Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Conceive, Believe and Achieve

Conceive.....come up with a realistic goal for yourself
Believe........believe in yourself and never stop believing in yourself
Achieve.......follow your plan and you will achieve

One of the problems we seem to have when setting goals is that we are not specific enough. The goal I wrote yesterday....to build a highly success business is a nice start, but what is highly successful and what kind of business?

What would be realistic? Do I want to be making $100 a month, $500 a month or $5000 a month by the end of the year? Will I be selling cards, home decor, jewelry, soap?

How is this? By December 31, 2009 I will be be running a highly successful craft business selling paper goods and home decor. I will making a profit of $1000 per month. I will accomplish this by creating a quality, unique and useful product that I will market through a variety of on-line venues as well as face-to-face markets.

Notice that I didn't say anything about etsy, because my business won't be just through etsy. I will be selling through other venues so I don't want to limit myself. So be as specific as you can without limiting yourself.

To achieve a goal it has to be something you want...not something someone else wants for you. Be sure that it is also something that you have control over. For me to say I want to make $40 an hour at my full time job wouldn't work because someone else controls what I make and it is set in stone. I can't control that.

Next, you need to break your big goal down into smaller and smaller goals (tasks) and keep doing that until you get to a daily "to do" list. If my goal is to make $1000 a month in my business...where do I want to be in say 9 months, 6 months, 3 months and next month. Once I know where I want to be, then I go further and decide what I am going to do to get there.

Say I want to be making $200 a month by next month....what am I going to do to see that I get there?

Write it all down. It's nice to think things, but writing things down is better. It's also good to share your goals with others close to you...that keeps you accountable and gives you a little more support. To make that $200 I will make this many new products, I will hand out this many business cards, I will blog this many times to promote the products I'm making, I will hand out this many flyers, I will twitter for this long each day and spend this much time in the forums. I will add one new selling venue every how many months. Get the idea?

It can be whatever works for you, but you need a plan. Break it down by the month, the week, the day. The more defined it is, the easier it will be to follow and the the easier it will be to meet the little daily goals that will help you to reach your weekly, monthly, yearly goal.

Another thing a wise person told me is to do like the athletes do....visualize. See yourself already having achieved your goal. See yourself successful, or wealthy or thinner or happier or whatever your goal might be. Close your eyes often and visualize yourself as that person.

One other thing you can do that is really good is to write down your goal as a mission statement. "By December 31, 2009 I will be running a highly successful craft business that brings in $1000 profit each and every month," or whatever your goal is. Say it as a positive statement. Write it down and read it every day, many times...memorize it and repeat it to yourself often. Your brain has no way of knowing if the things you are thinking or saying are true or not.

Lastly, keep in mind that no plan is perfect. Things happen....life happens. If you find that your plan needs "adjusting" along the way, then by all means adjust it. The plan is there as your guide to help you along the way. It isn't written in concrete. Part of being successful is the ability to roll with the punches and change things that aren't working and need to be changed.

With a realistic goal, a detailed plan and a positive attitude...you can't help but achieve your goal. I am working very hard on my plan right now. I want it to truly reflect what I want to accomplish this year. What are your goals for 2009 and what will you be doing to reach them?

The Art of Goalsetting....and Achievement

The only way to reach a goal is to set a goal, but anyone can set goals. I could write down a list a mile long of "goals". I want to do all kinds of things and I want to have all kinds of things, but those aren't really goals.

My real goals are to build a highly successful business, pay off all of my credit card debt and move to Colorado. I can write them down and I can look at them every day, but those goals will never be achieved without a concrete plan. The plan is what will take you through everything you need to do to reach your goal. If you aren't willing to formulate a plan, then you really don't want to reach that goal as much as you think you want to...perhaps you should call that one a wish or a dream. I have lots and lots of those too.

I have a dream that I am wealthy and retired and driving around the country with Irv and the dogs in our big motor home. We have no where we have to be and an endless flow of cash. Is that a goal of mine? No. Would I love to be able to do that? Yep. That isn't to say that you can't work toward your dreams and make them a reality, but then I prefer to call them goals with plans attached.

