Monday, January 30, 2012


Anyone ever get grumpy about doing their job?  Don't judge me...I sometimes do!  Don't get me wrong, I love and enjoy many things about being a wife, mom and home maker.  BUT, most of the time I wish that my job description regarding the house read: "Keep from becoming a complete disaster and clean for impending company." However, I have been very convicted over the last few weeks that that's not actually what my job description says.  It actually says something more like: "Keep the house as clean and clutter-free as possible, while also teaching the children to live neatly and value organization."  Gulp.  Not doing such a good job with that.  But, I have had some light bulb moments recently.  Some of them are:

1. I am my most productive in the mornings.  This is why I have often felt I have to choose between accomplishing something or schooling the boys on a particular day.  I've realized this is because I really struggle to be productive in the afternoons.  It has definitely been made worse by the fatigue that comes with Lyme, but I think I have always had this tendency.  I often will get a "second wind" in the evening and do work projects then, but not always.

2. I need to do a better job of consistently doing general upkeep on the house so that the problem areas don't get out of control.

3. I need to do a better job of teaching my children to keep their things orderly and to train them to be helpers around the house.

4. I spend too much time "under the line" (i.e. quadrant's 3 and 4), according to Steven Covey's Time Management Matrix, see below.  While the matrix doesn't specifically speak to a mom who stays home with her children, you can figure out where most of the things that fill our days fall.  Some words to help further describe these quadrants are #1 Necessity, #2 Proactive and Productive, #3 Deception (they feel urgent, but aren't) and #4 Waste.

People tend to see me as a very organized person, which I guess is true in a lot of ways.  So, I do really well on urgent, important matters.  If something NEEDS to get done, I get it done.  Period.  Where I have been having a problem is with the things that would fall into quadrant two: proactive productivity, which in my house would mean general cleaning, organizing, de-cluttering and intentional time with the boys.

So, what I am doing to improve?  First, I've been honest with myself and raised the expectations for what needs to be happening around here on a regular basis. Second, I am "requiring" myself to do at least one "proactive" task a day, usually in the afternoon when I normally would not be productive.  Today that means cleaning the main floor bathroom before small group tonight so that it doesn't smell like a bunch of boys use it.  (They do, which is why it smells that way...)  Third, I completed a huge purge, de-clutter and organization of the older boys' rooms and we set expectations for how they need to keep it clean...tied to an incentive.  More on that later.  Lastly, I have committed myself to training my boys to be better helpers with the upkeep of the house.  The older two especially are old enough to help significantly.

So,the incentive?  The boys are able to "earn" the privilege of watching a 30 minute video and having a treat after dinner.  This system has been in place for a long time, but has generally been tied to them having reasonably good behavior and not "un-earning" the privilege rather than really earning it.  We've changed that. They are now on a point system where if they don't make their beds and have clean floors and surface areas at the end of the day, they lose points.  On the other hand, if they have done those things, they earn points.   But only enough to either have a treat OR watch a video.  If they want to do both, the will have to complete a work project to earn additional points by helping out around the house: cleaning bathrooms, organizing bookshelves, vacuuming, etc.

So far, so good.  I've been accomplishing things in the afternoons and making my way through some big projects around the house and the boys have been motivated to look for ways to be helpers, as well as to keep their own spaces organized and neat.  So, here's hoping this becomes habit and that if you happen to drop in on us on short notice from here on out that you'll find a mostly neat house instead of a mostly messy one!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

While I'm Waiting...again

John Waller's song While I'm Waiting is another that has continued to resonate with me time after time.  Perhaps this is because the last few years have felt like one waiting period after another.  I was reflecting on this the other day and realized that this is probably true for a lot of people: we're always waiting for something.  This is not always a bad thing, but I think this song has most often spoken to me when the something seems impossible.  And that would be the case right now, in more than one situation.  God has laid something on our hearts that is Big and Dramatic and Scary!  And tied into it are so many pieces that are completely out of our control.  In fact, most of it is completely out of our control.  Now being somewhat of a perfectionist and control freak (ok, maybe not somewhat, but I really am learning to let go of things!), I strongly dislike loose ends.  When we decide to go on a trip somewhere, even months in advance, I can't stand to not have everything booked as soon as possible.  It drives me nuts when decisions take weeks or months to nail down.  But now, ahhhh, God is asking me to HANG for quite a while without knowing WHAT is going to happen and WHEN!  Can we say this is an opportunity to keep my hands off and PRAY?  I don't when I have ever felt so challenged to earnestly pray for God's direction and wisdom.

Now, granted, there are some things that we can do while we're waiting, and so we shall endeavor to be good stewards of this "waiting time" that He has given us so that when He says "It's time" we're ready to roll.

Honestly, the desire that He has put on my heart seems impossible.  With that in mind, I was so thankful when my Bible Study this week highlighted how God's ability to make the impossible happen isn't reliant on our ability to believe that He can do it.  He's not inhibited by lack our of faith.  Thank goodness.  Or should I say, Thank You, God.

I have seen over and over in my life that when God places a desire on my heart, He makes it come to fruition in His perfect timing.  And I trust that He will do the same in this situation, even as I sit here wondering (from a human standpoint) how that's possible.  But here's what I know from a spiritual standpoint:

-He will provide (Gen 22:14)
-He will fight for us (Ex 14:14)
-He will give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5)
-He will work everything for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28)
-Nothing is impossible for Him! (Luke 1:37)

And so we move to a period of waiting...again.  And as the song says, we will serve and worship and be still as we wait for the Lord.