Monday, August 21, 2017

I was reminded this morning that I am an extremely fragile person

I like to consider myself tough. And I definitely have my moments where I kick butt and take names.

And then I have moments like this morning at 3:30am (give or take a few minutes). Those moments where the bathroom is flooding and I am the one left holding the mop.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is where you remember how fragile you are. Those moments are where you remember just how poorly you deal with stress sometimes.

I was mad, frustrated, angry, stressed, pointing fingers, wishing I could just go to bed and ignore it, spewing some words I'm not proud of, and eventually I cried.

This was not how I wanted to start my Monday morning (or any morning, for that matter). And this was also not how I wanted to be known for handling the unexpected.

And yet, I cleaned it up. 45 minutes, six towels, and half a bucket of water later, it was decently dry. Back to sleep for an hour or so and then up to get myself ready for work. I wanted to call in, but I resisted.

In the end, I guess I could say I am tough just for showing up to work on time and not using it as an excuse to take the morning off. But in that moment at 3:30am while I was holding a mop in my hand and sobbing, I remembered how fragile I can be.

These stressful moments are just tastes of what stress we could face if we lose a job, lose a loved one, or end up in a serious accident resulting in hospitalization. Those are the moments we aren't prepared for that will truly test our stress tolerance and our fragility. I am trying to look at stressful moments like the one this morning as preparation for what could happen in the future. No one wants to go through those scary, frustrating moments but they are bound to happen. Will I be prepared to handle them? What about you?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why I quit coloring my hair

My wedding day -- hair colored just a week before
and styled again that morning.
"If it makes you feel good, you should do it for you!"

I have been told that many times since I quit coloring my hair. There was definitely a little high  I would get after coloring my hair at home or especially after stepping out of the beauty salon and having a professional do my hair.

But eight weeks after giving birth, I got to the beauty salon with my daughter and spent over two hours getting my hair colored. It felt like an eternity. And I was about to go back to work full time.

More recent photo. Hair has not been
colored in almost 1.5 years!
I realized a couple of things. First, I didn't like spending that much time getting my hair done even before I had my baby. Sure, it felt good afterwards, but the time spent at the salon was just too long. Second, it costs money. I could get it done for about $100/visit which isn't bad but that comes out to $400/year. But honestly, the money was the smallest reason I wanted to give it up. The main reason I quit going was because of my daughter. I didn't want to have to spend time either away from her or have her go to the salon with me to wait. Since I work full time outside the home, I try to schedule very few activities where I cannot also bring my daughter. I already spend 50+ hours away from her each week so cutting out any unnecessary activities that separate me from her was and is a priority for me. Not to mention that if I was going to teach her that she is beautiful the way she is and she should love herself, I have to accept myself the way I am too.

It was not easy to break this nine year habit for me but now I am already a year and a half into the journey. In this second photo, I can clearly see "the line" where my hair has grown out. My natural hair color is a lot darker than I remember (although perhaps it has changed over time). My hair is also quite damaged from the color I have put on it. Since this second photo was taken I got a haircut which makes my hair look much healthier -- I keep clipping away at all the damaged hairs. But it is taking time to get my hair where I want it.

I don't plan to ever go back to coloring my hair, especially now that I know what a painful process it is to grow out my natural locks. There are a lot of women who color their hair and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I totally understand the reasons why. But for me and especially for this season of motherhood, it just isn't my top priority and in fact was getting in the way of my top priority: my family.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

10 easy ideas for when you need to challenge your routine

Sometimes our routines can feel so blah. We often get so bored after awhile, am I right? But then when we get out of routine for a week we are often happy to return to it. Is there a happy medium?

Trying new things to switch up your routine doesn't have to be difficult. You can add variety to your life without completely ignoring your obligations and normal schedule.

Here are 10 ideas for switching up your routine that should be fairly easy to try out when you feel you are in a rut:

  1. Change up your physical fitness. For example, if you always go on a bike ride, try a hike. If you always go to spin class, try yoga. If you don't do any physical fitness, just take a short walk.
  2. Try a new restaurant. Get on Google Maps or Yelp and explore new eats in your area.
  3. Cook a new recipe. I tried making orange chicken last night and it turned out to be yummy and didn't make me feel sick like I often do after eating at a Chinese restaurant. I got to test my cooking skills and add variety for my pallet.
  4. Listen to new music. Put on a different Pandora station or explore what your friends are listening to on Spotify.
  5. Watch a random movie. Explore the sections of Netflix that you don't normally visit or rent a movie from RedBox that is out of your comfort zone.
  6. Listen to a new podcast. If you are like me and you listen to a specific podcast or two on the way to work, take a break from your normal show and try something new.
  7. Stop doing something you normally do. Try going a day without Facebook or maybe leave your cell phone at home one day. Not doing something you normally do can throw you off routine just enough to make things interesting.
  8. Meet someone new. Go to a local meet up, book club, or any local scene where you may meet someone new.
  9. Or hang out with someone you don't see often. Make a lunch date with a friend you don't see often. Catch up and find out what they have been up to.
  10. Rearrange your space. Move your furniture around. Hang up some art or a new picture. Change up the space in which you live to give it a fresh feeling.
Bonus idea: If you really feel like you need a full break from your routine, plan a last minute weekend getaway or start making plans for your next trip out of town. Even just having something on the calendar to look forward to might keep you motivated. 

What do you do to change up your routine when you get bored? 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Where you do have unlimited opportunity

Yesterday I wrote about how there is no such thing as unlimited opportunity when it comes to a pyramid shaped business model.

However, there is unlimited opportunity when you pursue your own business. There is no limit to the value you can bring to people. There is no one stopping you from bringing something new to the table, getting it into the right people's hands, and growing your company/product.

And guess what? You get to keep the profits instead of sharing them with several layers of upline.

Of course there is a limited number of people who may need your product. But who says you need to sell to everyone on the globe? And who says you can't make new products to sell to your following?

There is no one stopping or limited you.

This is so much easier said than done. But if you were considering doing something on the entrepreneurial side, just get started.

Sure, you could fail. You could lose money. For example, last year I published an ecourse. I believe I've made a whole $17 in revenue from the course (and it costs me $45 to buy a microphone). So technically, I have lost money on this venture. But that doesn't mean I am limited to just $17. The course is still relevant. If I wanted to revamp and update the course, advertise it, and pursue more customers, I could. And from there the sky is the limit.

