Plans, Dreams, and Months that Fly Like Birds

The Inspired Artist, The Inspired Life

Image by Wendi Kelly

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

~Oprah Winfrey

Such great plans I had for posting here  last year.

Obviously THAT rarely happened!  I had great dreams of doing the 365 project and posting the pictures here every day and on Flckr. You can see how well that turned out. The funny thing is I took the pictures. Hundreds of them. Far, far more than 365 of them. More like thousands of them, some horrible ones, some great ones ones, some that are as boring as a plain vanilla pudding.

I took so many that I couldn’t manage all of them. Some of them ended up on Flckr. Then, I opened an account on Picasa and many of them are there. Others are strewn about on various computers around the house that I happened to upload them to, because it was the closest one at the time. I admit it, I have been a photographer management disaster. Somehow, I kept telling myself that I would sit down and get it all organized but…huh…I looked up the other day and somehow, magically, it was 2011. Looks like I know what one of my resolutions should be. Find some way to organize mountains of digital photographs into one place.

The Inspired Artist (Ahem…that is supposed to be me…) picked up a paint brush a total of three times last year. She posted on this blog exactly ONE time.  Her garden was a collection of rambling roses, self-seeding annuals and hardy perennials who refused to give up on her and weeds that were faster then her once every couple of weeks attempts at yanking them out of the ground. The only time she took her guitar out of it’s case was to tune it once and put it back in.

SIGH….

I could beat myself up over those things. But I’m not going to. The thing is, that despite my best laid plans, dreams and aspirations at the beginning of last year,there was no way I was going to keep up with all of the lofty goals I had created on my New Year’s Dream List last year. But I got to a lot of them. And besides, I am practicing the art of imperfection. I find I get a lot more done and have a lot more fun doing it if I focus on what I do and not what I didn’t do.

Here is what I DID do in 2010.

Focused on a year of learning the basics of my new camera, taking thousands of pictures and documenting all of the events of our fun year.

Wrote a paranormal fantasy adventure romance novel, Loyalties, with my business partner, Deb Dorchak and published it through Blue Sun Studio, inc. It is currently available at Amazon.com and will be available in a growing number of places shortly.

Partnered with my husband to write an original drama, which we then performed, at Church for Reformation Sunday.

Directed the third annual performance  of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the first week of December.

Formed a new corporation and had a very successful first year of business at Blue Sun Studios, inc.

Won the War against Clutter and kicked out an entire dumpster of …excuse me…CRAP…out of our house this summer with the help of our family.

Also won the War against Rabbits this summer by building- (This one was mostly my husband) a fenced in Vegetable garden complete with cute little door that kept those buggers out and provided us with delectable veggies well into the third frost.

Went on a spectacular Michigan week long, beach-side family vacation in July with John and the kids and extended family.

Went on the best ever anniversary camping trip to Door County, Wisconsin with my wonderful husband John and spent the entire time trying out great recipes in this old, old, old Dutch Oven that I fell in love with and almost loved more than him…..

Went on a autumn retreat to Asheville, N. Carolina were I received great mentoring from my coach, Christine Kane, and came away with new knowledge, clarity and vision for the new year to come.

And those are only a few of the highlights. The day to day parties and family stuff, that’s always worth writing about.

I’m tempted to say, “My oh my…where did the months fly off to?” But when I look at my list, I can see clearly where they went.

The Inspired Artist has been writing and taking pictures. Oh- and cooking. I have hundreds of pictures of new recipes, some good- some, that are…well, we can call them experiments and just move on. I won’t tell you what my kids called them. I’d like to think of my cooking as art…just don’t ask my kidst, they would rather have McDonalds. But what do they know, they have yet to even begin to fully explore the vast ways that life can become artistic.

What lies ahead for the Inspired Artist in 2011

Our first book in the series, Bonds of Blood and Spirit, Loyalties, now available on Kindle, is coming out in hard copy any time now. In fact, I am spending my days waiting by the mailbox for my copy. Then we start the challenging process of marketing and selling. That may not sound artistic to some, but there is not much that takes more inspiration than the skills of marketing, advertising and promoting.  The world of sales writing and marketing is a creative beast at best! I know I will be spending plenty of time here this year. But not to worry, sales and marketing is where I got my start in business back when my family first started our own business and I’ve never shut up since. It will all be good.

Book two in the series, Uncivil Wars is being written as we speak. Deb and I carve out sacred time every week from January to May to write the novels. The rest of the year is spent in editing and formating and creating the fine details of the next story. This story has already written itself through part one and is so clear to both of us I’ll be surprised if we don’t beat our four month time line of the last book. This one is a movie playing in my head already. It just may pick up the pen and write itself if we don’t get to it!

Photography improvements– it’s time to go to stage two. I’ve spent a year clicking away and teaching myself everything I can on my own. Me and my camera have just celebrated our one year anniversary together and we are ready for something new in our relationship. I am looking forward to this being the year I really kick up the game. I want to master some key Photoshop skills, some editing tricks and learn some advance photo shooting tips. Oh- yeah, and then there is that storage problem. I need to find a good system for keeping all my photos in one reachable place.

Writing, writing, writing... There is so much more to my writing besides the novels. Amazingly, they take up only a small disciplined part of the week. the rest of the time is spent coaching clients on their writing projects, writing plays and smaller scripts and stories, writing articles and blog posts for various websites and editing and reviewing other content and writing.  Writing has began to take up a growing number of hours in my day. And I can asure you- I have NO complaints about that.

Directing- The theater group is growing. This year I expect it to grow even larger with more theater meetings, workshops, dramas and opportunities for participation in a lot of different ways for the members of the Beginnings Drama Team.  John and I have already put our heads together to start picking out dramas for the Sunday ones and are looking for a great script for Good Friday.

Art– In all of its glorious forms. I really want to pick up that paint brush this year. The question is what kind of paint do I want to put on it after I’ve picked it up? I’ve been focusing on watercolor while the kids were little, less mess, no smell…but now my heart is yearning for bolder strokes, brighter color, richer tones…and I am feeling the pull back to oils and acrylics. Maybe I’ll take a class and brush up. No pun intended there…  I’m also getting the feeling that I’d like to go back to practicing making jewelry again. Don’t hold your breath on this one. I might just go lie down til the feeling passes, but it’s there. For the moment anyhow.

