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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Train to Reign part 2

Last week I posted part 1 of this blog post. Mostly about other women and how I became inspired each time I met one. They all seemed to share the same secret in managing to "get it done" specially with larger families. I wanted to know what it was.

My children were born 17 months apart. I was just really getting the baby thing down, my son was 9 months old. I was finally getting close to my pre-baby weight, finally regaining some of my energy.
 I was finally managing to get out of the house with him and all the stuff (diaper bag, diapers, burp cloth, extra clothes because you knew you better always have a back up. etc.  I was finally managing to shop with a baby in tow. ) We had moved away from all our family when I was 5 months pregnant. I had no help, no baby sitters, etc. The only extra time I had was when my husband came home. (Now I am very blessed that my husband is not a very demanding fellow.) If I say we are having grilled cheese for supper he is fine with it. He doesn't expect even a 3 course meal every night.

Then I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. We were doing the natural family planning thing to try to wait at least a couple more years. It was either my miscalculation of dates, or God decided to interrupt our plan with his. (Either way, I am so glad now that it worked out this way.) I actually love having them close together now.  But don't get me wrong those first 5 years were a lot of work.

Once my daughter was born I had a 17 month old son, and an infant. The only down time I really had was nap time. On the rare occasion that they might actually be asleep at the same time. I remember thinking my goal is to just sit down for a few minutes.

(When we brought little Lexi home.)


One thing I new is I better start somewhere.  As soon as my son was old enough to go into a toddler bed, I taught him to pull up the covers when he got out of it in the morning, and after naps. I taught him to make his bed. I wasn't going to do it for the next 5 years and then teach him. It was his bed, his responsibility. He still makes his bed to this day. I also taught him after he played, he had to clean up his toys and put them away. I taught him where to put his dirty clothes. I taught him to bring his plate to the sink, I taught him to do small chores that he could do to help around the house.

(Early morning)


It took continued reinforcement to do this. It didn't happen overnight. He didn't do it well, either. I had to stop and show him how to do it. It took time out of my day to train him. To show him how to pull up the covers, and how to pick stuff up and put it away.  I knew that taking that time out then would leverage my time later. It would have been far faster and easier to just make the bed myself, it would have been faster and easier to just pick up the 20 toys and put them up, but, I would have taught him that mommy is his maid. He would have learned he was not responsible for his own stuff, actions.

 

Don't worry Lexi, just look at me! You will be neat too, when you are 3!


So as they grew, I kept adding in things they could do. I wasn't trying to make my kids slaves or servants, but allowed them the privilege to be part of a family. Each one having a function and a role.
It taught them responsibility and also to become stewards over their own self and their things.

I know that raising 2 is much easier than 3 or more. I see women now with 3 under the age of 5 and think wow, they have a lot on their hands. It is hard, no one said it is easy. Taking the time to train now, will leverage your time later.

Me and the kids at the pumpkin patch. Fall 2002.
Peyton was 2 and Lexi was almost a year old.
 
At Dr. Presley's office, for an annual exam. He delivered both of the kids.
I had no baby sitter, so a nurse watched the in the hall during my check up.


(A little blurry, it is a picture of a picture. We didn't have a digital camera back then.)
Summer 2003
 

My advice is to begin to train your children as soon as possible. My children are now 12 and 13. You would be amazed at how much they help around the house. My house work has become less, and I can focus more on their homeschooling, and even get a little crocheting and scrapbooking done.   Train, Train, Train and you will Reign, Reign, Reign.

Gary teaching Peyton how to pressure wash.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Chaos Control

I just wanted to share an easy tip on organizing all those bills, receipts etc. I know at my house, bills come in fast. All those Walmart and other store receipts end up in my wallet and overflowing in my purse. Then I can't seem to shuffle through and find them. So I bought one of these to help organize the chaos.  You can get them at Dollar General for $2.00.
 
The inside has pockets for every month. So when you go try to compare last month's water bill with this months. You can easily find it. You can also list all the expenses. (I never do that though, since I am lucky that I just get to spend and don't have to keep the budget.) Yeah! Less stress!
 
 
I also have another one I bought so that I can keep other items at hand. I used to do this in a file cabinet but it is already full. And this I can easily keep in a kitchen drawer. I use it for other things I want to keep track of.
 
