Finding Time

More than often I get questions and comments from friends and colleagues such as: “How do you find time to do everything you do?” or my favorite “Do you ever sleep?”

My morning and evening devotions have found their way to focus on this subject here lately. As a result, I’ve felt the urge to write about it.

Finding time, makes it sound like time is this object that is fleeting and always out of our reach, but in fact, its right there, in our hands at all times.  Time isn’t fleeting, its the choices that we make to cause it to fly away or be used productively.  Time, as well as money, are two things that in reality we have a choice on how to use them.  We can use them wisely, or we can waste them.  A wise person, saves and uses wisely a fool wastes them on fleeting things.

There is also a very big difference in resting and being lazy.  Resting is a refueling, lazy is a waste of resources.  Resting comes as a result of hard work and productivity and finding calm.  Being lazy, is relying on others and outside sources to provide for us.  Do you remember the old story of the Ant and the Grasshopper?  The grasshopper mocked the ant for working so hard in the hot summer months, he insisted on singing, playing and being “lazy”.  The Ant worked diligently to fill its home with food so it could survive the harsh winter to come.  The story has a harsh lesson in the end.  The Grasshopper starved, the ant survived.

Here are some of the ways that allow me to focus on what is truly important, I hope they will help you on your journey.

  1. Wake up early and be consistent throughout the week. rooster
  2.  Morning is very important; how you start it will be the direction of your day.  Because of this, I will slowly wake up.  Laying in bed until my brain isn’t fuzzy anymore and then start moving to get ready.
  3. Make your bed.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Making your bed each morning gives you a sense of accomplishment from the very beginning.
  4. Daily Devotions and prayer.  I start my day with a simple devotion time and prayer to ask for guidance and wisdom in the upcoming day.  I also give thanks for having another day and for my husband.
  5. Keep your clothes simple.  Plan the night before what you will be wearing the next day and know what you have to wear.  In short, don’t have a department store in your closet or most of it in the laundry basket.
  6. For those of us who must work outside of the home as well as at home, remember this always.  We work to live, not live to work.  Your worth is not measured by your job and career.  I make sure that my job (as a programmer in the Tech World) has specific hours.  I work 40 to 50 (if uncontrolled deadlines are needed) a week.  When I am at work, I am at work.  I also allow myself a lunch break, which normally I write or take a walk during good weather.  Breaks are very important for keeping the mind clear.  I also spend the first 10 minutes of every morning, organizing my day with the tasks for that day and moving them along as need be, utilizing an Agile methodology.
  7. For both home and work I have outlined in a journal of what my goals are for the day, nothing lofty, just what needs to be done.  Keep It Short & Simple.
  8. I keep track of what I spend or earn.  This helps me with my budgeting and keeps at the front of my mind to not waste funds.
  9. At home, I keep a strict rule that home is for home and family.  This includes preparing the pantry for winter from our garden and supplementing with items from local farmers.  This is how I am able to can fruits and vegetables in season and bake homemade breads and rolls.
  10. I do not stay “tied” to my phone or computer.  I have found that keeping a written bullet journal handy to keep track of my to-do-lists, ‘shopping’ lists, moods, favorite scriptures and other things is better than being “plugged in”.  This way I’m not distracted to waste time on other “apps”.  I also have found that “helpful” apps are really not helpful at all, in fact they waste time more than anything as you grow to having an obligation to them.
  11. Shopping:  Okay this is a touchy subject.  I know that that the grocery apps are becoming a huge thing now days.  But convenience creates its own demons.  Plan your grocery needs, take the time to go and get only, what is on your list.  You will save money and be more prepared.   Keep a rule that if you don’t have an item in between runs, you will agree to go without, period.  If it is a necessity, say yogurt, make sure you have it on your list to pick up on the grocery run.  Keep your runs to once every other week, maybe longer if you can.  The time and money saved continues to grow. Also, non grocery shopping apps suck you into spending more money and time then what you really need, they speak to your impulse voice.  Its amazing how much you can spend in this way.  UNPLUG.