Gardening. So help me lord, if I have one more year with a weed garden, I’ll spit. That’s all I’m going to say for now. But seriously. I have to spend more time in the garden this year. It’s embarrassing.

So, unless I get too busy living life instead of posting about it, I’ll use these pages as an Inspired Artist Journal to keep track of the artistic endeavors of the year.

Welcome to my artist’s playground.  Please, I’d love it if you leave your thoughts and comments and share what you plan to do in 2011. Hopefully together, we will both be around to play here this year!

Advertisements

CAN and WILL…and BELIEVE

leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

As a very small child, whenever I would get discouraged, I would plop myself down on the floor like a doll made of rags and let out a hopeless wail. “I Can’t…..” would be my pitiful cry. “I don’t know how, it’s too hard, I’m too tired.”

My mother would turn on a dime, narrow her dark Italian eyes, laser beam them into me and say in a voice as commanding as any Military General ever born, ” You CAN and you WILL. HOW does not matter. THAT  we can figure out. Now GET UP!”

Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you, that  was the end of my temper tantrum.

Quitting has never been an option in our family of scrappy little fighters. Raised by my Mother, a woman who raised three children on her own after waking up one day to find her husband had made other plans for his life, she had learned to take surprises and situations and  wrestle them into the life that SHE wanted for us. SHE expected to rise to challenges and goals and she expected no less from us. There were no acceptable excuses. She had an answer for everything. Being tired? Everyone gets tired. So what, learn to rest, balance and push through. Being scared doesn’t cut it. Only fools are stupid enough to not be scared. Not having all the answers is not a reason not to start.  Only the truly stupid think they are wise, the wise know there is always more yet to learn. In my mother’s world, If you want something you have to go for it. If it is right for you and the people you love, then there is no excuse for not doing it. You CAN and you WILL. And she does.

Then why is it not that simple for the rest of us? Not so black and white? The simple determination to march into battle for your noble cause day after day…why does it again and again reduce us to whining, sniveling, crying children?

It took me a long time to learn the third part of my mother’s power.  She had had it all along. It was a mysterious strength that gave her indomitable spirit. That kept her strong and unflinching when she left her secure job, the only thing that put food on the table for her and her three small children and took her measly $3000 and invested every dime she had to start her own business. She could have FAILED. We could have lost everything. She had one thing in her back pocket that was so powerful that it propelled her forward and would not let her down. She had something that most people didn’t have.

She knew that the only way to get from a life that had a steady-but a measly paycheck where she had to work double shifts in a factory and leave her small children home alone was to take a chance. She knew that although the risk was great, that we wouldn’t have insurance at first, that we would have less money to begin with, that we would have no reliable income AT ALL to begin with, that she could make it on her own elbow grease. That something to look forward to with hope was better than a lifetime of looking at what she would have if she changed nothing.

I didn’t understand what that something was at such an early age. She was just my Mom. Maybe I thought that all moms were fierce warriors who went out each day to take on the world.

Later in life, I went into sales. Real Estate sales specifically, although I dabbled my way up to that in other types of sales jobs before that. Sales is HARD. Being rejected is hard. Initiating contacts, talking to strangers, making cold calls, learning contract negotiations, managing files, hand holding nervous and temperamental clients is all hard and very stressful. The overwhelming majority of Real Estate agents quit within 3-6 months of getting their license. They say anyone can become a Realtor. It takes a good one to stay one. I decided to stack my odds. I hired the industry’s best Real Estate coach in the business to coach me and teach me the tools I needed to succeed. All that I learned in the six years of being one of the top agents in our company is more than a blog could hold.  But one of the major things that I paid good money to learn had been right there at home all my life.

CAN & WILL.

Beverly Buffini is the wife of Brian Buffini, Brian being the head of Buffini & Company, the coaching company I was just referring to. Beverly Buffini worked with him and toured with him and spoke at the seminars because frankly she was so inspiring that everywhere she went the crowd went nuts. Beverly grew up to be an All-American volleyball player at the University of Tennessee where she was inducted into the Tennessee Hall of Fame in the first class of women ever to achieve that honor. She went on to become a member of the US National Volleyball Team that participated in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She now uses her skills of discipline, determination, and focus to juggle raising six kids, and writing, and touring as a motivational speaker. Listening to her speak was one of my greatest inspired moments.

Beverly brought home for me the third part of the ingredients for success in her book, I CAN, I WILL, I BELIEVE. For each of the areas that she wrote about, and spoke about, Beverly outlined her viewpoints on the power behind each of those words. Summarizing, she wrote about:

CAN: to be able mentally or spiritually. She attributes the childhood story The Little Engine That Could with the basis for CAN. Perhaps not too coincidently, that story was one that my mom read to us almost every night. The basis of pushing away negative fears and focusing on the positive is the foundation for any dream to come true. In Beverly’s words, ” Particuarly in my athletic endeavors, I learned to be patient, that success only comes when and if the I CAN attitude endures over time. Giving up was not an option when things got tough. I had to persist if I wanted to make my hopes and dreams a reality. With that mindset, I could achieve my specific goals.”

WILL: is the reinforcement of purpose, drive and discipline necessary to spring CAN into life. WILL is the Action word that makes it happen. Webster’s defines WILL as a concious choice and a strong, fixed purpose. She spoke about the choices and priority shifting that it takes to keep the WILL going. She talks about sacrifice and risk. She states, “What was the principle lesson I learned from this? That in order to achieve and find fullfillment and enjoyment in achieving, I had to step beyond the familiar and accept personal risk. I learned that even condemnation or ridicule were possibilities if my choices did not coincide with someone else’s expectations.

BELIEVE: to take as true or real, to have confidence in something or someone; to have faith, especially religious faith (Webster). For some of us, myself included, Faith of a higher power would be moved up to the front of that defination, and for Beverly she says, “For me, I believe has a significance far beyond simply believing that I can and will do what I set out to do. I believe that we are inspired and helped by God and that we have a responsibilty to do our best to live up to that inspiration. I also get a sense of being assisted and directed by a Force beyond myself, and I desire that feeling.”

