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 week...it'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.
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.