Shower Philosophy 101:Money

I love my showers on a non-busy weekend – I get to take my time and enjoy it. Inevitably, I “think”.

Today, I was thinking about money. It seems everyone thinks about money (and lack thereof) at this time of year. I think that’s sad; that’s not what this time of year should be about. I have caught myself thinking about money too much lately. It stopped me in the shower when I thought of money in a different way.

Does money make me happy? Does money make me unhappy? What is it that I should be thinking about in terms of money?

Money is indirectly related to what really makes me happy. And that is what I think I should focus on. Let me give you some examples:

  1. Money buys me healthy, quality food that I enjoy eating. Occasionally, it allows me to eat out with friends and family as a treat, not a routine. I’m able to put a variety of food on our table and try new things.
  2. Money has given me a beautiful house that I love – it is not huge, it is not fancy. It shelters us more than adequately and I believe that it is somewhere that my family, my friends and I want to be. I don’t need a huge house with perfect furniture and flooring. That doesn’t make me happy. It’s comfy, in a small town and it’s “me” and that’s what makes me happy.
  3. Money buys me an iPhone and computers – these are not “needs”, for sure. But these things enable me to make friends all over the world, it enables me to write, read and play; all of which make me happy.
  4. Money buys me the few clothes that I want: I have a few pair of shoes, workout clothing, stretchy jeans and some pretty tops. My closet isn’t stuffed with clothes in an attempt to be “in fashion”. That doesn’t make me happy at all. I want simple, functional clothes that make me feel good in my own skin. I really don’t care if I have Ralph Lauren or Polo or whatever the brands are. I’m not spending money on that
  5. Money bought me my bike that I love to ride. I don’t have a new car. I used to think that I wanted a new car, something with leather interior and smooth lines. Then I realized the “why” – I wanted to be like everyone else. I don’t even really like driving, so why would I want a car for anything other than to get me where I need to go?
  6. Money has got me vacations with my family and friends. I want to go places and explore new things. Money enables me to do that. I don’t have to have a Disney vacation every year; if I did, it wouldn’t be special anymore. Vacations should be far from routine.
  7. Money allows me to get my kids things that they need and some things that they want. They don’t have all the latest gadgets, nor the fashions and toys that some of their friends have. But, I don’t think they really miss it either. I tried buying my kids tons of things. It was never enough. Most of it was touched once, and then never again. I’ve given away clothes that they never even wore! That’s shameful, in my opinion.

These are the things that money allows for me. I need to focus on these things. If I have enough money to cover these things, then I am happy. I don’t need more money for more things. I refuse to waste any more money just trying to keep up with what everyone else does/has. There is never an end to the idea of keeping up with them. There will always, always be someone with something more.

At this time of year, I have stopped thinking about all the stuff I cannot buy. I have purchased a few things that I know the recipients will love and appreciate and even some things that give to others at the same time! I am making a few more things that are from my heart to them.

I refuse to run around buying people stuff just because I think I have to. I am buying what I can afford and nothing more. In fact, I am done my shopping for the year and Ii don’t have a ton of stuff to wrap. There will be people that may not understand, and I’m sorry about that; but this is what I think is best for me and my family right now. I am focusing on what this time of year REALLY means and not the commercial idea that it has become.

This past year, my thoughts on money has completely changed. I still have days where it causes me stress. It has made me rethink what I am willing to do for money. It has made me rethink my work. I am not willing to sacrifice everything for money. My job gives me ample money for what I really need and want. I am thankful for that. However, I will not allow it to cause me stress and affect my life in a negative way anymore. I am working towards having the lifestyle I want yet do what I love. That is my new goal.

Anyway, I’m rambling, post shower, on a lazy Saturday at home with my gang! I am very blessed and very happy. The purpose of this post, I hope, is to inspire you to think of money in a different way; especially at this time of year. Thanks for hanging out with me and my gang today! 😉

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Lego Creations and Doll Dreams

Once again, we were blessed with a beautiful Christmas! My angels were up bright and early! Much earlier than on a school day! (That’s OK, I was pretty much awake the whole night too – too excited to see their faces!)

We had tracked Santa across the world all day. Counting down the hours until his arrival. Finally, he arrived!

It always amazes me how patient and considerate my kids can be on Christmas morning! They work together making sure that everyone has a gift to open and watch eagerly as others open their gifts!

This year was no different! In fact, it took over an hour for everyone to open their gifts. They had to keep checking each other’s stuff out!

In the end, it was the basics that they were most excited about: my daughter was so excited and emotional about her Maplelea doll that she cried! And my youngest son was crazy about his big Star Wars Lego set! The oldest was very pleased to get some new clothes and was found later sitting on the couch amongst the debris reading his newest book!

Dear daughter spent the morning organizing all her new doll’s clothes. My boys were hunkered down, working on the new Star Wars Republic Attack Cruiser together. The new electronic games were not touched!

I refused to tidy up the debris – it could wait! I was thoroughly enjoying the morning and seeing my kids enjoying just being together!

We then spent the late afternoon at my sisters – all of the immediate family was there. The cousins were so excited to be together again! The silliness and running around out in the snow were the highlight of the day! They didn’t even think of the fact that there were still more gifts under the tree there! I took some pictures of the crazy “kids” table!

They put on a show for us just like we used to do when we were kids. My mom was ecstatic about seeing them work together spontaneously! Some were in the band, some were the door security, some were the lighting crew! It was awesome!

The day ended with a skate on my brother-in-law’s skating rink on the front lawn! Each of them strapped on skates and just enjoyed being out there! It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Family Skate

My kids quickly fell asleep last night with visions of Lego and special dolls dancing in their heads. My hubby and I fell asleep in each other’s arms, thankful for being blessed with our beautiful family.

Counting Christmas Blessings

My sister sent me a link to a beautiful song (Watch the video below) but it served to remind me to count my blessings. Especially at this time of year.

The Christmas Shoes: New Song

I am so very blessed! We get so busy shopping, wrapping, visiting, eating, running around to pageants and concerts, complaining about spending and lineups, baking, decorating, partying etc. etc.

My blessings:

  1. My husband and my 3 children – they are healthy and happy – we are lucky to have a home and plenty to eat and happiness and love all around.
  2. My Mom and Dad and sisters and brother – so many beautiful memories of this time of year – we were truly blessed growing up. I am so lucky that we are still part of each other’s lives.
  3. My Gramma – I have lost other grandparents and miss them so much. I forget to spend time with my Gramma. I am blessed to have her here with us.
  4. My friends, especially my best friend. I am so lucky to have people that I can lean on, laugh with, cry with, and celebrate life with.

These are just some that I am thinking about today. I am counting my blessings more and more every day.

What are your blessings? Do you find yourself thinking of them at this time of year? Make time in the hustle and bustle to count them today! 🙂

My Favorite Christmas Carol

O Holy Night is my very favorite Christmas Carol.

As I was searching for a video of a version of the song to share with you, I came across this one from The Celtic Woman.

I listened and watched these beautiful angels singing this carol. It is truly special.

As usual, this song brought tears to my eyes, every time I listened. I am not a hugely religious woman and don’t attend church as much as I would like. But I do believe in God and that Christ died for us. And that Christ is the reason for Christmas.

I do believe that the point that God is always trying to make is that we should look after one another; love one another – and we often fail miserably. But…often we succeed – more and more often, I believe in my heart. The chains are breaking around the world. We are learning that we are brothers and sisters, all.

That’s why I love this song. It is about hope. It is about rejoicing. It’s about freedom. Its about the beautiful night when Christ was born to show us the Light.

“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”.

You don’t have to believe in God to believe in those words.

I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t hope for a better day. That doesn’t look out at a new day and wonder,

“Is this the day that is going to be great?

Is this the day that I will make a difference?

Is this the day I will find love?

Is this the day the light will shine on me?

Is this the day that I will find what I’m searching for?”

Reach out to your fellow man and share in the true Christmas spirit…You could be the person that answers that question for him or that gives her hope for one more day.

And in so doing, you may find what you are searching for.

Christmas Snow

There’s another snow storm approaching today. We had a scary one last Friday too.  These storms do make it dangerous driving on the roads here. In general, the weather has been pretty mild this winter.

However, if you don’t have to go anywhere, it makes for a beautiful Christmas. I do love the snow for Christmas. Snow is Christmas for me.

