Things I Heard My Mother Say

Mom and company

Mom and company
My mom is one of the most organized people I know.

I often lament the fact that more of her skills didn’t rub off on me!

As I seek to become more organized now, however, certain phrases and tidbits I heard my mom mention through the years have come to mind. I find myself wanting to revisit those and put them into better practice.

Here are a few I remember with the most clarity:

Handle the mail only once.

She was referring to paper mail from the real mailbox, and as most of us still receive items in the mail, this still applies. Bring in the mail, open it right then, and put it where it needs to go–junk mail in the trash, bills in the box or file or wherever you keep them, catalogs and magazines in their place on the shelf, rack, or table on which they normally reside.

This is opposed to bringing in the mail, flinging it onto the table, moving it to the counter when it’s time for dinner, scooping it off the counter (because you need the space) and onto the coffee table in the living room, etc., etc.

I think the same concept can apply to email as well. “Bring in” the mail when you have the time to read it. Then, either respond right then, file it in a folder, forward it, or delete it. Handle it only once. 

Start early when working on a project.

Oh, this is one I struggle with! I am such an excellent procrastinator! I get that from my dad. My mom has always been really good at getting things done way ahead of time. (Total side note–what is funny is when they are getting ready to speak at marriage conferences together, Mom’s part is ready 2 months in advance and Dad is still working on his the night before.)

With today’s technology, there are all kinds of ways to give yourself reminder notices and calendar checks. Set small deadlines as part of the process. Add in some rewards and incentives for getting things done early–a white chocolate mocha, for example (or whatever drink or activity is a favorite of yours!). The point is to try and help yourself enjoy whatever must be done by giving yourself time and space to be creative.

Do extra when the time is available.

This can apply in more than one area of your home or personal life. As a small example, when my mom bought chicken she would cook up extra in order to have it ready for a second meal later in the week.

A while back, every Tuesday and Thursday I would take my youngest to Tae Kwon Do. It was an hour-long class, and I had to stay with her. So I learned to take a book, my blogging notebook, or my checkbook and budget folder. Sure, there were times when I needed to watch her so she could show me something new; there were also plenty of days when ample time was available to focus on getting something done.

I think the lesson in this statement is to take advantage of the time you have NOW in order to save yourself time and energy LATER.

Work first, then play.

It might sound old-fashioned, but her theory is that play is so much more enjoyable when the “work” isn’t hanging over your head.

Small steps can be made here as well. Laundry overwhelming? Make a goal of doing 2 loads (washed, dried, folded, and put away) and then treat yourself to some reading, a game, a movie…anything that is “play” for you.

I know this one comes down to balance. Sometimes you (and your family) need to play despite the work that has to be done. Sometimes that’s the healthier option. Take this axiom with a bit of caution, based on the needs of your family.


There are many more lessons I learned from my mother, but these are the ones that have come to mind most recently as I challenge myself to set and accomplish goals.

Have you learned any organizational tips from your parents?



Hidden Hurts

Hidden Hurts

“You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

“You’d never know by looking at him.”

“But she always seemed so put-together and happy.”

Hidden Hurts

How many times have we heard–or spoken–phrases like these about people? People who we assume are doing ok, until we find out…they’re not. People who surprise us with sudden outbursts or breakdowns. People who decide they’re tired of the facade and become very open about what they’ve been facing. People who suddenly disappear from the normal activities where we see them.

In the last several months my husband and I both have been confronted anew with the depth and breadth of hurting, damaged relationships and people. It has brought home the fact that in so many ways we are fragile entities desperately in need of a Healer and Savior.

All of us, to a certain degree, have things we “hide” from others. These are the things which (rightly) shouldn’t be shared in particular groups or settings, things we’re working through and aren’t ready yet to share, or any number of other reasons.

What I’ve been contemplating are those (including myself sometimes!) who pretend everything is fine and then suddenly it comes out that it is so NOT fine.

Speaking of fine, do you know what it stands for (at least according to a certain movie)? F.I.N.E: Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional! Think about that the next time someone asks how you are and you’re tempted to answer with the word. But I digress.

I’m not going to delve into all the reasons people hide their hurts–it’s too deep and wide a subject. What I’d like to do is share a few thoughts on how you and I can possibly alleviate some of the hiding.

