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Selling on eBay: What To Sell Around Your Home

It's that time of the month again...time to talk about eBay. For those of you in the know as an eBay Parent Panel member it is my job to evangelize the eBay effect as much as possible. What do I mean by "eBay Effect"? Simple the process of selling and buying and succeeding financially (from either side of the transaction) with eBay.

But where do you begin?

eBay recently launched its ‘Selling Inspiration House,’ a website designed to help sellers see what kinds of items they could be listing on eBay from around their home. It's designed to help potential and new sellers to answer the question, "What should I sell?" The items were selected with the help of data analysts to represent high-demand items sold successfully on eBay, many of which earn sellers top dollar. Each popup contains a link to the prices of recent completed listings in that category.

Check out the site and test it out. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email via my contact page or use the comments below.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.

Mondays (Tuesday) with Michelle: Junk food Fix...the Clean version!

Pizza is one of my favorite splurge junk food fixes, as it is for a lot of you I'm sure. What if you could make a super yummy, non-cardboard tasting version of it? And even better a CLEAN version?

Homemade yummy CLEAN Pizza sizzling in the oven
All together, the process took about 40 minutes. I made a whole wheat crust with lots of yummy herbs and seasonings, then I added some fresh, organic chicken sausage, lots of fresh veggies, organic sauce and cheese...super easy, super yummy, Clean Eating Pizza!

First you have to start with the crust:


Television Casting Call For Atlanta Families With Teens

Studio Lambert, the studio that brought you "Undercover Boss" is working on a new show called "It Takes A Village" for the Oprah Winfrey Network. They will be casting in Atlanta soon and may be looking for a family just like yours!

Each episode will feature a family confronting challenges with their teens (just like on "Supernanny")... but the show will rally the community to help the family.  The help will come from friends, family, neighbors and free services. At the end of the day, the show intends to create a greater sense of community for the whole neighborhood.

For example, this family might have a son failing in math, yet they don't know there is a retired math teacher living at the end of their block who would love to help... Or, in the family there's a teen boy who needs a strong male parent figure (that they do not currently have), and they are helped by a male neighbor by taking the child out to baseball games, etc.  But these are just examples-- the net is wide open for suggestions! There are obviously many different kinds of troubles a family can be having. See the details after the jump:


Fatherhood In Black: Tray Chaney

Tray Chaney, with son, Malachi and father, Skip.

NAME: Tray Chaney

OCCUPATION: Entertainer (The Wire, Something The Lord Made, Fatherhood)

AGE: 30

STATUS: Married


KID(S) AGES: 5 years old

YOUR ONE SENTENCE STATEMENT/FEELING ON FATHERHOOD: Our kids are the future! We have to be there for them!

This is the first in what I hope will be a VERY large and long series of images.

It’s easy to debate with words and emotion the notion of “The Good Black Man” who does what he says and means what he says who short of his own set of God-given flaws is a credit to his family and his community. Some argue he is a mythological being or worse, one that only exists thanks to celebrity or wealth. There are a plenty of examples everywhere. If you don’t see them it may be because you don’t see them. I hate to burst bubbles but President Obama and Will Smith are not the only strong and positive African American fathers in our midst. If you can’t find them it might be because we are everywhere, hiding unsung in plain sight at schools, kids’ sporting events and churches, just to name a few places.

The mission of Fatherhood In Black™ is to give an indisputable face to dedicated, responsible African American fathers nationwide and from all walks of life.

Welcome to Fatherhood In Black™.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Organize Your Garage With the Brother P-Touch

Back in August of last year I initially reviewed the Brother P-Touch Label Maker and tested the durability of the labels under the stresses of wear and tear and water. The labels passed with flying colors. From there it was time to put them to practical use around my home.

I began in my garage. That deep dark place where men stuff junk. Only a very small fraction of men own what I call "coveted garages" those stylish places where everything is neatly arranged along the wall, their is functional lighting, maybe even some artwork on the walls and the car or cars sit beautifully tended to smack dead in the middle, like beloved stallions. Then there are people like my father who upon raising the door a gasp of fright fills your lungs and you blurt uncontrollably, "Oh...my...God."

I'm trying to be in the first category. I'm not trying to be my dad on this one (sorry, Dad). Making matters even more challenging I am a recent transplant from the Northeast to the Southeast.

