Tuesday, November 26, 2013

women living well book study: ch. 16-18 discussion + new study guide {on homemaking, and imperfection}

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Let's jump right in to this week's discussion, shall we?

Chapter 16: Juggling Homemaking, Ministry, and Work

I loved hearing Courtney's story, didn't you? It's always fun to learn how others have walked before you knew them! I was married at 19 1/2, graduated from college at 20, worked full-time for a few months, and then we had our first baby 3 days after I turned 21. I went from college girl to career-girl to stay-at-home mama in 5 months!

Staying home was hard at first! I was used to life at high speed, and then, suddenly, I was a full-time mama working part-time one day a week. The early days were sweet though- we never realized how quiet and easy they were until the rest of the kiddos came along! :P

In the next five years we had three more kids. So that meant we had 4 kids 5 and under! It was by far the craziest time of our life, especially when #4 was colicky and needy. We thought we had this parenting thing figured out until she came along! :)

I started teaching at our gym when the youngest was around 6 months, and have been teaching a few hours a week ever since. Then I added in a blog that takes many hours each week, and a newborn later this year... and well, sometimes it gets crazy around here! :)

The more kiddos we have, the more messes we have for sure... but we find the older they get, the more they can participate in the cleaning process! :D The boys are 10 and 8 now, and still need supervision, but they can fold and put away clothes, wash dishes, unload the dishwasher, organize and clean up all of the toys, sweep the floor, and clean their rooms, and the little girls can do the same. They are all good helpers when they're monitored. ;)

free chore cards
We've used chore cards, as well as cleaning zones, and now that the kids are older, the cleaning zone system works better for us. Our house is always a little messy, but since the newest baby came and we all stay home every day, it's messier than it has been in the last couple of years. It's a bit more chaotic, but it's livable for sure. ;)

I have had to let my internal standard of perfection go, especially in the last three months. We pick up the house at night if we have time, and sometimes the dishes stay in the sink for a couple of days. {we can't go longer than that because we run out of room, LOL!}.

Figuring out the new life we have this year has been a challenge for sure- with full-time homeschooling, a new baby, working, blogging, church, meeting with friends, Bible study, birthday parties... it's kind of a one day at a time thing! I know it is a short season though- someday I will have a perfectly clean house, but only because there will be no kids living here. And that will be it's own challenge {one I'm not looking forward to!}.

Chapter 17- Making Your Home a Haven

Okay, so did you feel like you lived in home #1 {distant and distracted} and home #2 {engaged and enjoyable} at the same time? {p. 173- 174}

I think blogging brings a big challenge for me- I feel like I'm on the computer many hours of the day {often too many}, and yet I'm supposed to be there too. It's a hard, weird place to be for a mama. It works, and I love that I'm with the kids almost all day long, yet there are things I know I'm missing because I'm distracted by the computer or my phone.

With the last few weeks of being sick and having a new baby who wakes often, my head feels like it's spinning from being exhausted and pulled in so many directions, so I've been forced to take a step back from working so much at night after dinner.

It's been so good to step back a little, rest, and read books more after a long day of homeschooling, blogging, cleaning, cooking, and exercising. And this week, I've been surprised at how often my patience lasted and I could speak softly! It could only be the Lord giving me the strength because I've not felt great physically! I love the tips on using peace-filled words on page 177.

We put on the music at dinner time and usually clean up together, and then the kids play games at night before bedtime. We have a family night every week where we watch a survival show and eat pizza on the floor {it's the only time food is ever allowed in the living room, so it's extra special, :P}.

Chapter 18- Routines that Bring Rest

Do you have a routine in place at your house? We have before, and we have an unofficial one now for sure, but we generally are fairly unstructured with so many little variables running around. ;) I like to make plans, but hold them loosely for sure. We never know when someone might be sick or break an arm, or our dinner plans may change. :) Since my husband mostly works from home, we are almost always together as a family, and that makes life sweeter than ever.

Like I mentioned before, I've found that Sunday morning preparation {p. 189} is essential when you have to get out the door for church. I've been failing miserably at it for the last 7 weeks or so, and we've been winging it almost every Sunday morning {which makes us late!}. But the days I'm organized are so much better for my attitude, even when we still don't get to church on time. I know preparing beforehand really does and has worked for us in the past. ;)

So I have to tell you- all of these little homemaking/mama/wife imperfections I know I have tend to add up in my mind, but somehow God has been good to not let me dwell on how many things I'm not doing as well in this season. Grace is there, undeserved, and I am thankful for it.

I remember how much more efficiently I did things before we added #5 to the mix, but that ease pales in comparison to the joy that little man brings our family. Who needs empty laundry baskets every day? There will be a day for that, soon enough. Right now I'm enjoying lots of baby snuggling and that perfect gummy grin. :) Oh, what a blessing he is to all of us!

Expecting chaos, trying to plan for it, not making plans sometimes, having more messes, relaxing when we can, being late every now and then: that's life with 5 kiddos for us, and I'm okay with it {most of the time!}. It's not perfect- and it's not easy, either- but it's wonderful. We all have so much fun together. It's a precious time in our lives, and I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Right now, like Joy said so well here, I've found that peace in my home starts with my heart. My contentment with the state of things in my home and with my children makes such a difference in how I act and react to my family, and how they act toward each other.

I do get lost in the piles sometimes, but my purpose here has to be the same, no matter my circumstances or how messy or clean things can get. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

I want to glorify Him with the things I'm good at, and the things I'm not doing well at right now too. Excellence is great, but our weaknesses are where Christ shows His power because we are humbled and need Him the most! :)

And being a homemaker, wife, and mama is sanctifying in so many ways, but thankfully God never forsakes us. And you know what? Our homes could be perfectly run, but without the love of Christ, it is empty work. He brings the glory and the calling and ability to love our families through His power- not our own! And you can believe He can and will work in and through our imperfections. I am! :)

Isn't that incredible? :D And the best news ever?

It's not about us. It was never about us.

It's always about Him.  :)

Thank you Jesus, for giving us the chance to stand before you. Thank you that we do not have to do that work that we could never do. Thank you for calling us before we were born to be yours. We praise you for this job that you've given us to do- please give us the strength to look above the tasks to set our minds on things above, and to serve you with all of our hearts in whatever we do. We love and praise you, Father- you are so good to us, and we are so thankful.


Questions for discussion- I'd love to hear your thoughts!!! {feel free to answer others as well!}

What kind of homemaking season would you say you are in right now? Difficult, easy? {little ones around, bigger ones, grown kids, etc.?} What do you feel good at and struggle with at home?

How do/did you include your family in your everyday chores?

Does your family have a time set aside as time together like family night too?

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