Browsing Category: Making a Home

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way {more than a review}

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way a reivew @JessicaMWhite.com

I’ve long loved the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible: One sister sitting peacefully at the feet of Jesus, the other scurrying around trying to make everything perfect for Him. There’s something about the story that touches most, if not all, of us: We all struggle to find the balance between these two women and what Jesus calls them to be.

This is such a heart-topic for me, that a few years ago I did an entire series in October {31 Days} about How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary {Check out my series HERE}taking the every day business that we all have to do and using that to bless those around us. So often we get caught up in life that we neglect to be a Mary, that we neglect to sit peacefully at the feet of Jesus and just listen. There’s all this Martha-Busyness around us that we really do HAVE to do. This is what Sarah Mae’s new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is all about!

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way a reivew @JessicaMWhite.com

Sarah Mae’s book started out, just as my series did, as a 31 days series called “31 Days to Clean”, but now it’s updated and revise:

31 Days to Clean is now Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean Home and a Satisfied Soul.

And this time, the battle cry is for the heart to know it can be loved and secure and identified in the One who gives us our homes and our calling. 

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is for those of us who are still drowning a bit in housework, but who need to know that our identity is not in the work or the expectations put on us. At the heart, this book is about love, loving ourselves and others through a home that offers rest and peace and welcome. It is a move towards gentle homemaking, where we accept our limitations with grace, and offer that same grace to those who come under our roofs and into our care.

If you’ve struggled under the weight of all there is to do and be as a woman who makes a home, my hope is that you will find in this book refreshment and relief for your weary, overwhelmed soul. 

~From Sarah Mae’s email newsletter

What are my thoughts on it? I love it! The book is broken down into quick to read sections for each day of the month; a few pages of inspiration, a Mary Challenge, a journal-style page of devotions and questions, followed by a Martha challenge, with practical cleaning tasks and tips.

You can take each day as it comes, read the whole thing at once, address the Martha-housekeeping tasks, or focus on the Mary Bible-study. It’s truly fantastic and flexible, which is Sarah Mae’s entire idea. Homemaking shouldn’t be this daunting thing and it doesn’t have to be, but we also need to keep our priorities and faith in order.

The great thing about Sarah Mae’s book, and her in general, is that this is entirely a gentle approach to housekeeping. This isn’t about you need to do this, this and this, or you’re failing. This is about grace. This book is about doing the best you can and leaving the rest to God. It’s about creating a home that is filled with that grace, so that you can pour it out on those who live and visit your home.

Right now Sarah Mae is offering a special gift to anyone who purchases her book:  http://sarahmae.com/2016/03/cleaningfun/

Where can you order the book? Anywhere. You can purchase it on Amazon.com via my affiliate link {which I would so appreciate: You can read my disclosure policy here.}

*I received this book for free as part of Sarah Mae’s launch team; however, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Master Bathroom Reveal

Here it is: 18 months after we moved back into our house. I can officially call the master bathroom done. Of course, there are a few little things that need to get touched up, but it’s all finished. This room was ridiculous. We went through 3 toilets. The floor was stained, then painted twice. Fixtures had to be spray painted. It was fun!
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The toilets: We originally had bought a really nice Kohler toilet, water efficient and all that. The only problem was it didn’t work. Literally there was a manufacturer’s defect and water did not leave the toilet bowl. We got another one. Then that one, for whatever reason {a child I’m thinking} had a crack along the whole back and was leaking water…flushed water. After that we were done…we waited a couple of months before buying a cheap $88 toilet, which has given us no problems and is just as water efficient as the $300 toilet.

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The vanity and sink are from Ikea {Hemnes 42″ vanity and top}. They’re great! It’s really solid, tons of counter space, and lots of storage. Until this renovation I’d never given much thought to drawers vs doors: Drawers win every time for me now!

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I could not find plain black light fixtures or shower curtain rod, so I bought basic dark fixtures then spray painted them. It worked and so far has held up fantastically.

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The faucet is Pfister’s Ashfield. I actually saw these faucets in chrome at a Cabela’s store in PA. I loved them! I came running out and asked Matthew if he’d noticed the faucets, he had. I debated spray painting this black too, but given the water and everything else figured it wasn’t worth the potential nightmare.IMG_1576

The vanity mirror was one that I got at a lawn sale for $10…I love it! It’s huge, the color was perfect, it was old. Mirrors of similar size were $200+

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The soap dish is Mary & Martha’s Grace and Gratitude Small Pedestal server. I had 3 of these, had no idea what to do with them, decided to sell them and sold all but one, then decided it was perfect with some white stones from the beach for a soap dish.

