Wowzers; last week I felt too wiped out to write much of anything. Even the thought of staying up late, listening to early 90’s rap, drinking wine and hammering out some Quick Takes seemed like another item on the ‘To Do’ list. But y’all stepped up in a big way! I had 113 link ups last week! That’s the highest amount ever since I was made the captain of the Cunard of link ups. Part of me feels like all I’ve been doing since last Friday was reading everyone’s great posts (oh, and some deep spiritual meditations and other edifying literature…totally). Here, in no particular order, are seven of my favorite Quick Takes from last week. (And keep up the good work! You never know when I might include your take in a future post! That’s an incentive right???)
1. From the Coalface – SMART Goals for Lent
The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and/or Relevant, Time based) criteria was new to me, and I like the way Lucy used it to outline her goals for Lent. How often I’ve said I’ll give up this or that but without any concrete ideas or steps, it was very easy for me to get off track. She give this example:
Read the books that have had been on my bedside table for the past 12 months… This is probably not the best approach to choosing Lenten reading but necessary for me.
S – Specific : There are 7 books and 40 days for Lent. This gives me about 5 days per book. Each book has already had a part of it read (this is what I do, I start a good book then find another book that’s great and never actually finish the first one.)
M- Measurable : I will post a blog on each book on the day I finish it to mark it off (this will help me keep track of how I am going and also if I have actually processed it).
A- Achievable: If I replace online reading with actual book reading I will fit it in.
R- Relevant : All these books are relevant to the spiritual life & growth in some way.
T- Time based: Every 5 days I will check to see how I am going through my reading pile to keep on track.
It sounds like a great system in general and I’m mentally filing it away for Advent and New Year’s Resolution time too.
2. Dyno-mom – Living Large or How to Fit Heaps of Kids in Tiny Houses
Melissa steps in with great advice on clearing out and maintaining order when you’ve got a lot of kids in a small house. You definitely want to take a read if, like me you made a resolution to clear out the clutter, or if you jumped on board the #40bagsin40days Lenten clean out bandwagon. Believe me, this women knows what she is talking about.
You are so gonna want to kill me. But really, you do not have the room for the knick-knacks that people keep all over the place. Visual clutter will stress you and physical clutter requires moving, dusting around, carrying for, and just looking at. It has better be freaking gorgeous or irreplaceable to justify space in your little house. I took my fragile things and I gave them to people I loved when I downsized. I called a good friend and gave her my brother’s dresser, which needed repairs. Her carpenter husband made it gorgeous and her equally gorgeous kids have it. I feel better knowing that it has a good home. If you are hoarding beautiful and useful things like a dragon, bless someone with it. Spread the love around a bit.You are allowed a couple things that are just for loving on. I have four.
Preach it woman! I refuse to let any of my kids start collections of anything ceramic, or non-useful, for this very reason.
Anne types out what happens in my head and I understand my jumbled thoughts more when I see the way she retells them. (She’s a great read on other days besides Friday too.)
So you can see that my life is not all that fancy and that I do not think Deep Thoughts. But I don’t feel terrible because it’s February, the month of wandering around in a circle caught in mental loops of hating the weather and believing that the month will never end. How can such a short month be so long? And taking even one day off from blogging left me feeling bereft and out of control. Spent the two days I didn’t blog thinking about how sad it was that I wasn’t blogging. For Lent, I’m going to blog more! Just kidding. How could I possibly blog more. You wouldn’t have time to read it, especially if you give up the Internet for Lent. Oh my word, please don’t do that! Just vow not to go see that movie or read that book, and eat less chocolate.
4. Tea and Tchotchkes – Seven Quick Takes v.8
Because sometimes you just want to look at funny/cute/ ‘That imagine will be seared into my brain forever’ pictures.
And there’s pug dogs!! You’ll want to squish all their faces! (Random fun fact: my spell check wants to turn ‘tchotchkes’ into either hotcakes, crotches or scotches.)