I have also had the goal for years to publish an ebook. It doesn't have to be long, but yet I've never accomplished this goal. Having blogged for almost 90 days in a row now, daily writing is becoming a habit, so I have a good feeling I will be reaching this goal before long. The cost to write the ebook would be almost zero (minus the hours I put into it). I could hire someone to edit or create a cover if I wanted, or I could do those things on my own if I really wanted to keep costs low. It's a fairly inexpensive way to make a product, bring value to people, and possibly make some money. I may not get rich, but at least I could make some money (versus network marketing where I have a 99.7% chance of losing money).

What value could you bring the world? What is your niche? Build a product and try to sell it! What's stopping you?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

There is no such thing as an unlimited opportunity when it comes to pyramids

When it comes to a pyramid where your profits rely on creating more representatives under you, there is not such thing as an unlimited opportunity.

Multi-level marketing companies claim they are not pyramids. However, most of the money representatives hope to make is not really on the sale of their product but on the recruitment of their down line. They are taught that if they recruit a few people who recruit a few people who recruit a few people, they could grow their business almost infinitely.

The problem with this model is that there is a limited number of people in the world. And guess what? Not all of them want to be involved in the pyramid that is your MLM company.

Let's say your goal is to only recruit 10 people. Well, most of us could find 10 people to buy into our product and the business opportunity. If you ask each of those 10 to recruit 10 more and so on, then by the time you get to the ninth level, you would need 10 billion people. Like I said above, not everyone wants to be involved in your MLM. In addition, even if you were in one of the top few levels, eventually you would need those people at the bottom to sustain your income. There will always be the people at the bottom who are supporting the people at the top making those gangster dollars and driving their company paid-for vehicles.

This type of model is non sustainable and frankly it is immoral. If you're at the top, you make your money from those paying into the system. If you're at the bottom, you have no chance of success because this model has its limitations.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1 in 7 of American Households are Infiltrated

I have blogged briefly about this epidemic that is sweeping the nation. It is affecting our women in particular with 3 out of 4 involved being female. It is a cult-like machine that makes big promises but only delivers to about 1% of its followers.

I'm talking about multi-level marketing companies.

If you know anyone at all, if you have a Facebook, and especially if you are a woman or a mother, you have likely been solicited to join. They are hard to avoid, with one in seven American households involved. It also makes them hard to speak out against given the broad based participation -- you will offend someone you know.

I've bought the products, I've even hosted a couple of parties. And of course my mother grew three different MLM businesses in her lifetime. But I'm over it (and I'm pretty sure my mom is over it too). The odds are stacked against the reps. MLM companies have two customers: the people who buy the products and the representatives who not only buy the products but buy the business opportunity, the national conventions, etc). And the second customer is a lot more profitable than the first.

It's time we stopped the madness. There is no product that a network marketing company is selling that I cannot get on the market at probably a more affordable price. We don't need representatives who go into debt, spend their spouse's money, and annoy all of their friends and family to burn out within a year or two and give up, dejected.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stand for Something, or Not at All

When writing a book (or heck, even a blog post) or starting a business or taking an opinion, often we concern ourselves with trying to appeal to as many people as possible. We don't want to get too specific, step on toes, make anyone feel left out, or forget to mention the exceptions.

However, if you don't take a stand for something, you might as well not take a stand at all.

People want to feel heard. They want to believe that there is someone out there who gets them.

Making people feel heard will bring in your core group of followers -- your tribe.

Trying to please everyone will often mean pleasing the lowest common denominator. It will ultimately mean pleasing no one.

Take a stand. Make people feel heard. Those people will help you be successful.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Learning about my Body through Testing my Blood Sugar

During this pregnancy, I am opting out of the nasty orange sugar drink to test for gestational diabetes. Instead, I will be testing my blood sugar four times daily (once fasting and once after each meal) for two weeks. I will also be logging my daily food intake -- everything that I eat must be written down with the corresponding time.

Now, it would be a lot easier to just drink that orange drink and have my midwife test how my body handles that sugar dump. However, that test is often not super accurate with 24 out of 100 women who do not have gestational diabetes falsely testing positive resulting in more test required. Plus, that drink is just gross and bad for your body. I went with that method last time, but this time I wanted to take the opportunity to learn a bit more about my body and hopefully get a more accurate result.

By testing my blood sugar four times daily for two weeks I will learn a lot about how my body handles certain foods and how effectively my body handles sugar. Since I love eating bread, pasta, and desserts, this should be an eye opener. In addition, having to diligently write down everything I eat for two weeks should also be a wake up call in and of itself. I definitely plan to blog about the results.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Think You're Cut Out For Entrepreneurship? Take This Quiz

Answer yes or no to the following questions and tally up your results.

Are you willing and able to devote 110% of your passion and effort to your startup?

Is staying up at night to worry about logistics and money and advertising and hiring something you can live with?

Would you be able to survive on a diet of frozen meals, coffee, and ramen noodles for months on end?

Are you willing to lose friends and family because they don't see you for weeks at a time? And when they do see you all you can talk about is your business.

Would you do whatever it takes to be your own boss so that you don't have to answer to anyone else (except your customers, of course)?

Do you have something that you are passionate enough about that you are willing to pursue it at all costs?

Are you ready to get started right now?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, great. But what really matters are your actions.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Paying with Cash

For the month of August, my husband and I decided to pay cash for our eating out. We thought this might help make the spending feel more real and painful and help us stick to our budget. We allocated a certain dollar amount for each of us to spend separately on snacks or lunches plus a dollar amount to when we eat out together.
Collectively, we are still eating out about the same, maybe slightly less. But actually taking out cash makes me realize just how expensive it is for two adults to go out to eat, leave a tip, etc.

As far as my own personal food budget, I find that I am spending less at the vending machine or out to breakfast on my way to work. I am making sure I pack snacks for work and eat before I leave because I don't want to spend my cash and I want to make sure I can make it last the whole month.

If you're struggling to cut back in a certain budget expenditure, try switching to cash and see if you cut back. Having to hand over cash and watch your reserve go down helps make the spending much more real.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Why choosing a baby name is so difficult

Why is choosing a name for your child so difficult?

If one spouse does not have much opinion on the subject, it can be quite easy. But if both partners have strong feelings about the name of their child, this simple task of choosing a name becomes nearly impossible.

Working together is probably what makes picking out a baby name so hard. Two people have to agree on one or two names for their child out of the tens of thousands of options.

But maybe the act of mutually deciding on a name is just an exercise in working together since raising a child is definitely a two person job. Of course there are single parents who do an incredible job raising their child(ren) primarily on their own, but I am sure they would agree that an extra set of hands could help them out sometimes.

