A new approach to Time (self) Management

Made-a-move #25:

tell your time

I’ve previously posted some great blogging tips I found at Blogging With Amy.  My move for this week was to read and start to apply her advice from her eBook Tell Your Time.  Yes, I actually started and finished, and started to apply a self-improvement book!  Ok, Amy Lynn Andrews made it doable by keeping her book short, to the point, and practical – all in about 30 pages.

Right from the beginning, she provided a very basic, and yet so profound, statement that made me stop and take notice of how off-track I have been:

How we live our days, of course, is how we live our lives.

- Annie Dillard

What an eye opener!  I live my days running around chasing my tail.  What I want is to be able to say I have/ had a good, happy and purposeful life.  Am I happy?  I have been too busy taking care of the responsibilities and people around me to even think of what that means, let alone, actually make an effort to be happy.  I feel happiness when the people around me are happy (especially my husband and children) and even more so when I have had a hand in doing something that helps them feel happy.  But, would I describe myself as being happy in general?  I pray daily for my children to grow strong and healthy in every way and have happy lives.  Am I really modeling that for them?  To be able to answer these questions the way I want to, I need to make changes!

I went through the first 60% of the book in 1 sitting.  By the next day, I found myself thinking about my approach to life in a very new way.  There has been a big disconnect between my approach to life (living in the here and now, doing the best that I can with what I have) and the dreams I have for what I want to do in my future.  This book shed light on a basic recognition and system for connecting up what I do with where I want to go.

In her book, Amy proposes looking at time similar to looking at finances (something else I have not been very good at).  We have a finite amount of time.  Everything we need to do and want to do has to fit into the limited amount of time we have.  When we “spend” too much time on one thing, or get distracted into “spending” time on something mindless, that leaves less time to do the other things in our day… and our life.  Managing time can be looked at just like people who use an envelop system to budget their finances, dividing up their available money into separate envelopes for their different expenses.  They soon realize that to spend extra $ on one category after the envelop is empty, they have to “take” $ away from something else.  If we don’t “budget” any time for taking steps to reach our dreams, we aren’t going to get there.

As I am presently “spending” part of my time allotment that should be used for sleep, I will end this post with a high recommendation for the Tell Your Time book and an eagerness to finish developing (tomorrow) the schedule it is guiding me to create.

Wishing much success and happiness to you, in your days and life!


PS.  My links to Amy’s site in this posting are now “Affiliate Links” – I did not write this post to get paid for promoting her book, but rather learned how to make an affiliate link (from “Blogging with Amy“) after writing it.  More on that to come…

The Language of Flowers


The name and description of The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, caught my eye from a site advertising the previous book I reviewed, Between Shades of Gray.  This book, too, I requested from the library thinking it might be of interest to my teenage daughter.  And, again, it turned out to be more for me than her.  The copy I received from the library was an audio format, which did make it more complicated to find time to get through the book, out of earshot of my kids, as a couple scenes in the book weren’t very kid-appropriate.

The story begins with a girl, Victoria, as she turns 18 and is emancipated from being a ward of the state her entire life – after a life of one foster home after another and one group home after another.  She begins life on her own filled with feelings of anger, distrust, guilt, and a hope for a new beginning.  The book alternates between her building a new life for herself at age 18 and the “new life” that she experienced at age 9, when, for the first time, she lived with a woman who gave her unwavering love and had wanted to adopt her.  In addition to teaching Victoria trust and to accept love, Elizabeth taught her about flowers and how different flowers can be used to express different emotions and sentiments – the first being common thistle, expressing her feelings of anger at the world.  Victoria begins her “new life,” at age 18, with a deep connection to flowers and their meanings and the desire for solitude.  Her fond memories of her time with Elizabeth present the mystery of what went wrong that resulted in her going back to the foster care system.

As both stories unfold, the author takes the reader on Victoria’s new journey along with the backdrop of her past, giving insight into her reactions to life’s situations along with hope for a better future.  The book carries with it messages of growing up, discovering more mature ways of seeing all aspects of life, searching for and recognizing a deeper side to the people and things around us, the importance of forming and developing relationships with others, getting past the road blocks we have set for ourselves as coping mechanisms at previous points in our lives, and of reconciliation.

A few days after finishing the audio of this book, I realized how subtly inspirational it was.  I didn’t notice it while listening to it – I was too caught up in the unfolding of the life story of the main characters and in wanting things to work out for them.

While my life has been much different from that of the characters, I was able to relate to some of their experiences and responses.  After completing the book, I found myself feeling closer to my husband, and making nice dinner meals for my family and washing dishes each night out of wanting to – not as a task to do at end of a long, tiring day.  Just under my consciousness, I felt somewhat of a weight lifted from me in:

  • a release from some of the guilt feelings for mistakes made that have haunted me for years;
  • acceptance of having an “unconventional” home – and that’s ok;
  • acceptance of my shortcomings as a parent and in my relationships with others;
  • awareness of it being ok and necessary to just take small steps in the right direction rather than feeling guilty for not being able to handle it all and be where other people are in their lives; and
  • a new awareness of other people’s limitations in dealing with life’s challenges and forming relationships.

I cannot explain why “reading” this book had these effects.  I just hope that, little by little, they will reshape the patterns I have fallen into, bring me to reconciliation with the painful points in my past and help me to grow and blossom. :)

Between Shades of Gray


It has been a long time since I was drawn into a book.  I used to love to read fantasy novels and would get lost in them for hours.  I just don’t have the attention span anymore for them and with so many pressing things to do, I don’t have the desire to “waste” my time getting lost in them.

I borrowed the book Between Shades of Gray, by  Ruta Sepetys, from the library thinking my daughters might be interested.   It turned out to be more a book for me than them.  I read the first page and was hooked.

The book is a historical fiction about what happened to Lithuanian families during the 40’s and 50’s when the Soviets took over their country.  The author interviewed many people who lived through experiences of that time and she incorporated their stories into the events of the book.  Ruta Sepetys writes the book from the perspective of a 15/16 year old girl, Lina, who goes through the experience of being deported with her mother and brother, along with hundreds of others, from their home in Lithuania to Siberia.

The author takes the reader along with Lina through the uncertainty of what will happen to them, the longing for home, and the horrendous living (and in many cases dying) conditions and the treatment she and the people around her lived through.  It does so without focusing on gory details, but rather with the messages of hope, dreams, truth, love, family, importance of self-expression and perseverance through difficult times.  Shades of gray permeate the view of their surroundings, both physically and figuratively.  Even some of the harsh experiences Lina saw as “black” she later saw had shades of goodness mixed in.

As the author requested, I am passing on the word of truth about this period of time that was kept secret for too many years.  Truth not for the sake of horrifying, but instead for better appreciating the good life we live, seeing good in ‘shades of gray’ around us, recognizing the importance of hanging on to hope through difficult times, and to motivate us to do what we can to help others in need and when we see injustice done to others.

May we all soon see the day when the grandest of hopes and dreams are realized – when those longing to go home will do so and everyone will live together in peace, health and happiness!