Shelli Mader
Hays, Kan.

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September 3, 2013
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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 8-31-13

Last week I sent my two sweet kids off to school. I have a second grader and a preschooler now. One year until both of my kids are in full-time school. Part of me is sad to see the summer end and watch my kids grow up a little bit more, but another part of me is excited that school forces us to get back into a routine.

We had a great summer enjoying small town life. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I made when I lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., so I worked hard to appreciate all the good things about living in town. My kids and I went to the community pool, visited the park, rode bikes and went to the library often. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately though, it also seemed like we operated in a bit of survival mode. Laundry went undone (my poor husband did almost run out of socks a couple of times), supper was often planned at the last minute, appointments were forgotten on a few occasions, and bed times were late. I felt like I was always about two steps behind on my writing and everything else important most of the time.

Things are finally getting back in order now, so hopefully the rest of this year and next summer will include the fun without all the chaos. Here are some things I learned from my crazy summer:

If You Don’t Really Enjoy It,

Get Rid of It:

Part of my stress comes from taking care of extra stuff. A cleaning blogger called “The Fly Lady” says that you can’t organize clutter, you can only get rid of it. If something doesn’t bless you, don’t keep it. I’ve thought about that often when considering keeping any kind of knick-knack. I ask myself if I really want to go to the effort to clean around it and take care of it.

The other day my daughter was cleaning her room and was stressed out about her large collection of silly bands (those plastic bracelets that were popular a year or so ago). She doesn’t wear them, but didn’t want to part with them either. It was the perfect teaching moment about the cost of clutter (she and her brother share a small room without room for much extra stuff). I’m glad to say we now only own a couple of silly bands instead of 100.

Stop the Extra Mail and E-mail:

I enjoy getting e-mail and mail, but getting too much makes extra work. Think before you sign up to get that special offer or be on an e-mail list. Something about seeing an inbox with 500 e-mails shuts me down. Not only do I miss important e-mails when I get too many, it takes a long time to sort through them.

Too much mail causes the same problem. I had a stack of 50 interesting magazines I was going to get around to read. After lugging them around for a year, I finally threw them away. I am sure that there were a lot of great ideas in there, but the looming job of looking through them was causing me stress.

Keep Your Priorities Straight by

Saying No Sometimes:

Not living out my priorities was one of the biggest things that made me feel like I was living in crisis mode this summer. I value my faith and family above all else, but my summer looked like a mess of trying to write resumes for people (a new job I took on), letting my kids watch too much TV, and watching my house turn into a mess. I should have said no to resume writing more often and yes to things higher on my priority list like spending time with family and cleaning my house!

Keep A Goal List:

Right now it seems like my “road to ranching” is a dead end. It can be discouraging when a big life goal seems impossible, but I think to keep momentum and hope, it is important to know what you are working for. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 17, 2013 09:56AM Published Sep 23, 2013 01:39PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.