#WQWWC: Setting Goals for a Successful Life

#WQWWC #6 Goals

“The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”

Seth Godin

What is fun anyway? The people I love and admire have fun doing worthwhile things and making their community a pace you would want to live. I want to be one of those people who gets things done, leads, grows and makes an impact for the rest of my life. Don’t you?

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.”

Mark Victor Hansen

Where do you record your dreams and goals – In your blog, your journal? I recorded my lifelong goal to be a teacher in my journal. Each opportunity that came up to move me toward that goal, I took even when it meant a hardship financially or a fight to take the step. 

“It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.”

Yuichiro Miura

As an eighth grader, my goal in life was to finish college and teach. Yet, I dropped out of college when my funds ran out. My dad had not prepared to pay for three years of college when my scholarship ran out, and offered to pay for me to attend a 5 month course in dental assisting instead. I was nearly 19 by this time and felt desperate and OLD. Even though the sight of blood in a black and white movie made me queasy, I became a dental assistant.

After drifting in and out of a variety jobs in my twenties, I wanted to get back to my life goal. 

Our pastor told me I would not make a good teacher because my spiritual gift was encouraging, not teaching. My first husband told me that I needed to be a teacher before I could go back to school. I told him that was impossible, and I thought it was. Becoming a teacher was still a goal I wrote in my journal.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

Pablo Picasso

The only possible way to teach as a profession is with a degree. Defeated, I couldn’t see a way to get to college. We were poor and my husband had a genetic disease that took both his and his sister’s lives at early ages.

When my life was at its lowest, I had lost my job as a dental assistant in the small town where we lived, my best friend invited me to take some graduate education classes with her that she needed to renew her teaching credential. It was not expensive to audit the classes and my husband agreed. 

She invited me to work as a volunteer aide in her kindergarten class. I was thrilled when she invited me to teach a kindergarten class the next year in our church school. The pay was $350 a month, when the funds were there. It was enough to meet my husband’s stipulation for going to college. To me it represented a miracle. I took the next steps to becoming an elementary teacher. 

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Bill Copeland

Most of the goals during my thirties and forties focused on achieving the credentials to practice a profession – teaching and then consulting and administration, and remarrying the wonderful man who is now my husband of twenty-five years. I grew in my profession, and never again filled my life with meaningless and unfulfilling jobs. I quit running up and down the field without scoring.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”

Earl Nightingale

I loved education with all my heart, and when I retired, I set most of what I did aside to build a new life. That’s when I started blogging and it has been a life-changing hobby. My overarching goals were to write and give back to the community that gave me so much. My goals have been much more short-termed, some even could be classified as tasks. Admittedly, in my search for worthwhile goals, I gave up many times on what I thought were goals. 

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”

Michael Korda

We’re starting over AGAIN!

We sold nearly everything and downsized to an adorable condo in Prescott, AZ. We hope to move in this week.

This past month, we accomplished my husband’s twenty-five-year-old dream of living in Arizona – talk about a patient and persistent man. Once I agreed, we set goals and tasks. Before we made the commitment we had a vague notion that we might move SOMEWHERE in three to five years – that was eight years ago.

Once we committed to WHERE we wanted to move, he became a driven man, and we had daily goal and task setting meetings to make sure all the details got done in a timely manner. It was hard work, sad, sad, sad to leave the people we love. On the other hand, it was exhilarating to accomplish so much. If I talk about this too much, forgive me. I’m still amazed that we did it!

Yesterday we achieved the goal of walking across Lake Wilson, and climbing a granite dell. We did it one white dot at a time. I was scared to death and none too nimble, but it felt great – when we got back on solid ground!


While my husband and I walked around Wilson Lake, we set what we in education call SMART goals. Here is one of our SMART Goals for the year.

  • Specific – Walk together 15 miles a week for the rest of the year.
  • Measurable – 35,355 steps per week
  • Attainable – 7,071 steps a day, five days a week.
  • Relevant – It’s important to stay fit. I need to lose weight so hopefully I don’t produce so much estrogen (produced in fat) Estrogen fueled the breast cancer I had removed last year. I don’t need a repeat experience . Vince and I will have a chance to chat uninterrupted for about an hour – WOW! There are lots of beautiful places to explore.- yes very relevant
  • Time-bound – One year


In summary, I believe that God allows us to set goals for ourselves rather than trusting our lives to fate and the backlash of circumstances. My life has been directed by goals and inspired and protected by God. Sometimes goals are wrong for us, they might not be our goals, but belong to someone else. That doesn’t mean we can’t help them along the way, but they probably won’t drive our lives until we make them our life’s passion. Goals motivate me not to waste my life and make me feel that each day has meaning.

