Moving On…Looking Up


In my last post I had mentioned that I realized where I was going and what I wanted my life to be about. I do. And learning that was a great stepping stone in my life. Its something everyone needs to know about their life in order to gain fulfillment and enjoyment out of our existence and understanding how to fulfill our purpose.

I have realized that I don’t particularly like the story of my life. It’s messy. I’m embarrassed by it. I feel I should have/could have done better and for a very long time I have lived ashamed by my past. That is no longer true. However, I don’t want to continue to leave the same kind of trail in my wake. That requires change.

I know that I want a calm life. I want a life of pattern, stability, support, love, laughter. A life that can be relied upon. I need to create that for myself. If I want to share that for someone then I have to give that to myself first. It’s easy to say we want these things and it is very much another to actually bring them to fruition.

I know today where I stand. I can see where I want to be. I do not yet know the steps between where I am and where I am going. I do know, that I need to be intentional in all my dealings in order to not make the same choices. The rest, I leave to the Lord, to direct my paths.

I am not entirely sure, but I believe that I might just start to understand what Jesus meant when he said to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. While it is not easy, I know the peaceful life that I am seeking is very much worth the effort it will require to follow this path.

Ever-changing Tides


It has been a very long time since I have written anything. I have been busy living life. Or at the very least holding it together. In the past few weeks I have been getting back to where it began. As I was sitting today adding to my lists – one of the many tools that I find I must do to avoid insanity – I realized I needed to start here.

Why was this blog even born? I was at a point in my life where I was lost. I didn’t know who Maria was, or even why for that matter. I couldn’t tell you if I liked a song because of the song, or because someone in my life thought it was a good song. (so, then it must be good, right?) For me, that was the scariest and worst place mentally and emotionally that I had ever been in. It was also the worst physical condition I was ever in as well.

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I was at my all time high of 242 pounds. I mean I am 5’9″ but seriously, 242?!?!

I am happy to report that I was able to take the weight off with healthy choices.

So, through the blog you saw my struggles and triumphs and the way I fumbled through quite a lot of it. Some significant changes came over the last several years. Since 2016 really, when I no longer worked for the law firm. It ended up being a really great thing because I was killing myself for a job. That was never okay. However, it was yet another example of how I lost myself.

I am sitting here today with a plan for my future. I know what I want to do with my life and why. I have moved back to the Mid-West where I was originally raised. Not the exact spot but it still feels like home and its amazing. I have spent the last 2 1/2 years here figuring everything out. Sometimes, I didn’t know that I was figuring it out, but in the end that’s what I was doing.

I asked myself a very serious question when my life blew up in my face again after starting to create my life on purpose. Because once I started creating my life on purpose, I mean, its supposed to happen and be perfect – right?! Uhm, no. You have no experience doing this yet, and have no idea how it will all work out and you will still make mistakes. Sometimes they will be BIG. So be prepared for something, somewhere along the way to explode. F. I. N. E.

jonas-denil-BwN1qrhBEaI-unsplashPhoto by Jonas Denil on Unsplash

So the question. Its a good one. It’s one that I think everyone should think about.

What Do I Want My Life To Be About?

I wrote in my journal about how I got to where I was – it wasn’t great. Then I wrote about what I actually wanted. Then I kept living life. Didn’t think about what I wrote. At all.  Here I am months later, having decided what it is that I want to actually do, and how I think I am actually going to accomplish that. As I read back through my journal, I read the key points of what I wanted my life to include:

Garden     Experiences     Routines     Home     Acreage     Time with People

Laughter    Happiness     Nest Egg     Debt Free     Love

And with my plan, yup, all of this, and more is included. I want to live intentionally. I want to live for the Lord. I want to live to truly LIVE. I want to enjoy that time with people. With people who are special to me. Family. Friends. Life has so much to enjoy. We have so much to share with others and learn from others. I want my life to be meaningful to myself to the Lord and to others who are in it.

