Routines Don’t Mean a Routine Life

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law and I were visiting about the challenge of managing our families.  House cleaning, meal planning, calendar coordinating.  It can all be overwhelming.  I was reminded though that systems and routines are critical, imperative.  We all seem to push back on routines, thinking life will become too structured, too mundane, too routine.

We have entered a new season in our home.  Our girls have entered higher ed and we have entered those empty nest years, although they aren’t quite out of the nest.  I went back to work full-time.  New season, new challenges.  As I visited with my sister-in-law I realized I had let too many of our routines and systems fall to the wayside.  Some needed to.  Life is different.  But frustrations were hitting us.  Meal time felt stressful, laundry was piling up and seemed to consume our weekends, entertaining was happening less often.  I’d been avoiding setting up new systems and routines.  I was pushing back, feeling like life was too structured, too much of my time was not my own.  The truth is, routines and systems create room for a full life.

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Clean spaces, simple meal preparation, laundry systems, allow for me, my family, to enjoy time doing the things we love.  The systems and the routines don’t confine us, they free us.  The mundane, the chores are taken care of in small pockets of time, leaving larger pockets of time to relax, to fellowship, to live fully.

Here are a few routines I have put back in place:

  1.  A load of laundry washed and transferred to the dryer each morning. (5:30 am)
  2. Weeknight meal themes:  Sunday-Pasta, Monday-Fish, Tuesday-Beef, Wednesday-Salad/Sandwiches, Thursday-Chicken, Friday-Eat Out, Saturday-Rice Bowls
  3. M,W,F-vacuum, M touch up bathrooms, W dust (I am fortunate to have a housekeeper)
  4. Sunday coupon clipping and pick-up grocery order
  5. Friday planning-fill out calendar and schedule for the week to come
  6. 4:30 workouts (as soon as I get home)

I encourage you to create some routines.  Don’t look at them as confining. Instead, look at them as a tool to help you create time for the things you love, as a tool to help you delegate, as a tool to create habits.

Routines don’t mean a routine life.

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Serve One Another

As a missionary kid I grew up in the midst of people giving their whole lives to service, to making the difference in someone else’s life, seeking to help and to share the gospel. Opportunities to travel the globe as a child and youth exposed me to needs, to political structures which stifled and caused harm to citizens.  I knew from the age of 14 I wanted to work in public service.

This week thousands of us in public service, join the Points of Light Foundation in remembering President Bush’s inaugural speech and his call to action.  We honor him, the legacy he built.  I remember watching the speech.  I remember the reference to the non-profit and government programs spread across the country “like shining stars”.  I remember, in those moments, knowing I had chosen the career that was right for me. Today, as I serve the citizens of Arkansas, President Bush’s words continue to inspire me. Programs and processes do not change people.  Programs ad processes may offer help, they may meet a concrete need, but they do not change people.  People change people.  I believe that, not just because of years of service with government and nonprofit organizations, but I believe that because I know we were created by God to have relationship.  We were created to need one another.

My work plans for 2017 involve the launch of a system to connect people to other people, helping people meet the needs of others.  In my personal life my desire for 2017 is to strengthen existing relationships and open myself up to new ones, to respond to needs when I see them.  As a mother, my greatest desire has been to teach my children to connect to others, to see the needs of those around them and sacrifice their time and resources to meet them.  That character trait is one I have desired to instill and rates high above grades or popularity in our home.  My prayer this week is that they, my girls, and you will read the words of President Bush, be inspired, and then take action.

http://www.pointsoflight.org/people/board-members/president-george-h-w-bush

LoveAllHeart

 

Things are a Part of Your Legacy

As my girls approach college years, I find myself thinking more and more about the legacy I am leaving them.  Often that revolves around memories, behaviors, lifestyle.  But things are a part of the legacy too.

I love antiques.  We are blessed to have a number of family items.  Nothing that would be of much value to anyone else, but they are a part of our family’s history and hold memories.  One of the girls has their dad’s mom’s childhood desk.  Our dining set, which I have broken up and used throughout the house, is from my mother-in-law.  Each girl has a childhood rocker passed down from my family and my husband’s.  I love those sorts of things.

I love dishes and hospitality items even more (hence my job as a Mary & Martha Independent Consultant).  I have dishes from my grandmother, great grandmother, my husband’s mother, my own collection.  Love them all, use them all, and pray my girls find enjoyment in them.

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Last year I was challenged by an acquaintance to read through the Bible on behalf of my girls.  The challenge spoke to me. I hadn’t read through the entire Bible in a year in quite a while.  I journal for my girls, but this spoke to me in a different way. What if I could take two old family bibles and read through them.  Not only would I be leaving them notes, highlights and thoughts from my own experiences and knowledge, but I would be leaving them each a Bible- read, used, loved by someone else in the family.  That makes my mamma heart happy.

I just finished reading through the first Bible for one of my daughter’s.  I chose a Bible we had purchased for my grandmother, who spent a great deal of time with me and my girls.  This particular daughter was especially close to my grandmother and had helped pick out this Bible for a Christmas gift.  Reading through the Bible on behalf of my daughter was a great experience.  On some level it was as if I was reading through the Bible highlighting and noting the things I would want to say to my 16-18 year old self.  What did I want her to take note of in scripture?  What struggles did I anticipate she might face and what scripture would I want to direct her to?  What stories were my favorite and why?  It took me a little over a year.  My old perfectionist self might have been upset, given up, but being a recovering perfectionist I chose this time to  persevere.  It was so worth it.  I am so glad an acquaintance challenged me.  I am glad I took the challenge.  I am glad my legacy includes behaviors, beliefs AND things.

In all honesty, it was an emotional journey, so I’m gonna give it a year before I read through for the next daughter.  But… I already know which Bible I’ll use.  She is named after her grandmother.  I was lovingly given one of her daily Bibles when she passed away.  It will be the perfect Bible.