It’s Officially Time to Celebrate! — The Ninth Life

Congratulations!  Wishing you much success with your book.  Sharing to spread the word.

Let’s celebrate! Today, I am officially an author! Woo Hoo! God knows it has taken me a long time to get here, but I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without the love/support of God, family, and good people like you. If you haven’t done so already, please check out my new inspirational […]

via It’s Officially Time to Celebrate! — The Ninth Life

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Blogging Day 6 ~ In Need of a Routine

I missed blogging again yesterday. I spent a good deal of the day today chewing on “why,” not to beat up on myself, for once, but to get to the root and correct it.  The conclusion I have come to is… drumroll please… I lack routine. My schedule revolves around several other people and their schedules. Therefore, I am going to need to figure out a way to have some kind of routine, in spite of what is going on around me.  Also, I have not yet begun to write, for the same reason.

Theoretically I could get up earlier, but unfortunately my brain does not turn on early. This is not an excuse but a realization I have come to after years of trying to be an early bird and never getting much accomplished in the early morning hours.  And now that I am watching grandkiddos much of the day, come dinner time admittedly, I am exhausted.  Once dinner is cleaned up and I sit down, I catch myself dozing.  I know that my energy level will get better as I move more and get used to not being so sedentary, but I am beginning to feel stuck and I just do not want this to become the beginning of a downward spiral.

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Blogging Day 5 ~ Missed Deadline and Self-Accountability

On June 8th when I re-inaugurated this blog it was with the intent to blog (mostly) about my journey with the writing process and to finally achieve some much needed self-accountability, an area I have never been successful with. As such, I set four goals for myself that I need to review.

GOAL: Resolve the organizational conundrum of paper vs. technology by Sunday, June 12th and begin exploring various options of “how to.”

COMPLETED! I spent the majority of the past week exploring options, making decisions about “how to”, and getting started. Unfortunately, this has been done at the expense of writing, however I did have it in mind that if I get better organized I will have more time to focus on other goals and activities, like writing.

GOAL: Have my story map and outline on paper by Sunday, June 12th.

Incomplete. I am going to push back my self-imposed deadline from June 12th to June 19th.  This is the huge step for me as in past failure to meet a deadline would result in my beating up on myself mercilessly and then wallowing for days as opposed to accepting that things did not go as planned and pushing forward by revising. I cannot tell you how many times my “all or nothing” perspective has derailed goals and projects in my life. No more! Now I will revisit missed goals and set new, realistic deadlines.

REVISED GOAL: Have my story map and outline on paper by Sunday, June 19th.

GOAL: Blog every day for 28 days.

This is a work in progress. I did miss a day, but I picked right back up the next day.  That is progress.

GOAL: Work on novel, WRITE for one hour a day, regardless of any other work (research, etc.) being done.

I haven’t done this as yet, so today will be my start date.

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Blogging Day 4 ~ Working on Learning a New Habit

One of the goals I made was to blog every day for 28 days.  I missed yesterday.  I went swimming in that new bathing suit of mine and completely overdid it (more to do with holding the grandkiddos than anything else) and by the time I got out of the shower I was uncomfortable enough that I did not do much for the balance of the day.  Right after dinner, while watching television, I dozed repeatedly. Regardless, I missed yesterday and in spite of that fact, I am determined to keep plugging away.  I am still uncomfortable but today I kept working on my bullet journal.

Initially I found “bullet journal” on Pinterest and let me tell you there are hundreds of ways to create and maintain a bullet journal, so being who I am, I decided to do some research and found the website of the “original” bullet journal (as far as I can tell) which is  When started reading this site I realized the bullet journal is close to what I have been doing for years… with a few exception, mostly how it is organized.

Below is my “key”.  I know for some who use this method the goal is to streamline.  No doubt I will reduce the signifiers in the future but what I have done here is to incorporate my shorthand into the key because that is simply how I write notes to myself and have for years.  For me the goal is not to change everything I have been doing to learn another way, but to make what I have been doing more efficient. Additionally some of the shorthand comes from my career in the accounting field.


Next you’ll see an example of the Monthly Spread.  One of the reasons it took me so long to get started is that I’ve created a monthly spread for each month through December.  While I realize that the bullet journal systems is set-up to create as you go.  I already have items on my calendar for the month of October. That is simply how my life works, so I took the time to create the monthly spreads in the beginning of my journal.


Below is an example of a daily log.  It is short and sweet but then again, for me, it is a matter of learning the habit of writing things down as they happen as opposed to trying to capture things at the end of the day.  It will come, slowly but surely.  (The green you see in the picture contains medical information I would rather not make the world privy to.)


Last but not least is my “ongoing projects” list.  Things I know I need to work on and now I will have them all listed in one place as opposed on lots of little scraps of paper and in various notebooks.


I am feeling better already.  Slowly but surely this will help me to stay organized and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Blogging Day 3 ~ a Bullet Journal and a Bathing Suit

I ran into a slight snag with my bullet journal, no white out.  I know, I know to most people this would be insignificant enough to keep right on going, which I did, however the mistakes were making my brain itch.  So when we headed out today for a field trip with the grandbabies we picked up some white out and now my brain is happy.  Regardless there still no pictures yet, hopefully tomorrow after the mistakes are corrected.

I did something today I haven’t done in years and years, probably more than 15, maybe even 20… I bought a bathing suit.  Larry has been going into the pool every day with the grandbabies, he has moved more in the past week than he has in a year.  He and the babies are loving it.

P1050548                       P1050553

(Don’t let the faces fool you, they are a squinting, it is BRIGHT at 8:00 in the morning in Phoenix!)

I, on the other hand, have been sitting on the side of the pool only dangling my feet in the water because no bathing suit.  I hated buying it, rather I hated the size I had to buy in order for it to fit.  However, getting into the water and moving will be the another step in the right direction when it comes to my health and my weight. Tomorrow I get to join the fun and I cannot wait.  And no, there will be no pictures!

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Blogging ~ Day 2 and Getting Organized

I spent the majority of the day researching (it’s my thing) organizational methods, apps, and programs.  I am excited with what I think/hope will solve my problems.  I will be using several different programs/apps as well as a paper journal and that is simply due to the fact that I am highly visual.  Coupled with the fact that while my phone and tablet both connect to the internet via Wifi, I don’t pay for a data plan, therefore unless I am at a location that provides public Wifi (which we all know is not the most secure of scenarios) I do not have access to the data in my programs/apps.

My solution?  Google Calendar for my scheduling and reminders, Gmail to maintain my contracts, along Google Drive and Google Photo for storage of docs and pictures.  Wunderlist for grocery list(s) and lists of daily/weekly errands (this program/app allows for data access offline as long as you have synced prior to leaving Wifi).  Evernote for miscellaneous electronic information storage (also a program that you can access data offline).  And last but not least a paper Bullet Journal because I am so visual and it just gives me peace of mind to have things on paper… hopefully one day I will get over that.  Information and pictures of the bullet journal forthcoming.

Progress not perfection. ~Gem

Happy New Year!

Okay it is not really New Year’s but admit it, I did get your attention.  And now that I have it, what am I going to do with it?  I am glad you asked, let me tell you.  I am going to take you with me on my little adventure.  This adventure will include:

  • relationship adventures with my significant other and partner in crime, Larry
  • our start-up business
  • family and friends
  • books, book, and more books
  • dragons, fairies, and a sundry of other characters that spring from my imagination as I try my hand at writing fiction
  • food, meal plans, the old recipes I adore, and new ones I am finding while learning how to limit/eliminate gluten
  • fun in the sun… I am living in Phoenix after all
  • a plethora of other topics

I am choosing to treat today similar to January 1st, no resolutions just a deep-seated desire to get my life in order after recently turning 50 (Who is that old gray-haired woman who stares back at me when I look into a mirror?) and a 1500-mile relocation from New Orléans, Louisiana to Phoenix, Arizona (yes, from the swamp to the desert).  My life is more than a little bit different from what I imagined it would be at this point and as this new chapter of my life begins I need to make things that are important to me a priority.  Right now the big priorities are getting to know and develop relationships with the two grandchildren I had not had the opportunity to meet until last month, my relationship with Larry which is always an ongoing priority, and writing which has been my dream for a long time.  I will be using this blog not only to share ideas and thoughts about various topics, but also for some introspection and self-accountability.  With that in mind, “For your safety, remain seated throughout your journey, keeping your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the car—and please supervise your children. Stay clear of the doors, which will open and close automatically. Enjoy your trip!”

I am an organized person, I learned how to be out of self-preservation when I had four children in three different schools, was the Cub and Girl Scout leader, little league scorekeeper, lacrosse videographer, library and PTA volunteer, while simultaneously founding and managing several businesses in conjunction with my ex.  Now I have much less responsibility, basically it is Larry and I, our business, and the meal planning and food prep while staying with family.  I feel like I should be running on autopilot but somehow it seems the less I have on my plate the tougher it is for me to stay organized.  I am using how I used to manage my time and stay organized as a yard stick of how I could be doing it now but I am finding a few pitfalls.  Admittedly and unfortunately, I have not kept up with new technology and I think part of my problem is that I do not know what is out there (apps and programs) that can help me yet are not difficult to keep up with, that fact coupled with several computer and cell phones crashes in which I lost a lot of data, have me leery of computerization.  So at this point I find myself vacillating between keeping my “To Do” lists, schedule, and contacts on paper or in a computer or app.  Right now I could easily keep everything on paper however, I need things to be accessible for Larry as well and he is far more likely to use the computer or phone.  This is an ongoing internal debate for myself and since I perform better with goals in place…

GOAL: Resolve the organizational conundrum of paper vs. technology by Sunday, June 12th and begin exploring various options of “how to.”

Another project that I am focusing on is my novel.  The ideas are there; the groundwork is not.  I am struggling with my story map and outline.  Well, not really struggling with it but rather resisting putting pen to paper.  I am extremely visual so this will need to be on paper in order to see where I am going to take the story that is developing in my head.  I have repeatedly put this off more from fear than anything (at least I think it is fear that is stalling me) therefore…

GOAL: Have my story map and outline on paper by Sunday, June 12th.

Finally, at least for this post, is to dedicate time daily to writing… both this blog and my novel.  The experts say takes 21 days to develop a new habit.  I am a FlyLady follower who believes, “It takes SHEs 28 days to establish a habit.”  Although I do not know if in the long-term I have enough to write about to make a blog entry every day, I am committed to making a blog entry every day for 28 days to develop the habit.  Later I am sure I will blog less, but with consistency being the long-term goal.  Additionally, I need to put aside a minimum of one hour (to start with) a day toward the actual writing of my novel, regardless of what other work (research, etc.) is done.

GOAL: Blog every day for 28 days.

GOAL: Work on novel, WRITE for one hour a day, regardless of any other work (research, etc.) being done.

I think these basic goals will get me off to a good start.  Progress not perfection. ~Gem