Friday, September 30, 2016

Grace

Well it's been quite a week.  I hate to say that I'm so glad a week is over when it had such great things in it.  But for every great thing, there was something crappy also.
I would like to think that I have the weekend to recover.  But the weekend is filled up too.  Mental and emotional exhaustion are setting in and making it so that I do not want to leave my bed for a week.
I was talking with a friend earlier this week about mindsets.  And that is the crossroads that I am at now.  I am watching myself now and trying hard to turn at every corner that beckons sadness.  Tonight as I was driving home in the dark from working another way-too-many-hours day, I was thinking about expectancy.
At some point we expect that our lives should be easy.  We expect that we should have certain things or have life be a certain way.  And that's just not the way it is.  Very few things in life are given to you freely.  You've got to be ready to work hard.  And when things get tough, you've got to be ready to get up one more time than you're dragged down.  Why?  Because that's life.  My goals in life include being happy.  And I know me - I won't be happy unless I work hard for my goals.
Tonight I started to beat myself up that I am so busy because I wanted this.  I've built this life.  I didn't say no to things - instead, I said bring it on.  And that's ok.  (Geesh, I'm changing my mood as I write this even!)  I made some big decisions this week to help life run a little smoother - hopefully!  And I've done a lot of praying on things this week.  Praying to get things in line better, praying for my kids, praying for my friends, praying that my blunt words didn't drive away a friend, and praying for strength and patience to continue on.
Tonight I choose to keep fighting.  I will lay my head down on my pillow tonight.  But I won't hide there tomorrow.  I will get up and face the day and give it all I have!  And tomorrow night, when I'm exhausted and feeling like I have nothing left . . maybe I'll reread this blog and know that nothing is impossible.  God knows I schedule too much myself.  I know I schedule too much myself.  Yet every time I do this, there is grace (no not my daughter silly!).  Every time there is grace, and patience, and another try to get it right . . it'll happen some day!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pieces of a Mountain

Some days life looks like a mountain.  There is so much to get done, so many places to be, so many people depending on me; it can be overwhelming.
Truth be told, I've never climbed an actual mountain.  But I've watched people do it on the television set.  Have you ever watched that?  The climber may look up at the mountain occasionally to see how far there is to go or to see how far they've come.  But I have never, never, never seen a climber stare up the mountain while they are in the action of climbing.  Do you know why that is?
Well they could mess up, right?  I mean if they are looking up the mountain and not right in front of them, then they could miss a step or pick wrong, or mess up a line.  I mean they could make all sorts of mistakes if they only looked at their destination and they didn't look at all the steps needed to get there.
They glance up every now and then to plan their next steps.  It is a lot of looking right in front and looking at where to go next.  Every now and then are the long looks up or the long looks down.  Kind of symbolic I think.
So today, with my mountain, I wouldn't stare at the whole thing.  I wouldn't do it.  I looked at the little pieces in front of me.  I looked a little at what I would do next; and I focused on what I needed to do in that moment, with an eye on what was next.  This was a good plan.
Today I did not climb the entire mountain that was staring at me.  But the mountain will be there tomorrow.  And the best part is that the mountain did not crush me.  And I didn't fall down the mountain.
Tonight I am thankful that climbing a mountain isn't just climbing a mountain.  Climbing a mountain is a lot of little steps and little climbs that are different, but all working towards the same goal.  Sometimes you've got to move sideways instead of up.  And sometimes you've got to go down a bit to get in the right place to go higher again.  But it all works towards the same direction, each little piece at a time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Best Part

I will say for the record that turning 36 has been a good day :)
My customers probably don't think so . . . I've had the attention span of a fruit fly today.  Ah well, they'll live.  I'll make it up to them tomorrow.
I came out to my desk in the wee hours of the morning to a card and flowers :)  When the rest of my house woke up, I was showered with hand-made cards by the kiddos.  Those cards are my favorite :)  They are wonderful!  And so very sweet!  Then they gave me a bag of goodies!
The school was very nice to cancel half of their school day today.  In honor of my birthday, it was only a half day of school!  Ok, so maybe it was coincidental . . . I'd like to think it was in honor of my birthday though  . . . don't burst my bubble over here!  Anyway, so I got to have my kiddos with me more on my birthday :)
I had requested a special birthday dinner out.  I'd wanted to try Tomato Brothers for a long time.  And tonight we went!  It was good.  They have delicious bread sticks!  And everyone had leftovers.  So tomorrow's lunch is easy peasy!
Then there was my personal triumph of running a mile.  Since making that a goal about a month ago, I have been trying hard not to agonize over that decision.  I haven't made it to the track as much as I wanted to.  And I haven't been impressed with what my knee can do when I've been at the track.  I pushed hard today to get to that mile! Believe me!  I wasn't quite sure if my knee was going to collapse or not afterwards.  I couldn't put all my weight on it for quite awhile afterwards without extreme pain.  But most of the pain is gone now and only swelling remains.  Before anyone gets too concerned, the tear was in the back, the pain and swelling is usually in the front.  The Dr. had told me that the swelling all pushes to the front.  So the pain I'm feeling is more pressure, not pain from the ligament itself . . . that pain was very different.  I know too much pressure from swelling isn't good either, so I'm watching it.  But I survived.  :)  And I'll do it again!
Tonight I'm thankful for a good birthday!  I think the hand made cards from the kiddos were my absolute favorite part of today :)  They were very sweet!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trying

