A realistic to-do list

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Ever feel like you worked all day but didn’t actually accomplish anything? Ever looked at your to-do list, known you’ve been working and productive all morning, but have nothing to check off?

This happens to me!! And I finally realized *something needs to change*! Either I need to write down what I actually need to do, or I need to stop writing down things that I realistically can not do. Maybe both.

I used to make long, ambitious lists of all I wanted to do in a day; but currently, I write down lunch and dinner and give Eden a bath and sometimes even make my bed and get a shower if I can tell it’s that kind of a day. Not only does it help me to not write in extra things that will never realistically get accomplished, but it also motivates me to do those seemingly obvious things that tend to be forgotten in the daily plan. (Ever forgotten to take a shower? Or forgotten that the little people were planning on eating dinner?)

These seasons do not last forever, but it is very tempting to feel that they might.

It’s okay to write “clean up from breakfast,” or “put dinner in the crockpot,” or “read with ‘Zoe'”on your list. If it needs done and you’re in a crunch season (or if it’s a rather undesirable task that tends to be overlooked), then write it down.

Now you might not write “change diapers.” But think about it – even if it’s only five minutes – that multiplied times five or ten takes up a good little chunk of your day. The same could be said for nursing or potty training. Leave room for those things. And especially leave room for discipline, conversation, and sweet times with the kids.

We have to figure out how to still do laundry, errands, meals, etc., but don’t plan beyond what is reasonable with so many other responsibilities.

I wish I could tell you this post will help you accomplish more… but it won’t. That’s not even my intention. But I do hope – if you find yourself in such a season – that you will recognize how much you do accomplish, and feel a tiny bit more encouraged at the end of the day.

 

A little theology of vacuuming

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The whole house was done. I got the last few corners of my bedroom and began to wind up the cord.

I am so happy.

My favorite house chore complete again. Of all the tasks left undone for weeks, vacuuming is not one of them.

So happy. Happy?

My thoughts were provoked.

This floor will be messed up in days. Where will my happiness be then?

It’s not wrong to have a good feeling from something being clean or put in order. But where did this love come from? Is there a deeper reason I enjoy the finished product of vacuuming?

I believe, yes! Created in God’s image, made in the likeness of the One who operates with complete order and beauty – this is from Him! And He is a source of happiness that will never end.

Of course it’s not wrong to feel happy about a house that is vacuumed. But let temporal happiness point you to something eternal. Shouldn’t that be one of the permanent benefits of our daily work? Take note of that love of order; revel in the One who gave it to you.

Worship the Lord for being made in His image. Worship Him for the common grace of loving the things He loves. Worship Him for giving us meaningful work and for the ability to enjoy it. Worship Him for being the One who does everything perfectly.

The list could go on. And after worship there is thankfulness.

Thankful for a vacuum. Thankful for energy and time. Thankful for people to vacuum after. Thankful for a house to vacuum.

Good theology takes you so much farther than temporal good feelings. It challenges you to know what is true about God and to see yourself in light of Him.

Everything true and beautiful about Him will remain even when the floor is messed up again. And that is something to be eternally happy about.

It never ends

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“Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.”

For what it’s worth, I will still take the woman’s work; however, this post is not actually about the unending demands on wives or moms.

It is about the faithfulness of God. A precious truth that has become my constant friend. Of all the reasons to know and love the Old Testament, to let it speak for itself – this is one of the best. Over and over we see the faithfulness of God brilliantly displayed against the darkness of human faithlessness.

It used to be that in the mornings (if I was even spiritually together enough to meditate), I would try to think of things that would help me do or think what I thought  I should while making breakfast or getting the kids ready. And then a bowl of oatmeal would hit the floor, or a toddler would have an accident while I was nursing, or I would realize that we had no clean clothes to wear for the fourth day in a row, and before you know it I was thinking  things like I will never get caught up. I am so bad at this. I should have gotten up earlier to read my Bible. I should have joy no matter what. 

