Posts

Breaking News: Karla speaking at Iowa Homeschool Conference

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I’m writing to confirm that I will indeed be speaking at the Iowa Homeschool Conference, June 9-11. You can find more info here.

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I’d love to meet my Iowa readers! I’ll have a booth and will be signing books and giving away goodies.

Hope to see you there!

Love,

Karla

Time management: a new way of doing things around here

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Let’s see, it’s already January 19 and I’m just now getting around to mapping out my year.

But in my defense, it’s only because I had to finish up a three-credit-hour course in Science methods which I did in two weeks. Talk about noodle brain! But I did it, and now I can move on to other things! Yay! (God is so good to help me! The glory goes to Him!)

This is our college mascot. His name is Sage. Isn't he cute? He sends me a note whenever I pass a course. Love it!

This is our college mascot. His name is Sage. Isn’t he cute? He sends me a note whenever I pass a course. Love it!

Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m doing in terms of compartmentalizing my life. From what I read, I work more like a guy than a gal. I’m very compartmentalized. Guys can do that better than gals. Gals tend to keep a lot of their mental compartments open all at the same time. I think that’s because they have to when rearing children. They have to be able to nurse the baby, make supper, fish the toddler out of the toilet, call the plumber and switch the laundry all at once. If they compartmentalized everything, something would go wrong. Supper would get burnt while switching laundry and the baby would end up in the toilet and the toddler in the oven or some such thing.

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Now, I’ll admit, I had to do a lot of the many-things-at-once sort of thing when my kids were small, but I was never very good at it. A lot of suppers got burnt. I’ve always been someone who likes needs to focus on one thing at a time. And I think that’s why I get so much done. It doesn’t seem like one would, but it works for me. Always has.

This is how compartmentalizing works.

-There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven---Ecclesiastes 3-1, NASB (2)

 

Picture your brain with a lot of drawers. You only open one drawer at a time. For example, when I’m working on my novel, I only open the novel drawer. I do not allow myself to open any other drawers because to do so means my focus is split. I don’t crack open those drawers even a little bitty bit. This is easier for me than it is for a lot of my female friends. But it works for me. (I also shop like a guy. Grab it. Bag it. Boom. I’m out of there. My husband, on the other hand? Total opposite!)

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Recent scan of Mr. Himself’s brain

 

(Naturally, I’m speaking in general terms, here. I do not mean to imply that all guys and all gals shop or focus the same all the time. Well, actually, I am, but thought I’d put that disclaimer out there to keep the trolls off my back. Seriously, though, Mr. Himself and I are clearly examples that generalizations don’t always apply.)

Here’s one way I’m trying to compartmentalize this month. If it works, I’m going to do it all year.

Sundays/Mondays: Read an entire book cover to cover. I start it on Sunday afternoon (or Saturday evening if I can) and finish it on Monday. It’s a priority. I have a mile-long stack of books I haven’t read that I’m dying to read. Not to mention the hundreds on my Kindle. Some are for research. Others are fiction authors I want to study. Yes, thankfully, I’m usually a fast reader (depending on interruptions).

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore-–Henry Ward Beecher (2)

Tuesdays: Update the blog for the week (I’m glad I can pre-schedule my blog posts), create info-graphics for social media, etc. Write four hours (this includes editing time).

Wednesdays: Focus on my grandchildren and working at the church. I teach an evening class for children and I create my own hands-on lessons. I also pick my granddaughters up from school and taxi them back and forth from dance class and give one of my granddaughters a piano lesson.

Can you believe I get to spend every Wednesday afternoon with these beauties?? (Here they are with their Dad, my son, Jesse)

Can you believe I get to spend every Wednesday afternoon with these beauties?? (Here they are with their Dad, my son, Jesse)

Thursdays: Heavy writing days/college study time/church work study time

Fridays: Heavy writing days/college study time/church work study time. Date night!

