Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Routine Randomness?

People often assume our family  is either "total chaos" or "run drill Sgt style," when they hear that I have a largish family, bake bread, homeschool et al. It's neither.

I confess....years ago....when the older ones were younger, I had a schedule, charts, 15 min  color coded  blocks of time.....and by golly the kids stuck to my schedule.... I created MOTH schedules before MOTH was around. ::snort::  It worked well for us. I'm not mocking you if that is the season you are in. Several CEOs told me rivaled their corporate charts.  I THOUGHT that we needed a LOT of structure in order to "maintain control" with a large family. As time went on, it became apparent I would have to give up my tendency towards perfectionism or risk making my family neurotic.  Enough said.

I also noted that we weren't having FUN or ENJOYING school or family life...we were plowing through life to keep on time with my chart.

Now we have a routine. We have flexibility. We may not start our routine at the same time, every day...and we may not end at the same time...but we love the time to explore, to pick up and rush out when the need arises, to work straight through my scheduled breaks because we're on a roll and we'll play longer later...that sort of thing....and it works FOR US. We really aren't living a chaotic life. We're doing quite well, thank you....even if it SEEMS, from the outside, that we're "unstructured"...we've got a plan. ::snort::  On the other hand, we're really not maintaining a strict structure these days.

Today for instance.....I needed to bake and I needed to school and I wanted to go say goodbye to a Chaplain deploying and his family (6 weeks and my deployment buddy will be back)....

I got up, spent time in the word, put on work out clothes, started a load of laundry (routine), jumped on the bike (practiced one of the retreat sessions - figure if I can speak it while hyperventilating I'll be able to do it at the retreat ::snort::), hung the laundry, and started yeast soaking, while I jumped in the shower.

I ground flour and set it all to sponge, while we ate breakfast. While the boys did dishes (routine), I turned this....

Into this - 2 loaves of Seven grain bread, 1 Italian loaf and a pan of Cinnamon rolls (all from the same recipe)

Sat the loaves in a warm oven and began couch school. Within an hour couch school was done for the day and we had these on the cooling rack.

We had just enough time to do table school. Then the younger three and I rushed out the door to go to the base's passenger terminal.  The kids enjoyed the last play date with Ricky they'll enjoy for six weeks. We said our goodbyes. We grabbed lunch, stopped by the post office, dropped off a DVD at the library, picked up more soft foods at the commissary for Jared, and looked around for  items to put in packages for Mike.

We got home, put things away.....had a nice dinner - Shepherd's Pie (I'd started potatoes in the crock pot this a.m. and only had to mash them and throw together the filling....this recipe is below the bread recipe so invariably I crave this on days we're baking LOL ), skyped with Mike briefly, and are now working on a new family project.  THIS will keep us involved on long, lonely evenings.

Our goal is to finish  in a week or so....and that will be tough as our champion puzzle workers are NOT HERE.....it's time for a new generation to step up.

Is it chaotic? I suppose it's a bit more chaotic than some enjoy....but honestly...we got a FULL day of school done, baking, house is clean, visited with friends and had family time.

Why do I share? It just seemed like a good time to share a candid view of how it works around here. No, we don't have a firm, 15 min block schedule these days....but that doesn't mean we aren't able to accomplish a lot. I've been getting a lot of, "how do you do it?" questions again....and it seems that offering a candid look is helpful. It's not always pretty - but that's life. We don't "do it all," we do the things that God has impressed on us are important for THIS season...and it works...  A key point seems to be that I'm focused. I get up and get moving....the day really is centered around the BIG ROCKS...relationship with God, family, school, ministry.....and yet it's the BIG ROCKS that bring fulfillment to our hearts.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Unknown said...

Thanks for insight into your daily routine. We are working toward a more relaxed schedule for our home as well with one child and two disabled adults in my household I have to be able to bend and let the rest go - a character trait I'm learning with God's grace. You are such an encouragement to me!!! God bless.

Anonymous said...

Sis: Thanks we love you tons. love/prayers - Mom T.

Hey, dig the word verification I get to use for this post...... UNDUL kinda fits your post I'd say. :):):)

Darshia said...

Really cool! Thanks for sharing. I love productive, full days like that...very satisfying.

Paula said...

I need more routine...schedules I never have been able to do--love making them, but can't follow for more than one day!
I've cut back on blog reading, but I love catching up on your experiences and insights when I can steal a few moments!

Kim said...

I loved the story of your lifestyle. I'm practicing letting God make our day, rather than me making it. Letting Him remind me of what should be done. Then I have the energy to do it and enjoy it. Still practicing! And...your family is NOT chaotic. Your kids have self-control, respect for you and learning it for each other. And God stabelizes you. THAT's what I got from our wonderful trip to your home in Feb! Sooo long ago! Miss you!!!

Stephanie said...

Oh DeEtta. How I wish I would have gleaned more wisdom from you when we lived in the same town! I love how your family works...your days seem wonderfully full. I find so much encouragement when I peek into your life. Thank you for being open and honest about your days!

And tell me. HOW do you ignore the looks and comments people throw your way? I start to hear bits and pieces, and then I start to question what we do...I HATE that. I know that God governs my house and I cannot listen to the gripes of others, but it is so hard sometimes...

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Kim - you encourage me. LOL I love your thoughts - YES - a routine with the flexibility to let God remind you of the things that are essential. Love it.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

{{{Stephanie}}} It IS hard sometimes.....very hard. The key, for me, is to pray over each season to KNOW that I'm doing what HE wants us to do....then when others comment or cast glances...I remind myself that Paul reminds us to be God-pleasers and not people pleasers. Often those who are questioning or making comments will become your biggest supporters later on.....or they have QUESTIONS...I've made a pact to give folks the benefit of the doubt. When they say, "How do you do it?" or "Your main priority is your children" - I TRY (and don't always succeed) not to assume they are saying that I'm not parenting well or such...that they really are curious, really want to do such in their life and wonder HOW I do it...so I tell them...and often blog about it because I figure others seriously want to know HOW and aren't trying to just give me an "unspoken" message. I decided to quit "hearing" unspoken messages...there are enough spoken voices in my life to worry about. LOL