Jul 062010

In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength… Isaiah 30:15

As mothers we sometimes live in the urgent. This hungry child, that weepy one, another needing a  push on the swing…

However, it’s beneficial to step out of the urgent into the quiet, out of our regular spot and look to our source of strength. Jesus set the example. (Luke 4: 42-43)

Once a year I purposefully take the time to think on each of my five children. I set aside a special time to make goals for the next year. Homeschool goals, a life skills assessment but most importantly time in prayer for each child. How is she doing spiritually? How can we give him a bit more of challenge in this subject? What do I imagine this child like as an adult? And, yes, I did say we’d potty train over the summer.

I do my goal setting and planning on family vacation but save the work for home. I bring along my current favorite spiral notebook and pen. And I rise early and meet with the Lord over matters. Maybe on your own turf you steal away on the back porch or front step.

In the past I spent an hour just one morning. You’d be surprised the thoughts you can record in one quiet, early-morning hour. This year, I decided ahead of time I’d spread my planning over five days. That equals a planning session for one child each weekday. (We are in a stage of two early risers so I anticipated I’d only get 15-30 minutes each morning. Know ahead of time you may be interrupted. It’s ok. God places those appointments for a reason too.) I really anticipate this annual time on vacation. I’ve seen the results. Been surprised at what the Lord puts in my head. On your own turf: you might even be able to arrange for a morning away.


I start with prayer. I thank God for this child. For the privilege of parenting and teaching. I ask again for wisdom. (oh, that is daily!)  I gaze on the sunrise, sip my coffee, listen to the surf, and I write what comes to mind… (the Lord will fill in the blanks for you. Here’s a sample of how mine went)

  • …yes, at this age I was already practicing driving in the neighborhood. Maybe we just let her drive from the mailbox to the garage like her cousin does.
  • dance mat typing would be a fun thing to add in again even this month…
  • …yes, it’s time to remind ourselves about good table manners (from Angie’s new Homeschool Blog, Live, Love, Learn)
  • … two middle-schoolers this school year, hmmm, we need to focus on even more independent work
  • … what about those preschool activity bags I was so keen on? How can we roll those type things in to our schedule? It has to be easy…
  • … how can we as parents help develop this child’s interest and skill by investing in lessons or supplies?
  • Bonus: Help from Gregg Harris in visualizing goals with children, Outgrowing the Greenhouse, the cover story for theMay 2009 HSLDA Magazine. Another great resource is Doorposts’ A Checklist for Parents.

Next, I spend a bit of time praying through needs using the little pink Book of Prayer. Specifically, the section on Power of a Praying Parent.

Especially something to do daily on your own turf!

  • “…May he (she) hear the call You have on his (her) life so that she doesn’t spend a lifetime trying to figure out what it is or miss it altogether…’
  • “…Specifically, I pray for a close, happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship between (name of child) and (name of family member) for all the days of their lives…”
  • “…Manifest Your love to this child in a real way today and help him (her) to receive it…”

And I keep all my thoughts tucked in my notebook. When I get back home and am in the thick of school planning, I pull out my list and incorporate the inspiration.

Goal planning for Mama:

  • During the drive time while the children have their headphones on, we followed Kendra’s example in Getting Away part one. We wrote out the years through our littlest one’s graduation. Marveled at what age we’d all be and how quickly it will surely all pass. We also dreamed of where we might go on anniversary trips. Such a fun way to pass the time!
  • On the way back home, we planned three fall birthday parties, made a  list of house updates/projects and wrote down ideas for Christmas presents.
  • Maybe there is a hobby you’d like to start or get back to? How about that stack of books on your nightstand? Start small and plan now. Just 15 minute slices of vacation each day, like in part one Surf and Turf, will get you started. All in the family benefit when Mama practices continuing education.
  • On your own turf you could take late evening walks with your husband after the children are tucked in bed and discuss the same type thoughts about your future.

The best part is now the inspiration is all out of my head and on the calendar or in my spiral notebook. Less distraction in my mother brain so I can handle the day-to-day urgent. Being in a beautiful setting really helps with planning. Being open to the Lord’s guidance and direction is key.

“We should make plans – counting on God to direct us.” Proverbs 16:9

  8 Responses to “Mama on Vacation: Planning and Goal Setting”

  1. Thanks for the post. I will start this today on my own turf.

  2. Love this idea of spending some time planning and praying for each child. What a great habit to start each year and to carry right on through!

  3. Thanks so much for this post, Tricia! I love the idea and, although I do something similar, I really like how you set aside time to pray for and reflect on each child individually. I hope to follow your example and do the same…

  4. Forest, Kendra, Stephanie – This special time can be thrilling and convicting. But we must be good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted us with. There’s such freedom in “We should make plans – counting on God to direct us.” Proverbs 16:9

    I’d love to hear how your planning time goes!

  5. I adore this post. I just tweeted about it and am so very thankful that you included it in this week’s carnival so I got to read it!

  6. This is lovely and inspiring. I need to do more of this.

  7. Just love following your blog–I receive so much encouragement from your words! The Lord has been speaking to me on these very things–planning for each child. Our school year will be done in the next couple of weeks. I’ve spent the last several months making a Summer to do list for our family. And this is one of the first things on my list: Spending time with the Father, and seeking Him for what he has for my each of my children. Blessings to you & your family!

    • Nicole, and now you have encouraged me! It’s truly a precious time. That time listened to Him about each child. Blessings on the rest of your school weeks and your planning time. Thank you for your kind comment.

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