Making it “Official”

Making it “Official”

In case you didn’t notice, we live in the times of the internet. We have a lot of information right at our fingertips and hardly even know what a day without instant access to all our social media sources is like.

News comes from posts and photos as people share the prominent or pretty parts of their lives with the rest of the “network”…because that’s just what we do. To avoid posting something requires almost a special request or reason to not include it online. Just like that, so much of our lives are shared and revealed to the masses.

I write and say random tidbits about my days, so I’m hardly any different. But I also try to think long and hard about what it is I’m saying and why. Do I share because I feel compelled to do so? Or because it would be useful to know? Or because I just had a really great hair day? So many thoughts and decisions on what’s best, especially in the past few months, have caused me to step back and withdraw from social media and even blogging for a bit. The problem is, eventually people think you’re hiding. And then you question what it is you’re hiding from and why? If you don’t share it online, are you embarrassed or overly secretive or just overthinking it?

This. This has been my constant cycle of thoughts recently as, quite frankly, we’ve found ourselves with some BIG news. News that can’t be summed up in one description or emoji. Unlike what our social media networks and text-based conversations would suggest, we can’t relate on the same level with people as we can face-to-face or in a one-on-one conversation. Simply giving something a heart or a star or a thumbs up doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I want to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Blasting a bit of news doesn’t allow me to do those things quite the way I’d like to.

But social media forces us share in abrupt snippets. Even if we don’t, eventually someone will leak the info online or a photo will surface, and we can’t “hide” from the news–be it good or bad. Let’s be honest, I don’t think most news is quite so simple as only good or bad. Sometimes there’s excitement and panic and confusion and pain and joy and whatever you had for lunch today mixed in all at once.

Our big news? We’re expecting. We’ve actually been expecting for several months now. Expecting to have a baby and become parents and find out just how much that completely changes our lives.

But you? I don’t know what’s going on with you or how you feel about that. Maybe you’re thrilled. Maybe that news hurts to hear. Maybe you wish it was you. Maybe you’re glad it’s not. Maybe you’re wondering why the heck it took so long for me to say something. Maybe you really don’t care. Whatever it is, I don’t get to experience what you’re experiencing on the other side of the screen here. Perhaps that’s for the best, but I feel I’d be remiss to ignore that my news causes something for you, too. To be honest, it causes more than one simple emotion for me as well.

We don’t know what we’re doing or where life will take us from here, but we’re expectant. Expecting that we’ll somehow figure it out together and also lean on trusted people around us. Expecting to be challenged in new ways and to learn a few things the hard way, no matter how much we try to best prepare. Expecting to walk alongside friends who are in the same stage of life as well as with those who aren’t. Expecting to make sacrifices and expecting to find new sources of joy and inspiration.

S+S on the steps-4952

 

 

 

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

Well hey there, Thursday. It’s been a full week somehow…there are literally not enough hours in the day. Oh, how I wish I could simply skip sleep sometimes. But then again, what would I do? Just watch a few more movies? There’s only so much time one can dedicate their brains to working and side projects before running out of energy and productivity. So, I guess sleep is good. Let’s stop this babbling and get on to the good stuff…

1. Sometimes what’s “broke” don’t need fixin’ …just love. The vacuum cleaner I thought was broken for…uhm, months….turned out to just need a little extra TLC. Isn’t that just the analogy for everything in life? Okay, it needed a LOT of TLC. In the four and a half years of owning it, we’ve replaced a few parts but apparently never cleared out the hose. Here’s a gross display of everything I’ve ever tried to clean out of our house but instead just stored in the bottom of our vacuum…the hubby called it the “dust rings of our marriage”.

Vacuum Dirt

2. Remember to make due with what you’ve got. Last week we both battled some sort of cold/sore throat/allergies/virus–who knows what. We also had a little gig to play at the end of the week. Practice was weak, the hubby had a little loss of voice scare and we even tried to figure out a plan B…but somehow we made it through the end of the night. All things considered, I thought it went pretty well. It’s easy to get stuck on things when an obstacle is right in front of you, but the trick is to not limit yourself by your own fears of a potential problem. I’m constantly trying to remind myself that–not always succeeding, but definitely going to keep on trying.

