A family of seven, as you can imagine, generates a lot of stuff over the course of their lifetime.  It's surprising how much really.  Towels, seem to somehow multiply. Books too.  (Not that I mind.  I love reading and have raised a family of readers. Knick knacks also multiply as the years go by.  Five kids in school means home made ashtrays, clay pictures and Mother's Day gifts add up quickly.  Add to that toys, papers, clothes, sports equipment and all those little things that kids need and you have a house full of clutter.

Clutter irritates me.  I like to sit on my couch in the evenings after the kids are in bed and get some work done. But if the living room is cluttered, as it often is, especially when the kids are out of school for the summer, I cannot get any work done until the clutter is cleared up. That is the way my mind works.  Clutter in my physical world ALSO affects the world in my head.  Physical clutter = Mental clutter. I've noticed in the last year, I haven't been able to focus and get my work done.  I feel like I haven't been as productive.  Clutter is a distraction.  Until I can clear my house of clutter, I can't clear my mind of clutter.

Eight years ago when we moved cross country from Michigan to Colorado, we decided to leave a lot behind which was great once we got to Colorado and settled in because it meant less stuff, less clutter and more space.  Unfortunately more space means more space to fill and fill it we did. In the eight years we have been here, our house (and basement) has quickly filled up with stuff. Kids still seem to manage to accumulate more clutter. But as my kids are getting older and leaving the next (one is gone, another one is close to leaving) it's time to minimize and declutter.

I'll be having a yard sale in the coming weeks to get rid of some of our supplemental schooling stuff, old electronics, and lots of books and clothers. Anything not sold by the end of the day will be donated to the Salvation Army.  That will take care of some of the clutter.  For the rest, I'm getting a little help.

I decided to take Joshua Becker's course, Uncluttered at becomingminimalist.com. The course is normally a paid course, but Josh offered a deal.  If you buy his book, The More of Less, you get the course for free.

I am SO looking forward to starting.  During the course, I will be decluttering my houe and reporting back here on my blog.

A few years ago, one of my daughters (the tween, Mags) seemed to be struggling with self esteem issues.    She would make a mistake doing something and would call herself "stupid" or "dumb".  It was really bothersome to me because we always tried to emphasize the positive in our kids and never called her names like that.  So every time she would say something like that, I would try to explain to her that her self talk eventually became her true opinions of herself.  That she needed to change her narrative about herself, in order to become more confident. I would quote Mike Dooley over at TUT and say "Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones."  I love his newsletter!

Over time she has gotten much more confident, not necessarily because of the things I said (because what tween really cares what their parents thing or say to them, right?) One AMAZING person came into her life for a year.  He had a huge impact on her self esteem and confidence level.

That person turned out to be her 5th grade teacher.   My daughter and I decided we loved him the instant we met him at the back to school night at her school.  He invited us right in and showed us around.  We stopped at his extensively library and talked quite a while about books, which is what really drew us to him.  He talked about his teaching philosophy.  He really encouraged kids to make mistakes and be proud of the person they were. He was an amazing teacher, for sure.  He was one of those rare teachers that actually taught the student, not the curriculum. I mean, YES, he taught what he was supposed to in the curriculum, but he taught it in a way that worked for each student.  And he was so very encouraging to all of the kids.  He not only talked to them about school and work, but he taught them about being kind to others, not being afraid to be who you are, not trying to fit in all the time...all the good stuff that kids need to hear from someone that isn't their parent.  What really sealed the deal was the random emails he would send to us parents about our kids.  One Friday, she took a math test that she told him and I that she was sure she had failed.  On Saturday morning, he sent the email below.  (it was spaced out quite a bit so she couldn't see what was at the bottom.)

Click to see larger image.
Click to see larger image.

This is why we loved that teacher!  He was always doing stuff like this.  She felt encouraged and fearless the entire year.  And I really watched her confidence soar that year and ever since.  It's amazing what one great teacher can do!

Have your kids ever had a teacher that really helped mold them?  I'd like to hear about it in the comments!


deanna 61614Just a quick post to welcome you to DeeGibbons.com.  I plan on blogging about various things that interest me in the hopes that a specific topic will evolve into the main focus of the site.

A little about me.  First off, I'm a mother of 5 children ages 22 down to 7.  I'm 41 and feel very young at heart, but don't most of us?  That's a key part of who I am and so you will see lots of posts about parenting.  I work full time as a graphic designer/office manager, mostly because it's a small office and we all have to be jack of all trades kinda people. I also do some part time freelance graphic design work for locals in the Denver area. I would prefer to be working full time as a graphic designer but its just not in the cards right now. You'll see a lot of posts about graphic design and projects that I am working on. I am starting back to school here in about 2 months for my Bachelor's in Business Administration.  I guess I shouldn't say going BACK to school, because I never went to college after High School.  Which brings me to the next topic you will hear much about.  I am ALL about continuous learning and growth. I'm one of those "book people" so when I want to learn about something new it's off to the library or bookstore (or my new favorite place Amazon!). So you may be seeing posts about what I'm learning or things I've found fascinating.  This also kind of ties in to my life philosphies/religious beliefs.

So there you have it.  That's what you can look forward to as this blog evolves.

Oh and just so you have a visual, I've added a family photo though it is a few years old.  (Okay 5 or 6 years.  I'm a busy person, so sue me!)  And below, so you can see a more recent photo of me.