Monday, May 22, 2017

Big Mouth

So here's what is great about the internet . . . I have found that I am not completely abnormal!!  You may scoff at that and think - "actually you are abnormal, sorry the internet lied to you".  But I guarantee that there are others out there that share some traits of mine!
Let me take you back in time to my first regular 40 hour a week job with benefits.  I was 18 when I started.  And was probably in a little over my head.  Luckily, that's never scared me.  I ended up getting laid off from that job.  There were several reasons.  But the one that probably sealed my fate was when I walked in to the Vice President's office to point out something that just wasn't right.  It was something he had done.  I honestly thought he cared about what was right, and that he had missed all the facts of what he had done.  It should be of no shock to anyone that I was considered slightly insubordinate.
At another job I was in a meeting and very politely corrected my boss.  He didn't like that.  He argued with me.  I proved him wrong with his own QS9000 book on his desk.  After the meeting he had another meeting just with me, where I was instructed to not do that again.  That just seemed silly to me.  If we were having a meeting, then everyone should have correct information.  It was just logical.  Why wait until after the meeting to point something out?  How unproductive!  That boss later tried to fire me.  I rolled my eyes at him in a meeting with the guy who ran the plant.  Oops.  Fortunately, there was another boss guy there who saw my loud mouthed potential and spoke up for me.
So I regret nothing.  Seriously.  It was logically a right or wrong situation.  I've never been one to censor myself due to a title or situation.
Most people have a little more thought on these situations and see where a little vocal suppression may help them keep a job or something.  I see that point.  I do.  I just don't feel that is the right route for me.
Ok, so with that knowledge about my choices in life with words; it is easy to see where I don't feel I necessarily go with the norm with my verbal blunt-ness.  Most people choose to be quiet and keep their jobs . . and that's obviously a good life choice.
And then, I was listening to Dave Ramsey and he was talking about an Entrepreneurial person.  He was describing characteristics like shorter attention spans, lots of ideas, and then he said "truth tellers".  He said these are the people who will tell it like it is.  He talked about a person he had working with him.  The man told Dave that his idea sucked . . in a meeting.  Dave was not liking being told that.  And he reminded the man that he owned the company and had socks older than the boy.  The man replied, "I don't care that you own the company, your idea still sucks".  I would totally do that!!!  Ownership of a company doesn't make an idea good.  A boss running a meeting doesn't make him right.  And a man managing a plant doesn't make his treatment of people above questioning.
I like the perspective that I'm not rude first of all . . that does good things for my ego.  I never set out to be rude, although that is how I am taken.  I set out to have the right thing done, as I move around people.  People, who are all just people, none more and none less.
Tonight I am thankful to find that I am not the only one who would lose multiple jobs rather than turn up the verbal mute button.  Again nothing against those who can control their mouths and keep their jobs.  It doesn't seem like a difficult concept; it's just not one that's done well with me.  There is a big reason that I work for myself.  I won't fire myself!  Well not anytime soon anyway ;)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

On the Grill

We haven't been good cooks in this house lately.  The hubster and myself have just not felt in the chef-mood.
So the last couple weeks have had more frozen dinners, more eating out, and a little cooking here and there.  The thing about having four kids is that these times of unhealthy eating resonates in multiples.  I would normally just feel bad if I was eating poorly.  But now adays I feel bad that I am eating poorly, the hubster is eating poorly, and the kids are eating poorly.
Ok, so I can justify that it isn't all bad.  I mean we did Subway once.  Pizza is greasy, but does contain items from all four food groups.  Frozen dinners have come a long way since I was a kid.  It's better than feeding them cereal every night - which the kids and hubster would all be in favor of actually.
Well tonight I went and got groceries for some healthy choices to be in the house this week!  I can't guarantee that all dinners will be freshly prepared and wonderfully healthy because we do have a number of things on the calendar this week.  BUT, we will be better than last week!  And we started tonight.
Tonight I am thankful for a good family meal this evening with meat from the grill and corn on the cob.  YUM!  We'll do better this week!  It won't be the best.  But it will be better, so I am thankful :)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rain, Rain

I had my alarm set for 4am this morning.  I hit snooze about 4 or 5 times.  So I reset the alarm for 5:30.  I didn't get up then either.  My body needed to sleep today apparently!
I had a wonderful breakfast, getting some good ideas and insight from a friend!  I had to show a house.  And by the time I got home, I needed a nap.
Then I laid in bed for awhile reading.  Then I took another nap.  I watched a movie with the kids, Robin Hood Men in Tights.  Somewhere in the last 20 years, I had forgotten about the amount of sexual innuendos in that movie!  Fortunately, those were missed by the littler ones.  And everyone laughed a lot :)
Then I went back to bed for another quick nap.  Then more reading.  Another quick nap.
I haven't rested and laid around so much in months.  I'm glad for the rain today.  I'm thankful we stayed home and rested.
Tonight I am thankful for some down time.  I'm still tired and going to bed now.  Kinda crazy!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Part 2

I've written and deleted, written and deleted.  Sometimes this blog is hard.  But that is why this blog is good.
Today I reached out for my son's arm and drew my hand back.  I am now a little afraid to touch my own children.  This is insane.  I wasn't like this last week when I believed that maybe a stranger was involved.  Now, knowing it was someone close, it's unsettling to say the least.
I drove my daughter by the place where the people called CPS on me; and I felt like throwing up.  I am supposed to go there next week.  I may need to cancel.  Except I promised my child I'd go; so I'll just go and throw up when no one is looking.  I've been nauseous most of today.
I've felt this before.  Anxious, depressed, breaking down, and constantly trying to remind myself of who I am.  The kids make it easier.  They give me a reason to try to be strong.
When I started this blog, I was not in a good spot in life.  I was moody and losing hope.  I knew I had a lot of good things in life then; but I couldn't feel them.  There is a difference between knowing something and feeling something.  When I started writing this blog, I went day in and day out feeling bitter and storming.  It was not a good place in life; but it was different than now.
I've had days of anxiety and depression.  Two really large chapters of my life are shaded by these days.  I am working hard not to make this the third of these chapters.  So I'm clinging to what has worked for the last six years of this blog - I'm going to be thankful.  I can't keep this situation constantly in front of me; it is tearing me apart.  So I'm working on keeping my blessings in front of me instead.
Tonight I am thankful for the outpouring of love that has shown up in the middle of this.  I am thankful for the people in my life who believe in who I am.  I am thankful for my children and my husband who bring meaning to my life.  I am thankful that God's hand is in this.  He is keeping me safe; this I know.  And I am thankful for a chance to go back to my original thoughts when this happened - at first I was praying for whoever did this.  I stopped when I learned who it was.  But just because it was someone closer to me; that doesn't mean I should take this and hold on to it.  No, I will pray.  I will give this all to God . . thankfully he is big enough to carry it.  And I will pray for these people - I pray that God can work discretion in to their lives and wisdom.  And I know I need to pray to be able to forgive this.
I am thankful for the weekend to spend with my family.  I think we need to run off somewhere together and just enjoy each other.  I am thankful that this week is over because I have had enough of it.  I am thankful that in the midst of all this, some of my new business ideas were put in to place this week.  I am thankful for baby kittens to snuggle with.  And I am thankful for the powerful lesson this blog has taught me over the years, to be thankful . . always and in everything.

