15 Minutes of Service

I have teenagers living in my house. They are busy. They don’t have free time, so they say. I want them to help with housework and contributing to the family workload, but having scheduled chores doesn’t work for us when they have to get up early to leave for school at 7:15 am and they are hungry and tired when they come home from school and have after school activities and homework to manage, in addition to finding time to get to sleep at a decent hour.  I might be making excuses for them, but I truly believe that they have a lot to manage on their own, yet I still want them to help out and contribute.   How? How can I make this work?

We tried chore charts and we tried allowances, but these didn’t work due to luck and timing.

I came up with a new method that is working, although they did grouse a bit at first.  I think it is important for everyone to contribute to keeping the household running, clean and organized.  I don’t think one person should be responsible for it all. And when everyone pitches in, just a little bit, I feel happy.  And if the mama is happy, everyone is happy.

I used to subscribe to the FLY LADY, who taught me that we could do anything for 15 minutes. She used to tell me to set a timer for 15 minutes and pick a project and go for it! Spend the 15 minutes focused and working on one area. And every day she’d give you a new task or idea and to encourage me to set my timer. This worked!!  I was amazed and impressed and in awe. When you break tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, they’re not so overwhelming and amazingly, stuff gets done that you never thought you’d have time for. 15 minutes can be squeezed in without feeling like it’s taking over our schedule.

So I’m practicing this with my kids. I am asking them to give me 15 minutes of service. For some reason, this seems doable and less daunting. And if they have 15 minutes to check their social media accounts, and to make food, or sit on the couch, etc, they have 15 minutes to contribute. This is not hard and it’s not too much to ask.

I am asking them to choose how they would like to be of service, and they are coming up with ideas which I love. If they can’t think of what to do, I give them suggestions of what needs to be done and they can choose. They are empowered and there isn’t a battle using this method, at least for this week.

Yesterday, Christian swept and mopped the floor. Juliana cleaned up both bathrooms. Charlie helped declutter his room and to declutter the house by putting shoes and jackets away.  Our house looks so much better and it didn’t take much effort!  I am so happy. I think they are happy too because they were industrious and gave and helped contribute to the household, which I believes makes them feel good about themselves too. Everyone has to do their part and I love that I am not the nag anymore.  I hope it lasts!!

How does your family manage and divvy up the chores? Do you have a method that works? Do share.  Or try this way and let me know how it works for you.




Mowing the grass with a hand-push lawn mower is fun and hard work when the grass is thick, and presents a challenge.

The kids kept trying on their own and the mower would get stuck. Then they decided to try pushing together after getting a running start and they were able to scoot all the way across the lawn, with double the momentum, and a couple laughs.

It’s much easier and more fun when you have a friend to help you do the work together, especially when you’re dressed alike.

Best friends.

Summer fun.

Life is good!


Do you ever think about teams?

What teams do you belong to?

Why do you like to be part of a team?

I played tennis this morning with my team, and we were just practicing. I loved being out on the courts, playing with a new partner and practicing certain skills like keeping my eye on the ball and trying not to make mistakes. Any day on the courts is a good day to me. I love the challenge and the practice and being outside in the sunshine with friends. I love that we have a captain, who schedules our games and plans practices and organizes us so that I don’t have to think about it, and just show up. I love that my friends want to schedule additional times to play and practice together and that we’re always mixing it up. I love the friendly competition and working towards a goal. This fills me up.

Today Juliana’s tennis team won their championship playoff game. I am so happy that she was chosen to be on the team and got to practice nearly every day. She had a great team of coaches and supportive players who cheered each other on. I am so proud of her.


Tonight I worked with a team of volunteers to put on a graduation dinner. I was thankful that there were several of us working together to create something meaningful. I loved the input and ideas and collaboration and help. Truly, working alone is no fun and one person cannot possibly think of all possible ideas and best practices. Plus, having a team makes things flow smoothly and it is so nice to have backup help and to not have to do everything by yourself. I loved the time together working with friends, and that the people we were serving were thankful for the work we created as a team.

Tonight I was also thankful for my team of supporters in this life journey. April went to pick up Juliana after her tennis match, as I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. Jeff came to pick up Charlie from my event, and once he arrived, he let Charlie stay on and play with his friends as they were all having a good time too. Thank you for your help April and Jeff! You make life easier and I’m thankful you’re here with me.

I hope you enjoy your teams too – as they come in many different forms. Go Team!