I Can, I Will, I Believe. I came out of that motivational seminar on fire. I bought the book. Heck. I bought the T-shirt. Honest, I really did. It’s royal blue with big bold white letters going right across my chest and anytime I need a little extra power pumped in to my self esteem I put it on and strut around.  All because she made my mother’s CAN & WILL tangible.

They say you can’t be a prophet in your own backyard. I guess I had to go far away and pay good money to hear what Mom had been saying all along.  I had to hear it from someone else to understand that the secret ingredient that made my mother stand so hard and fast is her faith. Belief in a higher power (God), Belief that she is doing what is right for her family, belief that if you believe in it, work hard for it, visualize it then you CAN make it happen.

By the way, that’s a far cry from stick it on a poster board, stare at it every day and sit back and wait for it to arrive. That would never be my mother’s style. While those that wait-are busy waiting, my mother and her clan are busy doing the WILL part and BELIEVING that with those two together…..why yes…yes you CAN.

Balancing Balloons

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

It isn’t easy balancing all the different areas of our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are hanging on to a giant bunch of colorful balloons and if we aren’t holding on tightly to every single string then …POOF! There goes all of our balloons up in the air drifting away, heading for the clouds or trees, getting caught up in the branches of life.

Ever felt like a wailing child who’s balloon just went POP? Whaaaaaa, There went my red balloooon……

But Honey…you still have a green one.

But I neeeed my red one tooooo……

Of course you do. We need all of our Balloons. Every single one of them. But somehow, just as you get the air back in the Physical Fitness Balloon the Spend Time with Family Balloon starts sinking slowly to the ground. Then Bob at work signs you up as the team leader for an important project and the Business Balloon gets puffed full of air while the Fitness Balloon takes a nosedive. And that Spiritual Balloon? Comes up only on Sunday. The Finance Balloon? Well, You kick it along on the ground with your toe, just to help it keep up.

Sure, you have goals. But every time you start on a goal, something else seems to suffer. It’s almost frightening to start something new. It’s like planning to fail, you can just feel one of those balloons start to lose air. The question is…which one?

It doesn’t have to be so frightening. ( says the Queen of focus) ( yes, I know, it’s terrifying) There is a way that can help those of us that struggle to keep our balloons in the air. I write this as one who struggles. I write as one who is learning as I go along. Not as an expert. I once said you would never hear about how I am an expert in balance at Life’s Little Inspirations. And you won’t. But I will share what helps a cobbler, cobbling along. Balance is my handicap. I get a new gig and I run full force with two feet forward until I fall down. However, as I learn and grow, I fall faster and get up quicker. I grab my balloon string just as it starts to slip now instead of after the red balloon is gliding off to heaven. I’m learning some tips to help me hang on to my balloons.

I thought I’d share my tips with you, maybe you can share some of yours with me, maybe together we can keep our balloons a little longer!

Wendi’s Tips For Balancing Balloons

  • Label your balloons clearly. It’s not enough to know that they are the RED Balloon and the GREEN Balloon. Get in touch with your main balloons. What are they? What are the main five to six areas of your life that need your daily focus? What balloons are you trying to keep in the air?
  • Look at your goals. Name the number 1.2.& 3 goals for each balloon. Now take a good look. Are these connected? Or do they have you running in circles? Try looking for a long term goal, then breaking it down into a ninety day goal. Now what can you do this week to affect that goal? How about today? See the difference? You might want to put the other two goals aside for a bit if they weren’t connected to the long term vision. The point of the exercise is to end up with a short term, a mid-term (90 day) and your long term goal.
  • Put it in Writing. Now that you have a goal for each balloon, put it in writing. IF YOUR PLAN IS NOT IN WRITING, IT ISN’T A PLAN, ITS A DREAM. Get out your planning calendar and start filling in dates that you will take action on your plan. Seeing an actual appointment on your calendar will hold you more accountable. Write in the TIME that you will do the action. Make the actual appointment. IF it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a plan…if it’s not a plan…it’s a dream. ( Starting to sink in?)
  • Ask yourself WHY? Why have you made these goals? Staying motivated to keep balanced in all of these goals is difficult. It takes discipline and focus. Staying Motivated is linked to your inner purpose, your inner drive and your passion. No passion = no fuel in the tank to make it happen. Write down the WHY of your goals. “I am doing this because….. ” Make sure you know what your passion is for each one of your balloons. Sometimes we only feel passion for one of our balloons at a time. This is the single largest reason our other balloons start sinking to the ground. Start a sentence for each balloon that says “I am passionate about this because…” and review it daily.
  • Record and compare & Journal. Track your results in a daily planner or on your calendar. Be accountable to the progress you made in each area. Remember, this isn’t a long list. With only one goal of focus in each area, you are only looking at a few minutes a day. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by making your expectations too high. The goal is one bite of the elephant at a time in each area. We aren’t out to eat the entire herd! Journal about your progress and expectations. No matter how it FEELS like it’s going, stay the course! The discipline of sticking it out when the going gets rough brings opportunity and personal growth, whether you meet the original goal or not!.
  • Create an visual reminder. Draw a chart with the five circles in it, or make a poster board with different color balloons if that helps you. Keep it present, in front of you. Out of sight is out of mind. If you want to make a dry erase board that you can write on every day-go for it! What ever makes it easy for you to envision the balloons that you are trying to keep up.
  • Keep it fun! You are more likely to stick with something if you are having fun with it. Balloons are fun for me to imagine, But you can turn balloons into whatever is fun for you. Have a good time with it.  Running shoes, or Stars or Olympic Circles. One point of the theme that is significant to me is that they are all connected. It reminds me that no part of my life survives untouched without the rest. When my health suffers, my family suffers, when my family suffers, my work suffers. When my work suffers our budget suffers. And around and around it goes.

Balance is important. That doesn’t mean that it will ever be easy for me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to be creative and energetic and run through life like a shooting star. Not so much like a Zen Master. But by finding creative and fun ways to work on balance, I can keep my balloons from floating away.

How about you? How do you keep your balloons from flying off to heaven or running out of air? Please share! We all need the help!

False Loves

self improvement, The Inspired Life

Did somebody speed up my clock? I swear I just wrote the last weekend post a minute ago. And here it is May already. How are your 2008 goals coming along? We are almost half way into the second quarter. Time to start working on our first half of the year review to see if the year is moving along as nicely as we would like. There’s still time to get that train on the right track!

