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Christy Catherine Marshall

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January 19, 2007

The last two weeks have been very tough around here. My kids have had a stomach virus, and they’ve all missed at least three days of school. Today, I have a date with a bottle of bleach, if that gives you any kind of idea what it’s been like for me. FlyLady Friday, here I come.

In the midst of all the madness, I’ve made excuses about my dieting. I’m tired and stressed, so who cares if I eat these cookies/brownies/tortilla chips? I convinced myself that moms of preschoolers can’t diet because life is just too hard dealing with all the NOISE and messes from kids everywhere.

Then I got an email yesterday from one of my special, love-her-to-pieces college friends. I don’t hear from her all that often — we’re both busy raising families. The email subject: “You inspired me.”

When I opened it, she said she was browsing my blog and was intrigued by my post on the South Beach Diet.

She wrote:

You did such a good job describing it and how to make it easy with a family, that I immediately went to the library and got the book and an extra cookbook. [My husband] and I are trying the strict Phase 1 first to de-tox our bodies from all the sugar and carbs we crave so. Thanks for the encouragement.

OK. That was totally what I needed to hear. I mentioned how this diet was so much easier with an accountability partner. So now I don’t have just one — I have two. heh. No more excuses!

I went to the grocery store this morning and bought the low-fat cheese, salad, and tuna I need to keep me away from the carbs. While I was at it, being so bold in my shopping, I bought three new, matching sippy cups for my 21-month-old daughter. That’s all she needs. I came home and threw away all of her hand-me-down baby bottles. (deep breath here). I weaned her from nursing a year ago, and she uses a cup fine, but I was just being sentimental, seeing how sweet she looks carrying her little bottles around.

Well, we’re moving on.

That email was the boot spur I needed to get me back in the groove. I’m not going to give in to carbs and sugar and be sloppy and lazy into my 40s (which are not far away at all). YEA! I’m motivated again.

Thank you, sweet friend, if you check into my blog. This verse came to mind:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

June 2, 2006

From time to time, I feel a flicker of doubt, and I wonder if I’m wasting my time writing. Then someone will send me a note of encouragement and remind me that this is a ministry God has called me to do for this season of my life. While my children are young, I’m thankful to be able to write while they play or read beside me.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to receive this very kind note from one of you. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to send this to me!

Dear Heather,

So many times, things we write or share….well, they go into the webspace void and we really don’t know who we have connected with.

I wanted to let you know how God used you. This past week has just been the pits in so many ways, and as I struggled to get out of the muck I was in, it just didn’t seem to get any better. In an effort to shift the way things were going, I just cancelled everything and took some time out for me.

And then I went to look for other Christian women bloggers for encouragement. That is when I found your site. I LOVE IT!!! And the first thing to pop up was about the Weekend with Fly Lady…….”Life In Balance”….. Not only was this exactly what I needed, but it is at a church that I had prayed about checking into to become our home church…..

Thank you for your obedience in sharing this info…..and thank you for the great site!!!

This note meant so much to me — because I felt like I’d really connected with a reader. And not only me — I’d connected her to this conference. So I wrote her back and asked if she went to the conference. Well, she told me that not only did she have a fantastic time at the conference, she fell in love with the church and knew this is where she wanted to be! So, she and her family joined this church, as an answer to many months of prayer.

Thank you, Lord, for this encouraging note. I know that you prompted her to write me to show how you’re working not only in my life, but in the lives of those who you deliberately lead here. How awesome you are, and how humbled I am to be a messenger of your mighty work!

May 26, 2006

When I went to the Life in Balance conference a few weeks ago where I heard FlyLady speak, I bought a few things from her table. She didn’t bring her products with her — you ordered them and they were sent out free of shipping charges.

I told you about the ostrich feather duster that I ordered — well, that was quite the exciting tool around my house for a while. My 3-year-old was so cute helping me dust … he dusted everything. And that duster really works! The thing is — he liked it so much he carried it off somewhere, and now I can’t find it. Oh well. So much for the duster. I’m sure it will eventually show up, probably out in the sandbox.

But I’ve been very protective of my new FlyLady timer. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve already got a stainless steel timer I bought for a few dollars at Target that I keep next to my kitchen sink. I wasn’t really sure I needed another timer, but I decided I’d buy one at the conference to support FlyLady, and I thought it would be nice to have another timer next to my COMPUTER. Yes! (Don’t you need one there too?)

