Reflecting, Reviewing, and Revising Goals at Year’s End

Happy December 1st! Any time is the right time to reflect on, review, and revise our goals. Entering the last month of 2016, however, gives some special incentive to do so. I originally published this at fall’s beginning, and already have revisions to make.



So this is NOT about the proverbial “New Year’s Resolutions” type of goals. We all know what usually happens to THOSE even before January goes by. I’m talking about proactive plans to reach goals.


I have divided mine into several primary categories, as you will see below. My personal list is much longer and more detailed, but I thought I would share a more general, briefer version here, just in case anyone is interested and/or it may prove helpful or motivational for someone else.


Freelance work:

I have one primary client right now with a year-long contract — except the project is currently on hold, so meanwhile I am inquiring about and applying for other relevant work. The freelance life is a fluid entity, where long-term or permanent work is a rarity (at least in my experience of almost 9 years so far!)


Entrepreneurial Endeavors:

I still need to put more effort into my K’Lee’s Kreations business – this includes building up an inventory of “ready to sell” items, as well as promoting my custom orders, and getting all my various sites up and running (in addition to Etsy and Bonanza). My initial plan was to have my main site feature the entire business, then use smaller sites to feature specialized areas or products. I’m not debating the wisdom of that initial plan and thinking “simplify” for greater peace of mind!

For both freelance and entrepreneurial goals, I need to put more effort into promoting and marketing myself. I need to better maximize the potential of Pinterest and Instagram for my businesses.


Professional Development:

I still would like to take courses or otherwise learn more about grant writing, white papers, press releases, ebooks, and those types of specialized areas of writing that I see job leads for frequently.


Educational Goals:

I’m pursuing my ultimate goal of a doctoral degree, specifically an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) in a dual concentration of Educational Technology and E-Learning. This is a fully online program through Northcentral University (NCU).

I am currently in the All But Dissertation (ABD) stage. I finally received approval from NCU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and sites where I plan to do my study on November 15th. I am in the beginning stages of recruiting participants and collecting data so I can wrap up my study and complete my dissertation manuscript.

I should finally reach the finish line of my 7-year-long journey within a couple months. I want to use this degree to get better and higher paying jobs in instructional design, curriculum/course development, and online tutoring/course facilitation.


Personal Goals:

*Achieve better health – lose weight (about 50 lbs!), eat better, get more sleep, exercise regularly.

*Write my next book, finally – my “fire story” from 1985.

*Allow for more “me” time to do whatever – or nothing – without feeling guilty!

*Stash money away in the savings account on a consistent basis.

*Do something “crafty-creative” every day – whether it’s working on an actual project, or skimming through magazines and books for ideas, or designing/planning the next project.

*Pay off debts and eventually sell this home and buy a new one in New Hampshire (back to NH for me), so I can be near my two youngest daughters and sons-in-law…AND my granddaughters (two, but the third is on the way any day now!)


So what about YOU?

Do you routinely reflect on, review, and revise your goals?

Do you have goals for this holiday season, through the end of the year, and into 2017?


Cyber Monday Special Good Through December 10

I know it’s past Cyber Monday–but I have a special to offer anyone looking for handmade customized gifts!  Cyber Monday and the next couple weeks offer an opportunity to shop online AND advertise my own online special. Let me tell you more about my OTHER home-based business, in addition to my freelance business. It is K-Lee’s Kreations and my specialty is making custom fabric products (quilts, pillows, bags, and other items), many with imprinted photos.


My K-Lee's Kreations montage of photo-imprinted products.

My K-Lee’s Kreations montage of photo-imprinted products.


This question that frequently arises, “How do you do that?” — is in reference to how I create all my imprinted photos on products such as the items in the above photo.

I finally wrote the whole explanation in a note on Facebook at my K-Lee’s Kreations page, as well as at Etsy and Bonanza, so people would understand the process.



Since so many people ask about the imprinting process that I use to make my photo products, I thought I would explain it here. 


Most people send photos as ‘jpeg’ attachments via email – some folks send photos via ‘snail mail’ and I scan them. I typically do a little photo editing: do some cropping, make them the right size, add different effects, or whatever works for each photo.


I have a second printer set up with sublimation ink and dye sublimation transfer paper, which is what I use to print out the photos.


The photos are then IMPRINTED into a poly poplin fabric using sublimation ink and a heat press (my first one was a DIY version that  my ‘handy hubby’ made for me, with a simple hot plate and base! Now I have an official heat press made by Gecko Heat Transfer Solutions).


These are NOT regular computer ink photos!


The combination of the sublimation ink and the heat press transforms the ink into a gas, which permeates the fabric. This causes the photos to virtually become part of the fabric, making them permanent, while the fabric stays soft and flexible (not the stiff ironed-on feeling!)


You can also wash and dry the items with the imprinted photos! 


One of the reasons I most enjoy adding imprinted photos to my handmade products is the joy it evokes in those people who receive items as gifts or who buy them for themselves or others. I also get to share a little in the lives of those who trust me with their cherished photos, and I know I’m creating heirloom products that are personal and meaningful to those who receive them.


I have concentrated primarily on creating customized products, made to order for now, so here’s my Cyber Monday special:

#CyberMonday deal!! $10 off my custom pillows!

Visit my Etsy shop (<– click)

Look at the single photo pillows

or collage pillows with 4 or 9 photos.

Then email me at

for details and to receive an invoice

for the sale price + shipping.

**ORDER BY 12/10!!**

Single photo pillow with imprinted photo--me as a baby!

Single photo pillow with imprinted photo–me as a baby!


So what are YOUR thoughts?

Did you do any Cyber Monday shopping?

Do you prefer shopping online rather than fighting the hustle and bustle in stores?

One of the many pillows I've made.

One of my 4-photo collage pillows.

Are Dream Quenchers Keeping You from Fulfilling Your Potential?

What are your dream quenchers? What is getting in the way of you reaching for your dreams?

It’s important, first, for us to identify our dreams. Then, to honestly evaluate what gets in our way of realizing those dreams, and finally to determine a strategy to overcome the dream quenchers or barriers to help us move forward toward fulfilling our potential.


My Lifelong Learning Dream

First, one of my primary dreams is to complete my Doctor of Education (EdD) program and officially become Dr. Banks! I am now within a couple months of realizing that dream, which has been a 7-year journey so far, as of November 2016. Obtaining that degree will open up new career opportunities and greater earning potential.


My Career and Entrepreneurial Dream

Next, I guess I should identify what some of my dreams are regarding my career goals in freelance consulting and my K-Lee’s Kreations business.


In my freelance consulting and writing:

*  Continue to build up my portfolio of writing samples and educational materials.

*  Continue to gain professional experience as an instructional designer, curriculum developer, and course/assessment writer.

*  Continue to hone my niche writing areas and related skill sets.

*  Gain enough confidence to raise my rates and define terms for work, rather than always accepting the terms that clients tell me.

*  Continue to maintain writing in my two blogs consistently, to gain faithful readers and followers, and establish a good reputation in the blogging world. This includes monetizing my blogs, more consistently promoting my blogs on social media, commenting on other blogs, and replying to all of you who take the time to leave comments for me here! 🙂

* Add content to my new pages on this blog, eLearning 4 Life and my Health and Fitness Journey, which I am developing as alternatives to having multiple separate blogs.


In my K-Lee’s Kreations business:

* Set up my related sites, and get them up and running as soon as possible, to supplement / complement my Etsy shop and Bonanza booth.

* Consistently market my business, including promotion on social media.

* Create an inventory of ready-made items to complement my custom orders.


My Health and Fitness Dream

Another goal for me is to lose weight and get healthier. I have about 50 lbs. to lose, per my doctor’s recommendation. Some health issues and related medications, combined with my age and stage in life, all make this endeavor even more challenging. However, I’m “sick and tired of being sick and tired and overweight,” so I need to do this first for my own health and well-being. But I also want to be around longer for my hubby, my kids, and my grandkids. SO…my health and fitness journey is officially ON!


What is getting in the way of me

realizing these dreams and achieving these goals?

After some soul searching and honest introspection, I have to admit that two of my biggest weaknesses are poor time management and lack of self-confidence.  These are compounded by some legitimate health issues, but the unfortunate results are distraction, brain fog, fatigue, inconsistency, lack of follow-through, and sometimes missed deadlines.

On particularly bad days, I really need an attitude adjustment, because I have a very difficult time finding the “want to” regarding doing the things I must do. There are days I would rather take a nap, read, sew, quilt, visit with family and friends, and socialize in my various online networks. Honestly, sometimes I just want to do *nothing* other than sit and relax, breathe, think, and reflect.


Now that I’ve identified my hindrances, bad habits, and flaws… I know I have some work to do! I’ve reached the point of being “tired of being tired” and not reaching the level of productivity I know I’m capable of accomplishing.


So what about YOU?

So there’s my confession! What about you?

Do you know what’s getting in the way of you reaching your dreams and achieving your goals? Do you dare to share?

Happy Thanksgiving – Focus on Gratitude

To all those who celebrated today,

I hope you had a …

[Source: Facebook]

Even when it’s not a holiday like Thanksgiving, it’s important to practice giving thanks and to focus on gratitude. On my other blog, Words of Encouragement, I have been running a “Gratitude Challenge” all month. I’ve been discussing my daily posts of gratitude, and have encouraged others all month to do the same, whether in their own blogs, on Facebook, journals, or other ways.

So since this is now Thanksgiving evening, here are several quotes from the Quote Garden to help you continue to develop a practice of giving thanks and to focus on gratitude as you head into the end of this month, onto the Christmas holiday season, and into the new year.


Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.” ~Robert Caspar Lintner


Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.” ~J. Robert Moskin


Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year — and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.” ~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)


To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~Johannes A. Gaertner


A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” ~Cicero


Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.’ ~Seneca


None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” ~Fred De Witt Van Amburgh


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward


Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness.” ~Robert Casper Lintner


O Infinite Father, I’m grateful to Thee
For the moon and the stars and deep rolling sea;
For beauties of nature, where e’er they may be…
For the handclasp of friends, so firm and so true;
For sunrise and sunset and glistening dew;
The fleecy white clouds and the Heavens, so blue;
For these wonderful gifts, dear Lord, I thank you!
~Gertrude T. Buckingham, “My Song of Thanksgiving”


So what about YOU?

Did you celebrate Thanksgiving today? (If so, I hope you had a nice day!)

Do you agree it’s a good idea to practice giving thanks and to focus on gratitude?

Arriving at Decisions by a Certain Age

Decisions, decisions. They’re in our face all the time, every day. They also range from minor, like choosing what clothes to wear, or what food to eat — to life-changing, such as a career change or lifestyle change.

I sometimes second guess decisions, such as pursuing my Doctor of Education degree, since it has taken up a good portion of seven years of my life so far. However, now that I have officially started my study and am within a couple months of becoming Dr. Banks, it has ultimately been worth it.

Another recent decision I’ve made is to only blog here three days a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; the exception would be when  I join a specific blog challenge to post everyday of a month. This will allow me to devote more time to other endeavors. I still do post daily on my Words of Encouragement blog, for those of you who might like to read daily inspiration.

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions, but they are for our ultimate peace of mind. I think this quote especially embodies that concept.


I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me.

I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise.

I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons.

I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities.

In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement.

Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals.

And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

Most often attributed to Meryl Streep —

Actually written by Portuguese

self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira


So what about YOU?

Do you find it easy to make decisions?

Have you recently had to make any life-changing decisions?