Winter Is Coming – And So Is the Mould

As the pending Southern Hemisphere winter knocks on our doorstep we are faced with many minor headaches throughout our properties; but none are more annoying than the build up of mould in bathrooms and laundries.

Last season was an exceptionally cold winter for us and the amount of heavily built up mould that I saw in bathrooms and laundries was at monumental levels. The crazy thing, it doesn’t have to be! There are a few simple tricks to keeping mould from taking over your bathroom and potentially damaging paintwork (which could create bond issues for tenants) and more importantly health.

Mould removal should be part of any cleaning routine and must be kept in check to reduce its likelihood for growth. After 10 years in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, one thing I have had a lot of experience with is mould; we used to get mould in everything, and I mean everything. If you are old enough to remember back to VHS video tapes, even they would get mould in them.

So, what to do about controlling mould during the coming winter? – If you have a bathroom fan, make sure you use it. Always turn on the bathroom fan while you shower and be sure to leave it run long enough after you have finished to help moisture leave the bathroom.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have the good old IXL Tastic (heat, fan, and light) make sure you have it on, the heater globes will help keep the moisture build up to a minimum while the fan will carry out the obvious work.

If you only have a window, then be sure to make sure to open it a little. I know the thought of this is not much fun in 2 degree weather, but its paramount to keep the moisture build up from steam to a minimum – this of course goes for laundries too, especially while running dryers. Another good idea while running a dryer is to make sure the laundry door is open, it will not only allow for ventilation but assist in keeping the home warmer.

Finally, if (and when, as you won’t always be able to keep mould at bay) have a spray bottle of bleach, not the expensive stuff, but the simple homebrand bleach. It costs near nothing and a few short and sharp squirts on the affected area will generally kill the mould in its tracks. No need to spray and scrub, just squirt on and leave, ideally when the area is dry, not just after a shower as it will dilute and be less effective.

These simple tricks should help you survive the mould attack that has become so prevalent during long and chilly winters.

It’s also worth noting that as a tenant you may very likely become responsible for any damage caused by mould. If not controlled and left unchecked, mould can eat through paintwork and even the walls. So control any mould that is starting to appear now, and this will help keep the unsightly growth away and may just help your health, too!

Tips to Clean Bathroom Water Damage

Bathrooms are one of the most common areas to suffer from repeated water abuse and have a high risk for water damage, but the cost and damage can be cut down with a few easy steps on how to handle water damage.

The very first thing that should be obvious is to find the water shut off valve and turn it off to prevent further damage if you're suffering broken pipes. There should be a handle behind the toilet if that is the source of the leak, otherwise, you will have to find the shut off valve for the entire house. Removing the water is something you will have to address immediately before mold can set in; shop vacs, towels, even a shovel and bucket are all helpful if the water is excessive.

A more thorough drying is required after the still water is removed by wiping down the walls, paneling and fixtures. Mold is a serious risk so it is important to do this as quickly and thoroughly as possible and finish ventilating by opening windows, turning on fans and getting as much airflow in the area as you can. While waiting for the area to dry, you may use the time to launder rugs, towels or other fabrics before they start to mildew.

If there is any dirt or debris after the area's dry, be sure to use one-time-use rags, industrial bags, gloves and boots to clean before sanitizing. Once the rubris is gone, make sure that you have proper ventilation in the room and use a mixture of bleach and water to go over every surface (floors, walls, ceiling and fixtures) to completely sanitize. Once fumes are gone, you may thoroughly clean the bathroom with regular bathroom cleaners and go through the room with special attention to any wood and anything touching the floor. After you've completed these steps, if you have any question about mold developing or start to see signs, immediately call a water damage expert to check the area professionally.

To See or Not to See-Bathroom Mirrors

Even in bathrooms, mirrors are an important piece of the dZcor. The choice of your bathroom mirror can create completely different looks in the same room. Mirrors can reflect light to make the room look larger or to reflect a particular decorative piece to create emphasis on it. The frame, size, and shape will have an affect on your most private room.

