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Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Interview with Karen Ehman

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself - an intro, so to speak:
I have a hubby of 22 years and three sometimes argumentive but mostly charming children: Mackenzie-17, Mitchell 13 and Spencer 10. I am a stay-at-home mom who speaks and writes on the side and am a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaking team and a volunteer for Hearts at Home and organization who mission is to help moms love their lives. I love to see my daughter act on stage, watch my boys play sports, hang out with my husband discussing life and read my Bible. I love to cook and organize. I love to write handwritten notes. I hate to clean and can't sew to save my life. I hate to send emails and type as slow as a snail. I also have pitiful, partially finished scrapbooks and no real personal hobbies. In 8 years when Spencer is gone, I'll find one in my "spare time" unless, of course, I'm a Grandma by then!! :-)

2. Please tell us a little about your books and what led you to write them?
My first two Homespun Gifts from the Heart and Homespun Memories for the Heart were co-written with my best friend from college and a dear friend from church. They are designed to provide easy, doable ideas for moms who want to remember their loved ones with creative gifts or make special memories with their kids on holidays, holy days or the every days of life. My first solo book was A Life That Says Welcome and it chronicles my tale of marrying into a family of decorators, cooks and bed and breakfast owners while I myself could barely boil water! It is about 1/3 story driven and biblical hospitality info and 2/3 practical ideas on decorating, cleaning and recipe ideas. It also encourages hospitality on the road--reaching out to those with whom your life naturally intersects. My most recent book is The Complete guide to Getting and Saying Organized. It is an idea driven, practical and doable workbook type volume that walks moms through setting the bar where they want it and crafting their own plan to manage their time and organize their stuff. It definitely is NOT one size fits all!

3. What is one of your favorite "life lessons" that God has taught you thus far?
God is sometimes in the plans, often in the waiting and always in the interruptions!

4. When it comes to cleaning and organizing, I hear a lot of people who are very discouraged and tired. What would you say to them to help them along? Any tips, suggestions, or words of advice?
They need to take into account their particular lifestyle and stage of life and not try to replicate someone else's slick plan. I like to encourage women to learn strategies to take care of the have tos of life in an efficient manner so that they have more time for the want tos of life!!

5. Have a quick organizational and/or cleaning tip you'd like to divulge? Pretty please?
It sounds old fashioned but I have found it to be true--have a place for everything and everything in its place! Grandma was right! I find most women suffer from what I call the "for now" syndrome and it causes great distress in their life. You know all of those piles of "for now"....I'll place this junk mail here..for now. Or I will set this clean laundry over there....for now. Or I'll just lay this junk I don't know what to do with here....for now. Pretty soon we have piles for for now all over the house staring us in the face and making us feel defeated!!!!!!

6. Any tips especially for moms/dads with younger children in the home, regarding life, love, and happiness - and cleaning and organization, of course!?
Get the family on the same team. Your hubby and kids are not the enemy. Satan and his distractions are the enemy. Her wants us to bicker, complain, mess each other up and divide and conquer our family! Don't let him. Have a plan. Work the plan. Work together so that your home stays relatively in order and you can free up time to spend together as a family doing something you love to do!!!

7. And, how about some tips for older parents and grandparents who have trouble parting with their things, and end up feeling so tired and disgusted that they jump ship before they even start?
Enlist the help of someone who is not emotionally attached to your stuff. It is just STUFF!!!! Weeding out and organizing is good for the soul. And maybe some of your stuff can go to help someone else who will actually use it!!! I have an entire chapter on de-junking your house ridding it of items no longer needed. It is one that readers tell me was the most helpful for them. I say away with the junk!!!!

And, because we LOVE participation - we want you, our readers, in on the fun!
Just leave a comment with your best organizational tip when it comes to either managing your time or organizing your stuff. (The two major areas her book covers) And/or tell us your biggest organizational challenge or time management fiasco.

We'll be drawing winners from the comments (which answer our questions) to receive something great! So, be sure to ALSO leave your name and email address as well (in ADDITION to your answers)!!

1 comment:

BlessedBeyondBelief said...

My first tip is the one that I had the hardest time with and still have to work on: Saying NO. People always think you have a ton of time because you are a SAH home. That is not the case in my house, but I can't speak for everyone.

My second tip would be get rid of things. I have two sons (2 YO and 7 weeks) and trying to weed through things kills me. "Oh the memories", I think, but then when it's all gone through and we have less toys and clothes, I have more time to make memories instead of being frustrated about all the toy mess.

Jodi Davis- Jodi@woh.rr.com