Sunday, November 28, 2010

Angels in the Architecture

I don't want to say that Christmas is coming because I have only bought 1 present so far, and I haven't even picked it up yet, it's just ordered. But I guess avoiding the issue won't stop it from happening.

Many people think about angels at Christmas time, and I want to say that my concert band, well, not "my" band, but the concert band of which I am a member, we are performing at a concert this week. It's not about Christmas, but it is about angels.
Here's a link

Something that is interesting about this is that the conductor and his wife recently went on a trip to Europe and they took photos that will be a slideshow as we're playing our feature selection, and it's of angels in old European archeticture. The band got an sneak preview last practice because when it's the concert we're supposed to be concentrating on our music, not sneaking peaks to the pictures that will be behind us.

I thought the perception of angels over the ages when man was capable of creating them as works of art was very intreiguing. Many of the angels were playing instruments, but sadly, none of them played upright double bass. I wonder why?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That Good Ol' Time Change

This was it, the weekend of the Fall time change. Spring forward, fall back.

Everyone is always so excited that we get to have an extra hour of sleep.

I don't know about anyone else, but this never happens to me. I know some of you who are reading this are nodding. What always happens is I go to bed an hour later, knowing that I'll get to crawl out of bed technically an hour later. But then when morning comes, my natural body clock wakes me up when the sun is at that point in the sky that I used to wake up before the policital powers-that-be decided once again to change the clocks on us.

Then if my natural body clock doesn't wake me up an hour "early" then the dogs do. Their little internal clocks say it's time to run outside, and then come back inside and get their daily morning dog biscuit.

All this means that for someone who allegedly got an extra hour of sleep, what happened was I got an hour less.

Go figure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Wow, did I have a massive toothache last night. I had a root canal, which I've never had before, and the dentist warned me that it would be tender. So, as comes natural for me, I forgot to take the pain killers, and one thing led to another, and I found myself up late on Saturday because I took the pain-killer he gave me too late, flipping channels with my husband.

Earlier in the evening we'd watched Glee, which is one of my favorite shows, and they highlighted music from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and this piqued my curiosity.

Guess what was on late Saturday night, the day/night before Halloween? Yeah. The real thing. So my husband and I, both being the curious types, stayed up to watch it. I knew Meat Loaf was in it for one song (I found out that even in his very early days, he was fat then, too)

Why did I watch it? At first, curiosity. It's a cult classic, and the music had to be good because they did a bunch of it on Glee. So I got as comfortable as I could, and watched it.

The acting in the beginning was humorously bad, as well as the setting of the old castle and creepy face. Then there was a very appealing and fun song and dance number early in, and of course I was curious about the main character and the entrance.

It went downhill from there very, very fast. I can now honestly say that this is probably the worst movie I have ever seen on so many different levels. It wasn't just bad, like a normal bad movie. The plot was sick and depraved from early on and it only got worse, even when I thought it couldn't get more sick or morose or depraved. It was sicker than sick. The only reason I watched it was so I would know how truly horrible it was. It looked like it was almost set up to be a comedy, but it wasn't funny. There was even a very gruesome part with a dead body that turned my stomach late in the movie.

I watch Bones and CSI, and even though the dead/decomosing bodies they show are bad and are enough to often turn my stomach, this was different, made so much worse by the mood and presentation of the dead body, and the plot section circulating around it.

Since there are fan clubs of people who dress up and sing and dance in celebration of this movie, I kept watching thinking it had to get better, or that some character had to come up with some small redeeming trait. Nope. There was none. The characters were depraved, lewd, and ending was tragic and it was awful. There was nothing good about this movie. I didn't even have a feeling that justice was served when the depraved main character died in the end, because the movie, plot, and characters were just so horrible. When it was over my husband and I stared at the lighted globe with the closing credits scrolling in total disbelief. It wasn't scary (ie the title has the word Horror). It was sick. Very sick. There is nothing fun or funny about this movie, entirely the opposite, worse becasue the depravity is treated lightly, the presentation belittles the serious depravity of the plot and characters, deceiving the viewer. No one would make a "fun" movie like this about Clifford Robert Olsen or Robert Picton or Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson, even if they made the character ficticious. There is nothing funny or redeeming or entertaining about the actions of such people.

If you haven't seen it and have any questions, email me. I'll tell you why you shouldn't watch it. I'll also tell you why your kids should definitely not watch it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkins, and more

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, which set me thinking to all sorts of things. Rather than give the usual list of things I'm thankful for, or a lecture on why we should be thankful for our blessings every day (which I am, by the way), I thought I'd do something different.

While the season has changed from summer to fall, I think the time around Thanksgiving is when we can definitely see that winter is coming. I know Americans have a later thanksgiving, and by then winter is definitely more upon us.

I wanted to blog about pumpkins.

On our dog walk today, my husband and dogs and I walked past the local pumpkin patch. What a business they have! Over the years they have changed their marketing. When my kids were little they were running a small day trip for preschoolers and primary students - a tour of a pumpkin patch, a hay ride, and a petting zoo, and at the end the children went into the field and got a pumpkin. Let me tell you, for the price of the admission, that was a pretty expensive pumpkin, for the size of what a 6 year old would take home. They had to pick it and carry it out of the field and to the parking area.

Now, they have a corn maze, a small store for honey and other "farm" products, crafts for sale, and more. They also don't only run it during school days, it is every day. Today is Thanksgiving Day, and the place was very busy.

Which brings me to my topic of pumpkins.

Here in Canada, this was Thanksgiving weekend, when so many families want pumpkin pie. The idea here would be that we gut the pumpkin, or whatever you call it when you scrape the innards out, and then it would have to sit for 3 weeks before you use the shell for Halloween, if you do that kind of thing. Actually, I've only used a real pumpkin once for pies, I've always used canned pumpkin. That aside, I can't imagine having a pumpking shell around for 3 weeks waiting for Haloween. Wouldn't it get kinda stinky and gross?

For Americans, do you do the Jack O Lantern thing with your pumpkins, and save the guts for your pies to use on your Thanksgiving, which is about four weeks after Halloween. So it's the other way around. Does it last until pie making time?

Or you can do what I have done for the last dozen years. Buy the pie at the supermarket, and hang a rubber spider by the door. All problems solved.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

stuff happens - from nowhere

I have a story to share that was sent to me by my friend Dave Longeuay. I don't think this needs an intro. Here you go.

Dave Longeuay: Three years ago I went totally blind in one eye. It came out of nowhere, and developed in just a few days. After seeing three doctors, the Retinologist gave me an injection right in the eyeball. Yeah! It was as brutal as it sounds, especially since it was massively inflamed inside. I was finally diagnosed with UV eitis, which is chronic inflammation of the Uvea, the core of the eye.
For the next two years I was mostly blinded in the left eye by the rare disease. I was averaging 25 drops a day of prednisolone (steroids) to try and battle it. Finally the doctor at UCLA medical center, (World renowned for eye care.) told me to start taking Methotrexate, a chemo drug to prevent the eye from flaring up. It worked, but who wants to take a nasty drug like that for life with the life threatening side effects it has on its list?
When I confronted God about this (quite unhappily at that) He quoted scripture to me. Imagine that! God quoting scripture to me. A verse many of us have read and dreaded. (Hey, I'm just being honest. There are a few scriptures I wish I could delete. But the logical side of me knows that every single verse is there for a reason.)
God quoted, "My grace is sufficient for you." That's all He had to say on the matter and that's all I needed to hear from Him. "Okay," I said.
My take away from this ongoing life-long disease after having eye surgery last summer? It's not that I was going in any major bad direction before, but God has clearly rerouted my whole direction in life. I was heading one way and he has rerouted me elsewhere. While I'm not happy to revolve my life around my eye these days, I am happy He has allowed (Not caused) this disease to strike me for His purpose. Sorry to sound cliche on this but, I'm happy to "go with His flow". I'm also grateful that I have most of my vision back after years of treatments and surgery, but the residue damage is permanent until I get my new body, or until He decides to heal me in His timetable.
The irony: My career is videography. It takes a sharp eye to focus a camera in all types of corporate situations all day, and later edit with split frame precision, and have to color correct every shot for maximum quality. Many of these videos are viewed by military Generals, Homeland security and top government officials, so they have to look great. The miracle: My good eye does all the work! It completely takes over what the damaged eye lacks. Praise God!

I don't think I have anything I can add to that.

