Please, if you know me, do not laugh at me trying to write about being on time. In no way am I an expert on punctuality, but I do get to practice at it every single day. This little tip is beginning to change how I work to meet a deadline.
Hurry before you need to.
How many times do I find myself hurrying the kids to finish breakfast before we need to leave for church? Hurrying to pick up the house before company arrives? Hurrying to get my homeschool plans in order before the first day?
Bleck, bleck, and bleck. I don’t mind hurrying, but I hate feeling rushed and forcing others to rush. And I really hate that realization that no matter how much we hurry, we will already be late.
So I’m working at hurrying before we really need to.
I encourage myself and the kids to get ready quickly in the morning even when we woke up on time; choose a reasonable amount of time for breakfast and then end it; plan time to actually clean off the table, get our Bibles, and get in the car (stepping into another area of preparation there), but making ourselves do it quickly even if according to the clock we’re looking good. (this scenario applies to our Sunday mornings)
If I’m prepping vegetables or setting the table for company that night, I push myself to work as quickly as I can – feeling that hurry – even if no one will be there for an hour and a half.
When I sit down to homeschool plan I love to take my time and look through the books and think, but realistically, I only have those chances every so often so I need to pick up the pace and get my assignments written down as efficiently as possible. Right now, some plan for two weeks is better than an extensive plan for three days.
It may sound like a silly mental game, but it really has helped me. And I really need help!
What about you – do you struggle more with the preparation or execution stages of punctuality? (I have my hands raised for both) = )
I’d love to hear what has helped you.
Here is a fun article I found after I wrote this. I seem to spend lots of time reading about how to save time. = ) Secrets of people who have all the time in the world.
There is so much about this picture that cracks me up! Sorry if it’s only funny to me.
I found this fun little draft from awhile ago. Hope it’s an encouragement to someone today!
If there is one physical state of being I have experienced most in the last ten years, it is being tired.
I’m not speaking of the worked-all-day-in-the-yard good tired or the ran-a-marathon-that-I-trained-for-for-six-months good tired, but rather the I’m-making-a-baby-and-carrying-around-a-one-year-old-and-up-and-down-and-bending-all-day-and-woke-up-three-times-during-the-night tired. You will have to decide for yourself what brand of tired you are.
But every stage has benefits and drawbacks. Every one! Maybe pausing to think about the graces given through this “difficulty” could be encouraging.
Here are a few things I can see as benefits:
When you’re tired it is often easier to say “no” to frivolous, external engagements. This is a good thing. No, I don’t want to scroll on facebook for forty-five minutes; no, I don’t want to watch the last three innings of that baseball game; no I don’t need to watch my thirteen billionth episode of Chopped. So there’s that.
When you’re tired it is easier to see yourself as weak before God. This is an especially good thing. Yes, I can do nothing good in and of myself. Yes, if I make it ’til tonight it will be God’s grace that has sustained me; yes, your mercies are new every morning; yes, God’s faithfulness shines brightest against the backdrop of human faithlessness. Relying on Him moment by moment becomes not something we know we should do, but our basic survival instinct.
When you’re tired it can be easier to be compassionate with others. Sometimes you just don’t have the strength to be bothered with the foibles or eccentricities of others. Getting upset may take that last shred of energy that you will need to load the dishwasher that night. Or whatever. Relationships can be the precious comfort they were intended to be through the weariness of life.
Lest you pull an all-nighter to be on the receiving end of all these benefits to being tired… here are my views regarding the drawbacks.
Tiredness accentuates the difficulty of the spiritual disciplines. It’s hard to gain from reading the Bible when you fall asleep after the second sentence. (and yes, for us mamas of little ones, there will be times when no matter what we do, we will be this tired)
Tiredness exposes our hearts (perhaps this could be a benefit). If bitterness or selfishness or impatience have been lurking under a well put-together surface, being tired will probably bring those to the forefront.
Tiredness keeps our minds from working like normal. And we all collectively groan.
Tiredness keeps us from keeping up with routine tasks leaving us to feel overwhelmed and incompetent.
Sometimes being tired hurts – headaches, soreness from our body not having enough horizontal time… bleck.
