Oh, Lord, I Thank Thee – A Motherhood Poem

Happy Mother’s Day!

I thank thee for the little fingers

that get into everything

for without these little fingers

to whom else would I sing?


Sing of your praises

And sing of birds and bees

Sing to my little ones

Songs of elephants and fleas


I thank thee for the little voices

that sometimes whine and cry

for without these little voices

I would never wonder why


Why is the sky blue?

And why do You start us small?

Why must we eat vegetables

to grow up strong and tall?


I thank thee for the little eyes

that peep when they should be sleeping

for without these little eyes

what dreams would be worth keeping?


Keeping dreams of a big house

with laughter in each room

love and hugs and tiny dreams

you stitched together in my womb


I thank thee for these little children

you have placed in my care

for without these little children

joyous moments would be rare

If you are looking for a last minute Mother’s Day craft, please allow me to save the day! (Affiliate Links Ahead – Thanks for supporting my brainstorms!)

For the craft pictured at the top of this post you need the following:


  1. Pick a background color from the construction paper.
  2. Cut out the poem.
  3. Pick a hand color.
  4. Trace and cut out your each child’s hand.
  5. Write three things on the construction hand cut out
    1. Child’s Name
    2. Child’s Age
    3. Year
  6. Paste poem and hand print onto background paper.
  7. Write “Happy Mother’s Day!”

And, voila! Thirteen students and I were able to make the completed projects above in about half an hour, and some students made extras for grandmothers. The glue would be dry before Mom finishes her breakfast-in-bed.

Now, if you have extra time, or you’re willing to pass out gifts late, one year I used larger construction paper, one poem, hand prints for each kid, and a group picture. Then I laminated the whole project. For the local grandmothers we put it together like a big poster for in-person delivery, and for the far-off grandmothers we folded the construction paper like an extra large card and mailed them in extra-large envelopes. I even managed hand and feet prints from my newborn nephew for grandmothers and sent one back to his mother. I wish I could manage something that elaborate every year, but hopefully scarcity drives up the value, right?

If you can, hug your mother today, or call her, or write her, or draw her a pretty picture!

And if you can’t do any of those things, find a bit of quiet and a comforting drink, and remember. Remember why you would love to call or write or draw her a pretty picture.

And, maybe . . . draw that picture anyway.

Valleys – A Sonnet

High School Ends: broken-record boyfriend no

more. Loneliness and Change I can’t embrace

yearbook signing day I finally know:

Not Alone! with His People race this race

Baby Butterfly: I hold a blessing

yet crumble to the bathroom floor; distraught

Must help myself! no; B’s aunties questing:

prayer hugs hold up the arms I cannot

Surgery, Job Loss, More: Life – panic’s edge

impossible math; God’s people, “Praying!”

“Need food?” “Praying!” “I’ll help mow.” “Praying!” Hedge:

we eat, drive, more – God’s glory displaying

for us – too deep for words – the Spirit groans

Please! Let us rejoice in these broken bones.

Our family walks through a valley right now, and I see God’s people circling us. As someone counseled my husband today, the Lord seeks to teach us something in this valley. He’ll bring us through it, and the next mountain top will be all the sweeter.

God didn’t have to make creation beautiful! Beauty is a gift of common grace.

Sonnet, verse illustrations, and photograph by Rebecca Burgener. Please respect my brainstorms, and give credit where credit is due. If you would like your own custom poetry or illustrated verses, please contact me at RebeccaBurgener@Gmail.com.

Mud and Rainbows

Today marks one year since we moved into our home – our first home that we are paying for, that belongs to us, that we can do what we want with, that is ours.

Wildflower Bouquet

Well, after it’s paid for, which we’re on track to do in around a decade.

During the last year . . .

We’ve watched the loan principal drop by $7,323.52.

We’ve dealt with a series of unfortunate events regarding our vehicles, just yesterday learning the hard way that our new-to-us SUV does not have a reliable gas gauge.