Frame

Since bathrooms are usually smaller, you will need to choose mirrors that are light framed or frameless for a more elaborate style. Wrought iron can be delicately woven to provide a light touch. Other light frames could have made thin bronze or polished nickel frame. Frameless mirrors will often have beveled or etched edges for light decoration. Just remember the goal is to create a lighter room to add a sense of depth and dimension to the small space. Avoid heavy frames that will only crowd the small bathroom space even more.

Size

The size of your bathroom mirror will depend upon the size of the room and the size of the vanity or tub you will put it over. Never allow the mirror to extend over the edge of the vanity or tub because it will create an unbalanced look in the room. For a double-sink vanity, you can use one large rectangular mirror from edge-to-edge. This will perfectly reflect enough light to increase the impression of more open space. You may choose to have two separate mirrors for each sink, but you will probably need to add more lighting around each. For an inset tub, placing a wall-to-wall mirror above it will also add airiness to a space that would otherwise feel too enclosed.

Shapes

The shape of your bathroom mirror will be affected by the style you are trying to achieve and the purpose the mirror will serve. Large rectangles over a double-sink vanity create a great deal of light for shaving or applying make-up. For a stand-alone make-up vanity, you may want a Victorian style oval mirror to frame the lady's face perfectly as she applies her make-up or arranges her hair. A full-length dressing mirror may be appropriate on the back of the door or as a part of the shower door.

The style of your bathroom mirror will help you to achieve your own personal touch in your bathroom. Traditional styles will best be complemented by light framed oval mirrors. Contemporary styles will favor the frameless beveled mirrors. If you choose a framed style, you can blend it with the cabinets in the room. Bathroom mirrors are as varied as people, so only your imagination will limit you.

Start Your Day Bright With Proper Bathroom Lighting

A house is a place where you can keep your some of your secrets. And inside the house there is the place in which you can keep your deepest secrets that as much as possible, no one can know about it.

Aside from the bedroom which is considered to be the personal place in the home, bathroom is also included in it. Bathroom is your personal place inside your bedroom where you can keep your dirtiest secrets, literally and figuratively speaking.

Your day and ends in your bathroom. Making this place comfortable is one good way to start your day right. And since you spend long hours in this room, the atmosphere of the place must be friendly to you. Making the room comfortable including bathroom lighting.

Just like in any other part of the house, bathroom lighting must be properly planned to get the right effects. Lighting enhances the look of the house and so in the bathroom. And among the lighting scheme in different area of ​​the house, bathroom lighting scheme is one of the complicated plan to do for the reasons that this place deals water. And we all know that water and electricity are not the things to become compatible no matter what happen. So, it is really important to plan the lighting in the bathroom and much better if you choose the lighting fixtures that are resistant to moisture.

Other reason would be the task done inside this room such as applying makeup and shaving. In this case, you will need not just a light. You will need a right fixture at the right place. Vanity or your bathroom mirror is one of the important places in the bathroom where you should place the right lighting fixture. For this area, the light should give you right amount of glare and it should not produce shadow on your face which is not good when you are applying makeup. Bathroom lighting above the mirror will do the honor of giving you the shade appropriate for that specific task.

However, it is still important that your bathroom must be supplied by natural light coming from the sun since this is the thing that makes the room a bit comfortable. And starting your day in a comfortable bathroom makes your entire day full of inspiration.

Prepping the Bathroom for Winter

Now that there is a slight chill in air and winter is well on its way, this would be a good time to start preparing the bathroom for that long cold season ahead. Since we tend to stay inside the majority of the time, what better way to while away the hours than to begin fixing up the bathroom and adding the desired essentials. By keeping a observant eye on your budget and equipped with an abundance of the necessary professional information, it is easy to pull off the look you are trying to attain. First evaluate what your bathroom lacks compared to the luxury items you would like to have.