I am not good at achieving my goals but that's because I never really understood what it took to achieve your goals. I've always had goals, but rarely if ever reached them.

If you look back at my goals, they are to build a highly successful business, pay off all of my credit card debt and move to Colorado. They are in that order because I probably will not achieve the last two without achieving the first one, and that is to build a highly successful business.

My goal for this year....and I only have one....is to build a highly successful business. That is my Step#1...coming up with a real goal. There are a lot of other things I would love to have or do...like go on vacation this summer, fix up the house and yard, get healthier.....and I may add other goals down the road, but right now it's all business.

So, do you have a goal or two or three for the new year? If so, what is the first thing you will do achieve that goal? I would love to know how you get started.

Tomorrow I will talk about "THE PLAN".

Monday, December 29, 2008

Out With The Old....In With The New

Well, it's that time of year again.....time to say good-bye to 2008 and welcome in 2009. I always look at the new year as a new beginning. Kind of like an early spring. As I prepare to give 2008 a royal send off, I am thinking about what kind of year it has been. I know for many people it has been the worst ever. I think about those people a lot. We are fortunate to have our home, our health and our jobs. We can still put food on the table and pay the bills, so for us, compared to many, it has been a good year.

As far as accomplishments, I started my etsy business this year. That was huge for me. I can honestly say that getting back to making things has filled a tremendous void that I felt. It came at a wonderful time in my life.

Looking at the year ahead I can't help but be excited. I have big plans for my business. I already know that I will be making some major changes and branching out to other selling venues. I have learned so much from the experienced etsy sellers that I can't wait to get started. I really think this is close to the most excited I've ever been about a new year coming.

During this week I will be sharing a bit about goals and dreams......do you have goals and dreams for the new year? If so, please share.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quack! Quack!

I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow. I have had such a nice time being off this past week. I did get some stuff done today though. This morning we went grocery shopping.....and man I hate the way the prices have gone up. We use to be able to get by spending $125 or less a week. Today was $140....again! I guess that is the "new" $125, because we can't seem to get back down to $125. There are only two of us....how can we possibly spend that much?

Anyway, after shopping I took a ride over to one of the resale shops in search of treasures, and I found some. I was mainly looking for things to decoupage and things to use to decoupage the items I'm making. I hit the jackpot!

I found some old sheet music, a couple of books that have pictures and text I plan to use, an old wooden spoon, a horrible looking purple shelf and a bunch of wooden ducks!! I could hardly wait to get home to show everyone my great finds!

The purple shelf got some strange looks for sure. It's a mess. Not sure who painted it, but they missed spots in some areas and had paint running everywhere in other areas. I love stuff like that though. It will be really cool when I get it done.

The ducks are amazing! Just great little wooden guys that I will sand, paint and decoupage. They are just so darn cute!

I worked on some of the trays I started the other day. I am trying to give them a well worn look. I love this brown striped one. It's received rave reviews from the men in my house. I just have to seal it and it will be ready to go!

I also asked Irv if he could make some minor repairs on the shelf and the ducks. His reply was, "Not today". I said that was fine, but tomorrow would be great!! So, things are going well in the preparation for the reopening of MyOtherShop.

Oh, I also pulled out that file folder...the one with all of the receipts in it from FourDogDay....ugh....I figured out what I've made and what I've spent and I am still deeply in debt, but 2009 is definitely my year. I have a great business plan and some great products coming out and a great attitude. 2008 was a year of learning and trying to figure out what I could do for my business and what it could do for me. I think I have it kind of figured out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Clean, Organize, Create

We had a wonderful day yesterday with the kids. Gifts were exchanged, lots of food was consumed and lots of wii was played. We had a great bowling tournament...and I'm telling you...you can really work up a sweat playing those games. I counted that as my Friday workout!

Everyone stayed over night and they were all quite slow getting up this morning. I already had my workshop cleaned and reorganized before any of them were out of bed! My understanding is that the wii playing went on until around 4:00 a.m. and for Michael and Matt, that was the second time this week that they went to bed shortly before the sun came up.

Once everyone headed out, I am working on my new decoupage items. It's going really well and I can't wait to get some of them done and listed in MyOtherShop on etsy. I might be able to post a couple pictures tomorrow if they are dry enough.

