Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Does Thanksgiving at your home look like a Top Chef inspired feast in a Better Homes and Gardens setting? Maybe, like us, it closer resembles a Duck Dynasty free-for-all.

Thanksgiving turkey on platter
Courtesy of

My husband, Jake, and I open our home every Thanksgiving. One year we broke tradition and hosted a hot dog grill in the back yard. (Yeah! Thankful for fewer dishes to wash.)

November in Nebraska prompted us back inside the following year. (Yeah! Thankful for heat and running water.)

In Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day he wrote, "They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God..."

Maybe this holiday it's hard to see God's gifts.

Perhaps you're grieving the loss of loved ones, or struggling with illness.

Maybe you feel alone.

If sorrow overshadows thankfulness, here's some great news.

You can have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

He'll never leave you. He'll never forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

His name is Jesus.

If you're lonely, please take 2 minutes to watch this short video.
joyful man with headphones
Courtesy of

It could transform your life forever, making this a true day of thanksgiving.

By the way, if you drop your beautifully roasted turkey, rinse it off and carry on. It'll make a great story for next Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top 5 Time Savers

NaNoWriMo: an international event where semi-crazed writers create a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.
Since I'm participating in this time-pressed enterprise for the first time, I wanted to share my top 5 time savers for the real world.
Courtesy of tiramisustudio

1) Focus on the task at hand
Stopping to check a text or voice-mail diverts our attention. The brain veers off like a smurf skipping through the forest. La LA la la la la...
Since multi-tasking actually slows us down, stick with the task at hand.

2) Turn off the TV
This can be a tough one.
I'll plan to watch a half hour sit-com, but find myself sucked in by the programs that follow. "Wow, another episode of Who's Line is it Anyway? And they're doing Scenes from a Hat!"

Try this for 1 week: Leave a paper and pen next to your remote. Write down the amount of TV time you're logging. Tally it at the end of the week. Most of us spend more time than we realize in front of the boob tube. (And with the amount of cleavage displayed in the majority of shows, I mean that literally.)

3) Be unsocial to social media
Who can resist those hilarious YouTube videos? It only takes a minute to Tweet, or "like" a Facebook entry, right? But every instant on Instagram equals a moment of your life gone. Crush the Candy Crush cravings, and retreat from the virtual world.

4) Identify "escape routes"
What hinders us from tackling the homework, office presentation, messy house, or messy life?
Admission: I'll pull out a novel instead of working on my own.

To set up an escape route roadblock, take this multiple choice, open-book test.
 1) Ask:

A) "Does this path lead me closer to my goals (freedom)?
B) "Does this path lead me in the same old circles (trap)?

The correct answer is A.
You scored 100% if you chose A.
You'll be batting 1000 if you do it.
5) Do the worst first
My grandmother, a paragon of homemaking virtue, once admitted, "As a young bride, I hated doing the piles of never-ending dishes. I'd cry just looking at the mess. One day I realized I was allowing something silly to control my thoughts. After that, I washed dishes fast to get through the task. I'd conquered the giant I'd created in my mind, and from that point, I felt free."

(Disclaimer: Granny said it with a Lithuanian flair bordering on Yiddish that I'm unequal to recreate.)

For short projects: Take a cue from Nike and Just Do It.
For long projects: Assign a daily number of minutes to work on it. Even if you hit it for 10 minutes a day, you've diminished your workload by an hour in under a week.

A book of ancient wisdom says:
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Proverbs 13:4

Time for me to put down the Jane Austin novel and get back to work on my own.
How will you free up your time? I'd love to hear...unless you're following strategy #3.