Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Major Causes of Personal Failure

**This is a re-post of my 9/22/08 entry.

I'm still reading Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success. I ran across this list yesterday in the book and think it's worth sharing with you. Below are some of his "Major Causes of Personal Failure." As you are reading this list, make note of which things are holding you back -- and make a plan to do something about them!

  1. The habit of drifting through life without a definite major purpose
  2. Meddlesome curiousity about other people's affairs
  3. Inadequate education - **Personally I don't take this to mean that you need a college degree in order to be successful. I just think you need to be always learning, reading, studying up on whatever topic needs to be studied to make yourself successful.
  4. Lack of self-discipline
  5. Lack of ambition
  6. Lack of persistence and follow-through
  7. Negative mental attitude
  8. Lack of emotional control
  9. The desire to get something for nothing
  10. Failure to reach decisions promptly and firmly when all the facts needed for the decision are available
  11. Overcaution or the lack of caution - **I think being overly cautious can paralyze you. You'll never make a decision and therefore be stuck in your situation forever.
  12. Indiscriminate spending of time and money
  13. Intolerance
  14. Failure to cooperate with others in a spirit of harmony
  15. Lack of vision or imagination
  16. Egotism and vanity
  17. Desire for revenge
  18. Unwillingness to go the extra mile

This wasn't his entire list - just the ones I wanted to point out. I hope you read that list carefully. Read it again if needed. Any changes you should be making?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How I Am

It’s impossible to tell someone what it’s like to have someone close to you die without warning. One day they are there. The next day they are gone. Forever.

It’s been 8 months since my Dad died while skiing in Colorado. How bad did it hurt to lose him? Wow. It was so painful, I could literally feel my heart breaking. The grief was unbelievably intense. I really thought our lives were ruined. We were a very close family - how could we go on with one of us missing? I remember telling my mom during one of my breakdowns, “I CANNOT DO THIS! I CANNOT DO THIS!” And I really thought that I couldn’t.

I went through the “It’s not fair” stage. It’s not fair that Three and Green don’t have their Grandpa here to watch them grow up. It’s not fair that Dad won’t know any of this other grandkids that may come along. It’s not fair that he didn’t get to retire. It’s not fair that mom has to be a widow at 55 years of age. Everything about it was not fair.

I went through the “mad” stage. Why didn’t he know that someone with high blood pressure should not be skiing in Colorado? I had been looking at renting a place in Nebraska that week so we could meet my brothers half way instead of Mom and Dad going to CO. Why hadn’t I pushed that idea? There are millions of people on this planet who do nothing to take care of their health. Why don’t those people die instead of people like my dad, who always exercised and was keeping an eye on his blood pressure and cholesterol?

I’m done with those stages.

Now I can say honestly say that I’m doing ok. On the one hand, I feel horribly guilty about that. I’m afraid it appears to others that I didn’t care about him and really don’t miss him. Nothing could be further from the truth. You just learn to deal with it because there is no other option. Dad would want us to be happy. Everyone always says that, but I put myself in that situation: If I were to die, I would not want my death to ruin the lives of Pool Boy, Three or Green. I would want them to smile and laugh about all the fun we had together. I would want my family to continue to live as we did before – playing sports, going on family vacations, staying up too late on weekends nights, cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash. Life has to go on, whether we want it to or not. My death would be tragic enough – I would not want to see their lives ruined from it because that would be another unnecessary tragedy. My Dad would feel exactly the same.

This will be my last post before Christmas. Hold your family and friends close all the time, especially during the holiday season. May you find the joy in life and continually strive to make this world a better place. Peace to all of you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And then there were 6

Julie and Mark Gumm, who I introduced you to last week, got their kids today! Go read Julie's comments about the first meeting.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We Made It

I'm pleased to report that we made it through our first family Christmas without Dad.

I know many of you are wondering how I'm doing. I've started that post, but it's not ready to go yet. It's difficult to write. In the meantime, enjoy this adorable picture of Three and Green with mom's puppy, Payton.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Not a Slacker

Just because I'm not posting on my blog, do NOT assume I am slacking! Oh heck no. Besides work, I've got Salvation Army bells to ring, 3rd grade Christmas crafts to make, music concerts to attend, gift shopping to do, not to mention the regular laundry, house cleaning and supper making. Or maybe not so much the house cleaning. 
Hope you are enjoying your holidays. Remember, don't spend more for Christmas than you can afford. It's NOT worth it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It’s a Piece of Cake Until Your Spreadsheet Gets Screwed Up

As you know, we’ve been tracking our expenses to the penny since August 2007. Every evening, I update our spreadsheet with that day’s expenses. I always know exactly where we are at financially.