As May comes into focus, Life’s Little Inspirations is chugging right along. Welcome to everyone who has just started visiting, and thank you for being here. I am SO happy that you have found us and I hope you will feel comfortable pulling up a chair, posting your thoughts and comments and being a part of the community.

My deep desire is for everyone to feel like they can participate, chat amongst yourselves and share your tips and ideas with each other. By learning how we all deal with some of life’s challenges together, we can all help each other grow.  I love getting your feedback and ideas! To my faithful readers who have been posting all along from the beginning, thank you for your loyalty and encouragement. I couldn’t be doing this without you!

Please consider subscribing (up in the top corner) so that you won’t miss any posts! And let me know if there are any topics that you are interested in me  and I’ll put them on the list! As always, I am interested in your feedback so I can continue to improve and make this site as great as it can be.

Thanks for visiting.

 And now…

Poetry time!

This week, I chose a poem from Sir Walter Raleigh. There are all types of false loves in our lives. Not only the false people in our lives that are the obvious villains of distraction and pain, but what about the time wasters? What about those seemingly important activities and situations, those hobbies and habits that are keeping us away from living the lives of our dreams? Can you bid farewell? I know that I am going to resolve to do better this next week. Want to join me?

A Farewell to False Love
   
Farewell, false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason.

A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.

A fortress foiled, which reason did defend,
A siren song, a fever of the mind,
A maze wherein affection finds no end,
A raging cloud that runs before the wind,
A substance like the shadow of the sun,
A goal of grief for which the wisest run.

A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear,
A path that leads to peril and mishap,
A true retreat of sorrow and despair,
An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure’s lap,
A deep mistrust of that which certain seems,
A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.

Sith then thy trains my younger years betrayed,
And for my faith ingratitude I find;
And sith repentance hath my wrongs betrayed,
Whose course was ever contrary to kind:
False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.

Sir Walter Raleigh 

Slow Cooking Frogs

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

You can do anything you want in life, you just can’t do everything all at once.
~ Bobbi LaBelle

Hanging above my desk on a bright red ribbon, is a large heavy square bronze medal. It is one of my most treasured possessions. Engraved on it are the words:

24th Columbus Marathon
 October 19th 2003
FLAT FAST FUN

It was fun. It was one of the funnest days of my life. 

Note the date: 2003.

I ask myself, “Self? If that was one of the funnest days of your life, why exactly is it that the marathon medal is hanging up there all by itself without a gaggle of others to keep it company?”

Self answers, “Well, you see Wendi, Life keeps getting in the way. There was this thing and that thing and you already know about that major one thing and then after that…”

Uh huh…

So I still run…sorta…now and then…well…I can run…I mean I could…I mean…I’m gonna start again…probably tomorrow……..

My son has his Black belt in karate. For four years, four days a week, I took him to class and sat on a bench. I always joke that I have my black belt in karate sitting. One day I got tired of sitting there so I joined myself. By the time he graduated with his black belt, I was an orange belt. I loved Karate. It made me feel strong, invincible. It played to my strength of being singularly focused and in the zone. As a past attack victim, it made me feel empowered and It was a perfect sport for me. Yet, somehow, though I was motivated to take him every single day for four years, after he didn’t go anymore, life got in the way for me. I missed one class then two. Then the kids had to go somewhere so I took them to that. When it was time to sign up again in the summer I told myself I would come back in the fall, that summers were too busy. I have been an orange belt for six years. The belt hangs in the closet staring at me every day wondering what the heck I am waiting for. I tell it to shut up– I’m too busy.

Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you have to let it. Sometimes life moves on and what you wanted to be a priority has to go by the wayside for awhile. As much as we would like to have life be exactly what we want, exactly the moment that we want it, the timing isn’t right and we have to stop flailing our arms and legs in the water and just catch the drift. Sit back and see where it is we are SUPPOSED to be. Stop fighting the current.

Other times, it is exactly the OPPOSITE. We know exactly what our dreams and goals are, the timing IS perfect, serendipity is upon us and the only one we have to blame for not getting where we want to be is us. We start out all pumped up, excited full of the dream, eyes on the target, plan in hand and set out to go. Like a runner you start running toward the goal. It feels great. The next day too. The third day- a little sore. The fourth day, you press on… The fifth day your brain has several excuses and is arguing with you all the way out the door. A little voice sits on your shoulder, explaning the value of a rest day. You tell it to shut up and press on again. If you make it through days seven, eight and nine, you’ve warmed up the water nice and slow and you start to feel pretty good. You are in the groove and the habit starts to form. If you can make it to the thirtieth day, you are golden.

But one day, you just don’t do it. Maybe you get a cold. A week stretches out in front of you. The week after that is vacation. So that week is gone too. When you come home the week after, you promised to paint the siding all week long. You promise yourself you will get up first thing Monday morning…but when the time comes…you smack the snooze button. Maybe tomorrow…

Habits are like slow cooking frogs. They say that if you put a frog in pot of boiling water it will jump right out. But if you warm up the water slowly, it will just stay there until it dies. The frog won’t even notice that the water is heating up. It is almost painless. It happens just a little at a time, slowly but surely.

You can grow a habit the same way. It doesn’t happen in a day or the next. But day by day if you stick with it, a little at a time, you can slowly grow your habit almost painlessly. By the time you have reached 30 days, your subconscious mind will believe you have been doing it forever and propel you to continue. It will seem strange to you NOT to do your habit. The trick is to do just a little bit. Just a tiny little bit, slowly so you hardly notice, and build from there. Like cooking frogs.

The bad news is you can kill a habit the same way. So you have to be careful with your habits. You have to focus on them. You have to keep them in review and pay attention to them. You have to stay committed to them.

I didn’t stop running over night after my marathon. I loved running. It was a joy. I never stopped on purpose. I never even NOTICED that I wasn’t running any more.  Just like the frogs who didn’t notice their water warming up, I didn’t notice my water getting cold. But it did. Slowly over time, my frog water got cold because I stopped paying attention to it. It wasn’t boiling anymore. If I want to get back to being a marathon runner, I have to heat it up again. I have to focus on it. It needs to be a priority and I need to be willing to commit to it and put it at the top of the list. I have to be able to say, “Self, we are going to become a runner again. In order to do that, we have to heat up the water a little each day. Are you with me?”