Maybe there are things you can do to get a little more rest or maybe you just have to hang in there. Living in community with your husband and other sisters in Christ will help you know if you’re more in the “I need to work at getting more rest” stage or the “I’m doing the best I can and have to fight for joy and contentment” stage.
Ever been frustrated by the tension of all that’s (wonderfully) true about the Christian life and actually trying to live it out among others?
A few months ago I had this humorous experience which seemed not unlike the experience of being a child of God still in this world.
Our church was blessed to have a special speaker and he was taking us on a whirlwind tour of the book of Hebrews. (You can hear the sermon here) It was so wonderful! Jesus was exalted. The Word came alive, and my heart and mind were literally thrilled with the truth.
My wonderful four oldest children were sitting with me (Paul was filling in elsewhere during that hour so unlike normal I was alone with the kids), and I guess their experience and interaction with the Word that morning wasn’t quite the same as mine. Exclude the oldest from that statement; she was not causing any problems. I’m too far removed from the scene to remember the particulars, but I had to deal with all sorts of nonsense during that sermon. Wiggles, questions, flipping pages, elbows… it went on and on even more than usual. Not all of it was bad! Of course I want the one just learning to read to ask for help to know where he is when reading Scripture, and of course I want to give a quick definition of an unfamiliar word to the four-year-old.
But I also want to just sit and listen!
See the pattern:
LISTEN: Wow! that is amazing! I cannot believe Christ would lower himself to suffer like we did. I want to love Him more! I want to go home and read the whole book of Hebrews! I am so thankful we have the Bible! God is so good!
DISTRACTION: ***addresses wiggling***
LISTEN: Wow! This is so wonderful! I’m so thankful my kids can be in church with me.
DISTRACTION: ***finds verse for child***
LISTEN: I hope I didn’t miss anything. Wow, that is so good.
DISTRACTION: ***warns child about wiggling***
TRYING TO LISTEN: I wish these kids would just let me listen to the Word!
GRACE: Wait! This is what it’s all about!
Being filled with the knowledge of Jesus and then lovingly coming alongside others to help them to know Him, too.
Why doesn’t God save us and take us out of this world? His image redeemed in us brings us back to a life of worshipping Him and displaying His glory to others.
But often displaying that glory doesn’t seem so glorious. Like reminding a child to listen to the preacher, or encouraging a sibling to be kind, or confronting someone in their sin, or forgiving someone for thoughtlessness, or doing that menial task for the hundredth time, but with joy.
It’s not enough for the pastor to sit in his study and feast on the truths of Scripture – he has to communicate it to the flock and then actively help them grow and mature in what has been said, as messy and hard as that may be.
It’s not enough to sit in your quiet time and be filled with a desire for righteousness – you have to take that into the workplace and shine the light through darkness and confusion.
It’s not enough for a mom to be thrilled with the truths of Scripture in the pew on Sunday morning. She has to translate that to the nitty-gritty lives of her children. Sometimes during the sermon.
The Christian life is both a deep well of knowledge and fellowship with Christ and also a cross-channel swim against the currents of sin, time, and limitations from ourselves and others. We both rest in our position in Christ and work tirelessly to become more like Him and to make Him known in the world around us.
Don’t be discouraged when it all happens at once. God is absolutely able to make all grace abound to you in every situation.
Even when you’re alone in church with little kids.
One Saturday afternoon our family was enjoying lunch together. Well, trying to enjoy it in spite of Mckayla’s whining. I looked at her and said, “Mckayla, if you don’t stop whining, I’m going to take you straight to naptime.” Her whining continued and I whisked her off to her bed. As I walked past Paul’s chair I heard him say, “Don’t mess with Momma the first week of January.”
What a laugh!
The sad thing is it’s true.
Already this month I’ve seen the progression: Motivated and disciplined; tired and inconsistent; frustrated and overwhelmed; humbled and seeking help; motivated and disciplined…
By the way, I don’t think this cycle will ever be eliminated. I guess my goal is to just spend more days in the motivated and discplined spot.
Thinking about my New Year’s goals and the questions I asked my kids has helped these last few days to get back on track. Especially helpful has been trying to think through the last month. What worked? What didn’t? What can be tweaked?
