Sunday, December 31, 2006

Laundry Solution 101

Please be patient with this article. If doing laundry is a snap and you can not imagine how the everyday success of the thing could be a mystery, then this article is not for you.
For those of us that have had struggles in the past or present making doing laundry a breeze, then read on.

In my cleaning house yahoo group, many have expressed their desire to get others ideas on laundry solutions. Somehow, it just gets done, but not always with ease.

Personally, when I moved into my present home, it was equipped with built in laundry shoots under each linen closet area. Laundry pretty much landed in there, but then I had to pull it all out, sorting in the hallway. Then, the hallway stayed in shambles until all was finally done.

Solution: I purchased 5 laundry baskets that did not protrude much into the walk space of the hallway. I labeled each basket to suit our needs: whites, colors, darks, reds & brights, & towels.
In clear view and easily accessible to the entire family, we were trained to place the laundry in the proper baskets. This is a tried and proven solution that has worked for me for about 2 years now. When a basket becomes full, it gets picked up and done. The basket is a good size that holds a normal size load of clothes.

We have now graduated with the same baskets in the original laundry shoots with labels outside the pull out door. The towels basket in under our vanity shelf in the master bath. Just a quick look occasionally, and I know when it is time to wash a load.

My favorite detergent: Gain and Gain fabric softener sheets. To pre spot I use the large "Mexican style" bar of soap found at a dollar store. Works great.

For lables, I used Gigi font, size 72 printed on card stock. I used decorative brads purchased at Hobby Lobby threading through both the label and a card backing secured again with double stick tape and tape over the brad prongs.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas From My Daughter, Hannah & American Idol's, Will Makar

This is my daughter, Hannah with her favorite American Idol, Will Makar of The Woodlands, Texas. Hannah was privileged to meet Will for the first time when he sang at the 2006 Fourth of July Celebration with the Houston Symphony. She got a chance to go back stage, meet him, and get a photo.

This Christmas, Will was featured at the "Winter Fantasy" in The Woodlands where again, Hannah was able to talk with Will and get some photos. Will’s first single will be sold in January.

You may enjoy visiting Will’s site:

Merry Christmas!! From Hannah & Will

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why Decorate Your Office Space?

In the prayer of Jabez, he ask God to "enlarge his coast". I recently requested to work at a great company for two days a week. Thankfully, they found a way to work me in doing a portion of work that allowed this request. It was really neat to have a clean pallet given to me as my very own office area. Although there only two days a week, I loved the challenge of making my small part of my "office" world an extension of me. It is really a very "warm" feeling to come to work and feel "at home". Here is my idea of how I "enlarged my coast".

A real plant brings life, so this was my first priority. I used the planter, which I fell in love with, as my inspiration. As you can see, the fabric surrounding me is peachy tan, so, the soft teal was a good choice. I used inexpensive and light weight acrylic frames I caught on sale for half price at Hobby Lobby and had mats cut to match the planter. The frames holds pictures of my family. I chose a chocolate brown as a second color and used books, an antique hat, a copy of my sister’s original art in the small frame, an open weave basket for a pen holder and lamp, all in chocolates to balance out my color scheme. There is also a soft teal vase with dried flowers on the left.

Here is an idea for a splash of Christmas on your desk: I used 2 square glass vases, fake snow, fake pine limbs (although real would be even better), and teal Christmas bulbs to tie in my color scheme. I couldn’t resist to add a little bit of humor with my "all decked out" little bear.

I Chronicles 4:10 Read the "Prayer of Jabez", a powerful prayer to claim as your own.

BDP International Transport, Import/Export Clerk, 7th floor in the JFK Building, Houston, Texas

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why Do Our Homes Become Cluttered?

This is not really the question we often ask ourselves, but the "cluttered home" is a subject you can read about in almost any magazine article or book. The truth is, we are created and made in the image of God who is order. Our very being loves order and tranquility. A certain peace is attached to a life of order and organization. The buzz word today is, simplify. This, in a nutshell is order or organization.