And Self has to agree. If Self can’t make a commitment…there is no point in boiling up those frogs. There are too many other things on the list that have to get done.

This is an important point. You can do anything you want in life, you just can’t do everything all at once.

The person that taught me that is my mother, Bobbi LaBelle, one of the smartest women I ever met. She raised three young kids as a single mother while working double shifts in a glass jar factory. She saved up enough money, and had enough guts to get out of there and open her own Beauty Shop. The place was tiny but so successful that people were waiting outside to get in. She bought a new place four times the size and has been there for 30 years. She is one of the most creative, resourceful, talented and amazing people I have ever met. But one of the first things she ever taught me was to focus. Be committed to what you are doing. Give it 110 percent of your energy and you will have an excellent chance of success. Keep at it and don’t give up.

So, somewhere along the line I lost my focus on both my running and my karate. The water got cold and I got no cooked frogs. I can honestly say that the timing still isn’t right for me to go back to karate. I know the focus that it would take for that and I am not willing to heat up that pot of water right now. I will someday, so that belt can just keep on hanging there to remind me.

As I examine my priorities, I see that I have several pots on the stove going at the same time.

The Mom Pot
The Wife Pot
The Writer Pot
The Wendi Pot
The Director Pot

I open the lid of the Wendi pot and I take a peek inside. Hmmm. It looks like the area of *maintain personal health and exercise* is cooling down a bit and those frogs are getting a bit jumpy. I ask Self if it’s with me and Self says YES.

It looks like running just got moved back up the priority list again.

What’s cooking in your frog pots?

Being Enough

family, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

Ah, the weekend. Family time for me, what about you? How will you be spending these next few days? Share and let us know!

I will be going to birthday parties for my nephew and myself. We promise to eat cake for all of you! It has been an entire week of eating and parties around here for birthday week. Any surprise we were inspired by cannoli and pie?

Every birthday gives me a reason to take a moment and reflect on where I am and what I am doing with my life. Am I on track? Am I following the goals and steps that I have laid out to get where I want to be? Am I living an on-purpose life or am I just blowing in the wind?

Sometimes all the striving gets to be a little much. Planning for the future always needs to be balanced with accepting where I am right now, right this minute and being OK with who I am. I remind myself that I am in the place I am at so that I can learn and grow and help others where they are at. We are all where we need to be at the moment to become who we are growing to be. I don’t need to wait to become something more before I get on with the job of living and doing my life’s work.

One of my favorite authors sums this up well, and as I like to share with you some of my favorite authors on the weekends, here is an excerpt from a passage in the book The Sound of Paper, Starting from Scratch, by Julia Cameron.

If you haven’t read any of her books, I highly recommend them to you. The Sound of Paper is one of my favorites.

Have a wonderful weekend friends. Please…take a moment to say hi!

Wendi

Remembering Who We Are

A great deal of the difficulty in making art springs from this conviction that what we are at any given moment is not enough. We want to be better, wiser, more ready to write before we write. We want to be more in the mood, more inspired, more alive before we try to paint. And yet, over the long years of work, it is clear that some of the best writing comes through when we are not feeling struck with light. Some of the finest painting gets done on the days when we just show up at the easel because that is our job. In other words, when we practice self-acceptance of where  we are and who we are instead of striving, always, to be better. We are enough, exactly as we are.

It is very easy to forget our divine origins. It is very easy to see ourselves as the products of our birth families, shaped and colored only by those transactions. We are much larger than that. We are each a soul, unique and distinctive, bringing to bear on life a rich legacy of spiritual gifts if we but open ourselves to the possibility that we are not merely the products of our conditioning. We are spiritual beings with spiritual business to transact here on this earth. We have a destiny to fulfill.

Julia Cameron

Before the Play is Done

Attitude of Gratitude, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

Epigram

MY soul, sit thou a patient looker-on;
Judge not the play before the play is done:
Her plot hath many changes; every day
Speaks a new day; the last act crowns the play.

Frances Quarles

 

From the first moment that I met Margaret, I was blown away. It was my first day of watercolor class in college and I was anxious, frightened and fidgeting with all of my shiny new supplies while waiting for students and the teacher to arrive. One glance around the room had already told me that I was in over my head, that there was much more talent surrounding me than I had bargained for. The class was a combination class. Newbies like me jumped in at the beginning and tried to keep up as more accomplished artists painted around them. The theory was that by observing others, there would be more growth. Yeah right, I was going to look like a preschooler with finger-paint.

I began re-packing my things. With five minutes to spare, I figured I could withdraw from the class, no harm done and go sign up at the local park district, where I belonged, before anyone had even realized I was in the room.

Then she burst in.

She was tall, and rim-rod straight, with perfect posture that a soldier would pay good money for. She pulled behind her a cart with three large cases filled, presumably, with art supplies and canvases. “Good MORNING everybody,” she boomed in a huge strong voice. “IT is a BeaUTiful day.” she marched over to a table and bustling about in a flurry of energy, began unpacking everything from the cases.

I sat.

I tried to keep my mouth from hanging open.

Margaret’s hair was silver-gray, piled on to the very top of her head, wound in a long braided bun. Her face wore the road map of many years and many troubles, with lines upon lines intersecting with each other. My brain struggled to keep up with the information it was receiving. The hair, the wrinkles, the thin blue skin with whispers of veins running through it, all spoke of a woman at the end of her life. She had to be in her nineties. But the voice, the posture, the energy, the vibrancy which radiated out of her being screamed No way. This is youth, not age, she can’t be as old as she looks.

I was wrong. She was 93 years old.

The story of Margaret unfolded bit by bit that semester. I learned more about the illusion of age then I did about how to be a great painter in those 16 weeks. And I was grateful for the lesson.  Margaret was an amazing artist. What she could do with a little brush and pots of paint was astounding. Her paintings were hanging in galleries and selling for $4000.00 each for an original. She came to paint in class with us just for the fun of being around people. She had never even picked up a paintbrush until her late 70’s after her beloved husband had passed away. Then with her children grown and no one at home, she decided to go to college and get a degree. A random art class had led to painting and she never stopped.

I asked her what her secret to long life was.

