Alright, alright, alright.

What are you choosing to do with your life-When I was living across the Atlantic (and even now), the Oscars didn’t seem all that important. In fact, were it not for Facebook I might not have even known the awards show was on. But when I woke the next morning and saw numerous shout-outs to Matthew McConaughey for a brilliant acceptance speech, I had to google it.

I  found it with a brief write up on Time.com. Their title, “Explaining Matthew McConaughey’s Confounding Acceptance Speech,” had me a little worried. I thought it might not be all that my FB friends claimed.

My friends were right. Continue reading

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What Do You Imagine For Your Life?

mosaicWe’ve started setting goals with our team here in Ireland–both personal and group goals. Goal setting is one of my favorite things to do because the activity takes me out of the busy-ness of life and makes me think:

* What and who are really important to me?
* Am I treating my priorities as if they’re really priorities?
* What are the areas I’d like to grow in… and how will that happen?
* What do I want to be, have and do during the next year? (Thanks to Zig Ziglar for this question.)

 

One of the things I want to do is create more. For example, I’d love to do a large mosaic piece. This picture above is just a small part of a mosaic wall in Dublin. Seeing it reminded me make time for art because a little creativity in one area spills over and leads to innovation in other areas.

What are you imagining for your life?

For help setting and achieving your goals, get your free Goal-Getting Guide today. Just enter your name and email in the form at the top right corner
of this page.

 

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Who Knew a Schedule Could Really Work?

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Working on the craft of the day: “Tie-dye” T-shirts made with permanent markers (Bic and Sharpie). Spray rubbing alcohol on the design to make the colors blend.

I’d heard people say that schedules work for kids, but I didn’t believe it. I like to leave things open. I thought structure would kill the creative spirit within… until I realized that lack of structure and too much screen time were numbing my 9-year-old’s brain.

As a work-from-home parent, summers aren’t especially easy. Deadline don’t die down… in fact, they tend to pile on in the summer months. Add our upcoming move to the normal busyness of summer, and life moves from full to STRESSful.

We started out this summer by signing up for day camp. After about a month, we decided to take a break. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a plan for keeping my son busy while my husband and I work. We are in an apartment and I don’t feel comfortable sending him out to play without a buddy. Relegating him to his room works for a while, but he’s soon back by my side—bored, hungry for a snack, or just needing a little attention.

When I write or edit, constant distractions and interruptions really slow my progress; things that should take an hour end up taking three. So when he asked: “Can I play on your iPad?” or “Can I watch TV?” or “Can I play on your phone?”, my far-too-frequent, was “yes.”

Mid-week during the second week of having him home, guilt weighed heavy on me. The glazed-over look that comes from hours of screen time was too much to take. I needed a plan to keep him engaged, entertained and independent… without a screen.

Today we put the plan into action… and it worked! I fact, I am really shocked at how well it worked. (I can hear all my homeschooling, school teacher and/or super-organized mom friends laughing at me. Yes, yes, I know you told me so!)

Simplicity, for me, is super-important. I don’t need one more thing on my to-do list. With that in mind, this is what worked for us.

I found a schedule idea on Pinterest (re-pinned on my “Taming the TV” board) and adapted it to be really simple. The idea was to have mental, physical, creative, together and downtime activities planned

I wrote his schedule (in pencil) on the inside back cover of a notebook I’ve labeled “Summer Journal” so he could see what time he needed to switch activities.

I built in some time where I would have to be with him. Now, this step may sound weird to some people, but when I get into the writing or editing zone, it’s very easy for me to say “Give 20 more minutes” and three hours pass before I look up again. That’s something I’m working on because I do want to be present and active in my kids’ lives. To help me make my priorities a priority, I made sure we had together time planned. I started my day very early today so I could take a swim break mid-day without feeling like I was playing hooky.

We explained to him, “You’re going to have a schedule… here it is.”

And it worked.

Sure, he still watched some Netflix and played some video games , but far, far less than before—and only when it was on the schedule. Yes, he still interrupted me, but not nearly as many times.

Tomorrow will have to be different because we have Bible study in the morning across town. But that’s fine, I’ll figure out a plan for flexible structure as we go.

What works for you and your kids schedule-wise? Do you use a schedule?

 

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God is Never Too Busy for You

too-busy“He’s tied up working on his next book for the next several weeks. I’m sorry. I know he’d reconsider once the book is released, but right now he’s just too busy for an interview.”

You’ve got to be kidding. I thought, looking at the disappointing email.

Two months earlier, I’d reached out to the semi-famous author for an interview about his upcoming book. My editor wanted an article, a short piece to tease his new work, and she wanted it before the book released.

I knew getting this guy to talk to me would be a challenge. He has mastered the art of protecting his time from outside requests. To an extent, his concern for his time seems reasonable. He wants to focus his hours and energy on his goals. I get that. I even read his first book and tried to follow the system he outlined for weeding most emails, phone calls and interruptions out of his life. He’s all for initiating communication when it serves his purpose. But unless you’re summoned, don’t bother calling him.