Well, this one is totally different than what I expected. It has a clip so you can attach it to your waist. It’s not wimpy, like those cheap pedometers I kept losing (I’m admitting that here — I somehow lost two of those things before I gave up.) This timer STAYS attached. It also has a little stand on the back, so you can sit it on a desk or windowsill.

Here’s what I do with it. I clip it to myself, then I go do something I don’t want to do for 15 minutes. It’s a digital timer, and it beeps after the time is up. So, I force myself to go put away a load of laundry, and I play a game to see if I can get it all done before the timer goes off. I know that seems LAME — but it’s working for me!

My biggest struggle lately has been my realization that I’m addicted to sugar. I crave it. I feel incomplete if I don’t eat something sweet a few times a day. Of course, this is leading to all kinds of problems, mainly pounds around my hips.

So I’ve been attaching this timer to my waistband and making myself go walk 15 minutes twice a day, even when I don’t feel like it. My motivation for now is because — in some silly way — I feel like this will make FlyLady proud of me that I’m “obeying” my timer. What happens is after I walk I’m thirsty. So I go drink water. And that fills me up. And then I’m not as interested in sweets.

I have a long way to go. And I still see the most changes taking place at Curves. But I can’t always get there — and walking is something I can do anytime, anyplace — with my children and pets all around. So this is why I like this new FlyLady timer.

Care to join me?

P.S. I FOUND my beautiful ostrich feather duster this morning — under the couch!! Not in the sandbox! Now, I must set my timer and go dust for 15 minutes … if I can get it away from my 3-year-old who is now dusting the baby’s head as I type …

By: Heather Ivester in: FlyLady,Wellness | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

May 12, 2006

When I left off yesterday, I told you I was eating lunch with some new friends at the “Life in Balance” conference in Chattanooga. I had gone to hear the FlyLady speak, but I ended up having this fabulous conversation with these very Spirit-filled women. I wanted to know how in the world their church was so passionate about knowing God.

They shared with me that their pastor had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at the Glorieta conference center in New Mexico. He came back a changed man and set about renewing the vision for his church.

Well, I wanted to know more details. I love Glorieta! I went there last fall for a writer’s conference — here’s what it looks like.

“You should read his book,” one lady said to me. “He wrote his whole story in a book. It’s in the church bookstore. It’s called Awakened by the Spirit by our pastor, Ron Phillips.”

Oh, I wanted to read that book!

We talked for a while more, then I felt like I should get back to the sanctuary, so I’d be on time to finally hear the FlyLady speak. As I was about to leave, I decided to pass out a few of my cards — they have my website on there, and you just never know. I’ve been to enough of these conferences to realize that every person you talk to is probably a Divine appointment; it takes such effort and expense to go to a conference that each conversation may have a significant impact on your life.

Then one of the ladies asked if she could pray for me. Pray for ME! So we all held hands, all seven of us, and they prayed for me, that God would reveal His purpose for bringing me here. One lady had mentioned before that this verse was on her heart for the conference — Psalm 139:16: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

She said she believed God had “ordained” (called) each woman who came to this conference. Um … that would be … me.

WELL! Can you imagine being that nice to a stranger? I thanked them for their prayer, and then I headed back to the church building. On the way, I saw the bookstore, which drew me in like a magnet. I walked in and started looking around. Right away, I found Ron Phillips’ book, Awakened by the Spirit, published by Thomas Nelson.

I really wanted to read it! I picked it up and flipped through it, but I couldn’t justify buying a book when I’ve already got a dozen books I need to review. Then I saw that this pastor had written another book called Kiss of the Father, and it was published more recently. I thought it might make a good book for my CWO “Book Buzz” column next month, which will be featuring books written by and for fathers.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted them both. But I knew I probably should only buy one.

Then a lady I recognized from lunch walked over and said, “I’d like to buy one of these books for you. God prompted me to come in here, that you were going to want to read these books, and you could only buy one. Well, you’ve got to read them both. They’re all part of his story.”

I couldn’t let her do that! “Oh, that’s OK,” I told her.

“No, really,” she smiled. “I’d love to do this for you.”

I was about to cry. Why was she being so nice to me?

So she paid for one of the books, and I paid for the other. I immediately went out to the auditorium and started reading, devouring Awakened by the Spirit. It was the story of a burned-out pastor who was on an airplane to New Mexico to speak at a retreat. He had just finished typing out a resignation letter on his laptop; he was so burned out and ready to QUIT.

