Day -355 – Principles to Live By


Middle of the night mind games. Tonight my head is spinning, there is much to do in the next 48 hours, I have post-it notes all over the wall in front of my desk to remind me, throw in a Chamber luncheon, a trip to the airport, and a hundred drivers to register, it’s no wonder I’m up after 2 a.m.

A few months ago, I was having a similar night. So many things to think about, I decided to get up and write them down. The simple act of taking it out of my brain and putting it on paper sometimes helps me sleep. My idea book was close at hand (as opposed to my task book – I have notebooks everywhere!) This is what I wrote:

Principles to Live By:
• Do the Right Thing
• Treat All with Respect
• Be kind to my husband and kids
• Nurture friendships with women who have a kindred spirit
• Do things for others that they cannot repay
• Be debt free
• Build businesses that bring others joy
• Be a part of something bigger than myself
• Work with a purpose
• Do not fear failure or success
• Create fans

As I look at these now, I realize how much I believe in them, this is the exact list, no changes made. I don’t always follow them, sometimes I am mean-spirited and selfish, often I am lazy, the fear of failure hinders my actions. But tonight, I believe. I believe that if this was tattooed on my heart, on my hands, in my brain, I could bring about change in the world. These are my principles…what principles do you live by? Have you thought about it?


Day -4 Starting Over

dreamsMy birthday weekend was epic; for me at least: I got to dress fancy; be part of something bigger than myself; see 100+ friends; laugh loud and often; remember some folks I haven’t heard from in awhile; celebrate the 10/4 birthday club.  It was awesome!

Now, I have a few days under my belt and I’ve spent them thinking about what comes next.  I am 50 now, no more fifty in 365, I’m on the downhill side (as my sister so eloquently put it.)  So how do I continue 50 in 365??  About a month ago I wrote down a dozen plus ideas, now it is time to narrow them.

One of the best parts of the past year was learning new things, I didn’t master any of them, but I got to try a bunch.  Being introduced to new skills, new ideas has always been one of my favorite things.  So Goal #1 – Try 50 new things – the difference this year is that I’m going to try to master at least five of them.  No more just testing the waters, let’s find some new things to try that we can actually get good at.

Second best part of last year was going to new places.  Our world is so big and bold; Goal #2, Go to and Explore 50 new places.  I’ve already started making a list of places I’d like to go, this truly is one of the best things about our lifestyle!

New goal for the year is to do 50 new projects; I would expect these will turn mostly in to craft projects, but I’m ok with that.  I love to craft, I would love to be an artist, but I am not inventive enough to start from scratch.  So crafting it will have to be. In addition, I’ve got some big ideas I want to pursue…it’s time to go confidently in the direction of my dreams.

Goal #4 is also similar to something I’ve done for the last six years, to read 50 books, only this year, it’s going to be 50 new authors.  New to me at least, I have a habit of reading the same authors repeatedly, and while I am not going to turn my back on my favorites, my goal is to read 50 new authors in addition to the ones I follow.

A couple of other things on my list include writing 50 chapters in a book; sending 50 cards; and continuing to write in my blog.  I’m hoping to introduce you to a life well-lived, a family well-loved and a writer well-humbled by the folks who read her.  Here’s to LIVING 50 in 365!

  • Send 50 cards
  • Read 50 books and 50 new authors
  • Write 50*4 blogs
  • Do 50 new projects
  • Visit 50 new places
  • Try 50 new things
  • Write 50 chapters in a book

Day 0 – It’s My Birthday!!!

imagesI’ve always been of the belief that you shouldn’t set people up to fail…I want my husband and friends to know when my birthday is, no subtly, no game playing.  It’s MY BIRTHDAY, let me shout it from the rooftop.  Today, I am 50, half a century, five decades, 18,263 days….I have a girlfriend who told me once that our lives are too important to celebrate on just a single day.  But today is the day, the one I have been working toward all year, the culmination of my year of blogging.

365 days ago, I started, with a list of goals I wanted to complete, did I make them all?  No, but I put a serious dent in them.  I love setting goals, they help me to always keep striving for new things.  Years ago, when I was part of the Jaycees, we had a saying that “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”  The same is true for all of us.  Each of us needs to challenge ourselves daily, set goals, live life….be the person YOU want to be, Create the Life that YOU Imagine.  It’s time to set up your year, your life, don’t wait, don’t just go through the motions, find your passion, set your date to begin and start.  I mean really start living.

