My Money Problem

Money is such a personal thing to speak about. So often, it can believed to be a defining of who we are, of our entire worth. It could be considered a tangible emotion. Meaning that it is at times through how we spend, can be an emotional barometer.

Money has always been hard for me to handle. It is an area where I often feel lacking. And if I am to truthful, ashamed. I have years of awful decisions left in my wake. These decisions continue to impact my life today.

In my obstance and immaturity I chose badly again and again. My  parents tried to teach me about money and budgeting. As a teen I was responsible for putting gas in my car and the insurance payment. But every paycheck I got, I spent it.

A trend that continued through most of my adulthood. I incurred debt, paid off smaller debts and incurred more. I didn’t plan ahead, not really.

Looking back,I think that I didn’t value money because I didn’t value myself. This can also tie into my relationship with food. I didn’t value the life I was given, so in turn I made choices that showed that. Seeking out the instant gratification.

I feared judgement from others, In not measuring up to others. My assumption was that everyone one else around me had it altogether. Which just shows how much a facade anyone can project. What’s more is these judgements came from myself.  It is easy to do so.

Money is not just a means to an end. It is more than just a tool. It represents my heart. What I long and hope for in this life.  And it’s not mine, as with anything in this world it belongs to God. 

How I handle it is a form of worship. This is something God has shown me again and again. In the struggle, God has shown me again and again that it is He that provides and those things are greater than money. It can be a struggle, one that I have gotten better with.

As with anything, this is a learning process. One step forward and a few steps back. A trip and a stumble here and there. But I keep going because living in debt is no way to live. One day I hope to be able to say, I’m debt free.

 

Honor Your Writing Process

The writing process is a complicated, highly individualized concept. It is something that takes time to discover for oneself. Discovering what this looks for you looks different for everyone.

It takes time for me. This writing thing. It is so hard and draining. I often end up putting aside what I’m working for periods of time. I don’t understand why my characters are why the way they are. At least not until it’s been revealed to me.

What I’ve learned is that it takes time for the  story to reveal itself.[Tweet “What I’ve learned is that it takes time for the  story to reveal itself.”]

Once you understand what works best for you, honor it. Take away those distractions that hinder you. Let the work speak to your heart. 

It takes work.  In my process, I have to work at it. The breakthroughs only come after pushing through the hard parts. The dead ends and circles eventually lead to the solutions. Setting aside the time and sticking to a schedule is also key.

Honoring your process means being consistent with writing. It means working through crap drafts and setting aside projects when it is needed. It means protecting your time, saying no to invitations and obligations.

Another thing, what works for one writer may not work for yourself. This is  part of the process, figuring out if the early morning works for you or not. For myself, I find I work best late afternoon to evenings. Some prefer a tight outline while mine are more loose. I also don’t write everyday. It’s just not possible with my schedule. Instead I schedule a few days a week where I can write, when I know I won’t be hurried or too distracted by the rest of my life.

It will take trial and error. But you’ll discover what works best. Once you do, honor it.

 

 

Mid Week Motivator : The Three R’s

 

 Maybe yesterday was bad. Perhaps today is not any better thus far. 

It can be discouraging,trying and then failing. Setting goals then not doing anything to reach them. Or attempting to begin again.

It can be hard, coming back after failing. After not quite measuring up. But, anything worth going after is worth it.

[Tweet “It can be hard, coming back after failing. After not quite measuring up. But, anything worth going after is worth it.  “]

Reevaluate– what went wrong, what went right.

Restructure -your plan be realistic, set smaller goals.

Remind– the very reason why you are pursuing your dream may have been lost over time.  

 

Failure

This year marks four years since I lost weight. My body changed so quickly as I lost weight. So much so that it took the rest of me to catch up. When my body began to change once again, it was slower. Noticing only when I needed to go up in sizes in my clothes. Still, as slow as it was, this too has taken me to time to come to terms with.

My lifestyle is different, the amount of time I dedicated to working out is far less. Back then I was doing two work outs nearly six days a week. These days I do about thirty minutes four to five days per week.

The kinds of food I eat then and now are similar. However, these days I am more apt to go through a drive through. Dig into several helpings of ice cream. That tomorrow I will do better or I worked out so it’s alright.

But it’s not. Not because I’m no longer skinny but because I’m setting myself up for failure with each choice. My family has a host of health issues. Many of which can be avoided with good health.

Part of it is being busy. Another part is just wanting to have to not be so careful. Having to count every calorie that I eat. After I initially lost weight, I traded in binge eating for calorie counting. No middle ground from one to the other. In some sense I feared what would happen if I would gain weight.

But I have gained weight.I am a failure. I’ve failed, again and again I have made the bad choice. The lazy choice. 

[Tweet “But I have gained weight.I am a failure. I’ve failed, again and again”]

But not the easy choice,it’s never the easy choice. It’s sometimes the convenient one. Or falling back into old coping mechanisms.

But I keep going. I keep trying because I understand the greater reward. Failure happens but it doesn’t mean I need to stay there. 

 

 

 

Mid Week Motivator : Kitchen Intimidation

In last week’s Mid Week Motivator, I covered eating well on a budget. Today, I am talking about getting over that kitchen intimidation.