 
 I changed the headings on the pockets and use it for other things -receipts I might need to keep long term. Electronic items-TV, camera, Ipad, etc. I have one for Home repairs, auto repairs, warranty info on items we buy, landscaping, clothing purchases, sporting goods, etc. (Happy to say I spent no money this year on sporting goods.) I am sure those receipts are all in my husbands possession somewhere.
 
 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Serving just takes a willing heart.

Wednesday our church posted an email asking for volunteers to come wash dishes on Thursday morning. We just built on a new fellowship hall and industrial sized kitchen and all the dishes had been in storage etc. Lexi and I went-we had about 10 or more other ladies there helping. This was one of those times when it was easy to volunteer, all we had to have was a willing heart to serve. No special talents needed.


 

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Train, Train, Train and you shall Reign, Reign, Reign!

I remember reading and hearing this even before my son was born. I also had this modeled before me with a family in our church in Texas. The family had 9 children. I remember looking in bewilderment. How in the world did this mom manage her home, her children, her life?  When you came to her house, it was clean, it was orderly, she made home made bread, she had chickens, and goats that needed tending, and milking and eggs to be gathered, they had their own crops that needed to be planted, and harvested, and food to put up and prepare. They cut their own firewood.  Her children all sat in church during long sermons. There was no nursery or children's church at the time except for infants on occasion if there were more than 1.  Her youngest was 2, she was pregnant all the time, her oldest was 13 or 14.  They didn't own a dish washer, their clothes were hung out on a line in back of the house, and guess what else, she even homeschooled all her children. She didn't have family that lived close to her to help her out. How did she do it?
Well, one day I asked her about it. She said if you will train your children, you will reign as queen. Or you can try to do it all yourself. (But you never will be able to.)  Now don't take this wrong, the queen looks over the affairs of her house, and she also WORKS, and she DELEGATES, she MANAGES her home. She begins teaching her children at a very young age that they also have certain responsibilities.  No manager does all the work themselves. (The proverbs 31 woman, that we all say we cannot live up to is resourceful.) She doesn't try to do it all.  But, She seems to do it all, because it is all under her command. Go read this passage yourself. The proverbs 31 woman had servants. (She had help. ) Well now most of us today don't have servants or hired help. So we have to be more resourceful.

One thing I learned early in my business career was to identify my weaknesses and try to make adjustments for them. It might be surrounding myself with people that had those strengths. Nevertheless I had to find a way to accommodate for them. If I couldn't hire someone to help me, then I had to make a system that would work for me, one that would allow me to manage my home. Some women today do this by carefully scheduling their children's feeding and sleeping times. That is a one great strategy. In the past I utilized resources from the FlyLady. While I never did adopt her whole system, I did find great success in some of her ideas, especially the 15 minute zone cleaning at times, and the quick de-clutter.

When we moved to Middle Tennessee I met another family. They had 5 children.  She was a little more modern, no farm animals, she had modern conveniences; dishwasher, dryer, she bought her bread, milk and vegetables from a store. She had a church with a nursery and children's church. She had family around, she had moms support groups around and she took advantage of them. She learned from other moms, and helped teach and encourage other moms. She traded off babysitting for time alone, or time to run to the store, she learned to network.  She also homeschooled her children. She utilized homeschool groups, and co-ops to help her in this endeavor. She knew she didn't know it all, have it all. She was however, resourceful in getting the things she needed in order to get what she needed done.

When we moved to East Tennessee, we met a family at a local church we were visiting, they also have 9 children. They invited us to dinner. (I am sure her family seldom gets invited to dinner, I wouldn't even know where to start to feed a crowd like that.) Nevertheless adding 4 more to her dinner plans were no big deal to her.  We got to their house, it was clean, it was inviting, it smelled great, there was a piano and musical instruments that it was obvious their children knew how to play, their children were well behaved and polite and they were happy.   I saw a woman who had learned to manage her home. She was not overworked and frustrated, She was/is a beautiful woman, who cares for her own health as well. She planned a meal for her family of 11 and our family of 4 and even made dessert too!  (Something I rarely do, but it was common at their house,) She didn't look like she was neglected. She has been purposeful in her attempts to run her home and train her children.  One of the things they mentioned was that after child number 3 they really had to get a handle on having the kids obey. They worked on obedience training. You might handle 2 kids bickering or being disobedient,  but when 3 unruly kids get into the picture you better start doing something fast to get it corrected. You have to diligently work to make things go smoothly. You have to shape attitudes. I left encouraged, not discouraged. I didn't think "well she can do it because she now has older kids to help her and mine are still so young,) Instead I left thinking if she can manage 9- then I can manage 2! 

