Monday Gets A Bucket List

I was recently posting on a fellow blogger’s post Y and Z ~~ or the end of another challenge http://onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com/   I was congratulating her on her initiative to challenge herself to writing a book.  I made the comment that I have always wanted to do that in my life…..Just one of those casual, off-hand comments that you sometimes make in friendly replies.  Her response:  “why not I ask with all seriousness.”

It kind of sparked something in me that made me realize that unless we continuously challenge ourselves in our lives, we never really grow much.  It IS very important to make that Bucket List, otherwise, we will never push ourselves to new heights and new adventures.  We often fall into a rut that keeps us on the same path and doing things that we not only have become comfortable in our own skins doing, but also in what others have grown accustomed to for us as well.  So today, I’m doing it….

Monday Gets A Bucket List

Should I start big???  I would love to try sky diving….but I did promise my son that I will wait until I am well into my 80s to attempt that…..I’ll put that near the end of my list.  I’ll definitely put the book writing on my list.  I would love to write a screenplay too.  Oh heck!  Why don’t I just plan to write an epic novel that turns into an epic screenplay while I’m at it!!  Think Big Bucket, right?  I think I would like to re-visit the South of France too.  I had a wonderful experience there a few years back and would love to return some day.  I have a really good friend who retired recently and decided she wanted to learn to paint….and she did!  I would love to know that every day of my life was filled with time to do some kind of art…painting, pottery or maybe photography.  The three P’s sound good to me.  And speaking of retiring, I think it would be great to have a little camper/RV type vehicle that would allow me to pack up minimal belongings and take off to travel the good ole USA with my ole dog, Tramp.

Home Sweet Home

Just stopping along the way to visit friends and seeing the beauty of this country. The national and state park services have part time/temporary jobs that you can do at various places.  They provide some housing and meals and give you a decent salary too.  Maybe just work a season and then move on to somewhere else.  I could combine the art with the experience too.  Okay….I’m ready to start packing!

So really, the bucket list is about dreams too.  And, if we believe that dreams come true, then  the next few years are already planned for me.  I’m looking forward to the adventure.

So what’s on your bucket list?  What kind of dream would you like to come true?  I know you’re probably sick of my list suggestions by now, but this is a really important one!

Sit down, close your eyes and dream big!!

Write your bucket list….and then commit to making it happen.

I NEVER thought I would be blogging…..but just a little challenge from others and it happened! And the best part is that I not only did I never envision myself sharing my writing with others, I NEVER thought I would love it so much.  Amazing what happens when we challenge ourselves a bit.

Well, I better get busy….Epics take a bit of work.

Chapter One…..

Smiles, Nancy

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Monday Gets A Fresh Start

Today is Monday and if you let it…… it could just be the very best day of your week.

It can be the day you started a new diet (it seems to always be that day for me) or a new job or moved to a new apartment (excitement could be in the air).  Perhaps, it is the day you decided to clean out all the many years of clutter you have in your place (parting with all those boxes that have been taped up since you lived in two or three residences prior).  Perhaps, your office desk could use a little help….how many pens and highlighters do you REALLY need? And, shouldn’t you finally file all those loose papers in the bottom of your desk drawer?  Let’s make today a day of new beginnings……..

Monday Gets a Fresh Start

When we really, wholeheartedly commit to making a change in our lives, we shouldn’t think of it being just another chore or drudgery, but rather an opportunity to ultimately transform our lives for the better.  It can sometimes be an experience like getting ready to embark on a long trip to a place we’ve never been before or perhaps, one we haven’t visited in a long time.  We are a little anxious and may even consider not going; but we force ourselves to continue because we know ‘once we get there,’ it will be great.   That’s how you should think of making a difference in your life and making it a better place to be for yourself.

Perhaps, you thought of “visiting” this place several times; but something always got in the way and you didn’t quite make it to your final destination.  So this time, let’s start small and have a good “itinerary” so we don’t get lost.  If you want to start a new diet, start by just eliminating one of the bad things from your daily intake and replace it with one that is exceptionally good for you.  Then, next Monday do the same thing.  Before you know it, you will be feeling so much better that you look forward to each Monday and the positive changes you need to make.  Food should be something that nourishes our body…..not something that does a demolition job on our organs.

