Our Blessed Life

Monday, June 14, 2010

MIY Monday: Making a Change


Today's Make-It-Yourself post is a little different, because...

Some time last week, I had an epiphany.

If I don't change anything, then nothing will change.

And let me tell you, I've needed a change.

Warning: I'm going to be transparent here, so if you have no desire for that kind of honesty and intimacy, you can just go here to learn about making your own laundry detergent or here to see how to make a cute summer dress for girls. Now, where was I? Oh yes...

Needing a Change
Constantly behind on housework and laundry... getting dinner done at the last minute, with a daunting kitchen to deal with until late hours... being cranky and stressed about not getting it all done... clutter up to the sky... exhausted and overwhelmed...pawning my children off on videos or hours of 'free' playtime so I can {try} to get things done... You bet your bloomers, I have needed a change. (Oh, you probably don't wear bloomers, huh? Nevermind.)

In the going-on-seven-years that I've been married, I have spent a good portion of that time trying to learn how to become a good homemaker. In the first month of marriage, I realized someone didn't give me the manual - and I really needed one (Still do.)

Add to that 3 children in {almost} 7 years and I'm still trying to learn how to effectively and efficiently manage a home. You see, I spent a good portion of my young adulthood preparing for a career, not a home. But I'll blog about that another time.

When I had my first baby, I agonized over not knowing how to get things done and have a baby. And I got so tired of other women telling me to just 'let it go' and enjoy my baby. I certainly agreed with them, but I don't think these women understood that I wasn't stressing over dusty ceiling fans or dirty windows or cluttered junk drawers - you know - those things that don't really matter. I was just struggling to get meals on the table, keep clean clothes ready for us to wear, and keep clean dishes for us to eat off of - the basics.

I have learned a lot over the years (and learned to 'let go' of a lot), but I've become increasingly convicted by the Lord lately that things are not as they should be. I have felt Him drawing me more into prayer, more into His Word. I have known in my heart that He was leading me to spend more quality time with my children - and be less cranky with my husband! {Let me tell you, the Lord gets all up in my business sometimes!}

On top of that we have some family and ministry goals we are striving to reach, we are starting preschool work with the girls soon (I'll blog some other time on that), and I am working on an eBook the Lord laid heavy on my heart some time ago. (Stay tuned - it should be available very soon!)

Most days I feel like I am running on the treadmill and getting nowhere. And then, one quiet morning last week, I realized...

If I don't change anything, then nothing will change.

I decided to re-evaluate how I was doing things, and where I could make changes so that I could reach my goals, be less stressed, and spend more quality time with my family - and less time cleaning up the kitchen and folding clothes until late night hours.

Problem Areas
I realized my big time-eater every day was kitchen work: preparing and cleaning up meals. It was taking me hours every day b/c I was constantly being interrupted and having to stop what I was doing to make a juice cup, break up an argument, kiss a boo-boo, administer some discipline, help a Little One on the potty, clean up an art project...


... feed a baby, fix a snack, clean up a spill, answer a phone call, play a game...


... of hide-and-seek, re-fill a juice cup, switch the laundry, change a diaper...



...break up another arguent, feed a baby, etc. I also realized that I was running on empty - Spiritually speaking - b/c I was getting up just a half-hour before my kids, leaving me almost no time to spend with the Lord and get dressed and ready for the day.

My Gameplan
I decided on making a few changes at first, in an attempt to make the weekdays better for us. First, I decided to make some meals in advance, over the weekend. Then, with meals already prepped in the refrigerator or freezer, I could grab something easily in the evening and re-heat it, only having to prepare a side-dish. This should help with clean-up time as well.

So, this past weekend, I chopped vegetables all-at-once for several different meals, and I had 4 meals going at one time. Here's what I prepared:

- Spaghetti meat-sauce
- Fried Tacos
- Ranch Potato Wedges
- Lentil Stew
- Chopped Onion & Potatoes for crockpot chicken
- Bean/Cheese/Rice Burritos (quick-grab for Jeff's lunches)
- Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
-Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

I also decided that it would be best for me to rise much earlier in the morning, in order to prepare myself Spiritually for the day. This will also enable me do some much-needed exercise, and get a head-start on breakfast, for my two girls who wake up ready to eat!

Mindset
In doing this, the Lord has been reminding me that I am not powerless to make a change. Sometimes we (read: I) feel like we're stuck in a situation and we have no choice in the matter, when in fact, we do. I asked God to show me where I needed to make some changes, and give me the courage to try. And sometimes, in choosing a better path, we have to say 'no' to some things, which I'm learning to do as well.

So today was not a perfect day. There were still arguments and messes. There was a whiny, teething baby. There were many interruptions. But I felt the Lord's presence with us today. And I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my children, and work towards my goals, spending very minimum time in the kitchen! It was so refreshing - I even cleaned both the bathrooms!

So here's your Make-It-Yourself Monday tip: maybe it's time to re-evaluate your routine and make some changes. Ask the Lord to guide you. And if you want to share how it's going at your house, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Shannon

6 Comments:

  • At 12:28 PM, Blogger Teesa said…

    Great word! Thanks for sharing. I'm right there with you.

     
  • At 3:16 PM, Blogger Crystal, wife, mom, and friend said…

    That sounded way more inspiring than what I did! You and your beautiful little family are inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing this.

     
  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    Wow, what a great post Shannon. I struggle with meal time so much. I am just not a talented meal maker. It doesn't come naturally to me. I am always pressed for time, trying to figure it out at the last minute. People fighting under my feet, helping Em with homework, and then the whole mess of it often overwhelms me. I use to try and make meals earlier during nap time. It always kind of made me feel like I wasn't getting any time to sit down all day. Not to mention that now I don't really get a "nap time". My kids are quickly outgrowing it. I have talked about making meals on the weekend. I probably need to consider it. I also need to wake up earlier in the morning to get spiritually filled. Thanks for the post. It really hits home for me.

     
  • At 1:21 PM, Blogger DanieLauryn said…

    Thanks, Shannon! I needed to hear a lot of that. I have felt bad a lot of this pregnancy and felt discouraged. I feel like I am not being a good wife, but the big thing is I haven't been in the Word like I should.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger Lindsey said…

    Thanks for the reminders. First I must say that you're an amazing home-maker. Second- thanks for sharing- considering we hit the ground running becoming parents overnight (or over-day?) it's going to be easy to fall into the "busy trap." I think I've sat down to read my Bible three times in the past week and a half and one of those times I ended up journaling instead of actually reading anything! : )

     
  • At 9:37 AM, Blogger Katie King said…

    I can relate to this (in a 1 kid kindof way of course!) I waste too much time in the kitchen...waste meaning I am not organized & don't have a game plan. I love cooking for my family & want to do better at it. I am freshly inspired after reading this!

     

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