On Your Mark...

I could go really far back with this post: back through peculiar old books about pioneer women found on dusty shelves over the past few years, or through the cookbooks that have taught me to hold my own in the kitchen, or through the farm where we know the name of the cow who's milk we drink. (It's Beulah, by the way.)  So many things have brought me to the point where I am now.  Even this old house, or perhaps especially this old house, make me want to go back to a world that seems to have been stiller, thicker, richer.

But I wasn't born in the 1800's (Why wasn't I born in the 1800's?!) and I can't go back in time.  I guess I wouldn't even want to because 2011 is pretty awesome, too.  But, I do want to start taking more control of my time and being more purposeful about how I spend it, rather than being unknowingly controlled by distractions and time-wasters. (Facebook, I'm talking to you, kid.)

So I'm writing this blog to share about all the changes I'm going to be committing myself to these days.  Its basically just a long list of goals and ideas that I think will help me achieve a
(1) a stiller, more peaceful heart
(2) a "thicker," fuller, more memorable life, and
(3) a richer, more productive and fruitful use of my time. 

-Waking up early, before Annika, to start breakfast and read my Bible.  I've learned that this time alone first thing in the morning does wonders for my attitude.  When we wake up together, I am immediately "on duty" and juggling too many responsibilities to be unhurried and pleasant.  I am usually rushing through things, and we are usually a little late getting out the door.  By the time she wakes up, I want to have breakfast started and feel rested and happy.  Not to mention, I just really love the Lord and want to be more disciplined about storing up the word in my heart and mind. Its amazing how it changes things.

-Leave the house early and leave the house clean.  Which, lets be honest, will probably just mean leaving on time.  But its a start.  And by cleaning up before we go, I don't walk in the door later and already have unfinished chores hanging over my head.  Sounds nice, right?

-Keep up with the "Home Management Binder" that I recently organized.  (On my to-do list: find something else to call the geeky "Home Management Binder.") This is an idea that I recently saw on Pinterest.com, and through googling the term, I found its not totally uncommon.  There's a lot of templates you can download for free or purchase online, like weekly calendars and menu planners. I actually just sorted through the ideas and then made my own on Illustrator, which I will post and share later for anyone who's interested.  Which brings me to my next goal...

-Blog more.  I actually don't want to run away from the internet because its such a great place to share ideas and get inspired.  I love Pinterest.com because it actually motivates me to be more productive and creative in our home.  Plus, it's just fun.  And the blog is important for two reasons. First, for our family who love to get the stories, pictures, and family updates.  Second, because its an outlet for me keep writing and expressing myself creatively.  Sometimes I get messages from girls who have read the posts (usually the spiritual ones) and have really felt like God used my words to bless them personally, and that means more than I can even express. I want for the time that I spend online to matter.  Which also means...

-Less Facebook.  And I've already received objections on this end :)  But I promise, the idea is not to shy away from sharing life online, just to filter out the time that I'm wasting by getting stuck in Facebook quicksand.  "Want to 'see your friendship' with this person, and re-live college for a little bit?"....."Hey, have you checked out so-and-so's vacation album from 2 years ago? They went to Costa Rica!"...."Here's someone you knew in the 4th grade, want to reconnect/a.k.a. stalk through their page and see what they look like now?"  There's just really no need for me to get caught up in that every time I sit down at the computer, and I really hope to cut a lot of it out.

-Plan out my meals for the week and start preparing meals earlier in the day.  Too often I get caught at 5 p.m. and realize I never thawed the chicken or soaked the beans, and I struggle through a rushed dinner prep with a hungry toddler.  I feel frazzled by the time we finally sit down to eat at 7 p.m., and then after I battle out bites with Annika and am left with a kitchen full of dishes, its after 9 and neither of us are relaxed or ready for bed.  If I can try to have dinner on the table at like...5 or 6 o'clock, I've got plenty of time to have a leisurely meal and even finish the dishes before it gets dark.  And if we're fed and the kitchen is clean, I can actually enjoy our bedtime routine with Annika.

-Enjoy my time with Annika.  This is actually a big goal in itself, and a big reason that I want to make all these changes in the first place.  I've realized how much of my day is distracted without my even knowing it, which means time wasted, and that wasted time makes the rest of my time more compromised.  When Annika comes running down the hall, screaming for me to save her from a Pachycephalosaurus, or invites me to her tea party, I want to mean it when I take a break and say "I'd love to!" Or when we're picking out a book at night, I want to have the time and energy to read "the long one."  Maybe after dinner, since it won't be immediately bedtime, we could even go sit on the back porch as a family.  Maybe we could catch all those fireflies.  Maybe we could play a game.  All the little things that I usually want to do are not going to matter in ten years.  I hope to refocus my time and energy so that I want to hang out with Annika as much as she wants to hang out with me.

-Get Annika in bed at a decent time, which will allow me to get in bed at a decent time.  I've read research that says you'll sleep better if you "unplug" from things like the t.v. and computer about an hour before bedtime.  I'd love to give myself an hour or so to just be quiet, sit outside, read a book, write a letter, whatever, before its time to sleep.  And if I get a good, early night's sleep, I'll be able to wake up early in the morning.  And pretty much everything on this list depends heavily on my getting up early in the morning.

So anyways, I need to finish this up before I'm a total failure at everything I just mentioned.  Because, whatd'ya' know? Its 5 p.m. and I don't have dinner started.  Its going to be a work in progress. :)  But hey, at least its leftovers tonight!


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