Monthly Archives: February 2012

Breakthrough Update


February Progress


 Those of you who are my regular blog readers (thank you!) know that I’ve committed myself to making progress this year in three areas that have eluded ongoing success in the past.  In other words I’ve tried and failed many times.  But this year I want to breakthrough in these areas.  The areas are 1. exercise  2. eating reasonably to lose a significant number of pounds.  3. Understanding technology.

Best News First

  • I’m exercising regularly.  Honest to goodness I try to workout six times a week.
  • Very, very occasionally I have a time restraint that prohibits my working out at my exercise facility which may lower it to 5 days a week.
  • I’m actually enjoying the work outs.  !!
  • Goals this month: If I miss a work out I want to commit to exercising at home or by walking.  Spring is almost here.  Outside walks are now possible.
  • Some time this month I want to try to add in zumba.  This is offered where I work out.  I’ve avoided it because I’m just coming off an achilles tendonitis issue.  I will start cautiously.
  • This is the area in which I feel I’ve made the most progress.  I believe I am most apt to have made a permanent change in this area.
  • I feel like it is getting easier.

Positive Progress

  • I’ve lost weight this month.
  • I actually lost more than I thought I might when I made my prediction at the beginning of the month.  Yay!
  • However, all the weight I lost happened in the middle of the month.  Many pounds came off at once while hovering in the same spot for a while.
  • The past two weeks I’ve stalled in one spot.
  • As I hover I get more and more discouraged.  It is hard to keep eating a reduced amount for ten days of seeing no progress.  I find myself eating just a tiny bit more thinking, “What the heck!  It isn’t coming off anyway.”  😦
  • I believe I have cut back my food intake enough that my body is trying to hang on to weight.  My metabolism may be dropping off which is preventing additional weight loss.  I’ve reached this weight before and plateaued.
  • I am also gaining muscles which I’ve heard weigh more than…uh…fat.
  • With the turn of the month I feel a new commitment.  But after three months on this issue, I admit it is harder to get revved up.   Power boost needed.
  • I want this to be easier.  It isn’t.

Technology Progress

  • There is no doubt about it.  I’m making progress.
  • But many, many things still elude me.
  • Earlier this week while working on this blog, it posted twice prematurely.  I still have no idea why?
  • I attend webinars on technology issues but often feel like I learn nothing, because I don’t understand what they are saying.  At the end of each one I have to fight tears.  Therefore I skip webinars that are available to me.
  • In school, I always felt like I was ‘smart’ (whatever that means).  It is hard to feel ‘dumb’ (whatever that means) about an issue.  I want to run from it.
  •  There’s no doubt I’m making progress.  I’m now on facebook.  I have half my timeline designed.  It will be revealed tomorrow…without a photo.  Baby steps.
  • I don’t know how to link anything.  I can’t insert clips or videos.  It is  a steep learning curve.
  • I’m also writing two blogs which force me to learn new skills.
  • The ebook I’m co-authoring will be submitted the end of this week.  I still have to learn how to make a page of photos with captions by then.   Gulp.
  • It is an uphill struggle.
  • I somehow believe this area will always be a challenge for me.  I want it to be easier.  It isn’t.
 Next breakthrough update?   Coming at the end of March.

Waiting for Spring


Bring on the Tulips

Harbingers of Hope

How do I know we have really made it through the winter months?  That’s easy.  The tulips arrive.  Tulips are my favorite flower.

 In my family especially, orange tulips have a meaning of great significance.  My four year old daughter Kelsey and I planted dozens of them one autumn.  But they opened up the very day she was diagnosed with cancer the following spring.  It made me furious! However, each successive year when they arrived it meant that she had survived another year.  Those tulips started as an angry reminder  and changed to a victory statement.  They are such a sign of hope for me, that I have chosen to use them for my new facebook timeline photo.  Check it out beginning March first.

I know, I know, it really isn’t officially spring just yet in my part of the world.  But it is creeping up on us, closer and closer.  It is only a couple of weeks away.  I can sense it on the horizon.  The birds are already singing in the early morning. I’m tired of waiting to celebrate.  Just humor me as I leap forward just a little.

 Things I Love About Spring

    • Baseball season!  Yeah, I’m a fan.  I especially love watching kids play ball.  It is an excuse to be outside and gives me a socially acceptable place to yell (uh…cheer).
    • Longer days.  More sun!  Time to stop hibernating inside.
    • The smell of food cooking on the grill.
    • Blooming trees and flowers.  Even the grass growing greener gives me a visual boost.

  •  Hearing the birds sing as I leave my house early in the morning to go work out.
  • Going to the store to shop for flowers to plant this year.  Considering the possibilities before I usually buy the same old stand-bys that cohabit with me because they don’t demand much care.
  • Cooking hot dogs and making smores around the fire pit with the young people in my life.
  • I have a spring birthday.  Lucky me.  I ignore the age as much as possible, but still love to be celebrated.
  • When we are blessed with a warm day with sunny skies, we know we are winning the battle…it is NOT just a fluke dropped into the middle of winter to tease us anymore.

  • I like to paint something.  My front door, or my wood wagon that holds flowers, or my wood rocking chair for the front porch.  Makes things look fresh.
  • Getting back outside to my screened in (but unheated) porch.  Yay!  Let me curl up with a good book on my screened porch.

In my part of the world we are winning the the tug-of-war of the seasons. Bring it on.

Let’s play ball!

What do you like about spring?

Family Time


Making Memories

Whoopee! Road trip!

I love to make memories with my family.  So when my daughter                    mentioned a gymnastics meet two hours away I was excited.  Road trip!  A great opportunity to bond and build memories. Just the girls.  I was psyched.

I picked them up bright and early.  I even washed my car.  Two pre-teen granddaughters wasted no time strapping small screens on the back of my front seat head rests. Volume was adjusted to LOUD.  They each burrowed under separate blankets to block out the screen glare and stayed locked to the screens for two hours.  Rude dialogue from the adolescent movie blared in my ears and ricocheted through my  central nervous system.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

No, we are not having fun.  No remote control for me.  No ear phones for them.  No soothing music from my favorite satellite station.  Couldn’t be heard over the din.  No conversations with my daughter sitting right next to me in the front seat.  No way to hear her.  No eye contact.  She spent her time texting friends and family members who were lucky enough not to be in the car with us.  No memories being made.  No good ones anyway.  No bonding taking place.

The Only Good News

But there was some good news.  They didn’t nag the driver (me) with that relentless question we all dread.  The driver, close to insane was the first to ask, “ARE WE THERE YET?

Sometimes, forgetting that most of my grandkids are now teenagers or pre teens, my anticipation of these events is still in Disney mode.  But I’m having to dwell in a Beevis and Butthead world.  Sometimes reality sucks.

Writing Tips


How Do I Write?

How do I get the pen to write words across the page?

First Comes the Idea

  • I carry small notebooks with me.  I have one in my purse and one in the car.  I write any idea down as soon as it occurs to me.  Some times I carry index cards in a pocket for the same reason.
  • Don’t wait for a full blown idea.  Any snippet of information, jot it down.  It may be a funny phrase, or just a cute story someone told you.  A song lyric.  An unusual name.  WRITE IT DOWN.  Don’t worry about how you will use it, yet.
  • Reading quotes gives me ideas for stories.  A quote may remind me of a time in my life when I lived the words in that quote. A quote can give me an idea for a whole story.
  • Listen to music.  Songs inspire me to write.  They give me ideas.  They help me believe I can write.  I write stories in my head as I drive listening to music.

Then I Organize

Post it notes help me think!

  •  As soon as possible I transfer my ideas out of my small notebooks and put each snippet of an idea on a post it note.
  • I arrange these post it notes inside a file folder…just a plain file folder that opens flat.
  • When I sit down to write without an idea, I open up the file folder and pick a post it note with an idea.
  • Often if I am writing an article or story I can work in the ideas off several post it notes.  That’s why I like post it notes better than outlines.  I can just easily move the post its around and group them in different ways.
  • I don’t wait for the perfect opening or a fabulous ending to come to me, before I begin to write.  I usually start to write anywhere in the piece.  I almost always start in the middle.  A great opening or perfect ending will occur to me as I write, not while I’m staring at the wall.
Woman\'s hands on a notebook keyboard close up - typing  stock photo
  • I find that the more I write, the more ideas occur to me.  Writing leads to more writing.
  • Therefore I don’t allow a writer’s block to fester.  I just write.  If it means I have to write in a different genre for a while that’s OK.  If it means I throw out everything I write on a particular day, that’s OK too.  But writing leads to writing.  I just write.
  • Most important…I read.  Most writers learn to become good writers because they are prolific readers.
  • I’m involved in two writer’s groups.  We listen to each other’s work and make suggestions.  We encourage one another and share publishing ideas and experiences.
  • Get a first draft down.  Don’t be too picky. Lots of first drafts sound like sewage.
  •  You can make it sing in your rewrites.  But push forward to get the first draft down.  Then work your magic.

Happy Writing! 

A Man Cave for Girls


But First a Good Book

Book_ThisYearIWill_sm.jpgWhere have I been?  Reading a great book!  For those of you who are trying

to have breakthrough moments this year  I highly recommend M.J. Ryan’s

book titled This Year I Will.  It is full of great ideas for breaking a habit, or

sticking to a resolution that has beaten you in the past.  Get it!  Read it!

Together it will help us break habits that have beaten us before we decided to

breakthrough.   I loved the sensible suggestions and encouraging words within.

Yes!  I Said Man Cave for Girls

One of my former high school students visited me in my home last night.  She is now a college senior who is a future teacher.  She came to my home to help me make a video about my upcoming book.  My young friends are wonderful resources when it comes to technology skills.

 Her name is Kaitlyn and she can make a computer come alive with creativity.  Best of all she is willing to share her skills with me.  I’m telling you when you teach with your heart your students will love you forever.  They flock to my side to help me every time I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I loved what she said when she first walked into my home office.  “Wow!’ she said.  I was afraid my disarray had punched her in the solar plexis.  But she took away my embarrassment with her next sentence.  “I can’t wait to have my own home so I can have a room like this.  This is like a girl’s version of a man cave!”

God bless her.  She ‘gets it’.  The room where I write is a feminine version of a man cave.  Which is to say it isn’t a man cave at all.  No dark paneling can be found in my domain.  No bar for drinks or kegs of beer.

 No giant screen TV has been invited into my room.  I’m surrounded by built in shelves backed by white bead board and filled with books I love.  The walls are a beautiful pastel, lampshades are gingham, and wicker baskets with charming fabrics hold my pretty folders full of past programs where I was invited to speak and writing ideas.  And my file folders aren’t manila.  They are flowered, striped, checked, paisley or polka dots.  “Why?” you ask.  Why not?

A variety of scrapbook papers are within reach and a polka dot flower pot holds my colored markers.  I have stickers, stamps, and paper cutters.  I’m surrounded by encouraging quotes and sayings.  I thrive on encouraging words.  Some of them say…

Your story matters

She believed she could…so she did.

It is often the bend in the road the makes life worth the drive.

To teach is to love.

Welcome to my loose interpretation of clean

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Yeah, I admit.  It is cluttered.  There is always a pile on my desk.  Ask any student who ever entered my classroom.  But every item in it sparks my creativity and wraps me in encouragement as I write.  The framed cover of my first book hangs on the wall.  It is matted in bright yellow to grab my attention and remind me that my words matter.

I admit I didn’t get my shabby chic cocoon until my daughters moved out.  But I have it now and it lifts my spirit and makes my heart soar every day.  Here’s hoping you ladies will follow my lead.  It’s not just the men who need a special room to rejuvenate them.  Go for it girls.

If Kaitlyn were still here I’d have her take a bunch of pictures of my room and post them on my blog.  But, well, I’d have to clean first.  Let’s not get carried away.