Growing the Business, It's About Living Better, More Than Just Makeup, Thoughts of the Day

When You KNOW your WHY… then what?

Then, you need to know your how.

Where do you begin?  When does it really start?  What’s the first actual business step you should take?

I once met a very young mother, single and barely getting by.  She invested her last $25 for the month in the hope of being able to give her 3 year old child a fine birthday party. Her ‘why’, well it was simple – and by many standards, mundane.  I tried to help her understand that she could have a yard sale to earn the money she wanted.  THIS, was a business… for her future. Surely, she had a larger goal… a “real” reason for giving up her last $25 for the month.  Maybe, she could plan to pay the electric bill each month with her business profits, how about growing a big enough customer base to make a car payment, even save for an educational goal.   That size business goal would surely allow her to give the party each year and not just meet her immediate need.

So, really… your next steps are up to you and your ultimate goal (or your ‘why’).

In all cases, the next step is about you… not what someone tells you to do. There are normal steps in normal companies… but you are building YOUR personal business and it has to be about you.  So, how do you grow you?

Maybe you’ll spend time investing in yourself… spending time learning about the company, the products and services you choose to represent, the top producers in the company and the possibilities and probabilities.  If there’s time, it could be beneficial to learn the top earners routines, success stories and regular work habits.  Which of these can you adapt into your own life?  Did I say “life”?

Depending on your destination in business, you’ll need to invest time, money, other resources, your imagination and business skills. How will your business be defined?

www.youravon.com/lil
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

How will it differ from the other thousands of entrepreneurs? Can you see yourself with a calendar ALWAYS at your fingertips?  What about carrying business cards and maybe samples in the car.  Is it your desire to get up everyday, dress up and look smashing? Will you love being “on” all the time?  That’s what we sign up for when it’s a real business to grow.

How will you decide to run this business?  Will it be in person, in an organized area, online only or a combination of available options? Will you learn or use your skills in social media or special events along the fair routes?  I even know one woman who purchased an air-stream trailer and outfitted it to sell her wares in a pop-up store of sorts.  How will you operate?  What do you look like in your business?  What are you wearing, driving, listening to?

Now that you know your WHY… what’s next?  What do you need? What resources are required of you? In my business, I invested. Not just the $25, but 750.00 in event fees, 200.00 in event equipment (tables, signs, etc), and $2,000 in event inventory.  Within 90 days, the investment was returned, plus an average of 30% on the inventory, by following the companies suggested steps and a few of my own. So the next months and thereafter, the earnings have been 40% and about 10% reinvested.  Do I have inventory on my shelves?  The company says it’s not required, but they don’t tell you it’s a good thing to do.  Your judgement will tell you that.  I know which customers will always order their favorites, so I purchase ahead for them to receive the best price or incentive.  That’s the only inventory on my shelves.  I invest more heavily in samples.   I did a test once, I invested $5.00 in samples and the orders from those samples totaled $32.80 (at 40%, I earned about $13, the first time and I’ve lost count of the reorders of those products, to those customers.  Samples are a good thing.

So, how will I answer the original question?

When you know your WHY, then what?

Then, visualize yourself being successful. Where are you, how are you working, what do you look like? What car are you driving? Are you alone or with others?  Do you sit at a desk, in a booth or walk on the street? Do you work everyday or once in a while? Will you stay with it til you reach the goal or will you give it a set time to work for you?  Do that by writing it down, studying the winners, list the pros and cons, survey your support system for their opinions. Do the work, if it’s a long term plan. If you just need a birthday party, I’ve got lots of fundraising ideas for you.

If you want a real business, and you’re interested in my company, click here and make your easy investment.  You’ll decide later, and I’ll walk you through it, what other investment you’ll make.

I’m anxious to hear about your answers to the question. Feel free to comment below or message me here.

 

 

 

Advertisements
It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Beautiful Hankies

When I was a girl, I remember seeing Grandma with an apron in the kitchen and a small hankie in the pocket of that apron.  In the hankie was a small round box of snuff. Close by was her coffee can (we won’t talk about that).  She had a quilting frame hanging from the ceiling and a sewing basket was always nearby.  She sat in “her chair”, sometimes with her feet propped up, always with a hankie in her pocket or sitting in her lap.

It was white, most of the time. Sometimes it had lace, or ruffles, sometimes it was thin and transparent. Sometimes it appeared to be more of a face cloth.  But, ALWAYS a hankie on her person.

On the other side of town, Great Granny (other side of the family) rocked in her chair on the braided rug. She died when I was about 9, so my memories of her are not as complete.  She cooked, sewed (in fact she smocked our dresses), and could tell good stories when she wanted us to take a rest on her big bed with the chenille bedspread and tufted pillows. She always wore an apron (hankie inside the pocket).

