Transitional Friday: When You’re Stuck and Can’t Break Free

stuckHave you ever been stuck? Do you feel that you’ll never be able to break free no matter how hard you try?  Do you try and try to change things, but nothing never seems to work?

If you are, congratulations, you’re not alone.  I’ve felt this way for years now.  No matter how hard I try I feel that I can’t move forward.  This frustrates and discourages me to no end.

I wish I could say that I never grow frustrated and discouraged, but continue to plunge full steam ahead.  Unfortunately there are days when life gets the better of me.

So what do I do:

  1. Pray and seek God’s will—the first thing I do is to pray, tell God how I feel, ask for his guidance and direction and read my Bible.  There are days when I feel such great peace, but I’ll be honest there are other days when I wonder if God hears me.
  2. Continue to put one foot in front of the other—each day I continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Some days this is easier than other days.  At times I feel that I’m doing things by rote and just going through the motions, but then I remind myself that this is better than the alternative of just giving up.  I believe in you
  3. Share my feelings—I don’t have a lot of close friends, but I do have one or two people that I can be honest and share my feelings with.  Sometimes they just listen and that’s all I need.  Other times they will pray for me or we will brainstorm what to do.
  4. Not give up—there are times when I do feel like giving up, but I eventually snap out of it. I continue to move forward with my dreams and plans and I continue to believe that I’ll eventually turn the corner and have a break through.
  5. Seek Encouragement—my friends are great to encourage me and lift me up.  Sometimes they will send me encouraging words, quotes, sayings and scriptures.  Other times they will pray for me and that always touches my soul. I struggle terribly with depression at times and I can’t tell you how lifting such encouragement is to my mood, soul and attitude.
  6. Creatively Express my feelings—there are many times when I cannot find the words to express my thoughts and feelings.  prayerHowever, I’ve discovered two outlets that allow me to do just this and I feel that I’m worshiping God at the same time.  For me that is to write or journal my feelings.  Sometimes I may even write God a letter.  The second is through music.  Whether playing the piano or singing, I unburden my heart to God and he knows the words even when I cannot find them.  I also had a friend that introduced me to art journaling, and although I’m not an artist, I found this to be most therapeutic. Experiment with various techniques and interest to find one that works for you.  You may discover that you enjoy dancing or another creative outlet.
  7. Pray—I know I began with this, but I do a lot of praying.  Sometimes I have to check my attitude to make sure that I’m seeking God’s will and not telling Him what to do.  I have a habit of that and will even tell Him when I’m angry at Him.  He wants us to be honest with Him, but He also wants us to humble ourselves before Him to seek His will.  Ouch!  That’s a tough one!



When You’re Stuck and Can’t Break Free

Breaking Out of the Hold Pattern

Waiting Through the Storm

Creativity Thursday: Am I Any Good?

Doubt often plagues us creative types.  Regardless of being a painter, musician, writer, dancer or any other creative outlet we want acclamation.  One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves “is am I any good?” things that matter

Being “good” is all in the eye of the beholder, listener or reader.  However there are a few things we can do to gauge our talent.

  1. Ask your fans for their honest opinions—usually they will tell you what they like or don’t like and why they feel that way.
  2. Find a critique group—together you can collaborate, brain storm and offer honest critiques to help one another grow and improve.
  3. Ask your colleagues—find others in your field that is willing to give you an honest assessment.  The best way to do this is to build a friendship with one another.

    Have a mentor
    Have a mentor
  4. Have a mentor—a mentor is someone that take you under his/her wing and gives you the guidance and wisdom they’ve accumulated over the years.  A mentor will offer suggestions and direction to help you grow.
  5. Never stop learning—with online classes, blogs, podcast and numerous other resources at our fingertips it is easier than ever to continue learning, improving and practicing our craft.
  6. Workshops—this is a great way to learn new techniques and receive honest and open feedback
  7. Practice, Practice, Practice—you can learn everything there is to know about your craft but if you never practice and work on improving then you are no better than when you started.  The more you practice and work the more you will grow and the better you will become.

What other ways do you gauge your talent?



7 Ways to improve my creative skills

Gauging my creative talent

Determining if I’m any good in my creative endeavors 

Caregiving Monday—Lifeline A Life Saver

elderly cautionOver the weekend, GG* gave us a good bit of excitement.

We received a call from lifeline on Saturday afternoon stating that GG was not responding.  Mama headed that way, while I called a neighbor and asked her to check on GG.

