Milestones, Stepping Stones, Millstones

I was thinking about milestones in life. Author Gail Sheedy used to call some of them Passages. On a trip, or when doing a difficult hike, or in sales targets in the case of a sales person, there are often milestones that one sets as a personal goal or as proof of achievement. In life, there are often significant milestones in life. Examples of these include: entering kindergarten; graduating from high school; graduating from college; getting that first post college job; getting married; having children; the empty nest; retirement. There are milestone birthdays: becoming a teenager; reaching voting age; turning 21: entering the various decades; turning 65; and so forth.

Why do we mark or make note of these milestones? Typically, each implies a strategy shift. Now I recently turned 65. So I have been thinking about that. To answer the question you may have, no I am not retiring. I am however, thinking about stones. To be specific, in reconfiguring my strategies and priorities I am using different filters than before. The shift is not because it is required. However, the shift could not happen until I had accumulated sufficient life experiences in specific areas resulting in the right kind of wisdom for me. This is not to say it will be the same for anyone else.

I said I am thinking about stones. I am examining people, places, things, responsibilities and more. The first question is which people, things and activities help me to stay on my mission. These would be touchstones and stepping stones. By that I do not mean I walk on them. I do mean that because of them I am encouraged to stay on God’s path (analogy could be a bridge or guard rail). Then there are people, things, and responsibilities that bring emotional clutter, things that bring me way down, and do not feed my soul. Let’s face it, everyone has some of that. Sometimes it is unavoidable, I will grant you that. But make no mistake about it. These are millstones. However, when you are at a certain stage of life’s journey, you must stay on your path and guide others to theirs as well.  Let go of millstones and stick to the path. It is a legacy and mission I believe we each have.

So perhaps the milestone I am thinking about is a big sign that says: Girl, the best is yet to be. Fight the good fight. Continue to run your race. You have running buddies to accompany you. I am still a perennial optimist. I continue to believe it is important, in these times, to believe anyway. I still believe what my mom and her sisters taught me: do not curse the darkness ~ light a candle. I say this: if you are discouraged, if you feel like you are in the dark, come over. God will light your path too. Remember: I have a candle and lots of matches. Bring your candle that you can’t light. Passages ~ milestones ~ touchstones ~ stepping forward, onward and upward.

What milestones, touchstones, stepping stones, and millstones have you noticed in life?

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Obliterate Procrastination

I hope that you are each doing well today. This week is busy for me, as I am guessing it is for many of you. Today I was thinking about a mountain of undone tasks. I stepped back, did some deep breathing and prayer. THEN, I moved forward to my method to obliterate procrastination.

When I get overwhelmed by an enormity of random or unrelated tasks, I need to literally get out my large index cards and make lists. Yes, I know there are countless apps, there are spreadsheets, etc. But, when this feeling encompasses my mind, I need to see things on my Kate Cards.

Here is what I do. I set up a card for each broad Project. Area. For instance, I currently run 3 businesses. So I set up a card for each of those. On each of those, I write just the tasks I have (in my case, I just do it for this week). Then I put all the random tasks on each broad category card that I have been procrastinating.

For my home tasks, I currently have a 2 story house. So I set up a card for each floor, with the exception of yet another card for kitchen, to put my menu planning etc tasks on that.

Another card for correspondence/bills/gifts.

Why all the cards? Well, this makes it easy for me to cherry pick which tasks are making me especially crazy from the various categories. Sometimes family matters require most of my attention, and to be at home. So in that case, I pick some of the tasks I can do then.

That makes me realize I need to add another card for a big time eater for me, facebook connecting and facebook groups.

As you can see, it is essential for my peace of mind, AND to obliterate procrastination, to just get many of the items DONE. If I just make a long Things To Do List, I get bogged down and it seems like too much to deal with. On the other hand, if I see that I need to connect with 2 FB groups, write 2 letters, and view a training podcast, that can be done at “smaller time nuggets” rather than all at once.

I don’t know about you, but waiting to do something until I have hours and hours available is a strategy doomed for FAILURE! My mom used to say “let’s just put in a good 15 minutes”. As usual, she was wise.

