Monday, December 28, 2015

You Don't Get to Just Conquer

Alexander the Great didn't just randomly start conquering the world.  Michael Jordan didn't just randomly start throwing a ball around and then he found out he was an amazing basketball player.  Charles Dickens didn't put miscellaneous words on a page and hope it became a coherent thought and then a story.  That's not how it works.

I have been looking back over this last year in order to figure out where I should set my sights for the coming year.  I'm setting goals for different areas of my life. One area I'm looking at is physical.  (I'm also evaluating family, financial, spiritual, business and personal, but for now I'm talking about physical.) Here is one goal for me for 2016.

And this is how I know that I will reach it: I decided to reach it. It's the same way that Alexander the Great, Michael Jordan, and Charles Dickens accomplished their tasks: they decided...and then they took action.  It's the same way I earned my black belt.  It didn't just happen.The decision came before any action.  That's the order it must go in.

What will you decide to do in 2016? Now go conquer it...and just so you know, it's gonna take some work, too.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Don't Read This On Christmas

You should go spend time with your family and loved ones. Seriously. We'll catch up next week. Take this day and just chill.  Have a beautiful Christmas, fantastic readers.

That's all.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Company We Keep: Part 2

Last week I wrote about the company we keep in regards to who my kids are hanging around. They've made good choices for the most part.  It's not that we're perfect parents, because we're not by any means.  However, I will say that we've shown them the value of choosing our friends wisely.

My hubby and I have beautiful friends.  I don't mean that they are all pretty people (even though they are, but that's not why we've chosen them).  They are all beautiful souls.  Just like us, they are flawed and imperfect, but they do life well.  They love and discipline their kids.  They seek God and His love and wisdom.  They make family a priority.  They make friends a priority.  Work is important to them, but it's not only thing.

Case in point, the week before last, I was blessed to be able to attend a customer appreciation lunch put on by some very dear friends of mine.  We just happen to have our retirement money with the husband half of the couple through his financial firm.  I watched as my beautiful friend seemed to almost float around the room greeting people by name and genuinely making them feel welcome. People are always excited to see her because she always makes them feel known.  She knows their names and she remembers their families.  The really cool part was to watch her do this with her own kids in tow.  Two-year-old, 12 and 9-year-olds watched as the lovely mom worked the room.

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I understand that there is a certain amount of "being on" at an event like this, but some people have a natural ability to do it with style and grace, with honest love for people.  These are the kind of people that I like to surround myself with.  My hope is that it rubs off on me, and I believe it has to a certain degree.  More than anything, though, I believe my kiddos have seen what it means to have real friends that are true and honest people.  

What does the company you are keeping say about you?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Take Inventory of Your Life

My birthday was last week.  Yay!  I turned 39.  Thirty-eight was a great year.  I earned my black belt. My business started to take off.  I learned a lot about myself.  I started this blog--and am still doing it. I started to take over another business.  I had a couple great trips with my family and/or my hubby.  I took on a huge project as a side hustle and have it 99% completed at the time of this writing--which is way ahead of the scheduled completion date, I might add.  I had some fantastic time with my kids as we traveled and as we just lived life.

As I was talking with my coach last week, she asked me what rating on a scale of 1-10 I would give myself for this year as we talked about setting goals for next year.  My initial response was 4 1/2. Her beautiful and patient response was to calmly say, "Would you like to tell me more about that number?" To which I immediately thought of all the things I didn't get completed.  I didn't get all my debt paid off...but I did host Financial Peace University alongside my husband to help others get on track to getting out of debt.  I didn't cut back on my hours at my job to part time from my current full time...but I managed a huge project in my off hours and got it done in a timely manner.  I didn't finish writing the novel I started...but I started it.  It took me 6 1/2 years to get my black belt...and I got my black belt.  Hello.  I didn't reach my goal at the gym to do a one-handed handstand on a kettle bell...but I did conquer the rope climb for the first time in my life.  And I got my black belt.  I didn't surprise each of my friends with lavish gifts on their birthdays...but I did do lunch or coffee with almost all of them.   I didn't read all of the Bible...but I did consistently read and do devotions.  What an amazing year I've had.

I'm not telling you all these things to tell you how great I am.  It is very easy for me to go to that place where I see that I didn't measure up, that I didn't accomplish all I wanted to accomplish, where I wasn't perfect.  I will never be perfect, though, and sometimes just reaching for excellence is enough. I'm learning to have joy in the journey.  It still amazes me all the lessons I learned on my path to black belt;  It's never too late.  We all have the same amount of time.  It's how we use it that matters. You're never too old.  I am disciplined.  I enjoy the process.  I'm a writer.  I can choose to make family and friends a priority.  

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As we head into 2016 in just a couple weeks, I'm reflecting on 2015.  It has been amazing.  It's beautiful.  I would encourage you to look back before you turn and look forward.  What are you thankful for?  What did you accomplish?  What did you mess up on...that you will do differently next year?  As I went back over the year in my mind, I changed my answer from a 4 1/2 to a 7 1/2.  There are still a lot of things that I want to accomplish, but I'm enjoying the journey and I'm giving myself credit for the things I did do.  Growth is a process and it doesn't happen overnight.  What's your top 3 favorite events in 2015?  I'd really love to hear about it below.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

The Company We Keep

My kids have made wise choices about who their friends are, for the most part.  There have been a couple of minor incidents where we were able to help them see that the people they were associating with weren't the kind of company they wanted to keep.  I've never told my kids they weren't allowed to hang out with a particular child...I let them choose for themselves.  My son had a friend that he had known for several years, but they didn't see each other on a regular basis.  They would see each other a couple times each year.  

It was one such occasion that the boys were together, along with several other kids.  As the boys were playing soccer, the friend in question started harping on one of the other friends that was present, just because he wasn't as athletic.  It wasn't cool to watch and we tried to calmly correct this situation, but it's tricky disciplining someone else's kid.  Yuck.  It was awkward, at best.  After the gathering, we had opportunity to talk with our son.  I told him that it was fun to see Kid A at the gathering because we don't get to see him very often.  I reminded him that Kid B is a great friend and it's fun to get to see him on a weekly basis. And then I asked him if he had seen how Kid A was treating Kid B.  He had.  Did he like it?  Nope.  He then made the decision on his own that he probably wouldn't invite Kid A to hang around when there were other kids around.  He actually hasn't invited Kid A to hang out at all after that.  Bravo!  

