Tag: goals

Update on the Five Year Goal

When the five years started is up in the air. Is it when he started looking for union jobs? Is it when he got the interview? Is it when he started training? Is it when he started working? There’s almost a whole year between when he started to look and the day he started actually working. I guess that means our five year plan is more of a five-ish year plan.

It’s not about how many years the plan is. It’s having a real, long-term plan.

I thought, at first, it was all about the goal. I had this dream at the end of five years we would be in a different house, paying a mortgage, and living my vision of watching my kids play in our backyard. Mr. Brickie would be a full-fledged journeyman and in my wildest dreams he would be considered for transition into the actual union. After moving and deciding to ramp up the kids’ activities faster than originally intended and Mr. Brickie’s injury, the only part of the five year plan resembling the original is the job front. My estimate (which are always wrong) for when he will be journeyman will be around a year and a half from now. It’s definitely past the five year magic mark but stuff happens.

The point of the long term plan is to help make all the little decisions every day. Will buying this or that bring me closer or farther away from my goal?

Now that I don’t have a goal and home ownership has dropped down on the priority list like a boulder in the water things become more hazy and I think that has contributed to those less-than-ideal financial decisions (steam cleaner, chest freezer) that are really great for the now but I bought them because I don’t have a dream of having a home and I’m not thinking about my stuff in terms of moving it somewhere. We are going to buy a shed and put it up in behind our apartment so we can store bikes and other things that don’t need to be indoors. Right now our basement is jam packed and there’s just no need for that. As much as I love minimalism, I’m not getting rid of my kids’ bikes. We are in a position where minimalism is great but our problem is lack of storage space for things we really and truly use pretty darn often as well as seasonal items. I don’t have a bunch of decorations for the holidays but I have a few and I’m not getting rid of them because they make me happy.

I was hoping I would discover my new goal as I wrote this. The dream of having another house and the picture of our life I had in my head was strong and kept me going during some dark times. I don’t know what our lives will look like in five years. I don’t mean I’m not sure, I mean I honestly have NO idea.  I could be applying for my oldest to go to boarding school for her last two years of high school (A real possibility.) I could be dealing with my middle daughter being a volleyball prodigy and travelling all around the place for games. My youngest joined the swim team this year and in five years she may have five years of competitive swimming under her belt and be the best darn 11 year old swimmer on earth.

Or I might be writing posts like this wondering what happened to my life, unsure of where we are going next. That’s a dark thought, huh?

I should have titled this one, “I need a new goal. No wonder I can’t focus on anything these days. I’m like a ship without a destination just bobbing along in the sea.” But that would have been too long for a title, wouldn’t it?

Where will you be in five years?


5 Ways We Deal With Poor People Stress


One of the things I have been asked more than a few times is how we deal with being poor.

My knee-jerk instant response is, “We know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” Once in a while someone gets smart and says, “Really? That just keeps working?” or my favorite, “Didn’t he just get his current job last April? What about before that?”

I always meet smart people. Some of them love to ask probing questions. As you can tell, that doesn’t bother me.

One of the things that makes me different is that I have never felt comfortable turning to God for comfort. The way I see it, he didn’t get me into this mess, so it’s not really his to clean up. I have no problem with anyone feeling differently and, to be fair, I’m totally jealous of people who can hand their troubles over to God. It seems like a really good place to be.

But these are my things that help me in leiu of having a kind and loving God to just take my stress and turn it into origami swans or whatever it is that happens to your stress when it’s given to your savior. I’m not mocking, I promise. I just like the image of a savior up in the clouds forming stress into other things like an artist. It’s a friendly image, not really a funny one.  Almost wistful, really.

Extreme Stress Doesn’t Help

I used to think if I was “on point” all the time and always thinking about everything (you probably think I’m exaggerating, lol) things would be easier. You know what I mean? If you just looked busy things would work out. If I did the dishes three times a day it would somehow keep my mind occupied.

Once you have a come to Jesus moment with yourself and you and yourself can agree that being extremely stressed is not doing you any good, you can start to let those feelings go. It takes a while and I still have spikes of horrible stress now and then, but it’s so much less than it was before I made a decision to not be as stressed on a regular basis.

Don’t worry. If you think being less stressed will make you less productive, give it a try. Nothing is forever if you don’t want it to be. Pick a couple of days or a week where you will just do your best to not be stressed and see what happens at the end. The first day or two might be f-it-all days, but you will find a balance where you get things done and once you do what you can, that’s what you did and that’s okay.

I’m still working on this one. I’m giving the advice I’m trying to take here…not the advice I’ve been doing for years with great success. Just for the sake of honesty I thought I should tell you.

