Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivational Monday #27 - The Diamond Tiara

This year I decided to spend less time running around and more time with my family.  The quickest way to free up some time was to buy the gifts I liked online. So that is what I did.

There is something fantastic about clicking a button and knowing I marked a "to-do" off my list, someone earned an income, and someone else will be pleasantly surprised.  I wish everything I did had such a lovely domino effect.

This year we are faced with an interesting economic situation.  The housing market is still depressed, job are hard to find in many areas and normal holiday extravagance is somewhat limited.

I suggest you combine the ease of shopping online with the joy of giving a practical gift.  No one really wants reindeer sweaters or electric socks. And while diamond tiaras are fabulous to look at in catalogs, I have never met a single person who wears one.

This year do practical and smart.  This year, do Prepared Binder.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Frantic Friday #6 - Where Am I Supposed to Be?

Keeping track of my own life is hard enough, but keeping track of my whole family can be tough.  I know many people have this same issue, and I have seen many solutions for the problem.

For most people, a master calendar works wonders.  In my house, I am the master calendar keeper and I choose to keep an electronic calendar.

One of the best parts of an electronic calendar system is that I can send meeting requests for dates and times to other people. For example, when my husband has to be home early, I send him a request telling him what time he needs to leave. When he accepts the meeting onto his calendar his time is blocked out and he sees it every time he looks at his calendar. Viola! No more, "I didn't know!" in our family.

Not everyone has access to this feature, so I would suggest finding a system that works for you.  It may take time to get used to the concept of keeping everything on one calendar, and it may take some time to organize it, but I promise it will be worth it.

Just because I am nuts, I color code the things we are doing.  I have a color for my activities and each member of the family.  I have a color for doctor appointments and travel time to and from events. At a glance I can see what types of things are going on and plan my day to make it happen.

With the new year coming up, take the time to find a new calendar system. Put the effort into making it work for you, and maybe, just maybe you will find yourself a little less frantic in the coming year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Worthy Causes - A Rare Conversation

Every so often I am motivated to talk about a worthy cause.  Today is one of those days.

In our world of "causes" there are many people trying to get our attention and in many cases, get our money. Today I would talk to you about a cause that does not need your money, just your vote.

Every month Pepsi does a popular vote to decide where to give over 1 million in charitable donations.  Categories are set up and organizations are vetted to determine who is on the list to be voted for. For the month of November there are many worthy groups.

One of those groups is the Childhood and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF).  This organization is in the $250k category and is attempting to gain enough votes to be in the top two slots so they can receive the prize money.

Why would I bring up such a scary topic?  Why would I mention the exceptionally un-PC concept of mental illness? Why would I tell you about a group that helps kids and their families living with bipolar disorder and depression?

I mention it because it is a topic with great personal meaning.  I have known some amazing people who struggle every day to keep their kids safe and happy while battling a disorder which is poorly understood and lightly researched. These families do everything they can to help their wonderful children succeed, but the lack of understanding from family doctors and local educators creates stumbling blocks at every turn.

These families need help, and that is where you can help.

CABF is in the running to win the money needed to increase education and expand its support services.  All they need is your vote.  While you may have no interest in this subject, and you won't hurt my feelings if that is the case, I appreciate the time it has taken you to read this.

You may know someone who is affected by depression and mental illness.  You may know someone who has committed suicide after being depressed. You may know children who are smart, but have a limited ability to function in regular school settings.  You may also have compassion for their families.

Please take the time to follow the links at the bottom of this post.  The vote only runs until the end of November.  You may vote via facebook (after loading an app) you may also vote via the Pepsi site directly.  If you want you can also text your vote.  You may vote each of the three ways each day for the rest of the month.

How often are we given the chance to determine how donations are used without donating ourselves? How often do we get a voice in big corporation spending? How often are we presented with the chance to change the lives of thousands of kids and their families?  Please vote so you can do each of those things.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that every so often I feel the need to talk about a worthy cause.  Today was that day, but I doubt it will happen very often.  Thanks for listening. I appreciate it.

