FlyLady

Last week I was introduced to the FlyLady.  Thank you, Beth.  (FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself, by the way.)

There are a lot of really good tips and ideas on that site.  However, please be aware that if you register for the FlyLady “newsletter” you’ll be receiving 12 e-mails a day.  It can be pretty overwhelming.  She even admits that in the introduction.  However, this is one way in which to take baby steps towards getting organized.  This helpful site may be for you, it may not.  I suggest that you check it out.  If you register for the e-mail newsletter, just do as she suggests… read what you can put into practice and delete the rest for now.  Don’t worry about playing catch up.  That defeats the purpose.  Start where you are and take in the tips that you can accomplish, then work on them one step at a time.

There’s a saying that it takes at least 30 days to build a habit.  Each month she introduces a new habit for you to develop and work on.  By the time the next month (and new habit) rolls around, you’ll have developed and will be doing the previous month’s habit without thinking and then adding the new month to it.  By the end of the year, you will have incorporated 12 daily habits into your life that make getting and staying organized much easier.

You can reach the FlyLady site by going to http://www.flylady.net/.

I’ll be checking out some other sites to see what I can recommend that may be helpful.

DoodleBug’s Piano and Choir

Well, today has been oh, so enjoyable.  After church we went out for dinner and then came home, played piano together for fun, and just spent time together.  Back to church for a 5 – 6:30 pm Children’s choir practice for their Christmas program.  My 6 year old DoodleBug has a solo in the program.  The kids are putting on a musical play that is quite cute and different from the typical Christmas plays.  And then we came home to make breakfast for dinner… pancakes.  My oldest has been asking for pancakes for dinner for a while.

Here’s a picture of DoodleBug practicing his solo.  Sorry… my Blackberry does not take clear photos.  I’ll have to think about investing in a phone that has a better camera for those spur of the moment pictures I like to take.

He is taking piano lessons.  (He’s had 6 so far and is far more advanced after 6 lessons than I was when I first started.)  So, for Thanksgiving he had me create a program and he invited family to his first piano concert.   He designed the program himself, telling me what pictures he wanted on it.  His concert songs were:

  1. Matchmaker
  2. Firefly
  3. Showboat
  4. Spanish Guitar
  5. O Come All Ye Faithful
  6. Deck the Halls
  7. We Three Kings

The last song was a duet with Mommy.    (It’s one we’ve been practicing for a piano recital he’ll be participating in during the first week of December.)   We all gathered around the piano with our programs and enjoyed listening to him and seeing the look on his face as he finished each song.

Family is so very precious and I’m richly blessed.  I look forward to enjoying the holiday season with those I love and doing what I can to make it memorable for them.

Have a blessed holiday season.  Don’t spend too much as you Christmas shop!  Remember that presence is worth more than presents.  Simplify, do the things that you really enjoy, and say no to the busy stuff that just takes away from time with and enjoyment of family.

Enjoy!

Confidence

Over my lifetime, I’ve often found that I put myself down (in my thoughts) or that I believe other people if they put me down in some way or another.  But, that’s not how we are to live as Christians.

For one thing, when God created each of us, He did so in such a way that we are each unique with different DNA dictating so much about us.  Not only do we look different from each other, we each have unique personalities.  He gave each and every one of us special gifts and capabilities.  When I put myself down, I am putting down the workmanship of the God of creation.  Said like that, there’s a bit of arrogance involved in putting myself down, eh?  I know better than God?  No, I don’t.

His word tells each of us to praise Him because of His works.  And my experience is that when we start to praise God, that praise is liberating for us.  It takes the place of defeat, self-deprecation, and negativity.  It takes our focus off of ourselves and puts it onto God.

