The Harder Kids Work, The “Luckier” They Get

Are your kids hard workers?  Our culture stresses “Buy, buy, buy” and “me, me, me”  which fights with the messages we want to teach our children that hard work helps one succeed, and consumerism and selfishness does the opposite.

Here is a video by Dani Johnson, a motivational speaker and businesswoman, who shares from a Christian perspective–it’s an hour long, but with some great nuggets of wisdom, explaining how we can better equip our children to grow into successful adults through hard work.   Enjoy!

A Checklist For People Pleasing

 

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This morning I went to return an item at a store, and the woman behind the counter asked me to enter my email on the credit card scanner. This simple request always poses a dilemma for me because I don’t want them to have my email– but it makes me uncomfortable to say “no.”  Being the recovering people pleaser that I am, I mustered up the courage to politely say, “No thank you.” This felt awkward for me, because I just said these three words, instead of my normal, “I’m really sorry, but if you don’t mind I would rather not give out my email because I am trying to stop cluttering up my inbox…” yada yada, (yuck).  I then realized I was saying “no” to a fellow people pleaser because she went on and on about how it’s no problem but they need to ask for it to send coupons and for me to get a duplicate receipt in my email, yada yada.

I’ve about had it with the sorry’s and yada yada’s–especially from me.

There is a great book on the shelves right now, called “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkheurst.  We are working through it, chapter by chapter in our Monday night bible study.  I love it because I believe Lysa speaks to so many of us who struggle with saying a simple “no”, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, then finding ourselves weary and worn, and annoyed that we have spammy emails showing up in our inbox from retail stores.

PEOPLE PLEASING

This last week our discussion centered around people-pleasing.  In the workbook was a checklist of people-pleasing traits:

Here they are:

___   I’d rather say yes than have a confrontation

___   I don’t want people to think I’m selfish

___   I don’t want this person to be mad at me (or have ill feelings toward me).

___   If I say yes, this person will like me, accept me, approve of me, etc.

___   I want to be a nice person, and nice people don’t say no.

___  I’d rather overextend myself than disappoint someone whose opinion matters to me.

___  If I say yes, this person is more likely to be there for me in the future if I want or need something.

___  I want to be loving, and saying no does not seem loving.

p. 134 The Best Yes Workbook

How did you do? 

I checked every single one (except one).   I should probably start a People Pleasers Anonymous group.  All of these behaviors can be summed up in 4 prevalent traps of people pleasing, says Lysa:

1. THE FEAR OF REJECTION

2. THE FEAR OF DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE

3. THE NEED TO MANAGE PERCEPTIONS

4. THE NEED FOR APPROVAL

p. 134

Do any of those stand out to you?  Number three jumped out at the page and slapped me right across the face.  I constantly feel like I need to explain myself, give more detail than necessary, apologize, give the back story, etc to manage people’s perceptions.  Not to mention, how annoying is that for others? Sorry everyone.  So, I am working on the following mindset.

TRUSTING PEOPLE

Here is my new mantra:  I trust that people in my life know and love me, and if I mess up, they will see all of me and not just the messy part.  I will trust them to forgive me, to talk to me if there is an issue, and to still like me even if I am not perfect,  or need to be honest with them,  or say “no” to something they are asking.  I trust that people I don’t know will appreciate honest, respectful responses from me.

I believe that people-pleasing is born out of a lack of trust that others:

1.  Are capable to extend grace

2. Will handle and work through any temporary disappointment they may have in me

3.  Will respect the “no” or whatever else I am presenting them and still like me in the future

In short, when we people please, we do not give people in our life the credit they are due.  Here are some examples of where we don’t trust people:

~ You need to tell you boss that you need time off.  You are afraid they will be mad.  Trust that this is part of their job–managing employee absences, and they will handle it professionally.

~ You have to let a friend know that you bit off more than you could chew by volunteering to watch their children two mornings a week.  You worry you will disappoint them. You may disappoint her, but trust that she will work it out another way, and both of you will be happier in the end.

