What’s Next?

August 31, 2010

Even though I’ve completed 365 days with Flylady on this blog, I’m not going to abandon my work here. I’ll still be blogging about how Flylady is working for me and my large, homeschooling family. I’ll be blogging about my book reviews and how much progress I’m making de-cluttering. But, I’m not going to be making a daily post any more.

My NEW blogging emphasis is going to be over at Abiding In the True Vine. I’m so very excited to be launching this new blog. It’s going to be crafting-focused! And I’m going to be featuring my etsy store items as I list them. Please come visit me over there starting September 1.

I hope you’ll keep dropping by–either here or there!


Top Ten Countdown: Number One

August 30, 2010

I am writing this post in amazement. This is my 365th post on my 365 Days with Flylady blog. A whole year has passed by. A whole year, documented in this blog. A whole year that was filled with the wonderful blessings of gaining both another son-in-law AND a precious granddaughter. A whole year that included the overwhelming stresses of unfair job loss and unexpected church issues. A whole year of shining sinks, swishing and swiping, making beds, blessing my home weekly, going on date nights, having family fun. A whole year of learning about myself. A whole year of weeding out the perfectionism in my life. A whole year of learning to finally love myself. Yes, number one in my Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

Finally Loving Yourself (FLYing!) is the most important thing Flylady taught me to do.

A year ago, I didn’t even realize that I might not love myself. I never thought about that. I take care of myself physically by eating healthily and exercising very faithfully, so I felt like I must love myself. I know God loves me. I have relationships (many!) with people who I know love me.

But, when I started really examining how I thought about myself, what I said to myself in my head, what excuses I made for NOT doing things that would make me happy, I realized that I may not sincerely love myself. For example, it was, many times, difficult to justify spending any money at all on myself that might be considered “non-essential.” I scrimped to have money to spend on others, so why would it be difficult to spend money on myself if I really loved myself?

And, then, there was always the question of whether loving myself was actually selfish and narcissistic. I really had time to explore that idea in God’s Word back in June and I came to the realization that since He has told us to love each other as we love ourselves, He must intend that we love ourselves! From that point on, I made a concerted effort to stop myself when I started in with non-loving self-talk. When I knew something would boost my spirits (you know me and pedicures!), I would make sure I took time–and, even, once, MONEY–to make that happen.

The result of all of this contemplation and action has been that I am much, much (exponentially!!) better at loving others when I am drawing from a full love tank of my own. For example, when I make time to be creative every day, when I prioritize creativity, I am loving myself. I then am energized to face my day of parenting and homeschooling and, yes, doing Flylady chores that I inherently dislike. Loving myself pretty much totally erases any residual martyr in me, too.

So, I can never thank God or Flylady enough for showing me the first steps toward genuinely loving myself. Thanks for a life-changing year, Flylady. I love you!

Top Ten Countdown: Number Two

August 29, 2010

Wow! I can’t believe I’m down to number two in my Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady! Number two is:

It is vital for me to prioritize creativity in my daily routine.

What does this have to do with Flylady? Well, over the course of a year, I’ve obviously done a lot of thinking, as indicated in my previous posts. Way back last September, I was already identifying that creativity needed to be included in my daily routine. Throughout the year, I kept thinking about balance (see number three in my countdown), about what was important to me, about using the gifts God had given me. As my daily Flylady routines became more established and I was seeing that they could not be the focus of my life if I were to remain happy, healthy and sane, I discovered that creativity was a focus that would fulfill the role of helping me remain happy, healthy and sane because I was working from the gifts God had given me when I was being creative.

What I also discovered was that my time for creativity needed to be every day, prioritized above everything but eating breakfast and meditating on God’s Word. I needed to be creative before I did any laundry, before I mopped a floor, before I cooked anyone any food. Once I established this time as part of my early morning routine, my spirit soared!

So, now, I have several on-going projects that I can work on in peace and quiet before the kids arise. I actually am getting up earlier than ever so I can be sure to have this time as quiet as possible so I am not distracted. This way, I get A LOT done in the 30 minutes I set aside. I actually set my Flylady timer and away I go. I’ve loved the progress I’ve made in my etsy store and my new blog. I love the things I’m making for others and myself. I love the way I am constantly thinking about what I’m going to add to a project or what I’m going to do next.

