Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Routines

Once upon a time, I lost my to-do list.

Thereafter ensued a rather lengthy discussion among friends about the use of to-do lists.

I had one friend even suggest that she didn't use one at all.

So I gave that a try.

Let's just say that the results were not encouraging.  lol

Back to the to-do list I went.  A few friends asked to see it so I took a picture but then a few wondered exactly what my to-do list day looked like so here we are :)

To begin, you must understand that I exist from routines.  My to-do list contains the things that won't get done with just my basic daily routine.  So I'll start there (If you've read my post about my winter routine some of this will be the same).

I get up around 6 a.m.  I get Lee up if it is a work/school day and then I go feed cows.  In my pajamas.  The cows don't care.
When I get back in I make coffee, start laundry, make sure Greg is up and do my Bible study.  I hang out the first load of laundry and start the 2nd load.  I check facebook.  I hang out the 2nd load.  Sometimes I do the dishes.  When the big boys leave for work/school I take a shower.

After my shower I consult my to-do list.  Sometimes I make a "master list" on Sunday, sometimes I make the list every morning.  The list is sometimes on an index card, scrap of paper, my day-planner calendar.....I just jot down when needs to be done that day.  Really, don't over think this.  If the kids spilled kool-aid on the kitchen floor, the add mop kitchen floor.  If someone wrote their name in the dust on the coffee table write dust living room.  If the dog knocked over the potted plants (again) then write down clean/sweep front porch.

Then do the things on the list.

I try to spend an hour on the list first thing in the morning.  In addition to whatever is on the list the following is to always be done, every day:  sweep downstairs, make my bed, straighten bathroom, laundry, cat litter box, dishes, meals.  I also am in charge of feeding the cows twice a day, at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Those are ball park times but I try to stay on schedule...remember that if you do everything at the same time everyday it is harder to forget to do it :)  Sometimes I also feed and water chickens and gather eggs.  Rarely I will check on pigs (usually only if Norman has worked more than a double shift in a week).  I also don't often put hay in the manger or straw in the cow stalls but I could.  Every day I check with Norman and one of us do these chores.  If I do them, I do it around 3, just before I feed cows the 2nd time.  Routine, routine, routine.

As long as I only do 2 loads of laundry, I bring the dry laundry in right after lunch.  Then I do any remaining chores from the list.  If we do school that day then there are more chores in the afternoon.  If we don't then I try to get everything done before lunch.

I got to thinking about my insistence on having my work done before supper.  I know a lot of moms that do housework all day, even into the evenings and if you are working then I imagine that you would have to do that to get everything done.  I find it very important to give myself a "stopping point".  So after 5 or 6 I am "off the clock".  That means that if it isn't done off the list by then, it moves to the next day.

Does that mean I'm watching TV all night?  Sometimes.  Sometimes I work in the garden when it is cooler, sit on the porch and read, knit or sew.  I think it is reasonable to have a stopping point in your day of work.  Now when the garden is in full swing I imagine that my days will stretch far into the evening as I preserve as much of God's bounty as possible.  But I try not to make that the "norm".

I hope that this helps some of you establish your daily routines and to-do lists.  Really, the routine is the most important thing.  If I can get the routine stuff done (basic housework and animal chores) then the day has gone well.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Finding My Place in History

I'm a historian.  Looking at the big picture in light of past events is something I do...sometimes unconsciously.  I like to fit together the pieces of the puzzle, compare past events and their consequences with things that are happening or seem to be happening now.  I enjoy teasing out the way history has been "revised" to fit present "correctness".

Once upon a time I thought I might enjoy a future in politics.  Historically, many of our founding fathers dealt in politics, although I'm sure nothing like the current mess we have.  I wanted to be out there MAKING history.  I didn't just want to read about it....I wanted to DO it.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered, correctly, that I wouldn't be cut out for any century.  My skin isn't that thick, I don't think that quickly and I doubt I could shoulder the burdens of the world for one minute let alone for the duration of a career.

That's probably just as well that I discovered this in 8th grade.  lol  Anyway, as a young adult, a young mother, I discovered my favorite part of history.....learning about the lives of those who have gone before us.  That is true history.  The day to day stuff that shapes the lives of children, families and communities.  THAT is what will eventually trickle down and create history.  The lives and actions of ordinary people make a big difference in the scheme of things, even when their names and lives are forgotten.  I think that is why it is most important that we keep a journal, whether online or on paper (I do both).  I find those things fascinating and I'm sure others do.

In our world today we are fighting a war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The big debate is whether Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter, taliban sympathizer or genuine prisoner of war (I'm sure his mother is glad he is home but was the price too high?).  And what in the heck is his father spouting off about??  Who knows, right?  Unemployment is through the roof (and touches the lives of those I know), drug use is running rampant and the state of IL is going down the drain (rapidly).

Let's face it....what can I do about any of that?  Really?  In the course of historical events relating to these headline items, you will not find my name.  You won't find the name of anyone that I know personally.

And that's ok.

That took me a long time as an adult to realize.

It's the little things, the mundane things, that matter.  They really do.

If I don't feed our cows, they will die.  The same with the piglets and chickens.  If I don't care for them daily in feeding, watering and general maintenance then they will die.  If they die we are out food for the next year and a fairly large chunk of money.    I school my children daily so that they will grow into hardworking, dependable, loving, generous and kind adults that make an impact in their family; their community.  I shop (care for my family, supporting my community businesses) and visit and take part in community activities.  I volunteer.  I read.  I knit.  I try to expand my understanding of the world around me.  Not because I can single-handedly change it, but because God made this wonderful, beautiful world and I want to know what's out there.  Why shouldn't I?  

I want to be able to help my neighbors and friends.  I want to love unconditionally.  I want to impact my little world.  I CAN do that.

Washing dishes might not seem like much but if they aren't clean, chaos reigns supreme.  If chaos reigns, then how will my children understand the peace of order?  If clothes aren't clean, will my husband be able to go about his duties with a full focus on the work in front of him?  If meals aren't healthy, how will our bodies get the nourishment they need to grow and function properly?  If we don't expand our minds, how will we know what could be?

Mothers, fathers, don't get stuck in thinking that life is mundane nothingness and then you die!  It is the little things that count!  One more story, clean laundry, home-cooked meals, snuggling in bed, driving to practice, homework.......we are impacting the lives of our children and those we encounter every single day!  Let's put a smile on our faces and embrace our places in history.  My place is as a wife, mother, gardener, animal caretaker, dog and cat owner, baker, knitter, seamstress, learner, explorer.......and I plan to leave a written (typed) legacy of all those wonderful things for those that come behind me.  How about you?  What is your legacy?  Have you embraced your place in history?