I love keeping an aloe vera plant around for burns,
and I have one that sits next to my living room windows. It’s not the biggest
thing, but at least it’s still growing.
It’s like my 5th one.
One time I bought a really nice succulent aloe vera
home from the local plant place, and my husband again reminded me to water it.
I set it outside for the day so I could clear off a place for it in the house.
I remembered the plant after I had already called it a day, and decided to
bring it in the next day.
Well, a cold snap came through, and that poor aloe
vera pretty much liquefied and turned into mush.
I had killed it within 24 hours. My husband was so
You don’t have to have the golden touch for
everything—find out what works for you, what your strengths are, and build on
those. You can’t be good at everything, and even if you are, there is someone
who can do certain things better than you.
As for me, my husband helps me keep up with the
watering of my current cacti. This current one will hopefully be with us a
It just wags back and forth erratically without a care
in the world, even if it knocks stuff over.
While I am not a dog person (cats rule!), I am happy
that my husband’s dogs are happy, and their tails wag a lot, even over the most
“Oh wow! That small, teeny goldfish you threw my way
really cheered me up! I am soooo happy that I got to snatch it out of the air
and chow down on it, even though I have a full bowl of dog food that I haven’t
It’s the little things in life that slip by sometimes
and go unnoticed. A small ray of sunshine in an otherwise stressful day.
The other day my husband and I took our farm truck
into town to get some supplies, and as I open the passenger door to get in, I
notice ants coming out of the vents.
“I am not riding in this car and have ants crawl all
My husband came over to my side and brushed all the
ants out of the car. “See? Problem solved. We won’t be gone that long anyway.”
So we make our way to the different errand stops we
need, and every time (every time!) we came back to the truck after leaving the
store, there were ants continuing to come out of the vents and crawl around on
the dashboard and the floorboards.
After the third stop my husband informed me that the
truck had had an ant problem for a while because it had been sitting for so
long undriven. He just didn’t tell me because he wanted to take the truck to
put wood in the back bed.
Sometimes we face a challenge or obstacle, and we do
not want to do it. It might be to work with a difficult person, finish a boring
task, or ride around in an ant infested truck.
Usually though when you complete it, you’ve
accomplished something and perhaps learned in the process, at least perhaps how
to do it better or avoid that situation in the future.
As for me, I got a nice dinner out of riding around in
that truck all day. But mark my words, I will never get in that truck again if
it has ants.
My home study/office is littered with artwork all over
the walls. I look up from my computer and get inspired by art, quotes, and
posters. I let my mind wander a little looking at all the abstract, a brief
respite from work.
Then it’s back to work.
In my classroom I don’t have a lot of personalized
stuff, but what I do have are rituals. In the mornings, I gather my notes for
the day, check my emails, and get ready for my incoming classes. At lunch I
take a moment to check out for a few minutes, recover some of my energy, and
plow through the rest of the day. After my day classes end, I enjoy a diet Dr.
Pepper—my first for the day, and for some reason, tastes like chocolate. It
instantly relaxes me.
Then, on some days, it’s off to teach some of my
college classes for the evening.
Having these small mini breaks and rituals keep me going
and help me to not wear down as much. A small recovery to gather my thoughts,
get mentally ready for what’s coming, and then march forward.
What do you do to get you through the day? What are
your rituals that keep you going?
Best ritual of the day for me: hitting my bed at night
and catching some z’s.
Staying on top of things is important, and it keeps
you from feeling overwhelmed later on.
For example, this summer I hashed out my outline
schedule for what the first few months of school would be. So when I went back,
I knew what papers to pull, and what things to copy. That way, I am all ready
for the first day.
At the beginning of each week, I take a sticky note
(one of the best inventions ever!) and make a list of things that have to get
accomplished that week. I then cross them off as they get completed, and I get
a little rush of satisfaction (it really is the little things you have to appreciate).
When I don’t plan ahead, I feel rushed and
overwhelmed, and more stressed than I normally am. Usually, I will also burn
With any job, business, or task, it’s important to
know what you are getting into. Some people can just wing it, but I prefer to
have an outline and then wing what doesn’t work.
How do you handle everything you need to accomplish?
Over the summer I picked enough blueberries from our
bushes to make blueberry pie. My husband is a great cook, while I am excellent
at using a microwave.
So my husband did all the mixing while I handed him
everything and read off the recipe we were following.
“Okay, sugar is added. What’s next?” my husband asked.
“1/2 cup of salt,” I say.
He measures it out and holds it over the mixing bowl. And
with the wisdom of cooking for over twenty years asks, “Are you sure? This
looks like a lot of salt. Can you check it just to make sure?”
“Of course I am sure. I can read the directions.”
He shrugged. “Ooookay,” and pours it in, mixes
everything together, puts it in the pie crust, finishes up, and sticks it in
About an hour and a half later we cut our first
And it was awful. Sooo salty.
So salty, in fact, that not even adding tons of sugar
onto the slices made it edible.
Have you ever read something wrong, or done the wrong
thing, and didn’t get the outcome you wanted? We might be so sure of ourselves
in the moment, but then what we expect to happen doesn’t happen.
