My housework system

Decluttering, purging, and organizing is one thing, but how do you keep order in your house once it has been restored?  For me, having a clear plan in regards to cleaning and maintenance is key.  There are many methods and plans out there, but this one is the one that has consistently worked the best for me.  My mother had a book back in the early ’80s titled “The Sidetracked Home Executives”.  It was an account of 2 sisters who tackled the clutter in their homes after they had reached the end of their ropes.  In this book, they detailed a system of cleaning and maintenance using index cards and a card file box.  Their system was quite detailed.  I have pared it down to suit my needs.  When I consistently follow this system, my house stays orderly.  Here are the basics of that system.


What you need:

Index cards (minimum of 4 different colors)

File box

2 sets of dividers (one labeled with the months of the year and one labeled 1-31)

To get started you will need to list out any chores or household tasks that need to be accomplished.  This is everything from daily chores such as making the bed to seasonal tasks like checking the batteries in the smoke detectors.  You will need to assign the frequency of these tasks to a color of an index card.  For example in my system:

Pink = Daily
Blue = Weekly
Yellow = Monthly
Purple = Seasonally (every 3 months, 6 months, or yearly)

Then start writing out all of your tasks (one per card) and write in the frequency in the upper left corner of the card.

20190303_143235_resized Once you have your cards completed then file them in the appropriate place.  Daily tasks will be filed under today’s date.  Weekly tasks filed under the day of the week when it makes the most sense for your schedule.  (I have one day a week that I dedicated to most of my weekly cleaning:  toilets, showers, vacuuming, etc.)  File tasks that are less frequently under the appropriate month.  At the beginning of a new month pull out all the tasks for that month and file them under the dates for the month that works best for you.

As tasks are completed throughout the day they are re-filed in the appropriate spot.  Daily moved to the next day, weekly tasks moved 7 days out and so on.

Here are some examples of the tasks on my cards.


Clean off desk
Make Bed
Fill/Empty Dishwasher
Wipe down the Kitchen sink
Sweep kitchen floor
Bible Reading


Mop Kitchen Floor
Clean Microwave
Clean Showers
Wash Sheets

Check Water Softener Salt
Organize Pantry
Clean Small appliances
Write sponsored kids

Now you may not need to write out every small task such as “Make the Bed”, but I find it helpful to have everything written down.  Plus it gives me a small sense of satisfaction to move my cards to the next day when completed.  This system has really helped me to get the upper hand on the less frequent cleaning items in my home.  I like that it’s flexible.  When I see something that needs attention I make a card for it and it doesn’t get forgotten.


Now, do I get every task done every day?  No.  Life happens and some days throw you for a loop.  I just move the tasks back in the box and keep on going.  After all, life has to be flexible.

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas on how to set up a system that works for your household and schedule.

For more detailed information about the Sidetracked Home Executives or their systems visit  For the book The Sidetracked Home Executives Click here:

One Decade

February 13, 2008

Ten years ago…a decade.  I was still in my 30’s.  We had a 5th grader and a spunky little 2-year old girl.  Now that 5th grader is a 20-year-old man and the 2-year old is now a spunky middle schooler.  On this day a decade ago we made a family decision that would change my life.  After years of sporadically talking about how child sponsorship would be a good idea someday, our family sat down in front of the computer and choose a child to sponsor.  We choose Mwajuma, a 9-year old girl from Tanzania with slouchy socks.


We began a correspondence with this beautiful little African girl.  I got to know her little by little through her letters.  Our sponsorship gave her educational assistance, medical screenings, nutritious food, and care from a loving project staff who invested in her life and shared the love of Jesus with her.  Little by little God began working in my heart.  My heart softened toward the plight of the poor.  I began to see more and more how much compassion and love God has for those who are hurting and needy.  I more clearly noticed the very clear commands in His Word to care for the poor.  Did this happen overnight?  No, it is a gradual working.  One that continues today.

