Back in October I did a Spiritual Sundays post entitled, "Making Home a Sanctuary." Now that the new year is coming upon us, I would like to go revisit a few of the ideas I laid out in that post, and give you a brief accounting of how well I've done with the goals I set.
1. Begin each day with a prayer- I have been fairly consistent with doing this with the children as part of our morning devotional (it helps having a slightly OCD 4-year-old reminding me every day!) but I have not been good about my personal prayers in the morning. That is something I would like to work on.
2. Prepare for each day the night before- I have been pretty good about doing this, though there were definitely some nights where the dishes didn't get done, my son's clothes didn't get laid out (probably because he didn't have any that were clean) and the house was more cluttered than I would have liked it. I have found, however, that doing those things is like giving myself a gift. When I wake up to a clean house, a son who is dressed, and my things for the day by the door and ready to go, I feel so much calmer and happier. This year I will push myself a little bit more in the evenings so that I have that peaceful feeling when I wake up.
3. Plan dinner ahead of time- this has probably been the area where I would get the "Most Improved" award! Each week I have sat down and planned my menus at the same time I'm planning my grocery list, and as soon as I'm done, the weekly menu plan gets printed off my computer and posted on the fridge. Then, when it's dinnertime, it's a no-brainer to just check the menu.
4. Play some soft instrumental music- During Christmastime I always had the radio on the Christmas music station, and it really brought a cheerful spirit into the home. I think that I will continue to use music to uplift the mood and atmosphere in our home.
5. Light a nicely scented candle- okay, so this wasn't really a goal, but I have done it more often. My sweet sister-in-law and her husband gave us the most wonderfully scented candle for Christmas and I just love the warmth and the atmosphere. Definitely going to continue doing that. :-)
6. Open shades and blinds to let sunlight in- oops, haven't really done that in my kids' rooms. I will work on that.
7. Keep smiling- Oh, it's hard, but how I try!
8. Speak softly- I don't necessarily know if I have gotten better at this, but I have certainly become more aware of the volume level of my voice over the past few months. The thing I most need to work on is when I hear bickering or crying in another room and I'm busy doing something elsewhere and so I just scream for the kids to come to where I am so I can break up the fight. I think I'll try to go to the source of the problem so I can avoid escalating the contention with my tone of voice.
9. Give abundant praise and express heartfelt gratitude- I will admit, I am much bettter about doing this with my children than I am with my husband. I need to make it a priority to focus on all the things he does right rather than nitpick at his shortcomings. I will work on that.
10. Leave extra time- this is an area I still need to work on a LOT! However, I have had a few days when I have just decided that what I wanted to do was not what was best for my family, so I have cut out a few activities so we weren't running around like maniacs, and I think I need to continue to have that kind of awareness of my family's needs. I also need to plan my time better to allow for slower-paced conversational moments with my kids (rather than "PUT YOUR SHOES ON ALREADY!!). That would be good. :-)
11. Display reminders of what you believe in- I actually have a framed copy of The Living Christ sitting in the hallway ready to hang. Seeing images of my Savior on a daily basis helps me to remember to whom I am truly accountable.
12. End the day with a prayer of thanksgiving and a blessing upon your home- I have had the habit of saying my evening prayers every single night since I was a little girl, and I have found that I can't go to sleep without it. That time, those thoughts, and those words are special to me, and I especially see it as a time to express my gratitude to my Father for all that He has given to me. It is a habit I hope I will never break.
From this list I can see that I still have many things to work on; but I can also see that I have done a lot of things really well, and so I am hopeful that if I just keep trying, with the help of my Heavenly Father I will be able to strengthen all my weaknesses. I'll just try to do a little better every day, and with each day my home will become more of a sanctuary, and thus a haven where my family can flourish. I know that it is a process, and there is a time and a season to everything.
Speaking of a process, I am currently in the process of a massive cleaning/decluttering/organizing undertaking in my home, which should also help with making it a sanctuary. Check back tomorrow for Makeover Monday to see the progress we've made thus far!
What have you done to make your home a sanctuary? What are some of your goals for this for the coming year?