Lessons Learned: To Do List

Yesterday I had a lot that I wanted to get done. I really wanted to work on my book edits, but I also knew that I had quite a few writing and household tasks that had (or I wanted) to do as well. And when I get overloaded, bringing on superwoman and do everything in a single day, I end up being less productive. I do the famous start one thing and then move on to the next without finishing the first.

Yesterday I decided to create a list to make sure that I gave myself time to edit and do other tasks. I know this sounds nerdy, but my list started like this:

  1. Edit 1-2 pages
  2. Get ready for the day
  3. Menu plan
  4. Edit 1-2 pages
  5. Eat breakfast
  6. Start laundry
  7. Edit 1-2 pages
  8. Sort out bills, pay charge cards
  9. Record pile of receipts into the check register
  10. Edit 1-2 pages
  11. Bank reconciliation for both banks
  12. Edit 1-2 pages

This is only the beginning. The above took me through the morning. What was nice about the list is that I didn’t have to think about what I should do next. I just followed it line by line. However, I do like this one as well:

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I didn’t get through all my tasks yesterday, but I’m now working on it again tonight. I filed papers, waited for my computer to update (grrr), went through emails, and wrote blog. Now that I’m done with the blog, guess what I get to do next! Yep, edit one to two pages.

Have a great week!

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

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Lessons Learned: Acceptance

Acceptance is important for good and bad situations – whether it’s indirect or not. By accepting whatever it is, you can then assess the situation and determine how to move forward. You would think that this is easy to do but for some it’s not. They’ll scramble, make up excuses, get angry, and maybe make bad choices.

For good situations, I know people who will immediately brush off the situation. Whether it’s a good event, an award, a compliment, or another person’s accomplishment. I had a situation about seven years ago when I won an award for Employee of the Year. I couldn’t believe that I had won the award. There were others who deserved the award. When I went up to accept the plaque, I thanked everyone. No speech. A few people were disappointed because I didn’t elaborate, but the director stated that I didn’t have to make a speech. Of course, in hindsight, I wish I would have said a few words. If I would’ve accepted that I had won, I would have been thinking about my speech as I walked up to the podium instead of wondering why me.

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For bad situations, accepting what happened will help keep your emotions in order. It means that you know you can’t change the event, which then helps you focus on what needs to happen next. For example, if you’re late for work due to traffic, there’s not much you can do when your idling along with the other cars. If you accept that your stuck, you can think of what needs to occur next (what second route you can take or turning up the tunes to enjoy the music) instead of being angry at the people in the car or cars in front you when they can’t do much either. You don’t need to make a bad situation worse.

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Beth M James

http://www.bethmjames.com     Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance. 

Lessons Learned: Decorating Cookies

One of my favorite traditions throughout the Christmas seasons has been decorating Christmas cookies. My mom would have us kids and then our kids over each year to make the cut outs of Santas, reindeers, angels, snowflakes, Christmas trees, and wreaths. After the cookies baked and cooled, we would then ice the cookies before decorating with red and green sprinkles, chocolate chips (a must have), red and green frosting, and cinnamon hots. We always ate too many cookies, and we would leave with slightly upset stomachs. But it didn’t matter. We had that time together.

Decorating 1993

After my mom had her stroke and my dad passed away, there were a couple of years when we didn’t decorate cookies. Time was lost as we reorganized the holiday season into new traditions. It wasn’t until my daughter insisted that we decorate cookies that I knew we had to keep this tradition going. The time together wasn’t about eating the cookies as much as spending time as family.

This year, we decorated cookies at my daughter’s house. Even my son-in-law joined in to help decorate with pink and blue frosting, baby bottle sprinkles, chocolate chips, red sprinkles, and cinnamon hots. Yes, there was a little mix up on what was bought for decorations, but it didn’t matter. We still had fun and enjoyed this time together. And luckily, we were able to eat a few of those cookies before my grandson, sick with a cold, sneezed over the entire plate of finished cookies.

 

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

 

Lessons Learned: Getting Refreshed

Image result for free thanksgiving clip artI hope everyone enjoyed their long Thanksgiving weekend. My husband and I hosted dinner on Thanksgiving Day, having family join us for a great afternoon and evening. I then had three full days to tackle my writing goals and knock off some items on my chore list. For the first time in ages, I did not leave my house for the entire four-day weekend. I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

I had an amazing time battling the Morlorns as I worked on the draft to my next book, the third in the “Dream or Reality” series for “The Calling.” While most of you were shopping on Black Friday or on the weekend, I decided to hibernate inside my happy little home. Not only did I write, but I also put up the Christmas decorations, paid bills, cleaned, and spent time with Mike.

Now that I’m refreshed, I’m ready to start the week feeling better about myself, my accomplishments, and happy to get through that battle near the stone dwelling. My characters never get a holiday, but this year I did. I’m ready to rejoin society and take on the outside world once again.

Beth M James

Novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.

http://www.bethmjames.com

Lessons Learned: One Way of Cruising

My husband and I recently came back from a cruise to the Western Caribbean. We absolutely loved it. This was our second cruise ever and our second cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). I’ve decided that I really like cruises. I like being able to:

  • Dine when and where I want to. We went with a group of friends, and we gathered every night to eat dinner together at one of their “included” restaurants. The last night on the ship, we had dinner with a show (that one we paid a little extra for). Since we weren’t eating until later on, Mike and I went down to the buffet for a small snack to hold us over. They were serving prime rib. Lean, juicy prime rib. How could we refuse? What a snack!

 

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Who knew? Sliced bananas with faces!

 

  • Have unlimited beverages. When you start drinking a few in the afternoon and then finish the evening with a few more (not to mention the drinks in between), those fun drinks can add up—if paying for them. At home, I normally drink beer. Not on these cruises. Give me beach drinks. I’ll worry about my weight later.
  • Attend the free entertainment. This last trip was awesome. In fact, the free entertainment was better than the two we paid for. Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet were fantastic shows that had awesome dancers and singers. The comedians were funny and gave us a good laugh. Dueling pianos was fun as well. I had no problem watching one of the piano players. No problem at all…
  • Wear what I want. People wore all different kinds of outfits from fancy, sparkly, long gowns to shorts and tank. No one forced you to dress up. That made me happy because after a day in port, I liked wearing relaxed chic. I was on vacation. Comfort overruled.

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Cool dude wearing Mike’s glasses.

 

There were a few disappointing things that happened, but I can’t say that the events wrecked my trip. They were minor. In fact, I was double charged for the paid entertainment on the ship. When I called to explain the issue, the guy couldn’t help me yet (I had to wait a few more days to see if the credit went through). In the meantime, I booked our next cruise. Oh yeah.

Tick Season

My hubby and I own land in Northern Wisconsin where we camp in our RV. Last year the ticks were terrible. This year the ticks are supposed to be just as bad. We went up to Landstuhl (what we call our place) on Saturday with the understanding that the little ticks were out. I was prepared. I brought a spray bottle of tick repellant—distilled white vinegar, water, and peppermint oil. I sprayed myself, my hat, pants, and shoes when we got there in the morning. I was happy that I found no ticks on me after a morning tick check. Mike found one on his stomach. He didn’t use the repellant.

In the afternoon, Mike found two ticks crawling in my hair as we put up the gazebo. I hadn’t put tick repellant on again so I’m not sure if it helped or not. However, they weren’t crawling on my skin or attached. I sprayed myself again with the repellant. No more ticks for the day. Yay!

Sunday morning, after my shower, I found a tick attached to my leg right below the knee. Not too long after, I found another crawling on my leg. What the hell? I think I’ll need to douse myself with tick repellant before going up, during, and after our visit up north.

Here’s to another season of feeling those little buggers crawling all over me. Grrrrrrr.

Spring

Rainy and cold days at this time of year can be good and bad. The bad part about it is that I want nice, warm weather. Isn’t this SPRING after all with sunny skies and flowers blooming? After the cold of winter, I long to soak up the sun and walk barefoot outside. I want to sit on the porch and enjoy a morning cup of coffee with my hubby. I want to listen to the birds sing and the neighborhood kids play ball in the park.

Spring fever takes its toll on me. I always think that April/May should have warmer weather than what it gives us. We get blasted with wind, rain, and sometimes snow. I have to be a little more patient before the winter chill leaves us and I can open the door to summer.

The good part about this time of year is that we get the rain to help turn everything green. It also keeps me indoors a while longer so I can focus on my writing. I don’t mind sitting up in my office at my desk. I don’t feel guilty because I can’t enjoy the beautiful warm day outside. Now is the time to focus and get The Calling – Book Two completed. I’m halfway there.