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When our homes become cluttered, untidy and disorganized, life has a way of becoming difficult. Yet the thought of organizing that clutter from top to bottom can be equally stressful. Time has a way of eating up even the best of intentions.

There is a solution, however, even for the busiest among us. You can clear the clutter, separate the meaningful from the meaningless, and create a home environment that works for everyone.

And you can take easy steps to get there… in 31 days or less.

From storage ideas to simple cleaning tricks and time management, you’ll be well on the way toward the sanctuary you’ve dreamed of.

It’s simply one step in front of the other. Tackling one small project after another, until in 31 days, you will find yourself… simply organized. With a system and routine that will keep you organized for life.

Written for, Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days or Less is available through in both print and e-book formats. It's a lifestyle change that's easy to make with the reward to reclaiming your home and your sanity.



As I drove up the hill from an early morning school drop-off, followed by a "Starbucks-In-A-Red-Cup" run ... and a quick stop at the grocery store; I was reminded yet again about finding small joys.

The rain is pouring in Seattle today, the streets are wet; but in our neighborhood, while most trees are bare and ready for winter snow (hopefully), some are still dotted with a few golden-russet leaves, tenaciously clinging to their dark branches. Those streets and sidewalks are lined with golden brown leavings making perfect autumn rimmed lanes. It reminded me of a Thanksgiving postcard. And all the while, with the sounds of windshield wipers on a rainy window mixed with XM Radio's Holiday Traditions softly playing those beloved and quintessential Christmas tunes with their tight harmonies … I was once again reminded of finding joy.

I promised to highlight a few landmarks woven into the storyline of “Home for Christmas.” I’m excited to share soon the inspiration for the house. But today, I wanted to share a few pictures that reminded me of joy.

Artist Watercolor of Sanctuary on Christmas Eve: View Source
Seattle's University Presbyterian Church is the church mentioned in the book. It's located very near the University of Washington campus and is a church with a deep and rich heritage. I remember attending some Christmas services way back when I was a student at Seattle Pacific University, very near the U-District. This church was a church plant from Seattle’s First Presbyterian Church back in 1908 to serve the university community.

Today, the church continues to be vibrantly active in its community and serve the needs of people. I encourage you to check out their website … here.

Excerpt from Home for Christmas as it describes the beautiful UPC sanctuary:

“She let her eyes roam the beautiful sanctuary; the tall stained glass windows lining its length on both sides and depicting stories of Jesus’ life in gloriously warm hues, the glass hurricanes and candles at each base, lit for evening services and would cast a flickering glow, creating an almost tangible feeling of warmth, the pair of pointed arched paneled doors at either side of the platform. The chancel had an angled back and housed the towers of cascading pipes, leading upward to a central focus of a trio of stained glass windows representing the resurrection and sitting atop a stunning limestone carving of The Last Supper, a simple yet masterful piece of art … She let its beauty wash over her; the Christmas decorations – the advent wreath, the garland swags embellished with red velvet bows draped the chancel and balcony, candles lit on the altar and in every corner served only to accentuate her church’s beauty and the holiness of the season.”

And while I’m not a photographer, the above is a snapshot I took on my phone while visiting the church on a rainy, stormy weekday morning, much like today.

The day is marching on and I’ve got some baking planned … and a few Christmas presents to wrap … and yes, some sticky, syrupy plates leftover from a hurried breakfast, run-out-the-door-before-you’re-late-for-school kind of morning. And yes … while my fingers feel yucky … and the wet morning seems particularly cold and damp … I will remember the small joys of the morning … and be ever thankful for them.

Have a great and joyful day!


We live in a world of sames.

Same... styles, cars, homes. Same... thoughts, ideas, beliefs.

I'm grateful I didn't grow up in that world. A world of sames.

My mom wore aprons and my dad wore suits. My grandmas baked and my grandpas fished.

