Category Archives: Making It Count

Stop your whining!

This week, at one of the programs I direct for homeschool students, we began a new activity….for the new year…..with a big new goal….a resolution of sorts….a habit-forming program….a “pie-in-the-sky-over -the -top” decree…..

The “Complaint Free World” challenge.

Oh my.

The challenge is to wear the Complaint Free World bracelet on your right wrist – continuously – for 21 days. Thus creating a new habit of not complaining. Because  “they” say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. And it typically takes 4-6 months for a CFW participant to hit the 21 consecutive days goal. Proof that forming a new habit from nothing takes 21 days and breaking a bad habit takes FOREVER.

So each participant, in our case the students and teachers, received a purple bracelet stamped with the words “A Complaint Free World.Org”. The bracelet is to be worn on your right wrist – until you complain – then it is moved to the left wrist. We passed out our bracelets during our General Assembly and did some “role playing” on what are factual statements – i.e. “I am cold” versus in your best whiny voice “I-am-soooo-cold-why-does-it-have-to-beeeeeee-soooooo-cold!!!!” (Did I mention it was 30 degrees this morning in central FLORIDA????) The kids then vowed to do their best to “not whine but shine in 2010” and off to class they went at 9:20am with no complaining in sight….

I made it about an hour.

Busted by 10:30.


The students (ages 6-12) were quite encouraging to me that I would do better tomorrow. Many of them made it the entire day without losing to the left. And one little guy even cleaned up his friend’s lunch “mess” because he didn’t want to complain about it.

This may work.

For the kids that is…..

To learn more about the Complaint Free World Challenge visit their website – and you can order yourself a purple bracelet too!

And let me know how you do on your first day….



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10 for 10……

It’s a new year….

Time for “resolutions” – “goals” – “new habits” – “new to-do’s”…..

As I have focused this past month on my “to-be” list more than my “to-do” list, I don’t have a long list of resolutions, goals, new habits, etc for 2010 but what I am working on is my “Top Ten for 2010” list or as I would have it – “lists”- in the plural sense. Making ten lists of ten areas each that I plan to work on during 2010.

One of those list will most definitely include this goal or “to-do”: WRITE!

As in write and update the blog more, write your prayers more, write in your journal more, write your husband more, write your kids more, – just WRITE!

So over the next ten days I plan to ponder and plan, dream and scheme, prioritize and execute and WRITE  my “10 for 10” lists…

My first “10 for 10” list is inspired by Chip Ingram’s book – Good to Great in God’s Eyes, Ten Practices Great Christians Have in Common – so this one is an easy one to WRITE…because these are already “written”….

The 10 Practices List for 2010:

1. Think Great Thoughts

2. Read Great Books

3. Pursue Great People

4. Dream Great Dreams

5. Pray Great Prayers

6. Take Great Risks

7. Make Great Sacrifices

8. Enjoy Great Moments

9. Empower Great People

10. Develop Great Habits

My mentor and friend, Linda Werner, will be using Chip’s book as the catalyst for this year’s “New Year, New Goals, New You Seminar” – 10 for ’10 – Practices that Will Bring Clarity and Focus in 2010!

Check out this exciting seminar to encourage you in this new year, new decade, new start to going for those 10 practices in 2010 to becoming “great in God’s eyes”….hope to see you there!

And remember, make this day count!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

This came through on an email this morning – not sure who to give credit to….

well, except for the greatest “tech support” we have – JESUS!

So for all my “techie” (and not-so-techie) friends out there in techno-land…..


Tech Support: Yes… can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install LOVE. Can you guide me though the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let’s see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge, and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don’t know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, “Error – Program not run on external components.” What should I do?

Tech Support: Don’t worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.

Customer: So, what should I do?

Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.

Customer: Okay, done.

Tech Support: Now, copy them to the “My Heart” directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So LOVE is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. LOVE is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

…..And the greatest of these is love. I Cor 13:13

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

And don’t forget to make it count!