There are times when GG accidentally presses her lifeline or will press it due to hallucinations. We felt sure that this was why she’d pressed the lifeline this time.

However, the neighbor was able to assure us that this was a genuine need.  GG was weak after using the bathroom, lost her balance and fell into the shower.  Thankfully she as alright, but EMS arrived to help her up and check her over.  If there had been a serious injury, we know from experience, they would have transported her to the ER.

Having the lifeline is a saver.  GG did not have to stay in the tub until I arrived later that evening.  The EMS was able to safely get her up and check her over.  Lifeline promptly sent EMS out when they were unable to get an answer {sometimes this is due to GG being hard of hearing, but we’ve come to realize it is better safe than sorry}.  lifeline

By the time Mama arrived, EMS was on the scene and helping GG to her feet.

Although GG has someone with her on a daily basis and we stay with her at night, we are unable to be with her around the clock.  Knowing that she has her lifeline in case of an emergency is a relief to us as caregivers.  We know that she will press the button {as long as she’s physically able} to summon help.  It helps to know that someone is there to help her when we’re not.

Earlier this year, GG had a neighbor that refused to take the necessary precautions to prevent her numerous falls.  This resulted in a sad tragedy.

We do not want that for GG and encourage her to take her precaution necessary.  Having the lifeline is just an additional precaution in providing the best care necessary for GG.

What precautions do you take to prevent falls?


*Name altered


Lifeline A Life Saver

How lifeline can really safe a life

The time saver of lifeline

Transitional Friday: Finding Balance as a Small Business Owner

Being a small business owner can be stressful and all time consuming.  The important thing is to find a balance between life and being a business owner.

What are some ways to do this?

Set specific hours to work on your business.  Let your friends and family know that you are working during this time.

Set aside specific time for your family.  Family is very important and these are relationships that you do not want to lose. pamper self

Set aside at least one hour a week for your hobby.  Whether you enjoy golfing, watching a movie or another hobby, set aside time each week to enjoy yourself and to do something you love where you don’t have to think about work.

Set aside at least one hour a week to pamper yourself.  Set aside time each week just for you.  Whether you just enjoy the peace and quiet or go for a massage or mani/pedi do something special for yourself.

Bible Study         Start each day with God.  I always feel better when I start my day by spending time with God.  This doesn’t have to be long, but even fifteen minutes each morning make a difference.  I like to read the word and spend time in prayer.                      exercise

Set aside time for exercise each day.  I feel better when I exercise and think clearer.  I love to walk and usually spend this time in prayer.  I promise the time will be worth it and well spent.  In order to give my all to business, I have to start by taking care of myself.  If you’ve read my weight loss journey you know this isn’t easy but I’m working on making the necessary changes.

Set aside time each week to give to others.  Even if it’s just an hour a week, I always feel better when I do something for others.  I also believe that your benevolence will come back to you.

How do you balance life and being a small business owner?




Finding Balance as a Small Business Owner

Life Balance between running a business and living a rewarding life

Creative Thursday: How setting goals can help you be more productive and creative

Setting goals is a great way to move forward and achieve your objective.  These don’t have to be huge goals, but they can be.

Whether you want to write a book or paint a mural, setting goals can be a great place to start.

Did you know that:

creativeo   People are much more likely to reach their goals if they write them down?

o   Setting goals helps you to visualize what you want to achieve?

o   Setting goals helps you to work out the steps necessary to reach your desired outcome?

o   Setting goals helps you track the progress you’ve made?

o   Setting goals keeps you focused on moving towards the dream?

What are some of your goals that you are working towards?



Why setting goals is so important in creativity

How setting goals can help you be more productive and creative


Caregiving Monday: The Loss of Patience

beauty salon     The other day I took GG* {my grandmother} to get her hair fixed.

The drive to the beautician takes all of two minutes.  Her appointment was at 11am, but GG believes in being early.  At 10:30 she began out the door and I explained to her we still had twenty minutes before we needed to leave.

Once we arrived at the beautician, I told them to give me a call when I needed to pick her up.  I returned to her house and cleaned up.  {The best time to clean is when she isn’t there}.

When they called me to pick her up, I told them I had to finish making the bed and wiping out the sink and I would be there.  Ten minutes later I arrive, to which GG remarks, “It’s about time.”

“She just told me she’s losing patience,” the beautician told me.

“Be patient,” I reminded her.   patience

“I don’t have to,” she said. I just stared at her, wondering if she was 90 or 2 years old.  She reminded me of my young niece and nephew in that moment.

