What’s That Smell?

Recently there has been this problem in our house….I’ve been trying to solve it….. that works for a short time, it will go away….AND THEN IT’S BACK!  It’s really starting to bug me and just the other day I realized that it’s also bugging the hubby.  It’s a smell, an annoying smell in an area that is washed regularly…my front loading washing machine!

About 5 years ago, I was so excited to be purchasing a new front loading washer.  In hindsight, I wish I would have not purchased a front loader.  Prior to the purchase I received a tip to make sure to leave the door open in between loads so it didn’t smell, there is a seal around the door and usually this is the source of the problem but seriously that was not the simple solution! Maybe it’s just the brand that I purchased, but…I’m not the only one with this issue!

The smell was bad this time, I had recently cleaned the washer and reprimanded my family about leaving the door open and still it was there.  The hubby finally asked….can’t you like “ask Pinterest”?  I started laughing instantly…”ask Pinterest!?”  I’m always looking for little antics in life to make me laugh and this was one of them!

As funny as this sounded, I had already searched Pinterest and had already cleaned the washer and it still stunk! So over the next couple of days I “asked Pinterest”, repeatedly! You can find just about anything there, which totally makes the whole “can’t you just ask Pinterest” question a little less humorous and somehow… a bit wise. I found various ideas and tried a few.  This article basically covers the many different articles I found about how to clean the washer, and the different steps that I took to clean the washer. So far, so good, the smell is gone for now.

For those of you who are considering purchasing a new front loading washing machine think long and hard they have to be cleaned thoroughly and often….like about once a week.

Here are the basics.

  • Wipe out the inner seal at least once a week, you may even have to do it after every load. Gross stuff accumulates in there! Make sure that you wipe all the way around the seal, pull it back, use a wet rag (you can use bleach or vinegar if it’s real bad) and wipe it clean.
  • Run a sanitizing load of white vinegar once a week. There should be a sanitizing/cleaning cycle on your machine. Pour two cups of vinegar in the machine and run
  • Add vinegar to your bleach and detergent cups and run an empty load
  • Clean the filter on your machine once a month.  Most front loaders have a filter hidden in a little door near the of the machine. All the grossness that gets past your inner seal will accumulate here and if you don’t clean it often it will smell.
  • And lastly, periodically, run a cycle of bleach to clean out the machine. A couple of cups in your drum with extremely hot water. I think it’s kind of obvious but make sure you don’t have any clothes in there at the time.

If this seems excessive to you, you’re right, it is! But…for today…the washer is smelling clean!

To be fair, there is one good point to purchasing a front loader….it does save water. I noticed a difference in the first month. BUT with that said, I’d like to be the first one to warn you, think long and hard before choosing a front loading machine. As if laundry, the never ending chore, isn’t enough work….having to clean the washing machine so often makes it worse!




Months Ago…

This subject has been on my heart for some time, I’ve been thinking about it for many months and again I had the nudge to write.  I wondered how do I pack all the thoughts I’ve had over the last 6 months into one post; I’ve determined that’s impossible, so I’m starting at the beginning and where it goes, it goes.

Many months ago while in church, I heard the expression “the enemy of your soul”, and it caught my attention.  I wrote it down because it caught my attention more that day than before, and that’s when the reflection began. During the sermon I kept heading back to this saying, even caught my mind wandering a bit.  There were many times I had heard Jesus referred to as  the “lover of your soul”, and that made perfect sense. Since he died for the sins of the world so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven, it is easy to understand how he could be the “lover of souls”. But what about this term enemy of your soul….

Of the many names I’d heard used to describe Satan, this phrase “enemy of your soul” was among them so it wasn’t a new term, but for some reason today, it resonated.  “Enemy of my Soul”. I don’t think I’ve had a true enemy; I have been hurt by other’s actions, and nowdays I protect my emotional self, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider them  an enemy.  It was a bizarre thought…I have an enemy and this enemy hates me! He wants to destroy me and anything that I value and for some reason on this day, I was taking it personally. BUT, it didn’t take long for me to realize that in the spiritual battle for my soul, I was already on the winning side!  I felt a bit of relief!  “Whew, Thank you Jesus! I do need to be aware of the tactics of the enemy, but as long as I have Jesus, I have eternal victory over my enemy. He has won the war, I just need to worry about the battle! I began thinking about so many unsuspecting souls out there, who didn’t understand the threat; an enemy of their soul was seeking to destroy them, and they didn’t even know they needed a savior from this enemy.

  • John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I (Jesus) have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  • 1 Peter 5:8 – Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour
  • John 8:44 – He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I kept getting ideas to write, but mostly my thoughts kept coming back to the word “enemy.”  In the world, there are different kinds of enemies. Enemies of our country, and we as a nation take precautions to protect ourselves. Even in video games we see the virtual enemy being agressively battled. Think about it, if a human enemy came at you or your family, you’d agressively defend yourself.  Why don’t we take precautions to protect ourselves when it comes to our spiritual enemy? We should! We need to be like a soldier in wartime, aware, alert and ready. Yet, for some reason…..this spiritual enemy is scoffed and not considered a threat.

Wake up…Helloo, THE ENEMY OF YOUR SOUL!  He likes it when we think he’s insignificant, when we’re lulled into a sense of security, it makes it easier to acheive his goal ~ our destruction.

So, every day I’ll be a soldier and put on my armor of God and do my best to protect myself and those I love with the power of Jesus.

God Bless

Scripture reference:

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 1 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.


Destination Hope

HOPETonight I had the privilege of sharing with a group of people…. I told my story! Just a little bit of the crazy story; the story of my experiences while loving people who are affected by addiction.  It’s always kind of scary, talking in front of a group and being transparent. Sharing the areas of your life that you want to keep secret from everyone.  I always wonder…..what should I talk about? But then, I remember, my story is, well, my story, so sharing about my experience is easy, and when I begin with “how it was” and continue into “how it is now”, it’s most important to me that someone….anyone, will find some hope.

Hope is a crazy thing…we all want to hope for the best but while in the despair of certain circumstances, any circumstances beyond our control, it’s so hard to see. It doesn’t matter the circumstance, whether it’s illness, financial problems, addiction, or any other problem Hope is like asmall dim light at the edge of darkness that slowly begins to illuminate our situation, and somehow we begin to think there is a chance of something different.  It’s a destination from despair to….. maybe things can be different.

So what did I learn tonight?  If you allow Him to, God will use the crazy, shameful, bad, embarrassing events of your life and turn them into something good.  What do I mean by that? I’ve found that most people believe that they are the ONLY ones going through something painful, maybe even awful. Because their belief is that, no one else could possibly be dealing with “this”,  the tendency is to want to hide, hide from other’s and hide the details. But, if we are brave enough to talk about it, especially if we have made it through the dark times, we just may find that our experience will bring someone else hope.  Someone who is desperately seeking anyone to understand their pain.  I know this because of my experience and of course…because the bible tells me so (yep, that’s a kid’s song), Roman’s 8:28:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Hope is a small word, for such a big feeling.  A small word, just like that small glimmer of light that begins to illuminate and grow into something bigger.  “HOPE CHANGES EVERYTHING!” Share it, don’t hide your glimmer of light from others. They need to hear it….

  • They need to know how you began to do things differently, and your’ life got better.  They need your wisdom
  • They need to know that when you gave your life to Jesus your outlook on life changed….for the better!
  • They need to know that they are not the only one who’s husband, wife, children, mother, father, etc. are dealing with an addiction problem.
  • They need to know that you found peace even when your financial situation was bleak….and you lost your home.
  • They need to know that you once dealt with an addiction and found the power to break that hold on your life.  Whether it is a program like AA or the power of God….or both….they need to know.
  • They need to know that you survived cancer (or some other health issue) and are here today. They need to know what got you through.

Share people!  Don’t hide! You will find “HOPE” and more importantly God will use YOU to help someone else get to that place of hope….

If you’re in need of some glimmer of light, seek hope, ask for help, first from God, then second from someone who’s dealing with what you are dealing with.

Finding Hope….It’s a destination…..and we all need a guide. Will you be someone’s guide?




What’s Your Type?

Happy Friday!

I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend with no soccer games! As much as I love watching my daughter’s soccer games, sometimes it’s just a really satisfying thought to know you have the whole weekend’s schedule to fill up with whatever your heart desires.

Continuing with our series on photos, I thought I’d talk about albums a bit. The quality of your albums is important. We’ve all seen those old photo albums with yellowing photos that are falling out or cemented stuck down forever. We want to avoid that, so making sure that your albums are acid free and lignen free (the woody plant substance that turns paper/stickers yellow and then brown) is important. It doesn’t matter the type of album you choose, slide in, digital, or scrapbook, it’s more important to make sure it has some important qualities.

One of the things to look for in an album is a guarantee on the workmanship of the album. There are albums that have a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship of the album. This is important, you don’t want to spend time, effort and money on your photo projects only to have the album be defective. Even when companies have been around for many years, “stuff” happens and you could end up with an album that cannot be replaced. BUT, based on my experience, if there is the lifetime guarantee, usually the quality is good, and most likely you will not have problems, even if the manufacturer does go out of business.

So, what type of album should you use?? The best answer I can give you is …the one that works for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Are you creative? Are you limited on time? Are you computer savvy? Do you already have boxes of photos? Are most of your photos digital? You gotta think about these things, ya know.

Digital Albums – If your photos are mostly digital you will definitely want to consider a digital type album. Digital albums are quick. They can be creative and “scrapbook-like” or they can be very simple. Everything is digital the decorations, paper and artwork is reusable, saving you money.  There are 2 types of digital albums that I can think of. The slide it album that you insert digital page prints into, or the digital “storybook” album that looks like a book.

Photo album with digital slide in pages

Digital Storybook type album

Storybook type albums come in various sizes

Actually there are even different types of the books, but the general idea is the same; “book-like”).   If you will need multiple copies of your album then digital is most definitely the way to go. Personally the digital “storybook” albums are my favorite, BUT the slide in pages work  too, especially if  you want to mix digital with a more traditional photo album look.

Just a little bit decorative for a slide in album -Excuse the cell phone picture please!

Just a little bit decorative for a slide in album

Slide-in – This album is also a quick solution to getting your pictures into an album with a limited amount of time, money and creativity. If you already have printed photos this type of album is a good option. if you’re not fond of spending time decorating a scrapbook page or you want your album to be quick and simple, then this album is for you. One downside to this type of album is that you are limited to the pocket sizes and the orientation of the inserts. That means, you have to worry if you have too many landscape photos for the album pages. Plus, if your pictures are not that exact size it can be a little challenging to make the album look good.  You can add “matting” to your photo and alleviate this problem.

Even hand writing your headings is ok. It's your album, do what works for you.

Even hand writing your headings is ok. It’s your album, do what works for you.

Are you creative?,  This may be just enough to satisfy your creativity! It’s simple to dedicate one of the page pockets to headings or a decorative journal area. Whether the story is designated to a small area or a full pocket remember it’s important.

Just a simple scrapbook page….they can get pretty elaborate.



Scrapbook Album –  Do you already have printed photos? You may want to think about a scrapbook album. Usually, this is NOT a quick solution for photo album projects and there is most definitely a learning curve to feeling confident in the traditional decorative scrapbook technique.  I think it is also the least budget friendly of the 3 options. There are many supplies paper, adhesive, pens etc. (just to name a few) that can consume your pocketbook.  And seriously, when I say many…I mean many. You can get really carried away spending money on tools and gadgets and supplies for this type of album.  Although some of the items are 1 time purchases, many are consumable and need to be re-purchased and restocked. However, a scrapbook album is a beautiful, creative option. This album type is much easier to integrate memorabilia into than the other two options.

Because, as I said, a picture is not worth much without a few words. Remember, no matter what your style you’ll want to remember the stories, and so will the people you love. That means you’ll need to write them down. All of the above albums are good options for this. Another important tip…when you are choosing your album, be realistic.  Choose wisely, based on your own personal needs, don’t let anyone make you feel like it has to be perfect or exactly like theirs.  If you don’t have the time or desire to make fancy scrapbook albums….don’t, it’s ok to choose the simpler, quicker route if that’s what works for you. Later we’ll take a look at where you can find each of this type and a couple of pros and cons.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Organize, Sort and Store Your Photos