The best thing is that my creativity does not have to occur at the expense of any of my other responsibilities! I can easily keep up with all of my other Flylady chores and they can take the auto-pilot, back seat that they deserve in my life. This could only happen because Flylady has taught me to make these household chores ROUTINE. I don’t have to think about any of them (well, except that elusive de-cluttering…), I just do my work and go on with my life.

I am very excited about exploring my creative side, about sharing it with others, about giving with the gifts God has given me. And I thank Flylady for helping me discover all of these things about myself within the context of my daily routines. Thanks, Flylady!

Top Ten Countdown: Number Three

August 28, 2010

In my Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady, number three is:

My Flylady routines are not–SHOULD NOT–be the focus of my life. My Flylady routines provide the tools to get things done so I can focus on what is really important to me.

I learned early, early on in my Flylady journey that I abhor de-cluttering. I mean, I really, really, really dislike it. So, after I had pretty much established every other routine in my day (well, maybe except completing every Zone Mission), and I started to focus on adding daily de-cluttering, I kind of hit a wall. Up until then, I was skipping along, being amazed at how much following Flylady’s advice changed our lives as far as eliminating CHAOS, guilt and frustration.

But when I started having to force myself to de-clutter as well as do all of my other Flylady chores, I felt myself getting upset and angry. Naturally, I began to analyze the situation. And what I found was that I had been focusing on doing my Flylady routines as the main part of my day. Yes, I was homeschooling and parenting, as usual. But as for anything beyond that, I was focusing on Flylady. I was counting my days as “successful” based on if I had completed my Flylady routine. I would walk around the house and mentally check off that I had completed certain Flylady tasks.

My dislike of de-cluttering and my inability to actually force myself to do in on a regular, daily basis brought out the fact that I was giving all of my energy to doing stuff I didn’t LIKE to do, that drained my energy. It was kind of like de-cluttering was the straw that broke this camel’s back. But that was when I realized that I was out of balance.

I’ve talked a lot about balance in this blog. When I am focusing on my Flylady routine, when it is taking all of my mental and physical energy, I am out of balance. When I started realizing that my focus should be on OTHER things that re-energize me and inherently bring me joy, and that Flylady routines were only there to provide a way to get things done so I could focus on the other things, I realized a healthy balance.

I wonder if this phenomena happens to other Flybabies as they go through their Flylady journey….

Top Ten Countdown: Number Four

August 27, 2010

Number four in the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

Homemaking (or blogging or crafting or decorating or…) done imperfectly will still bless someone: me!

As anyone who follows Flylady knows, it is perfectionism that we SHEs battle over and over in all areas of our lives. Perfectionism can rear its ugly head in so many ways, from putting off buying Christmas gifts until I can buy the perfect presents to procrastinating about cleaning the kitchen if I don’t have time to scrub it top to bottom to talking myself out of participating in an event if there’s a chance I might not perform perfectly to not following a dream because I can’t execute it perfectly the first time to doubting that others will love me if I’m not perfect. On and on it goes with SHEs.

But Flylady reminds us over and over that we need not be perfect to be blessings. We need not do something perfectly for it to bless others. We need not be perfect.

Every battle I have won over perfectionism in the last year has been a blessing–to me!

Top Ten Countdown: Number Five

August 26, 2010

Half-way into my countdown of the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady, number five is:

Flylady’s routines can be creatively adjusted to fit anyone’s circumstances.

I’ll say it again, I am a mother of ten children. Eight of these children are still at home. The other two and their husbands and the darling granddaughter are in and out. We homeschool. A lot of people are in this house. A lot. Consequently, I cannot–should not–follow Flylady’s own personal routine to the letter. I have a lot of house to hold a lot of kids and it just takes lots and lots and lots of actual time and physical effort to maintain it all. Yet, I need not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

This year, some of the most important things I’ve learned have involved modification of Flylady’s basic ideas to fit OUR HOUSEHOLD. For example, our Weekly Home Blessing Hour is not an hour. As I’ve mentioned, it takes an hour just to mop one floor of our house. So, we plan accordingly. I’ve also finally learned, through a lot of trial and error this year, that if a Zone Mission is going to get done, it’s usually going to have to be completed before any kids get up. Once the children are awake, I am torn in a million interrupted directions if I attempt to put off their needs in order to complete a Zone Mission. That also goes for de-cluttering (which I cannot seem to find a consistent way to spell). If any serious de-cluttering is going to happen, it has to happen while I am by myself.

