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Are you cleaning your computer today?

It is National Clean Out Your Computer Day after all.  I’ve been digitally cleaning my computer since January 2nd, lol.  Part of my “smaller” goals for the year.

Speaking of goals–one of which was to write. And I have been–either here on the blog, or journaling, but lately, in the form of letter writing.  I miss getting snail mail and have discovered that is just as much fun to send snail mail! Back to Cleaning out Your Computer Day…

For me, it involves cleaning out and organizing folders, bookmarks, program files, emails, etc. Sound overwhelming? It is a tad bit at first and can manipulate much of your day in the early stages.  However, it is very much worth the effort as I’ve found my computer runs better nd it has helped me become more organized in other areas of my life!  If this is new to you, start small.

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” ~ Anonymous 

Where to begin? Where I began: Bookmarks bar and email. The rest sort of evolved from there.

Bookmarks Bar:

I’ve organized my bookmarks into several categories that fit my needs but in the very beginning I created two book mark files:

Morning Coffee-these are the sites that I like to visit daily or weekly to see what’s  new in the areas I’m interested from business sites to blogs (perhaps even yours!) that I like to follow.  I, um, have Go Comics in there as well. 🙂

Side note:   I’ve since created a ‘Morning Coffee’ file for my Google Drive Folders and my Evernote app.  When I was attending school online I created a bookmark file for each class so that when I came across a site (usually accidental) that would be beneficial to homework or a paper for a particular class I could save it to that class folder for easy access.

To Review -these are the websites I’ve stumbled over, gotten momentarily distracted by, or want to learn more about).

I use Google Chrome on all my devices so I can save the sites I wish to save to the appropriate bookmarked folders  as well as access whether I am using my computer, tablet or phone.  If I know it will be a temporary site or one I use a lot, (weather, relaxation break, etc.) I also use Chrome’s Bookmark Manager add-on (Mozilla, IE )

eMail

I have tried every app (well, maybe not every but many) to help keep my inbox clean and the two that have actually made the difference over the long haul are:

Gmail’s Inbox – allows me to swipe to trash or resend at a later time on my mobile device( my two favorite features) and SO. Much. More.

and

Unroll.me-which offers me the option of adding all those alerts, newsletters, and misc. emails to one email.  All the newsletters that I thought I had unsubscribed from but still sh ow up in my inbox are now taken care of and my inbox is EMPTY every night!  I LOVE, L-O-V-E LOVE! it!  I keep any bill or personal correspondance seperate,  it arrives as it is sent, and every night I recieve an email with a list and preview of that days newsletters/misc emails.  When a new subscribtion is noticed I have the option of opening my dashboard with one of 3 options: Add to roll up. Unsubscribe. Add to rollup.

“The BEST way to get something done: Begin.” ~Anonymous

Well, I’m off to delete old files, programs I no longer need or use, clean up my bookmarks, empty my downlaoads folder, and run a diagnostics check. How are you celebrating National Clean Your Computer Day and what computer organizational tips do you have–I’d love to discover a new tool, app, or way of saving time.

Some other apps that I find helpful for organizing:

OneTab for when I have many tabs open and need to walk away from the computer but am not necessarily done with each tab.  It works as a bookmark page for your tabs.

Google Keep– I use it for quick appt reminders, grocery lists, to-do lists, books/movies I want to see (like when you are watching oodles of previews before a movie), an image I find, random thoughts and ideas, and  too many others to list.  I can color code them, tag them for easy access, share them, set reminders, archive, …it’s a very useful app to me.

 

Monday Marketing Minute #1

Using the Facebook Events option to promote your organization’s activities and events, if done consistently, is not only convenient for your customer but it is also a time saver for you. Not to mention it provides a little extra PR at no cost to you. Using Facebook events is a good practice and here are reasons why:

  1. Facebook now allows your fans to subscribe to events. This means Facebook will do the PR work for you once you have created your event. (Subscribers will get notification that an event has been created, the option to select interested, going, not going and this shows in their news feed.  Customers do not need to have ‘liked’ your page to subscribe to  your events.  Do you see potential followers here?
  2. Many people will check Facebook before a website.  Be consistent with your events -it is Facebook’s equivalent to a web calendar.   You can direct followers back to your website for more information on the event page, but for those simply looking for date, time, and/or brief description–they can do so without leaving their Facebook page or app. I’ve noticed one page I follow that has not updated their website calendar in almost four months! AND had a post not caught my eye on my news feed, I would have missed an event that I wanted to attend because they are no longer consistent with creating events.  On my last visit to the brick and mortar branch I discovered several missed events.  Yes, they were posters inside the building but I do not stop there every day.  Do you see a potential for lost customer here?
  3. Facebook’s events are just as convenient for you as they are your customer.  Web calendars can be clunky, putzy, and frustrating.  With Facebook events you simply click “create event,” plug in your information, add a photo, and voilà!  Facebook has a great Help Center to help you out.  Or- you like the hands on approach and are not local -you can follow along to my ‘only on my 2nd cup of coffee’ voice demo:

CreateYourFacebookEvent

 

Morning Coffee thoughts

“When stumbling blocks can become stepping stones, then these stones that the builders reject can equally become chief cornerstones!”
― Israelmore Ayivo

Not sure where I found this, Goodreads maybe, as I am always saving articles, posts, and links to view later (I call it my Morning Coffee file and I have one in my Google Drive, Private Pinterest board, Evernote, and Bookmark bar.  AND, may I add, I was doing this long before Facebook offered the “Save” feature which I love!  Every weekend and the first 15 min of my day over a cup of coffee -see what I did now 😉 – I take a closer look at the list and save or trash.  ) Back to the quote-, it caught my eye again, when I came across it Morning Coffee file and had what Oprah refers to as an AHA moment.

Those obstacles have helped to shape me and who I am, how I think, and how I keep moving forward.  No matter what.  Eventually, if you think about it, they help get you where you are going (where there is a will, there is a way) or help you find a new path (if at first you don’t succeed…).  They become chief cornerstones…of your action plan…your mission…your being.  Sometimes they seem to float across your path-think planning process and foreseeing obstacles.  Other times they literally trip you up…like a layoff for instance.

I am a planner and as a planner, I like to think I am prepared for these obstacles.  When I received word I was going to be laid off in four months at years end due to budget cuts,my brain went right into planning mode.  Back up plans A, B, and C are almost always in place (downsize, move 100% into minimalist mode (slowly working on that for years), and if it is really bad, sell, pack up, and move in with my mother who could use the help but is not necessarily begging for that option.)  I started looking at the want ads that night and before the week was up had applied for six jobs and working on plans D-G. (33 applications to date and still optimistic.)

After five months of dealing with the news and my first month of officially being unemployed, I find myself wondering–where was their planning? (As a business major, I know how it works but all that goes out the window when it is you.) However, as life is full of little and not so little lessons, I try to not dwell on the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’ and keep moving forward.  Sometimes it’s a family member, a friend, a book, an article, a community, or sometimes it is a simple quote that inspires an AHA moment.

Those stumbling blocks have become the cornerstones as I have had to repair or completely tear down a few walls and rebuild fresh upon the lessons learned from obstacles in my life.  They serve as a reminder of what I have survived, overcome, an
d achieved because of and despite the stumbling blocks.  My wish for you is that your stumbling blocks are easily maneuvered and help to shape the cornerstones of your life in a positive way.20151107_182158

Random Shoutout to Random Thoughts ‘n’ Lots of Coffee and if you’re on Facebook you can find her there too.  I find her posts on her blog and Facebook to be uplifting, inspiring, and often just the right way to express a current mood! I have her blog favorited in my “Morning Coffee” bookmark folder and between the blog and FB posts I’m smiling at the start of my day.

Friday’s Ramblings

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“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough.  You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.” ~Toni Morrison

I’ve read this quote many times before and I always feel something different, whether in the kindness of strangers, the unsung heroes, or life itself. Today, it made me smile and nod and think about all those quiet moments I am blessed to have with nature.  Over that morning cup of coffee on my back deck (even in frigid temps) waiting for my dog to do his morning duties, listening to the birds, and if I’m lucky-watching the sun rise it is enough.  Walking around town down by the lake or on my favorite walking trail I always have my camera but forget to snap a photo I’m so lost in the beauty.