Two people working together to narrow down a name for their child. It really is just the start of many difficult decisions they will have to make as parents. But the satisfaction of coming to a conclusion on this one subject also makes the couple happy -- they found something they both love and think will be a great gift to their baby.

And so it begins...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why I continue to blog daily

Today is my 81st consecutive day to blog. My goal is to make it to 100 days.

However, the page views on my posts are not as high as they used to be. I find myself not writing as high-quality of a post as I used to. I feel like my posts have been like a bell curve. I started out rusty so they weren't that great, then they got better for a stretch and hit my stride and pumped out some awesome posts, and now I am on this downward slope where my inspiration and "freshness" has started to grow thin.

But I continue to blog every day anyway for two main reasons.

The first is because I'm stubborn and I want to make it to 100 days, simple as that.

The other is because I am still finding it to be a valuable exercise. Daily blogging forces me to practice discipline and creativity in the same breath every single day.

I have a few major goals I want to accomplish in the next year. These require discipline and daily work if I am going to make progress. I feel like blogging daily has been a great way to push myself and prove to myself that I can do something every single day that requires at least a little bit of work.

I started out 81 days ago with my first blog post in over a year. I wasn't sure I was even going to blog again the next day, much less the day after that. Here I am, 80 days later, still writing.

Here's to 19+ more days.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What would your reacation be to a pink slip?

As I've blogged about in the past, most Americans would not survive more than 3 weeks without their income. They would be forced to take on debt in order to pay bills or just let them pile up.

I would be almost in that boat. I would last a bit longer than 3 weeks, but not much.

Wow. That's hard to admit.

What does that do to people's morale? We show up to work day after day knowing that if we don't or if something happens to us or our job, we're in deep water.

If you were to be handed a pink slip, would you go home with a drink and stare blankly into your unknown future?

Or would you have a side-gig that you've been working on for a year or two and were considering taking full time anyway?

Would you curse your employer on the way out the door?

Or would you thank them for nudging you into that other project you were working on?

Having a job gives us a false sense of security. Nothing is secure -- nothing is guaranteed -- nothing is handed to us.

I'm not where I want to be as it relates to income earning and "job security", but at least I am awake to the reality of my situation.

What about you?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Big Frog or Little Frog First?

When I was in seventh grade, my mom took my older sister and me to a leadership conference where I learned an important concept: swallow the big frog first. This simply means that when you write out your list of priorities and tasks, start with the most time-consuming and/or the one you are dreading the most. The idea is that if you get the biggest, most dreadful thing done ("swallowed") first, the rest will be easy. If you start by eating the little frog first and move to progressively larger frogs, you get worn out.

This concept has saved me many times over the years. If there was a research paper I was dreading or a particular project I didn't want to get started, I knew that was the exact thing I needed to work on.

Recently, though, I began thinking about how sometimes there is also value in starting with the little frogs -- the low hanging fruit. Starting with a bunch of little frogs can sometimes get you in the zone and motivate you to keep moving. For example, when trying to pay off debts, it can be exciting to pay off a few little debts quickly and then start putting that money toward larger debts.

Ultimately, no matter what size "frog" you start with, the important thing is to get started.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The hardest part is getting started

Going from 10 squats to 100 squats in 10 days

I used to love exercise. I've done basketball, swim team, and walking/jogging throughout my childhood. I went one summer where I would walk at a 3-4 mile pace for at least an hour a day. One year I did a squats challenge where I built up to doing something like 250 consecutive squats.

The last few years, however, exercise has not been my top priority.

With my current pregnancy, I am gaining weight faster than I did in my first pregnancy even though I feel like I am eating less junk food this time around. But I have only been exercising about once a week. So at my last appointment, my midwife told me I should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week.

I've started to work back up to that. And what's amazing is just how quickly I have made progress. My body remembers all those times I went walking and jogging and swimming. It really only took a few days of purposeful exercise to start to feel like it was more fun than work. I didn't realize that only exercising once a week was miserable because my body had too much time to "forget" in between. Exercising every day means my body remembers and it starts to snap into action.

I am also doing some squats every day. I started barely able to pump out 10 squats. Within 10 days, I am up to 100 consecutive squats. My legs feel a bit jelly immediately afterward, but overall it gives me energy and gets me excited about the possibilities.

The hardest part really was just getting started.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Obesity = a chronic illness?

I was YouTube browsing the other day and got on a string of TED talks. As often happens on YouTube, you start on one type of video and soon end up in a totally different area of the internet. I finally got to a TED talk that was titled How to Lose 50 Pounds and Keep Them Off. Intrigued, I clicked.

You see, I have lost 50 pounds. I've lost more than 50 pounds at least three times in my adult life. It takes me maybe 5-6 months to make such progress. But keeping those pounds off, that's a whole different story.

The talk wasn't revolutionary or anything. He did not reveal any magic way to keep weight off. But it did give me something to consider. Essentially, the speaker said the way we view obesity has to change. Instead of looking at weight as something you just lose once through diet, he says you have to treat obesity like a chronic illness. Once you have it, it never just "goes away".

If a person has a chronic illness, they are constantly going to be monitored for the rest of their life regarding that illness. Even if they are able to get their numbers stabilized or minimize the side-effects, they live their life knowing they having asthma, arthritis, hypertension, etc. Obese people should behave the same way even if they lose the weight and therefore get their obesity "under control".

It will never be under control the same way it will be for someone who never put the weight on. The sooner an obese or previously obese person can accept that, the sooner they can start to take steps to treat it that way. Labeling obesity a chronic illness does not mean the person is doomed to live a life trapped in their overweight and unhealthy body. But it does mean they have to be on their toes for the rest of their life -- treating their condition like they would if they had epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. Having a false sense of security that obesity was "conquered" could quickly mean a relapse. Obesity is "long-lasting and difficult to eradicate... persisting for a long time or constantly recurring" as the definition for chronic suggests.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Raising a Little Human

Raising a little human is amazing. You well up with pride when they reach milestones. You love hearing that most beautiful noise in the world -- a child's giggle. Your child's giggle. You get to see them trip over their own toes but get right back up. You get to hug and snuggle and kiss (and headbutt). You never knew you could love a person so much or that you could be so unconditionally loved.

Raising a little human is terrifying. You have to make sure this tiny body is fed, rested, changed, and healthy. You worry about stepping away, even for a second, when they are taking a bath or eating food (What if they DIE?). You have to try to reprimand them if they are throwing a tantrum in public but really you just totally get it because it has been a hard day.