When analizing my own life, I dug up a fear that I did not realize was even there. I have always felt that I was a "faith" person with a positive attitude. On the subject of clutter, I found that one of the reasons I held on to too many things was fear. Fear that if times were to get lean, I may need this stuff. As a result, I have a garage full of clutter that is my safety net to support the fear that I may some day need it.

This has been a very exciting revelation to me, because I am purging my life of fears that I have discovered. You see, without faith, God can not work in our lives. Fear is the opposite of faith!

Another reason people, including me, hang on to things is the sentimental attachment to things. Sometimes we have to let go of the past in order to live in the present. I have taken pictures of some of my children’s artwork that would have been bulky to keep, then thrown them away. If the things we are keeping are cluttering our lives, then we need to get rid of them.

When people give you things, you feel guilty to get rid of them, but it is not worth it to allow these things to clutter our lives if it is something that we do not really want. Give it to someone who would really appreciate it. Sometimes we just have to learn to say no when well meaning folks want to give you things like "hand me downs" if it is something that you really do not want.

Here is what I began to do: I began to give away, throw away or carefully house the things that I really felt were good things to keep.

It is necessary to invest in good plastic storage containers. If the items you are keeping are not worthy to be stored in good containers, then it is not valuable enough to be kept. Create a good storage area for your stored items.

Christmas is a great time of year to clear out a few things. When we are taking out all the decorations, decide to get rid of some of those items that are just so so. Make room for the items you plan to get after Christmas on clearance that you will need for next year.

January is my favorite time of the year to clear the clutter and begin the new year with a fresh start.

Begin today by purchasing some good storage boxes, all the same size so that they can be stacked for storage. Make a list of each item that you put in each box. Label the box and keep your storage list of what is in that box. This way this quote will never apply to us:

We never have the time to put it up, but we always have the time to find it.

Happy organizing!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Join My Group!

It has been very interesting to me to see how many visitors I get all over the world! Here is a way we can all connect with the common interests of this site and get to know each other a little more.

Please join my blog site yahoo group so you can post your comments about subjects posted on this blog and meet other people across the world.

This is also a way that I can contact you when a new post is up and communicate with my group. Please join now and comment on recent postings or archived ones you have read before.

I hope this post finds you drinking a good cup of Starbucks coffee, as I am right now, and getting your week off to a great start.

The holidays are just around the corner. Give us your ideas to make this season a little brighter!

Your Online Mentor,
To join, place your name and email address located under the yahoo box in the index bar and click "join". You can opt to take your name off at any time and your information will never be sold for any other purpose.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Attitude of Gratitude

O.K., now I know you are already at the end of the road knowing what is coming. Here is something I have actually used and, trust me, it really works. We have all most likely heard this one, but my question to you is “Have you really done it and tried it for at least two weeks?”

Here sister in law, Jan gave me a book and remarked that one story in this book was about writing down 5 things each night of things you are thankful for. She said it is really life changing.

I began to read the book and finally came to the chapter that explained to me the importance of counting every blessing in my days and actually writing down at least 5 things I was thankful for in each day. Here are my results:

At the time, our family was recovering from an extreme financial set back. We were traveling in an old model motor home ( and trust me, if you have never traveled in an old motor home, you would never understand all the potentials for break downs and a lot of high out of pocket repairs). Behind it we pulled an even older model car that barely got us from point A to point B.

Each day, it was not hard to find things that I was thankful for. It was simple things like: enjoyed a good cup of coffee with Gary today, Hannah did not have any potty accidents today, Aaron had a great attitude, etc.

One morning Gary and I were in our old blue car. It was becoming extremely hot now as summer was approaching. I turned to Gary and said “you know, I feel like I am on top of the world right now.”

Then it hit me, here I was traveling in an old beat up car with no air conditioning and I know for a fact, in the past I would have been complaining to the high heavens of how persecuted I was to have to be traveling in this old car and burning up from the heat. Instead, my attitude had changed. I was so busy dwelling on all the good in my life, that I did not even notice the bad.

