Rest is not idleness

My new column is up at 406 Woman.  Page 64.


5 Ways to Raise Good Teens


Five ways to raise good teens.
1. Sports and extracurricular activities. Teens who play a sport or are involved in other on campus activities do not have the time or the extra energy to hang out and get in trouble. They also have a built in peer group who also do not have time to get in trouble. Sports have been a major factor in keeping my teens busy, tired and focused on school. It is too late to try and get them involved after they are in high school, you have to get them doing things when they are little so they naturally gravitate toward those activities in high school.

2. Family dinner. Kids who sit down for dinner with the family are less likely to be involved in drugs and alcohol. They are talking and listening to parents and parents know what is going on in their lives. Dinner is really important.

3. Family vacations. A disturbing trend is the vacation where a teen brings a friend along. Vacations need to be a memory making time with just the family. It needs to be the time that you build connections, traditions and foundations with your kids, not the time that you do your thing and they do theirs. Be a family.

4. Church. Kids need to know that someone has their back all. the. time. Faith is also something that builds a connection with your kids. It is one of the things you all do together each week.

5. Tell your kids what you know. Talk to them. You can’t just give your kids a talk once and have it stick, you have to repeat and repeat over the course of a childhood. If you don’t tell your kids something is wrong, someone else will tell them it is right.




I have had quite a few messages asking for a daily schedule. Many moms are overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into running a household and raising children. It is a lot of work! It can seem daunting if you are feeling like no one notices or even cares about all the work you do..then, you get up and do it the next day and the next and the next. So, how can we find the joy in this? 

First, we have to recognize that what we do matters. You have these beautiful children and this beautiful home…all homes in the U.S are luxurious if you compare them to third world homes. Imagine how it would feel to live at the edge of a garbage heap, with scrap metal for a roof, and no clean water for your children. Now, are you blessed? YES! Is your home clean compared to the garbage heap? YES!

In fact, I would say that most of the messes that happen in our homes actually come from too much stuff. We are overrun by abundance.

The first step is to get a handle on all that abundance. Get rid of junk toys. Only keep the open ended toys that your kids actually play with. Make sure your children know where it goes so they can put it away after they play. You will have to direct them. Yelling at kids to clean up a big mess won’t work. They, too, are overrun by abundance!  Who could have thought that having too much stuff could ruin the peacefulness of a house?

Limit clothing for the same reason. If you have too much laundry…maybe your kids have too many clothes.

The post below has a great daily schedule that will help you get stuff done while you have small children.  

Daily Schedule





Here are 9 of the kids and Greg on New Year’s Day. Every year we go out for a fancy dinner on New Years to celebrate our family. We write down our favorite memory of the year and our goals for the next one. It is so fun to hear everyone’s favorites.

For the first time in 19 years, we were missing one child. He is in college and spent part of his vacation in California with his friends and girlfriend. It is so hard to see them grow up and move into their own lives..while at the same time, you feel so proud of who they have become.

Today, I promised you a daily schedule for keeping your house and your sanity with young children at home. When I was a young mom in my 20’s with 4 kids 3 years old and younger, I really had no clue what I was doing. I couldn’t cook to save my life. I mean I really could NOT cook. I didn’t really have a plan for parenting. I was just winging it every day.

I could never find anything, my house looked like a tornado hit it by dinner, and I was frazzled and exhausted. I had to come up with a plan…there was no internet back then so I had to just figure it out on my own. So, in the winter of 1995 I taught myself to cook and keep house. This is the schedule that I have now had for 16 years and it works. I have joy every day and I do not go to bed crying from frustration and exhaustion.

Tip #1…this is so important! Get up before your kids! Get up, take a shower, have a few minutes of peace and prayer before you are bombarded by needs.

6:30 get up, shower, put on makeup, get dressed in nice looking clothes. Nurse a baby.
7:30 Breakfast and clean up
8:30 Bathe and dress kids. Help them make their beds.
9:00-10:00 or 10:30 Do my daily chores, start a load of laundry
10:30-12:00 Get outside with kids. Go to the park or the library. Play with friends.
12:00 lunch and cleanup
1:00 naps

During naptime I either work on some household project that I need to do,fold and put away laundry, craft, or nap (if I am pregnant).