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It's not that we want to just hang out with people that puff us up with empty ego stroking.  It's not that we should only hang out with people that are just like us and believe everything we believe.  It's good to be stretched sometimes.  But our core circle of people should be people that are honest, and trustworthy, and fun, for sure.  More than anything, though, I want to like who I am when I am with them.  I want to be genuinely me, and still like me when I'm with them.  I don't think that's too much to ask.

Do you like who you are when you're with your core group of friends and associates?  Choose wisely because it will reflect on who you are--even if you are a person of integrity.  In the book I read, it says "bad company corrupts good character." 

Friday, December 11, 2015

I Just Fired My Kids: Part 2

Three months ago, I fired my kids.  (More on that here.) It's been interesting since then.  Their initial response was to literally follow me and take the trash bag out of my hands, or come finish whatever particular chore I was doing for them.  As expected, that lasted for about 2 days.  They were running on emotion--namely guilt.

Unfortunately, chores still need to be done...They still have to do them, but now they don't get paid at all.  Fast forward to a week ago.  My daughter decided she needed money.  A month ago, I asked her how she felt about being fired and not having any money.  Her response? Eh. She said. No big deal...until she REALLY wanted to buy something.

 I noticed she started writing down her chores on her chore chart again.  What was she doing as she stealthily walked by me. "I'm just marking my chores on my chart--even though I won't get paid for them." Hello, sarcasm. Yep. She's my daughter. We then discussed how she would need to reapply for the job she got fired from. Why should we hire her when we already fired her?  (Here's why.)

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Well, needless to say, she made a good case for herself. She was rehired. Then I queried as to what she needed the money for.  Christmas gifts.  I probably would have given her some money for that, but then this opportunity would have been lost. She had finally made the connection that in order to have money, she needed to work. Breakthrough! I was glad I kept my mouth shut. She spent her own hard earned money to buy a gift for her brother. How cool is that?

Every now and again well have an aha moment.  When is the last time you had a breakthrough?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Parenting Failure #952,337

The martial arts are known for teaching discipline.  I often tend to think of the self-discipline that is the by-product of learning martial arts.  That was one of the benefits that I, personally, learned on my way to black belt.  It's often the lessons we learn that aren't actively being taught that are the most valuable.  Last week was, again, one of those times for me.

We were working with the kids and my daughter had decided she was mad about something.  She's normally the compliant one, but on this occasion she was upset.  Because I like my kids to behave (and me to look like a stellar, together kind of parent), I was a little miffed that my angel was making me look bad.  (I'm just being honest, here.) What I didn't notice very much was that while my daughter was acting out, my son was being genuinely helpful with some of the younger kids.  At the same time--and I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence--that I pulled my daughter aside to remind her that she should make a better choice about her attitude, my professor was pulling my son aside to give him accolades on making a great choice and to thank him for being really helpful.  Ugh.  Parenting failure #952,337.  

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My professor was in no way trying to humiliate me.  That's not his style, at all.  He was showing me a better way...without teaching me with words.  He was teaching by example.  Fortunately, I caught it. I'm a little slow sometimes.  He was publicly praising my son, rather than publicly embarrassing him.  Isn't that what we all want: to be recognized for our legitimate achievements and good choices rather than being embarrassed or corrected for poor choices?  I'm sure I'll be working on this one.  It's not  often enough that this is my first response.

When have you seen a great example and realized it was a great lesson to be learned?  Tell me about it in the comments.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Do Family Well

It's the land of the bayou, hollers, and cricks  (translate: creeks for my fellow northerners).  It's the land where my husband's family hails from.  Where good ol' boys still wave as they drive by on the road. The men (and sometimes women) go hunting before breakfast, and if you're lucky, you'll have squirrel and dumplings for lunch.

That's where my family and I went for Thanksgiving week. I would be lying if I said I was completely looking forward to the trip before we left. It's just such a completely different world than we choose to live in everyday. Once we get there, though, it's good.  It isn't just good.  It's sweet.  It's family and welcoming, and wonderful, homey food.  Homemade wine and cans of beer seem to be the beverages of choice. It's not that we don't have those things at home, but somehow it's different there.

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I'm under no illusions that life or family is perfect there. It's not. There have been some really big bumps and lumps along the way for many of these folks. But it took one of these wise folks saying something to open my eyes to how truly special this family is. As we sat outside on the porch drinking some of that homemade wine and telling stories of loved ones and days gone by, one of the uncles piped up with his not surprised, but accurate none the less, observation of what a blessed family we are. Blessed indeed in so many ways.  I do get to say we, not because I married into the family 16 years ago, but because they have welcomed me from day 1 into the family.  They are just honest to goodness, genuine people.  They are doing family well.

How does your family do family well?  I'd love to hear some of your high points of family gatherings.  Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

I Missed Black Friday!

I'm not a big "black Friday" participator.  I'll begin with that.  However, I have been known to venture to Walmart later on Friday to stock up on things like jeans for my kids and sheets for the beds.  This year, there were several retailers that closed for the day to give their employees time off with their families.  I thought that was pretty spiffy of them...and then it dawned on me that I would be contributing to other people working if I went shopping.  Yuck.  

I've been blessed to have the day off work for as long as I can remember, so I need to share the wealth and let others have it off, too.  As it turns out, we were in the back hills of Arkansas celebrating family...and no cell phone signal, or wifi or internet connection, for that matter.  And we didn't die.  I don't remember the last time I was completely "off the grid." It was weird, at first, but then it was fine--and then it was good!  I think it actually took me a couple days to quit jonesing for a hit from my internet devices.  How awful is that to admit?

Needless to say, I didn't die.  The kids got over it and went to play with their new found cousins. They went hunting and hiking and we went to visit old homesteads and a 2 room country school house their great-grandpa attended as a child.  It was pretty cool.  It was really cool, actually.

We didn't miss Black Friday.  This Christmas season, I would encourage you to unplug for a bit in an intentional kind of way.  It's a great way to keep connected, but it's also really invasive and disconnecting to those who are right next to you.

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What will you actually miss if you turn off your tech?  What will you find?  Tell me about it in the comments below.

P.S. I apologize for missing my regularly scheduled post on Friday.  I didn't realize how disconnected I would be, so my post didn't get posted on time.  Nevertheless, here I am.  I'm back on schedule now. I hope your Thanksgiving was beautiful.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm a Parenting Failure

There are so many things I do wrong as a parent.  I'm honestly amazed my kids are able to function sometimes--not because of their abilities, but because I've messed up so much.  It often seems like such a daunting task to prepare our kids for adulthood and to give them tools to be contributing, working adults that will have a positive influence on society and the world at large.  

