Working Through Illness & Pregnancy

How do you run your business when your children are sick? Or when you're sick? Or when your spouse is sick? How do you run things when you're pregnant or struggling with chronic illness? That's what we're talking about today, on day 2 of this week's series on Time Management.

Today is Week 1, Day 2 in a 5 week series called Strategies for Success. These posts will drop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we’re talking about Time Management, and today’s topic is working while you’re sick. If you want to make sure you catch all of the posts in this series, you can subscribe in the sidebar.

Okay so with 5 kids of my own, it’s fair to say that I’ve dealt with pregnancy at least a few times. But I’ve also dealt with sick kiddos on occasion, and my own varying health concerns.

For some reason my immune system is super low, and I catch almost every cold or virus that sweeps through town. My own saving grace is that I seem to have a very tough stomach, so I rarely get anything that makes me vomit. But I’ve dealt with sinus infections, bronchitis, walking pneumonia, and I don’t even know what else.

Additionally, a good many of my friends suspect that I may have fibromyalgia or CFS or something in that vein. It’s not uncommon for my skin to feel bruised, even if there is no bruising there. Sometimes, even my hair hurts, which sounds really weird to say.

Each of these concerns requires a slightly different approach, but here are some tips that I’ve picked up along the way.

 Tips For Working Through Illness

  1. If you’re the one who’s sick, you have to try and take it easy as possible. Obviously that’s easier said than done, and as moms we have certain inescapable responsibilities. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll run yourself down, and it’ll take longer to get back up and running.
  2. If your kiddos/hubby are sick, see if you can do lighter work for the day. Maybe this isn’t the day for projects that are hard to stop and start, or items that require fierce concentration. Today might be a day for getting inspired, or being active on social media, or projects that are easy to do in small bursts.
  3. Small children who aren’t feeling well may handle things better if you make the living room home base for the day. They can lay on the couch, watch a movie, and be near Mom. And we all know that proximity to Mom affects wellness. 🙂
  4. If all else fails, sometimes spending the day in the rocking chair with them is better for your productivity and their well-being. Strange as that may sound if you’re being interrupted frequently, odds are that your work just won’t be high quality.
If your kids are sick maybe this isn't the day for projects that require concentration. Click To Tweet

Bonus Tip for Chronic Illness

If you struggle with chronic illness, learn to recognize warning signs (if at all possible), and have a plan ready for those days. If those days completely take you down, maybe you need a stash of pre-written blog posts ready to go. And have a list of simple, low-energy tasks on hand.

4 Tips For Working Through Pregnancy

  1. If you’re an all-day-sickness kinda gal, keep 2 things on hand at all times. A trashcan/bucket and a bottle of water. If you can hack crackers, keep some of those on hand too.
  2. Determine how your energy seems to flow through the day. If you crash midday, don’t fight it! Take a nap, and work earlier in the day, or save your energy for later.
  3. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, create a plan for your pregnancy, so that you have things figured out in advance. Figure out things like when you’ll be taking “maternity leave”, and when you intend to come back to your business, so you have something to tell your clients.
  4. If you’re not already automating some of your social media, this is a perfect time to start. Those automated  posts can also run while you’re on maternity leave, and you can just keep up with the retweets, comments, etc.
If you crash midday don't fight it! Take a nap & save your energy for later. Click To Tweet

Strategies in place are a great thing to have, but in the end follow your intuition. Some days you may just have to concede, and take it easy.

What are some of your best tips for working around/through down times?

Working Around Weird Schedules

Day 1 of the Strategies for Success blog series is Working Around Weird Schedules

Today is the first day of a 5 week series called Strategies for Success. These posts will drop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we’re talking about Time Management, and today’s topic is weird schedules. If you want to make sure you catch all of the posts in this series, you can subscribe in the sidebar.

 

A “typical” day in the life of a unicorn wrangler…

7:30am – My daughter comes and asks if she can wake up (we instituted this policy because she likes to get up at 4-5am and then just wreak havoc, lol)

7:45am – The toddler wakes up and demands a new bottle, and to get out of the playpen.

8:00am – They come downstairs dressed, and my oldest gets them breakfast.

8:30am – They’re done eating and getting cleaned up. They want to play downstairs until Daddy gets home… okay.

9:00am – Daddy’s home and ushers them upstairs. If it’s a school day, my oldest comes and gets her school stuff and sits near me. If it’s not a school day, Phillip (my husband) entertains himself, and I go burrow up in my room to work.

11:30am – We start prepping lunch.

12:00pm – Lunch.

