Look to the Future – Make a List to Be, Do, and Have

Look to the Future – Make a List to Be, Do, and Have

Look to the future. Sure, you can learn from the past, but stop making the past your focus. It’s the future that holds promise!

“Instead of looking at the past,

I put myself ahead twenty years

and try to look at what I need to do now

in order to get there then.”

~ Diana Ross

Diana Ross is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. Her career began in 1959 with the Supremes, and she’s been going strong ever since. I’m guessing her view of looking 20 years into the future and doing what it will require has served her well!

Look to the future.

What’s life going to be like in 20 years for you? Nobody has a crystal ball to see the future, but you can look at where you’d like to be…

Where to start this looking into the future?

Just for fun, create three “20-things” lists as you look to the future:

  • be – 20 qualities you’d like to add/enhance in your character
  • do – 20 activities you’d like to try or get better at
  • have – 20 physical things you’d like to own (for a bit, anyhow)

Now – what could you do today to make it possible for you to experience something on this list?

Yes, I’ve done this to inspire me about my future. I’ve made lists with 30 things on them – because I find that if I keep on going and force myself to keep adding to the lists, after the first obvious items, then I get deeper into what I really value.

One of the items on my “do” list is to experience a River Cruise with Rob. That’s not in the budget right now, but if I save my pennies in the next 20 years…  I’ve told Rob that I’m going to get a large jar and put a photo of a cruise boat on a river on that jar, and we can add a dollar or two to give us a start. Another item on the “be” list is to be a better writer. I’m struggling with passive voice in my writing, so the next year will hold some grammar courses!

What’s on your lists for the future?

What one thing is on one of your lists (be-do-have) that you’d begin saving for today? Leave a comment!

Look to the future! Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there

Need some encouragement about the future? Read this!



Developing Good Character – 7 Ways

Developing Good Character – 7 Ways

Character = Who we are when no one is watching. Hopefully it’s good character!

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month.

It is created little by little, day by day.”

~ Heraclitus

Social and News media is filled with scathing reports detailing the faults of individuals in all walks of life. No person is born with all these character deficits. Negative character qualities develop one at a time, day by day, just like as good qualities.

Do you relate? I’m sure you have a few character qualities you’d like people to overlook, just as I do… right? However, with this attitude, we might be adding to the problem, rather than improving it. Chicken or egg?

Is this good character just supposed to show up…? 

If we are the only ones who can change ourselves, how much time and effort do we put into developing our own good character? And by acting and reacting, demonstrating a good character, how could we impact the world around us for good?

Developing Good Character

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here – assuming the development of good character is important to you… <grin>

Parents care about the character of their children – but where do children first see examples of how to be? From their parents and caregivers, of course.

Perhaps it’s in our best interest to care about developing our own good character if we are invested in how the world around us behaves, rather than merely joining in on the criticism-fest.

Easier said than done? Maybe. Maybe not!

7 ways we could focus on developing good character:

  • PEOPLE: surrounding ourselves with people who demonstrate good character – it’s said we are the sum of those we spend time with.
  • READING: reading to develop our character – our brain needs sustenance, what are we feeding it?
  • WATCHING: being discerning in what we watch – oh, yes. TV – Movies – YouTube – streaming <sigh>
  • BOUNDARIES: setting boundaries in our life to manage areas where our character might be tempted or swayed. We are all susceptible.
  • DECISIONS: making decisions with deliberate care and consideration, not on a whim or in the middle of intense emotion.
  • HABITS: designing our habits to support our good character development. Habits. It’s the small things that make up the great things.
  • GREATER THAN OURSELF: following a higher ideal. The belief and adherence to something greater than our self will make a difference even when we fail. Rob and I are Christ followers and often speak of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as a barometer of our character.

Have I overlooked something? Would you add anything to this list? (Leave a comment to share, please! What has worked for you when you’ve been focused on character development?)

Resources to develop a good character.

Have you read any books which impacted your character? I’m thinking of classics such as Robert McGee’s “The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes”, and Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” or even C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters“…

When we homeschooled our children we used “The Book of Virtues” by William J. Bennett.

This book is a collection of stories and fables on virtues – character qualities. These moral stories provided the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in areas like friendship, courage, honesty, compassion, and responsibility. Rob and I found some of the stories quite challenging and personally convicting. I’m looking forward to getting that book out of storage!

Another book I’ve been researching is called “What Do You Stand For? For Teens: A Guide to Building Character”. It has a teen version and a child version, along with the option of a game. If you don’t have teens in your home right now, the lists and questionnaires would still be good exercises to go through as an adult. What we need to learn isn’t defined by age.

And finally, here’s a one-page checklist to download as a reminder to focus on your character – it’s the above 7 points as questions to ask yourself. Post it on your bathroom mirror for a bit, and see if it sparks something positive. No email needed, click HERE to download.

Have your children been introduced to character building resources in school? Perhaps you’re a teacher… do you have any recommendations? Please leave a comment!

“Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Today Is My Everything

Today Is My Everything

Today Is My Everything. (Notice the first letter in each word of that sentence creates an acronym.)  Use TIME wisely today to make an impact on all your tomorrows.

We can’t change the past. Though we can prepare for the future, today is the only resource we have. 24 hours, 1440 minutes.

One moment after another and the day passes.

Are you pursuing a goal? Think you don’t have enough time to make it work?

Chances are you have a few extra moments to create a small dent in that goal. Close the Facebook App, turn off the TV, and if you’re like me, put down the book and/or Kindle.

What one thing will you do today to move forward on that goal? 

I’m writing this post because my focus is to be positive and to encourage others. In the month of July, my goal is to write 31 positive articles. It’s a part of the #blogboost initiative, which is a way to keep myself accountable. Last month I decided I’d avoid eating sugar. (That went quite well, by-the-way! I’ve decided to carry on in this month!)

A few months ago I was exploring the idea of challenging myself and downloaded a Kindle Unlimited book called, “The 30 Day Challenge Book: 500 Ideas to Inspire Your Life” by Clare Hudson. Just like everyone else, there are things in my life that need to change. So I picked out a few challenges that I’ll do for a month to motivate myself. For me, doing a shorter-term challenge to change behavior, works!

What about you? Have you challenged yourself to something? Are you reaching for a long-term goal? How do you reach that goal?

Have you decided?

If your TIME today will bring you closer to your goal, then what one thing (or more than one) will you do today?

Leave a comment!

“TIME = Today Is My Everything”

~ Richie Norton quote

Here’s the book I referenced, and it’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited is reading option with a fixed price per month and thousands of books to borrow. If you are curious, like to learn/read and own a device that supports the Kindle app,(or you own a Kindle), then this might be a good choice for you. It’s free for the first 30 days. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans


Remind Yourself of these 10 to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Remind Yourself of these 10 to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Success happens one decision at a time.

Stop the cycle and overcome analysis paralysis. Choose and move forward.

Rob and I took six months – 182 days – to choose our first new couch. (“Chesterfield” if you’re in Canada.) We analyzed everything about each couch we saw. We went back to stores to look at the same couch many more than a few times, I’m embarrassed to say.

In the end, our choice was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good… enough.  The downside? We missed out on having a new couch for more months than was necessary. We bought our second new couch, a loveseat, in an afternoon.

Most times the decisions you need to make aren’t the last nail in your coffin. If you find yourself going ’round and ’round (and ’round again) … STOP! You’ve got analysis paralysis.

Perfect isn’t necessary. (Except in brain surgery, I guess. <grin>)

Go for good and move on.

Make the decision!

If you’re finding it hard to move out of the cycle of analysis paralysis, here are 10 thoughts to spark some movement.

Overcome Analysis Paralysis

10 things to remind yourself for an antidote to analysis paralysis:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not the mistake that impedes long-term progress, rather, it’s not moving past a mistake that’s the real killer of dreams. If you make a mistake, you can pick yourself up and keep on going. Read this on getting back up again.
  2. You know the outcome you want. If your decision sends you off-course, you’ll know. And you’ll be able to make a different decision to get yourself back on-course.
  3. You can eliminate the bad options for a shorter list. Make a list. Cross off the options that probably won’t work – be brutal. With a shorter list, it’ll be easier to decide. Studies have shown that consumers make a decision much more quickly when given fewer options.
  4. Is what you believe… true? Are you trying to make a decision based on emotion or fact? Our emotions can lead us in circles. Include a trusted advisor in your process to help you identify the truth. (And to point out where your emotions are leading you astray.)
  5. You can add an accountability partner or process to make the decision easier. Read more here on 8 ways to hold yourself accountable.
  6. Opinions don’t need to impact your self-worth. You’ve read the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”, haven’t you? It’s true. I once responded to a criticism of a decision by saying, “Fortunately, my sense of self-worth isn’t dependent on your opinion.” (I’m not usually so candid – I shocked myself.) However, this statement improved our relationship so much that this person is now just a little bit friendly when we meet. Astonishing.
  7. Deadlines are your friend. Set a deadline to make your decision. Keep it.
  8. Fear is your enemy. -> False Evidence Appearing Real -> Fear lies to you. See #4.
  9. You can pray about this. So often we forget to pray about these decisions… Release your concerns to the God who created everything, and knows everything. He cares about even the tiny stuff. (Perhaps because it’s all tiny to Him?)
  10. All big things are done in small steps. If the decision seems too big, then chunk it down. Choose the right size decision for this point in time. Go with it.

I imagine this will not be the last decision you make in life. You’ll feel empowered when you finally decide.

Deciding feels good. You can DO this!


One step.

One step.

It only takes one step.

Just one.

One step in the right direction – today. It’s further than you were yesterday.

Got a goal on the horizon? What’s one task, idea, activity or step you can take in the right direction toward that goal? Now’s the time – be further along tomorrow by taking that one step today!

Herculean Task?

Got a huge goal? Chunk it down.

  • write one page
  • pull one weed
  • do one load
  • make one call
  • clear one surface
  • make one
  • toss out one
  • give away one
  • do for one what you’d like to do for everyone


It’s a small number that makes a big difference if done every day! 

What one step will you take… today?

Rise Again

Rise Again

Celebrate rising again as much as reaching the finish line.

Life holds many disappointments. Sometimes even failure. Few walk through their life without being touched by that sour twisting of loss, and being thrown down by circumstances… but then they get back up.

They rise again. And again.

“If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

~ Mary Pickford, Canadian born actress 1892-1979

Getting back up needs to be noticed – it needs some celebration. 

Are you standing up again… yet again? Or it might not be you, but maybe someone you love is rising again.


Rise again and gather those you love around to celebrate with you! Rising again may be even more important than reaching a finish line…

There’s a song by a Canadian folk-singer, Stan Rogers, that Rob and I love – it’s about a ship and maritime fishermen …  however, the last stanza seems appropriate for this post.

And you to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.


Rise again! Rise again!
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end
No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again… rise again…


~ last stanzas of Stan Roger’s song “The Mary Ellen Carter”

Stan Rogers – Canadian folk-singer 1949 – 1983


Enjoy the YouTube video below (click HERE if you can’t see the player.)

This is a section from a film on Stan Rogers where a fellow recounts being shipwrecked in a wicked storm, and how the song made the difference between him giving up or hanging on until the Coast Guard arrived to rescue him.

Then you’ll see Stan Rogers sing the song, “The Mary Ellen Carter” in concert at minute 1:40.