3:30 Snacks, homework help, kids play outside, dinner prep, sports.
5:00 Prepare dinner
6:00 Dinner and cleanup, finish homework
7:00-8:30 playtime, baths, reading, staggered bedtimes by ages.
9:00 Mommy time. Read, blog, spend time with husband.
10:30 bedtime

So, this is just a sample of how to order your days so your little ones have some sort of routine and you have time to get stuff done and spend time with your kids. If you have school drop offs and sports, you will have to alter your times. But, if all your kids are little, this is a great schedule.

How To Enjoy Your Kids



I became a parent educator a few years ago and started a moms ministry at my church for one reason. I wanted moms to be free to experience the joy that comes from being a mother. I heard from many moms who said they were completely overwhelmed with the work, their kids were making them crazy and they couldn’t wait for them to grow up. That made me sad because I truly believe that being a mother is the most rewarding job you can have and with the right tools it doesn’t have to be frustrating and annoying, but rather joyful and fulfilling. I was asked to give a class on this very topic…how to enjoy your kids….and here are the tips I gave the moms who came.


Plan your housework, plan your meals, plan your days, plan for time to just enjoy your kids.
~This entails a housework schedule…you can do a little each day (I do housework from 7-10 am), or you can do one big clean a week, such as Saturday morning (this works for working mothers). Also plan your errand day…groceries, etc.

~Planning your meals requires making a menu once a week, shopping ONCE for groceries and following your plan. Not only does it save you money, but, it really is frustrating to just wing your dinners every night. Time consuming and no fun!

~Plan your days…Make a weekly schedule of work that needs to be done and also the fun that needs to be had. For instance, when my kids were all little in the summer, Tuesdays were library day, Thursdays were park day, Wednesdays were errand day, Mondays were field trip day (zoo, museums, historical sites, etc).

~Plan your downtime…this is time spent reading on the front porch, doing puzzles together, painting pictures…something quiet that is just about being together. Afternoons are a good time for this, especially if little ones are napping.


It is never enjoyable to take kids anywhere or do anything with them if they won’t listen to you or behave in a proper manner. So, what do you do?

~Unbendable rules. Certain rules never change and must always be followed. For instance, I NEVER let a child out of a stroller or shopping cart until they are at least 4 and longer if they can’t listen when I am doing something that is a chore…i.e. grocery shopping. All kids under 4 ride in the cart. They go directly from carseat to shopping cart and are never allowed to walk in the store. You may have to do several dry runs at this if your kids are not good shoppers. Leave the store if they act up and go directly to their rooms. Errands and grocery shopping are jobs not fun. Do not feel bad for making your little ones ride it out in the cart, it shortens the task for everyone. There were times I had 4 or 5 kids in carts and had to push one cart and pull another, but it was worth it!

~Kids who don’t listen. You wouldn’t take a dog out that wouldn’t come when called and kids are smarter than dogs. Perfect obedience means that when you are speaking, they are listening and obeying. If not, there are consequences. Leave the park immediately, leave the restaurant, leave the play date, etc.

If you are yelling all the time, your kids are not listening. Lower your voice and insist on obedience, if not, immediate consequence. Most of the time, time out or being sent to their rooms will work. You will have to physically get up and direct your child to what you are asking them to do. Walk them to the time out corner or their room. Make sure you follow through, every single time.


Even if your child has outgrown naps, you can still insist on a quiet time each day..(ours is after lunch…even our teens have to go do something quiet, read, play a quiet game, etc.) They do not have to go to sleep, but they do have to be still and quiet. Reading, coloring, workbooks, etc. We don’t have movies on during this time because the point is quiet and alone with your thoughts. We have a bin of quiet activities for each child. Quiet time is spent alone or there is no quiet if you know what I mean. I separate everyone. One on a couch, one on their bed, one in the living room. Do not feel bad about this either…even kindergartens still have naptime. Everyone needs to chill.


This is the how to keep your house picked up tip…
1. Get rid of toys that just make messes and no one plays with. These are closed ended toys that just get dumped every day and no one touches again. Out they go.

2. Only keep toys that use imagination…best bets~~blocks, legos, dollhouses, animal figures, dolls, cars, trains, sports equipment, art supplies, dress up, tea sets, bikes, sidewalk chalk.

