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Tips for Tuesday

Like it or not, 'tis the season to pack away your summer clothes and face the fact that winter will soon be upon us.  And while we're at it, we might as well clean out the closet.  If you're ready to run the other direction upon hearing the words "closet cleaning," please hang in there.  I promise to have a helpful hint with the potential to make this chore a breeze!

But first, let me show you that I'm putting my money where my mouth is and actually  doing what I've been suggesting.  As I've said, the best way to get organized is to have less stuff, and the best way to get less stuff is to totally empty out the area you're working on. (Don't run yet, the hint is coming!)  So here's my closet, emptied out. 

If you don't have time to completely empty your closet, break it down into smaller segments -   hanging clothes, shelves, and floor. 

No time to empty out even a portion of your closet?  Make time to follow through on this one tip...


Hang your clothes from the back of the rod rather than the front, as shown in the photo below.

How does turning your hangers around help keep your closet organized?  It shows you what you've been wearing and what you haven't, making it easier to identify those things you're no longer using.

Once you have your hangers turned around, just resume hanging things as you normally do.  By the end of the season you'll easily be able to tell what you haven't worn because those hangers will still be backwards. 

You can use the same method on shelves or in drawers by placing the clean items at the bottom of the stack after laundering.  If you find yourself digging to find something to wear, it's time for the items on top to go!

Now lets go turn those hangers!

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Have you ever had one of those moments when you were really glad there wasn't a hidden camera recording your movements?  I had one of them just this week!

I was visiting a friend's house for the first time, and since I had a long drive ahead of me I asked to use the rest room before I left.  I had no problem finding it, but as I walked in the door and reached for the light switch all I felt was wall.  I know sometimes the switches are just outside the room so I opened the door to look...  No light switches there either.

This was a half-bath in the interior of the house, which means it was windowless and dark. I saw the light fixture above the sink so I knew there had to be some way to turn it on, I just couldn't find it. 

What was known by my hostess was a mystery to me.

My eyes were adjusting to the dark, but just as I resolved to proceed without light I turned around and there was the switch!

Scripture portrays darkness as being anywhere  God's presence is absent, and describes those who don't know Him as walking in darkness.  Their spiritual eyes have adjusted to the darkness of life without God because that's all they've ever known. 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ~ Romans 1:20

Scripture tells us that creation itself gives off evidence of God, but what if the evidence is seen but not understood?  As believers it is imperative we remember that many of those around us are walking in darkness, because we are the ones who are called to point out the way to connect to the Light.  The prophecy of Zechariah for his son John is a call to all believers:

"you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” ~ Luke 1:76-79

Father, help me to be sensitive to those around me that are walking in darkness. Give me opportunities to introduce them to your Son, so they may know your tender mercy and experience the forgiveness you have so graciously shown to me.

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Tips for Tuesday

Because we so rarely clean out anything that can be hidden (c'mon, you know you do this!), items tend to accumulate in closets, cupboards and drawers. One of the key elements to getting - and staying - organized is to have less stuff.  That's the bottom line.  The less we have, the easier it is to keep it under control.   

I mentioned in a previous post the need to tailor our project to what our schedule allows.  Most of us don't have the time to tackle and entire room, but we can find a few minutes to start on one drawer or a shelf. 

Regardless of where we choose to begin, the key is to do the job thoroughly.  That means taking EVERYTHING out of that drawer or off that shelf and starting from scratch.  If we don't take it all out, we end up merely shuffling things around.  By removing everything we can assess each item and determine if it stays, goes, or should be somewhere else. 

Here are the criteria I use for determining whether or not an article is allowed to remain or must find a new home:

1. Do I need it?

2. Do I use it?

3. Do I love it?

If it doesn't fall into one of these categories, it's time to say goodbye!


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

I knew it was coming.  Common sense said, "Keep your distance," but I went ahead and did it anyway. Now I'm paying for it, but it was totally worth the cost.

I care for my 4-month-old grandson a couple days a week, and he was very obviously coming down with a cold.  Normally I try to stay away from anyone who may be contagious, but I just couldn't help myself.  How could I not kiss this precious little face?

Now we both have a cold.

Love comes at a cost - sometimes for the recipient, but most often for the giver.

A cold is a small price to pay to be with someone you love.

Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we could be with Him for eternity.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

Jesus laid down His life for us before we could be counted as His friends.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

Salvation through Jesus Christ is free to us, but it cost Him his life.  I wonder if we sometimes take salvation for granted because we weren't the ones to pay the price...

Except that we, too, are required to pay a price.  We like to call Jesus our Savior and then go on living life as we please, but Jesus came to be our Lord and Savior.  We like the idea of having a Savior, but how many actually accept Jesus as Lord of their life? 

