A Year of Change

Be Brave, have faith, and leap …

There comes a point where you just have to step out in faith or you will be forever stuck. It is scary and exhilarating at the same time. I decided I needed to do just that for 2017; step out of my box of known and face the unknown. I did it in phases which made it slightly easier, but hard nonetheless.

 

If you have been reading for a while or if you know me, then you know 3 years ago my husband lost his job and it put us in a tailspin. This is a vital part of our story. It changed everything in unimaginable ways that will forever impact us. After a year we found stability in a job that kept us firmly and significantly under the poverty level. We were lucky though. We had help. Lots of help. Randomly things we needed would appear; people and organizations would help us in every capacity. The kids knew life was rough, but they also knew we were blessed.

What they didn’t know is I skipped meals so they could have full bellies. Clothes were from clothing banks and I mended the holes so they didn’t know. Every month we had disconnect notices. A broken down car was like a jail sentence. Not being able to fix it meant if I couldn’t walk there then I wasn’t going. But we survived. We worked hard and scraped by.

And then I broke. Sometimes just surviving isn’t enough. I couldn’t handle the cycle of poverty we found ourselves in. It is suffocating and depressing and hopeless. It is almost impossible to escape from it. The terrifying thing is people live like this and do not have the help we had. How the heck do they manage? The cycle is almost 100% impossible to break from and I knew this, but I was determined because I couldn’t keep living the way we were.

So I took a leap of faith.

In January I took money I had been slowly saving and invested in an opportunity. I started to sell Perfectly Posh. 2017 was the business building year. We now have hope in my future income instead of despair at where we are at.

In the spring I stopped going to the food pantry and clothing bank. Both were huge leaps of faith since I had nothing to replace this help with. I just made a decision to stop going and instead have faith the gap would be filled.

I also started donating little bits to charity. By summer I was tithing to my church and by fall I was rounding that up so the difference could go to helping others in poverty while we ourselves still live in it. Isn’t that ironic? We still don’t make enough to be above the poverty line. However, we are more than surviving …

The biggest leap was deciding I would not get help from any organizations for Christmas. I panicked and thought it was a stupid decision, but deep down I knew I had to as part of my break away from the cycle we were in. So I took a deep breath and told God “I trust you with my business because it is all for your glory and not mine.”

That is when things got weird.

Not knowing we had a need, someone generously gave us gifts for our oldest. They just didn’t want the items anymore and so we got them. We were also given Pokemon trading cards … lots of them. My kids love Pokemon and play every Saturday at a local comic book store. This was a big deal and made for very excited children on Christmas.
My girls were blessed with a new-to-them bike to share. It didn’t stop there … It has been overwhelming. I hadn’t confided to many about my fears of no Christmas; only a select few who know our situation anyway. The people who helped have no idea the depth of their actions. They were miraculously placed in our lives at the right time. I believe in Divine Intervention.

My kids had an amazing Christmas. It wasn’t over the top and most of the gifts were second-hand, but they got things they wanted and things they never dreamed to ask for. They were thrilled. My money went further than it should have. So many stores had discounts that were allowed to be stacked, shipping was free, and then I was able to get cash back through ebates or swagbucks.

 

Is there stuff I want and even need that I didn’t get? Definitely. But I am OK with that because what we do have shouldn’t even be! This insane leap of faith paid off.

We still have so far to go. I can’t imagine the day we make a real living wage again. We still can’t afford the car we need (we do not all fit in the car we currently have). At the end of the month I still skip most meals so the food doesn’t run out on the kids. There are holes in socks and no plan on replacing them anytime soon. BUT it is so much better than it was. The circle of poverty that surrounds us is crumbling and there is now hope where there wasn’t. All because I couldn’t handle it anymore and took a chance …

~Andrea

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May Day

It is May first! I always love the first of the month! It brings the promise of new adventures! Have you noticed I am in the process of changing the blog? I need it to better describe *ME* and so my husband and several besties all agreed “sunshine and daisies” is definitely how they describe me.  I am really excited for these changes! I have several things I am looking forward to in May…

1. More outside time
2. Finishing up the 2016-2017 school year
3. Working my Perfectly Posh business and the start of Monthly Posh Boxes!
4. Our annual volunteering of placing flags on veterans graves for Memorial Day

Blog Collage May 1

What are you looking forward to this May?

~Andrea

Picture Challenge 1/5 & 1/6

My picture from 1/5 is something delicious. I picked my mug of peppermint tea. It is warm and delicious, but it also reminds me of the countless tea parties I had with my mom while I was growing up. I am also reminded of the tea parties I had with my 2 eldest nieces. I still have tea parties with my children. Sometimes I will even pull out the fancy teapot and china cups with saucers.  It is a tradition of sorts.

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1/6 is a self portrait. I wasn’t looking forward to this one because I had no idea what to do. Then life unfolded very quickly on my computer. I was horrified as I streamed the news live. There is an active shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport…or there was when this picture was taken. People were killed. People are injured.
This was about the same time I learned a friend from long ago is very sick and in critical health. She is too young to be called away from this earth. Life isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it ages us. The worry, heartache, fear…..
However, I am putting my trust and hope in God and offering prayers of peace and comfort to those being impacted by the shooting and for those who also know the beautiful lady who is fighting for her life.
So this is me in real life.

