Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I will celebrate something that I am really thankful for in my life. Too often we run through everyday mundane things without really appreciating the important things in our life. It isn't that we are shallow, it is more that we are just too busy and don't take the time to do these important little things.

Today's post is a little hard for me to write. I am quite teary eyed thinking about a friend of mine. But, today, I want to say that I am so thankful for my family. My mother is my best friend, My father is a pillar that I can lean on, My step-mother taught me invaluable lessons in what being a step-mother means, My brother I can honestly say will help me bear burdens that we will naturally be faced with as life goes on, and my step-sisters and I share experiences that have only strengthened our relationships.

I am especially thankful for my family today as I watch a dear friend of mine go through heart breaking times. Her father is dieing of terminal cancer and was only diagnosed a few weeks ago. His doctors have only given him a few weeks to live, and my dear friend is taking on much of the responsibilities of preparing for his passing. There are many other responsibilities that she has in taking care of her parents, and it is all weighing heavily on her.

Thank you Kelly for reminding me how many things that I have in my life to be thankful for. I only wish that I could do more to help you through this horrible time in your life. I am here for what ever you need me for!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Clean Up The Crap Wednesday!

Something always needs to be cleaned up and organized around my house. Truly I could blog about this everyday, but I will spare you - and only blog about it on Wednesdays!


So, I decided to clean out my supply cabinet. Originally this cabinet housed our TV and stereo, but we recently purchased a TV that hangs on the wall. I use this cabinet to hold all of my supplies that I use in the house, as opposed to the supplies that are used in my workshop. I found that these items needed to be in a temperature controlled environment, and also didn't need to be exposed to the dust that is created by power tools in my workshop. The pictures really just do not show the full scope of the disaster this cabinet was, and I have been putting off the task of cleaning it out for months!

So, first things first, the cabinet is emptied out. You can see that I literally just took everything out and piled it on the floor. For me, it is just easier to get everything out and then sort it. I sorted by a few different categories for the first sort: Trash, doesn't belong in this cabinet, and keep. Next, I sorted out the things that were staying in the cabinet by what I used them for - office supplies, fabric and fabric crafts, paper crafts, partially finished projects, tools (used in multiple crafts). Next, I sorted each of these categories by how often I used the item.

This last sort is required because this cabinet is fairly deep, and I want to utilize all of the space. Therefore I placed the items that are used least often in the back of the cabinet, and items used most often in the front of the cabinet.

Putting things back in:

As I said above, I tried to put the items that I use least often in the back of the cabinet. However, I also had a few boxes that were full of excess office supplies. So, I took out a small amount of these supplies to store at the front, or in a different location, and then placed the boxes in the back of the cabinet.

I didn't buy any new containers for this organizational project. I simply re-purposed what I had already. Baskets that weren't being used now have a purpose, and bins that were overflowing were cleaned out and used for a different purpose.

There were a few surprises that I found - First was a box of supplies that I didn't realize that I had, and I had just purchased more of these supplies the week before - what a waste of money!! Also, I found a box of paperwork that needed to be added to my tax documents! (Glad I haven't finished taxes yet!).

Lessons Learned: I really need to do things like this more often! Buying supplies that I already have, and having tax documents in a supply cabinet is really bad! I also learned that I need to get better about not putting things in this cabinet that don't belong here! Finally, I need to remember that every square inch of every space does not need to be occupied. Having a bit of room is helpful when you need to move things around, take things out, and put things back in. Also, I am quite sure that there is a supply that I need and have not bought yet!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toot the Horn Tuesday!

On Tuesday's I will be celebrating accomplishments, and today I am celebrating a HUGE accomplishment that my son made.

Drum Roll...............................

My 5 1/2 year old can RIDE A 2 WHEELER!

Hubby took the training wheels off of his bike per our son's request.


video

I am so proud of him!

My husband has been working with him for a while now, although I have thought it was a bit early. My husband keeps thinking that he is late learning, but that is only because my husband is one of those really strange people who learned to ride a 2-wheeler when he was 3. He can also ride a unicycle and has freakish balancing abilities! Our oldest son also learned to ride a 2 wheeler when he was 3, and so my husband had a really unrealistic view of a child's ability to ride a bike at an early age. However, he is starting to believe me when I say that 5 1/2 is early, since none of my son's school mates or friends that are his age can ride a bike.