Matt decided to head into the city (Chicago) tonight to have dinner with Tresa and Chris and to visit with some of his high school friends that live in the city, so the house is very quiet.

It has been raining...yes raining...all day today. Our snow that I just wrote about and posted pictures of is just about gone. Rivers and streams are flooding and there are tornado watches and warnings not too far from here. This is really the strangest December I can ever remember!

Irv just headed to town to get us Subway and some fries. If you recall from previous posts, I start my new food sensitivity diet soon, so I am consuming everything I can that is on that list before I have to give it all up....cookies, bread, sugar, fries....all of the good stuff!

I have been off work since the 19th and sure am enjoying this. I can't believe I have to go back to work on Monday. What a bummer! At least I have Wednesday and Thursday off next week....I could really get use to this!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Day After Christmas

We are actually celebrating our Christmas today with our kids. I am busy making some goodies for this afternoon, gluten free peanut butter bars for Tresa and an eclair cake for Michael and Matt. Irv just ran out for some last minute things. The gifts are all wrapped and we are ready to go. The kids will be here around 1:00 and I think everyone is staying over night, so I don't think I will get back to blog tonight.

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and that you are able to rest and regroup today. I know many people are working today and that is not cool! I took this whole week off to spend time with Matt, and we are having a wonderful time.

I am so sore from all of the wii bowling yesterday, but I am the champ for the moment with a big 265 game! Woo hoo! I know everyone will be out to get me today though and I don't think I like that feeling.

Have a nice day today and I will be back tomorrow to let you know how the day went. I also started on my decoupage items yesterday and they are lookin' good! I'll post some pics soon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Christmas

Woke up to more snow this morning. This has been a really snowy December. Most years we keep our fingers crossed for a white Christmas....we didn't have to this year.

Irv and I ran a couple of errands this morning in the snow. On the way home, the snow started falling in gigantic clumps. It is so amazingly beautiful when it does that. Big huge bunches of snowflakes. When we pulled up, Matt was already outside shoveling. He had his dog, Luna out front with him and our dogs were in the house. Wrigley tends to wander when she is out front and Sparky doesn't go out in the winter unless you pick her up and throw her out the door. She prefers to be curled up under an afghan from about November 1st until June 1st.

I went in and grabbed my camera and let Wrigley out in the back yard. I snapped a few pictures and then threw some snowballs for Wrigley to chase. It is so funny to throw snowballs for the dogs and then watch them digging their heads in the snow looking for the "ball" you threw! I added a short little video at the end of the post.

The rest of the day I spent baking and getting things ready for our trip over to Irv's nephew's house. We had a nice time. It's fun to watch the little kids open their gifts...each with their own special style. We got home around 10:00 p.m. Matt went out with a friend to try to find somewhere open to have coffee and chat. Irv crashed on the couch, and here I am typing away.

Tommorow will be a very quiet day here. We are celebrating our Christmas on Friday so the kids don't have to chase from house to house. I have about a dozen gifts left to wrap and then I'll spend the rest of the day "playing" in my workshop. I'm looking forward to a whole day of organizing and creating.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Major Meltdown on the Way

Okay, so I am a great multi-tasker. I do not get rattled. I do not get stressed. I don't fret over things I cannot control. I'm pretty good at staying in control. My workshop is usually pretty tidy, because I like order in my workplace. I go with the flow. I always get things done well in advance of when I need them. So, why on earth do I feel like I am about to have a major meltdown??

Just kidding!

I will say that things are piling up a bit, and tonight I really don't give a care. I have tons to do and I'm thinking that tonight I just might not do a darn thing! I went to the dentist today, and it left me with an aching jaw and a nasty headache.

What do I need to do? Well, let's see....tomorrow is Christmas Eve, but we go to Irv's nephew's house and I have the gifts for the little kids ready to go. Tomorrow I need to make shrimp dip and a cake that I have never made before, but no big deal.

I do have gifts that are not wrapped yet that I need on Friday...so those will need be done soon.

Let's see...I have to finish and mail the invites to my daughter's wedding shower, but I am waiting on the confirmation from the restaurant so I can hand write the insides. Don't want to start writing until I know we are good to go. They need to be mailed by the weekend.