I am certain that you have read countless books and articles about time management. Perhaps none of this is new to you. My 5×8 index cards helps my Procrastination Management, which helps me Obliterate Procrastination, and reduces my stress. Stress Reduction helps my optimism.

What helps you optimistically Obliterate Procrastination (at least for the day)?

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Good Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I love this verse. What strikes me this morning are 4 words… “commanded you” and “good courage”. You know, commanded you, as in let’s do this, onward and upward, take the hill, baby. It strikes me BUG TIME. Perhaps it speaks to that whole chain of command thing that I was taught to respect. (Of course, being Irish American, I was also taught to discuss AT LENGTH 😂)
And then Good Courage… today that term is really reassuring.
Tell me, my heart friends and family… what does Good Courage mean to you?

I think there is a very specific meaning in the term good courage. It is meant to convey the love involved in being courageous.

“Good courage”

goes way beyond merely sucking it up or gutting it out. To me, it means to face challenges, heartache, and difficulties in our lives, struggles holding onto our faith, and even our optimism while simultaneously insisting on living our lives with grace. Yes, grace.

It isn’t negotiable. He has commanded us.

And the very best part is we do not go it alone. He is with us, wherever we go.

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Quotes: Mackay’s Morals

Quotes by Harvey Mackay from his columns

  1. “No one is as important as all of us”
  2. “Gratitude should be a continuous attitude”
  3. “Killing time isn’t murder; it’s suicide.”
  4. “Hidden talents don’t have to be huge, but the results can be.”
  5. “Open a book… open your mind.”
  6. “Life is a lot easier if you always play by the rules”
  7. “We all have to grow up, but we never have to get old”
  8. “Corporate integrity begins with personal integrity.”
  9. ” ‘We’ is a little word that sends a big message.”
  10. “People don’t care how much you know about them once they realize how much you care about them.”
  11. “Critical thinking is critical to success.”
  12. “The only person who can put limits on your imagination is you”.
  13. “It’s not enough to know what. You must also know how.”
  14. “Your mind is your most powerful ally in developing confidence.”
  15. “Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.”
  16. “There is one thing more contagious than enthusiasm, and that is the lack of enthusiasm.”
  17. “A student of life considers the world a classroom.”
  18. “People are judged by the company they keep. Companies are judged by the people they keep.”
  19. “If seeing is believing, visualizing is achieving.”
  20. “Creativity, not necessity, is the true mother of invention.”
  21. “They say a word to the wise is sufficient, but I say a word from the wise is a gift!”
  22. “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.”
  23. “There is no such thing as a final offer.”
  24. “Failure is not falling down but staying down.”
  25. “Customer service is not a department; it’s everyone’s job.”
  26. “Saying you’re sorry and showing you’re sorry are not the same thing.”
  27. “Exercise your brain so your memory doesn’t get flabby.”
  28. “An ounce of commitment is worth pounds of promises.”
  29. “Most people strive to be better off, but few strive to be better.”
  30. “if you want to make your mark, sharpen your skills.”
  31. “The fool asks the wise for advice, but the wise asks the experienced.”
  32. “Pride is the stone over which many people stumble.
  33. “Control your life or it will control you.”
  34. “The hardest part of the sale is selling yourself to your customer.”
  35. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
  36. “to get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.”
  37. “You’ll never lose credibility if you share the credit.”
  38. “Happiness can be thought, taught and caught… but not bought.”
  39. “Failure isn’t final unless you say it is.”
  40. “We may not be able to predict the future, but we can prepare for it.”
  41. “A plan isn’t a plan until you have a backup plan.”
  42. “Taking your time is sometimes the best use of your time.”
  43. “If a business knows what’s good for it, it knows what’s good for a customer.”
  44. “You can’t get ahead if you don’t get started.”
  45. “The best way to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you’re talking about.”
  46. “Stay on your toes or fall flat on your face.”
  47. “You’ll never reach your goal if you don’t have one.”
  48. “Taking care of employees is taking care of business.”
  49. “lots of people start, but few people finish.”
  50. “The smarter I get, the more I realize I’m not finished learning.”
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Run your own race:When can you be secure?

