out as often as the coats.)

half coat closet, half pantry

The bottom holds typical pantry staples and random wonderful boxes of chocolate.

Over-the-door hanging organizer for food storage in coat closet

And the door holds every last thing it can. Not always neatly.

Works for us!

Half pantry, half coat closet

What solutions have you found, oh pantry orphans?