We experienced God’s faithfulness every day last year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of meals, transportation, shelter… who knows how many millions of breaths.
Three hundred and sixty-five days of kindness, goodness, patience, forgiveness and grace.
Three hundred and sixty-five days closer to the image of Christ – in ways we can and cannot see.
Normally on New Year’s I’m looking ahead – planning, making goals, working out for the first of five times in the year. But today I’m just thinking about what all of the sudden is “last year.” We were given 365 days to image God and spread His glory. How I hope to be more faithful to that task in the next few hundred days. But I am comforted by the memory of God’s faithfulness last year and confident of His faithfulness for every future day He gives.
It was the middle of December when Paul looked at me with blurry eyes and said, “Baby, if we can just make it through February 15.”
I’m here to tell you that February 15 has come and gone and we made it! By the way, I am so proud of my husband and how much he gives to those he works with and for.
On my end, February was filled spilled-over busyness from Paul’s responsibilities and unexpected challenges. There have been some bizarre and annoying pregnancy symptoms that have just majorly slowed me down. I was just reading through my February list of things to focus on and thinking, “Yeah, I was sleeping when I would have been doing that.” Have you ever realized your kids had five minutes left to finish breakfast and been like, “Sweet! I’m going to lay down on the couch because I cannot hold my head up any longer.” (and not because of staying up too late) = ) That makes you feel real optimistic about your day from 9:30 on.
However, if I had to summarize the month… I’m really proud of all we did. The girls (especially the big ones) were amazing with everything else going on. Paul put on an amazing middle school conference and finished the work for one of his seminary classes. Woohoo! Three more credits down, baby! And I have lived to see the light of March. = )
Here are my comments and thoughts from my February goals; next will be general thoughts from my original New Year’s goals, priorities, plans, and resolutions; and last will be specific ideas for March.
Going to bed and waking up earlier? Improvement, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Might write a post soon about finishing well at the end of the day. Spoiler! I don’t normally.
Exercise? Average of twice a week. I’m really starting to enjoy it and want to do it more.
Reading? Pretty good. Need to do a little better to finish What Jesus Demands from the World and Robert Frost’s Poems by the end of March.
Biography for Hopey? She picked one on Louis Braille and we read a little, but are nowhere near done. a la February. (anyone recommend a way to learn how to pronounce French fast?)
Bible memory and reading? picked Ephesians 4 to memorize and did not finish the minor prophets (possible post coming about a different method to memorize)
Training in the morning for the little girls? Helped a lot, plan to continue
Organize our bedroom? small chuckle… clearing of the throat… well… our closet has been organized. Lots of stuff thrown out or put in a better place. There’s still a lot of work to do. However, the March room to organize can probably be done in about a day, so there should be time to finish our room. I just have to stay motivated and determined. I love the results!
Menu planning and grocery shopping? Eh? I will say that I have insured that there are ingredients to make pasta with homemade alfredo sauce on hand at all times. We’ve eaten that, oh, about five times this month. Then I had this idea to make creamy chicken enchiladas, so I did; and quickly realized it was a very similar dish. Just keepin’ the lady makin’ the baby happy. = )
Morning responsibilities for the girls? We (Paul and I) had a fun conversation about expectations and what we need to see from the girls. More on this in the March list. However, I do think the girls did pretty good with taking care of their stuff in the mornings.
Toys? Tubs bought? Check. Toys sorted and put away. The girls actually helped with this and I thought that was really good. We also put away a huge amount of stuffed animals to be brought out for parties or school or special things. This has made a huge improvement in the neatness of their rooms and the amount of time it takes for them to make their beds.
To be more organized and prepared… I feel again some small measure of success here. Thinking ahead a little bit more… one small example: I am normally frustrated on someone’s birthday around here because no matter how much I think or prepare, it always seems like I come up short. Especially because I never remember to clean the house or have it neat and orderly for that day, I realize on the actual day that everything is a mess and we don’t have a “blank canvas” on which to celebrate. That being said, two days before Sophia’s birthday I remembered this! and vacuumed! and cleaned stuff up! and on the morning of her birthday the house was not perfect, but it was good enough. And while it probably didn’t make any difference to her, it certainly did to me. That being said, pregnancy brain is in full effect, so all efforts and successes are subject to change. = )
I did not do well with playing the piano this month. As already mentioned, I was probably sleeping.
It’s funny when you realize you did “better” praying because that really means you were struggling a lot. When you’re forced to rest, the house becomes messy, the meals become stressful, the little kids start to push the limits, and the “crafts” that the older ones occupy themselves with in the afternoon overflow to every last imaginable space in the house. This can make for one frustrated mommy. Prayer doesn’t feel so much like a spiritual response, but a desperate reach for the help and grace you now realize you need. I can give thanks for any circumstance that opens my eyes in this way.
Laundry. It piled up again, and sometimes didn’t get done. Last month’s victories don’t guarantee future successes.
Homeschooling. Oh dear, what a month for homeschooling. First I have to say that I am so thankful for Hope. Her sweet and patient nature are such a gift. Her cursive writing is starting to look beautiful and she is catching on well to more concepts in math. We lost several days of school through the first weeks of February, but the third week we fought through and conquered and the fourth week was back to normal with an extra day made up! That felt even better than a whole month of perfectly executed lesson plans.
We did play outside a lot in spite of the cold. I think being outside helps me as much as it does them.
This would have been a good month to fall back on those priorities and remind myself of them constantly. That didn’t happen, but hopefully it will the next time some challenging weeks roll around. (because I’m sure they will)
I’m out of breath! But just one more list to go and I can go to bed! Because I know if I don’t do this now I won’t maybe for the rest of the year.
So here we go: specific plans for March!
(wait, one more thing. I have this policy about lists; I try not to let things roll over. Of course everything doesn’t get done, but just putting it on the next list seems to mean it won’t get done. If an item is that important, it will bug me until I get it done, list or not. All that to say, there will be things missing from March’s list that I will still be working on.)
*Get chalkboard ready for the next day during the afternoon
*Read at night
*Try to go to the park every week with the girls
*Make extra effort to be early for church, just to see Paul before everything starts
*Choose to use even the five minutes it takes to check email, facebook, or the weather in the morning to pray (weather could be checked the night before) ; ) for that matter, let’s be ambitious: have clothes ready the night before
*make list of things we might need for the new baby
*Exercise three times a week
*Organize Mckayla’s room
*Make spring cleaning plan
*Fold all current laundry, then fold as it comes out of the dryer and do not do more until the previous load is folded and put away. Get.caught.up.
*Homeschooling: more science, go to church library, find a time to do piano lessons
*Make list of expectations for the girls. Include personal responsibilities, chores, manners, attitudes, and possible rewards or consequences
*Remember the priorities!
*Evaluate weekly activities; eliminate those that might bring more stress than benefit.
*Consistently work on Awana verses with the girls. Try to be ready every week!
*Possibly purchase some organizing stuff for our room/papers/stuff.
*For profitable fun, dream up an entryway project from Pinterest, craigslist, Target, etc. Include storage, place to sit, and things to make it pretty.
What a lovely way to end a list. I think I’m just trying to encourage myself for the work ahead.
And if you read this… go eat a Snickers or some other rewarding treat. I can only imagine it is as laborious to read as it is to write. This is so helpful for me, though; thanks for bearing with me. I referred to the list many times in February.
What else should I be thinking about in March?
Happy Almost Spring! (I like winter enough that I’m cool with it for another twenty days or so)