Monday, February 13, 2006

pulling it all together step two: Resources

This post is not going to come out exactly the way that I want it to but I guess it really doesn't matter how it comes out as long as it makes sense to me. This blog is something that I started so that I could keep track of what is going on in my family.....a place for me to record and watch the changes that are taking place in life from a more distanced perspective than I can get any other way. The blog ended up being so much more than that and I am glad that folks who know me are enjoying reading and laughing at me but it has also become very dear to my family. I had no idea that they all wanted to have me chit chatting in written form but it turns out that they all do.

Anyway, before I get all rambly and forget what I'm supposed to be posting about..... Getting my life organized! I used to have a job.....lots of them in fact and I was always good at whatever I set out to do. I guess when I had to stop working outside the home I just didn't really see the value in *this* job the way that I should have. THIS job is the most important one that I've ever had and for the life of me I just can't figure out why or how I could have so easily back burnered any part of it for so long. It's just sinful the condition that I allowed my home and my family to fall into because I was neglecting the work that the Lord laid out for me and tending to the never ending requests of the world that gets along just fine without me anyway. What is the title of *this* job you ask? Well, it certainly isn't housewife, or homemaker, or homeschooling mama, or mother, or any such simply stated thing as that....and definitely NOT any such ridiculous thing as domestic diva or diva of any kind! I have decided that I will call myself the assisant manager of the Thompson Service Group. I just love the way that sounds and it gives me such a sense of duty!

Why go through all the hassle of trying to give myself a title? Well, because I got sick to death of the way the world wanted to demean me for doing what the Lord has called us women/mommies/wives to do. I got sick of seeing that snarling lip curling disgusted wrinkled nose ahh haa expression every time I had to fill out a form for the doctor's or wherever. The world has corrupted the title of homemaker, housewife, homeschooling mother, etc and replaced it with images of couch holding down, soap opera addicted, bon bon eating, lazy, whiny, useless females and I refuse to participate in such futile and degrading imagery. Besides all that....who says that I can't make my job a little more fun? ;-)

Anyway....(see how easily I get sidetracked)....I knew things were so far gone that it was going to take some major work to get things at home back on track. Basically we have had to rebuild our lives from the ground up in the past year. The first step was to define my priorities.....(see my earlier post on priorities if you missed it ). Once that was done I had to evaluate my resources and see how those could be best used to accomplish my goals. I deal with a medical condition that means I'm frequently ill...sometimes for days at a time so managing all of my resources is extra important.

When I sat down to figure out how on earth I was going to go from living in what looked like a perpetual yard sale to a real home that was comfortable, clean and easy to live in I had to figure out what I could use to make that happen. My resource list ended up looking roughly like this.

1) God
Just like with my priorities....He is also my most important resource. I have learned that everything from dealing with schooling to scrubbing a floor is just easier if I ask the Lord to bless what I'm doing. A harder lesson to learn is to *listen* to His guidance too....but I'll write more about that another time though. With the Lord's help I have been able to get more done in just a few months with my home and my family that I would have thought was possible just a short time ago. We all need to use the power that God has provided for us in our lives all the time.

2) Time
My time is so much more precious to me than it used to be. I have always been kind of a meany about how I spend my time but I have gotten even worse about it since I got sick. We all only have the time here on earth that the Lord has alloted for us and that's it.....we don't get do-overs and we can't wind our clocks backwards. It is so important to use our time wisely! I'm so angry with myself for all the time I have wasted over the years with the tv, or doing other things that are totally unproductive and don't add one thing to my life or the kingdom of God. I am working really hard to make the kids understand that one of the worst things to waste is matter what you can't ever get it back.

I don't believe in scheduling for the most part because I think it can be counter productive. We go for a very loose kind of what comes first and then, and then and then kind of scheduling.....that way there is always time for changes in our plans if some better use for that time comes up. We also do more than one thing at a time as often as possible.....we have lots of great family time while cleaning the house, we have math lessons while cooking and shopping and lots of other places, we also use the divide and conquer approach to most of our chores and with 5 of us that makes it all go faster.