So how do you choose between that so desired steam shower or over the electric shower or bath whirlpool spa? They all provide an inviting winter escape for a sumptuous place to unwind and loosen up. You want to get as much flexibility out of the bathroom now and for years to come. If possible your bathroom should have both a bathtub and a shower and also where careful planning comes into play. As a general rule, if you have a small space to work with, it is best to stick to the original layout of the bathroom. Understanding the limitations will help when shopping around for new bathroom pieces. Steam showers require a unique space along with plumbing requirements, but on the other hand, electric showers can be installed inside the existing bathing area.

Inspect the bathroom pipes

One area homeowners tend to overlook is a through check of the existing plumbing. Before installing a new bathroom suite or any other type of bathroom fixture, it is vitally important to examine the pipes, molding, and tiles to include cracked grouting. Before the installation of a new vanity cabinet and sink have a look at the seals and welding around the pipes and drain lines. Wear and tear especially in an older home can often lead to rusty pipes and hairline cracks. If the plumbing is old and there were no prior water leaks, when you started ripping out the old sink and rattling the pipes, if there was a weak spot in any of the metal pipes or tubing, this can cause small pin holes.

The same principals should be followed when installing a new shower or replacing the bathtub. Before the final placements of the bathroom fixtures have a close look at any loose or cracked tiles and grouting. If you leave cracks and holes unfixed, water and moisture can cause some water damage and mold which is not visible until it is too late. Whether or not you plan to replace the bathroom suite or fixtures, these are all must do's to prep the bathroom for winter to ensure it is kept a safe warm place for the entire family.

Another way of keeping the bathroom warm and cozy over winter are towel warmers. Not only a great economic way of heating the bathroom, but are superior for drying wet towels and provide a way of storing them rather than on the floor.

Choosing a Corner Shower

Corner showers are a convenient alternative to a standard bathtub and shower combination. In a small bathroom with limited space, they are a perfect substitution for a standard bath. They provide more room inside compared to a regular four corner shower and still leave adequate room in the bathroom for storage space and even a vanity.

There are many different sizes, colors, and styles of corner showers available and each one has its own unique interior features. Consider the base size when shopping for this type of shower, because this will ultimately determine the amount of space inside. The larger the shower base, the more room available on the interior. Look for features on the interior such as shelves for soap and shampoo, and a towel rack. These features are a nice addition to the shower walls. Without the edges of a standard tub there is now to put these items other than on the floor, which will leave you with less foot room. Some showers also have a built in bench which is a convenient feature.

Corner showers are generally easy to install and take little time. Some of these showers are fiberglass and come in a kit with everything included, whereas others can be built by purchasing individual pieces. If you opt to purchase the pieces separately, remember that you will need some sort of back splash on the wall. Tile is always a good choice, but it is important that the walls of the shower connect securely to the back splash to avoid leaks.

There are several options for doors and fixtures, so you are able to create a shower that not only fits well in a small space, but is also appealing and functional. Showers designed for the corner are an excellent alternative to a full size shower and tub, especially when space is limited. Choosing features that will compliment your bathroom will make this shower a perfect addition to your home.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing a Wall Hung Basin for Your Bathroom?

Picture the scenario – you have bought your new home, however, the bathroom needs a complete refurbishment. One of the first questions you are likely to think about is what type of bathroom sink, or basin, you would like for your bathroom. In this article we will learn more about the wall hung basin, or wall mounted basin, and consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a wall hung basin for your bathroom.

Firstly, what is a wall hung basin? It is fairly simply a bathroom sink which essentially hangs or is suspended, in the wall. It is important to realise that it is not supported by a pedestal unit, or fitted over a bathroom unit. So what are some of the advantages of choosing this type of bathroom sink?

One of the biggest drawing points to wall mounted basins is the flexibility in the height of the actual basin. This is especially beneficial in houses with children – as they will hopefully be able to easily access the sink and wash their hands. This is also extremely helpful if you have any disabled or wheelchair users within the house, as they will also benefit from the lowered height of the mounted basin.

