Saturday, January 20, 2018

The need to weed...

Do you remember that I was taking time this month to plan the year ahead?
I'm praying through a number of areas in my life, specifically spiritual, relational, household, finances, business and health, so I can bring wisdom to the order and rhythm of each day by eliminating time wasting activity, financial drains and unnecessary pursuits.
Just saying that makes it sound like a huge endeavour! And it really is.

Last year I purchased two 2018 planners because I want to keep particular areas of my life separate (business and private) and one of them, the Tilda Planner, I'd bought sight unseen. Turned out to be quite pretty on the outside but totally useless for what I intended so I needed to get something better suited to my needs.

LOTS of research later I settled on the Happy Planner because I could also purchase extras inserts like 'health planner pages', 'lined notebook pages' and a zippered pouch to store monthly receipts...

I first saw it on Annabel's blog and loved the cover, but I needed more than a nice cover so I investigated quite a few different planners before returning to this one. It's an 18 month planner, but I removed the July-Dec 2017 pages and added the extra inserts I purchased, so now my planner is full to the brim and SO useful.

This entire planning process for 2018 has involved way more than I first imagined and I'm only about half way through, but in reality I want to do this right and intend using all of January to sift through two notebooks of ideas, all our financials, and other important stuff from my old household folder.

After writing copious lists which covered all the aspects of my life I felt quite overwhelmed by what was now in front of me and needed to put it all aside and give my mind a rest for a few days.

Until you put on paper a detailed list of all the things which pertain to each area of your life you don't really know just how full it is, so no surprise that I now understood why I've been struggling the past couple of years to come up for air. 

And that's why doing this slowly, but thoroughly, is the wise path to take. I'm not just planning out this year, but building a blueprint for the years to come. I imagine over time some things will be tweaked, deleted, or added to...but I'll make those changes wisely, with clear purpose for improving the day to day care of my home, health, family, and future design work.

The past two days I've been able to sit quietly with a rested mind and sift through the information before me. I'm so glad I wrote everything I could think of on my lists because what stands out are the numerous 'little' things that add up to huge blocks of time or expense over a week, month or year, so erasing at least half of them will definitely give me breathing space to enjoy better things.

Carefully tracking finances, even that $1 pencil from Officeworks, has given me a much clearer view of monetary wastage and the dollars which could be growing our house deposit fund faster than it already is, because again, it's the 'little' things combined which add up to big expense.

Another thing I'm doing this year is following along with Rhonda as she guides her blog readers through her book "The Simple Home".
I've had the book for a couple of years now (I have her first book too, which was read cover to cover a few year back) but am really enjoying working through it this way each Monday with the author herself and the input of women all over the world sharing their comments.
(you'll find Rhonda's blog here)
It's very much a household planning book which takes you through the months and seasons with the objective of running a simple home your own unique way.

I'm setting up a new household folder too, which will include a monthly menu plan with recipes.
A long time ago I put together a file of my family's favourite recipes and sent it to my daughters. It includes a number of the slice and cake recipes I've shared here on the blog over the years, as well as many treats both savoury and sweet that I've not made for a I printed it up and will revisit them this year.
I'm also printing tried and true regulars that appear on our dinner table, so at the end of each month I can compile a selection of 28 main meals and 10 slices, cakes or desserts for the next month and place them in the grocery & menu-plan section of my household folder. We may not use all the recipes for that month as we tend to have leftovers some nights, so any recipe sheets not used in a month will be moved to the following month.
This will make my grocery shopping and menu planning much easier on time and finances.

Yesterday Rosie came by for the morning and we had a lovely time. Since moving closer to her we don't have as much travel time between houses so we can visit each other more often and now it's not a full day excursion...we simply enjoy a relaxed morning with coffee, a sweet treat, stitching and long discussions about life, the universe and all things in between.

I baked bread and sent her home with half a loaf, and we licked our lips over Matrimony Slice...

...whilst challenging ourselves to plan some sewing projects with fabrics that weren't what we'd
normally choose. It really was a kind of  'this is what we have so let's find a way to use it' challenge and though at first the obstacle seemed too high to overcome, once we eliminated what really wouldn't work and concentrated on what was left behind, we saw hidden beauty that sparked our creativity (especially hers).

This reminded me of my year planning and the need to first of all weed out things which cloud the good and the necessary and the fun. Once removed you are left with what remains, and those remains are what you can draw on to plan a more relaxed and useful life routine, a clearer thought process, and a wiser use of time and money.

I'm reminded of the Scripture from Song of Songs 2:15 -
"Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines..."

I'm praying for God to show me those little foxes which have overrun my life, the ones I still can't identify, because in the big plan of things I would like my life to be lived to the full in every area that matters - faith, relationships, health, home, work and play - with clear air to face both seasons of trial or seasons of pure delight, and anywhere in between.

Did you notice that beautiful little doll on my desk?
It was a gift from my friend Agueda in Spain who made it herself...

So small, so intricate, this is one of the national dresses of Spain and Agueda has added what each part of the costume is in Spanish.
Two of my favourite sportsmen are Spanish (Rafa Nadal and Jorge Lorenzo) and I now have a little bit of Spain right here in my home, gifted from the heart of a generous and talented friend.

