I’m still here….really, I am! And…the importance of resting!

I’m still here. Really, I am!

Here’s a great article from Becoming Minimalist on the importance of rest. I thing Sunday afternoon naps are great! The one I had this afternoon wasn’t too bad either. 🙂

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/resting/

Do you get enough rest? Whether it’s sleeping enough hours at night (no, I don’t think two hours is enough) or setting aside time daily or weekly for some quiet, restful time is so important – for our physical AND mental health. And I have found that you can’t make up for LOST rest by sleeping late one day or taking a long nap on Sunday afternoon. You have to add rest daily if at all possible.

I hope that you’ll try and work some rest into your days…a little at a time. Even five minutes of quiet in the middle of a hectic day can be beneficial. (This is my completely non-professional opinion.) With little ones, it’s hard. I remember. I used to hide in the bathroom with the fan on when my hubby got home. Sat on the edge of the tub and took some deep, soothing breaths. 🙂 I still do that sometimes. It’s a great hiding place, but you do need someone to distract little ones because they do not care why you are in the bathroom; they just NEED to be there with you.

Once my kids got old enough to fend for themselves for a while, my Sunday afternoon nap because sacred. That day of rest became real. Now that I work at church on Sunday mornings, that nap is a necessity. For. Real.

So whether it’s a five-minute reprieve sitting on the edge of the tub, an afternoon nap, or – most importantly – getting enough sleep at night on a regular basis, do it for yourself. You deserve it. Do it for those around you. I know I can be scary when I get overtired. Surely I’m not the only one.

So I’m off to Alabama for the weekend for a visit with extended family. Since I worked out at the gym today and focused on my arms, I might actually have to let my son drive. (Insert frightened face on Mom here.) Yikes!

Have a safe and restful weekend!

Lynne 🙂

What’s going on and where I’ve been…

So I’m recovering from my Alabama trip – had to go to physical therapy for my back today and it’s feeling much better. 

Have a race on Saturday – 5k…not ready for a half marathon just yet, but hoping to do one in December.

Really hoping to be be back to our “normal” next week. FYI, one can have a laundry schedule for years and leave for three days and it’s like it never existed. Just saying. 😳

Y’all have a great night! I’m going to put heat on my back as instructed. 

Lynne 

Why a “Schedule” Works for Me

Either-You-Run-The-Day-Or-The-Day-Runs-You

Schedules work for me. Having a schedule is how I survived working full-time with two toddlers at home. Schedules kept me sane when I homeschooled for ten years. Schedules give me a sense of control or focus for my days. The dictionary defines “schedule” as follows:

noun
1. a plan of procedure, usually written, for a proposed objective, especially with reference to the sequence of and time allotted for each item or operation necessary to its completion.
2. a series of things to be done or of events to occur at or during  particular time or period.
3. a timetable.
Please know that having a schedule does not mean being inflexible. Things come up. Life happens. Schedules get interrupted. That’s okay. I like a combination of the above definitions.
1. I like to have it written down.
2. I like to know what needs to be done when.
3. I like setting a timetable but knowing that that’s where the flexibility really comes into play.
When I worked full-time, clearly I had less flexibility. When I homeschooled, there was a little more flexibility but still things had to be done in a timely manner. Now that both kids are grown and much of my day is wide open, without a schedule or plan I could very easily lose myself in a good book and a pot of coffee and never accomplish anything. At all. Zilch. Nada.
“Oh! Is is dinnertime already?”
“What? You need your work clothes tomorrow morning?”
“I have no idea what I did today.”
Now that I’m a relatively free woman, here is how I schedule or plan my days. Again, this is not set in stone. But having a general idea of what should be done and when is freeing rather than restricting. And when my “to do” list for the day is done, it’s done. And when I write my “to do” list, I try to limit it to five things in a day…and only one can be a BIG thing if at all possible.
Here is how my weeks usually look:
Mondays-Fridays (early mornings)
5:30 – Rise and shine (The shining only comes AFTER coffee). My coffee pot is on a timer so that I can smell the coffee when my alarm goes off. Otherwise, my brain doesn’t understand why it should get my body up. 🙂
Between 5:30 and 6:30 when I meet my friend to run, I throw a load of laundry in and do my morning devotion and drink coffee. After running, I come home and eat breakfast. Then I hang out the laundry (or put it in the dryer depending on the weather); put dinner in the crock pot if that’s planned (or put meat to thaw in refrigerator if that’s the plan). If I’m going to work (Tuesdays), I shower in the morning. If I’m going to be home doing chores and such, I wait until chores are done.
My mornings will then consist of daily chores (listed below),  gardening, or work (some work gets done at home), and blogging (I’ve been a real slacker about this lately). After lunch, I try to get a one hour nap (or at least be still and quiet), then read for a while and have a cup or two of coffee. Folding laundry is followed by dinner prep. Dinner is followed by kitchen clean up (my least favorite thing).
I have a laundry schedule, too. Here it is:
Mondays – whites
Tuesdays – towels and underwear
Wednesdays – darks
Thursday – delicates
Fridays – sheets
I don’t do laundry on the weekends unless hubby needs work clothes. (Facing piles of laundry on Saturdays when I was a working mom was the main reason I came up with my first schedule!)
And I have a general chore schedule. (Truth: If you saw the pollen/dust in my house right now, you might think I never clean. Did you know that you can dust and vacuum and then open a window to enjoy a cool breeze and the pollen obliterates any proof that your house has ever been clean??? Also, it’s spring break for everyone else, so why not me?
Mondays – Clean kitchen top to bottom
Tuesdays – Work (no chores except laundry)
Wednesdays – Clean bathrooms; tidy up dining room; plan blog posts (Must get better at this one!)
Thursdays – Dust, vacuum and mop; menu plan for coming week
Fridays – General walk through/straighten kind of day; grocer shop after run (Pleasant for others, I’m sure.)
Every morning – Make the bed
Every evening – Do a 5-minute walk through downstairs before bed, straightening as I go so that I don’t awaken to a mess in the morning.
Saturdays are rest days since Sunday is a work day for me. I just piddle around the house and yard, read, etc. Sometimes I’ll work on a bigger project if I need to, but that’s not the norm. Sundays are definitely napping days! And my HOME group (small group) meets on Sunday afternoons. I almost always have a slow cooker meal going on Sunday morning before I head to church (also my work place).
Evenings are for relaxing, reading, watching television, etc. And I need to be better at putting down my book at a reasonable hour so that 5:30 a.m. doesn’t hurt so much!
So…whether you’re a working or stay at home; whether you have kids or don’t…schedules give some structure to your days. For me, that is important.
If you need help making out a weekly schedule for chores, laundry, etc., just leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help you with your particular situation. 🙂
Have a blessed Wednesday! I’ve got to get to those bathrooms! Yay!
Lynne

Balancing Your Life Isn’t an Easy Thing to Do…But You Can Do It!

Happy Wednesday!

I started to issue a Weekly Challenge this week, but decided there was a more important topic at hand. Don’t worry; the challenge will come next week. But before we get started on that, we need to take an assessment, if you will, of where we (you and me) are at in our lives in general.

As I sat here and pondered what to write about today, so many thoughts and ideas went running through my head. I am trying to not repeat myself, but some topics need to be revisited. And some are a little scary to approach. I never want to offend anyone by implying that what they are doing is wrong in any way or that it’s a “my way or the highway” kind of thing. So if something I write ever comes across that way, please let me know. I may get on my soapbox now and then, but I don’t want to stay there so long that I run people off.

Anyway, I finally decided on balance…that wonderful place that is somewhere between complete chaos and total perfection. When I began this blog, my goal was – and still is – to help you find balance in your life…in all areas of your life. Husband. Kids. Work. Volunteering. Church. Activities. All of these have a place in our lives, but it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like we are spinning plates in the air and at any moment they could all fall and shatter…taking our hearts, our self-esteem, and our tempers with them.

