Establish the Work of My Hands

establish the work of my handsI’ve been washing dishes by hand for several weeks now. Our dishwasher broke a few months ago, and it’s not repairable. We need a new one but have put off the purchase until we can find a great bargain and save up enough cash to buy one.

I don’t mind terribly dish washing by hand (don’t get me wrong,though; I’d love to have a working dishwasher again!) because I recognize there’s a real benefit in doing manual labor with your hands.

What is it about working with our hands that can be revelatory, inspirational, insightful, and, ultimately, healing?

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Waiting for Empty Laundry Baskets

Waiting for Empty Laundry BasketsDoing laundry drives me a little bit crazy.

Tell me you get this. I mean, we wash, we wear, we wash, we wear. Over. And over. And over again.

The monotony of household chores, in general, bores me to tears. More than once, I’ve raised my hands to God to say, “Why? Why the same thing over and over?”

My family members, especially, are not good stewards of their dirty laundry. They do not alert me to stubborn stains. They do not separate whites and colors as they stack dirty clothes in piles. My daughter often wears layers and pulls everything off at once, leaving me a tangled mess to unravel at the washer—socks and inside-out pants, underwear, tanks, and tees. And my husband rolls up all his dirty clothes at once into a ball. I have often found a surprise black sock in a load of whites because it was tucked into an undershirt.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

What I Learned While Mowing the Yard

What I Learned While Mowing the Yard - 4 principles for reaching goals

A few weeks ago, I decided to surprise my husband when he came home from work.

No, no. It was nothing romantic and didn’t even involve his favorite meal.

What brings a smile to my man’s face and a “Wow, honey!” to his lips?

Our yard—freshly cut.

That’s right. I mowed the yard.

Now, I’m no stranger to mowing the yard. I grew up on a farm where our yard was three huge grassy areas. I have mowed my share of yards. I have logged my time on mowers—both riding and push.

But it’s been oh, several years now that I’ve done yard work. And it’s sort of an understatement to say that I’m out of shape.

These realities did nothing, however, to quell my zest for getting work done! For surprising my hubby! For feeling productive!

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

I’m Going to Whine Now

Typically, I don’t like to post whiney-tale ramblings.

But, hey, I’m in a funk and I have a blog.

And if I can’t whine on my blog, then why have a blog, right?

So, if this is a problem for you, then you can click off my post and come back tomorrow.

I hope you’ll stay, though, and help me. Help me, readers.

Help me figure out my life. 

I’m really overwhelmed right now, and I’m not sure what to do about it.

I know that I have no margins in my life. I first heard about the concept of margin several years ago.

Think of the margins on a piece of paper. That’s the “extra” space that can be used if needed or in an emergency. A place for spill-over. White space that is pleasing to the eye and a soft place to land.

Nope. I have none of that in my life.

(I’m going to get this book, ASAP, by the way. I’ve heard other friends talk about it. It’s been on my to-read list, but I’ve procrastinated. But, I’m going to get it soon. Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission for purchases referred to Amazon.)

My life runs from sun-up to sun-down with far more to do than there is time for.

FlyLady wants me to do my routines. Yea, I have no time for routines. Because as routine as routines go, they Still. Take. Time.

Exercising and grocery shopping and cleaning toilets all take time. Fifteen minutes here, an hour there, thirty minutes there. Time.

I need a lot of sleep. Like 8-9 hours to feel really good. But, hey, that takes time. I can either cut corners on my sleep and be grouchy and grumpy and less productive or I can feel guilty about going to bed when there is still so much left undone. (I know that’s crazy. But that’s me.)

All my little part-time jobs are wonderful blessings, and we truly need the money. We count on each little $100 or $200 check to make ends meet each month. So, which $200 check do I forfeit so that I don’t feel guilty when I go to sleep?  In the meantime, which meal/activity/chore is neglected so that I can finish a work assignment?

Blogging and writing are the only things I do for fun. Period. I don’t read. Magazines and books sit untouched on my nightstand. I haven’t scrapbooked since July 2007. That’s terribly sad, but seriously, how in the world can I justify sitting around sticking pictures into books when I have a to-do list as long as my arm? Plus, scrapbooking would require my downloading, sorting, and actually printing pictures. I don’t even want to think about how much time that would take.

Do I stop blogging? Do I stop writing for fun?

Do I shrivel up to nothing because I have no outlet for creativity?

I could go on and on. I know you know that I have laundry, meals, activities, Bible study, and church. I know you know what it’s like to juggle and prioritize.

Am I the most insanely organizationally-challenged person in the world? Or is this just “part of it” and I need to grin and bear it until retirement? 

What should I do? How do I take some of the pressure off? Which ball(s) to drop?

At what point do we simply step out in faith, do away with things that drain us, and trust God to provide compensation (whether emotional, financial, spiritual)?

Truly, I’d love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for me and my family.

Thank you. Whining over.

Image: Morgue File

Moms: Does Eternity Influence You?

If you read this blog with any regularity, you may conclude that I hate doing laundry.

And you would be correct.

In fact, I despise housework pretty much altogether. And I’m not terribly good at it, either. (I am desperately trying to “fly” with FlyLady, though.)

