about organization.

i have been asked by several folks how i “do it all” and wanted to point out that there is much that i don’t get done. right now, there is a game of risk strewn across the living and dining room floors, my kid’s room is the remains of an epic barbie/pet shop animals battle that took place this afternoon, and there is a houseplant sitting in my kitchen sink.

my mom said something the other day that shifted how i view housekeeping and homemaking. i was overwhelmed with how much i had to do, and she said “why don’t you make a list of all you’ve already done”? and i have been thinking of what i’ve accomplished, today and over the course of becoming a mother. i have done a lot!

so, i like lists. i like to write them, and check items off of them. what really helps me keep all i have to do in order is my big fat notebook.


i have divided it into several sections, and will discuss a little about each bit ūüôā

1. homemaking

first i have our routines written down, we have a morning routine and a bedtime routine for the kids. in addition to that, i have a basic and very flexible daily schedule. there is a ¬†list of tasks that need to be done daily, which would be different for each household. for ours, it’s: the dishes, sweeping and spot mopping the floors, a quick wipe-down of the bathroom, and at least 2 loads of laundry.

i have our chores broken down into a weekly schedule. again, this would need to be customized for someone else’s home. monday is our weekly home blessing in which i clean out the fridge, change and wash all the sheets, take out all trash, sweep/mop all floors, dust, wipe down walls/baseboards, appliances, trash cans, and wash the rugs. the other days of the week i work in a specific room and do a “big” task in there, in addition to normal tidying. i also have printed out a whole mess of these daily dockets. after that is my cleaning checklists from marthastewart.com. there are weekly, monthly, and seasonal lists.

next is the meal planning section, where i have made a list of our most frequently used recipes and the ingredients required. there is also a monthly calender where i write down our dinners for the month.

2. School

in the school section, the first thing i have is the parenting manifesto of joy. then i have a list of our good habits we will be working on, with corresponding memory verses i have put together. then we have the ‘formidable list of attainments for a child of six‘, which we are working towards. after that, i have all the things i need for each subject. and then our school schedule, which was such a blessing as a free resource from an ambleside yahoo group! after the schedule, i have our exam questions for the year.

3. spirit

this is most eclectic portion of my notebook, but also my favorite. first i have about 10-12 of my favorite prayers – my most favorite being ‘the litany of humility.’ after that is a study i did on healing, and about 3 or 4 pages of notes and scriptures about it. and then i have a¬†lot¬†of resources for sozo, an inner healing/deliverance ministry which i feel called to do. after that i have several different e-books and prayer books, and other random things i find helpful in spirituality. (mostly teachings/resources printed from IHOP or mars hill bible church.)

so! there’s that. hopefully it will help or inspire someone! xoxo!


eleven things to do in twenty-eleven.

1) be intentional with my thoughts, words and actions. love folks, always

2) sing, dance and make merry – every day

3) fill up my house with flowers and other pretties 

4) be silly with my family and friends

5) read 52 books + study the Bible intensely 

6) bake something delicious once a week 

7) take lots & lots of pictures

8 ) invite someone new to shabbat once a month

9) write. write in my journal every day, write poems and short stories, write ideas and inventions. write mundane details and summarize my grandest adventures. write!

10) get messy                     

11) spend a lot more time doting on and spoiling my lovey


yesterday was a good day, a full day. a day of inspiration and getting things done, at least in the creative sense. as i was rocking the baby down for his nap & spending a bit of time in prayer, i asked the divine to give me something to show for the day, something to share with my friends and loved ones. and oh my, did i ever get something to show. it’s certainly not my typical style of writing, and to be honest – i am hesitant to share. i did not edit, because i don’t feel i can edit the words that i don’t believe came from me. without further adieu:

The Christian wife and mother

If a christian wife and mother’s first earthly priority is not her family, and if that priority does not come strictly from an overflow of love in her heart, there is something amiss. The wife and mother is created to nurture and provide love, comfort, peace and stability. The maternal vibe should be one of selflessness, tender encouragement, acceptance and above all, compassion.

