Gazelle Hooves & Hide (per my husband)

Last summer my husband and I went through Financial Peace University. We were so inspired, we wrote down some goals for ourselves! We set four years as our timeline to reach our listed goals. It hasn’t been a year yet, and we’re ahead! I know things will happen we don’t expect, that may set us back. But that’s what the emergency fund is for, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures with you of a couple of my “Dave” clothes.

The toes all scuffed up...

The toes all scuffed up…

Four holes in the soles

Four holes in the soles

I don’t even really remember when I got these boots. I know it was before getting married, and we have been married for almost seven years. I wore these almost every single day at work. Fortunately we had enough money left over from Christmas bonuses this past year, I was able to buy a replacement pair!

Holes in the knees

Holes in the knees…

Not bought this way...

Not bought this way

These pants remind me how God has such perfect timing! I have had these pants for thirteen years. They did not get those holes until January 2013! after I received another pair for Christmas, and we had enough money for me to buy a couple more pairs of jeans. Crazy!

It can be a struggle to be “gazelle intense“, but when you have absolutely amazing goals for your future, and you and your spouse are on the same page, it can be pretty exciting too!

What crazy things have you come across in being “gazelle intense”? What made you go for it? Got any advice for us?

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A Tribe. A Family. A Dream?

I am blessed. By a group of people who are supporters, confidants, mentors, prayer warriors, cheerleaders, encouragers, think tanks, truth tellers, ideas people, accountability partners, driven, goal-setters, dream-pursuers, and….like family. Also known as a tribe.

Why do people think pursuing a dream has to be an “alone” journey? It doesn’t matter how unique your dream is or how much of an introvert you are, it’s possible to find people to make key connections with. And it’s good for you.

Becoming a tribe member introduced me to others with similar passions. Being part of that tribe has helped me grow as a person and leader, tremendously. It has helped me see the world in broader and deeper terms. It has exposed me to sheer joy. It is one of the things in life that has helped me develop in the direction I was created to go. And I will always treasure those relationships. Even though they may always remain cyber.

So. Whether or not it’s on the internet–through blogs or other forms of social media, or talking face to face–go find people to connect with. A group that’s just as passionate about specific things as you are. You just may find exactly where you were meant to be. And someday find yourself in the middle of your dream.

Who are your people?

Who are your people?

Do you have a group of people like that? On the internet, family, work, school, church?

Purposeful, Intentional, Productive

Okay, wow.

I did it! I reached over 50,000 words in the month of November. For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, it’s NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012-180x180

The month was a crazy one:  Moving everything we own one weekend, working on a church project every night another week, and of course, the Thanksgiving holiday with family. On top of having a full-time job. I spent the last week getting up at 5:00 a.m. to catch up on my word count. And strangely enough, it turned me into a morning person. Which I now love!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write about this last Thursday–I was sick for an entire week. Which brings me closer to the point of this post…

After training for and running a marathon (see Here We Go Again… and Good vs. Crappy Runs and My First Marathon:  The Wonderful in the Horrible), after trudging through NaNoWriMo (see NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!), and after a week of being sick, I decided to take an evening “off” from everything by watching TV and surfing the net. Of course, I did a few productive things like eat supper, play with the dog, and put laundry away/organize my closet (it’s still a little crazy after moving). I expected to feel relaxed.

Nope.

I felt like the evening was a complete waste. And I was frustrated because I had no idea why. Well….. Having spent every spare minute in the last six months working productively and intentionally toward huge goals, I have reprogrammed myself. Just like a person can “become” a morning person (see Michael Hyatt‘s post, How to Become a Morning Person), a person can become other things. I am becoming purposeful, intentional, and productive.

So now I’m struggling with conflicting feelings about the “new me”. I’m excited because being purposeful, intentional, and productive will propel me toward my future goals, life dreams, and crossing things off my bucket list. But I’m also a little saddened because I wonder if I will never feel relaxed again. But my husband reminded me, relaxation could just be redefined.

All in all, even if I have lost the ability to feel relaxed doing “nothing”, I am beyond excited at the future accomplishments and realization of dreams before me!

Goal Setting, Self-Discipline & Dreams

I mentioned in an earlier post that I rediscovered my joy of writing fiction. I am more than ready to jump right in!

There are two things I have heard over and over, when it comes to seriously attempting something:  Make your goals very specific, and write them down. So here I go…

I am attempting to finish and publish a novel. And there are four things I have implemented, or plan to:

  • I contacted my former writing accountability partner. We plan to hold each other accountable for our use of time, and any specific goals. I am so excited! Getting feedback from another writer can be a ton of fun.
  • I purchased Michael Hyatt‘s Get Published. This is information I have always wanted to get my hands on! I have mentioned before that we are doing Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps, so this material was purchased with money made from selling our mower.
  • Once I am done training for my marathon, I will use that time to write. Marathon training has definitely upped my self-discipline ability!
  • I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month promotes quantity–50,000 words to be exact–over quality. But it will enable me to get the gist of my story out. I can go back to tweak and research later.

