What’s Your Plan?

I will be the first person to admit that I am very possessive of MY schedule.  When I make a plan and write down a schedule, I really don’t like unexpected changes.   It’s not that I plan my day out hour by hour or minute by minute.  That’s a bit too rigid for me.

I just have an idea of what needs to get done, how and when (approximately) I’d like to get it done.  Any upset and I am easily irritated and annoyed.

The truth is as much as I pray for God to guide my day and show me the steps to take, I want Him to work within MY schedule.

Yes, that’s right.  I said it.

It’s terribly embarrassing to realize my attempts to box the God of the Universe to fit into my tiny little world.  It’s actually horrifying.

Am I trying to BE God?

Cuz that puts me right in the ranks of a certain angel who lost his place in the heavenlies and became the mortal enemy of God and humanity.

So in praying today, after coming to the realization that I was trying to control my world and asking God to fit within my guidelines, I had to be really honest about giving God my day and asking Him to guide me.  I also had to confess and ask Him to allow me to recognize my pride and need for control.

It goes back to that nasty lie I have believed for so long: “God is not enough.”  If He was, I would not question the interruptions of my day but receive them as part of His plan for me…

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (Amplified)

Knowing that God has thoughts for me – plans for me – plans for welfare and peace – and NOT for evil – I can rest and trust that HE is taking care of me and all the details of my life.  I can replace my false belief with the truth and relax with every unexpected blessing He brings my way.

I can make plans and schedule order in my day.  But ultimately, it comes down to Proverbs 16:9:

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. (Amplified)

The key to success in my day and schedule, in anyone’s day and schedule, is making plans and giving them to God.  He knows our greatest needs – He knows what we need to accomplish and how we can accomplish them.  He also knows the “fluff” that we fill our days with and will help us line our priorities up with His.

If you have a tough time – like I do – with making and keeping to a schedule or accomplishing your necessary responsibilities – maybe it’s time to go to God and ask Him for His help minute by minute, hour by hour – and to teach you how to put your plan within HIS plan for you.

P.S. – If you need a practical tool to help you stay on top of your family’s schedule and activities – check out my post at Mommies Coffee Break today!  You can’t control every minute of every day, but having order provides some measure of peace. =)


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How to Prioritize Your Busy Life

I have been a fan of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog and writings, and when I found this – I had to share it.  It speaks to me pretty pointedly as I tend to get into Busy-Ness at times, and knowing she’s giving this a Christian perspective really gives me food for thought!  Oh, and make sure you read all the way to the end for her special FREE planner offer!

Curse of Busy-Ness: Learning How to Prioritize the Right Things by Sheila Wray Gregoire

The answer to the question, “How are you?” has traditionally been “I’m fine.” Over the last few years, though, a new answer has supplanted the old one. It’s now in fashion to say, “I’m just so busy!”, before lamenting how exhausted we are.

Are we really that busy? After all, we still seem to find time to spend thirty hours a week in front of a television, and that doesn’t even include other screens we glue ourselves to. But perhaps this is in reaction to how busy we are at other times: we rush and rush and rush, and then when we get home we collapse. Hardly a fulfilling life, is it?

Busyness Distracts

Author Mark Buchanan wrote recently that “busyness causes people to care less about the things they care about.” In other words, when you’re busy, your priorities get distorted. What happens when you’re busy and your daughter wants you to read to her? You get annoyed. What happens when your spouse wants to talk about her mother’s cancer diagnosis? You figure out how to placate her so that you can move on to something more important. What happens when your son wants you to coach Little League, or your daughter wants you to come and see the play she’s in? You get angry, because people are adding to your already full schedule and assuming they can count on you. They don’t understand all the demands you face!

We All Need Reminders of our True Priorities

Every winter our family takes a “time out” from our busyness. We head up to a cabin in the woods with another family with kids of similar ages, and we toboggan, ski, play board games, and chat, all without the benefit of electricity or running water. It’s loads of fun. Trust me.

The only downside for Katie, my 10-year-old, is the outhouse. She’s not into outhouses, and not only because of the smell. There may be spiders there, you see, even if it is twenty below. So I have to accompany her every time she feels the urge.

One particular night this year we entered said building, and as she prepared to do her business we attempted the flashlight handoff. And failed. The flashlight plummeted into the hole.

It so happens that just a few months’ prior to our visit the cabin had been used by many large men who consumed much food. So the hole was, shall we say, full.

And as the flashlight descended, the rest of the outhouse was plunged into total darkness. All we could see was the illuminated pile of you know what.

In retrospect, I wonder if this incident is really a metaphor for the purpose of our yearly visits. It’s to illuminate the huge pile of crap that is filling our lives, so that we can deal with it and move on.

When We’re Not Busy We Really Live

In that cabin with no electricity and no pagers and no computers, we spend time with each other. We talk. We wrestle and tickle. We listen. And we remember why we actually enjoy being a family. It’s bliss.

When I think about my children’s years growing up thus far, one of the enduring memories I have is reading to them. We have devoured the Narnia series, the Little House series, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women out loud, twice, once for each girl. Huddling under the covers and sharing Anne’s adventures bonded us in a very unique way. And yet how often today, when Katie wants to launch into Jane Austen, do I sigh and wish she would just leave me alone so I could get something important done?

Busyness causes us to care less about the things we care about. If I start to see those I love as intruding on my life, there’s something really wrong. Something in my life is truly stinking, and I better deal with it before I lose what is most precious.

And now I’d like to invite you to use my FREE personal time planners to get your own busy-ness under control–and make sure you’re focusing on your true priorities! I also include kids’ chore sheets, household organization planners, and more!

Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of four books, including To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother. She blogs at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.blogspot.com
Article Source: WAHM Articles

How I Manage to “Do It All”… NOT!

It has been a lot of fun for me to get to know more about Danielle on her Journey…  While we were busy interns, we really didn’t have a lot of time for chit chat and I feel like I’m getting to know more about her now than I did then.  Her explanation for her blog title – and the suggestions for starting a home business were great, weren’t they?  She has some great resources on her blog for WAHMs or moms who WANT to be WAHMS!

She has some great, thoughtful questions for me – I’ll do my best to answer them here…

You mentioned you are a college student, what are you going to school for?  What are your plans once you graduate?  I know you struggle with juggling your family and everything else, just like so many of us.  Do you have any tips or lessons you have learned in juggling everything?

I registered for my first full-time semester of online courses with Liberty University in Fall 2004.  Two weeks before my first class was to begin, we were delighted to discover that we were expecting Curly. So, for the first 5 months of my pregnancy – while working 40 hours a week – dealing with terrible morning all-day sickness, I took 4 full-time courses online.  It was HORRIFIC, to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »

Ta-Da! Tuesday – My Basic Home Notebook Forms

I decided to go ahead and begin to list the Basic forms I’m using daily, and how I’m setting things up in my Home Management Notebook System.  Later I’ll post pictures and explain how I finally got it all set up.

I have five general color-coded sections in my system:

Food & Menu (Green – as in green, leafy vegetables which are good for you).

Schedules/Cleaning (clear/white – an overabundance of clear protector sheets).

Blogging (Blue – coordinate the “Bl…” theme – and it’s my favorite color and my favorite hobby – you get the idea…)

Personal (Red – as in “important” – it’s where I keep the girls chore / potty charts, and other information).

Contacts (Yellow as in “yellow pages”).

They are set up in this order because it is the order of the colored page protector dividers I’m using.  =)  They are also being implemented in two separate 3-ring binders.  One is the Master Binder (“MB” or Control Journal – 3″ rings) which contains important information to keep at home, close to the phone.  The second is My Home Keeper Notebook (“MHKN”) which I keep with me throughout the day and is more portable (1″ rings) and will fit into any of my totebags.

As I researched the vast array of downloadable or printable forms on the internet, it became very clear that three things were very important to me:  FunctionFormFlexibility.  It had to be efficient, and it had to be pretty, and I needed room to work with it according to our lifestyle.  I can make my own Excel forms, but I don’t want to take the time to make all of them.  When I came across a form that was user friendly, AND pretty, I almost always grabbed onto it!  Even if I haven’t used it yet, I still have it saved so I have the option of trying it later.

For this last week – which was my  first week – I used a few Basic, but Beneficial, forms:

SCHEDULE

A ruled weekly planner from Donna Young to manage everything that needed to be accomplished during the week.  I need to have a weekly calendar available so I can prepare for upcoming appointments, keep track of Curly’s school projects, and record Roy’s work schedule.

A daily task list called the Daily Flying (Chores) Form at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 [hint: the Word document is editable].  Because there are some things that need to be done once or twice a week, every week, the daily task list needs to be pretty well set for me and was the hardest part of getting myself together.  The fact that a Morning and Bedtime routine (ala Flylady) were already incorporated into this chart made it even better.  Borrowing from this chart and personalizing it for our lifestyle and my style in general, saved a lot of time and reduced a great amount of stress.  It was a springboard for me to get myself going.

I am using these forms every day – throughout the day – and felt much more accomplished by the end of last week than I have in quite some time.  How lovely!

FOOD

I also used a Menu Planner and Grocery Lists to plan for dinners.  I have not really ever done this before.  Not purposefully, anyway.  But this past week, even Roy commented on the great dinners we had – and it’s all because I took a few minutes on Sunday afternoon to see what we had, what was on sale that we would use, and went from there.  I listed what meals (including sides) I could make with what we had, and made my grocery list (noting coupons & sales), and shopped accordingly.  I even tried a new recipe, Impossible Ham and Cheddar Pie, which was surprisingly delicious and we plan to include it in our regular repertoire of recipes.

I only require planning for dinners/weekends, but there are other great menu & kitchen planners, and this week I am using the Menu page (with shopping list and separate ruled page for greater flexibility) I purchased (cheap!) at Busy Woman.  Someday when I have mastered my Homekeeper Role, I will have everything in my Classic Dayrunner, and this particular form from Busy Woman was designed to fit perfectly.  You can find a wide variety of menu planners, grocery or shopping lists, inventory charts and more at Donna Young, In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, and many other sites by searching google (free printable menu planner).

CHORE CHARTS

Now, Curly is only 3, but she is growing quickly, and we are teaching her to take care of her things (as opposed to tearing up her books or standing on top of her toys…)  Since she likes to pick out her own clothes, and certainly has her own fashion sense (much to her father’s chagrin!) I thought it would be nice to begin incorporating a sticker chart for her.   After using a simple one recording only 4 tasks, I realized she could easily be challenged by a few more.  So, I created one in Word Document (using a table) personalized for her.  She earns stickers for Making her bed, Dressing, Brushing her hair, Putting toys away, Reading, etc.  Right now she is more excited about the stickers than any prizes or earnings, so we’re keeping it simple. =)

Georgie is potty training, and since she HAS to do everything her big sister does, she has a potty chart for placing stickers on it.  She is being pretty consistent with 3-4 times of TELLING me she has to go, so she’s getting there.  She’s just excited she gets to use stickers like her big sister. =)

These are the basic forms I am using.  It seriously helps.  I feel more focused and more “together” and more PURPOSEFUL in my daily routines.  Although our weekend was difficult, I had accomplished much during the week, and we had more freedom to get out and go when we were able to.  That felt really great.  And Roy’s compliments on our meals – well, that was bonus!


THE KEY TO SUCCESS FOR ME:  I am using a wide selection of planner pages from a variety of sources.  Some are available free of charge, some websites require membership or purchase, and the more I use a variety of formats, the more I find which work
best for me.  It just required me taking my first steps in the right direction.

Tomorrow, I will be sharing other forms I’m using for home organization, tracking personal information and more…

Until Then,

have-a-blessed-day

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