Friday, December 30, 2011

Striving for Proverbs 31

I've just finished reading My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn.  From the beginning I really identified with Sara, as our husbands are both military.  And I've also been pondering the passage for a while now, asking God, praying about how to apply these instructions to my life and my daily journey.  Because I truly believe that in that passage lies the keys of a godly, quiet-spirited, productive, successful wife and mother.  But if I'm being honest here, I thought,

 "This is probably another woman telling me that I'm not doing right by my family because I'm working outside the home.  That I couldn't possibly be fulfilling God's plan for my family, if I'm not home 24 hours a day caring for our home and family.  That there's no way my focus could be my family when I spend 8 hours out of our home."

But there were 4 words on the cover of her book that intrigued me and they were...

"....and Its Surprising Results".  I wanted to know what her surprising results were!

As Sara chronicled her journey, it was encouraging to see the growth in her obedience to God and her love for her family.  I've been asking God to help me to love my family more selflessly and to put that love into action.  This is one of the most important things that Sara had to to put her family before herself. And what that looks like practically.  It's easy to think about or talk about ways to put our family first.  But that will look differently for every family.  And I'm learning that true selflessness doesn't come when you can put one's needs in front of your own, but when you can put their desires ahead of your desires.  I mean, it's easy, as mothers, to fix dinner for your children when you are sick and legitimately need rest because, obviously our children "need" to eat.  But what about when a family member merely wants to have something, or to do something that would conflict with something you want to have or do?  That takes a new level of selflessness. 

When I've read Proverbs 31 before, it has seemed like a list of daunting tasks to be checked off my to-do list.  But I thought, "I can do this.  I'm a task oriented person.  I like lists.  If this is what it takes to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I so got this." But I have found that whenever I am focused on lists, chores, or tasks to complete, I always come up a complete failure.  I always run out of time, out of energy, or out of will  The Proverbs 31 wife or "Martha 31" as Sara calls her, is doing what it takes to take care of her family and as a result she is honoring her husband, and her children "call her blessed".  I think we get caught up in the to-do's of the Proverbs 31 wife and forget to try and see her heart.  Her heart is focused completely on her family, her checklist is purely for the betterment of her home and her family.  I, for one, am tremendously grateful that  our Savior doesn't look at our to-do lists to see how many chores we were able to check off for the day.  But He instead looks at our hearts.  So, friends, instead of striving to complete checklist after checklist and seeking affirmation in the number of chores or assignments you complete, seek affirmation from your Creator and ask Him to work in your heart. 

As Sara says in her book,

"I want to be the wife who is a blessing to her family, who is praised and remembered, not for the activities or projects I checked off, but for the smiles I wore, the peace I shared, and the deep love of God I hope I instilled wherever I went.  That's my prayer."

And that, I think, is the essence of what a Proverbs 31 wife should try to be.  

iHome Management Part 2

One of the most helpful and very practical apps that I have used is called HomeRoutine. I used to have a Control Journal. If you have ever heard of Flylady, you know what this is. It’s a method of breaking your home down into zones, assigning each zone a certain week and keeping track of the chores that need to be completed for that zone. It also includes all the routines that make up your day—morning routines, before bed routines, etc. Your weekly cleaning tasks , vacuuming, tubs, dusting, etc. are also managed in your control journal.

 The problem for me was not creating this household survival guide of sorts; I’m good at planning and outlining routines and assigning chores. The problem for me was actually putting it all into action and being consistent with it.This is where the HomeRoutine app comes in handy. I no longer have my control journal in my clunky binder, everything I just mentioned is put into the app…every routine you have,

the tasks associated with that routine,

Each Zone of your home, which you customize.

every chore that needs to be done for every zone.

Then it REMINDS you to actually do it. You can set reminders when certain things are to be done or certain routines are supposed to begin, it will sound an alarm. As you do each task, you click the star, which then turns yellow, indicating that you have completed it…nice little motivating factor when you look back over the day and see how much you have accomplished.  
There's a built in timer function that's very useful if you're like me and have a hard time stopping once you get involved in a certain task.  Set it for 15,20,30 minutes....make it work for you....then just stop when you are out of time.  

There's also a ToDo List with options to list things that need to get done today, this week and things that aren't immediately necessary but will be coming up soon.

It takes some time to set it all up, but the ability to edit it online and then sync with your phone makes it much easier.   This app currently has 4.5 stars on App Store. It’s not free, but worth the few bucks in my opinion.

I'm linking up with Tidy Mom today.

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

iHome Management Part 1

Family calendar, household cleaning routines, chore management for the kids, menu planning, grocery lists, important contact information, important papers that I needed to keep for future reference....all this used to be kept in my Household Notebook.  

Here is what it looked like:

A cute, but clunky binder.  It housed everything I needed but was large and cumbersome since I had to have it with me everywhere I went.  My Type A, OCD personality said that I needed it, just in case.  It wasn't the type of thing that could just sit on my counter at home, because, well, we are not home much.   And I do a lot of planning when I'm out and about, waiting at piano lessons or doctor appointments, during dance practices, etc.  So it really was necessary for me to have it with me at all times.  

Then I discovered this world that is the iPhone and all the amazingly practical and helpful apps that go along with it.  
Now everything I need is right here at my fingertips.  And this is what my Household Notebook looks like!

I'm always downloading and trying out new apps.  You will almost never see me playing a gamey (sure, that's a word) app on my phone, but grocery shopping, or meal planning apps....sign me up!!
Over the next week, I'm going to share with you the apps that make up my Household Notebook,the ones that make my life a little more organized, explaining what they do and how I use them practically in my busy life.

I'll be linking up with Courtney at Women Living Well.

Have a Blessed Day!