Thursday, March 7, 2013

Poetry Month is in April - I'm getting ready

I posted earlier this month about how to write an acrostic poem.  Today I learned from my author friend Theresa how to write a cinquain poem.  It really took me back to my elementary school days and I loved it.  Find her post here on how to write one and then try it out yourself.  I'd love to see what you come up with.  Here's a few of mine:

Incredible Bond
Making Moments Count
Setting a good example

Service, Exhausted
Walking, Praying, Teaching
Teaching others about Christ

Always Needs Nap
Searching for ways to cope
Ending up at the pop store

So let me see what you come up with!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Is This Such Sensational News?

I love my job as a writer for The Beehive.  I have met some pretty awesome individuals over the years as I have done interviews.  I have decided my favorite people to write about are the youth.  I like to get people excited about the future generation and what they have to offer.

My latest article is about Chy Johnson (no relation), who is a special needs student at a nearby high school who was struggling with bullies.  You can read it here.

The one thing that I like about my blog is that I can express my opinion where in the article I cannot.  What I wish I could have said (besides how awesome I think these boys are), is that I wish this didn't have to be such a unique story...I wish this was just an every day, run of the mill news article we watched on the television every single day.  Why is it so sensational to hear that a boy and his teammates were nice to this girl who was being bullied?  I would like to think that this happens every day all over the world.  The truth is, that I know it happens, but why don't we hear more of these kinds of stories?  My theory? Because people are reading or hearing about it and thinking to themselves, "this is too good to be true."  Well I know Chy and her family and I know this story is for real.

Carson was the football player Chy's mom sent an e-mail to asking for names of who he thought was doing the bullying.  No names were given, he decided instead to take action.  He invited Chy to eat at his lunch table and she had an escort to each class from that day on.  According to Carson's mom, she didn't even know there was anything monumental going on until she read about it in the local paper.  That says to me, that Carson and his friends were just doing what they knew was right.  It wasn't something they really thought about or planned, they just went and did it, with no idea that it would turn into a news story covered across the nation and in other parts of the world.  They did it because it was the right thing to do.

Is it really too good to be true?  I say no.  I say this is just one of the many stories of compassion, friendship and love that goes on every single day around us. Think about it.  Really consider the kindness showed to you as you went about your day today.  Someone smiled at you or said thank you, maybe held the door open for you.  Those are seemingly small things that make a big difference not only for the recipient but for the giver.

You know what would make me start watching the news again?  (I stopped several years ago because I was sick of the hatred and violence and narcissism ). I would love to write an article about the lady at Circle K who occasionally gives my kids their drinks for free because she likes them, or the man in front of me in the drive thru who paid my bill anonymously.  I'd like to turn on the news and hear the news anchor ask a homeless person, "what were you thinking when the pizza delivery guy handed you the pizza and told you it was already paid for?"  I want to hear stories about kids who learn to play the piano despite having no fingers on one hand or blow everyone away on America's Got Talent  t.v. show despite the fact that they have never had a formal voice lesson but sing like an angel.  I want to hear about the good feeling the older woman in the post office had when the teenagers offered to carry her packages inside for her.  Yep, that's what I want to be sensationalized on television news broadcasts.  That might get me watching the news again...

Do you have a great news story?  One you think needs to be shared?  Let me know, I'd love to spread the word.

Managing Finances...Women's Conference part 3

I feel like this could be its own series in itself but suffice it to say that money is a part of keeping our homes, is it not?

I'm not a professional on this topic, I can hardly balance my own checkbook, let alone give advice.  I live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes stretch myself further than I should and waste money on things that have very little lasting many people I know.

But there is one thing I do know:  When I start spending more than is coming in, the problems start.

Budgeting is key. Because I'm horrible about writing checks and not remembering to log them, I stopped writing checks.  I am on a strict cash only basis and I'm not always as vigilant as I ought to, but I'm getting better.  I find that I spend less, I am more careful about my purchases and I have learned how to say no to lots of extra things that don't have lasting value (except for maybe my diet pepsi splurges).  This works for me.