Sitting in a little plastic storage bin are the favors I am making for the shower guests. I have 5 done with another 15 to go. Hmmmmm.....the shower is on January 25th. That gives me a month to finish those. No sweat.

I have some thank you cards I need to finish for gifts I received the last day of school. Those I need for Monday.

I have some funny Valentine's Day cards started that I would like to get done and listed soon....

I bought the unfinished wood things and haven't even had a chance to start sanding the rough edges yet. I really need to get some of the pieces done since that is what I intend to open MyOtherShop with in a few weeks.

Oh, and then there is the file folder that is overflowing with FourDogDay receipts...none of which has been recorded or added up. I've been avoiding it. I really don't want to know what I spent to get this business started in comparison to what I made this year. I do need to get that done though. I like to give our stuff to the tax guy as soon as I can. If we get something back from the wonderful IRS, we might drive out to Telluride this summer, and that would be fantastic!

In addition to those receipts, I need to go through our personal tax things and get those in order for the accountant too.

Now, looking at all of that....I keep thinking I really should be on the verge of some kind of breakdown. Maybe the fact that I am not is an indication of my metal state?

Well the boys just got back from doing their Christmas shopping and Michael already asked if I could wrap Bernadette's presents for him..."Please, please, please Mom. It will take me an hour to do it myself." Geez, how can I say no? Just add it to the list....he needs those by 3:00 tomorrow.

In order for me to really not have a meltdown, I think I need to prioritize some of this stuff, have some dinner and then I need to dig in and at least get something done, but instead, I think I might chill out this evening and start fresh in the morning!

Have a great evening and a lovely day tomorrow!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Changing Gears

How good are you at changing gears? No, I don't mean the stick shift in the car...I mean to be going in one direction and all of a sudden you realize you need to go a different way. That's where I am right now. I am changing gears.

I opened FourDogDay on etsy the end of July of this year. I started with photos and cards. Even though it has been fun, I don't want to just make cards and tags and paper things. I want to do other things, and I think I need to do other things to be successful.

My Fun and Fancy Serving Plates have started out nicely, and I think it is time to reopen MyOtherShop and move them over there. I would like that shop to be all home decor....so, today Matt and I went to Hobby Lobby. He needed some frames for the Christmas gifts he made all of us and I wanted to look at unfinished wood things.

Our Hobby Lobby is rearranging their store and I swear that each of the last three times I have been in there they are working on the aisle I need to be in! Today it was the unfinished wood aisle. It was crowded and disorganized, but everything was 30% off and I bought nine pieces. My plan is to paint and decoupage them. Have you ever done decoupage? I did years ago and I really enjoyed it. I like taking something plain and turning it into something kick-butt! I also like "messy" work. I like paint and glue and cutting and pasting.

Oops, I did it again. Change of topic for just a second. Did you see the post in the etsy forums yesterday about the website that ranks the readability of your blog? Hmmmmmm.....mine was rated at a Junior High Level. Click here if you are interested in rating the readability of your blog. I think I need to stop saying things like woo hoo and kick-butt and Mr. Bah Humbug...........not a chance! Anyway it was interesting.

Back to changing gears. I really have no problem with change, in fact, I love it and I look for things to change. I can change gears at the drop of a hat and not grind the gears at all.

My thought is this....a revamped FourDogDay that will be all paper and photos, and then MyOtherShop (which I closed right before the holidays) that will be all home decor, including my Fun and Fancy Plates, and all of my new decoupage items. I might even do some picture frames which would work in both shops. I still have tons of old jewelry that I love to take apart and make into things. Who knows, I might even do some sewing...napkins and placemats anyone?

What do you think? Too much change or do you think two shops is a good idea? I value your opinion. If you have any suggestions on how to make the transition and how to equally promote two shops, I would love to hear from you as well!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Matt is Home

Well Matt is here! He left Telluride early Saturday morning and drove 19 hours before getting a motel for the night in Iowa. I don't know how anyone can drive 19 hours on 3 hours of sleep, but I guess I'm not 25 years old either. Then he left there at 5:15 this morning and headed home. The weather is awful here. It is so cold and we got a little snow. The winds are blustery and we had a blizzard warning all day. Matt hit areas where there were two foot snow drifts across the roads and one lane was completely closed. It was a mess....but he finally made it! It is so good to have him home.