Saturdays: Church work/laundry/other manual labor chores

Sundays: Church, rest, read

Now, I don’t know how well this will work. I’m going to give it 30 days. So far so good.

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In the midst of all of it, mind you, I’m still taking care of things at home, fielding interruptions (which are constant), exercising, taking my vitamins and showering. (Showering is important.) I also substitute teach when I can, but usually on Thursdays and Fridays unless there’s an urgent need another day of the week. I’d rather not have to, but feeding the family is important, too. For some reason they show up hungry at regularly scheduled times.

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I think the fact that I’m constantly interrupted (due to living with Autism and Alzheimer’s) is why compartmentalizing works for me. I get so mentally distracted, it’s easier for me to get re-focused if I’m only focusing on that one thing for the day. I also use the timer on kanbanflow (where I keep track of my tasks). It helps me stay on task, keeps me off social media, and helps me track my interruptions and time spent working. I just wish I would remember to start the timer each time!

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Please tweet: How do you keep track of time? How do you focus? Weigh in!

So what do you think? Am I nuts? How do you get it all done? I need ideas, so please share with me!

Will 2016 be better?

I don’t want to be a downer, but 2015 for me was the pits in many ways.

But guess what?

God is still on the throne and Jesus is coming soon!

Will He come in 2016?

Who will be elected president?

If you listen to the doomsayers, it’s going to be a defining year and danger is just around the corner. But our eyes aren’t to be on the storms and waves around us. Our eyes are to be on Jesus. And the safest place to be is in the center of His will.

My prayer for you for 2016 is that you will hunger for more of Him, and you will feast your eyes on Him, so that you will live in perfect peace.

-Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,whose mind is stayed on thee-because he trusteth in thee.Trust ye in the Lord for ever-for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.-Isaiah 26-3-4

 

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Tweet this: Our eyes are to be on Jesus & the safest place to be is in the center of His will.

The most adorable elf

Like many of us moms, grandmas and pastor’s wives, I’m  more than a little swamped this Christmas season.

Thankfully, That Dad Blog has posted some of the most adorable real-life baby elf on the shelf photos you’ll ever see!

Enjoy!

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Click to see Our Real Life Elf on the Shelf

Tweet this: Dad Transforms His Adorable 4-Month-Old Son into a Real-Life Elf on the Shelf

Time — it’s not what you think!

Today I’m blogging on my teaching portfolio website. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

I have some happy news to share there. 

Yes, I have a life outside of writing. Believe it or not. I’d like to think it makes me a better writer. Mostly, though, I think it makes me tired.

That one time when I had an actual whole week to do nothing but write, I found it grueling. It was just plain hard. But I did enjoy it. Parkinson’s Law is true — work expands to fill the time available for its completion. And speaking of time, did you know that it’s a physical property? I’m fascinated with this concept. Here’s a video that explains it better than I can.

What’s your favorite way to spend time?

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Please tweet: Past, present and future: a stubborn illusion!

To my dear readers

Dearest Most Darling Reader,

My website hosting is weird. Half the time it doesn’t let me in to blog. In its eagerness to protect me from hackers it even blocks ME! And the server people don’t work on weekends (when I have more time to blog) so by the time I’m allowed back in to work, my inspiration has flown to the land of missing socks.

That is part of the reason why I haven’t had a post recently. The other reason is that my husband, Mr. Himself, is in the Philippines doing missions work and I have total care of mother Ellen while he’s away (she lives with us). I spent most of the day yesterday in the ER with her. I also have total care of my twins with autism and another son with bipolar.

I live the life of a circus mom. Seriously. I also have four dogs and two cats. The fact that I’m still walking in an upright position without severe twitching is a miraculous thing.

Mother Ellen is home now, doing well, and Mr. Himself comes home in a few more days. But, of course, the interruptions won’t cease. Along comes the holidays. Not to mention I am doing 60 hours of observation at the local school for part of my degree requirements. (I’m getting a degree in Special Education.)

Does life ever slow down?

No. I don’t think it does.

Leave me a comment and let me know how chaotic your life is right now so I don’t feel alone!

And if you could click on the little twitter bird over at the left and help me spread the word, I’d be most appreciative.

Love,
Karla

The Charlie Charlie Challenge

The Fringe Files

The Fringe Files: topics that are edgy and out of this world.

There’s a new trend among young folks.

Actually, it’s not new at all. It’s as old as time itself.

And it’s just as dangerous as it’s always been.

Since Halloween happens in October, I feel led to address the dangers of interacting with demons in the spirit realm.

Walk in any bookstore or library and in the teen section you’ll find shelves overflowing with books dealing with the paranormal. And it’s not just the Teen or Young Adult/Adult bookshelves anymore. These books are abundant for all age groups. Kids and teens are hungry for the supernatural. Unfortunately, to satiate their appetites for the paranormal, they’re drawn into dangerous realms that God very much wants to protect them from.

According to the Barna Research Group, 73% of teens admit to participating in some kind of psychic or witchcraft activity. And:

“…seven million teens have encountered an angel, demon, or some other supernatural being. More than two million teens say they have communicated with a dead person (10%). Nearly two million youth claim they have psychic powers.” — David Kinnaman, author of the Barna Group report

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Young people (and people in general) are exposed to more supernatural hype and temptation than ever before via technology and media. One click and they can participate in a seance, cast a spell, watch a paranormal movie. These things shape their belief systems. They feed the yearning they have (and don’t recognize) for intimacy with God.

The spiritual vacuum in all of us longs to be filled. We know instinctively that there is more than what we experience in this world. From the beginning of time, though, the enemy–Satan–has known this, and has exploited our longing by offering cheap counterfeit experiences. (I’m going to be writing more about the history of demons, giants and so forth in coming weeks. Stay tuned.)

People are hungry forthe supernatural.Give them JESUS.

One popular activity these days is a a so-called game going viral via social media (twitter, YouTube, et. al.) called the Charlie Charlie Challenge. In this game, kids make a spinner out of two pencils then write “yes” and “no” on four quadrants of a paper. They ask if a demon named Charlie would like to play and wait for the pencils to move in an answer. It works similar to a Ouija board. They film themselves doing this and then tweet about it or post it on their blogs and YouTube.

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

While this  may seem like a harmless past time, and several websites claim that gravity is all that moves the pencils, it’s much more than child’s play. Christians and worshipers of the One True God are forbidden to communicate with the dead or any other-worldly entities of any kind. Yahweh, warns us in His Word:

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, NIV).

“Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Leviticus 19:26).

The reason God doesn’t want us to communicate with spirits isn’t because He is a mean old God who doesn’t know how to have fun. On the contrary, He doesn’t want us to in order to protect us. Ephesians 4:27 warns us: “do not give the devil a foothold.” When you invite a spirit into your life, you are doing exactly that. You are giving them permission to hang around. And be warned: they do not have your best interest in mind. They hate you. They despise you because you are what they can never be: created in the image of God.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Does this book pass the Philippians 4:8 test?

Does this book pass the Philippians 4:8 test?

There is no such thing as a friendly or playful spirit. They have no access to the promises of God, and God is their enemy. For this reason they will do all they can to destroy you because you are the apple of God’s eye. If you invite one spirit, they will likely bring others along, too. And yes, they may appear friendly (as in a spirit guide sort of way) but I assure you, they are not. They are no different than a charming serial killer. Friendly at first, but in time, will turn on you.

This Halloween and always, be smart not stupid. Ask for Jesus to protect you. If you long for the supernatural, invite Jesus into your life. He longs to be your friend.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

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Tweet this: #CharlieCharlieChallenge dangerous game. Don’t do it.

 

 

My Interview on the Wealthy Wednesday Radio Show!

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Everything you wanted to know about me but were afraid to ask.