Two of my three words for this year are LOOK and ENJOY.  The world’s beauty is EVERYWHERE and living in the moment, taking the time to just be, it is enough.  It gets me through those ‘bleh’ days and days of ‘I don’t wanna.’

The sun especially, and on days it is not visible through clouds, I still see it. Sometimes it is a ray peeking through, sometimes it is in the melting snow or blooming flower or weed.  It’s there, it is beautiful, and it is enough. It’s also the closest definition I can give to explain my faith. It is  there, it is beautiful, and it is enough.

Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors after one of the world’s best professors, Dr. Nancy Chick, assigned one of her books for class.  Reading Morrison’s book is like a class in and of itself.  I read and re-read. I jot notes, thoughts, and questions.  Her books stay with me for some time and my mind does not rest for all of the thoughts weaving through my normal everyday random thoughts.  Have you read her?  What’s your favorite or last read title?


 

Before I sign off I just have to shout out the wonderful customer service I experience EVERY time I call Centurylink.  I typically am calling for user error but they never make me feel as if I have wasted their time and are always gracious with their questions and comments.  In all the years of being a customer, I think I have only had to call twice for technical issues on their end and both times they were amazing! I left once to try another service.  While they were a little cheaper they were not friendly, their customer service was non existent, and we had trouble with both cable and internet service. Back to Centurylink we went.  With apologies. They held no ill will. 🙂

customer service

And to Doterra for making the only migraine relief that works 99.9 percent of the time. Their Past Tense blend of essential oils does the trick and if I cannot lay down for 15 minutes I can still get through the day.  I suffer horrible migraines and have ripped up my stomach over the years with OTC alternatives.  I am a happy girl as I type for having awoke with a headache.  A quick dab across the forehead, on my temples,  and back of  my neck and I’m good to go. In the four months I have used the oils over OTC I resorted to my migraine OTC drug of choice once.  For the amount of headaches I suffered from that is huge.  AND over the last month…only 2 headaches! I am dealing with stress better, eating better, and using the oils as needed.  If you are a headache sufferer I encourage you to research essential oils and discuss this alternative with your doctor.  (We all suffer differently from different types of headaches–this works for all of mine on some level).

FYI–these are not paid reviews honest appreciative comments for the little things that made me happy today before finishing my first cup of coffee! I hope you all find many little things to keep you happy all day today!

Cheating today…

…but I’m writing!

Today’s Positive Thought: “The greatest joy lies not in simply being, but in becoming.” ~Oprah Winfrey

This makes me think of my three words for 2016 (Look, Write, and Enjoy).  All three are reminders to keep on the path I’ve started- the path where I look at both the big and small picture, soak it in, enjoy the beauty, lessons, and experience of it all.  I’m learning to like me for the first time in my life and even enjoy me a little.  I’m finding that I like and enjoy the people around me a little more too–I’ve got some pretty darn good taste when it comes to friends –I can’t be all that bad! 🙂  And this whole process– it is a joy.  Even yesterday when I simply did not want to adult. I found much to enjoy and some of you were a part of that even–THANKS!!

Today is Oscar Nomination Day and I want to shoutout my friend Laura over at What to Watch who writes reviews on movies on television.

I’m not much of a movie buff but I know what I like and I find her reviews helpful and sort of like a reader’s advisory but for shows both on the big screen and the small screen. Check her out!  What are your picks for top movie, actor and actress?  I did not see many movies last year but the two that stood out for me were Jurassic World and Mad Max and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Loved two of the three (can you guess the two?)

Today’s Website Pick: Lifehacker 

These tips and tricks do not always apply but typically inspire the palm to the forehead “I could have had a V8” moment for their simplistic ‘why did I not think of that’ content.  I was most recently slapping my forehead yesterday when I came across the packing a six layer lunch lifehack.  Yep, simple enough that I can spend less than an hour getting a week’s worth of my lunches ready the Sunday before–(hand whap to the forehead).   Got a Facebook page or website you think is worth a look-please share in the comments.  I love discovering new sites.