Do you have family coming in for the holidays, or do you travel yourself? We have always been home for the holidays. I'm not sure how I would feel about not being here.

Matt dumped a number of bags and backpacks on the living room floor, (of course) along with a large bag of dog food for his border collie Luna who came along with him. His snowboard is on the bed.

We had a nice chat, he showed me a video of avalanches....just what the mom of a snowboarder wants to see. Actually, the video was amazing, beautiful and terrifying all at the same time.

Michael came over around noon and it's been all football, laughing, wii, arguing, laughing, fierce competition, and more laughing. Right now Matt is in the kitchen cooking us some kind of pasta dish for dinner. I could get use to this!

I sat in my workshop this afternoon working on the invitations for Tresa's wedding shower next month. I could hear the boys in the living room talking and laughing. It was such a wonderful sound. We have been empty nesters for about six years already. It took me a while to adjust to the quiet, and each time they come home, it takes me a while to adjust to the noise....but what sweet noise it is!

With that said, I am going to go help with dinner. He informed me he isn't very good at timing pasta and could I be in charge of that. So, I am off to tend to the pasta. I think it could be a late night tonight unless he runs out of steam after that drive.

Tomorrow we are baking cookies.....Matt and mom. =)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho-Ho-Holiday Preparations

Oh my...it's almost here! I am so excited as always. How are your holiday plans coming? I really do love this time of year. Irv and I headed out early this morning to finish up the shopping. My plan was that I was not coming home until I was done, and I did it! I must say that Mr. Bah Humbug started to get a bit cranky when we left the mall and headed into town to hit a few other stores. He can only tolerate so much holiday spirit in one day.

Me, I could have circled the mall all day and been very happy. I love the atmosphere. I love the people and the decorations. Ho-Ho-Ho!!!

We went into the pet store and Mr. Humbug wasn't pleased that I spent over $30 on the four dogs. We have two and the boys each have one. Good dog toys aren't cheap. Ours are getting the fleece toys without the stuffing because no matter how strong it says they are....my little toy fox terrier, Sparky can destroy it in no time and she throws that stuffing everywhere! Mine got the cheap toys. It's the boy's border collie and aussie that cost a bit more. Hey, they are bigger and require bigger toys. Ho-Ho-Ho. I don't care. I love the dogs.

We finally got home and Mr. Humbug started straightening up the "guest" room, figuring someone will be sleeping in there. Mr. Humbug was crabby. He didn't want to be cleaning the guest room. I said I would do it, but Mr. Humbug likes to do nice things and then complain the entire time he does them.

Then we talked to Matt and he thought the basement might be a better place for him to sleep because it's bigger and he travels with a lot of stuff. So, Mr. Humbug went down and cleaned up a bit down there. Now, even though Mr. Humbug complained, he made it so nice down there with the little fake fireplace and some Christmas lights. I told you he does a lot of nice things, I think he just likes to hear himself complain.

I sat on my workshop floor (and let me tell you...sitting on the floor is not very comfortable anymore) and got all of the gifts into the boxes and started wrapping and after two whole gifts I ran out of tape. UGH! I had hoped to get everything wrapped tonight. So, Mr. Humbug went to town to get a new furnace filter and tape....and Subway for dinner.

After dinner I will dig in and start wrapping again. Matt just called and he will probably stop for the night in a couple hours. He's been driving for 15 hours already on only 3 hours of sleep. He hit some nasty weather in Colorado that slowed him down a bit and his windshield squirter things were plugged up and wouldn't squirt! He wants to be home by 11:00 tomorrow...he didn't say why, but I would suspect that it has something to do with football.

Oh, we also have to fix our little Charlie Brown tree...he is trying very hard to fall over. We will never, ever buy that type of tree again. The trunk is very soft as are all of the branches. The lights are having a hard time staying on the branches and now he is falling......timber!!!!

