Posting of Daily Goals for Decluttering/Organization – my Flight Plan

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Flight Plan – June 30 – Timeframe and Goals

Let’s start fresh with June 30 as a beginning date, even though I was fluttering on my Flight Plan over this past week and I know full well that will happen from time to time.  This year, June 30, 2012 – June 30, 2013 brings important changes in our family that I want to be ready for as they come.  Our youngest will have two important and simultaneous surgeries in August – one on her left leg and one on her right hand, both to correct effects of hemiplegia caused by a brain tumor discovered and removed when she was 5.  Our oldest is entering her senior year of high school and preparing for graduation and college.  How many of her animals will she take to her 5 semester vet tech training program with her, and how many will be left for Mom and Dad to keep for her?  Let’s see… 5 rabbits, a cat, a chinchilla, and a chicken at present count.

And Mom (that’s me) wants to add a dog – my dog!  Yes, I know it will be a family dog with the same responsibility as adding a child.  I grew up with a dog.  I’ve wanted my own my whole life!  And I turned 50 this year!  It’s about time!  Do you hear me? (stamps foot)

Oh, also, I’m going into a second year in the same job (teaching students who speak English as a Second Language) which hasn’t happened for about 4 years since I left a 20+ career teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Maybe now I can settle into the two school buildings I’m assigned to instead of storing teaching materials at home.  Maybe I can finish out my career there and not have to wonder if and when I will use materials.  I can begin to keep, throw, and bless others.

So… timeframes and goals….. so we’re ready for those important events…

-teaching materials stored at present in a corner of the basement and around my desk which is in the middle of our house – need to go through them to keep, throw, & bless others

-basement family room cluttered and therefore uninviting – keep, throw, bless (Post pictures online of items for sale)

-declutter baskets in master bedroom of items stored when we moved our youngest in (gave teen sister a break from rooming with kid sister)

-declutter and prepare teen daughter for moving out and freeing up bedroom for younger sister, thereby freeing Mom & Dad from sharing room space with child, prepare to move my new dog in!!!  Did you hear the growl?  That wasn’t the dog.  That was the husband.  Not a dog fan.

-mail kept in cardboard box has become “project” for DH – need routine established for dealing with incoming mail daily

**Husband and kids left for weekend.  How many 15s (15 minute periods) can I do today and tomorrow so I can accomplish one goal or parts of more than one goal and also take some “me” time that is so important also?

Here’s my first short-term goal accomplished so I can move on to the bigger ones listed above.



Got the dishes done with a little help from Dr. Phil


A clean stove with a clean hand towel or dish towel makes a difference for the whole kitchen. Ready to move to the next project!

Flight Plan June 30 – Catch Up Time – Garden

I’m looking back now to see the date I started this.  I wanted to build in a specific timeframe for completing the goal of being at maintenance level in our home organization.  The FlyLady took 9 months to build her routines and get to the point where she could be 15 minutes from company at all times and beat CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  Using her already established routines, it should take me less time, right?  But I want a goal that I can make too!  How would it work to say, “Oh, sorry, let me revise that date.”  How much better to be able to say, “Woo hoo!  I made my goal in less time than I set for myself!”

Well, I started the Flight Plan blog on June 22.  I do want to post every day within reason.  If I can figure out how to quickly post words and/or pictures from my phone, I will certainly do so very regularly.  What I want to avoid is spending more time posting progress than I spend actually decluttering!!!  And that’s what happens when I spend my time figuring out how to post pictures, connect with Facebook and other media, and wonder how to get the feedback that is so essential to being accountable.

OKAY…. Catch Up Time

This week DH was in Canada, leaving our somewhat large garden to its own devices.  I commandeered the kids, and we cleared a significant portion of weeds to make life easier for Dad on his return and to do what I called “plant rescue”.  We literally could not find some of the smaller plants.  I did find that 15 minutes does not work so well for the kids.  Their 15 minutes produced minimal results and involved a lot of clock watching.  Instead, I got out colorful markers (oh, wish I’d taken a pic of those) and marked out the weed clearing territory for each of them.  It took more work to get them there than it did to actually weed, but once we were all working together, we did manage to make it enjoyable and completed the task in about 20 minutes.  What a valuable lesson in working together; doing a job you don’t really like for the end results of seeing your accomplishment; being part of growing the food we eat; helping someone else, etc, etc, etc.

The garden before starting. This section is corn. We also rescued some stray beans, left over by the rabbits and deer.

