Archive

Living Today


Living Today, The Power of Now Get Your Copy Today!

So many of us feel guilt and shame about our past or we are worried about the future. My book Living Today, The Power of Now reminds us that we don’t live in the past, nor do we live in the future. All we really have is now. Think about it. Now IS…. We’ll never have the past again except as a memory. We’ll never have the future, except as a dream. We can only live now.

How can we let go of the past and not try to live in the future? Living Today, The Power of Now explores how to make this a possibility.

As I am thinking about this book I am reminded of the movie “Click” where the protagonist of the story gets a remote that takes him from one major event to the next and never allows himself to enjoy the journey that takes him from each event. The next thing he knows is that he is no longer in control of what happens because he has programmed the remote to skip over those things that seem trivial or painful. His whole life passes him by and he regrets not having experienced his life because he was too obsessed with reaching his goals. It is quite the metaphor for those of us who keep our nose to the grindstone in hopes that we get what we want in the future, but never quite being satisfied with what we get.

I am reminded of those people who are always living in the past either pining for something they had but lost. Whether it’s a relationship, a memory, or a situation that no longer is. These people feel that they can never be happy again.

 I am also reminded of those who live in the past of guilt. These people made a mistake in the past that they can’t let go off. Something that brings them shame even after others have long forgotten the events.

There are those who live in the past because they can’t forgive someone else or themselves. They can’t let it go, and events occur often that trigger them to relive the pain of that time. They can’t enjoy today because they can’t get beyond the past.

Living today frees us from worry, shame, guilt, and unforgiveness all those negative emotions of inaction. It faces fear straight in the face by saying. What can I do right now? What is my next step? What direction should I turn right now? It allows us to move. What we face may not always be pleasant, but if it isn’t, we are simply moving through it, not dwelling in it because we are taking each step as it comes.

Living today gives us the ability to look at and appreciate life around us. It gives us permission to get off the hamster wheel to stop and walk barefoot in the grass. It gives us the power to stop and smell the flowers, to ride bikes with our children while they are still children. It allows us the privilege of watching the sun rise or set. It gives us permission to stop and just enjoy the fact that we are alive!

Every day is a gift and that was my inspiration for writing the book Living Today, The Power of Now. I believe that it will inspire you as well as you read it.

Follow this link for your free preview of Living Today, The Power of Now.


I continue to think about life. Perhaps it’s because I can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of this life. I see that I have a limited number of these days left before I follow the light to its ultimate destination. However, I am not morbid with the idea of my final reckoning, I am, however, more interested in how I make the best use of what time I have left. I am seizing each day and making the most of every hour of each day.

Not that anyone’s day is likely to make that much difference. Each day simply is a pixel in my life. Each light of each day that shines is not bright alone, but when I stand back, it provides a picture of the life I have lived. I am determined to seize each day. Carpe Diem!

How do I seize each day? I seize it by using a system called SOFF. Start Organize, Focus, and Finish.

Start

The first important thing to do each day is to show up. I get up at a reasonable hour and start with my morning routine which gets me ready to begin the first of my daily projects.

I try to plan each day the night before so that I don’t waste that precious time that I have. Will there be distractions? Sure, there will be, but once I deal with the distractions or any emergency that comes up, I know what I will do next. I go back to my plan and do what’s next on that agenda. That’s why I need to plan only one or two or at the most three major things that I must complete each day to move ahead on my projects.

Get Organized

I know that there is only so much that I can do in one day, so I choose to do what is most important to reach my goals. The next most important thing that I need to do is organize my time and my space toward reaching each daily goal simply and easily. This means that I need to look over what I must do today to reach my monthly, weekly, and annual goals.

My current annual goals that I am working on involve growing my own food, writing my two blogs each week, and writing the second draft of my next book in The Locket Saga. I also have other ideas that I want to write There’s The Perpetual Homesteader book series, I also want to write a gardening book for the Ozarks, and there are other books in The Locket Saga that I want to get to, but I am putting those on hold for now. I organize those projects that I am working on by designating certain times of the day to work on them. I have organized the materials that I use for these projects so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time deciding where what I need is located. If I need a tool or a piece of research, I can find it easily and quickly because I am organized.

Focus

I designate specific times during the day to work on the big projects. I got this idea from Stephen Covey who told a story about filling a jar. He said that if there was a pile of rocks (representing big important projects), pebbles (smaller urgent, but less important projects), gravel (unimportant urgent projects), and sand (unimportant not urgent projects).  if you start by filling the jar with sand, there will be no room for anything else. If you put pebbles in your jar, there’s room for gravel and sand, but not for the big important things. Therefore, it’s important to start with the big rocks or in other words, the big important projects, and fill in the time with those other less important but often urgent tasks that we face each day.

