Monday, August 30, 2010

Motivating Factors

Today was a day for getting things done.  This is my working cup.

My Key Three Motivators
Before I relate the successes, and miseries, of today, I want to go back to my last post a little while.  That post about opportunities lost and taken made me think back to my original motivating factors for beginning this blog and the process of reshaping my career.  Now that I am into this process a little further, it was good to remind myself of why it began and to learn if it still holds true.  It does.

And I learned that I was able to define my motivating factors more clearly.

I came up with three things:


I have much more to say on this subject, however today is an action day so I will save that post for another time.  I actually have a 'future post' file. 

Following the "To Do" List
Lists have a duo edged affect. For now, I find them useful, both in keeping me on task and in keeping me off task. I have decided to follow a process I use successfully at work and keep a weekly to to list with a few notes for future projects. So today I made a list for the week. Here is what I have been able to check off my list today.
  • draft mission statement
  • draft strategic plan and goals
  • blog (goal is 3/week, 1 down)
  • get computer fixed- (long, frustrating story)
  • download new printer software
  • test printer and scanner (yea! they work)
  • researched stationary design software-undecided
  • researched using a print shop for stationary (awaiting estimates)
  • researched supplies for the 'do it yourself' option
I'll skip the miseries of the day as they are resolved now.

For the Future Post File
I will muddle through the strategic plan and goals on my own, it's ony fair.  However, I may look to you for some feedback on my mission statement and name choices. Once I get a few options drafted, I'll post them.

Keep Focus on Motivating Factors

Time to stop and smell the flowers, watch the backyard grow, and visit with the family.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Opportunities Missed...and Taken

The cup of the Day:
You may have seen my stack of favorite coffee cups.  I am going to begin each post with whatever cup I am using.  I choose my cup depending on my mood, so take from that what you will.

This is my garden cup, or my Madi cup. I created it at Color Me Mine one day with my daughters and granddaughter.  It was inspired by the many happy days we have spent in the garden.

Opportunities Missed:
Yesterday was about missed opportunities, nothing serious. It just made me think.  I was having my morning coffee with my laptap in my lap, of course, and the dogs began whinning at the window.  Now, this is really nothing new and happens all too often.  However, this was really stressed out whinning with the whole body involved.  So, I took a look to see what it was all about.  There was a chipmunk on the front sidewalk in front of the window.  After laughing at my silly dogs, I went for my camera and when I got back this cute little guy was standing on his hind legs nose to nose with a little squirrel garden statue I have on the front step.  I went to line up the shot and my movement startled him and he took off.  Missed a great shot!
Chipmunk is probably hiding in the garden laughing at me!

It's funny how something so trivial can start us thinking. I started thinking about other opportunities missed, in life, and how it happens.  Without going into unnecessary detail, the part that counts is learning how NOT to miss opportunities in life.  Of course, sometimes it just happens and is out of our control. At those times al we can do is let it go and move forward with open eyes for other opportunities. 

You can fill in whatever 'opportunities' you like- time with friends, loved ones, business opportunities, a chance to watch the sun rise, or just to sit and smell the coffee.

Opportunities Taken:
My granddaughter spent the night last night.  This doesn't happen often enough so she and I sat down and looked at my calendar last night and marked Friday nights that it could work. At the moment, she is playing WII Fit and doing yoga.  I am sitting right beside her and doing this.  Multitasking I know. But we are together, sharing the experience of a relaxing Saturday morning. 

Soon I will be going to visit my parents.  They live about an hour away.  Dad had a stroke several months ago and is in a nursing home.  Currently, he is back in the hospital.  Mom has had her share of health struggles, too.  They are in their eighties and, well, time is precious. Almost every day that I am not at work, I go there.  It is no big deal.  I welcome the opportunity to spend time with them while I can. I have 3 brothers and a sister that are sort of in the area. We all spend time there weekly. My oldest brother lives in the same town and is the one who is there daily, sometimes ALL day and night.

As for business, I have taken the time to work on my online classes and do some more reading about blogs.  I have thought about which pictures I might use for my stationary,etc. I keep working and moving forward toward that goal a little, or a lot, each day.

