Welcome to Part 2 of a 4-part series called “In The Life.” I’d like to share a bit about priorities, balancing, and what life looks like for me right now. We’ll chat about putting first things first and some simple principles to live by. Feel free to jump in the conversation and share what your days look like. Thanks for joining me here!
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the proper placement of priorities. But where do we go from there? How do we take the vision and turn it into a mission, executed in day-to-day living?
As for a typical mid-week day…my kids and I use a flexible schedule that I’ve tweaked many times over the years to our present needs. I think in terms of blocks of time rather than a down-to-the-minute agenda. Here’s a look at our typical, daily rhythm (at least for the moment):
Before 7am – Everyone’s up…ideally having some quiet time…and our kids work on their “lists” (age-appropriate responsibilities…such as making their beds, emptying the dishwasher, taking out recycling, and wiping down their bathroom).
7-7:30am – Family breakfast
7:30-8:30am – “Bless the House” (a concept I’ve borrowed from FlyLady, which sounds much more pleasant than “chore-time”). This is when I make my bed, tidy the kitchen, do a quick declutter around our living areas, toss in a load of laundry, and remind the kids to finish their lists.
8:30-10am – My time to exercise. This is new to my schedule (at least in this time block). I’m on week 4. The at-home program I’m using lasts 3 months. I see this more as a kick-in-the-pants to up my energy and intensity. After I’m completed, I imagine this will go down to a daily 30-45 minutes which, for me, is more sustainable long-term. The kids get to play or workout with me.
10am – Snack time for all! Often during snack time we have family devotions. This could mean practicing our verse for the month (based on our family values) or discussing what God has been teaching me lately. The kids eat faster than I do, so once they’re done, I usually give them something school related to get started on, like some independent reading.
10:30am – We head over to our comfy spots in the living room and school time officially begins with our read-aloud. Currently we’re working our way through the Little House on the Prairie series, using an online unit study to dive in deeper to the many opportunities to discuss new vocabulary, science topics, geography and social studies, and to check on their general listening comprehension skills. (We also use the Five in a Row curriculum for this same sort of thing…we’re just on a break for this series.) I’m all about school-time that involves reading and snuggling.
11am – We now walk into our (brand new!) homeschool room we recently (mostly) finished, renovating a small portion of our garage. It’s a fun combination of purple walls and sleek, white counters with turquoise, polka dot chairs. I pull out our spelling curriculum (we use All About Spelling)…which also works on handwriting and listening skills. It’s meant to be used individually with each child, but since my kids are so close on their spelling levels, I teach them together and save myself 20 minutes. (Win-win!)
11:30am – Time for math. No official curriculum here. (I tend to think of us as “eclectic” homeschoolers.) We’ve used all kinds of workbooks and now I’m ready to start teaching them together (again, the blessings of having them so close in age) using logic puzzles and printable math worksheets.
12pm – Official school-time is now over. I know…simple, right? We do life together, so there are plenty of other learning opportunities on the go. And, as they get older, our formal school time will certainly be an area we expand and tweak. But, for now, this is where we’re at. Kids get to play for a bit and then must clean up their rooms and toys before we get lunch going.
12:30pm – Lunch time for the kids. I (finally) go take a shower since I’ve been teaching in my sweaty workout clothes this whole time.
1-2pm – Free time for the kiddos. Lunch time for me.
2-4pm – Naps. Yes, my elementary-aged children still take naps. Most days they last about an hour, and then they can play in their rooms quietly. This is my time to either be super productive and write or edit, call a friend and catch up, or totally veg out and watch TV.
4pm-6:30pm – This is our most varied time of day. Sometimes, we’ll run errands. Sometimes it’s a free-for-all time to play or read. Sometimes I actually cook dinner.
6:30pm (or thereabouts) – We eat dinner as a family and the kids get ready for bed.
8pm – Our ideal bedtime for the kids. Sometimes it’s earlier, sometimes later. But this is our ballpark range. Then Steve and I chat a bit, perhaps have a snack and relax for an hour or two before it’s our bedtime.
That’s our schedule, for now at least. It’s changed more times than I can count and it, certainly, will change again. But having a rhythm to work with rather than just winging-it is a huge help to me as I try to make sure we get the important things done.
