Creating Peace in My Do Over

peace-1My mom once  told me that her idea of heaven was that every fifteen minutes of the day was scheduled out and the schedule never changed and was never interrupted. To me that sounds like hell. I love excitement, surprise, spontaneity. I love when a friend drops by my house unexpected – and I have no problem dropping whatever plans I have to meet a friend for lunch.

Most of the 29 years I’ve been a parent – my schedule has been dictated to me by coop classes, sports practice, theater practice, music lessons, and the many activities that we as a family chose to over commit ourselves to. This has led to a different type of hell – one of anxiety. I’d have to leave in 5 minutes because my kids can’t be late to XYZ, but I couldn’t find my keys, I only found one shoe, I have no idea where the jackets got thrown when we took them off last, I forgot I was supposed to take something for the potluck (guess I’ll pick up a fruit tray at the store), I’m yelling at the kids, I’m angry at myself for being such a witch to my kids and losing my temper. This is not  fun! This is not how life is supposed to be lived. I’m thanking God, once again, He is giving me a do-over. Four kids are grown and gone – and one is just starting – so she’s my do over. I don’t regret the activities my kids went to – they are who they are largely because of them. I do regret my disorganization and my lack of preparation and my attitude because of my lack of these things.

So what am I doing with my do over?

Committing to less. There will come a time that Rose wants to do ballet, or play cricket – but she’s not asking, so I’m not offering. I think twice before I say “yes” to any activity outside of my home. My first ministry is to my family, and everything I say “yes” to will be scrutinized to see how it will affect it.

Creating a family rhythm. Rhythm is different from schedule. Schedules are time oriented, rhythm is a “steady, regular, repeated” pattern. For our family this looks like a lax, flexible schedule. We get up, have meals, and go to bed at approximately the same time each day. We do the same series of events before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and between dinner and bed. For example, between breakfast and lunch, we light a candle and say our Bible verse, have story time and circle time, then do art work. But the times are flexible. Sometimes, it is a five minute let’s get this art project over with, and sometimes we revel in the enjoyment of it for forty or forty five minutes. That’s ok. That’s one of the differences between rhythm and schedule. Within my do-over rhythm:


  • I’ll give myself time to breath in. Time to read my Bible and journal it, time to pray, time to take a bath by candle light, time to write, time to have lunch with a friend. TIme alone to just be quiet and think.


  • I’ll give my child time to breath in. Time to play independently. Quiet time to look at books, color a picture, paint, play with clay, or build with blocks or legos. TIme to lay under the stars. Time to ponder imaginary worlds. Time to be quiet and get lost in her thoughts.
  • I’ll give our family time to breath in. Time to eat meals together, saying grace, enjoying each others company. Time for long road trips with Daddy – viewing nature as it rolls by the window. Time to quietly walk through a zoo or museum together contemplating God’s creation.
  • I’ll give myself time to breath out. Time to minister to others – both in my family and outside of it. Time for dates with my husband.


  • I’ll give my child time to breath out. Time to climb trees, dig a hole in the dirt, and skip rocks in a pond. Time to dance as she recites poetry. Time to arrange all the teddy bears in a row and jump over them. Time to chatter obsessively without being told to be quiet.
  • peace-4I’ll give our family time to breath out. Time for extended family running and yelling through the house. Time for holiday celebrations. Time for all family members to pull out their instruments and sing and dance together in the front room. Time for local art and music festivals. Time to minister to others as a family unit.

Creating a home rhythm.peace-6

  • Declutter and simplify our house. I am on my way, but have a long way to go.
  • Stop losing things. Make a home for every object, and have every object stay in it’s home unless it comes out to play – then it needs to return home.
  • Establish a cleaning schedule. My home is my main place of worship and ministry – I will treat it with the sacredness it deserves.
  • Establish a cooking schedule. Honor my family with delicious meals made with love.

I’m still in the process of working out my “do over,” but so far it has proved peaceful.
What do you do to establish peace in your home?

Transitioning Rhythm

rhythm 2Sometimes it is hard to transition between the  musical improvisation of summer and the march of school year rhythm. The last couple of weeks of August become a jazz piece – with a steady beat but lots of improvisation thrown in.

I scramble to organize my calendar, school space, and household tasks. I make sure my school supplies and bookshelves are stocked, as well as checking the dresser drawers to see if they contain anything besides swimsuits and cover-ups.

When I was little – summer vacation ended and school began – changing everything about my day to day life in one swift swoop. It was exciting, but a little scary. Now, I slip from one rhythm to the next almost like embracing a new movement in the same symphony – a completely different tempo but carrying across the same motif.

Officially, we start our new rhythm the day after labor day – September 6th this year.

