Today's Small Thing is really simple, but might not be easy to pull off in one day. You'll get the whole weekend to work on this one.
It's this: Have fun with your man. BE fun with him.
See, somewhere in the middle of organizing children and budgets and cleaning and committees, we find ourselves being more like our husband's mother than his cute 'n sexy wife.
I can already hear some of you grumbling. I've gained weight! We just lost a job! My kids are sick! Yes, those are all excellent reasons to be frumpy. To be glum. To snap at your man.
And if I thought being the resident grump would help your situation, I'd encourage you to continue on.
But let me just share something I've learned along the way, and I'll bet a hundred dollars that you know this to be true too: Men are just like boys. They want to have fun! And they secretly want their wives to be fun!
Ah, NOW with the protests. Girls, you've got to stop this!
So let's quantify "fun," and see if it will give you some hope:
Say, aren't we just encouraging manly irresponsibility? Perhaps.
But in the big scheme of things, a man who feels loved and has a little fun with his wife is far more likely to shoulder his responsibilities gladly than one who is beaten down and discouraged by her.
And all joking aside, I DO realize that this Small Thing may seem like a Huge Impossible Thing for some of you. I will ask you all to pray for each other, that we can simply lighten up in our marriages. That we will find a way to have fun, BE fun together and enjoy each other. If it's been a long, dry while since you've had any fun with your man, then just take a small step today. Let bitterness go, and let fun pave the way to forgiveness.
POINTS: 50 for being a fun girl with your guy
BONUS: 20 for sharing....but keep it tasteful :) You can either leave a comment or link up for coffee.
If you're mired in chaos and on the verge of a meltdown due to the state of your home, this is the post for you. Come now, dry your eyes and read on:
First, you are in good company. Millions of smart, capable and attractive people struggle with creating order in their homes. Lack of organization does not mean that you are less intelligent or less worthy than those whose homes seem spotless at any given moment. Let's just say that we ALL have our issues.
Organizationally Challenged people are often perfectionists, needing the right containers, proper storage and ample time to put things in order. When none of these planets align, they cannot complete the tasks at hand. I fall into this category.
Messy people are often "People" People. Our social obligations and personal desire to meet the needs of others outweigh the need to clean. If someone needs a shoulder to cry on, this is the person for the job because organizing can always wait.
We are savers. We want to hold on to precious memories of our children, so we keep burp cloths and broken toys, and every scribbled picture and craft they ever made. We keep old Halloween costumes and Christmas outfits, just because they were soooo adorable in them. We hang on to Grandma's baking pans and Aunt Martha's sewing machine because we are keepers of the family mementos. But all that stuff can keep you from enjoying life when it starts suffocating you.
We are busy. Family activities are important, but they can wreak havoc on household management.
OK, we have some bad habits. We think of our homes as a place to "relax and hang out," like when we were kids. We let things go so long that it seems impossible to even begin. We see housework as drudgery.
And maybe we lack focus. We start cleaning one thing, see something else that needs our attention, and before you know it, the original item is long forgotten.
Sometimes we simply see housekeeping as not worth the effort. It will just get messy again, so why bother? Besides, there are so many more important and interesting things to do, it is hard to take the time to do such boring, menial tasks.
There can be scores of reasons that your house gets out of control, but the result is almost always the same. Disorder affects your family's ability to function, it brings friction to your relationships, and robs your family of peace.
If it's any comfort, most people struggle in this area to some degree. But we Company Girls want to be free of this, and that's why we're here!
So where do we start??
Today, we'll start with a prayer. If you are like me, you might be sick of bringing the same "GOD HELP ME!" prayer to Him, but we need to realize that He really does care about us. He wants us to come a million times to Him, if that's what it takes, because He knows that dependence on Him is a good thing. He WILL help you. He wants you to have peace and joy in your home.
Next, institute Minimum Maintenance. Minimum Maintenance is the simple idea that:
There is a minimum amount of effort that goes into each day to make it work.
It's not a LOT of effort, but it IS effort. I'm really liking the word "minimum" right about now, how about you?
I've talked about this before, but we could all stand to review it regularly because it's easy to forget.
The outlines of Minimum Maintenance are here and here. Take a few minutes to read about it, and then get out a timer. It is important to keep your activity swift, short and consistent. Don't hyperventilate: Did you notice the word "short?"
What I'm telling you is this: In about 20 minutes a day, you can have your house whipped into shape. If you have able-bodied helpers around, you can actually divide and conquer, cutting your MM time down even further. Now, I'm not talking about a germ-free level of clean here. This is just NICE. TIDY. GOOD. I can live with that!
When staring at a full-blown explosion in every.single.room. of your house, I realize that the first few times might take a little longer than 5 minutes per room. But here is my challenge:
Today's Small Thing is to see how much you can get done in 5 minutes. Make a game out of setting a timer, and move like you've got a fire lit under your butt feet to straighten/put away/remove/and tidy.
