Archive for January, 2010

Family Fun and Date Night

January 31, 2010

Clara surprised me with the most wonderful Shutterfly book this week. It featured her photos of our Family Fun events from last fall. Oh, it was a JOY to see all of those smiling faces having fun. It really reminded me why it is so worth it to intentionally plan for Family Fun. Consequently, we had a Family Fun game night Friday night when Stephen, Amelia, Clara and Levi could join us.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to find games in which everyone can fully participate. With a little selective teaming up of readers with non-readers, we managed to have quite a bit of fun playing Apples to Apples. Then, after an intermission for fudge cake that Tim and Margaret had whipped up, we played a new game that Amelia and Stephen had just purchased called, Pictureka. Oh, my. What weird hilarity. A battery-powered plastic penguin enthusiastically flipped disturbingly illustrated cards at us and, based on the color of light beaming from his head, we tried to find specific items in those illustrated cards that had been randomly distributed by said penguin all over the table. Once the desired item was located by a player, that player yelled, obviously, “Pictureka!” If the other players agreed that the item had been accurately located on the card, that card became the property of the the player locating it. Play continued until all of the illustrated cards had been seized or the penguin gave us a raspberry. The winner of the round was the player holding the most cards.

Once we got the hang of it, there was much enthusiasm and competition. And yelling. And laughing. Who would have thought that a blue-billed penguin could be so much fun?

Finally, some of us ended the evening with a little Bunco. Then, after the little folk (and Joey) had gone up to bed, I remembered that I had found some old home-videos when I was cleaning up in the living room this past week. Wow. What a bunch of funny, funny stuff. It was a great way to end Family Fun Night.

As for Date Night…. It was fun, too. But you probably don’t need all of the details. Ahem.


Flylady’s Zone Missions and John Piper

January 30, 2010

I have an announcement: I completed all of the Living Room Zone Missions this week. If you have been reading my blog at all, you will remember that it has been challenging for me to get all of the Zone Missions done each week. I had come to the conclusion earlier that I was more apt to work on the Zone Missions when Joey was home in case a small person needed something. That way, he could deal with the need so I wouldn’t be interrupted a million times and turn a 15-minute task into a 45-minute or hour-long task that monopolized my day. This theory proved true in the Living Room Zone Missions this week and I just planned to complete the Zone Missions when he was around.

However, something interesting happened on Friday when I had done all of the Missions. At first, I had a sense of accomplishment and relief that I had actually completed ALL of the Missions. I was really seeing the advantage of making an effort to complete the Missions in each Zone each week because, like doing two loads of laundry every day instead of 14 loads on one day, the tasks I had just performed would not be so daunting next time around. The end table would not be as cluttered with old newspapers in 5 weeks as it was after 5 months, for example. I could see how it would end up saving me a lot of time in the long run if I could keep up with the Missions.

But then, after my initial relief and inspiration, I found myself feeling kind of irritated and annoyed. I didn’t want anyone to mess up the work I had spent time doing this week. Okay, all of you who have seven children living in your house 24/7, as well as five more adult children dropping in and out at will, can understand how absolutely futile it is to want an area of your house to reflect, for any length of time AT ALL, the work you have done on it. This was my latent perfectionism rearing its ugly head again. I was having a difficult time letting go of the desire for my work in the Zone to be, well, revered by all.

Now, I want to say that it wasn’t like anyone was blatantly trashing the living room. It was just that I was wanting everyone to be constantly telling themselves, Look at all of the work that Mom did in here this week! Let’s make sure that there’s not a single stray sock anywhere. I was losing my perspective on why I was cleaning the house at all. Aren’t I doing the Zone Missions so we can all live in this house comfortably?

This is where John Piper comes in. Well, he didn’t actually come into my very clean living room. He came into my computer area via the Presidential Prayer Team newsletter. He had written an opinion piece for them entitled, “Let Christians Vote as Though They Were Not Voting.” He starts off with an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Then, he compares each of these issues that Paul has mentioned with voting. It’s a very interesting article. I hope you take time to read it. But, you ask, what does this have to do with Flylady’s Zone Missions?

Well, John Piper wrote this about dealing with the world:

“Let those who deal with the world [do so] as though they had no dealings with it.”

Christians should deal with the world. This world is here to be used. Dealt with. There is no avoiding it. Not to deal with it is to deal with it that way. Not to weed your garden is to cultivate a weedy garden. Not to wear a coat in Minnesota is to freeze—to deal with the cold that way. Not to stop when the light is red is to spend your money on fines or hospital bills and deal with the world that way. We must deal with the world.

But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention. We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—Godward purposes. We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means. We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.

