Slow down. Count 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 Rs: Religious 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.
Monday, March 28, 2011
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.
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
"Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."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.
~ Psalm 103:5
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.
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."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.
~ 2 Peter 4:9
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
"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."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.