We’ve replaced the refrigerator, heating element on the oven, handle to the dishwasher, the washer and dryer, torn down and put up drywall, painted, created a closet out of what was once a doorway, made other closets more functional, and most recently discovered our heating and air unit needs replaced.

We’ve installed a fence for the dogs, planted three trees, morning glories, roses, buckets of mint, etc, and planned forty-seven acres worth of outdoor wishes for our little acre of dreams.

Blueberry Bush, Roses, Mint, Lemon Trees

We’ve gained a table that seats eight and set up an outdoor table that we sometimes use for schoolwork though I hope to use it for building community.

Outdoor Table

We’ve met sweet neighbors who willingly share life wisdom, their talents and time, and extra garden produce.

We’ve explored a small section of nearby woods, named a few places, found evidence of blackberries in the area, and brought home mazes of scratches.

We’ve studied the largest moth in North America, spiders and their prey, a wiggling lizard tail, and the difference between granddaddy longlegs and daddy long-legs spiders. We’ve spent nearly two hours watching tree trimmers and discussing why they must remove branches from growing close to the power lines.

Largest Moth in North America - Hyalophora cecropiaSpiders

Seven people have celebrated birthdays. We were sick for Mother’s Day, and Easter celebrations stretched out a couple weeks. I gave each of the dogs an Easter egg after the short one snuck out behind me and helped himself. My husband built five toy boxes for Christmas.

Frozen and Transformers Birthday Cakes Dogs Eating Easter EggsChristmas Toy Boxes

One kid got stitches, and I no longer have children who have never had antibiotics. (Three cheers for probiotics!)

After a decade of changing diapers my youngest is now potty-trained. Mostly.

Twelve years of marriage.

I’m creating bigger pockets of writing time and adding pennies to the family budget with my logophilia.

Last month, we started family goals meetings, and <3 <3 <3 <3 <3. (I heart goals and goal setting.)

This school year we’ll only have one kid not officially in school.

I’ve been planning for months to share future plans in celebration of this first anniversary. I told myself to pick just five things for now. The fixing-up on this fixer-upper will never end.

But we’ve lived a lot of life this past year. Mud and rainbows and the space between.

Rainbow Over Cow Field

The ABCs of Summer

asking adventure, biting bugs, camping cookouts,
dirty days, explore everything, fishing, fires,
growing gardens, hammocks, hikes, ice cream, independence, jumping for joy!

kids, kites, lakeside laughter, moonlight magic,
never-ending nature, open ocean, parents peeking,
quiet quests, rains, rainbows, sprinkler shrieking, tubing trips!

underwater unknowns, vacation views, wild warmth,
x-tra x-rays? yelling youths, zig zag the zoo!


I wrote this poem today for a friend. If you would like a custom poem written for you, contact me at RebeccaBurgener@gmail.com.

Shakespearean style sonnets work great for storytelling, and I like haiku for capturing a snapshot moment. I can try my hand at anything though

Metamorphosis of a Poem

*Blog post originally written November 2, 2009 on an old blog.*

About a month ago on a warm and wet night while walking the dog, I wrote a poem. Here is the “finished” piece.

Rain splashes my skin
Night air breathes clean
Run, Legs, Run!
If Hunter were alive
They’d never catch us

Now, once upon a yesteryear, I thought that poetry was somehow sacred and couldn’t be edited. Now, I do believe that God can divinely inspire my writing or anyone else’s, but I’m not writing additions to the Bible, and I am aware that I sometimes get in my own way. That being said I have learned that changing things can almost always bring about improvements in any piece of writing.

I can’t share the “original” piece here because that was composed in my head while walking the dog, but here is what first tumbled onto paper.

The rain is falling gently
The night air smells so fresh
I want to run, run, run
Home to the hillside
If Hunter were still alive
They would never catch us

Then I began editing and rewriting and editing as I rewrote. I marked out “is falling” and wrote in “falls down.” I inserted a blank line before the last two lines. Then came the second version still editing as I wrote:

The rain falls^splashes down gently
The night air breathes clean
I want to run
to the hillside
If Hunter were still alive
troubles would never catch us

My biggest writing sin is wordiness. I talk too much. Say too much. Explain too much. I knew this version wasn’t really catching the moment correctly, but I went to bed. (Adequate rest is sometimes the best muse. Other times, sleeplessness, but considering three children need me to function each day, I use the adequate rest muse more often.)