Our hearts do yearn for happiness and joy. Granted, financial success or worldly success is not what I am really writing about. I am writing about deeper happiness. Do you at times feel scared or worried about the present or future? Do you feel insecure? Do you feel unhappy? A wise woman addressed that very thing.

“We will not promise you happiness. We will not wish you security. For we remember that security is mortal’s chiefest enemy. And we know that you can be secure only when you can stand everything that can happen to you.” ~ Sr. M. Madeleva Wolff. That level of strength and gumption makes you strong, doesn’t it? Strength leads to happiness.

For my husband, and for me, true happiness comes from our faith, and from using our talents to make the world a better place. I would not trade our lives for the lives of the rich and famous. Life can and does bring many ups and downs. There are mountain-top days of supreme joy. There are times of loss and suffering. But we are in it for the long haul.

You may encounter people in your lives who “lord it over” those around them, or act as though they think you are beneath them. Here is what I have to say about that sort of attitude. It is what my mom has always said. “Feel sorry for them”. You see, if people look down on you, check yourself against God’s exhortations. Are you on His path? Are you using your talents? Are you loving and giving? If not, change it. If so, then relax. He is your director. It is His commands you follow. The timing of your blessings, challenges, and setbacks are part of your life’s tapestry.

Are the lord-it-overs speaking in truth? How do you know? Seek the counsel of those who are wise. They can help you keep things in perspective, and not be tossed about by the court of public opinion.

If you need to improve, do so. If you are spending your life the way God wants you to spend it, then you are on your right path. Some people will understand your path, and some will not. Do NOT let it deter you! If you can do even more to make the world better, then try to do so! Virtue is its own reward.

What do you think you can do to make your little world better? What virtue will you show today? How will you live your faith? How will you spend today according to your ethics?

There is joy right in front of you. Laugh a little today ~ and know that each day there is a pocketful of joy for you. My prayer for you today is that despite any heartache or heartbreak or setback you may be experiencing these days, you will make it through. Get up. keep fighting. You are definitely loved.

 

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Exactly Where You Are

Do you know what? Sometimes we get so busy with our endless plans, task lists, prioritizing, etcetera that we get to thinking that we are not worthy of love, respect, or consideration until we tick those things off. It is as if we believe that our worth as a person is only determined by our milestones and accomplishments. Do you fall into that trap, too? But it is a flawed way of thinking. Of course we have goals. We have hopes, aspirations, wants, dreams, needs, and more. I was describing to a friend of mine the lost of requirements placed upon me by someone. I was was  exasperated, as I was already feeling pulled in 100 directions. She said, “what happens if you don’t do those things?” I said “nothing”. Her point was that I needed to prioritize based on my own need for sanity, respect, etc. I cannot be all things to everyone.

I know by now that each day, I need to know in my heart of hearts that it is well with my soul. Sometimes that means that I fall short of someone else’s expectations. My journey towards wholeness and health has taught me that I must work towards what keeps me close to God. I must nurture my own heart and honor my own priorities. Those priorities sometimes shift dramatically.

I can no longer be strident. Nor can I let my worth be determined by someone else’s yardstick. I must run the race my Shepherd designed for me. Sometimes that will mean that my results look minute or meager. But my heart knows that I am nurturing and caring for myself and others. The rest will happen based on seeds, soil, and how much sunshine my faith, hard work, and optimism bring.

What have you noticed about your own journey lately?

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I Believe – By Judy Cerabora

I believe in the wind for it whispers love.
I believe in the stars for they shine endlessly into the night.
I believe in myself because I’m worth believing in.
I believe in life for from it all good things come.
I believe in truth, because nothing is hidden.
I believe in God because his creation is my living proof.
I believe in Jesus for I see Him in other people.
I believe in people because they are basically good.
I believe in love, for it makes things right.
I believe in death because it is a new beginning.
But most of all, I believe if faith and hope are alive, then dreams can become realities and life is worth living and there is no end; just an endless corridor passing into a quiet eternity.
~~~
This lovely poem was written by a college classmate of mine shortly before her death. It is so profound and lovely. And faith and hope are most definitely alive.

 

 

 

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