On my sewing table at the moment I'm stitching a new design for February, a design which will become a useful and organised project. I wonder if you can guess what I'm going to make?

Well, it's Saturday morning in my part of the world and my husband is ready and waiting for us to have breakfast so I shall bid you farewell and leave you with something that sits on my desk to remind me each day of a very important truth.

Take this to heart, dear ones, speak it out loud and let it sink into your heart...

God is good.
God is good to me.
God is good at being God.

...I'm praying for you today.



Annabel said...

ooh! The little foxes that spoil the vines! Somehow this never stood out to me before and now its huge! This is all so true and profound to me. I am so busy just with family, cooking, the house (the blog) it is as much as I can do. I am happy to forget so many things I once thought I HAD to do... these included ladies lunches which I actually didnt like, (at restaurants etc) and a lot of things I felt were kind of social obligations. I love Mother Teresas "if you want to improve the world go home and love your family" (Im not sure I have that exactly right but roughly!) and Im sticking to this. But I still want more quiet and simplicity in my home so Im working on it! xxx

Ɓgueda said...

Organizing the house and life is not easy. I am now organizing the 2018 budget. I organize the budget once a year and I adjust it on the fly, there are always unforeseen events. Every week, I organize the menus of the meals and the shopping lists. Every day I organize my English lesson for the next day. Nothing else. The rest depends on what God has for me and my own ability to adapt (or my own inability to adapt, which happens all the time, so I try not to be too hard on myself). I do not know how you can spend time in your home, in your business, embroidering, attending to your family, writing a blog ... I think that at times you need to stop and rest and everything is difficult for you. I also believe that you can feel very proud of your ability and your effort. You are a great example to follow. God bless you.

- I'm glad that she accompanies you at your desk-

Kay said...

I enjoy reading you posts so much. I originally started following your blog because of your beautiful crafting but now look forward to your thoughtful posts just as much. You really are such a blessing in my life and help me to think, plan, pray, and generally feel better about life. . x

Tania said...

Dear Jenny,

I am also doing the Rhonda challenge "The Simple Home". I have organised my folders and look forward to each Monday for a new post.

I love the little handmade dolly from Spain! Such a special gift from Agueda :)

Have a lovely blessed Sunday,


Little Penpen said...

Sometimes I think I am my own little fox! My brain runs in so many directions, it's difficult to focus sometimes. I'm working on a weekly schedule for my home now. I love the little doll and your office area is so bright and looks like a great place to work!

Tammy said...

I also use the Happy Planner and this will be my 2nd year using the big sized Happy Planner. I have purchased pockets for mine as well. I keep it open to the monthly view on my desk. I look at mine first thing each day and last thing at night. It helps keep me on track with not only mine and the kids appointments and my husbands but Mothers as well. As I have to take her to most all of them. I really look forward to her appointments as most are a hour or so away and we get lots of uninterrupted talking time. I value those moments. Precious beyond anything.

Farm Quilter said...

You are certainly doing a great job of identifying the things of value in your life, what you cherish and what you want to nurture. The rest is the fox destroying the vine! How smart of you to figure out a way to accomplish this for you and how kind of you to share it with us. Have a blessed weekend with your husband and may the blessings of the coming week overflow!

Allie-oops Designs said...

The little foxes - oh golly I love that! I'll have to watch out for them too. I'm not into planning as much as I used to be - no need, anymore - and soon meals will be even simpler as well. I'm almost to the point where what I do I can do without being conscious of it, which is how I like it! Of course, I don't do half what you do, dear have many plates to juggle!!!

Ondrea said...

Another beautiful post. You certainly sound organised getting organised lol. Great idea having separate diaries for each area of your life. I seem to have my life rolled into one and sometimes don't know which day it is when I wake up in the morning. Meals are a constant challenge for me and I find myself worrying about what to cook the evening before. I must get some suitable recipes although my diet is rather limited and uninspiring lol. Your study looks so serene and uncluttered which makes it easier to think. May your life become less stressful and be filled with joy.

Janice said...

All the best with your planning and weeding. As you say, it is amazing how much can be on your plate when you go to the trouble of writing it down. I’m sure your new year will be all the better for having taken the time to go through this process.

http://thankfullga447 said...

My word for 2018 is "Simple" first I thought that is too easy & then I had to make dinner for my book club & I said don't stress about it make it simple. The word is working really well so far.

Anonymous said...

It's a huge undertaking, isn't it? I am only planning one thing, and not nearly as neatly as you, but I'm making slow progress. It does make life seem less hectic when there are routines and plans that you don't have to keep redoing or flying by the seat of your pants as we say here. I did recognize your adorable little doll. I have one from the same source. She is the kindest lady!

Createology said...

I am certainly not ass organized as you Jenny Dear...and it is okay for me. If I sat down to list everything I would be so overwhelmed that I would probably melt down! Besides that my husband and I are both retired and in each other’s space every hour of every day! I know I am blessed and therefore I remain flexible and happy. Creative Bliss...<3