Have you ever had anything bad happen to you? What did you do to overcome it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

those oh-no moments, and what we think about after

Sorry I've missed a few days, we've had an unfortunate turn of events in our family - my son went on a trip to visit a friend, and on the drive there, he hit an elk. He's surprisingly fine, the car is injured, the elk is dead. During the weekend I drove up to get him and he's home now, and he'll go back to get his car when it's out of the shop. There's a lot of damage to the car, but it's fixable.
And this brings me to my topic of the month. It's those split-second oh-no moments - many times they are life altering. I don't know if anyone reading this has ever hit a large animal before, but I talked at length to my son about it, and it was terrifying. After the impact he managed to stay on the road, and the angle he hit it had it hit the windshield, breaking it, but not going completely through the windshield - if it had, the weight of it would have crushed him. He also managed to keep control of the car and get to a stop without going off the road and into the deep, steep ditch. This was at night, in the middle of nowhere. He said he stopped the car and his first thought was that he wasn't dead.
I've had one of those "I could have died" experiences, and I think I can say that most people who have something happen like that have a different perspective on their life after that.
I can't speak for my son - but I can speak for myself. For me it was a surgery that was supposed to be simple, but the surgeon made a "mistake" and I had to have an immediate corrective surgery or I would have died. That is, if having 2 complete anasthetics so soon didn't kill me, which I found out at the time, there is a significant risk.
My thoughts at the time were that if I died, I had no regrets, and I was okay to go on to heaven and leave all this behind. Well, I'm still here (waving). But I can say that I do have a changed perspective on what really is important in life.
Here is my thought of the day - I'd like to hear from you if you've had an incident that when it was over, you had a change of perspective, and how it changed.
I like to think that when something like that happens, we come out having learned something. Please, I'd love you to share how you felt, and what you learned.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

wasting time - in proper order

My best time wasters are distractions, things that distract from what I should be doing in the first place. But my friend Shirley Connolly has this mastered.
Shirley Connolly: So much goes through my mind that helps me waste my time. Usually this comes about when I’m trying to think about that missing phrase in my manuscript.
Suddenly, I notice my treasured antique-teacup collection must be rearranged. The living room is out of order, too. How can anyone’s creative juices flow when that’s the case? I need to move the couch at this angle… no that one. There, that’s it. Am I ready now? Well, I was until it donned on me that I’ve not had my second cup of coffee. It’s no wonder I couldn’t think before. That’s better. It was, anyway, until I noticed those bookcases in my office somehow got out of order too. That’s no good. It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to find what I needed the other day. But when that is taken care of, I suddenly realize I should take a few minutes to search out those Scriptures I’ll need for this Friday Ladies Koinonia Bible Study I’m teaching. I won’t have time later, will I? But wait! What about the wall comments I forgot to respond to on Facebook yesterday? Isn’t now the best time to do that? I don’t want anyone to think I’ve forgotten them. Oh my! And while I’m at it, shouldn’t I also get to those emails and get rid of some of that stuff built up in my junk box, and read my user manual on my new Kindle? Otherwise, how could anyone have the time to really think?
I’ll get to that missing phrase in my manuscript maybe tomorrow. Yes, I’ll do that then. By now, I’m too tired with my mind full of all the other things that have required dire need of my attention.

I thought I had distractions mastered, except what distracts me isn't so constructive. I am awed that Shirley does something relatively constructive when getting lost from the things she should be doing in the first place. Shirley, my hat is off you you!
So here is my thought/question of the day. If you could get distracted from what you should be doing, if you were stil wasting time, what would the most constructive waste of time be for you?
You're invited to visit Shirely Connolly's website at

Monday, May 24, 2010

wasting time - a good day off is a good day wasted

For those of you reading on the north side of the Canadian/USA border, thank you for joining me on this holiday in most of Canada, Victoria Day! For those of you who are visiting from south of the border, I am waving at you because you have to work today, I do not.
As a FYI, Victoria Day is a public holiday observed across Canada except for the Maritime provinces on the Monday before May 25th, which is Queen Victoria's birthday.
Since the topic of this post is wasting time, I invite you to check out the history of Victoria Day on Wikkopedia.
In the days of my childhood, Victoria Day was more commonly known as "Firecracker Day" which of course meant a lot of fun after sundown, with most families buying fireworks and setting them off. In the interests of safety, we can no longer buy fireworks from unregulated vendors, and we can no longer set off fireworks any old place we want, without a license, so Firecracker Day has more or less fizzled. Fizzled. Get it?
Victoria Day has now become the kickoff for the summer - the official first long weekend of the summer season. When my kids were little we always went on a family camping vacation in our tent trailer on the Victoria Day weekend, where wasting time is an art form.
When my husband took the boys fishing, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. When my husband took the boys biking down the trails, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. When my husband and the boys would go to collect firewood for the evening campfire, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Unfortunately our camping days are over. So I will probably spend most of the weekend in the living room with my pot of coffee and a good book. Only now, instead of an uncomfortable webbed lawnchair with a strip missing, I'll have a nice soft couch cushion underneath me.
Which leaves me with my thought/question of the day. As time goes by, do you find you have the same patterns when you waste time now, versus what you did ten years ago?
I always end off my posts with a link, but it's silly of me to have a link to my own website. So instead here's a link to Barnes and Noble, where they will be featuring my new book, The Narrow Path, on a front table display next week. If you're at B&N and see my book, I'd love it if you could take a photo of the display and send it to me, since there are no B&N's in Canada.
For all you Canadians, enjoy the holiday. For all you Non-Canadians, I hope you had a great day anyway.

Friday, May 21, 2010

wasting time - with a good snack

There are big ways and little ways to waste time, and my friend Martha Rogers (Martha is a real person, not the fictional mother on the TV show Castle)(and no, watching Castle is NOT a waste of time!) wastes time with a few of my favorite things. Do we hear a song coming? No, but maybe another poem.
Martha Rogers: How do I waste time? Let me count the ways.
To the heights and depths my creativity can soar.
When the manuscript calls, I’ll find a way
To put it off until another day.
When edits are due, and deadlines crunch,
I take the time to find something to munch.

I’d go on, but I’ll spare you the torment. Instead let me tell you about a few of my favorite time wasters, which is a lot more fun than what I'm supposed to be doing. I can always find something to do to waste time. I most often do it by playing Spider or Eight Off Solitaire Games on the computer, or working crossword puzzles. I have books of them to use when I’m finding excuses not to do certain chores. I do the one in the paper every day at lunch to extend my lunch time.
Then there’s snacking. Some snacks can be eaten at the computer, but others call for two hands and concentration like chips and Queso dip or picante sauce or eating ice cream sundaes. Did I mention reading emails, checking up on Facebook, or checking on my friends?
The problem is that I have such guilty feelings that I will overcompensate and spend so much time on a manuscript that my seat hurts and my feet swell. Gotta be a happy medium somewhere.

Side note - One of my favorite snacks, that requires two hands is popcorn with grated cheese and Ranch seasoning mixed in, microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
I digress. Or do I waste time?
Of course I zeroed in on Martha's comment about extending her lunch time with a time waster. Do you ever do things like that?
Here's my thought/question of the day. If you have a little time waster like that, if you went ahead and did something you were supposed to be doing, just for those few minutes, what could that be?
You're invited to check out Martha Rogers' website at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

wasting time - constructively

So many ways to waste time, so little time to do it.
My friend Janet Bly has one way to make wasting more constructively than I do.
Janet Chester Bly: How do I waste time and how do I make it constructive? Let me count the ways...everything from backtracking to find a lost object that I left in another room/store/friend's house to getting distracted by a TV news show. As soon as I get alert, I proclaim this as a productive detour. I use the time for exercise or prayer...running up and down the stairs or in place as I wait...praying for what's going on in the world at large or in my own personal world.

I know I should take that lost time sitting on the couch and do something with my brain that would serve more purpose than playing games on my Palm Pilot. But I've gotten some pretty good scores on Sonic The Hedgehog. Except, no one cares but me and Sonic.
I have lots of things I could think about while walking around doing nothing, although it seems that the only time I think constructively when I'm walking is when I take the dogs out for a walk, without my husband, for that very purpose.
I should try it. Sometimes. Not always. Just sometimes, and work up from there.
Here's my thought/question of the day. If you're like me and sometimes enjoy wasting time, do you have a portion of that wasted time that you could be wasting time, and thinking of something constructive at the same time? It's possible. I suppose.
You're invited to check out Janet Chester Bly's website at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wasting time - walking slowly, and getting distracted

Sometimes we can completely loose track of time getting distracted. But somethings are better to get distracted with than others, and here is my friend Angie Breidenbach to tel us all about it.
Angie Breidenbach: My favorite way to waste time is with my grandson. It seems like every moment watching him grow up is poignant and beautiful. I get lost in those moments. Recently we went for a walk. With a toddler, that takes a while :-) We made it about 3 houses down and found newspaper mail boxes. Fascinated with cause and effect, he had to toss little pebbles into the open ends. (Sorry, neighbors) and then we toddled on to the puddle in the road. This was extremely fascinating. Pebbles caused water to splash. That caused Jude to giggle. Bees buzzed and landed for a sip. Jude watched it all. When a tiny purple moth flickered around him, he had to chase it from spot to spot. We wasted time in the most precious way possible by being fascinated with nature through the eyes of a child.