Raising a little human is expensive. You need more space, clothes, food, diapers, car seats, bed, and sometimes childcare. Thankfully friends and family often help out with some of these expenses which is immensely helpful! But even just the medical bill to bring the tiny human into the world is no small number.

Raising a little human changes you. You start to understand why your parents responded the way they did to certain situations. You suddenly have to think about someone other than yourself and your SO. You think a little longer-term than just a year or two out. You change your priorities and behavior in order to do the best you can for your child. Some people say having a little human limits you. In some sense, it can and it does. But you can't imagine life without them and in many ways you can't even remember life before them.

Friday, August 4, 2017


I have been asking myself for quite sometime what will make me happy. Will xyz make me happy? Or perhaps abc?
We live in a culture that has a major fear of missing out (or FOMO for short). I certainly experience this.
We ask ourselves questions like:
  • If I'm at this job, am I missing out on a better career opportunity?
  • If I am living in this city, am I missing out on better vibe somewhere else?
  • If I am at this university, am I getting everything this other university has for me?
  • If I'm with this significant other, am I missing out on what someone else could do for me?
  • If I eat at this restaurant, will I miss out on a better meal?
Consequently, our fear of missing out also sometimes paralyzes us from committing to something. I don't want to commit to these Saturday plans because what if something better comes up?

One of the reasons I am limiting my Facebook time is because I have been experiencing some fear of missing out. Seeing what other people's lives are like can sometimes make you question whether you are doing the right thing.

I don't have the answer to what will make me happy. But I know comparing myself to others who are in completely different situations is probably not a healthy thing for me to be doing on a daily basis. Of course it is good to be exposed to other possibilities and know that there are options out there. But too much exposure can force us to become bitter at our own lives instead of enjoying what is right in front of us.

How do you deal with a fear of missing out?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Coming back to routine

As much as people love to complain about their normal day-to-day routine, we sometimes miss it when we are away. It can be wonderful to get away and take a break longer than just the weekend. But when we do that and then come back from a sick day or a vacation week we often come back with a new gratitude for our regular routine.

If you do take a break from the regular routine and come back even more bitter and upset than before you left, it may be time to find a new routine. However, if you find yourself refreshed and happy to be back, then you may just be in the right place.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Working toward a goal for the sake of the goal

I've been keeping my head down recently working toward a specific goal. I want to get this goal done, accomplished, and out of the way. But today I began to wonder why this goal is even important to me.

Sometimes we start to work so hard toward a goal that we lose sight of the end game. Why are we doing this? Why are we working so hard? Why are we putting in the hours?

It can be helpful to take a step back and remember the why(s). This can help you determine whether you will keep working toward to end game, change your method/pace, change the goal, or perhaps abandon the goal. Life changes and what we need to accomplish changes so we must reevaluate regularly.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Limiting Facebook time = less clutter in my mind

If you've been reading you know I'm all about decluttering. You also know I have a lot of goals I am working toward. In an attempt to get more stuff done, I did something some would consider drastic.

I uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone.

It's not that I am going to stay completely off of Facebook for several weeks or months at a time as I have done in the past. But I am limiting my log ins to maybe once or twice a day most days and those will be on my computer at home only. So far in this experiment I have gone several days in a row without logging in. I plan to take it day by day.

Instead of checking Facebook for 5-10 minutes a day (sometimes much longer) every hour or so, I have only be checking for maybe 5-10 minutes once a day. No specific rules -- just the goal of limiting my time on Facebook to a minute part of my day.

This definitely saves me some time. I was so used to doing quick facebook checks constantly throughout the day that those few minutes here and there add up.

But more than that, it helps to keep my mind uncluttered.

I read and see a lot of fun stuff on Facebook -- updates on friend's lives and their adventures mostly. But I also see a lot of depressing articles, not-so-funny memes, and other useless-to-me information from people I barely know or don't know at all. Sometimes I am thinking about these things long after I close the Facebook app. When I avoid exposing myself to all this useless information in the first place, my mind is more focussed on what I am trying to accomplish.

Now, when I sit down to open my Facebook app and remember it is not there, I either find something else to do that gets me closer to my goals, I focus on my family/the people around me, or I open my Bible app and read a chapter out of the Good Book.

What would you do without the Facebook app?

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Just wait till she has McDonald's"

As a parent, you try your hardest not to pass on your worst habit(s) to your kid(s) but rather to pass on your best traits and maybe even try to instill in them some traits you don't yet have.

I have struggled with food addiction and overeating for at least half of my life. I turn to food for every emotion. I don't stop eating just because I am full. I eat things I know will keep me unhealthy. It's a struggle I have had and will probably continue to have even if I appear to have conquered it one day. Old habits die hard and these habits are ones I have been practicing for some time.

My husband on the other hand, although he has his favorite foods he likes to indulge in, can go days without eating or only eating vegetables and hardly bat an eye.

Now that we have a child, we are both working to make sure she eats healthy and takes on the traits of her dad. For breakfast, my 1.5 year old will often eat two eggs, a banana, and maybe some sweet potato. Snacks often consist of string cheese, a variety of fruits, raw carrots (no ranch dressing required), cottage cheese, unsweetened greek yogurt, and pretty much any vegetable. For dinner she will often eat grilled chicken or ground turkey or beef with squash and zucchini. I am so thankful that she eats these foods willingly and seems to love them. We rarely feed her pasta, bread, cereal, or anything sweet (other than all the fruit she eats). She never drinks fruit juices, milk, or soda -- only water.

I have many people tell me that her diet is great but "Just wait till she has McDonald's for the first time... it will all be over". In other words, as soon as we allow her just one junk food meal, they assume she will abandon her healthy eating ways and demand junk food for every meal.

I have a few issues with this. First, who says we will ever take her to McDonald's in the first place? My husband and I used to get breakfast there on occasion but have not gone in nearly six months. We don't find the food satisfying or a good bargain and we know it's not good for our health. Second, even if we did take her to a fast food establishment and she had one meal that was unhealthy, why would she start to demand that food at every meal? She loves her fruits and vegetables. Having one meal of chicken nuggets and french fries does not mean she will suddenly forget that she likes those other foods. Finally, having one junk meal out does not mean we will come home to a kitchen void of her regular healthy foods. Just because we allow her to indulge one time does not mean we will suddenly allow her to indulge at every meal.

