Breathe of Fresh Air

Ever had just crazy and busy week… some crazy-awesome and some crazy-crazy and it feels like weeks since you’ve looked up from all of it?

Ever have one of those moments where it gets quiet you sigh and wonder “what’s next?”

And then you get an answer from above and it looks like an email?

 

Here is what my answer looked like this afternoon… it was a moment where I just stopped, sighed and saw two phrases pop out on the page.

 

The email was from Benjamin Moore, my favorite paint store.

I opened the email asking myself

Really?  Trend color styles for 2014?

Really?  Trend colors for your home?

You are going to paint it every year? Mmm hmmm.

And 2014… already?

 

Good thing the webpage opened or else there would have been more thinking… anyways…here is what I saw.

Post 2013-10-03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first phrase that popped out to me was “Breathe of Fresh Air”… yes!  I could totally use one of those!

The second was “Flint”… that’s the city I went to school to earn my engineering degree.

 

I think this was the answer to my wandering question…

What’s next?  A breathe of fresh air… that draws upon my engineering experience. 

 

My shoulders relaxed.  My soul awoke.  My quiet moment to myself became inspired.

 

Ever have a seemingly random inspiration strike you at an unusual time?

The LIKE button

I’ve been on Facebook to connect more with people who inspire me.  I have found that I don’t always have the words to say but a simple click of the LIKE button seems to help me out.
Here are a few of my “responses” with that click.

  • I’ve got your back
  • Oh yeah!
  • Woo hoo
  • I hear ya
  • I’m here for you
  • Praying
  • Thinking of you
  • I was here
  • LIKE

Sometimes silent support is powerful.

Don’t be afraid to use this super power out in the real world.

Laura (Nerd)

 

My usually silent supporter… Harley.

2013-01-28 13.47.44

 

Audacious

I am a part of a challenge to risk something for the next 24 days (apply to 6 jobs, update blog, create a business, soul seek, or even spend more time with kids before they go back to school).  Today is the first day of the challenge and we were asked to journal what being audacious looks like to us.

So I did what any “normal” person would do… I looked up the word audacious and this is my favorite definition… it was the fifth one I read so if you don’t love it you can find another one that speaks to you.

Definition of audacious from Vocabulary.com

This adjective is very bold — if you are audacious, you are daring and unconventional!

The adjective audacious comes from the Latin word audacia and means “daring, boldness, courage,” and often gets applied in situations where someone does something pretty unusual, like becoming an astronaut and going to the moon. It can also mean challenging conventions and doing things that most people don’t do, such as when Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the United States to become a doctor. Blackwell then inspired Elizabeth Garrett Anderson to become the first female doctor in England. And the rest is history!

 

You know what this means?   This means that we have a word to describe people who are trying to do something more, to create something better and who don’t mind being considered unusual as long as they are working on being awesome.

It reminds me of a show that my dad liked to watch with us when we were kids… it was a show that explored the new, the different.  It involved team work, problem solving for challenging situations, and one of the underlying themes was to  “Boldly go where no one had gone before”.

These explorers were on a voyage which by definition says a voyage can take you places you don’t expect and teach you more about yourself than you thought possible.

If you want your life to be more than work, eat, sleep, repeat then let me be the first to give you permission to dream, to hope, to adventure into your ideas of better.  Let me tell you that it is WORTH it to be bold, daring and to accomplish things that people think are crazy.  Do it for you and enjoy the moment because not every adventure takes flight, some crash and burn but regardless of outcome, of praise, of rank… do it for you and enjoy the moment.  You are designed to do MORE so go and play!

picture_boldlygo

Pleasantly Surprised

I was typing an email to a friend and clicked “Send”.  Gmail popped up a message to me… it looked like this.

Attach - Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phew!  I don’t like sending a second email because I forgot to attach something on the first one.  Thanks google for the laugh and the reminder!

Some days we can stop and smell the roses and some days we are too busy for any interruption.  Some days I would rather yell at Google for a stupid error message, get out of my way!

 

We don’t get to control what happens to us… but we get to choose what we do about them and how we react to them.

Today I’m going to put my positive face on and try to go with the flow, as they say.

 

I hope you’ll join me and do the same!

Laura (Nerd)

Be You.

On Sunday we had a visiting minister at church, his name is Mark Smith and he is from Laurel Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN.

He was in town for a reunion at the college next door and I’m glad he came!  His sermon filled me with what I needed to hear!  Let me recap what he talked about.  These are his thoughts, some are his words verbatim, and it’s my interpretation of his sermon.

Topic:  Free to Serve

Luke 22:24-30

This is the most significant 24 hours in all of mankind and the disciples are arguing over who is most popular.

Who has the best PR?  Who has the best image?

