Vulnerability is scary, let’s just try Approachability

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People are afraid of being vulnerable. And for good reason! Being vulnerable by definition means making yourself open to attack. All your defenses are down. You could be destroyed.

And yet. We can’t stay impenetrable all the time. If we wear 800 layers including rubber gloves and three face masks there’s no way we can touch each other or be touched. Not to mention all those tall walls we’ve built around ourselves….
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Let’s shift instead to the idea of becoming approachable. That sounds safer, right? If someone approaches us in a quiet manner, that is okay. If they speak to us gently, that might be okay. We might even be able to connect. We might be able to be honest. We might slowly open our hearts. We might become transparent and unrestrained.

And eventually, we might be able to hold each other and speak heart-to-heart.
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Instead of being vulnerable, let’s start with allowing ourselves to become approachable.

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Year in Review: 2015

January:
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New Years Findells at Baja with Alyssa and Anne
Started breakfasts with Dawn
Saturn Return began
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Allison started coming to my church
We ate bugs in Anne’s class
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I completely organized my closet
Collage goal setting parties

February:
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Project Warm Heart #pwh with Anne and TJ
One of the first people to be told about Savanna’s pregnancy
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Took pregnancy massage class so I could work on Savanna her whole pregnancy
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Craig Snodgrass made Valentine’s for Laura and I
Figured out my signature style & wardrobe into-mind.com
Cooked salmon for the first time
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Spent a snowy day at Molly’s with Caitlin
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March:
Played Quelf with Brigitte, Henry, Savanna, & Chad
TJ’s niece, Elise was born 03.04.15
Sent Brigitte off to Florida
Got my first pedicure with Caitlin
Found out I was allergic to MSG
Went to BANFF with Caitlin in Charlottesville
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Made a birthday key lime pie for Laura on pie day 3.14.15
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Had brunch at the Boars Head with mom and grandma
Started writing with Aubrey

April:
Started using the Bible app

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PWH Easter egg hunt with Anne Buzzelli

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Lymphatic drainage class
LeeAnn came to visit
Spent a lot of time with Molly binge-watching Downton Abbey

May:

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Mowed the lawn for the first time
Pablo stuff

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Glenn’s graduation
Molly moved to South Dakota

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Had a memorial day picnic

June:

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Celebrated the life and work of my friend, Mary Echols

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Got my hair cut

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Met Erika
Went to Jack’s funeral
Molly came to visit

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Started going for walks just for fun
Became gluten intolerant

July:
My 29th birthday!

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Dinner with Molly and church girls

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Spent time with my Melissa

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Waffle breakfast with friends at The Store
Did elimination diet
Read The Art of Asking
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Brigitte came home from Florida for a massage & we all went out to dinner and played Cards Against Humanity at Byers Street

Went to a beautiful Hour Economy outdoor dinner
Met Kelly

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Savanna’s baby shower
TJ&I took a break
Started getting acupuncture

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July 28th GOT OUT OF DEBT
Savanna’s baby, Scarlett was born 07.30.15

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Watched Marx Brothers movies outside at By&By
Confirmed gluten intolerance

August:

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Caitlin moved to Alaska

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Hiked humpback 2x

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Started going to farmers market with Kat and Kirsten
Dinner and yoga at Erika’s
Shopped at Aldi
Collage party

September:

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Gave Scarlett a massage (full circle!)
Saw The Importance of Being Earnest@ the Blackfriars
Forgave Pablo
Depressed

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Dyed hair RED
Started going to Lisa Shelton

October:
Addicted to sugar

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Road trip to VT (survived near fatal incident)
Became good friends with Kat
Scary movies with Kat and Kirsten (Babadook!!)