I often get distracted with things and lose track of what I was supposed to be doing as well. But then there are so many things that I would miss if I didn't stop and smell the roses. Or stop and toss the pebbles. Or whatevever.
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. What small thing have you been distracted with that on the surface just seemed to waste time, but ended up being a breathtaking moment?
You're invited to visit Angela Breidenbach's website at

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wasting time - with housework

When thinking about wasting time, we never think of something constructive or good as wasted, but my friend Ginny Hamlin does exactly that. Let's hear how
Ginny Hamlin:How do I waste time? Great Question. Hold on…I’ll be right back. I think I see dust on a table. (Hint-hint.) I would say the area I waste the most time is probably housecleaning. When it comes to cleaning I can dump endless hours into the bottomless pit known as “I’m-almost-done-I-just-need-one-more-minute.” My husband says those words should be on a bunch of Post-it-Notes throughout our home.
Forgettaboutit. I took a break to get a cup of decaf and noticed the windows in my living room needed to be cleaned. (No joking.) I enlisted my husband’s help and he removed the screens while I cleaned the glass (inside & out). I told him you’re not going to believe this but I’m writing an article for a friend’s blog on how I waste time… the topic is my (borderline) obsessive cleaning. He laughed.

I’m left with the question how can any of this, sweeping, mopping, dusting, and glass cleaning…to name but a few (BTW, I also like my bed made up with hospital corners, but I digress) be constructive? My rationale is--it could be worse. I could be at the other end of the spectrum and overlook Grape-nuts or OJ or coffee on the floor and pretend my bare feet aren’t sticking.
But I guess the bottom line is that more isn’t necessarily better, but… well, you know.

I can't say that I share Ginny's time waster, but I can see myself getting distracted and then doing a project that doesn't need to be done. I'll finish that project and it will be breathtaking, but... my original project, which was the necessary one, remains incomplete.
This makes my question/thought of the day easy. Are you like me and Ginny, getting distracted by things that aren't necessarily bad, but do waste time that was supposed to be spent on something else? If so, what can you do about it?
You're invited to visit Ginny Hamin's blog

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wasting time - a poem

How doest thou wasteth time? Let me count the ways.
Okay, my poetry is not good, but my friend Laurie Alice Eakes came up with a good one.
Laurie Alice Eakes:
Time, how I waste thee.
Let me count the ways.
With Facebook, blogs, and TV,
I squander all my days.
Well, the TV part, at least, isn’t true. That’s one vice I don’t have, except for a couple of news shows I like. Even those don’t catch me every day. But the other things—Facebook and blog posts, e-mail and books suck up more time than I realize. Where did the day go? I’ve been up since 5:00. I should have accomplished more. Why didn’t I get that laundry folded, more than a couple thousand words written, dinner on time? Hmm.
It reminds me of a cartoon that sticks in my head from childhood. The mom says to the dog, “Dog, why are you so fat? I only feed you once a day.” Then the father says, “Dog, why are you so fat? I only feed you once a day.” And so it goes through the whole family until the dog walks off shaking his head and saying, “Maybe it’s the snacks I get next door.”
Why do I get so far behind? I only check in twice a day? I only read that once a day. I only chattered about that for… Oh, maybe that dialogue took longer than I thought.
But it’s all good, right? I’m networking. I’m keeping up on the market, trends, readers, family, friends, the world.
All good and necessary, but maybe not in quite the quantity in which I indulge myself. It’s called priorities. Have my quiet time before I hit Facebook or e-mail. Feed the husband and animals before I indulge in news junky fixes. Write my word goals before answering e-mails. And, because I tend to volunteer for stuff, learn to, when necessary, just say no.

I love the cartoon story. I'd like to use that some day. But...
Anyway, I think Laurie Alice has hit on a key point - quantity and priorities. I think we can all do those things just fine, but let ourselves limits. Easier said than done, I know.
Here's my thought/question of the day. What do you do that you know wastes a significant amount of time, and how can you cut it down without cutting it out?
You're invited to visit Laurie Alice Eake's website at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wasting time - eek... facebook...

Oh I have said a magic word in relation to wasting time - Facebook. My, how we have all fallen in love with Facebook. It's been wonderful for me, I've reconnected with so many old friends I haven't seen for years, and it's also been great to keep in touch with major events in everyone's lives, and let them know the major events in mine - like the recent May 1st release of my new book The Narrow Path. Okay, that was a shameless promo, but I couldn't not do that.
My friend Ann Shorey is the one who got me started, talking about Facebook.
Ann Shorey: My biggest time waster is Facebook. I check it in the morning and post a few comments, then all day long when the email comes in I stop what I'm doing to read the follow-ups. Aargh. However, when I'm in the middle of a project with a time crunch, I'll just turn off the email. My time wasting is seldom constructive, unless I occasionally learn something useful by accident!

Who agrees with Ann? Who is addicted to Facebook? But now that it's here, can we live without it?
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. How much time per day/week/month do you spend on Facebook, and how much of that do you consider wasted versus touching base with people, versus touching base with people you really care about?
You're invited to visit Ann Shorey's website at

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wasting time - and make it well "documented"

Here is one way of wasting time, but it's not really totally wasted. Not really. It all depends on perspective. My friend Sheila Lipsey and I share this, for sure!
Sheila Lipsey: I find myself wasting valuable time by becoming engrossed with too many television documentaries. I watch one after another when I could use that time to write. However, I have made an excuse for the times I watch documentary by saying it is my 'relaxation period'. I believe that it is truly a means for me to relax and get away from the computer screen, and rest my brain from all of the stories that are circulating, but I also have discovered that I waste valuable time as well.
I would like to learn how to become more wise when it comes to how I spend my time. I do not want to overdo it when it comes to being on the computer because at times it is very addictive as well. I can write and write and write, visit this website and that website, and then still walk away feeling that I have not achieved what i truly desire to achieve when it comes to my passion of writing. I want to do all things decently and in order.

Myself, I love to watch How It's Made. Another thing that is, well, semi-educational, which explains many things, ahem, is Mythbusters. Oh, yeah.
My thought/question of the day - what documentary or documentary-ish shows do you watch, and how do you justify them?
I invite you to visit Shelia's website at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wasting time - working (or playing?) around the day job

Some of us have less time to waste because of a day job - but guess what, we still have opportunites to wast those precious pockets of valuable time.
My friend Christine Lindsay openly admits to that, and more.
Christine Lindsay:Like most writers I have to work 9 to 5 to keep bacon on the table. So that means when I'm not working, the rest of my time is like gold. I have to squeeze every ounce out of the day in order to get the latest novel written. So . . . if only I wouldn't linger just a little too long with my third cup of tea in the morning, I might have written a page. But then, relaxing and gathering my thoughts for the day is good for me too, especially if that cup of tea is shared with the Lord.
Or when I am at my laptop, happily piecing together my latest scene and an email pops up, if I could only ignore it for a little while. But no. Like an addict, I open it and bang off a reply. Then another pops up and this one has an attachment that also begs to be read. I really ought to close my email for a few hours and do my correspondence all at once. After all, relationships are important, and email is my lifeline to a lot of people around this world.
But the biggest time waster---and truly the only one---is when I plan to watch TV in the evening. Instead of allowing myself a reasonable hour or occasionally two hours for a movie, I watch 3 hours. Now there's just no excuse for that whatsoever.

I know I can relate to the email issues - I'm bad for that. What did we do with ourselves before email? Or, who remembers what email was like when the only access was... dialup.... Oh, the pain.
But I sure share the time water of television. I don't have too many shows that hook me, but the bad part is when they are over, I should just get up and do something constructive instead of watching something I wouldn't have watched if I hadn't been sitting there.
My question/thought of the day is, since many of us struggle with television as being a time waster, what is ONE show or ONE pattern you can cut out, and maybe just give yourself an hour more a week. Just think 1 hour times 5 days a week and 52 weeks a year is... yeah, do the math, 10.8 days with no sleep. Or, if we count 8 hours a day sleeping, that's 16.2 days of just sleeping and watching television per year. Uh, that's longer than a 2 week vacation, doing nothing but watching televions.
The mind boggles.
In invite you to visit Christine Lindsay's website at

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wasting time - crock pot fever

I am happy (happy?) to say that I am not the only one who has a problem with wasting too much time. When I asked my friends for their stories, I had many very quick answers. Which wasn't wasting time, it is communicating with a friend. However, my friend Ruth Reid is not sharing her own ways of wasting time (why not, Ruth? haha) but instead, her husband's. This is a classic.
Ruth Reid: Since college, my husband and I have shared a theory of wasted time, we call it the "crock pot syndrome." I diagnosed his illness (okay, I'm not a doctor nor do I pretend to be), but my husband (boyfriend at the time) had the crock pot disease.
When he should have been deep in study for final exams, he'd spend hours dicing carrots, celery, onions into minuscule pieces to make crock pot chicken. After hours of checking and rechecking his boiling chicken parts, he'd ladle it over rice. Yes, It was a gross as it sounds. Sometimes you'd dip the ladle in the pot and pull up only chicken bones. I learned early to eat before going to his house. (Although it took 5 years of dating before I made that confession.)
What I remember, besides the grease film of boiled chicken skin on my tongue, was the wasted hours it took to shop for and prepare the meal. I used to tell him if he put those same hours into studying, he wouldn't panic during finals. I also, the studious person I was, pointed out that the only time he cooked was before finals. He unknowingly planned to waste time. I always thought it would be more fitting if he'd cook in a pressure cooker because inevitably that's what he did by wasting study time.
After we got married, the first thing I did was throw out his crock pot. Now, when we catch each other procrastinating, we ask, "what's in your crock pot?"