3. Put each category of toy in a bin with a lid and a label or picture. At the end of playtime, all toys are placed back in their bins, BY THE KIDS!, and put away on a shelf or in a closet. Some toys like legos that scatter and breed, have to be checked out, picked up and put away before another bin is brought out.

4. As a book lover, I have a hard time with this one…kids can make huge messes with books. They like to read books over and over and are not even really looking at the ones they throw on the floor. Give them each a basket with no more than 10 books and put the rest away. You can exchange them out each week or two.

5. Some activities are only done at the kitchen table…art, playdough, and sometimes puzzles so the pieces don’t get lost.

6. Keep games put away or they will be scattered all the time.

7. Limit the amount of clothing your child has…more clothing = more laundry. Yuck! If you have a costume changer..then put the clothes away and make her use her costumes!

8. There is nothing wrong with keeping little ones out of certain rooms. If your kids routinely make a mess in their room or the bathroom, keep the doors shut and locked. There is no rule that says your toddlers and preschoolers have to have access to every room in your house.


Teach your children to do chores. I hear people all the time say to me, “you are so lucky to have older kids to help.” Well, they weren’t always older and I had to teach the to help. At one time I had 6 kids under 7. I have been where you are and I know how to make it easier, I have had practice.

Kids as young as 3 can do chores…pick up toys, push in chairs, sweep with little brooms.
Make a chore chart that includes daily and weekly chores for each child. Put stickers on for each job completed.

Make sure your kids do their jobs so that they grow into helpers, not loafers.


~You are in charge of your home, not the kids. They really don’t want control, even though they fight for it. A kid who runs a household is not a happy kid, believe me. They want limits, they want to know that YOU are in charge. That makes a happy child.

It might seem like a lot of work to put all these things into practice. It will take some time and effort, but the rewards are huge. No longer will you feel like you are racing to catch up with your kids every day and always one step behind, but rather like you are directing the smooth running of a happy home.

A little effort when your kids are young, will reap great rewards when they are older. You want your kids to listen to you now, because it will be extremely difficult to get them to listen later if they never learned.

Best of wishes…it truly is my goal that all mothers feel the joy and contentment they are meant to feel in their vocation as mothers. Feel free to comment if you have other tips or helpful links.

Homemaking Inspiration



Finding motivation for doing housework can sometimes be difficult.
It can seem like a thankless job, that just repeats itself over and over and over and…you get the drift. In fact, a wise man once said, “Housework is what a woman does that nobody notices unless she hasn’t done it.” Ain’t that the truth?

We all love a clean, orderly home. But, we don’t all love the getting there and as the mom, the job falls on us, whether we stay home or not. Here are some of my tips for finding joy in the chores…if you have to do them, you might as well enjoy the process.

Nothing makes a house seem messier and smaller than a lot of clutter. It also makes it harder to clean. So, the very first thing you need to do is get rid of the junk. I don’t know about you, but just tossing stuff out makes me feel better and less frazzled. Make sure everything has a place..this makes it easier for kids to help.

Rearrange your furniture~
This makes your house and your furniture feel new. You can also move around your decorative objects in order to freshen the rooms without spending any money. Moving furniture also forces you to clean under and around things that haven’t moved in a while.

Make an idea book~
I have a notebook for decorating ideas. When I see something I like in a magazine, I cut it out and glue it in the book for inspiration. Pinterest makes this so easy. There are some great decorating ideas on Pinterest.

Invite over some friends~
Nothing gives you motivation to clean up the place than people coming over! Invite a friend for coffee or tea. Have a playdate at your house. Host a book club. You will quickly get your house clean with that kind of motivation.

Make small goals for yourself~
Every week make a housekeeping goal. Goals are easier to meet if they are broken into small pieces and if they are measurable. So, don’t make a resolution to keep your house clean this year. Make a weekly or monthly resolution to do certain jobs. For instance, this month my goal was to wash windows on Mondays. Once I do it for all of January, hopefully, it will be more of a habit and I will continue.

Treat staying home like a job~
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with my kids. Since this is my job in this season of my life, I try to treat it like a job. I get up and get ready. Staying in pj’s all day makes you lazy. I make a list every morning of the things I need to do and get the satisfaction of crossing them off. There is joy in a job well done.