Who will sit at the right hand of Jesus?

We are not competing for Jesus’  love and affection.

If we want to help others we cannot simply PREACH the gospel.  Hearing the gospel isn’t enough.  We have to show others HOW the gospel works in our own lives.

WE. ARE. THE. MESSAGE.

 

He discussed how competition impacts our lives…

Competition limits our potential.

2 Corinthians 10:12,18 

We are not the standard.

When we compete with each other we make MAN the standard and we forget that GOD is the standard.

His example (there were MANY sports analogies and it’s ok because I think he was excited for the camaraderie with his fellow Michigan fans since he now lives in Tennessee Vols territory).

 

His example was this:  ”I am a great basketball player”.

“I am a great basketball player… when compared to my wife”.

When we compare ourselves to someone lesser we have no motivation to improve.

If he compares himself to college basketball stars then he has no motivation to START.

 

Romans 12: 6-8  (Laura’s Note… this verse is God’s voice with the Nike Ad saying… “Just Do It Already!  I made you awesome… go BE awesome!”)

Reach your potential in accordance with your faith.

Reach YOUR potential.

 

Pastor Mike reminded us that Competition taints our accomplishments (Laura: Oh I am SO guilty of this).

We play down our accomplishments because it isn’t “that big” compared to _____.  (SO me!)

He reminded us that in Luke 15: 7, 10 that Heaven rejoiced over ONE person coming home to God.  They threw a HUGE party for ONE.  (He basically was reminding me that I am enough.  It’s that simple.  I am enough.)

We have to do OUR best even if we are barely holding it together.

 

Competition cheapens our attitudes.

Winners gloat.  Losers are hypercritical and start fault-finding.

(This is where my notes get personal.  I scribbled my own personal struggles on paper.  I started doing some market research for this blog and I felt inferior, like I could never get to “that” successful point, that I’m not important enough, why do I matter when everyone else has it all figured out… and that is when the light bulb came on.  It’s the hinge moment that made me remember that it doesn’t matter.  I only have to help ONE person.  I only have to do MY best.  There are no losers and this isn’t a game.

I’m glad I started listening intently again because what he said next was most important to this creative-brained, logic-trained engineer who loves people.)

He said:  Competition distorts our values.

It makes our values superficial.  We focus on measurables.  We forget character, compassion, and spiritual maturity.

 

The real competition is how Christ-like can we be?

See who can SERVE the most.

See who can SACRIFICE the most.

See who can LOVE the most.

See who can FORGIVE the most.

See who can SHARE the most.

 

The anti-dote to competition is to JUST SERVE.

We want God to say “That person GETS it.”  The greatest Christian is the one who is seldom noticed, seldom praised, and the one who has learned how to serve from their heart.  (Ever ask yourself what does it matter?  nobody cares anyways? )

Our call to action was to:  Never be ashamed to SERVE.  And to Serve, not because you have it all figured out but because you love Jesus.

 

At the end of all of this I realized that I need to Be Me.

Be MY Best and that is ENOUGH.

 

If you want to listen to the audio you can listen to it here…let me know if you find an inspiration that is a little different than mine.

 

Your Nerd,

Laura

A New Day

It’s been 806 days since I felt that I was important enough to write on my own blog.

Blogging Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November of 2010 I was SO excited to share our story of paying off our debts, how we were working as a team, how Financial Peace University changed our lives and yet only six months later I stopped.

 

Work told me that I wasn’t important enough.  Colleagues ignored me.  I was getting sent to travel to Mexico for new programs for 18-24 months even after successful local (2 hours away) launches and even after giving up family time, after forgetting who my husband was, and after up-rooting my life.

Since then I’ve moved jobs 3 times.  I have the best job I’ve had in awhile and yet I still feel unfulfilled in my career.  I want to HELP people.  I want to CONNECT with people.  I want to do things FOR PEOPLE.

 

I know that I won’t be the best Manufacturing/Process/Industrial Engineer there is.  I feel it requires me to uproot my whole life for nondescript amounts of time and in the long run I don’t feel like it is a fit even though I have two degrees in it.  I can’t be the best but I can make it work.  I can work to be the best team mate, colleague, and person I can be today.

In the last year I have been run over, seriously harassed at work, pushed around, and I been disrespected.  Many of my colleagues of the last few years have enjoyed skirting responsibility and ignoring my requests.

Their puffed out egos give me the impression that they are putting on an act at work.  It is hard for me to be anything but authentic.

 

My struggles over the last few years has either resulted in random blow ups (to colleagues, family, friends, random nice people) OR in a Laura who is quiet, timid and a Laura who is afraid to START.

Today begins a new day.  Today I throw off the baggage and let the #haters stay at work.  I let the excitement follow me home and today I was able to accomplish two words with even the tough situations… I was able to BE NICE even when I didn’t want to.