Take some time this week to think – REALLY THINK – about what matters most to you right now at this  stage in your life. Make a list. Really. Like…on paper. Then start to prioritize those things. Are there things that can go? Are there things that need more attention? Once you have your list, determine which five to ten things  matter the very most to you. And I hope that they weren’t actually “things.” Your stuff will not help you find balance. Knowing your priorities in life and basing your decisions on them is the key to balance.

Here are my top eight things:

1. My relationship with God

2. My relationship with my husband and children

3. My relationship with the rest of my family

4. My friendships

6. My church (including my job there)

7. Health and exercise

8. Regular and intentional rest

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

No one wants to live in complete chaos all the time, though I have met some people who seem to thrive on chaos and drama. I don’t hang around with those people because they make me tired. And sad. Having kids in a house is drama enough (and, no, drama is not limited to teenagers). No one needs other people’s drama creeping into their homes and sucking the joy out of it. And it can happen…little by little so you don’t even notice. Then one day you wake up and you are smack dab in the middle of someone else’s drama. (“Smack dab” – a Southerner’s way of saying you are right in the middle of it, mister!)  Do not let this happen to you. Choose your friends wisely.

Chaos can come in many forms. It could be a messy house where the people who live there spend half their time looking for misplaced things and the rest of their time blaming each other for the mess. It could be a calendar or schedule so jam-packed with activities, meetings, and appointments that you only see your family in the car travelling between those activities and appointments. There are no real conversations because you’re scarfing down fast food from the drive-through you swing by on your way to wherever it is you’re going. So many things can contribute to chaos: caring for young children; caring for aging parents; working extra hours; spending weekends catching up on household chores and not getting rest. And kids…terrible twos, teenagers, adult children still at home. Did I mention those already? The list is probably endless.

On the other end of the spectrum is perfection. Or perfectionists, I should say. Their houses are always spotless. Their kids are always spotless. They make it from Point A to Point B to Point C and are never, ever late. They have jobs at which they seem to excel. They take extravagant vacations. They teach Sunday School and sing in the choir. They drive expensive vehicles and have all the latest gadgets. So what’s the problem? I’m just guessing but I am basing my guess on my own personal experience here. Not that I’ve ever driven an expensive vehicle or have had all the latest gadgets. And Disney World is about as extravagant as I get. But I’ve done the perfect house, long hours on the job, busy stuff. So what do you not see when you look at this “perfect” family? You don’t see the credit card bills. Or the kids’ faces when you drop them at daycare at 7:00 in the morning so you can get to work early and get a head start on your day. (My daughter just recently told me how she felt abandoned when I left her at daycare every morning. Broke. My. Heart.)  You don’t see how tired mom looks when she literally falls into bed at night. You don’t see her mountain of laundry because she keeps it hidden. You don’t see the cracks in the marriage because she and her husband are both so stressed from trying to keep up with the Jones’ that they don’t keep up with one another any more. (Apologies to anyone out there whose last name is Jones. Not saying it’s you.)

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

So where is that balance? Where do we find contentment we so long for? It’s located about halfway between these two extremes. Where there is balance, you’ll find routines. Routines aren’t boring. They’re life savers. You’ll find schedules for household chores. You’ll find kids who participate in one outside activity at any given time, not three or four. There are weekends spent relaxing or doing fun things instead of ten loads of laundry. There are fewer extravagant things because balanced people live within their means. You’ll find calendars that have empty places on them – beautiful, empty places. You’ll find people who can say the word “no” and not feel guilty about it. (Some of you need to practice that word. It’s really easy to pronounce and it gets easier to say…even to your children.)

The definition of contentment is “satisfaction; ease of mind.” It’s the place where you find yourself smiling more often than you frown. You have time and energy to devote to your family in the evenings. You have time to sit and read and enjoy a cup of coffee because there aren’t ten pressing things that have to get done. Like now! You have an undeniable sense of peace in yourself because you know you’ve found your “sweet spot” in life. You may not be travelling to Europe. You may not be driving a fancy car. You may not have the most updated cell phone with all its bells and whistles. (I, for one, could probably never understand how to work all the bells and whistles anyway.) Your mind is at ease…it isn’t in a constant state of busyness and worry. Other people might actually enjoy being around you. You might enjoy being around them.

