Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gifts that Continue to Give

Every year I struggle with this. I want to give gifts that people will use or appreciate long after the Christmas season is over. I've managed a couple of "hits" over the years, and I'm hoping I'll do it again. I won't tell you what they are just yet, but I promise I'll tell you the day after Christmas. I can give you a hint. What I'm giving to others has been part of my personal development for the past 22 years. It involves affirmations...

I read from the Simple Abundance -- A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach as often as I can. I keep a copy in the bathroom, and there's one at work. I've had more copies, but I gave them away. As a matter of fact, I bought 20 copies one year and gave almost all of them away as Christmas gifts. The books cost 2 cents each, and the postage was $3+ each, then to ship them to my friends was $3.65. I was thrilled to share this book. I had it for many years before I actually started reading it. It's set up like a diary or printed blog, beginning with January 1. I actually started reading it almost 5 years ago, beginning with January 20. I quickly fell in love with this book. I love Sarah's messages. I feel like she's reading my soul sometimes.

If I'm not listening to Jim Rohn, Earl Nightengale, Bob Proctor, I am reading Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Today's Simple Abundance message was about taking a nap. I LOVE LOVE LOVE taking naps. When my kids were babies, I'd nap when they did. For many years, I'd wake up one hour later, almost to the minute. Now, I sometimes sleep longer, but for the most part, one hour is exactly what I need. My grandfather was a farmer, and after lunch every day, he'd take a nap. Of course, my sister and I napped at the same time until we got older. Then got in trouble if we woke him.

My grandson doesn't take a regular nap at home that I know of. So when I babysit, I try to get him to lay down. I'm usually asleep before him. It was the same with my granddaughter when she was little and I babysat her.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Gosh, I think about blogging every day. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think I've even been here. But as you can see, Nov. 11 was the last time I posted anything.

I lost my pedometer last Thursday while walking to a turkey fry at St. Mary's. That was the 2nd turkey meal that day. We had a Thanksgiving meal at work, which I shared with very dear friends. I stuffed myself. As a matter of fact, I was so full I didn't think I'd eat again for 2 days. But by the time I got off work and headed to pick my son up from work, I was hungry again. The turkey dinner at St. Mary's was a real disappointment. I expected to see a large crowd, but there was only about 30 people there. And we had to wait about an hour for turkey. They had a couple of fryers going, but they kept running out of turkey. I wonder if they weren't deep frying cornish game hens or something small. It only cost 3 canned goods. So I guess, what should I expect?

Sunday was a Thanksgiving meal at church. It was a potluck with fried turkeys again. There was a huge spread of food and desserts. Again, I stuffed myself. I'm praying I'll have more discipline at the actual Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's.

I managed to have a little money left over before payday, so my son and I went to the grocery store. I told him we had $30 to spend. I went with a list and my calculator. When we finished, the calculator showed $29.99. I'm usually a couple of dollars off, but the cashier said the total was $29.99. We high-fived each other. I managed to pay the bills this time, but I charged $10 for gas and used my Avon money to buy groceries and pay 1/2 of a credit card payment. This payday had unexpected expenses, so I guess we did OK.

Since Nov. 13, we've been eating from the pantry and freezer. No extra money to shop, so we had to be creative. My son was amazed that we had really good meals every night. It seemed like magic that I was able to pull it off night after night. I'd look in the pantry and my brain would start clicking. I made a most delicious chicken soup with brown rice, 13 bean soup, pasta with chicken and tomato sauce and green beans, sweet potato pie, corn bread twice, pancakes, French toast, tacos with fried eggs instead of tortillas and refried beans and cheese. YUM!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Speaking About Leadership

I don't know why leadership has become such a hot topic with me. For the past few weeks, I've been almost obsessed with wanting to learn and share as much info about leadership as I can.

I spent several hours at speech contests observing the Area, Division, and District leadership of Toastmasters. And they seem to be a good group of people with whom I would like to be involved. I have been a member of Toastmasters long enough to know that the dynamics of each team changes year to year. The group of area governors this time around is fun, and I like most of them. Next year, I'm hoping they are even better!

I already told my boss that I was probably going to be an area governor next year, which is a July 1-June 30 commitment. It's a leadership training program that I've avoided for years. But, I feel I'm ready to commit and take on the challenge.

Some really great opportunities have come my way since last year when I accepted an invitation to speak at a leadership workshop at Security Service Federal Credit Union. I set it up like a mini Toastmasters meeting with a Toastmaster of the day, an Evaluator, and a Table Topics Master, and of course, my speech. It was so successful that they started 2 Toastmasters clubs last month.

I'm on the mentor team for one of the clubs that meets close to my office, and they meet at 7:00 in the morning, so I can do it and get to work at a reasonable hour.

Today we got the schedule for our next club meeting, and I'm Speaker #1, so I quickly found an article that John C. Maxwell wrote for Success Magazine that I'm going to use. I actually took it to the meeting yesterday just in case I needed to fill time as the Toastmaster of the Day.

The article is about leading from the middle of the organization. It's really good, and I'll use it as the first of a series of speeches about leadership. I read John C. Maxwell's book the 360-Degree Leader, and I've listened to his "How to Handle Criticism" on the Success Magazine CD. Plus, I've read most of his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He's a great teacher.

When I was president of our club a couple of years ago, I challenged everyone to complete their Competent Leadership manual, and one person did! I still have lots of projects to do to complete mine, but I will, slowly. And when I do, I'll earn a CL, then practically next day, the CLB, and shortly after that, the CLS.

I'm doing everything for the advanced levels, but getting through the manual is grueling! And that's the first level! The hardest part is remembering to get someone to evaluate me as I do the projects!