The hardest part about cooking is the  fear of failure. Julia Childs taught me that there can be no fear in the kitchen. Now, I am nowhere near the culinary genius of Mrs.Childs, but I do hold my own I must say.

Eating well means getting to know your skill level. Start with your favorite recipes, modifying them to make them healthier. You will be surprised to find that swapping out one item for another is pretty easy.

Play with spices and different kinds of vegetables. Healthy doesn’t mean you lose taste, it just means you find in a different way. Learn about meal prep, sure setting aside time to do it may seem a pain but so can be workouts.

Sure, some experiments may fail. So what? It just means you know better what works for you and your family.But again as Julia Childs also said, “Never  apologize for your food.”

Celebrate Love

Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day. This is not the typical singleton view point on this day. I’ve treaded down that road before. This year I have a different perspective.

I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.[Tweet “I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.”] And more so a  day where many of my lovely friends get to celebrate their relationships. As they should. Any time to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the  everyday is a good thing. For a couple to stop and spend time together is important.

It is not an indictment against singles. That somehow by not being in a romantic relationship to celebrate, we are less than. This is an absolute lie. This is a lie I once believed. Feeling embittered as each year passed and still single. The wondering of when or if that would change. Then never having anything changed.

We have plenty to celebrate. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.

We too have special people in our lives. People who have poured into our lives. Loving us when it was not easy. People we have loved well and cared for in turn.

When was the last time you told someone how much they mean to you?

Celebrate that. Celebrate that love is far bigger than the a narrow definition. Celebrate that you are loved. Celebrate the immense, complicated,messiness of real love.

Remember this as you attend services and the sermon focuses on marriage and love. Remember as you feel that tinge of loneliness seeing couples around you. Remember you are loved greater than anything you could imagine. Because you know Christ.

I’ve been in that jealous place, of longing for a relationship. Believing it was the missing piece for my life. The truth though is that only Christ  makes me whole. While I still long for marriage some day, it’s not my only hope. I’ve come to terms that perhaps it might not be the plan for me. 

This post is where I’m at right now. In this moment. I cling to the truth that I am loved, by God, by my brothers and sisters in Christ, by my family. There is so much love in my life.

Not acknowledging it, by saying that this other kind of love is somehow better, I’m essentially spitting in the face of the love in my life.

That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. [Tweet “That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. “]

 

 

 

 

Mid Week Motivator: Healthy Eating, Healthy Budgeting

Eating healthy on a budget is hard. Believe me when I tell you that it can be done! It means making different choices than you are in the habit of making. It does take time, to plan meals ahead, prepping and cooking. What follows is a list of what works for me to eat well on a tight budget.

Plan & Strategize

I know what I’m getting before I walk through the doors of any grocery store. Along with my list, I have a strategy. Start with the fresh fruit and vegetables. Then that weeks necessities etc. When I don’t do this I end making more impulsive purchases. By not making impulsive purchases this helps my budget.

Shop Around

I shop at a few stores. It may seem like work but it’s worth it. Some weeks I go to two different stores, other weeks three or one. It depends on sales, my time and how much I need to buy. My favorite places are close by, Aldi, Publix and from time to time Wal-Mart. At Aldi I get the majority of my fresh fruits and vegetables. Publix has the few items I can’t find at Aldi for the right price. Wal-Mart fills in the gaps.

Eat Similar Foods

I’m not saying to eat the same things day in and day out. However by purchasing similar foods each week, the budget is healthier. Plus it makes the planning aspect far easier to do. I know where my items are located so my shopping trips are rather quick. There is no hemming or hawing. Or for those unplanned items to not end up at home. 

By buying healthier foods, it means more cooking at home (something I will touch on next week). The temptation to run through a drive thru is simply not an option. Either because the funds aren’t there or even better something tastey waiting at home. That is the best thing ever. 

 

Story Monday : The Seduction Of True Crime

Last fall I became addicted to the Serial Podcast, this series now in its second season examined a murder case from 1999. I won’t rehash the entire season here but the details of the case were rather interesting. It painted a picture of how easy it would be for the wrong set of circumstances can upend one’s life.

The series grabbed my imagination and in it’s wake were other podcasts that have continued to look at the details of this case. Who really killed Hae May and did Sayeed do it? Did he have help or is he wholly innocent? At this time Sayeed is preparing for his appeal trial.

True crime stories have always captured the public’s imagination. My first brush with this genre with In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This book propelled Truman into fame and continues to be examined.

Then there is OJ Simpson case, which spelled the beginning of the end for daytime soap operas. The Memphis Three whose story was chronicled in documentaries and books. Eventually leading to the young men being released.

But what is it about these kinds of stories that fascinates us? Is it that from our vantage point that we feel safe to look into the lurid truth if some lives?

Perhaps it is this permission that is given in these cases to examine lives under a microscope. Those juicy secrets of the private lives of others. The twists and turns of our justice system that can occur.

In these stories, as with any great story, we see ourselves in them. Our lives turned upside down. Fighting to be heard or dealing with the consequences of being pushed too far. Story encompasses so much in our daily lives. True crime stories capture our imagination for many reasons.