Transitional Friday: Setting SMART Goals

Last week, we discussed 9 ways to set realistic goals, but left off with SMART goals.  So what are SMART Goals?


  1. S=Specific—a specific goal  {ex.I will lose 20 pounds by the last day of November}smart goals 2
  2. M=Measurable—a concrete way to measure your goal.  {ex. I have 3 months to lose 20 pounds.  That’s about a pound and a half a week.}
  3. A=Attainable—Decide how to reach this goal and the steps that need to be taken to achieve the goal.  {ex. I need to exercise five days a week for 45 minutes and each 1500 calories a day}.
  4. R=Realistic—Is this goal achievable?  Is this something I can achieve? {see #5 above}
  5. T=Timely—Set a timeline for reaching this goal.  Otherwise you are less likely to reach that goal.  Thing of the goal being tangible.  Often if we can see, taste, smell, hear or feel the goal, we are more likely to achieve it.


How do you set realistic goals?  Do you use the SMART goals?

goals 2

Creative Thursday: 9 Ways to Discover Your Creativity

I’ve often had people tell me, “I’m just not creative.”

Perhaps, that person isn’t a musician, dancer, artist or writer.  However, that person most likely still has some creative flair.  Often it’s just discovering what the passion is and taping into it.

I’ve seen these same people become excited about designing a room, throwing a party, or working on various crafts.  All of these are creative outlets.

So, how can you recognize your creative side?

  1. Passion—notice the things you are passionate about, such as designing a room, throwing a party, putting together an outfits, looking at floral arrangements, cooking, gardening, etc.

    Where is your passion? How do you experiment?
    Where is your passion? How do you experiment?
  2. Enjoyment—what are the things that you enjoy doing?  How can you experiment and put a creative flair to the hobby?
  3. Experiment—be willing to tap into the left side of your brain.  Step out of your comfort zone and experiment with a craft or hobby you’ve always wanted to learn.  What do you have to lose?  You may discover a new passion that was lying dormant.
  4. Unconscious Behavior—what are some things that you do unconsciously?  This could include singing in the shower or car, doodling in a meeting, dancing around your house to your favorite songs, acting out stories, telling yourself or your children stories you’ve made up, etc.  How could you take any of these behaviors to the next step and turn it into a hobby?
  5. Dreams—do you have a secret dream you are too afraid to admit?  This could be to perform on stage, be a speaker, appear in a film, show a piece of art in the studio, etc.  Ask yourself if you can realistically sing or create art, can you learn to and take baby steps to realistically reach your goal.
  6. Natural Talent—do you have a natural talent in an artistic field?  Be willing to take lessons and develop this talent, even if it’s for your own personal enjoyment.

    Give it a try and often the pieces will fall into place!
    Give it a try and often the pieces will fall into place!
  7. Divine Inspiration—do ideas and thoughts come to you, or do you feel inspired?  Be willing to take a chance and act on this inspiration.  My first book came about the same way, I was inspired by a story, but thoughts “I can’t write that.”  A little voice told me, “you don’t know if you don’t try.” I discovered a talent I didn’t know I even had.
  8. Be Quiet—take time each day to just be quiet, without outside distractions such as the television, radio, children, etc.  Listen to your thoughts and discover what may come to your mind.  Sometimes it’s in those quiet moments that our most creative thoughts rise.
  9. Expose Yourself to Something New—step out of the comfort zone and try something new.  This can mean attending a museum, theater production, reading poetry, discovering a new author, listening to a different type of music, writing a letter, taking a nature walk and taking photographs, taking a walk, etc.


How have you tapped into your hidden creativity?


Caregiving Monday–7 Ways to Help Senior Adults Deal with Loneliness

Last week we discussed loneliness in senior adults.  This week I would like to explore suggestions on how to help senior adults deal with their loneliness.

Schedule regular outings if possible for your senior adult
Schedule regular outings if possible for your senior adult
  1. Visits—schedule regular visits with family, friends, church {or society/community} members, etc.   Ask friends to visit your senior adult on a regular visit, but remind them your loved one tire easily.  Ask them to not stay for more than an hour or two. If you have a large family nearby, maybe everyone could take a day each week for a short visit.
  2. Schedule outings—schedule regular outings for your loved one {if they are mobile and able to go}.   Find friends already going, ask a neighbor or search for a senior transport company for transportation.  This could be a community {especially if they are in a retirement community} outing, to church, to the theatre or movies, to concerts, or to other activities s/he enjoys.
  3. Senior Action—this is a great resource for senior adults with numerous activities and often you can arrange for transportation through your local senior action center.
  4. Adopt a Pet—if your senior adult loves pets, adopting a dog or cat might be a great idea for companionship.
  5. Music—lifts spirits and helps combat the loneliness.   Find or make CDs of his/her favorite songs that can be played.  Also, inquire at church or in the community about an individual/group that can come sing for your loved one {if homebound}.

