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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm Glad My Daughter Passed NOW

At the beginning of July, I posted about my sweet daughter not passing her karate test...and how I was glad she didn't pass because I knew she hadn't prepared for it like she should have.  In the time since that original post, she has had plenty of time to practice and study.  It was summer break.  It doesn't hurt to have something to occupy the kids' time, right?  I reminded her and gave her the study book, but I really didn't nag her.  I wanted her to do this mostly on her own.

Tonight was the night it came to fruition.  It was time to test again.  Actually, it was supposed to be 2 days ago, but I was sick.  She asked me tonight as we got ready for class if she could test again...and she was excited about it.  Yes, that is weird, but I'm not going to argue if she feels confident and ready to go.  I haven't been the one working with her and her teacher said a couple weeks ago that she was really close, so...test away, I say!  So we did.

 UL lilac bouquet & sugared plum

She still missed a couple techniques, but not near as many as she missed previously.  No one is going to be perfect.  It's just not possible.  (More on that here.) She might not have been perfect, but she was amazing.  I was so proud of this girl.  She is 10-years-old.  She got up in front of a panel of judges--which consists of 4 adults, and black belts to boot.  She rocked it.  She really did.  Did I mention she is only 10-years-old?  She stood tall and smiled.  Well, she tried not to smile because that's what she does when she's nervous-cited (that's what she calls being nervous and excited at the same time).  It was adorable.  Truly adorable.

Even though she got a little stuck a couple times, she still passed.  My girl is getting her purple belt! I couldn't be more proud.  I'm sure I'll post more pictures next week after the promotion ceremony, but for now, we'll suffice it to say that she is a rock star.  She did this, and it wasn't me pushing her this time.  She did it because she felt ready.

What super accomplishments have you or your kiddos done because it was the right time to do it?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Top 10!!!

Happy anniversary to me!  Today is my 100th blog post, so to celebrate (and give myself a little, tiny break, if I'm being perfectly honest), I am re-sharing my top 10 posts as chosen by you, my amazing audience.  Enjoy!  In reverse order, because that's how we do things these days.  Thank you, Mr. Letterman.

#10 Rippled Leadership-originally posted July 17, 2015

#9 I'm Not Supposed to Adopt- originally posted June 12, 2015

#8 Let's Teach Our Kids How to Handle Money- originally posted July 15, 2015

#7 I'm Glad I Didn't Go With My Son- originally posted June 5, 2015

#6 My Son Said It Was Worth It- originally posted June 10, 2015

#5 I'm Late to the Game- originally posted July 6, 2015

#4 I (Don't) Need Approval- originally posted June 8, 2015

#3 I'm Glad My Daughter Didn't Pass- originally posted July 3, 2015

#2 Where Does Your Worry End?- originally posted July 27, 2015

#1 Who's Your BFF?- originally posted July 10, 2015

 UL robin's egg blue & long board

Apparently, June and July were great writing months for me.  Stay tuned for more insights and experiences from my crazy life.  I appreciate each and every one of you stopping by to hear what I have to say, and for sharing it with others.

P.S. Happy birthday to my sweet mom, tomorrow!:)

P.P.S. Be sure to stop by my brand new website to learn a little bit more about me and what I do. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Make Up Your Mind Already

I have a hard time with wishy-washiness.  I'm sure that's not an actual real word, but I'm certain you know what I mean by it.  It's those people that look at different options, weigh them, choose the first option, change their mind to the second option, then decide to look at a third option, and then go back to the first option again...then just stop the process all together. (Now my husband might be tempted to interject here and say I do that when we're at restaurants, but I would contend that I don't...we'll save that discussion for another day.)

I understand and agree with taking time to make a well thought out decision.  That's important and prudent, but just struggling to make a decision?  It's time to commit.  I helped a patient pick out glasses one day and she had such a hard time deciding between 2 pairs of glasses that looked nice on her that she finally decided to stay with the same frames she had--2 months later!  Really?  Yes, really.  If she had that hard of a time picking (or in this case, not picking) a pair of glasses, how is it going to go for picking a car, or choosing a college, or a husband?  Good grief.

 UL warm stone & lilac

Maybe I'm being too harsh.  Maybe that girl made a really bad decision at some point and had to live with the consequences of it, but I don't really think that was the issue.  I really think she was afraid to make a "wrong" choice and therefore it paralyzed her.  It seems to me, though, that at some point you have to own your decision--good, bad or otherwise.  I'm sure the ability to make a choice has something to do with leadership (because I've read that in more than one leadership type book).  The conclusion I come to is that we need to take charge of decision making within ourselves in order to move forward.  If we consistently are afraid to make a wrong choice, then we'll make no choice...which translates to bad choice which is non-moving choice, which is going backward choice.