~ You plan a vacation after telling a few close people you are watching your pennies.  You feel you need to manage perceptions by explaining you travel on points, fly free, and go all-inclusive so it costs next to nothing every time you talk about your upcoming trip (totally guilty of this).  You don’t need to do this.  It’s no one’s business, and you need to trust that probably no one cares~in fact they are most likely happy for you!

GOOD ROLE MODELS

I have a couple of close friends in my life who are excellent at kindly setting boundaries, expressing their feelings, and not tripping over themselves to make everyone else around them happy. Guess what?  I RESPECT those friends immensely! For example, I just had a friend yesterday nicely but directly share that she was disappointed in the customer service she received from a company I work for.  While that is always a little disconcerting or uncomfortable to hear, I was so glad she shared that with me so I could explain and correct the situation.  If the situation were reversed, I would tend not to say anything for fear of hurting my friend’s feelings–how helpful is that to both parties?

My friend trusted ME enough to be honest.

I look to these friends as examples of how I can grow in this area of my life.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT PEOPLE PLEASING?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10 NIV

Wow. That’s convicting.

In fact, if there is one thing that will cure me of people-pleasing it’s knowing that God is not pleased when I do this!  If He is to be my “audience of one” than pleasing Him releases me from winning approval of everyone else around me.

Friends, let’s let go of managing other’s reactions. Let’s be kind an respectful, but honest in our communication.  We cannot please everyone all the time, that is okay–we will all survive!

Instead, let’s focus all our energy on pleasing God, since His opinion of us is the only one that truly matters–and will always be full of love and grace.

There is so much more to be said on this topic, so I will write more later.  Now, I have to spend some time unsubscribing to emails I signed up for that I didn’t want in the first place.

Yada yada.

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Planning For The Busy Family

 

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I’d like to introduce a guest on the blog today–Liz Hayes.  Liz is my Mother-In-Law and friend.  She has many talents, like quilting and swinging a nine-iron, but where I have learned the most from Liz is in the kitchen.  Liz is who I call if I have a question about the best way to make gravy for a Thanksgiving meal, or if a food item can be frozen and still resemble its former self when thawed.  Which is why I do not hesitate to have her share some of her wisdom with all of us here on GracefullHome.  Here she teaches what she did for meal planning as a busy working mom of two:

 
My daughter-in-law, Amy, has graciously invited me to share some space in her blog.  I really enjoyed her recent blog dealing with chores and budgets.  I have been trying to figure out how the chore system might work with my husband.  I can probably guess what his “payment” might entail!
I do want to fully endorse using a budget system.  We embraced the cash envelope/allotment sheet budget 35+ years ago.  At that time we had credit cards with Sears, Penney’s, gas companies and Master Card – all with revolving balances.  We eventually paid them all off and have kept it that way.  Now we use Visa 99% of the time and pay it off every month – no exceptions!  We are retired and entered retirement with two fairly new cars paid for and no debt other than our mortgage.  We actually have a tighter budget in retirement, but we still travel and entertain quite a lot.  Things still happen that upset balances, liked having to replace the house A/C last summer, but the framework holds.

I know that many of you are in the midst of raising a family.  Some of you may also be working full time as well.  Life is hectic with all the different schedules and energy is often lacking.  Laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning and preparation never seems to end!  I understand, I was there once too, and you could have written the grocery list in the dust on just about any surface in my house.  I would like to share a stress reliever in meal planning I utilized at that time.  I still use it today when I am expecting houseguests.

1. Every other Sunday afternoon I would plan the meals for two weeks.  I would plan 10-12 meals since there would be the inevitable crazy night of grabbing fast food or a pizza.  A few of those meals might be assigned to a particular day but mostly they were free flowing and the list was posted on the side of the refrigerator so I could just wake up and pick a meal for dinner that evening.

2.  I would do the major shopping once every two weeks only returning to the store for milk, bread and produce.  This meant if the kids consumed all the granola bars the first week, I didn’t replace them until it was time to go shopping again.  Since I made my list on Sunday, I would typically grocery shop on Monday after work.

