Long Overdue

It has been a while since my last post and I wanted to update you in regard to the life binder and speak with you about all the other things that have transpired in the interim.  Creating the vision board and the life binder has kept me focused every day for the past five months.  The life binder is a conscious effort to pay attention to the things that matter most to me.  Because of it, I have paid off two of my debts, completed another children’s book, and started an e-book.  I have also stayed on target with my grad classes and only have three more to go.  The vision board is a constant reminder to stay focused on the things that I want out of life this year and ultimately for my future. So, all in all I would say that the life binder has been a blessing. For the next few months, I want to focus on sending my completed works to publishers, complete my first e-book, and revamp my blog and unify the theme.  Also, I have read a lot of books in the past five months and want to share my reviews on these books.

Well, this was a short post and just an update on the life binder and current projects.  I am trying to stay motivated and dodge writer’s block but, will be back soon to share what I have learned so far in 2016.

Really Great Advice

So, I was told to send my four-year-old to bed an hour early. Simple but great advice! Why didn’t I think of that? Well, that is why I am sharing. I probably didn’t think of that because I am running on autopilot and didn’t step outside of the situation to take a closer look.

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I am not sure if anyone is in the same predicament as me but with two jobs and grad school, it has become quite hard to spend as much time with my children as I would like.  I spoke with my pastor about this and she had some really great advice.  My main issue was that I needed to spend more time with my teenage daughter and as anyone knows teenagers can turn their backs on parents and shut them out; mine hasn’t done this and instead has been trying to connect with me more often.  My son is a handful and usually takes up most of my time when I am at home and not grading papers or writing papers.

So, I was told to send my four-year-old to bed an hour early. Simple but great advice! Why didn’t I think of that?  Well, that is why I am sharing.  I probably didn’t think of that because I am running on autopilot and didn’t step outside of the situation to take a closer look.  Within that hour my daughter gets 30 minutes to herself to relax without having to help with her little brother and the last 30 minutes are for us to share and do whatever it is that SHE wants to do.

When I told her about the idea she was excited.  She even helps me get her little brother in the bed earlier for his storytime and kiss goodnight.  So far we have played monopoly (her favorite game) and 8 ball (a game that uses our cell phones).  We even answered questions from our “Coke or Pepsi” book (great book to get for girls middle school and up).  She loves our time together and so do I.

 

The Binder

I am all about living purposefully and achieving my dreams so I want to be intentional in my strategy and how I use my time each day to work towards my goals and vision for my life. What I learned is that when you right it down and constantly come back and review and make it a priority in your day, you will most likely achieve your goals.

Hey!  This is the first real week of the new year and I am overly excited about my journey this year to publishing my first children’s book and creating the life that I deserve.  I have listened in on a lot of motivational conference calls and come across free goal strategy sessions and resources.  There is a wealth of information out there and all of it is accessible and most of it is affordable.  Of course, my idea of affordable at this moment is free.

Anyway, the best idea I came across obviously came from trolling Pinterest.  If you have been following me you already know how much I love Pinterest.  A couple of weeks back I found a lot of free templates for creating personal mission statements, budgeting and getting your finances together, goal setting sheets, health and spirituality templates.  Then the mother of all ideas of which I had never thought about before was creating a “Vision Binder” or “Life Binder”.  I even created one for my friend.

I am all about living purposefully and achieving my dreams so I want to be intentional in my strategy and how I use my time each day to work towards my goals and vision for my life.  What I learned is that when you right it down and constantly come back and review and make it a priority in your day, you will most likely achieve your goals.  I have this poster in my classroom that reads “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.  That quote is accurate.  How many times have we made goals or resolutions and never stuck to them because we did not create a detailed plan and constantly go back and review it throughout the year?

Check out my Pinterest board Boss Behavior and download some of the free templates, read some of the articles, and comment on whether or not it was helpful.  I would love to hear from you.  Also, I created a vision board for 2016 and I posted above my new desk in my room (I had my teenage daughter create one also and this is a great bonding activity.  Have them present their vision board and explain).

I am so proud of this board because I have a gut feeling that 2016 is going to be My Year! Let’s make it the best year so far together!

Happy New Year!

 

Goal Setting with Purpose

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Photo Courtesy of entertainmentcareerstrategy.com

 

I am really excited about this new season in my life and I am trying to prepare for it purposefully.  So many times I have said all of these things that I would do and make a plan that I may or may not have followed through on.  The problem is that I did not set up an environment to succeed.  So, the first thing that I am encouraging all to do is purposefully plan out an environment in which you will succeed.

For me, my home has to be clean, orderly, and as free from as many distractions as possible (not including the children).  As a single parent this can be hard but I finally saved enough money to employ some extra help, as in a maid service and carpet cleaner (use Groupon).  I figure that I may be able to afford this once per season if I budget appropriately.  I also bought another desk that I do not have to share with my teenage daughter and four-year-old son.  This is my personal workspace free from clutter and distractions.

The next thing I did was consult the pros (Pinterest, Instagram, the self-help section at Barnes and Noble).  I hope you know that I was smiling when I typed the last sentence but, it’s true for me.  I follow some amazing people on social media who are starting from scratch or who have started from scratch and are doing very well.  They offer inspiration and advice which is why I created the board “Boss Behavior” on Pinterest.

Please go check it out.  This board is all about the third step of creating a binder for 2016.  I have this poster in my classroom that says “A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish”.  The binder will hold the plan and the process.  I found templates for mission statement sheets, goal setting forms, budgeting and bill paying, spiritual health, physical health, and more.  I bought dividers and created sections to chart my growth.

The main goal is to become a published author by the end of 2016.  My other goals, I have one for each section of the binder: are to lose weight, create a solid nutrition regimen, be more productive at work, pay of at least two bills on my credit report, and build a stronger foundation spiritually.

Lastly, I will take the next seven days to create an action plan with steps to achieve each goal and just start.  My hope is that by sharing my journey with you, you will also be inspired and we will all live a life that is purposeful.  As single parents it may be harder to carve out time so I will continue to share how I find ways through my posts in the new year.

I would also like to add that I am reading a book called the “The 5 AM Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast” by Jeff Sanders and it is truly inspirational.  I just want to be able to implement; I will share more as I continue to read.

Well, now it’s time to go get planning!

Re-Visioning

Life can be revised. Sometimes we get into a pattern where we lose focus, purpose and make careless mistakes. Sometimes we are at the top of our game but just need to switch gears and try something new.

stop-procrastinating-and-do-revisionIt has been a while since I have posted to this blog and it is because sometimes life gets in the way.  Mine became all-consuming and I started to drift off into a place where I felt detached from myself.  I was just a robot doing what needed to be done and existing but not living.  The more time away from writing, the more I became detached.  Words are my life!  My goal is to get it back and focus on what matters “MOST”,  hence, the title Re-Visioning.

I have my students revise their drafts because sometimes it lacks focus, purpose, or careless mistakes have been made.  Some drafts are beautifully written but can be taken to the next level.  That is how I explain it when they ask why they have to revise.

Life can be revised.  Sometimes we get into a pattern where we lose focus, purpose and make careless mistakes.  Sometimes we are at the top of our game but just need to switch gears and try something new.

I am at that point.  I am re-visioning my life and doing what works for me and mine (my household).  My goal of getting published this year did not occur because I drifted and got caught up in existing.  Do not let this happen to you and if it does, know that you can switch gears. A new year is coming but more importantly a new day.  It doesn’t matter how far down the wrong path you have traveled, as long as you stop and turn around.  We can constantly recreate the life that we want for ourselves.  We can constantly revise our plans when thrown a curve ball.  We can re-vision our purpose.  It is never too late.  What I will not do is look back another 10 years from now and ask “Why didn’t I even try?”

Be A Warrior in Your Relationships

Well, I have moved back to my old neighborhood and I am glad because the kids are happy, their schools are closer, and it’s beautiful here.  Along with this move came a reconnection to their dad.  Our past is somewhat intense.  We met in high school and knew then that we wanted to be together “forever” but as we all know, when kids get involved and only one parent matures, it makes for some heavy situations.  Fast forward 14 years and we are both a lot more mature and it is time to act as such.

I have come to the realization that it is important for our daughter to finally see her parents interact in a positive way and our 3.5 year old son to have his dad around on a consistent basis (also in a positive way).  So, I extended the olive branch and offered for him to spend time with the kids and then when they went to bed we could watch the first game of the NBA finals.  Both of us are going for Golden State!

Anyways, he was surprised because I never wanted to watch sports with him when we were together in the past nor did I really want him watching sports alone.  I’d rather have him watch a good Lifetime Movie with me. So, he accepted the offer and was pleasantly surprised when he saw that I had brought two different types of wings, chips and dip, and beer and wine for the game.Go Warriors

We watched it and celebrated the ups and downs of the game.  As we sat there glued to the screen and the food, it suddenly hit me that there was a clear power struggle between him and me. I didn’t want to give up control and he didn’t either.  We also weren’t keeping the kids and each other partner first.  We were young and selfish.  All he wanted was my presence sharing an experience that he enjoyed.  Crazily I used to be so mad at him for other actions that I tied it to anything that he wanted to do and “didn’t do it”.

Needless to say it was a great experience sharing a positive night with their dad and since then he has come over more often to spend time with the kids, talk about our daughters grades and our sons progress in a new preschool, and just relax.

What I want to end with is the fact that there shouldn’t be a power struggle because those types of struggles don’t account for the children.  We need to focus on healthy relationships, which sometimes mean sacrifice, for our kids.

Small Feats

Today I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations when I heard the term “Get it Done”.  I usually use a more inappropriate variation of the same term but it all means the same thing.  So many times I make lists of things that I want to accomplish and months later, I can check some things off but not enough.  I want to accomplish all of my dreams, especially my big one’s but I seem to lose stamina because they are so big.  I know some will say that motivation is the issue but, I am not sure if it’s motivation or persistence.  I have bought so many calendars and journals to write down my plans but they were never specific enough.  I just ended up wasting money on another journal full of dreams.  What I realize as I get older and as I monitor myself for online graduate studies is that if I break things down into smaller tasks that are day by day or week by week, I accomplish more and I accomplish more on time!  The feeling of completing something small in relation to a bigger dream feels really good.  So, of course I have come up with a way to organize my small feats that tackle my bigger than life dreams.

I can use one of the many calendars or notebooks that I have already purchased and map out a week at a time.  If you are like me, you have many goals that you want to accomplish which is why it is important to color code them.  I love, love, love my Staedtler pens.  They help me clearly see that I am accomplishing multiple tasks a day in regards to each of my goals.  Use a different color for each dream/goal.  Darken your lines when you are nearing the completion of goals. If it is a huge project, you may want to do weekly or monthly checklists.  If it is not that sizable, you may benefit from a daily checklist.  Check them off when you complete them and or revise and shift things around as necessary. Each day we should all be doing something that emphasizes our talents and pushes us closer to our goals. Otherwise, we will go crazy or get depressed because we have surrendered to a dream deferred.  Look for more posts on this topic to come.

P.S.= Do whatever works for you, but just make sure to get it done!

Life in Perspective (Part of a Series)

I have been “snowed-in” for the past few days and have completed a lot of homework for my new graduate degree that I’m working on.  I have also pinned a lot on Pinterest.  In keeping this post short, I was able to sit down with my daughter and go through these pictures and ask her thoughts on what she saw.  This was a very enlightening moment as she realized that the world was actually as big as she was being told.  Kids are so visual and no matter how many reports they have to write on globalization and multiculturalism, it always hits home when they get to “see” it.  The best is when they can experience.  I wanted to share with you what I shared with her from a site called distractify.com.

Information and link courtesy of distractify.com

Classic Teen Reads

I love Pinterest and anyone that has read my blog and visited my page https://www.pinterest.com/cleckleymedia/ knows this.  This is where I get inspired and I am able to create an online scrapbook.  Well, much to my daughter’s chagrin, I came across a list of high school must-reads to revisit.  Of course, as I was combing through the list, I became giddy with joy at the thought of reading these books again with my daughter; we would have our own mommy/daughter book club.  I am sure that she will not read them all during her four years in high school (she is currently in 8th grade).  So, why not get a head start on them now together.  When I shared the “good news” she sighed.  The truth is that she always huffs and puffs at my suggestion for reading material but, then she becomes enthralled and starts to ask me questions.  I never let her abandon a book unless I can tell that it is completely over her head.  Right now she is wrapping up “Of Mice and Men”.  Then we can start on the list!  Yippee!

Passion and Purpose

PurposeToday I just want to vent a little.  For the past several years I have been trying to do big things and open doors for myself to new opportunities.  I have gone to trainings, received degrees, taken on more responsibility, let others know what I want and everything else positive that would set me up for success.  The issue is that every door that has been closed has stayed closed.  I have received so many rejection emails (none in regards to my writing) that it would make the average person give up.  But, now it is year six and still no bite.  I am getting antsy because bills are piling up, I have children to take care of, and the income is not meeting the demand.  I am working multiple jobs where I am so tired that I just cannot bring myself to write.

Well, no longer!  What I have been doing is following an agenda that is not aligned with my passion and purpose.  As a single parent, I am thinking about affording college, daycare, rent, utilities, groceries, car, etc.  The epiphany has come to me many times before but has rung more clear today than it ever has.  Follow my passion.  Follow my purpose.  And at least if I still continue to struggle, I will be a lot happier knowing that I tried and did something I loved.

I am by no means a quitter.  But, I am wearing myself thin.  I rarely have time with my children trying to make enough to support them and I am still coming up short.  I am writer and motivator.  I want to help other single parents and write for a living.  I want to help society as a whole by those means.  Whether or not it becomes lucrative is of no concern to me.  I want to live with no regrets.

I regret the amount of time that I have already lost away from my children.  I regret running myself into the ground and not focusing on my health and multiple sclerosis trying to take on extra assignments that aren’t recognized nor appreciated.  It is time to live for me and my family.

I hear a lot of my friends questioning their purpose and current situations.  I hear a lot of regret.  I guess the question we end up asking ourselves or should ask ourselves is “what legacy do I want to leave behind?”

Then, go for it!