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Scary movies and pumpkin carving with TJ
Clothing swap
SVAC art opening with art from Beverly Street, talked to Buddy
Became community group leader
Planted bulbs
Cheese allergy
Bev depressed
Went to vineyard with Erika
Started spending money, again (after 2.5 years of not shopping)
Mary’s 90th birthday
Ros got engaged
Said goodbye to Kelley

November:
Memorized psalm 19:7-11 and recited in front of church
Helped mom konmari her clothes
Mom cleaned downstairs
Kat and I watched “”Feces of An Angel”” (actually called Faces of an Angel….but it was soooo terrible) and bonded
Konmaried all my papers
Started studying hormones
Started getting a different kind of bodywork almost every week
TJ went on a cruise
Mom let me borrow her car and I went on a shopping spree
James Bond at Visulite with Kat and co.

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Terri came to visit
Read Wuthering Heights
Kat and mom and I went to see The Suffragette in Harrisonburg
Sparkles and Sweets
Compiled all my electronic gear and konmaried all my photos on my laptop

December:
Gift shopping

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Beth came to visit from England!
Sad news with Molly
Got everyone to take MBTI.
Spaghetti night with Kat
Raindrop session
Mom raised my rent
TJ and I had cocoa and movie night at my house
“Crafternoon” Cocktail party
Frank died

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Designed my new logo
Breakfast with Suzanne (she decided to start a breakfast club)

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Mom and I had a little Christmas by ourselves

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Had Christmas with TJ and his family and his little niece, Elise.

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Chose my word for the year: EXPAND

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Spent a very introverted New Years walking around downtown

Letters&Brunch–January

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Saturday was the first meeting of Letters and Brunch.

Where: It was held at Nu Beginnings (AKA The Store) in Staunton.
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Who: My mom and my friends Melissa, Willow, and Kelly.

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We ate delicious food. Mom had oatmeal, I ate gluten free scones!!, Willow ate a waffle, and Melissa had the colonial breakfast. Yummmm.
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I wrote 3 letters! Willow and Kelly taught us how to make envelopes from calendar pages.
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I am so happy we did it!

Thank you to Alexandra Franzen for the idea :)
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Do you like the idea of actually keeping in touch with your friends instead of beating yourself up for not following through? Do you also like food?

Feel free to drop by!! 10-1 the first Saturday of the month :)

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (a review)

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So, I REALLY wanted to review this book The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and the goodreads app is being bratty and I can’t figure out how to do it on their website….I was, however, able to rate it 5 stars.

But, I would have rated it 20 if I could.

I have never been an Amanda Palmer fan. There’s so much music out in the world and I just haven’t ever listened to hers.

All I knew about Amanda was from a few articles online that I’d glanced over about how she was an awful person for making a bunch of money and not paying her musicians…..or something like that. Okay, noted, I won’t listen to her. Moving on with my life.

Also, it bothered me that Neil Gaiman left his wife for her. (As though I’m personally invested in his life and have a right to any opinions on the matter….it turns out that Amanda and Neil have a completely gorgeous relationship which I totally adore now.)

Then I heard AFP on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. She seemed really cool. Funny. Smart. And knowing the caliber of people Tim Ferriss is drawn to, I appreciated her instantly.

I wrote the title of her book down to read later.

At the library I stumbled upon it in the new book section and thought HOORAY! Fate has led me to this very moment.

But, I had no idea.

This whole year my lesson has been VULNERABILITY. Becoming broken so I can blossom. Learning to trust that other people will be a safe haven when I’ve fallen and can’t get up.

It took about a page for me to fall in love with Amanda Palmer. Her openness is so beautiful. So often we live so closed off….afraid to expose ourselves to each other.

Amanda Palmer lives the life I’ve always wanted. Not because her life is easy (one point of the book is that her life isn’t) but because she lives in such a way that she brings others in around her to support her when she’s falling. And she lives to support those who support her. She loves to really SEE people in a world where no one ever feels seen anymore.

I realized I hadn’t watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, yet, so I immediately pulled it up. It made me cry. It was such a gorgeous presentation.

Then I listened to her music. The first song I ever heard was I Want You But I Don’t Need You. I was HOOKED. My goodness this is my kind of music. Song after song the presentation and the “Sylvia Plath-esque” lyrics made me so completely happy.

