January 26 2017

​Top 5 Money Saving Tips

Let’s face it, we could all stand to save a little more money. If nothing else, use the money you save to treat yourself to something that you’d feel guilty spending the money on otherwise. Perhaps you could save up for a trip, a new computer, dinner out, ice cream after work or any other treat that motivates you. Maybe you want to pay down debt extra fast or build up an emergency fund. Give some of these tips a try and let me know how much you saved.
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January 22 2017

​You Deserve to be Inspired

(NOTE: I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Deserve to be Inspired. Hosted by Positive Writer: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-you-deserve-to-be-inspired/ This blog post shall serve as my entry.)

Hello, my name is Karen and I am a writer. For many years I have felt I was supposed to write a book. The feeling wouldn’t go away, but I never got the sense of what sort of book I should be writing, so I waited for the same sense of purpose that I got with needing to write the book. I waited and thought about it, but still no still small voice whispered to me what this book I was absolutely certain I should be writing should be about. Nothing, not even what genre I should be writing. I tried to be patient. After all it hadn’t been my idea to write the book, so I figured I should wait to get further guidance on the matter.

Then one night, in the wee hours of November 1, 2013, I was surfing the net and searching for instructions on how to write a book and came across the NaNoWriMo.org website. I read about the annual challenge that happens every November where people all over the world spend the 30 days of November trying to write a 50,000 word novel. It was as if the voice I had been waiting on was now smacking me upside the head and telling me to stop thinking and talking about writing a book and just write it already!

Alright. But what should I write I asked out loud? Suddenly the age old advice to write what you know popped into my head. Well…that was something but when it comes to writing a book I don’t exactly KNOW anything I thought. So I thought and thought and finally decided that what I know is my life and what about my life might be interesting enough for someone else to want to read I asked myself. I finally decided that I should accept the challenge and that I would spend the next thirty days writing about our adventures in parenting our two, now adult children. I figured since they were now both in college and we had survived thus far will very little drama, perhaps we were doing something right and should write it all down to see if there was anything worth sharing with the world. So I worked on writing for the next thirty days, all the time wondering if I was crazy to have taken on this challenge. But I kept at it and also decided to join my local region and see if anyone else in my city was interested in writing. I fully expected to be the only crazy one in our mid-west city to want to write. I didn’t know anyone else who called themselves a writer, so I thought I was all alone, but was comforted by the thought that somewhere else in the world, others surely must be taking the challenge with me.

I discovered that there were write-ins happening a regular intervals all around my city and figured if I was in for the challenge, I should be all in and attend a few write-ins and see if they would help me. After the first write-in I was hooked. When the gathering of writers did word sprints I had to write because they would know if I wasn’t and I wanted to fit into this writer-ly group in the worst way. So I wrote and you know what? I wrote more than I thought I could. I was typing out one memory after another with twenty plus years of parenting under my belt to draw from. I learned that writing is a group sport. Who knew? After reading over some of what I had written, I realized I could write in a way that might actually enjoy reading.

I made it through the month, and I learned something else about myself. I could write every day. Maybe not a lot some days, but I could write EVERY day. I also learned that I could reach the goal of 50,000 words in less than 30 days! I felt like a million bucks! I was on top of the world. I was a writer, a REAL writer and I could do ANY thing. I gained so much confidence in myself as a person. A person who never used to try new things like writing, like meeting and talking to total strangers in places I had never been before, who never ventured out to strange places because I might get lost. I had a reason to do all those things. I had a goal to achieve. Little old me, a forty-something mom with grown kids was doing all this and being accepted into a group of writers that were mostly young enough to be my kids. There were a few in their late twenties and even some in their thirties, but I was definitely one of the older ones and yet I was taken at face value as a writer and even praised for my enthusiasm. I AM a writer! I am a WRITER! Having met the goal in the time allotted, I am also now a WINNER! I have gained so much from participating in NaNoWriMo  these last 4 years! I am a winner and I am a writer and I will likely do NaNoWriMo for the rest of my life.

January 19 2017

Books I’ve Read This Year

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This year began with my reading the book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod. I kept seeing folks in the bullet journal community doing level ten life spreads and when I searched to see what they were all about, I discovered it had to do with this book and since I had been hearing good things about the book too, I decided the time had come to add this book to my TBR list. As it happened it came in on hold from the library in time for me to read it and take it to the cabin weekend. It was a fairly quick read but did require a bit of thought. Luckily I had already gotten to the part where he told you to go to the website and download the Fast Start Kit (http://www.miraclemorning.com/start-here/). This includes the questions you answer to figure out where you stand in the various areas of your life so that you can begin getting all the areas up to level ten.
Hal also suggests the idea of getting up early every day and doing the SAVERS as a great way to begin your day. I am intrigued with the idea of the miracle mornings and believe it will work, but realize that I must first get myself to the point where I am getting at least seven hours of sleep on a consistent basis. I have it in my goals for the year to try the Miracle Mornings 30-Day Challenge at some point in 2017.
This was a good book and it inspired me to want to do better and try to un-do some of the bad habits I have developed over the last few years. I would totally recommend reading this book.

I decided that my word of the year to focus on would be FEARLESS, so I chose Why Not Today? Face Your Fears and Chase Your Dreams by Eric Dodge as the second book to read this year. I have known about Eric Dodge for years. I have met him and even had my picture taken with him in 2006, it didn’t turn out great but I will include it here anyway. He is a country music artist and an awesome performer. I had bought his book when it came out because I really wanted to support him and knew I would eventually like to read his book.
Eric wrote an excellent book and opened up and told the reader about his early years of being bullied, dating, depression, anxiety, weight gain and other adventures and things that lead him to be the person he is today. This book is a very uplifting story about how he overcame the obstacles in his life to become the wonderful man he is today. If you have ever dealt with any of these things in your life, you will enjoy reading this book. When I finished reading Eric’s book, I felt very hopeful, like I could do anything. If Eric could do it, then maybe I could too. I was willing to try.

The next book I found was one I had downloaded on a whim as an audio book from the library and I found I really enjoyed finding ways to “read” when I normally couldn’t, like while I was making dinner or driving. A great way to read that I don’t take advantage of nearly as often as I should. It was even better that it was read by the author. The book I listened to was called The Gratitude Diaries: How A Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan. Now I consider myself a grateful person who usually looks on the bright side, but after listening to this book I realized that there are numerous times in my life when I am more negative than positive. The author tackles a new area of her life each month and sees how it will react when gratitude is applied. She tackles marriage, love, family, money, career, possessions, health, fitness and more. I really liked her mix of real life applications and scientific research. I began testing some of her suggestions right away, so we shall see how the attitude of gratitude will change my outlook on life. Again, this book is one that I highly recommend.


Me with Eric Dodge Fall 2006 St. Louis

A really bad photo of yours truly with Eric Dodge in St. Louis 2006

January 15 2017

Crochet Hat Wrap Up for 2016

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The 30 hats shown above were all crocheted by me using donated yarn. The idea was to donate the finished hats the homeless in Indianapolis. Whichever library group gave me the yarn to crochet got the finished hats made from that yarn to donate to the homeless mission of their choice. So, if you are ever out and about and see one of my hats on someone, please take a photo and share it with me. I would love to see them warming our city’s homeless.

 ​What can YOU do to help those less fortunate? 

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