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Resolutions or is it Re: Solutions?



Yep, it’s that time again…time to make the New Year’s Resolutions….and I love it!


I know, most folks shudder at the thought but I love  pondering my resolutions – setting new goals – making my “to-do” lists – looking for solutions – planning – dreaming – and that goes along with it!


Well, unless we are adding the dreaded “diet and exercise” to the list….that’s where my motivation wanes. Those things are just not in my “strengths”….and I am learning to “play to my strengths” especially for this new year.


I had the opportunity to read some amazing books this past year (check out my page on and two that have really renewed the “strengths” philosophy in me are:


Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham


Your Child’s Strengths by Jennifer Fox


From the Now, Discover Your Strengths book I was able to not only discover my own strengths and identify them but also learn how to use them – especially in my work. I highly recommend this book and the profile testing – you can find out more at


From the StrengthFinders – in this order, here are my personal strengths:


Relator (the first time I read this I thought it said “Realtor!”)





Now what do these mean? What do they say about me or my strengths?


Take a look:


Focus–People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.


Relator–People who are strong in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.


Activator–People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.


Futuristic–People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.


Arranger–People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.


Yep, that’s me a “FRAFA” to a “t”!


Jennifer Fox’s book, Your Child’s Strengths, has inspired many of us to look at education in a new light. What I love about a book like this – the ones where you are supposed to glean new info about your kids or the students that you teach – is the fact that you can’t help but see yourself again as a child – either struggling in school or relationships or unfortunately both.  If you have kids or teach kids or were ever a kid, you need to read this book.



Anyway,  back to  the new year’s resolutions – I haven’t quite finished my list…but I can assure you re-reading these two books will be high priority. Can I entice you to join me?  I’d love to host a discussion on here – if I only knew how…guess I should add that to my re: solutions list for the year…


So don’t be afraid to make your resolutions solutions list for 2009…

And why? Because I truly believe if you look at the word “resolutions” and turn it into “Re: Solutions” you’ll come away with a whole new outlook on making that list….and play to your strengths – seeking solutions as you go  grow –

and you’ll begin to make each day count to the fullest!



Here’s to living with our strengths defined in 2009! Seeking solutions rather than making resolutions!

And making it count!






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Saying goodbye to 2008…

What a difference a year makes!

As I say “bye bye” to 2008 and press on towards 2009, I can’t help but reflect on all that has transpired during this past year….and stand amazed.

So much has happened – transitioned – changed – ended…

I saw the Grand Canyon (it’s on my Bucket List!), Jake graduated, the kids went on mission trips, Rick came home from Arizona after being gone for 15 months, we endured major damage during TS Fay, Rick got a new job, Carla got a new job, we MOVED, we closed HKBI…


Grand Canyon - Jan 08



Jake's Graduation - May 08

Moved to Winter Park in FIVE Days- Dec 08
Moved to Winter Park in FIVE Days! Dec 08

Farewell dinner with HKBI Staff - Dec 08


Only God could have done this….and HE did.

 I am indeed blessed and grateful for all that came our way – or went – or stayed – or moved on –  or even ended during this past year.

Tonight, we’ll eat Chinese food( a Calvert family tradition) and list all our great memories of 2008 on a scrapbook page – attaching our “fortunes” from our dessert cookies (not that we actually believe in this things…) and reflect on if we made it all count.

Because for us that’s what it is all about….making it count.

Many blessings for your new year –

and remember, MAKE IT COUNT!

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Resurrecting the Blog….

 or 101 things I have done, had going on or endured since I last blogged!

Life happens. It gets in the way – or it is the way –  of making things count. I am brushing off the dust from my blog and determined to “keep up” with the blogging world….especially now with all our changes, it will be a great way to stay connected with all ten the readers of my blog. I would like to come back and fill in the blanks (add posts/links/pictures) to this list of what I have been doing since I last blogged –  like that will really happen – it is a nice thought though.

Anywho, since my last post….

Planned & hosted our annual Wacky Olympics – what’s wacky is I am the most non-athletic person I know….but the kids love it.

Filmed our first “Homeschool Promo Video” – I know how to twist arms talk my staff into just about anything.

Hosted our annual Kick off the Fall meeting for HIS Kids

Celebrated my anniversary of motherhood…aka my oldest son’s birthday!

Survived our group’s testing week – my most unfavorite thing about HS leadership!

Had a great Mother’s Day

Attended our spectacular homeschool musical theater production – was shocked by a “surprise line”!

Saw Prince Caspian at midnight on opening night and then again 10 hours later

Wrapped up our Moms’ Bible Study for the year – still determined to finish my scrapbook

Celebration Night – My baby boy graduated!! I AM DONE!!! Woo-Hoo!!!

Attended the FPEA Conference in Orlando

Hubby came to Orlando from Tuscon – has been five months since my trip to Arizona – took him a day and a half to get there. He was flying – not driving. Let’s just say the word “tarmac” makes him shudder.

Liz & Matt came to Orlando from Vermont.

The family was all together  – minus one. Missing Jordan.

Celebrated Jacob’s FPEA Graduation.

Feeling truly – officially DONE. Now what?

Had a wonderful time bonding with the new HKBI leadership team at the FPEA convention

Kicked off our Summer Reading Program

Sent off Liz and Jacob to serve with Teen Missions – they led a team to Zambia – Orphan Angels

Met my hubby in Tampa for a friend’s wedding

Beautiful wedding of two beautiful people proving it is never too late for dreams to come true. Congrats Ed & Gina.

Spoke at Barnes & Noble on homeschooling

Jacob found his voice – sang at Teen Missions. Wow. Watch it here

Sent off Emily to serve with Teen Missions – she led a team to Samoa

Hosted the most awesome week long summer camp – “Kit Camp” – an American Girl Summer Learning Adventure

Fourteen girls – five days – TOO MUCH FUN!!!

Made strawberry jam with 14 girls – cleaning jam from kitchen – floors, cabinets, everywhere for months to follow.

Hosted another summer learning camp – Molly, An American Girl – a one day camp. Ditto the jam episode except we made apple pies. Apple everywhere. Red glitter on the ceiling.

Saw the Kit movie with 18 happy American Girls!

Hubby came home – woo hoo! For good….we thought…

Visited St Augustine with the Shoffs – planning a camping trip – great time – some of us even “wore” our fun!

Hosted another week long camp – To Be a Princess – ten girls, royal fun!

Scared the girls and the neighbors and my husband by dressing up as Cleopatra. Black hair on me is down right scary.

Hosted “Samantha” summer learning day – an elegant affair.

Ed & Gina over for dinner – more congrats in order – they’re pregnant! The honeymoon in Greece was definitely “magical”…..

Jake & Liz return from Zambia

Hosted HKBI Open Houses – beginning to see the numbers dwindled….

Still missing Jordan. He is somewhere in California.

Hosted the last of the summer learning camps – “Felicity” – two days of camp that stretched into three – TOO MUCH FUN!

“Colonial Tea” on the lawn with the Felicity girls – we were quite the sight.

Having “fun” with Craig’s list shopping for antiques – love it when Rick is in a buying mood!

Closed HIS Academy – a gut wrenching decision

Held the annual HKBI Parent Meeting. With a Migraine. And a handful of extra strength Excedrin. An evening they will not forget. Carla on “speed”.

Celebrated Rick’s last birthday before the BIG ONE. Reminding him that 50 is new 30.

Emily came home from Samoa. Don’t be late to the airport when retrieving a tired missionary. It is not pretty.

Hosted the “Not Back to School Breakfast” – our largest ever – 250 plus!

Tropical Storm Fay hit in August. Little did I know…..

Moved out of the master bedroom – water pouring in – began the “sentence” of sleeping in the library. I love my books but…

Closed HIS Homeroom Beachside. Extremely gut wrenching decision again (and yet no lost belly fat to report – I mean you’d think with all this gut wrenching stuff and all….) Realizing this may be the beginning of the end.

Rick goes to Atlanta for a job interview. For a job oversees. Far far away. Again. Sigh.

Still sleeping in the library in September. Waiting for repairs to begin. And more waiting.

Had our first HIS Hands on Day. Absolutely AWESOME.

Hosted the Book Ball – “The Book Hop” – so much fun!

Trapped in the library still in October – no end  repairmen in sight. Books give me nightmares now.

Rick receives his “exit date” of November 2nd. Hoping to be back in the master bedroom before he leaves…instead of the library. With no door. After six weeks we finally break down and buy a tension rod to hang a curtain door. Like that really helps…..

Repairs on the house begin – finally. We move back in the master bedroom with three days to spare!

Election brings the blues –  too many “blue” (states) that is…

One email – a day later – begins to change everything

Spent three days with my awesome mentor. Life gets interesting….again

Reality sets in for HKBI – numbers are not looking good. More gut wrenching decisions to make.

An offer I cannot refuse comes my way…only God could do this.

God confirms my steps through spewing sewage – literally.

Accepted my dream job – knees still shaking.

Rick comes home for Thanksgiving – we try to find a house to rent  in less than three days. Over Thanksgiving weekend. A miracle is needed.

For the first time in close to 30 years, I do not shop on Black Friday. Finding a place to live becomes priority.

We find a great house. One that is NOT:  “historic”  or  “charming”  or  “renovated” or  “remodeled”. My kids are happy. I am happy. Rick is happy.

I hold two meetings that shake me to my core. I kept repeating to myself  – “Closing is the brave thing to do. You are imagining a different life for yourself” – a favorite line from “You’ve Got Mail”…

The closing of HIS Kids begins – too many tears to count begin to flow….

We MOVE IN THREE DAYS – start to finish. I have amazing kids. And friends. Thank you.

Sent the hardest email/letter I have every written to HKBI families.

Received much love and support in response and received some not so supportive responses. Learning to shake it off….

Honored by my staff at a surprise dinner – I thought I was being taken to a secret intervention. I love these women.

Said good-bye for now to 70 or so of the most wonderful kids. Tried hard to keep my emotions and tears in check as I said my farewell “speech” – afterwards the kids just wanted to know when was lunch. Reality – check please!

I LOVE OUR NEW HOUSE! Now if I can just get it unpacked before I start “work”…

What??? Start work – GULP!!!


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Join me on this journey – THINK 4:8!

Hey 4:8 Thinkers,


As you know, The 8-Day Challenge starts tomorrow morning, Tuesday April 8th as soon as you wake up. If you want experience this challenge with a friend, family member, or coworker, make sure they have signed up by 4:08PM this afternoon. No kidding, this is the deadline for participation.To review the Ground Rules in detail, please visit my blog and scroll down.
Here’s a quick summary: 

  • Avoid any and all negative energy for eight consecutive days.
  • Steer clear of specific thoughts, words and deeds that violate the 4:8 principle.
  • Increase other thoughts, words, and behaviors that are in harmony with Philippians 4:8.
  • Remember, I will be giving you reminders, encouragement and other Positive Mental Nutrition each day for eight straight days.
  • If you violate 4:8 you MUST complete the EXTRA CREDIT assignment (The Challenge du Jour) to make up for your slip.
  • Invite four other important relationships to participate in this experiment with you.
  • For accountability, it’s important that at least four other people know that you are attempting this, even if they end up ditching you.

Remember, each moment is a fresh start when you improve the way you think!
Thanks and have fun,
Coach Newberry






Join me on this journey – send me an email if you are participating and let’s help another along the way!

THINK 4:8 and as always….

Make it count!


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