The very design of a wall mounted basin is also a significant advantage. As it does not use any type of stand, the basin will take up less space, especially on the floor. This allows these types of basin to be installed in almost any sized bathroom or cloakroom, and will more than likely fit comfortably. The disadvantage of a pedestal basin is that it can sometimes be more clunky and take up some of that crucial space which is needed.

Wall mounted basins are also easier to clean. Again the aesthetics of the design mean that the only real cleaning point is the actual basin. As there is no stand or any other clunky parts to the basin, the process of cleaning a wall hung basin should be relatively quick and simple.

If you are designing, or even redesigning, your bathroom – especially if you are seeking a more minimalistic look, then this type of bathroom sink may be the ideal choice for you. You should, however, be aware that there are also some potential disadvantages to choosing a wall mounted basin.

We mentioned above about the minimalistic look that a mounted basin can provide. However, this is both positive and a negative. The very design of the basin means that there is a lack of storage space associated with the sink. A lot of bathroom sinks will usually come with some type of cupboard space below the sink, where people usually keep other bathroom accessories such as toilet roll, soap or anything else. With the mounted sink, it can mean that you have to find a different place to store your bathroom accessories.

There is also the added financial cost of the installation of a wall mounted sink. As the plumbing cannot be hidden within a bathroom unit, it will need be to properly fitted by a plumber. Although the costs of plumbers can be reasonable, it will still increase your overall costs.

It is clear that wall mounted bathroom sinks do provide a large number of advantages. In the right type of bathroom, this can be a perfect choice and really enhance the look and feel of the bathroom. Whatever decision you make – always consider all of your options and the individual characteristics of your bathroom – and choose the right option for yourself.

Roaming Fingers – A Story of A Childhood Sexual Molestation

We have all had our “stories” to tell about our lives growing up. Some have had fun loving childhoods in which they had a stay-at-home mom, who had home baked cookies ready for them as soon as they walked in from school, clean clothes ready for the next day, and dinner simmering on the stove. Dads arrived home, everyone sat at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal that mom had prepared, and then while dinner dishes were being cleaned up, the kids could tell their dad about their day. Some had parents that encouraged them, helped them with their homework after supper, and enjoyed spending time with their kids before the next day started. You know, one of those “Leave It To Beaver” type of families. Then there were those who were minus one parents for one reason or another…usually divorce or death. Or what about those that lived with alcoholic or drug addicted parents who weren’t really “parents” at all. Their kids were basically were on their own, raising themselves, fending for themselves, and making the most of bad situations.

I don’t know why I am sharing this right now. I just feel led to let someone out there know that you are not alone! That you can live a normal life. I have been molested by 4 different men between the ages of 8 – 14. But, the LORD GOD Himself, brought me through this all. I have been been redeemed and washed clean by the blood of the Lord. I no longer have to live in life of my molestation taking charge over me any longer.

I was one of those kids who had my own “unique” circumstances when growing up. My parents divorced when I was 7, though my dad moved out when I was 5 ½. I was the oldest of the three of us. We moved to a small town to live closer to my grandparents, my mom’s parents. We moved from the bigger metropolis of Denver, CO, to the small town of Julesburg, CO. At first, when I was younger, I’d made my lifelong friend with the girl who lived across the street from my grandparent’s house. This was the summer before our 2nd grade school year. During the time, our lives seemed somewhat “normal” playing babies, or pretending to be teachers at school, or building ant farms…

But during my lifetime, many things happened that made me who I am today. I cannot begin to tell you what my life was like and do it justice! There are so many more stories I could tell you! For one, we moved and lived in 27 different places from the time I turned 7 – 18. I went to 11 schools in 12 years time. I think that that with us moving so often, I took with me idea that “I better make friends quickly, because sure enough we’d be moving and I’d have to leave.” I believe my sister took the theory that “why bother making friends because we were going to move anyway.” And my brother, well, being a boy, keeping a friend wasn’t that big of a deal, and he made friends fairly easy, but it wasn’t as big an issue for him as it was us girls.