Ultimately, my children will be responsible for themselves.  After all, I did not give birth to two little robots that I control.  I'd even go so far as to say they are responsible for themselves now, but they do still fall under the protection and care of my husband's and my household.  It's a tricky balance. We've all seen the kids with parents that love and care for them and for whatever reason decide to make poor choices.  It's difficult to watch.  Sometimes they need help.  Sometimes we need to not help.  Sometimes it's hard to know which.

A friend of mine that I've known for a really long time is struggling with one of her kids.  I don't know all the details, and I'm not at liberty to share even if I did.  I honestly think the child is just really smart and maybe is unsure of how to deal with it.  I don't know, and I couldn't possibly offer a perfect solution.  It was just a good reminder that we all struggle.  But as I sat in a parenting class this morning, one of the speakers reminded me that this battle is NOT between me and my kids.  This battle is between my family and the world.  The Bible tells us that we battle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and principalities of this dark world.  The spiritual battle is real, friends.  Satan is gunning for the very souls of our children, and he is sneaky and conniving and twisted.  

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The good news is that I don't have to be perfect--that doesn't mean I don't have to try--because His power is made perfect in my weakness.  God will fill in the blanks with my kids, but they need to know Him.  I need to know and trust him, and ask forgiveness from Him and my children when I mess up.  I'm so thankful I can do that.

What are you a failure at?  How have you seen God's grace fill in the blanks?  

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Friday, November 20, 2015

I'm Thankful My Debit Card Got Stolen

I'm not really thankful that money was stolen from my debit card, but I am thankful for what I came to realize as a result of that happening.  Here are the top 3 things I learned:

     1. Some stranger cannot steal my joy by stealing my money.  Last Saturday morning, two things happened.  The first, I opened my online banking and realized money was spent that someone at my house did not spend.  The second, I had a coffee date with a lovely friend of mine approximately 90 minutes after said bank realization.  I took care of what I could.  My hubby took care of the rest, and I went to coffee.  It was wonderful.  My friend and I both needed the time, and we enjoyed it.  It was a choice to go.  She would have understood if I had cancelled, but I didn't.  We are both better for it.

     2. I'm thankful to be in a place where my kids still have food in their tummies even though a couple hundred dollars was stolen out of my account.  There have been times when that would have been all the money I had and I would have had to rely on the generosity of others to eat.  I am well aware that it could have been much worse of a thievery.  But I'm not kidding when I said we've been in that place where that would have been the last of our money.  We're not completely rolling in the dough these days, but we do have our emergency fund in place and are working to pay off our debts.  We also have side hustles going that provide a little extra cushion.  I say these things not to brag, but to offer hope for those of you that might be in that more lean place.

     3.  My hubby is a rock.  He may be passionate about yelling at football and cheering for our kids, but this dude didn't miss a beat and got our stuff fixed.  He was calm and steady and got all the information we needed to give to the police and to get our money refunded.  I love that guy.  And he's hot!  Go, me!

     4. And finally, it's just stuff.  My kids weren't hurt.  They are safe.  Money can be refunded and random headphones can be returned.  All the things that were offset can be righted.  (By the way, if said thief should be happening to read this, this black belt mama is also learning to properly use her sword...I'm just sayin'.)

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Have you ever had something rotten happen to you that afterwards you realized the good that came out of it.  God doesn't waste anything.  Sometimes it is hard to see the good, but it's there.  What have you learned?  Think on it and let me know below.  I love feedback.  What that looks like is up to you. You can subscribe and get each new blog post delivered to your inbox, or you can like and share my posts on your favorite social media outlet.  Or you can just pop over to Twitter or Instagram (@JensWallsTalk) when you want to see what I'm up to.  Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Why We Drove 150 Miles for a $20 Hat

My hubby needed a new hat.  It's not that he needed an expensive or custom made hat.  A new baseball cap to wear at work is all he needed.  He had a general style in mind, but it wasn't anything too specific.  Do you get what I'm saying here?  He needed a hat to wear on his head at work that didn't stick up too far and doesn't make his ears stick out.  No biggie.

Well, it's not that we don't have any place in our small town to buy a hat.  We just needed to get out of town.  When you're working a side hustle, you put it in the cracks and chunks of available time. Sometimes that means painting a hallway at 5 a.m., or on Saturday mornings, or measuring on a lunch hour.  You just have to work with what you have.  

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One of the cool things about the sides hustles that my amazing hubby and I have been working on is that our kids often get to go with us.  I love it!  I really do.  They get to see that sometimes in order to do what we really want, it takes extra effort, and it bleeds into our free time.  That also means that we have a little less fun family time.  It means we need to be deliberate about fun time.  Enter trip to buy the hat...

It's not that we needed to drive 150 miles to buy a hat.  I'm certain we could have found one closer. What we did need was to just be a family.  We needed to just have some hang out time and argue about whether it's right to have Christmas songs on the radio when it's not December yet. We needed to drink our Sonic drinks and talk about weird things like what it means to be an introvert or an extrovert (and why we need both), and love languages, and what cool kids they are.  I know that sounds pretty serious, but it was actually fun. 

What random things do you do to get away or take a break?  I'd love to hear about.  Comment below. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why Kids Should Get Paid for Chores

Why should I pay my kids for doing anything at home?  Why, indeed. If you've been a reader of mine for a bit, then you know that I fired my kids.  They still have chores, but they do not currently get paid for them, but I think they should.

I don't think they should get paid just for being part of our family. We don't do allowance.  Their payment needs to be for work performed.  But that's not my point today.

I want my kids to get paid while they are young so they can learn to handle money while they are still at home and can receive guidance. I want my husband and I to be the ones giving them information on how money should be handled.  There is a lot of misinformation in the world about money.  (No, you don't need a credit card for emergencies.  You need an emergency fund.) God has a lot to say about it.  In fact, the Bible talks about it more than anything else...more than love or forgiveness or grace.

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I want them to know you must put money in savings before you pay bills.  I want them to know the tithe comes off the top.  I want them to know that giving with their money is a good and really cool thing.  I want them to not only know these things, but to practice them before they get out on their own.  It's not fair or realistic to expect then to handle money well if they have not been taught or given opportunity to practice handling money well.

They will mess up. I still mess up sometimes.  But it's a whole lot better to mess up while they are at home with Mom and Dad than to be out on their own and getting their first paycheck and not really know what to do with it.

What do you think? Yes to paying kids commissions or no because they should just help because they're part of the family? Tell me what you think or do at your house.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

What Happens In Your Story?

