I’m sitting here this afternoon at my desk upstairs in my new bedroom. Actually. I’m kneeling on the ground to type this because, furniture is expensive, and when you move to a bigger house you suddenly don’t seem to have any. 😉
I won’t make anyone laugh by pretending I’m above the Word of the Year, or emphasizing why I’m really cooler than it but I’m making an exception anyway blah blah blah. 😜
I’m a nerd and I’ve been doing nerdy things for a long time. I asked the Lord to give me One Word for a season my first summer of college as a Camp counselor. (it was Listen which was super needed in all my relationships at the time lol).
This post however is a bit unique for me. Usually I don’t see January as a new beginning – I tend to still operate by school years and am inspired to make my goals for the “year” in the middle of August leading into fall. And then I do get Spring Fever and have a lot of energy and excitement around the end of February/beginning of March, which leads to a lot of introspective journaling and resolution-making. 😉 January by contrast always felt like the middle of things; the middle of winter; the middle of the school year. A time of hibernation and homeostasis. Not exactly a Beginning physically or even mentally, no matter what the calendar says.
But this year is a little different because we moved 3.5 weeks ago. January will be the first month of routine in our new lives. So I untypically felt the need to spend the last few days reflecting on the year ahead and setting my goals.
[sidenote how cute is this notebook I found by Day Designer at Target for my goal setting? It was $6! It perfectly goes with my planner, which, of course, is July to June ;)]
ANYWAY. My Word for 2018 is one that has been stalking me for the last month, actually. I did try to use the cute little Word Finder Jen Fulwiler made, but the one that came up for me was so random and inapplicable I actually immediately forgot what it was! Ha! Oh well. It made me step back and realize God already made my Word pretty clear.
It’s actually two words. Ordinary Time.
I found myself craving ordinary time during the last two months of holidays, which was a time of total upheaval for our family. We had finally agreed right before Halloween that it was time to sell the house and move for Jason’s work and the strain of that commute on our family. From Halloween to Christmas we were in a flurry of change; from getting the house ready to show, to keeping it good for inspections and appraisals, to packing it up and living out of boxes and restaurants, to unpacking it all and cleaning a new house and – living out of boxes and restaurants.
I missed my months of a normal routine; I missed my meal planning and cooking; and I actually missed my strict little budget, which I had normally drawn up every payday and then took a refresher with a week later.
When I shared this longing with a few friends, I was surprised by their reactions. Almost all had a reaction of pretty much saying that depiction of structure and routine and ordinariness was unattainable for them as busy moms.
I get it. When you have a lot of littles, it can easily feel like your life is running around putting out one fire after another. But here is my question: is it truly unattainable to get out of a pattern of reactionary living? Is there a way to create an orderly life, a rhythmic sense of the ordinary, while also being flexible, and kindly accepting the ups and downs and surprises that come with young children? (you know – the stomach bugs and sleepless nights and random growth spurts and disciplinary challenges – etc).
I guess I will find out!
I believe God put this one on my heart; so I have to believe He will open up a window if I can’t see the open door, to quote the eternal optimist Maria Von Trapp ;).
Ordinary Time for a Catholic is interrupted by the extraordinary. It isn’t supposed to stretch out in an uninterrupted linear distance. It is a time set aside, intentionally, where you are grounded, specifically FOR the exciting (Christmas! Easter! Pentecost!) or difficult (LENT!) times ahead. To me, a sense of Ordinary Time is actually an appreciation of Time itself; how precious it is, and how easy it is to waste it.
Here are the goals that I have with this word. I don’t have a separate section for prayer in my goals because I recently realized that at this stage in my vocation, prayer must be a part of everything else – while driving, while walking, while doing dishes, etc.
the ordinary in the home.
- rotating chores for the week that I stick to.This blogger’s PDF is beautiful and really helps me! I want to stick to it much more this year. I printed it at home, got it laminated for $2 and it goes on our Fridge. I also still really love this book.
- Fixed Grocery shopping days with a meal plan. I’m thinking a Monday Costco trip and a Friday Harris Teeter/Publix one? I love Costco for our lunches and snacks and meat. But Harris Teeter can’t be beat for the local, in-season, unpackaged vegetables. Mondays Henry will be in his new preschool, and I can have extra incentive to make my Costco run short and efficient so I can get back home in time for Becket’s 11 am nap. I am definitely ready to do my errands on the days I only have one kid at home! Henry was out of school with me all of December, and I realized how spoiled I had become with just Becket for shopping trips. It is MUCH harder with two, even when one is a 4 year old!