  1. I remember a ton of snow at Christmas time when I was a kid – it was awesome to get a “snow day” before school was actually out for Christmas break! We could then stay home and play board games and giggle about what we might get from Santa!
  2. We grew up on a farm, on a hill with the river below us, it was a beautiful view across the valley of snow covered trees and snow sparkling on the fields. My dad chose that spot especially for the view.
  3. Our tobogganing hill was (still is!) famous! It is the place to go for an amazing ride. It is setup special so that we can have a big bonfire. It is a requirement to go tobogganing at least once during the Christmas break – still! As little kids, we had tons of fun going down the hill with our cousins and friends. As teenagers, we were allowed to have tobogganing “parties” at night during a full moon. It was so bright, you could see your shadow! The quiet of a snowy night on the hill is one of my favorite memories.
  4. Of course, the river meant lots of skating during the holidays. My dad and other dads in the community would use the river to flood the outdoor rink. I remember lacing up my skates and skating around with the shovel helping shovel snow off the ice until we had enough room to play! Goal posts were someone’s boots – boy were they cold when you put them back on! Many a puck was lost over the boards and into the snow. We’d always find them in the spring, ready again for next year!
  5. Skating on the river was cool too – dad would break a hole in the ice, and the water would “flood” the river. We could then skate all over on it. A recent fond memory I have is shortly after we got married, we went out on New Year’s Eve to my parents. The river had been recently flooded, so I convinced my hubby to lace up skates and go skating under the full moon along the river. He is a city boy, so he thought that was pretty amazing – and I thought it was pretty romantic 😉
  6. We have extended family that have horses and sleighs. It was always a tradition to go for a sleigh ride with our cousins and family friends. We’d all pile on, sitting on straw bales, snuggled under blankets. The joke always was to see who would get dumped off into a snow drift first! It was hilarious when you’d have to run and catch up to the sleigh again covered in snow! We’d stop and warm up by a fire that my dad and uncles got going. We’d roast hot dogs and have hot chocolate that my mom and aunts would always make sure we had along. We still try to take the kids out and do this during the Christmas break. It is a fond memory I love to share with them!
  7. We 4H’ers would head out in the Christmas snow to sing Christmas Carols for the older people in the neighborhood. Everyone pretended that it was a “drag”, but everyone still showed up and spent the evening laughing and singing and loving the occasional chocolate that someone would invariably have waiting for us at their door! My girlfriends and I went out last Christmas and did this with our kids! I hope we can do it again!
  8. I love the quiet that snow seems to bring. The way it sparkles in the sunshine or even the full winter moon. To have to squint as I’ve gazed across the field covered in snow, white everywhere. And it seems to me to be like a snuggly blanket – which is kinda weird since it’s so cold. It just feels like it is wrapped around everything, protecting until spring comes again.

These are some of the things that I love about all this snow that comes at this time of year.

The snow is not all bad 🙂 What do you like about the snow at this time of year?

Christmas Family Meeting

Well, tomorrow is December 1st and, as usual, I’m a little behind schedule. Not bad though.

I have done some Christmas shopping – I went with my mom and sisters/sister-in-law this past Saturday. That is an awesome idea, by the way. This will become a new tradition, I think. We got to hang out and visit. Compare ideas for each other and the kids, etc. It was totally stress-free! And Yogen Fruz was involved – my favorite!

Anyway, my kids all have their birthdays in November/December, so Christmas likes to sneak up on me.

My husband and I have been talking about a different Christmas this year. This is for a few reasons:

  • watching the budget – it’s very tight this year
  • we have way too much “stuff” in our house – we’ve been purging/de-cluttering over the past year
  • we have been getting too many gifts and so have our kids – it has become an expectation. Personally, I am against that – that is not what Christmas is
  • we have been wanting to spend more quality time with them, with each other, with our families and with our friends
  • our kids are getting older, so the toys are not such a big deal anymore

Our plan for tonight is to have a “Christmas Family Meeting”. And what do we hope to accomplish with this meeting? (All meetings SHOULD have a purpose and an agenda – though I seem to attend many at work with NEITHER of these things but that’s a topic for another day!)

The Purpose:

Decide what is the best way to celebrate Christmas the Cevraini way

The Agenda:

  1. Each family member take a turn telling what parts of the current Cevraini Christmas they like/dislike. No one is allowed to interrupt. Everyone gets heard.
  2. Each family member take a turn talking about what they would like to do this Christmas. Some new traditions, new ideas, etc should come out of this!
  3. Write this down in the FlyLady’s Holiday Control journal. In our house, if it’s written down, it’s accepted as fact! This way, we can go back later and see what we missed, what we changed our minds on, what was great, etc.
  4. Talk about the budget (a little) – this is important, I think, for even the kids. I think that they need to understand that there is not an infinite amount of money to spend. Too often, we make the mistake of not teaching our children about money. My oldest doesn’t have a clue. I plan to make sure that doesn’t happen with the other two. We won’t bore them with details, just understand that we are setting a budget (and what that means) and are going to stick to it.

All in all, I think it will be fun. The kids will all get a chance to contribute and they always feel important when we call “family meetings”. I’m sure it will automatically become less about the presents and more about the time spent together and things we will get to do together.

My kids (all kids, really) just crave the season, not the presents. They like hanging out with their cousins. They like having people over and eating tons of “fun food” instead of having to eat the four food groups everyday! They like staying up late watching Christmas movies. They like going toboganning and maybe skating! They don’t have to go to school! It’s all about family, friends and FUN! That’s what they really want. Isn’t that what we ALL want!??

Let’s all make this the year that Christmas became so much more than the commercials – less toys, but more fun. Less stress, more love. That’s the reason for the season.

My Grown Up Christmas List