The One Thing That’s Wrong With Your To-Do List

To Do ListI flopped into bed, exhausted and emotionally wiped out. It had been another one of those days that seemed to go in a wildly different direction than I had planned. A late school bus threw us off schedule and everything else followed suit – forgotten lunchboxes, car batteries that died, dinner that was overcooked, a troubling phone call from a friend and soccer practice that was moved to another location 30 minutes before it started.

As I melted into my cozy mattress, I began to mentally list the things I had not accomplished – the long list of To-Do’s that didn’t get done. There was a pile of dirty dishes still in the sink…a load of laundry that never made it into the dryer and would certainly need to be rewashed… a looming client deadline that would now require me to pull some late nights… and several errands that simply had to wait until tomorrow.

I felt like another day was lost. I was so discouraged that I was now “behind schedule” once again. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we obsess with tackling our LIST and feel like a failure when we don’t GET THINGS DONE?

We measure our success based on how much we accomplish. How many miles did we run this morning? How quickly did we shower, make lunch and get the kids off to school? How many tasks did we cross off the list at work? How many phone calls did we return? How many bills did we pay? How well did we get that orange juice stain out of the carpet? And how much did we save with coupons at the grocery story?

I don’t know about you, but when I rock these tasks (heck, even when I simply complete them haphazardly), I feel like a huge success! I go to bed at night feeling accomplished. Validated. Feeling like a GREAT mom! These are all good things to accomplish – as long as they don’t come at the expense of truly BEING a great mom (or wife…or friend…or sister…or daughter). [Read more...]

7 Rules for Thrifty Back-to-School Shopping

back to school shoppingI was in Target one day picking up a few items when I saw a mom with an overflowing cart of school supplies. Ugh…is it that time already? For a moment I felt guilty because I’m always the slacker mom who sends her kids off to school with barely the essentials and does her best to catch up by the end of September. But as I watched this woman negotiate with her 7-year-old who was throwing a temper tantrum about a lunchbox, I was reassured that my way of back-to-school shopping works just fine for me.

I may not get EVERYTHING on the supply list…and I certainly don’t buy it all on time. But I’m willing to bet we spend less money than some other families. The National Retail Federation estimates the average family spends $669 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics during the back-to-school shopping season from July through September. That’s a lot of notebooks!

Here are a few of my personal tips for saving money – and saving your sanity – when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

7 Rules for Thrifty Back-to-School Shopping

1. Go Solo. I know it’s tempting to make the back-to-school shopping trip a special event to help children get excited about the start of a new year. But I personally haven’t found shopping with my kids to be effective. I spend less time and less money when I make a list and knock it out on my own. Of course, I need the children with me to buy shoes and some clothes, but the supplies I can do on my own. When I do take them with me, I give them a budget and let them use their own money if they want something more expensive.

2. Wait and See. There’s no medal for completing your back-to-school shopping before the first day of class. In fact, I find there are always a few teachers who add to the supply list in the first couple of weeks. And there are often better sales later in the season. Last year I waited so long to buy my daughter safety goggles for science lab that she ended up getting a hand-me-down pair from another student. Gotta love a resourceful child!

Oh, and when it comes to clothes, I most definitely don’t buy a new fall wardrobe in August. Why? Because it’s still 98 degrees outside and by the time the weather cools off enough to wear jeans, my kids will have undoubtedly had a growth spurt. [Read more...]

Meet Featured Member Sheeba Varghese

Sheeba VargheseHave you ever had a moment in your life when you knew things had to change? I remember being frozen in time one day about 9 years ago. I was changing my son’s diaper and he was smiling, cooing and searching my face for attention. He was such a sweet baby and all he wanted was for me to look him in the eyes and let him know that I saw him. That I really truly saw him. But I was too busy with all of my “mothering tasks” to be the kind of mom he needed. The kind of mom who was really there for him. I felt the Holy Spirit wash over me as I realized how I had been looking right through this lovable little boy…how I had been entirely missing his most precious days. I held him tightly. And I cried. I sobbed. And I decided that something needed to change. I wish I had known Sheeba Varghese at the time. I had to figure it out on my own and it wasn’t easy. But Sheeba helps moms like me all the time. She’s a blessing to these women and a gift to mothers everywhere! 

Meet Featured Member Sheeba Varghese

Business Name: defining moments 365

Business Description: Sheeba works with moms who feel stuck in the routines of life and want something MORE. She helps them to DEFINE new moments that encourage and support them to thrive in all areas of their life.

Sheeba’s Story: After the birth of my 2 sons, and the constant travel schedule of my husband’s career, I made the choice to stay home with the children. I am not sure if anyone can truly be prepared for that type of transition. I know I was not. I had transitioned from a high school classroom to a new classroom-my home. I made it through diaper changes, bottle cleaning, and sleepless nights. And before you knew it those days turned into preparing lunches, circle times, and play-dates. It was during the summer of 2009, that I found myself wanting something more but I didn’t know what it was. I felt like I was in a rut personally and professionally. Each day just rolled into another. I deeply valued the time and opportunity to be at home with my children AND I also knew that I wanted to utilize my talents, gifts, and skills in other ways too. So, I found myself searching for my next steps. 

This is what I did know for sure:

1. The element of teaching and training was important to me.

2. I loved encouraging and motivating others to follow their dreams and passions in life-whether they were young, old or older.

3. I was passionate about empowering and encouraging others to see the potential within themselves.

4. I did not want to pursue my master’s degree for the sake of achieving another degree.

It was not until I saw this short article-in fact, it was the very last article of Costco Connection Magazine titled, One Step Can Make Huge Life Impact, that totally changed my life around. It was a defining moment for me. It was a moment that made a huge impact in my life. Once I read the article, I felt inspired to research the author. I didn’t stop there. I took many more little steps that led to the birth of defining moments 365 in 2010.


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