Monday, March 30, 2015

Self-discipline Part 5: You Feeling Lucky?

I was on a mini vacation last week with my family.  We were in another state--South Dakota, to be more specific.  I thought it funny that every time I would tell someone that I was going to South Dakota for vacation they'd look at me funny and ask if I have family there.  But if I said we were going to Mount Rushmore, they would respond with some sort of awe inspired comment and say how cool it is.  It's all about perspective.

Since my hubby likes to drive, I got to do a lot of scenery watching.  I actually enjoy that and like to make up stories in my mind about how things or people got to be there in that specific place just as we happen to drive by.  I know, it's weird, but I just wonder sometimes.  As we were driving around, I noticed a lot of empty businesses in some of the small towns we were driving through.  My first thoughts tended toward if I had a million dollars and I were investing in this town what would I put in that building?  Or how about on that corner over there?  It would be cool to see such and such there...you get the point.  It's fun to imagine the possibilities!  (Maybe that's why I'm good at this color consulting thing--because I can see it in my mind.  Shameless plug, I know. Moving right along.)

 UL valencia orange & hot cocoa


It got me to thinking about empty businesses in my own town, back home.  There are several business sitting empty there, too.  Some pop open with new businesses every few months, it seems. Other spaces sit for a while before another business tries to make a go of it.  Some grow and flourish. Others fizzle and die fairly rapidly.  Certainly, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the success or failure of a business.  I don't know all the answers to that issue.  My point in making all these observations is that sometimes we need to reopen our eyes to the opportunities that are already around us.  Sometimes we are so used to seeing opportunities that we cease to see them anymore.  

 UL be prepared


Look around you.  I mean really look.  Look with new eyes.  See what is available to you.  Be prepared to grab them when opportunities come available.  Create the positive habits before you need them.  That's how those so-called lucky people make things happen.  Luck?  That's just when opportunity and preparation meet.  So let's take the few little lessons we've talked about over this last week or two in regards to self-discipline and start applying them now.  Then we'll see how lucky we are.

Agree or disagree?  Comment below.





Friday, March 27, 2015

Where the Buffalo Roam

I'm taking a brief break from my series on self-discipline to do a special post from vacation.  I think you'll enjoy it...besides, you'll get to hear what a nerd I am. Just for the record, I'm laughing, not crying. :-)

Do you remember the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where they arrive at Wally World only to find it's closed?  Well, I'd like for you to take note of the date on this post and then understand me when I say that the black hill's tourist season doesn't start until April 1st.  Seriously. It's pretty much a ghost town where we're staying.  The restaurant isn't even open in the hotel we're staying in.  No worries!  The big attraction we are planning on seeing is Mount Rushmore. That's open year round, fortunately.



The plan was note necessarily to go to Mount Rushmore every day.  In fact, we are only planning for one day, tomorrow. In the meantime, what to do?  What to do?  Some of the natural attractions are open. Let's go see the drive through animal park.  That sounds nice. Away we go.  Wide open spaces!  This is South Dakota, after all.  Antelope.  Prairie dogs.  Buffalo.  Oh, the buffalo.  You've seen the commercial.   The buffalo come right up to your car, right?  They may or may not be happy to see you...

Well, I'm here to testify that sometimes they ARE happy to see you.

Where the buffalo roam

Fun, right? Enjoy!  Comment below. I'd love to hear about songs fun adventures your family has had getting close to nature.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Self-Discipline Part 4: Why Have It?

It could be argued that it it's pointless to have self-discipline at all.  One might say it's just an exercise in being busy, or trying to find true happiness in superfluous activities or stuff.  While I might agree with that to a degree, (we shouldn't do things JUST to do it) I don't believe God put us on this earth to just sit and be or do nothing. He put us here, ultimately, to bring glory to Him, our creator.  How do we do that?  By living our lives and being in relationship with Him and those around us. So what does all this have to do with self discipline? A lot.

