The Box That Cleans My House

“When my brain is cluttered, I need my house to be tidy. If my brain and my house are cluttered, everything falls apart.”

When my friend said this to me a few weeks ago, I knew exactly what she meant, although I had never put it into words so well. For years, I’ve felt a bit guilty about my need for order and tidiness in our home – as though having a clean house means I’m neglecting my children, or I’m materialistic and consumed with having a Pinterest-worthy home.

But in the last few months, my brain has felt more cluttered than ever before, and I’ve felt as though a tidy home is actually part of survival. At times when I’m hanging on by a thread, something as simple as a clear counter top can remind me there is still open space and orderliness in the world.

It’s unfortunate that this increased need for orderliness comes at a time when I’m busier than I’ve ever been. I don’t have time for running after my dear family members who are very intent on leaving trails after themselves all over the house. I’m tired of nagging and reminding.

Miraculously, a friend came along at just the right time, with just the right suggestion. She told me about an idea she’d read about – any objects left lying around are put into a container, and must be “bought” back by doing an extra chore around the house.


I already had a list of chores posted on the fridge for the girls to choose from when I need them to do some housework – it seems to work much better when they get to choose for themselves what chore they’ll do. Adding the box was very easy – pick a chore from the list for each item you want back. (Ben asked if building a new garden box for me would count for more than one item, but I told him I wouldn’t be confiscating his stuff, so he didn’t need to worry!)

At first, the girls were not impressed with this idea, but they have adjusted to it very quickly, and by Day Two, I was already hearing Anika saying, “I’d better clean this up so Mommy doesn’t take it away!”

And yesterday, she said, “It’s actually fun to get our stuff back after we do a chore – it’s like getting a prize!”

So now they’re happier, and my cluttered brain is happier, and the solution was as simple as a cardboard box.:)



The Saddest Thing I’ve Seen All Summer

Maybe I just need to get out more, or maybe God is finally giving me a soft heart for the smaller creatures of this world, but I was almost in tears this week because of this poor pigeon:


It’s been living in the roof of the new house being built next door, and until yesterday, we would see it disappearing into a hole in the roof many times a day.

Yesterday, there was much activity going on at the new house. I didn’t pay much attention to what kind of work was being done, but a loud flapping sound suddenly drew my attention to the roof. That poor pigeon was flying back and forth, looking for the opening into the roof, to get to it’s nest. Alas, the opening was all covered up:

roofI have never actually seen a confused bird before, but there was no mistaking, this bird was confused. It kept flying back and forth, again and again, searching for its home.

Then it disappeared for awhile, and I was very curious about what Poor Pigeon was up to. Suddenly, I saw a head peek out of the eaves trough on the opposite end of the house. That bird was checking out every possible option for getting into the roof.

It made me laugh, and then I just kind of felt like crying. Completely ridiculous, but really? Maybe we all feel a little bit like the pigeon sometimes. A little lost, a little confused. Things are not as they should be, and we flounder for a little while, trying to figure out Plan B.

PigeonI didn’t see Pigeon today. Anika thought maybe he would head south early. I had my doubts. Will he start building a new nest, even though it doesn’t really pay? I have no idea how these things work for homeless pigeons.

But carry on, Brave Pigeon! Somewhere, you will find a place to call home!

35 Days of Favorites: Grass!

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

It’s been awhile since I’ve had any grass to enjoy.

When we were living at camp, the grass was thin and patchy. Then, our yard was given a fantastic makeover, and we got some thick, beautiful sod, but we moved away before we had much time to enjoy it, and spent this last summer with a new yard which looked like this:


(So scary, I know. People kept telling us to mow our weeds, but we ended up just killing them all in the fall.)

Last fall, Ben put sod down in our front yard about 2 seconds before it snowed, and our backyard was done two weeks ago.


Oh, my goodness! I love grass!!!

Sometimes I lie down on my back in our grass, just because I can. Last night, Ben and I flopped down in our front yard, and just enjoyed sitting on our grass and talking.

Next project is landscaping. I hope I love that as much as the grass….

Do you have a yard to enjoy? Loving any grass or gardening or anything green this spring?

Pure Bliss and Joy…Kind of…

WE ARE HOME!! It’s felt like a looong two weeks. We are quite giddy about being back, but we have come home to some chaos. While we were gone, the flooring was redone in our house, and although the work crew tried to put everything back in the right place, that’s kind of a difficult job….They did their best. But I still  have some major work to do!

So. I love the new flooring. I’m super thankful for all the work everyone did to get it done while we were gone. But I’m itching to get my house in order. THEN I will truly feel settled. (Anika says, “It doesn’t really feel like our house!”) But it’s like a treasure hunt! The girls will be searching for their toys all day….