About mcpuddleduck1

I am a frugal minded wife willing to share my bargain shopping knowledge with the world. I feel that I have a bit of a different outlook on life, Let me show you how great life can be!

January resolution progress report

Hello my friends! Happy Saturday! How is everyone doing so far? Have you kept up with your resolutions you made on January 1? I sure hope so!

On New Year’s day, I also started the year by making some goals for myself… publicly. I figured, what better way to make sure I stay on track than by telling the whole world about it. If that isn’t the best motivator, then I don’t know what is!

Here’s a reminder of the resolutions I made for myself:

#1 – Eating better by eating healthier foods

#2 – Letting the negativity go

#3 – Exercising routinely

#4 – Purging my belongings and organizing what’s left

Nearly two weeks have passed, and here is what has happened thus far…

Resolution #1: I have figured out how to make the lovely vinaigrette salad dressing that my friend told me about, and I am extremely excited! I have salad greens in my refrigerator, salad dressing made, and homemade croutons in a vacu-sealed jar all ready to go. I have eaten a salad 11 out of 12 days so far. I discovered that slivered almonds and dried cranberries are a delightful addition to what I have in my bowl already. The possibilities are endless! I’m always willing to try something new and different. So far, my ideas have been surprisingly delicious. One thing I have decided to do, however, is have a limited ‘cheat’ day. That day is Thursday. Thursday evenings is when I meet with my girls, so I think that will be the day that I can cut loose a little bit and have a drink, and eat, in moderation, a few of the lovely foods that I enjoy so much. Hey, if I NEVER eat the foods I crave so much, the possibility for failure is much higher. I CAN do this!

Resolution #2: I have learned quite a bit about myself over the last 12 days. I take things WAY too personally. I have learned that I have a hard time letting things go.  I have a hard time not complaining about it. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, especially when I’m tired. I have had to stop myself multiple times from blurting negative things out loud. Even then, I haven’t been 100% successful. I need to find a different, positive perspective on all of the things going on around me. They say it takes thirty days to make a habit. I am hoping to prove that theory to be correct. We’ll see what happens as the month continues.

Resolution #3: I purchased a calendar/planner to log all of my activities in. This includes my workout schedule. I have set aside three days/evenings a week for doing my treadmill workouts. As much as I would love to have four or five designated days, I know from past experience, that I tend to burn down within a month when I do this. I also know that I have to give my foot some extra time to recover between workouts. I don’t want to do any damage that will have me spending extra time sitting on the couch any more than necessary. I have completed every scheduled workout so far. I did end up getting sick for a couple of days, but I managed to make up those scheduled workouts within the next week. So, I have, ultimately, completed all of the workouts I had planned for myself. I am already seeing a difference in my body. Yay! There’s some motivation for me to keep going!

Resolution #4: PURGING TASK #1- MY BEDROOM: I have completely gone through every shelf, drawer, and tote in my bedroom. I have gone through every piece of clothing I own and have been brutally honest with myself about my things. I looked at every shirt, pair of pants, coat, socks, dresses, and my unmentionables. I threw away the items with holes, and the other things that I had set aside “to fix” that had been piled up in one of my laundry baskets. I hadn’t missed any of them after all this time, so they are leaving. I made a pile of the pieces that were nice enough to sell online. I made another pile that weren’t as nice, but will put them in a garage sale that will happen in the spring. I put my summer items in a tote that I labeled “seasonal”. I also put my Christmas clothes (ugly sweaters) in this tote as well.  I went through my purses, bags, wallets, scarves, gloves and hats, and was able to eliminate more than half of those items as well. The majority of the extra hangers have been removed and put in a tote to use in my upcoming yard sale. The items left, that I wear regularly, were returned to my closet. Any item that I’m undecided about has gone back into my closet with the hanger hung up backwards. After two months, if I haven’t worn the items, they will be sold, either online or in my garage sale. More than half of my clothes are out! I dusted all the shelves, and all the flat surfaces in my bedroom. I have vacuumed the carpet, and used my carpet cleaner as well. I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH THIS ROOM!