THAT'S IT! Once things are tidy, it is SO MUCH EASIER to keep it nice.
POINTS: 50 for doing a 5 minute blitz in one room
BONUS POINTS: 30 for simply reading the posts about Minimum Maintenance
BONUS BONUS POINTS: 40 for doing a 5 minute blitz in at least one other room.
Golly, Rachel Anne! That's 120 points for about 15 minutes worth of effort!
I know. But this is the 15 minutes that's gonna rock your world!
Visit Works for Me Wednesday today!
Our old cat, Buttons (God Rest His Soul), was quite a cat. You can read about him here in this tribute, written sometime after his disappearance from our Barn House. Since then, there have been several "Buttons Sightings" around this place, the most recent being last summer in the old shed. My man was cleaning it out when he heard some rustling behind some boxes. Thinking it was one of the many pesky raccoons, he raised a shovel over his head and approached slowly.
And suddenly, darting out from the shadows, was a striped gray cat.
"BUTTsie???" Tom called. "Is that you?"
But he was gone.
And the legend of Buttons lives on.
Buttons had his favorite spots to curl up in. Mostly, he loved places where the sun came in and warmed his soft fur. The back of the couch, the girls' bed, a window sill. There, the light was just right for inspecting paws for dirt and for giving himself a bath. He could think clearly about the state of the world, and contemplate whether to sleep or simply rest.
I've long admired the way cats "own" certain pieces of territory. We could learn something from them.
Do you have a special place in your home that is "your own?" I've never had the luxury of a pretty sitting room, craft room, or a reading nook, but there are a couple of places that I think of as "mine."
1) My side of the bed, where my stack of magazines, hand lotion and reading glasses live.
2) The end of the couch by the table and lamp, where I like to read and blog on the laptop.
3) The upstairs loft, which is currently a MESS of boxes and stuff I don't know what to do with. I dream of really making it "mine" with pretty furnishings....someday. For now, it is a catch-all.
Today's Small Thing is to stake a claim on some real estate in your own home. You may not have any "extra" space for a personal area, but find a spot where you like to be and pay a little attention to it. Set out some hand lotion, a pretty coaster and bring a soft throw to make it comfy. Dust off your nightstand, organize your books, and set out a candle.
My nightstand on a good day:
Carve out a little corner that speaks to your soul, even if it's right in the middle of a busy living room or bedroom. You've got to nourish your own need for sanctuary before you can truly make it happen for everyone else.
POINTS: 40 for paying attention to your own little corner
BONUS POINTS: 20 for enjoying it for at least 10 minutes today! :)
Where is YOUR little corner and how will you make it special?
The Lord, Jehovah God, the Great I Am. He is our all-powerful defender, provider and protector. Just like David said....you cannot escape from his presence. In your darkest moment, in your deepest sorrow, and in your greatest triumph, He is surrounding you with his very Being.
He is with you right now.
MIGHTY to save! In your time of distress and need, He is ready to move on your behalf to rescue you. We are not constrained by our own weakness when we are trusting in the Creator of the universe to come to our aid.
He is mighty to save you.
The thought of God taking delight in me is almost more than I can comprehend. I can understand "thoughtful care," and "righteous leading," but DELIGHT? The very word brings to mind a whole side of God that I rarely consider. It is His joyful Father's heart that is made happy by His children as we follow in His footsteps. Does He chuckle at our silly antics? A Father who delights in His children loves to laugh with them.
He enjoys you.
Just as a father quiets and comforts a child, I imagine Him saying, "SSshhhh, there now. It's alright, I'm here." He picks us up and enfolds us into strong arms and carries us to a safe place. Gone is the need to obsess over the "what if's" and the "if only's." We can rest in the security of his deep and abiding love.
Rest in Him today.
If the thought of God taking delight in me is amazing, then the idea of Him singing over me is just....over the top! If only we could open our ears to hear the sound of heavenly choirs echoing the joy of the Lord over us! What would that be like? Would we be forever changed?
God rejoices over you.
Today's Small Thing is to print out Zephaniah 3:17 (or put it on your computer desktop) so that you can be reminded to God's promise to you. Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, would you take a moment to ask Him to make Himself known to you? That's the prayer of my heart. The Bible tells us that He is faithful to those who humbly seek after Him. That he is eager to be found and ready to be known. Let's take steps in His direction by putting our faith in Who He is, and trust in His unchanging word.
POINTS: 50 for putting Zephaniah 3:17 where you will see it! Download November verse
How will God show Himself mighty to you?
For those of your who receive Home Sanctuary by email or in a reader, today's song is "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong (the album version with Laura Story). I hope you'll download it into itunes or listen to it on my site today. It's amazing!
Every now and then, I just HAVE to talk trash.