5 Step Pattern for Personal Growth

Today, I want to take a few minutes away from the spinning world of laundry, diapers, and school, and concentrate on personal growth.

 

5stepstopersonalgrowth

It was on one of my runs that I saw it. I was layered in 3 shirts and a jacket, and had a band around my head to keep my ears warm and my gloves on. The wind chill was somewhere around 20 degrees, which is cold for this part of the country. But I saw it nonetheless. It was a brave patch of daffodils.

Their brave green stems pushing out of the cold snow told me that spring was coming.

Another day I saw geese, headed north again after their winter down south. With every honk, they said that spring was coming, too.

Still later, on a warmer day, I could smell that warm green scent which you smell when the grass begins to grow again. Again, the fresh scent told me that spring was coming.

All around are signs of new growth, despite the persistent cold. I’m excited about the new growth, because it means things are alive.

Growing as a person is a challenge for me, especially as a busy homeschooling mom. I don’t always grow as fast and as steadily as I’d like, but I’ve found that if I make sure I impliment all 5 of these steps to growth, life will be much more exciting, and I find myself improving in the areas I think are important.

1. Read – First, your Bible, and then other encouraging and good books. My suggestion is to avoid vain or negative things like forums and facebook pages where people specialize in flaming others.

2. Listen – Good uplifting music, Bible being read, or encouraging podcasts. I love listening to good podcasts while I exercise or work around the house, because they keep my brain going while the body is busy.

3. Think – about what you’ve been reading and listening to. This, I think, is the missing element. We rush through our days without taking even a moment to consider the material we’ve been listening to and reading. (Of course, if all you’ve been reading is garbage, all you’ll think about is garbage.)

4. Pray – and ask God to help you apply the things you’re learning. It’s one thing to get some help, but it’s another altogether to be able to apply it to your life so you can live differently.

5. Repeat! Keep reading, keep listening, keep thinking and keep praying! As you sow, you shall reap. If you plant good things in your mind, you will reap good things. Just keep it up!!

Maybe one of these steps is missing, or maybe the stuff you’ve been filling your head with have been less than desirable. You may grow, but not as quickly and not as well as if you had all these elements in place.

Why not make it a habit to put good things in your life, starting today? You’ll be glad you did!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum href=”http://www.growinginhisglory.com”>Growing in His Glory

Goals for 2014: The Messy Middle

Goals Check-up Time!

goals: themessymiddle

My most recent long run was a run of 7 miles. I had run that distance before, but it had been about a year. This time, I’ve been working myself up to running longer distances over the past few months, so I had run 6 miles on my previous long run. It was time to up my milage and continue to stretch my wings – I mean, legs – by running 7 miles again!

Everything went fine for the first couple of miles. The weather was perfect – about 50 degrees with a slight breeze. After awhile, however, my legs began to feel like they were made of heavy iron. I know it didn’t help that I was running at a park, doing 0.6 mile circles. How boring is that? All that energy going out, and I was really going nowhere. The only thing worse is a treadmill! 😉

Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I survived (couln’t guess, right?;) I can tell you that it’s a lot better to be on the other side of that run – the DONE part – than to be in the middle! Oh, how good it is to be done! But I learned a very important lesson here.

Many of us have written down goals for 2014. It felt so good to get down on paper the things that we want to accomplish, by God’s grace, over the next year. But let’s face it – it’s mid-March, and a lot of us have lost contact with our goals already.

Here are some thoughts I have about How to survive the messy middle:

1. Keep moving. In a race, especially a half-marathon or marathon, the goal is merely to keep moving toward the finish line. There is only 1 winner in a race, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to give up; we can still put one foot in front of the other and reach our goal just fine.

2. Fuel up! When I get a few miles into a long run, it’s time to break out the fuel, or the long run becomes a short run! When it comes to the Messy Middle of the year, it’s important to fuel our hearts with the Word of God and good, encouraging words. If God is the original source of your goals, then staying in touch with Him will be your source of inspiration.

3. Concentrate on the end. When I was running, I watched the cars driving by and thought, “how nice it must be to sit down – even in a car!” I worked on concentrating on the “joy set before me” – a wonderful yummy smoothie when I got back home! With our 2014 goals, it’s important to remember the end result we’re trying to acheive, and why we want to achieve it.That can go a long way to pushing us forward!

4. Finally, you’re only one step away from heading the right direction. If you find yourself doing NOTHING that you had planned, it’s ok. It does you no good to beat yourself up over lost time. The only thing you really need to do is Turn Around. In other words, just look at your list, find one thing that you need/want to do, and think of your next action item for that thing. Do that one action, and it will help you get moving in the right direction.

How are your goals coming along? Mine are moving along slowly, but surely. But with God’s help and some “running inspiration,” I know I can get through the Messy Middle.

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum href=”http://www.growinginhisglory.com”>Growing in His Glory

How to Get More Hours in Your Week

Have you ever wondered how to get more hours in your week? In a helpful series called The More Organized Me! During the month of January, I’ve been writing various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed any of our posts, you can find it here!

 

HowToGetMoreHourInYourWeek

I remember one particularly busy year, one of the kids asked me the inevitable Christmas question, “So, Mom, what do you want for Christmas?” While most people instantly think of things like new phones or a Kitchen-Aid, I thought to myself, Should I tell her that what I really want is 4 hours to sit by myself and do nothing, or to hide in the bathroom for about a week? Nah…too hard to explain. Finally I replied, “What I could really use is about 15 extra hours in my week!”

I used to think that it would be great to have more hours in my day, but I think Parkinson’s law would come into effect: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.” If I had an extra hour, I would still fill it up with even more activity, and STILL end up being late for church!

To get more hours our week, there are a few solutions. I’ll just rattle some off:

1. Seek the things of God first. (see Matthew 6:33) God promises that as we “acknowledge Him, He shall direct (our) paths.” As much as we are able, we should begin our weeks with God, and our days with God, spending time in His Word and prayer. One of the things I’ve found particularly helpful is to “acknowledge Him,” or verbally and in my heart set Him as the top priority of my life and day.

2. Trim down the amount of activity we try to accomplish. Sometimes we need to understand that it really is ok to say No. For me, I often have to say No to myself, and tell myself that I need to keep focused on the task at hand – building my family. Because of so many fun and interesting things to do or learn about (and because I’m terribly curious) it’s easy to get bogged into interesting projects or activities, which only serve to take me away from my real priorities.

3. Carefully plan our days. This is a two-part point.

a. A flexible schedule is very important. When I just “let the day happen” and not do things according to schedule, time just slips through my fingers. So I’ve learned to schedule my days, but to keep the schedule flexible, to allow for all the wonderful things that go along with home education, like impromptu field trips, etc.

b. A planned week is very helpful also. I try to group projects into blocks, so two days of the week are devoted to one activity, two more days to another, and one day entirely for family, and 2 days for home and church. In each day, I have the normal round of daily activities which are scheduled in – the meals, laundry, and school. These things are more hard-and-fast, and are on the daily schedule, while the weekly plan rotates in its activities.

4. Stop multi-tasking. Studies show that when we multitask to try to get more done, we actually end up truly accomplishing less. And when little ones are demanding our attention, focus is extremely important, and multi-tasking is useless.

5. Work in 15-minute time blocks. Whether it’s writing a blog post, cleaning the house, or teaching math, I actually get more done when I set my timer and concentrate on that particular job for only 15 minutes. Maybe I have adult ADHD or something, but for some reason, it works. I suspect it would work for a lot of folks, as well.

6. Do mental work during your most productive times. Are you more productive in the morning, evening, or afternoon? I’m a morning person (much to my family’s chagrin) so I’m much more creative in the mornings. I try to schedule math class and writing for mornings, and things that require little brain work for afternoons and evenings when I’m out of it.

7. Plan your next session before walking away. At the tail end of a 15 minute math lesson, it’s very helpful for me to take a few seconds and jot a post-it-note that tells me what to do next. That way I don’t waste a lot of time at the beginning of a session, just to orient myself as to what’s going on. Maybe you could write a small post-it note, or just leaving the proper window up on your computer screen, so that it’s readily available to you as soon as you sit down again.

There’s a ton of things I could add here (I haven’t even mentioned those time-suckers, electronics!) but I think this will get your brain churning just a bit, and hopefully you won’t be hiding in the bathroom wishing for just a few more hours in your busy week!

Question: What do you do that helps you save some time? Are there any other ideas you can think of?

13 Reasons Why You – Yes, You! – Should Make Reading the Bible a Top Goal in 2014

Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!

13Reasons

No one guarded The Tunnel. After all, it was just a pipe used to bring water into the city, so it couldn’t have been very important.

 

While the inhabitants of the city watched and worried about the Israelite army that was positioned outside, they had no way of knowing that The Tunnel was about to become their downfall. It was such a bother to have to watch it, and it took too much time from more important things – like guarding the gates.

 

But in the night, stealthy Israelite figures emerged from The Tunnel – first one, then two, and finally the invading army began pouring through The Tunnel. The Tunnel that no one guarded and no one cared for. The Tunnel that became the enemy’s highway was The Tunnel that became the Jebus’s doom.

 

Is reading the Bible not very important to you? Well, maybe it’s kind of important, like menu planning, or scheduling baths. But not if something more important happens to come along (which Satan makes sure is pretty regularly!)

 

Many people fail to realize how they shortchange themselves and their families by neglecting their Bible. To read the Scriptures, searching for understanding and meaning (not just to flip pages) is to wisely invest in your own future.

 

Here are just a very few reasons why you – yes, you – should read your Bible regularly this year:

 

  1. It will make you a better parent
  2. It will make you a better Christian
  3. It will make you a better spouse
  4. You will learn to know God better
  5. You will learn to know how God is working in your life better
  6. You will learn why God is doing certain things in your life
  7. Your mental capacity will improve
  8. Your relationships will improve
  9. You’ll have more peace in your life
  10. You will learn what awaits you in eternity
  11. You will learn who awaits you in eternity
  12. You will mature emotionally

And lastly…

13. You will be prepared for eternity!

Don’t let Your Tunnel be unguarded! Some dark night, the enemy may just try to come in with some temptation or desire. Be prepared with the Word of God!

What are some other benefits of reading the Word of God? 

How do you fit Bible Reading into your busy schedule?

How Seasons of Life Affect Your GOALS

Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!

HowSeasonsOfLifeAffectYourGoals

When I was young, I had my life all planned out. After I got married, I would have children until I was 30, so that by the time I was 40, my youngest would be 10 years old and I would be able to do some other things with myself, rather than wiping runny noses and chasing small children.

But God had other plans.

The Lord worked in my life and I willingly surrendered myself to His guidance. When I was 30, I gave birth to Sharon, and at age 34, Lydia came into my life. Then, when I was 36, Johanna was born, followed by Jason when I was a whopping 39 years old! All the doctors had to do is ask “how many pregnancies?” and “how old are you?” and I was unceremoniously dumped into the High Risk category!

So I spent all of my 40’s (in addition to my 20’s and 30’s!!) changing diapers, potty-training, teaching preschool (along with high school!) and kindergarten. I did at least 3 to 4 loads of laundry a day during that 10 year period, which adds up to about 10,950-14,600 loads of laundry! (I read this to My Beloved, and he told me that it’s not completely accurate, since he did at least 3 loads of laundry during that time! lol!) And that’s just in that 10 year period! Tired? Been there. Done that.

I say this, not to get pity, but to help you realize that there are seasons of life. Perhaps I am a little slow, but it took me awhile to realize that whatever season I am in is soon likely to pass.

As my life has changed, so the organization of my life has changed. Schedules have changed, workloads have changed, locations have changed (a million times!) and even I have changed. And it will continue to change, because I have not “arrived” yet. But over the years, here are a few things I’ve learned about goals and how seasons of life affect them:

1. Focus on relationships, not productivity. I LOVE to get things done. Maybe I’m just addicted to that little adrenaline rush that comes from knowing something was truly accomplished, and it was ME that did it. But I need to recognise that I have a personal tendency to focus on getting things done, rather than building relationships with my family and friends, adn this tends to backfire on me later on. My neatly folded laundry won’t hold my hand when I’m crying, but My Beloved will.

2. It’s OK to put dreams aside for awhile, even a LONG while. As long as they are put in your heart by God, you never need to let them go, just let them sleep for awhile. They will still be there when the children are grown, and hopefully at that point you can have the best of both worlds, your loving family AND your God-given dreams.

3. Do your very best to get things done, but don’t stress if it doesn’t all get done. Someday, it’ll take about 30 minutes to do all the housework for the day, and you’ll be left with an entire day ahead of you with nothing to do. I know that sounds far-fetched, but if The Lord tarries, it really will happen. Do what you can, and love on your littles.

4. Develop good habits, even when it seems like that’s the only thing you do. My husband told me the other day, “I’m amazed at how much you get done, especially in the morning.” I told him, “Well, a long time ago, I developed a morning routine that gets done fairly quickly, and mostly while I’m still out of it. So when I finally wake up, I’ve already gotten a lot done.” That’s how it works, one habit at a time.

5. Limit your use of electronics. If you’re anything like me, you get sucked up into the cyberworld so easily. Right now, I don’t have a smart phone, partly for financial reasons, and partly because I know if I had one, I’d be so tempted to be on it all the time. I’m bad enough with my IPad! When I sit down to do email, post on FB, check Twitter, or read blogs, I look at the time and give myself about 15 minutes to do the current thing. Then I get up and switch laundry, do a little cleanup, or do something to get me moving around and spending time with my family.

Don’t be frustrated if you don’t seem to be as organized, or get as much done as the next person. Being a More Organized Me is a process, not a destination. And it’s a process that changes with the season.

What have you learned through the seasons of life? 

Special Announcements:

  • Check out my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum