Who isn’t in an eternal search for balance? Balance between church and family, family and friends, friends and church. Round and round and round… Well, I am anyways. And add this blog thing to the mix, and well, let’s just say I post a lot less, right?!?

This post comes from a friend who is just like me and probably like some of my readers in that she is always shifting her balance as her needs and the needs of her family continually shift. Emily is a true princess. She is beautiful, gracious, and always lends her time and space and energy where it is needed yet her family is not neglected. She has taught me to just “let it go” and how to help a house feel like a home to those who visit, not just those who live there. Thank you, Emily. Thank you for again sharing your time and wisdom with me.

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From Emily…

I can’t tell you how many times I began to write a guest post in my head. When asked to write one, the topic of Balancing was mentioned. I’ve discovered I can speak (at least in my head) on that subject at length! And in many directions. Here is one I hope makes sense and you can relate. Enjoy!

You just do it. Period. That is the mantra of several of my girlfriends. Two were visiting the other day with their children. As our boys were playing, we were chatting (love how that works). One mom is a single mom – completely by choice. No husband to hand the child off to at 5 pm. No husband to mow the lawn, take out the trash or whatever are typically “husband” duties. (In our home, the lines are blurry – we do what we each need to do to help.) My other friend recently went back to school, oh and work. Her husband has a new business. They have a young son. She survives on 2-3 hours sleep often. Both of them were commenting that when asked “How do you do it?”, they each responded, “You just do it.” Whatever needs to be done, you just do it.

Within that afternoon, I heard profound wisdom. Mom friend with school, work, husband, child and home wished she had planted tomato plants for summer long fresh tomatoes. But in reality, she knew she truly did not have the time to care for the plants. It would have been pointless and a waste of money. To me, that was an AHA! moment. Sounds simple but think about it just for a second.

Finding balance in what I WANT and NEED has taken many years in my life. When I first starting thinking on this topic, time was the initial component of balance. But there is more. There is a great saying – Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. Chew on that for a second (I need more coffee)…….

The more we want, the more time is required. Right? We want a new car, well, someone has to pay for it, so therefore someone must work. We want new furniture, have to pay for it. Takes time to work. We want to try out the latest restaurant, go on a great vacation, dress in a fashionable way. Time and money has to come from somewhere right? And if we don’t have the money, we find that friend (or foe) named credit and then are in debt.
Now I’m not judging people for wanting nice or new things. I want them as well. But sometimes the price gets to high.
My dedicated husband literally works two jobs to support our family. Yes, I have a very good life. But it comes with a price. Husband comes home from career job and starts his web based business in the evenings. So, he doesn’t have the time to spend relaxing as others might. Our family works this way and we have all adjusted accordingly. If I WANT an evening off from my “job” (caring for our children), he must take time off from his “job”. Which directly affects me (not working, not making money, get the idea?). Our situation is just that – OUR situation. Not every family is like us. But it has made me stop and think, is what I WANT good for my family? (same goes for Husband)
And not so much in the material aspect. I have a hard time parting with my money. I get a thrill out of a great deal (not good, but GREAT deal). My wardrobe is simple – and most comes from thrift or secondhand stores. My taste in home decor runs in old (some might call antique). I have learned in life, less is more. Less STUFF to clutter my home, gives me MORE time to do other stuff. And with four children, we go and do – quite often.
That brings about TIME. One thing is can guarantee, each of us has the EXACT same about of time in our day. EXACT. I do not have anymore time than anyone else. 24 Hours. We all have 24 hours in a day. How we choose to spend them is a different story.
What we do with our time allows us to Want what we already have. The other day, my teenage daughter comes bouncing into the kitchen – I found my favorite scarf! She was so happy with it wrapped around her neck! “You lost it?”, I asked. “Well, not really, it was hidden under all my other scarves and I just rediscovered it.” Stuff sometimes hide what we love the most.
I started blogging about food and recipes many moons ago. I wanted to post something new everyday. I kept that pace for some time. Lately, other aspects in life became more important. More outside activities with the kids, gardening, just other priorities that affected my whole life. Those required more attention. And you know what, it’s ok to sometimes put smaller things (for me, my blog) on the back burner. It is not giving my family money, food or clothing. Those items must come first.
Balancing for me means knowing my priorities. My Big Rocks. What is important to me and my life to make it flow smoothly. Think about filling a large jar with big rocks. Pack as many as you can. Now add some pebbles. They slide into the crevices among the big rocks. Fill in the holes with sand. It flows among the big rocks and the pebbles. Lastly, add water. Every little space left will be filled with water. That is life. We maximize it in some way or another. Our lives are full.
So how do we balance our full and sometimes overflowing lives? I don’t have a magic formula. Sorry, I can point you to a million websites that can give you ideas. I do know what works for our family. I choose what big rocks I am willing to shove into our jar and manage the pebbles and the sand. And the end of the day, I too only have 24 hours.

So I plan out our week (thanks to Patty, I now have a white board on my fridge). I plan our activities. I plan my meals. I also plan when big housework is done. Doesn’t mean we don’t “wing” it sometimes? I don’t always have all the laundry folded and put away. Toys are sometimes left out in the living room or even worse, the front yard. But that’s ok, sometimes.
What I can tell you, just like I tell my children, Want what you already have. Appreciate it. Shopping for that new outfit takes time and money. What is more important. Forgetting about that old scarf and buying a new one? Or maybe organizing and rediscovering what we already had.

Emily
http://emilyinthekithen.blogspot.com/

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