What’s Your Plan?

I will be the first person to admit that I am very possessive of MY schedule.  When I make a plan and write down a schedule, I really don’t like unexpected changes.   It’s not that I plan my day out hour by hour or minute by minute.  That’s a bit too rigid for me.

I just have an idea of what needs to get done, how and when (approximately) I’d like to get it done.  Any upset and I am easily irritated and annoyed.

The truth is as much as I pray for God to guide my day and show me the steps to take, I want Him to work within MY schedule.

Yes, that’s right.  I said it.

It’s terribly embarrassing to realize my attempts to box the God of the Universe to fit into my tiny little world.  It’s actually horrifying.

Am I trying to BE God?

Cuz that puts me right in the ranks of a certain angel who lost his place in the heavenlies and became the mortal enemy of God and humanity.

So in praying today, after coming to the realization that I was trying to control my world and asking God to fit within my guidelines, I had to be really honest about giving God my day and asking Him to guide me.  I also had to confess and ask Him to allow me to recognize my pride and need for control.

It goes back to that nasty lie I have believed for so long: “God is not enough.”  If He was, I would not question the interruptions of my day but receive them as part of His plan for me…

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (Amplified)

Knowing that God has thoughts for me – plans for me – plans for welfare and peace – and NOT for evil – I can rest and trust that HE is taking care of me and all the details of my life.  I can replace my false belief with the truth and relax with every unexpected blessing He brings my way.

I can make plans and schedule order in my day.  But ultimately, it comes down to Proverbs 16:9:

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. (Amplified)

The key to success in my day and schedule, in anyone’s day and schedule, is making plans and giving them to God.  He knows our greatest needs – He knows what we need to accomplish and how we can accomplish them.  He also knows the “fluff” that we fill our days with and will help us line our priorities up with His.

If you have a tough time – like I do – with making and keeping to a schedule or accomplishing your necessary responsibilities – maybe it’s time to go to God and ask Him for His help minute by minute, hour by hour – and to teach you how to put your plan within HIS plan for you.

P.S. – If you need a practical tool to help you stay on top of your family’s schedule and activities – check out my post at Mommies Coffee Break today!  You can’t control every minute of every day, but having order provides some measure of peace. =)


Planner Forms, Home Organization, and Challenges, Oh My!

Maybe you know how much I LOOOOOOVE organizer forms.  Organization – especially Home Keeping – is something I’ve written about many times in the past, and has been a subject of research and serious study in my life for about 18 months.

I’ve tried the Flylady – more than once – and even though her system is great and really works for so many and she is gentle and encouraging – I was still very overwhelmed by the process and so many steps.

I’ve found other organizer forms from a variety of sources and have used many different products – both free and paid for.  I love the pretty forms Cindy Rushton has to offer in her Organized Mom Super Set. Her products are especially geared toward stay at home moms and homeschooling moms.

I love Donna Young’s variety of forms and the sizes and layouts she offers at her site.  They are efficient and they are free, but they are not girly or fancy…

I’ve found several other forms and styles I liked – at places like D*I*Y Planner, Amy Bayliss and others, but they didn’t offer a complete set of matching forms for my needs.  Cuz yes, I AM the kind of woman who wants coordinating sets…

I stumbled across an organizer site several months ago – checked it out – even had some contact with the owner who answered a few of my questions, and then never thought about it again.  Until last week.

And I found the site again – as well as the owner’s corresponding blog which gave great views of the pages and products:

Grace Works Purpose Planner

His Graceworks (blog)

With whole planner sets (including binder) or individual pages, they are designed to coordinate and work together beautifully.

What I love about them:

  • Price.  Reasonable prices for refills and page sets.  They even have beautiful binders (classic size or petite size) that are very reasonably priced!
  • Beautiful.  In beautifully scripted fonts that are still easy to read and follow, I am inspired just by looking at the pages!
  • Variety.  Seriously – GW has an incredible variety of pages – whether you are a homeschooling mom, stay at home mom, a mom in ministry – there are great pages for personal devotions, personal planning, and grocery / menu planning!
  • Christian.  This is my favorite part – created by two Christian women, the pages are designed with Scripture verses sprinkled throughout each page – reminding me of my value and purpose as a mom, helping me stay on track and keep focused on what really matters.

Check out the Planner site – but also check out the blog.  Tricia is starting a NEW 28-day challenge to help you with Menu Planning!  If you need help in this area – don’t hesitate to follow along.  There are points awarded and prizes to be earned – and if you can’t participate now, you can still get some inspiration and guidance to help you practically plan and prepare your family meals!

How I Manage to “Do It All”… NOT!

It has been a lot of fun for me to get to know more about Danielle on her Journey…  While we were busy interns, we really didn’t have a lot of time for chit chat and I feel like I’m getting to know more about her now than I did then.  Her explanation for her blog title – and the suggestions for starting a home business were great, weren’t they?  She has some great resources on her blog for WAHMs or moms who WANT to be WAHMS!