But at Glorieta, he heard a powerful speaker one night — and then he sensed God’s presence filling him as never before.

I had to stop reading, as the conference started back up. And this time there were awesome praise singers. No shouting. Just music that filled the room with beautiful praise.

Next, there were some prize giveaways, and a short mini-drama about a woman who discovered how the secret to balancing all the things we have to do in life is through prayer, through Christ.

Then Marla Cilley (FlyLady) spoke, and I heard her say the words I know God wanted me to hear. She said, “God has a purpose for each of your lives. My mission is to help each of you find time in your day to fulfill that calling. If I can help you save time by getting your household routines in order, you’ll be able to do those things you’re called to do.”

Can you believe that?

But I still had more to learn. I came home and read that whole book in nearly one night. It ties in so well with all that we’re learning in the Beth Moore study about the Holy Spirit. Here was the story of another pilgrim, another example of a changed life through the power of God.

Those ladies who prayed for me have no idea how much I needed to read that book! And of course they also had no idea that I have a means to share what I’m learning with people around the world! If you’re at all feeling burned out and wondering if the Holy Spirit even exists, I highly recommend Awakened by the Spirit.

The funny thing is, if it weren’t for you blog readers, I would never have gone to this conference! So, thanks!!

May 11, 2006

Here it is: the picture you’ve all been waiting for. See? I met her!

This is me, with Marla Cilley, a.k.a. The FlyLady. I really got all nervous and tongue-tied when I actually met her — it’s hard to tell someone in person, “Um … I’m one of your 300,000+ readers who devours your emails every day, and you give me hope in the midst of my chaotic life. Thanks!” It’s much easier for me to write that! (So I gave her a pretty note instead — and a copy of my little book for mothers and daughters!)

Well, let me tell you a few details about this conference.

You know, on a whim, while I was writing my blog post a couple of weeks ago, I thought Maybe I’ll go to that conference and try to meet the FlyLady and hear her speak!

So I talked to my husband about it, and it turns out he has some old college friends in Chattanooga that he wanted to visit — and he decided he could take our older kids to Rock City while I went to the conference. Perfect, right?

Well, we got there late. It was a 3-hour drive, and our MapQuest directions had us take a wrong turn finding the church. But I finally got there! And I saw a table with name tags, and my name was on one of them! They even gave me a cute “Life in Balance” tote bag full of all kinds of goodies, including nail polish. Fun!

But when I walked into the huge sanctuary, I found out that I’d already missed FlyLady’s first talk. Instead, there was a singer on stage who was leading some kind of pep ralley, it seemed. She was shouting out things, and people were repeating after her. It was loud in there, and this is just not the type of worship style I’m used to. So I left and went out to the lobby to explore around.

I talked to some other ladies who said they had a headache from all that shouting, and one lady said it was messing with her medication. It WASN’T just me! I felt so foolish — why have I come all this way, Lord? I don’t know anyone, and I don’t fit in here.

I piddled around and found the FlyLady’s table of products. I bought one of her ostrich feather dusters — which I’ve heard so much about! After a while, I went on to the cafeteria, where they had cute little boxed lunches for us. I talked to a nice woman who said their “Faith Building” used to be a bowling alley, but the church bought it and converted it to be used for classrooms and fellowship for youth.

When I walked into the cafeteria, I was the ONLY one in there. The room was empty, silent, with white tables and folding chairs. Once again, I had my doubts about coming to this conference. I picked a seat and sat down. I thought about reading some of the magazines in my new tote bag, but then I didn’t want to look unsociable.

So I sat there alone, staring at the wall, eating my sandwich. Pathetic.

Finally, a few ladies started entering the room, group after group. Everyone seemed to already know each other. A few women came toward my table and asked if my seats were saved. I told them no, to please feel welcome.

Let. Me. Tell. You. There was something going on. These women were talking a mile a minute to each other, telling stories about “He told me this” and “He told me that.” At first I thought they were talking about their husbands. But it seemed to be the same person because someone else would say, “I know it! Isn’t He awesome?!”

I finally figured out they were talking about GOD! Like He talked to them personally! Like He was their best friend, and they knew Him so well that He was a major part of every decision they made. You’ve heard the term “salty” before. These women were “salty!” I wanted to know why they were as excited about knowing God as most women are about a half-price shoe sale.