When operating in the Spirit throughout her daily life, the once overwhelming and seemingly unbearable trials of caring for little ones – peanut butter smeared couches, whiny temper tantrums and obstinate strikes- these are minimized to an almost unbelievable fraction.

When viewed through the lens of love, and with an aim to restore and maintain peace, the yoke of motherhood becomes a light and joyful gift to bear. Every chore transformed to an act of love and devotion for one’s family and home. The idea of “time for oneself” becomes nearly obsolete when participating in the divine experience of a family whose mechanics are smoothly oiled with the anointing from the Holy Spirit.

Surrounded by women of faith, who too are prompted and guided by the Great Divine, one feels encouraged and a part of the tribe of mothers who understand. to borrow a phrase from the late charlotte mason, mother culture automatically blossoms in groups of mothers where christ is truly the center.

As for the deep love of one’s husband: when the fruits of the spirit are modeled between spouses, children will mimic and rarely stray from the deep respect and desire for right and pure actions. The romance and hearts turned towards each other is apparent to all, and a beautiful picture of God and his love for his bride, the church.

When families are in tune and under the direction of Christ, this love can be spread out to extended families, then on to neighbors and friends, and then on to unimaginable lengths! But it must be remembered this love must start at home and work outward, or it means nothing more than clanging cymbals and sounding brass.

adventures in gardening.

yesterday the guys dug up and tilled a spot in our backyard for our garden!

they found treasures:

theodore helped by playing in the mud:

let me point out here that i am married to the most handsome man alive.

today i am making lists and getting ready to put some seeds and plants in the ground! also, i have been singing “plants in the ground” to the tune of “pants on the ground” a little bit too much… here is my tentative layout, we’ll see how it works!

change of plans.

dear effie,
you can not do it all.

sincerely, effie

my etsy won’t be opening in february, after all. in the 17 days of january, i’ve completed crocheting 1/2 of an orange, 1/2 of a peach and a plum. and i’m okay with that, but when i say “i’m opening a shop in february” and i don’t open a shop in february, does that make me a liar? or does it simply mean that i am not a super woman, nor capable of bending space and time to accommodate my whims?

and i’m not saying i won’t be opening my shop, it’s just on a different timeline than i’d like. it may open in june, or next february… i don’t know. but i’m not going to beat myself up over it, that’s for sure.

bear with me, friends.

i’ve got some unloading to do. it’s been far too long since i’ve posted something real, and i miss that.

things have been topsy-turvy weird the past little bit. i’ve written nearly thirteen thousand words for nanowrimo. 2 weeks ago, i would have laughed in your face if you told me i would even consider writing a novel. here i am, though.

i switched the lens on the camera sunday, my mama has been encouraging me to do so for a while now. and the truth is, i was scared of it. terrified of a few more inches length. but, i did it. and i think the pictures i’ve taken with it look different, a little bit better. i like them anyhow. it’s got a lot of fancy zoom action, which i enjoy. i can get shots of the kids when they don’t know i’m taking a picture and i can catch them acting naturally, instead of posed. i really don’t like taking posed photos, it seems fraudulent to me. i want to catch the act, if that makes sense. and the fancy lens allows that.

i’ve been feeling very open and creative the past few days. incredibly full and juicy. and it’s a nice feeling.

i have a new favorite band. it’s everything i’ve always looked for in music. it’s the music i want to make. it makes me tear up with joy: half-handed cloud.

spirituality has been a major theme for me the past few days. i’ve prayed and sang and believed. i haven’t felt this way in a very long time. and it’s so beautiful. if this the opiate for the masses, count me in.

also, how are you? i truly want to know.

love, love, love,

thursday things and some.