- a disciplined habit of one load of laundry per day. (Thanks Jenny for the kick in the butt!).
the ordinary in the body.
- First and foremost, establish disciplined order with eating for myself and the kids. We must all eat 1) sitting it at the table and 2) at appointed times. I’m going to start with 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 6 o’clock dinner and see if that works. My sister spent 2 years as an au pair in France, and she says this is how they v strictly do it. I am sick of my kids pickiness and have a strong feeling it is directly correlated to their snackiness. Which I can’t exactly hope to shake if I’m also eating at random times of the day.
- Self respect. Take a step up in grooming and don’t feel guilty about it. One of my friends always has incredible hair. Like, gorgeous, long, perfectly wavy Connie Britton hair. And she works at it. She says she realized one day that if she had a good hair day, she was in a better mood about everything. So she just started prioritizing taking a large-barreled wand to it and MAKING a good hair day happen. This is so foreign to me… I’m super gross about grooming. I am wayyyy too comfortable stretching my days between showers with Dry Shampoo and strong Deodorant – mostly because I have really heavy, thick hair and it takes FOREVER to air dry. And I was convinced that blowing it out takes so much time. The other day, I set my phone on Stopwatch to see. I used a diffuser and mousse to dry my hair into curly waves, and I put on some moisturizer, Boy Brow, just a little color on my lips and cheeks, mascara and… It had taken me a grand total of 15 minutes. I was shocked. And I felt so much happier about myself. I think this is esp important being pregnant, but also just, being married!
- Fitness: Don’t obsess, stress over or idolize it, but also – choose to enjoy it. Think of what to do to embrace and enjoy each particular season (e.g., winter – stretching and barre indoors; spring – long walks to enjoy the sunshine and blossoms; summer – lets cross that postpartum bridge when it gets here. 😉 I am thankful to be outgrowing the feeling that I need fitness to maintain a certain size. I’ve realized that my appetite adjusts pretty quickly to my caloric output (or lack thereof). But I do cherish the active life I have had so far, mostly because it makes the most beautiful memories! My appreciation of the seasons is hugely impacted by the amount of time I’ve spent outside Doing Things to relieve stress and for a natural boost of energy.
the ordinary with money.
- Plan ahead for upcoming expenses – small and large – to avoid going into debt. We no longer have credit card debt!!! HALLELUJAH! Our only debt now is one car payment and our mortgage, but we are very aware of the difficulty ahead to keep it that way. I’m starting by making a list at the beginning of each month this year of the “ex-ters” as Will says… random nights out that we’ll need a babysitter; seasonal clothing purchases; trips; haircuts; birthday gifts; yard investments, like grass seed or stump grinding – etc. This is an extra step from my weekly budget sessions, but it is helping me feel much more at peace about money! For instance, I was tempted to buy some new white shoes from Nordstrom’s online sale. Then I stopped to look at the next three months, and realized I would much rather feel guiltless about my scheduled haircut and color in a month; I also realized I would get a lot more satisfaction from planning ahead to make a few spring wardrobe purchases right before our Baby Girl comes in April. So instead of buying whatever I feel like right now, I will sit on it for a couple months and delay that gratification to get what I REALLY will love. Which directly relates to:
- Enjoy the empowering feeling of being able to say “No” to yourself.
- Embrace frugality – it doesn’t mean deprivation. It really means valuing what you have and not wasting precious resources. (this was from this awesome book. If you need extra motivation, its the best).
- Give generously – to the church in tithe, and to friends through hospitality.
- Build up savings. If all this means is have the money to pay for the baby, that counts!
- Buy Jason a car in cash. This would be a HUGE deal for us. I think we can make it work! But it’s in God’s hands!
Is all this wayyy too controlling and ambitious and unrealistic for the life of a mother of almost-4? I don’t think so, because I don’t see this as the way my life will be for the next 365 days! Just like with the Ordinary Time in our Catholic Liturgy, I expect it will be frequently interrupted by extra stuff. And I’m ok with that! But I am still pressing in to order my days aright.
Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart . . . Fill us at daybreak with your love, that all our days we may sing for joy.
The most important little step in all my goals here – especially with the home and body sections – I believe will be that little trick of using a stopwatch to see how much time each task takes. Tracking my time will be a new discipline and I think will really help me use it more wisely!
So that’s my word, that is what I hope to cultivate a new awareness of and appreciation for. Ordinary Time! Let’s do this!