My 50th year was awesome, I watched 8 classic movies I had never seen before; I read 53 books; I went to 36 new places; I tried 33 new things.  I love my life, I’m excited to start this new decade with all the great people that are in it.  Tomorrow I get to start all over again, I get to set new goals, I get to try new things, I get to set the standards for the next 365 days, I can’t wait for my life to start…or, rather continue, it’s awesome!


    • Goal:  Watch 50 classic movies – completed 8
      • Shane
      • Sunset Boulevard
    • Forrest Gump
    • Amadeus
    • The Manchurian Candidate
    • The Philadelphia Story
    • Yankee Doodle Dandy
    • A Place in the Sun
  • Goal:  Read 50 books – completed 53
    • Heroes of Olympus – Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
    • Raising Jake – Charlie Carillo
    • The Rosetti Letter – Christi Phillips
    • A Fistful of Collars – Spencer Quinn
    • Plum Wine – Angela Davis-Gardner
    • The Shoe Queen – Anna Davis
    • Little Bee – Chris Cleave
    • Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
    • The Big Nap – Ayelet Waldman
    • Wicked Business – Janet Evanovich
    • The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
    • The Woman who Died A lot – Jasper Fforde
    • Death Gets a Timeout – Ayelet Waldman
    • Track of the Cat – Nevada Barr
    • Blind Descent – Nevada Barr
    • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley
    • Zero Day – David Baldacci
    • A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley
    • The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier
    • Men and Dogs – Katie Crouch
    • Dreamfever – Karen Marie Moning
    • Viola in the Spotlight – Adriana Trigiani
    • Dreams of Joy – Lisa See
    • I am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley
    • Speaking from Among the Bones – Alan Bradley
    • The Noticer – Andy Andrews
    • Artifacts of Death – Rich Curtin
    • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Steven Chbosky
    • The Widow of the South – Robert Hicks
    • The Scent of Rain and Lightening – Nancy Pickard
    • Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
    • February’s Files – Rich Curtin
    • The Brightest Star in the Sky – Marian Keyes
    • The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
    • Italian for Beginners – Kristen Harmel
    • Backseat saints – Joshilyn Jackson
    • The Art Forger – BA Shapiro
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling
    • Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen
    • Affairs of Steak – Julie Hyzy
    • The Map of True places – Brunonia Barry
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
    • Life Studies – Susan Vreeland
    • The Confession – John Grisham
    • Wrapped in Rain – Charles Martin
    • The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival – Ken Wheaton
    • Montana 1948 – Larry Watson
    • The Little Giant of AberdeenCounty – Tiffany Baker
    • $1000 and a Good Idea – Sam Wyly
    • Full of Grace – Dorothea Benton Frank
    • Cash Out – Greg Bardsley
    • If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name – Heather Lende
    • March – Geraldine Brooks
  • Goal:  Write 50*7 blogs – completed 165
  • Goal:  Visit 50 new places – completed 34
    • The Big Texan
    • The Sandia Tramway
    • Bryce Canyon
    • Zions National Park
    • Scorpion Bay
    • Lethbridge, Canada
    • Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera Cruise
    • Cabo San Lucas
    • Puerto Vallarta
    • Tucson Jewelry Show
    • Guadalupe Mountain National Park
    • Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns
    • Birmingham
    • Sloss Furnaces
    • Civil Rights Museum
    • Civil War battleground
    • National Cemetery
    • Capitol Reef National Park
    • The Missions of San Antonio
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park
    • George Rogers Clark Memorial
    • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
    • Notre Dame University
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
    • Rubicon Springs
    • Dayton Courthouse – Scopes Trial
    • The First National Military Park – Chickamauga and Chattanooga
    • Fort Donelson
    • Mammoth Caves
    • International Motorsports Hall of Fame
    • Sea Life Center
    • Homer, AK
    • Kenai Fjords National Park
    • Whittier, AK
    • US Olympic Training Center
    • Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
  • Goal:  Try 50 new things – completed 33
    • Dremel
    • Wheeling from behind the wheel
    • Junior Ranger
    • Melting Crayon Art
    • Civil War Re-enactment
    • Stung by Stingray
    • Spent a whole day in bed
    • Curling Match
    • Get Married again
    • Played on a Game Show (on the cruise)
    • Acupuncture
    • Take a bus in Mexico
    • Thriller Dance
    • Letter punching
    • Lit Chinese Lantern
    • TIG welding
    • Senior Ranger
    • Walk the Race Course
    • Monster Party
    • Wheeling in Moab
    • Broke on the trail
    • Tour a micro-brew
    • Fly in an experimental plane
    • Opened new food truck
    • Junior Civil War Historian
    • Halibut fishing
    • Skipping Rocks
    • Darts
    • Sisterhood badge
    • Zumba
    • Color Run
    • Disc Golf
    • Eyebrow Threading

I can’t wait to see what happens next, what’s on your list???