What a difference! There’s the corn AND the beans! Thanks for your help, kids! Couldn’t have done it without you.  (Ages 17, 13, 10, for those of you wondering how effective my kid helpers could be expected to be)

Next post will have long- and short-term goals

Flight Plan – Day 3

My goal is to declutter/organize something at least 15 minutes every single day.  But, as the FlyLady says, “You are not behind.  Do not try to catch up.  Just jump in where we are.”  Those are such freeing words to me!  I still plan to do my daily 15.  But if I get off track, if life gets in the way despite my best efforts, I will simply carry on where I left off and celebrate my accomplishments.  🙂

I did not get back to the basement family room yet.  But I did clear another hot spot.  My DH complained that the dish cloths were “rammed” into their drawer, and I decided to find out how much of what’s in that drawer we really need.  I emptied it, sorted, and replaced only what we need in about 2 minutes.  Plastic bags will be repurposed in our bag of bags.  A table runner I had “lost” was placed on the table, and we can now find dish towels, dish cloths, and hand towels as needed.  Yea!

See this!

I nearly forgot to take a before picture. Here are most of the accumulation removed from the drawer. A pile of plastic shopping bags is beyond camera range. How does it all fit in there?

Kitchen drawer – After
Much better! Ahhhh!

Isn’t it nice to have some side benefits for our efforts? I had been wondering what happened to that table runner. Now where’s a better place to store it?

A 9-Month Flight Plan

I’M A FLYBABY! There! You have it! I have purple rags, a Rubba Swisha, two Rubba Scrubbas, and a FlyLady calendar, and I’m taking flying lessons from the FlyLady’s daily e-mails.

My purpose for the next 9 months (that’s how long the Fly Lady took with hers) is to organize my house/life/routines to the point where my family and I can do the things we need and want to do each day easily. We will find the library books that need to be returned. We will have a pen when we need one. Our house will be a place to breathe a sign of relief when we come home at the end of the day and where we can relax and enjoy each other. Or get away from each other!! Bedrooms need to be havens of escape, not cluttered and anxiety-producing.

HERE’S THE WHY! I’ve been on a journey my whole life from one stage to another. I can even fit each stage into a neat little box that makes it easier to write about, even though the current stage has been filled with more hills and valleys than any of the others. After more than 20 years in the same itinerant teaching job, I have spent the last 4 years flying from one adventure to another and only now believe that I will land and stay while in the same two small communities that I’ve connected with in the past year. My home life is full of three kids whom I enjoy very much, the oldest of whom is preparing to do some flying of her own. They are all teaching me a lot and may show up here once in awhile.

Now it’s time! The kids played in the basement when they were younger. Now there’s no room! We have a kitchen counter and breakfast nook made to sit at but no counter space to put our dishes. Our laundry baskets are filled with orphaned socks. We have a cardboard box full of mail. And my desk is surrounded by bins and bags of teaching materials.

Now, HERE’S THE HOW! Sometimes I use the FlyLady’s Flight Plan for the day. Sometimes it’s my own plan based on current urgent need. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two! But I need accountability! Future blogs will not be this lengthy, but I do need to post what I’m doing each day in my own personal 9-month flight plan. I would be most grateful to receive feedback from others who may also be organizing their lives. My goal is to do something (15 minutes in length at minimum) each day for the next 9 months or less to reach the goal of maintaining established routines. I’ll have my house and job all under control and have more to give back to others.

So… I commit to posting every day the one extra thing I will do that day as part of my flight plan. I will not allow dishes and laundry to get in the way of spending at least 15 minutes on one extra thing!

TODAY’S FLIGHT PLAN: dishes & laundry around instrument lessons and Taekwondo, MY ONE EXTRA: Sort “Keep” (blue basket), “Throw” (red basket), “Bless” (white basket – to bless someone else with through sale or donation) in the basement and post picture.

Christmas Letter 2010


“To us a child is born.  To us a Son is given.”

Dear Friends and Family,

What a year!  Our children are growing up, and our lives are changing in new and unexpected ways.  We thank God for leading us every step of the way, and we are thankful for all the positive changes we’ve experienced.

Softball, work at Federated Ins. and videotaping at church continue to keep John busy.  He was the coordinator for Federated on a recent trip to the State Theatre in the Twin Cities where we attended for what’s becoming an annual event as a family.

After a year of substitute teaching while earning her license as a Reading Specialist, Cherie is now working full-time for the Albert Lea public schools as an ELL (English Language Learners) teacher for grades 3-6.  She has approximately 30 awesome students and is thoroughly enjoying watching their growth.  Now if she just could beam herself there instead of driving I35 through the snowiest December ever!  She is also working to complete her Master’s degree – three classes to go, with graduation in May and final class complete in June.

