Thursday, October 29, 2015


You know those times when you come across something so heartfelt, it touches you deep?  That happened to me this morning.  It started on Facebook, a post that a friend had liked.  I clicked on the link and was sent to a blog written by a father and husband.  You might have heard of him- he is one part of Joey+Rory, the country music duo.  But from this man's writing, you'd never know he was "famous."  They have an incredible story to tell- a precious daughter with Down's Syndrome, and the wife is battling cancer for the second time.  Reading the sweet words, I was almost in tears and praying for this family that I've never met.  I think we need moments like these.  They remind you that life is short and we shouldn't take any moment for granted.

Take a moment and read about their story.  I think it will bless you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Money Making Mom: My first book review!

As mentioned in a previous post, I was chosen to be on the launch team for Crystal Paine's brand new book, Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference.
The book release date is November 3rd, but you can pre-order the hard copy or kindle version from Amazon now! (Just click the Amazon link at the bottom of the post.) And, if you go to the Money Making Mom Book site, you can get some free bonuses for pre-ordering! Since I am on the launch team, they sent us a .pdf copy of the book, but I have already pre-ordered the hard copy; it was that good!

Without giving away too much information, I want to give you a quick overview of this book.

This is not a "how to make money quick" book.  It isn't filled with instant ideas to start a business.  But what it is, is a guide to help women (or men!) to find out what their talents and abilities are, to brainstorm ideas on how to bring in an income from home, and what to do after they start that business.  It is full of amazing advice and encouragement.

The first chapter discusses what financial freedom is, and what it means to you.  This is a great foundation to start on because you need to find your "why," what motivates you and will continue to motivate you when times are hard.  This is extremely important for this and many aspects of life, to avoid burnout and giving up.

The second chapter was probably my favorite.  Crystal walks you through a process to brainstorm what are your abilities, talents, and passions.  This was extremely helpful to me, because at first glance, I don't seem to have an overwhelming passion that could easily translate to a business.  Through this chapter, I was able to brainstorm and write down all of the abilities, talents, and passions that I have, and to triangulate which ones could potentially bring in an income for me.  So eye-opening and inspiring.

In the following chapters, Crystal goes through what the next steps are; how to get your business going.  There is some very helpful and practical advice on how to get your momentum going.  She also talks you through what to do when your idea doesn't work.  Crystal shares personal stories of things that didn't work for her.  While it looked like a failure at the time, it was actually a necessary step for what was to come.  It is very encouraging to know that when we fail, it isn't actually a failure, but a step to the next opportunity.

Concluding the book, Crystal delves into the opportunities that an income from home can provide.  It is great to make an income from home, but what we do with that income makes all the difference in the world.  If is great to have money, but if we don't use it wisely, there's no point to having it!

I learned so much from this book.  I want to share it with everyone I know! My mother and I are in the process of starting an embroidery and monogramming business.  I realized that my talents are best used collaborating with my mom and her plans- plans that I am very excited about too!  I will be able to use the marketing and public relations that I learned in college, along with the creativity and organizing skills that I have.  A great match!  I will keep you updated on how the business is progressing.

Lastly, I just want to encourage you again to pre-order this awesome book.  I know you will be glad that you did!

If you want a taste of the material that is in the book, you can sign up for this free 5-day course, "How I Make a Full-Time Income From Home."

*Disclaimer: contains affiliate links

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Be Present

I just watched a video that really got to me and convicted me.  You can watch it here.  It's a Periscope video from The Tag Team, a group that trains direct sellers on how to have effective and successful businesses.  Now, they talk about more than just business, but how, women especially, should live their life.  Check out this video here that talks about how we need to get rid of negative self talk and to tell ourselves the opposite of what we think: for example, I am beautiful, I am loved, etc. This particular scope was about how to find balance between family and work. Please watch these even if you aren't a direct seller or business owner, or a woman.  These are things that everyone needs to hear.

Anyway,  In the first video I referenced about how to balance work and family, Amanda talks about how she has believed before that she isn't a good mother.  So, she has committed to telling herself, "I am a good mom."  Rachel and Amanda (The creators of The Tag Team), have both committed to be present with their families in the evenings and on weekends instead of work taking over.  Amanda said how she asked her kids what they needed or what would make them feel more loved.  The answers differed, but basically boiled down to her actually spending quality time with them, to be present instead of just being in the same room and being on her phone.  She gets emotional in the video and really speaks honestly about the struggles that moms and wives face regarding being present.

This really hit home with me.  My husband and I have had several conversations about me being constantly on my phone.  It has actually been a problem with me for quite some time.  It has caused issues with my family in the past, and now with my husband.  I have tried to be better about being on my phone when we are spending time together, but it has become such a habit, it has been hard to break.  It is not that I don't enjoy spending time with him, I very much do! He is so fun to be around.  He is silly sometimes then other times we have amazing and deep conversation.  But this nasty habit has been hard to break, and I haven't tried as hard as I should to remedy it.  So, I've decided to delete the Facebook App on my phone.  The app makes it too easy to click on, and up pops my news feed.  I don't want to completely get rid of Facebook altogether, because of the few friends I keep in touch with, and my business page, but I have decided to only check it periodically at work.  If he is watching football or something, and I have time, I can check it on the computer at home.  Basically, I want it to be an intentional thing, not just habit.  I have also deleted the Pinterest App on my phone as well.  I can get caught up in the endless scrolling and waste time that way also.

So here it is, in black and white, plastered all over the internet that this is what I am going to do.  This is my accountability.  I am striving to be the best wife and friend and family member that I can be.  Not to mention to use my time more wisely than wasting it on social media.

Where do you stand on the phone issue?  Do you use yours too much?  Are you really present with your family?  Have you found a way to keep it in check?  I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Find Your Peeps!

Yesterday I look a couple hours off work and headed 2 hours south to attend Premier Designs training with the ladies in the Premier group I started with.  I was great to see these encouraging and inspiring ladies!  I don't go to training every month there, because of the two hours (one-way) drive, but I am thankful for the times I am able to.

One of the biggest blessings that I have found through Premier is getting to know these amazing women.  I expected the pretty jewelry, the income, the business-y part of things, but not the relationships that I would gain.

The point of this post is not to gush about Premier designs (which I could do all day, by the way, just ask me!), but to encourage you to find your peeps! Find those people who are kindred spirits, who enjoy things you enjoy, who have kids your kids age, etc.  It is SO important, especially for women, to find those relationships and surround yourself with encouraging women.  Life is not meant to be lived alone.  It isn't meant to be lived with JUST your spouse, or JUST your kids.  We are meant to live in a community of family and friends, those people who encourage and uplift us.

Now, I realize that not all your family or friends are uplifting.  There are people in our lives that we cannot avoid, and those people are meant to be sandpaper to smooth your rough edges.  However, you should not waste all your time and energy on these people.  Life is too short to fill your time with people who put you down or discourage you.  Find those people who love you for you, and no matter what, will be there to encourage you.

Who are your peeps?

Friday, October 9, 2015


I have always loved to save money.  I am a sucker for a good deal, and have always tried to be a good steward of the money I have.

Being young and semi-newly married (December makes 3 years!), saving money has gone from a hobby to a necessity.  Recently, since my husband has gone back to school full-time and we are down to one income, our money has gotten tighter; and now, due to some unforeseen circumstances, it is even more so.

So now I am faced with the challenge of paying all our bills and finding some way to afford gas and groceries as well.  I will admit that I had a breakdown at first- a moment of "how in the world are we going to manage this and still eat?!?!" But then I settled into my attitude of "there's always a way."  We won't let this defeat us, and we will find a way to break even.

First, let me acknowledge that we have some amazing family, and neither side would let us starve to death.  For that, we are so very, very thankful.  But now that we are married and living on our own, it is our responsibility to manage our own finances and not rely on someone to bail us out.

The first thing we did was find ways to bring in more income.  I read on The Humbled Homemaker that you might not have a spending problem, you might have an income problem.  Both my husband and I are going to work part time helping my parents to do some work on a house they are trying to sell, and another property they are fixing up to rent.  We can make more money that way, and it is also more flexible with our schedule than both of us getting separate part-time jobs.  Not to mention, we can do this together, and not be spending weekends apart at other jobs.

I am coming up with a few strategies to save extra money as well.  First, I am cancelling our non-necessary bills.  There aren't many of them, but every little bit helps.  We subscribed to Netflix for $9 a month, so that has been cancelled.  We are also debating whether or not to cancel our internet service.  It isn't on contract, so we could cancel now, and get it back when things improve.  Also, we have unlimited data on our phones, so using that instead will work for homework and browsing the web.

Our cell phone and satellite are both on contract, and each one would cost $300 to cancel.  Yikes. So we will continue with those for now.

Our gas and grocery budget is another thing to tackle.  We are being very mindful of unnecessary trips.  I don't leave work for lunch (bonus: I get to leave an hour early!) and Jason doesn't leave campus until he is done with school for the day.  His class schedule makes it difficult for us to commute together.