So my encouragement today is to begin to see your self in a different light. You are not the maid, the cook, the chauffer, etc, You are the queen of a castle (no matter how big or small). It is your job to bring these things under your command, you are the manager, start managing, the sooner the better. You cannot do it overnight. You have to begin where you are and start taking small steps. Taking a lot of small steps will add up over the course of a week, month, year.

1. Assess were you are now.
2. What is the biggest problem you face? Your house, misbehaving children, meal planning, trying to get the shopping done, no time to yourself?, you just want to take a shower?  (Every mom can relate to this. We have all faced these issues.) We found ways to work around these things and to change them.
3. Pray and ask God to show you how to better manage these areas.  Seek Godly counsel from other women at church.
4. I'm A list person. Make a list of what you want to tackle/change. Then list things that would help you. Gather resources to help you.
5. Share these things with your husband -ask for his help.  My husband was good about watching the kids when he got home so I could get dinner ready. Some days we ate left overs, some days I used the crockpot, some days we got pizza. (My sanity was worth it!)
6.  Get in moms support group or start one. A MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) group was a great encourager for me as a young mom. Even though we only had a meeting once a month, it was a time of refreshment, meeting other moms that had the same challenges as I did, most of the time more challenges than I had. We had a small group, then a large group meeting, usually with a fun craft of activity that encouraged bonding.  The children were taken care of for 1-2 hours during this time for a very low fee of around $5.00. Well worth it! I also got involved in a MOMS club. Just an attempt to meet other moms and network, fellowship, and have play dates.

7. Adjust your expectations-prioritize.  I remember asking my husband one time, "How do you stop, how can you just sit back and relax? I can't stop till everything is done or I can't sleep" He said that is the problem-but I realize that no matter how much I do, there will still be things left undone and I will work on those tomorrow." He said if I had to finish everything at work today-I would never leave. So I learned to prioritize for the day. Tomorrow I start a new list. With the most important items at the top.

8. Keep in mind this is just a season. This too shall pass. Whatever you are going through today, things will change. (Enjoy the season you are in, you will miss it later.) While it was hard when the kids were so little, now that they are older, they can take care of themselves more now. As I delegate responsibility it frees me up to do other things.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bible Study-Discerning the Voice of God

Today was the last session of our Women's Bible Study. I have to say I have really enjoyed these last 7 weeks. They have been insightful and challenging.  This is the one we just finished.


This was actually my first experience with a Priscilla Shirer bible study and I can't wait to do our next one. I wish I could say that now that I have went through this study I feel competent and think I have mastered this subject. Instead, this is something that comes as we build a relationship with Christ. Some of the things I have learned in this study is that we need to come expecting to hear from God. Another thing that was brought up in session 6 was that we have a hard time hearing from God when we have our own personal agenda and also if we are unwilling to truly surrender to God. I  have to admit there are so many times I think I am surrendered, but then realize there are many things in the comfort of my life that I hold on to. God is okay with us having things, as long as things don't have us. So I seek to become more pliable in the hands of the father.

Just a few things about this study in case you are considering it. It is 6 sessions that are about 30 minutes each as far as the video goes. The 7th session is a follow up. wrap it up type study. (only 5 minutes.)  The homework is really short. 15 minutes or less is all that is required. This was one of the rare studies though-that I really went into every day looking forward to learning more. It never seemed burdensome as some other studies have left me feeling burdened and guilty about not being able to complete the work. (I know that isn't God's desire.)  Learning to quiet myself to listen. Pressing in to try to discover more about God, about his will in me and through me and for me. Our next study begins in January and this is the one we have chosen. I can't wait!