Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Peace Over Perfection

Yesterday I did a small thing that I later realized was a big thing for me.
The act was small, how I did it was big.

Ok, I'll tell you what it was.
I made a meal for a family who recently welcomed a new baby into their home.
See, I told you, a small thing.
Here's the big part: the meal was simple- a pasta dish and salad.

I'm sure by now, you're confused,
What is so big about a simple meal for a friend, right?!
Well, I don't get to do this very often anymore.
Most of my friends are done bringing new life into the world.
And so I don't find myself helping others in this way.

But when I used to, I went over the top.
I would try to think of EVERYTHING to make my meal a blessing to the receiver.
Time was spent not only cooking the meal
But also making side dishes and definitely dessert.
Then there were the napkins to throw in and paper plates-
So no one had to worry about dishes afterwards.
I could go on and on about the particulars, but you get the idea.

So, yesterday I found myself planning this meal
And thinking, oh, I should makes cookies, too.
After preparing I noticed the time.
I wanted to sit down for a few minutes,
To rest just a bit from the fullness of the day.

And then I remembered the cookies.
If I pushed through I might have just enough time to get them baked.
But... I didn't get out the ingredients.
I didn't pull out my mixer.
I didn't turn on the oven.

Instead, I rested.
I sat down for a few minutes at my desk.
I pulled out the book I've been reading,
And I read a few pages, enjoying the peace of the moment.

This was big for me.
In the past this would not have been allowed.
I would have pushed through,
Creating what I deemed the perfect meal to present to a friend.

And I would have exchanged rest for work.
I would have left time to breathe for anxious hustle.
I would have traded peace for perfection.

Now, don't get me wrong.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with presenting a beautiful meal,
Filled with all the extras to make it special.
What was wrong, for me,
Was that I created stress, not just for me, but for those around me.
I traded peace for perfection.

For quite some time I anxiously yearned for peace in this busy season of life.
I wrestled with the concept of breathing still in the midst of a full schedule.
Could I find rest while managing a large family?
Was there room for margins in my planner?

I'm finding the answer is, yes.
Thankfully, the answer is, yes.
But sometimes it's the choice between perfection or peace.
And so my prayer is this:
Lord, help me see where I can serve, yet rest,
Where I can give and still receive.

May you continue in your areas of service to others
And still allow for times of rest.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Are We Doing Too Much?

As I sat discussing schedules with a group of moms,
I kept hearing, "we school well into the afternoon."
Why, I thought, would these moms be schooling for so long
when their children are all still so small?

This puzzled me so I asked more questions
In hopes of helping them find solutions to a shorter school day.
It was from their answers that I discovered something:
These mamas are busy...
With extra-curricular activities.

Between swimming lessons, and women's Bible studies,
These sweet mamas were not able to find time to rest during the day.
Activities pulled them away in the morning,
Causing them to be schooling during nap time or well into the afternoon.

Now, please don't get me wrong,
Extra-curricular activities can be great.
There are so many wonderful opportunities available.
I also don't want anyone to feel she needs to follow my schedule.

But here are a few thoughts to consider.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 reads: to every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Swimming lessons are beneficial.
Bible studies are encouraging.
But are we being spread too thin as we attempt to fit it all in?

May I ask you to slow down and reconsider your schedule?
There are so many good opportunities out there.
But what is best for you and your family right now?
Sometimes when we choose more we loose what we really want:
Peace, rest, time.

God is so faithful to direct us, even with our schedules. 
Seek Him.
Listen to His still, small voice directing you.
And walk confidently into your day
Knowing you walk in the plan He has given you.

Could less be more?
I think it just may be.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Personal Time"- Can It Be Found?

I get asked some great questions.
Questions from moms seeking ways to do their best.

Recently I was asked, "How do you find "me/personal" time?
Life places so many demands on us as moms.
For those of us who have chosen to homeschool,
We get to be with our kiddos all. day. long.
So, is it possible to get some alone time?

I think so but first this:
The personal time many of us desire usually won't be found,
It must be made.

Creating this kind of space for yourself 
Will once again look different for everyone
But I will share with you where I have made space throughout my day.

First, I encourage you to share your need with your spouse.
I say this for two reasons:
The two of you can brainstorm solutions that you will both be excited about.
And, you will support each other in implementing the ideas.

Here are a few ways that worked for me over the years:

Specific wake-up times and bed times.
By setting a time for my children to wake up
I was then able to rise before them and know 
I had that time before I would be needed.
If a child woke sooner, I simply told him,
"It's not morning yet," and taught him to stay in bed.
Easier said than done, right?!
But once learned, worth it!

The same is true for bedtime.
My husband and I set a time for bed
And our kiddos were taught they needed to 
Stay in bed and be quiet.
This took much training and consistency at first
But again was TOTALLY worth it.

Nap time/quiet rest time.
After lunch, around 1:00, I would read to my boys.
This was the start to nap time 
Or what later grew to quiet rest time.
This was a time for us all to rest from interaction.
I have used this space for naps myself, reading, 
Exercising, making appointments etc.

For specific ways to include exercise, 
I have also done many ideas.
- schedule PE into the week's activities 
- adjust the school schedule to include gym time
- put on a video for the kids while working out in another room

These windows of time change with the seasons of life we find ourselves in.
But I do believe, when prioritized and planned for, they can be made.
As much as I think we can create space for ourselves,
I do think there can be a big obstacle.
So next time when I write, I will ask, 
Are you involved in too much?

Let me know if these ideas could work for you.
Do you have different ideas that you could add?
Are you faced with circumstances that prevent these ideas from working for you?
Please feel free to contact me and we can brainstorm together. =)


Thursday, September 7, 2017

First Day Fun!

Don't you just love the first day back to school?!
It's filled with so much anticipation.
It's a fresh start.
New lesson plans. New ideas. New hopes. New.

We had our first day back to school this past Tuesday.
I love to greet my students (my kiddos) with a few fun treats.
Here's a peak inside their 'back to school' bags.
And before you may think that I am so creative,
I give all credit to Pinterest. ;)

The boys can always use socks,
So when I found a cute tag, I printed it off and bam! a treat goes in their bags.

I always love having the boys fill out a 'back to school' worksheet.
I look forward to looking back over the years at what they filled out.

And fresh pencils, and erasers are always a good idea.
Gum, and tic tacs, a little extra fun.

So, that's how we added a little fun to our first day back to school.
How was your first day?


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back To School Prayer Night-

I am always so thankful when I am able to host
A Back To School Prayer Night.
Taking the time to pray over specifics before the school year starts
Puts my heart in the right place,
At the feet of Jesus.

For those of you who could not join us
I am attaching the outline that we prayed through.
Feel free to grab it and seek our King
In your own time and space.

Psalm 116:1-2
Matthew 7:7-8

Thanksgiving: for our families, marriages, children, children’s school environment, for God’s care and provision, His direction and strength.

Our Personal Walks with Jesus: that we would always remember from whom our strength comes from and constantly be connected to the One who leads, guides and sustains. That we would carve time out with Him and be in constant communication with Him.

Our Marriages: That the Lord would be in the center (leading, guiding, strengthening, and unifying). Protection over. That we would meet each other’s needs with genuine care and concern. Thankfulness for the other’s roll. Enjoyment in.

Our Children: That our children would love God passionately, and love and care for others. That they would desire to glorify God by having good character, and be self-motivated to study and be diligent workers. That they would understand the material being taught to them.

Teachers: Wisdom to teach students according to the students’ needs and to deal with daily situations that arise. Patience. Creativity. Passion. Joy!!

Daily Logistics: Wisdom on how to manage well the homes the Lord has given us (laundry, cooking, cleaning, appointments). Balance with joy.

Extra Curricular Activities and Friends:  When to say yes to activities and when to say no (both for us and our children). That our children would link up with friends that would be encouraging and positive influences for them.

Preschoolers/Toddlers/Babies: Wisdom on how to give them our time, energy, and love. Patience with them and patience from them. Creativity for keeping them happy and busy.

Families That Couldn’t Make It: Blessing on their families. All that we desire for our families, that the Lord would do so for them as well.