Right now I work to earn money to pay for choices that I made years ago. I don’t get to do what I want with the money. I don’t get to have tons of fun. I mean I make choices, and every now and then I do buy something. I go out to eat sometimes. I’m not living a burden, but I am not always living for what I want life to be. That is what I am striving to change.

I also have been using questions to guide my path. I can’t always answer them immediately and sometimes they are just providing food for thought. But they are definitely helping me to forge my path forward and keep my purpose in mind.

  1. What defines success for me?
  2. Are my choices supporting my goals?
  3. What do I need to be accomplishing right now?
  4. How am I going to accomplish that?
  5. How can I support my values while doing so?
  6. Where are my checkpoints?

These questions are key to keeping me on track in both my business and personal goals. I get sidetracked easily. I tend to forget where I was headed once enough chaos comes into my world. (I think that might be part of the devils doing….) I have learned that I have to be important enough to myself first. Because if I am not willing to be important to myself and give myself what I need to be supported and successful, who else will care enough to make sure I get it?

So here I sit, excited, joyful, peaceful about the future and what I want to create. I have a the start of the rest of my life every day when I wake up and I am ready to tackle it and make it mine. Oh and you want to know about what I am going to create? 🙂 Its so good! Its coming. Just wait.

What do you do in your life to keep yourself on track? Are you feeling lost and feel like you could use a good boost or kick in the rear? Try asking yourself some of these questions and be honest. Maybe a change is in your future too. Are you willing?

I’d love to hear your feedback and anything you are willing to share. Comment below!

Begin Again


Its been a long time since I have written and shared with you the journey of my 30’s and the journey of finding who I am and what I stand for. Why do I share this with you? Because, I firmly believe that I am not alone with the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of my life. And because of that, if someone can learn from my journey and be better for it, why shouldn’t I share and give that opportunity?

Welcome to an Altruistic, Compassionate, Loving person 🙂

There are a lot of things that I know about who I am, but there are still a lot of questions too. I know my values in life. I know that I want to help people in every way I possibly can. I operate from love first and generally put myself last when it comes to friends, family, work, life, etc. This is something that has been very good for me and very difficult for me.

What I know now is that I am not living my truest life. Why? Because I am not surrounded with the love, friends, family and peace that I desire. Something about my choices has been keeping me from obtaining that reality. What is vital to understand is that this is up to each of us to change. We are in control of our life. God gave us free will to use, not to wallow in and complain about.

So two years ago is when I last blogged. Shortly after that post, I was terminated from my long term employment. This shattered my world. I wasn’t ready for this. I didn’t know what to do. My partner at the time wasn’t in a position to support me emotionally during this time, so I moved back in with my mom. She was gracious enough to let me but it didn’t take me long to feel like I was doing wrong by my children by not being close to them. At this point, my two oldest had moved in with their dad and my youngest was living with her dad as well.

So, I moved to West Virginia again where my youngest was. That was short lived as it wasn’t sustainable for me. My income had reduced by two thirds! I was not surviving. I was racking up debt and selling all the extra “clutter” that I had accumulated through life. This was NOT going to work!

By now, a year had passed and I was feeling much better about life. I had goals, I was back in school and doing well, and my boyfriend and I were talking more and working things out. I was looking for better employment but still wanted to be close to my daughter. Ultimately, I had to leave the area she was in.

I moved to Michigan, where my partner bought a house to flip and I landed a great job. Everything was going to be fine! I was finally building my life on purpose. Putting things in place that I wanted and that meant a great deal to me. Life finally felt like it was going in the right direction.

Its been another year now. Life is nothing like I thought it was going to be a year ago. What I thought I was building, isnt working out.

So, here I am, as I begin again. Welcome back to my journey of living life, honoring who I am.

 

Just Breathe


You wake up, stare at the ceiling, thinking this is not where I want to be. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go to work today. I don’t want to do anything but lay here. Curl up inside your sheets as though they might protect you from everything you are hiding from. Sigh, you know what you have to do.

Head held high, dressed for the day, outside you look all put together. Inside is mush and you just float through the day hoping no one notices the truth. That no one can see behind your eyes to hear what your heart is screaming.

This is how you make it through the days. Day by day its just gliding, robotic, doing what is necessary but not fully present in the moment. Its completely understandable. You have been through a lot. Who else wouldn’t be just like this?

You aren’t really awake if this is how you are living. Just take a deep breath and step outside the shell you’ve created again. It wont help you. It will only isolate you from what you want so dearly. Breathe. You can do this. Remember, you are more. You deserve the life that you want.

Are you willing to go after it?

The Next Moment


I am too fat. I am unlovable. I will never be…. I wouldn’t be here if…. This is all I can have. I will have to take what I can get. My stomach is too big to wear anything like that. If only I were a size  10 again. I can’t believe my arms have so much fat on them.

We all hear it, in our own head. We all think these things and then try to cover them up, hope its our imagination so no one will notice them. Insecurities. From deep within, attacking at the perfect moments. When you are trying to make a decision. When you need to trust yourself. On a first date. A day at the beach. Getting dressed for work. Interviewing for a job. Every day there are a million moments that can be an opportunity to strike.

I am worth it. I deserve it. I am more. I am beautiful. I am loving and kind. I am a generous person. I deserve more.

These affirmations are very different. They lift my spirit. Show me that in all of me there is good. I was created perfectly. As imperfect as I might think I am, this is who I was made to be. For someone with insecurities that run as high as mine and self doubt that is a swimming pool that seems so inviting at first. This has been an uphill battle for many years.

Tell YourselfThoughts become things. When I put that together with what am I saying about myself. Hearing the evil villain in my head trying to get me to believe those words, I realized that I was only becoming the thought that was being repeated. I can change this! I can live a beautiful life. I just have to believe it. How do I do that? I change the words in my head. Its not easy and quite honestly it takes a TON of effort. I believe I can change my thoughts. When you first become aware, you can then accept the truth. When you accept the truth and reality then you can start to understand how to change it. And I believe in myself so much that I know I am more than the ugly villain in my head. That guy needs to shut up!

This has led me to take the first step. Yeah you though all that was the first step huh? It wasn’t. The first step was to take action on my beliefs. To prove to myself that this is real and I am capable. The opportunity appeared for me to stand up for what I want. To say that I want more in life and there is nothing wrong with that. To give someone a chance to meet my needs in a way that I wanted and needed, and to stop being ignored.

permission-to-let-goThat in and of itself was a huge step. The next step was me sticking to me. Maintaining that there is nothing wrong with what I am asking for and if this person wasn’t willing to give themselves the opportunity to meet my needs as I met theirs, then there was nothing more for me to do. I refuse to beat down a wall for someone again. It takes a lot of energy. I did it for two people in the past and the most recent one was myself. That is how I learned.

It is not possible to give yourself to someone on an emotionally intimate level when you wont let them in. That is being emotionally unavailable. No one can break your wall that you have built to ensure your safety from the world. The blocks around your most intimate feelings, thoughts, and emotions. When you let someone behind that wall  you are vulnerable. It will give them the ability to damage you to the core. So you have to trust that the person you let in loves you so much that it would break them to take advantage of your vulnerability. This person did not trust me and chose their wall.

Expectations are unrealized disappointments. I was continuing to allow myself to be disappointed in not receiving what I desired. I kept thinking that if I was enough, did enough, showed enough, opened myself enough, it would happen. That’s when I realized the real statement here. If I was enough, there wouldn’t be a wall. That wall isn’t my fault and it isn’t my job to get rid of it. Being with someone who is emotionally unavailable is something I have learned only leads to pain from my own expectations.

Empty CupI am more. I am worth being loved. My needs are important. Intimacy is not being weak. Loving is OK. Wanting to be loved is OK. I am a good woman. I deserve. I am worth it. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am lovable. I am strong. I am a good person. I am worth knowing.

It doesn’t matter that its not accepted by someone else. That just means that I can stop disappointing myself now. I am giving myself permission to be loved and receive the desires of my heart. Most of all I am giving myself permission to ask for what I want. I am giving myself permission to meet my own needs.

#Iamworthit. 

Wonderful

The Upswing of Rock Bottom


rockbottomHave you ever had that realization that you must have hit the true rock bottom, the all time low for your life as you know it? The moment where you realize that if this path continues, you will cease existence as you know it? I think at one time or another we all find ourselves in a situation much like that. I believe that a true “rock bottom” can look different for different people. Mine was not what I expected. Life took a very drastic turn for me and I was barely holding on. It has been a true life-changing, utterly altering, shockingly amazing journey that I have been walking.

My life has always had its ups and downs, whose doesn’t? I never thought that what happened to me would happen. That sounds so cliche. Every time I hear someone utter those words, I think, “but life happens to us all, what makes you think you are excluded?” I never realized until this past September, what it really meant. When someone says that they didn’t think the experience or situation would happen to them, they were truly blind to the reality that the possibility existed and was lying so close to them that it was waiting to strike. In September I was blind.

I couldn’t understand how this could be happening. I said to my mother “I tried so hard to make sure this didn’t happen…” What I didn’t realize until a bit later was that by trying to ensure these events didn’t happen, the ones that shook me to the core of my being and punched a hole so wide that I didn’t think it would heal but fully thought it would be the end, I actually had a hand in making it all come true.

It takes a lot to look at your life and the events surrounding you, the turmoil, shame, hurt, sorrow, pain, all of it, that it will either make or break you. I chose that I would not let this end me. I vowed that I would survive and I would be better for it. I would learn from this.

Had it not been for a very important person in my life giving me a virtual smack and a sudden wake up call that I was sliding fast toward a life that wasn’t worth living, that I realized I had to make some changes. Time to put the big girl pants on and quit wallowing in the hurt and pain and start making something out of it. You know the old saying, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.

God Rock

I started the journey toward self healing and self helping. Struggling to grip back on to everything in my life that I had worked so hard to build. I knew that I didn’t want to lose those things for good. I had to make a choice, I had to decide that I was worth it and the people I loved were worth it too.

Its not easy and I believe that it will be an ever changing, continuously rolling tide that will only grow with each sunrise and sunset. But I am looking forward to how beautiful those sunrises and sunsets will be each day, each moment, shining a God given grace, love and mercy on me, lighting up the path that awaits my next steps on a journey that I am proud to be walking.

I will forever be sad that it took my rock bottom for me to wake up. I can not change anything that has happened. I can only look to the future that will be waiting for my next moment.

Rock-bottom1

 

 

In the Darkest Hours


Our days are filled with so much. From things to do, people to see, and errands to run. Often times we can get caught up in “the everyday” and we forget the important things. Or so it seems. We take for granted what is right in front of us every day. Sometimes we need a wake up call. And then it happens.

I have struggled through so much in my life, from friendships to marriages to relationships at work or with my children. I have struggled through poverty to lower middle class america and everywhere in between. All of these struggles have one thing in common. At the core is a decision.

Decisions are what make up the paths we take in life. Sometimes our decisions are made  for us and other times its our lack of action that is in and of itself a decision for our life. I have learned to never regret any decisions that I have made or avoided making because the cumulative of them all have made me who I am today and brought me to this place in my life.

I have also learned that life will continually teach you the same lesson over and over until you learn it. All of this leads to growth. Growing from within and having insight into the world around you is such a powerful tool that many waste away or toss aside. I am lucky in that the people I have around me are supportive and guide me to my own answers within using the insight they have as well.

Sometimes our darkest hours create the richest experiences and cause the most growth. That is my wish for my dark hours. I pray that I will learn from this experience and I will come out the other side a better person than I am today.

Stronger


It takes faith. It will get better. You are doing great! This is not the end. God won’t give you more than you can handle.

Any of that sound familiar? I have heard it all and all too much. Life hurts. But life is happy and joyous with excitement and blessings. Life has so many corners and different paths to take. I have to wonder how I ended up here and you ended up there.

For me it comes down to one word. Strong. It doesnt seem to matter what is thrown at my path, I will make it through. I dont know how when I’m going through the thick of it all and I dont understand it when i look back on the walk. What I do know is that somehow, time and again, I prevail. Through the pain, through the hurt, through the tears and through the devastation.

I have found out how strong I am and just when I think I have made it, I find yet another canyon that has to be crawled through. I am grateful that I was given spirit for life. I am so proud of all that has been accomplished in my life, yet at the same time,  I desperately want to be at a place of peace and rest. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor and see smiling faces with laughter as the centerpiece.

I get that I am strong. I am glad that I am strong. I have needed this strength my entire life and I doubt that will change. But I yearn for the day of rest. For me, I was given a gift and a curse. I have survived and I will continue to survive. But sometimes strength is the last thing I want to need.

The Countdown Starts NOW


I met with my financial adviser – yes broke people need a financial adviser. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be broke! –  this weekend and at the time I was feeling pretty low all in all. I left the meeting – 3 hours later – feeling energized. I HAD A PLAN!

640px-Straitjacket-rear

Being in debt is a horrible, worse than ball and chain feeling. I feel like the bad magician who is in a straight jacket with chains and padlocks tied around me submerged in a water tank with the clock ticking. The bad magician freaks out, swallows tons of water and just short of drowning is saved by his trusty team of people who love him but yet needed to let him learn from his experiences. That is what debt feels like. Thankfully my trusty team of people who love me are some dear friends who are more family than anything and have been there for me always. This is who my financial adviser is.

Month over month I had been feeling like no matter what I did, I wasn’t making headway. I have known about the Dave Ramsey Baby Step plan for a few years at this point. I tried it once or twice on my own and did ok, but never actually did what I was supposed to. I knew intellectually what was needed but emotionally I couldn’t commit. k9530611

Have you ever heard of a hope sheet? I had not. A Hope sheet is a date/task oriented sheet where you list what it is you hope to accomplish by what date you hope to accomplish it by. This is my plan and my light at the end of the tunnel. After going through my hope sheet I have a reason, a plan, a how to and what not to do – this was the cataclysmic smack in the face I needed.

By following my plan and my monthly budget I can do this! My budget is broken down into two 14 day time spans. The baby step, of the baby step, of the baby step is how I see it. Baby Step 1 is to have a Baby Emergency Fund (BEF) of $1,000.00 as quickly as possible. Baby Step 2 is to pay off all debt. My debt consists of $51,523.00. How did I get here? Oh yeah, I have a me and a they problem. The “they” would be my children who don’t like to hear “no” and who have fully learned that if they bug, pester and annoy the snot out of me, they will probably get their way. The “me” problem – is partially what I just said and partially because I still fight the “I want what I want when I want it” child inside.

So where do the baby steps of the baby steps come in? How does my 14 day time span fit into all of this? Its much easier to think about controlling the me and they problem in this 14 days than it is to consider fixing it completely. Fixing it completely starts to make me think about that magician. Knowing that I just have to get through the next 14 days with a tad bit more control makes it so much easier! Isn’t this what addicts do? One day at a time…..

Well, here I am, taking control and saying NO MORE! I am going to get gazelle intense and outrun my predator to survive this meal. I will worry about the next feeding time when its feeding time. If I follow my hope sheet and my budget, I have a plan to be funded in my BEF by July 15, 2015. I also have a plan to be debt free – all $51,000 – by March 15, 2018! That is 2 years and 9 months from right now!

I                 CAN                        DO                            THIS!!!!!

Goal Overboard!


We all know by now that I am setting out to change my life and the life of my children. I want to change my family tree – as Dave Ramsey says. And I am sure that I am going to do just that! On this journey of mine I am learning new resources and new ways to view things. My current resource is one of Dave Ramsey’s books – How to Have More Than Enough. (I bought it for $10.00 in his May sale!!)

Anywhoodles – I have been working and reworking every chapter of this book – and I’m on chapter 3….. 🙂 I am sure I will write about this book and my journey through it over time. Chapter 2 was definitely a doozie having to choose parenting values and statements. That was not easy but I know all the work I am doing will be worth it in time. Here is something I created to hang on my family living room wall so we can have it in front of us always.

