Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Excuses

I have been struggling to keep some sort of routine in my daily life.  There is somewhat of a routine, with getting the kids off from school and what happens when they get home.  I even have a routine for getting my work hours in without having to sit up late (as I was doing previously).

When you are home or work from home, people have a tendency to assume you don't do anything during the day.  I'll admit, I didn't think being home would be so busy.  When you work outside the home, there is a certain busyness that comes with your job, some more hectic than others.  Some occupations require extended hours, swing shifts, and/or work to bring home.  When I left teaching, I somehow thought things would be less busy.


Running a household is not a relaxing walk in the park.  Sure, there are some days where there is time to sit and relax a bit, but on other days that is simply not the case.  Depending on the day of the week, I can be found scrubbing floors and/or carpets (done when no one is home so they don't get tramped on while drying), washing sheets and blankets, reorganizing something, meal planning, grocery shopping, and working.  These are the weekdays.  Weekends find me doing various things, depending on what is going on in my family's life at the time.

I've been sort of flying by the seat of my pants getting these things done because I never stopped to make a formal schedule.  I know.  Me, the ultimate list checker, without a schedule?  Yup.  Needless to say, it has gotten a little crazy around here and I just can't stand it anymore. 

Enter this website.  Ah, yes.  Something to save my sanity.  I've referenced this site before, but it wasn't until I was reading through some old posts this morning that something jumped off the page.  Literally brought me to tears.  This. Is. IT!  Notice that the word "forward" keeps recurring in the post's explanations.  Forward.  This singular word in its simple repetition brought me to tears.  Why?  Because this is the directive our church is following this year.  We are moving forward.  Like the song says.  Forward!

I now have no excuse to miss things in my day.  Everything is there, from prayer time (with which I was struggling to find a consistent time) and exercise (Let's just not even go there...) to household chores and me(!) time.  I printed it this morning and cannot wait to begin.

There is a saying that goes something like this: If it's important to you, you will make time for it.  If it isn't, you make excuses.

No more excuses.


Friday, January 11, 2013

As Promised

Wow.  There has been so much going on around here.  The holidays arrived and left, along with all of the visits and activities that accompany the season.  I have also reorganized some space upstairs and put my home office into place--so exciting!  Just a few more finishing touches, and it will be complete.

Where to begin?  I've been thinking about where I was this time last year and where I am now.  I was teaching full time, getting ready for grad classes, serving in ministries at church, and trying to run a household.  As I have previously stated, I did it all.  My type A made sure things were finished, lists were checked off, and things were as near to my version of perfect as they could be.  Of course, we know how THAT all turned out.

This year, I am still serving at church (and may be changing my ministries), running a household, working from home part time, and learning.  Not in the sense of grad courses--which I will be discontinuing for a while due to finances--but in the sense of self.  I've been striving to learn more about myself and what God has in store for me.  What are His plans for me?  How do I reach the goals He has for me?  How do I learn to appreciate His grace in all things? How do I show gratitude?

This notion of gratitude in all things has been part of my journey since this time last year.  I had read a book titled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The cover challenges the reader to a "dare to live fully right where you are."  If you've not read the book, Voskamp takes the reader through her quest to find what she calls the "beautiful in the ugly."  Meaning, finding God in the midst of all that occurs.  During her quest, she accepts a challenge from a friend to write down 1,000 things for which she can show gratitude.  As you read the book, you find that gratitude is not always easy to find, especially when things are not going as they should.  But it can be found.

When I read this book last year, I needed something to sort of keep me afloat.  I was looking for something that would help me make sense of what I was feeling in the midst of all that was happening.  I read it, and it was good.  It was eye-opening.  But it wasn't enough.  I was so busy I couldn't truly appreciate what Voskamp was saying.  After the year I have lived, I am preparing to read it again, with new eyes and new appreciation.  I simply wasn't ready to receive the message inside.

As part of the journey, I have decided to take the dare.  I tried last year, but found that I ran out of time or forgot or didn't have my journal nearby.  No excuses this time.  On her website, you can download an app that will allow you to write down your gifts as you experience them.  Since my phone is always nearby, I put the app there so I don't miss a thing.  I started Monday and have eight gifts already, including the gift of heat.  Why heat?  Because Sunday morning we woke up to cooler temperatures in the house, courtesy of a malfunctioning sensor in the furnace.  Sunday was cold, in the 30s.  I thanked God for heat because we were able to have someone come out that afternoon, the part needed was already in the house thanks to a forward-thinking owner, and we did not have to spend the night below 30 temps.  I could have griped and complained.  But I didn't.  I made a warm meal, put on an extra layer, and chose to thank God in the midst in appreciation of what I did have.

Along with gratitude, I am learning about grace.  My pastor has been speaking on the topic of grace as we (as a church) have been reading through The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll. Through this series I am learning how to recognize grace, show grace to others, and receive grace (even when it may not be deserved). 

It has been an adventure and I can't wait to see what happens next!