My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

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My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

Was I always a little flaky? I don’t know. For years, I could get away with being very loosy-goosy with my planning because I was a stay-at-home mom of preschoolers. We moved all the time too, so by the time people developed expectations of me, we were off and away to the next town.

Over the years, I have slipped into a routine of planning as little as I can get away with planning. I’ll procrastinate decisions until they are made for me. Yep. Guilty of that. Sometimes I get this fear of commitment. If I sign up for things, I’m going to have to figure out how to actually accomplish those things with toddlers in tow.

And I never knew when my husband would be here or not be here, so making plans felt like shooting darts– real darts–in a room full of people, blindfolded.

No thanks.

So friends, that is how I became the version of April you have today.

April, are you going to the yada yada yada meeting?

**Total deer in the headlights**

Ummmm. Uhhhhhh.  Umm, yeah, you know, I might…

(Inside my head I’m thinking……IF all 4 kids are well, IF Alan is in town, IF I have energy left that day…..IF I am not supposed to actually be at Dan’s tee-ball game or some Army function that I can’t remember the exact dates for…..If, If, If…..)

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

I love to rock me some babies. Go away, world, until I finish this.

 

Actually, for the past 11 years those were all perfectly good reasons to be flaky, indecisive, unprepared, uncommitted, and unsure. Did I shut the world out a little bit? Yes, yes, I definitely did.

In fact, I had to google the word “twerking” not too long ago. I’m so out of touch with pop culture, and I kept hearing that word. All I can say to that one is ew, girl! Ew. Somebody get that poor girl a sweater and some capri pants.

But things keep popping up on our calendars, and I’ve re-entered the world of work with my blog. I actually HAVE to FORCE myself to plan and be less free-spirited, more grown-up like.

You people who have a plan amaze me, and I mean that in a good way. You totally have my respect.

You know when you are going on vacation. You’ve actually committed to specific dates, and you probably even know how you are gong to pay for that.

You have a budget.

You know when people’s birthdays are, and you plan for that accordingly.

You keep some sort of planner or calendar.

 My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan
About that….Y’all! I have purchased TWO different “planners” this year. They are both mostly blank. I have a calendar hanging in my kitchen too, which makes 3 planners, really. All I’ve written on that one is what the kids are doing for lunch and when their dentist appointments are.

I even downloaded an editorial calendar plug-in to try and start planning my blog posts. (It’s actually extremely helpful, fellow bloggers, check it out. It’s called “editorial calendar.”)

Only I’m so anti-structured in my thinking, I can rarely bring myself to write about what I’m ‘scheduled’ to write about.

I also have 2 different e-books I’ve written half of, and now they are just sitting on my hard-drive taking up space. My hard drive is so full, my computer has actually stopped letting me download or upload new things.

And suddenly I find myself wanting to change.

See, I bought all those planners. That’s the first step. I WANT to do the right thing and be all responsible again. I always was one-half responsible and one-half not at all, even back in high school and college. I used to make myself plans and stick to them, sort of. Well, I used to make plans. Maybe I never did really stick to them. I almost always turn in everything on time, actually, but I live in fear of signing up for extra things.

So I decided to pray about this today.

And this was my answer:  If you can plan out each day by making a list and crossing things off, then you can apply that same strategy to weeks. Then apply it to months. Then do that for years. Do it at the start of each week, each month, and each year, just like you are doing now for days.

Huh. Brilliant. Maybe even doable?

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

My planning tends to never go past the day that I’m on. This is the typical extent of my planning.

 

What I do now for each day is this. After I have safely delivered all of my children to school, I come home and have a little time for Bible study and prayer. You have to pour inspiration in to yourself if you expect to pour any out, right?

I close with prayer, and I ask God to help me make my to-do list for that day. I write the list out on the wipe-off board in the kitchen. Then I mentally prioritize the things that HAVE to get done.

That’s why I usually cook supper in the morning, by 12:00, because I know everyone HAS to eat, and I don’t want that task hanging over my head. Also, I have no energy left at 5:00pm.

I see no reason why this method for planning each day could not be applied to my weeks, months, and years, with one of the 3 planners I’ve purchased laying open on my lap.

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

And don’t even say that I should use my phone as my planner. I can’t do it. This falls under scatter-brained people problems. The minute I open my phone to use the calendar or some other useful, productive app, I immediately forget what I was doing and end up reading Instagram or my email or something.

