Do the Next Thing

Jesse in the Snow

Tweetybird is traveling around the world in 80 days while the kids watch safely from our living room floor this Monday evening. Predictions for 4-6 inches of snow tonight, with more possible tomorrow morning, are bringing out the cautious side of this mother, who is trying to figure out how to keep everyone safe and warm in the coming flurries. I believe everyone here has a pair of snowpants, boots and mittens properly sized for their growth. I made a run to Goodwill for boots in November and picked up extra gloves at Menards before Christmas for my growing teens that needed bigger, warmer stuff. Wesley is the final orphan still needing a better coat. The one he has is too thin for winter warmth I think. If the snowfall is enticing everyone to go out and play in it tomorrow I’ll have to have him layer a sweatshirt underneath until I can get to the store and pick up a new one for him. But you are not so concerned with our winter wardrobe as I am I suppose. Is there snow headed your way? If so, what does it make you think of?

We had a great holiday together when Ted came home from Texas. I didn’t need any other present than our whole family being together again. :) Ted of course did not let that stop him from bringing home great things to stuff in my stocking… and then some! We have a running joke that he will never be able to buy a small or moderate amount of gifts. Once he gets started he’s hard to stop! I had fun this year getting presents on Amazon and seeing parcels of all shapes and sizes arrive in the mail the week before Christmas. I would sneak upstairs and wrap a couple boxes and then get back to work on my tasks. I am still in my "organizing and weed out unnecessary items” mode and that work continued in one form or another until Ted’s return.

I still have a few projects to work on now in this new year before I get to the fun tasks of some decorating/homemaking things. Living room curtains, a couch cover, some birthday sewing and replacing a wallpaper border in my daughter’s room are a few of the more rewarding jobs I’d like to turn my attention to. Then I also want to repaint the living room, sand the floor in the upstairs hallway, have Ted replace kitchen vinyl, and then re-organize kitchen cupboards while cleaning them inside and out (whew! I think I have too many things on my list for two new year’s resolutions!) While I might like to get that many things done in the first half of the year, I think my family would like to eat more than once in 6 days. I think I’ll have to scale back my projects to smaller bite size tasks every week and see where we arrive that way. It’s like Ted told me today, “I have to remember... it doesn’t all have to be done today!”

It’s interesting to me how there is a tension in going all out for something that includes some moments of dialing it back and focusing on the next simple task. For example the first week that Ted was gone I had two downstairs closets all torn apart, a girl’s bedroom half reorganized, kids still wanting meals to eat (imagine that!) and about 4 loads of laundry waiting to be washed. Christmas gifts were still not ordered and I was beginning to feel a downward pull toward what Anne of Green Gables calls “the depths of despair.” Thankfully the Holy Spirit and my loving sister-in-law were both there in that moment to say to me, “Just do the next thing.” And that meant, starting a load of laundry, planning a meal and sorting through a very small pile of items from the closet. Mundane and ordinary but sure enough, a few days later, after repeating that pattern of doing the next helpful thing, I found myself over the mountain of laundry, and happily looking at a closet that the vacuum rolls easily into. There’s even empty space on the upper shelf for storage and I haven’t seen that for over a year and a half. (Shh! don’t tell me that, or I might start piling random things there that need to be pitched rather than kept!) I worked too hard on that to let that clean, streamlined feeling slip away just for lack of making a decision to part with an unused item.
So there you have my two cents for the week- Go for it all!
But do the next thing.