Monthly Archives: March 2016

How Much Is Enough

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus(Philippians 4:19, NIV).

How much is enough? How much do we need? How long can we wait for it?

Starting a new business is an arduous task. No matter what industry, there are endless guidelines, detailed plans must be written, budgets drawn up, a million questions must be answered, and then the rejection begins when you ask for money. My husband and I are in the first stages of this process. We are currently answering the questions for ourselves, how much do we need, we need enough to cover the initial purchases and to operate the first year and we certainly don’t want to have to go back and ask for more, but we also don’t want to overestimate and ask for more debt than we will be able to pay back.

This is where writing is so much simpler. There are no start up costs to start writing. You just write. With today’s technology, many editors accept online submissions, which still costs nothing. If you do mail it in, you are out minimal costs for paper, ink, envelopes, and postage. No big deal. Of course, you’re still facing rejection, but it only costs you a little pride, not $1 million you need to set up shop.

Luckily, God never rejects us when we have needs in our lives. Whatever we need, He knows without us asking, and He knows just how much we need. When we think we cannot wait anymore, He fulfills our needs and often fills the desires of our hearts at the same time.

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His Eyes Were Bright

wordistryinc's Blog

Yesterday, I had the fortune to run into a 96 year old gentleman at Walmart. His eyes were bright, and his mind sharp.  It is always very inspiring to converse with the elderly, as they have so many stories to tell.  He was shopping all by himself and had even driven himself there. I found this extraordinary. Here was a man 4 years shy of a century and he’s still functioning as well (perhaps better) as most 50 or 60 year olds I know.

 

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He said he hopes to live to be 108. This struck me as odd, for it’s such a specific number. I wonder what significance 108 might have for this man. It could be a coincidence, of course, being just a number he picked out of a hat, but perhaps not. If this man was 96, then he was born in 1917 or 1918. My gracious the…

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Mama’s Roses

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Mama’s Roses
Mama had a keen touch when it came to nourishing flowers and plants. They all flourished beautifully at her hands. I never could copy her knack, and it certainly wasn’t an inherited trait.

So, when I inherited her prize winning pink lady rose bush, I had to pray for God to grow me a green thumb.

One morning, I pulled my gardening tools out of the shed and knelt in the dirt. I was going to have to create a special place for these roses. I had labored for days over the decision. Now, it was play time. I dug in the dirt as a five year old set on making mud pie. My hand shovel sunk into the dirt with a swoosh, and brought the earth to the surface, leaving a growing hole in which to deposit the rose bush. I felt the black dirt squish between…

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Long Term

 

Last week I started talking about goals, this is a continuation.

What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve in the next year, five, ten, or even twenty years? Do you have plans to reach them? Are you focused on these goals? What are you doing each day to get there? It is too easy to get sidetracked. Yes, even us creative folks need to be practical sometimes and take care of business, too.

Sometimes I feel like I am conspired against, bombarded with distractions. And distractions aren’t bad things. Sometimes they are good and important things too, and necessary, like family. But, there are simple steps you can take on a daily and weekly basis to steadily make your way to achieving your goals.

Pareto’s 80/20 rule has changed my life. I know it sounds boring, but basically it works like this:

By the numbers it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. As Pareto demonstrated with his research, this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio, however in many cases the ratio can be a lot higher – 99/1 may be closer to reality.
It really doesn’t matter what numbers you apply, the important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.

When you start to analyze and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place. The trick, once your key happiness determinants have been identified, is to make everything work in harmony and avoid wasting time on those 80 percent activities that produce little satisfaction for you.
The message is simple enough – focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you. This applies to both your business/working life and your “other” life (I think they are all part of your “life” but people often prefer to distinguish them). The problem for most people is how to make a living from what you really enjoy, so lets focus on that…

The first thing you must decide, and this is often the hardest step, is to determine what it is exactly you have passion for. Some people can answer this question easily – “I want to be a famous pianists/singer/poet/author”, “I’d like to run my own real estate agency/coffee shop/advertising company” etc. Others may have a general idea “I don’t want a day job” or “I want to run a business” but the specifics are not sorted yet. If you are not sure what your passions are all I can suggest is test yourself. It’s usually easy to determine what you DON’T like so keep doing that until you find what it is you DO like.

