Spending Time With Yourself

Today I saw my seventh graders for two and a half hours before we all said goodbye to the 2012/2013 school year.  I will miss them but planned to stay connected through edmodo and help them retain what they have learned this past year.  Once they boarded their buses, it was my job to do what I always do and get ready for room checkout and running around to have various administrators and staff sign off on my sheet.  I spent the rest of my day relaxing and treated myself to some sushi and red wine.  I need to enjoy these moments because I recently signed up with Physician’s Weight Loss Center and alcohol is not part of their program.  But back to my time alone and relaxation. 

It is always a good idea to spend time with yourself so that you can gather your thoughts and reflect on your day, week, etc.  life is so hectic and often we do not carve out time for ourselves which can lead to bad sleep habits, health concerns, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and poor self-image.   These moments are necessary for anyone but especially for the single parent and one who also wants to write.  Ideas will be blocked and projects never completed because you are not taking care of yourself.  And if you never complete a project, you are back to poor self-image and the list goes on.

So, treat yourself to a restaurant, movie, massage, day by yourself at the park, the gym, or just time in your room or house alone for a day. I did just that today and right now, I feel at peace.

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Vision Board Party?

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Today as I played around with my favorite social media sites (read= twitter and Pinterest), I got a great idea about vision boards. Actually, the background story to this is really sad in that I bought a white, thick, cardstock board almost a year ago and was supposed to create a vision board. I even went as far as to get my daughter one and continue to save all of my magazine subscriptions. Now, almost a year later, I am moving and have thrown all of my magazines into a trash box to be disposed of when I come across an article on vision board parties. Wow! I now have to find the exact trash box that I taped up to retrieve my magazines because I am re-inspired.

So, why did I lose motivation the last time? Because I over thought it. I wanted to plan it out so that it would be just right and done in the most creative way imaginable. In order to plan it perfectly, I would need time which is short in supply. So, I kept putting the plan off, therefore putting off the actual task. With the move coming up, I realized that I would like to host this event and other similar events just like it, but first I will have to complete my own vision board. When I am done, I will definitely share with you. So, until then…Pinterest!

Juicing Update

Here’s an update in regards to the juicing. I set out to juice for seven days and I accomplished this. If I told you it was easy, I would be lying. I was starving and could not wait until day seven when I went to Wegman’s and sat down at the seafood bar for grilled calamari, blackened tiger shrimp with broccoli, and a glass of pinot noir. I was in heaven. I wrote down some of the juice recipes that I loved and I found out the hard way not to add too much ginger to any drink (or lime and lemon juice). Anyway, I will share that with you in another post.

Juicing & Fasting

I have embarked on a new mission which is totally new to me. One of the mantras that I told myself I would live by is to only worry about what I can control and what I can’t control to let be. What can I control?  Well, here is the list:

  1. What I do to my body
  2. The type of employee that I am
  3. Studying for my MBA
  4. Parenting my children
  5. My relationship with the Lord & attendance at church
  6. Educating myself
  7. What I put into my body
  8. What I say out of my mouth (this is sometimes harder than I would like for it to be)
  9. What I create
  10. Going for my dreams

Now, let’s pay attention to number five and ten.  Since last year I have been eating healthier and trying new vegetables even though I haven’t gotten on the working out kick yet.  I will get there in due time.  Anyway, I have always wanted to do something special for my parents and right now they are going through a challenging situation and unfortunately, I cannot provide the money that they need so, I have decided to give up solids for seven days and juice, all while praying and meditating on my parents receiving what they need. 

It is day one and it was harder than I thought.  I already cheated and had a french onion soup.  I started off with a juice this morning that included:

10 carrots, 1 red apple, 1 green apple , coconut milk, and 1 mango.

It was delicious!!

I also made two other juices and saved some of them for tomorrow.  One of the juices was Dr. Oz’s Green Drink.  I did it just as he said and I must admit that I might have added a little too much lemon and lime because it is really tart.  It still tastes delicious but be forewarned.

The other juice that I made included:

4 carrots, 1 pear, 1 green apple, 1 red apple, coconut water, ginger, kale, and celery.

This was also a great drink.  If I keep up with all of these green drinks, I might turn green myself.