The time provided for the big important projects needs to be focused on. If I know exactly what I need to finish each day, even a little time can be enough time especially if done on a consistent daily basis.

Finish

Finishing involves completing the designated project that we assign to a specific day. I complete the aspect of the project that I have assigned for that day. If I plan to plant a row of beans in the garden, I do that. If I intend to write a blog post, I write it and it isn’t done until it is posted and scheduled.

It also determines what it is that I want to do the next day. If on the next day, I intend to research one of my books, I set things up to make that happen as efficiently as possible. If I intend to do the laundry, I put it on my to-do list for the next day.

Once I’ve finished this day and set up for the next day, I’ve makes the strategy of SOFF an ever-rising spiral. I have already set up to start for the next day. I made a step forward and am prepared to take the next step.

Want to Seize Your Day

For more on how to make the most of each day, check out my book: The Ultimate Keystone Habit


apple blossoms
Things change. A few weeks ago the apple tree only had a promise of blossoms, now there’s the potential for the fruit.

Years ago, when I was working as a neuropsychiatric technician, I had a roommate who was in Al-Anon and she invited me to an Al-Anon meeting where they recited The Serenity Prayer which states “God, grant me the serenity to change the things I can and to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.”

A quote by Maya Angelou

Now years later, I am reminded of this when I read a quote by Maya Angelou who had said something quite similar, “If you don’t like something, change It. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.

This fits my philosophy of life. I often choose to write about what I don’t like and rather than just complaining about it on paper, I would try to determine a solution for whatever it was that I didn’t like.

What are those things that I can change? What are those things that I cannot change?

The things that I can change are things that I have control of right now. I can change what I am doing right now. I can change how I feel about a situation.

I can’t change anything I have done in the past, nor can I change anything in the future, but I can change how I react to any situation I face today.

One Day at a Time

I can determine how I will spend my time today, but when I think about it, I can never actually do anything tomorrow. Tomorrow will never come. Think about it. When tomorrow comes, tomorrow will no longer be tomorrow, it will become today. The question I need to ask then is “What can I do today so that when tomorrow becomes today?”

Nothing can happen in just one day, but string several todays together, and by doing the right thing, I am in a better place today and every day after today if I stay on the same path. So, how do I better use the time I am given?

Writing Career Betterment

If I write every day and work to get better at writing every day, even with just one percent of changes made every day, I will become a better writer. If I work to improve my marketing skills every day, I will sell more books.

Financial Betterment

 I cannot change the fact that I have debt, not today anyway. Debt reduction is a marathon, not a sprint. I know better than to think that I am going to win the lottery. The only way to become financially independent is to develop better financial habits. What I can control is what I am spending my money on today. I can also determine if I am going to work today so that I can pay my debts. I can decide whether to save money or invest it. I can focus on changing my spending habits, my income, and my investments over the next series of days, months, or years, and I will be considerably better off than I am today. I just must do it one day at a time.

Relationship Betterment

I cannot change any of the mistakes that I made in the past with my parents, my siblings, my spouse, or my children, but I can determine to forgive myself. I can also determine to forgive anything that my children or my spouse have done. Until I discovered forgiveness, I didn’t realize how powerful forgiveness was until I learned to forgive. Forgiveness puts me at peace. It gives me serenity. It’s not for the other person that I forgive. It is for me. No one understands its power until they learn to forgive. Becoming a forgiving person both of myself and others is something that I can change.

Social Betterment

I cannot change the fact I will someday no longer be in this world, but I can determine how I will make the most of this time that I am given.

I can stop being a taker and become a giver. I can change how I relate to the earth I can give back to the earth that has supported me all these years. I can plant a fruit tree today and someday that tree will bloom and grow fruit, but today all I can do is support that tree in whatever way it needs right now and that is the same with anything I want to change for the better.

If you liked this article, you’ll love my book:

Living Today, The Power of Now

Available on Kindle


Waiting doesn’t have to get in the way of the rest of what you need and want to do today.

As an author, I find time to do the things I like to do by becoming creative with the time that I would otherwise be doing nothing. Today I’m sharing how I constructively use the time in which I am waiting.

We all have a busy life, and it seems like those times when we must wait that we find ourselves wishing we could do all those things that we can’t do because we are waiting. Whether it is waiting for a service person at our home, waiting for our turn at the doctor’s office, waiting for our children to get out of class, or even being stuck in traffic for an extended period, if we plan to do things during this time, we’ll find we could get things done that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we had not had to wait.

Be Prepared to Wait

At one time, I had a briefcase that I carried with me in the car that I kept available with all kinds of things for me to do during those long waits. I kept pens, paper, books, and other items available for me to use to accomplish some of my goals for the day.

