Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How's Your Running Going?

Well, I have had a busy last couple of weeks, but honestly, when aren't they busy?  It's like the days just fly by and it's a real struggle to remain intentional in my living instead of just flying by the seat of my pants (which happens most often). 
After the busyness of last week, I have to admit I was feeling very optimistic about this week since I have 3 days off from work.  My cleaning schedule sort of fell by the wayside last week and I was in survival mode just to get the laundry done and food on the table.  So where some people cringe at the thought of MONDAY, I sort of get excited because it's like a new chance to get my act together each week!  Ha!  I know, I know, I'm sick. 
Yesterday I got out of bed with renewed energy and ready to get to work in my house.  Then my daughter got up saying she didn't feel good...and she still had a rash.  She woke up Saturday morning with a mysterious rash on her arms and torso.  Along with the rash, she was saying her belly hurt and she had a headache.  And her throat hurt when she coughed.  I did some research online and sort of narrowed it down to Fifth's Disease...for which there is no treatment and since the rash is evident, she was no longer contagious.  However, my mom-worrying took over and I was feeling the need to rule out that it wasn't Strep.  So off to the doctor we went.  And the strep test came back negative.  And the doctor said it was Fifth's.  So I was feeling a little frustrated that I had spent the whole day (ok, not the whole day, but a good portion of the day) driving to and from the doctor.  So I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked....but I was able to get the bed sheets washed, so progress is progress, right? 
Today I got up and got everyone off to school and work, ate my breakfast, and sat down to read out of my new devotional I am reviewing, "Living Life Undaunted" by Christine Caine.  My spiritual life has sort of been on hold as the rest of my life has been crazy.  I hate to admit that, but it's true.  So today I decided that I wanted to once again focus on having a time of devotion and prayer daily.  The devotion I read today really hit home with me because it pertained to running.  I would like to share the devotion with you...
A Designated Lane
Do you not know that in a race all the runner run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. 
1 Corinthians 9:24
God has a plan for our lives even before we were born.  He had a lane marked out on the track of life with our name on it and a specific race for us to run.  God has plucked each one of us out of eternity, positioned us in a certain place in time, and given us special gifts and talents for the purpose of serving our generation.  There are certain things he wants us to achieve while we are on this side of eternity.
When we stand before God on day, we will have to give an account of what we did with our lives.  God will want to know what we did with the time he gave us, what we did with the talents he gave us, and what we did with the treasure he placed in our hands. 
Therefore, it's imperative that we all ask ourselves these questions:
* Where am I in my race of life?
*Am I running my race in my lane pressing on for the prize that God has for me?
*Am I crawling along somewhere, stumbling and tripping, not really knowing where I'm going?
*Am I running in my lane but distracted because I'm looking around to see how others are doing?
*Am I envying how others are running their races and what lane God has placed them in?
*Am I collapsed somewhere along the way, because discouragement, disillusionment, and disappointment have caused me to stop running?
*Have I become a spectator who sits in the grandstands watching the race I should be running?
*Have I been sidelined by a sin that has left me feeling guilt and shame?
*How can I get back in the race, ready to run and win?
Moment of Reflection
Are you confidently running in the lane God has purposed for your life?
Like I said, this devotion hit home with me.  As I read the beginning verse, I was stuck on the last part...run in such a way as to get the prize.  If you have never ran in a race before, this probably doesn't mean much to you.  But for those of you who have, you understand what it takes to run in such a way to get the prize.  It takes a whole lot of effort on your behalf.  It's more than just running the race for fun.  It's serious.  To win, it's going to take pain.  Sweat.  Perseverance.  Determination.  And supernatural strength.  You see, it's easy to run a race knowing that you aren't going to win the prize.  You don't push yourself as hard as you could and you can relax a bit and just enjoy the race.  But to win, you have to focus on the finish line and run with all you've got. 
And that is how God wants us to run in the race of LIFE.  Not that we can't enjoy the race.  But we have to be determined to run the race well, using the talents he's given us, keeping our eyes fixated on the finish line. 
As I read through the questions in the devotion, I felt convicted because I haven't been running the race well.  I've let the busyness of life get in the way and cloud my view of the finish line.  I want to do better.  To be better.  It's time to lace up my running shoes and get into my designated lane. Will you join me? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Mama Can Clean!!

I know I have disappointed some of you (namely ONE of you...you know who are you...lol) because I haven't posted recently.  And I really have no excuse.  My life is a constant flow of motion that I should be used to by now...but when things get busy, blogging unfortunately gets put on the back burner.  And I will be honest, sometimes I just don't know what to write.  I don't want to bore you with the daily happenings of my life...I want my post to be something life-changing for you.  Ok, maybe not life-changing (although that would be awesome!), but something that inspires you to do better, to be better, to make changes in your own life...maybe even make you laugh a little!  Well, sometimes my thoughts just aren't that deep and usually are more like, "Hmm, I wonder what we should have for dinner tonight..."  So that is why I haven't posted. 
So, what's new with me?  I'm so glad you asked!  My brain is once again full and I am feeling the need to fill you in...aren't you lucky?!  Here goes....