If the clutter in your life is dragging you down, start with just one box, one drawer, one anything!!    I know it doesn’t sound like much; but if you tackle one every Monday; and you start with today, that’s 30 containers you will have de-cluttered by the time 2013 rolls around!!  I think you will be surprised by how much stress it reduces too.  Perhaps, you might even consider donating some of that discarded stuff.   IMAGINE that!!  You de-cluttered, de-stressed AND you made a difference!

Maybe at your office, you decide to come up with one small idea every Monday that might make a difference at your workplace.  Maybe this week, you’ll start with cleaning up your own office workspace area and next week, you’ll organize the kitchen area.  Maybe you’ll think of a way to save some money for your office.  Perhaps, recycling all the cans and bottles from the kitchen or have a board to post coupons for everyone to share.  What changes can you make in the supplies that you use that might save some money?  How much paper do you waste in just one week?  All of these things will be appreciated by your employer, and it’s always fun to create a team of your fellow work mates to be a part of the process AND the success.

What makes us stumble in all the tasks that we swear we will start on Monday?  Is that just a human trait or has it just become a bad  and lazy habit for each of us?  Do we set ourselves up to begin something with great enthusiasm on the outside….but the inside is ready to sabotage the very first step?  I wish I could answer that question because I often suffer greatly in some of the “beginnings” that I plan to start for myself.

 But…..not today!!  Make some changes…make a difference….in yourself and the world around you.

So…..what are YOU going to change today??!!  Anyone have suggestions of how to help others succeed?  I am cheering for you.  Hope you will “cheer” for me too.

But….most importantly……Know from the start that YOU MATTER!  I’m sure you can make some new and exciting changes happen.

Hope you have a great Monday!

Make it the best one yet!…It could become a wonderful and enjoyable habit for you!

Smiles,

                                                                 Nancy

Monday Gets Historical

Have you realized that as you are cruising around during each day that you are passing buildings or trees or houses or structures that are filled with history…some are 50+ years old, some 100+ years old….some even more advanced in age.  Don’t you wish they could talk?  I decided to share with a few that I came across today.  They are all part of history and should be given the respect they deserve to have survived so long.

This sign indicates this road area was part of the Route 66 trail (now known as Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles).  Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and it supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway.  Next to the sign is an old neon sign that has its own history for the early 60s, a well-known donut stop in L.A.

Here’s the gates of the studio area that is today known as The Lot.  The studios were built in 1920 and in 1928 they were known as the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios where classics like The Thief of Bagdad and Robin Hood were filmed.  In 1933, Lucille Ball played a slave girl in her first movie, Roman Scandals.  Since that time it has had actors like Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and many others stroll thru these gates to create the Hollywood magic of movies, TV and sound recordings.  Sadly, a big section of this amazing walk in history is now just a pile of dirt as it makes room for space to build more technologically-updated space and creates a venue for the next generation of talent of Hollywood.

Can’t come to Hollywood without visiting the infamous Pink’s Hot Dogs.  A landmark on LaBrea since 1939 when it was just a large wheeled push cart and hot dogs sold for 10 cents.  It has changed a bit since the beginning days—hot dogs are now $3.45; but still in the same place and still draws crowds every day.  You can go by here at 10 in the morning or 10 at night and there is ALWAYS a line waiting to partake of their scrumptious hot dogs!

A favorite of mine is the old Charlie Chaplin Studios built around 1917 when the area was nothing but acres and acres of orange groves.  “The Little Tramp” kept his movie crew busy over the next two decades creating classics like Modern Times, City Lights and The Great Dictator.  Now, the lot is the home of another mark in history—Jim Henson Productions, which gave us the beloved Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets.

What an amazing conglomerate of many interesting and groundbreaking moments in history.  As we look back, we wonder what life must have been like in this area in the early 1900s.  Hundreds of orange trees growing everywhere.  Some of the eucalyptus trees in this area look like they are even hundreds of years old.  Amazing times for sure!  Difficult times too! There are a lot of bungalows around these historical landmarks that were built by the studios to house the actors.  Some of the places have nice patios in the back that were once areas where they kept a few horses for the actors to ride to the studios.  How different in a town that now boasts it has more cars registered in the county than people.

It’s important to stop and appreciate these relics that are around us.  I’m sure you have your own historical places in the town where you live. We need to take care of these special places and show them the respect they deserve for withstanding many “battles” in their lifetime.

 So Monday Gets Historical.

