6 Steps to Making Your Bucket List Come True

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Bucket lists of what we want to do in life are fun to make, but they are rarely accomplished. Here are six steps to making a bucket list you can achieve in your lifetime.

Step 1: Write down everything you’ve ever wanted to do in life. Now is not the time to censor the list. Even if something is impossible, write it down. There are three types of things you’ll have on your list.

Experiences: These are things you want to experience in your lifetime. You might want to go on a safari in Africa or see the Grand Canyon. You might have always wanted to parachute out of an airplane or see a ballet.

Goals: Goals are things you want to accomplish in your life. You might want to become a published author or learn to knit. Whatever your goals are, write them down.

Milestones: Milestones are stepping stones to larger goals. A goal might be becoming a published author, and a milestone might be to finish writing a novel.

Step 2: Look through the list and cross out the things that are impossible. It’s important to understand the difference between impossible and improbable while you’re doing this.

Impossible is an out of shape eighty-year-old woman who has never been rock climbing to climb Mount Everest. Improbable is a forty-year-old woman who has never been rock climbing to climb Mount Baker in Washington State, a mountain that beginning climbers use to improve their skills.

Don’t let lack of money or resources keep you from crossing out anything. Lack of resources make something improbable, but there is always a chance the resources will come from unexpected sources.

A word of caution – if God has put in your heart to do something impossible, leave it on the list. With God, all things are possible.

Step 3: Circle anything on the list that is very important to you. It might be important for you to travel to Paris, but going to Hawaii isn’t that big of a deal. If this is the case, circle Paris.

Step 4: Narrow down your list to three items, and draw stars beside those items. These items are the things that you wouldn’t feel good about unless you accomplished them in your lifetime. Make sure you don’t only circle goals. You might want to circle one item in each category.

Step 5: This is where you brainstorm. What would you have to do to fulfill these three things on your bucket list.

One or two of them might be easy. If you want to see Paris, and you have the money, all you have to do is plan the trip. Write down everything you need to do to plan the trip.

Others might be more difficult. If Paris is on your bucket list and you have no way to afford it, brainstorm about ideas to make money or determine how much you would have to save out of each paycheck to be able to make the trip.

If you have circled a milestone, write beside it what larger goal you’re going after. That milestone will get you closer to your goal.

If you have circled a goal, it may take time to accomplish it. Write down the milestones you need to get done first.

Step 6: This is the most important part. Write down what you need to do to accomplish your goal or milestone. Break it up into small increments. Then schedule these items on your calendar or daily to do list. For instance, if you are out of shape and want to run a marathon, walking a mile every day or going to the gym three times a week might be your first step.

Before you know, you’ll be able to concentrate on three more items on your bucket list.

Spring is in my Step!

By Carole Brownspring flower free

Every year, seasons tussle through the months over whose turn it is to share their delights with the world. Winter’s fading strength is pushed back by strong trees determined to pull on their leafy green clothes again. Brave little spring flowers thrust heads out of the ground to soak up every ray of sunshine they can glean. And in spite of the lingering or persisting cold snaps, spring pushes back, and has her way in bringing new life to the world again. 

What puts the spring in my steps?

The colors:

  • Red Bud Trees: the purplish pink explosion against the duller, left-over somberness of winter. 
  • The Ornamental trees: Bradley pears that flaunt for a short time their snowy white flower caps, the Cherries and Chinese trees with their darker reds that blot the landscape with vivid brightness. 
  • The regular fruit trees: whites and softer pinks give a delicate touch of livening color and  promise of delightful fruits in the summer. 
  • The flowers: the vivid reds, yellows and oranges of the tulips, the bright oranges of poppies, the daffodils arrayed in a variety of yellows and whites, the purest of white Easter lilies. 

The wild things: the delightful, purple violets, and flowers I have no names for, the tiny, barely-seen white and pale blue ones found in lackadaisical lawns, the larger, wild ones with smelly smells, and stubborn growth habits found in the woods and alongside country roads, the yellow and white daffodils that can not wait for spring time and often bare the evidence of a frost or two, yellow bushes that sway and bend with the winds, the heady-smelling hyacinths and sweet lilies of the valleys that peek from beneath branches of statelier growth, the purple and pink and white lilacs that delight not only the eye but leave their pleasant scent for all who venture close by.

All this and more puts spring into my steps. The beauty and persistence of God’s nature that determines a show of life for us, is one of the greatest blessings given to us. I love spring, and thank God each part of it that reminds me–anew–every year of how blest I am and have been to be able to enjoy all of it. freedom happy free

 

Come on. Walk with me. Breathe deeply. Feast your eyes on the colors. Relax. Enjoy. Live. Step lively. 