The whole book I felt like I was sitting in Amanda’s living room, being told a story while we sat on the floor together in kimonos and we munched on hummus and pita bread.

I was amazed, yet again, at how important it is to really listen to where another person is coming from. We just can NOT judge people based on other people’s opinions of them. We must go to the source with open hearts.

Her book reinforced the idea that it’s only when you let your guard down that other people trust you enough to let theirs down, too.

It opened up wonderful nighttime conversations with my best friend.

“I think it’s just because she’s SO open.&that’s what the book is all about.How we CRAVE that feeling of REALLY connecting….it’s an addictive feeling when someone trusts you enough to tell you everything.”

“People can only try to understand what you give them. If you don’t give anything, they don’t even get to try….”

“Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to reach out &touch somebody on a deeper level….to let someone really know you.”

Now the theme is continuing. I went to an acupuncturist in town, Emily Hedberg, and I felt like she really saw me. It made me feel so loved. She could see how I am so protective of my heart&what a hard time I have trusting people. I remembered so wanting to just be held and listened to when I was little….it’s amazing what our bodies remember.

When she talked to me about vulnerability, I told her about the book.

The cycle continues.

The gift must always move.

When you love people enough, they will give you everything.

Wordy Wednesday Writing Exercise: Tandem

Driving around in your beat up cadillac you play my favorite songs and reach over to brush some hair out of my face. Ever since I got my hair cut shorter, curls stick out in weird directions like television antennae. At least I’m getting good reception. 

Last night you took me out for lobster on your tandem bike. My feet kept slipping off the pedals….at one point I think I was even trying to drive us backwards. But, you kept your head up, guiding us safely, as always. 

We stopped at the top of the mountain and breathed in new perspective. I said, “Look how my glasses change color when I tilt my head. Are they rose colored or is this my blue period? Are we half full or half empty?”

(I was resisting the urge to throw myself off the edge of the scenic overlook.)

I’m tired of pedaling uphill all the time. Even with you in the lead, it’s hard work. 

I’m learning to ask you for things. I gave you my hand to pull me back from the edge. “I can hear snakes in the grass and I think it’s time to leave.”

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My 10 Favorite Items On My Amazon Wish List

My Top 3 Movies:

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Amelie (DVD)

The very best love story for introvert francophiles.

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As You Like It (DVD)

My favorite Shakespeare love story– full of feisty, intelligent women.

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Peanuts: I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (DVD)

My favorite Charlie Brown Christmas story. Way better than the more popular one.

The #1 Book on My List:

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Walking in This World by Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way is a life-changing book and this is Julia Cameron’s older and wiser sequel.

3 Foooooood Related Items:

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Frontier Herbs de Provence (1 lb. bag)

My very favorite spice blend. In a one-pound bag that could last me 10 years.

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Alessi Balsamic Reduction (set of 2)

The best addition to anything….slightly tangy, sweet and savory….perfect thickness. Yummy. (And a pack of 2 so they would last me at least 8 years.)

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LuguLake Electric Teapot

An electric tea kettle for my clients and for me when I don’t wanna wait for the water to boil on the stove. Look how pretty it is, too!

3 Essential oils:

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Harmony Young Living Essential Oil

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Transformation Young Living Essential Oil

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Awaken Young Living Essential Oil

My most common purchase on Amazon is essential oils.

These ones are still on my list because they are the ones I really REALLY want from Young Living but YLEOs are so dang expensive so I’m just waiting….someday I will use these in my massages and diffuse them during collage parties.

So, there you have it! My favorite items on my Amazon wish list :)

Thank you for reading!

If you haven’t filled out my survey yet, and you’d like to tell me about yourself, please go here:

https://artisticdrama.polldaddy.com/s/i-want-to-get-to-know-you

The 6 Things I Really Want from Etsy

I have an Etsy wish-list and there’s a bunch of stuff on there but these are the 6 things I really really REALLY actually want to own.

