Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brag Moment

I just want to brag on my mom for a minute: she's a great example of how being a homemaker--far from squelching one's potential--can allow for the time and opportunity to use talents and gifts!

My mom is a fabulous photographer. She's always loved taking pictures, but recently has had more opportunities to do it on a larger scale as her gift has become recognized: photographing weddings, bridal portraits, engaged couples, graduation photos, children, and various other people and settings.

It's been neat to witness her gift gradually and naturally develop through the years. It began with taking pictures of family and an interest in geneology and scrapbooking. When I was little, she was a Creative Memories consultant for a time. Recently she has taken classes and apprenticed to professionals to learn even more, and is doing SO well!

The picture above is hers, and you can see other pictures she's posted on her blog here and here. And these are just her day-to-day normal-type pictures. I wish you could see her portfolios!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Swish and Swipe

I'm gradually refining my routines. After reading up on FlyLady for inspiration, I've started including the Swish and Swipe in my morning Housework Hour. I used to pretty much only touch the bathroom (beyond picking up the floors) once a week, when I'd have to spend the better part of an hour really scrubbing everything. When the bathroom was becoming "due" for a cleaning, believe me, you could tell! (And it was embarrassing to have unexpected guests at such a time!)

Now only the tub and floors will need a good weekly scrubbing (which is always scheduled to take place after our dog Peaches' bath:o) The more frequently-used sink, countertop, mirror and toilet are a cinch to keep up with on a daily basis! I never dreamed that doing these daily would take ONLY THREE MINUTES (I timed it) of my time!

P.S. I may have read this on FlyLady's site, I can't remember: You know how nice it is to enjoy a spotless bathroom each day during a hotel-stay? Why not give ourselves and our families the same pleasure at home? Now that I know how little time it takes, I hope I never go back to the only-once-a-week cleaning. (Imagine if that was the policy at hotels...ick!)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to my Love and Best Friend!

Ten Great Things About Turning 25:

1. Our car insurance is now cheaper:o)

2. When we rent a car, they'll assume we're normal, staid adults, not reckless-driving-deviants and won't charge us extra fees due to age-bias.

3. You're old enough to run for congress.

4. You've now been around for a quarter of a century!

5. You've been my one-and-only for an entire one-fifth of your existence.

6. This is the 6th birthday that I've had the privilege of celebrating with you. I'm hoping for many, many, many more to come!

7. Metal detector. Enough said.

8. You've accomplished much in the past few years, but this year promises even more. Don't be discouraged in going after your dreams, Honey! I'm very proud of you!

9. I love you more and more with each year that passes.

10. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jer 29:11

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The latest in my time management saga

In my efforts to learn how to be a good manager of my time and our home, I've tried many things and failed many times. Are some people just born with this gift? Well, I was not. I'm just too good at ricocheting between hardcore effort and having-fallen-off-the-wagon-melancholy. It's a perfectionist thing.

BUT ALAS! There are a few glimmers of hope on the horizon for one such as I! First off, I have somehow managed to begin early-izing my bedtime and wake-up time. For me, this is quite a feat: to give you an idea...for a while I was having trouble falling asleep any earlier than 3:00 am. I'll leave it to your imagination what that did to my mornings. I'm now regularly retiring around 12:30-1:00 am, with the ultimate goal being to have lights off by midnight. This is surely an act of God.
Secondly, I have recently instituted--and successfully executed for a period exceeding two weeks--my "Housework Hour": This concept is basic enough to you expert time managers, but actually PRACTICING it is a revelatory experience for me. I bought a timer (my old one had broken some time ago). Every morning, after taking my shower and getting dressed for the day, I turn on some music or a radio program, set my timer for an hour, and try to see how much housework I can get done in that amount of time. Here's what I've discovered:
1. This timer method works much better for me than mapping out an hourly schedule (i.e., "9:00-10:00 : Housework"), because I can start it at 8:47 or 9:32 or whenever I'm ready to. This is a huge psychological boon to a perfectionist: All's not lost if I get started "late". I'm in control of my schedule, and it SHALL bow to me when I need it to be flexible:o)
2. Same deal, if I get interrupted by a phone call or something. I just pause the timer and come back to it when I'm ready. If I was on a "9:00-10:00 : Housework" type schedule, interruptions throwing me off track might possibly discourage my productive intentions for the entire rest of the day. Moms...the ability to "pause time" and still come back to finish your hour (or however long) of housework is of especial benefit to you!
3. Limiting myself to an hour forces me to prioritize. My most important housekeeping priorities in the morning are making the bed, making sure the kitchen is spotlessly clean (I hate going in there to make something and finding it messy!), and picking up clutter around the house. My Housework Hour is usually enough to do these and one or two other things, such as sweeping the floors, or starting some laundry. Today, I spent 30 minutes of my hour clearing clutter out of the garage! (Since I have to go out there regularly to do laundry--yes, our washer and dryer are in the garage--the dirt and clutter out there had been bugging me for a while! It's amazing what difference a few concentrated minutes can make!)
My Housework Hour mostly takes care of that daily-maintenance stuff that makes our home livable. I usually spend more time on cooking, cleaning and other various household projects later in the day. But even if I'm gone or extra-busy on something else that day, at least I got the most important stuff done!