What I realized was that as people grow older they lose the patience they have gained over the years.  The slightest thing often bothers them and they want things right then when they want them.  Sort of the same way a 2-5 year old wants to demand their own way.

In what way{s} have you noticed your loved on losing patience?

*Name altered



Older people often lose their patience

How older people want their own way

How older people and toddlers are similar

Transitional Friday: Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Small Business Owner

Last week we discussed taking the plunge into being a small business owner.  We looked briefly at a few questions to ask yourself.

Let’s look at these questions in greater detail this week:     under investigation

  •            Are you ready for the responsibility? –are you ready for all of the work and responsibility to rest on your shoulders?, are you able to make the decisions that need to be made?, can you lead others underneath you?, is your family prepared for this change in income?, have you thought about insurance and how that will be covered?
  •             Are you ready to do the work?—are you ready to do to the work necessary to build your business?, do you have a marketing plan?, are you prepared to network?, can you explain in 30 seconds or less what you do?, is this already a proven part time business that you are taking fulltime?


  •             Are you ready for the challenge?—are you ready for the ups and downs that come with business?, do you have a financial cushion for slower months?, are you ready to work 50-60+ hours a week to build your business?


  •             Do you have the emotional support necessary?—do you have family and friends that support this endeavor?, do they encourage you?, do you have a life coach that will guide, encourage and hold you accountable?, do you have a prayer team to pray for you?


  •             Do you have the financial support necessary?—does your spouse have a steady income?, do you have a financial cushion?, do you have at least a 3 month {preferably a year} of savings built up the way Dave Ramsey and Suzy Orman suggest?, is your spouse prepared to support the family while you build a business?, have you been profitable doing this on a part time basis?


  •             Do you have an area designated just for work?—do you have an office or area designated for work?, will you be working at home?, do you have set hours?, have you taken in distractions that might get in your way?, are you treating this as a job or a hobby?


  •             Do you have a business plan and a game plan?—do you have a business plan?, do you know the steps you need to take?, do you know where you want to go?, do you know how you’re going to get to where you want to go?, do you have a business mentor?                                 work at home


  •             Do you know what your focus is?—do you know what your focus is?, do you have one focus or many?, do you need to narrow down your focus?, do you know who your ideal client is?, can you explain your ideal client in 30 seconds or less?, can you explain your platform or product in 30 minutes or less?


What other questions did you ask yourself before becoming a small business owner?




Questions to ask yourself before becoming a small business owner

Are you ready to be a small business owner?

Caregiving Monday: When Heaven Nears

When my grandmother, GG*, discovered her first cousin had passed, her response was “I’m the oldest now.” She has few first cousins left on either side of the family and is the oldest and next to oldest living on each side.

heaven               What GG did not voice, but the rest of us understood her saying was, “I’m next.” We know that she is ready, whenever the time comes.  She grows tired much easier now and has often told us in the last few years that she is ready.  Although we know she loves us, there are times when it is obvious that she is ready.

“I’ll be with God and the rest of my family,” she tells us.  Her faith in God is strong and she’s made it clear that she can’t wait to be with Him.   She also talks about her parents, siblings, and other loved ones with such longing that we know she’s ready.

When the time comes she will be missed by those she’s left behind, but we’ll know that she was ready and that we will see her again one day.

However, what happens when your loved one isn’t ready?  I sat with Mrs. W* and she wasn’t ready.  She was always afraid of death.  She was raised to believe that you got to heaven by good works and she felt that she was never good enough.

Thankfully she had family and caregivers that all believed in God.  We read to her from the Bible, sung hymns to her, watched church on TV and told her stories from the Bible.  At first she was not very receptive, but we never pushed her.  If she wasn’t interested we stopped, but we all continued to pray for her.            read bible

We noticed that she slowly grew more receptive and even asked for us to tell her more.  Finally someone asked if she’d like to accept Christ into her heart.  She said she would and was led in the sinners prayer.

dove           Even though she suffered from dementia, there were moments when she had great clarity and we could see the change in her attitude towards Christ.  When she passed away, we all had great peace because we knew that we would see her again one day.

Do you know where your loved one stands in view of eternity?  Do you take the opportunity to share Christ love with your loved one?

*Names altered


When Heaven Nears

Preparing for your loved one for heaven

Taking the Plunge into Being a Small Business Owner

rain falling    “Into everyone’s life a little rain must fall,” is an old saying we’ve all heard before.

Sometimes, that rain reveals the weeds in our lives and other times it helps us to grow.