While falling asleep I decided that I was definitely explaining too much with my “to the hillside” line. Only my readers that know me well enough to hear me talk about where I grew up would have any idea what I was talking about, and honestly, who cares where I want to run to? Again, very few people. That detail was better left for the imagination. Sometime between that night and the next morning, I also decided to change troubles back to they.

The next day, this spilled out onto the paper.

Rain splashes my skin
Night air breathes clean
Run, Legs, Run!
If Hunter were still alive
They’d never catch us

Then I spent the next couple of days looking for a decent picture of Hunter and enjoying memories of that dog. I did find a couple pics. I’ll try to get one scanned and posted sometime in the near future.

I left this poem alone for nearly a month and decided to share it tonight. Still editing as I typed I took out the word still in the second to last line for the “finished” product.

What do you do with your poems? Is every word sacred, or are you open to making changes?

Happy SIMPLE Habits

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting my brainstorms.


*Knock. Knock. Knock.*

*Wrestle past the barking dogs to open the door.*

“Hello! And Welcome! Come on in!”

Okay, so maybe you’re not quite feeling this way when someone shows up unexpectedly at your home, but perhaps you are feeling so much better than you used to. I hope so. I know I’m feeling much more hope about the state of my house. Doing the dishes makes that happen.

I’ve noticed another benefit too of a cleaner kitchen. I have more mental energy to mess it up again. 🙂

Common Grace Brownies

Those are Common Grace Brownies with Double-Stuff Chocolate and Mint Oreos. I stashed most of them in the freezer so we don’t eat them all in one day.

Have you done your habits yet today? I aim to tackle mine after the kids are in bed each evening. Sometimes it takes the will power of swimming through mud.

The Habits:

  • Do the dishes. All of them.
  • Sweep the kitchen. Yes, every single day.
  • Check the bathrooms for clutter. You don’t want your kid’s undies on the floor when a guest needs to use the loo.
  • Do a five-minute pick-up. Don’t waste your breath telling me that can’t make a difference. Just do it. What are you scared of?

Are you still struggling with these four things? Yeah, me too. So does Nony.

It’s okay. Just do it anyway. If you don’t believe you have the time, then just start with the dishes.

You know what I like most about Nony’s system? It’s simple! I’ve tried other methods, and I end up despairing and trying to catch back up by day two, but with 28 Days to Hope for Your Home, I don’t have to catch up or start over. If my house is a disaster, and I’m determined to fix it today, it’s kinda possible to make a real amount of progress by just doing the four habits.

So, what now? Keep doing the habits until they are as thoughtlessly done as brushing your teeth. Enjoy that kitchen smiling at you each morning. Perhaps you can also take some time figuring out when to do laundry or meal plan or clean the bathrooms. Nony has some great checklists for further ideas. You might also benefit from understanding the difference of “cleanies and messies.”

And maybe not. Maybe you just need more time. That’s okay. I didn’t schedule the white glove inspection today anyway. Perhaps tomorrow.

Jump up, right now, complete all four habits on your list, and then come back to tell me how your house feels.

Battling the Laundry Monster

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting my brainstorms.


So, how has the past week been? Are you finding Hope for your Home? Did you fall off the wagon? GO DO YOUR DISHES! We’ll wait.

Time to add a new habit! Guess what that habit is not! Laundry. (Seriously, I could only dream of not doing laundry.)

Nony does talk about this habit on her blog, and I love the idea of only doing laundry once a week. Except for the part of our home drowning in laundry. Maybe it would be different if we had a laundry room instead of a laundry hallway between the kids’ rooms. But we don’t so let’s not beat that poor horse.