I started asking questions. I found out they were all from this church where the conference was being held. One lady next to me said she’d been a member of this church for 35 years. I wanted to ask her, “So what’s the real story? Why is there a huge sanctuary and a converted bowling alley next to a small brick Baptist church? And why are you people so excited about your relationship with God?” I knew something major must have happened. A magazine editor I write for is always reminding me, “Heather, you need to dig and find the real story.”

Finally, I asked, “Have you seen a few changes in this church over the past 35 years?”

Everyone at the table burst out laughing. “We used to be so different!” the lady next to me said. “We were a very quiet church. You couldn’t even say ‘amen’ during a sermon without being frowned at.”

“So, what happened?” I was about to burst.

“It was our pastor. He had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. At the Glorieta conference center.”

What! I went to Glorieta last fall. Now they really had my interest.

I want to tell you his story, but I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. And I’ll share with you the REAL reason why I know without a doubt God wanted me to be at that “Life in Balance” conference!

P.S. If you’ve never read anything written by Marla Cilley, here’s a great editorial she wrote for The Augusta Free Press, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun. Read it, and you’ll see why so many women around the world LOVE the FlyLady!! She is meeting women’s needs and helping us attain peace in our homes. Who knew?

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,FlyLady | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

May 7, 2006

I don’t have time to post today, but I couldn’t stand not letting you know that we drove to Chattanooga yesterday, and I got to meet the FlyLady! I heard her speak three different times, and I know so much more about her now.

And I can tell you this: Marla Cilley, a.k.a. FlyLady, is a very strong Christian. She is one of the most humble women I’ve ever heard speak. I’m in awe, sheer awe, that I somehow found out about her!

I’m posting about the Mother’s Love contest tomorrow, but hopefully on Tuesday I’ll have time to sit down and write about the “Life in Balance” conference and post the picture of me and FlyLady (which I know you can’t wait to see — haha).

If you’d like to hear her for yourself, you can buy a CD set of the whole conference here. One surprise for me was that her friends, Peggy of the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHEs) spoke, as well as Leanne Ely of Saving Dinner. They were also wonderfully encouraging!

Besides hearing FlyLady, something absolutely amazing happened — a Divine appointment I had at lunch — that makes me know without a doubt God wanted me there. I’ll tell you later after I have time to pray about it and see what God wants me to tell you. I know someday I’ll have a testimony to share, and that experience will always be part of it.

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,FlyLady | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

April 28, 2006

If you live anywhere near Chattanooga, Tennessee, you’re in for a real treat. Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, will be speaking at her first Christian Women’s Conference called “Life in the Balance.” This women’s event will be held May 5-6 at the Abba’s House Worship Center of Central Baptist Church.

Here’s what the press release says:

This dynamic conference is designed to encourage all women as they attempt to manage the daily responsibilities of life at the same time they seek to pursue the heart of God with all their might. It is designed to help women as they seek to open their souls to God’s best even as their homes, careers, and relationships all cry out for undivided attention,” said representatives.

This church is going to be rockin’ the first weekend of May! I wish I could go meet her! Now, FlyLady is very gentle in the way she shares her faith, but I’ve always believed she might be a Christian from a few things she’s said. Though only God knows each person’s heart, if FlyLady will be speaking at a Baptist church in Tennessee, whew Baby! She’s speaking my language!

Here’s more about FlyLady’s role in the conference:

Holding three sessions on Saturday is nationally known author and mentor, Marla Cilley, or “FlyLady.” Ms. Cilley has a powerful testimony of God’s grace, and has helped millions across the world with her practical advice, challenge, and insights regarding home management. Besides writing and providing support for her email list of over 300,000 devoted subscribers and her web site, her wisdom and common sense approach to running a household has been featured in the Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, Parade, Time, USA Today, and countless other national publications.”

Even if you can’t attend, if you’re a Christian woman who has been impacted by FlyLady’s teachings, let’s pray for her. She has a HUGE platform — how many Christian publishers do you think would be interested in a writer and speaker who has 300,000 readers per day? I for one would love to read a book written by Marla Cilley published by a Christian publishing house. She has an awesome gift of encouragement, and I would LOVE to hear her testimony.

Wait a minute — this conference is only $30! And it includes a box lunch and childcare for children six weeks to age five. WHAT! I feel like I want to go just so I can tell you all about it! You can register online here. This event is NEXT weekend!!

To my LBY friends: I’ve decided to count this as my post for the week on the topic of peace. Since I’ve just discovered this, I feel like I can’t think about anything else. The WEIRD thing is — yesterday I was thinking I’d love to interview Marla Cilley for a story for a Christian magazine. But I thought, “How would I ever be able to talk to her?” Then I checked my email a few minutes ago and found out about this conference.

