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In the past, we have done a similar series on this blog and I’m adding a more personal touch by doing it via video blog. You may see some repeats on people to thank but it’s always great to continually thank people isn’t it? If you like this video or the concept, please leave a comment below or share the video with friends. Better yet, start your own thank you project and let me know about it!
There is just so much to do. We have 12-14 hours in a day that we can utilize and get things done. It doesn’t seem like a lot does it? I mean if you really think about it, how do people really get things done in a day? Here are my thoughts on how my day usually goes:
- 5AM (sometimes earlier like 4AM depending on meetings) – wake up and get myself centered. It usually takes me a good 15-20 minutes to really wake up and get going
- I usually grab something to eat. It’s usually quick, maybe some waffles, cereal or eggs (my dad gave me a nice egg steamer machine that makes hard boiled eggs quickly and without having to use a pot to boil water)
- I have meetings all morning since I still work on EST so that takes me usually to 10-11 AM. I try to get as much as I can accomplished during that time
- Afternoons are a bit slower work wise but I usually end my day around 1-2PM
- Now it’s time to tackle the eBay business that we have. Krista can sometimes crank out the invoices for the orders of the day but most of the time it’s a joint effort or I have to pack the boxes in advance because she sometimes does not wake up until the afternoon
- So until 5:30 PM I have to fill usually 15-20 orders a day and of varying degrees. What I mean by that is we have a variety of items that range from small boxes, to even smaller power discs to big phones that we sell.
- Oh I guess I forgot to put that sometime in here I have a lunch. I don’t really have a time blocked off for it, I usually just fit it in
- After the eBay stuff is done, that’s already 12+ hours in the day that has passed. Krista and I usually have dinner with the family or go out and hunt for some items to sell. If we’re out hunting items, it can take some time and we don’t come back until maybe 8 or 9 PM.
- Hmm it’s already 9PM… KristaRose at this point is usually telling me that I have to go to bed. Most of the time I try to honor that request, sometimes it doesn’t end up happening. The time after eBay business tasks is usually reserved for cleaning up the house, unpacking boxes (yes we still haven’t done that and I’ve done a terrible job of that), watering the plants, playing videogames (specifically Overwatch lately), connecting with friends and really that’s it.
So as you can see, in my typical day, I just don’t have a lot of time for extra things. I try to squeeze them where I can but I have to do a lot better. Part of the reason why we have an eBay business is because we had so much medical debt when we were living in South Bend that we needed some extra income. We’ve made some investments in items and it has worked out pretty well. The bad part is that it takes a lot of time and many days it is tough for KristaRose to work on it a lot.
It’s actually been very tough ever since KristaRose had been diagnosed with autoimmune illnesses. These illnesses will be with her for the rest of her life. With the current medications and methodologies, there’s just no end in sight and no easy fix. It has been tough because there is not only medical debt but I have to be able to keep her spirits up each and every day. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish and I can probably do multiple blog posts outlining this. I’ll try to summarize it in one paragraph for this post though.
The more she is not able to do things in life, the worse her outlook on life becomes. Think about it, if you’re physically and mentally not able to do things in life that you once did with ease, it would start to take a toll. I do my best to help her out as much as I can but there is only so much I can influence myself. That’s why the eBay business is so important to us. Sure I have to devote a lot of time towards it but it’s an activity that we can do together and it’s something that we both believe in and are doing well with. Our humble little store has really helped with the bills and we’ve been able to still donate 15% of our profits to charities. We’ve focused a lot on Donors Choose which is a site that helps out teachers in areas with supplies for their kids whether it’s for the classroom or for a specific project. Anything that I can do together with KristaRose is like a win for the day to me. It can be a business thing. It can be watching a movie together. It can be playing a videogame together. Anything really helps her out and helps take away the pain for a bit.
So really, it’s difficult to find time to accomplish things. Unless I write them out and try to tackle at least a few on the list each day, I tend to get bogged down and partially distracted at times. Now I’ve tried to do lists multiple times in the past and sometimes it has worked out ok and then it kind of trails off. You go in so motivated to cross things off your list and then it ends up not happening. I think I’ve figured out a method for myself.
- Make a list between personal tasks and work tasks
- List down everything you need to do. Even if you’ve accomplished something for the day, put it on the list. I know what you’re thinking.. why in the world would you do that? At least for my mentality, it’s always nice to see that some things are crossed off the list. It makes me think that hey I’ve done something for the day and I can do even more!
