Visually Managing the Eggs

We eat eggs daily around here. Some mornings we can easily consume half a dozen eggs at a single breakfast. This means we buy at least two dozen eggs at each grocery trip.

And that means at any given time there are two or three dozen eggs in our refrigerator.

And we were having trouble easily knowing which carton had been opened and should be used first.

Which often resulted in two egg cartons, both half full.

I would glance at how many egg cartons were left and think, “Oh, there are still two cartons. We shouldn’t need eggs this trip to the store.” Only to find out that one carton had 3 eggs left and the second had 5.

And we mentioned several times that this was an issue, and sort of joked that we needed some visual management in our fridge.

And finally one day I realized that there was a pretty simple fix. And we didn’t need some big process to analyze the problem and determine the best solution. It took about 15 seconds total.

So I got a Sharpie and just wrote a number 1 and number 2 on the cartons.
IMG_0195.jpgA simple step that has already alleviated frustration and confusion.

Some problems require a fairly involved process to really understand all the pieces involved in order to really find the most effective and beneficial solution. And some problems can be fixed with a quick decision and a Sharpie. Ben wasn’t even in town when I did this. There was no reason to wait until he got home, days later, add it to our agenda, discuss it at length, and then implement a solution that we mutually agreed on. We didn’t even make a Post-It for this one! (*gasp!*)

Sometimes you just need to know which egg carton to use.

Video Stars

We have seen how visual management can be helpful for ourselves, as adults. And I can remember bulletin boards in my elementary school classrooms with big monthly calendars, a spot for today’s weather, the daily schedule-all in very colorful, visual formats. So I wondered if it would be helpful for a specific problem we were having.

Abraham has a weekly calendar that utilizes visual management already. He really seems to find it helpful and enjoys moving the star each morning to the new day and seeing what we have planned for the week.

So, the problem was that we (I)  had gotten into a habit of letting him watch a lot of videos, or at least more than we wanted him to be watching. He is still pretty limited on the screen time he gets and what the content is. But basically any time he asked to watch a video, I saw 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to get dressed, catch up on dishes, eat my breakfast, etc. Which is great and all, but we just felt like for our family and our goals and values we needed to set some limits on video watching with Abraham.

We decided three videos a week was a good place to start. I made three small yellow circles that say “Watch One Video” with a star in the middle. (Yes, I realize we call them “video stars” but they are really circles with a star in the middle.) Each Sunday we move the three video stars to the wall next to his calendar.


“Videos” are what we have described to Abraham as “short”, meaning 30 minute episodes of Daniel Tiger or Reading Rainbow, etc. “Movies” are “long”, meaning full-length movies. Movies are extra special and we really try to limit those to a specially planned family movie night. Or like last week when he was running a fever and laid on the couch basically all day.

The big difference between videos and movies in our house, besides their length, is that he can request to watch (up to) 3 videos each week and Ben and I decide when a movie is appropriate. He will often ask to watch a movie, but our response is usually, “That would be really fun. We aren’t going to watch that movie today, but maybe sometime soon we will have a family movie night and we can all watch it together.”

So every Sunday he gets three video stars. He can choose (for the most part) when to watch them throughout the week. We still get to decide if it is a good time to start a video. (Not at 8am when we have to be at school in an hour, etc.) And he can’t watch more than one in any given day. When he uses a video star he moves the token to the day he watched it so he knows it has been used and that he can’t watch another video that day.


I would say that for the most part he does really well with this system and understands. Having the physical tokens that we move from the wall next to his calendar (their “holding place”) to the day he watches a video seems really helpful. And giving him a choice about when to use them will surely start to help him make decisions and learn a little about delayed gratification (or…the pain of using up all your video stars before the week is even half over and not getting to use one later in the week when he really wants to.)

It sort of has be wondering what other areas of my life I could employ visual management to limit “fun” things like watching tv, time spent on facebook, and things of that nature.

Thirty Days of Thankful: Day 3

I am thankful for good neighbor/housemate/friends. Henry & Bethany live downstairs in our building & have been a lot of fun as housemates.

We’ve had some great meals thanks to them. For awhile we did a weekly meal share where we each made extra of one of our weekly meals & gave it to the other. It was a fun way to try new recipes.

And they’ve been there to take us to the airport (at 6am), and even run upstairs to close our windows when we had left them open & gone to work not realizing a rainstorm was on it’s way. And we like when they call us to say they have some fresh-baked cookies or ice cream to share.

We will miss them when we move!

I totally stole this pic from Bethany’s facebook page. 😉

Thirty Days of Thankful: Day 2

Today I am thankful for our apartment here in Tulsa. It’s been a really great place to live, and has been a big part of me enjoying city life. (We found out this morning that we only have 30 more days in this place & my heart is a little a lot sad about this!)

