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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It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year! Or Is It?

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Oh my word … I can’t believe it is October 20. Where did the month go? I am in B-I-G trouble! WHY? Well, to start I don’t have Halloween costumes completely planned. The big ones are the eldest and the middle and they happen to be the 2 not planned. Figures.

However, before Halloween even gets here I have Dee’s 8th birthday, although I am going to have to do her party in November because one of her classmates is having his party ON HER BIRTHDAY! UGH! I know the mom has no idea, but it is still frustrating on my end. Dee could care less (thank the stars), but she isn’t the one who has to re-plan the entire thing.

So are you following? Dee’s birthday, then Halloween, then Dee’s party … and then Thanksgiving and after that is Ry’s birthday. We will do her party in December because I can’t handle 2 November parties …. or maybe I should do a combo? My house isn’t big enough and renting a place is $$$. Hm …. Sorry let me get back on track.

OK, so we get through Ry’s birthday and then it is Christmas and then the 13 year old’s birthday immediately after. Sigh. We get a little reprieve before the next birthday in the middle of January. Zen is my favorite. He is an April baby.

I am exhausted and need a plan. Sooooo …. Anyone want to do all this for me?? Any takers? No? Darn. Well, I tried …

I also need to not  miss the happiness that all of this craziness brings. We are celebrating so much GOODNESS and it is so easy to get lost in the hecticness of it all. My middles are all going to celebrate new milestones (8, 11, and 14)!!!! Halloween is always so fabulous in my neighborhood! Thanksgiving is quiet for us, but it is always nice. Christmas….ah! I love everything about it!

I need to not focus on the heart-squeezing panic I feel at what needs to be done. I need someone to walk behind me flicking me and saying “Are you living in the moment? Be happy!” Pretty sure my friend Jess B is up for that job. Good thing she doesn’t live near me!

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted!

~Andrea

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

Deliberate

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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

Dinner Time Antics

*I have been going through my drafts. I found this little gem. I assume I never posted because I didn’t have a picture. I happened to remember the picture below is on my computer still. Zen isn’t 1 in the picture, like he is in my  post, but he is still crazy and the picture is fitting. 

When you give a one year old his dinner he is going to want what everyone else is having instead. When you give him what everyone else is having he is going to want his very own bowl and spoon, just like everyone else.

Once you give him his spoon and bowl with “big person” food you are going to have to let him feed himself or he will scream.

When you let a one year old feed himself with his very own bowl and his very own spoon you are most assuredly,at some point, going to catch that spoon as it zooms through the air.

When you give a one year old his very own bowl full of food that bowl will end up upside down on the floor and food will splatter everywhere.

When you give a one year old dinner in his very own bowl with his very own spoon and the spoon flies through the air and the bowl lands spectacularly on the floor upside down you will have a guffawing group of children who all yell “We told you it was a bad idea Mom!!!!

Needless to  say, when you give a one year old dinner there is never a dull moment.

~Andrea

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Let Them be Little

My kids are playing with a cheap $5 plastic bowling set. Zen is sleeping. Where I am sitting I have the perfect view of their game. It is loud and wonderful. They are playing nicely; not something that happens all the time. I can’t take my eyes off them and honestly writing one line of this post takes more than 10 minutes because the kids are fascinating to watch.  I can’t help but look at them and see them as…kids.
So many times I look at them, especially the older 2, and I see my expectations of what they should be able to do. I forget they still need to climb and run and play. 

Earlier I was watching a video on a blog and it said “Though she grows, she is still so small.” That simple phrase grabbed me.

It speaks volumes to me. She is not suggesting her child is small for her age. She is stating that the age of 2 is still little. It is so true. Step back and look at your child with some perspective. How did you used to see a 2 year old before you had one? I am guessing you regarded them as a baby still. Your expectations probably weren’t grand. You didn’t expect them to know their colors and write their name. They are still so little. Yet as soon as we have our own we force them to grow too fast. I am not saying do not allow your child to develop and discover. I am saying just let them be little. Follow their cues. Let them be curious and discover at their own pace. Keep it age appropriate. 

I forced my oldest to grow up too fast. My expectations changed with my second.  can never change that fact I expected more from my eldest child than I did from my students who were older than him. I was never mean or forceful, I was just always ready to start the next thing with him and didn’t allow either of of us to savor the moments. Perspective and hind sight…..

With each child my expectations change. They are only little for a small glimmer of time and those days can be exhaustively long. I know this too well. I will, however, let my kids be little for as long as they need to be.

*written 3 years ago and rediscovered today 11/7/2016.

~Andrea

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3 is not too old to be rocked to sleep. Savoring the moments.

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Letting her make the pizza dough. Her joy is worth it all. 

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Letting her conquer her fears at her own pace makes the success that much sweeter. 

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As they get older they can still play….even if it makes your heart beat harder in fear. 

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Imagine, measure, cut, paint, create…..Making wands.