Good, pertinent advice is like grains of gold.
Listening to people with a different perspective on a situation that can be
helpful to you should always be at least considered. That is why I have a more
seasoned business partner than I: I might be better at some things, but when it
comes to sales, he is king.
Don’t throw away someone’s advice just because you’re
sure—you might not be seeing all the avenues you can pursue.
As for me, I am no longer allowed to read off the
recipes, and instead stick handing him the ingredients. The second pie we made
I recently had a consultation with someone to help
them with business cards. Okay, they were making cards to hand out as a wedding
reminder, but they wanted it done using a business card. I helped them through
the process, and by the end of the night the client got the result that they
It is an awesome feeling to help someone reach a goal.
I chase that passion everywhere: when I teach, when meeting people, and
especially in consultations and helping other entrepreneurs and small
businesses grow. You just never know how far someone can get with the right
instructions. Not to say I have all the answers—sometimes I make mistakes or wrong
turns in my business—but I can pass on what I have learned so that others don’t
fall into similar traps, or show approaches that are more efficient than what’s
What do you chase in your careers? What passions are
driving your choices?
I kind of like the idea of getting more into digital products. I have my short stories, and some more products I am kicking around for Shop MGSpear, but I don’t really have anything digital for Teazzed—currently I just sell our awesome biodegradable Teazzed straw that quick brews tea in under 30 seconds.
What I am thinking about doing for Teazzed is make a tea
recipe book. I mix and match my own teas all the time, and come up with custom
combinations that taste awesome. Plus there are a lot of health benefits from
drinking the different teas, and I could include a section on those health
benefits as well.
And there are so many different things you can make with tea—currently I am toying around with one concept called “tea soda”—yeah you read that right. Carbonated tea.
I actually like strong sweet tea with no calories—I’ve got
plenty of mixes for that. I drink like a camel and don’t want to worry about
gaining weight from drinking calories.
So I am compiling all I have and making it into an ebook.
Something to have all the information in one place, and be able to share it
with you guys—because tea is awesome.
What do you think, dear readers? Would you be interested in
something like that?
I keep putting off writing my update on my big project. Remember that post when I was frustrated and wanted my next experiment to work? Well, it didn’t. And the next one didn’t. And then the one after that failed too.
But you know what? Rather than get discouraged enough
to quit, alternative ideas kept coming to me: what if I tweaked it this way?
What if I did this differently? Or even a completely new approach would form in
my thoughts. I have an experiment coming up that is a completely different take
on an old concept.
I love that feeling—the feeling of hope in a new
approach. The feeling that even though my experiment failed, it is not the end.
When I first started down the inventing trail, like
all young inventors presumably, I took it really hard when my experiments
failed. It felt like the end of the world. I cried a lot. Then after a few failures,
my attitude shifted and I started to see each failure not as the end, but as
information about how not to do it.
There are two main ways people take failure: it either
makes a person feel so down that they decide to hang up the
idea/project/relationship/etc., or they see it as a way to not do it and try a
Is everything doable? No, but the doesn’t mean you
can’t try. Who knows—you might find a solution everyone missed.
Have you tried a different approach to something lately?
Also, offering the short horror story Toilet Paper went over so overwhelmingly well that I’ve decided to keep it a free download for now. Feel free to enjoy anytime, and check out my other stories!
A day where people dress up and eat candy and carve pumpkins
and have a great time. Some people consider this day mostly to be propaganda to
sell candy and Halloween decorations, but I it is so much more than that.
I tend to think of Halloween as a time people wear
masks. Not just scary monster masks, but superficial masks that show they are
having a great time. Everyone wears a mask some of the time at work, friends,
even family, just to cover up things that are bothering them or stuff they
don’t want to talk about (skeletons in the closet—Halloween pun intended.)
Halloween is a time that it is acceptable for everyone
to wear a mask and act like a good sport. And everyone seems happy, putting on
costumes, eating candy, going to a haunted house or spookified bar, just living
up that time where there seem to be no problems.
You hear the stories of people getting into fights at
Christmas, or disagreements at Thanksgiving, but Halloween—it is almost
required that people put on the mask, physically and figuratively, and no one
When I was going through rough patches over the years,
I always looked forward to Halloween, not just because of all the spooky
decorations (which are awesome!), but because I felt more comfortable around
people knowing they were all obliged to put on masks too and we would all go
out and have a great time. Everyone got to pretend to be someone/something
else. So to me, Halloween is about enjoying people’s company and not getting
into fights or arguments or even nitpicking. It is very relaxing.
That might seem silly to some people. Other people
love Christmas more, or even think Halloween is just the propaganda holiday. To
each their own.
But let me end with this: you can’t beat walking down rows of carved pumpkins lit up at night and seeing a pumpkin dragon:
Yet another sales blurb: Don’t forget that my sale on my chilling short story collection, Black Cat Scribbles Vol.1, ends tomorrow morning at 7am Central Time. It’s on sale right now for $9.99—get it while you can.
And as a special Halloween treat, Toilet Paper is now a free digital download. Check it out, and if you like what you read, purchase the collection while it is still on sale.
Whichever deal you go for, I hope you have a spooktacular