Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments


Tips for Tuesday

Refinishing my stairway means two things:

1. Someday I'll have some "after" pictures to share with you - hopefully soon.

2. I need to clean my ENTIRE house, top to bottom!

As careful as we were, we still ended up with sawdust EVERYWHERE - upstairs, downstairs, stuck on the walls, behind closed doors ... So, I'm going to be stuck in the "during" stage of this project until I get this sawdust cleaned up.

This weekend I washed my curtains - which were also full of dust - and since I had to put them back up anyway, I thought I'd show you how to have a window treatment with a minimal investment in hardware.  All this takes is a couple cup hooks and a few rubber pony-tail holders, so your investment would probably be less than a dollar if you don't happen to have these things around the house already. 

Here's the finished product.  I started with a sheer curtain panel that is 8 yards (24 feet) long and 5 feet wide.  Using a measuring tape, I determined how long I wanted the left side to be and how far down the center piece should drape.  (The right side is puddled on the floor.)
Screw two cup hooks into the trim above the window, one a few inches from each end.
 I decided the length on the left should be 61 inches, so measured along the length of the panel (which I folded in half) and marked that spot with a pin on both the top and bottom edges.  (A couple paper clips can also be used, but they tend to get caught as they're removed.)  Go down 12 inches and pin again. 

The distance between my two cup hooks along the drape line was 41 inches so I measured that far and placed another set of pins followed by a fourth pair of pins another 12 inches down.  So now I have my panel folded lengthwise with a pin in both the top and bottom edge 61 inches from the end (my left length), twelve inches from that, again 41 inches down (my swag length) and another 12 inches from that. 

Fold the panel (like you'd fold a fan out of paper) between the first and last set of pins using about a 5 inch fold.  This was too long to do all together so I started at the 61 inch mark and went to the half-way point, then folded again from the half-way point to the final set of pins. 

Keeping the fan fold in place, fold the panel between the pins that are 12 inches apart, giving you a 6 inch loop.  Place a rubber hair tie tightly around the fabric and carefully remove the pins.  Repeat this for the other 12 inch section.  (You may want to secure the fan fold with pins and make sure the distance is where you want it before putting in the second hair tie.)  Rubber bands work, but the sun rots them more quickly than it does the hair ties.

Place one hand in the loop you've created (the hair tie is below my hand in the photo) then place the other hand in from the other direction.  Pull the fabric off one hand and onto the other to unfold it and "poof" it out.  Repeat with the other loop.

Carefully place each rubber band over a cup hook, draping the fabric between the two hooks.  Adjust the "poofs" and the folds until you're satisfied with the finished product.  If the distances aren't quite right, just take out one or both of the hair ties and repeat the process, adjusting as necessary.
Ta da!

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments

I've loved mystery stories since I was a little girl.  I remember watching "Scooby-Doo" cartoons in my early years  and wishing there was such a thing as a Scooby-Doo doll to help me recreate the tales.  (Yes, there was a day when marketing to children was considered a bad thing.)

As I grew older, reading became my way of escaping to another time and place.  Once I was introduced to Nancy Drew I proceeded to devour each and every one of her adventures.  Saturdays were typically spent holed up in my bedroom reading the latest installment from her book club cover to cover.

As a teenager, I graduated to the Agatha Christie mysteries.  I'm pretty sure I've read each of her books too.  Miss Marple, a keen old spinster from the town of St. Mary Mead, was one of my favorite characters.


When something comes up several times in a short time span, I've learned to pay attention. I found it interesting that just as I was getting ready to study the Book of Revelation, it showed up in a Masterpiece Mystery movie on PBS featuring Miss Marple. 

In the film, "The Pale Horse," Miss Marple receives a letter from a friend who is a minister; the next day she learns he has been killed, which spurs her to investigate.

As Miss Marple read what would be the final correspondence from her friend, her maid - who had been looking over her shoulder - asked, "What is Rev six eight, Miss?"  (Thanks to my DVR I was able to capture the conversation verbatim.)

Miss Marple replied, "It's the book of Revelation, chapter 6, verse 8."  She looked up the passage in her Bible and read, "And I looked, and behold a pale horse!  And his name that sat on him was death, and Hell followed with him."

"I don't like the sounds of that," the maid remarked.

Miss Marple replied, "Well, it's the Bible, dear.  I'm not sure you're meant to." 

I wasn't sure how to take that statement.  Was Miss Marple saying that we're not supposed to like what we see when reading the Bible?  That it was written to scare us or condemn us?  Or was she referring specifically to the Book of Revelation?  I remember as a young Christian being warned not to read Revelation because it was too scary.  How can that be?  It's a part of the Bible, isn't it?  There's a reason Scripture is called the Good News!

Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. ~ Revelation 1:3

When I think about it, reading the Bible is similar to reading those old mystery stories.  The truth is revealed to those who investigate!  One has to be focused on what he or she is reading and willing to do a little digging to make real sense of things. 

We also need to be willing to honestly investigate our lives, to compare how we're living to how God instructs us to live.  While it's true that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death, we must also recognize the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)  In Him we have nothing to fear!

Lord, I'm so grateful that you haven't left us to struggle to decipher Scripture on our own, but have given us your Holy Spirit to guide us and help us understand.  Please continue to fuel my desire to comprehend your Word and make the changes in my life necessary to live according to what it says.

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

Chrysalis cafe

I saw this referred to as a new "meme" so my first thought was, "I wonder what a meme is?"

According to Wikipedia, a meme is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."

Well, now I've learned something...

It looked like fun, so I thought I'd join in!

Today, let's get re-acquainted as womenThis week, boys are not allowed!  The prompts listed below are designed to help us to get to know you as a unique daughter of God.

Think of your post as a quick pencil sketch of your current life. The faster you write it the better!

I am…..a work in progress.
I want….whatever it is God wants for me.
I have…..everything I need.
I wish…..I had unlimited funds to give away.
I hate….. hypocracy.
I miss…..the sun.
I fear…..failure, even though I know I shouldn't.

I feel…..the warm air from the space heater :)
I hear…..God's voice
I smell…..chips 'n cheese
I crave…..intimacy (and chocolate)
I search…..using swagbucks so I can get free Amazon gift cards!
I wonder…..about the future
I regret…..the things I never tried
I love…..Jesus!
I ache…..when I sit at the computer too long.
I care…..for those in need.
I always… order.
I am not…..generally early.
I believe…..I will spend eternity in Heaven.
I dance… Just Dance 3.

I sing…..when no one's listening.
I cry…..when I'm frustrated.
I don’t always….. think of the right things to say in time to say them.
I fight….. for those who can't fight for themselves.
I write… express my love for God.

I never…. get enough time alone with God.
I listen….. for the still, small voice of God.
I need…..another trip to Kenya.
I am happy…..outdoors in the sunshine.

How about you?

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

Joe and I go way back.  I started seeing him about ten years ago after suffering a closed-head injury.  He wasn't accepting new patients at the time but I was an "interesting case" (i.e. no one else knew what to do with me) so he took me on. 

Initially I saw him for therapy twice a week down at the hospital, then followed him when he started working at a rehab facility and again when he opened his own practice.  Progress has been slow but sure and I now see him once every other month.  (In the rehab business, I think I'm what's known as "job security.")

Not only is Joe a physical therapist, he is also a certified Feldenkrais practitioner along with a host of other things.  I usually don't know exactly what he's doing, but I always depart from his office feeling better than I did when I entered.  It's rare that I leave without some type of exercise or instruction to follow up on.  In fact, I was just cleaning out my filing cabinet and the folder containing my exercise sheets is an inch thick! 

A few months ago I had the remnants of a cold that just kept hanging on, and Joe began telling me of a remedy to drive it out.  As he was talking, I suddenly realized that I wasn't really paying any attention.  Have you ever caught yourself doing this?  All you're hearing is "blah, blah, blah..." and then the thought, "Gee, I really should be paying attention," pops into your head. 

Fortunately for me, Joe recognizes when I tune out and will say something like, "Would you like me to write this down for you?" which is generally necessary in order for me to take any further action.

His remedy  - I know some of you are curious - was to drink a large glass of water with 4 or 5 drops each of clove oil and oregano spirits in it.  (I use 5 drops of clove and 4 drops of oregano just for the sake of flavor.  It doesn't taste great, but it doesn't taste horrible either.)  Since I already was in the habit of starting each day by drinking a glass of water, it was relatively easy to incorporate this into my daily routine.  While it in no way replaces seeing a doctor if you need one, I can say that I really haven't been sick since I started doing this. 

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." ~ Matthew 7:24-25

Jesus tells us we need to do two things to build a firm foundation for our lives - listen to His words and then act upon them.  His words are written in our Bibles just waiting for us to take them in.  When was the last time you went there to listen? 

This morning? 


Last week? 

Can't remember when?

Life is busy for all of us, and our priorities are easily misplaced.  There are so many things crying for our attention that it's often God's still, small voice that ends up being ignored.  Yet if we take the time to listen we'll hear that if we put God first, He'll take care of the rest.   