I was talking on the phone earlier to Mr. Humbug's and my daughter, Tresa who I shall from here on out call....Ms. Humbug. Ms. Humbug decided that next Christmas I am going to go shopping with Chris, her soon to be husband, and she is going shopping with Mr. Bah Humbug. She likes Christmas about as much as he does. She went shopping today and hated the snow, the people, the lines and everything else about it. Hmmmmmm....wonder where she gets that from.


Friday, December 19, 2008

You Can't Sell What You Don't Have Listed

I have heard people a number of times in the etsy forums, joking about not being able to sell things that you don't have listed. I'm usually pretty good with getting things into my etsy shop soon after making them....until recently. It seems this new blog, that I really am enjoying, takes up a bit more time each day than I had anticipated. In the evening when I would normally be listing or renewing things in my shop, I am busily ticka-ticka-ticking away on my little computer...putting all of these wonderful words of wisdom on my blog.

I've noticed that I'm having a hard time finding balance between tending my FourDogDay shop and tending the blog....and the blog seems to be winning....and that is not allowed. What will I do when I reoopen MyOtherShop in a few weeks? Hmmmmmmm.

My etsy business, FourDogDay has to come first. My shop has brought me so much joy and has filled such a void for me. I love creating and I love owning my own business. It gives me purpose.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago my husband found these cute little bowls at a resale shop that would make perfect Fun and Fancy pieces for my shop. I've blogged about them before. Well, I had also stopped at an estate sale and had found a couple of wonderful plates. I was excited and made a Fun and Fancy with one of the little bowls and with one of the plates and set them aside to dry. Well that was 2 weeks ago and it doesn't take that long for the glue to dry!

This morning I was blessed with a snow day and didn't have to go in to work. I made my to-do list and the first thing on it was to photograph and list those two pieces. I got the house cleaned and took the photos. The ones for the little bowl were not great, but I thought I would just get the two things listed and then redo the photos tomorrow.

I got them both listed and started experimenting with some decoupage and went back to my shop a couple hours later to find that the little bowl Fun and Fancy was sold! Holy cow...that was a nice surprise. I never expected that. I have sold a number of them, but never that fast. I did that little etsy happy dance and shared the good news with Irv.

I posted in the forums about what happened and did some laughing when I found out that I am not the only person that makes things and doesn't list them. It seems to be a common malady. I kept working on my other stuff and went back to etsy and NO WAY....the other one sold too! This one however sold because someone heard me talking about the first one in the forums and went to see what I was talking about. She fell in love with the other one and bought it.

First, I am going to hit the resale shops tomorrow to buy supplies to make more Fun and Fancy pieces. When I make them, I will allow them the proper drying time and then I will list them, because you can't sell what you don't have listed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ho-Ho-Holy Terrified Toddlers

I remember making plans every Christmas to get my kids to the mall to visit with Santa and get that oh so special picture with Santa. There was a time when the photos were complimentary, or you could take your own, but those days are long gone. I've seen some malls where you almost need to take a loan to pay for the picture with Santa!

When Tresa was little there was a wonderful looking Santa at one of the malls. He had the real beard. I do think he was tired of the Ho-Ho-Whole thing though, because his personality wasn't quite as jolly as one might expect of a jolly old elf! Then there were some really bad looking Santas, the ones where you could see the elastic that held the curly beard in place!

Looking at my picture with Santa collection that I display every year, I laugh at the pictures of my kids crying hysterically, and trying desperately to get away from the guy in red. What's really funny is that I have one of those for each of my three kids, and that always occurred around the same age.

Tresa's screaming with Santa photo came when she was 15.5 months old. The boys were both 19 months old. The one with Michael crying is great! Tresa is 7 years old and at that age, she could just ignore her screaming little brother and smile for the camera.

Then there is the one where Matt is screaming and Tresa is highly embarrassed! She was 10 years old and that's an age where you really don't want the attention to be on you. After all, you already think you might be too old to be sitting on Santa's lap, and then your little brother starts screaming and everyone is staring at you and laughing at the little spectacle on Santa's lap!

Oh, those were the days. When I look at the pictures now, and see the terror on their little faces, I actually feel kind of guilty. Then again, if it really harmed them psychologically, they would all be in therapy. Right?