For me to arrange childcare and drive to Chattanooga on a whim would be living WAY BEYOND MYSELF. What should I do?

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice
By: Heather Ivester in: FlyLady | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

A few minutes ago, I was standing at my kitchen sink washing the breakfast dishes, and I read through FlyLady’s Eleven Commandments list, which is taped to my window. (Yeah … that’s where I knew I’d actually read it.)

I gave #9 a good bit of thought:
“Work as fast as you can to get the job done. This will give you more time to play later.”

I’ve got two distasteful chores that I must do today — and this 9th principle is going to help me get through them. The first thing I have to do that I don’t want to do is mop my whole first floor. This involves clearing everything off the floor, sweeping out all the cracks and crevices, filling up my bucket with water and cleaner, and MOPPING. Yuk. Boring. But I gotta do it.

The second thing I must do is clean out my car. Over the past week, we’ve been to the pool twice — ALREADY!! That, plus all the hauling here and there has built up a mountain of trash. I’ve got to get a trash bag in there and fling my way to clean.

So, how can I make this kinda fun? Well, of course it won’t be really fun. But I can trick my mind into thinking it’s sort of pleasant by using the following five tips:

1) Follow the 9th commandment and work as fast as I can to get it done.

2) Bring my timer into the car with me, set it for 15 minutes, and work fast. Clean out clutter, shake out car mats, and Mr. Clean the sticky spots. (If you don’t have a timer, maybe you could listen to music, and play a game where you try to get it all done before three songs are over.)

3) Remind myself that there are at least one billion other women out there in the world who are having to do the exact same things. Maybe not mopping and car decluttering, but at least having to do time-consuming housework chores.

4) Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He will enable me. He will give me the energy I need. (Hebrews 12:1-3).

5) Think about the FUN task ahead that I’ll reward myself with — if I get it all done!

My multi-tasking GRAND plans for Sunday afternoon if I get this work done:

1) Sit out in the sun wearing mild sunscreen and a straw hat. Purpose: to get some color on my legs to hide my absolutely hideous varicose veins. Yep — I’ve got ’em BAD. Medals of motherhood?

2) Read Karen Kingsbury’s new novel.

3) Drink something cold, filled with ice cubes, and maybe even a straw. (Pretend that someone brought it to me while I’m lounging on the beach, by the sea.)

4) Watch the kids play out of the corner of my eye.

5) Nap a little bit, when I get the little ones down for their naps.


OK, I’m off to the races. How about you?

Update: Do you know how difficult it is to mop floors with a very mobile and sociable 13-month old around — who is OUTGROWING her beloved morning nap? I eventually had to put her in her highchair so she could watch, but not be in the way. Then the car. Exhausting … but done. Now our house is clean and smells like oranges and lemons, and I’m needing a shower!

By: Heather Ivester in: FlyLady | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

April 21, 2006

Dear FlyLady,

I have some things to tell you, and I don’t think you’re going to be very pleased. I’ve been one of your faithful, well almost faithful, readers the last several months, and I’m still not FLYing yet. And I should be!

On December 2, 2005, I wrote this in my brand spanking new blog:

I’m going to start something new here in my blog. On Fridays, I’m going to give you an update on what I’ve learned during the week and call it “FlyLady Friday.” My plan is to do this for the next 21 weeks. That should take us from today until April 21. Experts say it takes 21 days to acquire a new habit — so I’m going to give FlyLady’s methods 21 weeks — and maybe you’ll join the party with me.

OK — so today marks 21 weeks since I’ve started reading your emails. I must say, you’ve encouraged me like nobody else. I’ve posted your Morning and Evening Routines up on my refrigerator, and I read them through twice a day. But I’ve never been able to do all of the steps.

I’ve also posted your Eleven Commandments on the window over my kitchen sink. I spend a lot of time there — so I read through them often. I’ve posted Hebrews 12:1-3 right alongside it because you’re part of my “cloud of witnesses” who are spurring me on to run this race God has called me to run. Here’s what these verses say (from the New International Version):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Right now, I’m growing weary and losing heart. You see, yesterday, I discovered that one of my children put three cans of Mountain Dew in the freezer TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN, and of course you can imagine what happened. Mountain Dew expands upon being frozen, and now I must add this to my to-do list:

— Clean Frozen drips of Mountain Dew from freezer

My foyer was a little bit clean until yesterday when the red fire engine got involved in a massive pile-up with several hundred wooden blocks, involving the word “EMERGENCY!” shouted loudly 600 times. This type of disaster cannot take place on carpet, according to my youngest son, because blocks are not nearly as much fun to play with on a soft surface. Therefore, my foyer is an emergency right now.

