As a typical type-A, I love a good schedule. As a homeschooling mom of six, I need to be flexible. It's a conundrum of sorts. To be a good steward of our gift of time, my husband and I have practiced some purposeful planning for this autumn semester - and I'm hopeful it will help us reach our goals for God's kingdom and our family.
In a previous post, I talked about the importance of being intentional with our time. Just like every other gift, we have a responsibility to God to steward our time well. As someone who has binge-watched my fair share of Netflix, I realize this is easier said then done --- and that there are seasons in life where the desire to disconnect can pull strongly.
pressing in so we can press on.
Before anyone shares about how even Jesus escaped to mountain sides to disconnect, I'd like to point out that He was escaping TO connect. On occasion, He broke away from a desperate, needy crowd, and found Himself alone on a mountain side. He wasn't sipping wine and chowing down on sushi. He wasn't taking spring baths, or having anyone cater to Him. He was connecting with the Father! He was pressing in to the One who sustained Him as He pressed on.
Two things we know about Jesus' ministry: He only did what He saw His Father do - and He was consistently moved with compassion. And since His are ultimately the footsteps I want to follow in, I can confidently take my cues from there: Do what the Father does and allow compassion to move me.
This may sound like a plea to full time ministry and the laying down of all earthly possessions. And for some, it may be. But as I've shared before, I believe firmly that, as a mom, one of the ripest mission fields and the most sacred grounds is within our home. How am I to go in to all the world to make disciples, if I neglect to disciple those who are closest to me?
In this season of life, I must consistently ask myself: How does the Father love my husband and children? How can compassion move me to serve and honor Him and them? How can my husband and I encourage, equip, and edify each of our children - and each other - to walk out His love to those around us?
the logistics of our autumn semester.
My husband and I each run businesses out of our home. He is a (fabulous!) realtor who works around the schedules of each of his clients. I run Living Out 127 (this blog, speaking engagements, books, and eventually ecourses) and have just begun building my Plexus team! (More of that and an update on my journey to wellness next week!) Out of our six kiddos, four are homeschooled and in three different grades. Out of our four school aged kiddos, all four of them have different learning styles. Our family is leading a Families Serving Together Small Group this fall and we have joined a Co-op for the first time! Then there are appointments for therapies, doctors, and evaluations - and the tasks of every day life! Our schedules are busy, and in order to keep everyone connected, healthy, and growing, we have to be purposeful about the way we spend our time! By being proactive in this area, our time can be well spent without us feeling overwhelmed.
our purposeful plan.
So, what does this look like practically? Time blocking. I wrote about it before, but for those who are new to the concept, it's a form of scheduling that allows more flexibility --- the perfect solution to my aforementioned conundrum.
I spent some time revamping our Family Planner (which I talk about in more detail here), and reworking our time block schedule for this fall semester.
Looking at this, it may seem that we have no flexibility --- since every moment of our week is accounted for. In reality, this is like a time budget. Instead of getting side tracked with every little thing that comes our way, we know how much time we have and how it is being spent. We prayed about and discussed our priorities as children of God, a family, and business owners, and then budgeted the time accordingly. When things come up (which they most assuredly will!) and we have to work around something, we can. We will just preemptively know what it will cost us in the way of time.
To keep myself on track, I made a list of weekly blog topics for the rest of the year (yes, that means I'm posting every week now!). I scheduled my Living Out 127 and Plexus work in batches - with each day of my work week corresponding with a different focus (relationship building, reaching out, marketing, content development, and follow ups). I revisited my annual business goals, adjusting them as needed to keep them reasonable and attainable. I have turned off the wifi and data on my phone (unless I'm out and in need of Google Maps!), so that I remain present and focused on whatever task is at hand. I am also utilizing the white board in our kitchen to remind my sweet family of the day's events, instead of repeating them individually 1,856,493 times each day!
To keep the kiddos on track, they have their own time block schedules with a little more detail. This blessed Co-Op means I am only teaching full courses of two subjects this year - which is a ginormous load off! When I am working with one child on their work, the others will be taking turns completing their daily chores and working with their younger brothers. All four are ecstatic to be honorary preschool teachers!
Some of our planning has accounted for preempting issues. We are being intentional about setting aside time for God, each other, and our children because those are precisely the things that when neglected can cause such turmoil in a family.
Making sure our family is eating clean and taking proper supplements is another way we are preempting potential issues! Our bodies are the temple of God, and they have been intricately designed by Him! I'll be sharing more on this in next week's post!
limiting distractions, focusing on direction.
One of the aspects my husband and I discussed was limiting distractions so we can focus on the direction God is moving our family in. I believe this is much of what Jesus was doing on the mountain side --- limiting the distractions while He listened to the Father. If we want to hear Him say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!' then we must be willing to take the time to listen and obey. Our prayer is that this fall, our family will truly reflect God's heart in this area!
keeping first things first.
One last thing I want to mention: Planning purposefully is an instrument of stewardship and worship to God - it is not something to be idolized. Life happens. The unexpected, the unplanned, the crazy. That's why we don't trust in our planning, we trust in God.
Join me next week as I share our Journey to Wellness Part 2! Until then, I'd love to hear, friends, how is your fall shaping up? Have you purposefully carved out time for the things that matter most?
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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