Monday, September 30, 2013

Lift Them Up No Matter What

Last week was a hard week for a lot of people that I know. They have had a lot of struggles with children, marriages, and finances. As I held their burdens with them I was touched by this post about reading each other's signs. Every couple, family and person has their own silent battles that we may never know about. Let's be the kind of people that pick them up and love no matter what.

Enjoy this post by Melody Ross. I did.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How To Do It All?

My friend and I were out for our morning walk with the kids discussing our overly stuffed lives. We wondered how can we be more efficient, spend more time with the kids, have more time to volunteer at the school, keep the house clean, get the laundry done, write the next chapter in our new books (she's an author too), and keep ourselves awake a bit longer so we can offer our husband's a little romance. The list doesn't end there. What about time for home improvement projects and community and religious service. The grocery shopping, the homework, the bathrooms--mine are looking questionable--and healthy food for our family. I know you can all add to my list. I think in my lifetime I can easily say I have spent days at a time trying to figure out how to do it all.

Today I think I figured it out.  You're excited aren't you?! Well I hope this next part doesn't dash your hopes. My answer--It Can't Be Done and it shouldn't be done. What?!! No, I'm not crazy and I'm not hopeless. I've simply come to understand that life is not about doing it all it's about choosing the best and getting rid of the rest. I've put together a list of things we can all do to find a happier balance in our lives.

1. Set goals based on what is most important to you. Determine what you ultimately want for you, your spouse, and your family. If you're not intentional about what you want then who knows what you will get? For example, my husband is the love of my life and I want our relationship to be strong. That is one of my goals.

2. Purge. Get rid of anything you need to in order to achieve your goal. I want a great relationship with my husband but it's not going to happen if I am too tired to spend time with him. I have started to literally get rid of things in my home so that I won't have to spend so much time and energy cleaning because it's a huge drain on me. It also helps the house to look nicer so I can focus more on my man than my house.

3. Say No. I often have to say no to my children's cries to play with friends, so that I can go on a date with my husband. Sometimes it means I don't do that extra expensive home improvement project so that I can afford dates and babysitters.

4. Accessorize. Now that you have purged, what is it that you need to add to your life to achieve your goal. (Be careful here. Accessories are the icing on the cake. The little touch that improves. The goal when accessorizing is happiness not craziness.) For me it is exercising, healthy eating and going to bed earlier because all of those things provide me with that little bit of extra energy.

5. Constantly re-evaluate. Every day provides me with new opportunities to distract myself from what is most important to me. I have to constantly purge, say no, and add a few accessories.

6. Enjoy your life.  One of my favorite quotes is by Gordon B. Hinckley. "In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured."  My friend mentioned this morning that her husband finally told her she needed to have time in her life for happiness. I found it to be wonderful counsel.

If I don't have time to do what's most important to me and enjoy my life, I am waisting my time. I'm realizing more and more that sometimes the purge must be great and often it's very difficult. Almost always it's hard to say no and accessorizing usually means creating new habits. Re-evaluating usually takes some will power and patience with ourselves and others, and enjoying life is often more simple than we think.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Are You Married To Your Husband Or Your Child?

If there is one thing I don't want to be, it's my husband's mother. He already has one and she has done a great job! Sometimes it's easy to lower the status of our husbands because they do annoying things like leave their clothes on the floor, leave their dirty dishes out and then get upset at the kids for doing the same thing, or forget to put down the toilet seat. I get it but I also get that there is more to him than that. There is a strong man who knows how to work hard and who has goals and dreams just as I do.

I really don't want another kid. I want a husband. I want someone I can confide in. I want someone to protect me. I want someone to go on dates with, and I want someone who can help me laugh (even if it's because he's a little less mature than me). Who knows, maybe I'm just too serious.