 

SIDE NOTE: Part of my process of purging a room is having to post all of the nicer items I want to sell online IMMEDIATELY. This does a few different things for me. I AM COMMITTED TO MAKING THAT ITEM LEAVE MY HOME. I can’t keep it for myself if I have it for sale. I can be motivated by earning money when I sell them. I can’t move on to another room if I haven’t finished all of my processes. I have heard good things about Poshmark, so I took pictures of all those clothing items and posted them. That is part of my plan… posting my items. It keeps me motivated to get it done! I have already sold five items for a total of $45.00 in less than a week. NICE! All of the money I make from my belongings will be going into my emergency savings fund.        https://poshmark.com/

priority mail boxes      So far, I have been very happy with this website/app. They, of course, take a percentage of your selling price, BUT, it is all up front before you officially list your items. The shipping is super easy. Poshmark takes care of the shipping end of things. All you have to do is package up your sold item (very nicely please!), print out a shipping label (that they email to you), and tape it on your “Priority Mail” box (you get them FOR FREE from the post office!). Then you take it to your local post office, they scan your label, and you’re done!  I’m all for it!

I finished my monthly budget as well. It is very strict, but very doable! There will definitely be some self control needed, but we can do it! January is already my spending freeze month, (Boy, I have SO MUCH going on this month!), which coincides well with our new budget. I have done very well. Yes, I have been tempted of course, BUT I have squashed the urges to spend. Nothing I have been tempted by is a NEED, simply things I WANT. That’s the important thing to realize… the difference between the needs and the wants. ONLY NINETEEN DAYS TO GO!

*Budget done.

*Bedroom purged.

*Items have been put up for sale.

*Exercise happening routinely.

*Eating healthy regularly.

*Actively aware of my words and actions.

gold star

I’m giving myself a gold star for the progress I have made in these first twelve days. I have been successful in many things, and those I haven’t been completely successful in, I am aware of the problem and have committed to doing better and being better.

I hope you are finding great success this year. Stick with it.

YOU CAN DO IT!

New Year, New Resolutions

Happy New Year friends! I am hoping that 2018 was a good year for all of you. It was a decent year for me. A lot of things happened… some good, some bad. I really want 2019 to be MY year. I want to make things happen for me. I am determined.

I HAVE PLANS. I HAVE RESOLUTIONS.

Just like so many of you, I am jumping on the new year’s resolution bandwagon. Most years I don’t do the resolution thing. This year is different. I want 2019 to represent the start of something incredible… a journey towards self love, self improvement, and a more relaxed, stress free home environment. I am so eager for this journey, that I started purging my closet as I was waiting for 2019 to arrive.

Resolution #1 – Eating better/healthier – Don’t get me wrong. I am not a complete junk food consumer. I admit, however, that I thoroughly enjoy chocolate, cookies, and a nice assortment of candies. I like fruits and vegetables, although I need to make a more conscious effort to grab an apple in lieu of some sugar filled goody.  Part of the goal is to simply eat more salad… with healthier salad dressing included. I love ranch dressing, and I love bleu cheese as well. I discovered a lovely, simple, healthier dressing the other night while I was at my friends’ house for a party- a delicious vinaigrette consisting of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard. WHY HAVE I NEVER KNOWN ABOUT THIS? I’m hooked! I make my own croutons with homemade bread, olive oil, and a dash of garlic salt. Sounds pretty simple, right? I’M READY!

Resolution #2 – Letting the negativity go – This one has a few layers to it. Not only is my goal to not let negativity and bad things throughout my day bring me down, but I am going to try harder to keep negative comments to myself. I think it’s good to let my aggression and frustration out, but I will do that in private… that place may be in my office, my car, the restroom… that doesn’t matter, as long as I am not bringing others down with me. I will let it out, and then I will let it go.

Resolution #3 – Exercising – For much of last year, I had a good routine going with my treadmill. Then, my foot surgery happened, and I haven’t been able to do much since the beginning of October. My foot still bothers me, since I still am having some pretty routine bouts of swelling. I am not looking to run a marathon. I just want to spend 30 – 45 minutes on my treadmill a minimum of three days per week. That should be doable.

Resolution #4 – Purge my belongings – As I mentioned in my last post, I am ready to get rid of stuff! My goal this year is to have half of my belongings leave my home. I want the clutter to go away. I want to make my home more relaxing… a place of calm. I went through my entire closet this evening and I’m pretty sure nearly half is going to go away! Success! Some will be put up for sale on various sights, and what is left will be set aside for a garage sale this spring. My objective is to focus on one room every three weeks (or two weeks, depending on the size of the room), and clean from top to bottom… inside and out, getting rid of the non necessities, and nicely arranging what’s left. Yessssssss.

