Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Reflection · Vision · Writing

Managing Mondays – Finding Inspiration and Motivation

It is another week and I am eagerly sipping coffee after a short, brisk walk before the sun was brightly shining and heating up the pavement. Although it is September and many folks are starting to see signs of fall, those of us in Phoenix are still facing high temperatures around 100°. That means getting up early to beat the heat if you want to walk outside.

I put my weekly plan together last night while watching Sunday Night Football. It took longer than usual because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the fourth quarter madness as Green Bay made their way back to claim the win. Did you know I love football? No? Well, surprise! I had so much to think about this week because I have some lofty goals. I am working my side hustle hard this week and making some time to sharpen my saw. Me time includes reading because, well, to be honest I just haven’t been doing that much lately. And I have been looking at this book for weeks. I never put it on my bookshelf. No. I keep moving it from surface to surface through the house. That tells me how much I want to read it. So, I am planning for it. One chapter a day. I deserve that much me time. I know if I don’t write it in my plan I will keep putting it off and moving the book to, yet again, another surface. What book? This one…

The book is broken into 5 parts. My goal is to read a part each day and plan to add a little Badassery into my future planning. So excited!

My plans this week are pretty loose and functional with some key goals and important activities. The most important activities are the weekend. My son turns 23 on Sunday and I aim to make any free time we have as a family about him and his special day.

It seems lately that I am on the go and running on all cylinders from the moment I wake up until I crawl back into bed. I am making a point to have quality reading time to take my mind and my eyes away from screens. When I crawl into bed I want to sleep easy knowing my plans are clear and my mind is sharpened to be the absolute best person God made me to be.

I challenge each of you to plan the following into your week:

  • Sharpen your mental saw (read a book, learn something new, meditate)
  • Celebrate something or someone
  • Love everyone

Have a great week. Back to sipping coffee.

Goals · lists · Planning · Vision

Reset – When Plans Need More Plans

Some weeks my planner needs more than the weekly spread. Honestly, I take a lot of notes on random pieces of paper. I make time during email blocks or between my many meetings to capture highlights on planner notes pages.

I also like to repurpose daily pages like the one below. Washi tape and stickers are by best planner friends. Truly they are!

My notes aren’t always pretty but I know what they mean when I come back to them later and ideally that’s the purpose they serve.

I have never shared and end of week spread so I thought I would.

I love seeing the check marks showing what I planned and accomplished each week.

But I often end up with notes and thoughts tucked into each week. Sometimes it is a to do list of sorts. Or just random ideas I want to look back at when I have time.

Every week I make some type of cleaning list. This is my latest favorite because it has daily, weekly and a focus area. I also love the cleaning tips and supply list. I delegate these tasks to the family via texts and check it off when I see it is done.

I love these daily pages for very busy days. I don’t always use the time slots unless I feel I need it because I am going from room to call to room to call and it helps me keep track where I am headed next when my laptop is closed to be respectful of the discussions in the rooms.

How about you? Do you have lots of pages in your planner? Any favorite formats or modifications? I love modified pages and would love to see ideas of what’s in between the pages.

Happy planning and many blessings!

Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Books · Goals · Planning · Reflection · Uncategorized · Vision · Writing

Book Talk – Am I reading more?

Happy Friday! Yes, I’m sipping coffee and I’m wishing I could take the day off to read. It dawned on me that I have yet to share much about my Vision Board and my plans to read more. I used to be an avid reader. A couple of books a week was a typical average. Life got in the way. More like Igot in the way of reading!

I read an article earlier this year about how some of the world’s most successful leaders read every day. So if they can make time to read, why shouldn’t I? In all honesty, I love reading and once I started down this journey of rediscovery this year, I wanted to read more and more. Joining Brenda Novak’s book club and reading challenge was a great launching pad for me. And my “to be read” pile grows larger every day. The more I read, the more I find I want to read.

Let me share with you some (not all) of the books I’ve read so far this year. In each of the books, I will share an overall impression of the book and maybe even a link so that if you want to read it to you can. Full Disclosure: If I provide a link and you use it to purchase it via Amazon, you will be helping me sock away a bit of money to help support this site. I thank you for that.

