Monday, November 21, 2016

Recapturing My Daily Routines

It is Monday again.

And the beginning of Thanksgiving week. Which means that I don't have school for the next 10 days (I only have classes on Wednesdays so I have a few extra days of 'break') With these days that aren't filled up with the hustle and bustle of getting to and from classes and no assignments due this week I am taking this opportunity to take back my daily routines.

I am a routine person. I am a planner and tend to live my by schedule and my calendar. However, being knee deep in homework assignments, presentations, lectures, and reading topped off with meal planning and prepping, laundry, daily cleaning, and homeschooling children my routines have gotten a bit off track.

But this week I am determined to get things back running smoothly as I push through the last few weeks of the semester.

So what does a weekly routine look like here?

I have read several blogs lately about really crafting a weekly routine and sticking to it to make it work for your family. Most of them have specific days designated to errands, cleaning, meal prepping, and various aspects of their lives. I have a similar situation but it varies just a bit.

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning is something that, in reality, happens every day. But DEEP cleaning is something I have found really needs to be broken down. I know there are some out there that have one day a week that is set aside just for deep cleaning but I burn out too quickly for that to work. So here is how I have broken down my cleaning schedule:

Monday~Kitchen Day
The kitchen is my happy place. I love being in the kitchen. I love cooking, baking, and creating in the kitchen all the time. I truly feel like the kitchen is the heartbeat of the home. So I like to start my week out in my favorite room.

This is the time I really scrub my counters, wipe down all surfaces, clean out the fridge and prepare myself for the rest of the week. I also use this day and time to wipe down the walls, doors, and mop the floor.

The second day of the week is devoted to cleaning the second most used room in the house. There was a time when we were having our weekly Bible study on Monday so Mon and Tues were switched but now that we have moved our study to another day of the week I have readjusted. On Tuesdays I dust the surfaces, clean off the bookshelves that have gathered various toys and things that don't belong. I straighten the DVD shelf and move the recliners to clean and vacuum underneath them (except my vacuum just died so now I just sweep the carpet. )

The kids tend to like this day because they get to spend more time outside so I can get that room really clean.  Because we spend a lot of time in there it gets straightened up most days so deep cleaning that room doesn't really take long.

I am usually pretty busy on Wednesdays with classes all morning and one short class in the afternoon. So I tend to focus on cleaning the bathrooms that day since they are small and don't take a lot of time. Trash goes out, toilet, sink, and tub (in the upstairs) gets scrubbed and the mats on the floor get either washed or shaken out. I also sweep, and get any clothes that have piled up in there put in the right places.

Thursday~Kids Bedroom
The kids room takes SO VERY LONG most weeks. This is usually because I try to take the time to sort through their clothes and toys to get rid of anything that doesn't fit anymore or is broken. Then everything has to get put back where it goes. Add to it that they are usually helping me out with the process it takes some time. It's for this reason that have to tackle this feat on the one day I don't have to leave my house. So Thursday it is.

Friday~Master Bedroom
Friday is usually reserved for cleaning up the Master Bedroom. I left this room for last because, honestly, it is the least used room in the house so it takes a bit longer for it to get messed up. We mostly just sleep and change clothes in there. And with our hectic schedules there is very little sleep that actually takes place. I spend time in there straightening up the desk and book shelves, organizing the closet and drawers, and gathering up any trash. Friday tends to be my errand day since I have to go out of the house for gymnastics 2 different times. I tend to use this day as grocery day as well.

Saturday and Sunday
These two days are so jam packed that little gets handled in the home. When we do have a Saturday at home I try to make sure the cars get cleaned out, but that is a very rare occasion. Spending time out doing things with the family or taking care of the responsibilities at the church happen on the weekends . If I can make it work I also like to use Saturday as meal prep day and get everything set for the coming week.

Daily Activities
Laundry and general straightening are tasks that take place everyday. I am still working on getting caught up on the mountain of laundry that managed to pile up however once I get things handled this is the schedule that I plan to follow:
Monday: Dusty clothes
Tuesday: Collin clothes
Wednesday: RaeLynn Clothes
Thursday: My clothes
Friday: Towels
Saturday: Bed Sheets
Sunday: Laundry rest day.

The routines aren't perfect and I know that as my semesters ebb and flow I will have to adjust things and make changes but I know that as long as I can get a basic routine down again changing up the days of which room gets the most attention will be a fairly simple task.  I also think that by getting this routine in order it will make things easy for getting the kids involved, taking the work load off of myself somewhat.

I have also JUST started listening to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Audible and it is already changing the way I am thinking about how I view my 'things'.  For a while now I have been just feeling smothered by all the material things we have in our house. From clothes to books to toys and any number of other things I have just felt like we have too much but I haven't really known how to go about really getting rid of or letting go of things. I really feel like this book with all the practical information I am already finding in it is going to really help me to laser focus in on what I need to do to find peace and joy in my home. I am truly looking forward to the long break between the semesters so that I can get on to the business of KonMari within my home!

How do you get things done? Do you have a regular routine?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

She Did What She Could Part 1

The last weekend of October I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd Art of Homemaking Conference hosted by the Women's program here at the Seminary.

This is an event that I have looked forward to for a while. Each time I have the opportunity to attend I learn and grow so much in just a few short days.

This year they did not provide a "theme" for the conference but God managed to sew a common thread throughout the message of all the main speakers. That common thread, at least to me, was "Be where God has you in the moment"

There were 5 main session speakers all presenting messages on different topics. The first session was presented by Lorna Reeves, editor of Tea Time Magazine, session two was presented by Dr. Rhonda Kelly, First Lady of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the third session was given by Dr. Candi Finch, a professor here at Southwestern, during the fourth session we heard from Monica Patrick who is the wife of a professor here at the Seminary with an wonderful story to tell, and the conference closed up with a message from Southwestern's very own First Lady, Mrs. Dorothy Kelly Patterson.

Each Session brought with it a key ingredient I felt lead to the over arching theme I shared above. It felt as if each ingredient was required for the whole puzzle to finally be completed.

Legacy~Lorna Reeves

Lorna opened the plenary sessions with a discussion on legacy. She began by talking about 'traditions'; those elements of a culture passed down form one generation to another. These traditions are, as the definition states 'elements of a culture.' They are shaped and formed by circumstances. For example, in an area where there is a lot of snow at Christmas a 'tradition' might be sledding on Christmas morning where as an area where there is no snow would not share in that tradition. The same day is being recognized but how it is done changes. What we deem as 'traditions' often times have little baring on what is found in scripture. Culture has shaped our lives.

On the other hand, legacy, something also handed down from the past, from ancestors and predecessors, carries so much more. A legacy is what peoples reputations and perceptions are built upon. Families have worked hard to build up their legacies, and unlike traditions, can not easily be changed.

Lorna challenged us to question what type of legacy we are leaving. She encouraged us to strive to leave a legacy of faith.  There are 2 definitions that pop up when you search for the term "faith." The first is "complete trust or confidence in someone or something" and the second is "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof." The first definition feeds the second. A strong belief in God, a complete trust or confidence.

2 Peter 1:5-7 says:
. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 
Peter gives us everything we need to build that strong legacy of faith. Virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love all build upon each other over time. All are character qualities passed on from one generation to another with a strong and deciding faith at the foundation.

How to Build a Legacy of Faith

One of the absolute best ways to begin building this Legacy of Faith is through Family Meal Times. Families have lost the connection that eating at least 2 meals together at the table used to bring. Busy schedules and over worked parents have lead to breakfasts being eaten as children rush to the bus or out the door to schools and day cares. And dinners have been reduced to the same rushed manner. Children are been shuffled from one after school activity to the next with little time to consume a fast food meal in the backseat. And if that is not the case then meals are being eaten in front of the television set with little to no conversation taking place. 

If families will take the time to slow down and reconnect with genuine conversation the building blocks described in 2 Peter 1:5-7 can be laid. Faith can be seen by children as parents talk with them about daily issues. Knowledge can be shared as parents seek to give their children the counsel they need. and over time self-control, love and affection are learned and passed on. Tradition can then be shaped into true legacy.

Another way that this Legacy of Faith can be built is through making worship a priority. When children see their parents making worship such as reading of the Bible daily, prayer-both personal and together with the family, and attendance of church consistently they begin to make the connection of the importance of worship to the foundation of faith. 

Traditions can be good to pass on. They remind us of where we came from and bring back happy and joyful memories of times past. It is what those traditions that are built upon that develops the Legacy of Faith

How do you build a Legacy of Faith in your family?

Friday, November 4, 2016

What's Rockin' My Socks Off: Gratitude Garland

Happy Friday!!!

It is that time again to talk about what is rockin my socks off. (I know I missed a few weeks! I have been super busy with a lot of things going on here at the Seminary. I look forward to sharing more about that VERY soon!) 

So a few years ago right after we moved here I decided that if I was going to do this whole homemaking thing I was going to really do it up (I still has that June Cleaver/Martha Stewart mindset of homemaking so I was trying to fit into a mold that I didn't belong in).  I had decided that I needed to be one of those people who decorated for every holiday and every season (read that as holiday and seasonal decor should explode all over my home).

The problem with this is that we were (and still are) living on a VERY TIGHT BUDGET. That meant that I didn't have the finances to go buy all the materials to make all the wonderful DIY projects I kept seeing on Facebook and Pinterest. 

But what I did have was 2 kiddos, some brown paper bags, LOTS of crayons, ribbon and scissors. 

And thus the 'Gratitude Garland' was born.

Now to be fair I didn't come up with the idea, it was one of those wonderful ides I found on Pinterest. I did however simplify it just a bit.

The last 2 years I have adapted and changed how we did our gratitude for the month of November but
we have always taken the time to really think about what we are thankful for and why we are thankful for those things as we prepare to go into the holiday season. One year I just stuck our leafs up on the door instead of creating the whole garland, and the next year we just wrote them down in a notebook during our lunch time talks. Last year, I didn't really do anything at all. I was just so busy with school that it never crossed my mind.

This year, however, I decided we needed to bring back the garland. We needed a strong visual reminder of what we are thankful for. My kiddos have a habit of finding one thing and parking on that thing. At night their most consistent prayer is:
"Dear God, Please help daddy have a good nights sleep and a great day tomorrow. Amen!"
They say the same thing, every night, as fast as they can get through it. No matter how hard I try they just don't want to let go of that prayer. And on the second day of November I realized they were falling into that same pattern.

SO I made the decision to recreate the "gratitude garland" so we can see what we are thankful for
each day and realize just how much we have in our lives.

Hearing my kiddos really stop and think about what they are grateful for and how they can incorporate thankfulness into their lives each day is such a blessing.

So that is what is rockin' my socks off for the start of November!

How do you incorporate gratitude in your family? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Heart in Hand Scripture Challenge

I can not believe that it is already November! How has this year gone by so very fast.

One of the areas that I have really tried to focus on being more consistent with (my word for 2016) is really digging in to Scripture. I love reading and studying the Bible but as I got further into my Seminary classes I found that I was spending time reading the Bible only to say I did my weekly reading requirements for my classes but I wasn't really learning or growing.

Over the summer months I got involved with the Good Morning Girls Bible Studies. I love they way they go through one book at a time, generally one chapter at a time. Each day (Monday through Friday) a new chapter is read, a Scripture is written out, Observations and Application are applied, and a Prayer to ask God to incorporate these thoughts into daily life is said. There is even a great color-coding highlighting system to help be able to see what is happening in each chapter at a quick glance.

This is a great way to really dive in and READ the Word. But I found that I was not really 'meditating' on what I had read throughout the day. Especially when the day's reading was focused on the inheritance of the tribes of Israel found in the book of Joshua. Again, I have just been going through the motions for the most part. Of course I am still learning and growing but there was little thinking on the Word once the kids wake up and I move on to the chaos of the day.

Recently I have started following several new blogs and podcasts. I even wrote about my new love of Periscope and the great people I have been following over there. One of the people I follow is MacKenzie Monroe at Bold Turquoise. She is the host of the Cultivating the Lovely Morning Show on Peirscope and the Cultivating the Lovely Podcast.

One of the things she has been know to do is a Bible study with the Periscope community. And a lot of followers had been letting her know they missed that. I was never fortunate enough to get in on that part of her show but I could tell it was something that really blessed the women involved.

That is why I was so excited when she announced that for this month, November, she would be hosting a Scripture writing challenge. Each day there is a new Scripture to think on throughout the day. The goal is to write out the Scripture passage each day to help solidify the passage in the our hearts and minds. The challenge started yesterday and will go throughout the entire month of December.

I was so excited to jump on board I even got my sister to join in with me. I made my own blank page notebook out of printer paper and a blank card, and I had my husband make me my very own Traveler's Notebook (a whole post on its own!) to hold it.

Yesterday's Scripture was Psalm 119:15 and today's passage is Psalm 19:14

I have also decided I want to start learning to be more creative with my writing and get some doodling/art going in my planner systems so I am adding those little touches to my daily Scripture.

You can find your own printable bookmark with the daily Scripture passages in the show notes for the Bold Turquoise Podcast.

You can also follow along with my daily posts on the Life of a Seminary Wife Instagram Page! I would love to have you follow along!

Have you done Scripture writing? Bible Journaling? Hand-lettering and doodling?