I highly encourage you, if you have never done it before, to start a Gratitude journal. You could use any old notebook, but make it special. Purchase a blank book, that you can treasure and write consistently in every day.

When I find myself plunging into a negative mind set, I know it is time again to renew my commitment to my grateful journal.

Here is the bottom line. Without faith, your prayers can not be answered. The key to faith is to begin being thankful. We can even thank God for the seemingly bad things that happen in our lives because we know He is working it all for our good.

I truly hope you will make this your goal, especially by this Thanksgiving holiday to begin your journal. Please share your comments on this blog with me and others.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sharing My Client’s Office Makeover

Shelley’s office is overlooking the Houston Galleria area on the 23 floor, just off Post Oak Blvd. I will have to say, that when I first walked into this office, it was overwhelming. There was just so much “stuff” everywhere. We had a real challenge to decluttering and creating a great work space that would be a serene place for Shelley. Her boss, for whom she conducts his affairs, gave Shelley the freedom to have her office done to her taste.

We used art that Shelley found online and ordered. This became our inspiration pieces. We chose paint colors for the walls and purchased other accessories for the office to flow with our color scheme.

Problem: The door from the hallway forced the room arrangement that made Shelley’s office area a walk through area.
Solution: We had the building management to move the door opening to the other end of the room. This allowed Shelley’s area to be the center focal point when entering the room and also gave her a sky view, which she did not have before.

Her boss had 2 file boxes that he wanted out on an entry table because he needed access to them frequently.

Solution: I found some wonderful legal size file boxes at Pottery Barn (a little pricey, but worth it). They were fabric covered in a jute and we chose a color to fit in.

Problem: Shelley had an array of rubber stamps that needed to be out because of their frequent uses.
Solution: I found 2 enameled baskets that matched our colors to keep on her desk, which also housed some note pads.

Problem: Her “to be filed” box needed to allow larger notebook binders.

Solution: I found 2 more baskets at Marshall’s, one for her “to be filed” and the other for out going mail.

Problem: All of the mail, papers to be reviewed, signed, etc. went into a tickler divider file. This file had to stay on her desk because it was the work horse of her communication with her boss.
Shelley purchased a new file and I covered it in raw silk, wired ribbon and acid free lining paper. (See photo)

This was a challenging, but fun project. Art pieces were custom framed at Hobby Lobby. Hope this office makeover was an inspiration for you to try. Let me know how it comes out! (Press my profile to get to my “email me” address.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Which Garden Will You Tend?

A lady had a dream one night of coming to an old wooden gate. Laying close by in the rubble, she noticed the key that was somewhat hidden from view. She opens the gate to find a garden. It was grown over and totally dead.

Beyond that garden, she saw an archway leading to another garden. She could see the sun shining on it’s beautiful flowers and greenery. An invisible force seemed to have drawn her to the beautiful garden. As she entered in, she began to tend to the beautiful garden.

Suddenly, she turned around to find the once dead garden now was also a beautiful garden full of beautiful flowers and plants.

When she awoke, she felt like the dream meant that if she would begin to nurture the good and positive things of her life, she would soon realize that the negative things in her life would also soon come to life.

I believe that this is so true with our lives. We tend to put too much focus on the negative, smothering out all the good that is around us. I want to practice counting my blessings and focusing on the good that God is doing in my life.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil. 4:8

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Meet My Hubby

In 1974 I married the man of my dreams. Gary, 21, from a fabulous family, out of the most fantastic church and home grown by the world's greatest pastor, James Kilgore.

Once I made my start living for God at age 14, I prayed for direction for my life. I could never imagine myself, married, having a home and children and living a "normal" life. I knew that my entire life must be dedicated and full time for the work of God. When I met Gary, we shared the same passions for kingdom work and more than that, we fell head over heels in love. It has been that love and our commitment to our vows we took in marriage, that has carried us through every rocky road.