Mom gave me Great Granny’s apron when I started my Hope Chest, at 16.  It was the first item to go in! It hangs proudly in my laundry room on a faux clothesline.  The pocket has clothes pins in it, a safety pin through it and a hankie peeking out, of course.apron

Her hankies were printed, I know because I gave her some for Christmas. It was a box of three! I wanted to buy them because I saw her using Grandpa’s handkerchief once and it seemed so big in her tiny hands.  I was so proud to give her that gift. Mom let me deliver the Avon brochures to earn the $.75 it cost to purchase that box with the cellophane lid.

Her daughter in law, my Granny, used elegant hankies. Her’s were more costly, I supposed,  and fancy, as she was the first woman in our family to become a business woman. She was very fashionable, could design clothing and then sew them for the public.  She mixed face powder downtown in her regular job and later took up bowling tournaments to win a little on the side. She finally landed in Real Estate, joining the Million Dollar Circle when I was 14.  She pinned her hankie to her dress with a sweet brooch in the 30’s, kept one in her bowling bag at all times and I found one folded neatly inside her Bible when I was a child sitting in church. She used her beautiful hankie to wipe my mouth clean of the Ruby Shock red lipstick from mom’s Avon box when she came for a visit. And in her 90’s, she kept one in her hand or pocket to wipe her eyes as age related Macular Degeneration slowly and viciously stole the vision from her soft blue eyes.

My mother used hankies many times through the years. She tied my lunch money in them (until it became fashionable to use socks) and pinned it to my dress. She embroidered initials and sweet little flowers on the corners of some for gifts to give. She made dolls from them and we used them once for Halloween ghosts. She pinned one across the v-neck of my sweater for modesty when I was 12. And once, she lost a lot of weight during an illness and her wedding ring fell off. I watched as she tied her treasured black-hills gold band to a hankie and then tied it to her bra inside her work uniform.

When I was 18, mom really didn’t want me to marry.  But sadly, she participated with a smile and a hankie. Her mother, my Grandma, had given her a beautiful blue hankie with small pink flowers on the corner and a white edge. Grandma didn’t get dressed up to go anywhere anymore and this was a fancy, sheer hankie – made for a special occasion. Mom tied it to my bouquet so I would have all the generations of love with me. I kept it in my wedding journal with the pictures neatly pressed with the dried boutonniere  worn by my dad. Later, I tied that same hankie to my daughters bouquet in order to send generations of love down the aisle with her.  I made a baby cap with some purchased hankies for my granddaughter and my friends daughter and made hankies for work peers as gifts, back when I could sew. For a long time, I kept a hankie in my Bible, like Granny.  It came in handy with small children, emotional moments and emergency spills.

My friend, Rita, slipped a hankie in a card when my mother died. I was surprised to find it there and appreciated it at that moment.  I used it for months as her absence became more and more real.  What a lovely gesture of thoughtfulness. That one measure of kindness has added comfort to my life so many times. The same hankie comforted me as I bid farewell to my sister and a few good friends since then.  I used it when I was nervous, when I was sad, and when I was afraid. It’s like the tears in that hankie brought strength when I needed it most.

Yesterday, while cleaning a buffet drawer, I came across a stack of hankies. The fabrics are all different, some are printed and not, lacy and plain. hankie They are everyday hankies that were owned by some great women. I started collecting them as the powerful and loving women in my life left the earth. Today, I washed them fresh and pressed them (yes, with an iron) and made them ready to give someone else comfort. I hope the new owners will feel comforted by the generations of love carried within the tear-filled and lipstick- stained threads of the women who came before me- full of love, faith and determination.  My heritage.

I think it’s time these treasured hankies get back to work, don’t you agree?

 

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

It’s Been Awhile

I’ve never taken a month off in my life!  This was a first.

No writing, no recruiting for my direct sales endeavors, no creating posts or following up. No phone calls for orders (I just took what came in and felt grateful), no suggesting new products or looking for new affiliates. No cooking or dishes, no yard work.

I didn’t even enter my office.

The laptop was more of a dust-top!

So, how did I spend that valuable time?  We took a little 10 day road trip, then a smaller 3 day road trip and then…  we did whatever the day brought.  vladislav-babienko-703733-It's Been Awhile.jpg

Studies have long suggested that vacationing was good for productivity, creativity, employee morale and our overall health.  Many workers still don’t take vacation due to work constraints or finances.

In our case, Honey was physically worn out and needed to just lay around and let his muscles recoup. After years of physically carrying his day to day load, walking more than 7 miles with it and the time pressures of completing his daily rounds successfully, he was tired, sore and finally required hip surgery. These days, those same workers drive that 7+ miles and work in clusters. I guess it took the old guys time to get to the decision influencing level to save those following in their footsteps.