1:15pm – Kids go upstairs for rest time, Phillip’s napping, and what I do depends on if the baby will sleep, or if I have a client call that afternoon.

1:30pm – If the baby is napping, I’m napping. If the baby is awake, I’m either on social media or taking notes on webinars.

4:30pm – I go Scope usually around this time.

5:00pm – Dinnertime.

8:00pm – Kids go to bed and we head to the bedroom. Phillip goes to sleep, and I either get to work (I do try to not to do this as much anymore) or I crochet & watch TED Talks on Netflix. And by TED Talks I mean Grey’s Anatomy or Vampire Diaries. True story, I used to watch TED Talks, but I had to stop because Phillip would get so interested he’d forget he was supposed to be sleeping.

And from there it’s a series of swapping between working/crocheting, feeding the baby, getting kids settled and back in bed, changing diapers, getting bottles, etc., until 11:15pm when I wake Phillip up to go to work. Then I go back to the swapping, but with sleeping thrown in there somewhere.

Oh, and I feel that I should point out that all of these times have a big fat ISH on the end of them. There’s nothing precise when you have toddlers in the house.

So how do you work around the weird schedules?

  1. Figure out what parts of the schedule are non-negotiable. My husband has to go to work. That doesn’t change, regardless of what else does.
  2. Figure out what traditions you want to hold on to. Taco Tuesday? Family night on Friday? Put it on the calendar.
  3. Are there things that get done on certain days? Do you always go grocery shopping on pay day? What day is trash day? Do you attend church? Put those things down.
  4. Then, work everything else around those things. The beauty of working from home is that we can do crazy things like that. If we want to spend time in the morning with our kids, and then work in the evenings while they sleep, we can do that. If we want to take the day off for swimming and snow cones, we can do that too.
First step to a schedule that works, is determining what parts MUST happen. Click To Tweet

Next week, I’ll talk about some tools you can use to keep up with the family schedules! 🙂

What are some of your non-negotiables or family traditions that get penciled in on your calendar?

What’s Your Spark

“But I can’t draw a mind map!”

A client of mine was explaining why she doesn’t think she’s creative. Right here is where I will pause to explain, my client makes handmade wares for a living. She makes them, and teaches others to make them. And despite this very creative livelihood, she struggles with not feeling creative.

Her list of reasons?

  • She can’t draw (at the time we were discussing making mind maps).
  • Her sister writes better than she does.
  • She hates popsicle stick crafts.

In other words, her creativity doesn’t look like someone else’s so she struggles with recognizing it.

I get it.

I also know someone who’s “better” at things than I am. If I show off a project I’m proud of, they’ve done it before. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it better.

I’ve sat in front of my art journal, and torn out pages that didn’t meet my expectations.

Stamped owl with silly saying
Normally I’d tear this out because the pen bled on the last word.

I have judged my art on so many occasions.

I am my harshest critic.

One day I overheard my daughters talking about their coloring. The oldest one was critiquing the younger one’s work, and it made my heart hurt. I sat them down and explained that no one’s art is the same, and it shouldn’t be. If everyone’s work looked like Picasso, we wouldn’t even be talking about Picasso. Or Kandinsky. Or Monet. Their differences are the very thing that made them a sensation.

We like someone’s creations because it’s something we’ve never seen before. 

No one can create like you do. Different is beautiful. Click To Tweet

I want my children to  know that it’s a good thing if they don’t create the same way that anyone else does. Art is a like  fingerprint. Everyone’s got them, and they’re all different. Just like snowflakes. That’s right, you’re a special snowflake.

Seriously though, everyone is creative.

If you’re super Type A you’re still creative.

If you’re terrible at drawing you’re still creative.

If the last thing you made was in kindergarten, and it was made of play clay, you’re still creative (you’ve just forgotten).

Everyone is creative, they just need to find their spark.

My daughter holding a sparkler

What’s yours?

30 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Tomorrow I turn 30. As in, just a few short minutes away. So, I’ve challenged myself to come up with 30 things you don’t know… yet. This should be interesting, since I’ve written a few other “you don’t know” posts. (See “20 Things You Didn’t Know” & “20 Things You Might Not Know“)

In honor of my birthday, I'm posting about 30 things you don't know about me

1. My Dad missed his weekly episode of Ellery Queen when I was born. But he loves me anyway. My Mom missed out on lasagna, because the conventional wisdom of the day was to not feed women in labor. Sorry Mom!

2. My very first memory is of searchlights. I’d never seen them before, but at the time I was on the 2nd floor, and I had a great view of the city. I’ll never know what they were for, but I could see them… I thought God had flashlights and was playing with them. It made perfect sense to me that God would have flashlights… I love flashlights.

