Friday, November 14, 2014

I've Decided

How often do we decide to start something, make a positive change in our lives and then fall flat after a few months, weeks, days…? If we’re talking about a diet, for me, it could be just hours!

There is a new organization in Peoria called “I’ve Decided” that was created to help people not only choose to make their lives better, but also to link them up with motivation and support partners who can keep them on track. While I thought that this was a fabulous idea from the first time I heard about it, there was a moment when I knew that there was definitely a place for Hire A Housewife within I’ve Decided.

With I’ve Decided, people who have decided to run their first 5k can link up with Running Central and not only receive information about training and running, but also actually run their first 5k this summer… in a race that is ONLY for first time runners!

Have you decided to take control of your finances? I’ve Decided not only provides motivation and support, but they can connect you with professionals like Vickie Streitmatter from Empowered Financial Living, who can help you create a budget you can live with.

Those who have decided to take control of your home, through cleaning, decluttering, and organizing can be partnered with Hire A Housewife to not only help keep you motivated, but also to help give you the skills and/or extra hands you need to make it happen. We want you to succeed!

CEO, Kim Martin and I were talking about partnering a couple of weeks ago when she asked me if I would be willing to speak to people about my story. Of course I said yes! We started talking about motivation and why we do what we do and she mentioned using “I’ve decided…” when I spoke at her event. She said, “Something like, I decided to start my own business…” and I my heart jumped a little.
I like Kim so much and was excited about the opportunity, but I had to make sure we were on the same page. I told her that I have to give credit where credit is due and that I never really decided to start a business. I decided to do my best to live a life that honors God, and He has taken care of everything else. I waited for almost no time at all, although it seemed like forever before she spoke.

Her reaction was a huge smile and a “That’s perfect!” That’s when I was sure I was supposed to be part of I’ve Decided!

Starting Monday you will begin seeing commercials on TV for I’ve Decided and their motivational conference being held at the Civic Center in January. Check out the website for more information. It is going to be a great experience for all involved!

So, tell me… what changes are you wanting to make in your life? What do you want to be able to stand up and say “I’ve decided” about? Want to get in better shape? Want to spend more time with your children? Want to rejuvenate your marriage? Want to organize your home?
New Year’s resolution time is coming… and the conference is right after! But, you don’t have to wait until the first of the year! Tell me, what will you decide?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giveaway Instructions (Ends 10/30!)

Good Afternoon!

I'm incredibly excited by the response we've received for this giveaway so far. Thank you for your enthusiasm!

There has been some confusion on HOW to enter the giveaway for one month of free housekeeping. I wanted to write a quick post and make sure everyone had the chance to get in on the drawing!

To make sure you are entered for the grand prize:

     Click on this link... 
Win One Month of Free Housekeeping!

That link will take you to a form that looks like this:

Fill it out and hit SUBMIT at the bottom!

That's it! You're in!

To make sure you are entered for second prize:

     Share that link with your friends and ask them to enter your name in the box that asks how       they heard about the contest!
That box will look like this:

It's that easy!

Ways to share...

     *Share a post from Hire A Housewife on your wall
     *Invite your friends to the Facebook Event : CLICK HERE
     *Email the link to your friends who might want to join. 
          They do not have to be on Facebook!
Note: Sharing does NOT enter you in the giveaway. You MUST fill out the form!

Thank you and have a blessed day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I shared this elsewhere, as I do a lot of my personal writing. But I keep feeling like it needs to be shared here as well. If you are reading my blog, you probably know my story. I am pretty open and honest about the fact that I am still in the process of growing and changing, working to become more like the woman God created me to be. 

It's all a process. Everyone has room for improvement. Everyone is on their own journey. I just happen to be more open than most when it comes to sharing my journey to become that woman...

God made me a pretty smart girl.
I have some good ideas from time to time.
If a good idea in a willing servant is God-inspired,
there is very little that can keep it from becoming reality.

As much as I try to be a willing servant
so many "good ideas" have fallen apart for me 
when I tried to take action on them.
Even the ones that I thought would bring Him
the glory He wants and so richly deserves. 

Don't You see that I am trying to do something amazing here?
When people see it, they will give You the glory!
This will prove to so many that it only takes
faith to move mountains. 

Then it doesn't work out, and I am heartbroken.
Tired, depressed, angry, irritated, and unmotivated.
Pray? Why bother? (As if I'm punishing Him.)
Read? I don't feel like it. (As if somehow He will cave to my sulking.)

I'm reading a book, The Extravagant Fool by Kevin Adams. Here is an incident he related in this book between him and his daughter that floored me, probably much like it did Kevin when it happened...
At age four she came bouncing from the bathroom, dripping wet with tears in her eyes, to ask, “Daddy, didn't you say that anything is possible with God if you just believe hard enough?”

