Category Archives: rhythms

Resting.

Our church is spending some time talking about “rhythms” in the current message series. We are being challenged to compare our priorities with how we spend our time.

I often over schedule my life. My lists are too long, my projects are too vast. I feel comfort in the busyness for some reason. And while I don’t want to change my love for efficiency, I do long to rest, play and lose track of time more than I do. Doug and Isaac do help me with that.

rest3Last week, our pastor specifically taked about REST. After reading some verses from the bible I felt challenged to make some changes in my life to include more rest. I really want to “work from rest”… instead of “resting from work”. This means changing some of my daily routine, adding some time to play, and being more intentional with the Sabbath (day of rest). Rest to me is the opposite of work. It’s not just laying around or not doing things, but being energized from things that relax or recharge me. Sometimes that may involve sleep. As a starting point last week, I came home from church and took a nap. I called it “good”. (A little creation /7th day humor.)

If rest is a priority to me, I have to schedule it into my life. So here are a few rhythms I am trying…

  • Turning the lights off and watching TV (without multi-tasking) each evening 10-11 pm.
  • Going to bed at 11:00 weeknights before work, so I can get 7.5 hours of sleep each night.
  • Planning “Fun Fridays” with Isaac, adding a weekly story time with him. 
  • Looking into joining a pool to swim with him this summer. We both love the water. 
  • Taking a nap on Fridays while Isaac naps.

SABBATH 

  • Starting Sabbath each week at Isaac’s bed time on Saturday and continuing until Isaac’s bed time on Sunday. That means not doing work for 24 hours! 
  • Saturday nights doing something fun/relaxing: blogging, crafting, movie with Doug, etc. 
  • Social media break on Sundays
  • Nap or read on Sundays while Isaac naps
  • Family time on Sunday: play, parks, easy dinner with extended family, etc.  
  • Make it a point to do simple things I enjoy – read magazines, books, paint my nails, have a glass of wine, etc. 

So as I write tonight (something I enjoy), I am having a glass of cabernet sauvignon (something I enjoy) that Doug encouraged me to try. And, I painted my nails. THAT does not happen every day. I’ve just begun to try these new rhythms, but so far… it is good.

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4 Steps to Early Bird Tax Prep

Yep. You read that right. Time to start my 2013 Taxes.
taxes6Every year, I do it. I put off doing my taxes until a few weeks before tax day. And, every year I ask myself why I waited so long. See in my mind it seems like it’s going to be this really long and hard process, so I move it from this week’s list to next week’s, etc. The truth is our taxes are not that complicated and we always get money back. So why do I put it off!? And… how do I motivate myself to just get in there and do them?

Well, like most things in my life, I think that a simple system will do the trick.

After I finished our taxes this year, I decided to write myself a little prep list for next year. Some basic instructions may just make me jump on those taxes rather than think about it for months. So with just 4 easy steps, I am making next year’s tax filing E-Z… and I don’t even use that form.

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1. DROP BOX
I created a “Taxes” box with super easy access to gather items as they come in. You might recognize this from the Dining Room Closet. The box has a lid so nothing gets lost. It’s at eye level where I will see it often to be reminded, unlike a pile or file folder.
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2. REFERENCE DETAILS
I save the copy of last years return on my computer as well as a printed copy. I like to file all our paperwork from that year in a large mailing envelope (you can see that in the picture above). I write the year on the outside. I laid this envelope at the bottom of the box so I don’t have to go looking for that next year. 2011 envelopes and prior are filed for safe keeping. I also write my login info. and all the details I need for online filing on the envelope for quick reference.  Sorry I can’t share that with you all. You understand.

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3. DEDCUTION ENVELOPES
Rather than throw important receipts straight in the box, I created a few envelopes ahead of time to hold the receipts I am expecting. I can keep a tally on the outside throughout the year, or total them up at the end of the year.  You can see that some of the envelopes are already in use. These items include: tools and uniforms for work, conference receipts, goodwill donations, etc. I put all my other receipts into monthly envelopes in case I need them. I will trash all unused receipts at the end of the year. (I have been doing this system for a long time and it works for me).
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4. PAPERWORK CHECKLIST
I quickly wrote a checklist of items I needed before starting my taxes. I always seem to be missing one or two things, this list should solve that delay. So, these are the documents and paperwork I need to gather next January. The list is nothing fancy and it’s not even typed up, it is just a quick list meant to be save time next year. (Dang, I noticed that I missed Charitable Giving from the list after I snapped this picture.)
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With only 10-15 minutes of work, I have myself all prepped and systemized for next tax season. All the above items are safely tucked in the box. While no two completed tax forms look alike, I am certain that you can craft a simple plan for yourself too. I challenge you to take a few minutes to plan ahead, save your stuff in one place and make a checklist. It is amazing what a little prep can bring peace, even a year out!

