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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 7


Day 7 has arrived for the Making Our Home a Haven Challenge, and I am going to finish that one bathroom that did not get cleaned as of yesterday (and going back to last week!). I will be using my natural cleaning supplies, along with my handy dandy t-shirts, and toothbrush to get do to the core of the dirt and mess that as accumulated.Here is my list: I am keeping it simple today to because my girl is also pushing out her first tooth and you never know when she will need my attention!

1. Master bathroom
- Clean mirrors -DONE!
- Countertop – DONE!
- Toilet – DONE!
- bathtub -DONE!
- sweep & mop floor – DONE!
2. Clean out and organize my kitchen drawer (do you have one of those drawers that is just there to accumulate paper, pencils, money, envelopes, and misc junk? Well I do, and it could use my attention today!) -DONE!


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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 6


Greatly enjoying participating in the Making Our Home a Haven Challenge. We had a full weekend, while celebrating my husband’s birthday. I had my student Christmas recital at my home (I teach piano part-time from my home), followed by my hubby’s family coming over for homemade pizza. It was a little crazy, but he was blessed, so I am happy! I am glad the focus today is upon the kitchen, because my is overflowing with dishes gallore from the weekend (as seen above).

Here is my list:

I completed by 8 steps to begin my day, which include:

1. Devotions
2. Make myself presentable (for my hubby’s sake primarily!)
3. Breakfast
4. Dinner preparation (going to my brother’s for dinner, so I will be assembling a salad later on)
5. House pick-up (I started at the door and went straight through, especially those stairs!)
6. Put a load of laundry in
7. 5 minute planning time for the day
8. Fill up my water bottle (opps…I actually haven’t done this yet…be right back!)

TO -DO’s for the day:

1. Kitchen
-do dishes and put them all away – DONE!
- wipe down counters thoroughly – DONE!
- clean the stove top – DONE!
- sweep and mop the floor – DONE!
2. Bathrooms – since I wasn’t able to participate last week when this was the focus, I am hoping to attack them today (well, I probably won’t be that rough!) – UPDATE: Well, I cleaned two of the three bathrooms in my house today, the other will have to wait till tomorrow. Tell me who needs 3 bathrooms in a two bedroom condo? I don’t understand…just more bathrooms to clean.
3. Errands (I try to limit my errands to twice a week, Monday and Fridays, so I have to go to the bank, return a movie, buy a few clothing items for the babe) – DONE!
4. Take out all the trash and recycling (these seem to accumulate in our garage) – DONE!

My sweet baby plays while mommy cleans the kitchen


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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 5

Well, yesterday was a bit of a frenzy, so I was not able to participate in the Making our Home a Haven Challenge day 4, but I did get my list accomplished, and I am thankful for that. The focus for today is to find some way to bless our families this weekend. How can you spend this Friday evening in a family focused activity to strengthen the home? Being that my hubby’s birthday is tomorrow, it has definitely been on my mind how I might bless him in a unique way this weekend. I am planning to take the evening and relax with my husband. We love reading, so we will probably continue to our advent reading and enjoy one another’s company (maybe throw in a movie there, if the hubby likes!).

I have been trying to think up some new idea, but it really hasn’t come to me yet. I will just aim to be the wife he deserves! I am planning on spoiling him with three of his favorite meals throughout the day. And since he subscribes to my feed, I can’t share any more specifics. (I love you honey!). But I will say, that it is such a joy to serve such a wonderful husband as I have! This is my highest and most joy filled role in this life. I love it! He is a wonderful father, leader and protector of his girls. I am so thankful for him today!

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Embrace Your Sacred Calling

What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow.

-Martin Luther

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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 3

So I am off and rolling today on Day 3 of the Making our Home a Haven Challenge. It is so refreshing to think how I might make our home more of a haven for my husband and our family. I definitely believe it starts with my heart and attitude. If I am gloomy and depressed, my home is no longer a haven. I have had this wrong attitude as of late, as I have struggled with some baby challenges, but the Lord is doing a good work in my heart. I want my husband to delight to be around me, because I am a joyful wife! Once the joy leaves my face, he will loose desire to be around me, although he strives his best to be sensitive and meet my needs. I want him to be refreshed after a long day at work, so it is important to set my heart in the right place from the off set of the day. I am so thankful for this good work! Read about this change in my heart in the next post.

