How My Day was Brightened

Gratitude Day 264

Fri., May 3, 2019

Proverbs 3:15 – She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

I can always tell when Hubby Rick decides to clean out his desk.

Totally random things appear.

Things intended just to bring a smile to my face.

It happened again this week.

Just a little card. Left on the kitchen island. Right where Rick knew I would see it.

You see, sometimes, Rick and I can go a day or two, maybe even three or four, without having a real conversation when both of us are totally awake. Rick works nights. I try to keep a more “normal” schedule. A few words about last night’s Brewers game as Rick crawls into bed at 5 AM doesn’t really constitute a conversation. Does it?

Or a random statement as I close the bedroom door, ready to leave for work.

Unfortunately, these are sometimes normal at the Vielhuber household.

This is why our kitchen island often becomes a bridge in our relationship.

It’s where we leave little notes to each other. Yesterday’s mail. Maybe a question on an old envelope, like, “Are you getting milk?” I know, the kitchen island isn’t all sexy, but it works.

It’s also where we often leave little “surprises” or “thinking of you” diddies for each other.

Like the one I received this week.


When I saw the card addressed “P.D.,” my first thought was, “Oh, Rick left me an Easter card. Whoops, I didn’t get him an Easter card.”

Not to worry, not to worry. Let’s see what I did find inside …


Look closely. You see the word, “Anniversary?” Our anniversary is the end of August, not the end of April.

This is when I realized Rick had cleaned his desk this week.

When I asked later, yes, it was an anniversary card that he bought and lost … and rediscovered months or years later. Knowing an anniversary card will bring a smile to my face now, he went ahead and gave it to me now. You know, it just has a little more umph when you give an anniversary card four months in advance. (Or eight months later. You pick.)

What to see what the inside says? Here we go:



But the best part? The way Rick signed it:


And yes, this card brightened my day.

Who doesn’t like a little something to brighten their day? Who doesn’t like a completely unexpected reminder how special you are? Who doesn’t relish these moments when they happen?

Sometimes, life becomes a series of doing one thing after another. Work. Making a meal. A load of laundry. Paying bills. Getting the lawn mowed. Dropping off the kids at their next activity. Squeezing in a few minutes of quality time with those you love the most.

And in the process of doing all these “important” things, we forget to laugh. Smile. Find joy in some small way today.

Thank the Lord I have a spouse who makes sure I do this when I forget to. Thank the Lord he can truly take the smallest of things and make me feel oh, so special. Thank the Lord, as one checkout woman at a store once told me, “Honey, I’m guessing your house is never boring.”

How right she is.

And I wouldn’t like it any other way.

My word of encouragement today? Find one little, seemingly silly way, to express gratitude to someone else. In the process, make them laugh, smile and feel special on the inside.

Go ahead. Make their day. You … and they … will be glad you did.

For someone taking time to paint a smile on my face, I am grateful.

Holy God – it’s just a smile but oh, so important. Restore in me the confidence that I can do one small thing today that will brighten someone else’s day. And make a difference in how they feel about themselves today. Amen.

Blessings –


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Organizing, Schmorganizing …

Gratitude Day 263

Fri., May 3, 2019

1 Corinthians 14:33– For God is not a God of confusion but of peace

It takes time to organize.

Really organize.

For the first time in what feels like weeks, I was basically “home” the last two days. Yes, I had projects to work on. But I also had a larger, more important project looming: getting myself, work, projects and life, organized.


I like organization. In fact, it drives me crazy when things aren’t organized. This lack of organization was not creating peace in my life … but angst.

I have used a variety of “organizing” systems/methods over the years. A hundred years ago, I took a Franklin Covey class. We were taught how to use their planner to track our work and private lives. I haven’t used a Franklin Covey planner for years, but I still embody some of the tips. Keep everything calendar related in one spot. Avoid having more than one calendar. No “work” calendar and a “personal” calendar. Since Hubby Rick has no calendar, my calendar is also our joint calendar.

I still love and use a paper calendar. Why? I want to look at a whole month and see what is coming up. Many people keep everything on their phone or Google calendar or some other variation. A friend’s phone died one day. She lost every calendar item that she had. This only re-enforced my love for a paper calendar.

I like clean. I believe the world (or at least our house) revolves better when everything has a place … and everything finds its place. Piles and things randomly laying around with no apparent “home” does not bring me peace. Life feels a little better when things know where they go, and I know where to find them.

Yes, there are some spaces in our house that don’t look terribly organized. I like to group “stuff” that doesn’t have a home in one spot until I find a home for those things. Most often, these are things I need to sort and make decisions about; what to keep, what to get rid of and what to give away.

There are a couple places were things do accumulate. The kitchen island often becomes a landing spot of things for Rick to look at. If items don’t move in a couple days, I move them; most often, the garbage or recyclables can.

The other exception?

My office.

I really, really try to keep things in order here. But the last few weeks, the piles have gotten larger, deeper and less manageable. There were too many things that simply didn’t have a spot.

When things get out of control in my office, I try a different strategy. I group “like” things together and make piles on the floor around my desk and chair. Specific piles are grouped by project or work. There is always a miscellaneous pile. Often, this is the biggest pile.


Since I do not like having piles around me, I am motivated to eliminate them. I like “quick wins,” so I pick a pile that I can get through quickly. After doing a couple “quick win” piles, I feel more organized … and wonder why I let things get out of control again.

There are always a few piles that require more time. Sometimes the piles stay on the floor for a few days … until I move them back on top of the credenza and the process starts over.

Another challenge with my organization system? I felt like I was not keeping up with everything that I want to keep track of. In the Franklin Covey class, we were taught to writing everything down that you want to tackle. This provides a written record and you don’t have to remember it.

My current problem? There are so many different pots of things to remember. Work, the various volunteer roles, ministry, house remodeling, house maintenance, upcoming events, personal items, finances; the list goes on and on. While I have tried different ways to manage this, I haven’t found a good long-term solution. It was too cumbersome, too hard to maintain or not easily portable. Often, I reverted back to a nice spiral notebook where I keep never ending lists for the next few days. I found myself putting slips of paper into that miscellaneous folder (a Franklin Covey no-no) to remember things I wanted to tackle, just not right now.

Recently, I heard of bullet note booking. Here, you create a page(s) for various categories to track things. The notebook’s first page is an index with page numbers. While some people build their calendar into their notebook, I created a bullet notebook hybrid because I plan to use a regular calendar. Still, I now have one place where I capture everything in one place. The notebook is a size I can easily take with me, another huge priority.

It’s too early to determine if this system will work for me. Yet, the process of spending time getting organized re-emphasized some things for me:

  • Create a system or method that works for you. I’ve looked a hundred of different calendars/systems/planners. I may use a system for a while, but I kept going back to the paper notebook that I carried all the time. I decided to use this notebook in a more specific manner.
  • “Date” your organization system for a while before getting “married” to it. This way, if you find something you want to try, you don’t have to divorce yourself from your current system. Making modifications to something you are already using before investing into something that may or may not fulfill your needs.
  • Keep it simple. I watched a woman teach a class about using a bullet notebook. She had fancy pens which she used to make fancy lettering, which made her book look super cool. I thought to myself, “I’ll never do this. I just need some simple applications.” I do not want to spend more time creating a system and detracting me from actually using a system.
  • Keep it inspirational. Another friend recently told me about how she uses a Passion Planner. Write a favorite quote or bible verse or something else that will motivate you.

I would love to see God’s planner. I can’t imagine how the Holy Spirit keeps track of every possibility out there. How did Jesus determine when and where he would try ministry?

For me, being organized brings peace into my life. It helps me sort through the confusion and see more clearly what is most important for today. Yes, I still need to become more realistic about what I think I can accomplish in a day. But I’m feeling a lot more peaceful.

What has been a great organizational tip that you’ve found helpful?

For peace in the organizing, I am grateful.


Too often, God, we look for peace in all the wrong places. May we find peace in You as we are encouraged and inspired to make today’s priorities something You helped us choose. Amen.

Blessings –


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