7 Things To Do After Conference

I just returned from the International Nanny Association Annual Conference. My 5th!  Though I am currently not nannying, I am still very involved in the industry and with our local CincyNanny community. I get so much out of this conference both personal and professional. I come home energized, excited, but a little afraid. I desperately want to make sure that the seeds planted at conference will grow. That the ideas that challenged me would be set to action. That I would live passionately and never settle for so-so.

I usually debrief my trip on the plane ride home. I’ll journal and make a “to do” list. I was able to drive to this conference and now find my mind still swimming with the information, ideas, and memories. So as I process, I thought that I would share it …via the blogosphere.

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1. Un-pack with next time in mind
Yes, we all unpack and do laundry when we get home. But, it is important to notice items that you brought home and remind yourself of items you wish that you had taken – business cards, more cash or better walking shoes. If you had a packing list, update it! Make a note or create a generic packing list for next time.

2. Count your costs
Grap a letter-sized envelope and place all your conference receipts inside. Include items you paid for ahead of time, like travel expenses. Depending on your career, items may be deductible. Tally up your expenses on the outside of your envelope by category and you won’t have to think about it come tax time.
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3. Connect online 
Lay out the business cards you collected and/or the contact list of attendees (if available). Take some time to find these new friends with social media whether it be linked in, facebook, twitter, etc. Send a message to the ones that you had a nice connection with and would like to stay in touch. You may even want to share pictures or write a hand-written note.

4. Continuing ED
Conferences are a great place to find new experts and professionals in your industry. Note who  inspired you and find them! If you liked their information at conference, make sure you’ll receive more after conference. Follow their blog, order a book, register for their newsletter, follow them on social media. Set yourself up to be inspired by them again…even virtually.

5. Make the most of your notes
Take time to re-read your notes before you hide them away. Read them with a colored pen or highlighter. Notice some ideas that really challenged you, spoke to you, intrigued you and even things you disagreed with. Pull out those nuggets and keep them infront of your face for a few weeks. Write them on post-it notes or note cards where you can revisit the ideas. Keep those sparks from burning out. (Quote from Dr. G)
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6. Keepers 
After you have sorted through all the papers, notes, biz cards, etc. package them in a way you can reference them. For this conference I just attended, I like to file all my items in my ‘Nanny & Kids Resources’ Binder. Nothing fancy, just a 3 ring binder where I drop notes. I do make sure to have dates, location, and speaker/author on all my notes. By the way I don’t keep everything. Don’t hang on to things you know that you won’t use.
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7. Take Action!
A few days away from normal life can really inspire you. Don’t let the opportunity for life change just pass you by. Schedule a block of time to debrief – alone, just you. Get out of your house for a few hours, take your conference notes, and write out at least 3 action steps for yourself. This might include how to come back to the same conference or to just get away more often. Whatever the next steps write them down. Then…. follow through and do them!

My debrief time is going to be Friday afternoon. What about you?

What do you do upon returning from a conference?

Me-time

photoIn the last year I have been learning a lot about rhythms and balance. Adding a baby to life will do that to you. Of all my momma responsibilities, I often save myself for last. I guess that is normal, but it is not good.

This morning I sit alone in our home. It is quiet. This does not happen often. We had a date night last night, so baby spent the night at grandparent’s and husband went to share breakfast. I slept 2 1/2 hours later than normal and now sit with a blanket, coffee, and my computer. Ah. Fantastic.

I am wondering how I can get more of this. Any ideas?

I have social life built into my rhythms, but me-time usually ends up being 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. at night watching TV and trying not to fall asleep on the couch. Maybe a monthly date night will mean a monthly quiet morning? Let’s hope.