It is my loved ones and friends that offer the greatest opportunities in life, the greatest reward.

From where, who, what do you receive your greatest opportunity and reward?

And don't forget to take the coffee poll!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is just a quickie post as I am going out to visit friends tonight that I haven't seen for some time.  I have decided it is time for a little R & R.
              pix to some soon-imagine me sitting with friends sipping coffee)

I think there has been enough serious stuff here, too.  So I am playing with my blog tonight and adding a COFFEE POLL.  Watch next week for which answer gets the most votes.                                        
                     (and a checkmark in a box here-next to a coffee mug)

Now, I know I may not have your exact preferred choice listed.  Please pick from what there is. 

Personally, in the morning I like straight up black coffee, thank you very much. However, if I am out in the afternoon visiting with my friends, I prefer a mocha.  Or, if it is winter, I might prefer a Chai Tea.  So, for now, let's go with what is your favorite for that first cup of coffee in the morning. 

                                (and a beautiful sunrise here)

If you'd like to expand on your choice, feel free to leave a comment, too. 

Until next time, enjoy your coffee! I know I will!

Monday, August 23, 2010


How many things can one person do at the same time and still make any of them worthwhile? I intend to find out.

Well, that was fast.  Apparently I can not watch TV, visit with family, and blog at the same time.  Go figure.  I miss key points in the show-even a mindless one-I only half hear what someone sitting next to me says and I loose my train of thought while writing. TV watching, family time, and blog writing all become unsatisfying.

I do believe however, right or wrong, that this is a necessary skill that I must learn to master.  I don't mean specifically watching TV and blogging at the same time, but serious multiasking at home. I have recently added enough things to my daily 'to do' list that I would be up late into the night to get it all done.  I prefer sleep.  So, tonight I watch and write. The person sitting with me has already left the room.  :-(

Wait!  What just happened on TV?!

So far, mulitasking at home this evening has included feeding the dogs, letting them out, etc. while beginning to read a book, Problogger, and writing and visiting while watching TV.  I still need to get some time in with one of my online classes and I think it is only fair to get some downtime in, too. Isn't it?  Fair, I mean.

I have this dream, this goal, that keeps me moving. And multitaskaing isn't really as bad as all that, is it? (I just edited this the next day because my writing here was fragmented, maybe I should take a second look at serious multitasking)  After the dogs were taken care of and played with, after the dinner dishes were cleaned, after the dogs were taken care of, again, I was able to sit for 30 minutes to read my book undisturbed.  And what is on TV this evening is not really anything that needs much attention. And as soon as I finish this post, I will go and visit again.

Stella and Marley
In reality, I am not a big supporter of serious multitasking in life.  I think we all do it on a regular basis to some degree as a normal part of our life.  But I mean serious multitasking on a regular, long term, ongoing basis.  Some people may thrive on it, I do not. Nor do I want to.  However, there are times when I also believe that it is necessary.  This is one of those times and I actually welcome the challenge because of the passion I have for the end goal.  I also welcome the challenge to ensure that I do not loose touch with other important and essential parts (people) of my life.

I am not sure how long I can, or should, sustain a serious level of multitasking in the weeks or months to come. I know there will be a lot of it.  I also know from experience in other endeavors that I will, in time, work into a pattern of activity which will allow me to do less serious multitasking.  I welcome that time.  Until then, I am grateful for the understanding and support of my family.

Now, go back to my question at the beginning of this post.  What are some ways you multitask? When is it too much? How do you keep your multitasking from being too much?  I welcome your comments. 

Time to go visit.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Progress Is Good

Do something every day.

This is what I keep telling myself if my business of the heart, and learning how to be an awesome blogger, is to succeed.  It doesn't matter right now if it is big or little, takes all day or only moments. What matters is that I keep the momentum going.  I feel the pull of that momentum, the passion for the task, the excitement that keeps me moving forward. 