  • When asking someone how they are, let’s specifically ask, “How are you doing–really?” and then be willing to take the time and emotional attention to listen to the answer.
  • Speaking of listening, when others are sharing with us let’s truly focus attention on them. We can do things like make direct eye contact, refrain from looking at our phones, when in a crowd we can refrain from looking around for other people to talk to, and let the person know through our body language that we’re not anxious to move on to the next person, place, or thing.
  • Be the “safe” friend. So many are unwilling to share their hearts and hurts because in the past they have done so and been burned when the one they trusted turned out to be untrustworthy. Let’s be the ones who are known for keeping information entrusted to us to ourselves.
  • We can be people who pay attention. I know it sounds elementary, but we get so busy “doing” that we miss signs others show that they are in need of attention and help. When we pay attention, we are better able to discern hurting hearts.
  • When someone mentions a prayer need, let’s take the time right then and there to stop and pray with them. There is a difference between saying, “I’ll pray for you” and “Let me pray for you now.”

Do you have other thoughts about how we can be helpful to those who feel they must hide what is truly going on in their heads and hearts?


Image courtesy of anankkml /

Liminality–That In-Between Place



I am thrilled to introduce my sister to you today! (I wrote about her a while back in this post.) She graciously allowed me to talk her into writing something for October’s theme of Uncertainty and Unsettledness. You see, she is currently working on her dissertation. (Very cool, right?!) AND, this dissertation is all about liminality. Don’t know what that means? Neither did I at first!

Please–read on to find out!


I recently found myself waiting at the DMV to renew my driver’s license.  With my number next to be called, an announcement came over the intercom that their computers were shut down for an indefinite amount of time and those of us waiting were welcome to continue to wait or to reschedule our appointments.

I found myself in a dilemma.

I had to either wait in the waiting room without much to do and with no guarantee of getting my turn that day, or I had to reschedule my appointment for a date at least two weeks away, with no guarantee that the computers wouldn’t happen to have the same problems then as well (and in the meantime driving with an expired license).

I chose to stay and wait, holding on to hope that someone, somewhere was working hard on my behalf to solve the computer problems that were completely out of my control.  I found myself contemplating what a fitting metaphor this was for what I had been facing for a while.  For the past few years I have been seeking to understand a part of the human experience called liminality.

Liminality is a state of being caught in between two places, that which we’ve left behind and that which is yet to be.

The term comes from a similar word for threshold.  It is a passageway of sorts, but very often we experience it without clear entry or exit points, therefore it is accompanied by uncertainty, insecurity, and disequilibration.

We may be facing the deployment of a spouse, or it may look like a time period between jobs.  We may be waiting to hear a diagnosis or seeking to understand the purpose in the death of someone we love.

The experience of waiting is typically one that we run from, choosing as often as we can to reschedule that appointment!  We attempt to control the situation, sometimes trying almost anything to change our circumstances and move more quickly through the next doorway.

But what I have discovered, both in seeking to understand my own experience of liminality and learning how others have walked through it, is that liminality can be a beautiful time for receiving depth, truth, renewal, maturity, and faith.  Instead of running from it, if we were to fully embrace the gifts offered in these in-between times, then uncertainty becomes an adventure and unsettledness becomes revelation.

So as I sat in the waiting area at the DMV, instead of obsessing about all of the things I wished I were doing instead of sitting there, I sought to engage fully in the moment.  I observed the people around me.  I prayed for each of them.  I listened to the voice of God speak to my spirit about some unhealthy attitudes.  I wrote some thoughts down on a piece of scratch paper to put in my journal and discovered that having to sit there was truly filling my soul.

And when the announcement finally came that the computers were fixed and my number lit up on the reader board, I actually experienced a little disappointment that my liminal time was being so rudely interrupted.


What might God want to teach you through a time of waiting?



Lori is a wife, mom, mentor, wilderness enthusiast, amateur theologian and a dreamer.  She currently works as an adjunct professor for Warner University.  She has a passion for seeing people discover an ever-deepening love relationship with God and is committed to helping them develop their own God-given passions in life.  Lori enjoys the outdoors, playing sports, studying cultural trends, teaching, and having adventures with her family (husband, Chip, and two kids, Caleb-10 and Leah-11).  Her big dream is to one day develop an outdoor adventure company.