As far as groceries go, My family has a full beef in the freezer, and we all are able to use that as we need.  Not having to buy meat will save us a lot. We are cutting back on extras like frozen, pre-cooked items, convenience breakfasts, eating out, and sodas and drinks.  I am trying to look at the things I already have in my pantry, and finding meals that I only need one or two ingredients to complete, instead of planning meals where I need to purchase several ingredients.  I am looking at making some soups and stews too, as those are very cost effective. Red beans and rice is a very inexpensive meal that is tasty too.  You can leave out the sausage to make it only pennies for a serving!

As I come up with other strategies to save/make money, I will be posting them here.

What are your favorite ways to earn or save money?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Return to Reading

As a child learning to read, I struggled.  I didn't like reading, and I especially didn't like sounding out words out loud and reading out loud. But through the continued example and encouragement of my mother, I eventually developed a love for reading.  Through my middle school years, all the way through college, I have read a lot.  Most of my voluntary reading has been fiction, mostly Christian fiction. I could go on and on about my favorite authors and series of books.  And if you want to know, please ask!

Since graduating college, I haven't read nearly as much as I used to.  I'm not sure entirely why.  It wasn't for lack of time, or because I couldn't find new books to read (there has always been a library nearby when I didn't have the money for new books).  I really can't pinpoint the reason.  But whatever the reason, I have started reading more, beginning this summer.  I moved jobs, from the banking industry to being in a secretarial/clerical position at the university.  I started my new job in April, and soon thereafter, summer had come and students had gone.  There wasn't much for me to do as far as busywork, just to be present to answer the phone, emails, and any questions from people stopping by the office.  Because of that, I had lots of dead time during my workday.  So, being low on funds, I picked up my Kindle (a graduation present from my parents) and searched for all the free fiction books I could find.  A lot of the free books from Amazon are good, but some aren't as good as my beloved, tried and true authors.  I also borrowed a book and found some oldies but goodies to re-read.

Lately, I have been following Crystal Paine over at  I have discovered a new form of social media, Periscope.  It is a live streaming app that alerts you when people you follow are streaming live.  Crystal has been "scoping" every week day morning, and I try to hop on, or view the replay later (it is only available for 24 hours after they've gone live).  Crystal is an avid reader and posts reviews and recommendations.  The books she reads are different that my normal fiction books; most of them are self help/encouragement/how to.

It has occurred to me that other than my jobs, I haven't learned anything new in a long time.  I haven't taken time for self improvement.  Now, I have started taking classes to earn a master's degree, but as far as personal improvement, I haven't done anything.

Now, I won't abandon completely my fiction and classics. But I think if I add books to my reading lists about finances, social media, blogging, entrepreneurship, and spiritual and individual growth, that I will grow as a person.

I wish I had an unlimited Kindle book or Barnes and Noble budget, but since that is only a fantasy, I have reserved some books from the library on campus.  I find myself eagerly checking the website to see if they are available to pick up.

Here are the titles I have reserved:

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (I thought my husband, as well as myself would enjoy this one)

The Book Theif by Markus Zusack (This is a work of fiction, but the movie was so good, I had to read the book)

What is on your reading list?

Book Launch Team

So I have some exciting news!  I was picked to be on the book launch team for Crystal Paine's new book Money Making Mom that will be released November 3rd.  I was so excited to be included!  I was sent a copy of the book to read, and I have joined a Facebook group to discuss with the other team members.  All we have to do is read the book, mark quotes and ideas that inspired us, then write reviews for the book on Amazon, our blog, and social media.

So far I am LOVING this book.  Crystal Paine, the creator of the blog "Money Saving Mom" and author of several books, is all about helping families save money and live frugally.  Money-saving ideas and ways to cut your budget are important, but this book addresses another aspect of budgeting: when you don't have a spending problem, but you have an income problem.  It helps inspire and create ideas as well as practical applications on how to create income, especially at home. Visit the book's website here.

This is a book after my own heart.  It has long been a dream of mine to be able to stay home when we have children.  It is very hard to live on one income, especially when that one income isn't very large.  While we are young and don't have children, my husband and I are trying to work our way up to a larger income.  My husband went back to school full time in January of this year to finish his degree.  I am working full time, and part time with my Premier Designs jewelry business. When he graduates and gets a job, our focus will be saving and paying off debt.  Then, hopefully, we will be ready to start our family, and be in a position for me to stay home.  That's the plan at least!

Just wanted to give you a sneak peek into Money Making Mom. If it sounds like something you are interested in, you can pre-order the book here. You can also do a free 5-day course on how to make a full-time income at home. Let me know what you think!