3,  In the morning, before I left for work, I would take a look at the list and then take the necessary ingredient(s) out of the freezer and leave them to thaw in the sink.   (I know – so unhealthy – but we all survived!)  An hour of planning twice a month took away the daily stress!

You know what meals your family likes and what you typically prepare and serve.  Start making a list and keeping it on your phone or computer.  Use categories like, meals, desserts, salads, appetizers etc.  When planning, look at the list and make choices or simply keep the same rotation.

Make everyone in the family share the responsibility for adding items to the shopping list.  When they use the end of something or run out of their shampoo, it is their responsibility to add it to the list.  I highly recommend the Apple app Grocery IQ, it can be synced to everyone’s phone and you can make separate lists for Costco, King Soopers, Home Depot etc.

Below is the list I used so many years ago.  I’m sure Jonathan and Jennifer will recognize many of these menus.

 

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In case you can’t read this, here are a few on the list:

Hawaiian Chicken, Hamburgers, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Meatloaf, Chicken Divan, Beef and Rice, Mac and Cheese

Ask your family what their favorites are and make your own list!

4 Ideas To Simplify Your Life

IMG_0267In my last post, I promised to share some new idea finds that have made my life simpler–and are “sticking!”

1. SIMPLE AND QUICK APPETIZERMozzarella, Basil and Tomato Skewers.

I chose this appetizer to bring to a dinner party this past weekend because of the busy day leading up to the event, not leaving much prep time.  This alternative version to Caprese Salad was easy to shop for and prepare.  Target had the correct size mozzarella balls, and of course fresh basil and good cherry tomatoes are a must.

Recipe:  Layer fresh Mozzarella balls, basil and cherry tomatoes on a toothpick. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar if you choose.

IMG_0268Here is the final look:

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Why this is simplifies your life: can anyone say three ingredients?

2. CHORE APP–no more nagging

I love this.  A friend was sharing with me how this app was working for their family–tracking and organizing chores.  I wasn’t sure how effective it would prove for our family–mainly because this chore tracker pays kids for chores, which we have not traditionally done (we have been in the camp of “chores are part of contributing for the family–allowance is what we give you to help you learn to manage your money.”).  However, our kids are all older now and have lived through many years of teaching in that mindset, so giving this new idea a try seemed worth it.

The app, called ALLOWANCE AND CHORES BOT allows you to input each child, the chores you would like them to do, the amount they will get paid for, and individual schedules for the week.  All the kids then get the app on their phones, and it gives daily reminders and schedules.  As the parent, I can “ignore” chores that are not done and there is no pay, or “approve” chores once complete.  We have been using this for about a month and a half now, and while it requires me to daily open the app and approve chores, it is keeping everyone on a system without me reminding–that’s the best part.

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Why this simplifies your life: we all use technology–keeps it all on one place for the whole family, and NO NAGGING.

3. FRIDAY CEREAL

This is for all moms who want to simplify their morning routine with kids.  Years ago when our children were younger, we started having issues with cereal.  I IMG_0539would buy healthier versions of cereal and then have one “fun (unhealthy)” cereal in the pantry, but of course everyone wanted the unhealthy cereal every day.  I couldn’t keep track of which child had had what cereal when, there was arguing, pleading, begging….all the pre-cursors to unleashing 7:00 AM crazy mom.  So, I gave it some thought and the next week I introduced “Friday Cereal” to the family.  I explained that every Friday the kids could have whatever chocolaty, sugary cereal they wanted, but the other six days of the week they had to make a healthier breakfast choice.  All agreed–no one likes crazy mom–so we began.  I wasn’t sure this would “stick” but we still use this system in our house ten years later.

Why this simplifies your life: whether it’s cereal or something else, it takes the one daily decision off your plate and gives it a predictable system.