It is a war without end, but we must battle anyway! Because people want, no demand, clean clothes to wear. Perhaps it truly is a “need.”

I used to struggle much more with laundry than I do now. I have fabulous laundry ideas pinned, but the first order of business is always the same when serving others.

Smile. You are blessing those you love. They may not thank you enough for clean underwear, but smile anyway.

After that, my biggest struggle with laundry used to be aiming for the bottom of the basket. Every Single Day. Yeah, in a house with five kids under the age of ten, we go from empty to overflowing in 4.5 seconds. It’s about as quick as me saying, “Kids! Pick up your rooms!”

Recently, I learned from my sister that she tries to find the bottom of the basket each weekend and just does a bit throughout the week. So smart, she is.

Somewhere, perhaps on a mom of many blog, I read that you need to do one load of laundry per day for every three people in your house. I round up to three loads a day to account for extra laundry that often comes with little ones and to give me two or three days “off” each week. But I can never let that be two days in a row!

It really helps. Even if I’m so behind on laundry that we need to declare a “Wear A Dirty Bathrobe” day, I know that if I complete three loads we’ll probably all have something to wear the next day. If I do another three loads the next day, we might even have choices in what we wear the day after that. 🙂

Ideally, I fold on my bed while the kids finish after-dinner chores and prepare for bed. Even the three year old puts away her own laundry with a bit of help from her big sister. I listen to podcasts while folding if the kids are too busy to come talk to me.

Mating Socks

Often lately, I’ve been folding laundry after everyone but me has hit the hay. (Hubby works late. He only wishes he was sleeping too.) So I fold on the kitchen table, and laundry must be put away before breakfast. I don’t like this system as much, but it works for this season. We plan to move next Spring, and a laundry room is on the wish list. I hope to build or have someone else build a few of these. It’s also about time to teach my oldest two to help with laundry more. I need to deliberately do some training in that area. Perhaps we’ll start with coloring this page and feeling thankful for a washer and dryer.

I nearly never iron and rarely hand wash. I just don’t ever get to it. So we go for clothes that don’t need such extra care. We also attempt to keep clothes decluttered. Going through kids’ clothes regularly poses a huge challenge for me. Kudos to you moms who do a seasonal clothing switch! I never do. I also aim not to store clothes that won’t be used within two years aside from really special items. Someone else can benefit.

So that’s the method of my madness at the moment. How do you handle laundry at your house?

*Disclaimer: We have never declared “Wear A Dirty Bathrobe” Day. Not everyone in my home actually owns a robe. 😀

Sometimes You Can Give Yourself a Break

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting my brainstorms.


So, I totally flaked out on you all last week with the whole Hope for Your Home Series. Did you miss me?

You see, I’m saying to you and to myself that I’m only going to work on changing one thing at a time, but truthfully life keeps marching on with all it’s life stuff.

Every single night, people in my home want dinner again. Do things work that way at your house?

Also, I’m trying to blog consistently, and I keep changing my mind on what that looks like. I have two goals.

  1. Make a million dollars from blogging
  2. Record important happenings within my family

Not impossible, right?

***(In case you want to buy me chocolate, I tend to buy myself the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint. The little squares are a perfect pat on the back for finishing the dishes, and the company follows high standards of ethics.)***

So, last week I was feeling a little overwhelmed, and I had to do some stern but loving self-talk. I cannot give this blog enough time to make an immediate living wage, and homeschool, and chase littles, and tend a home, and enjoy my micro-gardening, and smile at people even when I’m tired, and plan and do the shopping, and play with the budget for the thirteenth time that payday, and . . .

Let’s everybody take a minute to breathe! Very slowly now. Feel your chest expand. Good. Now let it all out and relax all the way down to your toes. God’s got this. Be available to Him.

So, what I really want to do with my writing time is write five blog posts a week bare minimum, publish four, and bank one for the future. I also want to send out one submission a week to a paying market, write up a haiku every day, write a Shakespearean sonnet every week, write two handwritten letters to whoever I feel needs it each week, write love letters to my immediate family each week, work at least an hour each on blog improvement, a bigger writing project, . . . .

