Sunday, December 4, 2011

Under construction...

Old shower

Bathroom before

When we moved into our house over three years ago, I wanted to remodel our kitchen and master bathroom and we're finally doing it!!  The kitchen wasn't a huge remodel...just new granite and a few new appliances, but the bathroom has been a bigger project.  They started tearing everything out of it last Monday (talk about a dusty mess!!), but should be finished by the end of this week...I'm so excited to see it finished and will post pics when it is!!  As is often the case it seems, once they got the wall torn down they found some problems underneath that needed to be dealt with before they could move on and finish the project (aka more money:).  Had we not had the wall torn down, we would have never known what was under it that could have eventually caused us problems.      

I got to thinking last week as the project began and this week as they are working toward finishing it  about my life and how it has, in many ways, resembled our bathroom remodel.  I know that may sound weird, but sometimes things like this come to me so I'm sharing:)  In the last several years of working through the many scars and hurts in my life, I feel much as though it's been a tearing down and  rebuilding process.  For over 25 years I built up walls so that no one could see that everything wasn't perfect in my life.  On the outside it seemed everything was great, while on the inside there was so much pain and hurt.  Breaking down the walls was a messy process to be real honest.  I didn't like who I'd become and was emotionally exhausted.  Just like when they were tearing everything out of my bathroom and found some things behind the walls that needed repaired before they could move on, there was much more in my life that needed fixed than I realized.  I had built walls so high and so thick that I didn't even realize what was behind them until I got real honest with myself and allowed them to be broken down.  It was a humbling and hard experience to go through, but in looking back, it had to be done so I could start the rebuilding process again.

The rebuilding process has been slow, but steady.  I'm in a better place in my life now because I chose to let the walls come down and get honest with myself about what was behind them.  I'd love to say that the remodel in my life is complete, but I'm still a work in progress and always will be:)  I will never be perfect and I'm ok with's a very freeing place to be.   I've learned that God is the only one who can heal the brokenness in my person or possession can do that for me.  I've been in the process of changing from my desire to please others,  to focusing on the One in my life who has changed me.  I want to live my life in such a way that God is pleased...not focusing on what once was that can't be changed or what others think of me, but how God sees me and loves me unconditionally.  So, in my countdown to 40,  the 8th thing I've learned from my past is that by breaking down the walls in my life and really focusing on fixing what's behind them,  I've been able to start the rebuilding process from a much stronger foundation.   It's been so freeing and I'm so thankful for where I am today!!   From now on when I see signs that say "under construction" it will be a reminder to me that I am:)

Wall torn out

No more wall:)

new shower tile...corner seat and nook

Love it!!

I'll post more when the bathroom is finished, but below are the kitchen pics....I love it!!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Laughter really is the best medicine!!!

My brothers....Tim (my twin on the left) and David on the right:)
I absolutely love to laugh!!  I especially love laughing till I can't know what I'm talking about...those times that you're stomach muscles are sore and your mouth hurts the next day:)  This is what happened over the Thanksgiving weekend.  We rented a house on a lake about an hour West of St. Louis with my brothers and their families for the holiday.  It was's about half way for us to all meet there and the place we stayed was absolutely amazing!!  The weather was beautiful and the kids (and adults) always had something to do with a full finished basement that had a pool table, foosball table, poker table, and a 110 inch projection TV with theater seats.  Watching football on it was awesome and, of course, the boys enjoyed playing video games on it as well:)   The kids would get up in the morning and head straight to the basement, only coming upstairs to eat and sleep it seems:)  We had the best we always do when we get together!  It was so nice to just relax and spend time enjoying each others was a much needed mini vacation!!    We're already planning another trip there:)

On the way home I noticed that my stomach muscles were actually sore and realized it had to be from laughing so much....unless all the food I consumed stretched my stomach out:)  I can't remember the last time I laughed so was great!!  Between my brothers and Scott there was never a dull moment.  That's how it always is when we all get together.  I guess you could say that I'm easily entertained anyway, but they really are funny!!  It doesn't take much to get me laughing so, of course, they take every opportunity to do just that!  The fact that Scott makes me laugh like my brothers always have is a huge reason why I fell in love with him.  I love to be around people who are lighthearted and full of joy!

Sometimes I feel like life gets so busy and serious that I don't spend near enough time laughing like I used to.  I  think too often I become so distracted with things that I need to get done or circumstances in life that I allow it to consume me and keep me from finding joy in the little things.  I know that laughter is truly therapeutic for makes me feel good!!  This past weekend was a great reminder that I need to not take life or myself too seriously.  Most people who know me would probably say that they don't see me that way, but I have come to see it in myself over the last several years and realize I like myself better when I'm laughing and enjoying life.

So the 7th thing on my countdown to 40 that I've learned is that laughter truly is the best medicine.   Laughing with others and at myself makes life so much more enjoyable!!  Laughter can turn a bad day into a great day...sadness to gladness...and tears into a smile.  I'm thankful for an amazing weekend with my family and the memories that will continue to bring a smile to my face for years to come:)  I feel blessed beyond what I deserve!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't worry about tomorrow....

Since I became a mom over 18 years ago my biggest source of worry has been my kids.  When they were babies I would go into their rooms while they were sleeping and put my hand on their backs and listen to make sure they were still breathing.  When they were toddlers I would worry about them falling down the stairs.  When they started school I would worry about them making friends and fitting in.  When they started playing sports I would worry that they would get hurt.  When they became teenagers I would worry that they would start hanging out with the wrong crowd and get into trouble.  When Cody started driving I would worry every time he left to go somewhere and would make him call me or text me as soon as he arrived somewhere....and if he forgot, you better believe I'd be calling so I could make sure he was ok.  And now with Cody getting ready to go away to college next year, I find myself already starting to worry.  As a mom, I don't think that I'll every quit worrying about my kids. 

Since I lost my mom at the age of 12, I have always worried about something happening to me and my kids being left without a mom because I know how hard that was for me.  It may sound weird, but it's been a very real struggle for me.  With every ache and pain I had, I could dream up something terrible that was wrong with me and that it was going to kill me....the invention of Google didn't help things because then I could diagnose myself based on my symptoms over the internet:)  When I fly somewhere I just know the plane might go down every time there is turbulence:)  I always hug on my kids before I leave to go out of town, even if just for a couple of days.  I also worry about something happening to Scott and being left a single mom.  It's silly I know, but true none the less.  I always tell him to be careful when he leaves to drive somewhere.  He's used to it and just laughs and shakes his head.  I guess I just know how life can change in an's happened to me.      

