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My Dog Ate My Homework.

You probably think that’s just an excuse. Where’s the homework, the teacher wants to know? And the classic answer? "My dog ate it."

I’d like to use that one, but I’m not a student these days, nor have I ever owned a dog. But if I had one, he or she would have a regular diet of paper.

I was thinking recently about a plaque I once read on my aunt’s kitchen wall. It read something like,

“Please excuse the mess --- The kids are making memories”.

 My aunt and uncle now have grandchildren --- lots of them! They certainly know a thing or two about kids and how quickly they grow up!

It was almost two years ago that I was there, aware of the little ones going to and fro, as I looked forward to the birth of my own son. I enjoyed observing her daughter-in-laws interacting with their children. I was encouraged to think of my mommy days coming soon and wondering what that was really going to be like.

That day in my aunt’s home, she saw me reading the sign and she said, “I wish I had had that sign when my own children were little.”  She knew that time with her children and allowing them to enjoy their own home was of great value, and a sign like this was a simple reminder, peace of mind, and permission to relax a little.

Today, I am enjoying motherhood real time! My own son is a toddler, whom I love dearly. Even now as I type, he is sitting next to me in his highchair dropping a cookie on the floor to join the crackers and toys he already dropped. I try to get my work done, but everything takes longer than the days when I was single and had no child. What is my conclusion? Totally worth it!

When I vacuum, sweep, and clean the floor, the time of that cleanliness is limited before it either needs to be done again, or I say, “Hmmm…I will try to get to that soon…or sometime.”

My baby ate my housework.

I’m just sayin’.

 


 
 
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Does having people over to your home scare you or seem impossible do to because "the house is never right"?  Or you're "not confident in cooking"?  Or you "don't have fancy dishes", etc.?  Here's exactly what you need to lighten up!

There are a few simple key things to hospitality, that make it true, easy, and fun!  




1. Always be ready and keep it simple.  I always keep certain things in handy places (salt, pepper, napkins, etc. etc.) in order to make eating an easy and fun event whether it's just me and my hubby, or a big crowd of people.

2. Keep a clean house daily, but don't strive for perfect.  Everyone feels comfortable in a clean house, but few-to-none feel comfortable in a "perfect" house (where it feels like they can mess something up when they visit you --- no one can truly relax that way).

Three:  When a guest arrives, ALWAYS make it about them and their comfort, NOT about you or your house.  In other words, don't start unnecessarily apologizing because there are dishes in the sink, for example --- instead, give your guest a drink and ask them how THEY are doing.  While it is nice to keep the sink dish-free as much as possible, your guests are not so worried about whether or not you've caught up on your dishes (especially when you are taking genuine interest in talking with them and serving them).

4 (four): When time permits, it's fun to fancy it up a bit and set the table nicely, depending on the number of guests you have.  However, if making everything really nice before guests come is stressing you and your family out, it's really not worth getting fancy.  In that case, definitely return to keeping it simple!


hos·pi·tal·i·ty (noun)
1. Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.
2. An instance of cordial and generous treatment of guests.


 
 
Here is a poem, which was quoted by Elisabeth Elliot, many years ago
(and coincides with yesterday's blog entry) :

Do The Next Thing

"At an old English parsonage down by the sea, 
there came in the twilight a message to me. 
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven 
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven. 
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'


Many a questioning, many a fear, 
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven, 
time, opportunity, guidance are given. 
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King, 
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.


Do it immediately, do it with prayer, 
do it reliantly, casting all care. 
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand, 
who placed it before thee with earnest command. 
Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing, 
leave all resultings, do the next thing.


Looking to Jesus, ever serener, 
working or suffering be thy demeanor, 
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm, 
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm. 
Do the next thing."


 
 
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Years ago, when I was an almost grown girl or a younger woman (however one may look at it), I enjoyed listening to Elisabeth Elliot on a short daily broadcast.  This woman is one of the most amazing, sacrificial women I have met in my life!  (I did once meet her when she spoke at a church in my hometown, when I was standing in the book-signing line).  Her stories are book material and movie material, and that is exactly what happened to them!  

