Daily Prompt: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Daily Prompt: Changes

You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?

Write what you are afraid to write and your humanity will come alive. This post gives me the opportunity to write what I am most afraid to write.

Change in my life has always come from necessity until very recently. In the past I have left everything behind (except my boys) to completely reinvent myself. Leaving or changing relationships for me did not just mean leaving the person; it meant changing my life and myself. I always believed that whatever I did, it had to be to better myself. I left abusive relationships and just plain unhealthy relationships and it was always cold turkey. Once I left, I never looked back. I never changed my mind. There were times when I needed help to do this. I am human. I have made a great number of mistakes in my life but instead of dwelling in the past, I moved on to live in the present.

    Sometimes in life, change thrusts itself upon us. This causes a great deal of anxiety for many people. Change is hard. Of course, anything worth doing is hard. For a long time I was very independent. I worked for a doctor’s office and made good money. I loved to spend that money. Then one day I woke up. I was in a hospital bed unable to walk, move, or even open my eyes. I was completely paralyzed. I remember hearing my mom (though I may have imagined it) yelling, “Breathe Shelly! Breathe!” I felt like I was floating away from everyone. I saw my own body lying on the bed, my dad was at the foot; my best friend was to my left. I could not see my mom, but I could hear her as plain as day. I was, according to the doctors, dead for a number of minutes. I had gone into status epilepticus. I was having so many seizures my body was just done. It had taken all it could.

    You see, during the time of “big money” I allowed myself to become a cocaine addict. One day I became very depressed because I was unable to end the addiction. I told myself over and over, this is the last time. Finally, it was the last time. I overdosed on cocaine and Prozac. I went into seizure after seizure. By breathing stopped. My heart stopped. I don’t know how long it was. I don’t know how long I was even in the hospital. What I do remember, is after I was finally able to leave the hospital (still barely walking, I had to use a walker to keep from falling) I went directly to Kairo’s Drug Rehab for women. From that day on my whole life changed. That was 5 years ago today. Today is the anniversary of the day I entered rehab. I got clean. As it went with the other changes in my life, I never looked back. I never changed my mind. I was clean, finally, and I vowed to stay that way. I am to this day, a recovered drug addict. I have not touched cocaine or any other drug since that day. I have my Mom, my Dad, and my best friend R. to thank for helping me through that tough time. I will be grateful to them for the rest of my life. I owe them everything. This is how change was thrust into my lap. It was do or die.

    I prefer to change things all at once. Tearing a band aid off quickly and completely hurts much less than peeling it back a little at a time. Change is much the same way. When walking away from something or someone, we must make the decision and do it. Thought without action, is wasted time. I learned that once the desire is strong enough one must take action before it is too late. I told myself I wanted to stop using. I told myself that every single time I bought more powder. Telling myself was not enough; I needed to take action. My lack of action nearly cost me my life. It nearly cost my parents their daughter and it nearly cost my boys their mom. In my life, I will never let that happen again. Where action is needed, there will be action.

    Change is a part of life that is constant. Impermanence is what life is. Once we realize that everything is impermanent, we can cherish what we have now, and let it go when it is time because we know it was, from the first day, meant to change. Things and events change us and we change things and events by our very presence. Accept change and flow with it. If there is something, you don’t like in your life, or something that makes you unhappy. It is time for change. Take the action needed. Don’t ever let it be too late and wish you had done something differently.

That is my story of change. Thank you for taking the time to come to read my work. As always, make it a GREAT Day!



Opportunity: Overcoming a Problem

    Before I get into the heart of this article, I want to tell you a story that you may have heard before, (it is an old story that has been passed from country to country, and generation to generation, so it is modified for each by each), but it is inspirational. Let’s face it, at 4:39 morning, who couldn’t use a little inspiration?

There once was a farmer who had a donkey that wouldn’t work. The farmer had tried everything! Nevertheless, the donkey wouldn’t pull a wagon, wouldn’t walk the stone wheel, and wouldn’t carry a pack or even the farmer. The farmer tried everything to get this stubborn animal to earn its keep. He whipped the donkey, he refused to feed him unless he worked and he was generally very sour whenever he saw the donkey. Finally, the farmer gave up. He planned to take the mule to the market the next day where it would be sold and used for dog food. That night however, the donkey tried to run away from the grumpy, mean farmer. He ran as fast as he could but in the dark, he didn’t get far. He didn’t see the hole in the ground. The donkey fell into the hole. He was frightened and began to bray loudly.

    “Help me! Help me!” The donkey cried. All night he brayed, whined, and cried. He tried to climb the walls of the hole but he had nothing to stand on.

    The next day the farmer heard the donkey and went to see what the commotion. When he saw the donkey in the hole, the farmer had an idea.

    “I will just fill in this hole with the donkey in it then I don’t have to deal with that fool animal anymore!”

    He grabbed a shovel and started to fill in the hole. He threw more and more dirt in right on the donkey. It took the donkey a minute or two before he realized the farmer was trying to bury him alive! “Oh no!” The donkey brayed loudly. Then, he was determined. The donkey decided he would not be buried! With that, he shook the dirt off his back and stomped it in to the ground below him. With each shovel of dirt that was thrown on him, he would shake it off and stamp it in.

    It wasn’t long before the donkey realized that he was nearly a foot closer to the top of the hole. This continued for several hours and the donkey had stopped braying so the farmer thought he must surely be dead. To be sure, the farmer kept heaping dirt into the hole. The donkey though, kept brushing it off and stomping it in until FINALLY the donkey reached the top of the hole. When the farmer bent to get the next load of dirt, the donkey bit him in the BUTT and walked calmly down the road.

    The moral of the story is this: When life throws dirt on you, shake it off, stomp it in, and get a little closer to your goal!

    We all come across problems and situations in each day that we must deal with. We have a couple of choices.

  1. We can choose to let the problems pile up until we are buried, by closing our eyes and wishing really hard that the problem would go away by itself.
  1. We can look at the problem realistically, determine what the solutions are, and then fix the problem.

Based on how we choose to approach the situation, we can turn problems into opportunities. The key to finding the opportunity within a problem is to face it head on as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. When we procrastinate handling a problem, it will stay in our head, cause undue stress, irritability, frustration and it saps our energy. In addition, procrastinating can cause a small problem to become much larger with greater consequences. Next, we must look at how we are approaching the problem mentally. If we are feeding negativity into it, then it will remain a problem. If we take a different route and move forward with a positive mental attitude and a plan of action, we can actually benefit and find opportunity for growth, and enlightenment.

“Again and again, the impossible decision is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made.” –Robert Schuller


  1. Identify the problem. Before we can find a solution, we need to know what the real problem is and what is causing the problem. For example, Joe’s bank account was over drawn. This may look like the problem but there is a greater problem behind it. The greater problem lies in Joe’s over spending which caused the bank account to overdraw.
  1. Find the opportunity. Joe now has the opportunity to learn from this mistake. He can see where his budget needs modification and become more adept at managing his finances.

  2. Break it down. Break down your problem and declare your objectives. Take the large problem and break it into clear pieces so you have a better understanding on what to do first, based on importance. Overdrawn bank account means that money has to be put into the account to bring it to a positive balance, and steps need to be taken to ensure this does not reoccur. Obviously bringing the account balance to the positive is the most pressing part of this problem. Then the reason for the mishap must be addressed. Base the decision on the level of importance and urgency, and the potential to get worse.

  3. Set a Goal. Now is the time to set a goal that will address the large problem and the issue leading to the problem. 1. Overdrawn account 2. Over spending. The goal must be specific, achievable and measurable, and realistic.

  4. Decide on the precise steps to be taken. Once you have your goal, you need to know and write down the exact steps you will take to achieve the goal. This means having a very specific plan of action. If Joe just says I have to spend less, he is not motivated to see it to completion. It is too random. Instead, he could say, I will spend less by cutting out my morning latte. I will keep track of expenditures daily. That is a specific plan of action, simplistic, but specific.

  5. Implement your strategy. Put your plan into action!

  6. Check your results. Delegate specific times throughout the process of change to check the results and be sure you are nearing your goal and making forward progress. Evaluate your results. Are you seeing positive improvement? Are you learning anything? Are the current results beneficial and positive?

  7. Standardize. If the results of your plan of action are successful and positive, turn your action into a habit. Make it your standard operating procedure.

Often through the course of problem solving, other opportunities will be brought to light. Take each opportunity and evaluate it. Determine if it is a good time to act on the opportunity. If it is a good time then jump on it! Do not wait and let the opportunity pass by. If the time is not good for action, put it on your to-do list. Soon, you will see opportunities surrounding you instead of problems. A problem is only a problem if we approach the situation with a negative, can’t do, frustrated attitude.

Are there hidden opportunities in your life right now? Try using the steps above to get the best, most positive results possible. Remember, the next time life throws dirt on you, shake it off, stomp it in, and rise a little higher.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Make it a great day! 🙂

To-Do List: The Power of Simplicity

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain



    What Mark Twain was referring to in the quote above is that by completing the toughest part of your day first thing you are done with it the rest of the day. It is over and you can move on.


    Personally, I really do not like the stress of having a certain project or task that needs to be completed hanging around in my head. It just makes me think about it and think about it. That takes up a lot of space, a lot of time, and a lot of energy! That is where a To-Do list comes in. My to-do list is my brain on paper! If something is on my list, I don’t think about it. I just do it.


    Did you know that if you have something on your mind that has been bothering you, when you write it down your brain will stop rehashing it? By writing down what is in your head, your brain lets go and moves on to other things. How many times have you lain away at night with tomorrow’s agenda on your mind replaying it, and trying to remember everything? Many people call this insomnia. It is not insomnia; it is simply a brain trying to remember. The cure is to write the agenda down. I guarantee you will fall asleep. In addition, you will remember everything much more easily the next day.


How to Write a To-Do List


One key point to remember when creating a to-do list is to keep it simple. Your to-do list should be limited to what needs to be done the current day or the next day. Making your list too long to manage will make you feel cluttered or distracted and you will feel like you don’t really know where to start. So, keep your list limited to no more than 12 things. Once you reach the bottom of your list, begin creating the next list. If you make a to-do list each day and actually put in the effort to complete each task you will find that, your lists get shorter and shorter on their own. When we neglect to take care of business, our lists grow to unmanageable proportions. OK so you know now to keep it reasonable, keep it simple.


STEP 1: Block out a few minutes (I use 15 minutes) each morning and each evening to create and revise your to-do list. This is important. Uninterrupted time will help you think more clearly and you will not forget what you want to get done half way through writing your list.


STEP 2: Think about your day. What are your goals? Write down the first step to achieving your goal. The hardest part of doing anything is getting started. By making the first step to your goal a priority on your to-do list you will get started!


STEP 3: Write down all the rest of the things that you need to do for the day. Remember though keep it simple. If cleaning your bathroom is one of your priorities great! Write down clean the bathroom, not scrub the toilet, wash the sink, clean the mirror.

(I am assuming you have been cleaning your bathroom for many years and you will know what needs cleaning. If however you are living in chaos and have clutter from floor to ceiling, may I suggest www.flylady.net. A free program that will help you get things decluttered, and organized very easily! I am not advertising for the site, I just know firsthand how helpful it is. It is literally life changing.)


STEP 4: Now, you have your list of 12 (it is ok to have less, and Ok to have more as long as you are not overwhelmed). Look your list over and prioritize. What is the most important thing to do? Put the letter A by it. What is the next important? Put the letter B, and so on. In the case of having two things with the same priority, use A1 and A2, B1 B2 etc.


Always assign the toughest jobs a higher priority than the easy, lesser important jobs. As Mr. Twain was referring to, getting the tough stuff out of the way first means you have less to worry about through the day.

Once your list is complete, you are ready to move on with your day. You will be amazed at how much less stressed you are and how much MORE you get accomplished!




Remember to cross of each item on your list as you get it done. It is a great feeling at the end of the day to see your list all crossed off. If you have anything left over, move it to the next day’s list. Determine its priority. If you have had it on your list for three consecutive days and you have not completed the task, decide if you will either

  1. Complete the task or-
  2. Delegate the task to someone else or-
  3. Remove the task completely until there is a better time to reintroduce it to your list.


This is your list. You have complete autonomy on what to put on the list, on what to delegate, on what to cross off and what to eliminate! This is yours! You are the boss! You can do this!


Have fun with it and get some much-needed rest. Make tomorrow’s list tonight and see if you don’t sleep extra well tonight! Good luck and let me know how it works for you!


If you have any suggestions on how to make the most of to-do lists or make them better please or if you just want to give us your experience with using to-do lists please leave a commentJ.


Thank you for reading! Make it a Great Day!