Saturday, July 24, 2010

Loving Your Laundry

Raising a large family has made our life so much more abundantly full of joy, laughter,
and what my husband has wisely and truly named ”character building opportunities.” 
  I am a much more patient and organized person than I was with four children. 
The challenges of a large family have forced me to grow in areas where I am weak. 
I believe that this is one way in which the verse, “children are a blessing”  comes to life.  
Part of the blessing of children is that the more you have, the more overwhelming life gets,
causing us to abide in Jesus all the more.
  At some point, a mama of many wakes up in the morning and the first thing that comes to mind is,
“O God HELP ME!”
 To get so beyond ourselves that we are ever conscience of the reality that there is
 no way on earth
 we can do the job in our own strength,
 we simply must have Divine assistance,
That is a good thing.

Raising a large family takes more than spiritual fortitude, 
one has to have practical solutions to the problems faced when you have 40 plus pairs of shoes in the entry way, need to travel with several small children, 
and try to clothe and feed a big family on a budget.
Here, on Saturdays, we will share some of the practical and creative ways we have learned to keep our big family organized.

The Laundry Swamp
I have read of  households where the mama invented peace and rest from the clothes and laundry swamp that often occurs in children’s rooms by moving the clothing to the laundry room. 
When planning our log home, we knew we would need a lot of space in our laundry,
so we built it 12x12, with garage type shelving. 
At the time, we did not plan on keeping clothes in the room, we just wanted storage,
but once we moved, and the boys room became an overwhelming and continual problem, 
my dear husband took me shopping, and to my great delight, bought us 15 Sterelite baskets
in which I could organize the 3 younger boys clothing. 
Each boy has a labeled basket for socks and underwear, shorts, pants, shirts, and pj’s. 
Their Sunday clothes hang in the closet in their room. 
Now their room stays neat, since all that remains in there are the beds and their personal trunks.
  If, by chance, the 5 year old, say, leaves his clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the dirty clothes basket, it is easy to spot and have him fix it.  Putting their clothes away couldn’t be easier.
I never imagined how wonderful this system could be. 
It is daily a delight to walk into the laundry room and breathe a happy contented sigh at the sight of the neat and tidy shelves.  It may sound silly,
but it really is the simple things that matter most.
  I am so pleased with the results that I just had to share. 
The only thing I would change is to have done this sooner.

The second facet to keeping the laundry swamp under control
is to have baskets for dirty clothes to automatically be sorted into, whites, colors, towels, jeans. 
And then, proceed to do a complete cycle of laundry, or two or three, a day.
  It takes less than 5 minutes to load the washer,
less than 5 minutes to change from washer to dryer,
and less than 5 minutes to fold a load of laundry. 
All in all, it should only require you 15- 20 minutes to take care of 1 load of laundry.
  That is not a huge task.
  It does become huge when you are not diligent and have 15 loads of laundry to do before something molds at the bottom of the pile.  
Finding some way to take pleasure in this renowned undesirable task could be the difference for you, and your children.  A mama’s attitude about household tasks transfers directly to her children.
  If you can look forward to the sweet feeling of having all the clothes put away,
or praying for each person as you fold their clothes and put them away,
or thanking the Lord for washing machines
instead of laboring over a washtub hand scrubbing like mothers of the past,
or praising God for washing you and making you clean by His saving grace. 
          Just like the Little Engine that Could, I exhort myself, ”it’s only 5 minutes, it only takes 5 minutes,”
as I chug my way up the stairs to the laundry that awaits me. 
Once I have a system and a ritual, my laundry becomes a holy experience that satisfies,
even when the toddler is “helping” me by taking the laundry out of the washer 
and depositing it in the dirty clothes basket. 
His cheerful look, so proud to be contributing, can’t help but make me smile.
  And don’t I do the same thing to the heavenly Father?
  I can just hear Him saying, “O sweetheart, I wish you wouldn’t do that!”

Mother of Many Morning Prayer
(the prayer of St. Patrick)

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven…
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye  to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down…

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the LORD of creation.


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