Sometimes I worry or stress about insignificant things that really aren't even that big of a deal.  I have to remind myself that there are much more important things to worry about.  I always tell Scott that it's a good thing he's not a worrier because I do it enough for the both of us:)  I actually am much better about this than I used to be...I even think my husband would agree.  We had something unexpected come up in the last few months that in the past would have made me sick with worry, but I really was at peace in the midst of it.  Scott even noticed and commented several times on how well and calmly I handled the situation.        

I have had to work and pray so often over the years for God to help me in this area of my life.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus talks about worry and there is a scripture I have had to go back to time and time again.  It says, "Seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."   (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV)  This scripture has been my constant prayer....that I would seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be taken care of....I'm so thankful for this promise.   I do believe I'm not the worrier I used to be and I know that a big part of that is because I've learned to lean on God for the peace that only He can bring.   

So the sixth thing I've learned in this countdown to my 40th birthday is that, "Worrying doesn't take away tomorrows troubles; it takes away todays peace" unknown.  I want to live in peace today and lean on God for all my tomorrows....   


Friday, November 4, 2011

From doctor's pastor's wife: The dreaded "B" word!!

From doctor's pastor's wife: The dreaded "B" word!!: I know it's not the "B" word you're probably thinking, but "Budgeting" is the word I'm talking about!! I just don't like it!! I like to ju...

The dreaded "B" word!!

I know it's not the "B" word you're probably thinking, but "Budgeting" is the word I'm talking about!! I just don't like it!!   I like to just spend on whatever I want to and not worry about next week or month or year and how much money we should be putting away.  I'm very much a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of gal.   Neither my husband nor I are real savvy when it comes to money, which makes it tough at times.  The good thing is he's definitely the practical one of the two of us and is not a spender like I am:)

I've been known to put a budget together, but after a couple of weeks and a fun shopping trip:), I usually blow it and give up.  I've decided though, that it's time to get serious about our finances and our future.  Now don't worry, we're paying all the bills just fine and we have a retirement plan, but I know there is so much more we could be doing better with our money.  I've really been convicted about being  better stewards with what we're blessed with and I know that without sticking closer to a budget, it won't happen.   I need the discipline of a budget or I'll blow it....I know myself too well:)  

It's crazy when I think back to when we were first married and wondered how we were ever going to survive financially, especially when we made the decision for me to stay home with our kids.  When I think about what Scott was making back then as a youth pastor in a small church, I can't believe we even had enough money to eat.  At the time I didn't like being what I considered to be poor, but I'm so glad we went through that really makes me appreciate how far we've come.  I can remember my dad sitting me down after I got engaged to Scott and asking me if I realized how much money youth pastors make...I don't think I really did, but at that time I didn't care....I was just in love and that should have been enough...right??  I realized real fast that it was not!!  Those first years having to learn about money (or lack there of) was hard for me.  We still laugh about me crying one night early in our marriage about not having any money to spend shopping because that was my hobby (yes, I consider it a hobby:).  Being the compassionate, sensitive guy that he was, he told me that I needed to find a new hobby!!  I always tell him that he can never say I married him for his money (or his sensitivity) had to be love:)  We've come a loooonnnnnggggg way let me tell you.  We have way more than we need and live a great life...and shopping is still something I love to do....I've just learned how to bargain shop (most of the time:)!

So on Tuesday, the first day of November,  I went to the bank and took cash out for groceries, clothes, entertainment, etc. and put it in envelopes (yep, the old envelope system).  I'm more determined than ever to stick with it...and I feel like I'm ready for it!  For me, this means that my weekly (or bi-weekly) trips to Columbus to shop are not going to be happening as often, but I know that I don't need any more shoes or any more clothes though so it's ok!!  Believe it or not, I'm actually kind of excited about it!  We always talk about how we'd like to do more and give more and I really believe that in sticking closer to a budget it'll allow us the opportunity to do just that!  There are so many people in the world who have fact,  I heard just a few weeks ago that if your family earns more than $50,000 a year, you're considered to be in the top 1% in the the world's standards we are rich!!  For me though, I don't want it to be about being rich, but about giving back and helping others have a better quality of life.  I'm so thankful for all that has been given to me and my's time for me to focus on giving back.

So another big step has been taken in my countdown to 40 and I'm growing so much in the process!  I love the accountability and encouragement I've received from so many that follow my blog!!  I appreciate the kind messages and dialogue that has come out of it.  I'm so thankful today for all of you!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No coffee for 30 days!!

**I just thought I'd update my progress from the 28 day detox I've been doing.  Tomorrow will be 3 weeks I've gone without gluten, dairy and sugar and so far I've lost 7 lbs., 1 1/2 inches around my waist, and an inch in my hips!!  I really wasn't doing it for weight loss as much as the detox, but I do know that people who stick very closely to this program have lost a lot of weight!!  Amazingly, I can't believe how easy it's been!!  I even went to OKC last week and found that almost every restaurant has gluten free menus so I never felt was great!!  I have honestly never felt better...I have more energy and feel great!!  I have 3 friends who have been doing this with me and they have had amazing results as well!!  This program really works!!  I only have one week until I'm finished....just in time for Thanksgiving:)  

Today I start a 30 days to fit program...I'm cutting all gluten, dairy and, maybe hardest of all for me, COFFEE!!!!  As I type this right now, I'm having a detox tea with stevia in is yummy I have to say! I'm excited to feel and see the results, but know it's going to be a challenge for me.  I love sweets, coffee, chips, cheese....all things I will not be having for 30 whole days!!  You may think I'm crazy really, but the results people have had by doing this have been amazing!!  I'm not doing it as much for weight loss, but more to detoxify my body and see how I feel, think, etc. once I do it...although losing a few pounds and inches won't be so bad either:)

I spent part of the afternoon yesterday at Trader Joes in Columbus with a friend of mine who is also doing the program.  We brought with us our meal plans and shopping lists.  It was a little overwhelming trying to figure out everything we needed to help us get started, but the people there were so helpful and nice!  I left the store feeling excited and empowered with all the ingredients and whole foods I needed to get started!!  I came home and put all my berries in freezer bags for my protein shakes, and organized everything else so I would be ready....then I had chicken fingers and pizza for dinner, followed by double chocolate pumpkin cake for dessert:)

As I was researching and preparing to start this program, I kept thinking about everything I was going to have to give up in order to do it, which made me want to keep putting it off or not even do it at all!  But then I changed my mindset and started to think of everything I would gain by doing it and that helped prepare me to jump in and get started.  I know that so much of what I'm going to do over the next 30 days starts with the way I choose to think and look at what I'm going to get out of this program, not what I'm giving up in order to get the desired results.