So what about you?

What inspiration do you draw from quotes about goals? What do you want to do this year? How do you feel about setting goals? Do they hamper or help you, inspire or discourage you? Do you have an overarching driving goal for yourself? Do you have a goal for someone else? – That’s another story altogether, isn’t it? 

Respond to any or all of these quotes, or find some quotes of your own. Let your experiences lead you. There is no word limit on your blog post. Write a post on your blog and don’t forget to link back to my blog so I can find your blog and visit. Not sure how to do that? See how to create pingbacks here

If you would like your response to a quote published next week, please limit it to 99 words, Carrot-Ranch-style and enter it on the form below.

Thank You

Thanks to the people last week who joined us on my friend, Autumn Jade’s blog.


Talk to me. You are my friends, my very life’s blood as we seek greater, worthwhile goals to fill the days of our lives and make them bright with promise and purpose.

The Journey is a State of Mind: Guest Hosting for #WQWWC #5 New Beginnings

My long-time blogging friend is the first guest host of #WQWWC. This week’s topic, “New Beginnings” has many facets, your life, your goals, a new year full of promise.

Autty shared a beautifully illustrated raw and vulnerable story of her life and her hopes for the future. Share what matters to you using quotes that reflect the meanings you choose to highlight in “New Beginnings.


A Day in the Brine

For a long stretch of time, I nuzzled through the moon-bathed Past like a mud-caked armadillo. Without thought, an armored little automaton, I snouted through nests of blaspheme vine and toppled barbed-wire fences, scrabbled about pale, mortuous spines of driftwood, and plashed into oiling, mist-cloaked swamps.

It seems my mind went on pause sometime shortly before she died.

“My characters are drifters and searchers and they look for something. The journey is a state of mind for them.” -Wim Wenders

Something wound round me, protective, choking, like a strangler fig. A pinhole sparked through the muscled arms of roots, providing a strange, light-and-shadow-view of the world.

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton

I always loved dead and withered things. The the smell of sun-baked bones and the exhaust of moldered leaves glinting like tar…

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#Story Chat: “Jenny’s Bumpy Start” with the class bully

Nine-word Summary

Ten-year-old Jenny handles new school bullies with care.

The Story Chat

The discussion of “Jenny’s Bumpy Start” moved quickly from a story about a new girl in school into an agenda story about bullying.

Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. Blatant bullying used to be more obvious years ago. I think it likely still happens in new ways such as cyber bullying or passive aggressive ways.


Then readers quickly turned their attention from bullying to reflect and postulate the causes of bullying, probably reflecting on their own experiences of contending with bullies in school and in the workplace. Possibly bullies are bullied because of disfigurements, body odor, or other differences. 

It does make me wonder if Jeremy is being bullied at home, so he takes it out on somebody else. I see bullies as insecure, unhappy people who often don’t want to help themselves, so they believe the whole world is against them. 

Then my thoughts moved to Jenny, and I wondered if she had been a bully at her previous school. Why? Because she seems to be handling Jeremy’s bullying quite well.


Those who were bullied frequently at school or outside of the home carry the scars with them for life, but also wonder how their tormentors turned out. 

Most of those people who shared their thoughts publicly suffered abuse by peers. Is the abuse different when a child is tormented by an adult? Those who are bullied or abused at home or by an adult rather than a child rarely talk about it openly.

I often wondered what happened to him (a bully from Hugh’s past), given that the first bully I mentioned died in his late 20s.


Do hard core, incorrigible bullies end up in prison, dead, or have they turned around and become caring, model citizens? What about those in leadership like fathers, judges, priests, teachers, principals, even presidents. What is their place in society? We usually stereotype bullies as males, but what about women? One reader wondered if Jenny might also have been a bully. 

I thought Jenny seemed to have a disfigurement, as she had been asked about her face before, but this wasn’t clarified. Jenny seems a discerning girl to realise that the unpreposessing (unattractive) Jeremy isn’t the only bully in the classroom, but it’s likely she has been bullied before if she has a disfigurement. Since she misses her former school, she must have overcome any problems there and made friends. She will probably make friends here as well, given time and her refusal to be provoked or intimidated – maybe even the unprepossesing Jeremy.

A well-revealed and perceptive story.


This discussion alerted me to the way the teacher handled bullying in the classroom, which I had not thought of before. A minor character and possibly superfluous one, Sandy Lassiter, showed fear, maybe of the other children or maybe of Jeremy’s aggression towards Jenny. None of the other children stood up to Jeremy either because they agreed with him, were afraid of him, or were in the process of finding out if there was a new victim to torment. This alerted me to the possibility that the classroom was not a safe place for students.

Both Anne and Cathy foresaw that Jenny might become the friend that Jeremy needed, although Anne thought she acted much too maturely for her age.

I imagine she’s going to rescue Jeremy in some way. But it might be stronger as a story if we the reader can share in the process of understanding the bully. What if she was initially pleased when the teacher shamed him and then noticed something in his reaction that reminded her of herself?
You’ve sparked a great discussion on an important topic. 

A ten-year-old might have bursts of maturity and realization that there is someone important besides themselves, but it is rare, unless Jenny’s disfigurement caused her to learn to develop a thick skin. Based in my own experience, that was not the case, although in my case, most kids picked on something other than the disfigurement on my face. My mom taught me to try to ignore bullies and I argued that it was impossible. But it must not have been because I had few bullies at school or in the workplace.


When I taught elementary school, I tried to teach a heavy-set child in my fifth grade class to ignore bullies. Her mother called me on the carpet for not handling the situation. As a new teacher, I was at a loss (and intimidated by the mother) because I only knew from my experience what had worked for me as a student. I was not wise enough to work with the bully. As a follow-up, the victim student became a teacher and I have stayed friends with her on Facebook. I don’t know what happened to the bully or bullies. Like the girl bullied in my class, Jenny seemed to be recognized as good student. Even though the kids don’t know her, Jeremy steals her math paper.

Hugh brought up a point that bullies are often bullied. If Jenny isn’t a bully, then she probably hasn’t been bullied much, at least at home. Jeremy didn’t threaten her with bodily harm, he stole her paper. She might have gotten mad or at least indignant. Maybe, being new, she might have been intimidated by the teacher and didn’t want to make a scene. If she were shy, she might just sink into her chair and wait for the teacher to come back into the room. I like the idea of her enjoying Jeremy getting in trouble. Unfortunately, she would have to hold her gloating until she got home because there were no peers to share it with except possibly Sandy Lassiter.

Yes, I imagined her family being very supportive and maybe at ten Jenny’s not as self-conscious as she might become later when puberty strikes.
I love how reader reactions can help us delve deeper into our characters.


I love how (this story) turns the tables on the idea that bullies are always the villain. I love how perceptive and kind Jenny is, not siding with the teacher because although the teacher is trying to come to her defense, she’s going about it all wrong. I love the unwritten complexity in Jeremy’s character, that we’re able to sympathize with him despite his actions.

I don’t necessarily think Jenny is acting too old for her age, I’ve met some empathetic preteens. I also think it gives you the opportunity to explore how she got to be so mature. He (the empathetic child I knew) was bullied a lot in elementary school. Because he was such a sweet and kind-hearted (and sometimes annoying) kid, he was an easy target for bullies. I heard one day that one of the bullies was left out of something and this boy volunteered to be the bully’s partner (against his father’s advice). Even when he was very young, this boy would play games, but always change the rules to make sure everyone was scoring points and everyone was doing well! He never tried to outdo anyone. 

When I gave him a classic board game for Christmas, and I asked if he already had it, he replied, “yes, but that’s okay! It’ll be great to have extra pieces!” 

That’s just his nature. All these stories happened before he turned 12, by the way. Jenny reminds me of him.


Alexis brought up a debate of the ages – are people kind or mean because of their given nature or because of the way they were nurtured. This takes us back to the idea of whether or not bullies that are bullied at home as well as school are worse than bullies that are only bullied at home. If they are bullied at home they have a double dose of bullying. They have the same genetic makeup as their family, but they are also nurtured to be bullies. 

Teachers and others in leadership at any age have the awesome responsibility and privilege to care and make sacrifices and suggestions that will change the direction of a young person’s life. 

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have a story about someone who has made a difference in your life or in the lives of others you know? Even children who are not bullied can go father with encouragement than with criticism.

Upcoming Short Stories

  • December Story Chat: “Out of Character” A behind the scenes look at Christmas at the mall by Cathy Cade
  • January Story Chat: Anne Goodwin brings us a short story TBA next month.

Do you have a short story you’d like to submit for possible publication?