“Never stop learning” she said. “Keep trying something new. You have to make mistakes and figure things out. Oh, and be stubborn. I’m very stubborn. Oh..and don’t forget to walk. I walk every day.” Margaret was big on walking. Every day, she hauled in twice as much stuff as the rest of us. She parked at the far end of the parking lot and walked briskly to the room. She had two big dogs at home that she claimed to walk every day after her morning meditations.

If you asked her if she wanted help with something, you could expect to get glared at. She may have been a sweet, old lady, but she was unwaveringly independent. She didn’t believe in being beholden to anyone, for anything. She was proud, strong and fiercely young at heart.

I lost contact with Margaret after that semester. I finished the class and moved on with my life. Margaret stayed in school for another 4 years, painting in that same room and making a decent living from selling her art. I was saddened to open the local newspaper one morning to see the headline begin with “Oldest College Student has Died…” with a picture of Margaret and one of my personal favorite paintings on the front page.  She had still been in school at 97 years old.

Next week, I will turn 48. As I begin the march up the “Over the Hill”, and the second act of my life’s “play,” I am starting to get very excited. The teasing about fifty looming in the near future has begun, but it means nothing to me. When I think of Margaret, I feel like a baby bird barely sprouting wings. There is a very long list written down on my “things I want to do while I’m still breathing” list and I’m adding new ones all the time. Before the final curtian comes down in my final act, there is much I want to do, much I want to see.

I feel like a kid at the Baskin and Robbins Ice cream store and I want to try all 31 flavors.  I don’t want to miss anything. I want to know that I have tasted every drop, inhaled every fragrance, and touched every soft and wooly item. Lord, let me experience all that Life has to offer and not miss it in my daily round. Don’t let me wander through life unaware.

Never Stop Learning… Margaret’s secret to a long life. Good advice, and I haven’t forgotten it. All the world is a beautiful school with classrooms in every corner, just waiting to teach anything we are willing to learn, as long as we are willing to listen, down to the last day. We can start over at any time, re-write our scripts, begin a new scene, maybe even come up with a surprise ending.

It’s never too late if you’re breathing. What do you want to know? What do you want to do?  How are you going to get there?

In the Silence are the Answers…

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

 

I think I was twelve the first time someone turned to me with hands on their hips, frustrated, ready to rip out their hair and shouted, “Wendi! You know what your problem is??? YOU THINK TOO MUCH!!!”

Oh, OK, then…I’ll just…stop…???

But what if…????

The world is an amazing place. Under every leaf and rock is a whole new world just waiting to be explored and questioned. Taken apart, piece by piece, examined, put back together again with all the pieces topsy-turvy and somewhere new. Creativity is the child of the questions Why and How.  The answer to the why-nots, and the-oh, yes I can’s.

Questions, Questions, Questions. Yes, I can be the Queen of questions. I started asking them at three and never shut up. So I am told. Guilty as charged. I honestly believe that if I have a ‘secret to my success,’ it is the asking of questions and looking for answers.

After all, I am a high school drop out. Twice. But that didn’t mean I had to stay there. I tried going back once and circumstances knocked me off my feet again. So… off to get the GED and on to College. There is always a way around to go get the answers if you really want them. Then there are books. Amazing, wonderful books. If you can read, there is virtually nothing standing in between you and anything you want to know.

And now we have the Godzilla of information…the INTERNET. Oh…we live in a privileged time of answers. What do you want to know? Within moments, the answers can be at your fingertips. Technology, Shakespeare, how to make your first million. Right there…Google can set you free…Ask and you shall receive…glory be…

But there are some answers that can’t come to you with the click of a button. Google can’t answer the nagging little questions bottled up in your spirit. It won’t tell you why you ate that stinking rotten doughnut not ten lousy minutes after you PROMISED yourself you were really going to diet this time FOR REAL. It can try, but it doesn’t know you. It won’t write your next article or tell you why you are procrastinating today. It won’t let you in on why you feel restless or angry and don’t even know why OR why you changed your outfit seven times and swear you gained ten pounds, even when the scale assures you it is only one.

What’s the matter? Why the sudden writer’s block?  The lack of creativity? Why aren’t things working the way you planned them on the goal list? Maybe you haven’t even come up with one? Why not? What are you afraid of? Why the anxiety, the sense of self-defeat? Why the little voice in your ear telling you it’s not enough, that you aren’t enough? Why are the things you say not adding up to the things you do?

There are answers to those questions too. Not on the Internet. Not at school. Not in all the self-help books. Not even here. They are in you. Within you are the answers you seek-if you will take the time to be quiet and listen.

Here are a few of the methods that I use to do this:

Prayer/meditation

Find yourself a very quiet place, get comfortable and make sure that you will not be disturbed. Now I am not going to begin to tell anyone how to pray in any specific religious sense here so please interpret my use of the word to mean whatever spiritual power works for you. What I find to be very powerful is to just have an honest unloading of what is going on, along with the problems and questions that need solutions. I actually do this out loud. If that is too uninhibited for you, try it in your mind. Then be silent. Do your best to calm and relax your mind to have no thoughts at all. I find focusing on a candle helps a lot. With practice, it is amazing how much creativity, answers and solutions come through the silence. It might be a good idea to have a pad of paper close by so you can jot down any great brainstorms as the free flow of ideas loosens up.

Journaling/ reading

The written word has a powerful ability to communicate with us and send us messages we hadn’t seen before, even if we have read the same passage over and over again. Anyone who is a frequent Bible or inspirational book reader can speak of specific quotes that have jumped off of pages and were “just what they needed to hear” at the right time. This can be enhanced by combining it with journaling out specific issues and questions, therefore solidifying certain topics firmly in the mind’s focus. Then picking up random reading, the mind seems to focus on just what it needs to bring you the answer that you were looking for. It may seem magical, but it is a way of communicating with your subconscious, (or God or higher power if you like) which has the answers that you need.

Another journaling tool is to just start free-form writing down everything that enters your head, letting creativity flow, and brainstorming solutions. In the privacy of not having to worry about being wrong, your creativity is freed to open up and explore new ideas and solutions. Promise yourself that you will burn or shred the paper so that you are freed from the constraints of worrying about what you write if that is an issue for you.

