Tag Archives: organization

Planning by Pencil

I am 53 years old and I am just learning to use a pencil in my planner.

“Determined.”  Tredessa used that word to describe me not long ago.  This morning this graphic caught my eye on a quick scan through a social media site.

That’s right, was my first thought.  My second thought was, But another really important factor is…other people, *sigh.  Determined or not, you can’t control everything.

I know I made my old boss {Jeff} crazy a few years ago when we went over and over and over the Franklin-Covey seminar and I

1/ …didn’t want to use a pencil in my planner EVER because if it is important enough to write down at all, you should be 100% committed to making sure it gets done. So use ink!  Lots of ink.


2/ …I could not, would not priorotize with the A-B-C method because I felt if something was vital enough to be on my to-do list in the first place, then it was, in fact, VITAL and should all be a priority.

Which led to disaster.

Now I know that was pretty stupid and I was needlessly causing myself to be hyper-overextended in every area of life, making my personal relationships suffer and becoming a no-fun, full-blown workaholic in the process.  That I have any friends or family left is rather miraculous.  I may have mentioned this before, here or there.

Yet, still, to some degree, I cling to ink.  Each year, starting to write in my planner causes trepidation for I always start with the liquid of permanence – the things that are just-so and not changeable, really, like Christmas. Or my birthday.  They fall on exactly the same date each year and, as if I would forget them, I go ahead and note the little boxes with great flair.  Because it is just so nice to have something in place that I can count on.

But in regards to the rest of life?  I have found the No. 2 to be a pretty valuable device.  Especially when it comes with a handy-dandy eraser.

Because you can be a determined woman.  You can make your purposeful plans with unflinching, single-minded settledness.  You can strategize the course and decide the method of operation and mean business while you tenaciously buckle down and do the work to get where you are going. You can write the date in ink of any color and circle it and make 27 exclamation points, but if the other person cancels on you – your planner is just going to be a big mess.

We can’t control everything.  Pencilling people in is probably the safest.

NOTE TO SELF: Use pencil more often.  Get let down way less.  Keep the planner pretty. :)

Proverbs 16.9  A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.


Amass Appeal

“Even in the most simple and random acts of accumulation, we are defining ourselves…”  -Alexandra Stoddard

Storage, displaying collections – how on earth did everything become a collection?

My Grandma Baker gave me the book, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch when I was 8.  When we moved a couple of years later, it got tossed and I missed it so.  In the early years of our marriage I found a copy of the same vintage and bought it for a quarter.  I was thrilled, ecstatic!  Then I found another.  I now have at least 7 or 8 copies of Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.  Thank goodness I have a strong commitment to NOT having collections!

But stuff.  Wow, life is made of stuff.  Too much of it, I am certain.  And how, oh,  how do we manage to find a place for all of it?  Here are a few of my ways:

I have one drawer full of my kids’ artwork from elementary school days left (I’ve given them the rest).  I spray-painted a bunch of large cast-off frames black.  I had Hobby Lobby cut some neutral mats.   In theory, I can switch out the art out and have an ever-changing remembrance of my babies growing up.  I only changed 3 last time, but in theory…

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I took the hymnal rack off the old pew in our dining area and hung it on the stair wall bewteen the family room and the sanctuary/living room.  I love old hymnals!  Some one made the crosses for us.  Just tucked them in because they don’t hang or stand.

The four intaglios (an Italian word pronounced in-TAL-yo) need some restoration, as they are in their original frames from the 30s and 40s, but I like the authenticity.  The printmaking process usually involves engraving the art on a hard metal plate, which is then inked and used to make multiple prints.  One of these, at least, is a numbered, limited edition and all are signed by the artists.

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My FAVORITE artwork by the grandbabies below.  These were done by Gavin, Hunter and Guini 2 and 1/2 years ago, when Gav was 3,  Hunter was not even two and Guini was almost 1 .  It is time to let Gemma and Averi have a go at a canvas!