Lord - Supreme in authority, controller, master.

The word "Savior" is found 56 times in Scripture; "Lord" 6472 times.  That's staggering!  Do you think God is trying to tell us something here?

Calling anyone "Lord" flies in the face of everything our society teaches us about being in control of our own destiny.  Calling Jesus, "Lord" costs us.  If Jesus is Lord of my life, that means that I am not.  We must relinquish control of our lives and hand it over to Him.

You are my friends if you do what I command. ~ John 15:14

Can you be considered a friend of Jesus?

Jesus, thank you for the sacrifice you made for me.  Forgive me for all the times I've tried to take control of my life rather than submit to you.  Help me to truly accept you as Lord of my life!


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Tips for Tuesday

Welcome to part two of “Win the War on Junk Mail!”  Last week I gave you some tips on how to reduce the amount of mail coming in. While we’re waiting for the influx of mail to wane, we still need to take steps to deal with the incoming.

1. Go through the mail every day.  It’s much more manageable to work with one day’s mail than plow through a pile, so set aside a few minutes each day to deal with it. 

2. Try to handle each piece of mail only once, or as little as possible.  The quicker you deal with it, the quicker it’s out of your life (and off your counter!)

  • Start by opening everything.  I like to use a letter opener because I feel it speeds up the process, not to mention that it saves wear and tear on my fingers.  (Some people like to pitch junk mail without opening it, but if you do so you risk getting rid of something important – like a check - that just looks like junk mail.)

  • As I open the mail I sort it into three piles - bills that need to be paid, other things that need to be dealt with in one way or another, and paper to be recycled. 

Recycling: I don’t want my information to get into the wrong hands, so I remove my address, account numbers, etc. before recycling.  I recently found a very nifty gadget to help speed up the process!  Rather than using a shredder or tearing off the private info and burning it (for those of us who live in the middle of nowhere) I bought a “Guard your ID STAMP.”  I purchased mine from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for around $10 (minus a 20% coupon, of course!)  If you go to purchase one, you may need to ask for it.  I found mine on a bottom shelf up by the cash registers. 

As you can see, this self-inking stamp is solid symbols and obliterates whatever is underneath it.  Now I just quickly stamp out any personal information and it’s ready for the recycle bin!

Bills: If you have several come at once, you may want to pay them and get it over with.  If you don’t want to mail them in right away, pencil in the date it needs to be mailed (allowing a few days in transit) where the stamp goes.  When it comes time to mail it, just cover up the date with a postage stamp.

If your bills are staggered, it may be more expedient to aside a specific place for these and schedule a time to take care of them. 

Other things: If at all possible, do what you need to do as soon as you’re done sorting the mail.  It really doesn’t take long to clip a coupon or put a date on your calendar, and once you take care of it, you no longer have it cluttering up your house.

3. Give the appearance with order.  Rather than leaving it piled up, put the things you don’t have time for into a nice-looking basket or some similar container.  Just make sure you put the earliest dates on the top of the pile, and don’t wait too long to get back to it. 

So far, my counter is still looking good!  How about yours?

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

I was raised going to church every Sunday, yet I couldn’t name more than a handful of the books in the Bible, didn’t know what a Gospel was or the difference between the Old and New Testaments (other than the fact that one was “old” and the other “new.”)

Though I had many unsuccessful attempts, I really didn’t start reading the Bible until I changed denominations in my late twenties.  Once I started reading, I was convinced that my Bible was defective because it was missing a book.  I didn’t have the book of Jobe (it sounds like the plant stakes, so it should be spelled like them, right?); I only had Job (where one goes to work.)  I’ve come a long way, baby!

Recently I found myself in an online debate with someone.  To prove his point (with which I disagreed) he claimed, “Jesus said, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’”

There was a time when I would’ve taken that statement at face value, but now I’ve read enough of Scripture to know that, while I believe these words to be true, they weren’t spoken by Jesus.  The fact that this man credited Jesus with this statement made me question him all the more. 

“God helps those who help themselves.”  This is another one of those phrases that sound like it should be in the Bible, but it isn’t in there either. 

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” ~ Hosea 4:6

We have become a nation that is Biblically illiterate, and I was as illiterate as they come.  In the busyness of life, I guess I didn’t think it was necessary.  I spent an hour a week in church; isn’t that enough?

No.  It isn’t. 

How can we say we’re followers of Christ, but not spend any time learning about Him?  How can we be like Him when we really don’t know Him? 


The Bible doesn’t just teach us about Jesus (though that’s the most important part), it teaches us about life.  I never cease to be amazed at the scope of topics the Bible covers, from salvation (John 14:6) to bland food (Job 6:6) and EVERYTHING in between! 