Then Tuesday happened.

Not only did I spend the afternoon in the ER from a possible overdose of stress and caffeine, but I also got out of balance on my family expenses spreadsheet. I’m now over $100 dollars off and I cannot locate it. I’ve gone through every expense for the past week and matched it up to my spreadsheet. No luck.

Oh. The stress and caffeine overdose. Really I have no idea what happened, but I’m contributing it to those two things. And mostly the caffeine. Tuesday morning I woke up and the vision in my right eye was all blurry. The right side of my face was very tingly. And I had a headache. My vision slowly came back, but my face was still weird. (no comments please) By noon, I decided a visit to the ER was in order. After several hours of questions and a CT scan, no results. Which is good I guess. It means there was not a brain tumor or stroke.

I started to thinking back to Monday to see if anything that day could have triggered something. Oh yes – a raging headache all day, a day full of meetings, including a school board meeting that night. And lots and lots of caffeine. More than I normally consume. Apparently my body got to Tuesday morning and said, “Enough, girl! Slow down!”

So I’m trying to take it easy – which, by the way, is NOT easy – and limiting my Diet Mt. Dew intake. We shall see how it comes out.

Oh, and if I wasn’t busy enough, then I went and joined Facebook. That can easily suck up a few hours each night if you aren’t careful. It’s fun, except for the message that tells you, “You have no new friends.” Damn. But I did locate her, her, her and her. And her, too. And a bunch of non-blog people. I've decided to take my flair very seriously over there. But I need more credits!

A Good Christmas Story

At Christmas time, we all want to hear and good story and be assured the everything is ok in the world, right? I want to share Julie and Mark's story with you.

I've been following Julie since right after they decided to adopt two more children into their family. I've following their amazing (and sometimes frustrating) journey. As of this blog posting, they are on their way to Ethiopia with another couple to pick up their kids. If you're in need of a good story, follow theirs. It's truly awesome.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Shoes!

Sorry, this is not a tip for how to get free shoes. ONLY I GET FREE SHOES! Or if I didn't want shoes, I could pick something else. I get one of anything I want!

Quite, everyone. I have an announcement to make. I won KEEN shoes from Bloggy Giveaways! I can pick any pair of shoes I want from the KEEN website. ANY PAIR. JUST FOR ME.

Bragging? Yes, oh yes, I am.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It's not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.

--Zig Ziglar

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bad words are being used, like recession, downsizing, and fudge

When I heard the news, I said, "Fuuuuuuuuuudge." Except I didn't say fudge. Over the past few days, I’ve found out that several acquaintances have been victims of the dreaded “D” word – downsized. It has really, really, bothered me all weekend, thinking of the situation these families are suddenly in.

These people were the main breadwinners of their family. They have kids, homes, mortgages, and normal lives just like us. Except now they are suddenly unemployed.

These are not people you would expect to be downsized. Their jobs were what we would call “stable”. One was in management and had worked at his company for many, many years – certainly not low person on the totem pole.

So what can we do to protect ourselves in this kind of economy? Sometimes it’s out of the employee’s control, so it’s extra important to make sure you take charge of the things you can control. Some of which are:
  • Have a great attitude about your job. It’s much easier for an employer to let an employee go who has a negative attitude and is bringing down the rest of the team.
  • Make yourself critical to the day-to-day operations of the company. Do you bring the knowledge and skills that would be almost impossible for the company to do without? Let’s say your company produces widgets. There are employees who know how to run the machine that makes the widgets, there are salespeople who sell the widgets, there is the owner of the company, and there are some other people who oversee the operation. Lastly, there are some who just complain about how much they hate their job and hang around trying to do as little work as possible. So when downsize occurs, who gets to keep their job? The critical people of this particular company are the people who know how to run the machines that make the widgets, the people who sell the widgets, and the owner. It won’t be much of a loss to get rid of the people who whine and complain. The “oversee-ers” don’t know how to run the machines to make the widgets and they don’t have the skills to sell, so they aren’t critical either. So the point is – make yourself critical. And fast!
  • Always be in learning mode. If your employer is looking to cut positions, they will keep the employees who have a proven record for being willing to learn new skills.
  • Be willing to take a cut in pay or benefits. The only place I’ve heard this happening is with the government, but I suppose it could happen in regular businesses as well. What would you rather do – take a day without pay or take forever without pay?
And here are a few things you should NOT do:
  • Don’t assume you are safe from layoffs. As I mentioned above, the people I know who have been downsized were not expected at all.
  • Don’t assume that because you are in “management”, you are safe. This especially applies if you are in middle management. Quite often those people are the first to go.
  • Don’t be unprepared. If you were suddenly without your paycheck, how long could you pay your bills? Six months? Three months? Even less than that?
Hang on, friends, because it's going to be a rough ride. Be important, be skilled, and be prepared.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Favorite Family Game EVER

A lot of blogs post about certain products and tell you how wonderful they are because they are getting paid to do so. This is NOT one of those posts! We have "Family Game Nights" here at the green3 household. Those nights are becoming more and more rare with the numerous activities we have going on, but we do still have them.