Day 60 – Right Now!

rightnowVan Halen recorded my favorite song of all time, when it came on the radio today, I stopped reading and just listened.  When it ended, my husband asked me what was my favorite part about it.  I thought for a minute, choked back the tears, and said…the words…and the piano.  But it is the words that speak to me.  It’s almost like a hymn in my world, the singer imploring me to not wait, just go for it, no matter the consequence or result, Right Now…it’s my tomorrow!

Sixty days from now I reach that milestone I’ve been working towards, I’m feeling a little out of sorts lately, like I’m not giving enough to make the good stuff happen.  The song and the date were reminders to me to get my act together.  Every day is a day worth living, not merely existing, a day to grasp, to put forth an effort.  For the past few, I’m trapped in a truck, but that doesn’t mean I can’t move my life forward.  Nothing stops me from reaching out to the people around me to make sure they know I love and care about them.  Nothing stops me from dreaming up the next challenge, from reading the next book, from writing the next paragraph.  Nothing can keep me from laughing raucously, from appreciating those who give so much, from bringing a smile to others.  These are things I can do today, Right Now!

I can make a difference in the lives of others, I can rely on myself for my happiness, I can not cause heartache in others.  I can do the things that are expected of me, because they are the right things and are the best things.  I can do it with grace and style, whether anyone is watching or not.  I can do it today, I can do it Right Now!

Back in my previous life, I coached a swim team for a number of years, before my kids took the blocks every one of them had an ipod or it’s current incarnation, each time they got up to swim, they played Van Halen for inspiration.  Between the rhythm, piano and the words, they knew that it was their chance to make a difference, their chance to win, their chance to do their best.  I was always so proud of those kids because they gave their all, not for me, not for their parents, but for themselves because they knew, the time to act was Right Now!  The time to act is Right Now, find that thing that speaks to you and act, don’t wait for it to be perfect, turn that thing around!

Day 273 – Taking Stock III

50Where does the time go?  I can’t believe it’s been a full quarter since my birthday and time to take stock of my goals again already.  December flew by, there were so many things going on, just add Baja to Thanksgiving to Montana to the Wedding to Christmas to the Rose Parade to New Years and I’m tired just thinking about it.  I’m also really happy it’s all over.  Nothing like piling on stress when you really don’t have to.

Part of my journey through my 50th year is identifying goals that are laid out on my What’s It All About Page and then looking at them monthly to see how I’m doing.  This is what we look like after the first quarter.  To do fifty in the year, I should have 12.5 done already.

  1. Call 50 friends – 4 done; short by 8.5
  2. Make and send 50 cards – 10 done, short by 2.5
  3. Fold 50*20 origami cranes – 0 done, short by 12.5*50
  4. Watch 50 classic movies – 8 done, short by 4.5
  5. Read 50 books – 11 done, short by 1.5
  6. Take 50*7 pictures – 50*4 done, way up
  7. Write 50*7 blogs – 78 done, right on track
  8. Visit 50 new places – 6 done, short by 6.5
  9. Do 50 new things – 9 done, short by 3.5
  10. Write 50 chapters – 12 done, right on track

This is the off season, I really should have more time to work on some of this, it’s just not working out so well.  Time to double my efforts and get to work.  Thank goodness I enjoy all this stuff!

Day 304 – Taking Stock II

goal1So when you set yourself up with goals, that’s a good thing, right?  And I know that measuring my progress is probably a good thing too, but it’s a little rough on me when I don’t make my goals.