So watch out, world! I now have a plan for how to plan!!!! Who knows? Maybe next week I will make a budget, a meal plan, or catch up on my 2,809 emails…….nahhhhh…

Please share your best planning tips in the comment section! We would love to hear more ideas! Thanks, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Day, the Surprise Party, and the Power of Good Neighbors

Surprise Welcome Home Party at Kristy’s house. There were 23 neighbors in attendance.

On Friday night, I snuck into my home town. My parents were expecting me at 8:45pm, but truthfully I arrived at 7:30 or so, but I didn’t want them to know that. They were still staying at the rental house, but I did not go straight to the rental house. I went by my childhood friend, Kristy’s, house. We were on a mission, you see.

I grew up playing with Kristy and the other neighborhood kids. Kristy’s grandparents lived next door to us, and she spent a lot of time over there. As kids, we climbed trees, rode bikes, swung, swam in her granny’s pool, and played a good deal of make-believe and front yard baseball.

Then six or seven years ago, grown-up Kristy bought the house across the street from my parents! Pretty cool, huh? That tiny street is full of people who have been living there for most of my life.

They’ve been watching the destruction and re-building of my parents’ house up close and personal. They dealt with the smells, oh, you don’t want to know about the smells, the rubble looters on the day of the bulldozer, the construction crews, and the watching and waiting. They never complained.

Kristy said, “I’m telling you, they could’ve built it faster.”

Mrs. Sara (Kristy’s granny) lamented, “Well, the only problem is they built it closer to the road than it used to be, and the way it’s shaped I can’t see Terry on his front porch, and I can’t see Terry on his back porch. How am I supposed to know he’s okay???? How am I supposed to know it if he falls?”

She’s right, that’s a problem when you have good neighbors. Kirsty reassured her it’d be okay because she can still see him from her front porch.

Neighbors that look out for each other. Such a beautiful thing!

A month or so ago, Kristy hatched a plan for a surprise party. We had no idea what day they’d finally move in, so she planned it for December 10th, and lo and behold, what day do you think they finally moved in? Well, December 10th, of course, so it was pretty easy to get my parents over to the right place at the right time.

Chris, Kristy, and me

We decided the best story to tell to make sure my parents were at the new house unloading at party time was to say that pizza was arriving at the new house at 11am. This was pretty easy. I just used Alan’s obsession with pizza coupons as my cover story.

“You know how Alan is about his pizza coupons. Well, he’s already got the pizza scheduled to be delivered at 11am tomorrow at the new house. It’s a little early, but he wanted to make sure he had plenty of food, and that way when my brother gets off of work, they will be able to get straight to work with the heavy moving then.”

No one doubted that story for a second.

By 11am, every one of us was in place at my parents’ new house, but there was one part I hadn’t thought through. Now how do I get them over to Kristy’s house? Everyone was focused on the mission of moving… Hmmmm

“Hey, um, y’all, I talked to Kristy out in the yard, and she said when Dad gets here to have y’all stop by her house real quick. I think she has a Christmas gift for ya.”

And to my surprise, it was that simple!

They just said, “Oh. Okay,” and started off across the street.

“I think I’ll come too,” I said, motioning the boys to come on. John David was of course shoeless. Alan got his little shoes on JD as quickly as possible, and we all six followed Mom and Dad across the street.

Mom said she did think it was weird that we were ALL coming.

Kirsty opened the doors and motioned for us to all come in. I’m not sure how long it took Mom and Dad to figure out this was their surprise party or that we weren’t actually having pizza. Pretty funny! This was so fun to be a part of.

We all ate together. Mr. Byrd, a neighbor I remember as the one who would buy whatever I was selling from my school fund-raiser every year, said a beautiful blessing before the meal.

We laughed over the surprise, and caught up with everybody.

Then we walked everyone over and gave them a tour of the new house, for those who hadn’t seen inside of it yet.

I know. I know you’re dying to get a peek inside too, and I would show it to you, but Mom’s not as big on posting the minute details of her life on the internet as I am, so I’m going to literally just show you one peek. I’m going to give you Kristy’s porch view of the new place:

Mr. Byrd, Dad, and Chris and Kristy’s porch view of the new house.