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." ~ Matthew 6:33

Of course, "all these things" doesn't mean I'll accomplish everything I want to.  It means I'll accomplish what God wants me to (which is generally a much shorter list of things far less visible.)  But to accomplish anything, I need to be tuned in to God and then act on what I hear.  Just as I couldn't expect to feel any better if I didn't follow through with Joe's suggestion, neither can I expect a great transformation in my life if I don't follow through with God's commands.

Lord, I thank you for the power and transformation that comes through time in your Word.  Forgive me for those times when I've missed the message you have for me or neglected to take action.  Please continue to transform me to look more and more like Jesus through the mighty power of His name!


[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments


Tips for Tuesday

Trying to remain faithful to my healthy eating resolution, I put a couple of Herbalife protein shakes in the freezer to take along with me on our weekend away.  Just as we were about to leave, I asked my husband if I could use the small cooler he takes back and forth to work for lunch. 

My bad. 

I should've known better.  Anything that goes to my husband's workplace ends up a grimy mess.  The fact that it's white just makes the grime show up all the more. 

Since the time I had hoped to be out the door had come and gone, I quickly rinsed out the inside of the cooler, inserted my shakes and headed to the van, which meant I checked into the hotel accompanied by one nasty-looking little cooler.

And of course, I was spotted with said cooler.  Thankfully it was a good enough friend that she didn't mention it until it came up in conversation a couple of weeks later.  She knew I'd have some kind of story since I don't usually travel with items in that condition.

Enter Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser!  While it would have been nice if this would've entered before I needed to use the cooler, I say better late than never.  I was shocked to hear my friend had never heard of it.  Since it's one of my favorite household helps, I thought I'd introduce it to you just in case you haven't already become acquainted.

Basically, the Magic Eraser takes off just about anything that you can't get off any other way.  Here's a before and after photo of our little cooler to give you an idea of the magic it can work:

This cooler is over eighteen years old, but after the Magic Eraser it looks like new! 

I also find it works well on bake ware.

This glass pan is 28 years old (Yikes! Am I dating myself here?) and was covered with brown, baked on stains, but the Magic Eraser took them all off.
The Magic Eraser didn't take all the stains off the inside of my crock pot, but I'm sure it would've worked better if I hadn't waited a couple decades before using it!

One difficult spot in my home is the register in the kitchen floor.  It rubs on the linoleum, leaving a mark around the edges. 

I tried everything to get it off, but nothing worked until I found the Magic Eraser.

I like to use a new Magic Eraser when I'm cleaning cookware.  The eraser gets discolored and disintegrates as you use it, so as it gets older I save it to use in other parts of the house.  The floor is the last stop before I discard the remainder and start the process over with a new one.  (I have several Magic Erasers in various stages that I use in different places.)

The Magic Eraser tends to erase everything, so take care when using it on painted walls and similar surfaces as you're likely to erase the paint along with your stain.

I'd love to hear where you use your Magic Eraser!  Leave me a comment so we can all expand our horizons!



[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments

Every time I looked out the window, the  screaming and criticizing would commence.  What made it worse is the fact that it was all coming from within my own head.

"You don't have your fall yard work done yet?"

"Look at those plants that haven't been cut back!"

"Why is the lawn still covered with leaves?"

Back in December I lamented that I didn't remember ever being so behind on my yard work.  It's not that we ignored the task back in the fall. Bob was out collecting leaves twice a week, though the only evidence of that now is the fact that they aren't neck deep.   Living in the middle of the woods does have its drawbacks. 

The wise person I was conversing with pointed out that the only reason I was feeling behind on the work outdoors was because I could still see it. 

For some reason, that hadn't occurred to me.  This is Michigan, after all, the land of Trick-or-Treating in your winter jacket.  All this work should have been covered up months ago.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Ah...that looks much better!  What a difference a day makes!

Of course, the work is still there; it's just that I no longer have to look at it and have that constant reminder. 

Unfortunately, we can have the same attitude when it comes to sin.  We know we need to do the work and address the issue, but it seems so much easier to just cover it up.   The problem is, the work to be done is still there whether it's visible or not.  Even if we ignore it, God doesn't.

"There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." ~ Luke 8:17

We have a choice - there's always a choice - enlist God's help and deal with it now, or ignore it and suffer the natural consequences and God's displeasure. 

The best choice, deal with it now AND avoid it in the future.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Father, I thank you that no sin is beyond your forgiveness through the blood of your son Jesus.  Open my eyes to those things I'd rather ignore, so that I may live a life pleasing to you.  Thank you Jesus, for making it possible for me to truly be whiter than snow!


[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments


Tips for Tuesday

Last week I had my carpets cleaned, which forced me to move everything out of the carpeted rooms.  It's amazing what accumulates, even when you think you're keeping on top of things!