 

Happy Spring!

Guest Author June Foster Talks About 9 Things to Do when You’re Bored

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

June Foster’s is our guest author today.

I’m Bored by June Foster

I’m bored.

The message on the teenager’s shirt at Walmart glared at me. Why did it seem so offensive? I had to think a while then it dawned on me.

Life is a gift. When we’re young, we don’t realize how fleeting it really is. The Bible says we are like grass. We flourish like a flower of the field. Then the wind blows over it, and it is gone. Young or old. We don’t know when our last day will be. We don’t have time to be bored!

Boredom is telling God we don’t appreciate the day He made. He gave us today to enjoy. It’s a glorious opportunity, filled with chances to live for Him and do wondrous things.

Okay, then. Like what?

Maybe you live a mundane life with very little happening. Or you’re so consumed with “doing and going” that you don’t have time to think about or serve God. Maybe you believe you are only one person and can’t make a difference. Or your life is so routine, and nothing ever happens. Or your sphere of influence is limited. Or you don’t have any friends. Or you live in a small town with little opportunity. I could go on.

Don’t believe it. Instead of sitting around being bored, ask God how you can serve, how you can impact your community—rural or metropolitan, ghetto or suburban. You might be surprised what He’ll drop into your life.

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Become the best cookie maker you can and take the sweets to a women’s shelter or orphanage.
  2. Memorize twenty verses from the Bible and say each daily. Look for ways to incorporate those verses in your life.
  3. If a teen, do one thing every day to help your mother or father.
  4. Buy a pack of greeting cards from the dollar store and send out one a day to people who need encouragement.
  5. Go jogging in your neighborhood and pray for people you see or meet along the way.
  6. Form a literary group. Read and discuss a classic such as Pilgrim’s Progress.
  7. God has an infinite number of projects for you. Do something for the glory of His Kingdom instead of sitting around being bored.
  8. Oh yeah, one more thing. Turn off the TV.
  9. You don’t have time to be bored.

Misty Hallow

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son is a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

 

10 Ways to Spring Clean and Still Keep your Sanity

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Spring is almost here. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather enjoy the nice weather than be cooped up in the house doing heavy cleaning. But it’s something that needs to be done. Here’s some of the things I’ve tried to keep it from devouring my life and my time outdoors.

1. Make a plan. Spring cleaning goes better if you make a plan of attack. Write out a list of what you need to do and the order you’ll do it in. This link will take you to a site to help you make a plan for cleaning and organizing your home.

2. Start at the front door. The easiest way to Spring clean is to start at the front door where company sees and move from room to room until you’re finished.

3. Have three bins or boxes marked Put Away, Give Away, Store, and a trash can for throwing things away. It will be much easier than having to stop to put things where they belong.

4. Avoid distractions. Let family and friends know this is the time you’ll be Spring cleaning. Turn off your phone, and don’t answer the door. And don’t turn on the television or check FaceBook or you’ll whittle away the whole day.

5. Turn on some loud music. It’s much easier for me to clean when I’m jamming to my favorite music.

6. Get family to help. After all, they live there too. Decide on a week for your family to help you. Then give them each a list to complete in that week.

7. Have a yard sale. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something if you have a yard sale at the end of your project. It will empty the house of clutter and fill your pockets with spending money.

8. Make plans for meals. Use your crockpot or order pizza. You won’t feel like cooking after a day of cleaning.

9. Spread it out. There’s no law you have to do all your cleaning in the Spring. Decide on a room to clean every month. Or download the My Home Routines app or use the app online at this link.

10. Hire help. I’m serious. It costs an average of $25-$50 an hour for a housecleaner to come in and do your heavy cleaning. For $200, you could get everything done but the organizing and be free to enjoy your life. If you can afford it, isn’t it worth cutting your budget somewhere else and spending the $200?

Now that you’re done inside, enjoy the beautiful weather.

 

 

Ten Things I Love About Spring

by Carole Brown

Spring, for me, is edging up close to number one as an all time favorite season. Could be the older I get, the less I enjoy wintry outdoor activities, or could be I’m just a baby about the cold. Whatever the reason, Spring is blooming in my heart!

Here’s my list of reasons why, in no specific order:

  1. Warm weather. Yeah, that. Cold winter winds that blow your features to a different location on your head is certainly not my cup of tea. sunshine free
  2. Sunshine. Love sitting outdoors, closing my eyes, and lifting my face toward the sun. Wonderful feeling of life through my body!sun free
  1. Lighter clothes. Yes, I love my sweatshirts and sweaters and boots. But shedding them for lighter shirts and sweaters and cute summer shoes is a definite feeling of freedom. It’s time to sport about in my favorite spring colors again: coral and aqua! Light, fun, and springy!clothing spring colors free
  2. Outdoor activities. Whether it’s once again picking up the walking/running or work on the property or grilling or gardening, it’s great to be outdoors again!garden tools free
  3. Gardening. It’s once again time to get ready for our vegetable garden. Hubby built raised gardens for me. Much smaller than we use to do, but enough for us, and we love picking cucumbers and tomatoes and broccoli (and strawberries!) fresh from our own work.garden strawberries free
  4. Flowers. I can barely wait to see the first flowers peeking through the soil and blossoming with determination and spreading their own type of joy to beholders. I’ve been asked before what’s my favorite, but that’s hard for me to pinpoint. I love them all.flowers spring free
  5. Grilling. Yeah, it’s time to cook outdoors again. One of my very favorite things to do is use my grill and come up with some interesting, different, and sometimes new menus. Awesome dinners.Grilling penquin free
  6. Leaves. Love the clothes the trees wrap around themselves when spring arrives. Those fresh, light green colors promise fun times are ahead.leaves trees free
  7. Holidays.

Easter is a holiday I enjoy. I appreciate the meaning and the feeling of renewal I always sense. I’m humbled at the love God had for us to send his Son to die for us. 

And later in the spring, knowing I no longer have my father and/or mother, I enjoy remembering them and all the reasons I loved them during Mother and Father Day Sundays. Easter free

10.  Lastly, it’s time to start planning for some spring and summer adventures. Whether at the beach, mountains, or wherever else our interests take us, it’s sure to be an amazing time. Spending time exploring, re-enjoying favorite vacation spots, and discovering new adventures with family and friends is a true gift from God. beach3 free

What’s not to love?

Do you have a favorite season? Why is that? 

Have a great Spring and Summer.

And One More Post…TenLove Quotes

by Carole Brownheart-balloons-free

Women are meant to be loved, not understood. –Oscar Wilde

Things are beautiful, if you love them enough. –Mademoiselle Colombe

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. –Robert Frost

People are not going to love you unless you love them. –Pat Carroll

Love betters what is best. –William Wordsworth

You know it’s love when all you want is for that person to be happy even if you’re not part of their happiness. –Julie Roberts 

Whelove-valentines-freen love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. –-unknown

The greater love is a mother’s, then co
mes a dog’s, then a sweetheart’s.
–Polish Proverb

A heart in love with beauty never dies. –Turkey Proverb

But the greatest of these is love. –Holy Bible

10 Life Hacks for When You are Overwhelmed

Hand Writing HELP on Whiteboardby Tamera Lynn Kraft

No matter how well organized we are or how well we plan, life sometimes throws us a curve ball. An illness, family emergency, or a million other things can steer us off course, and there is nothing we can do in those times but hold on tight and ride the wave through it. Here are ten life hacks to help you when those things happen.

lists-freeMake a list of things to do. Even when you don’t have time to do your to do list, it helps to write everything down. Then go through the list and cross off everything that doesn’t have to be done. Write an L for later beside everything on the list that has to be done but can wait until your past your emergency mode. For the rest, decide what you can delegate to others.

Hire help. Sometimes it is worth spending a little money to free up your time during emergencies. There are lots of companies that are willing to mow your lawn, run your errands, do your shopping, and clean your house. You can even take your laundry to the laundry mat and have them wash, dry, and fold your laundry. You may consider these services luxuries you can’t afford, but remember this is a temporary fix to get you through a tough time.

Say no. You are in emergency mode. You don’t have time to take on any new projects no matter how worthy they are.

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsGet your family on board. Explain to your husband and kids what’s going on. If you have close friends, get them involved too.Tell them you may not be there for them like you usually are and ask for their help. Also ask them to pray for you.

Give yourself permission to not be perfect. When you are in emergency mode, let your motto be “good enough is good enough.” Perfection is for people who have more time.

Use essential oils in a diffuser. This really works. I recommend Young Living Joy or Peace and Calming.

Have a cup of tea. While coffee might energize you temporarily, it will also make you nervous and on edge. Tea calms the nerves and makes everything better.

Exercise: Common sense says you don’t have time to go to the gym, but exercise helps stress levels come down and will keep your on task.

raising-handsWorship: Crank up the worship music and play it while you are doing what you need to do. Also take some time out to worship God. God will redeem the time you spend in His presence.

Ask God for peace and joy. God can give you peace and joy in the most difficult times. Peace and joy are not based on your circumstances but on God’s mercy and grace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.