Mondays With Michelle: My New Vegetable Obsessions


I haven't always loved brussel sprouts. In fact, as a kid, I hated them. Completely despised them. So much so, that I didn't eat a brussel sprout again until last year. 

True story. 

The foodie in me realized how much I had been loosing out and I finally picked up a bag from the farmers market. I brought the little green cabbage balls home and proceeded to trim them, cut them in half, lather them with olive oil, season them up and pop them in the oven to roast. What I got was the the MOST DELICIOUS little vegetable ever. I had NO idea what I had been missing.... all because of a childhood phobia. I have been eating them non-stop since.

My most recent vegetable obsession that I added to my beloved roasted brussels sprouts is butternut squash. Who knew that funky looking winter squash was so freaking yummy?! I have had butternut squash before, specifically in the form of the popular winter soup, but it's not a vegetable that I've had much experience with. So this past week I tried roasting some with my brussels sprouts and it was just delicious! 
Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash
This is a perfect example of tip #8: Try something new (from my New Year's resolutions post). Something new doesn't necessary mean some exotic fruit or vegetable, just something you don't normally eat or like me hadn't eaten in a really long time or never experimented with on your own.

You are welcome to partake in my brussels sprouts and butternut squash obbesion, below is the reciepe for the roasted goodness shown in the photo above. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash


1lb brussels sprouts
1 medium butternut squash
2 Tbs olive oil
White spice to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Trim brussels sprout stems and remove any discolored outer leaves. Cut each one in half
  • Peel, seed and dice squash (Put the squash in the microwave for 2 minutes to soften up the skin to make it easier to peel with a vegetable peeler.)
  • Toss sprouts and squash with olive olive and season generously with white spice
  • Place vegetables on a baking sheet and allow to roast for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and tender. (I like to give it a quick toss again about half way through the cooking time to make sure it is browning evenly.)
  • Serve with your dinner of choice and enjoy!
Dinner time at my house, steak with carmalized onions, smashed
red potatoes and my favorite roasted veggies
(Find the printable recipe here.)

What new fruit or vegetable are you going to try this week?? Leave your yummy ideas in the comment section below or tweet me at @citrus_catering.

Don't forget to visit my Foodie blog for more food tips, recipes and foodie fun. 

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Date Night Jan. 20: Red Tails Movie

From all accounts this appears to be the movie to see this weekend, either on a date or with the family. It's based on the real lives of the Tuskegee Airmen. And the producer, George Lucas --- the man who gave the world Star Wars and it's alternative universe, has a very serious desire for the film.

Here's to sticking to projects for the long haul.

Red Tails, in theaters everywhere, January 20, 2012.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Martin Luther King Day 2012

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."
Romans 14:19 NIV

Though the above quote is a verse from the Bible this was and continues to be Martin Luther King, Jr's challenge to each and everyone of us. I love the way my co-author of the Good Morning Project stated it earlier this morning:

How will you remember our National Peacemaker's legacy today? In service or support to others? By contemplating his life's work and what it means to you? By catching an educational show on his life on TV, or by deepening your knowledge of his life and work by reading/learning something new about him, and sharing that with your children? However you choose to celebrate today, we all can further Dr. King's legacy everyday by just being the example of Love, peace, generosity and equality that he wrote and spoke about and worked for.

Be of good cheer and providence to others...

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.

Mondays with Michelle: Salsa Time

Welcome to Monday's with Michelle! This week I want to share some yummy (and healthy) salsa recipes with you in an effort to make your meals even more delicious without adding a ton of fat or calories.

As I mentioned last week, one of the biggest misconceptions with eating healthy is that "diet" food has to be bland and boring. First, it's not "diet" food, so get that out of your head. It's just a cleaner healthier version of the same old stuff we've always had. 

Back to the salsa... 

It's not just for dipping tortilla chips in. It's amazing served over just about any thing. Well, it's amazing period, I could eat it with a spoon...but that is not the point here. Think of it as a condiment. The Spanish word 'salsa' literally translates to 'sauce' in English. So ditch the idea of it being a dip and try it as a sauce.

I shared my famous tomato salsa  recipe with you a while back, during part 2 of my "Host(es) with the Most(est)" series. This time instead of serving it with a bag of chips spoon some over grilled chicken breast. It's delish. I promise. 

