Simple. Quality. no. 6

simplequality

I wouldn’t say that this week was one of my best.  I felt like I made a lot of mistakes and things generally didn’t work out the way I planned.  Almost every day one child or another had to come home from school early feeling ill, or needed something delivered, etc. which ended up cutting deeply into the hours I count on most for housekeeping and productivity.  And yet, my heart is full of happiness and gratitude for everything that did go right.   Many of them were big things, like the protection various family members received on treacherous winter roads.  Last night our son finally arrived home from snowboarding at 11:30 p.m. but he was safe.  And talkative.  And hungry.  We were so grateful.  And I am so very tired today.  In spite of my personal feelings about the week, we made it through our usual commitments and activities with plenty of laughter and time together.

Let’s see what I have to report about my goals, shall we?

S – Smile and Savor.  This week was a fun week.  We had lots of opportunities to connect one-on-one with our children.   Between my husband and I, all of our children had an outing with one of us in the past week, which isn’t easy to accomplish.  But we did it and I feel good about it.  I had multiple opportunities to shove my worries out of the way and slap a smile on my face.  Most of them I took, which always ends in happy times.  The one I didn’t was a good learning experience for me.

I – Influence.  I need to work harder in this area.  I did try to connect with some friends and I continued with my 29 gifts, but still feel like I need to serve more.   While I need to get better at planning and following through with service opportunities, I did have a good experience while sitting for an extended length of time in the Social Security office with my son on Monday.  At first it was so strange to be in there.  The building felt dirty and crowded.  There were about twice as many people in the waiting room as it was meant to hold.  It reeked of cigarette smoke (a smell I’m pretty insulated from in my daily life) and with each opening of the door a fresh gust of it would come in.  I think we sat for over 1.5 hours and spent 1.5 minutes at the counter when it was our turn (he needed a replacement card).  We all sat there that long.  The thing that was neat about it was this:  slowly the people in the room went from being strangers you’d never talk to in another place to people you were sharing an experience with.  We started joking about silly things.   When a woman was confused about it being her turn, I helped her find the correct window.  My son and I started talking to the people next to us and discovered that the two of them attended the same school in 6th grade and they had a few common memories to chuckle over.  A girl on crutches came in and we offered her our seats.  She refused them, unaware of how long she would be waiting.  About 10 minutes later we offered them again, and she gratefully accepted.  The ripple effect of gentlemanly behavior that followed my son’s standing to let her have his chair was so cool.  Others saw what he did and were moved to action by it.  All of a sudden people were more concerned about the comfort of the person next to them than they were about their own.  We became real people to each other, not just strangers.  As I have reflected on this I’ve learned some good things about how I want to be much faster to look at the people around me as real people instead of spending so much time in the “you’re a stranger in my way” mentality.   I really want to work on this.

M – My health.  Mixed results here.  I did a better job of exercising, but didn’t get enough sleep.  I am now fighting an almost-migraine headache and hoping I can sleep it off tonight.  I need to work on drinking more water this week.

P – Participate.  I had a good week in this area.  My picture ended up in a local newspaper when an article on our local modern quilt group was published.  I’ve had several kind people bring copies to me and ask me about it.  It makes me laugh.  I saw the article online and honestly didn’t think it would actually be printed so I keep being shocked when people mentioned it.  It’s really not a big deal, especially since I was just watching, not speaking.  This month is the new start of the group for 6 months and I’m sad I’ll miss the first meeting, but am excited to be doing it with my sister.  Also in this area, I went to the book club meeting for the group in my neighborhood, which I’ve committed to attend at least 4 times this year.  We had our monthly conference call for our family book club as well, and I really love that call.  I have so much respect for my mom, sisters and sisters-in-law and just love talking to them.  We read a fantastic book last month:  The Anatomy of Peace.  I highly recommend it.  Our conversation was such an upper!  I’m behind on reading, though.  Got to get going.  Finally, I did something I promised myself I’d do weeks ago but have been avoiding because it makes me uncomfortable.  I emailed a quilt shop and asked them to sponsor my Quilt along with a fabric prize for one person at the end.  To my complete surprise, I heard back from the same day and they’re going to do it!  Good lesson learned:  just send the email (or make the phone call) and see what happens.  I’ve got to remember that.

