House Rules (and a Giveaway Announcement)

Hi all!

First of all I want to invite you back here on Monday when I will have an Encouragement for Today devotion running on Proverbs 31 and Along with it we’ll be offering a fun girlfriends giveaway package to someone who leaves a comment here on the related blog post. Be sure to tune in! (Do you ‘tune in’ on the Internet? Perhaps I should say ‘click over’? :-))

Today starts a stretch of jam-packed days for me. I am speaking tonight at a church about a half-hour away from my home. It was a contact that came to me through Proverbs 31, but happens to be an old college friend! We haven’t seen each other since she played the piano at our wedding in 1986!

After that, Mitch has a double -header tomorrow and then Todd is laid off all next week. It will be a mixed blessing. Less money, but I get 2-3 days to finish writing a new book proposal I have been plugging away on.

Oh, and did I mention, when I write it, I’ll be ALL ALONE!!!!!!!

Okay Karen…calm down.

I also will be writing at a friend’s condo. It is cute. It is clean. It is all picked up and rid of clutter.

My house lately?

Not so much.

Busyness breads clutter.

Suffice it to say its been pretty busy around here lately.

It reminded me  of a sidebar in my last book The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. I thought I’d leave you with it this weekend. Perhaps it will help the little (and not so little people) in your house keep clutter and dirt at bay, not to mention we sometimes too-busy women.

The Ten Commandments of Clutter-busting

  1. If you got it out, put it away.
  2. If you eat, open or unwrap it, toss the wrapping, peel or paper in the trash.
  3. When you walk in the door, don’t put your stuff down, put it away.
  4. When your clothes are dirty, put them in the hamper. The floor is not a hamper.
  5. Deal with your own papers or you will be issued a fine.
  6. If you see something out of place and you are walking anywhere near where it really belongs, be nice. Pick it up and take it back to its home.
  7. If you open a door, drawer or cupboard, shut it.
  8. Clean up after yourself after you shower. Towels don’t belong on the floor, but on the bar. Toothpaste spatters clean up great with wet toilet tissue. Would it kill ya to wipe down a mirror?
  9. Unfinished projects do not belong out in the common quarters. Take it to your room.
  10. Be strict with yourself but gracious to others. And don’t forget to smile, saying please and thank you.

Well…I’m off to study my speaking notes, de-clutter a bit, sit through a double header and TAKE OFF!!!!

What does the weekend hold for you?

Happy Weekend everyone!


  1. I have 11 other Mothers. They range in age from 96 to 80. I clean assisted living apartments for them. What wonderful ladies, each with their own personality. They are so wise, in everything. Life, the Bible and just plain common sense. I have wonderful visits with each one of them every week, about all sorts of things. Most of them still cook their own meals and take care themselves. They have shown me patienence and love beyond compare. I love each one of them as I loved my Mother. I love my job and I pray that I can keep on doing it for a long time. I am 71 so you never know, it is all in the Lords hands.

  2. Other mothers come into our lives for a reason or a season and my first other mother was an old lady that lived in the woods behind our house. I don’t remember how I found my way to the house in the woods the first time. I think I was curious about her and her husband and what they did not have, not what they did have.

    Her skin was almost as dark as a wrinkled prune and her hair, (what I could see of it) was grey and stringy and usually under a bandanna. I began talking to her, and as time went by she invited me to come in and have some tea and cookies with them. Parents today would not consider that as something a child should be allowed to do, but things were not as scary back in the 50s.

    The inside of their house had hard, dirt packed floors and nothing matched. But there was a treasured warmth in that home, and I welcomed it.

    She prepared that tea and cookies and served the three of us. She made me feel as if I was royalty. Although they didn’t have much, the little they had had was given with love. I got the very best they had and that is what I like to give to those who come to my house, the very best.

    An old house in the woods, no lights, just lanterns, no inside bathroom, just an outhouse, no furnace, heated by burning wood or whatever they could find to burn, and most of all, no children of their own. They had time for a young girl and I treasured the times I was with them.

    You see a mother loves unconditionally and my old lady in the woods loved me that way. I went back to that area when I was older and the old house in the woods was still there, but oh so empty. Someone told me that one day the authorities came and took them away from there.

    I went into the shack and it was nothing but the same old dirt floors and what furniture was there was all broken as if someone had trashed it.

    It didn’t matter because the little old lady and her equally old husband weren’t there anymore. My first other mother gave me an example of doing your best for those you come into your home and it was a lesson well-taught. I still think of her from time to time and that was over 60 years ago.

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  3. I had the most wonderful women in my life; I well give her first name which Gwen she has stood by me every phase of my life and put me on the path to Christ which was not easy; my mom put out when I 15 years old and Gwen bless her heart took me in and never ask anything of me other then to grow in Christ love myself as Christ love me; and enough thou she had very little I saw how the Lord bless her everyday and provide for her home; enable her to share with others. I well always remember her starting her day with Christ and a beautiful smile. Yes it’s because of her teachings and Christ that I hold no longer hate my mother but love her for who she is; and pray that one day the Lord well give peace in her heart. And now am proud to say am a mother of 2 and a grandmother of five and also have several kids that have adopt me as their mom and now the cycle has started all over again. Oh am truly bless to have Gwen in my life.