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Above the toilet we put some very basic shelves, painted the same color as the floor, to store things in a basket {still need to spray paint it}. We have no closet in the bathroom…the washer/dryer took precedence, so the extra storage is nice.

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We did put a pocket door in this and our bedroom…they are so much more forgiving with space. There’s no trying to finagle around a door to get to things. The shower curtain is from Amazon.com. It was $20 and was perfect!

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Our towel hooks are ones that my aunt gave to me for my birthday years ago…they’ve been a variety of colors and are fantastic, strong, detailed hooks. I painted them the same color as the floor.

It was hard to get a picture of the entire shower. The blue/gray tile was another issue. I had found the perfect tile from one company, couldn’t get it, found it from another, they supposedly shipped it, I never got it {even though they charged me}, called my credit card company and immediately received a letter from the tile company that they were out of stock and crediting me back. I ended up getting this tile from mosaictiledirect.com, which was good. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it was very close {the other tile was white}.

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This is a double headed shower just as our downstairs shower is. We really like having two shower heads, because we pretty much always shower together…no one is having to stand there freezing until it’s their turn. The faucets are Pfister’s Ashfield to match the sink. The tub was a nightmare. I had ordered a Kohler cast iron apron front tub, with a left drain {per what I was told}.

When they went to install it I was told I’d ordered the wrong tub, I hadn’t, they told me the wrong tub. We can only have a right drain in this space. We ended up having to go HomeDepot and buying a Bootz cast iron tub for $200. {There were a lot of expensive mistakes in this bathroom!} Again, if I’d just done what I wanted to to begin with we wouldn’t have had an issue.

Overall, I’ve been rather pleased with how it all turned out. Of course, there are things I would’ve done differently {if money hadn’t been an issue…when is it not?!} For now, it works, I like it, and it makes me smile.

Routines in the White House :: Cleaning House

Mostly I like cleaning…or at least I like a clean house. Now, I’m not talking immaculate. Nothing crazy-clean like my German grandmother would insist on, but if my house is chaos I start to feel a bit, well…chaotic. With 4 kids running around making messes….there’s a bit of a disconnect between my reality and what I’d like my reality to be.

I used to have a routine: The kind of plan when you did this room this day, this activity this day, then we moved out for renovations. When we moved back in we had 3 three year olds and I was pregnant 2 months later. It all went out the window. It was all out anarchy in our house. I did what I could and didn’t have it in me to fight children to do what I wanted them to.Routines in the White House Cleaning House[4]

Now that I’m not pregnant, Peter is 2 months old, and the triplets are nearing 4 I decided it was time to implement some changes, because honestly my sanity wasn’t going to be able to handle scrapping dried banana off the floor anymore. I haven’t gotten crazy yet about it, but this is what I did do.

*Another toy purge {I do them frequently}
My kids honestly are not interested in playing with toys. They’re interested in dumping them all over the floor, kicking them around the room, and generally not touching them once they’re scattered about. Call me a mean mom. My kids have books in their rooms, some stuffed animals, and a few dolls…that’s it.

Our living room has two boxes of toys; one contains our wooden trains and the other a few random toys and books {which I will be going through again soon}. The only other toys in our living room are 3 Fisher Price Little People buildings {castle, jungle, and a house} and a bag of little people.

*No food beyond the kitchen
I know this sounds like a no brainer, but when you have 3 kids wearing you down…you cave on things. This was one of them. With Ave it wasn’t a big deal. She didn’t spill and didn’t make messes….the other 3….not so much. Elanor has a habit of liking to do pouring exercises on the TV cabinet. Once I did this though cleaning up became infinitely easier, because I wasn’t having to scrape food off of things before putting them away.

*Sweep it all in a pile
     I’ve shared on instagram before how I clean a room: I sweep everything into a pile, sit on the floor and deal with it. Interestingly enough, most of what ends up on the floor is garbage…broken crayons, nonsense and paper, because, again, my kids really don’t play with toys. Once I’ve dealt with the pile the room is clean, because I’ve already swept the floor. How about THAT for multitasking?!

*Stay up and clean
Yup. There are times that I will stay up very late in order to clean the house. What’s the saying? Cleaning your house with kids around is like eating Oreos while brushing your teeth. Exactly. Not always, but probably once a month I will stay up way too late in order to clean the house. I’m not talking spic and span clean, but clean enough that it looks like it’s actually been cleaned.

