Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Attitude Changer: Quote #13

In these related posts, I am sharing quotes from a wonderful book called, “Lead the Field’ by Earl Nightingale.

In summary, the book talks about your attitude. It determines your actions, as well as the actions of others. Mr. Nightingale takes our lame excuses for NOT being successful and refutes them all.

Today’s Quote: “Your use of language is the one thing you cannot hide.”

Mr. JCrew is on a book-buying kick. His latest purchase is "Verbal Advantage." It’s a vocabulary audio book. I think the above quote is what motivated him to get it.

Knowledge is a ladder that enables you to climb to the top. A person should begin with his language and then proceed to study his general area of interest. It is our ability to use our language that will determine our place on the social pyramid.

Knowledge of the exact meanings of a large number of words accompanies outstanding success. Improve your vocabulary and you will improve your income. When you learn one new word you actually add several of their buddies. An understanding of our language is the key to study, learning and everything else. Language more than anything else determines the extent of our knowledge. The more words we know and can properly use, the more knowledge we have. Acquire books that will enable you to increase your vocabulary and improve your English usage. Reading just fifteen minutes a day will enable you to read one half book a week, two a month, twenty four a year; over one thousand books in fifty years.

In Florida, students take the SAT’s as their college entrance exams. In Alabama, I think they focus more on the ACT’s. I’m not sure, but once the kids are in high school, I’ll be much more aware. My SAT’s scores were fine, but I was weak in reading comprehension. One of my first summer jobs was at Silver Springs Park. They rotated our locations in the park, but whenever I’d be stuck in the cart selling crackers to feed the Giraffes, I had my vocabulary book and flash cards with me. I was not much of a reader. I only read the books on the summer assignment list. I was a doer and wouldn’t sit on my butt long enough to read. I thought it was boring. But I will say that when I do read a book, I usually learn a word or two. J My mom taught me a trick of keeping a notebook with me while I read. When I’d come to an unfamiliar word, I’d write it down in the notebook. I’d later look it up and write the definition beside it in my notebook. I was creating my own dictionary of words I was interested in.

I always thought reading made you a better speller, too. Maybe that was just me since I’m a visual learner. Once I saw it on paper, I remembered how to spell it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lake Day 2013

Last Friday we were invited to the Lake to hang out with our friends. With Mr. JCrew's school schedule, we haven't been able to see them as often as we use to.


Little JCrew loved Baby Marley.


Georgia Grace showed love to Little JCrew, but he had moved on to trying on hats.


Little JCrew has gone with us every year. His first year was in my belly. Last year he loved the boat.


Little JCrew had no fear of going on the boat ramp.


I was nervously watching.


This year was Mr. Brigglesworth first time seeing the water. We haven't gone to the beach yet with him, so he's only seen the pool water, but he loves water in general.


He was not fond of the life jacket.


He kept arching back.


He'd eventually fall asleep, but not without fighting.


Neither of the boys wanted to nap with all the excitement going on. They finally crashed while we were floating by the dock.


I got Little JCrew to go out on the tube with me.


He never cried, but you could tell he was nervous.


Most of the time he stared back at the waves we were making.


Mr. JCrew got his turn out there. 

He was sweet to let me go first, because he knew that was my one and only chance.


It was a really fun day creating memories.


Little JCrew looked so cute in his life jacket.


That boy can tan. He’s got the Jenson skin!


I feel so at home on the water. It brings Florida a little closer to me.


When the day was winding down, the kids came in to watch a movie.


They were glued!!

Thank you, Julie and Robert for being such great hosts. Our ‘Small Group’ just keeps getting bigger!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Attitude Changer: Quote #12

In these related posts, I am sharing quotes from a wonderful book called, “Lead the Field’ by Earl Nightingale.

In summary, the book talks about your attitude. It determines your actions, as well as the actions of others. Mr. Nightingale takes our lame excuses for NOT being successful and refutes them all.

Today’s Quote: “Opportunity is all around us.”

This tags onto the quote I already shared about the definition of luck (Quote #3.) I really liked both quotes. Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity; and opportunity is all around us. Are you prepared? Are you qualified?

I received a lot of advice as a new graduate entering into the corporate world. I had a lot of mentors. Some advice I received too late after I had already accepted the job (ie. Negotiating) but all the info about 401k and setting up a career plan was helpful. I had one mentor advise me to show initiative to my functional boss by putting together a career plan. I took it one step further with showing my ongoing training and how it paired with my career goals. I had high aspirations that I wasn’t afraid to share. I’ve since shared this info with other aspiring newbies that are having to report to the same functional boss I did.

Back to the negotiating of salaries. Money is a scary subject. People know what they’d like to be making, but may not feel worth it. (and some people think they are worth more than they truly are.) The amount of money we receive will always be a direct ratio to the demand for what we do, our ability to do it, and the difficulty of replacing us.  

I think that explanation really helped Mr. JCrew decide what he wanted to do with his career. He’s had a lot of "ideas" while in school. All college kids wonder what they want to do when they get out of college. It's hard to make a decision that affects the rest of your life so soon in your young life. I didn't pick my major until I was a junior in college. My AA was in general studies. And most degrees have nothing to do with what your job. It's just a piece of paper employers want to see that shows you can handle responsibility and stick with something.

Mr. JCrew’s job is so specialized and is not taught in school. He wasn’t sure for a while whether it was something he wanted to keep doing. He even thought of putting school on hold and becoming a mortgage broker! (I cried at the thought.) But that’s where this book helped him. He’s realized not many do his job and he would be hard to replace. An engineering degree is the best degree to support his current job. He has eight years experience that he’s not willing to throw away to start all over as a recent college grad in a new industry.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dining Room Window Update

It was a couple months ago that I had a small update I did to the curtains in the dining room.

Dining Room Jan 2013

I sewed the curtain panels together so that they wouldn’t come apart so easily. We had started pulling the curtains to the side to let more light in and sewing them together made things easier.

DIning Room Curtains Jan 2013

After realizing I liked the light, I played with alternatives. The main reason I had curtains was so that I didn’t have to look at my neighbors HVAC units.

Neighbor View

They keep a tidy yard and I am THRILLED about that, but I wanted to obstruct that view, but enjoy the light.

I took down my double curtain rods and curtains and was able to sell them. $15 richer! And Little JCrew helped me patch the holes.

Patching Holes

He really liked helping, so I handed him his own putty knife and a jar of dried spackle and he went to town on his window, while I worked on the other.

Patching Holes

In researching ideas for new window treatments, I really started liking the idea of Plantation Shutters. My house growing up had some as cabinet doors.

The louvers were very small one-inch things. I knew I didn’t want that small.


I then found that louvers could be huge! Four and a half inches huge!! That size wasn’t common, so it was hard to find examples, but I was certain that’s how big I wanted them.

4.5 inch louver

I then said I wanted it to be just ONE panel. This would help make the window still feel big.

one panel per window

Instead of two panels per window, there is only one panel to open up.

One panel open

Next up was saying that I wanted a dividing rail. This allowed me to keep the top half open and the bottom have closed or semi-closed to hide those HVAC units.


The shutters had a three-week turn-around time. I was so excited when David came to install them.

Panel Install

They exceeded my expectations!! WOW!

4.5 inch Plantation Shutters

They make the room feel bigger. Who knew curtains took up space? I never knew I had wainscoting below the window!

Plantation Shutters

I can see a little wall I didn’t know I had before.

Little Wall

I think it helps that the dining room has wainscoting in it. Keeps it all formal looking.

4.5 inch Plantation Shutters

I honestly have been staring at these forever. Every excuse to walk by. The outside view made me fall even more in love.


Mr. JCrew had the sun in his eyes at breakfast, and I asked him if we needed to close the blinds. He was excited to get the sun out of his face!

I knew I would like these, but I didn’t realize how much. Now to save money to put them in another room. Slowly, I’d like to do the whole house, except the kitchen. I like the bare kitchen windows.

4.5 inch Plantation Shutters

This update cost me a whole lot more than my usual project, but I am thrilled with them. There are no curtains to push around and no cords from blinds.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Giggling Warms the Heart

Now that Mr. Brigglesworth is interacting with us more and more, it's so much fun to watch the brothers play together.

It's more like Little JCrew doing his own thing and the little brother crowding his space. Mr. Brigglesworth wants to know what his brother is doing at all times.

Here, the brothers are playing in the dogs' crate. Little JCrew loves to get in there. Mr. Brigglesworth took the opportunity to shut the door on him. They kept opening and closing it and the giggles became contagious.

I for sure thought fingers were going to get smashed.

Little JCrew's favorite song is "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." His 'piano' plays ten seconds of that song. The piano has to play through its cycle of songs, but once he gets back to his favorite song, he gets excited and starts dancing.

In this video, the piano plays its part, and Mr. JCrew does his best to finish the song. Little JCrew just can't get enough of it.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Attitude Changer: Quote #11

In these related posts, I am sharing quotes from a wonderful book called, “Lead the Field’ by Earl Nightingale.

In summary, the book talks about your attitude. It determines your actions, as well as the actions of others. Mr. Nightingale takes our lame excuses for NOT being successful and refutes them all.

Today’s Quote: “You have tremendous potential.”

You are much more than meets the casual eye. You are unique. Every person is
building a life and thus is really in business for themselves. Think of yourself as a business; which you must increase. You must not concern yourself with the past but with the present and future. You cannot go back and you cannot stand still. You must grow or go.

Knowledge is power! You have the advantage. Your future is unlimited. To grow 10% and improve yourself is an easy goal. You only need to put out 10% service to get back 10% more reward. Why settle for just 10%? Try 20%. To stay vital, ongoing education is vital.

It’s in my nature to always be learning something. At times, the direction of learning changes. I took over a year to research being a mom! That sounds silly, but I think we all do it. I had my instincts, but there was a lot to learn! (There are a lot of opinions out there, too. You can listen but you don’t have to act.)

When I was in school, my time was full. I managed to still keep up my highly demanding performance schedule with my ballet company. I definitely learned time management. But this was before being married and having kids. I earned my undergraduate degree and went straight into my Masters. At the same time I took on a full-time job in a corporation. Still, no family of my own. I did back down on my performing then. I gave what I could. When I completed my graduate-level degree, I went searching to fill my time. I took a second job! This job was being hostess at an upscale restaurant. I learned so much from that job. I quit the second job a few months before moving across state lines.

When we bought our current house, it was my first house with a yard. I dove into learning about landscaping. And I’ve done the same with house projects. There is always something to learn out there. With our jobs, they require training courses and encourage continuing education, but most don’t do it. They become comfortable in the routine and think they know all there is to know about their job. I know at times I can fit into that category. It’s been three years since I got my last certification related to my job.

Mr. JCrew is amped up with his schooling. He is getting his Electrical Engineering degree with a business minor, and he doesn’t plan on stopping there. He wants to always be learning and challenging himself. However, once he completes his current degree, he will slow down the pace. I can only hope he continues on this path.

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