Four years later we added to our Compassion family and began sponsoring Wannaporn in Thailand.  In 2013 I took steps to become an advocate for Compassion.  I started volunteering at Compassion sponsored events.  The first Compassion Sunday was held at our church and many of our friends began their sponsorship journeys.

It was around this time that God gave me the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to meet Mwajuma.  It was a life-changing journey to the other side of the world.  The face that I had only seen in photographs became a living breathing human being right in front of me.  I also got to see firsthand the incredible work of the staff at Compassion projects.  It further solidified what I already knew.  Sponsorship changes lives.


In the years since that trip, Mwajuma has grown up and aged out of the project.  We have sponsored two other beautiful girls.  I became a correspondent sponsor and write to kids who are financially sponsored but need someone who will send regular letters.  These 12 precious kids are from all over the globe.  To get to know them over the years has been a joy!

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My life has changed.  My perspective on what I have has shifted.  My children have had the world opened up to them.  It all began with that one small step 10 years ago.  It was a decision that we have never regretted.

There are thousands of children waiting for a loving sponsor…just like Mwajuma was a decade ago.  They are waiting for you.  You may not be able to change the entire world, but you change the world for one special child.  Would you like to know more?  Visit my Compassion sponsorship page for more information or to find a child who needs you.

Click here to learn more!


Olivier’s Shoes

In addition to our three girls sponsored through Compassion, I am also a correspondent sponsor to 12 wonderful kids from all over the world.  One of them is Olivier.  He lives in Haiti.

HA027601297copyI have found that during my prayer time as I’m praying for our kids that sometimes a very specific thought will come to mind.  Perhaps it will be that God provides a job for a parent, heals an illness, or provides protection during a storm.  It might seem quite random, but I trust that God is speaking though His Spirit and I will pray for that child and that specific circumstance.  Several months ago when I was praying for Olivier I felt that I needed to send him some money.  Since he is one of my correspondent children that I do not typically send monetary gifts to it would require a phone call and special arrangements.  However I felt so strongly compelled to send him $30 and I knew I needed to follow through.  During this time the word “shoes” kept coming to mind over and over.  Maybe Olivier needed shoes. Perhaps he had another need.  All I know was that I knew I was supposed to act.  So I made the call and sent $30 to Olivier.

I thought about it in the weeks and months that followed, but it was just an occasional thought.  I received a letter or two from Olivier after that.  He was doing well and his letters always brought a smile to my face.  A week ago I logged into my account to see that a new letter had been received from Olivier.  He greeted me warmly, told me about his school and friends, said he was praying for me and then I read this…


“He thanks you for the gift that you sent to him and he bought shoes with it”

My eyes filled with tears.  My husband saw me and asked if I was “OK”.  “I’ll tell you in a minute.”  I asked him if he remembered about the money I had sent to Olivier.  He did.  “Well, he bought shoes!”  I had to laugh through the tears.  Of course he bought shoes…I should have expected nothing less.

There is no denying that God is always at work.  Even when we can’t see it or feel it.  That doesn’t change the fact that He is ALWAYS at work.  What amazes me is He invites to join Him in his work.  We get to be a part of God’s incredible plan.  Do you know what is even more amazing?  That sometimes He gives us a glimpse into what He is doing and He makes in blatantly clear how we got to be a part of it.

I have to believe that for each time this happens there were countless times that God’s divine hand was working out miracles and we just didn’t get to see all the details.

That’s one of the beautiful things about being a sponsor.  I know that I get to be a part of God’s plan for these children’s lives.  I may not always get to see every detail playing out, but I’m confident in the fact that God is using my meager offerings of money, prayer, and letters of encouragement to change lives for His glory.

To learn more about sponsoring a child through compassion visit


There are times with something happens in your life and it is impossible to deny God’s fingerprints all over the situation.  Three years ago I had the great joy of spending time in Tanzania with Compassion.  I got to spend an unforgettable day with my sponsored child, Mwajuma.  In addition to that day we also spent time at quite a few Compassion projects.  All of them burned into my memory.  One particularly day that left its mark was spent at a church in Singida.  That day we visited with mothers, babies, and toddlers who were part of the Child Survival program.  We saw how mothers were being empowered to care for their newborns and also gain skills to help provide for their families.  That day I visited the home of  3 year old twins Lightness and Loveness and their mother.  We were warmly welcomed into their home.


