Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thing #6

        Thing #6.  Do it while you can.

There are likely a few things you’ve been meaning to do. Not those “I-can-do-it-anytime” things, but those “someday-I- will” things.  Take a road trip. Look up an old friend.  Record your grandmother’s stories. Let me encourage you—do it now, while you can.

I lost an opportunity by waiting too long.

I work for a Christian organization and hear stories of people who pour their lives out for the good of others. One woman from our organization lived just an hour from me and every time I’d read about her it made me want to meet her.  She was able to talk about Jesus easily, naturally, everywhere she went. She befriended women of all ages. She wrote books, she spoke at conferences.

She sounds so cool, I’d often say to myself. I should invite her to come speak to a group of women from my church. Yeah, I should do that. I will. Someday.

But after a couple years of somedays, I heard of her sudden death and realized my opportunity was gone.

I wasn't going to make that mistake again.

Around that time, I interviewed another person who had been with our organization a long time, a popular writer and speaker.  One of my pastors greatly admired this writer, and I realized I might be able to get the two together.  I thought the writer would likely come over for dinner if his schedule allowed.  So I asked.  He and his wife came over for dinner, along with my pastor and his wife, and we all had a night to remember.

I was so glad I didn’t wait for someday.

What is it you’ve been meaning to do? Go ahead--do it. Don’t put it off.

One thing I think we all should do is capture our family stories. Here’s a website with some good questions to ask your parents, grandparents, your aunt and uncle.

Make a call, pay a visit. Do it.  While you can.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thing #5

Thing #5. Start your car, then scrape your windows.

This is a little something I learned one snowy morning back in Illinois. I cleared all my car windows in anticipation of heading to work only to discover my car wouldn’t start. So don’t spend all that energy to clear your windows for nothin’.

Not only that, but your car can have a few minutes to warm up while you take care of your windows.

And you’ll avoid this:

P.S. My car wouldn’t start this morning. Ironic, eh?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

52 Things Intro

52 Things

I don’t know about you, but I love “helpful hints,” those practical, useful ideas that make life’s tasks easier. I decided I’m going to share some of my favorite tips this year in a series I’ve cleverly titled, “52 Things.” As you might guess, I’ll share one a week.

Some are household tips, others are life hints. Maybe nothing new to you, maybe so. I’m quite certain the vast majority of these ideas aren’t original with me, though I may have given them a personal twist. Hope you enjoy the series.

Things #1- #4

Things #1-4: Menu Planning

Because the idea for “52 Things” came to me just as January was coming to a close, I’ll start off with a group of four things to cover the month of January.

1)      Make weekly menu plans. Base your grocery list off your menu plan.
2)      Create a list of favorite family meals to make menu planning easier.
3)      Keep a note pad in a specified place so anyone can jot down something for the grocery list. Ours is on the fridge. Years ago I found a magnet that holds a pencil. It lives by the note pad.
4)      Have a quick and easy meal in the freezer.

My menu planner is based on an idea I found on Pinterest. (See photo.) I covered a piece of cardboard—from the back of a paper tablet—with some fabric and added a little bow to the top. Used hot glue.

Then I took my list of entree ideas and printed them out on brown paper—something I had on hand from a previous project. Then I cut them into small pieces with a single entree on each slip. I folded little envelopes to fit the slips and labeled them “Chicken,” “Beef,” “Pork,” “Misc,” and “Blank.” Yes, we are meat eaters. I do plan veggie-only meals now and then. I created a few slips that read “On Your Own” or “Leftovers.” The blank slips make it easy to add new entrees. I keep the smaller envelopes in a pretty green envelope.

I glued a heavy magnet to the back of the menu plan holder, and keep the green envelope in a large clip with a magnet on it. I use clothes pins, labeled with the days of the week, to hold the tabs on the planner.

This method makes menu planning easy and fun.

I hold my menu plan with an open hand. Life gets busy, plans change. Sometimes I have enough food for two days when I only planned that item for one. Some days I don’t have the energy to cook and so I scrap the plan in favor of a frozen pizza. But I begin each week knowing I have ingredients on hand for several meals.

I don’t think of myself as a highly organized or structured person, but meal planning is something I do regularly. It reduces that “what-in-the-world-am-I-fixing-for-dinner-tonight” stress that can creep in about 4:00 in the afternoon.