3 Reasons A Planner Makes Me Happy {& Which Is My Favorite One}

3 Reasons A Planner Makes Me Happy and Which Is My Favorite One

*Yes! It’s that time of year again! The time to plan for. . . planning.  And as I often get asked, “What’s that planner you like so much again?” Here it is and why…. ~ Lisa

I am a planner.

You can ask my husband and he’ll tell you. It’s something he has learned about me and even come to appreciate about me.

Sometimes my kids appreciate it too – and sometimes it frustrates them.

And they all like to tease me about it.  Whispering in hushed tones, “It’s Mom and Her Planner” as if it’s sacred or something.

But it doesn’t really matter because planning makes me happy.

And if you’re wondering why….?

I’ll tell you.

My Favorite Planner

3 Reasons A Planner Makes Me Happy

1.    A planner can help you live a more balanced life.

When you write down your schedule and add your current commitments, then you can better see what you really can . . . and cannot do.

When our kids approach me with some splendiferous (yes, it’s a real word, I looked it up) idea for the upcoming week –end?

But I can see that those days are already covered in pink, green, and blue? Then I can point to the rainbow already splattered across those days and answer cheerfully, “I’m sorry. But we can’t. That week-end is too colorful already.”

They might be disappointed, but no one can argue with the visual.

Or another scenario . . . .

Some kind family in the church invites us over to dinner and I can refer to our handy-dandy planner and see that night is wide open.

“Why, yes! We’d love to come over. What can I bring…?”

I don’t need to panic and try to remember if we’re already doing something that night. I know it’s free!

2.    A planner can help prevent misunderstanding.

So, umm . . . have you ever double-booked? Hurt someone’s feelings by not showing up? Or by showing up late?

Yeah, me too.

Okay, so sometimes these things happen, but it should never be a way of life.

By writing appointments and commitments down in my planner, I can easily see what is scheduled for that day and at what time.

Because it’s not that I don’t care – quite the opposite – but with all we’ve got going on, I can lose track of where I’m supposed to be (I’m not the only one who struggles with this, am I??).

3.    A planner can help you to prepare.

When I can see what I’ve got coming up, then I’m better able to prepare for what is before me.

Maybe someone has a birthday in the family, or a ministry event, or work commitment?

This is my chance to “get my act together” and get things ready.

This step alone has reduced my stress significantly.

So when I feel more balanced, better organized, and adequately prepared?

It makes me happy. 

In fact, it makes my entire family happy.

. . . even though it doesn’t stop them from teasing me about it. 😉

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2016

My Favorite Planner

I’ve tried so many planners, it’s a little embarrassing.

I’ve used everything from a plain spiral notebook (not enough structure) to an expensive professional planner (spendy! Plus not well-suited for what I really need it for).

So when my good friend, Sue, shared with me several years ago that she was putting together a  Daily Planner made especially for the needs of wives and mothers, I raised my hand, “Oh, pick me! Please, pick me! I’d love the chance to try out your planner.” She even called it, “The Homemaker’s Friend.”

And it’s been my “friend” and first choice ever since.

What makes this planner my favorite?

  • It’s pretty. (Don’t you think it’s nicer to have one that’s lovely?)
  • It’s the perfect size. Small enough to fit into my purse and large enough for me to actually write in (and see what I’ve written).
  • It has encouraging verse and quotes throughout.  For example, on the cover: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Heb. 13:8 What a beautiful reminder whenever I pick up my planner!
  • It has year, month, and week sections.  Necessary for short-term and long-term planning.
  • It offers additional sections for tasks, projects, info, and shopping (and a perforated shopping list section allows you to take the list with you).
  • It also has easy tabs and is spiral bound.
  • Oh, and it’s very reasonably priced – did I mention that? (Much less expensive than what you find at your office supply store!)

Now there you have it. My favorite planner. And why.

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2016A

Order Now

You can find out more and order your Daily Planner here at Sue’s site, HomemakersDepot.

So let’s get happy! :)

In His grace,

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*A small reminder, or if you’re new here: If you purchase a planner through the links here, I get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.