3. Growing up I wanted to be a magician, doctor, missionary, dancer, figure skater, equestrian, and Mom. I did manage to accomplish one of those goals. 😀

4. When I was a kid, I had a book that I loved soooooo much that I asked my Mom to read it to me over, and over, and over. So much in fact that I memorized the book, down to what words were on what page.

Me reading
Wasn’t I cute?

5. We moved right before I turned 5, and I thought for sure that my parents would forget my 5th birthday. For the record my parents have never forgotten my birthday, and they surprised me with a Big Bird Cake. (For the additional record I have forgotten my birthday.)

6. One of the first books I remember reading is Bread and Jam For Francis.

7.  I was am obsessed with Crayola Crayons. On one memorable occasion, I told my Dad about a car I’d seen in the parking lot. He asked if I meant the “blue one”, and I firmly informed him that it wasn’t “blue-blue” it was “cerulean blue”. There is a difference you know.

8. I collect pandas. I’ve been doing it for so long, that I don’t even know how it started. It started as bears, and then moved into specializing in pandas. Now my collections include owls, phoenixes, peacocks, hedgehogs, comic book/nerd stuff, and coffee mugs.

9. I had a penpal in Taiwan. I actually met her in a bookstore near Dallas though.

10. When I was a kid, one of my favorite things about summer was my Dad bringing home gardenias from the bush next to his job.

11. I used to keep my sisters up late telling them stories with characters from shows we’d watched… MacGyver, Diagnosis Murder, and Walker Texas Ranger were featured prominently.

12. The first song I learned to really play on piano was Pachabel’s Canon, because it’s one of my Mom’s favorite pieces of music. And now mine.

13. I don’t usually have birthday cake anymore (now I do birthday pie!), but when I was growing up, my favorite cake was chocolate cake with German chocolate frosting. But when I turned 13, my Mom made a really fun panda shaped cake!

14. Everyone knows I crochet, but I have knitted “one” item. lol Just one. Why I picked fuzzy yarn for my first project is beyond me.

The beginnings of a scarf
The beginnings of a scarf

15. I’ve broken my left foot once. I’ve also broken my right foot once. No it wasn’t at the same time. Geesh how clumsy do you think I am?

16. Just kidding. I’ve rolled my ankle just by walking.

17. When I was a kid, I loved mimicking Jean Bob from Swan Princess and Don Karnage from Tale Spin. Okay, I still do the last one sometimes. 😀

18. Everyone assumes I must love Halloween. I’ve actually never celebrated Halloween, and I’ve only been to 2 costume parties… the first time I dressed as Cleopatra, the second time I was a woodland’s fairy.

Sassy tech school fairy
That fairy had sass

19. My favorite video game when I was a kid was Joust for Atari.

20. My husband is less than a year younger than me, but he loves to pretend that I’m ancient. Especially if I say something like “back when I was on AOL Instant Messenger…”

21. I absolutely adore Pitch Perfect. And Fat Amy might be my spirit animal. Just kidding. Maybe.

22. The very first 3D movie I saw was when Nightmare Before Christmas was re-released in 3D. The most memorable 3D movie I’ve seen was Star Trek Into Darkness.

23. Pachabel’s Canon was played when I walked down the aisle (I’m such a cliche), but I don’t remember a single bit of it.

I don’t remember any of it, because my dress was hemmed using my sister as a mannequin (because I was out of town), but none of us realized she’d had a growth spurt and was taller than me. So I spent the whole way down the aisle fiercely gripping my Dad’s arm and trying not to fall.

Me trying not to fall
Me trying not to fall

24. We were apart for our first anniversary (he was in South Korea), but he still found a way to surprise me with a adorable pot of baby rosebuds. 🙂

25. I’ve never ever ever managed to complete a cross stitch project. But I’ve started probably a dozen.

26. I take mischievous pleasure in shocking people with random facts about me. Yes I have 5 kids. Yes I homeschool, and run a business. Yes I was in the military (no I don’t look like it anymore ha!). Yes I have 9 brothers and sisters. Yes my 5th child was born at home.

27. I love when people try to guess how old I am, because they simultaneously think I’m much older because of my kids, and much younger because of my face.

28. The very first midnight premiere I saw (and the only one so far) was Taken 2.

29. My husband & I are both preacher’s kids. Look out world.

30. I’m going to San Francisco next month to be in  April Bowles-Olin’s CreativeLive class on marketing.

Bonus: I was listening to Ben Folds Five’s You Don’t Know Me while writing this post.

