Thursday, July 24, 2014

A to Z Blogging T -- Making a To-Don't List

To-Don’t List, How to Make 

Making a “to do” list is something most of us do on a regular basis. It’s a way to keep track of the regular and out-of-the-ordinary tasks we intend to accomplish on any given day.

But what do you do with your “to-do” list when the unexpected happens? (I’ve heard the question, “Do you know how to make God laugh?” and the answer, “Tell him you’ve got a plan.”) Sometimes God has something in mind for our day besides our plan!

Whether you wake up with the worst summer cold you’ve had in years, or your kids wake you up in the middle of the night vomiting, or a friend needs you to take her to the doctor, or the electricity is off all day or your neighbor has to take her husband to the hospital and needs you to watch her kids…well, the things on your “to-do” list are just not going to happen!

When a crisis hits, instead of stressing yourself out trying to complete your “to-do” list, it’s time to make a “to-don’t” list.

A “to-don’t” list consists of the tasks you do not need to do that day.
  •  Put “grocery shopping,” on your “to-don’t” list by asking your husband to bring home take out for supper.
  • “Cook supper” is a “to-don’t” when you have a frozen casserole you can take out of the freezer.
  • “Pay bills” can be put off when you plan to at least write them out a week before they are due.
  • Vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning out the closet can be put on the “to-don’t” list very easily (I sometimes do that even when I’m not sick!).
  • Obviously meetings and other “out of the house” appointments will probably not get done; just be sure to call the appropriate person to let them know of your change in plans.
If you are the type of person who just cannot go through a day without a list (sheepishly raising my hand), the tasks on your “to-do” list should be: Sleep. Take vitamins. Cuddle with kids. Help my neighbor.

Being able to cross things off your “to-do” list requires planning ahead.
  • Plan to pay your bills—or at least write them out and put them in the envelope with a stamp—a few days ahead of when they’re due, so you don’t have to fit that in on a hectic day to avoid a service charge.
  • Shop ahead and be sure to have the basics on hand. Depending on your family situation, it might be vital to have diapers and wipes on hand. Or if your family seems to catch every bug going through, have over-the-counter medications and comfort foods on hand. If a neighbor is in poor health and often calls you to take her to the doctor or hospital, make a mental note of a few things you can stick in your purse, to do while waiting (for example, keep greeting cards in your purse so you can write out birthday and anniversary cards for the month ahead, or your current knitting project or magazines you haven’t gotten to read yet).
  • When you cook, ask yourself if you can easily double or triple the recipe, freezing the extras for a day when you’re under the weather and don’t feel like cooking, or to share with a sick neighbor.
  • Take inventory of your pantry. Do you have the ingredients to make at least a few basic recipes, in case a crisis of some kind prevents you from going to the grocery store? Do you have some comfort foods, like canned soup or pudding mix, ready to make?

A “to-do” list is vital to keep us focused most days…but a “to-don’t” list can be just as vital on days when “real life” steps in.

Have you ever made a “to-don’t” list? What would be on it?

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Check it out! 

A to Z Blogging S

Songs, My Favorite Christian

I love listening to Christian music (80’s music is my second choice!)! The positive and inspiring lyrics make me feel, well, positive and inspired!

Here are a few of my favorite Christian songs and links to them on YouTube. I pray that you will find comfort, hope and encouragement in them, as I do. 

"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin

This song reminds me of my grandparents; both had many physical ailments before they died. I miss them, but have joy in knowing that their "chains are gone." 

"He Never Sleeps" by Don Moen

I like to listen to this song when I'm overwhelmed by reminds me that God is always watching, and that He never gets tired of hearing from me. 

"Still" by Hillsong

The beautiful words and music of this song never fail to calm me when I'm in the midst of life's storms--literal and figurative storms. 

"Hurricane" by Natalie Grant

When I feel like my life is a hurricane, these lyrics remind me that I'm not alone--God is right here with me. 