Reading For a Better Me

<a href=”Shaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure is a great book that is packed full of motivation for physical and spiritual fitness. I love watching her in movies on the Hallmark Channel and I loved watching her grow up in Full House. This book was her way of sharing how she went from that chubby girl to a healthier and happier version of herself. I enjoyed this book because it wasn’t a diet book. It wasn’t a book that pointed out everything I do wrong. It was simply her view on how through faith and family and introspection she worked to make small changes over time that have been maintainable. As such an easy read, I keep it handy and actually pick it up every once in a while to look at end of chapters where she provides recipes and scriptures plus a little practical advice. It never hurts to reconnect. I really enjoyed it and hope you might too. Check it out.

OOLA: Find Balance in an Unbalance World by Troy and Dave the OOLA Masters. Now this book is not new to me. I got it a few years back and with my refocus using a Vision Board, I decided to pick this one back up because I wanted to revisit it. Everyone talks about work life balance and how important it is. I hear it all the time at the office. I preach it all the time to my colleagues. Does anyone really know what it means or how to do it? This book is full of how to put that into practice. I love that it even gives you an assessment to help you learn which of the 7 areas of a balance life may be needing more attention. The OOLA masters don’t tell you “how” to fix yourself. They share real stories and examples which allow you to reflect. Then they offer encouring nudges on how to find your action plan starting small and going bigger and bigger until you feel OOLA complete.

If you don’t get any other book this year, get this one! I have enjoyed reading it again and I’ve also enjoyed comparing my Vision Board for 2018 to their suggestions of an OOLA board and recognize that I have work to do to help me get balance. I also realized that I think reading this book in the past truly helped me subconciously as I was building my vision. My focus areas are closely aligned to the Seven Fs.

Reading for Joy

I have to be honest that I don’t always read books that show me “how I can do things better.” I have to read for the sheer joy of reading. It is my great escape. I love diving into other settings with fun characters and seeing what happens in their lives. Sometimes I have books that I really wanted to read but I struggle to find the time or just have a challenge connecting. Don’t you? Then there are times where I’m so engaged that I cannot put the book down and procrastinate everything else I should be doing. It is important to make time for this kind of joy. I think that even the world’s leaders have had books of fiction or non-fiction that really and truly were escapes into other settings. I learn from these characters and story lines too. So, I made sure I read from this “To Be Read” pile too. Here are some highlights on some of these other books I read in the past two months.

Edge of Darkness (The Cincinnati Series)

“>Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose was a great book. This was part of Brenda Novak’s Readers Book Club. Last night was the book club discussion where Brenda visited Karen and they hosted a Facebook Live discussion that allowed all of us to be part of the interview and discussion. I haven’t been much into mystery and supsense books but I’m a converted fan after reading this book. It is part of a series and I have added all of the other books in the series to by TBR pile because this book was that good. Her characters are real. Her settings were vivid in my imagination. And I didn’t know who did it for certain until she revealed it. I had a good guess, but I wasn’t 100 percent certain. In the discussion she let us know which of her characters in the series she has planned to “star” in upcoming books and I was very excited to know that I can look forward to some of my favorite secondary characters taking the front seat in future books. I learned a lot about how Karen manages her writing including how she keeps track of all of the characters in the series. As a writer myself insight to the writer’s life and learning tools and tips I might apply to my own work in progress and ideation process always gets me motivated and excited. She is a huge fan of Tami Hoag so I’ve decided I must prioritize some of my TBR list to ensure that I read one of those books this year instead of continuing to put it off. Funny, how an interaction with people can change your thinking in only an hour’s time.

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

“>Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is probably my favorite of the books I’ve read recently. Do you watch Hallmark Channel Movies? I do. And Debbie is one of those writers who has had several novels made into movies. Her stories are just that captivating and full of real people and sweet outcomes that they lend so perfectly to the Hallmark lineup. I’ve watched so many and realized that I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book. So when I was taking up the challenge to read a book in February based on the look of the cover, this one stood out to me at the supermarket. And I’m so glad it did. I just loved Shay and Caden’s story. Shay is so imperfecttly perfect that she melts my heart. So much of her personality resonated with me. I felt a kinship of parts of me in my younger years when it comes to choices in trust and relationships. And much y favorite character really was probably Caden’s daughter, Sarah. She said it as she saw it as any youngster would but her insights and observations were just so simple and true. Perhaps she reminded me of my daughter at that age. Such wisdom from those so young! I hope you pick this book up and just dive into the characters and watch them grow personally and together to make a new heartwarming family unit. You will feel so good at the end. I assure you.

