A Mother (in-law)’s Gift

I write a lot about how God is working in my life–or more often about how He is working in other people’s lives that directly affect me.  I believe that God is the master knitter and each stitch is meant to be such an important part of the covering he is creating–all the time.

My original blog was “in everything give thanks” and I loved the idea of showing gratitude for each and everything in our lives–from each breath to the food on the table in the house where we live.

Work In Progress Wednesday

I was just given the best Mother’s Day gift ever.  I was able to spend a week with my Mother-In-Law.  We had a staycation in my home.  We cooked side by side, we knitted side by side, we folded clothes side by side and pondered the idea of whether I would actually get the vacuum run or the lawn mowed during her visit.

I only had a week to prepare for her visit–I knew that she was coming for a weekend but found out about the extended stay with just a week’s notice.  I started out in panic mode–with the normal crazy busy of our schedule I wondered how I was going to make everything perfect.  The Mary/Martha struggle that I live with.  Then I decided to proceed like Mary.

The highlight of the trip was my daughter’s First Communion.  I’ve helped her for months to prepare for this Sacrament and all of a sudden I shifted from spiritual preparedness to worrying about fingerprints and dust.  I realized that I needed to focus on what was truly important.  I stopped thinking about the cleaning schedule and gave myself permission to plan and be organized–then stop to enjoy this “First” moment.

For the first time I didn’t make myself and those who love me crazy with the Martha level of perfection.  I did the minimum and let the rest happen.

My MIL gave me the gift of time and I gave myself the gift of a humble pie,  accepting a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with her without the agenda of a perfectionist.  I allowed myself to be imperfect, real, authentic and grateful.  I felt genuine gratitude–really felt it–not just the Hallmark card or the Helen Stein watercolor variety of gratitude–but real, take a deep breath and EXHALE.

It was an awesome visit.  I feel renewed and refreshed–and that you can’t buy in a store.  I learned that I have value independent of perfectionism.  I thought of my MIL as I vacuumed the house and mowed the lawn.  I hoped that she felt renewed, refreshed and loved.

Thank you God for putting amazing women in my life!  I am blessed to be inspired, encouraged and loved by so many of your daughters.  I only hope that through your grace I will be able to encourage and inspire as I serve you.

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Top 10 List of Lists

Do you keep lists?  I do.  I keep them on steno pads–I have years and years in a box of steno pads–of course I didn’t date anything so it would be a challenge to piece my life together from these list but . . . I love my steno pad–my Mom used to leave us the chore list on a steno pad and I remember her leaving a “I love you” or “have a great day” sentiment as the kids worked a small farm while she was at work.

Growing up we  had a steno pad at the cabin–the entire family would go in separate directions so we would write where we were and how long we thought we might be gone–on the dock, out on the sailboat, at the beach . . . over at Karen’s cabin.  The places that we went were more or less the same but the combinations of kids would change.

I live by lists now.  I still have a steno pad, I use One Note, Evernote and my iPhone.  They are my safety net.  They are my journal of sorts.

When I need a list on the internet I go to Donna Young’s website DonnaYoung.org.  It is a “homeschooling site” but it is not just for homeschooling–it is for anyone wanting to be more organized.  Of course there are thousands of websites that have lists and even list makers–but I have found all that I need on Donna’s site.

  1. Budget Planner–lets’ me plan a budget for the entire house, groceries, special event or school project.
  2. Menu Planner–I have used several menu planners–I even bought a monthly planner that had a spot just for menus and grocery lists.
  3. Grocery List–I have a list of items that I purchase  all the time and check off when I run out of something.  Even though I buy milk every week I still put a check by it . . . because sometimes I forget things . . . (my mind can only hold so much).
  4. Grocery/Freezer Inventory–this helps me plan my stockpile.
  5. Google Calender for the family calendar so both my husband and I can access one calendar and then you can add more calendars to it–like a menu. This allows me to plan a simple meal on the busiest of days or pull something out of the freezer.
  6. 6 week curriculum planner is an Excel spreadsheet
  7. Reading List for the kids
  8. My HP printer has a blank calendar that I can print.  I thought it was sort of useless but I find that I use it quite a bit–a visual way of having the kids achieve a goal or just show them how long until . . . The words “go check your calendar” allows them to manage the concept of waiting–or at least postpones more questions for a few minutes.
  9. Tax List (handwritten) is very useful to streamline what we need and what is outstanding.
  10. Vacation List–We go on vacation to the same place each year and I find it very helpful to refer to my list from the prior year.  I keep notes on the way home of what we used and what we didn’t so the next year the packing will be streamlined.  (But that doesn’t really happen–in theory it is a great idea but each year is so different.  What it gives me is a baseline of really good information).

Some friends have a cleaning schedule–I like that idea and if the house would magically get clean according to the schedule, I would create that list!

I feel less stressed when I have a list.  I feel more organized when I have a list.  I forget less things when I have a list.  It is what works for me.

Thank you God for the gift of organization.  You are truly amazing in the way that you have created the world in such an orderly way.

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