Of course I know that our daughter will want to start eating more and more junk food as she is exposed to them. But that does not mean I need to purposefully give up on her eating anything healthy now. As she gets older, it is challenging me to stop visiting food places where we cannot get a healthy meal. I know that if I don't start to make some more serious changes in my own diet, I will end up passing on these unhealthy habits to my daughter later on and start to negate some of the lessons we have taught her in her early life. As parents, we may not be perfect. But it is our responsibility to do the best we can as often as we can so as to give our kids the best chance.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Full Circle

We moved two weeks ago but had not turned in our keys to our first apartment. We finally went over yesterday to grab our curtains and turn in the keys. Stepping into our apartment, the place we called home for almost two years, and seeing it completely empty brought back memories of when we first moved in. For months I have felt cramped in that little space. But suddenly I got a bit sad thinking I would never step foot in there again. When I stepped out of that apartment yesterday, I would be closing the door for the last time.

We had come full circle. That apartment was the first place I signed a lease on, the first place I moved into where I knew I wouldn't be moving back home with my parents after a certain period of time. We had very little furniture when we got there. I remember seeing it empty and we began slowly filling it up with chairs, a bed, household goods, and baby stuff. Lots of baby stuff.

I love our new home. It's more spacious and feels more comfortable and I'm certainly glad to be here. But our first place will have a special spot in my heart of mostly fond memories of life as a newlywed and a new mother.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Failing by a Margin

When we fail, sometimes we wish we would fail by a large margin. Just barely missing first place by a couple seconds, one question, or one shot can be devastating. You were this close, and you lost.

I have heard it said that Olympians who receive bronze medals are happier than the silver medal winners. Why? Because silver was this close to gold, but bronze has a whole competitor in between it. Psychologically, it is easier to accept the loss if you lose "bad enough" that you convince yourself first place wasn't an option.

But what if you have a do-over option? A second chance?

I just took a pass/fail exam last night and missed passing it by one question. I got 40 questions correct but that wasn't quite good enough. By the time I finished the exam, it was late and I had already had trouble getting setup to take the test in the first place. I was frustrated, for sure. But not completely devastated. Why?

I have another chance at taking the test. If I study just a little harder, I will surely pass the second time. It's a bit nerve wracking -- if I only failed by a tiny margin, will I only pass by a tiny margin as well? We'll find out. But just having that second chance makes failing by a hair not seem like the end of the world.

How do you deal with failing by a tiny margin? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

More Lessons from Toastmasters: Recovering from a Fumble

I delivered my sixth Toastmasters speech yesterday which happened to be about why you should try a daily blogging challenge. This was my first speech where I left all my notes at the table. I was super proud of myself for going completely off script. Things started out well. I was being super conversational, asking questions, and challenging the audience. People were nodding and responding. I could tell I was inspiring many of them.

And then I forgot my third point... I froze. I thought for a second. I closed my eyes tight. But after a few seconds, I went to my spot and looked at my note for a quick second to remember my third point.

It was a bit embarrassing and I was not happy with myself for not handling the situation with more grace. Looking back, I could have made a joke or at least continued talking as I walked to grab and glance at my note. Instead, I completely froze up.

It happens and I still got great feedback about the content of my speech. But the main point of feedback was to have my notes/at least an outline with me, practice more, or both. Ouch.

But that's why I attend Toastmasters - to learn and grow. If I didn't make mistakes and learn from them, the exercise would be much less useful.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Life Hack: There is No Life Hack

The phrase "life hack" has been used quite liberally in the past few years.

Most of these "life hacks" are merely good, common sense tips for how to do something better, get or stay motivated, or learn something that might be useful.

One of the hardest "life hacks" to learn is that there is no "life hack". There are ways to increase productivity, get organized, stay motivated, and achieve goals. But there is no way to simply go around the hard work, sweat, and blood that is required to achieve most things of value.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The State Doesn't Own Your Child

Charlie Gard's parent ceased their legal battle to take their son out of the UK for experimental treatment. In their statement to the press, they said that there may have been time to help their son, but the drawn out court battle took too much time to even try. The father expressed how the "What if?" questions will haunt them forever.

Some people try to be the "voice of reason" and "talk sense" into the parents. "Your son can't be saved!" they say "So stop fighting! Do the humane thing and let him die."

But that's not the point.

(Not a photo of Charlie - just a stock photo)
As a parent, you have a few jobs. Feed your child, keep them warm and clothed, keep them sheltered, and protect them. The child is 100% reliant on their parent(s). And as a parent, you feel the weight of that responsibility. In addition, you have this intense love for your child. You want to provide for and protect them at all costs.

In this case, even if the experimental treatment would have been a waste of time and unsuccessful, trying the treatment would have at least given Charlie's parents a peace of mind that they did everything in their power to save their child. If Charlie was supposedly doomed anyway, why not let the parents try an unproven treatment? They had doctors look at Charlie's records and express that they might be able to help.

But the state stopped them, claiming it was in the best interest of Charlie.

So who gets to decide?

If you think it is okay for the government to make this decision for Charlie's parents, what other decisions will they try to make as it relates to your parenting?

Standing behind the government to make this decision gives the state precedence and boldness to make more decisions for other parents. The more the public allows, the more leeway the government has and the more bold the state becomes.

Who owns your child?

I would argue that nobody "owns" them. But they are placed in the care of the parents, not the state, and we should respect that parent as the caregiver of their child.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Prioritize

How do you prioritize when you have so many goals you are trying to achieve?
I have a lot of "to-do's" on my mind... working fulltime, spending time with my husband and daughter, getting enough sleep, cooking/eating healthy, exercising, balancing my money, making more money, blogging/vlogging, keeping a clean house/decluttering my stuff, developing my relationship with my husband, developing my relationship with God, spending time with friends and family...
Some of these tasks are on-going. Some of them can be accomplished.
The question is, how do we prioritize our day so that we get the most done toward these objectives while still enjoying life?
Here's one suggestion that I have found useful in the past and will be working to implement:
  • Make a list of the things you have to get done in a day plus the things you would ideally get done in a normal day.
  • Number these items or indicate them based on these categories: must get done, would like to get done, and lowest priority/would be nice but not necessary.
  • Each day, go through your priority list and get to what you can.

We aren't super human. We won't always be able to get done everything we want to get done. So make a list, prioritize, and do what is most important to you right now. Review and revise the list of priorities as needed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stretching Myself: Trying Vlogging

I have tried my hand at blogging and I have tried my hand at podcasting. Both forms of media I have thoroughly enjoyed. Recently, I have considered trying my hand at vlogging (video blogging). It shouldn't be that different from public speaking (something I already do on a regular basis), right?

