Monday, March 12, 2018

Another Monday...

I like Mondays. 
Many don't, but I do.

Monday is a fresh slate, a new start to a new week where so far nothing's gone wrong, everything might just happen the way I hope, and if I can't finish what I began today there's always Tuesday...or Wednesday...all the way to Friday.

I like Friday's too, but that's for later.

Preparing to make jam.

Each Monday I write up a long list of goals to achieve and pin it to the relevant week of my Planner, not for one moment imagining I'll be crossing all of them off by day's end, but knowing I have a plan to follow and what isn't done today can be moved across to tomorrow or the next day until hopefully by Friday evening all, or almost all, those goals have been accomplished. 

On this Monday list I write each household chore that must be done, home improvement ideas I'd like to try, main meals to prepare, extra cooking I'd like to fit in, appointments and calls to make or attend, all sewing goals, plant maintenance, bills to pay, and miscellaneous tasks that crop up intermittently like taking Bob-the-dog to the groomer, filling a prescription or filling the petrol tank in my car.

One jar of freshly made delicious strawberry and apple jam.

It's only been since New Year that I've begun this Monday ritual, but what a blessing it has been to my day to day homemaker and business life. There is such a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I take my old blue pencil and draw a line through each task as it is completed.

And I'll tell you a little secret...

After I accomplish each task on my Monday list I write that task in my planner on the appropriate day. Now that may seem a little like cheating, but what this does for me as I look back over a week or a month, is give me an overall view of what I have achieved, what days are the most productive, and what tasks I tend to avoid and push further and further down the list. 

This simple habit of documenting my days has given great insight into my homemaker character, notably where my light shines and where I run and hide.

Bordering my 'Love' stitchery to make a cushion cover.

My most productive days are Monday and Tuesday. 
Take today for instance. 

Monday appears to be a big day in the kitchen most weeks and today was no different - shepherd's pie, butterscotch pudding, chia coconut pudding, strawberry jam and two litres of fresh vegetable juice. It's also the day I catch up on business paperwork and write patterns, do the washing, water the plants and plan appointments. 

Tuesday has a fairly regular routine of dusting, vacuuming and mopping (oh, but that mopping can be pushed to the bottom of the list and held over to next's my number one avoidance chore) as well as changing table runners, cushion covers and sheets. 

Preparing to hand quilt.

As a designer with her own business each afternoon I have to sit for an hour or so and hand embroider my new designs, and most nights I do another hour. Over the course of a month I can complete a new set of designs for The Stitchery Club, just by being consistent with an hour or two each day. 
It's the same with sketching new designs or maintaining my bookwork and online commitments - I make the time because I have to.

Now that same routine and rhythm of business responsibility is becoming 'normal' in how I look after our home. This was an added bonus I'd not expected when I began my Monday lists but it's really changing how I live within this wonderfully gentle domestic life. 

Plums ripening for more jam later this week.

Obviously how I do my lists isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me this new way to begin a week has many benefits and I think over time I'll discover more...because it's changing me, growing me, making me far more aware of what I do and why I need to do it than I'd ever considered in the past.

I used to think work (Elefantz) was the biggest time consumer of my week - well actually it was. Not anymore. This year so much has already changed because with each week that passes I refine my routines, assess my time, and make wiser choices not to give more than I am able. 

By reading back through my planner, by seeing all that has been done in less than three months this year, I've come to realise that there's not need to rush, no need to panic, no need to push myself so hard...because IT ALL GETS DONE anyhow. 

In fact, because I'm not running from one task to the next without a plan, and because I prioritise tasks and do things in natural progression rather than randomly or out of sequence, I'm saving myself time...time to rest, read, pray, breathe, sing, call a friend, drink tea.

A change of season always prompts me to change things around in our home.

So I'm loving Mondays.

And Friday? 
I get to look back over the week and see all the things little 'ole me has done.

And you know, I rejoice because all I ever wanted to be was a Proverbs 31 wife and so much of what's happening on my planner pages, and more importantly in my heart and attitude, is showing that I'm living that life now. In fact, with each passing month there's a deeper commitment to the gentle domestic life and a greater understanding of it's privilege, which should not to be taken lightly. There's more laughter, joy, gentleness and calm...oh the beautiful calm in my soul, how long I have waited for that.

My husband has a stressful job and too often he would come home to a weary wife, but those times are now few and far between. Having brought balance into my own days I am now able to greet him with a joyful peacefulness when he walks through the door each evening, and even if he takes a while to wind down from his day, my calm and relaxed manner swiftly soothes the atmosphere. 

I'm learning, every day, to grow into a better version of me, because life gets better when I open my heart and let God correct my crooked path to one that is straight and true (and lined with shady trees).

It's all good.



Unknown said...

Just the encouragement I needed this morning. If I ever win a trip to your neck-of-the-woods, I want to spend Monday with you. Proverbs 31 gives us both inspiration. Here’s praying our Friday’s can be full of marked off tasks.

Barbara Frank said...