“Sure, sweet girl. Absolutely.”

“Well, Daddy . . . I’ve just come from the bathtub, and it was filled up to the top.”

“Uh-huh.” I suddenly imagined myself backhanding the floating chairs, toilet seats, and toothbrushes half submerged in Bathroom Lake.


“Yes, sweetheart?” I’m now reluctantly reaching for the bathroom door, with her close behind me.

“Well, um . . . I’ve been trying and trying to walk on the water the whole time, and I just can’t do it. I’m really sorry, Daddy. I believed I could do it with God’s help, but I can’t — and I’m really sorry.”

With profound silence, I looked at her curious little face and hoped for a routine word ...

... But all I had to offer this time was a hug — one I couldn’t let go of without a little extra help from above.

Help me, Father. Just one thought that gently brought the next one:

Anything is possible with Me, but not everything is useful to Me. Peter only walked after I said, “Come.” 
“Sweet girl,” I said on the heels of that thought, “it is possible for you to walk on water, but only if it’s something God wants you to do. Did He tell you to walk on the water?”

“No, Daddy, He didn’t. I just wanted to.”

Before I could finish that brilliant thought, though, she was on to the next subject.

It doesn't matter if I have the best intentions or the worst intentions. It doesn't matter if my end goal is selfish or if I want it to work for His glory. If it isn't His will, I will ultimately fail.

I can tell God I want to make a relationship work, I want to write a book,
I want to grow my company into something huge in His name,
I want to bring people to Him with the story He's given me
I want to teach teen moms their self worth and help them
break free from the negative patterns in their lives,

I want to walk on water.

The reason why doesn't matter.
Whether trying to bring glory to my name or His.
None of what "I want" means anything...

If I don't first listen for Him to say "Come..."

And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
~Matthew 14:29

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Learning Experience

People often ask, "How long have you been in business?"

My standard answer is May, 2012. I'm also quick to point out that I didn't know I was starting a business at that point. I was almost an entire year in before I realized what God had created. In these last 26 months, I have learned more than I ever imagined and I am so thankful for all that God has done. As with any learning experience, knowledge brings some changes. While there are many in the future, here are a few that are happening right now.

HaH Rates
I'm going to be honest here (as I always am!) and share that I have now learned how expensive it is to have employees! Besides the cost of their salaries and the employer taxes associated with them, my employees are covered with General Liability insurance, Bonding insurance, Unemployment insurance, and Workers' Comp insurance.

Because of these things, new customers will be charged $18per hour beginning August 1st, 2014. If you are already a regular customer at that point, we will continue to serve you at our current rate for now, and that won't change in the future without 30 days' written notice.

Employees and Training
Another thing I've learned about having employees is that I can't make all of them care about the business as much as I do. I tell them all at interviews that if they are only in this for the paycheck, they will probably not last very long at this job. You have to love serving others.

I have made several personnel changes and am in the midst of revamping our training processes yet again. It is important to me that all of our customers are more than satisfied with the service they receive from Hire A Housewife.

Answering Your Questions
What else have I learned? Personally, I have learned how much I love connecting with people. I love being able to help others on many levels. One way I'd like to be able to do more of that is through the Hire A Housewife blog posts. 

As I've said before, like any good housewife I have an opinion on just about everything.... I'd like to share it with you if you are interested in hearing it.

So, I want to know what you want to know! Give me something to post about! Have a question about gardening, cleaning, or organizing? Just ask! Maybe you want a recommendation for a good Bible study or have a question about raising children, or even owning a business... Send your question through the "CONTACT US" form on our website or through Facebook. 

If you are wondering something, then there is a pretty good chance that someone else is wondering too!

Have a blessed day and I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

More than just cleaning...

I've always said I do more than just cleaning, but every now and again I like to take a moment and SHOW you the possibilities...

This is a photo of the outside of my apartment from about a month ago when I started planting flowers in the beds down the side of the house...

This is a photo when I had that bed planted and was trying to decide what to do with the barren mess closer to the left side of the photo.

This is what it looks like now. There are some close-ups of the blooms below. 
The whole area will be blooming with pink and red roses before the summer is over, 
and they will continue to come back every year!

A few hours of work
Two trips to the home improvement store
30 bricks (Sale price .58 each)
12 bags of rock (Sale price $2 each)
  1 roll of weed block ($9)
  4 new rose bushes ($14 each)
  2 transplanted rose bushes that aren't taking off yet (free)

I did the work and my landlord split the costs with me.
Overall I'm pretty happy with it! I love pulling into my driveway and seeing blooming flowers!