it’s been the rainiest fall this year, and rainy days mean, for us, daddy is home. it seems like daddy has been home for the last 2 weeks, which has been 3 parts spectacular adventure and 1 part wreckage of our routine. things like housekeeping and big projects don’t sound nearly as much fun as tucking away for an afternoon nap, watching foggy drizzle slide down the window. or a cabin fever inspired jaunt around the block just before supper. or knitting, reading, and talking mornings into afternoons into evenings. however, today, daddy is back at work, and i’m staring at this mess… but it’s not horrifying me as it once would have. instead, i’m content with the playing that occurred. and grateful for the opportunity to thank the universe for each member of my family as i put away emma’s books and crayons and papers, violette’s teddy bears and dolls, theodore’s blankets and toys, lovey’s books, chewed up bottle caps, and socks.

my thursday things will be a bit different today, i want to remember this feeling of gratitude i’m basking in right now. so here are my thankfuls for today:

-the green-ness of green
-baby’s hands & affection
-my sweater, growing row by row
-lovey’s browns, lovey’s reading face, oh! all of lovey
-violette’s independence, rivaling rudolph’s
-emma’s all-knowing vocabulary (she told my mom the other evening, when mama was having a hard time with the carseats: “well, maybe you made the wrong selection”)
-good folk songs
-big laughs
-project inspiration
-our home
-drizzle and the word “drizzle”
-the gift of language
-the overwhelming scent of clove.
-pumpkin cobbler
-reading in bed
-tea, especially chamomile
paper maiche messes
-hopes of a handmade christmas
-approaching holidays and time with family and friends
-this feeling of being surrounded by love and goodness

poo-poo the naysayers, life is good and beautiful. it all depends on where you’re looking. i’m making this promise, right now. i will stop entertaining the ideas there are devils lurking around every corner, hidden mean-ness in uttered words. there is enough darkness out there without my creating new drama. and when i’m full of gratitude and light, there is simply no room for the darkness. (and we all know dark is just an absence of light, an illusion.)

here’s the mail, it never fails!

project 365: 104
Originally uploaded by mama-effie

emma and violette have recently become very interested in mail. they have received a few letters and cards and needed somewhere to keep them. i used the pattern from “handmade home”, and whipped these little satchels up. violette chose the blue toile, and emma chose the red stripes, which i found to be appropriate. they have asked nearly hourly since i made them to read their notes with me. i’m so glad they have an appreciation for letters, i’ve always found handwritten letters and cards to be much more satisfying than an email or phone call. hooray for the usps! (and a quick hello to my favorite postman- rex!)


(click on austin to read the best novel ever!)

-brady’s post about ‘fork you bobby frost’.

my husband wrote a book…my husband wrote a book, a novel, a work of fiction. a book. have you written a book? i haven’t written a book. i know very few people who have started, and finished, writing a book.

in november 2007, he decided to participate in nanowrimo. he wrote, he drank energy drinks, he worked all day and came home and wrote. he wrote, he ate candy bars, and he wrote. he wrote, he laughed and cried and wondered where the heck are these crazy characters taking us? and he wrote. and i read the pages one by one as they came off the typewriter, falling in love with this book, these characters, and brady all over again. on the sunday after thanksgiving, he finished. and it was celebratory and fabulous. (and we realized just how much work it was going to be to enter an entire novel onto the computer. it wasn’t what one would call a fun task, but i’d do it again!)

after almost 2 years, i think that perhaps 3 or 4 people have read this novel. it has been listed on lulu, he has sent it to a few places, no one seems all that interested. and i realize that i’m biased, and i realize brady might not be the perfect marriage of rilke and bukowski, but he’s darn close. and everyone, every single person, needs to read this book. not because brady penned it, not because i want everyone to recognize what a fabulous writer he is, but because we all need to stop and listen to the point of this book. it’s about being kind, it’s about loving each other. it’s not just a riot and a hoot, it’s important. and if you can’t get over all the F-bombs and all the exclamation points, then perhaps you need to read it more than anyone else.