Now what? After numerous emails and phone calls to the author and his assistant, I’d struck out… at least for the time being. My deadline would come and go before he would even “reconsider.”

It wasn’t the first (or the last) time someone rejected an interview request. I couldn’t understand it. Don’t these people know this kind of positive publicity only helps them? I wasn’t working for The Enquirer;my magazine isn’t interested in scandals or exposés. It highlights positive stories, helpful information, and motivational advice. If you’re invited to be featured, it’s because we want to share our excitement for what you’re up to—we want to tell people good things about you.

I’m still surprised at how many people are just “too busy” to be bothered to take 15-20 minutes to speak to me for an interview. Even emailing responses to a few questions is too much to ask. Their message is clear: “Your goals, your assignment, you are not important enough to me right now. If you can be of assistance to me in the future, I’ll be in touch.”

Call Any Time

How different those rejections are from the meeting I had this morning. Like always, I prepared myself for the call by learning about the celebrity. I like to have a good feel for what the other person’s interests and values are—understanding what a subject cares about allows for a meaningful discussion.

Reading about what He’s accomplished so far blew me away. The impact He’s made on the world—not just the Western world, the entire world—makes others’ achievements look pitiful by comparison.

I also read that He never turns down a request for a meeting. He has one requirement: you have to go through His Son to speak to Him. But His Son has the same open-door policy and personally answers every call. How refreshing! (You can’t imagine how hard it can be just to get a busy person’s assistant on the phone.)

I met His Son a while back. His story is amazing, too. So incredible in fact, that a lot of people have a hard time buying into it. But in my research on Him, I’d learned that every bit of His story is true. And, still, with all the fame He’s accumulated, His humility and genuine care for others make Him easy to talk to. I can call Him up anytime and He puts me right through to His Father—the God of the universe. Talk about having connections!

You never have to schedule a meeting to talk with God. He is never too busy to talk with you; if fact, He wishes you’d call more often… He misses you and says to tell you He loves you.

“In him [Christ Jesus] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” —Ephesians 3:12

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Getting Where You Want To Go

When Jen McDonough realized she was tired of living a so-so life, she took control of her attitude and behavior and changed health, her income–everything. She shares her powerful story in her book, Living Beyond Awesome. As you read her guest post think about what you want for your life–and what it would take to make it happen.

When I was overweight and couldn’t run two blocks, the thought of running a marathon was unimaginable! In fact, the thought of running a mile seemed impossible. Continue reading

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Time Flies, but You are the Pilot

How many times have you thought, There isn’t enough time in the day! or, How will I ever get it all done? If you constantly feel pinched for time, you’ll appreciate this guest post by Kathy Brunner. Take a quick coffee break and learn a few tips for getting more out of your day.

Several years ago I came across a statement which made me think about how I treated the time I was allotted and since then I have made a conscious effort to see the value in having a schedule that holds me accountable.

“Time is a precious commodity; so precious it is only given to us moment by moment. We can neither have one moment back or store up the next for the future.” Continue reading

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10 Years of Imagining Finally Became a Reality

For 10 years, my husband and I said we wanted to go to Ireland. We made plans and canceled them more times than I can count. After a while, you start to think, this is never going to happen.

Thoughts like never scare me. I don’t want can’t and never to be part of my life. So, while writing out my 2012 goal list in early January, I determined that this would be our year to visit.

After reading all sorts of “how to travel on a budget” guides, I found affordable tickets and put them on hold. After a brief email discussion with Brian, I purchased non-refundable tickets. They were paid off by February, and by April we were flying over the Atlantic on our way to the Emerald Isle.

What an adventure! After visiting Ireland, I know we’ll go back… and it won’t take us 10 years to get there. The lesson here: Don’t put your dreams on hold. I wish we’d gone sooner!

The video below includes a few of the 1,300 pictures I took on our nine-day trip. I hope you enjoy them!

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What Minimalism Can Do For You

Are you a collector? Is shopping your hobby? Are your home and calendar filled beyond capacity? If so, this post from guest blogger Lorilee Lippincott may be exactly what you need. Now, don’t stress. You don’t have to give away all your earthly possessions. But you may discover there’s much to be gained when you let go of the stuff that fills your life. Continue reading

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How to Stay Organized on the Road

While road tripping is considered one of the great human experiences, not everyone embraces the event of being crammed into a car for several hours (or days) with friends or family members. Even if you’re going on a road trip alone, you may start your journey with the best of intentions to stay organized but end up being covered in coffee splatters and pieces of gum you chewed three days ago. Continue reading

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Dream BIG!

“Dreaming is the driving force of transformation,” says Marcia Weider in an interview with Jack Canfield.

In this short clip, Marcia explains that dreamers live longer–up to seven years longer. As if you needed yet another reason to dream big!!–

Watch the Dream Big video clip.

What’s your big dream? What do you imagine for your life?

You can join Jack Canfield’s Inner Circle Club now and enjoy a free 10-day trial. (I think it’s worth it just for this one interview!)

Dream big. Live the life you imagine.

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