I’m having a little bit of trouble knowing what to do with my three older kids’ school papers — there are thousands of worksheets that I know must be thrown away — but if they see me doing this, it causes tears and gnashing of teeth. “You can’t throw that away! I have to keep that! We need that!”

And let’s not even talk about the monster in my basement that has been breathing fire lately. Every time I feel like I might be moving along and making progress, he makes some kind of awful roaring sound and drags me back down to defeat. His first name is ENTROPY, and his last name is BEAST, and he’s my arch enemy.

So, after 21 weeks of your awesome training, I’m still a failure. I’m not FLYing yet. But I know I can’t give up, so I’ll keep on going. Maybe I’ll check back in with you in a few more months. My dream is to one day send you a testimonial … maybe when my kids are off at college, and it’s just me drinking Mountain Dew alone in my spotless foyer, while the fire trucks and blocks are long packed away.

(Sniff, sniff.) I think I’ll try to enjoy these days, do the best I can, and get busy cleaning out that freezer.


FlyBaby H wannabe from Georgia

March 31, 2006

I haven’t blogged about FlyLady in a few weeks because to be honest my email inbox has been on overdrive, and I haven’t been reading the FlyLady digest email. Does anyone else have an issue with email? I’ve created a monstrosity of folders in Outlook Express, so I’m trying to at least file email that comes in. And deleting a lot. But I’m a packrat about email the same way I’m a packrat about everything else. What if I delete something I might need again someday?

I’ve actually created a folder titled “High school people” because emails are coming in every day from people I haven’t heard from in 19 years. I love these people! I sat next to them in homeroom, we learned the names of the planets together, hung out every weekend together for over a decade, and grew up laughing at the same sitcoms on TV. So it’s fun to get back in touch — BUT! I’m also starting to get a steady stream of Mom 2 Mom-related requests. I guess because I signed up to be in some blog directories, like this and this.

Yesterday, I got a very professionally written request from someone offering to write me a women’s health column. She’s written for dozens of top national magazines — so why is she contacting me? I don’t have money to pay anyone for a column. Although it would be a great idea. But right now, Mom 2 Mom is just my simple little blog written by me — when the mood strikes. The only way I’d ever turn it into a magazine is if I had paid advertising. But even then, the thought of receiving and editing submitted articles, finding good writers and columnists, and keeping a cash flow coming in so I could pay everyone seems like a huge stressful nightmare for someone like me.

So back to FlyLady. At the end of every email digest, I read these two sentences: “You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?” And then the FlyLady motto for this year: “Simple Routines Do the Trick in 2006!”

I need to stick to the very basics at this season of my life. It doesn’t take 20 minutes of having five kids home for spring break to let the Entropy Monster take over our home. I think in some homes dining rooms are used for dinner parties. In my home, my dining table is used for card tricks, origami, board games, coin sorting and admiring, stamp counting, art projects that involve popsicle sticks and hot glue guns, and LOTS of book-making that requires a steady flow of paper, crayons, and staples. Our kitchen is used for all food prep and consumption. The dining room is the only place my kids have a table to work somewhere together. It also happens to be the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Along with the foyer. The hardwood floors here make the perfect spot for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends to meet the Matchbox Car Friends and get into a pile-up together involving wooden blocks. Did I mention we don’t have a playroom? I know a friend who has a gorgeous basement playroom, and her rule is “No toys above ground level.” Her house is big and beautiful and always clean. She also said FlyLady changed her life. I wish FlyLady could come over and build me a basement playroom.

For now, I’m going to work on simplifying … today, we’re handing down the hand-me-downs. I told the girls about a family in our town whose house burned down, and the first grade little girl lost everything. A club I’m in is collecting clothes and toys for her. Suddenly, this very real sad situation has finally gotten them interested in passing along last year’s Christmas toys and outgrown clothes.

I think we should start the weekend a little bit lighter.

P.S. Here is why I’m afraid of Google Adsense! This is an actual ad I just read: “Christian Faith — Free to Join. 1000’s of pictures of Beautiful Christian Singles.” What if you came to my site and had to read THAT? I would quit blogging before I had that on my site!!!!!!!!!