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Sunday, November 23, 2008
I was fortunate to be raised in a family that taught me an important principle about life and that is this: Life is what YOU make of it.
I know it may sound trite, but I have found this to be a true and correct principle. You may be thinking, "I thought I was going to read about the upside of this down economy. What does LIFE have to do with it?" The answer is: EVERYTHING!
Is is true that the economy could stand a little boost? Yes!
Is it true that it's all doom and gloom out there? Only if you choose to make it true by buying into all the media hype out there. Afterall--they want to sell papers, magazines and commercial spots...don't they? How better to do that than with fear and manipulation? I'm not saying ALL media outlets have taken this road, but it is the general tone of the majority of media outlets today.
What I'm trying to get across is that this economy is so much more than stockmarket portfolios, corporate downsizing or the mortgage crisis. What it really boils down to for me and my family is that our society lives in excess! The concept of living within your means is foriegn to far too many and that is part of the reason that many have reacted with fear to the recent economic downturn.
Life IS what you make it and that is all that is happening. It's time to pay the piper, so to speak. And we ALL have ended up paying in the end. So where's the upside you ask???
It's up to us to CHOOSE how we react now and how we go forward from here. Here's what we've done in our family to ride out the storm.
1. Save for a rainy day! When I got my first job and checking account when I turned 15, my Dad also insisted I open up a savings account. He said, "ALWAYS pay yourself FIRST!" That principle taught me to prepare for life's little emegencies and has been a valuable habit--literally! I've been through "hard times"--Hurricane Katrina. We lost our community, our home, our posessions and started again from scratch. Thankfully, we encurred no new debt--because we saved for a rainy day.
Living paycheck to paycheck? No extra? Been there, done that! Look at your living expenses and see what you can temporarily sacrifice for a long term gain. For us, it was cable TV and eating out several times a week. In one short year we saved over $5,000 JUST cutting out those two non-necessities.
Still no wiggle room? Get creative and find ways to generate a secondary source of income! Again, necessity is the mother of invention. Been there, done that too! Tap into your talents and resources--you'll be amazed at what you find.
2. Make this a teaching opportunity. We've chosen to focus on the positive message being prepared gives to our children. Those who are prepared are not in fear.
3. Makeover your Money! If you're not sure "how" to budget--get a book! Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman are awesome! I've read numerous books they've written and really have a handle on how to keep us in great financial health! One of the best things I ever learned was to live on a "cash" budgeting system. If the "cash" isn't there and it is NOT an "emergency" (and I learned that pedicures do NOT constitute a true emergency) then I simply don't spend it. Ever wonder WHERE all your money goes? Keep track of EVERYTHING you spend (every penny, nickel and dime) for one week in a notebook. You will be AMAZED at what you find.
4. Don't believe the hype! Yes, things aren't perfect. Yes, some of our family, friends & neighbors are facing hard times. The worst thing we could do is to do NOTHING because of the fear of the unknown! Where will that leave us? Life must go on and we must be the ones to drive the economy forward. We can't do that if we live in fear and cease our activities of daily living.
5. Share your abundance If you have found yourself in good financial standing--Bravo for you; but, it's time to pay it forward. If you have a knack for budgeting, share it with someone who lacks in that area. If you have the ability to give--give as generously as you can. Time can be as important of a gift as currency. It is time to take care of our own. If you know of someone who faces a lay-off, see what you can do to ease their burden.
Recently, I attended a networking event where a member brought her 7 year old daughter along. She did so because her 7 year old, along with her best friend, was fundraising for the Make A Wish foundation. A brownie troop visit to the Greater Houston chapter of Make A Wish had inspired these young girls to give back. In fact, they had asked that all monies meant to be utilized for their upcoming 8th birthdays we donated instead so that the girls could be Wishmakers. A "gift" of $5,000 is needed in order for a Wishmaker to grant a wish for another child.
I can only tell you that I couldn't write a check fast enough so that the tears would erase the ink! Those little girls not only met their goal, but they EXCEEDED it. It all started with a greatful heart and a powerful lesson from home--that LIFE is what you make of it.May we ALL make life the BEST life possible for ourselves and others.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
There's something to be said for getting outside of your COMFORT ZONE! For the past 4 years, I've used my computer as a way to almost "hide" myself from the outside world. If truth be told, I have a huge fear of networking face to face. I decided that I wanted to get past this fear--not only to grow my business, but to grow as a person.
