Category Archives: One Step

One Step Report #1

Well, it’s day #10 of the year 2010, and I’m happy to report that it’s been a great ten days.

Never before have I so completely turned the tables on my critical, perfectionist self.  I haven’t made a single list of things to do all week, but instead have listed all the things that were done.  So far I’ve taken 50 small steps to improve life.  That’s an average of 5 per day, and I feel good about that.  To celebrate, I’m sharing another photo of my toddler’s feet.  This is her new life, standing on tippy toes to get into things.

toddler feet tippy toes

It’s been very healthy to record my small victories or tasks, and I’ve also been writing which category it falls under next to every entry.  This is helping me to see where I need to plan more consciously for improvement.

I want to share a couple of highlights.

So far, my three daughters (ages 7, 5, and 2) have managed (with my help and prodding) to keep their room clean for a full week.  I should have taken a before picture, but if you’ve been to my home and we trust you enough to let you go upstairs, you’ve probably seen a room that was completely covered with clothing.  Now it has looked like this for 9 days.

bed with vintage quilt

The other morning I walked past their door while they were gone at school and the simple beauty and soft light made me pause in wonder that such an unexpected pleasure was right there, in my own home, and in THAT room!  I’d forgotten how much I love the old grandmother’s flower garden quilts that lay at the foot of their beds.

vintage grandmother's flower garden quilt

I had also forgotten how beautiful and peaceful my bedroom is, because I’d let it become the clean laundry pile room.  I managed to stay completely caught up on laundry this week, without letting any of it pile up.  Unexpected benefit:  I have my bedroom back!

bedroom

These things are small, indeed, but they help us all feel more relaxed in our home.  And if it takes 30 days to form new habits, then I figure we’re 25% of the way there.  Organization is a wonderful thing, and I’m convinced that 75% of it is self-discipline.

I think that perhaps the most important steps have been taken this week in relationships and responses to people.  I’m not proud of this, but a week ago I discovered that my little girls had been breaking jewelry for no good reason.  My 5 year old had asked for a treasure box full of jewels for Christmas.  I put a lot of time and effort into gathering these materials, and to find them broken just for the sake of breaking them was upsetting.  I’m ashamed to say it, but I yelled at my two little daughters for it.  And then, after yelling, I took a good look at them and saw quivering lips and eyes welling up with tears.  I thought to myself, “Here I am, seeking to have LOVE be the guiding force behind our growth, and I just broke the hearts of my sweet, innocent daughters over a broken necklace.  A broken heart over a broken THING.”  I was disgusted with myself.  I gathered them into my arms, asked for their forgiveness, and then spent some time alone in my room praying, asking forgiveness from my Heavenly Father for treating his little ones so harshly.

That necklace has sat on my desk ever since, my reminder to myself of what really matters.  It is not ok to be destructive, but I can teach that principle with love instead of anger.

necklace

Fast forward to two days ago when my son decided to move some furniture around in our family room.  My coffee table that looked like this:

now looks like this:

I confess that I did ask him why that particular 1/4 inch piece of wood looked like a sturdy handle, but I didn’t yell, and I didn’t get angry.  I remembered the necklace.  I put my arm around him, told him I was disappointed but that my disappointment wasn’t a reflection of my love for him or my approval of him.  I think it worked out.  (I still need to fix the table, but at least I don’t need to fix my son’s heart.)

And so, I feel content with my One Step progress so far.  I’m excited for what the next week holds!

One Step 2010

I call myself the Hopeful Homemaker.  Well, the past couple of months have been so hard for me.  For the first time in my life, I haven’t felt very hopeful.  As my confidence and hope have waned, it has been harder to try, wholeheartedly, to make the home my family needs me to make.

You see, I’m overwhelmed.  My learning curve in this adventure of raising 8 children still feels really steep.  I’ve  felt tired, disorganized, discouraged, frustrated.  Worst of all, I haven’t been able to see HOW it can improve.  The only solution I can come up with is TIME.  I need more time.  But with my life so full of people, there is so little time!  With 3 children ages 3 and under, life is oh so busy.  Add to that the kindergarten schedule and the busy lives of the oldest four, and there just isn’t ANY time on ANY day when I’m not in the thick of mothering.  With my youngest being 4 months old, even my nights are in question.

I want desperately to pull it together.  I know that I can’t make a big list of grand goals that I’m going to accomplish, because I’m setting myself up for failure if I do.  Too much of my life is devoted to crying babies, and the rest to my life as a chauffeur.  On the other hand, I don’t feel like I can afford to pick just one thing to work on; too many things need attention.

And so, after much pondering and prayer, I have established my goal for the new year.

picture of One Step journal with white fabric flower

I’m calling it One Step:  A Year of Progress One Step at a Time.

Inspired by my sweet little book, Little One Step, I am setting a goal to take at least ONE step to improve my life and strengthen my family EVERY day of the year.  I’ve made myself a journal to record each step.

picture of One Step journal with rick rack and fabric flower

The foundation of my reasoning is that true growth is incremental.   The key is keeping at it.   I’ve chosen five areas of improvement that will serve as umbrellas for the countless things I’d like to change or accomplish.  They are:

Organization & Household Management
Learning & Education
Creativity & Celebration
Health & Discipline
Service & Nurturing

I have recorded a vision of what I’d like to achieve in each of these areas.   I also have lists of some specific things I’d like to do in each.  I realize that I will not likely perform to the level that I can envision, but I can be guided by my lofty aspirations.  I also realize that the needs of my family will change with time.   I may not reach the summit, but this year I am determined to take one step at a time, for as long as it takes, while my abilities catch up with my responsibilities.

I hope to take many steps each day, even one in every area, but I also know how quickly 5 things can go from being reasonable to preposterous if little ones are sick or teething, or when our 5 soccer teams start up again in a few short months.  Thus, while I’d like to take many steps each day, what I will hold myself to is ONE, at least.  And if I take one step each week in each category, then hopefully my life will become more balanced.  I hope, at the end of the year, to be able to look back and see that I have grown into my role as the mother of 8 young children.

Because I know how easily sidetracked I can be, my steps will be guided by the following statement by Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

“Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do….  Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope.  Love should be our walk and our talk.  When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align.  Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful.  Our lives take on new meaning.  Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound.”

I need to feel more love, give more love.  I need the confusion to clear and the priorities to align.  I need to walk more joyfully.  I need to find more meaning in my hours and my days.

So, this is what my daily one step will consist of:

I will pray daily for that love, and for guidance in carefully choosing my step each day.
I will write down the steps I feel I should take.
I will record my one (or more) steps taken at the end of each day in a journal I’ve designated for this journey.
I will place my hope and faith in my Heavenly Father that as I work my hardest and love with my whole heart, he will guide each step.  I will be able to find confidence, joy, and satisfaction in my life as a wife, mother and homemaker.

picture of open journal with pen and writing

So there you have it.  My resolution for 2010:  ONE STEP each day.
I can do this.  I mean, really, when life is rugged, what can you do?  Simply put one foot in front of the other.

This picture of my daughter walking in the snow will serve as my reminder to myself on my blog.

baby feet walking in snow

Like the idea?  Feel free to join me in One Step 2010. I won’t bore you with my daily details, but I will report back weekly on my progress.

And to you, may you have joy and success in your every step this year!
Hopeful Homemaker

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