I asked Kim, one of my dearest friends, to write a “guest post” for today’s Simplify post. I’m so pumped to have her share her wise words here. Kim is one of the most authentic and genuine people I know. She’s passionate about her work as a teacher, her friends and family and her church community in Barrie. She’s a New Zelander at heart- she went to teacher’s college there and has an incredible story to tell about her time there. She’s also a new blogger so be sure to check out her ponderings.
When Cait asked me to write a guest post for her Simplifying Series, I was super pumped and excited to be asked! I think Cait (or Pips, as she is known to me) is an excellent writer and thinker and I love to read HER blog (and she better keep this part in!) So, I’ve thought of how I try to apply the concept of simplifying to my life, and I’ve had a harder time with it than I thought I would, because it applies to many different areas of my life, and some areas I do better than others. Let’s see
School/work: I’m a teacher, and I definitely love my job. I’m happy to go to work and I enjoy what I do all day. Its not perfect (administration politics drive me crazy, piles of marking make me feel blobby and weary, and filling out forms and reading up on policies isn’t all that exciting), but getting to make music with teenagers all day and teaching them about events in history is pretty wonderful. One thing we learn in teacher’s college is that we have to set boundaries with teaching; essentially, our job could never be done. We could always be perfecting a lesson, trying to come up with new ways to teach something, changing things, adding things, etc. I’m now in my sixth year of teaching, and I’m slowly starting to figure out what this means – this boundary setting is actually a simplifying strategy for me. I try and go strong during the week, and leave the weekends for me. During the week, I try and set goals for marking and planning, and have church activities in there as well, play rehearsals and other things, and its very busy, so I think a way I can simplify the busy-ness is to try, as much as possible not to bring work home on the weekends (exceptions apply when exams/report cards are due!) I’m trying to devote weekends to friends, family, God, and downtime!
Home: Since I’m trying to make my weekends freer, I’ve been trying to get errands, cleaning and other “must do” tasks done by Saturday at noon. I really want Sundays to be a Sabbath – I’ve been learning lots this year about what that means, and I’m by no means there (especially not this past Sunday). I want to be more intentional about taking a real rest on Sundays, and spending more time with God (outside of church) on Sundays. I always feel better when I do and I’m able to entrust my busy life to God more when I do. I’ve been trying to plan meals better and use ingredients I already have – again, definitely still a work in progress! And, because there is just one of me, I get sick of leftovers! Pinterest and Kraft: What’s Cooking? have come in handy in helping me with this! Why stress to think of creative meals on my own when they have already done it?
Family: I love my friends and family, and love spending time with them all. My entire family lives about two hours away from me, so when I go “home” for the weekend, I try and make it worthwhile. I used to drive back and forth a lot more; however, that was exhausting both mentally and financially. My folks have come up to see me more, which they’ve enjoyed, and I try and make the most of a weekend down there when I do go. While sometimes it ends up being a busy weekend, it’s always great because I can see so many people and do lots of things and it ends up being less hectic in the long run. Does that make sense?
There are lots of ways I want to be better at simplifying! I always feel much calmer when I take time with God and just have some quiet time. In the midst of chaos, I honestly think this can be the most productive thing. For me, that sometimes looks like just spending time at the piano, just me and God and the 88 ivories. I want to be better at de-cluttering; my Mom came up right after New Year’s this year and we purged a ton of stuff from my tiny apartment – did that ever feel good! I need to do that much more often – think about what I need, and what I want to keep with me long term. I love Cait’s philosophy that when something new comes in, something old has to go. I also want to be better at prioritizing – what needs to get done and what can be put off to another day (without it being a procrastination technique, of course). I want to spend less time worrying and more time trusting God with my problems (man, does that EVER simplify things!), and spend more time focusing on what is truly important to me, and who is important to me, over wasting time with senseless things and people who make me feel bad.
Thanks Kim for sharing. I am so grateful that you’re my people. xo