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this pancake-date card

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this am-I-pretty magnet

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this inspirational poster about beginning

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this other inspirational poster about going to Rome and doing the thing

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this important cereal-killer spoon

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this magical panda hoodie

Etsy is a magical place. The artists are so wonderful and it’s like shopping locally–online. When you purchase from Etsy you are supporting real people who love what they do.

Thank you for reading!

If you haven’t filled out my survey yet, and you’d like to tell me about yourself, please go here:

https://artisticdrama.polldaddy.com/s/i-want-to-get-to-know-you

6 Products I’ve Found on Pinterest

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constellation earrings from Etsy

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solar system necklace

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epic bear sleeping bag

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little ziplocks to make your own freeze pops!

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twinkle lights on copper wire

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everything from this company….their packaging is the best.

Have you ever bought something you found on Pinterest? I’m always so busy pinning that it never even occurrs to me….but the stuff on there is so cool!

Thank you for reading!

If you haven’t filled out my survey yet, and you’d like to tell me about yourself, please go here:

https://artisticdrama.polldaddy.com/s/i-want-to-get-to-know-you

Untitled Writer Prompt- Three Days Long

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3 days long.
I’ve been holding my breath down here.
Avoiding the stench of these unsifted emotions that we just step over all the time like mounds of moldy wreckage in a hoarders house. Frightening and violent. We’ve been in denial for so long that I don’t even know what is real anymore.

I drag these piles with me everywhere I go. Last night I Googled: “when is it okay to let go?” And Google wasn’t feeling lucky so it turned up some file on cliff diving without a parachute. I think I will try to find away to apply my research.

Step one:
Get a running start.

Step two:
Don’t stop until you hit the bottom.

Step three and four:
Collect yourself again, and begin to walk in unknown territory, exposed, alone. You didn’t expect to survive so you’ve brought nothing with you. Become wild.

I think three days is too long to live without hearing your voice. I hum to myself as I walk along and my voice bounces off the canyon walls, keeping me company. I have learned how to survive a fall and when I make it home to you, I will no longer be afraid.

We will begin by gently touching each other’s mouths with rocks I found by the river. You’ll whisper that you never felt like you belonged here. I will smile with my crazy eyes and you’ll understand that I never felt safe anywhere until I was left to die.

-Joy Boardman, March 23, 2015

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]

Pi Day Key Lime Pie (gluten free)

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In honor of the ULTIMATE pi day (3.14.15) I made this pie for my friend’s birthday today and have been serving it to my massage clients all day :)

Key Lime Pie (gluten free!)

Crust
Gluten free snickerdoodle cookies, smooshed

Filling
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lime juice

(Pour into crust and bake 15 min at 350°F)

Topping
Whip the 4 egg whites
Add sugar once egg whites are frothy and add vanilla extract

(Dollop on top of cooled pie)

Refrigerate pie till ready to serve….try not to eat the whole thing.

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The geek in me was soooo thrilled to finish making this pie at 9:26 this morning. Pi is 3.1415926….
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Devotion: My Commitment to Myself and to the World

DEVOTION: My commitment to myself — and the world — for 2015.

My name is Joy.

Starting today, I am devoting myself to the following projects:

–Being completely debt free.

–Being generous.

–Reaching out and being vulnerable.

I am devoting myself to these projects because I care about other people and feel that we are not meant to live life alone.

These projects deserve my full focus, attention, discipline and love.

Starting today, I am releasing the following from my life:

–Scarcity thinking.

–Pretending that I don’t have enough.

–Poor time management.

I am releasing these things because I need to create time & energy for giving to others.

These things no longer have a place in my life.

I believe that the world needs more kindness and generosity and that’s what I am here to create.

I may not be able to give millions to every charity, but I can do my part to help.

The very next step is to pay for people behind me.

And then after that, to actively seek out people to help.

When things feel overwhelming, I will remind myself that my job is simply to: spread love and kindness.

I have the power to leave the world, and the people around me, in better condition than I found them.

I don’t have to “reach” for that power. I have it, right now.

Anybody can serve.

I am devoted.

I am focused.

I am ready.

I know what I am here to do.

I am officially signing this agreement — with myself — on Feb 25th, 2014

Joy Boardman

Every word is true.

How I Plan to Make 2015 the Best Year of My Life.

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1. One habit I’m going to build.

I am going to continue eating healthy foods–3x a day. Nothing with ingredients I can’t pronounce. Less sugar, dairy, and bread.

2. One bad habit I’m going to break.

Wasting time online.

3. One person I’m going to forgive.

Myself.

4. One person I’m going to befriend or reconnect with.

Vanessa, my aunt Terri, and LeeAnn

5. One person I’m going to spend more time with.

Anne, Laura, Ros

6. One way I’m going to strengthen my personal relationship.

More honesty about wants and feelings.

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7. One thing I’m going to create.

Financial security.

8. One negative belief I’m going to drop.

That being debt-free should make me feel guilty.

9. One positive belief I’m going to reinforce.

When you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

10. One unhealthy food I’m going to stop eating.

Anything with unpronouncable ingredients.

11. One healthy food I’m going to start eating.

Nuts.

12. One book I’m going to read.

Memoirs of a Geisha.

13. One place I’m going to visit.

Colorado for my cousins graduation.

14. One adventure I’m going to go on.

Mini-vacation in a b&b when I am out of debt.

15. One hobby I’m going to try.

Making lavender sachets.

16. One personal development goal I’m going to achieve.

Being more generous.

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17. One fitness goal I’m going to achieve.

Working out every day, again.

18. One new food I’m going to try.

Overnight oats & cricket flour.

19. One fear I’m going to overcome.

Fear of totally unknown territory: debt-free living and total responsibility.

20. One risk I’m going to take.

Becoming more vulnerable.

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21. One thing I’m going to throw out.

Stuff in the hallway.

22. One thing I’m going to save for and purchase.

My 6-month sabbatical for 2016.

23. One way I’m going to make more money.

Collage parties and retreat in the fall/winter.

24. One expense I’m cutting out.

Coffee.

25. One way I’m going to stop wasting time.

Using my time wisely. Only 25 minutes on each phone task (2x) and then no more screen time.

26. One skill I’m going to learn.

How to spend money wisely, again.

27. One class I’m going to take or workshop I’m going to attend.

Prenatal massage class

28. One way I’m going to make myself indispensable at work.

Pregnancy massage!

29. One thing I will no longer tolerate.

My grandmother treating my mom poorly.

30. One way I’m going to keep my energy high.

Eat at appropriate times. Rest when I need to.

31. One way I’m going to relax and de-stress.

Naps. Looking out the window and watching the birds. Yoga.

32. One way I’m going to get better sleep.

Reading before bed.

33. One way I’m going to have more fun.

More game nights.

34. One small way in which I’m going to make the world a better place.

#projectwarmheart

35. One bucket list item I’m crossing off.

Clearing up acne scars.

36. One way I’m going to follow my bliss.

Remembering to reach out. We are not meant to live life alone.

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Also: learning acceptance.

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You, too, can use these questions to make a plan for yourself & make 2015 the best year of YOUR life!

Thank you for reading!

If you haven’t filled out my survey yet, and you’d like to tell me about yourself, please go here:

https://artisticdrama.polldaddy.com/s/i-want-to-get-to-know-you

True Story: I Have Apeirophobia (the fear of infinity)

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Apeirophobia is also known as:

⊙The fear of infinity

⊙Infinity phobia

⊙The fear of space going on forever

⊙The fear of things that never end

Infinity is a floorless room without walls or ceiling.

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Symptoms:

Shortness of breath or smothering sensation

Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

Feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint

“Eternity is said not to be an extension of time but an absence of time, and sometimes it seemed to me that her abandonment touched that strange mathematical point of endlessness, a point with no width, occupying no space.”
-Graham Greene

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Ever since I was little, I’ve had panic attacks whenever I thought about the fact that when we die (no matter what your beliefs are) the ending is perpetual.