Jordan is in 6th grade (age 12) this year.  That meant changing schools, but only for one year.  He continues to play cello with the orchestra.  He took 2nd place in a chess tournament at school last year.  This year he will take part in a debate.  He’s going to try out archery in January and possibly TaeKwanDo.

Emily is in 3rd grade (age 9) and still loving school and just about everything else!  She has started piano lessons this fall and just played in her first recital.  She played left-handed “Jingle Bells” on one piano, while another beginning student played two-handed “Jingle Bells” on another piano.  Wow!  I would never have known they were both beginning students.  Emily continues to ride horses for a good part of the year – won the cowgirl award this fall for falling off and getting up to ride again!  She took ballet, tap, and jazz through Community Ed most of the year also.  This fall she traded her dance and gymnastics classes for ice skating lessons and absolutely loved it!  We rented skates for the season, so we’ll need to make sure to get to the ice rink this winter for sure.  Emily also got to try a couple of TaeKwanDo lessons, so maybe she’ll start up lessons with Jordan in January.  She also sings with the Children’s Choir at church when she has time.  Homework keeps her pretty busy after school, especially when Mom isn’t there to help at the end of the day anymore.  Julie, daycare from 0-6, is now providing after-school care, and she and/or toddlers have been listening to Emily read.

Our independent sophomore, Cierra, is age 15 and involved in Pulse, FFA, German, horses, driver’s training…; wait, I said “Independent!”  I’ll let her tell it.

Cierra Christmas letter page 2010[1]

Say, John, Cherie, & Cierra are all on Facebook.  Look us up!

Cierra                               Emily                                    Jordan

John                                  Cherie

Good fit job has arrived!

Well, I don’t have to turn my heart in a new direction! (See last blog)  I have found a district/school that really appreciates what I have to offer and is excited to have me as their new ELL teacher!

Everything that I have done in the last year has led up to now, preparing me for this to be a “good fit” job for me.  I say this without having actually started the job, but I’m seeing the arrows pointing in the right direction..  Even my most recent efforts in contacting administrators for their insights as to what they were looking for and what it would take for me to get an interview….  though their answers seemed vague at the time.  One of my most recent contacts told me that a strong resume isn’t always enough.  Administrators are looking for someone who will be a “good fit” for the district and for the school, someone who will fit in with the staff and the situation in their building and be the best choice for several years.  It is a long-term commitment!

Those words clicked with me!  After all this time of applying for jobs while completing my reading license where I learned about “good fit” books for kids, now I was hearing about “good fit” jobs!

Now it may be obvious that work on the reading license could help prepare me for this job.  I felt like I was able to update my ELL knowledge and skills and learn new literacy teaching.  And I was also given the opportunity to share professional knowledge with teaching colleagues in my cohort which will prepare me to do the same with my new colleagues at Halverson Elementary.  But I believe that Facebook has also prepared me for my new “good fit” job!

Yes, social networking through Facebook has expanded my circle of friends by giving me a a way of communicating with people that I never would have otherwise.  Former colleagues and others that I would have lost contact with are now reading my posts and I theirs.  I am sharing both professionally and personally with a variety of people, especially while maintaining contacts that could help me get a job!!  But also, just making new friends and discovering who I have what in common with.  I have had the opportunity to be more of an extrovert than I normally appear to be.  I widened my circle of friends to the point where I had a team cheering for me when I announced my new job.

I grew professionally through classes, practicums and subbing experiences to the point where I became the “right fit” for my new job.

So I will trust that all the pieces are going to fall into place as far as how my hours will fit in with my family, because I am trusting that God brought me to this place for a reason, and family life will not take second place.

Job interview like going on The Bachelor

Okay, here’s the dilemma.  If I believe in the law of attraction, then my entire heart, mind, and soul has to be focused on my upcoming job interview and that being the perfect job for me, picturing myself with that job, immersing myself in the fact that I already have that job before I get there.  For any job interview I’ve had before this, can I say that some part of me was not in synch with actually owning that job?  Possibly.  There likely were parts of the job that made me hesitate, even if I put my whole self into the interview.  Isn’t that true for for every job and every person?  So, how do you put your whole self- heart, mind, and soul into owning the job that you’re interviewing for, knowing that you could be (It has happened!) disappointed in the end and turning your heart, mind, and soul in another direction by next week.  Sounds fickle to me!  I could be owning this job in my mind during the interview and owning another job, again in my mind, next week during another interview.  Isn’t that like playing on The Bachelor?  Play out the scene with my whole heart with more than one person (the Bachelor) or hiring team and give my heart to the one who tells me that they want me.  They ask, “Why do you want this job?”  Honestly, I may want to work for you because you want me to work for you!  I love you, because you love me!  Is that all bad?!

