Sunday, May 30, 2021

101 Things to Learn in Art School - Book Notes

I'm taking an eight-week photography course and the instructor recommended quite a few books to read. One of the books was 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White. 

This book is better suited for those in art school or who were art school graduates. It has more of a visual artist/painter focus more so than a photography focus. 

However, there were some interesting points that related to photography:

- Composition is the foundation of image-making.

- Art is a continuing dialogue that stretches back through thousands of years. What you make is your contribution to that dialogue.

- All art is quite useless. Art isn't utilitarian, and if it is, perhaps it isn't art. Art serves as a non-practical role in our lives, but that does not mean that it is not vital or necessary.

- All images are abstractions. Even photographs. They are never the thing pictured; they are a conceptual or mechanical reproduction of a thing past. 

- For every hour of making, spend an hour of looking and thinking. 

- Making art is an act of discovery. If you are dealing only with what you know, you may not be doing your job. When you discover something new or surprise yourself, you are engaging in the process of discovery.

- Art is a form of experimentation. But most experiments fail. Do not be afraid of those failures. Embrace them. Failed experiments lead to unexpected revelations.

- Carry a sketchbook or journal. Ideas and images can be fleeting. It is important to capture them when they occur to you. 

- Learn from your fellow students. Emulate the things they do well, and learn from their mistakes and their successes. 

- Avoid cliches and one-liners. Try to avoid shopworn images, such as a crying baby as a symbol of vulnerability. 

- The studio is more than a place to work: it is a state of mind. It is the place where your practice is established, and the place where you experiment and meditate on the results. 

- Eliminate the nonessential. Every work of art should contain whatever it needs to fulfill its descriptive objective but nothing more. Successful images have no dead spaces or inactive parts. 

- Document your work. Keep a record of the stages of your work. 

- Not every art school graduate becomes a successful artist. But the training one receives in art school opens avenues to the whole world. Art school teaches one to observe carefully, describe precisely. find solutions to problems through experimentation, keep an open mind to all possibilities, and to accept withering critique in the pursuit of the not yet realized. These are the skills of adventurers, visionaries, and builders of a future we cannot yet fathom. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Launch - How to Get Your Kids through College Debt-free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward - Book Notes

This week I've been going through books I checked out of the library. One that I found helpful was Launch - How to Get Your Kids through College Debt-free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward by Jeannie Burlowski. This would have been a great book to read about 4 or 5 years ago because there are suggestions for each grade level from middle school to high school.

Some things I found interesting or helpful from the book include:

- Before the age of 24, the prefrontal cortex of your child's brain is not sufficiently developed to be able to succeed at large-scale tasks that require high-level evaluation of risk and preparation for the future. College financing is an adult task, and doing it for your child will be one of the greatest gifts you can give her as she launches into adulthood.

- Dave Ramsey recommends not paying the highest interest debts first. Rather, knock off the easier debts. You'll start to see results and you will start to win in debt reduction. 

- Save money until you have 3-6 months of expenses saved for unforeseen family emergencies. 

- Provide for your retirement every month.

- Success in school and in life really has little to do with brains or luck and everything to do with organization, process management, and continuing to try hard every day.

- Encourage daughters to open a Roth IRA. Put a little money each year into a Roth IRA account. Any money put aside won't be counted on the financial aid forms. After five years go by, she'll be able to take up to $10,000 tax-free and penalty-free out of the account and use it toward a down payment on a house. She can also leave it in the account and use it for retirement.

- Brainstorm with your child about what she will do this year to help the humanitarian cause she's adopted as her own. Make a plan and schedule it. Add what she does on LinkedIn. Look at "Eagle Scout Service Projects" and modify one of those to fit her humanitarian cause. 

- After December 31 of their sophomore year of high school, students should reduce their work time and instead do volunteer work and job shadowing. FAFSA will look at how much teens earn and will start reducing their potential to receive free money financial aid for college.

- Start a business with 100 or fewer employees and invest money in that. Do this by October 1st of your child's senior year of high school. 

- Put extra money in retirement. They will never be counted as your asset on any financial aid form. Do this also by October 1st of your child's senior year of high school.

- Don't fill your bank accounts with a lot of extra income starting January 1st of your youngest child's sophomore year of college. You can also pay your child's future college bills in advance. See how much a college will allow.

- Child should continue with one special extracurricular activity she's planning to stick with throughout high school. 

- Have your daughter look for a discounted community college class that she can take in the summer. 

- Do these assessments: StrengthsFinder 2.0, Strong Interest Inventory, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

- Look at safety numbers for each college.

- Do college visits during sophomore and junior years of high school. Parents and students should make the visits together.

- Apply for ten private scholarships every summer and every summer through college and graduate school.

- Update LinkedIn profile regularly. Include work experiences, job-shadowing experiences, and volunteer and service hours. Link to more of her parents' friends, her employers, and others.

- Do job-shadowing in one or more of the career fields that look exciting to a student. Do this for a day, a week, a few hours a week, or for months. 

- Write one good, strong, college application essay two months before the end of 11th grade. 

- Write down the names of 3-4 adults she could ask to write letters of recommendation for the college and scholarship applications she'll be submitting in her senior year. 

- Type a "dream sheet" of details she would love to have mentioned in each of her letters of recommendation. 

- Send a handwritten thank-you note to all of her recommenders. Include a $10 gift card to a store that sells practical items.

- After the summer of 11th grade, she can earn a maximum of $6,000-7,000 without compromising her financial aid eligibility. 

- In January of senior year, send an update letter to the admissions department of each college that she has applied to.

- Organize something big to serve the community in the summer before senior year and during senior year. 

- On October 1st, fill out the FAFSA form. About a week before then get an FSA ID so you are ready on October 1st to fill out the form.

- Adjust things about your family finances so that you don't accidentally appear wealthier than you are on this year's FAFSA form. 

- Be sure to preserve an emergency fund as a safety net just in case there are unexpected expenses over the next 3-6 months. 

- Pay in advance for a needed home remodel (e.g., windows, appliances)

- Use your available extra cash to pay down high-interest consumer debt.

- Plan a special family vacation for the summer after your child graduates from high school. Close, family memories will give your high school graduate a stable platform from which to launch into adult life. 

- Do not announce where your child is going until all the financial aid award letters have also arrived. Do not make any final college decisions until you've received financial aid award letters from all of your child's accepting colleges. Examine them individually and side by side. 

- Confirm with colleges that if a student receives a scholarship that it doesn't reduce other college scholarships/financial aid. Confirm that awards are for all four years - not just the first year.

- Do not take out any Parent PLUS Loans. Ask what alternatives the student has. 

- The Federal Direct Student Loan administered under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program allows the future possibility of public service loan forgiveness (PSLF). She can have all of her student loans forgiven just 10 years after college in exchange for making 120 on-time payments while working 30 hours a week or more in a profession that serves the community or the world (e.g., public librarian, tax-exempt charity).

- Squirrel extra cash away in retirement accounts.

- Make all your usual monthly purchases right before you fill out the FAFSA form. Make an extra payment on your home mortgage. Reduce the available cash sitting in your savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, etc.

- See how much money your daughter has in her accounts in her name (not including the 529 and retirement plan). They will reduce her need-based financial aid by 20% of that amount. 

- Get rid of student loans before the college graduation date by applying for more private scholarships. 

- Have a thoughtful conversation with your child about what's going to happen with her high school graduation gift money. 

- By May 1st tell the winning college yes.

- Parents need to take care of themselves, especially after their child's high school graduation. 

- Create a printed thank-you letter with her picture on it and send it to people who've helped her get to college. Talk about the career she's aiming toward, list the colleges she got into and which one she picked, any scholarships she's received. Leave a blank space to handwrite an individual thank you to anyone who gave her a gift. Send this to any special teachers she has had, mentors, pastors, volunteer job supervisors, people she job shadowed, close relatives, people who wrote her letters of recommendation, and others who've helped her.

- Register for college courses at the earliest possible opportunity.

- Make sure that all college credits earned in high school have been officially transferred to her college. 

- Double major for a student who wants to take college classes in a field with lower future income potential (e.g., art, music, humanities). Pair an art degree with a graphic design or web design credential to give more opportunities after college.

- Ask the financial aid office how soon she can apply for her work-study job.

- Every time you receive a bill from the college, check each individual line item. Especially watch for health insurance charges.

- Have your teen buy some nice new clothes for college. Go to upscale consignment stores. 

- Talk to your teen about staying away from alcohol and drugs throughout college. It can prevent a career-destroying addiction, protect her from additional alcohol-related dangers e.g., date rape, assault, sexual assault, death by car crash, contracting an STD, unwanted pregnancy, death due to alcohol poisoning, depression and anxiety, academic failure, and unnecessary heartbreak, sadness, and regret as adults.

- Caution your teen not to post anything, anywhere, that she wouldn't be happy having broadcast in a national news conference.

- Once your daughter steps onto her college campus, she's going to be inundated with enticing credit card offers. It's not credit rating that matters in adult financial life, it's net worth. It's better to have a real job, pay bills on time, and be debt-free. Have her use a debit card instead.

- As your daughter is packing for college, encourage her to take only the basics to dorm move-in day. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Living Well Spending Less - Book Notes

This past week I read Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup. 

Although there was a lot of information I already was taught or knew, there were still some new things that I learned. Below are some things that I thought were helpful:

These are some of the quotes that were in the book that I liked: 

- What would happen if we took the time to actually write down our current priorities? How would our perspective change if we took just a few moments to determine what it is we want most out of life?
- If I were to die tomorrow, what would people remember me for?
- If you are discontent, consider that:
- You are reading a book (people in many countries in the world have tightly restricted access to books, newspapers, and the internet)
- You are not hungry - 870 million people or roughly 1/8 of the world's population, are suffering from chronic hunger.
- You have access to medicine - between 1.3 and 2.1 billion people in the world do not have access to even the most basic medicines
- You can drive - only 9% of the world's population owns a vehicle.
- You can turn on the lights - 1.2 billion people don't have access to electricity.
- You are not thirsty - 780 milllion people in the world lack access to clean water.
- You have a place to sleep tonight - 100 million people do not have homes around the world, including between 600,000 and 2.5 million homeless right in the United States.
- Find someone you can bless today.
- Living in our sweet spot means not only taking the time to discover our passions and to realize what it is we were made to do, but also being willing to take the next step.
- Taking the time to write down your vision of the future not only forces you to self-evaluate and to decide what is most important, but it also motivates you to act on those dreams.
- Do Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and resources on
- Put your most important tasks first each day. 
- Take the first 30 minutes of your day to work only on long-term goals.
- Eliminate things in your day that don't align with your priorities and are taking up time but not adding value.
- Do our choices match our calling - our vision, goals, passions, and dreams?
- Stuff isn't bad or dangerous in and of itself, but in a world where we are constantly told that what we have isn't quite good enough, the love of things can so easily consume us. The pursuit of it all...makes us forget all the things that actually matter.
- Less stuff equals more joy.
- Give your children a life filled with the things that matter most, things like faith, joy, peace, fellowship, contentment, gratitude, and compassion.
- Cut all nonessential spending for one month. Only spend on normal bills and perishable food items (e.g., bread, milk, vegetables). Everything else is off-limits.
- As I was growing up, the first and only rule of money was that we didn't talk about money.
- Only 32% of Americans actually prepare a detailed budget each month and only 24% have a long-term financial plan.
- Create a stockpile in your pantry or cupboards of the grocery staples and food items your family eats.
- Consider going meatless or two days a week.
- When was the last time you reached out to a friend to find out how they were doing, without the ulterior motive of sharing your own latest news? 
- When was the last time you picked up the phone just to catch up, or dropped off a meal just because you knew they could probably use it?
- If friendships are to be a priority in your life, you have to be purposeful about making time for your friends, even when you are busy.
- Creativity is born out of limitations rather than out of abundance.
- Ways to cultivate more creativity in your life:
- Read more - the more you read, the more you know. Reading engages your brain and makes it work better.
- Reflect
- Ask questions
- Pay attention
- Play
- Brainstorm
- Rest
- Cultivate and enjoy the creativity of the people around you.
- Give of your time and talents:
- Cook or bake: deliver a meal to a sick friend, neighbor, or shut-in; volunteer to cook in a local soup kitchen or women's shelter, or send a care package to a college student or soldier. 
- Good with children: become a Big Brother/Big Sister, become a tutor, volunteer to read at the local library or school.
- Love animals: volunteer at a local animal shelter, volunteer at a local wildlife center, 
- Introvert: shelve books at the local library, volunteer at the local food pantry, donate blood, write encouraging notes or cards to teachers, friends, neighbors, soldiers, prisoners, or other people who may feel lonely or discouraged.
- Outdoorsy: volunteer at the local park or work in a local community garden. 
- Serve in love in your home:
- Offer genuine encouragement and know what's going on in their days.
- Show grace - forgive and forget without harboring a grudge or resentment.
- Be generous - give freely and generously of your time, energy, and resources. Take care of the home and cook meals. Help out without being asked and without expecting anything in return.
- Slow down - if overcommitted, then be intentional about eliminating the things that don't need to be done so you can have more time to just be.
- Have fun - laugh and play games with your family. Go for walks or bike rides. Spend a day at the beach. Do something completely unexpected, just for fun. 
- Make a list of three areas in your life where you could stand to be more generous.
- How many hours a week or month do you spend volunteering or doing service work? Make a plan to volunteer or serve some time in the next month.
- Write down three goals for making improvements in serving those people closest to you. Give the best of yourself to your spouse and children.