Her Secret Daughter (Grace Haven)

“>Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne was a sweet “commercial” and I picked this book up so that I would have a quick read. I like the Harlequin series books for the short read. Often this is a book length that I can finish in an afternoon while sipping coffee. I enjoyed this book about Josie and I really fell in love with the characters from Grace Haven. Have you ever read a book where you love the secondary characters more than the main ones? This was definitely one of these books for me. Addie is the “secret daughter” and she was a little girl who could have been written so differently considering what she had been through in life. The author, Ruth, really had me cheering this sweet girl on because I just knew that she was surrounded by people who loved her and having a chance to know her biological mother would maybe confuse her but in the end could just be the thing to help bring her that much more joy. I was rooting for Addie more than I was rooting for Josie. And honestly, at first I wasn’t sure I liked Josie and wasn’t sure I wanted her for Jacob. In the end, Addie is who changed my mind about that. Check this book out one afternoon and enjoy it with your favorite beverage in a comfy chair.

I guess I was all about the kids in my books this month. And it proves to me that secondary characters are critcal to any story line and matter to readers. I am looking forward to the next few books on my pile. If you pick up and read any of these books, please come back and let me know what you thought of them. I’d love to hear. What else should I put on my list? Any suggestions?

Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Mondays-How I Planned

On Sunday, whether sipping coffee, iced tea, or wine I plan out my week. At least as much as I can. Everyone has a process. And for me personally, there are three basic steps with a lot of flair.

How I get from step to step depends on my mood or something specific about the week that might help drive a theme.

This week launches the first day of spring so flowers sprung to mind. Spring colors are popping up all around the neighborhood and in my house as we switch up accents like pillows, kitchen towels, placemats, and flowers. Our neighborhood had planters and flower beds being refreshed with daisies and petunias. Oh the joy of Phoenix living! Many places are still getting snow and ice and we are already battling seasonal allergies as the smell of orange blossoms begins to fill the air.

Since the outside is blooming, I want my page to bloom too. So, I went through my vast supply of papers, washi, and stickers to celebrate the first day of spring.

With my garden of materials ready, I began the real first step of pulling my pages out of the planner. It really does make it easier to not have the binder discs in the way. This is really one reason why Happy Planners make me so happy. (Pun intended)

I wanted to demonstrate that buying stickers is not the only way to embellish a page. Pen and paper really can go a long way and can be more affordable in the long run. I may have to write a post on finding pretty paper on the cheap. Yeah?

One page I selected had cute items that would make great tips for my spread. So I cut them out.

And I saw some colored designs I thought would look great as blocks in my vertical spaves so I used my HP Classic Punch to make a few for my layout. (I often use a plastic template to make these. I will show you that another time. You don’t have to have a punch. I have only had mine for a couple of months and I love playing with it.)

I really love the spring colors so far. And the butterfly is simply sweet.

Now is when I get to have fun. I take all of these pieces and start placing them around until I love what I see. There is no science. Getting to a point that makes me smile is my goal.

And then I start gluing them in place. Now, this time I used a glue stick. If I want to feel less committed, I often use repositionable glue tape. Next time I will bring that along and show you how great that is.

All that is left to complete the Step (maybe I should call this a phase): Before Pen, is to get some washi tape. I have actually done some weekly spreads using only washi tape and pen. That can be fun and simple too.

Wow! I just love it so far. I did grab a few stickers to pop in some key events for the week. It wasn’t necessary but it was fun to sift through and find ones I thought tied into my theme. Now we are ready for the final phase with pen!

4 key focus blocks I tend to repeat are:

  • Goal for the week
  • Space to jot things foe next week
  • specific to do lists
  • Key appointments or meetings each day

Here is this week’s plan.

In one view I can see all of the most important tasks, events, and priorities for the week and by day. I have a place for important things to keep in mind for next week. I know when my work day really starts and whether I can roll out of bed and go straight to work after my morning quiet time or if I have to plan extra time to commute. And I love this little dashboard.

Do you plan your week? In a plannet? In your head? Would you like to see more of my weekly spread styles? I would love to hear from you on what I can share on Managing Mondays.

I hope your week is focused and rewarding.

Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Unboxing – Erin Condren Haul

Every once in awhile I come home to a box waiting for me. It feels like Christmas.

So, here is the latest box from Erin Condren! Isn’t that a pretty box? The word “enjoy!” and the pretty design lend a subtle clue that EC has blessed my step. I kinda dig when the box does not blatantly display a company name.

And when I saw this pastel beauty next to my front door I was a giddy girl. Ready to see what is inside? Me too!

Let’s open it!

The enjoy! theme is mirrored inside. I just adore when I order items and they come packaged like a gift. Personal touches is a trend that big box retailers miss.