So make up your mind already!  It might take a little practice to get in the habit, but like all self-discipline, it's a process.  We don't wake up and then suddenly become super self-disciplined.  Allow yourself grace, and choose to be happy along the way, because that, too, is a choice.

P.S. My new website is live!  I'd love for you to pop over and take a look.  It's a bit more comprehensive on what I do. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Overflowing Discipline

I'm excited to share how my kiddos have responded to getting fired at home, but that is still playing out...and I don't want to share just yet.  Instead, I want to revisit something that seems to be a chronic issue in our country: a general lack of self-discipline.  

I would say I'm a fairly disciplined person, and I will be honest in saying that it's something I've really been developing over the last 4 or 5 years.  It's not that I was completely undisciplined before, but I have definitely reached a new level of self-discipline since I've been deliberately working on it. Here's my observation for today: discipline in one area of my life overflows into other areas of my life.  What does that mean?  It's craziness!  I didn't suddenly become a robot.  Let me explain how this played out for me.  When I began to develop discipline in my fitness, I started to work on my spiritual self-discipline.  I was getting up earlier, and getting home before my kids got up, so I had a little time to myself.  I began to use that time to read a devotional.  My spiritual discipline grew, and as a result, my personal development grew...which fed into my financial well being because I was opening my mind to new ideas and influence of those around me that are smarter about such things.  I started listening to Dave Ramsey and reading books by Jon Acuff and Andy Andrews.  I was learning from people that were teaching principles based on their faith and the Bible.  Do you see how all these are connected?  They are all tied together and they overflow into one another.  

 UL crimson red & cobblestone gray

When I went through the Daniel Plan earlier this year, they talked about that, too.  All the different aspects to our lives are connected and that's why we need to address each of them in order to be successful in one of them.  The exciting thing is that deliberate, positive changes can lead to positive changes in other areas, but the opposite is true, too.  What if I let one are of my life start slipping?  I don't think it's too long before another starts to slip, and then another.  Pretty soon I've gained 150 pounds, my kids are sassy and disrespectful, my marriage is on the rocks, and we're in the poor house.  Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration...or is it?  Those things don't happen over night, but they do happen--one choice at a time.

My challenge to you today is to make one positive, little choice today that you didn't make yesterday that will benefit yourself.  Don't start in every area of your life today, but start in one.  Maybe you'll go for a walk in the evening instead of watching TV.  Maybe you'll choose water with lemon and cucumber instead of soda.  I don't know what your little discipline choice will be or where it will go from there, but it's a start.  

I'd love to hear about your little choice and how you felt about it after you made it.  Please comment below.  I'm excited to hear about it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Just Fired My Kids

My kids work on commissions.  They don't automatically get paid an allowance.  I need to rephrase that first sentence: they worked on commissions.  I just fired them. 

I realize it's summer and they feel like they should have less responsibilities than normal, but the fact of the matter is that stuff still needs to be done.  Laundry?  Yep.  It's laundry today or naked tomorrow.  Dishes?  Yep.  I can't afford to buy paper plates for every meal (...even though that's what I told my mom that's what I'd do when I was a kid).  Trash out?  Yep.  I super don't like the smell of nasty trash in my house.  I really don't feel like I expect too much of my kids.  I don't think I was overloading them either.  I think they have gotten into some less-than-hard-working habits.  More than one time I have told them, if they worked like that at a real job or in a business of their own, they'd be fired or go out of business.  So that's exactly what I did.  I fired them tonight.

This particular straw that broke the camels back started last night.  I had asked the kids to empty the dishwasher yesterday afternoon and it didn't get done.  I was fed up, so I started to do it before bed time when my daughter walked in.  (I will 99% of the time just let the dirty dishes sit in the sink, but I couldn't stand it anymore.  Something had to give.) She informed me that she would do it in the morning and
"please don't do it, Mommy.  I will do it." I believed her and walked away. 
 I will give her credit.  She did start it in the morning, but she didn't never did get finished--by either kiddo.  I was beyond frustrated when I came home at lunch, as I am sure you can imagine.  I did the dishes and got to thinking as I headed back to work.  Something had to change.  I can't keep asking and getting little or no results.  I've talked calmly to them.  I've yelled.  I've cried.  Daddy has talked to them until he is blue in the face.  They have learned not to listen when the chore talk comes up. 

 UL navy

We sat down on the couch.  I paid them their last commissions they had earned.  I then asked them why they didn't get the full amount they can earn.  They knew that it was because they hadn't done all of their chores.  I then told them they were fired and I would be doing their chores now, so they can pay me.  The chores still need to be done and if they weren't willing to do it, then they could pay me to do it.  I did apologize for not communicating with them better about what I was expecting of them.  I apologized for apparently not showing them well enough.  I think they were stunned.  My 12-year-old son didn't really say much.  My daughter looked sad, but didn't say much either.  The thing about this is, I'm not bluffing.  I will do the work.  I will take their commissions for myself.  Thank you!  More spending money for me. 

After they digested my words for a bit, well, they responded in not the way I thought they would.  We shall see what happens in the coming days and weeks.  I feel a series coming on...

Parents, what drastic measures have you taken with your kids to help them "see the light" when it comes to work?  I'd LOVE to hear about it.  Please comment below.  No need to be shy.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Too Many Chiefs

Have you ever worked on a project that had too many chiefs and not enough Indians?  If you've ever done anything with any group of people, I'm sure you have.  I know I have.  I'm quite certain I've been one of "those" people, too. Yuck.(If you don't know what I mean by too many chiefs, I am referring to an oft occurring situation where strong personalities collide to try and force their will over everyone else.) It shows a certain level of maturity to be able to work together when you have strong personalities and bold ideas.  I have been blessed by one of those situations of the good kind.

I have been really fortunate to work with a beautiful group of creative women on a project at my church.  We've had a few planning sessions where we brainstorm ideas and then refine.  It's been a lot of fun!  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoy it.  Of course, we are idea women.  We have lot of ideas (and Pinterest!), and some working, technical knowledge, but the technical side is not our strong suit.  Enter handy husbands!

Yesterday, we had a work day to actually assemble some of our was amazing!  Granted, the boys were a little thrown off when we showed them pictures and said, "Go make it, pretty please." They came together in such an amazing way, that it could only have been anointed by God.  We made (and by we, I mean 90% the boys) 3 rather large size projects in a matter of hours.  It was so cool...and we had fun.  I can't wait to see how it all turns out in the end.

 UL navy and bright white

I know it was definitely a God thing that it all worked out so well, but there was another component that I don't want to overlook.  Everyone of the team members were positive.  As in, they all said,

"How can we make this happen?"  Not one of them said, "It won't work."
In that kind of environment, of course, we accomplished it all.  Get 'er done.

I'd love to hear about your Get 'er done situation?  What do you feel was the glue that made it work?  Please comment below.  Don't be shy.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Let's Teach Our Kids The Dignity of Work

There is dignity in working.  I'm not just talking about at a job, but about work in general.  When I have a task to complete and I see it through to the end, I feel a sense of satisfaction when it's done.  It doesn't matter if it's doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or completing my black belt test.  When I've put the work in, it's satisfying to finish it.  Period.  There is dignity and respect in that.  

I'm very tempted to get on my soap box today about the abuse of the non-working, system abusers.  I saw more than one example, just today, of people using the welfare system in a way that it was not intended to be used.  But I'm not going to go there.  Instead, what I want to emphasize is that work is a good thing.  

 UL peach sorbet & pumpkin spice

Google's online dictionary defined dignity as "the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect." Or "a sense of pride in oneself." I believe work provides all it's different forms.  I get tired of seeing the abuse of the welfare system, but more than that I get really tired of hearing people talk about work like it is a bad thing.  We need to work.  We don't just need to be busy.  That's not it at all, and it's counterproductive.  Besides giving dignity and self-respect, it provides purpose. Let's celebrate that, and remain humble in our blessing of having the ability to work.  I don't care if you are a ditch digger, a doctor, or a drive-through window operator.  Own what you do, and sincerely do it to the best of your ability.  Be blessed by your own dignity and be proud of what you do.

When I was helping my son to work towards his goals, I was so glad of the fact that he was being rewarded for his hard work.  What an amazing lesson!

I'd love to hear about a moment when you realized that you were proud of yourself for work you had done, or that your children did.  Please comment below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Broken Crayons Still Color

We are all made in God's image, therefore we have the capacity to create.  Creativity can look like a million different things.  It can be painting, drawing, building, entrepreneurship.  It's not limited. That is the beauty of creativity.  It's creating something new from something else. 

The other side of the story is we live in a broken world.  Sometimes when I create something, whether it be a story I've written, a painting I've painted, or even just a vinyl expression I've put on the wall,  I don't always want to share it.  I try to justify it in my mind by saying that I did it for me, and I didn't do it for other people--which is true to an extent.  Really, though, I'm scared.  The doubt voice creeps into my head and says,

"What if they laugh at me?"
"What if they make fun of/criticize/say anything about my work?" 