*A little some of the time
I do try to do a little bit of cleaning every day. I try not to go to bed without picking up the living room and at least having loaded and run the dishwasher. It makes a big difference for me, mentally, to not walk up to a mess, but some times I just don’t have it in me at the end of the day to spend that time {usually 45 minutes or so} to do that little bit.

On those nights, I look at Matt and ask him “What time is Bridget coming?” It’s a running joke. Matt’s grandparents would ask the other when the maid {Bridget} was coming if they didn’t feel like doing the clean up, then blame her for not showing up when it didn’t get done. I like that tradition!

That’s a bit of a peek at how I TRY to keep the house in some state of order.  It’s not perfect, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s one of those things that we have chosen to show ourselves grace in….at least until Mommy is having a total melt down and can’t handle the mess anymore. I will openly admit that our showers get cleaned once every few months, the toilet may be a bit more often, and the floors rarely are mopped, but the  kids are fed, clothed, and kept alive.

Do you have a system that you use for keeping the house clean?

From Busy to Blessing – Hospitality in Your Own Home

Oh boy, it’s that “H” word again! Hospitality! You better believe it! For some people this is easier than others. If it’s not easy for you, figure out why: Do you have ridiculous expectations of yourself? Are you not a good cook? Is dinner never on the table when you think it will be? I can pretty much guarantee you that whatever your own issue is, there is a solution to it.

“He said, “Come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the
house and a place for the camels.”
Genesis 24:31

From Busy to Blessing Hospitality in Your Own Home @JessicaMWhite.comWork out the kinks. Figure out what those problem areas are and then figure out how to address them. If nothing is ready at the same time, then make a casserole or a one dish meal: If you’re not the best cook, make a recipe that you are familiar with and know will come out right: If you’re hoping to serve a 7-course meal on fine china, but don’t have the time or knowledge to dedicate to it, then lower your expectations.

I admit, as much as I love cooking and entertaining and plying my guests with good food, I don’t always love the stress and deadlines of hosting people in my home. They exist, but there can be grace. I very often need to remind myself that guests are coming to see me, not my home, that if everything is absolutely magazine ready, they may not feel comfortable enough to kick back and relax, for fear of messing things up.

If you’re really not up to the task of hosting a crowd, then start small: Maybe it’s just those friends who are really easy going, maybe it’s a neighbor that’s alone. You don’t have to start out with hosting 50 people in your home for a sit down dinner. Honestly, unless you’re TheNester, Logan Wolfrom or Sally Clarkson, I don’t recommend that.

If it’s easier for you to start by inviting a friend over for a cup of coffee, then go for it! If hosting a home party is more your speed, since it takes the light off of you, do that! The important thing is to NOT make this something that will stress you out, take what you are already doing and mold it so that you can bless others. Choose to take the step, pray over it, and the Lord will surely bless you and your time with others.

This is one of those topics that is very near and dear to my heart, you can be sure that if this series ends up being a book, there will be so much more about being a hostess.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

From Busy to Blessing – Love Your Neighbors

Who is my neighbor? It’s the people who live in the general vicinity of my house. right? Right, but it’s so much more than that. It’s continually looking at all those around us, and seeing their needs above our own. Jesus answered this way, in Luke 10:25-37:

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor of the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had Mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

From Busy to Blessing Love Your Neighbors @JessicaMWhite.comWe all have neighbors, we may love some of them, we may not: You may not even know your neighbors’ name. The Bible gives us EIGHT different verses, all exhorting us to love our neighbors. I’m not suggestion that you go out and become all buddy-buddy with Mr. Wilson next door. What I am suggestion is that you love your neighbor, in whatever ways readily present themselves.

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 4:15

We have this lovely law in our town, that sidewalks must be shoveled by 9am on the day of a snow storm. Kind of ridiculous given that most people are at work, and that the snow keeps falling. I love shoveling snow. If it’s snowing during nap time I’m outside shoveling our sidewalk, and then I just keep on shoveling, right on down the street. This is a little way in which I can bless my neighbors with my work, plus it has the added bonus of a few more minutes of cardio!

Do the same thing with your lawn: Just keep on mowing. Mind you, if you think the neighbor might have a bit of an issue with your doing that, then don’t. You don’t want to turn your Martha Moment into a fence war with the man next door.

If you’re making a big batch of something, zucchini bread from the 30lb zucchini from your garden perhaps, then take a meander around your neighborhood and leave a little love for your neighbors. My kids have so much fun doing this, no matter what it is or who we’re surprising.

Regardless of what it is, there is some way in which you can bless your neighbor. Even if you live in an apartment building there is something you can do. Be creative. Think about what tasks you have to do, then ask if you can do that for your neighbor.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing