Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Beautiful Life Management System

Good morning, friends!

I’ve had some questions from some of you about the Beautiful Life Management System, so I’d like to take a few minutes to show you this planner that was such an answer to my prayers a few years ago. I am so thankful that the Lord encouraged Jennifer to develop this system!!

About 8 years ago - maybe a little more - the Lord really convicted me about my home. Not the relationship part, but the clutter and organization and cleanliness part. Growing up I was the musician in the family, which meant that while others were helping around the house, I was practicing. When I got married I really had no idea what was entailed in “keeping house”. I literally didn’t know where to begin! After 12 years of marriage, it seemed like I should have figured it out, but it seemed like an insurmountable task. The first “breakthrough” came when I was introduced to FlyLady. I started receiving the daily reminders, made my control journal and followed it faithfully. I asked my children “not to say anything to Daddy” because I’d started things before and not carried through, and I didn’t want that to happen again. I think it was two weeks later - two weeks of a sparkling home, no dirty laundry sitting in piles, meals on the table and very little clutter, that my husband came in the door after work one night and said, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife??” What precious words!! I used the FlyLady system consistently until the Lord gave me another burden - how do I balance “keeping the house clean” with spending time with the Lord and concentrating on eternal values? As my children got older, I seemed to have less and less time, and more and more to do and I was struggling to keep it all together. Some of my hats right then included homeschooling, being a Stampin Up demonstrator, teaching ladies’ Sunday School at an extension church (a 4 hour drive each way every weekend), providing special music, being an orchestra member at the Bible College where my husband worked, being a wife and mom, and also directing the children’s ministries at our home church. (Yes - the Lord has since taught me to say “no”!) I tried using a Franklin Covey planner to help me keep track of my responsibilities, but then I struggled keeping my house in order. However, if I used my FlyLady journal I couldn’t keep up with the rest of my life, and no matter which one I used I felt like I wasn’t “focused” on eternity. I began to pray an impossible prayer. I wanted a quality daily planner that combined time management with a housekeeping schedule and it also needed to be a planner that would encourage me to keep my focus on my Saviour. It was then that I went to the GraceWorks website and found information about a new planner that Jennifer had developed. It was called the Beautiful Life Management system and, from what I could tell, it was everything I had prayed for. I ordered it the very same day.

The main pages of the planner include a slot for a goal - spiritual or practical - that you would like to work on. There is a place for your daily menu, a list of “morning routine” type items that include having a Quiet Time with the Lord, and daily housekeeping suggestions (including the number of minutes to aim for in completing them!) that are scheduled out for your week. There is also a place to write down not only where you need to go each day, but what time you need to *leave* to get there on time, and what things you should take with you! (Is this a struggle for anyone else besides me??) There are lines for things to do each day, places to mark down if you exercise, drink your water and take your vitamins and even a place at the bottom to jot down a blessing, memory or lesson for the day. There are actually 3 different styles of this page included in your planner, so you can choose the one that best fits your personality. Style 1 is for those who are intimidated by the whole idea of a planner and keeping up with the house. This style has the “bare bones” of housekeeping in bold print, with the other options for the day in a lighter gray - so as not to be overwhelming. Style 2 has all of the housekeeping suggestions in dark print, for those of us who need more direction and Style 3 is for those ladies who already have a system in place. This style has no daily housekeeping suggestions printed, but a character quality to concentrate on for the day. I need the suggestions that the planner lists, but I like to use Style 3 on Saturdays and Sundays, when my days are less structured. The set also comes with a coupon for one free set of 25 pages of the style of your choice.

The planner comes in a very nice binder (made by DayTimers) in your choice of four colors, and includes beautiful full color tabs and two page markers that are so pretty!! It has pages to write down what the Lord teaches you in your quiet time with Him (called Morning Latte pages... they just *sound* like a blessing!), and Mountain of Success pages to help you break down and accomplish goals, or establish new habits. The Keeping in Mind page is a “catch all” page. A place to write down errands that need to be run, special days to remember, calls to make and a place to list things that are on your “to do” list but don’t need to be done today. The back of the page is a blank sheet of paper for all those things that you would like to jot down so you don’t forget. There is also more blank notepaper, a frequently called number list, and a fold out year at a glance calendar. (We also carry a yearly calendar that has a two page spread for each month that I would highly recommend as an add-on to this set, although you may not need it right away if you’re new to a planner.)

My favorite part of the system has to be the 4 CD workshop by Jennifer Neef, the founder of GraceWorks, and now my dear friend. She sits down with her planner and just talks, walking us through how to use it and even how to put it together. It was such a blessing to me! It is a definite “must listen” if you want to get the most from the system. We include a packet of tea, so you can host your own mini retreat. :)

Thanks for reading this far; I know this entry has been long. Feel free to email me if I can answer any questions!

1 comment:

Ruth J Leamy said...

I often think about ordering this, but the 3 hour instructions keep me from doing so. Have you ever considered an instruction booklet? This would be so much easier for a busy mom to read a few pages at a time.