Last night I recorded a five minute video of just me talking to the camera.

It. Was. Horrible.

If you want to knock down your confidence real quick, try vlogging. I struggled to make eye contact with the camera, I made strange facial expressions, I looked awkward, and not to mention the camera was not flattering at all. It was not pleasant to watch myself on screen. The audio was just okay and the lighting needed work. It was definitely a first try video.

I'm not giving up on the craft and will keep practicing until I get better or decide it's not for me. But it does teach me a lesson: once I feel confident in one form of communication or one type of outlet, it's time to try another. Keep pushing and stretching. It may not be the "right fit", but it will force me to grow in my learning of technology, communication, and myself.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hanging up Pictures

I unpacked the last box yesterday and we did a lot of picking up and putting away yesterday and today. Not everything is where I want it permanently, but it definitely helps our new place feel like our home.

However, in addition to not having all the boxes unpacked, the blank walls were also making our new place feel less homey. I was nervous about starting to hammer holes in the walls, though, as the walls were perfect. I did not want to put something in the wrong place, have to move it, and "ruin" the wall.

My sister came over so I ran my ideas by her and she gave me a few suggestions, reassuring me of where to hang up some things. With her advice, I finally started.

All the anxiety over where to hang things up ended up being a waste. Once I finally decided on a few spots and hung up some pictures and art, it felt like the last piece to the moving in puzzle. By poking some holes in the walls and hanging up our sweet memories, we were officially moved in.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Unpacking the Last Box

If you saw "The Incredibles" you may recall the scene where Mr. Incredible receives a call from his wife letting him know that they are "officially" moved in as she unpacked the last box... three years later. It would be within hours on that same day that Mr. Incredible gets fired and will possibly have to relocate his family again (meaning all that unpacking was for nothing).

We moved all of our things over to our new place last weekend. Thankfully, it did not take that many loads to get all of our stuff over to the new home. It hasn't even taken long to get all the stuff out of the boxes. But we are on the last little stretch. And instead of finishing up, I chose to do my daily blog.

My goal is to finish unpacking the boxes this weekend, go grab a couple things in the old place (namely, the curtains), and turn in our keys. That way, we can be done moving.

So why is it so hard to unpack the last box? Grab that last little thing from the old place? To finish?

There are probably a ton of little tips and secrets to this moving thing. If you pack up in an organized fashion, it's easier to unpack. If you label your boxes by category and subcategory, you know where to put them. If you abc then it will make xyz easier...

But that still doesn't answer the question of why unpacking the last box is so hard.

It can sometimes just be hard to finish time-consuming projects. The last chapter in that novel you've been reading, putting the coat of paint on that car you've been restoring, or just folding the laundry once it's finished in the dryer.

But finishers are the people who are probably the most successful. Of course there are sometimes projects not worth finishing, but if there is value in completing the project, the finisher gets it done. And that's what sets them apart.

So here I go to unpack the last box!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Is there value in making "insurmountable" goals?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a quick post on SMART goals. The SMART goal outline is a great guide when setting goals, but perhaps there are times we should break those suggestions.

The "A" in SMART stands for achievable.

Do we make too many of our goals too easily achievable, though?

We live in a culture that does not like losers. Naturally, we don't want to be that loser (even if we are the only one who knows about our failure(s)).

Although 9 out of 10 goals that we set should be achievable within a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of effort, I believe there is some value in making that 10th goal feel a bit insurmountable.

Having what feels like an unconquerable goal can either motivate you or depress you, depending on how you view it.

For example, I would like to lose 100 pounds and maintain that weight loss.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of weight. And in the past, I have been able to lose as much as about 70 pounds so... not too far off. But getting all the way to my goal and actually keeping the weight off is what has been my unassailable challenge.

But should that mean I give up on this goal? Should I just decide that being overweight is my fate and I should resign myself to sitting on the couch and eating Little Debbie's?

Absolutely not! And I don't think anyone would recommend that unless they just like to see people sit in their misery.

However, losing 100 pounds is not something I can do overnight. Not to mention, I'm pregnant, so now is obviously not the time to "diet" and try to lose massive amounts of weight. So what can I do to move closer to this goal?

I have to break that gigantic, scary, "insurmountable" goal into smaller deliverables. These smaller goals can even be SMART goals.

I can start exercising once a week, then build up to twice a week, three times, etc. I can start with 10 or 15 minutes and build that up to half an hour or more.

I can slowly cut out the foods that keep me fat and start replacing them with the foods that make me healthy.

I can cut out the fast food and replace it with healthy, home-cooked meals.

I can eat a healthy amount of calories during my pregnancy without going overboard and using pregnancy as an excuse to eat brownies and drink milkshakes on the daily.

Will these efforts get me to my 100 pound weight loss goal? Maybe, maybe not. But they will get me closer. And moving the needle is what matters when facing those "insurmountable" goals.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Camping for our Family Vacation

If we end up going on a family vacation this year, we plan to make it a camping trip.
I was/am a bit nervous about camping with a toddler plus having the additional challenge of being in my third trimester with kid #2, but there are a lot of reasons this is actually a better idea than a couple of days exploring a big city or taking a typical vacation.
My child doesn't like to sit still very long. She doesn't appreciate museums or expensive outings. But she loves being outside.
Here are some reasons we plan to camp this year for a family vacation:
-It will give us a lot of time to disconnect from the city life and connect with each other.

-We won't have to constantly be telling our daughter to sit still, be quiet, or stay close by.

-It gives us an opportunity to be very active in the outdoors.

-It's extremely inexpensive -- a state campsite is typically less than $30/night and sometimes even less than $15/night. You bring your own food and gear from home so not many expenses here that you would not ordinarily have if you were at home.

-It gives us a chance to explore the great outdoors with our daughter and make a lot of memories.

Do you ever go camping as a family? What do you like to do while camping?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Value Proposition Success Story

As an alumni of the Praxis program, I continue to be actively involved in the community. There has been a push from the Praxis leadership to focus on presenting value propositions or pitch decks when looking for a job. These should be customized to the company and position so as to show the person hiring that you know about them and their mission, you know how to do the job with minimal training, and you are a good fit for the company culture. They can take the shape of an email, a power point, a video, or any other project/form of communication that will get their attention.

Companies don't hire people just for charity. They want to know you can do the job and produce the output they need. A value proposition shows that.

I currently work for a major corporation which values both years of service to the company and higher education. Those are two ways they weed out applicants when looking to promote somebody. I have run into road blocks when it comes to even just getting interviewed for other positions due to this sorting mechanism. They hired me without my Bachelors degree but now I am struggling to move within the company without either that BA or several more years at the company.