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~Andrea

Picture Challenge 1/3 & 1/4

I promise I took my picture yesterday! I just didn’t get it posted because I blew a tire on the highway. It was epic. It was also dark and I was by myself. A beautiful friend was on the same highway and knew what happened so she pulled up behind me and stayed until my husband could get to me. She is awesome. My knight in shining armor arrived and changed my tire and showed me my very literally destroyed tire. I opted to go home after that and crash on the couch.

My 1/3 picture is of an animal. I could have gotten creative here, but instead I opted to take a picture of Sunny Day. Sunny is a chocolate lab who thinks we starve her. She is a 4 year old ball of energy and so loved. Her favorite thing to do is try to trick us into more food. She will try to convince the people who hadn’t fed her that she never ate. She will walk around with her bowl in her mouth and give us sad, sad eyes. She has managed a second breakfast once or twice. Sneaky pooch.
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My 1/4 picture is a favorite thing. That would be my coffee pot. I feel this needs no explanation, ha!

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How are y’all doing on your resolutions, goals, positive life changes? Let me know!
~Andrea

Circle

Today my task was to take a picture of a circle. The obvious choice being my wedding ring. Of course I picked that, but I also picked my grandmother’s ring. Her ring has the letter A on it. I am her only grandchild to share the same first initial so I got the ring and I cherish it. My grandmother and I were close. I called her ever Sunday. When she would go to Florida in the winter I would drive to see her (Florida is closer to me than where my family is from). This woman was amazing. She told me stories, gave me advice, would share some of her heartache. Through it all she was a tough as nails woman with grace and charm who took the tough times and learned from them. She was devoted and loving. I pray I am half as amazing as she was. I miss her terribly every single day of my life.

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My wedding ring….18 years. It seems like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. We have had amazing highs and devastating lows and through it all we have held to each other and our wedding rings symbolize that commitment. Marco is my best friend. He knows my worst secrets and my best attributes and he still loves me. He is a pretty amazing person. He is my comfort and my life.

~Andrea

Purple

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Purple. My favorite color is purple. Today Zen has been playing with his Play-Doh he got for Christmas. He has been creating and mixing all afternoon. It is so beautiful to watch him and participate in his imaginative play. I have “eaten” more ice cream today than I can count. He always gives me purple because “It your favorite, Mama!”
Thank goodness it isn’t real! His passion for play is beautiful and the fact he can be occupied for long periods is a blessing.

Deliberate

planner

My new planner, stickers, and an inspiration journal, which actually goes with a different planner, but I loved the layout.

I am challenging myself in 2017. I have a word that will define my year; deliberate. I have 3 verses from the Bible to focus on (they go together and also go with my word); Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” and Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” and Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

I have a new top-secret life plan (it is currently between Marco, God, & me), I have a new planner, a new journal, a new determination.

Back to deliberate…
I have always been a picture-taking Momma. I am also a person who throws useless junk away, but I tend to do it in moments of anger because there are messes and stuff just laying around. I want to be more organized about it; more deliberate.

I am also going to be deliberate in my memory-catching. Each day I want to take a picture with a theme. There is a catch though. Each picture has to also have a story. Whether personal to me directly or one of my kids, my husband, my brothers, parents, etc. It simply can’t just be a random picture. It will be interesting how I make some things more than just a random picture. I got the picture list from a Google search (get it HERE). It is not my list. I do not credit myself with it. Do not give me credit in the creation of the list. I do not own it.

I also want to be more deliberate with my purging. Currently I toss stuff that simply angers me because it is in my way in that moment. I want a method to my purging madness. It will not be everyday; just a few per month. The point is I want to be deliberate.

I am going to test run this challenge in January and take it month by month and tweak it as needed. I am not sure if I will post daily or weekly. That is why January is my test run. Here is my January schedule.

January 1 — photograph favorite color & purge clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, etc
January 2 — photograph a circle
January 3 — photograph an animal
January 4 — photograph a favorite item
January 5 — photograph something delicious
January 6 — photograph myself
January 7 — photograph inside fridge
January 8 — photograph a wall
January 9 — photograph a bag
January 10 — photograph 2 things
January 11 — photograph time
January 12 — photograph a leaf
January 13 — photograph people
January 14 — photograph a path
January 15 — photograph where I sleep & purge in side toys
January 16 — photograph music
January 17 — photograph mail
January 18 — photograph today
January 19 — photograph a shape
January 20 — photograph something white
January 21 — photograph growth
January 22 — photograph in my town & purge DVDs
January 23 — photograph this is mine
January 24 — photograph what I do
January 25 — photograph in the backyard
January 26 — photograph yum
January 27 — photograph I can’t live without
January 28 — photograph a sign
January 29 — photograph shadow & purge old bikes, scooters, skates, etc
January 30 — photograph hello
January 31 — photograph something colorful

I will leave you with my favorite saying that I made into a picture.

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~Andrea