I gave the girls a doll that my mother had made.  It had quite an impact on me.  One of the little girls, Lightness, really seemed to latch on to that doll.  You can read the story of that day in more detail here.


 I had the photo of them and their mother framed in my house and in the past 3 years I’ve thought about Lightness and Loveness and hoped that they were growing up healthy and strong.

Last week Jessi, who had also traveled to Tanzania messaged me.  “Didn’t you give a doll to a little girl named Lightness?”  She listed the project number and told me that there was a 6 year old named Lightness on Compassion’s website waiting for a sponsor.  I went to the website and entered in the information.  A photo popped up and my heart jumped.  There was no denying it.  There was my little Lightness!


For the next few days I mulled over what I should do.  I considered the commitment I would be making and if this was  God’s plan for us.  It all kept coming back to this simple fact:  I had held this child, been in her home, and seen her family face to face and been welcomed by them.  How could I NOT act.  I discussed it with my husband and told him that if I didn’t proceed I think I would always regret it.  He reminded me that we had been talking about adding another sponsored child and the pieces obviously had fallen into place.  One of those details that’s just added fun to this beautiful story, Lightness’ 6th birthday was March 19th.  March 19th is the day that I returned home from Tanzania 3 years ago.  So I am happy to say Lightness is no longer waiting for her sponsor.  I also get to say that God allowed me to meet my sponsored child 3 years early!


Getting slimed for Clean Water


We recently completed a great week of Vacation Bible School at our church.  I was part of the planning team for my church’s Vacation Bible School.  This year we decided to select Compassion’s Water of Life program for our mission project.  We had a boys vs. girls “loose change war” with all money collected going to Compassion.

We had so much fun with this project.  I thought about what goal we should set. We are a church of around 250 members and our VBS attendance was 125 each night. I decided that collecting enough for 3 filters would be doable.   If we got enough for 5, then “Wow!” that would be great.  I decided to speak about Water of Life during our VBS promotion Sunday that was held in March.  We had buckets to collect loose change and donations at the end of the service.  We collected again during our VBS kick-off Sunday.  God began to show me how limited my thinking had been early on.  We collected enough for 5 filters during those 2 services and our VBS had yet to begin.


During VBS we challenged our kids with the realities of what life looks like for a lot of children around the world.  The week would be the boys versus the girls with the team leader of the losing team being “slimed” at the end of the week.  The competitive spirit was great!  Our leaders and volunteers got involved as well.  Our pastor led the week’s mission class.  During the mission time he would encourage the kids to pray for those who would receive the water filters.  He suggested that they pray for God to provide funds for 4 filters.  When told this, one little girl said, “I’m not praying for 4…I’m praying for 5!”  That number continued to grow throughout the week.  Near the end of the week the kids were praying for God to provide 20 filters!  The excitement continue to build throughout VBS.  We demonstrated the filter and drank dirty water that had been filtered.  When asked who was going to win the response would be all the kids yelling for their team.   Boys!  Girls!  Boys!  Girls!  Without fail, one child would raise their hand and say, “No, it’s the kids who get the buckets that will win.”

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I have to think that after hearing my prayer for 5 filters God smiled to himself and with love thought, “Isn’t that cute.”  He had a much bigger plan in mind.  Not only did he provide the 5 filters I asked for, He provided the 20 that the kids asked for.  If only we would have the pure faith of a child!  The boys prevailed and it was with great joy that I was slimed at the end of the week.  I’ve never been happier to be that messy!

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When it was all said and done, $2,100 had been collected.   That money is on its way to Compassion headquarters in Colorado Springs.  It has been earnestly prayed over.   Prayers that the families who receive these filters would not only have clean safe water for life, but also with the dedicated work of Compassion staff around the world, they would know the True Water of Life that is found in a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.