So today I began again on my 5 turning to 8 steps to begin my day. I refreshed my soul in the Word while nursing the babe, then I proceeded to make myself look presentable, picked up those areas that needed attention, looked at the dinner menu and am preparing stir fry for dinner tonight, and now I am proceeding to eat my breakfast and make my list of to-do’s for the day.

I am so glad Day 3 is focused on the laundry room. I was thinking yesterday that it needed my attention. Although it is rather small, it definitely can accumulate piles of things! So here is my list for the day:

1. Laundry room
-Organize shelves – DONE!
-Finish laundry – DONE!
-wipe down washer and dryer – DONE!
-Sweep & mop floor – DONE!
-Wash sheets – DONE!
-Iron clothing – DONE!
2. Assemble the mission insert for the church bulletin this week (Aaron & I lead the mission group in our church and issue a monthly insert with updates and info, so I must assemble and complete that today).
3. Write out one thank you and one encouragement note
4. Give Karis bath – DONE! (She happened to go potty while I was getting her dressed for the day, so that was easy enough to just throw her in the bathtub)

Here’s my pictures: My laundry room is kind of small, so it is hard to see, but hey it is cleaner than before! I put away all the laundry, folded, and ironed the clothes, wiped down the appliances and cleaned the floor (something that hasn’t been done since we moving in!).



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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 2

Today is day 2 of the challenge of making our home a haven! (Read more about the challenge here) Today we focus on fulfilling our 5 steps to begin the day (which I wrote out yesterday and posted on my frig!) followed by refreshing up the living room of your home. My 5 steps were completed, but only between changing a diaper, putting in a load of laundry, changing activities for a crying baby, etc. I was wanting to open my computer before completing these tasks, but then I was reminded…no, no, Lindsay. Get your 5 steps done! Computers can be very distracting to me, unfortunately. But it is amazing what you can get done when you put your mind to it and you have others out there keeping you accountable and inspired! I finally got to cleaning that crock pot that has been sitting on my counter the last 2 days calling my name (Don’t you hate that!).

My 5 steps grew a little today as I thought of a few others things that I need to just get done at the beginning of each day before other things distract me. So here is my refreshed and updated list:

1. Devotions
2. Prepare myself for the day
(do my hair, put a little make-up on, hopefully!)
3. Prepare breakfast
4. Quick house pick-up (this included cleaning up the entry like I was talking about yesterday. For even last night after returning home from a meeting, we piled up some more coats, shoes, books, etc. Time to get the entry way looking clean! Maintenance is the key!)
5. Make dinner preparations (making hamburgers for dinner, so I pulled out some hamburger meat from the freezer)
6. Put in a load of laundry (if needed) - (I try to do all my laundry on one day, but sometimes it doesn’t always work that well)
7. Fill up my water bottle! (I need to be drinking more water, but if I don’t have it near, I don’t drink it. So I am trying to be more purposeful in filling it up in the morning and having it with me)
8. Take 5 min and plan (I keep several small notepads around the house for this purpose. I just write down a few things I need to get done for the day. I keep it to no more than 3-4 things. I have a master list for the week that I aim to write out on Sunday night and then each day I try to check 3-4 items off that list. Not to0 consistent with this yet, but I am working on it ;) )


Sweep & mop entryway – DONE!
Vacuum stairs (after setting up our tree and decor on Saturday, there are pine needles everywhere! These are things I did not get to yesterday when we were focusing on the entryway.) – DONE!
Clean living room windows (since today was to focus on the living room, I looked around to see what needed to be done. The sun was shining through the windows and I could see a lot of dirt and smudges everywhere! SO that is what I am doing today! One little thing!) -DONE!
Bake bread – DONE!
Empty trashcans – DONE!

