Monday, March 28, 2011

Seeking Simplicity

Slow downCount gifts.  Enjoy life.

Want less - less is more.

Find one devotional / quiet time series, book, idea, subject. . . and really let it seep in and change you.

Take a walk every day.

Read from two or three books instead of playing on the internet.  Do this reading outside as often as possible - by the window when it's not possible.

Blog a litte - journal a lot.

Don't feel the need to adopt every creative idea that comes through the blog feed.

Touch your husband every chance you get. . .

. . .and don't argue with him - just don't.

Read your children like a wonderful, engrossing book - watch them, listen to them, get involved, earmark, highlight, and take notes.

Have no other homeschool priorities besides the 5 RsReligious instruction, Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic, and Recreation.

When there is a behavior problem - every time - Stop, Hug, Pray, and Leave.

But stop finding behavior problems where only childhood stages exist - most of these things will simply work themselves out.

Pick up the house as you move through your day - don't wait to do it all at chore times.

Pick up the house as a family.  Work as a team to get the house clean.

Gratitude 5

The house is always a mess on Monday - the weekend involves little time or desire to clean.  We'd all much rather play together.

This weekend was especially full - grandparents visiting, birthday partying, library hunting, and lots and lots of church luncheon cooking. . .

And I awoke this morning feeling overwhelmed and underqualified - under-equipped to handle the mess that comes with homeschooling four kids in a house I wish were a bit smaller just so there'd be less to maintain.

Counting blessings helps.  Helps to focus my heart and thoughts on the love and grace of God for us. . . in the midst of dirty laundry, dishes, and post-weekend clutter.

29.  Chatting with my mother-in-law. . . while the men-folk snore away.

30.  Home-made goodness (fresh-baked French and sandwich breads, homemade waffles hidden under vanilla ice-cream with homemade blueberry syrup and freshly whipped sweetened cream, my first lasagna ever - with rice noodles for my mother-in-law, and my grandma's crumb cake that we all love) and all the mess that comes with it.

31.  Music.

32.  A soothing, hot cup of chamomile tea with just a spoonful of honey.

33.  A trip with just one child to the library - quiet.

34.  The look, feel, and smell of ink on paper.

35.  White clouds scattered across a blue sky like cotton.

36.  Early morning snuggles with a barefoot 2yo in her yellow pajamas. . . and her lovey, Eebee, too.

37.  The discovery of how slowing down, and noticing the blessings, can give hope and courage to face the day - it even brings a sense of excitement - I wonder what little gifts the Lord will hide in this day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nourishing ~ A Goal

"Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."
~ Psalm 103:5
Like my mother, I pour over cook books - I love the sounds of the words in each recipe:  simmer, sift, and stir; batter and butter - softened butter; rise and punch-down; season-to-taste and rolling boil. . .  I've always loved food, and love making comforting food for my family.

Unfortunately, I spend so much time in the planning and shopping and cooking that the places in my home meant to nourish my family most are forgotten and lost to chaos.  While I plan a meal, cookbooks and picture books grown in stacks on the floor beside the book shelves.  I come back from shopping just to cram good food into over-stuffed cabinets and refrigerator.  I cook a time-consuming meal while homeschool supplies and plans fly in a confused mess over tables and floors and sofas.

To truly nourish my family's bodies, souls, and spirits I must get a handle on the places of nourishment.  I must make an environment that lends itself to nourshment.

This week I am working on the places in my home that nourish my family.  The reading area of the living room, the kitchen, and the school area of the family room.  I am getting rid of everything in those areas that doesn't nourish the body, soul, or spirit.  I am cleaning with an eye toward whole-person nourishment.  And I am hoping to add a couple touches to help in the nourishment process - a couple new books, some kitchen ware, and a sturdy school table.

I pray that my home will be a place that nourishes.

Welcoming ~ A Personal Inventory

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."
~ 2 Peter 4:9
Full of prickles I am.  Who would want to draw close?  I send out an arms-length vibe and I prick when those closest draw in.

I have no door know - no way in.  People can get in with effort, but I don't open the door - they must struggle to find their own way.

I offer no seat - no place to sit and kick off shoes.  "You can stay. . . for a bit," I wordlessly say.

Lord, get rid of my arms-length prickles that poke and frighten, show me how to open wide the door of my heart to loving relationships and offer a long stay to family and friends.  This is where welcoming begins.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcoming ~ A Goal

"And he said, 'Come in, O blessed of the Lord!  Why do you stand outside?  For I have prepared the house and a place for the camels."
~Genesis 24:31
Every time she comes bearing little gifts for my children, she stands outside the front door to talk to me.  Not because she doesn't want to come in, but because I don't invite her.  We stand at the door in rain, shine, snow. . .  chatting.  I stand there knowing it's wrong - worrying that my house is a mess.

I'm called to more than front door conversations.  I'm called to welcome in.  And so, over this season of Lent, I plan to fast the things that keep me from my homemaking responsibilities, to pray for wisdom in running my household, and to take on acts of service - being a good steward of the things and people that God has blessed me with.

This week I hope to work on the places that welcome people in:  the front yard, the foyer, and the sitting area of the living room.  My plan is to remove from those areas anything that does not specifically work to welcome people; to clean in order to make people feel welcomed; to organize the coat closet and living room sitting area; and to add at least one special decorative, welcoming touch to each of those three areas - perhaps a wreath on the front door, a bench in the foyer, and some pillows in the living room.

I pray that my home will be a place that welcomes people in.