Some days it's hard to write this blog.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I know this.
But today was kind of a crappy day.
A very dear man was given a not good outlook on his future today.  I cried most of the morning.  He'll be ok for awhile.  Then he'll get much worse.  Then maybe he'll be able to get better, if he can adjust to a new way of life.  If he will.  66 is a long time to live and then get used to physically functioning completely different.
Then I had lunch with a friend who is moving out of the state.  I've never been a fan of goodbyes or see you laters.  And today was just not a good day for it after the morning news.
So I'll be thankful that at least the diagnosis was life.  I'll be thankful for the new opportunity for my friend.  I'll be thankful for getting to drive in the sun and calm down.  I'll be thankful for a quick nap in the parking lot while waiting for my son to finish practice.  I'll be thankful for a warm bed to crawl in to because I've had enough of today!  Good night all!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before Closing

All of our vehicles have their tags renew on my birthday.  I have more flexibility during the day to get those things done, so it just turned out that way.  And it's no big deal.
Except for when I forget about the tags.  Oops!  I looked at my schedule for the next few days and no where at all was a block of time that I could devote to "waiting excessively long for shiny new stickers".
Then it hit me!  The Kiosk machine!  I wonder if it would work?  I had trouble with it once before.  I grabbed my boy from cross country and we raced to the nearest Secretary of State's office.  We made it inside the door with minutes to spare.
I tried the first tag.  I got errors about 3 times.  And then . . . it worked!!  Hooray!  Oh yes, with minutes before closing, I got the tags renewed!
Tonight I am thankful for the kiosk at the front of the Secretary of State!  I wish all transactions in that office were that easy!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Insecurities

I've thought a bit this week about insecurities.
In a house with growing little people, I want to be sure that they understand that you can identify a weakness without it becoming an insecurity.  This is often seen as arrogance or cockiness.  But really it is just identifying as a human being.
I know that I don't always talk like other people.  I tend to skip a lot of the small talk stuff and talk about more real life stuff.  This makes people uncomfortable.  For awhile, especially when I was younger, I was insecure about my lack of social etiquette with conversation.  And I was insecure about it because I knew it made people uncomfortable.  I'd try to do the small talk thing.  And then, there I'd go, opening my mouth and having these words come out that were too close to a person's life and feelings and I'd make it awkward.
Over time though, I found that this weakness is nothing to be insecure about.  I will never be the social butterfly flitting around a social engagement.  And I will always put off some people.  Now in life, I am perfectly ok with that!  My line of talking is not for everyone.  But it is right for me.  And if you can stand talking to me, then it's ok with you too I suppose.  If you can't stand talking to me, eh, join the line ;)
Seriously though, trying to fit in to socially acceptable lines of conversation would be trading in who I am.  And why would I want to do that?  I've tried to see if this is something that I just need to work on - because there are those things in life too.  But it's not.  It's just me.
I share this with my children.  I make people uneasy.  I'm outspoken at a fairly personal level, and that puts people off.  But I'm rarely pushy or mean.  I just say what I think needs to be said, as respectfully as I can.
So to my child who doesn't want to join in with how the others act, don't - don't do it, don't lose yourself, you are enough just as you are.  To my child who wonders if a not-fitting-in style is too much, it isn't - it isn't at all, your style is perfect, just like you.  To my child who thinks too much about everything, all the time, keep thinking everything - you have beautiful thoughts.  And to my child who worries what others see when they look, forget them - I'm much more concerned about what you think when you look at yourself; you and God are the only opinions about yourself that matter.
Tonight I am thankful that I am not perfect.  I am thankful that I have a million and one stories to back this up and I can share them with my kiddos.  Their imperfections make them beautiful, unique, treasured, and loved.  And the best part is that God is a master of using weaknesses to become strengths and using insecurities to become what gives you courage.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Positive

I was hoping my knee would prove my doubts wrong today but it didn't.
I don't want to complain about it though.
So tonight I am thankful that I made it to the finish line of the 5k with my kiddos.  I am thankful that I got to participate with the kiddos!  I am thankful that I got to run parts of the race.  I'm thankful for ice.  I'm thankful for ibuprofen.  And I'm thankful that tomorrow when I get out of bed, no matter how sore or pained I am, I will get out of my bed and walk on two legs that work!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pushing It