What goals have you set for yourself for 2019? Health? Happiness? Determination? Whatever your resolutions are for this new year, I wish you all the success you desire.

RR tracks 2019

Happy New Year!              LET’S MAKE THIS THE BEST YEAR EVER!

 

Minimalism – My new year will be the beginning of something wonderful

In a few months, my son will be moving back home from Japan. For awhile, he will be staying with my husband and I, until he gets settled back into a routine and gets his life situated. That means some rearranging of rooms will need to be done. I will be relocating my office/craft room upstairs to a bigger room where I won’t be so closed in. This room will be a multi-functional office, craft room, photo studio, and music studio all rolled into one. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Daunting? Perhaps, but I am super excited about the move. What I am most excited about, surprisingly, is the opportunity to go through EVERY SINGLE ITEM in my current room and deciding what I can get rid of! I’ve mentioned before about my fascination with minimalism. I know I could never pare things down as much as those minimalist, tiny house TV shows. I do know, however, that I can rid myself of things that I have been holding onto for years. You know, those things that have been stuffed in my closet and nearly forgotten about because they’re buried behind my guitar, cello, totes of fabric, stacks of paper, notebooks… There is seriously SO MUCH in there! You all should know by now that I hold onto things. I am a recovering pack rat, after all. I am always thrilled when the need arises for an item that I can run to my closet and, usually within a minimal amount of time, come out with said item in my hand. I’m telling you, it’s an amazing party trick! When my girls and I get together and the magic question is asked, “You know what we need?”, I can usually say, “Hold on a minute”, run to my room and emerge victorious. The response I get is, “Of course you have one!”.  That may be good, and it may be bad, but hey, I’m prepared!

Here are the questions to ponder, however… How often does the “magic question” get asked? How often do I use all those mostly unused things? Is it really worth having a closet so full of things that I have to take at least half of the contents of the closet out to find what I want? Is it worth all the stress I feel when I open the closet door and see ALL THE THINGS stacked up (as neatly as humanly possible) in there staring out at me? I WANT the answers to these questions to be truthful justifications in order to let my mind be at peace. It NEEDS to be a truthful reality that slaps me across the face… (Lightly though, I have delicate skin.)

Have you ever thoroughly deep cleaned and de-junk-ified a room? Vacuumed, dusted, completely organized… There is a feeling of complete satisfaction. You have a sense of relief and a wave of calm that washes over you. You look around and just… smile. This room is inviting and blissfully peaceful. I have felt that, and I want to feel it again… In every room in my home.

Too much stuff for sale

The new year is quickly approaching. I am mentally preparing myself for a year of being brutally honest with myself about my stuff, whether it be clothes, shoes, crafting tools, music related items, or camera equipment.  I’m determined to get rid of a lot of my things. I want to SELL as much of those things as possible to build up my savings. I have been told that Poshmark is a great app to use for selling clothes, so I am going to try it out. I’m going to use the Facebook Marketplace to sell other items. I’m going to contact my friends that have similar interests and see if they’re interested in those specialty items. I’m going to have at least one, or possibly two garage sales this year. Whatever doesn’t sell is going to be donated… IMMEDIATELY. What’s left in my home will be thoroughly cleaned, and put in a well thought out, very specific, purposeful, useful place. I’M GOING TO MAKE THIS WORK! The beauty of going to through my things this way is partly out of necessity, and part (to be honest) laziness. The more I choose to get rid of, the less I have to haul up a flight of stairs and find purposeful, useful places for. If I can make some money throughout this entire process as well, then that is an added bonus!

I will have approximately 4 months to get my rooms swapped around. That should be more than enough time to go through my current room and get everything moved upstairs. My son will be staying in my soon-to-empty office, and will have plenty of room and closet space.

I have quite a few goals for the upcoming year, which you will be hearing about very soon, BUT, one of the most important ones is this one. I have to have somewhere for my child to stay.

Are you tired of living under a pile of stuff? Are you ready to rid yourself of clutter instead it moving from place to place around your home? Are you ready to retrain yourself and your family to actually put things back in their designated place? I am!