 For starters, I have a CLEANING SCHEDULE!  I wrote that all in capital letters because I am squealing with excitement that I:
1. Actually made one up AND typed it AND printed it out
2.  Am actually USING it!!
A friend of mine has voiced her struggles with keeping up with her house cleaning and laundry while caring for her small children.  She came across a book that taught her the importance of having a weekly schedule and said that it was really becoming helpful.  And me, who is always looking for ways to make my life run more smoothly, really liked the idea.  I have had trouble with regularly cleaning my house and honestly was ready to just throw in the towel and accept that I would never have a clean house until the kids had moved out and taken their messiness with them.  When there are 4 people making messes (hubby included) and only 1 person cleaning them up, it's bound to create a cleaning deficit, and it did in the Snyder House.  I had tried posting chore charts for the kids, complete with page protectors and dry erase markers, but this resulted in the kids doing their chores half-heartedly (or sometimes not at all), yet miraculously every chore got marked as completed each day.  Epic Fail. 
Enter the new and improved Snyder Family Cleaning Schedule.  I decided to divide my house into rooms and assign specific rooms (or certain tasks) to specific days of the week.  Here is my current schedule:
Monday:  Office Work & Errands.  This is the day that the checkbook gets balanced, the desk gets tidied, the bills get paid, the groceries are bought, the deposits are dropped off at the bank, etc.
Tuesday:  Living Room, Porch, 3+ Loads of Laundry.
Wednesday:  Bathrooms & Foyer
Thursday:  Bedrooms & Remaining Laundry
Friday:  Kitchen. 
Saturday:  Decluttering, Menu Planning, & Family Time.  On this day I will choose an area to declutter/organize.  I will also plan my menu and grocery list for the upcoming week.  The rest of the time will be spent spending time with family or doing projects at home.
Sunday:  Rest & Family Time
I typed up this list, but also added specific jobs that would need completed each week.  For example, on the living room day, I listed Dust, Vacuum, Tidy, Tidy Bookshelf, Sweep Porch, Tidy Porch.  I also added a place for each load of laundry completed as well as for each load of dishes washed in the dishwasher.  My ultimate goal is for this list to be used for both me and everyone else in the family.  When the kids gets home from school, I won't need to tell them what chores to do.  They will look at the list and pick something that hasn't been completed already.  This way, each room gets attention each week.  There are days where not all the things have been marked off...but that's ok.  I highlight the item when it's been completed so I have a record of it and can do some of the extra tasks when I have time on other less busy days.  I just put this into practice this week and so far it's going well! 
I am also planning to make up smaller cards for each room in the house with more detailed instructions on them for the kids to use as a reference.  For example, when cleaning the bathroom, it will list all of tasks in that room and what cleaner to use and what a complete thorough job looks like so they can't speed through it doing a half-hearted job. 
In addition to my new and improved cleaning schedule, I am also implementing a new exercise regimen.  I am feeling a bit flabby and as you know, this has been one long hard winter.  I had all but given up on being able to exercise outdoors ever again because winter just refused to leave...but this week, SPRING ARRIVED!  And it is oh so wonderful!  I have renewed motivation (and energy!) to move my body and burn some of this buttah that has accumulated over the winter months.  I don't really have a plan or schedule for exercising, but I am just trying to make a conscious effort to move my body more...and to sweat more when I do.  I am not sure anyone likes to push themselves enough while exercising to induce pain or immense sweating, and I had been quite accustomed to get through a workout without sweating at all...and hardly getting my hard rate up!  Shame, shame!
So this week, I have: 
walked 4 miles,
 did an 18 minute circuit training workout (that you can find HERE),
1 hr of walking with just a small amount of running,
and a 25 minute treadmill workout (5 min warmup and cool-down and 15 mins of running at 5.0mph) along with some weight training afterwards. 
Not too shabby since it's only Thursday!  I am starting to feel the time crunch before vacation to slim down and firm up...only 10 more weeks until we go to the Outer Banks!  (yay!)  But the thought of wearing a bathing suit IN PUBLIC sends shivers down my spine.  So time to get proactive!
Menu Planning
As you know, I am following the Trim Healthy Mama plan in order to eat healthier and lose this last 15 pounds.  I was sort of in a rut with my cooking and needed to expand my recipe collection so last weekend I sat down to prepare a menu plan for this week.  I accounted for all meals including a snack each day.  I have a binder that I keep all of the recipes I print out for THM, so I took the recipes that I would be using this week and moved them to the front of my binder so they would be easy to find when I was ready to make dinner.  I used a printable menu planner and typed up my menu and posted it on the fridge.  I tried to plan more labor-intensive dinners on days when I didn't have to work and easy meals for those busy evenings.
 Then I used those recipes to compile a list of ingredients that I would need to buy along with some staples...toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.  Then on Monday (because that's Errands Day) I headed to the store with my list in hand.  It felt great to know that I would be coming home with items that could actually make full meals for an entire week instead of randomly throwing things in the cart only to get home and realize I had nothing to make meals with! 
When I make a meal, I highlight it on the menu on the fridge so I can easily spot those meals that I haven't made yet.  If I don't plan ahead (by thawing out a particular meat, etc) and have to switch meals around or I am in the mood for a different meal than what is planned, I choose another one from the menu.  Easy Peasy! 
All of these changes are really making me feel like I can control the chaos in my household a bit and streamline things each week.  I am hoping that each week that I follow my cleaning schedule, menu planning and exercising, it will get easier and easier and eventually the Snyder House will be working like a well-oiled machine.
One can hope, can't they?