People from church used to try to reassure me by reminding me how wonderful heaven will be, but that’s not the point. The point is that your life never actually ENDS.

I’m not even that afraid of dying because you die and then that part is over.

If I go to heaven, I’ll be in a beautiful place with God and people I love….FOREVER.
If nothing happens, nothing happens…..FOREVER.

There’s no getting out of it. It’s inevitable and it’s forever. And ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever…..

The most helpful thing for me has been to bring myself back to the present moment and consider it like a journey.

When you plan for a journey, you have all these preconceived notions but once you are actually there it is so very different from what you expected and you just put one foot in front of the other.

“”I mean, d’you know what eternity is? There’s this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there’s this little bird-”

“What little bird?” said Aziraphale suspiciously.

“This little bird I’m talking about. And every thousand years-”

“The same bird every thousand years?”

Crowley hesitated. “Yeah,” he said.

“Bloody ancient bird, then.”

“Okay. And every thousand years this bird flies-”

“-limps-”

“-flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak-”

“Hold on. You can’t do that. Between here and the end of the universe there’s loads of-” The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily. “Loads of buggerall, dear boy.”

“But it gets there anyway,” Crowley persevered.

“How?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

“It could use a space ship,” said the angel.

Crowley subsided a bit. “Yeah,” he said. “If you like. Anyway, this bird-”

“Only it is the end of the universe we’re talking about,” said Aziraphale. “So it’d have to be one of those space ships where your descendants are the ones who get out at the other end. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you’ve got to-” He hesitated. “What have
they got to do?”

“Sharpen its beak on the mountain,” said Crowley. “And then it flies back-”

“-in the space ship-”

“And after a thousand years it goes and does it all again,” said Crowley quickly.

There was a moment of drunken silence.

“Seems a lot of effort just to sharpen a beak,” mused Aziraphale.

“Listen,” said Crowley urgently, “the point is that when the bird has worn the mountain down to nothing, right, then-”

Aziraphale opened his mouth. Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds’ beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly.

“-then you still won’t have finished watching The Sound of Music.”

Aziraphale froze.

“And you’ll enjoy it,” Crowley said relentlessly. “You really will.”

“My dear boy-”

“You won’t have a choice.”

“Listen-”

“Heaven has no taste.”

“Now-”

“And not one single sushi restaurant.”

A look of pain crossed the angel’s suddenly very serious face.”

-from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman

My Collages from the January Goal-Setting Collage Parties

Collages are awesome because you let your subconscious work and don’t analyze till everything is on the page.

This allows you to see connections that you didn’t even know you had floating around in your brain and makes them visual to you!

Here are 4 collages I made in January when I hosted 3 parties with the theme of “setting intentions for the year”

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Collage #1- from first party
Things that stand out to me:

Fresh thinking
Leading by example
Not hiding, rebelling
“Is it gravity or attraction that keeps me here?”
Being more myself, being original
Dancing
Taking time to rest
More saving, more doing
Playful, healthy body image

Things I don’t understand, yet:

All the birds!
“Let the sea set you free”
“Land of the stupid, home of the brave.”
“Darker my love”

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Collage #2- also from first party
What stands out to me:

Made of something better
Don’t discount the small things
More reliable
Renovating your dream (building a house)
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” Traveling-“Don’t worry about others expectations or opinions” (I’m very worried about my need to travel and all of my monthly clients)

What I don’t understand, yet:

Shirtless guy that says “pretty rich”
Girl with red hair about to be rammed into by a bull
Pink polar bear
Girl exiting right

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Collage #3 (my favorite)- from second party

Things that stand out to me:

“Fortune: it will be harder than you expect, but it will be worth it.”
(Your fortune awaits)
Discover what’s next–taste it all.
A voyage should take you further than your destination
Content all over the world
See the world differently
Buckle up for some fun
A daily transformation
Don’t be afraid to speak up– Reject apathy (interesting that that is over the picture of the couple)
The key to an extraordinary life
Discover a new way
The spirit of travel
Making room for personal growth
Overindulgence vs. Good start (debt- free living)
Live every day part of something bigger “by all means feed the people-watchers”