When I was browsing the site I wanted a new notebook (Her planning system is not what I use these days) and was hoping I could find something with my words for 2018. This little gem ties nicely to Strength. So I jumped on in and customized to colors that made me happy. That is the fun of Erin Condren. You can personalize with your name and change the colors within her palatte range. And the paper quality is amazing! Let’s tour this notebook.

The cover is laminated so the inside can be used over and over again with the wet erase markers.

Instead of the standard lined notebook, I opted for the productivity notebook with a list margin. We all know i love making lists! I haven’t decided what I will do yet with this notebook. I know it is going to be for writing projects. And as a lover of lists I thought I could brainstorm in bullets or list what I might need to research.

The notebooks are filled with quotes and reminders of positivity which make me smile when I use them. I need more positivity. How about you?

Did I mention I love the paper? Made in the U.S.A. and a nice thick paper that won’t tear easily. I am in love and can’t wait until I have a block of time to play.

What else is in the box?

These gift tags were a freebie. I realized I shop regularly with EC and prefer online versus going to Staples for their limited inventory. And I never signed up for the EC Insider program. I finally took the plunge for the perks. And as a thank you they sent me these! What fun! Watch for a post in the not so distant future when I embellish with them.

Markers! I have to hide these from my teenager. I really do. Not only because she would likely borrow them with no plan to return but because I have been organizing in my office in my spare time and my marker/pen/highlighter collection is already put of hand. These are my first ever from EC. They were 15% off and the Wet Erase are needed for some other items in the box. And those are…

These laminated beauties were also on sale. I wanted to see how they work with any and all spiral notebooks. And I wanted to explore laminated or permanent reusable inserts for planners would work for me. Now you know why I needed the wet erase markers. I just love these colors! Watch for some future blogs where I plan with them. I am so excited.

Oh…that isn’t all!

I love pen holders that can be stuck in journals, notebooks, and planners. And these were on sale making them under $2 each. I have never tried EC holders. I have several from Happy Planner and Michael’s but they are not plain and simple. I am into the thought of the pen holder blending in and the pen of choice standing out.

And the Coil Clip Connectors allow you to put anything inside the spiralbound notebook, journal, or planner. A custom-made dashboard or checklist might be good to pop into one…and I have always wondered what to use. So I grabbed a couple to play around with and maybe share with my readers.

Last…but certainly not least. I love these daily dots sets.

And I have been meaning to play around with this on one of my planners. I cannot wait to show you how. I will also compare these to other daily dots that I have found via other retailers.

All in all I am happy with my new unboxing. The notebook feels so personal and was definitely a treat for me. I did pay full price for it. It is okay to splurge every once in a while. All of the accessories were on sale so I went a little crazy while still staying under my budget for my splurge. Don’t you love when that happens?

Watch for some projects coming up in the next couple of months as I put these to good use and compare EC products to other brands.

Have you ever purchased Erin Condren products? The company has quite a selection and not just paper and planners. The colors and desings change regularly throughout the year. I tend to place an order every quarter if one of the new designs catches my eye.

What do you think of Erin Condren products?

Family · Vision

Strong Women

I have mentioned my maternal grandmother, Claire, in previous posts. She is my inspiration as well as my spiritual and life mentor. Even though she is no longer present here on Earth, she continues on in all aspects of my life. It is because of her that Strength and Dignity are my 2018 words clearly described in my Vision board on each area of my life.

I come from a family of strong women. Strong in faith. Strong in spirit. Strong in heart. My grandmother’s sister, Nelly was another great inspiration. These two sisters had amazing stories and left with us great legacies and traditions.

Photo Credit Monique Gosin, 2009.

My Grande Tante Nelly passed away recently in Belgium. And with her passing my cousin shared the above photo along with others from a wonderful time in 2009 when the sisters were reunited in Missouri. My children were much younger and we made the road trip from Phoenix to spend time with the sisters while they were together. I loved that time. I loved the mixture of French and English in the conversations. I loved being able to understand them and practicing my mental muscle in keeping up while taking part in the conversations. I took French in high school and somehow have been able to retain enough to keep up most of the time.

The best part of spending time with them was hearing them share memories of their childhood, their formative years, their friends, and family. These stories were sprinkled with humor and nostalgia but the common thread that resonated was their ever constant strength and dignity in how they lived and loved.

I miss them both dearly. They taught me my love for coffee and wine. They loved me and my children fiercely. They prayed for us expectantly. They taught me to do the same.