"Write Your Story" by Francesca Battistelli

Even when we don't know where life is taking us, we can be confident that the Lord is with us when we invite Him to write His story on our hearts. 

And for fun, here's a classic like you've never seen it--Pachelbel's Canon in D by The Piano Guys

And one more, for everyone who loved the 80's

What is your favorite Christian song? Please share it in the comments section! 

A to Z Blogging--R is for Rest

Rest--Making Sundays a Day Of 
“And on the seventh day, God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.”
Genesis 2:2-3

God certainly did not need to rest, even after He did the unimaginable work of creating…well, everything! But His Word said that He did rest. He did this to set an example for us; we, too, need to rest. We need a day to rest physically and emotionally from the day-to-day stresses and happenings in our lives. We need a day to focus on Him and His teaching and His blessings. We need (NOT just on Sundays!) a day to worship, to pray, to seek His will in our lives. We need time to relax and refresh ourselves for the next week.

I decided to make Sunday a “day of rest” for me and my family about 15 years ago. We attend church every Sunday, and when we lived 25 miles from the grocery store I usually did some grocery shopping on Sunday. But I did not cook or clean or do any other projects; I spent time focusing on the Lord and His Word, spending time with my family and maybe indulging in a rare nap. I still do this as much as possible and find that it does prepare me for the following week. (If, for some reason, I can’t take Sunday as a day of rest, I try to take another day, or at least part of the day, to focus on the Lord and rest.

Please note that I do not view Sunday as a day full of rules as to what I can or cannot do. The ancient Jews debated over how far they were “legally” allowed to walk, or if they could pull an animal out of the well on Sunday, or had to let it die, as pulling it out was “work.” Some Sundays I do more than others; the important thing is that I focus on the Lord on that day and do what refreshes and renews me for the week ahead.

How can you make Sunday a day of rest for you and your family?  

  First of all, talk with your family about the new Sunday routine. The kids won’t have any chores (yay!) besides taking care of animals. No “honey-do’s” for your spouse either (yay!). Remind them that you won’t be cooking (yay!); they can eat leftovers or maybe it will be a day to order pizza.

·         Talk with your family about what a “day of rest” means. It’s not just a day to relax, but a day to spend more time with the Lord, praying, in Bible study, worshiping Him. Help your kids to plan how they will spend the day; maybe an hour of Bible study and journaling, writing out Bible verses to memorize, making a prayer list, making a list of things God has done for them, etc. Small kids will need more direction; you could read and discuss a Bible story together and then ask them to draw a picture about what you read and talked about.

·         Plan family activities, too. Maybe you’ll prepare a meal together or take a walk or visit members of your congregation who cannot get out. Just remember your goal to honor the Lord and refresh yourself for the upcoming week.

·         Plan ahead for what you will do! Gather your Bible and other study tools, or a devotion book. Will you update your prayer list? Journal about how God has spoken to you? List the things that you are thankful for?  Take a long walk by yourself, photographing evidence of God’s work? Take a walk or a long bubble bath?

·        Prepare your home. On Saturday, make sure there are clean towels and something in the house to eat, even if leftovers. Clear out the dishwasher and take out the trash, so it’s easy for everyone to pick up after themselves on Sunday.

·         If waking up to a messy house on Monday gets your week off to a bad start, spend a few minutes on Sunday night picking up—make it a family activity, maybe before you enjoy a treat together and talk about the day and the upcoming week.

·         If making Sunday a “day of rest” is a major change for your family, be prepared for some rough spots. You might get requests for supper or complaints that a favorite shirt is not clean. Gently remind your family of the “day of rest” rules; maybe they’ll decide to do their own laundry or cook for themselves, or maybe they’ll make do. Don’t give up! After a few weeks everyone will adapt, and I bet you’ll come to cherish your day of rest as I do.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”
Exodus 20:8-10

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Nebraska Family Times . Check it out!