Today, on the final Wednesday of November, we gather to share our routines with you. What a blessing this has been to share with my friends!
Three years ago, this post would have looked very different for our family.
Same bedtime every night. Same nap times. Same morning routine.
Because with three babies under four, it was so important to focus on stability.
Now that it’s established, routines are so important (especially to my child with autism —he thrives on consistency), yet every day (especially during this season) could look very differently.
To some families, dinner around the table every night is HUGE. Unfortunately, for us, in this season of life, it’s not always possible.
Instead, every morning, we try to gather around our island to share, grab a bite to eat for breakfast, and share our favorite devotional. Of course, it doesn’t always happen like that, but it’s always my goal. I knew at the beginning of this school year, with dance, photography and basketball, things would look a little different and breakfast together would have to be something we made a priority.
It’s ironic that this post is coming out this week because just Sunday night, I told my kids, tonight is one of TWO nights this week we will all be together at bedtime so we are going to enjoy reading books! 😉 And sadly, that’s the truth. Monday nights, I have dance and Russ has late practice so we have a beautiful college student that feeds the kids and puts them to bed and it is the BIGGEST blessing to our family! I feel so confident when I head to dance knowing the children are taken care of, loved on so deeply and that they, too, LOVE seeing Bess! Cray even ran and gave her a hug when he saw her last night!
A long time ago, I remember the Nester talking about finding space for what’s important to your family. And if there is something you can outsource, DO IT. And so in this fall season, this is what I outsource. We pay someone to clean our house. And it has changed my life. Now, we still have to do the day to day type things—laundry, cleaning up the kitchen,etc. BUT knowing for JUST these couple of months, we have two sweet girls that alternate cleaning FORCES me, who is maybe not so organized all the time to CLEAN UP! I pick up so much for them and then they take care of the things that I’m really so bad at it.
Financially, we sacrifice in other areas so that it fits in our small budget. And doing this one thing, frees me up to focus my time here with you, editing or meeting with clients, and extra photography sessions that normally, I would not have time for…it is another huge huge blessing in our lives that we are thankful for daily. It gives me peace to know that although this is something I struggle at doing for our family in my role as a mother, I have help. And I’m not afraid to ask for that help.
I remember Eileen sharing one night that before she goes to bed every night she and Luke take fifteen minutes to pick up. I also texted a friend late one night with a cry for help: “How do you keep up with all of it!?” And she replied, “A laundry basket.” So I combined those two ideas and most nights, that’s how I’ll get all the same things up that the kiddos did not grab and I’ll put it at the bottom of the steps for everyone to sort the next morning! That one little thing has helped so much! Jessica cleans her kitchen every night and sets her coffee and it, too, just helps set the tone for the next day.
When I had the ideas for this post swirling around, I knew I should have written them down. I get so excited and so expectant to share with you here that so many ideas come and then when it comes time to actually write the post, I forget! And you know how important authenticity is to me. When you come here, I hope you leave feeling encouraged. I hope you know how much your presence means to each of us and how your kind words give us life.
I hope you know how much we seek His guidance and His desires for our lives.
This morning, the lyrics that have been running through my head have been about “the secret place.” And no routine is complete without the time in His presence, His word, reading His life giving words.
And so often we think it’s what we can take from it, what we “get” from a sermon, and we maybe miss the worship that speaks. Our minds so often wander and we lose focus on whose we are. And those days my plan and routine does not happen like I intended and the thing that falls by the wayside is the time in that Secret Place, I can tell.
I feel exhausted, behind, and scattered.
But His Word, it centers me.
It points me back to His plan and His purpose.
I have started a study by Jen Wilkin on Genesis and the study of Creation and it excites me. I love to learn and I love the way she forces you to dig in and learn the motives, study the words, and research the aspects of its impact on the Gospel.
So bedtime, mealtime, cleaning, these are all important but knowing that my kids know Him, know His desires are really what motivates us.
So if we miss bedtime, we stay up until ten because we are at a basketball tournament, then we know it is okay. It is not an everyday thing and we make up for it the next week and get back to the 7:00 bedtime. But here’s what happens. When I start to think it is not okay and we are not focused on our own family, I may open social media to see someone else that has their kids in bed and enjoying peace and quiet with her husband. I may open the app to see another home featured in a magazine and wonder why I have not gotten that phone call. And all of a sudden instead of being intentional while I am with my family and enjoying fellowship, my mind starts to wander.
It is more than routine. It is an intentional mindset to run our race…the specific one God laid out for you and for me. And as we run that race TOGETHER, that along the way, we pat each other on the back, we stand on the sidelines and cheer the loudest.
We jump and down and GET SO EXCITED that SHE is succeeding in the path that God intended!
WHAT A JOY!
Seeing someone else use the gifts God created specifically for her –yes!!
So run your race today, friend. And run it exactly as He intended.
He’s got this.
He’s got YOU.