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Where I’ve Been

21 Jul
Yuri Arcurs – Fotolia.com
I know it’s been about four days since my last post and those of you who are regular readers know how unusual that is.  Speaking of you, the reader, if you have written me a comment anytime during those days, please forgive me for not responding.  I have read and appreciate each of them.  Life has just been a little, um, trying lately.
Without going into too much detail, let me just say that my husband and I have several important decisions ahead of us and we really need you to pray for wisdom and clarity.  I cannot say anything more and if you know me in person, please do not ask us any questions about it.  I don’t mean for that to sound rude, so please don’t take it that way.  I just want God to reveal His will for our lives to us and then we will turn around and share what He’s doing in our lives at a later date.
xxknightwolf – Fotolia.com

With that being said, I’d really appreciate it if you all would allow me to take the next week or so to pray about things and then I’ll jump right back in with {hopefully} some more information.  {Not to mention, a normal organizing-related posting schedule.}
I will say that there is going to be a slight change soon here at Taylor Made Home.  I am making the switch to WordPress.  I’m not going to do self-hosted just yet because I’m going to attempt to learn how to use WordPress first and then once I’m comfortable with it, I’ll make the switch.  So, stay tuned.


Elena Schweitzer – Fotolia.com

In other news, my birthday is coming up next week!  Yay!  I will be turning a quarter-of-a-century years old!  ๐Ÿ™‚  I’m excited about another birthday yet the age of “25” just seems to be such an “adult” age and I don’t exactly feel like an adult yet.  Although, from what I hear, no one ever really feels like an adult, which is a good thing, I guess.
So, there you have it: a request for prayer, a switch to WordPress and an upcoming birthday!  Lots going on, but I’m so grateful for the family and life that I’ve been given.  I’m also really excited about how God is going to use my family and I in the future.  He’s already done great things for us, but as the song “God of This City” says: Greater things have yet to come.
Not sure what I’m talking about?  I’ll leave you with the song:

Design Your Life with Jess Constable of Jess LC

5 Jul
Don’t Forget to Join this Week’s
Organized Homemaker’s Linky Party {HERE}.

Jess is an entrepreneur who designs and sells her own jewelry and handbags through her company, Jess LC.
Here are some examples of her fabulous work:
Astor Cluster Bib Necklace
Armitage Thick Cable Bracelet with Links
To visit her online store, click HERE.
Not only can Jess whip up some chic accessories, but she can also organize and decorate with the best of them:
portablevanity
The way I found Jess, though, was through her blog, Makeunder My Life, where she shares her journey toward intentional living.  This is a passion that propelled her to begin a consulting business, Business with Intention, where she helps others begin, grow or improve their business.
As a part of her intentional living initiative, she has established July 11th – 25th as two weeks dedicated to Email Intervention.  What is it exactly?  It’s simply a pledge you take to only check work related emails during business hours.  For me, as someone who doesn’t own a business (YET!), I am pledging to only check my personal email during specific times of the day: first thing in the morning and then again when Little Man takes his nap.  The rest of the time I will ignore my inbox and focus on other, more important, people and tasks.  (To join me, click HERE and leave a comment as your pledge.)
The reason I wanted to introduce her to you today is because she has created a series titled “Do-it-Yourself Design Your Life” where she encourages her readers to share 5-7 areas of life that they are going to become more intentional about improving.
What I’d like to do now is share my list with you.  From now on, I’m going to focus on one area at a time and one task at a time.  Every month I’m going to share how I’m doing on each area (hopefully focusing on one task per week).  With that in mind, please note: If I have listed something that you are unsure exactly what I mean, I will get back to it in a future post.  (So, stay tuned!)
Here Goes…
~*~ INTENIONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH ~*~
Those of you who have hung out with me here at Taylor Made Home know that I am a Christian whose faith is the foundation for everything that I do in life.  With that in mind, focusing on my relationship with God is by far the most important thing I can do to become more intentional with every other aspect of my life.  Here are some specific things I’m hoping to accomplish as I work on this area:
  • Daily Morning Bible Study & Prayer Time
  • Begin (and Keep) a Prayer Journal/Blessings Book
  • Read a Christian Living Book for at least 1 Hour Daily
  • Focus on one Christian characteristic per week: self-control, kindness, etc.
~*~ INTENTIONAL HEALTHY LIVING ~*~
This area of my life is also one that affects so many other areas.  Unfortunately, this is one area that needs some MAJOR work!  I want to lead a healthy lifestyle for my own sake but most importantly because I am a role model to my son.  How I eat and how active I choose to be will directly shape the habits he forms as he gets older.  Here’s what I’m hoping to do about it:
  • Research and Implement a Real Foods Diet
  • Become More Active, in General
  • “Formally” Exercise 4-5 Times per Week
  • Set Small Weight Loss Goals Which Will Add Up to Larger Goal
~*~ INTENTIONAL MARRIAGE ~*~
I am married to a wonderful man.  But, do I always treat him like the blessing that he is?  No.  Instead I complain and nag about ridiculous things.  He deserves so much better.  Plus, this day and age, a lasting marriage is a miracle.  I’d like to experience that miracle.  Here’s are some habits I hope to adopt:
  • Do One Nice Thing for Him Every Day
  • Establish a Weekly Date Night and COMMIT to it!
  • Start a Couples’ Journal
  • Have a Weekly Bible Study/Meeting
~*~ INTENTIONAL PARENTING ~*~
I’ve been struggling with this area of my life recently.  My son is 2 and a half years old.  We’re right in the middle of potty training as well as learning how to Biblically train and discipline him.  As far as receiving a practical handbook on this whole parenting thing?  I never got one.  Did you?  What I want to know is: when are they going to start passing those out at the hospital.  ๐Ÿ™‚  All joking aside, I know that the Bible is my handbook and although it does have a lot to say about parenting, it doesn’t exactly come with practical tips and scenario examples.  Regardless of that fact, there are some things I can do to become more intentional in this area of my life:
  • Read God’s Word Daily (See First Bullet under Intentional Spiritual Growth) as well as Christian Parenting Books from Trusted Authors.
  • Set Aside Time Each Day to Focus on Quality Time with Little Man
  • Work on my Anger and the Way I React to Things.  (It’s not like I have anger or violence issues.  I just know that, like everyone else, I can have a temper at times.)
  • Read Little Man Bible Stories and Teach Him How to Memorize Scripture.
~*~ INTENTIONAL HOMEMAKING ~*~
My house is not always under control.  There, I said it.  I know half of you are gasping and the other half have your mouth wide open in surprise.  Just because I write about organizing, decorating and homemaking doesn’t mean that my home is a show stopper.  In fact, it’s often the opposite.  In fact, at this very moment, my carpet is a wreck (I dream of hardwood floors) and my baseboards are looking a little dusty.  Plus, I may have mentioned this before but I’ll share it again: all of our furniture is either a hand-me-down or was purchased for us.  Well, almost all of it.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of things about my home that I do not like but realistically cannot change right now.  However, instead of allowing discontentment to set in, I should simply make the most of what I have.  Here’s how I plan to do that:
  • Tweak my Cleaning Schedule and Stick to It
  • Freshen up my Home with Inexpensive Changes
  • Focus on Organizing One Area/Room of my Home per Month
  • Learn One New Skill per Month (Sewing, Baking, Etc.)
~*~ INTENTIONAL HOSPITALITY ~*~
I keep telling my husband that I wish we could have more people over.  His response is always: “Well, why don’t we?”  After that I utter at least one of many excuses: “The house isn’t presentable.”; “What can I possibly make?”; “I don’t feel like entertaining.”  On and on, the excuses keep coming.  Problem is, none of my excuses are valid because they’re all focused on me.  So what if my house isn’t magazine ready and my cooking isn’t gourmet?  Oh, and that “I don’t feel like it” excuse?  Well, I should just get over it!  ๐Ÿ™‚  Once I set my own feelings aside, I realize that this is one of the few ways I can minister to others as a full time stay-at-home-mom and by not embracing it, I’m not serving God as I should be.  So, what’s the plan?
  • Commit to Hosting a Meal Once a Month
  • Keep House Reasonably Clean (See First Bullet under Intentional Homemaking)
  • Experiment with More “Entertaining-Friendly” Meals
  • Invite Other Stay-at-Home-Moms Over During the Day for Playdates
~*~ INTENTIONAL APPEARANCE ~*~
I need to work on my appearance/personal upkeep a little bit more.  I know this one sounds so shallow after everything else I’ve mentioned but it is an area of my life that I need to work on.  I have fallen “victim” to the typical mom uniform of a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers or flip flops.  I also pull my hair up every. single. day.  The main reason I want to put more effort into my appearance is mainly for my husband.  Mind you, he has NEVER made any negative comments about how I fix (or don’t fix) my hair, how I am dressed or how much weight I’ve gained since we got married.  Still, I want to look my best for him.  It may sound silly but I want to be the ultimate trophy wife: looks good on the outside and has a heart for God on the inside.  To do this, I’m going to have to:
  • Organize Closet – Purge the Ugly and Ill-Fitting
  • Purchase Modest, Ladylike Clothing (No T-Shirt/Jeans Combos)
  • Wake Up Earlier to Make Time for Make-Up and an Actual Hair STYLE
  • Pamper Myself Once a Week – Taking Care of Skin, Nails, Etc.
~*~ BOTTOM LINE ~*~
It was rather easy chosing my 7 things.  In fact, I could have typed out more.  But, I don’t need to over-do it.  Maybe in another 6 months to 1 year, I can write out another DIY DYL post and set new goals but, for now, I’ve got A LOT of work ahead of me.  Luckily just getting it all down on paper in a blog post has given me a renewed sense of where I desire to be as a Christian wife, mother and homemaker. 
WHAT WOULD YOUR 5-7 THINGS BE?
If you want to share your intentions in a blog post like I have done, I would encourage you to do so.  Then send the link to Jess via email: jess (at) jesslc (dot) com.  If you’d rather just share them in the comments below, feel free to do so.

