Sunday, January 3, 2016

Organize Yourselves 2016

After spending 3 days watching Star Wars in my Christmas-filled basement, while ignoring my dishes-filled sink and my dinner-less table, I was ready for a change. Saturday morning came at a surprisingly acceptable hour and my kids were even ready for some tidiness, so we got to work. The work of playing Star Wars. I got to work putting the trappings of Christmas away and prepping the house for a new day, a new week, a new year. I unwound the 11 strands of colored lights from my ancient artificial tree. I threw away the 20 or so strands of lights that I hold onto every year, thinking I would fix them all, "someday." I repacked the ornaments, and tossed a few decorations that I haven't put up in years. I dusted, washed mirrors, vacuumed, did laundry, and put it away. I even made dinner and we sat at the table, the kids, my husband, me. We ate food instead of more candy and popcorn. Then I did the dishes again. A house of order, for a night. 

What is different about 2016? Nothing significant. Just two words and I'm ready to let them change my life. 

Organize yourselves.

These two inspired words have become a sure refrain over the past few days. I am sure they are meant for me this year, that I need to make them mine. They come from a verse in a book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants. Actually, they show up twice- once when God commands the early Mormon church to build a temple, and then again a few years later in a prayer when that temple is completed. The saints were commanded to organize themselves and do something that seemed impossible. Build a temple for worship? How? Where would they get the resources? It wasn't realistic. But, it was important, and the inspiration came from God as a way to bless His children. As those children organized and prepared with active faith, they accomplished the thing they were commanded to do. They built a temple. And they were enormously blessed.

So here is my venture of faith this year. Organize yourselves. Sure, I am one person, but how many "selves" do I have? The mom. The wife. The daughter. The friend. The blogger, Sunday School teacher, bell ringer, french tutor, book club reader, wannabe English professor, home improvement doer, baker, volunteer, the Little Red Hen. There's more, I'm sure. But this isn't about being overwhelmed. It is about wanting to do more with what I've got.

2015 was a surprising year. In looking back I can see where I fell short, plateaued, and grew. But we were, I was, so blessed.  As I prayed about the New Year, and how to direct my life, those two words came so clearly to my mind that I felt, and continue to feel hope. Organize yourselves. Plan it out. Focus on what you can change, and find some order. Here's the entire verse of scripture:

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of order, a house of God.

I recognize not everyone believes the same things I do. Maybe you don't believe this is scripture, or that it came from God. We'll have to agree to disagree on that point, but it is still pretty great advice. I challenge you to put it to the test with me!

I've got a plan, and I hope as I get organized I can figure out the best way to share the plans with you, and have you share your plans back! (Input would be awesome!) I've taken the verse of scripture and divided it into 12 points of emphasis- one for each month of the year. "Organize yourselves" gets two months, so I can take an inventory and reorganize. So does "Prepare Every Needful Thing," because I usually restock my 72-hour kits and food storage twice a year, and different things are "needful" at different times. I also added "The Best Books," which technically comes in the verse before the one I'm focusing on, but I'm hoping I can use those summer months to immerse myself and my kids in some really excellent literature and learning. I'll take each monthly goal and divide it into weekly parts, so that things stay manageable. (Thanks to Gretchen Rubin and her book The Happiness Project for the idea of breaking down new habits and building on them month by month. If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it. Just reading about someone getting happier made me happy. Get a library card and check it out!)

Once a week, I'll post what I've worked on, how it went, plans for next week, and impressions that come. I have faith that impressions will come. 

Why do this now? And why at all? I'm more the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of girl! Do I have to change all of that? I don't think so. Will I still be posting food recipes and LRH ramblings? Absolutely. But, I am so blessed! I want to make sure that all my time, talents, everything I have been given is working together for good- for the best good. I want to be ready to serve, however I'm needed, and I have faith that if I am organized and prepared with active faith, I'll  accomplished the things I was sent here to do. I can build a sort of temple. And though I won't be perfect, I think by following through 2017 will find me further along than I was. 

So here she goes, Little Red Hen off to plant an ambitious grain of wheat. Who's with me?

Bake the bread. Share the slices. 

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