I want 2019 to be a year of calm, peace, and a feeling of contentment. I’m so ready to make this happen! Are you? I’ll be your cheerleader. LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!

WE’LL DO IT TOGETHER!

 

 

Happy Holidays! Time to clean up your spending habits

Can you believe it? Christmas is finally here! In some ways it feels like just yesterday was the beginning of 2018. It also feels like it’s been, well, a year. How is everyone holding up? Have you all opened your presents after waking up entirely too early because of children or just sheer anticipation?

Merry Christmas one and all

This year has been a bit different than any other one I’ve ever had. My kids normally would wake us up around 8 am so that we can open presents, whether they lived at home or not. Today however, my son is spending some time in Japan, and my daughter and her husband (I love saying that!) are coming over this afternoon to exchange gifts and stay for dinner, along with one of my nieces. How bizarre it is, now that my children are all grown up and living on their own. Traditions are morphing into entirely new ones. I don’t mind, as long as my family is happy and healthy.

As I was getting ready this morning for the upcoming festivities, I was thinking about several things… First and foremost, I am gearing up for January. Those who know me know that January always means SPENDING FREEZE. The last month has been filled with buying presents and spending extra on groceries. It doesn’t take very long for my attitude and outlook to change when it comes to spending money. The Christmas season is brutal on me. I’m sure it has taken a toll on many of you as well. I have become accustomed to seeing things suitable for a gift and buying it. I will make a little side note here however… I AM very proud of myself for the amount of money I spent. With the help of coupons, store rewards, and rewards from my Amazon rewards credit card, I only spent around $25.00 out of pocket. My budget for Christmas was set at $250.00. I can’t complain about that! Every year millions of people go deep into debt because of Christmas. Maybe it’s the frugal side of me talking, or maybe it’s the budding minimalist emerging, but I am proud to say that I have incurred ZERO debt this holiday season! In fact, I am setting aside my saved $225.00 for next year!  WOO HOO!  

The second thing I was thinking about was a new budget for the upcoming year. In years past, I have dreaded drawing up a budget. We had a mountain of debt… multiple credit cards, car loans, house payments… It was incredibly stressful, and there was always too much month left at the end of our money. What a horrible existence! We have since paid off every credit card, and have locked them away. (I am still fighting with myself over closing some or all of those accounts.) All we have left for bills is the standard things… Mortgage, home and auto insurance, natural gas, cable/internet, cell phone, fuel, groceries, garbage, and our Amazon rewards credit card. There are still too many bills for my liking, but, I refuse to go without a phone, internet, or cable in some capacity. Please note that I DID NOT mention electricity. We invested in solar panels quite a few years back, and have never regretted it. I haven’t had a power bill since the month after we had them installed.  The panels paid for themselves in about 2 years! It is such a help to our finances. My husband renegotiated our cable/internet bill and got it lowered by $90/month. We did the same with our cell phone bill. Our natural gas bill is paid on an equal pay plan. No matter summer or winter, we pay the same amount. I always budget and pay an extra $10 per month to offset the winter months, just in case. They send me a check in the spring if there’s an overage. That goes straight into savings. I cannot stress this enough… HAVING A BUDGET AND STICKING TO IT IS SO IMPORTANT! I urge all of you to sit down over the next week and make a budget for 2019. I have included some helpful worksheets to help you. Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” is an amazing book that I have read and reread over the last several years. These worksheets, which I have included two below, are amazing tools that will allow you to build your budget. I highly recommend acquiring this book.

I’m going to let you in on a secret here. As much as I detest credit cards, I am in love with the Amazon rewards credit card. I pay every bill I can with that card… cable, cell phone, insurance, doctor bills, garbage, gas, and groceries. I budget the hell out of everything just like I would if I was paying cash. You have to have a lot of self control, but I am going to spend the same money, whether I pay with cash, check, or debit card. If I use my Amazon card, I get money back. True, it is only useful on Amazon, BUT, I can get just about anything my heart desires there, and sadly, usually cheaper than a brick and mortar store. On top of that, since I live in a smaller city, there are many things I can’t get locally. You might not get the item instantly, but I can get it FOR FREE. I have had this card for just over a year, and I have made more than $800! Items for my daughters’ wedding? Paid on that card. Homeowner’s and car insurance? Yep. Cable, cell phones, gas, groceries… everything possible, and I get a percentage back… anywhere from 1% – 5% depending on what I use it on. Every little bit helps. I pay my credit card bill every two weeks when my I get my paycheck, and I love it. My frugal self is ecstatic about it. Yes, I am still frugal about the things I spend my free money on, of course. I still want the most “bang for my buck”, after all. If nothing else, this card has funded my hobbies, and that in itself is a beautiful thing. There are other rewards cards out there, and I’m sure other types of rewards could be more useful to all of you… airline miles, literal cash back, etc. If that works for you, then by all means, go for it! Just remember the reason you’re using the cards. If you choose to use a rewards card, use that credit card solely. Do not be sidetracked by the rewards though, YOU STILL HAVE TO ABIDE BY YOUR BUDGET!

The new year is almost here, and I want each and every one of you to succeed. I want all of you to achieve your goals. Plan now, and reap the benefits in the months to come.

I hope this day has brought you love, peace, time with family and/or friends, and fond memories to reflect on later in your lives.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE

Love to everyone

Charity during the Holidays: Focusing on the GIVING instead of the GETTING

DECEMBER IS FINALLY HERE! Have I mentioned how much I love the holiday season? The music, the lights… I love finding/making the perfect gifts for my family and friends. Granted, I am not all that fond of cold weather and snow (I am nearly ALWAYS cold unless it’s above 70° F), but I can appreciate how beautiful it is… from indoors.

What this season also means for me is giving to those who are struggling. When I was a child, we were a very frugal family. My parents saved every penny, used an impressive amount of coupons, and had an amazing budget. Every meal was made from scratch, and our annual garden was gigantic. My mom canned, froze, or dried every food available. My dad was our sole income for a long time. He was an auto mechanic at one of the local dealerships, so his paychecks varied by how much work came through the door. No cars meant no money. There were times when my dad came home from work at noon and didn’t go back to work for a week. Times were tough.

Our church would put Christmas boxes together for the less fortunate (we always called them “poor boxes” when I was little) with presents and food. I distinctly remember getting some of those boxes one year. My brother and I never knew we were struggling financially. My parents never discussed finances with us. We knew things were pretty bad when the boxes showed up on our doorstep. My mom had tears of gratefulness and relief in her eyes, and even though my dad didn’t show a lot of emotion, I could feel the wave of stress flow away when he brought those boxes into the house.

As an adult, I also know what it was like to struggle. I remember one year, when my kids were small, how little we had. We couldn’t even scrape enough together to buy a Christmas tree. Honestly, we didn’t even have a place to put a real tree in our little home. I contemplated how I was going to make the season festive for our kids.

No money for a tree? Try taping construction paper to a wall. Sometimes it’s all you can do.

As you already know, I am a craftsy person. I hold onto various art materials… you know, just in case. (**NOT a hoarder! LOL!) I made a construction paper tree and taped it to the wall. I had some tiny ornaments that my grandma had given me. I paperclipped them to our little tree. I sure wish I had owned a camera back then. I recall being very impressed with myself for our little 3 foot paper tree. The kids were happy we had a tree to put presents under.

 

I WANT OTHER FAMILIES TO FEEL RELIEF AND JOY… ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOLIDAYS. I am able to do that, with the help of my employer.

Every year, my employer adopts local families for the holiday season. Every store within our company adopts a family. We contact our local schools or churches, and have them nominate families in dire need of assistance. Wish lists are made, and my coworkers and I get to go shopping and buy food, presents, clothes, shoes, and coats for them. I use my money saving skills to aid in the shopping. I use every coupon and sale to our advantage to give as much as possible with the funds available to us… Maximum benefits with minimal money. The more I can get, the better! We wrap them up, label them, and deliver them before school closes for the winter break. It literally brings tears to my eyes to see the parents’ faces when we walk in with bag after bag filled with presents. I cannot begin to tell all of you how much it means to me to bring some joy and peace to someone that is struggling.

Here’s what I’m asking of you for this year, and years to come… I want each and every one of you to do some random act of kindness for someone else – preferably a stranger. I don’t care if it’s as simple as a kind word or little gesture. Focus on giving joy. Don’t make this statement dirty, and don’t think it means that you have to give away everything you own. I just want there to be more good deeds being done. This world NEEDS more kind words and kind gestures… with nothing required in return, with no strings attached. The feeling of inner peace I get from serving others far outweighs any physical thing I could possibly receive.

One of my dear friends made me this pallet tree several years ago, and it’s what I use every year instead of a live tree. I adore it.

 

Let’s get out there and do some good in the world. Let’s show some kindness and set a good example for those around us. Let’s inspire others to do the same.

 

LET’S SHOW SOME LOVE!

 

Keeping your sanity during the holidays

This past month has been a whirlwind of activity in my world. I can’t believe how quickly it has flown by! Work, home, family, friends… oh my! The next month is going to get even busier. How are you going to handle the craziness?

I have mentioned in previous posts about ramping up for the Christmas season early. Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? (I’m SO CLOSE to being done. I have one person on my list that I’m still struggling to find the perfect gift for. I’ll figure it out, hopefully sooner than later.) Getting the majority of your shopping done earlier in the year can help take stress out of the season. The pressure isn’t there. You’ve already purchased your gifts (I’m hoping at a great bargain), and now all that’s left to do is wrap them up. I’m telling you, frantically running all over town on Christmas Eve, along with half of the population of my city, DOES NOT sound like fun to me. That scenario stresses me out just thinking about it!

Reuse, reuse, reuse!

Oh so lovely, and easy!

 

Wrapping presents is one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love making my initial present look just as lovely as what’s inside. I know I’m a weirdo, but I LOVE it. I also love finding the perfect box, wrapping paper, and ribbon. Yes, I’m a perfectionist on this subject. Cell phone boxes are one of my favorite boxes. Many of them have magnetic closures, and they’re really easy to wrap. Chip containers also make excellent gift boxes. Clean them out with a Lysol wipe, use wrapping paper or scrap-booking paper on the outside, and some ribbon, and you’re done!  You don’t have to use them just for foodie gifts… use your imagination here! I once log-rolled fuzzy pajamas into a Fritos can for my daughter. I was pretty proud of myself for that one, and she was impressed at my creativity. She had no idea what was in there.

 

Little items, like jewelry, wrap nicely in cute little boxes

 

 

This little metal box was actually a container filled with staples. It’s perfect for jewelry, or other little things.

I am also a big fan of using old Christmas cards and calendar pages for gift boxes. Gift cards would fit nicely in some of these, as well as jewelry. Add some ribbon to these little babies, and you’re good to go!

 

 

 

 

Instead of throwing cards away, repurpose into gift boxes

 

If you want to get really creative, you can make your boxes from scratch. There is an endless amount of gift box patterns available online. Poster board is one of my best friends for this. I have made some adorable boxes using poster board and gluing fabric to the outside. Like I said before… Get creative!

WHEN I AM PREPARED, I FEEL RELAXED.

Poster board and fabric… the possibilities are endless!

There’s a lot going on in here!

 

I’m pretty sure we all do. That’s what it’s all about for me. I have my stash, and my presents acquired. Crank up the Christmas music, and let’s get to wrapping! By the time Christmas Eve is here, all you’ll need to do is curl up with some hot cocoa, a blanket, and enjoy the fire in your fireplace (if you have one).

 

 

 

I’m not saying you have to be a hoarder of all things boxes, but it totally takes the panic out of wrapping when you have items on hand to choose from.

 

 

Let’s ENJOY the holiday season. Enjoy spending time with your family and friends. Think ahead, and have the time to do the really important things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The art of humility

Over the last few weeks, since my surgery, as I have been forced to stay off my foot the majority of the day, I have learned a valuable lesson in humility. I have always been a do-it-myself, independent woman. Over the last three and a half weeks, I haven’t been able to do… well, not very much. I went back to work two weeks ago, with the understanding that my foot has to be elevated for at least fifteen minutes every hour. All of this has reigned in my ego.

Not only have I had to rely on other people to fix my food, get me water, and pain medication, I have had to have help putting on my clothes, going to the bathroom, taking a shower, climbing the stairs, and getting situated in bed. I am so very grateful for all the help that my family and friends have given me.

I have always had a problem accepting help. I don’t want to say that I feel like it’s charity… It just makes me feel like I have no control of myself, I suppose. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel incapable. I have had to ask for help… straight up, verbally,  ASK for help… Not beating around the bush hinting that “it would be nice if… but I don’t want to trouble you just because I need to go to the bathroom” asking. It has been an eye opening experience for sure. I think the internal struggle within me stems from my shyness. I am happy to say that I am getting better about that.

Ah, the things we do to be pain free… eventually.

So, as I sit here reflecting over the last nearly four weeks of recovery, I can honestly say that this foot surgery has been the most painful, challenging experience that I think I’ve ever had as an adult. Seriously! I don’t think even childbirth was this bad. I deal with pain pretty well, but WOW! I’m sure it’s probably because it’s a foot, after all. I’m thinking that it will all be worth it if I can eventually walk without pain anymore.

 

My lovely daughter having a movie night with me.

 

 

My daughter, bless her heart, gave up an evening to have a movie night with me. She brought me a chocolate milkshake and we watched Hocus Pocus, the movie. I had never seen it. I know, I know… I’m probably the only one who hasn’t. It was cute, and dramatically, wonderfully cheesy. I loved it.

 

 

I have had a little bit of fun through all of this though. I have never used one of those electric motor carts at the grocery store. I got to use one at Costco, and it was so much fun! That made me pretty happy. I just wish that it went quite a bit faster!

 

 

What I’m trying to explain here is this…  It is okay to accept help when you need it. It is okay to feel like you don’t have it all together all the time. People feel the urge to help others. LET THEM. Not only is it good for you to receive the help, it is good for other people to provide it. Let people have the opportunity to provide a service to their fellow men and women. We need to feel needed.

So, what are you going to do to help someone today?

 

 

Time for a check up

I had foot surgery last week to correct a painful bunion. I’ve had my share of surgeries. Granted, none that were life threatening, but surgery all the same. I used every hour of vacation I had to be able to fix my foot so that I can, hopefully, walk without pain once again.

I’ve had almost a week to sit and think about so many things. My foot, obviously, is one of my biggest subjects of deep thought… along with my finances.

As painful as my recovery has been, I am appreciative for the opportunity to sit back and regroup.

The Bunion Debacle

Even the surgeon marks the foot to be operated on to ensure a good outcome.

I’ve decided to make October another spending freeze month.  Besides the fact that I’m condemned to a boot for the next four to six weeks, I don’t feel like going anywhere, and I’m too tired to do anything…. including shopping online. Speaking of tired, let’s take a time out while I take a nap. Seriously.

One of my main reasons for another spending freeze should be pretty obvious. Doctor’s bills. Funny thing about health insurance… Sure, it helps pay for medical costs, but you’ll still end up paying out the nose for surgery. How ironic that our insurance year restarts in October, just three days before my surgery. Say goodbye to all of the deductible I have paid in. It’s also so sad that my benefits changed. My deductible went up by a thousand dollars. Our open enrollment event happened, and my medical insurance almost didn’t happen. The only thing that saved my finances at all was the hospital calling to pre-authorize my medical coverage. It was discovered that a glitch occurred in the rollover of my insurance information. The only coverage I had was for prescriptions. WOW. Needless to say, I freaked out and made a barrage of phone calls to multiple people to try and get things straightened out in time for my surgery, which was happening in two days. Thankfully, human resources pulled through, and my coverage was restored in tact, and in time. I am very fortunate, and thankful for my surgery. (I think… So, so painful!)

I will be making arrangements for a payment plan for my out of pocket costs for my surgery. That makes sense. My spending freeze will be most helpful. Reevaluating my monthly budget will help me achieve my goals.

May I suggest to ALL of you, to connect with your insurance providers and make sure your coverage is good. Had I not had my upcoming surgery, I possibly would not have known about the glitch for months. I have prescriptions that I get every month, which would have been covered, HOWEVER, if a medical problem had happened, I would have been left owing much more money, with nothing to be done about it.

TIME FOR A CHECK UP!

 

 

 

A lesson in life, learned through death

When someone we know leaves this earthly existence and makes that heavenly journey to the afterlife, we tend to reflect on our past and present… evaluate and scrutinize every little thing… Our successes, our failures, our entire lives…  all of the “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. We contemplate what everything is, and the meaning of life. At least, I know I do.

I read a Facebook post Thursday morning that made me suck in my breath and cry. Not just cry, but truly saddened me to my core. To be completely honest, it has been at the forefront of my thoughts ever since… so many emotions… sadness, anger, guilt…  All those emotions for a life lost, for the struggle, for the long fight. And I feel so incredibly bad… so guilty. I should’ve been a much better friend. I should’ve halted my busy life and acted when the impression presented itself to me.

