Simplifying By Planning

It’s time for my weekly evaluation. You want to join me? I have pulled out my small planning notebook (which is nothing more than a simple spiral journal, that lays out on the counter throughout the week), my pencil, monthly menu plan, and I will now set to work. This is something I want to start sharing with you and encouraging you towards the same purpose, if you are feeling disorganized or overwhelmed, desiring simplicity!

Every Sunday night or Monday morning, as time and events permit, I spend a 1/2 hour or so in prayer and seeking wisdom and direction from the Lord for my week. My passion is to live purposefully, making sure I am staying focused on my priorities in this season. It is so easy to get distracted with other good things, but not necessarily the best!

This is one of the most important steps towards simplifying my life. Simplifying starts with planning…pray and plan.

My planning includes evaluation, to-do, and a menu plan with preparation steps!

A great resource: Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney and daughters. This book was one of the means of getting me inspired originally for planning and balancing my priorities whatever season of life. I highly recommend it!

EVALUATION

What are your priorities in this season of life? Make a list and weekly evaluate how you can do one thing to grow in that area this week.

My list:

-Relationship with the Lord/Growing in Godliness
-Loving my family - serving my husband
-Simplifying my life/Managing my household well - what is one thing that is out of balance or needs attention this week?
- Ministry to Others/Serving in the Church- how can seek to minister to one person this week? Whether it be a brother or sister in the body, or an unsaved neighbor, how can I shine my light and minister from the home or by going forth as a family to minister? How can I use my gifts to serve the body of Christ?

Your list may be different, depending upon the season of life, but each of us should have a list and seek to be growing and living purposefully for the Lord by evaluating and seeking to take simple steps.

1. How is my relationship with the Lord? Is there any area of sin that has not been dealt with? How can I grow this week?

This week I am reminded a fresh of the importance of rising early to spend with the Lord. I have learned the hard way…if I have not made myself happy in the Lord things are not happy for my household! My sister and I are keeping each other accountable and have started the 6:00AM club. Together we are rising early to seek the Lord’s face. It may not work for every season, but now that my sweet little one has returned to her sleeping through the night routaine, I rejoice at the renewed strength to seek the Lord. Whatever your season, find the time and set a goal for yourself! Seek accountability if necessary. It works!

2. How can I serve my husband this week? For some of you this could be, how can I serve my father? Brothers? Keep it simple. One thing.

Wednesday is our anniversary! We are leaving Karis with the grandparents, and have planned a bike ride and picnic around a local lake, and then probably walking downtown Portland and have dinner. It will be a blessing to spend the day with my man!

3. What is one area I can simplify this week? The goal of simplifying is to maintain a peaceful and refreshing home and atmosphere. A place of rest and refreshment for husband and family. If I have too much stuff to manage so my life is a frenzy, I must evaluate what must go. This could be something that simply needs reorganization in my life.

This past week I went through Karis’ clothes for the next season, determining what I needed for upcoming garage sale trips. I thought I needed a lot more summer clothes, but surprisingly enough, she had more than I had remembered receiving. Thank you Lord! I made a small list, mainly pajamas! Simplifying by organizing, knowing what you have and what you need, is very helpful.

This week I wanted to simplify by including preparation steps in my weekly menu planning for each day in order to stay more on top of soaking and dethawing food items for our meals. For example, my menu looks like this for Wednesday:

Wednesday
Preparation: Soak oats (for Thurs breakfast), cook hard boiled eggs (for lunch), remove refried beans & tortillas from freezer (for Thurs), soak homemade bread (to bake on Thurs)

These are things I do in the morning as I get going on breakfast and my morning routine. Just thinking ahead so I don’t have a last minute mad rush and not have proper preparations made for meals. I still blow it sometimes, but this simplifying step is sending me in the right direction!

4. How can I seek to minister to one person this week? This may be inviting someone over for tea and fellowship, sending a note of encouragement to a friend, committing to praying for a need every day. Remember…just one thing.

This week…encourage a dear sister in the Lord, welcome our new neighbors into the neighborhood (more on this to come!)

After my evaluation, I map out a simple to-do list for the week. I write a little check box by each item. After listing the items for the week, I try to divide the different tasks throughout the week, writing the day by it to which I hope to complete the task (Plant tomatoes – Thursday, Bake Bread – Tuesday, etc).and finally make out my weekly menu plan and preparation steps! My husband and I compare schedules to make sure we maintain communication with different events, discussing which to do and which to decline. Bathe it all in prayer and I am ready for the week! Commit it to the Lord, making sure my commitments and plans are in line with the priorities that are in my life right now.

