Dear Vivienne! Two! You are Two!

Dear Darling Daughter!

I lack words to express how much I love you. As you know, Mommy is a writer, so that simply won’t do!!! I could use all the words in all the books, but it wouldn’t come close to expressing the love I feel for you….. but here goes…. 🙂

Today you are two years old! I can’t imagine the world without you, and there was a time you did not exist. What? I know, it’s very shocking, and TRUE!

Mommy is so happy you made her a Mom. I have had a lot of roles in my life but this is by far, my favourite! I get to be YOUR mom! You are one incredible kid and I love waking up and seeing and hearing what is new in your world every day, because every day is brand new and you learn something new every day. I also love that most days you wake up with a smile and are happy to greet the day, the few days you aren’t that is okay, you don’t have to smile or be happy all the time, that isn’t how life works, more on that later.

You started going to Montessori school two days a week back in May and that means you get a little less time with Daddy but that is good because you LOVE your teachers and they love you right back, they are always ready for a “Vivienne hug” because you are always ready to give them out!

I love how you laugh and point when I read you the “fish” book especially when I sing “but only one glittering rainbow fiiiiiiiish” and then you point to it!! I really love how excited you get when I take out the book that Nana made you and you use the car to “drive” on the road. I love how curious you are about every little thing. I love dancing to “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack with you. I love how it makes you smile and laugh. Mommy hopes to sing with you someday and for now, it’s pretty cool how much you love the soundtrack (it’s a family thing for sure!) ! I love how every chance you get, you take off your shoes and socks and even though Mommy wishes you liked hats, I love that you don’t just wear them because I put them on your head, you resolutely remove them each and every time. I love how you get so excited to be in the pool, splashing around. I love pushing you on the swings, you get so excited to laugh and play!

I  love how you light up like a Christmas tree every time you see Daddy and how you hug and squeeze him so tight! I love how you play together and how he lifts you up with one hand! (he is so strong!!!!) and how you laugh and play together and how sometimes you fall asleep on his chest, you sure love your Daddy! That makes me very happy!

I wonder fervently (Mommy will teach you that word, too) what next year will bring, and at the same time, I am enjoying every single minute I get with you!

VivienneDay1throughYear2

Look at how much you have changed in just two years!

Happy Birthday Wonderful Girl!

You are my treasure, and I am so glad I had you, sweetpea!

Tu as mon cadeau, Je t’aime, ma cherie!

Love,

Mom

Run your race, ignore everyone else!

Dear Readers,

This past Saturday, I slow trudged a 5K.

YAY ME!

 

StJude5K

To be brutally honest, I think I did 3 miles not 3.1.

The course was not clearly marked, so I just stopped trudging when I saw the enthusiastic group of cheerleaders at the end of the third lap, and called it done.

I am extremely PROUD of this 5K because I REALLY wanted to stop at several points during the run, and I kept thinking about my daughter and how I want to run this with her eventually. I thought about Leanne, who told me “when you have a race to train for, you train more consistently”,  I started thinking about my running buddy, Susie who ran my first 5K with me and encouraged me over that first finish line. I thought about my dear friend, Dr. Keya Howard who runs marathons and heard her in my head, “you got this, you know you can do it, you know you can run just a little longer, it’s not as if it’s 13.1 miles… GO DO IT! I thought about my buddy Professor Pena who when he heard I was doing the 10(miles)20(bands) a few years back, he said, I have a new name for you, “It’s Jazzy Jennnnnnn” – all those voices kept me going.

Eventually, the voices subsided and it was just me, alone, being lapped by a 7 year old wearing pigtails and pink leg warmers, but as I said to myself on Saturday, “I can only run my race, I can’t control the other people and what race they are running or how fast they are running it, or how long they trained or what lap THEY are on, I can only concentrate on me, and my progress and for me this Saturday was a tremendous win.  I finished.

It’s a race for charity and for fun, so I was pleasantly surprised by a medal at the end!