1 Chronicles 16:34

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lessons that Hurt

I have this problem of asking too many questions.  You know, sometimes if you ask enough questions, you'll get answers.  And sometimes the answers haunt you.
Last week I accidentally scratched my son.  It looked horrible.  I felt horrible.  I cut off all my nails.  And I just had a bad feeling.
Sure enough, Thursday morning my son told me that a woman had came to the school to talk to him the day before.  Someone had called Child Protective Services.  Someone felt that I actually was a danger to my own children.  That was hurtful enough.
Then I found out more.  When someone asked my son about the situation, he explained.  He was supposed to be cleaning the bathroom - his chore for the week.  His sister needed to use the bathroom.  He wouldn't leave the bathroom.  Mom intervened and made him come sit down.  He sat down with an attitude and said how he wasn't going to clean the bathroom.  I got up to walk over and talk to him.  He took off running.  I followed him.  He was hiding in a corner with his arms over his face.  I reached for his arm to pull him to his feet and that is when I accidentally scratched his face.  After that he put his hands over his face because his face hurt.  I'm sure it did.  Like I said, it looked horrible.  I felt horrible.
We came in to my office.  I cut my nails.  We put ointment on his face.  And THEN we had our talk about how saying "no" he wasn't going to do his chores is not ok.  We talked about how next time when he is cleaning the bathroom, he needs to leave when people need to use that room.  Even in his statement to CPS he said that when he gets in trouble he usually gets his video games taken away or he gets "talked to for hours".
Here's the thing.  My nine year old boy did not know, until the other day, that adults beat up on children.  I never told him that.  Why in the world would I tell him that?  He is an innocent boy and he does not need to know the evils of this world at age nine.  So when he told someone that he was hiding and got slapped.  He did not clarify that he was hiding to avoid a big talk.  And he did not explain that his "slap" was me touching his face firmly.  Why would he clarify this?  He had no idea.  But why wouldn't an adult ask him?  Does an adult really expect that every nine year old understands child abuse and uses the words the way the adult does?  Is this the expectation?  I had to explain to my nine year old boy that his words conjured up an image of a boy terrified of getting beaten and punched by his mother.  I had to tell him that there are adults who hit their children so hard they break bones and kill them.  His face was so somber, he said, "But mom, everyone knows you are kind."
From my conversations with adults now, somehow another word got thrown in there.  But I don't use that word.  I asked my son about it and told me at least three times that he did not say that other word either.  So I don't even know why this situation was made worse.
I was doing better when I thought that maybe this whole thing started with someone that I didn't know well or something.  But no, the truth seems to be that this whole thing is from people that I know.  People that I trusted, people that trusted me.  I am heartbroken.  I am trying so, so hard not to let this bother me.  But how could I not?  Ricky Holland was mentioned in a conversation because "you never know".  I worked in Williamston during the time of Ricky Holland's death.  I helped provide drinks to searchers.  I had a new baby and couldn't help search personally.  But, I followed that case.  That woman was a phsycopath.  She has no heart and she has no soul.  She is evil personified.  And she was brought up in a conversation relative to myself.  She hid her son.  Neighbors found her son going thru their trash.  She moved to hide details of her derangement and abuse of Ricky.  And this was brought up in a conversation having to do with myself.  I am nothing like this woman.  For someone that has met me to even think this is a possibility has had me feeling like I want to throw up constantly.
I shouldn't have had that talk.  But I did and now I know.
I am blessed that the CPS worker, a stranger, can see that this was an accident.  A stranger can see that I love my children and wouldn't hurt them.  People that I know and trusted can't see that though.  I am trying very hard to find the silver lining in all this.  I guess I have a good reminder of why I shouldn't trust people.  I've loosened up over the years.  I was letting this idea of "community" grow on me.  But no longer.  People play games.  And I won't.  I don't pretend to trust people that I don't actually trust. And sometimes I assume that is a two way street.
Don't worry.  I'm not going too far off the deep end.  I know not all people think this of me.  And I know that what others think is not what matters.  The truth matters.
But I hate feeling foolish for trusting people.  I'm re-evaluating some things.  And I'm opening back up the possibility of moving to the mountains some day in my retirement to avoid people and live happily and carefree amongst animal friends.
You nice people, we can still communicate via the internet.  But real interactions have never been my thing much anyway.  I thought I was getting better at them.  Now I think I was fooling myself.
The logical part of me can see, given what my son said, how this happened.  But my heart doesn't quite get it.  Words were twisted.  Explanations were not asked for.  Assumptions were made.  And trust was broken.  That's a bridge that won't be rebuilt.
Tonight I am thankful that this is temporary.  This feeling won't last.  My kids know how much I love them.  My family, God, and the CPS lady know I would never hurt them.  That is what matters.  The rest will be a lesson learned.  I hate these lessons that hurt so much . . I guess that is life though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Steps

The past many weeks (well honestly months and years) I have stupidly taken it upon myself to prove that the human body needs sleep and rest.  I was all "look how much I can do on little sleep!"  Ok, well it wasn't really like that.  But I chose not to take care of myself to get more work done.
A big goal for 2017 was to start sleeping more.  Here's a problem.  That's not enough.  I have dragged myself down so far that sleep is not enough.
Alright  . . rest . . . can I learn to rest while awake?  I occasionally take relaxing baths.  But, this rest things needs to be a daily effort I believe.
I rested today.  Please, please, hold your applause ;)  As I was resting, I did some reflecting . . . the lack of rest thing is not new for me.  I've known this.  It is not my strong suite.  If I'm up and awake, I want to be doing something.  I see a great disconnect between what my mind wants and what my body needs.
So, I'm going to work on it.  Today was a small step in the right direction.  Tomorrow I'll take another step, and then another, and another.  Look at me . . all scheduling (yesterday's blog) and resting and stuff.  It is sooo not my style.  BUT, I know it is sooo what I need.  So I'm working on it.
Tonight I am thankful for tiny steps in the right direction.  I am tired of being tired.  So I'm changing . . slowly but surely.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Turning Point

At the beginning of this year I made a goal to sleep more.  I was doing good with that . . until several weeks ago.
I knew I had a work-scheduling problem.  Well, I've known that for some time actually.  And I've known the steps I need to take to fix this problem.  But it was a little scary to me.
Starting at the end of last week, I've actually been taking the steps that I need to fix this scheduling problem!  This might sound like a small thing to those reading tonight.  But this is a huge thing!
I can look at my lifelong uncomfortableness of lists and schedules and see why this is such a problem for me.  I don't seem to like anything that puts limits on things.  Lists put limits.  And schedules definitely put limits.  I am now seeing though, that maybe these limits are good.
I'm not limiting myself or my life with a schedule.  I'm limiting my work.  Because God knows that I need help with that!  Seriously, God knows . . . I've been praying about this.  The answer seems so simple.  Practicing the answer is not simple at all. 
Today, I had my scheduled desk time to complete files. Unfortunately, I am still a little behind.  So I did not work on the files that I had scheduled to be working on.  But, just the fact that I scheduled a day to be at my desk working on files was a giant positive!  And I got a lot done!
Tonight I am thankful for enforcing on myself, what I've known needed to be done.  I'm sure I'll fall off the scheduling wagon from time to time.  But, I'm making this a turning point in my professional life.  No more shoving work in to every nook and cranny of my life that I can shove it in to!  That is exhausting and stressful . . . and I've had enough!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lovely

A local credit union has this neat program with the school.  They come in once a week and the kids get to do their banking.  5th graders get to apply at the beginning of the year to "work" for the credit union.  They have real applications, an interview process, the whole nine yards!
Tonight was the end of the year party for the kid credit union workers.  My hard working banker went out there and tried her best to roller skate.  Unfortunately, the child has her mother's coordination.  She took the skates off after a bit of time and put her shoes back on.  She has a new appreciation for her shoes!  
I let her play on my phone, making silly pictures until she was ready to head home.  We cranked the radio and sang along.  We were silly and laughing.  It was an absolutely wonderful ride home!  She's been a bit anxious lately about things.  It was wonderful to see her being silly and laughing!
Tonight I am thankful for a fun time tonight with my daughter!  I love our family all together!  And I love the one on one time!  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mom

Happy Mother's Day!
I hope everyone got to have some fun today with a special mother in their life!  I've known for a long time that I have a very special Mom.  :)
The thing that still amazes me the most is how she gave things to my brother and I that she never had.  She didn't dream big things for herself growing up; but she made us believe that anything was possible.  That still amazes me.  Most people want better for their children of course.  But if you watch people, to make that work, you have to do more than just want.  And she did more.  She lifted us up so high that we had no doubt that the sky was the starting point of how far we could go.
She never did learn to swim; but I remember being out in the lake with her when she instructed us to learn to swim.  That is a funny one.  The woman still can't swim; and no longer has any desire to learn.  I asked her once how she knew what to instruct us to do, when she couldn't do it herself.  She said she just watched what other people were doing.
I've thought often about how she shaped who I am.  My natural tendencies are abstract . . for lack of a better word.  My thoughts and my feelings swirl around like a whirlwind.  She was the one who was my kite string and brought me back down to Earth.  She didn't just tug me back.  She guided me back, taking the time to explain how the bubble I was in my head, was not lined up with reality.  This is an important tool for someone like to me learn.  And I learned it . . after about the millionth talk with her.  My thoughts still swirl, my feelings on occasion; and because of her I have the tools to channel this energy in to something that works in real life.
Tonight I am thankful my Mom :)  She has been, and will always be my biggest supporter, my biggest cheerleader, and my best friend.  I love you Mom !



