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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: Dear Annie
By Brenda Shipman


Dear Annie,

Your dad just left for work, Scrappy is snoring away in his usual spot on the couch, and I am missing you. The wedding could not have been more beautiful, and we are so thrilled for the new life that God has given you and Scott together. We can’t wait to see all the pictures from your honeymoon!

It seems strange that I will send this letter to your new home, and that when you step into this new place you and Scott have prepared so lovingly, you will take on the role as homemaker. You will have the awesome privilege of making a home, Annie!

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this nifty website called “P.H.E.W.– Practical Help for Every Woman”. They sell “Survival Kits with Women in Mind”, everything from diaper kits to wedding kits. It’s really got some great ideas, some I wish we’d had six months ago while planning your wedding. Anyway, I got to thinking about you starting up your new home and decided to put together a “P.H.E.W.” thoughts for you as you begin putting everything in order for your new home. And really, honey, when it comes to creating a home, “order” is the key ingredient for keeping everything afloat.

These are just a “P.H.E.W.” tips that have helped me all through the years. They don’t come naturally for me, because I am truly a “messy” at heart. But I think you’ll discover that once the habits are established, it becomes much easier to have order in your home.

1. Develop the habit of putting things away as soon as you are done using them.
2. Periodically straighten gift wrapping paper, boxes, bags and bows in under bed storage boxes.
3. Try to do laundry and ironing the same day each week.
4. Put all cards and letters that need answering in a basket on your desk.
5. Store all holiday decorations in easily recognizable containers (e.g. Christmas ornaments in clear plastic boxes with red lids.) Label each box with its contents.
6. Sort through all books and movies. Take unwanted ones to Friends of the Library used bookroom or thrift shop.
7. Clean out from under one bed in the house. Use under bed storage boxes to store extra blankets, holiday decorations, out-of-season clothing, even canned goods, books, or extra dish sets.
8. Keep a pocketed folder in the kitchen to store those new untried recipes.
9. Take five minutes to organize just one area: your purse, sock drawer, underwear drawer, shoe shelf, cabinet under bathroom or kitchen sink, cosmetic container, a desk drawer, one cabinet in kitchen, etc.
10. Keep a bulletin board above your desk or computer center to display a calendar, doctor appointment reminders, frequently used phone numbers, etc.
11. Keep a master “To Do” list; cross off completed tasks and add new ones as they arise.
12. Set aside a few minutes to “Empty”: trash cans, pencil sharpener, paper shredder, old e-mails on computer, etc.
13. Set aside a few minutes to “Fill” (restock): ice bucket; flour, sugar, coffee and tea canisters; Kleenex boxes, toilet paper, and paper towels; cleaning supplies under each sink; bar or liquid soap for every shower, tub or sink; pens or sharpened pencils and scrap note paper by every telephone, etc.
14. Practice the habit of doing the most unpleasant tasks first.
15. Keep all keys on rack by door that leads to garage.
16. Store important documents in metal lock box: marriage license, diplomas, birth certificates, transcripts, etc.

Annie, remember how you loved the Winnie the Pooh books? Well, Winnie once said, so wisely, “If you are trying to find your way back home, and keep finding yourself instead back at the same sand-pit, it may be that the sand-pit is following you about.” Unfortunately, my dear, as long as we live in this old sin-cursed world, sandwiched in between Eden and our final heavenly home, the sand-pit of mess and disorder will continue to follow us about. As we press on to know His matchless character, though, God will Himself lead us back home – to peace, beauty, order, and ultimately to the home of His heart.

Enjoy your new home, sweetheart.

So lovingly,

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Bach 02/18/10
How creative. Practical Help for Every Woman. This is great.
Marie Fink02/20/10
This would be a great article full of useful ideas that it takes years sometimes to figure out on your own. The letter format is wonderful and tender, showing love and compassion for any new bride.
Jackie Wilson02/22/10
Lovely setting for the great advice. Enjoyed this!
Carol Penhorwood 03/07/10
Absolutely loved this entry. Very creative and helpful tips galore! Wish I'd known all that when I first married 42 years ago.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/10
What a heart-touching loving letter to a daughter from her mother. Great advice, too. great job.