I think, conservatively speaking, that goals 1-5 were “small step” successes. I felt a little more prepared, in general; was more productive in the evenings, but not in the mornings; played the piano a few times and almost caught up on thank-you notes; tried to read at night before working or relaxing with the iPad; chose to spend time with the girlies “just because” which is so rewarding. Now, if it was November, I might feel really good about those things. But most of it should just be attributed to January momentum. Now I have to really work and watch to keep improving.
Number 6 is hard to judge. What I can say is that pregnancy is a fairly difficult time to lavish your husband with love and affection. I can remember specific times this month when he was on his way home and I was in no mood to be unselfish, when God answered a simple prayer like, “Please help me to bless him, and do good to him…” with grace beyond my abilities. Looking forward for more grace to grow in this every day.
With regards, to having an attitude of prayer throughout the day, I do not believe there was any growth. Positively, I can say that the burden and necessity of prayer for me as a believer and wife and mom are growing inside me.
Again, this may be rather scattered. Definitely some things will be left out.
The two big specific successes of the month were finishing The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer and organizing my kitchen and pantry. Whoo! Those both felt really good.
Exercise. This is what I have to say: I think I did some kind of something three times this month which is three more times than I did last month. Enough said.
Homeschooling has been rather a challenge this month. Not the actual school part, but it felt like so many times there were other busy things planned in the day that made us have to juggle our schedule. I would like for this month to be more routine. Also, while I did really good at my weekly planning, I need to do better at night making sure the room and chalkboard are ready to go for the morning.
We did play outside a good amount, but I think we can do even more. It helps so much with Mckayla taking naps – which helps with every other last area of life! = )
There was significant improvement in the area of laundry. I’m taking it slow and trying to just develop steady habits that will keep clean clothes in our drawers. Other than that, the other priorities need some more prioritizing. Seriously, if you’ve never made a list like this and referred back to it often, you should try it. I find it so helpful.
In the area of prioritizing nighttime sleep, I get an F+. Because… overall, I think I went to bed a tiny bit earlier, but there were a few nights that would just blow that average out of the water in the bad direction.
A few things to focus on in February.
-Going to bed and getting up earlier. Just go ahead and plan on reading that one every single month.
-Exercise twice a week. Plan these!
-For books, I’m planning to use February and March to finish What Jesus Demands from the World and Robert Frost’s Poems. I know the Piper book will be a great aid to the resolution of “rejoicing in the character of God.”
-At our last library visit I picked out four biographies that I thought would be interesting for Hopey. Probably on Monday, I will let her choose one and we will read that together in the month of February.
-I need to pick out my first passage to memorize from the Bible this year, and I would like to finish reading the minor prophets this month. I started with them since it had been so long since I’d read them.
-Training for the younger girls most mornings a week. I had been using this time to do little ABC’s or numbers or books, but right now, they need to grow in obedience more than any of those other things.
-Organize our bedroom. Call in the Cavalry! We’re going to need it.
-Keep up with weekly menu planning and grocery shopping.
-Currently I’m working with the girls on their morning responsibilities; we all fold and put away their laundry together once or twice a week; and I’m having Hope and Sophia clear the lunch table while I put the little girls down for naps. These might seem small, but they are a big help to me. Instead of adding more responsibilities at this point, I’m going to stick with these and try to solidify them as habits for us all. (It’s hard work to make sure your kids do their work!) As the month goes, I might add a few more things.
-Toys. I’m planning on buying two tubs. One for toys to put away for awhile (things that are no longer age-appropriate, things the girls seem bored with, or things that are consistently not where they’re intended to be) and one for toys that I see certain of our children chewing on! The idea is if I see any toy, piece of jewelry, anything in a mouth that’s not supposed to be there…. it goes in the tub and they can’t have it back… until they disinfect it or something? I have a feeling this one will evolve. All I know is that a two and four-year-old using regular toys as chew toys has got to stop! Sorry to end on a negative note.
Well, my, my, my; I do hope this wasn’t so boring that you wanted to poke your eyes out. Or that if it was, you stopped reading a long time ago.
I already said it, but it’s true. It’s so helpful to revisit and re-evaluate your goals!