Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pursuing Peace

Thank you so much for all your great suggestions to my request for suggestions for small practical things I can do that would allow peace to flow in the home. I am not a New Year's Resolution maker because I just don't follow through on those but I have decided that this year I am going to work toward more of a peaceful atmosphere in my home.

As I look back over the last year, I guess, that is what stuck out the most. With the busy lifestyles of today, sometimes it just seems that we were so rushed, or tense from coming home from being rushed. I know the kids deal with things all day long in their teenager worlds and Hubby at work has had some pretty stressful days. As have I. Working with 6 - 7 preschoolers all day, day in and day out can have it's moments. I so want my home to be peaceful for my family. But in looking back I can see where there were things we were doing, or not doing such as the case may be, habits that we had fallen into, that were not promoting peace at all. And I was wondering why we seemed to always be at a certain underlying stress level. Sometimes it rose to the surface and sometimes it was buried. But it did seem to always be there. Now I don't want to leave you with that idea that our home is always filled with chaos, drama and trauma. It's not. But I know there was things that needed to be changed.

Because I work at home (did I mention with 6 - 7 preschoolers?) I was in a bit of a dilemma. Because my work is in the home, I need to find a way to balance it all out. Because, well, I don't get to leave. And there are things going on all day. Messes being made. Therefore, I need to find things which are small steps to allow the peace to flow. Small things I could work towards.

I know that ultimately peace comes from the Lord, and the more time I get to spend with Him, the more I myself am changed and filled with His peace. This I have proved in my life. When I get out of the Word of God for any length of time I am more easily bothered, have a shorter fuse, and tend to live on the adrenalin of stress. Jesus said in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, do not let if be fearful." The Amplified Bible says to "stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed". Uhmmm, ouch! He's speaking directly to me and I know it. One of goals is to work towards time spent each morning and before I go to bed in God's word and prayer. Now I'm not talking about hours, but just some time being with the Lord. That will work in my heart.

I also need very practical things to change. One thing I started last week was organizing myself to get meals on the table by 6 p.m. at the latest. Way too many times, I find myself rushing to get some kind of dinner on the table. And a lot of times it was way later than six. If I have dinner on the table by 6, things are much more peaceful. We've eaten in plenty of time to not have to rush to evening activities or homework. We have plenty of time to do up the dishes, which in turn allows for the kitchen to get cleaned, which in turn makes for a more peaceful morning. Already this week, this theory was put to the test in the great experimental test tube of life. I had a busy weekend and didn't get my Menu Plan done for the week and therefore have basically been flying by the seat of my pants each day for dinner ideas. And of course, that meant later dinners. Last night we didn't eat until 7 p.m. Kids were hungry and cranky, homework was late getting done and we couldn't start relaxing until way late. Point was proven.

My next step is going to be to get to bed by 11 p.m. each night. We all know how not enough sleep makes for a cranky mommy. So I'm going to be starting that goal today. This will be a toughy for me. I'll have to force myself but I know I'll be better off for it in the long run and so will the peaceful atmosphere.

So again thank you for your great suggestions. I'm going to take it one step at a time and incorporate them as I'm going along.

11 comments:

Beck said...

You know, one of my friends ran an in-home daycare and what she did was make an area of her home her afterwork retreat - a place where the kids didn't go during the day, with all the things she found relaxing around her.
Wishing you the best!

Barbara H. said...

I enjoyed reading through the responses, too. Some good thoughts in the comments, and it sounds like you have a good handle on a game plan. The only other things I'd add would be to have some "quickie" meal ideas on hand for "those days" when things run late. One of my kids' favorites is chicken nuggets and frozen french fries (in and out of the oven in about 10 minutes) or fish sticks and fries (usually with frozen popcorn shrimp, too). If not all of us are home for a meal we can get by on one of those frozen family entrees like salisbury steak -- I think it takes 15-20 minutes in the microwave, long enough to make some Minute rice and a vegetable.

My husband seems to think that sandwiches are a quick meal -- they're quicker than some, but somewhat labor intensive to handle each sandwich if you're in a hurry. In that case you can put all the sandwich "stuff" on the table along with chips and some fruit or carrot sticks and have everyone make their own at the table -- that can be part of the family fellowship time as well.

Susanne said...

Beck, that is an incredible idea. That place will probably have to be my bedroom but I'm going to work on that.

Sarah said...

I'll be joining you Susanne in this, my situation is different in that I'm out of the house a great deal on a busy week, with church, etc. But I want to make little baby step changes to bring more peace to my home.

Thank you for bringing this up, it's just the push I needed to make some changes myself.

Hugs.
☆*´Sarah`*☆

Anonymous said...

all the best
you are in my thoughts and prayers

Jen at http://my3boysandi.wordpress.com/

FlipFlop Mom said...

Oh I have to read all the responses!!! We tend to eat dinner to early in my home :( hubby always has to be out the door by 5:15pm to go to work.. sometimes I wish we could eat at 6:00 .. but the Lord is good... so I can't complain!!
Working with kids all day can make you seriously tired!!!

Melanie said...

You "sound" peaceful already. Choosing peace is the first step. :>)

A Chelsea Morning said...

You're already off to a good start, Susanne. Dinner at 6, if you can do it, is a great way to free up the rest of the evening and if you can't actually fall asleep at 11, read. I can't imagine not reading for at least an hour in bed every night.

Beck's idea is great, too.

marina said...

Thanks for stopping by susanne, I praying too I will get to feelin better soon. I hope you fine that one place in your home and make it yours!! Blessing,marina

Islandsparrow said...

I've always been impressed with your menu making Suzanne. When I do that it makes home life a lot smoother. And saves money - which also helps create more peace.

Sandy said...

Great question Susanne! This is a big quest in our house also, and something I have struggled with also. Yet I too am determined to pursue peace. Pursue is a verb, which indicates action. And that action falls on me. So I do work hard to be a planner. I plan and pray for my day. I try to plan moments of peace.
Quick easy dinners help also. I love these new Steam Fresh veggies, they are in a steamer bag, you pop them in the microwave for 5 min. and veggies for dinner are done. This way I don't feel so bad about serving chicken nuggets and french fries, if I have good veggies with the meal! :)
I also schedule down time into our routine, we need it and it helps so much to maintain peace.

Thanks for posting on this, it was good to read the other comments.
~Sandy