Lovely post! I hated Mondays when I was a young working woman, living the supposed feminist dream in a cubicle. But once I was able to come home and be a mom, Monday became just another happy day ;)

Jenny, here in the upper midwest of the USA, I found a book at my public library that I think you would love, and it's from Australia of all places :) It's called "Quilt Petite" by Sedef Imer. It's full of adorable patchwork/embroidery projects including several that would be perfect for darling granddaughters like mine and yours. I think you'd love it.

Allie-oops Designs said...

Ooh I love this - I need to add the things I do to my daily list, so I can see why some things get crossed off and some don't. Perfect, Jenny. What a thoughtful and eye-opening post, thank you dear heart!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

The only thing I've decided to cross off each day is, "I woke up this morning" That's enough for me.....:)

Sharm said...

Funnily enough I've strived to be a Proverbs 31 woman also which is why I learnt to do so many things - what I didn't count on was having to go out to work for so many years.

Nanna Chel said...

You certainly are organised, Jenny. Mind you, there is really no choice when trying to run a business and look after a home. I hope there is no mould growing now that the rain has gone. Poor Ingham!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Barbara, I have seen the book and I know Sedef (also have some of her lovely fabric)...pretty projects to be sure. xx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Sherry, you would be most welcome. x

Julie said...

Another lovely post Jenny. I love Mondays too but my favourite day of the week I think is Friday because I never cook tea on a Friday night ... we always have either takeaways or a hot chicken/salad/buns. So all day Friday I don't have to think about what to cook for dinner! It is such a treat. Your new Love stitchery is beautiful & will make a wonderful cushion cover. Happy new week to you my friend Xxx

Farm Quilter said...

I know you are looking forward to autumn and the cooler weather just around the corner...I'm looking forward to spring and the warmer weather! I love the way you make your lists, crossing off what you do and entering it into your daily planner. What a wonderful way to see where your time goes. I know there are no 3-hour stretches mindlessly surfing the internet! But it would be a good way for anyone to figure out where they spend their time and if they are wasting their days away. Right now my father is starting to sleep his days away...only up 3-4 hours a day.

Phil Poggeaux said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that journals tasks after they are completed. Makes perfect sense.

Janice said...

It’s amazing how having a plan helps. Now that I’m not working full time I’m having to adjust to a new lifestyle, which means making the most of my time at home……if I’m not running around town….but that’s another issue. So far I’ve been rather unproductive, but just recently I’m getting into a routine and writing down what I want to do……No where near as organised as your planner, but it is a start. As you say, we learn and grow.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you posted this. You've refined further than I have, though we do some basic things the same. I also found that the rest of my day went well when I had unchanging niches for both scripture study (which I know you do, too) and for sewing. I sew two hours in the morning, and I read my scriptures and ponder them every night. I know many people like to start the day with them, but I have found that for me, the last thing of the day is best. I go to sleep peacefully, and I wake up with thoughts of my Heavenly Father, and ponder things the entire day, off and on. I like your idea of writing things in the planner afterward to see what keeps getting pushed to another day, and to see what things are being finished daily. I may need to get two planners - one before version and one after version. LOL Thanks for sharing these thoughts and the benefits you have discovered.

Martha Roberts said...

Dear Jenny, you never disappoint!! This post was a timely one for me. I have been spinning my wheels trying to get a routine in place with a retired husband home everyday. He is a sweetie and I love him dearly, but it is hard to stay on task without interruptions. My sweet cousin gave me a beautiful planner for Christmas and now I know how I will continue to use it. I think your post was sent straight to me from our precious Father God. He knows how frustrated I have been with trying to establish a new routine. I thank Him for my precious husband and will just try to go along with this life we have now. Love that you share your life with us.

Kay said...

For years Monday has been my favourite day of the week, it is my getting organised for the week special day. I too plan things that need doing, meals, I also do a weekly shop that day too. x

Createology said...

Jenny Dear I can read your calm. How divine to be better organized within your daily routines. “LOVE” your new cushion you are stitching. Yummy meals, clean home and business running along is such a blessing. Enjoying 2018 Bliss...<3

Winifred said...

I love Mondays especially if I'm doing my welcome stewarding at the cathedral. It just gives me a great lift as I walk towards the building.

We each have our own things that give us joy, yours is sharing giving it to other people Jenny.

matty said...

I read every post, but I don't comment often. This post speaks to me. I am in a transition in my life and am finding that balance is going to be necessary. I love your idea and am going to give it a go for myself! Thanks so much for sharing! <3 Matty

Ondrea said...

It is good to plan our days as I tend to get more done when I do that. Sometimes I do not achieve everything but I just jot it down for another day. I never do nearly the amount of domesticity that you do but you are a constant inspiration for me. Those strawberries look so enticing.

Sandy said...

You have encouraged me today to actually USE my planner. Too much down time is wasted. I work 12hr. shifts on different days of the week, making it hard to ever have routine. I love seeing what you are up to, and am always amazed at all you accomplish. Do you do your own photography also? Well I'm off to make my list for today.Love your posts ♡ May God richly bless you today!

Mind & Health said...

Planning our days is the key to get more done! Sometimes i struggle doing things and i get overlwhelmed, your post encourage me to plan my day i'm amazed at all you accomplish. Thank you