The Nitty Gritty

Oh, what a crazy couple of weeks! First a flurry of activity surrounding Valentine’s Day, including my having lunch with Avery on Valentine’s Day and a Friendship Dance at Avery’s school that Friday. Then it was his birthday, and suddenly my little boy is 6 years old! We had some birthday fun, then the following day a party for some friends. All in all a busy, but fun, week. This past week, though, was another story. It’s like all the fun got sucked away. We dealt with not feeling well, crazy weather fluctuations (that contributed to the not feeling well), behavior issues, and just a general feeling of chaos and blech.

Whew. I’m glad that’s over. It’s the start of a new week, and I’m hopeful that we’ll all be able to get back on track.

Part of that getting on track will be tweaking my weekly schedule so I’ll be able to better stick with it. (I haven’t been sticking to my daily schedule, either, but that’s more a matter of willpower, or, rather, the lack thereof.) Amidst all the chaos and blech-ness, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, prioritizing, and brainstorming. I feel like I keep making plans, but then I don’t stick with them. Now, this is not a new problem by any means, but I’ve been trying to pinpoint the reason for this so that I can make adjustments and then make progress, rather than get constantly discouraged because I’m failing. So I’ve had to ask myself some questions:

  • Do I not allow enough downtime for relaxing and “me” time (a very real possibility)?
  • Do I need to prioritize more, so less meaningful tasks take up less time (and therefore less energy)?
  • Do I need to shift when I take care of certain tasks, so I’m doing the most meaningful tasks when I have the most energy? (though if I do this, will less meaningful but more urgent tasks fall by the wayside if I’m too tired?)
  • Do I need to set aside some less-pressing tasks to focus more on tasks that will bring in more income sooner (even if the less-pressing tasks are more meaningful for me)?
  • Can I set aside a few large chunks of time more frequently to tackle the “big stuff” that takes a lot of time — rather than wait until Kevin has the kids every other Sunday? (Because doing things little by little is getting me nowhere…)
  • If I actually stick to my daily schedule (with built-in “kid” times), will that be enough meaningful time with my kids to assuage my “mom guilt” or do I need more?

As much as I love to plan and fit things into a calendar, I know I need to move past planning and actually take action to move forward. Sadly there hasn’t been much progress as of late (for a while, actually, it seems). Part of this can be attributed to the insecurity I discussed a while back, and part of this can be attributed to the fact that I honestly don’t know what to focus on (and my gut can only be trusted so much). I don’t want to waste time heading in the wrong direction.

As I’m thinking all this, and typing it all out, I think what I actually need, ironically, is a plan. I’m not talking about a daily and weekly fit-things-in kind of plan. I’m talking about a business-style plan. I need to set some concrete goals, to sit down with that scary checkbook and budget book and make a real plan.

I’ve talked about goals before. I’ve talked about plans until I’m blue in the face. But I’ve never been in my current situation before, so life hasn’t been so urgent, make-or-break before. I’m getting a divorce. Money is tighter than it has ever been. I have two little kids relying on my for just about everything. I need a real, solid, “this is what I HAVE to do” kind of plan. And, I have to admit, I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve been focusing on the little stuff, trying to get by, but that’s not going to help me long-term. Asking myself all these questions just reinforces that.

I’ve taken long, hard looks at my career options. I’ve determined, for the most part, what I want to do. And, yes, I need to find time to make progress in that part of my life. But now I need to take a long, hard look at the rest of my life. I need to really figure out the money stuff — long-term, not just getting-by.

It’s time to make a plan. Now when am I going to find the time to make it?

Get the Party Started!

I’m happy to say I’ve finally completed my 2017 business paperwork, so I can get my taxes done today and kiss 2017 good-bye! It may not seem like a big deal, but having that big weight off my shoulders means I can finally move forward and make this the best year yet. And I’m determined that THIS WILL BE MY YEAR! It’s going to be a busy year, for sure, because I have a long list of things I want and need to do: in my personal life, for my household, and for my career. But I’m ready to get started!

