7 Reasons you need a GNO

GNO

“What did you write about today?” my husband asked me after work.

“Seven reasons you need a GNO.”  Wait, what? He stopped, turned to me and asked, “The lady doctor?  Really?”  I busted up with laughter.  Once I could finally breathe, I said, “No sweetie, a Girls Night Out.”

“Oh.”  Apparently, we have some work to do in our home. Yes, you need a GNO.  And apparently, I need a GNO!

GNO
7 Reasons you need a GNO

Girls Night Out.  Sure, it sounds like a terrific idea at first.  Then the reality of the scheduling, finding a  good sitter (that is available that night), planning the family around it, finding a few extra bucks in the budget,  and make sure that all the girls can even be there hits.  And sometimes, you think, that it is just too much work.

Know what?  It is work. But we need it.  Let me give you 7 Reasons Why you need a Girls Night Out.

1. You are spending time with people who teach you.  Days  on end I find myself answering to “Mom, Mama, Mom…” and I love it. I never knew that I could give so much and care deeply as I do for my little girl.  I’m just starting to realize that the women I want to spend time with aren’t home watching “Really-Bad-Housewives-that-make-Great-TV.”  They are out. They are busy.  They work, they Mom (it is a verb, I’m almost sure), they serve their church, lead the PTA, they just never stop. They are caring for their families.  Serving in the community.  Making things happen.   Giving countless hours of service in the classrooms, the soup kitchens, the team mom, the world.  I want to learn from them.  I want to share for a few minutes what I am learning.  They help me gain insight and perspective. They help me grow.

2. You are getting out of the house.  Mark Twain said, ““Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  I know he wasn’t talking about GNO here, but the point is the same.  It is so much easier to stay in your routine, the safe harbor of your little home, than schedule, arrange, make time and have a GNO.  As our family moves from place to place, I miss the moments that I didn’t make with women who give me insight and perspective, they were helping me grow.  I’m not going to talk myself out of taking time for me anymore. Couldn’t you use a GNO?  Of course you could.  Match it with a mani-pedi and you might hit a weekly nirvana.

3. You should get dressed up to go out.  Just because.  When did I become a yoga-pant Mom?  I don’t even yoga. Most of my sassy clothes are circa ’95.  Yikes.  I don’t want a wardrobe makeover, (though  I will happily clear my calenda What Not to Wear” calls.), Every woman needs a few things to wear and feel good. And, sometimes, as working women/Moms/busy people contributing to society we don’t spend enough time talking accessories, color schemes, and style.  I know there are Moms that are good at this, really good.  You are probably great at this. A bona fide fashionista.  I get it. I could just use some work.

4. You get girl-talk. What is girl-talk?  How do you define it?  When we were first married, my hubs could not BELIEVE that I was talking to a complete stranger in the check out line. The second we were safe in the car, he’d ask “Why was that lady telling you about her son’s testicular cancer?”  I don’t know.  It made perfect sense at the time.  We were just saying hello, and the next thing I know she needed to let go of something on her mind. Something was bothering her and as women, we vent.  We don’t want anyone to fix it, but perhaps, by showing support and kindness, we help each other find peace. That’s it: Girl talk is thinking it out loud.  Girl talk having a sounding board to chime on to, with encouragement and sprinkles of sunshine thrown in. Isn’t everything better with sprinkles?

5. You give advice. Naturally, as you are amidst the girl talk you are going to give advice. It is good to do so.  This is an act of kindness, provided you don’t take over someone’s life. Some of the best advice in life has come from lunch with the girls, catching up, hearing their stories and learning how much alike we really are.  Share your thought, insight and let your girlfriend figure it out.  Cheer her on, but let her do the work!

6. You get to LAUGH.  When was the last time you were just SILLY?  We need that!  You’re with friends and the stories keep going, then you see that one of your girls has tears streaming down her face and another has to run to the restroom because her friend, “Tiny Bladder” (but we call her “Tiny Dancer,” because it sounds a little less intrusive), can’t handle the pressure. Getting together and hearing your friends’s stories can be just down right hilarious! That feeling after you have had a few belly laughs, a guffaw and a hairball is amazing!  Imagine: if they put that in a can and sell it- no one would ever need another one of those 6-and-a-quarter-hour-zen-drinks. Hugh Sidey said, “A sense of humor…is needed armor.  Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp on life.” What absolute refreshment!

7. You come back home ready to be BETTER.  A rockin’ Girls Night Out helps us look at our own lives more clearly.  We also realize that you have a great support system just outside of our own home, which just gives us an extra ounce of strength.  After all the heart connections, laughter, kindness and even a good cry, we return to our life enriched.  Isn’t that what this is all about, anyway?

Now, plan a GNO!  Tell me about it.  Really.  Comment below and tell me what you’ve got planned.  I want to know.

Amy

5 Reasons Why You Need to Create

Talents and abilities

You have that dream.  The one.  The big daddy. I know you do.  It’s inside you.  Something you have wanted to do for a long time.  I can feel it.

Talents and abilities
Marianne Williamson quote

Maybe that dream is learning to become a photographer, a really good one.  Perhaps you are thinking of becoming a world renowned chef, or even, family renowned. It could be you want to fly a helicopter someday. Not fly in, but pilot the helicopter. It might be a house.  Your very own,  yup.  You own it.

Wait, it’s having your own business, isn’t?  Your fashionista style is well-know by your friends and you are ready to make it a full fledged, respectable business entity. Or maybe it’s getting that scrapbook/quilt/ party decor/garden/quilt/painting/calligraphy/stamp collecting/pottery making/cake decorating project going.

Know how I know this?  Because a few of these dreams are mine, too.   This dream of yours is huge!  And you know what?  It is so good to have a dream.  But we are busy women.  Our lives are full of working, raising children, running organizations, and doing all the stuff of life, how can we fit in the dream?  More importantly, why should we?

I submit to you 5 reasons to take that dream seriously.  And do something about it.  Today.

1. Find your courage

Sometimes, the toughest part of starting on any dream project is to tell someone.  The people around you think they know you.  They have seen you in all facets of life, and they are comfortable with that.  Even the closest of loved ones around you, may really not understand what you your vision is here.  That’s okay.  Just ask them to support you in this.  And you are realistic in this big dream stuff.  As a budding photographer, you don’t need to start out with the Canon 7D Mark ii yet, you will keep working on that camera you got a couple Christmases ago.  But watch how you are going to make that focal point crisp!

2. Get those creative juices flowing.

Just the mere creative process opens faculties in our minds to that aren’t readily tapped. Working to learn new skills, see something differently, or see the pieces as they work together to fit the puzzle help your brain develop.  And as you are able to do this, it will only help you in other areas of your life.  Seeing big picture and small details together will make the whole project come to fruition. After crocheting for a while you look at the fence line differently, you can see pattern and technique and wonder how you could replicate that in your stitches.  Surely, this skill will benefit you in other areas.

3. Establish priorities. Time management 101.

By having that side project you are working on, you find that you can squeeze more out of your day.  Sure, you are booked, but if you moved this appointment up a half hour, you could have an extra 45 minutes to work on that quilt.  The creative project will allow you the freedom to be more disciplined.  Wait, did she just say freedom to be more disciplined?  You got it.  Time management is a skill that takes practice.  Lots of practice.  By establishing your daily goals, you are able to turn off all distractions and focus on your work projects, one after another. You are more productive and later, can whole-heartedly focus on that lovely, creative project you’re working on. And 45 minutes on a quilt could get another row of stitching done. Now that’s progress.

4. Add new people to your life.

This side, creative project, no matter how small, not only helps your mind, it helps your social life.  You will be led to people who are interested in the same things, who have insight on your project or who may be willing to mentor you through the process.  The old adage, “When the student is ready the master will appear” rings true.  You may not meet them in real life, that might be just a little unrealistic if you’re cake decorating at 10PM.  Pinterest may lead you to the right blog, and you start asking questions to the author, and soon, you have a mentor in your new skill.

Maybe the first time you walk in the craft store on this mission is intimidating.  You don’t know what kind of cake decorating tip to use, but by browsing through a few books you have a hunch.  Ask questions.  Lots of questions.  Every great was once a beginner.

5. See yourself differently.

Michelangelo, the great artist, was quoted as saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” As you work on the creative project, whatever that is, you begin to listen more to your thought process.  You learn to trust your instincts.  You begin to see the final project and  steps needed to get there.  You have a new sense of confidence because you did it.  And you can do it again.

Finally, this is where it gets really good.  Not only are you using your talents to create, you can use those skills and abilities to help those around you.  You could cook a meal for a family with a newborn just trying to get a good night’s sleep, you could paint a piece for a family member this Christmas, you could use your design skills to re-do your home on a limited budget.  Sure, it seems like you are doing this creative project for you- when in reality, you are doing this for all of those around you.  Isn’t that amazing?

See, I’m just learning this.  Again.  This blog has brought me a creative outlet.  It has taught me more about goal setting, time management, structure and given me an intense zeal to keep moving forward.  I want you to have that.

Now, tell me. What is that dream?  What are you going to do about it TODAY?

 

Not frugal. Anything but that.

My daughter is almost three.  She has just started earning money.  Last week.

Work ethic.
Putting the silverware away.

It is a big deal at our house. We have the chart set up and each day so she can earn a check mark to earn some real money.   She has put away her books after reading at nap time, cleaned up her room without being asked, and even helped me fold… or wad up the laundry, but what she is most proud of is the silverware.  She loves the silverware chore.  In the morning as we are cleaning up breakfast she knows it’s time to do dishes.  She gets her little stool, and with the silverware dispenser on the counter she is set to work.  “Mommy, I do it! I do it!” She takes time to check each item, dry off the ones that are still wet, and put them in their proper place.  That look when she’s done is absolute pride.  She gleams!   Now, she might have run her fingers all over the spoons, and maybe even sneezed on one or two, I try not to watch, this is her project now.  And this one little assignment makes her feel…big.  And by big, she means important. Independent.  Grown up.  Responsible.

Money.
Money.

Before we had the chart and some structure, she tried to help me.  Help me tie my shoes.  Do you know how hard it is with ten extra, tiny fingers that neither one of us is controlling?  She would attempt to help me cook. Help me get out a cough.  The other day as I was getting out of the shower, she was still asleep, I thought, and as I was getting dressed, she rushed in yelling, “I hep you! I hep you!” I was pulling on my drawers, and before I knew it, she got down and hiked  them up!  In a word, I was the butt of the joke.  Head to hiney is not the  way to start our day.  A little painful, but still made me laugh and  I realized right then that her zest and enthusiasm had to be directed.  We had to channel that energy and give her focus.

Frankly, I have never been good with money.  It is hard to admit.  I’m adult. I should probably, no, really have this all figured out.  But I have always been so much better at the giving part, I never had any extra to save.  We could live on our funds, that was fine. But saving for a rainy day? Just wasn’t happening.  I had the zest and enthusiasm to do good things with our money, but I wasn’t focused.  I really needed to learn how to channel that to bless our own lives.  We have found something that is working. Really, working for us.

We are right in middle of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  It has literally changed our lives.  Our way of thinking, our energy, passion and zest for life has come shining through and we are taking strong, solid strides to destroy the ridiculous amount of debt we have accumulated. If you’ve taken the class, you know what I’m talking about.   And, while we get into the specifics of the tiny steps we’re taking to get there soon, just know that we are doing it.  I can’t wait to get into it with you.  We thought never-ending-student-loan-payments were going to be our way of life.  And now?  I can’t wait to stop the bleeding on the financial wound and get to some serious healing.  I hope you are learning, too.

Look, we’re not scrimping by in life. I wouldn’t say we are being frugal.  I can’t stand that word!  It sounds like someone who is so tight with their money they forget to live. I hear that word and think miser. And sometimes, a mooch.  An”Ebenezer-complain-about-every-single-penny-it-costs-to-eat” kind of person.  You know the kind, they won’t pay a cell phone bill and are constantly asking to borrow yours.  Give me strength. I don’t want to be that. I just need to be smart.  Savvy smart. Crazy smart when it comes to our money. And we’re smart in life- why have we been careless in this department?