I’m kind of hard-line when I hear people complain that Flylady just won’t work for them. I contend that if Flylady can work for me, it can work for anyone. Just take Flylady’s principles, ask God for His inspiration and get to work creatively.

Top Ten Countdown: Number Six

August 25, 2010

On my Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady list, number six is:

It is important to intentionally plan for Family Fun.

Of all of the things I’ve learned this year, intentionally having Family Fun was one of the most inherently enjoyable. We went family fishing three times (oh, joy!), had campfires with hot dogs and s’mores, completed a pictorial alphabet scavenger hunt that we turned into a book, made Christmas cookies, played all kinds of new games (from picture pass to Pictureka to hide and seek with figurines to Quelf), went to several free movies, enjoyed special meals (Valentine’s Day, the Odyssey supper, Reformation Day), played special music together and went to a dinner theater, for starters.

The memories we made having Family Fun are so precious to me.

Top Ten Countdown: Number Seven

August 24, 2010

The seventh on my list of the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

It is vitally important to intentionally renew my spirit.

I found that it took a little effort to identify exactly what activities renewed my spirit. Then, I had to prioritize doing those things. Of course, being in God’s Word each and every day is the number one way that I renew my spirit. The very first thing I do every single day, right after I get dressed to shoes and make my bowl of oatmeal, is to sit down with the Bible and my prayer journal and read and meditate on a psalm. Throughout this year, I have also completed various Bible studies and finished reading the Bible in a year with the kids. My strength for my daily life, day in, day out, comes from the renewal of my spirit that I receive from the Living Word.

Top Ten Countdown: Number Eight

August 23, 2010

Number Eight in my Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

Routines are important and comforting during stressful times.

We’ve certainly had plenty of opportunity to learn this lesson over the past 12 months. From Joey having a concussion to Levi totaling his car to marathon family stomach viruses to monthly female hormones to unfairly losing our primary source of income to hosting a wedding to changing churches to opening a new business, we’ve walked through it all this year. Some of these stresses are small, some are big. The wedding and actually opening the business were positive experiences, but most of the other stressful events were far from positive from our limited human viewpoint.

There were days on end during some of these periods of stress that were almost unendurable for me mentally. My mind was constantly racing. Yet, the thing that stood out about all of these times was that, despite huge mental distractions, I could go about my daily routines because they were ROUTINE. I could just put one foot in front of the other and maintain our household even when I couldn’t think about what I was doing.

By maintain our household routines, I was able to establish a minimally disruptive atmosphere for our children, especially our young children who really are not yet able to understand exactly what is going on in the adult world but can perceive when things aren’t quite right. Our home stayed tidy and peaceful. Our clothes were clean and everyone was fed in a timely fashion.

Thanks, Flylady, for helping me establish routines that minimize the negative impact of stressful times.

Top Ten Countdown: Number Nine

August 22, 2010

Number Nine (I feel like I should be singing a Beatles song every time I write that…) on my list of the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

I no longer live in CHAOS so I can now be hospitable without stress.

I like living without Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Hospitality is not my gift at all, and living in CHAOS made it hugely stressful to have anyone over. Yet, I love people and sitting around talking with them, so I want to be able to have people over.

In the past year, our son-in-law lived with us, I hosted a weekly Bible study, we had numerous wedding guests staying with us, Jacob had Lisa Leady over for supper, the Georgeffs spent the night a few times, we had umpteen birthday parties, we hosted the family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, my college roommate came over and, every single week, (for the most part), Anne’s physical therapist was at our house.

While hospitality will probably never come naturally to me, living without CHAOS has made it much easier to have people over and build relationships.