Green's favorite games require a lot of technology, but my rule is NO TV ON FAMILY GAME NIGHT. So PS2 and Wii are out. So he may pick Sequence instead. We all enjoy that game and it's easy to play. The Sequence box always confuses me. It says this game is "Recommended by Bill Barrett. Who the heck is Bill Barrett?

Three, on the other hand...Oh Three. His games are painful. He likes games that either make you think a lot or take all freaking night to play. His favs are Clue, Monopoly, Life, and Last Chance.

But friends, THE game your family needs, no matter what age your kids are, is Cranium's Whoono. We love this game! My mom has even borrowed it a few times because adults like to play it too. It's simple to play and creates a ton of laughs. There is some reading involved so little tykes may need a hand, but they will love it.

How Much Debt is Too Much? And other cool links.

Any debt is too much, silly!

This is for those of you who have never gone to the trouble to figure out where you are with your debt-to-income ratio. This is a very easy form to fill out, the press the calculate button and it will tell you if you are in trouble or not. Ok, some of you may already know you are in trouble but you should still do it. And if your results come back as "acceptable", that doesn't mean you shouldn't still be working your rear end off to get rid of the debt. If nothing else, this very, very quick exercise will at least get you thinking about how much you owe.

Ok, here is the debt-to-income calculator.

And Millionaire Mommy Next Door has an awesome listing of links for you to look through. The only one I don't agree with is the debt consolidation tools, just because I'm not a fan of debt consolidation.

This is a major story?

"Come Jan. 1, Americans plan to say goodbye to credit card debt and hello to healthy savings accounts, a new report released today shows. About one-third of American workers surveyed plan to cut credit card balances and beef up savings." Des Moines Register, December 3, 2008

One-third? Only one-third of Americans plan to say goodbye to credit card debt? And not until Jan 1, because of course they need to use those cards during Christmas. So basically this means that the majority of Americans still don’t get it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Some families have traditions of going to a tree farm and chopping down their own Christmas tree. They haul it home and work for hours trying to get it straight in the tree stand. Every year the tree had a different look and shape. That's what I grew up with and I loved that tradition. Unfortunately, the tree tradition at the green3 household is a tad different.

Pool Boy: "We need all the K stems first."

Green: "I thought J stems went on the bottom?"

Three: "No, Green, Ks are first."

Pool Boy: "I'm missing a K. Dig through that box and find another K."

Three: "I'm not looking. I'm working on these Js."

Green: "I'll get the I stems out!"

Pool Boy: "Before anyone does anything else, I need the last K!"

Me: "I'll start putting the Js in."

Pool Boy: "There should be two rows of K, then the rest go up from there."

Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why would there be two rows of Ks, then just one row of the other ones?"

Pool Boy: "I don't know. Just give me the Js and you start working on the Is and Hs."


As of this week, the balance of our home equity loan is HALF of what it was in January!

We've been working on this last debt for 11 months now. That may give you some indication of how monsterous it was. Getting out of debt is harder than heck, but we are so looking forward to getting there. Not to mention the reward to ourselves - family cruise!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Wise Christmas Shopping

This Christmas I really tried to spend my Christmas money wisely. One way I did that was to shop at etsy. If you are not familiar with etsy, you must go check it out. This is a website where individuals can sell their handmade items. I love that my money is going to someONE rather than some big box company (ok, plenty of money went to them as well).

I purchased two items through etsy and both came wrapped very, very nice. They each had handmade cards thanking me for my purchase. One even had a bow wrapped around the item with a note that said, “Made by Susie! Entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom."

As recommended by Cousin Melanie, check out The Vintage Pearl at etsy. I love the square necklace items.

If you like the stamped jewelry look, you should also check out Lisa Leonard. She was one of the "originals" in regards to stamped jewelry and her items are gorgeous.

So please consider spending some of your Christmas shopping money with an individual rather than a major chain store. If you do, you'll have the satisfaction that your money is greatly appreciated and is going to help a family's income. If you spend $30 at Wal-Mart, do they really notice? But if you spend $30 with someone at etsy or someone such as Lisa Leonard, you know for sure that your money is appreciated!