These are the flowers my youngest gave me for Mother's Day, planted around a small ornamental tree that my son is growing from a cutting off of a tree in my mom's yard!

The roses in the front are called Double Knockout Roses. Almost impossible to kill, easy to care for, and absolutely gorgeous!

Here is the newly planted Double Knockout Rose Bush just a week after planting.

The blooms are beautiful!

The red foliage on these plants is new growth. These bushes can grow to three feet 
wide and high if now pruned back periodically.

Have an idea for your yard but no time to execute it? How about a yard and some time, but no ideas?
No problem... you can Hire A Housewife for that too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The words don't matter

I do some of my best praying while I'm scrubbing a floor on my hands and knees. Prayer doesn't just make the time go faster, it gives me an even more precise sense of purpose for the task at hand. I'm not just scrubbing a floor, I'm asking God to be present, however He is needed, in that home.

I encourage all of my employees to pray for each of the families they serve. My hope is that, if and when they do so, they will be blessed by what happens in their lives as well as the lives of the families they serve.

If I have cleaned your house, I have prayed for you.

One day this week though, my prayers for one client didn't go as usual...

She greeted me with a teary smile. She had a scary newly diagnosed health problem with no answers yet. Just waiting. A little teary myself, I gave her a hug and told her I would be praying for her... and went about my routine.

As I scrubbed the kitchen floor and started praying, I knew I hadn't quite said what I was supposed to. I wasn't supposed to pray for her. She needed someone to pray WITH her. I continued to clean and pray, all the while thinking, maybe I could come up with something else. Surely I can't just come out and ask her if I can pray for her... and do it... right there in the living room. What if she says no? Maybe I'll send her a card... or just give her an extra hug on the way out.

To be honest, I wasn't worried that she would be offended. I knew she wouldn't say no. Which means I would have to pray for her, out loud, where I could be heard, and where she might hear me stumble over my words, misquote a Biblical reference, say the wrong thing, mostly just mess it up...

As I was getting ready to leave she again brought up her fear of what might happen... and I knew I had to.

The prayer wasn't long. I asked for peace and healing for her and knowledge for the doctors and thanked Him for being in control of the situation even when it seems like nobody is. Then I gave her one more hug, and I left for my next house.

I always have two worries when it comes to praying out loud. First of all is the fear that if someone hears me pray they will hear the mistakes and the stumbles and the way my mind works faster than my mouth and how I confuse myself, forgetting to say things I should and repeating things I've already said. The second fear is just that general fear of unworthiness... who am I to be praying for others?

But as I was driving away, a thought occurred to me. The prayer that had just been said in that house had very little to do with my words... it had very little to do with me at all.

God used me to remind her that she is loved and He is in control.

When it comes to prayer, the way the words came out aren't important. The words themselves are not important. The people are important, those who are willing to do as He asks and those they are ministering to. The obedience is important. The love is important. The faith is important.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these.” ~Mark 12:30-31

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. ~Galatians 3:5

~Mark Batterson

Monday, March 3, 2014

Loving Our Kids is Hard Sometimes...

Recently I spoke to my church's mom group, RC WOW, about how loving our kids means disciplining them. I would love to share it with more of you, so I thought I would type it up and post it. Feel free to leave comments.

I will be the first to tell you that I am no expert in the area of child-rearing. I've learned a lot of what I know through trial and error. As you'll read, even those results aren't conclusive. Still, I know how much it can help to know that there are other parents out there, going through the same struggles.

The love that I am talking about here is not the connection most people feel to their babies. It isn't the empathetic tears we get when they cry or the automatic smile we get when they laugh. Love is a verb. Love is something we do for them in spite of what we want to do or what would be easiest for us to do. Love is discipline.

The verse I was given to speak about was Proverbs 31:28. 

"Her children arise up and call her blessed..." 

I have to tell you, I have always believed that if we went back to some of the early manuscripts of Proverbs, we would see that someone left a word out in translation. That word is EVENTUALLY. Because, let face it, if the children arise in the morning and call me blessed, I am in the wrong house! My first clue isn't even the blessed. It says they arise. There is no mention of dragging them out of bed kicking and screaming and whining and moaning.

 I decided to do a little research.

Strong's Concordance defines the Hebrew version of Arise that is used in the this verse means "to be established" or to "take a stand." In other words, when her children grow up, when they become established, they will look back on their mom and call her blessed.

So let me start off by saying, YES our goal is for them to call us blessed... eventually. To get there we need to love them... and part of the way we do this is through our discipline.

Proverbs 13:24 (NLT) says, "Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them."

What love means is different for every child. Raising them to grow into the people God wants them to be takes a lot of tough love, but "tough" is different for each child. It is rarely easy.