 

I also Started.

It may be 806 days and it will not be 806 more.

Today I started, I made an effort, I found a new perspective, and I found two words to inspire…

 

Where do you want to be today?

What small things can make your tomorrow THAT MUCH BETTER?

I have your back, your hand and I have a shoulder for you too…We got this!

 

Laura (Nerd)

Paying down the Household Debt!

We started our journey in August so it’s been 8 months that we’ve been working the plan to get rid of our I.O.U’s to people.  These I.O.U’s are from student loans and house loans.  So where are we at?

We have paid off 10% of our debts in 8 months!    Our debt to income ratio is now under 2.5 AND we’ve figured out how to comfortably live on only 30% of our paycheck… 70% of our pay checks get us closer and closer to saying good bye to the people we still have I.O.U’s to.

If you’re on the fence or think that “living it up today” is more important I would recommend that you try a budget for 90 days… 3 monthly budgets.  Tell me after you push through those 90 days that there isn’t something that you’ve been spending too much on.  I’m not saying give up the necessities or even all of your extras but give it a try to start with what you make and figure out a plan for spending no more than what you make.

It will change your life.

I feel like I know the value of my choices and I choose to live within my means.

Can you say you’re making choices with thought?

Have a great week!

Your Nerd, Laura

Spring…

Today was the first afternoon to hit 50*F and the sun was out!  My sister came over while Dave(Super Nerd) was bowling. Sister and I took Emma, my black lab, for a long, long walk.  We splashed through puddles and Emma enjoyed drinking water from the streams.  We returned home and sat outside while the kitty was able to get out to chew on the grass.

We watched the movie Fever Pitch and tried a few drinks, like our very own Shamrock Shake (very good!).  It was nice to get out of the house, catch up on the latest life stories and relax in the middle of the week.

I’m looking forward to warmer days ahead!

~Nerd (Laura) ~

Struggles…

The last few weeks have been really great weeks… so why haven’t you heard about them?
Well first of all my allergies took over and then led to a cold so my available time to function like a regular human being was much less.  Looking back today I’ve realized that I was prioritizing my life without thinking about it.
* Groceries were not only purchased but there were great deals to go with them.
* The dog was fed and walked along with some extra trips outside the neighborhood.  We found ways to visit family with these extra adventures.
* We spent time with family, which required us to travel.
* We went to a charity event and gave.  We were a sponsor of the event, we participated in raffles, and we gave of ourselves, we were open with people we met and we thanked our friends for coming and supporting the event with us.
* We discussed budgets, spending and how to reduce spending to improve our debt payoff dates.
* I stopped blogging, missed book club, missed a new member meeting for a local women’s group, went home early to get rest and stopped worrying about it.  I’m supporting my family and my family is most important… and I showed it.  I was practicing my values.
Pretty sweet huh?
I think that growing up is much more than growing older.  It’s about finding what matters most to you and making it a habit.  Being there for family.  Supporting charities. Communicating about budgets, grocery shopping and life in general.  It’s also about being responsible.  It wasn’t in my best interests to go to meetings because… honestly I didn’t have the energy.  At first I was a little upset but I was too tired to worry about what other people thought.  I wasn’t lying or faking it… I just gave my notice and I headed to bed.
Life goes on with or without me.  I can only do my best for that moment in time.  It doesn’t mean that I will always neglect my blog or my book club neighbors forever… it just means that sometimes I need to look out for me, myself and I.
I wish that I could have this foresight and not worry all the time.  Too bad it takes getting sick to realize that I’m not Super Woman and I shouldn’t be upset when I aim high and don’t make it… at least I tried my best and I should be happy with myself for that.
I hope that you’re able to find what’s important to you today.
~ Nerd (Laura) ~

House Value

Yesterday the “Notice of Assessment, Taxable Valuation and Property Classification” came in the mail.

Because Super Nerd and I carpooled to work yesterday he was witness to the momentus unveiling of the 2011 house value number.

We lost over $5600 in house value since last year.

To which I offered a high five going YESSS less in property taxes for another year!

I mean c’mon… we live in a great area, we are meeting cool neighbors, we plan to be in the house til forever… so heck yeah I’m glad the value is down so we’re paying a little less this year!

Ohh.. that means my city won’t get as much in taxes this year and with Michigan needing to reduce budgets… That means the extra money we saved should go to a local cause that would help benefit more people… I’m thinking library donation this year.  I like it!  I’m so brilliant when I’m not fully awake and I’ve only talked to animal life forms.

Alright as I go and ponder my brilliance I need to get ready for work!  Thanks for stopping by!

~ Nerd (Laura) ~