I will also say that my husband has been a wonderful teacher!

You will want to come back tomorrow for Clean Up The Crap Wednesday! I cleaned up my supply cabinet and even took Before, During and After pictures!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mommy Time Monday

So, it is Monday and I am thinking about what I need to accomplish this week. Since the year began I have been working really hard to stay on top of the messes, paperwork, laundry, dishes, and getting organized. I have had a few slips, but in general, I have done a really good job. The hubby is happy and the boys are starting to realize that they just can let toys run rampant through the house. However, like most moms I know, mommy time just never seems to make it on the list. I am just so busy doing for everyone and everything else, that I just don't seem to make it on the list. Which is exactly why I started Mommy Time Monday!

So, this morning I made a mental list of what I need to do today.

Blog
Wash up a few dishes
Cover some new magnet boards
Glue up some new magnets
Make decisions about what craft shows I am doing this year
Send off craft show applications

It is really going to be a full day! However, you see what is lacking on this list?!! - I haven't scheduled any time to do something just for me! Sure, I love what I do, and making magnets and magnet boards is really fun, but I really need some time to just relax and do something that is non-work related.

So, what is it going to be. Perhaps I can carve out an hour to watch last weeks episode of Lost that I missed. Perhaps I can crack open that book I have been eying. Perhaps I can read that magazine that I got on Friday that hasn't been opened yet.

What do you do for yourself? If you don't, why not?

Motherhood is hard, but I have found that the hardest part is keeping my own identity. I get so wrapped up in my kids and my husband that sometimes I really loose sight of who I am and what I enjoy. It is really a bad thing, and I need to schedule some time for me - even if it is just one hour per week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Settle Down Saturday!

I really look forward to Saturdays around my house! It is normally the day of the week that I can get cleaning done in the mornings since the kids are entertaining themselves. Not that I enjoy cleaning, but I do find that it relaxes me once the chores are finished.

So, what will I do to settle down this Saturday? Well, I have been informed that I must watch Alvin and the Chipmunks with my 5 year old. I will be serving sandwiches for lunch, and baking chicken for dinner. By the end of the day the kitchen will be clean, the laundry will be done, and the living room will be picked up. I will also sneak away to my bedroom after dinner and take a bubble bath.

It will be a relaxing day as we have no soccer games to rush off to, no homework that needs to be finished, and no organizing projects to start and finish. But most of all, hubby will be home tonight, and the kids can spend the evening with him, while I pretend that I have escaped the insanity for 30 minutes!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fabulous Finds Friday


On Friday I will post a Fabulous Find! I will try to always feature a handmade item, but not only that, it is an item that I have actually purchased or seen in person! So, today, I am bringing you a sweet and yummy treat!

Caramel Jubilee!!

I bought the 2 flavor Sampler as gifts for Christmas. I choose the Black Licorice and the Vanilla Caramels. Now, I did not try the Black Licorice because I was VERY good and gave them all away as a gift. However, the Vanilla Caramels were given to my husband on the strict condition that he MUST share them with me!

Oh, goodness, these caramels are BIG! Each one is 2 big bites and it just melts in your mouth. My husband even put part of one in his morning coffee and it was delicious!

Since it was a Christmas gift I had to place my order early, and I told them that I didn't need to receive it until Dec 23rd. It arrived on Dec 22nd and the girl running this operation is on the dot with her stuff!

So, if you want to give a sweet treat to someone special - Check out these Caramels - they are yummy and will not disappoint!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday!!

This is my first ever Thankful Thursday, and I have to say how excited I am!!! There are so many things that I am thankful for, but to start off with, I must say that I am thankful for my husband.

I could thank him a million times for working so hard so that I can be at home taking care of the kids and house, and getting to make fun stuff all of the time. However, I also have to thank him for listening to me babble on about Etsy, and all of the boring promo stuff, and recently the CPSIA! But the list doesn’t stop there. I also should thank him for putting up with the messes in the house when I am too busy to get everything done, and helping me cut wood when I need his help even though it is his only night at home. I should thank him for taking care of the boys while I go to craft shows. I should thank him for helping me build an amazing workshop for me even though he would like to build one for himself first. I should thank him for eating leftovers, taking us out to eat, or a dinner of sandwiches when I have been too busy to make dinner.