By the way, I do have an interview – tomorrow.  Yes, I have more reasons to want this job than hoping that they love me.  I do own this job!  It’s mine already!  I asked God the other day if it wasn’t about time now, and the phone call came the next day.  It’s mine and I’m ready!

I’ll tell you in a week or so if I’ve been forced to turn my heart in a new direction again and give my love to someone else.

Still trusting

You’re listening to too many people, and some of them are thinking very negatively.  Are those people trusting God, or are they just afraid that life is out of our control?  When we trust God, we know that life is out of our control but that God is in charge.  So we move ahead taking positive steps toward our goal (like getting a job) and leave the rest to God.  I am applying for both full-time and part-time jobs if the part-time job is close enough so it’s worth the gas money to get there.  I am applying for everything I can, talking to people who could help me get a job, etc. and waiting to find out where I’ll end up.  I like to think of it as an adventure!  It can be hard, very hard!  Many, many times I have to wonder why I’m not getting interviews that I thought I would and not knowing when and if I’ll have a teaching job for sure, but then I remind myself that I’m still on this journey.  It can be scary not to know what’s ahead, but that’s part of the adventure!  Negative people will focus on the state of the economy that we have no control over.  I can’t control the economy, but it’s not controlling me either.  God has the big picture!  I can’t see around the corners, so I’m relying on Him to use my efforts to bring me to the next plan in my life.

I recently wrote the following to a family member who needs to chill out and is afraid to do so.  After writing it I thought, this is exactly what I’ve been saying in my blog that I started and didn’t stick with very well.  It’s been May since I last wrote?  Since I was in the middle of my last grad class for the academic year.

My original purpose was to document the journey, however long or short it may be from when I started writing in the spring.  The actual journey has now taken more than a year.  I now have several possibilities for jobs for fall.  I had several possibilities a month or two ago also, and nothing came of any of them (much to my great surprise!)  Wow!  Am I learning a lot!  I never dreamed that it would be this difficult – somewhat difficult, yes, but not this!  I never thought that I would not even be called for interviews for jobs that I am highly qualified for!  And administrators are now on vacation, without letting me know when they’ll be there, what they thought of my resume, and how anxious they are to set up an interview time with me and welcome me to their district!!!

No, no, still trusting, still trusting…..

Okay, my original commitment must stand.  I need to stick with the blog until my goal of getting a job is accomplished.  Meanwhile I may start a new goal here also that I will run simultaneously.  One that allows people and pets to live harmoniously in our house together – or not!

It’s about the journey

I hear nothing from a district I’d really like to work for and thought I had a good chance in, but another job opens up that excites me a lot!  I’ve spent two years trusting God for the job I will end up with and enjoying the adventure of seeing what will come.  At the same time, my mind can start feeding me ideas about the unknown – the unheard conversations and decisions happening between administrators regarding the job that I thought could be mine.  Is it too soon to start speculating about what potential employers are thinking as they sift through applications and compare my resume to others?  I have much education and experience with a variety of students.  Is it too much?

I have grown in this experience through my need to put myself forward, push and expand my knowledge as an educator, and become my own best advocate.  The fears and inklings of doubt come when someone close to me questions the decision I made to leave my job of over 20 years in the first place.  I could have stayed safe in the comfort of my tenured (only one in the district) position.  I chose to take a career risk by moving from a part-time secure position to a full-time job where I needed a second contract in order to achieve tenure in the new district.  Due to circumstances I could not have foreseen, (the takeover of a public school program by a state-run academy, thereby displacing teachers with bumping rights), my position quickly became tenuous, and I have been on that road of trust ever since.

I believe that God brought me here for a reason; and if, for some reason, none of the currently available jobs is part of the “big picture” for me, I trust that God will continue to oversee the plan while I do my part by throwing myself into every potential situation just to try it out and see where it leads.  It may be that the journey is at least equally important as the destination!

Hire me – I have what you need!

More jobs to apply for.  They keep cropping up, and that’s good, but the point is to actually get an interview and then have that one shot to let the principal and other team members know that I am the one they need, and they’ll be missing something if they don’t hire me!

I have applications out in elementary and ESL and just found another ESL posting and one for a reading teacher.  With licensure in all of those areas, plus Deaf/Hard of Hearing, I should be very hireable.  And longevity!  If they want someone who’s going to stay until retirement, that’s the plan!  I plan to love my job and put everything I have into it.  And what I have is a lot!  I have a cohort full of candidates for licensure as reading specialists who will attest to my knowledge and devotion to children’s literacy, and soon I’ll have the license to prove it too!  Why would principals not be banging on my door, begging me to come and teach their students and advise them and their teachers on best practices in teaching struggling readers?!

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