It's been a month you guys. Just that season of forgetfulness, too many tasks on my "to do" list, and not enough structure for myself. A few weeks ago I had a mini meltdown. I knew I needed to refuel myself and so I left the house. Left to go have some dinner with some church ladies, but before went to my most favorite spot to go have me time, the book store. I had an hour 1/2 of blissful time by myself. I grabbed a stack of books I've been wanting to look at in person, sat on one of their comfy chairs, and flipped through beautiful literature until I decided what I wanted to buy. Yep, I bought something for myself. A book stuck out to me while I was there. I find comfort in other women's stories of how they made it through. It's my thang. I've already finished that book and packaged it up to be given as a gift to another mom who I know needs to hear the words the author spoke. She talked about "safe sisters." I had never heard that term before, but it made perfect sense to me. In fact, so much that I texted those 3 people the moment I read the words. Safe sisters are other women who you can tell anything to. Who you can pour out your most open self. The ones you can tell how much you're struggling, the difficult conversations with your husband, or your relentless schedule that you can't grasp. He knew I was going to need that book.
After leaving the book store and head to dinner, I sat in the car in tears. I had gotten the day wrong on dinner. Yep, like a big blubbering mess, I sat in the parking lot crying those "whoa is me" tears. Ridiculous right? Or is it. I needed those women that night. I needed that adult conversation and I felt like a weight sat on my heart. The night wasn't a complete loss. I texted my husband what had happened and asked him to send my oldest to the restaurant to have dinner with me. It turned out to be a really nice evening. We ate entirely way too much, had desert, and took our time. Maybe that's what was supposed to happen. I can't control everything, even when I want to. Things are going to happen, and I have to just give it to HIM. Moments like that night have happened more times than I can count these last few weeks, and thinking now I believe it's God's way of looking at me straight in my face and saying " I am here. Even when the world feels like it's against you, I am here."
Sometimes you have to be knocked down and put on your knees in order for you to see straight.
I went to a church women's meeting last night, but before I did I went to the wrong church. I kid you not. I got back into my car and even though I knew it had already started and I was going to be late...I still went. I drove and said in a whisper "not today Satan." I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I didn't let him ruin what an amazing time of fellowship with these women it was. They are all on the same walk...the walk to get closer to HIM.
I've started my own little War Room area. It's in a corner of the bedroom and my goal is to fill that side with so many prayers that he gets tired of hearing from me lol. The thing I learned from that book, was not only about the absolute need of safe sisters, but the need to have time with HIM. Time to tell him all that is on my heart...no matter how small or trivial it may feel. He wants to know. So that's what I'm working on, talking to HIM. It's still a weird concept for me, but I know it will get easier with time.
My outside nature is optimism, but inside I can see my dad. The "what if's," the negative, the trials, the tears, all of it. I'm a worrier by default. I wish I wasn't, but it's the truth. I worry if I'm doing it right with my kids, if my marriage is ok, am I feeding them enough healthy options, am I being an example of the adult I want them to be, am I putting myself first sometimes like I need to, am I showing them grace, am I playing with them enough...all of it. I don't think men know how much we worry about all those things on a daily basis. They're just programed like that. As a whole, I think women are. We wear so many hats at so many times, that it's hard to find joy in the mundane tasks of life and motherhood. Add financial issues, work schedules, due dates, and kid's appointments and my good gracious alive...it can all feel like too much.
When I feel my thoughts going in that direction the only thing I have found that puts my life in perspective is looking back on our year thus far. I was going through all the images from last year putting them strategically in our family yearbook (I do this every year) and just cried. It may seem mundane and alot of times it is, but when you look at it as a whole...there was so much love. Joy, happy tears, adventures, ice cream trips, backyard water fights, dinners, cookie making, reading, snuggling, and just living. When you find yourself doubting where your life is...look around. As I type this I currently have a 6 year old screaming, a 5 year old asking for her 4th snack, a very tired senior who stayed up all night finishing a paper, and a 12 year old stating he is bored. My life is chaos, but I honestly wouldn't know it wasn't the normal. This is all I've known. I've been a parent for 18 years so far, and although I may have more regrets I can count, they are still the air I breathe. This is what I was called to do. Every night I go to bed with the thoughts that tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start, and alot of times I still fail. In some way shape or form, but they still love me. They still call on me. I hope this is their safe place to land. Always. I am not perfect and I was never designed to be. Failure is just God's way of shaping me, refining me for what HE has called me to be.
We were supposed to get a "light dusting." Ha! As you can see, it was beautiful. Even though it takes a village to get everyone dressed and out the door, it was all worth it.
Happy Snow Day friends
What a crazy December. Time got away from me, and poof...it's the New Year. We had an amazing Christmas and I hope your family did as well. This year has not started off like I had planned. I have three kids sick and we're headed to Urgent Care with one of them who I believe has the flu. Ahhhhh, germs...you love this family. Anyhow, we are GO TIME with our plans for financial freedom this year. I (we lol) have a plan and damn it...I'm sticking to it. Total debt repayment for December was $1,011.08. This includes minimums, but with it being at Christmas time...I'm still proud. Like I said on the last blog post, I'm cash flowing a HUGE trip for May while still putting the extra $316 every month towards our debt snowball that I did the math for. That is the bare minimum we'll get to put towards debt if I did nothing extra at all. Just being diligent about the budget. Now, I'm not one to sit by and just do the minimum for anything in my life, so I'm working my butt off selling stuff, cutting back even more on our monthly budget, and figuring out additional ways to speed up the process. Any income being brought in by my business will be divided as so... 10% savings, 90% debt after taxes. I was actually going to cut back on working this year, but life throws us curve balls and we have BIG dreams for this family.
I have a love affair with Instagram. I have found some incredibly inspirational people on their debt free journey. You can find alot of people by just looking up the hashtag #debtfreecommunity, but one of my most favorite peeps to follow are.... Debt Kicking Mom She feeds her family of 6 so amazingly cheap that I'm just blown away. Frugal Kittens is another one, and one of my most favs Debt Free in Sunny California. You know the old saying to surround yourself with like minded people? Well, I try and do that with all aspects of my life. Even social media. I took a small break away from FB, but gosh, if it wasn't for my business, I'd leave it completely. It's a time sucking addiction.
Anyhow, yes we are on it. Yes, we will prevail. Bring it on. A look at our December...
Happy New Year!
I got ALOT of messages yesterday over the previous blog post. You guys, there are more families than you realize going through the EXACT same financial dilemma. Too much going out and not enough coming in. I thought I'd dive in to what we are doing to help curb the desire to spend. I am actually a natural good deal finder. I like to have money in the bank because it makes me feel secure. Always have. But, like I said yesterday...Christmas time turns me into a spender. Hands down. I am currently done with purchases for the upcoming holidays. With only a few prints left to buy, I decided I'd find a frame here at the house that I longer use and put the prints in that. There is no reason someone else can't enjoy a frame I no longer am using.
Here are a few things I'm doing currently to help for the upcoming Fast:
1) Every single time I get an email from a company that sells something...I'm unsubscribing. No offense to those beautiful small businesses I love to follow and purchase from, but this momma has a plan. With those emails being out of sight, the need to make an impulse purchase will be gone.
2) We're having a family meeting to explain our plans for the next 6 months. Yes, I understand the kids will forget, some not understand, and some who are used to getting most things their heart desires, but time for change kids.
3) I joined a group called "And then we saved." This group is lead by the amazing author of the current book I'm reading by Anna Newell Jones.
4) I've gotten my husband on board. It's important that we're all on the same page so when something comes up, we can handle it together.
5) I'm currently thinking about an upcoming February birthday with a certain soon to be 7 year old and how to handle all of that. I'm honestly thinking of selling some stuff to consignment and then using the credit for a new to him birthday gift. Anyway I can stick to the plan.
6) I've always meal planned, but it's game time now. Half of our family is vegetarian, 1 true vegan, and then some meat eaters so this should be interesting lol.
7) Potluck dinners with friends. No more Mexican food night or vegan pizza night, or any other dang food themed night lol.
We've always done a budget. ALWAYS. I know what's coming in and what's going out. Like down to the penny, but I end up always using that "extra" money that is supposed to tackle our debt to food, so I'm going to be really strict with that area. Cheaper meals, better organization, packing meals when I know it will be a trigger day for me. I think I'm also going to host a once a month meeting at my house to give support, answer any questions that I can, or even help someone with their own budget. It will fill that void of "giving" for me. I will give time and not materialistic items lol.
I also want to touch on something. Back a year ago, we were in the negative every month without my income. We never missed a payment, never went without, etc. because my business took care of the negative balance. I realize that is not the truth for everyone. I realize that some families, even with two incomes, are still in the negative every single month. You are not forgotten, you are not alone. Yes, you can still get out of the mess you're in. It's time to dig deep and really look at what you're spending your money on. There is ALWAYS something you can take off that budget. Cable? Meal plan better with cheaper foods? < This does not have to be forever. Go down to one car? Sell anything you can get your hands on at home? Find a second job? Babysit? Are these things we want to do? Of course not, but what if it meant getting out of a whole we've created?
Some families are bogged down with medical bills(we've been there). Some families have had a spouse loose their job. Life is going to happen. I want to be prepared when it does.
There IS hope. I promise.