Planning your day with appointments in mind will help you know what you should have with you. If you are writing a book, have tools like paper and pens available so that you can jot down ideas or notes as they come to you while you’re waiting. Perhaps you have a book that you what to read. Be sure that you have it available no matter where you are. Before we get to what you can do while away from home, let’s go over what you can do while you’re waiting at home for a service person.

Waiting for a Service Person

Waiting for someone to install or install something in my home used to be a frustrating experience. Sometimes I’m told that the service person will be in my home before noon or afternoon and then I would wait all day and would find that I had nothing done because I had spent the day wasting my time waiting for the service person to arrive and almost every time, the person arrived at the end of that period or would call to say that they weren’t able to make it that day and had to reschedule. I know that I cannot change the situation, but as a wise woman once said:

“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Maya Angelou

So, I have come to the decision that if I can’t change someone else, I can change my approach to waiting for someone to arrive. I can determine that no matter what that other person does, I will make the most of my day by getting as much done as possible.

While I am at home, I start doing those things that I need to do at home. I begin by making a list of all those things that I need to do at home. I then separate the tasks from the projects. A simple definition between tasks and projects is that tasks are things that I can do within a few minutes say in 15 minutes to an hour. Projects are things that take more than an hour. Next, I look over the projects that I have to do and break them down into tasks that we have already defined as things to do that take between 15 minutes to an hour. Once that’s done, I determine what tasks need to be done next in these projects. Now I am ready to prioritize all the tasks that I have to do that I can do while at home that day. If I must pick up an item at the store to continue a project, I don’t worry about that project while at home that day. I let it go for now. It’s not on the list of tasks during that time.

Before starting my list of tasks, however, my first task is to be sure that I have done everything that I can do to make the time of the service person easiest. If the plumber is there to repair or replace the garbage disposal, I want to be sure that everything is out from under the sink before that person arrives. I might even wipe out and disinfect under there so that everything is clean so that when I put everything away, the area is clean as well. If I need to move my car to give the service person access, I may want to do that as well. If the service person is coming to deliver living room furniture, I want to have little things cleared out of the way so that the person has easy access to the room.  If they are coming with a new appliance, I make sure that they have easy access to where I want that new appliance. Once I have done all that I can do for the service person, it’s time to start my list. I like to do as much as possible at a time. For instance, I like to start laundry, change bed linens, start cooking in the crockpot and clean the kitchen appliances all at once. Keep in mind that you don’t do things that will get into the service person’s way.

Waiting for a service person could also mean that you are doing work from home rather than going to work that day. In this case, plan your tasks as related to the job and do projects involved in your day job. Plan your breaks to do things around the house if you’d like to be able to get even more done during your work hours. If you do that, however, plan some relaxation time at the end of the day. All work and no fun is not what life is all about.

No matter how long before the service person comes, I want to be sure to have done as much as possible so that by end of the day I feel justified about the way that I have spent my time.

Waiting for an Appointment in a Waiting Room

The opposite of waiting at home is waiting for an appointment in a waiting room. In a waiting room, I don’t want to get stuck with a lot of different things so usually, I do one of two things when I am waiting here. First, I might read a book that I want to read, and second, I write out lists or write down a few ideas that I am able to think of for one of the books or articles that I am writing or want to write. It’s much easier to use a notebook to write than it is to use loose-leaf paper. One thing, if I had one, that I could use would be a tablet. I could do a lot of work on the table and then when I get home, I could transfer it to my computer using either Microsoft Word or Google documents.  I don’t have one, so I use paper and a pen.

I do much the same when I am substitute teaching. I have been known to write out many ideas for articles or books and then later transfer them to my computer. I also do a lot of my reading when teaching. It’s just a matter of writing down ideas and organizing them. If I need to do research for the work, I write down in the notebook what items I need to research.

I wrote the idea for this article and several more the other day while substitute teaching.

Waiting in My Car

Waiting in the car is a cross between working at home and waiting in a waiting room. Perhaps you wait every day at your children’s school to pick them up. This is a good time to plan to make phone calls or answer emails. It is also a good time to listen to podcasts or watch specific YouTube videos.

Even time stuck in traffic can be used constructively if you develop a plan to utilize that time.

You could even plan to clean out your purse or pick up the trash inside your vehicle and use a wipe to clean off the dash and the door. Stop on the way home and wash and vacuum the car and you’ll have gotten a lot done because you structured your waiting time.

Now it’s your turn!

How would you prefer to spend your time waiting? Perhaps getting things done isn’t what you do, perhaps you consider this downtime. Share your opinion in the comment section below.


Electric vehicles have been around since 1830, and were overtaken in use by the gasoline combustion engine, but are now seeing a resurgence.

On August 5, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order mandating that half of all vehicles be electric by 2030 as a challenge to the executives from Ford and GM joined Biden at the White House as well as leaders from the United Auto Workers. In addition to setting this 50 percent-by-2030 goal, the executive order reversed former President Donald Trump’s more relaxed emissions standards with stricter ones.