If we are here to bring glory to God through the things we do and the people we interact with, then we need to get about the business of doing and being.  One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. "For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." Someone who has power, love, and self-discipline does not sit on the couch and do nothing.  They choose to get up and live life.  They choose to care for their body.  They choose to involve themselves in activities and with people that bring joy to themselves and others around them.  They choose to deny the lesser to gain the greater.


 UL be strong


Years ago, I read a book called "Dare to Discipline Yourself" by Dale E. Galloway.  I'll be honest, I don't remember a ton from it, but I do remember a phrase that he repeated many times: deny the lesser to gain the greater.  If the lesser is this chocolate cupcake sitting here as a snack option, and the greater is feeling healthy and energetic in an hour by eating the apple instead, then make the choice for the apple.  It's simply choosing the better, so there is no regret later.  Another example might be to choose to not buy that 4th purse to be able to set some money aside into savings because we all know what happens when we don't having any extra money in savings, right?  Life happens anyway, and Murphy moves into the back bedroom.  You remember Murphy?  If something can go wrong it will.  That guy likes to hang out when there's no wiggle room or plan for him.  Yuck.

All this is to say that I don't believe that we are truly living up to our potential and plan that God has for us if we are in the habit of choosing to allow ourselves the "easy" route in life.  I'm not sure that it really is easy because, ultimately, we will have to answer for the things we have done...and not done. What will your answer be?

 UL custom expression


Is there some little phrase like the "deny the lesser to gain the greater" that you like to remind yourself of when you are facing a tricky choice?  Comment below.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Self-Discipline Part 3: Choosing Self-discipline

There are so many different parts to self-discipline.  This series is just highlighting the particular pieces that have been helpful to me.  This chapter is about choice.

I'm not going to start by digging into the super spiritual side of this, but I am going to touch on it. We always have a choice.  That's it. God gave us free will.  Because He is omniscient, He knows what will choose, but He always offers us the choice.  I know. Wrap your head around that one.

My point is that we can choose to make a decision that will benefit ourselves and possibly others around us, or we can choose to remain as we are and not grow.  That sounds super stupendous when I say it like that, right? Oh please let me be stagnant! While it sounds ridiculous, people often chose to remain the same and never grow.  You and I both know people like that.  Most of the time they're not very fun to be around because they like to complain about everything and not do anything about it.  Don't be that person!

 carribbean blue & navy blue


Another key element of developing self-discipline, is to choose it before hand.  Before what, you ask? Before you need it.  In Daniel 1:8, it says

"Daniel RESOLVED not to defile himself with the royal food and wine." In other words, he made his choice before he was put in that situation.  I doubt this was the first time Daniel had heard of the richness of the king's food.  He was prepared going into the situation.  What does that look like for you?  It could be for you to decide before hand that while, yes, we are having potluck at work today, I am choosing to not eat any desserts or I will only eat 1 dessert and enjoy it.  It could also look like, it's 9:00 p.m. now.  I am choosing to workout at 6 a.m. tomorrow.  I'm going to put my clothes and shoes out tonight and set my alarm, and then I will choose to do it in the morning because I value myself and I value my health.  Success is a habit.  Failure is also a habit.  Habits are created by the choices we make on a daily basis.  Make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.

What choice will you begin with today that is a chance?  Be brave!  And then comment below.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Self-Discipline Part 2: Remove Obstacles

Working out is a big deal to a lot of people.  Not working out is a big deal to a lot of people.

"I should go work out.  I haven't been to the gym in 6 months." You know you've done it.  I've done it, too.  It's very easy to make excuses to not go.

"I don't have time."
"I'll go tonight after work," and then something "happens" to come up.
"I was going to go, but then I..." you name it.   Blah, blah, blah.  It's all excuses.  And you know how excuses are: they're like armpits.  Everybody has a couple and they always stink.

 Uppercase Living a smooth sea


The truth is we know it's easy to not _____ (you fill in the blank; go to the gym, do the extra practice, write a book, read a book, work on your hustle, etc.).  Life happens and it's hard sometimes.  We've talked about it before.  Jesus himself said that we will have trouble in this world, so we know there will be bumps.  Part of developing more self-discipline is choosing to remove some of those bumps.  For example.  I work out at 5 a.m. (I know it's crazy, but that's the time that works for me.  More on that another time.) Since I do like sleep, I don't want to get up any earlier than I have to.  My alarm goes off at 4:26 a.m. and in that time I need to feed the dogs, make coffee, get dressed, and get out the door by 4:45 in order to get to the box by 5 a.m. when the class starts.  In order to make that happen more easily, I lay out my clothes the night before, so I'm not scrambling to find socks or a shirt in the dark (and because I don't want to wake up hubby), and I have the coffee pot ready to go.  Done.  Excuse removed.  

There are a lot of "reasons" (not really reasons, but excuses because we're being honest here, remember?) to not do your hustle, but let's begin to value ourselves more and begin to take care of what the good Lord gave us.  Instead of practicing mediocrity, let's practice making good choices for ourselves.  Good choices are just as much a habit as poor choices.  By choosing daily to make good choices for ourselves, whether it be food choices, exercise choices, work ethic choices, family communication choices, those individual choices are what makes our habits.  Our habits make our character, and our character makes our destiny.  So start today to make a better choice in your chosen area of focus.  Start with one thing.  Seriously.  Just one.  Don't try to improve everything all at once.  You won't be able to maintain it.  Eventually, discipline in one area of your life will spill over into other areas, but you can't start there.

 UL be you


Next time I'll be talking more about another aspect of self-discipline...the company we keep.

I'd love to hear what obstacles you are going to remove to work on your hustle!  Remember to start simple.  Comment below.

P. S.  Remember when you click on my graphics it will take you to my website where you can customize colors and purchase them to have in your home.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do You Have Self-Discipline?

On more than one occasion, I've told my fellow mom friends that I'd love for my kids to have the same level of discipline (at 9 and 12-years-old) that I have at 38.  Never mind that I honestly feel like I haven't developed this level of self-discipline until the last 4 or 5 years.  I have poked at self-discipline for a long time, but to honestly say I am self-disciplined...well, that is something else entirely.

 UL Champions


For me, it has been a gradual development of self-discipline on my journey to become a champion, and it starts with grace.  Now you might think that sounds like an oxymoron to say that self-discipline starts with letting yourself mess up, but hear me out on this.  For example, you start a new exercise program, and you want to do it 5 days a week.  Monday is day 1.  You work out on Monday, and Tuesday you work out, but Wednesday rolls around and, well, you're pretty sore from Monday and Tuesday, and you did work out 2 days in a row...so you skip Wednesday, because you can still work out on Saturday and that will be 5 days this week.  Then Thursday morning hits and you're really sore now because you didn't move as much on Wednesday to loosen up those muscles, but you can still work out on Sunday.  I know, I know, you're supposed to rest on Sunday, but you have to get 5 workouts in because that's what you want to do.  Friday is here now and since you really only worked out 2 days so far, there's no point in putting yourself through the pain and hassle of working out.  You give up.  This workout program sucks and nobody could ever really stick with it.  It doesn't work.  

OR  Let's try scenario B.  You see a new workout plan that looks fantastic.  Great!  Let's do it 5 days a week.  I decide to workout 5 days each week.  Monday morning comes.  You work out.  Tuesday morning comes.  You work out.  Hey, we're on a roll now!  Wednesday morning rolls around, and oh my goodness, we're sore.  No Wednesday workout.  Thursday morning is coming whether I want it to or not, but I didn't work out on Wednesday.  It's ok.  Wednesday is gone.  Thursday is a new day and today I will choose to not get stuck in the past and move forward regardless of what happened yesterday.  I workout Thursday.  I feel great!  I might just decide that I actually like this workout program, and I do the Friday workout, too.  Saturday I said I would work out and I do, because I already decided that I was going to.  The point of all this is that we need to allow ourselves grace.  We are going to mess up.  That's just the way this world works.

Grace is just one eensy little part of developing self-discipline.  This is the first episode in a series about self-discipline.  I am not an expert in this area, but I do feel that I do better than most, so I want to explore this a bit with you.  I'd love your feedback.  Comment below if you think grace is a part of having self-discipline or not.

P.S. Thank you to my sweet friend, Lynnette, over at TenaciousLace.com for inspiring this series from one little comment you made to me.  You are an amazing mom, artist, wife, and entrepreneur.  Rock on, beautiful lady!



Monday, March 16, 2015

Little Fingers

Today was a beautiful day.  The weather was nice, the sun was shining, and my family was hanging out together.  We hung out together at church; the kids didn't even pester each other during service today.  We hung out after church when Grandma and Grandpa came over for a late lunch.  We played baseball in the front yard, and I managed to not break any windows when I might have accidentally hit one toward the house.  As I sit here and write this, I'm getting a pedicure from my almost 10-year-old, who I'm sure will someday own a salon or two of her own.  


 UL litte fingers


It's been a while since my babies have been little enough for this expression pictured here, but it honestly does seem like yesterday.  Speaking of yesterday, my 12-year-old son needed new shoes.  I looked down at his feet last week and thought his feet looked a bit smooshed in his shoes.  I felt them and sure enough his feet were completely smashed into his shoes.  He never complained once about it.  His shoes aren't that old.  If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about.  So we went to get my little man shoes, and sure enough, they were a size and 1/2 bigger than he was wearing.  Good grief.  

I know you hear it so often when your children are born.  
"Your children will grow up so fast!"
"Enjoy this time.  It will be gone before you know it." As a young parent, you can't possible think past the first few months (or years!) that your children don't sleep through an entire night.  As adults we don't see the physical changes in ourselves like we see in children.  It really does happen fast.

What is a favorite memory you have of when your child(ren) had a growth spurt?  comment below.

If you enjoyed this post today, please share with a friend.  Maybe you're going through a similar time in your life and can relate to my particular brand of crazy.  Pass it on.  We're all in this together.  Be sure to subscribe to here the latest in my adventures, and you just might learn a little something, or at least feel not so alone.  Have a beautiful day, friends.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Time Stands Still for No One

We've all heard the phrase "Time stands still for no one." It's true, but on a rare occasion, it does seem to slow down for just a teensy little second, and then it is fast forward again. Those are the moments that we remember and they can define our lives.  It's often at the birth of a child or a wedding day. Sometimes it's when a child reaches a significant goal they have been working for, or maybe it's something that seems completely insignificant to others, yet is special to you.  Many times these moments are lost except in our own memories, but every now and then we are able to catch them with a camera.  When we are able to catch it, it can become a beautiful display of our lives and our love.


 in these moments

The picture above shows 1 expression done 3 different ways.   One thing that I love about Uppercase Living expressions, is that you are not limited to the layout that they are pre-designed with.  In these 2 examples, the expressions were actually cut in half before mounting them on the wall.  Since my expressions are made of individual letters (instead of printed on a clear piece of vinyl as some discount store expressions are), it is very easy to move them around before finishing the mounting process.  One would simply cut the sections apart before removing the backing and top sheets.  Another thing I love?  If you should happen to have an "unfortunate sticking incident," as I had one client tell me, I have a 90 day warranty on all my expressions.  Easy peasy.

Here's another example from a client what this might look like on a wall.  I love it!


 In these moments


What moments would you like to remember with a visual reminder like this?  Comment below.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Do You Love?

My husband is a very patient man...and by very, I mean extremely.  This girl doesn't sit still for very long before I go do something.  That something may be write a blog post, study for my karate test, work on my book I'm writing, read through techniques for my karate test, read a book, work on stuff for my business, paint, practice visualizing for my karate test, oh, and do regular house stuff in there, as well as check on kids' school grades, etc.  It's not that he doesn't do stuff, too, but he is more of a homebody and likes doing things around the house (yay for super handy man husband!!).  I just happen to do all that stuff on top of working full time outside the home.  It's a lot.  I know.  I like to do a lot of things, not just to be busy, but because I just like to do them.  (I talked more about that here.)

Fortunately for me, my husband's love language is acts of service.  He likes to do things for people. That might look like dropping everything to go help a friend work on a car that broke down, or fixing a roof, or winterizing a swamp cooler, or whatever.  He'll just do it because that's how he shows you he loves you.  So yesterday, when he stayed home with my baby girl who was sick, he cleaned the whole house.  Yes, ladies, the whole house.  While it is tempting to think, "Wow.  He cleaned the house because it was in terrible disarray because you have been neglecting it, Jennille.  What kind of a wife are you?!?!" I can also just slow down, allow myself to be grateful and just say, "Thank you!" to him, and in front of my kids.  They need to see that and know what a great guy my hubby is.  It's not that he was doing their chores for them.  He was being incredibly helpful and supportive.  I tell my kids all the time that we are a family.  We are a team.  Daddy was just living it out.

 There once was a boy


I am so incredibly blessed to have the husband that I do.  His sweet momma raised him right!

If you are not familiar with The Five Love Languages, you can check it out here.  I don't get paid anything for endorsing them.  It has just been a very useful resource for us throughout our marriage.  In this crazy day and age where marriages are falling apart all over the place, every good tool that one can use is helpful, in my opinion.

How does your spouse show they love you?  Is it the same way you show love to them?  Comment below.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Are You Feeling Blue? Or Brown?

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ” Oscar Wilde is attributed with saying that quote (or Abraham Lincoln, depending on where you look for your quotes on the internet...I'm pretty sure ol' Abe must have said everything that is on the internet and it must be true because it's on the internet, right?).  Color creates feelings whether we want it to or not.  When we walk into a doctor's office that is painted warm tones, like browns, chocolates, and tans, it can inspire feelings of being welcomed, secure and solid in our environment.  Isn't that how you want to feel when you are seeing a doctor for a health issue?  I do.  How about blues?  Blues can evoke feelings of trust, calm, peacefulness, confidence, or exhilaration depending on which shade you choose.
There is such a wide range of emotions that colors can cause us to feel.  Even if we choose something light or neutral, it can still incite unintended emotions.  White can elicit feelings of innocence and purity, or sterile, clinical coldness.  So if you're thinking, 

"I don't want to choose a color, I'll just stick with white," you're still getting a color response.  Sorry.  It's just how our brains are wired to work.  Not to worry.  If you're local to me, I can come help you choose color for your space.  That's part of what I do.  (Did you notice the name of the blog??  Jen's Walls Talk...Hello??) If you are not local to me, then I can walk you through the process online or via phone.
What if you are thinking you want one simple color for your walls, and then pops of color here and there to make it feel personalized and homey?  Uppercase Living is perfect for that, too.  You don't have to repaint your entire house, you can just add a vinyl expression for a bit of color here and there.  Simple.  Here are some of the colors that are available:
 Jen's Walls Talk

See?  There's a little something for everyone.  Comment below with what emotions you'd like your home to give to your guests as they enter.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Keep Calm and Don't Listen to the Voices in Your Head

You've heard it before, and I tell it to my children a lot.  

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. 

It applies to taking the trash out or doing the dishes, or anything else we do in life, like being a friend or wife or student.  I wasn't feeling like I had done anything well on Tuesday night when I was told that I need to postpone my black belt test...again.  I've been studying like crazy for this test.  My ever so patient husband hasn't complained too much about my extra study time, and I do try to keep it out of family time.  Nevertheless, it is time consuming and can be stressful.

Then one of my beautiful friends reminded me that perhaps I should look at this from the perspective of being thankful to God for and even "befriending" the problems and stress of this process.  This test, while definitely a physically grueling challenge, is my opportunity to shine.  It's my chance to show the testing board how I've taken ownership of my techniques and katas. While strenuous, it should also be exciting, and a bit of a chance to show off what I have learned the past 6 years.  This is one of my dreams.  When I first started karate, I had no idea that I would end up working towards my black belt.  I was doing it to keep my kiddo company.  It wasn't long before I realized that I really enjoyed it.  Now I want to get my black belt and then pass on what I have learned to others.

 Never Ever Give Up

This process is very hard, but I'm not giving up.  I'm learning to befriend the problem because I am growing and being stretched through this process.  I'm not excited to postpone my test one more time, but I know that when I do it, it will be for the right reasons and I will be doing it well.

What dream of yours stretches or has stretched you in your life?  Comment below.

P.S. You can now find me on Twitter @JensWallsTalk .  See you there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Do You Love Your Business?

There are a lot of home based businesses out there.  There are a ton of great cosmetic/skin care type things, each with their own particular spin...pure & safe, fun & great smelling, animal free & organic. You name it, it's out there.  There are probably even more vitamin/nutrition type companies: pesticide free, liquid, inexpensive, good tasting, etc.  There are a zillion home care product companies, too. There are just a lot of different businesses that are easy to start from home.  But this one is mine.  

It's mine because it's me.  I love color and paint and words.  Years ago, before I found my business, I would put sayings all over my house.  I had a fancy calligraphy pen (that I didn't really know how to use very well) and I would write encouraging words ALL over the place.  One of my favorites was on my trash can.  It read "Let the crap of your past become the fertilizer of your future." Now if that's not profound, then I don't know what is.  Those little slips of paper were all over my house: light switches, fridge, mirrors, doors, trash cans, etc.  So when I saw Uppercase Living expressions for the first time, it completely clicked and made sense to me.  I saw these words and knew I had to have them.  This was MY business.  It screamed "Jennille!" 

 Jen's Walls Talk


The company has come so far in the last 8 years since I've been an independent demonstrator.  Who doesn't want to be part of something whose theme is "Inspiring More Lives Than Ever Before?" In the last year or so, I have continued to define how my business looks for me (thanks in large part to my FANTASTIC business/life coach).  She has given me some great tools and walked me through some super helpful exercises to help me grow and define me and my business.  Who knew you could grow so much just by talking on the phone? 

Long story made short, 2 key things have helped me to grow my business and be happy that I'm doing it: first, to realize that my business is me and that I love doing it; second, having some outside input to help me analyze what is working and what isn't. I'm a fairly intelligent person, but I still get stuck in my own head sometimes.  We all need a bit of help.

I'd love to hear about you business and why it's you.  Comment below.

Monday, March 2, 2015

In This Home

 in this home

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I'm all about grace.  I am not a perfect parent, but I try every day to do better.  When I surrender to God's help, I do better because apart from Him, I can do nothing.  With His power, I offer grace to my kids.  I offer grace to my husband.

I love this expression pictured above.  Love is real.  Love is hard...really hard sometimes, but I choose to love anyway.  It is a choice.  It's a choice to give a second chance.  It's a choice to give a hug and hold my baby (who's almost 10-years-old now) instead of yelling at her for being mean to her brother again.  It's choosing to look past the symptom to the root cause that she is feeling left out by a friend at school.  I want my kids to respond to me the same way, and more often then not, they give me grace in return.  I don't deserve for them to be nice to me after being exasperated at the dirty state of their bedrooms.  That's why it's grace.

My husband reminded me last week to "respond how you want her to respond." Ouch.  I was expecting more of my child than I was wanting to expect of myself.  Double ouch.  Do over, please?  

Let's choose to love today.  Let's choose to offer grace to each other a little more and give a hug a little more often.  Let's do love.

I'd love to hear how your family shows grace to each other.  Comment below.


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