Thanks for the memories 2018

I hesitated to wrap up 2018 with a blog post because I wasn’t sure I had anything interesting to share – but when I considered again, I realized that I learned a few lessons that I thought I’d share.

3D-Logo.1 (2)Professionally “Fail Fast”: I began 2018 professionally with the mindset that I’d jump on the Webinar bandwagon to grow my Nonprofit Strategy and Fundraising Coaching services. I’d offered a few webinars in conjunction with a company I subcontract with and thought I’d take the leap. I took all the necessary steps to add value to participants by becoming an Approved Provider of courses for the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), subscribed to a platform to host the webinars and facilitate easy registration (Ruzuku), created a schedule of webinar topics, with course outlines and PowerPoints, and updated my website to reflect the First Wednesday Webinar Series. I was going to rock this!

I did very little to market the first few webinars and actually had one or two sign-ups in the first few months. But I learned very quickly that I HATE doing webinars. As a former teacher and workshop presenter, I realized that I feed off the energy of the room – something webinars do not offer. In cyberspace, I become very monotone and feel as if I’m reading rather than engaging with an audience. After a few months, I canceled the webinars, removed them from my website, and turned my attention to completing a book instead.

Lesson learned: Don’t try to be what you’re not.


What I Do Best: Sticking to something I’m confident that I’m good at, I traveled to Indiana, Denver, Pheonix, Washington DC, Baltimore, and the suburbs of Illinois facilitating strategy sessions and board development for clients. I continue to enjoy the weekly remote coaching of clients and in 2018 worked with about 80 different nonprofits across the country.

Nonfiction books

I could continue to do what I love AND plan for my next life phase (writing and retirement) at the same time by shifting my client schedule to allow for 3 jam-packed work days so that I can then enjoy 4 days to do me – write, walk, bike, cook, read, relax. I’ve also begun to dedicate the 5th week of each month to enjoy self-directed Writers’ Retreats.

Lesson learned: Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I can enjoy both/and.

Certifications and Conferences: I renewed my own CFRE and completed the necessary steps to earn a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) certification with an endorsement in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I attended the virtual AMI Conference and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference in New Orleans (first time in NOLA).

Lesson learned: Virtual conferences are tough to navigate but you can still learn from them and getting away to a conference is sometimes worth the extra expense. 

a2z-h-smallBlogging: Around March 30, I discovered the April AtoZ Challenge and decided to jump in! I set up a new website, chose a topic for the Challenge and began my blog! I posted 26 days around the theme of Finding Your Voice. I met my first faithful follower in Karen Hume – and thus began my blogging journey. Since then, I also posted Bits-of-Joy in July and have posted quite regularly for the remainder of the year. Several blogging friends have asked me to guest post along the way, which I truly appreciate.

I’ve gained a new group of virtual friends and look forward to reading their blogs and discovering whole new worlds and ways of living! I created a 101 Things in 1095 Days to guide me over the next 3 years and recently joined the seasonal bucket list blogging group to get the most by way of wellness out of each season.

Lesson learned: Blogging takes commitment but can open whole new worlds when you find your tribe.

Family time: Spent a few days with my daughter in Cape Cod – in the snow and cold of March. Felt blessed to be with her when we received news of my mother’s death on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Attended my mother’s funeral in California in early April.

fam in front of church
Family present at Mom’s funeral.

We simply celebrated our eldest son’s Masters’ graduation and welcomed him back home. We created a separate apartment upstairs (previously our master suite) but appreciate seeing him pop in the kitchen now and again to fry an egg or bake bread from scratch.

I took a road trip with my sister to help her move her daughter from Louisiana to California and stopped to visit each of my other sisters along the way.

Lesson learned: Family – you can love ’em and want to strangle ’em all at the same time. 

beach office
My beachfront office

Health: I underwent a two-part pre-cancer skin treatment (2nd time in 10 years) and have begun religiously applying zinc sunscreen! I also headed my doctor’s warning to reduce my cholesterol numbers (great HDL and ratio but still high LDL). She wanted to medicate me, but with a renewed focus on exercise, I knocked it down to near ‘normal.’ I’ve taken up regular biking and walking again – treating myself to the occasional item to make the habit easier to enjoy and stick to. The back rack on my bike is the best investment ever. I now run many errands and bike much more than if I didn’t have it.

I finished one jigsaw puzzle, read 35 books, cooked healthy meals just for me, and listened to much more music – all good for the soul!

A few extra firsts: I tiled a bathroom, saw the sun rise over the Atlantic ocean, made my first $1.52 from posting articles on, and learned to enjoy a kitten.

Lesson learned: Caring for YOU doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t care for others. Both/and.

Thanks to all of you who have popped in to read and comment on my blog and to share your lives with me.

May your 2019 be one to remember – I’ll be watching along the way.


  1. We are on such parallel paths. As a former classroom teacher, I do much of my educating online now. I am trying webinars with a trusted group but these are live so I am hoping I get some of that energy you feel was missing. We’ll see! Blogging is such a wonderful way for me to connect with people. I too met Karen Hume through AtoZ.

    Good luck with the pre-cancer. I am thinking positive thoughts for you.


  2. Wow, that’s quite a list of accomplishments! I’ve done this a couple of times (end of year lists) and they always result in the realization that my year has been more productive than I give myself credit for.

    I appreciate your insights into doing the kind of work that your best suited for. I, coincidentally, I am starting my own nonprofit consulting gig. I worked as a nonprofit executive for a number of years but recently stepped down from that role. It sounds like you’ve been quite successful with it. That’s awesome.

    Good luck with your cholesterol. I need to do the same. This happened a couple of years ago where my numbers were a little high and they wanted to put me on medication. I managed to change my diet and bring them back down in the normal range, but since then I have let it creep up again. So I’ll be working again on getting them back down!


    • Kristin – that’s great htat you are branching out on your own with nonprofit consulting! If you want to touch base, I’d love to learn more about your focus and perhaps direct clients your way if they need your services. Email me directly if you’d like As for the cholesterol — isn’t it crazy how a few changes to diet and exercise can so impact our health, yet how simple it is to get off track! Thanks for joining the conversation…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Janet I loved all your lessons – and the positivity that you presented them with! Family is high on my list of what’s important and blogging seems to have snuck up near the top too – mainly for all the lovely people I know through it. I’ve also structured my work down to being a much smaller part of my life – which frees me up for the fun stuff too. Midlife is pretty darn fabulous isn’t it? Happy 2019!


  4. Wow, Janet! Sounds like a very full year, packed with learning and insights. So sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. I woke up this morning missing my mom even more than usual. It’s been just over 3 years for me.




    • Deb – I hope ‘missing your mom’ turns into a gentle reflection for you. My mother had been ready to go for a good while, but I certainly find her ‘visiting’ when I catch myself doing or saying something just like her! Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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