This goal of having new electric vehicles to provide zero emissions would include battery electric vehicles, and plug-in Hybrid cars that fall back on gasoline only after the electric powered battery has run out. In addition, this includes fuel cell electric vehicles that burn hydrogen and emit no carbon dioxide.

But are electric cars really the solution? There are a number of reasons I think that they might not be.

They’re Not Very Reliable

Newer electric cars aren’t always the most reliable and when they do break down, it’s difficult to find someone who can fix them. The traditional mechanic doesn’t necessarily have the equipment or expertise to repair them. As they become more common, however, this will be less of an issue.

You Pay More For What You Get

Electric cars depreciate faster than their gas-powered counterparts. That means that if you purchase an electric car, the car won’t be worth as much when you go to trade it in for a newer model. In addition, the parts are expensive to replace. Three to eighteen thousand dollars. An electric car is not for the penny pincher.  

Challenges in Charging Your Vehicle

Charging an electric car can be a challenge. To put in a charging station in your home, a home EV charging station costs $350 to $900 alone, and labor costs $400 to $1,700 to install, and then there’s the increase in your electric bill.

On average, it costs around $0.30 to $0.60 kWh to charge your electric vehicle; therefore, a smaller vehicle could cost around $11 to $25 to charge fully. For larger vehicles, it can cost between $22 to $45.

If you’re traveling across the country in your electric car, you’d better be sure that you know where your next charge will occur before you ever need it. According to statistics, as of January 2022, there are 113,600 charging stations in the US. Almost half of those are in California and many of those are in the hands of private individuals. That means that the rest of the charging stations are spread out over the entire country and most of those are around big cities so if you live in small-town, USA, you might be out of luck when it comes to charging your vehicle when you’re away from home.

In addition, it will take you longer to go across the country in your electric car. Public chargers are split into the standard wall-box type which takes one to six hours to charge your car and rapid or quick chargers. Rapid/quick chargers can recharge the latest electric cars in less than an hour, perfect for a lunch stop on a motorway journey.

Most cars charges last between 10-12 hours but some last only about 4 hours. That means that at the optimal value of the charge, the cost of a charge is comparable to the cost of a fill-up at a gas station. If driving across the country, a charge of your electric car would cost about as much as the cost of a tank of gas in the same time period.

Of course, this problem should be better resolved as electric vehicles become more commonplace.

Does Having an Electric Car Really Help the Environment?

I think, however, the idea that electric cars are good for the environment might be a little premature. I have my doubts about the idea that electric cars will help protect the environment first because we heard this same song and dance when we were told that biofuel would help protect the environment. The fact is, growing grains used in the production of biofuel and the conversion of those grains into biofuel costs more than ten times the energy that the biofuel produced. That, of course, is not what the US government documentation says, they say that the fuel produced requires less energy. But that documentation only considers the cost of producing the fuel AFTER the grains are produced. It doesn’t consider the fact the fuel that is used in the fields are plowed, the grain planted, and the grain harvested and delivered to the grain silos at the biofuel production locations.

The same type of scenario can be said about using electric cars. Electricity is the least efficient form of energy because it is a secondary source of it. The electricity must come from somewhere and if that electricity is something like coal or nuclear power or even natural gas, it relies on a non-green energy source. Solar and wind farms may be produced directly from the sun, but they require expensive metal components that must be mined and in the process of mining, those items are highly destructive to the environment as well.  Hydroelectric power is limited use in that hydroelectric plants require creating reservoirs that disrupt animal habitats.

Conservation Is Always A Better Solution

Sometimes the best solutions are the low-tech solutions. Perhaps a better solution would be in figuring out how we can avoid driving so much and learn to be content with staying closer to home more often. We can save by avoiding getting into our cars at all. There are, of course, many ways to be more conservative getting from place to place, and this sounds like content for another post.

If you have any questions or comments or would like me to write about a specific topic, please let me know in the comments below.


We may not be able to produce more oil on a dime, but we can easily cut back on what we are using!

As the price of gasoline at the pump rises, we are told that there really is nothing that we can do to alleviate the problem other than extracting more petroleum than we have and according to the oil producers, because they can’t just turn on the spigot to get more, we either have to pay what they say and have increased prices at an alarming rate.

However, what they are telling us doesn’t make sense. Why should the prices be going up so much? According to statistics, the United States only used four percent of Russian oil. The question becomes why is it that if the United States is the biggest producer of the world’s oil that we need to import any oil in the first place and what can we do to fight back to avoid paying those prices.

This increase in price has little to do with the manufacturing sector because our country’s manufacturing sector has been decreasing over the past several decades. Yes, we use plastics and other petroleum products, but much of it is made in China, so we can’t blame manufactured petroleum products for that. Much of what we use is based on personal energy consumption. If we want to fight back on the price of energy, let’s start in our own homes where we have at least some control.

What we can do is something that we learned two years ago. At the beginning of the pandemic, we learned a very important lesson concerning our use of petroleum products that we learned that we can utilize now. Stay home or at least close to home and decrease the demand for oil and price will come down.

But most people are tired of staying home. Are there other alternatives to not being able to travel?

Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing these issues in some very practical ways that if more people in the US does them, the demand for crude oil will go down and we’ll pay less at the pump.

There are numerous ways we can save money on energy, and they are not necessarily as painful as the American oligarchy would suggest. All we need to do is develop a few habits that decrease our need for petroleum through the decrease in energy use to make it so that we wouldn’t need to ever use that source of foreign oil.  This week we’ll be discussing how you can save on home energy costs.

The Use of Energy in Our Homes

Many areas to save energy exist within our homes and this is a good place to start decreasing our dependence on petroleum. First, we must learn how we actually use energy. Here’s the breakdown of the average usage of energy in the home. Here in the United States, we use 47% of our home energy for cooling and heating, 14 percent for water heating, 13 percent for clothes washing and drying, 12% for lighting, 4 percent for running the refrigerator. The other 10 percent is used in cooking and entertainment.

Decreasing Energy Use at Home

Heating and Cooling-We can decrease our energy use at home very easily if we just start changing a few small habits. We can turn down the thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees. If you were to adjust your temperatures when you’re not there and at night, you’ll cut energy costs by one percent for every eight hours for every degree you adjust the temperature up or down.

If you have some money to invest, and you own your own home, insulation will also improve the efficiency of the energy used as will getting a high-efficiency furnace.

Living in a smaller home that has good insulation and a high-efficiency furnace is a better investment than a large home of equal efficiency.

Water heating can be improved by finding ways to use less hot water. This can be done by timing your showers to make them as short as possible, not running hot water any longer than possible. If you have some money to invest in your energy, consider insulating your pipes, getting a more energy-efficient water heater, or better yet, getting an on-demand water heater where you’re not dragging hot water down yards of pipe.

Washing and Drying Clothes-The cost of washing and drying clothes can be decreased by using cold water to wash only full loads of clothes and using a clothesline to dry your clothes.

Lighting can be decreased by turning off lights that we’re not using and using the most energy-efficient light bulbs that we can. Use a flashlight instead of a nightlight. Turn off the porchlight when you’re not expecting anyone to need it. Use solar lighting instead of on-grid power for outdoor lighting. Use motion sensing light instead of constant lighting.

The Refrigerator-though the refrigerator only uses a small 4 percent of our home energy bill, there are ways to decrease the cost of refrigeration. First, purchase an energy-efficient refrigerator and only have as big of a refrigerator as you need. Second, don’t open the refrigerator any more than you have to, and don’t keep it open longer than necessary.

The Final Ten Percent-Numerous things can be done to decrease that last ten percent of energy usage. First, decrease fantom energy usage. Unplug appliances that you’re not using. Use smaller appliances rather than using the cooking range when possible. Smaller appliances often use less than half what the range uses because the range runs on 220 current (if electric) whereas the appliances use 110 current. Use the cooktop instead of the oven, when possible, as well. If you are using the oven, do all the baking all at once.

What Suggestions Do You Have for Saving on Home Energy Costs?

I’m sure that this one article has not been all-inclusive regarding how I can save energy used in my home. What have you done to decrease the energy usage in your home?

Next week, I’ll be talking about how we can decrease energy usage regarding how we get our food. Be sure to like and follow this blog to explore how we can save energy on an individual level.


Hundreds of people going in different directions.
Many Americans said goodbye and good riddance to their jobs when the pandemic hit.

Twenty million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in the second half of 2021. This occurred because many Americans had time to get off the treadmill long enough to realize that they didn’t want to and didn’t have to work as slave labor to support someone else’s dream. They decided that they wanted to decide for themselves where they wanted to work or whether they wanted to work at all. I am a part of this great migration from working for “the man”.

I Am Part of the Great Resignation

Since March 2020, I have been away from the nine to five grind and living on our acre and half. At first, I was putting the house in order. While I lived in a travel trailer on our property, I had our trailer set up and painted it on the inside. I worked the garden area and canned what I could. I set up shelving to hold our home-canned jars and the store-bought items I bought in bulk. We picked blackberries.

In 2021, while continuing to garden, I started selling my books and several kinds of cookies at the local farmer’s market. I have also been working part-time as a substitute teacher and last September, I started collecting early social security. About the same time, I published another book about gardening and have had some decent success. In September I published my book The Survival Garden. I was surprised at how many sales I was able to make between September and December.

Coming Back from a Small Set Back

The forward motion slowed, however. This past winter, I have started cutting into my savings a little. Between the fact that I have had to spend more on our heating fuel (we heat with wood) and for groceries and gasoline, things have cost me more than I expected. In addition, my computer started falling apart. It happened first in November and then the screen fell apart again in December. I waited for the entire month of January for the repairman to let me know that it was ready, but that never happened. At the beginning of February, I decided to purchase a new computer which is what I am working on now. I probably shouldn’t have waited even that long.

 Now that spring is in the air, I am hopeful about the future. We have already been getting ready for next year’s gardening season. Last fall I planted regular garlic and elephant garlic and it is up and growing. We have planted our potatoes in three different ways and have pepper and tomato plants growing nicely. Soon we’ll be planting onions, peas, and shortly after that corn.

My book sales have also started to grow again after just a few sales in January and February. I have started experimenting with marketing methods and have found some benefits to those methods. I will be giving more later as time goes on.

In March, I finished writing an eBook I call The Four-Seasons Vegetable Garden in which I tell about the various ways that I am developing a vegetable growing system in which I can grow all of my own vegetables throughout the year. Check it out! And while you’re at it, check out my other books-fiction as well as nonfiction at my Author Central Page.

Is Being Part of the Great Resignation Worth It?

It’s not like I couldn’t go back and do what I was doing before the pandemic hit. I still could, but I have decided that I don’t want to go back to the way things were. I like the fact that I don’t have to punch a time clock every day. I like the fact that I can greet the morning on my own terms. That’s not to say that I’m not working. I have probably worked harder over the past two years than any time in my life and I am happy with what I am doing. I love gardening and I love writing. I feel fulfilled and that is a great feeling.

Now It’s Your Turn!

How about you? Did the pandemic make you re-evaluate your life? If so, how has your life changed over the past two years? Feel free to comment below!


I am improving daily. I am amazed at the progress I am making every day!

There are three principles that I use every day to make the most of my time including Parkinson’s law, the 80/20 principle, and One Percent Improvement. My goal daily is to complete no more than three priority items per day and to improve my life by one percent every day.

Parkinson’s Law

The first one is Parkinson’s law. That principle says that a task will fill up the time you allot for it. Because of this, I have determined that I do certain things only at certain times of the day. I give myself a schedule and I try to stick to it. By sticking to it, I find that I can be more productive because I’m allotting only a certain amount of time to finish that task that day.

I’ve divided my day into Home and Personal Care Time and Work Time

I do personal care and housework until 8 a.m. Then from 8 a.m. to 12 noon I work.

I have lunch between 12 noon and 1 p.m. If I am not running errands during this time, I do housework during this time as well.

I then work from 1 p.m. to 5 p. m. and I am off work and doing housework or personal care or relaxing for the rest of the day. I go to bed at 9 p.m.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been organizing my schedule. Here’s how my mornings have been going lately.

The first thing that I do in the morning is my morning routine. I get up, brush my teeth, do a quick clean of the sink, mirror, and toilet and then go into the living room where I have my office. There I put in a few minutes on Duolingo where I am learning Spanish and Swedish (was doing French and Russian too, but that got rather confusing) while the coffee is brewing. I then have breakfast and do the breakfast dishes.

At 8 a.m. is when I plan to start my business day. At present, I am working on my book The Seasonal Garden. (You can read about that on my other blog The Perpetual Homesteader {Resource}. After forty-five minutes or so I take a break. During that break, I get up and do a few tasks on my to-do list. After that, I work on preparing blog posts or writing online articles, and then at about 11 am I take an hour lunch break where I do a few more household chores

In the afternoon I either work on the garden, or I work on improving my book and article marketing. (That depends upon the weather.) It is during the afternoon that I also read and answer emails which I consider part of my marketing process.

At the end of the workday somewhere between 4 and 5 pm. I look back on my day and celebrate my accomplishments of the day, (no matter how small). Next, I determine what didn’t go well and what I need to do to fix it. Finally, I determine the most important work that I want to do the following day and then I quit writing for the day. I close-up shop and that’s the end of my workday.

Evenings are often spent catching up on housework and perhaps enjoying a movie with my husband.

My goal is not to do much work on the weekends but to spend more time relaxing and enjoying the weekend rather than using it to catch up on the week. It is also on the weekends that I will likely have events that I will attend.

The 80/20 rule

Next, there’s the 80/20 Rule. in the late 1800s, Vilfredo Pareto discovered that a small number of peas produced most of the peas.  He found that 20 percent of the peas produced 80 percent of the peas. Because he had an analytical mind, he decided to see if this principle holds for other things. It did although sometimes the percentages were closer to 70/30 and other times, they were closer to 90/10 but always a large discrepancy when comparisons were made. This became known as the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule.

It isn’t in everything that we do every day that helps us grow, but it is in a few select things that contribute to great improvement. It is in those things that we do that become steppingstones to our greatest goals. We, of course, need to first know what that goal is before we can know what that 20 percent is that will help us obtain our highest goals.  That is where the one percent comes into play.

The One Percent Improvement Rule

The last principle that I am utilizing is the one percent improvement rule. this rule is closely related to the 80/20 rule. I make it a point to improve something in my life by one percent every day and work toward doing more of the 20 percent that makes me 80 percent of the gains I am looking to make.

Every day I am moving forward in my goals at least one percent. Recently my daily one percent per day has been involved in organizing my living space and my time. This will save me time in that I don’t have to hunt for things. Everything has a place and everything is in its place. More recently I have been writing my book and marketing as well as getting ready for the gardening season all by making one percent improvements every day in those areas. The more I do now, the less I will have to do later. This may not seem like much, but one percent improvement equals more than one hundred percent in one hundred days. The compound effects make the efforts even more valuable than that!

I see this working out in real-time. At first, I couldn’t believe that one percent would matter, but once I began improving one percent per day, I began to see more and more ways to improve one percent per day. It hasn’t been very long since I started making these one percent improvements and I am already seeing great improvement in these areas.

How about you? Have you used any of these three principles in your life? I would love to hear how you’ve applied them. Let me know down in the comments.

Also if you want to know more about my gardening experiences, check out my other blog The Perpetual Homesteader!


No, it hasn’t been this bad, but it has been interesting!

As you can see, I am back!

We’ve Been Experiencing Technical Difficulties

It has been a while since I wrote here is because I have been technically at a disadvantage. The problems began when my laptop malfunctioned back last June. I wore out my laptop’s keyboard, but it didn’t end there.

I have had it for five years so I really can’t complain. The laptop I had before that one lasted me three years and when I bought that second one, the guy at Best Buy was impressed that the original laptop had lasted as long as it did and he said that he didn’t think the one I was purchasing would last me as long.  Well, that was five years ago, so I think it lasted me very well. As my husband always says, the computer owes me nothing.

Then in November, the gussets that held the screen to the rest of the laptop broke and that broke the screen too! It happened in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I got the laptop fixed just in time to finish the first draft of the manuscript I was writing.

On the first of December, I started working on my newest nonfiction gardening book which I call The Seasonal Garden.  I made some definite progress when again, in the middle of December, the gussets gave out. Back to the repair shop went the laptop. Weeks passed. My repairman became sick with the virus. Then he said the gussets were lost in transit. Finally, at the end of January when I still hadn’t gotten it back, I broke down and purchase a new laptop. Because I have always had good luck with Lenovo products, I ordered another one.

You’d think that would be the end of the trouble, but of course, it wasn’t. No, not a pandemic or a supply chain issue it was something else.

The Weather Turned Against Me

I was supposed to get the new laptop on February fourth. I anxiously watched as the package came across the country. The package made it to Kansas City, Missouri by Wednesday. Under normal circumstances, the laptop would have come early, but it wasn’t the case a major winter storm came through that affected the country for several days. The weather was so bad that the laptop stayed in KC from Wednesday morning until Saturday. The laptop finally arrived on Monday, February seventh.

For two days I worked to catch up with the emails that I was behind and at the same time, I have been working on the next draft of my most recent book The Seasonal Garden. This book is supposed to be out by the first of April, and it would have been easy to do it if it hadn’t been for all the problems that I’ve had to get a working laptop.

Now Everything Is Happening All at Once

It would have been great if I could have been working on my book when the winter was at its height. The weather already feels like it is about to change and my cat is starting to shed her fur which means that the worst part of the winter is over. Gardening season is upon us.

In addition to that, the sawdust that I have been waiting on all winter has also just arrived so I am having to really hustle to get everything done this winter that I have wanted to complete during the slower season.

Making the Best Use of My Time

Not that I am complaining though really. The truth is, I have been completing other projects that I have also needed to get done. I have my spring cleaning done. I have the gardens dug for the spring garden. I have focused more on organizing my time which I will discuss in a later blog post.

Anyway, it is good to be back to writing on the laptop. As I am finishing the first draft of this blog post, I have six first drafts written for this blog and my other blog (The Perpetual Homesteader) this week, and a big chunk of the book was reworked. I won’t be able to catch up with the lost time, but I am intent on making the most of the time that I do have.

How about you? Have you had challenges lately that you’ve had no control over? What have you had to do to reprioritize things when you have had to wait on someone or something else?


David S. McRobert wrote a book called There Is No Place Called “Away” Why Exporting Garbage Is Not Sustainable or Sensible. If you are taking garbage out to the curb or a dumpster every week, then you are under the illusion, like most Americans, that because they don’t see the garbage any longer, that it is gone.