Uh... I have 2 crock pots. I don't use them tremendously often, but I have this great recipie for crockpot Apple Butter, which is fantastic on whole wheat toast... I make it every year. For those out there who know me well, I bet you can't imagine me in the kitchen making preserves, can you? Well, this is one thing I do. I won't tell you all my shortcuts, my grandmother would roll over in her grave, but my grandmother never had a dishwasher.
Oops, I digress.
Here's my thought/question of the day. Like Ruth's husband, do you ever deliberately waste time? What do you do, and here's the important question... what are you avoiding, and why?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wasting time - and time well wasted

My new topic of the month is about how we all tend to waste time, and as a bonus, how we can justify it. Yes, with enough effort, we can justify almost anything.
I know I waste a lot of time on the computer, I could do much more writing, but instead I find myself addicted to Spider Solitaire. Hands up, I know I'm not alone!

We all can say email wastes time, but really, it's communication with friends and the price is right. I can completely justify email! As well, all the email loops I'm in, they are for many purposes besides friendship - writing, music, and even help on my electronic gadgets. It's not wasting time to talk about music, unless of course I should be practicing for our next gig or concert. Oops, I'm going to change the subject.

Sometimes I waste time when I go grocery shopping. I have no idea why. We all know those days when we go for one item and come out with 20 things we didn't intend to buy and don't need... and then we don't have the one thing we went for in the first place. (Costco anyone?)

Wasting time, we all do it, and we can always justify it.

So for the next month, let's see what some of my friends have to say.
Feel free to comment or email me if you want to contribute. It's not wasting time. It's sharing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking a break - wrapping it up

This is it, the last post on taking a break, which wraps up my topic of the month for April.
There are many ways of taking a break, some mean going far away, some mean just going outside, and for some, we can just stay where we are and our imagination is the only thing that goes on a journey.
I'd like to say my favorite break is going on an ocean cruise, except I've never been on an ocean cruise. I'd like to, though. Except I get motion sickness really bad. Okay, never mind that kind of break. Maybe I'll just take a nap instead. Or maybe I'll hide in the basement and close the door and play my upright bass, and not do stuff I should be practicing for concert band, but just fool around and play what I want to. Which usually means The A&W Root Bear song. Root beer, anyone?

After everything is said and done, after all we've said this month, what's your favorite way to take a break?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taking a break - from the computer

Oh, this is an interesting comment I got from my friend Bob Kaku. The thing he needs a break from is his computer, and this is something I'm sure many of us bleary-eyed computer users can relate to.
Bob Kaku: Taking a break for me means taking my eyes away from the computer monitor. I’m an IT worker, which means I spent about 95% of my workday in front of a computer. It’s gotten worse. Face-to-face meetings, even with people on the same campus, have been replaced with virtual meetings where we’re staring at the monitor and talking into a speakerphone. While I enjoy writing, it also means my evening hours in front of the computer.
I don’t want to think about all the electron particles and radiated waves that are bombarding my eyes. Oh God help!
To take a break from this, I go get a cup of tea. But I don't do that frequently enough. I tell myself to take a break every hour or so. I've even set an alarm on my computer to flash a reminder. But that doesn't work that well, because sometimes I'm right in the middle of concentrating on something, and I just hit the Dismiss button. It's the same with writing. I don't want to lose my train of thought. Alas, it's a hopeless battle. :-)

I can relate to Bob on this one - and what I find myself doing is getting up and running to the washroom when I don't really need to. Or is that more than you wanted to know?
With that in mind, here is my thought/question of the day. Do you do what you can to save your eyes in this electronic age? If you decided to get your eyes unglued from the computer regularly, how would you do it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taking a break - when the day has gone to the dogs

There are many ways to take a break, and my next guest who is going to share with us how he takes a break is ... my husband Tim Sattler.
Tim Sattler: My best break is getting away from it all. There is always work to do and there are always schedules to keep, which unfortunatley means that my breaks can't be very long. My solution is to take the dogs out to the dike, which is a five minute drive from our house, where we walk along the water's edge, away from people and the hustle and bustle of my daily routine, and let the dogs run and explore while we walk along the path, often accompanied by the sounds of ducks, the jumping fish, and occasionally the neighborhood eagles.
What isn't quite a break is when we see a coyote in the bush or on the other side of the water. A few times we've seen deer, and once, a bear, which was on the other side of the river, which suddenly wasn't all that wide, or deep.
Not only is it good exercise to walk and breathe in the fresh air, it's a way to truly get away from the hustle and bustle.
What is an even better break is when my darling wife can come with us, even though she has an inflated opinion of the athletic abilities of her little dog who needs to go on a diet and barks too much.

I don't think I'm going to comment on that, except to say that his dog has a nose like a doorknob, and my dog's nose is as cute as a little button.
So that brings me to my thought/question of the day. There is no doubt that walking is good for us, and even though walking is better with a dog (or another person, right dear?) it also is a good break just to go out for a walk, even if it's only to the mailbox (for those of us who don't get mail delivery to the house). Have you ever gone for a walk just to take a short break and get away from it all, even if your destination is only the corner store? Besides, the corner store sells chocolate...
I digress. Chocolate... that's a break, too. Chocolate aside, I invite you to visit Tim Sattler's website at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking a break - with idle hands...

We all need to take a break from time to time, but for some that doesn't come naturally.
My friend Kay Strom has an interesting perspective on that.
Kay Strom: Work, work, and keep on working. I learned the lesson well at my mother’s knee. You know—idle hands are a devil’s workshop and all. So taking a break doesn’t come naturally to me. I iron while I watch television. I jog in place while I talk on the phone. I know… disgusting, isn’t it? Even to me!
When I lived in Southern California, I used to relax by walking on the beach under the palm trees and watching the dolphins dance. I loved it. It was an opportunity to collect my thoughts and think and pray. Well, I moved up north and there is no beach close by. Even if there were, there isn’t predictable sunshine or dolphins or palm trees.
I do get exercise, but it’s not the soul restoring kind. It’s the cross-it-off-my-list type. But last year my husband and I purchased a price-slashed-end-of-season hot tub spa, and it has revolutionized my break time. Almost every day I carve out half an hour or so—sometimes double that—to sit and luxuriate, read, consider, and discuss life with my husband. In the winter, I cradle a cup of hot cocoa or tea. In the summer I may go all out and sip on a root beer float. But the great thing is that my stress bubbles away.
Sorry, Mom. Sometimes idleness is a virtue.

I think idle time takes on a new meaning after reading that. Kay Marshall Strom is the author of 37 books, many with a global reach, and includes prize winning screenplays and curriculum. I didn't think she had idle time, but the point is well made - she makes idle time.
Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. For all those busy people out there like Kay, do you mix activity with things that should be a break, or can you just stop and take the break?
I invite you visit Kay Marshall Strom's web page at

Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking a break - with nature

Taking a break means different things for different people, and likewise, different people find time for those breaks in different ways. For many of us, taking a break means needing to escape, and there are many ways of escaping.
My friend Valerie Comer takes a break by getting back to nature.