Even if you don't have a carpet cleaning scheduled to motivate you, there's no time like the present to get your home organized.  Take one room at a time.  By working your way around beginning at the entrance, you won't miss anything.  This could be a big project that you do all at once, or it can be broken down into smaller tasks done as time allows.

is for Empty Everything

Remove items from under furniture, in baskets and drawers, on shelves...everywhere!  If you skip this step it's unlikely that you'll remove any clutter, you'll just be relocating it. 

Examine each item. 
Ask the questions, "Is this item worthy of taking up precious space in my home and in my life?"  "Do I love it?"  "Do I need it?" 

Eliminate the excess. 
Sort the items into the following categories:  "Throw Away", "Give Away", and "Move to Another Room." When tackling an entire room, I find it helpful to have a container for each category so the items can be easily moved to the designated location.  If you're just doing a section of the room, piles would probably suffice. 

Once the room is empty, clean it and then put back only those items that need to be there.  The fewer things you have, the easier it is to maintain!

Remember, well begun is half done!


[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

Every time I walked by the living room I'd cringe when caught a glimpse of the carpet.  Even though I would quickly clean up whenever I saw one of our pets had an "accident," there were still spots.  I suppose having an off-white berber carpet doesn't help...

Tuesday was my big day - time for a much-anticipated professional carpet cleaning!  I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've had this done, but I can tell you it was long overdue.

Imagine my surprise when Scott, the man cleaning my carpets, asked me to point out where the spots were so he could pre-treat them... and I couldn't find them! Those spots that had been driving me crazy were now virtually invisible.


Because there was no sunlight to illuminate them.  (I know this is no surprise to those of you living in West Michigan since sunshine is so scarce this time of year.)

Photo courtesy of DRI-TEK Carpet Cleaning - not my house :)

Just like my carpet, we are all stained - with sin. We like to stay in the darkness because there those spots don't seem so visible.  Our sins just blend in with the shadows around us.  Or so we think.

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." ~ John 3:19

Jesus is the Light of the World, and His light exposes sin for what it is.  Fortunately for us, Jesus doesn't stop there. 

"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity." ~ Zechariah 13:1

Jesus has the power to cleanse us from sin, but to receive this cleansing we must choose to step out of the darkness and into His light.  So, will we run from the light, or be the light?

"You are the light of the world..." ~ Matthew 5:14

Did you ever notice that Jesus uses the same words to describe us as He does Himself?  How amazing is that!  When we invite Jesus to examine our life and cleanse us from our sins, His light then abides in us.  That's why we sometimes have people leave our lives when Jesus enters in. His light is now residing in us and illuminating sin in others - even though we may be oblivious to it. 

"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." ~ Romans 13:12

We must choose to put aside the deeds of darkness, then take the next step and choose to put on the armor of light.  According to (my new favorite website) the word translated as armor here describes an implement or utensil or tool (literal or figurative, especially offensive for war):-It can mean armor, instrument, or weapon. 

We're living in a battle zone, but Christ is offering us His light as our offensive weapon!  Just as I can put Scotchgard on my carpet to protect it from future stains, we can put on the armor of light to guard our hearts from evil.  And not just protect us from evil, but fight evil as well!

Lord, thank you for continuing to reveal to me the many ways You will equip me for the things You have called me to do.  Shine Your light on me, as painful as it might be, so that I may be a pure reflection of Your light to those around me.

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments


Tips for Tuesday

How are you coming with the Christmas decoration take-down process?  I have a much-needed carpet cleaning scheduled for this morning to help motivate me to wrap it up! 

A couple weeks ago my husband opened his pole barn to a cat ready to bust out.  Obviously Houdini hasn't learned her lesson, as evidenced by the fact that she decided to hang out in the Christmas tree box before we had a chance to bring it downstairs.  Step #1 - Before putting your tree away for the season, always ascertain the location of your cat!

I purchased a plastic ornament organizer a few years ago, and I highly recommend acquiring one if your boxes are falling apart or if you have a lot of individual ornaments.  They come with corrugated cardboard dividers so there's no need to wrap fragile ornaments to protect them from breakage. 

This container holds two layers of ornaments with a large piece of cardboard in between.  I only use the dividers for the bottom layer since I have a relatively new box of decorations that fits on the top.  I still like to label the container since I have a few other items I tuck in there as well. 

You might want to take a trip to the store to look at the organizers and see what they have.  Some are only available this time of year, but are more general and can be used in numerous ways around the house.  It's time to think outside the box!


If you'd like to join me in a Scripture memory challenge for the year, click on the button in the sidebar for more information!
[ Read More ]