Random Thoughts

Saturday is my day to catch up on some of the housework I’ve let slide through the week. Laundry is high on the list, and whatever else I can manage. I also try to clear out my email in-box and answer a few personal emails I didn’t get to, and generally tie up some odds and ends.

If I can fit it in, I try to get a little done towards clearing out or remodeling the house. Today I worked on the clearing out part, and have 3 sacks full of clothes ready for Good Will, and a couple of sacks worth of yarn ready to give a friend.

I love yarn. It sounds silly, but it hurts to get rid of it. I used to knit and crochet and make some pretty neat stuff. Not any more. Every time I try to crochet it aggravates my thoracic pain. So I figure I need to be a realist, face up to the fact I can no longer work with it and give the lovely yarn to someone who can.

While I’m puttering around doing all these things, my mind is still hopping around like frog legs in a hot frying pan, and random thoughts pop in and out of my head. Here's a small sampling:

* Who is this Asaph dude that wrote so many of the Psalms? You think of David writing Psalms, but there’s a bunch that say they were written by Asaph – so who is he?

* Is there any way I can get out of going to the Fibro Clinic, or any doctors for that matter? (Answer is negative. I can’t get any more meds until I go. Too bad I can’t write my own prescriptions.)

* Why does our family have to be so scattered in so many different directions? (Who knows?)

* Wonder what it would be like to visit Australia or New Zealand?

* Why does it have to be so hard to lose weight?

* Why do some people just refuse to be helped?

And last, and probably least….

* Reckon anybody even reads this on-line journal?

Trying to Keep Up

I’m learning lots of stuff with this course I’m taking, and I’m moving ahead each day, but never as much as I’d hoped. And I’ve had to back track a few times to redo stuff as I learn new things and realize there was a better way of doing something, or that I need to shift my focus just a little, or … whatever.

Just trying to decide who I am is a chore! Do I use my "real" name, or a pen name, or my own first name and a different last name, or what? I've got to make up my mind, and it has to go across several interconnected blogs, and just trying to figure this out is driving me crazy! (Okay, crazier than usual.)

This week I didn’t get as much done on Monday since it was a holiday and I wasn’t home alone (come on, you know how much easier it is to get work done when you’re all by yourself and fewer distractions), and then it’s been a big phone week. We had an advanced training call yesterday, a 2-hour Question & Answer session this evening, and have TWO training calls tomorrow.

Whew! With trying to keep up around the house and farm, and trying to get all this information crammed into my head, and get new blogs and websites fixed up while learning new software and more, I’m having trouble keeping up.

Just take the new software for instance. I’m having to learn a new blogging platform, switching from Blogger to Wordpress. I’ve having to learn how to use autoresponders. I’m having to learn how to use Google Analytics and Google Optimizer.

Then I also have to know how to create a download page, an opt-in page, how to ping, and a whole bunch of other stuff with acronyms like JV’s, SEO, PPC, PLR’s, MRR and on and on! It would take up too much space to list it all here (plus bore you to tears)! Suffice it to say, I’m on information overload.

And if learning new things keeps your brain active, mine is positively in overdrive!

What Happened to Mother’s Day?

Actually, what happened is I forgot to write about it in all the rush of other things! Not that it was this spectacular event or anything, but it is worth noting that I got a lovely planter full of spring bulbs delivered in a box by FedEx from Canada. Okay, not directly from Canada, but it was from the kids in Canada. Lovely!

Also got a phone call from Canada, PLUS I got a very nice surprise in the mail, and got a great big lovely card from my adopted-daughter-of-the-heart, Angie.

So Mother’s Day was nice, it just got lost in the shuffle of everything else happening around here!

Happy Memorial Day!

It was a rainy day so not good for putting our flag out as we usually do on Memorial Day, but that doesn’t mean we don’t think of the sacrifices our soldiers have made in years past, and continue to make today.

Otherwise, around here it was just another work day. Jonathan went off to work at Toys R Us, while Jess stayed home to get some work done on the farm. He’s been trying to make an outside corner block to use with the crown molding in the bathroom. He also did the morning critter chores, waged war with the thistles and fire ants, and otherwise wore himself out as usual.

I did a few household chores, then spent time working on setting up a new blog for "Helping Ellie Walk". I looked through pages and pages of themes for Wordpress blogs, trying to find one suitable for a child’s website. The storms kept knocking the electric off in short blips, just enough to make my desktop computer shut down since my back-up battery is dead. Very annoying, since each time I had to start over. I finally went back to using my laptop, although it crawls like a snail.

I finally found one that I thought was suitable, but wanted to make a few changes in the header, including putting a picture of Ellie on one side. Fortunately, about the time I was ready to pull my hair out, Jonathan happened to come home and saved the day. He got it figured out and showed me how to make the changes I wanted.

I’ve got the bare bones up. Now it’s time to get some of the writing done, and later, add some more features. However, tomorrow I’ll probably work on the new health food blog.

Little by little, I’m making progress.

Ups and Downs

It’s no secret life has lots of ups and downs. I suppose we wouldn’t appreciate the good times so much if we never had any bad times, but sometimes I think I’d like to give it a try!

It seems like a lot has happened since my last post. First off, I waited and waited for my thyroid medicine to come and finally called the company, only to discover their website was down and no orders went through even though it acted like they did, so I had to start over. Fortunately, by Friday morning I had meds to take again. (And yes, I feel better.)

Wednesday evening we had another Q&A session for the course I’m taking. I got into line and actually got my turn, and was able to ask them for ideas not about my niche, but more importantly, about how to use some of what we've learned to raise money for Ellie's surgery. Ended up they had some good ideas for both, and told me to keep them apprised of how it went.

One of their ideas was akin to public TV’s fundraising – get people to donate items, then “give them away” for a certain level donation. If you’ve ever watched one of those fundraisers, you know how it goes, for a $10 donation you get this great CD, for a $25 donation you get a fabulous DVD, and so on. Of course, we’ve got to get people to donate, and get the word out so people will come looking, but I think it’s doable.

I’ve already bought a domain name, got an account set up for a server, changed the DNS (Domain Name Servers) and now waiting for the change to go through, and put in a request for Word Press blog software to be set-up on the account.

At the same time, after talking with these two guys I realized I need to narrow down the focus on my niche of health food a little bit, which means I also need to start over with the blog. Well, better now after only a week or so of having it up, then later when it’s been going a long time.

I’ve also asked a good friend to help me get my feet wet, and be my first interview for a teleseminar. She’s a great subject, and I’d be lucky to have her even if she weren’t such a super friend. So there’s another addition to my “to do” list.

On the down side, our trip to West Virginia for a family reunion of sorts seems dead in the water. Money has become a major issue, in that none of us is overly supplied right now, and airfare for the Canadian contingent, the price of gas for all of us, and other traveling expenses seem more than we can handle right now. Several people I’ve talked to lately have given up travel plans for the summer, so we’re not alone. I’m not sure that makes me feel better, but I guess it is nice to know we’re not the only ones whose travel plans went kaput.

Those are the major items for this week. It’s been a busy weekend, but you can read about that in a post I just put up on Rural Ramblings.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

A Really Bad Day

I try not to write too much about my off days, though of course, this is a personal blog and I guess I’m supposed to let it all hang out. So okay, let’s talk about one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time.

First off, I haven’t been sleeping well the last few days. Last night I got maybe 4 hours sleep tops. I’m running a little low on energy. Worse, I ran out of one of my two thyroid meds. I order one from the internet, and delivery is taking a little longer than usual this time. This is bad because no thyroid meds means even less energy available than usual.

However, energy or not, I needed to go to Fayetteville today and mail a package, get my handicapped placard renewed, and stop at Walmart to look for a new answering machine. Since Jess drives the car to work, that left me driving the truck. Normally, that’s great. It’s more comfortable than the car.

Today it was a mistake. I should have known better than to try to park at the courthouse. They have a very narrow parking lot with cars parked diagonally on both sides and a very small lane to drive through in-between. When there happens to be big trucks parked on both sides with their back ends jutting out into that small space, and a big truck trying to go through the middle, there is no room to make the slightest mistake.

Of course, I made one or I wouldn’t be telling this story. Condensed version: let’s just say there’s a bit of a ding/scratch on one of the truck’s wheel wells now.

That fracas shook me up a bit (okay, a LOT), but I managed to go in the courthouse and get my placard, thread my way out of that dratted parking lot, and head for the post office. Wouldn’t you know, there wasn’t a parking spot anywhere in sight, so I had to find one down a side street in a public parking lot.

This is all a bad combination – I’m walking all over town in the middle of the afternoon, it’s hot and I haven’t eaten since breakfast, not enough sleep, not enough medicine, thoracic pain in high gear, fibro aches, and lots of stress, all of which contribute to the dreaded “Fibro Fog.”

What’s that you say? “Brain fog aka fibro fog is a common symptom of fibromyalgia described as fatigue and listlessness combined with transitory states of confusion, poor attention and concentration, and short-term memory loss.”

It doesn’t bother me so badly often, but it can be very disconcerting and sometimes downright scary when it does. The intrepid explorer of Seattle, Ketchikan and other ports of call got lost in her own backyard of Fayetteville.

No, I’m not kidding. By the time I tried to do the right thing, and finished all my errands, I couldn’t remember exactly where that parking lot was. I had a general idea, but it wasn’t good enough. I wandered up and down steep streets, got hotter and thirstier and more confused, and despaired of ever finding where I parked that huge truck. I just knew it shouldn’t be that difficult to find in such a small town!!

Finally, after about 45 minutes of wandering around, and I was walking up another steep hill, a lady asked me if I was alright. I guess for once I didn’t “look good!” I admitted to being lost, and she got me headed in the right direction.

It was a relief to finally get in that truck and head home. Is it any wonder I hate to drive?

Credit Where Credit is Due, part III

Well, I finally heard back from the credit card company. Here’s a condensed version of what they had to say:

“Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding your account.
We are sorry to hear you are disappointed with our service. Please be advised that our system will not allow you to schedule a payment that is less than $15.00. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We received your request and have closed your account. We have waived the Payment by Phone fee of $14.95. You will see a credit on your next 1 to 2 billing statements.
Sincerely, Customer Service Representative”

Okay, I must admit I do NOT understand big business psychology. If it were my business, here’s what I would have done:

  1. I would have CALLED the customer! (Or at the very least sent an email with the following items in it.)
  2. I would have apologized for the inconvenience, waived the payment fee, and asked the customer to please reconsider keeping their account instead of closing it.
  3. I would have been more personal, with a NAME, not just “Customer Service Representative.”

Granted, WaMu did waive the fee, but this was AFTER they told me not once, but twice (once by phone and once by email), that they would NOT do so. Why change their minds and waive the fee without attempting to change MY mind and keep me as a customer?

And I was willing to live with paying the fee since I lost track of that little charge and the due date, until they forced me to overpay what I owed, then chided me for doing so. That rather torqued me off.

I’ve had this card for years, never missed a payment before that I can remember, and had a credit limit … well, let’s just say it was in the 5-digit range. Substantial. So while they’re sending out credit applications to every Tom, Dick & Harry for smaller $1000 accounts, including some I know who can’t possibly pay their bills, they just wrote me off without even trying to keep me as a customer.

Nope, I don’t understand “big” business.

Credit Where Credit is Due, part II.

Well, I was on a roll yesterday dealing with big companies.

My next email went to a company with a business ezine I get daily and had been trying for weeks to change the email address. That ought to be pretty simple, but every time I clicked on the link in the ezine, then filled out the form on the web, my computer just chugged and chugged a while, then a page would come up saying the database was down.

Now this is a HUGE company. I understand these glitches happen, and if it was only for a few days, I wouldn’t have thought anything about it. But I tried for weeks to get my email address changed, and the same thing happened over and over.

Finally, about 9 days ago I sent an email to their customer service department to see what they'd say. An autoresponder sent an email right back with a link for an online “ticket” to check on the progress. Well, every time I checked it had the same message --- "not viewed". After 9 days? I think they’d better get some more help!

Being totally fed up with the situation, I decided if I couldn't get my email changed, I’d see what happened if I tried to unsubscribe. Well! That went through immediately.

I can’t imagine a company would really want to make it easier to flat out unsubscribe than to change your email and keep getting their messages and ads. So I sent an email to the head honcho of the company and told him all that had happened, commenting that the whole situation seemed to me a good way to lose customers when they want to keep them.

Evidently they agreed. I don't suppose it was 5 minutes before I got an email from the Managing Editor, thanking me for letting them know about the problem. She informed me she was going to talk to the Customer Service Manager and see what was going on, and thanked me yet again for making her aware of the problem, and if I had any other concerns please let her know. All right!

But I wasn’t finished (I told you I was on a roll). Then I sent an email to yet another company asking them to take a charge off my credit card I didn't think I'd made. I thought the offer I signed up for had a free 30-day trial, and it did, but evidently one of the things I thought was a bonus wasn’t, and that was what the charge was for. That’s me, confused as usual!

However, they were VERY nice, helped me right away without argument, saying they’d take the charge off my credit card. I sent them a second email thanking them for such great customer service, and they sent me yet another email thanking me for thanking them.

Giving credit where credit is due, the count is one company with lousy service, one with problems they seemed unaware of but willing to fix them, and one that it was probably my fault for not reading the fine print better, but they cheerfully refunded my money without the slightest fuss.

Now, who do you think I'll do business with again??? And why can't "big business" figure out good service means happy customers means they keep their business and make more money!???!!

Credit Where Credit is Due, part I.

A while back I talked about getting new credit cards that give us airmiles on the purchases we make. We’ve been using them these days, and our old credit cards have mostly went to the side.

However, there were a couple of recurring charges I forgot about, and one of those is a monthly hosting bill with GoDaddy for one of my websites. It’s $3.99 a month. Remember that amount, just $3.99.

So once a week I check my credit cards and bank statement online to see what I need to be doing, and yesterday morning I checked them out. Lo and behold, there was that little bitty charge on my credit card, having shown up after I’d last checked them, but look at this, the bill is due THAT day.

Now there’s a nice dilemma! Remember that amount? I owe a puny $3.99. That’s it. What happens if I don’t pay it on time?

I tried calling the company several times to find out the specifics, using the 866# that is both on the back of my WaMu credit card, and on the website at the contact information page. Most of the time what I got was that screechy noise you get when you’ve connected to a fax machine. I finally got through once, and asked if I didn’t pay the $3.99 today, but it posted later, would I have to pay the late fee, and how much was it?

The answer was yes, I’d have to pay a late fee, and the amount is $39.00. Ouch.

Okay, for my part, I flubbed it by not keeping closer watch. I decided to choose the lesser of two evils, and pay the $14.98 express payment fee so I wouldn’t have that huge late payment fee.

I got online and set about trying to pay it. I clicked the button beside the “Pay Account in Full” and went on. A box with red letters popped up to inform me that the minimum payment is $15. Fine, I’ll pay it and let them owe me some money. Filled in the box with that amount, and clicked the “next” button again, only to have ANOTHER box pop up that informed me that was more than I owed so I couldn’t make that payment.

Round and round, no matter what I tried, it wouldn’t let me pay anything. ARGHHHHH!

As for the credit company, they made it almost impossible to pay my bill. It didn’t work to call, the online payment wasn’t working, so I sent an email, but by late evening when I still hadn’t heard from them, I tried calling again and again and again until finally, miracles of miracles, once more it finally went through.

They have one of those tortuously long voice mail systems with push this number for that, and this one for the other, until they finally used up all the numbers on the phone and had to start over again. When they finally got to the payment by phone section, I jumped right on that.

Only thing is, they wouldn’t let me pay just $3.99 by phone either, even though that’s what I owed, but for some unfathomable reason, the automated system did allow me to make a minimum payment of $9.00. Beats me how they came up with that dollar figure, but I agreed to it and the express charge, and gave it up for a bad deal.

So today I finally got an email from that credit card company telling me how they’re open 24/7 with this 800#, only it was NOT the same number they have on the website to call, or on back of my card. They also informed me I could pay online anytime. And the real kicker was they had the audacity to tell me I’d overpaid, and since I did and used the express payment they couldn’t refund my money!!! That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

I sent back an email explaining how I was forced by their system to overpay, it wasn’t my idea, that I thought their service was lousy, and it would be nice if the 800# they said was open 24/7 was clearly available to the public as the number you're supposed to call, and thank you very much, please cancel my credit card.

I haven’t heard anything back from them, but it ought to be interesting.

Meanwhile, the last couple of days seem to have been my time to tangle with companies, and I had a couple of other go rounds. Stay tuned for “Credit where credit is due, part II”!!

The Daily Grind

I need to head off to bed, but I know it’s an exercise in futility. Rain is coming. Rain pain keeps me awake.

A whole lot of today seemed to be an exercise in futility, or at best, just the same old daily grind. Get up and fix Jess’s lunch and put it in his cooler. Feed the cat, turtle and bird, then go outside and feed all the critters there.

Clean the kitchen. Run the dishwasher. Do some laundry.

Answer the phone, not once, but twice. (I’m not a phone person. I consider it a necessary evil for emergency use only.) The first time was the receptionist from the dentist’s office. How fortuitous! I needed to call her to see if I could get an appointment for Jonathan to go in and get the crown put back on his molar.

She was calling to remind Jess he has an appointment tomorrow. She also made an appointment for Jonathan to go in tomorrow. I jokingly told her it’s too bad she didn’t have an appointment for me too, and we could just all sit there together in their office!

Phone call #2. Once again somebody I needed to call, but had been putting off. She’s a nice lady, but a talker. She called to ask me who does our farm website. Well, I do. "Okay then," says she, "how do you do it?" Uhhhh, could you be more specific please? I tried to answer her questions and hope I actually helped her a little.

Somewhere in the conversation she asked me when we might want the sheep sheared, which is what I needed to call her about, and I said Saturday. She’s supposed to double check with her husband and get back to me. I’ll have to answer the phone when she calls, can’t just let her leave a message, cause I think the answering machine is broken. I lost an hour in the middle of my work day today talking to her. I don’t want to lose another hour this week, because I’ve got to waste time on Friday to go to the doctor and I have soooo much I need to get done.

I nailed the old towel rack onto the back of the old bathroom door. I haven’t bought new towel racks yet, but was tired of moving wet towels around (shower curtain rod to commode lid to counter to...). If I put up the old rack back on the wall, it would make holes in our freshly painted wall when I yanked it back out. Not good. I figured old rack on old door, good solution. They’ll both eventually be replaced.

I replaced the egg turner in one of the incubators as the one in there didn’t seem to be working. I tested the replacement, and it worked fine, but now it’s in that incubator, I haven’t seen it move. What’s with this? Bad electrical outlet, or what?

I fixed myself some soup for lunch, and made a homemade pizza for supper.

Somewhere in this day I managed to do some research and write an article on Yerba Mate for the “Real. Easy. Good. Food.” website, and also got an “About” page written and posted. This blog will be a key component for the first go round of what I’m learning with my course work.

I also spent two hours listening to a “Question & Answer” session for our course. I think I have about 10 pages of notes from it. It wasn't the best timing, as I had to go do evening chores early, and it lasted so late both guys came home in the middle of it, and Jess had picked up our first basket of food from our CSA, which needed to be put away.

Jess put the perishables like the eggs and meat away, then once the teleseminar was finally over, I washed the radishes and cut them up, and put the greens and peas and broccoli and stuff away.

Writing about it, I can see I maybe got a little more done than I thought, but it still wasn’t what I had hoped to get done, especially relating to my course work, but had too many interruptions to manage it.

Oh well, tomorrow’s another day, Lord willing.

Currents in all directions!

There are so many things happening in our family! Everyone is streaming off in different directions, with different priorities and different things happening. I’m sure I don’t even know a fraction of what’s happening with everybody scattered all over the place, but here a few things I do know:

* Jess’s work is going swimmingly right now. He’s got jobs to last through this week and maybe into the beginning of next week.

* Richard and Chrystie are working away on figuring out what's best to do for little Ellie. They pretty well know surgery is in the picture, but the big question is where to go to have it done, and the even bigger question is how to pay for it. They need a flood of prayers!

* Jonathan is floating along, plugging away at work and working the opening shift all the time now. He lost a crown off of one of his molars today, so a dentist needs to enter the picture soon.

* Me, I’m paddling like crazy just trying to keep my head above water! I’ve got more things happening at once than usual, with trying to finish remodeling the bathroom while still doing all the usual chores here, AND trying to keep up with my course work.

It’s week 3 and still INTENSE. We had a training call today with a guru of the guru’s, and I’ll have to go back and listen to that call again. There was just sooooo much information in it, and things I’m really excited about doing! He confirmed some things I’d already decided I needed to do, and in fact already started working on this week. Making a go of this won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!

Meanwhile, I’ll just try to keep from drowning!

There is a tide in the affairs of men…

Waxing philosophical

I had this old book when I was a kid called “Williams Choice Literature.” I have no idea where it came from. It was old when I got it, so you can imagine how ancient it is now! It’s filled with poems and short stories by authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Wadsworth, Henry W. Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens and many more. I loved that book and read it over and over, and in fact, still have it.

The last few pages were devoted to various quotes, one of which has stuck in my mind all these years:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallow and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”

The quote was attributed to Shakespeare in the book, and it wasn’t until much later I found out it specifically comes from "Julius Caesar, Act 4, scene 3".

Now realistically, we make choices every day that affect our life. Even when we don’t make conscious choices about things, we are really still making choices, that being NOT to do something. What we do or do not do affects the next thing happening all through our lives.

That being said, there does seem to be those golden opportunities in life now and then to make bigger changes, the full sea with a current going in the right direction, and if you miss it, you miss out.

I feel like there is just such a tide in my life right now.

This course I’m taking is stretching me. It takes up almost all of my time right now. It would be easy to give up. There are frustrating moments when I wonder, “What in the world was I thinking!??”

Well, what I was thinking is I can either float along in the backwaters, or take the current presented to me, and DO SOMETHING. I don’t want to lose out on the ventures in my life. I want to go for the gusto, have all the adventures I can, and just DO IT!

I’m going with the tide.

A very LONG distance call...

This afternoon the phone rang. It was a 615 area code number, so I didn't think much about it, except to wonder who was going to try to sell me something. Was I ever wrong!

First off, even though it was a Tennessee area code, the call wasn't from Tennessee. In fact, it wasn't even from the United States, and no, it wasn't from Canada either. So where did the call originate?

Would you believe South Africa?

I have a couple of good friends there doing great work in missions, and for the past few months, also "new parents" to a teenager. This young lady came out of a bad situation with an abusive boyfriend, parents who didn't give a hoot about her, and feeling trapped as she had nowhere to go.

Mona Lisa - isn't she beautiful?

Sonia and Rene graciously opened their home and their hearts to her and she got a grant to help pay for school. It was a great opportunity for her.

Unfortunately, sometimes we don't always make the best of our good fortune, and such has been the case with Mona Lisa. She's been up and down with her behavior, and after giving her several chances, my friends have the sad task of asking her to move. She can't have it both ways, and do whatever she wants and have all the privileges and advantages the agreement afforded her while most decidedly not living up to her agreed part of the arrangement.

Sonia was calling to give me a "heads up" about what was happening before I saw it in the prayer newsletter she was getting ready to send out. I knew the minute I heard her voice Mona Lisa had broken her promises again and it was time for some tough love.

It's going to be a hard parting of ways. Pray for all three of them. Mona Lisa is losing out on a great opportunity. She's lovely, bright, and can be a charmer, but that's not going to keep her out of trouble with the company she's keeping these days. I hope she "wakes up" before she's totally ruined her life.

Sometimes smart people can be so dumb.

My brain is fried!

I've worked several hours on my course today, but at this point my brain is fried and I thought a change of pace would do me good. Last night I was listening to a teleconference call for TWO HOURS AND 15 MINUTES. That was after working most of the day on my studies. I think my brain needs rebooted.

Actually, the call was pretty good. It was supposed to be one of the "Dream Team" consulting experts, but they had a glitch in scheduling and he couldn’t do it last night, and will do his segment at a later date. Instead, the two main instructors did a Q&A session.

There was a lot of helpful information, but sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out. The moderators said right up front to ask a ONE SENTENCE QUESTION so more people would have a chance to ask a question; they didn't have time to listen to your life story. But the younger guy doing the moderating wasn't forceful enough to cut off some of these people who were even more clueless than I am and were maundering on with stuff like, "I've just GOT to make this work." (I thought, "Well, yeah, who of us that just spent all this $$ did it without figuring we needed to make it work?")

Or they'd ask technical questions about their computer. Hello? That's NOT what this course is about. Things like how to make their Mac work (get a PC, ha!). Actually, they did tell them to get a program for the MAC that would run windows to make it easier.

One lady was even cheeky enough to ask them about a different study program, and should she take it, or continue with theirs or??? They handled that pretty well, saying they couldn't really speak about a competitor's program, but what she needed to do was pick ONE, it didn't matter which, and stick with that one until she was finished before trying another.

NOBODY had a one sentence question by the time all was said and done. They may have started out with one, but the moderators asked questions to clarify, and when they stayed on the subject, it was helpful even if not something I thought to ask about. However, that meant even though it was a LONG call, only a handful of people got their questions answered.

Fortunately, one lady at the end asked a couple of questions that mirrored some of the stuff I wondered about, so I got some of my most pressing questions answered anyway.

I think the best three bits of advice I took away from all that talk was the following:

* Don’t over-think it at this stage. We’re not doing the whole business plan from the start, but learning the skills we need to make it all work. I was trying to think 3 business’s ahead, yikes! "Learn the skill set, then you can apply it over and over again."

* Make a regular time to work on it. They really got on some people who were being wishy-washy when they asked them how long they could work on their project each day, and they’d say something like, “Maybe a couple of hours.” NO, make a COMMITMENT to spend a certain amount of time each day, preferably at the same time each day, or the time will slide by and you’ll never get anywhere.

My favorite was a guy who couldn’t spend time on his work not because of his family interrupting him, but because his dogs did. They told him to hire a dog-sitter if he needed to, which rather cracked me up.

* Go through the lessons step by step. Don’t jump around. In other words, FOCUS. Don’t try to work on more than one course of study at a time. Concentrate on ONE thing.

Of course, I learned a lot of other things including answers to some of my questions, but I consider those extra pearls of wisdom I need to take to heart.

I hope my brain can hold all this information!

Top 10 Things I'd Do if I Won the Lottery

These are the first 10 things that popped in my mind I’d do if I had mucho dinero…

1) Pay off the house.
2) Take a train trip with Jess through the Canadian Rockies.
3) Buy Ellie anything she needed to help with her CP.
4) Help another relative by paying for her OCD therapy if she wanted it.
5) Go to Australia.
6) Help any other family members that needed it.
7) Help missionary friends and more young ladies in Africa trying to better themselves.
8) Finish remodeling the house.
9) Invest money for retirement.
10) Buy a vehicle that’s comfortable, but easier on gas.

Now I’d probably do all those things if I won a big lottery, but not necessarily in that order. However, since the likelihood of that happening are not just slim, but nonexistent since I don’t ever play the lottery, I guess I’ll have to figure out some ways to make money on my own.

That being the case, income the size of a lottery isn’t likely, so I’ll have to downsize that list!