 

Juicing-Image-9

The Money Challenge

I think that the title speaks for itself. I have a challenge with money and I am sure that I can’t be the only one. I live in a very expensive area where the average salary is $120,000 a year. So, lets subtract $70,000 and you have my salary at least after taxes. Why don’t I just move? Well, it’s not that simple and truthfully I am close to family and resources for my children that are beneficial. Plus, it’s a fairly safe area. So this leads me back to my challenge with my money or lack thereof. I heard of something called the 52 week savings challenge and I am sure that I can do this. Banks are starting to get on my nerves so I will use one of my nifty piggy banks. I have attached the file above. The concept is that there are 52 weeks in a year and the first week you put away a $1 and the second week $2 and so and so forth. Cool, huh? Anyway, I am going to tackle this challenge head on even though I am getting a late start. If you are like me tax refunds are coming so, I will play catch up with a little of that money and then keep it up from there. If you do not have a tax refund coming and you are still interested in participating in this challenge, then Valentine’s day is coming up, let your sweetie, parents, or anybody know what you are trying to do and maybe they will gift the amount as of now to you. Try it and see.

Financial independence is key in this world and we cannot just run around all of our lives owing someone. My goal is to only have to pay rent (one day mortgage) and utilities. Try to pay car payments off as soon as possible and then drive that bad boy until the wheels fall off. Get your money’s worth. With the remainder of my tax return, I will do something special for my daughter (because she has been so helpful with her little brother) and start paying off some of the smaller items on my credit report.

Yes, that thing again. Get a copy of your credit report and face the music. Dispute what you know is not accurate, ask questions, and then start the process of getting back to zero. I will keep you updated on my progress as the year continues. My student loans are high so, that may take me a while. Anyway, happy saving!!!

You can also go here to print off a copy of the challenge for yourself:

http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2013/01/23/1013883_52-week-savings-challenge.html

Getting Ready for the Holidays

As you can tell, I have been quite busy with the little one who will be turning one in a week.  He is very active and the total opposite of how my daughter was at his age.  So, I have been receiving catalogs and advertisement mailings with all sorts of holiday-inspired themes.  I am already getting into the spirit and becoming reminiscent of what made the holidays special for me as a child.  Now, with two children, it is important to immediately keep my head on straight and start a budget that I will stick to.  The season can speed by so fast, and we can be taken up in all the holiday movies, sales, smells, and food that when the new year rolls around, we are trying to find out where all of our money went.  I have become quite thrifty lately and want to make sure that I do not owe anything from the holidays in the new year.  In order to do this as a single parent, sole provider, and self-proclaimed “starving-artist”, I have come up with a few pointers for myself.  I will probably add to this list as the season starts to swing into high-gear but, for now you can use any of these tips yourself, too.

1.  Create a budget; include in your budget how much you will spend on family, friends, and your children.

2.  Create a budget for yourself.  Remember that you may want to get your hair and nails done, pick out a special outfit or two and treat yourself to a couple of holiday movies or festivities (alcohol may be included).  Take all of this into account.

3.  Do not feel as though you have to get your children so many gifts.  I found that some years, I bought gifts for my daughter in addition to what she wanted because I liked them.  She has only played with one consistently out of all of her gifts from last year.  

4.  Remember that as your child gets older, their toys and ‘wants’ get more expensive.  My daughter can pick out two gifts this year with a maximum of $200.  She doesn’t know the max because sometimes she  picks below it.  My son is only one so he will get two toys also because, he rather bang on the walls anyway.

5.  Decorations cost money.  Go to the Dollar Store, Five and Below, or Home Goods.  Do not go crazy.  You may want a different theme next year.

6.  Just say “No!”  There will be a lot of events and sales and friends asking you to this and that.  Just say no.  I want to buy my first home within the next couple of years so, I have a bigger focus and that is paying off my debt and not creating any new debt and duh…saving!

7.  Remember what this time is really about.  Go for walks with the kids.  Bundle them up and walk around the block.  If you live a place where the weather is great all year around, even better.  Read to them, sing songs to them.  Stay indoors and make it a movie night.  There are plenty of options that do no require you to spend a fortune.