Aha! This was what I needed to hear. I need to deal with the world. Not dealing with it, not cleaning the house, is dealing with it that way. Not to clean the house is to end up in CHAOS. I must deal with the house. But as I deal with it, I don’t need to give it my fullest attention. I don’t need to ascribe to a perfectly clean living room the greatest status. There are unseen things vastly more precious than a clean living room. The full passions of my heart should not be attached to the maintenance of my clean living room, but something higher. I deal with my Zone Missions to make much of Christ.

None of this is news to me. I give an intellectual assent to these very concepts constantly in my life. It is the practice of what I know that is a continual challenge. And I am grateful that Flylady and John Piper keep me thinking and working toward melding what I know with what I do.

Let me clean as though I were not cleaning!

My Flylady Routine and the Bible

January 29, 2010

Over the past several weeks, I had found myself getting more and more bummed about the job loss situation. It just seems so unfair and we are forced into a lot of circumstances that feel difficult and challenging much of the time. Now, I will also say that there is an element of freedom and excitement about the potential for opening the bakery, but, at the moment, that is still potential.

Then I started doing the Bible study for this week. This is our last week in our Behold Your God study. The lesson was on how to remember and apply all we have learned over the last several weeks about the attributes of God by praising Him. In praising Him, we recall Who He is and what He has done. In praising Him, our focus shifts from our circumstances to God and we gain His perspective.

As I was completing the study, I realized how I had allowed my morning Bible mediation time to become shorter and shorter and then I had begun skipping it all together. I believe this is directly associated with my shifting my focus from praising God to being anxious about our job situation. Even though I have this time built into my Control Journal Routine, I still found myself meditating on the Word less and less frequently.

So, now, thanks to the Lord’s direction through this ladies’ Bible study, I am back on track. It’s been very true that when my focus is on being in the Word and praising God for Who He is and what He does, my focus is not on my circumstances. And I know that I have time for Bible mediation every day because it’s in my Control Journal!


January 28, 2010

I have shocked myself twice in the past 24 hours. First, last night after supper, I said to myself, Might as well go ahead and do my Zone Missions before the big kids get here for music practice. WHAT? I said this to myself? After a LONG day at therapies with Peter and Lyd, I still said this to myself? And then I shocked myself even more: I got up and DID the Zone Missions.

Then, this morning, I noticed that something had been spilled in the refrigerator, so I grabbed a sponge and wiped it up. Now, let’s just stop and think about this. First, I NOTICED that something had been spilled. Only you fellow SHEs will ever understand how we truly, truly do not see things that need to be picked up or cleaned up. Then, I grabbed a sponge and wiped it up. Was this Kitchen Zone day? No! Did I feel the urge to clean the whole refrigerator out, too? No! I actually just saw a small mess that needed to be cleaned up and I did it.

I am obviously getting more and more flywashed. I love being shocked like this!

Flylady Gets Inside My Head, Again

January 27, 2010

Flylady, as usual, knows what is going on in my head. She demonstrated this very recently with this post on “Why Your Home Gets Messy.” I especially liked the part where she said:

Your home gets messy because you don’t think you have time clean it up!

Oh, and there was this observation:

When we quit blaming others for the messiness then we will start to see windows of opportunity to pick up and put away.

But Flylady always offers a solution to the issues she helps me identify:

The keys to keeping your home clean is to pick up after yourself, get rid of clutter and to quit complaining that you don’t have time.

And she always gets very specific:

Those words, “I don’t have time” are a red flag for you! They tell you that your perfectionism is taking over. When you hear yourself say those words or think them; I want you to pick up 5 things and put them away.

This is why Flylady works for me. She helps me identify the sabotaging self-talk. THEN she offers me a practical, do-able solution.

I love Flylady!

Flylady and Job Loss

January 26, 2010

Have you read the post on Flylady about Unexpected Job Loss? Wow. Talk about timeliness. I think one of the best points the writer made was:

For a person who has worked the majority of their career in one place, making their skills very specific, the loss of a job represents a loss they feel they may never be able to get over and which, in some way, diminishes them, not because the job defined them but because it allowed them to take care of all the people and things (like a home) that do help define them.

I think this observation is so accurate. The loss of a job represents the loss of a person’s ability to take care of the people who are important to him. Wow. I was just very surprised to see this topic addressed so well, especially via a post appearing in my Flylady email this morning.

Flylady, as usual, is super-relevant.

P.S. I feel totally recovered this morning from whatever was threatening to ail me! PTL!