  4. I forgot to put in there, that while my grandma was an alcololic & hated me during that dark time in her life, when she turned & repented not only did God make her sober over night ( I know thats not the norm for everyone as it was not so for me) but she turned & loved me as Christ. It was like from night to day without exagurrating! :) Ana

  5. Hi Karen, yep, I have had a few moms in my life too who have influenced me for the good of life. Ofcoarse a few of those moms were christians and those left the best footprints in my life. The one who influenced me most was my grandma who has already passed away. I grew up in a home without a dad & my mom constantly leaving me & my brother alone or with strangers. They came from Cuba in 1959 after Castro took over & came to Miami where I was born in November 1966. My brother is 2 yrs older & was more cared about by my grandma who at that time (when we were little) was an alcoholic from the time she got up till she went to bed. Me she hated. But then one day, she was very sick & too sick to get patches for cigarrettes or go to rehab for alcoholism, instead she met Jesus in her sickbed & from that time she was a different woman. I got to see the transformation of a life infront of me that seemed would never change. Later I faced drug & alcohol addiction & was able to draw from that rememberance that was one of the stepping stones that led me to total sobriety myself on September 7, 2007. So her, and a few really strong christian (usually older woman) I learned so much from & can only hope that I can show that same love, mercy, forgiveness & grace to others as was shown to me. Today I live for that. I have 3 amazing children who have forgiven me for my alcoholism, but though Christ paid the debt in full & it is finished on the cross there are some daily crosses I bear right now as consequences that were not completely wiped out from such a long time of drugs & alcohol. Yet the Lord has poured out His mercy & grace in reminding me that this temporal suffering is not compared to the eternal suffering I would have had without Him & also the better end of it all which is eternal life & therefore I accept this temporal suffering that doesn’t compare to the eternal glory awaiting His children. For the joy set before Him ( Us & God whom He loves so much) He endured the Cross for us & for the joy set before me (eternal life) by His example who is a mother & Father to the fatherless & motherless too, I too will endure till He comes for me. I am forever indebted to that love & so happy to be. Karen, today His joy is truly my strength to get through each day! In His love, Ana

  6. It has been a crazy busy week and weekend for us- I am looking forward to more normal weeks which are busy enough. But this week is a little crazy too. Hanging in there to get everything done on time and still have time for family fun.


  8. I have something going on morning, noon and night for the next ten days. Included in that, my hubby will be away for part of the time for business. He told me I have scheduled myself too thin. Well – let’s see. Mother-child tea at preschool? Should I miss that one? Maybe I should not take my preschooler to kindergarten orientation. Maybe I should skip the meeting for parents of next year’s fourth graders. Maybe I should forego grocery shopping. Or laundry. Maybe I should call into work and tell them I’m just spread too thin to show up next week. And that orthodontist appointment? Well – maybe it could wait till things are quieter – like in 15 years. OK – I sound a bit sarcastic. Anyway, it’s busy for me, too. And I was just saying to myself two days ago, “How does it get so messy around herIe when people are rarely even home?” I think I’m going to print out your rules, Karen, and go over them with the family. Thanks for all you do. And I wish you wonderful quiet time in an orderly environment, and that you get your book proposal DONE!

  9. Tonight was our Relay for Life – I am a five year survivor and walking the survivor walk is such a wonderful time. As I passed by my husband – he was on the sidelines waiting on me – there were tears in his eyes. He is my rock. The rest of the weekend is quiet.

  10. Low-key evening tonight, my husband will be ‘evaluating’ our 17-week old daughter for a class project(human development class, husband is going for ministers degree!) So excited for him to finish! He will start seminary in the fall. Then tomorrow, grandparents are coming to visit us and baby, and then Sunday, we have church, and the hubby and I are going to go furniture shopping! That evening, the annual mother/daughter banquet at church with a salad supper! Always yummy! Have a good weekend everyone! :)

  11. I agree Jolene that busyness does create clutter. I am not working right now but do go to physical therapy 3x a week and with two children involved in golf and track and a husband that works from 5pm to 5am, sometimes everything seems a little unorganized. We are having a city-wide garage sale May 8 and my goal this week-end is to start going through every room, taking the clutter and putting it aside for the garage sale. I am so tired of “messes”.

  12. Busyness certainly does produce clutter and my house is evidence – especially my kitchen. This is one of my missions this weekend – to get rid of some! One of your commandments reminded me of something I read on another website – Never walk naked. :o When I read further it talked about never going to another location in your home without carrying something that belongs there. I am trying to practice this habit to help prevent clutter build-up. Thanks Karen for your great posts. Enjoy your weekend and quiet days of writing!

  13. I have had the week, something every night. Tonight we have our school carnival which I am not volunteering at but am taking 5 kids around with mine. What was I thinking? Tomorrow is a craft day at a local church which before I am hitting a rummage sale with a friend. Good, fun activities in all but will be glad for Sunday and a day of rest with my Lord.

  14. Well, Karen, I am going to go see my godly and wonderful girl-friend this afternoon and just sit and chitchat. We haven’t done that for awhile! Just love my friends in Christ. They are such a blessing to me. Saturday I am going to do some spring cleaning. And in the afternoon I am going to take some food to a friend who just had surgery. In the evening my husband and I are going to a 50th Anniversary party for a wonderful couple from our church. A low key weekend, but that’s okay, those are relaxing. Enjoy your little get-away to the condo and writing your book!

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