Just a note…

Also, my cheesy graphics will get better. I promise.
Also, my cheesy graphics will get better. I promise.

I’ve been quiet lately, which is funny because I actually have a half-dozen posts saved in my “drafts” folder here on the site. So I’ve been doing lots of brainstorming and lots of writing, but not so much posting. Kinda like life in general these days…. lots of ideas and planning, but not so much execution.

Until now.

Well, sort of.

I’m in the process of moving this website to a new host. And I’m completely clueless about building websites and such, so pray for me. But in order for me to move ahead with all the ideas I have brewing, I need to switch things up a bit. But don’t worry – the name will stay the same, and hopefully I can figure out how the heck to move all my content from here to there.

So, eventually, there will be a new look, a new feel, and some new content. Until then, I’ll just be here, beating my head against the wall, trying to learn new things in my spare time. (<– That’s funny, right there.)

*Please send wine*

#ONEWORD2016

Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.
Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.

I’m sure you’ve heard about #oneword by now, right? It’s been around for a while. The gist is you choose one word at the beginning of the year and use that word to improve yourself throughout the course of that year. I’ve attempted it in the past. Multiple times. I came up with a word, wrote it somewhere, and then hoped for the best. If I remember correctly, past words of mine were Simplicity, Enough, and I think even Change. Except that I haven’t.

Changed, that is.

I keep repeating the same years, over and over and over again. I mean, sure, some things change. The kids keep getting bigger, after all. But this rut that I’ve gotten into has just not gone away. It’s exhausting being this stuck and constantly spinning my wheels but getting nowhere. But, I had an epiphany.

I haven’t changed because I haven’t done anything differently. 

I know, right? It’s like, whoa, that’s some deep stuff! Seriously, though, I have been waiting for changes to happen instead of actually doing the things that need to get done to see some changes. (Duh.)

I know it sounds ridiculous, just waiting for change. In fact, I KNOW it’s ridiculous. I’ve been living it, for crying out loud! But I think many (most?) of us are waiting for the next thing before we decide we’ll make a change. The next season. The next event. The next house. The next job. The next {fill in the blank}.

But change ain’t gonna happen if we just sit back and wait for it. Trust me, I know. My years keep ticking by… If you want something different for yourself, you have to DO something to get there. You want to have better health? Reading all the health blogs in the world won’t get you there. You have to DO something, like eat better and exercise. You want to get out of debt? Reading all of Dave Ramsey’s books, while inspiring, won’t make it happen unless you DO what he tells you to do in those books. You want a cleaner house? Buying all the fancy supplies and setting up schedules won’t work unless you DO the things it says to do on those scheduled days.

You want a better life for yourself? You have to DO something for it. (Amazing concept, isn’t it?)

In order to DO something, you have to know your options. You have to know what it is that will get you where you want to be. And then you have to decide to do it. This is the trickiest part for me. See, I’m awesome at researching options. I can research the heck out of things, and then overthink them, and then get overwhelmed, and then freeze. A dear, smart friend calls this “analysis paralysis”, and I totally have that. To. A. Tee. So, how do I change?

I have to make a choice.

A-ha! And there is it. That’s my word of 2016. Choice.

I have been a perpetual decision-deferrer. (Is that a thing?) I have no opinion about anything, or so it would seem, and I constantly avoid decision-making. I’m not sure if over the years I thought it would be better, maybe more peaceful, to just let the other person decide? You know, so they’re happy? I dunno. But I’ve gotten worse and worse at making choices. (Unfortunately, that’s rubbing off on my kids which is annoying the heck out of me, so we must remedy this problem post-haste.) On the other end of the spectrum, because I’m a researchaholic, I tend to give myself way too many options when needing to make a choice, and then I can’t decide what to do or how to start so I just don’t. I do nothing. Add a lack of DO-ing to the lack of decision-making and it’s a recipe for perpetual sameness, folks.

I read an article (researching again, surprise!) about strong women and things they do and don’t do. (I’d post a link but I can’t remember where I saw it…. sorry about that.) One of the items in the article that stuck out to me is they do not apologize for making decisions. They make decisions and stick with them because they know what’s best for themselves. They don’t doubt themselves. They don’t question themselves or their actions. Decisions are a sign of strength and are powerful.

Choice: The opportunity or power to make a decision.

So, that’s where I’m going to start this year. I’m going to consciously make choices about what I do each day. I can choose to be lazy (default setting) or be active. I can choose to be the same day in and day out or to change. I can choose to DO or not. Either way, it’s a choice. My “choosing” perspective has already helped! I chose to get up at 5am this morning, for example, because I know I have better days when I take time for myself first. I chose to clean the house today instead of letting it go just “one more day” because it really needed to get done. I chose to start meal planning again because I know that’s the only way we will eat better as a family. Could I chose to sleep in and then be cranky and unproductive? Of course! Could I choose to continue to live in a less-than-kept house and cringe when others visit? Sure. Could I choose to just wing it with our food and struggle daily with what to eat? Yep.

Could I choose to stay the same, repeat another year, and end up in the same place yet again? Yes.

But I don’t want to.

Choice. One small word. One world of difference.

Mid-month check-in

Photo Credit: Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

Well, it’s about halfway through the month. Have you been taking part in my #NoExcusesJuly challenge? If I’ve inspired even just one of you, I’ll call this a success!

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that I’ve stuck with it this long. The accountability factor is HUGE! By me posting most days on Facebook, I’m forcing myself to do things I’d typically (very easily) talk myself out of doing. Plus, there’s Hubby with his no mercy approach, reminding me about my “no excuses” goal.

What have I been up to this month? Well, so far, I’ve gotten up early each weekday morning and have consistently gone for a run 3 days a week. That’s probably my biggest accomplishment thus far. I’ve also managed to do little things that I may have talked myself out of in the past…. I’ve cleaned up my kitchen each night, even when I really didn’t want to. I’ve gone to a yoga class that I’ve been putting off for months because there was always an excuse not to go. I’ve finished projects around the house that I’ve been delaying. All in all, it’s been a successful month! And we’re only half-way through!

So, why did I start this challenge for myself? Well, I have goals that seem hard to reach when I look at the end result. This challenge is helping me to break it down and take my baby steps, and it’s keeping me consistent. For example, I’ve always wanted to be a part of the 5am club because I know I will be so much more productive if I use these early morning hours. I started setting my alarm at 6am, now this week I’m at 5:50am, next week I’ll go down to 5:40, and so on. Baby steps will get me there! Also, I’ve had a goal for years to be able to easily run 3 miles. If you’ve noticed on my Facebook updates, I have been working my way up. I’m at about 2 miles now without too much trouble. Do I plan to be up at 5am and running 3 miles by the end of this month? Nope. But this month is helping me to stay accountable to those goals I set for myself, little by little. Can I reach those goals maybe by the end of August? Yes, I think I can, because I’m not allowing any excuses to stop what I’m already doing. In fact, now that I’m on a roll with these few things, I will be looking into other areas that I want to improve and start adding them to my list of baby-step changes.

So, how about you? What have YOU been doing this month, or, if you haven’t jumped in, what can you begin doing right now to make some positive changes in your life? Remember, baby steps + no excuses = results!

Dreams

Our big, crazy dream list and "someday"s
Our big, crazy dream list and “someday”s – not in any particular order. Just wrote them as they came to me.

I recently started writing down goals.

I’ve never been one to write them down. In fact, I’ve never been one to really “dream” at all. Living paycheck to paycheck tends to suck the dreams of “someday” away.

We have been fans of Dave Ramsey for years, and we have his Financial Peace University set. When we first read Total Money Makeover, it kicked us in gear. That was probably about 5 years ago. We read it on a road trip down to Florida when I was pregnant with Pumpkin.

Then life happened. Best intentions, right?

Well, this past fall, we re-evaluated things. We got back on the cash budget bandwagon and started having our monthly budget meetings. That took a huge amount of pressure off of me, because trying to figure out all the finances all the time by myself was awful. So now, we’re a team again and have been working towards the same goals together.

Since then, we’ve rolled that snowball and paid off two more debts. (Woohoo!) But financial freedom isn’t the point of this post.

For years, Hubby has wanted to go onto a 10-month contract with his company. He has never loved having to scramble to find hours over the summer months, and as much as he loves his job, he would not miss being “off” in June and July. He has never considered it a real option because, again, the paycheck to paycheck thing kind of holds you back from taking a pay cut by choice. But, we’ve talked about it, prayed about it, and have been “pretending” that we have to live on what he paychecks would be if he did take the pay cut. (Added bonus – that money has then been rolled into our snowballs, helping with those two now-paid-off debts!) For the most part, it’s been doable, but barely. There were a couple of months where we couldn’t put that full amount towards the snowball – we just couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there. There were other months where there was no real problem because he was working extra coverages or substitute teaching. But none of those “extras” are guarantees, so the idea of cutting down to 10 months still seemed doubtful.

Not anymore.

We started on a journey together, as a team, with these essential oils. We doubted – at first – that they would really do much for our income. But, we tried it. It started bringing in a little extra money and helping our family with wellness issues to boot. We started seeing a bigger picture, and we started dreaming. We’ve never let ourselves really do that before because it just seemed to set us up for disappointment. In April, I started writing down monthly goals and started a list of some of those dreams. Some, like going down to a 10 month contract and paying off debt, seem reasonable (but still a struggle in current circumstances). Others, like my dream cabin in the woods, seem like they would never happen.

Well, the paycheck we received in April allowed us to reach that first dream. We officially bring in enough money from this oil journey to get Hubby down to a 10-month contract. We have enough monthly income from it to more than cover the pay cut. So, as of August 10th, he will officially be on a 10-month contract. We are reaching our dreams!

Where will this journey will lead us? We still want to be debt free as soon as possible, so that’s the next dream to reach. After that, who knows? We’re learning to dream big!

And you know what? It’s awfully nice to be able to put a “completed” date next to something on that dream list.

The Beast

Can I just brag a little? Not a lot, I swear, but maybe a lil bit?

See, Hubby and I started on this new adventure a little while back. We didn’t really know how it would work, or even if it would work, but we decided to give it a go. Couldn’t hurt, right? If we made a few extra bucks, awesome! If not, meh, we’d live. Either way, we’d be using these awesome little bottles to improve our household, so it was a win no matter what.

Well, we’ve been doing pretty well. Very well, actually. In fact, our team hit a huge milestone in April with a nice promotion. That promotion earned us The Beast.

The Beast. 120 little bottles of awesomeness.

The Beast is coveted by those in this business. The Beast is amazing. And The Beast is ours.

I am so proud of what we’ve been able to do with this business in a short time, and I cannot wait to see what else is to come! We have starting dreaming big (more on that later). And I don’t mean “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if someday we could have/do this dream”. I mean, “In 5 years, we are totally going to be owning/doing X, Y, and Z”!

I’ve never done that before.

We’ve always been very frugal and very paycheck to paycheck. We make every cent count. We rarely splurge on a pizza, let alone a vacation or something to that effect. We budget everything from groceries to haircuts to new shoes. We’ve never been able to dream big because our reality wouldn’t allow it, but we chose our reality and learned to live with it. We decided long ago to make sacrifices so I could be a stay-at-home mom. Our reality isn’t bad by any means. It’s just frugal. It’s cautious. And, if I’m being honest, it’s not always a whole lot of fun.

But now? We have big dreams. BIG. I didn’t believe it when we first started, but now? Believing is what we are doing. Believing, and a lot of hustling, is making this real. Believing is changing our reality, little by little. Believing is big. And what’s even better? I get to help others change their reality, if they choose it. That’s what I am looking forward to most. I cannot wait to see others follow and get the Beast for themselves.

Funny thing? The Beast isn’t the end game. I mean, it’s awesome without a doubt! But it’s just one step in this plan. So, what’s the end game? What are we really working towards?

Freedom. That’s where the believing is leading us. That’s what the hustle is all about.

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#lemondropper4life #Si6

 

Curious about this new adventure? Contact me and I’m happy to share more! Otherwise, here is a link that gets you right where you’d need to be to join me…. http://tinyurl.com/DropsofSanity