Have a great Thursday!  If I continue on this role, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Day two….in a row!  But it was tough getting here today.  After the productive day yesterday, waking up with a headache, and no sub work…I lost my motivation.  I read somewhere, many somewhere’s infact, that if you make the bed right away when you get up you’ll force yourself into motivation.  Well, it works and today I just. did. not. wanna.

I got up. Grabbed my robe, my phone, and turned on the television (three things that almost guarantee that I will be unproductive, cave into a depressive state, and be stressed out by 3pm that I let the day get away from me).  I mentioned yesterday that I found out in September that my position would be eliminated at years end. It was. I am sad. I can, however, fight the sadness or embrace it throughout a productive day IF I make my bed right away.

I don’t wanna.  But, after two hours of “waking up” with a cup of coffee, browsing through my email (something Brendon Burchard strongly advises against but I was feeling a bit rebellious, stubborn, sorry for myself), and watching the daily news programs I forced myself to get dressed, BUT I did not make my bed! I still do. not. wanna.

Then I straightened up the kitchen, did dishes, swept floors, changed kitty litters, updated my resume to apply for another position (I realize this is the statement of a blessed person as finding positions to apply for is not always an easy task), and darn it all if I wasn’t becoming motivated!  BUT, say it with me: I did NOT make my bed! I stiiiil do not wanna.
Turning to look out the window I saw the photo you see above. SNOW! I LOVE snow! (and the cold!)

It was lightly snowing and my mood began to lift, just like that.  Selfishly, I felt this was a little pick-me up sent just for me from God.  Then, the phone rang and it was my best friend who can always lift my mood with a giggle and we chatted…while I paced…and straightened up my desk…tidied up the living room…hung up my robe…and…without even thinking about it I. Made. My. Bed.   I didn’t even realize it until I passed by my room after hanging up…What the!  Now, how do you crawl back into bed once it’s made!?  Ugh!  Might as well gripe in a blog post now.

Remember, I did warn you all I would be writing for me and if you have kept with me, thanks!  I hope whatever happies you up happens today and brightens your day.  Maybe share what is? Or your routine and/or tips that help to keep you from caving into the heavy moods, that’d be great!  Enjoy the rest of your day.  I’m going to go curl up with my book Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by  Susan Elia MacNeal and it is getting GOOD!  What are you reading?

Today’s positive quote: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows” ~Helen Keller

Today’s Website Find: Modern Mrs. Darcy   I like her new series What Should I Read Next  where she talks to a guest and discusses three books they love, one book they hate, and what they are reading now. Readers advisory meets book club meets talk show.  Love it!

New Year, Now What?

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Doesn’t this snowperson seem to saying, “Here’s a hug for a great New Year!”

How did I let more than a year go by between posts!  I had good intentions!  I had ideas!  I had life happen, that’s how.  Today finds me unemployed due to a lay-off.  A lay-off that did not need to happen but it did.  I will say, I was told four months in advance which was both a blessing and a curse.  I immediately began looking for work.  Thirty (30!) plus applications later I’ve landed a fill in as needed position. Hey, it’s an open door and I’m not complaining but it doesn’t pay the bills and filing unemployment is hateful process

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Not as many of these days as I thought there would be…but, oh HOW I felt this some days!

Hateful, as it adds to the feeling of failure (yes, I know I didn’t fail, per say, but I’m honest enough to know that I contributed to my position being eliminated. Performance? Oh, no–I am an excellent worker who loved (LOVED!) the job I was doing.  It was a budgetary issue and my position was more easily absorbed. (translation: we’re not going to do ALL those duties because we didn’t realize you did that much-oops.  Yes, I’m still letting go of the bitterness I didn’t think I harbored.)  Back to that feeling of failure—you can’t help it, or rather, I could not help it.  Add to that the having to explain to the public that I would be leaving and seeing the sad faces of coworkers (at least they weren’t giddy, right?!) and it was just depressing situation that after 2 months I decided to use my remaining leave time so I could focus on job searches.

TheSilenceWithin-BrendonBurchard-InspirationalQuotes
All I can say to this quote that I love: Truth!