Our first six months married, we traveled full time preaching revivals in churches. I would play my accordion, piano or organ and sing, then Gary would preach.

In the fall of 1974 God called us to a college town in Brookings, South Dakota. We pioneered a new United Pentecostal Church we called "The Voice of Truth".

From there, we traveled, pastored in Winston-Salem, NC, Marksville, LA, pioneered another new work in the Clear Lake area of Houston, TX and presently pastory in Crosby, TX.

Gary is so much like his pastor, full of compassion and very close to God. When you live with a preacher, you know him like no one else. I can say that he practices what he preaches.

I am blessed to have a husband who is a great Daddy and Dad to our 11 year old daughter, Hannah, and our 20 year old son, Aaron.

We are pretty much together 24/7. When we are apart, we thank God for cell phones. lol

Gary's ministry and what he is at the core is faith in a faithful God, possessing a positive mental attitude, guarding the words of your mouth, and declaring the good things that God has for our lives.

In the past few years, Gary has experience what has been diagnosed as post polio syndrome. It is trying to progress daily. I, first hand, see his struggles, and I also see him "pressing on", waiting for the promise of God to come. This has been a true test. It is in these kind of times when we prove God's faithfulness in our lives. We just keep doing what is right, then God comes through. We have seen it too many times to throw in the towel now! I will someday write of the miracle working power of God in his life.

Learn more about Gary in his own blog: or a google search, Gary Madden. He is all over the internet with his many recent entrepreneur endeavors.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Meet My Mother

Since I enjoy writing about home life, I think it is necessary to give honor where honor is due. My mother is my inspiration. In all of my travels, I observe woman everywhere I go, take notes and learn from them. I have been blessed to have been trained by the best. My memories of home are all good. I am thankful that I do not have any "baggage" that I take with me from my past.

My mother married at 17, had 3 girls and 10 years later a son. She was the classic SAHM (stay at home mom). After my Dad died from Leukemia, she sold her home in the New Orleans suburb, and moved to her home roots, Alexandria, La.

Here are some things you would love about my Mom.

When you go to her home, it is so clean. It smells fresh, the floors are clean, the whole house is uncluttered, her sheets and towels smell so good, her beds are made with very soft covers, she always has plenty of bright white wash cloths, there is always the aroma of home made cooking: gumbo, biscuits, fried chicken tenders, real mashed potatoes, gravy, roast, garden vegetables, etc. etc. Her cooking is great!

Although she is now 75 plus, she still keeps her yard immaculate! Every time I talk to her, she generally has just mowed either the front or back yard. I really can’t figure out how she gets anything done with all the calls she receives from her kids and grandchildren.

For Christmas, she always makes hand made items that are very nice or wonderful tins of home made candy.

She is the queen of "fresh". Most of my "fresh" ideas come from her.

My mother is about 6' tall and has always been a classic dresser. Her hair is the perfect salt and pepper and great texture.

Greatest attribute: she is a Christian. Her home church now is the Pentecostals of Alexandria. This is an awesome church.

One memory I love: although we cleaned our own rooms when we
were at home, I remember times that my Mom would detail clean one of our rooms.
I like the time she dyed all the sheets on the bed and made them look new and
made some curtains.

Billie Parker Walston, widow of Loyd Walston, Belle Chasse, La.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fresh Touches for the Home

One of my yahoo group members asked the question to our group:
"How can I make my home feel more like a home? I would like ideas on decorating,

I think a lot of us strive to make our house a home. In spite of all of the beautiful decorating ideas, I really think we make our house a home when we add the "fresh touches" it needs to acquire that real "at home" feeling.

Here are some "fresh touch ideas" I have found that I think you will enjoy using. I have listed a few.

Scented candles that you light and really use. My all time most favorite is Vanilla/Orange by Trapps.

A pretty container with sharpened pencils, eraser end down.

Fresh flowers.

