Dust. Not star dust, not gold dust. Dust dust. Even the word is ugly. The problem with dust is that it continues to settle indefinitely as does the laundry and the dishes and, worst of all, the spilled chocolate soymilk and crispy cereal that the ants lie in wait for. Okay, enough of that - the thought is enough to send me rummaging through the cupboards for the nearest ant-free chocolate of any kind.

As homeschooling mothers, we need to keep things in order. I'm sure we all have a different method to tame the tide. Some moms put the kids to bed and stay up late getting everything back in order. Others get up early and get a head start on the work. Still others (usually those with babies - myself included) never seem to have enough energy to do either and tend to procrastinate because it looks so overwhelming. Some are fast and furious, and others are slow and meticulous. I happen to be slow and furious. In other words, I'm furious at the slow speed in which I am able to accomplish anything due to the severe demands on my time. But, thankfully, I have found some help!

Get Rid of It
One of the best hints I am learning about housecleaning is to de-clutter. The less you have, the less you have to maintain. Whenever there is excess, there tends to be disorder. Whether it's too many toys, too many pots and pans or too many outfits per child. Maybe even too many stacks of (dare I say it?) curriculum. The only good thing about clutter is that you can't find the dust – but neither can you find anything else you might really need. A good rule for all that extra stuff: if it isn't helpful, get rid of it.

Stay on Top of It
As well as regularly evaluating the necessity of what's in your house, set up a regular schedule of maintaining it. Nothing fancy, just something organized (Monday wash day, Tuesday, vacuuming, etc). Then, look at your biggest problem area and do a little bit everyday until it's done. 15 minutes of going through that stack of paperwork while you're eating breakfast. 10 minutes going through that junk drawer while you're teaching the younger ones how to match the bowls and lids. 20 minutes going through toys or clothes with the children. If you don't stay on top of it, you'll get buried under it. Trust me, I'm just now digging myself out and enjoying the freedom. And as I maintain some kind of order, my time is freed up to minister to others – but if and only if my spiritual house is clean as well.

Dust in the Temple
What about our spiritual house? Is there dust in the temple? Does it need to be de-cluttered? Do you search your mind for the answer to a spiritual struggle for yourself or someone else and only seem to wallow in the mire? Has your mind been filled with things other than the words of eternal life? Then I suggest a thorough cleaning of the dust and clutter in your heart and mind.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." NKJV

Get Rid of It
Do your thoughts tend toward things that are untrue, impure, unlovely, or of bad report? If the thought isn't helpful, get rid of it. Do you allow junk to fill your mind through television or worldly movies and books? If it's not beneficial for eternity, get rid of it. After you de-clutter, start putting the Word of God in permanent residence there. Meditate on it day and night and your endeavors will be successful and your mind will be renewed. Consider these verses:

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." NKJV