And yet, I’ve found that the schedule itself isn’t nearly important as is my Source. If I’m just going through the motions of our schedule – without tapping into God regularly, chatting inwardly with Him, taking the time to jot down gifts in my gratitude journal – then I burn out…fast.
Some days I start off great, fully ready to dive into all that’s on the agenda, but one or both of my kids require…ahem…a little more focus on character development that day. If I’m only focused on the short-term agenda, it feels like we’ve totally derailed. But, if I keep in mind our big picture goals, the larger reasons why we homeschool (to put discipleship, practical training, and academia in their proper places…and most of all to help our kids hear the Voice of God for themselves) then I see the value of those interrupted moments (or hours).
It’s all about my Source. Who or what am I relying upon to walk through today? Who or what are you relying on?
The schedule will change. The ebbing and flowing of life necessitates that. But the Source is what remains secure, anchoring the years and seasons and moments.
Continue reading Part 3: Anchors & Exceptions to see what keeps me secure in my priorities when the stuff of life tries to sway me.
I sat there with my friend chatting while our kids played nearby. It’s been a while since we’ve managed to get together, so there was plenty to catch up on. Usually our conversations run towards homeschooling, health/nutrition, family, and personal ministry: her calling within financial stewardship, mine in freedom and identity.
But that day, there was something new on her heart. I saw passion radiating from her while she spoke…
It was this same topic that’s arisen more and more over the past few years. It’s intriguing to me, where the God of the universe intersects our tiny calendar. The realization that our time here is short. The “End Times,” if you will.
Hold on…don’t let me lose you there!
We live and work and raise children and play and plan and save and repeat the day-to-day aspects of life in an ongoing pattern of repetitiveness. And that’s good! That’s great, in fact. That’s exactly what God placed us here for in the first place.
“…God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over…every living thing that moves on the earth.'” Genesis 1:27-28
Be fruitful! Multiply! Take dominion over the earth, which simply means to steward well the earth we’ve been given.
But God also said to be prepared. Jesus (…or Yeshua, the name He gained while here on Earth) is coming. Yeshua, meaning, “God saves!“
“Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:23
We don’t know the precise day or the exact hour, but we’ve been given plenty of signs and seasons, clues as to what is coming: the end of what we know here, the coming of something new. In the midst of living life and looking ahead, He’s said to keep watch. Stay awake!
But so many of us live sleeping, complacent, with perspectives limited to the immediate rather than looking around at the eternity which surrounds us.
Still, boiling it all down, I don’t want to be someone who stands on a street corner, holding up a sign, “The end is near!” while I forgo living in the meantime. I don’t want to shout a warning without a heart of love behind it. After all, the greatest commandment we’ve been given is to Love God and Love People. (Matthew 22:37-39)
But God is love. And His heart is that no one would be asleep spiritually when He comes for His own. He doesn’t give us signs to watch for in order to cause fear, because fear is the opposite of love. He gives us signs and clues as to what’s coming to give us hope – the end of the pain and struggles and sickness here on Earth is coming soon. He spurs us on to urgency, so that we look at those around us with fresh eyes.
Don’t fear! Be filled with hope, with anticipation! Stay awake!
And remember, that at the bottom of everything, living in relationship with God, through Jesus, who displayed the greatest act of love the world has ever known, and loving those in our paths is the key to it all.
“…With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…” (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Now, a simple blog post is not enough to go into the details of the signs and seasons we’re surrounded by. So, please take a look (or listen) to see for yourself some of what we’re witnessing in our world today. See how recorded, ancient prophecies within scripture are finding themselves in our news headlines everyday.
Tipping Point series by Jimmy Evans – Taking a look at those critical junctures in our world, where we are heading towards a tipping point, a place of no return.
And, one final note: The End Times is one topic…one subject. Let’s keep balance, not letting this take over our awareness completely to the neglect of our relationships with Jesus, of growing in faith and character. This is one piece of a larger puzzle. It’s a topic to grasp, to learn about, to be aware of. It’s not an idol to be worshiped. It’s something to remind us of the nearness of God. Okay? Okay.
* Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which, if you use to purchase anything, will bless my family at no additional cost to you.
photo via Pixabay