I used that time to heal as well.  Crying, eating ice cream, and gaining weight while I forced myself to get up every morning at 5am and make my bed.  (I’m not caving to the depression I’m prone to if I get up and make my bed, right? LOL!)  I rearranged my entire house one room at a time. That meant a deep clean as well (by deep clean I mean decluttering and getting rid of items) and WOW, is that therapeutic!  Letting Go! (Yep, I sang it as I deposited items in the trash and boxes for donations.  Adding that dramatic flair helped to turn the tears to chuckles and I could enjoy the fresh start that was awaiting me.

During this time I cleaned out my ‘office area’ and designated an actual room for an office and began clearing that sh,  uh, clutter out.  Looking at all my intentions for blogging  (I had encouraging post it’s everywhere from last years goals: “write without editing–it’s a blog most won’t read–just go for it–you’ve got to start somewhere!”) I thought–“Well, my job is no longer interfering (it never did, but that was my favorite excuse)–Do it!  My apologies to those of you reading my rambling.  It’s an exercise for me–if you’re reading, I’ll take it as encouragement and I thank-you!

BeIntentional-BrendonBurchard-InspirationalQuotes
Brendon is full of positive energy, positive intentions, and positive ways to make a positive difference!

The final two months I spent using my leave time was healing and helped me find closure in so many areas (warning: possible future blog topics) and at 47, you can sort of start over! Who knew!  I’m finding ways to still do what I LOVED in my previous job and it’s fun. This whole process led to soul searching (always wanted to have a serious soul searching moment in my life…this wasn’t so serious but I did discover some things about myself…I rather like me! Another ‘Who Knew!’ moment) and my three words for 2016.  (I still follow Chris Brogan– he’s awesome! As is Brendon Burchard whose recent webinar lit a fire under me- I highly recommend checking out his site –even if it’s to put him on your radar for when you are READY to make a positive change.  But, back to those three words!

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Looking sometimes is as simple as noticing the answer placed in front of you the whole time!

Look.  Look around, be grateful for what I have.  As I do this each morning I am overwhelmed with how blessed I really am.  Family accepting me, warts and all. Supportive friends that push through my stubbornness and help me like myself, warts and all.  Nature around me…birds have become a daily routine.  They bring such a simple joy to my day. Looking for new ways to do things has always been something I loved even when I didn’t realize I was looking.  Looking at all sides of a situation-something that has been second nature to me really, but I was not always present in each side of the situation I looked at. Does that make sense? In taking the time to look a little more (slow was another years word–slowing down, as in stop and smell the roses or coffee in my case, took a whole year to practice and I’m still learning the art of that one) not only, do I see the other side of the situation, I can actually understand it even if I don’t always agree with it.

Enjoy.  Enjoy all these moments in my life.  Even the hard, bad, sad days (sounds like a

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How do you not enjoy this little scene on your lap.  Simply  Love

picture book and couldn’t we all write one of those!) as they have, do, and will shape the person I am. Being mindful to look more helps me find those extra moments to actually enjoy.  Those birds I mentioned–I’ve always noticed them but rarely did I take time to actually watch them and look at their activities.  I feed them now and enjoy watching them flit around the yard, I enjoy time with my cat as we both stare out the window watching them in the bushes, and I enjoy that I have become part of their life as I keep their feeders full and away from stray cats.  They do have to share with the squirrels however, but I try distracting them with their own feeding areas.  Most importantly, I’m learning to enjoy my Faith. In people, myself, and in my Heavenly Father. My faith has always helped me through the long nights, sad days, blessed events, forks in the road, and new paths but I never took the time to enjoy it.

Write.  For many years I have been encouraged to write.  When I went back to school and had friends and coworkers edit my papers, many encouraged me to write more.  I was, and am, perplexed at why…

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Fear that my writing would bring no value to anyone kept me from trying.  I had to tell myself, “It’s not business, it’s for me.” and that is okay.

I babble.  I have tried for the past several years to do this but what do I write about? Who would want to read it?  I had to blog for a class I took and I focused on business type posts–social media marketing tips for small business–and I rather enjoy that. I may resurrect that or include that in some of my “chitchat” posts. I like to share what I know, learn , and discover.

I encourage you to share what you know, learn, and discover with me–I miss that from my daily interactions in my previous job.  EVERY day I learned something new and that is a good day!

