This is the guest post I did for http://www.simplemarriage.net/time-for-some-tlc.html recently. Check out their site when you have a chance - good ideas.
I started a little project recently that required getting out my sewing machine. I hadn’t used it for several months and for some reason the thread kept breaking. Finally, I broke down and dug out the owner’s manual for some help.
Hmmm, when was the last time I had cleaned and oiled the machinery? Apparently, if I couldn’t remember, then it had been way too long. As I started to disassemble each component, I made mental notes to be able to put it all back together – hopefully without any parts left over.
I have never seen so many fuzzy dust bunnies in such a small confined space. I grabbed my trusty old toothbrush (one that had been replaced recently) and brushed out all the lint I could find. Next, I dug out the good old 3-in-1 oil can to lubricate all the neglected moving parts.
Amazingly, it was immediately easier to manually run the sewing machine thru its paces. Using my photographic memory (okay, so I added a few grumbling words to help), I reassembled the machine and closed the covers for each compartment. Uh oh, where did that spring come from? I retraced my steps and consulted the manual for the umpteenth time to find the location missing one itty bitty spring.
As I worked thru the process using the manual as well as trial and error, I thought of how Mom regularly serviced her machines. I recalled how she always kept a very small can of machine oil strictly for that purpose, whereas I had to borrow my husband’s.
I also thought with pride about how she never had to take her sewing machine in for service. She knew that machine inside and out and could tell by the sound and feel when something needed attention. Sort of like she did with our family. She seemed to hone in on someone who needed a bit of TLC before we were even aware of it.
As I considered her legacy, I resolved to be more attentive to my equipment and to the people in my life who matter. I felt contentment as I finally started my sewing project and enjoyed my newly smooth-running sewing machine.
Which areas of your life could use a little TLC to run more smoothly? Consider some of these:
1.Relationships with children
Sometimes we get caught up in trying to do too many things. Spend time working on your relationship with little ones. Now that school has been out for a while, think of something fun and creative to do with your children or grandchildren. Plan an activity that everyone will enjoy that also allows some quiet time to talk. This is a perfect time of the year for a walk along the beach, in the woods or through a park. Tell them some of the activities you used to enjoy when you were their age. Ask their thoughts about what they would like to do on your next outing. You may be surprised at the pleasure they get out of little things. This small investment can pay big dividends in your relationships.
2.Relationship with spouse
We all get caught up in a whirlwind of commitments, whether it is work, housecleaning (seriously, some people do, or at least so I hear), caring for an elderly relative or getting distracted by financial burdens. Try a little “preventive maintenance” with your spouse – plan a special demonstration of your love. If he raves about your homemade lasagna and you don’t usually take the time to make it, surprise him. If she has gotten overwhelmed with housework while chauffeuring the kids to summer activities, surprise her by washing the kitchen floor. The important thing is to do something nice for them that is out of the ordinary. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. The important thing is for it to be some TLC from your heart.
3.Relationship with God
It is very easy to relegate God to just an hour or two on Sunday morning. Sometimes he is trying to speak to us at other times, but we are so busy running around that we can’t hear him. Try spending some quiet time each day with no computer, no television, no music blaring. Choose a nice quiet spot where you can get comfortable, open your heart and be receptive to hearing an inner voice. Even if you hear nothing, the tranquility will refresh you in preparation for more hectic times. Years ago, I learned Transcendental Meditation and it helped me through a rough patch in my life. Now it helps me to stay focused on where I am heading and what I want to do with my life. That’s how I apply a little TLC to myself.
What areas of your life need a little TLC? I’d love to hear about them!