I better get to it before Karis destroys my list by eating it as she is now!

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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 1

Following Crystal’s Day 1 of the Making our Homes a Haven challenge to make our homes a blessing to our families and guests, these are my steps to improve my home for day 1. The first step is to take time to spend with the Lord each day followed by making a purposeful plan for this. This definitely falls in line with the starting place of Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney as I learned from previously.

First 5 steps for each day

This is a routine I wrote on my frig awhile back, and it has been so helpful in getting me off on the right foot each day. This challenge has renewed me afresh in walking it out each morning before starting my day.

1. Morning devotions
2. Make myself look presentable for the day
(to please and bless my hubby! Gives me a little boost too for the day)
3. Prepare breakfast
4. Quick house pick up (this is definitely not in-depth cleaning, just picking up from the day before to start afresh! Pick up the entry, clean up any dishes leftover, etc.)
5. Make dinner preparations (This means I just pull out of the freezer any ingredients I need for the meal, or soak some ingredients, etc. This helps keep me on track, so I am not stressing at the end of the day, when I am tired no less, and need to make dinner. I thought ahead to save me the stress!)

Secondly, she encourages everyone to start with organizing one thing a day. Today it is the entryway, the first place our guests enter in and see. With this in mind, I have realized the importance of keeping my stairway cleared of clutter, being that that is a focal point in my entryway. The bottom of the stairs always seems to accumulate clutter, such as mail, things hailed in from the car, jackets, shoes, etc. If I can be purposeful in just keeping this cleaned and organized my entry way looks 100% improved. That is my first goal for making my home a haven!

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Growing in Christ Together: Fellowship & Hospitality

To read point 1 of this series, click here.

Acts 2:41-46
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…[they] had all things in common…sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by dad continuing with one mind in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”

2. Fellowship

The church was devoted to corporate fellowship with fellow believers in worship and communion with one another. Attending church was a priority for them. Together the church is for the purpose of the edification of the body – we are to challenge and encourage one another in the Lord. If we are not continuing to fellowship with other believers we are more susceptible to straying from the truth and sound doctrine. We must not separate ourselves from believers!

-Ask Good Questions
How often do I ask, “how are you really doing?” I need to get beyond the “hello” and “how are you’s” to asking good questions: what is God doing in your life? How can I pray for you? This is not only a blessing to them but also to me! Ten Questions for the New Year is a list of wonderful questions that I have found very effective at any time.

Am I making a regular habit of welcoming fellow believers into my home? It seems like fellowship at church can be somewhat limiting at times, so having people into my home can serve to lead in much more lengthy and beneficial conversations. Hospitality is such a blessing and gift to others. Enjoying a warm meal together is not that common anymore in our day and age. In the last 25 years, having friends over to your home is down 45 percent (according to Harvard professor Robert Putnam). Let’s change the tide and seek to bless others! It doesn’t have to be complicated. The fact that you extended an invitation is a blessing enough. Don’t limit yourself because you might not have the gift, or be able to creative amazing meals, or have a perfectly clean home. God will bless your efforts if you seek to be used of Him to minister from your home.

The key:

“Focus on people, not preparations. In the Lord’s hands, a few loaves and fishes go a long way.”

“The empasis in our practice of hospitality should be on how we give of ourselves to minister to others -not on how we perform to entertain others. The Bible commands us to carry out this ministry; it does not set up requirements for housing or meals. We do not need a large, beautifully decorated, immaculately tidy house in order to invite others into our home. ‘Breaking bread’ with others does not require serving filet mignon or lobster tails. the issue is not spending money, but spending time – not giving things, but giving ourselves.” ~ Rachael Crabb

Attending church regularly, having hospitality in your home, seeking to lead in profitable and edifying conversations…these are tools to edify the saints and to guard against straying from the truth.

A few excellent resources on Hospitality include:

The Personal Touch: Encouraging Other through Hospitality by Rachael Crabb (quotes above are from this book)

Face to Face: Mediations on Friendship and Hospitality by Steve Wilkins

Here is an excellent sermon by Marc Driscoll from Mars Hill Church on the topic of hospitality:

Holy Hospitality sermon

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Hanging Our Laundry: Conserving Electricity

Monday is my designated laundry day! I have found it so much easier for me to get it all taken care of for the week if I get it completed on one day. This means I wash somewhere between 3-4 loads of laundry: whites, colors, darks, sheets, towels. Beforehand I was washing a load a day, but could never keep track what I had washed and when, and some days would get overlooked. This plan has been so much more effective for me, since I get it all done at once.

UPDATE: I have come to realize…This method works great in the summer when I can hang my laundry outside to dry. In the winter, I have found more success doing my laundry on Monday and Tuesday and folding it on Wednesday. That gives ever load enough time to hang dry, since I don’t have enough space to hang everything on Monday. ;)

Frugal tip #1: Because I love to save a little electricity, and help out the environment, I also hang most of my laundry to dry. I laugh every time I hang my clothes from our lights in the hallway and fill up the bathroom with clothing lines, racks, etc. It is quite the day! Others think I am crazy…but hey, it’s worth it.

When the weather is nice (this is limited to the summertime around here, but we have had some nice falls days up till now), everything gets hung out on my back deck. I enjoy being creative in saving money. Actually, since hanging my clothes to dry, our electric bill has gone down an average of $8-10 dollars a month. Now it may not be due to just hanging my clothes, but it seems to be the case. It doesn’t sound very much, but every little bit helps. It is also better for the clothes, they will last longer! The dryer definitely deteriorates everything more quickly.

Frugal tip #2 as mentioned in a previous post: Speaking of washing clothes, try using a cooler cycle than what you are used to. Nine times out of ten your clothes aren’t so dirty that they absolutely require the hot wash, and you’ll save 30-60% of the energy consumed using the hot cycle. If you use the dryer, don’t over-dry your clothes, and consider using the cool-down cycle to utilize the residual heat in the dryer.

Now my Monday laundry plan may not necessarily work for you…but having your own plan is the most important thing! This is one way we maintain our homes and serve our husbands and babies. No more hubby’s complaining about their lack of socks or tee-shirts!

Tuesday morning is my ironing time (in the winter it is Friday). After everything is dry, I will iron my husband’s shirts and anything else that needs a pressing. Keep it simple! Whatever works for you…just don’t go without a plan of action for maintaining your home!

This is what my little home looks like on laundry day:

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Shopping for Time

I have recently been reading, Shopping for Time by the Mahaney ladies from over at girltalk. An excellent 94 pages on learning how to balance your time and priorities by first rising early to sit at the feet of Jesus followed by the importance of planning and personal retreats. Very refreshing.

“We ought to be Martha and Mary in one: we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time. For this we need great grace. It is easier to serve than to commune.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

Here are a few thought provoking questions that were included for personal evaluation:

  • How can I make my devotions more fruitful?
  • What is one area I can grow in godliness?
  • What is one family relationship I want to give more attention to this season?
  • Am I using my gifts to serve in my local church?

Their encouragement was to take a personal retreat on a regular basis: quarterly, annually, or with the changes of seasons in your life. I personally was at the beach for the weekend with my husband and it was perfect time to evaluate my walk with the Lord, my relationships, etc. Taking time away from the busyness of life is crucial for continuing to examine ourselves to see if we are walking in the truth.

I personally am striving to be more faithful in journaling during my devotion time. I find this so helpful to seal within my heart and mind any truth that God pokes me with. It is so refreshing to be able to go back and re-read all that God has taught me over time. Such good reminders.

I am also working on the area of contentment in our finances as one of the areas I can grow in godliness in this season of my life. I will be talking more about this in an upcoming post. For now, God has allowed me to pass the management of our finances over to my husband, so I can no longer worry over every little penny spent.

All in all this book has been a refreshing reminder to my soul. Are you continuing to grow in godliness? Being stagnant is not honoring to the Lord. Pretty soon we will dry up all together. Take the time today to do a little examination by the strength that God supplies.

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