When I was 8, my mom began dating a Japanese farmer in our area, quickly becoming engaged, with the last name of Kinoshita. As you can imagine, the 3 of us kids made quite fun of that name at the time by intentionally pronouncing it, Kin-O-Shit-A. Mean, weren’t we? Well this is the first time that I consider myself being sexually molested. After suppers, my mom would go to the kitchen to wash dishes at his house, and the 3 of us kids and her boyfriend would lie on the floor to watch some TV. Well her fiance’ would use this time to “rub my tummy.” Now I was 8, so needing my tubby rubbed after dinner seemed really weird to me, but I thought, okay, I suppose if this is normal? It made me uncomfortable, but my mom said he was only trying to be nice. Okay, so nice it was…I guess?? But then those tummy rubs, turned into “roaming fingers,” and climbed a little higher and a little higher. Soon my tummy rubs became chest rubs. Now mind you, I had barely started developing, but still had just enough that this made me incredibly uncomfortable! My mom had said that she really wanted this marriage because he was financially well off, and so each night that this went on, I tried to keep myself busy with homework so we didn’t have to lie on the floor and watch TV, but one way or another, he coaxed me in to it, and my mom had told us several times that she didn’t want this relationship messed up by us kids. So, I kept my mouth shut, until one day, on the way home from school, I let it all out to my friend. She went home and talked to her mom. I didn’t know what they were talking about, because her parents only spoke Spanish, so I didn’t think much of it. However, her mom, having heard what was going on, assured me that they were there for me, and that this was something that I had to talk to my mom about right away. So with my friend and her mom both sitting there, I called my mom and told her what had been happening. I don’t know much how was actually said between my mom to her new fiance’, but I do know that she broke up with him. However, my friend’s mom suggested that he be turned in to the police, but my mom said that it was pointless to call the police because “he was so rich that he can own the town, so no one will believe you anyway. It would be his word against yours,” she said. So, life went on as “normal.” Okay, normal as normal could be.

Then my mom found a younger guy who could come over in the mornings and stay with us, when she went to work at 6:00 AM at the truck stop, and he got off at 6:00 AM from working the all night shift there, and would come stay with the three of us kids for the day, as our “babysitter.” Oh he was fun, would make us breakfast, take us to the school or the park to play on the playground, and chase us around the house playing tickle monster. However, when he first got to the house each morning, instead of climbing in to my mom’s empty bed to sleep for a while, he would climb in to my bed with me. Why? Well there were those “roaming fingers” again. Except this time, these fingers roamed up, and then down. I was 9, and he was 21. What did I have at that age that was so enticing anyway?! I hadn’t even started physically developing yet for goodness sake!!! At any rate, this went on for weeks. I told my mom, but she she thought that since I had been through this with her ex-fiance’, then “it must me something I was doing to encourage these guys.” So, though he stopped watching us, I remember wishing him dead. I did. I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted him dead so he could never do something like this again! A couple of months later, while he was working at the electric company, and his partner decided to start drinking some beer on their lunch break. Well Curtis had climbed the pole to work on a specific wire that was causing them trouble, and was electrocuted. He fell from the pole, and his partner, having been drinking, wasn’t functional enough to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I knew it was all my doing! I had prayed and asked for him to die, and he had. You see, it was all my fault…I had wished it, and prayed for that. I just knew it was my fault. I held on to that guilt for many, many years after that. Someone was dead and it was all my fault.