Okay, I think we need to breath again.

Yeah, I tend to bounce between extremes. I believe that for the moment I’m going to aim for two blog posts a week. One about my current project or habit I’m working on, and one that journals about things I want to remember. The days pass slowly, but the years fly quietly by. I don’t want to forget these moments. I want to be thankful. I want to love on others with this gift of words. I don’t want to be chained to a blogging schedule that’s choking the life out of me. I’ve done that before.

Confession: I didn’t finish all my dishes last night, but I did run the dishwasher, and I washed a few of the hand-wash only items.

I also did a little freezer cooking yesterday. This is shredded chicken cooked in sweet and sour sauce. Plastic lizard not required.

Shredded Sweet and Sour Chicken


  • Cook up several meals worth of meat in the crock pot and then freeze them into meal-size portions. I do this with chicken, sausage, and ground beef.
  • To save green and be green, use freezer-safe, reusable containers. I like pyrex in the one and two cup sizes, and I’ve been increasing my stash a little at a time.

And I harvested and dried more basil yesterday.

I really wish you could smell this.
I really wish you could smell this.
It still smells awesome.
It still smells awesome.

Wooohoooo! I won’t be buying any more weak basil from the store. Actually, I think I’ll have more than enough soon. I’m considering selling the extra. I need to explore those options.

The day was not lost, and my kitchen was not a total disaster when I dropped into bed. It has truly been worse.

So how is your journey of finding Hope for Your Home coming along? Is it maybe taking you a bit longer than twenty-eight days? That’s okay. Me too. You might master all the habits for a year and then feel blindsided by illness or tragedy. Don’t give up. Just go do your dishes.

You’re doing awesome!

Three! How Did That Happen?

I’ve said before in an understated way, “She’s a bit intense.

Intensely sweet. Intensely loving. Intensely insistent when things don’t go her way.

Ladybug was “due” on the fourth of July. She decided she needed a bit more time to have Mama all to herself.

Growing a Ladybug

This year I took her to see fireworks for the first time. Her review? “I don’t like those fire lights.” She behaved well throughout the show, but she kept her ears covered. Her baby sister, however, loved every boom and flash!

Ladybug is my Rainbow Baby. She was born after a loss and after I had to teach my little ones that we have reason to praise God even for the babies we don’t get to keep. Sometimes I find myself staring at her in amazement when I should be disciplining that sassy attitude. She is so cute, and so funny, and so smart. She is also my first talkative toddler since my oldest daughter. I could tell stories about conversations with her all day.

Recently, she described Sleeping Beauty as having Sleeping Duty and then as being a Tired Beauty. Ha!

Ladybug is my girlie girl. She wears a “pretty dress” almost daily and will come to me requesting I fix her hair, but she won’t leave it up for long. When I protested her taking her ponytails down recently with, “But they’re so pretty!” she finished pulling them out and replied, “I’m still pretty.” Yes, My Dear, you absolutely are.

She doesn’t want to be three. She told her Pappaw that she is five today. She told me after I told her she’s three this morning that she wants to stay two. I said, “You can’t wear your new birthday dress if you aren’t three!” She thought for a moment and decided, “When I take it off I’ll be two again.”

Birthday Dress

Ladybug is a Daddy’s Girl. She adores her daddy, and she tries to use him against me. “Daddy said I could do that.” Ha! Little Lady, this isn’t Mama’s first trip around the sun.

I find myself watching her often these days. She understands things and acts in such a big girl way, but her sweet toddler face tells me she’s still a baby too. She’s my baby. Just don’t tell her I said that.

Her imagination amazes me! I keep trying to make an exhaustive list of her imaginary friends.