- Once you’ve written down everything, cross off things that you’ve done.
- Look at the tasks once again and if something is too high level or too big of a task to tackle, break it down into pieces
- Then try to prioritize tasks. I just use a simple High, Medium, Low.
- Set a threshold of what you think you can accomplish. Now if you can do 100% of the items, more power to you. However, in my case, I usually think I can tackle most of the high items and some of the medium items so I’ll mark the ones I think I can do
- This all should be done at the beginning of the day even before you look at emails. However, it shouldn’t be the last time you look at it because you should be constantly crossing things off the list during the day.
- Be sure to look at it at least a couple times a day to re-evaluate the list. Sometimes it’s too late in the day to accomplish some of the High priority items so you can just target a few of the Low to finish off.
- Give yourself at least 30 minutes or an hour of free time before you sleep where you’re not thinking about the list. You can relook at it in the morning and you should transfer over things you didn’t do the previous day onto the next day’s list
With this strategy, I’ve found that I’m able to get more things accomplished than previously before. There are always chunks of time during the day that you can do something really quickly. This method has helped me take back some of my time and get things accomplished but I do need to get better.
So let me know if this is helpful and tell me if you have any other methods that I could try too! I look forward to taking more time to write on the blog and make it a regular thing. It has helped so much in the past to organize my thoughts and I think I need to make an effort to do this regularly again.
– The Lermz
It seems there is a trend this month that is creating awareness and teaching how to handle invisible illnesses; just like breast cancer, testicular cancer, ALS, heart disease, and all the other illnesses, we shouldn’t focus on that one illness for just one month and that’s it.* This post isn’t a call to attention about invisible illnesses, but rather a call to be more sympathetic and empathetic human beings.
We need to be more aware that we aren’t the only human beings on the planet and realize that everyone is going through something. There is a saying that I see posted in many doctors’ offices: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. How true is this? No matter how close we may be to another human being, we will never truly know what their fight is and how they feel.
My husband, Michael, is my best friend and makes up a huge part of my world. Since Michael works from home, he and I spend more time together than most couples. Michael and I seem to share a brain, sometimes; we like the same things and have the same beliefs, like most couples do, but no matter how compatible and close we are, Michael will never truly know how my illnesses affect me, nor will I ever truly understand how work, stress, and my illness affect him.
Every time Michael gets sick, he turns to me and says, “I don’t know how you do it. You feel sick every single day; I hate feeling this way.” I laugh each time because I truly do not know how he deals with me all the time; I have a very short fuse sometimes and don’t know how he can have the patience to look after me and tend to me being sick because taking care of him when he is sick is definitely not on my top ten favorites list.
Yes, I understand the irony that I am preaching that we have patience and compassion and I clearly struggle with it myself. Isn’t that part of it all, too? To realize that we, as in all of us, struggle? It’s a reminder that all of us are human, especially the author of this post. So what can we imperfect humans do? We can listen and be there for each other. We can try our best to be sympathetic and compassionate. We can take the time to learn more about each other and the struggles we face so that we, in turn, can become closer.
I am a perfectionist and don’t like to admit that I am flawed, but when I am with Michael, I know he appreciates when I am honest about my flaws. When I admit that I struggle, it must help validate Michael for the times where I complained about things he did or didn’t do. I hate saying I’m not perfect, but I know that when I do, that is one time where Michael and I do feel close, even though I am sometimes down on myself. When I admit I’m not perfect and that I need help, that is a time where Michael really is my hero. When I am real and vulnerable, he steps in to protect and take care of me. He may not understand fully what I am going through, but he is there to support me in a way that is different than the times where I “act tough.”
Remember that everyone struggles and their problems are real to them, even if they don’t seem like a big deal to you. Take the time to be compassionate, sympathetic, and empathetic. Instead of flipping off or swearing at the driver who just cut you off, pray that their day gets better and that they reach their destination safely. Take the time to listen to what another person is saying to you, rather than sort of listening and shooting out a platitude. Remember that if someone snaps at you and it seems like it is coming out of nowhere, there is probably more going on. If you are in a position to give a hug or a sympathetic ear, do that, but if that isn’t appropriate, you can always pray and wish them well (in your head or out loud, depending on the situation and relationship with the person), hoping that whatever is causing them stress will come to pass.