The hardest part of being a homemaker/mother/wife, I think, is doing the same things over and over and over again. And waking up the next day and doing them over and over and over again. Again. And, again.

Does any of it really matter?

My friend, Jennifer, once posted about how even taking care of the family’s basic necessities is a blessing to them and glorifies God.

She’s right, of course. But we forget. And we get trapped in our humanity and the immediacy of this world. At least I do, anyway.

If you ever feel this way, you MUST read this post from John Piper. He so beautifully speaks of the mother’s work as eternal work and how every little thing is just a part of the bigger picture to come.

We were created for more. Bigger. Better. Future. More.

A Laundry Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, a girl and a boy met and married and set up house in a small apartment in Green Hills. The girl and the boy loved their home even though they didn’t have a washer/dryer hook-up inside their unit.

But, alas, the community laundry room was in the building just across from theirs. Every week, the girl would load up all of their laundry (usually on a Wednesday afternoon), detergent bottles, and a handful of quarters, and wash their laundry—three loads simultaneously.

The week’s laundry was usually finished within a couple of hours, always by dinnertime.

Then the boy and the girl eventually had three children and got their own washer and dryer. The girl now has more than ten loads of laundry every week. She swears the piles of dirty clothes spontaneously multiply when she’s not looking, and she’s certain she’s heard discarded pants and tops and socks mocking her, “Nah-nah-nuh-nahnah! We’re bigger than you are.”

Never a free moment from the tyranny of laundry.

And so, the story continues. The girl frequently finds herself longing for the days of three-loads-a-week in the community laundry room at that cute little apartment complex in Green Hills.

And they all lived happily (?) ever after.

THE END

25 Barbies

Money—well, the lack of it, actually—is a constant topic of conversation at our house.

I read this post and decided to join this blog tour at The Parent Bloggers Network, which got me to thinking about our own kids and their materialistic notions.

Sadly, they are more materialistic than I would like. We talk about our desire for instilling in our kids frugality, simplicity, and gratitude.

But… I’m not so sure how well we’re succeeding in that department.

Out of curiosity, I wandered into my daughter’s room tonight and counted her Barbie dolls.

She has 25.

25.

When I was a little girl, I had one: Malibu Barbie.

As we shopped for back-to-school supplies and clothes this year, I was overwhelmed. I had to repeatedly say, “No. We came for glue. Only glue.” Or, “You need one white shirt. One. White. Shirt.”

So, as our routines get more established with the new school year, Chris and I are hoping, praying to implement a new system for teaching our kids how money and work are connected.

Here’s my idea:

Each child has a poster board with five of those index card pockets glued to the top and five glued to the bottom. The first two pockets are Monday (morning and evening); the next are Tuesday, and so on. Morning cards have morning chores; evening cards have after-school/evening chores. These are extremely basic and age-appropriate but things that help the house run smoothly, teach responsibility and teamwork. Saturday’s chores involve a little bit more, and Sunday’s cards both say, DAY OF REST.

When the chore is finished, the child turns the card to the end with the smiley face. On Saturdays, if the child has all smiley faces, he or she gets a fuzzy ball in their jar (more about that below). Each smiley face is worth a nickel, and the child is paid accordingly.

From this point, we will instruct the children on what it means to save, spend, and give their money. We will have the kids put about 10% of their earnings in the church collection plate and encourage them to consider other ways to give their money.

I think it’s never too early to have the kids begin saving for their first car. My boys will absolutely start putting some money back for a “ring fund.” I heard this idea from a friend this summer, and I was so impressed. More than anything, I want my boys to grow into responsible men. Don’t these lessons begin here and now?

Fuzzy Ball Jars

The kids, too, each have a “fuzzy ball” jar (as I mentioned above). These are just small, clear glass jars with no lids. I get the “fuzzy balls” at the dollar store or craft store. They are the little multi-colored pom-pom balls for crafts. I figured they were safe and couldn’t break the glass or go rolling all over the floor if spilled. Plus, the colors make a great visual in the clear jars.

So, for each “perfect” week, the kids get to put a fuzzy ball in their jar. The fuzzy ball jar, also, can be used as a reward jar (“you played so nicely today with your brother”) or a punishment jar (“you’re losing three fuzzy balls tonight because you had a horrible attitude at the park”).

When the fuzzy ball jar is full, the child gets a $10 gift of their choice from the store of their choice.

So, I’m hoping and praying to accomplish many things with our new system:

  • Responsibility, sense of ownership
  • Stewardship, gratitude
  • Charity, other-centeredness
  • Frugality, self-denial
  • Accountability, teamwork
  • Long-term viewpoint, commitment
  • Discipline and work ethic
  • Ultimately, a desire to work and behave simply for the benefit of pleasing parents and God (OK? a smidge too Pollyanna?)

and, oh…

  • whittling down the Barbies to a number that’s not quite so indulgent.

I’ll keep you posted with our progress.

I have written this post as a part of a Parent Bloggers Network Blog Blast. The Parent Bloggers Network and Capital One are working together to help educate kids on money management and budgeting as the new school year gets underway.