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Take a deep breath and soak in your natural surroundings. Tifft Nature Preserve just after a spring rain brings a scent that just cannot be duplicated in a candle. The wind slowly bending through the rain soaked branches and bushes. Trails layered with wet leaves of years gone by. Ducks and thier babies, the far off honk of geese flying in, the croak of a frog and the song of several breeds of birds making a home in the trees.

It never fails… we follow our favorite trails not used by many. Sometimes we go early enough to walk trails still covered in snow. This year winter wasn’t so nice to our favorite trail. Downed trees build an obstacle course of overs and unders while the branches tear my hair from my ponytail. Spring rains have been abundant and have allowed the marsh to invade the trail creating ankle deep wading areas as well as mud so thick it threatens to steal my sneakers.

I Love these adventures my husband and I find ourselves on. It reminds us that we should still live the lives we have left no matter our current age or heath condition.

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Time Management

Hosea 10:12 “Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest but after Praising God and being thankful for all he provides.

Saturday my family gathered at church to witness my darling daughter confirm her relationship to God and our church. My husband, who has a very different relationship with God through nature, attended church for the occasion. He completely shocked me when he went to the communion rail for a blessing from the Bishop. The day took it’s toll spiritually and emotionally. We spent the rest of the day resting and enjoying family.

Sunday my girls and I attended our regular Sunday service that was followed by our Annual meeting. My newly confirmed daughter volunteered to be part of our church board and was unanimously voted in.

Life gets so busy we sometimes fly by the seat of our pants. No planning just running around trying to figure out how we will get everything done. Each day I fully plan to get everything done but sometimes …. We wake up really late on a Monday morning with nothing ready.
You run around sniffing all the clothes in the hamper hoping there is something salvageable to wear to work.
You walk downstairs praying that your husband set the coffee knowing he fell asleep during the movie you turned on at bedtime.
You rummage through the fridge for anything to take for lunch because you had no energy to go grocery shopping.
And…. after all that…. you miss the bus.

My morning was not that bad…. well I had clean clothes anyway but it was bad. I did plan out my first 3 days this week. My planner is not a thing of beauty, no stickers, no washi tape, I might color code my lists but basically it lists my appointments, due dates and amounts for my bills and my to do list.

I really would like to be that person who preplans meals, gets everything ready before the week starts but truthfully the weekend is sometimes more hectic than the work week.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I am that person and it makes me gloriously happy. I wonder sometimes how these busy people can be organized enough to get it all done then I suppose these are the people who probably have personal assistants. Just Kidding.

I will be working hard in the next two months to get organized and get to the point where manic Mondays are a thing of the past.

Finding Your Path

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your path straight.

Yes, it’s super goal Sunday.

I am working diligently on my goals and I have slipped a few times but I’m on track and moving forward.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rodgers

Last week I put in my planner to make some phone calls. I called and made about a dozen appointments for the kids and I for various doctors. I am learning to live by the planner. I schedule my writing time, my website development and my family dinners.

The system is not perfect and I allow for a little spontaneity. Yesterday, I scheduled a spa day. My step son decided to take my teens out for a movie so what better time to pamper myself. Instead my husband and I decided to go to our Botanical Gardens Orchid Show. We followed that with a trip to the nursery and Hobby Lobby to dress up our new kitchen window. We had a blast.

What is God speaking to you? What is on your heart? What are the goals you wish to be working toward? Break them off into bite sized pieces and schedule them in your planner. Use your talents to serve the Lord and your path will be shown to you.

Back to Basics

Weight loss Wednesday

For the third post in my series to work on my weight loss goals. For the last 12 weeks or so I have been doing weights and measurements. I keep track of them on a free printable I found online. I have also been drinking my water. I found a 2 quart container with a screw top that I can take to work with my thermal cup. This makes it easy to always stay hydrated at work. I also take healthy snacks and lunches to keep me on track. I keep protein bars, breakfast bars and snack size chocolates in my locker. The bars I use for breakfast on days that I am running late. The candy is my weakness; I allow myself 2 per day and truthfully I haven’t even had one in about 2 weeks. If I were to keep the candy at home either I would eat it all in one sitting or the kids would make it slowly disappear.

My goal for this quarter was to lose 15 pounds and I am halfway there. I am looking into a workout schedule but I will be easing into that due to health reasons and time constraints.

I am a little worried about the possibility of a plateau in my weight loss efforts but I think if I slowly add some workouts it should keep the results coming.

Until next week, let us know your wins this week or your struggles.

****I actually had this written to be posted Wednesday but didn’t get it posted so better late than never I guess.****

What is Motivation?

It’s Monday! For most people it’s the ass dragging back to work after an awesome weekend, beginning of the week. Today for a lot of people it is all of that but after a week of vacation because locally our kids were off for February break.

For me? It is get up to get the kids off to school, work my second job, get stuff done around the house day off. None of that, however, gets done without a nice big cup of coffee. Whether you make it at home, go to your favorite drive through or walk into your go to coffee shop, is that really our motivation?

Webster says that motivation is, ” the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Most people view motivation as a positive thing but it can also be negative such as “your motive for murder”. Negative motivation can spark both negative and positive actions.

I choose to be a positive person so whatever the motivation I try to find the positive action to overcome it. That doesn’t always happen because I am human which means I am not perfect.

I have goals to achieve, therefore, I must do the work needed to achieve them. I must break my goals into workable steps to improve my life. To achieve my goals. Moving forward in life is the motivation for achieving your goals. Taking those next steps in life should be your motivation to get out of bed each day.

What is your motivation?