"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor." (Benjamin Franklin)

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances." (Martha Washington) 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:9-10)

"People are most successful when they are in their sweet spot. Your sweet spot is the intersection where your passion meets your greatest strength." (Ken Coleman)

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." (Romans 12:6-8)

"Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Add these quotes to the purple book of quotes that I keep:

"Have nothing in your houses that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." (William Morris)

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

"We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like." (Dave Ramsey)

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5)

"A bargain ain't a bargain if it is not something you need." (Sidney Carroll)

"I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home...I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby." (Nancie J. Carmody)

"You aren't really wealthy until you have something that money can't buy." (Garth Brooks)

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." (Winston Churchill)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Year of Yes - Book Notes

 Last month I read Year of Yes - How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. I've enjoyed watching some of the t.v. shows she has written, like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. 

Despite being very successful, she is an introvert and was saying no to a lot of great opportunities. Basically, there was nothing new to fear. On Thanksgiving 2013, her sister muttered: "You never say yes to anything." It was a wake-up call and then a challenge for Shonda to change her life. She made a commitment to say "Yes" for a year.

There were quite a few things that resonated with me or that I found interesting:

- "If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more." (Cristina Yang, Grey's Anatomy)

- Time is simply not my friend. My memory is every-so-slowly being replaced by blank spaces. The details of my life are disappearing. The paintings are being stolen off the walls of my brain. 

- Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change. 

- Ditch the dream. Be a doer, not a dreamer.

- You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. 

- Find a cause you love. IT's okay to just pick one...and devote some time every week to it. 

- A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It's a hashtag. It's you, sitting on your butt, typing into your computer and then going back to binge-watching your favorite show.

- Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself.

- Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life. Something is always lost. Something is always missing.

- Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard.

- You can quit a job. I can't quit being a mother. I'm a mother forever. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation. Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys and rebuilds us. 

- This Yes is about giving yourself the permission to shift the focus of what is a priority from what's good for you over to what makes you feel good.

- In order to do your job well, you need to take care of yourself - inside and out. 

- (Looking at a reflection in the mirror when she was very overweight:) "Who is that?" It actually takes a few seconds for my brain to catch up. for me to realize, with shock, that I am looking at my own reflection. That stranger is me. I don't FEEL good. My knees hurt. My joints hurt. I discover that the reason I am so exhausted all the time is because  I have sleep apnea. I am now on high blood pressure medication.

- Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at at a time. No to going out tonight. No to catching up with that old college roommate. No to attending that party. No to going on a vacation. No to making a new friend. Losing yourself happens one pound at a time. 

- I felt...old.  "Stop participating in the world" old. "Sit in a chair and watch the world go by" old.

- It's happened so gradually. I am invisible to myself. I think I am maybe invisible to everyone. 

- What do I Say Yes to in order to get healthy?

- I have been saying yes to fatness. Being fat has been easier for me. It has worked for me. 

- I can say yes, I want to be successful at this. I want to be healthy. I want to live a long life for myself and for my children. I want to feel good.

- The only obstacle to your success is your own imagination.

- Men take a compliment and run. They don't make themselves smaller. They don't apologize for being powerful. They don't downplay their accomplishments.

- We are like mirrors. What you are gets reflected back to you. 

- People like being around whole, healthy, happy people.

- The very act of saying yes is not just life-changing, it is lifesaving.

- The years and years of saying no were, for me, a quiet way to let go. A silent means of giving up. An easy withdrawal from the world, from light, from life. Saying no was a way to disappear. Saying no was my own slow form of suicide. 

