Pre-Thanksgiving Day Hustle 2014

Sometimes, the hustle is real.

You realize that heavy days are looming…

Then fear stops by, bringing the voices…

And you wonder if the wound will ever heal…

the tears will ever stop…
the grief will ever lift…
the memories will ever end…

And only you can hear the screaming…while life goes on for others

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times

a time to learn that I am not in control
a time to trust beyond what I saw and felt
a time to believe, when hope seemed lost

This time last year


It was the last time I slept next to my husband.

I remember how quickly he slipped into a coma.
Amy, our hospice nurse, told me to watch for any signs of confusion.
Sam woke up three days before, unsure of which medicines he took and which ones he missed.
He accidentally took 1500 mg of morphine.  Needless to say, he was feeling no pain!

God graciously allowed Sam to slip into a sleep that lasted three days.
In that time, I gently wiped his face and kept him hydrated.
There were no severe symptoms, no struggles…only peace.

I remember our last night together.
I held his hand and went through my list of “Things I’m Thankful For”:

  • I thanked him for being my friend of 28 years, who valiantly protected and loved me like no other.
  • I thanked him for not fearing parenthood and boldly accepting the challenge when I came to him to tell him I was pregnant with our son…before we were married.
  • I thanked him for working so hard to take care of his family and give us a life adventure few are able to experience.
  • I thanked him for never lying to me, for always being faithful, and for understanding me, even when I didn’t understand myself.
  • I thanked him for being a man of integrity, even when others accused or mistreated him, displaying true grace and humility.
  • I thanked him for battling cancer, not once, but THREE TIMES, and doing so with valiant grace and bravery.
  • I thanked him for never giving up on me, never giving up on us, and building an amazing life together.

“They can hear you.  Hearing is the last thing to go.” Amy reassured me.

I thanked him for holding on, even now, because love is that strong.

It’s okay, honey.  I’ll be okay.
I don’t know how, but God has me now.
You don’t have to hold on for me anymore.  I’ll be okay.
We’ll be okay.


Go to Him.  He’s waiting for you.


Thank you, Lord, for letting me love this man, and for honoring his faithfulness by allowing him to transition in peace.  It was an honor and a privilege to know him, to love and serve him, and to be by his side when he fought his toughest battle…and won.

I love you, Sam.
You will always be my hero.

Sam and Ronei's hands

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Day 6 – Just Another Manic Monday

Day 6 – October 6th

I really don’t have a problem with Mondays. Most songs about Mondays aren’t very positive:

I Dont Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

Manic Monday – The Bangles

Rainy Days & Mondays – The Carpenters

Monday Monday – The Mamas and the Papas

I happen to love Mondays because I work out of my house on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. While everyone is dragging out of bed, out the door, and down the endless miles of freeways, I start my week in yoga pants.

I rise every morning at 5am and check in with a great group of folks known as the 30 Days of Hustle #5AMClub, an online group of amazing folks from around the globe who are dedicated to getting an early head start to the day and encouraging fellow entrepreneurs to hustle and dream. My Monday mornings start by heading to my son’s apartment to walk his English boxer, Louie. My son works third shift at Nissan and gets off work at 6:30am, so I head over to let Louie out of his kennel for a morning run. By the time he gets home, the dog is sufficiently exercised, my son can get a shower, and I start my day feeling awesome.

Returning home, I usually sit down at my desk by 7:30-8am ready to start my “workday”. (Yes, I’m still in yoga pants). In order to keep me focused and make sure I don’t slip into workaholic mode, I set a timer for a two-hour work burst. This allows for strategic blocks of time to work on my English class preparations and scheduling the week’s editing projects. When the timer goes off, I get up from my desk and usually go downstairs for a “break”. Time for a snack, coffee refill, take care of a load of laundry, return phone calls, or go outside and take care of my flowers. I make sure to clear my head for 30 minutes before I resume the next two-hour work burst. When lunchtime rolls around, I’ve usually clocked four hours of focused work.

It is SO important to start my week off well. Granted, I can’t guarantee a perfect week, or even a perfect Monday, but taking intentional steps to start my week off in a positive, productive manner helps set the tone for the remaining weekdays.

I’m learning that being the boss of me means I am in complete control of making choices to move forward, to keep hustling, and to intentionally make the most of my time. Thanks to my friend, Corie Clark and her book, The Simplicity Project, I’ve learned to manage my time, leaving margin in my days for consistent work on my dream job, being the boss, the Queen, the CEO of my own company.

How do you spend your Mondays?

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Day 5 – Keeping the Sabbath

Day 5 – October 5th

Sundays are special.  It’s a day when I make sure to spend time in the house of God, or at least in His Word.

For many, Sunday means keeping the Sabbath.  No, I’m not Jewish, I’m Hawaiian, but my best friend is Jewish and I spent many evenings at their house celebrating the high holy days.  However, keeping a true Jewish Sabbath means you start on Saturday, not Sunday.  For most Christians, Sundays are the first day of the week, observed in remembrance of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Lord knows it sometimes takes a resurrection to get me out of bed on a Sunday.

But it’s His day, so I make sure to spend time with Him here.

coffee and bible

I had the privilege to attend church twice this past Sunday; morning service at my home church, then an evening service with friends at their church.

I’m always elated to find that His Word is consistent, yet delivered in a different way, reaching those who need to hear it most.

Here were my takeaways from the sermons:

  • If you want to advance, move up, or launch into your next position/level, you have to become overqualified for your current position.  Colossians 3:22-25
    “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
  • David was’t looking for a traveling ministry; he was faithful in the sheep field.  When God says it’s time, it WILL happen.  1 Samuel 17
  • God didn’t come to edit our behavior; He came to transform our hearts.

As we journey this road called life, we will face situations and trials that will strain us to the breaking point.  We will suffer loss, face haughty foes that laugh in our face, and deal with heartache that is almost unbearable.  We will also experience the grace that comes in knowing we have a Father who loves us and will never leave us.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. – John 14:27

May you find rest and peace in this and every Sabbath Sunday.

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Day 4 – Please sir, I want S’mores

Day 4 – October 4th

I love Saturdays.

When I was a kid, I loved Saturday mornings.  Early morning cartoons, I mean, the good cartoons…..Tom & Jerry, Underdog, Rocky & Bullwinkle, the Jetsons, and many more.  Breakfast, then playing outside.  Mudpies, dress-up, Barbies, and friends.

Saturdays included chores:  laundry, house chores, and usually ended with a family outing.  It didn’t have to be anything outrageous or expensive; spending time together was priority.  I distinctly remember eating dinners out with my grandparents and night walks around a carefully manicured garden area in the middle of a nearby shopping center. We strolled down the outdoor sidewalks that ran along each store, allowing for the occasional pop-in browsing and window shopping. Along the way were the dancing waters, and further along stood a beautiful replica of a tiny town, complete with working lights and a running “river” flowing into a windmill that poured the water down the center of the town square.  It was a large replica.  If you’ve ever been to a toy train show, you know what I mean. This amazing and realistic replica of a mythical place was one of my favorite escapes.  I secretly imagined it was home to a fairy kingdom.  I visualized my fairy people going about their day despite the constant interruptions from human tourists.  I loved visiting my fairy friends. Our walk usually ended with a visit to A&W Root Beer for a root beer float or a stop in Baskin Robbins.

I remember when my grandparents bought a new house and moved from our house on St. Johns street.  I don’t exactly remember the last time I saw my fairy kingdom, but I always wondered if the fairy people knew I missed them.

In my now grown-up world, I keep my Saturdays open, making sure I have that ever-elusive ME time.  Granted, I have worked on Saturdays, but only to catch up or get ahead of a forthcoming BUSY week.  I leave it open to spend time with those I love, and sometimes for moments of reflection and peace.

I leave them open for God to surprise me.

This Saturday, my daughter and I enjoyed lunch and the comedy/drama movie, This is Where I Leave You, an interesting story about a group of four siblings who are forced to return to their childhood home and sit shiva, the traditional Jewish mourning period, after the death of their father.   (Rated R for language, content, and occasional drug use).

I also spent time with some amazing people who gathered on a beautiful Fall evening in Tennessee for a bonfire and s’mores buffet.

Oct 4, 2014 - Bonfire

Some of my awesome friends from the Dreamers and Builders group celebrate the book release by Chris Holmes.

Oct 4, 2014 - Chris, Joy, me

My dear friends, Chris and Joy.

Oct 4, 2014 - Fire pit

There’s nothing like the sound of a crackling fire on a beautiful Fall evening.

How did you spend your Saturday?

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Day 3 – It’s Friday, I’m in Love

Day 3 – October 3rd

I love Fridays for many reasons.  Most of the time, it’s because of Happy Aloha Friday!!!



Happy Aloha Friday is the Hawaiian way of greeting the weekend and celebrating the end of another work week.  It begins a celebration of the weekend that usually includes family, fun, and friendship.

Being the boss of me, the “work-week” doesn’t REALLY end on Friday.  I have four hours of writing labs with my freshmen and sophomores, concluding my day at 12 noon.
Since becoming the boss of me, I have set some goals that help me manage my time and not fall into the trap of being a workaholic.  One of my rules – I make it a point to END my work week on Fridays at 12 noon.

Because I can.

Fridays are great for the following reasons:

  • My freshman and sophomore students.  They bring me great joy.  Sometimes they bring me donuts, or candy, or Starbucks.  Their creativity and hard work never ceases to amaze me.  My students are the heart of what I do.
  • Did I mention that I am officially off work at 12 noon?  Ending my work week at 12 noon on Fridays allows margin in my week.  I have the rest of the afternoon available for important errands, lunch with friends, or time to spend doing the things that I like to do.
  • It’s the start to the weekend and weekends are AWESOME!!

This Friday was especially fantastic, because after four hours of writing labs with my precious students, it’s time for:

Fall Break


I have one entire week off from school and classes!!!  So, I will take time to reflect, relax, and rejoice.

Because I am blessed to be the boss of me.  :)



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Day 2 – Thursdays Are Like This

Day 2 – October 2nd

It’s the end of Thursday, and just as I thought, I’m finally writing my blog post late at night.  It happens sometimes, especially when I’m the boss of me.  I set my own hours, and sometimes, those hours happen late at night.

Thursdays are typically semi-busy days, the mornings filled with private tutoring sessions for high school homeschooled students.  Two students are girls – one a sophomore studying American Literature; the other, a junior  working towards completing English 3 and English 4 in one year.  In the afternoon, I have a Skype tutoring session with a young man who is an actor, originally from the Nashville area, but currently signed with an agency and in living in Hollywood.  I had to reschedule our appointment this afternoon because he was scheduled to shoot a commercial.  –

Yes, I love my job.

Today’s topics for the girls:  1)  The Reformation and Martin Luther, and 2) The Great Awakening and the works of Jonathan Edwards.  Classicism (also known as the Age of Reason) and Romanticism in American Literature.

How does this relate to being the boss of me?  Well, after ten years of teaching high school English, literature studies, and academic writing, I consolidated my tutoring business along with my new position as a contract freelance editor and proofer for Harper Collins (Thomas Nelson/Zondervan is the client) under one business name.  While that may sound all “official” and fancy, I didn’t launch my business the way other folks do.  #becausemylifeislikethat

I wish I could say that I had a “grand opening” and a “ribbon cutting”, launching my brand/product/services in a most professional manner.  I could try to impress you a book launch, a press release, and a slick team of marketing and publishing professionals poised to strategically position my presence in the market.  (Say that three times fast.)

Nope.  My business launch was quite uneventful.  I met my attorney at a Shoney’s where we sipped coffee and I signed papers.  Just like that…I was a business owner.  No fanfare, no parade, no publicity.  One minute, I was an everyday somebody; the next, I formed an LLC.

2014-07-02 10.01.43

While that may sound simple and easy, it involved more than what I expected.

But it’s late at night and I have to get some rest.
Tomorrow, I have four writing labs.
It’s also the last day of school before our Fall Break.

I’ll share more about the process of forming my LLC and why I decided to take a leap of faith.

For now…..time to rest.

Such is the glamorous life in Being the Boss of Me.



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I Remember

September 11, 2001.

The day began like any other normal homeschooling morning in our home. My son, Seth, was thirteen years old and my daughter, Savannah, was six. As part of our normal school schedule, the kids and I would watch Good Morning America together as we ate breakfast. It was a way for us to start our morning as a family, learn about current events, and enjoy some fun lifestyle stories before hitting the books. I was busy making breakfast, Savannah was coloring, and Seth was working on schoolwork. It was a normal broadcast with ABC news anchors Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer doing what they did best.  It was like any typical weekday morning…or so we thought.

I remember it vividly.

At approximately 7:46 a.m., Diane Sawyer announced that there was a possible explosion at the World Trade Center. We now know that it was American Airlines Flight 11, crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Programming was pre-empted and everything was a flurry of reporting.  My eyes were glued to the screen and what I was witnessing.  The next hour played out scene after scene of horrific events that unfolded, most of them unbelievable and hard to comprehend.  At 9:03 a.m., Charlie Gibson was getting bits and pieces of information that was probably being fed to him through his earpiece. They began live coverage and Charlie Gibson bagan talking to an aviation expert who was reporting on the first plane’s impact on the North Tower.  While they were talking, the second plane (United Airlines Flight 175) hit the South Tower.  Peter Jennings was at the ABC News Nightly News desk and they quickly cut to him. Diane, Charlie and Peter Jennings began their mutual coverage on this historic event.  At 9:37 a.m., while Peter Jennings was on the air with Claire Shipman, he broke the news of American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon. The news quickly became a frantic race to cover the events, the fall of the Twin Towers, and the chaos that ensued. I remember vividly how the kids and I froze as we watched Good Morning America’s broadcast. Peter Jennings broke down on the air and told us that if we had kids, now would be a good time to call them.  I hugged mine closely that morning.  Our nation would never be the same.


We were working on art projects for school that would become magnets for a fund raiser. This was my art project and is a magnet on my file cabinet.

My husband, Sam, was not home. He was on tour with Lord of the Dance’s second troupe who were in a resident show at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi. We were so thankful that Sam was back at work. You see, he had just recovered from a recurrence of Hodgkin’s Disease and nine months off the road due to chemotherapy treatment. We had just come through an unexpected tragedy that hit our family.  I knew what it felt like to experience sudden fear.   I remember calling Sam frantically, waking him up. After a few calls, he answered and I told him to turn on the TV. Shortly after that phone call, my sister who lives in Arizona called me. She too was frantic; my brother-in-law was on a return business flight from Europe and was scheduled to land in New York.  He was on one of the planes that was forced to circle for hours while airports were scrambling, trying to find a way to land the incoming commercial planes amidst the chaos.


I cancelled school that day. I called all my friends, rallying those I knew to join me in prayer for the people of Manhattan and New York. My heart was so burdened, feeling so much pain, so much sorrow.  Oh, how the heart of God must have ached that day. The kids and I continued to watch, in dismay, the news coverage of that fateful day. Savannah’s coloring efforts had changed, bringing me a picture that she colored, her six year old handwriting recording the urgent need for prayer.

A few years passed, and my husband’s tour was scheduled for a week’s run in Washington D.C.  Once again, the kids and I were excited to visit all of our favorite places; the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, but this stop, we decided to visit the American History Museum.  Once we stepped inside, I realized that I was standing in a place of great sadness and memory.  There, in the lobby, hung the flag that once flew over Ground Zero.  It’s tattered and frayed edges still showed signs of that tragic day.  It was a somber walk through the museum as we walked by walls of the remains

Thirteen years have passed.

Our nation will never be the same. It wasn’t the same during World War II when Pearl Harbor was hit. September 11th is now a sacred day. Our nation came together like never before. There were no political lines, no bickering. We were a nation that, once again, endured a brutal attack. America’s people rose up and stood to face the enemy like we have so many times in the past.  May we always remember the great price that has been paid for our freedom.

God bless the United States of America, our armed forces, the people of New York City, The New York Fire Department and Port Authority, the NYPD, the people of  Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and the families whose lives will never be the same.

When I talk to my high school students, I have to remember that most of them were not alive when 9/11 happened.  Now, there are generations who only know about this event from history books or commemorative celebrations.  They will never know the fear and utter shock felt from this tragic event in history.  Who will tell the stories?

I will…..because I remember.

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