Have you ever written a story and the ending was very different from what you thought it would be? It's different than writing a blog post that is usually short and has a specific point.  A story is another beast entirely.  You may start to write and as you ask questions of the characters, different events happen than what you originally planned.

I have this story idea in my head.  It's actually been floating around for a couple years.  I started actually writing down earlier this year, but I haven't finished it yet.  It's been pushed to the back burner a little bit as I work on some other hustles, but I still feel that it's an important story to write. Now it's NaNoWriMo, so I squeeze in some more writing time.  (NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month for those of you that are not familiar.) As I think about these characters and what they will go through, there are little tweaks here and there.  It's not clean cut.  Everything doesn't work out perfectly.  That's rarely how life happens.  We do struggle.  We do get lost sometimes.

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I think that's what happened to the teenagers at Canon City High School this week.  Perhaps they thought, "It's just a little picture.  What harm can it do?" They are smart--and hormonal, and not as grown as they think they are.  Most of the parents I know are taking the opportunity to talk with their kids (hopefully they've already been talking about it).  There are so many directions that conversation can go.  For example, this isn't a one time deal--the internet is forever.  If you wouldn't want your mom, sister, aunt, etc. to be portrayed this way, then why would you portray yourself this way? The list goes on.  The problem is that it isn't just a teenager problem.  We are all susceptible to porn.  It's an addiction.

To borrow from Casting Crowns' song, Slow Fade
Be careful little eyes what you see.  It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings...

I'm not here to judge.  I am a sinner every bit as much as the next guy.  I'm here to offer that we need to be praying for our kids.  We need to be involved with our kids.  We need to teach them that temptation is real and it's out there.  Talk with them before these things happen about how to respond when it does happen.  Decide before. It's okay to be sad for the innocence lost. It can never be completely erased, but now begins the time to heal.

#IamCCHS #JensWallsTalk

What are your thoughts about all this?  I'd love to hear about it below.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

What Are Your Stressors?

What are the things that cause you stress?  Sometimes our stress is caused by things that happen around us...these are the things we truly cannot control.  Sometimes our stress is caused by things we do.  I once heard someone say that 95% of the things we worry about never happen, and the 5% that do happen, we don't have control over anyway.  So don't worry about it.

Let's look at what is causing us stress.  My major source of stress seems to be things that I impose upon myself.  Too many commitments--it's okay to say no!  Not enough money to pay the bills--get on a budget/make a career change/start a side business.  I don't know.  A lot of things can cause stress, but really only if we let it.  More than anything, we have a choice in how we respond to life's circumstances.

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The point I'm trying to make in all this is that when you get to the place where you are stuck in a stressed feeling all the time, that should be a signal that something needs to change.  So STOP!  Look at what is actually causing the stress...and here's the crazy something to change it.

Right now.  Stop.  Look at the top 3 things that cause you stress.  Write it down.  If you don't know how to fix it, ask for help.  Change something.  What will you change today?  Comment below.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Never Underestimate Your Opponent

I remembered the first time I sparred at karate.  It's been quite a while ago, at this point, but I still remember being very intimidated by the thought of hitting someone else on purpose.  I was raised to "not hit," as probably most of you were.  Yet I found that I enjoyed the challenge of sparring.  (I must insert here that when we are sparring at karate, it is also an exercise in control: hit the uniform, but not the body underneath.  It's not an all out fisticuffs.) 

Most students are hesitant to spar at first, for any number of reasons, I would guess, but recently, some of our newer students started sparring.  I had yet to spar with some of the bigger kids.  Turns out one student in particular, was much faster than I expected.  It's not that I thought an 18-year-old would be slow, but he definitely scored on me more than I expected.  I wasn't being cocky...I did underestimate him, though.  The funny thing is that my son did the same thing.  As we were evaluating out sparring performance on the way home, he had come to the same conclusion.  This kid is fast!

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Should an attack situation happen in real life, I don't have the ability to walk away and evaluate what went wrong and then go back and try it again.  I need to always think higher of my opponent until he proves to me otherwise.  The same is true with my unseen enemy, Satan.  He is sneaky.  He seeks to creep in and destroy our children...and us.  Don't underestimate him.  Be aware.  

When have you underestimated someone to your own detriment?  Did you learn from it?  Tell me about it below.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Take My Breath Away

Have you ever heard a piece of music or seen a piece of art that took your breath away?  How about one that moved you to tears because of its beauty?  It sounds so sappy and cheesy, and I didn't really think that people were being real when they described experiences like that...but come to find out, it's real.  It happened to me.

Last Friday, I talked about my trip to Seattle with my hubby.  We had a great time just being a couple and seeing the sights.  We held hands and walked and saw and visited.  One of the sights we went to was Chihuly Garden and Glass.  AMAZING.  Simply amazing.  Really beautiful.  I loved it!  (Can you tell?)

The exhibit features the work of Dale Chihuly, a glass blower.  But it's not your typical glass blower art.  It almost feels alive and glowing...pulsing almost.  Now I'm sure that not everyone will have the same reaction that I did, but I could have spent days in there just looking at all the different pieces. Other people might just say, "Wow.  That's neat.  That's pretty.  Next." I don't know why, but the colors just spoke to me.  Perhaps it is part of my journey.  This journey where I remember what I'm good at.  This journey where I am in awe of God's creativity and the creativity that he has given to us, His creations.  What an amazing gift!  He told us that we are created in His image--and He is the ultimate creator...that means we are creative, too!  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

 Chihuly Garden and Glass

What inspires you?  Who inspires you?  When you feel that inspiration, what do you do with it?  Do you ignore it...or do you let it flow?  You were created to create.  Your creativity may not be glass blowing, but it could be a whole lot of different things: painting, writing, graphic design, mechanical, photography, and the list can go on forever.  Own your creativity.  Use it.  Grow it.  Comment below about what your creativity is.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

I Have to Eat Again...

I'm going to venture from my normal here's-my-insight-about-my-life format today.  I apologize if I sound a bit more whiny than usual, but I'm kind of stuck on this one and don't have the mental energy to figure it out.

Ugh.  I don't dislike eating.  In fact, I quite enjoy eating.  I even like cooking...most of the time, but, oh mylanta, we have to eat 3 times a day??  That sounds so ridiculous to even whine about (and, yes, I know I'm whining).  It just seems like sometimes in an effort to plan healthy, balanced meals, I get bogged down with wanting it to be perfect that I end up giving up because we're so hungry that we just go out to eat.  It's so expensive to eat out and makes it really hard to stick to a budget.  Ugh...again.

So this is my cry for help.  What do all you healthy eating, busy, busy moms on a budget do to keep your family fed??  I don't want to end up eating a bunch of processed food and I don't want to spend my whole weekend cooking for the week (nor do I have time to).  What do you eat for breakfast and lunches?  We usually do leftovers for lunch, which I'm fine with.  Breakfast is cereal or eggs during the week.

 UL electric pink & royal blue

What I'd like is to have a personal chef that picks food from my garden, cooks it fresh for my family and we eat around the table.  However, that is not exactly in the budget at this point.  My kiddos can help some, but I don't feel like they are quite comfortable with that idea yet (and I don't want spaghetti or tacos every night).  

So I ask again...what do all you fabulous, health conscience, budget minded moms do to feed your family every day?  I love my crock pot, but my hubby gets tired of soups and stews.  He does help cook, but he is not often the first one home, so it seems silly to wait for him to cook dinner.  My kids aren't too picky, but their repertoire is limited at this point.  I'd love to hear about different meal plans and/or services that you have used, loved, and felt good about.  I'm hesitant to spend money on something I haven't heard much about from real people.  I'm a Pinterest junkie, so I have a ton of recipes, but I need a plan that lasts longer than one meal.  Aaaaaaand...GO!  (This is where you fill up my comment section with all sorts of fabulous ideas.)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chivalry is Dead

Or is it?  It appears to be.  

I'm sitting in the SeaTac airport with my hubby waiting for our flight. We scored some super cheap plane tickets, so we decided to have a quick getaway...just the two of us.  We had a lovely time!  On our arrival, I noticed a sticker on the window of the bus:

It is federal law that if there is a disabled or elderly person who needs your seat you will be asked to give them your seat.
Seriously?  Yep. I'm not even kidding.  I said something about it to hubby when I saw it.  "Isn't that automatic? If you see a person who needs a seat, shouldn't you just do that?  A person shouldn't have to be asked, right?" He agreed, but there wasn't opportunity for it to be tested, so we let it go.

Fast forward to the return trip.  We stepped onto the shuttle and it was full of men. Literally, full of men.  I was the only woman.  Another woman boarded just before we pulled out.  Not a single man offered their seat.  I get it that we were both in t-shirt and jeans.  We were both able bodied and healthy, but that's not the point is it?

 UL lemon chiffon & Valencia orange

If my son had been with us, I would have made him get up and give his seat to a woman.  These men were old enough to know better.  I was embarrassed for them.  They should have been embarrassed themselves.

So back to my original question.  Is chivalry (good manners!) dead? No. As long as there are people willing to teach their children, especially our young men, how to properly respect another human being, then we'll be ok.

What do you think? I'd love some feedback on this one.  Is it antiquated to think a man should give up his seat for a woman? Or is it just good manners? Please comment below.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Contribute to the World

I mentioned a few weeks ago how an amazing opportunity has come into my life.  I'm really excited about it.  That much you already know.  It comes with a mentor.  That much you also know.  

In order to acquaint myself to this new mentor, he sent me a series of questions.  Discovery questions they were called.  I'm always intrigued to learn something new about myself (at least when it's a positive thing...).  Here are a couple of the questions:

     "What are 3 goals you want to achieve in the next 3 months?" Typical coach, goal setting stuff.  I get it.
     "What are the 3 biggest changes you want to make in your life in the next 3 months?" Starting to dig a little deeper.  It's not just goal setting, but admitting that something needs to change in order to grow.
     "Who am I currently mentoring?" This one was tricky for me because I don't feel like a mentor to others, but I'll delve into this one another time.  There are a few more questions, and then this little beauty pops up.  Big one, really.
     "What would you like to contribute to the world?"  Oh mylanta.  That's a really big question.  It's very different from the typical "What do you want to do with your life?" or "What do you want to be when you grow up?" It gets the focus off of me and puts in on the world around me, or even the whole big, wide world.  In other words, what did God put me here to do?  That's really heavy.  

If you ask me why I am here, it is to bring glory to God in all that I do. (I'm so glad that God offers grace because I do not reflect Him near as much as I'd like...) This question, is still different, though. What do I want to contribute to the world?  What do you want to contribute to the world?

 UL bright white & concord grape

I'll give part of my answer, but I'd love to hear your response to the question.  Really.  Please comment below.  Here's a portion of what I said:

It would be easy for me to think that I am too small to contribute anything to the world, but my God is bigger than that.  He can use anyone.  He has used some of the most humble and awkward people to do great things.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
 I want to be used by God to influence those around me in a positive manner.  I want to help empower them to believe in their God given potential.  I want them to understand that the only limits on themselves are self-imposed and that God has a plan and a purpose for each of them—and God doesn’t have limits! 

Your turn.  Go!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Know You Are Appreciated

Someone sweet and genuine told me that yesterday.  I was in my car at the drive up window at the bank.  She was in the lane next to me.  I don't care where I am when genuine compliments come. They always feel good.  It wasn't just that she said she liked me work that felt so good.  (I'm not knocking that, but it wasn't what really caught my attention this time.) She appreciates me for the vision I have and that my talents are different than hers.

We all have different gifts.  Even if you and I are both artistic, it might look like very different things. You may sculpt.  I paint.  You may paint, too, but completely different style of painting or different medium (type) of paint.  It's really beautiful.  I heard someone talking today saying that if we could appreciate each other more that our lives would turn into a symphony.  Isn't that a beautiful picture?  Each of us playing our own, separate and distinct part, but when combined it becomes a moving song.  

 UL bright white & electric pink

My husband is creative, but in a very different way than I am.  He can build things and see what needs to happen to make the pieces fit together.  His creativity compliments mine.  He appreciates my creativity, and I appreciate his.  My friend appreciates my creativity, and she told me.  I almost did a fist pump right there in the drive through at the bank because it made me feel so good.

Who will you let know that you appreciate them today?  Has someone done that for you?  Now it's your turn to pay it forward.  Go let someone know how much you genuinely appreciate them.  Smile.  You just made someone's day.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

How Will You Be Remembered?

Recently, one of my high school teachers passed away.  She was always a very healthy, active person, but within the last year or so, she developed a brain tumor.  I do not know the details of her death.  In fact, I prefer to remember her how she was.  She was kind and firm, always smiling, and a good teacher.  I still remember things she taught me my freshman year of high school.    I was saddened to hear of her passing.

Something bothered me about her passing, though.  She was a really good teacher for a long time. I'm sure I was not the only student she impacted.  Here's what bothered me: she requested to not have a service of any kind.  Part of this was, I'm sure, because she was very humble.  She wasn't a fussy kind of lady.  I'm sure she didn't want people making a big to-do on her behalf.  I'm sure she didn't want to put people out by taking the time to do a service.  I really don't know all that went into her decision to not have a service.  I hadn't seen her for several months, and I didn't know she was ill when I did see her.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't expect a large and formal to-do when I die.  What I'd like is for my friends to gather and tell stories of all the dorky, silly things I did.  Feel free to make fun of me, because certainly I do.  Have a BBQ and laugh and have a good time.  Really and truly, this is what I want.  I have one friend that told me she attended a fun-eral.  Fun being the active word.  I have enjoyed my life with all its ups and downs and hard and silly spots.  I know I will be in a heaven because I know my savior, Jesus.  I know I'm not perfect in this life, so it's okay to remember my lumps and bumps, too.  I'd like to be remembered for the positive impact I had on those around me, but more than anything for the way I hopefully made people feel.

 UL lilac bouquet & cobblestone gray

How do you want to be remembered?  What do you want people to say about you when you're gone?  If you're not happy with what they might say, then change now.  You're not going to get another chance at this life.  Please comment below.

Friday, October 9, 2015

My Kid Bragged About Me

My son just turned 13-years-old last week.  He is officially a teenager now.  I had the privilege of accompanying him on his field trip earlier this week.  It was actually a lot of fun, not that I didn't think it would be, but that's a lot of middle schoolers and a lot of hormones...  (My hat is off to any teacher of middle schoolers!)  The kids were great.  Really and truly they were.  They even dressed up nice for our visit to the theater.  They were so cute in their fancy dresses, plaid shirts, and bow ties.

We were sitting at lunch, when one of the boys leaned over and asked me,
"How many times did you take your brown belt test before you passed?"
I smiled and told him.  Three.  I'm not embarrassed.  I'm proud that I didn't quit.  Three.  That's how many times it took me to pass my Brown 2 test.  It kind of sucked, but I learned a lot about myself in the process.  Now you might be thinking it's weird to think my son was bragging about me by talking about how I didn't pass my test, but it matters to know what the class has been studying: grit.  This isn't science class, and I don't mean sand or grinding of the teeth.  I mean John Wayne-stand-your-ground-determination-strength-of-character-never-back-down kind of grit. My son and I haven't talked much about it since it happened, and I've moved on and passed my black belt test now.  But he was watching.  Our kids are always watching.  

 UL electric pink

I mess up much more often than I'd like, but I also know that it's okay to apologize to my kids and try again.  I'm always amazed at how much grace they have to offer me.  I'm pretty stoked that my little-big man thought I was cool enough to brag about to his peers.  He even thought I was cool enough to sit by on the bus on the way to the theater.  THAT was a stellar day.

It's intriguing to hear about what our kids say about us when we're not around.  Have you ever caught your kids bragging (or complaining!) about you?  How did it make you feel?  Proud or maybe a reminder that you need to pay some attention to a character issue?  I've done both.  I'd love to hear about your experiences.  Please share below.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Be Humble...Not Awkward

I recently volunteered on a creative arts committee at my church.  As a group, we came up with several artistic projects to make our church feel more home-y and warm.  I'll be honest.  This awesome group of ladies worked well together and we came up with some a-m-a-z-i-n-g stuff!  (I love Pinterest in conjunction with creative minds!!)  

It was totally a group effort.  There wasn't a lone star person.  It was truly a God thing.  Here's the awkward part.  Last week during the service our sweet pastor asked us to stand up and just said thank you for the work we put in, and that it was really lovely.  I'm not sure why, but I suddenly became really embarrassed.  I could feel my cheeks burning and I sat in my chair.  It was so strange, and if it were one of my friends sitting next to me being recognized I would have made them stand up.  I honestly don't know why I just sat there.  I'm truly proud of the work we did.  Here are some pics below to show how cool some of this stuff turned out!

 efree church

 Efree church

 Efree church

In the back of my mind, I knew at some point that there would be mention of our work.  Why on earth was I so embarrassed?  Who knows?  Have you ever been recognized for something good you did and instead of accepting it graciously, acted awkwardly?  Have you learned a better response?  I'd LOVE to hear about it below.  Please share in the comment section.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Blood Moon Dreams

The super duper, red glowing, rarely seen blood moon was last Sunday.  There was all sorts of media hype, and since it won't come around again for quite a while, I decided I'd better go take a gander.  My kids thought it would be cool, too, especially my daughter, so outside we went.  

We could see it fairly well from my driveway, but the better view was from my upstairs bedroom window.  Snuggled on my lap, my sweet girl sat in the dark room watching the moon turn colors.  She watched and we sat quietly, in awe of God's creativity.  We weren't really saying much, and then my girl turned to me and surprised me with her words.

"Mom, I want to be the first woman to fly to Mars."
What do you say to that??

"Okay, Baby.  Go for it."
 UL navy blue and sunshine yellow

I'm sure she'll be singing all the way there.  Right now, that seems like such a wild and sci-fi movie kind of dream, but so was going to the moon.  In fact, plans weren't even started when JFK made the promise that we'd go to the moon by the end of the decade.  This is the girl that wants to be a beautician, an ice skater, a teacher, a principal, a musician, a fashion designer, a dentist, a mommy, and a model. I'm pretty sure she'll find a way to fly to Mars in the middle of all that.  You go girl.  Who am I to squash her dream?  No one.  I have my own big dreams.  I'm not going to squash hers.

What dreams did you have when you were young?  Did someone squash them or are you pursuing them now?  I might be a bit late at getting started, but I'm getting there.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Can Women Lead...Really?

My husband is the head of our home.  In a nutshell, in our house we translate that to mean that he is ultimately responsible for our spiritual well being, as well as for our overall well being.  (No pressure!) It doesn't mean that we are not responsible for ourselves, or that I don't have an opinion, as his wife.  It just means that ultimately the buck stops with him.  If we have a disagreement on something and cannot come to a compromise, the final decision is his.  That being said, I wasn't sure what that looked like outside of church and outside of our family--namely in business.  Is it OK for me to lead?  Turns out, the short answer is, yes!

It can be tricky when I am working with my husband, or rather my husband is working for me on projects.  At the end of the day, he is my husband whether it's my job and business or not.  Outside of my hubby working for me, there does not appear to be an issue (Biblically speaking because that is my point of reference) with women leading in business, work place, or in politics.  So here I go!  

