Sunday, March 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The 500 Hats of Modern-Day Woman


Being organized allows me space in my life for things I enjoy -- and one of my greatest joys is a good book. As a semi-regular feature I will review books I've recently read. 

BOOK REVIEW: The 500 Hats of  Modern-Day Woman

About the book: In The 500 Hats of a Modern-Day Woman you’ll find strength, purpose, and perspective to balance your many roles—and gain insight into the roles of women around you. With honesty, humor, and practicality, Joyce Ellis helps you see how your roles can fit together to make a difference in your world. Questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter make this book suitable for book clubs and small-group Bible studies as well.

Purchase a copy here

A few years ago, a friend gave me a Christmas ornament that was a figure of a woman. She is surrounded by a variety of hats. My friend wrote on each one the name of something I was involved with. It was the perfect ornament for me -- I'm constantly juggling different roles. Volunteer roles, paid work roles, mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, on and on. So when I saw the title of Joyce K. Ellis' book, The 500 Hats of  Modern-Day Woman, I knew it was the book for me. 

The back of the book says, "Working woman, nurturer, bargain hunter, maid, adventurer, chef... Juggle all the hats you wear as a woman - without losing your mind!"

And isn't that what all women want? To juggle their many roles without losing their minds. This book makes it feel possible. Each section discusses a different role of being a woman -- spouse, mother, paid worker, daughter and daughter-in-law, etc. They're full of real-life examples from women Ellis surveyed. We can all relate to them! And sprinkled in with the examples are tips for dealing. 

Each section also includes, at the end, a list of resources such as books and articles, for dealing with the issue discussed in it. There's also a list of questions for reflections and discussions, making it perfect for a woman to think through her own issues about each role, or for a group discussion. The last page of each section is a thought to ponder, helping to fuel our thought processes about the section. 

Every woman has a lot to juggle. Our hats slip and get worn. We often feel alone. This book shows us we're not -- and helps us to find ways to cope, and get the most out of our many roles. 

About the author: Joyce K. Ellis, award-winning author of more than a dozen books, speaks for women’s groups and retreats across the country and internationally. She and her husband enjoy reading by lakes and rivers and oceans, and spending time with their grown children and delightful, too-quickly-growing grandchildren. They live in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Learn more about Ellis here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Command sweepstakes

Enter the Command sweepstakes for a chance to give your room a fresh look. Enter daily for a chance to win Command products. You could win one of 10 gift cards worth $250. Go here to enter through March 31.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Finding a way to use spray paint in the cold winter months

It's no secret I love spray paint. To me, there's no better bang for your buck. It's a quick, inexpensive way to update almost anything. Spray paint can make something old look new again, it can change the color of an item to match a color scheme, or make two items that aren't alike go together simply by spray painting them the same color.

But, I live in northeast Ohio. So for several months a year, it's too cold in my garage or backyard to use spray paint. Boo!

But I came up with a solution. It's not perfect -- it only works for small items -- but it's a way to get my spray paint "fix" in the winter!

I simply took an old box and taped back to sides. I put the item inside and spray painted away!

I was painting a frame here. Rather than buying stands to prop items on, I use a disposable plant pot (the type that flowers come in that are meant to be transplanted into the ground or decorative pots). 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Thief by Stephanie Landsem


Being organized allows me space in my life for things I enjoy -- and one of my greatest joys is a good book. As a semi-regular feature I will review books I've recently read. 

BOOK REVIEW: The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

About the book: 


A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he'll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?

The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

Purchase a copy here.

I'm a writer, but I'm still often in awe of the ideas people come up with for the novels they write. The Thief is a perfect example. I would never have thought of writing a novel with Jesus as a character. But Landsem did. And the result is a book that transports the reader back in time, back to a time we can't envision easily because it's so different from our own. Yet Landsem makes you feel as if you're there. You can almost taste, hear and smell the world the characters inhabit. 

The Thief is beautifully written, and full of unexpected twists and turns. I had trouble putting it down, needing to know what would happen next. Landsem makes you care about the characters in spite of their flaws, maybe because of their flaws. Most of us have felt trapped at some point in our lives, so we can relate to the dilemmas of the characters. The Thief is a must read. 

About the author:

Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure---whether it be in person or on the page.



Learn more about Landsem here








Enter The Thief Kindle HDX Giveaway from Stephanie Landsem here

Friday, February 28, 2014

Big Lots sale equals great deals on organizing supplies

Big Lots is a great place to find reasonably-priced organizing supplies. And this weekend they're having a friends and family sale. You can get 20% off your total purchase. Go here for more information.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What to do with the holiday card photos you receive every year

Every year at the holidays I receive beautiful cards full of photos of family and friends I don't see often. I hate to just toss them, but my photo albums are taking over my house. In recent years, I've stopped printing all of the photos I take. I print some to frame or give away. I use some to make photo books and calendars as gifts. And I keep the ones I don't print organized on flashdrives to I can see them whenever I want. I have an electronic "frame" that is great for viewing them.

But every year I add the photos from holiday cards to my albums. But in my never-ending quest to conquer clutter, I decided to try something new this year. I scanned all of the photos and saved them on the flashdrive with our Christmas photos. I put them in a sub-folder called "family and friends" (in a folder titled "2013 Christmas").

Not only does this help the overflowing photo album/clutter problem, but it means the photos are where I will see them when I view ours, instead of in a dusty photo album that rarely gets opened.