Young Oaks Band | Moving Peaces

3. Keep asking what inspires you. Maybe that’s through an interesting video, encouraging poster or a collection of quotes and images on tumblr. Maybe for you that means reading the thoughts of others in blogs or books, listening to a great podcast, attending a presentation or admiring the craftsmanship and artwork of a completed project. Don’t worry about what particular form your inspiration comes in (as long as it is excellent/encouraging/true), but continue to pursue it–continue to be inspired. Make a habit out of seeking out inspiration and surround yourself with it for motivation. We all need that extra encouragement and excitement so we can create and do things to inspire the next person.

 

Money Talk: Saving for Travel

Money Talk: Saving for Travel

Oh, two very different seeming things: money and travel. One is really fun to talk about and the other is quickly avoided. I shared a glimpse about our approach regarding money awhile ago and hope to continue to write more about money in the future as a way to encourage and inspire.

Money Talk | Moving Peaces

Can I start by saying that I love traveling? I really do. So much so, that it is definitely given more weight in my budget than the average person might. There are days I just want to say, “let’s go!” and completely ignore all financial repercussions. I see travel as important. But I also believe we should be good stewards of our money (aka take care of what you’ve been given).

So what’s a girl to do when she loves to travel but it’s crazy expensive? Be realistic about it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t cost money to travel, just like I can’t pretend that I’m done traveling. By being honest about both of those things I can better move forward and budget accordingly (so if you have a love for travel…or shopping or sports or music, I’d recommend taking the same approach). In the past I’ve found that if I pretend that something isn’t important to me and leave it out of the budget that doesn’t actually end up saving me money. Instead, it ruins my budget because that love inevitably gets my money but I never accounted for it. See what I’m saying? Start by being honest.

Now, just because I love traveling (or shopping, sports, music, etc.)  does NOT mean that all self-control goes out the window. I don’t get a free pass just because it’s a passion of mine. There was a plan and a budget to take our trip to Argentina, as boring as that might sound. Oh and trust me, there were days that it seemed like that plan was going to take forever.

A few years ago, we said this trip was important to us. Before we even knew where we wanted to go, we started saving. Our plan was to put aside all “extra” money. All Christmas money, birthday money, tax refunds and freelance money went into a separate account set aside for this big trip. Once we had saved up a 3-6 month emergency fund with our income (that’s 3-6 months living expenses in case who-knows-what happens) we said we could start allotting some of our income towards the trip fund as well. There were times that it was really annoying that all of our extra fun money was already marked for the trip when we wanted to use it for something else, something that brought a little more instant gratification.

If you want to spend money on a passion/hobby/interest/goal, instant gratification has got to go. Drop the impulse buys, start saying no to good things–things you like but aren’t as important as your financial goal. Things that don’t go and you do keep spending money on: groceries, rent/mortgage, utility bills, medical expenses, paying off debt and saving for a rainy day.

Because guess what? I was without a full-time job for the better part of last year. That did not fit in the plan. It was SO frustrating to feel like my goals were on hold, not only professionally and personally, but financially, too. The good news? We had a few months of an emergency fund saved, and we had already rearranged our spending habits to live on much less than our income. We tightened up our budget a bit more and had to make some tough decisions, but we were also able to keep the trip savings mostly intact during the time it took to find other employment.

Saving for your goals, for the fun stuff, is important. But making sure you also save for the unknowns is vital. Just like you can’t ignore your passions and dreams, you can’t ignore your responsibilities either when it comes to finances. So, that meant we saved for years and that might not sound very inspiring. But what is inspiring is that we don’t have any debt from that trip so when we took it, we got to completely enjoy it.

There are things in life that come up and I don’t want to pretend that everyone is able to just save and go in a few years. There are big financial commitments, health emergencies and limitations out there that are real. Sometimes I hesitate to even tell these stories because I don’t want it to sound like I take these opportunities lightly. Instead, I hope to encourage and inspire you that with patience and planning, more is achievable than you think.

Travel | Moving Peaces

Money isn’t an easy topic and frankly, writing a series on it is super strange for me. But I know it matters and has an impact, which has compelled me to be open and available for the conversation with anyone who wants to have it.

