Yes, I'm a day behind, and hopefully I can rectify that by the end of the week. (Yesterday, I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. I did accomplish much, by the grace of God, but by evening, I had so little mental energy that I literally came close to arguing with my husband that 7 would be fewer than 6!)
This post really made an impact on me, and I've read part of the ebook mentioned. I'm finding that ending my day, however long and tiring it is, with a clean kitchen is truly key to starting out the next day well--and even at my exhausted, numbers-confused state of mind last night, I'm glad I went to bed with a clean kitchen!
Day 6 S. O. A. P. :
- Scripture: Proverbs 31:10 & 12:4
- Observations: Pairing these two verses together was interesting. The contrasting thought in Proverbs 12:4 is quite an ugly picture: "She who shames him is like rottenness in his bones." Jewels or crowns speak of royalty and offset a person's already fine appearance. Rotten bones seem to refer to weariness and illness.
- Application: One way in which I can "shame" my husband is when my attitude is less-than-content. I also struggle with selfishness far more than I care to admit. Another way is by not having our home organized and clean, and this is something God has been chipping away at me about through our serial moves in the past 2 years. I may have a ways to go, but I'm far less of a pack rat and more diligent of a home organizer than I've ever been!
I'd like to describe a little bit of my recent journey toward more effectively running my home:
- Some came as a direct result of living in smaller spaces (amazing to think that a year ago, we were crunched into a 2-bedroom apartment that was smaller than the main floor of the home where we now live, and 2 years ago, we had 2 bedrooms total, in my parents' house--that after having a 4-bedroom house with an attached 2+ car garage at our disposal!) and moving (once you move a box a couple times and still haven't opened it, what's the point?!).
- Some came from financial hardship that led to my starting to work part-time from home as a freelance writer--yes, even to afford our little apartment. (Pastors of small churches don't typically get paid very much, but those with an advanced degree in such a field looking for secular work aren't often offered high-level positions or salaries in the world, either.) That huge addition to my to-do list required me to become more organized with my time. (Our resolve to have me prioritize the home was truly tested during that time--I'll write more about that, someday.)
- During the fall "semester," I attended a women's class at our church in Madison, Wisconsin, based on this inciteful book by Carolyn MaHaney (wife of C.J. Mahaney). Terrie, the Bible study leader, encouraged us at the close of the class to come up with a couple homemaking goals for the new year. I had never been challenged to develop my homemaking skills or create goals. As a fairly goal-driven person, this gave me a renewed sense of purpose in my chosen and God-given full-time career.
- Just like my dear friend Terri brought up in her introductory lesson in the class, this post discusses determining priorities and sifting out what doesn't belong in our lives--not that what we filter out is necessarily "evil," just that sometimes it's not the optimal use of our time, money, energy, etc., given our stage and station in life--and that's constantly changing, isn't it?!
- My first goal was to get into freezer cooking for the sake of our family budget and nutritious needs. (We all have crazy days, and mine typically meant having easy, pre-packaged frozen meals on hand or diving into fast food--options we still sometimes do, just not nearly as often!)
- Once we moved here to Linesville in January (a major answer to our prayers and desires, in so many ways!), I knew something had to give. My husband's much different work schedule meant that we'd have more together time, but that also dipped into what was formerly my prime writing time. Add to that, opportunities for ministry I hadn't had in a while, and I've really had to get organized if I wanted an opportunity to pursue my writing, at all.
- After getting moved in, I started experimenting with freezer cooking, helped largely by this awesome Christian blog. You can see many of the pages I've printed and filled in for my "homemaking notebook" on my "I can get organized!" Pinterest board. My notebook is a full-sized 3-ring binder that includes sections for calendars (& flyers and invitations), medical information, coupons, my address lists, and then ideas I want to use. (I once had separate places and methods for all of that, but it's really handy to have it all in one size and place. I also have a half-sized binder for recipes, and most of them are all typed out and in plastic sleeves, like the larger ones I use in my homemaking notebook.)
- I still have yet to get something official in line re: my other goal from last semester's class: setting up and implementing a cleaning schedule that includes weekly, monthly, quarterly tasks. (You can see a form I downloaded re: daily routines from Money-Saving Mom site on my Pinterest board I mentioned, but there it sits, with a few handwritten notes scrawled on it. You can also see a link to her "4 Weeks to a More Organized Home" series, which I followed semi-faithfully.)
- Prayer: Lord, thank you for putting those seeming obstacles in my life that have actually become stepping stones that would encourage me to become a more virtuous woman that is an asset to my husband rather than a shame to him and to You. Please help me to be encouraged by how far your grace has brought me this past year, in this area of being a home-manager, and help me to continue to improve and master the skills with whch you've equipped me to serve You, my family, and others.