It’s hard out there and I figure any corners that can be cut should.  As a single parent, I can get down sometimes on myself because there are things that I simply cannot afford to give my kids but, then I ask myself “Is it something that they need?”  If the answer is no, then I focus on what they DO need and that is love and attention.  Give that and have a great holiday.

The Advantages of a “Like Community”

artKnot Group

If you are the only creative type in your close friendship group and need a support system to bounce ideas off of or to keep you in the game, then meetup.com may be able to provide some new contacts to aide you.  I found meetup.com about four years ago and it was life changing.  Any interest or hobby that you have, there is a group that has been formed to accommodate and motivate you.  The only challenge is finding one in your immediate area.  The main page asks for you to enter your zip code and then from there you can search by keywords such as “author, poets, bikers, wine enthusiasts, religion, etc.”

Sometimes we need to create a community of like-minded and in this case like-interested individuals as ourselves. It can open doors to new opportunities and experiences that can lead to advancements in your life that you never imagined.  Take a look here at http://www.meetup.com/.

 


List Maker

I am a professional list maker.  I even have a list yourself book that helps with self-discovery as if my childhood and adult diaries and journals didn’t serve that purpose.  I have a ton of notebooks and notepads lying around my house, inserted into my work-bag or handbag containing numerous lists.  There is the grocery list, the bills-to-pay list, the to-do list, the books-to-read list, the change my life list, the list of great ideas and the next big invention list.  Some things have been checked off but, a lot haven’t and I am not deterred.  It is interesting to look back on lists that I created years ago to see how many things I have actually accomplished.  And even though there are things that have not been checked off as of yet, I am still making and updating lists.  On one of my most recent lists I pledged to post more.  I realized that writing in and of itself is therapeutic for me.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the details of things that the task appears daunting and nothing ever gets done because I have postponed the hefty task until a later date (usually “when I have more time,” ha ha ha).

My recommendation for those of you writers who have experienced these droughts and your emotions have been in the toilet, I can only offer you one simple piece of advice and that is to Write!  It feels good to post or write in my notebook and share with others.  And once I write, no matter what it is about, I find that my creative juices begin to flow.  As a single mama, time seems to move so fast with all of my to-do’s.  I just want to be able to say that each day, at some point, I wrote something important to me and that my children can look back to learn from.  Write on!!!

Back in the Swing of Things!!!

Well, I’m in my new place and I have finally unpacked; it took two weeks.  I have been enjoying the school year so far but, the amount of homework my daughter has each night is a little daunting.  I still have pictures to hang but, my main concern is trying to show her attention and keep reminding her that she is still important even though her little brother will be here in less than a month.  It had been her and I for the past ten years so, this is definitely new for the both of us.  She is trying out for cheerleading and I hope she makes it, even though truth be told, my child lacks rhythm.  Writing that hurts just as much as saying it since, dancing is my thing!

In trying to pursue activities with her before the baby comes, I have registered us for an MS (multiple sclerosis) event where she will be able to go on hay rides, pumpkin smash, etc.  She doesn’t know it yet, and I will keep it a surprise just in case I go into labor before the event occurs and can’t take her.  I believe that it is important to include your child in the events surrounding a new baby and answer any questions that they may have.  This soothes and squelches any fears of being “left out”.

Anyway, I will keep you guys up to date in regards to how cheerleading try-outs go.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Mental Stamina

Well, a new school year is about to begin for both myself and my daughter.  I have to buy uniforms, register for the baby shower (I have a son on the way), attend meetings before I start work ( I teach also) and a billion other things.  So, my question is when do I find the time to sit down and actually study my mind on writing.  I have bookmarked countless freelance writing opportunities and have yet to apply to one of them in the past three weeks.  It has been that busy.  With the new baby on the way, my daughter wants all of my attention which is typical for an only child that has spent the last ten years concerned with only herself.

Meanwhile, I am staying with my sister until my apartment is ready in October so, all of my things are in storage and my life seems off-balance.  It is easier for me to write these short blurbs for my blog but, harder to write more lengthy pieces that are targeted for future positions.  Anyway, I have gathered my notebook and agenda and tonight I will create a schedule that will at least allow me to apply to three freelance writing positions before the school year starts in a week. Wish me luck.