Stay Inspired

I’m one of a small group of people who not only listen to Dave Ramsey every day, but a listener that isn’t an evangelical Christian. Listening to him talking about God and Jesus does not bother me in the least. To be honest, sometimes when he gets all judgmental about other groups of people it bothers me, but I remind myself I don’t listen for his political beliefs, I listen because I want to be indoctrinated and reminded constantly that I do not want to be in debt ever again.

I wanted to be debt free for years before I ever heard the radio show. I told my boyfriend at the time, “I just want one dollar. One dollar that no one else has a claim to.” So once I heard Dave, I was immediately like, “This guy gets me.” That eventually changed to, “This guy gets me financially.”  It doesn’t matter if we’d be besties, it matters that he has people calling in telling their stories and asking their questions and that helps me learn more about my situation. I like to think it also makes me a person with more empathy.

Those are my people. People who are striving to get to that place where they feel secure. I feel the pain of some of the questions like it was my own. I cheer with the people who took forever-and-a-day to pay things off because of babies or life or losing a job. I feel inspired at the end of the show almost every time.

What inspires you?

Stay Open to New Ideas

One of my big sticking points about home ownership is when I thought about property taxes. I need to do a separate blog post on property taxes because I don’t understand them completely, but from what I understand if you pay off your house but for whatever reason cannot afford your property taxes, you can still lose your home.

So really, there is no way to own your home without having a rent payment on that bad boy. If we paid this house off tomorrow we would still have a monthly payment of $235 forever. (Okay, it will probably increase but with inflation.)  That is far cheaper than rent for a house the size you have, I’m sure. But it’s not ownership in any sense that I understand it. My definition of ownership is “it’s mine and you can’t take it” right? So I don’t get that emotional warm fuzzy from a home vs. renting a house or renting an apartment.

I use thinking about things in different ways on other things to keep stress levels down, too. As long as it has some solid logic behind it, it will help reduce your stress.

If I know I don’t have the few hours it takes to determine rent vs. own and what those numbers look like, I put it on the back burner until I do have time. I have a list of things that take a couple hours of research and when I have a chunk, I grab the list and pick what I’m in the mood to research!

This is another thing I’m working on. I sometimes try to do a bunch of things on the list, get confused with seventeen tabs open in my browser and then shut it all down and walk away because it feels like my brain is melting. So, again, it’s “work in progress” advice.

Give More Hugs

When I get really stressed I don’t want to be touched. So I would hug everyone less and try not to cringe when my kids ran up and jumped into my arms. My husband figured out pretty quick I was feeling like a prickly pear and he didn’t want to hug the porcupine any more than I wanted to be hugged.

This made me a less happy mommy, it made my kids less happy, and my husband was grumpy all the time. I realized that I was being stingy with my love because I was trying to be stingy with every penny. Love is not money. Love is infinite.

I said to myself, “For one week I’m going to hug anyone if I’m within five feet at any time.” By the end of the week I was sneaking up behind the kids (and Mr. Brickie!) to scare them with sneak hugs. I got elbowed in the face once, but it was a hilarious accident. now I hug everyone, all the time, and it’s made everyone so much happier!!

Even if it’s not a hug moment, I will reach out and graze an arm or a leg or the top of a head when I walk by. The contact is something that my kids just lean into every time.

If your child is not a hugger or does not like being touched, please don’t think I’m ignoring that possibility. My kids are all affectionate to the point that I am overwhelmed and so that is what I have found a solution to. Obviously, I do not think this will work for everyone.

That being said, if your child isn’t touchy or does not like hugs, what do you do to show your affection? Maybe if you leave a comment and let me know I can be more informed and you can help out another parent that reads this blog in the same position.

Be Kind to You!

I am not nice to me. I think I could do better at pretty much everything if I tried harder. I have laid in bed, too sick to move, telling myself, “You could get up if you really wanted to. You’re just being lazy. you’re not that sick, you’re overreacting.” I insult myself, I am cruel to myself, and I constantly think I don’t measure up to even the smallest things.

I decided 2014 was going to be my year of self-kindness. I am not comparing myself to others anymore (I did this to feel better and/or worse depending on my mood) because the only people I’m worried about are right in this house – with a few family/friend exceptions, of course – they are who I use to measure myself.

When my daughter tells me I am the best mommy in the world? I’ve decided to believe her. 

Here’s the secret. When I don’t compare myself to others I can be the best mommy in the world without taking anything away from any other mommy or daddy or other-mother who is being told they are the best mommy in the world, too. It’s not a competition anymore.

How do you make yourself feel less stressed?