This is what I hope my new rhythm looks like:


8:00 – Wake, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

8:15- 9:00 Mom coffee, Slow Cook Dinner, Sack lunches

9:00 Leave for Co-Op

10:30 – 11:30 Co-Op

11:30 – 12:30 Socialize & Lunch

12:30 – 5:00 Errands & Groceries (every other week)  Zoo (every other week)

5:30 – 6:30 Family Dinner

6:30 – 9:30 Church Home Group

9:30 Bible, Prayers & Lights Out

Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep

10:15 – 10:30 Trampoline

10:30 – 10:35 Candle Lighting & Memory Verse

10:35 – 10:50  Story Time

10:50 – 11:30 Circle Time

11:30 – 12:15 Art or Handwork

12:15  -12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 Household Chores

2:00 – 2:30 Snack

2:30 – 5:00 Health Club

5:00 – 6:00 Mom cook, Rose free-play

6:00  – 7:00 Family Dinner & Clean up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time


8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:30 Breakfast, Sack lunch &  Dinner in Slow-Cooker

10:30 – 11:00 Household Chores

11:00 – 4:30 Forest Day

4:30 – 6:00 Free TIme

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner & Clean Up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – ? Mom & Dad time


Sleep in as late as want

Extended Family Day

Family Field Trips

Free Time

Every other week – date night & babysitter


9:00 Wake & Get ready for church, Mom

10:00 Breakfast & Lunch in Slow Cooker

10:30 – 12:30 Church

12:30 – 5:00 Extended Family

5:00 – 11:00 Mom’s much needed time alone, Dad’s turn with Rose

(Rabbit Trail: Notice I didn’t start early and we read aloud while cuddling in bed first. Being that neither Rose or I are morning people – I didn’t want to set us up for failure right off the bat. Also – I know that ART and HANDWORK should be separate events – but I also knew that if I pushed either back to after lunch – it wouldn’t get done. I also scheduled in flex time, driving time, and time away from Rose – for my own sanity.)

That’s my September march. My August jazz improv looks more like this:

rhythm 1Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep (That’s a crescendo from sleeping as long as possible every day)

10:15am – 8:00 pm Cut technology back to one hour a day for Rose: Free play; Run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do all the organization that I should have been doing all summer: Swim – don’t forget there are still swim days left in the year – so trying to take advantage! 

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack (I have three weeks to re-establish the bedtime routine we threw out the window when the days were long and nights were warm)

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time

Night Dance

So – I’m trying to start and end the day with the new rhythm – with total improve in the middle. As the days grow cooler and the march approaches – I can feel the excitement in my bones. My dance step is changing as I anticipate the andante days of summer turning into the allegro of a new school year.

What does you school year rhythm look like? What do you do to transition from summer?


Spring Rhythm

We’re walking to a slightly faster beat than we did last semester. Here’s our new weekly rhythm:


Mom Time


Walk Dogs

Circle Time

Daily Chores



Monday: Wet-on-Wet Painting

Tuesday: Clay/Modeling

Wednesday: Drawing

Thursday: Nature Craft

Friday: Seasonal or Holiday Craft

Fairy tale Story time


Bible Study (Drawing pictures from Psalms)

Daily Focus

Monday: Farmers Market

Tuesday: Cooking

Wednesday: Handcrafts

Thursday: Outside

Friday: Gardening


Outside Free play


Family time




Read Aloud



Mom and Dad Time

Mom daughter forest

Forest Day

*Every Thursday is Forest Day – We drive to a nearby forest after breakfast and spend the day. We do circle time, crafts, story time, lunch, and Bible study outside. We also have lots of free time to explore, collect, and play.

Night Dance

Circle Time (6 Week each)

January – Mid February: Dragons

Mid February – March: Fairies

April – Mid May: Mermaids

Daily Chores

Clean one room a day, as well as general pick up. Rose helps with the cleaning.

Fairy Tales (3 weeks each)

Dragon Theme: The Dragon of Ghent, The Reluctant Dragon

Fairy Theme: The Fairies, Sleeping Beauty

Mermaid Theme: The Little Mermaid, The Golden Mermaid

*Fairy tales are modified to be age appropriate, but as close to original as possible.

Justification 4

Read Aloud Books

Dragon Theme: Chapter Book –My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett,  Picture Books – The Land of Long Ago by Elsa Beskow, The Knight and the Dragon by  Tomie dePaola

Fairy Theme: Chapter Book – The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, Poetry/Picture Book – If You See a Fairy Ring: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Poems Illustrated by Susanna Lockheart

 Mermaid Theme: Chapter Book – Mermaid Magic by Gwyneth Rees, Picture Books: Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell, Can You Catch a mermaid? by Jane Ray
What does your Spring semester look like?