In case you missed it, find the recipe again here: Chef Michelle's Tomato Salsa

Grilled chicken breast with my tomato salsa over the top... served with corn on the cob and  a mixed green salad. (That's a pretty colorful plate! Remember tip#2)

Salsa doesn't stop at the traditional tomato variety either, there are tons of combinations to try.  Another one of my favorites is Black Bean Mango Salsa. This one is delicious over more spicy proteins, like spicy shrimp skewers or jerk chicken. The sweetness of the mango's compliments the spiciness perfectly.

Find the recipe here: Black Bean Mango Salsa

Black bean mango salsa
These 2 recipes are great ways to incorporate Tips number 2, 5 and 8...

#2 Eat colorful (check)
#5 Eat clean, real food (check)
# 8 Try something new (check)

I hope you enjoy these recipes! Stay tuned for more yummy recipes, cooking techniques and ideas to help you eat healthy in 2012.  Don't forget to visit my foodie blog for more food tips, recipes and foodie fun. 

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Family Savings With Johnson & Johnson Health Essentials

I'm a fan of couponing. I do it the old fashioned way --- sitting with the weekly circulars that come in the Sunday papers and the mail, clipping away at what I believe is essential for me and the family. I also am in tune with the times --- most of my preferred shoppers cards are tied to an online account where I can download coupons onto them so I get my savings at checkout. It is a worry-free, paper-free and much less time consuming activity. But I'm not partial to either. I'm rediscovering that there is nothing purer than sitting down at a table with a pair of scissors and using my eyes and brain together for an hour or two.

But back to my point.

Johnson & Johnson has created the Healthy Essentials Savings Pack as a one-stop resource for healthcare values. These products include:

AVEENO® Positively Radiant™ Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15: With natural light diffusers, mica and silica, this oil-free formula works to naturally even skin tone and texture while reflecting light to visibly smooth imperfections. 

I've been a user of Aveeno products for years before and after fatherhood. Now with the Savings Pack it is available at a fraction of the total cost at stores.

BAND-AID® Brand by Cynthia Rowley Adhesive Bandages: A glamorous way to cover up and protect cuts and scrapes for better, more fashionable healing! With 7 different designs to choose from, you won’t have to fear clashing with that perfect outfit.

What household can go wrong with Band-Aids? And with this designer pack every woman in your home is sure to have something to look forward to when the ouches come.

Johnson’s® Baby Lotion: Healthy skin begins with proper moisture balance, even for babies. JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion can help prevent moisture loss from baby’s natural skin barrier. JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion can be used to “baby” adult skin, too!
A household essential. Hello, it's baby lotion!

LISTERINE® ANTISEPTIC®: LISTERINE® is clinically proven to kill germs, help prevent and reduce plaque and gingivitis germs and fight bad breath. Now that’s a breath of fresh air!

Hands down some of the best stuff on the market for bad breath and oral health. It's a fixture in the Payne family bathroom. Not much else needs to be stated here.

NEUTROGENA® HAND CREAM Norwegian Formula®: This glycerin rich formula heals seriously dry and chapped hands for effective relief that lasts up to 17 hours.
 I've taken full advantage of the Neutrogena Hand Cream as a dad who's usually running out of the house making sure I'm shaved and dressed but not much else, this little tube is a lifesaver that sits in the center console of my car.

SPLENDA® ESSENTIALS™: this new line of new products from the SPLENDA® Brand gives you more than just the benefit of reducing calories from sugar, they also provide added essential nutrients you need every day. Varieties are available with fiber, antioxidants or B Vitamins.

In the age of conscious eating my wife has never been able to reconcile her love of sugar which is why the creation of Splenda has been one of the highlights of her life. Now packed with B vitamins she is sure to enjoy her morning coffee that much more.
At full retail, these products will significantly put a dent in your weekly shopping budget, but by redeeming coupons for them via Healthy Essentials you can save up to $190. Coming off Christmas and New Year's and in my case, my daughter's January birthday, families can seriously benefit from these savings.

Today, January 15, when you redeem coupons from Healthy Essentials product lineup, the equivalent of one meal will be donated to Feeding America. Readers of this blog know that hunger awareness and prevention is a cause I personally advocate.

After you read this post please head on over to Johnson & Johnson's Healthy Essentials, take advantage of the savings and do some good while you're at it.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies and received products to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Here's To Blind Faith

I began my blog 2 years after my daughter was born for no real reason but just to write. The more I blogged the more I became entwined with social media. And then work and career fell by the wayside. But I kept blogging while I looked. I was doubted and chided for it. I was told I was playing games with a "hobby". I began to wonder myself. But I kept on blogging. I got some awards last year for it and now 4 years later a little company which isn't little at all(actually one of the largest period) has asked me to come to work for them (after I interviewed, of course) to get involved with their global social media activities..."because of all the things I've been doing with my blog and social media." I accepted this week and from the sounds of it, they get me! Now I'll be able to put rubber to the road and learn, learn, learn, learn, learn...