3 Words

3 Words

One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Brogan, picks three words every year to remind him to focus on his goals.  I have found this most helpful and paste each word on its own sticky note.  I post the three words near my keyboard at work–later they move to the whiteboard and on my laptop at home.  It’s a visual reminder to breathe and focus on your goals, whether they be goals of the day, month, or year.  The year I began my online pursuit of my bachelors degree (9 months to go!)(update: I graduated!!!)  I chose the words: Begin. Learn. Grow.  Appropriate for returning to school but it also helped me look at every task a little differently as every task I began guaranteed a learning experience which in turn guarantees growth.  All I had to do was ‘begin.’

This year, as I begin the ‘meat and potato’ courses of my degree I asked a classmate in a current class (his last one!) for any advice and his words prompted my three words for 2014: Think (critically). (be) Creative. (pay attention to) Details.  Every idea can be jotted in a notebook or on my whiteboard to be looked at later with critical thinking process.

No, you are not reading an old post, rather you are reading a post that was started last year and then life happened, so…I guess you are reading an old post just newly published.  Those 3 words, however,  helped me find the blessings in an otherwise tough year emotionally (and physically) both personally and professionally.

This year (2015 in case life happens again) I am going back to basics a bit, keeping it simple, and choosing words that have emotional meaning as well as motivational meaning.  A new friendship is inspiring me to get to it and it is in talking with her that I realized I need to revisit my word from a couple of years ago, begin and so I chose these three words for this year:

Act. As Nike instructed us to “Just Do It” I will act on all my “I’m going to…” plans and ideas and  go for it. I reprised this blog, created a new one blog (ASK)  to showcase my passion in helping small businesses and in-home businesses that are new to social media. Many are overwhelmed with all the options and seeking a little direction creating and promote their online presence …then need only ASK.

Breathe. I tend to hold my breath when doing something new or when I am nervous…with all I am going to act on this year, I need to stop and breathe, focus, and…well I’m getting ahead of myself.  As I go for it (act) I know mistakes will be made…in front of…anyone and everyone that sees it (or worse… no one will!-breathe.  I have to move forward, make that first step, stumble, or fall as it is a part of  running, leaping, and soaring-breathe. I’ve been inspired in part by my cousin who acted upon her wonderment of “What are my options?” She quit her job (maybe took a leave) and traveled the world to try her hand at …well, read her exploits on the The other fork in the road. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll find honesty through humor.  Breathe, she just went for it…reminded herself to breathe, I’ll bet, and she inspired many including me. Makes my little blog seem less a risk but it’s my dive in moment and I’ll work out the kinks as I go so long as I breathe, focus and …

Carry-on I cheated a little here but you see why; it works.  I will not let the stumbles or falls get in the way of my leaping and soaring; I will carry-on.

Working with the public I see so many who are overcoming some major obstacles and as one patron chatted about his many heart wrenching obstacles he summarized with “What are you gonna do? Carry on! You just carry on.” Well said my friend, well said.

Act, Breathe, and Carry-on in 2015.

What are your three words?

What are you most happy about today?

The real happiness of life is to enjoy the present, without any anxious dependence upon the future. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Getting back to what makes you happy, secure, and productive not only helps your focus but also begins the domino effect of everything falling into its place.

As I type in my basement office, I hear the not so soft pitter-pat of my teenage son’s feet overhead investigating what is making our yappy dog speak to us and I smile at the fact they are part of my day. My daughter arrives home later this afternoon after a vacation across the country that began with a little unplanned drama and I am, surprisingly, looking forward to the annoyance of the trail through the house that indicates she’s home. Sometimes, it is as simple as that – a barking dog and adult children along with the noise and mess that accompany them that remind me of the tipped dominoes leading to this point in time.

Those dominoes may tip a little slow at times, but in the same way baby steps lead towards a goal, it is forward movement that uses today to get to tomorrow-so enjoy the process, learn from yesterday’s mistakes, and celebrate each day—you made it now enjoy it!

What are you most happy about today, right now, in this moment—pause a minute (or two) to smile on it, journal about it, or share it with someone.

spock

Spock is happy when he finds an empty planter.

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