Article: The Whole Picture May 7, 2013 The older I get the more I look at life as a whole picture rather than in sections and compartments. When I was younger I would do things based on immediate gratification rather than what was best for the long run. For instance, sunscreen was my enemy because it would slow my chances down of getting a really good tan. I didn’t think that in my thirties my skin would remember the sun abuse and show early signs of what they call “aging”. Well now of course I care. I am spending hundreds of dollars a year to try and reverse those glorious youthful days in the sun. I am also tired a lot, I could blame that on managing a household of six and owning a business, but I really don’t think that’s it. When I eat the three cookies and dip them in coffee after my lunch, I am not really tired, it’s called coming down from a sugar high. So now for the first time in 34 years I have finally figured out that what I put in my body will actually help or hurt me, so I must choose wisely. Now how I am going to tie in tanning and eating right with your home and your spaces… not quite sure other than trying to help you look at life and home more as a whole rather than compartmentally. Right now I am in an extremely busy season in life so home is my refuge and retreat. My husband, in the same place as me, also needs to call home his place where he can rest and recharge to get geared back up so he can conquer the world (one villa at a time). The “whole picture” idea I was talking about earlier is important when you are in a season like mine and I know many of you are. I want to offer tips on how to make your home work for you and how to evaluate if your choices will help or hurt the whole picture of home for you and your family. Let’s start in the kitchen. This is where the night ends and the morning begins. The immediate gratification I battle with every night is whether I should clean up and pack lunches for the next day, or to go lie down and mess with it in the morning? Every time this happens, breakfast feels like chaos and my kid’s lunch looks like something they packed themselves. If I look at the big picture and realize that the extra fifteen minutes in the kitchen will yield a more peaceful morning for my kids and a healthier lunch… it seems like a no brainer. Another helpful thing I like to do is make my kids clean up their spaces before they go to bed and I spend five minutes doing a quick pick-up and clean sweep so the house feels somewhat put together in the morning. Home is always more enjoyable when it’s clean. Now on to laundry. Honestly this is where I fail miserably. My immediate gratification is to do eight loads in one afternoon and then never fold the clothes or put them away. When you have school uniforms, baseball uniforms, gymnastics leotards, thirty different socks with no match, and four kids to dress before 8am, this is just a dumb way to do it. So, if I want to make my home work for me rather than me constantly working for it, I should probably get a laundry schedule and stick with it. Find what works for you and know that when you stick with it, this will help you focus on more important things. Meal planning around practices, games, and meetings seems impossible, but it is totally doable if I simply take the twenty minutes to sit down and plan it. I had to get over the idea of dinner at the table every night at six. Right now it is looking like dinner on the stands while watching the boys play baseball. I wouldn’t trade it for anything as long as we are together. It is easy to justify fast food with crazy schedules so I do have to think ahead and try and get as much real food in their bodies as possible so they feel good and healthy. Now on to decorating your home. Many of you will be able to relate to the immediate gratification that comes when you buy that thing for your home but have no idea where to put it. Be purposeful with your spaces and try not to fill them up with every random thing you find. I really believe kids do better in an environment that doesn’t change as often as the trends change. If you have a space on the wall that needs something, don’t buy the first thing you see, rather spend some time thinking of what would make the best use of that space and be patient while you are looking for it. Decorating your home is a blend of pretty things, personal things, and practical things. A good balance of all three is what makes your spaces great. Don’t let your immediate gratification get in the way because it can easily take the focus off what home is really all about. Sometimes I have a tight grip on what I want our home to look and function like, but in the end I have to let go of those expectations and realize that home is more about the moments with each other rather than schedules and systems. There is a balance. There is freedom in getting things done so you can enjoy a peaceful morning with your kids and in the same way there is a freedom in telling the dishes to take a hike so you can sit and read a magazine with your husband. Let the rhythm of your home as whole be one that is flexible yet functional for every season.