Some thoughts tumbling out of my head and onto the keyboard about balancing up organising with enjoying life. This is reflective and not meant to be condemning in anyway, just stuff that is important to me right now.
Yesterday was great b.c i was able to sit down (finally!) and take note of the stuff that needs to be done in our home and in our lives. It was great b.c it really gave me direction for the day. It was great b.c it put my mind at ease since there are always a GAZILLION ideas floating around my head.
I love that God is a God of order. He created the world in a beautiful and orderly fashion. When I am feeling confused, bamboozled, stressed out, He helps me deal with the sources of those issues first and then a sense of order and peace flow.
So you see, I am a BIG believer in order and discipline.
I am also a BIG believer in NOT letting the desire to have order rule my life. I am NOT into running around like a headless chook to have the nicest home, the neatest kids or the 'perfect' schedule. That's not me.
I want to have order in my home so that when a young teenager from our community needs a safe place to run to (like one did last night) we can open the door whole heartedly and not panic about what to eat for dinner, how the kids are going to get into bed or how the toys won't get packed away. See, BECAUSE of the routine and order, we CAN be more prepared and more available. BECAUSE our children understand the routines, we CAN relax (mostly!) when visitors come and be hospitable knowing that the kids will still have dinner, pack toys away and get into bed when it is time.
And of course...i'm not saying that we have a perfect home. Of course not. There are still fights at the dinner table, kids who sometimes don't want to pack away, one who might resist having a shower. Our kids are in training at the moment. Proverbs 22:6 'Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it'. What I'm saying is that it works for us (and we hope will work for us even more smoothly in the future) because we are trying first to establish a sense of order.
With order comes peace. With order comes hospitality. With order comes room to love others above ourselves.
Does this mean that we are never spontaneous? Not at all! We can bend the rules and reward the kids on the weekend with a sleepover in the loungeroom or ditch the planned dinner meal for an impromptu afternoon cook off of pancakes with icecream and maple syrup. We LOVE doing that kind of stuff!
Before we left for the weekend away just gone, we made our beds, tidied up the toys, cleaned the kitchen and loungeroom (of course there were tantrums and children disciplined for not wanting to help). But because that was done, we were able to take our time coming home stopping off at Warragamba Dam and other places just because we knew that there wasn't a whole mountain of work at home to greet us. We were also able to just get in and unpack all the foodstuff and then after dinner, all hop into bed. I love that! And Brett loved it and appreciated the fact that we all made that extra effort before jetting off to straighten the house.
What I'm saying is that it works for us to be orderly and when we are, that we can then be spontaneous and welcoming of new things, people and activities and allow them to interrupt our routines. For us, it is paying off.
What sparked all this you might ask? Well my fave book (apart from the Bible) is called 'Open Heart, Open Home' and is all about this. Establishing order and being disciplined in order to be open to being used by the Lord in whichever way He may call us. Also I read this article late yesterday afternoon in an old copy of a 'Real Simple' magazine (which i love!)
Here's what the article shared...
Letting Go of Your To-Do List
We’re so busy checking things off lists that we forget to look up and live, says Real Simple’s life coach, Gail Blanke. Here are her ideas for making the most of every moment.
A couple of decades ago, when our children were very small, my friend Linda, whose daughter was the same age as ours, had a habit of saying countless times in any given day, “If I could just sit down for five minutes!” We both had very demanding jobs, and working mothers were not yet in vogue. I remember being eight months pregnant and lumbering across New York’s West 57th Street, struggling to keep up with my politically incorrect boss as he darted between cars. “Hey,” he said, “you got yourself into this. Keep up.” It was hard. (Still is, right?) But Linda had a way of making it harder. On the weekends, which should have been fun, she sighed and scowled a lot and acted harried. It got to be sort of funny. In fact, all these years later, my husband, Jim, still imitates her when things get particularly hectic around our house, usually right before people are about to arrive for dinner. “Oh, my God,” he says, “if I could just sit down for five minutes!” Here’s the thing. Linda was extremely organized. She had a lot of lists. One Saturday morning, I called her on the spur of the moment to see if she wanted to take the girls to the Museum of Natural History. “Not on today’s list,” she said. “Next week.” We all have lists. Lists rule our lives. We have lists for shopping, lists for fixing, lists for calling, lists for spending, lists of things to pick up, lists of things to put away. Lists for doing. Sometimes I think we’re not human beings, we’re human doings. Just think: We can have on our tombstones, "She got through everything on her list!" We might assume that just because we’ve checked off every last item, we’ve actually done some living. We would be wrong. We could be looking down at our lists at the exact moment we should have been looking up at the trees or the stars or at someone’s wonderful face.