She has some great, thoughtful questions for me – I’ll do my best to answer them here…

You mentioned you are a college student, what are you going to school for?  What are your plans once you graduate?  I know you struggle with juggling your family and everything else, just like so many of us.  Do you have any tips or lessons you have learned in juggling everything?

I registered for my first full-time semester of online courses with Liberty University in Fall 2004.  Two weeks before my first class was to begin, we were delighted to discover that we were expecting Curly. So, for the first 5 months of my pregnancy – while working 40 hours a week – dealing with terrible morning all-day sickness, I took 4 full-time courses online.  It was HORRIFIC, to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »

Moms – Want More Time? Get Organized!

stopwatchAs a mom, you probably wear many different hats – chef, taxi driver, maid, home keeper, schedule coordinator, planner, assistant, organizer – and more.  Do you ever wear more than one hat at a time? Do you ever wish you had more time in the day?

Well, since that’s not possible, you just have to approach your family schedule and home organization in a different way!

Since it’s usually up to you to keep everyone in the family organized, you could probably use some help. Right?

These days – with work and home and church and family – moms are very busy – sometimes too busy. At times you may feel like you don’t even know if you are coming or going anymore. Life gets downright hectic and can leave you feeling worn out and exhausted.

Eventually you get to the point that something has got to give.  Know what I mean?

Life doesn’t have to be so stressed and hectic? All it takes is a little organization on your part and you’ll have your house and family running smoothly leaving you extra time and less stress. Read the rest of this entry »

Thought Full Thursday: Settling In… Gearing Up…

Since I began my Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) journey over a year ago, actually BECOMING Keeper at Home has been quite challenging for me.

First, I had to undergo a personal transformation that allowed me to understand more fully the value, the responsibility, the role that “Keeper at Home” entails.    Having worked after the births of both of my girls, I was just a “working mommy” and learned to find satisfaction in what was necessary for us at the time.

I enjoyed the structure of a 9-5 working schedule because it was “normal” – it was routine – it was required. I never realized how spontaneous and free-flowing my nature is until I no longer had someone else telling me what to do with my time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ta-Da! Tuesday – My Basic Home Notebook Forms

I decided to go ahead and begin to list the Basic forms I’m using daily, and how I’m setting things up in my Home Management Notebook System.  Later I’ll post pictures and explain how I finally got it all set up.

I have five general color-coded sections in my system:

Food & Menu (Green – as in green, leafy vegetables which are good for you).

Schedules/Cleaning (clear/white – an overabundance of clear protector sheets).

Blogging (Blue – coordinate the “Bl…” theme – and it’s my favorite color and my favorite hobby – you get the idea…)

Personal (Red – as in “important” – it’s where I keep the girls chore / potty charts, and other information).

Contacts (Yellow as in “yellow pages”).

They are set up in this order because it is the order of the colored page protector dividers I’m using.  =)  They are also being implemented in two separate 3-ring binders.  One is the Master Binder (“MB” or Control Journal – 3″ rings) which contains important information to keep at home, close to the phone.  The second is My Home Keeper Notebook (“MHKN”) which I keep with me throughout the day and is more portable (1″ rings) and will fit into any of my totebags.

As I researched the vast array of downloadable or printable forms on the internet, it became very clear that three things were very important to me:  FunctionFormFlexibility.  It had to be efficient, and it had to be pretty, and I needed room to work with it according to our lifestyle.  I can make my own Excel forms, but I don’t want to take the time to make all of them.  When I came across a form that was user friendly, AND pretty, I almost always grabbed onto it!  Even if I haven’t used it yet, I still have it saved so I have the option of trying it later.

For this last week – which was my  first week – I used a few Basic, but Beneficial, forms:


A ruled weekly planner from Donna Young to manage everything that needed to be accomplished during the week.  I need to have a weekly calendar available so I can prepare for upcoming appointments, keep track of Curly’s school projects, and record Roy’s work schedule.

A daily task list called the Daily Flying (Chores) Form at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 [hint: the Word document is editable].  Because there are some things that need to be done once or twice a week, every week, the daily task list needs to be pretty well set for me and was the hardest part of getting myself together.  The fact that a Morning and Bedtime routine (ala Flylady) were already incorporated into this chart made it even better.  Borrowing from this chart and personalizing it for our lifestyle and my style in general, saved a lot of time and reduced a great amount of stress.  It was a springboard for me to get myself going.

I am using these forms every day – throughout the day – and felt much more accomplished by the end of last week than I have in quite some time.  How lovely!


I also used a Menu Planner and Grocery Lists to plan for dinners.  I have not really ever done this before.  Not purposefully, anyway.  But this past week, even Roy commented on the great dinners we had – and it’s all because I took a few minutes on Sunday afternoon to see what we had, what was on sale that we would use, and went from there.  I listed what meals (including sides) I could make with what we had, and made my grocery list (noting coupons & sales), and shopped accordingly.  I even tried a new recipe, Impossible Ham and Cheddar Pie, which was surprisingly delicious and we plan to include it in our regular repertoire of recipes.

