My Oikourgos Hour

February 24, 2011

Do you ever feel like your life is whizzing by you and as soon as you catch up to it you realize that it’s moved ahead of you a million more miles?  Do you feel tired, and worn out, and wish that you just had a moment to breathe?  Well.  You may need an Oikourgos Hour.  This hour to plan and to pray has become necessary to my success as a homemaker–it’s completely changed my life by helping me keep a joyful heart when it comes to being a wife and a mother.

Some background

First: What in the world does Oikourgos mean?  And how do you pronounce it!?  Well, it’s Greek.  Follow this link to Blue Letter Bible and click the play button under the “Pronunciation” header.  That link will also give you a lot of other information about the word & where it’s found in the Bible.  Or I could just tell you right now: “oikourgos” means “keeper of a house” or “keeping at home and taking care of household affairs, domestic.”  It’s found in Titus 2:5.  Here are verses 3-5 to give you more context:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,

so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, love their children,

to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I want to be a successful worker at home–I want to manage my household well for the Lord and I want my husband & child to love being at our home.  I want to be a good oikourgos!

How Does it Work?

Basically, every Monday morning I take Luke up to the church for his morning nap.  Tim continues to work with the baby monitor next to him and Luke sleeps peacefully in the nursery (shocker, I know).  I race to the nearest Starbucks, order a tall decaf hazelnut latte (sometimes skinny) and sit down with whatever it is I’ve come to get done that day.  I find it’s so much easier to get work done at Starbucks–there’s no dog to let out, no laundry to load into the dryer, and no random tasks that could distract me from this critical planning time.

What Do I Actually Do?

On my iPhone I have a note that is entitled, “Oikourgos Hour”–it’s a running list of what I need or want to get done during the upcoming Monday morning.  This is what my list reads like right now:

  • Pray (this is always the first thing on my list.  I confess any sin, thank God for every blessing I can think of, and ask Him to help me be organized and focused in the planning for the following week.  I also acknowledge that He ins ultimately in charge of my life and that if any plans I make aren’t in His Will that I would either not do those things or not have a bad attitude when they get done!  If there’s anything big or important that needs prayer I would probably pray for that too.)
  • Make daily to do lists (using iCal on my laptop I look at each day, make sure that everything I need to do for the following week is on the calendar, cross reference my calendar with any evites or emails I may have received, and then schedule in the random tasks that need to be taken care of.  Then I think about what I can do for the Lord that week.  How can I be useful to Him?  Next I figure out how I can bless Tim that week–what does he need me to do?  It helps to ask him before-hand–hopefully someday it will get to the point where Tim just hands me a list Monday morning!  These things could also be things he hasn’t told me to do but things that I know would bless him–like a special note in his lunch or something.  Finally, I pick one person that I can bless that week and write in time to do so.)
  • Make monthly family calendar (on the first Monday of each month I’ll use my iCal and create a calendar that I will later print out and put in our calendar frame that hangs on our fridge.  This calendar contains any activity that the family will take part in that’s not a part of normal living [i.e. monthly worship band practice, doctor’s appointments, coffee dates, a conference at the church, an appointment with a client, weddings, trips out of town, etc.].  I put it in a frame so that we can use thin dry erase markers to write on the glass if something needs to be added or changed.)
  • Plan meals for the week & make grocery list (sometimes I need to wait to do this until I get home so I can see what I have and what I need, but most of the time I can get a pretty good idea of what needs to be bought and I can always at least plan what we’ll be eating.)
  • Check blogs that I love (I find that if I schedule just a few minutes each week to catch up on some great blogs I don’t waste so much computer time during the rest of the week.  If I find something on one of the blogs that I really want to look into I’ll make note of it and check it out in more depth at a later time.)
  • Decide upon topics for home | health | heart & start writing or researching one or more of the upcoming week’s posts.

The above tasks are always on the list and are always the first things I get done.  I try to work quickly and efficiently so that I will have time to get other things done.  If the above is all I have time for, though, it’s been successful.  Just to have a few minutes to plan out the week and to breathe by myself is really all it takes to feel refreshed.  If I have more time and if one of these things needs to be done I might do some of the following:

  • Update family prayer/thanksgiving journal
  • Update Luke’s journal
  • Update Luke’s baby book
  • Develop family photos/make family blog post

Finally, I have a third running list of things that I usually need to get done in general & if I have time during my Oikourgos Hour I might get working on some of these things:

  • Develop client photos
  • work on Drumm Studios blog
  • organize my Proverbs 31 binder
  • read

That gives you an idea of some of the things I do during my Oikourgos Hour (which is more like 2 hours right now because of Luke’s nap schedule).  I can’t stress enough how this has helped me become a more effective homemaker–I am more organized, more prepared, much more focused, and although it may seem like something we’re not supposed to think: those two hours that I’m able to be away and to be by myself are really so wonderful and so relaxing and so calming.  It makes me a better wife and mother–I’m sure of it.

Reality Check

Alright, I know, I know, it sounds great, it sounds wonderful–you want to do this too.  Only you can’t because your husband doesn’t work just up the road in a building with a built-in nursery.  Or maybe you don’t have access to a vehicle during the day.  Or maybe you have more than just one child & the logistics of organizing this time away has your head spinning.  Ok, I’ll admit it: at this point in my life an Oikourgos Hour is a very easy thing for me to do.

However, with a little creativity, I’m pretty confident that you can figure out a way to make this work for you, too.  Pray about whether or not this is something that would bless you and your family.  Talk to your husband.  Explain to him the value of an Oikourgos Hour and then ask for his help in figuring out how to get you one.

Make it Your Own

Maybe you find a friend who wants some time to herself, too.  You watch her kids on Monday and she’ll watch yours on Tuesday.  Or maybe that’s just too much: then you watch her kids this week, she’ll watch yours next week–make it an every other week Oikourgos Hour!  Or maybe you think this will be important enough that you take an hour early Saturday morning to have your Oikourgos Hour while your husband stays at home with the kids.  Maybe you’re way more disciplined than me and you can have your Oikourgos Hour at home–while the little kids nap and the older kids are at (or doing) school make yourself a cup of homemade coffee or tea and sit at your kitchen table with your Oikourgos Hour list and get to work.

I don’t know how you can make it work in your family’s life, but I’d imagine if you really want to, you can find a way to have your very own Oikourgos Hour–and I encourage you to at least try it out–it’s made our family run so much more smoothly, refocused my mind on what the Lord wants me to be doing, and truly blessed both my husband and me!

And finally, some scripture to meditate upon while you ponder your Oikourgos Hour:

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

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One Response to “My Oikourgos Hour”

  1. Jessalyn said

    I am going to be posting about a similar time I have too! Though the name for mine is not nearly as cool.

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