But most of all I thank him for loving me in spite of all of my faults!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What the Heck is this Blog about!!

So, I am feeling pretty scattered about what my blog is about - who am I, what do I want to write about - Gosh am I really this boring!!!

So I made a list - yes, me, the anti-list-maker actually made a list! I brainstormed topics that I really want to blog about and here is my schedule! I will begin tomorrow!

Mommy time Monday
Toot the Horn Tuesday
Clean up the Crap Wednesday
Thankful Thursday
Fabulous Finds Friday
Settle Down Saturday
Sunday Sunday

Not sure what that all means?! Well, I guess you will just have to start reading to find out!!

Cleaning up my houses – Dealing with the influx of Papers!

So, yesterday I wrote about getting yourself out of the paperwork pile up, and today I thought I would talk about dealing with the inflow of paperwork to prevent a catastrophic paperwork pile up!

First of all, everyone is different! The way that you deal with cleaning, picking up, paperwork, filing, and just about everything else in your life is probably different that the way that anyone else does. So, if you don’t like my way, that is fine, but keep searching and trying different things until you find something that works for you.

There are basically 3 ways that paperwork is generated in my house – The mail, the business, and the people. There are things that are kept and things that are tossed in each, however, the things that are tossed almost never get immediately tossed. So, here is my protocol for each!

The mail – First you should know that my husband and I have always had separate bank accounts and he has certain bills that he pays, and I have certain bills that I pay. It works for us – but if you have joint accounts you can us this system too, you just need to tailor it to your needs. I get the mail, and on the way back to the house I thumb threw it. Basically there are 5 different things that come in the mail – junk, bills, coupons, cards and letters, and purchases. If the junk is addressed to the household or to me I pitch it right away. Next, anything for my husband goes in his mail sorter, cards and letters for me or the kids are opened quickly, purchases are opened quickly, bills for me are opened and put into a tray on my desk and coupons go into a basket in my kitchen. Once bills are paid all of the stubs go into a tray on my desk that is cleaned out/filed monthly. Cards and letters are kept in a friends and family file and I generally go through this file annually (sometimes more often), Coupons are dealt with on coupon day which is either Sunday or Monday, and purchases are put away.

Business Paperwork – The majority of paperwork for my business is generated at my desk, so I have 3 bins that are set up on my desk. They are labeled – Immediate, Ongoing, and File. The immediate file is for bills that need to be paid, orders that I need to fill, and other household items that need to be dealt with quickly. The ongoing file is for ideas that I am currently working on and for things that I use regularly like inventory sheets and mailing labels. File is for all household bill stubs, all delivery confirmations, business receipts, business bill stubs, and anything else that needs to be filed. The immediate file is looked at everyday and sometimes several times a day. The Ongoing file is also looked at daily. The filing bin is emptied at least monthly or sooner if it is full.

The people paperwork – This is any paperwork that is brought into the house by any member of this family. The majority of this is school papers, but quite often there are receipts and other bits of paper that contain information. I have a designated place in the kitchen where all people generated paperwork goes, and I try to empty it out daily, but lots of times it is a week before it is emptied. Really it just depends on how much time I have. Basically anything that needs to be filed, (mainly receipts) ends up in the bin on my desk. The bits of paper that contain important information are usually stuck to the fridge (I need a better system for this!!). It is the school papers that are the biggest problem! I have a file in our filing cabinet for each child and a new one is made each year. I try to weed out stuff before it goes into this file, but sometimes everything is a master piece and mom must go through it when no one is home! I do try to limit the amount of things that I keep, but the most important thing is that I try to date things as they come home. However, quite a few times I just know the year because of the file I have put it in. I am sure I have kept too much, and I am reminded of this when my mother or mother-in-law shows up with yet another box of treasures that they kept!