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Out Loud

I don't live in secret.  I don't look over my shoulder to see who might be watching me.  And living this way is a choice.  I choose to live out loud and not as a whisper.
I remember two distinct times in my life, making those choices.  Once was in school.  Most of my middle school days were spent with me being quiet.  If no one noticed me, then no one would continue to make fun of me.  Well, that didn't work and I wasn't happy.  When I entered high school, I changed my mind.  I was going to put myself out there.  I was going to talk to people.  And I wasn't going to feel embarrassed.  Yes, I actually told myself that I wouldn't be embarrassed.  Of course I was, but I didn't let it stop me.  I reminded myself that my happiness in the next four years of my life rested on my decisions to not live in the corner anymore.
The second was as an adult.  I had three small children and was pregnant with my fourth.  My marriage went thru a very rough time.  It's a small town.  Everyone was talking, accusing, and making assumptions.  The rumors flew like crazy.  And I found out during that time about privacy settings on social media (myspace back in the day), as I had been stalked online.  I could have cried with everyone and played the victim.  I could have stopped being online all together and hid from those who would seek to destroy me.  But I didn't.  It was very hard.
Have you ever walked in to a room knowing that everyone was looking at you, talking about you, judging you, and/or pitying you?  It's a tough walk.  But doing it with your head held high is character building.
I refuse to live in the shadows for fear of people's opinions.  It's a choice.  It's been a choice.  And it will continue to be a choice.  Even with this week's disruption, I don't question this choice.
A very hard thing this week was watching my child feel bad for telling the truth.  He felt bad that he told people that mommy accidentally scratched him.  I know his mind was thinking that if he had lied and said it was a tree branch, or a toy, or anything else; that no one would have called and reported me.  He wanted to hide the truth because of someone else's judgments.  I assured him that he was just fine.  Telling the truth is always the right thing to do.  I wouldn't ask him to keep a secret for fear of what someone might think.  I wouldn't ask this of him a week ago, and I certainly wouldn't ask him now.  We tell the truth.  And we live our lives.  We don't walk in the shadows to avoid judgment.  People will always judge, no matter what.  Someone's narrow-mindness will never be a restriction on my life.  And I pray the same for my children.
Tonight I am thankful for an opportunity to show the kids to always remember what is right and to always be themselves.  Taking the right path is not always the easiest; but it is always worth it.



Friday, May 12, 2017

The Why

First of all, I had an amazing time today at Entreleadership!  It was totally worth the trip!
There was lots of fantastic information.  I mean, just think about the whole pretext of today's event . . . getting to learn from someone else's over two decades of mistakes and learning from their over two decades of successes!  Priceless!  
After the event, I was driving home.  I called my mom to tell her how it went.  We were talking.  I was telling her things that I need to implement and change with my businesses.  Then I had an "Ah-Ha" moment.  Ever have those?  I mean, something so obvious and simple . . but you hadn't seen it right in front of you?
I've been struggling with motivation on the appraisal businesses lately.  Like big time.  I'm just not caring much about deadlines, etc.  And that's really not good for businesses.  I've wished I felt bad about it, because I know I should . .. but I just have lost a lot of caring for customer satisfaction with my timeliness.
The most I'd figured out, before today, was that I was feeling the effects of the burn-out from last year.  Last year, I pushed hard . . . very hard.  But I did it on purpose to reach a goal.
And as I was talking to my mom, I went back to why I started this business.  It's never been about the money or the houses, ever.  I enjoy houses, so the industry fits.  And money, well it's necessary!  But I started this  business 12 years ago to be able to be at home with my babies.  That was my "why".  And that's a darn good "why".  We couldn't afford for me to be home and not work.  And I could not stand the thought of leaving my babies at daycare.  I had to come up with something to work from home.  I tried a few other things that weren't a good fit.  Then a nice lady gave me the suggestion of appraising houses.  And it clicked with me.
All the struggles, all the lack of sleep, all the stress was worth it; beyond worth it, because it kept me here with my kiddos.  Well my kiddos are growing up.  And it hadn't dawned on me that my "why" is changing.  I don't have to be available for them like I once was.  Don't get me wrong, I love that I can go on field trips and be around to pick up kiddos from school when they are sick.  
But day in, day out, they don't need me to be home and available 24 hours a day anymore.  This fall, I'll only have one child left in elementary school.  That is only one child left with field trips.  Only one child left bringing home weekly papers.  The other three won't need me for those things.  I won't get in to emotional stuff with this right now - but from the business point of view . . my "why" has changed.
Wow.
That's big.  I hadn't seen it before today.
The last 14 years of my life have been figuring out how to be here for my babies.  The last 12 years of my life have been doing that - being here, working from home around my family.  This business has served it's purpose well.  I will always be beyond grateful that God brought this in to my life!
To everything there is a season.  Now I have to change my "why".  The "why" for the brokerage is easy.  Seriously, easy.  I didn't have to start a brokerage.  My appraising business is very healthy.  The "why" of the brokerage is to do something that helps people.  Buying a house or selling a house are big things.  I have learned a lot about houses over the years.  And I want to help people with that.  I want to do something where I can feel that it matters more than a report on a house (although I know that report matters too).  I wanted to experience it first hand.  I love to see someone's eyes light up when they see "the house".  The one they've been dreaming about, that they can see themselves living in for many happy days.  And I wanted to be able to provide that chance to other agents who want to help people with that; while providing a chance for the agent to change their own lives with this work!
Finding a new "why" for appraising won't be too hard.  I have a few ideas that are logical.  But I'm taking some time on this.  I need it to speak to me like the last "why".  Honestly, nothing will speak to me quite like the last "why" . . . I mean . . taking care of my babies, nothing in the world can compete with that!!  But, I'll find a good next reason!
Tonight I am thankful for attending today's event.  Despite everything put in my path to hold me back, I went.  And I'm glad I did!  I have a lot of information before me; a lot of planning, a lot of learning, a lot of thinking, and a lot of implementing and/or working on things.  It's all to a good end!  This will be good!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Made It

Two months ago I bought a ticket for a convention.  I was so excited.  I was planning on leaving early in the morning, driving the 3 1/2 hours to the convention, and drive back later that night.  The hubster thought I was crazy.
Then I got upgraded to a VIP ticket.  So I booked a hotel.  I now had to be there a bit earlier if I wanted to take advantage of the VIP stuff.
I was going to leave for the hotel after the kids got home from school.  I haven't left overnight by myself in 6 years.  None of the kids like it too much.  It is especially hardest on the two youngest though.
Somewhere in the past couple weeks I gave myself permission to relax.  My plans changed to leave after I dropped the kids at school.  Then I could drive down, check in to the hotel, and have hours of unscheduled time.  I had all sorts of plans.  I was going to take a nap.  I was going to read some books that have been waiting for me.  I was going to brainstorm.  I was going to write.  I was going to do all of these things.  It sounded like a dream.
Last night the hubster came inside the house and said that my tire was completely flat.  He tried to put air in to it.  The air was going out as fast as he was putting it in.  He found quite a large hole.  I get holes regularly . . drawback of going to foreclosed, trashy houses.  We can work around that.
Then this morning.  *sigh*  This morning my son told me about a woman that came to the school to talk to him yesterday.  I knew what was going on.  I guess she tried to come visit me yesterday at the house, but I wasn't home.  I tried to assure the kids that everything was ok.  Of course it would be, I accidentally scratched my son.  That was all.
But I tell ya, it's upsetting.  It's upsetting that someone would accuse me of purposely hurting my child.  It's upsetting to think that someone thinks I am capable of that.  I got mad.  Really mad.  I got sad.  Really sad.  I cried.  Like big, huge sobs.  I haven't cried that hard in a long time.  This week has been so stressful to get work and home all set up for me to be able to leave and have some relaxing time and convention time.  Everything just erupted and came pouring out of my eyeballs.
Then I called the lady.  We met and talked.  And of course she can see that it was an accident.  Because it was an accident.  I know that.  My son knows that.  The CPS lady knows that.
Well, the kids were at school when I talked with her.  And I just couldn't leave the state with the kids not knowing was was going on.  So I stayed until they got home from school.  I could see their faces when I told them that everything was absolutely going to be fine because I talked to the woman.  I felt better seeing their faces look calm and reassured.
Then I took off to my hotel,  I got here by the kids' bedtime.  I'll get a whole day of rest when I retire maybe someday.  I have been fighting all day to keep a good perspective on this.
Tonight I am thankful that the truth is easy to see here.  I am thankful for a kind, caring person to deal with in this matter.  I am thankful for a vehicle with four good tires.  I am thankful for getting to my hotel with at least enough time to sleep well tonight before my event tomorrow.  And I am thankful that despite all the hurdles in the way, I am here.  Tomorrow will be good.  There will be invaluable information and great discussions.  And then I will be home to hug my babies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sugar

"Jessie, do you bribe your children?" 
Absolutely!  I mean, who wouldn't take advantage of this wonderful influencer by the name of sugar, right?  Ok, I try not to go overboard.  Lately it seems I may have gotten the hubster on board with the less sugar thing (this is seriously a HUGE win!).  So you can imagine his shock to come home tonight and see the sugary treats that I had bought and set on the table.
They are just sitting there . . . being sugary prizes for the next two days.  Everybody get ready for school without fighting?  Great, have a donut!  After a long day at school, come home do chores without fighting and hang out nicely together?  Wonderful, have a cookie!  
With a little plug from the grocery budget, I am working to ensure minimal issues for the next two days.  I could promise other things, maybe extended tv or game time.  And those things work on occasion.  But the classic, the go-to bribe, the one that never lets me down is junk food.
Am I sending an unhealthy message to my children?  Most likely no, because I say to the children - I am bribing you.  I have not led them to believe that life is filled with endless supplies of sugar just for being decent human beings.  Nope, that is not the message at all. This message is pretty clear - be good, get candy because Momma needs things to go smoothly for a couple days.  No fights.  No snarky comments.  And no arguing.  
They can't argue when they are chewing . . simple, but relevant fact!
Tonight I am thankful that a little bribery never hurt!  I am thankful that we have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste in the cupboard!  I should remind the children that they have to go to the dentist this month.  Um . . . and I am thankful for prayers that the next two days go well for everyone!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Permission to Dream

I've always been a dreamer.  It comes natural to me.  It took me years to realize that not everyone thinks that way.
I want my children to be dreamers.  I want them to believe that anything is possible . . because it is.
You can't just tell a child that.  Here's why - not all dreams work out.  Shocking, right?  No, not really.  To keep on dreaming, you have to be able to pick up your dreams when they wipe out.  You set them back up.  You dust them off.  And you try again; this time maybe with a new plan, or a new drive, or a renewed purpose.  That is how you learn to stay a dreamer . . . you learn to handle failure.
Too many people fail and jump ship.  Some don't even fail, they just don't succeed how they intended, and they jump ship.  Success isn't always what you envisioned.  Sometimes success doesn't look like you thought it would, but it is there.
Recently my son had an idea to start a club at school.  He made a plan. He met with the principal.  He arranged a meeting with a teacher who might sponsor the club.  This afternoon they met and they made some plans to get more details around and see some interest among students.  It was interesting watching my son process all that.  This wasn't what he expected.  He hoped to just start the club.  But he's sticking with this.  He's seeing there is a process here; and a timeline greater than he imagined.  Not the success he had first envisioned; but success to this point!  Perseverance and patience are not his strongest qualities yet.  But he's getting some training in them.
Tonight I had a meeting.  When I got home there was a folder on my desk.  My daughter has ideas for a club too!  Inside the folder was her business plan, very detailed I might add.  I reminded her that next year, she won't be in elementary school.  Elementary school is where the clubs are.  So she had some options.  She could pass on the idea to see if younger grades might be interested.  Or she could see what the possibility is of a middle school or multi-club.  Not quite what she had envisioned; but she's working with this new plan.  She's got her folder and she's going to ask some questions tomorrow at school.
Tonight I am thankful for the kids learning that when dreams start moving, they change forms.  Plans get altered to stay alive sometimes; and both kids are rolling with the changes well right now.  I am also very thankful for a school that encourages the kids to dream and be active members of the community!  The kids see this.  And it empowers them!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mom Guilt

Oh the Mom Guilt :(  I hate the mom guilt :(
I was all prepared to write my blog about my morning adventures of catching a runaway horse.
But no.
That won't be tonight's blog.
I have been growing my nails out.  They are painted all pretty.
This afternoon I was reaching for my son.  He turned at the last minute.  I scratched his face.  It looks absolutely horrible :(  A line on his forehead . . . check.  A big gouge right under his eye . . . check.  I feel like a monster :(
I know it was an accident.  He knows it was an accident.  I came in my office and cried.  I hurt my baby boy :(
Tonight I'm thankful that wounds heal.  In a week or so, he'll be all healed up.  In the meantime I'll cry a little more in my office.
P.S.  I cut my nails now.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Glad I Didn't Leave

We took the family out to breakfast this morning.
I think ever since the children could talk, I've had them order their own food.  This is good to help them learn to be confident when speaking with others.  And of course, for them to be able to articulate what they want.  As an adult, a cheeseburger and fries is easy to say.  At 2 or 3, it is harder.
Anyway, before the ordering, I ok their orders.
so we sat down at our booth with our menus.  We worked thru 4 orders of what they wanted and what they could actually order.  Then I looked at the menu for myself.  This whole process takes around five minutes at times . . times like this morning.  I didn't clock it, but we were close.  Once everything was decided, I looked up at the hubby.  He looked irritated.
It only dawned on me than that no one had come by for our drink orders.  He had noticed several minutes ago.  He said something about leaving.  I said ok, let's go.  I'm sorry but, yes, I've walked out restaurants before.  I'm not horrible about it.  But if the experience starts out that way, it usually never gets better.  I've found especially with our clan of 6, this theory seems to true 100% of the time.
The hubster was on the fence, but his ears were turning red.  So I moved to get up from the booth and leave.  At that moment a waitress came up.  She apologized for our delay.  There was something about a waitress who didn't work there anymore and they still had the girl on the schedule, so they were short staffed.  We gave her our orders.  But I was skeptical.  VERY skeptical.
A couple minutes later the manager came over and apologized.  This was a first in our experiences of slow service.  After she talked with us, I saw her walk over to the waitress and say something to her.  A bit later the waitress came back and said that our drink would be free and our mail would be discounted.  I was impressed at this point.  We hadn't asked for anything.  And most times nowadays, businesses don't just come out and offer to make something right.
We had a wonderful breakfast.  I watched our waitress cover extra tables, looking pretty frazzled, but smiling at each table.  She was attentive.  And she was definitely trying to keep up with her extra load.  We left her a big tip.
Tonight I am thankful for a breakfast that totally redeemed itself!  We will be back.  And we'll ask if our waitress is working when we come in :)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Hallway

The hallway upstairs is scary.
There are a few boxes that kids took out of the attic and left there.  Then there are things that ended up there when the kids "cleaned" their rooms.  Then the stuff just multiplies.
This past week I had to go upstairs and turn off bedroom lights that children forgot when they left for school.  I tripped on something when my foot got caught.  I still don't know on what.  Luckily the guard rail caught me.  The dog, who likes to sleep on children's beds all day, looked at me like I was crazy.  So I imagine I was quite a spectacle!
Well that was the last straw.  And today, on this beautiful, sunny Saturday, my children were inside the house cleaning the hallway.
Two children got done fairly quickly.  One child was ok.  And one child is just now finishing up . . eight hours after the "clean the hallway" decree was given.
Tonight I am thankful that the hallway is clean!  Hooray!  If you don't believe in miracles, you should now!  The hallway is clean and I didn't have to ground any child for life!  I came close . . . but I didn't . .  :)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Something Right

For a bit you all are going to hear about some of the wonderful things that I am learning about with my EntreLeadership stuff :)
2005 was the year I started learning appraising.  This license requires a number of experience hours.  My first mentor didn't pay me, which was our agreement.  She didn't really need any help at the time.  But she was going to train me and allow me to bring my two small children with me to her house to work.  It was a good trade for me to get my foot in the door.  Since I wasn't getting paid, I worked evenings/nights at a different job for money.
The set up was working.  But it obviously wasn't ideal.  I started looking around and found an ad for someone looking for a trainee.  I was so excited!  I could work from home with the kiddos AND get paid.  The big problem was that I needed to have the appraisal software on my computer.  And it was expensive.  At that time, I went to the bank and took out a personal loan to afford the software on my computer.  So my first several checks went to payback the personal loan.
In 12 years, that is the only time I've borrowed money for this company.  With the appraisal business running well, the start up of the Ethos West brokerage was much easier financially.  I didn't even need to entertain a thought of borrowing money.  And we are just going onward and upward.
For awhile I was discussing buying a building for the brokerage.  There is one that I like and may someday  go after.  I'll be honest, the thought of taking out a loan for a building was not sitting well with me.  I don't like overhead.  And I don't want it.  One day if the building of my dreams go up for sale, I hope it will be at a time when I have the cash available!
Listening to my EntreLeadership video session tonight, they were spitting out all sorts of stats about small businesses start-ups and failing due to debt.  I am so thankful that somehow with all the bad money decisions that I've made over the years; somehow I didn't screw the business up too!  My life would be completely different on so many levels if I had financed things and not had a good plan for the down times.
Another big issue for small businesses was budgeting for taxes.  I will admit to this one.  This has been a huge hurdle for me.  2016 taxes were the first ones in many, many years where I budgeted well.  So at least I'm improving in this area!
Tonight I am thankful for my businesses operating for over 10 years with no debt at all.  I am very blessed to be in low overhead industries.  So, I'm thankful for that too!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

