Friday Five: Transforming Inboxes

posted in: journal 2

1. Thinking

We must therefore allow children breathing-time from perpetual tasks, and remember that all our life there is a division of relaxation and effort. – Plutarch

This was the quote from my post on classical education this week. It applies to us as moms in all we do, as well, for he notes this is true “all our life.”

Do you have divided time for relaxation? Do you have divided time for effort? As we head toward a new year, let’s set up our time budgets with breathing time.

2. Answering

This month we’ll be moving Simplified Pantry onto Simplified Organization so all your home organization and management strategies can be in one place. So you’ll start seeing kitchen topics pop up here occasionally.

A few weeks ago, I received this question from a Simplified Dinners customer:

I noticed that cooking in bulk is not one of your strategies. I have tried doing that but it seems to work against my daily habits of cooking. It think it fits in more with the boom and bust way of doing things. Would you agree or do you bulk cook a lot?

I used to do more bulk cooking, but then I got away from casserole-type meals and my family (and their appetites) grew, so that what used to be doubling the recipe to put one in the freezer is now just my normal amount per meal. :) I used to cook a big pack of ground beef and then freeze it in portions, but now the amount that goes per meal means that’s not gaining me as much as it used to.

My mom did the once-a-month cooking thing when I was a young teen and I helped with it. It was a lot of work, a big mess, multiple-day (in reality) affair. It was more about front-loading the work and saving time, I think, because in the end, I don’t think it saved that much time if you’re making dinners that take 30-40 minutes, which is what I have narrowed mine down to.

And now I have a question for you:

Would you like to see weekly menu plans included in these Friday Five posts?

3. Goal-Writing

Are you thinking about your goals from 2016, maybe even scratching some notes about goals for 2017?

Remember that you can’t just make some goals. You have to have a plan to actually reach them – a specific plan, an actionable plan. And, might I suggest it, an interval plan.

One of my goals for 2016 was to do a particular activity (read my Bible) every day. I did not reach that goal, and not by a long shot. However, I just put it out there, and it became impossible to meet it by the end of the second week in January, so I let it go in my mind as an actual goal. Rather than still try to read just to check a box, though, I experimented with different ways to weave the habit into my day, and did learn some options I hadn’t considered last year.

This year, instead of choosing the ambitious and easily broken “read my Bible every day” goal, I have subscribed to the ESV Mc’Cheyenne audio Bible podcast and my goal will be to go through the Bible (complete the podcast) in 2017. If I miss a day, I can catch up. If I miss a morning, there’s still laundry-folding or a quick walk or dinner-prep time to listen. That’s a specific plan – it has a back up plan and contingencies.

Several people asked where to find this podcast, so here it is:

I also enjoyed this article by Justin Taylor about why listening to the Bible is something we should all do.

Are you starting your goal writing?

4. Clicking

Christmas articles to help us gear up!

Jesus Isn’t Threatened by Your Christmas Gifts

by Tim Challies

At the same time, I think we all feel a little bit of tension between the dual purposes of Christmas—the giving of gifts and the birth of the Savior. It is this time of year when we encounter all kinds of articles about the real gift of Christmas and when we are warned about spending too much money or buying gifts that are too lavish. We need to keep Christ in Christmas and not succumb to materialism, right?

Or wrong? Good words from Challies about not worrying that your kids are looking forward to presents on Christmas morning.

The kids are experiencing anticipation, surprise, magic, love, excitement – and those will be memories and metaphors they will be able to draw on when they learn about even more startling and amazing things than presents. It’s good.

10 Ways to Be a Christian this Christmas

by Kevin DeYoung

But whether you love every nook and cranny about the holidays—or consider most of it “noise, noise, noise!”—there is no excuse to be grinchy and scroogeish. Here are ten ways we can remember to be Christians this Christmas.

Pastor DeYoung also admonishes us not to be the white witch! His number 9 boils down to organizing your attitude. ;)

What Time Is It? A Defense of the Church Calendar

by Gregg Strawbridge

The Protestant heritage is mixed on the question of the Church Calendar. Lutherans and Anglicans never abandoned the Christian timing of time in the calendar and neither did many in the Reformed Church, though it was less robust. I recently received a book on the history of the German Reformed Church in our area (Lancaster, Penn.) and noted that in keeping with the Continental Reformed churches, they celebrated the “five evangelical feast days.” These were Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. The Reformed churches of Berne, Strasbourg, and Zurich also celebrated these.

If you’re in a tradition that does not do Advent or Lent, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have no tradition to draw on. Here’s a historic run-down on the reformed traditions surrounding extra-biblical holidays like Christmas.

5. Transforming

My week’s goal this week (besides cleaning the bathrooms – check!) was to clear and organize my command cupboard.


It had been 3 months since I last sorted through the papers and filed ones that needed to be kept in Evernote.

Now I get to start the new year with a clean slate. That’s a good feeling.

This wasn’t the only inbox I cleared out, either:

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2 Responses

  1. Meredith_in_Aus
    | Reply

    Hi Mystie,
    What made you choose the M’Cheyne podcast? I subscribed but discovered that it was bits from all over the Bible. I think I’d prefer to just listen to it in order with maybe a Psalm or two on top.
    Have you seen this? I think this is what I’m going to go with. In fact, I’ve just decided definitely. One of my biggest problems is deciding between good options, trying to find the best. Silly. The best one is the one I’ll do!

    • mystie
      | Reply

      Hi Meredith! I like being in both the OT & NT each time, and I like that it goes through the OT once per year and the NT & Psalms twice. Definitely choose one that appeals to you! Earlier last year I just listened to an audio Bible straight through – that was good, too! There are so many good options. You’re right: It’s easy to get stuck trying to figure out how to choose. The best one is the one you’ll do. :)

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