Later, workload didn’t keep me from going on vacation, it kept me from taking time to plan a vacation. We would choose the date in January and then, months later, the appointed day would appear and nothing would be in place to make it a good, quality release. So short “vacays” or combining vacation days with other events became the norm.  I’m here to tell you that those are just not the same as the last month we took off and were spontaneous most of the month.

We are not big travelers. Airlines have their share of issues these days and the airports are so crowded. There are just too many people around for us.  We don’t live off the grid, but my children would tell you we are in the middle of nowhere.  We like our peaceful surroundings, trees, no traffic (about 6 cars a day)… so traveling to big cities, in airports, train stations, etc. have no appeal.  Been there. Done that. It was fun.

We like to drive.  We like to be close enough to see the mountains, the trees, the animals, the local restaurants, the artisans and walk around small town streets.  I like visiting local museums, playing with grandchildren, cooking with my daughters and swimming alone.  He likes sleeping late, hotel waffles and looking at old stuff.  If we could figure out how to travel with both dogs, we would be in heaven.  Leaving them overnight, much less 10 nights, takes planning! And not worrying about them while we are gone uses up half the time of the “no stress” theme. They are so spoiled, boarding just won’t work. Besides, they always stink when they get home.

The dogs are big and what I call, yard-dogs.  They are mixed up breeds, sweet, affectionate and loud.  We didn’t train them to walk on a leash or socialize them (because that wasn’t a thing in our rural home), and they really like running in and outside all day. We won’t be traveling with them anytime soon.  They think the only time you get in the car is to go to the vet for shots and pedi’s.  Walks down the oil top road are familiar routes and don’t require leashes that keep control.

We planned half this vacation. I put my direct sales business,  Avon  on auto and we hired our friend to come each morning to feed the dogs, give them access to the yard and play with them for a bit. Then, our daughter stopped by each day to rub on them and hand out the treats. Our friend returned again and locked them up for the night because in the pasture and woods there are coyotes and now, a lingering bobcat.  See what I mean, it takes planning.

For my direct sales businesses, (retired doesn’t mean dead) I used Hootsuite.com to schedule all the posts on the pages and groups, packed note pads and copies of brochures to have at my fingertips.  I notified everyone that we would be on vacation, left them the website addresses and promised them a treat if they placed orders on the website during my absence. These businesses, can run automatically because they can use technology to get service and I’ll still earn a bit. I just need to work ahead.  Knowing that everyone is taken care of makes leaving for a few days, quite easy.  The few messages I received on my phone were forwarded to my lovely daughter for handling.  She was able to fill some emergency orders (gifts) from my very limited inventory and enter a few orders for non-techy customers in the Avon app, so I could complete it when I arrived home.

A couple things came up (with the dogs) during our half-planning that made us delay our trip by a week. But, when you are driving and retired, a week is nada!

Finally! The day has arrived.  Did we get up all energetic and ready to go?  No… we slept late, ran some errands, had lunch with friends and left at 5:30 pm on a half planned 3,000 mile road trip! No reservations, just the gps app and an end goal.  First stop… Ft. Worth (3 hours), to drop off my favorite living plant. Daughters-in-love are grand, especially when they have a green thumb!

No stress, no mess, ready to drive. Looking for mountains and grandchildren out west.

 

 

 

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Cucumber Smile

I love things that are impromptu and special, don’t you?

Like an unintended event that caused two friends to have time together – unplanned and totally unique?

I had a day like that recently and it turned out to be a fun day filled with surprises.

The original plan for the day was to clean out two drawers (it’s a process), cook a new recipe, try to sit and write something personal, bathe the dog and trade my rental car for another.

Instead, I found myself getting dressed quickly, lunch at a new restaurant with my friend, a walk about town (complete with a tad of networking) and a new discovery.  I didn’t get the car returned, but I did make the phone call.  There’s always tomorrow, right?

So, about the discovery.

lillmi.com
Beautiful produce from the Farmer’s Wife in Mt Pleasant, TX.  An impromptu smile!

I have a wonderful reputation for NOT cooking much. When I have, over the last 10 or 25 years, there hasn’t been much to brag about. Instead, I’ve entertained quite a few with my screw ups.  We’ve laughed over ingredient subs (because we lived 8 miles from town) that didn’t work, ingredients left out, burning biscuits, gray dressing and I could just go on and on.

So much so, that when the covered dish dinners were planned, everyone told the hubs what to bring and suggested I might bring the ice, tea, paper goods, plastic ware, etc.  It worked for me!

Now, things are different.  It’s part of my adjustment to not working … some call it retirement, some call it unemployed.  I call it a new season.  So lately, I’ve focused my energies on cooking healthy meals, eating at home, trying new things and resurrecting the meals I used to cook “before”.   I still choose to stay away from the Oatmeal Cookies… so humiliating.

So back to my day.

While walking around town, we ventured into a few little shops. Adorable. My favorite was the Farmer’s Wife. An indoor, air conditioned (thank you) sweet little produce market complete with a selection of wines, beers and healthy treats.  Veggies everywhere, a just-right mix and amount for a cute little market.

lillmi.com
Alexia and her trainee were so welcoming and knowledgeable… making the shopping experience very personal and pleasant.

The owner is so knowledgeable about her family-farm produce that I just couldn’t keep up with it all. My mental notes were not clicking. I was too relaxed and enjoying my friend.  I zeroed in on this beautiful pale green, velvety cucumber… as long as my arm!  Honestly, it was smiling at me. It was beautiful and I was amazed at how heavy it was. She told me all about it, and I forgot it’s name. Her description was perfect  and I felt an urge to give into the tempation. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do with a cucumber that large.  But I had to have one.  I grabbed two of the cleanest yellow squash I’ve ever bought and knew this was going to be an interesting evening.

So, first let me say… next time, I’ll buy this one on the way to the car… not on the way to shopping! It’s big enough to make a difference. Like I said, it was an impromptu day.

Once I got home with my cuke, I had to decide what to do with it. It wouldn’t fit in the refrigerator. Had I forgotten there are only two of us now and neither of us eats too many cucumbers?  I immediately photographed it and text the pictures to my very best foodie friends.  I guess I’ve had my head in the sand, because they knew exactly what it was.  I’m even more excited now.

I cut the tip off and it’s more solid in the middle. The seeds are so tiny around the outside of the slices.  I cut about 10 slices and proceeded to gather some ingredients I remember mama using on her cucumbers.  Olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley, cherry tomatoes, purple onion slices and how beautiful it looked.  I added a little kale and spinach under it, tossed it all together and there ya go!  Not the new recipe I had planned for tonight, but a new recipe I remembered from my childhood.  I don’t know if I ever really made it myself, but I can just picture her doing it now. Her hands were just like mine are now.  I remember the way she sliced the cucumbers (she sliced two at a time).  I remember her washing the onion after she peeled it. I remember how she covered the vinegar bottle opening with her thumb to let the proper amount drizzle out all over every single slice. Mama loved cucumbers.  Into the frig for about 20 minutes and I just couldn’t wait any longer.

lillmi.com
Yummy cucumber, cherry tomatoes, purple onion slices mixed with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Check out the huge cuke leftovers! I need a bigger family!

Well, the texture was a little different.  The slices were crisp and the fresh fragrance was “melony”.  I think I added a little too much vinegar but I can adjust that next time, after all I have plenty.  After cutting 10 slices, it still looks whole.

So, any covered dish dinners coming up? I’ll donate a cucumber salad for your event. Ha!  I’m off to grab my computer and research some cucumber recipes. I have lots to use and it’s so tasty, I don’t want to miss it.

Sometimes our plans are just that… our plans.  I love it the way God makes us see that ours are not necessarily His.  Beginning with the ‘unintentional’ and ending with a beautiful day of friendship and the gift of sharing a new discovery with my family and willing friends, the day was way more successful than I could have ever hoped.  Remember, it’s about living better!

Feel free to share your impromptu moments below. I’d love to read them.

As for tomorrow?  Bring on the impromptu!

 

It's About Living Better, More Than Just Makeup, Thoughts of the Day

Fundraising with Students

Every year thousands of Student organizations across the nation work with sponsors to plan important community service projects and fundraising efforts that will be needed to support their plans.

Every year thousands of Non-Profit Organizations depend on the fundraising efforts of the community to help support their goals.  It’s a win-win.

As small children, parents begin by teaching us to share with others.  To donate to special causes and plant trees for the environment or deliver food to the shut-in neighbor.

By the time a student reaches the classroom, the education becomes more a formal avenue for sharing.

Community Service Fundraising For Students
Photo Credit: rawpixel-661925-unsplash

Teachers and club sponsors, (bless them) are diligently juggling the needs of the district, the students, the parents, the community and that’s just at work!  So fundraising needs to be simple, straightforward and achievable.

It’s an unbelievable opportunity to teach students about handling money, sharing, approaching a sale, customer service, entrepreneurship, trust and teamwork. It can be such a valuable character-building opportunity that Avon is proud to support.


It’s important to have a plan. 

What’s the Lesson?

How will a fundraising event support the objective?

How can the community use the funds from this project?

HOW will we support our chosen project?  Click here for a few recommendations

How much time is required to reach the goal.  What IS the goal?

Which students will commit to the goal reaching? Which parents or sponsors are willing to assist?

Where, when and how will the fundraiser take place?

What’s the hard deadline for submission and delivery?

Who will be in charge?

Who will analyze and report the results?


At what level will the project include the students? Planning,  Neighborhood Sales, Digital Sales Team, Expediters (assemble the orders), Distributors (deliver), Monetary Team (manage the finances). Recognition Team (plan to recognize top sellers and/or teams), Marketing (get the word out to the community) Quality Assurance (help others with struggles).

Depending on the age of the student, teachers may need a parent meeting or a lesson on making change, shaking hands, greeting, selling and personal safety.  (Don’t forget PARENTS need to accompany smaller children and keep older children within sight)

For upper grade students, goal setting, planning and achieving are empowering lessons to support decision making for the future. Self awareness, presentation and safety are also corresponding lessons.

MORE THAN JUST MAKEUP is pleased to offer virtual and age appropriate introductions to the students’ fundraising project when registering for an Avon Fundraising Event.

Each project will include a Memory Jogger Activity to help students identify potential customers or locations to collect donations and sales.  An Event Planning Checklist is also available to registered organizations.

Student fundraising projects can be unbelievably successful for both the givers and receivers, with careful planning and support of a dedicated team.   Choosing a well recognized company, trusted for years in the US and abroad, that can provide professional resources, will help your fundraiser succeed.

What are your fundraising challenges?  We’d like to help.

 

 

 

 

www.youravon.com/lil
It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Blooming Success!

It’s been almost a year since I learned about life changing forever!  Everything happened at once.  It was both annoying, maddening, freeing, frightening and I felt blooming crazy.

One of the things that helped me find a little sanity was the Girl Project.  I had always wanted to be able to go out to the back yard (garden, for my new UK buds) and sit in the morning with coffee or tea.  I imagined myself enjoying writing from the patio, watching the dogs play safely away from the trucks (Texas folks like to drive trucks, ya know). I would be able to smell the aroma of beautiful flowers, see the green trees at their best, the blue skies of my rural life and there would be no work involved to keep it that way! Ha!

Well, the no-work part didn’t happen.  I’ve had to pull some weeds, shape some shrubs and prune the roses.  Much easier than if I had to do it all from scratch. Remember, I love my desk and my car… not a shovel or trowel.   I love heat and air conditioning, not sweat and cold.  Thankfully, the weather cooperated and I didn’t have to sprinkle the yard or cover anything from freeze.  My “girls” made sure everything was just as I needed it to maintain their hard work and my granddaughters are closer to the ground than me, so they did a great job when the weeds started growing faster than I could pull.

It’s been getting a bit dry, and it looks like the rain is coming.  The farmers across the road are mowing their pastures, so it must be time to mow the yard.  My love is out there getting that done, so I took some time and scissors (I know it should be a different tool) and ventured out to see what blooms I could find before they get pounded away.

What a beautiful sight!  I am so excited!  Take a look at the blooms from the back yard. They weren’t there a couple days ago… yesterday we were out and about til dark, but this morning!! How exciting I am to show you the blooms I brought in!

bloomingsucccess

 

Now, I’m not an arranger, so I guess I need to put that on my list of things to do in retirement.  Because, the “girls” did so well, I know I’ll have blooms all summer on the hydrangeas, beautiful color from the variety of lily’s and the fragrant gardenia!  The honeysuckle on the dog’s fence is fragrant and the rose bush is climbing across the new closed-in porch. The miniature crepe myrtles are still growing and I’m just totally excited.  It’s going to be perfect.

After the rain, I plan to start loving my dream yard.  I’ve picked out my tea cup, my tea flavor and I have the press all ready to go to the back yard on my beautiful copper serving tray from Avon Living.  I’m glad I got it during the holidays. The copper is perfect. There are some beautiful serving pieces, I think I’ll just need to add to my perfect backyard table… stay tuned.   It will be a great place to test products, write suggestions and continue my venture into my personal retirement transition. Who says you have to stop all work?  Aren’t you supposed to do what you love?  I love playing with makeup, rearranging furniture (poor hubs) and redecorating on a budget.  The daylight will be fantastic!

Since this is written, maybe I won’t even “work”  … just enjoy the day, the dogs and some lovely blooming success. Sometimes the success is just about living better in the moment.

Now, let’s all be thankful for the rain that WILL find my backyard! I have confidence in the farmer’s judgement, my girlfriends’ advice and good labors and my ability to adjust to my new found freedom.

 

 

 

It's About Living Better, More Than Just Makeup, Thoughts of the Day

Long weekend Try-Outs

I tried a few new products this weekend.

First, Oui French Style Yogurt, from Yoplait.

Now, I know it’s probably not new, but it is new to me.  I’m that girl that hates to shop in the store. You know the crowd,  the overwhelming choices and being the planner I am… I never go with out a list.  AND, I only buy what is on the list!  So, for me to find something new on my own, without first hearing about it from a friend, is just a miracle.

So, on this day, I just couldn’t get up the appetite for anything at home and went looking for “yogurt”.  Thank goodness my list didn’t have a brand or flavor already chosen!  As I entered the dairy section, (after a 6 months absence) I noticed the yogurt section had changed dramatically. There were so many different labels and offerings.

Point of clarity: I shop a small local grocer when I’m desperate. Price won’t matter. Cleanliness does. Service does.

So back to the hunt for the yogurt.  I’m sure someone who walked up might have thought I was a wax figure as I stood there reading each variety of label front.  Peach, strawberry, blueberry, vanilla, orange, caramel, chocolate… and it goes on!  Line after line of white plastic containers with all sorts of flavors and styles.

THEN! Right above my eye level there’s this glass jar of yogurt. I could see the product inside. Brightly colored yellow on the bottom…lemon. Pastels with fruit were strawberry and raspberry.  Beautiful!

So, as you can tell above, I tried it! Don’t you love the smooth texture of yogurt?  This is supposed to be french style… and I’m not a gourmet, so I really couldn’t tell the difference between it and other Yoplait yogurts. But, let me tell you… on this day, at this time… it tasted excellent!

I love that the label is removable and the container is glass.  It has a rounded edge and it’s quite adaptable for other uses.  I do love to re-purpose.  Here’s what I used the first jars for:

I can’t wait til I find some ribbon or maybe tape to decorate them. I’m sure I’ll have a complete collection soon. While I like the clear water in the flower container, I think I have some music print wrap paper to decoupage the pencil jar for the piano. I’ll be looking for rose gold washi tape for my foundation, to match my system!   I have a special event coming up soon and I think they’ll make nice bases for centerpieces. Maybe if I start now, I can root some pretty ivy for the table.   It’s sort of like having baby food jars again, without the twist at the top.

The next thing that was new to me was a personal cleanse product. I’m not great at this but why not? It’s a long weekend, no where I have to be and it just might give me a jump on next week’s health kick.  Yeah, I decided to try to summon up some extra will power and do a better job planning meals and getting exercise.  So, I read some labels and most seemed rather daunting. I found this one from ESPIRA.  It says it’s a 3 day cleanse.  Three caps in the morning and three in the evening for three days. Easy to remember… the power of 3!  I really couldn’t tell I was “doing” a cleanse and I felt great at the end of the three day period. Everything seemed quite natural and it seems it helped reset my metabolism rhythm.  I read someone said it’s the gift that keeps on giving, ha!

www.youravon.com/lil
three day gentle cleanse to help reset metabolism

Of course this brand has other products and I think I might try the Hunger Block. Taken 30 minutes before meals appears to be the secret. All the products are Vegan. And, as I’m going to do a better job of meal planning, that may just support my goals while I return to better habits. There are also shakes that one friend loves. She adds peanut butter and almond milk to hers. We’ll see.

Next, I will be moving around more. I’ve decided to sweep the sidewalk everyday instead of every two weeks. I’ll also take both dogs walking instead of one. If the hubs wants to walk one of them, that dog will be extra happy.  I earned a Fit Bit once during an incentive, and I have it all charged up and ready to go.

So, I think having a long weekend when you are retired is a little useless. I enjoyed them more when I was working. Now, they appear to be an opportunity to explore and find something new. Of course, it’s still a time to remember or celebrate certain historical acts, but as far as being off work… I’m always off.  (maybe in more ways than one)  Just as a note, I may earn a little from any purchase you make of espira, but the yogurt review is all on me. I love it and plan to be specific on my shopping list.  Lemon is my favorite flavor!

Finding new products and taking time to share them with others is a great way for me to be about living better, in my book!  I’d love to know your thoughts about how I spent my long weekend. Just take a minute and jot it down at the bottom of this post.  Subscribe, if you like.  I’ll let you know what else I discover about my new retirement adventure.

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

It’s a Grand Night with the Grands

This morning.

Excitedly, I enjoyed the grand girls.  Rarely do they stay over on a school night.  A series of comical events took place and that’s how it came to pass… but that’s another post!

First, I need to say the eldest will graduate high school in a couple of weeks.  I was present when she was born, but my favorite baby memory was toddling as fast as she could across the living area, slamming the wall with the loudest thud! So excited that she arrived first at the wall, turned with eyes blazing and CRASH! Down came the shelf holding granny’s antique ruby cut glass goblets.

Every single piece broken and shattered.  The now 18 year old graceful beauty, stood there, frozen with the biggest smile and eyes flickering.  Trying not to panic, I said ‘great job!’, be very still”.  Poppie was about to lose it behind me.  She was barefoot.  I reached over, grabbed her up and we laughed as Poppie grabbed the broom.  Safe baby, no more ruby cut glass goblets.

Now, during her last two weeks of high school, I get a night. Like the days when her mother was small, I made school lunches. Turkey on cheese bread, veggie bag, lil cheese and freshly made fudge.  I even drew pictures on the sacks so they could tell them apart (I bet they appreciate the heck out of that embarrassment ).

The middle child is just exactly that. She agrees to second fiddle when the sleeping choices are discussed. She’s happy to wait her turn in the conversation and pleasantly lays out all her clothes for the morning. Since I’m a makeup freak, I’m her best friend right now. I have tons of makeup. She especially likes the airbrush because it’s different, but shy’s away from skin care (which is ok, for now).

The ‘little’ is all under my feet! She wants to help make fudge. She talks incessantly. She’s excited to learn to read the recipe, and I am able to help by stirring the sugar and butter, as her reach is quite short. She didn’t taste it once… not even once! She measured twice and got everything just right. A little impatient waiting for it to boil, we had time to talk about her upcoming piano recital, the STARR test tomorrow (what?) and my iPad needing charging. She was first to rise this morning and prepare for school before making her way to the kitchen to check on the fudge.

At grandma’s we always have ice cream with breakfast. We’ve done it since our now 20 year old grand was a tot. Her mother was not too sure about that, but continues to deal with the ritual.  Today’s menu includes egg taco’s, salsa (we usually have pancakes) and ice cream. What else?

https://lillmi.com
Ice cream goes with breakfast at grandma’s

Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

It’s fun to be a grandma. You don’t get days like this very often. When I do, I try to make the very best of them.  Soon (very soon) there will be two to stay over on a school night. It will never be like this again.

How excited I am to see the next phase, when I have three adult grands and six little’s. What’s your favorite grandma guilty pleasure?  At this time, while discovering my own retirement phase, it’s definitely going to be an adventure in living better! 

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Happy Birthday

This was mom’s Birthday week. Had she continued to walk on this earth she’d have celebrated 86 birthdays. She was 24 when I was born and 32 when the sixth child arrived. She could sing alto in the choir, work in the school cafeteria, dance in front of the TV, create feather flowers with the neighbors, drove the get-away car while we papered houses, and we could hear her calling at 9 pm, three blocks away. I’ve been thinking a lot about her this week.

I know my mom baked birthday cakes for us every year… I just don’t remember them. Not even one. She was a cook, when she worked and I’ve seen pictures of me with siblings standing around a cake or two.

I had two childhood parties for my birthday. The first, no one but my grandmother and family came (which was a crowd). I waited for friends, but honestly, I can’t remember if I invited them. Daddy had just poured a new sidewalk next to the porch and I took great care to draw a hopscotch game for the party. I found the flattest rocks in the backyard and smoothed them with water to use as a puck. I wore red shorts and played barefoot for hours hoping they’d come. It was thirteen days before Christmas and it was an unusually warm day in Texas. My sister told me to quit waiting because we ‘had built-in friends’ and we didn’t need them to have a party. I was 10.

Five years later, the second party was great! I had begged to have one at night.  I was a member of the drill team, student council and choir at school, youth choir, Sunday School, and the Girl’s Auxiliary at church.  I had close friends who lived near, or whose parents would drive them. Our home was tiny. Mom moved all the furniture around to give us a dance floor. My brother loaned me his black light posters and stereo. My sisters helped remove the pictures from the walls and hang the posters.  In retrospect, I can’t believe she let us go to such redecorating lengths. We bought records that I loved with the money Grandpa gave me and my friends brought some, too. We had chips, dips and rice treats, Dr Pepper and Birthday Cake… it was store bought and decorated. I thought it was the best! We danced, laughed and the crowd spilled out to the front yard where a few innocent kisses were stolen while we whispered secrets to each other.

After most of the kids left, mom took my two stay-over guests and I out to play a little more. We gathered the pink toilet paper and blessed some unsuspecting acquaintances with being popular! It was an honor to be ‘papered’, ya know. Mom had a great arm… she could throw that roll over the highest tree or roof. I can still hear Daddy now… ‘Peggy, you’re going to pay the fine if you get caught’.  She just smiled as we went out the door. We drove down the main city streets, vacant and inviting at midnight in the suburbs. She slows the car just enough to let the lights turn red. Someone yells ‘Chinese Fire Drill’ and everyone jumps out and must circle the car, and jump back in before the light changed. Giggles, trips and falls… after three or four of those, we were worn out and ready for sleep on the pallets prepared for us while we were gone. It was a wonderful Saturday night and Sunday morning was church day and we couldn’t possibly be late! First… off to our friends to help clean the yard! We wanted to stay friends … and we wanted their Dad to welcome us again! So up early… lots to do!

When I turned 40, Mom and Daddy drove 45 minutes to decorate the door of my downtown business with a big handmade sign (Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s Forty), placed a baby picture ad in my town’s weekly paper and delivered a home baked cake to my office. I arrived at work to find that sign and knew it was her doing. I was so glad they took time away from the daily fishing trip to join me for lunch. It was a great party.

Mom knew how to have a great party. Not the fancy kind with pretty glasses and silver, but the kind that touched you where it counted. In your heart.

My mother taught and lived this: everyone matters. It wasn’t some slogan, it was real.  All six of us knew we mattered. Everything is not perfect when the family is large and simple. What matters is that she and Daddy grew a family and it is beautiful. Mom was the heart of our family and taught us to remember that the heart matters when it’s about living better!

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Mesmerizing Dreams

Chocolate, wine, fresh strawberries, long hot baths, walks by a quiet stream, and camp fires: mesmerizing.

Don’t you just get lost when you stare at a fire? It’s like you can see the future or hear a voice from the past, even see what the accomplished dream can look like!

What would your fire say to you?  Do you hear negative bits or do you hear “I think I can…” or do you silently plan for a successful project, meeting or birthday party?

 

the flames of the campfire can bring to light, the future!
Gathering around the campfire can be the start of something new!

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Mesmerizing moments are important to have as they allow you to dream a dream of future fulfillment.  Can you see yourself in the fire, dressed up in that special dress or successfully performing a cool yoga move?  Visualizing is a good way to grow.  Grow your dreams, find a path to your dreams, discover the next step to your dreams.

Are you working on feeling fit and therefore, looking your best? Visualize the “you” you’re working to reveal. Eating right, exercising, spending positive moments with yourself is a step in the right direction.

I visualize myself playing with my youngest grandson. He’s almost old enough to pull in a tiny bream, like his mother did when she was about four. She got so excited she nearly fell in the stream and her alert auntie grabbed her by the pants waist just in time to help her fly back to the bank… fish still on the hook!

I have three years to make that dream come true.  I can see the little guy snapping the minnow on the hook, just the way my daddy showed me. I can see him wiping his hands on his shorts and standing impatiently on his short little legs while the minnow swims about fiercely trying to find somewhere to go. Poor minnow.

Hopefully, my grand boy won’t give up, but find a comfy spot to sit (not in the ants, mom, I promise) and watch the water. And listen to the birds. And take notice of the clouds and their shapes. And get excited when the bream grabs the hook and startles him to jump and yank the hook while it “sets” in the fish’s mouth for the ride in to the bank.  It may seem primitive, but children need to learn where the food comes from.  Fishing is a good start.  Cleaning can be a bit much, depending on the child.   We froze his mother’s first fish… in a plastic bag of water, and kept it in our freezer until she came home with a husband!

Once caught, the fish is no longer the pet in the bowl, but the animal that provides nutrition.  Who knows if he will even like to eat fish. I bet he will love to catch fish… most children do. And it’s a new skill to learn and enjoy. I’m hoping I’ll be the one to teach him. Just to hedge my dreams, I sent him a plastic play pole with a magnetic fish for the pool. He can practice.  As my visual continues,  I can see his smile in the fire. It’s a look of accomplishment!

Back to the fire.  I like to visualize new projects in order to find the next step. Or think about what the room might look like if I moved the furniture.  Watching the flames dance about and enjoying the warmth of a cozy fire gives magic to the dreams.  When we were younger, we added detergent boxes to the fire for color.   Dreams need color.

I love to sit in front of a fire with marshmallows, chocolate, a bit of wine and maybe even some strawberries on the side. I think I may have inherited that simple joy from my grandmother.  On the last family camping trip we all made together, Granny spent much of her day gathering small sticks and twigs to keep the fire tended.  She could sit for hours around the fire, stirring it, moving the kindling in and about.  I watched her and we noticed. It was her favorite place at the campground … when she wasn’t fishing!

Sitting outside under the stars, watching the dancing flames is a perfect scenario for dreaming alone or with a loved one and a good way to continue living better!