First, let me apologize to everyone who has been a faithful reader of this blog.  I’m sorry I have neglected this responsibility for so long – I hope you’ll forgive me and bear with me as I re-prioritize things here on the homefront.

1 Corinthians 14:40 says this:

Let all things be done decently and in order.

My life has not been decent and in order.

In fact, since the beginning of the new year, it has been one big ball of chaos!  I thought that in one fell swoop I could start all the following NEW activities: 1 daughter in ballet, 1 in guitar lessons, both in Keepers club, me leading and directing and acting as treasurer for our Keepers club, hosting said club at my house, starting a new homeschool co-op, science fair projects for both girls, softball for both girls, coaching one softball team, officially beginning my photography business, and keeping up with this blog.  And I think there may be one or two more things in there….

So, as a fellow blogger said, ” I decided to juggle less balls.

I realized that God has been trying to teach me several things lately (remember, I’m as stubborn and hard-headed at these Divine lessons as many of you probably are!) – but, I’ll focus on two of them:

Get more order and structure into your life, Toni.

Toni, you do not have to do EVERYTHING.  It can and will be done without your help sometimes.

Gotta tell you, the last one kinda stings the ego a bit.

The order and structure one, I began learning that one a few years back – before we moved back out to the country.  In a Sunday school lesson one day, we read that verse from 1 Cor.  “All things” kept popping into my mind over and over.  The reference was to things within the church, but I think God used that verse to speak to me about other aspects of the Christian life, and is still using it today to teach me more and help me grow.

So, what kinds of “all things” has He spoken to me about that need change?  This will be a very humbling thing for me to do, but accountability has its rewards:

1)  More structure and order with our homeschool.  I don’t think (but not sure yet) that it means I can’t do things like unit studies, etc…I think it just means we need more daily structure.  At least at this point in our homeschool.

2)  Being a Keeper at home.  I need to be more consistent and diligent about keeping a nice, clean, comfortable house for my family to relax in and feel comfortable in.  Big things like remembering to vacuum every other day…and little things like having the coffee pot ready for my husband every morning.

3)  In line with the first two…getting up earlier!  Ok, ANYONE who knows me personally knows, this may be the hardest after all.  I am a definite night owl (writing this at 12:45AM), and TOTALLY NOT A MORNING PERSON!  I don’t like music or much conversation that early.  But I can talk til 2 AM!

4)  Keeping my diabetes in check.  I’ve been neglecting it almost completely.  I’ve gone back to sugar free and Splenda usage, even though I know there are better ways to do it – like cutting out all convenience foods.  I’ve also skimmed right past the gluten-free thing….I’m not convinced I need to do that.  So, I am back to trying to eat healthfully.  Most of the time.

5)  Our family finances.  Had all our debt paid off.  Got it back.  Is that not the stupidest thing you ever heard??  So, we’re working on that so we can buy a bigger house.

6) In keeping with #4, my weight and exercise.  A living sacrifice I cannot be if I am not here to be one.  So, I am being gently prodded to lower my weight and exercise daily.  (The softball coaching has helped a bit.)  God reminds me often of the consequences of not losing weight, and of not controlling my blood sugar – whether it be commercials, magazines, or just a thought He gives me.

Over the summer, my goal is to begin working on each of these, so that come September, when we start school again, things are being “done decently and in order.”  I want to have each day planned out with a schedule – not because we’ll ever follow it 100%.  But because having a plan and a goal gives you something to follow.  It guides your steps.  If I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m supposed to accomplish, it doesn’t matter what I do.

So, over the next 3-4 months, I plan  to put into place a homeschool schedule, including a yearly course outline – what I want each daughter to accomplish during the year.  I’ll also try to have lesson plans completed for the first semester.  Perferably for the year, with room for adjustments.

I will also teach my girls how to complete certain chores around the house, because they’ll need to know those things later.  Since we are the ones home the most often, it is only fitting that we work together to keep the house neat and clean, even if its not perfect.  It is, after all, lived in.  We’ll develop a plan of attack on the dust bunnies who have invaded our home and taken us hostage.  We’ll have both daily and weekly battles, and monthly wars.

I plan to learn to shop frugally, using The Grocery Game and other coupons and coupon savers.  If that means shopping once a week instead of twice a month to save hundreds, I’ll work it into the above schedule, and we’ll learn math and stewardship along the way.  This will help towards paying off debt, creating an emergency fund, and buying our house.

In shopping frugally and stockpiling, I will cook more meals at home, thus helping with finances, weight loss, and glucose levels.

I will ask God to wake me each morning when He wants me to get up.  I’ll listen and obey.

I will seek His wisdom first each morning thru prayer and devotion, and will exercise for at least 30 minutes after that, daily.  I will do at least three outside activities with my kids each week (I would say more, but east Texas heat can be brutal!).

I will concede my leadership in EVERYTHING for leadership in only a few things.  And I will offer my services and time to large commitments only after consulting the Lord first, and getting His approval.

The last one may be as hard as the getting up early.  I love to be the center of attention!  Who doesn’t?  So, I love to be in leadership positions.  But, to be honest, with the other responsibilities the Lord has seen fit to lay on me, I don’t have the time for all the commitments I’ve previously made!  And why should I?  There are other, certainly more qualified, people out there to do some of the things I do!  I’m not complaining about them, but rather about my egotistical need to be at the head of every single thing in my life.  Its apparently a control issue!  WOW!  I just realized that I am a control freak!  LOL…don’t laugh if you already knew that!

So, Decently & In Order, that’s my new motto. (Notice it doesn’t say perfectly & in order!)

If I’m not around too much, that’s why.  Business, family, God….and not in that order.  Bear with me ~ I’m a work in progress.