Then, we had a family friend, who we’d been friends with he and his wife for years. In fact, most times, we loved going over to their house. She was like an adopted mom to us kids, and we could convince her husband to come play games with us, read us stories, etc. You should have heard him read one of the Dr. Seuss books backwards! It was a riot! And it was a tongue twister reading it from front to back, let alone reading it back to front! And we used to love tricking him in to asking for Big Macs at Burger King! So, needless to say, we would go over to their house quite often. Usually though, I got the big bed with his wife because we always went to bed much earlier than he did, and he slept on the couch when we stayed, or in the spare bedroom. His wife would usually send me in to wake him when it was time for us all to get up each morning. That’s when those infamous “roaming fingers” would start roaming again. I was between the ages of 10 – 12 during most of this time. But, without telling my mom, (remember how she had decided the last time that I must be the one to enticing these “men,”) that sure enough, it must be something about me, and once again, I was at fault.

Well over time, we’d moved again like we had done numerous other times before, and so we didn’t see them as often as we had before. It was in the beginning of our 8th grade year, so I was in one school there in Jr. High, and suddenly we left CO and headed to good ole’ IA. My mom had broken up with a trucker guy she was dating, a real nutty guy who used to set up candles in a circle in our basement, and call on the spirits from the Mojave Dessert. So, we packed up as soon as we got home from school that day, took only our few very important possessions (and I do mean very few), and our cats, and loaded up a small little U-haul trailer, and off we headed out with no where specific in mind. My mom suggested IA, so off we headed West. We ended up in Council Bluffs and out of money. So, this is where we decided to stay.

Of course, we’d switched schools again, for the umpteenth time, and we started yet another school in Council Bluffs, while we lived in a one room cabin with 2 double beds, one bathroom, a crock pot to cook in and three cats. We started one school, but were the “poor kids” and didn’t fit in well. But, once again, we moved. This time it was a good thing. I was starting in the 9th grade, but at a completely different school. This school was much better, much more acceptable, much less judgmental, and critical, and we weren’t treated as “low class scum” here.

I was finally 14 at this time. My last year before I got to start high school. I was so excited! I was finally growing up, started wearing makeup, fixing my hair, and thinking about the big “B” word…BOYS!!! We were living in a house fairly near the school, so it was in walking distance. My mom was once again working at one of the truck stops nearby. But money was tight, so my mom brought a truck driver home to live with us to help pay the bills. Well this guy was 28. My mom worked the all night shift at the truck stop, and Terry would be home most nights, and on runs during the days for the most part. Well Terry took quite a liking to me immediately. Now mind you, I had just turned 14. My sister and I shared a bedroom, my brother had one to the left of us, and across the hall was Sue’s room (a girl/lady in her early 20s from Indiana), someone that Terry had found hitch hiking one day on his trip out-of-town, and brought to our house to stay with us too. So, that was one more person to help pay the bills. But, to get to the bathroom, we had to walk through a little hallway, and we had to go through Sue’s room to get there. Then to the left was the bathroom, and then to the right was Terry’s bedroom. My mom’s room was on the main floor. In between the bathroom and Terry’s bedroom was a second door. The door locked from Terry’s side of the room, but not from his room into the bathroom. Well at night, once Terry thought all of us kids were asleep in bed, he would come into my room, and once again, night after night, those infamous “roaming fingers” of yet another guy, would start their traveling. He would come in, with a condom on, already ready for whatever I guess he had hopes for. He would ask me to put on something “sexy.” I didn’t have anything “sexy” because I was 14-years-old, and “sexy” was not something I was thinking about at that point in my life. Heck, just getting my makeup to look good in the morning, and curling my hair before school was as “sexy” as it got. His fingers roamed places that I didn’t know existed. I used to pray, “Please Lord, let him think that I’m really asleep and go away tonight.” Or I’d pray, “Please Lord, let my sister wake up so that she’ll make enough noise or something that he’d go away and leave me alone.” He never got to the stage where we actually forced full fledged sex on me, but night after night, we went through this ritual. Night after night he would go back to his room, and I would disgustedly cry myself to sleep. Night after night I wished my sister would please just WAKE UP, just this once. But, she never seemed to, or so I thought, until many years later when I found out that she said that she was afraid to let us know that she was awake, because she was afraid he would come to her next. I can’t blame her for that. I wished I could pretend so he’d leave me alone too, but, that wasn’t the case.

