Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Maintaining Margin

January has been a month of maintaining margin that was necessary during the holidays with recovering from pneumonia. We have been staying home as much as possible which always helps me feel like I have more time and margin.

A few other practical things that I've been doing are:

*Take Sundays off: Sunday is a day of rest and making sure that I don't have any work to do on Sundays is the best way to keep it restful! I don't work on homeschool related things, don't clean or do laundry, etc. It is just a day to rest and worship! This really helps give me a jump start of energy on my week after taking this day as a rest day.

*No work evenings: Years ago I heard a sermon from Psalm 90:12 and the pastor encouraged us to have a time when we stopped work each day. This has stayed with me all this time and is something I still try to do - yes, there are times when I have to get something done in the evening - but I try to make it my regular practice to keep evenings open for reading, resting, something fun or just hanging out with my family.

*Saying no: This is hard for me because I like to help and serve and especially to make others happy. But, when I was sick, I realized how many decisions I make based on what I perceive others think or would like me to say. I'm not good at it yet - but I am trying to stop and think what would be best for me or for my family now before I answer and then speak up for what that is. It has been a big help in things complementing our life rather than draining it. Also, saying no to things - even things I might want to do has helped me. As I mentioned above, the more we stay home, the smoother our home and family runs - so I'm trying to balance community, fellowship and saying no.

*Being grateful: one of my goals for this year was to get back to jotting down things I'm thankful for at the end of each day. This always helps my outlook and contentment, plus really encourages me to see where God was at work throughout our day. This has helped me have more joy and also celebrate the accomplishments I do complete rather than focus on what isn't finished.

*Look for ways to simplify: Because I still want to serve and be a blessing rather than just hermit all the time, I have had to look for ways to simplify service opportunities. For example, I recently took a meal to a friend and her family - it was not homemade, after taking two of my kids to the dentist we stopped in the grocery store for a frozen lasagna, bagged salads, loaf of french bread and some cookies. I know this will still bless them and it felt good to keep it simple on my end while still serving her as well. I've been asking myself a lot lately, "Is there an easier way to accomplish this?" or "Is there a way to simplify this?"

*Write a list: Each evening before bed, I write out a list for the next day. Many of the same things make it on my list every day such as read aloud after breakfast, make my bed and more. This practice helps me to focus on what I need to do for that day and I've gotten pretty good at writing realistic lists that are finishable. This helps me when I have a few minutes between things to take a peek at my list and see if there is one thing I could knock out in those few minutes or make progress on. And it also helps me to rest when I do complete the needed work for the day. There will always be things to do - but if I see what needed to be done today as finished, then I can sit and read or rest without feeling overwhelmed. But this also means that I need to be diligent and hard working during my "work day" so that I can enjoy this freedom later on. If I continue to put off an undesired task and it makes its way onto my list several days in a row it starts to feel heavy and unwanted - just jumping in and doing it can give me a boost to persevere and keep at it!

*Staying home on Saturdays: for the entire month of January - I have spent every Saturday at home. I know I won't always be able to do this, but remembering to be intentional with my commitments and make this a reality as much as possible is what I am aiming for!

I would love to hear your ideas about maintaining margin!

*Photos: we've been re-watching a previous season of British Baking Show and the girls made these beautiful mud pies after the Fondant Fancies episode!


Mary Ann said...

I enjoyed reading this! My main focuses for this year are my health and my home(clutter and routines). I’m being intentional about what I say yes to. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on margin.

As far as taking non-homemade meals—one of the meals we received when we had a new baby was a packaged tray from Sam’s Club with a half (or so) rotisserie chicken, a bowl of mashed potatoes and a salad. It was really good and feeds a family of 4 (mashed potatoes are small but maybe we just eat a lot! Lol) and is $9.98. So that’s one idea I’ve filed away for blessing someone with a meal when I’m not able to cook for them. It’s still a blessing and can take away the excuse of not having time.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

I learned a long time ago as a Pastor's wife that homeschools and has a HUGE heart that wants to serve that I would have to have margin and set boundaries. It has not been easy. I practice a lot of the things you mentioned. I think simplifying the giving and serving has been a HUGE plus. Like you mentioned still taking a meal to your friend but not going nuts making a homemade meal when time isn't there is a great way to simplify but still bless.