80 mph

About a month ago I started a completely wonderful and amazing program called EntreLeadership.  I wasn't sure at first because the fee was higher than I was comfortable with.  And I just couldn't see that the content would be there to support the fee.
I was so wrong!  The first week or so I didn't do a lot with it.  I was waiting until I "had the time".  Well then it dawned on me that I was paying for this thing I wasn't using.  And that's just wrong and wasteful!
So I've been playing videos while I work and playing podcasts when I'm out driving.  The information and wisdom here is beyond gold.  I still have so far to go and so much to learn!
I will admit, this has also been wearing me out a bit more.  My brain already runs at 60 mph for most of my waking minutes.  Now it's been at 80 with all this wonderful new stuff!
Tonight I am thankful for knowledge and learning from other's experiences.  And I am thankful for a nice warm bed; because that is where I am taking this sleepy brain of mine!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Yesterday

Tonight was high school orientation.  Yep, Freshman.  In the fall, I will have a child in high school.
I'm really not good with this whole "age" thing.  I feel 20.  How could I possibly have a child about to enter high school when I feel just out of the teenage years myself?  It is simply not logical.
Ok, so I will accept my actual age for the sake of argument here.  But then, what about her age?  I mean we were driving to the school tonight and I was remembering taking her to her first day of preschool.  It seems like yesterday.  Kindergarten, just yesterday too, right?  Tonight I walked in to this room filled with all these children and parents.  Oh yes, I remember them . . from the kindergarten Mother's Day Tea, that was just like last year, right?  No?
The longer I live, the more I see that time is more of an illusion than it is as any indicator of life.  Time has a feeling attached to it that does not equal the ticks on a clock.  There is that verse from the Bible (please excuse my horrible quoting talent) about an hour being like a year, or a year being like a minute.  Something like that.  The verse is referencing our time to God's time.  But I think even our time is screwy.  Time is a number, it is a unit of measure.  It is nothing definitive in life.  If anything, it is a liar.  Years seem like minutes sometimes and sometimes minutes seem like years.  Rarely do minutes seem like minutes or years seem like years.
No, I haven't been drinking.  This is what my mind does when I let it wander.
*wistful sigh*
Tonight I am thankful for past (almost) 14 years of being a parent on this Earth.  Being a mom has been the most rewarding, most introspective, most faith-building, most life-affirming, optimistic thing that I have ever, or could ever do on this planet.  Whatever else I accomplish in this life, nothing will ever compare to being a mom to these four wonderful people; watching them grow, guiding them, and rejoicing with them as they learn and become all that God has planned to bless them with in life.
P.S.  Catch me in 4 years, I'll be crying like a baby for graduation; most assuredly standing proud, and flooding the place with momma tears.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Green Stuff

I am not good at eating green stuff.
Well I like grapes :)  They come in green!  Granny Smith Apples :)  Corn on the cob comes in a green peel, does that count?
I like peas slathered in butter and salt.  And I can do a salad with trace amounts of spinach and romaine leaves, sloshing around in ranch dressing, chicken, cheese, and boiled eggs.
I understand how this is not healthy.
I take multi-vitamins . .  not the same - I get it.
Last year I bought some green powder to make green juice.  I forced myself to drink it for about a week.  Then I gagged it up and it came out my nose (sorry, but true).  I just couldn't do it after that.  And the canister has just sat in my kitchen.  I recently had the brain storm to buy capsules and put the green powder in to those and just swallow them.  Amazon Prime has delivered the capsules, now I just have to fill them with the green powder stuff.
Well, I am trying to be healthy and try more things.  Yesterday I ordered a mozzarella chicken salad from Wendy's.  First of all . . . that's an expensive salad.  There was pretty green leaves on the top of the salad, and white, slimy stuff under the first green layer.  Surprisingly I did like the mozzarella on the salad.  So I counted the whole experience a win.  And I'll probably add mozzarella to salads from now on.
I have avocados sitting on the counter that have been waiting for me.  I've googled different recipes to do with these things.  I don't like guacamole.  Using them in a chicken salad sounded possible.  Today though, I tried making them in to fries.  Because . . . Fries!  Right?  Um . . . no.  I choked down about three of them drenched in ketchup.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try one smashed up in the chicken salad idea.
Tonight I am thankful that I haven't given up on my green experiments.  I know, I know, you're thinking, "Jess, it's only been two days!".  Guess what?  That's two more days then I've done before!  I usually make it about 15 minutes and bail on the whole idea!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Sad to Good

As was painfully chronicled in this blog two years ago now, (when I was trying very hard to stay positive) our basement had become a lake.  It was very, very sad.  Buckets, wet/dry vacuums, fans, etc.  Nothing was enough.  I remember sitting on the basement steps watching the water spring up from the concrete in the floor.  There was nothing we could do to stop it.
One of the big positive things of this house when we bought it was the finished basement area.  Then, not even three years later, it all had to be ripped out.  It molded so fast that the our house was toxic as we filled dumpster after dumpster.
Many thousands of dollars, a B-dry system, exterior concrete, repaired gutters, gutter guards, a whole house dehumidifier and we still aren't finished.  Hopefully this summer's plans will be the final piece in keeping the basement dry.  In the meantime, I doubt I'll ever feel comfortable finishing the basement again.
One day when I was out shopping I bought some spray paint.  I came home and desperately started coloring the walls by my home gym.  The kids have been waiting to join in the fun.
Well when my daughter made her decision about her class trip; she wasn't planning on just sitting at home while her classmates were gone!  She decided she was going to make an art studio!
She grabbed a respirator mask and the girl got to work!
The area is waiting on a few finishing touches.  We have some lattice sitting down here to attach to the ceiling and a carpet remnant to put down and she will be done!
I love this area now!  She took what was a sad reminder of a once finished area and made it in to a happy place to dream and create.
Tonight I am thankful for my daughter's hard work!  This probably would have been easier with actual paint rather than spray paint.  I think her trigger finger is stronger than Wyatt Earp's now!  But she did it . . . with plenty of fresh air breaks!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spa Night In

 A week or so ago I watched a nail painting video on facebook.
The girls and I talked about going to the nail place today.  But, well I really didn't feel like spending money for three for pampering that we can do at home.
Instead, we decided to have a Spa night-in.  We did face masks and nails.
Tonight I am thankful for a fun night in with my girls :)  I may not be ready to open my own nail salon . . but the girls liked it.  And they always have so much fun laughing together :)





Saturday, April 29, 2017

Getting Back

I have been feeling like things are getting out of order again.  This seems to happen in the spring more often than not.
We haven't meal planned for the week - and stuck with it - for awhile.  We haven't been very good about the chore planning and payments with the kids.  We have gotten so busy that many important things, little things, have been getting ignored.
It is with great struggle and self-reflection that I sit here tonight knowing things need to change, again.  I realized I had given up on my resolve to make things stick lately.  A person gets too busy and they just don't care anymore.  That's been me.  To a point, that's ok because I can get thru without going crazy.  But it's not entirely ok because then I have a moment of reflection and see how much work I've created for myself to get back on track again.  Such is life, right?
Tonight I am thankful for a chance to get back on track . . again.  We only fail when we quit trying.  It does seem that every time I start trying again, it's a little easier and I have a little less farther to go to get back.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Weekend

This was set to be a busy weekend with one event.
Then another got added.
Then another.
Then another.
I've been stressing just a little bit.  I've been trying not to stress.
I've had only slight ideas of how to make everything work logistically.  I'm still not 100% sure how to fit everything in tomorrow.  But we'll do it.
Tonight I am thankful that nothing is impossible!  We will find a way!  With a little patience, a little creativity, and a lot of caffeine!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pieces Falling

I am so excited . . and so torn!
It is exciting to see so many pieces of a big puzzle falling in to place!  I am trying to move securely and steadily forward to continue on.
The problem is doing the things that need to be done in the meantime!!  I want to ignore everything on my desk and just dream the day away!  I have so many things I want to read and look in to!  I just need time!  I'm getting there . . . .
Today I pulled out my three main goals for both business for the second quarter of 2017.  I'm doing alright in some areas . . not all.  It's good to stay on track.  I may have to print these goals out and keep them in front of my face.  You know what?  I will do that.  I will print them out right now!
Ok, I'm back!  They are printed and taped to my wall!
Tonight I am thankful for the excitement of seeing where things can go!  I am thankful for the drive to keep moving forward!  And I am thankful for patience . . I truly need more of that . .  but I'm working on it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ugh . . Misconstrued

Many years ago, like decades ago, I decided that a life rule of mine would be to only say something about a person in their absence, that I would say to their face.  It's a good rule.  I stray from it on occasion.  But when I do, I face the music and correct the problem.
That being said, if I have an actual problem with someone, I tend to address it.  When it comes to my children, the same is true - and even more so.
Here's the thing with that - I'm not stupid.  I know I can't fight all my children's battles for them.  We actually talk quite a bit in this house about how to handle situations.  We talk about peoples' intentional and un-intentional influences.  And my goal is to teach my children to handle this.  Because, this is life.  They need to know these things.
Today I apparently got some people cautious as I wrote paragraphs commending my daughter on how she handled a situation.  One sentence was picked out of those paragraphs and brought to my attention.  I'm currently taking deep breaths and working to let this go.
First of all, the entire point of being proud of my daughter for handling a situation where she did not go with the norm was missed completely.  Secondly, if I have a problem with someone, I'll come out and say it.  So if the reader of my paragraphs is now reading this blog - I want to assure you that if I were upset, you would know about it.  I was not calling anyone names.  I was not saying anyone was not good at their job.  I was saying a 13 year old girl was being asked repeatedly by several different people of all ages "why aren't you doing this?".  This creates pressure to anyone, especially a teenager.
You are allowed to ask her.  And she has learned how to answer.  That was the point of the post actually . . . me being proud of her for how she handled it.  "Pressure" as I referred to it, is a vague word.  I sometimes feel pressure to make my children wear pants without holes in them.  And when I choose to have them wear pants with holes in them, I am prepared to answer any and all questions about that decision.  This does not mean that I have a problem with people who ask me about my children wearing pants with holes in knees.  It is a perfectly logical question.  And I have a perfectly logical answer - sometimes I honestly don't care.  If they have on more than underwear then I consider it a win.  I don't care if you like my answer or my decision because I can defend them in a way that is right for me.  The pressure is there, and I handle it.  Ta-Da.
That is the point.  Pressure is real in life.  I would not ask someone not to pressure my children in a manner such as asking them questions about their decisions.  Of course I am talking about staying in a healthy limit.  If the pressure turns to harassment . . . well then we have a problem and I will show up in your doorway so we can have a chat.
Until that happens, be rest assured that my point today was only to commend my daughter on handing a difficult decision with grace and determination.  Heck, there are adults who can't do what she's just done.  And I am proud, proud, proud of her.  That is the point entirely.
Tonight I am thankful for my daughter making the best decision for herself and sticking with it!  That is all I have to say.  I'm done with the rest.  This is about her and her alone!  She did awesome!  :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Right Where

We are all human.  We all have moments where we question what we are doing and why we are doing it.  If we don't have a good "why"; then we have trouble with life.  People are meant to have a purpose.
Right now, my "why" is changing.  It's shifting from being behind to planning ahead.  On the surface, we weren't behind on anything really.  Rediscovering truths about debt shined a light on the fact that we were in fact behind.  We weren't free to do as we pleased because "the borrower is servant to the lender".  We are working on the house next.  And while we work on that, life is shifting.  So much is shifting.
It looks like nothing on the surface.  This isn't the shifting change that is visible like when a tide changes and the waves show the new direction.  This is a shift inside us.  It is empowering and freeing.  And at times, a little scary.  When you in the chains of debt, you know where you are going - you are going to work and you are paying your bills. Or else you are going to be in a world of trouble.  When those chains are gone, you have a whole world open up.  Where to go now?  So many ideas!  The excitement peaks and ebbs.  And it takes time.  I'll be awhile because I get rather stuck in patterns of work, work, work!  Especially now because I have so many plans that are to change so much!  There is so much to do!
I look at my family, and it isn't just me.  They are ready for new and exciting things too!  We've been on this journey together!  And we are ready for the next adventure together!
Two steps forward and one step back sometimes.  Or so it seems.  I get rather impatient with this in between stuff sometimes.  I try to keep in mind that this in between stuff is a very important part of life!
Then there are moments like today when I am reminded that we are right where we need to be.  If we had skipped over this journey or if we were to skip this in between stuff right now; we would be lacking because of it.  I'm watching my daughter, who made a very responsible, very mature decision, deal with the stress of standing up to questions about her decisions.  And she is rocking it.  It is wearing her down a bit.  But she's doing amazing!  I am so proud!
We are all where we need to be to learn to be strong and steadfast, faithful that God is always with us and there to help even when we do mess up in life!
Tonight I am thankful for the journey of life, yes.  Tonight though, especially for our recent journey.  We are all learning and growing as a family.  And that is invaluable!

Visitor!

We have a visitor.
The kids love when Uncle Bill comes to visit!!
Tonight's blog is short because it's late and I've been up chatting.
Tonight I am thankful that Bill is here to visit!  The kids are thankful too!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What a Night!

It was several weeks ago now that I first saw a thing online for a dance show at the Fox Theater.  I thought it would be great to surprise the girls with!
I couldn't wait.  I told them about it the day that I ordered the tickets.  I was so excited to take them!  The girls have never been to Detroit, let alone the Fox theater.  I've taken the boys to Tiger's games and to see the Lions play.  So this was extra exciting that it would be the girls' first time to such a big city!
It was a fun drive there, listening to the girls as they took in all the city sights!  The show was wonderful!  The theater amazing, of course!  The drive home was a blast, listening to the girls laugh and joke with each other!
Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful night with my girls!  This is a night that I'm sure they'll remember for a lifetime :)  And the girls were very happy that we didn't get mugged ;)


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Worth the Wait

My youngest child is not known for his patience.
10 seconds seems like 10 hours to him.
Last weekend he received a birthday gift of a gift card to Toys R Us.  It has been driving him absolutely crazy that he hasn't been able to use it yet.
He's gotten online and picked out things a couple times.  But he kept changing his mind.  Today, a week later, the boy finally got to go to Toys R Us!
He made a beeline to the Skylanders.  "This way mom!"  He didn't want to stop and look at anything else.  He even walked by the Pokemon cards.  He did give them a half second stare on his way past.
When we walked up to the Skylanders, he was so excited to find that they were on sale!  Up to $10 off some Skylanders!
Tonight I am thankful for a good sale at Toys R US.  This sale made his long wait much more worth it to spend his gift card and get another extra Skylander!!



Friday, April 21, 2017

Unwinding

I have officially given this week everything that I have!
I called it a day a bit early today and escaped to a nice hot tub with wonderful Epsom salts!  The problem with doing that too early in the day is that I had to get out and put on real clothes and still do stuff.  I prefer to leave a nice, relaxing bath, put on pj's and go to bed!  :)  I'm even thinking about a second bath; from which I can go right to bed this time!!
After the first bath and the putting on of real clothes, there was a little dance party here in my office.  Two of my kiddos came in; we turned the music up and had some fun :)
Tonight I am thankful for unwinding a bit tonight!  I'm glad for a lot of good progress this week!  And I am thankful that tomorrow morning this house is sleeping in!!!



Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Big Day!

Tomorrow is the big day!
Let me digress for a minute.
Last year I worked like crazy with a huge goal in mind to become debt free!  And we did it!  This year I wanted to work less.
I worked less for about two months.
Then we've had some ongoing tenant/rental home issues.  We have more repairs to do to our own house.  There are just these big ticket items staring at us that make me cringe at the thought of working so much again.  But it seems almost necessary.  But I won't do it.
There had to be a better way.
I'm working on it.
I found two major overhauls to my current system.  And time just seems to be dragging to get them implemented!!  One overhaul is with a start-up company.  They have a wonderful product.  But they do not have the staff to keep up with their demand.  Once I realized this, I've been calling them regularly.  I'm being polite.  But I'm keeping myself at the top of their list!
I started this quarter of 2017 with specific goals for business improvement and I intend on hitting them!
Tomorrow, over a breakfast meeting I will roll out the new systems to my gal who keeps me from going crazy with all this work!  We're going to get this thing down pat soon!  And I'll keep looking still for ways to improve!
So far I've had to delay this meeting twice now.  Two weeks have gone by waiting for a break in work and waiting for the new systems to be in place.  Two weeks of working my butt off knowing that it should be easier if the new systems were in place.  Two weeks of begrudgingly trying hard, wishing for a break in time enough to make improvements.  Two Weeks Ends Tomorrow!
Tonight I am thankful that tomorrow is the day!  I know there may be some hiccups still.  I'm not expecting perfection.  But I'm looking forward to improvement and efficiency for sure!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Apologizing for My Temper

Here's something you may or may not know about me:  I can have a bit of a temper.  I sometimes have to apologize for this temper because I can be really blunt and snarky.
About a week ago I got very mad at someone I've known for a long time.  The truth of the matter is that I know we aren't the same level mentally.  I've known this for some time.  Perception of a situation can make or break relationships in life.
I guess I just didn't know exactly how far apart we really were from eye to eye.  We are more like eye to foot.  And there are some topics that I just plain get touchy about.  I am human.
This person hasn't taken my calls for a long time now.  He doesn't reply to messages.  But the few times I've seen him in person the last few years, he has seemed genuinely happy to see me.
Well when I got mad, I figured a text would be the way to go.  I figured I'd lose my cool if I called and he happened to answer this time.  So I wrote and deleted; wrote and deleted; wrote and deleted.  Finally I was ok with what I wrote.  It was to the point, honest, and void of any phrases that tend to slip out of my mouth when I morph in to angry-Jessie, the sailor-mouthed, fire breathing dragon.
Nothing.  No response.
Was he even getting my messages?
Yep.
I got one sign.  The message went thru.
No response.
I have spent the last week or so continually bringing myself back to prayer.  I can not fix this.  I can not do anything but pray.  So I have been.  I even wrote his name down.  So when I get mad or sad or think of him at all, I will remember to pray for him.
Today was the day to make things right.  I sent another text today.  I apologized for being mean.  I didn't bring up the past.  The past is the past.  It would be wonderful to reach some place where he understands my side and I understand his side.  But it isn't going to happen.  So I just reminded him that I love him.  That's all I can offer, love.
I haven't heard back.
I doubt I will.
But tonight I will sleep good.  I didn't leave things as they were.  I've done all I can do.  Tonight I'll pray for him.  Tomorrow I'll pray for him.  That is all I can do now.
Tonight I am thankful for laying this to rest.  I haven't been at peace since I sent that last message.  Now, I've found peace.  I hope he can find peace also.  I'm praying for that.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Have To

I said I wasn't going to do it again.  I wasn't going to do another night with just 4 hours of sleep.  But I did it . . last night.
I had client files that had to be done.  I had appointments today.  And one very important meeting first thing this morning.  I just had more to do in a day than hours in the day.  
I still have a lot on my desk.  I was going to come home from my evening showings and bust out some more work.  But guess what?  It ain't happening.
Aside from a few extra yawns, I've actually hung in there pretty well today.  But now, it's over.  I'm heading to bed.
Tonight I am thankful for bedtime.  I'm thankful for the state of being tired where I no longer care about this work on my desk . . . I'll get to it tomorrow.  Good Night All!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bed Shopping

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was a couple who had a dog who was getting older.  He had arthritis and was moving around slower and slower.  The couple decided they should get a puppy.  Maybe the puppy would encourage the older dog to be a little more playful again.  And with two kids still very young, the puppy could grow up with the kids.The husband wanted to get a pit bull.  The wife wasn't 100% on board with the idea; but reluctantly agreed.
The puppy came to live with them and was the sweetest little dog!  Over the years, two more children came along.  The puppy grew up.  She had puppies of her own!  One litter with the older dog as the father.  The wife wanted to keep one of the puppies from her favorite old dog.  And one sad day, the older dog passed away.
The pit bull proved to be the picture perfect dog!  The children of the house are her kids.  And she loves her kids more than life itself.  She watches over them.  She waits for them.  She's protected them when she didn't trust strangers who came to the house.
Every night she climbs the stairs to sleep with the kids.  The last several mornings she has had a very hard time coming down the stairs in the morning.  Quite frankly, I'm getting concerned.  She'll be 11 this summer.  She does really well for her age!  Especially considering the girl got shot in the spine with an arrow years ago.  But I think it's time to put up a gate and keep her off the stairs.  I'm getting worried that she is going to fall one of these times.
Tonight I am thankful for my Molly girl :)  She is the best dog I could have dreamed of to help me raise the kids.  Yes, she helps me.  This weekend I'm going to reorganize our bedroom and make room for a new doggy bed.  If you have any dog bed recommendations for a dog who is used to sharing twin size beds with children, please pass them my way.  We have the regular dog beds in the living room.  But I think I'm going to need a deluxe model.  She's going to be heartbroken that she can't go upstairs with the kids!

*Here is a picture of her stealing the little dog's bed.  We really do have a giant doggie pillow for her . . . she occasionally likes to feel cozy though :)


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Two for One

I was worried about today . .. for almost a year.  It was some time around April of 2016 when my boy realized that in 2017 his birthday would be on Easter.  He was so excited!  His favorite holiday is Easter, and has been for some time now.  He likes Christmas, don't get me wrong.  But he LOVES Easter.
This is our first birthday and holiday combo.  I wanted to make sure there was enough specialness for each kiddo with two special days combined in to one!
About three weeks ago, the soon-to-be-birthday-boy came to me with a cake book.  He had selected a cake for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner.  He was pretty adamant that he should be able to do this since it was his birthday and Easter.  It took awhile to get thru to him that we would only be doing one birthday cake!  Fortunately, once he accepted the news; he was ok with it.
We had vague plans for dinner.  But after a huge Easter lunch with grandparents, we weren't really feeling like dinner.  The birthday boy then decided he wanted Pizza Hut.  I called.  And they were open today.  Well, why not?  So the birthday boy and I took off to get some Pizza Hut.  Besides the pizza, he like the one on one time with Momma too ;)
Back home, his sister had asked if she could make his presents in to a game.  On Easter, the kids always have clues to follow to find their baskets every year.  I love this tradition!  It was one that I used to do when I was a kid too.  And sister wanted to expand the tradition to his presents this year.  It was a great idea!
His clues led him around the yard, back and forth.  And while he was outside, the kids moved the presents in to the table where we had just sang to him and gave him his cake.  When he got back in, he found the irony of running all around outside to come back to the same table he had started from :)  That was funny!
Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful day today!  Everyone seemed to have a wonderful day enjoying Easter and C's birthday!  Happy Easter everyone out there!!  I hope you had a wonderful day too!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kitties

I have always been a cat person.  When I was a kid I always had a lot of barn cats.
I've seen numerous kittens right after they were born!  I've seen Momma cats when they were getting ready to have babies.  But, I honestly don't think I've ever seen kitties actually being born.
I've seen the dog have her puppies.  She tried to climb in my lap to have them.  I appreciated the trust . . but, that wasn't on my agenda!  But never a cat.
Today my oldest barn cat was acting very ready to have her babies.  This morning she found herself a nice spot to lay in.  I went away for a few hours.  When I came back she was laying there snuggling with another cat.  I went away for maybe an hour.  When I came back she was by herself and she was having some big contractions.
Three of the four children came to see the babies being born.  I heard "Ew!" and "Gross!".  One child turned and ran out of the barn.  Two children were pretty concerned!
This Momma cat is a pro.  And she was fine with the audience.  But, I didn't want to push her patience.  So I shewed the kids out of the barn after the first baby was cleaned up.
Tonight I am thankful for healthy baby kittens today!  I was hoping for something other than black.  We have like 500 black cats already.  Alright, maybe not really 500.  All the barn cats except one are black.  I'm still heavily considering a plaque for the yard that says "Black Cat Farm" :)


Friday, April 14, 2017

Good For You!

I see you there!  Look at you!  You made it to Friday night!!  You worked hard all week long!
Maybe you'll be working this weekend?  Yeah, me too.  Don't worry about that right now.  Right now be happy you made it to now!
This was a long week!  Here on my end I was working hard to keep up with lots of work while working on new stuff to make the lots of work take less time.  One of those things . . I can't have more time until I take extra time to make the things work that will take less time.  Did you follow that?  ;)
Tonight I am thankful that we all made it to Friday night!  Woo Hoo!  Congratulate yourself!  You did it!  Good job!!





Thursday, April 13, 2017

At the Edge!

I've never rode a wave.  I've never climbed a mountain.  But I have been feeling lately like I'm on the verge of something great!  A feeling like I would imagine I would have if I were to jump on a wave or break over a hard place with a clean path to the top of the mountain!
I've been chomping at the bit with all these ideas lately!  In the past, when I've gotten so many ideas, some would fall by the wayside.  And some of these may not work out.  But most of these are going to be great!
I sat in my car yesterday while my daughter was at dance and I wrote out three major action plan items for both of my businesses and for my personal life for this second quarter of 2017.  Now I am working on the sub points to make these action items happen!  I want to make sure no great idea is left behind in the tornado of excitement that is going on inside me right now!
Tomorrow I have a rather long conference/meeting thing to set up something which should save me hours every week.  HOURS . . . . EACH WEEK!!!!
I have an email sitting in my inbox with a new idea.  And if it works out; it would save me even more hours each week!  This is good stuff!
I am learning to give my goals better direction and better consideration.  I've always thought that I'm pretty good at goals and working towards them.  My new studies are showing better ways.  And I'm working on it!
Tonight I am thankful for this excitement driving me forward!!  I hope tomorrow goes wonderfully!  And this weekend I will have time to review all the new information sent to me today!  These are game changers!  Big game changers!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Inspired

I recently signed up with a mentorship program thru Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership division.  I wish I had hours on end to spend pouring over the materials!  The little I've been involved in so far has been amazing!
Today was my first video conference meeting of the Mastermind group.  W.O.W.  It was good :)  I was rather reluctant to even call in.  I'm not fond of meetings.  And I am even less fond of talking to strangers in formal group settings.  But, I was pleasantly surprised today!  This particular group will meet virtually once a month.
I have a call in every week.  So it must be a different specialty of group next week?  I'm sure that information is in there somewhere.
Today's meeting though had members reporting back on their first quarter goals that they made at the beginning of the year.  Some met their goals.  Some did not.  But the conversation was positive for all parties!  People were sharing ideas and strategies.  It was quite exciting!
Tonight I am thankful for the EntreLeadership program!  I had decided to try it out just to see if there was anything of value.  Oh yes, there is more value in this thing than I am paying for.  And I love a good deal :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

No Lunch

I was ready for a fight this afternoon.
It started this morning.  I don't know if it was the lack of candy this morning perhaps?  Whatever the reason, my boys had the ambition of snails this morning while getting ready for school.
One child in particular chose to ignore every time I said "pack your lunch".  I heard how we have nothing that he likes to eat.  I heard how he planned on buying his lunch today - although he had no money for that.  When it was time to go, I begrudgingly took pity on him, threw some food in a container and gave it to him in the car.
Then I got a phone call around lunch time.  My children cannot charge their lunches at school.  I set this up this way after lunch abuse last year.  The school just wanted to check, as my son was there trying to charge a lunch.  He said he didn't have his lunch.  I went out to the car to look.  And sure enough, there was the lunch sitting there in the seat.  I said, "No, he cannot charge a lunch today."
When he got home today, he said he really did forget his lunch.  I asked why he didn't put it in his backpack.  And he said he was going to carry it, then forgot when he was rushing out of the car.  We were a little late this morning.  So maybe that's true.  BUT, that doesn't negate the fact that he could have packed his own lunch and put it in his own backpack at any point this morning.  And yes, I pointed that out to him.
Tonight I am thankful for lessons learned the hard way.  Believe me, I would much rather have my children learn lessons the easy way.  But sometimes that just doesn't happen.  Today's food-less lunch seems to have made an impression on a little tummy.  I suppose I'll find out tomorrow!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Go Kiddos!

The first day back to school after a break is never easy.  Or, at least it isn't usually easy.
This morning my kids all got up well.  Ok, so I bribed them with Hershey's Kisses.  They were all up and at 'em in record time!
Somehow they all kept up a good momentum.  They ate breakfast.  They got dressed.  They brushed their teeth.  And somehow all four children were ready for school early today.  I was impressed!
Tonight I am thankful that this morning went so well!  It was a great way to start any day; especially the Monday after spring break!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Beautiful!

I am not complaining.  This winter has been fairly mild.  So I'm really not complaining at all.  But man, the sun and warmth was wonderful today!!
I had a little work to do.  Driving around I saw so many motorcycles!  I saw people sun bathing.  I saw people in bathing suits . . . I didn't think it was quite that warm myself.  But I'm a typically cold person anyway.
I was driving with my windows down!  Without the heat on!  Sometimes I roll down the windows in like 50 degree weather and blast the heat; just to get that fresh air in the car.
Tonight I am thankful for an absolutely beautiful day today!  It was wonderful!  I hope you all had got to enjoy the weather too!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Let It Die

I am a dreamer.  I dream and I hope for the world to be a nice place and the people in it to be loving, caring and kind.
I am a realist.  I understand that this will not happen.  But I hold out a hope that in my corner of the world, maybe things can be a little brighter.  Maybe if I'm patient enough and understanding enough, love can prevail.
I am a fighter.  I fight for the things I believe in; knowing that sometimes the fight is simply standing strong and letting everything else swirl around me.
I am human.  As hard as I try not to, I hurt sometimes.  I remind myself that most things are not intended to destroy my faith.  " Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  It's a truth.  So many people hurt others without knowledge of their actions.  I try to keep this in mind - the unintentional pain caused by selfish and self-centered behavior is just that . . unintentional; because the other person wasn't thinking about me.  Wasn't thinking about how I'd feel or what I care or think or want.  It isn't a flattering thought at all.  But it's a true thought that I learned at an early age in life.  It doesn't make hurt any less.  But I suppose it takes a little sting off.  And it certainly makes the hurt not last as long. . . sometimes.
Tonight a part of my heart is seared . . maybe that's the right word?  Not broken.  It's already been broken.  There's been cracks.  They've been growing larger.  Today it became blatantly obvious that my heart needed some boundaries.  Some people, we are just meant to love from afar.  Some people can't be trusted to care for a heart because their number one concern is themselves . .  and they can't see me when they are looking at themselves so much.
Oh yes, I am loyal too.  That's a problem sometimes.  I am drawing a boundary there also.  Some people we are just meant to love from afar.  Loyalty can be deceiving when it is spent on someone who doesn't appreciate it . . let alone notice it.
Turning one's back is much, much different than stepping away to make a safe boundary from destructive and manipulative behavior.  If the cold is what was felt, it was because the accuser built the ice damn around their heart first.  My heart is still warm.  It is still glowing.  But it is no longer available to you.  I will love from afar.  I will love you for the person that you used to be and the person that you could be in life.  I wish you all good things.  But I no longer ever expect or desire to be a part of them.  Your actions have shown your priorities in life.  And someone who wouldn't allow themselves to be used or support your self-destructive behavior just didn't make the list.
Tonight I am thankful for good memories.  I forgive the bad memories.  But I remember them also.  I have to, because honestly, I really don't have the best track record for concrete boundaries.  Because I am a dreamer.  I hope and dream for things to change.  But I am a realist.  I see they won't.  I've believed things would change too many times and all I've done is put cracks in my heart.  I wish you well.  I want you to have a good and happy life.  But I'm simply not going to be a part of it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Understanding

This hangs on my wall in my office.  I can look over at it all day long if I need to.  It is sometimes easy to lose motivation until I glance to my left.
Like this week.  This week has been spring break.  And I've been working like a dog.  I am very thankful that the kids and I went off and had fun yesterday!  To allow for that, I haven't slept enough all week.  And I am even more thankful that the kids have had fun just being home and being kids.   Today there were Lego villages and blanket forts and popcorn parties.
I remind the kids now and then.  I want them to understand.  Their father and I working so much is with a purpose.  We are working thru these steps.  We have a good end goal here . . . peace.  Financial peace.  I hope they see all this trouble we are going thru because we once lived like everyone else.  Credit cards and loans are "normal".  And we were normal.  We decided two years ago that we don't want to be normal anymore.  We don't want to worry about money anymore.  We don't want to live like that.  We want to be able to help those that need help.  We want to be able to enjoy things.  We decided not to just stick our heads in the sand and hope that tomorrow would be better.  We did research.  We made a game plan.  We have fallen down and gotten back up countless times.  But we have been going forward.
I pray that my kids take note of this time.  I hope they think of this when they grow up and someone offers for them to buy something on credit.  I hope they remember that "the borrower is the servant of the lender".  I hope they choose to wait until they have the cash for what they want.  I hope they live in peace, even and especially financial peace.
This week I have sat in a courthouse with people 20 years older than myself who aren't sure where they are going to live in a month.  They have no financial peace and they have no plan.  I plan on giving them a copy of Dave Ramsey's book.  This week I have listened to people 30 years older than myself who are going to lose their house because a life of debt was "normal", until they retired and life happened.  This week I have prayed for these people and have been thankful that we can learn from their mistakes without going down that road ourselves.
Tonight I am thankful for a conversation with a kiddo today that reminded me that maybe the kids are paying attention.  He was looking at our 6 Month Emergency Fund chart and asking questions.  He liked that this would be our safety net is something unexpected were to happen.  He's understanding some steps to live with peace, financial peace . . it's important.