Sharpen the Saw

With the beginning of a new year, I’ve been thinking about the things that are most beneficial to my life, and “Sharpen the Saw” is at the top of my list.

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A number of years ago I read the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and learned some principles that are still valuable to me today.  The one with greatest application to my life as a mother of teens and young adults is, “Begin with the end in mind” but that is a topic for another day.  Today I want to mention a different Habit, “Sharpen the Saw.”

Covey gives an illustration of a man laboring to cut down a tree.  Someone suggests that he take a break to sharpen the saw since it will make his efforts more effective.  The man replies, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw.  I’m too busy sawing.”

He goes on to write about the four dimensions of self-renewal: physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. All of the areas are important, but I wanted to share briefly about something Russ and I do to “Sharpen the Saw.”  It’s very simple.

We get up early, before our children are awake, to exercise our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Last January we decided that our best mornings were the ones that began when the house was quiet and dark.  We began setting our alarm earlier, with a pillow over the clock so the kids won’t wake up.  We get up, dress, and creep downstairs, avoiding the noisy spots in our old wood floors.  Most weekday mornings we head out the door for a run or brisk walk, although with the snow, I often hit the treadmill in the garage.

(Granted, we can do this because we have big kids who are home keeping our little ones safe.  There were many, many years when I ran alone and I’m so glad Russ can join me now.)

When we get home, we hit the switch on the coffeemaker and grab our Bibles.  Last year we used a Daily Bible, this year I am slowing down my pace and concentrating more on what I’m reading.  I felt a little out of breath trying to keep up last year – it was good, but I need something different right now.

Once I finish with my Bible, I start in on one of the books I’m reading, generally something about adoption, trauma, parenting, or spiritual issues.  By now I may have only five minutes before the kids are up, but other days I may have fifteen.  Either way, I read a bit while my mind is fresh.

When I began this new routine, I had a hard time justifying my reading time.  I began to think of all that needed to be accomplished and nearly every day I questioned whether I really had time to read.  But I’ve learned that those few minutes are multiplied many times over; I am amazed at the number of books I read in 2010.

We enjoy our mornings so much that it generally isn’t a sacrifice to get up earlier; I wouldn’t trade the time with Russ when the house is quiet.

Truth be told, we’ve been out of town so much, followed by a bout of the flu, that we have not gone running in what seems like ages, and yesterday was the first morning I was out of bed early.  I’m writing this not only to inspire you to “Sharpen the Saw”, but to encourage myself to make a fresh start!

My current morning reads and the Bible I want to buy:

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Mama D's Dozen
    January 19, 2011

    I just bought the book Wounded Children Healing Homes. Have you read it yet?

    Thanks for this encouragement. We definitely need to get into the practice of Sharpening Our Saws. Great analogy.

    Laurel

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 19, 2011

      Great book! I just want to re-read a few things and then I'll write a post about it.

      Reply
  2. Renae
    January 19, 2011

    I needed to hear this soooo desperately today! I've been wanting to get up earlier and read my Bible, shower, and just get a "jumpstart" before everyone else is up(six kiddos under 11, homeschooling 4 of them!)….it's soooo hard, because it's like they have a six sense…they KNOW when I'm up without them!!!! Drives me nuts!!!! But I need this time of QUIET! Appreciate so much your encouragement!

    Reply
  3. One Thankful Mom
    January 19, 2011

    We have struggled with this as well, but came up with a strategy that works for us. I'll add a note to my post, or write a short post about it. I'm so glad you are encouraged!

    Reply
  4. Karen
    January 19, 2011

    Very inspiring. Thank you.

    k

    Reply
  5. Chantelle
    January 19, 2011

    I really needed to hear that. Thank you! (The way the holy spirit flows through you and leads you to write certain things JUST FOR ME is quite amazing!) 😉 Do you do your Bible time then 'together'? As in read from the same book? And, if so, what are you reading right now with your husband? About how much time do you spend on that specifically?

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 19, 2011

      Chantelle, last year when we were following a Daily Bible, we were reading the same things, but we got a little bit off schedule, and then a little bit more, to the point that we weren't really reading the exact same things each day. Russ is a very meticulous reader, while I tend to rush through. He gets a lot more out of things than I do! I am currently reading a chapter in Psalms, Proverbs, and Luke each day. I think I'll stick with Proverbs for the year and continue one OT book and one NT book at a chapter a day. I'm not sure how much time we spend. On the days we run, we are home more quickly and have more time to read. The days we walk are much shorter since it takes us longer to cover our walking distance.

      As for other books, I read them and then if I think Russ will really benefit, I pass it to him. Sometimes I just highlight specific chapters I think he will like.

      Reply
      1. Chantelle
        January 19, 2011

        Thanks Lisa.

        Reply
  6. dorothy
    January 19, 2011

    Hey Lisa – I have several extra copies of that particuar ESV in a box in our garage – If I find the box any time soon I will pull one out in your name and send it over.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 19, 2011

      Dorothy! Wow! I am so excited! Thank you so much — I'll be shooting up some prayers that you will find the box. So nice to hear from you.

      Reply
  7. Heidi
    January 19, 2011

    Oh I needed to hear that. I needed the reminder of why I should get up earlier. The last couple days have just run away with me because I've been getting up when the kids get up. Thank you!

    Reply
  8. lisa
    January 19, 2011

    hi lisa
    how are u finding "wounded children, healing homes?" i feel like, at this point, i have read so many books on trauma but i am always looking for practical ideas and a deeper understanding. i love" the connected child", it s my favorite of all i have read, helpful and compassionate which is often hard to find in the trauma community of resources. thank you, lisa

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 19, 2011

      Lisa, I loved the book. I read most of it while traveling, so I want to review it a little more and then I will write a post about it.

      Reply
  9. julie
    January 19, 2011

    Loved this! I also see a difference in my day when I get up early have my quiet time and some talk with hubby. Now I just need to add the excercise part:)

    Reply
  10. Sara
    January 19, 2011

    I really appreciate this! A very timely post indeed.

    Reply
  11. Stefanie
    January 20, 2011

    Just found your blog, thanks to TM's post on No Hands But Ours… and I love it!
    As a mother to a large family, I can tell already there is lots of great stuff here! And I'll be following along from now on 🙂

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 20, 2011

      Thank you Stefanie. I didn't know that Tonggu Momma had shared a link to my blog – that is so nice to hear. I hope I can be of some help and encouragement to you.

      Reply
  12. Chantelle
    January 20, 2011

    Off topic, but just letting you know that I just joined your Rockin Challenge. Kickin' and screaming… but I joined!!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 20, 2011

      Chantelle – you can do it! I was just thinking last night how much easier and more enjoyable it is getting.

      Reply
  13. Mamitaj
    January 20, 2011

    Great post! I need my quiet time. That is a great analogy. I need to sharpen the saw more and hack the tree to pieces less.

    Reply
  14. Lisa
    January 20, 2011

    I swear, you need to get out of my head! Every time I stop by the blog there's a post about right where I'm at! Thanks so much for helping me know there are hearts like mine out there for the wounded ones.
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 20, 2011

      I'm glad to know we are on this same, winding path – and not alone. I can't even imagine doing this alone. Blessings.

      Reply
  15. Jen
    January 21, 2011

    Lisa,

    Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we just get so caught up in sawing!

    And then wonder why we're getting nowhere! LOL!

    Reply

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