I only require planning for dinners/weekends, but there are other great menu & kitchen planners, and this week I am using the Menu page (with shopping list and separate ruled page for greater flexibility) I purchased (cheap!) at Busy Woman.  Someday when I have mastered my Homekeeper Role, I will have everything in my Classic Dayrunner, and this particular form from Busy Woman was designed to fit perfectly.  You can find a wide variety of menu planners, grocery or shopping lists, inventory charts and more at Donna Young, In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, and many other sites by searching google (free printable menu planner).


Now, Curly is only 3, but she is growing quickly, and we are teaching her to take care of her things (as opposed to tearing up her books or standing on top of her toys…)  Since she likes to pick out her own clothes, and certainly has her own fashion sense (much to her father’s chagrin!) I thought it would be nice to begin incorporating a sticker chart for her.   After using a simple one recording only 4 tasks, I realized she could easily be challenged by a few more.  So, I created one in Word Document (using a table) personalized for her.  She earns stickers for Making her bed, Dressing, Brushing her hair, Putting toys away, Reading, etc.  Right now she is more excited about the stickers than any prizes or earnings, so we’re keeping it simple. =)

Georgie is potty training, and since she HAS to do everything her big sister does, she has a potty chart for placing stickers on it.  She is being pretty consistent with 3-4 times of TELLING me she has to go, so she’s getting there.  She’s just excited she gets to use stickers like her big sister. =)

These are the basic forms I am using.  It seriously helps.  I feel more focused and more “together” and more PURPOSEFUL in my daily routines.  Although our weekend was difficult, I had accomplished much during the week, and we had more freedom to get out and go when we were able to.  That felt really great.  And Roy’s compliments on our meals – well, that was bonus!

THE KEY TO SUCCESS FOR ME:  I am using a wide selection of planner pages from a variety of sources.  Some are available free of charge, some websites require membership or purchase, and the more I use a variety of formats, the more I find which work
best for me.  It just required me taking my first steps in the right direction.

Tomorrow, I will be sharing other forms I’m using for home organization, tracking personal information and more…

Until Then,


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TA-DA!!! Tuesday

Trying to be efficient, I wrote this post on Monday to give myself more time on Tuesday to do other things – and sure enough I accidentally posted it and earned 2 comments before it was supposed to be posted. =)  Technology can be so awesome – if you use it properly. =) LOL

I decided to make Tuesday my “TA-DA!!!” day every week.  That way I can post some great online finds to share with you.  I’m working out a daily theme, so bear with me. =)

Blogs & Websites

Passionate Homemaking is such an awesome blog – she’s my favorite blogger at the moment. This post she had over the weekend had some really great links, and I’m going to try one of the natural shampoo recipes…  And – Queen Martha – she has a link for Sourdough Bread & starter!!! (I did wash my hair this weekend with Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap – wow. It smelled SO good.  Now you should know that using less chemicals on your hair is going to change the way your hair lives.  It can take several washings to adjust to the new way your hair feels and moves.)

Journey to a Gracious Woman is right up there in my top 3 bloggers!!!  Christin is SO awesome.  She’s on one of my Christian mom sites, and that’s how I discovered her blog.  I subscribe to it and am always touched, moved, convicted, motivated, etc. by what she writes.  She has some memes, and some Bible Studies, too.

Exemplify Online is a magazine for Christian women.  I’ve downloaded the February edition but have yet to read it all.  Their blog is a good daily blog to read, too.

Through Exemplify, I discovered The Kettle Club.  For you bloggers who are looking for something new to do, or new bloggers who don’t know what to write about all the time or aren’t sure about being active in a weekly blog, The Kettle Club may work well for you. Not only does this give you a little focus, but also underscores your daily walk with God. AWESOME!

Blissfully Domestic.  An online magazine (and community) with almost anything & everything a wife & mom needs.  Numerous channels that offer practical tips & advice for every day matters.  When you can find some quiet time, this is a website worth exploring!  Blissfully Domestic – Your life. Your bliss.

Moms in a Blog.  They’ve had some awesome giveaways, and now they have a Recipe Club – FREE!


List Plan It.  Totally cool.  I’ve joined for a year and have already started using some of the lists!

The Grocery Game.  This is a new site for me, and I’m enjoying my first week of the trial membership.  I think this is something my mom, Queen Martha, could have started herself.  You can find out more about how it works here.  Basically, I’ve subscribed to 2 local grocery stores.  As well as offering print coupons, links for other free coupons, etc., Teri makes a list to go with coupons in newspapers, store specials, etc., and then provides a list for each local store so you know what is on sale and what to stock up on.  At $1 for the one-month trial (and then only $10 every 8 weeks after that, $15 for 2 stores – still less than $2 a week), this could be a real time saver.  You can customize the list that prints so things you wouldn’t buy won’t print.  Gonna try it this week and will comment again – but I’m hopeful and excited about using this resource!

So that’s what I’ve got for TA-DA!!! Tuesday this week!  Please feel free to comment and give me some feedback about these resources!