Every year, the typical American family throws out 2,460 pounds of paper, 540 pounds of metals, 480 pounds of glass and 480 pounds of food scraps. The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years. Each gallon of gas used by a car contributes about 19 pounds of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. For a single car driving 1,000 miles a month, that adds up to 120 tons of carbon-dioxide a year. Forty percent of food purchased ends up in a landfill.

I am watching The Time Machine where George has reached the time of the Eloi and the Morlocks when they blindly accepted cannibalism because they didn’t know anything else. We don’t have that excuse. We should know that we can do better. We can build a better world.

What Can We Do?

The first step in solving the problem is knowing that there is a problem. Second in realizing that we can do something about it. Eighty-four percent of a typical household’s waste — including food scraps, yard waste, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles — we can recycle.

We can start by controlling how much we consume. Our society has taught us to blindly consume so that we can keep the monetary system that we gave going. We purchase things on credit so that banks can earn interest off our debt. The more we buy on credit, the more money is siphoned from our pockets.

We can start in our own backyards. We can learn composting and vermiculture to deal with our household and yard wastes. We can stop blindly consuming products. We can plan to eat all of the food we purchase. We can plan our driving so that we are not driving as many miles per month. Many of us can ride mass transit or bicycles or drive motorcycles instead of driving cars.

Wasting Clean Water

According to World Vision, nearly 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. Here in the United States, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Trump is proposing to weaken water pollution standards for the power plant industry (known as the Steam Electric Effluent Limitations and Guidelines (ELG) rule). In 2015 EPA issued the first ever national pollution standards to limit the amount of arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and other harmful chemicals that power plants can dump into our water. These standards had not been updated since 1982 and led to the contamination of 23,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, including drinking water sources. The 2015 technology-based standards required power plants to achieve zero discharge of fly ash and bottom ash wastewater and set strict limits on discharges of arsenic, mercury, selenium, and nitrogen in scrubber sludge wastewater.

EPA is proposing to weaken pollution limits for two of the largest and most toxic power plant waste streams — sludge from the scrubbers that remove pollutants from smokestack emissions and water used to flush coal ash from boilers (commonly known as bottom ash wastewater). The 2015 rule required a closed-looped/zero discharge system for water used to flush out coal ash in boilers, but now EPA wants to allow plants to discharge up to 10 percent of their bottom ash wastewater. EPA also wants to relax technology requirements for limiting pollutants such as selenium in scrubber sludge wastewater discharges. Its proposal even offers new loopholes for power plants that claim they will retire soon or only operate for a limited number of hours a year — allowing these plants to dump even more toxic pollution into our rivers and lakes. Power plants, mostly coal-fired, are the number one toxic water polluters in the country and they shouldn’t be allowed to continue to contaminate our nation’s water resources. Gutting these standards is a hand-out to the power plant industry at the expense of our health and our environment and our posterities future.

In addition, not only does our garbage go somewhere, but so does our own body wastes. Our body wastes don’t just go “away”, they are washed away with an average of 2 gallons of clean water every time we flush! Because the water is mixed with our body wastes, it becomes what is called black water which gets mixed in our sewer systems with gray water from our bathing, dishwashing, and clothes washing and gets flushed into sewer systems. In metropolitan systems the sewage is separated from the water and the water returned to the system, and the solid wastes are sent out to landfills for disposal. The waste products are placed in pits where they are buried and often their toxicity is leached back into the natural waterways and end up downstream and end up in the ocean. Every day, Americans produce 16 tons of sewage every minute, but no one ever talks about this. We think that as long as the water goes down the toilet or drain, we have nothing to worry about.

Not just our bodily wastes, but animal wastes are also a problem. You may be shocked to learn that one of the most important ways you can reduce your impact on the planet is to eat less meat and dairy and more plant-based food. Raising of livestock contributes 18% of humanity’s total impact on carbon emissions, more than the emissions from cars, trains, and planes combined.

Not to say that animals and animal protein is bad. Animals do play an important role when incorporated into farms. Cow/calf operations, like here in Southern Missouri, recycle nutrients by eating grass (not digestible by humans). Small permaculture type farms raise chickens which keep down insect pests by eating them and can also eat food waste. Pigs can also eat food wastes. These animals turn these into manure that fertilizes the soil which feeds plant crops.

HOWEVER, our current industrial agriculture system, most livestock are subjected to CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). In the 1970s, agricultural policies led to smaller farms consolidating into big monocultures. Animals were removed from farm and squeezed into CAFOs and instead of using manure for fertilizer we increased our usage of synthetic fertilizers. In addition, this manure is so concentrated and anaerobic that the manure is no longer fit to use on fields.  This system comes with many steep ecological, health, and humanitarian issues. The policy that bigger is better has not only harmed the animals, but the farmers as well.

We’ll discuss more about this subject in next week’s blog.

%d bloggers like this: