The girls returned to school this week. The weather outside has been crazy cold. So I've just stayed inside, kept my fuzzy socks on my feet, and started thinking about getting myself and our home organized for this new year. I really want peace in our home this year. But when the clutter piles up, when the pace is too fast, when the laundry is overflowing and "to-do" lists run long...when we don't take time to be still, to make space...there isn't peace. If I'm going to make space, I'm going to need to be intentional.
If I'm going to make space, I'm going to need to be consistent.
Practically, for me, this means I need to do a little planning ahead.
So I started with a calendar. I scoured Pinterest to try to find one like what I had pictured in my head...no such luck. But I did find this super cute one from The Ink Nest which I downloaded and printed:
Here's the link so you can grab your own: http://www.theinknest.com/whimsical-mini-calendar-2014-social-freebie/
That one is cute and I love the graphics, but I also needed a calendar that had more space for me to write on each day. I couldn't find what I was really looking for, so I made my own! :)
And I'm sharing it with you:
I'm going to use the 4 lines at the top of each month to list out ideas for Family Nights. If we can do 4 family nights/days a month...at least one per week...then that's at least 48 intentional, meaningful family experiences this year. Some months we may do more...some months may be crazy and we may do less. But we value intentional time together, so we need to be intentional about planning for it.
I also made some daily lists to help me stay on track with tasks around the house. Like I mentioned in my last post, I don't really like to clean. I am terrible about procrastinating little things and letting it pile up. This year I'm going to be more intentional in my job as a homemaker...I'm going to do a little every day so that the housework remains manageable. So I made some lists. I love lists...lists help me remain focused...and there's just something about putting a little check in that little box beside a task...
I tried to keep it simple. Just a few things each day to keep me on track.
Here's what my lists for Monday-Thursday look like:
I also made some blank templates...in case you would like to use it too:
Take it, make it your own...you can list anything you want for each day. Just keep it simple, manageable, doable...even just two or three things done consistently every day can make a difference over time. I'm still learning this...still having to make myself remember this truth and allow it to sink deep: consistency over time has the power to influence...like drops of rain, small on their own, but added together over time can become a river. I don't have to do everything all at once perfectly at the same time. Small, consistent investments - in my home, in my children, in my marriage, in my relationship with God, in anything - over time can make a huge difference.
Anyway...back to the lists...if you would like to customize these on your computer, feel free to save the image files for each page:
To customize your own lists, just insert the image into Word (or Photoshop or whatever word processing software you have). If you're using Word, stretch the image out to cover the entire page, and then add text boxes on top of the image to add the text you want. Save your file to your computer, and then you can just print your lists every week without having to write out the same words over and over again. It may take a little time, but you can completely customize your lists that way.
Now...as much as I love a calendar and a schedule, and as much as I make lists and plan things out...I have to remind myself that this calendar is not the law, and I don't want to become a slave to these lists. If something doesn't get done, it's not the end of the world. If I don't check every box, it doesn't mean I am a failure.
I am a recovering perfectionist, so this is big for me.
The lists and the calendars merely serve as a guide for me as I look ahead each week and plan for our family. I've found that if I don't at least plan the main things out...if I don't make space and time for what I value the most...then the urgent things tend to crowd out the important things, distractions suck up time, days get busy and before I know it I'm looking back at the end of a month and wondering where all the time went. (Been there, done that...way too many times)
So this year I'm planning for space. This year I'm making room for what is most important. This year I'm conquering the clutter, in my home and in my life, by being intentional and consistent. And I’m going to watch as peace invades as I make room for Christ…because even in the midst of the pace, and the calendar, and the checklists…He is Emmanuel…God with me.
***EDITED (01/28/14): I have created a new version of the Daily Checklists as an editable PDF file, so that you can just fill in your own daily to-do's to save and/or print! Just download the file below. You will also need the font "Always In My Heart", so here is the link to download that font for free: http://www.dafont.com/always-in-my-heart.font
(I'm still figuring out how to make these kinds of PDFs...so hopefully this will work the way it's supposed to ;) )