Valerie Comer: I've heard it said that the core difference between extroverts and introverts is that extroverts draw energy from being around other people while introverts draw strength from within.
Color me an introvert.
When life gets stressful, I pull back to nature. I'm thankful to live on a farm in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, a place with truly some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. My dog and I walk our road every morning and night, listening to the trills of red-winged blackbirds and the calls of ducks and geese. We hear the wind rippling through oats and corn and poplars, and the buzz of insects--including the bees whose hives are on our property.
We watch hawks and eagles swoop for mice in the fields, and great blue herons doing their best fence-post imitations. We admire the neighbors' Border collie as he herds their cattle from one pasture to another following only hand signals and whistles. We see the ever-changing clouds and, in the late fall, shiver as we notice the snow line creeping down the mountain across our valley. And then we see our breath in the frigid air, and walk faster.
In the spring, the sap of the trees smells so sweet. In summer, it is the wildflowers; in autumn, the tang of frost-tinged leaves and woodsmoke curling from chimneys. Winter smells of crisp snow in the air.
I feel the changes in temperature, but the dog, Brody, doesn't. He doesn't care if I'm in shorts and a tank, sweating profusely. He doesn't care if I'm bundled in long johns and my parka, with a tuque pulled low over my ears and forehead. He doesn't care if the wind bites my cheeks and freezes my fingers. To him, it is all the same.
In these walks, I am thankful that God created the beauty around me. Whether it is windy and cold or humid and hot, I'm thankful to fill my lungs with cleansing air and to expel the worries and tension that have crept in. I find peace and, with it, the strength to resume my tasks.
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

By the way, to all the non-Canadians reading this, a tuque is a knitted pull-on cap/hat. Picture Bob and Doug McKenzie.

I found if I closed my eyes, I could see a lot of what Valerie said, and that means I've had my break for the day.

So this brings me to my thought/question of the day. Can you see those birds and bees and other wildlife, and does that picture help you relax? Or is what makes you relax the project of knitting that tuque?

I invite you to visit Valerie's website at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taking a break - in the sunshine

We all need a break, and being outside is one thing many people agree on.
My friend Stephen Bly has more to say about going outside for a break.
Stephen Bly: When I need a break I go to the nearest golf course or driving range. There's nothing like a bit of Vit. D sunshine, clear air, and a full body swing to clear the mind and relieve any stress. Many of my writing and sermon ideas come while searching for a lost ball, cruising in the cart, or following behind a foursome that's slower than evolution, plodding like a glacier.
I can't say I'm a golfer, but I do understand the value in going outside and moving to clear the stress away. Although I tend to get my Vitamin D from a bottle.
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. If you wanted to clear some stress outside, what would you do?
I invite you to check out Stephen's site at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taking a break - in the five senses

Taking a break can be done in many forms. Just reading what my friend laura O'Connell from Australia sent me made me close my eyes and see and feel it all. I opened my eyes and sighed, and it was like I was sitting there beside her, half a world away.
Laura O'Connell: I know I need a break when I’m feeling scratchy – everyone and everything seems to have taken more from me than I can give. I’m on a tight budget, so that means fancy holidays are out.
I go to my back veranda and sit in my favourite chair with my feet up on the railing and before me is a view I never grow tired of – the glorious Gold Coast of Australia.
I hear God in the sounds of the birds; the dog next door nosing his metallic bowl along the concrete; the laughter of children playing at the local school; and the cars tooting letting me know the world is alive.
I smell God in a neighbour’s cooking; the damp earthiness of my potted plants after watering; jasmine scent; and a hint of smoke from a distant fire.
I touch God in my wooden chair that was once a seedling; the fibres of my cushion that were once a plant; and my skin that was made in the image of Him.
I taste God in the velvet water I drink, cleansing my tongue that has indulged more than it should have .
Taking time with God is the perfect break for me. I’m reminded of where I’ve come from, what it is to be. This simple break refreshes me ready to be part of the chaos that is our world today. Sometimes all we need is a few minutes away from the every day.

Wow, I've had my break today. My thought/question of the day is, when you sit in your back yard, what do your own five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste tell you?

I invite you to visit Laura's website at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taking a break - in the middle of mayhem

As I previously said, my way to take a break is to read a book, but... some of us just can't be still for long enough to get into a book.
My friend Sarah Hamaker has a unique twist on reading a good book.
Sarah Hamaker:
Juggling four young kids, a household and part-time at-home work can leave little free time in my schedule. One of the things I miss the most is relaxing with a good book. Several years ago, I discovered audio books. Now, one of the ways I find little breaks in my day is to listen to audio books on a portable CD player while cleaning the kitchen, making dinner or performing other mundane household tasks. I've "read" many books this way and have enjoyed the stimulation from hearing books while my hands are busy with other things. It has certainly made household chores not so onerous. As a bonus, the earphones help me tune out some of the normal kid noise.

You know, I got tired just reading that. But for Sarah, not only does it work, but I love her comment that the earbuds help block out some of the noise that makes her need to take the break in the first place. Go Sarah!

Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. Sometimes, even a little quiet is a bit of a break as we still continue to do our normal things. What can you do to block out some of that noise and busyness, and still keep going?

I invite you to visit Sarah's website at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Taking a break - accepting limitations

One thing about taking a break is knowing when to take that break. That means, not taking the break too late to do any good.
I love what my friend Dave Longeuay has to say about that.
Dave Longeuay: My biggest challenge is not what to do when I need a break, it's how do I find the time in my busy day to take that break. Years ago I developed a practice of priorities. One of those goals was to learn my limitations and say no when asked to take on certain non essential commitments.
I was convicted by the Lord as He graciously pointed out in Genesis that even He took a rest after creating the world.
Now I have made breaks and rest one of those priorities on my daily list of important things to do. Because of that, I am more productive, less stressed an irritable. I'm still dead tired at bedtime, but my journey toward the end of the day is a better one.
After noticing great improvements in my marriage when we went out, a Friday night date night became my next big goal. At the time with two small children and very limited funds that was a challenge. Through prayer and determination we eventually had every Friday night to look forward to and now as the kids are not kids any longer, we take Saturday night out as well. What a tremendous blessing it is.

I think there is tremendous wisdom in Dave's words. Everyone needs a break, and knowing when to take one before something destructs isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. After all, even God took a break because He knew He needed one.

My question/thought of the day is, when you know you need a break, what is something you can put aside in order to take that needed break? After all, sometimes taking a break is the biggest priority.

Visit Dave's blog at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taking a break - and can't...

We all need to take a break, that's a fact. But sometimes we just can't. Here's what my friend Ginny Hamlin says about that.
Ginny Hamlin: I wish I could say that I go lay by the pool every afternoon, sip an iced tea, and watch a gentle breeze rustle the palm fronds of palm trees in my back yard, but I don't. Yet, with the help of the Lord... I will learn how to take breaks as needed.

Short and sweet and to the point. But sometimes, that's all we can do. Take a deep breath, think that one day we can sit with that iced tea, but for today, life goes on.

So that brings us to my thought/question of the day - what do you think about when you need a break, and can't take one?

Visit Ginny's blog at

Monday, April 5, 2010

I need a break, so I'm getting dirty

What do you do when you need a break?
I read, which is nice andn clean. But my friend Linda Clare has a different take on needing a break.
Linda Clare: I’m a workaholic. Or maybe I should say I’m a write-aholic. In order to tear my whirring thoughts away from inventing characters, thinking of plot or how I can “fix” a broken story, I have to get dirty. Really dirty. Last Mother’s Day, I really needed a break. My husband gifted me with dirt. Four yards of it. I jumped up and down and squealed, “I love it!” We set about building raised beds for a backyard veggie garden. Last summer I planted, watered and tended a colorful array of edibles, from tomatoes to broccoli, green beans to red potatoes. I battled aphids and plucked cutworms, fought off fungi and even scared off a couple of raccoons. I harvested a bounty that rewarded my efforts. I relaxed, communed with God and nature and recharged my writerly batteries.

This year may be different. Like thousands of other Americans, my husband and I have to move. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’re losing the home and garden I love. We don’t know what kind of home God has for us, and at times I confess I feel overwhelmed. How can I leave the neighborhood I’ve grown to love? Can I start over? Will any other place feel like home?

In the middle of this turmoil, I definitely need a break. My spirit yearns for a resting place and in my mind’s eye, I see a beautiful garden. The simple pleasures of gardening refresh my body, mind and soul. But perhaps I don’t need to lose my favorite way to get away from the pressures in my life. Even if we land in some tiny apartment, I’m taking some of that crumbly rich planting soil with me. I’ll be the writer up to my elbows in some of the best dirt on God’s green earth.

Well, if getting down and dirty, literally, works for Linda, then I'm sure it works for others, too. In fact, I know it does because I see a lot of very beautiful and boutiful gardens in my neighborhood.

So here's my question/thought of the day. Would getting dirty work for you? I think that watching things grow, knowing the plants stared from seeds is a pleasant and relaxing thought. I'm not an outdoor gardener, but I have a number of houseplants that I grew from seeds. One is a Basil plant, a garden herb, that grows on my kitchen windowsill. I encourage you to try it. It works.

I invite you to visit Linda's bog at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I need a break, and I need it now!

I need a break. Don't all of us say that at one time or another? Of course we all know the saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Except for most of us, all having worked too hard and too long many times in our lives, know that "dull" is a very poor and inaccurate word. All work and no play makes a person stressed and exhausted. Then, when that happens, not only are we no good to whoever we are working for, whether it be a boss, friends, family, an organization or club, or even our church - we're no good to ourselves as well.
So with that in mind, my topic this month is probably applicable to everyone - What do you do when you need a break, and how do you get to do it.
For me, I'm a person who gets distracted easily, and I tend to get lost in mini breaks that don't do any good in the long run, in fact, sometimes they do more harm than good because then I'm farther behind on the thing I was doing in the first place.
For me to take a good break, since I don't have the time or money to travel or go on a shopping spree or anything wild and crazy, my break is very predictable.
I grab a good book, make a pot of coffee, get my blankie, and curl up on the couch, if there's no one else in the living room, and read. I'm not talking 20 minutes. I'm talking hours.
Disappearing for a few hours with a good book does take planning. It means trying to pick a time when the house is quiet, and a time when I have nothing pressing to do that can't be left.
Often that also means there also can't be exited dogs poking their noses at me, needing a walk.
When all that is lined up, then I can escape to another world that has a nice happily-ever-after ending (I only read happily-ever-after endings), at least for a few hours.
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. How do you know that it's time to shut down and take a break before you break something that shouldn't be breakable?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - the basics

Out of all the answers I've got from the many people I've asked how they do it, I think Jennifer Hudson Taylor's answer sums it up.
How do you get to be a person who has sticktoitiveness?
Jennifer Hudson Taylor: Actually, everything requires sticktoitiveness or I'd never get anything accomplished. Blogging, writing, marketing, just getting to work each day. It helps me to set a schedule and a deadline for things. I keep a calendar that helps me stay on task.
To sum up Jennifer's answer, and every answer I've done all month, the key to sticking to something is simply to decide to stay on task, and to know yourself well enough and know what you need to do to accomplish it.
Thank you Jennifer for that succinct summary.
I invite everyone to check out Jennifer's book "Highland Blessings" which comes out in May, the same time as mine. Check out Jennifer Hudson Taylors book, or anything else you want to know about her
(okay, maybe not everything) at
I'll end the month's topic with my thought/question of the day. I hope that some of the ideas presented help you with the sticktoitiveness you've already got, or, like me, to help enhance the sticktoitiveness you'll need for your next project. What is your next project, and how will YOU stick to it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - and prayer when there's nothing left

Sticktoitiveness. Sometimes we just don't have it when we need it.
My friend Lena Nelson Dooley has this to say.
Lena Nelson Dooley: This question has really applied to my life this last year. I had a book deadline for my first long novel.
While I was writing the novel, my husband became gravely ill with a long recovery time followed by three skin cancer surgeries.
I knew that I had to apply sticktoitiveness to the novel writing in the midst of all this.
How did I do it. God is the main answer. Without seeking His face every day, I would have never made it.
By that I mean, that I read the Bible and prayed in the morning. Then when I sat down at the computer, I prayed.
After reading over what I had written the day before, I prayed about what He would have me write that day.
In the midst of this, I prayed while I gave my husband three IV antibiotics a day, drove him to the doctor, and sat alone during the surgeries.
But He is faithful to help us do what we need to do--in His strength, not our own.

I can see that being a very difficult and trying time. Often people joke about prayer, but prayer works. Visit Lena Nelson Dooley and check out her new book on
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. What do you do to stick to something, when you feel there's nothing left inside?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - for the long haul

Now here is a person who has the longest record of sticktoitiveness of everyone I've spoken to.
Author Myra Johnson, tell me how you feel about it.
Myra Johnson:Considering it took me 25 years and over 200 book manuscript rejections before I received my first contract offer for a novel, I'd say I've got sticktoitiveness! When you want something badly enough, you do whatever it takes. You learn and adapt and just keep working. And praying. That's not to say it's easy. Giving up can be so, so tempting. And believe me, I considered giving up many, many times over those 25 years. But obviously my sticktoitiveness paid off, because as of today I have three novels in print and another releasing later this year.

Nowadays, the need for sticktoitiveness comes in other forms. Drafting a detailed proposal when I still don't have a fully formed story idea. Working through pages and pages of editorial revisions. The business of marketing/PR that falls more and more upon an author's shoulders. Because I work at home, people tend to think I'm readily available for their agendas, so the only way to stay on track is to commit to regular "office hours" and insist that others respect my time.

And it doesn't hurt to hold out a "carrot" or two as a reward for getting the work done. Lunch with a friend, a trip to the mall, a chocolate truffle or two, a movie date with my husband . . . you get the idea!

Wow... 25 years. I can't compare to that, but you certainly did get results!
I invite everyone to check out Myra Johnson's book at and see the great results of sticking to it.
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. What's the longest you've ever stuck to something, and how did you do it?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - Hurry Less Worry Less

I don't know if there is anything that requires more sticktoitiveness than getting a newspaper out on time each and every day. But that is what Judy Christie did before she was an author. So naturally I asked Judy how she stuck to it.
Judy Christie: For many years I was a newspaper editor and had to make sure the paper came out on time each day. That helped me learn how to stick to something and get it done! My joy in life is helping busy people slow down and enjoy each day more -- both in my fiction and nonfiction books. Hurrying less and worrying less takes a large amount of sticking to it -- or you find myself running around like a chicken with your head chopped off.
My debut novel, "Gone to Green," launched last year, and the second novel, "Goodness Gracious Green" will be out this summer. With all of the excitement and to-do's that accompany that adventure, I've had to go back and read my own "Hurry Less Worry Less" series. It's hard not to be drawn into frenzied living. I focus on my priorities, keeping the Big Picture in mind, taking the best next step, and realizing -- gasp! -- that I can't do everything. The great peace comes in knowing that God doesn't expect me to do everything!
And there are the words I have to live by. Judy said she can't do everything, and I certainly can't either. No one can. What a relief!
I invite you to go to Judy Christie's website at and check out her new book, "Gone To Green"
My thought/question of the day of course has to do with the very uplifting quote "I can't do everything." Knowing that, are there times when you still try? What can you do to remind yourself to slow down, so you don't have to do it all, and only do the things you need to do, and still do them well?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - rewards

My friend Laurie Alice Eakes has an interesting perspective on how to stick-to-it when you have to stick to something you don't want to do.
Laurie Alice Eakes: Housework. It has to be done but I'd rather be writing than vacuuming. So, to keep myself at it, I remind myself that it has a reward beyond a clean house that will be dirty again in five minutes with all the dogs and cats and the dusty Texas winds.
That means it's reading time. I pop an audio book into my portable player and slip on the headphones. It can't be just any book; it has to be one I've been saving for days because I've been too busy to read, otherwise I don't want to get hung up on reading and not work. Or it's justifiable loud music time. I turn on the stereo as loud as I want - provided the windows are closed - and even sing along.
Then, after every task is complete, I get to stop for a break, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, check my e-mail, or even write down ideas that may have come to me while scrubbing the tub.
This used to be how I got myself to exercise until I got to the point that not exercising made me feel so physically bad the exercise was in itself a reward. Housework hasn't gotten to that point though, and I doubt it ever will.

I have never thought of rewarding myself, even with something small after an unpleasant job is done, I've only felt relief when it was over. I think I'll have to try that, maybe... chocolate!
You're invited to check out Laurie Alice Eakes and her latest book "The Glassblower" on her websie at
My thought/question of the day is an easy one. If you were going to reward yourself for finishing something you hated doing, what would your reward be?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

sticktoitiveness - being organized and making lists

Sticktoitiveness. Some of us have more of that quality in us than others.

Author Debby Mayne is someone I know who obviously has a lot of Sticktoitiveness.
Debby, how do you do it?

Debby Mayne: I'm super organized, stubborn, and I don't get too rattled by distractions. I have a running to-do list that I break down by the week and day. Whatever is critical goes to the top of the list, no matter how long something else has been on there. Then I break the list down by the day. A little OCD, maybe? Each day, I have 6 to 8 items on the list. Yeah, definitely OCD. :-)

Most days, I get up early, before anyone or anything can start tugging at me. I often get more done before 8:00 AM than the rest of the day because there are fewer distractions.

My children are grown now, so my husband and I are empty-nesters. I don't have as many distractions as I used to have, but I still need to guard my time. I've gotten really good at saying "no."

Some things that others might find distracting I see as blessings. When people call just to chat, I'm honored they'd think of me when they need conversation. There are days I want more distractions because I tend to be obsessed with whatever I'm working on, and I need to be pulled away.

Wow, I wish I could be so organized as Debby! Debby, thank you so much!

Debby Mayne is the author of many great books. For more information on Debby Mayne you are invited to go to

So here is my question/thought of the day. Obviously being organized helps with sticktoitiveness. If you're not as organized as Debby, even if you'll never be that organized, what can you do to get just a little more organized? One thing is sometimes all it takes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - distractions, distractions...