There is one paperwork issue that I have left out – magazines, catalogs, and phone books. Of all the paperwork issues in my house, this is the one that irritates me the most. I currently only get one magazine, and I let each of the kids get one magazine. I look at my magazine and then it goes straight to the recycle bin. If there is something I want to keep from the magazine, I cut it out and put it into a binder immediately! I do the same thing with catalogs that I get and we only keep one phone book. However, everyone else in this house keeps their magazines. I HATE IT!! My husband has years, and years of magazines in his building. I am convinced that he will NEVER look at any of them, although he swears that they all contain wonderful articles that he is going to refer back to. I ask him if he has ever done this in the past – his response is always once or twice. I have NEVER witnessed one of these monumental events. Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine!

Personally I have two binders in my house where I keep article clippings – one is for recipes and one is for everything else. I will be splitting the second binder soon and have a 3rd binder that is only for gardening. So, if I see an article that contains useful information – I put it in the binder behind a relevant tab, so that I can actually find it when I am looking for it. I have been putting stuff in these same binders for about 15 years, and let me tell you the 3 binders take up significantly less space than 15 years worth of magazines. I keep these binders on the bookshelf.

This post is long enough – I will talk about how I have files set up in my filing cabinet another day – for now, I am off to purge some magazines! (I promise the kids won’t miss them!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cleaning up my houses - Paperwork! Paperwork! Paperwork!

I will say that the biggest cleaning battles that I have in my house are laundry, dishes, and paperwork. So, today, I am going to write about how I am tackling the paperwork in my house. In my ‘cleaning up my houses’ approach, paperwork generally spills into all of the houses. There are business papers, kids papers, family cards and addresses, important papers that fit into the spouse house, of course financial papers, crafting books, and so on. So, tackling this project seems to spill over into cleaning up all of my houses. It is a task that I loath, but a necessary one!

The paperwork monster had been growing for months. Sure, the newspapers generally made it to the recycling center, and junk mail was dealt with accordingly, but the kids papers, receipts, business papers, bills, magazines, photographs, cards, and the list goes on and on… were starting to drive me insane. So first things first, I got some empty boxes and bins and just started gathering papers from all over the house and putting them in the boxes. When all was said and done, I had 3-4 large containers of paperwork. Really, I almost gave up at that point. The shear enormity of the problem was sitting right in front of me. So, a couple of weeks ago, when the kiddos were going to spend the night with my mother and my husband was out of town working, I decided to cancel my plans of working on crafts and finally tackle the paperwork.

UGH! This was not what I wanted to do on my evening of peace and quiet, but I just kept thinking how much better I would feel that it was all behind me. So, I put in a movie – one that I had seen before and didn’t need to watch too closely, grabbed something to drink, and plopped down in the middle of the living room with one of my boxes.

What was I going to do now? I didn’t have files already labeled; I didn’t even know what to label them if I had them. So, I just started sorting.

First I made 4 stacks – One was “recycle”, one was “shred”, one was “personal”, and the last was “business”. I sorted the whole box into one of these 4 piles. When I was finished, 2/3rds of the paperwork was either in shred or recycle and those stacks were falling over. So, I converted the now empty box into the recycle pile, and went ahead and shredded the shred pile and added the shreds to the recycle. On to box number two, box number 3, and finally box number 4.

It was a quick sort, and not the time to read things carefully, just quickly sorting and moving on to the next piece of paper.

At that point, I was really inspired to keep on going. So, I decided to go ahead and tackle the business stack. Most of the items in this stack were papers that I needed for tax purposes. So, I sorted this stack by 2008 taxes, 2009 taxes, things that I need to do something with immediately, and everything else.

This sort when slower than the initial sort, but still relatively quickly, and I was ready to further sort the stacks.

When I was finished with the sorting I then got out the label maker and put each section into a file folder with a label.

Sorting the non-business stuff was basically the same process. However, I did take the time to write the year on all of the children’s artwork that I decided to keep, and I tried to keep only the things that were either achievements or special pictures. I also made a special stack for addresses that need to be added to our address book, photos, and coupons.

Again, I labeled folders and put things in the folders when I was finished sorting.
By the end of the evening, and it was a very late night, I felt very accomplished. Although, I did have a sense that I had created more work for myself by bringing my attention to a lot of the un-done things that were outstanding. However, I knew that when it came time to do those tasks, like putting addresses in the address book, I would know where everything was!

I know that others could probably handle this much more efficiently than I did, by not handling the same piece of paper 5 or 6 times and just starting out with more stacks. However, for me, it was nice to be able to sit in one place and not have to think about what I had a pile for and when I needed to start a new pile. Also, I knew that I could stop and start pretty easily.