There are valuable lessons to be learned here, aren’t there?  Listen to that inner voice. Cherish life, cherish love, cherish your friendships! In this ever busy world, isn’t it worth it to spend a little time cultivating those relationships with our friends. Some of these friendships have lasted for decades. Some were suspended and frozen in time… graduation happened, and decades went by. A class reunion reunites us and it’s as if no time has passed at all. Sometimes, reuniting with our friends happens through the miracle of cyber space. I am so thankful for it. (I am a horrible letter writer. Go figure!) The memories are sweet, the memories are painful, the memories are precious…. yet we take them all for granted. It isn’t until our friends are gone that we realize how dear all those memorable experiences truly were. All of the regrets set in. “I should’ve took that five minutes and sent an email/text.” “I could’ve, but I ended up getting sidetracked by —.”  “I would’ve, had I known about —.”   So many excuses…

CAN WE PLEASE STOP WITH ALL THE EXCUSES?!

You see, I had this friend in high school. We were in quite a few classes together. I remember the band trips, the marching band, pep band games and how much fun we had. I remember sitting next to her in other classes and laughing about things.  I remember getting stern “talkings to” from several teachers for doing things that shouldn’t have been done. Haha! After we graduated, we lost touch, as so many of us did. We reconnected quite a few years ago thanks to the beauty of Facebook, and my life has been better for it. Ann loved life, loved her family, enjoyed her job, and had a wonderful sense of humor. I looked up to her back in high school, and admired her positive attitude. I was shocked by the news of her ALS diagnosis. We chatted on occasion, and I kept up on how she was doing. Ann was so strong, so transparent, so open about her illness. She was positive, and held onto her sense of humor through it all. I had every intention of going to visit her. Then my anxiety would kick in…. I didn’t want to invade her home. I didn’t know where she lived. I didn’t want to intrude on her family. So many lame excuses… I am seriously the worst friend. Ever. And now… well, she has passed on.

Come on friends, life is too short to push people, or things aside. We all know this. Let’s try putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and envision their needs. Let’s try making a genuine effort. You just don’t know how much you will impact someone else’s life with those “little things” and kind words. Imagine the difference you can make. Remember the difference someone made for you.

Make a difference. Be the difference.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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No longer in pain… No longer broken. May you rest in peace, Ann. I hope to see you again someday. 💕

 

My life is a game of football

September is finally here! That means school is back in session, the weather will start to cool down, the leaves will be turning and falling soon, and football is back. I AM ELATED.

Many of you probably don’t care about football, or possibly sports in general, but it really has a special place in my heart.

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember watching football with my dad. Monday night football, Sunday games… Sitting with dad, getting rowdy, yelling at the tv, high fiving at the great plays… some of my favorite memories. I hope I never forget them.

You see, I relate to football on so many different levels… It’s a time for friends and family to come together, whether in celebration or disappointment. Either way, the conversation and company is amazing, and so is the food that’s consumed. The thrill of the game is intoxicating. I love the physicality of the players, the passion and attitude, and the strategy involved. (The payday is just a nice bonus!)

Life should be about our family and friends. Hold close to those who support and build you up… the ones that have your back. They celebrate with you in the good times, and are there for you during the hard times. These are the people to cling to. They may even show up with delicious food.

Every minute of your life should be a thrill… appreciated and intoxicating. Living life to the fullest. Is it always that way? No, but is it possible to change your view and make it so? It might be tough, but be happy you get to play the game.

I am passionate about a lot of things. When I’m pumped, I yell, dance, and celebrate. When I’m angry, I tend to lash out, with attitude. (Throat punch Thursday anyone?) Our lives are full of highs and lows. It requires strategy and poise. It’s okay to celebrate your successes,  but not to the detriment of others. It’s okay to be disappointed when things don’t go our way, but don’t be a sore loser. Reevaluate and make adjustments as needed.

Football

Strategize and succeed

Put a positive spin on your game of life. Prepare for the unknown. Have a game plan. Dance when you succeed. Keep your composure when you fail. Come back stronger when you try again. Unite with the players on your team and aim for the prize.

YOU’VE GOT THIS.