  12. TV is not a priority.  In fact, for us, it’s rarely on with the exception of some news and maybe an old TV show now and then, even then if my husband and I are enjoying the television, I’m knitting, crocheting or sewing while watching.  We have also cut the cable cord.  This saves us over $100 a month, another frugal tip.  Getting rid of TV will save you a ton of time and a ton of stress.
  13. Understanding your needs versus your wants.  Being plugged into the world tends to make it very confusing on exactly what a want and a need really is.  Especially when the new car, vacation, food, clothing, personal ads are constantly talking to you, even if you say you don’t pay attention to them, they become that little voice saying you need this, you need this to be popular, to be better, to be wanted.  Turn them off.  You don’t NEED any of it.  By not cluttering your life and not spending more and more money on things (wants) the stress will start to melt away.
  14. We eat at home with basic ingredients.  I have heard the argument that it takes too much time to fix good meals at home.  Hogwash!  The time and money you spend driving, waiting, eating and driving home, not to mention the health effects on your body, you could have had a much better meal and not spend half the money and the time.  If you have a tight work schedule, then meal-prep on the weekends.  Plan ahead for the week with a schedule.  This will also help you save money.  Oh, and make your morning coffee at home don’t hit the drive-through.  The money you spend on a good coffee maker and a travel mug, is pennies compared to the monthly cost of that daily/multiple coffee shop run.
  15. Enjoy the moment.  Instead of worrying about what you need to do tomorrow.  Schedule your week so you can sit back and enjoy the moment with the ones you love.  Now, when I say schedule your week, this DOES NOT MEAN DOWN TO THE SECOND!  Keep your load light, make room to enjoy life as life comes to you.  Do NOT over schedule.  Especially, if you have children.  Do not schedule an event every night.  Set limits for you and for them.  Take in a board game, enjoy conversation, a walk, and do chores together.
  16. This one goes with not over scheduling your time.  If you can’t give it at home, then don’t give it away somewhere else.  What does this mean?  If you are too busy to cook for your family, don’t volunteer to bake for the bake-sale.  If you don’t have enough money to buy your kid’s school supplies, don’t go out with friends to dinner and or a bar.
  17. Pack your lunch and prepare your breakfast the night before.  This way there is no rush and no temptation to hit the fast food place on the way to where you are going.
  18. Tidy up before bed.  Make sure the dishes are done, items are put away.  When you take care of things as they arise, the job is not near as daunting.
  19. Now here is the big one:  REST.  Yes, REST.  Take some time to unwind, read a calming book or an evening devotion.  UNPLUG, do not pick up that phone or tablet before bed, it stimulates the brain.
  20. Go to bed “early”.  We try to be in bed between 9 and 9:30 pm each night, this means we easily obtain 7-8 hours of good sleep before we start all over again.  A good night’s sleep is important for your body to refuel and repair.  It’s directly tied into your mood, weight, stress levels and energy.  Get some good rest.

I know this really sounds like a lot, but it all falls into place easily.  I’ll be writing more about bullet journals in the future, but keeping these are a wonderful way to stay organized.  It also helps me to remember what I did several days back.

Enjoy, and until next time.

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

Christmas Cards

Bear with me with me on this little blog post.

I miss getting Christmas Cards.  Oh, I get plenty on social media, you know, the generic ones with snow and a dancing snowman.  What I miss is real, paper, delivered by the postman, Christmas Cards.  I miss birthday cards, letters and stuff in the mail other than bills and ‘junk’ mail.  I miss Carolers coming to the house and singing.  I miss singing traditional songs at Christmas.  In fact, here lately I cringe at some of the Christmas songs I hear on the radio.

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I miss the celebration, the deliberation and the honesty behind all of the things now deemed old-fashioned or out-dated.  Perhaps I’m out-dated, don’t care, I am am who I am.   I admit I have fallen into the techno mentality myself, I’m working on a computer as I write this right now.  But what really hit me was when I sent a text to my husband, who was downstairs, last night as I was upstairs in my office.  REALLY???? NO!  At that moment I wanted to throw my cell phone out the window.   Honestly, I almost cried.  Why?  Because I consider myself very blessed to have a very close, honest and loving relationship with my husband, and the last thing I want is to put technology between us.

I woke up early this morning, with a lot on my heart and mind.  I spent extra time in prayer over a morning cup of coffee and I am almost finished with my Christmas Cards.  I sat this morning putting in a letter in each one to be sent to family and friends who I rarely hear from anymore, but still, it’s a Christmas Card and it will be delivered through the postal service and I hope it brings a smile.

Take the time to sit down and play a game WITH a person AT a table and enjoy each other’s company.  Take the time to write a letter and send a smile to someone.  Most of all, unplug.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Secret to Happiness

There is one simple step that I have found that leads to happiness.  Acknowledge that happiness does not rely on a person, place, thing or even a circumstance.  It depends on your choice.  Yup, its that simple.  It all depends on how you look at everything, how you react to situations and people.

It seems more and more the ‘world’ pushes that happiness can only be gained by being tied to things, people, position and money.  Prestige and placement in life are preached to our children so heavily at a young age that it’s no wonder we are seeing so much depression and and stress in our youngins.  The constant flood of being plugged in is always screaming at us what the world says we have to be, have to do, have to go.  It’s time to turn it off.  School is important but college is not a necessity.  There is nothing wrong with having a career based on skill and talents, working with your hands or with the land.  Technology has its uses, but more often than not, it seems to have more misuses.

Here are some basic rules for embracing the now, for finding happiness.

  • Live well beneath your means.
  • Don’t give away what you can’t give at home.
  • Return everything you borrow.
  • Serve with your talents and your heart, not out of obligation or guilt.
  • Stop blaming other people for your bad choices.
  • Pray Daily (sometimes every second if need be).
  • Have daily walks and talk with God.
  • Admit it when you make a mistake.
  • Give unworn clothes to charity.
  • Give outsized clothes to charity.
  • Do something nice for a total stranger (and don’t post it on social media).
  • Listen more; talk less.
  • Find a reason to be outside.
  • Strive for excellence, but not perfection.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Organize your day in the morning.
  • Don’t argue or insist on being right or having the last word.
  • Be kind to unkind people.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line.
  • Take time to be alone with God.
  • Always incorporate good manners.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Be humble.
  • Realize and accept that life is not fair, but it is all in God’s plan.
  • Enjoy your time for rest and sleep.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  • Practice not criticizing others.
  • Turn the TV/Computer/phone off.
  • Learn from the past.
  • Live every day to its fullest.
  • Always give a kind word.
  • Make due with what you have.
  • Focus on the good, not the bad.

Happiness is how you view your life.  I like to tell people that every day is a good day as long as I wake up and my feet hit the floor and my face doesn’t.  I figure that leaves the rest of the day wide open for great things to happen.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

The Season of Giving

The Season of Giving

 

 

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about the subject of ‘giving’ lately.  It started with an observation of our fast paced world, which moved to people “watching” and their interactions with others.  Observations moved on to journaling and praying, and then this morning on the radio I heard a commercial “It is now the season of giving!” A joyful voice rang out.  That was when the bell that went off in my head.  The emphasis is on the word SEASON.  Seasons are short periods during the year that separate moments in time, the seasons of life, the seasons of the year, etc.  Why does there need to be a “Season” of giving?  Shouldn’t that be a daily thing not a “season”?

The push to give money for every cause you can think of ramps up under the umbrella of this so called season.  This makes me very sad, for many reasons.  The biggest is why do we have to be reminded to “give” during one time of the year?  Why is it that all of a sudden everyone wants money, specifically.

First and foremost I am a huge believer, especially when it comes to organizations of any kind, that they should be budgeting and forecasting for times of greater need.  Just as we as families should be doing.  I have no sympathy for any organization that does not budget the funds they have and utilize talents and capabilities of raising their funds to help with giving.  Let me explain.  Growing up in the Ohio Valley of SE Ohio it was very common for schools, churches, groups to utilize talents to raise money for things they needed and things to give to others.  Bake sales, craft shows, talent shows, cooking competitions were some of just many ideas that were embraced and widely utilized.  And the prices were very low so everyone could afford the items.  My mom always made and sold her chocolate chip cookies at PTA bake sales for a nickel a piece.  I know many a kid in our school that had smiles because of her cookies!   Auctions and community garage sales were another big draw.  It wasn’t just about giving some money and forgetting about the cause, but instead, having an input and a passion for a cause which everyone could get on-board with.  There was also much less waste involved.  How many of us have saved toilet paper rolls, cardboard, used crayons and scraps of paper, cloth and felt so that groups can work with kids on crafts?  Now days it seems easier to just throw money on the newest craft supplies and not even bat an eye to it or to buy some new equipment because the old one isn’t the newest thing there is.

Personally, I miss bake sales, craft shows, raffles and auctions.  It’s not just about raising cash to do things and give more; it’s about the social interaction and finding out the talents of others.

But you know what?  Giving is not just in giving money.  It’s about giving of yourself and your time to do one simple thing: To make someone smile.  I truly believe every single one of us on the face of this earth has one primary mission;  To make this world a much better place by spreading smiles.  Giving is not just in money.  Giving is carrying books for a coworker, classmate or someone you don’t even know.  Giving is getting the coffee going first thing in the morning for someone other than yourself.  Giving is baking and sharing with others.  Giving could be as simple as a hug to someone who is having a bad day or giving your lunch to someone who does not have one.   Giving should be for the what it does for others, not to grandstand yourself or to meet quotas or to take part in a competition.  It should be straight from the heart and the soul of a person to make the world a better place.  There should never be guilt or pressure to take part in any giving campaign.

Just something to think about when you hear that this is the “Season of giving”, you see, the real Season of Giving starts when we are born and continues every single day until we go home to the Lord.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

Meal Prep 101 Class

What an amazing opportunity I embraced on August 25, 2016.  And I just had to share.

It has become quite apparent to me that my love of old fashioned traditions in the area of food preparation and cooking has become a skill that is craved for.  A friend of mine at church requested that I teach a class of meal prepping to several women in our church.  Everyone is so busy now days, work, children, demands, we all tend to slip into the grab and eat on the run, how can we be healthier and still have time to get everything done?

The biggest part of this question, is how do we prioritize and organize our time to be productive.  Advance Meal Preparation is only a small part but it is a huge benefit to busy family life, no matter what the size of your family is!

Last night I helped introduce several women and one man to the joys of home-made crock pot foods.  We completed 12 meals (4 different recipes, 3 of each) in just under two hours, and that included dicing, cutting and prepping fresh veggies as well as our prepared meats.

The meals that we prepared for our freezer which at a later date will be thawed the night before and placed in a crock-pot on low the day to be eaten were as follows:

  • Black Bean Turkey Chili
  • Vegetable Turkey Soup
  • Bell Pepper Chicken
  • Asian Sesame Chicken

I had the most wonderful time sharing my knowledge with this group.  The best part is that our hostess also celebrated her birthday with us and her loving husband surprised her with cake and a group birthday serenade.

For years, I was very sad that my own children never wanted to embrace these traditions.  My grandmother Inez and my Mom, Kathy spent quite a bit of time teaching me basic techniques in preparing for the long winters.  I longed to teach my children these same skills, but they were more intrigued by modern convenience.  We all have our own paths to follow.  But, I continued to pray often to be able to pass down what had been so generously passed down to me.  God answered those prayers to give me the opportunity to teach others.  And continue to teach I shall.  It is wonderful to find your purpose and enjoy it with all of your heart.

Good friends, old-fashioned values and knowledge and time well spent.  This is what life is about.

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Until next time, have a glorious day and count your blessings!

Mrs. Kay L. Rice