Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Life's Little Luxury Necessities

In reflecting on what we could do to cut back our spending, we looked closely at what we were spending our money on. What was necessary, what was not, and what was that in-between category I like to call a luxury necessity.

For us Netflix is a luxury necessity. Yes, technically we don't need Netflix, but we use it a lot and feel we are getting our money's worth out of it. We own movies and get the free basic cable channels, but Netflix adds so much more for a cheap price that it feels justifiable.

Another for me is getting the newspaper delivered to our door everyday. I read the newspaper, my husband will glance through it occasionally- he usually gets the news online. It's an expense, but again a minor one, especially considering the fact that I use the coupons and can usually recoup the cost of the newspaper, sometimes more. Plus I learn about events that are happening around town that would be hard to keep track of otherwise. It's very justifiable. Also, we recycle the newspapers.

One other luxury necessity we enjoy is grocery shopping at Harmons. Yes, sometimes the prices are more, but not always. But the experience is worth any extra cost. Whenever we go to Walmart or Winco, it feels like we are little guinea pigs running around a huge maze trying to avoid running into the crazy looking mice and rats that are everywhere. We know where everything is at Harmons, they carry certain items that other stores don't, and the quality of the produce and meat beats other stores. The have some extra nice items, like a salad bar with sushi, artisan breads, and really good store made bratwurst and store sliced thick bacon. Also, several employees seem to know us because it feels like we have to go at least once a week to the store- they are very friendly.

Those are some of life's little luxury necessities we enjoy, and we'll keep on enjoying them because we save by avoiding the non-necessity luxuries.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scar Tissue

I have some scar tissue on my right arm. Blood has been drawn countless times from the same vein at the same spot in my elbow with the pregnancies and hospital stays. I can usually feel it, but sometimes I can even see it. It's a reminder of my pregnancies and how hard we fought emotionally for our kids.

My husband was talking to someone on the phone today, and I overheard him saying that I have a high-risk pregnancy, which is true. The doctor has told me all my pregnancies will be considered high-risk, but hearing my husband say that made me wonder what the person thought.

Before we had problems, the following words scared me: high-risk, pre-eclampsia, toxemia, etc... I didn't even know HELLP Syndrome existed or I would have been scared of that too. Now that I've had HELLP Syndrome, pre-eclampsia doesn't scare me like it used to. I have a been-there-done-that-probably-do-it-again attitude towards it. Magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures (eclampsia)- yeah, it's nasty stuff, had it both times, I can handle it. Getting poked with needles every two weeks for months, then every week, then every four hours in the hospital- I can do that.

I've built up an emotional scar tissue for certain pregnancy issues. It's harder to push that needle into my arm. I see pre-eclampsia as something I'd rather have than HELLP Syndrome. Some people would call it jaded.

But honestly, in the quiet moments of the night when I'm chewing on tums for my acid reflux, it scares me. When it comes down to the moment when the doctor tells us, "You need to go to the hospital now. We're going to have to induce you because you are sick," it's a scary moment and there is no peace until that baby comes out.

So I put on a jaded facade because of my emotional scar tissue, but I'm still getting poked with an emotional needle that's taking my life blood with it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eternal Effects

Most people have had a teacher or leader that has affected them for good or bad, influencing their whole life. I've had many, but one that stood out during high school, a time that's hard for any young girl, was my Spanish teacher.

He taught Spanish and was the baseball coach. There were several of his players in the class that thought they were so cool, though they could hardly speak Spanish. I did well in the class, and those boys would try and take advantage of that sometimes or tease about it because they were stupid.

One day the teacher told me in front of the whole class, "One day, Liz, you'll go to college and meet boys who will appreciate that you are smart and like you for it. They'll treat you with respect. They'll be guys who deserve your attention. Some day you'll meet guys like that, hold out for them because they are out there." It shut those jocks up pretty quick, and they were nicer after that.

He was right. I married a guy like he talked about that appreciated that I am smart, that treats me with respect, and deserves my attention because he's like me. My teacher's words have never left me, but even more the potential he saw for my life and for me, the feeling of confidence he gave me helped a lot through the years.

I worked in a high school for several years, and I tried to instill in some of those girls the potential for a great life they had if they could just make it through the stupid high school boys. I told them to just hold on through the next year or two and then they would have their chance to really blossom and be appreciated. Post high school life is where our true selves can really live up to the best we can be.

Even if you don't teach a class, you can have this same influence on others. A kind word or gesture can buoy a person for years through hard times. You probably won't ever know the impact you have had on others, for better or for worse, but you can go forward trying to leave a positive touch on those you interact with.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

End Of The World Heroes


Imagine Dragons has a song called Radioactive. (link above) It's popular with the younger generation, probably because we've been inundated with end of the world talk, books, tv shows, and movies. The end of the world has been thought about for millennia, but only recently does the end seem near, seem like a reality. Even cartoons for kids predict an end of the world with Wall-E.

The end of the world will be filled with destruction and horrible actions, but what keeps people sane is that at the end there is always hope. Many will die, but there will be survivors who will make the world over again, a better place. Heroes always rise up in the face of tragedy. Our true selves show up when under extreme pressure. Some choose badly, some chose wisely and show the world that humanity is still alive. The heroes and good leaders give hope to the rest of the people.

There's a hero inside of you. When tragedy strikes, whether in your personal life or the end of the world, be the hero that rises from the ashes, the phoenix that saves the world and itself.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Silence Is Golden

I remember being at a girl's camp with my friends and it was getting near the end of the week. We were walking together all not talking but it felt comfortable. It's the first time I remember this quote applying well to my life. We were friends before, but during that week we had bonded to a deeper level.

My husband and I are this way too. We have hour-plus long drives frequently to visit family. Sometimes we talk the whole way, sometimes we are both lost in our own thoughts, usually it's a mix of the two, but it always feels comfortable.

An example of an uncomfortable silence between two people would be a date I went on years ago. A co-worker set me up with her nephew because she just knew we would be great together. She had him come to where we worked and introduced us, and I knew right away it probably wasn't going to go anywhere, but accepted the date anyways for her sake.

We talked in the car and in the line at the restaurant but the conversation was stilted. We finally got our food and found a table in the crowded noisy restaurant. He put his head down and proceeded to shovel food into his mouth until he was about half way through his meal. Then he looked up, asked how my food was, nodded that his was good also, then back down went the head until his food was gone. Then he insisted we go to a movie, so I agreed. At least no talking was expected during a movie. But there was a half hour wait until the movie started so we ended up walking around the mall, hardly talking, looking for a present for his sister. We ran into a friend of his and they talked for about ten minutes. Finally it was time for the movie. After the movie he took me home and we never spoke again.

It was awkward, especially when his aunt excitedly asked how the date was. Sometimes there are two good people, but they just have nothing to say to each other.

But then other times there are two good people, like my husband and I, that are just meant to be together. We talk, we are quiet, we plan together, we work together, we live together. It's a beautiful thing.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Neck Verses The Head

I recently read some good advice about how to take a nap when your child stops taking naps. Lay down on the bed with the child to 'help them' go to sleep. Your child will sneak off the bed after you fall asleep and will stay quiet trying to make sure you stay asleep while they play. Make sure the door is closed so they don't destroy the house while you sleep though.

This is a good example of letting someone else think they have a good idea, while all along it was your idea. Like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding- the mom says the dad may be the head of the family, but she is the neck and can turn the head any way she wants to.

If you need something done but need the help of someone else, try getting the person to come up with the idea that you want. If they think of the idea themselves (with a little prompting) they will be all for the idea when they might otherwise object.

It's a tricky business, but it can be effective. 

I suppose it is a form of manipulation, but I don't think someone would come up with an idea they were truly opposed to and follow through with it. But gently prodding someone towards a good path for them can help them and others.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Good Book Day

If you are a Mom who has ever dreamed about starting a business while raising a family, this is a book you should read. Mom, Incorporated by Aliza Sherman and Danielle Smith goes through the details of what it takes and how to do it. It also includes worksheets that are helpful in figuring out how your business would work. Even if you don't have a business idea in mind, but are interested in the idea, this book will help you decide if it would be a good choice for you.

Check it out and have a good book day!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You Have To Work To Get Results

We've all heard people complain about not losing weight, but they aren't doing anything to lose weight. It doesn't make sense. Extra fat doesn't come off our bodies for no reason. Muscles don't get bigger by sitting on the couch.

We've all heard people talk about wanting to write a book, but haven't. The only way you'll write a book is to actually sit down and write it, a page at a time. Just reading a book about writing won't get a book written, but it can help you get started.

If you want results, you need to work for them. Once you start getting results, the work can become easier because you see the reward. 

It's inspiring to see someone actually going to the gym or eating healthy and losing weight while gaining muscle. It's inspiring to read the first draft of a friend's book they wrote.

It is inspiring to want to follow their footsteps, but you need to make sure you're ready to commit to the goal. If you're ready, then you will do the work necessary and get the wonderful results. You'll be the inspiration for others to achieve their goals.

There are many things I would like to do sometime, but many of them require a lot of hard work. I've been learning that I need to figure out which ones I want to do more than the rest, which are the most important and meaningful to me. 

Sometimes the only way to figure it out is to give it a try. If you love it, than go for gold. If you don't, it's okay, try something else. People often see this as being a quitter, but if your heart isn't in it, you won't succeed. It's better to cut your losses and try something new. Often times you can keep it as a hobby but pursue a stronger passion as well.

I'm slowly weeding down my list, putting things on the some day list verses the right now list. I have a goal in mind, and I'm working slowly towards it. If I want to do it well, I need to do it the right way.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Making resolutions to keep for the new year is admirable, but forced change doesn't usually work, which is why most people break their resolutions before a month is up and stop working on them. Change only works if you are ready and if you are doing it for you.

Temporary change is doable, but it is temporary. Like eating healthy during pregnancy for your child, but after the child is born it tends to slip because it's not necessary anymore. Eating healthy to prevent disease or manage a health condition is for you, so it can become a permanent change, albeit a difficult one. Some people start out eating healthy for their unborn child and continue it after the child is born because it became about them personally- they liked the benefits of eating healthy.

Change is very hard, and you will likely mess up more than once. That doesn't mean you didn't make it or you can stop, it just means you keep going and learn from your mistakes. If you mess up, shake it off and keep going. 

Karen Lamb said, "A year from now you will wish you had started today." That is often the case when we make positive changes in our lives. The truth of it is that we weren't ready a year ago though, or we would have done it then. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom and dragging your feet around the bottom for a while before you are ready to change.

When making resolutions, be it for the new year or any time, remember a couple things.
-Make realistic goals with small achievable steps.
-Make goals that are for you so that you can make permanent changes.
-Be honest: make goals that you are ready to make. If you're not ready, you won't make it.
-Keep working, even if you make a mistake, it's part of the journey to becoming a new you.