Category Archives: Time Management

Planting a Seed: Making Peace a Priority

Ah, physics. You get me every time.

I’m assuming you are familiar with the term “inertia”? You know, “…an object in motion tends to stay in motion, while an object at rest tends to stay at rest…“? Yeah. Inertia. I’m blaming the laws of physics for my extended absence from the blogosphere. I took a rest during December (which, for the record, was awesomely busy), and I tended to stay at rest until now. April.

During my little hiatus, I have had several life-lessons on the subject of peacemaking. Funny enough, the most recent one involved a complete stranger yelling at me in the parking lot at Sprouts (I do believe my last post involved a lady showing me kindness at Sprouts. Weird.) and the sheer willpower involved in not yelling back. Okay, I may have raised my voice a LITTLE TINY BIT. But it was not nearly as much as she deserved. So I think I need some credit for that.

The sad thing is, since I haven’t been thinking about peacemaking on a daily basis, I haven’t fully been living it on a daily basis. And this, I think, has been my greatest lesson over the past four months.

As the wonderful Stephen Covey puts it, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Several years ago. I randomly picked up a book while staying at my sister-in-law’s house in Chicago, and ended up reading the whole thing in one night. I can’t remember the name of the book to save my life, but it was basically a tutorial on how to become a writer (I still have no idea…but hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?). The first step in becoming a writer was this: Create a space for writing in your life.

The book made the connection to gardening, and to me – although I know less than nothing about gardening – the logic of the metaphor was immediately clear.

Before a single seed can ever be planted, think of all the time and preparation involved in creating a suitable place for that seed to grow. What area of the yard is best? What soil is best? Again, I don’t know enough about gardening to keep this list going, but, you know…I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff you need to know about where to plant a seed before you plant it.

The point is, you have to create a suitable space.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have never had a more packed calendar than I do at this point in my life. Like most mommies, my schedule is ruled by the precious little people in my life. Between school, homework, ballet lessons, swim lessons, piano lessons, potty-training, playgroups, cheerleading practice, church activities, and trying to feed everyone and then keep my home and the people that live here relatively clean….it can make for a long day sometimes. And I’m sure it will only get busier.

So if I want even one second of my 24 hours for myself, I have to carve it out of that hectic day and hold on to it like crazy. This is not rocket science. But that little garden analogy served as a great reminder to me that time is a valuable resource, and if we ever want to succeed at something, we have to carve out a place for it – a set time amid our daily routine – and make it a priority.

After attending a garden party last week for the women’s group at my church, I was reminded very clearly about the writing analogy I had read so many years ago, and the immediate need to create a space for the important things in my life. So, the law of impetus was put into motion, and now here I am, in front of my computer screen once again.

So there it is. My first post in a long while. Impetus has finally conquered inertia. For today anyways. Here’s to hoping that momentum can take it from here. 

Landscape with Olive Trees



Peaceful Practices

In my mind, I have always associated peace with order. Chaos and peace are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, wouldn’t you say? And, having four kids aged 7 and younger, it can get pretty chaotic around here.

So, being the control-freak, errrr, I mean,…Type-A personality that I am, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to create order in my home. And therefore, creating a little peace, too. Whether it’s finding ways to not have to remind my kids 50 times to brush their teeth in the morning, or ways to make sure the house is clean before dinner, I am always, making little plans and tweaking our systems here and there. Basically, I’m trying to fix the root causes of my stressors instead of constantly putting Band-Aids on their symptoms.

olive trees p

So when a dear friend of mine e-mailed and asked me last week how I structure my day, I was weirdly excited. It’s like asking a mad scientist to explain her crazy ideas to you…she might go wild with a passionate response. I took a few minutes to contain myself, and then I sent her the response below. The reason I wanted to share it with you all today is because of the positive response I have received from this friend of mine. Not only has she found it helpful for her and her family, but she has shared it with other friends and neighbors that have found it useful as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your hectic days, and are looking for some ways to restore order and calm, I’m hoping some tidbit here might be helpful for you, too. This list is devised with a young family in mind, but can be adapted for anyone at any stage in life. I think the key is finding what makes you feel happy and peaceful and productive, and then being consistent with it.

Anyways, take a look and let me know what you think!

From: Kimberly Tait

Ok, let’s talk routines, baby! 🙂

I love, love, love getting up early. I think it just sets the tone for having a great day. My mornings are totally sacred to me. Personally, I think that quiet time before the kids get up is what has kept me sane for the past 7 years (well, a little sane, anyways).

On my best days, I wake up at 5:30 and workout before I shower. When that doesn’t happen, if I wake up closer to 6, I just squeeze in about 10-15 minutes of yoga before my shower. Either way, I try to do something active right when I wake up. It helps me feel really alive and ready to take on the day. Then, I shower and get ready by 7. This is really important to me, for some reason. I don’t think it’s vanity so much as it is just wanting to feel clean. I hate feeling dirty. It makes me feel awful, and I’ve actually noticed that I snap at my kids way more when I feel gross and unkempt. Is that weird? So, I take that time from 6 to 7 or so, and that is MY time. 