When asked about sticktoitiveness, I found that I am very similar to my friend Martha Rogers, and she gave me some good ideas. When I asked what in her life reequires sticktoitiveness, here's what she said.
Martha Rogers:
I have a difficult time sticking to a number of different tasks and completing them because my mind is working overtime on so many things. I am so easily distracted. If I'm cleaning a room and find something that belongs in another one, I will take it that room and then find something there that I think needs to be done, so I start on it and forget the other. Hence, I have a lot incomplete jobs that need to be done.
After all these years I've finally learned to set a schedule, list what has to be done then do it in order and don't stop until that task is finished then do something fun. It has worked because I tend to find all sorts of excuses. If I stick to a task and finish it, I feel satisfied and that gives incentive to get the next job out of the way. Then when it's all over, I can have fun with what I want to do.
I've had to apply this same routine to my writing or I would spend all the time answering emails and/or playing games. Now I set a goal of a certain number of words then read the email.
That's me all over! Distractions. My husband tells me that I can get distracted on my way to the bathroom. I won't comment further on that one. But I will invite you to check out Martha Rogers and her website at
Of course you can guess my thought/question of the day. Are you like Martha and me and so many others who get easily distracted? What do you do about it, when that happens?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - from a not-so eager beaver

So far I everyone I've asked about sticktoitiveness seems like they are so organized and full of boundless energy, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels exhausted just sitting at the computer reading about it.
The comment from Ronie Kendig about sticktoitiveness greatly encouraged me! When I asked Ronie about the things in her life that require sticktoitiveness, here is her reply.
Ronie Kendig: So very many things require that. I'm not one of those get-up-and-go eager beavers with endless energy. I homeschool my four children, and that sucks dry every morning, and part of my afternoons. Then I need to get things organized, emails done (never can seem to get them all tended to the way I used to), and then evenings are dinner and some time with hubby who's escaped the madness for the day. Somewhere in there, usually around 8pm-midnight or 1:00AM, I try to write. That's where I'm struggling right now. But if I don't, I only have an empty canvas. That's not much to work with. :-D
I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles, and I'm glad I'm not the only night owl out there.
To see more of Ronie Kendig I invite you to visit her website at
Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. For all of us not-so-eager-beavers out there, often the only way to do something we need to do is to do it when all else is done and the distractions of the day are over. Even if all you have when the day is over is 20 minutes, that 20 minutes is better than an empty canvas. What's on your canvas today?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - and moxy

Sticktoitiveness. Some of us are better at it than others, and here is one star who has more of that quality than anyone I know.
Fellow author Michelle Sutton, tells us about you and sticktoitiveness.
Michelle Sutton: Sticktoitiveness is my middle name, or as one editor told me, I've got "moxy" which includes a lot of drive, which is true. How do I juggle so many balls? For one thing, I have goals I set for myself, like deadlines for book reviews or submitting my manuscript. I also leave a bit of cushion in case I get sick or something gets in the way unexpectedly. I refuse to look too far down the road or I'd start hyperventilating. Also, I married a man who loves to cook and I've got two teens who help around the house so I'm not doing everything. I don't waste time on stupid stuff like watching TV, and this is probably the biggest reason I can do so much. I also told myself no matter what, I will finish what I start, unless God tells me otherwise (or the book puts me to sleep). That's it. Not much of a secret but it works for me.
In other words, this includes not getting involved in things that either waste time, or are unproductive, or my favorite, delegate housework! Which of course means the support of family, and often friends, too.
Michelle Sutton has definitely got what it takes. I invite you to check out her books at
Which brings me to my thought/topic of the day. When you have a project that you simply must get done, and you're in it for the long term, do you have the courage, or moxy, to ask for the help you need with other tasks to get it done? And most important, are you able to put aside what doesn't need to be done in order to accomplish your goals?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - interesting or... not

Sticktoitiveness. I approached my friend Christa Allan on this topic, and she said:
Christa Allan: What in my life requires sticktoitiveness? Assuming you're not referring to my kitchen floors on any given day, I think it's paying attention to my darling husband as he's discussing interest rates and compounding and amortization. Yeech.
Gail Sattler: Uh... kitchen floors is one thing, but I'm not sure I'd know how to stick to those "interesting" topics. What do you do so your eyes don't glaze over?
Christa Allan: ... I think of story ideas...

Now every time I read a book, I'm going to be wondering what was going on in the mind of that author when he or she thought of a plotline that has me hooked.
Speaking of plotlines, I invite everyone to check out Christa's book "Walking On Broken Glass" at her website - click here at

So now it's time for my thought/quesetion of the day. When you get caught up in a sitation that is beyond you, what runs through your head while you stick-to-it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - the big one - Marriage

There are so many things in our lives that require good ol' sticktoitiveness.
A comment on this topic made by my friend Jennifer AlLee really made me think.
Here's what Jen has to say about sticktoitiveness.
Jennifer AlLee says - The most important place for me to exercise sticktoitiveness is in my marriage. Like all couples, my husband and I have had our highs and we've had our lows. We also had a patch or two that was painfully rocky. But we know God put us together, so giving up has never been an option. We've learned we sometimes need to take a step back, especially when emotions are running high. He's pretty even tempered, but I can be kind of a hot-head. Over the years, I've gotten much better at sharing my frustrations and opinions in a calmer, less defensive way. And he's gotten better at listening and really hearing me. (Although he's still working on REMEMBERING what I've said!) Eighteen years later, we're stronger, and happier, than ever. Here's to sticking together for another eighteen and beyond!
That sounds great, but the opposite of what so many of us do when we in the middle of something when tensions are running high - and that is to step back and take a deep breath, and then continue on when times are calmed down. Good advice. For anyone who says they have never had any rocky points in their own marriage, I am thinking they are either lying or delusional.
Thank you Jenifer AlLee for those wise words.
Jennifer has a book just out now, check out "The Pastor's Wife" on her website at
So, sometimes stepping back helps, and I can understand that, because sometimes we do need to make a fresh start.
And this means it's time for my thought/question of the day, which is, when tensions are running high, what do you do when you know this is something you're committed to for the long term? Is it fight or flight, or something in the middle?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - a new "Outlook"

Sticktoitiveness - I think it's a learned skill, and many days I'm not so sure I've learned it well, I need a refresher.
My friend Sandie Bricker is someone else, like me, for whom this did not come naturally. Sandie, do you have sticktoitiveness, and how do you do it?
Sandie Bricker says: I've only developed it, with focused intent, over the last five years or so. Fo most of my life, I was distracted by metaphoric "shiny objects." But working a full-time day job, developing deadlines in my writing, and just a general desire to see more things completed rather than half-finished, I began praying for help in this area.

The first step toward turning over new leaf was becoming a list-maker. I make them weekly, detailing the projects I want to accomplish that week. If items have to be carried over the following week, then they move to the top of the list so that I make a concerted effort to follow through.

The second part of my plan was to master the Outlook calendar. I load my lists into my calendar each week, with little reminder pop-ups during the week, and beyond.

Now, many years later, I have a more organized approach to my life that helps me in my writing, as well as with the little details of life such as making appointments and follow-ups. The Big Picture has much more clarity, and I now follow through on a much higher percentage of things that used to slip through the cracks.

Thanks Sandie. I haven't ever used the Outlook calendar, but I did much the same thing in my PalmPilot, which works for me because it is in my purse with me, everywhere I go.
Sandie Bricker, aka Sandra D. Bricker, is an author like me, please check her out at

Here's my thought/question of the day for everyone else. Do you have a way of catching those things in life that often slip through the cracks? Do you have a way to stop that from happening?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

sticktoitiveness - having a non-negotibale deadline

Sticktoitiveness - I like to think I'm getting better at it with so many ideas.

I asked my friend Bonnie Calhoun about it, because she is very good at Sticktoitiveness.
Bonnie, what do you have to stick to, and how do you do it?

Bonnie Calhoun: I have to stick to an organized schedule for both booking, creating and posting our CFBA twice weekly blog tours, and gathering columnist articles, giving them a first read-thru, acquiring rotating columnists, doing marketing, and creating the HTML layout for each of the 50 pages in the CFOM magazine.
I first must say that I have an incredible team consisting of a line editor, graphics guru, and QC person who do an amazing job but the rest I accomplish with dogged and unfailing organization. My schedule is not arbitrary and everything has a deadline.
I keep running "to-do" lists for out of the ordinary things that need to be done. And I always list them in their order of importance and work from most pressing down.
My wall calendar has large boxes and each day has specific tasks listed in it. Most months are identical repeats, but I don't get to go to bed until the day is checked off! LOL...granted most days I'm up till 3 AM...but the day is done when my head hits the pillow.

Wow... and I thought I was obsessive with my PalmPilot... You've given me some ideas, thank you very much!