5. Martin Family Moments – Valentines, Skinny Jeans and PHILosophies
Colleen’s husband Phil sort of steals the show (or at least shares the spotlight with the interesting Mexican bathroom signage) in take #3. You’ll have to click-through to read it but I think he, and my husband, would teach NFP in exactly the same way. (Not together though cause that’d be kinda weird.)
6. Fumbling Toward Grace – 7 Ideas for Self-Care
If mama ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy. It’s the truth, but how often do we actually take care of ourselves so we can be happier and fulfill our vocations with joy, or at least less yelling and annoyance? Sarah has some great, simple suggestions that even a harried mom can squeeze into her day or week.
Nearly all of the women I polled said that they have found some way to get semi-consistent breaks from their children and families to have time alone or with friends. As I type this, Maggie is at preschool and Mary Cate and Charlie are in the child watch at the YMCA.
Friends, the YMCA has saved my sanity. If you have one in your area, I highly recommend it. The membership fee is a sliding scale based on income, and all programming costs also follow the sliding scale. The child watch takes kids 6 weeks to 12 years old, and members can drop them off for up to two hours at a time. Two whole hours. Some days I workout for an hour, then sauna and shower before I get them. Other times I will do household budgeting or meal planning, or read for pleasure or write.
I also second her suggestion about joining the YMCA in your town if you’re able. We go as a family two or three nights a week and it’s WONDERFUL. We get 90 minutes of FREE babysitting for the youngest two, and the older three either run/walk on the track, ride these fancy stationary bikes with video games, swim, or read in the lounge while I WALK IN PEACE BY MYSELF for almost that entire time. Or sometimes Tony and I can get in large chunks of UNINTERRUPTED conversation while walking around the track. It’s made these long, cold, dark winter evenings something more than three hours of me yelling at the kids to stop running around the house.
7. Restless Until I Rest in Thee – Snowmageddon, Residency Interviews, Graduation Anticipation, etc.
I’ve spent a good chunk of time around pain scales; surgery complications, L&D, ER visits, etc. WHERE WAS THIS SCALE????
It would have been so. much. easier. , SO MANY TIMES, if I could have just said, or allowed my child to point to the picture of “I am actively being mauled by a bear.” Agnes, you don’t know how many lives you’ve enriched by snapping and sharing this picture. Thank you.
What were your favorite reads of the week? Share them, along with any suggestions you have for joyfully offering up an intense desire for cheese and/or caramel.
Wow. So glad you found the SMART goals helpful too, Kelly. 3 days down, and 37 to go! Not that I’m counting…much.
I love those too! So simple and should-be-obvious but very practical. Thank you!
#7 YES. I’ll be taking that to the hospital for birth this time round.
My favorite reads this week? Definitely Sharon over at Mommy Verbs, http://www.mommyverbs.com/2015/02/validation-you-are-awesome/ Because sometimes, we want to get our “we’re awesome too” card punched! But from these link ups right here, it would have to be #11 Adam Introvert – he made my Valentine’s Day look like a walk in the park (and we went to dinner, waited two hours and received NOTHING to eat!!!) Happy Friday!
#2 is SPOT ON! We just went through a complete overhaul in our house (mainly due to the fact it is now on the market) and it is AMAZING. clean up is EASIER and FASTER. no is whining about it. and imaginations have exploded (minus a massive mess). it is great! our next house…i hope to achieve the same thing!
So much fun in one post! Thank you!
Love all those links–so much LOLing! (Or LingOL) My husband could teach that class too…
I’m trying to love my YMCA but the child care always separates my toddler from his older siblings, and that is worse for him than being separated from me. For now it just works best for me to go alone, and that happens way too infrequently!
thank you for sharing my blog as part of your 7 Quick Takes 😉 I’m glad that pain scale made you laugh…I swear I laugh out loud every time I read it…especially the “I see Jesus coming for me and I’m scared” and “blood is going to explode out of my face at any moment” lol –> these descriptions are soooo much better than the regular old pain scale!!!
I love the SMART acronym/tips. I will definitely be using that!
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