So maybe you’ve thought about all those photos you have…and maybe that thought scares you a bit…that’s a normal emotion. Really. I’ve worked on my own albums and helped others with their albums for about 18 years now.  With that time, comes experience, and as I shared yesterday, over the years I’ve used different types of albums.  I thought I’d share some tips and ideas and hopefully encourage you, that you to can get those photos into some kind of album.  So here goes…

Organize and Sort Your Pictures

The first and foremost task is to organize your photos. This will prevent confusion but most importantly when finished you will have all of your pictures in a centralized location. You know instead of under the bed, in the closets and drawers, in the garage, on the computer, in your phone, on cd’s, memory cards, social media and back up sites. Sounds crazy right, how in the world would you gather all the pictures from the many different locations in case of an emergency.  Would you even know where to look? So you see getting them in one place is a priority even if it’s just for the sake of an emergency situation.

  • Printed Photos – Begin by getting a storage box. There are a few important things to look for and why I think they are important.  It needs to be photo safe.  It’s possible that your photos are going to be in there for some time so you want to make sure that it will not damage your photos.  There are many cardboard storage boxes on the market and although they are inexpensive they are not something that you want to store your pictures in. Having 1 larger box may be more feasible than having several smaller boxes; figure out what will work for you.
    Power sort box1

    Sample of what I use

    Get boxes that are compartmentalized. That means that there are several smaller boxes within 1 larger one.  BUT, it’s important  that the compartments are able to be removed and/or rearranged, as you sort you can just move the smaller box around to attain order in your box. You will not want the smaller compartments to be closed or have lids, having open access to them enables quick sorting of pictures without having to remove the small box open it and put your pictures in.  That would seriously deter adding pictures and totally defeat the purpose of making it easy to get organized. And lastly, there should be dividers and they should be able to be written on, erased, and re-written. (in the case of changing minds)

  • Digital photos – The first task…. will help you get them all in one place. But first things first, determine where and how you will organize digitally. Where? One your computer, online, on external hard drive etc.  I have a program that I swear by, I’ve had it for years and always, always, recommend it! The bad news is it’s a Creative Memories program and since they’re out of business it’s no longer available….the good news. The company that developed it for them has a program that is pretty much identical.  I will recommend it always! It’s called Historian by Panstoria . You can choose what works for you but here is what I’ve found to be important, (and of course, Historian can accommodate) When you add photos it automatically knows when you took the pictures and places them in order by date.  (if, of course, the date on your camera is correct). You can tag pictures based on the people in them, and sort them based on name, date or picture rating. However if you tag two different people, and save the picture, it only “saves” 1 photo on the computer.  Great to make sure you’re not overloading your computer. It has a search feature so you can find pictures based on events and tags. (not by looking through all your photos) You can edit your pictures quickly right in the program and it keeps record of the original photo if you ever need it.  And best of all…it will automatically back up your photos to another location, that’s VERY, VERY important.


    I have over 20,000 pictures saved in the vaults of my Historian!

Once you’ve decided on your digital storage program, begin to transfer all of your digital photos to your computer. All digital photos from your phone, old cd’s (I know they’re old because no one saves pictures on cd’s anymore) memory cards, social media sites, and online back up sites.  AGAIN, begin my getting them all in one place! You can delete pictures that you know you won’t want now but it will be quicker if you just get them in one place and in date order and then quickly go through and hit the delete button on the photos you don’t need.

For one moment, I want to touch on the old cd’s for a moment, you have to acknowledge that not many people save pictures on cd’s any longer. With that in mind, think of when they first came out, do you remember how cool they were? How you thought, they held so many photos? Now, keep that in mind when I say to you that those memory cards, computers and even hard drives are going to be obsolete, something new IS going to come out. Not to mention that ANY digital storage is fragile and very unreliable! So finding an efficient way to back up your photos is so important and backing up often is important. DON’T LEARN THE HARD WAY! I can’t even tell you how many people have full intentions, procrastinate, and then loose pictures.  Let me say it again…THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT…..BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS SOMEWHERE OFF OF YOUR COMPUTER! I’m telling you, I know how it feels to lose thousands of pictures, devastating. Yes I have done exactly what I’m telling you not to do, so please learn from my mistakes.

I think that’s enough on the two subjects. Hope to see you soon!