I dropped my hat while I was running the first or second lap, and my far faster friend,  Will, was right behind me and he picked it up for me and I am very grateful because if I had stopped, I am not so sure I would have started up again.

There were no hills, which makes it far easier to run, but no less of a win.

I am actively training for my next 5K where my goal will be to best my own personal record.

I may succeed, and I may fail, but I will be running my own race and not worried about the other runners around me.

I think that could be applied to life in general, am I right?

Think About It.

How are you spending your money?

Dear Readers,

That’s a pretty personal question, so you can keep the answer to yourself.

Last week I told you about the no-spendtember challenge I signed up for which limits the amount of spending you are allowed to do for the month. The rules are you can spend money on gas, groceries, rent/mortgage and that is it. It’s restrictive on purpose!

It has really made me STOP and think about the things I spend money on that I could save instead. I am saving to go to the Elton John concert and have taken to using the hashtag – HelloYellowBrickRoad to remind me of my goal. It’s not easy but that concert is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo going to be worth it!

SIrElton

Because I am paying attention to what I am spending my money on or rather not spending my money on, I have stumbled on a few relevant memes and articles. I posted this picture on social media and got some very interesting responses – and by interesting, I mean some disagreement.

Average

Some of the people on my wall took a moment and were surprised by the number and stopped to question it, which is totally fine by me. That was the point.

So a few things here. I don’t know this to be true, I do know that lots of people spend money indiscriminately and don’t think about what they are doing and then they wind up in heavy credit card debt or with too much month at the end of their money and don’t know why.  Here is a news article that gives a bit more shape to this-

https://nypost.com/2017/12/08/americans-spend-an-absurd-amount-on-takeout/

This is not true for everyone, and the picture is not aimed to make you mad, it’s there to make you think.

Some sample thoughts I am seeking…

  1. Huh, I wonder if that is true? (let me go do some research)
  2. That is a lot of money – I wonder if I/we/our family spends that much? (consults bank account online)
  3. Well, we spend a little but I don’t think it’s that much (consults bank account online)
  4. That makes me think about our travel budget. I wonder if I can really get a ticket for 750.00 anywhere in the world. (this seems like a stretch and in my research (Austin to Austria- was 1300.00 so the number is not 100% accurate, but my goal is to get you to think about it.

To be clear, I am not trying to tell you that if you spend this much on everyday food and drink it’s wrong, it’s just what you are doing. The point would be to get you to choose what you are doing instead of mindlessly doing what you do every day/week/month/year with money.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about finances. To be more explicit, being intentional with our money has allowed us to have my husband stay home with our daughter which definitely involves some sacrifice. Then we chose to put her in day care 2 days a week and he went back to work because that is what we chose to do.

HastonsEaster2017

Maybe people think it’s wrong to ask others to sacrifice to save money,  but I don’t agree with that because sacrifice is an important part of reaching a goal.

If you want to lose weight, you sacrifice by eating less, right?

If you want to save money, you probably eat out less, right?

If you want to go to school and get good grades, you sacrifice time with friends to study, right?

I am not telling people how to live and what to spend their money on so please let me be clear.

If you love food and want to spend your money on restaurants and eating out, go for it.

If you love concerts and books and want to spend you money on it, go for it.  (see above)

It’s your life, and you are welcome to do what you like with your resources.

My goal today, as with each and every post is to get you to THINK about it.

so… am I saying – don’t spend that 5.00 on a drink at your favourite coffee spot, no, I am saying think about it and do it consciously, and you might discover you don’t really want to spend that 5.00 on the coffee but rather save it for a rainy day or if you are me, to say goodbye to that yellow brick road….

Think About It.

 

Goals- Work on one at a time!

Dear Readers,

A few months ago I set a few goals for myself.

  1. Read more.
  2. Drink water every day
  3. Go to the gym three times a week
  4. Meditate once a day

All of these seem simple, right?

