Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How do we see others?

Once a year, my church has a special, worldwide meeting for all the women in our women's organization, which is called "The Relief Society."  At the most recent session, our church's president gave a wonderful talk on not judging others. He began with this great example:
A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood.
One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.
 “That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”
John looked on but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments. A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard.
She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”
John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”
 I love this story! How many times do we, as women, judge others harshly without fully understanding them? I know I have been guilty of this from time to time. (To read the rest of this great talk, click on this link.)

If we make the effort to see others as the Savior sees them, would we treat them differently? This is something I'm working on today. :-)

Have a great week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Old-Fashioned Home Management-- Part TWO

"Hearth and Home" magazine, October 1918
Before I get started on this post, I want to make sure my readers know where to find Part One of this series. Be sure to read it here first!

PART TWO: Planning by the Week
Okay. So, our fore-mothers knew all about running a household. Is the modern homemaker doomed to always serve last-minute freezer meals and to attempt to gather useful cleaning tips in 30 second segments on the Today show? No way! Of course, we need to adapt old-fashioned skills to meet our modern needs, but we can successfully utilize the knowledge of the past.

I'm excited today to dust off one of these old ideas and share it with you. While it is not a revolutionary concept, I think it's worth revisiting.

Remember these?

Many of our grandmothers embroidered dishtowels just like these. They're cute, though they may not be conducive to your decorating style. But let's explore the idea of organizing our weeks according to days, as these towels demonstrate.

Remember that the homemakers of the past worked hard all week simply to put food on the table each day. We have been blessed to no longer need to exert ourselves so much. We no longer really need a baking day, or a day dedicated to ironing, but we can look at the duties that fill our modern lives, and assign them a day for us to accomplish those tasks.

Some possible examples of this could be a day to run errands (Who likes to go to the grocery store every day? Not me!), a day to pay bills/ take care of home office tasks, a day to focus on sewing or craft projects, etc.. Wouldn't it be great to have a day each week where you know you'll be running hither and yon, but then, you'll also have a day to finish some of those projects you never seem to give much time to?

Now, I'm not going to tell you what your schedule should look like. The idea is for you to customize your week in a way that works best for your home and family!

Here's an example of how things are scheduled in my little world:
  • Monday: Weekend Recovery Day-- My house is always destroyed by the time Monday rolls around. This is the day I focus on gathering up the laundry, and making sure each child's church shoes have been put away. I also try to make sure the kids get their Sunday clothes in the laundry so that they'll be clean by the time next Sunday rolls around. I'm not perfect at this, but I do have it scheduled!
  • Tuesday: Personal Study Day-- I teach a Shakespeare class for homeschooling youth once a week, and Tuesday is my day that I prepare for that. My bigger kids also need time on that day to finish their projects for their classes and other personal study. The computer gets a lot of mileage for us on Tuesdays!
  • Wednesday: SUPER Cleaning Day!-- Because we host weekly homeschool classes in our home on Thursdays, I have assigned all the deep cleaning jobs for our schedule on Tuesday. This is the day when walls get washed, floors get mopped, toilets get scrubbed, and the dust flies!
  • Thursday: Renaissance Commonwealth and Dance Classes-- Beginning at 9:30am and ending at 2:30pm, we have twenty-plus extra people at our house. In the morning, we have a Constitution class going on at the kitchen table, while a Civil War class is going on in the living room. The younger children (under twelve years old) of the teachers are outside. Then we all gather for lunch at 11:30am, and I start teaching choir and then my Shakespeare class at 12:30pm. THEN, at 4:30pm, my twelve year old daughter goes to ballet lessons, and my sixteen, fifteen, and fourteen year old kids attend ballroom dance lessons at 7:00pm that evening.
  • Friday: Low-Key Day-- This is the day when we take a deep breath. I do a little sewing, let the kids do some crafts or art projects, and we just enjoy one-another's company. Lots of reading happens on Fridays. We sometimes make a library trip or watch a Shakespeare movie on this day. This is the night my husband and I also try to take time to go on a date.
  • Saturday: Errands and Shopping-- I prefer to go grocery shopping early in the morning on a weekday, before the crowds descend, but we usually don't have a lot of time to do that. Saturday would not be my ideal errand day, but it's a necessity for us these days.
  • Sunday: Day of Rest and Worship-- We attend church, write letters, read books aloud for long periods of time, call family, nap, and attend other church meetings as needed, on the Sabbath. Meals are easy, and often dinner is popcorn and homemade snacks. I'm so grateful for a day of rest!
The planning of the week can be a very powerful thing for a homemaker. It gives us some structure, but it also gives us some freedom to plan days of rejuvenation, purpose, and rest. We can also see where our time is going, and then we can adjust things as we need to.

Consider planning your week to be a more effective homemaker and mother. It worked for Grandma, and with a little creativity, it can work for us!

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