Thursday, August 25, 2011


Have you ever noticed how much paraphernalia we collect to “do” everyday life? Some time ago I cleaned out the console storage area in our truck. I put a lot of the items on the dashboard and goodness, what a pile of “stuff” it was at the time. There were three different phone charger cords because we each had a different style cell phone. There was a portable GPS, cord, batteries, and holder. A case for sunglasses (that I first found under the back seat.) Pens, tire pressure gage, plastic utensils in plastic wrap from some trip to some restaurant at some point. A converter so an MP3 player can be listened to through our radio. A birthday card from nine months ago.

In other spots in the truck, I had a cord for my plug-in-able coffee cup and an extra, “regular” charger for my cell phone if I needed to use an indoor plug, and a charger cord for my PDA! I put the things away in some sense of order, and could give you reasons for keeping all of them. (Well, most of them.) But I have to confess that it brings one pause to see what it takes to keep our everyday life going—and this was just what was in the vehicle! If these items were put in a time capsule, and sent backwards, how amazed our forefathers and foremothers would be at the complications of life in the modern age.

I’ve written a book, Time Management, Jesus’ Way – Did Jesus Use a Psalm Pilot? It would be interesting to see what, if any, paraphernalia Jesus would carry if He had come to earth in this century. Somehow I don’t think He would bother carrying most of this stuff around. Yet I know I still will, because each of these items does serve a useful purpose. And therein is a bit of a rub…

Question: How do you handle all the stuff you need to carry?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three P's and Keys

This is a re-post from some time ago, but the principles still apply!

Yesterday, I forgot my wallet. I arrived at one of my favorite coffee spots and realized I had left it at home. Don't you hate that? I feel like I am moving almost everyday with carrying various things from place to place. Guess I didn't run through the checklist very well as I left.

The coffee shop was so kind and let me put my order on a tab. I'm a weekly regular and they felt they could trust me. But I still had to make arrangements about another meeting that was at another location where I was not so well known. Fortunately, a plan B formed and all went well.

Why do we forget something as routine as having our purse or wallet? I think that our minds easily get cluttered with lots of other things, and we get out of the habit of running through a mental checklist of having what we need. For a long time, I had a little reminder to myself of "Three P's and Keys" when walking out the door. The P's stood for things like my pedometer and phone and the keys are self-explanatory. Guess I need to go back to that!

The challenge is I carry a briefcase-type tote bag and my wallet is actually a mini purse that I can grab to run into stores, etc. And, most of the small cases of things I carry are all black. So I just grabbed the tote bag rather than doing a quick check that I actually had the various items IN the bag that I needed. You can be sure that "purse" is going to become one of the P's on my list from now on!

How about you? What do you do to make sure you have everything you need with you each day?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Organizing as Worship

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. I Corinthians 14:40

When Paul exhorted the Corinthians to do everything in a decent and orderly fashion, he was referring specifically to chaotic church services where people could not understand one another and spoke out of turn. This is a picture of what it is like when things are out of order and unsettled.

The principle behind Paul's exhortation can be applicable to how we order our lives. When we are scurrying around, breathless, we are not in a position to listen well to the Holy Spirit. When we don't respond in a timely way, we take a risk of damaging relationships. When we can't find things and run late, we may miss making a connection with someone or hearing a word of encouragement with a prepared heart.

So, as you organize your life little by little, perhaps by reading this blog weekly and taking steps to make changes one small step at a time, you are actually reflecting a God of order and beauty. When you de-junk that clothes closet, you are worshipping. When you reorganize that desk drawer, you are reflecting God. When you create a clean, uncluttered environment, you are putting aside weight that drags you down.

Cleaning and organizing are an act of worship. Do it with your heart, knowing you are showing God how much you love Him by taking care of what He has given you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Organizing Food

Keeping up with food can be a big challenge. How often do you find food that has rotted before you used it up? Have you spent big bucks at the grocery store when you could have made several meals out of items you already have on hand? Here are some tips to help you get more organized with your food items.

Take inventory. On a regular basis (maybe once a week) take a quick inventory of what you have in the fridge, pantry, and freezer. If you have an additional freezer, keep a dry erase board on it to list items you have frozen. Take the inventory before you make your next grocery list.

Create at least one meal a week out of what you already have on hand. If you plan a menu each week (which is a great idea) try to think of at least one, preferably two, meals you could create with items you already have. Do you have spaghetti and sauce on hand? Has a casserole been sitting in the freezer for awhile? You may be surprised at how many meals you could come up with without shopping! A friend of mine uses the month of February to challenge herself to only buy the basics in groceries that month and use up whatever she can from her stock.

Use up items with short shelf life. Fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, only last a few days in the fridge. Watch how it is going and if they aren't being used up, incorporate them into an upcoming meal, prepare smoothies for the freezer, fold them into pancake mix and make pancakes one night, add a salad as a side dish, stir fry them into scrambled eggs.

Freeze what you can. Bananas can be frozen (unpeeled) for later use in smoothies. I've even heard you can freeze whole tomatoes! Do some research and freeze items that you tend to have to throw away. Freeze in small packets so you only use what you need.

Cull your grocery list. Instead of buying three types of berries for a week, buy the one the family will most use and mix it up other weeks. It's better to eat up the fruit you have than to throw it away simply because you overplanned for variety.

Use adequate storage. Experiement with bags and containers to see what works best for your family. Try to keep certain types of foods on certain shelves (i.e. left overs are always on the secon shelf.)

Communicate. Use a white board to jot down ideas for what family members can eat if they are hungry (i.e. to suggest using up leftovers.)

With a little thought, you can save some money by making sure you use what you have and stop buying what you don't need.

Question: How do you organize food at home?