A Prayer for My Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

A Prayer for Our Son's Someday Bride

I can tell you the exact moment I began praying for our son’s future wife.

Maybe not the month.

Or even the year.

But definitely the moment.

I’m sure there must have been a context of some kind, but most of those details have faded and now all I can remember are the words that he said.

“I want the kind of wife who would be able to pull an arrow out of my back. That kind of woman.”

He was only 11 or 12 years old at the time, so why he would be thinking such thoughts I’ll never know.

All I know is that it stopped my mama’s heart.

This brought up so many questions I wanted to ask him. Starting with, “Why, Son? Why an arrow?” Then, “Why would it be in your back?” and “Who would do such a thing?” and so on.

And finally, “Where in the world do you get these ideas from??”

It was our first conversation about his someday wife.

But it wouldn’t be our last.

We’ve a had a number of discussions since that time and they’ve all been interesting and insightful. I’ve appreciated hearing his perspective as a young man living in the current culture. It can’t be easy and it’s nice to know that he takes it seriously.

Of all the things he’s said during these discussions,  my personal favorite was when I told him how badly I wanted a good relationship with his future wife – whoever she ended up being – and how I was a little afraid of what she might think of me.

I confided, “I really hope your wife will like me and that maybe we’ll even become friends.”

He was young and answered me briefly, almost fiercely, “She’d better like you, mom.” Sounding nearly like a threat.

I believe that was one of the highest compliments he ever gave me. And I tucked that one deep down into my heart.

Now our son will soon be graduating from college and he no longer talks about arrows. He lives across the country and we only get to see him once or twice a year. But we talk and Skype often and I’m grateful for the man he’s become.

This same son was recently in a good friend’s wedding, having enjoyed a close friendship with both the bride and the groom. As the best man, he offered the newlywed couple the following blessing after the cutting of the cake:

Dostoevsky wrote, “beauty will save the world” and, whether or not he realized it, truer words could not have been spoken. The story of the Gospel and God’s love for us contains the greatest beauty of all.

In the same way that marriage is meant to reflect God’s relationship with his Church, I believe that your relationship has always been – and always will be – one of beauty, filled with goodness and truth.

As long as the two of you are in the world, the rest of us have hope and your many kids will have a chance to grow up loving and seeking the Lord.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the words he shared. Because this really is how Christian marriage is designed to be—a relationship filled with beauty, goodness, and truth – and how desperately the world needs to see more of this kind of love. Actually, we could all use this kind of hope right now.

And so I continue to pray for his someday wife. 

A Prayer For My Son's Someday Bride

The newlywed couple, with our son on the right

A Prayer for Our Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

I pray that she will be full of beauty and kindness and wisdom.

I pray that she will be soft in heart and strong in spirit.

I pray that she will laugh at his jokes, put up with his teasing, and carefully listen to his deepest thoughts.

I pray that they will stay up late whispering their dreams and sharing their ideas.

And that the two of them will wake up in the morning as much in love as ever.

I pray that it will only be the beginning of a lifelong friendship between them both.

I pray God is even now preparing her to be his wife, just as I know He has been preparing our son to be a husband.

I pray that she’ll understand what it is to receive forgiveness. And be ready to forgive in return.

I pray that she will lovingly respect him and that he will cherish her always.

And, as much as I hope that she will be crazy-in-love with our son, I pray that she will love Christ even more.

And, yes, I pray that she will be able to pull an arrow out of his back.

But can’t help hoping that she will never need to.

Above all, I pray that their relationship will be one of beauty – filled with goodness and truth. A reflection of God’s love for His Bride.


In my prayers,
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9 Tips to Make This The Best Thanksgiving Ever

9 Tips to Make This The Best Thanksgiving EverWant to make this the best Thanksgiving ever?

Me too! And I’ve picked up on a number of tips that make a big difference in celebrating that day and I’d love to share them with you.

But before I get there, I feel you should know a few things.

About Thanksgiving.

And me.

You should probably know that I’ve experienced some very disastrous Thanksgiving celebrations. 

As in really, really bad ones.