Recently a position came open that looked like a perfect fit for the skills I have been developing all my life. I wanted this position or at least the chance for an interview. I put in my resume and letter of interest... but I was not chosen to move forward in the process. Another person who was also not chosen does not have their BA either. We imagined that they weeded us out largely based on that lack of credential as it did state "BA preferred" on the job description.

I had already created a short power point of seven simple but professional slides which was my value proposition for this job. In addition, I know that the person who gets the position will have to send out a monthly newsletter to about 1,000 people so I created my own sample newsletter. I sent my value proposition power point and the newsletter to my supervisor and manager and asked if they would consider passing it along to the person hiring for the position.

They did, and I got the interview.

Simply by taking some time to show the hiring manager that I have experience and value that I can bring to the position outside of my degree or years of service she scheduled a time to talk to me. She didn't have to do that -- she had already interviewed several people and has a few more people in her queue to interview. But I went above and beyond what most people will do to get a position. She mentioned in my interview that she wished she had seen my power point and sample newsletter when I first applied for the job but that adding supplemental information was not a normal procedure at the company. She was glad my manager sent her the documents and said I had given her a lot of information to review.

It will be weeks before I know if I will be offered the position, but just getting that interview is a success story that I can attribute to the value proposition I created. Without catching her attention in that way, I would have been passed up for another interview. It's a super simple idea and not that difficult to execute but speaks volumes when competing against others for the same position. It shows the person hiring that you are serious about your work and yourself. That signals more than just having BA after your name.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How to Learn What You're Passionate About

Want to learn what you are passionate about?

Start writing every day.


It's that simple.

And don't forget to include tags.

You kind of know what you love to talk about, research, and explore. But when you start blogging every single day, you see the same themes come up again and again.

For me it's parenting and childbirth, personal finances, writing/blogging/podcasting, a little bit of government/current events, business and entrepreneurship, travel, college/education, whatever somewhat unique experiences I think I have had, nutrition, and the occasional movie review.

If I continue blogging, my interests will likely change and I will certainly have more experiences to write about. My blog will become like a time capsule to remind me of what I was interested in at a given time, what I was watching, what I was reading, what I was learning, and what I was experiencing.

Try it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What value do I bring outside of formal education and years of service?

I went from working at a company of less than 10 regular employees/contractors to a company that had thousands of employees at multiple locations but it only felt like we had one location to working for a Fortune 100 company with 400,000+ employees worldwide. As I have kept moving up in company size I have noticed how difficult it can be to navigate the corporate world.

Corporations (or at least the one I work for) tend to value years of service and formal education. It is their way of weeding people out. You have to put in your time -- both at formal learning institutions and at their business -- to be considered for new positions.

It has been a test of patience for this impatient woman. But it has also forced me to get creative and really consider what value I am bringing to my company outside of years of service and formal education. If I feel I should be considered for different positions despite my lack of formal education and years of service, why? What makes me special?

These are questions I should be constantly asking myself about any company and any position. Why am I here? What value am I bringing? Why should I continue to be on the payroll?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why do I struggle to cook?

Short post today as we have been moving to our new home all weekend.

Just a question I have been asking myself recently: why do I struggle to cook?

I have the tools.

I have the meal plans.

I have the kitchen gadgets.

I can order my groceries from the store and pick them up. The way things are going, I will likely soon be able to have them delivered to my door!

So why is it so hard?

Time... energy... will... discipline?

Whatever the excuses may be, it is time to get over them.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How to Stay Broke:

  • Never save
  • Avoid putting anything into retirement
  • Never plan for any emergencies to happen
  • Take on as many payments as you can! The more money you have promised to other people the better! Here are some places to start:
    • Car
    • House
    • Boat
    • Furniture
    • Appliances
    • Credit Card
    • Student loans
    • Personal line of credit
    • Borrow from family
    • Expensive vacations you already took
    • Just sign up for the payment option instead of buying outright anytime this is an option!
  • Spend way more than you make
  • Go out to eat for as many meals as possible/avoid cooking
  • Drive vehicles that require a lot of gasoline and maintenance 
  • Go back to school for a Masters degree you can't pay for
  • Shop for new clothes at least every week
  • Manicures/Pedicures on the regular
  • Don't forget about your hair
  • Starbucks/fancy coffee daily
  • New iPhone every year
  • Extravagant birthday and Christmas gifts for all your loved ones (but let the birthday/holiday "sneak up" on you so that you forget to put aside any money ahead of time; this gives you a chance to use your credit card)
  • Never take on an extra job or freelance work
  • Listen to the advice of your broke friends
  • Pay full price for every purchase/never shop around

This is just a starter list. What else can you add? There are endless ways to stay broke! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's Hard to Downgrade Lifestyles

I love to blog about clutter/decluttering. My progress on the Kon Mari method is not going as fast as I would like, but that is in part due to the fact that I was holding off until our move. Well, this is the weekend. We are going to double our square footage and I am super pumped. Instead of one bedroom and bathroom, we will now have two of each. We have no separate dining nook and now we will have a spacious one. Our living room and kitchen are much bigger and we will go from no garage to a one car.

But like I wrote in the past, if we feel just as cluttered in the new place in a year or two as we do now in our 525 square foot apartment, it's probably not an issue of capacity but rather our human nature to fill up whatever space we have with more luxuries.

It's hard to "downgrade" one's life. Once you get used to a certain space or a certain luxury, it sucks to go back. For example, my husband and I survived the first 7+ months of our marriage without a washer and dryer. We would go over to my parents house to do laundry or they would sometimes do it for us if we left it there a day or two (this second option was pretty darn sweet even without them folding it). But now that we have a washer and dryer, it is even more amazing. If we have messes or spills, we can just throw the stuff in the washer right away, no need to wait or go anywhere.

Another luxury I love is the Bluetooth speaker in my car which I use daily to listen to podcasts on my commute. When I have to drive a different car on occasion, I miss this extra feature. Speaking of luxuries, talk about smart phones. As much as people love to hate them, they make social media and information accessible with a click or two. Going to a flip phone would be a huge step backward in my quality of life.

But why does it matter if I get used to more space, more luxuries, and more stuff?

The more I have and the more I rely on/get used to, the more fragile I become. This means that during a tough time, I have more to lose than gain. Conversely, those that are anti-fragile become stronger through volatility.