4. CASH BUDGET

This is an example of a system that should stick–because it is so helpful to staying within your budget–but often doesn’t because of the discipline and perseverance it requires.  I mentioned in my post about Our Year Of The No that we were going back to a cash budget after going on and off over the years.  After counting cash and sorting envelopes now for almost two months, I can say it hurts so good.  It’s like being on a diet…the “financial weigh in” at the beginning of next month will feel so satisfying, but the daily discipline and denial takes patience and big picture thinking.  I will post more on my daily learnings of cash budgeting soon.

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Why this simplifies your life: the clarity in physical cash takes all the stress and guesswork out of finances–I know at all times how much I have to last me until the end of the month.

Hopefully these ideas meet some “system” need you have in your life.  If these don’t stick, don’t worry–they were just not the right fit for what you needed.

xoxo,

Amy

 

Finding Ideas For Your Life That Stick


printable-chore-charts

Do you ever feel like you keep trying new ideas that come across your path but most don’t stick?  Ideas for better parenting, marriage, cooking, organizing, exercising or budgeting?  I love new tips and tricks, but most of the time I just let them pass by, giving them a head nod on their way.  I have become a bit skeptical, since the ideas I do try often don’t stick around very long, which feels discouraging.

For example, chores.  We have done “chores” in our home in many different systems.  And for the most part, they have worked for a time.  But then something changes in our lives–summer vacation hits and all prior routine vanishes, or someone starts to feel self-conscious that I have all the chores listed publicly on our chalkboard with checkmarks on who has done what…so I take that down.  Or, I start a new project or job and don’t have time to stay consistent.  That is life. But it can still feel discouraging at times.

What about exercise?  A great new app comes out (NikeTrainingClub) that I download and use for a while, but then I get bored, or it takes up too much room on my phone storage, so I delete it.  Then I get an email about an new website (ToneItUp.com) that has great workouts.  So I join.  And jump up and down in my family room in front of my computer for a while.  Until I’m bored again.

Is this a bad thing?  Not always.  Humans, especially in our day and age, are wired to seek out the next best thing.  And with the ability to receive information so readily, we are constantly hearing about new ideas.  The key is finding the one or two systems in the important areas of your life that accomplish the goal, and hanging on to those until they aren’t working for you anymore.  My guess is that if the chores or the exercise programs aren’t working, it’s because your life has shifted, and it’s time give yourself permission to shift to a new idea.

Each day we sort and filter new ideas that we see on Facebook, TV, from friends, or books. How do we best select and filter all that comes our way?

1. Decide if what you are currently doing/using is working for you.

For example, if you have a system for organizing your closet that may not be perfect but is working for you, don’t feel like you need to head to The Container Store to acquire the best new system you just saw on a Today Show segment.  However, if your closet has been a source of frustration, and watching the segment makes you realize that, use the inspiration to get you off your duff and do something about it.

2. If an idea sounds good, don’t shrug it off because the last three things you have tried haven’t stuck around long term.

In my next post I will share a great new kid-chore tracker that a friend shared with me.  My first instinct was to say, “That’s nice,” and change the subject, knowing it is one more system that may not work long term.  However, I asked a few more questions, and decided to give it a try, even though I just knew one of my children would balk at it because it would feel “kiddish” to her.  Guess what?  It is working amazingly well…for all kids.

3. When you try something new, give it time.

Often, we start something, just to end it a week later.  We make a lot of excuses, “It is not working as fast as I thought it would, I didn’t have the time to learn how to do it well, I have already figured out three reasons why I can’t sustain this…”

Well, all of those things may be true, but if you don’t give things at least THREE WEEKS (21 days to form a habit!) of consistent effort, you will never know the true outcome.

This seems very true with any new organizing system, an effort to speak differently to your spouse, exercise programs, or a new eating routine, etc.!

4.  When you do stumble upon something great, share it!

I have learned some great new tips and tricks for my life that have stuck around because friends have shared what is working for them.  Don’t be shy about letting people know something that has been successful for you.

In my next post, I will share 4 ideas that have simplified my life–and that seem to be sticking!

So, in the spirit of sharing, please like and share this post on FB if you thought it was helpful. Thank you!

Have a great day!

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