This is going to take a lot of self-discipline! But I figure, when’s a better time to start? Just this evening I told someone there are too many people who never pursue what they’re really passionate about…not enough time, not enough money, too many other things to do, or they spend too much time in front of the TV. If I have the chance to accomplish my dream, I’m going to go for it!

Of course, I haven’t given myself a specific deadline to have the first draft done… Maybe it should be January 1, 2013, considering I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. What do you think?

How have you used self-discipline to pursue your dreams, or to reach a goal?

FPU Goals

Attending Financial Peace University has been so inspiring!

What’s for dinner?

The other day my husband and I sat down to outline our financial plan for the next four years…

And if I write those goals out here for all of you to see, that means there’s more pressure to accomplish them, right!?

So here they are:

  • Pay off all debt
  • Second car
  • 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii

Now don’t you feel better after reading that? I know it makes me feel good to write it, because I know it’s possible! It’s actually possible to get that all done in less than four years…. But don’t tell anyone…

 

Envy.

I am being tempted. With this thing called envy.

Typically, people envy tangibles:  house, car, boat, dog, spouse, kids, vacation, money, etc.

But I am being tempted to envy the intangibles.

I love where our lives are headed! But many things are “still in the works”. We’re still going through the process of figuring out how we’re going to live the next stage of our lives. Other than my job, not very many things have been solidified. We know what we are working toward, but we don’t know yet how things are going to work out, or even when. When I think about it too much, my mind begins to wander in the direction of envying others.

I’m faced with the temptation to envy intangibles:  time, timing, reaching goals, seeing dreams fulfilled, stability, having answers before the question is asked, knowing, having a plan. When I’m tempted it seems that everywhere I look, others have those intangibles within their grasp. But us. I know that’s not true for everyone…

My husband reminded me that even though others may have those intangibles, they do not necessarily live the life we desire. That adjusted my way of thinking. I realized I am willing to put up with the unknown, to keep the dreams we are enabling down the road.

Heading Into the Unknown

When is the last time you plunged into the unknown to reach a goal, or enable a dream?

 

Pinching Pennies: Hair, Sunday Lunch, & Sweets

Looking at how drastically we needed to change our mindset about our income, we came up with several ways to pinch pennies. I want to share the first few with you:

  • Hair

I was already pinching pennies by not getting my hair cut, dyed, or styled. The last time I got a haircut was July 31, 2010, the day my brother got married (and the weekend before I started my new job—talk about killing two birds with one stone). Before that it had been about two years.

We figured hey, we could do the same with my husband’s hair! Of course neither of us were really in the mood to watch his hair get as long as mine, so we invested in a WAHL Haircut Kit. Now I do his hair trimming.

  • Sunday Lunch

We drive roughly 40 miles to church every Sunday morning. Giving up our friends there is not something we are willing to do. But there is something we decided to cut:  Because our drive is so far, we would typically swing through a drive through and pick something off the dollar menu for lunch before heading home.

Those little dollars can add up! So now we pack a snack…something to hold us over until we get home for lunch. So far our snacks have consisted of a variation of granola bars, crackers, fruit, and water (that would be bottles we filled from the tap; not bottled water).

  • Sweets (specifically ice cream)

    Pop-ice: lovely, flavored, frozen water

My husband loves ice cream, and so do I. But I think for him it’s a food group all its own. So this was a hard one.

We found something (to try) to substitute with that is much, much cheaper. And hey, it was actually my husband’s idea! The flavorful, cheaper version (on trial) is Pop-ice. Of course flavored, frozen water is going to be pretty cheap. And if you want to go even cheaper, you can make your own version.

In addition to coming up with penny-pinching solutions to affect our monthly expenditures, we recently decided to forgo a larger purchase.

Not long ago we were given a nice, used grill. My husband was ecstatic! Only problem:  the cover it came with had a couple large rips in it, equaling rust throughout. We were able to use it a couple times before it gave out earlier this summer. Being summer, you want to grill, right? So we started looking for solutions.

Come to find out, replacement parts added up to the cost of a new grill. So we started looking at new grills. The ones we liked were priced between $250 and $300. Before our life-change, that would have been easily manageable. BUT it no longer was. My husband was the first to voice the obvious. I felt bad because I knew how much he wanted to grill, but I also knew there was no way around it. So for the remainder of this summer we have broiled….which really does taste pretty good!

Making the little changes can seem hard or too little to be worth it. The harder gets easier when we keep our bigger goals in mind. And everything ‘too little’ adds up to much more than we first think it will, especially for those of us who have never kept track of our pennies before. My husband and I have watched the impact of the little things on our journey towards reaching our big goals, and I can tell you, it is worth it!

What are little things you do to ‘pinch pennies’?