Great location, great housemates (past & present) & we have really enjoyed it!


Short reflections from Uganda

We left Uganda last night…we were sad to leave. There is a lot to reflect on about our time, and lots of stories to tell…we will get to them eventually…but for now here are a few quick memories and thoughts.

I think for me one of the highlights of the trip was getting to see Kibo have a meeting with a village to figure out how to get their water well fixed. A key part of the meeting was that the proposal from Kibo was to split the cost of fixing the well, and working with the village to establish system to maintain a clean water supply. This is really what kebo is about…not so much just digging wells, but equipping people to solve.their own problems.

Another key thing about this meeting was that it was all lead by ugandens. This is a big thing to know about Kibo, they have a lot of projects and all of hem are lead by ugandens.
Another highlight…we got to spend a day at a wilderness preserve looking for lions, hippos, elephants, and other African wildlife. One elephant decided he had had enough of us, so he pushed down a small tree, trumpeted, flapped his ears, and charged toward our van. I don’t think he (she?) would have really Done anything to us, but it was scary away. Oh…we saw a hippo Chase a lady in a parking lot…that was kind of crazy.
We got to stay with Bobo and Barbara’s house. They are good.friends of the Taylor family, and it was an honor to spend an evening with them in their home.
We for to hang out with our NLR friends Nathan and kendra (and, as it turns out the Hermens as well). It was food to see the.ministry they are working on just a few hours from jinja.
I found out Bobby bought a heidelberg letterpress. That could be fun….

I still have a lot.of processing to do to try and understand and respond to everything we did and saw…its going to take a long time.

For now, we are spending.the next few days in Europe visiting some friends.

In the News

These 2 news stories are unrelated, but I heard both of them this week & found them pretty interesting (to say the least).  What do you think?

1) Pea Lung?

2) Gulf Caravan

The first one just has some shock value. But the second one I just really love. A unique idea & a way to not only help practically (investing in the economy in the gulf) but also to invest in people’s spirits. To give them a good sales day probably means more to them than most of us can imagine.

In Christ Alone…

I have not been able to get this song out of my head for the past 2 days. And as I looked through the verses to see which one to post here…I was reminded of something a friend said this morning as we talked about this song. ALL of the verses are just so powerful. So I didn’t pick one. I picked them all.  Read through this…let these words sink in deep.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

exhaustion & the listener

I’m exhausted. Hosting a wedding show is hard work.

Things went fairly well. And I’m grateful for small successes throughout the day. Especially for meeting a new friend & for having a discussion about what the Green Country Event Center actually is & the history of the GCEC & Garnett & where they are now & the vast array of things  going on in that building each day. That was encouraging.

But my feet hurt, and my mind is tired of thinking/planning/hosting.

So I’m taking some time to myself. On the couch. In my comfiest clothes with my feet up.

And I want to also tell you about last night. After a long day of set-up for the wedding show we spent the evening at Joe Momma’s.  Great pizza, our favorite waiter, and some great music. Check it out here. We love the Listener.

And yes, that is a washing machine. And yes, he did have it on stage with him last night. And yes, it was awesome.

A sad day.

I just broke the glass carafe part of my french press.

And I almost cried.

Not because I broke it. But because it means it will be a few days (at least) before I can replace it & make french press coffee again.

*sigh* Maybe that means I’m a little bit addicted.


Perhaps this one is a bit extravagant…

This one is cute though…

Good thing they sell replacement parts.

on forgiving

I forgave someone once.

They had a different countenance that day. The bubbly, full-of-joy person I saw one day didn’t show up that day. That day they were embarrassed, and maybe a little sad.

The last time I saw them, they were joyful and singing in church. That day they were solemn, and confessing that they had done something wrong.

But I believe that the joyful person from the first day was still in there. Today they were just covered up by the pain that sometimes comes with telling the truth.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Because maybe that joyful person in church was covering up the solemn person that sometimes does things that are wrong. And maybe that day the solemn person was covering up the joyful one that is usually there. I don’t really know how they “usually” are. And the truth is that it doesn’t really matter.

Someone once said (in reference to those of us in the Church) that we just clean up really well.

Because sometimes I am the joyful one singing to Jesus on Sunday morning. (All the while, knowing about the not-so-great choices I have made.)

And sometimes I am the solemn one knowing that I don’t always make the best choices. (All the while, knowing the freedom that comes with the light.)

The difference is my bad choices usually stay in the dark. And that day, theirs was brought into the light.

And the really beautiful thing is that there is freedom in that light. Though they may not feel it right away.

Because sometimes it’s like when your eyes have to take some time to adjust to the light after they’ve been in the dark.

Especially if it’s been awhile.

But in the light there is warmth & love. And hopefully that’s what they remember from that day.