But it's okay.  I won't die, and I laugh at me all the time.  One of the concepts that Jon Acuff talks about in his book Start, is the voices in our head.  (One of my favorite books, by the way.) We all have them, but the point he made is that none of us has a positive voice.  Ouch.  We know and trust this voice...because we've heard it all our lives.  Just because we've heard it all our lives doesn't mean it's telling us the truth.

UL spring hyacinth

I am completely guilty of holding back on some of my work sometimes.  It was huge for me to start this blog.  I get that I'm starting this a bit later than most, and it would be easy for me to write it and not publish it.  Who wants to read what I think? What do I possibly have to say that would benefit anyone else?  Turns out that several people have benefited from what I have to say.  I've received feedback on my facebook page, emails, and in person from people that told me,

"That's just what I needed to hear today, Jennille."

Really? says the voice in my head.  Yes, really.  I'm not an expert on many things, but that doesn't mean I can't learn and share what I've learned.  Let's be creative.  Let's share and learn from each other.  Let's put our creative talents out there.  You never know, other people just might appreciate what you have to say.

I'd love to hear what you have to say.  If you are a fellow blogger, please post your address in the comments below and a brief summary of your topic.  Thanks for stopping by!  As always, click the picture to jump to my website if you'd like the expression shown.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Work It

Work is hard.  But it's also satisfying, rewarding, and good for our souls.  Did you know that work was around before the fall of man--as in, before Adam and Eve took the bite of the fruit that fateful day?  Yep.  Work is not part of the curse, but that's not where I'm heading with this today.

I've talked before about my kids working, more specifically my son working towards a monetary goal (more on that here).  While work is a piece of the gifts that God has given us, it seems more and more that we are taking the dignity of work away from our fellow human beings.  I recently watched a series of videos on poverty, called Poverty Cure, that were completely fascinating to me.  It was only 6 sessions long, and if you have opportunity to watch the entire series, I would highly recommend it, but, again, more on that later.

 UL crimson red

What I'm most excited about is teaching my kids to work.  Since leaving the cable company a month or so ago, my awesome hubby has been an amazing example of how to work.  Don't get me wrong, he has always been a hard worker.  When I first met him, at age 17, he was working 2 jobs in addition to going to school, and preparing to graduate early.  This man knows how to work.  I'm ecstatic that he is working for himself again, because now he can take our kids along.  It's not just this abstract concept that Daddy goes to work all day and must bring home some sort of money because we have a house to live in and food to eat.  My son got to help finish up a project the other day, and he was so excited to do it.  Last week, my daughter got to go on a follow up consult with me on a big project I'm working on.  She got to see how I interact with people on a professional basis.  I am not perfect, by any means, but what an amazing way to teach her.

It would be simple to just tell my kids to get their education and go into business for themselves.  We do tell them that.  It's much harder, though, to show them that it's okay to work for themselves--to be job creators instead of job seekers.  I believe that's what this world needs.  More givers.  Less takers.  Don't see the obstacles.  Look beyond to see the reward on the other side.

What obstacle are you working to overcome?  I'd love to hear about it below.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Do You Need Extra Eyes?

I forget that people are not like me. (For those of you that know me personally, you might be thinking, "Thank heaven!").  It's not that I think everyone is the same, because I know most definitely that we are not.  It's just hard for me to fathom that not everyone can see things in their head and take steps to get there.  I'm sure that there are other types of problem solver minds out there, but I see things in my head to figure out how to do it.  That's just how my mind works, and that's exactly why people need me to help them with their homes.

I was helping one of my beautiful friends find some direction for her home last week when it struck me.  She knows her amazing home has potential, but she was really struggling to know which way to she didn't go anywhere.  It's not that she had done nothing.  She had painted a few rooms in the initial frenzy that is moving into a new home, but after that she got a little stuck.  As I listened to her talk about how she wants her home to feel, I could hear her nagging frustration with the lack of progress she had made beyond that.  Don't we all get there sometimes?  We know we want to do something.  We can see the big things, but we're not ready to tackle that just yet.  And then we see a million little things we could do, but what exactly do we want to do...and where do we start?

 UL concord grape & wild raspberry

An extra set of eyes is handy sometimes.  I'm not an interior designer and I'm not going to paint your whole house for you (unless you pay me to paint for you, and that's a different matter entirely).  I'm not going to make your house look like mine.  What I will do for you is listen to you.  I want to hear about your vision for your home.  How do you want people to feel when they walk into your home?  I'm an extra set of eyes that doesn't look at your same walls everyday.  I'm there to see things a little differently than you do.  A fresh perspective.  That's what I do for you as a color & inspiration consultant.

I get to use the gifts God has given me to serve you.  I love it and you benefit from it.  What gifts of yours do you use to serve those around you?  I'd love to hear about it below.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Have You Changed At All?

I was recently talking with my coach.  When I originally started working with her, my goal was to utilize her business expertise, so she was my business coach.  The thing about me having a business? Well, people are involved...namely me.  If my business is not working it's probably because of something I'm doing or not doing.  I've learned in my life that it is immeasurably helpful to have an outside person take a look at my efforts sometimes and give feedback.  That's why I hired a coach, but I got oh so much more than that.

What I thought I wanted was someone to tell me, "Jennille, you need to do x and y, and then you will magically be successful, and by the way, you are amazing." We all know it doesn't work that way, but wouldn't it be great?  What I found that I didn't know I needed was someone to say, "I will help you.  I will be honest with you.  I do see x and y amazing things about you.  Let me show you how to use that for your benefit and those around you." Do you see the difference?  It's a truly amazing difference.  She doesn't just blow smoke and tell me nice things so I feel good about myself.  Through our conversations and probing deeper, she shows me true things about me that are good things that I can grow with.

 UL short board background

Over the last year and a half, I have had the privilege of working with Betsy, my coach.  She has helped me discover my strengths.  She has helped me how to see the truth about them (ie. yes, it is awesome to be a collector of information and ideas, and oh, by the way, that can also create a tendency to collect too much of other things, too.  Some people call it hoarding...)  She has also helped me define my business and my approach to it.  It's a joy.  A real joy.  Do you want to know my favorite part about learning all these things about myself?  Those things were in my before. God made me that way.  She is just helping me to uncover the pieces and put them together so that I can live my life to the fullest.  It's truly empowering.

Who do you have in your life that helps you grow?  Change is scary sometimes, but it's also beautiful.  Look back to 1 year ago from today.  Are you the same person you were then?  If yes, are you glad?  If you're not, are you glad?  I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Early to Rise

I don't know if you've ever noticed, but most of my posts go live at 5 a.m. (mountain time, of course). I do know that one can schedule when posts will go live (and I do), but I'm pretty intentional about that time.  There's something amazing about seeing the sun come up...and starting your day ahead of most everyone.

I wasn't always an early riser.  In fact, my parents used to make comments about my ability to sleep late.  I like to sleep.  What can I say?  I was a normal teenager.  I'm sure I've read studies that teens do actually need an exorbitant amount of sleep to grow and what not, but I couldn't tell you where. Anyway, it's actually been a more recent development of mine to be an early riser...and it didn't happen overnight.

A little over 4 years ago, a friend of mine started a crossfit type gym in our little town.  I work from 8 to 5, so I wasn't able to go to the afternoon class.  Besides, I knew that I would be too tired at the end of the day to go to the gym.  That left me with the 6:45 a.m. option.  Great!  That wasn't too early and the gym was close to my house, so I didn't have to get up very early...probably 6:20 a.m.  Then more people heard about the gym and classes got bigger and split.  Well, it's kind of nice to get it out of the way, so 6:30 a.m. class, here I come!  And we grew some more...  You get the point.  It was a little bit at a time.  6:30 a.m. turned into 6:15, then 5:45 a.m.  There's still a 5:45 a.m. class, but I go to the 5:00 a.m. class.  Yep.  That means I get up at 4:26 a.m. to get dressed and drive to workout.

 UL electric pink

Now that might seem like craziness to get up so early, but I've really come to cherish that time.  As I was prepping for my black belt test, the time after my workouts was my extra study time and writing time for my paper.  I still do some writing, and I've made it my quiet time with the Lord, too.  Again, there is just something amazing about watching the sun come up, hearing the birds begin to rustle, and the world wake up around me as I sit on my front porch to read God's love letter to me and listen for what He wants to tell me.  It's a gift. 

I find my day isn't the same if I don't get up early.  Any other #5AMclub folk out there that are surprised that you enjoy that early time of day?  My craziness for the 5 a.m. get up was confirmed when I read Start by Jon Acuff.  You'll have to check that one out on your own.  (It's a fantastic read!)

I'd love to hear how you came to be a member of the #5AMclub, if you are.  Please comment below...even if it's to say I'm crazy.  Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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