If you haven’t yet written down your top 5-10 motivators – the things that matter most – do it now. Physically write it on a piece of paper. Put it where you can see it. (If there’s something on that list that shouldn’t be on it, consider how to get it off of there. Pray about it and then take steps to remove it. Replace it with something that really matters.) Don’t miss out on the great things in life because you are too busy doing the good things. (Again, the word is “no.”) The things on your calendar should “fall under” one of the things on your list. If not, well….

…start making decisions – big and small – based on that list. Remember that things that don’t fit in with the things on your list likely don’t belong on your calendar. Remember that it’s alright to say “no” to people. Say it often. Begin to clear your calendar of unnecessary BUSYness. Don’t say “yes” to things just so you can say you have a busy schedule. Some people seem to think that having a busy and packed schedule is some sort of badge of honor. It’s not. They say things like, “I’ll have to get back to you. I have to check my schedule. I’m so busy this week.” Sorry to burst your bubble if you’re one of them. Joy and contentment…those are real badges of honor. Those say, “My life is under control. My house is under control. My kids are happy. My husband is happy. I have my priorities in order and I’m living them out.” That’s a badge I’d gladly wear.

The dictionary defines balance as “mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.” Steadiness. Stability. Calm. That’s where you want to be. If you aren’t there yet, I hope that through weekly challenges that will help you bring physical order into your physical chaos, encouraging you to remove things from your calendars that don’t benefit you in your top areas on your list, and – maybe most importantly – carving out some quiet time every day JUST FOR YOU can help you get there. And, yes, it IS okay to take a few minutes for yourself everyday. It’s not selfish. It sanity-saving.

You’ll really like that contented place. Good times are had there. Blessings abound there. If you’re on the path now, I’m excited to see you headed that way. If you’re still wavering about simplifying your life, I am here to encourage you to get on board. Before it’s too late. The time to enjoy life is now!

Blessings,

Lynne

Good morning!

Good morning!

It’s supposed to be a beautiful day here! I hope you are able to get out and enjoy it if you are blessed with good weather today. (That’s not to say I’ll skip my Sunday nap. I need it after my morning with preschool kiddos.) 🙂

I will be posting a weekly challenge for organizing your kitchens tomorrow. We are also embarking on a new way of eating tomorrow so there will be lots of new recipes tried this week. I’ll let you know how they are – and share if they’re good. I’ll also let you know if dear hubby survives!

Have a blessed and beautiful day!

Lynne

Happy Sunday!

Good morning!

As I drank my coffee this morning, I did my early morning devotional. This is what I learned.

God is beautiful. He created beauty: beaches, mountains, sunrises, sunsets, clouds…all of it. He is beauty and he created beauty for us to enjoy.

He also created each of us to be creative in some way – to be beautifiers. God is also a God of order. So when we created beautiful, organized, peaceful sanctuaries in our homes, it is God-honoring if it’s not done in a prideful way. Our home and our lives should point to God, not to self.

This really spoke to my little organizing heart. When I beautify my home, I do it so that it’s a place to come home to and feel comfort and love. When I organize, I do it so that there’s less stress and frustration – and thus, more joy.

I just wanted to share that with all of you. Maybe it will speak to you as well as we spend time “together” organizing and beautifying our homes.

I pray that you have a joy-filled, peaceful and relaxing day.

Lynne

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Balanced Lives

Happy Friday!

So as I’m “gearing up” to begin blogging in September, I’m doing a lot of reading. One of the books I’m reading is Finding the Life You’ve Been Looking For: The Surprising Power of Simple Living.

In the first chapter, there are four questions posed by the author. I’ll be sharing them with you and hoping for your response. 🙂

Here is the first question. (It’s fill-in-the-blank, by the way).

“If my life were balanced, I would feel…”

How would you complete that sentence?

Lynne