Personal Life

As I’ve mentioned previously, Kevin and I are getting a divorce. While the decision was made a couple of weeks ago, however, not much has been done to actually proceed with this decision. I’ve met with a divorce mediator to discuss what needs to be decided, and he also recommended a book that I’ve started reading, to assist with the process. I met briefly with my insurance agent to see what would need to be done to get our accounts separated. And that’s about it.

Kevin and I have arranged to meet tomorrow night to discuss some details, and I’m hoping I can start working on the paperwork this week. When, exactly, I’m not sure, but I’ll get there! I’m hoping the meeting will get things moving.

The one negative about getting the ball rolling? Having to tell the kids. Emily will likely just take it in stride — she’s too young to really understand. But Avery is another story. I worry about how he’ll take it. We’ve already been struggling with his behavior lately. Will this make it worse? Will having a definite answer help in some way? Will he get overly emotional (I have a feeling he will)? I know he’ll get through it, but I worry about him in the meantime. Hopefully his therapist will have some suggestions.


Oh, where to begin? There is, of course, the never-ending money crunch. I’ve started playing with money again, arranging balance transfers in an attempt to save on interest. And I’m doing what I can to stay afloat. I’m hoping once details are worked out with Kevin that I’ll be able to better plan moving forward. I’ll need to know what I’m dealing with to know what gaps I have to fill. Then I get the joy of figuring out where the rest of the money is coming from. That’s always the challenge. Fun is!

There is also, of course, the mess that is my actual house. I’ve made little bits of progress, but you wouldn’t know it! I’m hoping that now that a good chunk of paperwork is done I’ll be able to get back to the schedule I had made and start making progress. I really need to get this house in shape! I hate living like this (and Avery has indicated he does, too, which makes me sad). So the next full free day I have (aka the next day Kevin has the kids), I’m going to attempt to go on a cleaning spree. And then most free days moving forward will likely be the same, until this house is at least somewhat clean and organized. Then maybe I can breathe a little easier!


This is probably the only “fun” stuff on my to do list, now that I finally have a firm direction in which to head. First things first: start the year off right with paperwork. I’ve got to stay on track with paperwork this year so I don’t end up with a headache come tax time. I say this every year, but this year I really mean it. I’m determined to stay on track this year so I can move forward instead of constantly play catch-up. It shouldn’t be too hard. January wasn’t exactly a big time for business! But I still have little things to do for Usborne Books & More, and some adjustments to make to my Creative Endeavors inventory. And, of course, I have to get my binders set up so I can keep track of all my reports and paperwork for the year. If I can keep it up, though, it won’t turn into a monumental project.

I also want to finish re-creating and adding to my A Life You Want site. I have an author event scheduled in the middle of March, and since I have a book related to the blog, I feel I have to get the blog back up and running! And I should probably update my professional website, too, so that’s in tip-top shape for the event. I work well with a deadline, so here goes nothing!

And, as I mentioned last week, I have a new project I’d like to get started on. That blog and site will be a big undertaking, but I have high hopes for it, and I’m excited. I think for now my Saturday morning project, which I had assigned to “writing,” will be devoted to writing content for the new site. And I’ll have to design a logo and create a website design and set up the blog template…..

A Great Year

Whew! I have my work cut out for me. But this is good. Having a plan in place, knowing what I have to do to get where I want to be, is good. I really am determined to make this a great year. And while that will require a lot of effort, a lot of optimism, and a lot of commitment, I’m excited to make it happen!

A Little Clarity

Oh, what a week! That makes it sound like it was horrible, but actually it was a very inspiring and motivating week, at least as far as my professional life is concerned. It was a week of little pushes and possibly big steps forward (though only time will say for sure). And I feel I’m finally getting a handle on what I want to do with my life. Sounds good, right? So what happened?