Taking the leap into being a full or part-time entrepreneur isn’t easy.  After all, who wants to leave behind the comfort of their job knowing how much they will bring home at the end of each week.

Other times, circumstances may take the option out of your hands.   When you lose a job, start a family or even move are all stressful in themselves, but even more so when there is no one and nowhere to fall back on.

If you’ve dreamed of being an entrepreneur, this transition can be a real challenge, to want to prove yourself.  The question to ask is, “am I ready?”

  •             Are you ready for the responsibility?               growing a business
  •             Are you ready to do the work?
  •             Are you ready for the challenge?
  •             Do you have the emotional support necessary?
  •             Do you have the financial support necessary?
  •             Do you have an area designated just for work?
  •             Do you have a business plan and a game plan?
  •             Do you know what your focus is?


All of these are questions that you need to ask yourself in deciding, ‘am I ready?’

So are you ready?  Next week we will explore each of these questions in greater detail.



Transitioning from the work force to work at home

Am I ready to work at home

When is it time to work at home

Enthusiasm Matters in Creative Pursuits

piano“I can’t wait to come to piano,” are words I love to hear from my student’s mouths.  As a teacher, I love to have students that want to be here and want to learn.

I have had students of every age, capability and enthusiasm over the years.  I have learned to easily read those that want to be there, compared with those that don’t.  Sometimes I wonder why some of my students are still taking.  Often, it is because their parents wanted them to take.  The problem is that they do not enjoy the lesson, do not want to be there and have not looked at their books since the last time we were together.  They don’t have to tell me this is the case, it is obvious and I’ve often come to expect it.  Sadly, I am just as happy when these students quit as they are.

Maybe I should be a better teacher and try to build up some enthusiasm in them.  Sometimes this technique does work, but more often than not, I’ve discovered it to be short lived.

Then I have students, that bounce in and plop down on the piano bench.  Before I can ask about their assignment, they have their books opened and are playing their piece.  I often discover that in their enthusiasm they have even worked ahead in their books.  These are students that want to learn and look forward to it.  I love these students and look forward to our time together.

I can see the progress these students have made and know that it’s because of their enthusiasm.    enthusiasm

Do they practice daily?  Usually not!

Do they practice?  Yes!

Is there performance perfect?  Usually not!

Is their performance showing an increase in skill?  Absolutely!

Are they enjoying music lessons and learning?  Yes!

How often do we give 100% in enthusiasm to our project?

When you are working at your creative best this week, how much enthusiasm are you giving?

O%, 20%, 50%, 75%, or 100%?

If you had/have a teacher or mentor suddenly show up, what would s/he say about your enthusiasm and effort?

Enthusiasm quote


Finding enthusiasm in your craft

A creative dud or home run

Your enthusiasm shows in your creative outlet 

Caregiving: A Blessing or a Curse

plate of food    “Let me finish this,” I snapped in exasperation.  I was setting down my drink, but GG* was not willing to wait on me to put it down.  I could tell from the way she grabbed for her lunch there would be a spill to clean up.  I had no desire to see her food all over the kitchen floor, and knew that she didn’t either.

“Be thankful,” a small voice whispered inside my soul.   Just three days earlier, I’d been reminded of how much I had to be thankful for with GG.

We’d left early Thursday morning to drive to a neighboring town for the funeral of her first cousin.   GG and the sibling to the cousin were the only grandchildren that remained of fifty-five grandchildren to her maternal grandparents.

Following the funeral we stopped to check in on another dear cousin {on another side of the family}, only a month older than GG.  My heart broke to see our once vibrant and composed loved one, living in a body that was a shell of the woman we remembered and loved.

By the time we returned home, GG was exhausted and needed to rest, but just the fact that at two months shy of 90 years old, she could make this trip, I knew how blessed we were.

GG is far from perfect and has had her own string of health issues over the years, but she’s been an amazing fighter in bouncing back.  Then moments after tucking GG to bed on Thursday evening, the fire truck and ambulance pull up.  I look out the window, to discover they are there for a neighbor that fell.  Once again, as the day closes, I am reminded of what a blessing GG is and to cherish this time that I have with her.   Caregiving hands

I know that inevitably the day will come when things change and she is no longer here.  So I take a deep breath, pick her plate of food up and follow her to her chair.  “Thank you for GG and this time together,” I remind myself in a silent prayer.

Are you taking time to see the blessing in caring for your loved one?

*Name altered



Caregiving, is it a blessing or a curse?

The joys and frustrations of caregiving

Why care giving is both a blessing and a curse