Once I am showered and the bed is made, then I take the time for my personal prayers. I love that this is kind of the last thing I do during my little quiet “me time” in the mornings. It gets me in the right frame of mind right before I go wake up the kids and the chaos begins. 🙂

So then at 7, I wake up the kids. Takes them about 30 minutes to brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, etc. Then at 7:30, we are on to breakfast. No one is allowed to eat breakfast unless they are ready for the day. Like ready, ready. Shoes on and everything. That way we can focus on eating and enjoying that time. Then, after breakfast is cleaned up and lunches are packed it’s family prayer and we leave for school at 8. 

When I come home from dropping the girls off at school, that’s when I have my own breakfast. I let Dallin watch one episode of Sesame Street every morning while I eat my breakfast in peace (is that awful?). That’s when I read my scriptures and then check my e-mail. Usually, by the time I’m done, I have time to clean up the kitchen, get one load of dishes started, and get a load of laundry started…praise be that Sesame Street is one full hour. 🙂 My rule is: one load of dishes and one load of laundry every single morning. Then, voila…. it’s 9:30 am, I’m showered and ready for the day, my kitchen is clean, and my laundry is going, and I am free to take on the world (or, you know…. go to Target). 

So, that’s my morning. It’s a fail-safe plan for me. (**I also should note here that I unload the dishes and fold the laundry in the afternoon while the boys are taking their naps. Dishwasher is always clear and ready to be loaded before dinner). 

As for nights… First off, the kids clean up all the toys before dinner. I give them 15 minutes on the clock, and anything left out goes in my donation bin. No excuses. Ever. The house is totally picked up before we ever sit down to eat. Period. I’m a real stickler on that. Some nights they do great, and some nights they hate me for it, but they know there is no escaping it. 

We usually eat dinner at around 6. After dinner, one kid helps me clean up the kitchen (we take turns by week) while the other gets started in the shower. Once the kitchen is clean, I go upstairs to help the kiddos finish showering and bathing. By 7 everyone is clean and smushy-faced and lotioned up and ready to be snuggled with while we read books. Family scriptures, prayer, one-on-one special time, then bed. 

Then, voila…it’s 8:30 and my kids are in bed, my house is (somewhat) tidy, my kitchen is clean, and I’m ready to take on the world (or, you know…read a book. Or vegetate on the couch. Or go to bed by 9…lol). 

I try not to clean after the kids go to bed (and really, since the kitchen is clean and the toys are picked up, I don’t usually feel like I have to). I just have my one deep-cleaning day on Monday, and then the rest of the week is just maintenance. 

I hope this answers your question. And I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading this. And I hope you understand that there are days when I get sidetracked with other obligations and the routine goes out the window. But, whenever I stick to this routine, it always, always works for me. Hope that some or all of it works for you, too!

Love you, friend…





My Favorite Time of Day

Ahhh, 1:00. You precious little gem, you. Daughters are in school, baby boys are napping. The house is quiet, and will be for the next two hours. I have time to take a breath and do something that I WANT to do. This time of day is an absolute gift. Time to rest and recharge (and well, maybe get another load of laundry done while I’m at it).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as a mom, it is the importance of taking care of yourself. There are a few things that are essential to me if I’m going to be emotionally available to anyone else in my household. Eating a good lunch and then relaxing at 1:00 is one of them (remember how I didn’t want to answer my daughter the other day? Two words: no lunch).

If I were to take a look at my week, and point out which days were awesome, and which ones were truly depleting, I would first take a look at what I was doing at 1:00 on each of those days. Today, I am going to kick off my shoes, fold some laundry, and maybe even snuggle up on my couch and watch a little TV. For some people, that time of day might be 9:00 at night, or 6:00 in the morning. For me, it is right now, and I’m going to take some time today to look out the window and notice, well… just how peaceful it is.




Sometimes balancing motherhood and managing your home means that the only time you have available to go grocery shopping is late on a Saturday night after the kids go to bed. Like, 11 pm late. And sometimes because your husband is a small business owner undergoing an extreme amount of stress, that means coming home to a house full of sleeping people. And sometimes, while unloading all of the groceries by yourself in the middle of the night, you start to feel like no one gives a rat’s behind that you are doing what you are doing so they can eat breakfast tomorrow.

But at least the house is quiet.

So, maybe if they don’t notice, it’s okay. Maybe instead I can take a few minutes to notice them. I can look and see how peaceful Jack is when he sleeps. How the slow and steady movement of his little chest while  he breathes is evidence of God’s most perfect miracle, human life. I can look at my husband, who works so hard and deserves every single moment of sleep he can get. I can listen and hear Ava, Ella, and Dallin snoring away in the next room, grateful for them and their clean squishy faces. Hell, even our dog is cuter when she sleeps.

It’s okay if they don’t thank me while guzzling down their orange juice tomorrow, or thank me for noticing that we had run out of napkins. They won’t notice, and they shouldn’t have to. What they should notice, and I hope they do, is just how much I love them. How I would go to the moon and back again for them.

Even if that means going to Safeway alone on a Saturday night.