Ways to Vote:

Vote Online: Go to . This will take you to the CABF Pepsi online voting page. Click "Vote for this Idea". Register once and then you are all set.
Vote on Facebook: The first time you vote via Facebook, you'll be asked for permission to access your information. Click "Allow". This will take you to the Pepsi Refresh Vote & Share application. You will see CABF's project below the search bar. Click "Vote for this Idea". (After you vote, be sure to click "share this idea" to encourage your friends to vote for us on Facebook. Do this every time you vote!) Note: If you don't see our project, or if you receive an error, search for "CABF".
Text your Vote: Text 104174 to PEPSI (73774) (Normal text rates apply).


Monday, November 22, 2010

Motivational Monday #26 - Thanksgiving Motivation

It is hard to be motivated when you are tied to the railroad tracks waiting for an oncoming train. While you might argue I should be motivated to get off the tracks, that is not an option and I must embrace the train...or in this case the impending holiday season.

If you are noticing the lateness of my post, then you will know exactly what the rest of the week will be like. In fact, you will know what the rest of my holiday season will be like.  It will be crazy and I will be running just to stay caught up with what I should have done already.

Have I depressed you yet?

On this Motivational Monday, I would suggest we each find joy in the doing, and not the finishing.

Today I spent and entire day with friends.  I laughed, I joked, I giggled, and then I laughed some more.  At no time did I do laundry, plan meals for the holidays, or even try and organize anything.  I just enjoyed the moment. 

In the end, I am positive I accomplished more than I ever have before.  What a great day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When people talk about trials I am always amazed by the difference in perspectives.  For some people trials are categorized as painful, trying and destructive.  For others, trials are described as learning opprotunities, stepping stones to greater understanding, or increased perspective.

I guess trials are all of theses things and more.

Some trials are unexpected and difficult to navigate, but others may be categorized by nothing other than lack of planning.  If you know you will be in a car with a child for hours, pack activities, or your patience will be tried as they whine and complain.  If you are moving, pack your essentials with you, or you may find yourself without toilet paper and underwear. If you are heading out on a long day of errands, get gas, or expect to sit by the side of the road.

Now obviously there are many trials that don't fall into the "plan ahead" category, nor is it possible to plan for every trial that does. But in a world where so many things are out of my control, I choose to take control of that which I can.

For that reason I plan, and for that reason I prepare. Someday it will matter, and someday my preparation will pay me, I planned for it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Motivational Monday #25 - The Swing of Things

My family took advantage of a few days of wonderful weather and went on vacation.  While the car trip is always long, the vacation was nice and the kids had a wonderful time. 

Now we are back.

As much as I love arriving home after a trip, with the promise of my own pillow just ahead of me, I do not like the process of getting back into the swing of things. Unpacking, starting laundry, cleaning out the furry thing I forgot in the know the drill.

When we break routine and do something different, be it relaxing or not, we eventually have to get back to our regularly scheduled programming...and thus our regular lives.

However, getting back into things can be fun at times.  I have to admit I enjoyed seeing how much my garden had grown since I left.  I also was excited to see the mail that had arrived and the packages that had been delivered.  I was not as excited to dig into the hundreds of emails, most of which were junk.

One interesting side effect of a few days away was that I noticed the things I do that have no purpose.  There are tasks I complete, routines I follow, and yes, I admit it, a few habits I have, that serve no real purpose and are time suckers.  Ahhhh, the perspective of vacation.

Anyway, it does not take a vacation to take a fresh look at things.  You can use Monday as an excuse to look at things with new eyes and jump back into your life with renewed gusto.  For that matter, Tuesday is a good excuse to do the same thing...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Motivational Monday #24 - Get Involved

Every day we are presented with numerous choices and opportunities. Some of these decisions lead to good results, and others...well, not so much.

One of the decisions I made in my life was to be involved with the things I care about. So I participate with my children's school and volunteer time with kids.  I lend a hand at church, and I spend time with friends and family.  I also look for causes that mean something to me and donate my talents to further their mission.

Don't think I am trying to tell you I am a saint, because I am not.  I just realized a long time ago that no man is an island, and if I want to feel connected to the world around me I need to participate in the world around me.

As this is a Motivational Monday post, I want you to think about what it is you feel connected to.  Is it the kids, or a charity?  Is it a church or a community group?  Whatever it is, figure out how to help the organizations you love.  Not all support comes in the form of writing a check.  Most support comes from donating time and talents.  Sometimes stuffing envelopes, or answering phones is more valuable than your money.  Working with kids, or even just being a warm body at the door can be a valuable contribution.

Figure out where you want to place your energy and go do it.  Getting involved will take your mind off of your life for a little while and put it on the lives of those you serve. It will expand how you think and will put a lot of things into perspective.

Go and do. You'll love it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Frantic Friday #5 - Let It Go

I have noticed something interesting.  With the downturn in the economy and the belt tightening we all seem to be doing, I don't want extra stuff around me.  I don't want extra toys on the floor or shoved in bins.  I don't want clothes that don't fit, or appliances I don't use.  I don't want to see books I don't read or nick knacks I don't like.

My tolerance for extra "stuff" is about gone.  In fact, I think it is gone.

So what to do?  The obvious options are:
  1. Throw it out
  2. Sell it
  3. Give it away
Throwing things out is hard for me.  I'm always sure someone can use it, but some things really are trash and prying my fingers off is really good for the soul.

Selling stuff takes work, but that work can turn into extra Christmas or grocery money.  I have half of my garage piled up at this moment for a yard sale.  Who knows what type of person will want my stuff, but hopefully someone will.

The last option is donation.  There are agencies all over town who want and need donations to further their causes.  Many of those groups will even come pick up your stuff, which of course makes it the easiest and most tax friendly option. Just make sure you get a receipt.

Anyway, lighten your load, purge your excess and deplete you junk pile.  It is a great way to feel better, have more space, and possibly increase the size of your wallet.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eating Elephants

When I was a teenager I remember my dad asking me how I would eat an elephant.  I think I made a face at him and decided he really was loony.  Then he offered these sage words, "One bite at a time, of course." 

As trite as this expression may be, it really is true.  Eating an elephant, or in my case, cleaning the garage, really is a "one bite at a time" sort of thing. (A back hoe wouldn't hurt either.)

Very often we get caught up in what is overwhelming about a situation and can't see beyond the big elephant foot in our way.  We forget that as intimidating as the elephant is, he is afraid of something as small as a mouse. 

Every big problem/mess has a solution, but nothing will be accomplished if we are paralyzed by fear.  Taking the first bite can be the hardest part of the solution.

So go out there and eat an elephant.  I know you can do it.  And after you have, you will be so proud of yourself.  (If not a slight bit bloated...)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Motivational Monday #23 - It's That Time Again

It is officially November, and in the land of commercialism, that means Holiday Shopping.  In all fairness, this blog is obviously tied to a commercial website, and we do have a lot of purchases made at this time of year.  We know that this is a popular time of year to give gifts, and gift giving is a wonderful reason to go shopping.

That said, I find it funny that so many people are willing to purchase products to help others be prepared and organized, but are afraid to get prepared themselves. It is almost like they want to live vicariously through someone else's preparation.  I have never seen that work, but I guess there is always a first time.

So there you have it, my annual guilt trip.  It was short and sweet.  I hope that is the only guilt you experience this year.

Soon you will start perusing web sites and scouring catalogs looking for the perfect holiday treats for friends and family.  I suggest that you also take the time to think about yourself and your family.  I understand if the holidays are crazy and you will have no time to fill out Prepared Binder right now.

That is what New Year's Resolutions are for...