The Art of Manliness blog has some ideas about how to become more anti-fragile. Becoming anti-fragile does not mean we reduce our lifestyle to our top 17 items. It means purposefully injecting stress in your life sometimes so that if you ever did lose your job and have to reduce your life down to 17 items you wouldn't just give up on life. You would get stronger.

Are you fragile or anti-fragile?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Fight for Independence

This is just a cute kid; not a picture of my daughter ;)
My daughter is a year and a half old now. And one of the fun things about having a kid is watching them grow and develop. Witnessing each and every milestone is so bitter-sweet. I remember watching her roll over on her own and then later taking those first steps. It was emotional when she ate her first food and when she started to speak her first words.

She still only knows a few words but she seems to understand everything. When we ask her where her water is she will go looking for it. If we ask if she is hungry she runs to the fridge. When we get ready to leave the house I tell her she has to leave her toys behind so she sets them down and runs to the door because she is so excited to be going somewhere.

With these developments she has become quite independent. If she wants a specific item to eat, she will fuss until she gets it. If she does not want to get dressed, she will kick her legs and say "no, no, no" or "stop".

It's amazing to watch this little bitty person want to make her own decisions. It can be frustrating at times but we try to let her be in control of what she can. Sometimes we have to insist she do what we need her to (for example, put on some clothes before going out) but if it doesn't matter we let her have her way. She's a person with her own preferences and if she doesn't feel like eating a certain item or doing a certain activity, we get it. But there comes other times when we have to do things we don't want to do so sometimes it is necessary. She might pout or fuss for a minute, but she usually quickly gets over it.

This fight for independence probably won't stop until she is grown. And even then, she might keep fighting. It's a balance as her parent to try to be understanding, foster her independence, and allow her to make some of her own decisions while also requiring her to do what we need her to do sometimes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is not the post I was going to write today

I was going to write an intelligent and informative post today. A post about something that I think is important. And I am sure I will still write that post in the near future.

But right now, I am having trouble thinking straight. I am frustrated about some things not going my way and it makes it difficult to focus on much else.

Daily blogging has been awesome and I am on day 52, I believe. But not every day is hunky-dory. Not every day goes to plan. We don't always get our way. And so we don't always do what we originally set out to do -- such as write a long and intelligent blog post.

These bad days will happen. How we respond, though, will say a lot about us.

Today I will respond with perseverance. I will keep going, even when I'm frustrated. I will not worry about perfect posts and informative musings. I will let go of my perfectionism for the sake of just keeping on with my goal of daily blogging.

How do you respond when things aren't going your way?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Day Without a Cell Phone

Yesterday, I went the majority of the day without my cell phone. Due to Monday morning exhaustion, my husband accidently took my phone to work with him. He left the house around 4am and by the time he noticed he had both my phone and his (they look the same) he was too far away to come back.

Thankfully I woke up naturally about 15 minutes after my alarm normally goes off. I was thinking that it felt like the alarm should have gone off already so I got up and checked the clock and sure enough, it was time to get going. I realized my phone was gone and searched around for a minute but realized my husband likely took it on accident. Thus began my day cell phone free.

As far as my workday went, I was more productive. My phone was not a distraction so I kept more focused on my work and less worried about missing something. Breaks and lunch meant I had to spend time actually talking to co-workers. Visiting with other people rather than browsing Facebook or Pinterest as a nice change of pace. I felt like I was bothering people by chatting with them but they all said they were happy to talk. Although there were moments I felt disconnected from the rest of the world, I was forced to connect with the people around me.

What I missed most about not having my phone was not being able to listen to a podcast on the way to work and not being able to see pictures or video chat with my daughter. The talking heads on the radio are pretty unbearable, in my opinion. And seeing photos or video chatting my daughter at some point in the day always makes me feel a bit more connected to her.

The most inconvenient thing about not having a phone yesterday was when I got home. Our AC was still broken when I got home (I had alerted the office by email already) and I needed to get in touch with the apartment office to make sure maintenance was going to come by. It is 90+ degrees here and too hot to go another night without AC. In addition, my husband ended up working a longer day than normal. He always picks up our daughter after he gets off work and they are at the apartment when I get home. Well I got home yesterday and walked into an empty apartment -- no sign of my husband or daughter.

Thankfully I recently met a co-worker who lives in the apartment across the parking lot. I walked over there and asked to borrow his phone. He and his wife were very kind in allowing me to call my husband to get a status update, call my mother to give her a status update and arrange child pickup, and call the front office to inquire once again about the broken AC.

I began chatting with my co-worker and his wife while keeping an eye out for the maintenance guy. We talked for over an hour and although I felt terrible about crashing their evening, they were very kind and hospitable. The wife asked about my daughter and specifically asked about my labor and delivery as she would like to have kids in the near-ish future. I told her I had a homebirth and used to be a doula. This sparked a whole line of conversation and she absolutely loved hearing about my experiences both attending births in the hospital and having my own daughter at home. She even wanted to get my number and the name of my podcast by the end of the conversation.

Not having a phone forced me to be resourceful with how I contacted others. It was "inconvenient" at times but it also forced me to make some new friends which was super fun. I basically took a break from Facebook all day, just checking it once briefly on the computer when I got home in the evening, which was also a nice change. My cell phone, this simple tool, which I did not even have until I was seventeen years old, has become something practically attached to my hand. It was nice to be reminded that I can live just fine without it and that it might even lead to good things to take a break.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How You Rate Yourself vs. Those Who Know You Best

My husband and I recently took these quizzes where we rated how we saw ourselves and how we saw each other. While I rated myself in about the middle on self-discipline, my husband had me rated extremely high on the self-discipline scale.

The mentor who was reviewing the test with us said that he found those who have been to college or in the military tend to be self-disciplined but rate themselves low. As someone who was homeschooled for most of my K-12 education (which requires a lot of self-discipline) and as someone who has attended college, I was harder on myself in terms of how disciplined I think I am. But my husband, who has not attended college or been in the military, sees how hard I work and how focused I am and rated me higher.

This gave me a boost of confidence and made me realize that I am extremely hard on myself (as I am typically hard on everyone who I expect a lot out of).

I am not writing this post to brag but rather to give others something to think about. How do you perceive yourself? How do those who are close to you perceive you? What is reality?

It is sometimes said that "seeing is believing" or "perception is reality". In other words, what others see is what they believe to be true. Even though you might be harder on yourself ("you are your own worst critic"), others see the good. Alternatively, what you might rate yourself high in, others rate low. This can be a wake up call sometimes. But either way, it's nice to have that other person's perspective on the situation.

How do you rate yourself compared to those who know you best?