(Controlling Clutter)

I read an article a few years back that talked about hotspots. The writer explained hotspots as surfaces in your house that seem to be magnets to clutter. Do you have any places like that in your home? 
Bedside tables? Window sill? Top of fridge? Dressing Table?
The solution is to clear the clutter, then put something attractive in its place, like a photo frame, candle, ornament etc. Since it looks nice when it is not cluttered, you'll have more motivation to keep it that way.
I have found this tip really useful.
My small chest freezer is one place that has been a real hospot. Since I can't put something attractive there, I have put on it a square flax basket with a lid. Any clutter I find in the kitchen gets put there, until I get time to put it in its right place.
Here are a few places in my house that used to be hotspots. They still are sometimes, but I'm working on it! The tip definitely helps.


From so many tears to so much joy

Yesterday we went to the photo shop to get passport photos. Trying to get a photo of Lydia turned out to be a challenge. Everytime the photographer would get her attention, Lydia would smile and clap or fold her hands.
Lydia is such a happy little girl, she brings us so much joy. When she sees me across the room, she smiles and waves or claps! She makes our home happier.             I can't help but think back to when she was one day old and the doctor sat me down and broke it to me that she had Down Syndrome. I remember trying to hold back the tears as I made my way back through the Nicu past Lydia's incubator, and back to my room in the maternity unit. Johan was looking after our other children over the road, so he wasn't there with me. Back in my room, I couldn't even cry as people kept coming in and out of my room.
I remember how I didn't like to tell people I met that she had Down Syndrome. Partly because I knew most people wouldn't want a baby with Down Syndrome (A lot of them are aborted) and maybe partly because I was still coming to terms with it myself. I remember hesitantly telling another mum from the Nicu. Her only comment was, "I bet she's beautiful!"
Thankfully once I had a chance to bond with her, it didn't matter anymore. All her health problems made the Down Syndrome side of it very insignificant!
One of the Nicu doctors told me that he has seen a lot of children with Down syndrome grow up. He said in the beginning the families are sad, but later on they turn out to be the happiest families!
As I look at Lydia today and thank God for the joy that she is to our family, I can't help but marvel how God can take a huge trial and turn it into something so beautiful!


Children, X-rays and Answered Prayer

Just sharing this little story as a reminder and encouragement to pray about your simplest needs!

Today our little girl with Down Syndrome needed an x-ray at our local hospital. She has more appointments than the rest of us put together! Often I drop the other children off at friends houses, but today I thought I would risk taking all four of them. (1-6yrs) 
Before I left I was a bit nervous, as appointments with little children can easily turn into an embarrassing disaster. 
I have been thinking alot about prayer lately--about praying for your needs. So I decided to pray about this as a need--for help with the children.
Well, we managed to get there 10 minutes early. We had just sat down in the waiting room, when I looked up to see Lydia's paeadiatrician standing right in front of us. I'm not sure where he came from or what he was doing, but he was right there! He is a lovely, gentle Christian doctor. So he stayed and talked for a while. Talking to him helped me relax. 
After he left, we only had to wait a minute or two before we were called in. From the moment we met the x-ray man, he asked the children questions. During the x-ray he apologized for talking so much to the children, but as he explained, he was trying to keep them busy--multitasking! He kept them entertained! Our children are very shy and usually I have to remind them beforehand to be polite and answer questions. This time I had forgotten, but they were very polite and answered every question--from their names to what was their favourite kind of soup!! They stood in a row along the far wall during the x-ray. They were perfectly behaved and Lydia smiled through the x-ray.
Our appointment was for 4:00 and we were walking out of the hospital by 4:05--thanking God!


10 Things

My children often find it overwhelming to tidy up a mess they've made in the lounge or in their bedrooms. Instead of telling them to go tidy up the lounge, I find it more helpful to say, "Go put away 10 things in the lounge." Or 5 things or whatever number. When they have finished that, I will tell them to go put away another ? things if its still untidy. It is way less overwhelming and their rooms can stay quite tidy with putting away 5-10 things twice a day.
I get overwhelmed too! Our youngest child's room is where we often dump things that we don't know where to put. A while back it got a little out of hand, and it seemed such a huge job to tidy and sort it. I decided to put away 10 things in the room every day. Within a few days it looked much better. Putting a few things away regularly does the trick. And often you end up doing more than you planned!
Are you overwhelmed? Do you have clutter and mess that is getting out of control? Or a garden that's full of weeds? Try just 10 things a day or 10 minutes. The job will get done!