Capture

So, what inspired this post? Well now on Chapter 3 and the work I am doing here is about my future, my dreams, my goals and what life I want to create. I love creating my own life! The possibilities truly are unlimited. I don’t know how many times I heard that growing up and thinking, “yeah, ok” but not ever really understanding it. The excitement I feel in saying the statement “I am creating my own life” is immeasurable and un-explainable to anyone who has not held those words in their mouth and more importantly, in their heart.

But goals oh goals, I have so many of you. Which will I choose to be the end product? Which ones will come to fruition and actually be something I sit on my porch at 80 and laugh about? I do dare to dream and I do dare to wonder and I WILL dare to accomplish them.

As I was pondering on them I realized that I needed paper and pen – or a word document on the computer and so I started writing. Then I realized that Dave was right, I was going to have to define these goals hardcore. So I started writing more. Then I realized that he was right again! Darn IT! I was going to have to prioritize these goals. So….. Here is a glimpse of what the start of this is looking like for me:

Goals:

  1. Be debt free
    1. How much has to be paid off?
    2. How much money each month can be put toward the goal?
    3. How long will this take?
  2. Have a fully funded savings account
    1. How much money do I need to live on each month?
    2. How much money can I save each month?
    3. How much money will I need total in the savings account?
    4. How many months of expenses will this cover?
  3. Purchase my own home in cash
    1. How much home do I want to purchase?
    2. Where do I want to purchase?
    3. What does the home have?
    4. Will I renovate?
    5. Once I’m debt free how much money per month can be saved?
    6. How long will it take to purchase the home?
  4. Complete my bucket list by June 21st 2023 (day before I turn 40)
  5. Own rental properties with a cash flow of $5000.00 per month
  6. Own a ranch with 2 horses and a barn
    1. Will this be a 2nd home or my retirement home?
    2. What kind of horses and how much will they cost?
    3. Do I want to build all myself or find something that fits my needs?
    4. What is my budget for this?
  7. Retire by age 55
    1. How much income will I need to live on?
    2. How much will I need to have in savings?
    3. What do I plan on doing in retirement?
    4. Will that take more money that needs to be planned on?
  8. Become a certified coach
  9. Own a business out of my home earning $2500.00 per month
  10. Start a non-profit organization assisting young parents to achieve their dreams

I know, some of those sure are lofty goals right? Well, taking them all one step at a time will ensure that I am able to complete what is important to me and they will get done as God is willing. So, when I got down to number 4, I realized I might need to print out my bucket list again and put it back in front of my face. I had been feeling like I hadn’t done much in these first 2 years – yeah I know – 2 WHOLE years! but then I realized that I had. I have completed 6 of them, and 2 more of them are in progress so I would say that’s a pretty darn good start.

Looking at my list I realized some of these bucket list items will take a lot of money, or time off work/away from kids etc. That is not something I am going to have the luxury of doing while getting out of debt so I guess that means I need to prioritize them too. Good gravy! Well, I did. I have chosen 5 bucket list items to complete between now and my 33rd birthday in 2016. Those items are – drum-roll please-

  • Zip Lining
  • Helicopter Ride
  • Riding a Train
  • Run a 10K
  • Feel Comfortable in a Bikini on the Beach!

YAY!! I have a direction! *Sigh* The freedom in knowing where you want to go and that you have chosen to go there on purpose is such a relieving feeling. May you one day know this feeling that is filling me like a hot air balloon about to go for a ride. I am such a driven and achievement oriented person – please see earlier post 🙂 – that I am having a hard time holding myself back from running without hurting myself! I know that all good things come in time. And all things worth having are worth waiting for. And nothing comes easy. Hard work pays off. And all the other one liner statements about how it is that I am going to have to get there. I have one sentence for all of that:

PATIENCE IS NOT IN MY LIST OF GOD GIVEN VIRTUES! 

*SIGH* I know, I know, all in due time.

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