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Friday, January 6, 2012

Rhythms

I've always been into rhythms, living by a specific ebb and flow each day. Rhythms give me a sense of direction, and I feel it gives my children stability. I am constantly striving for a nice balance between necessary tasks and living out my priorities. Everyday, there are certain tasks I HAVE to do. But if that's all that makes up my day, I feel empty. There are things I really WANT to do everyday, and I must find a way to incorporate them as well.

Over Christmas break, I spent time, as I always do this time of year, re-evaluating my days and how they're spent. I look at what's working and what isn't. I inventory that which is missing from my current daily life. I look for strategies to live better and fuller. At this same time, I'm planning out lesson plans for our second semester of school, and it all goes hand-in-hand. I concluded that our family needs to do more studying collectively and less individually working for separate textbooks. I have already begun to create a workspace at our dining table with supplies and white board and all that's necessary. I sifted through language arts textbooks of all grades and found common threads that can be taught together. I listened to some wonderful audio teachings (volume 1 and volume 2) from Victoria Botkin (a homeschool veteran) that inspired and gave fresh ideas. From my evaluating, I was able to come up with a new plan for my school day.

LIVING OUT MY PRIORITIES EACH DAY: So what is on my list of priorities? Simple things, really. Things like spending time with the Lord each morning - worshiping, praying/listening to His voice, studying His Word, writing in my journal - and taking my vitamins, drinking green tea, taking a walk, playing with my kids, reading to my kids, encouraging/supporting my husband, reading an inspiring book, and having personal time to do something I want to do (for me, that usually means researching something I want to learn more about) - these things I enjoy, and I want to find a way to incorporate them into my life. If I don't plan them in, they just don't happen.

I've been practicing this daily marriage of priorities and tasks for quite some time. But last week, I came upon a beautiful tool that does the same thing. I found it on Ann Voskamp's blog: A Holy Experience. It is a printable Daily Planner, and because of the attractive layout and fonts, it is far more fun to use than a torn page from a spiral-bound tablet. I'm enjoying the experience of drafting out the coming day in bed each night just before falling asleep.

WHAT GOD IS SPEAKING: As I've had time to get off the rat wheel and re-evaluate life, there has been one message God has spoken loudly to me - it is to live slow. I can't help it, I'm task-driven. I'm always moving forward, and quickly. And I want everyone around me to hurry up, too. But I'm afraid this lifestyle has often led to burn out and self-induced stress. I'm not very pleasant to be around when I'm on my fast-track. But more than that, I'm discovering that I'm missing God in the present. I don't notice Him in the now. I don't see Him in the child who's begging me to come see the tower he made with soft blocks. I don't see Him in the steaming cup of hot tea. I don't see Him in the bodies who will adorn the clothes I spend countless hours laundering. I don't see Him in my here and now. And therefore, I'm missing out on a great piece of the Christian life. I'm not living the fullness. And these past few weeks, as I've had time off school and I relinquished some ministry responsibilities, this realization was revealed to me. I want to slow down - stop and smell the roses. I need to slow down. God is in the present.

NEW BLOG FEATURE: I wanted to quickly draw your attention to a new feature added to this blog. You will find it at the top right-hand column of this page. It is a space for you to fill in your email address and subscribe to this blog. Every time a new post is published, your email box will automatically receive a copy. It's a handy feature to ensure you never miss a beat!



JOY DARE 2012: As I told you on Wednesday, I've had my life turned upside down by a fabulous book given to me by my dear friend. The recently-released book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, has impacted my life for good - I'll never be the same. On her blog, the author has launched a "campaign" for this coming year, encouraging people all over the nation through her blog and on the radio and other media to embark on a Joy Dare 2012. She's provided tools on her blog to help her followers seek three God-graced gifts each day for 2012. I have printed my January calendar and opened my fresh new journal (received this Christmas) to embark on this journey. It has been so enlightening. I've even been inspired, like Ann, to grab my camera and capture little gifts I find right around my space - in my backyard, little flowers still in bloom (only in California), the way the light hits the beveled glass on my front door, the beauty of freshly sharpened pencils in a pencil cup in the center of our dining table. Would you care to join us? We'd love to have you. Start the Joy Dare today!

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