If you don’t have an entire evening to devote to your project like I did, I would recommend that you just create a pile and do the initial sort of getting the stuff you don’t need to keep out first. Hopefully your stacks will shrink like mine did!

Again, if you have tips to share, please do!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cleaning up my Physical House

Of all of the ‘houses’ that I am trying to clean up, I will say that cleaning up the actual house is the easiest. This is not to say that I like to clean, or that I keep an immaculate house, but basically cleaning is pretty easy. Pick things up, put them away, wipe counters, mop floors, vacuum – none of them require a lot of brain power.

However, what do you do when you start with heaping piles of dishes, toys, paperwork, laundry, and a whole host of other doo-dads and what nots? One thing at a time. When you are starting with a mess that seems out of control, just do one thing. Focus on one area or just do one thing. Soon, all of those one things turn into many things and the piles get smaller.

There is one technique that I discovered a few years ago that has literally changed my ability to clean house and I will explain that now.

Does this sound familiar? Decide you are going to clean off the kitchen counter. You notice that you have about 8-10 pens or pencils (No wonder you can never find a pen at your desk!). Take pens and pencils to your desk. Put them away. Notice that there are 3 toy cars and a handful of legos on your desk. Take toy cars and legos to sons room. Decide that his room is a bigger disaster than you last realized. Put away toy cars and legos. Look around and see dirty socks, pajamas, pants, and shirts. Take dirty clothes to laundry. Decide that if you don’t start laundry now you won’t finish until next week sometime. Open washer, eeewwww, you forgot to put clothes in dryer. Start washer again to rewash soured clothes. Take laundry out of dryer. Fold laundry. Take clean dish towels to the kitchen. Wait a minute, now 30 minutes has passed and you have only cleaned 8-10 pencils off of the counter that you were cleaning!!!

This used to be my problem. It would seem like I was cleaning and picking up all day long, but never actually getting anything cleaned up! So, now I don’t clean like that anymore. I now have a designated basket that I take from room to room with me when I am cleaning. So, if I am cleaning up the kitchen, I take the basket into the kitchen with me, and as I am cleaning and I run across something that doesn’t belong in that room. Instead of taking it to the room, I put it in the basket. This way, I don’t get sidetracked and I actually get the space cleaned up!
Once I am finished with that one space, I go to the next space and take the items out of the basket that belong in that space. The basket is stored in a central location and everyone knows that if they can’t find it – Look in the basket! I empty it out completely every week.

I also have a cleaning schedule. I know the spaces in my house that need to be cleaned daily, weekly, and monthly. So I put them all on a calendar and clean them on that day. Everyday I do a general clean up, and more importantly, I require the kids to help. Also, I try to do one load of laundry per day, and wash dishes everyday.

Cleaning time generally takes me about an hour to an hour and a half each day.
I didn’t learn from my parents how to keep a clean house. My mother was a single mom and just gave up on requiring us to keep our rooms clean. However, she did give me a book that truly helped me learn to clean my room. I highly recommend it for children and parents!! I still use the lessons that I learned from this book, and I will soon be giving one to our youngest son to help him.

http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Your-Room-Survival-Kids/dp/094151000X

If you have any cleaning tips, please, post them in your comments! Every bit helps!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cleaning up my spiritual house

I will start this little clean-up series with cleaning up my spiritual house, and because of how I am conducting this little cleaning exercise; I will also end the series with cleaning up my spiritual house.

You see, as I have been going on this journey to clean-up and organize my life, I have discovered that my spiritual self is benefiting greatly from this. At the core of my belief system is the belief that the way that I treat myself and those around me is the most important thing of all, and when the things in my life are an unorganized mess, it means that I am not treating myself or those around me very well.

I would say that the unorganized mess is responsible for 80% of the arguments that I have with my spouse. The unorganized mess causes lots of stress and is a good excuse of why I don’t spend as much ‘quality’ time with my children as I would like. The unorganized mess is why I didn’t get holiday cards out at Christmas time. The unorganized mess is why it takes me two or three times the amount of time working on projects, because I spend so much time trying to find adequate space to work and looking for the tools and materials that I need to finish the projects.