My businesses are continuing to grow.  My family is blessed.  I am growing both personally and professionally.  I was going to add a different kind of picture to my blog today.  It's not an example of my vinyl products like I normally do, but an example of my painting.  This is one of my current projects and I'm excited to show it off a bit.  This is in a student center at a church, so bear in mind it's a bit bright, and funky and edgy.  However, I just realized that the picture I have doesn't show the completed wall, so you'll have to wait.  Sorry!

 UL sugared plum

What are you working on that you're proud of?  How are you growing and punching fear in the face?  I'd love to hear about it below.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I'm busy, like most people these days.  I work a full time job, in addition to taking care of my family and home, growing a business, as well as doing a small group Bible study once a week, karate twice a week, crossfit three times a week, and the list goes on...and those are just the things I do.  My kids have some of their own activities, too.   I manage my time pretty well, but I don't have much down time.  But today I got my car fixed.

How does getting my car fixed make me have down time, you ask?  Indeed!  Since I wasn't able to jump in my car at lunch to run 50 errands or switch laundry or check on my side project, get the picture.  My car was still being worked on at lunch time.  It's that simple.  I could have wrangled up a car to drive or somewhere to go, but I didn't.  It was a perfect fall day, so I ate my lunch and went outside to the lawn and opened the Kindle app on my phone and read for a good 40 minutes.  It was beautiful.  I love reading and while I do try to read for 15-20 minutes each night, it is often not enough and I'm usually exhausted by then.  I just sat there under a tree and read.

 UL whipped cream

Being busy and managing multiple big things forces me to manage my time well, and to fit things into the little cracks of leftover time.  It also brings my attention to the little chunks of downtime and how to wisely use it for myself and my family.  I want to fully be there.  My favorite Uppercase Living expression I've had in my home for years says this:

Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life.

When have you been forced to take a bit of downtime?  Did you enjoy it or did you get lost in the things you "should" be doing in your mind?  Please comment below.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I'm Getting Luckier

I'm sure you've heard the saying,
The harder I work, the luckier I get.
I really believe that to be true.  The point of it, it's that there is really no such thing as luck.   It's often a combination of factors: hard work, learning, preparation, humility, being available.  Each one of those factors can look like a million things.

I've talked before about some of the benefits of having a coach. I love my coach.  She is amazing!  I can't begin to list the ways she has helped me become who I am and put a voice to the ramblings in my head. She has helped me to figure out and define what I want to be when I grow up--yes, I know that I'm 38-years-old.  I know that God isn't finished with me yet.

 UL crimson red

Recently, I've been offered another opportunity. I am not at liberty to talk about it at this point, but suffice it to say that I'm excited about it because it's an extension of something I'm already doing. This blessing also comes with a coach, so I don't have to go it alone. What better way to learn how to do something well than to learn from someone that has done it well before me?

What do you want to do when you grow up? How are you learning to do it--the school of hard knocks or a mentor? If love to hear about it below.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Eat Some Humble Pie!

I was having a rough time last night and this morning.  I was feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have my house as de-cluttered and organized as I'd like to have it.  Part of the problem is that I collect information, and as a collector of information, I'm afraid of throwing something away that I might need later.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not a hoarder, but left unchecked and without some sort of discipline...I could probably end up that way.  The good news is that I am also a restorative person, a fixer.  That means I try to find better ways to store all my cr...I mean, stuff.

Fast forward to last night when my non-collector husband came home to my not-yet-cleaned-up home after a bad day.  To make a long story short, we got it all worked out, but I was still feeling sorry for myself.  After I had asked for prayers from some of my close girls, one of them drove to my work and asked for my keys to my house so she could go clean for me.  Isn't that just the most amazing thing??  She was really and truly going to clean my house for me just because she loves me.  I wouldn't let her, because I have to pick up my house before I can have anyone come clean.  It got me to thinking, though.  Why don't we want people to help us with things like house cleaning and such?

 UL stone cottage & hot cocoa

There might be some legitimate reasons, but I couldn't really come up with any outside of pride.  It's our dirt and life that we live in.  This beautiful friend wants to help me.  I should take her up on it.  At this point in the debt payoff game, I cannot afford to pay her, but I can trade services for something else.  I can paint for her, or something else that I am good at or enjoy that maybe she doesn't.  It's all part of living in community with other people.  It's about being real and letting ourselves be loved. It's how God intended us to live.

What do you think?  Was I being prideful to deny her the opportunity to love on me?  Would you have done the same?  I'd love to hear what you think.  Please comment below.

Monday, September 14, 2015

There's Nothing Like Accountability...or Lying

There is truly nothing like having to write it down or tell someone what you did to hold you true to your word.  It's effective on our eating habits, our thought patterns, or financial health. 

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm a Dave Ramsey fan.  It's true.  I think his system is pretty amazing and powerful.  Part of what makes it so powerful is that it came out of his place of brokenness...and the principles are based on the Bible.  Who knew the Bible had so much to say about money??  (We learned about that several years ago in the Crown Financial class, as well.)  Last year, my hubby and I went through Financial Peace University with some good friends of ours.  Now we're doing it again, but as coordinators.  Honestly, we're doing it as a refresher for us as much as we are doing it to help other people.

Here's where the accountability comes in: when you are the one teaching something, you'd better make sure you practice what you are teaching, or your students are going to see right through you.  We don't have everything down pat and it is a process making our finances work well, but we're heading in the right direction.  I pray that our fellow FPU-ers see that in us, and can see that we are real, and that we've been in a lot of yucky places with our money in the past.  We've learned from our mistakes and moved forward, but we are so far from perfect. 

 UL concord grape

One of the reasons, I believe, that FPU works so well is that it's a group.  Ours is a small group, and I'm okay with that.  It makes it a little easier to be vulnerable and truthful.  If we are so caught up in how things look or "should" be, then the help isn't able to sink in...and we stay in the place we are.  In a group we have the ability to hold each other accountable to what we say we are going to do.

My challenge to you today is to grab someone that you trust to be loving and honest with you.  Open yourself up to be challenged and honest with yourself.  Ask your friend to be a true friend and hold you accountable to whatever process you're working through: finance, health, marriage, food, whatever.  I'd love to hear how it goes.  Tell me about it below.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm Not As Funny As I Used to Be

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not funny ever.  In fact, sometimes I'm downright hilarious.   I crack myself up on a regular basis. (And, yes, I am aware I look like a crazy person walking down the hall by myself and then bursting into laughter.) The difference is that I used to hide behind humor

I'd be learning a new technique at karate and I'd mess up.  My initial response is to make fun of myself.  I don't do that as much anymore.  Don't get me wrong--I still mess up plenty, but I've learned to accept it and move on.  I don't have to hide my mistakes or get mad about it.  To expect perfection is ludicrous.  So I own it instead.  I own my mistakes.  I made them.  They are mine.  They are a part of me and my life.  I can learn from them and move on, or I can get stuck and feel bad about it and keep making the same mistake and stay in that weird non-moving, non-growing place.  As always, it's my choice.