So I have everything I need to do it....the meal plan, the vitamins, the detox tea, the protein powder, the fizzy tabs, I just need to set my sight on my goal, which is better health.  I take care of my skin and I exercise, which are great things, but I also realize that I need to think more about what I'm putting into my body, which can also make a difference in how I look and feel.  I know I'm 39 now and some days I feel it and look it more than others, I'm sure, but I want to age as gracefully and feeling as good as I can....why not?  I only get to live once right?? :)

So, here it countdown to 40 (I almost typed 30....see I'm already feeling younger:)....focusing more on being healthy from the inside out.  Now don't get me wrong...I'm not saying I'm never going to have coffee again....or a Krispy Kreme donut....or chips....but I am saying that after this 30 days, I'm sure it's going to make me think more about it when I do....and who knows, maybe I won't feel like I need all that junk anymore at all (which I know I don't:)  So as the old saying goes....nothing in life is promised to be easy....but it will be worth it....right?!?!  Here goes nothing....cheers!!
Strawberry/Banana smoothie:)

For more info about the program I'm doing, go to and click on the 30 days to fit tab....let me know if you have any questions or want to get started yourself:)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

From doctor's pastor's wife: Coupon girl:)

From doctor's pastor's wife: Coupon girl:): My coupon binder:) Yes, it's true....I'm now couponing!! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the extreme couponing type and never will ...

Coupon girl:)

My coupon binder:)

   Yes, it's true....I'm now couponing!!  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the extreme couponing type and never will be....but it is fun saving money!!  My boys are actually loving it because I buy things I normally wouldn't:)  It does take time, both cutting coupons and shopping, but it's so worth it when I get to the checkout and my bill is cut in half!!  I wish I would have started doing this a long time ago.  

The Kroger I shop at doubles coupons up to $1.00, which is great!!  For instance, today when I was shopping, they had Ragu pizza sauce on sale for $1.29 and I had a coupon for 50 cents off of 1 jar....and since it doubled, I got it for just 29 cents!!  I love that!!  Also, I had a 55 cent off coupon for a 2 liter was on sale for $1.09 so after my coupon doubled, I got it for free and made a penny...I love that even more!!  We don't even drink Pepsi, but I figure why not get it since it's free and give it to the youth group at church or something:)

Obviously, I have to watch because sometimes the better deal is the store brand or something else, but it is really fun to find the best deals and cut my grocery bill way down....especially feeding teenage boys who eat a lot!!  Also, there are things I get that I don't have coupons for just because we like them and aren't willing to change to another brand...these are the non-negotiables...JIF peanut butter being one of them:)

So couponing is something I'm going to continue to do as I close in on 40 and beyond...I figure if the money is out there to save, I'd rather spend it on something else:)  I know this may seem like a small thing to some, but for me it's a big deal!!  I tend to be a spender....not a saver:)  Needless to say, Scott is impressed by my new venture in couponing:)  The reality is that I really do want to be a good steward with what God has given me....and, in doing so, I'm finding it to be so rewarding!!       


Monday, October 10, 2011

The pain of loss...

Mount Vernon Nazarene University - News, Accident

As the MVNU community struggles to deal with the tragic loss of one of the nursing students, I'm all too keenly aware of the pain associated with the loss of a loved one. My heart is broken for the family of Justina, even though I didn't personally know her or her family. When things like this happen, it takes me back 26 years ago to the loss of my mom and the heart wrenching pain I felt. I remember waking up in tears for months after my mom's death with the realization that it wasn't just a bad dream I was having, but the miserable reality in which I was living. I know this must be what Justina's family is going through and will for months, even years, to come. Although the loss of a parent at a young age was hard, I can't even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. We have such hopes and dreams for our children....and to have them go before us is not how it's supposed to happen.

Some things I am praying during this difficult time....
* for Justina's family...that somehow in the midst of their incredible pain, they will find a sense of peace knowing that Justina is not suffering, but is resting in the arms of Jesus
*for the other 4 girls in the accident....for healing, both physically and emotionally
*for the MVNU campus staff and faculty as they wade through some tough waters this week and in the weeks to come
*for the MVNU students as they struggle to deal with such a tragedy...there is no understanding a tragedy such as this

One of my favorite scriptures that I've gone back to time and time again in times of great hopelessness in my life is Isaiah 40:31...."but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." I pray that the Williams family as well as the MVNU community can find and put their hope in the Lord in the midst of this tragedy knowing that He will be with them and give them the strength to carry on.

Thanks for your prayers during this time...I know God hears each and every one of them!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dream big....and then dream BIGGER!!

I have so many dreams of things I want to do in this lifetime!!  My mind is constantly thinking of new things I want to accomplish.  The saying holds true for me that I have so many things that I want to do, that I don't even know where to begin.  Do you ever feel that way???  I do....ALOT!!!  I'm one of those people who is never satisfied with just being...if you know what I mean.  The problem is that because I want to do so many things, I have a hard time focusing on any one thing.  I don't necessarily think it's because I get bored (although I'm sure sometimes that is the case:), but more likely that I'm easily distracted by something that seems more appealing at the time or, maybe even more, by a fear of failure.  Although I've always dreamed big dreams, I know I've allowed what I thought others would say or think of me keep me from acting on them.  I, for many years, squelched the dreams I had because I felt they could never happen for me....and if I tried, I could possibly fail.       

