Happy New Year, dear friends!
|Evolution of a cinnamon roll . . . yummy for a relaxing New Year's Day brunch.|
This past week, and especially the past couple of days, has been a time of reflection. Remembering the blessings of the past year, and offering up prayers for the new one.
And while I don't really make "resolutions," I certainly like to set some goals, make some plans, and dream a little.
Here's a little list, by no means comprehensive, or in particular order of importance, of things I've been thinking about.
Challenge the "shoulds"
We all need to heed inner promptings for doing good, or taking responsibility for doing things that need to be done (more on that later), but sometimes we need to challenge some of the things we think we "should" be doing.
For example, I spent a bit of time last year before Christmas looking for a couple of puzzles for us to do as a family over the holiday. I thought it would be fun to have a puzzle station, and envisioned us sitting around doing puzzles together, laughing and enjoying ourselves. Well, nobody was interested. We had a lot of fun doing other things, but not puzzles.
This year, I brought out one of the puzzles, and started sorting the 1000 pieces, hoping I would encourage others to join in as they saw it set up. Again, no takers.
So, somehow, I had it in my head that it was now my responsibility to do this puzzle myself this winter. After all, I couldn't "waste" the purchase of the puzzle. And I would show others how fun it really was!
It's sometimes not until you say some of these things out loud to yourself that you realize how ridiculous you're being. I don't want to sit for hours, alone, putting together a puzzle this winter! Back in the box it went. Maybe someday . . . or I will just give it away. It's okay.
I just returned a book to the bookcase that I've been struggling to read. I had this unspoken idea that I "had" to read it because someone else I know likes the author, and because it's considered a classic. I wasn't really enjoying it. Who says I "should" read this? Am I trying to impress someone?
The good thing about challenging the "shoulds" is that the sooner you identify those unspoken assumptions, the sooner you can just laugh and let them go. I'm now reading a book I really enjoy.
What about you? Are the "shoulds" that are not really "shoulds" dictating what you do?
I just discovered a little trick that will make my morning so much easier.
I like our bed sheets tucked in; my husband doesn't. I finally gave up, and just lay the sheet over the bed, followed by the comforter. The problem is, every morning I have to remove everything, and re-lay the sheet neatly all around the bed so that the edges are even (I hate looking at or getting into a messy bed).
So here's what I did: I trimmed the sheet down so that it was the exact size as the comforter on the sides and a little longer so that I could fold some over the top. After machine-hemming the raw edges, I took safety pins and pinned the sheet to the inside of the comforter, using six pins down each side. I didn't bother with pinning the bottom, and left the extra length at the top of the sheet to fold over the top of the comforter.
It took less than two minutes to pin. In the morning all I have to do is shake the comforter/sheet combo lightly over the top of the bed to reposition it, and fold the top of the sheet over the top edge of the comforter.
When it comes time to wash and remake the bed, I have less than 5 minutes work total to unpin and repin the sheet.
So easy, and it's more comfortable, too.
What are some everyday things that frustrate you? Is there a way to simplify how you go about them?
Just do it
I love a neat, clean house. I'm big into organizing and de-cluttering. Actual cleaning . . . not so much. The book and pot of tea beckon whenever I think of vacuuming. So I always have this little cloud hanging over my head as I go about my house. That little sinking feeling that says "You really need to mop this floor," "those mirrors really need to be shined up," "those bookshelves are really dusty."
I've posted before about Edith Schaeffer's words, "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will get nothing every time." It's true about a lot of things in life, and I've found it true about housework. I always feel that if I'm going to clean, I need to make a major production out of it, and really do a thorough job.
Just the thought of that wears me out, and sends me over to that beckoning book. Perfection or nothing, right?
I've learned that so many jobs can be done about 80% "perfectly" in about 10 minutes. I can mop the laundry room floor in 10 minutes, clean all the mirrors upstairs in 10 minutes, do a cursory but satisfactory dusting of several rooms in 10 minutes.
Sheesh. What was I whining about? Just do it.
The feeling of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of walking into a room and having it feel clean is so worth those 10 minutes. Ten minutes here, 10 minutes there . . . it all adds up and doesn't have to be an all-out production.
The same is true of all those nagging little jobs. Sewing on a button, making that phone call . . . it's so worth the 10 minutes to not have that nagging sense of undone things hanging over your head.
Set some goals
Realistic and not burdensome, so that you give up by the end of January. Here are some of my goals/dreams/plans for 2016:
*** Plan for a wedding in September. Yay! Definitely the highlight of the coming year.
|I forgot to take a picture until our lovely brunch was over, but here's a pic of one of the pair of champagne glasses we gifted our daughter and her fiancé for an engagement gift.|
*** Do a kitchen remodel/update.
*** Lose 10 pounds by March 19. (I gained back 5 of the 30 I lost last year, and never lost the remaining 5. I have a dress to fit into for a wedding in March.) My dream is to never have weight loss on my list of New Year's resolutions ever again. Hey, it's possible.
*** Continue to invest in my blog and blog friends. Praying about the focus and how much time I want to commit to it. As you bloggers know, blogging can easily eat up huge chunks of time. How to have a good balance.
*** Reading through the New Testament this year with a plan from Moody. These past two years I've read through the entire Bible twice (for the first time). It provided a wonderful overview, but I want to slow down and read more devotionally.
*** Break a "rule," learn/do something new, extend a kindness every day.
This has been on my list for several years now, and I really like the challenge. By breaking a "rule" I mean challenging the "shoulds" as mentioned above, those "rules" that really aren't. Along with this is being "nice." You know, go along to get along, when you should be speaking up. That deserves its own post.
I love to learn something new every day. Just yesterday we had black-eyed peas because I had heard that they are a tradition on New Year's for bringing luck. (I don't believe in "luck," but it's still a fun thing to do.) I learned that collard greens will bring you the "green stuff" (paper money), while the black-eyed peas bring the coins. Hunh. I should've served collard greens!!
|Black-eyed pea salad with balsamic dressing.|
And kindness expressed every day? Yes, yes, yes. There's nothing that will make you happier. Even if it's just sending an encouraging email or text. Do something.
So there you have it. My New Year's ramblings. What are some of your hopes and dreams for 2016?
Sharing at No Place Like Home.
Sharing at No Place Like Home.