For example, I love to write and act, but it isn’t what puts food on my table, so it takes a much smaller piece of my 20% focus than my accounting job and school do. Working out is important to me, but not as much as my family, so some days it isn’t in my 20% at all, but because it does yield results that are totally in the 80% of my happiness realm, on other days it gets pushed into my top priority spot. Does that make sense? I want a promotion at work when I graduate, so a large portion of my time at work is spent on earning that promotion and getting the attention of the right people.

Once you determine what it is you want to do, then it’s a matter of prioritizing and adjusting other things in your life to accommodate your main goals. If it isn’t important, if it doesn’t contribute to your goal, then let it go.

Epiphany

Have you ever had an “aha!” Moment? One of those times an epiphany hits you? I had one recently. This probably isn’t a new concept for most of you, but I heard it differently this time and it encouraged me to look at my life differently.

Busy doesn’t equal productive. We can be busy all the time and still not accomplish anything. And by being so busy all the time, mostly with unimportant “things,” we lose out on truly important things. Relationships can suffer, our careers can tank, we burn ourselves out and so on and so forth.

It is crucial to prioritize our lives. Focus on the most important tasks at hand, and let the rest go until it becomes the most important. There are many time management concepts floating around out there. Management classes cover a slew of them. Personally, I like Pareto’s 80/20 rule. 80 percent of what you gain in life comes from 20 percent of what you apply your energy to.

By the numbers it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. As Pareto demonstrated with his research this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio, however in many cases the ratio can be a lot higher – 99/1 may be closer to reality. examples where the 80/20 Rule applies. You probably make most of your phone calls to a very small amount of the people you have numbers for. You likely spend a large chunk of your money on few things (perhaps rent, mortgage payments or food). There is a good chance that you spend most of your time with only a few people from the entire pool of people you know.

Your 20 percent is up to you.

Here’s how I have recently begun prioritizing myself daily during the week. Remember, don’t over complicate things.

Mornings:
I wake up in time to relax with a cup of coffee and read my devotional before I have to get ready for the day. This is also often the time my husband and I get alone time to talk.

I work and/or go to school for 8 hours each day Monday-Friday.

I dedicate one hour a day to writing. I may split it up between morning and evening. Weekends sometimes allow a little more writing time.

Afternoon/evenings:
I dedicate one half hour to an hour a day to working out. I try to do this immediately after work or school, depending on the day, so that the rest of my night is free for family time and/or homework.

I cook supper as soon as I get home, or my teenage daughters and husband help, and my kids are assigned kitchen clean up duties daily.

Grocery shopping is limited to one day a week. And I plan meals out for the week on Sunday to keep things running smoothly all week when my family is super busy.

Chores around the house are done as the needs arise. We have a clean house, but I no longer let this rule my life. I do laundry once a week and my three kids help with chores so we can all enjoy the more important things in life.

I spend approximately 7 hours a week in the car traveling. I utilize this time for vocal training and singing and enjoying music.

This is just a basic, rough outline of my week. Of course, it’s good to remain flexible when emergencies arise, but firm on what’s important to you. We will take a look at setting goals later and what you can do daily to reach your life goals.

Words, Words, Words

wordistryinc's Blog

We all know the hard lesson our mothers taught us, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Even Thumper’s momma taught him the value and importance of choosing your words wisely. This was one of my greatest take away’s from Bambi when I was a kid. Of course, it is very difficult to do and requires great determination.

After my divorce, while I was single and spent a lot of time thinking and praying about my life, I knew I had a lot to work on within myself. After the anger subsided and the pain had dulled, I could take a new perspective and saw many of my own flaws. I knew that if I wanted to love again and have a relationship that withstood the tests and trials of this life, I needed to learn how to love better.

I decided to read a book…

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