However, I know from past experience that with so many other aspects of life tugging at me for my energy, once the ball stops rolling, the energy stops with it. My dreams and heart are put on hold, by choice, to attend to other things I also hold in high value. Now, I am also choosing to make room and time to give voice to my dreams, my heart. So I do something every day to keep the energy moving forward.

So, what have I been doing since I last wrote? In no particular order (because I don't think I could remember), I have;

1. registered, downloaded and begun two online classes about Internet writing and using my photoshop elements.
2. jotted down many notes, resources, and websites-ordered a few new books (I love books!)
3. continued to try and figure out affiliates
4. researched and read other blogs and businesses similar to my vision of what I plan to create
5.thought, what seems to be 24/7, about various aspects of my business and how it should harmonize with the rest of my life.This is probably the deepest stuff for me. 
6. tried to come up with some sort of financial plan for the transition from full time to hopeful new business
7. decided on my next blog, I think, though I am still not ready to begin it until I have work through some other things-like html codes and customizing pages and affiliates.

Of course, each of those things leads to more things. One of the biggest things I feel I need to do right now is organize and get all this into some sort of working order. I would like to be able to come home from work at my FT job, transition for 30 minutes, make dinner etc, then sometime each evening sit in "my space" and dig into where my passion lies.  Currently, I have been fitting it in here and there and it feels disjointed.

So I think before I proceed with anything new, it is time to recap where I am and establish a working order that gives value to my dream.  This is a hands-on, offline, sort of task.  I'll let you know how it goes.

As always, any ideas and thoughts are welcome.  I would be interested, in particular, on ideas related to successful blogging and home office organization.

I need a coffee refill.  How about you?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quote for Today

"Your life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

OK, I'm listening.  

I have heard this quote twice today from two randomly different sources.  I am not sure who to give credit to because I have seen it credited to at least two different people and anonymous

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let it Unfold...continued

I may not be writing in my blog everyday, but I am doing something every day.  I have been sitting with my ideas and stirring things around.  Each time I stir, I find a new scenario to sit with and feel  what life with that particular scenario might be like.  I am asking some tough questions to guide my way.  Two of my favorite questions I ask myself when I am trying to make big decisions that will effect my life, and those I love are;

1. When all is said and done and I am at the end of my life, who will I want around me? What memories and values will I hope to leave with those I love? What regrets of things done/not done might I have?  What would I hope people say about me? What stories would they share? (this is really one BIG question).
2. If money and time were no object, what would I be doing?

I don't want to get so caught up in things that I lose track of who, and what, is most important in my life. I would like my greatest successes in life to be my relationships with my family and friends. If I listen carefully to my heart, and head, I believe my business can have that level of success as well, and add to my personal relationships. And if I walk my business path with integrity and have passion for what I do, I believe that some degree of financial success with also follow.

The first question helps to keep me from getting lost, the second helps me to prioritize.  There are things in my plan that are included as ways to support the rest, or to bring in a little more income, hopefully.  I am not sure I would do these things if I didn't have to.  Although, I believe these things I hold in question have value, I also believe they are secondary and supportive.   Then there are the things I really want to do which should take the majority of my time and focus.  I realize this is vague to the reader.  I am not sure the detail is as necessary for me to share as the process.  It is a work in progress and there is still some stirring to be done.

Now that I am closer to knowing where to put my greater energies, I have another question I am stirring around.  Do I quit my full time job and pray for the best.  Or, do I stay as long as I can while my business gets started.  The obvious benefit of staying with the job is the full time pay.  The downside is that I work nights, weekends, weekdays.  My hours are quite flexible and all have to fit into a 40 hour work week.  Then I have home and family time and all that entails.  And I am spending time each week with my parents who live in another town. I also hope to have a little downtime here and there.  So my time to invest in this business is quite fragmented to say the least.  I do know I have many options and I am confident I will know what to do when the time comes.

I have registered for two more online classes that I hope will move me closer to my goal, both personally and professionally.

So, there you have it for today, doing something everyday and letting it all unfold.  I am not in a hurry, yet have my eyes on the calendar.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let It Unfold

First, I have to say how much I love what I do for a living.

