Celebrating Milestones

Funnily enough, I am writing this while a birthday cake is in the oven! It is a week early, because of the work travel schedule, but we are going to celebrate regardless.

Why?

One reason is simply because it’s an opportunity to show love. Birthdays, holidays, graduations, and more, are a special reason to show special favor to those who are important to you. A generous spirit doesn’t need a reason to give, but it will also make the most of the opportunities that are there! For example, the first day of each season can be a time to stop and enjoy the things special to it. First snow may be a snow fort afternoon for the whole family followed by steaming hot cocoa. First day of spring could have you making bouquets to cheer up the neighbors.

Another reason would be to reflect priorities. A day set apart to honor our mothers and fathers is a time to show them how much we love and appreciate them. A wedding anniversary can do the same thing, reminding us to say again how much we cherish our spouses. Setting aside normal routine to celebrate shows that special value.

Sometimes we just like the opportunity to remember what God has done. My husband and I enjoy repeating our first four dates on the anniversaries. It doesn’t always work in the schedule, but when it does, we have a special time of memories from those first weeks together. Celebrating a conversion anniversary would also be a reminder of God’s work. He does so much, it won’t take long to find an opportunity for this one either!

Celebrations can be encouragement as well. A special dinner or activity when your child gets their first “real” job shows how valuable hard work and responsibility is. Graduation from high school can be a celebration that still looks forward to the next stage. You made it through these years, and now you can tackle those.

This applies to small milestones also. A first book read alone could lead to a trip to the bookstore. The first meal planned, cooked, and served might be followed by a vase of flowers.

Knowing that a celebration will likely be coming can help your family push through the struggle, because you’re pulling for them and love sharing the joy when it is done. A cheerleader is a precious support.

So what do you have to celebrate today?

Consider: “The Gospel Comes with a House Key”

Rosaria Butterfield has published a book on “radically ordinary hospitality” this year. Her passion for ministry as a family from the home is described through a number of personal stories and supported by her reasoning for investing in that form of ministry. Below are two short quotations from The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield:

God intends this blessing to come from you. And real Christian hospitality that creates real Christian community expresses authentic Christianity in deep and abiding ways to a world that thinks we are hypocrites.

There are, of course, other ways you can use your days, your time, your money, and your home. But opening your front door and greeting neighbors with soup, bread, and the words of Jesus are the most important. Who knows but that this simple task of sharing the gospel where you are, wherever you are, might just be used by God to change the world?

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not blanket endorsements or paid publicity.

Good Ideas: 30/30 App

We’ve talked before about how important and how helpful routines are in our daily and weekly lives. Well, here is an app for that! A friend shared this great idea, and it has been fun to play around with the 30/30 app* since then.

fullsizeoutput_e65The tool lets you have routines pre-set and ready to hit Play on the timer. Each routine has its own folder, so you can create one for first thing in the morning, one for after lunch, one for major house cleaning, one for office work, etc.

You build the routine as individual task blocks, in order, with a set time for each. You can change the order or skip a task, as your daily needs change. The editing is quite easy, and then you’re ready to use it!

The prompts/alarms will let you know it’s time to move on to the next thing, which will help keep you motivated. You also won’t need to keep checking the clock to time yourself as you go.

fullsizeoutput_e68However, life isn’t always ideal. There is a pause button, if you need to take a break for an urgent phone call or to bind up a wound, so flexibility is built in for you. If you are running ahead of schedule, you can move on to the next task with just one touch. If you have a tight schedule one day, you can shorten the pre-set time with one touch also.

fullsizeoutput_e66You are able to change settings for each routine, giving you even more control over your plan. If you are running multiple loads of laundry, you can set an auto-loop to remind you to switch loads every hour. If you are working at a desk, you can set the loop to remind you to get up and walk around every hour also.

This app would be good for those who struggle to stay on task and avoid distractions. It will also be helpful in building habits that you would like in your day. Planning out the order and time slots, and then walking through them, will help you thoughtfully create habits that help you make the best use of time.

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fullsizeoutput_e63How exactly might you do this? Well, let’s talk through an example. The image on the left is an illustration of one possible morning routine. If you would like to start each day with devotions first, you can put that at the top of the list (pink box in the example). As soon as you wake up and get settled in your spot, you pull up the Morning set in the app and hit the Play symbol. You can forget about watching the clock now and enjoy the focused time with God and in the Word.

When it is time to get moving and get breakfast (green box) ready, the timer will go off. Off you go, with a new timer running to keep you on track.

If you finish breakfast a few minutes early, no problem. Tap the done button, and your timer will move to the next task, Get Ready (red task). Into the shower you go.

Once you are ready for the day and/or the timer has gone off, you switch to planning mode (yellow task). Now is your time to focus on the day and schedule and immediate priorities so you know what your path is intended to be for the day.

Finally, you move on to the last task, your daily cleaning routine for the morning. You are racing the timer to get the maintenance work done, but the neighbor called right in the middle of wiping down counters. You press Pause to handle the rescheduled carpool schedule, then press Play to resume your routine. Now when the timer goes off, you know you’ve done what you needed to and it is time to tackle your plan for the day.

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Enjoy!

* Unfortunately, the app described here is only available for Apple devices. There is a similar app for Android called Do Now.

What To Do When

Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Why on earth would you work outside before building yourself a house?

Well, you can live in a tent while you till and plant, and then you have a home-building project to keep you busy while you wait for the crop to ripen. Now you have a house and a harvest. The other way around leaves you hungry in a cozy home.

The order you work on projects, or tasks, or toward goals, matters most of the time.

Stagger your progress. If I know I have to make brownies and take a shower before heading to a party, wouldn’t it make sense to mix up the brownies first? Then I can get ready while the brownies bake.

If you have multiple steps for a project and you know you will have to wait on others along the way, plan out when you will do each one and where you will have to wait. Get the ball rolling, and then you can turn your attention to other priorities while you wait for a response. After you get what you need in response, move to the next step until you have to wait again. You will be able to keep moving along your timeline and tend to other tasks at the same time.

For another simple example, we can get a lot done in between running loads of laundry, but we do have to put a load in the washing machine to start. But if we wait until it has to be done to put it in, we’re looking at a frustrating wait.

Taking a minute or two to think through the overall plan will pay off for you. Stepping back to look at the big picture will help you cut out the unpleasant surprises and unexpected delays that will prevent you from accomplishing your goal on time. Making a plan and walking through steps in the best order will pay off for you.

Consider: “The True Woman”

This is not a new book, but it contains a lot of timeless truth. Today we have an short piece from The True Woman by Susan Hunt:

Proverbs 31 reaches its zenith with these words: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

This perspective of womanhood is one every Christian woman should grab and cling to tenaciously. We are inundated with deformed, debilitating views of womanhood. This image is refreshing and realistic for the woman of biblical faith. Whatever her age, appearance, or situation, this woman is ultimately one who fearlessly fears the Lord…

Wisdom is the link between fear of the Lord and a virtuous life…

Wisdom begins with a reverential awe of God as He is revealed in Scripture. This opens the way to view the world and our place in it through the lens of God’s revealed will. The more we see life through this lens, the clearer our perception of how to live out God’s principles in daily life.

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.