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.

Crafting · Family · Holidays · Recipe

Organizing Recipes – Decluttering the Piles

I have so many recipes in so many random places. Santa brought me a Happy Planner Recipe Planner a couple of years ago. And it is full of blank pages that are just waiting to get filled.

Over the past several months I have been finding recipes I have jotted down, saved as favorites, and printed. I look in a box, a book, or a drawer and suddenly a new recipe is stuffed inside. Instead of sticking them back, I have started putting them in the pocket folder of this planner and while I binge watch one evening each week, I WILL transfer them to my recipe planner. Finally!

I love the format and flexibility of this planner and hope that I can eventually have all of my recipes stored here.

As I use it I will also include love notes and memories in these pages for my kids to have for years. I can embellish with stickers and pictures and washi tape so that it can be another memory-filled and likely food-stained reminder of my crazy obsession of making things pretty.

And of course I have themed stickers to include in the fun!

How do you organize recipes? If you are looking for a binder like this I found mine along with expansion packs at Michael’s. I have also seen them on Amazon and of course, at one of my favorite sites, wwe.thehappyplanner.com

Share your way of organizing favorite recipes. Show me some pictures too. I would love to see them.

Family · Goals · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Mom Priorities

It is coffee time! Quiet time is so very precious to me. And this time at the beginning of every week as I sip coffee feels paramount to how the week can go. I take time to think on all that I need to do plus what I would like to do. It is my way of getting out of the bed on the right side.

The past few weeks have been a struggle in changing priorities and I have had to shift even more to remembering what matters most. This focus adds a perspective like no other. I want to ensure I balance Mom priorities over work priorities because the family needs that right now. It isn’t just about my schedule. It is more about being “present” in mind and heart more.

I spent most of my time sipping my first cup in a retrospective state and looked back on what did and did not go well over the past couple of weeks. I asked myself what I could do differently because I felt like I was being too hard on myself and others around me. I realized that my expectations were perhaps set too high or not communicated effectively which can cause conflict on the home front.

Setting my plan for this week I designed a motivational and functional week spread in my planner. I wanted to see reminders of what is really important at work so that I can keep the negative noise and nonsense from others in perspective. And in doing that I can avoid the negativity from seeping over into other aspects of life. Most importantly self care needs to be at the front of the train and not in the caboose as a back burner.

My spread is full of motivation and focus areas. It gives me permission to delegate nonsense to the back burner. I am reminding myself to be the servant leader by focusing on my team’s needs and being a positive in the storm. Recently I have had an opportunity to observe leaders who are in the trenches with their teams and leaders who stay back in the tent barking out orders and then hiding in the shelter waiting and watching. The latter leader style sometimes seeps negativity out beyond the team and affects the bigger goal. And it is simply not my style. So while I am in the trenches I want to remember to be positive and guide my crew to the best outcomes with encouragement, gratitude, and course corrections that take us along the journey to the finish line celebrating together.

This week I want to make sure that I am focusing on the behind the scenes planning that sets the stage for every act in the play my team is cast in so they can be stars. I want to ensure the setting is right, the props are in place, and that they know their lines.

At home, I want to keep the work from seeping in. I want to protect our time so that it is of such quality that we all feel accomplished and grateful.

These may seem lofty goals for the week but I don’t think so.

In any moment of negativity I plan to step outside of it and ask myself:

  • Am I the engineer on this train right now?
  • Is this helping any of my three focus areas?
  • Should this be back burner?
  • Will this seep beyond work?

Knowing the answers to these questions should guide me to the right energy level in the moment and maintain perspective.

At the end of the week I aim to have positive energy to tackle that garage with my family: A project that we never seem to get to with our conflicting schedules and energy levels.

Share your spreads for the week and share the why. I always want to understand others why.

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.

Family · Holidays · Reflection

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am sipping coffee and contemplating why I always have loved Valentine’s Day. I find it to be one that can evoke many feelings based on your personal season in life.

Many of us as children exchanged cards and candy with classmates. We all had those teachers that creatively guided us through many art projects made from the shape of a heart.