This morning as I watched my daughter work on her silverware task, it hit me.  I realized that this is exactly where we are in our financial path. We needed a chart, the direction to get us back to basics, show us where to iron out the details, figure out the specifics for our lives and then let us get to work.  We’re workers, after all.  Just because we have this debt doesn’t mean we’re lazy.  Not even close.  Getting the momentum going on our budget has been work.  Real work.  But whoa!  The benefits are blowing us away!  This process has become a part of our lives that we probably should have developed a long time ago.  I’m just so grateful to have a coach leading us in the right direction.  I can’t wait to stop the bleeding on our financial wound and get some real healing going.  Because  as we are getting our financial house stronger, we will be doing some good things with our money. Keeping our lives in order, giving to others.  Like never before.  It’s so exciting!

We are going to get into the specific steps that we are taking later, I just want you to know that you can fix it.  Too much on the credit card?  I get that.  Too many student loans you’re still working on?  I hear ya.  Can I get an Amen?

My question for you is:  How have you improved your financial status?  Or, what do you need to do to kick this debt to the curb? Let me know in the comments and let’s improve together.

Enrich your life!

Amy

Why You are a Woman Enriched

We all get down on ourselves.  Being a successful woman is tough work.  Being a Mom has been a lot more than I expected. Is there ever a day off?  Have you ever been sick for a weekend and realized Monday morning that your house is lucky to still be standing? We keep the house running smoothly (and reasonably clean), the family fed and kids to bed (just about on time), the bills paid, and somewhere in the day we get the laundry done and the yard work updated and that’s before and after the full-time work. It seems easier to look at the one or two things we overlook instead of celebrating the small victories. And just look at how much we’ve accomplished.  That’s what this is all about.

En-rich:  transitive verb \in-ˈrich, en-\

: to make (someone) rich or richer

: to improve the quality of (something) : to make (something) better

: to improve the usefulness or quality of (something) by adding something to it

This is my hope for you. To enrich your lives on a regular basis, uplift you in your low points, and cheer you on in your successes.  I see you.  You are that woman who helps others all day long, thinking of those who depend on you, working at the job, working on your business, working on the home, giving of yourself, and uplifting people. And sometimes it gets to be…heavy.  For years creating something like this blog was just a dream. No more.  We have too much good to do in the world and taking five minutes for ourselves to have a quick blog read, gain a little perspective, and apply an idea or two to our lives will help us  all be more productive, lift others, and keep at it.

And here’s the thing. There is only a limited number of people on this earth, and even a limited number of dollars (or currency of choice) available to do good things.  But there is no limit to the end of ideas, energy and intelligence that we can create together!  In business, they call this synergy: one idea plus one idea does not equal two ideas.  Those two ideas generate another idea, which ignites  another idea, and so on.  It is mutually benefitting to both parties involved.  Win-win?  I’m in.  That’s what we’re doing here.  There will be a poll here regularly  to share your opinion on the topic, see what other women’s opinions are, and share. By sharing, we can connect with one another and develop some overall strategies for an even more enriched life. Please vote regularly. I want to hear your thoughts. In fact, tell me more in the comments. You have areas where you are the expert. I want to learn from you!

The way I see it, by enriching your life, mentally, physically, financially, or emotionally, you are going to have more.  More ideas, more energy, more funds, more positivity, more joy and you will use those contributions to make yourself richer, make your life and the lives of those around you better, and add to the quality of life to all those around you.  Definitely, a win-win.

Are you in the middle of a spring clean?  Are you learning how to make your paycheck s t r e t c h all the way to the end of the month?  Need a little encouragement and uplift through the day?  Me too.  Join this crazy ride to becoming a WomanEnriched!  Subscribe so we stay connected. We are just getting started here.

You are a WomanEnriched!

Amy