To God be the Glory. As I knew and my beautiful cousin reaffirmed here's to sticking to what you believe in (faith) even if you don't know why you're doing it. I followed through on something that was planted in my heart by God and hear I am now watching the tree bear fruit. Thanks to Ken Lattimore and Joe Coryat & Hugh Zuber for being the first ones to believe I was on to something even when I didn't know it myself.

The journey continues...and so will this blog...

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Ways To Enjoy 2012...and Your Marriage

This article first appeared at BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com

There’s no denying that 2011 was tough. But now it’s a New Year. Let's work on charting a new path for a "new you."

Although January is just another month, using the beginning of the year as a starting point can be healthy. The following are some strategies, NOT resolutions (declarations with no plans attached to them), to help you get your 2012 and your marriage off to a healthy and productive start. Hopefully, once in place, they will carry you through the months all the way to December.

Love More
I know many might be thinking, I’ve loved enough! especially if you don’t feel you’re receiving your fair share in return. But but love goes beyond the daily ebb and flow of emotions that make your heart flutter or sick. Make 2012 the year you search out and discover the full meaning and use of love.

Listen More and Talk Less
Social Media, cell phones, iPhones and iPads, and Android tablets…Nowadays there are limitless ways to communicate and share our thoughts and opinions with anyone and everyone who will listen. But when is enough enough? Maybe everyone isn’t so keen on what you have to say. Your opinion just might not matter to everyone. In fact, your spouse might be trying to tell you something important but you are too busy not listening because you’ve become accustomed to talking/sharing your opinion more than listening or hearing the opinion of others. Take a pause from time to time to listen, to hear, digest and ultimately understand what is being said to you. Then once all this is processed, choose your words wisely—at work, with friends and especially with your spouse.

Forgive and Forget
It’s 2012, but your pain doesn’t know that. It might be as fresh as it was the day it was inflicted upon you. You may be reminded of it every single time you look at his or her face, no matter how long ago it was, no matter how much he or she has changed, no matter how many times and ways he or she has done their best to make it up to you. Your pain doesn’t know it’s 2012, but you do. Make today the day that you no longer allow yourself to be held back or held up by the offenses of others. You don’t have to carry that burden anymore and chances are the person who hurt you has long since moved on.

Spend Time IRL
It’s great to be able to chat with friends all over the world via text, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter, just to name a few. But while you’re at dinner with your spouse? As soon as the movie ends? While the movie is playing? Keep in mind that while you and your friends might be having a ball online exchanging statuses (stati?) you are being unbelievably rude to whomever you’re spending time with in the real word, in real life (IRL). And if both of you are doing it both of you need to stop. Why go out together only to spend time with other people on your phones? In 2012 make the effort and take the time to unplug. Put down the phone and shut down the computer. Begin talking to your spouse at dinner. Do your 500+ friends really need to see a photograph of your plate of food while you’re eating with someone right in front of you? Don’t come home after a long day’s work and remain just as disconnected with the ones who love you. Watch the news together, read a book and talk about it. Talk about things right in front of you rather than saying, “Did you see my post?” Make a plan to go for a daily morning walk, or jog phone-free. Start talking again!

Work It Out
One of the number one taboo subjects revolving around marriage are the physical changes that occur. Although marriage isn’t the sole cause for someone getting out of shape, it can cause you to become comfortable. Don’t forget to factor in pregnancies and aging together. Because calling out a spouse on his or her physical appearance is so taboo, it is quite common for spouses to complain to others, fall into a place of contempt, disgust and resentment, lose their sex drive toward that person and then begin looking at all that “green grass” on the other side of the fence. Engaging in some level of daily physical activity is as good for your heart as it is for your appearance. In the African American community where heart disease among young adult African Americans is 20 times that of similarly aged white Americans no harm can come from working out. Maybe what your spouse needs is some encouragement. But don’t go all drill instructor on them. Just be the friend that you were when you were dating. With today’s hectic schedules a workout might be the only time to spend adult time together and there is no better way to work it out than by watching the one you love work it out. In no time your workouts will be making their way to the bedroom.