My mother (I miss her on holidays) never missed an opportunity on any holiday, even St. Patrick’s Day and 4th of July, to give gifts. When I woke up on these “little” holidays, I would make a beeline to the kitchen to see what might be waiting. There was always a card. Like many Valentine gifts, there was likely a heart shaped box with a few chocolates and a little something else with the theme of hearts: barrettes, bracelet, earrings, or a shirt. It was never anything fancy yet I loves it. I loved incorporating a gift I could wear into my outfits that day. My mom was my favorite Valentine every year. Even in later years with boyfriends, best friends, and crushes, her gifts were the highlight. I wonder if I ever told her that?

As a Single Mom, I continue this tradition with my family. I didn’t plan ahead this year, so after being out of town for two weeks, I made sure last Sunday that my errands included picking up something for my children. Yes, my son is 22, his girlfriend is 21, and my daughter is 13. Like my mother, my children are never too old to gift. And like my mother, anyone in my home is part of the tradition. As a parent, we are our children’s first and continuous Valentine. Don’t you think?

So, they have Skittles and Russell Stover chocolates waiting for them.

And like my mom, I made sure I wasn’t left out.

I have these candy hearts to play with and nibble on throughout the day. I love these and conversation hearts. Perhaps this was the origin of my love for words. Thanks to my first and continuous Valentine: Mom.

Do you have Valentine’s Day traditions? Anything special planned for today? Whatever you do, I hope it is special and in the years down the road provides happy memories. Life isn’t about things. It is definitely about shared memories. As you can see I don’t remember the “things” in detail but the memories, they are quite vivid.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. It is also Ash Wednesday. Are you doing anything special this Lenten Season?

Family · lists · Planning

Blockbuster is so not Netflix-Not To Me

While standing at a register buying a cup of coffee in a local Circle K a couple of weeks ago, my cashier said to a nearby employee, “It isn’t like going to Blockbuster anymore.”

How long has it been since I had even heard any reference to that storefront? Yep, you guessed it. I eavesdropped. Even better, I jumped right into the conversation and realized I missed that place. Or the experience of the place. This past weekend when my family and I were browsing all things streaming through our Amazon Firestick, we couldn’t seem to pick anything to agree on. Frankly, I got annoyed by the browsing along with the respectively bored faces . We kept saying no. Browsing by topics we vetoed one after another. Nothing seemed new. At first I thought it was my desire to grab the remote and manage the search process. We through one title after another when everything seemed like the same old same old. Then Blockbuster came to mind again. I asked my son who is 22 years old if he remembered going to Blockbuster. He recalled a vague memory and it made me a bit sad. Especially when I realized my daughter, a mere teenager definitely seemed clueless. Game Stop is probably the closest comparison and she loves that place.

Blockbuster, and the experience it offered, seems so lost on the next generations tuned into the more common addiction to satellite tv, cable, On Demand, binge watching the seemingly limitless streaming services.

Think I am Crazy?

Maybe. I miss going to Blockbuster. I miss walking the aisles of New Releases and other movie sections looking to see something I might have missed seeing or an old favorite to see again. I miss the conversations my friends and family and I would have about movies we loved or hated. We reminisced about who we experienced movies with, some of the crazy covers, the actors, the soundtracks all while we picked cases up and held them in our hands. Date nights were fun because you learned each other’s likes and dislikes. And sometimes you talked to strangers who offered recommendations or chimed in on conversations. How about times when you would browse alone and pick something and meet your co-conspirator in another aisle with a suggestion or two in hand? Wasn’t that fun, like a scavenger hunt?

I loved picking out 2 or 3 movies, debating to a point where some were mutual selections and others were compromises. It was energetic, frustrating, fun, disappointing, and great quality time together.

I loved the chance to pick up used DVDs on the cheap to add to my personal collection. I miss the overpriced snacks, drinks, toys and collectibles that were perfectly placed like a concession stand as you waited in line to buy or rent the movies. Oh and the games too!

Why did we let this part of “date night, family night, friend night…whatever night” fade to black like the end of so many great movies we wished would keep on going?