I have found that if I spend a few minutes thinking things through and planning then I don't have to waste so much time spinning my wheels trying to think on the fly about how to get things done. I spend the last few minutes of each day before prayer time planning what really *has* to be done the next day and doing whatever can be done in advance to prepare for throwing the meat for the next days meals in the fridge to thaw, or making my shopping list for my errand day, or gathering all the stuff I need to patch the boys jeans the night before etc.

The other big time management tool around here is a plain old kitchen timer....we set it for fifteen minutes three times a day and that is our run and get it done time. We all brain storm for a minute or two about what needs done....any kid above the age of 2 can participate, they all know of at least one thing that needs done in the house or yard...set the timer and run!!! My kids used to think it was a they know better but they still think it's fun.

The best time management techniques are so individual to each person's needs that you will just have to give it alot of thought and decide what works best for you. Also know that it will change over the years. When the kids were babies and I didn't have much time that I was carrying at least one other person I had to make use of nap times and find ways to use the time I was up during the night with them......I did alot of laundry in the middle of the night and a lot of baking too. What works best one day may suddenly when Troy went from working nights and all of our activites took place during the evenings to when he went to day shift and now we function on a more normal schedule. The bottom line is that time is a very precious resource.

I have to keep in mind that my energy and the energy of my family is not an endless supply. We all have to rest and recharge sometimes (though I often treat myself like this rule doesn't exist to the point of collapse). I try not to schedule big projects or lots of errands on Mondays because we just need to spend those days getting ready for the rest of the week and getting things at home caught up from the weekends. If we do have big projects coming up I will rearrange other things so I don't overtax any of our energy stores. I'm sure there really is no need to go on about this particular resource but I just wanted to mention where I've ranked it in my list of resources and remind myself not to overtax such a limited and (for me) fragile resource.

4) Finances
Boy could I get on a rant about how wasteful so many folks are about their money!! It is a limited resource people. We women who are charged with running our homes and teaching our children should be setting a good example for the kids about how to be good stewards of the money our husband earns. We should never be caught whining about the things we want or complaining that our husbands don't buy us this and that! If you are the person in your home taking care of paying the bills and such you should consider that as an opportunity to bring your husband honor by being thrifty and saving him as much money as should consider it an opportunity to glorify your heavenly Father by setting aside whatever extra money you can to help in doing His work. If you are the one taking care of the bills don't you dare even consider keeping your husband's tithe out for some silly material thing that your flesh desires!!!! I could go on about the importance of tithing but that isn't my place, I'll just say that stealing from God will never ever benefit you or your family and leave it at that. I have heard many women say that they can't afford to tithe.....let me tell you, we live on less than $2000 a month net pay and there is absolutey no way on this planet that we could ever afford not to tithe!

Those little rants spoken.....if you think about it there are so many ways that we could all save money if we simply thought about it. Plan your grocery budget carefully, plan your budget carefully, teach your children to plan their spending by planning yours. I'll post more later on this thought because it has really been on my heart lately but I know that if you think about it you can find at least 5 ways to save money this week.....I double dog dare you!!!! Even better, I triple dog dare you to do that and then take half of what you save and give it to missions this Sunday!! I then super duper triple dirty dog dare you to make this kind of behavior a habit!!!!!!

5) Outside resources
These are resources that you wouldn't plan on every day and are usually reserved for big things or sudden things that might be considered emergencies. They can range from friends who are willing to take care of your kids if you are really really sick or have to leave them for some other reason to emergency resources for financial needs. I won't share my list here but you get the idea.

Now you all have an idea of where I started in my journey to get my life and home and family more organized and running efficiently. Once I had an idea of what my priorities were and my resources were it was a pretty simple matter to break it all down into a plan of attack and deal with the mess I had let my life become. I almost wish I had taken pictures of things before so I could post the before and after pictures but even that would only give a glimpse of what has changed visibly in my family. The real stuff you can see but wouldn't detect unless you have known us for quite awhile. The real stuff is the stuff that we are not the stuff that we have.....and it is the stuff that the Lord has been fixing for us since we surrendered all of who and what we are to Him. God is so sweet to us!!!

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