What I don’t understand, yet:

That terrifying/fascinating black bird that says “drilling for hope”
All the safari animals: giraffes, hippo, jaguar

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Collage #4- from third party

What stands out to me:
Hugging snowman
Infusing life with color
“Life is a special occasion”
Kitties!!
“The best story of the year is yours”
Every day talk with friends
Get up and go
Wonder Woman
All joy and fun
Dream out loud
“We cannot please everyone, but we try.”
A new beginning.
“Away is a place where it’s not about the money you spend, it’s about the moments you share.”
“From good starts come great things”
Cook with passion (over a photo of delicious spaghetti)

What I don’t understand, yet:
Another bird! With paint brushes.
Oh, and also a dove holding a ring in its beak
“When clean-up is easy, even a spill can be beautiful.”

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Money, prosperity, and abundance: the true meaning of financial freedom

image Warning: rambling ahead.

I’m almost completely out of debt, and as I come into the homestretch I’ve been thinking a lot about money, prosperity and abundance and what it means to me.

I actually grew up pretty poor. I basically lived in the projects….our neighbors were always fighting (one time my mom had to go to the hospital because our neighbor punched her in the face), our neighbors downstairs grew marijuana, there were needles on the playground, people shot at the sign at the entrance to our apartment complex…..

I was also the only child of a single parent. My mom was in debt until I graduated from high school (she made it her goal to get out by that time and she did it!!) We were always on foodstamps and always having to put things back at the register.

All that means is: I was raised knowing the value of things. I knew how to pick out good things from the clearance rack & I knew even though we were on foodstamps we were gonna get the good tuna (save the dolphins!!)

When I graduated from high school, I went to a private college two separate years and left both times because the idea of going into so much debt and not even knowing what I wanted to DO with my life was completely crippling.

It took me 7 years after graduating highschool to find my calling. I took years off in between and traveled the world and worked. I went to massage school in 2011. & then I went back to community college and got my associates degree (for free because I was poor….yay FAFSA!).

So I have been in debt since 2004 and I was just ignoring it and hoping it would go away…. until October 2013.

Thankfully it was only $16,649 total. Some kids go to school for ONE YEAR and end up with more than that.

The fact that young kids are pushed into 4-year universities and saddled with such a gross amount of debt is despicable.

When I graduated from highschool I was a very smart kid so I figured I’d go to a 4-year uni….I didn’t even know what loans meant!! They just pushed papers at me.

I think every student should be required to take a finance class before graduation.

Anyway, in October 2014  I decided it was time to become serious about my debt.

Now, in January 2015 I only have a little over $3000 left to pay off.

As I head into a finally financially secure future, I actually feel a little intimidated.

First, I feel kinda guilty. Here I am, 28.5 years old and I will be debt free. There are so many people who are like $80k+ in debt and will never have the luxury of feeling financially free: To have that weight lifted off their shoulders…..to see an ending in sight.

I also feel a little scared. Freedom is scary. I imagine this must be what it’s like getting out of prison. Yes there’s open air but you are suddenly so responsible for your future.  You have to make sure you don’t mess it up, again.

Money has always been something I didn’t have enough of…my favorite phrase was always, “I can’t afford that.”
Im known for my ability to walk around stores picking things up and then putting them all back.

Now, my money will actually be MINE. And I want to give it away.

Generosity is something I’ve always appreciated.  The idea of people paying for the person behind them, or leaving huge tips for their waitress, has always tugged at me. The way some people feel called to adopt, I’ve always felt called to be generous. So, with my new responsibility I want to be able to take people out to lunch and say, “don’t worry, it’s on me!”

I want to give to charities that stand up for things that I believe are worthy causes like women’s literacy in Asia, and clean drinking water in Guatemala.

I believe the saying that true financial freedom comes from being generous.

So, going into 2015 I’m already practicing being generous and unclenching my fists. I am excited to watch this new chapter in my life unfold.
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