Well, I can admit that I'm pretty stubborn.  Probably to an extreme on occasion.
So when I decided that I could do a 5k with the kids on Saturday, September 24th, I just knew it would happen.  Now, I did sign up for a 5k back in May (I think) that I backed out of.  But hey, this is several months later now.  I've been running on this knee.  I've been doing a lot more lately!
But I've also been pushing a lot more trying to reach my goal of running a mile by my birthday (P.S. I don't think I'm going to make that goal.  I'll go a mile, but my knee isn't cooperating to have it be all running.)  Anyway, so yes . . I've been pushing a little harder.  I've been doing warm-ups with the cheerleaders.  I've been doing more exercises at home.
Aaaand, it has landed me back to swelling, a limp at times this week, and needing my brace more.  So I'm a little nervous for the 5k tomorrow.
But, I have not ran at the track for several days now.  I've been trying to rest my knee more.  I'm hoping it will do good tomorrow!  I can't back out now.  I really can't, this race is me and the kids.
We have started a tradition of doing one fun 5k per year together.  I even budget in extra money to pay for a fee to go do something that we could do here at home.  It's important to me though.  I want them to find something fun about running.  And not just because I enjoy it.  But because they should see that there is something fun about any type of exercise if you search for it.
I don't want their only exercise to be on a school sports team.  For the main reason that they will grow up and there won't always be a sports team around for them to join.  I want them to find a personally enjoyable form of exercise that can stay with them for life.  So maybe it isn't running.  Maybe they'll despise running.  But they'll remember that even though they despised it, they had fun when we did the Color Run and looked like rainbows!  Or they'll remember when did the Insane Inflatable race and they got to jump on the bouncy things and do the giant slide while running!  Or they'll remember this year's Super Hero race when we got capes and dressed up to run along side other people who got capes and dressed up.  They'll remember that exercise can be fun.  And maybe they'll be a little healthier for it.
So tonight, I will try my best to not be doubtful about my physical capabilities for tomorrow.  Tonight I will elevate my leg and rub on more Penetrex lotion - seriously AWESOME stuff, and available on amazon.  Tonight I will be thankful that I have a good knee brace . . well a fairly irritating knee brace.
Tonight I will most of all be thankful that I get the chance to dress up with my kiddos tomorrow and make a good memory that they will be sure to remember . . . especially if I wear underwear over tights . . . I'm thinking about it ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Woot Woot!

I am a lover of a good deal!
Last week I was ordering some shirts and jerseys for the hubby to print on from a site called Epic Sports.  Now, I'm already loving this site because I got a supply of cheer pants for waaaay cheap from them on clearance.
So last week I decided to check out the rest of their clearance items.  And I ordered quite a few things.  Because, seriously, at 94 cents, why not?!  I was half expecting poor quality items, but I was prepared if that was the case.
My box came today!  I opened it and was pleasantly surprised!!  We have shorts for the whole family at 94 cents a piece!  I ordered some discontinued basketball jerseys for the boys to wear as tank tops.  Swimming goggles too; those might have been $2 or $3, but they are good ones!  I even ordered a cardigan for the girls really cheap!
Tonight I am thankful that my box full of cheap items arrived with not cheaply made items inside!  Sometimes I gamble on a good deal.  And this time I won!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Eye on the Prize

In case any of you have been paying attention to my budget/Dave Ramsey posts over the last year or so, I want to be brutally honest about this journey . . . sometimes it sucks.
I am so tired of working 70-80 hours/week.  I am tired of trying to figure out how to get at least 7 hours of sleep and still get everything else done that needs to get done.  I am tired of waking up at 2am, 3am, or 4am.  I miss lounging time with a warm blanket and a good book.  I miss spending time in my kitchen making wonderful meals for my family.  Yup, sometimes it sucks.
BUT, here's what I do when it sucks; I keep my eye on the prize.  This is just temporary.  As much as I grow tired, it is truly a blessing that my industry is booming right now and there is more work that I can handle.  It is a blessing to be able to have an outlet to utilize to chase this dream and watch it coming true little by little.  It is good to be a lesson to the children in actions as well as in speech.  They don't just hear me talk about our budget and about the restraints of debt; they see it.  They see the budget in action.  They see hard work in action to payback money that has been borrowe.  And they've seen the excitement and relief that we share with each debt that is paid in full.  I pray this is a big life lesson for these four to see how much work it takes to get out of the debt-trap.  I hope this makes a big impression on them as they grow and get tempted to charge up a credit card or just sign away for a new, shiny car.
The biggest part of the dream that keeps me going is the freedom.  I want the freedom of not owing anything to anyone.  I want it so bad I can feel it.  My daydreams involve picturing a life where we are free to enjoy an afternoon off without worry of the bottom-line, because we will have made good decisions to provide for that afternoon, worry free!
Tonight I am thankful that although this road sucks a little at times; the end of this road will be glorious!  The end of this road will be the beginning of a new road!  And I'm ready to head down it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bedtime

I don't know what was up today.  I woke up exhausted.  I worked for a few hours and went back to bed.  The kids got up for school and I finally got up again.
I've felt half asleep all day.  And I feel remarkably accomplished with how much work I got done for feeling like a sleep walker today.
And now here it is, a little after 8:30 and I'm ready for bed.  I think I'll be actually sleeping before the kids are!
Tonight I'm thankful for bedtime!  I like bedtime :)  Sweet Dreams everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2016

New

If you know me, you know I value life . . all life; except mosquitoes and maybe angry bears.  I also recognize that life on this Earth is not forever.  And sometimes, especially with animals, they just aren't meant to be here long.
We had a pregnant barn cat.  Her name is Owl.  She has seizures.  And I think she had one yesterday because 4 babies came out too early.  I think she still has at least one baby still in her . .  Of the four that came out, 2 were dead when we found them.  The other two are very small and don't seem to be able to open their mouths up big enough to eat from their momma.  I locked Owl in a pet carrier with them, hoping they could work something out.  But it just stressed Owl out being in there and not being able to help them.
The babies were very cold.  I tried to warm them up a bit.  I put the pet carrier out on the back porch with the door open, hoping one of my other momma barn cats would step in and take care of the kittens.  I had to get to working today though, so that's how I left them.
When I got home, no one was in the pen with the kittens, and they were fairly cold.  But they were alive.  If they had been by themselves that whole time, surely they would have died.  I brought them inside for a bit.  When I went back out to get the pet carrier, my favorite chicken, Pot Pie was in the carrier looking for the kittens :)  I think she's the one who has been keeping them from freezing.  She's such a nice chicken :)
So now the two babies are living in a tote in the bathroom.  They have a rice bag under their towel to keep them warm.  And I've showed the kids how to feed them with a syringe every few hours.  I'm hoping if they get a little bigger that their momma will take them back.
Tonight I am thankful that these two little ones are fighters.  I have heard my boy praying and praying for them to live.  So I'm going to do all that I can.  Mittens, the house cat, says that they need to move back outside as soon as possible.  But even Mittens isn't being horrible!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Timing of Dreams

You have to be careful of the advice that you listen to in life.  There are many people who may be where you want to be, but the way they got there is not the way that is right for you.
This is something that I could acknowledge a long time ago.  But it was something that really hit home maybe 8 or 9 years ago.  The hubby and I would watch shows on tv of people who renovated houses and it just looked good to us.  There was one in particular that was a favorite.  It was of a company in South Carolina called Trademark Properties.  The guy really seemed to know what he was doing.  He had a good team.  And he gave back to the community.  It was something to aspire to!
We enrolled in a training thing with high hopes.  And were fairly disappointed.  The training was tips on leveraging and investors and was just not the right way for us.  It also had some marketing tips that seemed fairly fraudulent from my perspective.  I think I still have that binder around here somewhere.
We've never really given up on that dream.  It's just been hanging out waiting for the right time and place for us.  And we might be close.  We are moving slow; which is good.  The kids say "Slow and Steady wins the race!".  Besides that, I am a big believer in gut feelings.  Nothing else has felt right yet.  I'll keep taking some steps towards the opportunities before us right now.  This may not be the right time yet, but it might be.  A little patience and a lot of prayers and we'll figure it out.
Tonight I am thankful for dreams that start as a seed and take awhile to grow.  If we had jumped in back when we had first thought about it, we would have made many costly mistakes.  Over the years, I've grown a lot in the real estate industry; and the hubster has gained much more experience on his abilities and limits with renovations.  When the time is right, it'll be great :)

Savings

Well, I missed my September 17th deadline by an hour!  Oops!  I got a little engrossed in trying to catch my desk up over here!
I am happy to report that I got some good deals at the auction today though!  We didn't win either of the bigger items that we were watching.  But that's ok.
The auction was at a residence, which also had a sale going on inside the home.  As it was the second day of the interior house sale, everything was 1/2 off the prices marked!  Yeah, between the sale and the auction, I got some really good deals on things we'll use right away.
I was very proud of myself because there were some other things that I thought about buying today.  But I stopped and put actual thought in to the purchase; like how often I'd actually use it and/or researching the item online to see what I would be comfortable paying.  Probably my best buy today was a Rubbermaid yard cart, which sells right now at Home Depot for $139.  I bought one today for $25!
Tonight I am thankful for a good auction today!  It would have been nice to get the bigger items too.  But, I've been reminding myself not to get too bummed.  Onward and upward towards our paying-things-off goals!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Auction

Tomorrow I'm heading to an auction!  I'm excited!  I may come back home with nothing.  And I'm ok with that.  But I love the excitement of the possibility of getting a super good deal on something!!
The auction excitement started for me 14 years ago.  I think it's been awhile since I shared this story . . so I guess it's ok to share it again :)
I had bought my first house with the appliances in it.  So when I sold the house, I sold it with the appliances in it.  And for whatever young-aged, naive reason, it hadn't dawned on me to check if the appliances stayed with the new house I was buying . . . and they didn't.
After putting money down on the house, moving expenses, and other costs, I was running out of money quick!  I got a refrigerator.  I'm thinking maybe the stove did stay in that house . . I don't remember.  I do remember though, that the washing machine and clothes dryer did not come with the house.  And I had no money left to buy either.  Then I saw an auction listed in the paper.
The auction was a liquidation of a daycare and it has a washing machine and dryer.  I think every other person at that auction was there for the daycare supplies.  We moved room to room to room, with me getting antsier and antsier.  Finally we were in the basement and the auctioneer started high.  No one bid, so he went lower, then lower, then lower.  I was practicing self restraint while in inner turmoil!  I couldn't let him get too low.  If he got too low then someone else would bid just because it was so cheap.  And if I outbid them, and they countered . . well the price could escalate pretty quickly.  So I stood there, wrestling with myself and shifting from one foot then the other.  Finally I bid!  And I won them!  And I seriously wish my memory was better because I don't remember how much I got them for.  But it was cheap!  It was either $20 or $50 . . I know I have it written down somewhere.  I'll have to find it.  Either way, I got a good conditioned, working washing machine and dryer for very, very cheap!
Since that auction, I've done mostly online auctions.  It's just easier.  But tomorrow two separate auctions crossed my desk today that have things that would be wonderful for my family!!  I am doing an absentee ballad for one and attending the other.  Wish me luck!  Either way, it'll be fun just to go :)
Tonight I am thankful for good deals to be found at auctions.  And I hope tomorrow I can be thankful for adding another amazing auction deal story to my story collection!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Early Christmas

Once upon a time, a little girl wanted her very own American Girl Doll.  The girl loved all dolls.  And she took very good care of them.  But the girl's mommy thought that the prices of the American Girl Dolls were ridiculous and wasn't willing to spend that much on a doll.
The mom didn't want to let her little girl down, and she found a doll that looked very similar to an American Girl doll on eBay.  For Christmas the little girl got her doll and she adored it.  The little girl thought it was an American Girl Doll.  The mommy did tell her that it wasn't one exactly.  But the little girl still loved it.
The little girl's sister grew a little older and she wanted an American Girl doll also.  The mommy found this daughter a doll that was similar as well.  And both girls loved their dollies that looked like American Girl dolls.  They were thankful and happy with their dollies.  The mommy knew that deep down, the girls still wanted American Girl dolls.  But the girls were content with their dollies and the mommy still just wasn't willing to spend the money on real American Girl dolls.
The mommy's cousin understood very well.  She herself was a fan and collector of American Girl dolls.  She sent the mommy a few sales that were happening.  And the mommy showed the girls.  Because if they saved enough of their own money; they were free to choose to spend it on the American Girls dolls if they so choosed.
Then one day the mommy's cousin sent her a message about two American Girl dolls looking for a new home!  Well, really there was just one and the mommy's cousin was generous and loving enough to send a second doll, so that both girls could have a dolly!  The mommy told the girls' brothers about the surprise package that was coming.  The mommy didn't want the boys to be sad that they weren't getting presents too.  The brothers knew how much their sisters wanted the dolls, and they were truly excited for them!
Today the box was delivered to the house!  The girls had no idea it was coming.  The mommy cut open the box and told the girls to look inside.  They both got big smiles when they saw the dollies!  They pulled out the dollies, traded, and hugged them tight!  Inside the box was also a toy for each of the brothers!  The mommy's cousin was very thoughtful!  The boys were already excited for their sisters, and their selflessness was rewarded with their own surprise toys!!
Tonight the mommy (that's me) is very thankful for the mommy's cousin for looking out and thinking of the mommy's children!!  We had Christmas a little early this year :)
P.S. I thought about keeping the dollies until Christmas, but figured there was no way I could keep them a secret!!  I was excited too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

See You Struggle

There's this pressure out there to do things without showing weakness.  I've never really understood that.  Why not show it?  We all have weakness.  We all struggle.  What's the point of pretending we don't?  I like that saying, You may see me struggle, but you'll never see me quit.
The not giving up should be the valued part.  That's the part that should be aspired to and celebrated.  And I think this is especially true as a parent.
I will always remember my mom apologizing to me when she messed up.  It showed me that we all mess up.  Then we apologize, we make it right, and we continue on.  That makes a big impression on a child.  Take my word for it!
I saw her struggle with life too.  I watched her lose all hope, cry, and pray.  I watched her dig her heels in and make a plan to keep going.  I watched her find hope again.  And in all that, I saw her smile.  I saw her exhausted, at the end of her rope, but still holding on, looking at my brother and I, and finding joy.  I remember these things.  She didn't hide the struggle of being human from us.
So I hold on too.  I don't give up.  I see myself struggle, fall down, and get up again.  Quitting isn't really something I consider because I see the end out there, I see the victory, even on my knees, I'm going towards it.
I want my kids to see this.  I want them to grow and know that life is rough.  I don't want them to think that they are out of options because the world says there are no options.  God makes options where there haven't been any.  I want them to understand that strength is not an absence of tears or exhaustion, or thoughts of giving up.  No, I want them to know that strength is going forward right thru all of these things and still going forward.
Tonight I am thankful for the ability to live life in front of my kids.  I hope I set a good example.  They see me lose my marbles.  But then they see me pick them back up.  Life happens to all of us, how we respond is what matters!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Finished

It's late.  I have a class to go to tomorrow morning that I am not looking forward to.
But, I've stayed up and caught up on work a bit, so my class tomorrow doesn't get me behind too much.
I am falling asleep at my desk.
So tonight I am thankful that I have finished what I set out to do and I am headed to bed!  Good night all!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pushing

Last week I lost about three pounds.  I was beyond excited!  My body has been being . . difficult, to put it nicely.  
I was a little heavier than I was comfortable with a year ago.  Then when I hurt my knee, it just went down hill.  And it wasn't just the more sedentary days.  There was the thyroid thing, that I'm still working on.  And some hormonal things and who knows what else was going haywire.  But it was frustrating.
Throughout the past year I have made several attempts to get myself back in to shape.  But I never did well with it.  I'm used to the way my body used to work.  And I'm used to being able to push my body hard like I used to.  And my old ways weren't working.  I was eating about 1500 calories a day and gaining weight.  That is ridiculously, maddeningly, frustrating.  This wasn't like 1500 calories of junk. This was good food, planned specifically.  It didn't matter.  It seemed that my body wanted to be fluffier.
What's worse is the way I've been feeling about myself.  I don't want to look in mirrors.  I don't want to try on clothes.  I don't like how I am and I haven't been sure how to fix it.
This may sound silly now, but the thing that has changed is being able to run again.  It's not even like I'm at the track everyday or anything.  I'm really trying to take this slow so that I don't overdo anything . . fighting my natural style with that endeavour!  But I'm excited.  And I'm ready . . ready to be healthier again!  My goal of running a mile by my birthday is still possibly more of a dream.  But I'm working on it.  My knee is responding well and I'm finding the rest of me needs some work!  An hour on the elliptical at a good pace and resistance is not the same endurance as running, I can tell you that right now!
Tonight I am thankful for a renewed appreciation for my body.  I've given up on it quite a bit in the past year, and came back around to trying again and again.  I feel like I have the potential to be back to myself now.  I didn't feel that way a month ago.  I'm thankful for faith in myself.  I'll keep pushing and see how far I get!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Full, Not Long

Today was a full day.  I think I want to try and start saying full rather than long.
A long day implies a negative aspect, and that's not always the case.
I set my alarm clock this morning for 5:30.  Then I turned it off and woke up around 6:30.  I worked until it was time to get ready for the first football game.  The first game went well!  I had opened it up to volunteer cheerleaders and got 7 girls!  That is awesome! 7 girls and their parents willing to put in efforts on two separate football games today!
Well, then I came home and did a little more work.  Then I went to the second football game.  Which went wonderful also!  This was our first time inviting younger girls out for a little while with the bigger cheerleaders.  I was worried they would be scared in front of people out on the field.  But they did great and said they had a good time!  Oh, and did I mention that all the football games were won by our very own Aggies today?  :)  That is always a plus!
But then I had to go to do some houses that I didn't have time for on Friday.  I was very thankful no one called the police.  I tend to get the police called when I appraise houses on weekend evenings.  But tonight was good!
I stopped to get a few groceries.  And guess what???  Frankenberry and Boo Berry cereal were out!  I didn't see any Count Chocola.  But I'll be happy almost two months before Halloween for two out of the three :)  I had stopped buying cereal for awhile there because the kids inhale it like it is air.  But I had to make exceptions for these guys!
Tonight I am thankful for a full day :)  A full day with many blessings.  And I am exhausted now and going to bed!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sharing

So, here's a cool story :)
I've been telling my mom about Dave Ramsey while we've been on this journey.  And I've been telling her our exciting updates and plans.  She listens.  Last week I lent her The Total Money Makeover book.  She's getting excited :)
Today her and my aunt went shopping.  There was an item that my aunt wanted that was a little pricey.  My mom shared a story from The Total Money Makeover.  With a little motivating, my aunt offered less for the item.  And it was accepted!
Since becoming more vocal about this journey towards being debt free, I have encountered a few people that have wanted to know more.  And that is exciting.  It is exciting because everyone deserves to learn the tools that they need to have freedom from debt and freedom in their lives!
Tonight I am thankful that this just isn't our story!  I'm thankful that this can be anybody's story!  I know it's hard to imagine.  I was there too.  I know a number can be big and scary.  But it goes down!  When you make a good plan and stick to it, the numbers start falling.  And then, if you're like me, all you see when you close your eyes is the goal line!  I daydream regularly of complete debt freedom!  That's a dream that is open to all!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Many Efforts

Oh this week . . I am so glad it is over!!!  Some times the end of the week is just enough to be thankful for in itself!
But I'll throw in my biggest thing here . . . cheer uniforms.  We welcome all girls to cheer!  Which meant that I found out a little late that we didn't have enough informs for everyone.  So we decided to make them.  I had that blog last week, being thankful that we could make some nifty uniform shirts!
Well, I ordered the shirts Friday afternoon / evening.  There was Labor Day weekend.  And I got an email Tuesday afternoon that the order never was processed because the company (who I had used before) needed a document from me.  AHHH!  Oh, it was beyond panic.  I hopped online and found another supplier. I  could have just filled out the document that they needed, but I was holding a grudge.  Anyway, found another supplier, negotiated some speedy delivery.  And the shirts arrived yesterday around 3:45 to my house.
The hubster, myself, and my oldest stayed up making shirt in to the night.  We let my daughter go to bed first.  Because she needs her sleep.  The hubster and I?  Well, we are parents, so our sleep needs can be compromised for the sake of the greater good.
Viola, by morning we had shirts for everyone!  Hooray!  One of my wonderful coaches spent her night similarly making beautiful, sparkly hair bows!  And one of my wonderful, generous parents is spending her time altering pants to fit some of our smaller cheerleaders!
Tonight I am thankful for this wonderfully awesome coming together of many efforts to make the girls look great tonight!  And they'll look great on Sunday.  And they'll keep looking great all season! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Boys . . .

Here we are, 6 1/2 days in to the school year and I get a phone call, "we don't think he needs stitches . . but we haven't gotten it to stop bleeding".  To the school, I sped like a NASCAR driver.
My silly boy didn't understand why he couldn't stay at school.  And why couldn't he stay for cross country practise?  He felt fine!  My answer, "because you can't do those things with blood squirting out of your head dear".  *shaking my head*  boys . . .
Back home, I cut some of the hair he'd been growing out.  The cut was in his hair and I needed to see it to decide if we were going for stitches or not.  The rest of his hair was between 3 and 4 inches long.  So he looked a little funny.  I promised to fixed it later.  But I just didn't have time right then.  He didn't care for that!
Yes, the most upsetting things to my son was getting his hair cut.  Silly boy!
Tonight I am thankful that my son is ok.  He's sporting quite the new look with his hair cut and his big owie; but he'll be good as new in no time!
P.S.  I'll spare everyone a picture tonight!  Now you have something to be thankful for too :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First One

I hate missing kid events; especially when they are nervous.  Today was my boy's first cross country meet . . and I couldn't be there.  He told me he had some butterflies in his stomach a few days ago.  I think it made him even more nervous that he would be there without a parent.
My in laws did go, so that was good.  And of course he had his team!
He got to take the "kiddo phone" with him - a $5 Tracfone reserved for times like this for whichever non-phone-owning kid is leaving without us.  I got a text around lunch time from him :)  And some texts after school :)  And a text before he was about to run :)  And some texts after he ran! :)
The best-est part was that he was proud of himself!  I loved reading his messages!  He pushed himself and beat what he'd been running.  And he was proud :)  Which means I was doubly proud!  I told him yesterday that no matter how he did, I was proud of how dedicated he has been to this!  And I am!!
Tonight I am thankful for my son practicing so much and so hard!  And thankful that his first cross country meet went well!!  Hooray!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Time

Some days, like today, I just get tired of everything.  There is always so much to do.  So much work, so many chores, so many places to be; I just get tired with life at times.  I'd prefer to run away for awhile . . maybe to a beach.  I guess what compounds this is looking at my calendar.  Fall sports are in full swing and I have two months of scribbles covering every single day between now and Gracie's birthday.  That isn't really exciting at all.
So yeah, I've been a bit sulky.  This morning I got to help a stuck little birdy and that was a nice reminder to stop sulking and only thinking about myself.  I brightened a little with that.
Then I was settled down enough to enjoy the sunshine today.  It was a beautiful day and I had a lot of driving to do.  I love driving back roads in the sun.  So I relaxed a bit and just enjoyed the view on my way from one place to another.
Tonight I am thankful for moments of peace in a busy life.  The kids are growing and in to so many things.  And it is great to see them take interest in things.  But one of my favorite song lyrics will always be "Time is a thief I would rob".  Everything goes so fast, it's hard to find the pause button sometimes.  Today I found it while cruising with the windows down and my hair tied back.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cracker Box

Last year was when I first started reading Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze.  I have reread many part of this book several times.  I highly recommend it!  After deciding to start our own debt free journey two years or so ago now, it seemed logical to want to learn how to raise our kids up to never get stuck in the debt trap.
Last school year was when I ran in to a problem with school lunches.  The school has this nice little system where I put money in to the accounts for the kids and they just give their name or number and their food gets charged to their account.  We have always had a rule in this house of having just one hot lunch per week, per child.  I make sure we have something here at home to bring a lunch every day . . . well, sometimes it's a throw-some-cereal-in-a-bag-and-go deal, but there is always something ;)
Anyway, last year our system was getting abused.  There was one of my children in particular that was having several hot lunches a week because she wanted to sit by her friends who were in the hot lunch line.  All this extra money and it had nothing to do with food at all!!!
First we implemented a new rule that anything charged for lunch beyond what was allowed, would be paid back.  In hindsight, that rule had good intentions, but missed the mark of teaching handling money well.  All that rule did was encourage the child to start charging more lunches.  Then she'd get to the end of the week, and not have enough chore money to cover her expenses.  I'd assign more chores to make up the difference, but that was still just not addressing the problem.  It was kind of saying charging things when you don't have the money is ok; because you can work and pay for it later.  Which is, the premise of all debt that sucks a person in and has them paying for years to come.  So, when this reality hit me, it was time for an immediate change.
I contacted the school lunch director and said that from now on, all my children were allowed to use their lunch account for milk only - milk I'm ok with funding, I'm not heartless!!  Anything beyond milk was to be paid for with cash.  I pinned envelopes with weekly hot lunch money to the bulletin board and the kids could take the money and keep it in their backpacks or just take it the day they were going to use it.  That was up to them.  We had a few kinks, but that system worked pretty well.  And when the kids had to think at the beginning of the day what they were doing, they were able to look at their own cash and decide if they really wanted to spend their hard earned money on food, when we had food here.  Those were decisions that meant something.  Holding their own cash in their hands and staring at cupboards of food here at home put a lot more thought in to it!
This year I didn't want to use the bulletin board because we lost a few pins last year.  I still don't have a clue where they went.  But at least they never showed up in any one's foot!
This year we also have a boy going to some school sport events where he will leave from school and not return home until late at night.  As long as things are the same as they were when I was in school, they will be stopping at a fast food place so the kids can get dinner.  So this child has more money in his lunch money envelope clipped with a note for "Meet dinners" only.  And I told him I expect any and all change to be returned to me.
Tonight I am thankful for a cut up cracker box, some colored paper, and shiny duct tape for our new lunch money envelope holder!  I didn't get this done for the first week of school.  But we have it now.  And we'll be working on good money decisions and money management at home and at school again this year!



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Surprise Blessing!

