A Year End Review and 2018’s One Little Word

As we start a new year, I am amazed at the blessings of 2017.  This past year has been a year growth, professionally and personally.

My family practice grew.  I  found my rhythm to streamline documentation (i.e. paperwork). I was blessed with awesome staff and patients.  As an added bonus my oldest daughter came to work at the clinic.  This has been a blessing, seeing her every day and watching her grow into a professional young woman makes my heart happy.

After many years of discussing and pushing my oldest to coach,
my son and I opened Faultline Athletics.  During the remodeling of the building and installing the equipment, I could not have been prouder of family and the work they did together.

My youngest son who loves anything with wheels started the build on his rock crawler and Black Sheep Rock Racing was born.  We plan to start racing in 2018.

Our family lost a friend and a valuable part of our business team in March, but we have found new footing and continued to grow our boarding business. Bed and Biscuit Boarding has also proven to be a valuable resource for assisting the local humane society with housing.

We have been able to keep my Dad in our home, his mental decline has continued but we have been blessed with an awesome people who stay with Dad during the day and help keep my house and pets clean, safe, and healthy.

My youngest daughter and her husband did not let a chronic illness slow them down. Watching them take the vacations of their dreams, building a life tog

ether makes proud and thankful they have each other.

Our middle son who was driving over an hour to work got a job locally.  To some, a new job does not seem like a big deal, but having him home with his boys is a blessing.

My husband and I both accepted board positions with volunteer organizations we feel are beneficial to our community.   We both believe as did Mahatma Gandhi, we should “be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

I can say 2017 was a good year for my family but it was also a very busy year.  As I begin 2018 I am going to focus on the word, Simplify.  With Simplify as my One Little Word for 2017, I’m looking forward to a simple, intentional, meaningful, purposeful, life-giving, impactful, focused year.

I hope you will check back, I would feel blessed to share my simplified life with you.  Leave a comment to let me know how you plan to spend 2018.

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.


Negative Feelings and Disasters

This past week, as I watched the disaster in Texas unfold and worried about my family living in and around the Houston area – I had periods of time when I felt anxious, anger, sadness, and guilt.  I felt the need to watch the stories of rescues and devastation.

I begin planning for my family to have an evacuation plan should we ever experience the need to evacuate with our pets.

The feelings I have experienced started to interfere with my sleep.  I would wake up at night worried, sad, and even fearful that my home could be lost like those in Texas.

As I tried to make sense of my feelings and fears, I realized that we can experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic stress (PTS) without ever leaving our homes.  These mental health disorders can occur from watching terrorism and natural disasters on television and social media.

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic stress (PTS) include depression, anxiety, and stress reactions.  Some studies indicate that PTSD / PTS occurs in 61% of people who view disaster events on television.  Depression, fear, and anger occur in 16% of the population who watch disaster events on television.

So how do we move forward?
Limiting the time spent on social media will minimize what we feed our brains.  For me, I limited my social media to twice a day – I turned off Fox News.  I texted family members and asked them to keep me posted of any changes in their situations, this helped me stay off of social media.

I also prayed – I turned my negative feelings, anger, fear and anxiety over to a higher power.  There are some things in life I cannot control, and Mother Nature is one of them.  The one thing I can control is how I react.  We are not guaranteed our next breath, so wasting our time worrying about things we cannot control, is time we may never get to spend on something of meaning.

It is hard to move forward, even if my home was never flooded and my family was safe throughout the vent.  I still have an urge to head to Texas and volunteer.  I still want to buy a large enclosed trailer to move my animals.  But just like the recovery effort in Texas – my recovery will take time.

I would love to hear from you if you have experienced stress from watching Hurricane Harvey.

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life

Old Goals Become New Habits

Over the years I have tried to incorporate mediation and yoga into my health plan. But, consistency has been an issue.  See – I start things and soon other obligations get in the way and I let the focus on my health go on the back-burner.

This week I have made a commitment to get more sleep and to incorporate meditation into my daily schedule.   Sleep is easy – I spent the day in the recliner dozing.  My plan is to be in bed by 10:30 each night – this is two or more hours earlier than my normal bedtime.

Meditation is not as easy for me, to incorporate mediation into my life I have to create time and learn how to slow my hummingbird brain.   

To help me focus on not thinking I am using a program called, Calm  Calm is a mindfulness app that is simple to use and helps me focus on me and not the other hundred of things screaming for my attention.

Calm also allows me to track my progress. As a visual person who loves my planner and to-do-list, being able to track my progress is a bonus.

I would love to hear how you incorporate mediation into your life-
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life

Building a Family Business

Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself owning two family businesses. My husband and I opened Bed and Biscuit Boarding  two years ago. In March of this year, my son and I opened Faultline Athletics, a baseball training facility.  

We found a building and opened Faultline Athletics, in 45 days.  We have laughed, cried, prayed, argued and learned about working together as a family.

Did you know: Family businesses account for two-thirds of all companies worldwide and create 50 to 80 percent of jobs in most countries, according to the Family firm Institute, a global association of family business professionals.
As I think about the last few months – there are  a few things I want to share with you about owning a family business.

  • Roles and responsibilities should be clarified.
    Boundaries are essential when working with family. The more clearly defined everyone’s job description, the less room you’ll have for workplace conflict.
  • Everyone should be on the same page.
    For a company to succeed, relatives who take leadership or support roles need to respect and abide by the overriding business goals.
  • You should separate work and home life.
    Leaving work at work is a challenge. But try living with your cofounder or direct reports — or spending holidays, birthdays and summer barbecues with them. To avoid feeling like you are on the job 24/7, maintain a “no shop talk”at family gatherings.
  • Always enjoy your time together
    We are blessed to be able to talk daily, watch each other grow, and build a future together.
    (Pictured is Faultline Baseball 14U USSSA World Champions).

I would love to hear your tips for owning a family business.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

Tools I Use to Organize My Busy Life

Crazy busy describes my life for the last 17 days.  I have been on call for 17 days, covering extra patient office visits, hospital and nursery rounds, learning new teaching software, and trying to do the normal everyday stuff that is involved with owning a boarding kennel and a athletic training facility – this is one tired girl.

But I wanted to take a minute to share with your some of the tools I use to keep myself organized.

Cozi app – the Cozi app allows me to manage a menu, grocery list, and schedules with my family.  I put together a menu on Sunday and a grocery list for the week.

Kennel Booker – this is the most amazing software for managing our boarding facility.  I am able to set up reservations for family pets and the kennel staff then has real time access.

I also use aNote (Awesome Note). This is an app on my iphone that allows me to keep notes, to-do-list, and create check off list.  This is where I keep notes about topics to write about or research,  thoughts about business plans and even list of my hospital rounds.

I go off call officially at 7 AM tomorrow – this is one tired but happy girl, there is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully sleep.

I would love to hear what tools you use to mange your life.
Have a great week
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life


Hard Work Will Not Kill You or Will It?

It has been said  “that that does not kills us makes us stronger.” So we assume hard work will not kill us, which can be true. If….you take care of yourself.

Karoshi is the Japaneses term for working yourself to death.
High stress levels at work can ruin your health goals. It causes your body to store more fat and makes it difficult to build and retain muscles. Excessive work will cause you to have less energy and a higher risk of mental illness, heart attack, and stroke. As karoshi suggests, you can literally overwork yourself to death, but it doesn’t have to be this way!

This has  been where I have been failing… I work, sleep (4-5 hours) and repeat six to seven days a week.   Recently, I have realized that my bad habit has also impacted my husband’s health.  His cholesterol is elevated, his blood glucose is out of control, and his weight has started to max out our scales..

My educated mind knows that with balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and proper rest and relaxation, can keep me motivated and help me deliver my best performance at work and home.

So, the Ash household is on a new mission.  Starting with new menus, decent bedtimes and exercise (funny I met the Big Man running, how did we ever get so far from where we were???- no time to dwell on the past).

I would love to hear how you have improved your health.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.


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Eight tips to achieve your current goals.

As I was reading facebook this morning,  Taylor Bardford of Boss Girl Creative  asked what are we working on this week for our biz.  As I looked at a long list of to-do’s I realized I need to find a way to be more focused and goal oriented.  Below is a list of tips to achieve your current goal.

Eight tips to achieve your current goals or develop new healthy habits.

  • Write down your goals or the habit you want to create.
  • Make a long-term plan for achieving your goal and divide it out into small steps or a flow chart.
  • Have a daily plan. Set reminders in your phone or write appointments on your daily planner. Schedule tasks just like you would any other appointment.
  • Find an accountability partner or group that understands your goals.
  • Post your goal publicly.
  • Remove all distractions. Get rid of all obstructions and distractions that will help prevent you from achieving your goals.
  • Visualize yourself achieving your goal and how you will feel achieving it. Allow yourself thirty seconds each day to breathe and visualize.
  • Educate yourself. Do research on what it will take to reach your goal and use available resources and tools make your journey a little easier.

I would love to hear you about how you achieve your goals.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

What To Do When You Find Yourself Stressed

Stress is real.  According to some references stress is the basic cause of 60% of all humane illness and disease. Some references believe that up to three out of four doctor’s visits are for stress-related aliments.

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Aches, pains, tense muscles, muscle spasms
  • Nausea, heartburn and dizziness
  • Chest pain, palpitations, rapid heartbeat
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Clenched jaw and teeth grinding

What should you do when you recognize the signs and symptoms of stress?

  • Meditate
  • Breathe Deeply
  • Exercise
  • Laugh
  • Listen to Music
  • Be Grateful
  • Accept You Can’t Control Everything
  • Stay Positive
  • Do Something Fun

Life is short – learn to live stress-free.  I would love to hear how you manage stress.

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

Sunday Creative ~ Brain Yoga

In the hustle of life, it’s easy for our mental and emotional health to take a backseat. Most of us get sidetracked by career obligations, family responsibilities, and the day-to-day responsibilities of life.

Luckily, creative activities are literally therapy for your mind. Whether it’s writing, baking, gardening, sewing, or paper crafts, a creative outlet can really improve your mental clarity and emotional health.

Creativity is like yoga for the brain.  The creative process relieves stress, improves health and minimizes the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s, are associated with high stress levels. Of course, other factors such as diet and exercise matter, too. But when it comes to caring for your brain, less stress is best.

Creativity also increases and renews brain function. It’s no secret that work and school projects exercise our critical thinking skills. But when it comes to creative endeavors, we nurture different areas of the brain in new ways. CNN reports that engaging in creative tasks protects neuron growth by promoting the production of new neurons, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy central nervous system.

S0, today I worked at being creative. I reorganized my craft studio. I created a space for, scrapbooking, sewing and embroidery work.

I organized my acrylic stamps and paints.

I organized books and added a space for my silhouette and hot press.

I also added added space for scrapbooking.

I have missed scrapbooking.  It is a long story but I have put my creative side on hold for several years.  But, now I am refocused and have scheduled time to be creative, practice brain yoga.

If you are interested in scrapbooking, check out my website Scrapbookwife@Close To My Heart.

I would love to hear what you do to feed your creative soul.
~ Connie Kay A ~

Spiritual Health Is Important.

Lately the Big Man and I have not been attending church.  At first our  my excuse was work, family and just being “too busy” but over time I have found myself questioning organized religion.

My view of church has changed, I once believed that the body of the church would be faithful with work in the community, but over the last couple of years, I see the body of the church as being content to sit in their pew and write a check.

I have watched our church dwindle in numbers, never moving outside of the walls. Yet, thousands of dollars have been poured into maintaining a big old brick structure for a few.  For me that is selfish – I want people to get out, offer a hand (without a check).  There is so much of God’s work to be done in our little community.

So, I haven’t been to Sunday services and I feel bad about not going to church.  I love our pastor, she is one of the most honest, kindest, hard working souls I know.  Her mission in life is to spread the word and focus on God’s work.   But, I have learned in organized religion, you have to follow rules and you should not upset those with the checkbook.

So back to me, what do I do?? How do I give God what he deserves, after all he gave us his son.

God deserves His due place in our lives. Psalm 29:2 calls us to “give unto the Lord the glory due to his name…” He deserves a life of worship, and a small start of that is to spend time in His word, learning more about Him.

So..I have decided that online bible study and quite time with God are how I will give God the time he deserves.

I have started with 30 Days of Gratitude: A Journey Through Exodus

Exodus is not a book I have read. My plan is to read the passage for the day.  I then plan to spend time using the Quieting Your Heart Gratitude Journal 


Will this process work?  I am not sure what I will gain from the process.  I do know that it is right to give God the time he deserves, so for now it will be me and God doing quite time together.

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.