It's fun to listen to my son, Cody, talk and dream about his future.  Sometimes when he talks about things he wants to do, I think he's crazy!  He thinks very outside the box, which is great, but can be uncomfortable for me at times.  I think about how I was dad knew he wanted to be a doctor before he graduated high school and both of my brothers knew they were going into premed to be a dentist and doctor before graduating high school as well.  Cody is not real sure what he wants to do with his life yet and sometimes I let that worry me.  I know that God has great plans for him and I know I should just rest in that, but it's hard, especially when he changes his mind, what seems like, every other week!!

The other night, Cody came into the living room where Scott and I were watching football and plopped down in the chair next to his dad.  He told us that he needed to talk to us about something.  He proceeded to tell us that he thought that we should consider buying him another car that he could drive during the winter since his Firebird doesn't do well in the snow.  He said that it would be great because then we wouldn't have to take he and Zach to school (he did admit that, in reality, he didn't want us to take him to school:) when the weather was bad and that since Zach will turn 16 this summer and start driving, that when he takes the Firebird and goes off to college next year then Zach would have a car to drive.  He then proceeded to tell us about the cars he'd been looking at online that he thought were good prices and would be good to go look at.  The kid is funny...and actually very convincing...sometimes I think he should be a lawyer because he's great at putting up an argument, even when the odds are stacked against him!!   I know whatever he chooses to do, he'll be successful at it.   He always has some new idea or dream up his sleeve and is not scared to voice it and then try it....he doesn't worry about what others think or about the possibility that it might not happen.  

Steven Paul Jobs, co-founder, chairman and former chief executive of Apple Inc., passed away Wednesday, Oct. 5.   We are huge Apple fans and have been Mac users for about 8 years!  I couldn't have been more excited when Verizon came out with the Iphone...I love it!!   
It is amazing to think of all that Steve Jobs accomplished in his short lifetime!  
At a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Jobs shared the philosophy that drove him.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
I love this!!   When I read it, I thought about how we so often just sit back and let our inner voice be squelched by the voices of others....or sometimes maybe we're the ones who can be the dream stealers.  So that's it....the seventh thing on my countdown to 40 that I'm going to focus on...Dreaming big, which I already do, and then dreaming bigger....and encouraging others in their dreams as well!!  I'll never know if my dreams can or will come true unless I go after them!!  If it doesn't work out the way I plan, then something else will...and I'll be stronger because I went for it.  Dream it, plan it, and go after it!!   

Friday, September 23, 2011

Going through the fires and learning to dance in the midst of them....

Can I just be real honest?  I've found myself tired and frustrated in the last several weeks about what are, in the grand scheme of this life, relatively insignificant matters.  Don't get me wrong, it's not all been fact, I just got home a few days ago from an amazing leadership conference in Green Bay with some of the most amazing people and then spent a few days in Chicago with a great friend.  I came home ignited and excited about my business and all that is going on in it!!  It's just that there are some little things going on in my life right now that have me a little frustrated.  Now hang with me to the end of my post so you get what I'm saying and where I'm going...don't judge me yet:)  

I hurt my knee running and am having to take some time off.  For those of you who really know me....I love to run!!  It's my release!!  I feel so good after running and find it so therapeutic.  It's been over a week since I've run and my knee is still waking me up in the night aching every time I move it:(  I'm hoping it's just tendonitis and nothing more serious because I really want to run another half marathon in January.  It's been over a year since I've been able to train or run a half marathon as I've been recovering from a hip injury.  I was just feeling totally recovered and ready to start training when I hurt my knee.  It's very frustrating to say the least!!

On top of that, Scott is so busy with his doctoral studies that I've been feeling a little neglected and sorry for myself...ridiculous, I know, but it's true.  I've been used to him being around all the time and available to spend a lot of time with me (I admit, I've been spoiled:).  This has not been the case in the last several months:(  I'm trying (well most of the time) to be patient, but find myself getting frustrated about our lack of time (without his face in a book) together.  I know this is temporary, but 3 years of this seems daunting to me right now.  Anymore, I'm asleep when he comes to bed and when I wake up he's already been up for hours studying.  Now, don't get me wrong, he does work hard at trying to make time for the boys and I.  He goes to all of their soccer games and will go with me to the grocery store and things like that so we at least have a little time together, but it's just not like it was before he started his doctorate.  He's more distracted and I know he has a lot on his mind with everything going on.  It's been a source of frustration for me.

This week I started a Bible study with some friends on the Fruits of the Spirit.  I got to thinking about what we were going to be studying in it and listed them out from Galations 5:22-23.... "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  I am realizing that right now we couldn't be studying something that I need more.  I'm only on the second day of the study guide and I'm already being challenged in my daily walk.  After doing my Bible study, I jumped on Facebook to send a message to my Bible study sisters and when I logged on the first status update I saw was a post to pray for a gal who's been fighting cancer, had a transplant and is now in the hospital fighting for her life.  I clicked on the blog that was attached and found myself reading some of the posts about this amazing woman and her battle.  When I came across the verse below, the tears started flowing and I couldn't help but stop and realize how incredibly selfish I can be at times. 

"It is through adversity that we come to know God, His promises, His else can we take joy in tribulations? Knowing this, He is there with the midst of the fire...holding us in his dance and singing over us."  Zephaniah 3:17

The little things in my life that I think are such a big deal and that I allow to frustrate me are really NOT that big of  a deal!  I do know that it's been during times of adversity that I have grown closer to God, but I think sometimes when things are going pretty smooth, I can lose sight of what's really important and significant in my life.  My knee problem and Scott's doctorate are temporary things that will soon be better and over.  Sometimes, I just need to be humbled before God and recognize all the blessings I have in my life and quit focusing on the insignificant things that I allow to frustrate me so easily.  Things could be MUCH worse than what I'm currently dealing with.  So the sixth thing I'm going to work on in my countdown to forty is stopping myself when I find myself getting frustrated with the little things and think of all of the many blessings in my life and then pray for someone who I know is going through the fire and needs a special touch.  I'm so thankful that we don't have to go through the fires alone!      

Monday, September 12, 2011

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint!!

Scott always tells me..."You know Katie,  it's a marathon, not a sprint".... He says this because he knows I'm an instant gratification girl and am not always real patient.  I want to see results right away, which is why I've been known to give up on things that show gradual results.  I love to run half marathon's....I've run seven so far and, after taking a year off from a hip injury,  plan on running another in January and more after that!  I don't just get up one morning though and say, "you know, today I'm going to run a half marathon."  That would be crazy!!  Instead, I make a plan....I follow a training schedule for 12 weeks up to the day of the race so I'll be as prepared as I can to run the whole race.  Back when I decided to run my first half marathon, I remember thinking that there was no way I could ever run for 13.1 miles without stopping...I had never run more than 3 or 4 miles in my life!!  Over 12 weeks of consistent training though, I did it....and I finished with a better time than I even thought I could!!  Much like training for a half marathon, almost everything in life takes consistent effort before real results are seen.

When I started this blog my plan was to blog twice a week, which would allow me to get everything I wanted to in before my 40th birthday.  As you can tell, I am not getting two blogs in every week.  It's harder than I thought it would be!  I love making myself sit down and's actually been very therapeutic, considering I'm ADD and struggle taking the time to just sit and be quiet with myself and my thoughts:)  This morning I looked at my calendar and realized that I only have forty more weeks in my countdown and started to stress about getting everything in!  The reality is, I'm just trying to keep up with everything I've blogged about thus far and, to be honest, feel like I'm not doing a real good job right now at keeping up.  It hit me, as I sat down to write this morning, that it's ok....I'm not perfect.  The things I'm working on are good things, but it's going to take time to really see results.  Just because I'm striving and focusing on these things doesn't mean that, all of a sudden, when I turn forty I've totally accomplished everything I set out to do.  The thing I need to focus on is the journey of getting to where I want to be....and, honestly, that will not end when I get to next June.  I will have to keep up the training in order to see the results....much like when I am training for half marathons.    

So after a crazy couple of weeks of getting back into the school routine and soccer,  my office has been a little neglected, I still haven't had time (or made the time:) to get my closet fact, right now it's messier than ever (don't judge:), and I definitely don't feel like I'm always balancing everything real well.  But, on the other hand, I'm more organized than I was before, which feels great,  and am more aware of my attitude and focusing on enjoying the journey, however crazy it might be.  I don't know that I go to bed every night feeling like I've accomplished everything I wanted to, but I'm further ahead than I was when I got up that that's good!!

I'm going to Green Bay this week for a leadership conference and then to Chicago for another fun Arbonne event and have already been stressing about how to get everything done before I leave.  I need to grocery shop, exercise, clean my house (and closet:), work, cook meals, go to soccer games, blog (check:), etc.  I know it'll all be here when I get back, but I feel like I need to get it all done or else everything will fall apart while I'm's the supermom mentality that I struggle with at times:)  I know it's not boys will be fine while I'm away (they'll probably enjoy me being gone actually:)...they always seem to survive.  Although, Cody did call me one time after I'd been away for a few days and said, "mom, when are you coming home??"  I thought it was so sweet that he had missed me while I was gone.  When I told him I would be home that evening he said, "oh good, we have NOTHING to eat around the house!!"  LOL!!  He did survive though and this time will be no different:)    

So far, I've written about four things I've learned from the past and five things I'm going to work on in my countdown to forty....that's nine total (I'm good at math:).  I'm going to keep plugging away on these countdown to forty goals....and I will have at least forty when I get to my birthday, even though many of them will still be, and may always be, works in progress.   So the fifth thing I've learned from my past (and am still learning) is that this journey I'm on is a marathon.....NOT a sprint!!   I know that Rome wasn't built in a day (my husband always tells me that too:) and neither will these things I'm working on be accomplished in a day.  I do know that with hard work and persistence I will see, and am already seeing,  the results I'm setting out to accomplish....even if not as fast as I'd like to.  I just finished reading 'The Slight Edge' by Jeff Olson and it was a great book!!  One of the things he says, among many,  that really stuck with me is "Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do, but they're just as easy not to do.  Not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be.  But that simple, insignificant error in judgement, compounded over time, will kill you.  It's the choice we face every day, every hour:  A simple, positive action, repeated over time.....or a simple error in judgement , repeated over time."  I want to keep doing the positive things that, in time, will show positive results....even if I'm not seeing them right now.  I know, just like training for half marathons, it's the daily runs that get me to the finish line of the race!!           

Friday, September 2, 2011

Balancing my life!!

We are back in the craziness of life with the boys back in school and soccer, Scott working on his doctorate and his university responsibilities,  and me working toward my goal of Regional Vice President and earning my white mercedes with Arbonne plus trying to keep the house in order, etc.  It's a little hectic at times, but I'm soaking it all in and enjoying life!!

With all the busyness of life, I've found that the only way to keep from feeling so overwhelmed is by trying to find a sense of balance in the midst of it.  I shared several weeks back about how I'm working on being more organized and, believe it or not, so far I'm doing good with it!  I'm still working on getting things in order, but it's happening and has definitely helped me to not feel so overwhelmed.  My problem now is that, although I'm more organized, I still don't have a great sense of balance or feel like I'm accomplishing everything I'd like to each day.  I'm great at putting things off and then being mad at myself for not doing them:)    

Balance and time management are hard for me.  My husband is great at balancing everything and not getting overwhelmed.  He's one of those list makers who crosses things off as he does them....gag!!:)  He's always telling me, "if you'd just make a list then..." or "if you'd just schedule out your week then..."....bla, bla, bla:)  Honestly, I've tried being a list maker and I've tried to schedule out my week, but somehow I never seem to stick with it.

I used to be a gymnast many years ago.  As a gymnast, balance was so important, especially on the beam.  If you've never been on a balance beam, let me just tell you, it can be a very intimidating piece of equipment!  A regulation-size balance beam stands approximately 4 feet tall, or exactly 125 centimeters. It only has 4 inches, or 10 centimeters, of space for feet on the width of the beam. The full length of the beam is approximately 16.5 feet, or 500 centimeters.

  For me, it was by far the hardest event in gymnastics.  Balance is, obviously, key on the beam...if you can't find balance, you fall.  I would spend hours in my backyard at my house practicing routines with cartwheels and back walk overs and split leaps on a manmade low beam over and over again until I could stay on and finish the routine.  I found that when I lost my focus and got off balance even just a little bit, I would fall or wobble and have to fight to stay on.  I had to do it over and over again in order to conquer my fear and be able to do the routine on the high beam at the gym.  I wouldn't quit until I finished a routine without falling....only then would it feel like I had accomplished what I had set out to do!!  That's not to say that every routine was flawless or that the fear was gone, but I finished without falling and that made me feel so good!   

I feel like this in my life sometimes.  Much like being on a balance beam, when my life feels off balance or out of focus, sometimes I feel fearful, shaky and like I might fall.  I get overwhelmed, stressed and cranky (just ask my family:) and things in my personal or business life suffer.  I find that when I am accomplishing things I need to get done and not wasting away my days, I go to sleep at night feeling so much better!  Getting organized is just one of the things that is helping me feel balanced and I know now that making lists and planning out my weeks better is something else I can do to help with balance in my life.  In the last week I've been working in this area of my life and it's really hard for me!!  I started to look at my days and find out how I have been spending my time.  I've figured out (not that I didn't know this:) that I can piddle away much of my day doing silly little things that don't accomplish anything at all.  To name a few....I'm addicted to 'Words with Friends' on my Iphone and can spend an hour sometimes catching up on all the games I have going....I'll get on Facebook to return a message and before I know it, I'm reading status updates for thirty minutes....I run to Lowe's to look at something for our bathroom remodel and end up walking around for an hour looking at get what I'm saying:)  I'm not one to sit around all day doing nothing....I'm too ADD for that:)....I stay very busy doing all kinds of little things.  It's just that sometimes I am busy doing things that don't really accomplish much.

So here it my countdown to 40, the fifth thing I'm going to work on is balancing my life better.  I'm going to work on scheduling my days, making lists and checking off what I get accomplished, and not piddling as much:)  I love having my own business where I can work from home, or away from home, at my own pace and on my own's the greatest!!  I can go to lunch with friends or go shopping whenever I want....but if I'm not careful, I can spend so much time playing that I don't get the things done in my business or personal life that I need to.  Now I'm not saying that I'm only going to only work and not play anymore...that wouldn't be any fun:)  I'm just going to focus on spending my time in such a way that I'm getting all the important things done around my house and in my business each day so that when I do go shopping or out with a friend that I don't feel guilty and overwhelmed at what I haven't yet accomplished.  Focusing on balance and time management are so important in helping me to achieve all that I want to this year and in the years to come....I love life and am excited about all the possibilities laid out before me!!  I'm not going to stress about losing my balance and falling off the beam yesterday or last week or even last year....instead, I'm going to get up off the mat and get back on the beam and try again until I finish the routine.  I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to design the life I choose....I want to make sure that I'm spending my time in such a way that I can accomplish all my goals!  

I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet. Nadia Comaneci                       

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where have the years gone???

Scott holding Cody on October 14, 1993/Cody's Birth Day:)

Home from the hospital...he had so much hair!!!

Cody's first day of Kindergarten 1999
                                                                                                                  Cody's first day of Kindergarten 1999

Cody's last first day of grade school/2011

Cody's a senior!!  2011-2012

So last week Scott and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and this week I sent Cody off for his last first day of grade school...where have the years gone??  I remember people telling me when my kids were little to enjoy the years because before I knew it, the boys would be grown up.  I would think to myself, yea right...some days seemed like they would never end!!  I now know exactly what they meant and it's so true!!  It seems like just yesterday that I held Cody Bear (that's what we used to call him...can't do that anymore:) in my arms for the first time and cried tears of joy...not realizing how much this little baby boy would change my life forever...he stole this mommas heart from the moment I laid eyes on him...

I'll never forget the day I found out I was expecting was a surprise to say the least!!  I was only 20 years old and wasn't at all ready to have a baby!!  Besides the fact the I was still in college working toward a degree, Scott and I had just been married a little over a year and were still trying to figure out this whole marriage thing and how to make it work.  It was very overwhelming to say the least!!  We were living in a one bedroom apartment in Houston, TX....Scott was a youth pastor making very little money....and I was working a little part time and going to school.  How in the world were we going to be able to afford a baby???

I don't think Scott and I ever had a big discussion as to whether I would work or stay home...Besides the fact that daycare would have been expensive, I knew I didn't want to leave my baby with someone else....and Scott felt the same way.  We didn't know how we were going to make it work, but we decided it was worth it.  I can honestly say today that being a stay at home mom was one of the best decisions I ever made!!  I wouldn't take back my time at home with my boys for has been so rewarding!!

I took a year off after having Cody and then went back to college.   I remember taking the earliest classes possible so that Scott could watch Cody and we would only have a little overlap time with him at the sitter.  I worked hard and graduated when I was 8 months pregnant with Zachary.  Then when the boys started school I would work little part time jobs for some extra money, but I was almost always the one to pick them up from school and loved being involved in their classrooms!!  As the boys  got older, I loved that they would have friends over and I always wanted our home to be a place where they and their friends felt comfortable.  One of the main things we've always looked for in buying homes is whether or not it was a good home for entertaining the boys and their friends....I wanted them to want to be home and not always want to be somewhere else like I did growing up:)  Now that they are 15 and almost 18, my grocery bill is huge...not just because of what my boys eat, but because of feeding all their friends too:)...the basement, where their rooms are, is almost always a tornado zone and requires many odor eater plug ins:)...and I constantly have to remind them to clean up their messes in the kitchen....but, for the most part,  I love it!!  I know that, soon enough, they will be gone and I'll miss the days they were around (my house will just stay cleaner:).  I'm going to soak it all in while I can!

I do work now, but I have my own business which I love!!  It allows me the time freedom and flexibility to work when I want and design my own schedule, yet have my own identity outside of being Cody and Zach's mom and Scott's wife.  I always said when my kids were out of the house and didn't need me at home, I would get a "real" job that pays "real" money, but now I know that I can have both with what I do and I'm so thankful!!!  I am excited that I can travel anytime I want and go see Cody play soccer in college (if he decides to play:) and not have to ask anyone for time off.  I think what I've realized is that just because the boys will be out of the house someday doesn't mean I want to, or have to, be tied down.  I like being my own boss (just ask my husband:) and the opportunity it brings to help other people!!  But most of all, I love that I can work my job around my family in such a way that I still have the opportunity to speak into my boys lives and watch them grow into amazing young men!!  

So in my countdown to 40, the fourth thing that I've learned from the past is that time really does fly by so I want to soak it all in and not wish it away!!  I know I've not always appreciated the time I had staying home with my fact there were days when they were little I seriously wished I worked outside the home because they were driving me crazy...but I'm so glad that 18 years ago, Scott and I decided that making it work on his pastor's salary alone was worth it:)  Because of our decision, we may not have our retirement built up to where it could have been....we may not have as big of a savings account as we would have liked....we may not have been able to go on big fancy vacations whenever we wanted or had a lot of disposable income while the kids were little....BUT I have never regretted the decision to make being a mom my #1 job!  I can't get back yesterday and tomorrow will be gone before I know it so I'm going to enjoy each day as it comes.  It seems like yesterday I was holding Cody in my arms in the hospital, then I blinked a few times, and now he's a senior in high school.  Thank you God for motherhood!!  I love (almost) every minute of it!! :-)                

Thursday, August 18, 2011

20 years of marital bliss:)

Scott and I celebrated our 20th anniversary yesterday!!  He took the day off and we went to the boys soccer scrimmages, had lunch, and then spent several hours at the Columbus zoo (yes, we love the zoo!!).  We finished the day at the Melting Pot with doesn't get much better than that:)  It was a great day!!  Our plan was to go on a trip like we did for our 10th anniversary, but Scott started his doctorate last month so getting away was not really an option right now:(

I don't think as a 19 year old bride I could even begin to think about where Scott and I would be 20 years later.  Scott always tells me that he no longer can blame my dad for me being high maintenance considering I've been with him more than half my life:)  We've been on quite a journey together though....from Houston, TX to Portland, OR to Nashville, TN to Olathe, KS to San Diego, CA and now in Mount Vernon, OH.  It's been an adventurous 20 years to say the least...mostly good times, but some hard times too... and all in all, "LIFE HAS BEEN GOOD!"

I love to hear the stories of how people met and fell in love!!  I thought I would share our story, in a nutshell, for those of you who love to hear them too.  This is how our rollercoaster of a romance began almost 22 years ago...

I'll never forget the day I met Scott (he says he won't either...he even remembers what I was wearing!)...I was a 17 year old senior in high school and he was a 22 year old college student traveling with the college quartet.  They came to a weekend retreat I was on with my church youth group in November of 1989 and that weekend forever changed the course of my life.  He tells me that when he left the retreat and went back to college, he told a friend that he'd found the girl he was going to marry.  I'm so glad he didn't tell me that till much later or I just might have run away!!  I was not ready to even think about marriage at that point in my life.  In fact, we still laugh about when he told me, just a few weeks after meeting, that he loved me and I didn't know how to respond so I just giggled like he was joking...needless to say, he waited a long time before he said that again:)

I remember him and a friend showing up the day after we got back from the retreat at my high school to take me to lunch...and he came around the next day too....and the next...and so on:)  A few weeks after we met he came to my house to meet my dad (this was my dad's rule for anyone I wanted to go out with:) and my dad basically told him that he seemed like a nice guy, but he was too old for his daughter and wasn't allowed to date me. Of course, as a 17 year old girl, I was not happy about this, but my dad was not going to change his mind so Scott and I spent the rest of my senior year basically just talking on the phone...ALOT...and, I'm not going to lie, seeing each other ever chance we could get.

Scott graduated college and I graduated high school....he went to start his first youth pastorate 8 hours away in Houston, TX and I went to Kanakuk camp in Branson, MO as a counselor for part of the summer.  Obviously, back then (that really makes me sound old!), we didn't have cell phones so we wrote lots of letters and talked on the phone when we could.  He even found a place that would deliver flowers to the camp on my 18th birthday (see pic below)!  This is when I realized that I was falling hard...and I got scared because I wasn't ready for that!!  I sent him a letter telling him that I just didn't see how things could work out between us considering he was so far away and ready to settle down and I was just getting ready to start college and definitely not ready to settle down yet.  I remember getting home from camp and there were thousands of messages (or so it seemed:) on my answering machine (remember those??  Haha!!) from Scott saying he wanted to talk to me about my letter.  We did talk and decided that he should come to OKC before I started college just to see each other and spend some (unhidden) time together...but it did not go as well as we had expected.  It wasn't because of anything between Scott and I...the two of us had a great time together.  It was just that my family was not very receptive to him being there, which made things difficult for us.
Flowers Scott sent me to camp on my 18th bday:)
Flowers Scott sent to my dorm my freshman year at SNU:)  Go ahead and laugh at my hair....I can't believe that was the style!!
I moved into the dorm at SNU the next week and Scott called to say that he was struggling and wasn't sure things could work out....we were just at different places in our lives (do you see a pattern here??:).  I agreed and knew he was right and we decided it was best to not talk anymore so we could both move on.  But a week later he called....I honestly don't remember the long talk we had, but I do remember him telling me that he knew what he wanted and was willing to wait on me until I graduated if he had to.  He said he would give me all the time and freedom I needed to date around and enjoy college.  I realize now, in looking back, that to him I was a "wild card" (if that makes sense) and that he took a risk on me and the potential he saw in our relationship (awww so sweet...bla, bla, bla:), when it might have been safer for him to go a different route.  Had he not been patient with me and let me have that freedom, it may not have worked out.  I remember going on dates and then calling him to tell him about them (he acted like he wanted to hear about it, but I know now that he really didn't:).  We talked on the phone for hours every night...our relationship deepened and he had truly become my best friend.  I would fly to Houston and visit every now and then on the weekends and by Christmas of my freshman year, I came to the realization that there was no one else I wanted to be with and decided to let go of the freedom I felt was so important to have only a few months earlier and allow myself to fall 100%....and I did!!

