Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Organization, Snacks, and a Little Bit of Heaven

I'm not sure what is going on with me. I can't seem to get my act together, sit down, and actually WRITE something. During the day I am composing all sorts of interesting posts, but when I actually get a moment in the evening to sit in front of my computer, the inspiration leaves and I'm left with nothing.

Which leaves the impression, of course, that nothing much happens over here. Totally untrue, but still...

I can say that our Bible study is finishing up the book A Mother's Rule of Life, and it's given me much to think about. This isn't the first time I've gone through this book, but it *is* the first time I've made a serious effort to get some sort of written-down schedule for our home. While no "system" is perfect, it has been good for all of us to have certain times of the day scheduled for various events. I'm still tweeking the homeschool part of our schedule, since that takes up the biggest chunk of our day. Babies, however, are notoriously bad at sticking to schedules, and tend to frustrate those who expect them to! *grin*

Even though I am NOT the kind of person who likes schedules, I have to admit that our day has gone much better when I had specific times to sit down with each child. As soon as I loosened up, the chaos crept back in and I found myself bouncing from person to person, helping one with math while doing Latin with another, bouncing a fussy baby on my lap and telling Grace that she would have to pour her own milk.

Having a too-tightly scheduled day, however, also backfires because I get stressed out when we have gone over time in some area, and I feel like I have to "catch up" or make up for that time somewhere so we can get back on track. That is totally counterproductive in a homeschool setting, where the whole purpose is to take the time needed to teach my children! I mean, seriously!

Marie: Mommy, can we practice writing now? I love to do that!
Me: No way, kiddo! You're over time! Get up from that chair and move it, move it, move it!... Thomas, you're next! You've got exactly 5 minutes and 11 seconds to discuss the nature of the Trinity!
That's a great way to kill creativity and a love of learning!


Another plus side for the whole organizational thing? Better snacks.

You may think I'm crazy, but it's true.

Since I'm actually taking the time to write out the menu for the week (breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner), I'm putting some thought into what I would like my children to be eating during our mid-morning break. Writing down "a handful of chips and a big glass of chocolate milk" just looks... bad. I'm not sure I'd want someone to pick up my planning calendar and say, "Oooh! I see you've given your kids big bowls of animal crackers drenched in chocolate syrup as a snack all this week!" (for the record, no, I haven't, but my kids would sing my praises for a week if I did!)So, I've put more effort into having well-thought out snack ideas (like this fruit and nut granola recipe from Cooking Light) which has made our mornings much more enjoyable!

As helpful as all this organizational "stuff" has been, what has captured my heart most these past several months has been found in this book: A Travel Guide to Heaven. The title is goofy, of course, but I found it to be a wonderful book that actually made me excited about what is to come. Too often I have found myself grieving for what I would leave behind when I die -- all that is comfortable, familiar, and special to me. While I don't think I ever put it into words, I somehow fell into the trap of thinking that Heaven is so different and foreign, I could never feel about it the way I feel about my little corner of the world. It's those little moments of joy when you take a walk on a cool, overcast Autumn afternoon that make you want to throw up your hands and shout, "Thank You, Lord, for this life!"... or that comforting feeling as you drive home late at night with the radio on, feeling all cocooned in your car, looking out at the lights of the nearby city and just delighting in the moment... or that delicious-almost-melancholy feeling you get when driving through an older city, and you see all the little shops and stores...
THESE are the sorts of moments that hit me (other than the obvious joyous ones with family and friends), and I have found myself grieving over the loss of those sorts of experiences. The idea of an eternally warm, sunshiny, always spring sort of atmosphere.... well, it depressed the heck out of me, actually.
So it was with great joy that I read this book, and allowed myself to really focus on the whole concept of the New Earth. A new earth... why have I never really meditated on that before? The sheer joy over the thought of seasons, and nighttime, and rain, made me hopeful in a way that I haven't been in a long, long time.


And finally, many thanks to Matthew Archbold for writing this article: Why I Stink at Praying. Sad to say, I think I've hit every one of those points!

Enjoy your Wednesday!


Beth said...

I've been thinking we need a written down schedule as well.

Diana said...

I was AMAZED too, how well our week went when I menu planned bfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner for a week. Amazed. No randomly grabbing stuff from the cubbard or staring into the fridge with desparation. A go-to list. I love it. Now I just have to do it again for this week...
enjoy your blog

Ouiz said...

Thank you both for taking the time to leave a comment!

Diana, you're right -- it makes it soooooo much easier when you don't have to think about those sorts of things!