Well one day Sue had asked me to go for a walk with her to talk. So, I did. She started telling me that Terry would come in to her room almost every night and do these “things” to her, ask her to “put on something “sexy,” and his “roaming fingers” would start roaming with her too. That’s when it all came out…I spilled what he had been doing to me as well. I pleaded and pleaded with her not to tell my mom because my mom would say, yet once again, that “it must be something I was doing to entice guys like this.” My fault again. Well Sue, knowing how young I was, ended up telling my mom after all. So, my mom went and confronted Terry. He told her that he did it to me because “He loved me soooooo much that he couldn’t resist wanting to make love to me.” Well my mom told him to pack up and get out of our house. We went to my mom’s friend’s house for a few days while he moved out and because they were one vacation and needed someone to house sit and care for their pets. So, we stayed there 3 nights and 4 days. Once we got back home, Terry was gone, and life seemed to go back to “normal” again. Sue and I felt such great peace having him gone. Then one day, about a week later, my mom said that she had to go to the truck stop because Terry wanted to talk to her about something. So, she left and was gone for several hours. When she came back, she said that Terry had convinced her that he really did do what he had done “because he loved me,” and she said that it was a small price to pay since he offered to help pay even more of the bills we had. So, she let him move back in to our house with us. For the first week or two, he was very polite, pulled out the chairs for me when we would sit down at the table, and insisted on driving me to school so that he could kiss me good-bye each day to “let people know that I was his.” At this point, I tried to convince myself that okay, maybe he did really love me, and that I should be proud and flattered that someone the age of 28 would like me, a 14-year-old teenage girl.

Well a few more weeks went by and things had gone back to the way they were. My mom would go to work all night, and Terry would once again come back in to my room at nights, with condom in hand, and his roaming fingers would once again, starting roaming up and down, up and down. The words he spoke made me sick. And every night, it was was same, I would sickeningly cry myself to sleep because I could no longer deal with this at my age, and I was supposed to be having fun in school, looking forward to my high school years, dances, proms, sports events, etc. But instead, I wouldn’t see a future at all. One day, I had had enough, and could no longer take it! I know my mom wanted and needed the money, but I couldn’t pretend that I was okay anymore. I wasn’t. I wanted to die. Yes, truly die! If it had not been for the Lord putting in my path a certain girl at school, who I quickly became best friends with, and my Science Teacher, whom I will never forget and always be grateful for, I might have ended it there. But, God obviously had other plans for me. Just when I thought that He had left me all alone, He provided me with a friend, and a man who not only was my teacher, but one who genuinely cared about me, who knew that I was going through something terrible at home, who gave me compassion, extra time when I just couldn’t concentrate on my assignments, and someone who could make me laugh. I needed that. It brought back hope to me that ALL men did not just want me for sex. That older men were not all perverts, and that God had put him in my life, as my teacher, just in the nick of time.

Today, by God’s grace, forgiveness, and compassion, I have been forgiven my the blood of the lamb, the Lord Jesus Himself. The person who died on that cross many, many years ago so that I might have life everlasting. The one who pulled me out of the darkness and back in to the light. The one who took away all my hurts and distrusts in men. I thank God that though I had to suffer through those awful times, that I came to learn that it was not my fault that the one guy had been electrocuted and died. That NONE of the things that these four men did to me as a child, were my fault.