We are up to one-sixth of my birthday year done =   16.67% = if 50 items on the list, then 8.33 need to be complete.  In 10 short months, I will be 50.   So where am I, as of today…

  1. Call 50 friends – 2 done; short by 6.16
  2. Make and send 50 cards – 10 done, goal met
  3. Fold 50*20 origami cranes – 0 done, short by 8.33*50
  4. Watch 50 classic movies – 5 done, short by 3.33
  5. Read 50 books – 8 done, goal met
  6. Take 50*7 pictures – 50*4 done, way up
  7. Write 50*7 blogs – 59 done, right on track
  8. Visit 50 new places – 5 done, short by 3.33
  9. Do 50 new things – 7 done, short by 1.33
  10. Write 50 chapters – 8+ done, right on track

It’s obvious I need to get rolling on a few of these.  The hardest one if you just look at the statistics is #3, but I’ll be able to catch that one up, no problem.  The two hardest, for me, are #8 and #9 – finding new places to go and new things to do.  I’ve been so lucky with my life, I’ve been able to go to so many places and to do so many things already, I really have to think outside of the box to come up with new things.

Now, there are plenty of places I could go, but most of them are outside my current budget. I have to think on the micro level here.  If you could go anywhere in the U.S., where would you go?  What would you want to see?  What would you do?  I need some help here.

My youngest daughter attends a performing arts school, The Young Americans.  Part of the program is to tour and present workshops in schools, teaching kids self-confidence through singing and dancing.  That is probably not their description, but it is how I see it.  I have seen Haley grow since her first workshop when she was in 8th grade, in fact, I believe that workshop changed her life.  The Young Americans present such a positive program, whether you have kids or not, the performances are always so positive and energetic.

I’m a little jealous, because Haley’s first tour experience will take her to some places I’ve never been.  In 5 weeks, Haley is leaving for the U.K. and then finishing the tour with two weeks in South Africa.  I am so excited for her.  I love seeing my kids spread their wings.



Day 335 – Taking Stock

Years ago,  I taught a goal setting class for the US Jaycees at one of their many conventions.  I had gone to Reno with my friend, Brent and we stayed at what is now the Grand Sierra.  I don’t remember what Brent was teaching, but I remember my experience.  I’ve had a lot of great experiences at the Grand Sierra, in all of its previous forms, the most recent being two years ago when we were there for the Stampede.  There are so many people to thank for the massive hangover I endured.  Let me start with Barbara, it was with her that I got up at 4 in the morning to go be part of a Balloon Chase Team, that will be a story to tell someday; follow that with Lil’ Rich and Josh and Dave and everyone else that was involved in putting on and racing the Ultra4 race  we went to right from the Balloon race, and Bob and Paula who interrupted our nap so we could be at the bar first.  Paula posted on FB the other day “Here’s to Alcohol, because no great story ever started with a Salad.”  I think that describes that weekend to a T.  There are others who contributed to the worst hangover ever, but I’m sure that was only because they were mixing my shots.  That was one of those epic weekends that everyone still talks about, apparently mine wasn’t the only Worst of the bunch.

But I digress, I wanted to talk about goal setting.  When I taught the class, I taught that it was important for them to be written, attainable and measureable – WAM.  There are a lot of acronyms that people use to describe goal setting, but WAM is my favorite.  In this case, I’ve written down my goals – see What’s It All About – and I’ve even published them so I get to be accountable too (this is important to me).  It’s like being on a diet but not telling anyone, so when you order dessert your friends won’t call you out on it.  My goals are also attainable, at least I think so – if I can’t do it, I’m not yet ready to admit defeat.  The most important part of goal setting, in my book, at least, is that goals are measurable, that may be the bean counter in me.  I set all my goals up to be measured, so let’s take stock.

One-twelfth of my birthday year is done =   8.33% = if 50 items on the list, then 4.17 need to be complete.


  1. Call 50 friends – 2 done; short by 2.17
  2. Make and send 50 cards – 2 done, short by 2.17
  3. Fold 50*20 origami cranes – 0 done, short by 4.17 *50
  4. Watch 50 classic movies – 1 done, short by 3.17
  5. Read 50 books – 5 done, goal met
  6. Take 50*7 pictures – 50*3.5 done, goal met
  7. Write 50*7 blogs – 27 done, goal met
  8. Visit 50 new places – 4 done, goal met
  9. Do 50 new things – 3 done, short by 1.17
  10. Write 50 chapters – 4+ done, goal met


It’s very satisfying to see what has been done and know that of my ten goals, I’m really on track with half of them.  I just need to get working on the others to keep them all up to par.  So looking forward to everything I get to do these next 30 days.