Super Goal Sunday

Quarterly goal check-in

Sometime between Christmas and New Years I decided that I was going to list my quarterly goals and share them publicly for all to see to keep me accountable. One of my goals was to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle so at that time I began to look for jobs that would help me to that while building my business. I applied for a job on a Tuesday, got a call back the following day, interviewed on Thursday, scheduled a company physical on Monday and Orientation the next Thursday. This is how I stumbled into my first full time job in fifteen years. Yes! I said fifteen years. When my second child was born, I went back to work, leaving my children with someone I thought I could trust but soon realized the horrors of leaving my children with anyone but their parents or grandparents (all of whom had full time jobs), so I put in my two weeks notice and did the stay at home mom thing for a while. I held down numerous part time jobs between then and now but this standing on my feet for eight hours day five whole days in a row was something I was not used to, and I was still recovering from a pretty bad fall the year before. Long story short… my quarterly goals mostly stayed on the paper I wrote them on.

Here are the goals I wrote down about two months ago…

Personal-

  • Lose 15 pounds
  • Break the paycheck to paycheck cycle
  • Increase family time
  • Organize each room in my house

Writing-

  • Research merchandise options
  • Write 1000 words per day (cough cough hehehe ok yeah right)
  • Post one blog post per week (um nope)
  • Start a new platform

Business-

  • Start a new website with google email
  • Overhaul Facebook page
  • Create downloadable content
  • Have a WIP (work in progress) ready for edit
  • Create a marketing plan

Some of these goals aren’t too far fetched and can still become a reality but some already haven’t been met considering the goal says every week or per day. I am however now beginning to regain my passion and my creativity.

Let us start with Personal… I have been very conscious of my weight loss goals and initially lost some weight in the first two weeks I was working, now I have lost 7.2 pounds which means I am halfway there. A Weight loss Wednesday post is scheduled for Wednesday February 28, 2018. Breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle is very much on track but we are still struggling in some areas. I did a financial Friday post two days ago and I will link it here. Increasing family time is a difficult process when one parent goes back to work after being out of work for some time, but we have made it possible through family dinners every other weekend. (I work every other weekend). Organizing every room in my house has been a challenge since I have basically been coming home from work and taking a nap before cooking dinner and all my other responsibilities, but this goal is not unattainable. I will break it down and schedule them in my planner. As you can see the personal goals aren’t a total lose and still very much attainable.

My writing goals have pretty much flown out the window, but I am going to salvage them. I have secured temporary office space outside of my home for an hour a day Monday through Friday to increase my writing habit. My goal to research merchandise options is not done but still attainable and will be added to my planner to be done sometime in the coming weeks. Writing 1000 words per day was an adorable attempt at trying to set a writing habit and I will keep that goal but will start that goal today. Post one blog post per week is a goal I should have attained a long time ago considering my blog is now six years old, but I am not a very consistent creature. I posted on January 21 and February 23, so I am barely making one blog post a month, until now that is. I have three posts a week scheduled and a new writing space, so chances are good I can make this happen. Start a new platform, I am looking into increasing my web presence and have been toying with the idea of a YouTube channel or podcast, but I am not sure in which direction I will go. My writing goals starting today will be accomplished.

In a nutshell, my business skills are pretty good but my consistency and execution kind of stink. My business goals were on point with what I wanted to accomplish this year but a little hefty for the first quarter. First, I need to start a new website with a professional email I can access through google mail. I am researching this and will have my site started by the end of this week and launched by the end of the month. My Facebook overhaul will happen while I am working on my website and be updated as my site is launched. My downloadable content is in the planning stages which means I have the title typed neatly into my phones notebook. I am pretty sure this goal is still attainable. A work in progress ready for editing by the end of this month is a pretty big stretch but I will get it started and see how far the process takes me. My final business goal was to create a marketing plan and I am still researching what this entails. I do not have a marketing degree, but I do have a few ideas on where I can start.

Overall, I do not think that my goals are too lofty to reach by March 31st. If I do not reach my goals by March 31st I will do a LIVE giveaway on April 2nd all you have to do to enter is like this blog post and check back on April 1st for more details on the giveaway.

Look for my current books here.

SMART Financial Goals

Eight years ago we had a family counselor who taught us that running a household was just like running a business. She told us that we should have an accounting meeting every pay period. Money should never be spent without your partners knowledge and both of you should at all times know how much money you have.

At first this was really easy because my hubby worked third shift and I worked evenings so every frid ay morning we would get our kids off to school, grab our coffee and sit at our local park discussing where our money was going then we would go pay bills and grocery shopping.

Now we both work first shift and we’ve both had some very difficult health and financial struggles. Luckily, the only credit we have is a car payment and a mortgage. Our utility bills, however, have not been paid in full for months. Our goal for 2018 was to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Since January 1st I have been keeping track of our income but I am having a little trouble wrangling in our spending. Our goal of breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle was too broad for me to work with.

Starting with today my mini goal is to pay down these utility bills and sock away some savings. We are, however, starting with a few struggles including:
* before yesterday’s check my account was in the negative because we underestimated the cost of a car repair.
* my husband hasn’t been paid from disability since the beginning of the month.
* with my hubby going back to work in two weeks we add the initial expense of a bus pass for me to get back and forth to work.
* because of these struggles I owe my daughter 3/4 of my freelance pay she helps me with this job and I have not paid her in full from the last 3 checks.

I have a whopping $140 to work with this week. Our sound financial decision is to buy the groceries we need and keep the rest in the account to cushion whatever next week brings. Now that I am done with my errands for the day, we have a small cushion of $68 to carry over to next week.

This has been the first in the Finance Friday Series.

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