To this day, my mother still says, “IF those thing really happened to Kelly, then I guess I should have protected her more.” IF those things happened? IF?!?! There is no question that they happened me! My sister once told her that she knows it to be fact because most times she was in the same bed with me, as we almost always shared a bedroom while growing up. I no longer expect that my mother will ever take any responsibility for what I went through. I know that now. I know that I have to forgive her so that Christ can forgive me for my sins. But it is truly, and only by the Grace of God Himself, that I am still here today. It is my prayer that maybe, just maybe, this testimony will help someone else who has been through something similar, or worse, that there IS hope in Jesus Christ. You are not alone. It is NOT your fault. Give it to HIM, as His shoulders are strong enough to take it from you and let you now walk freely in His love.

*Names of people have been changed to protect those others who were involved.

Three Easy DIY Tasks to Add Value to Your Home

The DIY industry has long been popular in the UK and it's a great way to add a little extra value to your home. Whether you're planning on selling, or just looking to add a little luxury to your property, investing some time in a DIY project can be well worth the effort. Some popular projects include:

Renewing Your Bathroom

Spending a little time renewing your bathroom can make for a fun and potentially easy task. The bathroom tends to be one of the smaller rooms in the house, so it makes for a more manageable DIY project, and there are a number of quick jobs you can do. Replacing taps or showerheads, installing new towel rails and replacing old cabinets are all reliably easy tasks. Repaining old paintwork and cleaning tiles and grouting can also help improve the overall look. If you're looking for a larger project retiling / tiling walls or floors can make a large impact and can be completed over a weekend.

A Lick of New Paint

For many, the thought of repainting fills them with dread, but you do not need to make a major project of it. Ignoring the walls for the moment, repainting woodwork around the house can help overall looks immensely, touching up the skirting and removing and repainting flaking paintwork on windows. Repaining flaking paintwork on exterior woodwork is also worth spending a little time on, as it helps maintain the condition of your house. When it comes to the walls, it's worth breaking the job down into smaller projects, tackling a room at a time and taking the time to do it right the first time.

A Little Landscaping in the Front Garden

Taking a weekend to improve the looks of any space out front really adds to the first impression of the house, improving both its value and providing an added level of satisfaction every time you approach the front door. Doing a little weeding, brushing out, putting in a couple of new potted plants and repainting the front door are all easy tasks. If you have grass out the front of the house taking the time to mow the lawn and re-seed any bald patches can make the difference, it's also worth taking the time to edge the lawn and give it a neat finish.

Investing a little time in your home really does pay off in the long term and, by doing little DIY projects often, it does not feel like a chore either!

The Best Place to Start an Organizing Project

So where is the universally most effective place to start organizing? Anywhere! Yup, that's right – the first place you select is perfect. This spot is exactly where you are supposedly to begin. That low hard-to-reach shelf in your pantry? Excellent. The random basket of odds and ends in your bathroom? Right on the money! No need for self-doubt or criticism. There really is no wrong place to begin an organizing project; the important thing is that you start and you give yourself lots of credit for doing just that.

With all of the rules and tips and stories out there it is no wonder you fear starting a new project – especially one that has the ability to impact your daily life and that may even force you to change some of your habits. What if you do something wrong? What if you make things worse ?! You're the one who got yourself into this mess and how can you trust yourself to get out of it?

Here is a little secret for you: YOU are the best person for the job. Yes – you! A Professional Organizer brings space layout and product ideas, objectivity and motivation, and lots of energy to make the job easier. But we also know that our main goal is to extract all of those wonderful strategies and solutions that are rattling around in your brain that will work for you. You know your life best!

So trust that you already have the solution inside, pick a place to start – and get to work! Start off slowly and organize for only 15 – 30 minutes at a time. Allow yourself to work your way up to longer sessions. Organizing is a lot like exercising – it takes time to build your energy and stamina to handle a 3 hour cardio and weight-training session. It is the same with organizing! You need to strengthen those organizing muscles and habits to create a lasting change that you will be motivated to stick with.

What have you got to lose? If the mood strikes today, give it a whirl and work through that kitchen drawer or pile of papers and see what happens. My guess is that it'll feel kind of good, take less time then you expected, and hopefully make you realize that you've got what it takes to get the job done right!