By the time I got to child number four, I had the trip through the grocery store without whining down. Every child had thrown fits at some point. Every child had been dealt with the same way. When they started to throw a crying fit in the store, I told them they couldn't act like that with me. I then left them standing there and walked away.  

I would get no more than 20 feet before the howling had turned into sniffles and they were walking with me again through the store. They were not only scared to be without me, but also not happy about the looks they were getting from strangers.

Not number four. Lauren and I were walking through Hy-Vee when she was three or four and she started throwing a fit. I tried to use the same strategy I had used with the others. I was about fifteen feet away when I turned around and saw her, flanked by three strangers who were asking her if she was okay and glaring at me. One of them attempted to buy her candy! Lauren was not only, not afraid of strangers, but she was instantly thriving on the attention.
I'd love to say this was an isolated incident, but it has happened again and again… even as recently as last summer. Strangers are drawn to my youngest when she cries. 

One day last summer I did something rare and took all of the kids inside a fast food restaurant. They all started arguing, so I told everyone to get back in the van before an order had even been placed. They were shocked. 

Lauren started sobbing on the way out the door and a woman coming in squatted down to Lauren's level and started trying to get her to stop. Then Lauren managed to get out that I wasn't letting them have any food. That's when I got that look that I have come to know so well. The other kids were mortified that I was making them leave the restaurant without ordering. and even more embarrassed that I told a stranger on the way out the door. Lauren was soaking in the attention.

What would have been the easiest thing to do in the Wendy's situation? I could have just gone ahead and ordered and glared at them all through dinner. Disapproval will honestly affect one of my four. The other three would have been un-phased. Lauren, obviously needs to be disciplined in a way that does not garner her any attention from strangers.

Instead we left. They continued to fight in the car about whose fault it was that we left. So, while I showed some grace and went through the drive-thru when they were finally repentant (and frankly, it was my birthday, which is the reason we went out), our evening out was over.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, "When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong."

While many people will debate actual punishments and methods for discipline, the Bible shows how God used three main steps when loving His children through discipline.

Loving Our Kids Means.
1. Telling them the rules
2. Telling them the consequences
3. Sticking to those consequences

It's hard. But God gave us this example right in the beginning of the Bible.
He told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit from the tree they would die. They did. He didn't say, "I know I told you. Why didn't you listen? Lets have a time-out and then you can come back and try again." He kicked them out of the garden. He immediately made them accept the consequences for what they had done.

My older two children have their own cell phones.  They both got them when they turned 11. They are smartphones, but when they received them we also gave them a long set of rules and consequences that went along with the responsibility of keeping a phone. These include making it clear that they could have to hand over their phone for inspection at any time and that texting history/browsing history would be verified with the phone bill/known usage to make sure things weren't being periodically deleted before we saw them.

Just before my oldest turned 15, her father checked her phone and found some questionable emails from a boy as well as some texts to someone she wasn't supposed to be talking to. He called me and we made a decision. Alexandra immediately lost her phone and internet access indefinitely.
Did I want her to have a phone? Very much so. As a single mom, it was hard on me for her not to have one. We did not have a home phone, and as my babysitter that summer, it was difficult to communicate at times. She also wanted to be involved in school activities, but it means planning way in advance if she needed a ride home or if she would be gone while she was supposed to babysitting for me. Their father uses the phones to stay in touch with the children as well. It was hard to get a hold of them at times. Still, my ex-husband and I stuck to our decision and made her earn it back by showing that she could be respectful and follow the rules. It took 7 months for her to get her phone back. It took several more months for her to earn back her iPhone apps. She didn't have access to an internet browser for almost a year.

Taking the phone away and sticking to it was hard. But we proved that we love her over our own inconveniences.

Your challenge this next week is to 1.) Find the place where setting a boundary for your child is hard for you. Something that it is easier to ignore than to deal with. Something that you have let slide 1000 times, but something that you know will make them a better person if they learn the boundary.

You can’t all of the sudden come down on them with a sledgehammer. But saying “I’m not going to tolerate --- anymore. The next time you do it, this will be the consequence, no matter what.” in ONE new area is fair.

The second part of that challenge is 2.) Pray that God shows you the areas where you need to love your children more in this way, so that they can grow up to be the people He wants them to be. This is not easy. 

Remember that you asked God to show you, but you can't tell Him HOW to show you. So, when your mother-in-law says, "It drives me crazy seeing him get away with that." or your best friend says, "She shouldn't be talking to you like that." don't get angry or frustrated with them. Take it as an answer to your prayer for direction and do something about it!

We do want our children to eventually arise up and call us “blessed” … but sometimes, for today, we have to be okay with growling, grumbling, glaring, and an occasional declaration of "I hate you." If we do what is right, it will all work out in the end.