One morning by God’s great grace (manifested no doubt in some really good teaching and preaching of His Word at my church) it occurred to me that I should just think about the faithfulness of God. Forget thinking about all the things I couldn’t seem to do, forget about the possibility that I may never do them well, forget even for the moment about my desire to be faithful – just think about the faithfulness of God. To Abraham. To Joseph. At the Red Sea. At the walls of Jericho. Even throughout captivity. Over and over we see the steadfast love of God in His covenant-keeping faithfulness.

Honestly, that first time there wasn’t even an immediate application; it was just a rest. Just enough joy for the ordinary tasks ahead. I do remember some lame thought like Wow, that really helped.

Now I seem to need it more in the evening during those last hours before the kids go to bed. I’m so tired and yet I want to value every moment with them and then the baby is fussy while two are downstairs painting (by my consent – why?), and two are getting out of the shower, and the toddler I just bathed is sure she needs to use the restroom and threatening to take off her pajamas and accompanying diaper while I’m just trying to get this baby to stop crying and… (that was tonight). Unfortunately there is no eject button, neither is there a magic machine that will smoothly put the children to bed when you really don’t think you can take any more. So what do you think? Think about the faithfulness of God. It has never ended, and it never will. And with the faith that you have, ask Him to help you be faithful.

And He does.

From your first thought in the morning to the time you’re trying to relax before bed, He is faithful. All through the night and through every stage of life.

His faithfulness never ends.

The flower fades

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These flowers have been such a blessing to me!

I’ve enjoyed their beauty and been cheered by, well… their cheerfulness.

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It doesn’t hurt that they sit right by my rocker so I get to look at them quite frequently while caring for Owen.

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Today I can’t stop thinking about how the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever. How blessed we are to have God’s Word in our language, our laps, our devices, and our hearts.

Oh for grace to fill my life and mind and home more with this eternal beauty and treasure!

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Dollars like Pine Straw

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It was a few short months before we would move. We were under contract with our house, but still using “if” and “maybe” terms with the girls just in case something fell through. Boxes were piling up and our already crowded living space was growing smaller by the day.

Some days I just couldn’t take it anymore and would announce to the girls, “Put your shoes on! We’re going outside.” It didn’t really matter if it was lunch time, nap time, something-else-important time, we would go out. One of the girls favorite places to go was the tennis courts. They could run around, play kickball (sort of), play baseball ( no apparent relation to the game you and I know), or sing the latest national anthem they had composed.

The little girls would often tire of the organized games the older girls attempted to play and begin to find fun of their own.

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I was sitting there holding Zoe in a sleepy wrap, a little hot and so much on my mind. Gracie ran up to me with a piece of pine straw.

“Here! This is two dollars. You can buy a house with this!” she said with excitement.

I laughed. “I think we’ll need a little more than that.”

“Okay. No problem.” She ran off merrily.

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It became a great game. She and Mckayla would hunt pine straw all over the tennis court and bring it to me for various things. Dollars for a house, dollars for food, dollars to buy the girlies a present, dollars for McDonald’s…

I received it all with great excitement – “thanks!”

I think I also received a gentle little reminder from the Lord.

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Dollars really are like pine straw. He can find them wherever He wants and give or take them at His good pleasure. As silly as it is for my girls to pretend like a few needles of pine straw could pay for a house, it’s equally silly for humans to think that we can or cannot manage whatever God places in our path.

It’s easy to turn our attention once again to dollars at this Christmas season; but this is just a little reminder for me and maybe for you that our God really does own the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. The whole universe is at His disposal.

Our thoughts, plans, or worries regarding money – to Him might as well be pine straw.

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Ask the Audience: Bats, of the Louisville Slugger variety

Hello there, dear readers!

