Thursday, January 31, 2013

My take on Sanity Manifesto Part One

Since Christmas, we have had at least one child sick pretty much every day.  A mother's job when her baby's sick is much more than just comforting, drying tears, and giving medicine.  It's trips to the doctor, making life sane for the other children, doing load upon load of laundry, keeping up with the normal housework while trying to disinfect everything you can think of.  It is geting up in the wee hours and taking temperatures and giving lukewarm baths and cleaning up...well let's not go there.  It's enough to make you a little bit crazy.  :)  Many nights I go to bed and am asleep within seconds. 
I'll stop the whining now.  But can you relate?
Anne Voscamp posted something a week or so ago that really like and I have mentally adapted to make work for me.  She calls it "Sanity Manifesto". 
1.  Word in.  Work out.  Work plan.  First things first.
Word in:  I have been better about reading the Word first thing in the morning.  Several mornings this week, I have gotten up just a few minutes before the kids and read my Bible right there in bed.  It makes the start to the day so much better.  It is TOUGH to do, but last year when I went through the book "A Place of Quiet Rest" by Nancy Leigh Demoss, I saw what a difference in made to study the Word FIRST THING.  Before anything else.  Doesn't happen every day, but I'm trying!
Work out:  Lots of great ladies I know get up first thing in the morning and work out.  I wish I was one of them!  Haha!  Different stages of my life, I did this.  My dad and I used to run at dark thirty.  But...these days, I'm just lucky to get a work out in at some point during the day.  I'm hoping when Spring comes, to get up two mornings a week for a run.  We shall see!
Work Plan:  I don't really feel a need to write out my work plan for the day.  However, maybe I would get more done that way.  I do keep a pretty detailed calendar of the daily events and document what's for dinner, grocery lists etc.
2.  What a heart knows by heart, a heart knows.
I want to be better about Scripture memory, for my own sake as well as my kids.  This is a big one I am going to work on.
3.  Pray with children every morning.
She believes in lighting a candle first thing, to remind herself that she is a light to everyone in her household.  I'm going to change this, just cause it's not really my thing. 
Instead, for me, praying with my kiddos each morning before our day gets started puts us all in a good spot.  Softens our hearts.  Gets us over the craziness of getting out the door.  And reminds us where our focus should be. 
4. Your work is art; it needs a soundtrack.
I LOVE this.  I work much, much better with music.  Don't know if that is just the music teacher in me, but cleaning the kitchen is far more enjoyable when you can pause for dance breaks.  And my kids know the words to many hymns and worship songs simply because they are often playing in the background of whatever we are doing.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this as a sanity saver!
5.  Step on the snake before breakfast. 
Voscamp's life is different than mine because she isn't rushing to get a child to school.  I have committed to driving my daughter to and from school each day.  I may change my thinking on this in the future, but for now, it is a high priority.  So it's hard to step on a snake...get a hard thing done before breakfast, because it's hard enough just getting us all dressed and fed and out the door in time!  Realistically, I just don't see this happening for me in the near future unless I get up earlier :), in which case I will probably do better about #1.  If I do have extra time in the mornings (almost never),  I try to start a load of laundry before I leave. 
6. Stay in the pool. 
OH man, this is huge for me.  I flit from thing to thing during the day, half folding a load of laundry, then to half empty the dishwasher, pausing to wipe some noses and send an email.  Obviously, when you have small children, you are going to have interruptions (and we should welcome lots of those!), but the suggestion is to finish the task you start before beginning another.  When I think I am multitasking, often I am procrastinating. 
7.  Clean a space=clear headspace
So true...the cleaner my workspace is, the better I can focus on what needs to be done.  The desk...where we keep school info, bills, etc. is the messiest part of the downstairs.  And the messier it is, the crazier I feel. 
8  Go slow.  Life is not an emergency:  It's a gift. 
There's a fine balance of getting things done that need to be done and rushing through life breathless.  When my children see Mom always in a hurry, it stresses them out.  I admittedly struggle with putting the two of these together.  I feel like I need to be in a hurry to get it all done; when I'm not in a hurry, I kind of feel lazy.'s absolutely crucial that we LIVE FULLY, in the moment, taking life in as a gift and giving it as a gift.  Communicating to my kids and my husband that they aren't my interruptions, they are my gift.  Not being too busy to serve others, to love others.

And now, I'm going to pause to take another child to the doctor.  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"I'm just so stressed right now."  "There's just way too much on my to do list."
I teach six high school students a week and I guarantee I hear this from three of them every week.  Kids today are wearing and carrying so much stress.
My almost seven year old told me this week, "I'm stressed out that I'm not going to have time to finish my homework."
I am still keeping my gratitude list, but this time in a journal.  It is difficult to get on to post every time I want to document my gratitude.  But can I just tell you, keeping this list, writing down my thanks to's amazing the change it makes in my days and in my heart.
And I've been thinking about stress and trusting.  Because anyone in my family can tell you, if there was a contest in who stresses the most, I'd probably win a lot.  I've long been a stressed out person; it's just my nature I've told myself.  Change and new situations stress me the most, especially if it involves my children.

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow."
How can I overflow grace and peace to others, to my children, to my husband when my own heart is stressed out so much?  Here's the simple truth I'm discovering:  I can't.

Being stressed out is kind of popular in our culture. If you hear someone is stressed, sometimes it says...ooh that person is important, their work/job is indispensable and can't be done as well by anyone else.

In Anne Voscamp's book, I read..."Stress isn't only a joy stealer.  The way we respond to it can be sin."

God COMMANDS us to trust in Him.  It's not a suggestion; it's not just a way to bring peace; it is a COMMAND.  Trust is the opposite of stress and worry.

Anne Voscamp goes on to say something that has stopped me in my tracks every time I think on it, every time I let my mind go there.  And I think she's right...I think she has hit on something here that is really tough, but really true.
"I've just begun to feel around the outside edges of it, here in crumbling economics, the fretfulness of parenting, the dizziness of the twenty-first century spin.  Just begun to realize it, and it catches in my throat:  If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief."

For the everyday stresses...for the job stress, the uncertainty of tomorrow, the worry for our children, for the how am I ever going to get everything done...
Aren't we commanded to trust and obey?
How much would my time be better spent to pray, trust, and DO instead of stress and worry?