Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Weekly House Blessing

Today I want to share my "Weekly House Blessing Chart" which is a relatively new tool that I've began using earlier this summer. I wanted to give it a test run for a few weeks before sharing it, but now that it's humming along smoothly, I decided it was time.  But first, I want to share a few resources that were the inspiration behind it.

Many of you may be familiar with Fly Lady's Weekly House Blessing, which is one hour that she recommends her followers devote every Monday to "Blessing Their House" by performing various tasks. To be honest, I'm not really sure I ever completely understood the thought process behind that, but what I did like was the name, "Weekly House Blessing". Fly Lady herself says that if you are "blessing your home, you are blessing your family", but for me that is every task I perform and every day, so in the end all I really borrowed from this was the name. "Weekly House Blessing" just sounds so much nicer to me than "Weekly Chores", or even "Housekeeping". :)

But the biggest inspiration for my chart came from Heather Bruggeman of North Ridge Farm. Late last year I had the privilege of being one of the early members of her online community, Hearth and Home. Hearth & Home is comprised of weekly offerings that include articles, recipes, tutorials, videos, podcasts, and more, all based on Heather's wealth of knowledge and experience. It's the best money I've spent in a LONG time, and I highly recommend it! She's actually offering a 20% discount on the annual membership right now, but it ends tomorrow, so if you want to take advantage of that, you'll need to act fast. If not, you can also subscribe monthly, which is actually what I do, but I will tell you that she is closing membership in early July and it won't open back again until Autumn, so again, you need to act fast if you want in on the fun! But now, let me explain how Fly Lady, and Heather, inspired my Weekly House Blessing chart.

Back in January, Heather shared her "Toolkit For The New Year" with the group members, and among the tools she uses for managing her home is a "What To Clean Today Chart".  Her chart looks a little different than mine, and because it was something she shared in our online community, I won't share it. If you want to know, you'll have to join the group. :) But I was inspired by the idea of having regular tasks that are completed daily, and then specific tasks on certain days. This isn't ground breaking knowledge here, lots of women have made up similar schedules and charts over the years, but there was just something about the way that Heather presented it that I found easier to implement. Again, my chart looks a lot different than Heather's, but the idea is basically the same, and rather than naming mine the "What to Clean Today Chart", I borrowed from Fly Lady and dubbed it, "The Weekly House Blessing Chart." Fly Lady's label, Heather's Chart, the best of both worlds.

So now let's take a closer look at what I've scheduled.

❊ DAILY TASKS
You might be able to make it out right at the bottom of the chart, but there is listed the tasks that I complete every day. So far I've only missed the "specific daily tasks" a few times due to illness or because on a day like today when it's 93 degrees outside and your daughter wants to spend the day at the pool, well . . . if you're like me, you spend the day a the pool. Those tasks are;

- Make beds
- Wash dishes
- Wipe kitchen counters (after each meal)
- Sweep kitchen (after dinner)
- Wipe bathroom counters (I also clean the bathroom mirror as needed which is almost daily)
- 10 Minute Tidy (once before dinner or late afternoon, and before bed) - This one task has been a game changer!

Then there is a specific theme and specific tasks that I have assigned to each day.

❊ SUNDAY - Slow and Simple
Sunday's are a bit of an extension of my Sabbath, which is on Saturday, but it has become my planning and review day, and I am loving it! It's the perfect time to look over the upcoming week and map things out. I usually make myself a cup of tea, turn on some light jazz and set to the task. I typically do this late morning or early afternoon, and this is also when I complete my Weekly Examen, which was something I learned about a couple of years ago when I purchased a planner form Sacred Ordinary Days. There's an example of the Examen that is included with their planner, here, and this is the format I use. 

Sunday is also for self care, spiritual and physical.  I walk at least two miles six days a week beginning on Sunday, which is a change I made in June. Prior to that I would take the entire weekend off, but I found that taking two days off made it harder to be consistent and jump back in on Monday morning. By only allowing myself one day off from exercise, I've been much more successful at making sure I get it in. This is also the day that I give myself a mani-pedi, and it's a ritual I've really started looking forward to each week.

❊ MONDAY - Office Day
No, I don't have an office and being a stay-at-home wife/mother, I don't go to the office. My office, if you could even call it that, is on wheels, and while I use it daily, on Monday it's my key focus. "Office Day" simply means that this is the day I look over our budget, pay bills, plan meals for the upcoming week (which runs Wednesday - Tuesday as Wednesday is the day I go grocery shopping), and also make a list of any library books or other things I need to pick up while I am out.  To be honest, most of the tasks I complete on this day are my least favorite, but they are still necessary so I try to make it more enjoyable by setting out a pretty workspace on the table, maybe lighting a candle and turning on some music.  

This is also the day I clean the family room, which is one of the easiest rooms in the house to clean. I assigned it to Monday specifically because I knew that sometimes paperwork takes longer than you expect it to.

❊ TUESDAY - Appointment Day
I don't have many appointments right now, but when I do I try to schedule them for Tuesday's, with Wednesday, when I'm already out of the house to buy groceries, as a back-up plan. As I said, I've only been following this plan since June, and in that time I've only had one appointment that I knew about far enough ahead of time to actually schedule it, but I did make it on a Tuesday.  

Tuesday is also the day I give the kitchen a thorough cleaning, and I chose this day specifically because I knew that most months I would, at the most, probably only have one appointment and there are months I don't have any, so that leaves my average Tuesday wide open. The kitchen is the room that takes the longest to clean, so I needed a day when I knew I could devote a lot of time to it.

❊ WEDNESDAY - Market & Thrifting Day
This day is one of my favorite days of the week, which might sound strange coming from an introvert who would honestly prefer to seldom leave the house. But since I only **plan** on being out of the house once or twice a week, I try to get most of my errands done on Wednesdays. This is also the day I try to hit up a few thrift stores, though I don't even do that every week, especially in recent weeks. I have enough "thrifted" items that I need to paint and repurpose to last me for awhile, so I don't really want to add to them. But I do try to pop in at least once a month or if I have something specific I am looking for. If there are books I want from the library or books that need returned, I do that on this day, as well.

As for cleaning, since this is the day I plan to be out, I don't plan anything for this day. But, if I have a day where I get back earlier than expected, I might move on to a room that is scheduled later in the week to free up some time on another day, or, if Monday or Tuesday got interrupted, Wednesday is a good day to catch up. But to be honest, most of the time I don't worry too much about "keeping up" or beat myself up if something doesn't get done.  This chart is a "tool", not a "rule".

❊ THURSDAY - Baking and Cooking Day
On Thursdays I prep and in some cases even prepare our meals for Friday evening and Saturday, as my Sabbath begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and runs until I awake on Sunday morning. (More on that in another post). Sabbath for me, as for most people who observe it, means rest from work, and cooking is work, so I try to have as much of it done as I can ahead of time. I typically don't mind throwing something into the crock pot on Saturday morning, but even then I try to have everything prepped ahead of time. I also usually try to make a special snack or dessert to enjoy for the weekend, as well. I **try** to avoid sweets during the week and look forward to the weekend when I'm a little more relaxed with my diet.

Thursday is the day I clean my bedroom, though I do wait to change the sheets on Friday morning. I'm not really sure why, there's something about heading into my Sabbath with a clean set of sheets on the bed that makes it so much more enjoyable. Maybe it's because I tend to linger longer in bed on Saturday mornings, so I like for the sheets to be fresh and clean!

❊ FRIDAY - Blessing the Weekend!
Blessing the Weekend is another idea I picked up from Heather, which is a bit of a take on Fly Lady's Weekly House Blessing, but instead of doing it on Monday, Heather does her own version of it on Friday's. It's basically just preparing your home for a relaxed and comfortable weekend, so there's not really a set formula. You just do the things that accomplish that for you. For me, it's checking our candles ands seeing if any of them need replacing, because for whatever reason I seem to burn a lot more candles on the weekend. It's fluffing pillows, washing throw blankets to make sure they are fresh and clean, maybe laying out a few books or magazines you or others in the family may want to peruse, or even setting up a board game on the table to play Friday evening. Whatever screams "homey" and "cozy", these are the tasks I complete to "Bless the Weekend".

I also clean the bathrooms on Friday, so we go into the weekend with it fresh and sparkling. And even though I've cleaned the rest of the house throughout the week, on Friday's I do give each room just a little extra care so that everything is nice and tidy for the Sabbath.

Another thing I do on Friday's is work through the Stations of the Cross and I take a personal weekly communion.  It's very simple and straightforward and takes all of 15-20 minutes, but I like going to into the Sabbath reflecting on my Savior and with my mind and spirit set right. I have a set of cards that I made years ago and still use, but I have also used this resource. I'll share more about this in an upcoming post, how I began, if I'm Catholic (that answer is, no), and since I'm not Catholic, then why? Because I usually get these questions any time I discuss this, which is perfectly fine, I just don't want to add a chapter to this novel of a post to explain it right now.

My sabbath begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night, in keeping with the Jewish ritual of Shabbat, however, I do extend mine until the time I awaken on Sunday morning, so it's a bit longer. My personal faith encompasses many faiths. I've borrowed from the best and made it something that for me is truly beautiful and very personal.

❊ SATURDAY - Sabbath
And Saturday is my sabbath, when I refrain from all work and indulge only in pleasure. And while the rest of my week is pretty flexible, I am rigid I would say, when it comes to my sabbath. I have, rarely but on occasion moved it to another day, typically Sunday, but I do recall once I had to bump it to Monday, but one thing is for sure, it happens every week without fail because without it, I will fail.

And there you have it.

For me, the beauty of this chart is that as long as the basic things get done, if the specific tasks are interrupted, things will still run smoothly. One room may go for a week without getting "deep cleaned", but since I touch the high traffic areas every day, I would not be embarrassed for anyone to drop in on a moment's notice. As I said, I'm very relaxed with it and if I miss a day, some weeks I don't even try to make it up. But most of the time my week plays out in such a way that I'm almost always able to get everything on this list accomplished by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, which is when I observe the Stations of the Cross and take communion, it is kind of my first "deadline", I suppose you would say, though I use the term lightly. But come 6:00 p.m. on Friday when I light the candles and Sabbath is ushered in, if there is anything that is left undone it will just have to wait until I begin again in the new week, and that is perfectly fine.  I allow for a lot of margin and a lot of grace in my schedule, and it makes for a peaceful and in my opinion, beautiful life.

If you like this chart and want one for yourself I cold make up a blank copy that you can fill in with your own tasks and schedule, so let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like to have. You can also just as easily write it out on a piece of paper or create your own on your computer using colors and graphics that you like. As I said, my chart was inspired by others, but uniquely my own, if you like it, make it authentically you!

Savoring the Summer Days,

Kim

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