 

What If…

What If…

What If | Moving Peaces

What if this is your “what if”?

I often think back to decisions I made in the past. The way I handled relationships with people. Jobs I did or didn’t take. My response to a crisis or to a triumph. Then I often ask that question–“what if?” What if I had said it this way or done it that way? I spend way too much time thinking and dwelling on mere moments as if something else will happen if turn it over in my mind again and again. Hollywood loves this sort of stuff –back to the future, travel through time–whatever it is to explore these types of fantasies.

But what if your “what if” moment is right now? What if this is your opportunity for adventure, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, risk and faith? I’m not saying to live every moment as if it were your last, that would mean we’d overindulge ourselves and take nothing else into consideration. What I mean is, what if right now is that opportunity, that mere moment you’ve been waiting for? So you have it, here it is, this is your chance. Now what are you going to do with it?

Think for a moment–this, this is your life right now as you breathe in and out. This is what it’s “supposed to” look like (it’s not perfection and perhaps it’s even downright wrong…but this is what it is right now, so stop getting caught up in the “supposed to”). Maybe we had plans for something else, but whatever is happening right now is actually what it is. This is the moment to respond to, not a time in the past that is long gone or an idealized future that may never come.

Your “what if” moment is here.

Moving Part 5: Follow Through

Packed Truck | Moving Peaces

It’s been awhile since the last post on the moving process due to the 31 days project in October, but I’ve still got a few more steps to talk about. After our move from Iowa to North Carolina essentially on a whim, we got a lot of questions on what all went into the process and love hearing about the moving experiences of others.  If you’re new to the series and feel like starting at the beginning, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Part 5: Follow through

The divide between steps four and five marks the difference between dreaming and doing. If you are going to move, then this requires actually moving before claiming a new home or state of residence. Granted, this can take months or even years, depending on the circumstances.

This part can be exhausting and stressful. It requires a lot of decisions, details and money. There are all sorts of tips and tricks you try to implement as you stuff boxes, pack the truck and drive off toward your new home.

To make it happen, we were constantly burning the midnight oil as we tried to finish up our obligations, make lasting memories and gain closure, all while seriously preparing to move halfway across the country.

To keep your sanity, here’s what I would recommend doing in the biggest stage of them all:

  • Make a list – there will be far too many details to keep straight and this will help you sleep a little better at night
  • Reduce your haul – have a garage sale, donate items or have your friends over to pass along anything you no longer need
  • Say goodbye – we invited everyone we knew to come over for one last barbeque at our house the day before we moved…some might find that crazy but it gave us some closure
  • Set a date – it has to happen and you will need a date to start sorting through the details of the moving truck and places to stay as you transition
  • Don’t rush into a housing decision – there are so many decisions to make and you might not be ready to finalize the place you want to live for the next several years, especially from afar. Consider short-term housing, a storage unit or extra trips beforehand to visit the area and confirm the right place to go.
  • Plan for leeway – the schedule might get thrown or your stress level might require a few extra take-out meals and chocolate so try to budget in as much extra time and money you can to alleviate some stress when something inevitably comes up

Verses for Sunday

10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.  – Hebrews 6:10-12

flower

Sunday mornings are my sweet time of quiet each week. I’ve got the house to myself, so I take the morning slow. I spend time reading and writing before getting ready for church. Admittedly, my first thought on Sunday mornings is “more sleep” but when I wake up and take that time, I never regret it.

The past few weeks I have been reading these verses over and over. Taking each section and letting it settle in. Separating each verse like a stanza or lyric so that every line reveals its impact.

God is not unjust;
he will not forget your work
and the love you have shown him
as you have helped his people
and continue to help them.

We want each of you to show this same diligence
to the very end,
so that what you hope for
may be fully realized.

We do not want you to become lazy,
but to imitate those
who through faith and patience
inherit what has been promised.

Take just one piece or segment. What grabs you?

I love it all. I want to cling to every word of it. But because my memorization skills are lacking, I’m going to hold onto one thing at a time. To the very end.

Show diligence to the very end. Help people to the very end. Love God to the very end.