Just when you think you aren’t making a difference…

State of anxiety

So… I’ve been in a state of anxiety ever since this summer when I conceived the idea of a group of people using their God-given gifts (Which sounds silly, but is accurate: they are gifts God gave us after all!) and talents to uplift the lives of others.

Then someone challenged me (Thanks Mindy!) to show up to that vision and make it happen!

I about did all the things that people do when they’re afraid: crap my pants, scream, cry, I think I actually threw up a little, and I did hide!

I know what I am doing is right!

But then I did it. I showed up to my vision in hope and faith that it would show up to me. I did it because my friend Mindy told me that it doesn’t matter if I end up looking like a fool while doing what I feel I was meant to do. She told me to trust my instincts and spiritual insights. I made that a daily declaration:

I fall in love with my ideas. I trust my instincts and spiritual insights. I follow my heart, no matter how scary or how foolish I may appear to others. I know what I am doing is right. I show up to my vision, and my vision shows up to me.

She was going through this herself: showing up to a vision that scared her, and that encouraged me as well. I found an image online that inspired me with this quote:

“She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.” ~Kobi Yamada

Dreams into plans!

Time to be this “she”! Time to make can’ts: cans, and dreams: plans! So I bucked up and stuttered my way through inviting one of my best friends to join me on the journey. I totally messed it up. I texted her crazy stuff, didn’t make sense, it was awkward, and I was so embarrassed! It took me a week to “trick” her into seeing me one-on-one so I could explain myself in person. When we were one-on-one I was too nervous to come out with it and instead did some venting. Then while she was talking I rudely interrupted her to tell her what I’d come over for! I explained my vision and how I wanted her to join me, and she, amazingly, was pleased and excited to join me — and, might I add, hadn’t thought anything weird or awkward about the texts I’d sent! I knew some people would not feel drawn to my cause, but all the sudden here was this wonderful woman telling me how honored she was that I asked her first, how much she already believed in my vision, and how excited she was to be my right-hand hench-woman! Little does she know how much she is MY ROCK!

With that victory in hand, I invited my little sister to join us. I knew she was busy with PA school, but I needed her on my side. She was honored to join us — and does all she can in the midst of her busy schedule, which is really just hearing me talk about it and supporting me. And all that is all I need from my left-hand hench-woman!

I have since invited one other to join our team who declined, but that’s okay. I wanted him to know he was invited, and it’s okay that he doesn’t feel pulled to my cause, that his life is calling him currently elsewhere. I love him just as much as I ever did! And undaunted because I actually know he has a part to play with us in the future which he will love, and he will be amazing at!

Nancy’s DoGooders, a Team of Pure Awesomeness!

On August 31st, 2015, we did our first good deed together, Paige and me, and it was amazing! Paige and I, mostly Paige (I just gathered the information, helped with suggestions, and then cooked us dinner) made homemade pies for a bake sale to raise money for a baby’s heart surgery for a family I knew personally. And as we were doing it I knew my vision of doers of good needed something more! So I created the facebook page Nancy’s DoGooders, a Team of Pure Awesomeness that same day to encourage others to share their gifts and talents to uplift and brighten the lives of others.

That was when the panic started! I just told the world what I was doing. I just told them my vision! I just, what did I just do?! AH!

Should I just give up? Should I quit?

I immediately started scheduling doing good quotes for the page and came up with the idea of simple weekly missions. I went through my list of friends and invited people that had been generous to me. A couple people liked the page! And my aunt liked my page description! So with that courage in hand I went through my friends list again and invited a couple more people. I worried and fretted. I was so scared to just invite people openly to join. Not many likes. Should I just give up? Should I quit?

Never give up! Never surrender!

As I pondered on these things, the spirit brought to my recollection two of my favorite quotes:

“Never give up! Never surrender!” ~Commander Taggart, from Galaxy Quest

(Which just goes to prove that even a parody of science fiction can have lasting effects on our lives. Whatever your calling, follow it!)

“Never, never, never, never give up!” ~Winston Churchhill.

(From a man the world admires!)

and in cleaning out my closet, a task I was doing to hide from my calling, I found this one:

“When you cannot make up your mind between two evenly balanced courses of action, choose the BOLDER.” ~WJ Smith

Worth it for the one!

These three bulstered my own tenacious spirit, and I discovered that it doesn’t matter how many people like the page or the posts, or hates the group, or dislikes me. If Nancy’s DoGooders facebook page and missions helps just one person show up to their gifts and talents to help others, if all the many posts only brighten the life of one, and even if all the silly things I do makes only one person happy, that is enough. Just one is more than plenty! The worth of a soul, even just the one!, is GREAT in the sight of God. So once again I carried on through the mire. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, what I look like, what I think it might appear to others to be! It matters only that I’m heading in the direction that I feel God has called me to go in, and that makes my heart sing! And that’s scary!

Our next mission!

Yesterday, September 9, 2015, my friend Paige, my right-hand hench-woman, got in my car to go shopping with me, and one of the first things she said to me (after handing over the potato chips that she checked the ingredients list on to make sure I could enjoy them with her! <sigh> She’s so awesome!) was, “I have our next mission.” I will honestly share here what I felt: excitement, and dread. What if she suggested a mission I wasn’t interested in participating in? I think she was feeling the same, What if she isn’t interested in participating in my idea? But thank goodness she didn’t let that hold her back! Her project was amazing! It showed she understood exactly what my vision was about! It showed she knew me!

And so Nancy’s DoGooders next Special Ops Mission is to participate in the “Out of the Darkness Walk” event in Salt Lake City, UT on September 19, 2015 to help raise awareness about depression, suicide, and help those in need of hope. We made it a special ops mission on Nancy’s DoGooders page, and then posted about it with our personal donation pages on our facebook timelines.

Nancy's FB post about the Out of the Darkness Walk SLC 2015

What was I thinking?

I personally did this at 2am this morning. That’s when the panic attack hit me. I have been really sick for several months. I am on the up and up, but I don’t know that I will actually be able to participate in the actual walk. AH! I was so nervous what people might think about all my Nancy’s DoGooders stuff, and about that personal post. What was I thinking?

I didn’t want to get out of bed!

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I certainly didn’t want to check facebook and see all the people who were ridiculing me and didn’t care — at least that was I was thinking! But I did want to check to see if our friend Alina had joined our team, so I braved the misty waters and noticed that not only had Alina joined our team, but that our little team had already received donations! Someone had donated on my personal page! WHAT?!?!

I am on the right track with the right people behind me! How blessed I am!

My dear dear friend Tammy Sauer had donated and left me this beautiful message:

“I LOVE you for doing this…Dad I miss you everyday!!! Lets help put a stop to suicide…” ~Tammy Sauer

I broke down in tears immediately! Now that was worth it! It was all worth it for Tammy and her dad! I immediately thanked her and asked her permission to share, and she immediately gave it! What an amazing woman! Then I thanked my Paige for thinking of this mission! Wow! Two great women!

That’s how I know what I am doing is right. That’s how I know I am on the right track with the right people behind me! How blessed I am!

Victories piling up behind me!

I look back over the past couple weeks, COUPLE WEEKS!, And see the victories piling up behind me, the lives changed, the hearts that sing! And I remembered that I shouldn’t judge! I don’t know whose heart resonates with my own! I openly invite every one to join my Nancy’s DoGooders! You know what happened?! People immediately did!

If it makes your heart sing, join us! Join Nancy’s DoGooders!

The world has need of helping hands! It needs your strength, your unique experiences, God-given gifts and talents, and your compassion. That’s what Nancy’s DoGooders is about! Using your own uniqueness and overflowing love and joy to fill the needs of others in ways no one else can, because they’re not you! We need you! We need what you can do! If it makes your heart sing, then join us! Join Nancy’s DoGooders on facebook. We are only just starting, and there is so much more good to follow, so many great things you will do!

We can’t wait to have you on our side!

Gah! THIS IS SO EXCITING!

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Enhance your study time and improve recall with Color-Highlighting

Since it’s back to school time what better time to talk about using colors to enhance your study time! (Note to teachers: this can help you in preparing study aids as well!)

Why willy nilly color highlighting (including the lack there of) isn’t benefiting you

If you’re like most people, you probably only use one color to highlight, or just whatever pen, pencil, or highlighter you have to hand. While it may seem more efficient — who doesn’t have a yellow highlighter hanging around? — it’s less efficient in processing/memorizing the information and scanning the text to review. It also won’t necessarily trigger the parts of the brain you want triggered when reading and reviewing certain passages.

If all you use is one color to highlight, it can fade into the background and you can miss important points, vocabulary words and definitions, or important do’s or don’ts.

If instead you just willy nilly swap between colors with whatever is on hand, your brain will toss out all those colors as if they were just one because you have no method behind the use of your colors.

So here, I’ll share with you a SIMPLE method of what I like to call Color-Highlighting that has worked for me; it helps in the first pass to parse the information, and it helps in reviewing old texts so I quickly find the information again!

What’s the Benefit of Color-Highlighting?

Having a purpose behind which colors you use in highlighting and when greatly helps your brain parse data: putting it into correct categories and helping you remember and recall that data. If you have a method behind your color scheming then you are on the right track!

But Color-Highlighting is more than that. This isn’t your typical color coding: where you just put like objects in a group by using similar colors. It’s about assigning those like objects, in this case text, to colors that will trigger the right part of the brain so you store it properly as well! It can even calm you down while taking in all that new information, or stimulate the brain to process it!

Psychology of colors in learning

Before implementing a color strategy, it’s important to know how colors affect the brain. I got this image that explains it very well for all your basic colors from a fellow blogger:

ColorsForLearning

The Color-Highlighting Method

You can obviously use the colors in whatever way seems best for you, but based on the above information, this is what really works for me:

  • Yellow: for all miscellaneous highlighting. As it’s stimulating mental activity, and it’s light color making text easier to read, no wonder everyone uses it for all general and miscellaneous highlighting! Continue to do so for all your general highlighting needs. Whatever grabs you in the text is something to highlight! You’ll definitely go through more yellow than any other color. Stock up on yellow!
  • Blue: for vocabulary words (not the definition, just the word). Since blue is calming and is for things that may seem too complicated, it’s the perfect color to use when highlighting new vocabulary words so your brain doesn’t freak out over yet another new word! Keep calm! This also helps your eye instantly pick out those vocabulary words when you need to go back and look them up, and helps your brain store them!
  • Green: for vocabulary definitions (not the word). I like to use green to highlight the definitions as it immediately ties it to the blue highlighted vocab color since it’s an analogous color, but also since some definitions are longer and green is restful to the eye and brain, you can take in the definition in a relaxed manner.
  • Red: only for really important items and warning. Use red for highlighting warnings and you’ll always be able to avoid those don’ts and find them again quickly before doing a task incorrectly. Red stops the eye. So use sparingly.
  • Orange: as an invitation to do something. If there is a fun task the author is inviting you to perform a task — especially if it’s fun! — use orange. I love orange. It’s a great color to have on your desk as well. Not the whole desk! But have a stress relieving toy in that color and it’ll help give your mind a break when studying and reduce any boredom you may be experiencing.
  • Purple: you can really use for anything along side the other colors, including yellow, but I like to use it for quotes, important dates/people, and for highlighting code snippets. For quotes, I highlight things that really stand out to me personally, for myself. I’ve found them in all kinds of books, even the math ones! So it’s nice to be able to pick them out because of their purple color. For my programming books, it’s nice to be able to highlight some important code. That’s again when I use purple.

You can use additional colors: pink, gray, yellow-green, and others, all have good uses too. Just be consistent with how you use them. (See additional hints below.)

Additional Highlighting Tips

Use smooth crayons for highlighting

I prefer to use crayons in my highlighting as they don’t bleed through the page and “highlight” information on the other side, which makes for easier reading. They’re also softer in color than typical highlighters so it’s less of an assault to the eye. AND they don’t rub off nearly as easily as markers (which keeps you again from unintentional additional highlighting). I’m not talking about the box of crayons you had as a kid which come out chunky on the page and are a little too opaque for highlighting though. I like the twistables (affilate links!) or scripture marking crayons work even better as they are smooth crayons that were specifically designed to be used on thin, delicate pages!

Use lines and boxes to “highlight” long passages

If it’s a long passage that you really like, instead of highlighting the entire section and having an assault to your eyes (and also making it difficult if you want/need to use multiple colors to pick out smaller details), you can just use your highlighter to draw a line along side the text or box it. Sometimes I’ll even draw a brace around it and then write a few words in pencil to the side describing why I liked it or summing it all up. You can use this method with any color.

Keep a ball-point pen in black or dark grey or a pencil at hand as well.

Often it helps to write near a passage why you like it or a quick summary of it, and this is most easily done using a regular writing instrument. You can even do this for entire pages. At the top of the page write a short sentence or phrase that sums up the whole thing. You don’t have to do this for every page, but if it’s an important topic, or you want to be able to find the information again quickly when skimming the text, this is a great method. It’s also nice to have the pen/pencil to hand so you can jot down some of your own thoughts next to the text that sparked it. Do this only for thoughts you can write down succinctly. I’ve gained great insight into texts by rereading some of my own thoughts on it! Side note: pencils do rub and can blur over time. Same with gel pens (which can do it nearly instantaneously), but pall point pens, once dry, tend to stay put, so I typically choose that, unless my pages are really thin, or I prefer to be able to erase.

Why black or gray? So you can make general comments without interfering with the highlighting colors you’re already using. If you want to color-highlight what notes you’ve written you can also do that, and it’ll be lots easier to read if it’s in black.

Change color method as necessary per subject and textbook, but be consistent (or as consistent as possible!)

It’s okay to switch your highlighting techniques from text to text. Different subjects will call for different highlighting techniques (like using purple for quotes to code snippets, or highlighting important dates!). Just whatever color highlighting method you decide to use, be consistent throughout! And remember to make a key!

Have a Key

It can help to make yourself a key and keep it in the inner front cover of your text for yourself (and others!) to reference, so you are consistent with your highlighting throughout your text, and so that you can look back on what the different colors are for so you can then look for the color you need in the text. Even with a simple system you may forget what color to use where, but especially if your system is complicated (you’re using more than just the six basic colors), you’ll really want your key so you can be consistent throughout the text (and future texts).

More tips on studying

Of course there’s more to studying than just Color-Highlighting. That’s why I delve into my own study techniques in my next post!

But that’s it for now! Good luck!

Common Man

It’s funny how a song can be completely different for you during different parts of your life.

Today I dug out old CDs to test my external hard drive. In my digging I came across “COPLAND, The Music of America.” I remember when I first got the CD in my black hole of education (aka jr. high) years liking it, and that it quickly lost favor with me. I haven’t listened to Copland for a very long time since.

And then BAM! Fanfare for the Common Man grabbed me! How did I forget this song. It’s simply beautiful.

I don’t have the time to dig deep into my thoughts on “common man”, but allow me to put forth that I don’t believe any man to be common except those that settle for less than what they were made for, and I know that Copland believed the same because a soul grabbed by his music certainly doesn’t feel common, despite common struggles, and existential ponderings, common we are not.

I’ll tell you what we are: powerful, creative beings put forth on this planet by a loving Heavenly Father with an individual mission that our soul feels driven to fulfill because that is what we most strongly desire. And because we are these powerful, creative beings we can accomplish the soul’s desires. Copland believed we were and are and could.

Believe it! Put on your work boots and get to it!

Alcohol and calculus…

My cousin’s husband “paged” me on facebook with this:

DontDrinkAndDerive

And the message is definitely important. Fellow mathematicians: stay safe this school year! 😉

A Shoe. (Bless You!)

What is your call in life, and what does it have to do with shoes??

I can’t tell you the first (that is between you and God), but I can tell you the second: EVERYTHING! 😉

Then again, maybe I can help you with the first in some small way…

(Watch A Shoe. (Bless You!) on Youtube.)

I’m so nice! You should be nice too! Share this video with your friends and enemies! 😉

May God grant you your dream, all that you love, and some spectacular shoes!

Have you written anyone any letters?

When I was little I bemoaned to my sister Liza that no one ever wrote me letters. I mentioned it a few times, especially every time she got a letter when I did not. She then asked me something that changed my life:

“Nancy, have you written anyone any letters?”

After pondering it for a moment I was shocked by the answer. I’d never written anyone a letter, ever. That’s when she told me, “You have to write letters to receive them. I bet if you write a bunch of letters you’ll get some back.”

She was right. I wrote several letters to several people and got several responses. I continued to write and, from a select few, they continued to write too. I grew to really know and love these people and I just loved those letters! The few people that continued to write me regularly I not only came close to then, but we are still close today. They brighten my world.

All because I wrote some letters.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ~Winnie the Pooh

You can’t just stay in your corner waiting for people to find you. Be the person you would want to have find you; then go find others like you.

It’ll change your life.

Goodbye dust mites!

I deep cleaned my mattress last night using the instructions from doterrablog.comIt was SUPER easy to do and I had the best night’s rest I’ve had in a very long time. I’ve included the directions here with some extra tips so you can have a healthier night’s rest too!

For deep cleaned mattresses:

1. Remove all linens from bed and wash in hot water

2. In a mason jar mix:

    • Baking Soda: 1 cup for a queen, 1/2 cup for a twin
    • Essential Oil: 10 drops for a queen, 5-6 for a twin (See below for essential oil recommendations)

3. Use a sifter to evenly spread the mix over the entire top of your mattress. I also did my pillow.

4. Let it sit for one hour

5. Vacuum up the mix

6. Put on clean linens and sleep the sleep of the dead!

7. Repeat every 2-3 months or as often as necessary/desired

Essential oils to consider using:

To kill dust mites be sure to use: peppermint, wintergreen, or eucalyptus

To help you sleep add: Orange, Citrus Blend, or lavender to the mix

To help with respiration: Just a respiratory blend which has peppermint & eucalyptus (and a couple others) which will help your entire respiratory system (may help with snoring too!) as well as killing the dust mites! (Note that it’ll just help for a day or two. To get nightly respiratory aid use a respiratory blend in a diffuser nightly.)

Additional Tips

Personally I used three drops each of peppermint and lavender on my mattress. Peppermint to freshen, detract spiders, and kill the dust mites. Lavender to soothe and help me sleep better. Next time I’m thinking I’ll do peppermint and my favorite blend, Citrus Blend. Feel free to experiment!

You can also use these steps (minus the linen ones) to deep clean carpet and upholstered furniture. A few months ago I did lavender and lemon on my carpet. It smells wonderful and the carpet was so clean!

If you don’t like the way an oil smells, just use a different one! There are plenty to choose from!

Goodbye dust mites! Hello beautiful sleep! 😀