Dave loves watches and actually has a pretty cool collection.  Here are a few we still use around a lampbase on his desk.  Have the time?… (in the background are the heavy brass ends to actual fire hoses – we await the creative idea for how to make them useful, we wait)

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When a lovely Catholic woman visiting my home told me she was so blessed my icons she nearly wept, I didn’t even know what she was talking about.  But I do love my religious art (reproductions of ancient works).  I have several other prints yet to hang.

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While living in Nebraska, I enjoyed mixing and matching china found in second-hand shops in small farm towns which I displayed in custom cabinetry.  It is currently just stacked in the kitchen cupboards, but I still enjoy a cup of tea at times, in a pretty , 14K-gold-embellished, China cup. 

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“I am against minimalism; I like stuff!  And I believe in mixing anything and everything.  The idea is to please one’s own sense  of aesthetics and comfort.”  ~Bill Goldsmith

Fresh ideas for organizing stuff, anyone?…Jeanie

My HOME theme verse:By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasure.”  Proverbs 24.3, 4 NIV


All this pondering and adventuring into the world of creating home started with this post.

Really? 19 Minutes?

I read this online article.  Color me wary.


Clean Your House In 19 Minutes

By Real Simple  With a plan of attack, you can maintain a sparkling house in just 19 minutes a day

Kitchen, 4 1/2 minutes daily
Always start with the sink. A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen’s benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stove top spick-and-span, too.

  • Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
  • Wipe down the stove top (one minute).
  • Wipe down the counters (one minute).
  • Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (two minutes).

Bathroom, 2 minutes daily
Make cleaning the basin as routine as washing your hands. But don’t stop there. Get the most out of your pre-moistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.

  • Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
  • Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
  • Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
  • Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
  • Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Bedroom, 6 1/2 minutes daily
Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A neat bed will inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. Although smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seem like a high priority as you’re rushing to work, the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the unruffled covers.

  • Make the bed (two minutes).
  • Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry (four minutes).
  • Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).

Family Room, Living Room, Foyer, 6 minutes daily
Start with the sofa — as long as it’s in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you’ve fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you’re halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

  • Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (one minute).
  • Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (two minutes).
  • Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (one minute).
  • Straighten coffee-table books and magazines. Throw out newspapers. Put away CDs and videos. (Two minutes.)

So, hmmmm…Here is what I’m thinking:

I notice they say this is the way to MAINTAIN a “sparkling house.”  This does seem to imply it should be sparkling to begin with.  Mine has somewhat of a sheen, but I don’t know that I could say it is actually sparkling.  Troubling.

Kitchens: Ok, so-my theory on the clean sink is that “A freshly scoured and polished sink will go looking for dirty dishes.”  And while I love seeing my reflection in the sink, I can’t say it actually “inspires” me to load the dishwasher – especially when I often have to unload it first.  Has the verb “swiffering” or “to swiffer” made the dictionery yet?

Bathrooms: If I spend 15 seconds “wiping” the mirror, I will then need 10 minutes to get the streaks off that I just caused.  I have one of those Scrubbing Bubble misters in the shower that are supposedly the equivalent of 30 maids filling your shower stall.  It is handy, but I’d fire those maids if they didn’t a better job than it does! 

Bedroom:  Boy-oh-boy, I can save some major minutes here.  Not enough jewelry to take that long AND I can cut off some time with the bed-making.  Two minutes to make a bed?  Novices!  I’ll make that bed in 41.2 seconds!

Common Family Spaces:  Well, these areas would not be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that I have such a big, honking family!  I don’t have any CDs with 2 minute songs (6 minutes total, by the “end of three songs”???=2 minute songs…I don’t think so).  Plus, I no longer put DVDs away.  Dave and Stormie and the Netflix people know why.

Well, so anyway, I think I’ll spend the next 6 and a half weeks creating some sparkle so I can maintain it in only 19 minutes a day…but wait-what if I take a Sabbath?  The whole plan is already shot.

Maintaining, just barely…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Read their follow-up article “How to speed-clean your kitchen” because 4 1/2 minutes is just too much of a time investment.

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