    Pets are great companions for senior adults
    Pets are great companions for senior adults
  6. Discover a passion your senior adult loves and have them teach someone else—this could be a neighbor, grandchild, caregiver, etc.  However, it makes them feel useful and needed.  Along with the fact that they are doing something they love.  It doesn’t matter if it’s gardening, cooking, sewing, putting together puzzles, working on model cars, etc.  If your senior adult is physically unable to do the task themselves {not able to bend or stand for long periods} they could sit in a chair and give directions.
  7. Teach technology—if your senior adult is still mentally able, teach him/her how to Skype, email, text, etc.  this is a great way to maintain contact with children, grandchildren, siblings and friends.   If your loved one is mentally unable to understand the setup, possibly you or a caregiver could set things up for regular visits.  This is a great way to maintain contact for family members that do not live nearby.

Transitional Friday: 9 Ways to Set Realistic Goals

We’ve been discussing the importance of our choices and overcoming failure.  I thought it was important to discuss setting realistic goals.

So how do you set realistic goals?

  1. Write your goals down—look at the big picture for each area of your life {ie…career, finances, weight, relationships, spiritual walk, etc}.  Write down where you would ideally like to be in one year, five year, ten years, fifteen years, etc.goal
  2. Break the goal down—now break that goal down into smaller portions that are easier to maintain.  List the steps you need to take to reach this goal.  This could be anything from go back to school, to paying off a bill, to exercising each day for weight loss.
  3. Set Deadlines—set a deadline to reach the first part of your goal.  Once you’ve reached that goal, look at the next step and set a deadline to reach that goal.
  4. Schedule Time—schedule time for your goals.  I struggle with my weight and getting healthy.  I do much better when I schedule in time to exercise and what I will eat for the week than when I leave it up in the air “to get around to.”
  5. Be Realistic—have you set goals that can be honestly reached?  If you can’t carry a tune and want to be a pop singer, you may want to search for another dream.  However, if you’re a great artists, with practice and lessons you may be able to move to the next level.aim for stars
  6. Set Goals you WANT to learn—don’t do something because you feel that you should or are pressured into it.  Work toward your dreams and desires!
  7. Develop a plan—there are often obstacles that creep up and derail our plans.  For me, that struggle is again with my weight.  I do best when I decide in advance how to deal with this obstacle.  I then have more will power and am better prepared to overcome this obstacle and bounce back.
  8. Use positive reinforcement—use positive reinforcement, instead of saying “I can’t do this,” tell yourself, “I can do this if I will dedicate one hour a day to this endeavor, etc.”
  9. Don’t forget SMART goals—this may be the most important and the most actionable of all of the goals.  Often you hear about SMART goals in business, job interviews, higher education learning, etc.  So what are SMART Goals?

How do you set goals?

Next week: What are Smart Goals?

Creative Thursday: 5 Ways to Deal with Procrastination






I often find it too easy to procrastinate and put off both what needs to be done and has to be done.  These are a few things I have done that have helped me overcome procrastination.

  1. Self-Talk—often I just have to give myself a good lecture and remind myself that the sooner I get to work, the sooner I’ll be
    Schedule the tasks on your calendar
    Schedule the tasks on your calendar


  2. Scheduling—often I will schedule the task into my day, so that I have no choice but to complete it.  I often outline my day {and often week} the night before.  Knowing what I have to do keeps me on task and makes me more productive. Often doing the most difficult or dreaded chores first thing each morning, helps me stay on track and more productive.
  3. Deadline—even if I’m not on an official deadline, I will set my own deadline.  This helps me to stay on task and complete the work that needs to be done.
  4. Getting Rest—I often have a habit of working until I crash.  I’m slowly discovering if I schedule in time to rest, then once I return I am energized and more productive.
  5. Break the project down—some projects are too large to be finished in one sitting.  I will break down the project into smaller segments.  Each day I will work on one segment and before I know it I’ve been able to complete the project without completely overwhelming and stressing myself.