When the kids got a little older and started asking questions about Santa, the ones that most parents don't like to answer.... I told them this, "When you stop believing in Santa, that's when Santa stops coming."

My kids are 25, 28 and 34, and Santa still stops at our house every Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

We had a bit of ugly weather yesterday afternoon that turned the evening rush hour into a commuting nightmare for thousands of people in the Chicago area. I get off work at 3:30 so it added an extra 20 minutes to my drive home. Not too bad. It took my son 3.5 hours to get home and my daughter a whopping 4.5 hours! Not a fun way to spend the evening.

Going in to work this morning wasn't too bad, however the National Weather Service just issued a Winter Storm Warning for tomorrow evening into Friday. Depending on where you live you are either going to get a ton of ice, or a boat load of snow. We are closer to the snow line, but you just never know what kind of tricks Mother Nature is going to play.

Take the winter of 1979 for example. Mother Nature hit us with one major storm right after another that year. We kept shoveling and shoveling and shoveling and before long the piles on the sides of the driveway were so high that you couldn't even throw it up there any more. We finally had to have a guy come with a front loader to push the snow into the yard and give us more room to throw the never ending snow.

Tresa was in her glory. She was 5 years old and I don't know too many 5 year olds that don't love the snow. She never wanted to come in. It was funny because the vent for the dryer is on the driveway side of the house, and it kept melting the snow we threw over there. It made a great little hiding place for a 5 year old.

A not so great thing that came along with the snows of '79, were roof collapses. The roof of the bowling alley we use to bowl at came crashing in one night, destroying the building and the family business that went with it.

Irv was the Operations Manager at Carson Pirie Scott at that time. They had just finished a huge remodel of their Junior World department, and that roof came crashing down too destroying merchandise and a big section of the brand new department.

For many years after '79 when we would get heavy snows, you could see people on the roofs of businesses shoveling the snow off.

I don't anticipate another winter like that, but there are many years that we don't see snow until some time in January and we have already had many snows that have required shoveling.

I don't like to see bad roads because it causes so many accidents, but I must say I am kind of keeping my fingers crossed that we get just enough snow for the school district I work for to be closed Friday and the call to my cell phone with the recording that says, "District Office Personnel can work from home today".

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaching Children to Care

Today I wanted to share with you something Matt's third grade class out in Telluride, Colorado just did. One of the parents from Matt's class has been involved with sending boxes of clothing over to Afghanistan for the refugees. The following information comes from an e-mail between that parent and someone that helps distribute the clothing in Afghanistan.

There are hundreds of Pakistanis and Afghans that are fleeing from the Northwest Frontier Provinces of Pakistan into Afghanistan. The camps across Kabul and the adjacent provinces are filling up with those seeking refuge from the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It's particularly tough in the winter as food prices are very high and the UN and World Food Program are short on food and tents. The weather is now getting cold and we are expecting snow. Many Afghans in Kabul continue to scour the garbage and the streets for edibles and combustibles.

After hearing how terrible things are over there, Matt and his class decided to collect clothing to send. The next couple of weeks they collected clothing from home and from family and friends. When the kids were done with the collecting portion of the project, they got boxes and helped pack up all of the clothes. While they were packing up the clothes, one of the kids said to Matt, "I don't know why, but I feel really good." How cool is that?

The next thing they had to do was come up with the money to ship the clothes, so the kids went in supervised groups, to businesses around town and asked for cash donations for their project. The kids raised $450!

With that done, it was time to mail the boxes. They loaded the boxes into a parent's car for the drive to the post office. Telluride is a small town, so Matt and the kids walked. At the post office, the kids were responsible for handling the transactions and a short while later.....their boxes were on their way...all 300 pounds worth!

The boxes get shipped to an Army Colonel who heads up the humanitarian relief. He distributes the boxes to heads of the individual camps and the heads of the camps distribute them directly to the people that need them.

I truly believe that if you teach children compassion and caring, that they will become compassionate, caring adults. Then in turn, hopefully they will pass those qualities on to their children and so on and so on......

So way to go Telluride Elementary School third graders, and way to go Mr. Matt! You should all be very, very proud.

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