Thursday, January 03, 2008

Heatless but not hopeless...

Our house is again without heat on the main floor and the temperatures dipped to -9 celcius last night. (15.8 F) BRRRRRR!!! But despite being heatless, I am not hopeless as I face the New Year. Never mind that my repeated attempts to establish a family rule has failed over and over again the past three years. Some of my readers might be scratching their heads and asking what is a Family Rule and why would you want one?

I find it easiest to answer this question by quoting the author of a Mother's Rule of Life?

"A rule is, and will always remain, a response to the call of God - a means of fidelity to one's vocation as a mother; a way to ensure that one's basic calling is being met with conscious care and a reasonable attempt to meet the many and varied needs of self, husband, family and home -- in such a way as to reduce unnecessary emotional turmoil or physical & psychological stress But instead, to have this valid tool as a means of living motherhood in a life-giving and self-offering way. This is the route of love." (To read the question and its full answer that this quote is from - click here.)

I read A Mother's Rule of Life a few months after a Priest, in the confessional, remarked that our family life needed to resemble that of a rule - perhaps the Benedictine Rule. 'There are so many individuals, varying needs and schedules to try to meet and adjust to, that in your life is almost like that of a monastery and you should try implementing a rule - maybe the Benedictine Rule.' Obedient confessor that I am, I immediately began to research this particular rule and shortly after came across Holly's book - A Mother's Rule of Life.

Since then I have come to know Holly Pierlot and we joined together to begin an online google support group and this lead to Holly directing an online workshop for us that was recently released as a workbook (To view a sample click here or to purchase - click here and a review of this book can be read here.)

Despite having read the book and worked through parts of the workshop and reviewing the workshop again when I helped Holly to compile it into the workbook, I still find myself failing when I attempt to implement my family rule over and over. Why, I have had to ask myself, is this so?

I have come to the conclusion that I always try to change, as well as implement, too many things at once. I become overwhelmed and give up. As well, our family is/has been facing trying times for the past six years and, with the changes we are facing in the upcoming months, I am going to have to remain very flexible in my daily schedules. However, after some prayer and reflection I have concluded that there are some goals that I must meet daily and I have realized that for now, my Rule will have to be simply be a list of these daily goals. There are ten in all.

1) Pray with my spouse, in the morning before we leave our room.
2) Attend daily Mass or start the day with the family Rosary.
3) Wash, dry and put away (at a minimum) one load of clothes a day. (Keep in mind my dryer is on its last legs or I would try to do more)
4) Breakfast & breakfast chores
5) School, including Tanny's Speech Therapy exercises
6) Lunch & lunch chores (recheck laundry)
7) Read w/ Emma, Elsa and Tanny
8) 3 pm Chaplet, followed by 3 pm chores.
9) Supper @ 5 pm, followed by supper chores
10) Bedtime routines started by 7:30, include examination of conscience at this time.

This is not a full rule and those familiar with Holly's book, will immediately see some holes in it such as time alone for myself. While this is a bare bones start, all of the five P's discussed in Holly's book are covered in a minimal way here.
First P - Prayer; is covered in 1, 2, 8 and 10.
Second P - Person; is covered by 4, 6, 8 & 10. Eating our meals on time is a basic need I must follow for myself as well as the family. Also by ensuring my children follow a bedtime routine, I leave time open for myself to be spent alone, as well as with my husband.
Third P - Partner; is covered by Hugo and I agreeing to start our day by praying together as well as through # 10 as I mention above.
Fourth P - Parenting; simply attempting to achieve all of these 10 daily goals will make me a better parent.
Fifth P - Provider; in ensuring the daily meal chores are done daily, and on time, helps with the area of provider as in doing so - I will ensure that food is not left out and wasted. As well, # 10 helps to provide for an earlier bedtime for Hugo and I, allowing us to rest and have more energy to give toward the needs of providing for our family.

My goal is to try and accomplish each of these goals daily for a minimum of thirty days and then add to it. I have determined that these is the very minimum that I must achieve daily in order for God to be able to bless my efforts and help me to lessen the mental stress that I am feeling daily. In doing this I am confident I not only will gain energy, but that I will also find that large gaps of time will open up, allowing me to pack more meat on this skeleton of a rule.

Now why have I chosen to share this publicly? Largely to put a little pressure on myself by publicly sharing a commitment I have made to myself.

And so now you know that while I may be without heat - I am not without hope as I face 2008 spanning before me, yet to be filled with challenges; met and conquered. 2007 was a difficult year that seriously drained our energies and sometimes our hope and even our courage. I can only pray that by starting off 2008 with this simple rule for myself, I will find the energy, courage and strength to face come what may. And most importantly, I know I will be doing it hand in hand with God.
P.S. Whilst working on this post, the heat (after 8 hours of not functioning) kicked back in downstairs. Praise be to God and may the heat STAY on! Although we will still request a service visit to make sure that something is not wrong as it is very bizarre... no heat... heat... Read more!

The Kindness Test

I took this test and scored nine, the lower end of "kinda nice person, but as a follower of Christ I need work!" Ooops! Try the test yourself and see how you score!
Good Luck!
Read more!