Well, to start, I don’t believe I mentioned it in my last post, but I am now a certified Educational Services Representative for Usborne Books & More. FINALLY! This is one of the main reasons I signed on with Usborne in the first place. As an ESR I can now work with schools and libraries on reading programs, fundraising, and, of course, direct sales. It has A LOT of potential, but, perhaps more importantly, it has me excited about the business again. While I have nothing against parties and the like, they’re really not my forte. I would prefer to have a few organizations that I help on an ongoing basis, rather than have to constantly go out and search for new customers, new sales, and new business. And I love that I can help these organizations earn free books for themselves and the children they service.

That being said, I’ve started putting out feelers to get my ESR business going. I hope to be working with Avery’s school in the near future, and I’ve already been in communication with the literacy coordinator there to arrange a meeting. I also have the contact information for the person who handles ordering at the local library, too. I’m holding off on sending that e-mail until I’ve received my official starter kit, though. It should arrive on Tuesday according to UPS tracking, so I may have a new lead next week, too! I’m excited to get started.

The other big business-y development this week comes in the form of my websites. It’s no secret that I’ve had tons of different projects going on for a while now. In addition to my books, I’ve had websites in the works, on a variety of subjects. As time has passed, the passion I’ve had for some of the topics has waned, but I’ve kept them alive because I thought the sites had potential. But, through careful consideration, I’ve finally decided to let a couple of them go. Unless something drastic happens between now and then, when my money and gift-giving sites expire (in about a year), I will not be renewing them. Though I haven’t done much with them in a while, the fact that they’ve been on a back burner has been taking up mental space, and I need the room!

I will still have my general professional site (, my Usborne Books & More site (, my family fun site (, and I’m sticking with my A Life You Want site (, though that one needs work. That’s still a lot, but for the most part those (except for A Life You Want) are up and running and will just require general maintenance and updating as necessary. That means perhaps I will have room for a new project…

Which brings me to my last development: the decision to start a new blog and website. I touched on this last week, and I’ve made the decision to go for it. This new site will be all about children’s books, literacy, etc. I already have a list of ideas for content, though it will take a while to write articles, do research, and design the site. But, as with my new ESR title, this is something I’m excited about, and it’s something I feel has a lot of potential.

OK, so if you’ve been reading my blog and reading this post, you’re probably thinking I’m nuts. New projects, making changes, and yet I still have not much to show for it. But this blog post is titled “a little clarity.” So what’s up with that? Let me explain.

Since before I started this blog, I’ve been struggling with what I want to do for a living. I’ve had different ideas, tried different career paths. I’ve followed different passions, expanded on different interests. I’ve owned businesses and worked for “the man.” I’ve brainstormed and driven myself nuts and researched and asked for input. And yet I was still lost. I still lacked focus, lacked a true path. But now I finally feel I’m heading in the right direction.

So what is that path? In what direction am I heading now?

What is the ONE thing that has remained consistent my entire life? What was there in the beginning and remains to this day? My love of books.

I’ve read them, I’ve written them, I’ve tried to sell them. They’ve made me laugh and made me cry. They’ve taught me and kept me entertained. I’ve read them aloud and read them to myself. They’ve kept me company and provided an escape. They’ve encouraged my kids to curl up on my lap, snuggled against my shoulder. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the way that you can learn anything just by reading one. I love how they spark our imaginations, teach us about ourselves and the world around us, offer kids a way to explore anything they want. Books are awesome!

So, as I’ve stumbled over the past couple of months, determined to finally figure this out, I’ve finally reached some conclusions. And I’ve decided that, for the most part, my professional life is going to be dedicated to these wonderful compilations of words. I will continue to read them, write them, sell them, share them with my children and other people’s children. And now I will write about them, teach about them, encourage through them, and hopefully help others realize how amazing they really are. I will go back to school and become a librarian so I can earn a steady income while sharing this passion. And I will be successful, because I think this is what I was meant to do.

Now, a lot is still up in the air (like that pesky lack of money), and I have a lot to still figure out, but I’m choosing to stay positive. I’m choosing to hold on to the excitement and enthusiasm as long as I can, and to let it move me forward. When I’m excited about something, I feel like anything is possible. And I’ll need that feeling if I’m going to make this happen! So here’s to excitement, passion, and all things good…may they drive me to success — at last!