Recent Posts

Recent Comments




Your Smart Phone


Just a few random notes about your smart phone-  most may know this but just in case…

If you’ve got an Android smart phone, you’ve got a built-in GPS system. Just type the address you’re looking for into Google Maps and ask for directions. Your phone will read the turn by turn directions to you. Your maps should automatically update when your phone software does, but if not, check your Play Store listings and update it automatically.

Like any other app it uses data- but it’s very nice not to have to have another device in your car. And as a side note, if you look up the address on another device (laptop, tablet, etc) that’s signed into the same account, it will automatically be in the search results, which makes it even easier!

Use your smart phone as the great tool it is!

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life,time and money

I guess last week’s post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

You see, a tornado hit the town where I live – thankfully no one was hurt badly, but there was a lot of damage. Many homes and businesses in the area took damage, and at least one home was completely destroyed.

Things can be replaced…. people’s lives can’t. In the end, we don’t need to worry about our possessions so much that we don’t take care of our lives and those around us.

So prepare for emergencies in whatever way you can. But in the end, remember that while things are important, people are so much more important.

I’ve touched on this subject in the past, but I think it’s time to revisit it.

I had to learn the hard way to keep backups of my files. Several years ago, I had set up an external hard drive, and had all my files on it. I didn’t think about having that backed up anywhere- until one day when it was too late. All the pictures of my kids over a period of 2-3 years, all my working files- everything was gone.

The only upside at that time was that I was only working on websites, so I could download all the files from each site- but those precious pictures were gone.

Yes my other family members had pictures of them- but not the every day ones I had taken. It still makes me sick to think about it.

Now I have one external drive that I use to keep everything on, and once a week I back everything up to a second drive.

If you don’t have some kind of backup system in place, please do that this week! If you’ve got any kind of work saved on your computer you’ll be glad you did.

Author: Beth R - Categories: getting things done,time and money

My friend Carol posted this week about a feature she’s using on Gmail, that helps with group messages with required subscriptions.

Some of the threads in these messages don’t necessarily pertain to her, so she’s using the MUTE option in her Gmail account to automatically archive those threads. She can always access them later, or unmute them, but they keep the clutter down in her inbox.

The “mute” option is found in the “more” menu; if you’re in your inbox, simply choose the messages you want to mute, go to the “more” menu and choose mute. Or if you’re reading a specific message, you can mute it from the “more” menu.

For more information, you can see this page.

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

Google Calendar


In the past couple weeks, I’ve talked about using Todoist for my tasks list and my Google calendar for appointments;  I love the ease and convenience of both apps. Like I said last week, I can’t imagine going back to a printed calendar. You can even set the calendar to ‘pop up’ a notice ahead of time so you won’t forget, or to give you enough time to leave.

A strange thing happened yesterday- a notice popped up that I didn’t know anything about; I do have my calendar shared with my husband, since I try to add everything to it- his days off, his appointments, upcoming bike or family events, etc. This gives him the ability to see what we have going on in our ministry, business or personal life before scheduling something.  He is able to add or change things too, but normally he doesn’t do that.

So when this notice popped up, I couldn’t figure out what it was; when I read it, I knew it was a spam event. I didn’t know how it got on there, though, so I checked out Google calendar settings- and this is what I found.

Click on the ‘cog wheel’ in the upper right corner of the calendar; then click ‘settings’.  About 7 items down, it says “Events from Gmail” and a choice to add automatically is ticked by default.  Un-tick that box on all accounts attached to the calendar, and that should correct things.

In early June, I posted an article about moving over from a printed datebook to a digital task list; at the time I loved it. (

I figured now is a great time to re-visit and update you on how I feel about it now.

I realized yesterday, while sitting at my mom’s doctor visit, that I can’t even imagine going back to a printed datebook. You see, every time I went with Mama, I was toting that book, taking notes, keeping records of her visits in a section just for her.  Now I have an app (Weight Meter Free) on my phone that lets me log her weight as well as other info from each visit- blood pressure, temp, any problems or adjustments.

The task list app I’m using is called Todoist – and I am still crazy about it. I have a project set up for each client; under that client, I have a task set for each project we’re working on. You can have sub-tasks, and sub-sub tasks (I don’t know the limit- haven’t reached it yet).  As I tick them off, it keeps score for me, which is a nice little added incentive to get things done.

I also like how easy it is to move and reschedule tasks- one click will move the task up a day; or if you need to move to another specific date, two clicks is all it takes.

You can set priorities on tasks (4 levels). You can move tasks to another project.  Adding tasks and projects is very simple.

The overview is very nice- all your projects are listed in a column on the left and your tasks are in the main column. You can view just today, or for the next 7 days. That can be nice when you have something scheduled for next week and need to see what should be moved to another day. I keep one of my browser tabs set to and then have the app on my phone and tablet.

One a scale of 1-10, I give this app a 10.  I can’t think of anything I’d change or add; lots of options make it very easy to customize.

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life,time and money

When you were a kid, did anyone ever ask you, “What will you be when you grow up?” I’m sure most every child has answered that question.

When I was young, all I wanted to be was a teacher; I’m not sure I ever thought about what I wanted to teach, but I knew I wanted to stand before a class and help people learn.

Then as an adult, I decided to finally buckle down and get my degree teaching English and literature.  My thought was that because I love to read, I would love reading students’ work and helping them better their craft.

Life threw a few more curves and that possibility faded.

But then I started working from home. Sometimes I didn’t even realize I was still working towards that childhood dream, but it was always in front of me.  And all the things I thought I wanted to become as a child are now what I get to do every day! Not the way I thought it would- me sitting behind a desk with a room full of kids to whom I’m teaching grammar, math, science and spelling… but as someone who works one on one with clients to help them be the best they can be. Reading their stories and making sure grammar, spelling and sentence structure is correct, all while making sure their voice is still heard – which sometimes means using “bad” grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Because we don’t always speak correctly 100% of the time – sometimes we southrons drop our “g”s, or say “ya’ll” or “ain’t” or “gonna”;  the author’s voice is more important than being 100% correct.

I’m exactly what I wanted to be when I was growing up- how cool is that? I had to take the long way ’round, and it doesn’t look like what I expected, but I’m living the life I always wanted.

So…. what do you want to be when you grow up? And what are you doing to make that happen? Live life specifically and intentionally- and be what you want to be.

Wasting Time


“But why do only unimportant things?” asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.

“Think of all the trouble it saves,” the man explained, and his face looked as if he’d be grinning an evil grin–if he could grin at all. “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won’t have the time. For there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren’t for that dreadful magic staff, you’d never know how much time you were wasting.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth    

I’ll admit it- I’m a huge fan of Facebook. I sometimes catch myself spending way more time on it than I should. I make excuses:

  • I need to see what the grandkids are up to; look at that cute picture of the baby!
  • I need to check on some of my customers (who are also friends)
  • I need to see what is going on that I can pray for (and I do)

But the problem is that what I want to last five minutes can turn into an hour; and I don’t even realize it. If I took some of the time I’ve spent on Facebook, just 30 minutes twice a week, and put that towards something new, just think of the things I might have done!

An email  to a current customer – either to check in and see how things are going, or to remind them of an upcoming deadline, could be composed, proofread and sent in five minutes.

A new blog post could be drafted in 15 minutes. Another 5 and it should be ready to publish and share on social media.

A TED talk on a new subject can be watched in 10-30 minutes.

An online course in marketing usually has segments that you can work through in 30-60 minutes.

So one of my goals this week is not have Facebook open on a browser tab until lunchtime; then I can check it while I take a break.

Nothing at all wrong with Facebook- but it’s like a lot of other things- it can be a monumental time-waster.


For the past 25 years or so, I’ve used some type of paper planner; for the most part I’ve used Franklin Covey products, but I’ve also used other brands as well. For the past year or so, I actually had created and printed my own planner pages – I loved the freedom of having the exact pages I needed, but because I’m involved in so many things my planner had become cumbersome. Classic sized pages in a 2 inch binder – LOTS of pages. But I used it because I needed the space.

I love technology, but I haven’t been able to find an app or program that worked to suit me. But a few weeks ago, I decided it was absolutely the right time to switch completely over from paper to technology. I have a smart phone that I love using, and I have a tablet, and of course computers.

I started doing some research – I knew I wanted something that both worked from my PC and an app. I didn’t want a monthly subscription fee; I don’t mind paying a fee but it had to be reasonable. I found a couple of apps that I liked to start with, but after a few days I found drawbacks that just didn’t work for me. I found Todoist a few months ago, but it didn’t seem to click with me at the time. But I decided to try it one more time and that time it worked!

Some of the things I really like:

  • You can set some tasks to a certain location- so when you’re in Office Depot for example, it reminds you to pick up a box of paper or some ink cartridges (obviously you have to have your phone set to know where you are)
  • there are no limit to the number of projects you can have – I have one project for each customer I work with, and then tasks underneath for jobs for each customer
  • you can set tasks with specific dates or no dates at all- what I prefer to do is to list all tasks for a specific job and then date the first task to be done for today; the ones that are required to be done today are flagged red; once I get those done, I work on the others; any I don’t complete today are moved to later in the week. As I complete one task for a job, I add the next task to the ‘dated’ list; I always know where I am on any project.
  • as I mark tasks done, they are moved to the ‘done’ list, but I can go back and look at them later. if I do things during the day that pop up that weren’t on my list, I add them and then tick them off.
  • another cool thing is that it keeps ‘score’ on how many tasks I’ve done. you earn badges for levels. it’s just a little extra incentive to get it done!

So for less than a year’s worth of dated pages for my printed planner, I have a very nice task list that I can access anywhere – from my phone, laptop or tablet.

I was already using my Google contacts, but I started using my Google calendar for appointments and events. I also have my calendar shared so my husband can see what’s coming up from his phone too.

Those who know me well know how much I like writing things down, so I do still carry a pad and pen to jot notes. But now I’m moving them over to Google docs, or Todoist or my calendar.

I guess I’m on a tear again. Over the last several weeks I’ve had to deal with several companies’ customer service departments, and I use that term very loosely. Let me explain.

We have our phone, internet and cable service as a bundle, so we deal with one company for all three products. We decided we wanted to make some changes: downgrade our cable but move up a level in our internet speed. Since Randy delivers mail, he can’t always make calls like this, so I called. After I explained what we wanted to do to the representative, she very quickly told me she’d be glad to upgrade our internet, but if we wanted to change to a lower package on our cable, my husband would have to call, because I wasn’t listed on the account to make changes… duh! So let me get this straight- you’ll take my word that we want to upgrade, but not to downgrade? How dumb is that? So Randy had to call and get things changed, and to add me to the account (this is the second or third time he’s called to add me, by the way).

Then several weeks ago, Randy’s bike messed up, so he found a place online that sells used parts and ordered what he needed. He told them we were headed to Thunder Beach so he paid extra to have it shipped quickly. The part online looked exactly like his, same numbers, etc. It got here all right, but it was the wrong part, but Randy didn’t know that until he’d tried to install it on his bike. He had to remove a couple of tabs so it would go in to the slot made for it. He and I both figured that since they sent it, it would work on his bike. It didn’t. We ended up using a friend’s bike to go to TB, and when we got home, Randy started working on getting things resolved. He emailed them to let them know they’d sent the wrong part, and that he’d taken the tabs off. ‘No problem’ the guy answered, just send it back and we’ll make it good. Randy sent it back with delivery confirmation, and they got it within 3 or 4 days of him mailing it. About a week later, the guy decided to email Randy and let him know that the tabs were removed (!) and that they couldn’t accept it. He said if he’d known Randy had done this, he wouldn’t have told him to send it back. Randy had in fact told them in one email that if they couldn’t take it back because of the tabs, he understood; they just needed to let him know one way or the other.
I understand anybody can make a mistake, but we’re still working on getting things straightened out with them. I finally called this week to see what was going on; when I told the person who answered who I was and what I wanted he recognized the name and started in fussing at me. He tried to say that Randy hadn’t told them he’d removed the tab- I pointed out I was looking at the emails that were sent, and yes, they were told before it was returned. Then he told me how big a company they were and how they were so busy they didn’t have time to answer emails quickly. Apparently they’re so big they only have one person to answer phones, emails and fetch parts… he was one of the rudest people I’ve ever talked to. I will steer clear of them in the future, and I’d suggest you do too- the name is Drum Hill Cycles. They’re mailing the part back, but I don’t expect to see it any time soon.And then to top things off today- a friend who has trouble hearing on the phone asked me to call and find out when his billing cycle ends. I called, explained what I wanted and gave them all the information I had – their response? If he would call and verify that they could give me information, they’d be glad to talk to me. I said I understand, but if he could call to verify it’s OK for you to talk to me, then he could get the information himself. He can’t hear well enough to understand you, so how is he going to tell you it’s OK? Talk about Catch- 22.
I just wonder at what point did we all get to be nimrods? Does good customer service not mean anything anymore? Are folks here in the south the only ones with enough gumption to be polite and kind to be people? The guy at the parts place – he could just as easily say “ma’am, I’m so sorry, but there’s not anything we can do to help you. We can’t take the part back – we’ll have to ship it out to you.” A little kindness would have gone a long way to make me feel better, and I would have considered using them again. I guess that’s what we get for shopping outside the southern states.

Author: Beth R - Categories: faith and values,marketing,time and money
Newer Posts »