We were engaged the last day of Feb, 1991 (after he asked my dad and had his blessing btw:) and married on August 17 of that same year.  I had just turned 19 when we wed...I was so young!!  I know now, looking back on the last 20 years and reminiscing on how we fell in love, that it's all been worth it!!  We have two great sons who bring us so much joy AND we're still best friends and love spending time together all these years later!  I'm not saying getting married at 19 was wasn't!!  The first couple of years were hard and there were many times I really wondered what I'd gotten myself into at such a young age.  As well, there have been times throughout our marriage when we've hurt each other with our words and actions.  I've definitely not been the perfect wife by any means...I've said and done things that I'd just as soon forget!  But I believe that God knew what He was doing when he brought Scott into my life...Scott has modeled 1 Corinthians 13:4 to me.  I am blessed to call him my husband!!

So in my countdown to 40, the fourth thing I'm going to work on is being the best wife I can be to Scott.  He deserves it!!  I want to focus on being more giving and forgiving like he is to me.  He works hard to make sure that I'm happy and taken care of.  He still brings me coffee in bed almost everyday (I call that  good training:) and makes me feel special and loved.  He encourages me and makes me want to be a better person.  I pray that I can be that kind of person to him as well.  Thank you God for Scott...for bringing him into my life and for showing me what real love is.  I'm looking forward to the next 20+ years with him!!

Our 10th Anniversary cruise:)

20 years later:)


Friday, August 12, 2011

I love being around positive people!!

I saw this statement posted on a friend's Facebook status this week and I don't know where it came from, but it sure does hit home for me...

"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, but getting back up is living." 

I'm the type of person that, if I'm not careful, can let one negative thing someone says ruin my day....even if it's someone I really don't know.  I've realized that I'm in a much healthier place in my life when I don't spend a lot of time with those who are negative or cause drama and, instead, focus on those who make me happy and bring out the best in me.  I don't necessarily believe that people plan to be negative or go around looking to create or cause problems (although some probably do), but there are people that just seem to create and stir up tension wherever they go, maybe without even realizing it.  Do you know what I'm talking about??   I think because I'm a people pleaser and really want people to like me, I know many times I have cared too much about what others think of me and have spent too much time trying to meet others expectations of me.  It's not to say I don't like these people, but I've learned that sometimes the best thing to do is love them and pray for them, but keep a safe distance.  I know I'm not going to make everyone happy.  It's just not possible, whether it be in my business or my personal life, to please every single person I come in contact with and I know that, but I want to be careful to not allow other people's grumpiness (for lack of a better word) or negativity to impact my attitude as well.  Not only do I not want to spend a lot of time around people that bring me down,  I don't want to be one of those who bring others down either.   I want to be the kind of person that is positive and uplifting and laughs at life.  I have so many people in my life that, after being around them, I feel I'm a better person for it....

*My husband....he makes me want to be a better person because of who he is.  He encourages me, laughs with (and at) me and doesn't allow the stresses of life to get him  down.  I always look forward to him coming home at night because I enjoy being with him. 

*My brothers and their families....they make me laugh a lot and I always look forward to our times together.  Even when we may disagree with each other, we have a mutual respect and care deeply for each other.      

*My best friend of 25 years, Kerri...she is one of the most positive people and I always know I can call her when I need a listening ear.  Not only does she listen, but she always has the right words to say and when I finish talking with her, I always feel encouraged and uplifted.   We now get  to work together too, which I love!!

*Our friends Rich and Jewell....they are wonderful people who are so in love with each other and God.  Even after many years of marriage and even now in retirement, they love being together and have taken Scott and I in.  We love spending time with them because they are such a positive influence on us and our marriage.  Their love for each other makes me want to be a better wife.

*My mother in law....she is a wonderful, caring lady who, from the first time I met her, made me feel welcome in the family and loved.  She's been someone I know I can count on to call me at least once a week to check in on me and see how things are going.  I have no doubt God knew that she was exactly what I needed in a mother in law and I hope that someday I can be half the mother in law that she is:)      

This list could go on and on, but these are just some examples of some of the people who I believe bring out the best in me and make me want to be a better person because of who they are and how they live.  So, the number 3 thing I've learned from the past in my countdown to 40 is that if I spend a lot of time with people who are negative and/or always causing tension, eventually it's going to bring me down....but surrounding myself with positive, loving, uplifting people makes me want to be a better person!  Negative people breed negativity...positive people breed postivity!   God, help me to be the kind of person that, if I weren't me, I would want to be around:):):):)     

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Help!! I'm drowning in a pile of clutter!!

        My organized office:)

        My office Arbonne closet is organized!!!

I finally, after 3 years of living in my house, bought a desk and organized my office.  It feels so good and I love it!  I promised my husband that if I just had a nice desk and an organized office to work in then I would use it.  I can typically be found sitting on my bed or the couch to work with my laptop and papers, etc. spread all around me.  I spent yesterday working at my desk and I got so much felt really good!!  It's easy for me to get distracted (I know, shocker right?:) so by sitting at my desk with everything around me organized, I don't feel so overwhelmed and can focus on what I need to get done.

I am notorious for letting things pile up until I am so overwhelmed that I do nothing and let the pile continue to build.  My filing system is a joke and I can be somewhat of a pack rat....holding onto things that I really don't need to keep.  I drive myself crazy with this because I really DO want to be's just not me!!  My husband, who is an organization freak (I'm not should see his closet!), always tells me I should just do this or that and I wouldn't get so overwhelmed.  For those of you out there that are like me, you've probably heard this before and it's so frustrating because for us....IT'S NOT THAT EASY!!! :-)  If it were, I'd be the most organized person on the planet....because I really don't like chaos.   I do realize that my life would be easier and less chaotic if I would just take a few minutes a day to file papers, bills, etc. instead of letting them become huge mounds of paper.  I waste more time I'm sure looking for things because of my disorganization.  I can start one thing and next thing I know I'm on to something else, forgetting what I even started on....anyone with me on this???  Surely, it's not just me:)

Now that I'm enjoying my almost organized office, I'm inspired to tackle a few other areas that need closet being one of them!  So, in my continuous countdown to 40 project, the third thing on my list of things I want to work on is ORGANIZATION!!  Yep, I'm going to do it!!  It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get my life in order....both my business and personal.  I know it's going to take some time, but I plan on carving out a little time every day to organize closets, papers, bills etc. until I get on top of it.  Here goes nothing!!!