Consider: “How Should I Exercise Hospitality?”

This book is a quick encouragement designed to grow the practice of hospitality in our lives. Below is an excerpt from How Should I Exercise Hospitality? by Rebecca VanDoodewaard.

It also brings the blessing of skill. Practicing hospitality is the best way to learn how to do it well. As you discover what works best for your family, how to change your routine to fit food prep, how to keep conversation going…you will get better and better at it. the apostle tells us to “practice hospitality” because that is what all of us need — practice. Nobody is born a perfect host of hostess. We all have to learn. Consistent obedience is the best way to become skilled in opening your home and ministering to others… Like any skill, good hosting can be acquired. These skills can be taught; they can be learned; they can be mastered. Let’s practice!

 

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

Setting Up Your Home Office

You know life would be easier with a great workspace, but how do you make that happen? Here are a few simple steps to walk through when setting up a space for a home office, whether it be a complete room or a dedicated area.

Home Office DeskWhat will you be doing? What’s the goal? If you need a big workspace on which to spread papers, that will make a difference. If you just need a little bit of room for your laptop and planner, you will have more space for storage. Do you need to sit comfortably or alternate sitting and standing? Determine ahead of time what your needs are, and then your setup will be able to meet those needs.

What do you need in it? It helps to gather everything you want included in your office space before you start arranging. Similar to knowing the goal, this will help you see what needs to fit, and it will also mark your progress as you work through the pile. As you gather, think through different categories — supplies, tools, electronics, furniture, etc. — and sets of items — charge cords for each electronic piece, file cabinet for files, etc. Don’t throw stuff in that isn’t necessary, but do try to cover all that you will use.

Home Office ShelvesHow (and how often) will you use it? Just like in kitchen setup, how often and where you use things matters for where you put it. If you use something a lot, keep it handy. If you just need to access the markers occasionally, out of sight or in a drawer in the cabinet will work just fine. If you use something every time you sit down, go ahead and make a place for it on your desk top.

Notes:

  • When you are putting stuff away, sit down often and test your reach. It may look convenient when you are standing there, but it may not be so helpful when you actually try for it.
  • Contain like things, i.e., one box for pencils, one box for notepaper, one drawer for tools and another drawer for files.
  • Consider whether access or aesthetic is more important to you. If you can’t stand the sight of many things, go ahead and cover up as much as possible and keep your surface clean. It will be worth the extra reach for you. If you can handle a limited amount of visual clutter, pin things up and use open bins that are easy to get into when needed.Home Office Cords
  • If you don’t use it, don’t include it.
  • Use charge cord clips to keep cords neatly within reach, and use twist ties or velcro strips to coil power cords on the floor. This keeps cords usable where you need them but out of range of your feet.

Action Plan Refresh

The school year is starting! This time of year is also when you may have made plans for how things will run on the new schedule. You may have goals for a new school year. Although we have touched on action plans already this year, today I’d like to spend a few minutes more on the steps involved — hopefully making it even easier to do.

Now, first of all, a good action plan is based on a clear goal. You will be set up for success when you start by knowing exactly what you plan to achieve and have a deadline. If you don’t know specifically where you are going, it will be hard to get there. So if you need to clarify how you are stating your goal, now is the time to do it.

Once your goal is defined, you can spend a few minutes brainstorming.

  • What steps will help you get to your goal? What actions will help? What supplies are needed? What has to be done to start? What will it take to finish? Do you need any resources to support your effort (i.e., books, training, input from experts)? Write down any and all ideas you have. Try to think through all the aspects and requirements during this time, and get it all down on paper (or screen).
  • Next, take a minute to look at all you have noted. Evaluate which ideas will work the best and do the most. Pick out the cream of the crop until you have enough chosen to accomplish your goal but not more than you need to do. Your action plan should have what you need but not have distractions or wasted effort.
  • With this list, you can break the work into manageable pieces (or bites of the elephant) and set your timeline. A timeline can be either dedicating a set amount of time per week, with at least one waypoint to check progress; or it will be lining up steps one, two, three, etc. Sometimes it will be a combination of both.For instance, you may dedicate time each week to completing a Bible study book (and check halfway through to make sure you are halfway through the work). Or if you are making a quilt, your action plan will be a series of steps (choose pattern, buy fabric, cut, piece, etc.) in addition to time dedicated. Your timeline will depend on your goal.

The only step left is to schedule your timeline. Block out slots for the weekly time you plan to spend on your goal. Set a target date on your calendar for each step in your project. The schedule for your action plan may need to move as other things come up, but you have something to aim at and milestones to keep you on track.

If you would like an infographic summarizing these action plan steps, see below.

Action Plan sm

My hope is that this helps your success! Working through the steps to create an action plan will make it smoother and quicker each time. Breaking down what is needed makes the project more manageable. If you run into any snags or have any questions, please contact me and I am happy to help. Onward and upward!

Back to the Basics

So my plate has gotten a little full lately. You may know the feeling. The school year is starting back up. “Just one little thing” adds up. Legitimate priorities need to be handled. Projects are pending.

So what do we do? Panic? Shut down? Keep going until we collapse? No. No. No. It’s time to go back to basics.

  1. Take a deep breath. Panic never makes anything better.
  2. Speak truth to yourself. Now is not the time to forget what is true. We have been called by God to this day. He provides what we need to live as we are called to live today — bringing glory to God in all that we do. He is with His people as we live the life He has given us (Heb. 13:5-6).
  3. Get a handle on your responsibilities. Now look at what you have to do. Knowing ‘what’ is half the battle. An important part of that “knowing” is having it recorded. Trying to remember all the little things are driving you crazy. Pull out your to-do list and capture what is buzzing around in your head.
  4. Now map out a plan. Look at the priorities and put them in order. Look at your available time and block out sections to tackle what you need. Knowing ‘when’ to do  ‘what’ is another huge part of the battle.
  5. Do it. This is the final key. Work the plan. Follow the steps you have laid out. Get it done.

We can do this, in the grace God provides. Stay calm and confident and get it done.

Good Ideas: Paprika App

If you like to pick up recipes from friends or browse Pinterest for delicious new ideas, this is an option for you! The Paprika app is a great way to store various recipes you find online, as well as a helpful tool for using them in your kitchen and routine. If you would like to try it, please note that there is a cost (currently $4.99).

IMG_7095You can store all the recipes you find in one place. All those recipes you find on Pinterest or links emailed from friends — in one place. Each recipe can be categorized and rated as you like. It is not as convenient for the family recipe book or the notecards passed down from your grandmother, but you can also type those into the app database to use.

You can scale recipes. Once you have the recipe in the app, you can choose to make it for the servings listed or cut it in half or increase up to 100-fold. All this is without doing math, just changing the setting.

IMG_7094You can plan your menus. If you do your menu planning in the app, you can pull the recipe into your plan with one click. The plan includes up to three meals and snacks for each day, and you can view your plan by day, week or month.

You can track your grocery list. Once you have your meal plan set, you can add the ingredients you need to a grocery list. The items are pulled off your recipes, and you have the choice of de-selecting items you don’t need to get before adding everything to your grocery list in the app. Just like that.IMG_7093

You can track your pantry. For a little more effort, you can keep track of what you have on hand and won’t need to add to the grocery list. The app will keep those off the grocery list when you carry over the recipe ingredients for your meal plan. You’ll also know what you have to use without a trip to the grocery store.

It’s a beautiful tool, whether you just use the recipe storage or max out all the options. More information on it can be found here and here.

If you already use this app, how has it helped you and what tips do you have to add?