 UL cotton candy & crimson red

I'm okay with not having to hide behind humor.  I still love to laugh and be silly.  I pray that never changes.  In the meantime, I'll listen and learn, hopefully.

What is something that has changed about you?  What called your attention to it?  Are you okay with it?  I'd love to hear your thoughts below.  No need to be shy.  I don't bite.

Monday, September 7, 2015

No Excuses & I'm Sorry

I must apologize to you, my loyal readers.  I haven't been putting my best work out the last few weeks.  It's not that I'm living my life any less or seeing any less subject matter to write about.  In fact, it's been a really cool season with a lot of things going much going on that I have literally had less time to write.  I'm not making excuses (because I really don't like excuses, and try not to do that myself).  I have been blessed with an opportunity to actively pursue my side hustle.

While writing this blog is a piece of my side hustle and it helps you to know me better, and hopefully offer some encouragement to you along the way, I don't want it to become something that it isn't...just one more thing to do, a check on my list of tasks, a chore.  That's not what this is to me.  It's supposed to be an outlet for my ramblings, and a place to process my life and my perceptions of who I am in Christ.  If I am not taking the time to do that properly, then we are both being sold short--me as the writer, and you as the reader.  I'm sorry to both of us.

 UL sugared plum & bright white

What I will do to rectify the situation (because that's what restorative/fixer people do), is cut back on my posts for a while.  I will post twice a week, instead of 3 times each week.  My hope in that is that I will be giving higher quality posts and you will be more inspired to live your life in a beautiful (not perfect!) way.

What is something that you've had to step back from, even partially, to do better?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Great Expectations

This is the second week of school for my kiddos.  Tonight was the open house for the middle school students, which includes my son, the now 7th grader.  (How he got to be in 7th grade when he was born last week, I'll never know.) Last year was a recovery year for him.  Due to some circumstances that were truly and completely beyond his control, 6th grade was a bit rough.  It was a good reminder that our actions do effect other people, but in this case, we were the other people...yuck.

It's a new year now and a perfect time for a fresh start.  We're off to a great start!  So far, so good! Yay! I am really excited for this upcoming school year because I really feel like the past is in the past for my young man.  Since the end of last school year, he has been on not one, but two trips without his parents.  He went on a mission trip a couple hundred miles away, and he went on a trip to Washington D.C. and New York City.  Those were both really big things.  He did them both and raised the money for both, by himself (with our support, of course).  That is so cool in and of itself, but it's empowering.  He knows that he has the tools to succeed because he already used them.  

 UL berry red & navy

It's funny that taking a trip could set a kid up for success in school, but I really believe it did.  If nothing else, he'll ace history class because of all the cool things he was able to visit, but it is so much more than that.  It's the fact that he had to work for it, but also that he got to reap the reward of his hard work.  

When I build on my past successes, it makes it easier to move forward with confidence.  What success in your past has helped you move forward with a positive outlook?  I'd love to hear about it below.  After you're done telling me about it, you can stop by my new website at for some inspiration for your walls.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Do It Anyway

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.  I read that recently on a pin, or facebook scroll.  Every now and then I find a real nugget that is more true than not.  The funny thing about this quote is that it's not doubt from others that will kill my dream--it's my own doubt.  If I doubt that I have the capability or skills to complete a task, I more than likely won't begin in the first place.  BUT if I have just a tiny glimmer of hope at all, I might overcome that doubt.  

Doubt is ugly.  Doubt is never productive.  It's kissing cousins with concern, which sounds nice and respectful.  When let to run loose, either will smoosh you.  They just don't play well with others. Doubt told me I couldn't get my black belt because of ...any number of reasons, really.  Doubt told me I couldn't climb a rope at 38-years-old because I'd never done it before in my life.  Doubt told me I couldn't be successful in business because even though I have a lot of input and guidance, I've never actually been really successful in business.  Guess what.  I have hope and I have truth, and I've done or am doing those things anyway.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 UL spring hyacinth & cocoa punched metal tile

So who cares if you haven't done ______ before?  Do it anyway.  Who cares if you don't know how to do it?  Learn...and do it anyway.  Who cares if you are scared?  Do it anyway.  Action conquers fear.  Action overcomes doubt.  We really only have one chance at this life.  Don't drown in doubt and inaction.  Go get 'er done.

After you've decided to do it anyway, jump over to my new website and we'll set a time to start a do over on your living space, too.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Friends Since Birth

My son has a friend.  He has several friends, but this relationship is different from the others.  For starters, these boys have been friends since before they were born.  His mom and I worked together in high school before we ever met our hubbies.  Our hubbies came into the picture and became fast friends with common interests.  We've known each other for over 20 years now, so it was only the natural next step when the boys were born just 3 months apart for them to become friends, as well. 

When the boys were little, they both played cars and trucks and dug in the mud and all those things boys do.  They growled, and played make believe, and thought it was especially cool when they got to go to work with the daddies at construction sites.  As they grew and got older, their different interests started to emerge, but they remained friends.  My son has gone the way of the sports playing guy while his friend is more geared toward gears and computers.  They have some overlapping skills like minecraft and legos, and mathematically mindedness, but that's really kind of it as far as natural skills lie. 

The amazing thing about their relationship is when these two get together...oh Mylanta.  It's hilarious to watch.  They do goofy things.  They are just silly--really silly!  They digs holes.  Big holes.  These two boys worked on digging a hole for months...because they wanted to and it was part of some fantastical story they were playing.  If I had asked them to dig a hole for something it would have been an entirely different story, but when they wanted to, well, they did.  They cackling hens and it's completely contagious.  I just giggle sitting here thinking about it as I write.

The part that gets me about this story is that if they had met for the first time later in life, I don't think they would have naturally gravitated to each other.  But because they've known each other their whole lives, they are automatically comfortable with each other and their differences...and it's really beautiful.  It makes me think about what I miss out on because I put up a little bit of a wall when I meet someone with a different set of interests, a contrasting personality than my own.  Don't get me wrong.  I can get along with just about anyone, but the people I draw closer to me have similar personalities and interests to my own. 

 UL electric lime

It's food for thought.  Are the people in your close circle of friends very similar to you?  Maybe it's worth stretching yourself a little to find a treasure underneath.  It might not look like what you thought it would.  I love it when I learn things from my kids.

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