Linked to:
TITUS 2SDAY AT TIME-WARP WIFE
WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAYS AT WE ARE THAT FAMILY
HOMEMAKING LINK UP AT RAISING HOMEMAKERS
WOMEN LIVING WELL WEDNESDAYS AT WOMEN LIVING WELL 

A Taylor Made History

17 Jun

MADE IT TO EIGHTY

Taylor Made Home has 80 followers!  That may not sound like much to most people, especially since there are plenty more blogs out there who have thousands and thousands of followers (plus millions of pageviews per day).  But, I am so grateful for each and every person who chooses to take a few moments out of their day to pay little ol’ me a visit!

Today, I’d thought I’d share with you how this blog came about, how it has changed since its “birth”, and the direction I envision it will go.  (But don’t worry.  I will be back with more organizing related goodness tomorrow!)

IN THE BEGINNING

When it comes to maturity, Taylor Made Home is still in it’s infancy.  However, my blogging adventure started a little over a year ago.  In March of 2010, I started a blog.  The intention was to blog about my transition from a working mom to a stay-at-home-mom, and then continue to be a “mom blog”.  I would write about all of the wonderful meals I would whip up (mind you, I DON’T cook well at all); how amazing my house would look once I had extra time to decorate (HA!  Turns out you need money too!); and how stylish I would look without the restrictions that my employers dress code impossed on me (Um, ashamed to say I have fallen prey to the tshirt-and-jeans-mom-uniform-combo that sucks the youthful style out of so many of us young mothers).

Needless to say, life at home was not what I imagined it would be and I was not accomplished all of the wonderful things I had set about to do.  I had zero content for my blog because I was so uninspired with my life (read: discontent with my life) that I grew frustrated.  Not to mention, maybe three people followed it and I would have (maybe) 15 pageviews per day.  Yep, the blog was just another disappointment.

CHANGE OF HEART

It was only when I took the time to bow my head and ask God what HE wanted me to do, that I realized what I was doing wrong:

  • Although it is an admirable thing for a homemaker to be able to bake fresh bread, sew her own curtains, and maintain a perfectly spotless house (all while wearing a dress, heels, and red lip stick, of course!), this standard is one that the WORLD has told me that I must maintain.  God showed me that even though I should always work on improving my homemaking skills, I should be more concerned with allowing Him to create in me a content heart and a serving spirit.
  • He showed me that my first attempt at blogging was done in a completely selfish manner that He would not bless.  I wasn’t trying to help anyone, I just wanted to “brag” online about everything I knew how to do and how much I resembled “June Cleaver”.  When He impressed upon my heart that my blog could be a tool for ministering to busy women who were doing all they could to juggle family, home and possibly career, it gave me a bit of a taste for how He might want to use me and my talents.  (What few talents I have.)

LET’S TRY THIS AGAIN

With a renewed heart for my home and for ministering to other women, I made my second attempt at starting a blog.  I sat down at my computer, logged into Blogger, and breathed a quick prayer: “Lord, use me!”  Then, I typed in the words “Taylor Made Home” and officially began my journey.

In my very first post, I shared that my goal was to motivate and inspire you to become a better wife, mother, and home manager.  The idea was to consistently work to improve certain areas in my life (parenting, cooking, finances, style, etc) and then share what has worked for me, in hopes that it may work for you as well.  (Or at least provide you with a starting point for your own self improvement journey.)  Thus, I classified myself as a “General Homemaking Blogger”.

Then, in a later post, I expressed my goal to give this blog a bit more focus by writing on topics that had more to do with decorating and organiznig (the atmosphere of the home) versus trying to include all areas of homemaking.  This worked well for me because creating a beautiful (this would be the decor part) and effecient (this is where organizing comes in) home is my favorite hobby.  Plus, no matter how organized you are, there is always room for improvement and we can improve together!

Even though sticking to decorating and organizing (mostly organizing) gave me more direction, I was still unsure about what style of blog I should create.  In other words, did I want to be a more “upscale/designer” blogger or would I rather stick to “budget decor/DIY”?  (Looking back, I’m not sure why it was such a hard decision.  As the ol’ saying goes: “I’ve got Champagne tastes on a beer budget”.)  I decided that I didn’t want to put on a facade and pretend like I was this uber-chic woman with discriminating tastes.  I wanted to be real with those who came to be for information, advice, and inspiration.

GOING FORWARD

Since joining the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge” over at the SITS forum, I have decided to fine-tune the direction of this blog a little bit more so that I would know exactly where it was headed and exactly HOW I would help you as a woman.  The new goal of Taylor Made Home is to show you how organizing principles can be applied in all aspects of home management in order to create the calm and efficient home that you crave.

With this focus in mind, there are several exciting things that I have planned for you:

  • A New Linky Party – Click HERE for more information and to enter the “Name that Linky Party Contest”.
  • Commenter Rewards – Beginning immediately, I will be giving a shout out to my top commenter each week.  Meaning, the person who leaves the most comments on Taylor Made Home will be gifted with an entire post dedicated entirely to them and their blog.  This is one of the ways I want to show my appreciation for you.  I only ask that your comments related to the post and contribute to the discussion somehow.  In other words, please don’t comment for the sake of commenting.  But please do add your two cents, ask questions, and share your knowledge with us!
  • An Organized Homemaker Series – I haven’t decided if I will do this on a weekly or monthly basis, but it will focus on how to organize each task that you’re responsible for, including: cooking, cleaning, paying bills, running errands, decorating, entertaining, etc.  This series will include guest speakers, challenges, and (hopefully) giveaways.  It’s a lot to plan but I am hoping it will be a huge success; a way for all of use to brush up on organizing skills together.
  • Ask the Organizer – Do you have an organizing question you’d like to ask?  Is there an area of your home that needs some attention, but you don’t know where to begin?  Ask me!!  Email your question to ourtaylormadehome (at) gmail (dot) com and I will happily answer it for you.  Doing so, gives me permission to use it on my blog in an “Ask the Organizer” post.  (Your identity will be kept private as I will only use your first name and the first letter of your last name.)  You never know who else is dealing with the same thing. 

THE END

Geez, this was kind of a long winded post.  Thanks for hearing me out.  Now, I’ll turn the mic keyboard over to you:

Is there a certain area of homemaking that you would like for me to tackle from an organizing standpoint๏ปฟ?

Just a Couple of Things…

14 Jun

I had another post lined up for today, but I’m going to wait until tomorrow to post it because there are a couple of things I want to talk to you about:

First of all, I’m SO excited because I’m am working on putting together my very own linky party!  It’s going to be a place for you to share your organizing sucesses all week long!  Each week’s party will be kicked off on Wednesday (maybe posted late Tuesday night) and will focus on a different topic or challenge each time.  Also, I will be writing a separate post later on the following week that will feature my favorites from the prior week’s linky party.

NAME THAT LINKY PARTY
CONTEST 

What I want to do now is announce a “Name that Linky Party” Contest.  Based on what I’ve told you about the new linky party here at Taylor Made Home, I want you to come up with a creative name for it.  The name should clearly define what type of links I am looking for (organizing posts). 

What’s in it for you?  Each and every linky party will include a shout out/thank you to you for naming the party as well as a link to your blog.  Which means, as long as the linky party is a part of Taylor Made Home, your name and blog link will always be mentioned!

DETAILS:

  • You may submit as many names as you’d like.
  • I will be doing a little digging to make sure that the chosen name isn’t already taken by someone else.  If I find that it is, the entry will be eliminated. 
  • If two entries are exactly the same, I will go with the one that was submitted first.
  • You can email me at ourtaylormadehome (at) gmail (dot) com with any questions you have that may help you in your name brainstorming. 

When you’re ready to submit your entries, please fill out this form:

Best of Luck!!

The second item I want to bring to your attention is something a little more personal to me.  If I may, I’d like to give you a little bit of background before I present a question that I would appreciate your input.

I have only 1.5 years of college under my belt.  Needless to say, I do not have a college degree.  Over the past several years, I have toyed with the idea of going back.  However, right now I am a stay-at-home-mom who is raising one son (with plans to add more to our family in the future) and managing a household.  I have no itention of becoming anyone’s employer anytime soon (preferably, never again).  Instead, my goal is to start and run my own business or at least work from home so that I can contribute to our family’s finances without giving up the flexibility of being available to my family as well as being able to effectively manage my home.

The idea I have come up with, since organizing is my passion after all, is to teach organizing workshops locally (and maybe one day, online).  My target group is busy moms who I would reach through local churches, mom’s day out groups, daycare centers, schools, YMCA’s, and other places that these women frequent.  I believe women everywhere would benefit from learning how to better manage their home, family, and career, as well as other responsibilities. 

I am currently working on my first workshop which will cover the basics of Time Management.  Being my first one I want to focus on one particular group of busy women: those involved in local women’s ministry groups.  The plan was to charge $30 per ticket with $5 of each ticket being donated to the church they are associated with.  I would also offer large group discounts by reducing the cost of each ticket to $25 with $5 still going to their church.  (Date of workshop is still undetermined.)

I was all excited to get going witht this new venture when, yesterday, someone mentioned to me that I might have a hard time getting people to come and listen to what I have to say since I don’t have a college degree.  It really bummed me out and I spent the better part of last night feeling like I had to cross this off my “Ideas-I’ve-thought-of-doing-but-haven’t” list.  So, with all of this in mind, my question is:

Do you think a college degree makes a person more qualified to teach a class on organizing?
In other words, would you base your decision to attend an organizing workshop on whether or not the person teaching it has a college degree or not?
BONUS QUESTION:
Do you think the prices I quoted are reasonable?

Please either leave a comment below with your answer or if you’d rather have your answer remain more private, you can email me at ourtaylormadehome (at) gmail (dot) com.  I really appreciate any light you can shed on the subject for me.

What Makes a Home?

19 May

The other day, I received a Facebook message from a dear woman who taught me when I was in the youth group at church.  She has a larger-than-average family and here’s what she had to say about her home:

“…One of the boys’ said “Momma, it’s clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.” I’ve always wanted a home where people feel at home and enjoy being here – and that’s what seems to be the consensus, so I guess I’ll have to just keep dreaming about the perfectly decorated home and be blessed by my throw covered and mismatched furniture.”

Her words have been running through my mind ever since I read them.  I keep thinking to myself “What kind of home do I want to have?” and “Is an immaculately organized and impressively decorated home really all that important?”

Can I just be completely open and honest with you?  As much as I’ve enjoyed blogging, I do become discouraged from time to time when my home isn’t as stylish, organized, or spotless as theirs.  Staged vignettes and edited photos make it nearly impossible to meet the “standard”.  Not to mention that it seems like others have a more disposable income than we do.

Anyone else feel this way?

Mind you, I’m not trying to put any other blogger down or imply that I will never create my own vignettes for photos here at Taylor Made Home.  I understand that staged photos are more pleasing to the eye and can provide a source of inspiration for others.  Seriously, there are some SUPER talented and creative women out there in the blogosphere.

For me, that dear woman’s words challenged me to focus on the things that make up a home that don’t revolve around fabric, hardware, or paint.  To be thankful for what I do have instead of complaining about what I don’t.  To invest more time in my son than in choosing color schemes or dreaming about what I would rather my home look like.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing what is on my heart and mind right now.  I will happily return to blogging about decorating and organizing, but I hope to do it with a little perspective. 

I also want to send some encouragement your way by reminding you that what you read on anyone’s blog is only a small glimpse into their life.  So, next time you think someone’s home is always perfectly organized, decorated, and clean, remember that it probably isn’t.

THIS POST IS LINKED TO: