The anticipation grows as the year's quickly coming to an end, but I know better than to take anything for granted. But that doesn't stop me from hoping that it will happen again this year. When the doorbell rings and I see the delivery man holding a shopping bag from Sprinkles, I can't help but smile. In that moment, I'm so excited that once again I'll be able to indulge in amazing cupcakes, pushing the calories out of my mind, convincing myself that it's a sweet treat to celebrate not only a New Year, but a very special relationship.
You see, the giver of this wonderful New Year gift is Kris Kleis, the graphic artist that Black and I first started working with when she designed our bestselling book, which is now over a decade ago. But rather than focusing on how many years have passed and how quickly they have flown by, it reminds me of how lucky we are to have Kris in our lives.
Of course, Black receives her own delivery of cupcakes, and how she manages the temptation I'll never know, as her dedication to remaining a size 2 is almost incomprehensible. Although she did mention that one of the many reasons why cupcakes are so popular is because they're the epitome of portion control. But for me, cupcakes don't need to be analyzed – just enjoyed. And Kris's New Year cupcakes are even more special as they're a sweet reminder of another year of us working together … and one of the reasons I look forward to them every year. Plus, who doesn't love cupcakes?!
Red was your typical straight-A student, getting great grades starting in kindergarten straight through to graduating from college.(Black’s grades were less than stellar, plus she was a discipline problem – some things never change.) And then, excited and proud of herself, Red thought she was done. Black, on the other hand, thinks of education as something that never ends, and much to the chagrin of students, will tell them,
Homework never ends; it just is called “research” when you get older.
Over the last few years, Red has come around to Black’s way of thinking and realizes it’s a mindset. And that education is more than the classes you take in school.
September is when students of all ages are back in school, but it’s also National Literacy Month, which is about so much more than reading and writing. Literacy includes things like Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, and even News Literacy. (As the linked Conversation Starters indicate, Red was the “poster child” of a highly educated person who lacked many of these basic literacy skills.)
So, we challenge you to find a topic that interests you or one you could benefit from learning (personally or professionally) and start doing your homework.
And while not a homework assignment, we figure if you’re still reading, you might be interested in some of our favorite “lifelong learning” posts (many of which helped Red learn about learning in a whole new way).
Life rarely goes as planned. Sometimes, unplanned events only cause minor adjustments. But sometimes, they can put you in “crisis mode” and might require major transformations. Like the rainy Friday when Red’s husband came home and told her, totally unexpected, that he had been fired. In a split second, her life went from fairy tale to nightmare.
So, whether you freak out (Red’s default setting) or are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain where to start, when we relaunch this site in the New Year, there will be a section called **IT HAPPENS. Filled with tips and tools (and, of course, food for thought), we hope it will help you survive and thrive during even the most stressful life events.
Because we’ve experienced them, we know that a “crisis” can come in many different forms (financial, work, relationship, health, natural disaster, the list goes on), and what starts as one issue often impacts many aspects of your life. But, as Black recently explained to Red,
Every situation is different, but you can approach them in a similar way, although I did not tell you that at the time. I did not even let you know we were going through the steps one-by-one because, in your case, I knew we first had to deal with the emotional aspects. And, when I told you I thought your “crisis” would be the best thing that ever happened to you, you thought I was being nice. Even though I do not do nice.
Well, Black may not “do nice”, but she did help Red through her “crisis”, and along the way, managed to help Red see that adjusting her mindset and perspective could make all the difference.
However, if you’re currently in a difficult situation (or just curious about how Black guided Red), knowing what’s coming next year doesn’t help you now. So, we hope the following posts might help make things a little better.
- Red’s Crisis ... Black’s Advice
- My husband and I always argue about money. Any advice?
- Expect Reality, Not Perfection
- Come Hell Or High Water … Or Both
- Have You Ever Wanted A Second Chance? Or A “Do Over”?
For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer (temperatures aside), and as we switch from a summer holiday mindset back to the “real world”, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed.
You don’t need us to tell you how falling back into a work or school routine can be challenging, especially if you’re facing a backlog of tasks and responsibilities. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the “silly season” is just around the corner. (Red has been seeing Halloween decorations since mid-July, which means Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays aren’t far behind.)
But you don’t need us to tell you why you feel overwhelmed; you need help dealing with being overwhelmed.
When our new website goes live next year, one of the major sections will be THE DAILY HELP, where you’ll find easy-to-implement tools to get your day back on track and feel more in control.
But that doesn’t help you … NOW. So, here are a handful of our favorite posts to help you deal with daily challenges we all face. (Red admits that she picked the ones she felt she needed to reread.)
- Black’s Time Management “Secret” ... Is Worth Repeating (Time Management)
- It's happened again ... I can’t see my desk there’s so much paper on it. Help! (Piles of Paper)
- How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points? (Communication)
- Expect Reality, Not Perfection (Relationships)
- Don’t Confuse Time Alone With Time Away! (Stress)
P.S. – Wondering why we haven’t mentioned money? Well, stay tuned, as we’ll have a post dedicated to DOLLARS & SENSE in early November as we get closer to the holidays. (FYI, our subscribers get sneak peeks before we post online.)