So, last week I joined a Women in Business organization here locally in Texas to meet other local business owners and network. TOOT TOOT!!! I was SO proud of myself. I was able to easily converse with each that I met and I exchanged business cards with everyone I came in contact with. More importantly, I was finally able to "see" myself as they see me--a business woman! No more thoughts of not being good enough or hiding behind my laptop. This is the start of something GREAT...I can feel it.
Monday, January 28, 2008
How FUN!!! This is my first "toot", so here goes...
My hubby and I have been reading Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" together. It's AMAZING and has given us insights into our spending habits. We've been married almost 10 years and this is the FIRST time I can say that we're on the same page as far as our finances go. It's not about how much you earn, but how much you KEEP! So, my toot is that I PASSED UP a cute pair of shoes that I TOTALLY wanted, but did not need! YAY!!!!
It's a quick read and it will change your financial future!
My youngest attends a phenomenal private school in the town where we live and our Parents Association does MAJOR fundraising throughout the year to assist with the rising cost of education. Our largest event of the year is known as "Jubilee" and this year's theme is Mardi Gras! It's a night of dinner, dancing, and fun with both silent and live auctions--and I can't wait for Friday night.
It has been exciting to contact those from "back home" and invite them to share in our event via donations for auction as well as sharing with my fellow Texans the history associated with Mardi Gras. Yes, there is MORE to it than drunken displays on Bourbon Street! lol...
I actually felt like I was back in high school a few weeks ago (the GOOD part of high school, that is!) when I went shopping with my mom for a gown to wear to the event. It was SO thrilling to feel like a GIRL again! That was until my mom commented, "I think it's been over 15 years since we did this last!" OUCH!!! :-)
But, I'm not letting AGE get me down! I can't wait to get my hair and make-up done, slip on that black dress and totally knock the SOCKS of my hubby when I walk out! For the first time in a LONG time, I'll get to feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. We moms just don't get enough of that!
I'll post pictures this weekend after the event!
What's something that YOU haven't done in a long while to make yourself feel special?? Do SOMETHING today!
Monday, August 6, 2007
On Saturday, I was totally bummed that my hubby had to go into work overtime on a project which meant that I would be with the boys ALL day by myself...again! That's not to say that I'm not happy to be at home with them, but ALL moms need a break--and I was at my breaking point, if you know what I mean.
Well, I decided that we deserved lunch out so we headed to Wendy's for a treat.
Just to set the stage for what I'm about to say, I have to let you know that YES I'm a country girl and YES I live in Texas and YES I have cowboy boots and YES I've worn them AND a cowboy hat in PUBLIC--and did I mention I drive a Ford Expedition???
Anyway, I was not in the best of moods and decided to throw on a little Hank Williams Jr. Good 'ole Bocephus sure can cure the blues. So, "A Country Boy Can Survive" came on and I cranked it up! During the chorus, however, I noticed that my boys were laughing hysterically in the back seat. Frustrated that they were ruining my "HANK" moment, I turned around and said, "What EXACTLY is so funny?" My 5 year old says, "He said that he can SKIN A BUTT!"
For those of you who AREN'T Hank Williams Jr. Fans, the ACTUAL words are "He can SKIN a BUCK"--as in a MALE deer! I laughed until tears ran down my face and I almost PEED my pants.
Needless to day, my blues were cured and I've got a PRECIOUS memory of sharing my love of Hank with my boys!
**This is part of the 4 Fab Moms Blog Carnival** CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
Thursday, August 2, 2007
We, especially women, are raised to be BROKE! Think about it--we're taught get an education, get a JOB, participate in the 401k so that when you "retire" you'll have extra money to live on. We PLAN to be broke. Does that make sense to you??? It didn't to ME!!!
Don't get me wrong. I totally value the education I gained in order to be a nurse. However, I didn't get stuck in the mindset that working for someone else was the only way to have security. Just talk to a nurse manager who's been "downsized" for a new grad who'll work for LONGER hours at HALF the pay! This happens in ALL types of professions.
It IS frustrating to those of us who CHOOSE to be EXTRAORDINARY (and this is a conscious choice!) to deal with those who are happier than pigs in you-know-what just to be working for the "man". We can't understand why so many settle for mediocrity. You can avoid this frustration by following this advice: surround yourself with like-minded individuals. If you're job seeking, find someone who has the type of "job" that you want. If you want MORE than a "job" can offer, consider ALL your business options.
Ask yourself this: Who are your CLOSEST 5 friends and how much INCOME do they earn??? What kind of lifestyle do they lead?? This will allow you to glimpse where you're headed. Doubt me? Ask yourself how many "broke" friends does a "rich" WOMAN have??? 0...otherwise she won't stay rich for long.
Here is my personal case study. When I started my OWN business 3 1/2 years ago, I can tell you that MANY of our friends and family voiced their opinions on the matter. I heard it all--especially because I had FAILED 4 times before. However, FAILURE is critical to SUCCESS. Not many people understand that. How can you know what to do right if you haven't tried it wrong???
Anyway, these family members and friends ALL lived paycheck to paycheck. They had NO dreams--NO vision. I didn't let THEIR lack of support stop me. I DUG in and WORKED like there was no tomorrow. I sacrificed and my family made sacrifices as well. I surrounded myself with those who were "Getting it DONE!"...not the one's who WISHED they were. I had MANY mentors...not all were part of my team or industry even. We can learn from many and I certainly did.
And you know what??? By the end of the FIRST year I had out earned everyone who we were associated with--even our most EDUCATED friends. I had a NEW vehicle PAID FOR by the company as a reward for my work and I was just getting started!
You may say, "WOW! You worked for a YEAR to reach you goal?" or "But I want it ALL and I want it NOW and I want it to be EASY and I want it to be FREE!!!"
But, if you do NOTHING today your TOMORROW will NEVER change!
Fast forward to now--- 3 1/2 years of effort total (less time than most spend in college getting a degree) and I'm on the verge of a SOLID 6 FIGURE income. I have a 2nd NEW vehicle sitting in the drive way paid for by the company I partnered with.
There is no more "paycheck to paycheck", dodging bill collectors or repo men for me. The BEST part is the FREEDOM to choose how to spend each day and the FREEDOM to CHOOSE who I work with.
Where are all the naysayers???? STILL in paycheck to paycheck HELL!
Hopefully you see my point.
Not ALL individuals are cut out to be entrepreneurs. Some are completely content letting someone else call the shots. Some expect LIFE and SUCCESS to be EASY! There is no such thing! Long-term success IS hard work--that's why it is called WORK.You won't find me wasting my time trying to CONVINCE someone that they can DO this--because the TRUTH is they can't...not if I had to convince them! WHY??? Because SUCCESS is a matter of CHOICE, not a matter of CHANCE!
Some of you moms reading this may AGREE with me. You may be screaming at your computer screen "RIGHT ON SISTAH!!!" and wonder, "What now?"
Find your passion, CHOOSE to become EXTRAORDINARY, SHUT up, STOP whining and GET TO WORK on reaching your goals! Then and ONLY then, will you find that you will spend the majority of your time letting others convince YOU that they are right for YOUR team.
Thanks for letting me share!
Edie--WAHM of 2
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It's pretty funny the things that we'll do as moms to fit in. For instance, how often do you restrain yourself from doing something that might seem crazy (like running through the waterfall at the park), or have you ever failed to express your opinion about a topic (such as child discipline) for fear it wouldn't be popular with the other moms in your group?Don't get us wrong... Fitting in with a group is a good thing. It gives us a sense of belonging, identity, and security, and it establishes group-specific expectations of how each individual will act and respond to others in the group. In this way, it reduces misunderstandings and the social gyrations otherwise necessary to establish.
But at the same time, the pressure to be a "typical" mom can quelch your personal expression and creativity and smother the urge to be extraordinary. Think about it... When was the last time you pointed to someone and said, "Wow, that woman is so normal – I'd like to be just like that!" Instead, consider the heroes you admire and respect, whether they be political, religious, athletic, or in some other walk of life. Nelson Mandela; Mother Theresa; Gandhi; Tiger Woods – to name a very few – are these people ordinary?
We all have the ability and opportunity to act in ways that are not ordinary, ways that expand our horizons and enhance our lives and the lives of others. It's usually fear that stops us: fear of stepping outside the defined normal conduct of our group, of being thought "weird" or – well, yes, abnormal. But it's by doing the unusual and the extraordinary that we can introduce the people in our circles, including our very own children, to new, interesting concepts and ideas, and can surprise ourselves by being more of who we are instead of less.
We invite you, therefore, to do something wonderfully not ordinary. Take a small step, even a baby step, outside your comfortable boundaries and don't be afraid to let others appreciate you for who you truly are. You can start by voicing an opinion you have that might not be popular with the other moms in your play group or your circle of friends. Then think about how it felt, and how you plan to keep extending yourself into being totally you.
Remember the words of Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."