Making Investments

I’m sure you just read the title, and thought my post today would be about stocks and bonds…..NOT QUITE. Today I want to talk about investing in yourself. Recently I decided to throw a Vision Board party. A friend of mine introduced me to it last year, but it was too far in the year to do. Later on my BFF and I were talking about scriptures, you know where it says “write the vision, make it plain”. It was funny because around that time there were random conversations and articles I had read that spoke on jotting down goals and visions. It was at that time, that I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish for the rest of the year. Looking at the 13 things I listed, I only accomplished about 2. Yeah I know, that list wasn’t effective at all.I realized that jotting down my goals wasn’t enough. Listing the goals was only the outline, I needed to go back and list details on how to accomplish each goal.

The problem with many of us is that we have things we want to accomplish but we don’t take the time out to create a game plan for getting them done.  This time is what I call my “investment”. I have to spend the time drafting a plan, educating myself, and networking with those who have an expertise in the areas I want to grow. My vision board party is also part of my investment. Not only do I want to work on my goals, I want to help the people close to me reach their goals. I invited a few relatives and friends so we could have a small intimate setting that each of us felt comfortable enough to discuss our visions. It’s not enough to just invest in myself, I want to invest in those around me. My circle is small, and I like it that way, but I also want my circle of family and friends to grow WITH ME. I want us to all be successful, I want us all to better ourselves. I want us all to have INCREASE! I’m super excited about the party, and anxious to learn more about the people I love. We’re all alike in some way but we’re also VERY different! I’ll definitely be back after the weekend to discuss how it went and the things I learned.

Getting Back to Me

The past 6 months have been such an emotional roller coaster for me. Strangely, the world around me seemed not to be bothered by the things I was struggling with. I wanted a change, and I wanted it RIGHT THEN! I was becoming bitter, and angry, and someone that I could no longer recognize. I thought finding a new job was the answer, but then I reminded myself of all the time my job freed up which allowed me to do the things I really loved. I thought maybe switching my major would help, but then I had to realize that everything I wanted to do went with my current degree plan.

I examined every aspect of my life and couldn’t find ONE flaw, maybe except the fact that I was going to school to finish something I should’ve done BEFORE getting married and becoming a parent (that’s a whole other story). It was then that I realized the change I needed was an internal one. I needed to change my attitude, change my outlook, get back to being carefree and happy ME!!! I had lost myself in the process of becoming a mother and wife and I was totally out of my element. I hadn’t learned how to be myself while being a loving mother, and devoted wife. I took on these new roles and lost myself while doing so.

After having a discussion about it with a dear friend, I realized I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only woman looking at herself in the mirror and finding a stranger staring back. Something had to give but what? How could I make this change, and not throw everything around me off balance? To me, I’d be returning to my old, familiar self, but to the world around me I’d be “actin’ brand new” as they say. I wanted to change, I wanted to be set free of this weight but HOW?! My biggest fear was being called out constantly for my change in behavior. I didn’t want to be reminded that I was being different, I didn’t want to constantly hear “what’s up with you?” or “so we’re acting funny now?” or my favorite “what’s wrong?”. I wanted to do what I needed to do for my own sanity, and not be given a hard time about it. I’ll admit that at first I felt that the only way I could make this change was to go where others didn’t already know me. Somewhere in which I could give people the impression I wanted them to have of me, and start fresh. This, of course, wasn’t the answer. It was time for me to put on my big girl panties and JUST DO IT.

I decided I wouldn’t let people define how MY “marriage” is suppose to work. If I’m too busy to cook EVERYDAY like my mom did when I was growing up, IT’S OK! If I wanted to send my kids to daycare on my day off just so I could be lazy, IT’S OK! If I wanted to plan a girls trip with my BFF, and sister, IT’S OK! I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The point is, doing the things that I enjoy doesn’t make me less of a mother or wife. It enhances me as a mother and wife. We all need “ME” time. ME time doesn’t always have to be alone either. It’s also hanging out, having cocktails with gal pals, doing a spa day. or simply meeting up for lunch to vent, and laugh and just be YOU. I’ve spent enough time trying to fit in a mold of “wife” and “mother” but what about me? I can still be me, do the things I love, and be a great wife and mother ALL AT THE SAME TIME! After I had my first child my mom made me feel guilty for wanting to have an evening out, only to turn around and vent about being stuck in the house all the time. I had to start bringing up, “mom, that’s why I like to get out every now and then”. I had to make her understand that I wasn’t a party animal because I wanted to hang out once every 6-8 months! I was someone needing a BREAK. In the process of getting back to me, I’ve noticed a difference in my home life. My relationship with my husband is better, my relationship with my kids is better because of it. No longer do I feel like I’m depriving myself while everyone else in the house is being taken care of. I’m challenging all wives and mothers to do the same. Take time out for YOURSELF,  and don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for doing so!

 

Push!