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. ~ Psalm 119:16

Let’s face it.  We have time for those things that we want to have time for.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. ~ Psalm 119:37

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is actually a Chinese proverb credited to Confucius (

“God helps those who help themselves” was first recorded as the moral to one of Aesop’s Fables written in ancient Greece.

Father, forgive me for all the time that I’ve wasted on insignificant things.  Increase my hunger for your Word and help me to choose you above all else!
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Tips for Tuesday

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the biggest problem areas in my home as far as order is concerned are my kitchen table and counter.  The biggest culprit – mail.  Thanks to my church mailbox, I have mail landing on my counter seven days a week.

The easiest way to deal with excess mail is to not get it in the first place.  I've found several ways to reduce the amount of mail sent to my house. 

1. Get off the bulk mailing lists.  This takes a while to take effect, but worth the wait.  Companies pay to buy mailing lists and don’t want to waste their money and mail on people who don’t want it.  You just need to let them know you’re one of those people.  For the best results, go to each of these sites:

  • At top right of home page, click on “contact us”
  • When asked to select what kind of user you are, choose “consumer” from the drop down menu. 
  • When asked to select the appropriate question, choose “I would like to be removed from your mailing list” and click on the “next” button.
  • Enter the required information, click “send” and in 5-6 weeks those circulars will stop

  • Click on the “Get Started” tab on the far right and type in the requested information. 
  • You can set up separate accounts for each person in your household, and list up to five versions of each name.  YOU MAY WANT TO KEEP TRACK OF THE NAMES YOUR MAIL IS SENT TO BEFORE DOING THIS SO YOU CATCH ALL THE VARIATIONS.

2. Contact the agencies that are sending you the “junk” mail.

  • Call the toll free number you find in catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing list.  Even if it’s a number used to place an order, they’re still able to remove you from their list.

  • Return the postage paid envelope to organizations looking for a donation.  There’s no need to get nasty, just include the contribution slip with a request to be taken off their mailing list.  I usually cross off the donation information just to make it clear that I’m not contacting them to make a contribution.  Be sure to keep your contact information clear so they know who to remove.

3. When making a donation, make it clear that you do not wish to receive any excess mailings.  I keep the following letter on my computer and send it whenever I am making a one-time donation:

"We would like to thank you for the service you provide and offer you this donation to further your work.  Unfortunately, there are far more worthy causes looking for funds than we have funds available, so we must look for those organizations who will be the best stewards of the gifts given to them.  We have been disappointed by those organizations that accept our donation and then seemingly spend a great portion of our gift to send numerous mailings and requests for additional funds back to us.  While each mailing contains information that we’re sure the organization finds necessary, to us it is just overwhelming.   

"We humbly request that you would not place us on your mailing list.  We will continue to support your ministry as God leads us, but if you choose not to honor our request our support will be sent to one of the other worthy causes." 

Now that we’ve begun the process of eliminating unwanted mail, we’ll continue next week by looking at how to manage the mail that does come into your house.


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Tips for Tuesday

We've spent the past several weeks beginning to bring order to our homes, with a focus on starting:
  1. Start somewhere; the important thing is to just get going.
  2. Start now; the time we spend procrastinating could be better used actually doing something. 
  3. Start small; break a large task into small segments.
Today’s tip?
  1. Start admiring - and keep it up!
We all need a little encouragement now and then, but let's be honest. On our journey to order some (or many) of our accomplishments may go unnoticed by other members of our household. That's why it’s crucial we take a moment to enjoy what all of our hard efforts have brought about. 

It’s natural to focus on what still needs to be done, perhaps because there’s so much of it, but we shouldn't neglect to acknowledge our victories along the way, regardless of their size. 

What we focus on gets bigger. 

That statement applies to all areas of life.  It's easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed when all we see is what still needs to be done.  Taking a moment to enjoy what we've completed gives us a sense of accomplishment and encourages us to keep going. 

I've often joked that my goal in life is to have a clear kitchen counter. A month ago I posted a photo of the clutter that was driving me crazy. 


               Ahhhh.  I feel so much better now!   
Now that I have it cleared, I can look at the counter when I get overwhelmed by the rest of the tasks before me and remind myself that I am making progress.

This counter is a big problem area for me; it's the place where things tend to land after entering my house. 

This is where the keep it up comes in.  Before I start on anything else, I tidy this area up so that it doesn't get away from me again.  This way the clean areas stay clean, and slowly but surely I'm adding to the areas that are in order.

So take a moment, right now, and celebrate your hard work.  Then, keep it up!!!

Congratulations on a job well done!

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