Last night I got to sit outside and introduce people to the Perseid's Meteor Showers.  Granted it was hot and muggy and the mosquitoes were the worst I have seen them in years.  However, when given the opportunity, nobody wanted to leave. My program only went from 9-10pm so it, the mosquito swarm, was tolerable. A couple smart people even wore their own mosquito netting for their heads.  VERY smart.  And, I live in a fairly populated area so we deal with a fair amount of light pollution. Still, with the weather, mosquitoes, short time frame and light pollution, it was wonderful.  I can not explain the childlike excitement and joy I felt when I saw my first two meteors flashing across the sky, one right after the other.  By the time the sky was dark enough, we probably saw about ten in all in the hour we were there. Not bad. 

Sometimes it's hard getting out there at work with all the props and set up,etc.  And sometimes it's not an easy situation with weather, or mosquitoes. However, like many things in life, you just have to make the effort. Once you do, WOW!  The reward is shooting stars! An added bonus, and an important one for me, is sharing the joy with someone; like introducing the excitement of the Perseid's to someone who has never seen them before and simply enjoying the magnitude and beauty of the night sky together.

I am hoping for shooting stars with my business of the heart.  And, I am hoping to create a joyful and meaningful experience for people in all aspects of my business. And just like I had to wait awhile last night and it wasn't shooting stars all the time, I know this business won't be either. Now that I have most of it down on paper, it is time to sort of sit with it and stir it around to see how it looks.  Maybe add a little of this or take out some of that.  I am not sure if I mentioned that I have a goal of having things fully in place by May 2011.  I am anxious to begin, yet not in a hurry.  Sometimes things of value take time. Between now and then, I plan to grow slowly until I am where I think I want to be.

I am also still thinking about this living in balance vs. living off balance-on purpose.  I still believe the second option is the way to go for me. I think that trying to keep everything in balance has been way too stressful.  However, I am thinking of the idea of harmony in my life.  Balance or Harmony.  I choose Harmony.  Now with Harmony as my backdrop, I will see how this proposed business fits in with the rest of my proposed life path for 55 and beyond.

What does Harmony look like/feel like to you?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Describe the Dream

I am back from my wonderful vacation with friends from the past, now part of my present and future.  After taking a little time to catch up at home and work, I am ready to jump back in to my blog and my dream of creating my business of the heart.  

After my last post, I realized just how much I am trying to do all at the same time.  SO, just as sometimes I need the creativity to flow, sometimes I need to nail down specifics-or at least have a plan to follow.  And because I tend to be a visual person, I made a list and posted it here for all to see, and to keep me on task.

 My first task, then, is for me to begin at the end by describing the dream. I am going to brainstorm this dream right now.  I reserve the right to add/subtract/rearrange anything and everything here.  I also ask the reader to realize that this is not necessarily meant to happen all at once or all the time.  The following are intended to be parts of a larger whole; and I love variety.

(I am also planning this with flexibility of time in mind.  There are reasons in my life I am seeking to leave the structured, but safe, life of a 40hr/week full time job.  The people in my life are my priority, my biggest dream and greatest blessing.  And there may be a time coming soon when I will be at odds with having to punch the work clock everyday for someone else. ) 

The goal, or desire, of my business of the heart is about connecting people and nature; empowering people via nature and for nature. It is about finding a sense of place, and self, in nature; it is about finding the beautiful, the spiritual in oneself, and nature.

It is also about teaching, inspiring, others to spread the word and share the passion of our amazing natural world and the people in it, including oneself.

It is also about telling the story of a place, its natural and cultural history and how they are intertwined. It is about making connections.
 outdoor living skills, nature journaling, drawing, environmental education, nature crafts, outdoor family activities,

Clients: scouts, preschools, garden clubs, local college, park districts, YMCA, homeschool, etc.

photo gifts using my photos/nature themes;    stationary, notepads, mugs, journals, calendars                  
hmmm, my book/poetry     

Clients: individuals, local/state/national parks, groups    

Other business avenue-
Blogs; photography, travel, writing/storytelling, gardening, outdoor families-
professional trainer in natural/cultural history interpretation-local and travel options.
Also, magazine and Internet writing.