It’s not a re-built house. It’s a completely new house. The old one had to be bulldozed and carried away, down to the last scrap of concrete. Nothing could be left. What wasn’t burned was all damaged by smoke, water, and asbestos.

Everything is gone. The trampoline burned too. When they were clearing the house away, there was a huge storm that came through, and lightning stuck the last of the tall pine trees that still stood from my childhood. And as they took away the dumpster last week, they killed the mailbox too.

It was as though God decided that he couldn’t just partially fix it. It had to be completely made new.

We may not understand the ways of God, but his ways are best, and I know that this house is going to be a great blessing to my parents.

Isn’t it funny how God even arranged it for Alan and me to move back down here for two years, so that we were here for all of this? I got to see construction of the new house in all of its phases. I got to pore over paint and tile samples with Mom on my coffee table.

And I got to be there for move-in day, even when we didn’t know until 3 days prior that it would be moving day!

God moves in mysterious ways.

I wish you could see what all Kristy has done with her house too! She bought it after the housing market crashed, and completely re-modeled the place, knocking down walls, moving the kitchen, painting, and putting in new floors. It’s inspirational to look at what she’s accomplished without even hiring a builder, a little at a time!

It makes me smile to see Alan getting to talk to these sweet neighbors, these pillars from my childhood. When I see Mrs. Sara I always smile and think of how she used to call out to us from her front door, “Y’all play purdy now!!” Maybe I should start calling that out my door to the boys and their friends.

Our neighbors didn’t just feed us and visit with us, even though that would have been more than enough. They also SHOWERED my parents with gifts, AGAIN. I say again because they’d already helped after the fire, but they just kept on giving!

opening gifts

Kristy, our lovely coordinator and hostess

They were given a big, beautiful set of Rachel Ray cookware, which I could tell Mom was excited about, as well as all sorts of other useful blessings!

Mom and I have always admired what Kristy can do with her vinyl cricket (cricuit?) machine!

The most emotional gift was this large framed floorboard from the original house, which Kristy wrote their name and anniversary date on. I cried when I saw it, even though I knew she was planning it. Mom cried. I don’t know if Dad cried.

The day of the bulldozing, Kristy had looked for some wood from the house, but there was none available that wasn’t too damaged, so she found a whole plank from the Pergo floors. This made it even more special because Mom and Dad had put those floors down themselves around 10 years ago, and we’d all just loved those floors.

Kirsty laughed about almost getting caught salvaging that board from the rubble. She said she left the kids with Gail and ran over to dig around for something she could save for Mom and Dad. She had just discovered a good board, and all of a sudden there was my dad! He was there to try to save some china, and she quickly dropped the board off to the side, and said, “Oh, here, let me help you with that!” She said she felt like she was almost busted. So funny, because Dad would have had no idea what she was doing anyway.

 

 

We laughed, we ate, we cried, and then we hugged people and got back to work!

This was such a blessing, what the neighbors did for my parents, and I just wanted to share it, the fact that things like this still happen. There are people who are still kind, giving, unselfish, who want to help other people, and we make each others’ lives better in the process.

Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this, Kristy, and to all the neighbors for blessing us in such a big way. We are so thankful! Our cup runneth over.

 

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  –Hebrews 13:16

May we all strive to be this kind of neighbor. Merry Christmas, y’all!

 


 

The 4 Month Moving Update: Peanut Festival, Trampoline Time, and Turnips

the morning after Black Friday funnies

John David is a multi-talented child. He can unroll a TP roll, pee, and weigh himself all at once.

The Morning After…..Black Friday

I have a Black Friday hangover today. Not the kind you get from alcohol. The kind you get from spending one day driving and eating and the next day shopping too much and driving.

I slept until 8am this morning because I literally could not wake up before that. Beat. I am so beat.

We went shopping on Friday and spent like crazy. I actually told my mom–as in I actually SAID, “It’s okay, though. This is Black Friday, so the money we spend today is like not real money.”

I was sort of kidding, but not really. Presents have to be purchased, right?

But it is real money. Oh, but it is.

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving, y’all. Beautiful. We forced all of our children to wear shirts with collars, and then we forgot to even take pictures. (It’s like we’re just being mean on purpose. *evil laugh*)

Collared shirts aside, everyone had a wonderful time. The food was top-notch too. We got to spend Thanksgiving with my family. That was extra important to me this year because it’s been a tough year for them. We all went over to my parents’ new house and looked around. The flooring is in. The walls are almost completely painted. The landscaping is even done. All they are lacking is a few appliances and pantry shelves. So exciting!!!!