Past Story Chats

#Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge #2 Anticipation

#WQWWC #2 Anticipation

This week I’ve chosen the word anticipation primarily because of all the activities that surround the holidays, at least in normal years. Anticipation can be defined as expectation of something good, dread or fear of the future, hope, waiting, or suspense. 

Centuries of anticipation surround the Christmas story. If you are telling a personal story, it might be about anticipating the holidays with family or what you are going to do instead of gathering.

Personal memoirs might include what you anticipated as a child. I remember being disappointed until I gave up anticipation at about age ten. It wasn’t that I didn’t get presents. What I remember is that I usually received clothes rather than toys or games. Don’t you love my new red jacket? I must have received a Brownie camera as well.

We all anticipate the weather at this time of the year. Will it snow or rain? Will the sun come out? When I was a child we hoped that it would snow. At our house blizzards would blow snow against our house to the top of the roof, and leave the front lawn bare. Do you have an opinion to share?

Maybe you anticipate the opportunity to write a poem or a short story. Any genre works. Just have fun with the topic and your favorite quote. Thanks for joining in.

Here’s a Quiz

Who wrote this quote and why is the person famous?

An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.     

Your guess

Check out these entries from last week’s topic: Light or Lights

Save the logo to your computer to paste into your blog post, if you wish.

How #WQWWC Works

Create a Post on Your Blog

  1. Pick a quote to match the week’s topic.
  2. Write a response on your blog with a title that suits your post.
  3. Cut and paste #WQWWC logo if you want to use it.
  4. Use #WQWWC hashtag to get more views.
  5. Paste a link to your post on my weekly post in Mr. Linky.
  6. Or past a link in my comment section. I will visit your blog and comment.
  7. Visit other blogger’s who have participated and leave them an encouraging comment.

Where to Get Insightful Quotations

Participation Widget to Put in Your Sidebar

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My Attempt at #WQWWC

Last week I combined a Haibun, personal story, and a photo. For this challenge, I’m attempting a short story. I tried to cram it into 99 words Carrot Ranch – style, but it wouldn’t shrink.

When I was all done with my story I realized to my horror, that the Goodreads quote I had picked did not contain the word anticipation. So, I debated – go with what I wrote or look up another quote and write something different.

You can decide which story you like better.

Anticipated Change of Life

a Short Story by Marsha Ingrao

“I reached maturity under the impression that I was gathering the experience to order my life for happiness. Indeed, I accomplished the not unusual feat of solving each question in my mind long before it presented itself to me in life – and of being beaten and bewildered just the same.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

“Maturity, Fitzgerald? Ha,” Misty slammed the book on the nightstand, tossed her glasses towards the nightstand, and stared off into space, gulping a pill.

“Two drinks after dinner and my friends and I are worse at fifty-five than we were at thirty.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald didn’t argue.

“A dating contest, for God’s sake?” raising her eyebrows, “Damn right I’m bewildered. Two widows and a spinster? One, maybe all of us engaged in six months with no prospects to start. Lunacy.”

Misty wrinkled her nose anticipating the thought of living with a man who farted in bed, wore flannel pajamas, scratched her stubbly legs with his toenails, and walked with the help of a cane. Well maybe not the cane. 

“Am I beaten because I don’t have a husband? Isn’t my life already ordered and happy?” Misty shrugged her shoulders as she slipped into her robe and padded to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

She wound a blue and white cotton bandana around her thick graying blond hair to ward off the frizz that came with unprotected night sweats and dabbed cream under her eyes and across her forehead. 


The face that looked back at her in the mirror began to laugh.

“I’m such a prize, what man wouldn’t want me? Engaged in six months? Bet’s on.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald slid to the floor.

Entry #2

I found this quote online at Wise Sayings. I am so pleased with myself that I squeezed it into 99 words.

Shoes for Christmas

The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.”     

Andy Warhol

“Did you get my present?”

“Not yet, Ace.”

“Can I go to pick it out?”

Kelly cracked open four eggs.


“What are you fixin’, Pa? French toast with chocolate gravy?”

Kelly whipped the eggs bacon and broccoli. Ace loved bacon and eggs.

“No shoes.”

I wouldn’t make you eat shoes, Acey.”

Ace slapped Kelly’s robe. “Come on, Pa.”

“Maybe shoes.”


In two seconds the bacon and eggs disappeared. Crumbs of broccoli lie stranded like living trees after a forest fire.

Later in the barn, Kelly wrapped new horseshoes for the horse their neighbor gave him for Ace.

Have fun writing with quotes this week.