Bonus-bonus: I was originally going to give a fact taking place in each year of my life but…. I bailed halfway through.

 

Quick! What’s a fun fact about you? What was your favorite fact about me?

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most From

Oh my goodness it’s so nice to have you with me again! Hahaha now I feel like Mr. Roger! Would you be mine? Seriously though, I’m thrilled you’re hanging out with me, and I’ve got awesome news! I’m going to start posting several times a week (don’t worry they won’t all come to your inbox), and talking about other topics of interest to you… books, working around distractions, interviews with other makers, and more! And at the end of the week, I’ll do a weekend wrap-up in my newsletter. (So make sure you’re subscribed!)

Alright. So, Tuesday’s I’m gonna do Top Ten Tuesday. There was a link-up for this back when I was on Blogger. Oh nostalgia. But this one? This one is book related. Yeeeeessss. I’ll test it out. And I want to hear from y’all. If you’re loving it, I’ll stick with it (and I want to see YOUR Top Ten’s). If you’re not digging it, I’ll do my own on varying topics. 😀

top ten tuesday graphic

I see many of the bloggers are posting theirs in order of how many books they’ve read from that author. Uhhhhmmm nope. I won’t be doing that. lol These are the ones that come to mind*, and I’d have to think way too hard, to figure out how many I’ve read from each of them. 🙂

*Some links are Kindle, some are paperback. Any purchase using those links gives me a small commission.

1. Pearl S. Buck

Okay, so I’ve had a long term fascination with China. I’d love to see the country, try the local cuisine, learn the language, help rebuild/improve their orphanages, go on a missions trip, sponsor a child, and adopt a child from there. So of course, I’ve read one of the biggest authors of books about that country.

If I had to choose a favorite, I think it would have to be The Imperial Woman. The look into the life of the last Empress is fascinating! One I haven’t read yet, but want to soon, is Living Reed. It takes place in Korea!

2. Lawrence Yep

So again… China. I first fell in love with Lawrence Yep after reading Dragon’s Gate. But then I discovered it was in the middle of a series. I found a few others in the series, but never the whole thing (it’s ten books total). Bummer dude! Later I discovered his fantasy series that was based off of Chinese mythology… very fun!

A favorite would be Ribbons. It was a departure from the majority of what I’d read, which was his historical fiction. Ribbons dealt with an Chinese-American family, and the main character’s culture clash when her grandmother arrives from Hong Kong. What I’d like to read, is Hiroshima. I’m noticing a theme here. Apparently I’m intrigued by author’s writing about a topic that’s different from the usual for them.

3. Ted Dekker

Oh my goodness. Ted. Dekker. That man has written some of the freakiest books I’ve read. But they’re so good, I just can’t stop. I don’t even know off the top of my head, which book was the first.

A favorite would be Immanuel’s Veins. Super cool, non traditional take on vampire myth. Oh, and it was the very first book that I ever pre-ordered. And the very first deckle-edged book I ever owned. The one I haven’t decided how I feel, is Identity. I think I like it, but it’s one of those twisty-turny books that makes you feel a bit disoriented once you’ve come out of book-land. If you do want to check it out, I’ve included the Kindle link, and the Kindle version is free. The rest of the series isn’t, but he wanted Identity to be something of a pilot. The one I’d like to read next of his.. . well I think I’d like to finish the series that Identity started. I’m curious.

4. Frank Peretti

The godfather of Christian supernatural thrillers. I was, like most people, introduced to Frank Peretti by reading This Present Darkness. I pretty much devoured all of his other books, including the Cooper Kids series, and House, which he teamed up with Ted Dekker on. Yeah that’s right. Both of them, on the same book. Creeeeeeepy!

One of my favorites is The Prophet. It’s about an anchorman who thinks he’s lost his marbles when he starts hearing voices, until he discovers he’s been given a beautiful gift. The one I haven’t read yet is Illusion. Supernatural novel involving a magician? I’m in!

5. Marissa Meyer

Okay, this is one of the very few ones, that I can quantify how many I’ve read. 4. Which is all of the Lunar Chronicles ones that have been released so far. And I don’t know that I could pick a favorite, but I’m dying to read Winter. Which doesn’t come out until November 10th. Dang it! In case you don’t know, these are dystopian twists on fairy tales. It starts with Cinder, which is based on Cinderella (you’re shocked right?), and it goes from there. Despite it being in the wrong time for true steampunk, the tech being placed in a realm torn apart by political intrigue and plague, gives it that vibe.

