Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope all of you have a safe, happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas. Make sure to take time to enjoy the beauty of this season by spending quality time with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The holiday season is upon us once again. It seems it comes around faster and faster each year. That should be a clue that our lives are perhaps too busy. Remember to take some time to be with family and friends and just enjoy their companionship. Listen to carols and enjoy the festive decorations. Instead of thinking of all you have to do to prepare for the holidays as a chore, enjoy the beauty of the season and the fun that the corresponding activities are meant to bring.

Balancing work, play, spirituality, and physical well-being is the best way to enjoy the holiday season and life in general.

Tis the season. Slow down and enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2008


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to remind you to take care of yourself and keep the stress to a minimum. Try these stress-reducing techniques:

  • Pause at the beginning of each day and give thanks for all the things that are going right in your life.
  • Take a break when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.
  • Remember, the holiday season is about being with family.
  • Don't let the idea of having the perfect holiday stress you to the point that you cannot enjoy yourself.
  • Take a mini vacation in your mind.
  • Burn a candle with a stress-reducing fragrance like lavender or vanilla.
  • Don’t let the little things overshadow the important things.
  • Enjoy yourself and the company of those you love.

Friday, November 14, 2008


As we draw closer to Thanksgiving, we should be more aware of all those things for which we should offer thanks, and we should be writing them in our gratitude journal. If you do not have a journal, a mental thank you would be appropriate.

Don’t forget to think about all areas of life when giving thanks—spiritual, physical, mental, social. Include family, friends, pets, health and well-being, talents, peace of mind, etc. You get the picture. Take some time within the next couple of weeks, get centered, and open yourself to all of God’s blessings.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Leaving the Comfort Zone

I have been blogging about learning something new, and this week, taking my own advice, I started a new venture—teaching an online typing class. To prepare for teaching this class, I had to take two online classes dealing with online instruction.

After posting an online welcome and learning a little about all of my students, the class was off to a good start. The students are progressing well, and I managed to post their grades, start a forum discussion, and reply to student emails. This has been a totally new experience for me, and I have to admit a bit of anxiety about leaving my comfort zone and being thrown into something so unfamiliar.

I am happy to report all has gone well the first week, and I see things only getting better in the future as I master this “new” experience. My advice—learn something new, and by all means, get out of your comfort zone.

Leaving the Comfort Zone

I have been blogging about learning something new, and this week, taking my own advice, I started a new venture—teaching an online typing class. To prepare for teaching this class, I have to take two online classes myself dealing with online instruction.

After posting an online welcome and learning a little about all of my students, the class was off to a good start. The students are progressing well, and I managed to post their grades, start a forum discussion, and reply to student emails. This has been a totally new experience for me, and I have to admit a bit of anxiety about leaving my comfort zone and being thrown into something so unfamiliar.

I am happy to report all has gone well the first week, and I see things only getting better in the future as I master this “new” experience. My advice—learn something new, and by all means, get out of your comfort zone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feed Your Mind

In these trying economic times, bolster your emotions, sanity, and thoughts with positive information. Consider getting a good nonfiction book and learning something new. It can be a fun project like making scrapbooks or an academic project like learning a new management style. Keep a “Things I Just Learned” notebook to record tidbits of information you don’t want to forget. As the fall evenings becoming longer, curl up with your book and feed your mind. In addition, keep recording in your gratitude journal or start one if you haven’t done so yet. Try to write at least three things you are grateful for each day. And if you miss a day or two, do not stress over it. This is an exercise meant to reduce stress, not cause it.

As a final note, happy October 25 birthday to my daughter Niki.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Fall brings many changes—from weather to leaf color. It seems a fine time to make changes in our lives as well. Here are a few positive changes that may make this fall a special season:

  • Embrace change, rather than resist it. Oftentimes what we perceive as a negative change turns out to be the best thing that happened to us.
  • Concentrate on what is important in your life. Establish priorities and stick with them.
  • Write a personal mission statement for your life.
  • Help others.
  • Let go of anger and resentment.
  • De-junk and de-clutter the areas of your life that need it.
  • Make time for exercise and eat healthy.
  • Balance your checkbook and your budget.
  • Listen to others—truly listen.
  • Have fun on a regular basis.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Facing Turmoil

In this period of economic turmoil, take time to care for yourself. Stress can cause a lot of wear and tear physically and mentally.
  • Be sure to eat right, get enough rest, and exercise away the tension.
  • Meditate, pray, and feed your mind.
  • Remember to lend a hand (or ear) to others who need it.
  • Stay close to friends and family.
  • Write in your gratitude journal every day.

There are far more things to be thankful for than those to worry about. Just take a look around at the abundance in nature. This is a beautiful time of year and can be a renewal phase as well.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Fall, Ya'll

Fall is a great time to view the changing leaves, go to football games, and take a hike. It’s a time for harvesting to nourish both our bodies and our souls. Take advantage of the fall produce and cooler weather to prepare favorite oven meals and roast hotdogs and marshmallows over outdoor bonfires.

  • With the holidays approaching, start now to make gift and to-do lists. Put your attention on the important blessings in life to avoid being stressed-out and overburdened.
  • Take important “me time” to mediate and relax.
  • Do the things that nurture you and your loved ones, and let go of the frivolous, unimportant things that tend to devour time.

This fall start a gratitude journal if you do not already have one. If you do have a gratitude journal, write at least three things in it everyday. Being grateful has a way of feeding one’s soul.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This is a special blog in memory of my nephew who passed away three years ago today from a blood clot at the age of 20. Klayton Baer was a special person who brought much sunshine into the lives of others. I helped my brother and sister-in-law create the Klayton Baer Sunshine Scholarship Fund to assist students from the Lenape VoTech School with their post high school education. Kathi, my sister-in-law, is in constant fund-raising mode.

I believe we should all get more exercise by reaching down and helping someone up. Kathi and my brother Ken do that. To date, they have reached out to four Lenape seniors, donating scholarships toward their college/trade school educations. What a wonderful way to honor Klayton’s memory. To learn more about this wonderful young man, visit his special memory page at www.klaytonbaer.memory-of.com.

Friday, September 12, 2008

See You in September

Ahh...September. The start of school and routines.

For many people September is also a time to renew old acquaintances that fell by the summer wayside. Students starting back to school see their former classmates. Parents reconnect with other parents they have not seen during the summer. Those starting new schools and jobs make new friendships while trying to balance the old ones.

In the next few months, find yourself a new acquaintance and offer a kind word or comment on something he/she is doing. For instance, tell the bagger at the grocery store you appreciate his attention to your fresh fruits and vegetables. Tell the teller at your bank you like her new hairdo. Tell another parent at your child's after school activity that you admire her enthusiasm.

Boosting someone else's spirits will in turn boost yours. Have a fun September spreading the happiness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Winding Up

I noticed that it is darker now when I get up in the morning—signs of fall coming. As we wind up the fun-filled, hectic summer, we settle into a more structured routine. Find time to fit in the things that are important to you as well as those that are necessary. Attend to the part of you that likes to be nurtured by reading, writing, meditating, visiting friends or relatives, and so forth. Only when we have balance in our lives can we achieve our best. Balance is best attained by attending to our physical, mental, and spiritual selves. Incorporate something for each of those areas into every day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Little R & R

I am heading to Cape May for a few days of much needed R & R. Hopefully, everyone reading this has built in a few days (or weeks if lucky enough) to get some R & R. Everyone needs to take time to refresh and regenerate in order to avoid “burn out.”

During R & R leave the office responsibilities behind and focus on personal needs. Feed your mind with an exciting book, challenging crossword puzzle, or stimulating CD. Play games, walk, job, or “vege” out for awhile.

R & R is also a good time to re-evaluate and re-set the course if need be. Most of all, take the time to take some time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lifelong Learning

As children and adults head back to school, it may be a good time for all of us to evaluate our skills and knowledge. Ask yourself the following:

  • What can I do to improve my skills?
  • Is there new technology I can learn that will help me on my job?
  • How can I learn more about the developments in my field?
  • Will gaining more knowledge in my field or an additional skill help me receive a promotion?
  • Where can I take a class or seminar to improve my skills?
  • Will getting a degree or certification help me in my field?

In this age of technology and information, everyone can benefit from additional learning. It is a fact—learning is lifelong.

Friday, August 8, 2008

August Reaping

As summer winds down, it’s time to reap what has been sown for the season. Think of what you have been reaping with your goals, plans, ideas, and daily activities. Have they been moving you closer to your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?

Now is the time to take a look at your harvest and separate the good from the bad. Keep what is working and amend or get rid of what isn’t with an eye always on that future goal/dream.

Friday, August 1, 2008

As Summer Winds Down

As we move into August, it is a good time to look over our summer to-do lists and determine what we have completed.
  • Are the summer maintenance projects completed?
  • Did we “spruce up” the house and yard?
  • Did we get to all the fun places we wanted to explore--the zoo, an amusement park, hiking trails, swimming pools--and do all the things we intended?
  • Have we made memories that will last through winter and another year? If not, there is still time to do that and more.

Don’t let the great weather slip by without taking advantage of the splendor it has to offer.

It is also a good time to review those goals we have set and make sure we are on track for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keep the Professional in Summer

We have been doing lots of things to have fun this summer, but in the world of work, don’t forget to keep the professionalism alive. Nothing says, “sitting back and goofing off,” like inappropriate dress, language, and work habits. Here are tips to keep the professionalism in your job:

  • Read a good book, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s an oldie, but goody.
  • Dive into a dreaded project as if it were a swimming pool. You can always set a timer for small increments of time (10-15 minutes) so the project does not look daunting. Breaking big projects into smaller parts keeps them from becoming overwhelming.
  • Set a routine and do frequent tasks on a specific schedule. For instance, handle phone calls between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. or read the mail between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Another suggestion is to do certain tasks on specific days of the week.
  • Look for new, creative ways to do your job in order to change your perspective. Rearrange or redecorate your office so it reflects summer’s sunny disposition.
  • Smile and have fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This week’s blog continues with goals. If you haven’t yet written down your goals, think about the benefits of doing so and write at least one goal. If you do have goals written, pull them out and develop a solid plan of action to attain the goals.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I willing to do to attain this goal?
  • What am I willing to give up to attain this goal? (i.e., time? money?)
  • Do I have the ability and means to attain this goal?
  • If I do not have the ability or means to attain this goal, can I obtain the ability or means?
  • Is this goal a high priority for me?
  • Are there steps today I can take toward accomplishing this goal?
  • Do I take steps everyday to reach my goal?
  • Is what I am doing now bringing me closer to my goal?
  • What steps can I take to reach my goal?
  • How will I organize the steps I need to take to reach my goal?

When you make goals your priority and focus on attaining them, you may be surprised how quickly they come to fruition. Why wait? Take action today.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008


July begins the second half of the year—a good time to re-evaluate goals if you were one of the people who set them at the beginning of the year. If you didn’t take time to set goals yet this year, now is a good time to do it. Goals set the target spot you want to hit.

Remember the basics of goal setting:

  • Goals should be something only you can attain. If you need to involve other people to reach your goals, you may not be able to succeed.
  • Goals should be measurable. Set a timeframe for accomplishing the goal.
  • Goals should be clearly defined and written. Write down exactly what you would like to obtain accomplish. You cannot get something if you do not know what it is you want. Be specific.
  • Work on the goals you set.

Look over previously written goals, and define your progress. Now is the time to decide if the goal is still important to you. If not, you may want to eliminate it or change it. Have you accomplished those goals you had intended to accomplish by now? Are you on target for reaching goals you are still pursuing?

Set those goals and see how far you can go,


Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Continues

Looking for more ways to enjoy summer without breaking the bank? How about these ideas?

· Daydream—better yet, lie on a blanket under the sky and look for “cloud pictures” like you did when you were a kid
· Write in a journal
· Take a hike (or walk or jog)
· Borrow a library book and become a bird watcher
· Dance—kick up your heels or teach a child to dance
· Sing along with your favorite CD or make up a song
· Visit an elderly relative
· Ride a bicycle
· Go to a playground and swing
· Learn something new—borrow a library book or CD
· Walk barefoot in the grass (Watch out for bees!)
· Open all your windows and let fresh air in the house
· Make up a new game and teach it to someone
· Work on a puzzle
· Volunteer
· Write the “great American novel”
· Attend a free library program that interests you



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Days

Summer is in full swing in PA. The past week has been super hot, climbing into the 90s. This weather, although beautiful, may bring on the stress. Hot cars, stores, and homes can make us irritable, especially when we have to stand in long lines or drive crowded roads. What can we do to keep “cool”? One thing that puts things into perspective for me is remembering the cold, icy drives to and from work. That makes me very glad to be in the midst of a heat wave. Other things you can do include these:

  • Take breaks when you feel overstressed or overtired
  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated
  • Find joy in little things like flowers, sprinklers, and garden hoses
  • Listen to children laughing while playing outside (better yet, join them)
  • Attend a baseball or soccer game
  • Find a shady spot and read a book
  • Go to a lake or pool and stick your toes in the water (or your whole body)
  • Sit on a porch with a neighbor or friend (Bring a fan if you need one.)
  • Have a picnic or make dinner on the grill
  • Go to an open-air concert, an amusement park, or a street fair

Most of all, enjoy this wonderful time of the year with family and friends.

Keep cool,


Monday, May 19, 2008

Pennwriters' Conference

I arrived home from the Pennwriters’ Conference late yesterday. It was a terrific conference, and I had a great time. I am happy to say I learned much from the pros who taught the workshops and from keynote Joyce Carol Oats. If you have never been to a conference in your field, you should put that on your list of things to do. The benefits are many—networking, learning, soaking up little “tricks of the trade,” and the incredible high from being around likeminded people. I always feel energized and ready to take on the world (or at least write more) when I come home from a conference. I’d better go now and write before that euphoria wears off.

Take care,


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Never Stop Learning

As the saying goes, we should never stop learning. This weekend I will be attending the 26th Annual Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA. Pennwriters is a group of 435 writers, mostly from Pennsylvania, but also from other parts of the country. The conference, held once a year, is an event to remember. Agents and editors from New York and speakers from several states will present 30 workshops and participate in critique sessions and panel discussions. I hope to get my creativity boosted and my enthusiasm for writing bolstered. I'll let you in on writing news when I return early next week.

In the meantime, keep learning.


Monday, May 12, 2008


Well, I have finally found the time to create a bog. Using some of the time management tips posted on my Website, www.carolsilvis.com, I created little bits of time to first think about a blog, plan it, and then create the content. If you break large, daunting tasks into small pieces, the job will not be so overwhelming; and you will have a better chance of completing it. I plan to share all kinds of tips to help people become more professional in their approach towards life and work situations. Come back again soon!