Like my first year as a new bride and I tried to serve our guests from Ethiopia “an authentic American Thanksgiving.”

Who happened to be Orthodox Christians.

Who can’t eat turkey (not kosher). Or green beans (made with bacon). But who graciously enjoyed what side dishes they could.

I felt simply terrible. 

We ate a lot of mashed potatoes that year. 

Or like the year when all our guests starting arriving and I did a last minute check on the turkey in the oven. Only to find that my oven had decided to quit that day (oh, why?) and I pulled out a totally raw turkey.

Not good, my friends.

We nibbled on cold-cuts that year.

Or the year that we invited 50 people over for a grand Thanksgiving celebration . . . and our entire family woke up that morning with the stomach flu.

Everyone. Everywhere.

Picture 10 people all …. No, never mind. Don’t even try to picture it. Ick.

We didn’t eat anything  on Thanksgiving that year. 

And this lady is going to share tips on how to have a lovely Thanksgiving celebration?? 

Good point.

Okay, it’s true: we’ve had some pretty rough years.  But we’ve enjoyed many wonderful ones too and I really did learn some terrific tips along the way.

So are you ready for them?

12 Thanksgiving Tips to Make for The Best Thanksgiving Ever

9 Thanksgiving Tips

1.     Cook the turkey ahead of time.

Now don’t gasp. You have to believe me because this is the BEST tip of the day. I realize it’s hard to let go of the traditional presentation of the whole turkey, but you’ll be so glad you did when you hear all the benefits. This tip alone reduces your stress 50% and makes everything so much easier.

I’m telling you, it’s a marvelous thing!

Now if you’re ready to go gourmet with me . . . 

Pomegranate Glazed Turkey

2.     Try out this stunning dish: Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey.

Does that sound amazing or what?? So go ahead. Wow them all.  (And it’s surprisingly simple!) You can find the recipe here from Catz In The Kitchen:  Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey.

3.     Make the mashed potatoes the day before.

I know…similar theme to the first one. But you can even make them the DAY before. And here’s an added benefit: it creates even better mashed potatoes! Yep. Totally serious. Put them in your crockpot on low that morning and it makes for the creamiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes!

People will want to know your “secret” – and it’s up to you whether you tell them or not.

Tips for Thanksgiving

4.    Let everyone contribute to the meal.

If we have guests (and we nearly always do), I invite them to bring a part of the meal.  I will usually “assign” them a dish or two that I know will fill in the meal nicely—usually a side dish and a dessert. But even if it’s “just” family, we all pitch in together.

Bottom line: Never, ever try to do the entire meal yourself. It’s just not how it was meant to be.

Now for those who are starting to wonder: If she cooked the turkey and the mashed potatoes ahead of time AND her guests are bringing the other dishes…..What exactly is she doing on Thanksgiving Day? 


I am actually enjoying Thanksgiving Day! Yay!! 


5.  So then you’ll have time to read this beautiful book with your family.

Thanksgiving – A Time to Remember by Barbara RaineyI can’t tell you how gorgeous this FamilyLife book is! It’s a wonderful read aloud for your children and so lovely you’ll want it out on your table all year ’round. PLUS it includes a CD with 16 (instrumental only) hymns and songs for nice background music. Consider this an official “rave” from me. Available HERE.

Thanksgiving by Barbara Rainey

6.     Let the Kids Help Decorate.

If you have children, then this can be a very delightful part of the day. Even when our children were younger, they would make place-cards for each guest and color them with cute pictures of turkeys or pumpkins. I usually reserved one table for “grown-up” decorations, but I let our kids have at it everywhere else and their creative touches were always a big hit!

12 Tips for Thanksgiving

7.     Plan Games for the Young People.

Once again, I have my daughters to thank for this one. Have you ever noticed that there’s just not that much for kids to do on Thanksgiving? I mean, other than eat? So we’ve put together all kinds of games and activities—the pumpkin toss, bob-for-apples, card tournaments, and, our annual tradition, a little skeet-shooting (although this isn’t for everyone).