Of all the things that she has shared, the simple phrase from her that has stuck the most with me through the years, is her advice to "do the next thing".  I hope you will be as blessed today to hear this, as I have been!  She told us, on the radio, to "do the next thing".  That means, don't get caught up with the worry and concern of the ten or twenty things that are on your list, and causing you to not really get one thing done well.  

So, there are dishes in the sink, laundry to do, a friend is calling, the kids are hungry for breakfast, baby has a dirty diaper, your husband needs you to contact so-in-so sometime this morning for a work-related question, the bathroom towel rod fell of the wall yesterday and still needs to be repaired... come on, you certainly can't do all that at once!  But do the next thing!  Prioritize.  Change the diaper.  Feed the children.  Wash the dishes (or load the dishwasher). Clean the children's faces and send them to their bedrooms to play while you make the phone call for your hubby.  Etc. etc. You get the idea!  Interruptions may come, but that's to be expected --- that might even be the next thing in that moment.  By the end of the day, you just might have a list --- short or long --- that was accomplished.  Now you can thank God for this, and you will be a more contented woman!  A major key here is:  don't be upset about what didn't get done yet.  Be thankful for what did get done.

Now that your computer break is over, do the next thing.  (P.S.  That doesn't mean "check facebook")  :)

 
 
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When I was growing up, I was surrounded --- I mean, surrounded with children!  Not only did I have eleven siblings in the end, but our family naturally tended to hang out with other big families.  How did my mom keep up?  What kind of baby distracting tips did she cleverly come up with while she was busy doing her daily household tasks?  Ahhh... read on.

Sinerio:  Baby is crying in the crib because he woke up and wants to see everybody.  Baby is bored and needs some attention.

Mom's Solution:  Send in the three or four-year-old into the room to entertain the baby with talking and playing.  Before you know it, BOTH baby and toddler are distracted.  Baby is still in the crib as literal captive audience to the entertaining sibling who is talking and playing on the floor.  (Baby-safe toys are also important here).  

Aha!  Kudos to my mother!  That was a smart plan!

 
 
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So what do you do when you gotta make dinner for the adults, but the baby wants to get into everything?  No, problem!  Plop him in his highchair and let him keep you company!  If your baby is the right age for baby puff snacks or rice crispy cereal, he can nibble on that while you work.  Just be sure he is close enough for you to watch him eat safely, but far enough from the stove so that he's safe from your working with grease and a knife etc.  It's simple, but such a necessary trick for getting dinner done!  

Anyone want to add your ideas and input on how you have entertained your baby when you are trying to make dinner?  Your comments and ideas are welcome!  :)

 
 
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Vacuum cleaners are not the only distracting sounds for my baby!  Here is an excellent, easy way to get him to be content a little longer in his crib while I'm hoisting off a load of laundry:  I can play "peek-a-boo" with him!

Here's how it works for you and your baby, too:  When you have just left your baby's room and he is starting to get upset, just poke your head back into the door way and say "peek-a-boo!" or whatever it is that makes your baby laugh, but then quickly hide behind the wall again.  After a couple seconds, pop into view again with another "Peek-a-boo!", and hide again.  Repeat this just a few more times, waiting longer between each time.  At last, you make your breakaway!  Get that laundry started!  ;)

 
 
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Today, I had a good start on the day, getting breakfast together, washing dishes, getting started on laundry, nursing baby, putting him down for a nap, and so forth.  It's great to have him down for a nap, allowing me time to accomplish housework, home office stuff, even a cuppa coffee and computer time, but once that nap is over, then what?  

Well, sure enough, my baby boy finished his nap with a cry instead of waking up all sweet 'n stuff.  What's a mom to do when you have a full day of stuff ahead?  Distraction!  The baby needs something distracting to do of course!  Here is what I did today:  I went into his room and changed his diaper, nursed him a little, then I put him back in his crib.  That's where it could have been a problem, but I quickly and excitedly put toys in his crib.  He was interested.  But before he could really think about me leaving him there, I was already grabbing the vacuum cleaner that was in his room.  I started it up and vacuumed his carpet, and went right out of the room with it, and continued to vacuum.  Between a clean diaper, milk in his tummy, fun toys now in the crib, and an interesting machine mom is going crazy with, hmmm... junior simply forgot to be upset!

Hope this is inspiring for my mom-friends and readers!  Check in tomorrow for another one of my distraction secrets!