Living Intentionally

Today's guest post is by Ashley of L.I.F.E. by Ashley Pichea.

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Living intentionally.

It goes against every fiber of my being. My nature is to sit back and let life happen to me.

If I had my way, my kids would parent themselves, my blog would write itself, my marriage would magically be perfect, my house would always be clean, and I would be able to sit in front of the TV all afternoon watching Gilmore Girls on DVD or curl up in a chair reading the latest Karen Kingsbury novel. Life would not require work or be stressful in any way.

Life, according to Ashley, would require little effort and would be all about responding and reacting.

And yet, this is not life. And if I am honest, this is not what I really want my life to resemble. It’s through struggles that we grow, and growth is what makes life interesting.

 

'Bible Study 2' photo (c) 2008, George Bannister - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

James says it this way:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” {James 1.2-5}

We are not to run from struggles and trials, but rather, we are to welcome them, knowing they are for our maturity.

We are all called to live intentionally.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 3.14}

Our daily walk with God and with others is to be met with intentionality. We are not to let life pass us by, but we are to make the most of every opportunity.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” {Ephesians 5.15-16}

As I have journeyed with God over the past year, He has lead me in a path of intentional living. From focusing the content of my personal faith-based blog to co-founding the 3in30 Challenge, God has led me to begin doing life intentionally - to begin living intentionally by faith everyday.

In order to live intentionally, though, I need help. On my own, I will quickly fall back into default mode and simply be content to sit back and watch as life passes by.

I need accountability, and this fits in with how God has designed the Christian life to be… one full of relationships that spur us toward righteousness.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works...” {Hebrews 10.24}

Doing LIFE {living intentionally by faith everyday} is not something we can do on our own. We need accountability, encouragement, and community. We need to set goals for ourselves, tell others about our goals, and work toward our goals with the help of the Holy Spirit and our faith-based community of friends.

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How will you live intentionally today? Do you have a friend who will keep you accountable? Do you need a community to encourage you?

 

Ashley Pichea invites you to join her in living intentionally by faith everyday and making your goals reality. Connect with Ashley on Facebook and Twitter.

A Lesson in Running

Intentionally setting aside time to hang out with your kids is quite a challenge, no? Especially for those of us who are stuck in our ways! But, it is extremely rewarding, I assure you. And truth be told? I didn't need to do much "planning". I just had to make myself available when my children wanted me to read or play or help with a craft, or simply listen. The most it required of me was my time. Most of what my children wanted me to do was read to them. Read Dr. Seuss. We have many books by him and we all enjoy them.

This is my favorite part of "Green Eggs and Ham". The look on his face is priceless! He didn't know how good it was until he tried it. There are so many life lessons that can be learned from this truth alone! The whole book he was running from something he ended up loving in the end.

Are we running the race in the right direction? Are we aimed for the prize God offered us? Or are we chasing the wind?

Do you have times when you are playing with your children and you begin to fall for that lie that you're not being productive? We get overly wrapped up in doing those things which are seen--those things that can be measured with the eye, and open for all to see. We fail to realize the real value lies within doing those things which are unseen--that what will count for eternity.

By seen and unseen, I mean that others would see if/when they walked through your front door at the end of the day. Would they know you've been productive? Do you spend the entirety of your days cleaning and barking at the children to not make messes so they're afraid to bring anything out?

Or, do you spend your days reading to you children? Teaching them about having godly character? Doing sums and writing stories. Playing games and tying heartstrings.

Our children need us to be there for them more than they need an immaculate house. A great resource that has really challenged me with this is called "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" by Teri Maxwell. In today's world, some of these ideas may seem radical. But if we're honest with ourselves, we can see how difficult it is to keep our children's hearts focused on God with everything else pulling for them.

Jamie over at Simple Homeschool shares how she handles her deep cleaning--once a month. You don't need to be a homeschooling mom to adapt this schedule. But it is certainly something to think about.

I school year round and take Friday's off. So Friday's are the days I "catch up" on house work and deep clean one area of the house. The point is to have a set time so you don't have to think about it. You can stay focused on meeting the needs of your children without feeling overwhelmed by all the cleaning "to do's". Obviously daily maintenance is a given. (Clean as you go).

Don't let the days go by with your mind set solely on the wrong things.

How did you do this week? If you really struggled to meet this challenge, would you consider writing a post anyways and sharing your struggle with us? Perhaps we can offer insights and be of encouragement?

The linky is at the bottom, so don't forget to link up!

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Tomorrow I am putting a "sign up linky" for those of you who want to participate in the "31 Days to Clean" challenge. So be sure to come back if you're interested in that. You can subscribe so you don't miss out on anything.

I will also be announcing TWO winners to Sarah Mae's e-book, 31 Days to Clean AND the winner of the ListPlan It Print Membership. So be sure to enter those if you haven't yet.

We will not be having a Homemakers Challenge this week. We will be gearing up for 31 Days to Clean, but I'm also going to give you some things to think about over the week.

Have a great day everyone! Don't forget to link up your post below!

Why Menu Plan?

Making meals is one of the most important aspects of homemaking. It can also be one of the most stressful when you come at it unprepared. Meal preparation can actually be a very pleasant time of day if we take a little time to plan for it. There are several benefits to menu planning that I want to share with you today.

Wood Tones by LN by ekhum, on Pix-O-Sphere

Here are 3 simple reasons to menu plan:

  1. It saves time -- yes, initially you need to put some time in to menu plan, but in the long run, it saves you those minutes each day you are deciding what to cook as you aimlessly look through your cupboards and freezer. You can save these precious minutes by setting aside a block of time to plan this. Typically, your first menu planning session will be the longest. Once you've completed that first part, the rest quickly follows. In addition, knowing what you're making saves on trips to the grocery store because you have everything you need already.
  2. It saves money -- when you know what you're going to need for the week (or month), you can jot down a grocery list and get everything you need in one trip. Having a list helps you avoid impulsive buying or forgetting things you find you need later. It also saves on gas because you are not making several trips to the grocery store throughout the week to get forgotten items.Finally, it prevents you from ordering take-out because you forgot to pull something from the freezer or your fed up with trying to decide what to make.
  3. It saves stress -- Knowing what meals you are making the family each day is a huge stress reliever. I mean huge. When I menu plan, it literally brings a smile to my face knowing I don't have to "worry" about what to make for dinner because it's already decided. As a matter of fact, I can begin some preparations in the morning as a result. A little planning goes a long way, friends. :)

Most of you know this--this is not new information. So why are we holding out? Perhaps we don't want to set aside a block of time just to menu plan. Friend, let me tell you: it's worth it. Relieving the stress alone is worth it. Having a plan helps for a smooth running home, and menu planning is part of "the plan".

List Plan It has some pretty great resources to help you plan out your menus from 1 week to 1 month, broken down by meal, food category, and also includes lists for shopping and kitchen organization. They also have hundreds of other lists to help you literally put your home in order. It's list heaven for people like me! Having 5 children causes me to be very forgetful, so I need a place to jot down ideas, thoughts, planning items, to do's, and anything else that comes to mind that I risk forgetting!

And in case you were unaware, I have a HOMEmakers Challenge every week and this week we are focusing on making a menu. Please feel free to join in! We will link up on Thursday.

Question: Have you ever tried menu planning in the past? If so, what was most challenging about it?

{Coming May 1st to the HOMEMakers Challenge: 31 Days to Clean, hosted by Joyful Mothering. Check out a giveaway Sarah Mae is hosting right now!}

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