The other thing that I have found in this process is that, when my other houses are cleaned up, I get more time to spend in my spiritual house. This means more time for reading and reflection, more time to enjoy the people around me, and a better feeling about myself in general. My husband has also complimented my efforts, my kids love their spaces that we have created together, and knowing that I have finished lots of those lingering projects gives me a sense of accomplishment.

So, how can you start to clean up your spiritual house?

First, begin my completing one of the small cleaning tasks relevant to one of your other houses. When you are finished, take a moment to praise yourself and enjoy the feeling of having one less thing on that to-do list. Next, tell your spouse or someone close to you what you have just accomplished. By telling someone you are first celebrating your accomplishments, and next creating a sense of accountability to continue your efforts. Finally, don’t quit, spend some time figuring out what needs to be done and rank the things that need to be done in order of importance and size of the task.

If you are following the lead of this series you will also need to decide which of your houses each task fits into. For an example, a large part of my cleaning was my physical house, but once things were put away, it was time to re-visit the overflowing drawers of my desk and stacks of paperwork. Since I work from home, my drawers and stacks of paper work included things that belonged in my business house, financial house, and family house. I didn’t try to conquer all of those things at one time. Instead, I started by sorting the stacks by which house they belonged in, and importance.

Since this post is about cleaning up your spiritual house, you need to add another item to your list. Every time you complete a task, no matter how big or small, celebrate it! Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, and tell others about your accomplishments. Also, if you too have a spouse that complains about the unorganized mess, ask for praise for your accomplishments from them. When a person receives praise about their accomplishments, it greatly increases the likelihood that they will repeat these same accomplishments. You are no different. Explain this to the other people in your life, and let them know how important it is for them to recognize your efforts. This was extremely difficult for my husband to understand. However, as time has gone on, and he sees that I am continuing to make improvements, the compliments and praise have come easier and easier.

It was never my intention to live in a spotless house, and that is still not a goal of mine. Please do not come to my house and expect to be able to eat off of the floors! My goodness, that is what the plates are for! However, it is my intention to live in a house that isn’t a chaotic mess all of the time. So, as I tell my husband, I am not going for a immaculate – just less complete disaster!

I hope you have been inspired in some way by this post and your comments are always welcomed! I will continue to post about cleaning up the houses in my life!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cleaning up my 'Houses'

No, I don’t have more than one house – just one small house that I share with my husband and 3 boys, but I am referring to my one physical house and then my mental or philosophical houses. One of my new years resolutions was to really get a handle on things that I wasn’t keeping up with as well as I wanted to. These things included house cleaning, paperwork, time management, and a whole host of things. I really didn’t know where to start with most of it, but I did know how to start cleaning up my house, so I started there.

I spent most of the Christmas break cleaning, but then I found that about 2 weeks after the kids went back to school that things were starting to slip. NOT HAPPY! I spent way too much time and energy getting things put away for them to just go right back to chaos. So, I have ventured on a journey to take my house cleaning to another level.

I am writing this on my blog first to inspire me to keep on going, and second because I thought it might help someone else out there!

First things first, assess the situation – HONESTLY! What do I need to clean up, and where do I start.

I have said it in the past, and I will say it again – I am NOT a list maker! So, Instead of making a list of everything that needed cleaning up – which I already know – I decided to change my thinking. I am now thinking of all of the different aspects of my life as my “Houses” – in Sociology I was taught that they are “Roles”, but I have decided to think of them as “Houses” since I will be cleaning them up.

Here are my houses:

Business House – Includes all non-physical aspects of my business – ie all work that requires my brain and not my hands or physical items.
Family House – Includes my extended family – mother, father, siblings, cousins, etc.
Physical House – The place we live in
Financial House – Paperwork, bills, taxes
Friendship House – Includes all of my friends, and my children’s friends
Crafting House – The physical pieces of my business
Spouse House – The hubby and our relationship
Mommy House – The kids and our relationship
Spiritual House – My mental well being, and beliefs (I will not be discussing religion)

Right now I am tackling or have tackled my Business house, Physical House, Financial House, and Crafting House. Those were the places that needed my attention first, and I will let you know how I tackled one of them in my next post.

Perhaps you would like to go on this journey with me.