Psalm 139:14  “I will praise Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works.  My soul knows it very well.” (ESV)

No only has He made us to be unique and given us special gifts (giftedness) and abilities, but He also works in us so that we can do the work that He has for us to do.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  (ESV)

At times I have been afraid.  I’ve found myself being afraid to step out of my comfort zone to do something new.  What if I can’t do it?  What if it’s more than I can handle?  What if I start something and just can’t finish it well?  Do you ever feel like that?  It’s not only fear, but lack of confidence.  Well, God tells us in His Word that the fear we have is not from Him.

II Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

So, if that fear is not from God, where is it coming from?  If it’s not from God, we need to do away with it.  We need to step out in faith and put our confidence in the God who created us.

God does not ask us as his children to do anything that He has not prepared us to do.  It’s not just a matter of our own capabilities.  Yes, God prepares us with capabilities and giftedness, but it goes beyond that.  He gives us the power through His Spirit to accomplish things that we could not accomplish other wise.  He gives us the ability to love with Christ’s love, serving and caring for others.  He gives us a sound mind to use logic, think through situations, plan, understand how to pray and proceed with our tasks, and how to perceive and determine what He wants us to accomplish.

So, we can have confidence that God created us for a specific purpose, that He works in us, that He gives us power to accomplish amazing things, that He gives us the ability to show His love to others, and that He gives us a sound mind.  That gives us confidence when we have to step out of our comfort zones to accomplish new things or when what we’ve been asked to do is overwhelming.

Orderliness

When it comes to school assignments, creating training materials and preparation when I speak, my writing, etc., I am organized.  But, I am definitely not the most organized person in the world in the rest of life.  At least not yet.  At times my office desk acts as a black hole where things get lost and I often have piles of paper everywhere.  (Sigh)   I am moving from being a career girl, focused on my work to being a homemaker, with one of my focuses being on bringing order to my home so that my family can have a peaceful, restful oasis in which to retreat from the world, and a place of order and beauty in which we can provide hospitality to our guests.

That’s why it hit me so hard today when I was reading I Corinthians 14:33.  It says, “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.”   Yes, this verse is talking about disorderly conduct in the church.  BUT, it brought to mind God’s character, shown to us in so many ways.

  1. God created the heavens and the earth.  He had a plan, purpose and order in mind before His creative work, and as He created the world, He put natural laws of science and math into place.  The more we discover about the cosmos in which we live, the more we see the amazing character of God in the order we see and in our scientific discoveries.
  2. God created each of us in the womb.  Our DNA shows incredible order in how we are “put together” that didn’t just come from chance or chaos.
  3. God created the institution of the church which is to operate with order and organization, not with disorder and chaos.
  4. God created the institutions of marriage and family.  There is order in how we are to relate to each other, just as there is order in how we relate to God.
  5. In our homes, there is to be order.  In Proverbs 31 we see a picture of a woman bringing order to her home and family life.  In Titus 2:3-5 we see that one of the things that older women are to teach younger women is how to be keepers at home.  Among other things, being a keeper at home is bringing order to one’s home and family life.

So, if God is a God a order and we are His children, then we need to strive to be people who are ordered and organized.  I have been embarking on a mission to get my life and home in order.  For one thing, being organized makes everything easier.  For another, having order in my home saves me time in the long run.  But, it also creates a peaceful environment in which to live… no upheaval, no stress over piles of paper… a restful oasis.

So, I hope you embark on the journey with me.  Write notes to me, give hints and tips that will help others.  Any comments that are beneficial for everyone will be posted.  And if you have things that you want to see me write about with regard to this topic, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

A Sense of Accomplishment

There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment that you get when you’ve worked hard at something, have done the best that you can, and have stuck with it until the end.  I handed in my last assignment for school this week.  Before Christmas I should have my degree.