Take the time to be conscious that others have their own struggles and that no harm has come from a genuine smile and a caring attitude. Just having an awareness that everyone has their own struggles can really help make your every interaction with others that much more real and give you a sense of gratefulness for what you have.
*To clarify: I don’t think that people affected by these diseases just think about these diseases for a month and can change their focus like a light switch. Sometimes, I do feel these months are taken for granted and there isn’t necessarily an awareness for the illness as much as just a name for the month.
I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I posted on my blog. It’s kind of a surprise and kind of not that I haven’t had the heart to really sit down and write anything. I want to say that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the chance. If I think about it so many things have happened since July 2014.
- I ended up getting a promotion at Nielsen to a Program Manager. That in itself brought new challenges and new time constraints to my already busy schedule
- We’ve taken a couple of trips to California. Each trip provided us with some new life that only family can provide.
- We started our own ebay business and it’s actually pretty successful. Sure we’ve made some initial investments but for the past four or so months our selling limits have increased.
- We also started our own craft business. It didn’t take off quite as well as we thought it would but we eventually plan to merge this with our eBay business. It’s all in our master plan 🙂
- I found out just how sleep deprived you can get.
- We got to meet our new nephew, Aiden last month. Such a great nephew and very talkative and interactive. We definitely will look forward to seeing him more.
- We got to see one of my good friends, Andrew Keller get married. Both him and Lauren looked like the happiest people on Earth and that’s how your wedding should be.
- We hit financial bumps in the road and discovered medical bills aren’t cheap. Yes, technically we knew this beforehand but it became more prominent as Krista’s health continued to decline.
- We got a chance to go to a world class hospital to get some much needed answers to Krista’s health conditions. The flip side of medical bills not being cheap is that if you have good insurance, once you hit that out of pocket maximum, it becomes significantly easier… if you kind of forget about how much it took to get you there 🙂
- We decided we’re moving to California… for good.
So as you can see, there was quite a bit going on there. I kind of jumped from point to point but that’s kind of how the year seemed to me. So many things happening at different points of the year kind of threw us in a loop and oftentimes we didn’t know how to best handle it except to pray and hope God would guide us through. You know what? We’re still here and God continues to not throw us anything we can’t handle.
I really didn’t get a chance to slow down. Handling a full time job, helping with a growing business, taking care of KristaRose and Twix, all of that can be a handful. It makes my head just jump from item to item, hopelessly trying to check off the items in my ever growing list. If I were to really sit down and think about everything I want to accomplish and everything that I need to accomplish, well let’s just say it may take awhile to do..
If there’s anything that I’ve learned in the past year is to get through everything, you need to simplify your life. Even as I write this I have to chuckle to myself because it really is great advice that I’m writing down but I am not perfect in executing it. My main point is this though: Simplify and Pray to Say Hooray! It may sound funny but it actually is a good way to approach things.
Simplify where you can.
When you have an overwhelming amount of things to do, the only way you can get through it is to really take a look at what is important and try to simplify things as best as possible. You can definitely take out certain items on your checklist and prioritize better in order to make sure you accomplish what is really important to you. For example, take your own life and think about what’s important. Is it family? Is it friends? Is it being able to pursue your dreams? Is it a simple walk with your dog everyday? Is it building towards a goal like running a marathon? Is it work? These are all important things but every single person has a different priority they would give to each of these items. Determine what is important to you and try to eliminate some other things in order to give priority to the most important things that matter to you. I’m not saying to completely drop other items, just make sure you are happy with how your life is balanced and make sure the most important things are not being neglected.
Pray often and in your way.
I’ve often heard from so many people that you need to pray often. I think fundamentally the statement is right but in my opinion, you really need to have a conversation with God and to do this, you have to pray in your own way. For me personally, there is a certain calmness that comes over me when I sit down and have a conversation with God. It’s not just about saying certain prayers, it’s about really taking some time during the day to connect with Him and tell Him your worries, your fears and what is on your mind. I find it refreshing whenever I do get chances during the day to just sit in silence and just reflect and have a chance to lay it all down for Him. This is the way I pray and I find that it helps so much. You may need to have a different method. Maybe you will find some specific prayers that really help you connect with God. Maybe going to Mass on a daily basis will give you that special time with Him. Whatever you end up doing, consider giving up some time for God each day to try to center yourself and ensure that you are living life in the image of Christ.
Sometimes with so much going on, it’s hard to celebrate the wins in life. You get up when your alarm goes off. Sometimes it takes multiple tries and snoozes. You get dressed, you eat breakfast and then you go to work. You work hard all day. You come home, tired and exhausted and just want to relax. The next thing you know, it’s already time for bed.
For some lucky people, this doesn’t happen and their whole day is awesome. For others, you might start seeing this as your routine. You have to watch for this and make sure that you celebrate the wins in life and say “Hooray!” once in awhile. You don’t literally have to say it but what I mean is you need to add some good conversations or good memories. Have a dinner with your neighbors. Go play with your kids outside and teach them how to ride a bicycle. Talk with your kids about their days at school. Be like my dad and tell your son, your wife and your siblings that you’re proud of them.
Life isn’t just about surviving, paying the bills and worrying about the future. It’s about celebrating with your family, your friends, with God. It’s about creating memories, not only joyful ones but sad ones as well (Yes, I am thinking of the movie Inside Out right now). If you are able to simplify and pray, you should be able to say hooray every single day of your life.
That’s where my life is right now. It’s the constant struggle of trying to figure out what to do next, what needs to be checked off on the list of things to do, etc, etc, etc. But as my wife’s smile always reminds me, none of that really matters in the long run. Work to simplify life to make sure you enjoy it. Pray often so that you remain humble and hopeful for the future. Say hooray so that you can pass on your joy to others. That’s what life is really all about. Memories, smiles, challenges, family, friends, God. Not chores to check off of your list.
P.S. – Just to let everyone know, I am working to simplify the blog a little bit as well. Both KristaRose and I are so full of ideas but I think I started to get away from the purpose of the blog in the first place which was to reflect and to motivate and inspire others. While some of these ideas were great, the most impact comes from writing about experiences. This is the focus going forward and we hope that you will be along for the journey!
Yesterday, KristaRose and I celebrated our 1st anniversary. It’s a big milestone, it marks that even after a year, KristaRose hasn’t gotten tired of me and has decided to keep me! All jokes, aside, it is a big milestone to me but it’s just one of many milestones we will have in our lives. I wanted to take some time today (and I was starting to reflect a bit on it yesterday as well) to really think about what marriage means and how we’ve really grown in the past year.
The past year has been a journey for the both of us. I think there are really two main themes to the year and I think it coincides with our wedding theme as well.
Love is Patient.
Krista has gone through a lot of medical challenges and it’s been a learning experience for the both of us. I’ve personally learned the importance of keeping track of everything. I’m talking about medical bills, prescriptions, even the summary of your doctor visits. I don’t think that in the past year there was not a week where there wasn’t a doctor visit of some sort whether it be for a specialist, for physical or occupational therapy or for an acute visit. We’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals and there are a lot of times where I had to stop what I was doing either work wise or personally in order to take her to the doctor. It has given me a new sense of what it means to be patient. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn in the hospital. Sometimes you have to wait months for a new medicine to either work or not work. Sometimes it’s just a big waiting game in order to figure out what you have to do next in life.
I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to slow down and you just have to have faith that everything will turn out correctly. I think it’s one of the things that we all struggle with. We all worry about the future. We all worry about what’s happening in our lives right now. We all still worry about things that happened in the past. The truth is, you can’t really control a lot of it. It does not help to worry about what has already happened. You can’t change that. It does not help to worry about the future. You can think you can change it but in the grand scheme of things, no amount of planning will lead to a perfect day. God will direct the future as he sees fit and you can be certain that he will make sure you can handle it.
All of the medical complications have really strengthened me. It has made me realize that we need to be even more grateful for the love and support our family and friends have given us. We need to be patient and steadfast in knowing that God will lay out the path for us and we should not worry. Through all of this, we have each other. Love is patient.
Love is Kind.
One of the reasons I married KristaRose is because she is such a kind person. She might not believe it all the time but there are a lot of little acts that make up who she is as a person. I remember there was a time we were in Chicago and we passed by a homeless person. She had just purchased a blueberry oatmeal from Jamba Juice and was more than willing to give it up to the homeless person. It was a selfless act that I still remember to this day. This is just one example but I see it all the time. She might not be able to do as much because of all the medical limitations but her heart has not wavered. She will still help out people as best as she can.
I think the biggest thing though is how she helps me to be kind. I must admit that I don’t get a lot of sleep. Between work, trying to develop myself personally, doing chores around the house, taking care of Krista, taking care of Twix, there’s just not a lot of time that I can have to sleep. It’s harder than you think to have a consistent schedule especially if things happen late nights or there is an unexpected doctor’s visit. Because of the lack of sleep though, I may have developed a bit of criticism when driving. I notice a lot of things more often but Krista is always telling me to be kind on the road and reminding me that we shouldn’t be spreading negative thoughts on the road. It’s a difficult thing to do but her love is always kind and always helps me to bring me back to where I need to be.
Love is Everlasting
Finally, as I conclude my thoughts, I just want to make a comment about marriage in general. I think that in this world, there is not enough love. Even in marriages, how many times have we heard that a person is getting a divorced or that they’re going into their second or third marriage? How many times have we been kind of been beaten in the head that divorce is ok? It seems like the media and really the world is migrating more towards thinking that marriage and relationships are only fleeting. I personally think that we need to take a look at why people get married. For me it stems from the spiritual component and the connection you have to God.
When I got married, I decided that I was going to become one with KristaRose. That’s what happens in a marriage. Through thick or thin, through sickness and in health, you stick by that person for the rest of your life. You don’t give up with the going gets tough. You don’t just leave because you get frustrated with your wife or husband’s point of view. I knew going in that things weren’t going to be easy. We were going to have a lot of difficulty. But together with God, you become one unit and you grow together. For me, this is so very important. Without that connection, the marriage is meaningless.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone else’s marriage isn’t valid. I’m simply saying that you need a connection with your spouse. It can’t be superficial. When you say your vows, you have to mean it. You have to know that you will stick by that person to the very end. You have to know that person will help you along and make you a better person. You have to go into it always thinking, this is the one, there is no one else. Otherwise, what’s the point of a marriage? Why even go into it if there’s even a chance that you’d consider a divorce?
I know why I went into this marriage. I am looking forward to many more years where I can share my love. I’m looking forward to continuing to be more patient and more kind. I am looking forward to more smiles, more laughter, more tears, more struggles, more triumphs. It’s about that connection. I know it has gotten stronger over the past year and will only continue to get stronger for the rest of our lives.
I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture but everywhere I go, it seems that people are unhappy. We are being dominated by technology and I think it is having some negative effects. People look down at their phones, stare at a big screen, spend all day in front of a computer. Don’t worry, I know I’m in that trap. I’m in it right now as I stare at my computer. I feel that a lot of us have gotten out of touch with how to interact with one another, with how to feel proper emotions. A smiley face on a text message doesn’t equate to a smile in real life, nor should it ever. We actually feel emotion and live it when we interact with one another. When we see someone that we haven’t seen in a long time, a smile will appear on our face. When we receive a physical package or letter in the mail, a small smile may appear. When we get excellent service at a restaurant, smiles start to appear across the table. Smiles are around but they stay hidden until something prompts it.
I ask the world, why does it have to be like that? Why must we have to experience something in order to smile? Why must something positive be the impetus to turn that frown upside down? Why can’t we just smile every once in awhile? Why can’t we savor the present because that’s the only thing that is guaranteed? Why can’t we dig up past memories in our heads and reminisce and smile about the feelings we had at that moment? Why can’t we actively put ourselves in more situations in order to smile?
I can tell you it is tough to smile when you have a lot going on in your world. If you spend all day worrying about your big to-do list and you keep chipping at it, sure you’ll get through the list but will you be happy? Will you feel satisfied?
Life is never easy and everyone goes through a different set of problems. There are times it just sucks. There is no other word to describe the situation. The one thing that I’ve learned though is that you have to keep hope alive and you have to smile.
You have to smile in order to make yourself feel better.
You have to smile to make others in the room feel better.
You have to smile because even through adversity, there is always a lesson to learn, a person to thank, an end result that teaches you.
You have to smile because you are alive today.
You have to smile because you have a chance to live tomorrow.
You have to smile because you have a chance to keep changing people’s lives and making a difference.
That’s why even when the day is bad, you just have to smile.
I hope that you smile today!