These are just few suggestions and strategies for living an emotionally, physically and spiritually healthier 2012. Whatever you can think of to make it happen in your own life...make it happen!

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Mondays With Michelle: New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!! Welcome back to Monday's with Michelle! Another holiday season has come and gone and a new set of New Years resolutions have been pledged. As always, some of the most popular new year's resolutions are to loose a few pounds and to eat healthier. 

What were your new year's resolutions? 

Even if eating healthier wasn't apart of your 2012 plan, I think we can all use a few tips to make better choices with our food. Here are few things that I have come up with to keep 2012 healthy:

  1. Shop only the perimeter of the grocery store: You will notice that produce, meat, seafood, dairy products and other "clean" foods are found around the perimeter of the grocery store. (With the exception of  a few items such as, nut butters, grains and healthy oils.) These are the food you want to stick to. Stay away from the processed, prepackaged, microwaveable crap in the center aisles. 
  2. Eat colorful: Try to have more that 2 colors on your plate for dinner. The more colors, the more nutrients you are getting from your meal. For example, grilled chicken with salsa (red) and grilled zucchini(green) and squash (yellow).
  3. Drink water: This is a oldie but goodie, try to get your recommended 8 glasses (64 oz) of water a day. It keeps you full and regular... nuff said. 
  4. Replace white with something healthier: Most health gurus will say to choose whole grain, and of course that is the best and healthiest option, but the reality is, a lot of people don't care for the taste. So, for rice, try brown rice instead of white, but cook it in an unsalted chicken stock for yummy flavor and try cooking it in a rice cooker for a better consistency. For pasta try spinach spaghetti from whole foods. For bread go to the bakery at your local grocery store and look for fresh baked whole wheat bread, it may cost a dollar or two more, but it always tastes better than the stuff in the bread isle. For your baking needs try King Arthurs Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour, it is made from a different wheat, hence the "white", but believe it or not it is natural and it can be used interchangeably with regular all purpose flour.
  5. Eat Clean, Real food: Clean, Real food is anything that was grown in the earth (trees, plants, roots, etc.) or had a Mom at some point (according to Jillian Micheal's). Just to clarify, Cheetos were not grown in the earth, nor do they have a Mom.... the factory that they were processed in does not count as it's mother by the way. I get that it may not be realistic to give up your favorite bad processed snack, but the point of this is to try to limit it and make up for it by eating as clean as possible the rest of the time. 
  6. Use healthy cooking techniques: Baking, poaching, blanching, steaming, broiling, grilling... there are tons of options, stay away from frying and using tons of fat. 
  7. Don't deprive yourself: Deprivation leads to binging and binging leads to a downward spiral. Here is something great I read from Bethany Frankel of "Skinnygirl",  "No one ever got fat because of a cookie or a slice of pizza. Don’t beat yourself up if you have something you like that’s not on your diet. Don’t let a splurge derail your commitment to staying healthy. Don’t deprive yourself of a treat every once in a while." 
  8. Try new foods: I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "I'm so sick of eating boneless skinless chicken breast and broccoli everyday." First thing, eating healthier does not mean you have to eat bland, boring, "diet-food".  It just means you have to be more creative in what you chose to eat. Tired of chicken? Try some lean pork.  Or just try making your chicken a different way.  Walk through the produce section and pick up a vegetable you have never even seen before, or maybe something that you hated as kid, then take 5 minutes to research ways to cook it. You'd be surprised. 
Don't fall into the new year's resolution trap this year.  You know, the one where you have forgotten all about your resolution before February hits? These are simple tips that you can use all year round for your whole family to make better decisions about the things we put in our bodies.  Start your kids off young, let them help "pick colors for dinner" (see tip number 2). Stay tuned over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some yummy recipes, cooking techniques and ideas to help you along the way.  Don't forget to visit my foodie blog for more food tips, recipes and foodie fun. 

Thanks for reading!

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Dads Don't Know Jack

Some mornings I wake up and think to myself, I don't know jack!

I don't know up from down. I don't know why the weather works the way it does. Outside of basic science I don't know really know how nature works or rather what caused it to work in the first place.

As far as this fatherhood gig goes, what or who has convinced me I know anything about raising children when I struggle to make sense of it all for myself daily? And who on earth gave me license to speak on it via a blog? Knowing what I know now, how in the world did my father know what he knew about raising me? Especially since he seemed to have an answer for everything.

