For the cover I chose the icon of Mary and Martha because I feel they are the ultimate example for us as women in learning the balance of life. They represent the practical needs in life, with the reminder that while these are all important, they are not the goal. Every time I pick up my binder, I am reminded that I must remember the one thing needful. The Bible and the church teach us we are to pray without ceasing, one of the most difficult tasks we are given in my mind. It is interesting to read The Way of a Pilgrim and follow his journey and the very structured and studious way in which the pilgrim approaches his goal of prayer without ceasing. He seeks prayer of the heart very purposefully, following a plan. With that in mind, I have spent a good deal of time finding saints and prayers that are meaningful to me and my daily tasks, and trying to incorporate them into my day in a very purposeful way. The back cover page of my binder has a prayer for mothers, and the prayer before commencing a task.
Within the binder I have four sections:
The first section is labelled Daily Routines and Reminders. Here I have a copy of my Daily Rule created using the Mother's Rule of Life as my guide. I also have a simple morning and evening routine. These are my goals, they do not always get done, but they are there to help remind me of what I am striving to make a habit. I also have my year at a glance documents filed here, along with my monthly bill payment schedule form. My year at a glance pages also include all birthdays and anniversaries. I am constantly updating these pages, and I have found it really helpful to have the reminders, especially for things like when my flowers are blooming. If I am going to have a baby shower or birthday party, it is nice to see at a glance which flowers I will have available for cutting. The bill payment page has each bill typed in on the day it is due. When I mail that bill, I use a highlighter to mark it as paid. At the end of the month I can just wipe the highlighter off and start over.
There is a section for Emergency Numbers, where I keep important numbers, business cards and a print out of the FlyLady's Control Journal Step #19. I have learned the hard way that it really is important to know ahead of time who you will call if you have a household emergency - since when the flooding (in our case) or other emergency occurs, you don't have time to call around and get references or estimates, you take whoever answers the phone and gets to your house the quickest!
The final section is my favorite. It is titled Personal, and it is where I have my personal mission statement, Fr. Thomas Hopko's 55 Maxims for Christian Living, a letter my husband wrote me last Christmas and a list of reminders similar to the advice in my previous post. These are there to encourage me, to help me focus, to remind me of what is important. I would like to say I look at these every day, but that would be a lie! That is, however, my goal. If you can begin your day with prayers and a look at your mission statement, you can't help but be better focused on what is important each day. I also have a small notepad tucked into the pocket of the binder to keep track of errands I need to run, items I need etc.
This notebook does not contain food sections the way FlyLady does, because I have 2 separate notebooks (one feasting and one fasting) in my kitchen for that - I will post on those later. I also have my teacher's planner, and I am working on a series of notebooks similar to Mary's Cycles of Grace (though mine are not nearly as pretty :). Sounds like a lot of binders, I know, but the school planner stays in the school room, the cooking notebooks are on my pantry shelf with my cookbooks, and the main binder floats through the house with me (I like to keep it in my room to start my day, then take it to the kitchen to look over cleaning chores).