I hope you’ll take the time to listen to my interview on the Wealthy Wednesday Show and leave your comments and questions. I love interacting with you!

Thank you to Luci McMonagle for inviting me to be on her show. I had a blast.

Enjoy!

Pink Motorcycle & Bird Final (1)Kindly tweet:  Interview with Karla Akins with tips on starting your writing business!

How I Get It All Done (Sorta)

Waste your time--waste your life.Like you, I’m insanely busy. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t even have time to breathe. This can make writing hard. Not only for finding time to write, but having the mental clarity to write.

It doesn’t get easier as we get older. We need a lot more brain support in terms of exercise, nutrition and supplements. I was sharp as a tack until I turned 40 and then I realized how fallible and fragile this thing called life is. And I don’t know who told me parenting adult children was easy, but I have a hunch they didn’t have adult children.

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Most of you know that I’m a full-time pastor/pastor’s wife, full-time college student and “full-time” writer. That is, I spend at least four hours a day on my writing career. (Often, I spend much more than that.) As a pastor I spend at least 40 (ahem, to 60) hours and my college homework gets squeezed in there in between it all.

On top of that I’m a Mom, grandma, wife, daughter-in-law to my mother-in-law who lives with us and has Alzheimer’s. My candles are pretty much melted. If I don’t keep track of my tasks, they don’t get done.

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Here’s how I do it.

My first favorite item is my physical planner notebook, The Planner Pad. I love this planner because it not only gives me a full calendar view but also lets me plan by the week and day. Now, I also use a digital planning system as well, but it’s different than this planner, and I’ll get to it later. This physical planner helps me write out my week by hand in order to internalize it.

Here is a pic of my calendar page for the month of September 2015 (it’s not nearly as pretty as the video).

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And here’s the “funnel” pages I use each week to categorize and prioritize my activities. This is the one for this week. It will fill up more as the week goes along.

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Now, if you watch the following video, you’ll see I don’t use the funnel pages correctly. For some reason I want to put my specific times on the middle part of my page instead of at the bottom. What you’re supposed to do is break down the tasks in the middle of the page and then schedule specific times for them at the bottom. I tend to just schedule appointments at specific times on the middle of the page.

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Our lives are so interrupted that I get discouraged if I write something like, “blog from 9 AM – 10 AM.” No sooner will I write that than someone in this house or at the church will have an urgent need. And then I feel even more frustrated. Since I’m a little too task-oriented in life as it is, the way I do it works for me so I don’t become resentful.

The Planner Pad does have a digital planner. But I don’t care for it because it’s not all on one page. That’s why I use KanbanFlow on my computer instead of planner pad.

I like this system because I can see every segment of my life in one glance. (The column on the far left, “Chris” is a part-time consulting job I do. Nothing going on this week. Yay!)

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An example of a week (incomplete)

I can also create a whole new board for a specific task.

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I can also break down the week and tasks into “Do Today” and  “Do This Week” and really, any type of column I want. And if you delegate a lot of things on your list (I don’t) then you can add a name and photo to the task. (I don’t usually bother with the photo thing but did it to show you here.)

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I’m a bit addicted to Zulily and tumblr…

The drawbacks of this system is that there isn’t an app for the iPhone. However, you can still access it via the web. Still, I’m not sure why they haven’t created an app. But for me, this works because I usually only use it when I have my computer on and open. (And that’s most of the day.)

It also has the promodoro timer!

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I can keep track of time spent on different tasks or make myself focus for different stretches of time with the timer. And it will also keep statistics for you. To learn more about the different details, watch the video below.

I’m still learning how to use different colors to code urgency or type of task. For me, just getting the tasks down (brain dumping) is a huge relief. And I like being able to drag the task tiles over into the “done” column. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that!

This system was actually developed for collaborators designing software. I absolutely love it for juggling the different roles I play in life.

What system do you use to stay on task?

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Would you be so kind as to share a tweet?

What do you use to stay on task?