We have no idea what day they will get to move in. That depends on insurance and inspections and such, so we wait. I’m leaving my suitcase packed, on alert to go help move!!!

The Moving Update: 4 Month Mark

We’re adjusting. I tried to take on too many blog projects but couldn’t juggle them all. As it turns out, being a stay at home mom is still a full-time job. Therefore, I’m keeping my blog expectations low for a little longer. However, I am enjoying writing for Monterey Premier on the side. I’m lucky to get one article turned in per week, but every little bit helps. That’s been a blessing.

Alan took over laundry duty, which may be the most exciting this that has ever happened to me. He has always helped with laundry. Don’t get me wrong there, but now he is in charge of laundry. Fully!

Let’s pause to throw a party and whoop and holler with delight!!!!!

The boys are doing well. They still like their new school. Basketball season has begun for Joshua, but it’s a middle school team, so I’m not feeling too hot about that. I’d rather have him on a 5th grade team, but we’ll see how it goes.

Daniel is taking wrestling lessons, believe it or not.

We’ve all been up to a little bit of adventuring mischief. Here are a few photos of the fun, for those of you who do not follow us on Instagram:

The Morning After......Black Friday

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fall in Georgia

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Daniel lost a tooth. This was a BIG DEAL, but he insisted on keeping it in his pocket, so then he literally lost the tooth. We had to write the tooth fairy a note. Daniel said he doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy because his brother told him that she’s not real, but it was still important to Dan to leave a note……So I guess he really does still sort of believe.

Don’t worry. He did indeed get a dollar, a quarter, and a penny.

On a completely unrelated note, look what I found under my desk:

 

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John David and his black marker strike again.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fun times with Mom

JD and I spent HOURS of November on our trampoline. And no, it did not result in any weight loss. Once your hips swell up with arthritis, I actually have no idea how to shrink that. Thoughts, suggestions, anyone???

I’ve had to squash my vanity and just exercise for the fun of it.

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This face of pure joy. I need to hang this picture everywhere.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

These were such a life saver for us. Thank you notes that you just fill in the blanks. Best parenting hack ever.

Want some? My friend has an Etsy shop where you can score your own. See more here: lilmissgratitude.com.

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This Snoopy that I bought Daniel for Christmas last year is still making us smile this year, especially JD.

The Morning After......Black Friday

I got these awesome turnips WITH roots from my brother. I thought I could substitute bacon for pork chops and it would still be as good. Wrong. Pork chop required for prime yummy-ness.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Turnip greens with roots: a delightful Southern treat

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Yard sale-ing!!! I have literally saved about $1,000 by yard sale shopping this fall, and I have had so much fun in the process. These sunglasses were $1.00! Say what you want. I super-like them.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Why I love Big Lots

The Morning After......Black Friday

I literally spent one day rolling in fall leaves on the trampoline with J.D. It was glorious…..until the hay fever result came rolling in that night. Ha! Still worth it!

The Morning After......Black Friday

Reveling in the fall leaves (and the pollen—achoo!)

The Morning After......Black Friday

We went to the Peanut Festival, just the two of us!

We ate funnel cake, we rode 4 rides, and then we got so nauseous we gave the rest of our tickets away to some kids and left. Haha! So much fun though!

The Morning After......Black Friday

My favorite ride as a kid. It was fun, but this is the ride that did us in.

The Morning After......Black Friday

My other favorite ride: The Swings!

The Morning After......Black Friday

I was so pumped to share my childhood stompin’ grounds with Alan. We’ve been married 14 years, and this was the FIRST time he’d ever gotten to go to the Peanut Festival.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Cotton and mums

4 month moving update

John David got tired of the 6 pumpkins on our porch, so he tossed ALL of them into this bush.

4 month moving update

I love Caleb’s drawing so much I can’t stop sharing them.

4 month moving update

Another new Lula Roe top!

4 month moving update

Alan’s seriously creepy Halloween costume

4 month moving update

And last but not least, I found 20 DOLLARS in my jeans from last year. Wahoo!!! What should I buy first!!???

 

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”   –Isaiah 46:4

 

Come back on Cyber Monday!!!!!!! I have a giveaway planned!!!!!!!

 

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