Experience is the great teacher. Nothing less, nothing more.

From person to person there are variances. Some may have the gift of eloquence to expound on the virtues and nuances of fatherhood in a way many Dads might not be able. Some might have resources to provide in ways that others might not be able. Some might have the opportunity to write for the masses. Some dads might be willing to speak out because they like public speaking. And some might have platforms as actors, musicians, U.S. Presidents or people who have immersed themselves in social networking.

Experience, not expertise, is what makes fathers Dads. It's what gives me the right to speak on fatherhood - nothing more. The father I was three years ago is not the father I am today. It's all a winding race that each and every one of us is on. Wherever you happen to be on the track depends on any number of factors, the ages of your kids, your level of engagement with your kids, your degree of connection with the world around you and the keen understanding that this life does not revolve around you, no matter who you might be.

So Dads out there don't be dismayed you're walking or running the same race that the rest of us dads are. Don't despair if a dad you see or know happens to be better off than you. He's probably just a little further along in his race. And here's a novel thought, but one that will require you to put aside your pride. During those moments that you might have questions about this whole fatherhood thing you could ask that dad that seems to have it together or search out a group of dads who are trying to figure it out together. Or you could read a blog like mine, by a dad like me, who decided to hash out my thoughts and feelings online because way back when, when I really needed to talk to someone, no one was available.

There is power in knowledge. And knowledge is all around us. Live, love, learn.

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(MUSIC VIDEO): Father, Not "The Guy"

Tray Chaney from The Wire "goes in" on #fatherhood dropping science like they used to back in the day...

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To Do Lists For Dads...And Everyone Else

Now that we're in the new year I've got a bunch of stuff to do. Just like I did last week. These aren't resolutions, which are declarative statements with no determined strategy toward achieving them, such as "I want to lose fifteen pounds." But rather something along the lines of, "I want to start saving for a bike and start mapping out routes so when I buy one I'll actually have somewhere to go." From there the assertion can be made: "I'd like to lose 20 pounds." Because by then if you don't have a set strategy you'll definitely have a framework for one.

Saying, "In 2012 I plan to travel more with the family," when you might not travel at all is a promise you shouldn't make out loud because Lord forbid the wife or any of your kids hear it, they'll be standing there with their arms folded in December looking at you because you took them no where. Instead consider, "I need to set up a separate/savings account for travel and in order to travel by (date of your choosing) I need to put $x in it per week or month."

Thus you will quickly move from the fantasy of the New Year's resolution and into the reality of laid out plans to achieve goals. Mind you they don't have to be perfect and in the end they might look different than you envisioned but at least you're moving...forward.

I intend to do more and be more in 2012. 2011 was a runaway train wreck for most, including my own family. But while most were lamenting I was bucking the system, quietly looking for holes of opportunity in the midst of all the impossibility. Smiling when most days I wanted to scream and working each day seeking out opportunity in a wasteland just as Wall-E worked each day turning trash into treasure (yeah, I referenced a Disney movie. This is a dad blog, right?) I even poked holes of opportunity when and if necessary. As a result I'm now ready to put rubber to the road and put everyone in my rear view mirror who isn't moving forward with me.

But I am only human and I am a father of two kids. I'm juggling new career opportunities, a need to upgrade nearly every piece of technology I own and maintaining a marriage and trying to have a lifestyle all at the same time. In years past I was getting a whole lot of a little done. Now thanks to smartphone technology, great productivity apps such as Evernote (they are not paying me, but I just really like them a whole lot), file sharing and reminders I might be able to get things done and still enjoy life.

Here is what I'd like to do in 2012:

  • Relearn Spanish
  • Relearn Piano or learn a new instrument
  • Gain a solid understanding of the teachings of the Bible
  • Take my wife on a few weekend trips
  • Take my daughter to Disney World
  • Take my son on a college tour
  • Become a paid speaker
  • Lose close to 20 pounds (again) mostly through bike riding because my knees hurt when I run (an always have)
  • Go to the doctor and the dentist (a freelancer's longtime dream)
  • Host a few showings of my photography where I hope to sell some if not all the pieces
  • Begin the novel that's been on my heart all my life
  • Write a children's book
...to name a few.

But my new growing To Do List doesn't look anything close to the above list. Instead is a list of plays and strategies which will hopefully result or provide the means for me to accomplish the above.

What will your To Do List look like in 2012?

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