Top Ten Posts of 2016

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#10 – Start the New Year Bible Journaling – Teresa Cavagnaro

#9 – Me in 30 Seconds – Lyn Odell

#8 – From Victim to Victor, Part Two – Anonymous

#7 – Tax Time Tips and Tricks – Andrea Winkler

#6 – Las Vegas? – Nikki Wilson

#5 – Pregnancy is Hell, Babies are Heaven – Amber Waters

#4 – The Family that Pukes Together Stays Together – Erica Haggard

#3 –  19 Ways to a Clean House – Torrie Meidell

#2 – Mental Illness: A Confessional – Jill Bowers

#1 – My Husband Has Cancer – Stacy Fredericks

5 Simple Editing Tips for Bloggers

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There are nearly one million results when you search “editing tips for bloggers” on Google. One million! I started at the top and went through a few dozen articles that had nice bullet-pointed lists that were easy to read. After publishing over three hundred posts on Misses Miscellany, I’ve seen a few (and made even more) mistakes.

We are all human. Let’s get that out in the open right now. Next, Misses Miscellany is about real women in the real world telling real stories. This is not a community of professional writers. That said, let’s look at five editing tips I found in the majority of the articles I read.

  1. Don’t edit while you’re writing – Once you get going, keep moving forward. Don’t make big editing decisions during the writing process. You’ll lose focus, burn out, and waste time.
  2. Let your post rest before editing – While the writing is fresh in your mind, it’s going to be difficult to be objective and determine what really needs to be edit and what is great the way it is. Leave it, work on something else, and come back to begin the editing.
  3. Make sure you’re focused on the big picture – Cut out what isn’t relevant to the main idea of your post (and cut anything repetitive). Add what readers might need to really understand. Check out the order of paragraphs. Focus on these “big picture” edits before getting into the nitty-gritty.
  4. Spell check AND proof read – Spell-check is not a fail-proof method for examining your writing for errors. Proofreading is necessary to find missing words and look for consistency. {example: E-book, ebook, eBook} Two things that may help you edit are printing it out and reading it out loud.
  5. Don’t be a perfectionist – The great news about blogging is that nothing is ever final! If you publish a post and see an error, you can fix it! So, don’t spend too much time dissecting your writing before publishing.

Did these tips help you? Leave us a comment or share the post with your friends!

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for being apart of the Misses Miscellany project this year! It has been wonderful to see and hear what you guys do. I’m especially grateful for all of you who supported our summer service project for survivors of sexual abuse.

There are big things in store for us in the coming year and I hope you’ll join in. Misses Miscellany will be transitioning into Fruitland Home on January 1st! You’ll see lots of re-branding and new layouts but all the same great material. Stick with us, I think you’ll love it!

See you soon! I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

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Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Home

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Gone are the days of jumping from party to party on New Year’s Eve. The big party at the fairgrounds. The house party of friends who didn’t “do” the fairgrounds party. The after parties. Fireworks in driveways and parking lots. Seeing two movies in a row at the theater. Dressing up in whatever I thought was my best outfit with no regard for what the temperature was going to be at 1 a.m. Listening to the Count Basie Orchestra play in the new year in Chicago. Oh, the good days.

Now it looks more like, “I made it to eleven. See you next year.” And that’s to my kids in my own living room. Ugh.

But this year, I’m going to party until the ball drops. It might be in the living room, but I’ll be awake. Only because I remember how exciting it was to be up until midnight to bang pots and pans and yell across the street to the neighbors. If I go to bed early, who’s going take the kids outside to dance in the new year in the middle of the night?

I think I found a few ideas to try. Thank you, Pinterest.

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The Secret Ingredient to Successful Goals

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My favorite tool to use as a financial counselor is a Brainstorming Worksheet. When someone is ready to change, they don’t always know where to begin. And, two people with the same budget issue probably aren’t going to make progress using the same technique. It’s the same with other goals for fun or for self-improvement.

I’d like to lose 20 pounds. I have a friend who wants to lose 20 pounds. We will certainly go about it in different ways.

Any goal you have is do-able and progress is possible! You just need the right road map for your destination. If I start from where I am and you start from where you are, we can both get to the same place but need to take our own route. Goal setting can be easy with this little trick.

That’s where brainstorming comes in. There are only two rules to remember. Here’s how it works:

  1. Spend 5-10 uninterrupted minutes writing the goals and ideas that you’ve been considering.
  2. Write everything you think of, no matter how silly, dumb, or unrealistic.

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An example for finances might look more like this:

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Once you have spend a short, but dedicated time brainstorming you will see your ideas build on each other or spur other ideas.

How do you choose a goal?

When the list is written, you go back and select the most realistic ideas for you right now. I may really want the laundry room finished but know that isn’t realistic until we get our tax refund to pay for the surround. So, I chose three thing (at the most) that may be more appropriate for now.

  • Make a curtain for downstairs
  • Bring my lunch to work
  • Date Jake

Great. Once you know where you’re going you can plan how to get there.

  1. Make a curtain for downstairs
    1. Choose the future wall paint color
    2. Select and buy fabric
    3. Buy a curtain rod
    4. Sew the curtain
    5. Hang the finished product

Don’t you love on GPS when the directions say, “In 200 feet turn right.” And, “In 100 feet the destination is on the left.” And best of all, “You have reached your destination.” You always know where you are, how close you are getting, and when you arrive at the place you want to be.

Let’s put that into our goals.

  1. Choose paint color – Home Depot on Wednesday, get paint sample
  2. Select and buy fabric – Wait for 30% or better coupon from Jo-Anns; Go to Jo-Anns and get fabric and thread before the coupon expires.
  3. Buy a curtain rod – Get one while I’m at Home Depot or ask Jake to pick one up
  4. Sew the curtain – On the next Wednesday, sew while kids are at school
  5. Hang rod and curtain – Ask Jake to hang the rod after work the same day I sew

You have arrived at your destination. Whoa. Now I don’t just have a goal, I have the steps all lined out and can easily choose to be successful. It’s not just an idea floating around anymore.

Should we try to route another goal that isn’t as physical? Something that requires more initiative and doesn’t have as obvious of finish line.

  1. Go to church every Sunday
    1. Tell people about my goal – Jake, kids, two friends at church
    2. Prepare for Sunday morning the night before – lay out clothes; have a plan for breakfast
    3. Study the lessons before Sunday – skim or read the Relief Society and Sunday School lesson on Wednesdays
    4. Start dinner in the morning – crockpot, rolls out, etc.
    5. Determine what will really keep me from church – Talk to Jake and decide this together

Obviously I know if I go or not but how do I track my progress? When is my goal achieved if it’s something I plan to do for the rest of my life? Well, once there is a plan laid out, I am more obviously choosinwhether or not to be successful.

Something I love is learning about how the mind works when it comes to making choices and having the self-control and resources to follow through. When you start to understand this you start making choices instead of letting life happen to you.

And there it is. Once you start making choices you can always reach your destination. That is what goals are. Determine where you want to go, map a route, and get going!

Tell us about your goal and you’ll receive motivational messages from Fruitland Home! Email goals@fruitlandhome.com with your plan and we’ll stick with you until, “You have arrived at your destination!”

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The Worst Day of My Life

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The worst day of my life happened exactly 7 weeks and 5 days after my little girl was born.  To this day, when I think back on that day, my stomach sinks.  On June 15, 2014, I had to drop off my newborn baby, to be watched by someone other than myself, so I could return to work.

I had severe anxiety in the weeks leading up to my first day separated from my daughter.  I found myself having panic attacks and breakdowns on a regular basis.  I would purposely stay awake and watch her sleep at night just trying to soak in as much of her as I could before my first day back.  I relished our middle of the night nursing sessions because it was a little more time I got to spend with her.

The night before I returned invoked little, if any sleep.  That morning I woke and nursed my baby and sobbed knowing I wasn’t going to nurse her again until bedtime that night.  My drive to drop her off went by far too fast.  As I drove I tried to think of every positive thought I could muster to stop myself from crying.  I went in and dropped Madison off and ran back to my car trying with every fiber of my soul to not go back in and get her.  The drive to work was a blur; literally.  The tears pouring down my face made it impossible to see clearly.

There has never been a day in my life that has gone by slower than my first day back at work.  At the time, I was a job coach.  I coached and mentored individuals struggling with addiction, mental illness, and overcoming the culture of poverty.  I knew I had to be composed at work.  I needed to be the stable person for my workers.  I allowed myself exactly three breakdowns per day.  Those occurred simultaneously while I was locked in my own private room to pump breast milk for my newborn.

I have since had the blessing of quitting my job to fill, what I believe is, the most important job; being a mother.  I look back at my year of working while Madison was a baby with such tender feelings. I worked with and coach some of the most amazing individuals that year.  The challenges they faced and their attitudes towards life were truly inspirational to me.  I could feel the Lord helping me through those tough months of missing out on precious moments in Madison’s life, including many of her firsts like laughing and taking her first steps.

You moms out there who work in the workforce while also caring for your children, you are amazing!  You deserve a huge pat on the back.  It’s definitely not something for the faint of heart.  Whether it’s something you choose to do or something you do out of necessity, it is hard.  But if there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that we can do hard things!