Friday, September 28, 2012

12 home keeping projects project 2

Make some plans...

Proverbs 31:21  When it snows, she has no fear for her household for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

The worthy woman anticipates foreseeable needs.  Our example lives in a climate where snow is possible, maybe even probable.  So, she prepares her family's winter clothing ahead of time.  Then, when the snow comes, everyone in the family has the gear they need.  There is peace, not a desperate  scrambling for what is needed.   Of course, we can't foresee everything, nor should we try to.  Being over controlling leads to anxiousness and not peace.  We have to trust the Lord.  However, there are plenty of things in our lives that we can plan for, and we can have things in place to make our lives smoother.

I know the value of this by having failed to plan and to follow through with my plans.   I know from experience that trying to wing too many things isn't a good way to manage a household.

Now, with the fall holidays upon is, is a great time to plan for the season, if you haven't already started.
Plan any meals that you intend to cook now and start working any non-perishable food items into your grocery budget.  If you buy one or two things between now and Thanksgiving or Christmas, you will have a well stocked pantry.  Cook and freeze ahead.  Think through any bedding you will need for guests and have that clean, fresh, and in easy reach.  Stock up on extras you need when company comes, such as extra t.p., shampoo, snacks, etc.

Now that I have grown children and a grandchild, I have learned that I must be flexible when it comes to holiday planning. I communicate ahead of time with my children to determine what their need or wants might be.  However, I try to allow room for things to change.  If I stock my pantry with things that end up not being used, I just use it later.

This brings up the fine balance that we have to keep when planning.  I have a romantic outlook and can get pictures in my head of how I want things to be.  (Have you seen the photos on Pinterest of the three children beautifully photographed in white and the comic attempts people have made to re-create that look?  The comic attempts give me a big chuckle, because I can relate to having one ideal in your head of what you want to accomplish while the result isn't quite the same.)  When managing a household, we need to take into account that others have pictures in their heads of what they want, too.  Besides, circumstances can change our original thoughts.  Always, we commit our plans to the Lord and trust Him to bring them about, while seeking his will above ours.  If our plans take a left turn on us, that's ok. God works everything out for good for those who love Him.

We mustn't allow the fact that our plans might change stop us from being decisive in planning.  Generally, we make plans by choosing from a number of acceptable options.  In the example of the worthy woman being prepared for snowy weather, today's homemaker has a number of options when choosing winter clothing for herself and her family.   There are also many ways to organize seasonal clothing.  Given so many choices, a wise home manager picks one and follows it through.  She does not second guess herself.  She does not get stuck wavering between options.   If later circumstances reveal another course would have been better, she learns.  She does not, however, beat herself up over what might have been.  She does her best.

Decisiveness is a great quality for the home manager.  She must be able to plan and to work her plan.  This has never been more important than now, when we live in such a quickly moving society.  The winter coat that seemed like such a good deal last week

is on deeper sale this week. We bought navy beans to cook last week when the doctor siad that they were nutritious, but we have second thoughts when we read a new study that says they are not.   We make a choice in our childrearing, but everyone we know wants to add their 2 cents about it, and none of them agree even with each other.  

How delicious it is that we have such bounty at our fingertips, even in these hard economic times.  How wonderful to have so much information just one touch of a keyboard away.  Enjoy, but don't be overwhelmed.  Over-analyzing and second guessing are enemies of peace and effective planning,

Where have you been caught short-handed in the past?
What in your present life needs planning and oversight?
Are you able to plan decisively and take action, yet be flexible enough?  Are you too flexible to the point that you have trouble choosing a plan and sticking to it?

This week's project:  Determine what in your life needs planning, put your plans on paper (or smartphone), and complete the first step of your plan.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

12 Home Keeping Projects...

Fall's coming, and it's time to go back to class. :)

Would you like to join me in 12 quick and easy home keeping projects to get house and home back on track?

Here's the first:  Selecting Simplicity

Simplicity is an often talked about virtue in our culture.  That's probably because we live in anything but simple times.  We long for schedules that are less hectic and homes that are warm and nurturing. We also see the needs in the world, and we realize that we need to find ways to live that don't involve over-consumption.  To that end, many have undertaken a lifestyle of simplicity.

Here's the definition of the English word simplicity.

In the positive connotation:  freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts: an organism of great simplicity. absence of pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness: a life of simplicity.

freedom from deceit or guile; sincerity; artlessness; naturalness: a simplicity of manner, purity of motive
In the negative:  a quality of being gullible, lacking mental acuity and sharpness, uneducated, unskilled, naive
Obviously, if we voluntarily pursue simplicity, we want to aim for the positive qualities associated with this word.  Some have defined simplicity as living by all of the skills used in prior centuries.  For example, a home keeper who is pursuing simplicity might garden, can, sew, compost, etc.  Returning to these skills can be good for our families and can also be good for the environment.  However, many people find that making or growing everything by hand makes life more complex, rather than promotes a simple life.  
True simplicity is not found in returning to Little House on the Prairie, but is found in determining what your priorities are and sticking to them.  The story of Mary and Martha demonstrates this principle.  When Jesus came to visit, Martha bustled about doing good things.  Though her motive was to serve, she became impatient and anxious.  Mary, on the other hand, peacefully listened as Jesus taught.   Mary's priorities were ordered around the Lord, and she recognized the importance of those precious moments with Jesus in a way that Martha did not. 
We can relate to Martha's distraction.  After all, she was serving the Lord, and that's a wonderful thing.  However, instead of finding peace at Jesus' feet, she let herself become distracted by her service.  Perhaps, she would have been better off in the moment if she had set out a simple meal that required little serving. 

The trick is to define simplicity in terms of what best fits you and your family.   So,as you go about your week, think about your priorities for your home.  Where do you feel that things are working?  Where are you becoming overwhelmed or frustrated?  Are you anxious or are you at peace?  Are you trying to do too many "good" things instead of what is "best"?  What is your current stage of life?  Are you attempting to do things that you might be able to do in another stage of life, but which might be too much right now?  What do you think is the right balance in your life of spending time and money? 
How is your clutter?  (Why does clutter look so appealing in Pottery Barn catalogs and so junky in my house?:) )  Are you drowning under too much stuff?  Do you really use the things  in your home?  Or, do you like the idea of using a particular thing, but honestly never get around to it?  What can you let go?

How are you reaching out to others outside of your family sphere?  Do you, like the worthy woman in Proverbs 31, reach out your hands to those in need?  Do you have time for friends?  Our homes are not meant to be just bastions from the world, but are to be opened in the service of the Lord -- as Lazarus, Mary, and Martha used theirs.  
This week, let's take a step toward simplicity.