6. Agatha Christie

The absolute queen of the cozy mystery. Forget Team Edward or Team Jacob. It’s all about Team Marple or Team Poirot. Although I enjoy Hercule Poirot (and his name is rather fun to say), I’m Team Marple all the way. She’s a feisty old lady, and I’m a very big fan of the Little Old Lady Investigates trope.

All that having been said, my 2 very favorite of her books, don’t have either one of them! My absolute favorite is Death Comes As the End. This whole book takes place in Ancient Egypt… that loves goes back even further than my love of a good cozy mystery. My 2nd favorite is And Then There Were None. By the way, if you’re a fan of cozies, you should absolutely check out Miss Fisher Mysteries on Netflix. 1920’s Australia. Need I say more? I thought not.

7. Max Lucado

No one said this list had to be fiction, right? Okay, I feel in love with the simple way that Max Lucado presents the gospel. I think my grandmother was the first one to give me one of his books. His writing is clear, simple, and very storyteller based. I adore people who tell stories well. I’ve long since lost track of which books I’ve read, and what I’d like to read next. My favorite of his books, is actually a children’s story book though. It’s called You Are Special, and it’s about a little wooden man, who begins to feel like he’s not special, because his paint has worn off and he’s chipped and scarred.

8. Frank G. Slaughter

Although he’s renowned for his medical fiction, I’ve never read a single one! His historical fiction was what drew me in. Sadly, most of his books appear to be out of print, so I don’t even recall which ones I’ve read. I think, if I can track one down, I might have to give his medical books a shot. 🙂

9. Timothy Zahn

Whoop, whoop, nerd alert! Yep that’s right. I read the whole dang Thrawn Trilogy, and then some. It’s been a really long time since I read them, because although I’ve read more of his books than most other people’s they weren’t my very favorite of the Star Wars books. That claim to fame goes to The Courtship of Princess Leia… a little sappier than my usual fair, but I adored this “behind the scenes” peek at how their love story unfolded. And I loved Steve Perry’s Shadows of the Empire. It takes place in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return to the Jedi. And the villain Prince Xixor is such a creeper!

10. Dr. Seuss

Hahahahaha! You didn’t see that one coming did you? This is by far, the author I’ve read the most from. By a landslide. Between loving his books as a child, still loving them as a teen/adult, and now reading them to my own children… he’s been a heavily influential part of my life.

I adore both of the Bartholomew Cubbins books, but I’ll go with Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Because who doesn’t want to read about green goo precipitation pelting people? (Say that 5x fast!) For the record, my kids voted for the Sneetches. Which is a family favorite. Mostly because Sneetches is fun to say. The one I’ve never read (and there aren’t many) but I’d like to, is Happy Birthday to You. It has one of my favorite Seuss quotes…

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Alright!!! I hope that you enjoyed this little peek into my favorite books. Have you read any of them? What are some of your favorites?

Be Human

Have you ever found yourself frustrated by the lack of humanity in today's communication?

I have a feisty personality.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, is merely going off of my appearance. I suppose at 5’1″, I don’t cut a very imposing figure. That having been said, I am ex-military. So there is that.

Me, back in my hardcore military days
See? That’s not a threatening face!

Actually, funny thing… I was a fitness instructor. But my friends (and sometimes my family) like to joke about siccing me on people like some sort of attack dog. As though military automatically equals hand-to-hand combat training. And yet… I’m more likely to make you do push-ups than I am to take you down. Although, as my mother points out, that may be even more terrifying.

So back around to the feisty personality. I’m not just feisty, I’m also very passionate about topics that strike my fancy, or get my blood boiling. 

And here lately, I’ve got a doozy brewing.

When did communication get so impersonal? After years of marketers wisely stressing the value of real, genuine connections, people have gotten… salesy. 

Ick.

I’ve popped in on Periscopes, webinars, Facebook groups, etc., that have flat out made me feel slimy just by association. People have gotten pushy. They’ve abandoned connection & conversation, in favor of likes & hearts.

I want to encourage conversation. I adore comments. I am thrilled when I get to chat with someone on Periscope, talk with them in the comment section, or even email back and forth.

But I just can’t get behind the demanding thing… it’s just not me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hearts, likes, follows, etc. But I want people to do those things, because I said or did something they truly appreciated. Or something that entertained them. Or something that touched them.

We’re over complicating this.

All you have to do? Be human. That’s it. There’s the big secret. It’s as old as time itself… do unto others. Be kind. Be generous. Above all else, be human.

If I’ve moved  you in some way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 😉