Clear glass canisters with food open in sight. For example: breakfast cereal, homemade cookies, candy.

Smooth jazz music playing in a freshly cleaned room.

A bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter or a small platter on your coffee table with green apples.

Current magazines on your coffee table or a place near a seating area.

Something cooking or baking that smells wonderful.

Freshly ironed pillow cases.

Freshly made ice tea in the refrigerator with a clear glass bowl of slice lemons beside it. (covered with clear wrap)

Remember that the woman generally sets the tone in the home. If you stay kind to yourself, you will find yourself treating others kindly. Our attitude towards our home and our care for it, will reflect in all the small things we do. Fresh touches are ways we can bring life in our homes. It’s the small things that really make the biggest difference.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Simple Storage Solution 101

Here is just a very simple idea...nothing earth shattering, but one, that you can actually do and I think you will find useful.

For years I tolerated the area under my vanity bathroom sink. It was very cluttered and unorganized. I think for most of us, no matter how organized we think we are, we usually have some area that we tend to ignore.

Here was my solution. It is simple and inexpensive and works great. Clear everything out and sort the items.

Purchase gallon size zipper type zip lock bags. Label each bag with a stick on computer label using your favorite font in a large font size.

Now, label each bag, fill and zip. Place all in 2 or more dish pans standing up so you can see the label that you have place near the top of the bag.

I used new white pails, size 19 - 24 font size in Incised901BT or Arial font. Some of my bags are: Hotel Samples (these are saved for emergencies or later donated to Woman’s Shelters), Cotton Balls & Q Tips, Swimming Stuff (suntan lotions, sunburn care, ear plugs, etc.), Colds & Allergies (medicines that you don’t use everyday), etc.

It is very simple to find things when I need them and super easy to put things back.

Happy Organizing!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Decorating Tip 101 - "Using What You've Got"

Number one, if you are on a limited budget or do not choose to strip a room and start from scratch, here is a suggestion.

When “using what you’ve got”, you can work with focal points. Here is an example: The art piece pictured will be my focal point. I will pull colors from this picture. You could let the picture be your inspiration for your entire room, or if limited, just decorate one area pulling together colors.

If I were to use this as my inspiration, I would hang it over my large wall over my black piano. On top of the piano, I would use my tall gold metal candle holders that would come slightly into the picture area. I would place the tallest candle on the right and beside it, the shorter candle holder on the left. Use dark red colored candles.

If you can pretend that all objects on the piano would form a triangle shape, that will help you design your stuff on the piano. The triangle shape I am using to illustrate is one with the right line being the tallest and going straight up, bottom line, straight left, following the top of the piano, and the angle going from left bottom to top right.

I use books a lot to help pull in colors. You can go to any thrift store and peek behind the paper covers and find wonderful colored fabric hardback books you can purchase for 1 - 2 dollars.

Find three books in colors that you can pull from the picture. For example: deep red or the deep gold in the left bottom corner. Moving to the left of the candle holders, in the center of the piano, stack the books laying down in a neat stack with something black on top, for example a pair of black gloves.

Now go one step lower and to your left place one single object such as a piece of red pottery.

If this were in an office, you could use black pencils in a holder, red binders, etc. Just let your inspiration piece help you pull other colors in your room i.e., rugs, pillows, etc.

Have fun. Let me know if you use this idea and succeed.

Enjoy more art inspirations from my sister, Judy on her site:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Meat Potato Pie

Back in the 80's I was a Tupperware dealer. My manager introduced this recipe to her distributors and it has been one that I still use to this day.

It is very easy and smells luscious baking.

While living in Marksville, Louisiana, around 1995, I discovered a wonderful sauce served on meat pies at a restaurant in that area. It really puts the cherry on top! Hope you enjoy!

Feel free to email your comments to me.

2 pie shells, home made or store bought, I use store bought, thawed slightly, then shape my edges to appear a home-made crust

1 potato, chopped in small pieces, I cut mine in my food processor, but not too fine

1 pound of ground chuck beef

Salt and Pepper to taste

So easy...mix together the meat and potato, put in unbaked pie shell, cover with the other unbaked pie shell, press shells together at the edges. Cut a few holes in top crust or press a cookie cutter shape in the top.

Bake for about 1 hour. The crust will be golden brown and meat should be thoroughly done.

Top with the sauce. A Louisiana resturant's secret recipe:

Jezebel Sauce

Equal amounts of apple jelly and pineapple preserves
Add horseradish to the desired “bite”.

For a simple family meal, serve with a veggie. I serve with fresh corn and garnish with a few slices of fruit.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Give Your Room a Lift

Just as our body must have a cleansing, so it is with our homes. Over time, we bring in more and more stuff. If we do 
not take the time to take some things out occasionally, things begin to pile up. Sometimes we just get used to 

looking at something and ignore that it is even there.

When I begin to decorate a room using what I have, I begin by working with one area at a time. Here are some steps I use when I want to give a room a lift:

Detox...Get rid of all the clutter. Go through every drawer, corner, and shelf, and get rid of things that you do not need. Every item should be either beautiful or useful.

Rearrange...Move everything from it’s original place. You will never be able to really clean the room if everything 
forever stays in it’s original place. You will want to keep moving things around until you get the arrangement that you 
like. In the living room, your room needs to be in cozy conversational areas. My philosophy is, nothing is permanent. If I move it and it does not look good, it can be moved back or explore a new idea. Trust me, your couch can be rearranged
in many ways. You can make new arrangements work.

Cleanse...Clean the room from top to bottom. Starting with each area, clean windows, baseboards, curtains, blinds, 
accessories, everything in each area. Your room will get a fresh lift just from being totally cleaned.

Use balance...Don’t line up all the furniture against the walls. Generally, you will work with several key pieces of 
furniture. Balance them in the room, then add small tables, etc. to complete the arrangement.

Pull together focal points by using a strong color scheme in each area. You may use a framed art picture as your 
inspiration and pull colors from there. Display things that you love. Accessories should always be personal. Even if they are store bought, they can reflect your personal taste.

One way to give a room a new look is to drastically reduce it’s contents.
Honor favorite photos with good quality frames.
Go easy on symmetry - more than three matched pairs in a single room is too much.
Five minutes before guest arrive, spray your favorite perfume in the foyer.

Sweep all small decorating items in a drawer and take one out at a time. It’s

like discovering that object all over again.
Use baskets lined with fabric to gather up key, change, wallet, etc.

I encourage you to take a small step and try one of my "give your room a lift" ideas.  Even if you take a small area at at 
time, inch by inch anything is a cinch! You will be amazed how much your home will give you a lift just by taking small steps over a period of time.

Thursday, September 21, 2006



“The best bridge between hope and despair is often a good night’s sleep.”

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the
bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2

“How can my people expect healing, when they are violating the laws of diet and rest?”

When we are sleep deprived, life loses its luster and can leave us feeling exhausted. Our body needs good solid sleep every night. When we are unable to get the kind of sleep we need, this deprivation accumulates and can begin to create havoc in our daily lives. For example, a lack of sleep may leave you:

• unable to focus during the day
• tired and exhausted all the time
• irritable and short-tempered
• depressed or anxious
• more susceptible to colds, headaches, or allergies
• feeling vulnerable and less confident

Tips to get you a good night’s sleep:

1. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Check for clutter, air quality, comfortable bed, sheets, comforter, noise level & cleanliness.

2. Drink milk before contains calming calcium, magnesium, and tryptophan.

3. A warm relaxing bath or shower.

4. Soothing herb tea.

5. No caffeine late in the day.

6. Don’t go to bed too early.

7. Exercise regularly, but not close to bedtime.

8. Don’t go to bed angry.

9. Learn to fall asleep without the radio or TV on. Research has shown a radio or TV running while we are asleep will cause us to be more wakeful.

10. Using the stress management exercise is wonderful. Start with your feet, point, hold, relax, then pull your feet up, hold, then relax. Do this going up your body stretching, holding, then relaxing each muscle as you go up. Usually, by the time you are to your shoulders and neck, you are already asleep.

Good night. Hope you have a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gaining Power Over The Things We Can Change

"Living beautifully with ourselves and others requires gaining the power over the things we can change, maximizing the positive things, appreciating without guilt all the good, and minimizing the negatives."

Alexandra Stoddard, Living Beautifully Together

Most of us at sometime or another are faced with situations that we cannot change. Pressures of life find us paralyzed and unable to function at our best. It could be having to deal with a sick child, financial reverses, living in an unpleasant situation, or coping with a physical handicap.

When I have felt myself backed up against a wall, yes, there are times that I really would like to just crawl in bed and hope to never wake up until the situation is resolved, but there is a better solution.

When life has you down, you feel you have no power and no control. I think most of us like to feel like we are in control. Look around. Right now, look around and see what it is you can control. Get into motion and begin to do something.

Success breeds success.

When you get to moving, your situation begins to change. It may be clearing off your desk, filing, cleaning your mirrors, exercising or any number of things.

Each day make a list of things you need to accomplish in that day and you will feel more in control.

Focus on what is good rather than what is bad. When you do, you will begin to feel more in control because actually, now, you are. Your situation may not ever change, but, be encouraged that you do have the power to change the things you can change.

Think about it.

A Light Unto My Path

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

This scripture was used in my Pre-Teen Sunday School class Sunday and has been in my thoughts. I am so thankful for His Word in my life!

I know that for many, reading the word of God can be a hard thing to do because it can be hard to understand if you just open up the Bible to a place where you are not familier and know what is taking place, etc. I think that is why attending church and hearing good preaching and teaching is so important. God uses anointed ministry to plant seeds of His Word in our lives, thus we grow.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Easy Great Recipe

My niece, Michelle, from New Orleans, mother of a teenager and twin boys made this while the family was all at my mother’s home. It was so incredibly easy, cheap to make, and, would feed a crowd ... not to mention how wonderful it tasted.

It has become a recipe I repeat often. If the ingredients do not sound good to you, trust me, I think you will really like it. I heard it was an original Weight Watcher’s recipe, but if you serve it with a hefty side of tortilla chips on the edge of the soup and a dollop of sour cream or grated cheddar cheese on top, it will taste even better. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup

Just remember, 7 cans: 1 pinto beans, 1 kidney beans, 1 black beans, 1 corn (not cream style), 2 stewed tomatoes (I chop mine finer in the food processor), 1 Rotelle tomatoes
1 pkg. Of dry Ranch dressing & 1 pkg. Of taco seasoning mix
1 cup of water
1 - 1 ½ pounds of ground meat, browned and any fat drained

I usually brown 3 - 5 pounds of ground chuck with some chopped onions, then freeze individual zip lock bags with about 1 lb. Of meat per package. Then, when I want to fix a menu that starts with browned ground beef, I have the meat already ready.

Start with the meat, 2 dry packages, 1 cup of water, then open all the cans. Do not drain any juices out of cans.
Let simmer for a few minutes and serve.

Please let me know if you try this and enjoy it.
Have a great week!

NOTE:  Pictured is one of my Box Lunch Deliveries I made when "decorating for the senses"  also did catering along with decorating. Featured here is the Taco Soup as the main entree'.  You may also enjoy the complete meal plan here:  The soup with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese to go on the soup, a garnish of lettuce and tomatoes & a slice of Southern Living's Brown Sugar Coffee Cake.
taco soup, brown sugar coffee cake, easy easy meal, fast meal, ground beef recipe, tip using ground beef, decorating for the senses, donna madden, 

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday School Tip 101

I will never forget my experiences in the small Home Missions church in Belle Chasse, La. My family went down to help this work get started and from here launched my musical, teaching and outreach skills.

My Dad bought the church a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker that I began to play. At the age of around 17, I was leading the music, teaching the Beginners class, singing solos regularly and doing weekly outreach on my own bringing 30+ kids in my car with several trips to pick them all up.

Since that time to now, I have taught various age groups. Just recently, I once again began teaching, teaching the Pre-Teen class at my church. It has been a joy to be my 11 year old daughter's teacher. There is really nothing to compare to the presence of God you feel when teaching from His Word.

In all of my experience of teaching, the one thing that I think is a good idea, is to have a browsing table. For example, if you are teaching the story of Adam and Eve, you may have a Barbie and Ken with real fig leaves for clothing, a fake or real snake in a cage, an apple and library books on ancient gardens. Then, the next Sunday have them dressed in animal skin clothing and so on. Your students will be happy to bring items for each lesson. Plan ahead, make phone calls to remind them the Saturday before that Sunday if necessary.

Just recently, we had a lesson on Jacob and his dream. We brought a robe for Jacob to wear, a candle in a ceramic holder, really lit, a large rock that he used for a pillow and some oil to anoint the rock. As we told the story, we took the items from our browsing table to use in the story. We had one of our students acting out the story as I told it.

"I promise that your lessons will be so much more effective at any age when you have a browsing table to enhance your lesson."

Try it and let me know your results!

Pictured: My first Sunday School Class, Belle Chasse, Louisiana (New Orleans suberb)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Your Home: In Control? or Seemingly Impossible?

Of all the books I have read on organizing, Sandra Felton's books have been fantastic for me. She really nailed me over and over describing the "Messie". After my life long quest of order, I think I have finally learned how these people with the perfectly kept homes do it.

My problem was if I was going to clean a room, it would be done so perfect that it required hours. I would have this one really fantastic room, beautiful, fresh and awesome looking, but just around the corner may be piles of clutter shifted to get this room to perfection.

Now, you may be one of those that has it all together, which I think you were born that way, but for me, I have had to work at it. Now, I do the unthinkable...instead of detailing a room at a time (which I still do occasionally), I do touch up cleaning. Since my new habit is to keep things picked up, cleaning is easy. I have often thought when hiring a maid that we had to get everything picked up before the maid came the next day. Then, I thought, wow, if all I had to do now is come in and just clean, it would be a snap.

" cleaning as part of your regular routines keeps things from building into big, discouraging jobs." Smart Organizing

The truth is, keeping things picked up is really key. It is amazing to me how touch up cleaning really works. Here are a few ideas I do to keep things really looking great: Vacuum heavy traffic areas. This may be the hallway, traffic paths in your living room and busier paths in your kitchen. Keep your kitchen counters clean. I love Clorox Clean Up. It has a fresh smell I like. Not everyone likes the smell of Clorox, but it smells really fresh to me.

Straighten the pillows on your couch. Make up your bed. Keep floors clutter free. For great ideas, go to Sandra's website and plan to read her book collections. The ones I have personally read are: Messie No More, The Messies Manual, Living Organized and Smart Organizing.

Visit Sandra's website at:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Now that I have traveled a lot of roads and covered many many miles behind me, I feel it is my God given duty to share some of the things I have learned in life. I am really a very deeply spiritual person possesing a strong relationship with God.

I have been comitted to "kingdom work" since marrying my preacher husband, March 1974. We have always answered the call even though it meant learning to survive on very little and making life it's fullest on a shoestring. Through my God-given creative abilities, I am going to share many ideas that have made my life full.

One of my passions that has become a hobby is organizing things around me. I love books on organizing. I faced my ultimate test when we lived two years in first a motor home then, on to a travel trailer full time on the road with two children.

I am a product of a family of many great talents and together we make up an ecclectic team with many creative genes! I think it will be interesting to you to get some insight in a life of someone who is passionate, has made a quest to keep a balanced life; balancing church work, children, a husband, jobs and personal development.