Take time to appreciate the old structures and their beauty.

Many amazing craftsman’s art is being preserved for future generations to appreciate and experience.

Look at nature’s creations too that continue to reach to the sky.

Within walking distance, I am sure you can find many treasures.

So take a walk.  See the beauty.   Experience days gone by.  And along the way take time to remember your own history and the “good ole days”

Hope it’s a history-appreciation Monday for you.

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday gets Thankful for the Memories

When I was walking my dog, Tramp, yesterday, I realized something interesting about myself.  By writing this Blog each week, it makes me stop to reflect about my life and makes me more appreciative of where I am in my journey today.  I know the many thoughts cross my mind daily; but writing them down adds value and nourishment to their existence and gives them a feeling of abundance.

I have always been one to appreciate small things; but somehow, every little thing I encounter now, seems so much more important.  I wonder what would happen if we allowed school-aged children to have a time in their daily lessons to reflect about their day.   No grade to be given or even any kind of judgment or revealing to others….just a moment to acknowledge their difficulties or happiness for the day.  I bet we would have a society of much more well-balanced individuals.

Do you take time to write your thoughts in a journal?  Probably everyone had a diary at some point in their lives.  I wish I had done more of it.  There are things when I was younger that I have just vague memories of that I would like to recall more details.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone kept journals?  If my Grandmother had kept a journal, I would love to be able to read it now.  She lived to be 96 and told tales of her life of leaving Virginia in a covered wagon to move to Tennessee.  What an adventure!   What a great treasure it would have been to have something like that to pass onto other generations! Hmmmmm….well, I didn’t take a covered wagon; but I did cross the country to move to California.  Guess that counts for a bit of adventure too…And I have pictures to go along with the documenting of the journey.

Perhaps, you should consider starting the habit of taking notes of your daily life.  Maybe it will help you realize how many good things come your way.  Or perhaps, it will be something that you can read ten years from now and recall some really special moments.  Or maybe, your children or your grandchildren will read it some day and “get to know you” a little better.  I bet iPhones even have an App for the process!   Whatever you do, don’t let the precious moments get lost.

Let’s see what can we call this Monday??

I know…let’s call it

Monday Gets Thankful for the Memories

Hope you take the time to reflect on some of the special times that have happened in your life.  Maybe call someone that you haven’t talked to in ‘many moons’ to reminisce about some good memories.

It’s another wonderful Monday….Make it a good memory!!

Smiles, Nancy

Monday Gets Honest

A co-worker was quite surprised this week when I told her it was really difficult for me to commit to writing this Blog each week.  I am so busy with work and just the every-day routine that I am having trouble squeezing it into my schedule.  Last week, there was some kind of technical issues going on with this site.  When I would hit ‘save draft’, it would completely delete my entire post!!  I would have to start from scratch (by the third time, I got smart and copied it somewhere else; so I wouldn’t have to COMPLETELY re-write it AGAIN) and repost it.  This all added to the already time-consuming task.  All of these difficulties made me question why was I adding to the stress in my life by making this weekly commitment; and very honestly, I have had to push myself each week not to give up on it.  I started a list of pros and cons (yes, I have lists everywhere) and for a while I sat and looked at a piece of paper that just had in the “pros” column that ‘I liked when the post was all completed and posted for the week’.  I liked the finish product; but couldn’t come up with any other reasons doing it prior to that final moment of publishing.

It’s supposed to be about the journey along the way…not the finish line, right?  I think I lost sight of what was the finish line and was feeling each week was a hurdle that was the end of the journey……

I'm finished!!

Regroup….Rewind….ReThink.

I started this Blog because I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to use my weekly happenings to encourage others to make a difference too….in themselves and everyone and everything around them.  I wanted to let you know that You Matter; and what you do is important.   I thought if I could share some of my stories that it would inspire you to do things a little different each day.   I wanted you to realize that if you would “Just Start With Monday” to do something that would make a difference that the days following could be even better and good things would come from your efforts.

I’m not a writer.  I’m not even a very good story-teller.  I took a Creative Writing course in college; but I didn’t do very well in the class….so what was I thinking when I took on this huge weekly commitment with so little knowledge or expertise behind it??!!  Should I just stop with Week 6?  Hmmm. 6 out of 52 is not so good, huh?  I’m not usually a quitter; but 52 weeks from now seems like a long way away from today.  What should I do?

Well, here is what I’ve decided.  I still want to do things to make a difference; but if I make this seem like such a difficult task, why IN THE WORLD would you want to do the same.    I think goodness and kindness and wanting to show you care is a natural part of everyone.  I just need to focus on that important fact and everything else will fall into place.

You won’t find a Pulitzer Prize writer when you read my Blog each week.  You’ll just find an individual who struggles just like you do to sometimes get through Mondays too.  But, you will also find an individual who is committed to fulfilling a commitment and a purpose.  I want to make not only Mondays a good day of the week; but soon Tuesday thru Sunday will be just as important and fulfilling for each of us.

So, you and I are in this together.  We are going to help each other do good things.  I hope my weekly stories will inspire you to try new things and push yourself to accomplish many good things.  I’d love it if you would share your stories too.  That’s what it’s about, right?  Just start with one individual to make a difference and they will inspire others to do the same!  And the whole point is that you don’t need to be GOOD at anything….you just have to do GOOD things!  “Do Good for Dummies” will probably never be published because it just isn’t necessary.  We ALL are capable of easily accomplishing good things.

So here’s a big cheer for MONDAY!!

Go Monday!

I think it is the most important day of the week.

Hope I have your support to help make it special.

Go Monday!   Go Monday!   Go Monday!

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Eye-Opening

For The 2012 Tax Season: Nearly 99 million people have filed their individual tax returns.  Over 210 Million have visited the IRS website.  Over 224 Billion Dollars have been refunded to tax payers.  (I am ‘batting’ 2 out of 3 on these statistics….no refund in my pocket this year!! 😦

Maybe you’re reading this post while waiting in line at the post office for that prized, date stamp on your IRS envelope proving you made the deadline.  Or maybe, you’re surrounded by many little pieces of paper in a last-ditched effort to not have to file an extension.  Or maybe you’re sitting back and breathing a sigh of relief that you were among the 99 million that have already had their returns processed.

No matter what your situation, Today is a day to acknowledge……

MONDAY GETS EYEOPENING

I have noticed since I filed my Return, I have been scrutinizing every receipt I get….is this a tax deduction?  where should I file this?  Realization hit that I don’t even have a filing system set up to save receipts for the coming year.  But more importantly….I have been questioning, with each purchase, do I really need this?  Definitely, an ‘eye-opening’ experience to take the moment to take stock of your current circumstances……

Did you Know?….

  • Only 24% of consumers have the recommended six months’ savings cushion.
  • Less than 24% have ‘not a single penny’ tucked away. Only 1 in 4  could easily survive a huge demand in their budgets.
  • One survey indicated 56% of adults don’t have any kind of budget.
  • About 1/3 of Americans don’t pay their bills on time.

So how do we get in some of these situations?  It didn’t just happen overnight, my friend!!  Creating budgets means setting goals.  I’m not really one who asks myself where do I want to be in five years….not to say, that’s not a great idea.  We all have different capacities and for me, it is about what do I want to accomplish by the end of 2012.   It is a conceivable ‘finish line’ that I can easily visualize.

What works for you?  Maybe start small and just tuck $5 or $10 into your piggy bank each week.  Maybe make a point of emptying your change each day into a jar.  It’s really amazing how much can accumulate in just one month.  My Dad use to religiously do that each day he came home from work.  When I wanted or needed something special, it was amazing the amounts he could ‘pull’ from his glass jar!!  It took me a long time to learn (and appreciate) his spend-thrift ways….but better late than never!

So get some paper and write down every single penny you will need to spend in the next month.  I get paid twice a month; so I divide mine into two columns.  Be sure to include food, utilities, gas and any other amount that is constant.  Be honest with yourself and include everything, including those expensive lunches(sometimes breakfast and dinner too) and your Starbucks’ visits. Tally them and subtract the amount from what your total monthly net income might be.  If it’s a negative number, then it’s ‘back to the drawing board’ to find a place to conserve.  The ‘food’ item is a place to start.  Food category should include those expensive lunches and café lattes.  Bet you could pack a lunch that is much less than what you are spending to eat out every day and also much more nutritious and yummy too.  I like to save on gas spending for my car; so I park my car on Friday after work and don’t move it again until Monday morning.  I save gas money AND I walk more; so I’m improving my health (which also will save money in the long run) and improving my budget all at the same time.  Not to mention….my dog, Tramp, loves walking too.