Ok, so let me tell you guys about Sunday morning. It was the last day of the month AND the last day of the year. I had already made it up in my mind that I was going to go into the New Year the right way. I’m really big about spending New Year’s Eve doing the things I plan to do all year long. I wanted to make sure to be in church, because I wanted to do better about attending church services in 2018. I also wanted to be home with my kids and family, so I made plans to bring the new year in with my loved ones near, and a cocktail in my hand (this IS a no judgement zone, right?). ANYWHO!

This Sunday was so important. I had to bring the New Year in on a positive note, and doing what made me happy. One of the things I decided to do was to commit to paying tithes. Now, I know there are many arguments regarding tithing and where this tithe is to be paid to, but for me and my house….we’re paying our tithes to our PLACE OF WORSHIP. Nevertheless, I rush around the house getting ready, and I paused to take a moment to write and authorize my check for half of my tithe for the month. Within minutes, I misplaced the check and I panicked. I had never lost a check I’d authorized. Usually when I authorize a check, it takes it from my balance and puts it in a reserve account until the check is cashed, so I HAD to find that check! Time was slipping away, I was beginning to get frustrated and I still couldn’t find the check. As I ran back out to the car, I noticed my husband getting out to help me look. It was then that I took a deep breath and said “don’t worry about it, let’s leave”. I couldn’t waste any more time looking for a check I was too flustered to even find. As I put on my seat belt, I looked at my husband and said “you know that’s nothing but the devil right?”. He nodded and agreed with me. I said, “I can just write and authorize a check for the second half of my tithes. I’ll find the other one when we get back and put it in next week’s collection.” We made it to church late, but enjoyed the portion of service we were able to catch. I was so glad that I didn’t let losing the check cause me to miss church, or be too focused on it to enjoy the worship experience.

After service, I engaged in conversation with a fellow member. She too had experienced some setbacks that morning, and had almost decided not to attend church that day. That conversation made me reflect for a moment. In this life we’re all dealing with “something”. The question is do we allow these “somethings” to defeat us or do we muscle up, and push back? There’s an acronym I love: P.U.S.H. that stands for “Pray Until Something Happens”. I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt low and defeated and all I had was prayer. Prayer helped me to sleep at night, prayer helped me to find a solution, prayer even moved some of life’s biggest obstacles out of my way. Prayer doesn’t work in the way we expect it to, and that’s why I believe many of us fail to pray as much as we should. We think prayers should be answered in a certain time frame, we believe prayers being answered means allowing what we want to come to fruition. Prayer isn’t a magic spell, or a wand we can wave to make our disasters disappear. Prayer is a tool, that when paired with faith can open the doors to wonderful possibilities. Prayer is also our moment of vulnerability. It’s the moment we bow before God and say, “I need you Lord!” “I can’t do this without you” and “I’m trusting you to handle this!”.  This past Sunday was a PUSH moment for me. I’m a person who get easily frustrated and sometimes I even throw in the towel. There have been Sundays that I felt out of way, and I decided to stay home. This Sunday was one of those times I almost stayed home, BUT GOD!!! He gave me peace in that frantic moment of mine, and he helped me to PUSH!

New Year, New Me….Right?!

Sitting here thinking about previous New Years, I think back to a time before marriage and parenthood. I’d use the new year as time to shut off from the world and reflect on the prior year. During this time I’d fast from communication and shut off from those around me. I went to work and performed my tasks, came home, fixed supper, watched episodes of CSI, Law and Order and kept to myself for the rest of the evening. No social media, no calls, no texts, just me and my thoughts. There wasn’t a set time frame for this fast, it lasted until I felt refreshed. That could be days, weeks or months, but I wasn’t coming out of it until I had been restored.
There were many times during this process where I looked on situations and events and I determined what role I may have played to get the results I ended with. Sometimes blinded by emotions, and sometimes just simply living TOO fast, but there were many occasions where I missed the tell-tale signs of what was to come. I’d scold myself for being stubborn, and I’d make mental notes regarding my newly discovered weaknesses. Once this fast was over, and I was done critiquing my choices and behavior for the year, I used the info to move forward and GROW.
Many people look at the New Year as a moment to recreate themselves, I however, believe that it’s a time to BETTER yourself. In order to do so, we must be honest with ourselves. We must evaluate our strengths, determine our weaknesses, find the lessons in our pain, seek the blessings in our storms, and most of importantly understand that we’re only given one life and we can’t waste it trying to be someone other than ourselves.
Consider yourself like an old house. Over the years you make changes and updates in order to bring up the value. You add new shutters, install tile and hardwood floors, update your kitchen and bathroom. You still have the same house, but you’ve made improvements, therefore making it better. Use the new year to improve your foundation! Build up where you’ve been torn down, identify weak spots, learn your best attributes and determine areas for growth. A New Year, shouldn’t be a NEW you, it should be a BETTER You.