Well, not really. The reading one has gone right out the window so then I had three goals

  1. Read more.
  2. Drink water every day
  3. Go to the gym three times a week
  4. Meditate once a day

Drink water every day. (I have an accountability partner for that one!)

Speaking of accountability- I also joined a No-Spendtember group to help me motivate myself to NOT spend any money for the month of September except for gas, groceries, and essential items. It’s amazing how much you just spend (even though I am pretty thrifty) without THINKING about it.  I am keeping a running tally of how much I have wanted to spend but have not spent. Drum roll, please! It’s Day 5……

I am up to 35.00 not spent. That could change tomorrow, I might just have to buy something, and that is okay, the goal is to be intentional and THINK about it, because in my experience, when you do that, you spend 5.00 not 10.00 and so on.

Another goal, was to go to the gym three times a week- Well, that was working and then the whole family got sick so as we all recovered, we spent less time at the gym and then no time at the gym.

Once upon a time, I lost 75 pounds and this was the before and after.  I love how I look in both pictures, and the one on the right helps me FEEL the accomplishment.

Beforeafter

As of two weeks ago, I headed back to the gym but it was once a week, not three times and I am satisfied with that, for now. I will eventually get the three times a week going again but it’s not where I am, for now.

Meditate once a day- There is an application for that, it motivates me by giving me a “consistency reward” I take great pride in seeing the number of minutes and days I have accomplished in my meditation goal.

I am all for goals and achieving them but sometimes we doom ourselves by having too many goals to start. Or, we have really vague goals like “read more” or “eat healthier”

What does that mean?

For example, I said I was going to drink water every day for three months before it actually became a reality.  I have to say that now that it is, drinking water gives me more energy and I have noticed my skin is clearer.

It took almost 6 months of going to the gym to consistently to get me back up to twice a week and then finally three times a week.  Then I had a breakdown in that goal because we all got sick and it became more important to NOT go to the gym and rest our bodies.

It’s amazing, Rest is the thing that helps the MOST, and it’s what we try, LAST. 

Next goal, meditate every day. The meditation was easier because it’s a great way to wind down my day and really helps me to relax, relax, relax as my mother of choice would say.  I love headspace, but there are multiple options out there.

https://www.headspace.com/

The reading is a nice idea but it was an ill-defined goal.

Read what? For how long? Why?  I love to read, so I have started to build it into my lunch breaks.  I can set a timer and read career growth articles or my (very much not a career growth) book for 10 minutes. It may take another month for me to actually get it on a good schedule and cadence and that is still progress.

Always remembering, the goal is progress, not perfection. 

The gurus will tell you to “shoot for the moon and you will land among the stars.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, I take issue with it because it’s really non-specific, it’s not measurable and you have no idea if you “did it”.

I think all goals should be Smart- I didn’t make this up, but here is my breakdown:

Smart- You have a handle on it- you know what it looks like to go after it

Measurable- Can you measure it? If your goal is to lose weight, what’s the result you are going for to see measure success- inches? pounds? You have to decide.

Actionable- Is there an action to take? If you want to write a book, how many pages will you write? A day? A week? A month?

Relevant- Is it relevant to your personal mission statement ? Well let’s see-

I am a mom, speaker, and activist passionately committed to inspiring others to live their best life. ” (yep, it checks that box, so it’s relevant) 

Time- bound- Put a deadline on it. I will have (goal/measure) _______  by ______ (date)

Just started to feel real, didn’t it?  As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says, 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

By the way, if you don’t have a personal mission statement, I highly recommend you get one, that way as you work to make decisions about what to say yes to and what to pursue, you run it through that filter and then it gets a whole lot clearer what you need to say “yes” and “no” to, when opportunities are presented to you.

Remember, your goal is progress, not perfection. Don’t get lost in the lie that you have to do it perfectly,  because you WILL fail, it’s that simple, it’s whether you will get back up and try again, I think you will.  I believe in you!

Think About It.

 

Keep going, you are so close!