Netflix? Yeah. We picked something to watch together. But I don’t think we all wanted to watch it. Some of us fell asleep. There was no build up for what was next. We never spend 30 minutes browsing titles saving and queuing two or three movies and devising a game plan on what to watch first. We aren’t dividing and conquering in the virtual aisles either. We did search for snacks in the house. But the selection wasn’t as great. They were free.

Streaming Better Options

Sipping the last of this cup, I miss the Blockbuster experience and for the life of me, I just cannot think of a plan to bring that to life with the unlimited streaming options I have available with those around me. Is it because we aren’t engaged physically? Is the search and browse method limiting? I remember walking through Blockbuster many Fridays in a row and feeling like there was nothing to get. I also remember going in expecting to get our hands on a New Release only to find all the copies were claimed. I kept going back though. Redbox and Netflix became the newer things. Redbox can simulate the debates and the sale tion is much smaller at the kiosks. But still full of experience gaps.

Is it the process? Vould it be the lack of options in Streaming? Is it how we are blindly looking at only what we can see? I really think Netflix suggestions were better ten years ago.

Does anyone have a method that takes us through the process that ties it back to the relationship and the experience? Are we just lazy and expect our technology to know what we want when we don’t know ourselves?

Do you miss it? What else do you miss? Do you have streaming struggles too? Why?

Family · Goals · Planning · Reflection · Vision

Managing Mondays with Weekend Wisdom

“Six o’clock already…I was just in the middle of a dream.” Do you remember that song, “Manic Monday” by The Bangles? What about, “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters? Why do we let Mondays or whatever day is the start of our week influence our moods such?

There are some Mondays when the unthinkable happens and it just seems that Murphy’s Law presides. The alarm clock didn’t go off or I slept through it. I am out of coffee! (Gasp!) The kids refuse to get up. My dog (any of the three) took off with one of the shoes I planned to wear hoping that keeps me from leaving. It is pouring rain. I can’t find my lunch box or my work I.D. Some Mondays just seem like the worst day ever before I step foot out of the house. Tell me I am not alone.

It always seems that Manic Mondays turns into a snowball of a week that continues to get bigger the next day and the next. On a week like that getting to Friday seems to be impossible and all I want to do is crawl under the covers each day in defeat asking if there is a “do over” button somewhere.

Here I am. Another Monday. It has a way of sneaking up on me. Today is not rainy. It is not manic. I am sipping coffee and I am enjoying my quiet time. I am working from home. There is no school because it is MLK Day. But not every Monday is so simple. I decided last year to do my best to take back Mondays from Murphy’s Law. To do that I had to find a way to manage the day. And step one for every Monday starts with some pre work over the weekend.

Weekend Wisdom

I am like many folks and I have certain tasks I plan to do every weekend. I run errands, launder clothes and complete other household chores. I used to feel accomplished but I also became annoyed because it didn’t feel like we were enjoying weekends as a family or with any rest.

My kids are older now and can share these responsibilities. Communicating expectations to everyone is important. So Sunday is my planning day. I plan menus, I set a cleaning schedule, and I batch cook ahead a few meals. I post these lists on the refrigerator and everyone knows what is for dinner and when I would like things to get done. We share the load. With work, school, activities and busy schedules deciding who does what when is something we each own our personal share. I also note important days to remember and post it on the fridge. Then, we can enjoy time together and I nag less. Who wants a nagging mom?!?

Here are this week’s beauties. (As you can see, I don’t make these pretty every time. I should use a pen that erases and I am sure a sticker or two with a splash of washi would be good. Depends on my day and how I am feeling. The kids don’t seem to notice or care.)

Visualize the Week Ahead

Sundays relax me. I love cooking and being in my kitchen. It gives me time ro meditate and start thinking about my upcoming week. I also love the thirty minutes or so I set aside on Sunday to create a visual for my week. Goals and lists. Planner crafting! These tools help me focus. Having a visual plan helps me Manage Mondays. I have more time to sip my coffee when I set my mind at ease knowing what to expect. I spend more time meditating which reduces my stress at the beginning of each day. Next Monday, I will share how I make my weekly visual, another secret weapon in my arsenal of managing Mondays.

Do you have secret weapons to help you plan and organize your days and weeks? Do you menu plan or have a cleaning list every week? How do you Manage Mondays? Please share below in the comments.