Bonnie Calhoun is the successful editor of Christian Fiction Magazine, and I invite you to check it out at

Here is my question/thought of the day. Do you have a way to help you schedule what needs to be done by a certain day and/or time? How do you keep track of things that can't be missed, including birthdays and anniversaries?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - what is that?

My theme for the month of March is Sticktoitiveness.
I thought this was a made up word from a cartoon many years ago (who remembers Snagglepuss?) (and who will admit it?) but I googled the word and was quite shocked to find it. Here is the definition according to

Main Entry: sticktoitiveness
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: dogged perseverance; resolute tenacity; also written sitck-to-it-ive-ness
Example: the only way she had published so many books is through stick-to-it-ive-ness.

Wow, did that ever hit home. Book writing and getting published is right in the definition of sticktoitiveness. Which is the reason I've chosen it as my theme for the month. (my next book comes out in May, only 2 months away.)

I must have a lot of sticktoitiveness. My friends and family might call it by another word (stubborn maybe?) but I really like the word sticktoitiveneness.

Of course I have written not just one, but a number of books, which you probably already knkow about me. Also as a musician, it takes countless hours to learn an instrument and master it. Not that I'm a master, I just think I've learned enough to know what parts to skip and what parts to play, and the more time passes, the more I learn, the less parts I need to skip. Hey, it's a learning curve. Life is a learning curve.

Lots of things in life require sticktoitiveness. Jobs. Hobbies. Music. Knitting. Writing. Blogging. Driving a car. Parenthood. Relationships. The list is endless, and some things require more sticktoitiveness than others. Some things are also more important than others.

So here is my question of the day. What in your life requires your personal sticktoitiveness, and why?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

comfort zones - Hockey!!!

This is it, Sunday is the final men's hockey game of the 2010 Winter Olympics. I think the world knows who the two teams are going to be in that final game - Canada and the US.
Naturally, I am hoping Canada gets the gold.
I wonder what the stats are going to be for how many people all over the world are going to be watching that game?
Who sits in comfort while watching a game like that? While I'm thinking of it, I wonder if there are going to be moments when people at home are going to be standing and jumping, too.
While I'm not thinking of comfort and warm fuzzies when I'm watching great hockey, I do think of the comfort I feel with the people I share watching the game.
The barriers come down, and we state opinions and cheer knowing that we are all comfortable with each other.
Regardless of the team we cheer for, we share a common bond. Even for those of us who don't regularly watch hockey but will watch this one, it still becomes a common bond we share with everyone in the room.
Bonding. It's so important. And once we find a common bond with someone, it's easier to feel comfortable with them, even if it's only for one small interest.
Here's my thought/question of the day/weekend. When you are in a situation with someone you don't know, how do you strive to find that common bond? Of course, once we find one bond and actually start talking, isn't it often surprising at how many other common bonds there are?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

comfort zones - what do you do in your car?

The power of advertising can be quite powerful, even when it's subtle.
I'd mentioned earlier that I'd heard a commercial in the car on the radio that said your car is your only true comfort zone, it's the only time and place you are truly alone, in your own private little capsule.
Naturally the commerical was for... a brand of car that I can't remember, and I like my little red econcomy car very much, it's a keeper.
But the point of commercial has obviously stuck with me. My car is my comfort zone, where no one can hear me, and often no one sees me. Really, how often do we really look at the driver of other cars on the road? If a driver makes a mistake, or drives too aggressively or carelessly, do we look at the person? No, often we blame "that (insert color here) car". The car has become a personality of its own, and we don't think much of the driver, because from a distance, we don't know gender or age.
Which brings me back to thoughts of what I do in my car when I'm essentially alone.
I don't sing well. For someone who is a performing musician, many people are surprised that I sing so badly. It is true. In both the jazz band and the concert band, we all just play our instruments, no one sings. Especially not me. There is one band I'm that does have vocal talent. Let's just say they took my microphone away at church for a reason.
But in my car... I'm a star. In fact, sometimes I'm the whole band.
My thought/question of the day is - what do you do in your car when you're all alone and no one is watching. Do you feel comfortable enough to do what you wouldn't do if someone was listening or watching?
If you're not, then I think you should try it. Live dangerously in your own little comfort zone. You deserve it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

comfort zones - are you comfortable with scales?

No, I don't mean the kind of scales we stand on - I'm not comfortable with those at all! I mean the other kind of scales - reptilian scales.
Yes, I'm going to talk about my lizard. Well, a little, anyway.
The lizard really belongs to one of my sons, but he (we are assuming it's a 'he') has turned out to be the family's lizard because we're all very fond of him. He's quiet, he doesn't smell, and even though he doesn't do much, he does resond to us when we talk to him. The best thing about him is that he likes to snuggle. He's a cold-blooded creature and he likes to lounge in the heat, so when we pick him up he appreciates and takes advantage of our body heat. Sitting and watching television, unless he feels like exploring, he will sit quietly on us for hours.
But he's not soft and fuzzy like most pets people have.
He's actually, yes, read my subject title, scaly. He's not a pattable pet. Actually sometimes we do pat him, but you can only pat him one way, down. It's also not the same "warm fuzzies" we get from patting our dogs.
But everything said and done, the lizard is quite harmless and the most docile animal I've ever seen domesticated. Yet, so many people are afraid to touch him. I don't thinke he looks mean. In fact, I've been bitten by some fuzzy and allegedly freindly furry pets, and it hurts. The lizard has never bit anyone, and I don't think he would ever want to. Yet some people are afraid of him because he's a little ugly. Based on perception, of course.
So here's my question/thought of the day. Have you ever based an opinion on appearance only and not given the situation a chance? If you could go back and do it over again, what would you do?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Comfort zones - invasion of privacy

Before I go further, I've changed my mind about posting Monday Wednesday and Fridays. A friend told me that most people simply don't check blogs on Friday, and I know most Fridays I don't go on the computer at all. So I've decided to post Saturdays instead of Fridays. So welcome to my first "official" Saturday promised post. Last weekend didn't count because I was sick and that's why I posted Saturday.
Still on the topic of comfort zones, which is where I like to be, I feel like expounding on a topic that has been on one of my email loops - and that is invasion of privacy online. And, what we can do to make it better, or worse.
My kids are not little, so I'm no longer concerned about them being stalked by sickos or kidnapped off the playground. But that is the reason that kids are taught, or should be taught, what they should and should not say to "friends" online. I say that with quotations because we all know, or should know, that not everyone is as they seem to be online. So we teach our children not to give out too much personal information that could idenify them, or show unsavory people ways to find them in real life.
But do we follow our own advice? I'm blogging, which makes it really easy to say things that a potential stalker could use to find me. Not that I'll ever be important enough or famous enough to be worth stalking. But that's not the point.
I don't say the names or ages of my children, first off, I'm evasive with locations and I would never say when I'm planning to travel and be away from home, even though with the shifts of my family, and my husband working from home, there is never a time when there is no one home, including our dogs, one of which is Miniature Schnauzer so an intruder surely would be deaf from the barking by the time they left. But my other dog is over 50 lbs and very territorrial, and he does bite, and he bites hard while the other dog barks, and we also have a contracted burglar alarm.
So my question/thought of the day is - for all the stuff you do online, do you think before you speak/write/type/blog that when you post online it's there for everyone to see, including people you may not want?
Of course, please don't let that last question stop you from posting a comment. Just don't tell me your full name, age, birthday, and address when you do. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Comfort zones - stranger in the room

Is there anything more uncomfortable than walking into a room when everyone knows everyone else, except you?
Well, yes, I'm sure there is. But that is one situation that I think most of us find uncomfortable. Last night at band practice, I remember when I was that one person walking in, and I only knew one person there, not tremendously well, but it was clear from the camraderie that everyone there knew everyone else really well.
Of course, my place that I had to take was not near the one person in the room whom I knew.
If you've looked at my web page then you've no doubt seen that not only did I go back the next week, I kept going back. I soon became one with the crowd, and developed a new circle of friends within that crowd. In fact, the band stuff has become a big part of my life, and I would have really missed a lot if I hadn't overcome that fear of being the stranger in the crowd.
Here's my question/thought of the day. The next time a newcomer comes into your established group, what do you do? Do you take a few extra steps beyond the basic welcome to make that person feel like they could be a part of the group one day? Do you remember what it's like to be the new face in the crowd?
I'm sure glad someone went the extra step for me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comfort zones - back in the comfortable rut

I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day. Mine wasn't so great with me and the family being sick most of the weekend, so maybe I'll take a raincheck on it for next weekend. Besides, when I go grocery shopping tonight, all the chocolate will be on for at least 30% off. Maybe half price? Gotta love it.
But for now life is back to normal, and does it ever feel good.
I have stuff to catch up on, but I'm back in that comfort zone.
Here's my question/thought of the day. After taking some down time, whether forced or deliberate, how do you feel about being back in your daily routine?