Now, if you are in a better place financially, and your bottom line number was positive, you still have work to do.  What do you foresee in the near future that you need to save a few bucks?  Kids heading to college soon?  Might need a new car in a year or so?  A special trip?  Purchasing a new home?  No matter what it is, just be sure to tuck that extra money away

AND try to improve your budget in places that you can add even more to that nest egg.

Another thing to think of is something that can be expended for Free…..Your Time.  Maybe you and your neighbor could barter skills….you could walk their dog every day while they are at work and they could take care of your dog while you’re away for the weekend……Have you priced what it costs to board a dog over the weekend!!??  Maybe you could start a garden together?  or have a garage sale?  or perhaps, you could get together with a few people in your neighborhood and have a pot luck dinner?  Whatever it is, you will be saving money AND helping out someone else too.

So……Open your Eyes!

Deal with Reality and Move yourself to a better place.

Only YOU can make the changes.

I’m headed to file all my receipts away in an organized way.

Then,  headed out soon to check my garden on the patio.  Yummy things are popping up in every pot we planted…..saving money—eating healthy.

What are you going to be doing?

Whatever it is…..realize that you are making a difference for yourself AND for others around you.

Making choices is a good thing—it’s about being the best you can be and wanting to live a rewarding life!

Have a Great Monday—Make it the Best Day of the Week.

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Personal

It is April and the month is filled with celebrations….Earth Day, Arbor Day, Easter, Passover, Wesak and glorious Springtime, just to name a few!   Time to rejoice in the joys and miracles of life and new beginnings.  Often April is filled with lots of family time and moments reminiscing of past celebrations and loving acknowledgement of new things yet to come.  I thought it might be a good time to stop and reflect on each of our lives….where I am, where I’ve been and what possibilities might be on the horizon……

Monday Gets Personal

I’ve told you a little bit about where I’ve been in previous posts.  I don’t want to bore you with all the many trails my life journey has created.  I think I could probably start my own State Park with all the winding paths I’ve experienced.  However, I do want you to take the time to think about your life…..but I want you to just think of all the good and positive things that have come your way.  Do you have a nice family?  Good health maybe?  Children that you are proud of that you have raised to be kind and loving human beings? (I’ve been blessed with a wonderful son, who lights up my heart with a smile each time I see him.) Maybe you just paid off your house and labored hard for many years and can now celebrate the accomplishment?  Or maybe you are about to celebrate a special wedding anniversary?  Relationships are difficult and huge commitments.  If you have maintained the love and trust and respect that takes to continue, then give yourself a huge round of applause.

We all have something that we could celebrate and be proud of today.  Make sure you grab the moment to not only congratulate yourself, but also another person in your life who has been along for the journey with you.  Let them know that “they matter!”

I’d love to share with you what the future might hold for me; but since I don’t own a crystal ball (I meant to ask Santa for that last year), I don’t think I can do that today.  Guess I could just make up my own creations of what I’m going to be when I grow up.  However, I kind of like to just be surprised by all the twists and turns yet to happen.  I’ll just have to share with you in future weeks what exciting adventures I experience.  Let’s hope for everyone that good things are on the horizon.  Times have been difficult for a few years and it would be nice to feel we are through the roughest part and our daily routines become less stressful.

So, today, I’m just going to focus on where I am at the moment.  Today is Monday–A new opportunity to start the week to make a difference.  But most importantly, I want to acknowledge and share the wonderful, personal feeling I have today ….. “I Matter”.   I can make a difference!  I can change the world!  I can do something to make my life better and I can do something to make someone else’s life better!  What does it take?  Simple things…..a smile, a helping hand, a thoughtful acknowledgement to someone that you love, a hug, a kiss, a letter to an old friend, planting a tree, drinking more water, walking your dog an extra time around the block (Good for me and good for my dog,Tramp too)…..  Whatever it is….Just Do it!   Now!     Today!

One thing….Two or more…All of them!

Tell someone that they matter to you.

It makes me feel happy when I do that.  Hope you get the same feeling.

Come on….Join the Movement!

Be a part of the Every Monday Matter Team!

Pass this Post on and share with others so they can feel “They Matter” too.

Here’s something from me to you….Hope it makes a difference in your day.

Have a great Monday!

Smiles,

Nancy

A bouquet of smiles to brighten your day!