While I am recovering, chasing little kids, nursing, napping, driving to doctor’s appointments resting, I thought I would put you and your endless creativity to work. = )

Here’s my situation:

While our family was in Louisville this year, we took a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum – which was very cool. At the end of the tour they give everyone, yes everyone, a miniature Louisville Slugger bat. Everyone including our two-year-old, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that we have six bats, no, not in our house; in our car. Why? Because while my girls are pretty good, I can’t take the chance of one of them taking a swing. And all the “the kids can’t get it here places” are already taken. (Actually we have more than six because of my husband’s other trip to the museum…)

So this is where you come in. I can’t just throw or give the bats away because it was such a great memory. What I want to do is *make something* (famous last words) with the bats that will be either decorative or useful in our house. Complicating this is the matter that all our children are girls, so it can’t be too boyish or baseball-y. I’ve seen adorable headboards made out of bats, but I can’t really see that in our house.

Here is the one thing I’ve found on Pinterest:

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Isn’t that sweet? I really like this one, but am not quite sure if I could pull it off. There was also a cute cupcake stand, but it only used one bat so that rather defeats the point.

What do you think I should do? What are your ideas? Suggestions? Findings? I’d love to know!!

And hopefully in about four and a half years, we’ll see what I end up making. ; )

Thanks a million,

Christie

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I could not get the correct link for the image above. Please click on “source” to go to the site. Thanks!

Remember this {on bouncing back}

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About this time last week, I was down. Down on housekeeping, down on homeschooling… cooking, kids, you name it.

When I look around and find myself so dissatisfied with what I see, feeling helpless to turn any of it around, I’m often forgetting some extenuating circumstances.

In this particular case, my husband just graduating from seminary! A four-year long culmination for him. Not to mention more than a week of careful preparation on my part to insure that everything went smoothly that weekend so we could fully enjoy celebrating together.

So yes, there were rotten bananas on the counter that just hadn’t gotten made into banana bread. The laundry that had been so carefully taken care of before Friday had once again spiraled out of control. The two-year-old who had completely mastered potty training started having accidents out in public when I had no extra clothes and no idea what to do about the mess.

But accidents and dirty laundry and rotten bananas are not the point. The point is that I let these things convince me that I’m a complete wreck who will never get it right no matter how hard I try. Which is completely untrue. What is true is that I am a very average homemaker who most of the time keeps everything in line enough so that our family can run smoothly and enjoy each other, who some of the time can do above that, and who sometimes bottoms out and lives in a very messy house for a few days before bouncing back.

When you’re pregnant and there’s big a big abnormal life event, you might have to just rest for a few days. And no, your housework will not get done while you’re resting. And that’s okay.

Because somehow, in some way, I usually bounce back. It’s not normally from the big, all day, get-this-place-cleaned-up times I dream of; it’s usually in very small, indiscernible steps. Then one day I look around, and things have gotten better.

This applies to so many areas of my life. Just after having a baby is a big one. Or when baby has to start eating solid food. Sometimes it’s not just the physical settings of a messy house, testy kids, disorganized homeschooling, or never-ending schedules, sometimes it can be spiritual growth (or the lack thereof), strained relationships, or cloudy moods that evoke those feelings of hopelessness. It’s hard to convince yourself that those circumstances won’t last forever, but really those “lows” are most often just as temporary as the equal and opposite “highs.”

It might be the next week, the next month or the next year, but most of the time if you wait long enough, things will bounce back.

Maybe I’ll remember for next time. = )

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Just wanted to say a quick hello to you, the readers! This may be the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without blogging! We did indeed have a lovely and touching graduation. God blessed and everything was smooth and wonderful. It’s hard to believe that sweet time of life has come to an end. We currently have three days of homeschooling left before we finish our first year. And then, it’s get ready for all things baby! Somehow that has given me the itch to rearrange everything in the house. = ) I am woefully behind on sharing pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will have some ready for this Saturday. Until then or whenever, thank you so much for reading and for your sweet support.