How do you deal with procrastination?

do it

Caregiving Monday: Loneliness in Senior Adults

loneliness in elderlyOne of the greatest complaints in senior adults is loneliness.   Particularly as they grow older, are limited in their abilities and/or stamina, become home bound and experience the loss of the majority of their friends.  I’ve heard GG*, Mrs. H, Mrs. B, Mrs. T, and Mrs. W {all women I worked for} all make these same statements.

As family and friends it is important to understand the limitations the senior adults in our lives face and to be understanding to their plight.  Often this loneliness leads to depression in our loved ones.  They often feel cut off and possibly abandoned by the outside world.

Often they just want someone to listen as they talk.  Some senior adults have no one to visit, while others may have a steady stream of visitors.   There are numerous factors that lead to this such as size of family, how long they’ve lived in the area, involvement in their church, community, society, etc.; amount of friends still living, age, etc.

What ways can you help your senior adult not feel so lonely?

*Name altered


Next week: Ways to Help Senior Adults Deal with Loneliness

Transitional Friday: 9 Ways to Bounce Back from Failure

Failure success



There are times when no matter how much we try, we continuously face failure.  There have been several areas of my life, where nothing I’ve tried has succeeded.  I continue to face one failure after another.  Over time, this is enough to make anyone grow weary, frustrated, overwhelmed and even defeated.

So how do you continue to move forward when nothing is working?

  1. Don’t Give Up—if you are pursuing a dream, never give up, no matter how much defeat and frustration you receive.  I’ve heard some writers say that they received thousands of rejections before receiving a break through.  I’ve heard artists say that they worked for twenty years before making it big.  However, they never gave up.
  2. Keep Bouncing Back—this is much like never giving up, work through the emotions and bounce back.Churchill quote
  3. Evaluate—often I’ve had to go back and evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, and the why for each one.  Then I figure out what I can do differently and how to move forward from there.
  4. Be Realistic—often it’s easy to reach for our dreams without being realistic.  You will not become a concert pianists, if you refuse to practice the piano.
  5. Set Goals—often I feel like a fish at sea, but when I set goals and see where I’m going and what needs to be done to get there, I make much better progress.
  6. Be Open to Change—sometimes we need to be open to change, whether this is going in a different direction, taking a different approach, learning a different technique, etc.
  7. Never Stop Learning—continue to read, study and follow the experts in your field of interest.  There is so much that we can learn from these experts, including not on the subject matter but also what to do and not do.
  8. Be Open to Feedback—be open to accepting constructive criticism from others.  Yes, there is the occasional person{s} that wants to pull you down, however most people want to help you.  One critique method is the oreo method.  This starts with a positive, then adds what needs to be changed and ends again with a positive.
  9. Prayer—pray, seek God’s will and be willing to go in the direction in which He is leading.

Remember, you are not alone.  There are numerous examples of people that have failed before success.

Walt Disney faced numerous hardships before reaching success
Walt Disney faced numerous hardships before reaching success
  • Henry Ford had 5 businesses go broke before Ford Motor Company became successful.
  • Walt Disney faced multiple occurrences of being fired, bankrupt and failed businesses before succeeding.
  • Thomas Edison had over 1,000 unsuccessful inventions before inventing the light bulb.
  • Winston Churchill lost almost every election before being voted Prime Minister at age 62.
  • Before making it big in I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was considered a failed actress and B movie star.
  • Vincent Van Gogh is considered the greatest artists of his time, but only sold one painting in his life time.


How do you bounce back from failure?  Who else has inspired you?



Creative Thursday: 5 Benefits of Collaborating with Others

Often working together with a partner or team is a great way to open doors and stretch your creativity.

Several reasons collaborating are beneficial:

  1. Brainstorming—when working together you’re able to bounce ideas off of one another and to brainstorm together.  You can brainstormingboth bring new ideas and slants that can be considered and discuss the pros and cons of what will work best, why and how.
  2. Networking—Collaborating with others offers networking opportunities that may not otherwise be available to you.  Your partner{s} may have contacts that you do not have and vice versa.  You never know what doors might be opened through this association.
  3. Learn New Techniques—Working together you can learn new techniques from one another.  Maybe you’ve always done things one way, but there is a simpler way or new technique you’re not aware of that your creative partner is able to share with you.
  4. Utilize Strengths—each partner may have his/her own strengths and weaknesses.  By teaming up you can draw on one another’s strengths.  Ideally, you would want to search for a partner that has a strength where you have a weakness and vice versa.
  5. Fun—collaborating together can be fun and give you the necessary socialization needed that you would not have when working alone.  This can make the craft of creating less stressful, more productive and even more creative.

What are some benefits you’ve had of collaborating with others in your creative field?

Caregiving Monday–Musical Ear Syndrome

music in earAfter GG* broke her neck four years ago, she began complaining about noises that were not there.   Often she hears people talking, songs that are not being played, etc.

A visit to the doctor and some research showed that she has a condition called musical ear syndrome.  This is most common in individuals with severe hearing loss.  After breaking her neck, GG developed severe hearing loss.

GG often tells us that we think she is crazy, but we actually believe her.  We understand what she’s dealing with but have a difficult time making her understand what she’s hearing.MES

Musical ear syndrome is classified as phantom sounds in the ear and brain that are considered “auditory hallucinations.”  More women than men are willing to admit that they suffer from musical ear syndrome.

Some enjoy the sounds or music they hear and others wish they would go away.

GG will sit in her chair and carry on a full conversation with these voices that are talking to them.  I’ve watched GG carry on a 20-30 min conversation with these individuals.  However, this is typical for individuals that struggle with musical ear syndrome {MES}.

Even though GG wears hearing aids and they help to an extent, they are not a catch all.

Do you know of anyone that struggles with MES?

*Name altered

Transitional Friday: 10 Steps to Making a Decision




Last week we discussed how much our decisions matter.

Often when we’re in a transitional period, we don’t know which way to turn.  We often wonder what is the best path and how to decide.

Here are a few tips, I’ve discovered the hard way:

  1. Pray about the situation and seek God’s will
  2. Pretend a friend came to you with this situation.  How would you advise a friend?decisions2
  3. Journal your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
  4. Make a list of the Pros and Cons to the situation.
  5. Listen to your gut and what your instincts or saying.
  6. Imagine 20 years from now.  Do you see regret?  What would your future self tell you now?
  7. Write out all of your concerns and seek the answers.
  8. Role Play—if this involves another individual role play the situation {even if you do this with a different friend or spouse}.  This often gives you the other individuals point of view.
  9. Limit the information and don’t focus on too much information.  You’ve heard the adage that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  This is the same idea.  I often worry about issues way down the line, instead of the present.
  10. Pray—this is so important, it’s worth repeating.  Pray, study the Bible and seek God’s will in the situation.


How do you make a decision?

Creativity Thursday: 5 Lessons When Going Professional

Have a contract to keep both parties accountable
Have a contract to keep both parties accountable




After years of developing your craft, at some point you may decide to go professional, and earn money for your craft.  Whether you decide to monetize your hobby, go part time or make this a full time job, there are some hard lessons I’ve learned in my pursuit of going professional.



  1. Treat this as a business—the craft is great and your passion, but you have to remember to treat this like a business.  That
    Know Your Limits
    Know Your Limits

    includes keeping records, paying taxes and negotiating contracts.

  2. Have a contract—when getting started this may be a little scary.  I’ve made numerous verbal contracts with various businesses and often have been burned because they changed their minds, did not know their own budgets or had a change in their itinerary.  With a signed contract, the company realizes the sincerity of your efforts, and are less likely to take advantage of you.
  3. Take it slow—don’t overwhelm yourself with too much.  Start slow, gain the experience and training that is necessary.  The more experience you gain the more you will be able to charge, but appreciate those small breaks.
  4. Know Your Limits—know what you can and cannot do.  If you are asked to do something that’s not possible or will take longer than the time required, tell the company up front.  It’s better to be honest from the beginning, than to take on more than is humanly possible.  You have to know when to push yourself to meet a deadline and when to give yourself more time.
  5. Read Your Audience—Know your audience and be willing to change when something isn’t working.  As a musician, I often think that one song or activity will work with my clients.  I often discover in the middle of it that it is not going as well as I planned.  I make a mental note not to do that song or activity again and will even change my outline in the middle, if necessary and possible.


What lessons have you learned going professional?

Caregiving Monday–The Importance of Staying Hydrated

We were recently concerned that my grandmother had become dehydrated.  In these hot temperatures of 80s, 90s, and even 100+ degree weather, it is important for senior adults to stay hydrated.

elderly water          When a senior adult becomes dehydrated this causes confusion, lead to muscle cramps, lead to fatigue, headaches, irritability and increase the possibility for falls.