TakeStock

 

Dear Readers, When was the last time you took stock of the things you have accomplished?

I have to admit it’s been a while for us, and today I got a really nice reminder of how important it is to look back at where you were so you can focus on where you want to go.

This picture is of me coloring our debt free scale- we colored up as you can see, since the goal was 0.00.  At this point in time, we still owed 7,985.33. It was important to us to mark the occasion and so we did on this scale we had. It was one of the milestones and we chose to mark that with a nice dinner.

It can be tiresome to work towards a goal, you need rewards to keep you motivated and on the path.

For example, I had to stop working out for a while as our entire family was sick and as we recovered, I needed to give my body a full rest so I am starting over on the workouts, the swimming and the running. This hurts because I was well on my way to a half marathon when the plague hit our household.

Then again, when viewed through the look back lens, I see the progress I have made and the things that I have already accomplished and I am certain that I did myself a LOT more good by taking that two month break from the gym so I did not relapse or hurt myself by working out before I was ready.

So my message today is simple, take stock and look back at the things that you have accomplished and take a moment and feel proud of what you did then but even prouder of what lies ahead.

What if you give up JUST as you are about to accomplish your goal?

You would never know how close you came because you gave up.

Think About It.

Do you spend time or kill time?

Dear Readers,

I hate the phrase killing time. It’s the only commodity that is not recoverable or renewable or reproducible.

I think that when people say “killing time” they are not thinking about the consequence of killing time means you are quite likely wasting it.

I was thinking about this over cocktails and scones with my good friend as we watched the royal wedding which took place real-time some months ago. LondoninGeorgetown

However, we both wanted to watch it together so we made a plan that we would watch it on OUR time, and when we were both “free”. It was lovely catching up and oohing over the glorious chapeau we saw onscreen. The experience was no less diminished because it was not live or the events had transpired earlier.

I think it really comes down to intention. If your intention is to “kill time” what are you doing? If your intent is to “spend time” what are you doing? I am pretty sure the answers vary widely and you will find a lot more value when you choose to “spend” time.

Think about it this way. Why would you choose to “kill time” when you can invest your time or spend your time wisely.  “Quality Time” is considered a love language – (for more on that- see here)  https://jenniferhastonsays.com/2015/09/18/whats-your-love-language/

Would you ever choose to “kill your money” ????????

You can earn more money, you can lose or gain weight but there is no such thing as getting back time.  Unless you are in a certain movie from the 1980’s.

Think About It.

Trial and Error

Dear Readers,

I know it sounds like a really bad prequel to “Law and Order” but it’s not.

It’s actually a reference to what we do in life, from the moment we are born.

We try to walk, we fall. We try again and again and again until we do it.

We try to talk, we make a lot of unintelligible sounds and then all of a sudden we sound intelligent.

We attempt something, we fail. We attempt something else.

It takes a lot of courage to do this day and day out and it’s an act of courage to live a life out loud and full of purpose. I don’t know if you have experienced this but when you are enthusiastic and shall we say, loud, it makes waves. People notice.

My advice to you? Be you and do the things that matter to you.

The world is not served by you playing small, or thinking you are less than what you are a beautiful and unique creature designed with a wonderful spark that makes you you.

Sometimes the flame can be snuffed out but if you look for it, it can always come back.

Get off the bench, go make BIG plays. The world truly is yours for the taking.

Be bold, and ask for EXACTLY what you want and if you stumble, try again.

Along the way, if you are disappointed in what happens to you, be disappointed, feel it to the core of your being and really acknowledge the upset and sadness.

As my mother of choice says, “have a pity party, go there, and be there when you are, just don’t stay”- Wise words.

My focus tends to be on the pushing through, the next step, so I invite you to fully explore your feelings about something before “moving on” no matter how much the “world” wants to tell you. “Get over it”

Trial and Error, my friend. It’s a real thing, you live it and do it, every single day.

Think About It. imagejfminc