Play music~
Playing music makes me work faster. Music is a mood lifter.

Take pride in your home~
It might be small, it might be old, it might not be what you want at all. However, it is your family’s home and if you take pride in its appearance that will filter down to you kids. I always admire my grandma for this. Her home is small and old, but it is always sparkling clean and she takes great pride in it.

Create a new attitude~
Make a goal to get up with a positive attitude. Enlist your kids in helping with the chores. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish and you can all go and play. Imagine the afternoon..a clean house and a good book. Reward yourself for all your hard work!

Beating Burnout



It can be difficult to stay motivated to keep a clean house. Especially if there are a lot of little people in it! It is especially difficult when you are feeling depressed or unmotivated due to any factors, morning sickness, isolation, sleep deprivation, etc. Then, it all can seem just plain overwhelming. So, how to get out of a slump when you don’t feel like it? 

First, recognize the problem. What are the barriers that keep you from accomplishing what you want to in a day? Are you just too tired, does it seem like too much to do, spending too much time online or watching tv, etc. Recognize what is hindering you and write it down. “The thing keeping me from keeping up with my house is ________________.”

Next, visualize what your house would look like if it was all clean and organized. Visualize how it would feel to sit in a room that is all neat and peaceful. I sometimes make idea books which are just notebooks with good ideas from magazines pasted inside. 

Third, conceptualize the process. On a sheet of paper or in a journal, write down the steps that it would take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Do not put anything on your list that cannot be accomplished by you…for instance, do not write down have built in cabinets installed if that is not in the budget or you can’t build them. If there is something you can buy that would help, bins or shelves write it down, if that is not in the budget right now, then only include those things you actually have at your disposal right now. Maybe you can move shelves from another room, move around furniture, rugs, artwork.

Finally, get put on some good music and get started. If you only have the energy for a short period of time, then pick a small space. If it is only a small area of the living room, claim it and make that small space beautiful for you. Work with what you have a make a nice space for yourself. When you are finished find a basket and fill it with good, inspirational books, a journal, your design book, and a pen. You now have one beautiful space all your own. Focus on keeping that area clean and neat for yourself…no kids in your chair, reading your book basket. That is your happy place.

Tomorrow, add another small space, or room if you can manage it. As your house gets more organized and clean, it will help lift your mood to accomplish more. 

If you have the means, treat yourself to a small reward in each new space. A candle, some flowers, new hand towels. I have found beautiful dishes at goodwill before. It doesn’t have to be much, just something that is an investment in your new spaces.


My second born …


My second born baby graduates on Saturday.

I was stunned when my oldest graduated last year and went away to college.

It seems that they go away faster than they arrived.

The days were long, but oh my, the years were so short.

Jack is our family guy.  He loves family dinners, family games and traditions.  

So, I am sure that it will take a bit of adjustment because he is kind of family glue.

Never in a bad mood, never mean, always easy going and cheerful.  

You, my sweet boy, have been a joy to raise.

Even when you hit that old couples car with a stick and you lit a cigarette in that ladies house!

Even when you called 911 because dad wouldn’t give you a soda and the cops came to the door!

Congratulations on your graduation. 

I know you will be a good man.  Thank you for the pleasure of your company the last 18 1/2 years.

I had the time of my life.

Welcome to my new home on WordPress.

I started a new blog.

I felt like blogger was sort of my old look and this year has been about transformations.  

Living in a new state, working a new job, writing a book, and running are what I am working on this year. 

Raising kids, keeping house, trying to stay sane..those I work on every year. 

I haven’t stayed sane yet…maybe this year?  Probably not.  

I am way too hard on myself and so are most moms that I know.  

Except the ones judging those who are too hard on themselves.  

I always think of that Taylor Swift song “Mean” where she says you point out my flaws, as if I don’t already see them.  

Isn’t that the truth? 

Some of us are always falling short of perfect and that is failure in our minds.

Strangely, when you mess up, I don’t see failure..only human.

I see failure when I mess up.  

Are you the same??? 

Then, visit here, come often, grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile.

Perfect is not real..and notice the perfect ones never invite you in…so how do you really know they are perfect after all?

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