Sit down with a cup of tea, relax, and write on a clean tablet an ideal day’s happenings. What are the four most important pursuits in your life? What do you feel makes a perfect “you?” Write four things that you would love to do before this year is out. Do you want to clean and organize your home? Do you want to save money? Appropriate a budget for gifts? Do you want to finally plant that rose garden along your fence? Do you want to wake early and pray before you begin each day? Do you want to be prepared with homemade gifts before each holiday rolls around? Do you want to exercise four times a week?
Now, take a deep breath and realize that if you love to listen to music while you clean, and you invest one hour of quality time taking everything out of the bathroom vanity, and put back four baskets, one for your spouse’s toiletries, one for you, one for band aids and antibiotic ointment, and one for extra toothpaste or lotion, you have just “cleaned” the bathroom cabinet for months and years to come!!!! In one hour. (Of course you will have to wipe it out every once in a while, but if you stick a little canning label with the person’s name on it below each basket, the cabinet will organize itself from now on…..or at least you won’t really have to think about sweeping the clutter back into its home out of sight and readily available to family members who open the door in search of, say, aloe vera gel for a sunburn, and they know that, thanks to you, they can FIND it at the tip of their fingers!!!!!)
Your hour is worth its weight in gold when you realize that what you clean or prep today will do you good for years to come.
While you wait in line with nothing but your phone in hand, copy and paste your favorite recipe pictures into a 2-month menu plan document or online program (my husband likes trello.com for this; copy the pictures you love from the internet onto your computer desktop and then just click and drag them into your trello window wherever you like!!) Now, you haven’t got to stress every day or week about what you can find for dinner!! You will never have to do all that headache of scrambling through a messy kitchen at the last minute, frantically trying to brainstorm an alternative to eating out (again!!)–Just five minutes in the morning pouring stroganoff or chili ingredients into the crockpot gives you dinner and a quiet evening to look forward to. If you need a list of the shopping basics for your two-month menus, on a saturday (or while you wait in line!!!! start this in your phone notes and email it to yourself and print it!!), type a quick list of the pantry items and vegetables/fruits that you will need, make 50 copies of it, and keep one in your daytimer or put them all on a clipboard hanging from a nail in your pantry. Quick-circle or highlight things as you notice you are getting close to the bottom of the barrel.
Go early one day, when there are no lines at the store, and get a few of the basics that you know you always need, like extra flour and laundry detergent, etc: Now, you won’t have to waste hours fighting the crowds at the last minute when you are hungry and stressed!! Freeze everything you can (blueberries, strawberries–buy extra bananas when they are $.44/lb. and freeze them, then just toss two frozen bananas in the blender with a little milk and vanilla, and you have gourmet-delicious healthy ice cream!!)
Allow yourself to dream on pinterest.com for a few minutes; what are some of the cutest, most practical gift ideas you love? A toddler’s dress made from a cotton sweater? How easy!! just lay the skirt pattern on the lower hem of the sweater, and you have an almost instant gift!! All right, so, copy and save a few of the photos to a folder in your phone or ipad. Now, on a page at the back of your planner (more about your planner in next month’s post), write the names of your closest and dearest friends and family, leaving a half page for each one. As you are going about your day-to-day business, and you see something that appeals to you as perfect for your sister, write it down under her name. Now, no more stressful racking-your-brain-the-night-before for what you are going to do for gifts!!
Are you beginning to see? One hour of calm, delightful dreaming, can avert hundreds of hours of frantic, stressful panicking. Five minutes of preparing what you love cuts out whole weeks of dreading what you procrastinated:
Because you are envisioning what you love and dream of, instead of groaning over the mess and chaos that you are too tired to confront. What makes that dishwasher loading or folding clothes fun for you? Music? A scented candle? A cheerful blue-and-yellow laundry room with a bright green basket of clothespins? Inhaling fresh bread baking as you work? Take time to plan a reward for yourself with a magazine subscription or your favorite hot tea, and a pleasant environment while you work. (Are you too hot? too cold? do your feet hurt? Address the issue, and get something to drink, before beating yourself up about it.)
And if you are too tired to confront anything, try to ask yourself why? Often, a cup of hot tea with honey, or hot chocolate with almond milk, or hot coffee with maple syrup, helps clean your system and freshen your mind to be more cheerful about the day’s possibilities. (More about nutrition and energizing your health, body and mind, in next month’s post.) If you are too tired, turn on the dishwasher and slow-cooker, leave the rest of the mess, set your alarm for 5am, and GO TO SLEEP!! (Your spine washes your brain with spinal fluid while you sleep, and your memory and nerves have a hard time being happy or processing anything without some quiet time to reset.)
Most importantly, you are a princess, a child of God Most High, and He loves you more than the moon or the stars, and His quiet grace and lavish love yearn to wrap you in His safety and cherish you ’til the end of days. Oh, dear friend, heed His whispered reassurances; let Him pick up your burden, open the door in the wall, and bring you into His kingdom on His royal, gentlemanly arm. He is a fairy tale come true; He makes you brave, dear heart.
May He guard you safe in His Love ,
Your sister in Christ,
“O taste and see that the Lord is Good; how blessed is the man that trusts in Him.” Psalm 34:8