Oh, and I should mention, while I specified “young people,” all ages have entered into the fun and festivities! Not just for kids. 😉

Tips for Thanksgiving

8.     Open Your Home and Table to Others In Need.

This one is my husband’s strong suit. He is always on the look-out for anyone who doesn’t have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving. Widows. Orphans. The estranged. Travelers. Families who’ve left their homes in other countries.

They are all welcome at our table.

We hope it blesses them and I KNOW it blesses us. We’ve made some lovely friendships over our table that have lasted long past Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving from Ever Thine Home

9.     Share that for which we are truly thankful.

So maybe you think that this is obvious.

Perhaps it should be . . . but it’s not.

Countless people gather every year for “Thanksgiving” and never get around to actually giving thanks.  And I’m not simply talking about a short prayer before the meal begins. I mean sincerely and abundantly offering a word of thanks for all God has done for us.

So let’s make sure this is an essential part of our celebration.

Giving Thanks by Ever Thine Home

One creative way to do this is by wrapping these charming Ribbon-Ties around each place setting.

I was recently at a dinner event where these were placed at every table and I just love this idea! Each one has a different question to consider and could encourage even the most reticent of guests to contribute to a conversation centering around thankfulness! These (reusable) Gratitude Ribbon-Ties can be found HERE. 

Giving Thanks by Ever Thine Home

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. ~ Psalm 136:1

So now from my home to yours . . . I hope you enjoy the best Thanksgiving this year.

Best ever. 

*How about you? What other helpful tips would you add to my list here? I love hearing your ideas!

With thanks for you,

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*If you purchase any of the Ever Thine Home products through the links here, I get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.

One Surefire Way to Know You’re Doing This Parenting-Thing Right

One Surefire Way to Know If You're Doing This Parenting Thing Right

I went off to sleep in my usual style.

Slipped under the covers. Snuggled up against my man.

And crashed.

My sleeping technique is rather simple these days. You might call it the Totally-Exhausted-Mom Technique.

Or maybe the I-Can’t-Keep-My-Eyes-Open-Any-Longer approach.

Whatever you call it, this mom knows how to crash. And she likes to stay that way for as long as possible.

But then something happened the other night soon after I’d fallen into a deep sleep.

I was awakened by a strong sense that I needed to pray for a particular child of ours. Like right then and there and with all my might. No waiting for the morning or some other convenient time.

So I prayed.

And called out.

And cried out.

At 11:17 pm and 2:23 am and again at 4:12 am.

The strange part about this pressing need for prayer is that I had no specifics. No special situation or immediate problem. I only felt an urgent impulse to pray.

And over the years, I’ve learned to take that prayer-nudge seriously. Very seriously.

Pray first. Ask questions later.

After a mostly restless night of vigilant prayer, I finally dozed off shortly before dawn. When I awoke, I fumbled for my phone so I could see the time and that’s when I saw her text message. Sent at 2:32 am.


That was it. A short, direct message without explanation.

I messaged her back at 6:17 am.


This child doesn’t even live at home anymore and yet I’m still the praying parent in her life.

So can I tell you something? Mom-to-Mom?

You are going to find yourself on your knees for that child of yours more than you might think.

And you might be tempted to wonder whether you’ve done something wrong.




I mean, why else would you find yourself in fervent prayer for your child? So often and quite so desperate? But the truth is this:

Prayer is an essential part of parenting.

You’ll pray for health and safety when she’s only an infant in her crib.

You’ll be praying again when she’s throwing fits when she turns two.

You’ll ask for insight and patience when he’s running around at ten.

You’ll cry out for wisdom – and perseverance – when he or she reaches thirteen.

And you’ll call on the God Who Moves Mountains when your child hits eighteen.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Because even after they move out and live on their own, you’ll be responding to text messages at all hours. Needing you to pray. And by then you should know that there’s nothing better you could do as their parent.

So if you spend a lot of time on your knees? It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong.

It means you’re doing something right.

So keep praying, my friend.

You already know I am. Throughout the night.

It’s what parents do.

In His grace,
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If You Want to Get Along (Better) With Your In-Laws

If You Want to Get Along Better With Your In-Laws

I liked her from the very first.