L – Live ahead.  I committed to choose one project to finish at least two weeks early.  I made my Heart mini quilt, which I finished one day late, or 13 days before the holiday.  But at least I did it!  I also posted this little project on Sisterview.  I had a few other things I wanted to do but didn’t, but I feel ok about it.  More importantly, I have some grow lights ordered for starting my garden seeds.  They should arrive in the next few days and I’m excited to be on schedule for that!  Although I did these things, I still feel like I’m behind the program right now and want to do better, but I think a lot of this feeling comes from feeling behind on housework, something that usually comes with busy weeks, sick kids, and more time indoors due to weather.  I’m hoping to climb out in the next few days.

E – Embrace technology.  Well, I’m not moving as quickly as I’d like here, but I am trying.  I spent some time learning how to write a bit of {incredibly simple} html code.  I also did some research to solve a little problem I’m having with my blog and think I may have found the solution.  I’ll know in the next few days.  Tiny little steps, but I’m trying.

Simple.   I keep reminding myself that the small and simple things add up.  The small and simple things really count.  They’re what we remember and they’re what add joy and light to our days.  I am grateful for the simple little things that came together this week.    And now for my goals for our family:

Q – Quality of Life Factor.  I conquered a small organization project.  I rescued the laundry room (but it already needs it again).  We had some good days when everyone helped tidy things up and those are my favorite.  I need to be more disciplined in having everyone participate in this.  That said, I feel like we’re floundering here a bit.  I want so much to clear things out, to get rid of things, but when I go through it with that intent, I feel like we use it and I don’t know what to get rid of.  We still have so many stages of life in our home.  I’ve been praying sincerely for help with this one and I know I’ll figure it out.

U – Urgency in important things.  The outings we took our kids on this week were good investments of time.  The teenagers went to the temple again this week.  We need to stick to our plan for family history work with more diligence.  I guess we stumbled a bit here, but still pressed forward.

A – Aim higher.   We’re working on our drops of awesome.  I need to schedule time to sit down with each child and write down some specific goals.  We have a few in place, but not enough.

L – Laugh.  Yep.  We’re laughing.  (except at broken eggs?)  We are all working harder to find funny things in our daily life together and at the end of every day I’ve been able to look back and recall moments when I really laughed (often at myself).  I might just turn out to be a fun person yet!  🙂

I – Inject the Spirit.  I am learning so much from my Heavenly Father right now.  It’s like there’s this little conduit that’s opened up and daily I’m gleaning another piece of life’s puzzle.  I’m trying to share these experiences with my children, talking to them about the things that press on my heart.  On one night I looked around the house and saw so many of them involved in a struggle.  Not a fight with someone else, but wrestling with a personal weakness or personal challenge of some sort.  It hit me that this is the stuff of life, these experiences that hurt and that allow us to grow if we just learn the right skill.  It was such a great experience to move from struggle to struggle, encouraging them and trying to teach them how to get through it.  Most of all, I love testifying to them of how much the Lord loves them.  I hope they’re listening.

T – Take inventory.  I worked a little more in the storage room.  That’s about it.  This area needs more effort.

Y – Yes to youth.  As I actively look for opportunities, ideas are coming to help me be a better mother as we transition to a house of big kids.  My oldest son told me this week that he’s liking how things are going, and that is huge!

Quality.  My perfectionist self would like to walk around the house right now with a pencil and a checklist, putting a black mark next to all the rooms that are cluttered and all the dishes that aren’t put away.  There really is a part of me that is anxious to convict myself of all that I’m not doing, all the outward things that are flawed.  On the inside, however, as I prayerfully put my heart back in the right place when I’m feeling the weight of that checklist, I’m discovering the joy and power of a heart that is open and ready for life.  I am learning to accept the reality that life is hard, that it is supposed to be hard, and that the hard things in life are opportunities to learn of the strength of God and to discover the best in ourselves and others.  I’m learning the skill of letting go of the outward appearance of things and being truly concerned about the heart of what is going on here.  I would love for the heart of things to always produce a great outward appearance, to blend and both work out, but that’s not my reality.  So we move on.  We laugh, hug, pray, read and cuddle.  And then we get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  With a smile.

Have a happy week!

Jennifer

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