It's an intended oversimplification. Of course, my mom liked to fish with her dad and wear beautiful dresses. My dad -- well, he liked to eat the baked goods my grandmas made.

There are always variations of a stereotype. Because... we are not sames. No matter what anyone claims.

The idea of sames homogenizes and blends an individual, who is wonderfully and marvelously made.

I would argue that my world, the world not of sames, celebrated individuality, my world allowed far more diverse thought and expression than that of today.

I grew up in the 80s, married in the early 90s.

Girls were allowed to be girls and boys were allowed to be boys. Sames were saved for another day.

And there was no one looking over our shoulder determining if our dreams and hopes and aspirations were acceptable by the sames.

We didn't think much about the sames. We were free to dream. We were free to follow our natural instincts instead of re-training our minds, our words, and our beliefs to comply with the sames.

This is not an argument against standards. Instead, it's an observation about standards. Natural standards that have governed the lives of all humans since the beginning of time.

Natural standards that allow for feminity and masculinity.

The idea of sames began with "unisex." It has evolved.

The ideas of sames began with control. It has evolved.

The idea of sames began with power. It has evolved.

Sames celebrate the idea intolerance. While their language speaks individual expression, the reality is that of adherence, or else suffer public shaming.

I do not believe in this world of sames.

I look back with sadness on the beauty of my world that is no longer. The beauty of romance, the beauty of peace. The beauty of joy instead of the gray of domination, suppression, and compliance.

Will Willimon observes, “A person who is externally determined, who lacks freedom of choice, who has succumbed to any limitations upon self-expression is hardly a person.”

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." --Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

Why, when we were so beautifully and wonderfully made, would we throw away the essence and the freedom of who we were created to be? Why would we then reject that unique beauty to adopt sameness? When we were once free... why would we choose a form of bondage?

Why would we become citizens in the world of sames?

Just a thought...

Do you ever have days when a “word” seems to leap out at you from... everywhere?

Conversations, texts, commercials…

And finally, it gets your attention. That word. And sometimes, it's one you’re not particularly fond of?

Yep – that was my day.

The word?


Horrible, awful, depressing. Need I go on?

If you’re anywhere north of 40, you probably get my drift.

I had a sad conversation with a stranger today. Humbling, really, that she chose me to tell. She said she’d never done that before.

It was an all too common story of divorce, betrayal, loss, family. And kids who pay the price. And the other party, the one who never saw it coming. Twenty-seven years of marriage and a senior in high school.


Depressing that it’s not the first time I’d heard that story. I’m sure you can relate.

But back to… age.

Awful, horrible things can happen with age. Lots of “goodbyes” happen with age. And I hate goodbyes. Simply hate them.

Other things happen too. Jaded, cynical… complacent?

I don’t like to be north of forty and I don’t like parts of my body to travel south.

But it happens. Right?

What do you do? Become maudlin, contemplative… dismissive? Forget about it all.

If you can!

But to perk up my creative spirit, I logged onto Pinterest. Something to distract myself from that ugly word.

Only, guess what?

I found it AGAIN!

After searching in vain for new cookie ideas to fill the stomach of my ever hungry teenage boy, I browsed through images of unbelievably exquisite living rooms. And that always perks me up. One image lead to another, and another search, and another idea…

I soon found myself mesmerized with the beauty of all things, well, old. Vintage. Aged.

That was the phrase, “Aged to perfection.”

And as image after image swiped across my screen, all beautiful, all “pinned,” I began to realize exactly how much I loved “old” things. Beautiful, exquisite, tantalizing old things.

New words began to fill my head. Words like “timeless.”

I like “timeless.” And after a while I began to like the word, “aged.”

I want to be “aged to perfection.” I want my years on this earth to count for something and although I’d like to look in the mirror and see some smoother parts, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in this world.

And I wouldn’t trade the tears I’ve shed, the people I’ve embraced, the sad stories I’ve heard… and told, the hard times and the good. It all counts for something, in the end.

Here’s to all things perfected with time.


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