I am cheap.  Er, um . . frugal.  No . . thrifty.  Well, whatever you want to call it; I like to find good deals on things.  I have problems paying high prices.  And I greatly prefer even with average prices, to find sales or clearances.  I am an avid fan of coupons and groupons and all discounts.
So it took me a couple days to accept my fate of needing to buy something expensive for my feet.  
My feet are pretty sturdy things.  I have good arches.  My ankles are solid.  I can walk all day barefoot or in big chunky heels and be just fine.  I rarely do thin heels; that is more of a klutz factor than it is a feet factor.  Due to my wonderfully sturdy feet, I usually pay no more than $20 for a pair of shoes.  Winter boots, I have to pay a little more for, but not much . . I find wonderful after Thanksgiving sales for boots.  My running shoes fall in to the $20 and under category as well (usually like a Meijer clearance) . . . . until now.
Running with a still-healing knee apparently requires something special.  I went to the track twice last week.  The last time I went, I left limping. And I haven't been back for days.  It was a lasting "too much" for my knee.  
So the choices are to wait longer to run - NOOOOO!  Or get some good help with running shoes; which equals spending more than $20.  And yes, I know even better shoes may not make me be able to run if my knee just doesn't want to do it.  But, I'd surely have better chances!
Today was the day.  I went to Playmakers.  I walked thru the doors and walked over to the shoes.  I looked at the prices and steeled myself from turning and leaving.  I was there maybe 45 seconds and a nice woman came and asked if I wanted help.  I told her that I did need some help.  I told her of my injury and that shoes normally don't matter much for me; but now they do.  She was very nice.  She measured my foot.  She watched the way I walked and balanced on my foot.  And told me what kind of shoe would be good for me.  
Then this woman, this complete stranger, said something that was music to my ears, "We have a sale right now, 20% off clearance prices.  Would you like to see what we have upstairs in the clearance section?"  I am not even sure if my smile fit on my face!  "YES!"  
Upstairs I got a little discouraged.  My feet are wide.  I've been told in the past this is possibly due to the amount of time I've spent barefoot in my life . . but who really knows.  They are just wide.  And all the shoes on the rack were normal sizes, not wide.  The woman went in the backroom to see what they had.  And they had one pair of wide shoes in my size!  They felt wonderful!!  
I walked out of the store with new, wonderful running shoes, for $52 less than the shelf price!!  I didn't get to run today though.  I had too much to do when I got home.  To be honest, my knee is still not feeling back to where it was before I was at the track last either.  But tomorrow morning, I'm taking my cross country boy and we are heading to the track.  I can't wait to try these out!
Tonight I am thankful for getting nice, friendly, knowledgeable help to get some good shoes and a wonderfully discounted price!  I love when God just pops in and blesses with the little things when I'm not even expecting it!  But I sure am thankful for it!!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Last Outing

Over the summer the boys got each their special outing to the Tigers game and to the Lions game.  E got a trip to Chicago with her Girl Scout trip.  So my Gracie was the only one who hadn't gotten a special outing yet.  She was waiting for the American Girl Doll store to open here in Michigan.
Well, when her sister and I were in Chicago, we went to the American Girl Doll store.  E took lots of pictures and showed them to Gracie when we got home.  The pictures changed Gracie's mind.  I think she had something more magical in mind, from the commercials.  I personally thought the neatest thing was the little restaurant that looked like a fancy place to eat with you doll.  But I doubt the store in Michigan has that much extra stuff.
Anyway, it was her decision, and she decided not to go.  Together, the girls decided on getting toenails done instead.  While there, the guy decided to do Gracie's fingernails for free!  It was extra special for her!  We had dinner.  We went to Target and played dress up too!
Tonight I am thankful for a fun night out with my girls!  I love watching the two of them in their "sister" element!  And I am extra thankful that the man decided to do Gracie's fingers too :)  It was nice for her to have something extra special since she waited so long for her outing; and since she changed her mind after deciding the first store wasn't as magical as she had thought!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Almost Ruined

There was no school today.  There was a free movie playing this morning at the movie theater!  The catch for being free was that the movie started at 9:30am, doors opened at 9am.  And once the seats were filled up, that was it.
The kids and I were looking forward to it all week.  I was drooling over the thought of movie theater popcorn for breakfast!!  We got there about quarter after 9.  Yeah . . we were a little later than I had planned.  But, there were still seats!  Nice, squishy, comfy seats!  We had our popcorn and our pops and we were ready to watch The Minions.  Ok, so we own the movie, but seeing it on the big screen is always more exciting.
Here is what we learned this morning . . . empty bellies + car ride + buttery popcorn + pop = unhappy bellies.  The movie was fun.  But, by the time we got home, everyone had to lay down for a little bit.
After a little while of resting, everyone was able to get back up and continue on with their day.
The kids got their chores done.  I got most of my work done.  The whole day was not ruined!  Hooray!  We got to go enjoy some sunshine too!
Tonight I am thankful for a fun morning out for free!  Well, I had to pay for the popcorn and drinks.  But the admission was free!  And I am very thankful that everyone got to feeling better in no time!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Saved by the Basement

It was over a year ago that we started the hubster's t-shirt business.  It worked good being "on the side" with his job at the time.  And hey, it was fun to make our own stuff!
Then he switched jobs.  And he had less time.  I stopped advertising and we still got some orders in.  Even that was getting to be too much for him.  So we made the decision a few months ago that the business would only service past customers and things for our family.
I tell ya, that was an absolutely fantastic decision because it's saving my butt!!
In trying to revive a dwindling program, I have kept registration open for our Cheer program.  With the first game sneaking up quickly, I sat down this afternoon to assign uniforms.  And found we didn't have enough of the right sizes.  AH!  I went about searching the internet and found some very cute ideas that we can do with t-shirts.
And I just happen to have a stash of shirts that I've bought on clearance sitting in the basement waiting to be used.
So tonight I am thankful for t-shirt equipment sitting in my house just waiting to be used!  I am thankful for the internet for providing great ideas when I have no good ones myself!  And I am thankful to the hubster who will make us some awesome uniform shirts this weekend!