She was strong, straight-forward, and no-nonsense.  A real pioneer woman.  Hard-working and resolute. My husband’s mother welcomed me into the family with few questions asked.

We got along just fine, she and I.

Because of dad’s heart trouble, we invited her and dad to move in with us. That would be nearly 17 years ago now.

And we’ve been through a lot together since then.

Birth, sickness, laughter, late-nights, and loss. Good times and tough times.

Two strong women living in the same house.

And, yes, I still like her.

But there’s no denying that getting along with your in-laws can be one of the more challenging aspects of your married life. Can’t it.

Will you believe me when I say I know? ‘Cause I do.

Yet I’ve learned a few things over our years together. Things I wish I would have understood better before. At least 17 years ago.  Because I think it would’ve helped. Would probably have helped us both actually.

So maybe sharing some of these will help you too…..

I hope you’ll hop on over to TheBetterMom to read the rest of this article (Click here)!

In His grace,

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In This Home, We Give Thanks: The Attitude That Changes Everything {& Giveaway}

In This Home, We Give Thanks - The Attitude That Changes Everything I don’t remember exactly when it started, or even why.

But I got into the habit of making up these games when I was a young girl.

Well, they weren’t really “games” but that’s what I called them and it was my way of encouraging myself to do what was right…even when I didn’t necessarily feel like it.

And for some reason, it kind of worked.

Not always, but often.

When I was a waitress, it was the Serve-the-Customer-Cheerfully Game.

I was determined to be pleasant to my customers, no matter how rude he or she was to me. It was a game I could always “win” because it solely depended on me doing my part.  Not only did I win, but I frequently won over even the toughest of customers.

When I was a tired mom with small children, I played the Greet-Your-Child-With-A-Warm-Smile game.

I was committed to beaming at my little ones…even when all I really felt was bleary-eyed and grumpy. Another winning game because I simply had to smile and I usually got a smile in return. And that way, we both had a better start to our day.

Then somewhere along the way, I began the We-Have-So-Much-to-be-Thankful-For Game.

And this game is my very favorite!

Whatever was going on in our day – in our lives – I had to find something for which I could be thankful.

Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, but I could be thankful that I had a warm, soft bed to sleep in (when I could sleep, that is).

Maybe my laundry room was full-to-overflowing, but I could be thankful that at least we had clothes…and children to put them on.

Some situations were more challenging for which to be thankful, but even there…..

Maybe our daughter couldn’t walk, but we’re thankful that she can talk…and talk…and talk.

Maybe my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s, but we can be thankful that she lives with us so we can care for her in these difficult days.

One of the nicest things about this game is that it’s surprisingly catchy!

Like the other night, for instance. The boys were starting to complain about cleaning the dinner dishes when I saw one of our sons change his expression right in the middle of his sentence. He stopped suddenly as he had this ah-ha moment and then slowly said to no one in particular, “Well, I guess we could be thankful that we have a family to feed.”

Then a moment later, “…and that we had dinner to eat. And that’s why we have all these dishes to clean up.”

I smiled at him.

Right. Exactly.

This is the attitude that changes everything.

Thankfulness might not change our circumstances, but it can sure change our perspective and even our hearts. And that right there can make all the difference in the world. Starting right here in our very own home.

So in this home, we give thanks.

In This Home, We Give Thanks

Giving Thanks

So with as much as I love this practice of giving thanks,  you can imagine how happy I was to find this chalkboard from Ever Thine Home.

We have one placed right in the middle of our kitchen! So anyone can write on it whenever they have something they want to say thanks for: the food, for love, for family, or for mommy (who doesn’t love seeing their name up there?).

You can find these charming chalkboards at Ever Thine Home and even give one to each person in your family! Then everyone can play the Thankful Game! :)

Available here: In This Home, We Give Thanks Chalkboard

In This Home, We Give Thanks Chalkboard

Now to celebrate November and Thanksgiving and beautiful reminders of all that we’re grateful for, Ever Thine Home is offering two of these sweet “In This Home, We Give Thanks” chalkboards!

Something else to be thankful for!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ I Thess. 5:18

With thanks for you,

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