However, GG* and other senior adults that I’ve worked with do not like to drink much.  One excuse commonly given is they do not want to go to the restroom very often.

Meal times is when most senior adults have the bulk of their liquid intake. I’ve tried explaining to GG that she needs to drink at least 8 oz of water at breakfast and then 8 oz in each three hour block she’s up.  Unfortunately, we ignores me and looks at me like I’m crazy.

There are some tips that might encourage senior adults to drink more:

  • Fix special beverages s/he will enjoy  {ex. GG loves hot chocolate, so I fix her a cup each morning}
  • Milk in cereal

    Jello is a great way to help the elderly stay hydrated
    Jello is a great way to help the elderly stay hydrated
  • Cup of tea in the afternoon with crackers and fruit
  • Soups
  • Fruit—especially those such as grapes, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. that are water based
  • Juice—there are many to choose from but check the contents for one more water based and less sugar based
  • Popsicles—again there are many to choice from, but look for one that is healthier and more water or juice based and less sugar based
  • Foods that are water based such as applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding and jello.


Remember that it is important to encourage regular sips of water throughout the day.  Many senior adults only take baby sips.

It is important to drink plenty of water, especially in extreme heat.
It is important to drink plenty of water, especially in extreme heat.

Also, encourage heavier consumption in the morning and afternoon than in the evening.  Most senior adults do not enjoy getting up to go to the restroom on a regular basis.

How do you encourage your senior adult to stay hydrated?


*Name altered

Transitional Friday: 10 Questions to Ask if Our Choices Matter

life is all about choices




When I reached adulthood, I made a lot of dumb choices.  At the time I did not think about the long term affect these choices would have on my life.  Some of these choices effected the direction of my life, made life a lot more difficult and cost me some of my dreams.

I didn’t stop to think or pray about what I was doing and I did not consider the long term cost these decisions would have on my life.

Some questions we can ask when looking at our choices and decisions are:

  1. How does this affect me now?choices
  2. How will this affect my future?
  3. Is this a want or a need?
  4. Does this have a life and death impact?
  5. Can I wait or postpone for a better future?
  6. Do I feel pressured to make this decision or change?
  7. What does The Bible say about this situation?
  8. What does my gut say?
  9. Am I following my intuition, my heart, my dreams or my hormones?
  10. What does God say about this?

Most importantly, take time to pray and ask God for guidance and direction.

What mistakes have you made that you wish you could change

Transitional Friday: When Change isn’t your Idea

Life throws us a curve ball at times and change is forced upon us.  This can be through the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, abusive relationship, natural occurrence, decision of another person, tragic accident and number other causes.

So, how do you deal with change when it isn’t your idea?

  1. Cry—sometimes we just need to cry and express our pain.  There are times when there just aren’t words. mourn
  2. Mourn your loss—a loss is a loss, regardless of how large or small.  Even if the change is one that we want, our life is changed and we need to mourn and say goodbye to that part of our lives.  Sometimes this is a few hours or a day and other times it is months or years.
  3. Pray and ask God for guidance and to help you move on—in all things we need to pray and ask God what He would have to do now.
  4. Accept your new normal—we have a new normal, even if it is for an interim time.  We have to accept this and learn how to live in this new reality.
  5. Determine your ultimate destination—we need to decide what our goals are.  What do we ultimately want in life?  Sometimes it takes weeks or months to determine what we may truly want and what God’s will might be for our lives.  We mustn’t forget to seek God’s will.
  6. Make a list of steps to reach that goal—now that we know where we are going, we need to access where we are and the steps to get from one place to the next.  Again, sometimes our goals are short term and other time they are long term.reach
  7. Work hard towards those goals—we work hard to meet these goals, whether it is returning to school, searching for a job, selling a house, etc.
  8. Continue to put one foot in front of another—there are days when life gets difficult and we don’t feel that we can keep going.  We take a deep breath and continue to put one foot in front of the other.
  9. Reach for your dreams—never give up—if this is truly what God has laid on your heart, never give up.  Ask for His help and keep pushing through no matter how difficult life gets at times.

Sometimes life altering events, lead to positive change.

What other ways do you deal with change?



When Change isn’t your Idea

Techniques to deal with change