Ps. 37:5
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

2 Cor. 13:5
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?”

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

19 Responses to Simplifying By Planning

  1. Chrissy June 18, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    great post. I am interested in the things you might do with your little one. DO you ahve some activity plan for her during your day or does she just go with the flow with you and learn from those things. I have a little one too and was curious.

  2. dorothy May 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a couple of weeks. I found you through Nourishing Traditions. This post, along with my pastor’s message from this morning, spoke directly to me. The Lord used it to speak right to my heart about his calling on my life as wife, mother, homeschooler…Thanks.

  3. Elaine May 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Lindsay,
    You are a wise young woman beyond your years and I am grateful that you share, not only your recipies, but your heart. Your “weekly evaluation” entry really spoke to me and it’s just what I need to implement in my life.
    After being diagnosed with a health issue back in August 2007, I have been researching much on nutrition, especially proper preparation of whole foods (as in Nourishing Traditons). At times, between researching, daily life with my husband and 3 boys, and cooking a whole new way I have felt very overwhelmed and obsessed by it all even though I love being a homemaker. Thank you for helping me understand how important it is to plan my weeks with God’s perspective and His will in mind!

  4. Kate May 21, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    hey lindsay!

    Typically I just leave my babes in just a onesie and a diaper overnight during the summer. I received TONS of those pull on pants (the ones in a 3 pack) at our baby shower. I was never crazy about them, or found anything to pair w/them so, I put them aside for pj’s lol.

    So I’ll put a pair of those on at night if it’s a chillier nite. I usually turn the air vents off in the children’s room. So that it’s not so cold in their rooms.

    I also buy those $5 t-shirts from the Gap or Old Navy, voila simple pj’s, well I guess that would make it a nightshirt!

    BTW, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I pray you both had a great day!

  5. Linds May 21, 2008 at 5:25 am #

    Thanks for this post. It was great encouragement to get back in the word and have a more consistent prayer time. I think my little one is going to finally start sleeping through the night again after a growth spurt, i need to get back to the 6 AM club.

  6. Sharon May 20, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    Wed is our annversary too! We are going to use a Olive Gardens gift certificate that we recieved for Christmas last year.

  7. Mrs. Taft May 20, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    Beautiful post, and a good reminder.

  8. Madeleine May 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm #

    wonderful post! thank you for this encouragement! blessings, myunghee

  9. Megan May 20, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    Can I join your 6:00AM club? That’s when my alarm goes off too :)

    • Lindsay May 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

      Bring it on! The 6:00AM club is open to all!

    • Kate May 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

      Can we make it 4 am? That’s when mine goes off lol. Prayer time, exercise, reading…the most time I have to myself all day is at 4 am.

  10. ElizabethSue May 20, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    Thank you for the lovely post full of great ideas!

  11. Andrea May 20, 2008 at 9:58 am #

    This is really nice. Thank you for the reminder to bathe our weekly (or daily) plans in the Lord, focus on ONE thing to do for ministry this week, and especially #3! Sometimes, I see what new thing I can ADD to my life each week then I wonder why things get crazier and crazier! It’s also nice to know that I don’t have to have some sort of expensive organizer to have an organized life. I also really like familyorganizer.com and their Christian Family organizer. This is perfect timing for me as my schedule is about to change for the summer. Keeping things simple and staying consistant and productive is just where I want to be. Thank you!

  12. Dana May 20, 2008 at 6:28 am #

    Nice post. I think becoming more organized and simplifying the way my family lives has always been a goal…A journal might be helpful to me. Thanks for your ideas!
    What’s dethawing? Freezing?

  13. Lee May 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    Wow! This is exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so convicting. I suffer from SuperMom syndrome. Not that I can do it all, but I try. I’ve found lately that the more I can simply and focus, the smoother our household runs, the happier my children are, the more connected my marriage is. Thanks!

  14. Mrs. Mordecai May 19, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m working on getting organized right now and what an inspiration it is to see someone else actually doing it!

  15. Kate May 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Husband?
    Candlelight dinner? New lingerie? New candles? new linens
    Karis overnite w/family?
    Aaron’s favorite meal?
    Night away at a hotel?
    Simply asking what he wants?

    • Lindsay May 20, 2008 at 6:24 am #

      Kate, thanks for the ideas. We actually do have a wonderful day planned. Karis is going to the family’s for the day, and we are going out biking, picnic, and the like, as long as the weather proves nice. I was just thinking of some small gift or something…I try to ask him on a weekly basis, how can I serve you this week? He couldn’t think of anything this week, so I was trying to be creative. ;)

  16. Lauren May 19, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    Great post! I’m going to have to save this and look over it tonight when I have more sanity :O)