What about the flip side. Don't you ever get tired of hearing "My wife's the boss, she controls my life." I am not my husbands boss. I want a partnership not a hierarchy. I admit, I may at times tell him to take out the trash or give the kids a bath. My husband however has caught on and tries to beat me to the request, which I love! It means he knows what needs to done and that means we can do it together. No man wants another boss.

It is important to note that people usually act the way they are treated. Marriage is not an institution to take on an extra child or spend your entire life being bossed around. It is about love, service, patience, and forgiveness. It is about coming together as one to do great things. It is about achieving our dreams and goals, raising our children, and become better people--together--as a team.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Prepare Your Kids Now For Financial Success

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Steven Cooper. He is a talented entrepenuer with a degree in Construction Management. He is passionate about personal preparedness and is the owner of the web site Journey To Sustainability. He and his wife are also the master minds behind the web site How To Make Money As A Kid. He is the father of two beautiful children. This is what he has to say about preparing your children for financial success.
Money Management Skills to teach your kids

Far too many kids graduate from High School and move out without learning the skills of how to make and manage money. Unfortunately, kids are not taught these skills in school. Therefore, it is up to you as parents to teach them money skills. Teaching kids how to make and manage money teaches them responsibility.

Teach your kids how to make money-

Leaning how to make money is a vital life skill to teach your kids. Teaching them how to get a job or helping them start their own business is important skills for them to learn while still at home. By helping your kids make their own money, they will be much better off later in life. Many successful entrepreneurs like Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, started to make money through small businesses as kid. He used those skills to start small businesses in college. Later on in life, he created multiple million-dollar businesses. Needless to say, he has never struggled to provide for himself. For more information on helping your kids make money check out

6 ways to teach your kids how to budget-

1. Put their money in categories

Your kids need to understand that all the money they earn should be divided into categories. Every dollar should have a name on it. Some categories could be: savings for education, charity, cell phone bill, gas, saving for a car, insurance, etc. Using categories to organize their money will help them understand that when the money is gone in one of the categories, they either need to cut back in that category or earn more money. By doing this, they will learn to spend less than they make.

2. Save money for large purchases

Leaning how to set aside money to save up for large purchases is a great skill that sadly many adults still haven’t learned. If your son or daughter later on needs a new car or wants to buy a home, they will have the discipline to save up. The natural tendency for kids is to spend whatever money they have and then ask mom and dad for more money.

3. Pay bills on time

Kids need to learn how to pay their bills on time. Teaching them how to avoid late fees will allow them to have more money later on. An extra $50 for late rent, or interest fees can really add up. If these habits aren’t fixed before leaving home, they learn what a collections agency is the hard way. With their bad credit, they will come back to you to bail them out.

4. Dealing with credit cards

If you follow Dave Ramsey, host of a national radio program on finances, you will follow his counsel on no credit cards. Credit card companies know that if they can get a kid to spend irresponsibly while they are young, they will be in over their heads for the rest of their lives. Help them to understand how to simply throw the constant credit card mail away. The skill of avoiding credit cards can be compared to teaching your kids to say no to drugs. Say no to credit cards.

If you believe credit cards are a good thing, then teach them how to use them responsibly. Teach them to not max the cards out and paying them back to $0 before the end of each month to avoid interest.

5. Emergency fund and investments

The power to save money for emergency funds, investing or retirement is very important. The younger you start teaching this; the better off they will be later in life.

6. Charity

They need to learn to donate to charity. I have read a lot of finance books and the common thread through every book is that giving to charity will help you receive more in return and be better off. There have been studies on the returns of donating to charity and it holds true. Those who give to charity will be wealthier then if they keep all their money to themselves.

Make sure your kids are learning these skills before they leave home. That way they can live financially independent and be much happier through life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh Sweet Lorain

A Letter From Fred from Green Shoe Studio on Vimeo.

My husband and I watched this sweet video together and I couldn't help but share it with you. Life is hard in families and in relationships but when we stick it out there is something so special and so wonderful that is created. Something that cannot be recreated or made up in any other way. Enjoy Sweet Lorain.