Routines and Not Feeling Tip-Top

January 25, 2010

I didn’t sleep very well last night. The wind woke me up a lot (and I LIKE wind, so…). My throat feels slightly funny this morning. It’s not exactly sore, it just feels weird in one spot. But, I am not overwhelmed or stressed out because I know that I can pace myself to get my routines done. There’s no big rush to “catch up” from the weekend or anything. Plus, I’m excited about the Zone Missions being in the living room this week because that was just the area that I wanted to focus on.

With Flylady and echinacea tea, I think I’m going to be feeling tip-top in no time.

Date DAY and Gaining Perspective on My Flylady Routines

January 24, 2010

Yesterday, Joey and I served on a panel for prospective adoptive parents to share our experiences about adopting children with special medical needs. The meeting was about an hour away from home, so Jacob and Tim were put in charge of the home fires — and the siblings being warmed by those fires — and Joey and I tootled off. Yes, we were actually tootling alone. Just the two of us.

Before the meeting, we went to a restaurant supply store to price bakery equipment. Then, we attended the adoption meeting and presented our experiences to the group WHILE being video-taped for people who could not attend. Yikes! I had kind of forgotten about the video-taping thing. I hope I didn’t look terribly goofy. We enjoyed visiting with some of the other presenters while we ate lunch afterward. Adoptive parents of children with special medical needs are so fun to get to know. Maybe that should have been our primary point: adopt a child with special medical needs and you will become a more fun person!

THEN came the realization that it wasn’t even yet two o’clock and we had already made plans with Jacob and Tim to be gone through the evening (so we could have our date night that we hadn’t had the night before since we had been birthday partying). That meant that we had EIGHT hours by ourselves. Oh, my! What to do?

First, we went to Wal-mart to see if they had embroidery transfer pencils so I could recommend them to potential customers on etsy. (They didn’t have any, by the way.) Then we went to Menard’s to look at flooring and wall paper for the bakery. (They DID have flooring and wall paper at Menard’s in case you were wondering.) Then we went to Hobby Lobby to see if they had any embroidery transfer pencils. (Nope. But Clara and Amelia googled embroidery pencils for me and found them readily available online.)

Those activities shaved about 1-1/2 hours off of our eight-hour date and we really didn’t have anything else to do in town, so we headed toward home. We went to Mom and Dad’s house and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” was on television. Joey hadn’t seen it, so we watched it and laughed and laughed while eating some omelets I whipped up. Then, oh, joy, Lawrence Welk was on. I so miss watching that since we don’t even pick up PBS on television, anymore. What fun! We then talked for the remainder of our date night and came home to a sparklingly clean kitchen and fed and bathed children who were watching “McLintock!” peacefully together, all thanks to Jacob and Tim.

This whole amazing day spent with Joey was an excellent perspective-builder for me. Sometimes it’s hard for a mom of many children to see the forest for the little trees that seem permanently attached to me. Being away from home, giving people information about adoption, talking to Joey for hours on end, eating meals with just the two of us, all contributed to my appreciation for why I do what I do. Sometimes I get caught up in the “doing” of my Flylady routines and forget the “why.” I have a lot to do at home because I have a lot of kids. I need Flylady because I have a lot of responsibilities to meet. And it’s a BLESSING to have these kids and these responsibilities. It’s a BLESSING to need Flylady routines. And it’s a BLESSING to have had such a nice break from both in order to gain a little perspective.

Flylady Routine and Creativity: An Update

January 23, 2010

Yesterday, I purchased embroidery patterns from three etsy sellers to see how they delivered their products. I also researched the policies of several more sellers who offer embroidery patterns on etsy and made a master file of policy ideas. AND I talked to my technology-savvy children and children-in-law about how to manipulate the patterns I scan into PDF files using software that we already own.

Guess what! I also managed to do my two loads of laundry, exercise, supervise a typical homeschooling day, make a well-received potato and ham soup in the crock pot for lunch (as planned), host Bible study, find recipes for and then make two birthday desserts for the birthday people, enjoy a jolly birthday meal and party for Amelia and Levi, write checks for a couple of Dapper Dog expenses AND shine my sink, make my bed and swish and swipe my bathrooms. PLUS, I kept the woodstove going all day because Tim was on a birding expedition.

Take THAT, you doubts and fears and perfectionist procrastination!

Routine and Exercise

January 22, 2010

Because we had an unexpected opportunity to look at some bakery equipment locally and then I had Bunco last night (yea!), I didn’t exercise yesterday. I usually take Wednesday off from exercising, but I rarely-to-never take two days in a row off. This morning, my body is begging me to exercise it. I guess this is what an exercise habit feels like! Better go “Walk the Walk” before my body protests any more.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my firstborn! Twenty-three years have flown by!