These classes I’ve been taking have been a challenge, but so enjoyable.  Without a doubt, I’ll continue taking classes and working toward the next degree because I want to learn and grow and develop my mind.  A person should make learning a life-long goal, whether through formal education at university or in some informal way.  Always challenge your mind.  Keep it busy and interested.  There are so many ways to learn and so many topics to cover.  And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Read!  Read something every day.  Study the Bible.  Watch educational TV when you have some time.  Take time to learn a language and teach it to your kids.  (You’d be amazed at how fun it is to start being able to talk to people you couldn’t talk to before and to understand what they’re saying.)  Register for a class that interests you at your local community college.  Subscribe to a magazine that has articles that are educational and interesting.  (I’m not talking about a gossip magazine.  Get one with some substance to it.)

Decide what it is that you want to learn.  Start making a list and then one by one check off the list.  Keep adding to your list for the rest of your life.  You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment with each project.  When you look back at everything you’ve checked off over time, you’ll feel an amazing sense of accomplishment at what you’ve been able to do over time.

Have you always wanted to learn Spanish?  Do you want to learn how to cook like Paula Deen or Emeril Lagassi or some other famous cooks and chefs?  Have you wanted to figure out how to get organized at home?  Have you always been interested in travel and learning about other people around the world?

I challenge you to find something that you want to do, make sure that everything you need to accomplish it is available, create a plan, set goals and a deadline, and then start working on it one step at a time.

Give yourself things to do that will give you a great sense of accomplishment when you complete them and that will enhance your life, challenge your brain and give you interesting things to talk about.

Go for it!

Refreshed

I was so tired I didn’t hear the alarm this morning, slept longer than I had planned, and woke up feeling like I had wasted precious time when I had so much to do.

But, we have to refresh our bodies, our minds and our spirits.  We can’t just keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

I groggily made my way into the kitchen to get a cup of tea, make breakfast and open the kitchen blinds.  The ground and trees were misty all around our house and the sun was being filtered through the mist right where the tops of the trees separate.  If the leaves had been on the trees the view would have been much different.

This is what I saw when I opened the kitchen blinds.  (The picture was taken with my cell phone and just doesn’t do the real thing justice.)  It was breathtaking to see the mist everywhere in the trees and then the sun peeking through at just the right place.

If I had been busy working on the last of my homework instead of sleeping past the time I wanted to, I wouldn’t have been at the right place at the right time to enjoy God’s artwork.

This reminds me of three things:

  1. It’s important to refresh our bodies with sleep so that we can complete all of the things we need to do.  Sometimes life is really busy, but it’s essential to take time to take care of ourelves so that we can have the energy to take care of our families.
  2. Sometimes we can get so busy that we don’t take time to slow down and enjoy the view.  We miss out on the little things that make life so special.
  3. When we do take time to appreciate God’s artwork, it is a balm to our souls… a special, “slow down” moment that reaches to our core.  This morning’s artwork is a reminder that the God of power who created the Cosmos in all of its massiveness and beauty… is a God who is artistic, creative, and imaginative… is a God of order and meaning… is a God who is beyond what we can comprehend… is a God who knows us, who loves us.

It’s time to get on with my work.

Have a blessed day and take moments here and there to slow down and notice the beauty in nature, in your family, in life.

A Great Feeling of Accomplishment

I have spent the last three days snowed under with homework, proofing and tweaking my final paper, making sure that I don’t miss anything that should be submitted by Thursday.  I’m exhausted because I’ve been working all night long for two nights in a row with about 9 hours of sleep in the last 60 hours.  I’ll have to continue to work through the night tonight and tomorrow night in order to make sure that I get everything finished.  That is the only uninterrupted time I have in my house… no precious little voices talking to me through the office door, no husband telling me about his latest experiences, no busines phones to answer, no meals to make.  There has just been too much to do and too many interruptions so it has come down to crunch time.  Two more days and my class will be done.

For the moment, I’m needing a break so that I can come back to my paper with fresher eyes and do my final reviews.  By Thursday, I’ll have completed my goal of getting the degree I wanted.  I should have my paperwork before Christmas.  What an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

I’m off to get a cup of tea and then back to work.

Have a blessed evening!