Nature/exercise

The solitude of running, walking, boating, camping or any way of communing alone with nature is a wonderful way to seek the answers that you need. While it is true that I have heard of athletes who can get “in the zone” at health clubs enough to feel that sense of meditation, I think it is a rare person who has that kind of focus. Out in nature, one can think and soak up the nature, the beauty and the silence and the world and its problems almost naturally take on a different perspective on its own. It is a wonderful way to use the methods of exploring the asking of questions and then waiting in silence for the solutions. The only drawback that I personally have had with this method is when I have had such great ideas, I have become frustrated due to not being able to run and write at the same time and  by the time I get back, I have lost some of them. When I was training for my first marathon, I carried a little portable recorder for a few of the long runs to record ideas that came to me.

Drawing/painting

Art. Although I also paint landscapes and *things*, when I am in the listening mode, I am more apt to put on some very quiet meditative music and doodle. With pencils or paint, I just let whatever is *in*, come out. I am often very surprised to see what lands there. The intent is to have no pre-conceived idea or plan, just let *it* out. The result of a session like this is usually like an awakening, a feeling of an AHA, then peace.

I highly recommend messy art. It is good for the soul.

I would love to hear how other people listen for their “Inside Voice Answers.”  We all have them, sometimes it’s a matter of how often we are checking in.  How often do you check in? How do you get there? I would love to know. Please give me your thoughts and your methods!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning for the Fog

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

Stand Up to Your Obstacles and Do Something About Them, You Will Find that They Haven’t Half the Strength You Thought They Have.

Norman Vincent Peale

Obstacles.

Just when you think you were getting somewhere…along comes some blip on the screen, some change in the plan, some unforeseen disaster that veers you off the course.

“Oh well…better luck next time…”

Many Monday morning diets have been blown a Tuesday goodbye kiss due to obstacles in the road. Many other well intended plans, started with enthusiasm and desire, lay dead in the path of these dreaded roadblocks.

What’s a person to do? You can’t plan for obstacles. Right? They just happen… They’re a random event. Luck of the draw….It’s not like it’s our fault or anything.

“Oh well…better luck next time…”

I’ll let you in on a secret that I have in my little bag of life’s lessons. You won’t have better luck next time. There is another obstacle coming. The only thing that is going to make a difference next time is how prepared you are to deal with it.

The remarkable Florence Chadwick had already made a place for herself in history by being the first woman to swim the English Channel, when she made her decision to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. This was a woman of proven persistence, goal-setting ability and driven excellence. There was every reason to believe in her ability to meet her next challenge.

On the 4th of July in 1952, as millions watched at home on national television and with family and crew by her side, Florence began her swim. The water was icy cold.  Sharks hovered around her, being kept at bay by rifle shots fired from the crew supporting her. A deep, murky fog enveloped the water, rendering Florence unable to see anything in front of her.

Cheers and cries of support rang out from her family and the crew in the boats above, urging her to carry on, but all Florence could focus on was the fog that blinded her path. Defeated, she asked to be taken out of the water. It was the first time she had ever given in. The first time she had ever quit. 

Later, from the comfort of the boat, Florence was dismayed to learn that she had given up only 1/2 mile from the shore of victory. When interviewed by a reporter, she told him that it wasn’t fatigue or cold water that had stopped her, but simply that she had lost sight of the vision in her mind, and had been blinded by the fog.

A short two months later, Florence Chadwick returned to try again. She was not lucky enough to have clear skies and visibility. The same obstacle of blinding fog also returned to challenge her once more. This time, Florence was prepared. She had rehearsed over and over in her mind what the end result would look like. She imagined the fog and how she would swim through it and keep her mind firmly focused on the goal.  As she swam, she was able to remind herself that the fog did not change the end result; the shoreline was there whether she could see it or not. She just had to remain faithful to continue swimming and she would reach it.

This time Florence did reach the shore. Despite the fog, she swam there in a straight path and broke the all time speed record set before her by the men by two full hours!

Obstacles come. Always. Wearing one disguise or another, they step in our path to block the goal that we had set before us. Without a clear and carefully defined vision, it is hard to defeat them. Like a child’s monster in the closet, they appear to be overwhelming, frightening  and larger than life.

More often than not, they don’t really exist. With rehearsed planning and focused vision, they can be reduced to a minor inconvenience, a lesson to be learned or sometimes even an opportunity that turns out to help us on our way.

The largest obstacle that we truly face is our own defeated attitudes.

When she was in kindergarten, my sister wrote a story.

I went into a cave and there was a bear! I tried to get out of the window but there wasn’t any. I tried to get out the door but the bear was blocking it. So, I sat down.

the end

The teacher wrote with her red pen, “And then what???”

This story was one of my first collections to be placed in the life’s lesson bag. And then what? What comes Next? How many times do we see an obstacle and then just sit down?

When you start to approach life from the angle that an obstacle is coming, so plan ahead…it isn’t the same as negative thinking. It’s being prepared. It’s making sure you have what you need in your suitcase to complete your journey. Thinking through in your mind, what types of things and experiences could possibly occur along the way and what you might need to do to stay focused and on plan.

It’s the constructive use of “What if?” instead of using it to worry and defeat us before we start.

It looks like this:

Finish these sentences for your goals and plans:

1. The end result of my goal looks like…..

2. The steps I need to take are…..

3. Possible obstacles that could stop me from reaching my goals are…

4. My plan for diffusing those obstacles is…..

5. The language I will use and the way it will look when I overcome the obstacles is…

Then, the more time you spend visualizing and seeing yourself succeeding in your mind, and overcoming those obstacles, actually rehearsing in your mind the language you would use, and actions that you would take to overcome those obstacles, the smaller and smaller those obstacles will be when they arrive. Your subconscious will already be engaged and know what to do.

Life happens. You won’t be able to predict and plan for everything. Some things are just learning experiences. Even an accomplished swimmer like Florence hadn’t planned for the fog. But she didn’t let it keep her out of the game either. She was back within a few months, mentally stronger, armed with knowledge and a better plan.

She won. So can you.

Obstacles are coming, are you planning ahead?

Catch on Fire but Don’t Burn the Laundry

family, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

” Catch on Fire with Enthusiasm and People will Come from Miles to Watch You Burn”

John Wesley

There are days that the moment my feet hit the floor, I am driven by the desire, the passion, the very need, to succeed at my mission. Whatever that mission may be at the time, I can not drive the singular focus out of my head. It is a drumbeat, a rhythm, an obsession that calls to me. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I am pulled back to the mission, the plan…the goal…and I am practically useless to anyone or anything else.

My close friends and family call this Wendi’s “radar focus”. It is my best secret for success and my biggest flaw all rolled into one.

I can’t help it.

One thing I am an expert on is enthusiasm. When I catch on fire, its hard to put me out. It can take entire fire departments to derail me and get me back to the land of the living. Smoke ends up all over the place, and things can end up in a big mess as I probably haven’t even looked around at anything else other than my goal for a long time.

 One of the things that I have been working in the past few years is balancing my surge of enthusiasm with living in the day to day”real world”. The simple ( well, simple for other people) act of managing parenting and household tasks, along with working, while in the throws of unbridled enthusiasm for a project is very difficult for me to balance. For most people, this is where the enthusiasm starts to ebb away. For me, this is where the laundry starts to pile up.

Often, I get comments from people that know me regarding my enthusiasm. “Man, I wish I had half of your enthusiasm” they say.

That part is easy. Here you go:

Wendi’s Tips for Getting out of Bed on Fire:

1. Find your passion. Name something you feel very strongly or passionately about or something that you have always wanted to do. Journal it, daydream it, play the “If I could do anything I wanted and fear or money was no object, what would it be?” game.  Ask yourself what you want your legacy to be at the end of your life. What would you like to be remembered for?  What do you most regret having NOT done so far in your life? If there is an answer to any of these questions write it down.

2. Make a list. Write down every single reason you have not taken action on that goal. Look at that list. Everything on that list that has to do with fear, cross off. It doesn’t count. Never run your life based on fear. Dare to fail. It’s good for you. Everything else on that list is a learning experience, not an obstacle. Start numbering them and start learning. Accept no excuses as to why you can’t learn about those things.

3. Start seeing the possibilities. Get out a new piece of paper and write down what your life will look like after you have succeeded in your goal. Will the world be a better place? Will you have improved as a person? See the vision. Make an action plan with the items that were left on your list. Make sure you put it in writing. Just thinking about it isn’t good enough.

4. Break down the vision into reachable goals. Once it starts to look doable, your confidence will start to build. Once you begin to believe it is achievable, the spark of enthusiasm will start to ignite.

5. Fan the flames. Read as much inspirational material as you can from several sources. Zig Zigler, James Allen, Jim Rohn are three sitting on my desk right now. Currently popular are The Secret and Law of Attraction. Whatever feeds your fire is great, but feed it you must, fires require oxygen and positive energy is the enthusiastic fire’s fuel.

6. Proclaim your vision to visionaries-not vampires.Sharing your goals and dreams with other like-minded positive, energetic, enthusiastic people will create a windstorm of energy flowing in your direction. You will feel the current as it swirls around, creating ideas, solutions and connections that you never even dreamed possible. Conversely, share your dreams with an energy vampire and watch them suck the life-energy and confidence right out of your soul. Stay away from them if you can, but for sure, DON’T tell them your plans!

7. Speak the language. Watch the words that are allowed to come out of your mouth. The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” Do yourself a favor and take this one literally. Words are king! They have the power to affect thought and action. The language of enthusiasm is positive, energized, creative, fun, adventurous, electrified! Don’t speak the language of the defeated, the downtrodden, the bored, the worn out…feel how the energy goes up and down? Keep your energy supercharged with supercharged words.

8. Create a community of Enthusiasts. When I was in Real Estate, I found that the average Realtor was very competitive with other Realtors and therefore did not function in a state of community with other Realtors. It was hard to keep enthusiasm going day after day, year after year all alone in such a stressful job. That is one of the reasons that burn out in that field is very high. Several of us top-producers got together and created a small group that met monthly to brainstorm, share tips and ideas and build enthusiasm. It created synergy and made us all better than we would have been working alone. Helping others to succeed will always help you to build more excitement for yourself. It’s fun and its rewarding. Energy builds energy.

9. Absorb the Vision. Create a written one or two sentence mission statement for your goal and read it and say it out loud to yourself every day. Say it the first thing when you wake up in the morning. Say it the last thing as you are drifting off to sleep at night. Don’t fall asleep listening to the news or negative information. Fall asleep thinking about your mission, reading information about it or writing in your journal about it. You will wake up ready to hit the floor on fire!

10. Keep Physically fit. Make sure your body can keep up with your brain! Its hard to stay on fire, when you are exhausted, sick, sleep-deprived, starving or hung-over. Schedule in time for exercise breaks, healthy meals, fresh air and plenty of sleep.

Now about that second part? Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

I am not an expert on being enthusiastic with balance. Maybe Leo over at Zen Habits can write about that when he is finished with his book, or one of you will have better tips.

So far, what has been helping me is to create rituals that I can do automatically without thinking. The key to this is the “not thinking”part, because I will be up in my head somewhere writing or creating or wondering up a big “what if I do this?” idea for my project. Having systems and routines in place that can happen on auto-pilot has been a huge help. FlyLady.net has been a big help in getting me started with morning and evening routines that have become a daily habit.

 Here are just a few of the things that FlyLady has taught us that are making a difference in keeping me on fire without setting the house on fire too. Her website FlyLady.net will explain everything in detail.

1. Create rituals for daily maintenance items. Lay out clothes the night before, pack lunches, get the coffee ready, and her most important one…shine the sink and lay out a fresh towel! It is remarkable how lovely it is to wake up to a shiny sink!

2. Do a load of clothes every day. Wash, dry and put away. Keeping that mountain of laundry from taking over has been a huge help at our house!

3. You can’t clean clutter, get rid of it! The more I do this, the better off we are. Period. End of story.

4. Swish and swipe bathrooms as you “go”. It only takes a few minutes. Really.

5. Plan out weekly dinner menus in advance. Write them on the calendar so you don’t have to think about it, while you are busy thinking about other things!

6. Spend Fifteen Minutes. It’s amazing how much you can do in fifteen minutes. Set a timer and promise yourself that you will spend fifteen minutes on something. You will be surprised how much you get done. Start sneaking in those extra 15 minutes and they start to add up.

I would love for you to leave me your ideas on this too! Although I have come a long way, the only thing I am really good at balancing is my exercise ball! Feel free to send in your tips! I could use them!