Well, there you have it.  I don't think this is all of it, but the bulk of it.  This is the big picture.  Soon I will break it down into phases/priorities/  or maybe just what is easiest to begin with.  For now this feels incredibly good.  I can see the big picture.  (ps. I just learned you can't create a tabbed column entry on a blog. I had to redo everything.)

This blog was my first step.  This post, my second step.  Actually my second step was drafting prototypes of some of the stationary ideas for my friends to critique.  Many thanks to my dear friends for their kind words and support.  This post is my third step then.  It has begun, one step and then another........

Through it all I have family and friends.  Who could ask for more.  Each of you are my true dream.  The reality is, I would like to make a living, too.  I found a long time ago, to be able to make a living at what you truly enjoy is also a blessing.  I have truly enjoyed what I have done for many years and will be doing much of the same thing.  The difference is, I will be doing it for me, on my time.  I like that idea.

Here is my question for you; if you could do anything you wanted to do to make a living, what would it be?  What is your dream job/career/life path?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Mind is Spinning

My 'to do' list is growing and I seem to be trying to focus on too many things at once.  Soooo, other than finishing two blog projects I am already in the middle of, I am done with arranging, and rearranging the blog. 

Just so I remain accountable to my current blog task, I am trying to learn how to get links to two specific businesses as an affiliate member.  I have signed up and been 'approved' but I can't figure out how to get the links to work. Someday you will see two advertising banners or signs show up on this page. 

What this means is I advertise a business on my blog and if someone clicks on the business and purchases a product or service, then I get, well I guess it's sort of like a referral fee.  When I open my, not sure what to call them so, professional blogs, I plan to have affiliate marketing that relates to the themes of those blogs, nature, photography, etc.  I am practicing here among friends before I goof up among clients. Thanks for being my guinea pigs. (sorry, don't know how to do a smiley face here)

I have definitely decided that the two conditions I have for which affiliates I choose is that I have personally used them and would recommend them to a family member or friend. Beyond that, I don't know much about it all, so I am learning.
On another note, I finally added an actual list to my life list page.  This is a list I began over a year ago.  It was inspired, in part by the movie the Bucket List, but more so by a motivational speaker I saw at a workshop. This particular workshop, the morning key note speaker was Dan Thurmon. He talked about living life unbalanced, on purpose.  I have added his website to my favorites and I would strongly suggest you take a look.  

Anyway, his message was rather contradictory to what I thought I knew, or had learned. I have spent many years and even led women's retreats and adult education programs and talked with friends about living a balanced life.  'If you think of life like a wheel and things like self, family, friends, health, spirituality, work...are all spokes on the wheel...all connected in the center, at your core'  And of course, the way wheels work, you don't want any broken spokes if you want to keep everything moving smoothly. Well that can be pretty overwhelming, trying to keep your eye on everything all at the same time and give each 'spoke' equal attention all the time.  I do still find it helps to at least identify which spokes are on your wheel of life. However, lately I am not trying to focus on each one all the time, although I am mindful of all as they are a part of me.  

The speaker also talked about his life list, which was inspired by another great guy. Hence my life list. It is a pretty big damn list.  I allowed myself to brainstorm, no criticizing or denouncing my list choices.  Everything goes on it.  Now the idea is that I don't have to be/do these things forever.  That was a freeing realization for me. And they are in no particular order.  I also get to keep adding to it as I go.  I like that.  New desires and hopes and dreams seem to keep popping up. 

Currently, my life list and 'wheel' focus is on how to go about the business of creating a business.  I need to get my mind around exactly what it is I want to accomplish. Or better yet, what I want the end result to look and feel like.   If I can look at where I am going, then I somehow know I will get there.  If I get caught up in looking at all the details along the way, I am going to drop the ball, or break a spoke on my wheel. 

It is interesting to me that although this spoke may seem work related, it is truthfully a spoke of spirit, of soul.  This is the essence of a dream I have had for such a long time. In many ways, it has images from childhood dreams contained within it.  It has the potential to fill my cup to overflowing. 

So before I continue spinning 'round and 'round with my thoughts, I will stop for now.  Next time I will begin with the end by trying to lay out what I want this dream to look and feel like.  For now, I am off to play with friends for a few days.  And in fairness, that too, should get full focus! 

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Gift of Friends

Anchor Point, Alaska 6/10  by me, Lyn Drathring

Just thought I'd start us out with a picture tonight. 
I am needing to rise above and see the big picture before I get lost in the minutia.
I got a report from my site counter today and was thrilled to learn that there have been quite a few visits.  Honestly, I was feeling a bit lonely at first.  I have had a little trouble getting my comments window to work.  Happily it seems to be working now, mostly.  I have really enjoyed hearing comments from some of those great people in my life.  Maybe someday, more people will drop in for coffee.

I have yet to really get into the nitty gritty of my life/work change questions and issues.  (I am using learning about the blog to sidetrack the topic).  No, maybe that is not a fair statement, since running a blog, or several, is actually part of the hoped for bigger plan.   One thing I know I need is a plan, that and to actually follow the plan. I can see how one can get easily distracted or off task.  I plan on taking one or two more online courses, one about crafting a business plan (ugh, sounds so boring, but necessary), and the other on travel writing (definitely part of the plan). Truthfully, I generally plan on the go. Even when I have a solid plan down in writing it often changes as I move through the it.  A plan is really just a guideline anyway, isn't it?!

For now I feel blessed by the support and encouragement of friends.  Speaking of support and friends, I added a web links list tonight and my first entry is to the website of a good friend and very talented quilt artisan, not to mention a great photographer, too.  I hope you stop in for a visit at ABBY-Q and view all the amazingly beautiful quilts and bags she has crafted.

I also added the online learning site I use.  The other new thing tonight, although it isn't showing up yet, is a favorites list for books, movies, etc.  I really love books and have many I would like to share with you.  It will be tough to thin the list. One I was going to start with, I can't find.  I am not sure I have the title just right and I don't have the author.  So I'll put it here for now,  Repacking Your Bags for the Rest of Your Life.  This is a book I found and used back in the '90s, I think.  It was essential at that time when I was making some other life choices about school and work.  Hmmm, is this a trend?  I'll save that discussion for another day.

Thank you my friends for stopping by.  I am so glad you are with me on this journey.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Do Something Every Day

Do Something Every Day.  This is my new mantra for learning how to blog, and other things.

On today's 'to do list' was to add a site counter and to learn how to add pictures.  Site counter completed, I moved on to the picture.  As you can see from the picture of the beautiful Swallowtail butterflies on the Joe Pye, I was successful.  These are both Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. According to my field guide, the darker one is a female.  I took the picture, and many others, the other evening in my backyard.  Every now and then they would take to the sky in a beautiful swirling dance, then return to the Joe Pye. It was quite an unexpected gift as I had just by chance looked out my kitchen window.  Not one to let the moment pass, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door.

I am also planning on adding a list of favorites and links.  And I may get rid of the quotes, like the quotes, not the ads.  However, I do plan to link up to Amazon and a few other things like that.  I mention this because one of the first links I am going to put in is an online site for online classes.  I have recently taken two classes and plan to take others.  I took a grammar 101 in preparation for putting my writing where someone might actually see it.  And I took a digital photography primer.  I have been using a digital SLR for a few years, but I wanted to get a feel for how the online classes work and also to review some of the basics. I liked the classes and will be taking more. So, I'll try to get the website into a sidebar. 

On another note, I drove into work early this morning in a light layer of fog that covered the hills down to the river near where I work.  I noticed geese gathering in the fields already, also flocks of blackbirds.  Could it be they are already preparing for southerly migrations?  Thinking of them brings to mind the transitions I am working through, or toward.  But, I am keeping this post short tonight as I have already spent considerable time on the computer trying to figure out the site counter thing.   I had my morning coffee at work today and am about to go spend some time with my family.