There are lots of wonderful resources out there for managing our finances.  Dave Ramsey is one of my most favorites.  You can find lots of good ideas by searching the internet also.

Things I've learned about money:

Not having ice cream in the freezer is never an emergency.
If I consolidate my errands, I save time and gas.
If I buy certain vegetables in bulk for much cheaper, then take them home, cut them up and freeze them, I save time and money.  Onions and bell peppers are a good example.
It's embarassing to owe people money.

If I pay my tithing first, I am blessed.  Always, every single time.

I'm sure there are more but like I said, I'm no expert. When I am careful with my money, my marriage is better and I have less stress.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Next:  Prioritize and Simplify

Monday, March 4, 2013

Managing Distractions...Women's Conference part 2

As part of the topic of House of Order, House of God explained in my last post, one of the things we focused on was how to manage the many things that distract us.  There are lots, aren't there?  Books, television, computer, cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, lunch with friends, hobbies, sexy  husbands (ha ha), and a myriad of specific things that could fall into any of those categories.

This is part of my job ?  I say yes, guilt free.
To start off, I would argue that things like cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, making lunch, taking care of the kids, etc. fall into the category I like to think of as part of my "job" as a keeper of the house.  If I look at it that way, then I don't see them as a waste of my time or effort in keeping my house, I see it as something that I am responsible for taking care of (or at least one of the parental units is responsible).  So, when I look at the other things, that is where I find my problems lie...

I don't have many hobbies.  I am not crafty.  I do have a pinterest account of all the beautiful things I would love to have in my home, but they are there mostly as a suggestion for anyone looking to purchase me a gift for my home, take your pick hint hint.  I don't enjoy too many hobbies besides running (but we all should exercise, shouldn't we?) and writing (and I look at that also as a job since sometimes I get paid for it).  I don't like to decorate, paint, create jewelry, scrapbook, paper craft, etc.  But I know some of you do.

I insist that we ought to have something that is ours and ours alone.  Something to break up the monotony of what we sometimes think of as drudgery when it comes to keeping house.  Everyone needs something to escape to...every once in a while.  But with that escape there needs to be a balance.

Office cleaning overwhelms me.  Let's go to lunch.
My most severe distraction is the computer.  Since I'm on it a lot for work, it would be easy for me when I'm sitting here, to say I'm just gonna check my Facebook for a minute and then get back to work when in reality we all know I might not.  For some it is a book or television.  I have also found myself saying yes to a lunch date when I ought to stay home and straighten up.  Truth is, sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of work I know it will take to get it clean so avoidance is a great distraction for me.

So, what do I do to manage my distractions?  I use the reward system.  After I have cleaned the bathroom, I get 10 minutes on Facebook or a chapter or two in a book.  Kitchen dishes done and counters wiped off?  10 minutes on FB.  I just read books to my babies for over 1/2 hour so I deserve to read a chapter or two in my own book.  Maybe you like to watch t.v?  Record your shows and then reward yourself for vacuuming a few rooms with 20 minutes to just sit and relax and watch.  No DVR?  Maybe clean up the bookshelves during commercials or fold clothes while you watch.  I'm all about multitasking.  I can get done in the 3 minutes of commercials than most people do in half an hour.  They key to it is making sure your 10 minutes don't turn into an hour or one chapter into five.  I have used the timer feature on my phone before and have disciplined myself to get up and walk away when it goes off.

Maybe you need to do something more drastic like turn the Facebook app off on your cell phone or simply put it on silent while you work.  There are tons of ways to manage our distractions, the problem is making it a priority.  Only you know what your worst distractions are and the best solution in managing them.  So, tell me what is your biggest distraction is and how  do you manage to work around it?

Next: Managing Finances...Women's Conference part 3