  • The Bubbles – You know when you stare at a light bulb and see spots when you look away? Ladybug discovered this months ago and has been trying to catch and pop her Bubbles ever since.
  • The Dinosaurs – The Dinosaurs are often at the store, and we have to call them home or tell them to pick up a few things. Some of Ladybug’s dinosaurs recently ate her Friends so she had to get new Friends.
  • The Bunnies – My oldest daughter asked the Ladybug if she likes carrots. “No. My Bunnies won’t share.”
  • Ladybugs – Of course. They are everywhere!
  • Babies – Ladybug is a Little Mama through and through. She likes to tell her older siblings, “You’re grounded for the rest of the day!”
  • My Friends – She has lots of them running around.
  • She also talks to her fingers and toes and has many phone conversations with imaginary people.
  • I almost forgot the Princesses! – They’re pretty new, but she loves them.

I asked what she would like to eat for her birthday breakfast. Her first suggestion was chicken nuggets so I steered the conversation toward a breakfast food. Over-easy eggs. Then I thought of eggs-in-a-bucket. It’s been so long none of my kids remembered me making them before. The best part is the buttered bread browned in a frying pan. Ladybug gave her seal of approval.

Eggs in a Bucket

She’s talking to her sidewalk chalk right now. They are discussing who should be next to who. I remember similar conflicts with my crayons. 🙂

Ladybug shows the heart of an artist with an attention to detail that can be a little maddening when plans change. She has willingly sat down to “do schoolwork” with the bigger kids from the time she could safely hold a pencil. She’s at the stage of drawing people with a face and two long legs, and she includes eyes and a mouth. She can also draw hearts and some letters. Every word is spelled E-S-E including her name which does not have any of those letters in it. She hopes she’ll need glasses when we get her eyes checked. She wants to wear eye patches too like one of her brothers, but she wants princess eye patches. She makes me laugh every single day. She has a sensitive heart that shares with others. She has been my big girl since birth, but she is still so little.

Happy Birthday, Ladybug.

[T]hrow off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

The Morning After

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting my brainstorms.


So, how has the past week been? Are you finding Hope for your Home? Did you fall off the wagon? GO DO YOUR DISHES! We’ll wait.

Confession: I am struggling. We had a birthday party over the weekend, and I did some desperate slam-bam cleaning of the whole house. Huge progress but not perfection. More than one night saw me drop into bed with dishes undone.

But! All is not lost! Mondays mean new beginnings every single week. I marched with determination into my kitchen after putting the kids to bed last night. I looked around, told myself it could be worse, that it has definitely been worse, but my determination deflated anyway. So, I tried an old trick of setting the timer for fifteen minutes and told myself I could quit afterward.

It’s amazing what fifteen minutes can do! It reminded me of a post I originally published on my old blog, Communicate Creativity, way back in 2010 when my oldest was in kindergarten, and nearly all dish-washing duty fell on my shoulders. (Sorry, that blog is gone now except for parts of it on the Wayback Machine.)

Originally Published September of 2010:

I struggle to keep my house somewhat clean, and I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with the same challenge out there in the whole wide world. So, in an effort to be totally honest and hopefully encouraging to someone, I’m going to invite you into my kitchen and dining room the Monday after a birthday party weekend.

We woke up Monday morning without a clean cereal bowl to eat out of . . .

Kitchen After a Party

Or a place to set those cereal bowls to fuel up for the day. Doesn’t the dog look pitiful?

Dining Room After a Party

Now, there have been plenty of times as a hopeless-feeling clutterbug that I would have washed only what was absolutely necessary, shoved a few things out of the way, and told the rest, “Tend you later!” Later would never come, and dinner time would arrive with me still having a kitchen too messy to actually cook in.

That did not happen this time because I know the power of fifteen minutes.

*Note: Oftentimes, when I tell myself that I only have to “give it fifteen” I feel like giving more once the timer releases me. I stuck with the fifteen minutes though for the most part for the purpose of this post.*

*Second Note: This is all done without the use of a dishwasher. I have a dishwasher, but I rarely use it. It makes things too easy for me to put stuff off until I have a catastrophe in my kitchen. I also have many non-dishwasher safe dishes.*

So, I gave fifteen minutes to the kitchen. I didn’t finish everything or even close to everything, but I cleaned more than we were about to dirty. Progress! I started with emptying the trash, and getting rid of those pizza boxes. I also pulled out a previously assembled frozen meal for that night’s dinner so I wouldn’t have to stress about it later. My daughter put away the dinosaur floor puzzle that I used to decorate the kitchen island for the party.

Kitchen Improving

With enough dishes to eat breakfast with and a little extra clean, I turned to the dining room so we would have a place to eat. Fifteen minutes later, I found my table! (Again.)

Functional Dining Room Table

After the fifteen minutes I just pushed in the table leaves and turned the table back to where I want it, and we ate breakfast.

Back to the kitchen! Clearing the table had added a few more dishes, including the cookie sheet the cake had sat on for the party and painting supplies that needed cleaned up before being put away. Plus, we had eaten breakfast. So I had to clean our cereal bowls and high chair tray before tackling the mess that was already there. I still made progress.

Wow! The Mess is a Kitchen!

We ate leftovers for lunch. (Read: No extra pots or pans to wash.) I gave the kitchen another fifteen minutes. At this point it was becoming increasingly difficult to not just finish the job. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I wanted to reach it. For you, my Dear Readers, I held off.

Somehow I managed to miss taking a picture after my after-lunch fifteen minute session.

While dinner cooked, I leisurely dried and put away clean dishes that had been piling up all day. I also played with my kids, cut out coupons, and puttered around in general with my distracted self. (Fifteen minute timers give focus!)

Fifteen minutes after dinner, and I’m practically done with dishes!

Almost Clean Kitchen

I didn’t want to, but I kept reminding myself that I was doing it for you, and I left those last items overnight.

After breakfast on Tuesday, I finished the dishes!

Smiling Kitchen

A clean kitchen is the way to start your dayAfter lunch, because I only had a few plates, silverware, and the high chair tray to clean, I was able to wipe down all the counters and sweep part of the floor before my timer beeped and released me.

There are those of you that are going to read this and think, “Ugh! I never let my kitchen get that bad!” More power to you! This post isn’t for you.

This post is for you. You know who you are. You look around your home and beat yourself up because you can’t keep up. You look in the mirror and realize you haven’t brushed your teeth today, and you can’t remember when you last combed your hair. I’ve been there. Life throws too many punches sometimes.

Get up. Go spend five minutes on you. You have time for that. Brush your teeth. Fix your hair. Wash your face. Put on some bright red lipstick if it makes you feel good. Take thirty seconds to decide what needs attention in your home the most and go give that area fifteen minutes. You have time for that. More than likely, the kitchen begs for attention. Kitchens are often the heart of the home. So if you can’t decide in thirty seconds what to tackle, go to the kitchen. Just do it! Then holler, “Nike!” loud enough that your crazy neighbors will think you’re crazy. Nike means victory, and you have won at something.

When things get bad at my house, and my old friend the “To-Do” List threatens to be a year long, I start with a new piece of paper, and take thirty seconds to write down three things. Three and no more. I have to cross something off before I allow myself to write down another. Don’t write something that will take hours like, “Clean Kitchen.” Use the power of fifteen minutes and write, “Kitchen 15.” You have time for that.

You, My Friend, are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are strong. You are capable.

Yell it with me now, “Nike!”


Wow, I want to go back and hug that mother of three that used to be me. Now, with five kids, I must admit, I still struggle with some of the same things, but other things are SO MUCH BETTER. I really am changing these habits with long-term effects.

Confession: I totally use the dishwasher now. I’ve eliminated many plastic stuff that can’t hold up. Plus my 7 and 9 year olds take turns with kitchen duty after each meal. So, my kitchen rarely reaches such a disaster status that I cannot find the kitchen to cook.

How about you? I truly hope you’re finding Hope for Your Home. My first fifteen minute session last night didn’t finish my dishes, but I gave myself a little writing break and then set the timer again. The second fifteen minutes finished the dishes, wiped down stove and counters, and grabbed a head-start on this week’s new habit. Woohooo!

Hugs! Now go do your dishes.