- No is a complete sentence. You don't owe anyone an explanation.

- When someone says something petty or nasty, one of those little passive-aggressive things that would usually just pick at me for days, my new response is..."What did you mean by that?" said in a calm voice. It startles them. 

- "You must do the things you think you cannot do." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

One of the 4-H online programs being offered this spring is a 4-H Pizza Club. Each week, youth and parents prepare a pizza together online on Zoom. The first week, the pizza was Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza. 

Normally, we like pizza with a tomato-based sauce. So, this recipe was a departure from what we normally eat. It ended up that we all really liked this pizza and would have it again. 

Ingredients for Dough (this makes enough for two 16" pizzas so I used half and froze the other half)

1 ½ cup warm water - should be warm not hot 
2 Tbsp sugar 
1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast or “instant yeast” 
3 ½ cups flour 
½ tsp salt 
½ tsp garlic powder 

Instructions for Dough 

Mix water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes 

Add salt, flour, and spices into a stand mixer with a dough hook and knead until combined - about 3 minutes. If you don't have a mixer you can mix by hand. (I mixed it by hand.) 

Once kneaded, divide dough into two or three equal parts depending on how thick you like your crust. (I divided into two parts - using one part for the pizza and then freezing the other half.)

Flour a cutting board and using a rolling pin, roll out dough into a circle. Brush edges with olive oil. 

Build your pizza. 

Ingredients for Pizza 

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I used 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup Monterey jack/cheddar mix) 
8 oz cream cheese - softened 
1 oz ranch dip mix 
8 strips bacon cooked and crumbled 
1 lb cooked and cubed chicken 

Instructions for Pizza 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare pizza crust according to package or make your favorite homemade pizza crust. In a small bowl, cream together ranch mix and cream cheese. Spread over pizza crust.

Top cream cheese mixture with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Top with chicken, bacon, and the rest of the cheese. 

Bake at 425 for 20 - 25 minutes or until the pizza is golden brown.

I made the pizza - along with a S'more Pizza - to celebrate Sophia coming back home from college. She just completed her sophomore year of college!

Make Today Count - Book Notes

 John Mawell wrote the book Make Today Count which looks at how the secret of a person's success is determined by one's daily agenda. 

Essentially you are preparing for something; and the way you live your life today is preparing you for tomorrow. The idea is that you can play and take it easy and do what you want today, but if you do, your life will be harder later. However, if you work hard now, on the front end, then you will reap rewards in the future.

This short book - only 136 pages - is packed with lots of good advice. He focuses on 12 key areas or what he calls the "Daily Dozen": attitude, priorities, health, family, thinking, commitment, finances, faith, relationships, generosity, values, and growth. There are two ingredients necessary to make every day a masterpiece: decisions and discipline. 

Determine what 12 decisions are important to you. Start with this list of 12 and modify it according to your own life. Then begin working on the decisions. Every month, decide which decision you will make and how you will manage it. In a year's time, you'll be amazed by how focused your life is and how it is going in the direction you desire. 

Some of what I found especially interesting in the book follows:


- My attitude makes an impact on the people around me. I am going to keep a positive attitude and use it to influence others. 

- One of the secrets of maintaining a good attitude is valuing people. 

- Encouraging others means helping people, looking for the best in them, and trying to bring out their positive qualities. 

- When Mother Teresa was asked the requirements for people assisting her work with the destitute in Calcutta, she cited two things: the desire to work hard and a joyful attitude.

- Have an ally to help you remain positive.

- Include positive comments in every conversation with others. 

- Sincerely compliment, praise, acknowledge, bolster, raise up, and reward people whenever I can. 

- Remove negative words from your vocabulary.

- Express gratitude to others daily.

Your attitude decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to your attitude today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to choose and display the right attitude daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your attitude discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- I will prioritize my life and give focus and energy to those things that give the highest return. 

- "Time is the most valuable coin in your life. YOu and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you." (Carl Sandburg)

- Your greatest possession is the 24 hours you have directly ahead of you. How will you spend it? Will you give in to pressure or focus on priorities? Will you allow pointless emails, unimportant tasks, telemarketers, interruptions, and other distractions to consume your day? Or will you take complete responsibility for how you spend your time, take control of the things you can, and make today yours? If you don't decide how your day will be spent, someone else will.

- What is required of me? What gives me the greatest return? What gives me the greatest reward? 

- Plan your time carefully.

- "Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Your priorities decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to priorities today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to determine and act on important priorities daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your priorities discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Two major frustrations contribute to stress at work: doing work you don't think is important. If you do work that you believe adds no value to yourself or to others, you quickly become demoralized. To remain healthy, your work must be in alignment with your values. The other reason that some people don't like their work is that their jobs keep them in an area of weakness. Nobody can do that long and succeed. 

- Strike a balance between your desire to maintain a healthy pace of life and your drive to accomplish all you can during your lifetime.

- "An individual's self-concept affects every aspect of human behavior. The ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change, the choice of friends, mates, and careers. A strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life." (Joyce Brothers)

- 85% of all heart patients quit their healthy regimen within six months. 

Your health decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to health today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to know and follow healthy guidelines daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your health discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Anyone who neglects or abandons his family for fame, status, or financial gain isn't really successful.

- As a family, cultivate and maintain:

- A commitment to faith or spirituality.

 - Continual growth- reach your personal potential and help your children to do the same.

- Common experiences - create as many positive experiences as you can.

- Confidence - in your faith, yourselves, and others.

- Contributions to life - leave the world a better place than they found it. Add value not only to the people in your family, but also to every other life you touch.

- Write down all the Christmas and birthday gifts you received when you were a kid up until you moved away from home. How many are you able to remember? Now, list all the vacations you took with your family during those same years. Most people can remember only a few gifts they received. However, they can remember more vacations they took as a family. What makes families happy isn't receiving things. It's doing things together. 
- Establish family traditions. Traditions give your family a shared history and a strong sense of identity. The traditions your family kept helped you define who you were and who your family was. 
- "In every person from the cradle to the grave, there is a deep craving to be appreciated." (William James, Psychologist)

Your family decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to family today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to communicate with and care for my family?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your family discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. 

- "All that a man achieves or fails to achieve is the direct result of his thoughts." (James Allen)

- If you're good at creative thinking, invest more time in that. To handle areas where you are not as strong, surround people around you who are strong in those areas. 

- Find a thinking place - like being in nature. 

- Find the right time to think - when you are most alert (e.g., mornings).

- Write down your ideas. In your thinking spot, use a legal pad. For the rest of the day, a small notebook is enough.

- Intentional thinking is not commonplace. 

Your thinking decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to thinking today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to practice and develop good thinking today?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your thinking discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- If something is worth doing, I will commit myself to carrying it through.
- "People forget how fast you did a job - but they remember how well you did it." (Howard Newton)
- When you accomplish something that you once believed was impossible, it makes you a new person.
- If you want something out of your day, you must put something in it. Your talent is what you had before you were born. Your skills are what you put in yesterday. Commitment is what you must put in today in order to make today your masterpiece and make tomorrow a success.
- By focusing on your choices and then making them with integrity, you control your commitment. And that is what often separates success from failure. 
- If you refuse to give in to excuses, no matter how good they may sound or how good they will make you feel in the moment, you have the potential to go far. 

Your commitment decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to commitment today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to make and keep proper commitments daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your commitment discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- We will sacrifice today so that we can have options tomorrow. 

- 10% to church/charity, 10% to investments, and 80% to living expenses

- People tend to value money and things over what's really important in life: other people.

- Seasons in life:

- Learn - Learning is the primary objective and that you shouldn't take shortcuts to financial gain and miss the big picture of your life.

- Earn - During your 30s, 40s, and 50s. Strive to take care of your family and prepare for your future. 

- Return - If you've worked hard and planned well, you may enter a phase of life that is most rewarding, where you can focus on giving back to others. 

- If you're older and you didn't lay a good foundation for yourself, don't despair. Keep learning and growing. You still have a chance to finish well. But if you give up, you'll never go up. 

- "Every person in debt is suffering from some type of depression. Debt is one of the leading causes of divorce, lack of sleep, and poor work performance. It robs them of their self-worth and keeps them from achieving dreams." (Michael Kidwell)

- The difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich invest their money and spend what's left while the poor spend their money and invest what's left. 

- Failing to plan is like planning to fail.

- Every day I will focus on my financial game plan so that each day I will have more, not fewer, options.

Your financial decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to finances today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to earn and properly manage my finances daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your financial discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Read the Maxwell Leadership Bible.

- Faith gives you peace and strength only if it's not superficial. The deeper the faith, the greater its potential to carry you through the rough times. 

- Every day live and lead like Jesus.

- You become more like the people you spend time with.  

Your faith decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to faith today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to deepen and live out my faith daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your faith discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- If you have one true friend in life, you are very fortunate. If you have two real friends, it is highly unusual.

- In order to make friends, you must first be friendly.

- People are insecure...give them confience. People want to feel special...sincerely compliment them. People desire a better them hope. People need to be understood...listen to them. People are selfish...speak to their needs first. People get emotionally low...encourage them. People want to be associated with them win. 

- People who disrespect others always hurt themselves relationally - and they often reap other negative consequences.

- Every human being deserves to be treated with respect because everyone has value.

- If you respect yourself, respect others, and exhibit competence, others will almost always give you respect. 

- From Leo Buscaglia: "Always start a relationship by asking: Do I have ulterior motives for wanting to relate to this person? Is my caring conditional? Am I trying to escape something? Am I planning to change the person? Do I need this person to help me make up for a deficiency in myself? If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," leave the person alone. He or she is better off without you." 

- Good relationships require a lot of effort. 

- Have I been thoughtful toward people today? Would they express joy that they have spent time with me? If the answer is yes, then you've done your part.

- Show people they matter: walk slowly through a crowd, remember people's names, smile at everyone, and be quick to offer help. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

- Most people give away their relational energy on a first-come, first-served basis. Whoever gets their attention first gobbles up their time and relational energy.

- Your family provides the most valuable relationships in your life. They should come first as you plan to spend your time. After that should come your next most important relationships. It's a matter of practicing good priorities. 

- "Life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others." (Helen Keller)

- Adding value to others is the greatest thing we can do in this life. Because of that, when I serve, I try to do so cheerfully and with the greatest impact. 

Your relationship decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to relationships today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to initiate and invest in solid relationships daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your relationship discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Greatness is not defined by what a person receives, but by what that person gives. 

- True generosity is about serving others and looking for ways to add value to them. That's the way to achieve significance in your life.

- "The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share." (Rabbi Harold Kushner)

- A person's level of income and desire to give have nothing to do with each other. Some of the most generous people have nothing materially.

- 80% of Americans who earn at least $1 million a year leave nothing to charity in their wills.

- Go out of your way to find reasons to give.

- "Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can. " (D.L. Moody)

- What are you doing for others? 

Your generosity decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to generosity today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to plan for and model generosity daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your generosity discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Write down every admirable character quality you can think of. Narrow it down to 25-50 values. Eliminate anything that's superficial or temporary. 

- "Try not to become men of success. Rather, become men of value." (Albert Einstein)

- Having values keeps a person focused on the important things. That leads to a better quality of life, a life of integrity. 

- A person who identifies and articulates his values but doesn't practice them is like a salesman who makes promises to a customer and then fails to deliver. He has no credibility.

- If you talk your values but neglect to walk them, then you will continually undermine your integrity and credibility.

- Ben Franklin used to get up in the morning asking himself, "What good will I do today?" When he went to bed, he asked himself, "What good did I do today?"

- At the end of the day, reflect on whether you added value to anyone's life during the day.

Your values decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to values today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to embrace and practice good values daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your values discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?


- Develop and follow a personal growth plan for your life. 

- The greatest handicap a person has is not realizing his potential. What dreams do you have that are just waiting to be fulfilled? What gifts and talents are inside you that are dying to be drawn out and developed? 

- To make something of yourself, you need to be willing to change, for without change, there can be no growth. 

- Focus on growing in your areas of greatest strength, not your weaknesses. And grow in areas that will add value to you personally and professionally.

- If people live in a harsh and limiting environment, they stay small. But put them someplace that encourages growth, and they will expand to reach their potential. 

- "If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject." (Earl Nightingale)

- Listen to audio lessons every week. (Listen to ones about creativity and leadership.)

- Read two books every month.

- Set an appointment with someone who can help you grow each month. 

Your growth decision today: Where do you stand when it comes to growth today? Ask yourself:

- Have I already made the decision to seek and experience improvements daily?

- If so, when did I make that decision?

- What exactly did I decide?

Your growth discipline every day: What is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?