It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. ~Psalm 127:2, New Living Translation
Keeping "Home" as a place of lifegiving, inspiration and love requires constant attention because it is the place of life 365 days of the year. There will never be a moment in the life or story of home when everything will be perfect, but constantly simplifying my home, ordering my place and days keeps me moving toward a place that gives life back to me and all who live in its walls.
In my new book, The Lifegiving Home, I have listed 5 areas where I have tried to make plans each year that will help bring some order and rhythm to the days we live together. Here are some questions I ponder each year for planning.
- What daily rhythms will help me accomplish what needs to be done and enhance our relationships? How can I include meaningful expectations of the work to be accomplished and the ways we will spend our time together? Morning, noon, and night bring their own demands and practices, and a good plan will take these into consideration. Planning daily rhythms—meals, devo- tions, cleanup, bedtime routines—should take into consideration the abili- ties and personalities of everyone who lives in the home.
- What chores need to be done each day? Who will do them, and how will I make sure they are done? Housework, cleaning, paying bills, yard work, shopping, hosting guests, setting the table, washing dishes—all of these must be done. Establishing routines for handling these things builds an expectation for my family or roommates that will bring a constant stream of order to our lives.
- Am I doing something now that doesn’t need to be done? How can I simplify my work to provide more time to do what I value most? I want to avoid “mile-wide and inch-deep” commitments and commit to a few activities that are central to my values.
- What daily and weekly rituals will bring pleasure and mark important areas in which I can invest my moments? Celebrating life on a regular basis keeps me happier and more energized in the midst of caring for my four children, my husband, and our family of friends. I have learned to provide life rituals that bring energy back to my heart, mind, and soul—Saturday night movie and pizza, Sunday afternoon tea times, going out for dinner as a family every Friday night.Many years ago, Clay, my very organized husband, gave me an acronym to work from. 'the categories below are just general areas but the most prominent. He said if I made a plan for managing the following areas, life would be more centered--and he was right:
Family--Personal relationships, rhythms and routines in our home that will keep us close, loving, moving ahead in a healthy way, is the place I have to start. What intentional routines do I need to establish in order to be sure our relationships, faith and love are growing.
Information--Planning for organizing, throwing out, filing important emails, receipts, addresses, etc. is a constant for me. I never catch up, but having a plan keeps me from feeling constantly overwhelmed.
Rest--planning to take care of our need for recreation, rest, a break from the demands of life every week, insures that we will not burn out and get totally out of order in our personal relationships and will promote more long term health.
Stuff--clutter, clothes, kitchen stuff, seasonal stuff--taking time to simplify every few months keeps me from always being overwhelmed by all of our stuff. Having a plan for how to order it all the time gives me goals for decluttering every day.
Time-Learning to manage my commitments and demands up against my limitation for our time keeps me from getting our lives out of control. Margin is always required in each day because every day there are interruptions.
There is no one right way to live life in a home. No one size of routine or rules or order fits all…. But the more carefully we plan our days, the better our homes will provide us with freedom and enjoyment as well as purpose and accomplishment. … Familiar rhythms and routines give structure that provides leadership and personal care to all who live there. When children and guests know what to expect, they also know how to ask for their personal needs to be met and understand what part they play in the life of the home. ~ Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home
Here are some questions for you to think through. I pray they’ll help you develop your own rhythms and routines!
- What chores need to be done each day? Who will do them, and how will I ensure they’ve been done?
- What daily rhythms will help me accomplish what needs to be done and embrace our relationships?
- Am I doing something now that doesn’t really need to be done? How can I simplify my work to provide more time to do what I value most?
- What daily and weekly rituals will bring pleasure to my life and mark important areas in which I can invest my time?
These are just a very few thoughts contained in the chapter about ordering the new year in The Lifegiving Home. Hope they help you this month!