Well, our children grew up in a twinkling, as children do, and last summer Linda’s daughter was married. It was a beautiful, happy wedding. At one point, Linda leaned over and said to me, “Where did it all go? How did this happen so fast? Was I paying attention? Did I miss something? Did I miss a lot?” The orchestra was playing “The Way You Look Tonight.” I just smiled, gave her a hug, and said, “I know what you mean. I really do.”
Linda, like a lot of us, was all about efficiency and accomplishment. About getting things done. She never stopped. Never stopped to look up — at the trees, at the stars, at someone’s wonderful face. And the days flew by. How does this happen? How do we go from being lovers and adventurers to becoming efficiency experts? When did we start running our lives like businesses, where measuring results — not living — is the bottom line? We spend our time looking forward to when we’re going to be happy or backward to when we were happy. Whatever happened to now? It’s hard to connect with the special moments in our lives, or even to recognize them in the first place, when we’re so bombarded with lists of things to do. And we feel so compelled to do it all — to be everything to everyone all the time. We want to have the best-organized houses, the best-laid dinners, the best-behaved children, the most successful careers. And of course we want to look good through it all, right? Just thinking about it makes me feel like sitting down for five minutes. Actually, lying down would be better.
So what can we do? Well, I suggest we make another list. No, I’m not kidding. Another list, but this one’s different. It’s not about doing; it’s about being. And it won’t help you to become more efficient or effective, but it will help to make your life richer — so that you can have inscribed on your tombstone, "She was really lucky. She loved some people, and they knew it. There were really wonderful moments in her life, and she didn’t miss many."
Steps to Living More of Your Life
1. Think “easy.” Ask yourself several times a day, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, “How easy, how simple, how absolutely delightful, could I make this task?”
2. Stop measuring yourself based on how much you get done in any given day, and start celebrating yourself based on how much you discover. Let go of being the world’s greatest efficiency expert and embrace the role of lover and adventurer.
3. Look up from your to-do list at least three times a day and take in your surroundings. Look for delight in the most unexpected places.
4. Listen to the people you love best as if you’ve never met them before. Don’t assume that you know how they feel or what they’re thinking. Listen for who they are now, what they’re passionate about now, what delights them now.
5. Look for the magical moments, those unextraordinary, brief moments when they’re playing “The Way You Look Tonight” or someone has made you cry with laughter. Embrace that person and say out loud, “Right now, isn’t this great? Here we are together. And we love each other. Aren’t we lucky?”
6. Sit down for just five minutes. (Just kidding.)
Now I don't agree with everything in there but I love what it is trying to encourage. Striving to be the 'best', trying to accomplish it all for show, attempting to be everything to everyone is just never going to cut it. I want to be who the Lord has created me to be which is a perfect measure to go around to those people who need me like my husband, kids, friends and family in the right doses. And He has equipped me for every good work that He has prepared for me. He is establishing me in my home and I am loving it :)
I think over the past 12 months especially that God has been showing me how to balance it up. How to read to the kids in the afternoon BECAUSE i first took the time to prepare dinner at midday, how to stay up making cards with Stass as a treat because normally she goes to bed at a decent hour, how to take the kids bushwalking after school because all I have to do once the kids are in bed is pack the dishwasher and fold a basket of washing. I do not and will not miss out on going bushwalking because it is not on my list, or because I must fold that washing in case someone comes over. No way! Life is a gift from God worth living right now with the people I love and adore. I don't want to miss out on one single second.
Just some thoughts on lists and organising :)
5 things I am thankful for today:
1. Blue skies!
2. Stassi collecting worship cd's in her room and hearing her pelt out songs to her Saviour at the top of her lungs in the afternoons :)
3. Rest when my back is sore
4. Feeling the princess moving inside of me
5. Snuggling into Brett every night to fall asleep
Love to you,